ISLAMABAD: In a significant development of far reaching consequences, the Lal Masjid-run Jamia Hafsa madrassa for girls here has expressed support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
A video released by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of jehadi outfits worldwide shows a group of women representing Lal Masjid-linked Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad, expressing their support to the Islamic State and its ameer Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi. The burqa (veil) clad women have been shown urging the Pakistani militants to join the ranks of the Islamic State.
The video has surfaced at a crucial time when Pakistani authorities are already trying to contain the growing emergence of the extremely violent international terrorist group in Pakistan. The expression of solidarity by the Jamia Hafsa with the Islamic State is quite significant because the IS chief, Abu Bakar Baghdadi, has literally challenged Mullah Mohammad Omar by declaring himself to be the Ameerul Momineen or the leader of the faithful and the caliph of the Islamic State.
The Jamia Hafsa students have come forward, asking the Pakistani fighters to join the ranks of the Islamic State. Since its emergence in Peshawar in September this year, the IS has garnered plenty of support from key commanders of Tehrik-e-Taliban who have already abandoned the TTP and pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State, at the cost of Mullah Omar, who is regarded as the Ameerul Momineen by the Pakistani Taliban.
However, the expression of support for Baghdadi by the Jamia Hafsa leadership will be a rude shock not only for the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban but also for the Afghan Taliban. In fact, Maulana Mohammad Abdullah, who was the first prayer leader of Lal Masjid and father of Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, had decade-old ties with the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban who owe allegiance to Mullah Omar.
Approached for comments, a spokesman for Jamia Hafsa confirmed that the video in question has been prepared by the female students of the seminary with the knowledge and possible approval of Umme Hassan, Principal of the seminary reports the Islamabad based newspaper The News.
A renewed battle to clinch the position of the so-called Ameerul Momineen has intensified, with the fugitive al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri already throwing his weight behind Mullah Omar. While countering Baghdadis action of declaring himself the caliph, al-Qaeda leadership deemed it fit to renew its oath of allegiance to Mullah Omar and recognise him as their ameer, while reminding that the late Osama bin Laden too had pledged allegiance to Mullah Omar.
Al-Qaeda also released a video starring Osama bin Laden which was recorded in the middle of 2001, hardly a few months before the 9/11 attacks, wherein the al-Qaeda chief pledged his allegiance to Mullah Omar. The move was meant to counter Baghdadis bid to replace Mullah Omar as the ameer of the believers. Since the beginning of this year, several splinter groups from al-Qaeda and its Taliban affiliates, including those from Pakistan, have pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State, amid media reports that the IS fighters are being aided by hundreds of militants from Pakistan.
Since the beginning of the West backed rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a large number of fighters from several Muslim countries including Pakistan have traveled to Syria to fight with the ISIS. An ISIS training camp named after Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi has been operational in Iraq-Syria region for a few years now.
Jamia Hafsa is named after Hafsa Bint Umar Bin Al Khattab who was one of the seven wives of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Trans Asia News
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