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Islamic World News ( 17 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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In TN village without Muslims, Hindus observe Muharram

Pakistani officials: US missiles kill 54 in NW

The Gita is his way of life & Islam his religion

Ajmer blast mastermind Joshi was killed by his own men: MP police

Indian, Pakistani students to write letters to bridge gap

US struggles to root out militants from Haqqani-run ‘madarsas’

Osama promised to ‘divert’ $20m to Kashmiri jehadis

Singapore declares Muslim shrine as national heritage centre

Students hit as Qur’an teachers’ services end

India and its Muslims get US thumbs-up

Pak army paid wages to Lashkar-e-Taiba

Cong MP from Bihar to receive AFMI Sir Syed Award for 2010

Museum to reopen with maestro's touch

Qawwals from Karachi who carry on Delhi legacy

Book exposes Israeli occupation as seen by troops

NIA books Madani's wife for burning bus

CIA man in Islamabad leaves as 'ISI exposes his identity'

US embassy argued against issuing visa to Kashmiri leader

Iraqi Christians fleeing north

Ministry steps in to clear AMU mess

WikiLeaks: US felt removal of Shivraj Patil was inevitable after 26/11

Bomb hits US Embassy vehicle in Yemen

Fearing assault by father,rescued girl refuses to go back to Bengal

Recognize Paks 26/11 role: US told

US feared India was a potential bio-terror target

Cable row over internal security

We are on track: Obama

Wen in Pakistan on rare visit

Digvijaya Singh courting trouble?

WikiLeaks triggers war of words in J&K

Russia to Pak: Stop terror cancer, shut down camps

No such thing as saffron terror: VHP

Chidambaram voiced suspicions that Headley was not acting alone: cable

RSS legal notice to Diggyover Karkare remark

Gossip website exposes lovesick Assange’s mails

Menon cautioned America not to dictate terms on Iran

Qaddafi son’s charity to stop championing reform

Iran frees family of jailed filmmaker

Swedish Muslims condemn suicide bombing

Taleban reject Obama war strategy review

Bahrain mourns death of King’s brother Rashid

Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/in-tn-village-without-muslims,-hindus-observe-muharram/d/3804

 

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In TN village without Muslims, Hindus observe Muharram

Padmini Sivarajah

Dec 18, 2010

MADURAI: Every Muharram, the remote Muthuvanthidal hamlet in Sivaganga district turns a picture of religious harmony. The Hindus in the southern village observe the Muslim holy day by performing rituals like walking on burning coals, more common to Hinduism. Ironically, the village has about 400 Hindu families, but no Muslims.

S Raju, a resident of the village, recalls that a large number of Muslims had made the village their home until about four decades ago, living in harmony with the Hindus. Then many of the Muslims migrated to other parts of Tamil Nadu and some of them left for greener pastures abroad in the late 1960s, when famine struck the region. "Now not a single Muslim lives here. But we continue to observe Muharram as a mark of respect for them," Raju says.

The village also has a dargah, the Fathima Nachiar dargah, built by Muslims about 50 years ago. But with Muslims families leaving, the dargah, which could not be maintained, became dilapidated. But Hindu residents continued to go there and pray as they believed that Fathima Nachiar' was Muthuvanthidal's guardian angel.

A Chennai-based Muslim engineer, who heard about the village, has now come forward to renovate the dargah. "We told him that we would contribute by selling the firewood in our village. But he told us that our moral support was sufficient and that he would organize the funds," says Karnan, another villager.

After every harvest, the produce from the fields, like sugarcane, paddy and vegetables are offered at the dargah, just like the offerings made at the local Mariamman temple. "The only difference from a temple is that we do not see an idol here," said Sujatha, a resident of the village.

Early on Friday morning, 25 Hindu men walked over burning coal, the pit for which was dug about five days prior to Muharram. A moulvi, Kader Basha, a former resident of the village who now lives in Thirupuvanam in Sivaganga district, initiated the rituals. As women do not walk over fire, they carry a basket of burning coal on their heads which they cover with a muslin cloth. "God is above all and will never discriminate among people, so why should we discriminate among religions," says Karnan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/In-TN-village-without-Muslims-Hindus-

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Pakistani officials: US missiles kill 54 in NW

Dec 18, 2010

PESHAWAR: Three American missile attacks killed 54 alleged militants on Friday close to the Afghan border, an unusually high number of victims that included commanders of a Taliban-allied group that were holding a meeting, Pakistani officials said.

The attacks took place in the Khyber tribal region, which has been rarely struck by American missiles before over the last three years. That could indicate a possible expansion of the CIA-led covert campaign of drone strikes inside Pakistani territory.

The Obama administration has intensified missile attacks in northwest Pakistan since taking office, desperate to weaken insurgent networks there that US officials say are behind much of the violence against US troops just across the frontier in Afghanistan.

The first strike targeted two vehicles in the Sandana area of the Tirah Valley, killing seven militants and wounding another nine. The men were believed to belong to the Pakistani Taliban, one of the country's largest and deadliest insurgent groups.

Later, missiles hit a compound in Speen Darang village where the Lashkar-e-Islam, a Taliban affiliate known to be strong in Khyber, were meeting, killing 32 people, among them commanders. The third strike took place in Narai Baba village and killed 15 militants, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

US officials do not acknowledge firing the missiles, much less comment on who they are targeting. It is impossible to independently report on the aftermath of the attacks because outsiders are not allowed to visit the tribal regions. Human rights groups say there are significant numbers of civilian casualties in the attacks.

