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Islamic World News ( 20 March 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Bombing kills top pro-Assad Sunni preacher among 41 killed in Syria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arab World

Bombing kills top pro-Assad Sunni preacher among 41 killed in Syria

‘Incontrovertible’ Evidence Syria Revolution Now an Al Qaeda Takeover of Country

Lebanon's Catholics fear incursion of Islamic fundamentalism

Patient in Madinah takes shelter in mosque after release from hospital

Iraq: Where Terrorists Go to School

Bahrain's royal family continues monarchic rule

Syrian enemies demand inquiry into “chemical” attack

 

North America

No abuse of Quran at Guantanamo prison: US general

Obama sceptical of Assad claim on chemical weapons

Obama vows ‘eternal’ defence of Israel on his first ever visit

Obama talks tough on Syria, counsel’s patience with Iran

India has huge role to play in Silk Road's success: Mark Grossman

US announces 5 million dollar bounty 2 Al-Shebab

Qaeda's Spin Ghul to be tried in a New York court

Judge won't let Fort Hood suspect pleads guilty: Nidal Hasan

 

Pakistan

Clash between Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan averted

46 Pak Taliban men killed in infighting with rival group

Car bomb blast kills 12 in northwest Pakistan

Five Pakistanis killed in robbery outside Cape Town

SC urged to probe intimidation and violence against Christians

Two MQM activists among 9 gunned down in Karachi

Six army officers involved in abductions: DIG CID Balochistan

President grants remission in sentences of prisoners on Pakistan Day

War crimes: Pakistan votes against UN Sri Lanka resolution

No alliance with Musharraf: MQM

Interpol rejects Pakistan's request to arrest Pervez Musharraf

 

India

Pass Hindu Shrines Bill in this session: Panun Kashmir to J&K govt

Sikhs to petition Pakistan, India PMs for visa-free corridor to place of Nanak’s death

India, Egypt decide to strengthen defence ties

Innocent Muslims implicated in fake terror charges will be released soon: UP CM

Militants attack BSF convoy, one Jawan killed

1993 Mumbai serial blasts - How March 12 unfolded

Supreme Court awards death penalty to Yakub Memon in 1993 Mumbai blasts case

Deadly ambush on Kashmir patrol: Police

 

South Asia

Bangladesh in Mourning after President's Death

An absolute religious harmony under threat in Bangladesh

At least ten dead in Myanmar riots: MP

4 killed at Afghan holy Quran desecration protest

Blame game: Karzai unleashes fresh salvo against Pakistan

Roadside bomb kills Afghan district official

Four arrested in Male on charges of prostitution

Maldives border control facing prospect of ‘pen and paper’ should Nexbis fall through

Hefazate Islam helps Jamaat anarchy

Jamaat creates violence using Islam: IOJ

Sacked Maldives HR Minister files case to declare Waheed government illegitimate

 

Mideast Asia

Obama to face Palestinian dismay on West Bank trip

Rockets hit Israel as Obama meets Palestinians

Five killed in Yemen clash between Al Qaeda fighters, militia

Kurdish rebel to call ceasefire in Turkey's best peace hope

Palestinians Decry 'Endless' US Support of Israel

Iran’s influence ‘waning’ in Latin America

 

Europe

Associations denounce breadth of anti-Muslim racism

Mali to have sovereignty over 'most' of its territory soon, France says

Muslims – The Only Recognized Minority in Greece

 

Africa

Mali soldier killed in first Timbuktu suicide bombing

The Arab Spring: A U-Turn in the Modernization Path or a Simple Adjustment?

Nigeria finds 29 survivors from trafficked immigrant boat

 

Southeast Asia

Singles Caught Having Sex Face Jail Time under Proposed Law in Indonesia

US Lauds Indonesia for Success in Fighting Tuberculosis

 

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Syrian rebels take position in the northwestern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughur on January 25, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/bombing-kills-top-pro-assad-sunni-preacher-among-41-killed-in-syria/d/10850 

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Arab World

 

Bombing kills top pro-Assad Sunni preacher among 41 killed in Syria

March 22, 2013

A suicide bomb ripped through a mosque in the heart of the Syrian capital Thursday, killing a top Sunni Muslim preacher and outspoken supporter of President Bashar Assad in one of the most stunning assassinations of Syria's 2-year-old civil war.

At least 41 others were killed and more than 84 wounded.

The slaying of Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti removes one of the few remaining pillars of support for Assad among the majority Sunni sect that has risen up against him.

It also marks a new low in the Syrian civil war: While suicide bombings blamed on Islamic extremists fighting with the rebels have become common, Thursday's attack was the first time a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a mosque.

A prolific writer whose sermons were regularly broadcast on TV, the 84-year-old al-Buti was killed while giving a religious lesson to students at the Eman Mosque in the central Mazraa district of Damascus.

The most senior religious figure to be killed in Syria's civil war, his assassination was a major blow to Syria's embattled leader, who is fighting mainly Sunni rebels seeking his ouster.

Al-Buti has been a vocal supporter of the regime since the early days of Assad's father and predecessor, the late President Hafez Assad, providing Sunni cover and legitimacy to their rule.

Sunnis are the majority sect in Syria while Assad is from the minority Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

"The blood of Sheik al-Buti will be a fire that ignites all the world," said Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, the country's top state-appointed Sunni Muslim cleric and an Assad loyalist.

Syrian TV showed footage of wounded people and bodies with severed limbs on the mosque's blood-stained floor, and later, corpses covered in white body bags lined up in rows. Sirens wailed through the capital as ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion, which was sealed off by the military.

Among those killed was al-Buti's grandson, the TV said.

The bombing was among the most serious security breaches in the capital. An attack in July that targeted a high-level government crisis meeting killed four top regime officials, including Assad's brother-in-law and the defense minister.

Last month, a car bomb that struck in the same area, which houses the headquarters of Syria's ruling Baath party, killed at least 53 people and wounded more than 200 others in one of the deadliest Damascus bombings of the civil war.

A small, frail man, al-Buti was well known in the Arab world as a religious scholar and longtime imam at the eighth-century Omayyad Mosque, a Damascus landmark. State TV said he has written 60 books and religious publications.

In recent months, Syrian TV has carried al-Buti's sermons from mosques in Damascus live every week. He also has a regular religious TV program.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday's attack.

Among the opposition, there was a mixture of suspicion and shock that an elderly religious figure such as al-Bouti would be targeted by a suicide bomber inside a mosque.

"I don't know of a single opposition group that could do something like this," said Walid al-Bunni, a spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition opposition group, speaking on Al-Arabiya TV.

Syrian TV began its evening newscast with an announcement from the religious endowments minister, Mohammad Abdelsattar al-Sayyed, declaring al-Buti's "martyrdom" as his voice choked up. It then showed parts of al-

Buti's sermon from last Friday, in which he praised the military for battling the "mercenaries sent by America and the West" and said Syria was being subjected to a "universal conspiracy."

Assad's regime refers to the rebels fighting against it as "terrorists" and "mercenaries" who are backed by foreign powers trying to destabilize the country.

