Criminal silence of Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith scholars on terrorism – by Ali K Chishti
So important is the business of fatwas that when Masood Azhar was re-launched by certain security agencies after he returned in exchange of some passengers from Kandahar as the ‘new saviour’, a fatwa was needed to launch his Jaish-e-Muhammad. And when one of the three prominent Deoband leaders, Maulana Yousaf Ludhianvi, refused to give a fatwa in favour of Azhar, he was shot dead in Karachi.
Understandably, fatwas play a huge role within the terrorist community where there’s a rat race over whose giving out which fatwa against whom. In fact, former Azad Jammu and Kashmir prime minister Mumtaz Rathore famously said, “How can you stop us from jihad when religious scholars gave a fatwa that Rs 430 million Zakat Fund could be spent on jihad?”
While there’s no denying the role of fatwas, what’s mind boggling is how most prominent Pakistani clerics and muftis refuse to give out fatwas against organisations such as the TTP and suicide bombing when over thousands of innocent Muslims are killed in terrorist attacks carried out by fellow Muslims? A top Interior Ministry official confirmed with Daily Times, “Rehman Malik and the Interior Ministry have tried their best to seek fatwas from influential Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics but they simply refuse to give out fatwas.”
While in Islamabad, under the government’s supervision, major Sunni Muslim scholars, academicians, thinkers and political leaders publicly condemned suicide bombings and universally agreed that suicide bombing is anathema, antithetical and abhorrent to Islam, it is a legally reprehensible innovation in the religion, is morally a sin combining suicide and murder, and it is theologically an act of eternal culmination for all perpetrators.
“Not good enough. They are considered sell-offs – the legit clerics would never give out fatwas or even talk openly against suicide bombings because that would ruin there reputation within the respected sect and they can be killed,” an intelligence chief told Daily Times.
It’s interesting to note that Dr Tahirul Qadri, a prominent Pakistani scholar, recently gave out a 600-page fatwa against both suicide bombing and al Qaeda, which a prominent Deobandi cleric, with massive presence in Karachi, rejects as “nothing more than a PR exercise”. It should also be noted that the conference in which Dr Qadri gave out the fatwa was sponsored by a British counter-terrorism think tank, Quilliam that is founded by ex-Hizbut Tahrir member Majid Nawaz.
Fatwas also play an important part in sectarian conflicts where clerics, especially from Deobandi and Barevli sects, refuse to consider each other and often give out fatwas against each other, branding each other as ‘infidels’. In fact, when Daily Times reached a staunch Deobandi cleric, famous for refusing to lead prayers with anyone who wears Western outfits, Maulana Zarwali Khan Sahib of Majid Ahsanul Uloom, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, he bluntly refused to condemn suicide bombings on Sufi shrines and other targets.
It is to be noted that Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi of Jamia Naeemia and a focal voice against suicide bombings, who had given out a fatwa against them, had been killed in a suicide attack on June 12, 2009. Another prominent voice and a central leader of the Sunni Tahreek whose entire leadership had been wiped off in the Nishtar Park suicide bombing in Karachi told Daily Times, “What should we do to protect ourselves? They (Deobandis) have support of virtually everyone in the security agencies, and Saudi Arabia is funding them – we are the ones who are the orphans.” It is to be noted that only this year, three major Sufi shrines had been hit for the first time in what are being described as the worst attacks on the very foundation of Barelvi Islam.
The biggest service, one insider told Daily Times, would be if “folks such as Taqi Usmani openly condemn suicide bombings”. It is to be noted that Mufti Taqiuddin Usmani, who is the former grand mufti of Pakistan and the vice chairman of the PIC’s Islamic Fiqh Council, and has a huge clout over the Deoband sect and even Ahl-e-Hadith seminaries and followers, to this date has not signed the fatwa forbidding suicide attacks in Pakistan despite repeated efforts by the government. Mufti Taqi Usmani also did not come out openly to condemn the recent attacks on Sufi shrines and refused to speak on the subject.
An Interior Ministry official also confirmed with Daily Times, “Taqi Usmani is a problem and a key man who can save a lot of lives by giving out one single statement.” A well-informed diplomatic source told Daily Times, “Even Osama Bin Laden needs fatwas. After all, it was an operational fatwa issued by an Egyptian leader of the Gama’ah Islamiya, Sheikh Omar Abd al-Rahman that resulted in the assassination of president Sadat and the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993. In Pakistan, we have many Sheikh Omar Abd al-Rahmans.”
It is to be noted that over 400 people have so far been killed in suicide attacks in Pakistan alone.
