Ahead of Ashura: Residents on procession route move to ‘safer’ areas

Published: November 23, 2012
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Saviour saint’s mazar, three others shut down due to security threats. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

Saviour saint’s mazar, three others shut down due to security threats. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

Saviour saint’s mazar, three others shut down due to security threats. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE The traffic police have marked out routes for the Muharram processions. A total of 10,000 policemen, 5,000 Rangers personnel and numerous boy scouts will be on guard. MAP COURTESY: TRAFFIC POLICE SECURITY BRANCH
HYDERABAD / KARACHI: 

As security forces cordoned off the entire MA Jinnah Road ahead of Ashura, the residents of the buildings along the main road started relocating to safer areas on Thursday.

The police had already directed the residents to stay inside their homes and refrain from watching the procession from their windows and rooftops. To avoid further inconvenience, the residents decided it would be better to leave their homes this weekend.

“It is better to leave this area than stay under house-arrest for the next three days,” said Ali Imran, who lives on MA Jinnah Road. “I doubt the police and Rangers will be able to stop any terrorist activity,” he added.

Another resident Yaqoob and his family are also afraid of the security threats this Ashura. “Every year, the situation goes from bad to worse,” he said. “They torched shops after the Ashura bomb blasts and no one was able to stop the miscreants. What guarantee is there that these miscreants will not set fire to us this time?”

For their part, the law enforcement agencies have prepared extensive security plans for Ashura. Over 900 closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) have been installed at 144 spots on MA Jinnah Road to monitor the main procession. Security cameras have also been installed on the police and Rangers vans. The law enforcement agencies will also install mobile phone jammers along the procession route.

MA Jinnah Road has been declared a high security zone during Muharram and will be closed for traffic until Sunday, Muharram 10. All political and religious organisations have also been banned from setting up aid camps while vehicles without a security pass or stickers will not be allowed.

Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s mazar closed

The shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi was closed for visitors on Thursday due to threats of a terrorist attack. The road leading up to the shrine was also blocked by barriers manned by the traffic police. The shrine will remain closed till Sunday.

According to Sindh Auqaf department minister Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto, Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine was closed after police got some intelligence about a possible attack. Another official added that Misri Shah and Alam Shah Bukhari shrines have also been closed.

SHO Agha Shamshad confirmed that the shrine was closed after the police received threats of a possible attack but he said the police are unaware what kind of attack is likely. There are reports that terrorists can hit the shrine with an explosive-laden vehicle, a planted device or carry out a suicide attack.

A police official said that National Highway and Super Highway are also likely to be closed to hamper possible movement of terrorists.

Security arrangements in Hyderabad

During Ashura in Hyderabad, Qadam Gah Mola Ali, Mehfil-e-Hussaini, Gul Shah, Karbala Dadan Shah, Imambargah Abul Fazal, Saadat Colony, Station Road and Hazara Colony neighbourhoods are the main centre of activity. Around 100 CCTV cameras have been installed along the procession routes, said SP Headquarters Amjad Shaikh.

On Muharram 10, the police is planning to close a dozen streets that intersect the main procession route on Station Road. There will be only one entry point at Karbala Dadan Shah and an exit point near the Bacha Khan chowk. “We want to ensure that no one can enter the procession without a thorough body check,” said SSP Pir Farid Jan Sarhandi.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Kanwal
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:18AM

    Ok. so now it has come to the shrines. Great. Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine was such a favorite haunt for karachiites looking for some peace of soul. What an irony.
    But a bravo for the people who will dare all this and will still be out on streets on 9th and 10th moharram. Right now, all pakistanis could borrow some courage from them.

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  • anon
    Nov 23, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Good luck to us Pakistani’s – may this weekend go without any untoward incident and may the lives of people be safe. Ameen

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  • Hassan
    Nov 23, 2012 - 9:28AM

    Looks like its a dare show with thousands of people knowingly risking their lives.Recommend

  • HH
    Nov 23, 2012 - 9:50AM

    @Hassan:
    You won’t underend this my friend. you cant understand our love for the martyrs of Karbala..

