Update: Dr. M has some more info on this affair as well as some great clips from Dr. Shahid Masood. See here.

I have been meaning to write a follow-up to my previous post on the Lal masjid for some time. Abu Ameerah rightfully mentions that the coverage by Muslim bloggers in the West has been pathetic. Nuqtah issues a scathing indictment on those who have engaged in intellectual snobbery and brown-nosing (sounds like this “hey look at us, we condemn 'them' more than you”). Abid-ullah tries to decipher it as well here. Dr. M, in his typical style, doesn't hold anything back and also touches upon the “gangster” Altaf Hussein. Br. Naeem has a “post-mortem” on it as well. One article that my dear brother Naeem's post links to is extremely shameful and descipable with that particular blogger referring to the Muslims in this masjid as “terrorists”– name-calling that even the Western media has mostly avoided. In fact, the people that don't call themselves Muslims have been much fairer, see here. Counterpunch had another good article here.

Below you will find a translation of an Urdu article that appeared in Jang newspaper. There is some interesting background information on the clerics of the Lal masjid.

I still insist that the masjid administration did take many foolhardy actions prior to this final massacre. However, the article places even those actions, such as the kidnapping of the Chinese women, into doubt. Now, let me tell you that I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but when it comes to believing the masjid party or Musharraf, I would take any decent Muslim over Musharraf a million times.

And whosoever supports Musharraf and in the same breath talks about “democracy” and the “rule of the law” is talking from both sides of his mouth. Musharraf is a dictator, a cruel, machiavellean evilmonger whose only plan since his ascension to power is to strengthen it. He has pretty much killed the political scene in Pakistan along with the current “ruling” political party, who are a bunch of his stooges. He tried to kill judicial independence as well but alhamdulilah, in this one, he could not overcome the will of the people and was given a handy defeat.

So, what's my bottom line:

  • The Lal masjid administrators either engaged in vigilante actions that were not appropriate for an entity that does not have that mandate from the government OR they were set up. Either way, they did not do a good job deflecting the bad PR that it gained.
  • Busharraf is not the type to be “merciful to the believers”, so why does anyone think that he gave the Lal masjid “too much leash”? This wasn't a leash, this was a planned, calculated move to drag a situation out, in order to be used at an opportune time.
  • I now absolutely believe that Moulana Abdul Aziz was ASKED by government negotiators to come out in a Burqa. It was a masterful (evil) plan by Musharraf and his clones to capture him and to do in a way that would tarnish the cleric's reputation immediately. If indeed that was the case, then I ask for Allah's forgiveness regarding my falling in this evil PR trap and believing the official government line.
  • The alleged stash of weapons found in the masjid were almost undoubtedly planted by the government. Otherwise, why would it take them so much time to allow the media in? As I was talking to my dad in Pakistan, most people believe this to be the case.
  • While the government claims about a hundred deaths, and the religious parties put the number a thousand, I am inclined to believe that the number is about 500. That is 500 too many dead human beings. If the government was not hiding anything, then why were the victims buried in the dead of the night?
  • Another claim by Musharraf and his cronies in order to “sell” the massacre to the gullible Western media was that there were foreign fighters in the Mosque. So, where are they then? Why weren't their bodies displayed, which would definitely have been if they were indeed there?
  • Also, the claim about using women and children as human shield. I mean these pathetic little blurbs are so obviously “propagandish” that I don't know how anyone could believe them. See this article and videos that contain interviews with the students who left the masjid (in Urdu), and how the students flatly denied any pressure to stay. It's one thing to claim that people were “brainwashed” into staying (which would have some remote credibility), and its quite another to claim that people were forced to stay. Then again, the latter provides dictators and criminals more of the bad press that they need against the victims in order to justify the dictators' excesses.
  • The US government lauded the massacre. So did Russia, which of course is busy with its own ongoing massacre in Chechnya. Good job there, US government. Great way to win the “hearts and minds” of the Muslims by commending the mass murder of hundreds of people by a dictator, who has tried to kill all democratic institutions in Pakistan. Couldn't our “democratic”, “humane”, “human-rights tops everything” government instead call for an OFFICIAL inquiry into the incident. Remember Koresh in Waco? What is so different between the two situations that one called for so many enquiries into the FBI's handling of the incident, while the other is being commended without an official, independent inquiry?
  • The massacre could have been avoided if the government wanted. But why would Musharraf want a peaceful end? By being a state-terrorist, he was able to prove to the rest of the world that he is their REAL man against terrorism. Seems that there was a negotiated settlement at hand… image and power over spilled blood… what an evil choice to make!

