New Age Islam
Wed Oct 28 2020, 05:12 AM

Islamic World News ( 14 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

'Allah' Debate: censorship has only compounded Malaysia's troubles

Sikhs wade into Malay word row: ‘Allah’ is mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib

Worries about RADICALIZATION OVER THE INTERNET have grown rapidly:

Libya's anti-Qaeda drive must target youth: ex-rebel

Senior member of extreme Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir teaches at LSE

Indonesian Counter-Terrorism: The Great Leap Forward

Half a dozen Coptic Christians killed in moderate Muslim Egypt

Egypt coach demands team of true believers

India and Bangladesh: Seizing the moment

Rayhana petrol attack handed to terrorist police

Catholic-Muslim-Hindu-Protestant-Buddhist-Jewish leaders in “interfaith hug”

Iraq cleric urges Baath ban as controversy simmers

Pakistan Taliban Chief Tape Emerges Post-Strike

Iraqi election commission bans 500 candidates

Yemeni airstrike kills six al-Qaeda suspects

Yemen is ripe territory for al-Qaida, terrorism

Five hurt as Kenya police teargas Muslim protesters

50 terror suspects arrested in Pak's Punjab province

'LeT had planned for 26/11 attack in 2005'

The Radical Source for Non-Arabic Speaking Muslims: Anwar al-Awlaki

Two dead in Kashmir terror strike

Troops level enough in J&K: Army chief

Forces down 2 Hizb commanders

Musharraf may launch own party

Pakistan should talk to the Taliban: Imran Khan

Malaysian Muslim youth held for threatening to vandalise Hindu shrine

Mehsud escapes drone raid by US

LeT sought negotiation for Kasab release during Mumbai attack

Pak ‘bomber’ on recce for 26/11-type attack nabbed

India to United States: Ensure your aid to Pakistan not misused

Foreign secy. asks Pak to stop `patronage' to anti-India groups

Boeings on fleet of Qaida-linked rogue network

Bodies of five suspected militants found in Pakistan

I am unaware of 26/11 attacks, Kasab tells court

Taliban confirm Hakimullah Mehsud injured

France moves closer to banning full Muslim veil

Arrested Pak teen ‘suicide bomber’ reveals terror trail

Iran: US Sponsoring State Terrorism

US court indicts Headley, Rana on federal terrorism charges

Tel Aviv older than believed

Stop patronage of forces within Pak to anti-India groups: Rao

Clerics in Yemen warn of jihad if US sends troops

Groups target downfall of United States

4 indicted in Mumbai, Denmark terror plots

It’s time for an outside panel on terrorism

Israeli police arrest 'polygamist cult leader'

Bomb near Israel convoy in Jordan

US man denies Mumbai plot charge

Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood Leader Warns Against ‘Foreign Occupation’

Status of face-covering veils Muslim around Europe

Guns and goons: hard to imagine Philippine politics without them

Compiled By: New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/-allah--debate--censorship-has-only-compounded-malaysia-s-troubles/d/2385

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'Allah' Debate: censorship has only compounded Malaysia's troubles

By PAUL MARSHALL

JANUARY 14, 2010

Religious violence is rare in Malaysia, and so its people are rightly alarmed at the current spate of attacks on churches, which can conjure up memories of the 1969 race riots. The government has strongly condemned the attacks, but its policy of trying to coddle its Muslim population undermines its stated goal of an open Islam and stokes the very religious tension that it wants desperately to avoid.

The violence is the latest consequence of attempts to ban the use of the word "Allah" by Christians. In 1986, the Interior Security Ministry barred the word from non-Islamic publications on the grounds that it could confuse Muslims, but the ordinance was usually not enforced. However in December 2007, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association and the Islamic religious councils of seven states invoked it in a lawsuit against the Malay language weekly, the Catholic Herald. The government sided with the councils, saying that Christians' use of the term "could increase tension and create confusion among Muslims." Authorities also asked the Herald to put on its front page the word terhad, "restricted," meaning solely for distribution to Christians.

Christians and others responded that "Allah" has been used by Christians for centuries to refer to God, including in Malaysia. No other country has such a ban; even the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) says it opposes one. "Allah," the Arabic word for God, is used by Christians in Egypt and Syria, and, of course, neighboring Indonesia. On Dec. 31, 2009, the High Court ruled that Christians had a constitutional right to use "Allah." The government called for calm, but quickly said it would appeal and, on January 6, the judge suspended her ruling pending an appeals court decision. Subsequently, nine churches have been attacked, most of them firebombed. There have also been attacks on the Catholic Herald's legal team, whose offices were vandalized yesterday.

This is not the only federal government attempt to repress anything that could be perceived as deviating from the state-sanctioned version of Islam. In 2005, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi proposed that Malay-language bibles have "Not for Muslims" on the front. In 2003, the government banned publication of a Bible in Iban, an indigenous language, although the ban was later lifted. In March 2009, customs officials seized Christian books and other materials containing "Allah," and now some 15,000 volumes have been impounded. Since Indonesian Christian books in Bahasa contain the word "Allah" they cannot be imported. The government has also rebuffed calls for a state interfaith advisory council.

The censorship is not restricted to non-Muslim material. Using guidelines issued by the Islamic Development Department and with the consent of the Shariah courts, the federal government has prohibited over 50 "deviant" interpretations of Islam, including Shiism, the faith of over 10% of the world's Muslims. In 2007, the Internal Security Ministry banned 37 books, mostly by Muslims, after the Publications and Quranic Texts Control Division said they "twisted facts and true Islamic teachings." In 2008, other books were banned, including "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism" by Norani Othman, published by the Malaysian Muslim women's organization Sisters in Islam, and Amina Wadud's "Quran and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective."

The attempted ban on "Allah" is part of a larger government program to shield Malay Muslims from anything contrary to state Islam or that might upset or confuse them. One reason for this effort seems to be political maneuvering by the ruling party to shore up its Islamic credentials and hold onto Malay votes. But there is also genuine concern to prevent adverse Muslim reaction to different views.

However, religious tensions are increasing in Malaysia, and not only because of ethnic divides and electoral calculation. Much is tied to ongoing restrictions on conversion from Islam coupled with the writing bans themselves. These bans stoke expectations that Muslims should, or even can, be shielded from anything that might challenge their beliefs. In a global world and a modern Malaysia, this is impossible, and the resulting dashed expectations feed frustration and tension.

If the government believes, as its actions imply, that many Muslim Malays are ignorant about their faith and so are easily confused, then, rather than trying to restrict non-Muslims or different Muslims, it should call on Islamic teachers to do a better job. After all, Muslim civil servants are already required to take government-approved religion classes, and Islamic religious instruction is mandatory for Muslim children in public schools.

It should also use its persuasive powers to tell its citizens that, as members of a thriving society in a global world, their beliefs will inevitably be questioned and challenged. Malaysia's talented population is capable of dealing with different thoughts and ideas, and does not need suffocating and self-defeating protection.

As Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian NGO of Muslim women committed to an open interpretation of Islam, says: "Ignorance is never bliss. By narrowing the space for open dialogue among citizens and squashing their quest for information and to read, the government's 2008 banning of 'Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism' can be deemed as 'promoting Jahiliah'"—the very state of religious conflict and confusion that Islam came to overcome. It would create a "suppressed world where we will blindly follow with no questions asked."

Mr. Marshall is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom in Washington.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704586504574655343534999778.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

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Sikhs wade into Malay word row: ‘Allah’ is mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib

RAMESH RAMACHANDRAN, KUALA LUMPUR

Jan. 14: Malaysia is fighting to retain its moderate Islamic character as the government headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak and the people come to grips with the controversy over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims. A New Year’s eve court ruling that allowed a Catholic publication in Malay language to use the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God triggered protests, including attacks on churches.

Now the Sikh community in Malaysia has waded into the row after a gurdwara was pelted with stones. The Sikhs maintained that their religious text, the Guru Granth Sahib, contains references to Allah. Therefore, they should have the freedom to use that word. But a large number of Malays insisted that Allah is exclusive to Islam, and non-Muslims should do with another Bahasa Malaysia word "Tuhan" (a generic term for Lord).

For his part, Prime Minister Najib Razak sought to inject a degree of pragmatism into the discourse by saying that Malaysian people by and large are liberal and moderate. "The situation is under control. The show of unhappiness over the court decision is quite minimal. It is an exaggerated reaction of a small group of people, their number is very small," he said in a recent interview to visiting Indian journalists. He added: "(Malaysians) are peace loving. Violence is not associated with practice of religion. We are doing our utmost to maintain harmony."

As New Delhi gets ready to host Prime Minister Najib Razak next week, both India and Malaysia find themselves on the same side of the divide. Muslim-dominated Malaysia, and India, home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population after Indonesia, pride themselves in being liberal societies, but the emergence of an extremist fringe has forced their governments and civil societies to rally together to preserve their multi-religious and multi-ethnic identities.

Chandra Muzaffar, a social activist, believed that it was improper to suggest that non-Muslims cannot say Allah, but he qualified it by saying that misuse, or more likely mischief, of the term can be a problem.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/india/sikhs-wade-into-malay-word-row.aspx

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Worries about RADICALIZATION OVER THE INTERNET have grown rapidly:

Libya's anti-Qaeda drive must target youth: ex-rebel

William Maclean, Security Correspondent

Jan 14, 2010

LONDON (Reuters) - Jailed Libyan Islamist guerrillas who reject indiscriminate violence should be freed to promote their views in person to dangerous young "grassroots jihadists", a former associate of Osama bin Laden has said.

Worries about radicalization over the Internet have grown rapidly following a failed December 25 attack on a U.S. airliner by a Nigerian and the November 5 killing of 13 people at a U.S. army base in Texas by a gunman linked to a Yemen-based preacher.

The imprisoned leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) wrote a 400-page refutation of militant thinking in 2009 in the latest in a series of rebuttals of Web-based al Qaeda propaganda by former apologists for bin Laden's group.

Published online, the document was the result of two years of reconciliation efforts between the government and top LIFG men in prison spearheaded by Saif al Islam, a reformist son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and mediated by former LIFG member Noman Benotman.

