Just as the terrorist group Hamas provides some social services in order to retain the loyalty of Palestinian Arabs, the jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is expanding medical services to residents of Pakistan through its Jamaat-ud-Dawa front charity. (And the government of Pakistan is okay with that.) The move also dovetails with one of Osama Bin Laden’s final wishes, which was for Al Qaeda to provide humanitarian services in order to win the hearts and minds of middle-of-the-road Muslims.
From NYT News Service:
In Pakistan, a charity project points to official tolerance of militants
KARACHI: Violence and mayhem are the hallmarks of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani group that waged the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks. But this week, the group publicly expanded its operations in an entirely different domain: health care.
On Monday, Lashkar’s founder, Hafiz Saeed, inaugurated an ambulance service run by the group’s charity wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, in the bustling port city of Karachi. Two days later a fleet of gleaming new vans, emblazoned with the charity’s distinctive flag and loaded with stretchers still wrapped in plastic, were parked outside the group’s Karachi headquarters, waiting to make their first runs to hospitals on this city’s often chaotic streets.
The group already operates a similar service in 100 towns and cities across Pakistan, a spokesman for the charity said, and was seeking donations to help fund the new service in Karachi.
Even as Pakistan is experiencing a wave of anti-militant sentiment after the Pakistani Taliban’s massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar last month, the aggressively public profile of Lashkar-e-Taiba, particularly through its Jamaat-ud-Dawa affiliate, suggests that some militant groups still enjoy official tolerance.
In fact, some analysts saw the unveiling of the ambulance service this week as a calculated rebuke to speculation that the Pakistani authorities were finally going to enforce international sanctions against Jamaat-ud-Dawa…
Hat tip to Rushette.