New Age Islam
Thu Dec 03 2020, 08:24 PM

Islamic World News ( 16 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Shiites in Muslim world solemnly mark day of grief

WikliLeaks: Rahul believes Hindu extremists bigger threat than Muslim militants

Bus bomb kills 14 in Afghanistan

Christian minority under pressure in Egypt

Muslim cleric warns against ‘holy’ wars

Saudi Women pay tributes to Al-Gosaibi

Hafiz Saeed makes public appearance, supports blasphemy laws

Child killed, 25 hurt in attack on Muharram procession

Veil bans shroud freedom of expression

At least 15 killed in two US drone strikes in Khyber

Bleak outlook for plans to help Sunni Muslim militiamen of Iraq

Iran woman on death row forced into sex trade to fund husband’s opium addiction

Interfaith celebration centres on Muslim poet

Discussion panel brings Muslims, Christians together

60% Americans believe Afghan war not worth fighting

Islam Rejects Religious Pluralism, Says IKIM

Self-Congratulatory Feminism, Now in Muslim Flavour!

Madinah conference highlights Kingdom’s contribution to Islam

Young Muslims urged to give blood during Muharram

Focus on Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda: U.S.

‘Conditions-based’ US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011

LK Advani appeals to Iran for Justice for seven imprisoned Bahá’í leaders

Indian embassy in Kabul on LeT radar

Was 'ISI spy' in Mumbai plotting a 9/11-type attack?

US asks Pakistan to do more in war against terrorism

Rahul remarks impinge upon India's fight on terror: BJP

Assange wins back freedom

In Abu Dhabi, Christmas comes decked with gold

Pak police’s Special Branch official held for ‘terror links’

PRO made fall guy for J&K handout fiasco

 ‘ Leaks’ spur Pak sanitary napkins ad

Israeli jet downs flying object near nuclear plant

Next hearing in 17 Indians on death row on December 30

Obama calls Karzai, Zardari to discuss policy review

Iraq arrests 73 Al Qaeda men

Bangladesh arrests opposition MP accused of war crimes

322,677 illegals netted in Jazan

Schoolgirls shine in sports tournament at Effat University

NATO breaks ground on new headquarters

National Parade displays nations’ prowess

Red Cross accused India of widespread torture in J&K: WikiLeaks

Mortar attack kills six, wounds eight in Hangu

US touted Bollywood stars to help Afghanistan: WikiLeaks

Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/shiites-in-muslim-world-solemnly-mark-day-of-grief------/d/3803

 

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Shiites in Muslim world solemnly mark day of grief

By Zeina Karam

Dec 17, 2010

BEIRUT—Shiites across the Muslim world commemorated their most somber day of the year Thursday with solemn processions where some beat their chests or cut themselves with swords and chains to mourn the death some 1,300 years ago of one of their most beloved saints.

Bombings in Iraq targeted Shiite pilgrims, killing two as they walked to holy sites. In Pakistan, 16 people were wounded, two critically, when an assailant threw an explosive device at a Shiite procession.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Narsallah used an address marking the occasion, called Ashoura, to call for armed resistance against Israel and unity between Shiites and Sunnis.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai urged insurgents to embrace peace.

This year's Ashoura comes amid tensions between Islam's rival Sunni and Shiite sects.

Two suicide bombings Wednesday blamed on a radical Sunni group killed at least 39 people at a ceremony marking Ashoura near a Shiite mosque in southeastern Iran. The group, Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its website.

Security was tight Thursday at Ashoura commemorations in Sunni-majority Pakistan, where a long-running sectarian conflict has gained traction in recent years due to the Sunni Taliban insurgency. Shiite Muslim processions in major cities have at times been attacked by bombers.

To mark Ashoura, Shiites march in massive processions, beating their chests in mourning for the 680 A.D. martyrdom at Karbala, present-day Iraq, of Imam Hussein, one of the sect's most beloved saints and a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

But the most devout of Shiites cut themselves with swords or razors, or lash their backs with razor-lined chains to draw blood, rituals that reflect the sect's immersion in a narrative of mourning, martyrdom and suffering.

Police were out in force in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. As in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, people who wanted to join the main procession in the city had to undergo body searches. Thousands of people joined in, hoisting flags and banners as they mourned Hussein.

Authorities in Pakistan are on high alert for attacks on Shiites marking Ashoura. But an assailant in the city of Peshawar near the Afghan border wounded 16 pilgrims when he threw an explosive device on a Shiite procession.

Iraqi Shiites did not make their customary annual pilgrimage to a holy shrine in southern Jordan this year, amid rising Sunni-Shiite Muslim tensions in the Arab world.

Hundreds of Shiites from Iraq and Iran usually visit the shrine of Jaafar bin Abi Taleb, one of Prophet Muhammad's companions, in Jordan's southern town of Mazar to mark Ashoura.

In Iraq, bombings in Baghdad and a small town to the north killed two pilgrims and wounded nine who were headed to Ashoura ceremonies in Karbala, home of Imam Hussein's shrine. The killed and wounded were among hundreds of thousands who headed to Karbala to mark Ashoura.

Security forces created three layers of checkpoints outside the gold-domed Imam Hussein shrine in the city's center to protect the pilgrims expected to converge there by Ashoura's peak Friday morning.

