ISLAMABAD: Maulana Abdul Aziz, the chief cleric of Lal Masjid, made it clear on Sunday that he respects the Islamic State (IS) because of similarity in mission and has no reservations in declaring that he holds the organisation in high regard.
He said that the students of Jamia Hafsa had prepared the Arabic video extolling the IS with his consent and the girls did not commit a crime by doing so.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Aziz said that he is not in favour of approaching the court to clarify that “we are not affiliated with IS.”
He said that there was no shame in declaring support for Daesh which, according to him, was out to enforce the “Islamic system.” The IS, nevertheless, has earned indignation from none other than the top clerics of the Kaaba and the rest of the mainstream Muslim religious scholars.
He said that he disowns the petition filed by Shohada Foundation, an NGO affiliated with the mosque and girls’ seminary, Jamia Hafsa, in the Islamabad High Court. “I don’t know why these boys (Shohada Foundation) are reluctant to tell that we support the organisation (Daesh) which wants to implement Islamic system,” Aziz said.
The Shohada Foundation has no affiliation with Lal Mosque and Jamia Hafsa, Aziz said, disowning the body which is pursuing cases related to the 2007 military operation.
Knowing full well the violent and brutal tactics of the IS, Aziz said Lal Masjid will promote its message. “Though we have no direct link with the leadership of the IS, we have deliberated at this issue and decided to promote the mission and message of Daesh,” he said.
Maulana also revealed that the girls of his seminary wanted to take out a rally in support of the IS carrying banners and placards, but he stopped them from doing so. The girl students did so after losing hope in the country’s political elite which remained silent when they had to suffer in the wake of the military operation against Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, he justified the move.
A video in Arabic was released on November 26, by the Jamia Hafsa students declaring their support for the Islamic State and Baghdadi besides asking the Pakistani militants to join hands with IS fighters. A press statement issued by the Shohada Foundation clarified that “since the courts had failed to impart justice, the students of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid in desperation issued the video addressing Daesh to help them get justice.”
Maulana Aziz said that he has already warned relevant authorities who are contemplating to carry out a search operation to trace out the girls who had prepared the video in support of the Islamic State. “I am warning the authorities to desist from committing another misadventure under the garb of the video which is harmless and only expresses support for Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi and his Islamic State. Authorities will have to face the consequences if an operation is carried out against the students of the Jamia Hafsa”.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2014.