New Age Islam
Sat Mar 02 2024, 03:54 AM

Islamic World News ( 4 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Growing Wahhabi Extremism: Sufis Strike Back

A Missed Opportunity to Demonstrate Nobility of Sharia: Maldives President

North Bihar is the new Azamgarh, says IB

Islamists sweep early results in Egypt

US starts vacating Shamsi airbase in Pakistan

Saudi women drivers 'will be promiscuous'

Egypt Brotherhood won't force Islamic view

Policy disallows Nur’s, a convicted Killer of Bangabandhu extradition: Canadian envoy

25 die in Syria as defectors fight regime

20 terrorists killed in Orakzai clashes

Two fall prey to sectarian violence in Karachi

Roadside bomb kills three NATO troops in Afghanistan

British soldier jailed for bayoneting Afghan boy

People in Pakistan remember Dev Anand

Veena Malik's ‘nude picture' evokes mixed reaction

Mumbai attacks case: Defence lawyers ‘not ready’ to go to India

Kyrgyzstan urges longtime Uzbek-Kyrgyz enemies to marry

Syria unrest: Arab league issues new Sunday deadline

Karzai accuses Pakistan of stalling talks

Islamists, liberals face off in Tunisia

Islam religion of peace, teaches patience, tolerance

Egypt’s Vote Puts Emphasis on Split Over Religious Rule

Liberals shaken by Islamist tide

US Imam Sets Muslim Role Model

Turkey aims at regional leadership amid turmoil in the Islamic world

Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say

Dev Anand's funeral in London

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau



Growing Wahhabi Extremism: Sufis Strike Back

Rakhi Chakrabarty, Dec 4, 2011,

Sufism is in fashion. A 'Rockstar' can't pull in the crowds without riffing his guitar at the holiest of Sufi shrines; and any gathering of the swish set in big cities is not complete until someone whirls on their toes to the poems of Rumi.

In the real world - outside Bollywood's imagination and beyond sanitized zones of India's metros - it's a different story. The followers of Sufism and the visitors to the shrines of medieval saints have been feeling the pressure -of being cornered by extremist and narrow strains of Islam, which have been telling them that they are not "real Muslims" because they go to shrines or follow "un-Islamic" rituals.

Across the border, in Pakistan, Sufi shrines have been bombed and the devotees killed. Here in India, the attack has been only verbal. Fed up, Sufis are hitting back now, trying to reclaim the space that might have been ceded to the Wahabis - followers of puritan Islam who look down upon all other traditions.

The recently-formed All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), which claims to represent Sunni Sufis - also called Barelwis - is now taking lead in this fight. At its well-attended meetings across UP recently, the AIUMB has been calling on its supporters to "resist the Wahhabis interpretations of Islam" and accept the "tolerant, peace-loving" nature of Sufism as a counterpoint. The Barelwis claim to represent 80% of Indian

Muslims, with a large presence in Pakistan. But the question is, can they win this battle for the leadership of the community?

Incidentally, there is nothing new in this fight which has been going on for ages. "Divisions within the community are fairly old. Rise of Islamism and Saudi Arabia and the growing power of the Ulemas in India contributed to such divisions," says Prof Imtiaz Ahmad, a sociologist.

But in present day India, the debate has taken a different turn. The Deobandis say Sufis are not "good" Muslims. And the Sufis accuse Deobandis of promoting Wahabism. "Deoband embodies the vestige of the Wahhabi movement," says Prof Ahmad. But Darul Uloom Deoband rector, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, disagrees: "We have no connection with Wahhabis."

Since the attacks of 9/11 and the wars that followed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Muslims have been facing a question of identity. Now the debate has reached India , too, where Sufi roots are probably the deepest. AIUMB general secretary Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichhouchhwi says Sufi khanquahs don't differentiate between "us" and "them" or Muslims and non-Muslims. Sufis or Barelwis are perceived as 'moderate' Muslims. "Besides admitting local culture and practices , they defend what existed as Islam in India," says Prof Ahmad.

Though the Deobandis consider visits to Sufi shrines or graves and seeking blessings bida or deviation from true Islam, for ordinary Muslims, especially in villages, such arguments make no sense. "They still find solace in the highly diversified eclectic Islam of India," says Ahmad.

Indian Muslims, according to scholars, are still rooted in their unique culture and there are no Wahhabi-inspired hardliners in India. "At best you can call them mild fundamentalists. Muslims can't afford to be radical in India. About 95% of Indian Muslims have Hindu ancestors. So, Hindu culture dominates India, the basis of which is tolerance. For extremism to flourish, a Muslim majority country, like Pakistan, is needed," says Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.

Even as the Sufi versus Wahhabis debate rages in the subcontinent, there are many who believe that classifying Islam as moderate or hardline is a Western myth which has been propagated since 9/11. As the Taliban and fundamentalists professed Deobandi ideology, the US has used Sufi Islam as a counter force to terrorism. Since 2001, the US has helped Sufism by giving more than $1.5 million for the restoration and conservation of Sufi shrines in Pakistan , according to an article that appeared in the 'New York Times' in January 2011.

In India, the shrines don't need any external help. Their roots are quite deep. And now they are ready to fight for the protection of their tradition.


A Missed Opportunity to Demonstrate Nobility of Sharia: Maldives President

By Ahmed Naish

December 4th, 2011

The Maldives missed an opportunity to demonstrate “the nobility of Islamic Sharia” to the world by reacting in “a Jihadi spirit” to controversial statements made by visiting UN human rights chief last month, President Mohamed Nasheed said at a rally Friday night.

