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Islamic World News ( 28 Jul 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslims help in Temple construction in Ramazan in Bihar


As Tensions in India Turn Deadly, Some Say Officials Ignored Warning Signs

Relax visa norms between India, Pakistan to encourage trade

India-Saudi ties poised for upsurge after Jundal handover

India's PM may visit Pakistan in Nov

Crime branch to confront Abu Jundal with Ajmal Kasab



Pakistan unrelenting in demanding drone strike end

Search for oil in East Pakistan by the Soviet oil experts

Three Hindu traders abducted in Pakistan's Balochistan province

Zardari to attend OIC summit on Muslim world

Pakistan's ISI chief to visit US from August 1 to 3

Pakistan to register case against The Sun 'agent'

Pakistani Christians homage to Justice Baghwandas on demanding Dual Vote


Mideast Asia

Iran captures Pakistan vessel carrying two tons of drugs


Arab World

No let-up in Aleppo battle as Syria vows to crush rebels

Egypt’s Islamists Tread Lightly, but Sceptics Squirm

Egypt's mysterious new prime minister

Egypt unnerved by rising religious fervour

Kuwait Brotherhood Continues To Criticize UAE



Tunisia requests OIC to condemn Myanmar violence

Will Ethiopian crackdown stir Muslim backlash?

Ethiopia: 20,000 flee Moyale clashes - Red Cross



Fight over Islam, money and power brings violence to Volga

Global travel industry gears up for Muslim tourist boom


Southeast Asia

Abu Sayyaf's Reign of Terror in Philippines Coming to an End?


North America

US government is ignoring Muslim Brotherhood's nature

Mitt Romney visits Israel to vow closer ties

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Muslims help in Temple construction in Ramazan in Bihar

28 Jul 2012

Patna July 28 (IANS) In an example of communal harmony in India, Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan have helped in the construction of a Jain temple in Bhagalpur town of Bihar.

Mohammad Janeshar Akhtar even demolished a portion of his house Friday to enable the movement of a 70-foot long truck laden with a granite stone block, being carried for making an idol at the temple, officials said Saturday. Other Muslims helped widen the street so that the vehicle could reach the temple without much difficulty.

"In the holy month of Ramadan when a Muslim is supposed to do rightful things, I decided to help my Jain brothers. I thought that if I refuse to demolish the roof of my house, it will obstruct the construction of the statue," said Akhtar.

The granite block was 35 feet long, 9 feet wide and 5 feet tall and was loaded on the truck. It could not be negotiated through the narrow and congested street near Akhtar's house.

"I demolished a portion of my boundary wall and roof of my house after the truck carrying the huge granite block got stuck on the narrow road leading to the temple," he said.

Akhtar along with Mohammad Alam, both residents of Kabirpur, a Muslim locality in Bhagalpur, about 200 km from here, then helped members of Champapur Digambar Jain temple to move the truck with the granite block to the temple for constructing the statue of Vaspujya Bhagwan, a district police official said.

"After the news spread that the truck carrying granite stone for the temple was stuck near his house, Akhtar decided to demolish the wall and the roof of his house," police official said.

Aalam, another man from the community, requested his Muslim neighbours to help in widening the road, the officvial said.

Akhtar told IANS over telephone that when even after the demolition of the boundary wall of his house the truck could not move, he asked workers to demolish a portion of the roof also as it was blocking the truck.

"Local Muslim residents helped to widen the road... It was a positive development for social harmony," Alam said.

Bhagalpur town had a history of communal conflict. It witnessed one of the worst riots in the country, in which over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in October 1989.

Early this year, some Muslims had helped in building a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Durga in Bihar's Gaya district. Muslims not only donated money but were also involved in the construction of the temple.

Earlier, a Muslim had donated his land for a temple dedicated to god Shiva in Begusarai district. Mohammad Fakhrool Islam had given land for it in Muslim-dominated Bachwara village.

Over three decades ago, in the same village some Hindus had donated a piece of land for the construction of a mazar (a place where a saint is buried).


As Tensions in India Turn Deadly, Some Say Officials Ignored Warning Signs


July 28, 2012

So why, critics ask, were the authorities caught by surprise despite clear warnings of impending conflict?

“The district authorities should have seen the tension building up and acted sooner to prevent the kind of violence that we have seen since,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

The Bodo tribe in the finger of land between Bangladesh and Bhutan has long been feeling squeezed by Muslim Bengalis immigrating from Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries on the planet. In addition to having less communal ideas about land ownership than the Bodos, the Bengalis, whose numbers are growing, increasingly threaten the Bodos’ dream of having an independent state.

The Bodos, many of whom have been converted to Christianity, now represent just 10 percent of Assam’s population of 31 million, but have ancestral claims to roughly half of its land.

Four years ago, Bodos and Bengalis, who speak different languages, clashed in Assam, leaving 70 people dead. Tensions began to build anew on May 29, when a local Muslim youth group called for a strike in Kokrajhar to protest the removal of a signboard from a mosque. A series of drive-by killings followed until generalized violence exploded on July 19.

State officials said they were caught unaware. “We had requisitioned the army on the very first day, but it took four, five days for the forces to reach the state,” Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of Assam, said Friday at a news conference.

U. G. Brahma, a former member of Parliament from the region, said police and other government officials did nothing to stop the violence for several days. “This is a deliberate act of negligence,” Mr. Brahma said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Gogoi said no further violence had been reported for at least two days, although bodies from earlier outbreaks continued to be found and homes were still being burned.

Mr. Gogoi rejected the charge that the government was slow in its response and said he had no intelligence before the rioting suggesting the need for troops. Such riots have been part of India’s history since its violent birth in 1947, but its roots go back far longer.

Indians’ genetic variability is vast. Scores of languages are spoken, 15 of which appear on the nation’s currency. The Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist religions are all strongly represented.

And then there is the issue of land, a scarce resource in a nation of nearly 1.2 billion people.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited two relief camps in Kokrajhar on Saturday. He called the fighting “a blot” on India, The Associated Press reported, and promised to provide $3,600 to each family of those killed and $900 to those seriously injured.

 Sultan Alam, a member of a Muslim student group in Assam, called for an inquiry by the nation’s top law enforcement agency. “The minority community here has been ruined by the violence,” he said in a telephone interview, demanding more benefits for Muslims. “We just want our rightful share in everything.” A representative of a rival Bodo student group could not be reached for comment.

Opposition lawmakers accuse the Congress Party, the dominant party in the governing coalition, of turning a blind eye to the immigrant issue, since Muslims tend to support the coalition.

Vijay Goel, general secretary of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, said the influence of Muslim immigrants in elections had grown too great. “We want the illegal immigrants to be identified and deported,” he said, according to news media reports.

At the news conference, Mr. Gogoi said politics played no role in his decision making and blamed his political opponents for the violence. “The situation has flared up because of the N.D.A. regime,” he said, referring to the National Democratic Alliance, an opposition coalition that includes the Bharatiya Janata Party. “It is not me who is playing vote bank politics. I do not need a single vote of the illegal migrants.”

Bengali Muslims have been a significant part of Assam’s population since India’s founding, and separating the recent arrivals from those who have been in the state for decades would be difficult. Each side in the conflict has long-held grievances.

Ms. Ganguly said the state should have done far more in recent years to ease tensions. “This is a battle over resources, not religion,” she said.

Mr. Gogoi promised action.“The only solution to these waves of ethnic conflicts is development, and tomorrow the state government will seek some kind of development package from the prime minister,” Mr. Gogoi said Friday, joining a long line of state officials seeking more money from India’s central government.

Malavika Vayawahare contributed reporting from New Delhi, and Samrat from Mumbai, India.