By speaking the truth and saying out loud that this massacre was unjust does not mean that we support militancy or vigilante actions. But just like most Americans spoke up against the massacre at Waco, Muslims should speak up against the massacre in the Lal masjid. We CANNOT trust the ruthless dictator's “official story”, whose flip-flops on all sorts of issues are well known– flip-flops based on what would be more politically expedient for him. We should demand, as Muslims, as Pakistanis, as human beings that an official, independent enquiry (preferably by a non-Pakistani entity) take place and determine what really transpired. We demand that those responsible for the massacre be brought to justice. And if they are not brought to justice in this world, surely Allah is the Most Just.

We pray to Allah that He forgive the errors and sins of those who died and enter them into paradise. And may Allah forgive me for any errors, mistakes, injustice that I may have committed in all my statements regarding the Lal masjid issue.

Death of the Rebel by Hamid Mir

(Translated from the original Urdu article here by Hassan Mushtaq)

Late Moulana Muhammad Abdullah quite often expressed dissatisfaction with his younger son Abdur-Rashid Ghazi. Moulana was the head of local moon-sighting committee and was respected among scholars of the country. He decided to make both his sons, Abdul Aziz and Abdur Rashid, islamic scholars. Abdul Aziz acquired religious knowledge with extreme keenness and devotion, while Abdur-Rashid was interested in learning history. Against the wishes of his father, he did MA in History from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. Parents wanted him to marry in family, but he advocated hard, and got married in a moderate family of Islamabad. Women-folk of Moulana Abdullah family did not use to go outside, while wife of Abdur-Rashid drove outside in her Suzuki Alto, and Abdur-Rashid did not care to people's condemnation. His modernism did not mean that he was away from Islamic teachings. He was bearded man from youth, and he used to say, Islam is not only beard and loose clothes, but islam should be in our hearts.

In 1998, Moulana Abdullah with Moulana Zahoor Ahmad Alwi, Qari Saeed-ur-Rehman and some other scholars, toured Afghanistan. Moulana took his rebellious son specially with him. This delegation met Mulla Omar and Osama Bin Laden. Abdur-Rashid requested to meet Osama Bin Laden in seclusion, and they did meet for an hour in private. Abdur-Rashid Gazi, unlike his father, was not fluent in Arabic, so he conversed in English with Osama Bin Laden, and asked some tough questions. Osama Bin Laden answered all questions by this young guy. At the end of conversation, Abdur-Rashid Gazi picked up a glass of water next to Osama, and drank leftover. Osama expressed surprise at his actions, to which Gazi replied, I drank your leftover so that Allah can make me warrior like you.

After returning from Qandhar, after sometime, an unknown man shot Moulana Abdullah in lal masjid, and he got martyred. Gazi was changed by the martyrdom of his father. This was the era when he used to work for federal ministry of education and he did not have much to do with masjid or madrassah. Abdur-Rashid Gazi pressed hard to get murderers of his father, and one guy got caught. Eye-witnesses at place of shooting all identified this person as the one, but later police let him go in a suspicious way. This led to a fierce storm in Abdu-Rashid Gazi. He started studying religious (islamic) studies and became assistant preacher (khateeb) in lal masjid.

When seven masajid were demolished in Islamabad in January 2007, the female students at Madrassah Hafsa attached to lal masjid took over government library nearby. This takeover was by Moulana Abdul Aziz and his wife Umm Hassan. Abdur-Rashid Gazi was against this action, but he did not bring this disagreement in public out of respect of elder brother. To end the siege, federal minister Aijaz-ul-Haq and association of madrassahs made some efforts. Abdur-Rashid Gazi at least twice came near ending the siege, but each time government turned his efforts in vain by sending notices to more mosques to shut down. One time, Abdur-Rashid Gazi told me that he felt government deliberately wants to keep this issue ongoing to defame madrassahs. It was decided that despite provocations from government, the siege should and, but sadly, Moulana Abdul Aziz did not listen to his younger brother, because there were elements in government institutions that were encouraging him not to give in.