A call for a moratorium and public debate on flogging as a punishment for fornication by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in an address to parliament on November 24 was unequivocally condemned by the Islamic Ministry, religious groups and political parties as an unconstitutional challenge to a Quranic precept.

“That the punishments and rulings of Islamic Sharia are not inhumane is very clear to us,” Nasheed said. “We have the opportunity to show the whole world how noble and civilised Sharia is. That is because we are the only Islamic nation with a democratically-elected government.”

“Wasting that opportunity in a Jihadi spirit” with the claim of “defending Islam” was unacceptable, Nasheed told supporters at the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally at Dharubaaruge, which saw the launching of a ‘Plus One’ campaign to double party membership ahead of the 2013 presidential election.

“Opposition parties will always attack us by using religion as a weapon,” he said. “[But] believe that this country is the only Islamic nation where Islamic Sharia has been practiced uninterrupted for 700 years.”

Islamic chief justices and principles of Sharia law had “a sacred place” in the Maldives’ long history, Nasheed observed, which “will not be shaken.”

“Maldivians are not a people who will allow the slightest harm to Islam,” he said. “We know how civilised the religion of Islam is.”

MDP understood that Islam “brought the world out of jahiliyya [ignorance] onto the path of civilisation,” he continued, adding that the party was committed to protecting the culture and traditions of the country.

In the past three years, he noted, the government spent Rf1.2 billion on “the protection of Islamic faith” (page 200 of the MDP manifesto), including the construction of 40 new mosques across the country.

Nasheed said he had been writing about the decay of the Gemmiskiy in Fuvahmulah, an ancient coral stone mosque, since 1990.

Meanwhile in a press conference on Thursday, seven opposition parties announced it would be joining the coalition of NGOs for a nationwide mass protest planned for December 23 “to protect Islam” against the MDP government’s alleged “anti-Islamic agenda.”

Speaking at the Friday night rally, MDP Vice-President and MP for Feydhoo, Alhan Fahmy, strongly criticised opposition parties and religious groups for objecting to the Pakistani SAARC monument, which contained pagan symbols of the Indus Valley civilisation and a bust of the country’s founder Mohamed Ali Jinah topped by the Islamic crescent symbol.

“The time when people worshiped idols, when people worshiped people and the public worshiped rulers in this country is over and done with,” he said.

Alhan accused religious groups and scholars of the Adhaalath Party for employing “religion as a shield” for political purposes.

“Instead of bringing people from Egypt for Ramadan revival programmes, we gave the opportunity for Maldivian scholars to speak and deliver sermons,” he said, in contrast to the former regime “jailing them and shaving their beards with chili sauce.”

Alhan also argued that accusing senior officials of the MDP government as well as the party’s members of kufr (disbelief) went against Islamic principles in a Muslim society.

He urged the Adhaalath Party to cease “sowing discord” with accusations against fellow Muslims and suggested the religious conservative party “talk about something else if you want to come to power.”

President Nasheed meanwhile suggested that “the people today are too aware and enlightened” to believe the charges laid against the government.

“We know what the people of the Maldives want. We don’t have to watch TV stations to find it out,” he said, referring to the opposition-aligned privately-owned broadcasters DhiTV and VTV.

Nasheed observed that the MDP received 53 percent of the total votes cast in the by-elections for vacant council seats in Alif Alif Himandhoo, Faafu Bilehdhoo and Gnaviyani Fuvahmulah on November 19.

“In 2013, I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that we will take 60 percent of the vote in the first round,” he asserted, claiming that there was “no other party in the country yet” that could meaningfully compete with the MDP.


North Bihar is the new Azamgarh, says IB

Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN

NEW DELHI: Dec 4, 2011,Last week's arrest of five men from north Bihar in connection with blast probes across the country has turned the terror spotlight upon the region, which has so far been infamous as a smuggling hub between India and Nepal.

In police and intelligence circles, the region is being talked about as "another Azamgarh" - the reference being to the east UP hometown of many Indian Mujahideen operatives who allegedly played a role in the 2008 terror strikes.

Going by early leads, sources in the Intelligence Bureau and state security agencies say, IM may have established more than seven sleeper cells in the area. "We have information that IM has established its base amongst youths - some of them even engineers - at Mirganj, Araria and Sitamarhi, in addition to Madhubani and Darbhanga. Often, the youths are lured with hawala money from across the border. Others are indoctrinated with videos of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with which the Indian state has no connection," a source said.

"The suspects, although they had stayed in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Malda (West Bengal), had Bihar addresses on their fake passports and other documents. So, it is evident that this module has its home in north Bihar and West Bengal. The members almost never use modern gadgets like mobile phones, to avoid being traced," said the source, adding, "four other top operatives who hail from Bihar and Karnataka are still at large". Security agencies were surprised to find that the elusive Kashmir terrorist Ghulam Sarwar, allegedly involved in Delhi high court blast in September, was also using fake documents showing his residence in Bihar.

Police sources say Bihar's location makes it a suitable transit point for terrorists and smugglers from Bangladesh and Nepal, as also Mumbai gangsters. While terrorists can easily cross over to Nepal through the porous border, Bihar's Purnea district which shares borders with two West Bengal districts (Murshidabad and Malda), has also emerged as a transit point between India and Bangladesh.

Sources told TOI the first leads on north Bihar's terror link came in 2005 when two LeT operatives were caught there. Terrorist outfits like LeT, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen are known to scout religious places and educational institutions in Champaran, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa and Purnea districts for recruits. Several local youths are allegedly working for the ISI as couriers of arms, ammunition and money.