The war, which the U.N. says has killed more than 70,000 people, has become increasingly chaotic as rebels press closer to Assad's seat of power in Damascus after seizing large swaths of territory in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

On Thursday, rebels captured a village and other territory on the edge of the Golan Heights as fighting closed in on the strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and later annexed, activists and officials said.

The battles near the town of Quneitra in southwest Syria sent many residents fleeing, including dozens who crossed into neighboring Lebanon. The fighting in the sensitive area began Wednesday near the cease-fire line between Syrian and Israeli troops.

One of the worst-case scenarios for Syria's civil war is that it could draw in neighboring countries such as Israel or Lebanon.

There have already been clashes with Turkey, Syria's neighbor to the north. And Israel recently bombed targets inside Syria said to include a weapons convoy headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon, a key ally of the Damascus regime and an arch-foe of the Jewish state.

If the rebels take over the Quneitra region, it will bring radical Islamic militants to a front line with Israeli troops. The rebels are composed of dozens of groups, including the powerful al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, which the Obama administration labels a terrorist organization.

Israel has said its policy is not to get involved in the Syrian civil war, but it has retaliated for sporadic Syrian fire that spilled over into Israeli communities on the Golan Heights.

The Golan front has been mostly quiet since 1974, a year after Syria and Israel fought a war.

The Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels seized control of parts of villages a few miles (kilometers) from the cease-fire line with Israel after fierce fighting with regime forces.

The Local Coordination Committees, another anti-regime activist group, reported heavy fighting in the nearby village of Sahm al-Golan and said rebels were attacking an army post.

The Observatory said seven people, including three children, were killed Wednesday by government shelling of villages in the area.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Observatory, said the fighting around the town of Arnabeh intensified Thursday, a day after rebels captured it. He added that the rebels captured two nearby army posts.

In Lebanon, security officials said 150 people, mostly women and children, walked for six hours in rugged mountains covered with snow to reach safety in the Lebanese border town of Chebaa.

They said eight wounded Syrians were brought on mules from Beit Jan and taken in ambulances to hospitals in Chebaa.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the Syrians fled from the town of Beit Jan, near the Golan Heights.

The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a rebel group active in southern Syria, said in a statement on its Facebook page that its fighters stormed an army post between the villages of Sahm al-Golan and Shajara.

Activists on Facebook pages affiliated with rebels in Quneitra announced the start of the operation to "break the siege on Quneitra and Damascus' western suburbs."

The fighting moved closer to Israel as President Barack Obama was visiting the Jewish state for the first time since taking office more than four years ago.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/restofasia/Bombing-kills-top-pro-Assad-Sunni-preacher-in-Syria/Article1-1030292.aspx

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‘Incontrovertible’ Evidence Syria Revolution Now an Al Qaeda Takeover of Country

Jake Hammer

Mar 20, 2013

ALEPPO, Syria, The evidence was incontrovertible, captured on video and posted on YouTube for the entire world to see. During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.

The beating administered last month offered a vivid illustration of the extent to which the Syrian revolution has strayed from its roots as a largely spontaneous uprising against four decades of Assad family rule. After mutating last year into a full-scale war, it is moving toward what appears to be an organized effort to institute Islamic law in areas that have fallen under rebel control.

Building on the reputation they have earned in recent months as the rebellion’s most accomplished fighters, Islamist units are seeking to assert their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing.

Numerous Islamist groups are involved, representing a wide spectrum of views. But, increasingly, the dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States for suspected ties to al-Qaeda but is widely respected by many ordinary Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians.

Across the north-eastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and Raqqah, where the rebels have been making rapid advances in recent weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken the lead both in the fighting and in setting out to replace toppled administrations. It has assumed control of bakeries and the distribution of flour and fuel, and in some instances it has sparked tensions with local fighters by trying to stop people from smoking in the streets.

Here in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, more than half of which has been under rebel control since July, Jabhat al-Nusra is also widely identified as the leading force behind the Hayaa al-Sharia, which loosely translates as the Sharia Authority and is known simply as the Hayaa.

Based out of the city’s former Eye Hospital, which was damaged during the fighting and then occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra as its headquarters, the Hayaa is also backed by other rebel units, including the Tawhid Brigade, the city’s biggest fighting force, and the Ahrar al-Sham, a home-grown Islamist force that has played a relatively minor role in Aleppo but is powerful in several other provinces.

Islamic administration

These days, the bomb-scarred former hospital has taken on the semblance of a wartime city hall, with people milling in and out seeking permits to carry a gun or transport fuel through checkpoints, complaining about neighbours, reporting thefts and informing on people suspected to be regime loyalists.

Keep Reading…

http://patdollard.com/2013/03/wapo-incontrovertible-evidence-islamic-sharia-law-now-overtaking-rebel-held-syria/

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Lebanon's Catholics fear incursion of Islamic fundamentalism

Tim Fitzsimons

March 20, 2013

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Two decades after the end of the Lebanese civil war, Beirut’s once-destroyed downtown is largely rebuilt, and the crucifixes atop St. Maron Church shine brightly as parishioners file out from evening Mass.

But sectarian scars and distrust remain for Norma Nasser, a 60-year-old Maronite Catholic housewife, who is worried about hardliner militant groups like Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Salafis who wield growing influence in her country.

“I am afraid of the future, especially for my kids,” she said. “We respect Muslims, but I am not sure they respect us.”

Even though Beirut is no longer cleaved into Muslim and Christian sides by the Green Line — the five-mile long, overgrown barricade erected during Lebanon’s 1975-1991 civil war — some Christians still feel like their presence here is not guaranteed. An influx of refugees from the civil war in neighbouring Syria has Christians in Lebanon anxious that religious violence against them could reappear here.

Catholic Maronites account for roughly a fifth of Lebanon’s four million people, and their church is the largest Christian sect of the 18 state-recognized religions. Maronite militias were chief belligerents in the civil war, and during that period the church’s relationship with the Vatican was strained. The Roman Catholic church now holds up peaceful Lebanon as an example of religious coexistence, providing the new Pope Francis with a unique opportunity to advance Christian interests in the Middle East.

“If this formula does fade in Lebanon, the message to the world is that religions can’t live together.”

But religion and politics are tightly intertwined in Lebanon, and political conflicts are often interpreted as matters of communal survival. Official government business is conducted based on a system of “confessionalism” in which everything from parliamentary positions to marriage licenses are doled out according to the country’s sects. Even simple government jobs like electricity bill collectors are subject to a Byzantine set of quotas designed to maintain religious balance.

Nasser was one of only two dozen people who walked up the aisle to receive communion at St. Maron, whose pews could hold hundreds more.

“Sometimes people come, sometimes they don’t come,” Nasser said, as she headed to a Bible study class in the adjacent cloisters. “Nowadays, they don’t come to church because they believe they need their freedom,” she said with resignation.

Father Simon Faddoul, head of the Catholic charity Caritas Lebanon, said the close link between religious institutions and a government that Transparency International says is more corrupt than 78 percent of the world has led some Catholics to drift from their faith.

