Iran: December 8, 2004

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Islamic traditionalists who dominate the judicial system have, without much notice, created their own paramilitary militia to fight crime, gather information on "unislamic" activities, and seek out and punish those who were not behaving as good Moslems should. The traditional Islamic militia, the Basij, have about 300,000 active members, while the new religious police have about 100,000. This split in the Islamic conservatives, between the "political" Basij and the more religious minded judicial militia, is more competitive than combative. 

 

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