Islamists sweep early results in Egypt

Adam Plowright, December 3, 2011, AFP

The liberal Wafd party won 14 per cent, while another Islamist party Al-Wassat, which advocates a strict interpretation of Islamic law, recorded 12.9 per cent, according to Al-Ahram.

In the southern Red Sea district, the Brotherhood's alliance won 30 per cent, while secular coalition the Egyptian Bloc came in second with 15 per cent, said Al-Ahram.

Full results were initially meant to have been published on Wednesday but have been delayed several times. The election commission promised on Friday evening at a chaotic press conference to post them on its website.

There appeared few bright spots for the liberal secular movement which played a key role in the overthrow of the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak in February after an 18-day uprising.

It has since splintered and has been outgunned by the more organised Brotherhood, well known to Egyptians as a result of its decades of opposition to the Mubarak regime and its extensive charitable and social work.

Mohammed Abdel Ghani, a liberal candidate, told the independent Al-Shorouq newspaper that his movement needed to counter Islamist propaganda that "non-Islamist candidates were infidels".

In Cairo, the rising star of the movement, Amr Hemzawi, won a seat in the upmarket Heliopolis district, but elsewhere leading figures of the revolution were either struggling or had been beaten.

In Tahrir Square, the epicentre of protests against Mubarak, demonstrators had returned last week to protest against the military rulers who took over when the strongman quit but their numbers had dwindled to a few hundred on Saturday.

According to independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yum, no women were elected in the first round, with television presenter Gamila Ismail, actress Tayssir Fahmi and Wafd candidate Nihal Aahdi all eliminated.

Aahdi told the paper that the failure of women candidates was because "religious parties dominate Egyptian society and the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists dominated the results".

It was only the opening phase of a parliamentary election that is taking place in three stages, but the returns reveal the political trends that will shape the country's transition to democracy.

For the lower house of parliament, the rest of the country will vote in a further two stages later this month and in January. An upper house will then be elected in another three stages.

Voters are required to pass three votes for members of the new lower house: two for individual candidates and one for a party or coalition.

All but four of the individual contests in this week's election will go into a run-off scheduled for Monday because no candidate gained an outright majority.

The prospect of an Islamist-dominated parliament raises fears among liberals about civil liberties, religious freedom in a country with the Middle East's largest Christian minority, and tolerance of multi-party democracy.

Independent Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Abou Ismail told a television interviewer this week that he would prevent "men and women from sitting together in public", press reports said.

Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, set to form the largest bloc in parliament, have repeatedly stressed their commitment to multi-party democracy and inclusiveness, and have pledged to ensure freedoms.

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party says it strives for a "civil state, defined as a non-military non-religious state ... that respects human rights" according to its political program.

The Brotherhood and other political parties are expected to face a fierce power struggle with the army to ensure the complete transfer of power to the new civilian leaders.

The FJP has already said it expects to be asked to form a new government to replace a military-appointed administration due to be announced later on Saturday.

Army leaders last month named 78-year-old Mubarak-era politician Kamal al-Ganzuri as caretaker prime minister.


US starts vacating Shamsi airbase in Pakistan


There has been a wave of protests against the United States and the Nato forces in Pakistan after a Nato strike killed several Pakistani soldiers.

ISLAMABAD: Dec 4, 2011,The US on Sunday started pulling out its nationals from Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA- operated drones, on the orders of Pakistan government after a deadly NATO cross-border airsrike killed 24 of its soldiers.

An American aircraft arrived in Pakistan to fly out US nationals. After the aircraft landed, the US nationals boarded it amidst strict security, TV news channels reported.

Officials from the Federal Investigation Agency were present at the airbase, the reports said.

Residents living around Shamsi airbase were told not to leave their homes while the American nationals were being taken to the aircraft. There was no official word on the development from Pakistani or American officials.

Pakistan asked the US to vacate the remote airbase in Balochistan within 15 days and blocked routes used to transport supplies to US and allied forces in Afghanistan after a cross-border NATO air strike on two military posts killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26.

Reports have said the Shamsi airbase, located about 300 km from Balochistan capital Quetta, has been used by US drone to target militants in Pakistan's restive tribal belt.

Pakistan reportedly leased the base to the United Arab Emirates in 1992, and the US was given access to the facility after the 9/11 terror attacks.

This is the third time Pakistan has asked the US to vacate Shamsi airbase. Similar demands were made after CIA contractor Raymond Davis gunned down two men in Lahore in January and after the US military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

The Express Tribune quoted a US government source as saying that the Americans had spent months preparing for a possible eviction from Shamsi by building up other drone launching and staging capabilities.


Saudi women drivers 'will be promiscuous'

Riyadh - 2011-12-03, A report given to a high-level advisory group in Saudi Arabia claims that allowing women in the kingdom to drive could encourage premarital sex, a rights activist said on Saturday.

The ultraconservative stance suggests increasing pressure on King Abdullah to retain the kingdom's male-only driving rules despite international criticism.

Rights activist Waleed Abu Alkhair said the document by a well-known academic was sent to the all-male Shura Council, which advises the monarchy.

The report by Kamal Subhi claims that allowing women to drive will threaten the country's traditions of virgin brides, he said.

Saudi women have staged several protests defying the driving ban. The king has already promised some reforms, including allowing women to vote in municipal elections in 2015.

There was no official criticism or commentary on the scholar's views, and it was unclear whether they were solicited by the Shura Council or submitted independently.