Pilgrim Kadhim Jawad, 45, walked for 13 hours from Najaf, a holy Shiite city south of Karbala, for the ceremonies. He said he was not frightened by the explosions.

"On the contrary, we wish today, on this day, to end our pilgrimage by martyrdom so we can be in paradise with Imam Hussein," he said.

Sunni insurgents have consistently targeted Shiite pilgrims with bombings, rockets and mortars since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who was hanged in 2006.

In Lebanon, tens of thousands of black-clad Shiites walked in a procession in Hezbollah's stronghold south of Beirut, many beating their chests in mourning.

In the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, blotches of blood covered the ground as fervent Shiites cut their heads with knives and razors, drawing blood that slid down their foreheads and white shrouds symbolizing their willingness to die.

Nine-month old Mohammed Maatouk burst out crying in the arms of his father when barber Khodr Kamal made a small cut in his head with a razor as part of the rituals.

Addressing the crowds south of Beirut, Nasrallah praised an Arab decision to halt peace talks with Israel, saying the only option remaining is armed resistance against the Jewish state.

His remarks came a day after Arab foreign ministers rejected any Israel-Palestinian peace talks before the U.S. takes a firm stance on the future borders of a Palestinian state.

Nasrallah says Arab leaders finally realized that talks with Israel are "dead."

Nasrallah, who lives in hiding, spoke through a video link.

"The negotiations have ended, and the settlement has died and turned into cadavers, but many still refuse to acknowledge its death," he said.

"There is no choice for this (Arab) nation but to recover land dignity and holy sites through resistance," he said.

Karzai, the Afghan president, spoke at a mosque in the Afghan capital , Kabul, to honor the day. He told the gathering that the message of Ashoura is one of peace and urged insurgent groups to embrace that message.

"I want to use this opportunity and call on our brothers to come and join the peace process and do their best to bring peace and stability to our country and our region," said Karzai.

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AP reporters Heidi Vogt in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nahal Toosi in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.

http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2010/12/16/lebanese_hezbollah_peace_talks_with_israel_dead/?page=1

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WikliLeaks: Rahul believes Hindu extremists bigger threat than Muslim militants

Dec 17, 2010

In controversial comments, Rahul Gandhi has told US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer that growth of "radicalised Hindu groups" posed a bigger threat to the country than militant groups like LeT, according to a leaked American diplomatic cable.

Rahul, during a conversation with the envoy at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence in July 2009 in honour of visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also referred to the tensions created by some of the more polarising figures in the BJP such as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the cable said.

According to a secret US diplomatic cable from New Delhi released by WikiLeaks, the Congress leader shared his views with Roemer on a range of political topics, social challenges, and electoral issues for the Congress party in the next five years.

"Responding to the ambassador's query about Lashkar-e-Toiba's activities in the region and immediate threat to India, Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community," the cable notes.

"Gandhi, however, warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community," it said.

The cable dated August 3, 2009 which described Roemer's luncheon encounter with Gandhi on July 20, 2009, said Gandhi was referring to the tensions created by some of the more polarising figures in the BJP such as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

"The risk of a 'home-grown' extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamist groups in India, was a growing concern and one that demanded constant attention," it said.

The cable signed off by Roemer says that Gandhi, who was seated next to the Ambassador, was forthright in describing the challenges faced by the Congress party and the UPA government in the months ahead.

When contacted in New Delhi, the US Embassy offered no comments on the WikiLeaks contents.

The United States, which has accused WikiLeaks of stealing its secret cables, has refused to either deny or confirm the authenticity of these cables.

Slamming Rahul, BJP said Congress wants to create a communal strife so that they can have a vote harvest in the coming elections.

"They (Congress) are feeling let down by the corruption scandals and price rise... so they are afraid of losing elections. This is their old trick...," BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/wiklileaks-rahul-believes-hindu-extremists-bigger.../726009/

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Bus bomb kills 18 in Afghanistan

December 17, 2010

A bomb on Thursday killed 18 members of a same family in Afghanistan, underscoring record violence levels as a US review said the strategy to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban was on track. The bomb attack, blamed on Taliban militants, blew apart a minibus the family was travelling in north of the historic city of Herat, close to Afghanistan’s northwest border with Turkmenistan.

It came after the defence ministry accused NATO of killing four Afghan soldiers in an air strike in a Taliban flashpoint in the south of the country, the deadliest zone for US-led troops fighting the nine-year insurgency. Another four people were injured in the bus attack and two further roadside bombs were later found and defused in the same area, Herat provincial spokesman Rafi Behrozyan told AFP. “The incident took place in Kushki Kuhna district. All members of an extended family, were killed,” he said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304298/Bus-bomb-kills-14-in-Afghanistan.html

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Christian minority under pressure in Egypt

17 December 2010

While the status of Muslims in Europe has become a major political issue, there has been less controversy, until recently, about the position of Christians in the Islamic World.

But Christian minorities in the Muslim World are coming under severe pressure and especially in Egypt, where an estimated tenth of the population is faithful to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12014779

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Muslim cleric warns against ‘holy’ wars

Dec 17, 2010

MUSLIMS should not spill the blood of innocent people in the name of fighting holy wars (jihad), the chief executive and missionary in charge of the Amadiyya Muslim Association in Uganda has said.

