Charitable Reporting on Militants

Nov 8th, 2011 | By | Category: Samaa TV
Charity workers of Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Charity workers of Jamaat-ud-Dawa

An article hosted by SAMAA offers some fairly charitable reporting on banned group Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The article, ‘Kashmiri leader rejects Pakistan-India trade pact reports that hardline Kashmiri separatists oppose efforts to normalise trade relations between Pakistan and India. But reading closely, one will find an interesting passage.

SamaaAt first glance, the article is unremarkable. One would easily expect Syed Ali Geelani to reject any dealings with India. Where the article gets interesting, however, is when readers learn about other political leaders who are also criticising the trade pact.

Raja Farooq Haider, Convener of Pakistan Muslim League-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Abdul Aziz Alvi, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity linked to the Mumbai attacks, assured support to Geelani.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks killed 166 people.

This raises the immediate question, what kind of ‘charity’ is linked to a terrorist attack that kills 166 people? Jamaat-ud-Dawa was added to the UN terror blacklist in 2008. An article in The Independent (UK) from that same year describes Abdul Rahman, a teacher at a Jamaat-ud-Dawa school in Muridke as an LeT militant.

After he returned to Pakistan, Rahman would tell the story of his adventures to young students at an Islamic school in Muridke, 15 miles north of Lahore, run by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity. That he was able to move so easily between being a mountain guerrilla of Lashkar-e-Toiba and a teacher of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, discredits the latter’s repeated claim that it is a charitable organisation involved only in running schools, clinics and providing relief to the victims of earthquakes such as a recent one in Baluchistan. Instead, there is convincing evidence that it is a front group and a servicing organisation for the fighters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militants.

Maulana Abdul Aziz Alvi did tell NDTV in 2008 that his group was not involved in the 26/11 attacks, but added a strange qualification to his claim, saying that he would admit ‘mistakes’ if anyone could prove them.

He claimed his group was not involved in the Mumbai carnage but said his organisation would admit its mistakes provided it was proved that it was in any way linked to the attacks, which left a trail of death and destruction.

Whether Jamaat-ud-Dawa is involved in relief work is without question. But that does not mean that this is the only work that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is involved with. Army engages in a lot of relief work, but no one would term the Army as a “charity”. The fact is that Jamaat-ud-Dawa was not only placed on UN terror blacklist, but was banned by the Goverment in 2008. By terming JuD as “a charity”, SAMAA can confuse readers about the true nature of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. This may be the way Maulana Abdul Aziz Alvi would like his group to be referred to, but journalists owe their readers more than simply parroting the claims of the subjects they are reporting.

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