I remember a time when Abdur-Rashid Gazi rebelled against his brother's adamancy, but his mother intervened. The mother told Gazi not to abandon his brother ever, and he obeyed. Then “Aunti Shamim” was abducted, followed by abduction of few policeman and then Chineese nationals. Abdur-Rashid did not know who ordered these abductions, but per brother's orders he had to defend them in media. There were lots of accusations on Gazi and his brother, the most significant one that they are doing theater with help of government to distract people from Judicial crisis in Pakistan.

Poor Gazi himself did not know how to refute this allegation. Even it was alleged in end of May 2007, that Musharraf is using lal masjid to cause chaos, because the negotiations between Lal masjid people and Choudary Shuja'at Hussain was successful, but he was told to prolong the negotiations further. Choudary could not resist and blamed government for failure of negotiations. In the last meeting, Abdur-Rashid Gazi told Choudary, you are indeed a sincere person, but we know the government would want to make this issue long and finish us off at right time to become triumphant in American eyes. One day Abdur-Rashid Gazi even said this that if they were really culprit, why could not government shut down their water and electricity? Even if then we refused to give in, then can't they get us with paralyzing gas?

On 7th of July, Choudary Shuja'at Hussain called me in and told that he wanted to talk to Abdur-Rashid Gazi for last time, but his phones have stopped working. Choudary wanted to talk one more time and I got hold of Abdur-Rashid Gazi and informed him about Choudary's request. Gazi laughed and said that Choudary was simple and did not know that it had been decided to kill us. On my insistence, he contacted Choudary again and hence negotiations started again. In these negotiations, he repeatedly said that his elder brother Abdul Aziz was deceived and caught, and I would be killed if I go out, so I prefer dying while fighting rather than dying in shame. And that is what he did. In last contacts, Gazi said, both sides are muslims, some way out should be sought and not spill blood of muslims. Gazi said, I tried a lot, but government wants to defame us and the whole issue is created by government, it has gained a lot of political benefits already and would gain it further after defaming us. Gazi was sure that only his death would be his success and defeat for government. He said our death would prove our innocence and our blood would be avenged by dignified muslims of this country. He never refused to acknowledge mistakes from his side, but reiterated that they were not huge mistakes. We captured a library in protest of demolition of masajid, we were fired at, and are being fired at, while those who demolished masajid are unaccountable. Gazi redeemed prestige of his family by giving up his life that was damaged by capture of his brother in “burqa” (women cloak).

I never favored steps taken by administration of lal masjid, but the way brutal force was used against them, ought to be condemned. If government wanted, the issue could have been resolved without single bullet been shot, but some elements intentionally took the path of violence and bloodshed. Abdur-Rashid Gazi is now more dangerous after his death, that is why instead of being buried in Islamabad next to his father, he was buried at “Rojhan Mazari”. If Gazi had been provided with justice in his father murder case, he may have been still officer at ministry of education. He revolted in reaction of the injustice. Whatever happened to him, whether it was right or wrong, would not be judged in the courts of this world, but only in the court of Allah SWT.

36 Responses

  1. altaf

    Salaam Alaikum,

    thank you for this article, i’ve been posting information on the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa for a few months now — and it is good to see that some Muslim bloggers are finally taking a closer look at what happened.

    I don’t agree with you entirely regarding the issue of shutting down of brothels. Pakistan, is quickly becoming a hub for trafficking of women – esp. from Nepal and Bangladesh. The two brothers, in their khutbas, had a much more of a broader and global outlook on the reasons why they shut down the brothels. The same was and is true of the students of Jamia Hafsa, who are amongst some of the most articulate Muslims (men or women). I agree that there were PR mistakes made – but then any Islamic movement is going to have PR problems in the present environment.

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  2. gess

    As’salamu Aleikum Amad*,

    One of most important tool in the war on terrorism [red. war on Islam] is to divide the Muslims into good and bad camps. And it is sad to witness that it is us who is doing the job.

    I don’t why you are harsh on your Muslim brothers when you are not for non-muslims. Do they not need as much Dawa as the non-muslims?

    Reading on the other thread on Muslim girls who wear the scarf and jeans , I don’t think you know how it feels to be on their situation. The scarf alone symbolizes for many people a parasite on society, birth machine, oppressed, and really it does not matter for them if it is a wear a bueqa or a designer scarf. These people hate you for who you are.

