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Leading Pakistani Seminary Backs Polio Vaccine

A polio worker administers polio vaccine to a child in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. (file photo)
ISLAMABAD -- One of Pakistan's most prominent seminaries has publicly expressed support for the distribution of the antipolio vaccine.

The Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqaniya Madrasah in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region issued a fatwa, or decree, on December 9 declaring that the antipolio vaccine is both legitimate and Islamic and urging parents to ensure their children receive it.

Pakistan is one of three countries where polio is still endemic.

Some health workers distributing the vaccine have been attacked and killed by militants who are suspicious of the program after the CIA used it to locate, and eventually kill, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqaniya mosque is said to have a strong influence on the Taliban.

The head of the madrasah, Mullah Sami-ul-Haq, is considered to be a father of the Taliban movement.