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Islamic World News ( 13 Aug 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Jihadis thrice attacked Pakistan nuclear sites

Cracks in Iran’s establishment are growing by Ali Ansari

Islamic radicals hack news website

Girl Says Family Wants To Kill Her for Being Christian

Islamic radicals hack news website

Paris pool bans Muslim woman in 'burqini' swimsuit

Preacher groomed boys for jihad

Taliban torch 7 schools in Buner

Hapless women: Pakistan’s crying shame by D Suba Chandran

Saudi Arabia’s young population: hope or risk?

Dispute Over a Script Seminar for Muslim Students by MICHAEL CIEPLY

Michael Jackson reincarnation of Egyptian princess?

Somali Islamists pull out gold teeth of 'sinners'

The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything by HUSSEIN AGHA and ROBERT MALLEY

Moral brigade wants Indian films off Pakistan cables by Raja Asghar

Muslims in European peace drive by Christopher Landau

5 foreign Islamic preachers killed in Somalia by MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN

They didn't like the coverage by Nick Farrell

Pak suspect’s al-Qaida group killed Christians

Nigeria Violence Sparks New Concerns by WILL CONNORS

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Jihadis thrice attacked Pakistan nuclear sites

Chidanand Rajghatta, Aug 11, 2009

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's nuclear facilities have already been attacked at least thrice by its home-grown extremists and terrorists in little reported incidents over the last two years, even as the world remains divided over the safety and security of the nuclear weapons in the troubled country, according to western analysts.

 The incidents, tracked by Shaun Gregory, a professor at Bradford University in UK, include an attack on the nuclear missile storage facility at Sargodha on November 1, 2007, an attack on Pakistan's nuclear airbase at Kamra by a suicide bomber on December 10, 2007, and perhaps most significantly the August 20, 2008 attack when Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers blew up several entry points to one of the armament complexes at the Wah cantonment, considered one of Pakistan's main nuclear weapons assembly.

 These attacks have occurred even as Pakistan has taken several steps to secure and fortify its nuclear weapons against potential attacks, particularly by the United States and India, says Gregory.

 In fact, the attacks have received so little attention that Peter Bergen, the eminent terrorism expert who reviewed Gregory's paper first published in West Point's Counter Terrorism Center Sentinel, said "he (Gregory) points out something that was news to me (and shouldn't have been) which is that a series of attacks on Pakistan's nuclear weapons facilities have already happened."

 Pakistan insists that its nuclear weapons are fully secured and there is no chance of them falling into the hands of the extremists or terrorists.

 But Gregory, while detailing the steps Islamabad has taken to protect them against Indian and US attacks, asks if the geographical location of Pakistan's principle nuclear weapons infrastructure, which is mainly in areas dominated by al-Qaida and Taliban, makes it more vulnerable to internal attacks.

 Gregory points out that when Pakistan was developing its nuclear weapons infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s, its principal concern was the risk that India would overrun its nuclear weapons facilities in an armored offensive if the facilities were placed close to the long Pakistan-India border.

 As a result, Pakistan, with a few exceptions, chose to locate much of its nuclear weapons infrastructure to the north and west of the country and to the region around Islamabad and Rawalpindi - sites such as Wah, Fatehjang,

Golra Sharif, Kahuta, Sihala, Isa Khel Charma, Tarwanah, and Taxila. The concern, however, is that most of Pakistan's nuclear sites are close to or even within areas dominated by Pakistani Taliban militants and home to al-Qaida.

 Detailing the actions taken by Islamabad to safeguard its nuclear assets from external attacks, Gregory writes that Pakistan has established a "robust set of measures to assure the security of its nuclear weapons." These have been based on copying US practices, procedures and technologies, and comprise: a) physical security; b) personnel reliability programs; c) technical and procedural safeguards; and d) deception and secrecy.

 In terms of physical security, Pakistan operates a layered concept of concentric tiers of armed forces personnel to guard nuclear weapons facilities, the use of physical barriers and intrusion detectors to secure nuclear weapons facilities, the physical separation of warhead cores from their detonation components, and the storage of the components in protected underground sites.

 With respect to personnel reliability, Gregory says the Pakistan Army conducts a tight selection process drawing almost exclusively on officers from Punjab Province who are considered to have fewer links with religious extremism (now increasingly a questionable premise) or with the Pashtun areas of Pakistan from which groups such as the Pakistani Taliban mainly garner their support.