Most of the more than 100 missile attacks this year inside Pakistan have taken place in North Waziristan, which is effectively under the control of a mix of Taliban, al-Qaida and related groups. The region, seen as the major militant sanctuary in Pakistan, has yet to see an offensive by the Pakistani military.

On Thursday, President Obama urged Pakistan to do more in tackling extremists in the border lands. Pakistan's army has moved into several tribal regions over the last two years, but says it lacks the troops to launch a North Waziristan operation anytime soon and hold gains it has made elsewhere.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said the United States would like the Pakistani army to move into North Waziristan "tomorrow" but that he believed Islamabad's stated reasons for not attacking the region immediately.

"I think there is a capacity issue," Munter told reporters Friday. "There is a great amount of capacity being used in holding the ground the Pakistani army has won at great cost."

Pakistani officials protest the missile strikes, but are believed to secretly authorize and provide intelligence on at least some of them. Analysts also say targeting information for many of the attacks is likely to be provided by Pakistani intelligence officials.

Also Friday, police said nine people were killed by mortar rounds fired by suspected Sunni extremists in two attacks in the northwest. The presumed targets in Hangu district and the nearby tribal area of Kurram were Shiite Muslims, said Hangu police chief Abdur Rasheed.

In Hangu, three mortars missed a Shiite mosque, hitting a house, killing six and wounding eight. In Kurram, a mortar hit a house, killing three, he said.

Anti-Shiite militants in Pakistan predate al-Qaida and the Taliban, which are also Sunni. These days, the groups are firmly allied and have overlapping memberships. They generally believe it is acceptable, even meritorious, to kill Pakistan's minority Shiites because they consider them heretics.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-officials-US-missiles-kill-54-in-

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The Gita is his way of life & Islam his religion

By Naziya Alvi

Dec 18, 2010

WITH a mini copy of the Bhagwad Gita in his pocket round the clock, acharya Mohammad Hanif Shastri does not miss a single namaz in the day.

Hanif, who has a doctorate in Sanskrit with a specialisation in the Gita , is an authority on the Hindu holy book. The Gita for him is the way of life, and Islam is his faith.

The Sanskrit professor at the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan ( RSS), Janakpuri in west Delhi, says the Quran and the Gita are two books that come from the same source ( one God) but were written in two different languages in two different eras.

Hanif was at the Sanatan Dharam Mandir in Noida on Friday as the chief speaker at a function organised to celebrate Gita Jayanti.

“ We have met many acharyas , but never one like acharya Hanif.

His knowledge and understanding of the Gita is exemplary,” said Viresh Tiwari, an executive member of the Om Kiran Foundation which organised the function.

Hanif, who has been selected for an award for national communal harmony by the Union home ministry, will now be working closely with the foundation for the next two years to spread the Gita ’s message.

He first developed an interest in the holy book after he failed in his Class X examination in the late 1960s.

Coming from a poor family in the small town of Sonbhadar near Varansai in Uttar Pradesh, education was a luxury for Hanif.

“ Even in my extended family no one had ever studied till fifth standard. My family had very high hopes from me. So when I failed in class X, I went into deep depression,” said Hanif.

It was then that one of his teachers narrated a few lines from the Gita . This drew him towards the holy book.

“ I then started reciting the Gita everyday and by the time I completed my M. A. in Sanskrit, I had decided to do research work in the holy book,” said Hanif, who is said to be the only Muslim to have done this.

“ When I went ( to the RSS) for a job, my interview was over moments after it started,” says Hanif with a smile.

“ My examiner wanted me to explain a Sanskrit shloka . However, before translating it, I corrected it for him. Noticing this, he was taken aback. I immediately took out my copy of the Gita and showed it to him. They were so impressed that I was selected immediately,” said Hanif.

Hanif has received accolades for various books he has written on the Gita . In the recent past, he also wrote a book comparing verses of the Gita and the Quran.

Interestingly, Hanif did not how know to read Arabic until he married Kaisar Bano, his distant relative who is an expert in Urdu.

“ Soon after the marriage, she started teaching me Arabic and Urdu, which gave me an opportunity to understand the Quran . I then began comparing the two,” said Hanif.

While his family has been supportive of him in his love for the Gita , once in a while he has to face resistance from fundamentalist elements from both the communities. “ I have, at times, faced awkward situations but I don’t find them worth mentioning,” said Hanif.

However, he is keen to recount that former Rashtriya Swyamesewak Sangh ( RSS) chief K. Sudharshan had called him a ‘ rare pearl’. “ I loved my meeting with the RSS chief. He said I am the kind of Muslim they want India to have,” said Hanif.

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Ajmer blast mastermind Joshi was killed by his own men: MP police

Milind Ghatwai

Dec 18 2010,

Bhopal : The Madhya Pradesh Police on Friday claimed to have solved the mystery behind the murder of Sunil Joshi — former RSS pracharak and alleged mastermind of the blasts in Ajmer and Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad — saying he was killed by his own men because he mistreated them.

Joshi was shot dead on December 29, 2007, when he was on his way to his hideout in Chuna Khadan locality of Dewas. The MP police had virtually closed the investigation in his murder when the Rajasthan ATS arrested Harshad Solanki in connection with the Ajmer blast case.

The MP police said Solanki, who was in their custody for nearly two weeks, had confessed to the murder. Vasudev Parmar, a resident of Dewas, and Anand Raj Kataria, a resident of Indore, were also arrested by the police for hatching a conspiracy to kill Joshi, while three other accused are still missing.

