A mosque leader in the Pakistani capital Friday threatened interior spiritual struggle against the government of President Pervez Musharraf.
A mosque leader in the Pakistani capital Friday threatened jihad and suicide attacks if the government of President Pervez Musharraf used force against the militant students of the madrassas, or Islamic schools, located in his Lal Masjid compound.
“We don’t want a clash. But if a crackdown is the last option for the government, our last option will be to lay down our lives in resisting it to establish Sharia rule in the country,” declared Maulana Abdul Aziz in his Friday sermon.
Aziz gave the government one month to eliminate purveyors of what he considers immorality, like music and video shops keepers and prostitutes, or else seminary students would take the task upon themselves and take the alleged evil doers to an Islamic court established by the clerics.
Dinesh D’Souza, call your office. Is Aziz a “traditional Muslim” according to your definition of one? If so, would you recommend that American conservatives ally with him in his jihad against Western immorality, i.e. music and video shops?
Riot police stood close to the mosque but did not obstruct the congregation.
Male and females students of the two seminaries have been on the warpath since they occupied a public library adjacent to the Lal Masjid on January 21 to force the government to take back its decision to demolish mosques built illegally on state land in Islamabad.
Emboldened by their success, the Islamic militants in subsequent weeks seized three women alleging that they were running a brothel and took two policemen hostage to secure the release of the vigilantes arrested for the acts.
President Musharraf and government officials have fumed and fretted but not acted against the militants entrenched in Lal Masjid, arguing that use of force against madrassa girls would not be taken well by the Muslim nation.
Civil society organisations, however, staged a protest in Islamabad on Thursday against the rising Islamic militancy and an Islamic scholar, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, denounced the latest actions of the Lal Masjid as un-Islamic.
Javed Ahmed Ghamdi is the favored cleric of a highly disingenuous Islamic apologist with whom I had a few discussions in the past. Ghamdi’s interpretations of Islam are not traditional, and he has been criticized by other Muslim clerics for advocating positions that constitute bid’a, or innovation. As I have pointed out many times, this is what always happens to Islamic reformers: they run afoul of criticism by hardliners, who use the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Islamic jurisprudence to try to convince Muslims that the reformers’ version of Islam is inauthentic. I am glad that someone like Ghamdi has influence in Pakistan, but those who assume that he represents mainstream or traditional Islam are sadly mistaken.