 Pakistan operates an analog to the US Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) that screens individuals for Islamist sympathies, personality problems, drug use, inappropriate external affiliations, and sexual deviancy.

 The army uses staff rotation and also operates a "two-person" rule under which no action, decision, or activity involving a nuclear weapon can be undertaken by fewer than two persons. In total, between 8,000 and 10,000 individuals from the SPD's security division and from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau agencies are involved in the security clearance and monitoring of those with nuclear weapons duties.

 Gregory says despite formal command authority structures that cede a role to Pakistan’s civilian leadership, in practice the Pakistan Army has complete control over the country's nuclear weapons.

 It imposes its executive authority over the weapons through the use of an authenticating code system down through the command chains that is deployment sites, aspects of the nuclear command and control arrangements, and many aspects of the arrangements for nuclear safety and security (such as the numbers of those removed under personnel reliability programs, the reasons for their removal, and how often authenticating and enabling (PAL-type) codes are changed).

 In addition, Pakistan uses deception - such as dummy missiles - to complicate the calculus of adversaries and is

likely to have extended this practice to its nuclear weapons infrastructure.

 Taken together, these measures provide confidence that the Pakistan Army can fully protect its nuclear weapons against the internal terrorist threat, against its main adversary India, and against the suggestion that its nuclear weapons could be either spirited out of the country by a third party (posited to be the United States) or destroyed in the event of a deteriorating situation or a state collapse in Pakistan, says Gregory.

 However, at another point, he says "despite these elaborate safeguards, empirical evidence points to a clear set of weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Pakistan's nuclear safety and security arrangements."



Cracks in Iran’s establishment are growing

 Ali Ansari

From show trials to the President’s inauguration, cracks in the Islamic Republic’s establishment are growing clear to see. 


The Islamic Republic has on the whole been good at producing political theatre. Its establishment knows that politics can be a form of entertainment and that Iranians enjoy a good show. Unlike the Shah, who always appeared uncomfortable with politics, the establishment of the Islamic Republic has tended to understand its utility. The sudden scandal, the rumour and, best of all, the “trial” have all helped to preoccupy the inquisitive and perhaps reassure the sceptics that politics remains alive, if not necessarily well, in the Islamic Republic of Iran. That said, managing political theatre has always been a delicate balancing act; too little and you risk losing control over the message, too much and you lose credibility. Many, particularly those of an authoritarian disposition, would like to dispense with the process altogether.

The paradox of the current administration in Iran, and in particular the character of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is that they want it both ways. They want the theatre but they also want total control, not only of the production, but of the audience reaction. In so doing they have singularly failed to manufacture consent and have been struggling since the election on June 12 to impose their narrative. Indeed, we should not lose sight of the fact that for all the contests on the streets and the divisions within the elites, this is at heart an ideological contest, where the message matters. This is why journalists have been expelled, academics imprisoned and activists put on trial. This is why the hardline establishment insists on normality and business as usual, and why the mere continuation of protests denies them that particular fiction.

The last few days have offered good examples of the difficulties faced by this particular paranoid state. On Saturday, the hardline establishment decided to produce a spectacular show trial with the requisite confessions in an obvious attempt to convince people that the narrative of the velvet revolution they have been peddling is for real. Quite apart from the images of humiliated prisoners that will have angered many, it was the extraordinarily broad indictment which drew the most damning criticism from the opposition, including many in Qom who lambasted the government for ignoring the very legal procedures it had been urging on others. Interestingly, the news anchor who blithely conducted the “poolside” chat with the repentant protesters has had to close his blog because of a torrent of public abuse.

And then to the week’s two key ceremonies: the formal confirmation and inauguration in the parliament. Both were notable for their absences - no great surprises, but a reminder of the divisions that haunt the elite. Wednesday’s (August 5) inauguration compensated by inviting a number of “celebrities,” but by and large neither of these events were celebrations, and the inauguration itself was met with protests on the streets.

