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Islamic World News ( 31 Aug 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Comic Books Preach Tolerance at Indonesia's Islamic Schools

NATO seeks India's cooperation to tackle terror, piracy and Cyber Security

We will fight, we are not women: Gaddafi

Inside the unit spying on Muslims that NYPD insists doesn’t exist

Ahead of 9/11, NY Park bars Muslim women with Hijab

9/11 effect: 10 yrs on, the wounds are still too fresh

Law and order situation in Karachi is improving: Malik

Top Syrian official quits to protest crackdown

Austrian: Gaddafi son talked of peace with Israel

Valley ‘separatist’ hosted Anna in’ 98

German Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper’s New Message: Jihad

Gunmen kill seven passengers in lower Kurram

Clashes in Bahrain continue after boy's death

Post 9/11, Some US Muslims Pray in Christian Churches

Iran irked by errors in Qurans from China

Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians

Libyans to decide where Gaddafi is tried: Sarkozy, Cameron

Libya must deal with Lockerbie bomber: Hillary Clinton

IIT-B students take a step to start dialogue with Pakistan

India can help in Libya's democratic transition, says US

Uzbekistan marks independence with reform vow

Hijazi traditions come to the fore in Eid Al-Fitr celebrations

Three killed in suicide car bomb attack in northwest Pakistan

Car bomb kills three, wounds 20 in Iraq

Flooding leaves 102 dead in southwest Nigeria

Pak troops violate ceasefire twice, three soldiers killed

Libyan slits daughters' throats in 'honour killings' after raped by Gaddafi's troops

Most Afghans want US troops: Karzai adviser

Afghan president sends would-be child suicide bombers home

Russia recognises Libya’s rebel government

Omar Abdullah mocks at BJP over Akali Dal seeking clemency for Bhullar

Libya rebels say have ‘right to kill’ Gaddafi

Rights activists urge Libya to hand over Gaddafi

Pakistan fully supports revival of Eurasian corridor: Zardari

Pakistan wants to define US relationship in writing but American officials are resisting

Nicolas Sarkozy praised the working of the NATO alliance in Libya

35 Iraqi inmates tunnel out, most recaptured

Libyan rebels catch Gadhafi foreign minister

US counter terror chief says al-Qaida on 'steady slide'

U.S. Muslims see Obama as ‘friendly’; GOP unfriendly

US wasted $60bn in Afghan, Iraq wars, says panel

Islamic banking: How suitable for Nigeria?

Syria Hunts for Leaders of Protests in Hama

Tarun Vijay’s name figures in Sehla Masud murder case

U.S. hopes Paris meet will help establish new govt. in Libya

Nigerian bombers blame U.N. for 'oppression' of Muslims

Libya conflict: Leaders gather for Paris summit

Tens of thousands mark Eid in Tripoli

Pakistani fertilizer fuels Afghan bombs

Libya rejects UN military forces

Swiss ignored up to 10,000 Iraqi asylum requests

West cannot ‘confiscate’ Arab Spring: Iran

Mumbai attack might have led to Ind-Pak nuclear war: Roemer

Will not stop using twitter because of criticism: Omar

Eid celebrated with fervour in Malerkotla

'Feminist imam' delivers message in Afghanistan

Syrian Official Resigns to Protest Bloodshed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/comic-books-preach-tolerance-at-indonesia-s-islamic-schools/d/5370

 

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Comic Books Preach Tolerance at Indonesia's Islamic Schools

Anita Rachman & Nurfika Osman

September 01, 2011

When students at the As-Salam Islamic boarding school got into a quarrel over musical preferences, their principal quoted a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad: “‘The differences among my followers are [God’s] grace.’ So why should you be against one another over your differences?”

In the end, the students formed a band, playing English songs with traditional Islamic instruments. They also befriended a Chinese-Indonesian boy with access to a recording studio.

Amid the current climate of Islamic radicalism and religious intolerance, the vignette above serves as a refreshing change. At least it would if it had really taken place.

As-Salam and its students are fictional, figures from a comic book series published by the group Search for Common Ground.

The comic books and their inspiring lessons were distributed last month to 3,500 students at nine Islamic boarding schools, or pesantren , and one public school in Madura in East Java, Yogyakarta and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara. The goal of the program is to encourage the students to apply the lessons from the comic books in their lives.

SFCG, an international NGO focusing on conflict transformation, plans to distribute a total of 60,000 comic books to pesantrens across the country.

The project, supported by the US State Department, is intended to counter troubling signs of growing intolerance in Indonesia, including recent clashes involving radical groups and communities of different faiths and religions. It aims to encourage young people to reflect on their views about people who are different from them.

Dewi Wijayanti, an SFCG project officer, says the comic books are not just for high school students and can also be shared among friends.

As part of the project, students are asked to discuss the key messages in each comic book in a discussion led by teachers.

“The comic book is our second project. Our first was English debate competitions that started in 2009 and ended last year,” Dewi said.

The competitions were designed to strengthen the students’ understanding of tolerance and pluralism by getting them to debate key motions, such as whether the government should ban the Ahmadiyah sect, or if Muslims could vote for non-Muslim leaders.

“One team in each debate would argue for the positive side and the other for the negative,” Dewi said. “Through discussions and building their arguments, they learned about many things, such as the Ahmadiyah and how important tolerance and pluralism are.”

Brian D. Hanley, director of SFCG Asia, said the group was expanding the pesantren program to include community radio and video programming for youths, using the schools as a platform to put out positive messages and counter the radical narrative from other mosques and pesantrens in their communities.

He said SFCG chose to work with Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s biggest Islamic organization, and other mainstream Islamic groups because of the importance of strengthening and empowering moderates to play a more active role in promoting religious tolerance and countering radicalization.

“Right now, hard-liners have the megaphone and they are shouting down the moderates,” Hanley said. “We need to reverse this paradigm and put the megaphone back in the hands of the mass majority of Indonesians who believe that diversity is a strength and who support other people’s rights to worship freely and safely.”

Choirul Fuad Yusuf, director of pesantrens at the Religious Affairs Ministry, said only a handful of the roughly 27,500 pesantrens across the country could be categorized as radical or espousing a rigid understanding of Islam.

“We’ve done many things to curb radicalism through informative and educational approaches, including seminars, workshops and even English debates, just like the SFCG program,” he said.

The growing chorus of accusations that the country’s pesantrens, which teach a combined four million children, are hotbeds of radicalization, Choirul said, are unfounded.

To claim that they are “places for terrorists to grow, that is wrong,” he said, arguing that most pesantrens taught tolerance and pluralism.

But despite the government’s deradicalization programs and similar efforts by NGOs like SFCG, the ministry concedes that it is becoming harder to combat the creeping radicalization that begins in pesantrens.

“There are thousands of unregistered pesantren in the country that have been teaching radicalism to students for years,” said Nuhrison M. Nuh, head of the ministry’s research and development department.

“It’s hard to control them because they’re established by respected local people.”

Most of these shady pesantrens are financed with money raised in the Middle East, where their founders went to school and where they still have friends and teachers with whom they have maintained close ties, he said. These schools are located mainly in Central Java, East Java and West Nusa Tenggara.

In such cases, Nuhrison said, both the Religious Affairs Ministry and the National Education Ministry were powerless to shut the schools down.

“If we do, then we stand accused of violating their right to freedom of expression, which in turn will lead to more conflicts,” he said. “So we can do virtually nothing. We’re in a dilemma because we’re bound by the need to respect freedom of expression.”

Nevertheless, the ministry is still carrying out programs to counter the ideologies being pushed by these pesantrens. Recently, the ministry held discussions on tackling radicalism in 40 such schools in six provinces.

“We asked the schools to cooperate with us so that we could fight radicalism together, and we got a positive response from them,” Nuhrison said.

None of the schools were among those considered overtly radical by the government.

“So far, we have only been able to influence those who want to accept us. It’s impossible for us to have a dialogue with those that don’t accept us in the first place,” Nuhrison said.

He added the government stood by its conviction that education was the best way to combat radicalism since the problem was at its root a lack of understanding and critical thinking.

To that end, the ministry is drawing up a list of the pesantrens that are either unregistered or known to be preaching radicalism, which is expected to be completed next year. “We’re working with officials from Pakistan, Egypt and Iran in compiling this list,” Nuhrison said.

The Education Ministry is also planning to introduce a chapter on counterradicalization into the approved textbooks for religious studies for the 2012-13 school year at the earliest.

However, Umar Abduh, a reformed terrorist, blames the radical tendencies espoused by some of the schools on the government’s previous lack of rapprochement with pesantrens compared to other civil groups.

“When the government fails to embrace pesantrens, they enter a phase in which they no longer trust the government and become reclusive,” he said “This is the fault of the government.”