Relax visa norms between India, Pakistan to encourage trade

29 Jul 2012

An industry body of South Asian businessmen has written to Home Minister P Chidambaram seeking relaxation of visa norms between India and Pakistan to encourage trade and investments between the countries.

In a letter to Chidambaram, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Vikramjit Sahney said the present SAARC visa exemption scheme (SVES) is "extremely restrictive" on the movement of Indian and Pakistani businessmen.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) members are - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.

"Visa liberalisation between India and Pakistan are important to boost trade and investment between the countries.Already both the sides have taken so many steps to boost economic ties," Sahney said.

He suggested there should be no police reporting for people over the age of 70 years for visas.He said the recent developments between the governments of India and Pakistan have given clear indication of the desire to enhance business relations and larger people-to-people contacts, especially the business community.

"Unfortunately, the present SVES is extremely restrictive on the movement of the Indian and Pakistani businessmen...,"Sahney added.

In May, India and Pakistan had failed to ink the much-anticipated liberalise  visa regime and merely agreed to do it an an early date after Islamabad insisted on political participation.

He also asked Chidambaram to consider the chamber's proposal to increase visa from 100 to 500 for businessmen from each SAARC member country for one year.

"The current SVES is restrictive and needs to be rationalised and liberalised. The new policy does not truly reflect the aspirations of the Heads of States of the governments of SAARC nations," he said.

Sahney said out of about 12,000 SVES issued in a year under various categories, only 2,000 have been allocated for businessmen.



India-Saudi ties poised for upsurge after Jundal handover

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Building upon the positive momentum generated by the handover of 26/11 handler Abu Jundal by Riyadh last month, India and Saudi Arabia are set to intensify their security and economic cooperation as India cuts down on Iranian oil and hikes its oil supply from the most powerful economy in the Middle East.

Amid the languishing pace of justice in Pakistan for the 26/11 victims, the decision of Saudi Arabia to extradite Abu Jundal came as a shot in the arm for New Delhi and has set the stage for an all-round acceleration of strategic and economic ties between India and Saudi Arabia, home to over two million expatriate Indians.

"India's relations with Saudi Arabia are poised for a major upsurge. It (the handover of Jundal) is the culmination of a decision taken by King Abduallah many years ago to develop strategic relations with India," Ishrat Aziz, a former ambassador of India and an expert on the region, told IANS.

"Saudi Arabia has been a victim of terrorism itself. Security is the cornerstone of Saudi Arabia's foreign policy and it is looking to India as a major emerging power," said Aziz. The India-Saudi ties have undergone a sea change, said Aziz, who served as India's ambassador to Riyadh during the 1987-1994 transition period.

"This relationship is moving in the right direction and has acquired strategic heft in the last few years. It's going to get stronger in days to come," Zikrur Rahman, director of the India-Arab Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia, told IANS.

The signs of a transformed relationship are all too visible. Security cooperation has acquired a prominent focus in the bilateral relationship since the historic visit of King Abdullah, the first visit by a Saudi monarch to New Delhi in half a century, in 2006. The Delhi Declaration issued at the end of the Saudi monarch's visit identified security and counter-terror cooperation as key elements of strategic partnership between the two countries.

The strategic ties were reinforced when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Saudi Arabia in 2010, a landmark trip that saw the signing of an extradition treaty and culminated in the Riyadh Declaration that singled out security cooperation as an important driver of the relationship. Defence minister A.K. Antony's February 2012 visit saw the two sides setting up a joint committee to chalk out a roadmap for bolstering bilateral defence cooperation, ranging from stepped up high-level exchanges and warship visits to hydrography and training.

Intelligence sharing and the training of Saudi defence personnel in India have become features of bilateral partnership and are expected to grow stronger.

There is also a qualitative shift in mutual perception. India, a knowledge power armed with an economy still growing at around seven percent amidst a global slowdown, has other added attractions for Saudi Arabia, a traditional friend and ally of the US, which is looking east for fresh infusion of technology and skilled manpower.

Good news for Riyadh, which regards Tehran as a major regional nuisance, is that India has cut down its import of Iranian oil in the face of Western sanctions and has raised purchases from Saudi Arabia.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has shot up to $25 billion in 2010-11 and Riyadh has emerged as India's top oil supplier.

What has taken experts and Saudi-watchers by surprise is that Saudi Arabia, despite its close ties with Pakistan, handed over to India the prize catch that ended up exposing Islamabad and has infused a new momentum in New Delhi's quest for 26/11 justice.

What tipped Riyadh in New Delhi's favour? Was it American pressure or incrementally improving relations with New Delhi? Ajai Sahni, a counter-terror expert, says Riyadh's decision was influenced by both factors but also reflected the Arab world's most powerful nation's attitude towards a changing world order.

"Saudi Arabia is beginning to lose faith in the Pakistan model of using Islamist extremism to promote external causes. This policy has caused a tremendous backlash in the larger Muslim world," Sahni told IANS. The relationship with Pakistan, said Sahni, is being re-evaluated in Saudi Arabia, but it does not amount to abandoning Pakistan.

The Saudi establishment's attitude towards terrorism has shown a marked change in the last decade since 9/11, specially after Riyadh was targeted by terrorists. Besides, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda has been an anathema to the Saudi royal family, and it has watched with concern the growing incestuous ties between al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the chief architect of the 26/11 terror.



India's PM may visit Pakistan in Nov

Islamabad, July 28, 2012, With a formal invitation by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister manmohan Singh is expected to visit Pakistan as soon as November this year amidst signs of improved relations between the two nations, according to “The Express Tribune”.

Diplomatic sources have confirmed that Islamabad and New Delhi are finalising the dates for Manmohan Singh’s maiden trip to Pakistan.

President Zardari formally invited Singh to visit the country through a letter sent on Friday to him through Pakistan’s mission in New Delhi, according to presidential spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar.

Senator Babar, in a statement, also hinted that Singh might visit Pakistan in November. “If the visit were to coincide with the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak, that would not only be well received by the Pakistani nation but would also reinforce our mutual desire to promote inter-faith and inter-religious harmony,” President Zardari said in the letter.

He also recalled his meeting with Singh in New Delhi during his visit to Ajmer Sharif and expressed satisfaction over the headway made so far.

“The President expressed hope that the engagements will help promote our ties in the right direction and help in realising our shared dream of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia,” the statement added.

Singh will be the first Indian premier to visit Islamabad since 2004 when the then Indian chief executive Atal Behari Vajpayee held ice-breaking talks with military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

“Time is running out for Pakistan to sincerely change its foreign relations paradigm. For Singh, in the twilight of his career, this perhaps is his last chance to be magnanimous and go down in the annals of history as a statesman, not a mere politician,” remarked Harris Khalique, poet and writer. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Singh himself announced he was ready for a visit to Pakistan.

Singh’s visit would signal a visible thaw in Pakistan-India relations, which deteriorated after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Recently, the two countries also decided to revive their bilateral cricket ties with the Pakistani team visiting India for one-day and T20 matches in the first such series in five years.

Ahead of the important trip, foreign ministers of both countries are due to meet in September to review the progress made so far.



Crime branch to confront Abu Jundal with Ajmal Kasab

S Ahmed Ali, TNN

MUMBAI: Jul 29, 2012, The Mumbai crime branch is likely to confront the deported 26/11 conspirator Sayed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jundal with the alone arrested Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in the next week. Sources said that they are preparing to seek permission from the special court so that they bring either Kasab to the police headquarters where Jundal is kept or take Jundal to special high security cell at Arthur jail where Kasab is lodged. Police say that the confronts is important there is some contradiction in the two versions regarding the six unknown handlers and the Pakistan's ISI officials involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Police said Ansari who got the nick name `Abu Jundal' after he completed the physical and spiritual training in Pakistan is a key accused in the 26/11 terror attack in which 166 persons were killed and more than 260 were injured in Mumbai. While Kasab had told police that Jundal had given him arms and ammuition training, Jundal said that he did not part the training but only gave Hindi and Marathi lessons to Kasab and nine others.

