Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some blogs and news about the Jamia Hafsa Issue

(sorry for the haphazard arrangment)

Selected blogs:

Some News Pieces

12 July: 73 bodies recovered at end of mosque siege, (Guardian)
Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan's prime minister, declared victory in the fight for the Red Mosque yesterday as commandos gained control of the compound after a 36-hour battle.

"The operation is over," he said after the last rattle of gunfire echoed from the Islamabad mosque. Civilian casualties were lower than expected, he said, and no women or children had been killed.

12 July: Bodies found at Pakistan mosque (BBC)
Soldiers overran the mosque amid fierce gun battlesThe Pakistani army says it has found 73 bodies inside a mosque compound in Islamabad, after fierce battles between soldiers and gunmen inside. Officials said the Red Mosque, or Lal Masjid, complex had been cleared of militants but troops were combing the area for booby traps and explosives.

10 July: Seeing red in Pakistan (The Hindu)
Once the dust has settled on the violent Lal Masjid episode, many will argue that Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf could have handled things differently. Already a 37-party political alliance, comprising among others, Nawaz Sharif's PML-N and Imran Khan's Tehreek e-Insaf, has been set up which has condemned Operation Silence in which the Pakistani army has taken on fundamentalists holed up in the mosque. More than 50 militants and at least 10 soldiers have been killed so far.....

July 4 morning
According the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP):

“The government has set the Wednesday [4th July] 1100 hours deadline for Lal Masjid student to surrender their weapons, said Secretary Information and Broadcasting Syed Anwar Mahmood.Briefing media, the Secretary Information said, the government has offered a safe passage to women and children of Jamia Hafsa and has ensured them full protection.”

From youtube:
4th July 2007 : Massive Street Battle in Pakistan's Capital
Army versus Muslim Militants (
The following video is embedded in the above blog:

March 31, 2007
Pakistan: "Moral" Muslim Women Kidnap And Tie Up Baby
(historical context of the rise of the Jamia Hafsa)

Fact Box from Reuters

(Reuters) - The head of a radical Pakistani mosque at the centre of a stand-off with security forces, Abdul Aziz, was arrested on Wednesday while trying to escape clad in a woman's burqa, officials said.

Here are some facts about the mosque, where hardline Islamist students have been confronting the government since January:

- Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, is regarded as a symbol of radical Islam in Pakistan. It was established in 1965 by Muhammad Abdullah, a cleric believed to have had close ties to dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.

- About 5,000 students study at the two madrasas (seminaries) attached to the mosque.

- The mosque is well known for its criticism of the government and anti-U.S. and pro-Taliban sentiments. Abdul Aziz took over as the chief cleric after the assassination of his father, Abdullah, in 1998.

- He issued a fatwa, or religious decree, in 2005 declaring that Pakistani soldiers killed fighting militants in the northern tribal areas could not be given Muslim funeral rites.

- After the July 2005 bombings in London, police attempted to raid the mosque and the adjoining seminary to investigate its link with one of the bombers. Security forces were prevented from entering the compound by baton-wielding women.

- The mosque has been at odds with the authorities since January when female students occupied a library next door to protest against the destruction of mosques illegally built on state land. The students also pressured owners of music and video shops to close.


March 27 - Burqa-clad female students from the mosque's Jamia Hafsa school abduct three women they accuse of running a brothel. The women are released after they "repent".

Background story of the Red Mosque from Guardian (Western and Modern Version)
The Red Mosque is at the heart of fears that "Talibanisation" is spreading in Pakistan. Its students have tried to violently impose their strict social code on the capital by abducting prostitutes, threatening CD shop owners and defying police. They are led by brothers Abdul Rashid Ghazi and Abdul Aziz, who boast of meeting Osama bin Laden. Until Tuesday Musharraf was reluctant to take them on, saying he feared violence could spread. But critics accuse him of manipulating the crisis to bolster support among Western allies. - Guardian Unlimited ©

A brief timeline of the Jamia Hafsa from Geo website

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