Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Burhanuddin Rabbani

Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani (Persian: برهان الدين رباني Burhânuddîn Rabbânî; 1940 – 20 September 2011) was President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996. After the Taliban government was toppled during Operation Enduring Freedom, Rabbani returned to Kabul and served as a temporary President from November to December 20, 2001, when Hamid Karzai was chosen at the Bonn International Conference on Afghanistan.

Rabbani was the leader of Jamiat-e Islami Afghanistan (Islamic Society of Afghanistan), which has close ties to Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami. He was one of the earliest founders and movement leaders of the Mujahideen in the late 1970s, right before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He served as the political head of the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UIFSA), an alliance of various political groups who fought against Taliban in Afghanistan. He also served as President from 1992–1996 until he was forced to leave Kabul because of the Taliban takeover of the city. His government was recognized by many countries, as well as the United Nations. He was also the head of Afghanistan National Front (known in the media as United National Front), the largest political opposition to Hamid Karzai's government.

On 20 September 2011, Rabbani was assassinated by a suicide bomber entering his home in Kabul. As suggested by the Afghan parliament, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai gave him the title of "Martyr of Peace".

Early years
Rabbani, son of Muhammed Yousuf, was born in the northern province of Badakhshan in 1940. He was an ethnic Tajik. After finishing school in his native province, he went to Darul-uloom-e-Sharia (Abu-Hanifa), a religious school in Kabul. When he graduated from Abu-Hanifa, he went to Kabul University to study Islamic Law and Theology. During his four years at Kabul University he became well known for his works on Islam. Soon after his graduation in 1963, he was hired as a professor at Kabul University. In order to enhance himself, Rabbani went to Egypt in 1966, and he entered the Al-Azhar University in Cairo where he developed close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership. In two years, he received his masters degree in Islamic Philosophy. Rabbani was one of the first Afghans to translate the works of Sayyid Qutb into Persian. Later he returned to Egypt to complete his PhD in Islamic philosophy and his thesis was titled "The philosophy and teachings of Abdurah Rahman Jaami. in 2004 he received Afghanistan's highest academic and scentific tittle "Academecian" from the Academy of sciences of Afghanistan.

Political career
Rabbani returned to Afghanistan in 1968, where the High Council of Jamiat-e Islami gave him the duty of organizing the University students. Due to his knowledge, reputation, and active support for the cause of Islam, in 1972, a 15-member council selected him as head of Jamiat-e Islami of Afghanistan; the founder of Jamiat-e Islami of Afghanistan, Ghulam M. Niyazi was also present. Jamiat-e Islami was primarily composed of Tajiks. In the spring of 1974, the police came to Kabul University to arrest Rabbani for his pro-Islamic stance, but with the help of his students the police were unable to capture him, and he managed to escape to the countryside. When the Soviets supported the 1979 coup, Rabbani helped lead Jamiat-e Islami in resistance to the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan regime. Rabbani's forces were the first mujahideen elements to enter Kabul in 1992 when the PDPA government fell from power.

Rabbani was killed in a suicide bombing at his home in Kabul on September 20, 2011. Two men posing as Taliban representatives approached him to offer a hug and detonated their explosives. At least one of them had hidden the explosives in his turban. The suicide bomber claimed to be a Taliban commander and said he wanted to "discuss peace" with Rabbani. Afghan officials blamed the Quetta Shura, which is the leadership of the Taliban hiding in the affluent satellite town of Quetta in Pakistan.

Just days before he died, Rabbani was trying to persuade Islamic scholars to issue a religious edict banning suicide bombings which happened in the year 2011. The former president's 29-year-old daughter said in an interview that her father died shortly after he spoke at a conference on "Islamic Awakening" in Tehran. "Right before he was assassinated, he talked about the suicide bombing issue," Fatima Rabbani told Reuters. "He called on all Islamic scholars in the conference to release a fatwa.

United States President Barack Obama and several NATO military leaders condemned the assassination. Japan also offered its condolences at the Sixty-sixth United Nations General Assembly.

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