06/08/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN - SAUDI ARABIA
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A negotiator between the government and Red Mosque: Imam of Mecca

Abdul Rehman Al-Sudais, first among the Imam’s from Mecca’s Great Mosque yesterday met the leaders of Islamabad’s Red Mosque, to whom he expressed his solidarity for their “righteous fight” to islamify Pakistan.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – A mediator has come forth in attempts to end the long tug of war between the Pakistani government and the capital’s “Red Mosque”: the leading imam from Mecca’s Great Mosque, Abdul Rehman Al-Sudais, who has offered his “cooperation to overcome the remaining obstacles between the Pakistani government and the madrassa headed by the Mosque”.

 

The religious leader met last May 6th with a delegation from Lal Masjid [an extremist Mosque in Islamabad, which preaches in support of the violent introduction of Sharia law] with whom he spoke for over 3 hours.  Maulana Adul Rasheed Ghazi, one of the leaders of the controversial place of worship said: “We have great respect for him and we welcome his efforts. We briefed him about our plans and demands. He was very positive and wished us all the best. We asked him to use his influence on the government for implementation of Islamic laws in line with Saudi Arabia”.

 

For his part, continued Ghazi, the mediator expressed his support of the project, because “He agreed that the enforcement of Shari`ah is the prime responsibility of an Islamic government, and if it fails to do that then the people can demand for that”.

 

Islamabad has clashed with red mosque, which heads the infamous Jamia Hafsa madrassa, over its persistent requests that the government further “islamify” Pakistan.  The leaders of the Islamic religious institute have repeatedly declared themselves “ready to lay down their lives to have sharia enforced in country, if necessary by violence”.

 

These are no empty threats: March last, female students from the madrassa attacked what they claimed was a brothel in the Pakistani capital and held two women hostage, accusing them of being the owners.  The two women were released only after having signed a document in which they admitted to “having behaved in a non-Islamic way”.  

In a second episode, the Mosque leaders asked for a fatwa against moderate Islam, “the principal cause of obscenity in the country” and threatened the government: “Put our law into action, or we will do it ourselves by every means available to us”.

 

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