Umar, a researcher who gained notoriety as a member of the Jihad Command that hijacked a Garuda Indonesia flight in 1981, said it was the government’s lack of attention to Muslims— rather than poverty or social gaps — that pushed people into radicalism and terrorism.

He suggested that the government adopt Islamic values in governing the country, which he said would be preferable to the current national doctrine of Pancasila and the state motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means Unity in Diversity.

“Radicalism flourishes because of the war of politics,” he said. “The government doesn’t want to accept Islamic ideas on how to develop the country. Instead, it goes by Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika as ideologies for running the country.”

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/editorschoice/comic-books-preach-tolerance-at-indonesias-islamic-schools/462671

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NATO seeks India's cooperation to tackle terror, piracy and Cyber Security

Sep 01 2011

Brussels : US-led NATO has asked India to shed Its non-aligned policy and called for a partnership with it to tackle common security challenges such as terror threats, cyber security and piracy.

"Even with regard to common missile threats, the ability to defend could be the same," a top NATO official said.

The 28-member NATO has already reached out to New Delhi asking it to co-opt as a "dialogue plus partner".

Stressing that India should shed its non-aligned policy and assume a bigger role as a leader, the NATO official said that even Australia which is far away has a relationship with NATO and is today the 10th largest participant with NATO in Afghanistan.

Making a strong pitch for joint efforts to combat cyber threats, the official said, "cyber world does not recognise alignments. It only understands switches." Urging India to abandon Cold War mindset, the official pointed out that even Russia is in a special partnership with NATO.

"The NATO-Russia Council determines cooperation on such vital issues as theatre missile defence, military logistics with respect to the US-led campaign in Afghanistan, terrorism, narcotics and piracy."

He hinted at an understanding between India and US on the military intervention in Libya.

Talking about the need for deeper relationship, NATO officials said their Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has spoken to Indian officials while the deputy Secretary

General Claudio Bisogniero visited India to start a dialogue.

"I think it is important to have a dialogue and deepen that dialogue at every level of society," said Ambassador Ivo H Daalder, US Permanent Representative to the NATO.

He said, "It is important for India to have a dialogue at every level - societal and official - to have a dailogue about India's concept of internal security and if its international security fits with NATO's concept of international security. On how we can promote security together."

Daalder, however, said, "ultimately the decision on India's role with respect to NATO is going to be India's decision. On where that relationship will go, it will also depend on where India will like it to go, he said.

He said, we do so already in places like Afghanistan, where NATO and India are present. "We can think of other places also - like the Indian Ocean to deal with piracy. NATO has an operation there and Indian ships are part of the effort to fight piracy. We can strengthen this relationship."

Assuming a different role in today's world order, NATO which was formed 62 years ago in the backdrop of the Cold War, is today on an overdrive to reach out beyond its traditional borders to secure its interests world-wide.

NATO officials said they considered NATO as a "Living House", which stood on two pillars - the pillar of collective defence and the pillar of cooperative security.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/nato-seeks-indias-cooperation-to-tackle-terror-piracy/840339/

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We will fight, We Are not women: Gaddafi

Sep 2, 2011

Tripoli: Muammar Gaddafi, driven into hiding by his foes, on Thursday urged his supporters to fight on, even as Libyas new interim rulers met world leaders to discuss reshaping a nation torn by 42 years of one-man rule and six months of war.

Let there be a long fight and let Libya be engulfed in flames, Gaddafi was quoted as saying on Arabic news channels. We will not give up. We are not women.

The fugitive leader was speaking on the 42nd anniversary of the military coup that toppled King Idris and brought him to power in 1969 when he was a 27-year-old army captain.

There have been conflicting reports about Gaddafis location since his Tripoli compound was overrun.

A senior military commander of the interim National Transitional Council said Gaddafi was in a desert town outside Tripoli, along with his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, planning a fight back. All three fugitives are wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

Abdel Majid  Mlegta, coordinator of the Tripoli military operations room,said,Someone we trust had said Gaddafi had fled to Bani Walid three days after Tripoli fell.

An Algerian newspaper said Gaddafi was in the border town of Ghadamis and had tried to call Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to appeal for refuge.Bouteflika would not take the call,even though Algeria gave sanctuary to Gaddafis wife and three of his children when they crossed the border.

The NTC,trying to mop up pro-Gaddafi forces,extended by a week a Saturday deadline for the surrender of Sirte,Gaddafis birthplace.

That means theres progress in the negotiations, said Mohammed Zawawi,an NTC spokesman in the eastern city of Benghazi.Were not in a rush to get in to Sirte.It has no economic importance and were not going to lose casualties for it.We can cut supplies and wait,even more than a week.

The war may not be over until Gaddafi is killed or captured,but Libyans are keen to move on.

Times of India

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Inside the unit spying on Muslims that NYPD insists doesn’t exist

Sep 1, 2011

NEW YORK: Working with the CIA, the New York Police Department maintained a list of “ancestries of interest” and dispatched undercover officers to monitor Muslim businesses and social groups, according to new documents that offer a rare glimpse inside an intelligence program the NYPD insists doesn’t exist.

The documents add new details to an Associated Press investigation that explained how undercover NYPD officers singled out Muslim communities for surveillance and infiltration. The Demographics Unit, a squad of 16 officers fluent in a total of at least five languages, was told to map ethnic communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and identify where people socialize, shop and pray.

Once that analysis was complete, according to documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD would “deploy officers in civilian clothes throughout the ethnic communities.”

The architect of this and other programs was a veteran CIA officer who oversaw the program while working with the NYPD on the CIA payroll. It was an unusual arrangement for the CIA, which is prohibited from spying inside the US

After the AP report, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the NYPD has kept the city safe and does not take religion into account in its policing. The NYPD denied the Demographics Unit exists.

“There is no such unit,” police spokesman Paul Browne said before the first AP story ran. “There is nothing called the Demographics Unit.”

Internal police documents show otherwise. An NYPD presentation, delivered inside the department, described the mission and makeup of the Demographics Unit. Undercover officers were told to look not only for evidence of terrorism and crimes but also to determine the ethnicity of business owners and eavesdrop on conversations inside cafes.

A police memorandum from 2006 described an NYPD supervisor rebuking an undercover detective for not doing a good enough job reporting on community events and “rhetoric heard in cafes and hotspot locations.”

How law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, can stay ahead of Islamic terrorists without using racial profiling techniques has been hotly debated since 9/11. Singling out minorities for extra scrutiny without evidence of wrongdoing has been criticized as discriminatory. Not focusing on Muslim neighborhoods has been equally criticized as political correctness run amok. The documents describe how the nation’s largest police force has come down on that issue.

Working out of the police department’s offices at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Demographics Unit maintained a list of 28 countries that, along with “American Black Muslim,” it considered “ancestries of interest.” Nearly all are Muslim countries.

Police used census data and government databases to map areas it considered “hot spots” as well as the ethnic neighborhoods of New York’s tri-state area, the documents show.

Undercover officers known as “rakers” — a term the NYPD also denied existed — were then told to participate in social activities such as cricket matches and visit cafes and clubs, the documents show.

http://arabnews.com/world/article496153.ece

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Ahead of 9/11, NY Park bars Muslim women with hijabs

Sep 1, 2011

NEW YORK: An amusement park here refused entry to a group of Muslim women to sit on certain rides unless they removed their 'hijabs' , a move which led to a scuffle and the arrest of at least 15 people.

The scuffle at the amusement park at Rye on Tuesday led to the complex being shut down temporarily.

The women had come to the park as part of a trip organized by the Muslim American Society of New York to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramzan.

Events took a turn for the worse when some female members of the group, wearing head scarves, were told they could not get on certain rides because their heads were covered by the hijab.

A park supervisor also presented a list of rides that would require them to remove their scarves. Commissioner of the Westchester county parks Department Kathleen O'Connor said the group became "frustrated as they couldn't get on the rides" . Park officials said disappointed customers were offered a refund when about 20 members of the group started fighting.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Ahead-of-9/11-NY-park-bars-Muslim-women-with-hijabs/articleshow/9817888.cms

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9/11 effect: 10 yrs on,the wounds are still too fresh

Kounteya Sinha

Sep 2, 2011

New Delhi: The image of the iconic World Trade Center reduced to a rubble in a matter of hours,is still sending shivers down the spine.

A landmark study,to be announced on Friday,around a week before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,has found that in rescue and recovery workers,cumulative incidence of depression was still as high as 28%,post-traumatic stress disorder 32% and panic disorder 21%.

More than 50,000 rescue and recovery workers are estimated to have given assistance after the World Trade Center attacks.

However data gathered from more than 27,000 of these workers and published in the British medical journal Lancet show a high burden of physical and mental illness.

The findings have been reported by Dr Juan P Wisnivesky and colleagues from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine,New York.

Full report at: Times of India

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Law and order situation in Karachi is improving: Rehman Malik

Sep 2, 2011

KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the situation in Karachi has made a marked improvement from before and that there has been no reported target killings during Eid.