Perhaps most unusual was the poor choreography of it all, especially during the confirmation when Ahmadinejad appeared uncertain how to show his appreciation — it was not at all clear to me whether Ayatollah Khamenei withdrew his hand or Ahmadinejad refused to kiss it (if the latter, this will not have been taken well by Khamenei); but most extraordinary was the decision to position Mojtaba, Khamenei’s son and apparent cause of many of the problems, to the side of the platform, effectively “behind the curtain.” As photo opportunities go, the opposition cannot have asked for a better image, and this singular mistake will have drowned out any words of conciliation Ahmadinejad sought to present.

For several weeks now there have been attempts to sweeten the pill by softening the language and offering conciliatory gestures. Ahmadinejad’s inauguration speech was no exception. Yet it sits uneasily with the actions of the government’s shock troops in the streets and the increasingly public awareness of the scale of the violence. The consensus is that the number of deaths is well within the hundreds. This more than anything has shattered the narrative of conciliation. This has become all the more serious because the victims have not been limited to the “liberal elite” but have included the children of staunch conservatives. Mohsen Rezai, a defeated candidate and the former commander of the Revolutionary Guard, pointedly noted that the judiciary ought to convene a court to try those who had actually murdered Iranian citizens. He, too, joined the boycott of the inauguration.


If anything the situation has become more polarised and the rhetoric increasingly bitter, particularly from the opposition. But now the language of treason is being used with alarming frequency and many hardliners have suddenly become aware that they have no monopoly on vitriolic language. None of this bodes well for the future. What started as an election dispute has moved on to engulf the very structures of the Islamic Republic. The very seriousness of the consequences of this may yet force an uneasy accommodation but experience - and the peculiar character that is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - suggests otherwise.

(Ali M. Ansari is director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and the author of Iran Under Ahmadinejad, Routledge.)

 — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009


 Islamic radicals hack news website

They didn't like the coverage

By Nick Farrell, 12 Aug 2009

THE EDITOR of a Kosovo newspaper claims that Islamist radicals have attacked his website because it was covering the trial of a Kosovar charged with terrorism.

Berat Buzhala said the website was blocked for 10 hours Tuesday and hackers left a warning to the "anti-Islamic newspaper" to stop ridiculing Muslims.

The Express is an Albanian language daily and had been covering the trial of Hysen Sherifi, 24, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo.

He and six Americans were arrested two weeks ago in North Carolina on suspicion of conducting military-style training in preparation for "violent jihad" in Jordan, Pakistan, Israel and Kosovo.

Sherifi had no criminal record in Kosovo and was not considered a security threat there.

What miffed the hackers was that the Express published transcripts of conversations between the group's alleged leader, Daniel Patrick Boyd, and other suspects.

Full Report at:



Girl Says Muslim Family Wants To Kill Her For Being Christian

August 11, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. -- An Ohio girl ran away to Orlando because she said her family threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. Rifqa Bary, 17, said she was threatened by her family because she converted from Islam to Christianity.

"What did your father say to you?" WFTV reporter Mary Nguyen asked.

"He said he would kill me!" replied Bary.

Bary was in Orange County's juvenile justice centre because her parents want to regain custody of her. She had been staying with a local Christian pastor's family.

Bary said she came to the pastor's home for safety. But now a judge has ruled she will stay in the custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

DCF says Bary will stay in foster care until investigators can figure out if her life is in danger.

"I don't want to see my father," Bary said.

Rifqa Bary pleaded with a DCF case worker to let her stay with Pastor Blake Lorenz from the Global Revolution Church. The 17-year-old girl from Ohio claims her father has threatened to kill her because she has converted to Christianity and rejected her family's Muslim faith.

Full Report at:


Paris pool bans Muslim woman in 'burqini' swimsuit

PARIS — A Paris swimming pool has refused entry to a young Muslim woman wearing a "burqini," a swimsuit that covers most of the body, officials said Wednesday.

The pool ban came as French lawmakers conduct hearings on whether to ban the burqa after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the head-to-toe veil was "not welcome" in secular France.

Officials in the Paris suburb of Emerainville said they let the woman swim in the pool in July wearing the "burqini," designed for Muslim women who want to swim without revealing their bodies.

But when she returned in August they decided to apply hygiene rules and told her she could not swim if she insisted on wearing the garment, which resembles a wetsuit with built-in hood.

Pool staff "reminded her of the rules that apply in all (public) swimming pools which forbid swimming while clothed," said Daniel Guillaume, an official with the pool management.