Kasab had named Jundal was among the 13 Pakistani handlers who had come to see them off to Al Hussain the Pakistani ship in which they sail from Karachi and later captured Indian fishing Trawler M V Kuber. Jundal during interrogations said he did not come to see off. Kasab during the interrogations had named the 13 Pakistanis who came to send them off in Karachi to sail for Mumbai on November 23, 2008. Abu Jundal, Abu Kahafa, Abu Humza and Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi were top among them.

``Jundal is an important conspirators as he was present in the control room along with five other Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who were dictating terms to the ten terrorist including Ajmal Kasab send to Mumbai in 2008. Many of them we only know by their nick names, Jundal being in a very core group he may be knowing the others well.'' Said an official on condition of anonymity. One of the accused arrested in German bakery blast was asked to recognize the voice of the handlers of 26/11. He identified one of the voices was of Zabiuddin Ansari who posed as Abu Jundal. Crime branch will take expert's help to match the voices. ``The pure Hindi words like prashasan and yuvak have been used by handlers suggesting the involvement of some Indian.'' added officer.

Once the crime branch finishes his custody the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) will seek Jundal's custody in two offences of Aurangabad arms haul case and German bakery blast of Pune.

Jindal who hails from Gevrai Taluka in Beed district was a student of Indian Technical Institute in Beed, had a sudden rise in the ranks of Lashker-e-Taiba after he was indoctrinate by banned SIMI post Gujarat riots in 2002.




Pakistan unrelenting in demanding drone strike end

Associated Press

ASPEN, Colo.July 28, 2012, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States says her country will not relent from demanding that the CIA end its drone strikes.

In a debate with White House war adviser Douglas Lute at the Aspen Security Forum, Sherry Rehman said drone attacks have damaged al-Qaida but are now only serving to recruit new militants.

"I am not saying drones have not assisted in the war against terror, but they have diminishing rate of returns," Rehman said by video teleconference from Washington.

With Pakistan's spy chief, Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam, expected to hold his first meeting with CIA Director David Petraeus at CIA headquarters in Virginia next week, the ambassador said, "We will seek an end to drone strikes and there will be no compromise on that."

Lute would not comment on the drone program. U.S. officials have said privately that it will continue because Pakistan has proved incapable or unwilling to target militants the U.S. considers dangerous.

A long-sought U.S. apology to Pakistan over a deadly border incident cleared the way to restart counterterrorism talks. In addition to the end to drone strikes, Pakistani officials say they will ask the U.S. to feed intelligence gathered by the pilotless aircraft to Pakistani jets and ground forces so they can target militants.

While neither side expects much progress, officials from both countries see the return to dialogue as a chance to repair a relationship dented by a series of incidents that damaged trust on both sides. U.S. officials remain angry over what they say is Pakistan's support of Taliban groups, including the militant Haqqani network, that the U.S. contends are taking shelter in Pakistan's tribal areas and attack troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

But Rehman dismissed as "outrageous" the claim that Pakistan is harboring al-Qaida or other militants who intend to harm the U.S. She said Pakistan's army was working hard to combat the militants, including reporting 52 times to NATO in recent months when militants were spotted crossing into Afghan territory.

"Pakistan is maxed out on the international border with Afghanistan," she said.

"Sovereignty has privileges but also comes with responsibilities," countered Lute who called for Pakistan to step up its efforts and to cease "hedging its bets" by supporting the Afghan Taliban.

The two did agree, however, that Pakistan could help broker an eventual peace deal with the Taliban.

When asked why the Taliban would surrender ahead of the 2014 drawdown of U.S. troops, Lute said a recent security agreement with Afghanistan ensures a long-term U.S. commitment to Afghan security.

"The agreement we've made with Afghanistan signals to Taliban that they can't wait us out," Lute said. "If they want another decade of this, to get hammered every day and every night," U.S. and Afghan forces can provide.

If the Taliban are willing to disarm and respect the laws of the Afghan government, "the door will remain open to negotiation," Lute said.

A major grievance for Pakistan remains last year's U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. The operation was conducted without Pakistan's permission.

Rehman defended Pakistan's arrest of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who has been sentenced to more than three decades in prison for aiding the CIA in tracking down bin Laden. Afridi conducted a vaccine program in the military town where the terrorist mastermind turned out to be hiding.

U.S. lawmakers have threatened to halt millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan unless Afridi is released, in recognition of his contribution. Afridi is appealing his sentence.

"He had no clue he was looking for Osama bin Laden," Rehman countered. "He was contracting with a foreign intelligence agency."

She added that Afridi's actions put thousands of children at risk because some vaccine programs had to be ended after Pakistani aid workers were targeted by the Taliban.



Search for oil in East Pakistan by the Soviet oil experts

July 29 07 12

PRELIMINARY steps for extending their search for oil to East Pakistan are now being taken by the Soviet oil experts in collaboration with the Oil and Gas Development Corporation.

A team of four Soviet and two Pakistani experts was in East Pakistan for about 10 days earlier this month for pre-reconnaissance as part of a comprehensive programme of work covering selected areas in both the wings, which will be spread over several years.

The pre-reconnaissance will be followed by aero-magnetic and geological surveys, which will begin during the coming field season — winter — in both the wings. The next stage will be geophysical (gravity and seismic) surveys. It will be after all these surveys have been carried out that decisions about actual drilling operations will be taken.

The three areas selected in East Pakistan are: 1. In Rangpur and Dinajpur districts in the north extending right up the border with India; 2. Khulna and Jessore districts in the south, again extending up to the border with India; and 3. In the Chittagong district and the Chittagong Hill Tracts extending up to the border with Burma.

It is interesting to note that, though they had a look at these areas, none of the Western oil companies prospecting for oil in Pakistan selected them for their operations….—Special Representative

Students storm ‘Morning News’ offices

DACCA: A group of several hundred students shouting slogans and waving placards entered the offices of the “Morning News” Dacca, at about 1p.m. today and damaged furniture and burnt some copies of the English daily.

Wooden partitions in the office and glass panes were smashed to pieces. Some equipment, such as typewriters, was also damaged. The printing press and the news agency teleprinters installed in the office however, were spared.

After about 20 minutes the students re-formed into a procession and marched back towards the University….

It is believed that the students … belonged to the Agricultural College.—Agencies

Qazi courts

DACCA: The demand, reportedly raised by Begum Shahnawaz, MPA West Pakistan, for the establishment of the Qazi court system, as was practised during the golden era of the Caliphate, has been hailed by some religious leaders here. —Agencies



Three Hindu traders abducted in Pakistan's Balochistan province

By Rezaul H Laskar

ISLAMABAD, Jul 29, 2012, Three Hindu traders have been abducted by unidentified armed men in the restive Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan, the latest in a series of crimes targeting the minority community.

The traders -- Denesh Kumar, Retesh Kumar and Ratan Kumar -- were kidnapped at a spot about 140 km from provincial capital Quetta on Friday night.

The incident triggered protests against the government's continued inability to provide any sort of safety to residents of the province, The Express Tribune reported today.

A protest by a representative body of Hindus was widely supported by political parties and business associations.

The kidnapped men belong to the same family.

The traders were abducted while they were on their way back home from a family function.

Their van was intercepted by unidentified men at Jiwa intersection of the RCD Highway in Kalat district.

The men took the traders hostage at gunpoint, Balochistan Levies official Abdul Rahim said.

"The kidnappers came in two black four-wheel-drive vehicles and a white sedan," he said.

Though no one has approached the relatives of the abducted men, it is believed they were being held for ransom.

