Mullah Omar is an angel-like human: Samiul Haq

Published: September 15, 2013
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Maulana Samiul Haq , a cleric and head of Darul Uloom Haqqania, a seminary and alma mater of several Taliban leaders, talks during an interview with Reuters at his house in Akora Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province September 14, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Maulana Samiul Haq , a cleric and head of Darul Uloom Haqqania, a seminary and alma mater of several Taliban leaders, talks during an interview with Reuters at his house in Akora Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province September 14, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

AKORA KHATTAK: He is known as the Father of the Taliban, a cleric who calls the Taliban’s one-eyed leader an “angel” and runs a seminary described as the University of Jihad.

Bespectacled and soft-spoken, Maulana Samiul Haq is a revered figure in Pakistan and Afghanistan whose views carry enormous weight among the Taliban on both sides of the border.

Tucked away in a dusty town off the main motorway to the Afghan border, his Darul Uloom Haqqania university was the launching pad for the Taliban movement in the 1990s and is still often described as the incubator for radical fighters.

Speaking to Reuters at the sprawling campus near his native town of Akora Khattak, Haq did little to hide his sympathies for the Taliban, a word meaning “students” in Pashto. He said he was sure the Taliban would soon sweep back to power in Afghanistan.

“Give them just one year and they will make the whole of Afghanistan happy,” Haq said. “The whole of Afghanistan will be with them … Once the Americans leave, all of this will happen within a year.”

Despite Haq’s openly pro-Taliban views and connections, his seminary is recognised officially in Pakistan – a symptom of Islamabad’s long-running duality over the Taliban issue.

Haq would not talk about this publicly but he is believed to be close to the security forces – a legacy of an era when Pakistan sponsored movements and supported fighters, including Osama bin Laden, against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

Kabul’s government has long accused Pakistan of playing a double game while publicly condemning extremism – a charge Islamabad fiercely denies.

Back in the 1980s, many young Darul Uloom Haqqania graduates swapped books for guns and drove west along the highway running just outside its iron gates towards Afghanistan, where they joined groups to fight against the Russians.

One of them, Mullah Mohammed Omar, later took advantage of the chaos that followed the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 to found the Taliban movement – a period often recalled with nervousness ahead of next year’s drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan.

Omar is now believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan’s tribal regions on the Afghan border.

Haq’s face brightened as he recalled Omar, one of his bests students, but laughed when asked about his whereabouts.

“He is a devout Muslim, very virtuous. He is hospitable. He is a very simple man, with no princely tastes,” Haq said, alternating between Urdu and Pashto.

“He is very intelligent. He understands politics and is wise to the tricks of outsiders.”

Haq added with conviction: “He is no aggressor. He is an angel-like human being.”

Taliban alma mater

The seminary, founded in 1947, is now one of biggest and most respected Islamic institutions in South Asia. It propagates a hard-line curriculum based on the Deobandi strain of Sunni Islam.

Fenced off from the hustle and bustle of the outside world by high walls and barbed wire, it houses 4,000 male students in its multi-storey concrete buildings.

Haq says he and his seminary have nothing to do with terrorism. He has even offered to mediate between the United States and militants in order to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Haq, who speaks fluent Arabic, said the US ambassador to Pakistan visited him in July to discuss the situation in the region but added that peace was not possible as long as foreign troops were still in Afghanistan.

“As long as they are there, Afghans will have to fight for their freedom,” Haq said. “It’s a war for freedom. It will not stop until outsiders leave.”

The Taliban were initially popular among Afghans after years of Soviet brutality and the ensuing anarchy of feuding warlords. But that quickly changed after they seized power and enforced puritanical restrictions on all spheres of people’s lives.

After years of war there are hopes that the Taliban might be coaxed to the negotiating table or even turned into a political movement with the help of influential mediators such as Haq.

But would the Taliban still listen to him?

“They are my students. In our tradition, a teacher is like a father, like a spiritual leader,” Haq said. “Afghans should be allowed to fight for their freedom. Foreign powers should get out and let them do what they want.”

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Reader Comments (26)

  • maria
    Sep 15, 2013 - 4:01PM

    subhan allah huun farishtay wi kannay ho gaeRecommend

  • blablabli
    Sep 15, 2013 - 4:05PM

    yepp winged angel who travelled faster than light.

    Recommend

  • John
    Sep 15, 2013 - 4:10PM

    Oh really?Sorry we thought otherwise owing to the thousands killed by Taliban.Taliban and Us are just the flip side of a coin and this ‘angle’ like human being is as much responsible for the misery of the Afghans as the United States.
    Its only in Pakistan that people like Samiul Haq can openly express their extreme views and stay untouched,anywhere else he would have been behind bars.

