Karachi-based Madaris distance themselves from Lal Masjid issue
Karachi, July 5(The News): Thousands of Madressa students in Karachi remained calm and peaceful on
Wednesday over the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa issue - which was quite unexpected
by their administrators and Ulema - despite having sympathies with their
besieged colleagues and strong resentment against the government's
Madressa students, on a number of occasions in the past, such
as when the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, had reacted violently by taking to
streets and torching vehicles and public property. However, no such reaction was
witnessed in regards to the Lal Masjid issue.
"Unlike the past, when
Ulema had to request their students to remain peaceful, this time there was no
panic among them in Karachi although several precautionary measures were taken
by Madaris' administrations to keep students under control over the Lal Masjid
issue," an administrator of a local Madressa said.
Majlis Sautul Islam (Voice of Islam) Pakistan, which represents the Madaris
belonging to the Deobandi school of thought in Karachi, did cancel the final of
a debate competition, scheduled for Thursday. The event, which was expected to
be attended by thousands of Madressa students as well as prominent Ulema, was
cancelled to avoid any untoward incident.
"We cancelled our programme in
which around 6,000 to 7,000 Madaris students were expected to participate due to
fears that some unscrupulous elements could take the advantage of our gathering
for expressing their anguish over government action against Lal Masjid," Mufti
Abuzar, chief of Majlis Sautul Islam, claimed.
According to him, a
majority of local Ulema, as well as students, were against the attitude
activities of Jamia Hafsa and the Lal Masjid administration as they
believed that their "unwise activities" were resulting in the defamation
of Islam and Madressas in Pakistan.
"They had no interaction with Jamia
Hafsa, Lal Masjid or Jamia Faridia students. Due to the rejection of the
policies of Maulana Abdur Rasheed Ghazi and Maulana Abdul Aziz by the eminent
Ulema, local Madaris students never paid any heed to the appeals of the Lal
Masjid administration," Mufti Abuzar claimed.
Mufti Abuzar said that a
vast majority of Ulema and their students were against use of force, violence or
any other means for implementing their agenda of an Islamic system of governance
and also against laws that could destabilise society.
"People like Ghazi
have rendered irreparable loss to Madaris as their activities would not only put
seminaries under more internal and external pressures but would also create
dissent among common people," he deplored.
Another administrator of a
local Maressah, who did not want to be named, said the backlash of the
government operation against Lal Masjid was possible in other parts of the
country but not in Karachi or anywhere else in Sindh.
"There would also
be no violence in Peshawar or other areas where JUI-F has
However, he feared that if a violent operation was carried
out with unexpected expected casualties, it could spark violence in a number of
areas including Lahore, North and South Waziristan, Northern Areas and even in
"Their (Lal Masjid) followers and influence is more in the
areas of Waziristan, Northern Areas and in places of Azad Kashmir. They can
cause trouble in those areas" he informed.
According to him, the Lal
Masjid issue could also put Madaris into immense financial trouble as people
would avoid donating fearing that their money could be used for violent
activities, similar to those of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid students.
Madressa administrator deplored the fact that the hectic efforts made by Madaris
to improve their image, especially after September 11, 2001, were ruined by the
Ghazi brothers. He said that Madaris were now in the same position as they were
in the aftermath of 9/11.
"Our hearts are full of sorrow for those who
were killed in the Lal Masjid stand off but they did not sacrifice their lives
for Islam in anyway.
They were wrong. We pray for the resolution of the
issue without any further bloodshed," he observed.