02/23/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Girls’ school threatened: wear burkas or get blown up

An anonymous letter threatened to destroy the Mardan Government High School for girls unless teachers and students “started wearing veils and burkas”. Two schools were closed down.

Mardan (AsiaNews) – A school for girls in Mardan has received a letter signed by a group of fundamentalist Muslims threatening to “bomb the building” if teachers and students “do not start wearing veils and burkas”.

According to a local TV channel, the principal of Mardan Government High School – which is located in North-West Frontier Province – received a letter from an unidentified man, who gave the school seven days to step in line with Islamic norms. Once this period was up, the building would be bombed.

The school reported the letter to the authorities, following which security personnel in uniform and plainclothes were deployed around girls’ schools for the rest of the week.

Investigators believe the letters were sent by associates of the Al Qaeda leader Abu Farah, who was arrested in Mardan in recent months. Similar letters were also sent to some schools in Peshawar, and as a result, two schools were closed down.

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