Skip to comments.Top cleric captured in a burqa
Posted on 07/05/2007 5:19:10 AM PDT by Valin
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Security forces besieging a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital captured its top cleric Wednesday as he tried to sneak out of the complex in a womans burqa, and more than 1,000 of his followers surrendered.
But heavy gunfire raged into the night, and it was unclear whether his capture would lead other hard-liners to give up the fight at the mosque. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf deployed the army to subdue the militants holed up at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, whose clerics have boldly challenged the government for months with a drive to impose a Taliban-style version of Islamic law in Islamabad.
The peaceful arrest of the mosques prayer leader, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was a coup for the government. The firebrand Aziz has been a vociferous opponent of Musharraf and threatened suicide attacks to defend the mosque. His thousands of male students have been at the forefront of anti-government and anti-U.S. rallies.
Tensions exploded into a daylong battle Tuesday between security forces and militant students, some heavily armed and masked. Officials said 16 people died, including militants, security officers and bystanders. Mosque leaders put the death toll of students at 20. The government ordered the militants to lay down their arms and surrender by Wednesday morning as it positioned armored vehicles and helicopters around the mosque in a show of strength. A security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, said Aziz was captured when he tried to get away disguised as a woman ,wearing a full-length black burqa, and a female police officer tried to search him. The officer began shouting This is not a woman, the official said, prompting male officers to seize Aziz. The suspect later turned out to be the mosques chief cleric, the official said. An AP Television News cameraman saw plainclothes police bundling the gray-bearded cleric into the back of a car, which sped away.
Javed Iqbal Cheeman, an Interior Ministry official, said Azizs wife, the principal of the mosques religious school, was also arrested. The entire operation will end in further success, and we will be able to give you and the nation more good news, Deputy Interior Minister Zafar Iqbal Warriach said. He said the whereabouts of the mosques deputy leader, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who is Azizs brother, was unclear. Ghazi said earlier Wednesday that we will continue to defend ourselves.
Cheema said at least 1,100 people surrendered during the day, with some of the women in tears. All women and children will be granted amnesty, but males involved in killings and the top mosque leaders will face legal action, Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim said. Cheema claimed that not many more people were left inside the mosque complex.
One who decided to give up, 15-year-old Maryam Qayyeum, said those who stayed in the seminary only want martyrdom. They are happy, she said. They dont want to go home. Qayyeum said mosque leaders were not trying to stop students from giving up. But her mother, who had come to take her home, disputed that They are making speeches. They want to incite them, she said of the leaders.
Over the past six months, the Red Mosque clerics have challenged the government by sending students to kidnap alleged prostitutes and police in an anti-vice campaign. The bloodshed has added to a sense of crisis in Pakistan, where Musharraf a major ally of President Bush already faces emboldened militants near the Afghan border and a democracy movement triggered by his botched attempt to fire the countrys chief justice. The mosque siege sparked street protests Tuesday in the cities of Lahore and Quetta organized by radical religious parties.
On Wednesday, officials said a suicide car bomber rammed a vehicle into a Pakistan army convoy near the Afghan border, killing five soldiers and five civilians. In northwestern Pakistan, unidentified assailants fired a rocket at a police station, killing one officer and wounding four, and an explosive killed four people and injured two district officials.
It was not known if the incidents were linked to the mosque crisis.
Fresh gunfire at Pakistan mosque
From correspondents in Islamabad
July 05, 2007
SEVERAL blasts were heard and heavy gunfire erupted today at a besieged mosque in the Pakistani capital as armoured personnel carriers moved towards the building.
Students from the Red Mosque and security forces were engaged in some of the most intense fighting since the crisis began on Tuesday, they said.
Local television reported that commandos had also encircled the compound in the heart of Islamabad. Cobra helicopter gunships made repeated low passes overhead.
Just curious—is there no Koranic prohibition against cross-dressing?
Pak Islamic scholars flay radical Lal Masjid clerics
Islamabad, July 05: Islamic scholars in Pakistan have flayed the radical clerics of the Lal Masjid for using innocent students for their ulterior “objectives” and defaming Islam by trying to impose their own brand of religion.
The religious scholars rejected a claim made by Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was caught trying to sneak out wearing a burqa when hundreds of students holed up inside the radical Lal Masjid complex surrendered to the police yesterday, that he had an indication from god to launch jihad and impose Sharia in the country.
Such claims had no religious standings and they could not be used to legitimise “illegal and un-Islamic” actions, Maulana Javed Ahmad Ghamidi was quoted telling private channel Geo News.
“Only the Quran, Sunnah and Hadith are the sources to understand and interpret Islam,” he said, adding that the Lal Masjid mullahs were misguiding people and using innocent students for their “objectives”.
Maulana Rafi Usmai said the Lal Masjid clerics were not serving Islam and instead they were defaming it. He said Azizs claim had no importance, the Daily Times reported.
Majority of local clerics in Karachi were against the attitude and activities of the Jamia Hafsa and the Lal Masjid administration as they believed that their “unwise activities” were resulting in the defamation of Islam and madrassas in Pakistan.
“People like Ghazi have rendered irreparable loss to madaris as their activities would not only put seminaries under more internal and external pressures but would also create dissent among common people,” Mufti Abuzar of Karachi was quoted as saying by the news daily.
Let some of those goat-lovers see how it feels to be forced to wear an oppressive garment.
The latest siege started just over an hour ago ---
Nor cowardice it appears.
But I think generally they are too scared and slightly doubt their own arguments against violence, given their sacred text. Thus it is easier to hate the West.
Thanks for posting, Valin. Trickle down annihilation works!
Too bad this didn't happen in NYC...
"Hey, Lacey, get a load of this! What's this perp packin'?"
I think I am beginning to understand why radical Muslim men are so insistent that we accept the burqa — they need it more than the women.
“it’s a man, man”
nice leadership. “Achmed, you keep a post in the minaret, Mohamed, no , the other one, you watch the back door, shoot anyone who comes in. use the vest after the last bullet is fired. Me, I’ll slip into something more comfortable, and um, hey is that Elvis?
Such a manly man.........to hid in womens clothes.
Yes, such valor, such bravery for the jihad. When it comes time to be martyred, put on women’s clothing and run away. No virgins for you, Aziz.
mooohommed probably dug cross-dressing too. Easy way to sneak up on his fav camel.
An image taken from the Pakistan Television shows on Thursday, July 5, 2007, the chief cleric of radical Lal mosque Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was arrested by police, Wednesday in Islamabad, Pakistan, removing his veil. The chief cleric of a radical mosque was arrested and more than 1,000 of his followers surrendered Wednesday as troops backed by armored vehicles and helicopters tightened their siege of the complex, officials said. Female police officers searching women fleeing the mosque's seminary discovered Maulana Abdul Aziz under a black head-to-toe veil, said Khalid Pervez, the city's top administrator. (AP Photo/PTV)
Chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque Maulana Abdul Aziz is seen in Islamabad Thursday, July 5, 2007 in this image made from TV. The captured leader of the radical mosque conceded Thursday that the nearly 1,000 followers still inside the government-besieged complex will not be able to hold out for much longer, indicating the standoff would end without violence. (AP Photo/Pakistan Television)
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