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Mass Surrenders As Red Mosque Sieged In Islamabad

About 700 followers inside Islamabad's radical pro-Taliban Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) have surrendered to Pakistani forces as President Musharraf ordered a siege overnight. About 300 are believed to be still inside refusing to give up. Maulana Abdul Aziz, who ran the mosque with his brother, was arrested as he tried to escape wearing a burqa among a crowd of surrendering women of the female madrassa.

As parents gathered to receive their surrendering children, "the tide of popular feeling seemed to be turning against the clerics." The government offered amnesty and $83 travel money for those who surrendered to return to their homes.

Radical religious leaders and their political allies sparked street protests in Lahore and Quetta in protest to the siege on the Red Mosque in Islamabad. There is fear that radical Islam may be rising in Pakistan's cities, spreading from Taliban-controlled rural areas in the frontier provinces.

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