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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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