Pakistan: Islamic hard-liners expanding their grip on society

Pakistanis chant slogans as they gather to show their support outside the Rawalpindi home of Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who is accused of killing courageous, moderate Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer. (Aamir Qureshi, AFP/Getty Images / January 21, 2011)

Rawalpindi, Pakistan —
“The killing of a governor opposed to the nation’s blasphemy law, and the warm reception for his accused killer, has exposed Islamic fundamentalists’ growing sway over the nation.

Above a dank, darkened teahouse pungent with the aroma of green chili peppers, a bright blue banner depicts a neighborhood cleric, Qari Hanif Qureshi, declaring: “Anyone opposing laws protecting the sanctity of the prophet Muhammad is condemned!”

Such dire exhortations from local imams are embraced by millions of impoverished Pakistanis scraping by in squalid, dust-choked city neighborhoods and mud-hut settlements.”,0,3266594.story

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