LUBP Editor’s note: While the post below provides ample documentation of the anti-Shia Muslim hate literature by extremist groups, there are a number of important areas which need to be made clearer. For instance, the Takfeer (fatwa of infidelity) against Shia muslims is mainly undertaken by those extremist groups which are a part of Pakistan’s security establishment’s Jihadi apparatus. Moderate Deobandis and Salafis-Wahhabis do not resort to takfeer as an essential part of their faith. Takfeer has a socio-political objective of undermining the basis of Pakistan’s religious, ethnic and sectarian diversity and is an essential tool of those Jihadi groups that are an essential subsidiaries and affiliates of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. As also pointed out in many earlier posts on this forum, the same groups that are conducting Shia genocide in Pakistan and using this hate literature to justify their dastardly acts are ALSO conducting the massacres of Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christains and moderate Deobandis and Salafis. This post highlights the sweeping generalizations and in many cases, blatant misrepresentations about the positions taken by diverse Shia communities. A very important point that is often alluded to, but never spelled out clearly is that Anti-Shia sentiment is combined with Anti-Semitism. The World Community needs to take note of this. (End note)
This paper examines the role of Al Qaeda-affiliated Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) – the military arm of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) (new name Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat ASWJ) – and how the LeJ/SSP duo is using U.S.-based social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other Internet tools, along with its own dedicated websites and print magazines, to incite violence against Shi’ite Muslims, and also how it is engendering Antisemitism in order to promote its ideological agenda.
The LeJ has figured in several recent attacks in Pakistan. On February 28, 2012, Islamic militants dressed in Pakistani military fatigues stopped a bus in Pakistan’s northern district of Kohistan, forced all the passengers off, and examined their Pakistani government-issued Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) to verify their faith by their surnames. Passengers whose names indicated that they were Sunni Muslims were let off, while 19 Shi’ite Muslims headed for their homes in Gilgit Baltistan and were shot dead by the militants.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a terrorist group feared for its long-standing campaign of violence against Shi’ite Muslims, was blamed for the attack. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered a probe, stating that the LeJ and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been “involved in similar crimes [against Shi’ite Muslims] in the past.”Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a militant who identified himself as a spokesman of Jundallah, a Sunni militant group which is indistinguishable from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, both in terms of its ideological orientation against Shi’ite Muslims and in terms of the two groups’ cross-pollination.
The LeJ and SSP have operated under various names in recent years. It was reported that another militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami (International) could be behind the February 28 attack. Speaking with the GEO News television channel the next day, Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), a coalition of banned militant organizations, confirmed that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami exists, while accusing Shi’ite militants of Lashkar-e-Mehdi from Gilgit Baltistan of carrying out attacks on Sunni Muslims in Karachi. A November 2010 media report noted that the LeJ has evolved into several branches: Junoodul Hafsa, working in collaboration with Ghazi Force; Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami, working alongside Al-Qaeda; Asian Tigers, run by the Punjabi Taliban; and the LeJ’s cell for Baluchistan and Karachi, named Jundallah.
The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP or Soldiers of the Companions of the Prophet), a former registered political party now banned by the Pakistani government, is the mother of LeJ and its associated outfits. The reference to the “Companions” in the name of SSP is meant mainly for the four Islamic caliphs who succeeded Prophet Muhammad – as per the Sunni interpretation – in the following order: Abu Bakar, Umar ibn Khattab, Usman ibn Affan and Ali Ibn Talib, the last being the fourth in succession. Contrary to this order of succession as upheld by Sunni scholars, the Shi’ites consider Ali Ibn Talib, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, as the first caliph, giving birth to a vast array of radical literature and hateful campaign against each other by both sides.
The SSP was founded in 1985 by militant cleric Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, whose key successors included Maulana Ziaur Rehman Farooqi, Riaz Basra and lawmaker Maulana Azam Tariq and Allama Sher Ali Haideri. All of them, along with other SSP militants, were killed in revenge killings by Shi’ite militant groups. Following the Pakistani government’s ban on the SSP, this network of militants now operates openly under the banner of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), now headed by SSP leader Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi. At some point, the group has also been known as Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan. For all purposes, the LeJ, SSP, Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan and ASWJ are the same, while the like-minded Jundallah was founded by two Pakistan Army officers in Quetta and has been fighting against Iran and, like the LeJ, against Shi’ite Muslims in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.
