Website falsely claims that a Takfiri gathering was held in Islamabad under government patronage
Claim: A Takfiri gathering took place In Islamabad under the patronage of the Government of Pakistan.
Fact: The gathering was in fact a private event organised by a religious student union. Members of both the government and opposition parties were there, not as patrons but as invitees.
An article by Jafria Press alleges that a Takfiri gathering took place at Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad under the auspices of the government. By definition, a Takfiri is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim — likely belonging to a different sect or subsect of Islam — of being a kafir (a disbeliever) or an apostate (one who has renounced Islam).
The article by Jafria Press also claims the event was attended by key member of the opposition and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as well as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri and Federal Minister Ali Muhammad Khan.
Soch Fact Check found the article to be misleading. A convention was held at Jinnah Convention Centre on 3 October, but it was a private event organised by the Muslims Student Organization Pakistan (MSOP), a group which was founded in 2002 and consists predominantly of madrasah and university students belonging to the Deobandi school of thought. The event was, however, attended by the people mentioned in the article, in addition to the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir.
During the event, the hashtag #WeAreMSO was circulated on twitter, but the majority of tweets associated with the hashtag did not contain sectarian or Takfiri content. Additionally, during the speeches, as well as in posts used to promote the event on twitter, no speaker or official of the group declared anyone an infidel, instead sticking to the rhetoric of strengthening “Nazriya e Pakistan” (the ideology of Pakistan) as well as “uniting the ummah.”
The organisers of the event were later appreciated in a tweet by Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, the leader of the proscribed outfit Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ) who is known for his anti-Shia rhetoric. This, as well as the fact that MSOP has in the past clashed with student unions of other sects, like the Imamia Students Organization, may explain why some pages published misleading information about the event.
Conclusion: The gathering held at Jinnah Convention Centre on 3 October was not organised by members of the government but rather by Muslims Student Organization Pakistan, a private entity. None of the speakers at the event accused Muslims belonging to other sects of being infidels or apostates; hence, the headline declaring the event a Takfiri convention held by the government is misleading.