New Age Islam
Tue Aug 11 2020, 03:31 AM

Islamic World News ( 10 Apr 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Her husband converted sons to Islam without asking her

Little faith in new Malaysian inter-religious initiative

NGOs Support Inter-religious Committee

Pak starts massive war games on Indian border

Muslim leaders back cutting Haj subsidy

'Scores dead' in Pakistan air raids

Italians arrested over Afghan plot

Karzai Tours With McChrystal After U.S. Feud

Malaysia opens academy to train Hindu priests

Honor Killing: Barbaric practice

Shadow of AMU’s spy wing on Siras sting

Polish President killed in plane crash

'Absolute immunity' rescues Zardari in graft case

Dantewada ambush celebrations spark protest

'Fatwa' against Sania, Shoaib for living together

Jaswant Singh to Release Book on Jinnah in Islamabad Next Week

In Germany, Xenophobia Diverted by Open Doors

Don't rubbish Sudan elections

US wants nations to help lock down N-materials within 4 yrs

Kyrgyzstan holds funeral ceremonies for protest victims

Somalia Islamists al-Shabab ban BBC transmissions

Qaida threatens to strike during soccer World Cup

Defiant Iran unveils faster enrichment centrifuge

Bomber shoots cop in Russia, blows herself up

Bush knew most in Gitmo innocent: Col Wilkerson

Militants attacks Indian camp in Afghanistan

100 Kashmir peaks to be opened to foreign climbers

Pak's nuclear arsenal is in 'safe hands': Gilani

Crackdown on terror credit cards

Yet another 'honour killing' rocks Haryana

Gay Indian professor found dead after students filmed him having sex

Manmohan and Obama will discuss Af-Pak strain in Indo-US ties

Cong chief steps in, communal violence Bill back on drafting board

Netanyahu ducks US nuclear summit, fearing censure

Qatar Diplomat Who Sparked Airplane Bomb Scare Was Visiting Jailed Al-Qaeda

India: Govt wants to end rising Haj subsidy

61 Pak-Hindu nationals staying illegally in Amravati

India wants Afghanistan to expedite Kabul probe

The vice president bears good news from Iraq

In Baghdad, for a fast buck

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/her-husband-converted-sons-to-islam-without-asking-her/d/2680

 

-----

Her husband converted sons to Islam without asking her

By LIZ GOOCH

April 1, 2010

When a Hindu woman discovered that her hubby has not only converted himself but also their kids, to Islam, she decided to contest the conversion. Only problem: This kind of case has never been won in Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR — Through most of their 17-year marriage, M. Indira Gandhi says she and her husband observed rituals that she considered integral to their Hindu faith. Each morning they would pray before a shrine and on Fridays they would fast. During festivals they donned brightly colored, traditional outfits to attend their local temple.

Those were traditions Ms. Gandhi assumed they would be passing on to their three young children.

But nearly a year ago Ms. Gandhi was stunned to discover that her husband had converted to Islam. Her surprise turned to anger when she discovered that, without consulting her, he had also converted their children.

“If he wants to convert, O.K. But these are children that were born from both of us,” said Ms. Gandhi, a kindergarten teacher in Ipoh, a town about a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Her husband’s action has left Ms. Gandhi navigating the conflicting jurisdictions of Malaysia’s religious and civil courts in a case that has challenged the authority of Shariah courts in this predominantly Muslim country.

Under Malaysia’s two-tier judicial system, Islamic Shariah courts handle family law cases involving Muslims, while secular courts handle those involving non-Muslims. But the lines have become blurred in cases involving interfaith disputes. Religious minorities have complained that they are at a disadvantage when their case falls to an Islamic court.

Last year, a Shariah court granted Ms. Gandhi’s husband, Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah, custody over their children. But last month, in what some called a landmark ruling, a civil court overturned the Shariah court’s decision and transferred custody back to Ms. Gandhi. On Thursday, Mr. Ridzuan failed in his bid to obtain a stay order on that ruling.

