Friday, July 06, 2007

Bloggers Abroad Liveblog Unfolding Red Mosque Events

In the midst of America's 4th of July celebration--lengthened this year by a midweek 4th--I hesitate to turn attention abroad. Nevertheless, if you take an interest in international news, you may have run into the story of a mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan known as Lal Masjid. With upcoming elections in Pakistan, it has been very difficult for the casual observer to distinguish news from campaigning, but this story definitely seems to be news.

A number of bloggers in Islamabad, Pakistan have been posting news of the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) on the Islamabad Metroblog, which is fascinating. One blogger on the Metroblog has been liveblogging the unfolding events. This situation at the Red Mosque has been brewing for quite some time, and there are a number of candid photos available. Backgrounders, via Youtube, are here and here.

If you took the train downtown in the past few days, you may have seen extra, armed security personnel, delays boarding the train, and other reminders that we no longer live in Fortress America. With jet travel, migration, and globalization, our problems of tomorrow may be the problems abroad today.

Update: I may be wrong, and this may not be news but propaganda. A well-respected Pakistani blogger questions whether the Red Mosque series of incidents is merely a stage play for foreign consumption, but many of the comments to the post do not agree. An op-ed in an important newspaper in Pakistan also takes this view.

Further Update: Whatever the truth, there is great sadness, as stories emerge of the poor people who have gone to pick up their children. Religious schools such as these help the impoverished who have difficulty caring for their large families in a country where literacy is low and the public schools are bad.

Leaders of the Red Mosque aren't making friends across the Mideast.


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