JuD includes religious lessons with flood relief

Published: October 26, 2011
Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE


The two thousand people sheltering in tents are grateful to the young men who rescued them as the waters came. Now they live at the relief camps and are fed twice a day – a daily dose of food peppered liberally with religious teachings.

The camps in focus were set up by the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FeF) — the philanthropy wing of the Jamaatud Dawa.

“They come and remind us again and again to pray namaz,” said Mazhar*, who fled Malkani and ended up at the Badin flood camp.

Namaz parho, Quran parho, safai karo!” exclaimed one of the women, mimicking a female instructor at the camp. Say your prayers, read the Quran and keep clean.

“We are not forced to pray though,” Mazhar hastens to add. But there is plenty of encouragement. Families have been given prayer mats and copies of the Quran.

‘Educating’ the displaced

At the Golarchi relief camp, coordinator Mohammad Ashraf spoke at length about the classes in Islamic syllabus that are being imparted to the 60 families who reside there, 18 of them belonging to the Hindu faith.

“The biggest problem here,” he said, “is the lack of education.”

When asked to elaborate, Ashraf let forth. “There were old, bearded Muslim men who did not know how to recite the Kalima!”

“Now, Masha Allah, there is no one who does not. We have taught them the namaz, as well as the required prayers to recite before and after a meal.”

“Even the Hindus sit in the session because we tell them about cleanliness and also, it is consistent in all faiths to say God’s name before starting a meal.”

He evaded the question of whether camp residents are mandated to attend these sessions on religious education, which are held after Maghrib prayers for men and during the day for children.

However, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed told The Express Tribune, “We do not forcibly make children go to jihad or pray namaz. This is propaganda against us. You can go in and ask anyone at the camp. Firstly, you cannot ‘force’ anyone, and even if we did, no one would then come to our camps.”

‘Equal opportunities for all’

For a religious organisation which spends its time railing against the US and India, Saeed and other FeF members were quick to emphasise its ‘equal’ approach in rehabilitating flood victims of all faiths.

Saeed, who addressed hundreds of flood victims at Badin, said that the FeF had not differentiated because this was a tragedy and showed how ‘united’ the country was in this crisis.

Even though the Badin relief camp residents said there were no Hindu families at the camp – “This is a Muslim camp, the Hindus are across the road” – in Golarchi, there were 18 families and one woman insisted she had been treated well.

FeF workers also said they did not know why there had been discrimination in providing relief goods to Hindu flood victims. “In one case,” JuD’s public relations officer Nadeem said, “We had Hindu traders who would give us food and supplies directly because they trusted our distribution system.”

But, at the same time, Ashraf highlighted the case of Karhio Ghanhwar, a city where over 200 Hindu families had not been provided any aid by the government.

Even though the spotlight has been firmly trained on the JuD since its alleged role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Saeed believes that the organisation’s exoneration from the courts has helped improve its standing in Pakistan. However, the organisation’s role in relief work – including in the 2005 earthquake, 2008 IDPs crisis and the floods in 2010 – have prompted scrutiny, particularly from the foreign press. But does radicalisation happen when disaster strikes and FeF steps into action, or is it a long-term process?

Analyst Mosharraf Zaidi says it is the latter. “The thing that needs to be examined is radical organisations providing services that the government provides. So a non-state actor becomes a viable alternative to the state. There is a lot of chest-thumping and handwringing over this, but can the state writ be maintained when non-state actors have greater credibility than the state?”

(Read: Militant charities versus US aid)

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Jamaatud Dawa is a banned outfit.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • faraz
    Oct 26, 2011 - 6:14AM

    His charity work should be appreciated; poor peasants drowned in floods wont mind who is providing them food


  • Jameel
    Oct 26, 2011 - 6:18AM

    An equal opportunity extremism organisation. “We blow them all…without any discrimination”.


  • bewildered
    Oct 26, 2011 - 6:43AM

    Is it just me or is the tribune really undergoing a shift towards a more pluralistic style of reporting? Quite surprisingly, some light is being shed on brighter side of the ‘Mullah’s’; a subject which previously was portrayed through a one-sided contemptuous point of view.


