New Age Islam
Mon Oct 02 2023, 06:27 AM

Islamic World News ( 27 Sept 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

France to woo Islamic finance while it debates ban on burqa

US: Too Late to Stop Iran by Hana Levi Julian

France seeks to woo Islamic finance by Carole Landry

Muslim families tend lotus flowers for Kerala temples by Juhan Samuel

Iraq's president: Iran sanctions won't work

Dozens killed as north Yemen battles rage

Rethinking Which Terror Groups to Fear by SCOTT SHANE

The AfPak War: Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, McChrystal Says Insurgents Are Winning Communications Battle by Walter Pincus

Afghan minister survives car bomb attack

Palestinian Jihad vows revenge from Israel while backing inter-reconciliation by Saud Abu Ramadan

Somali PM optimistic about dialogue with Islamist rebels by Abdurrahman Warsameh

Palembang Islamic Institute Prepares To Evolve

Bomb hoaxes up security: Rab, police swing into action, arrest 418

Pakistan: Reviving Tourism

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this page:


 France to woo Islamic finance while it debates ban on burqa

Sep 27, 2009

PARIS - AS FRANCE debates whether to ban the burqa, the government is leading a drive to attract billions in investment from Muslim countries by turning Paris into the European capital of Islamic finance.

The French parliament this month has approved changes to legislation to allow Islamic 'sukuk' bonds to be issued and the Qatar Islamic Bank has applied to be the first such bank to open in France.

Home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority, France is hoping to unseat London as the European hub for Islamic banking, offering products that comply with Sharia law and meet the needs of big investors mostly from Gulf countries.

But the drive is raising hackles, with some opposition politicians accusing the government of undermining France's much prized secularism to accommodate wealthy interests.

'When rich Muslims are concerned, we welcome them. But when they are poor, we put them on planes and deport them. This is all very upsetting,' said Socialist deputy Henri Emmanuelli.

After failing to garner enough votes to derail the bill, the Socialist opposition is challenging the legality of the new legislation on Islamic finance before the Constitutional Council.

'We must not allow principles of Sharia law, or the ethics of the Koran to be introduced into French law,' said Mr Emmanuelli.

Under Syariah law, making money from money such as charging interest is not permitted and investment in companies involved in alcohol, gambling and tobacco is strictly off limits.

Much of the debate has focussed on opening up the French market to 'sukuk' bonds, which are asset-based and do not pay interest. Investors receive coupons corresponding to part of the profits earned by the asset underpinning the bond.

Economists argue that money raised through Islamic finance could help spur France's nascent recovery with tools that are seen as financially sounder than the high-risk derivatives that led to the 2008 global meltdown. -- AFP


US: Too Late to Stop Iran

by Hana Levi Julian

27 September 2009

A top official in the Obama Administration has at last admitted what intelligence agents and Israeli government officials have been warning about for years: Iran intends to build a nuclear arsenal.

In media interviews with American television news networks scheduled to air Sunday, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said bluntly, "The Iranians have the intention of having nuclear weapons."

The statement was made just days after the discovery of a covert uranium enrichment site in Iran.

Even as the world expressed its outrage, however, Gates pointed out that there was little left to be done about it. "The reality is there is no military option that does anything more than buy time," he told CNN. "The estimates are three years or so."

In a separate interview with ABC News, he noted that Iran had engaged in "a pattern of deception and lies... from the very beginning," even as it claimed it was developing nuclear power for peaceful domestic energy purposes.

"If this were a peaceful nuclear program, why didn't they announce this site when they began to construct it?" Gates asked. "Why didn't they allow IAEA inspectors in from the very beginning?"

International Outrage, Demand for Disclosure

International leaders demanded the Islamic Republic immediately disclose all its nuclear efforts, including any programs involving weapons development, or face the consequences.

"The Iranian government must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions, or be held accountable to international standards and international law," said U.S. President Barack Obama following the discovery.