"It could be a case of kidnapping for ransom," Rahim said.

Mukesh Kumar, the brother of Ratan Kumar, is convinced they were kidnapped for ransom.

He said the Hindu community is an easy target for criminals. He added that "no one had called to make any demands yet."

Mukesh said the traders had left Khuzdar at about 5 pm on Friday and were abducted an hour later.

"The kidnappers coerced the driver of the van to get out of the vehicle, which they then drove away with," he said.

The van was later found in Surab area with flat tyres.

The women of the family were still in the vehicle, Mukesh said.

Following the kidnapping, a shutter-down strike was observed in Kalat yesterday.

The strike was called by the Hindu Panchayat and supported by the Shaheri Action Committee, Traders Union and all major political parties.

All commercial activity remained suspended as shops and markets were closed through the day.

Traders and members of the Hindu community blocked key roads and shouted slogans against the government and police for failing to protect citizens.

They said they would prolong their protest if the government did not use all its resources for the safe recovery of the abducted men.

The Quetta-Karachi highway was blocked for nearly five hours and NATO supply vehicles were disrupted.

The report said there had been a "marked increase" in cases of kidnapping for ransom in Surab, the hometown of a provincial home minister, in recent years.

Hindus were seen as "easy targets" and the priest of Kali Mandir, a historic Hindu temple, was kidnapped from the same region but was released after a ransom of Rs 80 lakh was paid.



Zardari to attend OIC summit on Muslim world

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

ISLAMABAD: July 28, 2012, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has invited world Muslim leaders including President Asif Ali Zardari to attend a two-day extraordinary emergency Islamic summit in Makkah on the 27th of Ramazan (August 14-15).

 The government of Pakistan has decided to participate in the summit and will convey its willingness to Saudi Arabia next week. The summit will deliberate upon the threats of fragmentation and sedition being faced by the Muslim world and would provide an opportunity to Muslim leaders to discuss the problems of the Ummah.

 Diplomatic sources told The News on Friday that Pakistan would also avail itself of the opportunity to highlight the threats being faced by Pakistan and the Afghan issue will also figure prominently at the discussion.

 Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer, who is currently in Riyadh, is holding consultations regarding the summit. He is hopeful that Pakistan would participate in the summit with a delegation and the summit will play a significant role in bringing unity among the Muslim Ummah.

 The formal agenda is being chalked out at the headquarters of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah and would be made public in a couple of days. This will be the 12th summit of the OIC since its inception in 1969 while it would be the 4th extraordinary summit. The earlier three summits were held in Pakistan in March 1997, Doha (Qatar) in March 2003 and Makkah in December 2005.

 The reaction of Syrian leader Bashar-el-Asad and Iranian leader Ahmadi Nejad about the summit would be interesting to note. Ahmadi Nejad attended the last Makkah summit in 2005. It adopted a ten-year action plan to strengthen the 57-member organisation, the second largest after the UN.

 It is pertinent to note that Saudi King has ordered a major fund-raising programme for the Syrians to alleviate their sufferings. The Saudi Interir Ministry urged all citizens to contribute generously to the fund during the holy month of Ramazan. The announcement has come amid heightened violence across Syria, where Opposition activistssay more than 17,000 people have been killed since the popular uprising erupted in March 2011 against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Pakistan has also been sympathising with the people of Syria. Saudi Arabia and the other peace-loving countries in the Gulf region have repeatedly voiced support for Syrian rebels fighting the Assad government.

 Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said he would attend the conference. OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu met Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi in Cairo last week and discussed the main issues to be taken up at the Makkah Summit.

He also discussed the Syrian crisis and the situation of the Muslims in Myanmar with the Egyptian president. It is likely that the Myanmar situation will also be part of the discussions in the Makkah summit.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has been quoted as saying that such a summit was essential to strengthen the Muslim unity and serve the interests of Islam and the Muslims. “We hope the summit will reflect the hopes and aspirations of the Ummah,” he said.

King Abdullah has started sending invitations to heads of states of OIC countries to attend the summit. It is expected that a large number of the Muslim countries would be represented in the summit through their heads of states and governments. President Asif Ali Zardari will hold discussions with fellow leaders turning up for the summit, sources added.



Pakistan's ISI chief to visit US from August 1 to 3


WASHINGTON:  Jul 29, 2012, Pakistan's ISI chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam will visit Washington from August 1 to 3 to hold talks with his CIA counterpart David Petraeus, the first meeting between the spy chiefs amidst persisting tensions between the two countries.

"This will be a service-to-service bilateral visit, wherein he will meet his counterpart General David H Petraeus, director CIA," a brief official statement said.

On his maiden visit to the US after his appointment as the ISI chief, Islam is expected to raise the issue of continued drone strikes by the US in Pakistan's tribal areas and the recent incidents of cross border raids by militants based in Afghanistan.

Islam is also expected to drive down to the Capitol Hill to meet top Congressmen, in particular those members of the intelligence and foreign affairs committees.

He is expected to "strongly articulate" the viewpoint of ISI to the US lawmakers, who of late have been strongly critical of the spy agency's role in the war against terror.

Sources familiar with the preparations of the ISI chief's visit told PTI that Islam is expected to demand an end to drone strikes.

In lieu, he is likely to offer to take action against terrorist networks and to "deploy F-16s" in the tribal areas, but would seek greater intelligence sharing from the US.

For the past few years, the US has been reluctant in sharing intelligence information with Pakistan given its past experience that such information ultimately lands in the lap of the terrorist network or helps them to take preventive action. Pakistan has denied such allegation.

Islam was initially scheduled to visit the US in May, but that trip was postponed as the two countries were not able to reach an agreement on the reopening of the ground lines of communications to Afghanistan.

Sources said Islam is coming prepared to "talk tough" with his American counterparts and with his own set of demands and to do list for the US.

As the US prepares to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2014, the ISI chief, officials said, would seek assurance from the US that interest of Pakistan would be protected and taken care of.



Pakistan to register case against The Sun 'agent'

ISLAMABAD: 29 July, 2012, Terming the news story of British tabloid The Sun about passport scandal a conspiracy to damage the country's reputation, Minister for Interior Rehman Malik, on Saturday, said that a case would be registered against the tabloid's agent Ali Asad for misstating the facts.

Addressing a press conference, Malik claimed that Asad had a Pakistani passport and was a dual national, but he had not stated this information in the declaration form filled to get British nationality. "He twisted the story to bring a bad name to Pakistan," Malik alleged.

He added that he had ordered the Federal Investigation Agency DG to register a case against Asad, and asked the interior secretary to ensure Asad's deportation from UK through Interpol.

Malik said investigations into the matter were almost complete which proved that NADRA and passport system were intact. He said Ali Asad had acquired a Pakistani passport in 2000 and went to the UK, where he got a British passport and dual nationality. He visited Pakistan on the British passport and visa and his movements were recorded during his visit to NADRA and the passport office, Malik added.

Malik said Pakistan would ask the British government for Asad's deportation to face criminal proceedings. He said they would first lodge a complaint to the National Press Trust of UK, which could also refer the case for libel proceedings. Facts gathered during the investigations had also been sent to the British newspaper through the Pakistan High Commission in London, Malik added.

Meanwhile, NADRA has requested the UK authorities to share Asad's fingerprints regarding the Olympic visa scandal investigations.

It is pertinent to mention here that the British immigration authorities, earlier, rejected the FIA probe in the visa scandal, saying that The Sun's reporter Ali Asad had successfully attained a fake passport in Pakistan to sneak into Britain along with the Pakistani Olympic squad. Malik said travel agent Abid Chaudhry was being interrogated by the FIA.

