Pakistan: Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) issues statement denying links to San Bernardino attackers

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Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook (Image, ABC News AP)

Mufti Tahseen Ullah, a spokesperson for Maulana Abdul Aziz Gazi, cleric at Lal Masjid, (Red Mosque) Islamabad, Pakistan has issued a statement denying Tashfeen Malik (27) and her American-born husband, Syed Rizwan Farook (28) responsible for carrying out a massacre in San Bernardino, California, US on Wednesday had any links to their establishment.

Mufti Ullah warned media (which included UK, Daily Mail, see “Links” section) against “maligning of Pakistan” and reporting “propaganda” calling the claims “baseless”. The message appeared on a Facebook page linked to the mosque. In 2007 Lal Masjid, viewed as having pro-Taliban sympathies, was at the centre of a government crackdown. This resulted in a bloody eight-day siege in which 58 Pakistani troops and seminary students lost their lives, see article,

“Q&A: Pakistan mosque siege”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/11/pakistan.qanda

In the San Bernardino attack, Farook and Malik opened fire at a year-end party at the Inland Regional Centre where Farook worked as an inspector and which provided services for people with developmental disabilities. Police were trying to establish whether he had been involved in an earlier dispute with a co-worker. Farook left the event and later returned with his wife to carry out the shootings killing 14 people and wounding a further 21. Referring to reports of the incident in which the name of Lal Masjid appeared, Mufti Ullah said, “in this critical situation, it is necessary to remain cautious of such conspiracies and media outlets.”

The involvement of Farook and his wife in the San Bernardino shootings shocked family and friends, Washington Post reported,

“the killers were a young husband and wife who welcomed the birth of a daughter just six months ago and showed no outward sign of Islamist radicalization, psychological distress or a desire for mayhem. The couple were slain in a wild police shootout on a residential street four hours after the massacre.”

See following link, NBC San Bernardino shootings and chronology for more information,

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/san-bernardino-shooting

ABC reported that the incident is being treated as “an act of terrorism” according to FBI Assistant Director David Bowdich who stated there was “extensive planning” involved with the attack. The couple wore dark military -style clothing during the assault and were equipped with assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns which had been legally purchased according to police. Their victims were 6 women and 8 men aged 26 to 60. Lawyers David Chesley and Mohammed Abuershaid acting for the family of Farook said that there was “no evidence” the attacks are linked to terror groups such as Islamic State (IS).

Investigators were however checking out a statement on Facebook which may have been made by Malik under an alias allegedly declaring support for IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Malik was born in Pakistan but later relocated to Saudi Arabia. Farook was born in Illinois and grew up in California. He was known to have visited Saudi Arabia on two occasions, for Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca (required once of Muslims during their lifetime) and later to marry Malik. No motive has been established for the massacre.

Some media reported that US officials had delivered a message to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in relation to alleged links between Malik and Lal Masjid. However, Dawn media claimed, “a statement released by the Prime Minister’s House said news reports regarding the meeting of a special US envoy with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London to discuss the California tragedy are ‘baseless’ and ‘incorrect.'”

Lal Masjid statement

The following statement was released in Urdu by Lal Masjid to clarify their position (an English translation follows)

 

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Important Announcement
12/05/2015

Yesterday’s incident which took place in America being linked to Lal Masjid and Maulana Abdul Aziz without any evidence is baseless as well as sad. National media way of dealing thing without any solid evidence and maligning of Pakistan on international level is very sorrowful.

I as a spokesperson of Lal Masjid would like to elaborate that characters linked to the incident Rizwan Farooq and Tashfeen Malik or any other character has no link with us. Despite several repeated explanation, linking Lal Masjid to Daesh etc. without any evidence is against journalistic standards. We have concerns that all this can be used by some evil elements for their own goals.

We have strong evidences to claim that behind this is the firm named PR, that has support of some NGOs, that is doing propaganda against Lal Masjid for a long time now. In this critical situation, it is necessary to remain cautious of such conspiracies and media outlets.

Spokesperson Lal Masjid
Mufti Tahseen Ullah
03 555 80 952

Maulana Abdul Aziz Gazi (May Allah protect him)

—————————-

America’s gun laws are once again under question. According to the BBC, “the incident in San Bernardino was the 353rd mass shooting this year. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting, which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.” The attack by Malik and Farook follows on closely from a mass shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in which three people were killed and nine others were injured. See following article,

“Planned Parenthood gunman gives up after Colorado standoff that left 3 dead”

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/report-active-shooter-near-planned-parenthood-colorado-springs

President Barack Obama condemned the latest attack saying that the US “will not be terrorised” by the San Bernardino shootings. He emphasised, “we are strong. And we are resilient.”

Links 

“EXCLUSIVE: ISIS loyalist woman in San Bernardino massacre is linked to Pakistan’s most notorious radical cleric and mosque known as center for fundamentalists”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3346618/ISIS-loyalist-woman-San-Bernardino-massacre-linked-Pakistan-s-notorious-radical-cleric-mosque-known-center-fundamentalists.html

“No meeting with US envoy over California shooter’s links to Lal Masjid: PM House”

http://www.dawn.com/news/1224369/no-meeting-with-us-envoy-over-california-shooters-links-to-lal-masjid-pm-house

“US has not handed proof of California shooter’s link with Lal Masjid: PM House”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1004409/us-has-not-handed-proof-of-california-shooters-link-with-lal-masjid-pm-house/

“San Bernardino shooting: Statistics behind US gun violence”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34996604

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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