In a statement made at the G-20 meeting in Europe, French President Nicolas Sarcoxie, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Obama ordered Iran to allow the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the newly revealed site.

"We will not let this matter rest," Brown said. Sarcoxie noted that the G-6 had given Iran until December to comply or face additional, intensified economic sanctions.

Full Report at:


France seeks to woo Islamic finance

By Carole Landry

PARIS — As France debates whether to ban the burqa, the government is leading a drive to attract billions in investment from Muslim countries by turning Paris into the European capital of Islamic finance.

The French parliament this month has approved changes to legislation to allow Islamic "sukuk" bonds to be issued and the Qatar Islamic Bank has applied to be the first such bank to open in France.

Home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority, France is hoping to unseat London as the European hub for Islamic banking, offering products that comply with Sharia law and meet the needs of big investors mostly from Gulf countries.

But the drive is raising hackles, with some opposition politicians accusing the government of undermining France's much prized secularism to accommodate wealthy interests.

"When rich Muslims are concerned, we welcome them. But when they are poor, we put them on planes and deport them. This is all very upsetting," said Socialist deputy Henri Emmanuelli.

After failing to garner enough votes to derail the bill, the Socialist opposition is challenging the legality of the new legislation on Islamic finance before the Constitutional Council.

Full Report at:


Muslim families tend lotus flowers for Kerala temples

By Juhan Samuel

September 27th, 2009

THIRUNAVAYA - A group of about 30 Muslim families in Kerala’s Thirunavaya Village meticulously tend lotus flowers in a pond and supply to various Hindu temples in the region.

For generations, these families have been meticulously tending lotus flowers in their village pond and later supply to temples.

The act promotes communal amity and inspires others to believe in the spirit of brotherhood.

Following the age-old tradition, lotus flowers are offered to the presiding deity at the Sri Krishna emple at Guruvayur.

The lotus flowers grown and picked by these Muslim families are also supplied to Guruvayur, the famed pilgrimage centre, apart from other temples.

Most of these flowers at this temple come from of Mohammad Mustafa’s farm in Thirunavaya. His family has been tending lotus flowers for generations. But Mustafa being a Muslim has never affected his business of supplying flowers to Hindu temples.

“There is no restriction on us in providing lotus flowers to temples. We supply flowers to temples like Thripunitara Temple, Guruvayur, Kadampurzha and various other important temples in Kerala. The temple managing committees have no problems so far and there is no restriction from our community as well. Everyone appreciates us for this work,” said Mohammad Mustafa, lotus flower grower in Thirunavaya.

Full Report at:


Iraq's president: Iran sanctions won't work

September 27 2009

NEW YORK -- Iraq's president said new sanctions against Iran won't work and warns that Iraq will never allow Israel or any other country to use its airspace to carry out an attack.

President Jalal Talabani said the six major powers dealing with the Iran nuclear issue should conduct ``a real negotiation'' with Iran and guarantee Tehran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

He told a news conference Saturday that this might work, stressing that new sanctions will not force Iran to change its policy.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Dozens killed as north Yemen battles rage

27 September 2009

SANAA - Dozens of people were killed or wounded as fighting raged anew on Sunday between government troops and Shia rebels in the Omran and Saada provinces of northern Yemen, military sources said.

 “The army is bombarding Al-Waqiya zone, northeast of Wadi Shabareq in Harf Sufyan,” one source told AFP, adding that troops also managed to seize the nearby Ghalla region from the rebels.

 “There are dozens of killed and wounded in violent fighting which is under way in the region” of Omran province, dozens of kilometres (miles) north of the Zaidi rebels’ mountainous stronghold of Saada, another military source said.

Military sources also reported fighting on the outskirts of Saada city in the Al-Magaash, Al-Iguab and Mahdhah districts.

Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands of civilians have fled their homes since August 11 when the government began its “Scorched Earth” offensive against the Zaidi rebels, also known as Huthis.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday that his government was prepared to fight Shia rebels in the mountainous north for “years,” at a celebration marking the anniversary of 1962 that overthrew the Zaidi imamate.

