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Musharraf justifies 'jihad'

Musharraf justifies 'jihad'

Publication: The Hindu
Date: June 26, 2000

NEW YORK, JUNE 25. Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has defended terrorist groups for ``waging holy war'' against India saying ``jihad''is a tolerant concept.

``There is no question that terrorism and `jihad' are absolutely different,'' the New York Times magazine quoted Gen. Musharraf as saying.

``You in the west are allergic to the term `jihad' but it is a tolerant concept,'' he said.

The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen is among the organisations that are waging ``violent jihad'' against India and is believed to be involved in the hijack of the Indian Airlines plane in December last year, the magazine said.

The group has training bases in Afghanistan but its leader Fazlur Rahman Khalil has an office in Rawalpindi not far from Gen. Musharraf's house and moves freely in Pakistan, it said.

The interview was published as part of an article on relgious schools. It said that some one million students from eight to 35 years of age are studying in 10,000 or so ``madrasas'' and militant Islam is at the core of most of these schools. Some of them are sponsored by Paksitan's relgious parties and some are affiliated with the ``mujahhedeen'' groups fighting ``jihad''in Kashmir. Gen. Musharraf also defended the role of relgious schools or ``madrasas.''

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