New Age Islam
Fri Dec 04 2020, 12:15 AM

Islamic World News ( 18 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Grave Concern over Enforced Disappearances of Extradited Uyghurs

Girls’ school blown up in Jamrud

Saudi Kingdom to host seminar to empower Islamic media

Parliament ruckus over Bhagvad Gita facing ban in Russia

India uproar at call in Russia to ban Bhagavad Gita

Pak: Man held for hosting 'obscene' dance party

2011: Islam redeemed, and by God, we came a long way

Hafiz Saeed and the Conspiracy to Malign Pakistan Army

ZARDARI BACK, shocks critics

‘Chinese sequence Genghis descendant genome’

Iraqi PM moves to oust deputy amid political crisis

Mahathir urges countries to achieve 50% market share for Islamic banking

Saudi Prince Alwadeen buys $300 mn stake in Twitter

Secret US, Taliban talks reach turning point

Musharraf Announces January 2011 Return

Taliban ready to open political office in an Islamic country

Syria signs Arab League deal to allow in monitors

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis rally against US

Kayani, Zardari make up on the phone

Pakistani Crisis Prompts Zardari to Race Home

‘Conspiracies being hatched against govt’

Ministers mocked the court order: CJP

'Severing diplomatic ties can undermine Pakistan's interests'

Govt. urged to get rid of US war against terrorism

Iran hands over bodies of three Pakistanis

2 Afghan refugees killed in Mastung

17 terrorists killed in Orakzai air assault

Nephew of militant commander killed in Khyber Agency

Intl. Islamic Media Conference urges peaceful resolution of disagreements

Lips, nose of woman chopped off in Musakhel, Pak

`14 civilians, 6 troops dead in Syria violence'

Iran frees Kuwaitis held for espionage

Interaction with Muslim countries a priority of Iran Culture Ministry

EGYPT Brotherhood Claims 40% vote

1,400 cadets join Afghan army

IISc terror attack: Six get life imprisonment in Bangalore

Maya misleading Muslims, say U.P. opp. Parties

Taliban operates from Pakistan: Karzai

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/grave-concern-over-enforced-disappearances-of-extradited-uyghurs/d/6171

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Grave Concern over Enforced Disappearances of Extradited Uyghurs

19th Dec. 2011

19 December marks the second anniversary of the illegal and forcible return of 20 Uyghur asylum-seekers (including one woman and two children) from Cambodia to China and the Chinese authorities still have not disclosed their whereabouts and legal statuses. The Chinese government had promised the international community that it would deal with these Uyghurs transparently upon return.  The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is gravely concerned about their well-being and is also worried about other cases of enforced disappearances of Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers after their return to China from different countries in the Asian region.

Under the excuse of the “global war on terror,” launched after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Chinese government has drastically increased its crackdown on all forms of peaceful political, social and cultural Uyghur dissent. The past ten years have proven that Uyghurs fleeing suppression and discrimination in East Turkestan are at extreme risk of being deported back to China, where they face enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and execution. In the past decade, at least 170 Uyghur refugees, many of whom had been granted UNHCR refugee status, have been forcibly returned from countries with strong economic and diplomatic ties to China:

A part from the Cambodian case mentioned above, Kazakhstan has deported at least 20 Uyghurs after 9/11, among them Ershidin Israel in May 2011. The same month, Tajikistan deported three Uyghurs with Turkish citizenship to China. Kyrgyzstan has extradited around 50 Uyghurs to China since 2001 and Uzbekistan another two, among them Huseyin Celil, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after his return. Myanmar forcibly deported 17 Uyghurs in January 2010, Laos returned seven Uyghurs in March 2010 and Nepalese authorities have extradited at least nine Uyghurs since 2001.

Since 9/11, Pakistan has deported 28 Uyghurs to China, most recently on 8 August 2011, when five Uyghurs, among them one woman and two children, were sent back to China. The Uyghur refugee Nur Muhemmed was handed over to Chinese officials in Bangkok, Thailand, on 6 August 2011. Only two weeks later, on 18 August, Malaysia extradited eleven Uyghurs to China.

Most of these people have “disappeared” after their forcibly return to China in a kind of black hole. “The disappearance of these Uyghur individuals is emblematic of the absence of the rule of law in China,” stated Rebiya Kadeer, WUC President and former prisoner of conscience, and multiple-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Although the Chinese government has alleged that these Uyghurs committed criminal and violent acts, the government has not produced any evidence to substantiate such allegations. The government routinely makes unsubstantiated accusations against Uyghurs of crimes and violence and also regularly equates Uyghurs’ peaceful political dissent, as well as peaceful religious and cultural activities, with terrorism, religious extremism, and separatism.

Countries that handed over Uyghur refugees to China were granted economic and diplomatic benefits, ignoring the fact that these extraditions represented a flagrant violation of international human rights treaties, especially the UN Convention Against Torture, the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as international customary law.

The WUC condemns these forcible returns in the strongest possible terms and calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately disclose these Uyghurs’ whereabouts and to provide the charges, if any, that have been made against them.

The WUC also calls on the Asian governments to end their prioritization of questionable commitments with the Chinese government over their international human rights obligations – especially in regard to denials of asylum and forcible return of asylum seekers.

Background information in the Cambodian case:

On 19 December 2009, under pressure and influence from China, the Cambodian government forcibly returned these 20 Uyghurs before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had made a determination about their refugee status.

These people had fled China following July 2009 events in Urumqi, East Turkestan´s regional capital, because they had witnessed Chinese security forces arresting and using brutal and lethal force against Uyghur demonstrators during the peaceful Uyghur protest in July 2009 in Urumqi.

