"Death is just an insignificant word for them,"
begins the report in The News of 28 November, 1997 on the annual
gathering of the Mujahidin-e-Taiba. "Killing those who do not share
their set of Islamic values is the only reality. The congregation
was flooded with thousands of people with these beliefs..." "And the
massive gathering of people delivered one message loud and clear,"
the paper reports, "there is no dearth of manpower in Pakistan for
the fanatic forces to indoctrinate. 'If I die fighting, I will be
greeted in heaven by Allah who will smile upon me,' said a 20-year
old mujahid from Okra." The paper reproduces at length the views and
exhortations of "Professor" Saeed who heads the organization which
is conducting the congregation, the Jamaat Dawa-wal-Ishad. He
conveys a simple message, it says : "It was God who had ordered the
establishment of the law of Islam everywhere in the world." He calls
for a jehad, says the paper, for ending the democratic system in
Pakistan and turning it into "a pure Islamic State governed by
strict Shariat laws." At the congregation he rejects democracy,
proclaiming, "the notion of the sovereignty of the people is
un-Islamic -- only Allah is sovereign." [That has been the provision
in each of Pakistan's three Constitutions since the Objectives
Resolution was passed in 1949.] And these notions have been well
internalized by the congregation, the paper reports : "The whole
place was full of signboards with slogans like 'Jamhooriat ka
jawab, grenade and blast." (Our reply to democracy, grenade and
blast). "The Dawa chief said his organization's main interest in
Pakistan waas to pick people and train them to wage jehad in
countries wherever an un-Islamic government was in power," the paper
says. "God has ordained every Muslim to fight until his rule is
established," he declared. "We have no option but to follow God's
As usual the weapons and moral of the participants
strike awe. "The mediamen covering the event were shaken" The News
says, "when a mujahid addressed the gathering from Bosnia and
another from Kashmir via satellite phone. The latest wireless sets
were in abundance, as of course were modern weaponry in the hands of
youngsters." The paper carries and account of a youngster from
Canada who has joined up for the jehad, and has thoroughly
internalized the poison. "I would go to Kashmir as a volunteer but I
have not yet been able to persuade my leaders to let me go," the
paper quotes him as declaring, and adds, "He shares the dream of
martyrdom with thousands of others who attended the annual gathering
of the Mujahidin Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant wing of the group."
"Rehman has no second thoughts about his decision to wage jehad
against those who have enslaved Muslim brothers in the world...
Abdur Rehman agrees with his leader's doctrine that democracy
(sovereignty of the people) is anti-Islamic as it is against the
basic principle of Islam that sovereignty belongs to Allah. He
believes that it is the basic duty of every young Muslim to take up
arms against those who do not believe in the Islamic system. 'We
should fight against those who oppose the establishment of this
system,' he states firmly. Muridke serves both as a headquarters for
Dawa and a training ground for militants destined for aKashmir,
Bosnia, Chechnya and the southern Philippines where Muslim
communities are seeking self-determination. Rehman is ready to fight
anywhere when he is needed. 'I know we are considered terrorists in
the West, but I reject this title. A terrorist is someone who hates
the world. We don't hate the world. I just want to bring about the
system called for by God so that society can be happier', he
In addition to the account of the gathering at
Muridke, the January 1998 issue of Pakistan's carries a
detailed interview with the Amir of the Lashkar Taiba, Mohammed
Khan. "There are Muslim organizations which preach and work on the
missionary level inside and outside Pakistan," the Amir tells the
correspondent, "but they usually steer clear of jehad. However, not
only has the need for jehad always existed, the present conditions
demand it more than ever."
Nor is the Amir at all reticent in naming the
targets of the organization's jehad. He tells the publication,
"Our jehad is confined strictly to non-Muslims, and
particularly Hindus and Jews, the two main enemies of the Muslims.
The Quran too has declared these two groups to be enemies (of
Islam). These two powers are creating problems for Muslims and for
Pakistan. "To my mind the Hindus are what the Quran calls 'mushriks'
(polutheists). This (Hinduism) is the worst form of shirk
(polytheism) in which 30 million gods are worshipped. And from here
shirk has been smuggled to other nations of the world. Hindus are
creating problems for us directly. If God gives us the power we will
enlarge the scope of jehad to include the Jews, who are the worst
danger for the Muslims."