“We have many people who try to exploit religion,” he said. “We have opportunist politicians. We don’t have real politicians who really care about the country and the future.”

The inefficacy of the government is exacting a toll on the country’s peace and stability. The country’s population has exploded as hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have poured over the border to avoid that country’s civil war. President Michel Sleiman claimed on Wednesday that 1 million Syrians are currently in Lebanon, according to a report in Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper.

Though its fragile political system has not been drawn into Syria’s inferno like many predicted, fear is widespread over how the conflict will end up changing Lebanon. International investment is drying up, tourists are cancelling trips and Lebanon’s previously booming economy slowed from 8 percent GDP growth in 2010 to 2 percent last year, Reuters reported.

The country’s Christians say they need only look at their neighbors to notice a worrying trend: an exodus of Iraqi Christians following sectarian violence, growing resentment and persecution of Copts in post-Mubarak Egypt, and the increasingly sectarian civil war in Syria, where the chant “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave” was coined.

Fr. Faddoul’s charity, which aids tens of thousands of mostly Muslim Syrian refugees with services like food supplies, hygiene kits and rent assistance, came face-to-face with this clash when it tried to distribute aid in the restive northern Lebanese province of Akkar. Muslim fundamentalists demanded that Caritas remove its logo, which contains a crucifix, before distributing aid. Faddoul said told his workers, “You be clear. We help under our cross. Otherwise we are not going to help, and we are not going to do anything.”

Eventually, tensions cooled, the objectors relented and Caritas was able to provide aid freely. Incidents like these, Faddoul said, underscore the reason so many Christians feel increasingly threatened.

“You cannot submit to the will of these people because they are disfiguring Islam and humanity.” And moderate Muslims, he said, “don’t have the guts to stand up to them.”

“These people are turning our lives into hell,” Faddoul added. “Everyone’s lives. Even their families’ lives.”

Archbishop Paul Sayah, the vicar general of the Maronite Patriarch and the church’s second-ranking clergy member, shared Faddoul’s concerns about growing religious fundamentalism in countries undergoing political upheaval.

“Is this what Bouazizi, who burnt himself in Tunisia, aimed at?” Sayah asked. “Those young people, who were killed in Egypt, or anywhere else, were really pure, highly committed to promoting human rights.”

“They have been hijacked,” Sayah said. “The whole cause has been hijacked.”

Sayah thinks Pope Francis can work with other nations to help alleviate Arab Christian worries, which he said is caused by external forces. “The problem is not local. If Qatar and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Iran stop sending arms tomorrow, the war would stop in Syria,” he said. “The problem is the involvement of people from the outside who have their own interests.”

When Lebanon was in the throes of its own civil war, though, the Maronite Church was split between those who sought to end the war and more militant factions who wanted to wanted to further the church’s role as the traditional protector of Christians in the Levant. Indeed, Bachir Gemayel, leader of the Christian Phalange militia during the civil war, is quoted as saying, “the Vatican should understand that Christians in Lebanon are not guinea pigs for the Christian–Islamic dialogue in the world.”

 It wasn’t until fratricidal bloodletting between rival Christian militias spiraled out of control in the late 1980s did the church finally unite behind Vatican initiatives to end the war.

A swath of leaders, from President Barack Obama to Pope Benedict XVI, have identified post-war Lebanon as a model for the world, and Sayah believes that the survival and continuity of Lebanon’s Christians carries global implications.

“If this formula does fade in Lebanon, the message to the world is that religions can’t live together, cultures can’t work together, and the alternative is war of religions,” Sayah said. “This is the importance of Lebanon.”

But the problem is that many young and educated Lebanese people aren’t interested in participating in this model of religious coexistence because life here is tough. The toxic combination of regional conflict, official corruption and economic insecurity means that these days, Fr. Faddoul said, if you ask a young Lebanese man what his greatest ambition is, he will tell you that it is “to get out.”

“This is not right,” Faddoul said. “When you have people leaving the country with disgust, this is a problem, because they won’t be back.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/lebanon/130319/lebanon-catholics-fear-islamic-fundamentalism

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Patient in Madinah takes shelter in mosque after release from hospital

 March 21, 2013

MADINAH — Worshippers were astonished to find a patient released from hospital living inside a mosque in Madinah.

A private hospital that was initially treating the patient discharged him and transported him to Al-Miqat Hospital.

The hospital apparently treated him and let him go, but he did not have anywhere to go but the mosque.

The patient was in pain and had his medicine next to him.

Worshippers are avoiding contact with the patient, as he was treated for tuberculosis.

Some philanthropists, however, have provided him with some light meals.

The mosque’s imam and worshippers have asked the hospital to readmit the patient.

However, the hospital decided that there was no need for the patient to be admitted because he was given the necessary treatment.

The patient, who barely speaks Arabic, said he has back pains and a high temperature. He said the hospital told him that it was no use admitting him.

The director of Madinah Health Affairs Dr. Abdullah Al-Taifi said the private hospital was referred to the medical violations committee for action for dumping the patient at Al-Miqat hospital.

He added that the responsibility of the directorate ended with informing the concerned authorities to take custody of the patient, as he was an illegal resident.

Director of Al-Miqat Hospital Dr. Dhaifullah Al-Sehali said the hospital has provided the required treatment for the patient and notified the police and Passport Department, but has not received any reply so far.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130321157805

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Iraq: Where Terrorists Go to School

By JESSICA STERN

March 19, 2013

IRAQ, President George W. Bush said in 2003, was a “central front” in the war on terrorism. He was wrong, but prescient. Iraq has become a front for militant extremism — a front the United States created.

Leaving aside everything else — the absence of weapons of mass destruction, the toll in blood and fortune, the immense loss of life — the 10th anniversary of the invasion, is a moment to reflect on this huge setback in the so-called war on terror.

The Qaeda affiliate that emerged in Iraq over the last decade did not disappear when Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 or when the last American troops withdrew in December. On the contrary, the group is resurgent in Iraq and now its neighbors, even while other Qaeda offshoots continue to be active on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa.

Following the invasion of Iraq, which began 10 years ago Wednesday, terrorism within Iraq’s borders began to rise precipitously. There were 78 terrorist attacks against civilians in Iraq in the first 12 months following the invasion; in the second 12, the number nearly quadrupled, to 302 attacks.

At the height of the war, in 2007, terrorists claimed 5,425 civilian lives and caused 9,878 injuries. The violence has since declined, but Sunni militants have revived their campaign against Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite. A series of attacks on Tuesday killed at least 52 Iraqis, including a Finance Ministry official, and injured 180 more.

These Sunni militias are determined to regain the leverage they had lost in their war against American forces. Suicide bombers have launched several attacks since January, while Al Qaeda in Iraq is regrouping in Anbar Province in western Iraq, adjacent to Syria. On March 19, terrorists killed almost 60 people in several bombings in Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad. The security situation is now sufficiently fraught that elections will be delayed in Anbar and Nineveh provinces for at least six months.

