Sympathy for the Devil

lal-masjid-sticks.jpgIn a new turn of affairs with Jamia Hafsa, some other Deoband/Wahbbi Madrassahs are beginning to demonstrate in solidarity with the radical Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Pakistan, even though Wafaq Madaris has revoked their affiliation (Wafaq Madaris Al Arbia Pakistan is the council of Deoband Madrassahs in Pakistan.) Jamia Hafsa is using militancy to enforce their extreme form of shariat.

By bringing extremist forms in a highly visible form to urban areas they are definitely affecting Pakistan’s future. This does not bode well for future foreign investment, forget about jeapordizing tourism. Few things would make Pakistan appear worse to investors except maybe putting large portraits of Hamid Gul or Bin Laden atop all of your government institutions.

So far the list of things they’ve done is:

  • Kidnapped citizens of Islamabad
  • Kidnapped Islamabad Police
  • Stolen land to build mosques
  • Occupied a government library
  • Threatened numerous passers-by with canes (dandas) for dress and appearance
  • Burned CDs and shops
  • Threatened cable companies
  • Given the country of Islamabad one month to implement their views of shariat
  • Declared Jihad against Musharaaf and the government
  • Issued Fatwahs against Pakistan’s tourism minister
  • Associated with known, armed terrorists

The government’s response has so far been very tepid, which has encouraged other madrassahs to demonstrate sympathy, and there appears to be a split in the Wafaq Madaris as this article from The Daily Times details the formation of a secretive new organization or council of madrassahs:

Khatibs and ulemas of various mosques in Karachi called out for support for Islamabad’s radical Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa during Friday sermons.

The sermons were primarily given in mosques located inside madrassas which are affiliated with the Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arbia Pakistan that controls over 11,000 madrassas in the country with over 1.4 million students. In Karachi, its figure stands at 2,000 madrassas with over 100,000 students.

Furthermore, the police, who recently formed a madrassa monitoring team, have been put on alert over the formation of a new madrassa group called the Tehrik-e-Tulaba and Talibat Karachi (TTTK) that held its first protest demonstration Thursday in support of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa. “TTTK is new group but no one is owning up to it,” said chief of police Azhar Farouqi while talking to Daily Times Friday. “I don’t understand where the TTTK protestors came from. We also want to found out what are their aims. But this much the police is certain of: they do not belong to just one madrassa.”

According to Farouqi, his monitoring team has not found a single mosque or madrassa in the city that had openly declared that it would follow in Jamia Hafsa’s footsteps. Nonetheless, the team was still staying in close contact with madrassas across the city, especially the Deoband ones, to make sure they follow all rules.

According to police sources, however, a majority of the TTTK protestors belonged to three main madrassas, including Gulistan-e-Jauhar’s Jamia Darul Khair, Korangi’s Jamia Darul Uloom and Orangi’s Jamia Darul Rabania. Other madrassa students did participate also. Furthermore, IG Niaz Siddiqui said that there definitely were some mosques and madrassas that had the same ideology as Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid.

In the end you have to ask if Pakistan is in a hurry to become like Iran? See the video at Publius Pundit of the Hijab Police, who only come out in the heat of summer to harass the women of Tehran to see where that leads.

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UPDATE: Chaudry Shujaat Hussain briefed the National Assembly yesterday, here’s a list of the government’s demands:

Ch Shujaat initiated the talks with the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa administration two week ago. During these meetings he put 10 demands before them, which included removal of all signs of extremism, vacate the Children Library, student will no longer wield batons, only regular students of the madrassa stay in the building, declaration for enforcement of Sharia will be withdrawn, disband the patrolling in the markets, remove all check-posts and pickets, no male student should cover his face inside and outside the building, remove all the weapons, if kept in the building, and remove all the flags and banners from the mosque.