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  • kanwal
    Nov 23, 2012 - 10:21AM

    @hassan
    May this country begins to show such dare in other social aspects too. We are a nation that comes out only for religion. We need dareshows against corruption, illiteracy and terrorism. Although the shia community is daring terrorism next few days bcoz after all this community is going to come out knowingly. but its just them. But we need ten times as much work as a united nation to fight injustice and corruption.

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  • Now and Forever
    Nov 23, 2012 - 10:27AM

    @Hassan
    Socrates said at his trial:
    Someone will say: And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong – acting the part of a good man or of a bad. Whereas, according to your view, the heroes who fell at Troy were not good for much, and the son of Thetis above all, who altogether despised danger in comparison with disgrace; and when his goddess mother said to him, in his eagerness to slay Hector, that if he avenged his companion Patroclus, and slew Hector, he would die himself – “Fate,” as she said, “waits upon you next after Hector”; he, hearing this, utterly despised danger and death, and instead of fearing them, feared rather to live in dishonor, and not to avenge his friend. “Let me die next,” he replies, “and be avenged of my enemy, rather than abide here by the beaked ships, a scorn and a burden of the earth.” Had Achilles any thought of death and danger? For wherever a man’s place is, whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander, there he ought to remain in the hour of danger; he should not think of death or of anything, but of disgrace. And this, O men of Athens, is a true saying.
    (Plato’s Apology)

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  • wah ja
    Nov 23, 2012 - 10:29AM

    @Hassan:
    I am sure you will be hiding in a hole somewhere, eyes and ears shut, blaming it all on foreign hands…

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  • Muhammad
    Nov 23, 2012 - 11:01AM

    Very Biased Coverage, you have published a story on Fictitious grounds, with the intent to malign Ashura Procession.

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  • shariq
    Nov 23, 2012 - 11:41AM

    This is time for Shia’s community to rethink about their way of practicing Islam. Road blocking, market closure, school closures, use of loudspeakers everything possible to displease the local community will definitely strengthen the hands of the terrorists. Their practices are however not even followed anywhere in the world of Muslim’s / Shia’s world.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 23, 2012 - 11:59AM

    There are number of people in Karachi who are praying that no untoward incident should happen any where in Pakistan and more particularly in Karachi so that peace should prevail in the country. Aameen.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Nov 23, 2012 - 12:12PM

    @HH: You can only mourn for three days. Your a guest for only three days. Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. When he mourned for his son while laying him in the grave the Sabih’s could only see tears rolling down his cheeks. If we love over Prophet PBUH then we must emulate him in all walks of life.
    You cannot be a true Muslim if you do not Love Allah & his Prophet PBUH more than your kith & Kin.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Nov 23, 2012 - 12:13PM

    It is a pity that others have to suffer due to these Processions.

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  • Syed
    Nov 23, 2012 - 12:50PM

    @shariq. I am afraid I can’t express my feelings even if I remain civilized ET won’t publish it. All I will say is jaloos of Imam Hussain a.s. is taking place for 1400 years. Only countries its not happening are Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries, same countries that spread terror specially in Pakistan. Also these r national holidays and no one suffer in 2 days.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:23PM

    @Syed: You did not read the Heading of the Article in Fine Print.

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  • Ali Zaid
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:28PM

    @ Retd Uncle Sam
    Its a pity having spent your life in the military and not understanding the true spirit of Islam and the role of Karbala in saving the religion of Allah.
    Its a pity that only Shiites mourn the tragic event of Karbala; land where the grandson of Muhammad(SAWW) stood against the oppression, against the tyrant ruler. Hussain’s sacrifice is not only for the Shiites, its a lesson for the whole humanity.
    Had all the Muslims understood the sacrifices made by Prophet’s household to save Islam, they would not be in such a turmoil today!
    These processions separates us from those residents of Kufa, Basra, Medina & Mecca who rejected Hussain’s call of uprising and prefer hiding in their homes “in peace”… . . but later the Yazidi forces demolished the holy cities of Medina & Mecca killed all those who thought they will sit in peace.
    We, the Shiites dare death as its preached in Quran and practiced by our lords Muhammad, Ali, Hassan, Hussain and the Mahdi. We will knowingly run towards Karbala-e-Karachi on Ashura as Hussain knowingly went to Karbala.
    We will sacrifice our lives in the name of Muhammad’s grandson and will save the message of Karbala because we believe our lives belong to Imam Hussain.
    May Allah give you Hidayath.

