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Islamic World News ( 19 March 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Gain from Headley bargain: Watertight case against Lashkar

Indonesia: Thousands attend anti-Israel rally

'India will file charges against Headley'

Headley plea: Failure of Indian diplomacy, says BJP

Lakhvi to move SC for acquittal

Terrorism is not a clash of Islam, West’

American Muslim groups condemn call for jihad against U.S.

'US-Pak dialogue not at India's expense'

Malik sees outsiders’ hand in Islamabad violence

Pak Punjab police ad features Indian logo

Pakistani military to be part of strategic dialogue: Holbrooke

Arrests by Pak attempt to scuttle talks with Taliban: UN diplomat

Islamabad denies arrests thwarted Taliban talks

Obama reaches out to Iranian people, vows free internet

Musharraf’s  political party closer to reality

No skin? Afghan TV can't blur fast enough

Bomb damages Pakistani community chief's Athens home

British Muslims must punish the warmongers at the general election

35k troops pulled out of J&K: Omar Abdullah

Israeli aircraft hit disused Gaza airport, 11 injured: Medics

“There was no alert on German Bakery”

Muslim Law Board distances itself from Women's Reservation Bill

Rice voices regret at Iraq war

New Pak-Afghan trade agreement soon: Fahim

Saleh: war with northern rebels over

Iraqi militants warn political parties

‘Jihad Jane’ terror suspect cooperated — US lawmaker

UK anti-militant project stirs Muslim unease

Judge rejects calls for women-only floors in Grand Mosque

Muslim heritage expo meant to inspire young generations

Egypt names new grand sheik

7th anniversary of Iraq War passes, little noticed

Fatwas and danger to society

Iran jails former vice president, reform activist

Berlin exhibits Aga Khan Islamic treasures

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/gain-from-headley-bargain--watertight-case-against-lashkar/d/2600

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Gain from Headley bargain: Watertight case against Lashkar

Diwakar & Vishwa Mohan

Mar 20, 2010

NEW DELHI: The agreement between David Coleman Headley and US authorities, under which he pleaded guilty to being part of the 26/11 plot in order to dodge the death sentence and extradition to India, has considerably abated the fear here that the Americans would let off Headley aka Daood Gilani, a suspected "double agent", lightly. It also marks a big boost to New Delhi's efforts to expose Pakistan's propaganda to project Lashkar as a group focused on J&K.

Details of the "guilty" plea made by Headley validate India's claims about the Lashkar leadership masterminding 26/11, and suggest that the American jihadi may not be able to get away lightly as was being feared.

What should temper the disappointment in certain quarters over Americans agreeing to Headley's condition not to extradite him to India is that the deal marks the first time that top Lashkar leaders -- mentioned in the agreement as Lashkar Members A, B, C and D -- have been held responsible for the killing of American citizens in a US court.

The estimate of Indian investigators is that the alphabets stand for jihadi commanders Sajid Mir, Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, Muzzamil and Abu Hamza or Abu Al Qama: all key figures in the ISI-scripted campaign to use terror to bleed India.

The lid on their identity will soon be ripped apart given Headley's promise of cooperation. In fact, that he is already singing has been one of the reasons cited by the American authorities to justify why they are not pressing for Headley being put on an electric chair or given a shot of lethal injection.

That leaves out the "Big Daddy" of Lashkar -- Hafiz Mohammad Saeed -- the hate-spewing jihadi ideologue. But given that Headley has already acknowledged having been inspired by Saeed's anti-India rhetoric and his testimony about the involvement of Lashkar commanders in the Mumbai plot, the agreement strengthens home minister P Chidambaram's demand -- stubbornly rejected by Pakistan -- for an investigation into the role of the LeT chief.

More so, because Headley's testimony also spotlights that Lashkar is now fully enmeshed in the larger terror web that has Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida at the lead. Prosecutors told the court that co-accused and HuJI chief Ilyas Kashmiri was in regular touch with Qaida's No 3 Sheikh Mustafa Abu al-Yazid.

That is not all. Headley also confessed that his collaborations were "not limited to" just members of LeT -- a significant statement in the light of his testimony early on to FBI about the Karachi Project that involves serving and retired officers of Pakistan Army, besides Lashkar and their Indian proxies, Indian Mujahideen.

What makes the agreement more satisfactory is that while the American authorities have agreed neither to extradite him nor to seek death penalty despite Headley being charged with seven crimes punishable with execution, the fear of being sent to the gallows will continue to hang over Headley like a sword of Damocles.

The agreement, as acknowledged by Headley's counsel Robert Seeder, makes it clear that the death sentence is off the table only so long as the accused continues to cooperate. "The defendant (Headley) understands that if he should breach this cooperation agreement and if the government, at its sole discretion, voids such agreement, the government will no longer be bound by its decision not to seek the death penalty," stressed the plea agreement.

