Updated: Nov 16, 2020 9:07:54 PM
Hundreds of protesters from the far-right Islamist organization Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) staged protests outside the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, against the publication of caricatures of the Holy Prophet in France. The TLP is led by radical Sunni Barelvi cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
Qui est Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi?
The 54-year-old wheelchair-bound preacher is a former Pakistani government employee and is from Attock district in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Rizvi has memorized the Quran and is a strong follower of the Islamic theologian Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, who was born in Bareilly in undivided India in the 19th century and founded the Barelvi school of thought. Khadim Hussain took the name of Rizvi in tribute to Ahmed Raza Khan.
When the government appointed the imam of the Pir Makki Mosque in Lahore, Khadim Rizvi established a reputation as a spokesperson and charismatic leader among his supporters. He has a fondness for the poetry of Allama Iqbal, and his sermons are full of Persian verses written by the great poet.
When did Khadim Rizvi become an actor in the Pakistani political scene?
The Barelvis make up almost 50% of the Pakistani population, but they do not have the political profile of the Deobandis and Ahl-e-Hades. The Barelvi school of thought was once considered the sweetest face of Islam, but that project collapsed in 2011 after the assassination of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.
Salman Taseer’s assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, was a Barelvi, who claimed he killed Taseer because he spoke out in favor of Asia Bibi, a Christian imprisoned for alleged blasphemy.
Qadri was a supporter of Khadim Rizvi, who spoke out against any reform of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and sees any attempt to do so as an attack on the honor of the Holy Prophet.
Rizvi was instrumental in launching the Tehreek Rihai Mumtaz Qadri (Movement to Free Mumtaz Qadri). After Qadri’s hanging in February 2016, Rizvi’s supporters posted a video of him on social media crying at the funeral and putting his turban on Qadri’s feet for failing to save him.
The movement to liberate Qadri was later renamed Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasoolullah (TLYRA) in 2016, which later evolved into the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan political party. The TLP contested the 2018 general elections in Pakistan and won two seats in the Sindh Assembly.
What does TLP want?
TLP sees itself as the guardian of Hurmat-e-Rasool (the honor of Prophet Muhammad) and the guardian of Pakistan’s famous blasphemy laws.
At a time when questions have been raised about the use of blasphemy laws in the country which recently saw a bank manager shot dead by his security guard, allegedly for blasphemy allegations in the Khushab district of Punjab , Rizvi and other top TLP leaders vowed to defend them. laws with their lives.
The TLP has called for the death penalty for anyone proposing amendments to these laws.
Did Rizvi also organize such protests earlier?
Yes he has.
In 2016, Rizvi led protesters into Islamabad’s high security red zone and staged a sit-in demanding the hanging of Asia Bibi.
In 2017, he staged another sit-in, blocking the main road connecting Rawalpindi and Islamabad, demanding the resignation of then Pakistani Minister of Law Zahid Hamid following changes in a law relating to the Khatm Oath. -i-Nabuwwat (Purpose of prophecy) during elections. Law, 2017.
Rizvi’s group alleged the action undermined Islamic beliefs and linked it to blasphemy. The protests were called off after Hamid’s resignation and with the intervention of the Pakistani military, which said it would not use force against the protesters.
A video from the protest site showed the director general of the Punjab Rangers, Major General Azhar Naveed Hayat, handing out envelopes filled with cash to protesters. He later said the money was given to them as travel expenses to get to their home.
And why is Rizvi launching a protest now?
The TLP last week announced its intention to rally and march from the Rawalpindi Press Club to Faizabad in Islamabad against the publication of cartoons by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He also called for a boycott of French products and the expulsion of the French ambassador from Islamabad.
“We are neither emotional nor fanatic. The people who bombed Syria and hanged Saddam Hussein in Eid are fanatics. We are only talking about the honor of our prophet. Every time you talk about Islam, your tongues slip. People have to keep control of their language, ”Rizvi said during a speech in Karachi last week.
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