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Islamic World News ( 13 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Ramzan TV Show about Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Stirs Argument across Arab World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arab World

Ramzan TV Show about Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Stirs Argument across Arab World

Horrific Syria Video Shows Bodies Hurled From Roof

Syria's Assad Suffers Rebuff from Pan-Islamic Body

‘Morsi empowered by army shakeup’

Iraq Ramadan Drummers in Decline

Syria rebels claim jet downing as army advances in Aleppo

Egypt president sweeps out top army generals

Ex-Prime Minister of Syria Assails Assad Government

Bahrain Delays Verdict for Prominent Activists

 

India

Himalaya Muslims Help Hindu Pilgrims in the Volatile Area of Kashmir

BJP MPs to contribute to victims of Assam violence

Meeting of India, Pak intelligence chiefs on the anvil?

Mumbai violence like terror attack, top cop says

Jundal spills the beans on Saeed role in 26/ 11 attack

Fearing for their kids, Hindu family flees Pak under guise of pilgrimage

 

Pakistan

Sikh community sees propaganda behind migration reports

Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration

AQ Khan calls Pak a ‘sham democracy’, backs judiciary

‘Pakistan is for Islam’: Kayani

Pakistan needs to be strict with terrorists: Kayani

India should avoid delaying tactics on Kashmir: Pakistan PM

PPP will resist any unconstitutional move by apex court, says Gilani

Zardari, Gilani caution SC over 'assault' on statute

PML (N) files an adjournment motion on the Hindu families' migration issue

Breathtaking blends of calligraphic techniques placed on display at RAC

N moves National Assembly over Hindus exodus

3 ANP workers among five killed in Karachi

Nation celebrates Independence with zeal today

People must reject assault on parliament, says Zardari

KU’s ASCE publish book on Europe and Muslim World

 

South Asia

China hosts President Assad’s special envoy, deflecting criticism of its Syria policy

Afghanistan: Pakistani border shelling killed 1 Afghan guard, sparked battle

Trade Expands China Muslim Minority

World Muslims Aid Persecuted Rohingyas

Archaeologists keep Afghan heritage buried

End Sought to Attacks on Allies by Afghans

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesians denounce Rohingya massacre in Myanmar

Malaysian websites protest law on online content

 

Mideast Asia

Jihadist Tells Iran, Uprising in Jordan Can Help Crush Israel

Iran confident Israel won't launch 'stupid' attack

Iran Preparing to Lead Global Nonaligned Group

Israel picks new home front defence minister: media

Iran, Saudi Arabia in direct talks

Are Israelis tough enough for a long war with Iran?

Yemen’s priorities: feed the starving children or security?

 

North America

Islamic School Hit with Acid-Filled Bottle in Lombard

Muslim American's rap delivers love to Sikhs in time of pain

Institutionalized Islamophobia in US

American Muslims Launch ‘Burma Task Force USA’

Time still left for diplomacy with Iran: US

Foreign law bill has drawn Muslim backlash elsewhere in the country

Wisconsin Shooting Prompts Mosque Patrols

US renews support for ‘stable, secure’ Pakistan

Minnesota Iftar Promotes Islam

President Obama's Remarks at The White House Iftar Dinner

 

Europe

Russia Muslims Deny Religious Repression

In Norway, Panel Lists Police Faults in Massacre

Mosque Pig Defilement Outrages France

Missionaries Compete for Souls at Olympics

Pragmatic jihad in Tatarstan

Russia slams new US sanctions on Iran

Turkmenistan: Convicts Pardoned

 

Africa

Five escape wrecked Ugandan helicopter, two dead

Libyan Fighters Join Syrian Revolt

Somalia: 2 Journalists Killed

 

Australia

‘Islamisation’ Pamphlets Upset Aussies

Big Brother's jihad bombshell

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Horrific Syria Video Shows Bodies Hurled From Roof

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/ramzan-tv-show-about-omar-ibn-al-khattab-stirs-argument-across-arab-world/d/8267

 

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Arab World

 

Ramzan TV Show about Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Stirs Argument Across Arab World

Aug 13, 2012

DUBAI: A television drama about the life of a seventh century Muslim ruler, Omar Ibn al-Khattab, is polarising opinion across the Arab world by challenging a widespread belief that actors should not depict Islam's central figures.

Conservative clerics denounce the series, which is running during the region's busiest drama season, the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan. Scholars see an undesirable trend in television programming; the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates has publicly refused to watch it.

But at dinner tables and on social media around the region, "Omar" is winning praise among many Muslim viewers, who admire it for tackling an important period in Islam's history. Some think it carries lessons for the Arab world, which is grappling with political change unleashed by last year's uprisings.

Salam Sarhan, a columnist at the Lebanese newspaper Diyar, said the show was part of a gradual trend for the Islamic world to re-examine its heritage more critically, and would open the door for more television and cinema productions depicting central figures in Islam.

"If anyone dared to depict these figures 20 years ago, he would have been accused of blasphemy," he wrote. "Simply put, depicting these revered figures with their mistakes, limitations, rivalries, anger, hunger and thirst will thrust Islamic societies into a new phase."

Four caliphs

Mostly filmed in Morocco, the show was funded by the Dubai-based but Saudi-owned MBC Group, a private media conglomerate, and state-owned Qatar TV. The 30-episode series, which an MBC spokesman said cost "tens of millions of dollars" to make, is being watched on satellite television across the Arab world.

It has been praised for its elaborate sets and costumes, visual effects and battle scenes which involve elephants and hundreds of extras.

But for many viewers, the production values have been outweighed by the fact that actors in the series play Omar and three other close companions of the Prophet Mohammad who were the first rulers of an empire that expanded out of the Arabian Peninsula.

Historically, Muslim scholars have discouraged the depiction of revered figures in art, and some argue it is expressly forbidden, on the grounds it could be misleading or encourage idolatry. This is why mosques are adorned with elaborate plant and geometric patterns instead of human and animal images.

Though some close companions of Mohammad have been portrayed on screen in the past, the productions have mostly been by Shi'ite Muslims. The Omar series is believed to be the first time that a drama depicting all four caliphs has been made by Sunni Muslims, who form the majority across the Gulf and North Africa and have historically taken a strict line against depiction of such figures.

"Depicting the closest companions of the Prophet was a shock to the (Arab) societies," said Suaad al-Oraimi, professor of sociology at UAE University.

Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, the highest religious authority in the country, harshly criticised the series in a sermon, while Cairo's prestigious seat of Sunni learning, al-Azhar University, also came out against it.

"The Guided Caliphs were promised the heavens ... Their lives cannot be depicted by some actor," Ahmed al-Haddad, Dubai's grand mufti, wrote in an emailed statement to Reuters.

UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed became one of the show's most prominent opponents by tweeting: "I will not watch the Omar Ibn al-Khattab series." His comment was retweeted thousands of times within a few days.

Sheikh Hamad Wael al Hanbari, a prominent Muslim scholar based in Istanbul, said he was concerned that the reputations of the caliphs could become contaminated.

"It's completely unacceptable," he said. "These actors would go on to play other roles - in action movies, for example - and would forever be associated with the Rightly Guided Caliphs. This is very dangerous. Their image has to be protected."

Defenders

The show does not lack defenders, however. Saif al-Sahabani, a columnist at Saudi Arabia's Okaz newspaper, dismissed the idea that portraying prominent companions of the prophet was forbidden under Islam's sharia law.

"The show has revealed a gap in the Arab and Islamic collective consciousness, especially among those who rely on tradition rather than their own minds," he wrote.

Sahabani cited endorsements of the show by a number of senior Islamic scholars, including Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi, well-known in the Arab world for his weekly programme on Al Jazeera television. Qaradawi was on a committee of religious scholars that reviewed the script of the series.

Some viewers rejected criticism of the show because they saw it as an attack on their personal freedom.

"Fed up with the extremists' point of view ... Who are you to judge us because we watch the Omar series?" tweeted Yasmine Medhat, identified by her Twitter profile as an Egyptian Muslim.

Hatem Ali, the director of the series, said his team braced for controversy before the first episode was aired.

"We were prepared for this," he said by telephone from his native Syria. "Omar is the first television series that delivers such important figures. So people will be divided over this, and that's understandable."

Known for directing several historical television dramas, including a trilogy about Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula, Ali said the Omar series was not linked to the past year's rise to power of Islamists in Tunisia and Egypt, and should not be seen as advocating how a Muslim state should be governed.

But he added that the series touched on issues that remained relevant today, such as the role of women in Islam, good governance and the application of sharia law.

"I am not advocating the establishment of Islamic rule," he said. "But Omar is an example of someone who took into account changes and new tests that societies face."

Asked about the controversy, the MBC spokesman said his company aimed to bring history to life. "This is a major goal that can only be achieved through honesty and commitment to historical events."

Michael Stephens, a political and social affairs analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in Doha, compared the series to Saudi Arabia's decision to let its female athletes compete in an Olympics this year for the first time.

"It's not changing the world but it's one step, and once you've taken that step, then you can't go back," he said.

"Even though it's annoying to people, they're still watching it - that's the weird thing about it."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/mad-mad-world/Ramzan-TV-show-stirs-argument-across-Arab-world/articleshow/15482242.cms

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Horrific Syria Video Shows Bodies Hurled From Roof

Aug 13 2012

Beirut: Horrific videos purportedly showing Syrian rebels throwing the bodies of postal workers off a roof and a man's throat being savagely cut have appeared online, raising fresh concerns about atrocities in the increasingly brutal conflict.

Three videos all showing apparent events in the province of Aleppo, including a bound man being repeatedly shot, were posted on YouTube today but their authenticity could not immediately be verified.

Both sides in the 17-month conflict have been accused of human rights violations as reports of cold-blooded killings mount.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said that if the videos were confirmed, he strongly condemned such atrocities whoever was behind them.

Graphic footage showed a crowd of people shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as they gathered around several bodies on the ground before another three victims are seen being hurled from the top of the building.