The rider is crucial from India's viewpoint because the cooperation expected under the deal extends to helping with India's own investigation. The statement issued by the US Department of Justice stresed that Headley has agreed to "fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held against the United States by way of deposition, video conferencing and letter rogatory".

The formulation has clearly been designed to help India and Denmark, in that order, considering that of the 12 charges Headley has pleaded guilty to, as many as nine relate to the Mumbai massacre, seven of them warranting death.

The deal which is predicated upon the "calculation" that Headley would get a life sentence, also makes it clear that the sentencing will not happen till he has fully cooperated. More important, it acknowledges that the court could very well prove the calculation wrong -- put bluntly, award death to Headley -- but rules out the option for Headley to withdraw his guilty plea.

Nor does the agreement shut out the possibility of Headley being tried for offences, including those meriting execution, if the investigation conducted by his cooperation throws up evidence of links to crimes other than the dozen figuring in the deal.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Gain-from-Headley-bargain-Watertight-case-against-Lashkar/articleshow/5703618.cms

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Indonesia: Thousands attend anti-Israel rally

03.20.10,

Local newspaper says protest held in response to 'excavation to build a tunnel that will endanger the foundation of al-Aqsa Mosque'

Thousands of people took to the streets of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Saturday, and called to "defend the al-Aqsa Mosque" agains

According to the Jakarta Post, despite heavy rain, supporters of the PSK party marched from the National Monument compound to Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, holding banners which read, “Save al-Aqsa Mosque from Zionist Israel” and “One man one dollar to save Palestine”. They also held a large carton model of the Temple Mount mosque.

Tri Wisaksana, chairman of the party’s Jakarta chapter, promised the audience, “We will prove Indonesian people are ready to support any movement to protect al-Aqsa, the third holiest mosque in the world."

According to the newspaper, the rally was a response to "Israeli excavation to build a tunnel that will endanger the foundation of al-Aqsa Mosque."

The party which organized the rally called on the Indonesian government to officially protest the project and gather international support for a United Nations Security Council meeting to condemn Israel.

The rally was also attended by senior Indonesian politicians. Indonesia, a country consisting of over 1, 3000 islands in southeast Asia, is the world's largest Muslim country. Some 88% of its population of 235 million people follow Islam.

Riots broke out in Jerusalem this week on what was defined by Hamas and Islamic movements as "the day of rage". Hundreds of people took to the streets of east Jerusalem and clashed with the security forces on the backdrop of the reopening of the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City. Dozens were injured and many were arrested, but Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen stressed that "this is not the beginning of a third intifada."

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3865324,00.html

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'India will file charges against Headley'

Mar 20, 2010

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday said American terrorist David Coleman Headley pleading guilty on all counts, including 26/11 Mumbai attacks, under a plea bargain would provide an opportunity to Indian agencies to question him there.

Not viewing it as a "setback", the government also said the country would continue to press for his extradition even though it is difficult as he is accused of committing crimes in the US also.

Reacting over the development, home minister P Chidambaram said India would file charges against Headley at an "appropriate time" and seek access to him. He said the US has provided "significant amount of information" with regard to Headley's activities but many questions remained unanswered and India wanted replies to these.

Noting that the plea bargaining would provide an opportunity to India to question Headley, the home minister referred to the fact that the American terrorist has agreed to "fully and truthfully testify to any foreign judicial proceedings held in the US, either through deposition, video conferencing or through letters rogatory (a formal communication to request testimony of a witness residing in a foreign land)".

"It is not a setback," the home minister told reporters when asked to comment on the plea bargain under which the 26/11 accused would escape death penalty and instead could be imprisoned for his life (meaning entire life).

"There is a good chance that he will testify in a US court where Indian authorities will have a chance to ask questions," he said. He, however, added that the fate of the plea bargain would depend on the court which is not a party to it although the court is "by and large" bound by it.

On the possibility of Headley's extradition to India, Chidambaram admitted that it would be difficult as he is accused of committing crimes in the US as well. He said extradition would have been an easy affair if Headley had committed crime only in India and was a fugitive in the US. However, with regard to the Mumbai attacks, Headley is accused both in India as well as in the US, where he "conspired" in the killing of people, who included six Americans, Chidambaram said.

"So, American authorities have jurisdiction to prosecute him as he was apprehended in the US. We will have jurisdiction when we file charges against him," he said.

"Since he was apprehended in the US, we had apprehended problems in extradition. But, we have not given up our plea. We will continue to maintain our plea for his extradition. But, it will depend on what the court decides on the plea bargain," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-will-file-charges-against-Headley-/articleshow/5703499.cms

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Headley plea: Failure of Indian diplomacy, says BJP

Mar 20, 2010

NEW DELHI: Opposition BJP on Friday said the fact that David Coleman Headley would not be extradited after his plea bargain was a "failure of Indian diplomacy".