On Friday, Ms. Gandhi plans to ask the court for permission to contest the children’s conversion. One of her lawyers, K. Shanmuga, said he could not recall an instance when a civil court had overturned a child’s conversion to Islam.

Lawyers say they have seen an increasing number of cases in recent years where one parent, typically the father, has converted to Islam and converted the children without the other parent’s knowledge.

Once they are converted and their identity card is stamped “Islam,” the children face far-reaching consequences.

Mr. Shanmuga said children who are converted must study Islam at school and are subject to Shariah laws that state that Muslims cannot marry outside the faith, must raise their children as Muslims and cannot participate in non-Muslim religious ceremonies.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a human rights lawyer and president of the National Human Rights Society of Malaysia, said he believed that some parents had converted their children to Islam to gain a “tactical advantage” in custody disputes.

In recent years, he said, civil courts have ruled that a convert to Islam is entitled to take a custody dispute to a Shariah court, even if the other partner is a non-Muslim.

Non-Muslims cannot appear in Shariah court and lawyers say such a court is more likely to award custody to the Muslim parent when the children have been converted.

Malaysia’s Constitution says that the religion of a child under 18 should be decided by the parent or guardian. Some lawyers have argued that this should be interpreted to mean both parents, but the courts have not agreed, ruling that the consent of one parent is sufficient to convert a child to Islam.

Once a person has become a Muslim, it is difficult to change. It requires permission from the Shariah court, but Mr. Shanmuga said there were no established criteria for renouncing Islam.

“Anybody who steps out of Islam, the Shariah court and the general Muslim population frown on,” said Mohammad Hashim Kamali, an Islamic law expert and chief executive officer of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies. “The procedures are not made easy for them.”

Last year, the Malaysian cabinet announced that it wanted to bar the conversion of children without both parents’ consent.

But so far no legislation has been passed to turn the cabinet’s decision into law, said M. Kulasegaran, the Democratic Action Party parliamentary member for Ipoh West and another of Ms. Gandhi’s lawyers.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Chambers declined to comment on the issue.

Mr. Hashim, the Islamic law expert, has recommended establishing a special court of mixed jurisdiction where both Shariah and civil judges would adjudicate disputes involving Muslims and non-Muslims on issues such as child conversion and custody.

Mr. Malik said that when parents have sought redress in the civil courts over their children’s conversion, the courts have generally ruled that such issues must be handled by the Shariah court.

He said recent rulings have followed the precedent set by the case of Lina Joy in 2007. Ms. Joy, who converted from Islam to Christianity, applied to Malaysia’s highest civil court to have her conversion recognized. But the court ruled that conversion falls under Shariah jurisdiction. Ms. Joy has since left the country, Mr. Malik said.

While Ms. Gandhi’s lawyers debate jurisdiction, Ms. Gandhi is focused not only on contesting her children’s conversion but on being reunited with her youngest daughter.

Her eldest children, aged 12 and 13, have lived with her since she separated from her husband, but it has been nine months since she last saw her youngest daughter, who will soon celebrate her second birthday.

Despite the court decision awarding her custody, her husband had refused to return the girl as of Thursday night.

“I missed a lot of her childhood,” said Ms. Gandhi. “It’s not about religion. It’s about humankind. What does she know that she’s been converted?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/world/asia/02malay.html

------

Little faith in new Malaysian inter-religious initiative

April 8, 2010

Christian groups in Malaysia say they're not convinced that a new government-backed panel to mediate religious disputes will work. Several churches in Malaysia have been firebombed in recent months. Now, a senior minister has announced an inter-faith panel to help advise the government on religious disputes amid concerns that relations between the country's diverse faith communities are deteriorating.

Presenter: Stephanie March.