The incident was said to have taken place in rebel-controlled Al-Bab near the northern metropolis of Aleppo and the victims were identified as postal workers, but it was not clear when it occurred.

"These are the heroes of Bab city who are inside the post office," the man shooting the video said. When the body of one man was thrown to the ground, the crowd is heard shouting: "This is a shabiha," referring to the pro-government militia.

In another shocking amateur video, a blindfolded man, with his hands tied behind his back, struggled as a group of men forced him to lie down on a pavement in Aleppo.

As a group of men chanted "Allahu Akbar," the assailant forced what appeared to be a small knife repeatedly across his throat as his blood spurted onto the pavement.

And a third clip, purportedly shot in Aazaz, also in Aleppo province, showed a bearded man being hauled out of a car boot with his hands tied behind his back and pushed to the ground.

One man opens fire on him with a small pistol, only to be joined by another with a rifle. They shoot many times at the man, who dies face down in a field.

"If these videos are confirmed, such atrocities harm the revolution. They only benefit the regime and the enemies of the revolution," Abdel Rahman told us.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/horrific-syria-video-shows-bodies-hurled-from-roof/987810/

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Syria's Assad Suffers Rebuff From Pan-Islamic Body

 August 14, 2012

ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) - President Bashar al-Assad faced another diplomatic blow on Tuesday with the suspension of Syria from the Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a step opposed by his Shi'ite Muslim ally Iran.

Assad will view the OIC move to suspend Syria, an attempt to deepen his isolation set to be adopted at a summit of the 57-member body in Mecca, as the work of Sunni Muslim states backing the "terrorists" - as he refers to rebels - out to topple him.

China, which along with Russia has blocked any U.N. Security Council action on Syria, tried to show an even-handed approach by receiving an Assad aide, due in Beijing in the evening, but saying it would also consider inviting his political opponents.

Divisions among big powers and regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia have stymied diplomatic attempts to calm 17 months of conflict in Syria, where opposition sources say at least 18,000 people have been killed. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 180 died on Monday.

The violence, now focused on the city of Aleppo but flaring in many other areas, has displaced 1.5 million people inside Syria and forced many to flee abroad, with 150,000 registered refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, U.N. figures show.

United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos arrived in Syria to discuss humanitarian aid for civilians trapped or uprooted by the fighting, which has frequently prevented the delivery of food and medical supplies.

Efforts to arrange ceasefires to let relief convoys through have rarely worked. A U.N. official said last month the Syrian authorities had often denied visas to Western aid workers.

In Aleppo, Syria's biggest city and its economic dynamo, food is running short and has become far more expensive. State-run groceries that sold heavily subsidized staples have shut. In the Bustan al-Qasr district, hundreds of men lined up for bread.

"CATCH MY TOMATOES"

At a makeshift hospital, one doctor said some people were arriving seeking food rather than medicine.

Another doctor described a man who had been shot in the foot while carrying home food for his family. He was more worried about losing his groceries than about his wound. "He started crying: 'My food, my food, someone catch my tomatoes'."

Amos went to Syria in March to seek unhindered access for aid workers to badly-hit areas. Damascus agreed to a joint but limited humanitarian assessment, but bureaucracy and insecurity have foiled U.N. efforts to launch a significant aid operation.

She was scheduled to meet Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, as well as Syrian Arab Red Crescent officials, spokesman Jens Laerke said in Geneva.

Assad is fighting to survive in power, relying on military and security forces dominated by members of his minority Alawite sect, an esoteric offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. They are combating a deadly insurgency alongside a popular uprising supported mostly by Syria's 70 percent Sunni Muslim majority.

Iran was scathing about the latest international attempt to isolate Assad, which was agreed by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation foreign ministers on Monday.

"This means that you are erasing the issue. We want to really resolve the issue," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in Jeddah, where OIC foreign ministers were meeting.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely to take up the cudgels on Assad's behalf at the two-day Mecca summit that may highlight the rift between the Shi'ite Islamic Republic and Sunni-ruled nations that want the Syrian leader to step down.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are believed to be paying for arms that reach Syrian rebels via Turkey to try to counter the superior firepower of Assad's mostly Russian-armed military.

CAPTURED PILOT

Jubilant rebels said they had shot down a Syrian jet fighter, using newly acquired high-caliber anti-aircraft guns, and captured its pilot on Monday. The government said the plane crashed due to technical problems and the pilot had ejected.

Video uploaded onto the Internet showed the jet bursting into flames amid heavy gunfire. Another clip purported to show the pilot in the hands of rebels who promised to treat him as a prisoner of war in line with the Geneva Conventions.

However, other disturbing footage on YouTube appeared to show rebels meting out violent justice. In one video, dead bodies are thrown from the rooftop of a post office, while a crowd of shouting men watch.

In another, a man's throat is slit with a knife by captors who accuse him of being a pro-Assad shabbiha militiaman. Rebels said the authorities may have made the video to discredit them.

Such images will cause alarm among Western and other countries that have backed the rebels but are worried lest the conflict degenerate into a sectarian civil war as happened in Iraq, where a Sunni-Shi'ite bloodbath peaked in 2006-2007.

Insurgents fighting Assad include a minority of al Qaeda-style Sunni militants, some of them from Iraq.

Russia and China share concerns about Islamist militancy and firmly oppose any outside intervention in Syria.

Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior adviser to Assad, was expected to arrive in Beijing late on Tuesday and will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, the foreign ministry said.

"China is also considering inviting Syrian opposition groups in the near term to China," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, describing this as part of Beijing's "balanced" approach.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said China's willingness to meet Syrian opposition groups differed markedly from Russia's attitude.

"The Syria government is more vulnerable than before. The opposition groups have gained newfound support from the West, but they're also fragile. China has a pressing need to talk to the two sides. The situation now is nearing an end," he said.

(Additional reporting by Tom Perry, Erika Solomon and Mariam Karouny in Beirut, Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing and Asma Alsharif in Jeddah; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/14/world/middleeast/14reuters-syria-

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‘Mursi empowered by army shakeup’

August 14, 2012      

AIRO (AFP) - Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Mursi has emerged empowered by a “revolutionary” decision to dismiss his powerful defence minister and curb the military’s sweeping powers, media said Monday.

In a surprise move, Mursi on Sunday retired Defence Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, 76, and armed forces chief of staff Sami Anan and scrapped a constitutional document that gave the military legislative and other powers.

The state-run Al-Akhbar newspaper said the dismissal of Tantawi, who ruled Egypt for more than a year after massive streets protests forced veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak to step down in February 2011, was a “revolutionary decision.”

“The Brothers officially in power,” declared the independent Al-Watan daily, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group which backs Mursi and through whose ranks he rose before his election triumph.

The independent daily Al-Shorouk said Mursi had accumulated “much bigger prerogatives than those of Mubarak.”

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/14-Aug-2012/-mursi-empowered-by-army-shakeup

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Iraq Ramadan Drummers in Decline

12 August 2012

BAGHDAD — Falling victim to tough security measures implemented in Iraqi streets following the 2003 US-led invasion, Ramadan criers and drummers have been on the decline over the past decade, leaving only a handful of men who ply the dying Mousaherati craft.

"Mousaheratis have disappeared almost completely," Luay Sabbah told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, August 12, as he walked through the streets of the city of Samarra, 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad.

"There are only some left now, and even they only work sporadically, not every day," adds Sabah, who inherited the position from his father, who did the job for 18 years until his death in 2008.

Clad in traditional dishdashas, Sabbah walks the streets of neighborhoods, waking Muslims so they can eat before the sun rises.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/458530-iraq-ramadan-drummers-in-decline.html

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Syria rebels claim jet downing as army advances in Aleppo

Aug 14, 2012

DAMASCUS: Syrian rebels claimed they downed a fighter jet on Monday in what would be a major coup for the opposition but the regime seized the upper hand in Aleppo as it advanced into a new rebel-held district. Government forces also bombarded areas around Damascus and launched a wide sweep of the capital while shocking videos emerged showing alleged rebel atrocities in the Aleppo area.

State media said a military plane had crashed in the east of the country while on training patrol after suffering a technical malfunction and that the pilot had ejected.

But the Free Syria Army, which has been calling for the international community to arm it with anti-aircraft weapons as it battles escalating regime attacks from the sky, claimed it shot down the plane in the Deir Ezzor .

"Yes, we can confirm that a MiG 21 has been downed," said FSA spokesman. "It was hit with 14.5 calibre anti-aircraft machinegun." A group of rebels calling itself the "Revolutionary Youth of the Land of the Euphrates" distributed a video showing a man identified as pilot Mufid Mohammed Suleiman, surrounded by armed men.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syria-rebels-claim-jet-downing-as-army-advances-in-Aleppo/articleshow/15486130.cms

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Egypt president sweeps out top army generals

Aug 13, 2012

CAIRO: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has driven back the biggest challenge to civilian rule by dismissing top generals and tearing up their legal attempt to curb his power in a bold bid to end 60 years of military leadership.

Taking the country by surprise, Mursi pushed Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi into retirement. The 76-year-old figurehead of the old order had taken charge of the biggest Arab nation when Hosni Mubarak fell last year and remained head of its powerful, ad hoc military council after the Islamist was elected in June.

Yet on Monday, the armed forces, which had supplied Egypt's presidents for six decades after ousting the monarchy, showed no sign of challenging the move announced late on the previous day; lower-ranking generals and other officers may support a change which shifts power in the military to a new generation.

One analyst spoke of a "civilian counter-coup" coordinated with an internal putsch by more junior figures inside the army.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypt-president-sweeps-out-top-army-generals/articleshow/15478763.cms

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Ex-Prime Minister of Syria Assails Assad Government

By DAMIEN CAVE

 August 14, 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria’s former prime minister, who defected to Jordan last week, appeared in public on Tuesday for the first time since his escape, telling a news conference that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was collapsing and controlled no more than 30 percent of its territory.

