Jamaat-ud Dawa - Truth and Fiction

The recent horrors at Mumbai (Bombay) shocked the world's media with their savagery. On November 26, 2008 at 9.20 pm local time, coordinated attacks at carefully-selected locations initiated an orgy of violence that would last for three days. When the sieges ended, all but one of the 10 armed assailants were dead. They had murdered at least 173 people and wounded hundreds more. The killers, high on cocaine during the assaults, had claimed they were acting in response to alleged Indian atrocities in Kashmir.

Kashmiri politics could not explain why the Orthodox Jewish center called Nariman House was targeted. Lubavitch Jews have had nothing to do with the occupation of Kashmir. Eight Jews were killed, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, martyrs to the virulent anti-Semitism that dominates the minds of many jihadists. In Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel, terrorists sought out American and British residents, who again had nothing to do with Kashmir.

Mumbai had been attacked by terrorists before. In 1993, Dawood Ibrahim, a Muslim gangster, had organized bombings in the city on March 12 of that year. Those attacks, allegedly orchestrated by Abu Saleem Ansari, had cost the lives of 257 people and had injured 1,400. The 1993 blasts were alleged to have been a response to earlier Hindu attacks upon Muslims.

Ibrahim, according to the US Treasury, had also funded the Islamist terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (aka Lashkar-e-Toiba, Lashkar-e-Taiba, meaninig "Army of the Righteous"). LeT had been designated as a terror organization by the US in December 2001. Dawood Ibrahim himself was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist on October 16, 2003.

On July 11, 2006, trains packed with commuters were hit with seven bombs. At least 182 people were killed. Initially, an unknown group calling itself Lashkar-e-Qahhar (Lashkar-e-Qahad or "Army of Fury") claimed responsibility for the attacks, but soon it became clear that Lashkar-e-Taiba were the most likely culprits. The 2006 train bombings had apparently been staged as a response to Hindu attacks upon Muslims.

When the November 2008 Mumbai attacks took place, an unknown group calling itself the Deccan Muhajideen initially claimed responsibility. Inventing a fictitious front group appears to be a recurring tactic of LeT; after a triple bombing in Delhi on October 29, 2005, a group calling itself "Islami Inquilabi Mahaz" (Islamic Revolutionary Group) announced that it had masterminded the attacks, which killed 59 people. LeT's leadership had even condemned the Delhi bombings, until evidence suggested they had been the instigators of the attacks.

Many Islamist groups and individuals associated with terrorism or extremism use aliases. Hizb ut-Tahrir has several front groups, and Al Muhajirun's membership founded several alias groups when their parent group was banned.

The Muslim Brotherhood similarly has various charities and institutions around the globe, whose names appear innocuous. International charities accused of funding terrorism, such as Al Haramain and the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), have used numerous aliases to channel funds from one location to another.

During and after the recent Mumbai attacks, India claimed that the terrorists had come from Pakistan. The only surviving assailant was a young man called Ajmal Qasab. His photograph had been widely distributed at the start of the Mumbai incident. His father Amir, who lives near Lahore in Pakistan's Punjab province, later confirmed that the youth in surveillance photographs was his son. According to Indian officials, the young terrorists had each been promised 100,000 Pakistan rupees ($1,262 US) for committing the Mumbai attacks.

The money was to have been donated to the terrorists' families by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Ajmal Qasab, under questioning, had said that LeT had provided the training for the Mumbai terrorists.

Amir Qasab claimed he had not seen his son for four years, following an argument. It has since been claimed on Pakistan's Geo TV that Ajmal Qasab had gone to his family home this year. The young terrorist had apparently gone to his home village of Faridkot, in Punjab province on September 26, before the Mumbai attacks. He had gone to seek his mother's blessing for jihad, it was claimed.

A bizarre allegation was made by a Pakistani lawyer, who asserts that Ajmal Qasab (Kasab) had been kidnapped by Nepalese security forces in 2006, acting under Indian instructions. It is alleged that Qasab was an "innocent" who was placed at the scene of the Mumbai attacks by the Indian government.

Photographs of Qasab at Mumbai train station do not show a person acting under duress.

India's claims of a Pakistan link to the attacks were initially denied by Pakistan, leading to a cooling of relations between the two nations. India, supported by America, pressed for a Pakistan-based organization to be banned. This group, calling itself Jamaat-ud-Dawa, has its main headquarters in Muridke, near Lahore, in Pakistan's Punjab province.

On Thursday December 11, 2008 the United Nations Security Council declared that Jamaat-ud-Dawa ("Party of the Calling") was a terrorist organization, a front for Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Official sanctions were immediately imposed upon JuD by the UN, under UN Resolution 1276. Additionally four individuals were designated as terrorists. These men, who were said to be senior figures in LeT, were named.

They included Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who was said by India to have masterminded the Mumbai attacks, Haji Mohamed Ashraf, a financier for LeT, and Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Bahaziq, who had been a financier for LeT, based in Saudi Arabia. The fourth man to be named was said to be LeT's senior chief. Hafiz Mohammed Saeed (pictured from 2001) had founded LeT. He was also the "amir", or leader, of Jamaat ud-Dawa. The four individuals designated by the UN had been placed on the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control list in May, 2008.

The Pakistan government, on the day before UN sanctions were imposed, had said that it could ban Jamaat ud-Dawa if Resolution 1276 was invoked against it. After the decision by the UN, offices of JuD were closed throughout Pakistan.

Pakistan had launched an operation against some JuD activists on December 7, 2008. The Pakistan army had arrested Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, said to have planned the Mumbai attacks, and 20 others. On December 12, Hafiz Mohammed Saaed was placed under house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan.

How had Jamaat-ud-Dawa been able to operate in Pakistan with impunity? How had its leader, who by his own admission had formed the terrorist group LeT, been allowed to openly spread his doctrines in Pakistan?

Jamaat ud-Dawa in Pakistan

According to the US Treasury, LeT had been founded in 1990. It was established as the armed wing of an anti-US Sunni group called Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), which had been formed in Pakistan in the previous year. The leader of MDI had been Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who also became head of LeT. Terrorist actions against troops in Indian Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir state) began in 1993. The main aim of LeT was to drive out Indian forces (and the few remaining Hindu civilians) from Kashmir. Since then, LeT committed numerous attacks, including kidnapping and bombing, until designated by the US Treasury on December 20, 2001 under Executive Order 13224.

It has been claimed that when LeT was first founded it had some support from the CIA, who were then supporting other Mujahideen who were against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Hafiz Mohammed Saeed had sent hundreds of Islamist fighters into Afghanistan. Saeed and his organizations have frequently been described as "Wahhabist". When he founded LeT, he was a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore.

The current Muridke headquarters of Jamaat ud-Dawa is on an 80-hectare plot of land north of Lahore. This land had been given to Saeed and his followers by the military dictator and Islamist General Zia ul-Haq before he died in a plane crash on August 17, 1988. Before founding MDI, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed had been involved with an extremist Sunni group calling itself Jamait Ahl-e-Hadis. Indian sources maintain that LeT had originally been set up to allow Pakistan's "Inter-Services Intelligence" (ISI) to have a role in terror operations in Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan's ISI has been involved in numerous shady operations, including helping to set up Afghanistan's Taliban and funding the Sikh separatist "Khalistan" movement in Punjab state, India.

The American intelligence think-tank CFR also claims that "experts say LeT received instruction and funding from Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in exchange for a pledge to target Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir and to train Muslim extremists on Indian soil.

Pakistan's government has repeatedly denied allegations of supporting terrorism."

After LeT was officially designated by the U.S. a terrorist organization at the end of 2001, Pakistan officially banned the group in January 2002. It was at this time that Jamaat ud-Dawa came into existence. Hafiz Mohammed Saeed officially claimed he had renounced the violent tactics of LeT, and founded Jamaat ud-Dawa. With Saeed no longer at the helm, leadership of LeT continued under the aegis of a secretive individual who calls himself Maulana Abdul Wahid Kashmiri.

President Pervez Musharraf placed Hafiz Mohammed Saeed under house arrest in October 2002. However, on November 19, 2002, Saeed was released. Lahore High Court had declared his house arrest to be unlawful. Musharraf responded by placing Jamaat ud-Dawa on a watch list, but no official sanctions were brought against it by the Pakistan authorities.

In the summer of 2004 it was reported that there had been a spilt in the ranks of Jamaat ud-Dawa. Two individuals, Abu Shoib and Maulana Qari Abdul Hafeez, split away to found a group calling itself Khair-un-Nasv, or People's Welfare.

In May 2005, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was placed on the United Nations Resolution

1276 list. Jamaat ud-Dawa continued to function freely. At the complex in Muridke, Lahore, a mosque and madrassa were used by the group to preach an uncompromising version of Islam, full of contempt for the West.

On April 27, 2006, the U.S. Treasury designated Jamaat ud-Dawa as a terrorist organization. It simultaneously designated a related group called Idara Khidmat-E-Khalq. The United States claimed that both groups were front groups for LeT. Idara Khidmat-E-Khalq was led by a man called Hafiz Abdur Rauf Said, who claimed that if helping the poor was "terrorism" then he would continue to practice terrorism.

The reaction from the Pakistan government to the U.S. sanctions was surprising. Less than a week after the U.S. designation, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, refused to contemplate banning Jamaat ud-Dawa. She said: "We are not required, and we do not put any entities on the terrorist lists, if action is taken under the domestic U.S. law.

However, if the UN Security Council's sanctions committee were to designate any organization, then it becomes a legal obligation to take action."

When an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale had struck northern Pakistan on October 8, 2005 and killed more than 70,000 people, one of the first groups to be able to mobilize funds and assistance to the region was Jamaat ud-Dawa. The group had a large office in Fawara Chowk in Peshawar and another in Muzaffarabad in Kashmir, both close to some of the worst scenes of devastation. The JuD were given UN supplies to distribute to earthquake refugees. The reputation of JuD as a provider of charity had become firmly entrenched in the minds of many Pakistanis. On May 16, 2006, Hindus and Christians protested in Karachi against the U.S. designation of JuD.

Despite its reputation for charitable acts, evidence was continually mounting to indicate that JuD had a darker side. In May 2006 the Sunday Times newspaper reported that Christian boys who had been kidnapped were being sold into slavery by a man with links to the Jamaat ud-Dawa complex at Muridke. Several of these children had been rescued by Christian missionaries and returned to their families. The man accused of brokering their freedom is called Gul Khan, who is apparently a wealthy affiliate of JuD.

In October 2006, the Telegraph newspaper reported that many of JuD's charity workers were jihadists, veterans of the fight against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Many orphans of the 2005 earthquake had been sent to madrassas, breaking government guidelines. At one madrassa, children had been taught to

sing: "When people deny our faith, ask them to convert, and if they do not, destroy them utterly."

Politically, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed acted as a radical. In early 2006 he had been arrested for inciting violence during protests against the Danish cartoons. In October 2006 Jamaat ud-Dawa issued a death fatwa against Pope Benedict XVI. The fatwa urged the Muslim community to kill the Pope, as a punishment for comments he had made in his Regensburg address in the previous month. Speaking at a conference in Karachi in Sindh province, one JuD leader called Hafiz Saifullah Khalid claimed that jihad was obligatory for all Muslims.

In August 2006, Saeed had been placed under house arrest. This move had no connection with the Mumbai train blasts of the previous month. It had been connected to a rally that he had wished to stage in Lahore. As India had been calling for Pakistan to arrest Saeed, his house arrest served to soften prickly relations between Pakistan and India.

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed certainly has more respect for fanatical religion than he does for the rights of women. He vehemently opposed the Women's Protection Bill. This law had been introduced to put an end to Pakistan's brutal "Hudood" laws. Introduced by Zia ul-Haq, the Hudood laws meant that a woman who had been raped would automatically be jailed if she complained.

Only if she could produce four male Muslim witnesses could she be presumed innocent of "zina" (illegal intercourse).

Jamaat ud-Dawa has maintained, and continues to maintain, that it has nothing to do with terrorism. It has been claimed by some that Hafiz Mohammed Saeed has never personally been involved with acts of terrorism. If this is true, then the brutal attacks made by LeT under his leadership would never have taken place.

In part two, I will show how Saeed could not have been unaware of the terrorist acts of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. I will also track the bizarre relationship that existed, and continues to exist, between Jamaa ud-Dawa and senior figures in Pakistan's establishment.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan is a British-based writer and artist who has written for Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for Spero News. He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society. Feedback:


Posted December 19, 2008, Family Security Matters