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» 07/27/2007
PAKISTAN
Fresh clashes between police and fundamentalists in the Red Mosque
by Qaiser Felix
Police have intervened to quash fundamentalists who took control of the mosque this morning chasing out the government-appointed imam and expelling journalists. A suicide bomber blew himself up in an Islamabad hotel killing at least 12 people.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Violence has returned to Islamabad’s red mosque.  Police have intervened with force after a group of fundamentalists took control again of the complex, chasing out the government-appointed imam and expelling journalists. Clashes around the mosque have caused “some victims”.  At least a dozen people however have been confirmed dead in a suicide bomb attack on a hotel in the city centre.

The building reopened just this morning after the military stormed it on July 12 in an operation that ended in a bloodbath that left 102 people dead and many in police custody.

Now the mosque compound is back in fundamentalist hands and they will not tolerate outside religious leaders.

After throwing out journalists damaging their cameras, they called for the immediate release and reinstatement of Maulana Abdul Aziz, the former prayer leader who was arrested by the police on July 12 and is now in detention. For them he is the only legitimate mosque leader, the only one who can lead Friday prayers.

Inside the mosque people continued chanting slogans in favour of “Jihad” and against the government.

After taking over the mosque, the government tried to change its name, but the fundamentalists have scribbled ‘Lal Masjid’ or ‘Red Mosque’ all over its walls, hurling Islamic flags on its roof.

The police stated that because today was the day of prayer it would not intervene, but later it was decided that the building should be retaken, which was done.

At present it is also unclear whether those who occupied the mosque were former students or supporters of Abdul Aziz.

The same thing happened to members of the security forces.

Police sources reported that some 400 people initially entered the building but their number is now steadily growing.

Some leaders of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of six religious-political parties, tried to enter the mosque but were turned away violently.


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See also
07/04/2007 PAKISTAN
Lal Masjid: the mosque that wants to talebanise the country (overview)
07/05/2007 PAKISTAN
‘Red Mosque’ chief urges students to surrender
05/06/2009 PAKISTAN
Government does nothing to stop violence against Pakistan’s minorities
by Qaiser Felix
07/12/2007 PAKISTAN
Operation against ‘Red Mosque’ ends, 83 ‘officially’ dead
07/07/2008 PAKISTAN
Suicide attack against Red Mosque targets policemen
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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