The former official, Riyad Farid Hijab, had been in office for only two months when he fled with his family to neighboring Jordan.

At a televised news conference in Amman, the Jordanian capital, Mr. Hijab praised King Abdullah II of Jordan along with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey — the major regional allies of the rebels who are seeking to overthrow Mr. Assad.

His appearance came as renewed fighting was reported in Syria’s main two cities — Damascus, the capital, and Aleppo, the country’s largest city — a day after rebels said they had shot down a Syrian fighter jet for the first time. That episode on Monday raised new questions about the opposition’s military capabilities, and whether Syria’s control of the skies might be threatened.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/world/middleeast/ex-prime-minister-of-syria-assails-

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Bahrain Delays Verdict for Prominent Activists

 August 14, 2012

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A Bahrain court has delayed until next month its verdict in the retrial of 20 prominent activists convicted by a military-led tribunal in crackdowns against a 17-month-old uprising in the Gulf kingdom.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who went on a 110-day hunger strike, and seven other opposition leaders were sentenced to life in prison. The remaining 12 were given lesser prison terms as part of a group accused of anti-state crimes, seven of them in absentia

But authorities threw out the military court verdicts in April and ordered retrials by Bahrain's highest appeals court.

Tuesday's postponement until Sept. 4 is seen as an indication of how serious the Sunni dynasty was about ending the crisis in the country, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/14/world/middleeast/ap-ml-

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India

 

Himalaya Muslims Help Hindu Pilgrims in the Volatile Area of Kashmir

 04 August 2012

KASHMIR – Forging communal harmony in the volatile area, Muslims shepherds from South Kashmir’s Anantnag area have been helping Hindu pilgrims over the past two centuries on their journey to Himalaya’s Amarnath cave, a revered shrine for devout Hindus.

"I am thankful to Ali," Prem Nath, 82, a hermit from a remote village of Rajasthan in north India, told Khabar South Asia on Saturday, August 4, after traversing the route for six hours.

"Last year also, I paid obeisance. I feel so good when our Muslim brothers welcome us at every footstep.

“If not for the services of our Muslim brothers, this pilgrimage would not be a successful one."

Like thousands of Hindu pilgrims, the journey to the holy Amarnath cave would not have been possible without the help of their Muslim brothers in Kashmir's Anantnag area.

The role of Muslims in the area dates back to 1850 when Bota Malik, a Muslim shepherd from South Kashmir's Anantnag area, discovered Amarnath cave.

Nestled deep in the Himalayas, the Amarnath cave is a sacred shrine, highly revered by devout Hindus.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/458367-himalaya-muslims-help-hindu-pilgrims.html

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BJP MPs to contribute to victims of Assam violence

 August 14, 2012

BJP MPs from both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday decided to contribute Rs 50,000 from their MPLAD fund for relief and rehabilitation of those affected by ethnic violence in Assam and the people displaced by the landslides in Uttarakhand.

At its weekly Parliamentary Party meeting, BJP MPs offered to contribute Rs 50,000 for the two relief funds from their MPLAD fund. The party is also likely to contribute some amount to this fund.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP V P Singh Bhadnor suggested that members contribute from their salary instead of the MPLAD fund. However, this was shot down by other members.

Bhagat Singh Koshiyari raised the issue of the difficulties being faced by those affected by the recent landslides in the Uttarkashi region.

Harin Pathak discussed the Black money issue on which Baba Ramdev had gone on a fast. He was asked to raise the issue in the Lok Sabha today during Question Hour.

BJP is also likely to reshuffle some of its members in the various Standing Committees of Parliament.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3769879.ece

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Meeting of India, Pak intelligence chiefs on the anvil?

Aug 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India are mulling a proposal for a meeting of the chiefs of their intelligence agencies as part of a series of confidence-building measures to build goodwill, according to a media report on Monday.

The proposal is among "numerous mechanisms" being explored to reduce the trust deficit between the two neighbours, The Express Tribune quoted official sources as saying. It quoted a source as claiming that the US was instrumental in persuading the two countries to discuss the possibility of a meeting between the heads of the Research and Analysis Wing ( RAW) and Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI).

A Pakistani official was quoted as saying that several proposals, including regular interactions between the security agencies of the two countries, were on the table. "But it is too early to say anything at this stage," the official said.

Another unnamed official was quoted as saying that some Western powers, particularly the US, were keen on increased coordination and discussions between the two countries.

The official said the US wants to ensure that there is no deterioration in ties between India and Pakistan during the next few years as the US-led coalition pulls out of Afghanistan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Meeting-of-India-Pak-intelligence-chiefs-on-the-anvil/articleshow/15486124.cms

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Mumbai violence like terror attack, top cop says

S Ahmed Ali & Sanjeev Shivadeka

Aug 14, 2012

MUMBAI: Two days after an unexpected outbreak of violence left the city numb, the Mumbai police on Monday fast-tracked the investigation by equating it with a terror attack and forming a special investigation team (SIT) to identify the elements behind the attack. "We are handling the investigation into Saturday's violence as the equivalent of a terror attack probe. That is the reason why we have set up an SIT," Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik said.

State home minister R R Patil indicated that the government was keeping all options open when it comes to taking action against Raza Academy, one of the organizers of the protest rally. "The course of action will be decided after the police complete the probe," Patil said when asked if the government was contemplating a ban on Raza Academy.

Two persons were killed and 63 injured, including 58 policemen, when a mob went on the rampage near CST during a protest rally called by five Sunni Muslim groups against the attacks on the community in Assam and Myanmar.

"Those with criminal background participated in the rally. These anti-social elements actually instigated the violence. All angles, including the possible involvement of the underworld, are being examined," Patil said.

Even as Patnaik said the 10-member SIT team was scanning CCTV footage to identify the main culprits of Saturday's violence,

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Mumbai-violence-like-terror-attack-top-cop-says/articleshow/15484399.cms

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Jundal spills the beans on Saeed role in 26/ 11 attack

By Aditi Raja in Mumbai

 August 14, 2012

IN one of the strongest evidence yet of Laskhar- e- Tayyeba ( LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed’s role in the 26/ 11 attack, Abu Jundal has told a Mumbai magistrate how the former had asked him to name possible targets.

Jundal told the magistrate that he met Saeed at the beginning of 2008 and that the LeT chief wanted him to suggest places which would not only cause maximum civilian casualties and draw the attention of the whole of India, but also shake up the world. It was Jundal who suggested Nariman House in Mumbai as it would shake up Israel and make both America and Israel sit up and take notice.

This is likely to come as a blow to Pakistan which has been maintaining that there’s no ‘ solid evidence’ linking Saeed with the Mumbai attacks.

In his confession, Jundal also talked about his brief meeting with Lashkar commander Zaki- ur- Rehman Lakhvi, who was also involved in 26/ 11.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Fearing for their kids, Hindu family flees Pak under guise of pilgrimage

Aug 14 2012

Attari : With memories of his childhood in Pakistan crossing through his mind throughout the journey and the pain of being separated from his relatives, Mukesh Kumar Ahuja boarded the Samjhauta Express with a heavy heart, but with a hope for better future for him and his family in India.

Ahuja, a Hindu trader from Balochistan, his wife Suman and four children — Vishal, Sri Vardhan, Shivedhu and Paranjal Pari — were among the four Pakistani Hindu families that came to India on Monday on a pilgrimage. Ahuja, however, has decided not to return due to alleged ill-treatment of the minority Hindu community in Pakistan.

“The Hindu community in Pakistan is subjected to daylight robberies. Children are abducted for ransom. Hindu girls are forced to convert to Islam. A child of our relative was abducted and when they failed to pay ransom, the child was found dead after two-and-a-half months,” Ahuja said at the Attari railway station.

“I have sold my house and left the rented shop where I used to run kiryana business to look for a better future in India. Extortion threats had forced me to shut my business about a year back,” he said, adding that he had been trying to get visa for India for the last one year. “If India does not give me and my family citizenship, then we will be left with no choice but to return to Pakistan and embrace Islam,” said Ahuja.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/fearing-for-their-kids-hindu-family-flees-pak-under-guise-of-pilgrimage/988089/

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Pakistan

 

Sikh community sees propaganda behind migration reports

 August 14, 2012

Karachi: Pakistan Sikh Council (PSC) Monday rejected the impression that Pakistani Hindu citizens were leaving the country over security concerns, saying it was a mere propaganda and the Sikh community categorically reject such reports. Chairman PSC Sardar Mahesh Singh stated this during a press briefing at the Karachi Press Club. He said Hindus from Jacobabad just left the country for ‘teerath yatra’, whose visa validation was just one-month and nobody could stay a day more against 30-day visa limit and would certainly return back. He, however, conceded that the law and order was poor, particularly in interior Sindh, and said Hindu traders were often kidnapped for huge ransom. He said but it does not mean the minorities are fleeing the country. He regretted that five percent job quota for minorities was never implemented and our ‘so-called’ representatives never strived to eradicate such concerns of their community. He appealed to all minorities to celebrate August 14 as Independence Day at their respective worship places and pray for prosperity, security and development of the country.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\14\story_14-8-2012_pg12_3

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Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration

August 14, 2012

KARACHI - The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) and the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) have expressed serious concerns over growing insecurity among the Hindu population in Sindh, which is causing migration of hundreds of families from Sindh and Balochistan to India since many years.

In a joint statement, the PDSN representative Zulfiqar Shah, and PPC Secretary General B M Kutty said on Monday that both the federal and the provincial governments had failed to protect the lives, dignity and properties of the Hindu community and other vulnerable groups, which is creating unrest among a larger section of the population. The kidnapping for ransom, abduction and conversion of Hindu girls; growing lawlessness; forced encroachment of Hindus families properties; and growing violence against minorities in Sindh districts of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Kandhkot had become an everyday story now.