The costs of the terrorism inspired by the war include much more than the number, however horrifying, of lives lost. The terrorists who have been drawn to Iraq since 2003 and survived have been battle-hardened after fighting the most sophisticated military in history, often working together with former officials from Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime. They have developed expertise in counterintelligence, gunrunning, forgery and smuggling. Smuggling routes and alliances that moved terrorists and supplies into Iraq during the height of the war, in 2006-7, have been reversed, allowing fighters and supplies to flow into neighboring countries, particularly Syria, now in its third year of civil war.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is now increasingly active abroad. In October 2012, Jordanian authorities detained 11 suspects whose alleged goal was to “kill as many people as possible” and to “bring Amman to its knees.” Al Qaeda in Iraq is also playing an increasingly important role among the Islamists fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Of especially grave concern is the movement into Syria of bomb makers and military tacticians. As Iraq’s jihad was for much of the past decade, Syria’s is now becoming the “destination jihad” du jour.

The exacerbation of Sunni-Shiite tensions has contributed to the creation of fighting forces capable of exploiting those tensions throughout the region. Most prominent among the Sunni jihadist groups in Syria is Jabhet al-Nusra, led by a veteran of the Iraq insurgency, Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani. Jabhet al-Nusra is fighting Mr. Assad’s regime, with the aim of establishing an Islamist state in Syria. Although Iraqi Shiites have traditionally opposed Mr. Assad’s regime because of its connections to the Baathist movement represented by Saddam Hussein, they now see in the Syrian uprising the signs of a sectarian civil war, and some are traveling to Syria to support Mr. Assad, a fellow Shiite.

For nearly a decade, Iraq acted as a laboratory for terrorists to hone and perfect their techniques. Innovations in tradecraft included the extensive use of improvised explosive devices, suicide attacks, and the dissemination of jihadist propaganda via the video-recording of terrorist activities and the development of online bulletin boards and Web sites. Suicide attacks, for example, were used with increasing frequency in Iraq between 2003 and 2005 before the tactic migrated to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before 2005, there were few suicide attacks in Afghanistan. By 2010, however, there were more suicide attacks in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

Similarly, terrorists perfected the use of car bombs and roadside bombs. In the year following the 2003 invasion, 19 vehicle-borne bomb attacks were reported in Iraq. This number rose to 54 in 2004, 82 in 2005, 101 in 2006 and 204 in 2007, when President Bush began the troop “surge” that finally began to quell the violence.

The good news from Iraq, to the extent that there is any, is that the United States removed from power a brutal dictator. But we also left behind, after seven bloody years, not only a shattered nation but also an international school for terrorists whose alumni are now spreading throughout the region.

That the war on terror, which created the political environment for invading Iraq, ended up exacerbating terrorism there and in the region is only one of the many tragic consequences of this ill-fated American escapade.

When we want to persuade ourselves of a war’s importance, as Mr. Bush and his team did in 2003, we are prone to irrational exuberance and denial of inconvenient facts. The staggering costs of our willful blindness include the strengthening of the very phenomenon — terrorism — that our leaders cited in dragging us into an unnecessary war that left us morally and financially bankrupt.

Jessica Stern, a fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, is the author, most recently, of “Denial: A Memoir of Terror.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/opinion/iraq-a-school-for-terrorists-thanks-to-america.html?_r=0

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Bahrain's royal family continues monarchic rule

Joseph A. Kéchichian

March 20, 2013

An uprising that began as a challenge to monarchic rule has become a largely sectarian movement by majority Shia Bahrainis against the Sunni leadership. As American scholar Joseph Kéchichian details — presented in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism — Sunni-Shia conflict appears to have entrenched itself in Bahrain under the regime.

Two years after the first skirmishes that led Bahrian’s ruling Al Khalifah family to order the destruction of the old and elegant Pearl Roundabout monument on March 18, 2011, Sunni-Shia tensions continue.

Full report at:

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130320/bahrains-royal-family-continues-monarchic-rule

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Syrian enemies demand inquiry into “chemical” attack

March 21, 2013

Both sides in Syria’s conflict on Wednesday demanded an international inquiry into a deadly attack they each cite as evidence that the other has used chemical weapons.

The deaths of 26 people in a rocket attack on a northern town on Tuesday have become the focus of a propaganda war between President Bashar al-Assad’s supporters and opponents, who accuse each other of firing a missile laden with chemicals.

The United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria, took contrasting views of the strike on Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, which, if confirmed, would be the first use of chemical weapons in the two-year-old conflict and could step up pressure for foreign military intervention.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/syrian-enemies-demand-inquiry-into-chemical-attack/

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North America

 

No abuse of Quran at Guantanamo prison: US general

March 21, 2013

WASHINGTON: Guantanamo Bay guards have not desecrated or mishandled the Quran in any way, despite allegations by inmates on hunger strike there, a top US general said on Wednesday.

At least 24 detainees at the controversial US-run prison have launched a hunger strike and their defence lawyers say their clients have stopped taking meals to protest the alleged mishandling of the Quran during cell searches.

“Its nonsense,” US Southern Command chief General John Kelly told reporters when asked about the charges.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/03/21/no-abuse-of-quran-at-guantanamo-prison-us-general/

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Obama sceptical of Assad claim on chemical weapons

AP | Mar 21, 2013

JERUSALEM: President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the United States is investigating whether chemical weapons have been deployed in Syria, but he's "deeply sceptical" of claims by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime that rebel forces were behind such an attack.

Both the Assad regime and Syrian rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack on Tuesday that the government says killed 31 and wounded more than 100. However, Obama suggested it's more likely that if the weapons were used, the Syrian government was behind the attack.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Obama-skeptical-of-Assad-claim-on-chemical-weapons/articleshow/19101111.cms

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Obama vows ‘eternal’ defence of Israel on his first ever visit

Mar 21 2013

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama on Wednesday arrived in Israel for the first time as President, vowing an eternal alliance with the Jewish state as it faces Iran’s nuclear threat and perilous change in West Asia.

Obama strove for reassurance as he faces scepticism over his strategy for confronting Iran and his personal commitment to Israel, following sharp public disagreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Obama talks tough on Syria, counsels patience with Iran

Reuters | Mar 21, 2013

JERUSALEM: President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday to hold Syria to account if it used chemical weapons and assured Israel, in his first official visit to the Jewish state, of U.S. resolve to curb Iran's nuclear programme.

Obama came to Israel seeking to allay the security fears of Washington's closest ally in the Middle East, burnish his image with Israelis and repair frayed relations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran and the expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land Palestinians claim for a state.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Obama-talks-tough-on-Syria-counsels-patience-with-Iran/articleshow/19100984.cms

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India has huge role to play in Silk Road's success: Mark Grossman

 Mar 21 2013

Washington : India has an important role to play in the success of the New Silk Road, a concept being pushed by the US government to boost trade and business between South and Central Asia, a former US official has said.

"It means the economic success of India, Central Asian producers into Indian markets and vice versa with Afghanistan and Pakistan in the center," said Mark Grossman, the former Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-has-huge-role-to-play-in-silk-roads-success-mark-grossman/1091285/

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US announces 5 million dollar bounty 2 Al-Shebab

Mar 21 2013

Washington : The US has announced a bounty of USD 5 million each for the arrest of two Americans, Omar Shafik Hammami and Jehad Serwan Mostafa, who are members of

the Somalia-based terrorist organisation Al-Shebab.

