New Age Islam
Thu Nov 26 2020, 04:42 PM

Islamic World News ( 19 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Rising extremism in Pakistan: Hindus a target?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan

Rising extremism in Pakistan: Hindus a target?

Another Hindu family warns of leaving Pakistan

Islamic text removed from Ahmadi's shop, home in Sheikhupura

Blasphemy or rights abuse?: President directs interior ministry to submit detailed report

Blasphemy case: Misuse of law won’t be allowed: Zardari

Lost anthem: Song Jinnah asked Hindu poet to write

Naipaul’s wife finds Pak ‘horror’ now stalking UK

Cellular services suspended in 4 Pakistani cities over terror threat

Pak Govt. plays 'dumb spectator' as JuD brazenly collects donations

President calls for promoting tolerance to repulse extremism

Six militants killed in Khyber Agency shelling

2,331 cases of violence against children in 6 months

Pakistan-India thaw: Biggest-ever prisoner swap on the cards

 

India

Indian Muslims condemn Pak, but call for introspection

Cyber war: Blaming Pakistan is not enough

Ajmer: Ugly face of shrine bodies on show again

Kashmiri separatist leaders placed under house arrest

Two migrants thrown off train die on way home

Sonia for action against perpetrators of violence

Protests mar Eid celebrations in Srinagar

Heavy firing between BSF, Pak Rangers at Jammu border, intruder killed

Exodus of northeast people: Pakistan rejects India's assertion, seeks evidence

Army focus on Pak fundamentalist groups

5L refugees in Assam India’s biggest internal exodus?

Assam violence: Congress fears being caught in communal divide

Exodus of northeast people: Eight Pakistani sites identified for spreading rumours

BJP slams govt over intelligence failure in detecting Pakistan's hand

Exodus of northeastern people: India raises social media misuse with Pakistan, situation normal in south

Situation calm in Assam; security beefed up for Eid

Mass email fakes Pakistan flag hoisting event in A.P.

Mumbai riots accused in police custody till Aug 24

Don't Hindus have feelings? Bal Thackeray

 

South Asia

Nasheed reneging on commitment to respect CNI: Dunya

Afghanistan will not unravel after troop exit: NATO

New Zealand signals early exit from Afghanistan

Top US general takes on Afghan ‘insider attacks’

 

Mideast Asia

Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians listed as 'terrorist incidents' by US

Islam is ‘a religion of war,’ says son of Hamas founder on a visit to his ‘beloved Israel’

Israel-Iran war cause “500 deaths”

Why is Israel screwing over student olim?

Two Turkish Soldiers Killed in Suspected PKK Attack

Iran tensions delay Israel immigration

‘Tumour’ of Israel biggest problem for Islamic world: Iran

Israel deploys anti-rocket battery near Egypt border: army

Officials: crazed gunman kills 9 Yemenis in prayer

Police arrest five teen suspects in brutal Jerusalem assault

 

Arab World

Dubai flick rankles terrorist’s family

Former Islamist Egyptian lawmaker’s sons detained for antiquity theft

Egyptian Muslims given Shariah authorization to murder protestors

UN observers wind up Syria mission

Bloody start to Eid in Syria: watchdog

Ramadan TV Gently Pushes Saudi Boundaries

Bomb Wounds Iraqi Sunni Cleric Who Urged Cooperation With Shiites

On a Bleak Holiday, Assad Makes a Display of Piety

Intense Fighting Rages in Syria's City of Aleppo

Intense fighting rages in Syria's southern city

 

North America

US lawmaker skinny-dipped on Israel trip

NATO bid to prevent “green-on-blue” attacks

Jordan Govt protests Syrian shelling

Now, you can kill Osama for just $325 in Minnesota

 

Europe

Germany helping Syria rebels with spy ship intel: paper

 

Africa

Libya arrests Gaddafi loyalists over car bombings

Somalia wakes up to a different picture, a new sense of optimism

Wheelchair hero's 2,485-mile journey for Kenya's first spinal injury rehab unit

South African miners' families back Julius Malema's call for nationalisation

Ballon Kenya: empowering young Kenyans

Tunisian Salafists shutdown ‘un-Islamic’ events

Aregbesola condemns killing in Islam’s name

South African miners urged to resume work at 'safe' mine

Somali: MPs to be sworn in to historic parliament

Workers at South African Mine Trickle Back to Work After 44 Killed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Rising extremism in Pakistan: Hindus a target

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/rising-extremism-in-pakistan-hindus-a-target/d/8350

 

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Pakistan

 

Rising extremism in Pakistan: Hindus a target?

Written by Mala Das

August 20, 2012

Jacobabad: Bustling with life till recently, the streets of Jacobabad in Pakistan's Sindh province now wear a forlorn look. The town, which is home to 90 per cent of the country's Hindu population, has witnessed families leaving in droves amidst a growing sense of insecurity and a prevailing fear psychosis arising out of reported persecution of minorities.

"Almost 60 families have left Jacobabad because people are feeling insecure here, we have no one to support us, not socially and not at the government level," a Hindu resident said.

Festering since long, the issue hit headlines after over 250 Hindus belonging to the Balochistan and Sindh provinces crossed over to India this early month, amid reports of an exodus following the kidnapping of a Hindu girl. The community has been the target of extortions, kidnapping and forced conversions in these provinces.

While many of the Pakistani Hindus, who have come to India on pilgrimage visas, are likely to stay on and seek asylum, most are under pressure from the Pakistani government to give written assurances ensuring that they would return. On record, they insist that are secure in their country and will go back to their farms and villages.

"We are very happy where we stay, we are safe. We are going on a holiday as per our wish...we will come back in 30 days," Om Prakash, a resident of Jacobabad, said.

But that can hardly hide the apprehensions of a community which is fast becoming a soft target of Islamic extremism. There are only 3% Hindus in Pakistan and their numbers continue to dwindle.

The mass migration of Hindus has also come as a major embarrassment for the Pakistani establishment, more so for the ruling Pakistani People's Party (PPP) which prides itself on being secular and liberal. President Asif Ali Zardari, in fact, has constituted a three-member committee to meet the Hindu community across Sindh and express solidarity and instill a sense of security among them. However, the leaders of the community as well as rights activists say that the actions are a case of too little, too late.

"I am Hindu, but I have read the Quran and am very impressed by the religion. But I am scared of saying out aloud that I am impressed by Islam, because I fear that if I tell someone that I am impressed by Islam, they might forcefully convert me to a Muslim," Mangla Sharma, a Pakistani Hindu, said.

The fear is not without reason. The conversion of Rinkle Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu girl, to Islam a few months ago became a national controversy. Her parents alleged that she was forcefully kidnapped and converted but when the matter was taken up by the country's Supreme Court, she chose to stay with her Muslim husband. There are suspicions, though, that she did so under duress.

What's worse, the man who organized her conversion and marriage among much fanfare is a powerful local leader belonging to the PPP. And this is where the problem lies - it's not so much about the conversion of Hindu girls as it is about the apathy of the society at large towards the already-beleaguered minorities.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/rising-extremism-in-pakistan-hindus-a-target-256761

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Another Hindu family warns of leaving Pakistan

May 20, 2012

LAHORE: A former minority union councillor (UC) from Sukkur has appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to rescue his son who has been arrested “illegally” by police “otherwise I will leave my beloved country”. In a letter to the CJP, Krishan Chandar, a resident of UC 9 Sukkur and former minority councillor of UC 8 Sukkur, said that when he was a councillor he had blamed local police for sponsoring drug businesses, including the sale of poisonous liquor in the area. He said he had also urged the government to take steps against this business.

He said that his son, Sunil Krishan, being a victim of poisonous liquor lost his life in November 2010 “but I didn’t request post-mortem of the body”.

He said that another of his sons, Shalinder, died on August 7 for the same reason.

“But on the third day of his death, police entered my house without search warrants and arrested my elder son, Jatindar, in a liquor case,” he said in the letter.

Later, he filed a writ petition against police in the Sindh High Court, but police succeeded in getting remand of Jatindar.

Krishan appealed to the CJP to order a complete medical check-up of his son and rescue him, otherwise, Krishan warned, he would leave Pakistan. “If something bad happens to my son, Sukkur police will be responsible for it,” Krishan wrote to the CJP.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\20\story_20-8-2012_pg7_11

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Islamic text removed from Ahmadi's shop, home in Sheikhupura

By Rabia Mehmood

August 20, 2012

LAHORE: Members of an Islamic organisation removed Quranic texts and religious words from the shop of an Ahmadi family in Kot Abdul Malik, Sheikhupura, on August 14 with the help of local police.

Factory Area Police had gone to Qamar Zia’s mobile shop with members of an Islamic organisation, Almi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwat and removed two lines of Quranic texts and the word Mash’Allah from outside the shop and inside as well.

His father’s name “Muhammad Ali” inscribed on the gate of the residence, next to Zia’s shop, was also removed with the help of welding equipment and then painted over.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Zia said, “I kept on saying that this is my father’s name and not a religious expression, and it can be verified from his identification card, but they did not pay heed to my request.”

Zia added that after committing the act, a mob of residents and members of the Almi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwat, congregated outside the house and spoke against Ahmadis. The police then dispersed the mob.

Zia, a 35 year old cell shop owner who has lived in the Muhalla Roshan Abad, Scheme number 3, Kot Abdul Malik since he was three year old, said that at the beginning of August, three young men from the aforementioned organisation came outside his shop and began taking pictures. When Zia asked them to stop, the men abused him, saying, “You have no right to put this text up.”

On August 6, Zia submitted an application in the Factory Area Police Station, to complain against the harassment, but the police did not take notice of his protest.

However on August 7, the organisation’s men went to the police station and filed an application for registering an FIR against Zia, to charge him under section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, after which the police invited both parties to the police station on August 10 to resolve the matter.

According to Zia, at the meeting, when he was asked to remove the religious texts from the shop, he refused, saying that the law can decide whatever steps it wants to take, but he would not commit the disrespectful act.

Zia claims that the police officer had cautioned him that he would be killed if he did not comply.

“Son, even if the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat men kill you, I will not be able to do anything,” the officer had said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Dr Abdul Kursheed, one of the members of the Majlis said, “The Ahmadi man violated the law, and we will report them again if they repeat this act, and unlike this recent incident the police will take action, not us.”

Similar to recent incidents, wherein Ahmadis were accused of “posing as Muslims”, in this case too, police officials said the steps were taken to “maintain peace.”