“We consider the ongoing development as highly unsatisfactory and a cause of great concern for all the citizens. According to the Constitution and international law, it is the responsibility of the state to protect lives and properties of all citizens without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the vulnerable religious groups face tougher social, religious and economic challenges to the extent that that leaving the country is the only option to save their lives,” the joint statement stated.

In Pakistan, religious minorities especially Hindus have to struggle with discrimination on religious basis while they face social exclusion and unabated violence in rural areas where feudal power elite exploit them socially, economically and politically. These feudal elites harass them and also encroach upon their properties.

Another powerful religious group which has the backing of political parties is busy in forcible conversation of Hindu girls after kidnapping them. These girls are forced to embrace Islam or she is threatened with dire consequences.

Recent incidents of Rinkal Kumari, Dr Asha and Manesha Kumari are some incidents of forcible conversion of Hindu girls. The families of these unfortunate girls are either considering leaving the country or move from their ancestor villages to other cities.

The PDSN and the PPC pointed out that local media has been reporting Hindu citizens’ migration to India for security reasons for the last many years but the state functionaries did not pay any heed to address the situation.

 The recent national media reports of the migration of Hindu families from Jacobabad, in large numbers, has suddenly caught the attention of the state machinery that is spending more energies on covering the issue than addressing it. The FIA, under the directives of the Federal Interior Minister, reportedly forcibly stopped over 150 Hindus at the Wagah border in Lahore. They were coerced to sign an affidavit committing a return to Pakistan.

These types of pressure tactics are not only a violation of the right to free movement of citizens, they will never help the exodus of the Hindu community that receives little support from the state in terms of security and well-being. The PDSN and the PPC called for serious measures to address the grievances of the Hindu community and all the non-Muslim members of the state.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/karachi/14-Aug-2012/dalits-express-concern-over-hindus-migration

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AQ Khan calls Pak a ‘sham democracy’, backs judiciary

August 13, 2012

Calling Pakistan a “sham democracy”, disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan has said that the country’s “elites toe the American line and behave like foreign agents”.

In a no-holds-barred attack on the Pakistani government, Khan voiced his support for the judiciary which is engaged

in a bitter tussle with the government over reopening of graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

“Our elites toe the American line and behave like foreign agents. Some have dual nationalities, some have a wife and children with a foreign nationality and there are US sympathisers (or outright agents) in almost every important state institution,” Khan said in an article published in the News International. Khan’s own wife is Dutch.

He writes that when the discussion of an independent foreign policy comes up, “they create a hue and cry as if the heavens are about to fall. The current inept and corrupt rulers have destroyed the country in every sense of the word. No institution has been left untouched”.

He added, “They are as intoxicated with power as a drunkard is with liquor”.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/AQ-Khan-calls-Pak-a-sham-democracy-backs-judiciary/Article1-913203.aspx

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‘Pakistan is for Islam’: Kayani

August 14, 2012      

ABBOTTABAD – Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday said Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam and no power could dare eliminate Islam from the country, reported a private TV channel.

Addressing a special ceremony held at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul in connection with the Independence Day, Kayani, at the same time, said the on-going war against terror was justified, as no one had the right to impose his will on others, adding that Pakistan and Islam were synonym to each other, he maintained, as he asked the audience to promise to make every possible sacrifice for the country. Kayani also advised to learn lesson from the past experiences and think about the future, saying the fight against extremism was to be owned by the whole country and the armed forces were not the sole stakeholders.

Highlighting the military’s role, Kayani said the army had already complete development projects worth 25 billion rupees in collaboration with the government.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/14-Aug-2012/-pakistan-is-for-islam

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Pakistan needs to be strict with terrorists: Kayani

Aug 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs stricter laws to deal with terrorism, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said in comments published on Tuesday.

Addressing a parade at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul town, Gen Kayani underlined that the entire world had framed new laws to punish terrorists.

Geo TV also quoted him as saying: "We will have to put the past behind us and look ahead."

The general said no one was perfect, everyone made mistakes, some less and some more. Geo TV did not say in which context he made these comments.

Gen Kayani called for unity of the Pakistani people, saying the army could not succeed without the country's backing.

The general was speaking at a time when ties with the US seem to be improving, specially after the US visit by ISI chief Lt. General Zaheerul Islam.

Gen Kayani said it was a difficult task for any army to fight with its own people but it resorted to it when it had no other choice.

"Our actual objective is to restore peace in the affected areas. But it is necessary that all the people of Pakistan abide by the constitution and its laws," he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-needs-to-be-strict-with-terrorists-Kayani/articleshow/15490253.cms

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India should avoid delaying tactics on Kashmir: Pakistan PM

Aug 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said India should "avoid delaying tactics" while working for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

"We hope that India, while respecting the UN resolutions, will avoid delaying tactics in giving the right to self-determination to Kashmiris," Ashraf said in his speech at an official event marking Pakistan's Independence Day.

He was addressing a gathering that included ministers, lawmakers, service chiefs and diplomats.

The premier reiterated Pakistan's stance that the Kashmir issue should be resolved in line with UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiris.

"We will continue political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir," he said.

At the same time, he said, Pakistan wants good and cordial relations with India for the sake of peace and prosperity in the region.

Pakistan desires to resolve all disputes, including the Kashmir issue, through understanding and dialogue, he said.

"In our view, talks are the best way of resolving issues. We have started trade relations with India so that both countries are benefited from each other's comparative advantage," he said.

Describing the normalization of trade relations as an "important breakthrough", Ashraf said this measure "has cleared the way for durable friendship between the people of the two countries".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/India-should-avoid-delaying-tactics-on-Kashmir-Pakistan-PM/articleshow/15490734.cms

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PPP will resist any unconstitutional move by apex court, says Gilani

Aug 14 2012

Islamabad : As a fresh confrontation appeared imminent between Pakistan’s PPP government and the judiciary, former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has warned that this time the ruling party will not take any “unconstitutional” move by the Supreme Court against his successor “lying down”.

Gilani, the vice-chairman of the PPP, said that if Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is dismissed by the apex court, the PPP would not accept the verdict.

Ashraf became premier after the apex court convicted Gilani of contempt and disqualified him for not reopening corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.

“Every day is not Sunday,” Gilani said when he was asked at a news conference in Lahore yesterday about the PPP’s reaction to any move by the apex court to dismiss Ashraf. “An unconstitutional verdict will not be accepted... The masses will not accept it. We’ll resist instead of taking the decision lying down,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ppp-will-resist-any-unconstitutional-move-by-apex-court-says-gilani/987984/

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Zardari, Gilani caution SC over 'assault' on statute

Aug 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani people and parliament must be watchful against "new forms of assaults" on the constitution, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday against the backdrop of a standoff between the government and the judiciary.

Zardari made the remarks in a message issued to mark Pakistan's independence day. The restoration of the constitution of 1973 had raised hopes that the people would "revert to our true bearings and restore to Pakistan the values and ideals for which it was created ," he said.

Meanwhile, former PM, Yousaf Raza Gilani, said that if PM Raja Pervez Ashraf is dismissed by the SC, PPP would not accept the verdict. He warned the judiciary that there would be public protests if PM Ashraf is disqualified.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Zardari-Gilani-caution-SC-over-assault-on-statute/articleshow/15486076.cms

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz files an adjournment motion on the Hindu families' migration issue

Aug 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has filed an adjournment motion in the National Assembly on the migration of Hindus to India.

A large number of Hindu families have migrated to India on grounds of insecurity in Sindh and other parts of Pakistan.

Dr Darshan, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, Dr Nelson Azeem, Dr Araish Kumar, Junaid Anwar and Abid Sher Ali of the PML-N signed the motion.

"Being the elected members of minority community, this is breach of our privilege because (the) government has failed to take care of the rights of minorities," the Daily Times quoted Dr. Darshan, as saying.

Minority lawmakers from various political parties have been raising their voice against the threats to Hindus, especially in Sindh, the paper said.

The motion observed that the trend of migration due to fear had distorted the image of the country.

It urged the House to take up this issue, which according to the motion was directly related to the survival of minorities in the country.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-Muslim-League-Nawaz-files-an-adjournment-motion-on-the-Hindu-families-migration-issue/articleshow/15489422.cms

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Breathtaking blends of calligraphic techniques placed on display at RAC

 August 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: To show the Muslim heritage as a source of mental and spiritual satisfaction, Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) held an exhibition on Monday, entitled ‘All Punjab Calligraphic Exhibition’, to keep arts synchronised with the religious fervour of the holy month of Ramazan.

Pakistan Baitul Maal Managing Director Zamurad Khan and MNA Tahira Aurangzeb inaugurated the exhibition while Iran Culture Centre Director General Amin Gul, RAC Resident Director Waqar Ahmed and Naheed Manzoor were also present on the occasion.

The exhibition displayed the works of 30 artists, including Aftab Ahmed Khan, Elahi Bukhsh Matee, Ibne Kaleem, Khwaja Muhammad Hussain, Imran Tahir, Azeem Iqbal and Bushra Habib. Seven female calligraphers also participated in the exhibition.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C08%5C14%5Cstory_14-8-2012_pg11_6

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N moves National Assembly over Hindus exodus

August 14, 2012      

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has submitted privileged and adjournment motions in the National Assembly Secretariat against the migration of Hindu families from Sindh to India.

In the privileged motion, it has been said the government remained unsuccessful in protecting the minorities due to which the privilege of PML-N, being the representative party of minorities, had been undermined. In the adjournment motion, it is highlighted that the image of Pakistan in the international community has received a blow because of the migration of Hindu minorities; therefore; the issue should be taken up in the National Assembly.