After their extradition, China rewarded Cambodia for its reprehensible action by signing an agreement two days after the return to provide a reported US$1.2 billion in aid to Cambodia.  Cambodia returned these Uyghurs to China while being fully aware that in China, they would be tortured and persecuted on grounds set forth in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention, of which Cambodia is a party.

http://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/?p=12799

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Girls’ school blown up in Jamrud

LANDIKOTAL: Dec 19, 2011, Unidentified terrorists razed to ground a state-run girls’ high school on Saturday night by detonating explosive material they planted in the building in Ghundi area of Jamrud tehsil. The total number of destroyed schools in Khyber Agency has reached to 61 with the latest blast. Khyber Agency Education Officer Hashim Khan Afridi said that an explosive device planted in the school went off at 1:30am. Resultantly, four classrooms and a veranda of the school were completely destroyed while the rest of the classrooms and other structure of the building was partially damaged. School watchman Baz Muhammad Sikandarkhel said that he was standing at the main gate of the school when he heard a huge explosion followed by smoke and dust. He said that his house, situated inside the school compound, was also damaged in the blast in which his two sons were also slightly injured. Meanwhile an Afghan national was kidnapped from Khyber area while he was travelling to Afghanistan in a coach on Sunday. The kidnappers reportedly left behind their car in Sheikhwal area of Khyber from where they took away the victim by foot across the mountain, Khasadar sources said. staff report

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_16

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Saudi Kingdom to host seminar to empower Islamic media

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

ARAB NEWS

JAKARTA: Dec 19, 2011 , Saudi Arabia will host a major media seminar next year to discuss ways to strengthen Islamic media institutions such as the International Islamic News Agency and the Islamic States Broadcasting Organization, the spokesman of the Ministry of Culture and Information said.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the International Islamic Media Conference in Jakarta, Abdul Rahman Al-Hazza said the proposed seminar in Jeddah was still in the planning stage. “We need to get the approval of higher authorities and make proper preparations. We will invite experts from the Islamic world and prepare a good agenda for discussions,” he said.

Al-Hazza said he was happy to participate in the Jakarta conference. “It gave us an idea about how our Islamic media are functioning now and what are the areas that need improvement. We are under attack from the Western media and unless we cooperate and make a good plan we cannot succeed,” he pointed out.

“From what we heard in the conference, the future is promising, but from our side we need to be well trained. We should concentrate on the content, develop our media tools and enhance the skills of our people to perform well, fight back and present the teachings of Islam in a nice and convincing manner to all,” he said.

Al-Hazza said his ministry would follow the conference’s recommendations. “Our newspapers, television channels and the new media should practice these recommendations to help them improve their performance,” he said.

The spokesman urged participants to give more consideration to the new media such as Facebook and Twitter, considering their growing influence, especially on the youth. “Unless we know how to use these social media networks as useful tools to defend Islam and present its teachings, we are not going to succeed,” he added.

Al-Hazza urged Muslim media organizations to prepare an action plan on the basis of the conference’s recommendations. “Each organization has to prepare its own plan to implement them. Muslims are well aware of the present situation and I am sure they would practice what has been discussed in this conference to improve their media and compete with others,” he said.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article550187.ece

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Parliament ruckus over Bhagvad Gita facing ban in Russia

IANS

NEW DELHI: Dec 19, 2011, Parliamentarians across the political spectrum on Monday asked the government to ensure that the religious rights of Hindus in Russia are protected after a member pointed out an IANS report about the Bhagvad Gita facing a ban and the prospect of it being branded as "extremist" literature there.

Angry MPs forced the adjournment of the Lok Sabha till 2pm after Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab raised the issue in the house and asked the government to intervene immediately to ensure the religious freedom of Hindus in Russia.

He said a court in Siberia's Tomsk city was set to deliver its final verdict on Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors, as was reported by IANS on Saturday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on an official visit to Moscow.

"I want to know from the government what it is doing. The religious rights of Hindus in Russia should be protected. The government should impress upon the Russian authorities through diplomatic channels," he said.

The case, which has been going on in the Tomsk court since June, seeks a ban on a Russian translation of the "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

It also wants the Hindu religious text banned in Russia, declared as literature spreading "social discord", and its distribution on Russian soil rendered illegal.

Indians in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the ISKCON religious movement in Russia have appealed to the Indian government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the scripture, an important part of Indian epic Mahabharata written by sage Ved Vyas.

When Mahtab raised the issue, the lower house plunged into chaos, with MPs urging Speaker Meira Kumar to let them speak on the matter. She, however, refused and instead asked them to send notes and associate with Mahtab.

Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RLD) was heard shouting that the Hindu scripture does not preach extremism.

Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) members were also seen rising from their seats to protest the issue before Meira Kumar adjourned the house till 2pm.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Parliament-ruckus-over-Bhagvad-Gita-facing-ban-in-Russia/articleshow/11166214.cms

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India uproar at call in Russia to ban Bhagavad Gita

By Nigam Prusty

NEW DELHI, Dec 19, 2011 (Reuters) - Angry MPs forced parliament to close on Monday and protesters gathered outside a Russian consulate over a Siberian trial calling for one of Hinduism's most holy books to be put on a list of banned literature that includes Hitler's Mein Kampf.

The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk says a translation of the Bhagavad Gita is extremist because it insults non-believers, local media in Russia say.

"We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna," members of parliament shouted, until the house speaker adjourned parliament for several hours.

The Bhagavad Gita takes the form of a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna prior to a battle. Its philosophical insights were praised by Albert Einstein and forms a bedrock of the Hindu belief system.

India and Russia enjoy close diplomatic and defence ties and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from an annual visit to Moscow at the weekend. MPs demanded to know if he had raised the issue of the trial with Russian officials.

The translation up for trial is called "Bhagavad Gita as It Is," and is central to the global Hare Krishna movement. Members of the movement link the case against the text to the Russian Orthodox Church, which they claim wants to limit their activities.

Dozens of Hare Krishna adherents in orange robes shouted slogans and danced outside the Russian consulate in Kolkata, a Reuters witness said.

More than 20,000 people signed an online petition against the trial and the word Gita was one of the main Indian trends on Twitter on Monday.

Last year, Russian prosecutors banned Adolf Hitler's 1925 semi-autobiographical book 'Mein Kampf' in an attempt to combat the growing allure of far-right politics.

Post Soviet Russia recognises freedom of religion and names four -- Russian Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism -- as the nation's main religions.

Other beliefs, particularly sects or groups that try to convert people, are sometimes subject to pressure such as court cases, efforts to break them up and limits on gatherings.

India's foreign minister will address parliament on Tuesday about the government's position with regard to the Bhagavad Gita case.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/12/19/uproar-at-call-in-russia-to-ban-gita-idINDEE7BI0D120111219

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Pak: Man held for hosting 'obscene' dance party

Press Trust of India

Lahore: Dec 18, 2011, A man has been arrested for arranging an 'obscene' dance party for his wedding function in Pakistan's Punjab province, police officials said on Sunday.

The incident occurred in Toba Tek Singh district, 125 kilometres from Lahore, on Friday night.

The bridegroom, Mazhar Iqbal, 30, and his friends called three dancing girls who performed 'vulgar dances' outside his house, police officials said.