SHO Factory Area Police, Sami-Ullah Khan told The Express tribune, “We took all measures to resolve the issue, we did not want unrest. Anyone can take guidance from the Holy Book.”

Khan added that, “we sent our personnel because people were gathered at the spot, and we did not want any untoward incident.”

Zia said that, “there was no way for us, but to give in to the law.”

He added that he did not send his children to school after the incident on August 14, out of fear, and said that he had heard rumors that the Majlis men were involved in campaigning against his business as well.

Almi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwat is known to campaign against Ahmadi business men and in promoting social boycott against the community through lectures, conferences and literature in form of stickers, banners and posters.

Zia said that such polarization had only increased in his area in the last couple of years.

In Punjab, persecution of Ahmadi citizens has been on the rise in 2012, including desecration of their places of worship.

Country spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, told The Express Tribune, “We send monthly updates to the Presidency, PM house, interior ministry, ministry of religious affairs, ministry of human rights and respective provincial governments, but have hardly ever received even an acknowledgment of our correspondence.”

On the role of the police, the spokesperson added that, “Kot Abdul Malik is next to Lahore, this is not Waziristan that the police could not control the cleric without giving into their pressure,” adding, “In a country, where our dead are not spared, how will we protect our living.”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424516/religious-text-removed-from-ahmadis-shop-home-in-sheikhupura/

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Blasphemy or rights abuse?: President directs interior ministry to submit detailed report

By Azam Khan / Qaiser Zulfiqar

August 20, 2012

ISLAMBAD: Taking notice of the arrest of an 11-year-old Christian girl on blasphemy charges, President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday sought a detailed report of the incident from interior ministry.

Rifta Masih – who suffers from Down’s Syndrome – was jailed by the police in Mehrabadi village, near Islamabad, on Saturday after being severely beaten up by locals, for allegedly burning 10 pages of the Noorani Qaida.

After the issue was highlighted in the media, Islamabad police registered a case against the imam of the local mosque of Meharabad area near G-11 sector for instigating locals to set the minor girl on fire.

“Investigation is underway and the authenticity of the incident, age of the girl and her motive is yet to be determined,” said the station house officer (SHO) of the Qasim Niazi police station.

Instead of trying to contain the situation and allay tensions in the area through deployment of police, the SHO simply asked the Christian community of the area to run for their lives. The official revealed that a new FIR has been registered against the cleric and 175 others who he claimed have approached the police with a demand to hand over the Christian girl so she could be set on fire publically at the main chowk of the area.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti told The Express Tribune that Rifta would be medically examined. Bhatti said that he has also taken up the issue with religious scholars of different sects, who, after Eidul Fitr, will determine whether Rifta’s act was deliberate or unintentional, since she is only a child.

A cleric, who talked on phone on the condition of anonymity, gave The Express Tribune his version of the incident. According to him, he was teaching Quran to students in the mosque when he heard noises of neighbours beating someone. When he approached the scene, he was told that the girl, who he himself admitted was a minor, had taken away a copy of the Holy Book from a neighbour’s house and set it on fire.

The cleric vowed to defend “Islam in this world and next world” and claimed that after witnessing the incident he, along with some other locals, approached the police for registration of a case against the girl.

He said when the police remained reluctant to register the case; locals were forced to stage a protest. While the cleric claimed that it was him who approached the police for legal action, the police said that they saved the girl and her family through a timely intervention or the mob led by this cleric would have burnt the girl alive.

SHO Niazi said that if a timely operation was not conducted, locals could have burnt the Christians of the area. Others said that instead of denying the accusations, the Christian population fled from the area. Abdur Rehman, 24, who also lives in the area, said that he wanted to kill the girl but police escorted her along with the family.

Reactions

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Human Rights Cell has expressed concern over the detention of the juvenile Christian girl. The Human Rights Cell proposed that in any such event, law must allow leadership of religious communities and district administration to jointly enquire the matter before the registration of a complaint and arrest.

According to the Centre for Law and Justice, at least 200 to 300 Christian families from Meharabadi Jaffar, Sector G-12, Islamabad, have fled after Rifta was accused of blasphemy.

The organisation said that the government has failed to provide security to these Christian families who fled from their houses after clerics pledged to attack Christians and evict them forcibly.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424573/blasphemy-or-rights-abuse-president-directs-interior-ministry-to-submit-detailed-report/

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Lost anthem: Song Jinnah asked Hindu poet to write

Aug 20, 2012

I stumbled upon this bit of anthem trivia in my inbox the other day; the Urdu poet, Jagan Nath Azad penned the first Pakistani national anthem, at the behest of Jinnah. From my sketchy memory of the terribly dull history books written by the pantheon of Pakistan Studies — the man we honoured for the Qaumi Tarana was Hafeez Jallandari.

However, I got an 'E' in Pakistan Studies — and I won't tell all of you good South Asian parents with aspirations for your children, what that meant for me when I got home to my academically-demanding mother — but this might mean that my regurgitation of history facts could be suspect.

Jallandari was from Jalandhar , Azad from Mianwali . The two crisscrossed after 1947, as many similar tales reflect. But the story of the anthem authorship got lost in the midst. This independence — some 65 years on — there has been an effort to revive this story. To read the full story, I would head to Beena Sarwar's piece in Fountain Ink — Pakistan's 'Lost' Anthem, which provides rich details about the climate in which Jinnah asked Azad, a leading Urdu writer to pen his anthem, the opening lines of which are:

O pure land The stars illuminate each particle of yours Your very dust is today brighter than a rainbow O pure land As with many things in Pakistan, the anthem was pulled after Jinnah's death in 1948. One can well imagine an envious lot of writers vying for the glory of anthem writing. How could Jinnah have given this grand gig to a Hindu, one who had left Pakistan for India ? One more reason to wonder why more thought hasn't gone into the invective-ridden analysis of Jinnah in India. Certainly Azad understood what was at stake and as Sarwar tells us, his sense of Jinnah desperate to create a secular environment . Azad recounted his tale in his autobiography 'Ankhein Tarasti Hain' , and sadly isn't here to answer other questions today.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Lost-anthem-Song-Jinnah-asked-Hindu-poet-to-write/articleshow/15564626.cms

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Cellular services suspended in 4 Pakistani cities over terror threat

Aug 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Cellular services were on Sunday night suspended in four major Pakistani cities, including Lahore and Karachi, to prevent terrorist attacks using bombs triggered with mobile phones, interior minister Rehman Malik said.

Millions of people in Lahore, Multan, Karachi and Quetta were unable to use their mobile phones from 8pm as cellular operators suspended all services in most parts of these cities on the directions of the interior ministry.

"We have done it to stop bombings using mobile phones," Malik said during an interaction with reporters when he made a surprise inspection of security at a market in Islamabad late on Sunday night.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Cellular-services-suspended-in-4-

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Pak Govt. plays 'dumb spectator' as JuD brazenly collects donations

Aug 20 2012

Peshawar : Groups of jihadi outfits, seeking donations to help wage ''jihad'' against the United States in Afghanistan, have taken to the streets in Pakistan, without being deterred by the administration, who choose to turn a deaf ear to it.

On the eve of Eid, Jamaat-ud Dawa and Al-Badr Mujahideen activists were seen roaming in the streets, holding printed material handouts and banners, using megaphones to attract attention and donors. Also present were some activists of Deobandi Jaish-i-Muhammad.

According to The Dawn, some of these outfits- not the banned ones- routinely visit mosques and use the pulpits to invite people to join the ''holy war'' in Afghanistan. ''Recruitment'' in mosques in Peshawar''s peripheral areas and other districts are commonplace.

Allowing such activities in full public view creates a perception that perhaps things are back to square one. The difference between extremism and terrorism that General Ashraf Pervez Kayani so spoke about at Kakul last week would remain mere lip service unless the government follows through on its word and acts and not just speaks about curbing such activities, the paper said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-govt.-plays-dumb-spectator-as-jud-brazenly-collects-donations/990667/

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Blasphemy case: Misuse of law won’t be allowed: Zardari

May 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The recent arrest of a Christian girl in the capital’s rural area on blasphemy charges has broken the silence of the ruling PPP which has been quiet on the issue over the past year since the assassination of two of its leaders, Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, for suggesting some changes in the controversial blasphemy law.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has taken “serious notice” of the incident and called for a report from the Ministry of Interior.

Dr Nafisa Shah, central coordinator of PPP’s human rights cell, also issued a statement expressing concern over the girl’s arrest and termed it “a glaring example” of misuse of the blasphemy law.

Presidency’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Khan Babar quoted the president as saying that blasphemy by anyone could not be condoned but no one would be allowed to misuse blasphemy law for settling personal scores.

According to Mr Babar, the president called for a report within 24 hours, directed the authorities to protect the life and property of everyone and said no-one should be allowed to take the law in his own hands.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/20/blasphemy-case-misuse-of-law-wont-be-allowed-zardari/

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President calls for promoting tolerance to repulse extremism

May 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has called for rejecting extremist trends and negative propaganda of misguided elements in the country by promoting the Islamic teachings of tolerance and affinity.

The President, in his message to the nation on Eid-ul-Fitr, said that a society developed on such lines would be helpful in resolving the issues of extremism and violence.

The President mentioned the recent incident of firing by miscreants on the passenger buses in Lulusar (Gilgit-Baltistan) and said such acts of sectarianism and violence are completely against the teachings of Islam.

Similarly, he said, the terrorist attack in Kamra, which was foiled by the courage and valour of the country’s armed forces, clearly violated the spirit of Islam.

President Zardari felicitated the nation on Eid and expressed gratitude to Allah Almighty for granting all an opportunity to celebrate this festive occasion.

He said Eid-ul-Fitr is a day that concludes the blessed month of Ramazan, marking it with a note of thankfulness.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/20/president-calls-for-promoting-tolerance-to-repulse-extremism/

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Six militants killed in Khyber Agency shelling

May 20, 2012

BARA: At least six militants were killed and five others injured in shelling by security forces on suspected hideouts on Sunday. According to details, security forces targeted the suspected hideouts in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency with jet planes. One hideout of the militants was destroyed in the shelling, resulting in the killing of six militants and leaving five others injured. Sources said that the militants killed in the security forces’ action belonged to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\20\story_20-8-2012_pg7_8

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2,331 cases of violence against children in 6 months

May 20, 2012

* 203 cases reported from Balochistan, 382 from KP, 687 from Sindh and 1,059 cases from Punjab

KARACHI: The rights of children are being taken as granted in Pakistani society with the incidents of violence, abuse and torture against them on rise. In the first six months of the current year, as many as 2,331 cases of violence against children were reported from different parts of the country, said a report of Madadgaar National Helpline issued here recently.