More than five MNAs of PML-N- including Dr Nelson Azeem, Dr Darshan, Areesh Kumar, Chief whip Sheikh Aftab and Junaid Anwar - have presented the two motions in the Lower House of Parliament. According to the text of the motions, the life, property and honour of Hindus is not safe in Pakistan, while the federal government is not taking action to resolve the matter. The adjournment motion says the migration of Hindus is a serious and critical matter, and it should be debated in the National Assembly.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/14-Aug-2012/n-moves-national-assembly-over-hindus-exodus

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3 ANP workers among five killed in Karachi

By: Mansoor Khan | August 14, 2012       

KARACHI - Five people including three workers of the Awami National Party were gunned down while their party’s local leader was injured in an act of target killing in Frontier Colony near Banaras Market within the limits of Pirabad police station.

Police officials said that the incident took place when ANP workers were sitting near their homes when unidentified culprits riding a motorcycle sprayed them with bullets. The injured were immediately taken to different hospitals where three of them including Rahmat Ali, Bakht Nawab and another man yet to be identified succumbed to their injuries during treatment while ANP’s regional leader Ameer Sardar was admitted to the Ziauddin Hospital. Ameer Sardar Haider is an ANP’s ward president and a member of the ANP’s central committee and was the former nazim of the union council.

Tension prevailed in the locality where routine and commercial activities were also suspended. A heavy contingent of the law enforcers including Rangers and police was also called at the site to avoid any untoward incident.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/14-Aug-2012/3-anp-workers-among-five-killed-in-karachi

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Nation celebrates Independence with zeal today

By: Sajid Zia | August 14, 2012

LAHORE – The 66th Independence Day of Pakistan is being celebrated with due exuberance, national spirit and pomp and show throughout the country, AJK and Held Kashmir today (Tuesday), which is also a public holiday.

August 14, 1947, underlines the triumph of those politicians, who under the guidance of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah made tireless efforts to create a separate homeland for the Muslims liberating them from the repression and yoke of slavery of the British. Men, women and children throughout Pakistan celebrate Independence Day to pay their respect to those patriotic leaders because of whom this nation is breathing an air of freedom. On this day, people from all religions come together as one and celebrate this important moment of their history.

Pakistan’s appearance on the map of the world is such a great achievement for which our great Quaid would be remembered forever in the hearts of all communities of Pakistan. The Day will also be celebrated by the Pakistanis living in US, Middle East, UK and other European countries.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/14-Aug-2012/nation-celebrates-independence-with-zeal-today

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People must reject assault on parliament, says Zardari

August 14, 2012      

ISLAMABAD  - President and Prime Minister has urged the nation to work together and commit ourselves to the progress and prosperity of our nation, setting aside our mutual differences so that the country can get its rightful place in the comity of nations.

They stated this in their separate messages on the 66th Independence Day of Pakistan.

President Asif Ali Zardari in his message said: “let us on this day rededicate ourselves to the democratic ideals and principles of the Quaid. Adherence to the principles that political choices must be made through ballot, and not imposed through bullet, he added.

He emphasised, “we should banish all forms of bigotry, extremism and militancy from our minds.”

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/14-Aug-2012/people-must-reject-assault-on-parliament-says-zardari

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KU’s ASCE publish book on Europe and Muslim World

 August 14, 2012

KARACHI: The Area Study Centre for Europe (ASCE), University of Karachi (KU) has published a book titled ‘Europe and the Muslim World: Coexistence or Conflict?’ Director ASCE Prof Dr Moonis Ahmer stated this on Monday. He said that authored by Ambassador (r) Shahid M Amin, the book gives a detailed account of conflict and cooperation between Europe and the Muslim world by giving a rich historical and cultural background of Muslim and Islamic presence in Europe and the present bias and intolerance prevailing in some European countries about Muslim immigrants in Europe. Meanwhile, KU registrar announced on Monday that the KU and its affiliated colleges would remain closed for the Eidul Fitr holidays from August 20 to 22. He said that the university and its affiliated colleges would also remain closed on August 16 on account of Shab-i-Qadr.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\14\story_14-8-2012_pg12_11

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South Asia

 

China hosts President Assad’s special envoy, deflecting criticism of its Syria policy

 August 14, 2012

BEIJING — China sought to defuse criticism of its policy on Syria’s violence, saying while hosting a government envoy Tuesday that opposition figures may also visit Beijing soon.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s political and media adviser, Buthaina Shaaban, was due to meet Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi for talks, the Foreign Ministry said.

That reflects long-standing close ties between China and Syria that have prompted China to join with Russia in the U.N. Security Council to block action that could force Assad from power.

However, China also is considering inviting members of Syrian opposition groups to visit. Opposition representatives have visited before, but the worsening civil war would lend another visit added importance.

“China has always actively promoted its work between the Syrian government and the opposition in a balanced way to achieve a political solution to the Syria issue,” spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-increases-its-role-in-syrian-

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Afghanistan official says Pakistani border shelling has killed 1 Afghan guard, sparked battle

 August 14, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — An official in eastern Afghanistan says shelling from across the border in Pakistan has killed at least one Afghan border guard.

It’s the latest report of cross-border fire that has raised tensions between the two neighbors.

A spokesman for the eastern province of Kunar province says at least 83 rockets have landed in the area. The spokesman, Wasifullah Wasify, says a battle between Afghan and Pakistan border patrols broke out Tuesday morning near a checkpoint in Kunar’s Dangam district, across from the Pakistani district of Bajaur.

He says one of the rockets killed a border patrol officer and wounded at least four others.

Pakistan officials had no immediate comment. Islamabad has denied deliberately targeting Afghan territory in fighting militants on its side of the border.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghanistan-official-says-pakistani-

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Trade Expands China Muslim Minority

12 August 2012

CAIRO – Growing from a handful of Muslim residents a decade ago, the Muslim community in the south-west of Shanghai Yiwu city has remarkably become the fastest growing Muslim community in China.

"It is really spectacular," the mosque's imam, Aisin-Gioro Baoquan, said of the increase in the number of Yiwu's Muslims, The National newspaper reported on Sunday, August 12.

Hosting the largest markets in the world for selling goods made in China’s factories, Yiwu city has attracted growing numbers of Arab and South Asian traders who buy items to ship abroad.

This, in turn, has drawn Chinese Muslims, mostly Hui people and members of the Turkic Uighur minority, to work in restaurants and as store assistants or interpreters, turning this city south-west of Shanghai into a key centre for Islam in eastern China.

The city now hosts an estimated 35,000 Muslims, about half the city's Muslims are thought to be from overseas, with many from Arab countries.

"It's an organic blend between commerce and religious life," said Aisin-Gioro, a member of China's Manchu minority.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/458525-trade-expands-china-muslim-minority.html

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World Muslims Aid Persecuted Rohingyas

13 August 2012

CAIRO – Muslim countries are rushing to send aid to Rohingya Muslims in Burma, amid horrifying accounts of murder, arson and rape of the sizable minority.

"King Abdullah ... has ordered that assistance of the amount of $50 million be provided to the Rohingya Muslim citizens in Myanmar," the Saudi state news agency reported.

Saudi authorities said the Rohingya Muslims had been "exposed to many violations of human rights including ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and forced displacement".

The United Arab Emirates has also ordered urgent relief aid to the Rohingya community in Burma.

The move came after Emirati foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan sent a letter to the international community, seeking support to end the plight of Rohingya Muslims.

The Muslim aid comes aid Bangladesh, which hosts thousands of Rohingya refugees, ordered aid agencies to stop providing aid to Rohingyas.

Dhaka argues that international aid to Rohingya Muslims was creating a “pull factor” for refugees.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/458548-bangladesh-blocks-rohingya-refugees.html

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Archaeologists keep Afghan heritage buried

August 13, 2012

By Joris Fioriti

BAMIYAN, Afghanistan: “It’s there,” says an archaeologist pointing to the ground, where fragments of a Buddha statue from the ancient Gandhara civilization have been covered up to keep them from being stolen or vandalized. Just months before the invasion in 2001, the Taliban regime shocked the world by destroying two giant, 1,500-year-old Buddhas in the rocky Bamiyan valley, branding them un-Islamic.

More than 10 years on, Western experts say Afghanistan’s ancient Buddhist and early Islamic heritage is little safer.

At the foot of the cliff where the two Buddhas used to stand 130 kilometers west of Kabul, an archaeological site has been found and parts of a third Buddha, lying down, were discovered in 2008.

Full report at:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Art/2012/Aug-13/184428-archaeologists-keep-afghan-heritage-buried.ashx#ixzz23Vkvn7nF

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End Sought to Attacks on Allies by Afghans

By ALISSA J. RUBIN

 August 14, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The phenomenon of “green on blue” violence by Afghan security force members on their international counterparts continued on Monday with two more attacks, officials said.

In one case, in southern Afghanistan, the attacker did no harm; in the second attack, in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, two international soldiers were injured. An Afghan soldier who works for the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence service, was also injured when NATO soldiers fired on the attacker, said Gen. Abdullah Stanakzai, the police chief of Nangarhar.

The persistence of this type of attack has prompted both NATO and Afghan military leaders to try to drill down into the circumstances surrounding each one and determine the cause in order to come up with ways to decrease them.

“We are sitting with our Afghan partners and recommending to them how to improve their recruiting process,” said Brig. Gen. Gönter Katz, a spokesman for the international military coalition here. He said the coalition was also focusing on its own soldiers and trying to ensure that they did not offend Afghans by behaving in ways that might be culturally insensitive.

The green-on-blue attacks on Monday brought to 29 the number of insider attacks this year, said Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the NATO-led international coalition. Of those, nine did not result in deaths.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/world/asia/end-sought-to-attacks-by-afghans-on-nato-

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesians denounce Rohingya massacre in Myanmar

14 August 2012

Angry Indonesian protesters have once again taken to the streets of the capital city, Jakarta, to voice their outrage at the ongoing violence against the minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The demonstrators, who were supporters of a Muslim political group, called on the government of Myanmar to take action to stop the discrimination and sectarian violence against the country's Rohingya population.

This is while, in a similar move on Thursday, crowds of Indonesians gathered outside Myanmar’s Embassy in Jakarta in protest against Burma’s mistreatment of Rohingya Muslim minority.

