Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of Pakistan's blasphemy laws
Moscow Muslims Upset At Warning over Terrorists in Mosques
Russia Slams European Union's 'Promotion of Sexual Minorities'
UK Muslim body slams 'Jesus and Muhammad' cartoons
UK military action in Muslim countries affecting future options - sources
No face-to-face meeting in Syrian peace talks
Minister urges agenda change for German Islam Conference
Experts believe Central Asia will never be a united Islamic region
Kyrgyzstan kills 11 Uyghurs near Chinese border
New Constitution Tunisia Omits Sharia Law, May Protect Religious Minorities
Morocco: Amendment of Rape Provision Is a Step in the Right Direction
French army kills 11 fighters in northern Mali
Tunisian Saves Brother from Becoming Suicide Bomber: 'It's a Disease, There Will Be More'
Blasphemy Accused, Mohammad Asghar, a British National, Sentenced To Death
Blast in Peshawar kills six: police
Altaf Hussain Labels Taliban as Religion Imposers
Hafiz Saeed asks Taliban to declare truce, talk to Pakistan government
An unending blitz on Shia Hazaras
Govt to take out anti-talks militants
Karachi raids: 93 suspects arrested
Bomb scare in Pakistan Secretariat causes panic
Bombings rock Egyptian capital Cairo, killing 5 people
PM says critics present ‘distorted’ Egypt picture
KSA to launch national cyber protection project
Syria warring sides not in same room for start of talks: Sources
Syria says will leave if no 'serious sessions' at Geneva before Saturday
Syrians at Bloomfield Hills event describe horrors of civil war in their homeland
Chairman SNCORF: Russia no longer backing Assad
Christians have ulterior motive for wanting to use the word ‘Allah’, says Dr Mahathir
Allah row a bid to convert Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak, says ex-chief judge
Fatwa council used by Putrajaya to stifle dissent, say lawyers
Muslim group wants ban on open selling of pork in Penang
India, Russia work to meet Afghanistan's defence wish list
Govt to expand integrated check post for 24x7 India-Pak trades
Yasin-Riyaz Net ‘chats’ show IM got explosives from 3 places
Mir Quasem's War Crimes Trial: He had control over Razakars, Al-Badrs
Gunman kills five Afghan cricket players
New York Times reporter killed in Afghanistan
Preventing recurrence requires empowerment of local government
NATO defence chiefs reaffirm support to ISAF mission until end of 2014
US commander predicts more high-profile attacks in Afghanistan
Islam teaches support for workers, fair compensation: Islamic author
Muslim Rights Group Seeks To Add Halal Food in Florida Prisons
Milad Committee holds grand parade in Dallas
Kerry says Syria's al-Assad not ready to go yet
Washington state Muslims lobby on drones, DREAM Act
Abbas seeks $1-billion Gaza deal with Russia
EU officials disturbed, convinced about ‘parallel state’: PM Erdoğan
Netanyahu: Israel isn't what's wrong with the Mideast, it's what's right
Rohani wants engagement with West, yet Iran executions mount, says Netanyahu
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
January 24, 2014
A group of Moscow muftis is demanding city authorities officially retract a warning about potential suicide bombers’ unusual behaviour in mosques and the description of prayer sites as terrorist meeting places.
Mufti Hazrat Gizatullin, the deputy head of the official Muslim organization for European Russia, said in an interview with Izvestia daily that representatives of his organization intended to send an official protest to the Moscow city Department Of Interethnic And Inter-Religious Cooperation.
The move was prompted by several district councils posting a document on their websites in which they detailed signs that could indicate preparations for terrorist attacks.
“Suicide bombers can be distinguished in mosques by their more exalted behaviour, close to meditation, by a deeper immersion into religious ecstasy. Besides, the mosques can be meeting places for members of terrorist cells. One can always stay for a night in a mosque or strike a deal with other persons unsuspecting about the real goals behind such contacts,” the warning reads.
City officials explained that the text was provided by the Federal Security Service in line with the strategy developed at the session of the joint counter-terrorist workgroup that took place in late December last year. By the agency’s request the text was also placed on billboards in public places.
Mufti Hazrat Gizatullin claims that the authors of the warning have a distorted impression of reality.
“The mosques in Moscow are always closed at night. No one can stay there overnight as there are CCTV cameras and round-the-clock security watches,” the cleric said. “Pointing at some specific behaviour and claiming that it is a sign of membership in a terrorist group is simply a lie that insults believers’ feelings and dignity,” he noted.