The Amir maintains that jehad is the cure for the
sectarian strife which is tearing Pakistan -- his cure for it, in a
word, is to export the conflict! The correspondent asks the Amir for
his reactions to the charge that organizations such as the Lashkar
have fomented a militancy which has in turn given rise to
sectarianism, violence and crime. As one would expect, the Amir
starts with a conspiracy theory :
"I feel that the opposite is true. For quite some
time a conspiracy has been hatched against the Muslims. Shias and
Sunnis have been made to fight each other, and Sunnis have been
made to fight amongst themselves. A conspiracy has been hatched to
encourage sectarianism, and its ill-effects are there for all to
see. The conspirators did this to prevent Muslims from engaging in
jehad. "The Jews have made this play in Egypt. They have made
those people fight each other who could have fought against
Israel. You find the same thing with the Shia-Sunni conflict. They
(the conspirators) know that if Muslims are united, their wrath
will be directed against the infidels."
Quite apart from everything else, if it really is
the case that "if the Muslims were united, their wrath will be
directed against the infidels," that would in itself constitute a
complete case for fomenting the conspiracy which the Amir accuses
the infidels of having hatched ! Not just that, the Amir prescribes
jehad as the remedy for sectarian violence which is endemic to Islam
! He tells the publication,
"But if you study those people objectively --
those who have been engaged in jehad either in Afghanistan,
Kashmir or elsewhere -- you will find that those who are making
sacrifices have started coming closer together. Those who have
joined jehad have been saved from sectarian conflict. "I see a
large number of people who have left these useless things behind
and are joining jehad in Kashmir. Neither the Milli Yakjehti
Council nor Mr Nawaz Sharif can succeed in putting an end to
sectarianism. The credit goes to jehad in Kashmir."
Indeed, in the Amir's considered view, jehad is the
medicine not just for sectarian violence. It is the way to
kick-start Islamic peoples into the new technologies!
The Amir says,
"In fact, when the Muslims were engaged in jehad,
in the early days of their history, they had a grasp over science
and technology. It was when Muslims gave up jehad that science and
technology also went into the hands of others. This is natural.
The one who possesses power also commands science, the economy and
politics. The Christians won this power after a long time which
began with the Crusades. It is very obvious - the technology which
was centered at the Biatul Hikat in Baghdad has now been
transferred to Europe. Today, if the Muslims really want to regain
their former glory, it is not enough to do a PhD in Europe,
although there is no harm in doing so. But achieving real power is
He is circumspect, but only a bit, about the
relationship of the organization with the intelligence and security
agencies of Pakistan. Asked about it, the Amir says,
"If you wage jehad and that too against countries
and organised armies, you cannot afford to make any mistakes. You
must get help from wherever you can, whether it is from
governments or individuals. Even if the Chinese Government agrees
to help us against India, we should take the offer because, in
order to break a target, you have to gather resources by all
possible means. Despite the problems involved in outside funding,
I feel that we should get help from wherever we can, from our
Government or any other government which can help us against
The Amir is asked next for his views about
democracy. He is explicit as can be :
"Democracy is among the menaces we inherited from
an alien government. These are all useless practices and part of
the system we are fighting against. Many of our brothers feel that
they will be able to establish an Islamic system while working
within this system. They are mistaken. It is not possible to work
within a democracy and establish an Islamic system. This is trash,
and you just dirty your hands dealing with it. If God gives us a
chance we will try to bring in the pure concept of an Islamic
And how will the cadre be prepared for this
overturning? The Amir comes back to his sovereign remedy, jehad
"Pakistan is an ideal place for us to work in. We
enjoy freedom to carry out our work and educational institutions
are also located here. We will prepare mujahideen preachers and an
alternative leadership. And through jehad, God will give this work
success and countries will break. When change comes it will come
when those opposing Islam will be crushed and then comes the time
when you have to take the field."
"By force ?," asks the interviewer. "Yes," says the
Amir, "that is a must."
The issue of The Herald carries a companion report
about what it says is "the most widely circulated religious
publication in the country," the Majla-al-Dawa. The magazine sold
about 5000 copies in 1989, reports The Herald, now it sells around
70,000 copies. At Rs 12 per copy. It is the organ of the
Dawa-al-Irshad. The Herald's account of the mind-set of the editor
and his team, as well as of the contents of the magazine is as
disturbing, as it is predictable.
