Prayer leaders. This is just the latest of countless stories we have posted here involving Islamic clerics involved in terrorist activities. Yet the chattering classes continue to dilate on the Crusades and the Inquisition, as if their very existence so many centuries somehow absolves Islam from responsibility for contemporary terrorism.
From the Daily Times, with thanks to Nicolei:
ISLAMABAD: Police detained scores more people, mostly prayer leaders, over the weekend as part of a continuing crackdown on extremists following the London bombings, officials said on Sunday.
At least 210 were detained in the Punjab after Friday prayers and on
Saturday, but 125 were freed on bail after pledging not to violate
restrictions, said a Punjab Home Department official requesting anonymity.
Among them were 56 people who had been charged with making “provocative speeches” at Friday congregations, while 10 more were being held for selling audio cassettes and CDs of fiery speeches by clerics.
Punjab officials said on Sunday the arrests earlier last week had netted 90 suspected militants belonging to banned Sunni and Shia extremist groups, who could be held for three months under anti-terrorism laws.
And what will that accomplish, exactly?
Authorities also banned the use of loudspeakers by imams of mosques and filed charges against 350 violators just in the Punjab, an official said….
“The government will not allow fanning of hatred in the country,” Iqbal said. Police in Balochistan have arrested 15 people in the past 24 hours, three of them booksellers, after seizing literature on Al Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden, police said.
“We have started a crackdown against those who are publishing, displaying or selling material promoting terrorists or their organisations,” police officer Qazi Abdul Wahid said in Quetta.
Authorities have also filed charges against clerics and members of Islamic parties who staged rallies during an anti-Musharraf protest on Friday. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal vowed on Sunday to launch a countrywide protest movement soon. A date for rallies would be announced after a meeting of alliance leaders on Wednesday, said its spokesman Amirul Azam.