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Pakistan Begins Compulsory Registration of Islamic Seminaries


Pakistani authorities have begun registering the country's estimated 12,000 madrassas or Islamic seminaries, a move hardline clerics have vowed to resist.

The registration comes just two days after representatives of more than 250 madrassas vowed to resist the government order on the grounds that it was discriminatory.

President Pervez Musharraf first launched a drive to reform the madrassas two years ago, saying some of them are suspected of training Islamist militants. But the effort fell through because of opposition from hardline Islamist groups.

Last month, he announced a renewed plan to regulate the religious schools after revelations that one of the four London bombers of Pakistani origin had visited madrassas in Pakistan.

General Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, last week promulgated a law requiring madrassas to register by the end of this year.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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