Acting on a complaint from a neighbour, police conducted a raid and arrested Iqbal, six of his relatives and friends and the dancing girls.

Police have registered a criminal case against them.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pak-man-held-for-hosting-obscene-dance-party/213004-56.html

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2011: Islam redeemed, and by God, we came a long way

“You can crush the flowers, but that will not delay the Spring.” – Protest graffiti in a Cairo mosque

The year that is about to pass is historical for Islam for the reason that a much-derided faith has proved to be capable of being all that it was thought incapable of.

An awakening that swept the Arab world ended up re-inventing Islam in the eyes of the world. I consider myself lucky for being able to travel to some of the lands and meeting some of the people who were part of this.

The changes have been variously called “Arab Spring”, “Arab awakening” or “Arab Empowerment”. I prefer to call it Islam’s second renaissance.

For this to be the second renaissance, you may wonder, there ought to be a first one in the first place. Digression be excused, Ibn Rushd’s (Averroes for Europe) rescue of the Aristotelian texts (when Europe almost buried them) should be counted as one of the key features of the first Islamic renaissance.

The Arab spring was sparked in Tunisia in late 2010 by protests that followed the self-immolation of a young vendor harassed by police. His death in a hospital in January prompted thousands to take to the streets that forced the longtime president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Bolstered by the success in Tunisia, protests soon bobbed up in other Arab lands. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rallied to the centre of Cairo, camping in Tahrir Square, to call for Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. Despite three decades of unbridled power, Mubarak could hold out for no more than three weeks of a popular uprising.

In June, Yemen’s president fled his country and eventually cobbled up a transition deal to end his 33-year rule. In Libya, an opposition movement that sprung up at Benghazi spread like wild fire, ultimately resulting in the killing of Muammar Gaddafi’s, captured by rebels in his hometown and promptly killed. He had ruled Libya since 1969.

In Syria, Bashar Assad’s regime is still brutally cracking down on rebels, resulting in, according to the UN, 5,000 deaths so far. In Bahrain, Saudi troops helped quell protests.

Morocco held a referendum and swiftly approved a constitutional reform, allowing more democracy.

In the birthplace of Arab Spring, Tunisia, An Hada, an Islamist party, came to power in post-uprising elections. In Morocco, the PJD, another Islamist party, emerged victorious. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is way ahead in the three-stage elections.

These victories have showed that the choice of newly democratised Arab masses is an Islamist one. Why? That’s because the Arabs have tried out the men in uniform. They have also tried out the men in dapper business suits.

Now they want to try out the men in the robes.

All the Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have demonstrated a strong will to reconcile Islam and modernity – a much delayed project. And most of them are in coalitions with secular allies.

The Brotherhood has promised a respect for gender and minority rights. In Morocco, which I visited twice this year, the ruling Islamist PJD’s chief told me that they would do nothing to alter Morocco’s remarkably open society, which still seems caught in the old French colonial frame.

The Arab Spring has in fact redefined Arabism itself, which was once marked by demagogic big rulers with thick black moustaches. The Arab Spring was inspired by genuine aspirations for equality, participation and individual dignity. The Islamists scored because they have always been articulating these concerns.

The churning in the Arab world has brought political Islam to the centrestage but it is a peaceful, democratic Islam that has chased away al Qaeda to the remotest corners of the desert. The Arab Spring is still work in progress, but there are no signs yet that it could go awry.

http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/they-call-me-muslim/2011/12/18/islam-redeemed-and-by-god-we-came-a-long-way/

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Hafiz Saeed and the Conspiracy to Malign Pakistan Army

By Ibrahim Sajid Malick

December 19, 2011

I had goosebumps reading the news yesterday that several criminals took stage in Lahore under the banner of JuD and aligned themselves with Pakistan army. Was it a conspiracy to malign Pakistan army, I wondered. Who could have been behind this? You see, I have no sympathies for characters like Hafiz Saeed who have eroded the Pakistani society and have pushed Pakistan in a state of profound crisis. These fundamentalists have pushed Pakistan in a crisis that is complex, and multi-dimensional with facets that touch every aspect of our lives: our health and livelihood, the quality of our environment and our social relationships, our ideology, economy, and politics. It is a crisis of intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions; a crisis of a scale and urgency unprecedented in 65 years history of Pakistan.

I called a progressive friend, a leading journalist to share my concern and at least rhetorically, he had gone back several years – suggesting we need a rag-tag army of imbeciles like Hafiz Saeed to counter threats from India. My friend had a fit when I suggested that India is not a threat. Winning the hearts and minds of the likes of my “progressive” friend is a major milestone for the retrogressive forces whose success means decline of Pakistan’s cultural steam and human decency.

Undoubtedly, India has the potential to become regional hegemony and Pakistan must protect it’s sovereignty, independence and dignity.

But these wayward mullahs who have managed to drown the voices of reason and rationality are rapidly destroying our country. With Petro dollars supported tribal and Wahabi influence Pakistan’s social structures and behavior patterns have become so rigid that this country can no longer adapt to changing situations, it is unable to carry on the creative process of cultural evolution.

But I am lucky to have many other friends who are willing to give peace a fighting chance. While the Mullahs in Lahore were waging jihad (at least through their hateful speeches) many progressive Pakistani and Indians were praying for peace. A prominent Pakistani activist Beena Sarwar wrote on her wall:

For Full Report:

http://ibrahimsajidmalick.com/hafiz-saeed-and-the-conspiracy-to-malign-pakistan-army/1788/

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ZARDARI BACK, shocks critics

Staff Reporter

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Dec 19, 2011,  - Giving a shock of their life to media critics and his political opponents who had created a stir across the country that he would not return to Pakistan on the pretext of his ill-health, President Asif Ali Zardari returned early on Monday to question the credibility of his detractors for speculating his political future amidst the memo controversy.

With the reports from Dubai that Zardari was ready to leave for Pakistan, the analysts who had suspected his return in their writings and talk shows once again attempted to twist the situation, but they had to eat dust as the president returned early on Monday – the day the Supreme Court is set to take up the memo case – telling his opponents that he would face all challenges and not run away. The president’s special flight PK-01 landed in Karachi at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Masroor base at 1:05am. Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah received the president. Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri said the president, despite his return, would get bed rest in accordance with the advice of his doctors. “The president’s return will shut the mouths of some people,” she added. Security was beefed up in the city, and large contingents of police, Rangers and the Frontier Constabulary (FC) were suddenly deployed on Karachi roads, including Shahrah-e-Faisal, in the late hours of Sunday. Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan arrived at the Bilawal House to review security arrangements.

