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Western Afghan City Calm Following Sectarian Clashes

Six people were reported killed in the clashes (epa) HERAT, Afghanistan; 10 February 2006 (RFE/RL) --  Afghan officials say security forces have restored ordered in the western city of  Herat after clashes on 9 February between  Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims that left six people dead and more than  150 injured, RFE/RL's Afghan Service reported.

Two mosques also were set ablaze in the city amid the sectarian violence.

A Defense Ministry spokesman, General Mohammad Zahir Aziz, said calm was restored to Herat overnight when hundreds of troop reinforcements were deployed across the city.

Mohammad Ismail Khan, the powerful former governor of Herat who took a cabinet post in Kabul last year, returned to Herat late on 9 February. He is heading a government delegation that is trying to calm tensions between Shi'a and Sunnis.

"We ask all people of dear Herat that, God willing, from this moment they will increase security measures for the sake of a better life and peaceful co-existence -- and stop any attempted conspiracies aimed at disrupting peace and stability in Herat," Ismail Khan said.

Herat's current governor, Sayyed Hosayn Anwari, told RFE/RL that authorities are investigating evidence that suggests the violence in Herat was incited by an organized group of foreigners, possibly from Iran or Pakistan.

Islam In A Pluralistic World

Islam In A Pluralistic World

A Muslim woman (left) watches a Christian procession in Madrid in March (AFP)


CONFERENCE ON ISLAM: A major international conference on Islam concluded in Vienna in November 2005 with strong appeals from prominent Muslim leaders to recognize international terrorism as simply "terrorism." Political figures from Islamic countries, including the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that it should never be labeled "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism because Islam is based on peace, dialogue, and tolerance. "Salaam" -- meaning "peace" -- was the key word of the three-day conference, titled "ISLAM IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD."
Iraqi President Jalal Talibani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the word in their remarks to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam. Other speakers quoted passages from the Koran to the effect that all men and women, regardless of faith, are creatures of God and should live in peace with each other without discrimination...(more)


Listen to Afghan President HAMID KARZAI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
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Listen to UN special envoy LAKHDAR BRAHIMI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
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