Solanki was remanded in judicial custody till December 30 because the police did not seek further remand, while Parmar and Kataria were remanded in police custody till December 24.

Investigating Officer Vinod Kushwaha told The Indian Express that Solanki was upset with Joshi because he would often hurl invectives at him, often calling him good for nothing and occasionally kutta (dog). “They were fed up of the constant ill-treatment and wanted to eliminate him but were not getting a chance,” Kushwaha said.

Joshi, who was also wanted in connection with the murder of a Congress leader, was living incognito in the town. Four accused in Vadodara’s Best Bakery riot case, Solanki, Ramesh Gohil, Mahesh Gohil and Jayantibhai Gohil also lived with Joshi in a small room in Dewas for more than a year. While Joshi, who sported a long beard, was known as Guruji in the locality, the four assumed false identities as Raj, Mohan, Mehul and Jayanti Ustad respectively. Since all were wanted criminals, they maintained a low profile, avoiding the local people.

On the day of murder, Joshi had gone to his mother’s place but got a call on his mobile that his accomplices were waiting for him in the room. According to Kushwah, Joshi’s motor-cycle developed a snag and he was going on foot when his accomplices came on a two-wheeler and shot him dead.

The police claimed the mobile phones used by Joshi and Mehul had been seized but not the weapon which has passed hands. The police said the accused stayed in various towns of Gujarat after committing the murder.

Joshi delegated responsibilities to all the co-accused in a secret meet at Jaipur, and is the man who recced, and planted the bomb at Ajmer and Mecca Masjid. The MP Police had been criticised by their counterparts in Maharashtra and Rajasthan for not cooperating in the terror cases involving Hindu extremists. The MP Police had made no progress in the Joshi murder case with police officials admitting to political pressure.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ajmer-blast-mastermind-joshi-was-killed-.../726325/

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Indian, Pakistani students to write letters to bridge gap

December 18, 2010

New Delhi: As many as 2,400 students in India and Pakistan are all set to share their lives through letters, postcards and photographs in a 16-month long project 'Exchange for Change' which aims at fostering friendships across the border.

The programme was launched in the capital Friday. Organised by NGO Routes 2 Roots, the Indian part of the project involves 1,200 students from five schools of the country - three in Delhi and two in Mumbai.

"I am really excited to be part of the project. We will all be given the name of a Pakistani student to whom we will write and I can't wait to share my world with him or her. I am also curious to know what their life is like," said Aastha Shrivastav, a class 8 student of St. Pauls School.

Abhinav Sharma, a student of Sanskriti School, said: "I am very curious to know if things like Facebook are as popular as they are here, and if kids in Pakistan like video games. People in India and Pakistan have a lot of things in common like food and culture, so I don't see any reason why my pen friend and I can't hit off really well."

Full report at:

http://www.ummid.com/news/2010/December/17.12.2010/indo_pak_students_on_peace.h

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US struggles to root out militants from Haqqani-run ‘madarsas’

December 18, 2010

Though the CIA has launched over 100 drone strikes in Pakistan this year killing many militants, it has not touched a religious school run by the dreaded Haqqani network, thought to be protected by ISI, out of concern that it might trigger a violent backlash.

US officials say the ‘Manba Ulom’ madarsas near the heart of Pakistan’s tribal areas has for years served as an operational hub for the Haqqani network, the most lethal adversary of US forces in Afghanistan. Still, the CIA has refrained from hitting the site, US officials said, out of concern that targeting a religious compound might trigger a violent backlash, the Washington Post reported.

The US military cannot attack a site inside Pakistan. And American officials said the Pakistani military has failed to clear militants from the madarsas, even though it maintains a fort less than two miles away. “The madarsas on the edge of Miram Shah has emerged as a symbol of the constraints on the US effort in Afghanistan, where the enemy — and the prospects for a clear victory - often seem to lie beyond US forces’ grasp,” the Post said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304578/US-struggles-to-root-out-militants-from-Haqqani-

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Osama promised to ‘divert’ $20m to Kashmiri jehadis

December 18, 2010

Al Qaeda supremo Osama Bin Laden had promised jihadis fighting in Kashmir that they will not “run short of funds” and was willing to “divert” $20 million to support Kashmir-oriented militancy, Indian officials were quoted as telling US diplomats by WikiLeaks.

In a cable dated May 24, 2006 containing the details of a Joint Working Group (CTJWG) meeting in Washington published by WikiLeaks, Ministry Of External Affairs additional Secretary (International Organisations) KC Singh was quoted as saying that India is now more prominent on Al Qaeda’s radar.

He pointed out to Osama’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri’s April 29 video message praising “popular jihadist movements against Indians in Kashmir” and calling India “the best candidate for carrying out the Zionist-Crusader scheme to humiliate, weaken, and dismember Pakistan.”

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304568/Osama-promised-to

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Singapore declares Muslim shrine as national heritage centre

Dec 18, 2010

Singapore: A 182-year-old replica of a dargah in India built by Tamil Muslims here, in memory of a revered 16th century Sufi saint, has been declared a national heritage centre.

The Nagore dargah, dedicated to Sufi saint Shahul Hamid, would be reopened in May next year after a two-year renovation costing about 5,00,000 Singapore dollars, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore announced on Thursday.

The shrine was built around 1828 by Chulia Tamil Muslims in Singapore's Central Business District. The original shrine is in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. The replica would feature exhibits and artefacts of the Indian Muslim community. The Indian Muslim community in the country reveres Shahul Hamid, considered a descendant of Prophet Muhammad, and who helped spread Islam in India.