The FSB has not yet commented on the controversy, but the head of the Moscow Duma commission for public and religious organizations holds that the warning cannot insult anyone. He added, however, that the formula might not be correct, as distinguishing real terrorists requires qualified and experienced expertise.
Moscow is currently seeing an influx of Muslims; many of them part of the million-strong force of migrant workers attracted to the growing city. During major religious holidays this causes a shortage of mosques, as there are only three such buildings in the city. However, city residents have always strongly opposed the construction of new Muslim sites and the authorities have supported this stance, saying they will not create infrastructure for guest migrant workers who must return to their countries when their contracts expire.
AFP | Jan 24, 2014
BRUSSELS: An official Russian human rights report released on Thursday lashed out at European Union nations for their "aggressive promotion" of the rights of sexual minorities.
The 150-page report on the state of human rights across the EU criticised the rise of xenophobia, racism, violent nationalism and chauvinism — notably in eastern nations with Russian minorities — as well as anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism.
But it also claimed that EU nations, while championing human rights worldwide, saw as "one of their priorities, the dissemination of their neo-liberal values as a universal lifestyle" for the globe.
"This is particularly evident in their aggressive promotion of the sexual minorities' rights.
"Attempts have been made to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level."
Noting the protests in France last year over the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the report said this approach had met resistance not only in nations with traditional values "but also in those countries which have always taken a liberal attitude towards queers."
The report from the Russian foreign ministry was released ahead of a summit in Brussels on January 28 between the EU's top officials and President Vladimir Putin.
Russia itself has faced strong international criticism for adopting anti-gay legislation last year which punishes the "propaganda" of homosexuality to minors with fines or even imprisonment.
World Bulletin / News Desk
British Muslim organization, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), has reacted angrily to a website that published a series of satirical cartoons featuring the prophet Jesus and the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them both).
Describing the content of the Jesus and Mo website as "extremely offensive to believers" in Al-Ahram Online on Tuesday, the MAB questioned “the wisdom of any individual or organization that places at risk the dignity and values of anyone else, even if they might not hold those values.”
In 2005, Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper published offensive cartoons of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), spreading a wave of protests across the Muslim world. Islamophobic critics defended the cartoons under the argument that they were exercising their freedom of speech, while counter-critics said that freedom of speech does not amount to the freedom to insult.
Mass campaigns to raise awareness of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by Muslims increased throughout Europe and the West in general following the cartoons.
Sources close to the British Ministry of Defence have revealed that increasing war-weariness and a multicultural society are influencing the country's future defence strategies. There is a resistance to commit ground forces in future operations, choosing instead to use air superiority or naval forces. It follows the House of Commons decision last year refusing to back intervention in Syria with the US.
On August 30, 2013, British PM David Cameron lost a vote in Parliament to sanction a military strike against President Assad's strategic military targets in Syria. Amid a rebellion by Conservative MPs and strong opposition by Labour, the Government was defeated by 285 votes to 272. US President Obama opted not to put the matter to the vote on Capitol Hill as a result of Cameron's defeat.
Many MPs expressed their view that the British public had grown weary of the use of ground forces. The decision to go to war in Iraq had been done despite the biggest demonstration against the government for years, with millions joining protesters against it. The Stop the War Coalition claimed it to have been the largest demonstration in Britain with estimates of attendance ranging between 750,000 and 2,000,000 people.
The Chilcott Inquiry into the decision to go to war in Iraq has yet to report, and many suspect important government documents have been covered up. Ministers are also bracing themselves for criticism when the report finally comes out later this year.
More importantly, there was general criticism that, although the ground effort had been effective in toppling Saddam Hussein, there had been no exit strategy.
Second Thoughts: Lessons not learnt by the West in the Middle East
Meanwhile, David Cameron's assertion that British troops will return from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 with their 'heads held high' has been taken with a touch of cynicism by many at home, as the war has become increasingly unpopular.
Sources close to the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London have told The Guardian that "they have sensed a resistance in an increasingly diverse nation to see British troops deployed in countries from which UK citizens, or their families, once came.
"There is also concern that British troops have been seen taking action mainly in Muslim societies," the paper reported.
There have been increasing calls for British troops to be pulled out of Afghanistan early. In November 2010, organisers of the Afghanistan Time to Go rally pulled a crowd they claimed was 10,000-strong at Trafalgar Square as an increasing number of people questioned the effectiveness and strategy of the ground operation.
