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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cleric Sets Up Islamic Court in Pakistan, Threatens Suicide Bombings

By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer Fri Apr 6, 1:44 PM ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - In a bold challenge to the government, a firebrand cleric said Friday he had formed an Islamic court to enforce a Taliban-style vice campaign in the Pakistani capital, threatening suicide attacks if authorities try to stop him.

Thousands of followers of Maulana Abdul Aziz underlined their defiance by chanting "Our way is jihad!" and setting fire to hundreds of mainly Western DVDs and video cassettes outside Islamabad's Red Mosque.

Friday's events deepen a dilemma for President Gen. Pervez Musharraf: endure growing criticism for creeping "Talibanization" in Pakistan despite his alliance with the U.S., or force a potentially bloody showdown with fanatics who have grown under his rule.



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