23 July 2007, Al Jazeera English will air an exclusive programme filmed inside the controversial Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in the days leading up to the siege when Pakistani troops stormed the building, leaving around 100 dead. The Witness special, presented by Rageh Omaar, will be aired on 28 July 2007.*
Rageh Omaar met face-to-face with Abdul Rashid Ghazi, one of the leaders of the mosque. Rageh asked him about his meeting with Osama Bin Laden and his religious and political awakening after the assassination of his father. Rashid Ghazi believes that "wherever Muslims are awakening … much has to do with the aggression, the tyranny being committed by America and its allied forces."
In the exclusive interview, Rashid Ghazi describes the increasing tension between the mosque and the Pakistani authorities. He said he doesn’t think of surrender.
Rageh and his team were the last TV crew inside the mosque before the siege and filmed the last interview with Ghazi before his death.
The film also gained unique access into the Jamia Hafsa madrasa, the religious seminary for women attached to the Red Mosque. "We work for what God wants," explains Umme Hassan, the woman who ran the madrasa, "The government hasn't fulfilled its duty and when it doesn’t, according to the Prophet, the responsibility falls on the clerics."
Rageh ventured to Pakistan before the siege to document the workings of The Red Mosque. Two days into the filming, clashes erupted at the mosque between students and security forces. A week later, and more than 100 were dead.
Already, the storming of the mosque has led to violent attacks on government targets, and Pakistan's future is in the balance.
*The Red Mosque, a Witness special will be aired at the following times:
Saturday 28th July 2007: 1900 GMT
Sunday 29th July 2007: 0000 GMT, 0500 GMT and 1100 GMT
About Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English language news and current affairs channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Broadcasting from within the Middle East, looking outwards, Al Jazeera English sets the news agenda and acts as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC, Al Jazeera English balances the information flow from South to North, providing accurate, impartial and objective news for a global audience from a grass roots level, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.
Al Jazeera English is building on the ground-breaking heritage of its sister Arab-language channel – Al Jazeera, which was responsible for changing the face of news within the Middle East, now extending that fresh perspective from regional to global.
Visit www.aljazeera.net/english for more details.
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