Zahid Inayatullah sounded the warning during the annual conference at the association’s headquarters in Wandegeya, Kampala last week.

“The Messiah orders you to refrain from religious wars involving armed combat, killing and bloodshed,” Inayatullah told thousands of Muslims.

He castigated Islamic scholars who misinterpret jihad to mean defending Islam through bloodshed. He called upon Muslims to be peaceful and adhere to Prophet Mohammed’s teachings.

Sheik Yusuf Kaire advised the Muslims not to abandon their faith in the face of trouble. He said those who endure suffering and are patient would be rewarded by Allah.

The conference was held under the theme: “Those who strive in our path, we will surely guide them in our ways.”

It attracted participants from Uganda and Rwanda.

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/19/741280

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Saudi Women pay tributes to Al-Gosaibi

Dec 17, 2010

JEDDAH: Saudi women coming from media, culture and academic backgrounds gathered on Monday at Suad Jabir’s home to give an in-depth review of the late Ghazi Al-Gosaibi’s last story, “Alzheimer’s.”

Al-Gosaibi, who was a diplomat, minister of labor, poet and author, died last August.

The three speakers reviewing “Alzheimer’s” included Fatina Shaki, a columnist and former sociology professor at King Abdul Aziz University; Amira Kashgari, a columnist; and Amal Shatta, a novelist. Najat Al-Sayig, a faculty member at King Abdulaziz University and columnist, moderated the session.

The women believed that reviewing Al-Gosaibi’s literary submissions was a “national obligation.” Shakir believed that Al-Gosaibi himself did not go through the experiences mentioned in the story.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article217281.ece

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Hafiz Saeed makes public appearance, supports blasphemy laws

Dec 17, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD) chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed on Thursday made his first public appearance in Pakistan's capital Islamabad since he was released from house arrest last year. Saeed attended a gathering of hardliners opposed to Pakistani government's move to repeal the country's controversial blasphemy law.

Saeed shared the dais with leading Pakistan politicians, including former caretaker PM Shujaat Hussain and federal minister Ijaz-ul-Haq and stressed the need for a well-organised media campaign" in favour of the law.

The JuD chief, who earlier addressed rallies across Pakistan's Punjab province, was put under house arrest in December 2008 after the UN banned JuD following the 26/11 attack. Islamabad also acknowledged that part of the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and blamed the JuD the Lashkar-e-Taiba front for the assault that left 166 people dead. It arrested seven LeT operatives, including its commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakvi, for the assault and put them on trial in Pakistan's garrison town of Rawalpindi.

Full report at:

India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/26/11-mastermind-Hafiz-Saeed-

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Child killed, 25 hurt in attack on Muharram procession

Dec 17, 2010

PESHAWAR: A child was killed while 25 mourners, including eight women and three children, sustained injuries when terrorists threw a hand grenade at a Muharram mourning procession at Chowk Yadgar on Thursday, police said.

Peshawar DCO Siraj Ahmed Khan told reporters that Qamar Abbas succumbed to his wounds at the Lady Reading Hospital.

It was a hand grenade attack, in which some 26 mourners, including eight women and four children, were hurt, the SSP (Operations) said. The low-intensity explosion occurred when the mourning procession brought out from Imambargah Sakhi Munwar Shah was heading towards Mohala Khudadad. The police said that some unidentified terrorists hurled the grenade when the procession was passing from Chowk Yadqar in the evening.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\17\story_17-12-2010_pg7_5

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Veil bans shroud freedom of expression

Dec 17, 2010

LONDON: A report released on Thursday, finds general prohibitions on wearing full face veils - such as those adopted in France and Belgium - to be incompatible with states’ human rights obligations on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to non-discrimination and equal treatment.

The report was published by Article 19, an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

The report titled ‘Bans on the Full Face Veil and Human Rights,’ analyses national laws banning the public wearing of the Islamic veils from a freedom of expression perspective. Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\17\story_17-12-2010_pg7_29

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At least 15 killed in two US drone strikes in Khyber

Dec 17, 2010

PESHAWAR: Two US drone attacks killed at least 15 people Friday in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region, Pakistani intelligence and government officials said.

The strikes took place in two villages in the Tirah Valley in the tribal area, the officials said. The same valley was hit late Thursday in another US attack.

The two intelligence and two government officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Most of the more than 100 missile attacks this year inside Pakistan have taken place in North Waziristan, a tribal area allegedly under the control of militant groups.

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

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/17/drone-strike-in-khyber-casualties-feared.html

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Bleak outlook for plans to help Sons of Iraq

Dec 17, 2010

BAGHDAD: A broad plan to absorb Sunni Muslim militiamen who battled Al-Qaeda in Iraq into national security forces or government jobs is at risk of being derailed by lukewarm political support and limited funding, officials say.

Integrating the militias, known as the Sons of Iraq or Awakening Councils, is a key concern for Iraq's Sunni minority, which feels it has been squeezed out of power by the Shiite majority and ignored despite its role in fighting the insurgency. Shiite Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is already struggling to show he can create an inclusive government after barely garnering enough support to keep his job.