The awards have been announced yesterday under the Rewards for Justice Program of the State Department. Both are currently believed to be in Somalia.

Born on May 6, 1984, Omar Hammami is a US citizen and a former resident of Daphne, Alabama. In 2006, he moved to Somalia where he joined and received training from Islamist militants.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-announces-5-million-dollar-bounty-2-alshebab/1091281/

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Qaeda's Spin Ghul to be tried in a New York court

March 21, 2013

A major al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Spin Ghul has been arrested, six months after the was taken into American custody and will be tried in a New York court, the US Justice Department has said on Wednesday.

Charged on a six-count indictment, Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, also known as "Spin Ghul," was arrested in Italy and extradited to the United States in October 2012. His case was placed before a Brooklyn court after that.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/northamerica/Qaeda-s-Spin-Ghul-to-be-tried-in-a-New-York-court/Article1-1029686.aspx

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Judge won't let Fort Hood suspect plead guilty: Nidal Hasan

Mar 21 2013

Houston : US Army psychiatrist charged for the deadly 2009 mass shooting on a US army installation will not be allowed to plead guilty to any charges, a military judge has ruled.

Major Nidal Hasan, 40, charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, faces the death penalty if convicted.

Col Tara Osborn yesterday ruled that pre-trial publicity around the case would not unfairly prejudice a jury and set the start of jury selection for May 29. Testimony is scheduled to begin on July 1.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/judge-wont-let-fort-hood-suspect-plead-guilty-nidal-hasan/1091299/

----------------

Pakistan

 

Clash between Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan averted

 Thu Mar 21 2013

Islamabad : A clash between Hindus and Sikhs over objectionable photos in Pakistan's southern Sindh province was averted after community leaders helped broker a compromise, according to a media report today.

Despite the understanding reached by the two sides, the Sikhs, who are a smaller minority in the Shikarpur area of Sindh, felt threatened by local Hindus, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

The trouble began after Sikh students shared some photos of a recent mela in Jai Samadha Ashram in Shikarpur.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/clash-between-hindus-and-sikhs-in-pakistan-averted/1091402/

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46 Pak Taliban men killed in infighting with rival group

Mar 21 2013

ISLAMABAD: Forty-six Taliban fighters were killed in fierce fighting between rival militant organisations in Pakistan’s restive Khyber tribal region. The militants were killed in two suicide attacks carried out shortly after fighters of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan occupied the headquarters of the pro-government Ansar-ul-Islam in Tirah Valley. PTI

Aus: Indian-born nurse barred from practice

Melbourne: An Indian-origin male nurse, Bhavesh Shah, lost his registration and was banned from practising in Australia for at least a year after he was found guilty of professional misconduct for feeding dishwashing liquid to an elderly patient apparently due to his poor English skills. PTI

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/briefly-world-46-pak-taliban-men-killed-in-infighting-with-rival-grou.../1091088/

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Car bomb blast kills 12 in northwest Pakistan

PTI | Mar 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Twelve people, including women and children, were killed and more than 30 injured when a powerful car bomb went off at a refugee camp at Nowshera in Pakistan's restive northwest on Thursday, officials said.

The blast occurred shortly before noon near the administration block of the sprawling Jalozai camp, which houses both Afghan refugees and people displaced by recent fighting in the northwest.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Car-bomb-blast-kills-12-in-northwest-Pakistan/articleshow/19105883.cms

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Five Pakistanis killed in robbery outside Cape Town

March 21, 2013

JOHANNESBURG: South African police say two robbers stealing a safe shot and killed five Pakistani men and wounded a sixth in a ghetto outside the tourist resort of Cape Town.          

Spokesman Col. Tembinkosi Kinana said the attack took place in a house believed used as a bakery late Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/03/20/five-pakistanis-killed-in-robbery-outside-cape-town/

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SC urged to probe intimidation and violence against Christians

By Kiyya Qadir Baloch

March 21, 2013

Islamabad: Leaders of the Pakistan Christian Welfare Society (PCWS) have said that terrorism perpetrated by miscreants against Christian community in Lahore was “both condemnable and shameful because it was an un-Islamic, illegal and immoral offence” against the Christian community in Pakistan.

PCWS urged the government to take action against elements responsible for violence against Christians and other vulnerable groups in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\21\story_21-3-2013_pg11_2

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Two MQM activists among 9 gunned down in Karachi

March 21, 2013

KARACHI: In the ongoing wave of violence, two Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activists among nine people were shot dead on Wednesday, police said.

Garden Police Station SHO Saleem Naz informed that the first victim Faisal, 29, was gunned down outside his shop on Ramswami Road. Relating eyewitness accounts the SHO said that two motorcyclists stopped at the mechanic shop, shot the victim multiple times and fled the scene. The victim succumbed to his injuries on the way to the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK). Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\21\story_21-3-2013_pg7_10

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Six army officers involved in abductions: DIG CID Balochistan

March 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Submitting a progress report regarding the missing persons, DIG CID Balochistan has told the Supreme Court that six army officers are involved in the abduction of missing persons in Balochistan.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Balochistan on Wednesday submitted a report on missing persons before a three-member bench, which was hearing Balochistan law and order case.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\21\story_21-3-2013_pg7_6

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President grants remission in sentences of prisoners on Pakistan Day

March 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday approved a special remission in sentences on the occasion of Pakistan day on March 23.

Special remission of 90 days has been granted to prisoners convicted for life imprisonment except those convicted for murder, espionage, anti-state activities, sectarianism, zina, robbery, kidnapping/abduction and terrorist acts.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\21\story_21-3-2013_pg7_14

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War crimes: Pakistan votes against UN Sri Lanka resolution

March 21, 2013

Sri Lankan presidential envoy rejects resolution as "highly intrusive" and calls states to vote against the text. PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA: Pakistan voted against a resolution adopted by the United Nations urging Sri Lanka to carry out credible investigations into the killings and disappearances during its nearly 30-year long civil war that ended in 2009.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/524258/war-crimes-pakistan-votes-against-un-sri-lanka-resolution/

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No alliance with Musharraf: MQM

 March 20, 2013

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Rabita Committee has strongly denied media reports about any alliance with the party of former president General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.

According to a statement issued by MQM here on Wednesday, the MQM body stated in unequivocal terms that the MQM had not entered into any alliance with the former president or his party the All Pakistan Muslim League and no seat adjustment was being done with them.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/523693/no-alliance-with-musharraf-mqm/

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Interpol rejects Pakistan's request to arrest Pervez Musharraf

PTI | Mar 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Interpol has turned down Pakistan's request to issue a red corner notice for the former military ruler PervezMusharraf for refusing to cooperate in the probe into BenazirBhutto's assassination, days ahead of his homcoming from self-exile.