Source: Daily Times, 27 Oct 2010
Whose picture is this ????
Taqi Usmani or Rafi Usmani ???
Whoever it is, bohat Phitkar kay face par !!!
What ugly creature both in acts as well as face-wise this mullah is !!!!
This is the picture of his holiness Mufti Taqi Usmani, ustad-e-fidayeen, mentor of Sheikh Osama bin Laden and Ameer-ur-Momineen Mullah Omar.
Thanks Sarah, now enjoy his manhoos voice as well :)))
The video was captured by Mufti Naeem?
face and vocals are the creations of Allah (SWT), a Muslim is a one who admires Allah’s creativity in any sense, not condemns or abuse it!
one must not abuse anyone until or unless he himself has seen his/her acts from his own eye, this is what our beloved Prophet (PBUH) has taught us.
PS: its better to keep quite rather to speak ill against the one whom we have never met in our life! Allah give us all the hidayat
Well said Mr Zahid.
READ MY RESEARCH ON SUICIDE BOMBING ALTHOUGH I AM NOT A SCHOLAR BUT I THINK I HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE TO FORM A HIZB —INSHA-ALLAH ::http://stevenson1101.blogspot.com/2011/02/suicide-bombing-and-double-standard-of.html
Islamic banking, TV channels against Shariah, declare religious scholars Saturday, August 30, 2008 News Desk
RAWALPINDI: Describing the existing Islamic banking by any name as against the Shariah and forbidden, religious scholars belonging to Fiqhi Majlis, Karachi, have decreed that banks working in the name of Islamic banking are not different from other banks and dealing with them is illegitimate.
The decree was issued in a meeting at the Jamia Farooqia in Shah Faisal Colony chaired by Maulana Salimullah Jan, President of Tanzeematul Madaris and Wafaqul Madaris, and attended by reputed religious scholars from all over the country. The meeting also discussed in detail the status of Islamic television channels in accordance with the Shariah and described their research and experiences in the light of questions and problems received at their respective centres. Some scholars also presented their research papers in this regard.
On the occasion, Maulana Salimullah Jan said that the religious scholars were contacting banks that had been claiming to practice Islamic banking and did research on the prevailing banking practices in the light of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. He said they also held meetings with modern economic experts. He said after detailed consideration, the scholars unanimously declared the Islamic banking and television channels as illegitimate. The scholar also said the kinds of pictures of a living being so far introduced were liable to be dealt with in accordance with the religious commandments. He said the launching of any type of television channel or participation in any television programme declaring it was needed for preaching had also been declared illegitimate. He said the scholars appealed to the Muslims to avoid television like other deeds forbidden by the Shariah.
The participants of the meeting included Mufti Abdul Hameed Deenpuri (Jamia-al-Aloom Islamia, Banori Town), Mufti Habibullah Sheikh (Jamia Islamia, Clifton), Mufti Rafiq Ahmed and Mufti Saif Alam (Banori Town), Mufti Abdullah (Khairul Madaris, Multan), Mufti Ghulam Qadir (Darul Aloom Haqqani, Akora Khattak), Mufti Ahmed Mumtaz (Jamia Khulafa-e-Rashdeen, Karachi), Mufti Zarwali Khan (Jamia Ahsan-al-Aloom), Mufti Ehteshamul Haq (Jamia Rasheedia, Turbat, Mekran), Maulana Saeed Ahmed Jalalpuri (Alami Majlis Khatam-e-Nabuwwat), Maulana Dr Manzoor Ahmed Mengal (Jamia Farooqia), Mufti Hamid Hassan (Darul Aloom, Kabirwala), Mufti Abdul Ghaffar (Jamia Ashrafia, Sukkur), Mufti Saaduddin (Jamia Ilmia, Lakki Marwat), Mufti Gul Hassan (Jamia Rehmia, Sarki Road, Quetta), Mufti Rozi Khan (Darul Afta Rahania, Quetta), Mufti Qazi Salimullah (Darul Huda, Khairpur), Nazir Ahmed Shah (Jamia Farooq-e-Azam, Faisalabad), Mufti Saeedullah (Jamia Arabia Naeemul Islam, Quetta), Mufti Samiullah (Jamia Farooqia), Mufti Ahmed Khan and others.
Mufti Taqi Usmani and Mufti Rafi Usman are 🙂 Islamic Banker
Allah Taqi Saheb Ko Sehhat O Hayat De AAMEEN
Tumhare Baad Andhera Rahe Ga Mehfil Me
Bohot Charaagh Jalaye Ge Roshni K Liye
For Taqi Saheb
This is Purely Parrot Academy . As far as orphanage of Sunni tehrik is concerned it was pure inside job . To pop out Tahir ul Qadri the ultra mod Muslim.