But the LIFG paper, like revisions by other veteran al Qaeda allies, may struggle to impress a new generation of radicals for whom their authors are old-timers far from the battlefield.

In a talk in London on January 11, Benotman said that while the commentary had been widely read by Arab intellectuals it would have a telling effect only when its authors argued their case in person with young people drawn to al Qaeda propaganda.

"Grassroots jihadists are the most dangerous group. There are hundreds of them in Libya," he told an audience at the Quilliam Foundation, a UK think tank studying radical Islamism.

He said newcomers to militant Islamism in Libya in recent years had included some of these "very extreme young men, motivated by Iraq, very difficult to talk to."

He said some young men shown the LIFG book had responded by saying: "We don't understand it. It's too sophisticated."

This showed a problem of "marketing" that could be solved only by freeing the six main authors, who include LIFG leader Abdullah al-Sadeq and spiritual leader Abu Munther al-Saidi.

"CHALLENGE THE JIHADIS"

The six are among about 40 LIFG members believed to be still in prison following a series of releases of dozens of Islamists including LIFG members in recent years. In the most recent in October 2009, 45 LIFG members were among 88 Islamists freed.

"The book itself can do nothing. They need to go out and start to preach and challenge the jihadis," Benotman said. "A lot of people want the leaders to be freed so they can debate."

"The will is there" among authorities to free the men, Benotman said, but officials had said there were still some "security problems" that remained to be sorted out.

LIFG staged bloody battles in city streets and the mountains of Libya in the 1990s, killing dozens of soldiers and policemen, in a failed attempt to topple Gaddafi that was gradually crushed in the later years of that decade.

Benotman fought in Afghanistan in 1989-1992 where he befriended bin Laden, his Egyptian number two Ayman al-Zawahri, and al Qaeda ideologues Abu Musab al-Suri and Abu Yahya al-Libi.

He later returned to Libya to work with the LIFG and spent time with bin Laden in Sudan. In a 2000 meeting with bin Laden in Afghanistan he failed to persuade the al Qaeda leader to end his global jihad and focus instead on fighting Arab governments.

The paper does not mention al Qaeda but says Muslims should not use violence against their rulers or "kill women, children, the elderly, priests, messengers, traders and the like".

However the paper defends armed struggle against resistance to foreign occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.

Some scholars have questioned its credibility, saying jailed LIFG leaders were not free to express genuine thoughts.

Benotman said the LIFG's sincerity was hard to doubt, since "some were jailed since 1992 and rejected repeated offers of freedom if they quit the struggle. People in Libya know that."

English-language excerpts, with analytical commentary, by the Quilliam Foundation counter-radicalization think tank are available here

© Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters

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Senior member of extreme Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir teaches at LSE

January 15, 2010

A senior figure in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a hardline Islamist group that the Government keeps “under continuous review” and the Conservatives want to ban, is teaching and preaching at a top university.

The Times has learnt that Reza Pankhurst, who was imprisoned in Egypt for membership of the group, is a teacher at the London School of Economics and regularly preaches to students at Friday prayers.

The group is supposedly barred from organising and speaking on campuses under the National Union of Students’ policy of “no platform” for racist or fascist views. The presence of one of its prominent members as a university teacher raises new concerns about Islamist radicalisation on campus.

A new review of campus extremism began last month after it was discovered that the alleged Detroit airline bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was a former president of the Islamic Society at University College London.

The Times understands that at least two London university lecturers are either supporters or members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Mr Pankhurst is a postgraduate student in the LSE’s government department and teaches classes for the course “States, Nations and Empires”.

On Fridays he is one of the regular speakers at prayers organised by the students’ union Islamic Society in the college gym.

A society member told The Times: “He preaches every other week and is constantly bringing the subject around to politics, talking about Afghanistan and the need to establish the Caliphate [Islamic state].

“Only last week he was talking about the Detroit bomber and saying the guy was not radicalised in London and it was all to do with foreign policy.

“Last year he recommended we should attend a conference which I later discovered was organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, but he never mentions the party by name.”

In 2002 Mr Pankhurst was one of three British Hizb ut-Tahrir members arrested in Egypt for attempting to promote the movement. They were held for four years and tortured before being released in 2006.

He remained active in the movement after his return and, according to well-informed sources, is still a senior figure. Last month a meeting at Queen Mary College, London, at which Mr Pankhurst and Jamal Harwood, another member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, were due to speak, was cancelled after student protests about the speakers’ views.

The Times made repeated attempts to contact the group and Mr Pankhurst yesterday but without success.

Full report at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6988753.ece

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Indonesian Counter-Terrorism: The Great Leap Forward

January 14, 2010

By: Zachary Abuza

A poster of Noordin Top hangs in Indonesia (above); an Indonesian police officer holds up a photo of Noordin Top after his death

Too often the news surrounding terrorism is dominated by the headline-catching acts of terrorism, such as last summer’s twin suicide bombings in Jakarta, or the take-down of terrorist operatives such as Dr. Azahari bin Hussin or Noordin Mohammad Top. Less is written about success in counterterrorism operations.  No country deserves more credit for improving its counterterrorism operations and capabilities than Indonesia. While terrorism will never be eliminated, Indonesia has developed a strong and effective counterterrorist force, while at the same time consolidating its democratic transition. There is no other country in the world that can make this claim.

From 2002 to 2005, Indonesia was wracked by annual terrorist attacks perpetrated by a radical Salafist organization, Jemaah Islamiya (JI).  JI’s 2002 Bali bombing remains the single most lethal terrorist incident after 9/11. That was followed by the August 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta, the October 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy and the October 2005 triple bombing in Bali.  In November 2006, JI’s master bomb-maker, Dr. Azahari bin Hussin, was killed and his cache of 23 bag bombs was seized. That set the organization back a year.   Counterterrorism operations in July 2007 led to the arrests of top JI leaders, including Zarkasih, the group’s spiritual leader, as well as seizures of large caches of explosives.  In July 2008, a ten-person cell in Pekenbaru, Sumatra was taken down with the cooperation of Singaporean security forces. (AP, April 28, 2009; AFP, April 7, 2009). On July 17, 2009 JI was finally able to perpetrate mass-casualty attacks by detonating bombs in two luxury hotels in Jakarta.  

There are several aspects to note. First, constraints in personnel and resources enabled JI to carry out only one mass-casualty attack per year.  It is clear that JI’s leaders were unhappy with this tempo, and hence switched from car bombs to smaller bag bombs, used in the 2005 attacks and the 2009 bombings.  Second, JI clearly demonstrated its ability to learn and adapt. In addition to shifting its tactics, JI’s leaders changed their operations in response to government security operations.  In 2005, Noordin Top wrote a manual for cell maintenance and operations, which paralleled the philosophy of Musab al-Suri, a Syrian jihad ideologue who articulated a decentralized model of self-sustaining and autonomous cells driven by a common ideology.  JI has remained a hard group to penetrate.

Indonesian security forces deserve credit for developing an elite counterterrorism police force firmly in civilian hands, Densus-88 (Detachment-88). The force, created in 2003, is well-trained, well-paid, well-led and free of the endemic corruption that permeates much of Indonesia’s police and bureaucracy.

Full report at: www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=35910&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=c8f140fc9a

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Egypt coach demands team of true believers

By Lee Jay Walker

January 15, 2010

Over half a dozen Coptic Christians were killed and another half dozen were hurt in a Thursday morning drive-by shooting following a Christmas midnight Mass in Nag Hamadi in Upper Egypt.

Another year may have just started but in Egypt the endless persecution of Christians goes on and the endless martyrs who follow the faith of Christianity “shine out” in a world of hatred. However, why does this suffering continue in Egypt and in other parts of the world?

This article is in response to the recent murders of Christians in Egypt and I aim to link the current situation with the bloody history of Egypt and its endless persecution of Christians.

According to popular myth Egypt is a moderate nation and this mainly Muslim nation is meant to be a moderate bastion within the mainly intolerant “Islamic world.” However, while Muslims in this nation highlight the fact that you have thousands of churches, they fail to say why and they gloss over the endless persecution and discrimination within Egypt.

After all, Egypt was mainly Christian before countless Islamic invasions and in time Arabization would limit the role of the Coptic language and colonialization took root over many centuries. The indigenous Christians of Egypt already had a rich Coptic culture and history and the Coptic Christian church was blessed with a strong-minded priesthood.

However, constant Islamic invasions, linguistic colonialization via Arabic, massacres of Christians, and systematic persecution of Christianity via Islamic Sharia law and dhimmitude; meant that Islam would rule supreme.

Of course, not all Muslim rulers were anti-Christian but Coptic Christians always had to rely on the given ruler for protection. Yet, irrespective if the ruler was moderate or anti-Christian, one theme remained the same and this applies to institutionalized discrimination and persecution which is part and parcel of Islam and Islamic Sharia law.

Therefore, from the early conquests and up until today, it is clear that converts from Islam to Christianity face persecution. Yes, Islamic enlightenment in Egypt means that in the past the convert to Christianity would be killed, however, now it is mere prison or persecution or a mixture of both.

Full report at: http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=1651

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India and Bangladesh: Seizing the moment

For most of the past four decades, India and Bangladesh have been distant neighbours, separated by distrust and suspicion despite their visceral connections of geography and ecology, language and culture, economics and politics. There have been periods of acute stasis and also moments of hope, when a basic transformation in the relationship seemed possible. But never before has the overall situation been quite as propitious as it is now. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is i n his second tenure as the head of the United Progressive Alliance government and the position of India as a growth pillar in South Asia and the world means the logic of regional integration is more compelling than ever before. In Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajed is once again Prime Minister, this time with a majority so convincing that she need not keep looking over her shoulder to second guess what the Bangladesh National Party of Khaleda Zia might say or do in response to the improvement in bilateral ties with India. Notwithstanding the benign domestic political situation the Congress and the Awami League find themselves in, the governments have a two-year window to bring about a fundamental shift in the structure and content of the bilateral relationship before electoral compulsions kick in once again. And judging by the success of Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to Delhi, a fine start has been made.

