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    Jihad International

    Inside Jihad International
    A three-day assembly celebrates militant Islam
    By ANTHONY DAVIS Muridke

    The faithful, the patriotic and the curious have journeyed from across Pakistan. Many came in the hundreds of gaudily painted buses parked in fields beside the Grand Trunk Road that traverses the fertile Punjab plain. On foot, thousands are surging down muddy side roads, watched by police and bearded men in camouflage-colored garb. Their destination, near the village of Muridke, 25 km from Lahore, is a vast tent-city. They have come for a three-day celebration of militant Islam, from Nov. 3 to 5.

    This 200,000-strong gathering is the annual congregation of the Lashkar e Taiba (Army of the Pious), arguably Pakistan's largest organization committed to the defense of Islam through jihad (holy war). This year's assembly, the twelfth, "is nearly half as big again as last year's," says Abdullah Muntazer, a senior Lashkar official. "Next year we expect even more."

    Lashkar is the militant wing of the Markaz al-Dawa wal Irshad (Center for Preaching and Guidance), which runs a local Islamic university. Though the Army has been recruiting since the late 1980s, its rise to prominence has been more recent. With funds from Saudi Arabia and local donations, Lashkar has 2,200 units across Pakistan, military training camps in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, and thousands of active members and many more sympathizers. It also enjoys shadowy but close links with Pakistan's ruling military establishment. Lashkar fighters are at the forefront of the Islamabad-backed conflict in Kashmir against India.

    The group's unabashed championing of privatized warfare has won it a place on Washington's terrorist watch-list. Lashkar leaders reject the charge as a slur. In fact, they argue, highlighting the difference between jihad and terrorism is one aim of this year's congregation. "We are fighting for the oppressed, fighting to prevent terrorism," says Muntazer. And international borders won't get in the way. "We don't believe in geographical dividing lines," he adds. "We only believe in one international Muslim ummah [community]."

    Around the Markaz complex stretches a sea of green- and blue-roofed tents. Workers have erected a huge central marquee, where scores of thousands gather for prayers and speeches that echo across the encampment on a public-address system. Stalls do a brisk trade in the accoutrements of holy war - boots, army jackets, posters glorifying Kalashnikov and Koran, religious literature and tapes of speeches by celebrated scholars.

    Many foreign fighters came in 1998. This year, they are keeping a low profile, apparently in deference to the new military regime and international criticism over Pakistani support to globe-trotting holy warriors. Nor is there much talk of jihad in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other hot spots. Indeed, Lashkar spokesmen blandly deny their fighters are even in Afghanistan - despite evidence to the contrary.

    The focus this year is Kashmir. In the marquee, the faithful listen to religious leaders extolling martyrdom and commanders relating tales of miraculous victories over Hindu infidels. Later, veterans display their military skills with mock ambushes. Says Muntazer: "Thousands of people change their lives after coming to our congregation. Many of those martyred in Kashmir came here as casual participants and after three days resolved to fight jihad."

    The first afternoon brings news instantly broadcast across the encampment: a dramatic operation is under way in Kashmir. Two Lashkar fighters have infiltrated the high-security Srinagar headquarters of the Indian Army, and killed seven enemy soldiers. (Both the guerrillas were later slain.) The timing is not a coincidence. "Our mujahideen [holy warriors] struck at this time so our voice could be heard all over the world," says professor Hafez Sa'eed, the bespectacled Markaz chief. Jihad is intensifying in Kashmir, he adds, as Indian troops are stretched thin. Domestically, says Sa'eed, the giant rally aims to spark popular pressure to counter foreign demands on Pakistan to curb support for the insurgency.

    "Whenever Muslim forces achieve something, you see international pressure on Muslim governments to get them to negotiate and accept external decisions," fumes Sa'eed. He insists he has no desire to confront the new military regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Still, Sa'eed warns: "No government in Pakistan can take a decision on Kashmir that goes against the interests of the mujahideen." That remains to be seen. But there is little doubt that for any government seeking to improve relations with India, the biggest obstacle will be the militants.


    [This message has been edited by sarwar (edited November 17, 1999).]

    #2
    Lashkar-e-Taiba...the people's choice.

    Comment


      #3
      "Lashkar-e-Taiba...the people's choice"

      To finish them it will be India's choice.

      hahahaha

      Comment


        #4
        Just like everyone in the world comes to USA or UK or Australia to get further studies in Science, Technolgy etc, every future Mujahiddeen comes to Pakistan to get his further studies in Islam, Islamic history, Jihad etc.