On March 9, 2012, the Urdu-language website of the BBC reported that the Pakistani government had “discreetly” banned the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) through a government notification issued to top security officials in Pakistani provinces, but the ASWJ leaders were unaware of the ban. The Urdu website also published a copy of the notification dated February 15, 2012. After the matter became public, the Pakistani government came under pressure from the LeJ/SSP/ASWJ leaders. On March 12, 2012 – just three days after the ban became public – Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik rejected the media reports of the ban as baseless and described the copy of government notification published by BBC Urdu as fake, according to the Urdu daily Roznama Jasarat.As this paper reveals below, not only the ASWJ and LeJ, but their mother organization SSP too is organizationally vibrant in various Pakistani towns.
It is also pertinent to note that in recent years, the top leaders of LeJ, SSP, Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan and ASWJ have enjoyed the patronage of the provincial government of Punjab headed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Due to violent conflicts between the Shi’ite groups and the LeJ/SSP duo, top leaders and members of the rival militant groups have been killed over the years. In recent years, the LeJ and its associated groups have also been working alongside Jundallah, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In this paper, the reference to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) denotes the LeJ/SSP duo and its associated groups.
The LeJ/SSP’s Use of Internet and U.S.-Based Websites
The cover page of Mahnama Ablaghe Haq
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s media campaign is steered by the Jhangvi Media Movement (JMM), which has a dedicated website jmmpak.org, creating numerous links to its webcasts, websites, videos and print magazines. The JMM also has multiple active accounts on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, the U.S.-based social networking sites used by it to advance its ideological propaganda.
Ahlesunnatforum.com – built on the lines of jihadist internet forums associated with Al-Qaeda – is a major internet forum operated by the LeJ/SSP. The JMM website lists a number of websites associated with it, some being jmmpak.net, kr-hyc.tk, jmmpak.tk, youtube.com/jmmpak, katibewahi.com, realitymedia.ws and Islamic-forum-net. A search of these websites in early March 2012 indicated that most of these sites are active. The jmmpak.org also propagates a number of websites and print magazines.
Such websites and publications include: kr-hcy.com (Haq Char Yaar, or the Righteous Four Companions), a website devoted to spreading the teachings of the four caliphs of Islam. This website is introduced in the following statement, in English: “The Haq Char Yaar website is dedicated in the name of the Companions… This site does not represent any Muslim association or society but is for the general information to the Muslims [to spread] awareness of true Islamic faith. Haq Char Yaar Media Services is devoting their lives to protect the name of Companions [of Prophet Muhammad]… We believe in peace but inclination to peace is not our weakness…”
The LeJ/SSP’s attacks are not limited to Shi’ite Muslims. They also target Ahmadi Muslims. Its print publications include Mahnama Ablaghe Haq, an Urdu monthly magazine which has an Internet presence on ablaghehaq.co.cc and on ablaghehaq.com. One of the special issues of the magazine in September-October 2011 carried an exclusive article against Ahmadi Muslims, with the cover page (see image above) accusing India, Israel, Britain and the U.S. of propping up Qadianis, the pejorative term for Ahmadi Muslims, while a sword is being used, presumably by the LeJ/SSP, to cut off the hand behind Ahmadis Muslims. The sword carries the Urdu text: “Second Constitutional Amendment 1974” – a law enacted by the secular Pakistani Prime Minister Z. A. Bhutto that dubbed Ahmadis non-Muslims and barred them from being called Muslims.
In that issue of the magazine, a detailed article in Urdu explained to its readers how to create a YouTube account and post and download videos.
The print magazines, along with their Internet addresses, which are prominently promoted through the Jhangvi Media Movement (JMM) website, include the following: Al-Esar News, an Urdu newspaper on alesar.com.pk; katibewahi.com, which promotes anti-Shi’ite literature in Urdu; khushbu-e-wafa.tk, etc.
One such website, haqsuchmedia.co.cc, deserves special mention, as it promotes numerous audio-video speeches and Urdu books against Shi’ite practices and describes the 2007 Pakistan Army operation in Red Mosque of Islamabad as “the second Karbala [the 680 C.E. battle lost by the Shi’ites].” In addition to producing numerous speeches of LeJ leaders, it also publishes videos released by As-Sahab, the media production house of Al-Qaeda. One of its numerous slogans and posters states (see the image above): “O Muslim when you meet the enemy (Shi’ite) of the Companions, then the heart of the Prophet feels sad in the Green Dome [Holy Mosque in Medina].”
Utilizing U.S.-based websites such as archive.org, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and social publishing site Scribd, the JMM website produces numerous weblinks to anti-Shi’ite articles, video speeches, magazines and books in Urdu and English. As examined below, it also uses Justin.tv, another U.S.-based provider, to webcast lectures and programs by militant clerics associated with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group of organizations. Like other jihadist groups, it uses the U.S.-based not-for-profit Internet Archive established in 1996, at archive.org, to publish a vast amount of hateful content against Shi’ite Muslims. A quick search of archive.org yields vast amounts of hate material posted by anti-Shi’ite groups. The image below shows how the Reality Media Centre Lahore, which is an anti-Shi’ite organization aligned with the LeJ, uses the U.S.-based website archive.org to publish hate material.