Full report at:

http://www.tehrantimes.com/world/100540-indonesians-denounce-rohingya-massacre-in-myanmar

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Malaysian websites protest law on online content

 August 14, 2012

Malaysian Internet users have protested an amended law that they fear will stifle online freedom of expression.

The campaign aims to reverse an amendment to Malaysia’s Evidence Act that makes people more accountable for statements published on websites and social networks.

Officials say the change is meant to help prosecute offenders who commit libel or make criminal threats online.

But nongovernment activists insist it could cause a clampdown on online opinion and leave bloggers and website owners vulnerable to being charged for comments made by others on their sites.

An “Internet Blackout” campaign Tuesday prompted scores of Malaysian websites and blogs to display dark banners criticising the amendment that came into effect last month.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3770303.ece

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Mideast Asia

 

Jihadist Tells Iran, Uprising in Jordan Can Help Crush Israel

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

 August 14, 2012

An Islamic Jihad official tells Iran that a popular uprising in Jordan would break the last part of Israel's "security chain."

Abu Sharif stressed that the recent popular uprisings in the region have harmed the interests of Israel, according to the Iran’s controlled Fars News Agency.

"These developments (popular uprisings) in the region are in the interest of the regional nations and against the interests of the Zionist regime and have disturbed the power balance between the supporters and opponents of the Zionist regime," Abu Sharif said.

He cited the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 as the first of several events "inflicted great damage on Israel." Abu Sharif continued, “The deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel was the second blow at the regime and Mubarak's fall in Egypt was another blow.

"If the regional changes reach Jordan, the Israeli regime will lose the last part of its security chain."

Jordan and Egypt are Israel’s only neighbors with whom diplomatic relations have been established.

The 1979 treaty with Egypt has survived frigid relations in the latter part of Mubarak’s regime, and the Muslim Brotherhood victories in the Egyptian legislative and presidential elections have left the treaty in questionable terms. Egypt is not about to break it, if for no other reason than its economic value and because of political pressure from the United States, which is a major source of foreign aid to Cairo.

However, the terms of the treaty, particularly the extent of armed Egyptian soldiers in the terrorist-infested Sinai Peninsula, may be challenged by the new regime.

Relations with Jordan have been less noisy, but the majority of non-Jordanian Arabs, descendants from families who fled Israel in previous wars, have created a demographic and political time bomb for King Abdullah II.

To the north, Hizbullah controls southern Lebanon and Syria is engulfed n an all-out civil war. To the south, Israel faces Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and cells of Bedouin, Hamas and  Al Qaeda–linked terrorists in the Sinai.

The jihadists see an uprising in Jordan as leaving Israel surrounded by stated enemies with a common principle of annihilating Israel.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/158822#.UCoNuqEgccY

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Iran confident Israel won't launch 'stupid' attack

 August 14, 2012

TEHRAN — Iran on Tuesday said it is dismissing Israeli threats of an imminent attack against it, explaining that even some Israeli officials realised such a "stupid" act would provoke "very severe consequences."

"In our calculations, we aren't taking these claims very seriously because we see them as hollow and baseless," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in a weekly briefing.

"Even if some officials in the illegitimate regime (Israel) want to carry out such a stupid action, there are those inside (the Israeli government) who won't allow it because they know they would suffer very severe consequences from such an act," he said.

Iran's defence minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, was quoted by the ISNA news agency saying that Israel "definitely doesn't have what it takes to endure Iran's might and will."

He called the Israeli threats "a sign of weakness" by "brainless leaders."

The comments were a response to bellicose rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak in recent days suggesting they were thinking more seriously of military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.

"We are determined to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear (armed), and all the options are on the table. When we say it, we mean it," Barak told Israeli radio last Thursday.

Israeli media have underlined the threat, reporting that a decision could be made within weeks. They have also highlighted opposition to the idea by current and former Israeli military officials.

The United States has recently multiplied visits by top officials to Israel in what appears to be an attempt to dissuade the Jewish state from targeting the Islamic republic.

"We continue to believe there is time and space for diplomacy," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday.

Israel insists that Iran is on the point of developing nuclear weapons, and says it reserves the right to act to prevent that.

The Jewish state has in the past launched air strikes to destroy nuclear facilities in Iraq and, reportedly, in Syria to protect its own regional nuclear weapons monopoly, whose existence it refuses to officially confirm.

Iran says its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful, civilian uses.

In the past couple of years it has ramped up uranium enrichment to a level just a few steps short of military-grade fissile material, saying those stocks are needed to create medical isotopes. It has also refused UN nuclear inspectors access to suspect military installations.

Renewed negotiations between Iran and the five top UN Security Council powers, plus Germany, have taken place this year. They have been downgraded after it became clear they were in an impasse, but not ended.

In the meantime, Iran is suffering from increasingly tough US and EU economic sanctions that have crippled its all-important oil exports.

Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

----------

 

Iran Preparing to Lead Global Nonaligned Group

By THOMAS ERDBRINK

 August 14, 2012

TEHRAN — Iran sometimes seems like one of the loneliest countries in the world, isolated by sanctions and shunned by Western leaders.

But in Tehran lampposts are being painted and hotels cleared out for thousands of delegates, including, the government says, more than 40 heads of state, as the Islamic republic prepares to host its biggest international conference in 14 years.

Taking over from Egypt, Iran’s leaders are ambitiously readying themselves for their three-year term as head of the Nonaligned Movement, which will convene in Tehran in the last week of August.

The Nonaligned Movement, founded during the height of the cold war, when the divisions were chiefly East-West, regards itself as independent from the major centers of power, which are not quite as neatly lined up as before.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/world/middleeast/iran-to-host-nonaligned-movement-

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Israel picks new home front defence minister: media

 August 14, 2012

JERUSALEM: Israeli former internal security minister Avi Dichter is to be named home front defence minister, media reported on Tuesday, as speculation grows that the Jewish state will launch an attack on Iran.

Dichter, also a former head of the country’s internal intelligence agency Shin Bet, will leave his post in the opposition Kadima party to join the government, media reports said.

The government declined to offer official confirmation that Dichter had been selected for the post, which has reportedly been turned down by a slew of other top officials.

Dichter, whose nomination according to Israeli media will be voted on by the parliament on Thursday, will replace Matan Vilnai, a confidant of Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who left the post to become ambassador to China.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/14/israel-picks-new-home-front-defence-minister-media/

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Iran, Saudi Arabia in direct talks

ATUL ANEJA

 August 14, 2012

Ahmadinejad in kingdom at the personal invitation of King

Arch rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia would hold direct talks in Mecca to address the crisis in Syria and cool the region’s growing sectarian divide.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leading the Iranian delegation which arrived in Medina on Monday — a day ahead of the two-day conference in Mecca of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Iranian President is visiting the Kingdom at the personal invitation of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz — in itself a strong signal of the urgency that Riyadh attaches to this meeting.

Syria is expected to top the agenda of the talks, where forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad — backed by Iran — appear to have rooted out opposition fighters — backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey — from the embattled city of Aleppo.

The visiting delegation has been carefully chosen: it includes Ali-Akbar Velayati, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s trusted lieutenant on foreign affairs. Also in the team are Mr. Ahmadinejad’s two insiders — Rahim Mashaee, the head of the presidential office, who also happens to be the President’s brother-in-law; and senior adviser Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, known also for his close ties with the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is also part of the high-powered delegation, which represents all the major pillars of the Iranian establishment.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3765511.ece

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Are Israelis tough enough for a long war with Iran?

Aug 13, 2012

JERUSALEM: For Israel to carry out a long-threatened strike on Iranian nuclear sites, it would have to overcome dissent within its governing coalition reflecting public fear of igniting an unprecedented missile war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that scenario would be "dwarfed" by the prospect of an Iranian bomb, which he describes as tantamount to a second Holocaust - language that seems to herald a Jewish call to arms.

But the popular, conservative leader has not proven very persuasive. While surveys show a growing minority - now 32-35 per cent - of Israelis favour taking Iran on alone, more are opposed. Around a quarter are undecided.

Some commentators ask whether a Jewish state shaped through decades of war has become more fearful of the consequences in the face of Iran, a formidable and distant foe capable, along with Islamist guerrilla allies in Lebanon and Gaza, of raining down thousands of missiles and rockets in retaliation.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Are-Israelis-tough-enough-for-a-long-war-with-Iran/articleshow/15480749.cms

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Yemen’s priorities: feed the starving children or security?

 13 August 2012

At the beginning of Ramadan 2012, recognition of the urgency of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is welcome, despite being so badly delayed. But who needs help most?

Good news, Yemen is in the news again.  Better news, it isn’t because of Al-Qaeda.  Now for the bad news: it is that finally, after months of hard work from NGOs and the humanitarian community, the media are showing some interest in the desperate humanitarian crisis faced by the Yemeni population.

Unfortunately for them, Yemenis are not in the habit of setting off on roads to nowhere carrying what little possessions they have and heading for borders or other places in the hope that somehow help will come to them in camps run by the U.N. and humanitarian organisations.  So the world has easily failed to notice the poverty and starvation which have worsened dramatically in the past year and have now reached the point of extreme crisis with pictures familiar from African famines of starving and dying children too weak to cry and desperate parents whose distress is only too visible in their eyes.

Full report at:

http://www.yementimes.com/en/1598/opinion/1273/Yemen%E2%80%99s-priorities-Feed-the-starving-children-or-security.htm

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North America

 

Islamic School Hit with Acid-Filled Bottle in Lombard

August 13, 2012

LOMBARD, Ill. (CBS) — An Islamic school in west suburban Lombard is at least the second Muslim institution to report an attack this past weekend.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago says the College Preparatory School of America, an Islamic school at 331 W. Madison St. in Lombard, was subjected to vandalism on Sunday night.

The council says someone hurled a 7-Up bottle filled with acid and other unspecified materials at the school during the nighttimes Ramadan prayers.