  • abdul moiz
    Oct 26, 2011 - 7:06AM

    this is how they gain new recruits,they take advantage of the vulnerabilities of in trouble people and then in return for providing them food,shelter and medicines they make these poor people attend brainwashing sessions.look at the woman in this article herself,this is how indoctrination works,provide the basic human neccessities but at the same time attach your extremist religious ideology with it so the vulnerable people in their state of desperation get converted to your ideology easily.


  • raja
    Oct 26, 2011 - 7:45AM

    @saba what is your conclusion


  • anybodyagree
    Oct 26, 2011 - 7:56AM

    Wolf in sheep skin . . .!!!!


  • rizwan
    Oct 26, 2011 - 8:29AM

    Now keeping the ground reality in mind, negative propaganda against them must end now—– it has been practice in our society that some individuals speaks against them for individual gains.


  • Jameel
    Oct 26, 2011 - 8:43AM

    “We had Hindu traders who would give
    us food and supplies directly because
    they trusted our distribution system.”

    Did they have much choice?


  • Oct 26, 2011 - 8:45AM

    RSS too helps out during major catastrophes in India, like in the case of Tsunami and Earthquake in Gujrat in early 2000s.

    Now, should they too be ‘let off the hook’ as they are performing a Religious and a humanitarian duty? One good deed doesn’t excuse past mistakes. That good deed is dangerous even more if it is designed to engineer future mistakes. I have a feeling these camps will be used to collect recruits for Jihad against poor India.


  • Oct 26, 2011 - 9:02AM

    Ok else should come to teach them prayer, the heart of religion and faith; religious education and serve them in their camps. Fact cannot be denied that poor masses lacks knowledge of religion, they have nothing to wear, eat, care for their health, educate their children to enable them live as civilised citizens, to decide what is good and what is wrong. Those who have reservations should jointly come forth to help these poor in all respect.


  • Ali
    Oct 26, 2011 - 9:59AM

    @BruteForce: It is just a charity work no need to scare.


  • MarkH
    Oct 26, 2011 - 10:25AM

    Keeping the ground realities in mind, banned groups need to find support somehow or they would no longer be groups. That’s hard to pull off if you don’t get on your target group’s good side. It’s even harder when you have gotten negative publicity that was deserved. The crappy image brings the need to step up the image repairing at an increased pace.
    More simply put: The worse they look, the nicer they’ll get.
    It’s strategy. One that works fairly well, too. There are even bonuses that come with the circumstances. While being nice when they are being condemned by a governing body it brings people closer to them and further away from others because they start questioning the validity of what gets said about those groups, combined with them looking like that group will provide them with the things their current alignment won’t. Things they are desperate for. Which is an easy requirement to meet when it comes to people hit by tragedy and the government is busy looking every which way but the victim’s of said tragedy. That results in making their trust and loyalty shift sides. You’re a good example of how well it works.
    It’s taking advantage of the weak, slow and vulnerable. Many of the most insane and depraved murderers in history have something in common in how they work. They make their victims lower their guard by feigning kindness.


  • Waqas
    Oct 26, 2011 - 10:38AM

    FeF is a welfare organizationa and has provided extremely good and quick service to everyone in all calamities. Its that some extremists like jameel and bruteforce cannot fathom this fact. They only listen to what western media tells them, go there and see for urself. NO ONE is forced to do anything, not even on namaz which is a must for all muslims. Atleast you should have the guts to accept whatever good they are doing!


  • Noor
    Oct 26, 2011 - 11:06AM

    Please don’t be CIA Spokespersons; who all out of above critical people went out to help earthquake affected people in 2005 or flood affectees 2010?

    Positive efforts must be appreciated.

    And, if there was any negative activities of an organization, how could have courts acquitted them?