"It sounds absurd that Headley would be available to India for investigation but not for trial. This is a complete failure of Indian diplomacy," party spokesperson Rajeev Pratap Rudy said, adding, "BJP will accept nothing less than Headley's extradition for trial in Indian courts."

With extradition of Headley now ruled out after he pleaded guilty to terror charges, BJP said this was a loss but official access to India to question him would help prove to the world about Pakistan's involvement in the Mumbai strikes.

"It (consequences of his pleading guilty before a US court) is a mixed bag. As we cannot get extradition, it is a loss. But, at the same time, we can get official access and can officially question him so our dossiers (against Pakistan) will be more weighty," another party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Headley-plea-Failure-of-Indian-diplomacy-says-BJP-/articleshow/5703501.cms

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Lakhvi to move SC for acquittal

M Zulqernain | Lahore

Buoyed by a Pakistani court’s order that said the trial of Mumbai attacker Ajmal Amir Kasab cannot be separated from that of seven Pakistani suspects, LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi plans to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking acquittal. “We will approach the Supreme Court in a few days following the Lahore High Court’s order and we are quite hopeful that it will change the entire complexion of the case in the anti-terrorism court,” Khwaja Sultan, the lawyer for Lakhvi, said.

A petition seeking Lakhvi’s acquittal is likely to be filed in the apex court on Monday, he said. The Lahore High Court, in its order issued on March 9 in response to a petition filed by Lakhvi, said: “The procedure adopted by (the anti-terrorism) court while applying Section 540-A (2) Criminal Procedure Code for separation of trial of alleged accused Ajmal Kasab and Faheem Arshad Ansari is totally illegal”.

“Resultantly, to that extent the order dated 25-11-2009 passed by the trial court is declared without lawful authority and is hereby set aside,” the court ruled. The High Court’s 14-page order, a copy of which was accessed by PTI, also said Lakhvi could file an “application under Section 265 K of CrPC (for acquittal) at proper stage after recording of necessary/relevant evidence”.

Lakhvi can also raise “any objections about admissibility of any document/evidence at relevant stage of the trial before the trial court,” the order said. The trial of Lakhvi and six other suspects, including Lashker-e-Tayyeba communications expert Zarar Shah, is being conducted by the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi.

They have been charged with facilitating and helping execute the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed nearly 180 people.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/243258/Lakhvi-to-move-SC-for-acquittal.html

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Terrorism is not a clash of Islam, West’

19 March 2010

AFGHAN foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul has called on the international community to stop linking terrorism with the Islamic religion, saying his people, now under a stronger US military presence in pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaeda extremists, are one with the world in achieving peace and security.

Foreign ministers from 125 member-countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) gathered in Manila this week for the Special NAM Ministerial Meeting (SNAMMM) that seeks to strengthen the role of interfaith dialogue as a common resolve to achieve global peace, tolerance and security.

“Terrorism has emerged as one of the main threats to the security, development and well-being of mankind. Yet it has also been a source of misunderstanding between the Islamic world and the West, owing to certain misperceptions,” said Dr. Rassoul in his address at the SNAMMM meeting.

Full report at: http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23188:terrorism-is-not-a-clash-of-islam-west&catid=26:nation&Itemid=63

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American Muslim groups condemn call for jihad against U.S.

March, 19 2010

American Muslim groups small and large have condemned a radical American-born imam’s call for holy war against the U.S.

Anwar al-Awlaki, who is thought to be in Yemen, said in a 10-plus-minute audio recording released Wednesday that Muslims should wage jihad upon America because of the invasion of Iraq and “continued U.S. aggression upon Muslims.”

American Muslim groups, who are constantly battling the notion that moderate Muslims don’t speak vociferously enough against extremists who share their faith, responded very quickly to slam al-Awlaki in no uncertain terms.

A sampling, after the jump

Full report at:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features-the-religion-world/2010/03/19/american-muslim-groups-condemn-call-for-jihad-against-u-s/

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'US-Pak dialogue not at India's expense'

20 March 2010

The first strategic dialogue between the United States and Pakistan here next week would not be at the expense of India or any other country in the region, according to a top US diplomat.

We have an important strategic dialogue with India and with other countries, including China. It makes it all the more important we have one with Pakistan," US Special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke told reporters on Friday.

"But this is a bilateral dialogue," he said when asked in what way would it be different from the one with India. "Let me put this very clearly: This strategic dialogue with Pakistan is not at the expense of any other country in the region."

However, one difference between the dialogues with India and Pakistan was made amply clear with Holbrooke saying that there can be no strategic dialogue with Pakistan without the active participation of its military.

