Counter-Terrorism: Religious Police Rejected in Pakistan


December18, 2006: The Pakistani supreme court has struck down a "religious police" law passed by the legislature of a province (the Northwest Frontier Province, or NFP, where the Taliban came from.) The NFP is the only province run by Islamic conservatives, although there are like-minded minorities in all provinces. The religious police law, if put into practice, would give this force, supervised by clerics, the power to arrest and punish those who do "un-Islamic" things (like not pray five times a day, or get caught having a beer).

The war on terror is basically a campaign against Islamic militants. It's an ancient military principle that the easiest way to defeat an enemy is to strike at his main source of support. The United States has been supporting Moslem governments that are opposed to religious rule, as well as supporting organizations (like the Arab Reform Movement) that oppose Islamic radicalism. Before September 11, 2001, things like imposing Sharia (Islamic law) and establishing religious police, was something the U.S. did not get involved with. But since Islamic militants adopted mass murder of non-Moslems as a popular activity, these local issues have become another battlefield in the war on terror.


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