Use of U.S.-based archive.org to propagate anti-Shi’ite hate
Why Was the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) Established? – “The Shi’ite is a Nasl [Race/Offspring] of Jews; the Sipah-e-Sahaba Calls the Shi’ite a Bigger Infidel Than the Jew”
On its Internet discussion forum ahlesunnatforum.com, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has posted a series of six videos, answering the question: Why was the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) established? A collage of images, texts and audio-video statements of Islamic clerics from various schools of Sunni Islam declares that the group draws its ideological roots from all key Sunni sects, stating: “The Deobandi, the Barelvi, [and] the Ahle Hadith are united on the question of the honor of the Sahaba [the Companions of Prophet Muhammad].” The images given below from the first video illustrate the ideological declarations made by the SSP.
The video declares that the Shi’ite Muslims are worse than the Jews, with the Urdu text as excerpted in the above image reading: “The Shi’ite is a nasl [race/offspring] of the Jews. The Sipah-e-Sahaba calls the Shi’ite a bigger infidel than the Jew.”
In the image above from the video, a cleric holds a Koran on his head and declares: “The Koran is on my head [i.e. I swear] that the Shi’ite is a kafir [infidel].” Another Urdu text on the video declares: “Muslims, keep the Shi’ite far from your offices and factories. To give jobs to these infidels is enmity against Islam.”
The above footage shows anti-Taliban Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri of the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam, with the Urdu text stating: “One who does not consider a Shi’ite is himself an infidel.” Another text under the image of Tahirul Qadri, who dismisses the literature of Shi’ite Muslims in the accompanying video statement as false and without authentic sources, states: “The Shi’ite and the Sunni can never be brothers. The Shi’ite is the biggest infidel of all.”
In an image on the video, an Urdu text accuses Shi’ite Muslims of killing Saddam Hussein of Iraq, stating: “Saddam being hanged under the watch of the Shi’ite.” The video produces a series of statements of Shi’ite clerics, accusing them of allegedly uttering abuse against the companions of Prophet Muhammad.
The video also reproduces a clip of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the SSP founder, addressing a crowd while the Urdu text (see above) clarifies his speech: “There is a fatwa [Islamic decree] by Maulana Ahmed Raza Barelvi [the founder of the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam] stating that the Shi’ite is a kafir [infidel] and anyone who doubts this is also a kafir.”
The second part of the video series contains a clip of Maulana Ziaur Rehman Farooqi, a late Islamic cleric associated with the SSP, in which he delivers a fiery speech against Shi’ite Muslims in order to defend the honor of the Companions. In the same video, Maulana Asif Ashraf Jalali, a Barelvi cleric, equates the Shi’ites with Jews. It also cites Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, an 11th-12th century Persian Islamic scholar followed widely by Sunni Muslims, quoting the Prophet Muhammad as saying: “In the last days, there would be a nation (Shi’ites) which will curse my companions and will find faults. You should not strike up friendship with them. Do not eat alongside them. Do not marry them. If someone is sick among them, do not ask about them. If someone dies from among them, do not offer the funeral prayer…. May Allah’s curses be on them.”
A third video of the series teaches the LeJ followers that the Shi’ites can be identified by the following surnames (see the Urdu text in image above): “Jafri, Alvi, Zaidi, Hussein, Naqvi, Raza, Abidi, Abbas, Shah, Hassan.” The video also clarifies at one point that 2,700 members of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan had been killed up to 2010, that is, in allegedly revenge killings by Shi’ite militants.
In the fourth, fifth and sixth videos of the series, which are published on YouTube, a number of Islamic clerics associated with the SSP are shown delivering speeches on various points of beliefs associated with Shi’ite Muslims. In the fifth video, an Urdu text again dismisses the Shi’ites as Jews, stating: “They are the nasl [race/offspring] of Jews and merely use the name of Hazrat Ali [the Islamic caliph].”
The sixth and last video of the series shows clips of speeches by various militant clerics associated with the SSP. Addressing a crowd, Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi, a youth leader of SSP, defends Saudi Arabia for its pro-Sunni leadership and castigates the Shi’ite Iran, stating: “Iran is behind all the conspiracies hatched against all Islamic countries and the Companions [of the Prophet Muhammad].” One of the final images in the video reads (see the above Urdu text): “Muslims of the entire world, if you want to escape the evil of this Shi’ite infidel, then support the Sipah-e-Sahaba. Deoband[i], Barelvi, Ahle Hadith, or anyone can be a leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba.”