According to sources, Zardari would rest in Karachi for some days and then leave for Islamabad.

After being discharged from the hospital, the president kept a regular contact with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and his close aides, who had been telling the media that he was “OK” and would return soon.

For Full Report:

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/zardari-back-shocks-critics/

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‘Chinese sequence Genghis descendant genome’

Beijing, Dec 19, 2011, The blood donator, a male, has been identified only as one of Genghis Khan's 34th-generation offspring from the Sunit Tribe

In the first individual genome sequencing of a Mongolian, Chinese scientists on Sunday claimed that they have sequenced a direct descendant of the great Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan.

The blood donator, a male, has been identified only as one of Genghis Khan’s 34th-generation offspring from the Sunit

Tribe, which is based in the Xilingol league (prefecture) in Inner Mongolia, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported.

Describing this as the first individual genome sequencing of a Mongolian, Zhou Huanmin, project leader and head of the biological research lab at the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, said the

research team will continue to sequence the genomes of another 199 ethnic Mongolians and build a database consisting of Mongolian genetic code.

Mr Zhou said the results of the genome mapping are important for the detection of ethnicity-specific genome inheritances and the evolutionary features of Mongolians, and

will also contribute to medical research linked to the control of certain diseases.

There are about 10 million ethnic Mongolians living around the world, mainly in China’s Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region and Qinghai province, as well as the Republic of Mongolia and Russia.

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/SPOTLIGHT-Chinese-sequence-Genghis-descendant-genome-19122011008035.shtml?Mode=1

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Iraqi PM moves to oust deputy amid political crisis

AFP

Baghdad, Dec. 18: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki called on legislators on Sunday to withdraw confidence from one of his deputies, a Sunni Arab who described him on television as “worse than Saddam Hussein“.

Mr Maliki's push for Saleh al-Mutlak to be removed from his post comes amid a political deadlock with the deputy prime minister's Sunnibacked Iraqiya bloc, which announced a day earlier that it was suspending its participation in parliament in protest at the Premier's alleged centralisation of power.

The latest moves come with the US military having completed its withdrawal from Iraq on Sunday, nearly nine years after the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam from power. -AFP

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/MALIKI-MOVES-TO-OUST-DEPUTY-AMID-POLITICAL-CRISIS-19122011009031.shtml?Mode=1

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Mahathir urges countries to achieve 50% market share for Islamic banking

By MUSHTAK PARKER,

ARAB NEWS, Dec 18, 2011

Even in retirement he remains the most popular politician to the Muslim "man-and-woman-in-the-street". Now as an elder statesman, Mahathir Mohamed, the former Malaysian prime minister, continues to give advice whether on the global financial crisis, on the future of the Islamic banking industry, on the Islamic gold dinar, on the future of US dollar as an international trading currency, and on his celebrated spat with arch speculator and fund manager, George Soros, in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

In an exclusive interview, Mahathir, albeit a bit more frail now, was his usual outspoken self, and he had a clear and present message for the Islamic banking industry - learn from the mistakes of conventional banking if the industry is to avoid the same fate. There definitely is a future for Islamic finance. It would not be spectacular; it would not be the cause of booms and busts.

"It would be steady and would not cause the kind of social and economic upheavals that we are seeing today. Islamic banking and the wealth of the Muslims will cause the rest of the world to link up with Muslim countries. Muslims will feel comfortable doing business without going against the injunctions of Islam provided that the abuses of the Riba banks are avoided there will not be the periodical collapse of the Islamic financial system. We are seeing how the Islamic banks have remained unaffected by the current crisis. Insha'Allah it will remain crisis-free in the future," he added.

Mahathir is perhaps one of the better qualified persons to talk about Islamic banking. Not because he is an expert in Islamic finance or Fiqh Al-Muamalat (Islamic law relating to financial transactions). It is because that he is the architect of the Islamic banking system in Malaysia. Not many people today realize that one of the first actions that Mahathir took when he came to office in 1981 was to set up a National Steering Committee to implement Islamic banking in Malaysia. The report of this committee on the viability and strategy of Islamic banking was the impetus for the creation and robust development of the Islamic financial industry in Malaysia. The rest is history.

He strongly believes that the Islamic system for economic and financial management has something to offer to the world especially in these dire times of financial crisis, sovereign debt and economic recession. Indeed, he urges countries to resort more to using Islamic finance in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and stressed that the industry is here to stay and definitely has a future in the global financial system.

For Full Report:

http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article550222.ece

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Saudi Prince Alwadeen buys $300 mn stake in Twitter

Reuters

Dubai:Dec 19, 2011,  Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an investor in some of the world’s top companies, on Monday unveiled a $300 million stake purchase in fast-growing microblogging site Twitter, gaining another foothold in the global media industry.

Alwaleed, a nephew of the Saudi king with a personal net worth estimated by Forbes magazine in March to be just below $20 billion, already owns a 7-percent stake in News Corp  and has unveiled plans to start a cable news channel.

Alwaleed, a nephew of the Saudi king with a personal net worth estimated by Forbes magazine in March to be just below $20 billion, already owns a 7-percent stake in News Corp. Reuters

The Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co investment firm, resulted from “months of negotiations”, Kingdom said in a statement.

Applying an $8 billion valuation figure for Twitter used by some analysts, the investment by Alwaleed and Kingdom amounts to a 3.75-percent stake.

Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character text messages, or Tweets, to groups of so-called followers, is one of the Web’s most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga.

The company said in September that was in no hurry to undertake a hotly anticipated initial public offering. It raised $400 million in venture capital financing this summer.

It now counts more than 100 million active users who log onto the service at least once a month.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network has more than 750 million active users.

Internet search giant Google Inc recently launched a social networking service dubbed Google+ which some observers say could lure users away from Twitter.

ARAB SPRING

The use of Twitter played a role in the spread of information in the Arab Spring, a series of revolts that have shaken the Middle East and North Africa this year.

Saudi Arabia headed off some rumblings of dissent from its own population by unveiling a $130 billion social spending package.

Saudis are increasingly turning to satellite television, online news providers and social networking to stay abreast of world events. The world’s No. 1 oil exporter announced a series of stricter regulations for journalists earlier this year.

Alwaleed, who has a sizeable stake in Citigroup (C.N), has spoken out in favour of broader political participation, fair elections and effective job creation across the Arab world.

Kingdom owns a near-30 percent stake in Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which runs a range of media titles.

“Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” Alwaleed said in the statement.

Shares in Saudi companies are due to start trading at 0800 GMT. Kingdom stock closed on Sunday at 7.85 riyals.

http://www.firstpost.com/business/saudi-prince-alwadeen-buys-300-mn-stake-in-twitter-159826.html

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Secret US, Taliban talks reach turning point

By Missy Ryan, Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball

Washington:Dec 19, 2011, After 10 months of secret dialogue with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents, senior US officials say the talks have reached a critical juncture and they will soon know whether a breakthrough is possible, leading to peace talks whose ultimate goal is to end the Afghan war.

As part of the accelerating, high-stakes diplomacy, the United States is considering the transfer of an unspecified number of Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay military prison into Afghan government custody.

It has asked representatives of the Taliban to match that confidence-building measure with some of their own. Those could include a denunciation of international terrorism and a public willingness to enter formal political talks with the government headed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The officials acknowledged that the Afghanistan diplomacy, which has reached a delicate stage in recent weeks, remains a long shot. Among the complications: US troops are drawing down and will be mostly gone by the end of 2014, potentially reducing the incentive for the Taliban to negotiate.

Still, senior officials, all of whom insisted on anonymity to share new details of the mostly secret effort, suggested it has been a much larger piece of President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy than is publicly known.

US officials have held about half a dozen meetings with their insurgent contacts, mostly in Germany and Doha with representatives of Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, the officials said.

For Full Report:

http://www.firstpost.com/world/secret-us-taliban-talks-reach-turning-point-2-159881.html

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Musharraf Announces January 2011 Return

By Abdul Manan

LAHORE: December 18, 2011, Former president Pervez Musharraf announced on Sunday that he would return to Pakistan in January 2012. Musharraf said, via a videoconference in Lahore from London, that the solution to current challenges did not lie in undemocratic initiatives. Dragging the military into politics would be fatal for the country, he warned.

His All Pakistan Muslim League had arranged a public gathering at Nasser Bagh and party workers from across the country participated.

Musharraf said that the ISI and Army were a guarantee of Pakistan’s solidarity and sovereignty, adding that some elements were conspiring to use the ‘memo matter’ to defame the ISI and the Army.

Musharraf said that both leading political parties had been in power but delivered nothing.

The former president urged the people to cast their votes for capable leaders ignoring affiliations of caste and creed and clear of linguistic, religious and provincial prejudices.

Endorsing the demand of PTI chief Imran Khan, Musharraf said, all politicians should disclose details of assets, adding, “I will announce the details of my assets on my arrival in Pakistan.”

He also said that Pakistan faced enormous crisis’s due to incompetent leaders. No institution could steer the country out of the current quagmire on its own, he said.

“I led Pakistan towards prosperity and stabilised the economy during my regime. I also improved the image of the country worldwide. I will soon be among my countrymen. Those making all kinds of allegations against me will be unable to prove a single allegation of corruption against me,” he added.

Earlier, APML secretary general Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, Punjab president Mian Zahid Sarfraz and central media advisor Fawad Chaudary also spoke to the gathering.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/308408/musharraf-announces-january-2012-return/

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Taliban ready to open political office in an Islamic country

KABUL: Dec 19, 11, Taliban are willing to open an office in an Islamic country, a step towards holding face-to-face peace talks with Afghanistan, a member of the Afghan government’s team of negotiators with the group said on Sunday.

After a series of failed attempts at talks by Afghans and their Western allies, in November Afghan President Hamid Karzai ruled out negotiations with the Taliban until the insurgent group had an address at which he could contact them.

“What we heard from senior Taliban commanders and their relatives, is they agreed on a political office,” Arsala Rahmani, a senior member of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council said on Sunday. “It would be better to establish one inside Afghanistan if the situation allows.”

“We agree and have always called for a political address for the Taliban either in Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or any Islamic countries and it is in our interest,” Rahmani said.

Last week, Afghanistan recalled its ambassador to Qatar hours after an Indian newspaper reported that arrangements had been put in place for a Taliban office in the Gulf state.

The report caused worry in Kabul that the Afghan government would be excluded from the peace process were another country used as a base for talks. The United States wants to seek a political settlement to an expensive, decade-long war, but Afghan officials insist that they must lead the process. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_8

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Syria signs Arab League deal to allow in monitors

19 December 2011

Syria has signed an agreement to allow observers to monitor its implementation of an Arab League initiative to end the crackdown on anti-government protests.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said the deal had been signed at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo.

He said the Arab League had accepted amendments demanded by Damascus.

The Arab League had threatened to ask the UN Security Council to adopt its peace plan to end the crackdown, which has left more than 5,000 people dead.

Human rights activists said security forces had killed at least six civilians on Monday, including three in al-Quriya, near the south-eastern city of Deir al-Zour.

They were shot dead during clashes between troops and army defectors, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The other three deaths were reported in the southern province of Deraa.

At least 15 civilians and six soldiers were killed on Sunday, activists said.

'Model of democracy'

At a news conference in Damascus, Mr Muallem said the Syrian government had agreed to the Arab League's peace initiative because it wanted a "political solution to [the] crisis in order to emerge from it in the best way possible".

"We want t... build a safe, modern Syria - a Syria that will be a model of democracy," he added.

For Full Report:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16246689

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Tens of thousands of Pakistanis rally against US

AFP

LAHORE: 18 DEC, 2011, Tens of thousands gathered in one of the biggest-ever protests in the Pakistani city of Lahore Sunday to condemn NATO and United States over the killing of 24 soldiers along the Afghan border.

The protestors, mainly from Islamist groups and political parties, vowed they would march to the capital Islamabad if the government did not cancel agreements between the US designed to fight terrorism.

"We will hold a march towards the capital if the government does not revoke agreements of cooperation in the war against terror with the US," said Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, a senior leader of the Pakistan Defence Council (PDC).

About 3,000 activists from the Council, which organised the rally, also acted as guards in addition to a 1,000-strong police contingent

Saeed, who heads the charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa and founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) faction blamed by India and the US for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, warned that "we will no longer tolerate any attacks on our soil."

"The US should not turn its missions in Pakistan into spying stations," he said, adding that "we will respect Americans if they live in Pakistan as guests but any other agenda will not be tolerated."

Saeed called on Pakistan's government to decide on a date that would see it take the country "out of the war against terror" and vowed "every sacrifice to preserve and uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country."