    Waslaam

    [* I know I have an unanswered mail from you, which I plan to reply on next week, Insha’Allah]

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  3. gess

    Kært barn har mange navne :

    *Abu Ameerah rightfully mentions that the coverage by Muslim bloggers in the West has been pathetic.

    *Nuqtah issues a scathing indictment on those who have engaged in intellectual snobbery and brown-nosing (sounds like this “hey look at us, we condemn ‘them’ more than you”).

    *instead of paying attention to this poor bugger. “Hey look at me, I have always been your intellectual slave… forget these ‘converts to moderation’ when you have little sell-outs like me”.

    More? I think that is enough.

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  4. gess

    * Also, I think that Muslim women – REAL Muslim women, who really practice Islam and wear proper hijaab.

    I had no idea we Muslim had a St. Peter’s Gate on Earth

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  5. Amad

    As for the last quote about the “poor bugger” (which was mine), I had already taken it out of the post ONLY because it did not have anything to do with the subject, and I did not want that piece of venting to set up a tangent away from the post’s intent.

    The other quotes reflect the feeling of Muslim bloggers that I link to.

    It is interesting that you would have more benefit of doubt for those who have either kept quiet or maligned the victims of the massacre, and less sympathy for the victims themselves. How about some priorities?

    Finally as for the sister’s comment, I will let the sister defend it herself. To define a REAL Muslim as someone who REALLY practices seems kinda obvious.

    Wallahualam

    P.S. btw, what does “Kært barn har mange navne” mean?

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  6. Sameer Parker

    Which Muslim bloggers said that the people inside the masjid “got what they deserved”? I kinda scanned the blogs and I saw pretty much the same criticism that you gave, but no endorsement of the gov’ts actions.

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  7. Amad

    Sameer, if you read my first paragraph carefully, there is a post linked to Naeem’s post about the “terrorists” of lal-Masjid.

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  8. AnonyMouse

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    Gess, the hijaab comment would be mine…

    I’m probably going to get a lot of hatin’ for this, but I believe in hijaab as being a two-fold (or three-fold, depending on how you look at it) thing:
    1) An issue of the heart/ soul, something spiritual
    2) A most definitely physical thing. I believe that hijaab is not just the head scarf, but the entire code of dressing (and behaving, but that goes under #1, I think) in public. Hijaab is meant to cover you completely, long and loose, meant to minimize attractivity, not increase it. Hence, to call the “tight jeans + tank top + matching accessories + matching makeup + tiny little scarf on the head that reveals the neck and the five necklaces hanging around it” outfit a hijaab would be an oxymoron.

    Now please understand – when I see women like that in public, I don’t scowl at them or yell at them for dressing that way or tsk tsk at them/ about them to others. But I DO disapprove of that and think it’s wrong. Nor am I implying that they aren’t “real” Muslims, spiritually – I just don’t think that they’ve correctly understood what hijaab really means. To me, it implies a lack of knowledge/ understanding on that particular subject; and as a result I wouldn’t exactly trust that type of person to go on national media and talk about Islam the way I believe is the correct understanding.

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  9. AnonyMouse

    (Continuing from above)
    For example – when you go to see the doctor, don’t you expect the doctor to be professionally dressed? If s/he came to you dressed like a hoodlum or a hooker, I’m pretty sure you’d immediately feel something negative about him/her, perhaps doubt whether they’re actually a doctor or not – something like that.
    At the same time it can be said – who are you to judge a person’s medical expertise based on their dressing?

    Really, I think it’s a natural reaction amongst all humans: we do immediately judge people simply based on what we see on the outside – so whether it’s personal, professional, or religious, it’s all the same. Like it or not, we ARE judged by our appearances.

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  10. brnaeem

    AA- Amad,

    thank you for the translation…brings a nice added perspective lacking in the English media.

    One question that still hasn’t been answered is how come Ghazi failed to promote his message of social justice with the attention of the world on him?

    I mean, his message (referenced in the Robert Jensen article at Counterpunch and summed up in his speech available at Altaf’s site) would have won over sooo many people on the fence.