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Campaigns on Twitter
In recent years, especially after the Pakistani government ban on the publications of some militant groups, social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have emerged as the media of choice for these groups to advance their ideological agenda. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and its members operate several accounts on the micro-blogging website Twitter, with the most prominent accounts being @Jhangvi and @JhangviNews. Some other Twitter accounts linked to the militant network also include @SunnikiLLing and @KKSKEWS.
Over the past few months, these Twitter accounts posted messages, conveying the messages of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, inviting their readers to various events and conferences organized by the LeJ and SSP leaders in different Pakistani towns, urging followers to watch live webcasts of speeches delivered by their leaders, directing readers to newspaper reports about statements of Islamic clerics in Pakistan and abroad, etc. Some of these examples are given below to illustrate these activities.
Tweet Urges Sunni Muslims to Desist from Friendship with Shi’ites: “Oh Sunnis, Have Respect; End Friendship with Shi’ites….”
The LeJ’s main Twitter account, @Jhangvi, became active sometime in late-September 2011, publishing a series of first posts on September 28. It directs its readers to the main website of Jhangvi Media Movement, or jmmpak.org. Like all Lashkar-e-Jhangvi publications, its hate campaign is directed mainly against Shi’ite Muslims. Most of the tweets are in Roman Urdu.
On September 28, its first tweet announced: “Breaking News: Lahore – The accursed Shi’ite Ali Raza who sent message involving blasphemy against the companions [of Prophet Muhammad] arrested… case registered.” Another of its tweets on the first day of activity on Twitter noted that in the village of Kdwala (Chak No. 68/DB) in Bahawalpur district, Maulana Habibullah, a cleric of the Barelvi sect of Islam, refused to lead a funeral prayer for a Shi’ite Muslim named Buta.
On October 3, its tweet informed that a bus of Shi’ite pilgrims was attacked in Baluchistan, “sending 13 of them to Hell.” On October 9, its tweet urged Sunni Muslims to desist from friendship with Shi’ites: “Oh Sunnis, have respect; end friendship with Shi’ites….” It tweets news stories relevant to Sunni extremists.
On October 3, 2011, it tweeted: “The Supreme Council of Saudi Islamic Scholars has decreed a person committing blasphemy against the companions [of Prophet Muhammad] to be out of Islam.” This tweet cited Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Jinnah of October 3, Islamabad edition as its source. In a tweet dated January 5, 2012, it said: “23 Shi’ite terrorists arrested [in Saudi Arabia] under the charges of conspiracy against Harmain Sharifain [the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina]; sloganeering by Shi’ites against Muslims.” On October 24, its tweet read: “infidel, infidel, Shi’ite infidel… numerous curses on Khomeini [the late Iranian leader].”
Illustrating recent public concerns in Pakistan that LeJ/SSP leaders are enjoying the support of the Punjab government, the second tweet posted on September 28 celebrated: “Raids on Shi’ite homes on the order of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Darya Khan [town in Punjab province], about 50 terrorist Shi’ites arrested…” On October 10, 2011, it tweeted: “The Lahore High Court has ordered the removal of the names of 25 leaders of Sipah-e-Sahaba [Pakistan] from the list of terrorists.” These tweets establish the fact that the SSP, the mother of all LeJ-associated groups, remains active at a grassroots level in Pakistan despite the government ban.
“Only by Sending Curses on the Lifestyles of Jews and Christians can You Be Loyal to Siddique and Umar [the First and Second Caliphs of Islam]…”; The Prophet Said: “Know It without Doubt, the Heaven is Under the Shadow of Swords”
The tweets have included messages against Jews and Christians and views articulating armed intentions against those who do not follow its ideology. On September 28, it posted another tweet advocating hate against Jews and Christians: “Only by sending curses on the lifestyles of Jews and Christians can you be loyal to Siddique and Umar [the first and second caliphs of Islam respectively] – a saying of Maulana Azam Tariq Shah [the founder of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi].”
On October 14, its tweet quoted Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) leader Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi as saying that “conspiracy against Kaaba, the qibla of Muslims, should stop.” Qibla is the holy mosque in Mecca to which Muslims turn in prayers; and the reference is to concerns among Islamic clerics in Pakistan that Western leaders are conspiring to demolish the Kaaba, the holy mosque in Mecca.
On September 29, 2011, it tweeted an Urdu couplet articulating armed intentions: “Well, I am the priest for peace, will become a storm when the time comes; if even a finger is raised against our lord [Prophet Muhammad] or Sahaba [companions of Prophet Muhammad], I will throw the pen and turn into a sword.” On September 29, another tweet quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying: “Know it without doubt, the Heaven is under the shadow of swords.”