Full report at: ttp://www.dailypioneer.com/243450/US-Pak-dialogue-not-at-Indias-expense.html

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Malik sees outsiders’ hand in Islamabad violence

By Khawar Ghumman and Munawwar Azeem

20 Mar, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed on Friday that outsiders were involved in the daylong violence and fighting with police in Islamabad. It led to the arrest of a large number of protesters and injuries to over two dozen people, including policemen.

Violent protests over the increase in public transport fares, which erupted in Bhara Kahu on Thursday, continued in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Friday.

The violence took a political turn when Mr Malik asserted that protesters had come from outside.

Shakil Awan, newly-elected PML-N MNA from Rawalpindi, and Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, a local legislator of the same party, denied that their workers were involved in the violence.

While Islamabad police were desperately struggling to deal with the largely young protesters, just across the bridge of Faizabad, Punjab police acted as mere spectators. Islamabad police SP Hakim told DawnNews that despite repeated requests, they did not get any assistance from Rawalpindi police. He accused the Punjab police of waiting for orders from their high-ups to help the Islamabad police. When DawnNews approached an SP of the Punjab police standing across the bridge, he said that Rawalpindi police had nothing to do with the protests because these were taking place within the jurisdiction of Islamabad police.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/14-malik-sees-outsiders-hand-in-violence-030-zj-04

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Pak Punjab police ad features Indian logo

Mar 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD: An advertisement issued on Friday in Pakistani newspapers by the police force in Punjab province featured the logo of its counterpart in India's Punjab state, triggering an outcry among people.

The development was reminiscent of the uproar in India in January when a government advertisement featured former Pakistan air force chief Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed alongside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The advertisement, which appealed to people to remain vigilant and cooperate with police to prevent terrorist attacks and other crimes, was carried on the front page of several English and Urdu newspapers. The logo of the police force of India's Punjab state was placed next to the words 'Punjab Police' at the bottom of the advertisement.

Pakistan's Punjab Police chief Tariq Saleem Dogar blamed printing company involved in the advertisement for the lapse.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-Punjab-police-ad-features-Indian-logo/articleshow/5704249.cms

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Pakistani military to be part of strategic dialogue: Holbrooke

Mar 20, 2010

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration's Af-Pak envoy on Friday said that there can be no strategic dialogue with Pakistan without the active participation of its military and the talks should not be at the expense of India.

This is the reason why Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani and ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha have been included in the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue slated to be held in Washington next week.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmoud Qureshi would be co-chairing the day-long meeting on March 24.

Full report at:

ttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pakistani-military-to-be-part-of-strategic-dialogue-Holbrooke/articleshow/5704397.cms

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Arrests by Pak attempt to scuttle talks with Taliban: UN diplomat

Sachin Parashar

Mar 20, 2010

NEW DELHI: As India laid out its Afghanistan policy on Friday, even entailing reintegration of the Taliban, there was more evidence to suggest that Pakistan will stop at nothing to acquire "strategic depth" in that country.

Outgoing UN chief in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has said that the recent spate of arrests of powerful Taliban leaders, including Mullah Baradar, was effected by Pakistan on purpose to sabotage UN's initiative to engage Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Omar's men.

While admitting that the UN had "preliminary talks" with Taliban leaders in Dubai, Eide said the talks with Omar's men had been progressing well "until a certain moment a few weeks ago".

"The effect (of the arrests) in total, certainly, was negative on our possibilities to continue the political process that we saw as so necessary at that particular juncture," the Norwegian diplomat told BBC, adding that the Pakistanis did not play the role they should have.

As much as India dislikes the idea of any agency engaging Mullah Omar's Taliban, this disclosure by the diplomat will lend credence to speculation in India that Pakistan, through these arrests, is sending the message that no settlement would be possible without its playing a stellar role in it.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Arrests-by-Pak-attempt-to-scuttle-talks-with-Taliban-UN-diplomat/articleshow/5703407.cms

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Islamabad denies arrests thwarted Taliban talks

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan rejected on Friday a suggestion from the former head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan that the arrest of senior Afghan Taliban members in Pakistan may have disrupted talks with U.N. representatives.

Norwegian Kai Eide, who stepped down this month, said talks with the Taliban dried up several weeks ago after more than a dozen Taliban were captured in joint U.S.-Pakistan operations. The most prominent Afghan Taliban leader picked up in Pakistan was top military strategist Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Since the announcement last month of his arrest in Karachi by U.S. and Pakistani agents, there has been speculation Baradar might have been talking to Kabul in recent months and that might subsequently have led to his arrest. Analysts say Pakistan has long seen the Afghan Taliban as a tool to promote its interests in Afghanistan, where it wants to see a friendly government in power and to limit the influence of old rival India.

