Pakistani president earns fatwa by flirting with Sarah Palin
Asif Ali Zardari angers radical Muslims with flirtatious remarks to Republican 
vice-presidential candidate
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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.

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