Le Parisien newspaper said the woman, identified by her first name Carole, was a French convert to Islam and that she was determined to go to the courts to challenge the decision.

Full Report at:


Preacher groomed boys for jihad

August 12, 2009 | THE Muslim preacher who recruited two suicide bombers for the July 17 Jakarta terror attacks groomed at least four other teenage boys in the small housing complex where he was a respected leader. An uncle of one of the teenagers said Syaefuddin Jaelani, 32, believed to be the main recruiter for fugitive terrorist Noordin Mohammad Top's deadly Indonesian network, had taken his nephew on a week-long camping and fishing trip to see if he was prepared to wage violent jihad. The man, who refused to be identified yesterday, confirmed that his nephew was among a group of five teenagers -- including eventual JW Marriott hotel bomber Dani Dwi Permana -- taken on the retreat near the hill city of Bandung, southeast of Jakarta, early this year. The trip was focused on religious instruction and the importance of becoming a martyr, he said, although other sources have indicated it also included fishing at the Situ Lembang camping ground, an area popular with Indonesian tourists. In the days after the July attacks -- but before Permana's identity was revealed -- elite Detachment 88 anti-terror police interrogated the four boys in the town of Kahuripan, near Bogor City, south of the capital. They released the teenagers before last weekend's public revelation that Permana, who was 18 and had just graduated from high school, was one of the bombers. The other was 28-year-old Nana Ikhwan Maulana, from the town of Pandeglang in Banten province, where a number of Top's known violent associates in the Ring Banten terror group originate.

Full Report at:,25197,25917680-25837,00.html


Taliban torch 7 schools in Buner

PESHAWAR—At least seven primary schools burnt to ashes by Taliban militants in tribal area of Pakistan, where children recently resumed their studies after the area was declared safe by the army, officials said. District Police Chief Abdul Rasheed said that Taliban militants set on fire three boys and four girls primary schools in Buner district late Monday night. As the incidents occurred at night and no one was present in the schools therefore no causality or injury was reported however the buildings were burnt to the ground, he added. Secretary Education NWFP Shams-ul-Arifeen confirmed the school burning incidents by Taliban militants. Full Report at:


Saudi Arabia’s young population: hope or risk?

RIYADH, Aug 11 — Saudi Arabia’s scrapping of its first film festival after Muslim clerics protested shows the dilemma facing the ruling family who want to appease powerful religious elite without alienating youths in the Internet age. A young population may impress investors but among the world’s biggest oil exporter’s main challenges are how to provide jobs, housing and opportunities and to launch reform of a highly conservative and religiously inspired teaching system. “Population growth” is the buzz word in global banks’ research notes recommending buying Saudi shares expected to gain in value in the next years — banks, real estate and food firms, insurers, consumer good makers, builders and cement firms. But analysts caution the mostly young population does not only mean rising consumer spending but highlights the need to open up society and overhaul education to qualify more Saudis for the job market and to fight Islamic militancy. “They’ve got a huge problem there. Education has been a big problem and it’s something that will not be solved in the short term,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, Dubai-based senior analyst at Political Capital Institute which assesses political risk. “The integration of a young population remains a challenge,” said UK’s Silk Invest. The US ally is a monarchy with no political participation where the dominant religious elite oversee the application of the Wahhabi austere Islamic school of thought in Sunni Islam. The religious elite, which helped the al-Saud family to found a kingdom with the Koran as its constitution in the 1930s, had held back from efforts at judicial and educational reform — seen as vital to catch up with modernity and combat militancy

Full Report at:


August 12, 2009

Dispute over a Script Seminar for Muslim Students


LOS ANGELES — An open invitation to a seminar for Muslim college students and recent graduates interested in Hollywood writing careers has placed the Writers Guild of America, West, at odds with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was planning to hold the session on Tuesday.

Things started simply enough.

In a news release dated July 29, the council’s Los Angeles-area chapter said it planned to join the guild in hosting a “Writing for Hollywood” seminar with “a leading Hollywood filmmaker and writer” at an undetermined location. The program was to include “an overview of resources and opportunities available at the guild” and a tour of the Writers Guild Foundation library, which is in the same building as the guild’s Los Angeles headquarters.

The planned seminar would have been unusual for the guild, said Daniel Petrie Jr., a former president who now serves on the governing board of its foundation. The writers’ union has conducted programs about employment discrimination for older or female members, he said, but appears not to have systematically reached out to specific religious groups.

