Ustad Ahmad Farooq, al Qaeda’s spokesman for Pakistan, issued a statement on the Taliban’s assassination attempt of Malala, the Pakistani schoolgirl from Swat who has spoken out against the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) and was targeted by the group. While the TTP’s argument for the attempted assassination is essentially that she was a legitimate target because she violated sharia, or Islamic law, al Qaeda has approached the controversy from a different angle. Farooq contends that the media has galvanized behind Malala but ignored supposed atrocities against Muslim women.
Farooq’s speech, titled “Why Mourn Malala so Much?”, is not aimed at influencing the Western media or non-Muslims; it is specifically targeted at Muslims and is addressed to “[m]y beloved Pakistani brothers and sisters.” An excerpt from the speech, which has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, appears below. It provides the general thrust of Farooq’s argument.
Farooq asks why the media and the public are silent about other supposed atrocities against Muslim women, such as the detention of Aafai Siddiqui, the “Lady al Qaeda”; the raid against the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, the radical mosque and madrassa in Islamabad in which he claims women were killed; the rape of Muslim women by the Pakistani military and in Bangladesh; women who die due to poverty; and women killed during military operations in Swat and Waziristan.
Excerpt from Farooq’s speech:
Where were these people mourning Malala when Swat and Waziristan were destroyed, when the army violated the sanctity of homes and honor, when the air force pounded villages with tanks and aircraft, killing men, women and children indiscriminately? Nobody spoke up for thousands of such Malalas who became victims of military operations, and nobody protested for them on the roads. But these circles made so much noise when we targeted this girl who made of fun of jihad, the veil and other Islamic values on behest of the British Broadcasting Corporation. This attack created shockwaves in the ruling circles around the world. They issued a number of statements condemning the attack on Malala. I may ask why? Why is Malala’s blood more important than those killed by the army? The attack on Malala has been termed a national tragedy, but no one pays any attention when thousands of people are killed in tribal areas, when the army targets gems of the Ummah who come to Khorasan to wage jihad from Arab lands and other places of world. Why these double standards? Why this hypocrisy? Why this injustice?
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