On the probe into Mumbai attacks, Malik said India was being approached once again to allow judicial commission from Pakistan to visit the country to cross-examine four witnesses in connection with the attacks.



Pakistani Christians homage to Justice Baghwandas on demanding Dual Vote

Islamabad: July 27, 2012. (PCP) Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC has paid homage to Justice (Retd) Rana Baghwandas on raising voice for electoral system for minorities in Pakistan.

Justice (Retd)Rana Baghwandas urged government of Pakistan to allocate Dual Vote electoral system for minorities in Pakistan in a seminar organized by National Harmony Ministry of Pakistan government on July 25, 2012, in Islamabad.

Dual voting right is a long standing demand of Pakistani minorities which have been never seriously considered by Pakistan administration.

The Pakistani Christians, Hindus, Ahmadi and other religious minorities were enjoying Separate Electorate from 1985 till 2000 when military ruler Parvez Musharraf imposed Joint Electorate which snatched Election right of minorities’ voters and empowered Muslim political parties to select minority representation on seats reserved for minorities’ in parliament of Pakistan.

Nazir Bhatti said that presence of Rana Baghwandas in government organized seminar in Islamabad rescued millions of oppressed and persecuted minority individuals where one Christian Advisor to Prime Minister of Pakistan holding portfolio of National Harmony Ministry and his associate were ready to announce cancelation of Quota System and reserved seats in Parliament.

“Justice (Retd) Baghwandas saved our identity in Pakistan with proposal of Dual Voting right and delimitation of constituencies of Christian, Hindu and other religious minorities’ voters” Said Nazir Bhatti

“One brother to seek power in government helped government to impose Selection system on minorities and other brother was going to urge government to abolish our Quota and reserved seats in parliament on July 25, 2012, but presence of Justice (Retd) Baghwandas foiled a conspiracy” added Nazir Bhatti

Dr. Nazir Bhatti said that Pakistani Christian will ever remain humble to his honor Justice (Retd) Rana Baghwandas on his stand for minorities of Pakistan and



Mideast Asia

Iran captures Pakistan vessel carrying two tons of drugs


Azerbaijan, July 29 (ANI): Iran has detained a Pakistani fishing vessel and confiscated 2.44 tons of opium found on the vessel.

The Deputy Head of Iranian Border Patrol, Habibollah Mardanpour, said the drugs were professionally hidden inside the vessel, which was captured in Iran's Hormozgan Province, reports The Nation.

The Iranian Border Patrol arrested eight people on the vessel, out of which seven people turned out to be Pakistanis, while one other was Iranian, Mardanpour said.

It was revealed later that the vessel belonged to a Pakistani drug lord named Mohammad.

The vessel took off from Gwadar Port and was supposed to ship the drugs off to speedboats in Iranian territory. Those boats would later take opium to Iranian Minab and Bander-Abbas cities, as well as other countries in the Persian Gulf region.

In order to cover up the origins of the vessel, it had fake documents from the Iranian city of Chabahar. (ANI)



Arab World

No let-up in Aleppo battle as Syria vows to crush rebels

29 July 2012

Rebels say they repelled a government offensive on Saturday but this claim cannot be verified

Shelling and gunfire have again shaken Aleppo as Syrian government forces battle rebels for control of the country's largest city.

A BBC correspondent who is just outside Aleppo says heavy fighting is reported in the city centre near the old fort but this cannot be verified.

Syria's foreign minister said on Sunday that the rebels would be defeated.

The head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has called for foreign states to arm rebel fighters.

"We want weapons that would stop tanks and jet fighters. That is what we want," Abdulbaset Sayda was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying at a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

He urged Arab "brothers and friends to support the Free [Syrian] Army".

Wealthy Gulf states pledged in April to pay the salaries of rebel fighters, while the US state department has acknowledged sending non-lethal aid (such as communications equipment) to the opposition.

Food shortages

Shelling has again been reported in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood, in the south west of Aleppo.

The town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, was badly damaged by fighting

The BBC's Ian Pannell, who was inside Aleppo on Saturday, says government troops are trying to push into rebel-held neighbourhoods.

Vehicles carrying civilians have been steadily streaming out of the city.

Civilians who remain in Aleppo face power cuts and food shortages.

Our correspondent saw a bakery open for the first time in 24 hours which was quickly surrounded by people clamouring for bread and saying they had nothing else to eat.

The rebels claim to have repelled the government offensive which began in earnest on Saturday, but our correspondent says this cannot be verified.

Syria would defeat the rebels in Aleppo and the conspiracy against it, Foreign Minister Walid Moualem said.

He was speaking on a visit to Iran, Syria's closest ally in the region.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 29 people were killed in Aleppo on Saturday - among 168 to die across the country throughout the day. The figures cannot be verified.

The total number of people killed since the Syrian anti-government uprising began in March 2011 now stands at more than 20,000, the Observatory says.


The BBC's Lyse Doucet sent this image of the tents which will shelter Syrian refugees at Zaatari

Meanwhile, Jordan is opening its first official refugee camp for Syrians fleeing the fighting.

The camp at Zaatari, about 11km (seven miles) from the border with Syria, will have room for 10,000 refugees to start with but could grow to 100,000 if needed.

Jordan says 2,000 refugees are crossing the border from Syria each day - the UN says the total figure now stands at 150,000.

The BBC's Lyse Doucet, at Zaatari, says the new camp will ease pressure on existing transit camps where overcrowding has been causing tension between refugees and with local communities.



Egypt’s Islamists Tread Lightly, but Skeptics Squirm


CAIRO, 07, 28, 2012, During Egypt’s presidential campaign, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, made no apologies for the group’s slogan: “Islam is the solution.”

Shariah law would provide the principles on which the country’s legal system would be based, he acknowledged repeatedly. When he was sworn in last month, the Arab world’s biggest country gained an unabashed Islamist as its leader for the first time, arousing alarm here and abroad.

Since then, however, the new government has not publicly made a single Islamist move.

“For 80 years, hundreds of thousands of books and articles were published about what would happen in case a Brotherhood president made it to power in Egypt,” wrote Ahmed Samir, a columnist in the daily Egyptian newspaper El Masry El Youm. “It was said that veils would be required, banks would be closed, a war would be declared, and bathing suits would be banned. Today we discovered what happens when a Brotherhood president holds power. Simply nothing.”

Such a definitive pronouncement could be premature. The Brotherhood has often taken the long view, preferring incremental change to sweeping gestures. And Mr. Morsi’s power has been severely circumscribed by the military, which still holds most of the cards; a rash move by Mr. Morsi could provide a pretext for the military to crack down further on the fledgling government.

On the surface, however, Mr. Morsi seems to have gone out of his way to allay fears that Islamists would radically change Egyptian society. He promptly fulfilled a campaign promise to resign from the Brotherhood and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, and chose a prime minister, Hesham Kandil, who is a religious Muslim but known as a technocrat rather than a hard-liner.

Mr. Morsi met early with the acting Coptic pope, Anba Bakhomious, though during the election campaign he had said he did not believe a Christian or a woman could ever be president of Egypt. He went out of his way to praise the role of the military as guarantors of Egypt’s new democracy, and word was that the choice of a defense minister in the new government would be left to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Significantly, he has refrained from taking any action on hot-button social or foreign policy issues, or even discussing them.

The sale and consumption of alcohol remain legal, a concern of the important tourist industry, which has been on the rocks since last year’s revolution toppled Hosni Mubarak from power. No one in ruling circles is calling for the government to make wearing head scarves obligatory, ban pop music or review the peace treaty with Israel.

Not that it could. The new Parliament, where Islamists hold a majority, has been dissolved by the courts and has been able to meet only once since then.

