He says: “What kind of Islam do these people represent? In the garb of Islamic teaching they have been training for terrorism.” But they seem to have some support, as thousands chanted, “Go, Musharraf, go!” — which is not a chant of support.
“Musharraf declares war on Muslim extremists,” by David Blair in the Telegraph (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
President Pervez Musharraf pledged to combat Muslim extremists across Pakistan yesterday as furious crowds demonstrated against the storming of the Red Mosque and two suicide bomb attacks left six dead.
In a televised address to the nation, Gen Musharraf said that those inside the mosque and its adjacent madrassa, or Muslim college, were “terrorists” who directly threatened Pakistan’s security. They had also tarnished Islam’s reputation as a tolerant and peaceful religion.
“What do we as a nation want?” he asked. “What kind of Islam do these people represent? In the garb of Islamic teaching they have been training for terrorism. They prepared the madrassa as a fortress for war and housed other terrorists in there.”
Gen Musharraf praised the army for wresting the mosque and its madrassa “from the hands of terrorists” and said: “I will not allow any madrassa to be used for extremism.”
But thousands gathered for the funeral of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the radical preacher who died inside the Red Mosque, and chanted “Go, Musharraf, go”.
Yet the unrest has not spread beyond known centres of extremism nor have the demonstrations grown strong enough to threaten Gen Musharraf’s grip on power.
Moderate Pakistanis generally support his decision to crush the fundamentalists who had taken control of the mosque in the centre of the capital, Islamabad.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who serves as Osama bin Laden’s deputy in al-Qa’eda, urged an uprising against Gen Musharraf in a taped message released on Wednesday. His message of militancy struck a popular chord in Pakistan’s extremist strongholds.
Two suicide bombers hit government targets yesterday. Three soldiers were killed when a driver detonated his car outside the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley in North West Frontier Province.
In North Waziristan, the tribal area where both Zawahiri and bin Laden are believed to have found sanctuary, a suicide bomber walked into a government compound and blew himself up, killing three officials.
On the other side of the country in Punjab province, thousands attended Ghazi’s burial.
The radical preacher’s death in the Red Mosque has made him a “martyr” in the eyes of extremists. Ghazi’s elder brother, Abdul Aziz, who escaped the siege, told the crowd that “God willing, Pakistan will have an Islamic revolution soon. The blood of the martyrs will bear fruit”….