Rehman Malk said this on the second day of Eid during a surprise visit to Empress Market in Karachi.

The Interior Minister also held discussions with the CCPO Karachi during his visit.

He also said that surgical operations are still being conducted in the city in which the government is having some success. Rehman Malik further stated that during these operations at least 40 suspects have been arrested.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/02/law-and-order-situation-in-karachi-is-improving-malik.html

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Top Syrian official quits to protest crackdown

Sep 2, 2011

AMMAN: Syrian forces raided houses in Hama on Thursday, residents said, hours after the city's attorney general declared on YouTube he had resigned in protest against the suppression of street protests.

Five months of protests have failed to unseat president Bashar al-Assad, who inherited power from his father and retains the loyalty of the core of his armed forces comprised mostly of members of the Alawite minority, the same sect as the president.

But demonstrators have been encouraged by the fall of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and rising international pressure on Syria, including a planned European Union embargo on the oil industry which would disrupt a vital source of income.

Residents of Hama said security police and state militiamen, known as shabbiha, raided houses overnight in the al-Sabouniya and al-Marabet districts, after troops backed by tanks arrested dozens in two other neighbourhoods of the city the night before.

"The inhabitants are responding by shouting 'God is greatest' from windows and rooftops. Tonight there are more random raids as opposed to what the army did yesterday,"which was go into specific houses looking for suspected activists on a list,

Haidar, a local activist said, told Reuters by phone.

Syrian forces mounted a 10-day operation in the city at the beginning of August and arrested hundreds of people.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Top-Syrian-official-quits-to-protest-crackdown/articleshow/9829915.cms

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Austrian: Gaddafi son talked of peace with Israel

Sep 2, 2011

VIENNA (AUSTRIA), Sept 1: An Austrian politician says one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons told him Libya was ready to sign a peace treaty with Israel once the fighting in his country ended.

David Lasar also said today that Seif al-Islam, Gaddafi's longtime heir apparent, also told him he was ready to act as a middleman to secure the release of an Israel soldier held for more than four years by Hamas, the Palestinian faction controlling Gaza.

Lasar, a Vienna municipal political with the rightist Freedom Party, was in Libya last month on a trip coordinated between his party and Ayoub Kara, an Israeli deputy minister. Lasar is Jewish, while Kara is a Druse, and both occasionally assume positions and take on missions that are unusual for their government or party.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Austrian-Gaddafi-son-talked-of-peace-with-Israel/articleshow/9829226.cms

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Valley ‘separatist’ hosted Anna in’ 98

By Naseer Ganai

Sep 2, 2011

HURRIYAT Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wants Anna Hazare to launch a campaign against the killing of innocent civilians in Kashmir.

Whether the anti- corruption crusader, who is gearing up for the next phase of his campaign, heeds the call or not remains to be seen.

But way back in 1998, he was the only one to visit the Valley after another separatist leader criticised activists for ignoring human rights violations in Kashmir.

At a seminar held by the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Mumbai, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik had hit out at Gandhians and activists for their “deliberate indifference” towards “massive human rights abuses” in the Valley.

A JKLF leader said: “Those days, the human rights situation in Kashmir was at its worst. Scores of people disappeared after being arrested and torture was the norm. Like always, Malik appealed to the conscience of the Indian civil society and asked activists to visit Kashmir to see the situation themselves.” After Malik’s appeal, Hazare was the only civil society activist who visited the Valley and made an effort to connect with the people, the JKLF leader, who did not want to be named, said.

Full report at: Mail Today

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German Officials Alarmed by Ex-Rapper’s New Message: Jihad

By SOUAD MEKHENNET

Sep 1, 2011

BERLIN — The man German security officials call a major security risk looks like a figure from a rap video, especially with the tattoos on his hands. The right one says “STR8,” and the left one “Thug.”

“This is from the days when I lived the life of an unbeliever,” said the man, Denis Mamadou Cuspert, as he clenched his fists and looked at the tattoos. “Allah will erase them from me one day.”

Mr. Cuspert, once a popular rapper in Germany, today is one of the best-known singers of nasheeds, or Islamic devotional music, in German. Security officials say, though, that he is an influential figure who incites violence and unrest through inflammatory videos and fiery speeches that praise terrorists and attack the West.

German authorities say people like him inspired the fatal shootings of two American airmen at the Frankfurt airport in March. The 21-year-old man accused of the killings, Arid Uka, whose trial began in Frankfurt on Wednesday, has said he opened fire on a busload of American service members after seeing a video that claimed to show Muslim women being raped by men in United States military uniforms. American officials have said the video — which Mr. Cuspert acknowledged posting on his Facebook page, and which Mr. Uka copied — was staged by militants.

Mr. Uka said he was listening on his iPod to nasheeds calling for opposition against occupation forces and the West as he traveled to the airport just before the shootings. “It made me really angry,” Mr. Uka told the judge on Wednesday, referring to the songs’ lyrics. During a tearful confession, he said that Islam had given him strength after a period of depression, but that he now realized that “I have damaged my faith.”

Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/world/europe/01jihadi.html?ref=world

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Gunmen kill seven passengers in lower Kurram

Sep 1, 2011

PARACHINAR: Seven passengers were killed in lower Kurram on Thursday when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle, government sources told DawnNews.

According to the sources, the passenger vehicle was traveling from the Alizai area to Parachinar when the armed assailants opened fire, killing four people on the spot and severely wounding four others.

Moreover, three of the four wounded people later died at at the Agency Headquarter Hospital while the fourth was said to be in critical condition.

Meanwhile, local tribesmen were reported to have engaged the fleeing attackers in a gun-battle.

Six out of the seven people who lost their lives in the incident belonged to the same family.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/01/gunmen-kill-four-parachinar-bound-passengers.html

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Clashes in Bahrain continue after boy's death

Sep 1, 2011

Sitra, Bahrain (CNN) -- Clashes between police and Shiite Muslims in Bahrain stretched into Thursday morning, fueled by the killing of a 14-year-old boy by riot police in earlier demonstrations.

The government of the Persian Gulf island state said it would "await a full investigation" by the Interior Ministry before drawing any conclusions about the death early Wednesday of Ali Jawad al-Sheikh. Several witnesses said they saw the boy collapse after a tear-gas round was fired directly at him by riot police who were chasing al-Sheikh and other protesters in Sitra, southwest of the capital Manama.

But the Interior Ministry said no clashes were taking place at the time when the boy was injured, saying that the last reported incident of unrest in the area was around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Public prosecutors have already begun examining the incident, according to a statement from Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority, and it would also fall under the authority of the Independent Commission of Inquiry set up by Bahrain's King Hamad in June to investigate reports of human rights abuses.

Full report at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/09/01/bahrain.death/

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Post 9/11, Some US Muslims Pray in Christian Churches

Carlos Hamann

September 01, 2011

Alexandria. In a Catholic church located in the shadow of Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington, the first US president, a group of Muslim faithful roll out their prayer rugs each week and kneel to pray to Allah.

Polls show that Islam in the United States is mistrusted and associated with violence, and Christian churches actively helping Muslims remain the exception 10 years after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Yet inspired by their reading of Biblical passages, some US Christians are increasingly reaching out to the Muslim community.

“People true to their Christian faith try to achieve peace in the world,” said Father Tom Ferguson at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia. “Hospitality is the first step toward getting to know one another.”

Hundreds of area Muslims have been meeting at a hall in his church since August to pray while their new mosque is being built.

Ferguson and flock welcome the guests — but they are fighting an uphill battle to re-define Muslims as friendly.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/post-911-some-us-muslims-pray-in-christian-churches/462529

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Iran irked by errors in Qurans from China

Sep 1, 2011

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian publishers are complaining that cost-saving plans to print Qurans in China are yielding embarrassing results: A slew of typos.

The head of Iran's Quran oversight office says some of the Chinese-printed versions of Islam's holy book are littered with spelling errors.

Ahmad Haji-Sharif is quoted by Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency as warning consumers that lower-cost Qurans may have mistakes in the holy verses. He noted earlier this week that Iranian-produced Qurans carry a higher price but have passed a careful inspection for any flaws.

Officials are now discussing a ban on Chinese-printed Qurans.

The Qurans that are in use in Iran often have both Farsi and the original Arabic.

Haji-Sharif didn't say whether the misspellings prevail in the Arabic or Farsi segments.

New York Times

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Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.

Sep 2, 2011

A recently disclosed diplomatic cable shows that a top United Nations human rights official warned the United States government five years ago that he had received information indicating that Iraqi reports of American troops executing a family were true.

Five of the victims, the official said, were children 5 years old or younger, and four were women.

