Houston Imam Gets Hooked, Cooked and Fried in Unbelievable Catfish Hoax
By Farookh Balsarah
Houston, TX—Move over Manti Te’o. You’ve got company.
A prominent young and upcoming Imam who was hailed as the Hamza Yusuf of his generation has taken an indefinite leave of absence from chaplain duties at his mosque after a popular television program discovered the alleged woman he met online and planned to marry, turned out to be a 48 year-old male Pakistani cab driver from Chicago.
Faisal Kazmi, the Imam at the Islamic Society of The Woodlands, an affluent suburb of Houston, was in shock when the staff of Catfish, the wildly successful MTV show which investigates suspicious predators of online dating, showed up at his house with the bad news that the beautiful and good-hearted girl of Oakbrook, Illinois he met through a friendly internet chat was in fact, Hamid “Boats” Boatwalla, of West Rogers Park, Chicago.
Said Boatwalla laughing hysterically , “this was the greatest prank I have ever pulled off in my life! I can’t tell you how many Facebook friend requests I’ve gotten since last week. How do you you like them apples!”
“This is super embarrassing” an emotional Kazmi said. “I thought she was real. We had plans to get married, start a family and lecture one other. I can’t believe it was some dude who drives taxis. I got totally catfished.”
“He was pretty devastated,” said Quinn Halliday, associate producer of Catfish, who indicated Kazmi, 25, started to sweat profusely when the findings report was disclosed. “I thought he was going to faint.”
The story began almost 6 months ago when Kazmi was on a WebEx forum explaining Islamic banking with a group of Muslims. One individual, a person by the name of Shakka Khan from Dallas, was very eager to listen to him.
“I didn’t think anything of it at first and was flattered that this Muslim woman was asking me all these questions on Islamic mortgages, which personally makes no sense to me, but was doing my best to provide her with information” said a still devastated Kazmi smoking a Newport. “It felt great to be important and people can count on your knowledge for spiritual guidance.” Eventually, both Kazmi and Shakka exchanged contact information which soon matured into emails, swapping photos and online chats. According to Kazmi, it felt real. “I can’t tell you how excited I was about all of this.”
Kazmi acknowledged that texting and tweeting soon turned into phone calls. “She had the sweetest voice,” he cringed. “If your back was turned and he sang “Single Ladies”, you would swear that it was Beyonce.”
After 7 weeks, the Houston native and graduate of Baylor decided he was ready to take it to the next step requesting to meet her several times in some public setting. But Shakka allegedly was shy and did not want to rush into things. Kazmi needed help. He decided to seek out his Uncle for advice. “I told him that I love Shakka! He told me that he did too. I was confused with his comment until he told me about Shakka Khan, the popular 80s platinum R&B artist. And then it just hit me.”
With the help of some friends, Kazmi decided to contact the producers of Catfish, who were intrigued by the story. “Quinn [Halliday] and I just looked at each other and we kind of knew where this was going,” said Michael Olsen, co-producer. “Shakka Khan-wow.” After conducting some research and internet forensics, the Catfish crew tracked down the cabbie to be the originator of the hoax.
Boatwalla, who proudly confessed to the prank couldn’t believe how long the gag lasted. “I’m baffled man. I mean here’s a guy who obviously is smart, grounded and very disciplined. Love is truly blind.”