An October 27 tweet carried a prayer to be read before going to bed, stating: “Oh Allah, I live and die to uphold your name….”
It posts messages about religious and militant leaders associated the LeJ/SSP and its associated groups. On September 28, it tweeted a congratulatory message: “We offer congratulations to Qari Ataullah Rehman on being elected without competition to the post of President of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan [the outlawed political party and mother organization of LeJ-associated groups] for the Sukkur district.” Its numerous tweets confirm that that the SSP continues to function as a well-operated organization.
An October 2 dated tweet urged its followers to watch the live webcast of the Shuhada-e-Islam (Martyrs of Islam) Conference of October 6, 2011 in Islamabad, marking the martyrdom of LeJ founder Maulana Azam Tariq. On January 5, 2012, its tweet announced: “Tariq Muawiya, the senior member of Sipah-e-Sahaba [for] Lahore, has been martyred in a firing by Shi’ite terrorists.” This account announced many similar messages over the subsequent months, revealing the continuation of the armed rivalry between Sunni and Shi’ite groups.
On February 12, 2012, a tweet urged its followers to visit its official website jmmpak.org to watch the live webcast of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (Defense of Pakistan Council or DPC) rally in Karachi. The DPC, a network of banned militants, is established and headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Pakistani jihadist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). It should be noted here that Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the new banner under which the LeJ/SSP operates, is a prominent speaker at DPC rallies and is a key leader of the DPC. In recent months, calls for jihad against the U.S. and India were issued at the DPC conferences in Pakistani cities.
“Shi’ite Terrorists; Shi’ites are the Killers of Sunnis; Shi’ites Infidels; The Massacre of Muslims by Shi’ite Infidels Continuing in Syria”
@JhangviNews is perhaps the second most active Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Twitter account. Among its first-day posts on January 19, 2012, it urged its followers to “FOLLOW JhangviNews and send to 40404 [by SMS to mobile phone number].” In a similar tweet dated February 14, it urged its followers to obtain free Sunni news by sending “Add JhangviNews” to 9900 by SMS. Over subsequent months, it has urged followers to use mobile phones, especially SMS, to obtain Sunni news.
On January 19, a tweet outlined its goal: “We are offering sacrifices for the Prophet (peace be upon him). We are the soldiers of the soldiers of the Prophet (peace be upon him).” On January 20, its tweet, illustrating that it does not consider Shi’ites as Muslims, said: “[In the town of] Hangu: The worst wall-chalking against Muslims by Shi’ites….” Over the subsequent weeks, it posted numerous tweets, revealing a murderous rivalry between Shi’ite and Sunni groups in Pakistani cities.
The fact that the LeJ identifies itself deeply with the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) is also established in its tweets. In a tweet dated January 20, the group warned – quoting former Pakistani federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed – that a strategy will be worked out under the leadership of Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi if the government officials did not grant permission for a DPC conference in the town of Multan for January 29, 2012. It should be noted that DPC founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has been put on the UN terror list along with his organizations Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) for their role in the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
On January 20, another tweet boasted that the December 18, 2011 conference of DPC in Lahore and the upcoming conferences in the cities of Rawalpindi and Multan prove that the “field cannot be bedecked without the SSP [Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan].” A January 22, 2012 tweet quoted Lt.-General (retired) Hamid Gul, former chief of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as telling a DPC conference in the city of Rawalpindi: “I am feeling happy that the flags of the SSP [the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan] which has been banned for 10 years outnumber others [at the DPC rally]….” On January 29, it urged its followers to watch a live webcast of the DPC conference from Multan via the DPC’s official website difaepakistan.com. In later tweets, it urged its followers to carry the SSP flag to the DPC conferences.
On January 21, its tweet announced the release of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Muhammad Ishaq from jail. The same day, January 21, it posted a message that in the Government Degree College town of Jhang, from which the LeJ draws its name, “Attempts by Shi’ite terrorist organization ISO [Imamia Students Organization] foiled to erase wall chalking [of slogans] by the Sunni organization MSO [Muslim Students Organization].” It posted similar tweets concerning its associated groups over the subsequent weeks. On January 24, it tweeted that the legal adviser of the Karachi branch of SSP, M. Ali Mama, and one Brother Noman, were shot dead by “Shi’ite terrorists.” Stating that “Shi’ites are the killers of Sunnis,” a January 30 tweet notified that Karachi-based sympathizer of SSP, Dr. Qazi Ashfaq, has been shot dead by Shi’ites. A tweet dated February 2 declared: “Shi’ites infidels.”
On January 19, 20 and 21, its tweets said that about 6,000 Sunni Muslims have been “martyred” by the Shi’ite government of Syria. It posted another tweet on January 21: “If Hindus, Jews and Christians kill Muslims, then [it is called] atrocity. And if the same deed is committed by Shi’ite religion, then why all Muslims are silent?” A tweet dated February 3, 2012 said: “The massacre of Muslims by Shi’ite infidels continuing in Syria….” A February 7 tweet questioned: “Everyone is looking at the atrocities being committed against Muslims in India, Kashmir and Palestine, but [why are] all silent on the atrocities in Syria?” In a tweet dated February 18, it notified that Iranian commandos are “worsening the peaceful atmosphere of Karachi” by allegedly being involved in militant attacks against Sunni Muslims and urged its followers to keep an eye on suspicious activities in their vicinities.
On February 22, 2012, it marked the day as the Martyrdom Day for Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, who founded the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and was killed on that day in 1990, stating: “Allah willing, we will ensure a Sunni Revolution on the soil of Pakistan….” A day later, a tweet warned: “O Shi’ites, listen! We can bury generations of generations in graves but will not abandon pursuing you….”
The LeJ/SSP’s Use of Facebook
A January 27 post urges followers to join Bilkis Messenger Room
The Jhangvi Media Movement (JMM) uses the social networking site Facebook to advance its ideological goals through an account – jmmpak – created on June 20, 2010. Similar accounts are also created on Facebook by its followers and members. It posts comments and links to various YouTube video, webcasts, messenger rooms and stories in Pakistani dailies which are of relevant to its followers. Over the past few months, it has posted YouTube links to radical speeches by Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the late SSP founder. It uses Facebook for the same purposes it uses Twitter and other websites.
A March 6, 2012 post linked to a digital copy of its print magazine, Nizam-e-Khilafat Rashida(the Rule of the Righteous Caliphs). Similar links were posted, connecting readers to various books and magazines published by the LeJ/SSP associates. A March 7, 2012 post directed its readers to follow a webcast of a speech by SSP leader Maulana Aurangzeb Farooq at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council rally in Peshawar. On the same day, a post urged its followers to use SMS service on their cell phones to get updates about the activities of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and regarding the honor of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad by sending a message to phone numbers 40404 and 9900. A March 8, 2012 post directed its readers to visit the main website of Jhangvi Media Movement (JMM), jmmpk.org, to watch a live webcast of a conference on the life of Prophet Muhammad. In a December 6, 2011 post, it noted that its main website jmmpak.org is under cyber attack.
A post on February 8, 2012 announced that the group would soon post poems of Islamic cleric Mufti Saeed Arshad Husseini on the internet. On February 16, 2012, its post said: “Firing by Shi’ite terrorists – the worst infidels of the universe, the enemies of the religion and Ummah – on a mosque of Muslims” and linked to a YouTube video which is not clear but gunshots can be heard. A February 21 post identified Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, the leader of ASWJ, as the leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the supposedly banned group in Pakistan.
A July 15, 2011 post celebrating the release of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) chief Malik Ishaq despite being involved in 36 serious cases
In March 2012, media reports emerged that the Pakistani government had banned the ASWJ. Reacting to this, a March 11, 2012 post on Facebook in Urdu script quoted Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, the chief of ASWJ, as saying: “Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat is not a Jamaat [organization, but it] is our religion. We will never accept [a] ban on the religion. The enemy wants to create disarray in the Jamaat by spreading news about [a] ban. All members stand united.” In March 2012, reports emerged that the administrative officials in Gilgit Baltistan, a region which is under Pakistani control illegally, are planning to reform school syllabi. The LeJ/SSP leaders accused the Shi’ite officials of removing content from textbooks to suit the Shi’ite population. A Facebook post dated March 14, 2012 gave a link to a YouTube video in which Maulana Muhammad Nawaz, Secretary General the SSP’s branch in Gilgit Baltistan, described the move as “sedition” against Pakistan.
It posts numerous posters and images about events organized by the SSP/ASWJ in various Pakistani towns. Such posts were regularly published on its Facebook pages from 2010 through 2012. As examined in the paragraphs below, the Jhangvi Media Movement posts numerous videos on YouTube and links them through its Facebook page. The nature of these posts is either against Shi’ite Muslims or to promote the activities of the LeJ/SSP.
The LeJ/SSP’s Use of YouTube
Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat chief Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi
The Jhangvi Media Movement (JMM) has a robust presence on YouTube, having joined the free video-sharing website on February 22, 2010. Some of the most prolific YouTube accounts associated with the LeJ/SSP include: jmmpak, sspinternetwing1, thealazeematmedia, jmmpak313, hcyglobal, haqsuchmedia, jhangvi, haqnawazjh, etc. Over the past two years, the JMM has posted more than 500 videos on its main YouTube channel – jmmpak. Its videos include clips from television channels showing statements of leaders of the ASWJ, the successor to SSP, and Islamic clerics addressing religious gatherings in various Pakistani towns.
