Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 336
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) is an alliance of six hard-line
Islamic parties. It is pro-sharia, pro-jihad, pro-Taliban, and
pathologically anti-West. The MMA demands the total Islamisation of
Pakistan under Sharia Law, and the restructuring of Pakistan's
economy according to Islam. The MMA rules with an absolute majority
in both the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the south west
province of Baluchistan. It also uses the balance of power it holds
in Pakistan's federal parliament to weaken President Musharraf's
resolve for many necessary reforms. MMA quietly advances its
programme of national Islamisation through pressured quid pro quo
deals with the government.
MMA's political power protects Pakistan's madrassas (Quranic
schools) from government action, though they are known to promote
religious intolerance and encourage sectarian violence. Would-be
Islamic militants worldwide come to these 'jihadi factories' for
military and ideological training. British young men who
perpetrated the 7 July London bombings had training in Pakistani
madrassas in the months prior to their murderous mission.
On 14 July, the NWFP's provincial Assembly passed the North-West
Frontier Province Hasba Act 2005, by 68 votes to 43. Using this
Act, the MMA aims to complete the 'Talibanisation' of the NWFP,
intending that other provinces will follow. The Hasba Act (which
needs the Governor's signature to be enacted) will set up a new
department to 'discourage vice and encourage virtue'. A cleric will
be appointed as the 'Mohtasib' - one who holds others accountable.
His main task will be to 'protect/watch the Islamic values and
etiquettes at the provincial level'. A religious police force, the
'Hisba police', will aid him in this task. If enacted, the Hasba
Bill will have drastic consequences for the NWFP's Christian
minority. It will bolster pro-Taliban forces, and entrench
discrimination, persecution and hatred of Christians. The
constitutionality of the Hasba Act will be tested in the Supreme
Court, Islamabad, on Monday 25 July. If the Hasba Bill is not
enacted, Islamic rage will intensify. It is a no-win situation for
Meanwhile, tensions are high in NWFP. The Pakistani, Afghan and US
Armies are fighting al-Qaeda and pro-Taliban forces embedded
throughout the province. North Waziristan (NWFP, bordering
Afghanistan) has practically become a war zone. Many jihadis are
foreigners, in particular Chechens, Uzbeks and other Central
Asians. The military complain the jihadis use women (many who are
willing) as human shields.
Islamic zeal is intense across the province. On 28 June, in
Nowshera, 40km east of Peshawar the NWFP capital, an illiterate
Christian cleaner named Yousaf Masih (60) burnt paper rubbish that
unknown to him had verses of the Quran written on it. When young
boys saw this, they cried out that a Christian had desecrated
verses of the Quran. Islamic rage ignited quickly. Angry Muslims
went to Yousaf's house, and as he was not home, they beat his sons
and brother and manhandled his wife and daughters. Police arrested
Yousaf later that evening. According to the All Pakistan Minorities
Alliance, announcements were made in the local mosques to burn
Christians. At around 10pm a riotous Muslim mob burnt down the
Hindu Lamba Vera temple (some thinking Yousaf was Hindu) before
they burnt, looted and ransacked some 200 Christian and Hindu homes
across the district, forcing families to flee.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR -
* God to embolden President Musharraf to move against those who
threaten local and world security by promoting jihad and
propagating religious hatred from mosques and madrassas.
* God to use the 25 July Supreme Court debate on the
constitutionality of the Hasba Act for his glory: may the debate
be profitable, upholding religious liberty, and may Islamic law
and custom be examined openly and honestly in the light of
individual human rights and security.
* Christians living in the NWFP to be comforted by a deep assurance
of the presence of Christ, and kept safe in God's mighty hand.
* God to bless the Church in Pakistan, especially in NWFP, with
courage, wisdom, faithfulness and hope, that they may be light
in the darkness. 'On him we have set our hope, that he will
continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.' (2
SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:
MILITANT PUSH TO 'TALIBANISE' IN PAKISTAN
The MMA, an alliance of six pro-Taliban, anti-West, hard-line
Islamic parties, rules Pakistan's western provinces which border
Afghanistan. It also holds the balance of power in Pakistan's
federal parliament. The MMA aims to fully 'Talibanise' the North
West Frontier Province (NWFP) using its recently passed Hasba Act.
The Supreme Court will rule whether this Act is constitutional on
25 July. Islamic zeal and anger are high in NWFP over the Hasba Act
as well as military action against local al-Qaeda and pro-Taliban
forces. Recently when an illiterate Christian cleaner unknowingly
burnt papers bearing verses of the Quran, Muslims rioted and burnt,
looted and ransacked some 200 homes of non-Muslims. Religious
intolerance and jihad are propagated through many mosques and
madrassas (Quranic schools). Pakistan needs courageous leadership
to quell terror, and protect the rights of religious minorities.
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issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.