‘Lal Masjid’ in Mohmand Agency

Published July 30, 2007

GHALLANAI, July 29: Gunmen have forcefully occupied a mosque and an adjacent shrine in Mohmand Agency’s Lakaro tehsil and announced that they will continue the ‘mission’ of late Maulana Ghazi Abdur Rashid and establish a madressah at the place.

The armed masked men took up positions in and around the Jamia Masjid Ghaziabad Lakaro on Saturday night and people coming to pray there were frisked at the gate. The gunmen announced that they were renaming the mosque as ‘Lal Masjid’ and the madressah would be called ‘Jamia Hafsa Umme Hassan’, witnesses said on Sunday.

Residents said the gunmen after occupying the mosque and the shrine of Haji Sahib Turangzai, a known reformist and freedom fighter, declared that they would continue their jihad against the US and its allies. They urged locals to support them.

One of the gunmen, introducing himself as Khalid, spoke to journalists on behalf of the militants and said that they would continue the mission of deputy administrator of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, Maulana Ghazi. “The killing of Maulana Ghazi Abdur Rashid would give birth to hundreds others like him. We are establishing a madressah, Jamia Hafsa Umme Hassan here,” he said.

The armed men wrote ‘Lal Masjid’ on the walls of the mosque and changed a signboard in front of the tehsil office building to ‘Lal Masjid Ghaziabad’.

The political administration could not be reached for comments despite several attempts. However, the political tehsildar of Lakaro tehsil confirmed that the mosque had been occupied.

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