Few changes on women’s rights

But social media sites were flooded with speculation that Saudi's traditional-minded clerics and others will fight hard against social changes suggested by the 87-year-old Abdullah.

Saudi's ruling family, which oversees Islam's holiest sites, draws its legitimacy from the backing of the kingdom's religious establishment, which follows a strict brand of Islam known as Wahabism.

While Abdullah has pushed for some changes on women's rights, he is cautious not to push too hard against the clerics.

In October, Saudi Arabia named a new heir to the throne, Prince Nayef, who is a former interior minister and considered to hold traditionalist views, although he had led crackdowns against suspected Islamic extremists.

His selection appeared to embolden the ultraconservative clerics to challenge any sweeping social reforms.

Prince Nayef was picked following the death of Crown Prince Sultan.


Egypt Brotherhood won't force Islamic view

Aya Batrawy

December 4, 2011

The comments were the clearest indication that the Brotherhood was distancing itself from the ultraconservative Islamist Nour Party, which appears to have won the second-largest share of votes in the election's first phase.

The Nour Party espouses a strict interpretation of Islam similar to that of Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are segregated and women must be veiled and are barred from driving.

Egypt's election commission has released few official results from the voting on Monday and Tuesday. But preliminary counts have been leaked by judges and individual political groups showing both parties could together control a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament if they did form an alliance.

The Brotherhood recently denied in a statement that it seeks to form an alliance with the Nour Party in parliament, calling it "premature and mere media speculation."

On Saturday, el-Erian made it clear that the Brotherhood does not share Nour's more hard-line aspirations to strictly enforce Islamic codes in Egyptians' daily lives.

"We respect all people in their choice of religion and life," he said.

Another major check on such an agenda is the council of generals who have run the country since President Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February. The military council, accused by Egypt's protest movement of stalling a transition to civilian and democratic rule, is seeking to limit the powers of the next parliament and maintain close oversight over the drafting of a new constitution.

Egypt already uses Shariah law as the basis for legislation, however Egyptian laws remain largely secular as Shariah does not cover all aspects of modern life.

On its English-language Twitter account, the Brotherhood said that its priorities were to fix Egypt's economy and improve the lives of ordinary Egyptians, "not to change (the) face of Egypt into (an) Islamic state."

El-Erian urged the Brotherhood's political rivals to accept the election results.

"We all believe that our success as Egyptians toward democracy is a real success and we want everyone to accept this democratic system. This is the guarantee for stability," he said.

For decades, Mubarak's regime suppressed the Brotherhood, which was politically banned but managed to establish a vast network of activists and charities offering free food and medical services throughout the country's impoverished neighbourhoods and villages.

It is the best organised of Egypt's post-Mubarak political forces.

The vote for parliament's lower house is taking place over three stages, with 18 provinces in Egypt yet to vote.

Meanwhile, the swearing-in of a new temporary Cabinet was delayed on Saturday due to disagreements over key posts, including over who will lead the ministry in charge of internal security.

An official in the Interior Ministry said several high-ranking security officials have been named as possible replacements but that some have turned down the offer.


Policy disallows Nur’s, a convicted Killer of bangabandhu extradition: Canadian envoy

Nur Chowdhury

Star Online Report: December 4, 2011

Canada will not extradite Nur Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Bangabandhu, as its policy does not approve deportation of a person facing death sentence at his country of origin.

Canadian High Commissioner in Dhaka Heather Cruden said this to reporters after emerging from a meeting with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni at the foreign ministry on Sunday.

“She (foreign minister) did indeed raise the issue. I have committed to raise it again with my government. Of course, my government has clear policy that we cannot extradite people to countries that have death penalty,” he said in response to a question from the journalists.

Official sources said the issue of extraditing Lt Col (retd) Nur Chowdhury figured prominently during the meeting and Dipu Moni reminded the high commissioner about her October 5 letter to her Canadian counterpart John Baird requesting the handover of the convicted killer.

The Canadian envoy told the foreign minister that his government understands that the matter is very important to Bangladesh, meeting sources added.

As this involves a legal matter, they said, the high commissioner assured that he would again inform his government about Dhaka’s intention.

Dipu Moni also wrote a similar letter on October 5 to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to send back Lt Col (retd) M Rashed Chowdhury, who is now residing in the United States.

The founding father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members were brutally killed on August 15, 1975 by some disgruntled army officials.

After a long trial, the court awarded death sentences to 12 people. Of them, five were hanged in 2010, one died, while six are still absconding.

Those who were executed on January 28, 2010 included Syed Faruque Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, Mohiuddin Ahmed and AKM Mohiuddin.

The six fugitives are: Col (retd) Khandkar Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (retd) Shariful Haque Dalim, Lt Col (retd) Nur Chowdhury, Lt Col (retd) M Rashed Chodhury, Abdul Mazed and Moslehuddin Khan.

Abdul Aziz Pasha died in Zimbabwe in 2001.


25 die in Syria as defectors fight regime

Bassem Mroue

December 4, 2011

Sanctions by the United States, the European Union, Turkey and the 22-member Arab League have so far failed to blunt the turmoil, but are leaving Assad's regime increasingly isolated.

Arab League ministers meeting in the Gulf nation of Qatar on Saturday to finalise the bloc's penalties agreed on a list of 19 Syrian officials subject to a travel ban. Among them are Cabinet ministers, intelligence chiefs and security officers, but the list does not include Assad.

Many of the Arab sanctions, which were first announced last Sunday, went into effect immediately, including cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank, halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria and freezing government assets. Flights between Syria and its Arab neighbours will stop on December 15.