    Not sure what prevented him from using the siege as a platform to further his message…

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  11. nuqtah

    [quote]I had no idea we Muslim had a St. Peter’s Gate on Earth [/quote]

    In Islam there’s something called ‘hukm shari'” and muslims are bound to abide by this hukm shari’ which includes wearing hijaab. There’s nothing judgemental about it. A muslim does what Allah commands the muslim. If muslim doesnt do what he/she is commanded then they are definitely lacking, when they have the ability to do so.

    [quote]Not sure what prevented him from using the siege as a platform to further his message…
    [/quote]

    I’m not sure if you know urdu or followed Pakistani media. He repeteadly highlighted the moral and social problems. In fact, there was one incident where a rape victim sought help from lal masjid. But that incident was downplayed in the media.

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  12. brnaeem

    Nuqtah, yes I am aware of the rape victim incident, but that happened months before the seige. My question is specific to timeframe of the seige itself.

    During the week of the seige, did he ever use the opportunity to bring attention to his message?

    That’s my question. And from my understanding, the answer is a mysteriously resounding NO. Why was that?

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  13. Hassan

    brnaeem, I would not be amazed that if anyone being fired at constantly, and people are dying, and his mother being wounded, would start give lectures on equality at that time, when survival and negotiation is the issue.

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  14. gess

    P.S. btw, what does “Kært barn har mange navne” mean?

    >>>>>>> A dear child has many names.

    Thanx for your comment AnonyMouse

    Salaam all

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  15. Suhail

    I agree brother hassan that when you are being fired at and when your survival is at stake giving messages about social problems is the last of what you are thinking. Abdul Rashid Ghazi had already made his point before the seige. Isnt this amazing that our brother is martyred and people are playing with his honor on internet. We don’t even have an iota of shame left in us. I am baffeled by the muslims from pakistan who on one hand will cry out loud for the injustice indian government is doing in kashmir and israel in palestine but when it comes to there own country they turn a blind eye. The martyrdom of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and other people in the seminary was an injustice against them by Busharraf which is plain and clear to anybody with a sound mind. I am always amazed about this napaak army who lays down arms whenever they fight India but when it comes to fighting with there own people they come with all cylinders firing with tanks and helicopter gunships like superheros.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

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  16. Kashif

    Isn’t it unfortunate how easily we disown our own? How we first nurture and support people, feeding them with certain propaganda, use them for our means and then discredit them, bomb them, burn them alive.

    It is not new. It is happening since good days of Khulafah ar-Rashid have passed. Since malookiyat surged in us. We are fighting and killing between us and this will go on till Mehdi will arrive.

    What Pakistani government is doing has been done in Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and almost every other muslim country in the world. Tyrants are killing their people to prolong their rule and false scholars are strengthening their hands.

    Instead of going into another blame game and what-if scenarios we have to think what can be done to prevent this. How we can spread the knowledge to our fellow muslims, how we can use technology to diminish our differences and bind together to face the enemies.

    Fauj haq ko kuchal nahi sakti
    Fauj chahay kisi yazeed ki ho
    Lash uthti hay phir alam ban kar
    Lash chahay kisi shaheed ki ho

    “Armies can not crush truth
    Armies, be of any yazeed
    Death will rise as war flag
    Death, be of any shaheed”

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  17. brnaeem

    AA-

    I appreciate the efforts we go through in defending the honor of our brothers. But how come its become so difficult to simply be objective. What ever happened to being fair and honest, even against your ownselves?

    As much as we dislike the instant vilification of Muslims by our critics, we have become equally extreme in our instant apologetic rationalizations.

    Where is the middle ground?

    We are going to lose our credibility (if we haven’t lost it already) when we rush to create excuses for the questionable actions of our fellow Muslims.

    Brs. Suhail and Hassan, I don’t believe the bullets started to fly until the last few days of the siege. And even then, Ghazi was in constant touch with the media. If his intent was to die as a martyr, the least he should have done was to make clear the message he was dying for.

    And about the Abdul-Aziz burqa ‘scandal’, I too believe there was some foul-play, but how come he himself didn’t mention that in his interview with PakTV immediately after his arrest (while he was still wearing the burqa)? Also, were there no other witnesses around to corroborate his version of the story?

    Why can’t we ask challenging questions while also defending Islam?

    Let us show the world the true application of ‘fair and balanced’!

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  18. Amad

    ASA, Br. Naeem… your point well-taken.

