|Biographical detail : ||Holy broadcaster
Started single-handedly a groundbreaking radio programme called ‘Across the Border’ John Butt broadcasts over a network of independent stations to listeners in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A public schoolboy and professional broadcaster, a convert to Islam and respected cleric, John Butt has brought his combination of talent to preaching peaceful practices of Islam.
‘Across the Border’ uses the voices of ordinary men and women to fight the ignorance that extremists exploit. The programme aims to reach the south and east of Afghanistan. This has won popularity of listeners who tune in, in particular, in Afghanistan’s eastern province.
From his base in Peshawar, John Butt directs a team of 35 reporters. He also goes into the field himself and conducts interviews. By using traditional music and interviews he produces his programmes to centre round peaceful discussion. He believes in the educational power of radio. He started, in 2004, the Pak/Afghan Cross-border Radio Training and Production (Pact) project, which produces ‘Across the Border’.
Born in Trinidad, John was brought up in Surrey, England. He left England as a young hippie in 1969. It was in Afghanistan and Pakistan during Ramadan, in 1970, he converted to Islam. He graduated from the prestigious Darul Uloom Deoband madrasa in India – the only westerner, perhaps, to have done so.
After graduating, John Butt started his career in journalism, eventually working for the BBC and starting a radio soap opera in Afghanistan. Among his seven languages, John is fluent in Pashtu that has won him a respect among the people.
John Butt has been dividing his time between Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Cambridge, England. He is the Imam at Cambridge University.