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  • Athish
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:35PM

    @shariq. It is way to have Muharram Procession, shia people are doing this for 1400 years. It is not new. If some people are afraid to open their shops, market and their business then it is their fault not on whom who are arranging or participating in procession. It is the task of government to safe guard their property. This Jaloos is very peaceful activity, these shia people are not even allowed to do or involve anything that against their beliefs. I am myself is Hindu, but it is very sorry to say you people don’t have any tolerance towards each other. If you think that you will be disturb by these activities then it is better to take your day off and have a trip to Thailand or some other place.

    PLEASE DON’T MAKE ANY COMMENTS OR REMARKS THAT INCREASE ILL-HEART BETWEEN US.

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  • Hassan A.
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:36PM

    @shariq It’s not only the shias who part of this procession. Even ppl from the ahl-e-sunnat also take part in it. Secondly these practises are followed every where in the world except for saudi arabia and few of these arab countries. Pls stop being an ignorant. It’s a pity that you have to suffer but it’s all because of the security lapses in the country. And the terrorists
    who attack these processions are also muslims. So blame them!

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  • Athish
    Nov 23, 2012 - 2:45PM

    @Ali Zaid. This Retd Uncle Sam will not understand.. he is working on ignorant policy. But i really appreciate your effort to explain it all. Thanks

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  • Muhammad
    Nov 23, 2012 - 4:50PM

    @ Retd Uncle Sam

    The Reason You and people like you are getting disturbed by shias and processions, is that You were fed on Petro-Dollars

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  • I.H Kazmi
    Nov 23, 2012 - 5:07PM

    @ Lt Col (Retd) Sir, it really is a pity to get that sort of remarks from you. Reason being that at least you of all others must be conversant with the efforts and courage it takes to speak against the evil. Now, the point is , this all has been happening from last 1400 or so years, and that is the only reason that there still is mass awareness on the sufferings and the sacrifice Hussain(a.s)’s family offered for the divine cause of saving Islam and to unveil the monstrous reality of so called pseudo muslims behind the pious façade. Every year, all over the world sermons/ narrations and memory of the Karbala episode is highlighted not only to display attachment to prodigy of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) but also to make it clear to all dictators/ usurpers that no matter how strong or resourceful they may get, the final and everlasting victory is and has to be of Haq over Batil. please refrain from seeding such ignorous claims without any substantiation. May Allah look upon us with favor on the day of judgement for showing our attachment with HIS loved ones, Ameen.

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  • Secularist Muslim
    Nov 23, 2012 - 6:02PM

    Our liberty and right to free movement will be held hostage by these so-called mourners following pagan rituals. Imam Hussain taught bravery and determination in times of adversity and oppression. Hussain never advocated ritualization in his name. His mission was to break the fear of the corrupt influentials in the hearts of common people. We should learn from his life in an objective and practical manner so as to revolutionize our world for the better of all mankind.

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Nov 23, 2012 - 6:10PM

    @I.H Kazmi: Don’t forget to Fast on the 9th & 10th of Muharram. This is what the Prophet SAW advised us to do. With fasting and prayers add solemnity.

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  • Secularist Muslim
    Nov 23, 2012 - 6:18PM

    Our liberty and right to free movement will be held hostage by these so-called mourners following pagan rituals. Imam Hussain taught bravery and determination in times of adversity and oppression. Hussain never advocated ritualization in his name. His mission was to break the fear of the corrupt influentials in the hearts of common people. We should learn from his life in an objective and practical manner so as to revolutionize our world for the better of all mankind.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Nov 23, 2012 - 7:21PM

    Security cameras for what..
    In any case, the miscreants are freed. Weather its an ashura procession or eid millad un Nabi SAWW.
    If i belong to shia community and i damage property with my face on the CCTV, i am still given a pardon considering my feelings were hurt. I can damage property or burn someone to death over this. Its all justified..
    I can even loot the shops and i would be judged innocent..

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  • Kanwal
    Nov 23, 2012 - 7:48PM

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd) @ Shariq

    Why should not the whole of country come out on the street to show solidarity with a persecuted minority of this country? I am sure thats what the Prophet (pbuh) expect. go and show solidarity with oppressed, no matter how different they think compared to you.
    how about this for a change?