Speakers: Reverend Herman Shastri, executive member of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism; Father Andrew Lawrence, editor of the Catholic Herald

MARCH: Religious disputes have always existed in Malaysia but are becoming increasingly frequent and violent. In recent months Christian churches have been firebombed, and severed pig heads have been left on the doorsteps of mosques. The incidents have prompted a warning from influential former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that increasing racial friction could destabilise the country. The government is now promoting the an inter-faith committee. It is supposed to be a place for religious groups to exchange views and provide feedback to the government and cabinet. But a number of Christian organisations feel it doesn't go far enough. Reverend Herman Shastri is an executive member of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

HERMAN: This is nothing new. There have been previous attempts by government and civil society to forge such (sic) platform when where different religious communities can interact, discuss, build trust and most importantly solve problems.

MARCH: Reverend Herman says past panels have failed to make any real advancements towards religious harmony.

HERMAN: From the government side there have been many attempts but much bogged down by bureaucratic pressures and political interests.

MARCH: One of the most recent, and public religious disputes in Malaysia has been over the use of the word "Allah" to describe God in non-muslim texts. In the Malaysian high court the Catholic Church recently won the right to continue using the word to describe a Christian God in its weekly publication. The decision enraged some Islamic groups which lead to arson attacks on a number of churches late last year. In January police found four severed pigs heads at two mosques. Prime Minister Najib Razak has signalled the Home Ministry will appeal the courts decision. The editor of the Catholic publication at the centre of the dispute is Father Andrew Lawrence.

LAWRENCE: This panel doesn't mean much at the moment. As I say they have no legal standing, no legal structure, they are just a group of religious groups and they come together to talk about disputes, and so I do not see any impact that this will bring for the moment at least unless something more substantial is put in.

MARCH: Non-Islamic faiths will be represented on the panel by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism. Muslims will be represented on the panel by two government Islamic bodies, IKIM - the Institute of Islamic Understanding and JAKIM, the Department of Islamic Development. Father Lawrence says he doesn't believe this will be truly representative of Malaysia's muslim community.

LAWRENCE: JAKIM is rather conservative and IKIM tends to be reflective a bit more but never the less they are in many ways dogmatic. So what kind of dialogue can you have? I'm not sure.

MARCH: A spokeswoman for JAKIM declined to comment and representatives from IKIM were unavailable. The idea of an inter-failth council has already reportedly been rejected by various Muslim groups, who feel Islam should be on a higher footing than other religions. While the committee's creation was born from the escalation of violence over the use of the word Allah. Its discussion topics will extend all the way from the court room to the home. The government hopes members will also hold informal dialogues on issues like inter-marriage, religious conversion and custody of children.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/201004/s2867145.htm

------

NGOs Support Inter-religious Committee

April 08, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR -- Several religious non- governmental organisations (NGO) have come out in support of the inter-religious committee and hope that it will improve inter-religious ties.

Muslim Welfare Organisation Malaysia (Perkim) general secretary Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Othman said he fully supported formation of the inter-religious committee as it could be used to explain the position of Islam which had eroded.

"Via the committee, all issues or matters that belittle Islam can be avoided to protect the status of Islam as enshrined in the constitution," he said when contacted here Thursday.

The former minister in the Prime Minister's Department said formation of the inter-religious committee in February would also stop efforts to degrade Islam.

The inter-religious committee headed by former Kota Baharu Member of Parliament Datuk Ilani Ishak will promote understanding and harmony among religions.

The committee includes representatives from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, Institute of Islamic Understanding and the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

Issues discussed by the committee include those related to inter-marriage, conversion, religious terms, child custody, building of worship houses and cemetery land.

Malaysian Hindu Sanggam Association president RS Mohan said formation of the committee would help improve racial ties in the country.

"With the committee, the various races can discuss issues on religion and solve them. We hope that those appointed to sit on the committee can respect other religions," he said.

Malaysia Buddhist Youth Association general secretary Sek Chin Yong hopes that the committee would comprise all religious leaders in the country.

"I hope religious leaders can iron out the differences as we comprise many races from different religious background," he added.

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=488968

------

Pak starts massive war games on Indian border

Omer Farooq Khan

Apr 11, 2010

 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's army launched one of its biggest military war games involving 50,000 troops on Saturday near Pakistan's eastern border with India.

