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Shiite Muslims protest Pakistan govt in New York

08 december 2012, 13:43
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 Muslim groups demonstrate against the Taliban killings of Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. ©AFP
Muslim groups demonstrate against the Taliban killings of Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. ©AFP
More than 1,000 Shiite Muslims marched in the streets of New York on Friday to voice their anger at the Pakistani government and the Taliban for what they called a "genocide" in their community, AFP reports.

"This demonstration is to condemn the violence of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and all these extremists in Islam," said one 21-year-old US protester of Pakistani descent, who would only give his name as Komal.

"They are not considered Muslims, because they are doing what the Koran is against," he said.

The march -- in which many women and children participated -- started outside the UN headquarters and wrapped up at the Pakistani consulate.

Demonstrators carried signs bearing slogans such as "Stop the violence. We are people of peace" and "Pakistani Shia have the right to live."

Shiites, a minority in Sunni-dominated Pakistan, account for around 20 percent of the country's 167-million-strong population.

Nationwide, sectarian violence between militants from the two communities is estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people since the late 1990s.

Last month, a bomb attack claimed by the Taliban on a Shiite Muslim procession killed eight and wounded 30 others in northwest Pakistan, as the community marked their holiest day of Ashura.

The blast followed another suicide attack -- also claimed by the Pakistani Taliban -- that killed 23 people at a Shiite procession in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the country's deadliest bombing for five months.

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