India has promised a $1 billion line of credit to Bangladesh and a pruning of the negative list of Bangladeshi products that are denied preferential access to Indian markets. It has also agreed to push for better border connectivity so that bilateral trade can increase, and Teesta water sharing has been flagged for discussion. On its part, Bangladesh has dropped its opposition to granting India transit rights. The Agartala-Akhaura rail link will now be developed, creating the potential for railway freight to be sent from Kolkata to Tripura and thence to the rest of the North-East via Bangladesh. On the security front, Dhaka demonstrated its willingness to accommodate Indian concerns by facilitating the handover of ULFA leader Paresh Barua. All this suggests that both countries are serious about opening a new chapter. But one ought not to minimise the challenges that lie ahead. One test will be whether India is prepared to allow Bangladeshi garment manufacturers preferential market access. Another will be its willingness to craft agreements on the equitable sharing of all river waters. As the bigger economy, India needs to go the extra mile in giving a boost to its neighbour’s economic potential, especially considering that Sheikh Hasina has moved so far in addressing longstanding Indian requests on transit.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/14/stories/2010011454840800.htm

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Rayhana petrol attack handed to terrorist police

Jan 15th, 2010

The actress and playwright, Rayhana, was attacked with petrol on Tuesday night outside the theatre in Paris where her play is showing. Two unidentified males insulted Rayhana in Arabic and then threw a cigarette at her, which failed to ignite.

The prefecture of police has confirmed what it called an attempted homicide, and launched an investigation, while a judicial source said a preliminary investigation is being launched under the antiterrorist section of the brigade criminelle, or crime unit.

Politicians and Muslim associations have expressed horror at the attack. The Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand expressed sympathy and said he admired Rayhana's courage and the Secretary for Urban Affairs, Fadela Amara, said the aggression was intolerable.

Covered in petrol, Rayhana performed her play regardless. The Algerian feminist author and actress has lived in France since 2000, when she left Algeria fearing for her safety. She told the French media it was the first time she had been assualted since she who took refuge in France after living under the Islamist threat of islamist in Algeria.

The Muslim association Foi et Practique (Faith and Practice) also joined in the condemnation of the assault, saying. "nothing can prepare us for such acts and nothing can explain them".

The French Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers says it is worried that freedom of expression is under threat in France. The feminist movement Ni putes ni soumises (neither whores not submissives) will hold a demonstration tomorrow morning in front of the threatre, in Paris is eleventh arrondissement.

This feminist text puts in scene nine Algerian women in a hammam, where they start to speaking freely about their respective lives.

http://www.rfi.fr/actuen/articles/121/article_6538.asp

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Catholic-Muslim-Hindu-Protestant-Buddhist-Jewish leaders in “interfaith hug”

Jan 15th, 2010

Catholic-Muslim-Hindu-Protestant-Buddhist-Jewish leaders connected in dialogue in a conference organized by Catholics in Nevada (USA), in a remarkable interfaith gesture.

This conference, organized by Catholic Diocese of Reno, also compared, contrasted, and commented on similarities and differences between Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism as viewed through their respective sacred texts and religious worship/prayer.

Father Charles T. Durante, Pastor of Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Church of Carson City, who facilitated this dialogue, talking about “raising our voices in diversity”, said:“Together, we can make a difference”.

Besides Durante and Zed, the participants included Episcopal Rector Emeritus Reverend V. James Jeffrey, Imam Abdul Rahim Barghouthi, Buddhist priest William Bartlett, and Jewish elder Jeffrey S. Blanck.About 150 Catholics were in the audience.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, has congratulated the Catholic Diocese efforts in reaching out to other religions for a dialogue. “Religion is a complex component of human life. Dialogue helps us to see interconnections and interdependencies between religions and even similarities in doctrines,” Zed adds.

Catholic Diocese of Reno, established in 1931, covers 70,852 square miles spread in eleven Nevada counties in addition to Carson City. Before 1840, this area was under the Diocese of Sonora in Mexico, when it came under the jurisdiction of Bishop Moreno of California. Current Bishop is Most Reverend Randolph R. Calvo.

http://baltic-review.com/2010/01/15/catholic-muslim-hindu-protestant-buddhist-jewish-leaders-in-%E2%80%9Cinterfaith-hug%E2%80%9D/

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Iraq cleric urges Baath ban as controversy simmers

By Waleed Ibrahim

Fri Jan 15, 2010

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A senior Shi'ite Muslim cleric on Friday defended a panel's decision to bar almost 500 candidates from Iraq's next election because of ties to Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party, likening the party to the Nazis.

As a controversy threatening to reopen the wounds of Iraq's sectarian divide deepened, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) lawmaker Mohammad al-Haidari called for the ban to be enforced.

"The Baath party is worse than the Nazi party," Haidari said in a speech during Friday prayers. "If Baathists return to power, God forbid, their revenge will be even more ferocious."

The Justice and Accountability Commission, an independent body that aims in part to ensure the Baath party does not return to public life, said last week that 15 parties should be prevented from standing in the March 7 election.

The list included prominent Sunni leader Saleh al-Mutlaq, generating widespread protests from once dominant Sunnis that Iraq's majority Shi'ites were trying to sideline them.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis died in the sectarian warfare between Shi'ites and Sunnis that was unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The conflict has subsided but violent attacks by suspected Sunni Islamists remain common.

The parliamentary election in March is a key test of Iraq's growing stability as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw by end-2011 and the government signs oilfield development contracts that could turn the war-shattered country into a top oil producer.

The list of barred candidates grew to 499 on Thursday -- out of 6,500 in total -- when it was upheld by Iraq's independent electoral commission.

It would grow even longer after ministries submitted their own lists of candidates who should be barred for other reasons, such as for forging university degrees or because of criminal records, said election commission member Hamdiya al-Husseini.

SUNNIS SEE CONSPIRACY

Full report at: http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-45431120100115?sp=true

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Pakistan Taliban Chief Tape Emerges Post-Strike

January 15, 2010

MIR ALI, Pakistan (AP) -- A purported audiotape of Pakistan's Taliban chief denying his death emerged Friday but contained no specific reference to a U.S. missile strike believed to have targeted him the day before that killed at least 12 insurgents.

The U.S., meanwhile, kept up an unprecedented surge in its use of the missiles, sending four more Friday to level a house and kill three people in North Waziristan tribal region. It was the ninth such strike in the area in about two weeks.

Intelligence officials said Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud appeared to have escaped Thursday's strike in North Waziristan's Pasalkot area. A local Taliban commander also denied rising speculation Friday that Mehsud was wounded.

Still, the lack of a reference to Thursday's strike in the audiotape means it could have been recorded prior, possibly to keep the Pakistani Taliban, who face an army operation in South Waziristan, united in case Mehsud was incapacitated. Verifying deaths in such strikes often takes weeks, and militants have in the past given misleading information about who lived and who died.

''Propaganda is spreading through the media that Hakimullah has been martyred, and propaganda is spreading that the operation in South Waziristan has successfully concluded. It can never happen,'' Mehsud said in the Pashto language on the audio recording.

Another Pakistani Taliban militant played the tape for an AP reporter in a landline phone call, which the reporter recorded. The reporter recognized the voice as Mehsud's.

Killing Mehsud would be a major victory for both Washington and Islamabad.

Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/15/world/AP-AS-Pakistan.html?_r=1

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Iraqi election commission bans 500 candidates

Rally in support of MP Saleh al-Mutlak rally December 2009

Sunni MP Saleh al-Mutlak is one of those barred from standing

Iraq's election commission has barred almost 500 candidates from running in national elections on 7 March.

A parliamentary committee that vets candidates says some of those banned had ties to the outlawed Baath party, once led by Saddam Hussein.

Those barred are believed to include prominent Sunni Arab politicians. The formal list of barred candidates has not been released.

There is a formal process through which barred candidates can appeal.

Defence Minister Abdulqadir al-Obeidi and the nationalist politician Saleh al-Mutlak are reported to be among the 499 candidates barred from standing in the parliamentary election on 7 March.

Mr Obeidi was intending to run as a candidate for Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's State of Law coalition.

Saleh al-Mutlak is an MP and heads the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, which performed well in last years local elections in Sunni Arab areas.

Mr Mutlak, a former Baath party member, has formed an electoral alliance with other prominent Sunni politicians and the former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

The decisions were partly made by the Justice and Accountability Commission, which is responsible for ensuring the outlawed Baath party does not make a comeback in Iraqi politics.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8461275.stm

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Yemeni airstrike kills six al-Qaeda suspects

January 15, 2010

Six suspected al—Qaeda members are dead after an airstrike on one of the group’s hideouts north—east of the capital Sana’a, Yemen’s Defence Ministry reported on Friday.

The airstrike targeted a desert site between Al—Jaws and Marib provinces.

Further details were not immediately available, but the incident underscores the escalation of tensions in the region, with Yemen now in the spotlight as a possible breeding ground for armed Islamist extremism due to its ongoing civil war and proximity to other hotbeds such as Somalia.

On Thursday, more than 150 Yemeni clerics threatened to declare Jihad if any foreign troops entered the Arab country to fight al— Qaeda.

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/international/article80914.ece

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Yemen is ripe territory for al-Qaida, terrorism

By FRENCH MACLEAN

January 15, 2010

Now that we've had three terrorist attacks here in the homeland during the past seven months, all with links to the nation of Yemen, it might be time to take a peek at that country.

Located on the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is about twice the size of Wyoming, with rugged mountains and desert plains. It's important geographically, sitting right on the southern end of the Red Sea. Under the right conditions, shore-to-ship missiles in Yemen could control the straits, known as the Bab-al-Mandeb, or Gate of Tears, leading into the Red Sea, as they are only 18 miles wide. Control those, and you control what goes through the Suez Canal. In 2006, 3.3 million barrels of oil on oil tankers passed through the Gate of Tears every day.

There are about 25 million people in Yemen, and most are poor. About a fifth of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Only 3 percent of the land is arable. Scorpions and snakes are all over the place.

Most experts classify Yemen as a failed state. It has a central government that is so weak that it has little practical control over much of its territory. This government is unable to provide much in the way of public services, so there is widespread corruption and criminality. People move around undocumented, and the economy is in the toilet.

Why would al-Qaida want a significant presence in such a desolate country? The answer is to primarily serve as a platform for future attacks against Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, as a base for operations against other countries, including our own.

