Friday, May 7, 2010

Pakistan mosque accused of strong militant ties

And the list of Associates Gets longer .

(Reuters) - The mosque linked to associates of the man accused of the failed Times Square bombing has recruited young men for militant training in the past and may still have links to a banned group, security officials and residents said.

The Bat'ha Mosque, in a lower middle-class neighborhood in the north of Karachi, is often visited by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leaders, neighbors said, but it tries to conceal its links to the banned group.

"On the face of it, the mosque has no more links with Jaish, but that's not true," said a resident who was once involved in the management of the mosque.

"They are still close and leaders of the group regularly come here to attend congregations," he said.

JeM was formed in 2000 to liberate what it considers Indian-occupied Kashmir but has splintered since then.

It is blamed for numerous attacks against Pakistani civilian and military targets and has also been blamed for the murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

It has links to Afghanistan dating back to the war against the Soviet occupation and still recruits and trains thousands of young men to fight Western forces in Afghanistan.

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