Musharraf has cleared the final hurdle to his plans to return to Pakistan as he no longer faces the possibility of arrest at the hands of Interpol, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Interpol-rejects-Pakistans-request-to-arrest-Pervez-Musharraf/articleshow/19105109.cms

--------------

India

 

Pass Hindu Shrines Bill in this session: Panun Kashmir to J&K govt

March 21, 2013

Panun Kashmir, an organisation of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, on Thursday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to pass the Hindu Shrines Bill during the ongoing Budget session of the State Legislature.

“In the absence of any institutional mechanism for the preservation of the temples and shrines in Kashmir, the land mafia is free to indulge in the annexation of the said properties with impunity and without fear of law.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pass-hindu-shrines-bill-in-this-session-panun-kashmir-to-jk-govt/article4533833.ece

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Sikhs to petition Pakistan, India PMs for visa-free corridor to place of Nanak’s death

Yudhvir Rana, TNN | Mar 21, 2013

DERA BABA NANAK (GURDASPUR): Thousands of Sikhs in Punjab are petitioning the prime ministers of India and Pakistan in an attempt to fulfill their dream of visiting the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. Kartarpur is the place where Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, is believed to have breathed his last.

The construction of a corridor between Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of India and Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan — a distance of about 4 kilometers from the Indo-Pak international border — has been on the wishlist of Indian Sikh organizations for a long time.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Sikhs-to-petition-Pakistan-India-PMs-for-visa-free-corridor-to-place-of-Nanaks-death/articleshow/19098131.cms

----------------

 

India, Egypt decide to strengthen defence ties

 Mar 21 2013

New Delhi : India and Egypt have decided to increase defence cooperation by “gradually building up” defence exchanges and interaction between the two armed forces, after a meeting between Egyptian Defence Minister Gen Abdel Fattah al Sisi with Defence Minister AK Antony in the capital on Wednesday.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-egypt-decide-to-strengthen-defence-ties/1091092/

----------------

 

Innocent Muslims implicated in fake terror charges will be released soon: Akhilesh Yadav

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Mar 20, 2013

LUCKNOW: Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has assured Muslim leaders that the innocent Muslims languishing in jails on fake terror charges will be released soon.

Akhilesh also assured that his government is committed to improving socio-economic conditions of the minority community.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Innocent-Muslims-implicated-in-fake-terror-charges-will-be-released-soon-Akhilesh-Yadav/articleshow/19096692.cms

----------------

 

Militants attack BSF convoy, one jawan killed

PTI | Mar 21, 2013

SRINAGAR: A BSFjawan was killed and two others injured in a militant attack on their convoy in the outskirts of the city on Thursday, police said.

The ultras opened fire on the convoy of 8th Battalion BSF near Chanapora bridge in the outskirts of the city on Thursday morning, resulting in injuries to three constables, the police said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Militants-attack-BSF-convoy-one-jawan-killed/articleshow/19107075.cms

-----------

 

Supreme Court awards death penalty to Yakub Memon in 1993 Mumbai blasts case

 Mar 21 2013

New Delhi : Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, brother of absconding accused Tiger Memon, is the sole convict who was awarded death sentence by the Supreme Court in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case that had claimed 257 lives and left 713 njured.

The capital punishment of the other 10 death row convicts was commuted to life sentence by a bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan which also upheld the life term awarded to 16 out of 18 convicts.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/supreme-court-awards-death-penalty-to-yakub-memon-in-1993-mumbai-blasts-case/1091310/2

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1993 Mumbai serial blasts - How March 12 unfolded

IANS | Mar 21, 2013,

NEW DELHI: Mumbai was rocked by 12 powerful bomb blasts 20 years ago, in what were India's first major, precisely coordinated serial explosions that claimed more than 260 lives and left the country stunned.

The blasts, which ripped the country's commercial capital on March 12, 1993, were a revenge attack for the Dec 1992-Jan 1993 bloody riots in the city. The riots had occurred after the Dec 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya by Hindu groups.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/1993-Mumbai-serial-blasts--How-March-12-unfolded/articleshow/19105659.cms

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Deadly ambush on Kashmir patrol: Police

March 21, 2013

Gunmen shot dead a paramilitary and wounded two others when they ambushed their patrol vehicle in Srinagar on Thursday, police said.

"One of the three BSF (Border Security Force) soldiers injured in the incident died," Abdul Gani Mir, Kashmir's inspector general of police, told AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/srinagar/Deadly-ambush-on-Kashmir-patrol-Police/Article1-1029873.aspx

-----------

South Asia

 

Bangladesh in Mourning After President's Death

March 21, 2013

Dhaka. Flags flew at half-mast across Bangladesh on Thursday as the country mourned its president Zillur Rahman, following his death in a Singapore hospital at the age of 84.

Bangladesh has declared a three-day period of national mourning and a public holiday on Thursday for the leader with one of the most illustrious political careers who played a leading role in the country's independence struggle.

Political parties set aside their bitter rivalries to pay tribute to the veteran politician whose job as president was largely ceremonial.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/international/bangladesh-in-mourning-after-presidents-death/581152

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An absolute religious harmony under threat in Bangladesh

S DILIP ROY, LALMONIRHAT

March 21, 2013

A mosque and a Hindu temple are running here in absolute harmony next to each other for over four decades.

But locals now fear that the fanatics who are attacking Hindus and temples across the country may try to destroy this traditional bond between the two communities.

Since the mosque was built just after independence of the country, Muslims have been offering prayers there five times a day while the Hindus have been performing rituals at the 120-year-old temple every morning and evening without any hitch.  The mosque is situated within ten feet of the central temple of Lalmonirhat.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/an-absolute-religious-harmony-under-threat-2/

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At least ten dead in Myanmar riots: MP

March 21, 2013

YANGON: At least ten people have been killed in riots in central Myanmar, a local MP said Thursday, in the worst communal violence since Buddhist-Muslim clashes in western Rakhine state last year.

Win Htein, a member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said he had seen bodies at the scene of fresh fighting in the town of Meiktila on Thursday.

“More than 10 people were killed,” he told AFP by telephone from the town, which is his constituency seat.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/03/21/two-dead-mosques-destroyed-in-myanmar-unrest-police/

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4 killed at Afghan holy Quran desecration protest

March 21, 2013

KANDAHAR: At least four people were shot dead on Wednesday when dozens of Afghan villagers clashed with police over the alleged desecration of the holy Quran, officials said. The clashes broke out in Musa Qala, a town troubled by insurgent violence in the southern province of Helmand. “Four people have been killed and seven others, including two policemen, have been shot and injured in the clash,” said provincial spokesman Ahmad Zeerak. He told AFP it was unclear whether police bullets caused the casualties and said officers had been forced to intervene after “Taliban fighters hiding among the protesters opened fire on police first”.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\21\story_21-3-2013_pg7_8

----------

 

Blame game: Karzai unleashes fresh salvo against Pakistan

March 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Hamid Karzai alleged on Wednesday that reconcilable Afghan Taliban members are either ‘imprisoned or killed’ in Pakistan.