During the prayer session, worshipers heard a loud bang and went to find an empty bottle thrown on the window of the school. No one was injured.

No one was in custody as of just before noon Monday, and there were on suspects, Lombard police told CBS 2.

Full report at:

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/08/13/islamic-school-hit-with-acid-filled-bottle-in-lombard/

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Muslim American's rap delivers love to Sikhs in time of pain

By Stephen Magagnini

smagagnini@sacbee.com

 Aug. 13, 2012

Zaki Syed, a clean-cut Muslim American rapper in glasses and blue jeans, has become one of the loudest voices for tolerance and understanding in the wake of the Wisconsin Sikh massacre.

His impassioned rap, "Sikh Temple Shooting," moved many of the 500 worshippers to tears Sunday at the Spiritual Life Center's services at Sacramento City College.

Syed also performed at the state Capitol during a candlelight vigil Friday night. It touched on basic Sikh beliefs of tolerance and community service, as well as the magnitude of the tragedy when a 40-year-old white supremacist went on a rampage Aug. 5 at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, killing six people and himself.

The devils and the hate mongers are in the shadows lurking – but when we see each other as persons, goodness starts working ...

All I see in the Sikh community is the greatness of love, faces of love, still rising above.

Syed, 24, is a sociology graduate student at California State University, Sacramento. The son of Pakistani immigrants, he was born in Santa Clara. His family moved to Roseville when Syed was 10.

Full report at:

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/13/4719857/muslim-americans-rap-

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Institutionalized Islamophobia in US

August 14, 2012      

ROB L WAGNER

When a white supremacist gunman shot and killed six people in a Wisconsin Sikh temple last week, some Sikh community members and the media commented the killer must have mistaken the worshippers for Muslims.

Since 9/11, the Sikh Coalition reported more than 300 attacks against Sikhs and their temples. Recorded incidents started with the Mesa, Arizona, shooting death of 49-year-old Balbir Singh Sohdi four days after the attacks at the World Trade Center. He apparently was mistaken for a Muslim.

The most recent incident before the Aug. 5 massacre at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin temple, occurred when vandals defaced a Sikh temple with graffiti, which contained references to 9/11.

To the ignorant, the men wearing long beards and turbans must be Muslim. And even if racists and bigots could make the distinction between a Sikh and a Muslim, it makes no difference. Sikhs and Muslims represent the “other” to many people in Western society.

Since Sikh men are more easily identifiable by bigots as “foreign” than perhaps many North American Muslims, it’s not difficult to conclude that Sikhs are more frequent targets of racist attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/14-

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American Muslims Launch ‘Burma Task Force USA’

By LALIT K JHA / THE IRRAWADDY| August 14, 2012

WASHINGTON DC—Prominent Muslim American groups have come together to launch Burma Task Force USA with the objective of raising the profile of the Rohingya issue while speaking out against alleged atrocities and human rights violations which have forced thousands to flee and seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.

“We demand that those responsible for the mass rapes and mass murder of thousands of Rohingyas be charged with crimes against humanity and genocide by the International Court of Justice,” Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairperson of Burma Task Force USA, demanded on Monday.

The Burma Task Force is based on a previous successful effort of American Muslims, the Bosnia Task Force, where its members worked with the interfaith leadership and women’s rights organizations against the genocide of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia.

Mujahid said the objective of the group is to stop perceived ethnic cleansing in Burma. “We will be working with leaders of other faith groups, interfaith groups, women’s rights organizations and peace movements to put pressure on the US government and the American business community to warn the Burmese government to stop the ethnic cleansing,” he said.

American Muslims are taking their cue from the previous efforts of Coalition Against Genocide, wherein Muslims of Indian origin living in the US worked with other communities to revoke the diplomatic visa of Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the western Indian State of Gujarat, for his alleged role in communal riots there some 10 years ago.

Full report at:

http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/11466

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Time still left for diplomacy with Iran: US

August 14, 2012

Days after tightening the noose of international sanctions against Tehran, the Obama Administration has said there is still time and space left for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear programme.

"We regret that Iran has not yet made a strategic decision to address the international

community's serious concerns regarding its nuclear programme and the ongoing P5-plus-1 talks. However, we continue to believe that there is time and space for diplomacy," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday.

He noted that the opportunity remained for Iran to take advantage of this process by taking necessary steps to come into compliance with its international obligations.

"In the meantime, even as we continue P5-plus-1 talks, multilateral efforts to increase the pressure on Iran have not ceased at all," he held.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Time-still-left-for-diplomacy-with-Iran-US/Article1-913327.aspx

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Foreign law bill has drawn Muslim backlash elsewhere in the country

08/13/12

 Scott Wartman

The laws in Kentucky and the United States Constitution take precendence over foreign laws, according to a bill pre-filed by Kentucky Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg, for the 2013 session.

The bill closely mirrors bills filed in more than 20 other states that some Muslims have criticized as anti-Islamic, though the bill doesn’t mention Islam.

King said she’s not singling out any foreign law or culture but addressing the concerns that a constituent brought to her.

“We don’t need to be citing foreign laws to determine cases in the United States that would undermine our constitution and our laws,” King said.

Some Muslims, however, said that while such bills in other states don’t mention Islam, many of the bills’ sponsors and supporters have stirred anti-Muslim sentiment in public hearings.

“They don’t mention Sharia or Islam except at the hearings,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council of American-Islamic Relations(CAIR) in Washington, D.C. “For the one in Tennessee, the sponsor of the bill gave an hour long presentation about the bill and focused on Islam. They said this clearly has not a thing to do with any faith or religion, and then spent the next hour slamming Islam. The bill’s intent is to stigmatize Islam, which becomes evident when you probe or question the sponsors on why they introduce such bizarre bills.”

Full report at:

http://cincinnati.com/blogs/nkypolitics/2012/08/13/foreign-law-bill-has-drawn-muslim-backlash-elsewhere-in-the-country/

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Wisconsin Shooting Prompts Mosque Patrols

10 August 2012

CAIRO – The recent mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin’s Harford County has raised Muslim community concerns for their safety, seeking more security around their mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

"Most of the attacks on the Sikhs have been mistaken for Muslims and that is why the Muslim community is afraid that this might happen to them," Rehan Khan, president of Masjid Al-Falaah, the mosque in Abingdon, told Baltimore Sun.

"We do need to take safety measures and we do need the state and local authorities to take adequate measures to protect our places of worship."

At least seven people were killed when a gunman attacked people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin last Sunday.

Authorities said that four people were shot dead inside the sprawling temple. Three more, including the gunman, were killed outside.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/458493-wisconsin-shooting-prompts-mosque-patrols.html

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US renews support for ‘stable, secure’ Pakistan

August 14, 2012      

WASHINGTON - In a message marking Pakistan’s Independence day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has renewed United States’ support for “a stable and secure Pakistan for generations to come.”

The message said, “On behalf of President (Barack) Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the government and people of Pakistan as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this August 14. Since 1947, Pakistan faced immense challenges to build upon the democratic ideals of your country’s founders. Today, we take time to honour your sacrifices and renew our support for a stable and secure Pakistan for generations to come.

“(Quaid-e-Azam) Muhammad Ali Jinnah dreamt of a vibrant, self-reliant Pakistan – a goal we all share. As Muslims around the world reflect upon the meaning of community and sacrifice during this holy month of Ramazan, the United States celebrates the hardworking Pakistanis who strive to fulfil Jinnah’s vision of a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.”

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/14-Aug-2012/us-renews-support-for-stable-secure-pakistan

----------

 

Minnesota Iftar Promotes Islam

08 August 2012

CAIRO – Following community opposition to the building of a new mosque in the city, the Muslim community in St. Anthony in Minnesota is planning a Ramadan iftar for non-Muslim neighbors on Thursday, August 9, in an effort to promote a better understanding of Islam.

"This is great opportunity for us to ... get to know our neighbors," Sadik Warfa, a spokesman for the Abu Huraira Islamic Center, told Star Tribune.

"We want to reach out to our neighbors of all faiths in the St. Anthony Village area.

“It's really meant to create a positive atmosphere and friendships with our neighbors," he said.

The iftar, which marks the end of a fasting day in Ramadan, follows the city council’s rejection of plans to build a mosque in the city, which was marred by anti-Muslim sentiments.

The St. Anthony iftar could bring "the fear level way down" and help Muslims "build relationships in the community," said Gail Anderson, a director at the Council of Churches, which sponsors the iftar.

"It's just a lot people really wanting to know each other better and understand each other better.”

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/458462-minnesota-iftar-promotes-islam-understanding.html

----------

 

President Obama's Remarks At The White House Iftar Dinner

 08/10/2012

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please, please have a seat. Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the White House.

Of all the freedoms we cherish as Americans, of all the rights that we hold sacred, foremost among them is freedom of religion, the right to worship as we choose. It’s enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution -- the law of the land, always and forever. It beats in our heart -- in the soul of the people who know that our liberty and our equality is endowed by our Creator. And it runs through the history of this house, a place where Americans of many faiths can come together and celebrate their holiest of days -- and that includes Ramadan.

As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia -- perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress -- the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. And that's a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam -- like so many faiths -- is part of our national story.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/president-obamas-remarks

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Europe

 

Russia Muslims Deny Religious Repression

 02 August 2012

CAIRO – Russian Muslims have dismissed US criticism of restrictions on their right to practice their religion, saying that they are enjoying full freedom to worshipping.

“There are no repressions against good Muslims in our country,” Albir Krganov, Mufti of Moscow and the Central Region of Russia, said in a statement cited by Russia Today on Thursday, August 2.

"Decent Muslims are not being persecuted in our country.”

A US State Department report about religious freedoms has said that minority faiths are facing discrimination in Russia.

The report said while the Russian Constitution guarantees the right to practice religion, “laws and policies restrict religious freedoms by denying some groups legal status and misidentifying their literature as extremist."