The Arab League also agreed to ban the supply of all weapons to Syria.

The worst violence on Saturday took place in the restive northwestern city of Idlib.

The pre-dawn clashes between regime forces and defectors killed seven soldiers and policemen, as well as five defectors and three civilians, according to a British-based group of Syrian activists called the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Elsewhere, security forces killed one civilian in the southern province of Daraa, six in the central region of Homs and three others in areas near Idlib, the observatory said.

The UN's top human rights official said this week that Syria is in a state of civil war and that more than 4,000 people have been killed since March.

Until recently, most of the bloodshed in Syria was caused by security forces firing on mainly peaceful protesters, but there have been growing reports of army defectors and armed civilians fighting regime forces.

November was the deadliest month of the uprising, with at least 950 people killed in gunbattles, raids and other violence, according to activist groups.

In the west of the country, Syrian troops detained at least 27 people in the village of Talkalakh on the border with Lebanon and set fire to the homes of nine activists who were on the run, the observatory said.

Full Report at:


20 terrorists killed in Orakzai clashes

ORAKZAI AGENCY: December 04, 201, At least 20 terrorists were killed and two soldiers sustained injuries in an operation conducted by the security forces in different parts of Upper Orakzai Agency on Saturday.

According to media reports, the terrorists started indiscriminate fire at the security forces in Anzar Kalay area of Upper Orakzai Agency.

The security forces retaliated, and as a result eight terrorists were killed on the spot, while two soldiers sustained injuries. The injured soldiers have been dispatched to Kalaya hospital.

Meanwhile, the security forces shelled five terrorist hideouts in different areas of North Waziristan viz Zakhtan, Arhang and Shaker Tangi and killed 12 terrorists. online\12\04\story_4-12-2011_pg1_7


Two fall prey to sectarian violence in Karachi

Staff Report

KARACHI: December 04, 2011, Two fresh acts of sectarian violence claimed two lives of people, including an activist of defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and a former worker of Sunni Tehreek (ST), in Karachi on Saturday.

An activist of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), formerly known as SSP, was shot dead near Dawood Chowrangi within the precincts of Quaidabad police station.

The 35-year-old man, Mohammad Fayyaz, son of Akbar, was going home on a bus when unidentified armed men on a motorcycle opened fire on him through bus window, killing him on the spot.

The culprits managed to flee unchallenged after the incident. Later, police shifted the body to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for medico-legal formalities. DSP Nasir Lodhi said that the victim was a resident of Landhi No. 89 and was going home from the court when the incident took place.

DSP Lodhi further said that Fayyaz belonged to a notorious gangster family of Mehmoodabad and some personal enmity might be the motive behind the incident.\12\04\story_4-12-2011_pg7_5


Roadside bomb kills three NATO troops in Afghanistan

KABUL: December 04, 2011, Afghanistan’s international backers must not cut funding to Kabul to the degree that it forces the government to choose between spending less on security or development, the finance minister said on Saturday.

A World Bank study released last month said Afghanistan was likely to need around $7 billion a year from the international community to help pay its security and other bills long after foreign troops leave at the end of 2014.

“The World Bank’s study makes a case for continued assistance,” Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said, speaking from the German city of Bonn. “We have done our own analysis and our conclusion with regard to the fiscal gap is not too different from the World Bank’s.”

Asking Kabul to cut spending on security forces would risk allowing the Taliban-led insurgents to make a comeback, while if services such as health and education were reduced instead, that could indirectly bolster support for the insurgency.

“What they are saying is, these are not options that the Afghan government should be pushed into, we have to know the consequences of pushing the government into these choices,” Zakhilwal told Reuters.

Without foreign help, Afghanistan would not be able to pay for its army and police after 2014, currently estimated as a 352,000-man force after the pullout.\12\04\story_4-12-2011_pg7_6


British soldier jailed for bayoneting Afghan boy

LONDON: December 04, 2011, A British soldier has been jailed for 18 months for bayoneting a 10-year-old boy in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said on Saturday. Grenadier Guardsman Daniel Crook stabbed Ghulam Nabi in March last year while on a patrol in the Nad e Ali district of the restive southern Helmand province, where Britain’s 9,500 troops in Afghanistan are based. At his court-martial in June this year, Crook was jailed and dismissed from the British Army. He will serve his sentence in a military prison. Guardsman had drunk a “considerable quantity of vodka” the night before the incident in March last year, so much so he had to be treated by medics, his court-martial heard. He came across two Afghans on bicycles, one of whom was Nabi, who had been sent to fetch a bottle of yoghurt. Prosecutors said the boy pestered Crook for chocolate. The guardsman then “took hold of the boy’s shoulder and stabbed him in the region of his kidneys with his bayonet”, they said. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that protecting Afghan civilians was a top priority for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country. The boy’s father Haji Shah Zada told The Guardian newspaper that he had received $800 in compensation but no apology. He said his son is still suffering. Britain’s military police have investigated 99 incidents in which British troops have been accused of killing or wounding Afghan civilians between January 2005 and March 2011, according to The Guardian. afp\12\04\story_4-12-2011_pg7_7


People in Pakistan remember Dev Anand

Piyali Dasgupta, TNN, Dec 4, 2011

Ever since the news of Bollywood legendary actor Dev Anand demise broke out, his fans and well-wishers across the globe started pouring in with messages for him.