Children are considered amongst the most vulnerable sections of society and protecting them against violence and abuse is considered to be the prime responsibility in civilised societies. However, the situation is quite different in our country.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\20\story_20-8-2012_pg7_12

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Pakistan-India thaw: Biggest-ever prisoner swap on the cards

By Zia Khan

August 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India are expected to carry out the biggest-ever swap of prisoners languishing in each other jails, indicating a growing thaw in their frosty relations four years after the Mumbai attacks.

Officials told The Express Tribune that a broader understanding to release prisoners was reached when President Asif Ali Zardari visited India this April and met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The swap will apply to all prisoners besides those detained on terrorism or espionage charges, according to sources in the foreign ministry. The foreign ministries of the two countries have been gathering data on prisoners detained in jails on both sides of the border.

While no exact figure is available, officials said the number of Pakistanis jailed in India run into hundreds if not thousands – and most of them are either fishermen or villagers living on the border who cross into India unknowingly.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/424347/pakistan-india-thaw-biggest-ever-prisoner-swap-on-the-cards/

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India

 

Indian Muslims condemn Pak, but call for introspection

Aug 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: With the Union government stating that elements inside Pakistan uploaded morphed, incendiary videos and images of atrocities on Muslims in Myanmar and Assam on the internet with the aim of creating communal frenzy in India, Muslim leaders behind the August 11 protest rally at Azad Maidan in Mumbai, which turned violent, said that Pakistan should be declared a "terrorist state" for its latest intransigence.

"After the 26/11 attacks, we'd requested the United Nations to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. If it really doctored the videos and uploaded them on blogs, we reiterate our demand," said Saeed Noorie, general secretary, Raza Academy, one of the organizers of the rally.

Maulana Moin Ashraf, who led peace prayers during the rally, said it wasn't the first time that Pakistan was caught in such "criminal" act. "Mausoleums of Sufi saints in Pakistan have been bombed and clerics targeted. It engineered 26/11 and now seems to have doctored images which incited Muslims in India. The government should deal with Pakistan firmly," said Ashraf, who heads Madrassa Qadriya Ashrafia in Mumbai.

Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said, "Why this perception that Muslims in India always look to or are swayed by Pakistan? To hell with Pakistan. A Muslim in India has the right to be angry and protest as much as anybody else. Will the home secretary tell us what the cyber cells of various police forces in the country or the IB were doing when Pakistan sent bulk messages to India?" Owaisi said.

He said that the government must nevertheless answer why lakhs of Indian Muslim riot victims in Assam are being called Bangladeshis.

In New Delhi, Mahmood Madani, general secretary, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, echoed the same sentiment.

Patron of the Lucknow unit of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind Maulana Jahangir Aleem Qasmi was incredulous. "Our government can blame Pakistan for a bicycle puncture," he said. "I don't mind saying let Pakistan go to hell. But by blaming Pakistan, we are overlooking the real cause of trouble: organizations that work to strain the traditional ties between Hindus and Muslims."

Zafarul Islam Khan, president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, said, "The photographs or bulk messages may have originated from Pakistan but the local culprits who circulated them should be identified and arrested. The police know who the culprits are but they won't arrest them due to in-built bias."

(With inputs from Mumbai, New Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Bangalore)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Muslims-condemn-Pak-but-call-for-introspection/articleshow/15564554.cms

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Cyber war: Blaming Pakistan is not enough

C. Raja Mohan

 Aug 20 2012

New Delhi : Delhi’s assertion that hostile websites in Pakistan have triggered the recent rioting in Mumbai and provoked the flight of northeastern migrants from Bengaluru and other cities might indeed be based on fact.

Blaming Pakistan, however, is not going to solve the enormous new challenges that confront India’s security planners in the cyber domain. Nor will requesting Islamabad to crackdown on the websites that deliberately spread disinformation against India will yield any real results.

The civilian government led by Asif Ali Zardari has no control over the security agencies in Pakistan, which have honed their skills at anti-Indian propaganda for decades. Worse still, the civilian government in Islamabad is struggling hard to contain a vicious mood of religious extremism that is enveloping Pakistan.

The latest attacks on the small Hindu minority in Pakistan are only one example. The Christian minority has been under siege for quite some time. The state authorities are under growing pressure to target the Ahmedi community, which have been declared as non-Muslim.

The targeted killing of Muslim minorities in Pakistan has been dramatized last week, when militants stopped a bus in Kohistan, separated the 25 Shia passengers and executed them.

Given that reality, blaming Pakistan and presenting itself as a victim will do India no good. For the latest disinformation campaign underlines the enormous possibilities that are now open to those who seeking to destabilize India.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cyber-war-blaming-pakistan-is-not-enough/990637/

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Ajmer: Ugly face of shrine bodies on show again

20 August 2012

RECEIVING a donation with grace and dignity has never been the way with the various stakeholders at the Ajmer dargah of the Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty. The donation of $ 1 million ( around ` 5.5 crore) by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for the development of the dargah during his April visit to Ajmer has highlighted this ugly phenomenon once again.

With Zardari delaying the payment of the donation for about four months, the money finally came through on the night of August 17, though only after an ugly tug of war involving three bodies. These included the two bodies of the khadims ( hereditary priests) — Anjuman Syedzadgan and Anjuman Sheikhzadgan — and the Dargah Committee constituted by the Central government under the legislation for the maintenance and development of the shrine. Syedzadgan represents the majority of the khadims . As Zardari had not made it clear which body the donation was intended for, Pakistan high commissioner Salman Bashir had to split the money among the three bodies, though unequally. This followed marathon closed door meetings whose venue was changed thrice over the course of the day. He succeeded only after great persuasion, with ruckus being created, especially by the office- bearers of the Syedzadgan who maintained that only the khadims were the rightful recipients of the nazrana ( donation).

Full report at: Mail Today

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Kashmiri separatist leaders placed under house arrest

20 AUGUST 2012

Authorities Monday placed all senior Kashmiri separatist leaders under house arrest to maintain law and order during the congregational Eid prayers in Srinagar.

"These measures have been taken to ensure that nobody disturbs peace and tranquility in the city on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr," a police official said.

Those placed under house arrest include Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Muhammad Nayeem Khan among others.

Authorities have been preventing the separatists from addressing large public gatherings after the summer unrest of 2010 in which 107 people were killed in clashes between unruly mobs and security forces.

Irate mobs had also indulged in large-scale arson and violence on the day of Eid in 2010.

The central and state governments had blamed the local separatist leaders for inciting people to resort to violence in 2010.

On Eid-ul-Fitr, thousands of locals gather at Eidgahs across the state for thanksgiving at the end of the month of Ramadan.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/top-story/88585-kashmiri-separatist-leaders-placed-under-house-arrest.html

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Two migrants thrown off train die on way home

By Kaushik Deka

20 August 2012

Two persons from the North- East fleeing to their home states died and nine others were injured when they were pushed from a moving train on Sunday an Indian Railways official said raising the prospect of more communal clashes.

The incident happened near the Jalpaiguri railway station in West Bengal bordering Assam, the official said.

“ Two persons died, four are critically wounded and five suffered minor injuries,” the Indian Railways official said declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Amid this incident, thousands of people returning to their home states home in the North- East are facing an uncertain future.

Dharmakanta Nath, 32, who worked as a security supervisor with the Eagle Eye Management Service in Bangalore, reached his home in Nagoan district’s Moynapur village, about 200 km from Guwahati, on Saturday.

Along with him were his two younger brothers who also worked as security guards.

As their father is a small- time farmer, the family depended on the monthly sum sent by them for meeting its expenses. But now the family is nervous thinking about the future.

And they are not the only ones. More than 100 youths of Moynapur — a village of 500 families — in blue- collared jobs in Bangalore have returned amid fears of a backlash by Muslims.

With bad monsoon for the last couple of years, the situation is even more grim in the agrarian village.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Sonia for action against perpetrators of violence

20 August 2012

CONGRESS President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday called for stern action against those disturbing social harmony in the country in the aftermath of the ethnic strife in Assam.

“ Whatever happened in Assam is a matter of great sorrow and concern. Swift action should be taken against those responsible for the incident, whoever they are,” Sonia said, addressing a ceremony to confer the 20th Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award in the Capital.

“ All sections of the society should condemn what happened in some states against the people of the North- East after the ethnic clashes in Assam. The central and the state governments should take stern action against those who are disturbing the harmony,” she added. Sonia stressed that the people of India have the right to inhabit and work in any part of the country.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Protests mar Eid celebrations in Srinagar

PAug 20, 2012

SRINAGAR: Violent protests after congregational prayers on Monday marred Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in the city as a mob set ablaze a police vehicle and beat up three policemen in Eidgah area.

As soon as the Eid prayers concluded at Eidgah in the Old City, hundreds of youth blocked the road and stopped a police vehicle on its way to Soura from Qamarwari and asked the policemen to alight from the vehicle, official sources said.

They said the cops were then beaten by the mob but they managed to escape from the spot. Three policemen, including an assistant sub inspector, were injured in the incident.

The mob then set ablaze the police vehicle, the sources said.

Additional police and paramilitary personnel were rushed to the spot to restore law and order in the area, the sources said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Protests-mar-Eid-celebrations-in-Srinagar/articleshow/15568615.cms

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Heavy firing between BSF, Pak Rangers at Jammu border, intruder killed

Aug 20, 2012

JAMMU: Heavy firing exchanges erupted along the international border after Pakistan again violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian posts to push in a group of militants in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district, where one intruder was killed.

This is the fourteenth time that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the international border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) in the last fortnight.

Pakistani Rangers fired on Indian posts of Mala Bela, Garkhal, Sidra camp and Naka Number-10 along international border in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district around 2230 hours on Sunday night, officials said on Monday.

The firing was aimed to facilitate a group of militants into Indian territory. "We observed movement of suspected militants along border", they said.