The March 15, 2006, attack in Ishaqi, Iraq, was one of the most disputed episodes of the war. Iraqi police officials maintained from the beginning that the family had been lined up and executed. A video later surfaced that showed graphic images of five dead children and three dead adults; most of the victims appeared to have been killed by bullets or other flying projectiles that punctured their head, abdomen or chest.

Three months after the killings, and after the United Nations official’s warning, the American military announced that its own investigation had determined the allegations of an execution were “absolutely false.” The military admitted, however, that the raid and subsequent air strike resulted in as many as nine “collateral deaths,” a euphemism for civilian fatalities.

Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/world/middleeast/02iraq.html?_r=1&ref=world

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Libyans to decide where Gaddafi is tried: Sarkozy, Cameron

Sep 2, 2011

PARIS: Libya's ousted strongman Muammar Gaddafi should be arrested and tried but it is up to the Libyan people to decide whether to try him themsleves, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron has said.

The French and British leaders were talking after a conference in Paris between envoys from 60 countries dubbed "friends of Libya" and the leaders of Libya's new rebel interim regime, the National Transitional Council.

"Gaddafi must be arrested and the Libyans will decide if he must be tried in Libya or before international justice," President Sarkozy said, in comments immediately echoed by the British prime minister.

Gaddafi and his son Seif Al-Islam have been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on suspicion of having committed crimes against humanity by ordering mass killings during their crackdown on a revolt.

But, now that the rebellion has driven the pair from Tripoli and begun to form its own government, some in the NTC have suggested that Gaddafi should be tried at home if and when rebel forces track him down.

For his part, the ousted strongman has continued to issue defiant audio statements through a Syrian television channel vowing to fight to the death.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Libyans-to-decide-where-Gaddafi-is-tried-Sarkozy-Cameron/articleshow/9830696.cms

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Libya must deal with Lockerbie bomber: Hillary Clinton

Sep 2, 2011

PARIS: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told Libyan opposition leaders Thursday that they must deal with the case of the only person convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and that the U.S. will be watching closely how they handle it. The bomber ``should be behind bars,'' Clinton said.

Meeting with senior members of Libya's National Transitional Council, Clinton said Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's release from prison and the current status of the former Libyan intelligence officer are of deep concern to the Obama administration. The conversations took place amid increased clamoring from U.S. lawmakers and leading Republican presidential candidates for Megrahi's return to prison or even extradition.

The ailing al-Megrahi was released in 2009 on compassionate grounds, eight years into a life sentence in Scotland, after doctors predicted he would die of prostate cancer within three months.

``The United States categorically disagrees with the decision that was made two years ago by the Scottish executive to release al-Megrahi and return him to Libya,'' Clinton told reporters Thursday. ``We have never wavered from our disagreement and condemnation of that decision. He should be behind bars.''

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Libya-must-deal-with-Lockerbie-bomber-Hillary-Clinton/articleshow/9829725.cms

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IIT-B students takes a step to start dialogue with Pakistan

By Kanchan Srivastava

Sep 1, 2011

 “It’s high time India and Pakistan came together for the betterment of future generations. But we will have to keep the politicians away.” These are the common thoughts expressed by students across the border.

Students penned down these thoughts on the first day of IIT-B students’ initiative ‘Ummeed-e-Milaap’, which kicked off on Tuesday to start a dialogue with Pakistan.

Emotions were running so high that more than 350 messages were written on the first day in the Indo-Pak Diary at IIT-B.

Messages were also posted on the IIT-B website. The diary will do the rounds of VJTI, ICT, HR, Jai Hind, Sophia, RA Poddar, Father Agnels, NMIMS, St Xavier’s and DJ Sanghvi colleges till December.

The messages will be compiled in the diary and sent to their counterparts studying in 20 top colleges of Lahore and Karachi. The campaign in Pakistan will start on September 5. However, an enthusiastic Karachi student called up to record his message on Day 1 itself.

All the messages will be compiled in a common diary which will be sent to Pakistan and displayed at IIT-B’s Tech-Fest in January 2012. IIT-B student Ronnie Phillip said, “Most of us

have international friends but no one has a Pakistani friend. Misconceptions are many.

We want to change the scene. This is part of our International Technology Extravaganza; Tech-Fest.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2415773.ece

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India can help in Libya's democratic transition, says US

Sep 01, 2011

The United States has suggested that given its experience in democratic governance in small towns and villages, India could help in Libya's democratic transition process in the post-Gadhafi period.

"We don't have the menu of what the Libyans might need," State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland told reporters ahead of Friends of Libya meeting in Paris on Wednesday to be attended by representatives from more than 30 countries and multilateral organizations.

"But India, for example, has lots of experience in democratic governance, has lots of experience in working in small towns and villages on democracy issues," she said when asked what was US expectation from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) particularly India.

"That might be one thing, but I don't want to get ahead of what the TNC (Transitional National Council) might request."

Asked if the TNC was ready to accept back workers from India who had to leave Libya when the fighting broke out, the spokesperson said, "That's a question you're better off asking the TNC."

But "presumably that would say good things about stability and opportunity in a new Libya, so let's see where that situation goes."

In response to a question about India's ties with Syria, Nuland said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago "spoke to the fact that she would like to see India do more. I'll leave it at that."

http://www.asianage.com/international/india-can-help-libyas-democratic-transition-says-us-686

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Uzbekistan marks independence with reform vow

Sep 1, 2011

TASHKENT: Uzbekistan on Thursday marked 20 years since independence from the USSR, as its president pledged political and economic reform in ex-Soviet Central Asia’s most populous nation.

In 1991, Uzbekistan “put an end to the period of colonial oppression and dependency,” said President Islam Karimov at the festive ceremony on the eve of the Independence Day.

“No matter what threats were voiced against our country, and no matter what pressure we had to endure… we did not turn off the chosen path, and we shall never do so,” he said.

Karimov said he wanted to see Uzbekistan rich and prosperous. “I am ready to sacrifice myself to achieve this goal,” he said to a round of applause.

“Our main priority is to consistently accelerate the pace of implementing the process of democratic renewal, liberalisation and modernisation of all spheres of the nation’s life,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/01/uzbekistan-marks-independence-with-reform-vow.html

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Hijazi traditions come to the fore in Eid Al-Fitr celebrations

Sep 1, 2011

JEDDAH: Eid celebrations in Saudi Arabia generally are characterized by joy at successfully fulfilling religious and spiritual obligations for a whole month.

They are also a clear expression of social solidarity and tolerance, and are occasions for family reunion where people renew their brotherly bonds.

Jeddah, the Red Sea coastal city, brings to the fore its Hijazi traditions from the moment moon sighting is announced until the end of celebrations that usually last for six days.

On the last night of Ramadan, the Hijazi housewives clean their homes and use incense to create a pleasant aroma in their homes before the festival. The kitchens bubble with the cooking of traditional Hijazi dishes for the family to eat at breakfast on the morning of the Eid day.

The main dish is Al-Dibyaza, which is made of dry fruits, sugar and water. Traditional sweets, such as Hareesa, Labna and Allado, are added to the table along with cheese and olive.

The breakfast is served after people are back from Eid prayer that is usually held in the open. Wearing new dresses specially tailored for the occasion, men, women and children are keen to attend these prayers which signal the end of a whole month of fasting from food, water and sensual pleasures from dawn to dusk.

Before they set out for the Eid congregational prayer, people will eat an odd number of dates following the Prophet’s Sunnah.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article496188.ece

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Three killed in suicide car bomb attack in northwest Pakistan

Sep 2, 2011

ISLAMABAD: At least three people were killed and 15 policemen were injured on Thursday night when a suicide car bomb hit a police check-post in northwest Pakistan, a media report said.

The attack took place at about 8.30 pm when the car packed with explosives hit the check-post in front of a police station in Lakki Marwat, some 180 km from Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Xinhua reported citing local TV channels.

Half of the police station building was destroyed, while at least 18 nearby shops were damaged.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This was the second major attack in Pakistan during the Eid festivities.

On Wednesday morning, a suicide car bomb hit the parking lot of a mosque in Quetta, killing at least 11 people and wounding more than 20.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Three-killed-in-suicide-car-bomb-attack-in-northwest-Pakistan/articleshow/9830714.cms

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Car bomb kills three, wounds 20 in Iraq

Sep 1, 2011

BAGHDAD: A parked car bomb exploded near a police checkpoint on a commercial street in southwestern Baghdad on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 20 others, a security source said.

The bomb was detonated on a street lined with grocers, butcher shops and other stores in the Jihad area of the Iraqi capital.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article496142.ece

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Flooding leaves 102 dead in southwest Nigeria

Sep 1, 2011

Effort to recover bodies in Ibidan continues, while 1,000 residents of beach area in Lagos made homeless by ocean surge.

Floods in the southwest Nigerian city of Ibadan have killed at least 102 people over the weekend, with bodies still being recovered from the scene, the Nigeria Red Cross said.

More corpses were recovered from affected areas on Monday and the Red Cross said the final figure of deaths could  rise.

