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Exclusive: An interview with Maulana Fazalullah

By: Khurshid Khan
April 21, 2007

Maulana Fazalullah, a thirty three years old resident of Mamderai, Swat is the most talked about personality in the region. He has a large number of followers many of whom are ready to sacrifice their lives and every thing for his cause. He was born in the house of Biladar Khan; a Pukhtun of Babukarkhel clan of the Yusufzai tribe of Swat. Biladar Khan was highly inspired by the TNSM movement (Movement for the enforcement of Shariah laws) patroned by Maulana Sufi Muhammad became one of the right-hand men of the Maulana. Finding himself even more devoted for the said cause, he sent his son, the then Fazal Hayat, now naming Fazalullah to his Madrassa (seminary) at Kumbar, Dir. This close and long association between the two ultimately got shaped into matrimonial relationship.

Biladar Khan is no more, Sufi Muhammad is in Prison but the son and son in law, Maulana Fazallulah, is leading the same movement, thus fulfilling the great wish of his father and father in law.

Fazalullah has made his native village Mamderai as headquarter of the TNSM, thus got it shifted from Kumbar, Dir to Mamderai, Swat.

Maulana has started his own F M radio channel for his preachings and having a big circle of listeners. Strange to say most of his listeners are the women folk.

Six months ago when he expressed about his own wish of establishing a Madrassa, Mosque and offices, the people responded even more beyond his expectations. They generously donated in cash and kinds. Hundreds and thousands of people voluntarily take part in the construction process turn by turn daily. They work full day on their own expenses including food and equipment. Thus this huge complex is expediting towering.

For Jumma (Friday) prayers a vast tract of land is levelled to accommodate a huge gathering of people from nearly all villages of Swat, praise worthy to see.

The Maulana makes a riding show (with himself on a black horse) after the Jumma Prayers in the same ground, so that the people can have a glimpse of him.

The Maulana is popular among masses but controversial in media.

A panel consisting of Mr. David a journalist from US, Baroz khan, Beaurue Chief The News International Peshawar and Khurshid of valleyswat.net in his office at Maamderai, Swat, interviewed the Maulana.The detailed interview is summarized as follow.

Q: Why the people follow you?
A: People are fed up with corrupt system in which smugglers; murderers and rascals are considered the nobility. Therefore, they are coming to us for seeking peace of mind.

Q: Maulana Saib it is said that you encourage people to use horse instead of vehicles, why?
A: I have a horse and a bike, too.

Q: Maulana Saib you like horse riding we know, any special reason?
A: Yes, it is our family hobby. My grand fathers were cavarly men in the Swat State. Above all it is a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet.

Q: Maulana Saib being educated up to F.A (Higher Secondary) why you chose to become a Mullah than to either go abroad for employment or joining any other line?
A: My father wanted me to become an Alim (a religious scholar) that is why he admitted me to a Madrassa. People criticized this act of him saying, he was a Pukhtun, why he was getting his son to be a Mullah. His plea was that his son would not be a traditional Mullah, taking alms and charities. He would be blunt and would challenge the evils.

Q: You are running an FM channel. Have you applied for registration?
A: Swat is a part of PATA (Provincially Administrated Tribal Area), a tax-free Zone. It is exempted from having a T.V or Radio license. Even you can see here a lot of non-custom paid vehicles. We are enjoying the privileges granted by the State.

Q: But Maulana Saib, the Government even then wants your channel to be banned?
A: There is no such clause in the laws of the country that prohibits preaching of Quran on F.M radio. Indian, western and Russian channels and Cables net works are allowed broadcasting their programs, why this right is not given to our channel, which is only meant for the Quranic teaching.

Q: What effect does your F.M channel have on the people?
A: We strongly preach about women’s rights given in Quran and Sunnah. Our Pukhtun Culture does not recognize the share of woman in inheritance. In this connection the result of this channel is that people consult us to give the due shares of sisters in the inherited property.

Q: According to some of the Government sources, your F.M channel is creating law and order situation in the area?
A: Our FM channel has rather brought peace in the area. You can confirm it from the record of the Police stations of the vicinity, whether the crime ratio is increased or decreased during this period.

Q: The tourist season is about to begin. It is feared that your activities would affect it.
A: We have created an atmosphere of peace in the area. Our activities would not affect the season. There is peace for the tourists. They can come without fear but should not deviate from the norms.

Q: You are wanted to government under various sections of the law of the country? What do you say?
A: Those who charge me should come forward. I am ready to face any court, provided the people would come along with me to the court for whose interest I have been labelled.

Q: Why you are against Polio vaccination?
A: To cure a disease before its on set is not in accordance with Shariah’s laws. The relevant experts have also questioned the credibility of the polio vaccine and the newspapers have reported their point of view, too. Even it has been challenged in the court. Why the government looks to be so much interested in this affair, there are so many other fatal diseases, which are too much costly to be treated. The government should provide the people free medical facilities, to relive them from financial burden.

I have never opposed Polio vaccination, but I say if the people are unwilling for it, they should not be forced. Keeping in mind if I say “No” to Polio Vaccination, you would not find a single child to drink a drop of it anywhere in Swat.

Q: Maulana Saib, what about female education?
A: I am not against female education but against obscenity and the curriculum being taught in female educational institutions.

Q: Maulana Saib, if you were a disbeliever in female education, how a female would become a teacher, nurse or a doctor so needed by the society?
A: Shariah does not allow male and female working together. Women are meant to fulfil their responsibilities inside their houses. Only in case of dire need they can come out in a veil. It is obligatory for male to meet their needs. If he fails, he should set her free.

Q: Maulana Saib you plan to establish a Madrassa for the females. What sort of curriculum you intends to devise for them?
A: A committee of teachers and scholars would be constituted which will think and formulate the desired curriculum.

Q: Maulana Saib, the curriculum for this Madrassa would be a blend of modern and religious education or only limited to the religious one.
A: A set model for us is Madrassas / Schools of the Talibans’ regime in Afghanistan.

Q: Do you believe in any interfaith harmony?
A: Yes, we can sit together, argue but supremacy will be that of Islam because after the advent of Islam their religions are no more valid.

Q: If a non-Muslim stresses to be non-Muslim, would you give him the right to be so?
A: Yes, he will enjoy all the privileges.

Q: President Musharaf’s policies regarding enlightened moderation are contrary to your ideology. If this situation continues, what would be the ultimate result?
A: We are following the path of Allah and he follows that of Satan’s. To follow Din (Islam) is actually enlightened moderation.

The case of Hafsa Seminary in Islamabad and Suicide bombing are reaction to Musharaf’s polices of enlightened moderation.

We are sorry for not uploading Maulana’s photograph because of his unwillingness.