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  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    Nov 23, 2012 - 9:26PM

    @Kanwal: Muharram is for retrospection,Fasting on the 9th & 10th . Piety & Prayers.

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  • Nov 23, 2012 - 10:16PM

    @shariq:
    There could certainly be better management in Pak. However, it is carried out in other parts of the world, including the West. But let’s not kid ourselves, even in a majority Shia country like Iraq, the local community and pilgrims are targeted. The other regional countries are Sunni hegemonies with anti-Shia prejudices, though in a few there is tolerance and better control and management. If the local community is this intolerant that they would need to strengthen the hand of terrorists, then there’s really a greater need for an ideological rethink on their part on the insane justification of violence.

    Why is it the issue of loudspeakers, which is on every Masjid and used in most other functions in Pak, is dreaded for this only?

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  • Nov 23, 2012 - 10:22PM

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd):

    It is a pity that others have to suffer due to these Processions.

    Its a pity that the mourners, as well as the rest of Pakistan, are killed and bombed by Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremists, or maybe in your case on the TTP, ‘foreign elements’.

    But apparently the ‘nuisance’ presence of a minority function is the greater suffering for prejudiced folks than widespread extremism and terrorism. Unfortunate where the priorities’ lie.

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  • Nov 23, 2012 - 11:02PM

    @Secularist Muslim:

    ‘So called mourners’? ‘Pagan rituals’? You certainly do seem to adopt the prejudiced, judgemental religious right Wahhabi narrative and contempt. Just claiming to be ‘secularist’ does not necessarily mean you may not hold anti-minority or anti-Shia views. They agree with you on Imam Hussain but differ from your Sunni beliefs, believe Islam is chock full of rituals and would like to commemorate that bravery, which apparently you don’t.

    I may not agree with some practices, and like to see an improvement in movement, however, to me the current largest threat to liberty and free movements in Pakistan is not held hostage by the minorities’ pluralism and right to religious freedom, but the ideological Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni Islamist extremists who want to only impose their bigoted hegemonic beliefs through threats and violence.

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  • kanwal
    Nov 24, 2012 - 12:19AM

    @Lt. col…….
    Thats not what shia seems to think. As long as they are non violent, i dont mimd the procession at all. In UK, the processions they take out change quite big routes, and make important tube stations exceptionally busy. No one bothers. On christmas, you cant travel anywhere unless you have a car bcoz tube is shut that day. When students protest in tens of thousands agaimst austerity measures the city is jammed shut.
    Yet for a few days in my country, a huge minority cant take out their processions bcoz some of the public gets inconvenienced, despite saying they also respect moharram? If it were not dor your carefully cultivated strategic assets Mr Colonel, the whole country’s business could have gotten a huge boost bcoz of just moharram processsions. But some geniuses like you created monsters which have taken all the country hostage. Pls keep your opinions to urself. We have confined enough Ahmadis, hindus, christians already. These daring people come out and worship, so be it. You can take the days off to your farmhouse etc. We would nt miss you.

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  • Atish
    Nov 24, 2012 - 1:16AM

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam. Good now you are teaching us what is right and what is wrong.. why to Fast on 10 Muharram??? Prophit SAW was not alive when Incedent of Karbala took place, how fasting is the advised by Profit SAW at that time? Illogical things that you are telling us.If you have better answer then please enlighten us so we can learn otherwise it is better to keep your mouth shut. Second thing indeed thses are the days of Retrospection we have to learn why this tragic incedent of Karbala took place. We are the generation of new time, we are not ignorant like you sir.. we will learn and will spread the message of islam. The message which was tried to be buried by Yazeed.. i am hindu but have better knowledge than you coz i am not ignorant.

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  • Kashif
    Nov 24, 2012 - 2:21AM

    It is not fair you create problems for local residents on the name of religion. There may be some one is very sick or some one is pregnant. All they need care or visit to doctor. Why they get house arrest for this religion ceremony. Our religion Islam not teach us to destroy other s life for practicing it. we should have to opt some other way that not bother people s life!!

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  • Nov 24, 2012 - 5:41AM

    “Every year, the situation goes from bad to worse,” he said. “They torched shops after the Ashura bomb blasts and no one was able to stop the miscreants. What guarantee is there that these miscreants will not set fire to us this time?”