BSF troops guarding the borderline fired back resulting in heavy exchanges, in which one intruder was killed and other escaped back, they said, adding firing continued till 7.30am on Monday.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Heavy-firing-between-BSF-Pak-Rangers-at-Jammu-border-intruder-killed/articleshow/15567269.cms

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Exodus of northeast people: Pakistan rejects India's assertion, seeks evidence

Aug 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has rejected as "unfounded" India's assertion that elements in this country were using social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments and create a scare among people from northeast, and asked New Delhi to provide evidence in this regard.

The matter figured in a phone conversation between Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik and his Indian counterpart Sushilkumar Shinde. Malik said he has asked India to provide evidence that elements in Pakistan had used social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments. "The Indian minister has said that rumours were generated from Pakistan through cellular services," Malik told reporters referring to his phone conversation with Shinde on Sunday.

"I had requested him (Shinde) to provide evidence in this regard to us and we will take care of it," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Exodus-of-northeast-people-Pakistan-rejects-Indias-assertion-seeks-evidence/articleshow/15567543.cms

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Army focus on Pak fundamentalist groups

Aug 20, 2012

KOLKATA: The Army headquarters had information about Lashkar-e-Taiba and its political front, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, holding a meeting in Karachi on July 2 on the attack on Rohingiya Muslims in Myanmar, a senior Army officer told TOI on Sunday. Following this, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan demanded the closure of the Myanmarese embassy in Pakistan. The Kokrajhar riots on July 21 gave the fundamentalists an opportunity to club the two issues.

Besides creating confusion, the fundamentalists also hoped to recruit potential jihadis in India by fanning passions, it's suspected. The Kokrajhar riots had no connection with happenings in Myanmar but it was possible to club the two issues in distant places like Mumbai, the Army source said.

While this isn't the first time that clashes between Bodos and minorities have taken place in Kokarajhar, it's exceptional that this time its ramifications were felt in other parts of the country. Besides last Saturday's violence in Mumbai, in Kolkata posters have appeared in recent days from lesser-known organizations, condemning "attacks" on the minority community in Kokrajhar.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-focus-on-Pak-fundamentalist-groups/articleshow/15565403.cms

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5L refugees in Assam India’s biggest internal exodus?

Aug 20, 2012

KOKRAJHAR: There are just three people in Salam Choudhury's house. He, his wife of eight years and a little daughter who he says drives him to despair with her tantrums. "But," he adds, forcing a smile on a face that puts him at perhaps 30-35 years, "We can't think of a single day without her." In the third week of July, though, he sent her away for two weeks to a relative's place for safety. "That killed me," he adds, suddenly frowning, as a few others at a refugee camp in Kokrajhar crowd around him to find out if his story is worse than theirs. Then, looking at the men sitting on their haunches nearby, he says knowingly in Bengali, "Kismote chhilo (It was destined)."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/5L-refugees-in-Assam-Indias-biggest-internal-exodus/articleshow/15564789.cms

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Assam violence: Congress fears being caught in communal divide

Aug 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: The soaring tempers among Muslims over Assam violence have set off alarm bells in Congress, fearful that it can be caught between the aggressive minority voice protesting victimization and a retaliatory Hindu polarization.

The pictures from Lucknow, Mumbai and Bangalore have been disturbing for Congress strategists who see them as a threat to the party's electoral calculus seeking to balance majority-minority equation. It could only add to Congress's cup of woes, with slowing economy, inflation and corruption already blunting its appeal with middle-class voters.

While Congress swept the 2009 polls with one-sided backing from minorities, the loud complaint that the party regime in Assam and the Centre was biased against the community has triggered fears about its negative impact on its political prospects.

The Mumbai protest, seen as a precursor to demonstrations spreading to other cities, blamed Congress for targeting of Muslims in the conflict with Bodos in Assam. It also drew a pattern by citing Centre's silence on the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, contrasting it with the alacrity shown by the PM in condemning the massacre of Sikhs in the US.

The Azad Maidan violence caught the Congress-ruled state off-guard with the massive turnout and the rhetoric. But the rioting in Lucknow on Friday showed Mumbai may not be an isolated incident but part of a larger community angst following Kokrajhar riots.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Assam-violence-Congress-fears-being-caught-in-communal-divide/articleshow/15563830.cms

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Exodus of northeast people: Eight Pakistani sites identified for spreading rumours

Aug 20, 2012

NEW DELHI:With investigations into the cyber warfare unleashed by religious fundamentalists from across the border identifying eight sites from where the bulk of the fake photos and stories about purported atrocities on Muslims were circulated, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde talked to his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik on Sunday and sought action against these elements.

Shinde, while exchanging Eid greetings over the phone, sought Malik's cooperation in checking and neutralizing elements circulating fake pictures and stories through social media to whip up communal sentiments in India. This was the first direct contact between the two leaders.

Shinde's concerns were based on a 43-page report prepared by intelligence agencies along with National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) and India Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) that has traced several doctored images to Pakistan.

Agencies have also zeroed in on a particular Pakistan-based hardline group that is suspected to have organized the false propaganda as part of what the government suspects to be an organized destabilization effort.

A senior official in the security establishment said agencies had by Sunday afternoon identified at least eight sites, all with origins in Pakistan, which were at the forefront of circulation of the hate material. "CERT-IN is trying to block them after formal approval from the government," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Exodus-of-northeast-people-Eight-Pakistani-sites-identified-for-spreading-rumours/articleshow/15563233.cms

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BJP slams govt over intelligence failure in detecting Pakistan's hand

Aug 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: Reacting to reports that false messages about violence against people from the northeast had originated in Pakistan, BJP on Sunday attacked the government for what it described as an intelligence failure. Senior leader Yashwant Sinha sought to know why the government had not taken any action despite a statement from Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi that he always suspected a foreign hand in the violence.

"The Assam chief minister said he always felt there is Pakistan's hand in the incidents. A Congress chief minister is saying this, it's clearly an intelligence failure," Sinha said.

"It was a social media aggression unleashed by Pakistan and the government could not do anything. Instead, when there was an exodus from so many states, the home minister questioned only the Karnataka chief minister," he added. Senior leader L K Advani said the incidents had their roots in illegal migration from Bangladesh which the government had failed miserably to check.

BJP's main ally JD(U), however, came down hard on the government for putting the blame on Pakistan to shift focus from the "inept'' manner in which it handled the case. JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav described as shocking home secretary R K Singh's statement about Pakistan's involvement.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/BJP-slams-govt-over-intelligence-failure-in-detecting-Pakistans-hand/articleshow/15563090.cms

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Exodus of northeastern people: India raises social media misuse with Pakistan, situation normal in south

Aug 19, 2012

NEW DELHI: India on Sunday took up the issue of social media sites' misuse by Pakistan-based elements in whipping up communal sentiments in the country with Pakistan, even as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi sought action against those behind the Assam violence and subsequent mistreatment of people from the northeast.

Meanwhile, no further incident was reported from Bangalore, where security was tightened ahead of Eid Monday, while the Karnataka government appealed to all those people from the notheast who had fled following threats or rumoured threats to return, assuring them of all security.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Exodus-of-northeastern-people-India-raises-social-

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Situation calm in Assam; security beefed up for Eid

May 20, 2012

No fresh incident of violence was reported from any part of Assam where security has been beefed up on the occasion of Eid on Monday.

“There are no fresh incidents of violence. We are in constant touch will all the districts and Eid prayers have passed off peacefully,” Assam IGP (Law & Order) L.R. Bishnoi told PTI.

He said police and security forces have been deployed in all districts and regular reports have been received.

There are reports of Eid celebrations from districts, including Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri, which bore the brunt of the recent violence.

In Guwahati, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi called for peace and harmony in the state.

“Let us hope that this day of Eid will bring lasting peace and amity in the state. We will all have to work together and strive for peace,” Mr. Gogoi said addressing people at the Machkhowa Idgah.

He said relief and rehabilitation of the affected people is the biggest priority of the government.

The CM also said that an action plan to deal with such incidents of violence will be prepared by the state administration and police.

Meanwhile, two more special trains from Bangalore reached Guwahati on Monday morning bringing around 2,000 passengers.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3798829.ece?homepage=true

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Mass email fakes Pakistan flag hoisting event in A.P.

M. SRINIVAS

May 20, 2012

A wire service photograph showing Pakistanis celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in Hyderabad (Sind) with their national flag is being mischievously portrayed in a chain email message as Muslims in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, waving the Pakistani flag.”

Weaving fiction with fact, the email then details attempts by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to disrupt an India-Pakistan friendship programme organised in the city by an NGO, the Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), under the pretext that the Pakistani flag would be hoisted. In fact, no flags were hoisted there.

The email, coming in the wake of the Centre blaming Pakistan-based elements for uploading objectionable content on the Internet that painted an exaggerated picture of the violence in Assam, suggests the spreading of digital disinformation with a view to inciting religious hatred has become something of a free-for-all on this side of the border as well.

Showing Pakistan flags being waved by joyous “Indian Muslim” youth, the email with the subject ‘Muslim celebration Pakistan Independence Day in Andhra Pradesh – Hyderabad Congress Control,’ wondered why the Congress governments at the Centre and in the State could not prevent it.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3796117.ece

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Mumbai riots accused in police custody till Aug 24

August 19, 2012

The Esplanade metropolitan magistrate court on Sunday extended the crime branch custody of 23 persons arrested in connection with the violence near Azad Maidan on August 11 in which two youths were killed and 55 injured.

The court remanded them to police custody till August 24.

The Mumbai crime branch told the court that they want to find the other people involved in the violence and only those arrested can identify them.

Police said they want to know the "intention and the motive" behind the violence and added that the custody was required as they are yet to recover one pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition.

However, the defence lawyers said police custody was not necessary for interrogation and they may be remanded to judicial custody.

On August 16, police had also arrested a youth, identified as Salim Allarakha Choukiya alias Ali (23), after a video clip showed him brandishing a police self loading rifle (SLR) during the violent protests.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Mumbai-riots-accused-in-police-custody-till-Aug-24/Article1-916180.aspx

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Don't Hindus have feelings? Bal Thackeray

Aug 20 2012

Mumbai : Lashing out at the government for its handling of the Azad Maidan violence, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today said Mumbai police have been demoralised due to commissioner Arup Patnaik.

"When police were being attacked, when women police personnel were being molested, Mumbai's police commissioner Arup Patnaik was growling at those who were trying to control the radicals indulging in violence. The morale of Mumbai police has been dented because of such a police commissioner," Thackeray said, in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' here.