Since the attacks last month, Pakistan has charged that US-led forces deliberately carried out the air strikes that killed the two dozen soldiers, but the US has insisted the November 26 incident was a regrettable mistake.

The incident came amid high tension between the US and Pakistan, whose military -- long the country's most powerful institution -- has been on the defensive since the secret US raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden.

In response, Pakistan has sealed its Afghan border to NATO supply convoys, boycotted the Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan and ordered US personnel to vacate an air base reportedly used by CIA drones.

An AFP photographer present at Sunday's rally put the number of demonstrators at over 40,000 while two senior police officials said more than 70,000 people attended the protest.

Protestors waved the flags of their respective Islamist parties and shouted "friends of the US are traitors and long live Pakistan".

Liaqat Baloch, a top leader of the radical Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party, told the rally: "We will not allow Pakistan to become a colony of the US."

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/tens-of-thousands-of-pakistanis-rally-against-us/articleshow/11158549.cms

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Kayani, Zardari make up on the phone

SHAFQAT AL

ISLAMABAD,Dec 19, 2011, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and powerful Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani have buried the hatchet and resolved to move together, official sources said. “There are no differences now. The two are friends again,” said a senior government official.

The President and the Army Chief were not on the same page on the Memogate scandal that nearly sent the Pakistan People’s Party-led government packing.

“Gen. Kayani telephoned President Zardari and the two discussed national issues. They have vowed to dispel the impression that the Army and the government have differences,” said the official. The phone

call made by Gen. Kayani to Mr Zardari was confirmed by Prime Mini-ster Yousaf Raza Gil-ani himself Saturday night at a news conference also held to dismiss talk of a rift.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar also confirmed the phone-call.

The Army and the government have contradictory views on the Memogate scandal. The federation has

challenged the court’s authority to hear the Memogate case, while the chiefs of the Army and Inter-Services Intelligence, who believe there is enough evidence suggesting a plot had been hatched against the Army and the country, had called for a thorough probe.

PPP sources said they discussed the Memogate controversy and ostensibly the divergent viewpoint taken

by the military leadership in their reply filed with the Supreme Court. During the discussion “a lot many things settled down considerably” and the impression of a clash between the institutions was erased to a great extent. The sources claimed the Army Chief had been trying to contact the President for the past few days but could not reach him on the phone.

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/BOTTOMLINE-Kayani-Zardari-make-up-on-the-phone-19122011001048.shtml?Mode=1

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Pakistani Crisis Prompts Zardari to Race Home

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec 19, 2011, — A tense showdown between Pakistan’s powerful army and its besieged civilian government brought President Asif Ali Zardari hurrying back from Dubai early on Monday, after weeks of growing concerns by his supporters that the military has been moving to strengthen its role in the country’s governance.

Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

President Asif Ali Zardari in 2010. He returned to Pakistan on Monday from Dubai, where he had been recuperating.

Pushed by the army, a Pakistani Supreme Court hearing set to begin on Monday will investigate whether Mr. Zardari’s government was behind an unsigned memorandum that surfaced in October, purportedly asking the Obama administration’s help to curb the military’s influence and avert a possible coup in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

The case has brought tensions between Pakistan’s military and its civilian leaders to perhaps its highest pitch since Mr. Zardari was elected three years ago. And it may also complicate America’s efforts to bring its relationship with Pakistan out of crisis after the Bin Laden raid and American airstrikes last month that killed 26 on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan. That roiling period of dispute has also strengthened the military’s hand in the country’s affairs.

For Full Report:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/world/asia/president-back-in-pakistan-as-tensions-with-army-rise.html?_r=1

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‘Conspiracies being hatched against govt’

REZAUL H. LASKAR

ISLAMABAD, DEC. 18, As the memogate scandal continued to simmer, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday said there were conspiracies against his government to scuttle 2012 Senate polls, even as he rejected the notion that his administration was in confrontation with the powerful Army and judiciary.

“All conspiracies are related to preventing the Senate elections (Upper House of the Parliament),”

Mr Gilani said while interacting with reporters at a private function in Lahore.

He added that “there is no room for a martial law in Pakistan.” Mr Gilani’s remarks came against the backdrop of differences between the government and the Army over a probe by the Supreme Court into an alleged secret memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared military takeover in Pakistan after the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. Mr Gilani, however,

did not identify the elements behind the conspiracies even as he stated that the polls to the Senate will be held as scheduled in March 2012.

The ruling Pakistan People’s Party is widely expected to gain a majority in the Senate polls. PPP leaders have accused other parties of being behind efforts to remove the government in a bid to stymie the Senate elections.

“There is no room for a government of technocrats, chair-takers or caretakers,” Mr Gilani said when he was asked if his government would be replaced by a caretaker set-up. The memogate scandal, he said, was a

“non-issue” and giving “undue importance to nonissues had put the country’s integrity at stake”.

On Saturday, while rejecting the notion that his government was in confrontation with Army and judiciary over the memogate scandal, Mr Gilani had said both the institutions were pro-democracy and did not want to derail the existing system. Mr Gilani had told reporters at the Prime Minister’s House that both the Army and the judiciary are pro-democracy.

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/Conspiracies-being-hatched-against-govt-19122011008028.shtml?Mode=1

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Ministers mocked the court order: CJP

ISLAMABAD -Dec, 19, 2011, The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday started hearing the memogate scandal case which has created waves in Pakistan’s politics.

During the course of hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry scolded Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq over former federal minister and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Babar Awan’s press conference in which he had criticized court’s decision on formulating a commission to investigate memo scandal.

“Court orders were reticulated in former minister’s press conference. Was it governmental action or minister’s individual act? What is government’s point of view on it?” the CJP asked the AG.

He ordered the AG to show Awan’s press conference in the court room, besides submitting federation’s written statement on the minister’s act.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/ministers-mocked-the-court-order-cjp/

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'Severing diplomatic ties can undermine Pakistan's interests'

ISLAMABAD: 19 DEC, 2011, Snapping diplomatic ties with other countries was not in Pakistan's interest, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in response to anger in the country following the Nov 26 NATO airstrike that killed two dozen soldiers.

Khar said breaking off diplomatic ties with other countries was not in national interest and asserted that Pakistan wanted amicable relations with all countries of the world.

She said in Lahore that the parliament would take decisions on ties with the US in the larger interest of the country and the nation, reported Associated Press of Pakistan.

Pakistan had held a two-day envoys' conference to discuss the the modalities to re-evaluate the country's policies, keeping in view national interests.