        Pakistan is the land of Knowledge, "Pure and Pristine" Land of Learning. It's the Land of JIHAD. Fresh blood comes in from Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Phillipines, China in Islamic seminaries to learn about Islam, Jihad. Do you'll know that 90% of the Mujahiddens in the world are trained on our soil. It's like 90% of the venture capitalists or Nobel Proze winners are trained in USA. Pakistan get's so much in return, Foreign exchange etc.

        The future is extremely bright for Pakistan and every Pakistan.

        Jug Jug Jiye mera pyara watan
        Lab mein dua hain dil mein lagan

        Comment


          #5
          Tens of thousands of Pakistani Islamic militants praised holy wars (Jihad), condemned India and the United States, and collected donations to buy bullets and weapons to use against Indian soldiers.
          Lashkar-e-Tayyaba are fighting India for control of Kashmir, and its members were among those who captured in Indian-controlled Kashmir last summer.
          Qasi Abdul Wahid Kashmiri praised the military coup in Pakistan for having saved militant groups. Two days before the army takeover, Sharif's Interior Minister Shujaat Hussein said Pakistan had planned to crack down on Islamic militant groups.
          An estimated 300,000 followers knelt in prayer as loudspeakers blared verses from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, throughout the tent village at Muridke, roughly 15 miles from the Pakistani Punjab provincial capital of Lahore.
          Banners extolled the value of jihad, or holy wars, worldwide and condemned the United States as an enemy of Islam.

          Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, under consideration by the United States to be declared a terrorist organization, openly seeks recruits men to fight India in Kashmir. The former princely state was divided between India and Pakistan when the British left the Asian subcontinent in 1947.
          Also today, the bodies of two suspected members of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba were recovered following a gun battle inside the army headquarters in the heart of Kashmir's capital, the Indian military said.
          In a daring attack on the heavily fortified Indian army camp in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian Kashmir Wednesday, the militants killed a Indian army major and six soldiers, and injured five others.
          At the conference, the hats, boots and uniforms of Indian soldiers killed in Indian Kashmir were on display.
          ``I'm so proud,'' said Mohammed Illyas. ``It shows that the money we are donating is being used for the right purpose.''


          In this Pakistani gathering of Islamic militants, attended by all-male followers from Pakistan Sudan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, people were asked to contribute 10 rupees, the equivalent of two cents, toward the war against India saying the donation would cover the cost of one bullet.
          ``Your 10 rupees could mean the death of one Indian soldier,'' said Jamil-ur-Rehman, who was collecting money.

          Pakistani schools play a major role in creating future Mujahideens


          In order to advance from the fifth grade, Pakistani students must be able to identify "forces that may be working against Pakistan," according to the government curriculum guidelines. They must also know in detail about Pakistan's three wars with India, be able to identify the differences between Hindus and Muslims and explain the need for an independent Muslim state. Perhaps more worrisome for efforts to promote peace, they must be able to make speeches on the ideals of the jihad (Islamic holy war) and martyrdom.
          The impact of that curriculum becomes obvious in interviews with students.
          "India is our enemy and it should be destroyed," said Fatima Omardin, 12, a student at the Bhair Sodian school. The town is 15 miles from Pakistan's border with India. She added that not all Indians were enemies, saying "Muslim Indians are good. Hindus are bad."
          Asked where she learned that, the other female students piped up, "The teacher told us."
          Even more radical philosophies are propagated in many of the Islamic seminaries, whose number has doubled from 3 ,000 to nearly 6,000 during the past five years. The schools, known as madrassas, are widely blamed for the rise in militant Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. They are exempt from the state curriculum and lure students from the poorest families with the promise of free tuition, room and board.
          Muhammad Shabir, 12, a student at the Arabic Farroquia madrassa in Arifwala town, in central Punjab, said his parents pulled him out of a government primary school last year because the teacher never came.
          Now, he said, "I can concentrate on the glory of jihad."

          Comment


            #6
            Pakistan is truly the Land of Mujahideens.

            Pakistani's can be found fighting JIHAD anywhere from Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Russia, China, Philiipines to USA, India, UK, Yemen, Israel We are everywhere. We are a proud bunch of Muslims. Ameen.

