Pakistani president earns fatwa by flirting with Sarah Palin
Asif Ali Zardari angers radical Muslims with flirtatious remarks to Republican
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After appearing to endorse Hamas and back Barack Obama's stance on Pakistan in
her now infamous interview with Katie Couric, Republican vice-presidential
candidate Sarah Palin has found herself embroiled in another diplomatic row
over her meeting with Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari.
Zardari's greeting to the Alaskan governor at their meeting at the UN
headquarters in New York - described as "overly-friendly" by the Christian
Science Monitor - has earned him a fatwa from some of Pakistan's radical
Benazir Bhutto's widower tells Alaska's first woman that she is "even more
gorgeous in life" and says he can see why "America is crazy about you". But
what really got radical clerics backs up was his comment that he might hug the
Moose-hunting governor if his aide insists hard enough.
For Palin, the incident appears to have confirmed jokes that her meet-and-greet
sessions with world leaders at the UN were "speed dating" diplomacy.
But Zardari faces much harsher condemnation for his conduct. His remarks
managed to unite both hardline Islamic leaders and Pakistani feminists in
One radical Muslim prayer leader said the president shamed the nation with his
"indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady
wearing a short skirt." Meanwhile, Tahira Abdullah, a member of Pakistan's
Women's Action Forum, criticised the president for failing to show decorum and
behave like a "mourning widower".
But Zardari can perhaps take comfort that not everyone is taking his
flirtatious manner so seriously. Two Facebook groups have been set up to
commemorate his encounter with the vice-presidential candidate. One group
called Zardari should marry Sarah Palin for the sake of world peace!, reckons
their union would "stop the incursion of US forces in Pakistan" and lead to
polo races in the White House.