But he said the government was prepared to end its offensive if the rebels abided by a six-point truce tabled by the Sanaa government, demanding that they open roads, evacuate their positions and free captured civilians and soldiers.

Two separate ceasefires have lasted just hours before fighting flared again.

 “It is a vicious war, a guerrilla war. We are facing a war of rebellion and destruction. If it were a systematic war, the matter would have been settled,” Saleh said.

Full Report at:


Rethinking Which Terror Groups to Fear


September 26, 2009

WASHINGTON — Eight years after 9/11, the specter of terrorism still haunts the United States. Just last week, F.B.I. agents were working double time to unravel the alarming case of a Denver airport shuttle driver accused of training with explosives in Pakistan and buying bomb-making chemicals. In Dallas, a young Jordanian was charged with trying to blow up a skyscraper; in Springfield, Ill., a prison parolee was arrested for trying to attack the local federal building. Meanwhile, the Obama administration struggled to decide whether sending many more troops to Afghanistan would be the best way to forestall a future attack.

 But important as they were, those news reports masked a surprising and perhaps heartening long-term trend: Many students of terrorism believe that in important ways, Al Qaeda and its ideology of global jihad are in a pronounced decline — with its central leadership thrown off balance as operatives are increasingly picked off by missiles and manhunts and, more important, with its tactics discredited in public opinion across the Muslim world.

 “Al Qaeda is losing its moral argument about the killing of innocent civilians,” said Emile A. Nakhleh, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency’s strategic analysis program on political Islam until 2006. “They’re finding it harder to recruit. They’re finding it harder to raise money.”

Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and forensic psychiatrist, counted 10 serious plots with Western targets, successful and unsuccessful, that could be linked to Al Qaeda or its allies in 2004, a peak he believes was motivated by the American-led invasion of Iraq the year before. In 2008, he said, there were just three.

Dr. Sageman has been in the forefront of those who argue that the centrally led Al Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is giving way to a generation of dispersed, aspiring terrorists linked largely by the Internet — who still pose a danger, but of a lesser degree.

 “I said two years ago it was a diminishing problem, and everything I’ve seen since then has confirmed it,” Dr. Sageman said of what counterterrorism specialists call Al Qaeda Central.

Dr. Sageman is not alone in that assessment. Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor at the National War College in Washington, cites the arcs of previous violent extremist groups, from the Russian People’s Will to the Irish Republican Army, that she studied for her new book, “How Terrorism Ends.”

 “I think Al Qaeda is in the process of imploding,” she said. “This is not necessarily the end. But the trends are in a good direction.”

Yet the question of how much comfort to take from such an assessment, and whether it should change American counterterrorism policy, remain wide open, as shown by the Afghanistan debate and the charges against the Denver man, Najibullah Zazi.

Full Report at:


The AfPak War: Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan,

McChrystal Says Insurgents Are Winning Communications Battle

By Walter Pincus

September 27, 2009

The United States and its allies in Afghanistan must "wrest the information initiative" from the Taliban and other insurgent groups that have undermined the credibility of the Kabul government and its international backers, according to the top U.S. and NATO commander in the country.

"The information domain is a battlespace," Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal wrote in an assessment made public on Monday, adding that the allies need to "take aggressive actions to win the important battle of perception."

As an initial step, McChrystal wants to change the goal of public relations efforts in Afghanistan from a "struggle for the 'hearts and minds' of the Afghan population to one of giving them 'trust and confidence' " in themselves and their government. At the same time, he said, more effort should be made to "discredit and diminish insurgents and their extremist allies' capability to influence attitudes and behavior in Afghanistan."

One way to accomplish that, McChrystal wrote, is to target insurgent networks "to disrupt and degrade" their effectiveness. Another is to expose what he calls the insurgents' "flagrant contravention of the principles of the Koran," including indiscriminate use of violence and terrorism, and attacks on schools and development projects.