The exercises that will last until May 13 are code named 'Azm-e-Nau' (new resolve or renewed vigour and determination). According to military officials, 50,000 soldiers from the artillery, infantry and armoured corps units have been deployed and they will take part in the military exercises for one month.

Azm-e-Nau exercises are said to be Pakistan's biggest war-games in more than 20 years, which will be carried out in Punjab province and the southern province of Sindh, both of which border India. The army conducted its biggest-ever exercises involving 200,000 soldiers in 1989.

Earlier this month, Pakistan air force held a demonstration for invited guests, including foreign defence officials, in the Punjab to show its capacity to contribute to the fight against militants. The military says all available surveillance and reconnaissance assets will be utilised in the exercise to validate their efficiency.

Pakistan's chief of army staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani declared the years 2009-2010 as the "year of training" based on the current security situation. Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said India had been informed about the exercise.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-starts-massive-war-games-on-Indian-border/articleshow/5783210.cms

-----

Muslim leaders back cutting Haj subsidy

Zia Haq

April 11, 2010

The UPA government's plan to gradually stop financing the Haj pilgrimage is a step in the right direction, several Muslim leaders have said. Their backing is crucial for a clean pullout, without rubbing the community the wrong way.

From the Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind to the Milli Council, influential Muslim lobbies on Saturday said it was time the government pulled out of the Haj business.

"The subsidy has been inconsequential," Rajya Sabha MP and Jamiat leader, Mahmood Madni told Hindustan Times.

About 1,50,000 Indian Muslims flock to Mecca each year for Haj, one of the five pillars of Islam. The government bankrolls the pilgrimage by partly paying the airfare.

Madni said the subsidy actually went in bailing out Air-India, while exposing Muslims to charges of appeasement. So, Muslim leaders want global tenders for airlines so that the lowest bidder gets the job.

A decades-old bilateral treaty between India and Saudi Arabia stipulates only the state carrier will fly pilgrims.

A major gripe is that Air-India's fares are sharply higher than routine fares. Each year, the Cabinet decides how much the Haj Committee, the facilitating agency, should charge as airfare. Last year, passengers were charged Rs 12,000 each.

Going by last year's subsidy of about Rs 826 crore, the Air India fare must have been between Rs 80,000-90,000 per passenger, according to Haj Committee CEO Mohd. Owais.

The current round trip economy fare to Jeddah at present is about Rs 18,000, a Saudi airline official said.

"Air India's monopoly should be ended," Jama Masjid imam Ahmed Bukhari said.

The state carrier charges higher fares on the ground that it has to pull out planes from regular operations for dedicated Haj travel.

"The Haj Committee should be given three-years' subsidy at one time as seed capital and the subsidy stopped after that," Manzoor Alam, Muslim Personal Law Board member and Milli Council chief, said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/newdelhi/Muslim-leaders-back-cutting-Haj-subsidy/Article1-529806.aspx

-----

'Scores dead' in Pakistan air raids

April 11, 2010

The Pakistani military has killed nearly 100 people in air raids in tribal areas in the country's northwest, officials say.

The attacks were carried out on Saturday in the Orazkai and Khyber regions near the border with Afghanistan, they said.

In Orakzai, 54 people said to be "militants" by the Pakistani army were killed during clashes over a checkpoint near the town of Baizoti, Samiullah Khan, a local official, told the Associated Press news agency on Saturday.

His comments came after it emerged that another raid had killed more than 40 people in the Tirah area of the Khyber region.

"At least 42 militants of Lashkar-e-Islam were killed and two militant hideouts were also destroyed," Shafeerullah Wazir, the Khyber administration chief, said.

"The death toll may rise as dozens of others were also injured in the airstrike."

Death toll confirmed

A military official confirmed that the incident had taken place and the death toll was correct.

"The air strike was launched on a tip-off that a meeting of the Lashkar-e-Islam group was going on in Tirah," the official told the Agence France Presse news service.

The area where the attack took place adjoins the northwestern city of Peshawar, scene of a series of bomb attacks blamed on the Taliban in recent months and increasingly viewed as a seat of instability in Pakistan. 