But al-Qaida also might have designs on shutting down the Gate of Tears. Close the straits, and those oil tankers must sail 6,000 additional miles to their destinations, with resulting increases in gas prices that will have everyone crying.

One of Yemen's provincial governors, Ali Hasan al-Ahmadi, recently said, "There are dozens of Saudi and Egyptian al-Qaida militants who came to the province." Other sources say that knowing they are defeated in Iraq, al-Qaida remnants there are now moving to Yemen to re-form.

Full report at: www.herald-review.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/maclean/article_f1354d9a-01d7-11df-a0b1-001cc4c002e0.html

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Five hurt as Kenya police teargas Muslim protesters

(AFP) -- January 15, 2010

NAIROBI — Kenyan police fired shots and tear gas as they fought running battles in downtown Nairobi Friday with Muslim demonstrators demanding the release of a radical Jamaican cleric.

At least one policeman and four demonstrators were injured in the violence in the central business district which erupted as police tried to disperse crowds gathered after Friday prayers, according to AFP reporters on the scene.

Some protesters hurled stones at the police shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) and waving banners that "Release Al Faisal, he is innocent".

Abdullah al-Faisal, who is on a global terror watchlist and served four years in a British jail for inciting racial hatred, has been in Kenyan custody since last week after the authorities tried and failed to deport him.

Faisal's lawyers and rights groups have complained that the cleric is being held without charge.

Police and immigration officials said at the time they arrested the imam for violating immigration regulations by preaching.

Faisal, 45, was arrested in Britain in 2003 after spending years urging his audiences to kill Jews, Hindus and Westerners.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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50 terror suspects arrested in Pak's Punjab province

15 January 2010

LAHORE: Pakistani law enforcement agencies have arrested 50 terror suspects, who were planning to target key installations and personalities in

Punjab, during a crackdown in the eastern province where the Taliban is believed to have forged links with local militant groups.

A police official told that most of the suspects belonged to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned group linked to sectarian violence, and were working for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

"Most of them were arrested from Lahore, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bhakkar. They were planning to target important installations and personalities in Punjab," the official said Punjab police chief Tariq Salim Dogar said the 50 suspects were allegedly involved in a number of terrorist acts in the province.

"Their arrest will help curb the ongoing spate of terrorism," he said. "The suspects are currently in the custody of intelligence agencies. Once their interrogation is over, they will be handed over to police so that legal proceedings can be taken up in a court of law," he said.

Punjab witnessed several high-profile terrorist attacks during the past year, including suicide strikes of a crowded market and the provincial headquarters of the ISI in Lahore. Scores of people lost their lives in these attacks.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/50-terror-suspects-arrested-in-Paks-Punjab-province-/articleshow/5448210.cms

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'LeT had planned for 26/11 attack in 2005'

Jan 15, 2010

Washington : Lashkar-e-Taiba had started planning for the Mumbai terrorist attacks at least three years before its strikes in November 2008.

According to the charges filed by American federal prosecutors before a Chicago court, an unnamed Lashkar member A, who served as a "handler" for terror suspect David Coleman Headley and another person associated with LeT, advised him in late 2005 that he would be travelling to India to perform surveillance of potential targets for Lashkar.

Arrested by the FBI in October last year, Headley, a Pakistani-American, has been charged with planning terrorist attack in India and being involved in the Mumbai terrorist attack.

His school-time friend Tahawwur Hussein Rana has also been arrested and indicted on similar charges.

In an indictment filed before the Chicago court on Friday, federal prosecutors said, as per direction given by his LeT handlers Headley changed his given name of Daood Gilani on February 15, 2006, in Philadelphia, enabling him to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.

In the spring of 2006, Lashkar Member A and a Lashkar associate discussed with Headley the idea that he could open an immigration office in Mumbai as a cover for his surveillance activities.

In June 2006, Headley allegedly traveled to Chicago, advised Rana, a Canadian citizen, of his assignment to scout potential targets in India, and obtained approval from Rana, who owned 'First World Immigration Services' in Chicago and elsewhere, to open an office in Mumbai as cover for his activities.

The prosecutors said Rana allegedly directed an individual associated with First World to prepare documents supporting Headley's cover story of opening a First World office in Mumbai, and advised Headley how to obtain a visa for travel to India.

Headley misrepresented his birth name, his father's true name and the purpose of his travel in his visa application, the indictment alleges.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/let-had-planned-for-26-11-attack-in-2005/567696/

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The Radical Source for Non-Arabic Speaking Muslims: Anwar al-Awlaki

January 14, 2010

By: Murad Batal Al-shishani

In November 2001, an American Muslim cleric told the Washington Post that he had no sympathy for the perpetrators of 9/11, that Muslims and non-Muslims needed “more mutual understanding,” and that the Taliban had no right to impose the burqa on women (Washington Post, November 19, 2001). The cleric, Shaykh Anwar al-Awlaki, is the same man who is now believed to have played a major role in radicalizing Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. army psychiatrist who killed 13 American soldiers at Fort Hood last November, and 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate explosives aboard an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day.

In an exclusive interview, al-Awlaki told Yemeni journalist Abdulilah al-Sha’i (the only journalist to interview the leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen, Abu Basir al-Wuhayshi), that Major Hasan contacted him on December 17, 2008, to inquire about the legitimacy of killing American soldiers and officers. Further correspondence discussed Shari’a-based justifications for killing Israeli civilians. Al-Awlaki considered the Fort Hood attack a legitimate act of jihad as it was a military target and described Hasan’s attack as a “heroic act.” At the same time, al-Awlaki said that he has not recruited Hasan. “America did with its crimes and injustices” (al-Jazeera, December 23, 2009). A Yemeni official stated that Nigerian terror suspect Abdulmutallab met al-Awlaki in Shabawa, east of Sana'a. (AFP, January 7).

There is a huge difference between the moderate statements al-Awlaki made in the period between 2001-2002 and the radical views he has expressed since 2007. In the intervening period, al-Awlaki moved to Yemen, where he was banned from re-entering the United States and detained without charge in a Yemeni prison for over a year. Al-Awlaki believes he was imprisoned at the request of the United States, but describes his detention as “a chance to review the Quran and to study and read in a way that was impossible out of jail. My time in detention was a vacation from this world” (Interview with Infocusnews.net [Anaheim], September 17, 2008). The shaykh says he was interrogated in prison by the FBI about his connections to the 9/11 terrorists (Interview with cageprisoners.com, December 31, 2007).

Full report at: www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=35908&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=590b595cfc

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Two dead in Kashmir terror strike

15 January 2010

SRINAGAR: Two people, including a policeman, were killed in a gunfight between separatist guerrillas and security personnel in north Kashmir's

Sopore town Friday after militants lobbed a grenade at a police station, officials said. Three people were hurt in the attack. ( Watch Video )

"Militants hurled a grenade at the Sopore police station in the morning. The grenade hit the roof of the building and then exploded at the entrance of the police station after rolling down," a police officer said.

"One Congress activist identified as Mohammad Lateef Mirchal was injured in the grenade explosion," he said.

Once senior police officers reached the explosion site, guerrillas who were hiding in the vicinity opened fire, triggering a gun battle.

"Nearly 45 minutes after the grenade explosion, when the area superintendent of police reached the spot, the militants who were hiding in a lane fired at the security men, injuring four policemen and three civilians," the officer said.

"The fire was returned by the police and the area has been cordoned off to carry out searches there," he said. The official added that the exchange of fire had stopped.

Two people - a policeman and a civilian - were killed in the firing. The civilian was identified as Parveez Ahmad.

The explosion and the gun battle has led to tension in Sopore, 54 km from here. Security forces have been put on high alert and searches are on to trace the guerrillas responsible for the attack.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Two-dead-in-Kashmir-terror-strike/articleshow/5448238.cms

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Troops level enough in J&K: Army chief

New Delhi

Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said here on Thursday that the present troop strength in Jammu and Kashmir was sufficient to deter some 650 to 700 terrorists now operating there. He added that the decision to reduce troops by about 30,000 men was taken after considering all aspects and as part of a well thought out strategy.

Stating this during the annual Press conference on the eve of the Army Day, he, however, admitted that the number of attempts to infiltrate into the State from across the Line of Control (LOC) was higher last year as compared to 2008. Kapoor clarified that levels of violence had come down.

He said security forces were able to foil a large number of these attempts due to the tough posture against infiltration, adding that Pakistan continued to push ultras into India. Kapoor said the terror infrastructure across the 750-km long LOC was 'very much' intact.

As regards the present troop levels in the State to fight insurgency and terrorism, he said it was sufficient to deal with nearly 650 to 700 terrorists believed to be operating and maintain a 'peaceful environment.'

On the issue of reports indicating that China over the years had eaten into the Indian territory and its border had shrunk, the Army chief said: "No border have shrunk in any area. There is no change to the established demarcation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. Moreover, this aspect was also covered by Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday during a media interaction."

Kapoor said both the countries had identified some disputed areas along the LAC and talks were on between the interlocutors of India and China to resolve the contentious border issue.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/229338/Troops-level-enough-in-JK-Army-chief.html

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Forces down 2 Hizb commanders

Khursheed Wani | Srinagar

Security forces shot dead top-ranking commanders of pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, even as a soldier died and two others were wounded in the fierce overnight gunfight. This is the latest incident in a string of violent occurrences in the State, particularly in south Kashmir.

Sources said security forces cordoned off a house on Wednesday evening acting on a specific tip-off about the presence of militants at Watoo Aharbal, a far-off village in Kulgam district.

As soon as the troops zeroed in on the house, an exchange of fire took place with the encircled militants. In the initial bout, Rashtriya Rifles trooper Surinder Singh and a Special Police Official with the anti-insurgency wing of Kashmir Police received bullet injuries. They were immediately evacuated to hospital, where Singh succumbed to his injuries.

Sources said one militant died on Wednesday in retaliatory fire but his companion took up position in the house and engaged security forces throughout the night. He was shot on Thursday morning.

The slain militants have been identified as Shabir Ahmad Bhat, alias Aadil and Khadim Hussain, alias Tahir.

Kulgam SP (Operations) Kashev Ram Chaurasia said both slain militants were top-ranking commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, involved in a series of attacks on security forces and civilians.

