A Pakistani immigrant suspected of stabbing two folks outside the house the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris followed a South Asian Islamic sect that in Pakistan has grow to be progressively emboldened, and on event sparked violence, in defending the central determine in Islam from what adherents see as blasphemous insults.
In a video clip law enforcement say they discovered on the suspect’s cellular phone and that was produced on social media after the attack, a male who suggests he programs to phase an attack on Friday—when the stabbing occurred—appears to cry as he suggests he will acquire revenge for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which Islam prohibits.
The male then sings in devotional track about the Prophet Muhammad in the video clip. French law enforcement say they consider the suspect is the similar as the male in the video clip.
Charlie Hebdo magazine was the focus on of a 2015 attack that killed twelve folks. ISIS and al Qaeda both of those claimed attackers had been customers. The magazine has given that moved to a unique spot. The attack on Friday seriously hurt two staff of an unrelated production firm who had been having a split outside the house the constructing.
In Pakistan, Arshad Mahmood, the father of the suspect in Friday’s attack, identified his son as Ali Hassan, the similar name law enforcement say the suspect gave when he was apprehended.
Mr. Hassan couldn’t be reached for comment. It couldn’t be identified irrespective of whether he is represented by a attorney.
The male in the video clip identifies himself as Zaher Hassan Mahmood, a name the father mentioned his son at times applied in France. Law enforcement mentioned they discovered a scanned copy of an identification card of the suspect’s on his cellular phone bearing the similar name as the male on the video clip utilizes. Mr. Mahmood identified the male in the video clip as his son.
Mr. Mahmood mentioned his son traveled to France as an immigrant two a long time back together with two brothers and acquired his legal permission to get the job done in the place on the similar day as the attack.
Mr. Mahmood, who farms a small plot and life in a village in central Pakistan, mentioned his son, a person of seven kids, researched the Quran diligently as a youngster, prayed routinely and preferred to sing spiritual music. He mentioned that folks in the spot had been coming to congratulate him on his son’s actions. He mentioned he traveled to France in look for of get the job done.
“We are very pleased of our son. No matter what he did is in his appreciate for Prophet Muhammad,” Mr. Mahmood instructed The Wall Avenue Journal. “I say regardless of what he did is proper. There is no comprise on dignity and respect of Prophet Muhammad.”
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t react to a request for comment.
So significantly no indications have emerged that Mr. Hassan belonged to an extremist group or community of militants.
The video clip recording indicated that he follows a pressure of Islamic believed centered in South Asia recognized as the Barelvi custom, the most significant amongst Pakistani Muslims. The sect, to which the father mentioned his son and the spouse and children adhere, focuses on honoring the persona of the Prophet Muhammad.
The sect is overwhelmingly opposed to violence, and has not been joined to militant groups these types of as al Qaeda and ISIS that have wide anti-Western political agendas.
But authorities mentioned the sect has grow to be progressively aggressive in Pakistan, deploying defense of the Prophet as a software to achieve and motivate followers by means of accusing many others of blasphemy.
Ayesha Siddiqa, a investigation affiliate at London University’s Faculty of Oriental and African Experiments, mentioned that Barelvi Islam has grow to be extra assertive in current a long time as it has competed for impact with other sects. But the blasphemy problem is also starting to be extra critical to other Muslim traditions, she mentioned.
“There’s been a transformation of Barelvis,” mentioned Ms. Siddiqa. “The blasphemy problem is staying weaponized.”
In 2011, a outstanding politician, Salmaan Taseer, was killed by a Barelvi who was a person of his personal law enforcement bodyguards. Mr. Taseer had termed for reform of legal guidelines towards blasphemy, which make insults to the Prophet Muhammad a criminal offense punishable by loss of life. Human-legal rights groups say they are normally misused to settle particular disputes.
The male who killed him was remodeled into a hero for some Pakistanis. When the killer was convicted of murder and executed, thousands turned out for his funeral.
In Pakistan’s 2018 typical election, a new political party of really hard-line Barelvis emerged. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which campaigned practically only on the blasphemy problem, garnered extra than two million votes. The party finished 3rd in Pakistan’s most-populous province, Punjab, and won two seats from the town of Karachi for the regional parliament there.
Ejaz Ashrafi, a spokesman for Labbaik, mentioned the team does not connect with for violence. “However, no Muslim can tolerate these types of blasphemous acts as building sketches of Prophet Muhammad,” he included.
Earlier this 12 months, an American citizen of Pakistani origin who was accused of blasphemy was shot dead in a courtroom in which he was on demo for the offense in the northwestern town of Peshawar. In 2016 in the U.K., a shopkeeper of Pakistani origin was killed over supposed blasphemy by yet another male of Pakistani origin.
Even though it is unclear irrespective of whether these incidents had been tied precisely to the Barelvi sect, their concentration on blasphemy was viewed as influenced by escalating intolerance towards perceived insults to the Prophet.
In the video clip Mr. Hassan mentioned he was a follower of a cleric termed Ilyas Qadri, who runs a properly-proven mainstream Barelvi spiritual group dependent in Pakistan termed Dawat-e-Islami. Mr. Qadri has mentioned that supporters shouldn’t flip to violence over blasphemy. A spokesman for the team mentioned that Mr. Hassan wasn’t a member and that they are a peaceful team.
—Noemie Bisserbe contributed to this post.
Produce to Saeed Shah at [email protected]
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