The multi-ethnic problem for the MoD
VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at the University of Bradford.
Paul Rogers said: “There was fairly broad support in Britain for the response to 9/11 in Afghanistan. There were a lot of people very cautious about the George Bush administration and they seemed to see him a little bit like the sort of Sheriff with a posse playing a world-wide role, but they were sympathetic to what had happened to the American then.
“It changed a lot by 2002, crucially when Bush really stretched the war on terror to include this ‘axis of evil’. And there was all the talk in the summer months of 2002 of the potential war with Iraq. And you probably remember in 2003, a month before the war started, there was one of the largest ever political demonstrations in Britain against the war. So there was a big public split even at that time.
“But what I think has brought things to a head is this vote in the House of Commons last autumn not to allow the government to go to war in Syria. The interesting thing is not so much that vote, but at the time, the opinion polls were running 2:1 against British involvement. And what I think the Ministry of Defence is now doing now is it’s facing up to reality. The country does not like the prospect of major war with thousands of boots on the ground being fought for – in some cases – not very clear purposes.”
On the matter of multicultural Britain playing a part in the MoD’s thinking, Rogers said: “Britain is a much more multi-ethnic society than it was 50 to 60 years ago, particularly in the major cities, in cites from which many of the regiments recruit their troops. So you do get a larger number of young squaddies from the Afro-Caribbean communities, from the South Asian communities who are actually involved directly with the army in particular. But it’s the army always on the ground that has to suffer the greatest casualties.
“There’s a very big contrast here. In Britain, many people may see - say - the Taliban as basically the enemy. But for many Muslims, they are also Muslims And the point is, this is the British Army, in their view, killing Muslims. And that is quite powerful – much more powerful than the general public realise.”
Jan 24, 2014
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is first meeting a government delegation and later on Friday, representatives from the Syrian National Coalition.
Direct talks planned between President Bashar Assad’s Government and the Western—backed Opposition hoping to overthrow him were scrapped on Friday, and the two sides will meet a U.N. mediator in different rooms at different times.
The separate meetings are a major setback for a peace conference that has been on the verge of collapse since it was first floated in 2012 as a path out of the civil war that began as a peaceful uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Full report at:
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has said that the German Islam Conference should redefine its role after participants complained about the conference’s agenda.
De Maiziere said in an interview on Wednesday with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he did not think the conference should be repeated after criticising the event. He said, instead of focusing on racism and Islamophobia, it should focus on security concerns and Islamist extremism.
January 24th, 2014
Political analysts are calling the Tajik Labor Migrants movement’s suggestion that Central Asia unite into a single Islamic khalifat “utopian” and “dead-end.”
The Tajik Labor Migrants movement chairman Karomat Sharipov published an appeal on the party’s website shortly after the January 11 conflict between Tajikistan’ and Kyrgyzstan’s border security forces.
Sharipov, whose movement is based in Russia, called on the citizens of Central Asia to unite into a common political entity under the auspices of the Islamic faith.
Sharipov directed his appeal to the heads of five Central Asian countries calling on them to eliminate state borders and unite into “one political entity.”
Sharipov explains his initiative, “arbitrary borders between our five countries imposed on the peoples of Central Asia when the USSR was created are a source of conflict and territorial quarrels.”
Eleven Uyghurs have been killed in Kyrgyzstan after illegally crossing into the former Soviet republic from China, Kyrgyz border guards said on Friday.
"According to their appearance, (those killed) were Uyghurs, while things found on them showed that they belonged to an organisation of Uighur separatists," Raimberdi Duishenbiyev, acting head of Kyrgyz border guards, told a news conference.
After crossing the border in a mountainous area of northeast Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, the group ran into a local hunter who killed two of them before himself being killed, he added.
The attackers seized the hunter's gun but were later blocked by border guards from a nearby frontier post. A unit of special-task forces flown to the area by helicopter killed the remaining nine men after they refused to surrender.
The Arab Spring was three years ago and now, in the wake of the new Egyptian constitution, Tunisia is close to passing a new constitution which excludes Islam as the “main source of law”, but states it is the State’s duty to “protect the sacred”.
Tunisians were promised that their long-awaited constitution would be ready by the third anniversary and this appears to omit Sharia Law, which has been welcomed by religious minorities and secularists.