  • AF
    Oct 26, 2011 - 11:11AM

    They are one of the major charity units in Pakistan and it should be appreciated. I admit that religious extremism should be restrained from preaching their ideology but to keep them from their charity work is not the right way for it. They should be thanked for their great job but at same time a proper and strong check is mandatory during their activities.Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Oct 26, 2011 - 11:14AM

    Religious Charity organizations had helped greatly during kashmir Earthquake and then the flood victims in whole of country
    People should think in their own interest about a positive change while giving mandate in the next general election.Recommend

  • kamran
    Oct 26, 2011 - 12:04PM

    the Christian and Ahmedi charities did a lot during the Earthquake and then the floods. much more than all the other charities combined. Even the charity Muslim hands was mostly funded by DFID of the British government. However in Pakistan acknowledgement is mostly in the name of religion. Many heroes have thus been denied their rightful place.
    please acknowledge the others too who do charity irrespective of creed and donot add religious lesoonsRecommend

  • Oct 26, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Jamat Ud Dawa is not reported to a single crime by any of their member against any fellow Pakistani (Muslim or else). During their relief activities in 2005 Earth Quake, 2010 Floods and recent floods in Sindh they have helped people without considering caste or religion.

    This good work should not be maligned with assumptions, If anyone has some proof, he should present their proof. Jamat Ud Dawa is operating around 150 schools all over Pakistan teaching English, maths, science and computer too. They have thousands of free dispensaries all over Pakistan where so many poor people benefit. They have constructed more than 6000 Masjids in Pakistan. Millions of helpless and displaced people found refuge and food in their camps.

    It is a religious party which does not take part in elections and has no role in dirty politics. Rather they gather and unite all people of repute and respect in issues concerning our Nation. They never speak against any of the political personality, neither are involved in sectarianism.

    Again i would invite my friends to look at them with neutral mind and don’t force assumptions. Recommend

  • Oct 26, 2011 - 12:31PM

    Religious people sure have become a punching bag for people who use this forum to vent out. There are good people and bad people in every class of the society.. is that too hard to see? I’m sick of conservatives bashing liberals and liberals doing the very same! Learn to appreciate.. that’s the only way forward.


  • Syed Shoaib Ahsan
    Oct 26, 2011 - 12:57PM

    If the people over here have so much of an issue with FeF doing what it does, then they are all welcome to start their own system to provide relief. Until and unless each one of you can do that, its better to shut up than to talk trash.


  • Parvez
    Oct 26, 2011 - 1:29PM

    When the presence of the State is non-existant then the vacuum will be filled by organisations good or bad with their own agendas.


  • Lobe
    Oct 26, 2011 - 1:34PM

    @BruteForce: No one has proof of RSS involving in any crime get your facts correct.


  • Ishtiaq Ahmed
    Oct 26, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Anyone who mixes religion with charitable works, specially in times of natural calamities, is not trustworthy.


  • Light
    Oct 26, 2011 - 3:13PM

    Mash ALLAh we have reached the point where reminding about namaz and cleanliness has also become extremisim :) Thanks to roshan khayals…
    btw to all the critcs cum analysts cum strategist cum know-all people.
    how many of you actually visited the effected areas for helping those poor people?
    or how many of you take part in any activity meant for betterment of these effected people?
    by giving some hundred rupees you think you have played a very BIG role but you havnt sir…you did nothing but criticize :)


  • anonymous
    Oct 26, 2011 - 3:41PM

    If JUD do something good, they are taking advantage of vulnerabilities. Why don’t u guys go out there and help them. I havn’t heared that JUD Exploded the people or Killed anyone. They are simply helping.

    FEF Was the first to help them, even the army came after them.

    @jameel and @bruteforce, If you have serious issues with FEF then you better go there and help people. How much you have contributed for the suffered once? You don’t know the ground realities, you watch FOX, CNN, BBC more than doing Research by yourself.

    People who don’t think take Orders from others. Start Thinking and be +ve.


  • antanu g
    Oct 26, 2011 - 4:06PM

    excuse me…are u realy an indian? dont you go throegh the affirs in india? it is called escapism from truth. stop this holier than thou mentality.and one more thing….if there is no proof ( as u claim ) against RSS then the court in Pak has also not found any proof against JuD. It means it is also innocent?come to your senses before posting comments


  • Asif
    Oct 26, 2011 - 4:43PM

    No doubt, the role of Jamaat ud Daawa for flood effectees is excellent.JuD is a religious NGO and have served the people of Pakistan without any discrimination of faith.Therefore when UN banned this organization the first protest against the decision came from the Christians and Hindus community.But as it is a Muslim and religious party, and is the most supporter of Kashmiri’s struggle to get freedom from India ,it is alleged as a terrorist by India, America and other those who did not like to see the Muslims as a power.Pakistan government should support such organization in the interest of strengthen and prosperous Pakistan.