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  • ashar
    Sep 15, 2013 - 4:12PM

    I suggest ET should stop disgracing the personality of Mullah Umer by using bad words for him for he is a leader of people more in numbers than that of Barrak Obama and revered by all because of the noble traits he possess as described by Moulana Sami ul Haq. The world is changing now and we have started having the facts coming out from our own country regarding 9/11 fallacy created by the US under deception or duress. Truth is close to divulge and then everybody will see with his own eyes that who was wrong on which side of the fence. Nobody has therefore the right to disrespect any body who is considered to be the true leader of millions of Muslims of this world.

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  • Mj
    Sep 15, 2013 - 4:30PM

    Who needs enemies when we have politicians like these.

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  • Cacha
    Sep 15, 2013 - 4:35PM

    @blablabli.. So do you think Obama and Co are angles??

    Recommend

  • Murad Malik
    Sep 15, 2013 - 5:01PM

    This dude and his look-alike Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman,a.k.a Maulana Telly Tubby are the real problem with our society. I wana say Nigga(Maulana) plzzzzzz

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  • Parvez
    Sep 15, 2013 - 5:11PM

    I read somewhere that Sami has a wicked sense of humour………..sooooo right.

    Recommend

  • Fiz
    Sep 15, 2013 - 5:16PM

    Praise coming from a third,unconcerned person, is always authentic. We know the connection of Maulana with Mullah, so this should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Recommend

  • Kaleem
    Sep 15, 2013 - 5:43PM

    There are only two angels in this world, Moulana Sami ul haq, and Mullah umer. However, they just made a little mistake, when these godfathers saw their children massacring innocents, they remained silent for God-knows-what reason.Recommend

  • Betel-Q8
    Sep 15, 2013 - 6:15PM

    He is right. An Angel, like Izraeel (Mout Ka Frishta), who is responsible to extract the “Rooh” of muslims.

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  • J T
    Sep 15, 2013 - 7:22PM

    “.. So do you think Obama and Co are angles??”

    @Cacha:
    No, I thought they were more like tangents. Or maybe semi-circles.

    Recommend

  • Shamima
    Sep 15, 2013 - 7:50PM

    If Mullah Omar is an “Angel” what is he doing in the company
    of Maulana Samiul Haq? Isn’t this the same venerable Maulana
    who was caught visiting houses of ill-repute in Islamabad? He has
    the cheek to show his face and make statements about angels?

    Recommend

  • Arifq
    Sep 15, 2013 - 7:53PM

    LOL! Iblis or Satan was also once an angel…

    Recommend

  • Asad Khan
    Sep 15, 2013 - 8:50PM

    For Moulana Sami ( and likes of his) the Mulla Umar is appears to be an angel like person but the World at large is a very diverse & heterogeneous place and there more or less the same number of people who thinks Mulla Umer is just a Mulla of Geographical Location called Afghanistan.

    regards,

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  • RAW is WAR
    Sep 15, 2013 - 9:12PM

    angel it is- if he kills americans. If he kills pakistanis, he is a devil.

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  • csmann
    Sep 15, 2013 - 9:58PM

    A Fallen Angel !!!!

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  • Dervish
    Sep 15, 2013 - 11:06PM

    More like angel of death!

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  • Munis saraiki
    Sep 16, 2013 - 12:19AM

    Plz stop discussing n defending afghani mullah omer… Its so simple he is an angel or devil… V damn care abt dis bt he is afghani n shud go back to his country n also took sami sb wd him to kabul…plz leave our pakistan..

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 16, 2013 - 12:44AM

    He actually meant to say angel-of-death like human.

    Recommend

  • Asif
    Sep 16, 2013 - 12:56AM

    The problem is not with Taliban, we know they are the problem, but the main problem is this Government. Mr. PM which Chapter of the Taliban are you plan to conduct talks, Fata i.e. Swat chapter, Dir, FATA, Kohat, Peshawar, Bara etc.

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  • Np
    Sep 16, 2013 - 10:49AM

    @ashar:
    Mullah Omar is leader of more people than Mullah Omar? How did you reach that conclusion? Do you know the population of US and Afghanistan?

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 16, 2013 - 10:53AM

    @Ashar

    Afghans don’t consider him their leader, the millions you are referring to must be all in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Mir Taqi
    Sep 16, 2013 - 10:56AM

    @ J T .. that’s Hillarious man ….. haahaahaa

    Recommend

  • rafi
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:52PM

    @Kaleem:
    u forgot abt biggest angles on earth bush senior ,bush junior donald rumsfeld, colin powel, obama and there is a very long list dude but obviously u cant see it

    Recommend

  • rafi
    Sep 16, 2013 - 5:56PM

    @Zalmai:
    they wil very soon watch

    Recommend

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