Dev Anand who was born in Lahore in Pakistan still remains a true icon for the people in Pakistan. One of his ardent fans, Pakistani singer turned actor Ali Zafar told us, "An era passed with his passing. A true inspiration Dev saab was for all of us. I remember when my mom made me watch the movie 'Guide', I spent the next week trying to puff my hair as high as his. I only regret and wish I could have met him. Dev saab will be missed and remembered by us all." Another popular star from Pakistan , Meera who is currently in New York was shocked to hear the sad news. She tells us, " Sunkar bahut afsos hua.. Dev saab ekh mahan kalakaar hi nahi the, balki ekh bahut ache insaan the. People in Pakistan have been a huge follower of Dev Saab and shall miss him a lot.

He was a great man and I was a really big fan of him . I had met three years back and he had offered me to do a role in his movie. It was a big moment for me to meet such a legendary actor of India. Woh Lahore ke the and he had asked me ki mere liye lahore ka paani lekhe aana .. lahore kaise nazar aatha hain abh . He also spoke to my family members in Pakistan and had expressed his desire to visit Lahore. Unki khwaaish thi pakistan aane ke liye par woh aa nahi paaye.. woh icon the.. aur icon rehenge .. inki koi replacement nahi ho sakta hain. Dev Saab was truly one of the pillars of bollywood industry. I'm in New York right now, but once I get back to India I would meet his family and convey my condolences."


Veena Malik's ‘nude picture' evokes mixed reaction


ISLAMABAD, December 3, 2011 Humour and anger were available in fair measure across Pakistan as reports reached here about actor Veena Malik reportedly posing nude for the cover of an Indian magazine.

Though the cover has been the buzz on social networking sites since Friday afternoon, the local media was slow to pick up the story and even then the ‘ghairat brigade' (honour brigade) was not out in strength with daggers drawn.

Given that her previous appearance on Indian television's Big Boss season had got her into trouble back home, many found it difficult to believe the cover picture was real. It must have been morphed seemed to be the general belief and so when her public relations manager claimed that the photographs were not hers, many bought that version. In fact, the dominant sentiment was that if the photograph was hers, then Ms. Malik probably had no intention of returning to Pakistan, knowing full well that there would be a lynch mob waiting for her. Worse still, was the fact that the bare-all photograph has ISI tattooed on her arm.

Full Report at:


Mumbai attacks case: Defence lawyers ‘not ready’ to go to India

By Mudassir Raja

RAWALPINDI:: December 4, 2011 An anti-terrorism court hearing the Mumbai attacks case was informed by the accused on Saturday that their lawyers were unwilling to travel to India to record statements of Indian prosecution witnesses before a judicial commission.

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in India’s financial capital, and six other men who are in custody, submitted a written application to Special Judge ATC-I Shahid Rafique, stating that their lawyers were not ready to go to India.

The judge put off the hearing till December 10 and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to respond to the applications filed by the accused.

Accused Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid, along with Lakhvi, informed the trial court that owing to security and financial concerns, none of their lawyers were ready to represent them before the judicial commission in Mumbai.

The accused further told the court that their lawyers were only willing to defend them in Pakistan, adding that following the murder of Ajmal Kasab’s legal counsel, the availability of another lawyer was doubtful.

Advocate Khawaja Sultan Ahmed, representing Lakhvi, told The Express Tribune that the arrested men had expressed fears that the Indian authorities were demanding capital punishment for them and that they did not expect any justice from the Indian judiciary.

The accused also informed the court that they did not have enough money to hire lawyers to defend them in India.

However, Special Public Prosecutor for the FIA Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told the court that all expenses of lawyers from both sides will be covered by the federal government, and therefore, saying that it was unaffordable was just an excuse.


Kyrgyzstan urges longtime Uzbek-Kyrgyz enemies to marry

By Nicolas Tanner, The Washington Times

OSH, KYRGYZSTAN, December 2, 2011 , In 2010, clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan’s southern city of Osh left dead an estimated 2,000 people, mostly Uzbeks.

Today, the local government is trying to heal wounds left by the violence by encouraging the two groups to come together — in marriage.

“Well, for starters, the children are more beautiful,” said “Babur,” 27, with a smile, referring to the benefits of his interethnic marriage.

(Babur asked not to use his real name because he fears publicity might bring harm to his family. He is an ethnic Uzbek married to a Kyrgyz woman in Osh.)

Last year, the mixed neighborhood where he lives was one of many areas in Kyrgyzstan’s southern regions destroyed in riots fueled by a long history of ethnic tensions.

Uzbeks, who trace their lineage to Turkish and Persian tribes, traditionally have been city dwellers. The Kyrgyz were nomads and have Mongol heritage. This rift in culture, custom and ethnicity set the framework for cycles of internecine warfare that continues today.

Kyrgyz account for 65 percent of the country’s population of 5.6 million, and Uzbeks make up 14 percent.

Over the course of three days in June 2010, ethnic violence — and the Kyrgyz government’s response to it — resulted in hundreds of Uzbek and Kyrgyz casualties.

“Many died,” said Babur, staring at the floor. “Others were detained and tortured, others disappeared.”

The conflict is a common subject of discussion in Osh — what happened and who is to blame.

“There were many rumors that Kyrgyz mobs were coming to kill everyone in the mahallah [the Uzbek word for ‘neighborhood’],” Babur said. “And so, my wife helped hide our Uzbek friends and children.”

He turned on his cellphone and showed photographs of their children.

“But yes, of course, I think more interethnic marriage would help the situation,” he said. “We need more talking, more discussion.”

The couple met at university in 2006, married two years later and have two young children, a boy, 5 and girl, 3. It was more acceptable for ethnicities to mix then, but Babur admits there was friction in his neighborhood.

