Pakistani cleric warns service providers for dating on mobile


Islamabad : A radical Muslim cleric in the Pakistani capital Islamabad Friday warned mobile phone companies to end their dating services or "face the consequences."

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Maulana Abdul Aziz, the administrator of Islamabad's notorious Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, also cautioned private TV channels to desist from spreading what he called "obscenity."

"Our Islamic court has warned the mobile phone companies through letters that they should immediately stop their 'friendship service' since it ruins the character of the young Muslim men and women," Aziz said while addressing his followers in a sermon.

Some mobile phone companies have developed chat rooms, which are quite popular among young Pakistanis seeking romantic ties.

"We also urge media outlets including TV channels to refrain from spreading obscenity in society," he added, warning that if the government failed to act then his followers would take the law into their own hands.

Supported by thousands of madrassa religious school students, the hardline cleric last month established an Islamic court on the mosque's territory to enforce strict Islamic law in the capital.

He also vowed to trigger a wave of suicide attacks if authorities used force against the mosque.

Baton-wielding male and female students from two madrassas affiliated with the mosque have also waged an anti-vice campaign, detaining alleged prostitutes and intimidating owners of audio and video entertainment stores.

President Pervez Musharraf has been under pressure to use force against Aziz and his followers. While he has favoured a negotiated solution to avoid bloodshed, the cleric said Friday that every Muslim is obliged to wage jihad (Holy War) against Musharraf.

"Our only destination is the enforcement of Islamic system," he said.