Article 6 “prohibits any form of accusation of apostasy and incitement to violence”, while the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings are both rejected as “sources of law”.
The new constitution, which has taken two years to conclude, comes almost three years to the day since the fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, itself 10 days after the death of a Tunisian vegetable seller, which began the movement that would sweep across North Africa and into the Middle East.
The Moroccan Parliament's vote to amend a law so that rapists can no longer escape prosecution by marrying their victims if they are under 18 is an important step in the right direction, Amnesty International said today.
The organization added that the amendment was long overdue and much more still needed to be done in the country and throughout the region.
"Today's vote is a welcome step but Morocco still needs a comprehensive strategy to protect women and girls from violence, with input from women's rights groups who have been excluded from the process so far," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
"It took 16-year-old Amina Filali's suicide and nearly two years for the parliament to close the loophole that allowed rapists to avoid accountability. It's time to have laws that protect survivors of sexual abuse".
French forces killed at least 11 fighters and seized large amounts of weapons and ammunition during an operation in Mali's northern region of Timbuktu, a French army source in Mali said on Friday.
"The operation was carried out on Wednesday night around a hundred kilometres north of Timbuktu," the source said, requesting anonymity. "Eleven terrorists were killed and one French soldier was wounded.
Tunisian Man Saves Brother From Becoming Suicide Bomber: 'It's A Disease, There Will Be More'
TUNIS, Tunisia -- Mohamed Ikbel has grown accustomed to the phone calls at seemingly every hour of the day. Parents plead with him to help track down sons who have gone to Syria, joining the ranks of Islamist-inspired rebels seeking to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Ikbel knows the story too well. His own brother, Hamza -- bound to a wheelchair and struggling to find himself in his tumultuous 20s -- turned up in Syria last year, having been recruited by jihadists who planned to deploy him as a suicide bomber. Ikbel's passionate campaign to win his brother's return miraculously persuaded the militants to send Hamza home.
ISLAMABAD: A court in Rawalpindi sentenced a self-proclaimed prophet to death after convicting him of blasphemy.
Additional district and sessions judge Naveed Iqbal also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Mohammad Asghar, a 65-year-old British national.
Asghar was arrested in Sadiqabad in 2010 after he wrote letters to different people, a police officer among them, claiming that he was a prophet. Police booked Asghar under section 295-C of the PPC.
The section reads: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
PESHAWAR: At least six people were killed and eight injured Thursday when a bomb exploded in a vehicle at a car workshop on the outskirts of Peshawar, police officials said.
According to SP Peshawar Rahim Shah, the blast completely destroyed the white Suzuki Alto parked inside the car workshop near Scheme Chowk area of the provincial capital.
Shah said bomb disposal experts estimated that around 25 to 30 kilograms of explosive material were fitted inside the car when it exploded.
Television footage showed that several vehicles were destroyed by the explosion and rescue workers and policemen searching through the rubble. The blast created a crater more than seven feet wide and two feet deep at the site of the explosion.
Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, recently gave his own views regarding Taliban after they have been penetrating into Pakistan. Last time Altaf Hussain spoke about how he always said Taliban were a big threat to the country but several leaders disregarded what he had to say. He also said that Taliban are trying to impose religion on gunpoint and that is not what Islamic teachings ask you to do.
Jan 24, 2014
Amidst speculation about a military operation against militants in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed on Thursday asked the Taliban to declare a truce and hold talks with the government.
The Taliban and the government should immediately declare a ceasefire and come to the negotiating table. “It is the need of the hour,” he said in a statement.
Saeed, also the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba that was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, asked the Taliban leadership to “understand the trap of the enemy” and stop attacks inside Pakistan.
He said the government “show seriousness so that peace talks with the Taliban could begin”.
For many Shia Hazaras, there is a sense of déjà vu after the bombing of the bus in Mastung in Balochistan which killed over 20 pilgrims returning from Iran. Protests are being staged since Wednesday across the country in support of mourners who are sitting with coffins of the dead on Alamdar Road in Quetta refusing to bury them till justice was done and the attackers were punished.
In Islamabad too, protesters were up all night in continuing solidarity with the victims. Activist Rehana Hashmi of the Sisters Trust Pakistan said, “We die every day when we hear such reports of killings.” The state has been kidnapped by the elements who are carrying out these strikes, she added. Human rights campaigner Tahira Abdullah said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again. Last January, I sat with the Shia Hazaras on Alamdar road for four nights after nearly 100 Shias were killed. A year later, we are back and the coffins are lying around on the road waiting for some response from the government.”