The shrine is one of the 61 Singapore buildings protected for their historical value under the Preservation of Monuments Act.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/18/stories/2010121865651600.htm

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Students hit as Qur’an teachers’ services end

Dec 18, 2010

JEDDAH: Over 1,200 Qur'an memorization teachers could not get their iqamas transferred to the sponsorship of the Qur'an Memorization Society, or would not do so because of a term that says they can only perform their jobs with the organization for three years because of labor rules requiring full Saudization of the job by then.

Furthermore, according to the spokesman of the organization, the Labor Ministry doesn't recognize Qur'an memorization teaching as a job category that could be stated on a work visa.

The spokesman, Dhaifullah Al-Haqawi, said the loss of 1,240 Qur'an teachers would affect 22,500 students who will be unable to find a seat in the Jeddah's remaining 160 Qur'an memorization rings.  “Only 160 teaching rings will be open in Jeddah while 1240 memorization rings in the city will be closed down due to absence of teachers,” he said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article217878.ece

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India and its Muslims get US thumbs-up

Dec 18, 2010

Washington: In a rousing endorsement of the secular and nationalistic nature of India and its Muslim population,the United States has recognized and appreciated that a vast majority of them remain committed to the Indian state and seek to participate in mainstream politics and economic life,thus cutting down scope for recruitment by extremist organizations.

In an extensive commentary about Indias 150 million plus Muslims (the second largest in the world after Indonesia),former US envoy to New Delhi David Mulford recorded in a cable (released by WikiLeaks) that Indias vibrant democracy,inclusive culture and growing economy have made it easier for Muslim youth to find a place in the mainstream,reduced the pool of potential recruits,and the space in which Islamic extremist organizations can operate.

Full report at: Times of India

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Pak army paid wages to Lashkar-e-Taiba

Ashis Ray

Dec 18, 2010

LONDON: A secret cable sent by US ambassador in Delhi Timothy Roemer to Washington gives an insight into a January 8, 2009 meeting between Richard Boucher, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, and then foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon.

The Roemer cable, part of a fresh WikiLeaks dump and written on January 9, quotes Boucher telling Menon: "We're not giving them (Pakistanis) any breaks: they must eliminate LeT."

Roemer reported: "Menon replied that Pakistan was nowhere near the threshold of proving sincerity in its response to the Mumbai attacks and had so far taken no irrevocable steps toward eliminating LeT as a threat to India. His worry was that the problem was more basic, that the civilian government (in Pakistan) was incapable of taking action against Lashkar and the military had not yet made the required strategic shift."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-army-paid-wages-to-Lashkar-e-

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Cong MP from Bihar to receive AFMI Sir Syed Award for 2010

December 18, 2010

Malegaon: Noted educationist and lone Congress Member of Parliament from Bihar, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi has been selected for this year's Sir Syed Award, AFMI announced today.

Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi has been selected for the award for his contributions to the education of Indian Muslims.

Sir Syed Award is conferred on the distinguished Indian Muslims, who contribute for the empowerment of the community, by Michigan based American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) every year.

The award will be given to the Maulana during the two-day AFMI International Convention, which would be held on December 25 & 26 in Ahmedabad.

Full report at:

http://www.ummid.com/news/2010/December/17.12.2010/2010_sir_syed_award.htm

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Museum to reopen with maestro's touch

Nandini R Iyer

Dec 18, 2010

GALA Ustad Amjad Ali Khan to perform at National Museum today

Want to listen to a Sarod recital by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan? That too, free? Visit the National Museum on Saturday.

The maestro will be performing at the Musical Instruments Gallery there to commemorate the museum's new look.

India's leading museum is adopting several innovative approaches to attract visitors to its new revamped avatar of the 17th-century Musical Instruments Gallery and concerts by doyens of Indian classical music of both Hindustani and Carnatic genres are on the agenda.

The museum has a large collection of musical instruments-both folk and classical. India's first woman Sarod performer, Sharan Rani Bakliwal, donated the larger part of the collection.

Full report at: Hindustan Times

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Qawwals from Karachi who carry on Delhi legacy

December 18, 2010

New Delhi: They come from Pakistan but carry eight centuries of the Indian capital's Islamic musical history on their shoulders. The Karachi-based troupe owes its allegiance to Sufi saint Amir Khusrau who founded the qawwali genre of devotional music.

Fariduddin Ayaz Qawaal and Party, hailed as one of the top five ensembles in the sub-continent, describe themselves as the "true torchbearers of the Delhi Qawaal Bacchon ka Gharana" founded by Saamat Bin Ibrahim - a young disciple of Amir Khusrau - in the 13th century.

"We have kept alive the 777-year Delhi gharana of qawwali music though we live in Karachi," Ayaz told IANS in the capital.

In the middle ages, the exponents of the Delhi gharana were groups of children. The indigenous gharana captures the spiritual soul of the Delhi sultanate with its childlike and boisterous music and lyrics.

Full report at:

http://www.ummid.com/news/2010/December/18.12.2010/qawwals_frm_karachi.htm

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Book exposes Israeli occupation as seen by troops

Dec 18, 2010

JERUSALEM: Some stories are told with shame; others are just matter-of-fact accounts, but the dozens of soldier testimonies in a book to be released this month lays bare the grim day-to-day reality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

“Breaking the Silence” shares the name of its publishers, a group of veteran Israeli combat soldiers who collect testimonies and photographs from troops who have served in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It is due to be released on December 21 to mark 10 years since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, and seeks to understand the overall policies of the military through the experiences of troops on the ground.