A large quantity of arms and ammunition — including two AK series rifles, hand grenades, IEDs and live cartridges, besides a laptop, two broken mobile sets and torn-off currency notes — were recovered from the site of the encounter. The hideout was razed to rubble in the ensuing gunfight.

This is the second major encounter in south Kashmir during the week. Earlier, a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was killed in an encounter at Keller pocket of Shopian district.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/229327/Forces-down-2-Hizb-commanders.html

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Musharraf may launch own party

ISLAMABAD

 Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf is finalising plans to launch his own political party, sources said on Thursday.

"The party will comprise of several PML-Q (Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid-e-Azam) leaders," a source close to Mr Musharraf said.

He added, "Mr Pervez Musharraf still enjoys the support of some senior leaders of the PML-Q. Various senior leaders of the PML-Q, except for Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his close associates, are still in touch with the former President and are ready to join his party," the source said.

According to the source, Mr Musharraf wants Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to extend support to him even if he is not ready to join the party of his former mentor. Mr Musharraf is, however, unlikely to get the support from the Ex-Servicemen Society of Pakistan despite himself being a former military officer, added the source.

"During his current visit to the UAE, Mr Musharraf was also scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia but now he has changed his plan and will return to the UK without visiting Riyadh," the source said. "In March, he will return to Karachi where he will launch his own political party," the source added.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/musharraf-may-launch-own-party.aspx

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Pakistan should talk to the Taliban: Imran Khan

15 January 2010

LONDON: Cricketer turned politician Imran Khan called today for the army to withdraw from Pakistan's tribal areas and for talks with the Taliban, warning that the country faced "catastrophe" otherwise.

Khan said the US-Pakistan military offensive in the areas bordering Afghanistan was turning locals massively against the United States and boosting support for the militants.

US drone strikes on militants were sparking "anger and hatred" in the area, said Khan, who leads the marginal Tehrik-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice).

"The solution is to hold a dialogue with the militants," he told an audience at the Chatham House foreign policy thinktank in London.

"The solution is to win them onto our side, not to bomb them with airstrikes."

Otherwise, he warned: "If we continue with this military operation we are facing a catastrophe."

The militants operating in the tribal areas did not share the beliefs of the Afghan Taliban, who wanted to create an Islamist state, he said.

"In my opinion, they are political Taliban, they are not religious Taliban.

"They will fade away as soon as the Pakistan army moves back and dialogue is held," he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-should-talk-to-the-Taliban-Imran-Khan-/articleshow/5446788.cms

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Malaysian Muslim youth held for threatening to vandalise Hindu shrine

15 January 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have nabbed a youth who posted on a website that he was ready to vandalise a Hindu shrine at Batu Caves near here.

The youth, who claimed to have prepared crude bombs that were hurled at some churches last week, was held and his "seditious" postings removed after he said he was only "playing around".

The police acted after a complaint from Putera Malaysian Indian Congress, the MIC's youth wing.

The incident comes close on the heels of arson at eight churches across the country following a high court verdict on the use of the word "Allah" on the masthead of a magazine published by the Catholic church.

There has been an outcry among sections of majority Malay Muslims who say the word cannot be used by non-Muslims.

The government has condemned the attacks. It, however, says the use of the word 'Allah' was exclusive to Muslims in Malaysia.

Batu Caves have ancient Hindu shrines that are visited by the community that forms a bulk of the nearly two million population of ethnic Indian settled in Malaysia.

The youth, who was not identified, boasted about having supplied the home-made bombs to arsonists and being on the spot but not participating in the arson.

The 25-year-old student from Johor was picked up by police earlier this week after his posting on the churches surfaced. He was released on bail after he had his statement recorded.

It was learnt that the student had since posted a public apology on his Facebook account and had also removed his earlier posting, New Straits Times said Friday.

Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the student had to take responsibility for his actions although he claimed to be only "playing around".

The minister urged police to bring the student to court, adding that this matter could not be taken lightly.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Malaysian-youth-held-for-threatening-to-vandalise-Hindu-shrine-/articleshow/5447580.cms

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Mehsud escapes drone raid by US

A US DRONE missile strike on Thursday targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, officials said. But the militia denied reports that he was among 15 killed in the lawless northwest.

At least four missiles from unmanned drones pounded a militant training camp in the morning. The area was along the remote and mountainous border area between Taliban strongholds North and South Waziristan, officials said.

Both districts border Afghanistan.

US officials say Pakistan’s tribal belt is the most dangerous region in the world.

It has been hammering it with missile strikes to try to eliminate top al- Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Security officials said they were looking into reports that Mehsud was present at the time of the attack.

But a spokesman for the Tehreek- e- Taliban Pakistan ( TTP) group he leads said he had escaped.

“ Hakimullah Mehsud was present at the same place in Shaktoi where the drone attack took place,” spokesman Azam Tariq said.

“ But he had left the area when the drone attack took place. He is alive and completely safe,” Tariq added.

But he did not say when Mehsud left the area.

Pakistan security officials described the region as remote and under militant control. This makes it difficult for authorities to confirm if the warlord was dead.

“ The target of this drone strike was Hakimullah,” an intelligence official in North Waziristan’s main city of Miranshah said. “ He was present at the place for quite some time. We are not sure whether he was killed or survived — we are investigating it,” he added.

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LeT sought negotiation for Kasab release during Mumbai attack

15 January 2010

CHICAGO: The Pakistani handlers of the LeT men who attacked Mumbai wanted to obtain the release of captured gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab in exchange

for the hostages held by the terrorists, an indictment chargesheet for two suspects has said.

A US federal grand jury in its 12-count indictment against terror suspects Tahawwur Hussein Rana and David Coleman Headley gave extensive details of the planning of the Mumbai attack and how Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders guided their men during the four-day siege beginning November 26, 2008.

Pakistani-origin Chicago resident Rana was indicted by the jury here along with American citizen Headley on charges of preparing the groundwork and providing material support for the LeT to carry out the Mumbai terror attack.

During the course of the attacks, the gunmen were in telephonic contact with three LeT leaders - identified as Members A, B and C -- all of whom were located in Pakistan.

During the course of the attacks, they were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages and throw grenades.

"LeT Member A also sought to arrange the release of a hostage in exchange for the release of a captured attacker," the chargesheet said.

According to the chargesheet the 10 young Pakistani men were given extensive training by LeT, in July-August 2008.

The terrorists were given training in various skills including combat tactics, room entry, hostage rescue, nautical training and swimming. The attacks on multiple installations killed 166 people including six American nationals.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/LeT-sought-negotiation-for-Kasab-release-during-Mumbai-attack-/articleshow/5448547.cms

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Pak ‘bomber’ on recce for 26/11-type attack nabbed

Yudhvir Rana

15 January 2010

ATTARI: BSF officers on Thursday paraded an 18-year-old schoolboy from Pakistan, who they said was linked to the LeT and Tehrik-e-Taliban and on a recce for another 26/11 type attack that the groups were planning.

BSF said that the man, who identified himself as Nauman Arshad, was caught on Wednesday from the border while on a mission to study patrolling patterns of BSF jawans and identify a time and place for seven suicide bombers, three of them women, to slip into India. Rs 10 Indian currency, some dry fruits and a chemistry book was recovered from Arshad’s possession.

The arrest came barely four days after rockets fired from Pakistan side fell near a BSF post and some border villages in the same area.

BSF officers said Arshad had told them during interrogation that in June last year, one of his friends, Naveed, took him to Tablighi (conservative Islamic missionary group) Islam Markaz, Head Ballori Road in Peshawar, where he underwent a four-day training in handling pistols and revolver besides learning to wear and blast a suicide jacket.

‘‘I was blindfolded and taken to some camp from the Tablighi Islam Markaz for training,’’ Arshad told reporters.

BSF DIG Mohammed Aquil claimed Arshad told them that after returning from the camp, he didn’t keep in touch with the jihadi group, but was picked up again in October and taken to Okara where he was given intensive training. Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving 26/11 attacker, was also trained at Okara.

Aquil said the terrorists dropped Arshad on GT Road near the Indo-Pak border and instructed him to identify infiltration points. His handlers told him that they would pick him up at 8pm but he was caught by BSF before that.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-bomber-on-recce-for-26/11-type-attack-nabbed/articleshow/5446928.cms

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India to United States: Ensure your aid to Pakistan not misused

14 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Ruling out any Indian threat to Pakistan, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao on Thursday urged the US to ensure that the billions of dollars of American aid given to Islamabad is not diverted for anti-India activities.

A day after external affairs minister SM Krishna spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi and asked him to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack to justice speedily, Rao made it clear that any normalisation of relations with Pakistan is possible only when the patronage extended to anti-India forces is stopped in that country.

"The phenomenon of cross border terrorism has also illustrated the difficulties that we face in dealing with Pakistan," Rao said at the launch of the India Initiative of the Centre for a New American Security and the ASPEN Institute India.

"We face hostile forces across our border with Pakistan, although we have consistently stressed our support for the advancement of democracy, the growth of civil society, and economic development in an atmosphere of peace in Pakistan - goals that the US also identifies with," she said.

Underlining the linkage of terrorists and militants who target India with patronage from powerful forces and institutions in Pakistan, Rao said: "It is vital that this support must stop forthwith."

"Any viable process of normalization of our relations with Pakistan is essentially dependent on this requirement since it is unrealistic to think otherwise," she stressed.

Linking surging violence with sanctuaries of terrorists sheltering in the border areas of Pakistan, Rao stressed on expanding bilateral cooperation with the US to deal with terrorism in the region.

"It is equally critical for the US and the international community to pay adequate attention to and realize that the situation both in Afghanistan-Pakistan and the cross-border terrorism that emanates from Pakistan against India are manifestations of the use of terrorist ideologies to promote unscrupulous political or institutional agendas," she said.

Rao firmly denied any threat to Pakistan from India, a fear that is often whipped up by vested interests in the neighbouring country.

"Pakistan's concerns of the perceived threat in the east and on Indian activities in Afghanistan need to be unequivocally rebutted," she said.