McChrystal's approach mirrors one that U.S. intelligence operatives are taking covertly, with some success, in the Middle East, where direct and indirect support is being given to Islamic leaders who speak out against terrorists. Michael E. Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said last year that the goal is to show "that it is al-Qaeda, not the West, that is truly at war with Islam."

Echoing that idea, McChrystal recognized in his report that Afghans traditionally communicate by word of mouth. He called for better exploitation of those "more orthodox methods" -- getting "authoritative figures" such as religious leaders and tribal elders to deliver the messages "so that they are credible."

One of the main changes from the current approach should be creating "opportunities for Afghans to communicate as opposed to attempting to always control the message," McChrystal wrote.

Another element he wants changed is the military's public responsiveness to incidents involving U.S. or allied forces that result in Afghan civilian deaths. Overreliance on firepower that kills civilians and destroys homes "severely damaged" the coalition's legitimacy in the eyes of Afghans, he noted, saying the Taliban publicized such incidents.

New procedures must be developed for sharing information about such events, he wrote, so that when they happen, "we are first with the truth."

McChrystal's recommended expansion of the Afghan strategic communications program followed public calls for such a step by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and by Richard C. Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to the region. Holbrooke has repeatedly complained that the Taliban has communicated more effectively than the United States, and he told a House subcommittee in June that there was a need to refine the coalition's message and use new ways to reach Afghans, suggesting cellphones, radio and other means.

Full Report at:


Afghan minister survives car bomb attack

27 September 2009

Afghan Energy Minister Mohammad Ismail Khan survived a car bomb attack in the west of the country Sunday that left at least four civilians dead and 17 wounded, police said.

The attack occurred in the town of Herat when the car bomb exploded in the path of the minister’s convoy, local police spokesman Abdul Raouf Ahmadi said.

 “Four people were killed, including a woman and a child. And 17 other people were wounded,” he said. The local governor’s office confirmed the toll.

Among the wounded were three of the minister’s bodyguards, who were being treated in hospital for minor injuries, said Naqibullah Arwin, spokesman for the local governor’s office.

The minister himself escaped unscathed and had already returned to Kabul.

Interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary confirmed there were casualties but was unable to provide further details, such as whether it was a suicide attack.

Witnesses told an AFP correspondent at the scene that the blast was set off by a suicide car bomber.

Besides the car driven by the bomber, other civilian vehicles and two houses were seriously damaged in the attack.

Afghanistan had been hit hard by a renewed Taliban insurgency, which has paralysed a Western-backed reconstruction drive, cost the lives of thousands of people, and bogged NATO and US troops down in a nearly eight-year conflict.

NATO and the United States have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting the insurgency, which is at its deadliest level in the eight years since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in Kabul.

President Hamid Karzai, beleaguered by accusations of fraud in last month’s presidential election, has said he will launch peace talks with Taliban leaders if he wins another five years in the country’s top job.

Preliminary results from the poll show Karzai leading with 54.6 percent of the vote, against 27.8 percent for his main rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.

However, final results will not be announced until complaints of irregularities are investigated and a partial recount conducted.

Full Report at:


Palestinian Jihad vows revenge from Israel while backing inter-reconciliation

by Saud Abu Ramadan

27 September 2009

GAZA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The less-influential Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement on Saturday vowed revenge from Israel for killing three of its militants, while it informed Egypt that it backs reaching a reconciliation deal to end the current inter-Palestinian split.

The vows of revenge were made by hundreds of the group's supporters who buried the three militants that were killed in an air raid in Gaza on Friday in eastern Gaza City.

Khaled al-Batsh, one of the top Islamic Jihad leaders that headed the angry mourners across Gaza streets at the funeral, told reporters that "The Israeli shelling requires a tough response" from the Palestinians. He held Israel responsible for any Palestinian response.

As the mourners reached Gaza cemetery, which is not far from the borders between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel, clashes erupted between them and the Israeli army forces stationed at the borders. The Israeli soldiers responded with heavy gunfire, according to the witnesses.