The conference was called after the US-led NATO fighter jets and helicopters Nov 26 carried out what Pakistani leaders viewed as an intentional attack on two border posts in the country's Mohmand tribal region bordering Afghanistan, leaving 24 soldiers dead.

Islamabad angrily reacted to the attack as the military leadership said the NATO aircraft violated the "Red Lines" clearly defined to the coalition forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan military said that NATO had carried out eight strikes on Pakistani posts in three years, killing 72 soldiers and injuring hundreds of others.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/severing-diplomatic-ties-can-undermine-pakistans-interests/articleshow/11165319.cms

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Govt. urged to get rid of US war against terrorism

Staff Report

LAHORE:Dec 19, 2011, Political and religious parties have demanded the government to part ways with the US war on terror that was causing a heavy loss to the country.

Noted leaders of religious and political parties, clerics and defence experts while addressing the Pakistan Defence Council (PDC) public gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan on Sunday asked the rulers to honour ‘the public mandate’.

They demanded Islamabad to part ways with Washington, in what they called, war against Muslims and its dictates to award MFN status to India.

The gathering of Lahoris was a clear message that Pakistani nation was fully prepared to fight if US waged war against the country, the speakers said, adding that it was the time Pakistan must shrug off the US slavery in which a coward and traitor general threw the country since the nation had already paid too heavy a price for being used as a tissue paper in the US war.

Full Report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_7

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Iran hands over bodies of three Pakistanis

CHAGAI: Dec, 19, 2011,  Iranian officials handed over the bodies of three Pakistanis to Pakistani border officials in Taftan on Sunday. Taftan Tehsildar Haji Kamran Kurd told APP that three Pakistani labourers working in Iran were killed in a road accident. They were identified as Saeedur Rehman, Hamayun and Muhammad Mansoor. The bodies were dispatched to the hometowns of the victims. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_15

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2 Afghan refugees killed in Mastung

MASTUNG: Dec 19, 2011, Two Afghan refugees were killed as unidentified armed men opened fire at their car near Mastung on Quetta-Karachi Highway on Sunday.

Police said the victims Shamsuddin and Amanullah had been travelling to Quetta from Karachi and were targeted near the town.

“The incident apparently seems to be a highway robbery bid as assailants chased the vehicle and opened fire when they found the prey fleeing,” police said.

Police cordoned of the area besides alerting the officials at the check-posts at exit point of the district about the culprits. The bodies were shifted to provincial capital and handed over to their families. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_21

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17 terrorists killed in Orakzai air assault

ORAKZAI AGENCY:  Dec, 19, 2011At least 17 terrorists have been reported killed in an air assault on their secret hideouts in Orakzai Agency, the media reported on Sunday.

According to reports, the security agencies launched a robust attack with jet fighters on their hideouts in Jawaki and Samaa areas of Orakzai Agency on Sunday afternoon.

Three secret hideouts were demolished and 17 terrorists killed in Sunday’s lethal air assault of the security agencies.

Orakzai is the only tribal agency of the country which does not border Afghanistan. The security forces of Pakistan have been battling terrorists in the tribal region since 2008. online

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_28

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Nephew of militant commander killed in Khyber Agency

JAMRUD: Dec 19, 2011, A nephew of a key commander of the Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) was killed in mysterious circumstances in a remote valley of the Khyber Agency in the wee hours on Sunday. Sources said that Imran Khan, nephew of LeI senior commander Sabeel Afridi, was roaming outside his house in Tirah Valley when a bullet hit him in the head, killing him on the spot. It wasn’t immediately known who fired the gunshot and why. The possibility of sniper fire has not be ruled out. inp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_29

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Intl. Islamic Media Conference urges peaceful resolution of disagreements

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

ARAB NEWS

JAKARTA: Dec 19, 2011, The international Islamic media conference in Jakarta called upon media organizations in the Muslim world to use their potential to spread peace, understanding and harmony and to support a peaceful resolution to disagreements and conflicts.

The four-day conference, which ended on Friday, recommended the formation of a panel of academics, trainers, media practitioners and other stakeholders to monitor and study Muslim media and make annual reports on ways to bring improvement. “It also urged Muslim media to share media materials and contents to bring understanding and solidarity among Muslims,” the conference’s final communiqué said.

The conference was attended by leading journalists and communication experts in the Muslim world. It called upon all countries and peoples to respect religions and beliefs, particularly divine messages and messengers, and exercise freedom with a sense of responsibility on matters that could have a negative impact, especially on young people.

The participants recommended that the media conference be held every two years with the cooperation of the Muslim World League and the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs. “A follow-up committee comprising the representatives of MWL and the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs will be formed to pursue the implementation of the conference’s recommendations,” the communiqué said.

For Full Report:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article550189.ece

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Lips, nose of woman chopped off in Musakhel, Pak

MUSAKHEL: 19 12 2011, Armed men chopped off the lips and nose of a woman in the Musakhel district on Sunday. Police said that armed men chopped off the lips and nose of a woman, the wife of Qadir Qaisrani, in the Killi Jharo village in the Drag teshil of the Musakhel district. The assailants managed to escape. The injured woman was rushed to hospital, where her condition was stated to be very serious due to intense bleeding. Naib Tehsildar Drag reached the hospital and registered a preliminary report against the suspects. Further investigation was underway. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\19\story_19-12-2011_pg7_14

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`14 civilians, 6 troops dead in syria violence'

 AP

ARMED CLASHES erupted in Syria on Sunday, killing at least 14 civilians and six government troops in central and northern Syria, activists said, the latest sign that the nation's uprising may be deteriorating into civil war. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an Army officer was among the six soldiers killed in the town of Qusair in Homs province, near the border with Lebanon. “Three armoured vehicles were destroyed, and those inside were killed and wounded,“ according to the group, which relies on a network of activists inside the country. It said the clashes also resulted in the “partial destruction of some homes.“ Heavy gunbattles were also reported on Sunday in several villages in the Jabal al-Zawiya region in the northern Idlib province near the Turkish border. -AP

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/14-CIVILIANS-6-TROOPS-DEAD-IN-SYRIA-VIOLENCE-19122011009020.shtml?Mode=1

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Iran frees Kuwaitis held for espionage

Tehran: Dec, 19, 2011Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency says Tehran has released two Kuwaiti citizens detained last month for suspected espionage activities. Iran's ambassador to Kuwait, Ruhollah Ghahramani, told Mehr that Iranian authorities have determined that the two Kuwaitis had engaged in press activities without permission but was not involved in espionage.

