Thursday, July 19, 2007

Aftermath of Lal Masjid (Red Mosqe)

Every day in the newspaper now we're hearing about a wake of bombings following the seige of Lal Masjid (the Red Mosque) last week. During this time, we've been without internet access or TV, so I've just now started to piece together exactly what has happened.
Lal Masjid is a madrassa (religious school) that has a history of contact with Islamic militants and whose leaders openly oppose the current government.

A profile of the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) can be seen here:

Surprisingly, the women who study at the seminary there (Jamia Hafsa) are also known to pick up batons and Kalishnovs when they deem need be. Prior to the recent seige, the women, covered from head to toe in burkas, took over a nearby children's library and raided a hostel (dormitory). For six months the female students, along with the male militants, attempted to create somewhat of ther own autonomous area under the jurisprudence of Islamic shariah law.

Before the Government laid seige to the mosque on July 4, about 400 women walked out of the mosque complex. By July 10th the government was ready to break and root out the militants, doing whatever it would take to capture or kill the leaders. Over 1000 people left the mosque during the week long seige. Some were students, some hostages. Some were policemen who had been kidnapped by the militants.

The government troops broke in, and by the time they did so only one woman was left inside. She was the mother of the two major militant leaders. Over 100 died inside the mosque complex during the government raid. The deaths have consumed many other with anger all over the country, as many people believe that negociations could have gone on longer and that it is not right for Muslims to kill fellow Muslims.

The thing that I can't believe is, Lal Masjid is in the center of Islamabad, right near the center of Intelligence and Security.

You can see more about the raid on Lal Masjid here:

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