Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gilani Lives Large in Lahore


The picture to the right is Mian Mir shrine in Lahore. It is a shrine to a famous Sufi saint, also celebrated by Sikhs. (Wikipedia entry) Surrounded by a walled compound, it is one of Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani's main residences in Pakistan. In stark contrast to the lifestyle of his American followers, Gilani lives very comfortably, evidenced by his Land Rovers, his clothes, his abundance of food, servants, a security detail, and so on.

Photos of Gilani's complex at the Mian Mir Shrine in Lahore, Pakistan - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

A former Gilani follower described to me his experiences during a trip which over several months included weapons training by the Pakistani military and intelligence service. The LA Times just published an account from a terror trial in the US where another man claims to have seen a jihadi training camp being run by the Pakistani military. Athena at the Terrorism Unveiled blog excerpts the article and doubts that the Paks would do this that openly, but I have no problem believing it, especially from what my source has described, and knowing that the ISI has been connected to numerous militant groups.

As for the atmosphere at Mian Mir, it may be a religious shrine for Sufis and Sikhs, but it is not a place to act suspicious. Gilani is a very paranoid individual and thinks the Mossad is always watching him. My contact recalled being at the shrine with Gilani when a "beggar" came up and spoke to them. He spoke to the Sheikh in Urdu and to them in "perfect English". Just hours later, the man turned up dead because Gilani thought he was Mossad. Couple that with the account of Gilani's houses and cars and Gilani starts to sound like more of a mob boss than a "cleric".

One other thing I wanted to point out is an inconsistency with something Gilani said in his recent "editorial". In it, Gilani responds to accusations surrounding his association with Stephen Paster, a white American known as "Fuqra's bombmaker": [emphasis mine]
Another accusation he leveled against me is that I shelter one Stephen Pastor – a man accused of training people to make bombs. (Stephen Pastor was present in Pakistan about ten years ago and then went on his own way.) I have no words to express my detestation of such false accusations.
Ten years ago? That's interesting because my contact says he met Paster on his trip to visit Gilani and it was more recent than ten years. He describes the encounter:
We then went into the mountains for extensive studies in the sufi way, We met one white man named Javed, formerly named Atif, formerly named STEPHEN PASTER. The missing fingers the keen look in his eyes , I knew right away who it was when some of the elders greeted him by saying hey nubbs, I guess that comes from the missing fingers from the bomb that went off too early(doesnt sound like an expert bomb maker to me). He stayed around for about 30 min then went off to somewhere unknown. Have not seen him since.

2 comments:

Theway2k said...

All this is an education for me in which I do appreciate. That is why I visit your blog. I wish to say thanks. Too many Americans stick their head in the sand.

One thing I noticed that really was not the point of your post is that these guys were reverencing Sufis. The Sufis are supposed to be the moderate to peaceful Muslims, and yet this Fuqra guy is a terrorist. If he is a Sufi that kind of blows the potential for the religion of peace, does it not?

CP said...

theway2k,

First, thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

Second, there are violent elements of the other branches of Islam as well, but they are not the majority. I am not well-versed in Sufi-ism, but from what I can tell, Gilani pretty much lives on the way-out fringe.

Feel free to go over to Fuqra Hater's blog and pose some questions there as well. He can give you a different perspective. He says that Gilani's brand of Islam is pretty much rejected by about 98% of Muslims.