ISLAMABAD - In a major shift from dialogue to hot pursuit of the militants persistently defying the dialogue offer, political and military leadership agreed to continue surgical strikes against them.
It was further decided at the meeting of political and military elite, with the prime minister in the chair, to enhance coordination and intelligence sharing amongst the provinces while anti-terror legislation would be expedited to effectively block loopholes in the system.
The meeting also kept the dialogue option open to the elements to opt for negotiations within the ambit of the Constitution and law of the land while those challenging the writ of the government would be dealt with iron hands.
KARACHI: Police in Karachi and personnel from the Crime Investigation Department (CID) arrested 93 suspects in the last 24 hours during raids conducted in different areas of the city.
According to a statement issued Thursday, police arrested 93 suspects, including 25 absconders and three robbers, during 104 raids and eight encounters
Moreover, police also recovered 29 pistols, revolvers and narcotics from the arrested suspects.
ISLAMABAD: A bomb scare in the Pakistan Secretariat resulted in employees rushing out of the complex in a panic on Friday, Express News reported.
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif was in the secretariat’s block C, and had been receiving threats. The bomb was reported to be in either block A, B, C or D of the complex.
At 8am the defence minister’s office received a call saying there would be a bomb attack.
AP | Jan 24, 2014
CAIRO: Three bombings hit high-profile areas around Cairo on Friday, including a suicide car bomber who struck the city's police headquarters, killing five people in the first major attack on the Egyptian capital as insurgents step up a campaign of violence following the ouster of the Islamist president.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of Islamic extremists who have increasingly targeted police and the military since the July 3 coup against Mohammed Morsi and a fierce crackdown on his supporters led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The explosions struck as the country was on high alert ahead of the third anniversary of the Jan. 25 start of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. Morsi's supporters had vowed to use the event to gain momentum in their efforts turn to a new momentum to "break the coup."
CAIRO: Egypt has seen state violence on an “unprecedented scale” since the army deposed President Muhammad Mursi last July following mass protests against his rule, Amnesty International said in a report on Thursday.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, responded by saying critics were projecting “a distorted picture” by ignoring attacks on the security forces that have spiked since Mursi’s removal.
The Amnesty report came out two days before the third anniversary of the mass uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
It said the authorities “quash dissent and trample on human rights” with mass arrests, curbs on the freedom of expression and a new law that severely limits the right to protest.
About 1,400 people have been killed in political violence since army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sissi ousted Mursi, mostly due to “excessive force used by security forces,” the international human rights group said.
The government will soon launch a national project to protect the country from increasing cyber attacks, which is currently costing companies billions of riyals every year.
Haitham Abu Aisha, chairman of the communication information and technology committee at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chief executive officer of Sahara Net, made the announcement here recently at the firm’s annual meeting.
He said the project, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, would bring together government and private sector technology partners. Once participants complete the initial planning, the project would be submitted to the relevant government security agencies for final approval.
Syria's warring sides will not sit in the same room for the start of talks in Geneva Friday despite efforts by UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to bring them together, sources said.
"The meeting will take place in two separate rooms and Brahimi will speak to each side separately," a Syrian regime source in Geneva told AFP, while a Western diplomatic source said: "Brahimi will speak first to the regime, then to the opposition.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem was quoted by state television on Friday as telling international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi that if no serious work sessions were held by Saturday, the government delegation would leave.
Brahimi and a Syrian government delegation met on Friday at the United Nations in Geneva, a witness said, and the mediator is due to meet the Syrian opposition delegation later on Friday. State television said the meeting was characterised by a "positive atmosphere."
"If no serious work sessions are held by (Saturday), the official Syrian delegation will leave Geneva due to the other side's lack of seriousness or preparedness," state television quoted Moualem as saying, citing a United Nations source.
It's been a year and a half, Anas Al-Dbas says, since he witnessed massacres in his hometown of Darayya in southern Syria.
He still has nightmares about it, he said, recalling the horrific details of the dead bodies he saw in homes and a mosque.
Al-Dbas, 34, and three other Syrians shared their experiences in Syria at a public discussion Thursday night at the Unity Center, a mosque in Bloomfield Hills. Organized by several Syrian-American groups, the event — titled Voices From Syria — was part of a tour across the U.S. They're planning to testify before Congress next month.