  • Nadir Shah
    Oct 26, 2011 - 5:05PM

    Sory to say but it is reality that they are helping a lot specially in flood victims and in rural areas. Let them do their work and play your part as well to help flood victims because corrupt government is doing except corruption. Recommend

  • Oct 26, 2011 - 5:09PM

    @antanu g and @Lobe:

    I was merely speaking a language Pakistanis can understand.

    I do not like the politics of RSS but a strong Right-Wing is a good thing. But, their wings need to be clipped from time to time, which is happening.


  • Oct 26, 2011 - 5:13PM

    Jud is doing great job. The helped the people in Massive earth quake and now they are helping the flood victims. No body should criticise on them. Jud has no relation with terrorrism.


  • Noor
    Oct 26, 2011 - 6:04PM

    @Ishtiaq Ahmed:
    If you do good to earn good reputation, don’t expect reward from Allah.

    If you intend doing good to please Allah, He will reward you, even if you erroneously do something wrong while doing it.


  • faraz
    Oct 26, 2011 - 6:15PM

    @Niaz Ahmed

    Not LeT but many break away factions of LeT are involved in terrorism inside Pakistan


  • Ali Tanoli,
    Oct 26, 2011 - 7:07PM

    One of my friend told me he went to interior sindh and even in punjab with tableeghi jamat
    and what he saw peoples dont know any thing about islam and they were muslims i feel
    sorry man we need some kind of state level theology colleges who can train peoples for
    this reliegous duty.


  • Usman
    Oct 26, 2011 - 8:40PM

    The fact that “JuD includes religious lessons with flood relief” is enough proof that they are working with an agenda to find new recruits. We dont need explanations about how they are doing this just for charity. Come on. Hafiz Saeed ?Recommend

  • Aurangzeb
    Oct 26, 2011 - 8:47PM

    is that bad saba???Recommend

  • Usman
    Oct 26, 2011 - 8:49PM

    And to see all these defenders of JuD, FEF and Hafiz Saeed on ET just disgusts me. What do they mean about going to see realities on the ground? Its these defenders of faith who need to go and see the reality on the ground. I have been there and tell you what. I wasnt surprised at what I saw. Hindus with there children dying only being given food after having them “Convert to Islam”. Real soldiers of Islam these guys


  • Abdul Rehman Gilani
    Oct 26, 2011 - 9:55PM

    Stop being phobic of religion. Your comments are the ones which will disgust any sane person.

    JUD is doing an excellent job. Fact is, that by preaching people to offer prayer or recite the Noble Quran, its instilling in them the importance of following Islam, and its a good thing.Recommend

  • Usman
    Oct 27, 2011 - 2:05AM

    @Abdul Rehman Gilani.

    May I ask you for your opinion on Hafiz Saeed? Does he disgust you? or does he inspire you?


  • Sindhvoice
    Oct 27, 2011 - 2:48AM

    Sindh is so far safe from any sort of religious extremism and fundamentalism due to strong sufi beliefs but this is very disturbing news item to learn that how extremism is actually being engineered to brainwash poor and needy flood affectees.The JuD enjoys support from powerful establishment.We request those concerned quarters to please stop this religious frenzy mission in Sindh.Pakistan cant afford more extremists and brainwashed fundamentalists.The progressive people of Pakistan and civil society should also KEEP close eye on JuD’s mission and activities in Sindh.


  • Abdul Rehman Gilani
    Oct 27, 2011 - 12:33PM


    A traditional black or white question wont justify your argument dear. I have no inspiration from him, and neither am I disgusted by him like the phobic-of-religion liberals. But I have the audacity to praise this man’s work.

    Fact is that when secular NGOs spread in this country and spread their perverse message, why doesnt any “liberal” shriek? Why the drama of “intolerance” whenever an Islamist charity is rightly propagating the message of Islam, and providing food and shelter?

    Seriously, the liberals should stop being myopic.

    And by the way Usman, since your critical of JUD’s role in the floods and earthquake, tell me what did YOU do for the poor when calamities befell them Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 30, 2011 - 3:36PM

    Why can’t you accept that they are doing something beneficial for the people. When some thing positive is done which helps the people you should support it.


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