Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pakistan Mosque Creates Islamic Court In Challenge To Government

In Pakistan, the government has blocked access to the website of Islamabad's Red Mosque. Last week, the governing clerics of the mosque and a related seminary set up a religious court to enforce Islamic law and warned of suicide attacks if authorities ordered raids on the mosque. On Monday, the mosque's court issued a fatwa against Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar. It called for her dismissal because of a photo of her hugging a male instructor after a charity parachute jump she made in France last month to raise money for victims of Pakistan's 2005 earthquake. The story is reported yesterday by The Age. The Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) court also is taking aim at prostitution, gambling, sale of liquor, and sale of audio and video cassettes. Gulf News on Monday said that the Sharia court is a challenge to the authority of Pakistan's civil government.

UPDATE: On Sunday (April 15), 100,000 moderates who support President Gen. Pervez Musharraf rallied in Karachi against the activities of the Red Mosque. (AP).