Hundreds of videos of ASWJ chief Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi are available on YouTube. In December 2010, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik accused the LeJ/SSP of working alongside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In an interview on Dunya television channel, Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi denied that his group is or will be involved in any terror activity. Asked as to why the ASWJ is not registered with the government, Ludhianvi responded: “The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat is not any party. ‘Ahle Sunnat’ refers to those who follow the path of Sunnah. The Sunnah means the ways of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and the Jamaat means the Companions [of the prophet]… Everyone in the country who calls himself Sunni is part of the Ahle Sunnat…. We do not use the name [of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan] because the matter is before the court… When the court lifts the ban, we will start working under the name of Sipah-e-Sahaba….”
In December 2010, the JMM posted a video of a talk show from Samaa TV channel on the issue of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, after Pakistani lawmaker and now ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman introduced a bill proposing legislative reforms on the issue. Speaking on the program, Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, the former chief of SSP and now head of ASWJ, argued that only Prophet Muhammad had the authority to forgive those who committed blasphemy against him.
A few weeks later, on January 4, 2011, Punjab’s secular Governor Salman Taseer, who had campaigned for reform in blasphemy laws, was shot dead by a security guard who shared the ideology of ASWJ/SSP. It should be noted here that the assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, belonged to Dawat-e-Islami, one of the Pakistan-based Barelvi Sunni organizations, which are as militant in their ideological orientation as other Deobandi groups such as the LeJ/SSP when their interests converge, for example on the issue of the blasphemy laws or honor of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, and generally in their ideological standpoint against the Shi’ite Muslims.
However, the ideological standpoints of the LeJ/SSP and the Barelvi clerics do not always merge. In December 2010, the JMM posted a four-part television program, which was produced after the July 1, 2010 terror attack on the Hazrat Ali Hajveri shrine in Lahore. On the program, Maulana Shamsur Rehman Muawiah, the President of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ – the new name of SSP) for Punjab province, denied any involvement of SSP in any terror attack in the past or in future. However, appearing on the same program, Barelvi cleric Maulana Raghib Naeemi blamed the groups ideologically aligned with the LeJ/SSP for attacks on the shrines of Sufi mystics in Pakistani towns. The LeJ/SSP, which owes its ideology to the Deobandi school of Sunni Islam, supports the Taliban attacks on Sufi shrines because it deems many Barelvi practices at the shrines to be against Islamic teachings.
But the main targets of the LeJ /SSP conglomerate continue to be the Shi’ites. In countless videos posted on YouTube videos, Shi’ite Muslims are the main target of the group’s hateful attacks. A September 1, 2011 YouTube video discussed the question: “Is Shi’ite a Muslim?” Scores of lectures preaching violence against Shi’ite Muslims delivered by Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of SSP, are available on YouTube. On March 12, 2012, a simple search of the term “Haq Nawaz Jhangvi” yielded 3,130 results on YouTube.
Maulana Ikramullah Mojaddadi
In a YouTube video dated Mar 6, 2010, Maulana Ikramullah Mojaddadi addresses an SSP conference, delivering a fiery speech advocating violence against the “enemies” of the Sahaba, the companions of Prophet Muhammad.
Addressing a Martyrdom Conference in Lahore, Maulana Ikramullah Mojaddadi said: “Marzais [i.e. Ahmadi Muslims] were declared infidels in this region [under a law passed by the secular Pakistani government in 1974]. Very soon, Allah willing, that day is not far when the Sunnis will be united on a single platform and get the enemies of the Sahaba declared kafir [infidel].” The reference to “enemies” is for all those who oppose the SSP’s clerical interpretation of Islam, but especially the Shi’ite Muslims.
It should be noted that Maulana Ikramullah Mojaddadi belongs to the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam who are opposed to the SSP/LeJ but share similar views against Shi’ite Muslims. In a video posted by the JMM, Mojaddadi stresses unity between various sects of Sunni Islam, especially between the Barelvis and Deobandis, stating: “The thing I want to say here is that as Ameer-e-Azeemat [Haq Nawaz Jhangvi] used to say that if speaking for the honor and dignity of the companions of the Holy Prophet is crime and terrorism, so I would repeat this ‘crime’ again and again. If for this reply of the Sipah-e-Sahaba, or sitting with the people related to Ahle Sunnat and for eulogizing the Companions and Ahle Bait [relatives] of the Holy Prophet, I am blamed to be a Mojaddadi [Naqshbandi], Barelvi or anyone else: all these allegations are open-heartedly welcome….”