    Trust and credibility comes over time and with experience. Just like we will have a hard time accepting the Bush Administration’s story on ANYTHING anymore… there is even more reason to doubt Musharraf and his cronies.

    Yes, fair and balanced, we should be. But being fair is to take the parties’ past actions and statements into account before making a judgment. Do you think the Muslim bloggers who are calling the Masjid people terrorists are being fair?

    I definitely agree that we should still be able to question the actions of fellow Muslims. I am an anti-conspiracy-theorist. So, when it is clear-cut, like in certain terrorism cases, you will find no support coming from us. But, when there is so much doubt, esp. when the “other” side is so morally bankrupt, I think we can be excused to create excuses for our brothers. Remember to make 70 excuses for your brethren, and if you can’t find one, look for some flaw in your perception.

    P.S. I don’t know if you were referring to me, but I did state in my first point that there were definitely problems in some of what the Lal folks were doing. Even the scholars of Pakistan, I hear Mufti Taqi Uthmani did not agree with all their actions.

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  19. ExEx Blogger

    As-Salam Alaykum
    After being in hibernation for such a long time, I am appalled at how so many Muslims today jump to conclusions. I find that Muslim Matters has done an excellent job in not jumping to conclusions and giving a very neutral view on Lal Mosque. Yet, I’m sickened to see that people are attacking Abu Ameerah.

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  20. Amad

    w/s… welcome back ExEx…

    On the off-topic that you mentioned, w/regards to Abu Ameerah, whenever personal attacks start flying around, it is usually because the person has some skeletons in his or her own closet… so offense kind of becomes the best defense.

    Unfortunately, these days people like to talk about everything and anything… Haseeb has a good post here about being a little reserved about what you say. Tabloid blogging attracts a lot of traffic, and usually you will find that most of the comments are just personal attacks on each other, some using vulgarity and racist language. I consider this as blogging at its worst, and unfortunately it takes away from a lot of good content that the blogger(s) may otherwise have to contribute.

    If anyone wants to help with an article that I am contemplating writing on “tabloid blogging”, email me at info at muslimmatters dot/ org

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  21. Suhail

    Asalaam Alykum,

    Well when we talk about a neutral view then let me point out few things. First of all Abdul Rashid Ghazi did talk to media about what he is doing and why for a long time so him telling the media the purpose of martyrdom at that exact moment doesnt make any difference. He had already conveyed the message to the people long before that or you mean to say that nobody knew why he was martyred. He just didnt talk about Shariah implementation but many other issues including corruption and stuff. It is preposterous notion that you are talking about him not conveying his message to the public.

    Secondly about Abdul Aziz being coming out in burqa then what does it has to do with anything. He tried to escape a situation with the means he had. Even Abdul Rashid Ghazi was negotiating with the government about his surrender so I dont see any problem with the escape of Abdul Aziz. Concentrating on that issue is just turning a blind eye to core issue.

    Point is what did the Lal Masjid Administration did so that you can use such heavy use of force? They stopped a brothel, they burned some VCD’s, they had confrontation with government officials then all of a sudden Busharraf goes into frenzy and attacks with all his might on the madarssa.

    Many people didn’t agree with the tactics of Lal Masjid Administration which may be wrong or right which Allah will decide but the way Busharraf went out with full force against his own people is nothing but shame and disgrace.

    If you agree with Busharraf and his tactics then I am sorry for your heart that it doesnt feel remorse when muslims are unjustly killed for preventing munkar. Be just with yourself and please explain us naive people about the crimes of Abdul Rashid Ghazi because of which he, his old mother and the rest of the students who were unjustly killed.

    May Allah have mercy on Abdul Rashid Ghazi and the people of madarsaa who were martyred and give Busharraf what he deserves.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

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  22. qawukzi

    Regardless of what Musharraf did, if we are to assume that the people in the mosque were Muslims and Musharraf can not be trusted, the first thing that we need to ask is “how are the actions of the Muslims correct, or incorrect, and what consequences they will have”. Viglante action is against the law, in any setup. Now if Musharraf is not following the law, it does not mean it is a free for all. To say that would be to mean that you favor all out civil war. Regardless of which brother knew about it or not, abductions would have hadserious consequences. Knowing Pakistani society, if you want to change things, people need to change their behavior and outlook. Shutting down shops be force as is reported to have happened in their neighborhood is certainly pathetic. Nobody denies that the Busharraf regime would not use this to further inflame and provoke the situation. What I am arguing, is that this rush to deny things, and a post-hoc urge to justify the most extreme of actions (while the Pakistani federation of Madaris did not condone or join these actions at that time), is feeding into the same game of portraying that Islam is not capable of positive social change through people’s hearts (as religions primarily do), but operates only through violence as any (commun, fasc, capital) -isms do.

