New Age Islam
Tue Jul 14 2020, 01:53 AM

Islamic World News ( 19 Nov 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Bodies of gunmen in Mumbai attacks remain unburied


New Age Islam News Bureau


Bodies of gunmen in Mumbai attacks remain unburied

By Prachi Pinglay

20 November 2009

The bodies of nine gunmen killed during attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai a year ago are still awaiting burial.

The unclaimed bodies are lying in a local government hospital and Mumbai police say they have still to take a decision about their future.

Muslim clerics had denied permission to bury the bodies in Mumbai graveyards, saying the actions of the gunmen had "defamed" their religion.

Ten men attacked Mumbai on 26 November 2008, killing more than 170 people.

Only one gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, survived and he is currently facing trial.


The bodies are being kept in the morgue of Sir JJ Hospital. Officials say the area is secluded and guarded around the clock. The seal is checked every day.

The question of what should be done with the dead militants arose soon after the attacks.

Pakistan flatly refused to take them despite India's argument that they should go back to the country from which they originated.

After post-mortem examinations the bodies were taken to the hospital morgue as Indian Muslims said they would not allow the bodies to be buried in their cemeteries.

Ibrahim Tai, president of the Muslim Council Trust, says he opposes such burials as the gunmen's actions were un-Islamic.

He says if the bodies have to be buried, it should be at "an unknown location".

"We know Indian authorities are stuck as the bodies have not been claimed by Pakistan. These nine people should not be identified by anyone. If they are buried without leaving any trace, then it is fine with us.

"We believe that their actions should not be praised or recognised by anyone. If they set up tombs then tourists will visit and people will talk about it. We don't want that to happen," he said.

Local Muslim cleric Maulana Mustaqil Azmi said it was important that the bodies were disposed of soon and that the matter was closed.

"We do not want them to be buried on any of our burial grounds but they can be disposed of anywhere else in India. Good Muslims are laid to rest in our burial grounds. We do not believe that these nine men are true followers of Islam."

Police say the bodies have been embalmed and are well preserved but a decision on burial has yet to be taken given the religious sensitivity.


Buzz over Mirwaiz’s China trip

By Naseer Ganai in New Delhi

NEW DELHI will soon face another diplomatic challenge from Beijing.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, is planning to visit Beijing after his return from Islamabad, top Hurriyat sources said.

Mirwaiz will visit Pakistan after Eid before travelling to Beijing on the invitation of a Muslim NGO.

The Hurriyat Conference is playing down his visit to China. “ The trip has nothing to do with the Kashmir issue. Mirwaiz will visit China purely as a religious leader from Kashmir,” said a top Hurriyat leader on conditions of anonymity.

Hurriyat sources said China has been trying to build a rapport with the Hurriyat chairman through some NGOs for the past two months.

During his visit, Mirwaiz is expected to meet high- level Chinese government officials, the sources added.

The separatist leadership has welcomed China’s newfound interest on Kashmir.

In fact, all separatist parties have welcomed the Chinese government’s stand to issue stapled visas to people belonging to Jammu and Kashmir.

India had reacted sharply to the stapled visas being issued to Kashmiris visiting China. The foreign ministry issued an advisory asking Indian citizens to guard against accepting these visas.

“ Chinese embassies in Delhi and consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata are issuing visas on a separate piece of paper ‘ stapled’ to the passport ( rather than pasted, as is the usual practice), to certain categories of Indian nationals on the basis of their domicile, ethnicity and/ or place of issue of the passport. Such paper visas stapled to the passport are not considered valid for travel out of the country,” the advisory said.

Mirwaiz, meanwhile, may be headed for China in order to put pressure on the Centre, but there is also a quiet diplomacy going on. And the man representing the Centre is Wajahat Habibullah, the chief information commissioner of India. He has met Mirwaiz and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, as a part of track II diplomacy.

Source: Mail Today


Policemen die in blast in Pakistani city of Peshawar

20 November 2009

At least three policemen have been killed and four others injured in an explosion in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, police say.

The blast occurred when the vehicle carrying them hit a roadside bomb.

It came hours after a bomb attack outside a court in the city killed 20 people and injured more than 40 others.

Attacks across Pakistan have increased dramatically as the army continues its offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border.

The police patrol hit the roadside bomb shortly after midnight on Thursday, the police said.

"It was a remote-controlled bomb. Two policemen died on the spot, while a third has succumbed to his injuries a short while ago," police official Mohammad Haroon told Reuters news agency.

Separately the death toll in Thursday's bomb attack outside the court in Peshawar has risen to 20, following the death of one of those injured.

Officials said a suicide bomber had carried out that attack.

Spike in violence

Peshawar, near the Afghan border, has been targeted repeatedly in recent months.

Last Friday, a suicide car bomb attack on the office of Pakistan's main intelligence agency ISI on the same road as the court building killed at least 12 people and injured 40 others.

And on 28 October, at least 100 people were killed when a huge car bomb ripped through Peshawar's busy Peepal Mandi market.

The city's Pearl Continental Hotel was also targeted by a truck bomb earlier this year.

The attacks come as Pakistan is carrying out an offensive in South Waziristan, which is considered to be one of the main sanctuaries for Islamic militants outside Afghanistan.

Security has been stepped up across Pakistan, but correspondents say the government still appears to be unable to stop the attacks.



Pakistan drone attack kills eight suspected militants

20 November 2009

At least eight suspected militants have been killed in a US drone attack in north-western Pakistan, officials say.

The aircraft fired two missiles near Mir Ali town in North Waziristan district, close to the Afghan border.

North and South Waziristan are a major sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Hundreds of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in drone attacks in the past year. Top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was among them.

Pakistan has publicly criticised drone attacks, saying they fuel support for the militants.

The US military does not routinely confirm drone attacks, but the US armed forces and CIA in Afghanistan are the only forces capable of deploying drones in the region, analysts say.

The latest drone attack took place in the Machikhel area near the town of Mir Ali, officials said.

The drone targeted a compound believed to be occupied by Taliban militants, they said.

Reports say the Taliban have cordoned off the area and stopped traffic.

This is the second drone attack in the area - four suspected militants were killed in a similar attack here on Wednesday night.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that reports from South Waziristan say militants fleeing an ongoing military operation there are crossing into the Mir Ali area and further north into Orakzai.

Pakistan's military last month launched a massive offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.


Afghan ex-warlord and Karzai ally escapes deadly attack

20 November 2009

A controversial former Afghan warlord has narrowly escaped an assassination attempt which killed at least five of his bodyguards, police say.

Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, now an MP, was travelling north of Kabul when a remote-controlled bomb hit his convoy.

It is not clear who attacked Mr Sayaf, an ally of President Hamid Karzai, who was sworn in on Tuesday for a second term after controversial elections.

Earlier at least 16 people were killed in a suicide bomb in the south-west.

Mr Sayyaf was attacked in Paghman district, north of Kabul.

Mr Sayyaf, an ethnic Pashtun former warlord allied to the president, supported the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance between 1996 and 2001, when the Taliban were ousted, and became an MP in 2005.