Full Report at:


Michael Jackson reincarnation of Egyptian princess?

Aug 10, 2009

LOS ANGELES: A new story adding to the legend of 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson has emerged claiming that the pop icon was the reincarnation of an Statue Image released The Field Museum in Chicago, shows an Egyptian limestone statue, depicting an unidentified woman, carved during the New Kingdom Period, dating from between 1550 BC to 1050 BC. The bust on display at the museum has been the focus of interest since MJ's death as visitor’s double-take at similarities between the 3,000-year-old statue & the singer. The 'Thriller' hitmaker who died on June 25 after a suspected cardiac arrest has been at the centre of many weird stories, but this one takes the prize for being the craziest.

According to reports, some of the singer's fans have started believing that their idol was a reborn princess after spotting an ancient Egyptian statue at a Chicago museum that bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson, reported E!Online.

"I have no idea whether Jackson ever visited the museum. But the similarity between the limestone statue of a woman, which is about 3,000 years old and Jackson is astounding," said a representative of the museum.

Full Report at:


Somali Islamists pull out gold teeth of 'sinners'

Aug 11, 2009

MOGADISHU: Residents of a coastal town in southern Somalia are living by the skin of their teeth, quite literally.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab is forcibly removing gold and silver teeth from residents in southern Somalia because it says they contravene the strict law of Islam, residents said on Monday.

Residents in Marka say al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips them out using basic tools. “I never thought al Shabaab would see my denture as a sin. They took me to their station and removed my silver tooth,” resident Bashir said.

“In the station, I met several men and women whose dentures were being pulled out by a masked man they called a doctor. The doctor used a pincer or his gloved hand depending on the strength of the tooth,” Bashir said.

“As you smile your silver tooth accuses you. I was at a counter with my friend when three armed al Shabaab ordered me to follow them”, he added. “I am afraid they want to make money from taking all this precious metal.”

Full Report at:


The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything By HUSSEIN AGHA and ROBERT MALLEY

Aug 11, 2009

THE two-state solution has welcomed two converts. In recent weeks, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, have indicated they now accept what they had long rejected. This nearly unanimous consensus is the surest sign to date that the two-state solution has become void of meaning, a catchphrase divorced from the contentious issues it is supposed to resolve. Everyone can say yes because saying yes no longer says much, and saying no has become too costly. Acceptance of the two-state solution signals continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle by other means.

Bowing to American pressure, Mr. Netanyahu conceded the principle of a Palestinian state, but then described it in a way that stripped it of meaningful sovereignty. In essence, and with minor modifications, his position recalled that of Israeli leaders who preceded him. A state, he pronounced, would have to be demilitarized, without control over borders or airspace. Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and no Palestinian refugees would be allowed back to Israel. His emphasis was on the caveats rather than the concession.

As Mr. Netanyahu was fond of saying, you can call that a state if you wish, but whom are you kidding?

Full Report at:


Moral brigade wants Indian films off Pakistan cables

By Raja Asghar

12 Aug, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Poet Bushra Rehman and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman joined voices in a moral brigade in the National Assembly on Tuesday to seek to bar Pakistani cable networks from showing Indian movies and other entertainment, and the group got a sympathetic ear from the PPP-led coalition government.

MNA Bushra Rahman of opposition PML-Q became almost hysterical as she spoke against what she saw as an assault on Pakistani culture and Islamic religious values as the main author of a call-attention notice moved with three other party colleagues.

The notice had invited Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira’s attention to what it called a matter of urgent public importance regarding ‘projecting/promoting (of) Indian culture and telecasting Indian films on electronic media and private TV channels’ that it said had caused ‘grave concern amongst the public’.

Full Report at:


Muslims in European peace drive

By Christopher Landau

BBC Religious Affairs correspondent, Caux, Switzerland

A groundbreaking conference for young Muslims from across Europe is taking place in Switzerland.

Delegates from seven countries have been brought together by the organisation Initiatives of Change, which has a long history of promoting peace on the continent.

In the late 1940s, it brokered meetings between those who had been on opposite sides in World War II.

Now its headquarters, high above Lake Geneva, is hosting a group of young Muslims for the first time, as they consider how to work as "peace agents" within their communities.