"We never said all Muslims are radicals or Pakistan lovers and nor will be say such things. However, a handful of radical and anti-national Muslims have raised a question mark over their entire community," the Sena chief said.

The government and police desisted from taking action against those involved in defacing the Amar Jawan memorial as they felt religious sentiments would be hurt during Eid, he said.

"Is it Muslims only who have feelings? What about Hindus? When Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswathi and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur were arrested, did anyone think of feelings of Hindus?" Thackeray questioned.

The country is going to pay the price for stifling the fighting spirit of the police force, he said.

Thackeray lauded the work done by the then Mumbai police commissioner Shrikant Bapat, who, during 1992 riots, took stringent action against the rioters. How can one compare Bapat and Patnaik, who holds a pistol in the hand in which he has worn bangles? he quipped.

The government, chief minister and Home minister who are backing such a police commissioner are "enemies of the society and the country", Thackeray said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/dont-hindus-have-feelings-bal-thackeray/990660/

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South Asia

 

Nasheed reneging on commitment to respect CNI: Dunya

By Daniel Bosley | August 16th, 2012

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon has accused former President Mohamed Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of “threats and intimidation tactics” over the outcome of the CNI report, due at the end of August.

“The Government of Maldives is committed to the resolution of political differences through peaceful dialogue and the democratic boulevard [sic] and institutions available in the country,” Dunya said in the statement.

However Nasheed “is going back on his own words and commitment to the international community that he would respect the outcome of the CoNI.”

Former President was speaking during an event commemorating ‘Black Friday’, the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists by the former regime in 2004.

Dunya expressed concern at Nasheed’s apparent determination to bring members of the police and military to justice for their illegal roles in the transfer of power, no matter the final verdict of the inquiry commission.

“President Nasheed had threatened violence on the streets of Male’ in order to ensure justice,” said Dunya during the press conference, the details of which have been distributed by the Foreign Ministry as a media release.

A translation for Minivan News of the pertinent section of Nasheed’s Monday speech is as follows:

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/nasheed-reneging-on-commitment-to-respect-cni-dunya-42162

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Afghanistan will not unravel after troop exit: NATO

20 August 2012

Afghanistan will not unravel into a civil war after the withdrawal of NATO combat troops in two years or return to Taleban rule, a senior NATO diplomat said Monday.

The planned departure of the bulk of US and NATO troops by the end of 2014 has prompted gloomy forecasts of an internecine war pitting proxy forces backed by Pakistan and India.

But NATO’s senior civilian representative, Simon Gass, rejected those predictions, arguing Afghan security forces were too strong for the Taleban and that regional powers had no interest in a return to the ‘dark days’ of the 1990s.

‘I really don’t buy the (civil war) scenario. I think some people find it an attractive scenario because it looks like history rewriting itself,’ Gass told AFP and Fox News in an interview in Kabul.

‘I really don’t think that will happen. One of the reasons it won’t happen is because Afghanistan’s neighbours realise the huge amount of problems that they would face if Afghanistan were tipped into a position of constant conflict and chaos,’ he said.

Full-blown civil war would result in a massive flow of refugees out of Afghanistan, he said.

‘I really don’t think any of Afghanistan’s neighbours would welcome the instability in this region that would be triggered by that sort of scenario.’

He said said Afghan leaders from all parts of the country all desperately want to avoid a return to the anarchy and bloodshed of the 1990s.

‘There is one thing that comes across quite strongly, I would describe it as horror at the idea of returning to the dark years, ‘92 and ‘93, when the civil war was raging and shells were falling on Kabul.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-

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New Zealand signals early exit from Afghanistan

May 20, 2012

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced on Monday that the country will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan earlier in 2013 than planned. He said the move is not prompted by the deaths this month of five New Zealand soldiers, including three who were killed on Sunday by a roadside bomb.

August’s deaths account for half of all fatalities suffered by the small contingent of New Zealanders in the nine years they have been stationed in central Bamiyan province, which was comparatively stable until a recent upswing in violence.

Mr. Key said it was “highly likely” the remaining soldiers from the contingent of 145 would be withdrawn in April 2013. He said discussions for the earlier withdrawal began before the five deaths this month. Murray McCully, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, had announced in May the troops would be withdrawn “in the latter part of 2013.”

Mr. Key said he wants to bring home the troops as fast as practicable within a timetable that fits in with the coalition partners.

“We’ll do it as fast as we can, and we’ll do it in the way that protects our people as best we can,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3798409.ece

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Top US general takes on Afghan ‘insider attacks’

May 20, 2012

BAGRAM: The top US military officer held talks with Nato commanders in Afghanistan on Monday, looking to halt unprecedented attacks by Afghan allies that have killed 40 Western soldiers so far this year.

Ten soldiers, mostly Americans, have been killed by Afghan allies in the past two weeks, while the total toll of 40 this year makes up 13 per cent of all international coalition deaths.

Mistrust spawned by the so-called green-on-blue assaults has reached the stage where foreign troops have been ordered to be armed at all times, even within bases, a Nato spokesman told AFP.

The attacks — on a scale believed to be unprecedented in modern military history — are responsible for almost one in every four coalition deaths in the war so far this month.

In the latest incident an Afghan in police uniform killed a Nato soldier in the south on Sunday, shortly before General Martin Dempsey arrived, the military said.

Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at Bagram airbase the rise in the number of attacks would be a key focus of his meetings with US-led coalition and Afghan officers.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/20/top-us-general-in-afghanistan-to-discuss-attacks/

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Mideast Asia

 

Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians listed as 'terrorist incidents' by US

19 August 2012

Israeli leaders condemn recent extremist violence, the growth of which human rights groups blame on lack of law enforcement

Violence by Jewish settlers has been cited for the first time in a US state department list of "terrorist incidents", as Israeli political leaders condemned a string of recent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The inclusion of assaults on Palestinian targets in the annual report on terrorism reflects growing concern in Israel and internationally that violence by a minority of Jewish extremists could trigger a new cycle of conflict and further damage the prospects of a peace agreement between the two sides.

"Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property and places of worship in the West Bank continued," said the Country Reports on Terrorism 2011. It referred to "price tag" operations, meaning violence committed by radical settlers against Palestinians in retribution for actions by the Israeli government or army deemed to be "anti-settler".

US and European officials have become more vocal in criticising settler violence amid fears that the actions of a minority of Jewish extremists could provoke a militant response from Palestinians. According to the UN, violent attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property, mosques and farmland has increased by almost 150% since 2009.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/19/jewish-settler-attack-terrorist-us-palestinian

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Islam is ‘a religion of war,’ says son of Hamas founder on a visit to his ‘beloved Israel’

By ELHANAN MILLER

June 20, 2012

Mosab Hassan Yousef rejected his Islamist upbringing to help Israel fight terror. If he had the chance, he says, he’d tell his father: ‘Leave Hamas. You have created a monster’

Mosab Hassan Yousef has a knack for controversy. The son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, he has already broken every taboo in the Palestinian book. He has worked for Israeli intelligence and converted to Christianity. Now he is developing a new film which is sure to be no less sensational: a biography of the life of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

Yousef, 33, broke ranks with Hamas in 1997 and began working for the Israeli internal intelligence service Shin Bet. Ten years later, after helping Israel thwart dozens of terror attacks and arrest many members of his former movement, Yousef left for the United States where he sought political asylum and later converted to Christianity.

Today, he says, he is back in Israel for the first time on a personal visit “to inspire a new generation of Palestinians.”

“I love Israel because I love democracy,” he told journalists in Jerusalem Tuesday. “I am here to protest religion’s absolute control of people’s lives.”

Standing next to his retired Shin Bet handler, Gonen Ben-Itzhak, Yousef refused to answer questions in Arabic. He said he was on a mission to educate the public about the true nature of his former religion.

Full report at:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/son-of-hamas-to-his-father-leave-the-movement-youve-created-a-monster/

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Israel-Iran war cause “500 deaths”

Basil El-Dabh

August 15, 2012 

The Iranian government claimed that it had successfully tested a short-range ballistic missile

Israeli Civil Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told independent Israeli newspaper Maarivin in an article published on Wednesday that if Israel and Iran were to engage in military conflict, it would last about a month and result in roughly 500 deaths.

Vilnai also asserted that the Israeli homeland is “ready as never before [for war].” He was also careful to stress that any action to be taken against Iran must always be conducted with coordination with the United States.  Vilnai’s interview has contributed to growing speculation of an inevitable conflict between Iran and Israel that has escalated over the past two weeks.

Vilnai’s remarks come after United States Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta told reporters on Tuesday, “I don’t believe they’ve made a decision as to whether or not [Israel] will [attack Iran]. Obviously, they’re an independent, they’re a sovereign country. They’re ultimately make decisions based on what they think is in their national security interest. But I don’t believe they’ve made that decision as this time.”

Panetta also stressed the importance of a possible diplomatic solution. “Any kind of military action ought to be the last alternative, not the first,” he said.  “From our point of view, the window is still open to try to work towards a diplomatic solution.”

Full report at:

http://thedailynewsegypt.com/2012/08/15/israel-iran-war-cause-500-deaths/#comment-6821

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Why is Israel screwing over student olim?

AUGUST 19, 2012

The other day, I graduated with an MA in Crisis and Trauma Studies from Tel Aviv University’s International Program. The experience was fabulous: I learned so much about stress, crisis, and trauma from leading experts in the field; had the opportunity to be a student intern at Mesila, working with the foreign communities of the Tel Aviv-Yafo area; worked with a group of high-caliber individuals; and also made some new lifelong friendships. I am also a recent oleh (almost three years) coming from Los Angeles, California. I volunteered to join the IDF at 26 and served nine months as a librarian in the university’s Behavioral Sciences Department. My father is Israeli and I have family here, which I must admit, makes the whole “oleh hadash” experience much easier, and I am extremely grateful for them.

One of the great things about being an oleh is that, supposedly, if you want a higher education, the Israeli government will help pay for your schooling fees. Well, not anymore. Due to recent decisions by varying governmental agencies, it looks like student scholarships for olim are now a thing of the past. I am extremely disappointed with this decision, and I believe it is a big, bold, horrible mistake. However, what I’m really pissed off about is the irresponsible decision regarding the recent budget cuts that are affecting thousands of currently enrolled olim students.