Human Rights Watch have accused him of war crimes.

Western leaders are putting pressure on Mr Karzai to deal with corruption and remove former warlords from his government.

Motorcycle bomber

The earlier attack, in a crowded market in Farah city, capital of Farah province, killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 20, police said. A policeman was among the dead.

Farah, a mainly desert province on the Iran border, has seen a rise in insurgent attacks this year as the Taliban have become active in new areas.

The suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck in an area where heavy trucks were being loaded with goods to be taken to the province of Herat, police said.

Several dozen people, mostly civilians, were wounded in the attack, officials said.

More than a dozen were critically injured so "the death toll may rise", provincial governor Rohul Amin told Agence France-Presse news agency.

"The bomber riding on a motorcycle detonated himself at a main square near my working office, in my home," the governor said.

The blast damaged some nearby buildings, he added.

The two attacks come a day after President Karzai took over for a second term, promising to work towards building a secure and stable Afghanistan.


Chinese Indonesians: Expressing ‘Chinese Islam’

Choirul Mahfud


In the post-Soeharto era, Chinese Indonesians are enjoying new freedom to express their culture. Before, Chinese Indonesians experienced discrimination under the New Order regime, and their culture was oppressed.

From the 1960s, the regime implemented assimilationist policies to deal with what it saw as “the Chinese problem”. Under these policies, the use of Chinese characters in publications and advertisements was banned. The one exception was the newspaper Harian Indonesia, which was published in Mandarin and Indonesian, but it was kept under government control.

Moreover, Chinese language schools were closed. Chinese sociopolitical organizations and public Chinese cultural events, such as Chinese New Year celebrations, were banned. The government also encouraged the Chinese to change their names to sound more Indonesian.

In the reform movement era, Chinese culture is in revival and the Chinese are forging new identities. Nowadays, there is no longer an official “Chinese problem”, and much of the legislated discrimination against ethnic Chinese has been removed.

President Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid who ruled this country from October 1999 to July 2001 permitted public celebrations of Chinese New Year and the use of Chinese characters and allowed many schools to teach Mandarin. Wahid even claimed to have some Chinese ancestry himself.

His successor, President Megawati Soekarnoputri declared Chinese New Year to be a public holiday from 2003. The Barongsai (Lion Dance) has become symbolic of the newfound freedom for Chinese cultural expression.

There is also a Chinese-Islamic phenomenon and the role of the Chinese Muslim Association of Indonesia (Persatuan Islam Tionghoa Indonesia-PITI) is crucial to this new role.

In Surabaya, the PITI is making the most of the newfound freedom to express Chinese culture in the reform movement era. Like other Chinese, PITI members are adopting the new tactic of “ethnic promotion”, through the work of their organization.

The PITI’s position is unique. It promotes the message that “Chineseness” is compatible with Islam. The organization believes it is important for all to hear this message in order to break down the barriers between Chinese Muslims and other Muslims in Indonesia, and to make the Muslim faith more accessible to non-Muslim Chinese.

The PITI uses the resurgence of Chinese culture to its advantage in its outreach activities among Chinese Indonesians. It endeavors to maintain good relationships with the rest of Indonesian society, including fellow Muslims and fellow Chinese. In fact, fostering these relationships is a central part of the PITI’s aim to function as a bridge between Muslims and Chinese in Indonesia.

One way the PITI in Surabaya expresses “Islamic Chineseness” is through its mosque, the first mosque in Indonesia with Chinese architecture. The Muhammad Cheng Hoo Mosque is a clear statement that Islam and Chineseness are compatible. Since its dedication in 2003, the mosque has become a tourist attraction. The mosque is well setup to receive visitors and “to share information about the history of Admiral Cheng Hoo, the mosque’s architecture and the development of syiar at the Cheng Hoo Mosque”.

A handbook about the mosque is available in four languages, Indonesian, English, Mandarin and Arabic. According to the handbook, the mosque’s architecture, resembling a Chinese temple, is intended to display the Chinese Muslim identity and to commemorate the Chinese people’s ancestors, the majority of whom were Buddhist.

Full report at:


Suicide bomber on a motorcycle kills 16 in Afghanistan marketplace

By Laura King

November 20, 2009

Shoppers on the Muslim prayer day take the brunt of the attack, which occurred near the governor's compound in the western province of Farah, a day after Hamid Karzai began a second term as president.

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan - A suicide attacker rode a motorcycle into a crowded marketplace in western Afghanistan today and blew himself up, killing 16 people and injuring about two dozen others, Afghan authorities said.

At least two children were among the dead in the attack in Farah province, according to hospital officials. They said the injured included several children as well.

Today is the main Muslim prayer day, and people usually flock to the market to shop for the makings of a big family meal. Mothers often bring their children on such outings.

The violence came a day after President Hamid Karzai, taking office for a second five-year term, appealed in his inaugural address for insurgents to lay down their arms.

The explosion occurred about 50 yards from the compound of the provincial governor, Rohul Amin, but he was not injured. It was not clear whether Amin, who is considered pro-American, was the intended target of the attack.

The market street in the district capital abuts the governor's heavily guarded compound. Witnesses said police shouted at the motorcyclist to halt just before he detonated his payload of explosives.

Civilians usually bear the brunt of attacks aimed at official installations or Western troops. A day earlier, 10 civilians were killed in Uruzgan province, in the south of Afghanistan, when a suicide attacker tried to strike a military convoy.

Farah City, the capital of Farah province, has until now been considered a relatively safe area, but in recent months Taliban forces have tightened their grip on districts surrounding the city, effectively cutting it off from the rest of western Afghanistan. Local people risk ambushes and banditry if they venture in the direction of the west's main hub, Herat, several hours' drive away.

Coalition forces, including Afghan and American troops, have sought to break the stranglehold in Farah. Local officials said a Taliban commander and several fighters had been killed in an allied military operation earlier in the week, and said the market attack might have been in retaliation for that.

Full report at:,0,1344072.story


Afghan ex-warlord and Karzai ally escapes deadly attack

20 November 2009

A controversial former Afghan warlord has narrowly escaped an assassination attempt which killed at least five of his bodyguards, police say.

Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, now an MP, was travelling north of Kabul when a remote-controlled bomb hit his convoy.

It is not clear who attacked Mr Sayaf, an ally of President Hamid Karzai, who was sworn in on Tuesday for a second term after controversial elections.

Earlier at least 16 people were killed in a suicide bomb in the south-west.

Mr Sayyaf was attacked in Paghman district, north of Kabul.

Mr Sayyaf, an ethnic Pashtun former warlord allied to the president, supported the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance between 1996 and 2001, when the Taliban were ousted, and became an MP in 2005.

Human Rights Watch have accused him of war crimes.

Western leaders are putting pressure on Mr Karzai to deal with corruption and remove former warlords from his government.

Motorcycle bomber

The earlier attack, in a crowded market in Farah city, capital of Farah province, killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 20, police said. A policeman was among the dead.

