04/06/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Islamabad, hundreds take to the street against Islamic extremism

Protesters demand the government clamp down on bigoted and extremist religious groups that promote violence and intolerance.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of Pakistani human rights activists have staged a protest calling for action against the extremism of the madrassah, or Islamic religious schools, demanding the government intervene to limit their activities

 

About 600 people took to the streets of Islamabad demanding curbs on "extremist forces" they said were promoting "intolerance and violence”.

 

The protest was called two weeks after female students from the Jamia Hafsa madrassah abducted a woman they accused of running a brothel, holding her captive for two days. The students seized the women accusing her of running a brothel, contrary to Islam.  Two of her relatives were also taken hostage in the raid.

 

Despite her protests of innocence, the woman was released only after she had read out a “public confession of immorality”.  The day after the release the school Imam demanded the government “impose Sharia law” adding that “it will be applied either way, even without political support”. 

 

The students, from the Jamia Hafsa madrassah, seized the alleged brothel owner and two of her relatives, releasing them only when the woman had read out a confession”. In a statement, 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”.

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