Clearly, the Deobandi clerics who form the backbone of the LeJ/SSP conglomerate and the Barelvi clerics have similar ideological standpoints on some issues such as in their viewpoint against Shi’ite Muslims and Ahmadi Muslims, but differ on some issues like the Barelvi practices associated with music and singing in Sufi shrines. Both of these groups of Sunni Islam, along with other Islamic clerics, are also known for propagating Antisemitism to further their ideological agenda.
Islamic Cleric: “When You Start Reading Chapter Al-Baqra [of the Koran], I Want to Add a Few Points in Hints, You will Find that the Jew is a Nasl [Race/Offspring] Which Martyred 39, [I] Repeat: 39 Prophets in One Day”
Islamic cleric Nasir Shiraz
In a YouTube video dated September 4, 2010 posted by the JMM, militant cleric Nasir Shiraz, who is identified as “commander” stokes Antisemitic feelings, stating:
“The Koran is indeed a great book, which is a guide of life from the Creator for the momins [faithful Muslims], which is a constitution for the momins…. which helps recognize the enemies…. I will urge you friends… if a commentator says that Jews and Christians are our well wishers, tell him: ‘you are a momin, you are a Muslim, you trust in the Koran of the Creator, when you go home, look up the Koran, read the translation of [verses] of Chapter Al-Baqra, and if after reading [the] translation of the Chapter Al-Baqra, if your consciences decides that the Jews and Christians can be well wishers of the Muslim Ummah, can be friends of the Muslim Ummah, then you make them your friends.
“And if your conscience decides that Jews and Christians were not the well wishers of the Muslim Ummah yesterday nor they are today, then support the people who – upholding their lives on palms – enter the [battle] field to foil the conspiracies of Jews and Christians and sacrifice their lives. When you start reading Chapter Al-Baqra, I want to add a few points in hints, you will find that the Jew is a nasl [race/offspring] that martyred 39, [I] repeat: 39 prophets in one day. The Jew is a nasl that martyred Prophet Zakaria [Zacharia] peace be upon him. The Jew is a nasl that martyred Prophet Yahya [John the Baptist] peace be upon him. The Jews are a nasl who wanted to martyr Prophet Jesus…..”
The violent tone of languages used by the militant clerics is evident in numerous YouTube videos posted by the LeJ/SSP groups. A video posted in December 2011, prominent Islamic cleric Maulana Ilyas Chinioti addresses a conference in Islamabad, stating: “whether it be the history of Pakistan or Islam, it is decorated with martyrdoms. And it teaches us that a movement, a mission, for which Muslims sacrifice their precious blood in the path of Allah, that mission is inevitably successful.” A YouTube video – dated February 19, 2012 – broadcasts a radical song in Urdu, urging its followers “to adornkafan [the shroud used to clothe corpses] on your head, and spread the mission [of Haq Nawaz] Jhangvi across the world….” Such videos on YouTube are so numerous that it is difficult for any analyst to go through all of them.
In February 2012, Maulana Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, a cleric of the SSP, addressed a conference in the town of Khairpur, where he declared: “A topic about which there is likelihood that shots will be fired, I talk for hours about that topic.” The video of the speech was soon posted on YouTube by thealazeematmedia, one of the accounts associated with LeJ/SSP. In the speech, the cleric stated the SSP’s objectives as: To get Pakistan declared a Sunni state; to bring about the rule of the four righteous Islamic caliphs on the land of Pakistan; to bring about the domination of Islam inside Pakistan; and to defend the companions of Prophet Muhammad not by being the defense lawyer but by reminding the enemy of their reality, i.e. by fighting. The cleric goes on to narrate the sacrifices of SSP leaders, as the event at which the cleric was speaking was meant to recall the role of Allama Sher Ali Haideri, a former SSP leader. Maulana Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi ends his speech in these words: “One who does not know how to die does not how to live.”
In another YouTube video of the conference, Maulana Muhammad Muavia Azam calls for the enforcement of the Khilafat-e-Rashida (the Caliphate of the Righteous Caliphs) in Pakistan, and urges the audience: “Will you be together? Will you [fear] the atom [i.e. the atomic power America], the gun, NATO, America, Iran, kufristan [the world of the infidels]; if one were to fear… then [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar who was described as a terrorist ten years ago, today 10 years later, the atom [i.e. America] has said, the atom has been defeated, those possessing atoms have been defeated, America and its allies have been defeated. And those lions of Prophet Muhammad, dressed in old torn clothes, have won [in Afghanistan]. Ten years ago when starting the bombing [of Afghanistan] America had said that it will eliminate the name [of the Taliban] in two months, and Azam Tariq [the SSP leader] said, ‘O ye who count the days of the Taliban, I will count your days.'”