You must understand," says Maulana Sami ul-Haq, "that Pakistan and Islam are synonymous." The principal of Darul Uloom Haqqania, a seminary in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), is a tall and jovial man. He grabs my hand as he takes me round the seminary. Maulana ul-Haq laughs when I ask his views on jihad. "It is the duty of all Muslims to support those groups fighting against oppression," he says.
The Haqqania is one of the largest madrasas in Pakistan. It produces about 3,000 graduates, most from exceptionally poor backgrounds, every year. The walls of the student dormitory are decorated with tanks and Kalashnikovs. A group of students, all with black beards, white turbans and grey dresses, surrounds me. They are curious and extremely polite. We chat under the watchful eye of two officers from Pakistan's intelligence services. What would they do after they graduate, I ask. "Serve Islam," they reply in unison. "We will dedicate our lives to jihad."
Pakistan is reverberating with the call of jihad. For more than two months, the capital, Islamabad, has been held hostage by a group of burqa-clad women, armed with sticks and shouting: "Al-jihad, al-jihad.
And Pakistan already has the nuclear bomb...
About the Jihadi Taliban women of Pakistan:
The ninjas. The burqa brigade. The women in black. For some years now I've been hearing such terms thrown around with disdain by "burqa-unfriendly" sections of Pakistani society to describe the women who swathe themselves entirely in black. The terms are disparaging, but until recently they were a joke, not invested with the property of fear invoked by the ninjas' male counterparts: the beards, the fundos, the jihadis. In the past few weeks, all that has changed.
The first sign of trouble occurred in January when the female students of Islamabad's Jamia Hafsa madrasa occupied a children's library to protest against the demolition of 80 mosques encroaching on public land. Rather than resorting to its usual brute-force tactics, the government sent in the minister for religious affairs to promise that those mosques already demolished would be rebuilt.
Then, in March, dozens of girls from Jamia Hafsa kidnapped three women and a baby from a house they claimed was a brothel. Next they kidnapped two policemen. Newspaper front pages were splashed with pictures of the ninjas chasing away plain-clothes policemen while wielding long sticks. They have also taken to patrolling the bazaars, threatening the owners of DVD and CD stores, which they claim spread pornography and vice. Every few days the papers now carry pictures of DVD bonfires.
The girls of Jamia Hafsa have their male counterparts at the adjoining Jamia Fareedia madrasa for men. But "Jamia Fareedia" has not entered Pakistan's vocabulary in the way "Jamia Hafsa" has, and the part that the male students play in their campaign of "virtue" has gone compa ratively unremarked on, though they, too, were present at the kidnappings and are part of the intimidation of video store owners. In fact, the femaleness of the female students seems to be causing almost as much consternation as the decision by the brothers who run the two madrasas to impose a parallel sharia system of justice within their premises and their warnings of suicide attacks if the government doesn't also impose sharia law.
The gendered nature of the commentary about the Jamia Hafsa students cuts across many sections of society - from the radio DJ who, tongue firmly in cheek, declared the theme of his show "girl power - in honour of the ladies of Jamia Hafsa", to the highly respected journalist deploying the phrase "chicks with sticks", to the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the offshoot of the banned militant party Lashkar-e-Toiba) opposing the students' actions on the grounds that it is un-Islamic for women to take a leadership position, to General Musharraf dismissing the vigilantes as "misguided women" - which seems to suggest that they wouldn't or couldn't behave as they were doing if not for someone else (presumably male) guiding their actions. Musharraf has also used gender as an excuse for not taking action against their flagrant violations of the law. "We respect women," he intoned with great sincerity, put ting aside the fact that women are being harassed and kidnapped by the JH students.
Source: New Statesman - "Misguided women
They have even threatened with beginning a campaign of suicide attacks. Sex equality is not that, at least for me...
Yesterday, there was another suicide attack in Pakistan, where 28 people were killed. The suicide bomber aimed at the Pakistan’s interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao (right, the Interior Minister appears on TV just after the attack), and his son. Neither of them were killed, but suffered only little cuts and bruises.
Also in Le Monde.
More about delicacy with pre-Islamic and non-Islamic art:
Some 35,000 petroglyphs located in Pakistan's Indus River area will soon be flooded by a giant dam. An archeologist from Heidelberg is trying to save as much as he can before encroaching modernity destroys the remote area's cultural history.” -- from this articleRight, "The symbol of a great kingdom: The depiction of a mighty capricorn originates from the 6th century BC. Persian stone carving artists left the image behind on a cliff".
Right, "This large rock found at Hodur West features two Buddhas next to a shrine".
But I think the best of them is this one:
"Memento mori: "Remember You Are Mortal," reads this inscription, which is written in Brahmi, the Sanscrit script".
The experts consider that the destruction of these stones would be similar to the destruction of the Afghan Buddhas by the Talibans some years ago.