Mr. Morsi’s public positions so far are a far cry from the Brotherhood’s reputation and even its history as a conservative, Pan-Islamic party, founded in Egypt but long banned from Egyptian political life. The Palestinian extremist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, is an offshoot of the Brotherhood, for instance, and in the past Mr. Morsi called for opening the border between Egypt and Gaza to relieve the pressure on Hamas of an Israeli blockade.

Yet when the Hamas leader Khaled Meshal visited Egypt this month, Mr. Morsi took care to receive the mainstream Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, first — and never raised the issue of opening the border, at least publicly. The Hamas prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniya, visited Cairo last week and similarly left empty-handed, although he professed confidence that Egypt’s Islamists would come through for Hamas eventually.

“The Brotherhood is not in any position to make any bold moves on foreign policy right away,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. Hamas, he said, “is bound to be disappointed.”

Full Report at:



Egypt's mysterious new prime minister

The new Egyptian prime minister presents himself as an independent technocrat, but did President Mohammed Morsi keep his anti-Islamist promises by appointing Hesham Qandil?

He is regarded as a technocrat and describes himself as nonpartisan, but religious - Hesham Qandil, Egypt's former irrigation minister. This week, he was appointed prime minister by President Mohammed Morsi and handed the task of forming a government. Morsi had promised to select a candidate who is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but experts disagree how far Qandil really is from the movement.

Technocrat with economic expertise

The Islamist Morsi has chosen a relatively unknown in Qandil. The 49-year-old hydraulic engineer graduated from the University of North Carolina in the US and worked as a irrigation specialist for the African Development Bank. Moving into the state bureaucracy, he first made a career as bureau chief in the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources. In July 2011, he was made a minister in the military's transitional government.

Stephan Roll, Egypt expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), said it was difficult to say why Morsi had appointed Qandil. "One interpretation would be that Morsi wants a man of action who can halfway deal with the economy and can tackle water issues," he said. The water supply and the massive economic problems facing the country are among the major challenges facing Egypt. Since last year's political upheaval, foreign investment has fallen sharply and tourism, the largest source of foreign income in the country, has collapsed. Meanwhile, the budget deficit is growing.

A puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood?

But Roll can also think of another reason why Qandil was chosen. "It may be that Morsi was looking for someone who has no political power of his own, and is easily controllable." In Egypt's system, the president sets the guidelines for policy, and has the power to sack the prime minister. But the role the head of government plays should not be underestimated, Roll warns. "He is in the political spotlight and in the media," he said. "If he can use this skillfully, with charisma and initiative, he can define a certain sphere of power of his own."

For Hamadi el-Aouni, political scientist at the Free University of Berlin, appointing a technocrat as prime minister is an important part of creating a manageable government without its own political ambitions. "The Muslim Brotherhood will consolidate its power in any case. It thinks that with only a caretaker government in power, it has a good chance of gaining a majority at the next election together with the Salafists."

Full Report at:,,16129519,00.html



Egypt unnerved by rising religious fervour

Scattered violent incidents of 'moral vigilantism' break out in Egypt, which is trying to come to terms with Islam's place in public and private life.

By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times

CAIRO, July 29, 2012, An engineering student is killed for walking with his fiancee by men reportedly linked to a group called the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Women are harassed for not wearing veils, owners of liquor stores say they're being threatened, and fundamentalists are calling for sex segregation on buses and in workplaces.

Egypt's recent election of an Islamist president has rekindled a long-suppressed display of public piousness that has aroused both "moral vigilantism" and personal acts of faith, such as demands that police officers and flight attendants be allowed to grow beards. Scattered incidents of violence and intimidation do not appear to have been organized, but they represent a disturbing trend in Egypt's transition to democracy.

Emerging from decades of secular rule, the country is unsteadily calibrating how deeply Islam should infuse public and private life. President Mohamed Morsi, a religious conservative, has called for tolerance, but many Islamic fundamentalists see a historic moment to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, on a country left off balance by political unrest and economic turmoil.

Rising religious fervor is the latest echo in the battle between moderate and ultraconservative Islamists to reshape society after the overthrow of autocrats across the Middle East and North Africa. It is particularly pointed in Egypt, where Morsi must appease a powerful, secular military and dominant Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Salafi parties.

The battle lines have unnerved women's rights groups and Coptic Christians, who, fearing radicalism, have protested in front of the presidential palace. The most extreme case was the recent arrest of three men charged in the killing of the engineering student in the port city of Suez.

Egyptian news reports have described the suspects as fundamentalists angered by the couple's display of affection. The men reportedly were part of a Facebook group called the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a name similar to that of the morality police in Saudi Arabia. Morsi's office suggested that the attack was the work of remnants of the secular old regime out to taint his presidency.

Much of the problem stems from a lack of protection from security forces that have been in disarray for 17 months, leaving a vacuum that ultraconservatives have filled. Salafi leaders insist that they have no desire to see the country tilt toward radicalism. But with no central Islamic authority, a wide array of religious voices has found resonance in mosques, television studios and on the Internet.

"The Salafi movement has a fear of extremists," said Sheik Mustafa Albadry, an ultraconservative preacher on the outskirts of Cairo. "Scholars need to be aware of this rising current. The oppression of the old regime created radicalism because the youth didn't have proper guidance. And today's financial problems are making people more prone to extremism."

Mubarak persecuted and manipulated Islamist groups for decades, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood. His secular police state led to anger that inspired terrorist attacks and provoked preachers and scholars who are now restive and unbound. Some former militants have renounced violence and formed political parties.

This new atmosphere has elevated piety — and public expressions of it — to an important social barometer. Egyptian men have been distinguished by the callused brown spots on their foreheads that come from years of prostrating themselves. Police officers and Egypt Air flight attendants are now demanding the right to grow beards, which was forbidden under Mubarak.

But the crucial battle is over how deeply sharia will influence the new constitution.

This has led to intense debate between Salafis and moderate thinkers, such as scholars at Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious university. Salafis demand a constitution that mirrors the Koran and its harsh punishments, including amputating the hands of thieves. Moderates call for a document based on the "principles" of sharia, which would be less strict and offer broader civil liberties to women as well as Christians and other non-Muslims.

The Salafis "believe that the ruler's responsibility is to implement Islam, but they demand impractical and radical ideas that he cannot fulfill," said Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamists at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. He said that Morsi "cannot apply a religious state like in Saudi Arabia. It is not in accordance with Egypt's international agreements or its culture. So these radicals will rise to the occasion."

The struggle between ultraconservative and moderate Islamists has reverberated through generations. It is as critical a balancing test for Morsi as his battle to pressure the Egyptian military to relinquish control over the nation. Morsi courted Salafis during his campaign and is now confronted with their agenda and insistence that he not appoint a woman or a Christian as a vice president.

"President Morsi cannot hide from these issues," said Mahmoud Ashour, former deputy for Al Azhar and a member of the Islamic Research Center.

Ultraconservatives traditionally viewed politics as a distraction from God. But after Mubarak's fall, they realized they could advance their religious mandate through elections; Salafis won about 25% of the seats in January's parliamentary poll. But with that came mixed signals on religion and embarrassing foibles inherent in political life, such as the ultraconservative lawmaker found in an uncompromising situation with a woman who was not his wife.

"People have gotten angry with religion, and this is dangerous. It has put the Salafi movement in a predicament," said Albadry, who sat in a white tunic and skullcap in his office off a prayer room filled with amber light. "Lies and games are not what political Islam intends."

But the country's political unrest and economic uncertainty are also drawing more young men to mosques. About 29% of Egypt's population is between 15 and 29, and many of the younger people, as they did under Mubarak, feel little sense of hope in a shrinking job market. Albadry said they are frustrated and searching.

"Their rising fear is that they worry about going against God. They're more willing to go to mosques and seek advice from religious scholars," he said. "But a lot of religious scholars are not necessarily angels and they have not always interpreted wisely."

