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Militant cleric issues fatwa against fashion magazine staff, police file obscenity charges

(PPF/IFEX) - A leading militant mosque in Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad issued a death decree against the staff of the monthly magazine "Octane" for publishing a fashion-shoot entitled "Adam and Eve" that showed two models in revealing costumes.

The religious decree, or fatwa, was issued on 16 June 2007 by Maulana Abdul Aziz, head cleric of Lal Masjid mosque. The decree said that those responsible for the magazine had committed blasphemy against Adam and Eve and therefore deserved a death sentence.

The fatwa is the latest challenge to the government by the clerics of Lal Masjid mosque. In months prior, the mosque was involved in a number of militant acts that have challenged the government's authority, including the kidnapping of police officers and of women accused of prostitution.

The management of "Octane" published an advertisement in newspapers apologising for "inadvertently" publishing the photographs depicting Adam and Eve.

Police filed charges against the magazine for publishing "obscene" photographs. However, Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the administrator of the Lal Masjid mosque, demanded that the charge of blasphemy also be brought against the magazine's editor and the publisher.

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