"We have reiterated a number of times that we harbour no aggressive designs on Pakistan," Rao added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-to-United-States-Ensure-your-aid-to-Pakistan-not-misused/articleshow/5445995.cms

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Foreign secy asks Pak to stop `patronage' to anti-India groups

15 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao came down heavily on Islamabad saying it had to stop the "patronage" to anti-India groups in the

country by "powerful forces and institutions". Rao categorically stated that viable process of normalisation of relations with Pakistan was dependent on this requirement "since it is unrealistic to think otherwise".

"The groups, which direct such attacks against India, have received the patronage of powerful forces and institutions within that country. It is vital that this support must stop forthwith," she said while addressing a conference on India-US relations on Tuesday. The text of the speech was made public on Thursday.

Rao described terrorism in India's immediate neighbourhood and cross-border terrorism as a pivotal security challenge. She said there was a growing consensus that the increase in terrorist activities in Afghanistan was linked to the support and sanctuaries available in the contiguous areas of Pakistan. "Increased terrorist violence in our neighbourhood is a cause for grave concern. That these forces operate across boundaries with impunity was evident in the November 2008 terrorist attack on the city of Mumbai," Rao said.

In the same address, she said China's rise was a matter of fact and needed to be factored in the emerging calculus of 21st century." China's demonstrable economic strength and its growing military capabilities are a matter of fact and we must incorporate such factors into our calculus of the emerging 21st century scenario in the Asia Pacific," she said, adding that China was now the largest trading partner of India.

"The phenomenon of cross-border terrorism has also illustrated the difficulties that we face in dealing with Pakistan. We face hostile forces across our border with Pakistan, although we have consistently stressed our support for the advancement of democracy, the growth of civil society and economic development in an atmosphere of peace in Pakistan -- goals that the United States also identifies with," she added.

Dismissing Pakistani charges of India's involvement in fomenting unrest in some cities in that country, Rao said Pakistan's concerns of the perceived threat in the east and on Indian activities in Afghanistan "need to be unequivocally rebutted".

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Foreign-secy-asks-Pak-to-stop-patronage-to-anti-India-groups/articleshow/5445981.cms

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Boeings on fleet of Qaida-linked rogue network

15 January 2010

TIMBUKTU (MALI): In early 2008, an official at the US Department of Homeland Security sent a report to his superiors detailing what he called

“the most significant development in the criminal exploitation of aircraft since 9/11”.

The document warned that a growing fleet of rogue jet aircraft was regularly crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the air route, it said, are cocaine-producing areas in the Andes controlled by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. On the other are some of West Africa’s most unstable countries.

The report was ignored, and the problem has since escalated into what security officials in several countries describe as a global security threat.

The clandestine fleet has grown to include twin-engine turboprops, executive jets and retired Boeing 727s that are flying multi-ton loads of cocaine and possibly weapons to an area in Africa where factions of al-Qaida are believed to be facilitating the smuggling of drugs to Europe, the officials say.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been held responsible for car and suicide bombings in Algeria and Mauritania. Gunmen and bandits with links to AQIM have also stepped up kidnappings of Europeans for ransom, who are then passed on to AQIM factions seeking ransom payments.

The aircraft hopscotch across South American countries, picking up tons of cocaine and jet fuel, officials say. They then soar across the Atlantic to West Africa and the Sahel, where the drugs are funneled across the Sahara Desert and into Europe.

Alexandre Schmidt, regional representative for West and Central Africa for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, cautioned in Dakar this week that the aviation network has expanded in the past 12 months and now likely includes several Boeing 727 aircraft.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Boeings-on-fleet-of-Qaida-linked-rogue-network/articleshow/5446591.cms

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Bodies of five suspected militants found in Pakistan

The bullet-riddled bodies of five suspected militants have been found in Pakistan's north-western Darra Adamkhel tribal region, officials say.

The bodies were left in a mountain gorge in the Akhorwal area.

Local residents claim they were Taliban militants who went missing during a recent clash with security forces.

Troops have been conducting operations in the area to stop militants there from linking up with those in Orakzai and carrying out attacks in Peshawar.

Security officials have denied allegations that the men were taken prisoner by security forces some weeks ago.

The wounds on all the corpses are fresh, indicating that they were killed recently, a local administration official told the BBC's Urdu service.

This is the third time that the corpses of local militants have been found in the Akhorwal area, residents say.

On two separate occasions in December 2008 corpses with bullet wounds have been found in the local graveyard - 10 bodies in total were recovered.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8460584.stm

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I am unaware of 26/11 attacks, Kasab tells court

15 January 2010

MUMBAI: Lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab today told a special court hearing 26/11 terror case that he was not aware of the 2008 dastardly attacks at Hotel Taj, Hotel Oberoi, Nariman House and Leopold Cafe here.

"I also do not know the people who had fired and exploded bombs at these places on November 26, 2008," Kasab said in reply to questions put to him by Judge Tahiliyani on evidence adduced by the prosecution against him.

Kasab said he did not know that more people had been killed in firing and less in bomb blasts at Hotel Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House.

The gunman also denied knowledge that foreign nationals including those from Japan, USA, France, Italy and Israel had been killed in the terror attacks.

The case of the prosecution is that Kasab and nine other Pakistani nationals had committed terror attacks in the metropolis on November 26 last year.

Kasab further said he was not aware that several victims had filed affidavits saying they were injured in terror attacks at Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus, Hotel Taj, Hotel Oberoi, Cama Hospital and Nariman House.

To a question whether he was aware that Israeli nationals had died in terror attack at Nariman House, Kasab said, "Mujhe pata Nahin (I do not know)."

He also feigned ignorance about the blast at a petrol pump near Nariman House and said he was not aware that both the places were located close to each other.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/I-am-unaware-of-26/11-attacks-Kasab-tells-court/articleshow/5449227.cms

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Taliban confirms Hakimullah Mehsud injured

15 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Friday confirmed that its chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, was injured in a US attack which struck at a militants' hideout in South Waziristan on Thursday.

A private TV channel quoted local officials and the TTP as saying Mehsud was in the house in Shaktoi village and that a meeting of foreign militants was underway when the US drone struck.

Two foreign militants and eight local fighters were among the 10 killed in the attack, while eight others, including Mehsud, were injured.

Mehsud, who received head injuries, is being treated at undisclosed location and his condition was described as being out of danger, Online news agency quoted sources as saying.

A vehicle belonging to Mehsud was destroyed in the attack, the sources added.

Earlier on Friday, Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik said it was not clear whether Mehsud was dead or alive.

"We are not clear whether Hakimullah Mehsud was among the killed in a US drone strike or someone who resembles him was killed," he told reporters outside parliament.

Hakimullah Mehsud had taken over the reins of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after its previous chief, Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike last August.

The Pakistani military is currently engaged in a major offensive against the Taliban in the neighbouring South Waziristan Agency and claims to have eliminated some 1,000 militants.

The operations had begun in October 2009 after the security forces had cleared Swat and three other districts of the North West Frontier Province of the militants, killing some 1,500 guerrillas.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Taliban-confirms-Hakimullah-Mehsud-injured/articleshow/5448994.cms

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France moves closer to banning full Muslim veil

15 January 2010

LA VERRIERE, France: The man she married is French, her four children were born in France and she speaks French with only a trace of her native

Arabic tongue. Faiza Silmi contends her clothes, a head-to-toe robe and filmy tissue covering her face, are the reason France has denied her citizenship in her adopted land.

The 32-year-old Moroccan may soon be facing an even fiercer blow. A top French lawmaker submitted a draft law this week that would ban such Islamic dress anywhere in public, a measure that would set a European precedent and trap thousands of women between their religious convictions and the law of the land.

"They say I'm too attached to my religion," Silmi told at an empty restaurant near her home southwest of Paris, her large eyes peering from a slit in her veil. "Lots of Christians live in Morocco and we don't make them wear scarves."

Unlike Muslim headscarves, full-body, face-covering robes are a rare sight in the streets of France, home to an estimated 5 million Muslims, the largest such population in western Europe. France's main Muslim leaders have declared that Islam does not require women to cover their faces with niqabs or burqas.

In a country whose national emblem is Marianne, a bare-chested woman, there is deepening concern over the all-encompassing garb, often black or brown and worn with gloves, attire typical in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Here, it is widely viewed as a gateway to radical Islam, an attack on gender equality and other French values, and a gnawing away at the nation's secular foundation.

President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the door to a possible ban in June, telling a parliament session in Versailles that such dress "is not welcome" in France. A parliamentary panel set to work in July on a six-month mission gathering information on the garments.

On Tuesday, the head of Sarkozy's conservative UMP party in parliament's lower house, Jean-Francois Cope, jumped the gun before the panel's report was finished, and filed draft legislation on a ban. "No one may, in spaces open to the public and on public streets, wear a garment or an accessory that has the effect of hiding the face," the draft text reads.

The document cites public security concerns, thus includes all face-covering clothes, in a bid to head off challenges from those who might claim such a law would violate constitutional rules on individual rights _ a major concern along with how such a law would be enforced. It foresees fines for those who break the law.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/France-moves-closer-to-banning-full-Muslim-veil/articleshow/5448529.cms

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Arrested Pak teen ‘suicide bomber’ reveals terror trail

Jagmohan Singh | Amritsar

A Pakistani teenager, alleged to be a suicide bomber, was caught on Thursday from the Indian side along the border. He has admitted to have undergone terror training at a militant camp in Peshawar where Mumbai terror attack accused Amir Ajmal Kasab was also trained.

BSF Deputy Inspector General Mohammad Aquil said the teenager was identified as Noman Arshad, 14, and was arrested at the Indo-Pak border when he infiltrated into Indian territory.

“During interrogation by various intelligence agencies, Arshad, who was found hiding in bushes on the Indian side, revealed that he was spying on the activities of BSF and other security arrangements on the Indian border, particularly search operations during night to prevent infiltration,” said the DIG.

“During interrogation, Arshad admitted to have attained training from Peshawar-based militant camps which produced notorious terrorist Amir Ajmal Kasab who was arrested in the Mumbai terror attacks.”

The DIG said that Arshad was introduced to militants by his close friend Navid who was working with the terrorists for a long time.

Arshad also pinpointed exact locations of the training camps of terrorists where freshers were being trained at Peshawar. Arshad said he had been told to keep a hawk eye on the activities of BSF since there were plans to send seven Pakistan-trained terrorists comprising four men and three women to India through this border.