Farah, a mainly desert province on the Iran border, has seen a rise in insurgent attacks this year as the Taliban have become active in new areas.

The suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck in an area where heavy trucks were being loaded with goods to be taken to the province of Herat, police said.

Several dozen people, mostly civilians, were wounded in the attack, officials said.

More than a dozen were critically injured so "the death toll may rise", provincial governor Rohul Amin told Agence France-Presse news agency.

"The bomber riding on a motorcycle detonated himself at a main square near my working office, in my home," the governor said.

The blast damaged some nearby buildings, he added.

The two attacks come a day after President Karzai took over for a second term, promising to work towards building a secure and stable Afghanistan.


Bangladesh's underage brides

20 November 2009

Twenty years ago the United Nations adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The CRC or UNCRC, is an international treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children.

Nations that ratify the UNCRC are bound to it by international law.

As of December 2008, 193 signatories have ratified it, including every member of the United Nations except the US and Somalia.

The treaty restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts and prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Bangladesh is a signatory to the UN pact.

However, child marriage remains a widely accepted practice.

According to a UN report, 63 per cent of all Bangladeshi girls below the age of 25 are married off before they reach the legal age of 18.

Non-governmental organisations in the country are trying implement a clause in the UNCRC to protect underage brides.

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque reports from Dhaka on how the simple birth certificate can help reduce the number of children forced into marriages.

The extreme cases of child marriages also include the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan.

Rights violated

The UNCRC generally defines a child as any human being under the age of 18, unless an earlier age of majority is recognised by a country's law.

Unicef, the UN children's agency, says early marriage constitutes a violation of a girl's human rights, primarily because it can deprive her of the right to give full and free consent to marry.

Pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide.

While this is often linked to poor health care, the risks are increased by the physical immaturity of the girls, according to Unicef.

Despite the existence of the UNCRC, the UN estimates that one billion children are still deprived of food, shelter and clean water.

In addition, hundreds of millions more are affected by violence.

Barack Obama, the US president, has said he wants to change his country's "embarrassing" non-participation in the UNCRC.

Full report at:


Houthis release new footage of Saudi blitz

20 Nov 2009

The Houthi fighters have released new footage, which they say depict Saudi aircraft targeting civilians in northern Yemeni villages near the border.

The videos released on Friday picture Saudi artillery fire and Saudi fighter jets flying over northern Yemen and bombarding spots, which the Houthis maintain to be civilian positions on the Yemeni soil.

Saudi Arabia's army has been pounding Houthi positions for over two weeks, charging that the fighters had attacked one of its border checkpoints.

The Houthis, however, have firmly rejected the allegations, saying that they are fighting other battlefields and are not interested in opening another front.

Saudi airstrikes and land incursions coincide with Yemen's stepped-up crackdown on the Houthis, who are fighting against the government's political, religious and economic marginalization of the country's Shia minority.

The Saudi-Yemeni offensive against the Shia fighters has been clouded with claims and counter-claims, with the armies announcing victories against the Houthi fighters, who deny the claims arguing that their positions are not prone to easy identification.

The Saudi army has suffered several losses in its cross-border clashes with the Houthi fighters.

The international community, meanwhile, says that the massive military action has driven hundreds of thousands of civilians out of their homes in and around the battle zone in the north.

Since the beginning of the new military offensive in early August, the Houthi fighters have been accusing Sana'a of seeking help from the Riyadh to eradicate the Shia movement.

Earlier footage released by the Houthis showed Saudi warplanes targeting villages deep inside the Yemeni territory, dropping banned white phosphorus bombs.


Nidal Hasan’s Ominous Islam

by  Robert Spencer


Before he killed or wounded 54 Americans at Fort Hood on November 5, army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan had raised eyebrows with his Islamic proselytizing, which he carried on even when he was supposed to be conducting medical briefings. One such presentation has come to light: the June 2007 briefing which Hasan gave to other doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Hasan’s PowerPoint slides say many of the same things found in jihadist literature and propaganda throughout the Middle East and among its apologists here in America.  

Hasan’s Islam is rooted in traditional understandings of the faith as taught by the authoritative schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence. It also is the same Islam that is taught by groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Al-Qaeda.

In arguing that the Koran mandates defensive jihad against unbelievers, Hasan invokes the same Koranic verse that Osama bin Laden used as an epigraph on his “Letter to the American People” of October 2002: “Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.”

Hasan also explains that Muslims are obligated to wage offensive jihad against unbelievers, with ominous taglines in his PowerPoint such as “we love death more than you love life.” He quotes the Koranic verse calling for war against the “People of the Book” (that is, mainly Jews and Christians) until they “pay the tax in acknowledgment of [Islamic] superiority and they are in a state of subjection” (9:29). Hasan apparently told the assembled (and no doubt stunned) physicians that Muslims had a religious obligation to make war against and subjugate non-Muslims as inferiors under their rule.

Hasan’s Islam coincides with that of the jihad terror group Hamas, which has announced its intention, once fully and firmly ensconced in power, to collect that Koran-mandated tax -- jizyah -- from the non-Muslims luckless enough to live within its domains. Most importantly of all, however, he makes the case that Muslims must not fight against other Muslims (as is mandated by Koran 4:92). Ominously, he recommends that because of this injunction, “Department of Defense should allow Muslims [sic] Soldiers the option of being released as ‘Conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.”

Adverse events, perhaps, like his own jihad at Fort Hood. For he warned in his PowerPoint that “Muslims may be seen as moderate (compromising) but God is not.” And further, “if Muslim groups can convince Muslims that they are fighting for God against injustices of the ‘infidels’; ie: enemies of Islam, then Muslims can become a potent adversary ie: suicide bombing, etc.”

Full report at:


Does sexual frustration fuel Islamic violence?

by Omar Sacirbey

(RNS) Did alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan lose control, at least in part, because he was sexually frustrated?

That's one of the questions being asked in the investigation into the Nov. 5 rampage that left 13 people dead and dozens more injured.

According to reports, Hasan visited a nearby strip club in the weeks before the massacre and was frustrated by his inability to find a pious Muslim wife.

That's sparked a recurring, but still unresolved, debate on whether strict Islamic sexual mores in Muslim communities are contributing to a sense of hopelessness some say drives many young men into religious fanaticism and violence.

"All these men are so sexually deprived so much so that the sperm has gone to their brain, and they implode," wrote Ani Zonneveld, a female Muslim activist, on a Muslim online discussion forum which had taken up the issue.

Others are more skeptical about the claim, and say that if there's a relationship between religious fundamentalism and sexual repression or frustration, it is not unique to Muslims.

"I'm skeptical," said Kecia Ali, a religion professor at Boston University. People have tried to link Islamic extremism and sexual frustration for years, she said, but a causal relationship "was a bit of a stretch."

For many, however, the most perplexing question is why men who see themselves as devout Muslims engage in such un-Islamic behavior. Hasan, 39, is reported have visited the Starz strip club at least three times in weeks leading up to the shooting, spending up to six or seven hours at a time.