            Comment


              #7
              Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden has a major role in instigating cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir along with Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence who is the "real motivator,".

              Osama bin Laden has promised seven thousand dollars to mujahedeen who lay down their lives trying to "liberate" the state "from Indian occupation." They said that he made the announcement of the cash award soon after declaring a jehad against India a month ago.

              Consequently, Pakistani sponsored militants had begun ''suicidal'' attacks on army installations in the state.

              Infiltration from Pakistan was continuing and the Kargil war is still on .

              Comment


                #8
                On the sprawling 200-acre complex that is the Markaz-e-Toiba at Muridke near Lahore, over 30,000 Muslim militants gathered to reaffirm the waging of a jehad against the world, particularly India and the US. The Taliban delegates from Afghanistan vowed never to hand over Osama bin Laden, the most-wanted FBI fugitive. The occasion was the three-day annual congregation-from November 3 to 5-of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the military wing of its patron religious body, the Dawatul Irshad.

                While locals usually go to the Markaz for arbitration of their disputes and sometimes of murders, the tented village that sprung up midway between Lahore and Gujranwala functioned like an Islamic state. Even passing vehicles weren't allowed to play music; TV, smoking and photography were
                entirely prohibited. The premises were heavily guarded by Lashkar soldiers armed with sophisticated assault rifles, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

                In fact, the high point of every such congregation is the presence of highly trained and motivated Lashkar soldiers and fiery speeches by various Lashkar commanders who narrate their battle experiences in places as far afield as Bosnia, Chechnya, the Philippines, Burma and Kashmir. The congregation concludes with a display of the soldiers' military skills, including field craft, stripping and assembling weapons, assault techniques and training.

                Founded in '89 by Prof Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the religious university of Dawatul has 500 offices in Pakistan, 40 teachers and around 800 students, from ages eight to 20, who are educated to propagate Islam and prepare for jehad. The Dawatul project was originally initiated by a group of traders; now funds come through small donations from ordinary Pakistanis.

                Jehad, in fact, was the leitmotif in the speeches of the Lashkar leaders this time too as also was the fact that more than ever before, it is incumbent upon Muslims today to wage the holy war till all of God's earth is turned into Darul Salam (the land of peace). Explaining the philosophy to the assembled mujahideen, Adbul Rehman Al-Dakhil, the Lashkar chief in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, said: "Islam permits the killing of kafir (infidels) while terrorists kill for establishing their own rule. If jehad is terrorism, we're terrorists."Also attending the congregation was the nawab of Junagarh, Mohammad Jahangir Khanji, who claims that his grandfather, Sir Nawab Mahabat Khanji, had announced Junagarh's annexation with Pakistan on September 15, '47 but the Indian army forcibly occupied the territory on November 9, '47. The Nawab is reported to have said (during a private meeting with Prof Saeed) that Junagarh was still a part of Pakistan and that Lashkar militants should strive for its independence as well.

                The Lashkar high command does not believe in democracy and understands-ironically, better than Pakistan's political parties-that true democracy is underpinned by the twin concepts of secularism and constitutional liberalism in Pakistan. Its leadership had been vocal in its opposition to the Nawaz Sharif government for first inviting the Indian prime minister to Pakistan and later withdrawing the Pakistani troops from Kargil where Lashkar militants were fighting alongside the regulars.

                "We reject democracy: the notion of people's sovereignty is anti-Islam,"declared Saeed at the Lashkar congregation. "Only Allah is sovereign."Another prominent Lashkar leader, Qazi Abdul Wahid, praised Gen Musharraf's military takeover, saying they had been fearing a major crackdown from the deposed regime.

                The second day of the Lashkar congregation was marked by fiery anti-India speeches following three bomb blasts within the span of an hour, close to Muridke on November 4. The Pakistan intelligence agencies held raw responsible, claiming that two dozen raw agents including 14 women and 12 men were present at Muridke on the day of the blasts to create disturbance. The blasts (that left one dead, 35 injured) were seen as India's avenging the November 3 killings of eight Indian soldiers during a Lashkar attack on the 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar.
                THE explosions in Muridke, the first of their kind under the new regime, took place 22 days after the October 12 military takeover. They were seen as a repeat of the blasts that took place at exactly the same place on the same day last year. A powerful bomb had exploded in the Muridke main market on the second day of the Lashkar's '98 gathering, leaving six dead and 22 injured. The agencies also claimed the arrest of four raw agents involved in these blasts and allegedly recovered sensitive material and documents from their possession.
                Prof Saeed called these explosions a cowardly retaliation by the Indian government. "The world should witness that while we targeted a military installation, the coward Indians responded by targeting civilians,"he observed. "The blasts were aimed at scaring mujahideen but Indians should know that such cowardly acts would neither bring down their morale nor their spirit of jehad."He hailed as a big success the Lashkar's Srinagar attack, saying: "This was a very effective strike and a big success in responding to the crackdown by Indian forces on unarmed Kashmiris."He said two of the four fidai attackers from Lashkar were killed and two others returned to their hideout.