    Hundreds of innocent Muslims have already died, and their actions and faith is with their Maker. How we conduct ourselves now will determine whether we slowly rise out of a dangerous situation with hikma, or will our actions and writings, speeches continue to further provoke and divide so that random goons with guns like Altaf Hussain, Wasi Zafar, and sadly some who claim to act for Islam make hay on the blood of our innocent people.

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  23. Amad

    Here is another video (Urdu) that sheds light on Musharraf’s last-minute sabotage of the agreement that would have led to a peaceful resolution.

    Video

    The description of the video has details in English.

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  24. Suhail

    Assalaam Alykum,

    Brother Qawukzi what you are talking about vigilante action isnt right. When the Prophet SAW said that if you see a munkar stop it by hand or by tongue or at least feel bad in your heart which is the least bit of Iman would you consider that as vigilante. Why would a person seeing munkar would not forbid it. It is part of your religious duty. Why are they wrong in forbidding them? What should they have done? Just sit there and watch a brothel running close to them or go to the police which will be bribed and nothing is gonna happen.

    Yes other Ulema were telling them that this is not the right course of action and they may be right in that but Abdul Rashid Ghazi and others didnt agree with them on that. Ulema differed to the case of Lal Masjid and obviously there were very infuriated what Musharraf did.

    In India there were some Bar dancers who came and started living in a locality when people of that locality found out they kept eyes on them. When they saw wrong thing happening they publicly (on News TV camera) started beating those girls and threw them out of the community. This was all going on infront of TV camera live. Government didnt go there and bombed the street instead praised them.

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  25. qawukzi

    Brother Suhail, AA
    I appreciate your response.

    1) The hadith you mentioned is well known and well-accepted. As Ulema they were correct to publicly condemn these practices, warn and advise the Muslims, the common-folk and the autorities against them. This is within their power and part of their responsibility. While I am not arguing against any and all public action, taking the law into one’s hands is not advisable if you fear that the authorities (who, like most of human history are tyrannical to some degree) will misuse it and harm the people and misuse it against religion. During the Meccan period, individual Muslims sometimes (very rarely) did fight, and publicly confront evil in circumstances where there action would save innocent people, free Muslim slaves from extraordinary cruel pagan slave-masters, or to proclaim the basics of deen like monotheism. Public confrontation, however was the rare exception for individuals who weilded power, and completely absent from Muslims as a community. The clerics of Lal Masjid (unlike some Ulema in MMA) did not head any government, either federal or provincial. So, they were not in the legal power to stop the munkar by their hand. The position of Islam against public anarchy (fitnah) is well known.

    2) Dissent among Ulema does not mean that all the options are correct. Most of us agree with one rather than the other opinion when the sahaba differed. As Sunnis we try to refrain from personally criticizing any of them. For one, the clerics of Lal Masjid do not enjoy that immunity. Secondly, while we all pray that all the deceased be forgiven and may enter heaven, it does not mean that their controversial positions can not be criticized. Common decency of Muslims just means that we try not to personally humiliate anybody.

    3) Re: the example of India, I did not ever say that the things that are happening in Muslim countries or the way states deal with their populations is correct. In fact, I started out by saying that we do not expect much goodness from the current set of characters.

    4) This point might be tangential and controversial for some, but it needs to said sometime. Any change that you expect needs to be gradual, and moreover, the state or any other force can only dictate the broad limits. Prostitution, rape, graft and bribery are things that the state needs to eliminate by force. However, it seems that some of the effort by the Lal Masjid/Jamia Hafsa troops was closing down video and music shops. Yes, I think avoiding much of what comes in the market is necessary and most of it is a harmful distraction. However given the state of Pakistani society using force on these issues will give rise to a schizophrenic and sick class that we observe among the Iranian diaspora in the US. There have to be things that we do and avoid out of taqwa, discipline and desire to lead a good, wholesome life rather than just the force of the state.

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