Al-Dbas spoke about the killings in Darayya in late August 2012, when forces with Syrian President Bashar Assad came in to squash protests.
The Chairman of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolution Forces (SNCORF) Ahmed Jabra said on Thursday that Russia is no longer sticking strongly to embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Speaking at a news conference in Geneva the day before Friday's meeting of the two Syrian delegations, Jabra said the negotiations will be difficult, but Assad is now part of the past.
In response to a question about Russia's changing position on Syria, Jabra said "We met Foreign Minister (Sergey) Lavrov in Paris last week. Lavrov confirmed to us that Russia is not sticking strongly to Assad, but he said the solution should be left to Syrians. We should reach our own solution."
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today insisted that "Allah" was exclusive to Muslims and attempts to introduce the word in the peninsula by certain quarters were for their own agenda.
The former prime minister said the word was never used by Christians before the coming of Islam some 1,400 years ago.
"It was never used in Bibles, be it in any language," he said at a news conference after delivering a talk at Pusat Islam today.
Dr Mahathir also said the word was used by certain parties to convert Muslims into Christianity.
His comments come a day after Sports and Youth Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Putrajaya wanted to "bring down the temperature" on the “Allah” debate and the cabinet has upheld the 10-point solution signed in 2011 with Christian leaders allowing the use of the Malay-language Alkitab nationwide.
The “Allah" row is a strategy by Christians to confuse and convince Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak to convert to Christianity, said former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad.
He said the continuing demand from Christians to use the word "Allah" was proof of their intention to convert Muslims.
Speaking at a forum on "Human rights in Islamic tradition" in Kuala Lumpur today, the former chief justice also said there was no previous conflict over the use of the word.
“So what is their intention now?” Abdul Hamid asked.
The former top judge said that if “Allah” was as essential to the Catholic faith as claimed, Pope Francis, who is the head of the Catholic Church, would have made a declaration to that effect.
The National Fatwa Council is allowing itself to be used by Putrajaya as a tool to stifle dissent although it has no legal standing to issue edicts for Muslims, say constitutional lawyers.
They told The Malaysian Insider that the failure to check this trend would lead the council to lose credibility among the public, arguing that it should instead use Islam to foster goodwill among the people of different faiths in Malaysia.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan said it was unfortunate that the council was suffering from a perception problem that it was pandering to Putrajaya.
Tensions went up a notch in Penang today when a Muslim non-governmental organisation demanded that local authorities ban the open selling of pork in the state.
Solidarity and Charity Organisation (Isco) claimed that the selling of pork openly was a disregard to Muslim sensitivity in the state.
Its president, Abdul Rahman Makhtun, said in a letter to Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail today that the council should be more aware of Muslim sensitivity as the animal was haram in Islam.
"Isco is worried that pork sellers are getting braver in selling the meat around George Town in places like Lebuh Chulia, Jalan Kuantan, Jalan C.Y. Choy and other locations.
"We ask MPPP to take action against the insensitive pork sellers by stopping or making the open selling of pork illegal. We also call for action against illegal hawkers and businesses," he said in the letter.
Indrani Bagchi,TNN | Jan 24, 2014
NEW DELHI: India and Russia are working on an understanding by which New Delhi would be able to meet Afghanistan's defence wish list. Both countries are in talks whereby Russia could provide some of the items on Hamid Karzai's list while India could foot the bill. This may not be the best solution to the issue, but there is a greater appreciation of Afghanistan's security imperatives after NATO forces pull out later this year.
The conversation, which involves Afghanistan as well, is tackling a couple of issues. India cannot possibly meet Karzai's wish list which was presented to Manmohan Singh after New Delhi had promised to take care of Afghanistan's defence needs in a strategic partnership agreement. India itself being the world's greatest importer of weapons, it would be ambitious for India to take on the defence supplies to Afghanistan as well.
Govt to expand integrated check post for 24x7 India-Pak trade
Yudhvir Rana,TNN | Jan 24, 2014
AMRITSAR: With India and Pakistan agreeing for 24x7 trading from Attari and Wagah borders, the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) has initiated the process of acquiring land for expansion of India's first Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari. According to sources, the existing 130 acres of ICP could further be extended to another 200 acres with additional facilities for trade including railway terminals.
Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat told TOI that the district administration had given details of 300 acres of land to LPAI which would eventually decide how much land they required for expansion of the ICP.
