Officials Express Concern Over Shariah

Church workers in Pakistan are concerned over the government’s decision to allow militants to enforce Islamic law in the pro-Taliban controlled North-West Frontier province. The government, in an attempt to bring about peace and order, agreed on Feb. 16 to allow Taliban leaders to enforce Shariah, or Islamic law. Soon after the deal, media reported that radical groups shut down all schools for girls and banned women from the marketplace and from traveling outside their homes without a male family member as an escort. They also announced prohibitions on music, dancing and working for nongovernmental organizations. According to media reports, the militants in the past few years have bombed 201 schools, most of them for girls. The Public High School for Girls, run by Carmelite nuns, was badly damaged by bomb blasts last year. A Catholic priest working in the area, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “it can be dangerous. We cannot even openly organize church-sponsored seminars.”

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