All photos from Der Spiegel Online and Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften.
More from Jihad Watch: Pakistan bans play for ridiculing burka.
"The veil has long been part of local culture and nobody is allowed to make fun of these values," Minister for Culture Ghazi Gulab Jamal said.
The satirical play Burqa Vaganza was staged this month by Ajoka Theatre at the Arts Council in the eastern city of Lahore, known as the country's cultural capital.
Islamist women lawmakers raised the issue in the lower house, saying that the play was against the "Koranic injunctions on the veil."That is, ISLAMIST WOMEN, such us the ones who attacked three women accusing them of having a brothel some days ago...
[...]Predictably, religious conservative Pakistanis did not find it funny, going as far as to describe the play as blasphemous, a crime in Pakistan that can carry a death sentence.
"They have committed blasphemy against the Prophet (Mohammad)," Razia Aziz, a female lawmaker from the Islamist opposition alliance, told the National Assembly.
But if what you have read is not sufficient, here comes another fact: Video shows 12-year-old beheading man.
KILI FAQIRAN, Pakistan - The boy with the knife looks barely 12. In a high-pitched voice, he denounces the bound, blindfolded man before him as an American spy. Then he hacks off the captive's head to cries of "God is great!" and hoists it in triumph by the hair.
A video circulating in Pakistan records the grisly death of Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani militant accused of betraying a top Taliban official who was killed in a December airstrike in Afghanistan.
An Associated Press reporter confirmed Nabi's identity by visiting his family in Kili Faqiran, their remote village in southwestern Pakistan.
The video, which was obtained by AP Television News in the border city of Peshawar on Tuesday, appears authentic and is unprecedented in jihadist propaganda because of the youth of the executioner.
Captions mention Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's current top commander in southern Afghanistan, although he does not appear in the video. The soundtrack features songs praising Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and "Sheikh Osama" — an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, who is suspected of hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The footage shows Nabi making what is described as a confession, being blindfolded with a checkered scarf.
"He is an American spy. Those who do this kind of thing will get this kind of fate," says his baby-faced executioner, who is not identified.
A continuous 2 1/2-minute shot then shows the victim lying on his side on a patch of rubble-strewn ground. A man holds Nabi by his beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage military jacket and oversized white sneakers, cuts into the throat. Other men and boys call out "Allahu akbar!" — "God is great!" — as blood spurts from the wound.
The film, overlain with jihadi songs, then shows the boy hacking and slashing at the man's neck until the head is severed.
Small Dead Animals and The Belmont Club:
This danger, more than five years later, has assumed menacing proportions. The rapid escalation of violence orchestrated by Islamist extremists across Pakistan in recent times and cumulative efforts to further radicalize the country have now led Musharraf's military regime to revisit the idea of madrassa (seminary) reforms.
[...] Speaking on the status of education in Pakistan, Education Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi disclosed, at the Civil Service Academy in Lahore in the first week of April, that there were 5,459 madrassas in Punjab province; 2,843 in NWFP; 1,935 in Sindh; 1,193 in the Northern Areas; 769 in Balochistan; 586 in "Azad" (Pakistan-occupied) Kashmir; 135 in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas; and 77 in the capital, Islamabad.
A majority of the extremist seminaries that preach and support militant violence follow the Deobandi sect and are associated with the Wafaq-ul-Madaris, the main confederacy of seminaries. According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), "The two factions of the Deobandi political parties, JUI-Fazlur Rehman [Jamaat-e-Ulema-Islam faction headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman] and JUI-Samiul Haq, run over 65% of all madrassas in Pakistan." Rehman and Haq are widely considered to be the primary backers of the Taliban.
Musharraf has also announced that NATO and he himself are losing the war against the Talibans. Hmm, encouraging eh???
China-Pakistan agree to work jointly for peace and stability in the region.
The definition of Islamic democracy: Pakistani cleric, Maulana Abu Aziz:
The cleric also criticised democracy, saying it was a flawed system. "Democracy is nothing, but counting of heads. It cannot differentiate between good and bad people, as in this system the vote of a devout Muslim equals the vote of a frail Muslim," he said.Left: students chanting anti-American slogans while burning thousands of DVDs, videos and music CDs at the Lal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan.
h/t Don Singleton, who commenting the photo, says:
Of course these peace loving students paid for all of those DVDs, videos, and music. Didn't they?So the conclusion can be extracted from The Belmont Club:
despite promises to clean up its madrassas, Pakistan's 13,000 Muslim seminaries, with an enrollment of 1.5 million, have opposed all efforts at reform and now threatens to add to the homegrown Islamist threat Musharraf described as "eating us from within"
An interesting video on the Madrassas' problem:
Sent to Open Trackbacks: The Right Nation, Dumb Ox and Woman Honor thyself.