May Allah guide us all.
Fatwas in the 21st Century: No Denunciation Of Taliban, Suicide Bombing Of Sufi Shrines Or Sectarian Conflict
By Waseem Altaf
05 Oct, 2012
One would hardly find any fatwa against the Tehrik-e-Talban or suicide bombers. Fatwas are also significant in fuelling sectarian conflict among Deobandis and Barelvis
In April 2006, the Islamic Fiqh Academy of Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa giving sanctity to “Misyar”, which refers to a temporary marriage between two individuals and may even last an hour. It has now been legitimized by the highest fatwa issuing authorities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Misyar is now permissible to all Sunnis and Ahle-Hadis. The Shias were already practicing “Mutah”.
Ever since there has been a 50 percent increase in Misyar marriages after the issuance of a religious edict (fatwa).
In March 2010 the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz – al-Sheikh, the head of the Council of Senior Scholars, and six other members of the fatwa committee from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declared: “It is necessary to keep away from places where men congregate. Women should look for decent work that does not make it possible for them to attract men or be attracted by men”.
I recall an incident narrated by my friend Rana Zia-ul-Haq from Bahawalpur when a lady who was a social worker and an activist, expired in his neighbourhood. The son of the deceased lady went to the mosque to request for an announcement of her death. It was harshly refused by the Maulvi, as he claimed that the lady was an Ahmadi. He further pronounced that he would not allow namaz-e janaza of the deceased in the Muslim tradition and would never permit anybody to bury her in a Muslim graveyard.
The boy was deeply distressed and tried his utmost to convince the Maulvi that his mother was not an Ahmadi, but the Maulvi insisted that since she was too bold and non pardah observing hence she was an Ahmadi. When some respectable people from the area came to know of the odd situation, they asked the Maulvi to be rational. To this he told that mufti sahib would decide whether the lady can be buried in the Muslim tradition or not.
An hour later an overweight person with dyed thick beard appeared along with four other persons and was introduced as the mufti. At the time around two hundred persons had gathered in the mosque and the mufti began his speech. His words were too rude, harsh and inflammatory. My friend Rana Zia, who was sitting close to him, after being perturbed by his tone, touched his knee in order to make him a little cool. The mufti mistook it as if he would receive some cash.
The mufti abruptly changed his tone and declared that since Rana-Zia-ul-Haq being a true Muslim had testified that the lady was a Muslim; hence she was a Muslim and could be buried in the Muslim way.
Later he demanded money from Rana Zia who then paid him rupees 1000.It later transpired that out of that the Maulvi was paid rupees 300.
The burial in the Muslim tradition cost rupees one thousand.
Another incident, again from Bahawalpur, when my friend Masood Malik, against the will of his parents entered into a court marriage with his girl friend; however under intense pressure from his parents divorced her after 15 days. The divorce was pronounced thrice in one instance. A few days later Mr. Malik realized that he had committed an inhuman act since the girl was also abandoned by her parents, and was living in a blind girls’ hostel.
He came to me and told that he wanted a patch up with his ex-wife. He also informed that his father had obtained a fatwa from a mufti who informed that divorce did take place even if he divorced his wife in one instance and there was no room for reconciliation. We then went to a mufti and obtained a counter fatwa for rupees 1500 which supported reconciliation within 90 days. The father of Masood had paid rupees 1200 for the fatwa causing dissolution of marriage. In rupees 300 extra, Masood Malik got reunited with his wife.
When Masood Azhar, another one from Bahawalpur, tried to re launch Jaish-e-Muhammad after his release from an Indian prison with the connivance of the deep state; a fatwa was required to legitimize violence. And when one of the three prominent Deoband leaders, Maulana Yousaf Ludhianvi, refused to give a fatwa in favour of Azhar, he was shot dead on May 18, 2000 in Karachi. Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi of Jamia Naeemia and a vocal voice against suicide bombings, who had given out a fatwa, got killed in a suicide attack on June 12, 2009. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri did give out a fatwa against suicide bombings in a conference sponsored by the British counter- terrorism think tank Quilliam. Soon afterwards he fled to Canada.
Religious scholars have been quick to give out fatwas that the Rs.430 million zakat funds could be used for Jehad in Indian Administered Kashmir.
