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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

6 - What about Muslim-Majority Countries?

Summary

On April 6, 2007, Jeremy Page of the Times of London reported from Pakistan that groups of theological seminary students from Islamabad's Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) policed the capital with bamboo poles as part of a campaign to introduce their version of Sharia law from the bottom up, despite opposition from the government. Maulana Abdul Aziz, prayer leader at the Red Mosque and principal of its seminary for women, gave the government an ultimatum: introduce Sharia; otherwise, “his students would do it themselves.” Male and female students approached cars in the city, “telling women to stop driving and asking people playing ‘un-Islamic’ music to turn it off.” Seminarians visited retail shops with the same message, urging shop owners to rid their shops of objectionable material. The seminarians included female squads who brandished bamboo poles and wore full burqas. According to the Daily Times of Pakistan, Aziz also “gave the Islamabad administration a week to shut down ‘brothels,’ otherwise ‘seminary students will take action themselves. If we find a woman with loose morals, we will prosecute her…’ [Aziz] said.” On April 12 the Economist reported that more than ten thousand male and female students set fire to mounds of music videos and CDs taken from local retailers and that these seminarians “can be seen practising martial moves with staves…barely a mile from Pakistan's supreme court, parliament building and the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).”

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