Special correspondent Reem Abdellatif contributed to this report.,0,3897778.story



Kuwait Brotherhood Continues To Criticize UAE

‘Human Rights, Sanctity Of The Holy Month Being Ignored’

KUWAIT CITY,  29/07/2012: The leaders of Kuwait Muslim Brotherhood continue to criticize United Arab Emirates after officials busted a terrorist cell that were planning to overthrow the ruler there, reports Al-Shahid daily.

Dr Tarek Swedan verbally attacked the security department of United Arab Emirates by saying, “UAE arbitrarily arrests preachers without any charges or trials and does not allow lawyers to defend them. UAE is ignoring human rights and sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan. It is odd that they are now accepting criticism and advices from the opposition.”

Meanwhile, Chief of Dubai Police Dahi Khalfan responded to Dr Swedan’s comments by saying, “I warn those from Brotherhood who seek to overthrow our rulers that the Gulf states will be the Muslim Brotherhood’s cemetery. We warn the Gulf states of the Muslim Brotherhood because they are more of a threat to us than Iran.”




Tunisia requests OIC to condemn Myanmar violence

Tunis:July 28, 2012, Tunisia has requested the upcoming Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit to condemn the violence in Myanmar that killed some Muslims, the official TAP press agency reported on Saturday.

The request was made on Friday in Geneva during a coordination meeting of the OIC's permanent representatives to the UN, and was approved by several Muslim countries including Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Iran and Sudan, a communiqué from the Tunisian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

"Tunisia voices its deep concern about the tension prevailing in Myanmar and condemns the exactions against the Muslim minority there," the communiqué said.

The forthcoming OIC summit is due to place in Jeddah of Saudi Arabia on August 14-15.

The violence in Myanmar was sparked by the raping and murdering of an ethnic Rakhine woman by three Bengali-Muslims in late May. Shortly after, 10 Muslims were killed aboard a bus by a mob allegedly in retaliation.

The death toll of the Burmese unrest reached 78 in late June while more than 3,000 residential houses were destroyed in arson.



Will Ethiopian crackdown stir Muslim backlash?

By William Davison

Negash | July 28th, 2012, Peaceful protests continue in Addis Ababa this week among Muslims angry over what they see as Ethiopian government interference. The government sees foreign extremist threat.

With arms raised and wrists crossed, silent Muslim worshippers surrounding the largest mosque in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, again today peacefully protested what they call a violent government response to legitimate demands.

The act of civil disobedience from Muslims, who constitute at least one-third of the population, is a rare sign of instability in a country seen by US policymakers as a bulwark against radical Islam in the volatile Horn of Africa region.

Last month, members of a committee mediating the dispute over perceived unconstitutional state interference in Islamic affairs were taken into custody, while unrest broke out on two occasions around separate mosques in the city of around 5 million people.

“We are showing solidarity with leaders who have been arrested but who are strong,” says a demonstrator named Mohammed, referring to the vigil latched onto the end of midday prayers at Anwar Mosque. “They should be released; they were arrested for nothing.” Moments later, nervous friends ushered him away.

Through military interventions in neighboring Somalia, crackdowns against a separatist movement in its Muslim-majority Ogaden region, and now the detention of Muslim activists in its capital, Ethiopia has taken on a role as front-line defense against the spread of political Islam in East Africa. It’s a stance that broadly enjoys support from the West and neighboring countries, but some observers argue that Ethiopia’s hard line may be creating a backlash, strengthening the appeal of insurgents whom it is battling to suppress.

Human rights group Amnesty International called on the Ethiopian government this week to either formally charge or to release those currently in detention. Amnesty also called on the Ethiopian government to investigate allegations of torture of detainees, to allow peaceful protest, and to use “proportionality in the use of force” against demonstrators who turn violent.

Full Report at:



Ethiopia: 20,000 flee Moyale clashes - Red Cross

28 July 2012

Ethnic clashes in southern Ethiopia are reported to have left at least 18 people dead and 12 others injured.

More than 20,000 people have crossed into Kenya to escape the fighting, the Kenyan Red Cross says.

A spokesman told the BBC that people were continuing to cross the border although Ethiopian government forces had intervened to stop the fighting.

The clashes, in the Moyale area, are thought to have been sparked by a simmering dispute over land rights.

Fighting involving the Borana and Garri communities is said to have started mid-week, and to have continued until Friday.

Local reports speak of armed militias taking up positions in outlying villages on Wednesday, with the fighting spreading to Moyale town, on the Ethiopia-Kenya border, on Thursday.

Many of those who fled across the border into the Kenyan side of Moyale are having to sleep out in the open.

The Red Cross says it is providing those who have been displaced with food, water and tarpaulins.




Fight over Islam, money and power brings violence to Volga


Radical Islam brewing in Russia's peaceful heartland

KAZAN, RUSSIA, July 29, 2012, Not far from glitzy boulevards where an oil boom has sent up stadiums and high-rises overlooking the Volga River, women in headscarves wander through Islamic bookstores selling pamphlets on the institution of sharia in Russia.

Kazan, capital of Russia's mainly-Muslim Tatarstan region, has long had an image as a showcase of religious tolerance. But that reputation was shattered last week by car bomb and shooting attacks carried out only hours before the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

On the wall outside the bookshop, a flyer in the local Tatar language calls Muslims to unite against the region's top religious leader, Mufti Ildus Faizov, who was wounded in the attacks which also killed his deputy.

"Things will only get worse here and Muslims will be the ones who suffer the most," said Anisa Karabayeva, 43, her face framed by a white hijab, or traditional headscarf.

"Will there be more bombs? Probably," she says flatly, standing in front of a display case stocked with Korans and prayer rugs.

The attacks came against a background of anger among many Muslims who complain that the authorities in Tatarstan are restricting Islam in the name of fighting radicalism. It is a dispute that also involves a struggle for money and influence in the increasingly prosperous oil-producing region.

President Vladimir Putin, who started a new six-year term in May, has repeatedly called for national unity and religious concord in a predominantly Orthodox Christian nation with deep-rooted ethnic minorities, many of them Muslim.

For decades, Russia has endured violence in mostly Muslim provinces in the North Caucasus on its southern fringe, where tens of thousands of people were killed in two separatist wars in Chechnya after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and insurgents are still fighting to set up an Islamic state.

But booming Tatarstan, 2,000 km away from the war zones, had largely avoided unrest until now.

Moderate Muslims in Tatarstan blame the violence on the arrival of radical groups, such as followers of Sunni Islam's strict Salafi movement and the outlawed organization Hizb ut-Tahrir which seeks an Islamic caliphate.

Last week's attack resembles strikes against moderate muftis in places like the Caucasus region of Dagestan next door to Chechnya. Kazan is now on increased alert for more attacks. Outside of mosques, police rifle through the belongings and bags of the faithful, who line up in front of metal detectors?

"Today Islam is growing strongly in Kazan... But there are different sects and movements that you simply cannot control," said Ramil Mingarayev, an imam at the al Marjani Mosque.

"We try to fight radicals, we have tried to clean our city of them, but there are hidden mosques, where they gather and distribute forbidden literature, in basements and in the forests."

Some of those fears arise from threats made by North Caucasus militants far away. Russia's most wanted man, Chechen Islamist guerrilla leader Doku Umarov, called for an uprising among RussiaÕs Muslims last year, mentioning Tatarstan by name.

"I want to appeal to the Muslim brothers who live on Russian-occupied Muslim land... I call on you to destroy the enemies of Allah wherever you are. I call on you to destroy them where your hand reaches and to open fronts of jihad," he said in a video posted on insurgency-affiliated website Kavkaz Centre.