An analysis of transcripts of the alleged Internet chats of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal with his fugitive controller Riyaz Bhatkal is believed to have found the terror group has sourced explosives for its bombs from at least three places in the country.
The transcripts also include the alleged chats of IM operative Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, who was arrested with Yasin last August. The chats, sources said, indicate the IM did not always find it easy to source explosives.
Ingredients to make the bombs that exploded at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in April 2010 included 35 kg of gelatine allegedly sourced by Yasin from Pune. Questioned about the details in the chat, Yasin is believed to have told investigators he picked up the gelatine from a man identified only as Ibrahim from near the Swar Gate in Pune.
Refuting the defence's allegation during cross examination, the second prosecution witness in the war crimes case against Mir Quasem Ali yesterday reaffirmed that the Jamaat-e-Islami leader did have control over Razakars and Al-Badrs, auxiliary forces of the Pakistan occupation army during the 1971 Liberation War.
Sanaullah Chowdhury also refuted a suggestion of the defence counsel, Mizanul Islam, that Quasem was not in Chittagong from November 7, 1971 till the time Bangladesh achieved victory.
KABUL: An Afghan official says a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at a group of local cricket players, killing five of them during a game in eastern Laghman province.
A provincial spokesman, Sarhadii Zhouak, says the attack took place on Thursday in Alinghar district. He says the attacker fled the scene.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Zhouak blamed the Taliban. When the Taliban ruled the country, they severely restricted sports and public celebrations.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement condemning the attack. Elsewhere, spokesman Omar Zwak in southern Helmand province says police found the body of slain journalist Noor Ahmad Noori late on Thursday night. Zwak says the 30-year-old Nouri, who worked for the local Radio Busd had been abducted earlier in the day.
World Bulletin / News Desk
January 24, 2014
New York Times reporter of Afghan origin was killed by unidentified assailants in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Helmand governor spokesperson, Umar Zvak told Anadolu Agency that Nur Ahmed Nuri’s body was found in Lashakargah city center.
The spokesperson said that the police found body of New York Times reporter, who had worked for the newspaper for two years, in the Lagan area of Lashkargah city center Thursday evening. The body had deep wounds. He might have died as a result of torture, said the spokesperson.
The government must empower local government bodies, like union parishads, to prevent recurrence of the recent brutal violence perpetrated on Hindus and other religious minorities, said eminent human rights activists at a discussion yesterday.
Simultaneously, Bangladesh's politics must be purged of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir, said Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairperson of Governance Advocacy Forum, a coalition of 36 non-government organisations.
The forum organised the discussion on violence, peace, democracy and local government in the capital's Jatiya Press Club.
Local government institutions, empowered with financial and administrative capacities, are necessary in today's context as they can forge solidarity among the locals irrespective of caste and creed to stand against communal violence, he said.
The NATO Chiefs of Defence reaffirmed their commitment towards the NATO -led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan.
The commitment was made during the two-day NATO Chiefs of Defence meeting at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, where the NATO and Partner Chiefs of Defence reaffirmed their commitment to fully support the ISAF Commander over the next 11 months.
Preparations for the post-2014 NATO -led Train, Advise and Assist mission in Afghanistan was also reviewed during the two-day meeting, and the partner chiefs of defence underlined the need to stay flexible and agile in the planning process.
Jan 24 2014
A top US military official in Afghanistan warned Thursday that an increase in suicide attacks and violence in Afghanistan is expected in the coming months.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command said hat he expects more suicide-type, high-profile and spectacular attacks.
His comments were followed a week after a group of suicide bombers attacked a Lebanese restaurant in cpaital Kabul, which left at least 21 dead including 13 foreigners.
Gen. Milley said, insurgents will likely target Afghan security forces, civilians, and ISAF and U.S. troops.
The Muslim faith teaches that work is sacred and a form of worship and that fair employee compensation is paramount, a prominent Islamic author and researcher told a Madison audience Thursday.
"Workers and employers have a relationship of brotherly love and family, not patron to subordinate," Dalia Mogahed said at the 14th-annual faith-labour breakfast, which just concluded at the Madison Labour Temple.
The breakfast is sponsored by the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice and was hosted this year by the South Central Federation of Labour.
Mogahed was born in Cairo and grew up in Madison, graduating from UW-Madison. She is the former executive director of and senior analyst for the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies. She is the co-author of the book, "Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think." She now runs a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East.