Full report at:


Nidal Hasan: An American or a Muslim?


By Diana Mukkaled

How can one strike a balance between individual freedom and cultural and ethnic diversity? It is a dilemma that becomes doubly urgent when certain acts are committed like the one by Nidal Hasan, the US officer of Palestinian descent, who opened fire and killed a number of his military comrades in a US base in Texas last week. Several dimensions governed the dissemination of the news on the Fort Hood incident. The news drew intense media coverage and analysis on American and Arab electronic sites and other outlets. Hasan was linked to the Al-Qaeda organization and it was reported that he converted to Islam. It was also reported that he is a member of a terrorist sleeper cell.

All of the above was incorrect. The division in opinions, analyses, and straight coverage was outweighed by the attack on Islam and Muslims, which is normally ascribed to the hysteric patriotism that dominated the US society and the West in general after the 11 September attacks that generally gave precedence to security over diversity. As for the leftists and those close to them, they criticized media establishments, newspapers, and commentaries for raising the issue of Nidal Hasan's ethnic and religious background in their reviews and analyses of the incident. Is Nidal Hasan's cultural and ethnic background related to what he did? The answer may not be a decisive one because decisiveness on this issue needs more evidence rather than analyses and theories that continue to dominate the coverage of this incident. What Hasan did also falls within the context of American violence that is represented in the acts of random shootings and mass murders that recur on many occasions in the United States. Two years ago, when Seung-Hui Cho, the American student of Korean descent at Virginia University, killed 32 of his colleagues in a random shooting, the factor of his Asian roots was also raised by the media. However, the truth is that Nidal Hasan, Seung-Hui Cho, and Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the Oklahoma bombings, have something in common: They are all Americans and their American character is not less effective than Cho's Asian character or Nidal Hasan's Islamic character.

Full report at:


Switzerland...Anti-Islam Not Anti-Minarets

By Hani Salah

20 Nov 2009

"The minaret ban is the first step to ban mosques and restrict Muslim presence in Switzerland," Maizar told IOL.

CAIRO – A far-right campaign to ban minarets construction in Switzerland is part of a broader scheme to target the Muslim presence in the European country, Muslim leaders warn.

"We are defending our identity as symbolized by the minarets," Hisham Maizar, president of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland, told over the phone from Bern.

People will vote on November 29 on a referendum spearheaded by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to ban the building of new minarets in the European country.

The SVP claims minarets are a symbol of Shariah and are thus incompatible with the Swiss legal system.

The proposed ban has caused an outcry in Switzerland, with the government denouncing it as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

The country's Roman Catholic bishops have urged voters to reject the proposed minaret ban.

"I’m confident the Swiss people will vote the minaret ban down," says Maizer.

Amnesty International has blasted the ban, warning the drive aims to exploit fears of Muslims and encourage xenophobia for political gains.

Islam is the second religion in the country after Christianity and Switzerland is home to more than 350,000 Muslims.

Across the country, there are only four mosques with minarets.

More to Come

Muslim leaders fear the minaret ban would only be the first step to undermine their presence in Switzerland.

"The ban will not be the last leg for the far-right. They will seek other issues related to the Muslim presence in Switzerland," Maizer believes

"The minaret ban is the first step to ban mosques and restrict Muslim presence in Switzerland."

Full report at:


GENEVA - Islamic nations pressing UN panel for treaty that would ban blasphemy

By Frank Jordans

November 20, 2009

GENEVA - Four years after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed set off violent protests across the Muslim world, Islamic nations are mounting a campaign for an international treaty to protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery - essentially a ban on blasphemy that would put them on a collision course with free speech laws in the West.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that Algeria and Pakistan have taken the lead in lobbying to bring the proposal to a vote in the UN General Assembly.

If ratified in countries that enshrine freedom of expression as a fundamental right, such a treaty would require them to limit free speech if it risks seriously offending religious believers. The process, though, would take years, and no showdown is imminent.

The proposal faces stiff resistance from Western countries, including the United States, which in the past has brushed aside other United Nations treaties, such as one on the protection of migrant workers.

Observers say the bid stands some chance of eventual success if Muslim countries persist. Whatever the outcome, however, the campaign risks reigniting tensions between Muslims and the West that President Obama has pledged to heal, reviving fears of a “clash of civilizations.’’

Four years ago, a Danish newspaper published cartoons lampooning Mohammed, the prophet and founder of Islam, prompting angry mobs to attack Western embassies in Muslim countries, including Lebanon, Iran, and Indonesia. In a countermovement, several European newspapers reprinted the images.

The countries that form the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference are now lobbying a little-known Geneva-based UN committee to agree that a treaty protecting religions is necessary.

Full report at:


M.J. Andersen: War is no favour to Afghan women

November 20, 2009


When I began writing about Afghanistan’s women, in 1996, the figure on their average life expectancy seemed so improbable I had to double check it. How could it be just 44? Today, it is 42.

So writes Ann Jones, in a compelling essay printed in the Nov. 9 issue of The Nation. Jones has spent years working with women in Afghanistan, and her bleak report should be read by anyone who thinks that the women might justify our continued military involvement there.

When the Taliban took power, following a civil war in the 1990s, they subjected women to extremely harsh restrictions, forbidding them to work or be educated. After 9/11, U.S. coalition forces routed the Taliban, and better times for women were prophesied.

But Jones reports that the better times essentially never arrived. Instead, we have a feel-good fiction going that, whatever else you may think of the war, at least we are helping the women.

A new constitution approved in 2004 seemed to give Afghan men and women equal rights. But the document explicitly states that it will always take a backseat to the Islamic religious principles known as Sharia law. Not surprisingly, when officials sit down to interpret the constitution, any objective notion of equality melts away.

The chief justice of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court once explained to Jones that men have a right to work and women have a right to obey their husbands. It is the kind of thing some jerk at a 1950s cocktail party might have said after a few highballs. Only in that case it would have been a joke, sort of.

Throughout our long engagement in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has given lip service to women’s rights. But indifference would be an improvement over his actual position. Apparently to corral votes from conservative Shiites, he hustled through a new family law that would have made the Taliban proud.

This was the law that, among other things, protects marital rape. It allows a husband to withhold food from a wife who refuses to have sex every four days. Men control women’s marriage choices and their freedom to leave the house. Rape outside of marriage is considered a crime against the father or husband, who are due restitution.

Full report at:


How can all this be just?


November 20, 2009

THE more I read and hear about Adam Jones the more amazed and bewildered I get.

The whole situation is almost out of a movie...a young boy is taken from his mother by his late father's family, for either religious or monetary reasons and the mother is stricken with grief...until he is found and brought back home to her.

Oh but wait... in this incident a court has ruled that it is OK for the little boy to be taken away from his mother, albeit initially by deceit!

A 10-year-old boy is taken from his mother and told that he must now live with his relatives in Qatar? Why? And for what?

Sorry, but what kind of law allows this? What kind of law allows fraud to become legal? Isn't that what Adam's grandparents did? They got his mother Rebecca to sign documents written in Arabic, thinking it was one thing, when in fact it was another.

