April 14, 2024

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Paris Attack Puts Focus on Threat From Islamic Antiblasphemy Groups

A Pakistani immigrant suspected of stabbing two men and women outside the house the previous offices of the Charlie Hebdo journal in Paris followed a South Asian Islamic sect that in Pakistan has turn out to be more and more emboldened, and on situation sparked violence, in defending the central determine in Islam from what adherents see as blasphemous insults.

In a movie law enforcement say they observed on the suspect’s telephone and that was launched on social media right after the assault, a male who claims he strategies to phase an assault on Friday—when the stabbing occurred—appears to cry as he claims he will get revenge for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which Islam prohibits.

The male then sings in devotional tune about the Prophet Muhammad in the movie. French law enforcement say they consider the suspect is the very same as the male in the movie.

Charlie Hebdo journal was the focus on of a 2015 assault that killed 12 men and women. ISIS and al Qaeda both of those claimed attackers were customers. The journal has given that moved to a distinct site. The assault on Friday very seriously wounded two personnel of an unrelated production corporation who were using a break outside the house the constructing.

In Pakistan, Arshad Mahmood, the father of the suspect in Friday’s assault, discovered his son as Ali Hassan, the very same identify law enforcement say the suspect gave when he was apprehended.

Mr. Hassan could not be attained for remark. It could not be established whether he is represented by a law firm.

The male in the movie identifies himself as Zaher Hassan Mahmood, a identify the father claimed his son from time to time made use of in France. Law enforcement claimed they observed a scanned copy of an identification card of the suspect’s on his telephone bearing the very same identify as the male on the movie works by using. Mr. Mahmood discovered the male in the movie as his son.

Mr. Mahmood claimed his son traveled to France as an immigrant two yrs in the past along with two brothers and obtained his legal authorization to do the job in the nation on the very same day as the assault.

Mr. Mahmood, who farms a small plot and lives in a village in central Pakistan, claimed his son, 1 of seven small children, studied the Quran diligently as a boy or girl, prayed frequently and appreciated to sing religious tunes. He claimed that men and women in the area were coming to congratulate him on his son’s actions. He claimed he traveled to France in research of do the job.

“We are very pleased of our son. No matter what he did is in his like for Prophet Muhammad,” Mr. Mahmood instructed The Wall Street Journal. “I say whatsoever he did is proper. There is no comprise on dignity and respect of Prophet Muhammad.”

Pakistan’s Ministry of International Affairs did not respond to a request for remark.

So far no indications have emerged that Mr. Hassan belonged to an extremist group or community of militants.

The movie recording indicated that he follows a strain of Islamic assumed centered in South Asia recognised as the Barelvi custom, the greatest amid Pakistani Muslims. The sect, to which the father claimed his son and the household adhere, focuses on honoring the temperament of the Prophet Muhammad.

The sect is overwhelmingly opposed to violence, and hasn’t been connected to militant teams these as al Qaeda and ISIS that have broad anti-Western political agendas.

But professionals claimed the sect has turn out to be more and more intense in Pakistan, deploying protection of the Prophet as a instrument to obtain and inspire followers via accusing other folks of blasphemy.

Ayesha Siddiqa, a investigate associate at London University’s Faculty of Oriental and African Research, claimed that Barelvi Islam has turn out to be additional assertive in recent yrs as it has competed for influence with other sects. But the blasphemy problem is also getting to be additional essential to other Muslim traditions, she claimed.

“There’s been a transformation of Barelvis,” claimed Ms. Siddiqa. “The blasphemy problem is being weaponized.”

In 2011, a prominent politician, Salmaan Taseer, was killed by a Barelvi who was 1 of his possess law enforcement bodyguards. Mr. Taseer experienced named for reform of regulations from blasphemy, which make insults to the Prophet Muhammad a crime punishable by loss of life. Human-legal rights teams say they are often misused to settle particular disputes.

The male who killed him was transformed into a hero for some Pakistanis. When the killer was convicted of murder and executed, thousands turned out for his funeral.

In Pakistan’s 2018 basic election, a new political social gathering of tricky-line Barelvis emerged. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which campaigned virtually exclusively on the blasphemy problem, garnered additional than two million votes. The social gathering concluded third in Pakistan’s most-populous province, Punjab, and won two seats from the metropolis of Karachi for the regional parliament there.

Ejaz Ashrafi, a spokesman for Labbaik, claimed the team doesn’t get in touch with for violence. “However, no Muslim can tolerate these blasphemous acts as creating sketches of Prophet Muhammad,” he included.

Previously this yr, an American citizen of Pakistani origin who was accused of blasphemy was shot useless in a courtroom the place he was on trial for the offense in the northwestern metropolis of Peshawar. In 2016 in the U.K., a shopkeeper of Pakistani origin was killed over supposed blasphemy by one more male of Pakistani origin.

Although it is unclear whether these incidents were tied particularly to the Barelvi sect, their focus on blasphemy was noticed as affected by increasing intolerance towards perceived insults to the Prophet.

In the movie Mr. Hassan claimed he was a follower of a cleric named Ilyas Qadri, who operates a properly-proven mainstream Barelvi religious group primarily based in Pakistan named Dawat-e-Islami. Mr. Qadri has claimed that supporters shouldn’t convert to violence over blasphemy. A spokesman for the team claimed that Mr. Hassan was not a member and that they are a tranquil team.

Generate to Saeed Shah at [email protected]

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