    Just analysing Yaqoob’s comments in the article above shows just how incredibly ingrained the prejudice and anti-Shia bigotry is. Not once are the extremists or terrorists themselves (who have more times frequently attacked all Pakistanis, especially Shias, than there’s been recent and rare retaliatory mobs) referred to as miscreants or such or condemned at all, nor any concerns of the victims of the processions.

    @Kashif:

    The reasons there’s been unfair tightening conditions is due to the threat extremists that worsen the security situation every year. Perhaps if these were sincerely tackled instead of denying religious rights for minorities, freer movements could be organized and accommodated respectfully.Recommend

  • Secularist Muslim
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:05PM

    @ bigsaf :- it is so-called Muslims like yourself who have reduced Islam from a revolutionary progressive universal movement to a set of sectarianized and ritualized rote-learnt practices. Shame on people like you who stand against progressive Muslims. We will not surrender to your wishy-washy sweet talk. People like yourself have always failed miserably since time immemorial in their futile and ridiculous attempt to defeat reason and logic. Your so-called freedom ends at the tip of my nose. We do not subscribe to any Sunni or Shia religion. For us Quran Alone is enough.

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  • Secularist Muslim
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:07PM

    @ bigsaf :- You may presently be able to lockdown the whole city with your so-called devout processions, but you can never stop the inevitable victory of the march of reason and progress.

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  • Secularist Muslim
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:10PM

    @ bigsaf :- there can never be any justification strong enough on any basis whatsoever to lock down a big metropolis like Karachi by blockading its major arteries and hampering the daily lives of thousands of its residents who unfortunately happen to reside adjacent to the so-called route of this so-called procession.

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  • Nov 26, 2012 - 10:50PM

    @Secularist Muslim:

    Religious minority rights and freedom is progressive. A progressive nation like Canada secures organized processions in Toronto, without discriminating ‘Is it Christian to allow?’. Will you ban the Hajj because of ritualization? Odd that my ‘Muslim-ness’ is judged by a ‘secularist’, and folks like me (Shia sect) are the downfall of Islam but militant terrorists get a pass. I want a secular Pak, with religious cultural pluralism. You don’t, hypocritically based on religious sectarian beliefs rather than nationalist secularism.

    ‘Quran is enough’ is a repeated claim by Wahhabi inclined conservatives despite historical analysis, scholar research differing from such simplistic view. Your hyperbolic ‘march to reason and progress’ is nothing more than your own narrow ideological interpretation. Such rhetoric fails against rational appeal because civil discourse counters biased and bad arguments. You hide behind the progressive label to mask a right-leaning Sunni background. Prejudice and bigotry is obvious, as your contradictory comments prove. Not ashamed in calling it. I don’t justify Karachi’s lockdown, but you ignore the tightening conditions due to attacks of extremists/terrorists. I’ve said there should be better organization/security, for freer movement for everyone, while still having a right to a procession, despite your regressive opposition, and could discuss it maturely but your ire, vitriol, contempt and intolerance for the minority is too thick to civilly contemplate that.

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  • Secularist Muslim
    Nov 27, 2012 - 5:16PM

    @ bigsaf :- The world will not remember your indignation and illogical blabber. The world only stands with freedom and progressivism. That is why narrow-minded people like yourself will always be ignored and left behind. The forward march towards reason and logic cannot be stopped. Too late whiner boy.

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  • Nov 28, 2012 - 12:36AM

    @Secularist Muslim:

    Such arrogant self-delusion to assume you think for the ‘world’. Wasn’t making an epic global broadcast, just this forum showing how bad you’ve been stumped.

    Parroted hyperbole rhetoric of a (backward) ‘march’, which I can only assume is channelling a Nazi like euphemism of your support for Taliban and sectarian extremists’ march, proves your inept inability to counter with any actual logic or rational arguments. You can’t refute your true regressive hypocritical religious bigotry, and can only repeat misleading slogans and resort to immature uneducated juvenile trollish antics of ad hominem personal attacks.

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  • Dec 4, 2012 - 6:49PM

    Most likely God wishes for american based on just a few drastically wrong buyers until assembly right, to make sure that weight training once and for all meet the person, you will get experience to choose to be pleased.Recommend

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