So this is the right upbringing? To teach a child how to lie, manipulate and hate?

How can a 77-year-old grandmother truly believe that she is doing justice by taking this youngster away from his mother?

I wonder what she would feel like if one of her children were taken away from her, or one of her other grandchildren was snatched and told they were better off without her.

How sad it is that no one from his Qatari side of the family has truly put Adam's best interest at heart.

As a mother, I would like to look any one of them in the eye as they tried to tell me they are thinking of nothing other than his interests!

Whether it is for religious or inheritance reasons, the grandmother should be ashamed of herself.

A woman of her age is looked up to, respected and revered by her children and grandchildren. To go and do this is absolutely disgraceful.

In the GDN's letters page (Monday 16) advice went out to the Jones family from an abducted child and whereas I agree with her/him that many Islamic countries have no women's or children's rights, which is disgraceful and a whole other issue, I disagree that people should just live with it and accept it.

As culture evolves, new types of problems emerge that need to be dealt with. In this day and age where different nationalities, cultures, religions come together, or marry into each other, you can't say laws should not evolve too.

Full report at:


Islamic Family Law, practices in Northern Nigeria


November 20, 2009


Muslim women in Northern Nigeria, like others across the world, have been subjected to practices that violate their rights. Shari’a is historically acknowledged to have liberated women and children from the oppressive treatment of Jahilliya, the period of ignorance. Paradoxically, women and children still suffer various forms of deprivation, discrimination and untold hardship in the societies where Islamic law is in operation, especially the North Western States1 of Nigeria. This situation is accentuated by inadequate knowledge in the ranks of Muslims and at the level of the administrators of Islamic Family Law (IFL) caused by a dearth of and limited access to relevant literature. Another factor is the systemic influence of the cultural practices of the people.

It is within the context of this understanding and in furtherance of its mission of actualizing the legal rights of women that WRAPA with support of MacArthur Foundation commissioned the project on Islamic Family Law (IFL) in North Western Nigeria to examine the content of Shari’a law, its application and administration vis-a-vis the level of enjoyment of women s family law rights and access to justice in the context of Ijbar, Talaq, Khul, Nafaquah and Hadhana. The project used the normative teachings of Islam as the criteria to judge Muslim practices and evaluates their compliance with the tenets of Islam and the spirit and letters of Shari’a. The main objective of the WRAPA Islamic Family Law (IFL Project) is to engage in scholarship, research and sensitization in the area of Islamic Family Law with a view to using the known rules of interpretation to analyse the law, enhance its application within the background of contemporary needs, excise harmful cultural practices which had over the years become embedded in the law and extend the frontiers of the law by advocating reliance on Fatwas (legal verdict) or the other schools of law where it appears beneficial and proper to do so.


Full report at:        


THE PEOPLE SPEAK: Texas town taken over by Islamic culture

November 19, 2009

Lonnie Haughey of Warner asked some interesting questions about Islam in his Nov. 13 letter. Haughey asks where the Islamists get the funds to build their mosques? Are the funds raised locally or provided by an Islamic country?

Clearly the latter. Oil-rich Mideast countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and Iran, provide unlimited funds to American members of Islam to build mosques and promote their so-called “religion of peace.”

In return, they get a sort of insurance policy that protects them from radical attacking of their palaces and homes.

If Phoenix readers think this is an hysterical view, I invite them to travel to Richardson, Texas. That once beautiful, fully American city of 100,000 or so is now virtually an Arabic city. Telephone books, street signs, posters, billboards, etc., all are in Arabic.

Richardson was the home of The Holy Land Foundation, a money-laundering front for Mideast money, which was in turn routed back to fund terrorism. Its leaders are now serving federal prison terms. 

All in all, some sobering thoughts.


Israel to send first warship to NATO naval force

20 November 2009

Ship to join Active Endeavor force, aimed at curbing terrorism in Mediterranean. Dispatch marks upgrade in Israel-NATO ties

Israeli and NATO officials say Israel will dispatch a warship to join a NATO naval force, marking an upgrade in ties.

An Israeli missile ship will join NATO's "Active Endeavor" naval force, aimed at curbing terrorism in the Mediterranean.

Israeli defense officials say Israel already has a liaison officer with the naval force.

They say the dispatch of the ship within months marks an important step up in Israel's relationship with the NATO alliance.

The move was discussed this week by Israel's military chief of staff and NATO's visiting military commander, Giampaolo Di Paola.

In Brussels, NATO spokesman James Appathurai said Friday the alliance separates such activities from "political events in the Middle East."

Ynet's defense analyst Ron Ben-Yishai added that cooperation between NATO and the Israeli Navy has been going on for years and that Israel has been operating in the frame of NATO's Active Endeavor force via its liaison officer for some three years now.

Active Endeavor is an ongoing NATO operating which includes ships, submarines and aircraft all meant to enforce UN resolutions for the prevention of weapons trade to terror sources.

In the next phase of cooperation the Israeli warship will participate in the NATO ships' routine security patrols, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, during which suspicious ships are inspected.,7340,L-3808214,00.html


Obama betrays frustration with Israeli stalemate


Israel continues to defy Obama as US inaction destroys what's left of Washington's credibility.

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's rebuke of new illegal Jewish settlements betrays growing frustration over the Middle East stalemate as the White House gropes for a way to revive peace negotiations, analysts said Wednesday.

President Barack Obama's administration appears to have hit a brick wall 10 months after it took office with a high-profile push to restart peace talks.

Israel's hardine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again ignored US calls to halt illegal Jewish settlements, as the Palestinian leadership appears weaker than ever.

Obama told Fox News, after Israel decided to build hundreds of new homes in annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem, that such homes embitter the Palestinians and make it harder for Israel to make peace with its neighbors and ensure its security.

Washington based-analyst Haim Malka said that Obama has toughened his remarks on settlements in the occupied West Bank, but it is "unclear at this point" whether it will bring results.

Israel plans to build 900 new homes in Gilo, one of a dozen illegal Jewish settlements in the eastern part of the Palestinian Holy City, which Israel has annexed in a move slammed by the international community.

Israeli news reports said Netanyahu had rejected a request from his US ally to halt construction in Gilo, but it was not clear whether the request concerned the project approved on Tuesday night.

Full report at:


Cross border fertilisation of terrorism in Pak

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Nov 20

 (PTI) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said there is cross border fertilisation of terrorism in Pakistan from Afghanistan and the US would continue to press Islamabad to go after extremism in the country.

"We know that there is a cross-border fertilisation of extremism and terrorism. Afghanistan cannot get control over its territory and defeat the Taliban if they can go across the border into Pakistan as a safe haven," Clinton told the Azadi Radio in an interview.

Similarly, Pakistan cannot root out the people that threaten them and their government if they can seek refuge across the border in Afghanistan, she said according to a transcript released by the State Department.

"That's why we look at Afghanistan and Pakistan together when it comes to this fight against terrorism," she said.