“It was never too bad,” he said. “All of my friends celebrated with me.”

Full report at:


Syria unrest: Arab league issues new Sunday deadline

4 December 2011

Syria is facing a new Arab League deadline to accept proposals to allow observers into the strife-torn country.

Arab foreign ministers said Damascus had until Sunday to agree to the league's plan. Further sanctions have been threatened.

A government spokesman in Damascus told reporters Syria was negotiating with the Arab League over the observers.

The league also confirmed sanctions already approved after Syria ignored a previous deadline last weekend.

Unrest in the country has continued, with 23 reported killed on Saturday.

After a meeting of the Arab League ministerial committee on Saturday, Qatari PM Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Jabr al-Thani said: "We asked the Syrian minister of foreign affairs if the Syrian government will agree to sign tomorrow [Sunday] and we are still waiting for a reply.

Hamad bin Jassim Jabr al-Thani threatened Syria with unspecified new sanctions

"Aside from the deadline, we are willing to convince them that this is the right way - to sign the protocol and agree on the Arab initiative as it is."

Full Report at:


Karzai accuses Pakistan of stalling talks

AFP, December 4, 2011

Pakistan is seen as vital to any prospect of stability in the war-ravaged country a decade after US-led forces ousted the Taliban, who had offered safe haven to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

But Islamabad pulled out after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in cross-border NATO air strikes a week ago, although sources close to the German foreign ministry said it would be kept informed of progress at the conference.

The United States has voiced regret over the strikes but has stopped short of issuing an apology while the American military conducts an investigation.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday called Pakistan's prime minister to offer condolences.

In the call with Yousuf Raza Gilani, Clinton "reiterated America's respect for Pakistan's sovereignty and commitment to working together in pursuit of shared objectives on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect," the State Department said.

Islamabad has so far refused to take part in the US investigation into the incident, exacerbating fears of a prolonged crisis between Pakistan and the United States.

Pakistan, reacting to fury from its people over the attack, shut down NATO's vital supply line into Afghanistan and boycotted the Bonn conference.

Pakistan's decision deals a blow to hopes for drawing up a roadmap for Afghanistan's future, 10 years after Germany staged another international meeting on political transition following the fall of the Taliban.

Full Report at:


Islamists, liberals face off in Tunisia

Cecile Feuillatre

December 4, 2011

Interior ministry spokesman Hichem Meddeb confirmed that Islamists had "thrown stones and the police dispersed them ... calm has returned".

Separated by barriers and police, the two sides shouted insults at each other outside the Bardo Palace, where the constitution is being drawn up after a vote that saw the moderate Islamist Ennahda party win most seats on the drafting body.

The Islamists waved Ennahda flags but also the black banners of the hardline Salafist Hizb Tahrir, which has not been legalised in the north African country.

Ennahda spokesman Noureddine Bhiri, whose party denied being behind the Islamist rally, went to try to calm the situation as police reinforcements and armoured vehicles were brought in to block the entrance to the palace.

The constituent assembly also issued a statement appealing for calm and support as it charts the country's future and sets the pace for the Arab Spring, a year after the birth of the revolution that brought about regime change.

"Tunisia is going through a very sensitive phase where the priority is the establishment of a democratic regime and of a fair economic system," the statement said.

Full Report at:


Islam religion of peace, teaches patience, tolerance

Rawalpindi—Dec 4, 2011, Religious scholar, Allama Muhammad Anwar Qureshi has said that Islam is a religion of peace and coexistence and teaches the Muslim Ummah to forge unity among their ranks and show patience and tolerance with others.

“We can prosper in this world and after that by implementing the golden principles taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him),” he expressed these views while addressing a Juma congregation at Masjid Hazrat Ali Al Murtaza in Dhudhambar village.

This mosque has recently been constructed by the funds donated by social figure of the area, Haji Ghulam Mursaleen who is currently based in Saudi Arabia.

Allama Anwar Qureshi also spoke in detail regarding the life and sacrifices rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain and rest of the Shuhada-e-Karbla.

He appreciated Haji Ghulam Mursaleen for providing funds for the construction of such a beautiful mosque and arranging Naat competition.—APP


Egypt’s Vote Puts Emphasis on Split Over Religious Rule


December 3, 2011

Sheik Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, a leader of the ultraconservative Salafi movement, has called for stricter use of Islamic law.

Sheik Shahat is a leader of the ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis, whose coalition of parties is running second behind the Brotherhood party in the early returns of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. He and his allies are demanding strict prohibitions against interest-bearing loans, alcohol and “fornication,” with traditional Islamic corporal punishment like stoning for adultery.

“I want to say: citizenship restricted by Islamic Shariah, freedom restricted by Islamic Shariah, equality restricted by Islamic Shariah,” he said in a public debate. “Shariah is obligatory, not just the principles — freedom and justice and all that.”

The unexpected electoral success of the Salafis — reported to have won about 25 percent of the votes in the first round of the elections, second only to the roughly 40 percent for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party — is terrifying Egyptian liberals and troubling the West. But their new clout is also presenting a challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood, in part by plunging it into a polarizing Islamist-against-Islamist debate over the application of Islamic law in Egypt’s promised democracy, a debate the Brotherhood had worked hard to avoid.

Full Report at:


Liberals shaken by Islamist tide


TUNIS, December 3, 2011 Thousands of Tunisian Islamists and secularists staged parallel protests outside the interim Parliament on Saturday in a dispute over how big a role Islam should play in society after the “Arab Spring” revolution.