Full report at:

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-is-israel-screwing-over-student-olim/

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Two Turkish Soldiers Killed in Suspected PKK Attack

May 20, 2012

KIRIKDAG, Turkey (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed by a landmine on a road in southeast Turkey on Monday in an attack believed to have been carried out by Kurdish militants, security sources said.

The attack by suspected members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) also wounded several soldiers travelling in an armored vehicle between Hakkari and Van provinces, the sources said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, launched a separatist insurgency in southeastern Turkey 28 years ago. More than 40,000 people have since been killed.

The violence is a headache for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as he seeks to limit the impact on Turkey of the conflict in Syria, where the PKK is exerting growing authority in some border areas. Ankara believes PKK militants are receiving arms from Syrian forces.

Suspected PKK members ambushed a Turkish military bus in western Turkey earlier this month, an attack outside the group's regular field of operation in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, Writing by Ece Toksabay, Editing by Nick Tattersall and Alistair Lyon)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/20/world/middleeast/20reuters-turkey-pkk-attack.html?ref=world

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Iran tensions delay Israel immigration

20 August 2012

JERUSALEM: A top Israeli immigration official says tensions with Iran are causing some Jews to postpone plans to move to Israel.

Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, a semi-governmental organization that helps oversee immigration to Israel, told Israel Radio Sunday that dozens of Jews who had already finalized their immigration plans are delaying their arrival by a few months, citing fears over an attack.

He accused the government of acting irresponsibly with heightened rhetoric about Iran. He says the chatter has “crossed all red lines” and hurt the government’s deterrent capabilities.

Israeli officials accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, hinting about the possibility of a military strike.

Despite regional tensions, about 350 Jews from North America immigrated to Israel last week.

http://arabnews.com/iran-tensions-delay-israel-immigration

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‘Tumour’ of Israel biggest problem for Islamic world: Iran

May 20, 2012

TEHRAN: The ‘cancerous tumour’ of Israel is the biggest problem confronting Muslim countries today, Iran’s supreme leader said on Sunday, repeating an epithet slammed just days earlier by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US and EU officials.

In a speech marking Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “the big powers have dominated the destiny of the Islamic countries for years and... installed the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world,” according to the official IRNA news agency. “Many of the Islamic world’s problems come from the existence of the sham Zionist regime,” he was quoted as saying.

The ‘tumour’ characterisation was a repeat of terms Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have long used to portray Israel as an illegitimate state in the Middle East that will inevitably disappear. In the most recent incidents, last Wednesday Khamenei called Israel a “bogus and fake Zionist outgrowth” and Ahmadinejad on Friday said: “The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour.”

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\20\story_20-8-2012_pg14_5

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Israel deploys anti-rocket battery near Egypt border: army

May 20, 2012

JERUSALEM: The Israeli army has deployed an Iron Dome air defence system, designed to intercept and destroy rockets, days after two rockets were fired at the town of Eilat near the border with Egypt, a military spokeswoman said Monday.

“An Iron Dome battery has been deployed in the town of Eilat as part of tests, momentarily modifying the sites where these systems are deployed,” she said but did not give further details.

An Islamist militant group claimed responsibility for the two rocket attacks aimed at Eilat, Israel’s Red Sea resort town, Site Intelligence Group reported on Thursday.

A group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem claimed to be responsible for firing “two Grad rockets into the city” which it said hit “inhabited targets”, in a statement posted on online jihadist forums, the US-based monitoring agency said.

On Wednesday, evening, Israeli police said two blasts rocked the city.

Debris of the rockets which were apparently fired from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula was later found.

http://dawn.com/2012/08/20/israel-deploys-anti-rocket-battery-near-egypt-border-army/

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Officials: crazed gunman kills 9 Yemenis in prayer

AHMED AL HAJ

20 August 2012

SANAA, Yemen: Medical and security officials say a crazed gunman opened fire Sunday on worshippers marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in southern Yemen, killing nine.

The gunman targeted men praying outside a crowded mosque in Al-Dhale, a governorate about 190 kilometers (115 miles) south of the capital, Sanaa, during morning Eid el-Fitr services. Nine people were killed and another 10 wounded, the officials said.

The gunman was arrested at the scene, officials said.

About 100 people have been killed in similar mosque shootings in Yemen in the last three years by people believed to be suffering from mental disorders or in tribal conflicts, according to the officials.

Also Sunday, a Yemeni security official said a suicide bomber blew himself up in a town in the southern governorate of Abyan, killing a leading member of a civilian militia that has fought alongside government troops to drive Al-Qaeda militants from their southern strongholds.

Another security official said Sunday that the death toll from an attack Saturday on a government building in Abyan rose to 21, after a soldier died of wounds sustained when militants stormed the local intelligence headquarters.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/officials-crazed-gunman-kills-9-yemenis-prayer

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Police arrest five teen suspects in brutal Jerusalem assault

The victim, a 17-year-old Arab resident of East Jerusalem, awoke from his coma on Saturday; cousin said attackers were ‘all Jewish’

By ASHER ZEIGER

 August 19, 2012

Police arrested three minors on Sunday afternoon and a fourth on Sunday evening on suspicion of involvement in an incident Thursday night when dozens of Jewish teens ganged up on a few Arab youths in downtown Jerusalem, seriously injuring one — 17-year-old Jamal Julani of East Jerusalem.

The four arrested on Sunday, three boys aged 17, 15 and 13 and a 15-year-old girl, were set to appear in Jerusalem’s Magistrate Court on Monday for a remand hearing.

Police had already arrested a 19-year-old on Saturday on suspicion of assaulting Julani. The suspect, whose name was not released, appeared before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday and his detention was extended by four days.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told Army Radio on Sunday that he strongly condemned Thursday’s incident, but cautioned against jumping to early conclusions about the motive of the attack.

Full report at:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/three-youths-and-a-19-year-old-arrested-in-connection-to-jerusalem-brawl/

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Arab World

 

Dubai flick rankles terrorist’s family

May 20, 2012

Kin of assassinated Hamas mastermind call flick starring Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli a distortion

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The family of a slain Hamas operative is seeking to block the release of a movie being made in Israel about his 2010 assassination in a Dubai hotel.

The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was widely blamed on Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Emmanuel Nakash, the French-Israeli director of “Kidon,” or Spear, has said his movie is not meant to be factual. In a plot twist, a gang of criminals murder al-Mabhouh to frame the Mossad. One scene shows al-Mabhouh, a senior figure in an Islamic fundamentalist group, flirting in a hotel bar.

Ahmed al-Mabhouh, a cousin of the Hamas operative, said Sunday that the family feels the movie is a distortion and plans to go to court to prevent its release. He says details such as which court should be the venue of the lawsuit are still being worked out.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-terrorists-family-aims-to-block-release-of-israeli-film/

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Former Islamist Egyptian lawmaker’s sons detained for antiquity theft

 August 20, 2012

Arrest is third scandal to hit the Salafi Nour Party coalition’s members

CAIRO (AP) — A former Egyptian lawmaker’s sons were briefly detained Sunday on charges of illegally digging for artifacts in the ancient city of Luxor in the latest scandal involving an ultraconservative Islamist who served in parliament.

Two sons of Gaber Abdel-Monem Ali, who goes by the name Gaber Gahlan, were arrested and then released, antiquities officials said.

Neighbors notified police when they heard drilling coming from inside the home owned by Gahlan, who resides in another governorate. The officials said police found four men digging inside.

The officials said the lawmaker’s sons face charges of illegally digging in the artifact-rich area of el-Karnak in the city of Luxor. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Antiquities theft is a persistent problem for Egypt, which is rich in ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts. The problem has intensified since last year’s uprising and the security lapse that has followed.

Gahlan is a member of the ultraconservative Gamaa Islamiya party and was part of the Salafi Nour Party’s coalition before parliament was dissolved.

It was at least the third scandal to hit the Nour Party coalition’s members who served in parliament. The party won 25 percent of seats, making it the second largest group after the Muslim Brotherhood.

Full report at:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/former-islamist-egyptian-lawmakers-sons-detained-for-antiquity-theft/

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Egyptian Muslims given sharia authorization to murder protestors

AUGUST 18, 2012

TIMOTHY WHITEMAN

One of Egypt's top Muslim clerics gave the authorization for his fellow Muslims to kill those who protest against the nation's newly elected president and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

Noted Muslim cleric Hashem Islam Ali Islam stated that those who protest against President Mohammed Morsi later this month, can in good conscience and under Sharia law, kill the protestors.

President Morsi is a member of the extremist and violent Muslim Brotherhood.

Hashem Islam is a staff member of the self-proclaimed "moderate" Al-Azhar University's Fatwa Committee.

As translated by MEMRI.org (video, left), Hashem Islam gave the faithful a general synopsis of the situation in regards to the mass anti-Muslim Brotherhood protest scheduled for next Friday in Cairo;

"The revolution planned for August 24 is a par excellence revolution of kharijite (heretic Muslims) apostasy against democracy and freedom. I am currently working on a relevant fatwa.

Full report at:

http://www.examiner.com/article/egyptian-muslims-given-sharia-authorization-to-murder-protestors

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UN observers wind up Syria mission

20 August 2012

ALEPPO, Syria: UN observers wound up their mission in Syria yesterday, as Syrian armed forces pounded opposition areas in several key flashpoints across the country.

The United Nations won support from the West as well as Russia and China for its new envoy for Syria, veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi who was named on Friday to replace Kofi Annan at the end of the month.

A boy and a girl were among seven people killed as government forces shelled opposition strongholds including parts of the main northern battleground of Aleppo, a human rights watchdog said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported at least 137 deaths Saturday, and said 42 bodies had been dumped in Al-Tal town in Damascus province, in a gruesome sign of escalating brutality. Just two days after his appointment, new peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi came under fire from the opposition for reportedly refusing to say whether Assad should stand down.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/un-observers-wind-syria-mission

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Bloody start to Eid in Syria: watchdog

May 20, 2012

BEIRUT: The Muslim Eidul Fitr holiday got off to a bloody start in Syria, with at least 84 people dying across the country, most of them soldiers, and Damascus rocked by clashes, a watchdog said on Monday.

The fresh surge of violence on Sunday, the first day of the Eid festivities, came as new UN peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said it was no longer a question of “preventing civil war” in Syria but rather ending it.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 bodies were found in Al-Tall village, a rebel stronghold in Damascus province, and that another 34 soldiers, 28 civilians and 22 rebels died across the country on Sunday.

The Britain-based Observatory, which gathers its information from a network of activists on the ground, reported clashes between rebels and loyalist troops in several southern Damascus neighbourhoods, where loud explosions were heard.

Opposition activists of the Syrian Revolution General Commission also said the army used tanks and machineguns to pound the Damascus suburb of Maadamiet Al-Sham through the night.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/08/20/bloody-start-to-eid-in-syria-watchdog/

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Ramadan TV Gently Pushes Saudi Boundaries

By ALESSANDRA STANLEY

May 20, 2012

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Women are driving in Saudi Arabia.

Not on the streets. That would be illegal. But on a recent episode of “Hush Hush,” a new comedy on Saudi state television, a lilac sedan comes to a halt and a woman climbs out of the driver’s seat. A group of goofy, lascivious men (three stooges in red-checked kaffiyehs) try to pick her up by offering to repair the car. From beneath a black hijab and opaque abaya, glints of the woman’s contempt show through. “Who says my car broke down?” she says coolly. “I’m waiting for my friend.” A matching Barbie-pink car pulls up and two women glide away, leaving the Saudi dolts deflated and agog.

It’s a fantasy, of course, a comic trial balloon. “Hush Hush” was created for Ramadan, the Muslim holiday season that ended this weekend, and the state-sanctioned sketch makes the case for female drivers in a jokey way that heartens modern-minded viewers without provoking traditional ones. The woman is never shown actually driving; the camera cuts away before she grasps the wheel. It’s the kind of ellipsis that American television once used for homosexuality; you didn’t actually see it but you knew it was there.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/arts/television/ramadan-tv-gently-pushes-saudi-boundaries.html?hp

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Bomb Wounds Iraqi Sunni Cleric Who Urged Cooperation With Shiites

By YASIR GHAZI and MARC SANTORA

May 20, 2012

BAGHDAD — An influential Sunni cleric was critically wounded and four of his bodyguards were killed when a bomb struck his convoy in western Baghdad on Sunday morning during one of the country’s most important holy days, according to Iraqi security officials.

The cleric, Sheik Mahdi al-Sumaidaie, is known for urging extremists within his own sect to work with the Shiite-led government; the attack highlighted the continuing dangers of taking such a position.

In recent months, Mr. Sumaidaie has served as a critical bridge between Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and the majority Sunni population.

On Sunday, Mr. Maliki quickly released a statement condemning the attack.

“This is another scheme from those murderers who select targets to spread sedition and silence any moderate national voice,” he said.

Sectarian tensions have intensified in recent weeks with a series of attacks that have left nearly 200 people dead, making August already one of the bloodiest months since American troops pulled out of the country in December.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/world/middleeast/sunni-cleric-wounded-in-iraq-in-

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On a Bleak Holiday, Assad Makes a Display of Piety

By an EMPLOYEE of THE NEW YORK TIMES in SYRIA and DAMIEN CAVE

May 20, 2012

DAMASCUS, Syria — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria appeared Sunday at a small mosque in Damascus, with state television showing him completing his prayers for an important Muslim holiday alongside some, but not all, members of his inner circle.

It was only the second time that President Assad has been shown on television since a July 18 bombing that killed Syria’s defense minister and three other senior officials.

His show of piety seemed to be an attempt at normalcy during Id al-Fitr, a three-day holiday after Ramadan that is usually characterized by social visits and feasting, but it also renewed doubts about the strength and confidence of his government.

Mr. Assad normally prays at the Umayyad mosque, the biggest and oldest in Damascus, but on Sunday he chose a much smaller, safer location: the Rihab al-Hamad mosque, which is next to the presidential palace.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/world/middleeast/syria.html?ref=middleeast&gwh=74

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Intense Fighting Rages in Syria's City of Aleppo

May 20, 2012

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces on Monday marked the second day of a major Muslim holiday with heavy shelling of the cities of Aleppo and Daraa and a suburb of the capital Damascus, killing up to 30 people, rights groups and activists said.

Monday's is the second day of the Eid Al-Fitr, a three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims refrain from food, water and other worldly pleasures from dawn to dusk.

During Al-Eid, Muslims the world over celebrate by wearing new clothes, feasting on sumptuous food and visiting the graves of loved ones. Monday's fighting, however, shows the regime is not letting up on its drive to quell the nation's 18-month-old uprising out of respect for the occasion.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/19/world/middleeast/ap-ml-

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Intense fighting rages in Syria's southern city

May 20, 2012

Syrian activist groups say fighting between rebels and regime forces has killed six people, including two children and two women, in the southern city of Daraa, birthplace of the country’s 18-month-old uprising.

Monday’s violence in Daraa was reported by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination committees.

The fighting comes on the second day of Eid al-Fitr, a major Muslim holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The two groups reported fighting across much of the rest of the country, including the suburbs of Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, with scores killed or wounded.

The reports could not be independently confirmed.

Anti-regime activists say the violence in Syria has killed some 20,000 people since the uprising began in March 2011.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3798960.ece

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North America

 

US lawmaker skinny-dipped on Israel trip

Aug 20 2012

Washington : A group of Republican lawmakers and staff jumped into Israel's Sea of Galilee last year after a night of dining and drinking, and one freshman Congressman swam naked, Republican aides confirmed late on Sunday.

The incident, first reported by Politico on Sunday, was investigated by the FBI and led Republican leaders in the House of Representatives to reprimand the 30 lawmakers on the privately funded trip.

Representative Kevin Yoder stripped naked before jumping into the Sea of Galilee after dining and drinking at a waterside restaurant in the town of Tiberias, Politico reported, citing more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed, while some lawmakers partially disrobed, Politico reported.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-lawmaker-skinnydipped-on-israel-trip/990629/

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NATO bid to prevent “green-on-blue” attacks

GRAHAM BOWLEY

RICHARD A. OPPEL JR.

May 20, 2012

New emphasis carries risk of alienating Afghan soldiers

After months of military leaders’ attempts to tamp down worries over the killings of U.S. and NATO troops by the Afghan forces serving beside them, Gen. John R. Allen, top commander in Afghanistan, last week called an urgent meeting of his generals to address the escalating death toll.

In a room crowded with more than 40 commanders, the General underscored the need to quickly stop the bloodletting that is sapping morale, according to NATO officials, part of a new emphasis on protecting American and NATO forces after a spate of attacks that included the killing of six Marine trainers this month.

In one of a series of recent steps, the military decreed that U.S. and NATO service members should always carry a loaded magazine in their weapons, to save precious moments if attacked by Afghan forces. Another initiative, now a top priority, is a programme dubbed “Guardian Angel” that calls for one or two soldiers to monitor the Afghans during every mission or meeting, officials say.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3796208.ece

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Jordan Govt protests Syrian shelling

May 20, 2012

Jordan’s government spokesman has sternly criticized Syria for artillery shelling on its northern border that injured a Jordanian girl and panicked other civilians.

Sameeh Maaytah says the government summoned the Syrian ambassador in Amman to hand him a letter of protest late Sunday. Amman is awaiting a formal response from Syria, which has yet to comment.

Four shells landed in Jordan on Sunday during clashes between the Syrian military and rebel forces on the Syrian side of the border.

Maaytah said Jordan protests what took place and “will ensure this does not happen again.” The shelling sent four other Jordanians to hospital suffering from panic attacks. They were later discharged. The wounded girl was in fair condition on Monday.

Last month, Syrian troops killed a 6-year-old boy fleeing to Jordan.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3798966.ece

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Now, you can kill Osama for just $325 in Minnesota

Aug 20, 2012

WASHINGTON: Want to kill Osama bin Laden all over again? A former navy Seal is offering people a chance to do so for just $325 in Minnesota in a re-enactment of the Seal raid that killed the al-Qaida chief in Pakistan.

As many as 137 people have signed up, over the past four months, to hold paintball guns and pretend to be highly trained navy Seals sneaking into a compound in Abottabad , to kill a bearded man in a white robe.

The former navy Seal, Larry Yatch told the Minnesota Public Radio that the game is not just for entertainment, but also taught them self-defence , the New York Daily News reported. According to the report, the fake al-Qaida compound is set up in the Sealed Mindset studio, which also takes self-defence classes and firearms training.

In one July re-enactment , the group of 'Seals' included a plastic surgeon and a married couple, who said they bought tickets at a school fundraiser.

In each imaginary raid, Yatch greets his Seals with startling news, "We're going to be flying from our base in Afghanistan ... Obviously, this is a complete black op, or clandestine operation." There are fake briefings and plenty of instructions given to participants as they prepare to hunt for the al-Qaida leader.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Now-you-can-kill-Osama-for-just-325-in-Minnesota/articleshow/15564487.cms

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Europe

 

Germany helping Syria rebels with spy ship intel: paper

Aug 19, 2012

(Reuters) - Germany is helping Syrian rebels by providing them with information gathered by a German navy vessel off the coast of Syria, a newspaper said on Sunday, without citing sources.

Germany's Bild am Sonntag said the boat had spying equipment from the German intelligence service on board, enabling it to observe Syrian troop movements up to 600 km (375 miles) inland.

Information on the military operations of President Bashar al-Assad's troops that is collected by the ship is passed on to U.S. and British secret services, who then give it to the Free Syrian Army, Bild said.

A spokesman for the German Defence Ministry said a German navy ship equipped with telecommunications and reconnaissance technology that normally patrols the international waters of the eastern Mediterranean was in a harbour in Sardinia.

Ships of this type are used to collect information but the ministry would not comment on details, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/19/us-syria-crisis-germany-idUSBRE87I06D20120819

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Africa

 

Libya arrests Gaddafi loyalists over car bombings

20 August 2012

Members of an organised network of Gaddafi loyalists linked to car bombing attacks in Tripoli which killed two people

Libyan security officials have arrested 32 members of an organised network of Gaddafi loyalists linked to boming attacks in Tripoli on the eve of the anniversary of the fall of the city to rebel fighters.

Three car bombs exploded near interior ministry and security buildings in the Libyan capital, killing two people on Sunday. Large numbers of police were deployed to cordon off the sites of the blasts in residential areas in central Tripoli, and remove the charred vehicles and other debris.

They were the first fatal attacks of their kind since a revolt led to Gaddafi's overthrow and death last year after 42 years in power.

The first bomb blew up near the interior ministry's administrative offices in Tripoli but caused no casualties, security sources told Reuters. On arriving at the site, police found another car bomb that had not blown up.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/20/libya-gaddafi-loyalists-arrested-bombings

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Somalia wakes up to a different picture, a new sense of optimism

David Smith

19 August 2012

In Mogadishu, artists are back on the streets, a symbol of a new hope, borne from a new constitution, a new dawn

Under cover of darkness the men creep out to their prime targets in the capital of Somalia. Their aim is to grab attention with a spectacular political statement. By dawn they will have disappeared without trace, but the city will not be the same.

Meet Muhiyidin Sharif Ibrahim, Adan Farah Affey, Mohamed Ali Tohow and Ahmed Ado, a collective of painters slowly but surely changing the face of Mogadishu through guerrilla art.

Their message – for peace, against corruption – is riding a wave of optimism unprecedented for more than two decades in this all but doomed city.

Militant Islamists have been chased out, thousands of expatriate Somalis are packing flights back, a new constitution has been passed and, on Monday, a new president will form the first functioning government since 1991. It is make or break time for Somalia, long seen as the world's most failed state.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/19/somalia-awakes-different-picture

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Wheelchair hero's 2,485-mile journey for Kenya's first spinal injury rehab unit

Kenfrey Kiberenge

19 August 2012

Zachary Kimotho's journey has fired Kenya's imagination

A Kenyan man who was paralysed after being shot by carjackers nine years ago has caught the imagination of the nation by embarking on a 2,485-mile journey to South Africa on a manual wheelchair to seek treatment for his spinal injuries. Zachary Kimotho, a 44-year-old veterinarian, began the journey in June with the aim of raising £1.9m to build a spinal injury treatment unit in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

On the first phase of his journey, Kimotho raised £650,000 and covered 78 miles of the route to South Africa, where the nearest spinal cord injury rehabilitation centre is. In a telephone interview on Friday with the Observer, Kimotho, who was near the border of Tanzania and Kenya, said he had continued despite cold and wet weather and he had blisters on his hands from turning the wheels.

"It has been a very cold season in Kenya and I also have to contend with speeding motorists. I have faced so many challenges but I don't want them to deter me from the goal," he said.

Kimotho was selected in June to be the face of the campaign organised by the Kenyan Paraplegic Organisation to raise awareness of the suffering of spinal injury patients in Kenya. They appealed for the public to help "Bring Zack Back Home", urging Kenyans to each contribute a Kenyan shilling (about a penny) in the hope that enough money would be raised to build the unit, saving Kimotho from having to complete his arduous journey. Kenyans took to social media to spread the word and the hashtag #BringZackBackHome became a top trend on Twitter.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/19/zachary-zack-kimotho-kenya-wheelchair

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South African miners' families back Julius Malema's call for nationalisation

David Smith Marikana

 18 August 2012

Jacob Zuma is criticised as former ANC youth leader says the president sided with mine owner when 34 were killed

They were there in their thousands, leaning against tin shacks or sitting in the dusty veld: miners and their wives still looking for answers after a massacre by South African police that left 34 striking workers dead. A red T-shirt worn by a rally organiser seemed to offer one, stating: "Fuck capitalism."

The huge crowd erupted as a charismatic young politician, Julius Malema, took the microphone. He is seen by some as a dangerous demagogue, but to the grieving, angry community at the Lonmin mine in Marikana he came as a messiah offering a radical future.

"The British are owning this mine," he said. "The British are making money out of this mine ... It is not the British who were killed. It is our black brothers. But it is not these brothers who are mourned by the president. Instead he goes to meet capitalists in air-conditioned offices."

Malema was expelled this year as president of the youth wing of the governing African National Congress after falling out with President Jacob Zuma, whom he accuses of failing to challenge "white monopoly capital". He has since been in the political wilderness; once contemptuous of the media, he now courts it. As the Marikana tragedy lays bare discontent over inequalities 18 years after apartheid, he senses his moment.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/18/south-african-miners-julius-malema

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Ballon Kenya: empowering young Kenyans

19 August 2012

Witnessing the impact of poverty and unemployment inspired British social entrepreneurs to start a social enterprise in Kenya

Ballon Kenya has been working in Nakuru to help deliver a brighter future for the next generation. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

In the summer of 2010 I visited Kenya to interview members of the different communities that fought in the 2007-08 post-election violence for my master's thesis. What struck me most was the impact of poverty and unemployment. Only the poor fighting. Some were paid to fight. Most were fighting for a better and more prosperous life for themselves and their families.

But it wasn't just the direct results of poverty on the violence that were so troubling. It was the much wider influence on society – the anger and disappointment of the current generation and the fear of what future generations will do. As Betty Odour, the manager of an orphanage with 115 young children said, "I really don't know what our children are going to do when they finish school. They will have to find work but there are no jobs here. I fear some could end up back on the streets …"

Full report at:

https://socialenterprise.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2012/aug/20/kenyan-social-enterprise-poverty-unemployment

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Tunisian Salafists shutdown ‘un-Islamic’ events

Luiz Sanchez  /   August 19, 2012 

Salafists across Tunisia last week disrupted cultural events they deemed ‘un-Islamic’, increasing fears the country may become more hardline Islamic after the revolution which ousted largely secular President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. However there has also been a secular backlash, with protests against Islamisation.

Tunisian actor Lotfi Abdelli was prevented from performing a comedy show called “100 percent Halal” on Tuesday by Salafists who occupied the auditorium in the town of Menzel Bourguiba. On Wednesday, an Iranian group was prevented from performing at a Sufi music festival in the town of Kairouan because Salafists viewed the Shi’a chanting as un-Islamic. On Thursday five people were wounded after a group of armed men attacked the Bizert music and theatre festival. Police were brought in to disperse a crowd using tear gas, making four arrests.

In response to the events, the Government held an emergency security meeting on Friday, All Africa reported, resolving to open an investigation into the incidents and to take measures to deal with law-breaking and attacks on the liberties of Tunisians.

Many Tunisians fear a creeping Islamisation of the country. Some 6,000 took to the streets of Tunis last week Monday to protest amendments made to the draft constitution. The change concerned the wording of an article guaranteeing women’s rights and equality with man. The new wording recognises women as a “complement with the man in the family and an associate to the man in the development of the country.” Protesters asked to keep the old wording which, under Ben Ali, recognised women as full equals.

http://thedailynewsegypt.com/2012/08/19/tunisian-salafists-shutdown-un-islamic-events/

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Aregbesola condemns killing in Islam’s name

20 AUGUST 2012

BY BOLA OLAJUWON (LAGOS) AND MURTALA MOHAMMED (KANO) NEWS

Gunmen attack checkpoint, Muslims seek growth

OSUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has declared   Boko Haram’s killing and bombing of Christian churches as unjustifiable and running against the tenets of the Islamic faith.

Yesterday too, gunmen  invaded  a  military checkpoint in Kano,  leaving  one mobile policeman injured .

And to mark the Sallah, the Muslim Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos branch, yesterday enjoined the nation’s  leadership and followership to submit to the will of God for the development of the nation.

At the Eid-el-Fitri prayer concluding the Ramadan fast in Osogbo yesterday, Aregbesola declared that Islam as a religion does not advocate violence.

Citing portions of the Holy Quoran when Prophet Mohammed entered Jerusalem and refused to invade a church, the Osun helmsman explained that this was exemplary of how Muslims should relate with Christians in daily living.

According to Aregbesola , Muslims are not allowed to kill other people except in war situations that could result from exchange of firepower.

In such situations, Muslims, according to  him,  are forbidden from killing prisoners of war as the blood of such victims would be on the heads of those who took their lives.

He added that the Holy Prophet Muhammed cautioned that no tree should be cut down except when roads are to be constructed let alone killing human beings in war.

Earlier, the Chief Imam of Osogbo, Sheikh Mustapha Ajisafe admonished Muslims to continue to live in harmony with one another.

Full report at:

http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96163:

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South African miners urged to resume work at 'safe' mine

Aug 20, 2012

MARIKANA, SOUTH AFRICA: Lonmin, owner of a platinum mine where police shot dead 34 striking workers, said Monday that police would assure the safety of miners who wished to return to work.

The roughly 3,000 workers who launched a violent, illegal strike on August 10 could lose their jobs if they fail to return to work Monday, the company said in a statement.

The mine has been shuttered by the strike violence, but Lonmin on Monday urged its other 25,000 employees and 10,000 contractors to also return to the job, saying that "police consider it safe for them to report for duty again."

But at the gates to the mine, few workers appeared to be reporting for duty aside from managers who drove into the complex early Monday.

"The safety and security of our employees is paramount and nobody will be asked to report for duty if the police consider them in danger of reprisals," chief financial officer Simon Scott said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/South-African-miners-urged-to-resume-work-at-safe-mine/articleshow/15569216.cms

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Somali: MPs to be sworn in to historic parliament

20 August 2012

Somalia's first formal parliament in more than 20 years is to be sworn in the capital, Mogadishu, marking an end to an eight-year transitional period.

Security is reported to be heavy across the city with troops and police officers patrolling the streets.

After choosing a Speaker, the MPs' main task will be to elect a new president - a vote expected within a week or two.

Outgoing moderate Islamist President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in power since 2009, is regarded as a favourite.

Other strong candidates include Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and former parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.

It is a critical moment for the country which, since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, has seen warlords, Islamist militants and its neighbours all taking a hand in its affairs.

With the help of African Union peacekeepers, the interim government has been able to gain control the capital, but al-Shabab - an armed group that has joined al-Qaeda - runs many central and southern areas of the country.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19314308

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Workers at South African Mine Trickle Back to Work After 44 Killed

May 20, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A quarter of the workforce returned on Monday to the Marikana platinum mine where 44 men were killed last week in clashes that evoked memories of apartheid-era violence.

Mine owner Lonmin has threatened about 3,000 striking workers with dismissal if they did not show up at Marikana, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, where 34 miners armed with spears, machetes and handguns were gunned down on Thursday in a hail of police fire.

Ten people were killed prior to the police shooting, including a shop steward from the country's biggest union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who was hacked to death.

The mayhem was sparked by a spreading battle for membership between the NUM and the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which has accused its rival of caring more about politics and personal enrichment than workers.

Investigators appointed by President Jacob Zuma, who has declared a week of mourning, are expected at the mine.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/08/20/world/africa/20reuters-safrica-

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/rising-extremism-in-pakistan-hindus-a-target/d/8350

 

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