Islamabad: Student’s death triggers massive protest

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shakeel Anjum

A young student hit by a recklessly driven public service vehicle on Islamabad Expressway succumbed to his injuries on his way to the hospital, a police spokesman said here on Thursday.

His death triggered a massive protest demonstration by students, who blocked the highway. They burnt tyres in protest and raised slogans against public transport drivers.

According to police, 15-year-old Danish, a student of Class 9 at Federal Government School No. 1, Sector G-6/2, and resident of Sawan, was waiting for transport near Faizabad when a speeding public service van hit him. The driver of the van (LZV-5432) escaped from the scene, leaving the student in a pool of blood. Danish was rushed to the Shifa International Hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way.

After the accident, passersby joined students in their protest and blocked traffic on the highway for some time. The ITP personnel, however, diverted traffic to adjacent roads.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Islamabad) Tahir Alam Khan reached the scene with cops and ordered the arrest of the driver. Later, police intercepted the van and arrested the driver.

The dead body of the young student was handed over to his family members. Later, he was buried in Sawan.

Full report at:


Al-Qaida Using English To Push Message

November 20, 2009

Translation Of Writings And Sermons Once Largely Out Of Reach Of English Readers

Increasing numbers of English-language Web sites are spreading al-Qaida's message to Muslims in the West.

They translate writings and sermons once largely out of reach of English readers and often feature charismatic clerics like Anwar al-Awlaki, who exchanged dozens of e-mails with the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of the shootings at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.

The U.S.-born al-Awlaki has been an inspiration to several militants arrested in the United States and Canada in recent years, with his Web-based sermons often turning up on their computers.

"The point is you don't have to be an official part of al-Qaida to spread hatred and sectarian views,'' said Evan Kohlmann, a senior investigator for the New York-based NEFA Foundation, which researches Islamic militants.

"If you look at the most influential documents in terms of homegrown terrorism cases, it's not training manuals on building bombs,'' Kohlmann said. "The most influential documents are the ones that are written by theological advisers, some of whom are not even official al-Qaida members.''

Most of the radical Islamic sites are not run or directed by al-Qaida, but they provide a powerful tool for recruiting sympathizers to its cause of jihad, or holy war, against the United States, experts who track the activity said.

The number of English-language sites sympathetic to al-Qaida has risen from about 30 seven years ago to more than 200 recently, said Abdulmanam Almushawah, head of a Saudi government program called Assakeena, which works to combat militant Islamic Web sites.

In contrast, Arabic-language radical sites have dropped to around 50, down from 1,000 seven years ago, because of efforts by governments around the world to shut them down, he said.

Full report at:


Afghanistan is world's most dangerous place to be born in: UN

20 November 2009

GENEVA: Afghanistan is the most dangerous place in the world for a child to be born, the UN has said.

It is especially dangerous for girls, the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) said Thursday, in launching its annual report: The State of the World's Children, the Online news agency reported.

Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world — 257 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 70 percent of the population lacks access to clean water, the agency said.

As Taliban insurgents increase their presence across the country, growing insecurity is also making it hard to carry out vital vaccination campaigns against polio, a crippling disease still endemic in the country, and measles that can kill children.

"Afghanistan today is without a doubt the most dangerous place to be born," Daniel Toole, Unicef regional director for South Asia, told a news briefing.

A Taliban-led insurgency and militant attack on an international guesthouse in Kabul that killed five UN foreign staff last month prompted the world body to evacuate hundreds of international staff from Afghanistan for several weeks.

Some 43 percent of the country is now virtually off-limits to aid agencies due to insecurity, according to Toole. The Taliban have been building their forces in their traditional southern and eastern Afghanistan stronghold and are increasing attacks in the north and west.

Teaching girls is one of the practices they forbid. Some 317 schools in Afghanistan were attacked in the past year, killing 124 and wounding another 290, Toole said. "We have seen a drop in the number of children who are attending schools and particularly young girls," he added.

School enrolment in Afghanistan had risen to five million, including two million girls, against one million with virtually no girls in 2001 when the Taliban were ousted from power, he said.

"In Afghanistan and Pakistan we've made some progress but we're starting to worry about back-tracking on that progress given the high rates of insecurity and the ongoing conflict," Toole said.


Canada complicit in torture of hundreds of Afghan detainees

By Keith Jones

20 November 2009

A Canadian diplomat, who was posted to Afghanistan in 2006-7, told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that hundreds of persons detained by Canadian troops in southern Afghanistan were subsequently tortured by Afghan authorities. Moreover, Canada was complicit in their torture, since the government and Canadian military refused to heed his repeated warnings that torture was “standard operating procedure” for interrogators from Afghanistan’s secret police, the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

Richard Colvin said that beginning in May 2006 he sent numerous reports to the Canadian government and military warning that the prisoners whom the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) handed over to the NDS and Afghan National Police were being systematically tortured. But he encountered only indifference and obstruction from the CAF and his superiors at Foreign Affairs.

Colvin emphasized that many of those the CAF handed over had nothing to do with the insurgency against the US-NATO occupation and the corrupt, US-installed government of Hamid Karzai. They had been detained by the CAF “during routine military operations, and on the basis typically not of intelligence but suspicion or unproven denunciation”—i.e. they were ordinary Afghans who had had the misfortune of being caught up in CAF counterinsurgency sweeps.

“Some of these Afghans,” Colvin told the House of Commons committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, “may have been [Taliban] foot soldiers or day fighters. But many were just local people—farmers, truck drivers, tailors, peasants; random human beings in the wrong place at the wrong time; young men in their fields and villages who were completely innocent but were nevertheless rounded up.”

“In other words,” Colvin continued, “we detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people.”

Full report at:


Indonesians Make a Mark As ‘Influential Muslims’

Nurfika Osman

November 20, 2009

Notable Indonesian figures, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former President Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, made it into “The 500 Most Influential Muslims — 2009,” a book that lists and provides short biographies of outstanding Muslims from the fields of politics, religion, women, the media and radicalism.

The book, edited at Washington’s Georgetown University, is the first in what is planned to be an annual survey of top Muslim personalities worldwide.

Having steered Indonesia toward a strong democracy while working toward eradicating terrorism, Yudhoyono made the list’s most influential in the political category.

Gus Dur was also mentioned in the same category, as the cleric who rallied against the formation of an Islamic state in Indonesia.

Scholar Azyumardi Azra, a prominent Indonesian academic who serves as advisor to the vice president, was also included on the list.

Indonesians who made it into the top 50 were Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, the 40-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama, who ranked 18th on the list.

Abdullah “AA Gym” Gynastiar, Indonesia’s most popular preacher, ranked 48th.

Indonesian women also made their mark.

Tuti Alawiyah, the nation’s former women’s empowerment minister, is dean of As Syafi’iyah University, Indonesia’s oldest institution of Islamic education. Siti Musdah Mulia, who chairs the women’s arm of the NU, helped produce the Counter Legal Draft, aimed at revising the Islamic legal code on the banning of polygamy and child marriages.

