Clerics at Islamabad’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) have threatened to unleash a wave of suicide bombers if the government tries to prevent them running a Sharia court from the mosque.
Today, reports Bloomberg, a Pakistani policeman was killed in a stand-off with students at the msoque supporting the clerics.
Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz, the mosque’s chief cleric, set up a court on the premises, saying he wanted to bring Islamabad under Islamic law in the style of the Taliban. He and his supporters then went about kidnapping transgressors – like patrons of a massage parlour – and raiding shops they accused of selling ‘obscene’ films.
They have also demanded that the government ban the sale of videos and CDs.
In addition, they have stated that Nilofar Bakhtiar, former tourism minister and Advisor for Women’s Development must be punished for wearing a dress they deemed objectionable. This follows a fatwa against Ms Bakhtiar for hugging a man in public.
Following today’s clash with the police, it remains to be seen if they will carry through their threat to let loose suicide bombers in Islamabad.
Still, some grasp for rational explanations for this phenomenon… explanations that don’t involve religious lunacy.