Gaza emergency chief Mo'aweya Hassanein told Xinhua that at least 17 Palestinians were injured by Israeli troops' gunfire, with three wounded seriously. Earlier, Hassanein said that three people were injured by the gunfire of the mourners who joined the funeral and were shooting in the air.

Earlier on Saturday, the radical group said that the Israeli raid against the militants was encouraged by U.S.-sponsored meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The air raid was the first of its kind since the end of the 22-day Israeli war on Gaza which ended on Jan. 19, leaving some 1,400people killed.

"The Israeli occupation utilized the resumption of political meetings with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to commit new crimes against the Palestinian people," the movement said in a statement faxed to press, adding "revenge is coming sooner or later on the proper time and place."

The airstrike came shortly after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, where he and his aides held a series of meetings with Israeli officials, including hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The United States arranged for the meetings that were in contradiction with Abbas' decision not to meet Netanyahu unless the latter stops Jewish settlement in the West Bank and endorses the two-state solution. The meeting was slammed by most of the Palestinian opposition groups.

The Islamic Jihad said the international applause of the Israeli-Palestinian meetings "provided cover for the Israeli crime," the first in months after the end of the major military operation in Gaza between December and January.

The group also slammed the PNA, saying its security commitments "have crippled and shackled the resistance" against Israel.

Full Report at:


Somali PM optimistic about dialogue with Islamist rebels

September 27, 2009

By Abdurrahman Warsameh

MOGADISHU, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdurashid Ali Sharmarke, on Saturday said the Somali government is in dialogue with "key" individuals in the opposition and he expected positive results from the talks.

The Somali government is fighting deadly insurgency with Islamist rebels since it returned to the capital early this year following a UN-sponsored talks in Djibouti late 2008 which culminated with the election of the current president and the formation of the government of national unity led by Sharmarke.

The prime minister, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, said there were both "direct and indirect" dialogues going on between the government and the opposition.

"We will continue to engage the opposition. We try to discuss directly or indirectly and I think there have been a lot of progress in our talk. I hope the results may be seen later on but we continue to have a meaningful dialogue," said the prime minister.

Sharmarke acknowledged that there are difficulties in the talks with the opposition groups who are basically two main Islamist factions of Al-Shabaab and the Hezbul Islam.

The prime minister said there will always be going to be "elements" within the opposition that as he put it "will not agree to anything", but he stated that as a government it was their responsibility to reach out to those who were "still out of the (peace) process of Djibouti".

The Somali prime minister was hopeful that the opposition groups would come to terms with the fact that the only way out was to join hands and move forward.

The official also talked about the current security situation, African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the bilateral relations between China and Somalia, and the unfulfilled pledged funds from the international community.

Sharmarke, whose beleaguered government is confined to parts of Mogadishu and fights off daily attacks from insurgent groups poised to topple it, said his government was doing all it could to improve security in Mogadishu.

He acknowledged that the latest deadly twin suicide car bombings against AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu was a "setback" and nothing could be done to prevent such attacks.

Full Report at:


Palembang Islamic Institute Prepares To Evolve

Sep 27, 2009

In a bid to improve quality amidst stiff competition among local and world-class universities, the oldest Islamic Religion Institute (IAIN) in Indonesia, Raden Fatah, in Palembang, South Sumatra, is gearing up for a big change.

The management has decided to transform the institute subsidized by the government into a commercial institution. With its new status as a Public Service Institution (BLU), the institute will have independent financial management.

"The management and decision making process, especially in financial management, would be more flexible and efficient. Currently we have to wait for the state budget before realizing a program," IAIN deputy dean Muhammad Sirozi said recently.

"Under the new management, we expect our programs to improve the quality of education will no longer be delayed because of red tape."

The management had initiated the change early in 2008, but controversy in the passing of the new law on education legal bodies caused some delays.

