As a result of the massive flooding that hit Pakistan last month, relief workers are pouring into the country to provide victims with basic necessities like food, clean water and shelter. But, most are not from an international aid group or the Pakistani government. They are from a hard-line Islamic charity called Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation.
That foundation has strong ties to the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India that killed more than 160 people. Falah is using its position as one of the only groups providing flood relief to gain recruits for its cause and win the hearts and minds of Pakistanis.
The group preaches to victims while providing relief materials, telling them the correct way to pray before a meal and encouraging them to become "good followers of God."
The Pakistani government has been widely criticized for not doing more to help flood victims and for allowing terrorist groups like Falah to step in to fill the aid gap. In response, Pakistani officials plan to hold an international donor conference in the coming weeks.
"Do you know with what hand you should eat? Put up your hand. It's your right hand. And what do you say before you start? 'In the name of God.'" - member of Falah militant group
"The water didn't let us take our things. The houses started crumbling down. We quickly took our kids and a couple of animals, although we lost most of them. We saved our lives and came here." - Shabir Ul Hassan, recently recruited Falah volunteer
"These people reached at my village, and I see that these are the people, they're working actually, really. I'm astonished by the work of these people, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation. For this reason, I join these people." - Pakistani flood victim
1. Where is Pakistan?
2. What recent natural disaster took place in Pakistan?
3. What is a "militant group"?
1. If you were a Pakistani citizen in need of flood relief, how do you think you would feel about Falah's efforts? Why?
2. How can helping in the aftermath of a natural disaster be a good recruiting tool for an organization?
3. Why do you think international response to the situation in Pakistan hasn't been as strong as the response after the earthquake in Haiti?
Lesson Plan: Pakistan: Country and Culture:
Aid Needed for Victims of Pakistan Floods: