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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Islamabad faces suicide bomb call
Supporters of Maulana Aziz
The crowd called for holy war
The head of a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has threatened to use suicide bomb attacks against the government.

Maulana Abdul Aziz made his defiant call to thousands of followers during Friday prayers.

The government is facing calls to clamp down on the activites of students in two madrassas attached to the mosque.

If the government does take action, "our last resort will be suicide bombings", Mr Aziz declared.

He also demanded that the government close down Islamabad's video shops and brothels within one month.

The Taleban-style activity of Mr Aziz's followers in the capital has caused outrage among human rights activists.

Last week female students from a madrassa that is part of Mr Aziz's Lal Masjid (red mosque) complex abducted a woman they accused of running a brothel, holding her captive for two days.

Some of the students are also staging an armed occupation of a children's library in the capital.

The government says it hopes to resolve its differences by peaceful means.

'Last resort'

"If the government says it will launch an operation against us as a last resort, our last resort will be suicide bombings," Mr Aziz told his supporters.

Supporters of Maulana Aziz burn videos and CDs
Supporters of Maulana Aziz burn videos and CDs

"What is our way?" he asked them, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The students called back, "Jihad, jihad (holy war)".

"I give a deadline of one month to the government to close brothels and video shops," Mr Aziz said.

"If the government fails we will take action."

Outside the mosque, a group of supporters set fire to a pile of videos and CDs.

Mr Aziz also said he had set up a Sharia law court at the mosque, made up of 10 clerics.

'Bigoted forces'

On Thursday hundreds of human rights activists staged a protest calling for action against activities of the two madrassas - one for men, one for women - attached to the mosque.

Human rights protesters in Islamabad
Human rights protesters denounce 'Mr Aziz's supporters

They said the madrassa students were "harassing and terrorising ordinary citizens of Pakistan in the name of Islam".

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a dozen non-governmental organisations urged people to "rise against these extremist religious bigoted forces and secure the future of the present and future generations".

The mosque has long been a problem for the capital city administration and Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf.

It has often criticised his policies in the "war on terror" and called for Islamic law to be enforced in Pakistan.




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