It started afresh following a national convention of university rectors and series of studies on the new status. IAIN Raden Fatah later established a working group to realize it.

"The working group is finishing its paperwork, and will meet with the Finance Ministry and Religious Affairs Ministry. Hopefully this year we can get the BLU certificate and start the new management in the next academic year," Sirozi said.

The new management status, he said, means more responsibilities and intensive monitoring from the state. The income the institute generates and spend will also be audited by the government.

"The institute rector has to be prudent in selecting fund resources and asset management solutions as well as utilizing networks and cooperation with local or international institutions," he said.

"The new status doesn't necessarily mean the commercialization of education or that there will be higher tuition fees. The management, in fact, could find beneficial cooperation may result in lower tuition fees, or scholarships."

With more professional management, only lecturers who perform well will receive benefits, he said.

Full Report at:


Bomb hoaxes up security

Rab, police swing into action, arrest 418

September 27, 2009

Police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) launched special drives in the capital Friday night to ensure foolproof security of the devotees at the Puja mandaps in the wake of bomb hoaxes in Dhaka and Sylhet.

The law enforces detained 418 alleged criminals from different parts of the capital, especially from residential hotels, crime prone zones and drug spots, in the last 24 hours.

The Rab recovered a bomb-like object from the Gulshan mandap in Banani Friday night while another similar object was recovered from the Ramkrishna mandap in Sylhet yesterday. This caused panic among the devotees and interrupted activities in the mandaps for several hours.

Sources in Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) have said the bomb-like object recovered from Gulshan mandap contained no explosives.

Following the bomb hoax Rab in its drive detained 155 alleged criminals, while DMP picked up the rest.

Commander AK Azad, director of Rab Legal and Media Wing, said they launched the special drive to ensure foolproof security during the Durga Puja.

Most of the arrestees are muggers, snatchers and addicts, he said, adding they will continue the drive till the end of the Durga Puja.

On the other hand, DMP deployed an additional 2,604-strong police force and 1,048 Ansar members in the capital to ensure security in and around the mandaps.

Rab officials say they will keep vigilance with the help of their five battalions in the capital so that criminals cannot carry out any subversive activities.

Many detainees told reporters Rab picked up them from the road when they were returning home from workplaces. They added the elite force detained them although they were not accused in any cases.

Rab sources say they have handed the detainees over to the police stations concerned.


Pakistan: Reviving Tourism

27 Sep, 2009

PAKISTAN will mark World Tourism Day on Sunday with the usual seminars, exhibitions and other official events.

 However, the reality is that for the past few years foreign tourist arrivals – and the accompanying foreign exchange tourists bring – have been falling in Pakistan. There are a number of reasons for this, the foremost being the volatile security situation in the country.

The global economic recession, poor tourist infrastructure and apathy at the government level are other factors that have exacerbated the situation. Pakistan has generated bad press internationally, with many countries advising their citizens not to come here. It must be said that this negative reputation isn’t exactly unearned.

Until recently Fazlullah and his minions were freely stomping around the former tourist hub of Swat, while suicide bombings and other acts of violence in various parts of the country continue even now. Even relatively peaceful areas such as Gilgit-Baltistan have been affected as people stay away due to news of militant violence elsewhere.

Tourism without security is a non-starter. If the government wants tourists – both foreign and domestic – to visit Pakistan’s natural and historical wonders and to thus increase revenue from tourism, it must ensure peace and security.

No one will be inclined to visit Pakistan with images of gun-toting Taliban militants and the aftermath of suicide bombings being flashed across the international media. And when talking of image, many have also criticised the appointment of a cleric as the federal tourism minister. Tourist figures from 2003-06 are quite respectable and prove that, with relative calm prevailing, people will indeed visit the country. Other than security, the government must go beyond rhetoric and seriously think about upgrading the tourism infrastructure to make it attractive to international travellers as well as domestic visitors. There does exist a National Tourism Policy. The question – as always – is that of implementation.


URL of this page: