LONDON: A London-based extremist pro-Taliban group beat the expected retreat on Tuesday and announced that it was “postponing” the Nov 30 conference where the group was planning to issue fatwas against several Pakistani public figures, including Malala Yousafzai.
Anjem Chaudhry, the leader of the banned Al-Muhajiroun group, told The News that the decision was taken after “Sheikh Omar Bakri had a beautiful conversation with Maulana Abdul Aziz and they decided to postpone the conference because the overnment of Pakistan and its intelligence agencies were against this conference and were creating divisions and also because of the heightened security implications as well as the refusal of the Pakistani regime to issue visas to key speakers”.
Speaking to The News, Maulana Abdul Aziz confirmed that he had received a call from Omar Bakri from Lebanon, where he has been expelled by Britain due to his radical views, and categorically told him that “we will never allow Lal Masjid to be used for anything political, non-productive or controversial”.
Maulana Aziz added: “I told Bakri that it was unethical that they were using Lal Masjid’s name without permission. We were never consulted. I believe there is no point in digging graves of the past. Quaid-i-Azam made Pakistan and we have full respect for him and will not allow anyone to disrespect him. Muslim Ummah is facing very serious challenges, we can work positively towards the resolution of these issues instead of bogging ourselves down into stuff which is negative and provides propaganda material to our enemies.
I made it clear to Bakri that we will never support their agenda of any kind and they should refrain from using our name.”The News can confirm that Al-Muhajiroun members never applied for Pakistani visas and Anjem Chaudhry would have certainly been refused entry into Pakistan as he has come to be known for the most extreme views.
When asked if he was doing it all for publicity, Chaudhry said: “Any kind of publicity for the sake of Islam and Haq (truth) is good. I am not Madonna or Michael Jackson who would get positive publicity. We are attacked in western press but it creates good publicity for Islam.
We publicise the truth and we want the West and rest of the world to know that Taliban are pure-hearted people who are working to liberate Muslim lands and their jihad is commendable. Maulana Abdul Aziz is under pressure but we have support from his students for Shariah. We will not go quiet and will be campaigning against secular parties in Pakistan for the upcoming election.”
When he was still living in London, Omar Bakri was almost universally hated, more so by Muslims, especially Pakistanis, than any other community. He used events of Pakistanis to issue statements which Britain’s right-wing media loved but which created innumerable problems for Muslims.
After being opposed by the Lal Masjid, the group now says that Omar Bakri “did not find evidence proving her [Malala’s] apostasy and therefore we do not believe she should have been targeted based on the evidence available” and “her call for education is a call which all Muslims naturally share as long as this education is based strictly upon the guidance of the shariah”.
The banned Al-Muhajiroun, led in Britain by Anjem Chaudhry, a trained solicitor, has not more a few dozen supporters but it’s known for issuing highly controversial statements and staging demonstrations against British troops and in support of Taliban.