However, one would hardly find any fatwa against the Tehrik-e-Talban or suicide bombers. Fatwas are also significant in fuelling sectarian conflict among Deobandis and Barelvis. Some Deobandis like Mufti Taqi Usmani, who carries a huge clout among Deobandis, has not openly condemned suicide bombings on Sufi shrines. A fatwa issued by an Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abd al-Rahman resulted in the assassination of President Sadat and the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993.
The Bangladesh High Court in a verdict passed on July 8, 2010 declared all kinds of extra-judicial punishment as illegal, including those made in the name of fatwa in local arbitration. The day is not far when all kinds of fatwas would be banned in a country where 90 percent of the population is Muslim.
On July 29 2010, the Bangladesh Supreme Court in another landmark verdict restored secularism in the country’s constitution and banned all political parties based on religion. It is now a punishable offense to use religion in politics.
Bangladesh which was liberated in 1971 when we were 24 years old has progressed much faster. We still have to translate the term secular into Urdu. Presently it is ladeen. We have yet to decide if suicide bombings which are allowed in Israel, are also allowed in our holy land or not. What do we have to do with fatwas.
It is more than sixty five years and the state made for Muslims is yet to define a Muslim.
Perhaps one day the Supreme Court would take a suo motto notice, summon some religious scholars and ask them to define a Muslim. The religious scholars would then find themselves as confused as those assigned to define obscenity.
Religion in politics is consistently taking its toll.
Waseem Altaf is a social activist.
why no fatwa against suicide bombers??
Deobandi leadership shies away from condemning suicide bombings
By Nasir Jamal
LAHORE, May 1: The Deobandi leadership in the country has for the moment refused to give a consensual nod of disapproval to suicide attacks and other acts of militancy — despite efforts by some members to reconcile the school to new realities.
A meeting held here recently was part of this initiative for reconciliation. Rising above their political and factional disputes, around 150 leaders representing different Deobandi groups, seminaries and political parties from Karachi to Bajaur converged on Lahore on April 15 for a rare meeting.
Over three days they shared space at the Jamia Ashrafia, one of the oldest and influential Deobandi institutions in the city.
Many participants are known to have links with Pakistan’s visible and invisible establishment. They included moderates such as Mufti Rafi Usmani and hardliners such as Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi of the banned Sipah-i Sahaba Pakistan.
Big names in politicis — Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed and Maulana Samiul Haq, whose Darul Aloom Haqania in Akora Khattak in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is credited to have given birth to Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, were also there along with heavyweights such as Maulana Saleem Ullah Khan and Hanif Jallundhry, who manage the Deobandi seminaries and education system in the country.
The objective of this rare Deobandi gathering, according to some participants, was to deliberate on terrorism, debate its causes, discuss impact on the economy and politics and suggest solutions and work together to stem the menace.
“The basic goal of this conference was to organise the movement for enforcement of Shariah through peaceful and democratic means, and discuss the reasons for terrorism in the country,” Qari Hanif Jallundhry told this reporter from Multan by telephone.
“The other objective was to draw public attention towards the need for defending Pakistan’s sovereignty and security.” More parochially, the organisers of the meeting were worried that growing militancy in the tribal backwaters of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and increasing incidence of terrorism in the cities in the rest of the country are exclusively being seen as a Deobandi phenomenon and has the potential to discredit the movement among the masses suffering because of it.
After all, the tribal fighters engaged in a pitched war with the military and killing its soldiers in the northwest or suicide bombers carrying out operations elsewhere in the country are either graduates of the Deobandi seminaries or are linked with Deobandi groups and organisations.
Apprehension Qari Hanif conceded that militancy and terrorism could harm the Deobandi movement. “If terrorism can impact upon the economy and add to the troubles of common citi zens of this country, how can we escape its effects,” he wondered.
Others say the meeting was organised at the behest of the government (read establishment), which is desperately looking for wider support from Deobandi pockets against militants fighting the army in the tribal areas. “The most important objective of those who arranged the assembly was to somehow convince the participants to issue a fatwa or religious edict censuring militants involved in terrorism and fighting the army and urging them to renounce violence at the behest of the government,” a participant from Balochistan told Dawn by telephone.
He said “a part of our leadership is under pressure (from the establishment?) to help evolve a wider consensus among all the Deobandi groups and organisations against the militants’ attacks on our soldiers and military installations as well as terrorist raids within the country”. If that was what the meeting aimed to gain, it was only partially achieved.
Maulana Ludhianvi and Hafiz Hussain Ahmed are said to have “turned the tables” on the organisers and forced them to restrict themselves to issuing a joint communiqué that was soft on militants and harsh on government and, obviously, the United States.