"the death toll for now...is 102," said Umar Mairiga, disaster management coordinator for the Nigerian Red Cross Society.

About 2,000 people have been displaced by the floods in the city, which lies about 120km north of the commercial capital Lagos, the official added.

In Lagos itself, an ocean surge has left more than 1,000 residents in the Alpha beach area homeless.

Strong tides from the Atlantic ocean have destroyed property and shops along the beach, which is normally a tourist attraction but is now littered with debris and wreckage.

Moshood Alayaki, a resident, said the rising water had destroyed many livehoods.

The area regularly experiences seasonal flash floods, which are sometimes lethal in Nigeria's overcrowded slums.

Full report at:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/08/201183162253653316.html

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Pak troops violate ceasefire twice, three soldiers killed

Sep 01 2011

Srinagar : An Indian JCO and three Pakistani soldiers were today killed in a heavy exchange of fire in Keran sector in north Kashmir after ceasefire was violated from across the border, officials said.

Pakistan violated the ceasefire twice in Keran sector as Indian troops foiled an infiltration bid after exchanging fire with militants that left the JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) dead.

"There were two ceasefire violations in Keran sector of Kupwara district from across the Line of Control since 2000 hours Wednesday," Defence spokesman Lt Colonel J S Brar said.

The JCO, who was killed, was identified by the army as Naib Subedar Gurdayal Singh. Brar said the first ceasefire violation took place at 2000 hours yesterday and the firing from other side of LoC continued for nearly 50 minutes.

The second ceasefire violation began at 1100 hours today and the exchange of fire was continuing till last reports came in, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-troops-violate-ceasefire-twice-infiltration-bid-foiled/840199/

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Libyan slits daughters' throats in 'honour killings' after raped by Gaddafi's troops

Sep 1, 2011

TRIPOLI: A Libyan father slit the throats of his three teenage daughters in an 'honour killing' after they were raped by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's loyalists during the siege of the port city of Misrata.

The shocking incidents have been mentioned in a report by the respected Physicians for Human Rights group into war crimes and atrocities in the embattled city, which faced two months of being cut off from the rest of Libya.

The report has suggested that the father carried out the 'honour killings' after facing humiliation and shame over the rape of his 15, 17 and 18 year-old daughters in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata. The victims were not named, the Daily Mail reports.

This incident is just one among series crimes carried out on civilians by Gaddafi's troops.

The human rights group, which is based in Boston has concluded that there was widespread evidence of war crimes during the siege.

"Four eyewitnesses reported that (Gaddafi) troops forcibly detained 107 civilians and used them as human shields to guard military munitions from NATO attacks south of Misrata," the report said.

A huge controversy emerged earlier this year after a woman named Al-Obeidi claimed that she was raped by Gaddafi's men. She had later moved to the US.

Reports had also emerged that Gaddafi troops and loyalists were issued Viagra-type drugs to sustain their systematic rape campaign.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Libyan-slits-daughters-throats-in-honour-killings-after-raped-by-Gaddafis-troops/articleshow/9806603.cms

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Most Afghans want US troops: Karzai adviser

1 September 2011

QUANTICO, Virgina — Most Afghans want a binding security pact with the United States that would keep American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, a senior adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

Negotiations for such a pact have lagged in part because “some in the Afghan government are trying to sabotage it,” said Taj Ayubi, minister-counselor to Karzai.

Ayubi was not specific, but was apparently referring to factions within the weak central government with ties to Iran, or to a lesser extent, Pakistan or the Taliban insurgency. Iran opposes any US military presence in Afghanistan, and US and other officials say Iran is trying to use its growing influence in neighboring Afghanistan to lobby against a deal that would provide the US a long-term military perch.

The agreement, now in draft form, would give the US use of Afghan-run or jointly-run bases after 2014, when the formal combat role is set to end. Senior US officials have said its central function is to provide assurance to Afghans that the US will not shut the door on Afghanistan in 2014, while establishing terms for continued US counterterrorism, training and counter-narcotics operations.

US officials stress that US military presence will be at Afghanistan’s invitation.

Ayubi said the document would give security assurances “from 2014 until we can stand on our own.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/September/international_September10.xml&section=international&col=

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Afghan president sends would-be child suicide bombers home

Sep 01 2011

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered that eight would-be child suicide bombers, groomed by the Taleban but rescued by authorities, be sent back to their families.

The group, which includes a seven-year-old, are the youngest among some 20 children who were detained before conducting what authorities said were suicide bomb attacks across the country.

“These are our children whom the Taleban deceived,” Karzai told reporters as he marked Eid Al-Fitr, Islam’s most important festival, which honors the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

Suicide bombings have become more widespread across the country in recent months, with assailants taking to innovative tactics such as concealing bombs in turbans and using children.

“Five of the children will join their parents, we are looking for the parents of two more and the last child is afraid to go back due to security reasons,” Karzai’s deputy spokesman Simak Herawi said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article495731.ece

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Russia recognises Libya’s rebel government

Sep 1, 2011

MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday officially recognised Libya’s rebels as the governing authority in the country, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Russian Federation recognises Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) as the ruling authority and notes its reform programme that includes the development of a new constitution, holding general elections and forming the government,” it said.

“Our country has established and continued diplomatic relations with Libya since September 4, 1955 without a break, no matter what government holds power in Tripoli,” it said.

“We act on the premise that the agreements and other mutual obligations formerly reached between Russia and Libya remain in effect in the relationship between the two countries and will be honoured.”

Russia’s recognition of the interim NTC comes well after similar moves by the United States and a dozen other countries. It also comes on the same day as France hosts a “friends of Libya” conference in Paris to help Libya rebuild.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/01/russia-recognises-libyas-rebel-government.html

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Omar Abdullah mocks at BJP over Akali Dal seeking clemency for Bhullar

Sep 2, 2011

SRINAGAR: Responding to the BJP's criticism of his Twitter comments, J&K CM Omar Abdullah on Thursday hit out at the party over its ally, the Akali Dal, in Punjab seeking clemency for Devinder Paul Singh Bhullar. In his blog, Omar Abdullah said: "I'm curious to see what Shahnawaz Hussain and the other BJP chaps are gonna say now. This is their government in Punjab?"

Omar was ridiculing the Akali Dal-led government in Punjab for their demand for clemency to Bhullar, a Khalistan Liberation Front militant on death row who has been in jail for the last 10 years.

He said he would continue to use the micro-blogging site despite some hostile posts which included personal attacks against him. "Just in case anyone is under the mistaken impression that I've been bullied off twitter-sorry but here I am and I'm not going anywhere," Omar said in a tweet. Omar's latest tweet was prompted after the BJP criticized him for an earlier posting in which he wondered whether a resolution on Afzal Guru by the J&K assembly, similar to the one passed by the Tamil Nadu assembly seeking clemency for three killers of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, would have received the muted response it had evoked.

Meanwhile, JD(U) on Thursday took adig at its NDA ally BJP for raising objections over Omar's remarks on the issue of execution of Afzal Guru, asking why it had not raised eyebrows when the matter relating to Rajiv's killers had come up.

"What Omar is saying is correct. What is wrong in saying that there would have been an uproar if the resolution had been passed on amnesty to Afzal Guru by the J&K Assembly?" JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Tit-for-tat-Omar-Abdullah-mocks-at-BJP-over-Bhullar/articleshow/9830892.cms

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Libya rebels say have ‘right to kill’ Gaddafi

Sep 1, 2011

TRIPOLI — Libya’s rebels said Wednesday Muammar Gaddafi is almost certainly in Libya and that they have a “right to kill” him, while giving the fugitive strongman’s remaining troops until Saturday to surrender.

“The information I have is this: it is 80 percent certain that Gaddafi is still in Libya,” Omar Hariri, head of military affairs, told AFP in Tripoli.

Hariri said rebels suspect Gaddafi is hiding either in Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, or in the outskirts of the capital. He stressed, however, that since Libya is in a state of war information changes rapidly.

“We think he is in Libya,” Ahmed Darrad, who is charged with overseeing the interior ministry until a new government is elected, told AFP late Tuesday.

“It is our right to kill him,” said Darrad.

“He is killing us. He is a criminal and an outlaw. All over the world if the criminal does not surrender, it is the right of law enforcers to kill him.”

Catching Gaddafi is a primary goal for the rebels who claim to have overrun most areas of Libya although negotiations are still underway for the surrender of regime loyalists in Sirte, hometown of the strongman.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/August/international_August1550.xml&section=international

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Rights activists urge Libya to hand over Gaddafi

Sep 1, 2011

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — As Libyan rebels claim to be closing in on Muammar Gaddafi, human rights activists are urging them to turn the Libyan dictator over to the International Criminal Court for trial and not mete out justice themselves.

Leading the calls is the court’s Argentine prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who has charged Gaddafi along with his son Seif al-Islam and the regime’s intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Sanoussi with unleashing a campaign of murder and torture since February that aimed to wipe out anti-government protests.

“The law says there’s an arrest warrant pending and according to a Security Council resolution Libya has the obligation to cooperate with the court,” Moreno-Ocampo told reporters at the court.

Rebels have sent mixed signals about what they will do with Gaddafi if they catch him, saying they will cooperate with the ICC but holding open the prospect of trying him in a Libyan court.

Many people in Libya want to see Gaddafi and the members of his family and regime prosecuted at home for abuses throughout his 42-year rule rather than being sent to the Hague to face justice for crimes committed only in the last six months as he fought desperately to cling to power.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/August/international_August1555.xml&section=international

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Pakistan fully supports revival of Eurasian corridor: Zardari

September 1, 2011

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang with President Asif Ali Zardari during the opening ceremony of the China-Eurasia Expo in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region September 1, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

URUMQI: Terming enhanced rail, road and air connectivity as key to regional development, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said Pakistan sees great potential in the Eurasian corridor and fully supports its revival.

“Pakistan is for enhanced rail, road and air connectivity in the region as it is the key to regional development,” President Zardari said while addressing the China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum soon after the opening ceremony of first China-Eurasia Expo here in the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from September 1 to 5.

The President who reached Urumqi on Tuesday to attend the mega event said the Chinese government by hosting the China-Eurasia Expo has built economic bridges between Europe and Asia, the East and the West. “This is a timely and laudable initiative,” he remarked.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/243383/pakistan-fully-supports-revival-of-eurasian-corridor-

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Pakistan wants to define US relationship in writing but American officials are resisting

Sep 1, 2011

ISLAMABAD — In the aftermath of the secret U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden, Pakistani officials want a detailed agreement spelling out U.S. rules of engagement inside Pakistan, officials in both countries say, but Washington’s refusal to sign a binding document threatens to create another point of friction in the long-troubled relationship.

Pakistan military officials want the U.S. to sign what is called a “memorandum of understanding,” an agreement they want to include such details as the number of CIA operatives working in Pakistan, notification before U.S. drone strikes, intelligence gathered and a written promise about Pakistan’s role if al-Qaida’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is found in Pakistan.

“There can be no more gray areas,” said a senior Pakistani military official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak publicly about diplomatic negotiations.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/pakistan-wants-to-define-us-

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Nicolas Sarkozy praised the working of the NATO alliance in Libya

By STEVEN ERLANGER

Sep 1, 2011

PARIS — On the eve of a major conference here to try to consolidate international support and reconstruction aid for Libya’s fledgling government, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France praised the working of the NATO alliance in support of the rebels, calling it “an indispensable tool” despite Washington’s decision to take a back seat in the war.

“For the first time since 1949 NATO was put at the service of a coalition led by two determined European countries, France and Great Britain,” Mr. Sarkozy told French ambassadors and other dignitaries on Wednesday in a wide-ranging hourlong speech at the Élysée Palace, an annual performance to set the themes of French diplomacy that was more pointed than usual, with presidential elections next year.

Mr. Sarkozy, as ever, was passionate about his government’s accomplishments, both in helping oust the defeated president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, four months ago, and now Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya. He was also defiant about the need to aggressively meet the economic and political challenges of the future. It was vital to act, he said, “not submit.”

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/world/europe/01france.html

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35 Iraqi inmates tunnel out, most recaptured

Sep 1, 2011

BAGHDAD — Most of 35 Iraqi terror suspects who tunneled their way out of a detention facility on Thursday were quickly recaptured, a security official said.

Abdul-Raheem al-Shimmary, the head of the security committee on the provincial council, said 21 of the detainees were recaptured soon after the dawn escape from a prison facility in Iraq's northern Ninevah province. Iraqi officials were searching for the remaining 14.

The detainees were being held at a Ministry of Interior facility on terrorism related charges.

Al-Shimmary said they had links to al-Qaida. He said they escaped through a 50-meter (160-foot) tunnel that they dug.

Two Iraqi officials with knowledge of the investigation said the tunnel lead to a sewage pipe and then to the Tigris River.

The officials said there were indications the prisoners had inside help, and that officials were looking into how the prisoners were able to smuggle in digging tools.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Prison breaks are not uncommon in Iraq, casting doubt on whether Iraqi security forces are ready to protect the nation when U.S. troops leave.

Last month, two inmates and one guard were killed in a prison break in the central Iraqi city of Hilla. Earlier this year a dozen terror suspects disguised in police uniforms broke out of a temporary detention center in the southern port city of Basra.

New York Times

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Libyan rebels catch Gadhafi foreign minister

Sep 1, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Rebels hunting the top officials in Moammar's Gadhafi's ousted regime have captured his foreign minister and are closing in on Gadhafi himself, rebel officials said Thursday.

The announcement, made on the 42nd anniversary of the coup that brought Gadhafi to power, also came as rebels forces pressed toward three major bastions of the crumbling regime, including Gadhafi's hometown.

"The regime is dying," rebel council spokesman Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga said late Wednesday, after two of Gadhafi's sons made conflicting statements on Arab television stations - with one vowing to fight until death and the other offering to negotiate a truce. "Gadhafi's family is trying to find an exit," Ghoga said. "They only have to surrender completely to the rebels and we will offer them a fair trial. We won't hold negotiations with them over anything."

Thursday marks the coup against the monarchy of King Idris by 27-year-old Gadhafi and a group of military officers. Gadhafi took undisputed power and became a symbol of anti-Western defiance in a Third World recently liberated from its European colonial rulers. A brutal dictator, his regime was unchallenged until the uprising that began in February.

Ahmed Said, an adviser to the interior minister in the rebels' interim government, did not identify the captured foreign minister by name, but "can confirm that he is in custody."

A week ago, Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi told British broadcaster Channel 4 that Gadhafi's rule was over.

Full report at: New York Times

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US counter terror chief says al-Qaida on 'steady slide'

Sep 1, 2011

WASHINGTON: White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan says al-Qaida is on a "on a steady slide" after the death of al-Qaida's latest second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, in Pakistan.

Brennan told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it was a "huge blow" in the first official White House comment since al-Rahman's reported killing by CIA drone strike in Pakistan's tribal areas last week.

Pakistan's objections to drone strikes have become more strident since the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden in May.

Brennan says with al-Qaida "on the ropes," now is not the time to "step back and let them recover."

Brennan also says US intelligence has detected no active terror plots before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which he credits to aggressive US action against militants overseas.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-counterterror-chief-says-al-Qaida-on-steady-slide/articleshow/9817635.cms

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U.S. Muslims see Obama as ‘friendly’; GOP unfriendly

By Scott Clement and Peyton Craighill

Sep 1, 2011

More than three-quarters of U.S. Muslims approve of President Obama’s job performance and 64 percent say he is “friendly” toward Muslim Americans, according to a rare study of public opinion among one of the nation’s smallest but most high-profile religious groups.

The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted this spring and summer, also finds that Muslims hold more positive attitudes toward U.S. anti-terrorism policies even as there has been no letup in reports of discrimination since 2007.

In addition to holding overwhelmingly positive views toward Obama, Muslims are also more likely to know Obama is not a Muslim than the overall public; 55 percent of Muslims correctly identify Obama as a Christian, compared with 34 percent of all adults in an August 2010 Pew poll. The higher knowledge about Obama’s faith comes despite Muslims paying less attention to politics and government than other Americans.

In contrast to views of Obama, 48 percent of U.S. Muslims say the GOP is “unfriendly” to them, while 15 percent call it friendly. This continues negative views of the last Republican president. Fully 70 percent of American Muslims identify as Democrats or lean to ward the Democratic Party, more so than the rest of the country in Pew data.

The change from Bush to Obama may be linked to more positive views of U.S. anti-terrorism policies. Fully 43 percent of Muslims now see the “U.S. effort to combat terrorism” as a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism, up from 26 percent in 2007. Almost as many, 41 percent, now say government efforts are not sincere.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/behind-the-numbers/post/us-muslims-see-obama-as-friendly-gop-unfriendly/2011/08/30/gIQAzUnzpJ_blog.html

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US wasted $60bn in Afghan, Iraq wars, says panel

Sep 1, 2011

WASHINGTON: As much as $60 billion in US tax dollars has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade due to lax oversight of contractors , poor planning and corruption , according to an independent panel.

In its final report to Congress to be publicly released on Wednesday, the commission on wartime contracting said the losses could grow as US support for reconstruction projects and programs wanes, leaving Iraq and Afghanistan to bear the longterm costs of sustaining the schools, medical clinics, barracks , roads and power plants already built with American money.

Government agencies should overhaul the way they award and manage contracts in war zones so they don't repeat the mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan , the commission said.