It accused authorities of using extremism charges to target minority faiths, detain nonconforming believers or deny them access to places of worship.

But the Muslim leader insisted that Russian Muslims were not being targeted by authorities on claims of extremism.

"Sometimes Muslims are invited to testify to police, they can be treated as witnesses or suspects,” Krganov said.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/458330-russia-muslims-dismiss-religious-repression.html

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In Norway, Panel Lists Police Faults in Massacre

By MARK LEWIS

 August 14, 2012

STAVANGER, Norway — An independent inquest into the mass killings in Norway last summer by a fanatical anti-Muslim extremist sharply rebuked the country’s police and intelligence services Monday, saying they could have averted or at least disrupted his plot to bomb downtown Oslo and shoot unarmed people unimpeded at a summer youth camp.

The inquest by the panel, the July 22 Commission, named after the date of the massacre, said the police had failed in their duty to protect the camp on Utoya Island where 69 people, most of them teenagers, were killed by the extremist, Anders Behring Breivik. The inquest also faulted the police in Oslo, where hours earlier Mr. Breivik had parked a van packed with explosives that killed eight people. He was seen in a getaway car, which he drove to the island, but police officers failed to share a description of the vehicle.

The panel’s 500-page report chronicled what amounted to a litany of errors and blunders at nearly every level of law enforcement in Norway, a country that was traumatized by the scale and audacity of the attacks. A number of top judicial and security officials have already resigned over the failure to thwart Mr. Breivik.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/world/europe/norway-panel-on-massacre-finds-litany-of-government-failures.html

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Mosque Pig Defilement Outrages France

02 August 2012

MONTAUBAN, France – In the latest sign of growing Islamophobia in the European country, two pig heads were dumped at a mosque in southern France, to the outrage of Muslim and Jewish groups.

"It is contemptible," Hajii Mohamed, the mosque’s imam, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"To attack a religion like this, I don't know what is happening. People lose their heads, especially during Ramadan."

Two pig heads were hung Wednesday, August 1, on a gate at the entrance of the mosque in the southern city of Montauban shortly before Fajr prayers.

A large amount of pig blood was spilled on the ground.

Islam considers pigs unclean because they are omnivorous, not discerning between meat or vegetation in their natural dietary habits unlike cows and sheep for instance, which eat only plants.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/458329-mosque-big-defilement-outrages-france.html

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Missionaries Compete for Souls at Olympics

10 August 2012

CAIRO – As athletes from different world countries compete for medals at the Olympics, another competition is taking place outside London stadiums for people’s souls between groups representing different faiths.

"It's mostly the same everywhere you go - just like it was when Jesus preached," Kevin Williams, the pastor of Grace Fellowship Man­chester, who was there with a team of 12, told Church Times on Friday, August 10.

"Some believe; some mock; some get angry; but it's been quite mild today. We leave the results in God's hands."

Hosting thousands of athletes and fans, London Olympics started on July 27 to August 12.

With tens of thousands of people entering the Olympic Park every day, it was perhaps only natural that various religions, philosophies and causes would jump at the chance to win some of them over.

And so just outside Stratford Bus Station -- which many sports fans must walk past on their way to the park -- there was a collection of Christians, Muslims, vegans and others eager to spread the word.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/458494-missionaries-compete-for-souls-at-olympics.html

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Pragmatic jihad in Tatarstan

Dmitry Shlapentokh

 Aug 14, 2012

A recent assassination attempt on a Tatar mufti, a proponent of moderate Islam, indicates the escalation of Islamist violence away from its traditional hotbed in the North Caucasus. At the same time, it demonstrates the jihadis' extreme flexibility in forging alliances with forces that supposedly have entirely different ideological make-ups.

For many years, Tatarstan and Bashkiria - two major Muslim enclaves in Russia's heartland - looked quite different from the restless Muslim Northern Caucasus. Tatarstan, which has been ruled by Moscow since the 16th century, is one of the most

Westernized Muslim areas in Russia. It was not Islam as such but nationalism that had been Tatars' intellectual driving force for the first years of the post-Soviet regime. While some nationalists thought about complete independence from Moscow, most Tatars were content with a modicum of autonomy, which Tatarstan enjoyed throughout the Boris Yeltsin era.

Full report at:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NH14Ag01.html

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Russia slams new US sanctions on Iran

Aug 14, 2012

MOSCOW: Russia's Foreign Ministry has harshly criticized new US sanctions on Iran, calling them "undisguised blackmail" and warning that relations between Washington and Moscow will suffer if Russian companies are affected.

The US Congress on August 1 slapped sanctions on Iran's energy, shipping and financial industries as part of an effort to pressure Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

The new sanctions would hit foreign companies that mine uranium with Iran or help it export oil by providing tankers, insurance or banking services.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said today in a statement that while Russia supports UN sanctions, it opposes US efforts to spread its legislation throughout the world and "rejects methods of undisguised blackmail used by the US against the companies and banks of other countries."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Russia-slams-new-US-sanctions-on-Iran/articleshow/15486698.cms

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Turkmenistan: Convicts Pardoned

By ANDREW ROTH

August 14, 2012

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has ordered the release of 1,327 convicts to observe the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It is the latest in a series of mass pardons set to coincide with national holidays in the isolated former Soviet republic. Turkmen state media reported on Monday that 44 foreigners would be among those pardoned.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/world/asia/turkmenistan-convicts-

----------

Africa

 

Five escape wrecked Ugandan helicopter, two dead

By Daniel Wesangula

 August 14, 2012

NAIROBI — At least five Ugandan servicemen survived the crash of two army helicopters in Kenya en route to war-torn Somalia with two confirmed dead, officials said Tuesday.

"The good news is that we have managed to find five survivors and they have just been airlifted to safety," said Simon Gitau, a senior warden with the Kenya Wildlife Service, which is involved in the rescue operation.

"They are in good condition after walking away from the crash site," he added.

Three Russian-made Mi-245 combat helicopters crashed Sunday in a remote mountainous region of Kenya while flying to Somalia. One was found on Monday, with all seven servicemen on board rescued.

Wreckage of the other helicopters were found early Tuesday morning, with two dead bodies sighted in one that was still on fire, Gitau said.

Full report at: Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

----------

 

Libyan Fighters Join Syrian Revolt

 August 14, 2012

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Veteran fighters of last year's civil war in Libya have come to the front-line in Syria, helping to train and organize rebels under conditions far more dire than those in the battle against Muammar Gaddafi, a Libyan-Irish fighter has told Reuters.

Hussam Najjar hails from Dublin, has a Libyan father and Irish mother and goes by the name of Sam. A trained sniper, he was part of the rebel unit that stormed Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli a year ago, led by Mahdi al-Harati, a powerful militia chief from Libya's western mountains.

Harati now leads a unit in Syria, made up mainly of Syrians but also including some foreign fighters, including 20 senior members of his own Libyan rebel unit. He asked Najjar to join him from Dublin a few months ago, Najjar said.

The Libyans aiding the Syrian rebels include specialists in communications, logistics, humanitarian issues and heavy weapons, he said. They operate training bases, teaching fitness and battlefield tactics.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/14/world/middleeast/14reuters-syria-crisis-

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Somalia: 2 Journalists Killed

 August 14, 2012

Two more Somali journalists have been killed in Mogadishu, the capital, in the past two days, bringing the number of journalists slain in the country this year to nine. On Sunday, a man dressed in a high school uniform shot and killed Yusuf Ali Osman, a veteran reporter who has been serving as the director of Somalia’s Information Ministry, said Bashir Khalif Ghani, an editor with the state-run Radio Mogadishu. A second Somali journalist was also killed Sunday after government troops opened fire at a sports stadium. A stray bullet struck and killed the journalist, Mohamud Ali Yare, said a colleague, Abdirashi Abikar. United Nations and African Union officials on Monday demanded that the Somali government put a stop to the killings. None of the people involved in the nine media workers deaths this year have been prosecuted.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/world/africa/somalia-2-journalists-

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Australia

 

‘Islamisation’ Pamphlets Upset Aussies

07 August 2012

CAIRO – The distribution of leaflets warning of the ‘Islamisation’ of Australia is inviting condemnations from across the country for spreading bigotry against Muslims in their culturally-diverse society.

"My first thought was for those people living in the area who follow Islam and how they might feel," Don Stokes, a resident at Heidelberg suburb in Melbourne, told Heidelberg Leader on Tuesday, August 7.

"This sort of bigotry is not just cowardly and misleading, but illogical and might just fuel prejudices.”

A mail was sent by a Sydney-based group known as the Q Society of Australia warning of it says the “Islamisation” of the country.

The group says on its website that it believes the "bedrock of this society must remain Judeo-Christian" and "the further Islamisation of our nation" needed to be "stopped and reversed".

"We stand against the creeping infiltration of this socio-political dogma and its medieval concept of religious absolutism," it says.

The group’s spokesman Andrew Horwood said the material had been distributed in areas where its members lived.

He said about 150,000 flyers had been handed out and letterboxed across Australia since mid-2011.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/458433-anti-islam-pamphlets-stir-aussie-uproar.html

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Big Brother's jihad bombshell

Siobhan Duck

 August 13, 2012 

THE first man charged with terrorism in Australia after September 11 was in the running to be a Big Brother housemate and says he has been asked to reapply next year.

Zeky "Zak" Mallah, 29, was in talks with Southern Star Entertainment's casting producer about entering the house under the false name Allan, before "dropping the bombshell" on contestants that he had once been an aspiring jihadist.

A Big Brother source said Mallah had not made the short list of 25, but had made it through stages of the audition process.

The controversial show returns to TV tonight after a three-year break.

Mallah was found not guilty of terrorism charges when he was cleared of planning an attack on a Commonwealth office in 2005.

A NSW Supreme Court jury accepted Mallah was an attention-seeker, not a terrorist. But he was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of threatening an ASIO officer.

Full report at:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/big-brothers-jihad-bombshell/story-fnbzs1v0-1226448717089

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