Since becoming head of the Tatarstan branch of the Russian state's Spiritual Directorate of Muslims in April last year, Faizov has been praised by Kremlin authorities for what they say are measures to clamp down on radical sentiment and encourage traditional forms of Islamic practice seen as more moderate.

Religion is also a big business, which has made him enemies. Four months ago Faizov gave near-exclusive rights in Tatarstan to sell tours to Mecca for the annual haj pilgrimage to Tatar Business World, a company his office's web site says it controls. Many Muslims complained that the price went up.

Rustem Gataullin, the chairman of the company that previously had rights to sell pilgrimage tours, was one of between 40 and 100 people who were detained in relation to last week's attacks, according to Interfax.

"He had his enemies," said Gabid Hayruddinov, 73, who reads prayers for the Muslim faithful who come to him in search of help in the city's main mosque of Kul Sharif.

"He promised to make the haj tours cheaper, but instead they became even more expensive: they went from 120,000 to 150,000 roubles ($4,600)," he said, his light blue eyes set deep against his dark wizened skin.

Small protests against Faizov had bubbled throughout the year in Kazan, culminating with an open letter to him published in Russian and Tatar in various newspapers and on the Internet, calling for the price of haj tours to be cut.

Faizov was unavailable to talk when Reuters called his office. His deputy was likewise unavailable as was another imam with strong ties to the directorate.


Beneath the 18th century al Marjani mosque a dark tunnel leads from the room for prayer to the Islamic school across the street. Five times a day the dozens of students make their way through the stone entrance, perform ablutions, pray and return.

For those who experience Russia's failing social welfare programs and chronically corrupt court system and police force, stricter versions of Islam hold out the hope for a more just society.

"It's good we have the authorities. Without them there would be chaos," said Zakhid Anovarov, a burly 20-year-old student with a thin black beard.

"But it's not a just system because it's a man-made system. If we were governed by shariah, then life would be better, more just," he said of the Islamic law code.

Full Report at:



Global travel industry gears up for Muslim tourist boom

AFP, 29 JULY 2012, From halal spas to prayer rooms at airport terminals, the global tourism industry is gearing up for a projected boom in Muslim travel over the next decade, experts say.

Their growing number and affluence means Muslims -- especially from the oil-rich Middle East -- are travelling like never before, and it is a trend that looks set to gather pace.

Spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate and is forecast to reach $192 billion a year by 2020, up from $126 billion in 2011, according to a study by two companies specialising in the market.

The study, made available to AFP, was conducted in 47 countries by Singapore-based halal travel specialist Crescentrating, along with DinarStandard, a US-based firm that tracks the Muslim lifestyle market.

Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen said Muslim-majority states such as Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia were already favourite destinations, but non-Islamic countries are now "taking a serious look" at Muslim holidaymakers.

Full Report at:



Southeast Asia

Abu Sayyaf's Reign of Terror in Philippines Coming to an End?

BASILAN ISLAND, Philippines - July 27, 2012, For years, Muslim extremists known as the Abu Sayyaf have terrorized the Philippines.

They shocked the world in 2002 by kidnapping American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham.

Today, the Abu Sayyaf's reign of terror is far from over, but are they as dangerous as they once were?

Terrorized Paradise

It's one of the most beautiful places on earth and in many ways untouched by time and progress. But for nearly three decades, a deadly enemy has preyed on the people living in the southern Philippines.

The enemy:  Abu Sayyaf, which stands for "Father of the Sword." Its goal: Make the southern islands an Islamic stronghold.

Beheadings are the group's signature. They carried out that sentence against kidnapped American Guillermo Sobero simply because his ransom did not come on time.

In 2002, terrorists assigned a man we'll call "Aamil," a government spy, the chilling task of collecting Sobero's bones.

"If you don't pay the ransom, the Abu Sayyaf will kill you," Aamil said. "If you don't pay taxes, they kill you."

"They are very angry with Christians, especially the foreign tourists," he explained. "They want to Islamize the whole island of Basilan, but this is impossible because here the Christians and the Muslims live together."

Aamil also witnessed missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham in captivity.

"I saw them bring their hostages. They walked to the jungle and the hostages were tied to each other. They were tall, white, with straight noses," he said. "I reported this immediately to the military."

A Murderous Reign

CBN News Reporter Wendy Griffith was here on Basilan Island 10 years ago. The Abu Sayyaf were always on the look-out for their next kidnapping victim, especially white Americans, like this reporter.

While covering the Burnham's kidnapping, seven armed bodyguards accompanied Griffith at all times. The day after CBN News was there, the military closed the island to foreign journalists.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but it's clear the terror group has murdered thousands. The more infamous include the following:

Furigay believes God called him to lead this city and protect the people from terrorists like the Abu Sayyaf. But it hasn't been easy.

"My house was bombed," he said.

In 2010, the Abu Sayyaf set off a bomb near the mayor's house, but his family was not injured. Despite many death threats, Furigay still wanted to make Lamitan a safe place for families and even tourists.

"I felt led to come back and help the people (who were suffering) regain their confidence," he said.

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North America

US government is ignoring Muslim Brotherhood's nature

Jul 28, 2012

The No. 1 goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is to spread Sharia law throughout the world, not just in the Middle East. Since its founding over 80 years ago, the Muslim Brotherhood has been no friend of America's ideals and democratic way of life. That is why it is so disturbing that the Obama Administration's own State Department has given the Muslim Brotherhood's radical Islamic agenda a wink and a nod.

Although the Obama administration wants Americans to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization, nothing could be further from the truth. A sense of friendship with a radical organization will only jeopardize America's security in the long run. Americans must realize what the Muslim Brotherhood stands for. Sharia law has spread into Europe and has taken hold in Egypt thanks to the Arab Spring. Many Americans do not understand what Sharia law entails or, for that matter, have even heard of it.

Essentially, Sharia law is a rigid Islamic moral code that commingles religion and government. Sharia law encompasses all facets of Muslim life from religion and finances, right down to personal hygiene. Before the U.S.-led invasion, Afghanistan was the center of Sharia law in the Muslim world, where women had no rights and were treated as second class citizens on a good day.

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Mitt Romney visits Israel to vow closer ties

29 July 2012

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has begun a visit to Israel as part of his foreign tour.

He is expected to pledge closer ties between the US and Israel if elected.

A senior aide said Mr Romney would respect an Israeli military strike to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

The first leg of Mr Romney's trip, in London, was marred by controversy when he questioned whether the city was ready to host the Olympic Games.

After talking of "disconcerting" signs in London's preparations, Mr Romney backtracked and predicted a "very successful" Olympics.

Mr Romney is meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a personal friend, and President Shimon Peres.

A meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is also scheduled, though not with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Romney will be hoping that burnishing his pro-Israel credentials will help him among key constituencies in a tight race with Mr Obama, analysts say.

Mr Romney says that Mr Obama has undermined Israel and supported its enemies.

Focusing minds

Mr Romney is expected to give a speech in which he will say it is "unacceptable" for Iran to have the "capacity" to develop nuclear weapons.

One of his senior advisers went further on Sunday, saying Mr Romney "would respect" an Israeli decision to take action on its own to prevent Tehran from gaining such a capacity.

While not explicitly ruling out military intervention, President Barack Obama's policy has emphasised non-military means of putting pressure on Iran.

The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says Mr Romney is highly critical of the international talks taking place which might lead to Iran being allowed to enrich some uranium. Mr Romney wants zero enrichment.

In his speech on foreign policy, Mr Romney will say he hopes the military option on Iran can be avoided but that it should not be taken off the table.

Mr Romney says this is the best chance of focusing the minds of Iranian leaders on finding a peaceful solution.

A source in Mr Romney's campaign said he also agreed with those who worried the Arab spring could turn into an "Islamist winter", our correspondent says.