“The book exposes the operational methods of the Israeli military in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the impact of these methods on the people who live in the territories – Palestinians, settlers and the soldiers themselves,”reads the introduction in an advance copy obtained by AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/17/book-exposes-israeli-occupation-as-seen-by-troops-

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NIA books Madani's wife for burning bus

Dec 18, 2010

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a chargesheet against Laskhar-e-Taiba ( LeT) operative Umar Haji alias T Nazeer (prime accused in the Bangalore blast case) and Soofiya Madani (wife of PDP leader Abdul Naseer Madani) and 11 others for allegedly hijacking and burning a Tamil Nadu state transport bus at Kalamassery in Kerala on September 9, 2005.

They had allegedly hijacked the bus "to put pressure on Tamil Nadu government to secure release of their leader Abdul Naseer Madani from Coimbatore jail". Madani is an accused in the 1998 Coimbatore blast, which claimed 58 lives and left over 200 injured.

The other accused are Abdul Haleem, Bomb Ismail, Shefeeq, Sabir Buhari, Muhammed Navas, Thajudin, Nazar K, Anoop, Ummer Farooque, Majeed Parambai and Mohammed Sabir alias Ayub. The 14th accused, Abdul Rahim, died in Kashmir during an encounter.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NIA-books-Madanis-wife-for-burning-

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CIA man in Islamabad leaves as 'ISI exposes his identity'

MARK MAZZETTI and SALMAN MASOOD

Dec 18, 2010

WASHINGTON: The Central Intelligence Agency's top clandestine officer in Islamabad was pulled from the country on Thursday amid an escalating war of recriminations between American and Pakistani spies, with some American officials convinced that the officer's cover was deliberately blown by Pakistan's military intelligence agency.

The CIA officer hastily left Pakistan on the same day that an Obama administration review of the Afghanistan war concluded that the war could not be won without greater cooperation from Islamabad in rooting out militants in Pakistan's western mountains.

On Thursday and Friday, the United States appeared to make good on promises to expand its own efforts to attack the militants, with drone strikes hitting Khyber agency in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas. Most drone strikes this year have targeted North Waziristan, and attacks on Khyber in recent years have been rare. Pakistani government officials said at least 26 militants were killed in the most recent attacks.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/CIA-man-in-Islamabad-leaves-as-ISI-

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US embassy argued against issuing visa to Kashmiri leader

December 18, 2010

The American Embassy in New Delhi recommended against issuing a US visa to Kashmiri paramilitary leader and J&K State MLA Usman Abdul Majid in 2007 by citing the denial of visa to Hurriyat leader Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani.

A leader of the Ikhawan-ul-Muslimeen paramilitary group, comprising former militants who surrendered to the Indian authorities, Majid had applied for a visa to attend functions hosted by the US Institute of Peace in Washington. Majid had become a minister in the Mufti Mohammad Saeed’s Government.

“In the interest of remaining balanced in our approach to the Kashmir issue following Embassy New Delhi’s denial of Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani’s visa request, Post recommends denying this visa application (of Majid) as well,” the then US Ambassador David Mulford said in a diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304563/US-embassy-argued-against-issuing-visa-to-

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Iraqi Christians fleeing north

December 18, 2010

The UN refugee agency says thousands of Iraqi Christians are fleeing from central provinces to the relative safety of the Kurdish-controlled region in the north.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says some 1,000 families have left Baghdad and Mosul province since an October 31 attack on a church in the capital left 68 people dead.

Melissa Fleming says the flight of Christians to other parts of Iraq and abroad has become “a slow but steady exodus.”

UNHCR also said today it is “dismayed” European governments are deporting failed Iraqi asylum seekers to areas of the country it doesn’t consider safe.

Fleming cited a December 15 deportation flight from Sweden that included at least five Christians from Baghdad.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304561/Iraqi-Christians-fleeing-north.html

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Ministry steps in to clear AMU mess

Charu Sudan

Dec 18, 2010

SHOW-CAUSE NOTICE ISSUED TO V-C AZIS AND MEETING OF THE VARSITY COURT HAS BEEN PUT ON HOLD

The HRD ministry on Friday issued a show-cause notice to Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor PK Abdul Azis, putting on hold a meeting of the AMU court that was opposed by varsity stakeholders and MPs across party lines.

The notice, sent with President Pratibha Patil's concurrence -asks the university to explain why the proceedings of the court meeting scheduled for December 19 should not be annulled, government sources said. The Court is the highest decision making authority of the university.

The move follows apprehensions that the court meeting would help legitimise and strengthen Azis's position, at a time when the government is upset with the VC after AMU lied to members of a Presidential panel probing corruption allegations against the V-C.

“The V-C is going way too far.

Full report at: Hindustan Times

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WikiLeaks: US felt removal of Shivraj Patil was inevitable after 26/11

Dec 18, 2010

NEW DELHI: After 26/11, the US felt that the removal of "spectacularly inept" Shivraj Patil as home minister was inevitable although he had been "protected" by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi despite being found "asleep on the watch" during earlier terror strikes in various cities.

According to a US diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks, the then US ambassador David Mulford said Congress was "desperately seeking to limit the damage" as it was in a "deep political trouble" over its handling of the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008.

"In this environment, removal of the home minister was inevitable. He has over the last four years proved himself to be spectacularly inept," the cable said.