Iraqi military officials put together a 17-point draft plan, obtained by The Associated Press, that is by far the broadest proposal yet to help the estimated 51,900 Sunni fighters who sided with US forces at the height of Iraq's insurgency. Their support created a crucial turning point in the war.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article217244.ece

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Iran woman on death row forced into sex trade to fund husband’s opium addiction

Dec 17, 2010

Iran woman on death row forced into sex trade to fund husband’s opium addiction

AN IRANIAN widow sentenced to death by stoning for adultery suffered years of abuse at the hands of her drug addict husband, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was allegedly beaten and sold for sex by Ebrahim Ghaderzade, who she is accused of killing.

Her lawyer Mohammed Mostafaei said he feared her life was now in imminent danger.

The Iranian authorities suspended the stoning after an outcry from the international community.

But Mostafaei said the regime was now intent on portraying her as an immoral woman who had murdered her husband so she could abscond with her lover.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Interfaith celebration centers on Muslim poet

Dec 17, 2010

"Rumi's Wedding Night" will pair an interfaith panel discussion with a Native American flute concert beginning at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17 at the Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Road. The free event will feature a panel discussion with Washington University Professor of Persian literature Fatima Kashavarz, Imam Muhammed Hasic of St. Louis' Islamic Community Center, UM-St. Louis English Professor Howard Schwartz, and St. Louis University Professor of Theological Studies John Renard.

At 7:30 p.m., John MacEnulty will perform a concert on the Native American flute.

At 8:30 p.m., there will be an open dialogue with the audience.

Admission is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

For more information, call  314-395-9962. The event is co-sponsored by the Ethical Society, Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls and the Living Insights Center.

http://www.stljewishlight.com/news/local/article_50dded34-0889-11e0-94f9-001cc4c002e0.html

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Discussion panel brings Muslims, Christians together

BY BERNADETTE MARCINIAK

Dec 17, 2010

A discussion panel was held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Allendale on Dec. 8 to address the perceived animosity between Muslims and Christians and open the door for what is hoped to be a lasting discussion between cultures for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Last Wednesday night, Trinity Episcopal Church in Allendale held a panel discussion to attempt to bridge any growing animosity between Muslims and Christians. Above, from left, panel members Mohammed Mohamed El Filali, outreach director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, Rev. Lisa Green, Diocese of Newark Ecumenical/Interreligious Office, and Nuray Sonmez, president of the Islamic Dialogue Center Women’s Association, address the audience during the event.

The panel was created by Rev. Michael Allen, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, as a response to the rhetoric surrounding Muslim hostility brought on by issues such as the proposition for a mosque to be built near Ground Zero.

Full report at:

http://www.northjersey.com/community/111980794_Discussion_panel_brings_Muslims__

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60% Americans believe Afghan war not worth fighting

Dec 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: Sixty percent of Americans, surveyed in an ABC News/Washington Post poll on Thursday, believe that the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting. Dissatisfaction with the war has risen seven points since July, according to the ABC News. On a cost-benefit basis, only 34 percent of those polled believe the war has been worth fighting, down nine points and setting a new low. Obama got mixed reviews for handling the war effort - 45 percent of those surveyed approve of Obama’s work on Afghanistan, while 46 percent disapprove. Fifty-four percent also support Obama’s pledge to start withdrawing the US forces from Afghanistan in mid-2011, up by 15 points since it was announced a year ago.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\17\story_17-12-2010_pg1_5

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Islam Rejects Religious Pluralism, Says IKIM

Dec 17, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - Islam rejects the notion of religious pluralism which espouses that all religions are equally good and true, said Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) director-general Datuk Nik Mustapha Nik Hassan.

He said, however, Islam accepted that veracity, truth, goodness and ethics co-exist all religions.

"Islam has always welcomed fairness, honesty and integrity irrespective from where they come from.

"Goodness and ethical beauty should be harnessed to propel the people towards a better direction," he said when commenting on religious pluralism aired in a newspaper Wednesday.

Full report at:

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/2010/12/islam-rejects-religious-pluralism-says.html

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Self-Congratulatory Feminism, Now in Muslim Flavor!

Dec 17, 2010

Heralded Muslim feminist Mona Eltahawy asks in the ever-tabloid Toronto Star to be allowed to confuse you, the reader, by virtue of the apparently contradictory labels self-assigned to her socio-political and religious beliefs. The point of article (as it become somewhat clear in the last few paragraphs) is to shed light on how, despite her unorthodox views on Islam, and particularly gender in Islam, the faith “belongs” to her as much as to any other Muslim, more orthodox than her or not. This perspective frames her support for the Park51 community center near Ground Zero in New York City; a support caught between ” [televangelist] Bill Keller’s right wing: bigoted and xenophobic [..and] the Muslim right wing, which uses Islam…to fuel its misogyny.”

Had Eltahawy written strictly about how, despite her activism against what she claims is the “Muslim right wing,” she still supports the right of Park51 to be built at its current location because she is a Muslim, thus acting out of solidarity, then there could have been potential. Full report at:

http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2010/12/self-congratulatory-feminism-now-in-muslim-

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Madinah conference highlights Kingdom’s contribution to Islam

By YOUSUF MUHAMMAD

Dec 17, 2010

MADINAH: The first international conference on the Kingdom’s efforts to serve Islamic causes will open here on Sunday, with more than 100 scholars and Muslim researchers from 35 countries participating.

The three-day conference is jointly organized by the Islamic University in Madinah and King Abdul Aziz Library.

