Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, July 27, 2007

Red Mosque in Pakistan encourages radical Islam among young women

Hameeda Sarfraz, a 19 year old teenager from Pakistan voiced her regrets about missing her chance to be a martyr in an article run by The New York Times on Monday. Sarfraz attended Jamia Hafsa Islamic School for girls until July 3 when a battle between Pakistani specials forces and members of the Red Mosque broke out. The violence left 102 dead with casualties from all parties.

The battle for the Red Mosque began in January when reports that the government was going to destroy the illegally constructed mosques and seminaries in Islamabad were circulated. Since then, members of the girl’s school as well as the male counter part of Jamia Hafsa, Jamia Farida, have been preparing for a standoff with the Pakistani military. Students were warned of the possible encounter weeks before July 3, and were questioned by their instructors who asked, “Do you have the stamina to defend your religion? Are you ready?”

Since the confrontation, the girls have returned to their homes, mostly in the rural parts of Pakistan. Their families seem to be less “hard-lined” than their daughters, and consequently, many of the girls return home to reform their families. Several of the girls now teach religious lessons to the younger children in their village. Their change is apparent, and as one alumna, Sayeda Fazlur Rehman said, “We used to listen to music and watch TV before. We didn’t even pray.” Fazlur Rehman now observes purdah, the practices of shielding a female’s face in front of any male non-family member. “This life is temporary,” she explained, “You don’t know when you’ll die.”

For the full article, click here



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