Tensions have been running high between the two camps since the revolt in January scrapped a ban on Islamists and paved the way for a moderate Islamist party to come to power at the head of a coalition government.

The latest round of protests was sparked when a group of hardline Islamists occupied a university campus near the capital to demand segregation of sexes in class and the right for women students to wear a full-face veil.

About 3,000 Islamists gathered outside the Constitutional Assembly in Tunis on Saturday, separated by a police cordon from a counter-protest by about1,000 secularists. The Islamists say the secularist elite, which has run the country since independence from France is still restricting their freedom to express their faith. Their rivals say the Islamists are trying to impose an Islamic state in what has been one of the Arab world's most liberal countries.

Full Report at:


US Imam Sets Muslim Role Model

03 December 2011

CAIRO – Addressing an ethnically diverse community in a city with a history rich in interfaith work, the appointment of imam William Suhaib Webb came to answer the needs of New England’s biggest mosque with a more inclusive message of unity and understanding.

“He’s ushering in a new era in the Muslim community of young imams who have knowledge of classical Islamic scholarship, but who are born in America and familiar with American life, and who are able to connect with the youth,’’ Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, told the Boston Globe on Saturday, December 3.

Webb, 38, converted to Islam in the early 90th when he was 20 after reading a copy of the holy Qur’an from his local library and study of faith for three years.

He then studied under a Senegalese sheik in Oklahoma and later became imam at a local mosque there.

From 2004 to 2010, he studied at Cairo’s Shari`ah College of Al-Azhar University, where he graduated with multiple certificates in Islamic sciences, qualifying him to preach and teach.

Returning from Cairo, he preached at several mosques at San Francisco as he established, a “virtual mosque’’ that showcases writings from him and about 20 Muslim scholars.

Full Report at:


Turkey aims at regional leadership amid turmoil in the Islamic world

ANKARA, 2011-12-04 (Xinhua) -- With the politics in the Middle East and North Africa in transition, Turkey seeks to play a leading role in the region's agenda. Some new trends of Turkey's foreign policies toward the Islamic world have brought the country into spotlight.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu participated in the Arab League's (AL) meeting held on Nov. 27 over sanctions against Syria for its defiance to an ultimatum demanding it allow in an observer mission. Ankara supported the AL measures towards its former ally, despite its economic stake in Syria, as Turkey is Syria's largest trading partner.

However, Turkey signaled reluctance for unilateral military involvement in Syria, in response to France' proposal of a guarded humanitarian corridor to relieve Syrians with Turkey providing primary forces for security and logistics, though it left the door open for a buffer zone on the border under a UN mandate.

"Turkey's military intervention in Syria is completely wrong ... We are not sending soldiers to Syria and we are not intervening," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in a TV interview last week.

Full Report at:


Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say

By Richard Allen Greene,

(CNN) Dec 3, 2011 Every religion has its true believers and its doubters, its pious and its pragmatists, but new evidence suggests that Muslims tend to be more committed to their faith than other believers.

Muslims are much more likely than Christians and Hindus to say that their own faith is the only true path to paradise, according to a recent global survey, and they are more inclined to say their religion is an important part of their daily lives.

Muslims also have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey, released over the summer by Ipsos-Mori, a British research company that polls around the world.

Islam is the world's second-largest religion - behind Christianity and ahead of Hinduism, the third largest. With some 1.5 billion followers and rising, Islam's influence may be growing even faster than its numbers as the Arab Spring topples long-reigning secular rulers and opens the way to religiously inspired political parties.

The case against TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

But while there's no doubt about the importance of Islam, experts have different theories about why Muslims appear to be more religious than members of other global faiths - and contrasting views on whether to fear the depth of Muslims' commitment to their faith.

One explanation lies in current affairs, says Azyumardi Azra, an expert on Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim majority country.

Many Muslims increasingly define themselves in contrast with what they see as the Christian West, says Azra, the director of the graduate school at the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

"When they confront the West that they perceive or misperceive as morally in decline, many Muslims feel that Islam is the best way of life. Islam for them is the only salvation," he says.

The case for TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

That feeling has become stronger since the September 11 attacks, as many Muslims believe there is a "growing conflict between Islam and the so-called West," he says.

"Unfortunately this growing attachment to Islam among Muslims in general has been used and abused by literal-minded Muslims and the jihadists for their own purposes," he says.

But other experts say that deep religious commitment doesn't necessarily lead to violence.

"Being more religious doesn't necessarily mean that they will become suicide bombers," says Ed Husain, a former radical Islamist who is now a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

In fact, Husain argues that religious upbringing "could be an antidote" to radicalism.

American Muslim women who cover explain their choice

Full Report at:


Dev Anand's funeral in London

TNN | Dec 4, 2011,

Evergreen actor Dev Anand, who passed away in London last night, owing to a cardiac arrest will be cremated in London itself.

His son Sunil Anand, who had accompanied him for a medical check-up, now awaits the arrival of his sister and her daughter who will partake in the last rituals.

The family was contemplating of getting the body to Mumbai, but then decided to conduct the funeral rites in London itself where the legendary Dev Anand breathed his last at 10 p.m. yesterday.

Dev Anand's actress-wife Kalpana Karthik will also accompany her daughter and grand daughter if her health permits her to do so. The actor's body is kept in the London hospital and the funeral is scheduled to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the family's arrival.

Once Dev Anand's family returns to Mumbai, a prayer meeting will be kept at his Juhu residence where his well-wishers can come and pay their last respects to the Evergreen Hero who will be dearly missed.