“The Taliban who want peace are killed in Pakistan. The Taliban who want peace, are imprisoned in Pakistan,” Karzai said during an independent Jirga at his palace, which was aired by state television.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/524120/blame-game-karzai-unleashes-fresh-salvo-against-pakistan/

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Roadside bomb kills Afghan district official

March 21, 2013

KABUL: Police say a roadside bomb has killed a district administrator and two of his bodyguards in northern Afghanistan.   

Thursday’s attack in Takhar province came as Afghans were celebrating the first day of the Persian New Year, or Nowruz.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2013/03/21/roadside-bomb-kills-afghan-district-official/

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Four arrested in Male on charges of prostitution

By MinivanNews | March 20th, 2013

Four people were arrested in a guesthouse raid by police on Tuesday night (March 19) as part of an ongoing operation to curb prostitution in Male’.

The latest arrests take place just one week after police raided ‘Roma Beauty and Wellness Centre’ – a beauty salon in Male’ – and arrested 10 individuals on charges of prostitution.

Local media reported that the Tuesday night raid took place at a local guesthouse called ‘Relax @ Kangaroo Inn’ located on Dhiggaamaage in the Heniveru ward of Male’.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/society/four-arrested-in-guesthouse-raid-on-charges-of-prostitution-54887

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Maldives border control facing prospect of ‘pen and paper’ should Nexbis fall through

By Neil Merrett | March 20th, 2013

Maldivian border control faces an uncertain future and a potential reversion to a ‘pen and paper’ system, an informed immigration source has warned.

The warning follows the donation of a passenger information system by the Indian government, in a bid to strengthen the Maldives’ ability to monitor arrivals.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/society/maldives-facing-prospect-of-pen-and-paper-border-control-should-nexbis-fall-through-immigration-source-54793

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Hefazate Islam helps Jamaat anarchy

March 21, 2013

Hefazate Islam Bangladesh, a radical organisation, has been acting as an ally of the Jamaat-e-Islami and carrying out its plan to create anarchy across the country, Imam Ulema Somonnoy Oikyo Parishad said yesterday.

Jamaat had been trying to stir religious sentiments to stop the ongoing war crimes trial as its six leaders were facing trial and Hefazat had been helping Jamaat in doing so, Chairman of the alliance Maulana Mohammad Ismail Hossain said at a press briefing at the Jatiya Press Club.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/hefazate-islam-helps-jamaat-anarchy/

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Jamaat creates violence using Islam: IOJ

March 21, 2013

Different organisations yesterday said Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat backed Islami Chhatra Shibir have been creating unrest in the country and exploiting people in the name of Islam to create obstacles for the war crimes trial.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/jamaat-creates-violence-using-islam-ioj/

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Sacked Human Rights Minister files case in court to declare Waheed government illegitimate

By Mohamed Naahee | March 21st, 2013

A legal team led by sacked Human Rights Minister Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has filed a case at the High Court, requesting it rule that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation was obtained under duress and the transfer of power on February 7, 2012 was illegitimate.

Nasheed’s resignation followed 22 days of continuous protests backed by religious scholars, opposition leaders and mutinying police and military officers, in mid-January 2012, over the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed. Nasheed’s Vice-President Mohamed Waheed Hassan subsequently ascended to power.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/sacked-human-rights-minister-files-case-in-court-to-declare-waheed-government-illegitimate-54943

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Mideast Asia

 

Obama to face Palestinian dismay on West Bank trip

 March 21, 2013

President Barack Obama travels to the West Bank on Thursday to meet Palestinian leaders dismayed by his failure to meet expectations that he could help deliver them a state.

Obama was to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas at 9am and then Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, on the second day of his visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, which is dominated by challenges posed by Iran and Syria.

Hours before Obama was to board his helicopter to fly to Ramallah to meet the Palestinian leadership, two rockets fired by militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip hit southern Israel.

In only the second such attack since November, the rockets crashed down in Sderot, a border town often targeted by rockets, which Obama visited in a previous visit to Israel while a presidential candidate in 2008.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/restofasia/Obama-to-face-Palestinian-dismay-on-West-Bank-trip/Article1-1029824.aspx

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Rockets hit Israel as Obama meets Palestinians

AP | Mar 21, 2013

RAMALLAH, West Bank: US President Barack Obama is meeting Palestinian officials on the second day of his Mideast tour to emphasize the importance of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, a message underscored Thursday when Palestinian militants in Gaza launched rockets into southern Israel.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Rockets-hit-Israel-as-Obama-meets-Palestinians/articleshow/19107671.cms

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Five killed in Yemen clash between Al Qaeda fighters, militia

March 21, 2013

ADEN — At least five people were killed in Yemen when a pro-government militia attacked Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants on Thursday, residents and militia sources said.

US-allied Yemen has been grappling with an Islamist insurgency since popular protests forced President Ali Abdulah Saleh to step down in November 2011.

The United States considers Yemen an important ally against Al Qaeda which it fears could use the country to plot attacks against its interests, and has regularly used drones to hit suspected militants there.

Full report at:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130321157913

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Kurdish rebel to call ceasefire in Turkey's best peace hope

 Mar 21, 2013

DIYARBAKIR (TURKEY): Jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan is set to call on his fighters to halt hostilities with Turkey on Thursday in a peace process which marks the best hope yet of ending a conflict that has killed 40,000 and handicapped the country for decades.

In the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, hundreds of thousands will gather at Newroz celebrations marking the Kurdish new year to hear what Ocalan has said will be a "historic call".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Kurdish-rebel-to-call-ceasefire-in-Turkeys-best-peace-hope/articleshow/19100628.cms

----------------

 

Palestinians Decry 'Endless' US Support of Israel

For last 35 years, says expert, US has stifled peace by its unwillingness to address true grievances of conflict

- Jon Queally, staff writer

March 20, 2013

What President Obama describes as a support for Israel that goes on "forever," many Palestinians see as a foreign policy that continually betrays hopes of a true and meaningful peace in the region.

Full report at:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/20-3

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Iran’s influence ‘waning’ in Latin America

March 21, 2013

WASHINGTON: Iran is “struggling” to cultivate ties with Latin American countries that are wary of the United States, and Tehran’s influence in the region is on the decline, a top US general said Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\21\story_21-3-2013_pg14_6

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Europe

 

Associations denounce breadth of anti-Muslim racism

By Nathalie Vandystadt | Wednesday 20 March 2013

Racism against Muslims is becoming increasingly commonplace in Europe, in fact it is “often more visible than that affecting other religious or ethnic minority groups,” according to report findings published on 20 March by ENAR, the European Network Against Racism.

The ENAR published the report a day ahead of the International Day Against Racism to raise awareness. “Manifestations of Islamophobia include discrimination and violence towards Muslims, criminal damage to Islamic buildings, and protests against the building of mosques even in countries, such as Poland, where some Muslim communities have been established and integrated for centuries. Muslim women and girls are particularly affected, facing an extreme form of double discrimination on the basis of both their religion and their gender. In France, for instance, 85% of all Islamophobic acts target women.”