Among the report's 15 recommendations are the creation of an inspector general to monitor contracting during contingency operations and the appointment of a senior government official to improve the planning and coordination.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-wasted-60bn-in-Afghan-Iraq-wars-says-panel/articleshow/9817917.cms

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Islamic banking: How suitable for Nigeria?

David Ayilara

Sep 1, 2011

The controversy surrounding the issue of Islamic banking has raged for quite some time. Many Nigerians do not understand the need for this form of banking and the reasons for the controversy. Some even thought it is a fanatic pet project of the Central Bank Governor, whose fundamentalism in Islam is believed to have engineered it in the first instance. For a nation passing through the BokoHaram crisis, with the group’s insistence on the Sharia law as the legal code and Islam as the official religion, the timing for introduction of Islamic banking is to say the obvious wrong and distabilising. Quite naturally the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and various Christian leaders condemned the project while their Muslim counterparts (Islamic clerics and Grand Council of Islamic Affairs) spoke in its favour.

The religious partition of a nation already fragmented into several discordant units based on tribe, tongue and tradition seems assured. Should the nation get herself into any imbroglio muted out of a divisive economic policy? Bearing in mind the history of religious crises in the nation; [The Sharia law crisis of 1979, and 1999; the Maitasine riots of early 1980s and the ongoing BokoHaram crisis]; the disunity within the country on the basis of ethnicity and religion; and the political aggregation of a disparate North, West and East which from the onset and till today has not been properly harmonised and is still simmering in the National Assembly; Islamic banking would destroy the only area where Nigerians had since inception been one and indivisible: commerce.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.ng/index.php/opinion/27468-islamic-banking-how-suitable-for-nigeria

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Syria Hunts for Leaders of Protests in Hama

By NADA BAKRI

Sep 1, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian security forces conducted house-to-house raids in the central city of Hama on Wednesday, hunting for activists involved in the country’s uprising, residents and activists said.

Several tanks and military buses were parked on the eastern side of the city, they said, while hundreds of soldiers searched two neighborhoods, Al Qusour and Al Hamidiya, asking by name for people involved in, or suspected of playing a role in, planning the uprising. It was not clear how many were detained. With foreign journalists barred from the country and the official Syrian news media hewing to the government’s line, activists constitute a crucial funnel for information.

“We are hearing gunfire every now and then, and we heard they have long lists of wanted people,” said one Hama activist, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “We don’t know what more they want from us.”

The two neighborhoods had been very active in protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad until troops raided the city on July 31, holding it by force for 10 days. Activists said the death toll was 130 civilians on that day alone, a painful reminder of a massacre under Mr. Assad’s father, Hafez, in 1982. Intending to crush an uprising then, he leveled the city, killing at least 10,000.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/world/middleeast/01hama.html

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Tarun Vijay’s name figures in Sehla Masud murder case

Sep 1, 2011

Bhartiya Janata Party national spokesman and Panchjanya former editor Tarun Vijay’s name has cropped up in the murder of Sehla Masood ,an RTI activist who was killed in Bhopal on August 16.

Police has found many incriminating evidence which indicate  close proximity of Tarun Vijay with the slain activist.

Sources say that Tarun and Sehla traveled to Europe together on number of occasions.Many RTI papers which she filed contained Tarun Vijay’s letterheads also.

Most importantly, Sehla Masud had talked to Tarun Vijay on the day of her murder too.

Tarun Vijay is BJP MP and is close to many top leaders of BJP.

Readers can recall that Sehla was shot dead at her residence located in Koh-a-Fiza in Bhopal. She was 38 years old and murdered when she came out of her house to participate in a programme in support of Anna Hazare.

Sehla had filed many RTI applications some of which allegedly were against BJP leaders. The state government took no time in handing over the investigation to CBI. Many also accuse Sehla of black mailing and extortion. Mystery would lift once CBI marches ahead in its investigation.

Indian Express

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U.S. hopes Paris meet will help establish new govt. in Libya

Sep 1, 2011

World leaders are gathering in Paris to map out a future for Libya, a country with a unique set of problems, writes the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

The fighting in Libya is not over yet. Colonel Gaddafi himself is still at large. And a few key governments are still reluctant to recognise the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the country's interim government.

Nonetheless this Paris meeting - the broadest international gathering so far to focus on the Libya crisis - is intended to mark a diplomatic change of gear; from war to reconstruction.

Most of the obvious participants will be here, ranging from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Arab leaders such as the Emir of Qatar and the King of Jordan are also expected to attend.

The meeting has two purposes: One is to bolster support for the NTC as it sets about consolidating its hold on Tripoli and squares up to the last bastions of the Gaddafi regime's supporters.

But it is also an opportunity for leaders of the new Libya to set out their plans for the future and to seek essential help in carrying them out.

Uneasy alliance

This is going to be nation-building with a difference. It begins from a very different starting point compared with Iraq and Afghanistan. It was the Libyan people themselves who rose up against the Gaddafi regime - although the rebels may not have prevailed if it was not for Nato air power.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14741535

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Nigerian bombers blame U.N. for 'oppression' of Muslims

Sep 1, 2011

(CNN) -- The Nigerian Islamic militant group Boko Haram says it bombed U.N. offices in Abuja last week because the world body is a partner "in the oppression of believers," a spokesman for the group said Wednesday.

Friday's car bombing killed 23 people and wounded more than 80. Boko Haram, which aims to impose a strict version of Islamic law in Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a brief telephone interview arranged by an intermediary, Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa said a 27-year-old Nigerian named Mohammed Abul Barra drove the explosives-packed Honda Accord into the U.N. building.

"All over the world, the U.N. is a global partner in the oppression of believers," Qaqa said. "We are at war against infidels. In Nigeria, the federal government tries to perpetuate the agenda of the United Nations."

U.N. agencies operating in Nigeria include the World Health Organization, the U.N. Development Program, the children's organization UNICEF, the Office on Drugs and Crime, the Joint Program on HIV and AIDS and the U.N. Development Fund for Women. The building hit by the attack housed 26 U.N. humanitarian and development agencies, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week.

Full report at:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/08/31/nigeria.bombing/

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Libya conflict: Leaders gather for Paris summit

Sep 1, 2011

A key summit on Libya, hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK PM David Cameron, is to begin in Paris.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend, as will China and Russia, which has now recognised the National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya's legitimate government.

The NTC will call for help on security, rebuilding and preparing for democracy.

But it has still not captured Col Muammar Gaddafi, whose son Saif al-Islam again vowed a fight to the death.

The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Benghazi, says although the Paris meeting will be short and symbolic, it will give the governments who have supported the NTC another chance to show it has a place on the world stage.

He says the meeting will hone plans for the transition to democracy, for reconstruction and issues such as enhancing the training of police.

The NTC, our correspondent says, will press for a further unfreezing of assets but will also stress that it does not want any lessening of Nato support as it tries to quell the remaining loyalist pockets.

About 60 countries are to attend the "Friends of Libya" forum in Paris on Thursday afternoon, along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The meeting comes on the 42nd anniversary of Col Gaddafi's emergence as the leader of the coup that overthrew King Idris.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14744073

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Tens of thousands mark Eid in Tripoli

Sep 1, 2011

TRIPOLI: Residents of Tripoli marked the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday, kneeling in prayer at the landmark Martyrs’ Square as they rejoiced at the fall of Moamer Gadhafi’s regime.

At dawn, tens of thousands of men, women and children poured into the square, called Green Square under Gadhafi, decked out in their holiday best, as women ululated in triumph and spontaneous cries of joy erupted.

“This is the best holiday of my life,” said Adel Masmoudi, who at 41 was born the year Gadhafi seized power.

An imam leading the dawn prayer at the square urged all Libyans to stand united and hailed the ouster of “the tyrant Gadhafi”, prompting jeers from the crowd at the mention of the fallen strongman’s name.

Rebel forces had set up a security belt around the square, as armed guards patrolled the area and shooters took position on rooftops overlooking the gathering.

Many of the revellers went to Bab al-Azziziyah, Gadhafi’s destroyed headquarters, to have their photographs taken as souvenirs.

Others headed to the beachfront for a dip in the Mediterranean. Rebels at checkpoints distributed sweets and toys for children and played a rap song by a Benghazi band trumpeting the end of Gadhafi’s regime.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/31/tens-of-thousands-mark-eid-in-tripoli.html

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Pakistani fertilizer fuels Afghan bombs

Sep 1, 2011

MULTAN: The main ingredient in most of the homemade bombs that have killed hundreds of American troops in Afghanistan is fertilizer produced by a single company in Pakistan, where the US has been pushing unsuccessfully for greater regulation.

Enough calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer for at least 140,000 bombs was legally produced last year by Pakarab Fertilizers Ltd., then smuggled by militants and their suppliers across the porous border into southern and eastern Afghanistan, according to US officials.