Full report at: http://dailymailnews.com/0310/20/FrontPage/FrontPage1.php

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Obama reaches out to Iranian people, vows free internet

Mar 20, 2010

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Saturday pledged to ensure Iranians access to the Internet "without fear of censorship" in a Nowruz, New Year message targeted at the country's civilian population.

Obama also said that Iran's leaders had chosen to isolate themselves, despite his offer last year of a "new beginning" in relations between Washington and Tehran.

He promised US efforts to "ensure that Iranians can have access to the software and Internet technology that will enable them to communicate with each other, and with the world, without fear of censorship."

In excerpts of the address released by the White House, Obama said his offer of dialogue with Iran still stands, and repeated his line that Tehran should be held accountable after failing to meet its nuclear obligations.

"Over the course of the last year, it is the Iranian government that has chosen to isolate itself, and to choose a self-defeating focus on the past over a commitment to build a better future,"

The full address was due to be released later on Saturday, officials said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obama-reaches-out-to-Iranian-people-vows-free-internet/articleshow/5704777.cms

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Musharraf's new political party closer to reality

Mar 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has reportedly accepted former president general Pervez Musharraf's application to register a new political party named All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), thus clearing the road for Musharraf to return to the country for another political stint.

Sources privy to the development said Musharraf was trying hard to register the party through some of his loyalists in the country for quite some time, and has now finally succeeded.

Commenting on the reports regarding Musharraf staging a comeback, major general (retired) Rashid Qureshi, while confirming that barrister Saif was serving as a legal advisor and spokesman of Musharraf, said the former premier has still not decided to join the newly floated party.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Musharrafs-new-political-party-closer-to-reality/articleshow/5703764.cms

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No skin? Afghan TV can't blur fast enough

Mar 20, 2010

KABUL: Eight years after the fall of the Taliban, who banned television and barred women from appearing in public without an all-enveloping burqa, the Afghan government is fighting a losing battle to keep female flesh off TV.

In a country that remains deeply conservative and male-dominated, the government has the power to impose fines or shut down broadcasters for showing images of women deemed racy. Yet the guidelines seem to be observed largely in the breach. Urban Afghans are now spoiled for choice with a remarkably vibrant array of TV stations. At any given moment, viewers can flip between news, cooking shows, cartoons, Turkish soap operas, Iranian dramas and hugely popular Indian films, with their gyrating sari-clad heroines.

To get around government restrictions on showing female flesh, TV stations employ full-time pixilators, charged with adding blurry blotches over bare arms, legs, necklines and midriffs. But if you watch long enough, you can easily spot a swaying elbow, a naked ankle or even an exposed strip of waist.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/No-skin-Afghan-TV-cant-blur-fast-enough/articleshow/5703787.cms

 

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Bomb damages Pakistani community chief's Athens home

Mar 20, 2010

ATHENS: A makeshift bomb exploded outside the residence of the head of the Pakistani community in central Athens early on Saturday causing damage but no injuries, police said.

"There was damage to the entrance of the apartment building and three cars but no injuries. There is no claim of responsibility," a police official said.

It was the second incident in less than 24 hours as another makeshift bomb damaged the office of a far-right group in central Athens early on Friday without hurting anyone.

There has been a series of gas canister and bomb attacks by leftist and anarchist groups in Greece since the fatal police shooting of a teenager sparked the country's worst riots in decades in December 2008.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Bomb-damages-Pakistani-community-chiefs-Athens-home-/articleshow/5704535.cms

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British Muslims must punish the warmongers at the general election

By Roshan Muhammed Salih

20 Mar 2010

The upcoming UK general election, predicted to take place on May 6, could be a seminal moment for the British Muslim community.

By some estimates the United Kingdom's 2 million Muslims could influence up to 100 marginal seats. And in a closely fought election where the marginals are predicted to decide the outcome, that could swing the balance of power.

So either British Muslims can prove there is such a thing as a “Muslim vote”, thereby sending a clear message to politicians that there will be a price to pay if they get trampled over. Or they can remain divided, vote according to trivial self-interest and thus open the door to further Islamophobia at home and crusading wars abroad.

Here's what I'm proposing:

Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=121233&sectionid=3510303

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35k troops pulled out of J&K: Omar Abdullah

Mar 20, 2010

JAMMU/SRINAGAR: With marked improvement in internal security situation and gradual restoration of peace, 35,000 Army personnel and hundreds of paramilitary force personnel have been shifted out of Jammu & Kashmir in the last 15 months alone.

In his marathon 130-minute speech in the assembly, which was in business till late Thursday evening, chief minister Omar Abdullah said, "We have reduced thousands of troops and also decreased the number of central paramilitary forces from internal duty without creating any hype... the process (reduction of troops) will continue."

"The footprints of security forces in the state will diminish and state police will be in the forefront in dealing with law and order," he said. Currently, 15,000 BSF and 39,000 CRPF jawans are stationed in Jammu & Kashmir on internal security duty.

Omar said security forces have been sensitized to show extreme restraint while combating militancy. "We want to ensure there is no loss of innocent life during the operations against militants," he said. BJP floor leader Chaman Lal Gupta, however, told the assembly the reduction of troops would encourage terrorists. "It will encourage militants to regroup."

Main opposition People's Democratic party and separatists have been campaigning for troop reduction as they believe the presence of the Army in Kashmir was disrupting the day-to-day lives of the people.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/35k-troops-pulled-out-of-JK-Omar-Abdullah/articleshow/5704367.cms

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Israeli aircraft hit disused Gaza airport, 11 injured: Medics

Mar 20, 2010

JERUSALEM: Israeli aircraft hit a disused airport in southern Gaza on Friday night, injuring 11 people, two of them seriously, Palestinian medical officials and witnesses said.

Four missiles hit the site, the witnesses said.

The injured were all in the vicinity of the airport, near the town of Rafah.

The facility itself has long been closed.

An Israeli military statement described the target as "a terror site" and said pilots confirmed that it was hit.

It was the second night of Israeli raids since a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip killed a worker on an Israeli farm on Thursday.

Another rocket was fired into Israel earlier on Friday.

The cross-border exchanges came as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was headed for a weekend visit to Gaza, the West Bank and Israel and as the United States sought to get Palestininans and Israelis talking peace.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israeli-aircraft-hit-disused-Gaza-airport-11-injured-Medics-/articleshow/5704467.cms

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“There was no alert on German Bakery”

20 March 2010

MUMBAI: Contradicting Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, his Maharashtra counterpart R.R. Patil on Friday said that in the last 365 days the State had received 349 alerts and none about Pune's German Bakery as a possible terror target.

Responding to a question in the State Assembly, Mr. Patil said that after the alerts adequate precautions were taken. However, there was no alert about the Bakery, but an alert only regarding the Chabad House near it, which was tightly guarded.

He also said the government would not hand over the German Bakery blast probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Patil said many Central agencies were investigating the case along with the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) . The police would be demoralised if the case was taken from it and handed over to a Central agency.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/20/stories/2010032066121400.htm

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Muslim Law Board distances itself from Women's Reservation Bill

Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has distanced itself from the much talked about Women's Reservation Bill. The Board began its three-day annual convention in Lucknow on Friday.

The Assistant Secretary-General of the Law Board, Maulana Abdul Rahim Qureshi, made it clear that the 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and State Assemblies envisaged in the Women's Reservation Bill does not figure on the Board's agenda.

Though the issue of women's reservation is important, it is not in the Board's jurisdiction nor under its purview, the Maulana told reporters here.

He said the Board's jurisdiction extended only to matters related to interference in the “shariat” laws of the Muslims and formulation of strategy to counter it and “Islah-e-Ma'ashra” (reform of Muslim society ). Not all issues were within the purview of the Board, he added.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/20/stories/2010032065140700.htm

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Rice voices regret at Iraq war

March 20, 2010

HONG KONG: Former top US diplomat Condoleezza Rice voiced regret on Friday at the bloody aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq but said the Bush administration had in the end “got it right” in the country.

Rice, who served as national security adviser during the Iraq invasion and later as secretary of state, was unrepentant about the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

“I would many times over liberate Iraq again from Saddam Hussein. I think he’s a danger to the Middle East,” she said in a speech at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, when asked what she thought she had got wrong.

Full report at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=230128

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New Pak-Afghan trade agreement soon: Fahim

20 March 2010

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim On Friday said renewal of Pak-Afghan Trade Agreement was under process and hoped it will be finalized soon.

“As soon as it is finalized, we shall inform the House,” he said during Question Hour in the National Assembly and added, “Investment Chapter of the bilateral FTA between Pakistan and China was renegotiated and the amended Protocol was signed on October 15, 2008”.

Pakistan and China signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on Trade on February 21, 2009. After exchange of diplomatic notifications by both sides, the agreement was operationalized on October 10, 2009, he added.

Full report at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=229947

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Saleh: war with northern rebels over

By RANIA OTEIFY | REUTERS

20 March 2010

DUBAI: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared an end to a long-running war with northern Shiite rebels that drew in neighboring Saudi Arabia last year, according to a television interview to be aired on Friday.

But the president, under international pressure to end domestic unrest and focus his country’s fight on Al-Qaeda, also placed limits on an offer for dialogue with opponents in the south, scene of escalating violence with secessionists.

“We can say the war is over, not stopped or in a truce,” Saleh told Al-Arabiya in the interview, referring to the war in the north that has raged on and off since 2004.

