Now wait a minute. The Taliban are supposed to be a group of “extremists,” twisting and hijacking the true Islam and propagating the crazy idea that it justifies violence and terrorism. How could Mullah Omar possibly be devout? And how could a Muslim cleric and Islamic scholar who enjoys the favor of our allies the Pakistani government not realize that Omar is misunderstanding the true, peaceful Islam?
“Mullah Omar is an angel-like human: Samiul Haq,” from Reuters, September 15 (thanks to all who sent this in):
AKORA KHATTAK: He is known as the Father of the Taliban, a cleric who calls the Taliban’s one-eyed leader an “angel” and runs a seminary described as the University of Jihad.
Bespectacled and soft-spoken, Maulana Samiul Haq is a revered figure in Pakistan and Afghanistan whose views carry enormous weight among the Taliban on both sides of the border.
Tucked away in a dusty town off the main motorway to the Afghan border, his Darul Uloom Haqqania university was the launching pad for the Taliban movement in the 1990s and is still often described as the incubator for radical fighters.
Speaking to Reuters at the sprawling campus near his native town of Akora Khattak, Haq did little to hide his sympathies for the Taliban, a word meaning “students” in Pashto. He said he was sure the Taliban would soon sweep back to power in Afghanistan.
“Give them just one year and they will make the whole of Afghanistan happy,” Haq said. “The whole of Afghanistan will be with them “¦ Once the Americans leave, all of this will happen within a year.”
Despite Haq’s openly pro-Taliban views and connections, his seminary is recognised officially in Pakistan — a symptom of Islamabad’s long-running duality over the Taliban issue.
Haq would not talk about this publicly but he is believed to be close to the security forces — a legacy of an era when Pakistan sponsored movements and supported fighters, including Osama bin Laden, against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
Kabul’s government has long accused Pakistan of playing a double game while publicly condemning extremism — a charge Islamabad fiercely denies.
Back in the 1980s, many young Darul Uloom Haqqania graduates swapped books for guns and drove west along the highway running just outside its iron gates towards Afghanistan, where they joined groups to fight against the Russians.
One of them, Mullah Mohammed Omar, later took advantage of the chaos that followed the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 to found the Taliban movement — a period often recalled with nervousness ahead of next year’s drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan.
Omar is now believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan’s tribal regions on the Afghan border.
Haq’s face brightened as he recalled Omar, one of his bests students, but laughed when asked about his whereabouts.
“He is a devout Muslim, very virtuous. He is hospitable. He is a very simple man, with no princely tastes,” Haq said, alternating between Urdu and Pashto.
“He is very intelligent. He understands politics and is wise to the tricks of outsiders.”
Haq added with conviction: “He is no aggressor. He is an angel-like human being.”…