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/IRAN-FREES-KUWAITIS-HELD-FOR-ESPIONAGE-19122011009028.shtml?Mode=1

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Interaction with Muslim countries a priority of Iran Culture Ministry

Tehran, Dec 18, IRNA – Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini said here on Sunday that forging convergence and interaction with Islamic and regional countries is one of the priorities of the ministry.

Hosseini, who is currently in Algeria to attend the Seventh Summit of Culture Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, told IRNA that his visit to Algeria is aimed at holding talks with the country’s officials, in addition to taking part in the event.

He further noted that he will sign a cinematic agreement with his Algerian counterpart.

Given Iran’s higher capacities in the fields of art and culture, Iranian artists have an active presence in various cultural programs including exhibitions, seminars and film weeks, Hosseini said.

Referring to Iran’s active presence in 22nd Doha International Book Fair, he said that the country’s cultural products were well received during the event and this indicates their high quality.

Most of news agencies, websites and networks are trying to present an untrue image of Iran and promote Iranophobia, he said, noting that the artists should produce works to counter such propaganda and give a real image of the country to the world.

Describing the tenth government’s approach as culture-oriented, the minister urged artists to help promote cultural and artistic exchanges between Iran and other states.

The two-day Seventh Summit of Culture Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states opened in Algeria today (December 18).

http://www.irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=30718910&SRCH=1

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EGYPT Brotherhood Claims 40% vote

Reuters

Cairo, Dec. 17: The Muslim Brotherhood’s party list has secured about 40 per cent of votes counted so far in the second round of Egypt’s staggered parliamentary election, a party source said on Sunday.

The list led by the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party(FJP) won about 37 per cent of votes in the first round.

The poll, held over six weeks, is the first since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.

Official results have not been released but party representatives watch the count and their predictions after the first round

were broadly accurate.

The third and final round of voting takes place in January. The FJP source said the 40 per cent estimate was based on counting completed in 11 of the 15 second-round constituencies where seats will be allocated by party lists. In a separate statement, the FJP said it was concerned the final result would be skewed against it, saying it had noted differences between its tally and official numbers. It did not specify how the counting may have been flawed.

Independent monitors have listed electoral abuses such as illegal campaigning outside polling stations. The first-round vote in one district of Cairo will be re-run after ballots were lost or damaged during counting. The election committee has said the violations did not undermine the vote’s overall legitimacy.

Under Egypt’s complicated election system, twothirds of Parliament’s 498 elected seats will be allocated to party lists with the rest going to individuals.

In the second round, 60 individual seats were up for grabs.

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/19/ArticleHtmls/EGYPT-Brotherhood-claims-40-vote-19122011009033.shtml?Mode=1

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1,400 cadets join Afghan army

KABUL: Dec 19, 2011, A total of 1,400 cadets Sunday joined the Afghan National Army (ANA) after completing their two-month training, Xinhua reported.

'The newly graduated soldiers are ready to be deployed to any part of the country to provide security to their people,' Shaheen Corps Commander Amanullah Mobin said at the graduation ceremony in Mazar-i Sharif city.

The Afghan government and NATO have stepped up efforts to train and equip the army and the police, ahead of the full security takeover from the coalition troops in 2014.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/1400-cadets-join-Afghan-army/articleshow/11162697.cms

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IISc terror attack: Six get life imprisonment in Bangalore

TNN

BANGALORE:Dec 19, 2011, Six persons, suspected to have links with terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, were on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting terror attacks in Bangalore.

The six were convicted on Saturday by a local court for the 2005 terror attack at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here.

The court convicted Mohammed Raza-ul-Rehman, Afzal Pasha, Mehboob Ibrahim, Miruddin Khan, Nizamuddin and Munna on charge of plotting the terror attack and waging war against the country, but acquitted another man charged with conspiracy.

Judge V R Revanakara had said the quantum of sentence would be pronounced on December 19 after hearing arguments by the prosecution and defence.

The terrorists had opened fire at delegates emerging out of an international conference at the IISc on December 28, 2005, killing a retired professor of IIT-Delhi and injuring four others.

Police had filed cases of sedition, terrorism and religious disharmony, among others, against the accused.

Police had arrested Pasha on January 14, 2006, along with six others.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/IISc-terror-attack-Six-get-life-imprisonment-in-Bangalore/articleshow/11167646.cms

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Maya misleading muslims, say u.p. opp. Parties

PTI

Lucknow Dec, 19 2011, The Opposition Congress, SP and BJP on Sunday dismissed the BSP’s rally as “government sponsored show” and charged chief minister Mayawati with misleading Muslims and doing nothing considerable for them. The reaction of the two parties came hours after the BSP supremo addressed an election rally where she said that 27 per cent OBC quota should be increased by making constitutional amendment to include backward Muslims in it. “The BSP is befooling people as it did nothing for the welfare of common man. It is misusing official machinery to show party’s ahead of assembly polls,” state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.

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Taliban operates from Pakistan: Karzai

Press Trust Of India

Washington, December 19, 2011, Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday said that Pakistan has a key role to play in his government's peace talks with the Taliban because the militant group operates from there.

"They operate from there. And a meaningful peace process cannot go well or end in satisfactory results

without Pakistan's participation and help," Karzai told CNN.

Karzai, however, said he could not hold peace talks with Taliban unless the militants produce a verifiable authorised representative.

He said the assassination of former president and peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was a major setback to the peace process.

"Well, our efforts for peace, our cries for peace, our understanding of peace was that we were talking to Taliban. The assassination of President Rabbani brought us in a shock to the recognition that we were actually talking to nobody, that those who came in the name of the peace process were assassins, were killers," he said.

Rabbani was killed at his home in Kabul in September by a bomber who hid explosives in his turban, and who had purported to be a peace emissary from the Taliban leadership.

"A man who came in the name of a messenger for peace turned out to be a suicide bomber. Therefore, we have now clearly said that we will welcome - a Taliban address, but that address must have the clarity that this representative is authorised and is representing the Taliban movement as we see it," he said.

Karzai also said that Pakistan-based Sunni terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was responsible for the recent sectarian violence in Afghanistan that claimed around 100 lives.

"We say that this is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. If it is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, then perhaps it's the responsibility of Pakistan, and of all of us together to go and stop this," he said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Taliban-operates-from-Pakistan-Karzai/Article1-784277.aspx

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/grave-concern-over-enforced-disappearances-of-extradited-uyghurs/d/6171


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