The conference will include special sessions for dialogue with a number of senior Saudi officials including Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz Khoja and Deputy Chairman of the Shoura Council Bandar Al-Hajjar.

Secretary-General of the GCC Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Deputy Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmad bin Hilly will address the conference, which will highlight the Kingdom’s role in fulfilling the causes of the Islamic Ummah.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article216514.ece

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Young Muslims urged to give blood during Muharram

Dec 17, 2010

Young British Muslims are being urged to mark the holy month of Muharram by giving blood in Manchester.

Muharram is a period of mourning to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad.

In an extreme demonstration of their faith, devout Shi'a Muslims makes themselves bleed on the festival day of Ashura.

But the Islamic Unity Society is appealing for young Muslims to back its blood donor campaign instead.

Saving life

The climax of Muharram is the tenth day when many Shi'a Muslims around the world mark the festival of Ashura (16 December this year) by ritually cutting themselves.

Some even take part in flagellation ceremonies in which men beat themselves with a bladed whip until they bleed.

Full report at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/manchester/hi/people_and_places/religion_and_ethics/newsid_

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Focus on Pakistan-based Al-Qaeda: U.S.

Narayan Lakshman

Dec 17, 2010

Washington: In the first presidentially-mandated annual review of its strategy and progress in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the United States hinted several times that greater cooperation with Pakistan was necessary in the tribal belt located on the Af-Pak border, if extremist safe havens were to be denied.

The White House released on Wednesday a short summary of the classified report, which argued that while the momentum achieved by the Taliban in recent years had been arrested in much of Afghanistan and reversed in some key areas, such gains would remain “fragile and reversible,” unless the U.S. made “more progress with Pakistan to eliminate sanctuaries for violent extremist networks”.

The report, which drew upon a wide range of inputs across the Obama administration, also expressed concern over the presence of nuclear weapons and fissile materials in the region and highlighted the importance of “working with regional partners to prevent extremists, including core Al-Qaeda, from acquiring such weapons or materials”.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/17/stories/2010121754621700.htm

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‘Conditions-based’ US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011

December 17, 2010

The United States proposes to press ahead with a “responsible, conditions-based” reduction of troops in Afghanistan beginning July 2011, even while admitting that the gains achieved thus far in the war-torn nation are “fragile” and “reversible”.

This broad indication has been set out in a high-power White House review of the Obama administration’s Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, a summary of which was released on Thursday.

The five-page summary, issued ahead of a formal statement by President Barack Obama, asserts that the core goal of the US strategy in the Af-Pak theatre continues to be “to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat, Al Qaeda in the region and to prevent its return to either country”.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304288/%E2%80%98Conditions-based%E2%80%99-US-

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LK Advani appeals to Iran for Justice for seven imprisoned Bahá’í leaders

By Frontier India

December 17th, 2010

LK Advani , the former Indian Deputy Prime Minister has appealed to Iran for justice to seven imprisoned Bahá’í leaders. “I appeal to Iran and join the UN and the rest of the international community to treat the Bahá’ís with respect and provide justice to the imprisoned seven leaders of the Bahá’í community,” he said.

The persecution of Bahá’ís has increased since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran. This present wave of systematic attacks on the Bahá’í leadership came in 2008 when the seven former leaders were arrested without charges and kept in temporary detention for nine months. As an afterthought they were charged with espionage and threat to national security and insulting religious sanctity.

Full report at:

http://frontierindia.net/lk-advani-appeals-to-iran-for-justice-for-seven-imprisoned-bahai-

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Indian embassy in Kabul on LeT radar

By Aman Sharma

Dec 17, 2010

INDIA has asked the Afghanistan government and the Indo- Tibetan Border Police ( ITBP) to beef up security at the Indian embassy in Kabul and four other consulates in the country.

The move comes after a series of specific inputs were received this week that the Lashkar- e- Tayyeba ( LeT) and Taliban had planned yet another spectacular car suicide bombing at the Indian embassy in the next few days.

A government source said there was information that the Inter- Services Intelligence ( ISI) in Pakistan had regrouped terrorists to step up the offensive against Indian targets after US President Barack Obama’s visit here.

The source said: “ The ISI had asked the terrorists to lie low ahead of Obama’s visit as Pakistan did not want to risk a damaging statement against itself from Obama. But in the last one week, we have got a series of very specific inputs about Taliban and LeT terrorists having planned a strike at the Indian embassy in Kabul. The inputs are as specific as knowing that terrorists could be wearing police uniforms and we even know the registration number and make of the car which could be used for the suicide bombing, as well as the number of terrorists that could be involved.” India has asked Afghanistan to act on these inputs and apprehend the culprits so as to avoid another terror attack.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Was 'ISI spy' in Mumbai plotting a 9/11-type attack?

S Ahmed Al

Dec 17, 2010

MUMBAI: Mazgaon resident Javed Abdul Gafoor Mozawala, who was arrested last week by the city crime branch on suspicion of being a Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy, might have been planning an air attack similar to America's 9/11, according to Mumbai police.