                Saeed in fact claimed that their fighters could even strike the Indian prime minister's office. "Listen Vajpayee,"he said, "if you do not withdraw your forces from Kashmir, if you do not stop atrocities in Kashmir, then we have given you a message by attacking the corps commanders' office in Srinagar. Whenever we want, we will storm your office too. The decision on Kashmir will take place on a battlefield and will be made by the mujahideen."

                A US administrator who is familiar with Pakistani politics said: "It is true that the US administration seemed to accept Gen Musharraf's takeover without a great deal of protest and the US press joined in the chorus of praise and talked about the general as a guy Washington could do business with. But behind the scenes, they're worried he's not distancing himself enough from the extremist elements. The fact that the Lashkar-e-Toiba rally took place has certainly raised eyebrows."

                L.A. Joseph in Washington, D.C.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I thought USA beleived in the freedom of expression than why is it raising eyebrows. Double standards. I personally don't like the group but to present a gathering of few thousand as being representative of the entire nation is carrying things too far. The people of Pakistan can be rightly proud of the fact that they have never voted any of these parties into power. So when presenting arguments keep this fact in mind.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    !

                    [This message has been edited by sabah (edited November 18, 1999).]

                    Comment


                      #11
                      ehsan,

                      when it comes to Muslims or Pakistan the whole west has double standards. we all need to stick together and keep our head high.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Mujahideens strike fear in the bones of non-muslims...they deny it buts its as true as they exist...


                        Jaawan

                        ------------------
                        Till next time***K_I_S_S***

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I am astonished at the amount of hatred, all of you have for the Indians. I am very glad that we don't share one country. I would never want India to trade or talk with you.

                          Thank God for Pakistan. Please stay on your side of the border. I for one will never visit your pure country.

                          Hate is self destructive.

                          [This message has been edited by Rani (edited November 17, 1999).]

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Rani,

                            I watched the cricket world cup final at Lords and sitting directly in front of me was a party of about 40 Indians who had all flown in to watch the final (they had obviously bought their tickets in advance). They were all quite small and dark so I guess they were from southern India. They sat quietly at first but as Pakistan started to struggle, they became more and more excited and by the end they were openly cheering the Australians. So don't try and kid everybody that the hate is one-sided. All the Indians I have ever known, even those with whom I was on friendly terms bore a deep grudge against Pakistanis...they just tend to hide it a bit better. Really it's a bit silly to think we can discuss politics (or siyaasi bakwas if you like) and think there won't be arguments if Pakistanis and Indians are involved. This forum is for the real heavyweight bakwas-mongers. Anything goes. You want to discuss pottery or music there are some real good forums where only the nice people hang out. Try Arts and Culture or Meeting people. It's good for the soul.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Xtreme, you must be kidding to have expected the Indians to cheer your side especially at a time when our soldiers were laying their lives fighting Pakistan backed terrorists at KARGIL.
                              I personally don't mind you Pakis displaying such hatred against the Indians.Because most of it is mutual.

                              But what depresses me are posts like the following :
                              -----------------------------------------
                              SARWAR wrote :
                              Pakistani's can be found fighting JIHAD anywhere from Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Russia, China, Philiipines to USA, India, UK, Yemen, Israel .We are everywhere. We are a proud bunch of Muslims. Ameen.
                              --------------------------------------------

                              If this is the attitude of well-educated Pakistanis (Assuming net-surfers must be
                              educated) and in most cases living in moderate societies outside Pakistan , What must be the attitude of a common Pakistani on the road vulnerable to anybody who shouts 'Jehad'.
                              After I became a regular visitor to this site, whatever little hope I had of Indo-Pak ties being strengthened in future, have all but vanished.

                              Comment

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