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Islamic “Students” Retake The Red Mosque

From those overjoyed defenders of the faith at AFP:

Islamic hardliners retake Pakistan’s Red Mosque

by Nasir Jaffry

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Hundreds of Islamists occupied Pakistan’s Red Mosque Friday, painting the walls their original colour and clashing with police as the official reopening after an army assault descended into chaos.

Hardliners at the Islamabad complex hurled rocks at armoured police vehicles and officers in riot gear, injuring two policemen, officials said. Police fired teargas at the mostly bearded demonstrators and arrested six people.

Around a dozen people using rollers daubed red paint over the walls, which had been changed to a peach colour during government renovations. The unarmed demonstrators flew black jihadi flags with crossed swords from the minarets.

Unrest erupted when radical students chased out a government-picked Islamic elder who was meant to lead the first Friday prayers at the mosque since the military operation two weeks ago, in which more than 100 people died.

The students demanded the return of the mosque’s chief cleric, Abdul Aziz, who was caught trying to flee the compound in a woman’s burqa [and high heels] during the siege and is now in jail awaiting trial on terror charges.

They chanted “Musharraf is a dog, death to the Musharraf government”, adding that the blood of the mosque’s rebel leader Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who died in the assault, would “bring an Islamic revolution.”

“It is true that rowdy students have overtaken the mosque, they are not letting the prayers be held,” a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The protests will raise questions about whether the government reopened the Red Mosque too soon, with tensions still running high in Pakistan after the raid amid a wave of apparent revenge attacks by militants.

Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz-ul Haq reopened the complex — renamed the Central Mosque — on Thursday, with bullet holes from the bitter fighting plastered over by workmen and damaged fans and lighting all repaired.

But despite tight security, the students on Friday stopped prayer leader Imam Mohammad Ashfaq taking up his position at the mosque’s pulpit and used the microphone to deliver their own furious speeches against the government raid.

“I was told everything would be peaceful. I was never interested in taking up this job and after today I will never do it,” Ashfaq told AFP as he left with a police escort.

The protesters also threw shoes at cameramen and reporters covering the event…

Gee whiz, these kids are slow to learn.

Of course they won’t want to stop with the mosque. They want to paint the town red.

Indeed, the whole world.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 27th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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