Full report at: www.dailypioneer.com/229504/Arrested-Pak-teen-%E2%80%98suicide-bomber%E2%80%99-reveals-terror-trail.html

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US Sponsoring State Terrorism

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani Wednesday accused the US administration of sponsoring state terrorism and being involved in the killing in Tehran of a leading physicist.

He reiterated Tehran’s official stance that the CIA Israel’s Mossad spy agency were behind the professor’s assassination on Tuesday.

“Such dirty actions are easy to carry out…but this adventurism will do you no good,” ISNA quoted him as saying in reference to the Obama administration.

“You are practically promoting acts of terrorism. This black stain will be recorded in the dossier of US crimes against the Iranian people.”

Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at the prestigious Tehran University, was killed by a bomb strapped to a motorcycle in the uptown Qeiterieh district of the capital.

Neither the police nor intelligence services have reported any lead in the investigations. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stopped short of directly accusing Washington of being behind the crime.

“The move yesterday by the enemies of logic, justice, humanity and the Iranian people is under investigation,” he told reporters when asked about accusations against the US and Israel.

CIA, Mossad Blamed

But Larijani was explicit in blaming the CIA and Mossad.

“We had received information a few days before (the attack) that the (intelligence) service of the Zionist regime with CIA cooperation was planning a terrorist attack in Tehran,” he said.

Similar allegations by other Iranian officials have been dismissed out of hand by Washington.

“Charges of US involvement are absurd,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Tuesday, AFP reported.

Earlier a US intelligence official said that the CIA played no role in a bombing that killed the professor. “Any suggestion that the CIA played a role here is flat wrong,” the US intelligence official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Full report at: http://www.iran-daily.com/1388/10/24/MainPaper/3594/Page/3/Index.htm

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US court indicts Headley, Rana on federal terrorism charges

15 January 2010

WASHINGTON: Two Pakistani-origin Chicago-residents — Tahawwur Hussein Rana and David Coleman Headley — were today indicted by a federal grand

jury in the US on charges of plotting attack on a Danish newspaper and helping plan the 26/11 Mumbai attacks that killed 163 people including six American nationals. ( Watch Video )

The 12-count superseding indictment contains identical charges that were filed against Headley, a US citizen, on December 7 last year.

It adds Rana, a Canadian citizen, as a defendant in three of the counts charging material support of the terrorism plots in Denmark and India, as well as in support of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Also indicted on conspiracy charges related to the Denmark plot were Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged terror kingpin in Pakistan who is said to be in regular contact with Al-Qaeda leaders and Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major in the Pakistani military, the US Department of justice said in a statement. Neither man is in US custody.

Both Kashmiri and Abdur Rehman were charged in two conspiracy counts relating to the Denmark terrorism plot.

Rana and Abdur Rehman were charged separately in previous court filings, but today's indictment charges Kashmiri for the first time, although he was identified by name in the charges filed previously against Rana, Abdur Rehman and Headley.

Rana, 49, has remained in federal custody in Chicago since he was arrested on October 18 last year in connection with the planned attack on a Danish newspaper.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-court-indicts-Headley-Rana-on-federal-terrorism-charges/articleshow/5446976.cms

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Tel Aviv older than believed

ARON HELLER

When Tel Aviv marked its centennial in 2009, part of the festivities honouring 100 years since the founding of the first modern Hebrew city included restoration of its oldest buildings.

Now, thanks to a chance archaeological find, the residents of Tel Aviv have discovered that their city dates back millennia earlier.

Two weeks ago, Israeli archaeologists uncovered the 8,000-year-old remains of a prehistoric structure nestled away in the upscale neighbourhood of Ramat Aviv. The cornerstone of the ancient building, which lies on a construction site for exclusive apartments, long precedes the time of Abraham and the rest of the Bible’s figures.

In a land where every shovel might unearth something biblical, Israeli law permits the Israel Antiquities Authority to inspect any building site ahead of construction. That’s what led to the dig in Ramat Aviv. Ayelet Dayan, the archaeologist who led the 12-person excavation team, said she expected to find relics from the Byzantine era, about 1,500 years old.

She said she was startled when she stumbled upon remains of the three-room, 8,000-year-old structure, believed to be have been built in the Neolithic period, also known as the New Stone Age, when humans went from a nomadic existence of hunting and gathering to living in permanent settlements, engaging in agriculture and keeping domesticated animals.

"It was very exciting. I knew this was something very ancient," she said. "For the first time we have encountered evidence of a permanent habitation that existed in the Tel Aviv region 8,000 years ago."

Ms Dayan’s team also uncovered pottery shards, flint tools, hippopotamus bones. —AP

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/Tel Aviv older than believed.aspx

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Stop patronage of forces within Pak to anti-India groups: Rao

Jan 14, 2010

New Delhi : India has demanded stopping "forthwith" the "patronage of powerful forces and institutions" within Pakistan to the groups involved in anti-India acts, saying it faces "hostile forces" from across the border with that country.

Describing "cross-border terrorism faced by India" as a "pivotal security challenge", Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, "we face hostile forces across our border with Pakistan, although we have consistently stressed our support for the advancement of democracy" there in an atmosphere of peace, goals that the United States also identifies with.

She was delivering the keynote address at a conference on Indo-US relations here, text of which was made public on Thursday.

"The groups, which direct such attacks against India, have received the patronage of powerful forces and institutions within that country. It is vital that this support must stop forthwith.

"Any viable process of normalisation of our relations with Pakistan is essentially dependent on this requirement since it is unrealistic to think otherwise," she said.

She also sought greater Indo-US cooperation and more frequent consultations on security-related issues including the threat of international terrorism and the evolving security architecture in Asia.

"There is a growing consensus that the increase in terrorist activities in Afghanistan is linked to the support and sanctuaries available in the contiguous areas of Pakistan.

Increased terrorist violence in our neighbourhood is a cause for grave concern," Rao said in the address on Tuesday.

"That these forces operate across boundaries with

impunity was evident in the November 2008 terrorist attack on the city of Mumbai," she said.

Rao said it is equally critical for the US and the global community to pay adequate attention to and realise the situation both in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the cross-border terrorism that emanates from Pakistan against India are manifestations of the use of terrorist ideologies to promote unscrupulous political or institutional agendas.

Full report at: /www.indianexpress.com/news/stop-patronage-of-forces-within-pak-to-antiindia-groups-rao/567418/

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Clerics in Yemen warn of jihad if US sends troops

By AHMED AL-HAJ

January 14, 2010

SAN'A, Yemen -- A group of prominent Muslim clerics warned Thursday they will call for jihad, or holy war, if the U.S. sends troops to fight al-Qaida in Yemen.

The group of 15 clergymen includes the highly influential Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, whom the U.S. has branded a spiritual mentor of Osama bin-Laden but who is also courted by the Yemeni government for his important backing.

The clerics' warning goes straight to the Yemeni government's dilemma in cooperating with Washington against an al-Qaida offshoot in the country. In doing so, Yemen's weak regime must avoid upsetting al-Zindani and other radical Islamic figures whose support it needs to stay in power.

"If any foreign country insists on aggression and the invasion of the country or interference, in a military or security way, Muslim sons are duty bound to carry out jihad and fight the aggressors," the clerics said in a statement.

President Barack Obama has said he does not plan to send American combat troops to Yemen, though Washington is increasing counterterrorism aid and training to Yemeni forces to battle al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Concern about the growing capabilities of Yemen's al-Qaida offshoot increased after the failed attempt to bomb a U.S. airliner shortly before it landed in Detroit on Dec. 25. U.S. investigators say the Nigerian suspect in the failed attack told them he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

The group of clerics also said they believe an international conference on Yemen to be held Jan. 27 in London is intended to clear the way for the Arab country's occupation by foreign nations. The conference is to be attended by the United States and European countries.

The group is from the Yemeni Clerics Association, headed by al-Zindani, whom the United States considers an al-Qaida-linked terrorist.

Yemeni authorities on Thursday increased security in some areas of the capital, San'a, in an attempt to hunt al-Qaida suspects who escaped a raid this week in the southern province of Shabwa.

Full report at: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/14/AR2010011401331.html

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Groups target downfall of United States

By DAN SERNOFFSKY

01/13/2010

T he aim is the same. The differ ence is in the details.

There exist two separate phi losophies led and peopled by ded icated ideologues who are focused on the destruction of the constitutional re public that is called the United States of America. Each group is determined to remake that republic into its own world view, which are remarkably similar in scope in that they deny individual liber ty while demanding obeisance to a cen tralized power.

Although equally dedicated, what separates the two groups is the length to which each will go in attempting to achieve those ends, but even in that se paration, there is a similarity best ex pressed by a member of one of those groups, an operational philosophy each is using.

Who are the groups? One is the jihad ist movement, a widespread collection of dedicated Islamofascists determined to destroy the basic concepts of individual freedom to institute Sharia law, impos ing through violence an Islamic theocra cy. The other is the progressive movement, a collection of dedicated left ists determined to destroy the basic con cepts of individual freedom to institute a Marxist state, imposing through political machinations the centralized control of American life.

The operational philosophy which both embrace was essentially summed up by Andy Stern, president of the Serv ice Employees International Union and a man dedicated to the progressive movement, who said, "We prefer to use the power of persuasion,

but if that doesn't work we use the persuasion of power."

The progressive movement was nur tured throughout the 20th century by committed Marxists who masked their aims in language aimed at assuaging critics, which was why "socialist" became "liberal" when socialism was unmasked as an attack on the U.S. Con stitution, and "liberal" became "progres sive" when liberalism was unmasked as an attack on the U.S. Constitution. That was a point raised by Norman Thomas, a six-time candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket.

"The American people," said Thomas, "will never knowingly adopt so cialism. But under the name of 'liber alism' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, with out knowing how it happened."

In that same speech, delivered in 1944, Thomas also said, "I no longer need to run as a presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform."

Full report at: http://www.ldnews.com/ci_14179563

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4 indicted in Mumbai, Denmark terror plots

January 15, 2010

(CNN) -- A U.S. grand jury indicted four people, including two Chicagoans, for alleged roles in plots against a Danish newspaper and the November 2008 terrorism attack in Mumbai, India.

Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged leader of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, was charged for the first time, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. The group has "trained terrorists and executed attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian control," Justice said. Kashmiri also is alleged to have links with al Qaeda.

Also indicted were Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, or Abdur Rehman, a retired major in the Pakistani military, and Chicagoans Tahawwur Rana and David Headley.

The Denmark plot targeted the Jyllands-Posten, a newspaper that published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in 2005 and 2006, according to federal prosecutors.

The indictment alleges that Headley conspired with Kashmiri, Abdur Rehman and others from October 2008 to October 2009 to carry out the Denmark attack, but was advised in March 2009 to put that plan on hold because of pressure after the Mumbai attack.

The three-day terrorist siege in Mumbai killed at least 160 people.

The 12-count superseding indictment contains the same 12 charges filed against Headley last month and adds the other three men as defendants. Headley, a U.S. citizen and Chicago resident, faces six counts of conspiracy to bomb places in India, and to murder and maim people in India and Denmark; and of providing material support to foreign terror plots and providing material support to Lashkar e Tayyiba, which the United States lists as a terrorist group.

Full report at: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/01/14/terror.indictments/

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It’s time for an outside panel on terrorism

January 15, 2010

In response to the nearly successful Christmas Day bombing of a commercial airliner approaching Detroit from Amsterdam, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., asked President Barack Obama to convene a group of outside experts, aka “Team B,” to conduct an independent assessment of the government’s counterterrorism policies and to recommend new strategies for coping with evolving terrorist threats. A similar panel, assembled by then-CIA Director George H.W. Bush, was critical of the Nixon/Kissinger detente strategy and prompted President Ronald Reagan’s tougher stance toward the Soviet Union that led to the end of the Cold War.

The need for a Team B on terrorism should be clear. The federal government’s vast intelligence and homeland security apparatus failed to keep 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab off Northwest Airlines Flight 253 despite clear evidence that he was a potential terrorist. These systemic failures compound the flaws in the administration’s decision to treat terrorism as isolated criminal activities, not acts of war.

Thus, instead of military interrogation, the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser conceded recently that Abdulmutallab was charged with a crime, got “lawyered up” and so far has rejected a plea agreement to persuade him to talk to federal prosecutors. The longer he remains silent, the less valuable his information becomes — and it may already be worthless.

Wolf warned Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder in October that Yemen had become a major al-Qaida stronghold, and he urged Holder not to release Guantanamo detainees to return to that country. That same month, the National Security Agency intercepted a discussion originating from Yemen that included a reference to a Nigerian being trained for a special mission. Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan also was reportedly in contact with the same Islamic cleric who helped radicalize Abdulmutallab.

Despite Wolf’s warning, Obama and Holder sent seven Gitmo detainees back to Yemen, a country so unstable that in recent weeks the U.S. and Britain temporarily closed their embassies due to a “live threat” from al-Qaida.

Full report at: www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/Examiner-Editorial-Its-time-for-an-outside-panel-on-terrorism-81595272.html#ixzz0cgkc4P80

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Israeli police arrest 'polygamist cult leader'

Israeli police have arrested the leader of an alleged polygamist cult and accused him of enslavement and sexual offences including rape.

The suspect, Goel Ratzon, has been living in Tel Aviv with 17 women with whom he had up to 40 children.

Police launched an undercover investigation in June 2009 after complaints from some of the women.

Mr Ratzon says the women were with him voluntarily and that a book of rules he used did not amount to enslavement.

The women and children were kept in cramped apartments in several locations in the south of Tel Aviv, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Mr Rosenfeld told the AFP news agency that in one case, police raided a three-bedroomed apartment where 10 women and 17 children were found in a "terrible state" living in "horrible conditions".

Mr Ratzon is said to have asked them to live by a book of rules which specified behaviour and punishments, including fines.

The women are now being questioned by police, and the children placed in temporary care.

Mr Ratzon's lawyer, Shlomzion Gabai, told the Associated Press news agency that her client denied all the allegations, adding: "He may be different, but he's not a criminal."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8459854.stm

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Bomb near Israel convoy in Jordan

The blast left a crater in the road and damaged a guardrail

A bomb has exploded near a convoy of Israeli diplomats in Jordan, Israel's foreign ministry has confirmed.

No-one was injured in the incident, and the convoy continued on its way.

The attack occurred on the road between Amman, Jordan's capital, and the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994 and have full diplomatic relations, though relations between the two are sometimes tense.

Jordan's information minister, Nabil Sharif, said an "explosive device went off on the side of the road leading to the Jordan Valley" as "some civilian vehicles were passing by, including two Israeli diplomatic cars".

An investigation was under way, he said.

Four passengers and two security guards were reported to have been travelling in the convoy.

Officials said Israel's ambassador to Jordan, Dany Nevo, was not among the passengers, despite initial reports to the contrary.

The explosion left a small crater in the road, and damaged the guardrail.

Israeli diplomats often travel home on Thursday afternoon, at the start of the weekend in Jordan.

No immediate claim of responsibility was reported.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8459992.stm

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US man denies Mumbai plot charge

The FBI alleges Mr Headley attended militant training camps in Pakistan

A US man has pleaded not guilty to charges of involvement in the deadly Mumbai (Bombay) attacks of a year ago.

David Headley, a Pakistani-American, is accused of having helped identify targets for the assaults which left 174 people dead, including nine gunmen.

He was arrested over a plot to attack a Danish newspaper which had printed pictures of the Prophet Mohammed.

On Monday, US justice officials released a raft of new charges related to the Mumbai attacks.

Mr Headley, 49, has been charged with six counts of conspiracy to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim people in India and Denmark, to provide material support to foreign terrorist plots, and to provide material support to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group.

Mr Headley is also facing six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India.

He was arrested on 3 October 2009 for allegedly planning terrorist attacks against the Danish newspaper which published cartoons about Islam.

The Chicago branch of the FBI says David Headley attended Lashkar-e-Taiba training camps in Pakistan in 2002 and 2003, where he conspired to plan and carry out attacks in both India and Denmark.

Prosecutors say Mr Headley changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006 after he was told by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba that he would be travelling to India to carry out surveillance duties for the group.

The FBI says his aim was to present himself as an American citizen without any links to Pakistan or Islam.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8404690.stm

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Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood Leader Warns Against ‘Foreign Occupation’

The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report

Global media is reporting on remarks by Yemeni cleric Abdul-Majid al-Zindani (aka Abd al-Majid al-Zindani) in which he warned against foreign occupation in the cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism efforts. According to a BBC report:

An influential Yemeni cleric has warned the country not to allow “occupation” by foreign powers as it co-operates with the US in counter-terrorism. Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, named as a terrorist by the US and the UN for suspected links to al-Qaeda, said Yemen rejected “the return of colonialism”. Yemen-based militants said they were behind a recent failed US bomb plot. The US has vowed to continue to support Yemen in its fight against militants, but says it will not send troops there. Mr Zindani, head of al-Iman University, a Sunni religious school in the capital Sanaa, was listed as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the US Treasury Department and the UN in 2004, but Yemen has taken no steps to freeze his assets…. Speaking to reporters at his home in Sanaa, Mr Zindani said: “We accept any co-operation in the framework of respect and joint interests, and we reject military occupation of our country. And we don’t accept the return of colonialism.” He added: “Yemen’s rulers and people must be careful before a [foreign] guardianship is imposed on them. “The day parliament allows the occupation of Yemen, the people will rise up against it and bring it down.” Parliamentary approval Mr Zindani did not criticise the Yemeni government directly for co-operating with the US, but urged it to get any agreements approved by parliament. “The constitution says agreements must be put before parliament. I demand the implementation of the constitution,” he said…Mr Zindani also said he had no knowledge of al-Qaeda’s activities in Yemen, nor did he have influence over American Muslim radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. Yemeni officials claim Mr Awlaki met Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged in connection with the Chrismas Day plot. It has also emerged that Mr Awlaki gave religious advice by e-mail to a Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at at base in Texas in November. “I was never a direct teacher for Anwar al-Awlaki,” Mr Zindani said.

Full report at:  http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.5267/pub_detail.asp

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Status of face-covering veils Muslim around Europe

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Friday, January 15, 2010; 4:58 AM

-- - FRANCE: After passing 2004 law banning Muslim headscarves and other "ostentatious" religious symbols from classrooms, France's government submitted a draft law this week on a ban on face-covering veils. The bill could be debated this spring.

- NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government considered but abandoned legislation in 2006 for a total ban on Muslim veils, after lawyers said it would likely be unconstitutional. Instead, it said it would seek a ban on face-covering veils in all schools and prevent government employees from wearing them. No legislation has yet been passed.

- BRITAIN: The issue of full-body veils has largely faded from the spotlight since then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it a "mark of separation" in 2006. The coverings are more visible on the streets of London than many other European cities.

- ITALY: Has a law requiring people to keep their faces visible in public, dating to Italy's crackdown on domestic terrorism decades ago. Representatives of Italy's Muslim community say it's rarely applied in the case of women wearing veils.

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Full report at: dyn/content/article/2010/01/15/AR2010011500659.html

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Guns and goons: hard to imagine Philippine politics without them

MANILA

WITH national and local elections scheduled in the Philippines for May, an independent commission was due to begin work on January 7th on disbanding politicians’ private armies before then. The government appointed the commission after public outrage over the massacre of 57 people in the southern province of Maguindanao in November. The authorities accused a local politician and his armed followers of the crime—a charge the politician has denied in court.

Norberto Gonzales, the defence secretary, says there are 132 private armed groups led by politicians in various parts of the country, with a combined strength of about 10,000 armed men. Critics doubt that the commission can complete its task in time. Successive governments that might have disbanded these armed groups have failed to do so—mainly because they have benefited from their existence.

Sometimes, private armies augment the official security forces, and help defend communities threatened by communist or Muslim separatist guerrillas. Almost always, they keep local politicians in power by intimidating rivals and voters. Local warlords also use the threat of violence to ensure the election of politicians at the national level—usually those already in government or most likely to form the next government. National politicians return the favour by providing patronage to the warlords and turning a blind eye to the behaviour of their private armies.

Full report at: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15213347

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/-allah--debate--censorship-has-only-compounded-malaysia-s-troubles/d/2385


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