The US military says around 80 per cent of Afghan bombs are made with the fertilizer, which becomes a powerful explosive when mixed with fuel oil. The rest are made from military-grade munitions like mines or shells.

The United States began talks a year and a half ago with Pakistani officials and Pakarab, one of the country’s largest companies. But there is still no regulation of distribution and sale of calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/01/pakistani-fertilizer-fuels-afghan-bombs.html

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Libya rejects UN military forces

Sep 1, 2011

Libya's interim leadership has rejected the idea of deploying any kind of international military force, the UN envoy to the country has said.

Ian Martin said the UN had considered the deployment of military observers.

Earlier, the chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC) said the country did not need outside help to maintain security.

The news came as fighters loyal to the council approached the pro-Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte from east and west.

The town's defenders have been given until Saturday to surrender.

'Special case'

Libya's deputy representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told the BBC that the situation in Libya was unique.

"They [the UN] put the possibility of deploying peacekeepers on the ground but in fact the Libyan crisis is a special case.

"It is not a civil war, it is not a conflict between two parties, it is the people who are defending themselves against the dictatorship."

However, Martin said the UN did expect to be asked to help establish a police force.

"We don't now expect military observers to be requested," he said after a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=31947

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Swiss ignored up to 10,000 Iraqi asylum requests

Sep 1, 2011

BERN, Switzerland: Switzerland has ordered an independent investigation to uncover why Swiss officials ignored up to 10,000 asylum requests submitted by Iraqi refugees.

Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga says the asylum applications were lodged with Switzerland’s embassies in Syria and Egypt between 2006 and 2008.

Sommaruga told reporters in Bern on Wednesday that an internal probe found the Federal Office of Migration had ordered the embassies not to process the requests.

She says an external investigation has now been ordered to answer outstanding questions in the affair.

Sommaruga says the Iraqis were in UN refugee camps and none had come to harm.

She says about half of the asylum applications have now been processed.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article496099.ece

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West cannot ‘confiscate’ Arab Spring: Iran

Sep 1, 2011

1 September 2011 TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s top leader warned the Arab world Wednesday not to allow Western powers and Israel to “confiscate” the region’s pro-reform uprisings, in comments that appear to reflect the Islamic republic’s unease about their standing in a profoundly altered Middle East.

Iran has tried to walk two paths since the pro-democracy rebellions began in February — lauding the popular revolts as modern-day heirs to Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, while maintaining relentless pressure on opposition groups at home.

But Iran is at risk of serious political setbacks. Iran’s main Mideast ally, Syria’s Bashar Assad, is under growing international pressure for his fierce crackdown on anti-government protests.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech broadcast on Iran’s state TV to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, reflected the added worries that the West and its allies could gain ground in the Arab Spring.

“Muslim nations in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen or other countries need vigilance today. They should not allow enemies confiscate the victories they’ve achieved,” Khamenei said. “They should not forget that those who have come to the scene in Libya (U.S. and NATO) today and consider themselves owners of the uprising are the same people who used to sit and drink with those who once suppressed the Libyan nation.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/September/middleeast_September2.xml&section=middleeast

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Mumbai attack might have led to Ind-Pak nuclear war: Roemer

Sep 01 2011

Washington : The 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack by the banned Pakistani militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) almost started a war between India and Pakistan that might have resulted in some kind of nuclear conflict, former US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer has said.

Roemer, who served as the 22nd US ambassador to India from July 2009 to June 2011, however did not divulge any further details of his conclusion that 26/11 could have led to a nuclear war between the two South Asian neighbours.

"Those attacks killed 177 people in Mumbai two years ago. Six Americans were killed. And they almost started a war between Pakistan and India that might have resulted in some kind of a nuclear war. So this self-radicalisation issue is a critically important one," Roemer said yesterday at a discussion on Status of National Security and the Implementation of the 9/11 Commission's Recommendations.

The former US envoy, a member of the 9/11 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States set up in 2002, said he feared a scenario in which a terrorist group gets hold of nuclear weapon and an undetected self-radicalised or a cell in the United States.

"We're often asked a question, I think every one of us: What keeps you awake at night? And I would answer the question, two things: a terrorist group getting a nuclear weapon and a self-radicalised or a cell in the United States that is undetected and can pull off a catastrophic event here," Roemer said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mumbai-attack-might-have-led-to-indpak-nuclear-war-roemer/840092/

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Will not stop using twitter because of criticism: Omar

Sep 01 2011

Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, whose outspoken views on 'twitter' have been much talked about, on Thursday said he would continue to use the micro-blogging site despite some hostile posts which included personal attacks against him.

“Just in case anyone is under the mistaken impression that I've been bullied off twitter - sorry but here I am and I'm not going anywhere,” Omar said in a tweet. The chief minister, who has come under severe criticism from Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders for “excessive” use of 'twitter,' was earlier forced to abandon blogging on his National Conference party's official website due to abusive language and personal attacks against him by some people.

He had significantly reduced posting comments on 'twitter' in July citing writers' block and then in August due to the overwhelming coverage of the fast against corruption by Gandhian Anna Hazare.

“Since nothing is happening in the world other than Anna, and I refuse to tweet about Anna(.) ergo I can't tweet about anything,” he wrote then.

However, Omar announced his return to the blogosphere last night by tweeting “Talk about being back with a bang.”

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/will-not-stop-using-twitter-because-of-criticism-omar/840206/

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Eid celebrated with fervour in Malerkotla

Neel Kamal

Sep 1, 2011

MALERKOTLA: Residents of Malerkotla, the only place in Punjab having a considerable Muslim population, saw people celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, observed after the completion of the holy month of Ramzan, with much gaiety and fervour.

A sea of humanity assembled at the Eidgah and offered namaz, recited by Mufti-E-Punjab Irtaqa Ur Hassan, at the Eidgah. Many visited the other over 100 mosques in Malerkotla.

"The bazaars had been illuminated for the last many days and festivities reached their peak on the occasion of Eid with scores of families turning out in large numbers for shopping", said Mohammad Qasim, a student.

"We have been preparing to celebrate Eid for the last many days as the day brings a lot of happiness for people. Hindus and Sikhs too are celebrating Eid with us", smiled Mohammad Imran, a resident of the town.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Eid-celebrated-with-fervour-in-Malerkotla/articleshow/9817443.cms

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'Feminist imam' delivers message in Afghanistan

By Atia Abawi

Sep 1, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan – In a country where underage marriage is common, education for girls is limited, and, according to the U.N., at least 90 percent of women suffer domestic abuse, “feminism” is not a word frequently tossed around.

Long after the fall of the Taliban, some strides have been made, but women continue to be treated like second-class citizens in some Islamic nations like Afghanistan.

One of the biggest struggles has been to teach Afghan society that Islam in fact promotes equality for women, and that the misinterpretations stem from cultural, not religious, ideals.

Since 1998, Imam Yahya Hendi, an American imam, has traveled to over 60 Muslim and non-Muslim countries to share his views and knowledge of Islam.

“In so many places I have become the ‘feminist imam,’” said Hendi as we recently sat down to chat at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

He’s met presidents, villagers and religious scholars of all faiths. It was an orthodox rabbi he befriended in Sydney, Australia who first gave him his nickname.

“I think it is a title I have to be proud of and it means a lot to me.”

Woman are equal in the Quran

Hendi believes that many Muslims and non-Muslims alike misinterpret the religion because they have not truly informed themselves on the teachings of the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

Full report at:

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/30/7526183-feminist-imam-delivers-message-in-afghanistan

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Syrian Official Resigns to Protest Bloodshed

By NADA BAKRI

Sep 1, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The attorney general of the central Syrian province of Hama has appeared in a video announcing his resignation in protest at what he said are hundreds of killings, arrests and torture cases by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

In the video, released late Wednesday night, Mohammed Adnan al-Bakkour Bakkour, said he quit because security forces killed hundreds of jailed, peaceful demonstrators and buried them in mass graves and arrested 10,000 people arbitrarily.

He said that on July 31, when troops backed by tanks attacked Hama , one of the most restive areas in Syria since the uprising against Mr. Assad started in mid-March, 72 prisoners were killed, including peaceful demonstrators and activists.

He also said that he was forced to issue a report saying that more than 420 people who were killed by security forces and buried in mass graves had been killed by armed gangs. The government has blamed the unrest on Muslim extremist groups and said it is facing a foreign conspiracy to divide the country.

Mr. Bakkour also said in the video that 320 people died from torture at police stations and that the army leveled houses while their occupants were still inside them.

His resignation is the first by a senior Syrian official and could represent a major blow to the government of Mr. Assad, who has so far dismissed all criticism of his crackdown on pro-democracy activists and ignored calls by the international community to step down.

Damascus denied that Mr. Bakkour had resigned, saying he was kidnapped along with his driver by an armed group on Monday and forced to give the statement.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/world/middleeast/02syria.html

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