Lily Zakiah Munir, the only woman and sole Muslim to serve on the monitoring commission for the Afghan elections, is founder of the Center for Pesantren and Democracy Studies, an organization that educates Islamic boarding schools about rights and political participation.

Maria Ulfah, the first woman to win the international Qur’an recitation competition, serves as director of the women’s department at the Institute for Qur’an study in Indonesia.

Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, considered the philosophical leader of the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, made it in the radicals category.


New terror cells planning attacks in Indonesia

Fri, Nov 20, 2009

NEW terror cells are emerging and planning attacks in Indonesia after the death of Malaysian Noordin Mohammad Top.

A senior ranking officer from Indonesia's anti-terror task force said new terror cells continue to be set up despite the huge blow inflicted on them with over 400 members arrested and scores shot dead.

"Terrorists still exist. They are undergoing training and are still planning attacks," Usman Nasution, chief of Detachment 88 (Den88), told a counter-terrorism seminar.

Nasution said said many terrorists involved in the country's bomb attacks have yet to be caught.

The seminar was organised by the country's largest Muslim organisation, the 40-million strong Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), to counter radicalism.

Den88 is a special anti-terrorist task force responsible for investigating and cracking down on terrorists' activities in the country.

It was set up shortly after the Bali bombings which killed 202 in 2002.

Noordin was shot dead in Solo, Central Java on Sept 17 this year after an exhaustive hunt by police which lasted six years.

He was the mastermind behind the twin bombings of the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in Jakarta which killed nine people last July 17.

He was a key member of the regional terror group, Jemaah Islamiayh (JI) until he broke away to form a more hardline faction in 2003.

Nasution said it was possible another militant may have taken over as emir of Noordin's cell following his death.

From 2002-2009, Indonesia's anti-terror police arrested 454 militants, said Nasution. Of the number, 352 were charged and sent to jail.


Muslims In 21st Century America: Political Correctness Deadly

by Frosty Wooldridge

19 November 2009

In 1860 Mark Twain said, "The shabbiest of all lies is 'silent-assertion', which happens when the media, politicians and church leaders obfuscate, suppress or ignore a social wrong or something going awry in this society." In his time, slavery represented silent-assertion as it led to states rights issues and the Civil War.

Today, the United States races, hell-bent, toward injecting itself with incompatible cultures and languages that do not meld into the foundational culture, religion and people of America.  From 100,000 Muslims in 1991, the U.S. Congress immigrated eight million Muslims into its Christian culture by 2009.  Call it 'multiculturalism' or 'diversity' or 'cultural suicide', but whatever you call it, only chaos results for the host nations that import millions of Muslim immigrants. Examples abound in Great Britain (subway bombings, two separate societies in London), France (fire bombs, riots in 2007, extensive ghettos, massive police presence to quell unrest), Holland (rapes, violence, ghettos), Sweden (rapes, riots and schools), Norway (Norwegians fleeing Muslim neighborhoods), Austria (tension), Spain (train bombings) and Germany (tense social situation).

Former President Bush, days after Islam's attack on the World Trade Center towers now known as "9/11", said, "Islam is a religion of peace."  However, all 19 of the terrorists followed Islam's precepts.  Bush's 'silent-assertion' may equal Great Britain's Neville Chamberlain's obsequious behavior to Adolf Hitler, which, within a few years, led to World War II.

Full report at:


Johann Hari’s Amazing Insight into Radical Islamism, its Western Coddlers and its Cures

By Barry Rubin

Friday, 20 November 2009

An Article that gives an Amazing Insight into Radical Islamism, its Western Coddlers and its Cures

This is perhaps the best newspaper article I've ever read on the phenomenon of radical Islamists in Europe, written from the point of view of those who have left the movement and now discuss how they felt and what they did. Well worth reading. It is by Johann Hari and entitled, "Renouncing Islamism: To the brink and back again."

The two key points are:

First, how some--in this case imprisoned leaders of the Egyptian jihad--developed an alternative Muslim perspective:

"After more than 20 years in prison, they had reconsidered their views. They told him he was false to believe there was one definitive, literal way to read the Koran. As they told it, in traditional Islam there were many differing interpretations of sharia, from conservative to liberal - yet there had been consensus around one principle: it was never to be enforced by a central authority. Sharia was a voluntary code, not a state law. 'It was always left for people to decide for themselves which interpretation they wanted to follow,' he says.

"These one-time assassins taught Maajid that the idea of using state power to force your interpretation of sharia on everyone was a new and un-Islamic idea, smelted by the Wahabis only a century ago. They had made the mistake of muddling up the enduringly relevant decisions Mohamed made as a spiritual leader with those he made as a political ruler, which he intended to be specific to their time and place."

I would call this the rediscovery of conservative traditional Islam, with a bit of a liberal modernist twist. That was the view of Islam which dominated the religion for many centuries between its early era and the recent rise of Islamism.

Second, and particularly fascinating and important is how Western Political Correctness and multiculturalism has disastrously encouraged and legitimized radical Islamism:


Local Somali indicted in terrorist conspiracy probe

By Hart Van Denburg

20, Nov 2009

Omer Abdi Mohamed was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday in U.S. District Court on charges that he provided material support to terrorists. A Somali, but permanent U.S. resident who once worked as an employment counselor of the state of Minnesota, he is accused of helping six other Somalis return to their homeland to fight for a group the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.

MPR reported that the indictment made public the names of the six men. The list includes Shirwa Ahmed, a Minneapolis man who authorities believe became the first American suicide bomber when he allegedly blew himself up himself fall in Somalia.

Mohamed's indictment is the latest chapter in a wide-ranging federal probe into the disappearance of 20 Somali men with Minnesota ties.

Last week, Dutch authorities arrested a 43-year-old Somali man with Minnesota ties, later identified as Mohamud Said Omar, 43, who is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly financing Islamic terrorists.

Dutch news organizations said he may have helped extremists travel to Somalia to train with the radical Islamic movement Al Shabaab. He's believed to have lived in Minneapolis until November 2008. He showed up at a refugee center in the Netherlands about a month later.


Russian patriarch warns on attributing blame for priest's murder


The head of Russia's Orthodox Church warned on Friday against rushing to accuse "individuals or groups" of the murder of a priest in Moscow.

Daniil Sysoyev, 34, was shot dead by a masked gunman in St. Thomas Church in southern Moscow on Thursday evening. Investigators said today their main theory is that religious hatred was behind the crime. Sysoyev was known for his missionary work among Muslim immigrants, and had received numerous death threats.

"Any murder is a grave sin. But the murder of a priest in a church is also a challenge to the law of God," Patriarch Kirill said. "This sin will not be left unrevenged by God. And justice will hopefully be ensured by people. But as long as the killer has not been identified, I ask you to refrain from any hasty accusations against individuals or groups."

Kirill also said God's work often requires martyrdom.

The murder stirred a wave of condemnation from all religious groups in Russia, and demands to ensure better security for the clergy.