Mulford pointed out that in almost every incident of terrorist or communal violence -- Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Guwahati, Samjhauta Express, Orissa, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir -- he has been "asleep on the watch".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/WikiLeaks-US-felt-removal-of-Shivraj-Patil-was-

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Fearing assault by father,rescued girl refuses to go back to Bengal

Dwaipayan Ghosh

Dec 18, 2010

New Delhi: A day after a 16-year-old girl,who had gone missing from Balikhal village in South 24-Parganas more than a year ago,was rescued from Begumpur in northwest Delhi,the tale of her ordeals left cops stunned.

The girl reportedly told her counsellor Rashi Aditi Ghosh that she did not want to return to her home.She fears that she be might be physically abused by her father who had once threatened to marry her, claimed Rishikant,a social activist from the Shakti Vahini who helped cops in tracing the girl.

Rishikant claimed that the girl has told investigators that she was happy in Delhi with Kadir who had married her after buying her from Azhar,leader of a trafficking gang.Azhar was arrested by the cops on Wednesday midnight after a shootout.

Full report at: Times of India

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Recognize Paks 26/11 role: US told

Dec 18, 2010

London: A secret cable sent by US ambassador in Delhi Timothy Roemer to Washington gives an insight into a January 8,2009 meeting between Richard Boucher,US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia,and then foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon.

The Roemer cable,part of a fresh WikiLeaks dump and written on January 9,quotes Boucher telling Menon: Were not giving them (Pakistanis ) any breaks: they must eliminate LeT.

Roemer reported: Menon replied that Pakistan was nowhere near the threshold of proving sincerity in its response to the Mumbai attacks and had so far taken no irrevocable steps toward eliminating LeT as a threat to India.His worry was that the problem was more basic,that the civilian government (in Pakistan) was incapable of taking action against Lashkar and the military had not yet made the required strategic shift.

At the same meeting,Roemer noted: Boucher shared that the US hadnt reached the conclusion that Pakistans security services were directly involved in the Mumbai attacks and asked Menon to tone down public pressure.Provoking Pakistan military made constructive cooperation less likely.

Full report at: Times of India

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US feared India was a potential bio-terror target

Dec 18, 2010

New Delhi: Even as India has so far not become the victim of bio-terrorism,the jihadi groups active in the country have long been looking to tap vast resource of researchers pursuing biology and bio-technology to launch such strikes as and when they get an opportunity.

Such concerns were expressed by US diplomats,who in the secret US embassy cables from New Delhi disclosed by the global whistleblower WikiLeaks mentioned how India was a potential bio-terror target.

Besides,the leaked cables also state that India is becoming more prominent on al-Qaidas radar.

Some post 26/11 cables also referred to Indian home minister P Chidambarams deep concerns about the presence of terrorist sleeper cells which could be waiting to strike any time.It also referred to how Chidambaram,during his meeting with FBI director Robert Mueller on February 23,had complained that Pakistan had done damn near nothing to prosecute Mumbai-related terror suspects.

Full report at: Times of India

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Cable row over internal security

Dec 18, 2010

While comments from Congress Party leaders about internal threats from radicalized Hindu groups are not new,the fact that Gandhi expressed his views to US interlocutors is certain to spark a political firestorm in India in what is already a season of confrontation.The reported remarks add to the already controversial statements from Congress party general secretary Digvijay Singh pointing to dangers from Hindu extremist groups.

The candid disclosures to Americans of such critical observations about internal security also comes at a time when Pakistan continues its defence of extremists in its society,articulated most recently by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf,who argued that the terrorist organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa could not be touched because they had undertaken earthquake relief work.

Rahul Gandhi displays no such inhibitions in describing the dangers from majority communalism,in a wide-ranging conversation seated next to Roemer at the dinner.The US envoy reports that Gandhi expressed concerns regarding the challenges surrounding the UPA coalitions ability to implement its programs,and speculated about radicalization among Hindus and Muslims.

Full report at: Times of India

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We are on track: Obama

Missy Ryan & Ross Colvin

Dec 18, 2010

OPTIMISTIC Despite bloodshed, US president touts progress in war on terror

President Barack ed Americans an Obama offered Americans an optimistic assessment of the Afghanistan war on Thursday, even as US spy agencies and aid groups express doubts about the progress amid worsening violence.

Obama, under pressure to show results after criticising his predecessor George W Bush for neglecting the war, said the United States was on track to start pulling out troops next July as planned. He offered no details on the pace of those withdrawals.

A five-page unclassified summary of the White House review said US and NATO forces had made “notable operational gains,“ halting the Taliban's momentum in many areas and disrupting Al Qaeda.

Full report at: Hindustan Times

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Wen in Pakistan on rare visit

Dec 18, 2010

From India Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao flew to Pakistan on Friday on a three-day visit for wide-ranging talks on key issues, especially the economic ties.

CHINESE PREMIER TO FOCUS ON EXPANDING TRADE WITH ASIAN NEIGHBOUR AND LONGTIME ALLY

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Pakistan on Friday for a rare visit expected to focus heavily on expanding trade between the Asian neighbours and longtime allies.

Islamabad has been grappling with an Islamist insurgency as wellaspoliticalandeconomicturmoil in recent years, and Wen's trip -the first by a Chinese premier in five years -is an opportunity to showcase its ties with an ally it sees as offering consistent,no-strings-attachedsupport.