The organisers admit some unease within their own inter-faith peace movement about targeting a conference specifically at Muslims.

Full Report at:


5 foreign Islamic preachers killed in Somalia


MOGADISHU, Somalia — Masked gunmen killed five foreign Islamic preachers Wednesday outside a mosque in Somalia, witnesses said. The preachers are believed to be Pakistanis.

Six gunmen with assault rifles and pistols stormed Tawfiq Mosque in Galkayo, 470 miles (750 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, and forced six Pakistani preachers and a Somali man outside, said Ismail Mohamud Hassan, who was in the mosque at the time. The gunmen then opened fire on the men, he said.

"Five of them died on the spot while two others were injured — one Pakistani and a Somali," Hassan told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Abdullahi Ali Nur, another witness who was in the mosque, said the foreigners on Tuesday told worshippers that they were Pakistani. It is not clear who is behind Wednesday's killing. Somali militiamen rarely target religious preachers, known as Tabliq, who freely move around the overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Full Report at:


Pak suspects al-Qaida group killed Christians

Aug 4, 2009,

ISLAMABAD: Islamist militants from groups linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban are suspected of being behind the mob violence that killed eight

Christians in central Pakistan over the weekend, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The army is battling a Taliban insurgency in the northwest, and there are fears that jihadis based in the central province of Punjab, where the attack on Christians took place, could become more active in trying to destabilise mostly-Muslim Pakistan.

Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), an outlawed pro-Taliban Sunni Muslim sectarian group, and its al-Qaida-linked offshoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), were suspected of orchestrating the attack in Gojra town, according to Rana Sanaullah, Punjab's law minister.

Incensed by unsubstantiated allegations that the Koran had been desecrated by a Christian, an angry mob torched dozens of houses in the town on Saturday, killing eight people, including four women and a child.

"Absolutely, these banned groups are involved in the rioting," Sanaullah, who is also responsible for the security matters of the province, said from Gojra.

Full Report at:


Nigeria Violence Sparks New Concerns


As Death Toll Passes 800, Questions Raised About Whether Group, Boko Haram, Poses Broader Threat

LAGOS, Nigeria — A week of brutal violence in northern Nigeria has spurred questions over whether an obscure homegrown religious fundamentalist group represents a broader threat to national security in Africa’s most populous nation.

More than 800 people were killed last week during fighting between an Islamic fundamentalist group calling itself Boko Haram, and Nigerian security forces. The clashes spread across several northern states.

A Red Cross worker in the northern city of Maiduguri, where most of the fighting occurred, said that 780 bodies had been collected in the past few days, and that at least 3,600 Maiduguri residents had been displaced. Officials in Bauchi, where the violence began, had earlier confirmed more than 50 deaths.

Rights groups say many civilians were among those killed, though exact figures remain unknown. Police say most of the dead were militants.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in sectarian violence in Nigeria since 1999, often in the so-called Middle Belt, where the predominantly Muslim north meets the Christian south.

But Boko Haram’s targeting of its own government, attacking police stations and other official buildings, surprised many observers. Some northern Nigerians, who were aware of previous incidents involving the group, say the government should have seen this coming.

Full Report at:


Hapless women: Pakistan’s crying shame

D Suba Chandran, July 28, 2009

The Taliban are no doubt barbaric and derive sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing women in the name of Islam. But what about the feudal class of Pakistan? It is no better than the Taliban. With the state’s support, the feudal class preys on hapless women, making a mockery of human dignity

In his latest column in the New York Times, titled “Not a Victim, but a Hero,” noted columnist Nicholas D Kristof has once again brought forward the agony of a woman who was sold and brutally raped by men, including policemen, in Pakistan. According to Mr Kristof, the victim, Assiya, was sold a year ago by a family friend to two criminals who spent the entire next year beating and raping her. The two criminals, who had political connections, later when they were implicated in a gold robbery at Kabirwala, near Khanewal, they “negotiated a deal with the police (and) handed over Assiya, along with a $ 625 bribe in exchange for the police pinning the robbery on the girl”.

What followed this was even more awful. “Four police officers, including a police chief, took turns beating and raping her — sometimes while she was tied up — over the next two weeks. A female constable obligingly stepped out whenever these men wanted access to Assiya,” writes Mr Kristof.

Full Report at: