Islamabad: Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi is the elder brother of Abdul Rashid Ghazi. After the death of their father, who had ties with Osama Bin Laden, the brothers took over the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and started extremist Islamic teachings and opposing the government. Abdul Aziz was removed from the post of ‘khatib’ in 2005, after he issued a controversial fatwa stating that army men who died fighting the Taliban could not be given Islamic burials.
Abdul Rashid Ghazi challenged Pakistan’s policies against the Taliban, and issued pro-Taliban statements, going so far as declaring the Taliban killed by Pakistan Army as “martyrs.” He began a campaign to enforce Shariah Law in Pakistan. After several days of failed negotiations, Pakistan Army took action and killed Ghazi on 10 July 2007, during Operation Silence. It is pertinent to note that Lal Masjid’s past includes recruiting and training mujahideen.
While the negotiations were going on, Maulana Aziz was caught escaping the mosque with a group of girls, wearing a burqa and carrying a handbag. During November 2014, the girls seminary of Lal Masjid, Jamia Hafsa, released a video in support of ISIS. When questioned about it, Aziz said:
“I don’t know why these boys are reluctant to say that we support the organization which wants to implement Islamic system.”
The security around the mosque was increased earlier this month after the extremist cleric returned and announced that he was going to restart his campaign for enforcing Shariah Law in Pakistan. Although the administration refused and prohibited him from delivering a sermon at the mosque, and even threatened him with house arrest, Aziz violated the government order and led the Friday prayers, and announced the launch of his movement.
“Initially, we shall restrict to issuing statements and drawing the government’s attention towards this noble cause. If the government fails to comply with the Shariah and the laws of Quran and Sunnah, we shall be forced to take to streets,” Maulana Aziz said.
Photo Credits: Pakistan Daily Capital