US Aided Pakistan Group Which Supported Extremists

Published January 11, 2012 9:18AM (EST)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The U.S. government says that it has given money to a Pakistani Muslim group that organized anti-Taliban rallies, but which later demonstrated in support of an extremist who killed a leading liberal politician.

A U.S. Embassy official in Pakistan said Wednesday that the group had received a grant, but that it had changed direction since the money was given.

U.S. government website shows the Sunni Ittehad Council receiving $36,607 from Washington in 2009.

The council represents Pakistan's Barelvi movement, often referred to as theological moderates in the Pakistani context. In 2010, the group organized rallies against the Taliban.

But last year and this year it demonstrated in support of the killer of Salman Taseer, a governor assassinated for his criticism of blasphemy laws.

By Salon Staff

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