Sysoyev also worked with people seeking to quit religious sects, and Russian State Duma lawmakers asked on Friday for more information on the groups involved to consider measures to restrict foreign religious organizations' activities in Russia.

Some nationalist lawmakers claimed Thursday's decision by the Constitutional Court to extend a ban on capital punishment in the country could have "inspired" the killer.

"The priest was gunned down in a Moscow church. This happened when the Constitutional Court had virtually abolished the death penalty," A Just Russia member Vera Lekareva said.

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti)


Iran - Green Movement Spreading Despite Crackdown

By Behzad Yaghmaian

Friday, 20 November 2009

The presidential election of June 12, which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared to have won, gave birth to a grassroots movement that has been evolving politically, embracing broader segments of the population, discovering new methods of struggle, and refusing to die despite widespread government violence.

It has bewildered the conservatives, surpassed the political limits of the reformists, and become a wildcard with a potential to change Iran in profound ways.

The Green Movement began when millions of people poured into the streets in the belief that Ahmadinejad had rigged the election. The repression that followed forced the movement to retreat underground, but it stayed alive. It sought different arenas in which to pursue its goals and spread deeper into society. Government violence succeeded in reducing the number of street protesters and dispersed the movement. We no longer see millions protesting in unison. The movement has, however, become more difficult to control.

What was once a movement of young and modernised middle-class youth has become truly multi-generational. It includes the modern and the traditional, the Muslim, and the secular, the old and the very young. The Green Movement is everywhere. It appears like a spectre, becomes invisible, and returns. It came out on Quds (Jerusalem) Day on September 19, intended to mark solidarity with the Palestinians, and surfaced in universities across the country on the first day of term on September 28. It reappeared again on the 30 anniversary of the takeover of the United States embassy on November 4.

University students protested across the country. Old and young, traditional women covered head to toe in black, and youth clad in loud and funky outfits came out in defiance of strict orders by the security forces. And this time, Iranian children joined their parents and older siblings. They turned their schools into places of protest.

Full report at:


Russian Orthodox priest critical of Islam shot dead

By Anna Malpas (AFP)

20 November 2009

MOSCOW — An Russian Orthodox priest who was an outspoken critic of both Islam and ultra-nationalist groups was shot dead in his Moscow church by a masked assassin, investigators said Friday.

Daniil Sysoyev, a well known figure who appeared on television talk shows and published a blog, had received threats over his extensive missionary work among Muslims in what was a highly unusual activity for a Russian priest.

"An unknown man in a mask walked in and fired no less than four shots at the priest of the church," the investigative committee of prosecutors said in a statement.

The killer also wounded the choirmaster, named as Vladimir Strelbitsky. The priest died of his wounds in the ambulance after the shooting late on Thursday, the investigative committee said.

The man walked into Saint Thomas's church in southern Moscow and asked for Sysoyev by name, the head of the investigators' Moscow branch Anatoly Bagmet told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The murder was most likely committed for religious reasons, Bagmet added.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in a statement warned against placing the blame on any group while the investigation continues.

Kirill described Sysoyev as "a zealous pastor who worked hard in the field of enlightenment and devoted himself to the end to serving God and people."

Sysoyev received several threats from Muslims, said a statement on the web site of the missionary training centre he founded.

"Father Daniil said several times that he received threats from Muslims, but the word of Christ was more important to him," the statement said.

Sysoyev, who was criticized by Muslim organizations for his statements on Islam, had contacted the federal security services several times over threats, Interfax reported, citing a security source.

Full report at: Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved


A state for all its citizens, not a state of all the Jews

Alan Philps

November 20. 2009

It is not often that an Israeli history book is translated into Arabic with a view to finding a mass readership. And it is even rarer when that book is to be translated into two other major languages of the Islamic world, Turkish and Indonesian, not to mention Japanese, Russian, German, Italian and Portuguese.

The work is The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand, a professor of history at Tel Aviv University. When it was first published in Israel last year, it spent 19 weeks in the bestseller list, thanks in part to furious denunciations by academic historians. It has just appeared in English, and the provocative title does not disappoint.

Sand’s thesis is simple: the founding myth of Israel, set out in the 1948 declaration of independence, that the Jewish people were exiled by the Romans in the first century and have the right to return, is a lie. There was no exile. Judaism was a successful proselytising religion, taking advantage of a weariness in the Greco-Roman world with its pagan gods. So the Jews are a religious community, the vast majority being converts.

The idea of a Jewish people, the author writes, was created in the 19th century at a time when the disparate peoples who lived in France, Italy or Germany were creating their own national myths as the basis for nation-states. The narrative of the Jews as a people descended from the Biblical Hebrews was hijacked by the Zionists. It is used to this day to bolster the settlement project in the occupied territories.

Sand is a specialist in European history, so his work has been treated with condescension by specialists. Simon Schama, the historian and documentary maker, writes with academic hauteur that serious historians stopped believing in the exile many years ago, so Sand is presenting “truisms as though they were revolutionary illuminations”.

But this is to miss the point. Sand himself is the first to say that there is nothing new in his book: he has merely organised existing material in a way that Israeli historians did not care to, for fear of appearing unpatriotic, and western historians shied away from, wary of being called anti-Semitic. The point is not what is known in the ivory towers of historians, but what sustains the popular consciousness. The narrative of exile and return is still at the heart of Israeli self-belief, and remains firmly implanted in the western mindset.

Full report at:


Egypt-Algeria World Cup anger turns violent in Cairo

20 November 2009

Riot police in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, quelled a violent demonstration near the Algerian embassy in the early hours of Friday.

Egyptian protesters reportedly hurled firebombs at police protecting the embassy and overturned a police van.

Egypt's interior ministry said 35 people were injured.

The clashes stem from Egypt's defeat by Algeria in a World Cup qualifying match on Wednesday, securing Algeria the last African place for next year's finals.

On Friday Alaa Mubarak, the son of Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak, made a rare public statement calling for a "tough stance" to be taken against Algeria.

"When you insult my dignity... I will beat you on the head," the businessman, who had attended the game in Khartoum, told a TV news programme.

On Thursday night around 1,000 Egyptians burned Algerian flags in a street near the Algerian embassy.

The protests continued into the morning, with 15 cars reported damaged, along with a number of shops. The ministry said 11 police officers were among the injured.

On Friday afternoon, worshippers leaving a mosque in the neighbouring Mohandisseen district gathered after prayers to again burn Algerian flags and chant anti-Algerian slogans.


Algeria beat Egypt 1-0 in a play-off in Sudan on Wednesday.

Protesters were incensed by reports that Egyptian fans at the match had been attacked as they left the stadium.

"We should treat Algeria like any country that has declared war on us," university student Amr Higazi told Agence France Presse.

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Cairo says demonstrations like this are normally broken up well before they begin.

Meanwhile, Egypt has threatened to quit international football for two years after complaining to world football governing body Fifa over Algerian fans' behaviour in Khartoum.

Full report at: Source: BBC News

Compose your comments here

Total Comments (0)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of

Total Comments (0)

    There are no comments on this Article