"There was an attack by a fixed-wing aircraft," Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said quoting witnesses.

"A jirga [tribal meeting] was hit. After that nearby residents came to pull people out of the rubble. Then a second and, maybe, even a third wave of attacks hit them."

The violence came as a Pakistani military offensive against Taliban-allied fighters in Orakzai entered its 18th day.

The UN announced on Friday that the deteriorating security situation in Orakzai and Kurram has forced 200,000 civilians to flee since November last year.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/04/201041014445747250.html

-----

Italians arrested over Afghan plot

April 11, 2010

Nine people including three Italian medical workers have been arrested in Afghanistan for allegedly plotting to kill a provincial governor.

"They were planning attacks in Lashkar Gah and the number one target was myself," Gulab Mangal, the Helmand provincial governor, has said.

He said that the alleged operation, by the three Italians and six Afghans, was funded by the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan.

Suicide bomb vests, hand grenades, pistols and explosives were found in a hospital storeroom where the three worked, which is run by the Italian charity Emergency.

Police were tipped off about a plot to kill the governor, a government spokesman, said.

Speaking from Milan, Cecilia Strada, the head of Emergency, told Al Jazeera that this was a completely groundless claim.

"It sounds quite ridiculous that they would be involved in any plot. They have spent the last few years in Afghanistan, helping and treating people for free.

"We ask that you respect their rights, first of all, the right to communicate with us and let us know where they are and what their condition is."

Raid video

The Associated Press obtained a video of the raid that shows British troops accompanying Afghan police, soldiers and government officials to the hospital.

In a storeroom, boxes are opened containing what appear to be bullets, pistols, hand grenades, and bags of explosives.

A British soldier is heard saying that an explosives disposal unit was on its way when the explosives were found.

The three Italians are then shown sitting on outdoor benches but the names on their identification cards are not visible.

Emergency said it had been unable to make contact with its employees since their arrest.

"The only contact we have been able to make has been through one of the employee's cell phones answered by someone who identified himself as a British military official," Strada said.

A Nato spokesman in Kabul said its forces had not taken part in any arrests.

Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, was closely following developments, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

"Pending details in this matter, the government reaffirms its strictly rigorous line against any direct or indirect support for terrorism, be it in Afghanistan or elsewhere," the spokesman added.

Anti-Italian protest

Meanwhile, dozens of Afghan demonstrators have gathered outside Emergency's hospital on Sunday, shouting: "Death to Emergency, we don't want Emergency."

Protesters called for all Italian troops to leave Afghanistan.

Emergency has had a tense relationship with local authorities due to its policy of treating all patients, including those suspected members of the Taliban.

It has operated in Afghanistan since 1999 and currently runs three surgical centres, a maternity centre and a network of 28 health centres that they say have treated 2.5 million people.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/04/201041171211170120.html

-----

Karzai Tours With McChrystal After U.S. Feud

April 11, 2010

KUNDUZ/LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai  called on Taliban "brothers" to lay down their arms, as he appeared with NATO's commander in a show of solidarity aimed at putting a quarrel with the West behind him.

In a sign of the volatility of a once-peaceful northern region, plans for Karzai to address German troops in Kunduz on Sunday were called off at the last minute. Residents and German forces said rockets had fallen near the German base there.

And in the south, hundreds of people protested against an Italian charity that operates a hospital where staff have been accused of plotting to assassinate a provincial governor.

Karzai and U.S. General Stanley McChrystal met hundreds of elders in Kunduz, which has seen a surge in Taliban attacks and is expected to become a main battle front in coming months.

"I call on the Taliban, the Kunduz Taliban: Brothers! Dears!... Come and have your say, but not by the gun," Karzai said. "You say, 'Foreigners are here.' But as long as you fight, they won't leave."

Scores of German troops assembled at their base waiting for Karzai to address them, but an officer announced the stop had been canceled "due to security reasons and a tight timetable."

Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Weber said rockets had landed near the base. A villager said he had seen two rockets.

It was the third time Karzai had met elders with McChrystal recently, in what NATO says is part of McChrystal's strategy of emphasizing the Afghan government's role in military efforts.