Far-fetched as it might sound, interrogators arrived at this deduction after finding that the 28-year-old travel agent, who used to deal in foreign visas, had actually applied for a cargo-handling job that would give him entry into high-security areas in the airport. "We feel that Mozawala, under the guidance of his handlers in Pakistan, was angling for a job that would get him close to aircraft. We suspect they wanted to either plant bombs or hijack an aircraft," a senior city police officer said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Was-ISI-spy-in-Mumbai-plotting-a-9/11-type-

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US asks Pakistan to do more in war against terrorism

Dec 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: The US today asked Pakistan to do more in the war against terrorism and take tough actions to ensure that the terrorist safe havens inside its territory are destroyed.

Things are moving in the right direction in Pakistan, the Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, said adding that it will take longer than the US would like.

The US praised the steps taken by the Pakistani Army in this regard.

The views were echoed by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who addressed a joint press conference with Clinton at the White House, soon after the US President, Barack Obama, announced the results of the annual Af-Pak review.

"Everybody knows that failure to deal with the safe havens does present a real challenge. Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-asks-Pakistan-to-do-more-in-war-

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Rahul remarks impinge upon India's fight on terror: BJP

Fri Dec 17 2010

Dec 17, 2010

New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday condemned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's remarks that radicalised Hindu groups could pose a "bigger threat" to India than Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and said "in one stroke", he has given a "big leverage" to the propaganda of all terror groups in Pakistan.

Strongly objecting to the remarks made to US ambassador Timothy Roemer, as claimed by a WikiLeaks cable, BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said, "It is irresponsible. It is in the public domain and the US government has neither denied nor confirmed it. Therefore, it has sanctity."

"In one stroke, Rahul Gandhi has sought to give a big leverage to the propaganda of all terror groups operating from Pakistan and certain segments of the Pakistan establishment," he told reporters here.

Prasad said such remarks impinge upon India's strategic security and fight against terrorism.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rahul-remarks-impinge-upon-indias-fight-on-terror-

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Assange wins back freedom

Hasan Suroor

Dec 17, 2010

A FREE MAN: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaving the High Court in Central London on Thursday after he was granted bail. The court rejected an appeal against his release.

LONDON: After spending a week in prison, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday won back his freedom as the High Court threw out an appeal by Swiss authorities against the bail granted to him by a magistrates' court earlier this week.

The court rejected the prosecution's claim that there was a risk that, because of his “nomadic lifestyle'', Mr. Assange could abscond if set free.

“That is not the conduct of a person who is seeking to evade justice,” said Mr. Justice Ouseley pointing out that the defendant had himself surrendered to the police when he learned that there was an arrest warrant against him.

However, Mr. Assange's legal difficulties are not over yet as he now faces attempts to extradite him to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault brought by two women. Extradition hearings are expected to be held next month.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/12/17/stories/2010121754731700.htm

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In Abu Dhabi, Christmas comes decked with gold

December 17, 2010

When they deck the halls in opulent Abu Dhabi, it comes with gold ornaments and gem-studded bows on a towering Christmas tree.

The $11 million symbol of the season has become the latest extravagance at the Emirates Palace hotel, which boasts its own marina, heliport and a vending machine that pops out small gold bars. The hotel’s general manager, Hans Olbertz, was quoted in local newspapers on Thursday as saying the 43-foot faux fir has 131 ornaments that include gold and precious stones such as diamonds and sapphires.

Olbertz told Dubai’s Gulf News that he worked with one of the jewellers in the hotel to create a “unique tree and experience for our guests this year.” The hotel may later contact Guinness World Records for a possible bid as the world’s most expensive Christmas tree.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304284/In-Abu-Dhabi-Christmas-comes-decked-with-gold.html

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Pak police’s Special Branch official held for ‘terror links’

December 17, 2010

 Pakistani police have arrested an official of the Special Branch in Lahore for allegedly providing information to terrorists.

Zahid Bajwa, in-charge of the computer section in the Special Branch of Punjab Police, was handed over to intelligence agencies after his arrest last week, The News daily reported on Thursday.

After Additional Inspector General of Police Nasir Durrani took over as head of the Special Branch recently, he ordered an internal audit of the department.

During the audit, officials found that Zahid had used a fake domicile to apply for his job. Durrani then ordered officials to check Zahid’s activities.

During their probe, officials found that a case was registered under the Explosives Act against Bajwa in Harbanspura in 2003 after police recovered several grenades from his

possession.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304280/Pak-police%E2%80%99s-Special-Branch-official-

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PRO made fall guy for J&K handout fiasco

December 17, 2010

Army Commander Lt-Gen BS Jaswal has tendered an apology and seemingly distanced himself from the controversy which erupted over the release of a Press statement, Encounter at Srinagar, by the office of the PRO, Northern Command, on November 30. The PRO was shifted out soon thereafter.

However, the contents which came into the spotlight were part of a carefully drafted official Press statement loaded with observations on the prevailing security environment. It is a different matter that it was passed off as the “personal predilection” of a junior officer, with a view to buy peace and keep the political leadership of the State in good humour.

Close scrutiny of the events/meetings and exchange of official handouts via e-mail and hard copies nix the stand taken by Army authorities that the Press release was the handiwork of the junior officer and that it had not been cleared by the Northern Command HQ.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/304184/PRO-made-fall-guy-for-JK-handout-fiasco.html

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 ‘Leaks’ spur Pak sanitary napkins ad

Dec 17, 2010

That Pakistanis are a “ creative people” was proved yet again when an advertisement company smartly turned the WikiLeaks saga to its advantage by using the whistleblowing website’s name to promote a new line of sanitary napkins.