“Neither a fatwa triggered this war nor will it help stop one. If a fatwa could stop this war, we would have peace in our tribal areas and the rest of the country now,” another participant, who also refused to give his name, said. “Whatever is happening in Pakistan or Afghanistan today is a reaction to the American policies, its increasing influence and interference in Pakistan and our government’s inability to understand this fact and side with the West.” The same source said a majority of the participants agreed that militancy and terrorism would continue to haunt this nation as long as the factors and causes responsible for forcing people to take up were not removed. This was exactly what the joint communiqué says. It blames the government’s policy of ‘toeing the American line’ on Afghanistan for growing terrorism. “..militancy and terrorism continue to haunt this country in spite of wide denunciation of such acts (suicide bombings and subversive activities) by all patriotic people as well as use of organised military force. The situation calls for a dispassionate analysis of the fundamental causes (of this situation). In our view it is the consequence of the foreign policy that Pervez Musharraf pursued (in the aftermath of 9/11) and the incumbent government continues to follow. We demand that the government separates itself from the war in Afghanistan and stops pursuing pro-American foreign policies and providing logistics support to foreign forces (for military operations in Afghanistan,” the communiqué says. The opponents of an edict against militants were vociferously supported by the participants from Swat and Bajaur and other tribal areas. “They are the people who are actually suffering at the hands of Americans and their allies in Pakistan. They are the people who have to bear the brunt of military action and drone attacks. How could they support pro-government edicts and decrees?,” the participant from Balochistan quoted above argued. Nevertheless, the communique did urge the militant groups to pursue peaceful means to achieve their objectives of enforcement of Shariah and expulsion of Americans from the country.
The paper calls for an end to all kinds of terrorist and subversive activities (by militant organizations). “If the government is following erroneous policies, it does not mean that we set our home afire. We, therefore, confidently and honestly believe that only peaceful struggle is the best strategy that can help enforcement of Islamic Shariah in Pakistan and secure it from the foreign influences.
The use of violence is contrary to Islamic teachings and detrimental to our objective of enforcement of Shariah in the country and efforts to expel Americans from this region. Rather, it is helping the United States deepen its influence in this region,” it argues.
Speaking to Dawn about the objectives and outcome of the meeting, Maulana Samiul Haq said: “We must avoid saying and doing anything that helps the evil forces (America in this case). And terrorism is helping the Americans.” He made a distinction between what is going on in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal regions. “What is going in Afghanistan is essentially jihad. They (Afghan Taleban) are fighting for the freedom of their country from foreign occupation. Some of our people (Pakistani Taleban) also want to go there and help their brethrens in their war for freedom.” He pointed out that certain elements who have entered the ranks of Pakistani Taleban and are killing innocent civilians and soldiers, are responsible for obliterating the distinction between jihad and terrorism. “The present situation is quite worrisome for us because it can build up pressures against our seminaries. But, the Maulana said, it is wrong to expect that the use of force can stop the militants from carrying out their operations or stem terrorism from the country. “The only lasting solution to the issue lies in talks. If the government is willing to talk (to the militants) on some solid, concrete points, we are ready to act as a bridge and mediate between the two parties. But before proceeding in that direction the government has to distance itself from the American policy objectives. You cannot stop suicide attacks and terrorism as long as you are seen to be standing side by side with the United States,” he contended.
Another JUI leader said it is important for Pakistan to bring the militants to the negotiation table. “The Americans are talking to Taleban, the Afghan regime is talking to Taleban. Why can’t our rulers?” He was perturbed that Washington “ignored” Islamabad as it began peace talks with the Afghan Taleban in spite of the fact that we are the ones providing it logistics support and cheap oil for its operations there. The communique too urged the government to “realise that the lasting solutions to internal insurgencies lay in peace talks. It, therefore, should review its foreign policy in the light of recommendations of the in-camera session of the parliament and effect necessary shift in its policies.” A participant conceded that the moderate Deobandi leadership is worried about its loss of influence and control over younger graduates from the seminaries. “This loss of influence on younger generations is pushing them towards militancy. The communique particularly addressed the younger students of Deobandi seminaries and advised them to follow the opinion and views of ulema to stay on the right path.”
