Gulf News

Defiant cleric says mosque has guns

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A mosque behind a morality campaign in the Pakistani capital has guns on the premises and will defend itself if the government attempts a crackdown, a top cleric said yesterday.

The Lal Masjid or Red Mosque in Islamabad has caused the government headaches with its Talibansty­le vice patrols and by issuing a “fatwa” against a female minister for being pictured hugging a paraglidin­g instructor.

“If it comes to a do-anddie situation we will use our right to self defence,” Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the mosque’s deputy leader, told AFP by telephone.

“Whatever arms we have are with licences obtained in the past through normal official procedures,” he said when asked to comment on what appeared to be assault rifles carried by young devotees standing guard on the mosque’s walls.

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