WikiLeaks became a household name following the release of confidential US diplomatic cables at a time when Butterfly, the new line of sanitary napkins, needed a grand introduction to penetrate the Pakistani market.

RG Blue Communications, a Karachi- based company, decided to marry the two with the punchline: “ WikiLeaks Butterfly doesn’t”. Amjad Hussain, the head of business development at RG Blue, told The Express Tribune that the advertisement had got a good response and nobody has said it’s in bad taste yet.

According to Hussain, Butterfly was a new client that had recently signed with his firm.

The company loved the idea when it was pitched to them and the campaign was rolled out very quickly.

Mail Today

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Israeli jet downs flying object near nuclear plant

Dec 17, 2010

JERUSALEM: An Israeli warplane has shot down a "suspicious object" flying over the southern part of the Dead Sea, the military said, adding that the intruder appeared to have been a balloon.

The country's main nuclear reactor is about 30 kilometres from the Dead Sea, at Dimona in the Negev desert.

"Air force planes were scrambled after a suspicious object was seen," a military spokeswoman told AFP yesterday. "It was shot down." She did not elaborate.

Local news site Ynet said one of the planes fired a missile at the object "which was hovering close to the nuclear research institute at Dimona."

It said the balloon appeared to be powered by an engine, but was unmanned. Aircraft are forbidden from flying over the reactor near Dimona.

Israel says the reactor is for research purposes, but defence analysts say it is the centre of Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons programme. They say Dimona has been used to produce up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israeli-jet-downs-flying-object-near-

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Next hearing in 17 Indians on death row on December 30

Dec 17, 2010

DUBAI: The Sharjah court hearing appeal against the conviction of 17 Indians for killing a Pakistani has set December 30 as the next date for hearing, the lawyer handling the case for the Indians has said.

"The prosecution presented the CD containing the reconstruction of the scene of the crime that we had asked for but the police officials that were supposed to be present in the court did not show up," Bindu Suresh Chettur told PTI.

She said this annoyed the judge who issued a warning to police officials to remain present in court on December 30.

According to her, the defence was prepared to cross-examine the evidence that the prosecution was to bring to the court but that didn't materialise.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Next-hearing-in-17-Indians-on-

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Obama calls Karzai, Zardari to discuss policy review

Dec 17, 2010

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: US President Barack Obama telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday night and apprised him about the salient features of the recently-concluded US policy review on Afghanistan. Both the leaders also discussed the regional situation. Obama thanked Zardari for his condolences and tribute over the death of Richard Holbrooke. Zardari thanked Obama for apprising him of the substantive elements of the US policy review. The two presidents also agreed to have a face-to-face meeting soon. Obama also discussed the US review with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, with both stressing a “focus on the sanctuary of terrorists”, Kabul said.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\17\story_17-12-2010_pg1_4

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Iraq arrests 73 Al Qaeda men

Dec 17, 2010

KARBALA – Iraq has arrested 73 Al-Qaeda-linked suspects officials said were implicated in plotting "chaos" during Ashura in Karbala, as two million pilgrims thronged the shrine city on Thursday.

The arrests underscored fears of violence during the 10-day rituals that culminate on Friday, in a key test for Iraq's security forces ahead of a complete withdrawal of American troops in a year.

Vehicle traffic in Karbala was brought to a virtual standstill as pilgrims were made to walk to the shrines of the revered Imam Hussain (RA) and Hazrat Abbas (RA), while all visitors were searched at checkpoints.

"We were able to destroy 14 terrorist cells and arrest 73 people, including 37 wanted persons," Karbala provincial council chief Mohammed al-Mussawi said. "We seized lots of weapons, IEDs (improvised-explosive devices), explosives belts and equipment. "If they had been able to mount their attacks during the pilgrimage, it would have created chaos. Karbala is the main target for terrorists during Ashura."

Full report at:

http://dailymailnews.com/1210/17/FrontPage/index.php?id=8

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Bangladesh arrests opposition MP accused of war crimes

Dec 17, 2010

DHAKA: Bangladesh police arrested an opposition politician Thursday on murder charges, a day after he was named a suspect in an unrelated war crimes investigation into the country’s 1971 liberation struggle.

Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a key figure in the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is accused of war crimes during the nine-month fight for independence which left three million dead according to official estimates.

He was arrested at his residence in the capital, Dhaka, in connection with a murder case in June this year, deputy commissioner of police Monirul Islam said, without giving further details.

“He has not been arrested in connection with any war crimes related cases,” Islam told AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/16/bangladesh-arrests-opposition-mp-accused-of-war-

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322,677 illegals netted in Jazan

Dec 17, 2010

JAZAN: Police in Jazan arrested 322,677 illegal residents of various nationalities in Jazan province in 2010, according to a statement issued by senior officer on Thursday.