Muslim Rights Group Seeks To Add Halal Food In Florida Prisons
An Islamic rights group is calling on Florida's Department of Corrections to offer halal food to Muslim prisoners after a court mandated that kosher food be served again to Jewish inmates.
"It is only fair and equitable that if Jewish inmates receive kosher food, as they should, that Muslim inmates have access to halal meals," Hassan Shibly, executive director of Florida's Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a press release.
The organization said that it had received "numerous complaints" from Muslim inmates wanting halal food, which adheres to Islamic dietary laws, and that it had Muslim businesses at the ready to provide assistance. The group already offers a guide on Islamic practices for corrections officers to "gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims."
DALLAS: Dallas Milad Committee which included Madina Masjid of Carrolton, Mecca Masjid of Garland, Barkaat ul Quran Center of Irving, American Muslim Democratic Caucus DFW, and Pakistan Association of Texas held a grand Milad parade in Downtown Dallas where special guests including City of Dallas Mayor Mike Rollings and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez addressed to a large crowd of one thousand including men women and children.
The keynote speaker of the event was famous Islamic scholar Dr. Jamil Rathore who came to attend the event from Pakistan.
Addressing the gathering Mayor Rollings said that city of Dallas attracts people from all over as this city is a multi-cultural and abundance of opportunities are available here for people. Mayor Rollings congratulated the Muslim community of Dallas from the people live in Dallas on the joyous occasion of birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is not ready to step down yet to make way for a transition government, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Jan. 23.
"Obviously he is not ready at this point in time," Kerry said in an interview with Al-Arabiya on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
Syria's government and opposition are holding peace talks in Geneva this week. Kerry said if an agreement was reached many countries had offered to send peacekeepers to Syria, but he made clear U.S. troops would probably not be part of such an operation.
"If there is a peace agreement, there are many countries that have already offered to step up and be peacekeepers in the new Syria," Kerry said. "I don't think anybody believes that American troops should be on the ground."
Muslims from around Washington gathered for the annual Muslim Lobby Day in Olympia Monday to talk to legislators about limiting drones, funding for housing and passing the DREAM Act.
About 550 people registered for the annual event, Arsalan Bukhari, a staff member for the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Washington, known as CAIR Washington. The organization advocates for Muslims and Muslim American relations.
According to CAIR Washington, the three issues are at the top of its legislative priorities this year:
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas sought on Thursday to secure a billion-dollar Gaza energy deal during talks with Russian leaders aimed at restoring warmer ties between the two Soviet-era allies.
Abbas and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were due to sign an intergovernmental agreement that reports said included a $1.0-billion (730-million-euro) natural gas project in the Gaza section of the Mediterranean Sea.
The state ITAR-TASS news agency said Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom hoped to produce 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas at the site.
The report added that Russia's Technopromexport engineering firm was also considering a small oil development project near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
It was not immediately clear how far negotiations on the two deals had progressed or when the projects might be launched.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he hopes he has now convinced European officials about the existence of a “parallel structure” within the state that aimed to damage the government through graft probes.
“I told them about the parallel structure. After giving them some examples, they were very disturbed, too. I think that they have been convinced,” Erdoğan told reporters during a flight back from Brussels late Jan. 21 after meeting EU President Herman van Rompuy, European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament leader Martin Schulz.
Statements following the critical meetings were softer than many expected, with top EU officials affirming that Erdoğan had given them reassurances that the government’s controversial judicial bill following the graft scandal would not undermine the independence of the judiciary.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday at the Davos World Economic Forum that investing in the Israeli economy is a way to facilitate peace in the region.
In a speech that largely focused on the strength of Israel as a hub for innovation, as well as research and development, Netanyahu said that the advancement of the Israeli economy would help Israel's Arab neighbors, specifically the Palestinians.
The prime minister stated that "Israel is not what's wrong in the Middle East, it is what's right with the Middle East."
Netanyahu addressed the peace process and the changing region in a question and answer session which followed his speech. He called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to embrace the opportunity for peace.
The international community must not be swayed by Iranian President Hassan Rohani's deceptive ways, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Thursday, shortly after the Iranian leader addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Rohani said that one of his government's priorities is "constructive engagement with the world," yet Netanyahu responded with a harsh statement on everything from the killing of innocent civilians to Iran's nuclear program in a bid to undermine Rohani's remarks.
"At a time when Rohani condemns the killing of innocents, dozens of innocents were recently executed in Iran," Netanyahu said.