Monday, February 20, 2006

Pakistan: cartoons and further 'conspiracies' 

Pakistan - Feb. 16, 2006:
LAHORE: Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has announced full support to seminaries in resisting the government’s move to expel foreign students and change in the syllabus.

Addressing a convention of various religious seminaries organised by the Ittehadul Tanzimat-e-Madaris-e-Deeniya (ITMD) at Jamia Naeemia Garhi Shahu on Wednesday, MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmad, MMA Secretary General Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Samiul Haq, Allama Sajid Naqvi, Mufti Rafi Osmani, Dr Sarfraz Naeemi and others warned the government of strong agitation if it continued supporting Western ‘conspiracies’ against Islam.

Qazi Hussain urged clerics to launch a movement from every mosque and madrassa against the Western ‘conspiracies’ and to oust their ‘agents’ from power in the Muslim states.

He said that the nation should take to the streets in support of Shan-e-Mustafa rallies and help the March 3 strike call succeed. He added that Muslim organisations from Morocco to Indonesia had assured him of their support to the strike call.

Maulana Fazl accused President Musharraf of implementing Western agenda in Pakistan in the name of enlightened moderation. He said that General Musharraf should expel Western diplomats and sever relations to placate Muslims. He urged people to maintain peace and unity in their ranks, adding that they would not allow any foreign madrassa student to be expelled.

Maulana Samiul Haq said that expelling foreign seminary students was the decision of the Pakistani government and the Commonwealth secretary had clearly stated that the West did not want any such thing from Pakistan.

A communiqué issued on the occasion condemned the rulers for trying to expel foreign students and controlling the syllabi to please western regimes. It demanded the movement against blasphemy should continue till the western regimes involved in it tender unconditional apology and extradite the culprits for punishment.

It demanded complete severance of all ties with those countries and a boycott of their products. It also demanded the government give due acknowledgement to the degrees of seminaries’ boards and award them status of examination boards such as the Aga Khan board. It also condemned the government for secularising the country and the education system, terming it against the ideology, identity and values of Pakistan.

4 Daily Times / Pakistan

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal vs. Musharraf:
ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) on Monday vowed to continue protesting against cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) until the European newspapers that published the caricatures apologise and pledge not to print such material in future.


All opposition parties agree that General Pervez Musharraf is an unconstitutional president and should resign immediately, [MMA Secretary General Maulana Fazlur] Rehman said, describing the president as “the lone representative of the West and US in the region”.

Replying to a question, MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmed said the protest in Islamabad on Sunday proved that the government could not suppress the voice of the people. He said the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) was also part of the protest movement and decisions had been taken in consultation with ARD leaders. He predicted that the government would change in March, but did not say how this would happen.

4 Daily Times, Pakistan

Supporters of the MMA regard it as a legitimate "Islamic" political party, whereas opposers of the MMA criticise it, claiming it to be run by corrupt clerics and poor politicians. Opposers also dispute the idea that the MMA is "Islamic". They reject the idea that clerics have special status and are able to implement Islam on the people, and that "Islamic laws" are man-made rather than divine. Supporters, however, argue that clerics or ulema are the right people to implement orthodox Islam and the system of Islam in Pakistan.

Many Pakistanis are suspicious of the MMA, as the MMA, by virtue of its nature as a professedly religious Islamist party, openly states it desires the establishment of a theocracy, and does not believe in the Western notion of a democracy - although, that is not to say that they do not believe in democracy, just not in the western notion of what a democracy is.

BACKTRACK - Saturday, May 31, 2003:
Give us Sharia or quit, MMA tells Musharraf
ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) on Friday offered to back down on demands that President Pervez Musharraf step down and undergo an election process, if he agreed to leave the army and make Islamic law (Sharia) supreme. ~ Daily Times, Pakistan

20 Feb 2006 - PAKISTAN:
Mob violence heightens insecurity among minorities


Over the past 25 years, since harsh 'Islamisation' policies were put in place in the 1980s under the late military dictator, General Ziaul Haq, thousands of non-Muslims have fled the country. Hindus, based mainly in the southern Sindh province, have moved in large numbers across to India, while Christians migrated to Canada, Australia, the USA, Germany and other countries across the world. The exodus meant the community lost some of its most skilled and highly educated members.

Non-Muslims make up around three percent of Pakistan's population of 149 million. Of these, two percent are Hindus, concentrated in Sindh, and around one percent Christians, the largest number based in the Punjab province. Other communities present in the country include an estimated 286,000 Ahmadis, a group that was declared 'non-Muslim' by the Pakistani government in 1974, as well as smaller numbers of Sikhs and Parsis (the ancient pre-Islamic religion of Iran that survives there in isolated areas and, more prosperously, in India).

All suffer discrimination in various forms, with the Ahmadis, who face the most acute persecution, prevented under specific laws from openly practicing or preaching their religion. Other legislation, such as the controversial blasphemy law, has also been used to victimise members of minority communities.

Meanwhile, the current tense situation, with religious leaders announcing further rallies and protests in the days ahead, brings with it specific threats to minority groups. The sense of fear is running high – and as Father Iqbal put it: "We can only pray that the ongoing violence is not turned towards us and hope that peace will be restored soon, before things get any worse."



Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they'd heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more into the elements from which it sprang. Out of that whirlwind no voice spoke and the pilgrim lying in his broken bones may cry out and in his anguish he may rage, but rage at what? And if the dried and blackened shell of him is found among the sands by travelers to come yet who can discover the engine of his ruin? ~ Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian

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