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Last Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
Karachi protest at Sharia mosque
Protest in Karachi
The rally was organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement

Tens of thousands of people have protested in the Pakistani city of Karachi against a radical mosque and its religious schools in Islamabad.

The chief cleric of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), Abdul Aziz, had announced a Taleban-style Islamic court would be set up to curb "vulgar" activities.

He also gave the government a month to close video shops and brothels.

The protest organisers, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), branded the mosque "religious terrorists".

Fatwa

The MQM is largely supportive of the policies of President Pervez Musharraf.

MQM leader Altaf Hussain told Sunday's rally by telephone from London via loudspeakers: "Islam is a religion of peace and there is no place in it for using force or terrorism.

"The people of Islamabad are insecure and under threat due to the activities of these religious terrorists."

Abdul Aziz is a vocal critic of the Pakistan government's support for the US-led "war on terrorism".

Last week he announced a court based on Islamic Sharia law and began an anti-vice campaign.

The court passed a fatwa on Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar after she was pictured hugging a man following a paragliding flight.

Mr Aziz has also threatened to "take action" if the government moved against his mosque.

Analysts say Gen Musharraf has been criticised for not taking a harder line but may be reluctant in an election year.




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