lahore, may 1: the deobandi leadership in the country has for the moment refused to give a consensual nod of disapproval to suicide attacks and other acts of militancy — despite efforts by some members to reconcile the school to new realities. a meeting held here recently was part of this initiative for reconcilia- tion. rising above their political and factional disputes, around 150 leaders representing different deobandi groups, seminaries and political par- ties from karachi to bajaur converged on lahore on april 15 for a rare meet- ing. over three days they shared space at the jamia ashrafia, one of the oldest and influential deobandi insti- tutions in the city. many participants are known to have links with pakistan’s visible and invisible establishment. they inclu- ded moderates such as mufti rafi usmani and hardliners such as maulana mohammad ahmed ludhianvi of the banned sipah-i- sahaba pakistan. big names in politicis — maulana fazalur rehman, hafiz hussain ahmed and maulana samiul haq, whose darul aloom haqania in akora khattak in khyber-pakhtunkhwa is credited to have given birth to afghanistan’s taliban movement, were also there along with heavy- weights such as maulana saleem ullah khan and hanif jallundhry, who manage the deobandi seminaries and education system in the country. the objective of this rare deobandi gathering, according to some partici- pants, was to deliberate on terrorism, debate its causes, discuss impact on the economy and politics and suggest solutions and work together to stem the menace. “the basic goal of this conference was to organise the movement for en- forcement of shariah through peace- ful and democratic means, and dis- cuss the reasons for terrorism in the country,” qari hanif jallundhry told this reporter from multan by tele- phone. “the other objective was to draw public attention towards the need for defending pakistan’s sovereignty and security.” more parochially, the or- ganisers of the meeting were worried that growing militancy in the tribal backwaters of khyber-pakhtunkhwa and increasing incidence of terrorism in the cities in the rest of the country are exclusively being seen as a deobandi phenomenon and has the potential to discredit the movement among the masses suffering because of it. after all, the tribal fighters engag- ed in a pitched war with the military and killing its soldiers in the north- west or suicide bombers carrying out operations elsewhere in the country are either graduates of the deobandi seminaries or are linked with deobandi groups and organisations. apprehension qari hanif conceded that militancy and terrorism could harm the deobandi movement. “if terrorism can impact upon the economy and add to the troubles of common citi- zens of this country, how can we es- cape its effects,” he wondered. others say the meeting was organ- ised at the behest of the government (read establishment), which is desper- ately looking for wider support from deobandi pockets against militants fighting the army in the tribal areas. “the most important objective of those who arranged the assembly was to somehow convince the participants to issue a fatwa or religious edict cen- suring militants involved in terrorism and fighting the army and urging them to renounce violence at the be- hest of the government,” a participant from balochistan told dawn by tele- phone. he said “a part of our leadership is under pressure (from the establish- ment?) to help evolve a wider consen- sus among all the deobandi groups and organisations against the mili- tants’ attacks on our soldiers and mili- tary installations as well as terrorist raids within the country”. if that was what the meeting aimed to gain, it was only partially achieved. maulana ludhianvi and hafiz hussain ahmed are said to have “turned the ta- bles” on the organisers and forced them to restrict them- selves to issuing a joint com- muniqué that was soft on mil- itants and harsh on govern- ment and, obviously, the united states. “neither a fatwa triggered this war nor will it help stop one. if a fatwa could stop this war, we would have peace in our tribal areas and the rest of the country now,” another participant, who also refused to give his name, said. “whatever is happening in pakistan or afghanistan to- day is a reaction to the american policies, its increas- ing influence and interfer- ence in pakistan and our gov- ernment’s inability to under- stand this fact and side with the west.” the same source said a ma- jority of the participants agreed that militancy and ter- rorism would continue to haunt this nation as long as the factors and causes respon- sible for forcing people to take up were not removed. this was exactly what the joint communiqué says. it blames the government’s poli- cy of ‘toeing the american line’ on afghanistan for grow- ing terrorism. “..militancy and terrorism continue to haunt this country in spite of wide denunciation of such acts (sui- cide bombings and subversive activities) by all patriotic peo- ple as well as use of organised military force. the situation calls for a dispassionate anal- ysis of the fundamental cau- ses (of this situation). in our view it is the consequence of the foreign policy that pervez musharraf pursued (in the af- termath of 9/11) and the in- cumbent government contin- ues to follow. we demand that the government separates it- self from the war in afghanistan and stops pursu- ing pro-american foreign pol- icies and providing logistics support to foreign forces (for military operations in afghanistan,” the communi- qué says. the opponents of an edict against militants were vociferously supported by the participants from swat and bajaur and other tribal areas. “they are the people who are actually suffering at the hands of americans and their allies in pakistan. they are the people who have to bear the brunt of military action and drone attacks. how could they support pro-government edicts and decrees?,” the par- ticipant from balochistan quoted above argued. nevertheless, the communi- que did urge the militant groups to pursue peaceful means to achieve their objec- tives of enforcement of shariah and expulsion of americans from the country. the paper calls for an end to all kinds of terrorist and subversive activities (by mili- tant organizations). “if the government is following erro- neous policies, it does not mean that we set our home afire. we, therefore, confident- ly and honestly believe that only peaceful struggle is the best strategy that can help en- forcement of islamic shariah in pakistan and secure it from the foreign influences. the use of violence is con- trary to islamic teachings and detrimental to our objective of enforcement of shariah in the country and efforts to ex- pel americans from this re- gion. rather, it is helping the united states deepen its in- fluence in this region,” it ar- gues. speaking to dawn about the objectives and outcome of the meeting, maulana samiul haq said: “we must avoid say- ing and doing anything that helps the evil forces (america in this case). and terrorism is helping the americans.” he made a distinction be- tween what is going on in afghanistan and in pakistan’s tribal regions. “what is going in afghanistan is essentially jihad. they (afghan taleban) are fighting for the freedom of their country from foreign occupation. some of our peo- ple (pakistani taleban) also want to go there and help their brethrens in their war for freedom.” he pointed out that certain elements who have entered the ranks of pakistani taleban and are killing innocent civilians and soldiers, are responsible for obliterating the distinction between jihad and terrorism. “the present situation is quite worrisome for us be- cause it can build up pres- sures against our seminaries. but, the maulana said, it is wrong to expect that the use of force can stop the militants from carrying out their opera- tions or stem terrorism from the country. “the only lasting solution to the issue lies in talks. if the government is willing to talk (to the mili- tants) on some solid, concrete points, we are ready to act as a bridge and mediate be- tween the two parties. but be- fore proceeding in that direc- tion the government has to distance itself from the american policy objectives. you cannot stop suicide at- tacks and terrorism as long as you are seen to be standing side by side with the united states,” he contended. another jui leader said it is important for pakistan to bring the militants to the ne- gotiation table. “the americans are talking to taleban, the afghan regime is talking to taleban. why can’t our rulers?” he was pertur- bed that washington “ignor- ed” islamabad as it began peace talks with the afghan taleban in spite of the fact that we are the ones provid- ing it logistics support and cheap oil for its operations there. the communique too urged the government to “re- alise that the lasting solutions to internal insurgencies lay in peace talks. it, therefore, should review its foreign poli- cy in the light of recommen- dations of the in-camera ses- sion of the parliament and ef- fect necessary shift in its poli- cies.” a participant conceded that the moderate deobandi leadership is worried about its loss of influence and con- trol over younger graduates from the seminaries. “this loss of influence on younger generations is pushing them towards militancy. the com- munique particularly ad- dressed the younger students of deobandi seminaries and advised them to follow the opinion and views of ulema to stay on the right path.”
The Deobandi Debate Terrorist Tactics in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 21May 28, 2010 06:17 PM Age: 3 yrs
By: Tayyab Ali Shah
Muslim clerics following the Deobandi school of Islamic theology (named after the movement’s original seminary in Deoband, India) are now increasingly associated with the Taliban and other allied militant groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though the parent Deobandi seminary in India has distanced itself from the Taliban and their violent activities in both countries, Deobandi-affiliated clergy in Pakistan have squarely refused to follow suit. The parent institution has condemned suicide terrorism in all its forms, opposed attacks on shrines, barber shops and educational institutions and has even characterized the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan as “un-Islamic” (Dawn [Karachi], June 20, 2009). The Pakistani Deobandis have failed to adopt such an unequivocal anti-terrorism stance so far. Some 150 Deobandi clergy who recently met in Lahore for three days (possibly at the behest of the Pakistani government as some participants suggested) deliberated over the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The scholars were expected to issue a consensual fatwa (religious ruling) against terrorist suicide attacks, but failed to do so.
Some Deobandi leaders fear their movement will be discredited by its close identification with militancy and terrorism. However, the hardliners attending the conference prevailed and in the final communiqué, diverted the blame for terrorist tactics away from the Deobandi movement:
“Militancy and terrorism continue to haunt this country in spite of wide denunciation of such acts [suicide bombings and subversive activities] by all patriotic people as well as use of organized military force. The situation calls for a dispassionate analysis of the fundamental causes [of this situation]. In our view it is the consequence of the foreign policy that Pervez Musharraf pursued [in the aftermath of 9/11] and the incumbent government continues to follow. We demand that the government separate itself from the war in Afghanistan and stops pursuing pro-American foreign policies and providing logistics support to foreign forces [for military operations in Afghanistan] (Dawn, May 2).”