“Apart from 322,677  violators of residence regulations, 2,067 beggars, 274 wanted criminals and 2,175  violators of labor regulations were arrested in security campaigns from various cities and villages of Jazan,” said director of police Maj. Gen. Jamil Al-Rohaily in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

During the period police also seized six machine guns, 26 handguns, four rifles, seven hunting guns and 4,087 rounds of ammunition in addition to 723 cartons of fireworks. The seized items also included 23 kg of hashish, 4,248 pills of Captagon, 28 tons of qat, 58 bottles of liquor, and several devices for liquor production in addition to  88 cartons of smuggled tobacco, 20 cartons of cigarette and 27 kg of shamma.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article217316.ece

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Schoolgirls shine in sports tournament at Effat University

Dec 17, 2010

JEDDAH: Schoolgirls from six high schools in Jeddah recently competed in a sports competition at Effat University’s sports facilities. The competition was held in basketball, swimming, badminton and athletics.

Al-Hamra Schools for Girls in Jeddah organized the competition, which saw 200 girls of various grades competing. The event was dubbed the first-of-its-kind as it involves schools rather than colleges. The six girls schools that participated in the event were Al-Hamra Schools, Al-Fe-rdous Schools, My Little House Schools, Children Gardens Schools, Al-Ruwais school and Dar Al-Hanan school.  This event, said Farida Farsi, chairman of the board of directors at Al-Hamra Schools, was a creative way to introduce sports into the life of female Saudi students.

“Schoolgirls in the Kingdom need to practice sports in their daily routines because our students suffer from obesity and diabetes, and some already have cancer at an early age,” she said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article217278.ece

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NATO breaks ground on new headquarters

Dec 17, 2010

16 December 2010 BRUSSELS - The massive new NATO headquarters will be a “new home for a new NATO,” capable of tackling global challenges such as terrorism, piracy and cyber warfare, the alliance’s leader said Thursday, but critics warn the project comes at a difficult time.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, said the new building is essential to meet the demands of a rapidly changing security environment.

“We pledged to make the Alliance more effective in carrying out its missions ... and more engaged with the wider world to tackle global challenges, such as terrorism, proliferation and cyber warfare,” he said.

NATO was formed in 1949 at the height of the Cold War, and has grown rapidly since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, its Cold War foe, two decades ago. Its main political office was initially located in London, but it moved to Paris in 1951.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/December/

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National Parade displays nations’ prowess

Dec 17, 2010

A splendid and spectacular combined military parade on the National Parade Ground in Dhaka on Thursday marking Victory Day showed the nation’s military might and prowess.

This parade was telecasted on government-run Bangladesh Television and people outside the ground got an opportunity to watch the parade.

The march past and the fly past by contingents of the army, navy and air force manifested the strength of Armed Forces to protect the state.

The president, Zillur Rahman, attended the parade from a military jeep and received salute from the march past and the fly past from a decorated podium.

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and her son Sajib Wazed Joy witnessed the two-hour Victory Day parade sitting under a canopy.

Full report at: Bangladesh news

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Red Cross accused India of widespread torture in J&K: WikiLeaks

Dec 17, 2010

SINGAPORE: Security forces in Kashmir beat suspects, subjected them to electric current and tortured them with water in widespread human rights abuses, the Red Cross told the US embassy according to a leaked diplomatic cable.

The 2005 cable, released by WikiLeaks and published by the Guardian, documents systematic prisoner abuse by Indian police and paramilitary forces based on visits the International Red Cross made to detention centres in Kashmir and elsewhere between 2002-2004.

It said that among 1,500 detainees that the Red Cross staff met, more than half reported "ill-treatment". Of the 852 cases the agency recorded, 171 detainees said they had been beaten, while the rest said they had been subjected to one or more of six forms of torture.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Red-Cross-accused-India-of-widespread-torture-in-

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Mortar attack kills six, wounds eight in Hangu

Dec 17, 2010

HANGU: A mortar attack killed at least six people, including women and children, in northwest Pakistan on Friday as Shia Muslims marked Ashura, the holiest day in their calendar, police said.

The attack also wounded eight others, police said.

Mortars slammed into two houses in Hangu, a town that has been a flashpoint for sectarian clashes between Pakistan’s Shia and Sunni Muslim communities.

They were fired from the neighbouring district of Orakzai, part of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas with Afghanistan.

“Mortars were fired from Orakzai and hit two houses in Hangu. Six people were killed and eight injured,” Gul Jamal, a local police official, told AFP.

Fazal Naeem, a police spokesman, confirmed the attack and the toll.

“There were two children and a women (among the dead). The dead include both Shias and Sunnis,” he told AFP.

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/17/mortar-attack-kills-six-people-in-hangu.html

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US touted Bollywood stars to help Afghanistan: WikiLeaks

Dec 17, 2010

MUMBAI: US diplomats suggested stars of India’s hugely popular Hindi-language film industry could be sent to Afghanistan to help stabilise the troubled country, according to a leaked cable published Friday.

The confidential US document from March 2007, released by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, said that high-profile Bollywood actors could play a key role in India’s “soft power” assistance in Afghanistan.

“We understand Bollywood movies are wildly popular in Afghanistan, so willing Indian celebrities could be asked to travel to Afghanistan to help bring attention to social issues there,” it said.

Bollywood, based in the western city of Mumbai, is a two-billion-dollar industry which has become increasingly popular abroad, not just among the Indian diaspora but in neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Gulf states.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/17/us-touted-bollywood-stars-to-help-afghanistan-

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/shiites-in-muslim-world-solemnly-mark-day-of-grief------/d/3803


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