Wen's plane landed under heavy security at a Pakistan air base, where a red carpet was rolled out and a full honor guard was on display. Pakistan's top civilian and military leaders, and nearly its full Cabinet, were on hand to greet Wen and his hundreds-strong delegation. Wen is expected to meet with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and sign business deals with billions of dollars.

Full report at: Hindustan Times

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Digvijaya Singh courting trouble?

Dec 18, 2010

THE LATEST CONTROVERSY SINGH HAS STEPPED INTO OBLIQUELY RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS CREDIBILITY

Digvijaya Singh rushes in where even the most surefooted of Congressmen hesitate to tread.

Known for his penchant to create controversies, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh has become far more voluble of late, especially when it comes to taking potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindu fundamentalism and projecting himself as a rallying point for Muslims. And Diggy Raja, as the former raja of Raghogarh is called, does it often at the cost of embarrassing his party which must be uneasy about its fallout on the majority community.

In recent months, Singh has openly questioned the police version in the Batla house encounter and called for a judicial probe and has directly confronted Home Minister P Chidambaram over his antiMaoist and anti-Naxal policy.

Full report at: Hindustan Times

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WikiLeaks triggers war of words in J&K

Toufiq Rashid

Dec 18, 2010

SPARRING We don't condone violations, says CM; Oppn disagrees ( ) It (WikiLeaks) pertains to 2005... the state was (then) run by those people who believed in the `healing touch'.

O M A R A B D U L L A H , CM

The sore issue of alleged human right violations in Kashmir, this time scooped by WikiLeaks broadcasts, has sparked another round of sparring between the two main parties in the state.

The ruling National Conference and the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) have got down to their usual business of blaming each other, now on this matter.

J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said on Friday his government did neither condone torture, nor turn a “blind eye“ to reports of excesses by the security forces in the state.

“We don't condone torture and will not turn a blind eye to reports of human rights violations,“ he said. “Not only the state government but the Centre too has a policy of zero tolerance to human rights abuses.“ Abdullah said his government was the first to allow international human rights organisations to visit the valley.

Full report at: Hindustan Times

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B’desh top spy agency supported HuJI

December 18, 2010

Bangladesh’s top counter intelligence agency had extended its support to banned terror group HuJI to enter the political arena in a bid to make it join mainstream politics, according to secret US cables released by WikiLeaks. “Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) supported the formation of the IDP (Islamic Democratic Party) as a way to bring HUJI-B into the mainstream politics,” Wikileaks CableGate reported in an item provided to the internet on December 4. The private Bdnews24 news agency carried a detail report on the Wikileaks report from London saying that according to the cables sent by the US embassy in Dhaka, DGFI made the attempt to float Islamic Democratic Party right before the 2008 elections in Bangladesh.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304566/B%E2%80%99desh-top-spy-agency-supported-

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Russia to Pak: Stop terror cancer, shut down camps

December 18, 2010

China might have skirted the issue but Russia, ahead of its President Dmitry Medvedev’s two-day visit here, sent out a clear message to Pakistan on Friday.

Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin termed terrorism emanating from Pakistan as a “horrible cancer spreading from Moscow metro to Mumbai to London”, asked Islamabad to “dismantle” the terrorist training camps on its soil and backed India’s “anger” following Mumbai terror attacks.

“We do want Pakistan to solve its internal problem. We do not want any danger or threat emanating from Pakistan or neighbouring regions of Pakistan. We are against those 40 training camps. That is from where this horrible cancer of international terrorism is spreading on our earth,” Kadakin said, while briefing mediapersons about Medvedev’s visit.

“This must be done away with,” Kadakin stressed adding India and Russia know exactly from where the terror threat is coming from.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304458/Russia-to-Pak-Stop-terror-cancer-shut-down-

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No such thing as saffron terror: VHP

December 18, 2010  

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has said that the sequence of events which led to the so-called ‘Hindu terrorism’ needs to be looked into, even as it ridiculed the claim that something like ‘Hindu terror’ existed.

VHP all-India vice-president Ashok Chowgule said the contentious issue of ‘saffron terror,’ which, incidentally, he said was a “figment of imagination” of vested interests that were anti-national, would be discussed threadbare at an international conference to be held in Goa from January 4 to 9.

“As the VHP, we do not believe in violence.... If you do not look into the sequence which leads to the violence, then you cannot address the issue,” Chowgule said.

“The whole idea of saffron terrorism is a figment of imagination. These types of accusations are made by vested interests for their own agenda. It is not done in the interest of the nation. There is unjustified propaganda against Hindu organisations by vested and so-called secular interests,” Chowgule said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304414/No-such-thing-as-saffron-terror-VHP.html

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Chidambaram voiced suspicions that Headley was not acting alone: cable

Vinay Kumar

Dec 18, 2010

NEW DELHI: In a meeting early this year, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram discussed with FBI Director Robert Mueller the case of David Headley — the Pakistani-American in U.S. custody involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks — saying that he suspected that Headley had not acted alone, according to a secret U.S. embassy cable made public by WikiLeaks.

Mr. Mueller said that Headley was giving the U.S. “the best information for months” on Pakistan-based terrorist groups. Mr. Chidambaram requested direct access to Headley, as well as to Headley's spouse, even if such access produced no information.

Mr. Chidambaram asked whether an Indian government official could monitor Headley's interrogation and submit questions “in real time.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/18/stories/2010121864681200.htm

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RSS legal notice to Diggyover Karkare remark

By Poornima Joshi

Dec 18, 2010

THE RSS media cell has circulated a legal notice sent to Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh over his recent comments on Hindutva terror.

