More quotable quotes from Lashkr-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, who is the brother and brother-in-law of three Massachusetts imams. From a 1998 Guardian article by journalist Suzanne Goldenburg, Holy War Against Heretics and Naked Toes:
"In the air-conditioned comfort of a hall at his palatial estate, a short, round man in spectacles is instructing a circle of rapt disciples on the difference between terror, and holy war."
" 'Terrorists are killers: they kidnap and murder the innocent. But a jihad is to help the poor, the weak and the starving, and to establish the supremacy of Allah,' intones Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, lacing his sermon with Arabic incantations. 'Only those who are against Allah are killed, and those who oppress the poor and weak. Only the tyrants.' "
"The distinction is not readily apparent in Pakistan, where armed Islamic groups have mushroomed in the past decade. Like Mr Saeed's Lashkar-i-Taiba (Soldiers of the Holy Places), they are at war against those they brand heretics: liberal Pakistanis, and the Shi'ite Muslim, Christian and Hindu minorities. All disguise their private armies - which roam between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indian-controlled Kashmir - as students seeking instruction at the feet of bearded sages in their medressahs (religious schools)."
"But none of the medressahs can compare with Mr Saeed's 200-acre estate, a gift from his Middle Eastern patrons. The heavily guarded complex about 20 miles north of Lahore has six mosques, a hospital, a playground and a shopping centre."
Hafiz Saeed is not fond of democracy:
"The extremist groups lie behind the sectarian fighting that has killed hundreds of people in Punjab, breeding religious intolerance. The Lashkar are fighting to steer Pakistan away from democracy and other modern practices they see as alien and sinful. 'We are suffering because we have abandoned our traditions and strayed into democracy,' says Mr Saeed. 'The democratic system is not Islamic, but a Jewish and Christian import from Europe. We should not let it thrive here. In Islam, God is the ruler, but democracy gives rights to all people.' "
During the interview, there are problems with the female journalist's attire:
"But midway through the conversation, Sultan Ahmed (LeT head of education) brings out a heavy white bedsheet, reinforcement for my headscarf. He interrupts the conversation again to shriek 'Your feet!' when he sees my toes emerging from beneath the hem."
The journalist thinks that the Pakistani government tacitly supports the LeT (this was back in 1998, and its probably less true today):
"The Pakistani government is unable, or unwilling, to confront such groups directly. It fears their power to create civil unrest and recognises that they serve its interests against India in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Earlier this year, the information minister, and the governor of Punjab, visited Mr Saeed's centre, which is normally off-limits to outsiders. It has never before admitted a foreign woman."
The article concludes with this memorable thought:
"And Mr Saeed's ambitions do not end in Kashmir. 'At this time our contest is Kashmir. Let's see when the time comes. Our struggle with the Jews is always there.' "