That strategy has been strained by a row in which the president drew the wrath of the White House by accusing Western embassies of carrying out election fraud. The White House said on Friday it considered the quarrel over.

PROTEST AGAINST CHARITY

In Lashkar Gah, capital of Afghanistan's most violent province Helmand, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets chanting "Death to Emergency!." Emergency is the name of a Milan-based charity that runs a hospital in the city.

Provincial authorities said on Saturday three Italians had been arrested for plotting to kill the governor of the southern province, bringing arms and explosive vests into the hospital.

Emergency has called the allegations "grotesque." Italy says it is studying the case.

"Those who brought explosives into the hospital to carry out an attack must be arrested and tried for their acts," said protester Khosrawi January

U.S. and British forces launched an offensive in Helmand in February, part of McChrystal's plan to use an extra 30,000 U.S. troops this year to turn the tide against a spreading insurgency and pave the way for troops to begin leaving in 2011.

Increasingly that will mean fighting in northern cities like Kunduz, once seen as safer but now hit by the spread of Taliban influence from their main strongholds in the south and the east.

McChrystal is expected to send 2,500 U.S. troops in coming months to beat back Taliban fighters who have seized much of Kunduz despite the presence of German troops. The Germans operate under post-World War Two restrictions on their combat role, which critics say have allowed the Taliban to advance.

Germany has the third largest contingent in Afghanistan, numbering more than 4,000, but increasing violence in areas it patrols has made the campaign controversial back home.

(Additional reporting by Mohammad Hamed in KUNDUZ, and Sayed Salahuddin, Jonathon Burch and Peter Graff in KABUL; writing by Peter Graff; editing by Andrew Roche)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/04/11/world/international-us-afghanistan.html

-----

Malaysia opens academy to train Hindu priests

Author: Jaishree Balasubramanian/ PTI, Kuala Lumpur

Publication: Indian Express

Dated: April 6, 2010

Intro: The move comes after difficulty in obtaining visas for priests from India

After months of fretting by Hindu temples in Malaysia over the difficulty in obtaining visas for priests from India, the country's first academy to groom locals to take over as 'pujaris' has been set up.

Hindu Priests Academy, which will train, grade and cer tify priests, was opened yester day in Jelapang Tambahan near the Ipoh town. The acad emy hopes to supply qualified priests to more than 3,000' Hindu temples nationwide. Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam, a an ethnic In dian Hindu himself, said the training centre would reduce the community's

reliance on priests from India.

The academy is owned and run by the Malaysian Archa gar Sangam (Malaysian Hindu Priests' Association).

A five-year syllabus had been drawn by the association, in consultation with priest training institutes in India. "With the academy, the com munity is also assured of qual ified and accredited priests to perform various Hindu cere monies," Subramaniam said after the opening ceremony.

"This is a new beginning that will be filled with many chal lenges. But I am sure that the association, with the support of the government, would over come the problems" he added. Subramaruam said although there were locals who were trained as priests, the training was not done formally by recog nised institutions and was not accredited at the national level.

''The association would of fer formal training with legiti mate accreditation," he said and hoped that the effort would be accepted by the Hindu community in the country. "Prior to the setting up of this academy, a few individuals were providing training and bestowing titles (on the trainee priests)," he said. With the standardised training, it would be easier to iden tify the levels of qualifications and titles held by the priests, the Minister said.

"There was no standardisa tion. Every person, according to his desire, adjoined various titles to their names. The Hin dus were confused. Now, we are regularising every aspect of the priest training and priest hood." He, however, said the community would continue to bring in priests from India for the time being as the training; grading and certifying of priests would take time.

The minister later pre sented certificates to 100 priests, some of whom had completed their two-year training stint in India. A priest at the century old Mari amman temple here told PTI that though the move was timely, it would still be difficult for local youths to fully under stand and learn Sanskrit, something the priests from In dia were trained since their childhood.