"'The magazine team, and its editor in particular,"
The Herald says, "has traveled far and wide -- to shrines, temples,
jails and even musical gatherings -- in search of 'satanic'
practices. Once uncovered, these goings-on are written about in
detail." The Herald's account continues,
"The enterprising editor, Amir Hamza, has
traveled as far as Iran to uncover evil practices. During his
travels to that country, he took the daredevil step of visiting
its prisons and published a fascinating report, titled 'From
Iran's jails and dungeons' ... "
In another such story, 'On the Tomb of the
Homosexual Saint', the magazine reports from the annual festival of
Madho Lal Hussain and informs its readers about the 'perverted ways'
of the Saint and his followers. In a similar article on Riaz Gohar
Shahi, another famous pir, the magazine traces his
life-history in an attempt to prove that he was a fraud.
"However, no religious leader has received more
attention from the Majla team than Tahirul Qadri, Chief of the
Tehrik Millhajul Quran, a Barelvi Sunni group. Members of the Dawa
are Ahle Hadith, expounding an austere, Arabic version of
Islam. To them, Minhajul Quran's brand of religion is tainted with
the influence of Hinduism. The Majla team is determined to 'purify'
the Islam practiced in the subcontinent, and target Qadri so that
'those who do not know him may guard against his evil designs, and
those who know him can nip the evil in the bud.'
"Not only does Majla take a hard-line against such
'evil designs', it is also severely critical of mysticism in Islam
and considers this movement to be a deviation from the path of the
Nor are the concerns of the magazine limited to
merely religious observances. The editors are in the forefront of
campaigns to exorcise day to day life of the Devil and his
conspiracies. The Herald mentions a special crusade which is
glorified in a series of articles entitled, 'television murders'.
"Here the television set is evil personified, and the ritual
'murder' of television sets at the hands of youngmen, mostly fresh
converts to the Lashkar Taiba, are reported," The Herald informs us.
"One such story reads : 'All the brothers and sisters were watching
a film on the VCR when Nadim entered the room. His religious
ghairat (pride) was stirred and, taking a brick in his
hand, he broke the television set into pieces with two or three
blows.' Where entire families are in agreement over the danger of
television, TV sets are smashed ceremoniously on a stage at Lashkar
And, of course, there are statements, exhortations,
wills of "martyrs" who have "sacrificed their lives" for liberating
Kashmir ! The Herald reproduces a typical letter from a "martyr"
"My dear father, mother, brothers and sisters,
"If you really love me, you should bear the news of my martyrdom
with courage and be thankful to God. I request my mother and
sisters to observe purdah, shun sin, say their prayers and pray to
God to accept my martyrdom. I request my father to send my
brothers for (military) training and also to educate others about
jehad. It is an excellent path which leads straight to paradise.
"I request you to break your television set soon after reading my
will so that our house is free from the influence of Satan, and
God is pleased with us all. I request you again to be thankful to
God for my martyrdom. You should know that your son has died the
death of a martyr. He did not die while drinking alcohol, watching
a movie or television. Rather, he died fighting against the
enemies of God, and is alive in Paradise forever.
"You should not pay heed to those who say that
these people (the Lashkar Taiba) get our children killed in
Kashmir. You should read the Quran and Hadith and see how God has
ordered jehad and what great gifts have been set aside for
martyrs. The Prophet of God has said, 'On the Day of Judgment,
every martyr will be allowed to take 70 persons to Paradise.' It
is a big gift. Do pray for me.
(Signed) Abu Marsad"
How convenient! Not only has the man made himself
available for a "cause" which the Amir has selected, he has made it
all the easier for the Amir to acquire replacements by making his
closest relatives feel guilty if they fail to supply the remaining
brothers to the Lashkar. He has advocated the very points that the
Lashkar is urging -- right down to destroying the TV set! And he has
so thoughtfully absolved the Lashkar from all criticism.
Notice too how very helpful are the accounts of
Paradise and of the gifts that Allah has so thoughtfully provided in
the hereafter for those who make themselves available to
organizations like the Lashkar! But to revert to our immediate
concern, Kashmir :
These accounts of the Lashkar and of the Dawa is
typical. The Dawa is but one of a host of organizations which are
dedicated to exterminating the conspiracies of Kafirs, in particular
to "liberating" Kashmir from India.
That activity is now not just a religious mission
for these organizations -- it is the honey-pot : it is the device
which gets them money from Government, from the laity, from Islamic
Governments and organizations abroad.
Their recruits are murdering people in Kashmir. And
we are desisting from even giving information about the groups and
about their proclaimed design to our own