New Lal Masjid imam implies suicide bombing warning
* Abdul Ghaffar says 1,000 female students were killed during Lal Masjid operation
By Khalid Hasan: Daily Times, October 7, 2007
WASHINGTON: The imam of Lal Masjid in Islamabad, reports the Washington Times, issued an implied warning of launching suicide bombers if “our demands” are not fulfilled. In his Friday sermon, according to the report filed from the capital, imam Abdul Ghaffar said, “There can be no compromise. If our demands are not fulfilled, we cannot guarantee that there will be law and order. There will be protests, unrest and we may have to use our last option.”
The correspondent filing the report saw that as “possibly a cryptic reference to threats to unleash ‘waves of suicide bombers’ made by the former chief imam, Abdul Rashid Ghazi,” who died in the raid launched by security forces to oust militants holed up inside the mosque in July.
1,000 students killed: The imam also told the congregation that up to 1,000 women students were killed when the mosque was stormed. He said the mosque, which is now coloured yellow, would be painted red, and if necessary “with our own blood”. He also said the girls’ madrassa adjacent to the mosque, where many if not most of the victims are thought to have died, must be rebuilt.
The Washington Times report placed the number of worshippers at “at least 10,000.” According to the newspaper, “Thousands of men filled the field for a second service held by the new deputy imam, Amir Saddique, a nephew of the slain former leader. They wept openly as Imam Saddique prayed through a hand-held megaphone: ‘We feel guilty with sin in our hearts that we were not able to help the women who sacrificed their lives here. Please forgive us.’ The Supreme Court ordered the mosque reopened on Wednesday under the command of Umme Hassan, who ran the girls’ madrassa. It also ordered the madrassa rebuilt and the mosque repainted red. The government says it plans to petition the Supreme Court to rescind the order.”