Nevertheless, those in the Deobandi movement who oppose the growing trend to greater violence did manage to make their voice heard in the final communiqué:
“If the government is following erroneous policies, it does not mean that we set our home afire. We, therefore, confidently and honestly believe that only peaceful struggle is the best strategy that can help enforcement of Islamic Shari’a in Pakistan and secure it from foreign influences. The use of violence is contrary to Islamic teachings and detrimental to our objective of enforcement of Shari’a in the country and efforts to expel Americans from this region. Rather, it is helping the United States deepen its influence in this region.”
The Deobandi school has the largest number of religious seminaries in Pakistan and most of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban either studied at these seminaries or hold the same theological and religious world view. Of a total of approximately 20,000 registered seminaries in Pakistan, 12,000 are run by Deobandi scholars while the rival Barelvi sect manages just 6,000 seminaries. Many of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban leaders, including Mullah Omar, the late Baitullah Mahsud and Maulana Fazlullah have studied at Deobandi seminaries. All factions of the biggest religious-political party in Pakistan, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI), which forms part of the current government, also subscribe to the Deobandi world view and are led by clergy who studied at Deobandi seminaries and run many seminaries themselves. Sectarian movements like the anti-Shi’a Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) and the anti-Ahmadiyya Alami Majlis-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwat (AMKN) are affiliated with the Deobandi school of thought. The international Tablighi Jamaat preaching organization also follows Deobandi beliefs. The Deobandi clergy is the most powerful in Pakistan, partly because it attracts those clerics who oppose the state. The roots of this attraction can be found in the Deobandi domination of militant training camps in Afghanistan and Kashmir (Daily Times [Lahore], June 14, 2009).
The Deobandi clergy have historically shied away from issuing anti-Taliban fatwas and have opposed those fatwas issued by other groups. When in 2005 a group of non-Deobandi clerics produced a collective fatwa that the use of suicide-bombing against fellow-Muslims was not permitted in Islam, severe criticism emerged from the Deobandi clerical community (Daily Times, June 14, 2009). Many non-Deobandi clerics believe that a fatwa would not make a difference to the current state of affairs anyhow because the suicide-bombers would not abide by it, and attacks would continue so long as the root causes are not addressed. Others, especially government functionaries, feel that such a fatwa would go a long way in developing a consensus in the fight against terrorists. They also believe that a fatwa would at least discourage the use of suicide bombings in sectarian battles with the Shi’a and would dissuade many non-militant Deobandis to be less sympathetic to the Taliban.
Such a fatwa has assumed even greater importance in light of the Taliban’s expansion into newer areas of operation like central and southern Punjab, Karachi and Baluchistan, the increasing involvement of Deobandi groups in suicide attacks against the Shi’a and growing evidence of Deobandi mosques providing sanctuaries to the Taliban. The Punjab government has now officially admitted that the Taliban are present in southern Punjab. A recent report filed by Punjab Police discloses that the network of the Taliban is fast expanding in the region and a recruitment drive has been launched in some religious schools. The report adds that Taliban leaders can be found at a number of seminaries in the Punjabi city of Jhang, several of which have launched a drive to recruit youths for training in the tribal areas of Pakistan (The News, May 17). Similarly, copies of forged national identity cards and alien registration cards belonging to activists and sympathizers of the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) organization were recently found at a Deobandi mosque in Karachi along with stickers and posters eulogizing jihad, and receipts of donations (Dawn, May11).
The western province of Balochistan has also started to see the influence of Deobandization. Religious schools in Balochi-dominated areas, owned and administered by leaders of the pro-Taliban JUI, have dramatically mushroomed in recent times. Around 95% of religious schools in Balochistan are owned and administered by JUI leaders. This has given birth to more intolerance among the youth who now refuse to coexist with members of rival religious sects. This phenomenon is also being held responsible for a recent suicide bomb that struck Quetta’s Civil Hospital on April 16, killing at least 11 people including two top police officials and a television journalist (Daily Times, April 17).
All of the above examples show the expansion of Taliban activities into hitherto non-militant areas under Deobandi influence. A fatwa by the top Deobandi clerics would be an important step in stemming this tide and reducing suicide attacks both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But though some in the movement favor such a step, more influential members continue to oppose it, citing the continuing importance of such tactics in resisting the international military presence in Afghanistan, and American military operations [i.e. drone attacks] in northwest Pakistan.
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