The declaration of an end to the northern war was a reversal by Sanaa, which earlier this week had complained that the northern rebels were not fully complying with a slow-going truce deal to end a conflict that has displaced 250,000 people.

Sanaa, struggling to stabilize a fractious country strategically located next door to the world’s largest oil exporter, jumped to the forefront of Western security concerns after Al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based regional arm claimed responsibility for an attempted December attack on a US-bound plane.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article32150.ece

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Iraqi militants warn political parties

20 March 2010

BAGHDAD: An Al-Qaeda-linked militant group that claimed responsibility for recent bombings in Baghdad has declared a new military campaign against Iraqi political parties, according to a group that monitors insurgents’ communications.

The threat from Islamic State of Iraq was contained in a speech from the group’s leader, Omar Al-Baghdadi, on an audio tape posted on jihadist forums on Thursday, the US-based SITE Intelligence Group said.

ISI threatened voters before Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election, warning that they risked death if they cast ballots and calling the election a farce aimed at cementing Shiite domination over Sunnis.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article32171.ece

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‘Jihad Jane’ terror suspect cooperated — US lawmaker

20 March 2010

Published: Mar 19, 2010 05:02 Updated: Mar 19, 2010 05:02

PHILADELPHIA – A woman accused of trolling the Internet as Jihad Jane and agreeing to marry a suspected terrorist and kill a Swedish artist targeted by radical Muslims cooperated with authorities, a congressman said.

Colleen LaRose pleaded not guilty Thursday to the four-count indictment at a brief arraignment in federal court in Philadelphia. The hearing marked her first public appearance after six months of detention following her unannounced arrest in October. She wore a green prison jumpsuit and corn rows in her blond hair and smiled warmly at her public defenders when she entered the courtroom. The judge set a May 3 trial date on charges in the indictment, unsealed last week.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article31899.ece

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UK anti-militant project stirs Muslim unease

By WILLIAM MACLEAN| REUTERS

Mar 20, 2010

LONDON: A British anti-radicalization campaign called Prevent is a pressing priority in the European country experts see as the most at risk from Al-Qaeda attack.

But to listen to its critics, the project, aimed mainly at Muslim communities, might more accurately be named Provoke.

Security officials are struggling to stem a tide of unease among Muslim communities about the program, which seeks among other things to identify people most vulnerable to recruitment by Al-Qaeda-aligned groups and wean them away from extremism.

"People fear Prevent. They misinterpret it. They think it's spying on us," said Owais Rajput, a researcher at Bradford University in West Yorkshire, the home area of three of the four men who killed 52 people in suicide attacks in London in 2005.

Jahan Mahmoud, a community worker and academic in the Midlands city of Birmingham, said there were large segments of the community that felt Prevent, led by the Home Office (interior ministry), was prying into their lives.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/world/article32172.ece

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Judge rejects calls for women-only floors in Grand Mosque

Mar 19, 2010

JEDDAH: A judge at Riyadh Summary Court has ridiculed calls for the construction of extra floors just for women at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in order to prevent them from mingling with men during tawaf (circling of the Holy Kaaba) and prayers.

"Such opinions must be totally rejected. The issuers of such fatwas must be stopped and re-educated," said Dr. Isa Al-Ghaith, a judge at Riyadh Summary Court.

Al-Ghaith said this while commenting on the remarks of Yousuf Al-Ahmed, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Al-Watan newspaper reported.

Al-Ahmed told a TV channel that mixing between men and women during Tawaf around the Kaaba was against Islam, and that the expansions carried out during the Ottoman era and the rule of King Saud should be demolished, adding that it would create more room for the increasing number of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article32118.ece

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Muslim heritage expo meant to inspire young generations

20 March 2010

LONDON: On his visit to the UK, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visited on March 16 the "1001 Inventions" exhibition in London that features many scientific achievements that Western Europe inherited from the Muslim world, including the Ottomans.

"Through our sponsorship of 1001 Inventions we aim to provide the role models that will inspire generations of young people of many diverse backgrounds to explore the possibility of becoming science and technology entrepreneurs," said Fady Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, president of Abdul Latif Jameel International Foundation, while welcoming Erdogan to the exhibition at the Science Museum, in South Kensington, London.

The 1001 Inventions gallery at the country's premier science museum attracted more than 80,000 visitors in its first eight weeks. "1001 Inventions: Discover The Muslim Heritage In Our World" was launched on Jan. 21 to highlight the scientific heritage the world has inherited from Muslim civilization.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article32179.ece

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Egypt names new grand sheik

20 March 2010

CAIRO: Egypt's president named a moderate, Western-educated Islamic scholar the country's new top cleric on Friday, the state news agency reported.

