- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2002

KARACHI, Pakistan Police have arrested an Islamic cleric in connection with inciting worshippers at his mosque to kill a U.S.-born Pakistani who spoke out against an anti-American speech.

Faraz Jawed, 30, a U.S.-born engineer, escaped an attack Friday. On Sunday, police in Punjab's Jaranwala town arrested the cleric, Hafiz Abdul Latif, and two others on charges of instigating villagers to kill Mr. Jawed.

Mr. Jawed had gone to the local mosque for Friday prayers while visiting his parents-in-law in the town. He is reported to have objected to the cleric's speech, which was critical of the United States and the Pakistani government's support of the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Reports said Mr. Jawed asked the cleric to stick to Islamic teachings, as President Pervez Musharraf had urged Muslims to do during a visit to the United States in March.

Reports said the cleric responded by calling on worshippers to kill Mr. Jawed. "He is also an American and an enemy of the Muslims," Mr. Latif was quoted as saying.

Mr. Jawed and his relative, Mohammed Naeem, escaped. But after Friday prayers Mr. Latif called village elders and asked them to punish Mr. Jawed.

More than four dozen men were reported to have marched to Mr. Naeem's house, where Mr. Jawed was staying. They carried iron rods, sticks and lethal weapons, and stoned the home.

Mr. Naeem called the police, who dispersed the crowd with assurances that Mr. Jawed would be prosecuted for blasphemy.

Mr. Jawed contacted the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, which asked the Pakistani government to take action.

The Jaranwala police filed charges against Mr. Latif, accusing him of creating a law-and-order problem in the area and of using religious feeling to incite the attack on Mr. Naeem's house.

Gen. Musharraf, a strong ally of the United States in its war on terrorism, has strongly opposed the preaching of politics in mosques.

"Do not let the priests talk politics in mosques," he said in Washington in March. "I ask you, why do you keep silent when you hear politics in mosques? Next time you hear someone doing this, stop him. Tell him the mosque is a place of worship and not politics."

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