The Sangh took exception to Singh’s statement on slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare in which he said Karkare was under extreme pressure from the Hindutva terror groups after he unearthed their links with the RSS during investigations into the Malegaon blasts.

While Singh stressed that he has only said what has been in the public domain for a while, the Sangh Parivar targeted him for “ maligning the Hindus”, subtly aligning the RSS with the entire Hindu community.

Singh is the RSS’s favourite target as he is the only mass leader in the Congress who has consistently talked against the threat from Hindutva terror groups which have been shown to use the RSS as a ready recruitment ground.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Gossip website exposes lovesick Assange’s mails

Dec 18, 2010

HE IS the whistleblower who has exposed the secrets of governments across the world.

But WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has some embarrassing documents about his own past that he would rather the world didn’t know about.

A series of emails detailing his ‘ stalkery courtship’ of a teenager are revealed — two years before he founded his website.

Under the headline “ The creepy, lovesick emails of Julian Assange”, the gossip website Gawker reproduces Assange’s emails to the teenager, from his pre- WikiLeaks days.

On the day Assange was freed on conditional bail pending moves to extradite him to Sweden on allegations of sexually assaulting two women, Gawker details his ‘ secrets’. Gawker claims Assange, then 33, wooed Elizabeth — not her real name — after he met the 19- year- old at a bar near Melbourne, Australia in April 2004.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Menon cautioned America not to dictate terms on Iran

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

Dec 18, 2010

CERTAIN US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks indicate that differences had cropped up between India and the US over Iran in 2008.

According to one cable, then foreign secretary ( now national security adviser) Shiv Shankar Menon made India’s displeasure over the US’s big brother attitude known to the US in May 2008, after Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the country. Menon cautioned the US against telling India what to do.

“ This government has to be seen following an independent foreign policy, not responding to dictation from the US,” Menon stated and added India must work with Iran to deal with Afghanistan.

An acrimonious exchange is reported to have taken place between Menon and the then US envoy, David Mulford.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Qaddafi son’s charity to stop championing reform

Dec 18, 2010

CAIRO: A charitable foundation led by the son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi says it wants to avoid political activities and focus on humanitarian work.

The foundation led by Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi announced that its priority is assisting the poor in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the foundation has been involved in high-profile political endeavors including the release of terminally ill Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison and an attempt to thwart Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.

A statement by the foundation said it will drop “advocacy for political and human rights reform” after board members voiced concern over criticism by Israel supporters about the foundation's activities.

“The Qaddafi Foundation received some negative criticism because of perceived political overtones after an incident involving the supply of humanitarian aid to the citizens of Gaza,” it said, quoting board member Richard J. Roberts, British biochemist and a 1993 Nobel laureate.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article217793.ece

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Iran frees family of jailed filmmaker

Dec 18, 2010

TEHRAN: An opposition website says Iranian authorities have released family members of an imprisoned documentary filmmaker after briefly detaining them.

The kaleme.com website said late Thursday the wife, son, two daughters, parents and brothers of filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad were freed hours after they taken into custody.

They were picked up after inquiring about Nourizad's reportedly failing health.

The website said Nourizad's wife was taken to the hospital because she felt sick immediately after being detained.

Nourizad is serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for spreading propaganda against the government and insulting the country's leaders.

Opposition websites have recently reported that Nourizad has been hospitalized because of his failing health. He also is reported to have started a hunger strike last week.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article217800.ece

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Swedish Muslims condemn suicide bombing

Dec 18, 2010

STOCKHOLM: Muslim leaders in Sweden are condemning last week’s suicide bombing in the capital in their Friday prayers.

At the Stockholm Mosque, Imam Ben Mahmoud Rammeh told hundreds of worshippers: “We are true Muslims and a true Muslim has nothing to do with a terror act.” Rammeh said “Sweden is our country and its people are our people. What pleases the country pleases us. What hurts the nation hurts us.” The Islamic federation in Sweden says the text of his sermon has been sent to mosques around the country as inspiration for their Friday prayers.

An Iraqi-born Swede, Taimour Abdulwahab, on Saturday killed himself and injured two people in what police say was a botched suicide bombing in downtown Stockholm.

http://arabnews.com/world/article217755.ece

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Taleban reject Obama war strategy review

Dec 18, 2010

KABUL: The Taleban on Friday rejected the US government’s review of President Barack Obama’s year-old war strategy in Afghanistan, saying that it has failed on both the military and the civil administration fronts.

In an e-mailed statement, Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the last nine years of war had proven that increased troop levels had no effect.

“It is a failed strategy, not only on the military side but also in civilian and administrative affairs,” he said.

“Public services in Afghanistan have failed. Corruption, insecurity and also the civilian casualties are a result of failed American strategy.” “President Obama is also talking about progress, but it is clear for everyone that the reality is completely the opposite of what he says,” he added.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article217857.ece

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Bahrain mourns death of King’s brother Rashid

18 December 2010

 MANAMA - A seven-day mourning period was announced on Friday on the death of the brother of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

The Royal Court announced the sad loss of Shaikh Rashid bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who passed away on Friday in Germany.

Funeral prayers will be held on Saturday at the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Mosque in West Riffa. Condolences will be received at the Riffa Palace on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The Royal statement also announced official seven-day mourning, during which flags will fly at half-mast.  All National day celebrations have been postponed for a week. ?      

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/December/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/in-tn-village-without-muslims,-hindus-observe-muharram/d/3804


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