Islamist militants hold prayers for bin Laden in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD Tue May 3, 2011 10:04am EDT

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is seen in Islamabad in this May 22, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is seen in Islamabad in this May 22, 2005 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

Related Video

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The founder one of Pakistan's most violent Islamist militant groups has told Muslims to be heartened by the death of Osama bin Laden, as his "martyrdom" would not be in vain, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday.

Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let), the militant group blamed for the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, has been holding special prayers for bin Laden in several cities and towns since he was killed in an operation by U.S. forces in Pakistan's northwestern garrison town of Abbottabad on Monday.

A spokesman for LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed said he had told followers in the eastern city of Lahore that the "great person" of Osama bin Laden would continue to be a source of strength and encouragement for Muslims around the world.

"Osama bin Laden was a great person who awakened the Muslim world," Saeed's spokesman Yahya Mujahid quoted him as saying during prayers at the headquarters of the LeT's charity in Lahore on Monday.

"Martyrdoms are not losses, but are a matter of pride for Muslims," Saeed said. "Osama bin Laden has rendered great sacrifices for Islam and Muslims, and these will always be remembered."

Amidst shouts of "Down with America" and "Down with Obama," around 1,000 of Saeed's followers held prayers in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi.

"May Allah accept the sacrifice of Osama bin Laden," local leader of Let's charity, Naveed Qamar, said at the prayers.

LeT, one of the largest and best-funded Islamist militant organizations in South Asia, is blamed for the November 2008 assault on Mumbai, which killed 166 people in India's commercial hub. Its founder, Saeed, now heads an Islamic charity, a group the United Nations says is a front for the militant group.

Western security analysts believe that LeT is linked to al Qaeda, though LeT officials deny this.

Mujahid said thousands of Saeed's followers, many of them often in tears, took part in the prayers.

Saeed founded LeT in the 1990s but abandoned its leadership after India blamed it and another militant group for an attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001.

The group was nurtured by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to fight India in Kashmir, and analysts say it is still being unofficially tolerated by Pakistan, even though it was banned in the country in 2002.

Admiral Robert Willard, the head of the United States military's Pacific Command, last month expressed concern over the expanding reach of LeT, saying it was no longer solely focused on India, or even in South Asia.

(Additional reporting by Faisal Aziz; Editing by Rebecca Conway

Miral Fahmy and Sanjeev Miglani)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
opsudrania wrote:
“Admiral Robert Willard, the head of the United States military’s Pacific Command, last month expressed concern over the expanding reach of LeT, saying it was no longer solely focused on India, or even in South Asia.”

Does it sound healthy? It certainly smacks of a filthy partitioned attitude by the US establishment towards the Afro-Asian countries while they screech in high tones when it afflicts them. Then it becomes a matter of “world” concern.

Can Obama be trusted as a world leader by countries like India who are severely affected by this horrid incessant terror right from under their bottoms in neighbourhood. No wonder, Indians have been blaming on US that it only loves our money but not the people.

Obama is unhappy that India did not reward Him with a big order for their “Weapons of Mass Destruction” they manufacture, promote and live on; while unduly blaming the Saddams for possession of the same. Is it a fact or an error of parallax, I leave it for the astute readers to decide for themselves. This is their part of “industrial revolution” they so proudly like to project themselves as civilised societies.

US, you have to come clean and adopt an ancient Indian philosophy of “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam”. This killing “A Osama bin Laden” will not spare your citizens, until all the citizens in the world are rendered safe because you are not ignorant of the reactions from the followers of that legacy that is hounding you. This is grotesquely absurd.

God bless

May 03, 2011 6:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
futurist2120 wrote:
That prayer service sounded like the perfect opportunity for a drone strike. Radical Islam is out of control in Pakistan & the government there should do something about it. Cut off the aid until these violent religious extremists are neutered.

May 03, 2011 10:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.