Full report at:

http://www.europolitics.info/sectorial-policies/associations-denounce-breadth-of-anti-muslim-racism-art349577-16.html

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Mali to have sovereignty over 'most' of its territory soon, France says

AFP | Mar 21, 2013

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday said Mali's sovereignty over almost all of its territory would be restored within "a few days".

"In the last phase where we are, almost the entire territory will return to Mali's sovereignty in a few days," Hollande said during a dinner with representatives of the Jewish community in France.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Mali-to-have-sovereignty-over-most-of-its-territory-soon-France-says/articleshow/19100074.cms

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Muslims – The Only Recognized Minority in Greece

March 20, 2013

Greece is home to approximately 140,000 Muslims, that is a total of 1.24% of the small South-East European nation. Interestingly, Muslims are the only explicitly recognized minority in Greece. Although there are only a handful of Muslims in the Mediterranean nation, they are of diverse ethnic origins. Most Muslims in Greece are of Turkish origin because of its close proximity with the Muslim nation, and the fact that the Ottoman Empire, not too long ago, ruled over Greece. Besides Turks, other indigenous Muslim groups include native Greeks who converted in the 17th and 18th century and the Pomaks.

Full report at:

http://muslim-academy.com/muslims-the-only-recognized-minority-in-greece/

----------------

Africa

 

Mali soldier killed in first Timbuktu suicide bombing

March 21, 2013

BAMAKO - A Malian soldier died in Timbuktu's first suicide bombing as the city came under assault Wednesday night, after French President Francois Hollande vowed a military operation to drive out radical Islamists from Mali was in its last phase.

The bomb went off as a group of armed men, trying to force their way into the ancient city, exchanged fire with French and Malian soldiers who chased out the Islamists in late January.

"A booby trapped car exploded during the night (Wednesday) near the Timbuktu airport ... The jihadist who set off his belt was killed instantly and one of the soldiers injured in the explosion died in hospital," said a military source on Thursday.

Two other soldiers were injured in the explosion.

Sources in the town reported sustained gunfire until about 3am (local and GMT) on Thursday morning.

"Since last night we have been hearing gun shots in Timbuktu. There was an attempted infiltration and shooting broke out," a local government official told AFP.

"A vehicle carrying armed people tried to enter Timbuktu by force on Wednesday night and French and African soldiers retaliated," a security source in the town said.

French and Malian troops in late January freed the fabled caravan city, a mythic symbol of remoteness, from the nine-month rule of Al Qaeda-linked Islamists who had imposed a brutal form of sharia law on the population.

The city has remained calm since, unlike the northeastern city of Gao, which has been hit by several suicide bombings and guerrilla attacks since the Islamists were driven out.

Fighting in recent weeks has been concentrated in the Ifoghas mountains in the extreme northeast of the country where French and Chadian soldiers are trying to flush out the rebels.

Paris has said it hopes to begin the withdrawal of some 4,000 troops in Mali from the end of April and hand over responsibility to Malian troops and an African stabilization force.

The former colonial power intervened on January 11 with a lightning drive to oust the Islamists who were advancing on the capital Bamako after having seized key towns in the vast arid north some nine months earlier.

Friday will mark one year since mid-level army officers carried out a coup which paved the way for the Islamist takeover and led to the devastating collapse of one of West Africa's stable democracies.

On Wednesday Hollande said: "In the last phase where we are, almost the entire territory will return to Mali's sovereignty in a few days."

His comments came as Paris scrambled to verify a claim by Al-Qaeda's north African branch that it had executed a French hostage in retaliation for France's military intervention in Mali.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) told Mauritania's ANI news agency late Tuesday that "spy" Philippe Verdon had been executed in Mali on March 10 "in response to France's intervention in northern Mali".

"The French President Hollande is responsible for the lives of the other French hostages," the spokesman warned.

The French foreign ministry said it was trying to verify the report.

In all 15 French nationals, including Verdon who was kidnapped in November 2011, are being held captive in Africa, with AQIM claiming responsibility for six of the kidnappings.

Five French soldiers have died in combat since the start of the operations.

The French troops in the region are backed up by African forces. Soldiers from Chad, whose experience and training has made them key in the French-led offensive, have also suffered casualties with at least 26 deaths.

On Tuesday the French army announced that 15 Islamist fighters had been killed in recent days in the northern Mali region of Gao, with the seizure of a large cache of arms and ammunition.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday hailed France's military intervention in Mali in a phone call with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, thanking Paris for its "active leadership", officials said.

After initially hesitating, the United States has backed the French-led action with logistical support, sending transport planes, surveillance drones and refueling tankers to boost the campaign.

Meanwhile, France has recalled its ambassador to Mali after he reportedly fell out with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, a diplomatic source in the west African nation told AFP on Thursday.

Christian Rouyer, an outspoken advocate for the French military intervention, had been in the role since 2011 but was said to be in disagreement with Fabius. — AFP

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130321157882

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The Arab Spring: A U-Turn in the Modernization Path or a Simple Adjustment?

 20 March 2013

Roughly two years on from the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, we begin to develop some perspective on the victories of Ennahdha and the Muslim Brotherhood in their first post-revolutionary elections. According to many international observers, the elections in both countries have been free, fair, and without major fraud for the first time since their independence. The relative transparency and internationally-recognized success of these elections were vitally important, and their results have helped shape the future of these two almost sixty-year-old republics. The election of ‘Islamist’ parties to power, however, is a victory of political actors that campaigned against the modernizing reform processes that had prevailed in Tunisia and Egypt.

Full report at:

http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/03/20/the-arab-spring-is-it-a-u-turn-or-just-a-simple-adjustment/

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Nigeria finds 29 survivors from trafficked immigrant boat

March 21, 2013

Nigerian authorities have so far rescued 29 survivors from a boat carrying scores of trafficked immigrants that sank on its way to Gabon, the National Emergency Management Agency said on Thursday.

At least 45 people drowned, according a local doctor who said he received the bodies.

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/21/us-nigeria-accident-idUSBRE92K0MX20130321

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Southeast Asia

 

Singles Caught Having Sex Face Jail Time under Proposed Law in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe | March 21, 2013

A draft of a criminal code (KUHP) revision proposed by the government for debate earlier this month punishes unmarried people caught having sex, a report said on Thursday.

“It [singles engaging in premarital sex] is liable for up to five years in jail,” Wahiduddin Adams, the director general for legislation at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said, as quoted by Tempo Interaktif online.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/singles-caught-having-sex-face-jail-time-under-proposed-law-in-indonesia/581106

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US Lauds Indonesia for Success in Fighting Tuberculosis

Dessy Sagita | March 21, 2013

Indonesia has been awarded with an achievement award from the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Global Health unit for its successful campaign in tuberculosis management, amid growing success fighting the disease throughout Southeast Asia.

“On March 20, we received the achievement award from USAID for our program in tuberculosis management which has been appreciated internationally,” director general of disease control and environmental health to the Ministry of Health, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, said on Thursday.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/us-lauds-indonesia-for-success-in-fighting-tuberculosis/581117

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URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/bombing-kills-top-pro-assad-sunni-preacher-among-41-killed-in-syria/d/10850

 

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