The appointment makes Ahmed el-Tayeb the new grand sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar, the pre-eminent theological institute of Sunni Islam, the faith's majority sect. He takes over from Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, who died of a heart attack last week after heading Al-Azhar for nearly 14 years.

El-Tayeb, who was in his hometown of Luxor in southern Egypt when he received news of his appointment, said he “highly appreciates the great trust” President Hosni Mubarak has bestowed on him, the Middle East News Agency reported.

The Sheik of Al-Azhar is highly respected throughout the Muslim world, offering guidance on issues of faith in Egypt and other Islamic nations. He oversees an extensive network of Islamic schools, a university and religious institutes that open their doors to Muslims from around the world.

The sheik also advises the state on religious matters.

The French-educated el-Tayeb, 64, previously served as Egypt's Mufti, the nation's top religious law expert, for a brief stint before stepping down in 2003 to head Cairo's Al-Azhar University. He is an expert on religious philosophy and issues of faith, and has written books about science, Marxism, Islamic philosophy, and Islamic culture.

Viewed as a moderate Muslim who has encouraged dialogue with Western countries, el-Tayeb has outwardly criticized hard-line Islamists, saying the focus on rituals and outward manifestations of piety - such as Islamic garb or beards - comes at the expense of true spiritual development.

El-Tayeb also angered radical Islamists for once telling an Islamic conference that “the logic of things is change.”

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article32224.ece

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7th anniversary of Iraq War passes, little noticed

By ALLEN G. BREED | AP

Mar 20, 2010

Lebanese and Iraqi people light candles during a vigil as they mark the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, in front of the United Nations House in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday. (AP)

RALEIGH, North Carolina: It was a day like any other day - except that it was the seventh anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. And, for the most part, that was forgotten.

“Honestly, with everything that's going on in my personal life, it slipped my mind,” said Chris Skidmore, 39, as he sipped a drink on the artificial lawn at Raleigh's North Hills Mall. “I've been out of work since August of last year.” It's not that the average American isn't aware that we still have tens of thousands or troops in Iraq, or that nearly 4,400 US military personnel have died there since the war began. Scattered demonstrations were scheduled around the country to call for the troops' swift return.

But with so much else going on - a torpid economy, a climactic debate over health care reform, a mounting conflict in Afghanistan - it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Americans are still fighting and dying in Iraq.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article32228.ece

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Fatwas and danger to society

20 March 2010

What is happening in our country is terrifying. The rising incidence of fatwas (religious edicts) is extremely frightening. Fatwas that demand the murder of persons who are alleged to violate Islamic laws are extremely dangerous and destabilizing to a tolerant, civilized society. These demands are frequently issued with no thought or concern as to its breadth or the consequences to Saudi society and the nation.

Like many others, I read recently the fatwa posted on the official website of Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nassir Al-Barrak. It said, “Certainly the one who permits mixing of men and women — if it leads to prohibited relations — is in fact permitting prohibited relations. Any one who approves them is a kafir (unbeliever). This means he is an apostate and he should be tried for it and if he does not recant, must be executed.” My topic of discussion is not the fatwa itself, although I feel saddened that the debate triggered by the fatwa has focused more on the topic of gender mixing and not on the more important topic of issuing a fatwa to kill someone.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article32074.ece

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Iran jails former vice president, reform activist

Mar 19, 2010

TEHRAN, IRAN: An Iranian appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former vice president on a charge of spreading propaganda against the ruling clerical establishment during the post-election turmoil.

The court also confirmed a one-year prison sentence for Hossein Marashi. A close relative said authorities took him into custody on Thursday evening.

Marashi was a vice president in the government of pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami, who served from 1997 to 2005. Later, he was a spokesman for a liberal party called Kargozaran.

The relative spoke oon Friday on condition of anonymity for fear of government retribution for talking to a journalist about the case. Wednesday's court ruling included a lifelong ban on political activity for Marashi.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-jails-former-vice-president-reform-activist-/articleshow/5701544.cms

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Berlin exhibits Aga Khan Islamic treasures

20 March 2010

The Martin Gropius Bau gallery has mounted an exhibition of relics from the Aga Khan's collection of Islamic art in the German capital of Berlin.

Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum - Arts of the Islamic World displays over 200 objects including paintings, drawings, ceramics and wood carvings made in Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula to China during the 8th to the 18th centuries.

All pieces, to be showcased until June 6, are from the collection of Karim Aga Khan IV, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Shia's, AP reported.

Managing director of the exhibition Luis Monreal says the event aims to introduce the diversity of the Islamic culture to the Western community.

"We in general view Islam as a single cultural identity and this is simply a wrong perception, because Islam over 13 centuries has been a religion practiced by a great diversity of people," he told reporters.

Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=121062&sectionid=3510212

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/gain-from-headley-bargain--watertight-case-against-lashkar/d/2600


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