Qasim Nanotvi · Rashid Gangohi
Darul Uloom Deoband, India
The Lal Masjid was built in 1965 and is named for its red walls and interiors. According to Capital Development Authority (CDA) records, the Lal Masjid is one of the oldest Mosques in Islamabad. Maulana Muhammad Abdullah was appointed its first imam. Abdullah was critical of all governments except Zia's with whom he was very close. General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq had very close relationship with Maulana Muhammad Abdullah, the former head of the Mosque. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989), the Red Mosque played a major role in recruiting and training mujahideen to fight with the Afghan mujahideen. Throughout its existence, it has enjoyed patronage from influential members of the government, prime ministers, army chiefs, and presidents. Several thousand male and female students live in adjacent seminaries.
After Maulana Muhammad Abdullah was assassinated in 1998, his sons Abdul Aziz Ghazi and Abdul Rashid Ghazi took over the mosque, making it a centre for hardline teaching and open opposition to the government. Abdul Aziz remained the official khatib of the masjid until he was removed in 2005 for issuing a controversial fatwa stating no Pakistani Army officer could be given an Islamic burial if died fighting the taliban.
The plot on which Lal Masjid was built was alloted by CDA. With the passage of time, the mosque administration encroached the surrounding area and a big complex like a fort was constructed. Due to influence and strong connections Lal Masjid have with the government high officials, the CDA remained unable to get the encroached land vacated till end 2006. In early 2007, CDA strongly persuaded and issued a vacation notice. Aziz and Rasheed, initiated move by taking possession of the Children Library located in the adjacent by using the female student force. These students were motivated in the name of religion and thus the visible conflict started. All this was to force the government to come to some compromise.
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