"The local youth never wanted to take up the job of priests as the salary was not high enough, also many tem ple patrons were more com fortable with experienced priests from mdia leading the prayers," he said. However, with most temples have been facing shortage of priests for some months now after the au thorities went slow on extend ing visas or granting new ones. Malaysia which relies heav ily on foreign workers and for eign priests for its Hindu and Sikh temples has been restrict ing the import of foreigners encouraging locals to take up the jobs instead.

-----

Honor Killing: Barbaric practice

Editrorial in The Hindu, New Delhi

April 8, 2010

Sardar Patel, the architect of States' unification, was worried that Indian democracy would prove transient: “Almost overnight we have introduced …the superstructure of a modern system of government… unless the transplanted growth takes a healthy root in the soil, there will be a danger of collapse and chaos.” In the six decades since then, India's home-grown democracy has held together beautifully — or so India is fond of telling the world. Yet every so often this smug self-belief is shattered by incidents so gruesome, so medieval that they serve to recall the Sardar's worst fears. How can a nation cast in a modern, liberal democratic framework, with a Constitution held up as a model to emulate and laws that match the best in the world, tolerate the ugly phenomenon of khap (caste) panchayats with their kangaroo court-style instant justice? For years, the panchayats, prevalent mainly in the North Indian States of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, have practised violence as if it was a credo, brutally and summarily punishing those overstepping the redlines. This form of ‘retributive justice' has particularly targeted young men and women seeking to marry within the same gotra. In village after village, khap panchayats have hounded out, forcibly separated, and all failing, murdered newly married couples — justifying the horrendous edicts as necessary to uphold local culture and honour.

In the first-ever conviction in a case of ‘honour killing,' a Haryana court recently sentenced five persons to death. The verdict has turned the spotlight on the recurring crime, triggering widespread debate followed by the promise of official action. Nonetheless, two concerns arise. Given the frequency of this barbaric practice — in the last year alone several couples have been strung up and the baby of a young mother put up for sale — why do so few cases come up for trial? The continued use of the term ‘honour killing' is itself deeply disturbing: it implies sanction for a system of patriarchy that stigmatises women, tying them to outdated notions of purity and chastity. Several remedial measures have been suggested to rein in the khap panchyats, including a separate section in the Indian Penal Code. However, any enhancement of the legal architecture must be complemented by social enlightenment for results to prove enduring. The khaps have become a law unto themselves because of social and political support. At a recent khap maha panchayat, members had the temerity to demand a new law to prevent same-gotra marriages. Without a change in this reactionary attitude, India will remain a country that ritually holds elections but falls way short of a truly modern, liberal democracy.

http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article392060.ece

-----

Shadow of AMU’s spy wing on Siras sting

Saba Rahman

Apr 11, 2010

New Delhi : The death of Aligarh Muslim University reader S R Siras and the sting operation on him have brought into focus a shadowy intelligence unit inside the university that spies on students and teachers.

The third unnamed ‘reporter’ in the FIR lodged in the case filed by Siras is allegedly associated with the university’s local intelligence unit (LIU), said a source.

An FIR has been registered against four AMU professors — Proctor Zubair Khan, Deputy Proctor Fareed Ahmad Khan, spokesperson Rahat Abrar and Media Adviser NAK Durrani — and three mediapersons, one unidentified, for forcefully landing up at Prof Siras’s house and videographing him having sex with a rickshaw puller.

The LIU, besides having Proctors and Deputy Proctors at the top, has proctoral monitors and deputy proctoral monitors among the students who act as informers.

A university employee, Md Chaman, had sought to know the need for such a body on the campus through an RTI application. The Proctor’s office, in its response in November last year, while admitting the presence of LIU, had stated, “The aim and objectives of LIU are to collect information... which helps take preventive measures in maintaining law and order on the campus.”

“The UGC or the Ministry of HRD have not been informed by the Proctor’s Office about the existence of LIU,” it had stated.

Proctor Md Zubair Khan confirmed: “There is such a proctorial team on the university. You can call it a local intelligence unit where students give information about campus activities and unwanted elements. There are watch and ward staff who are salaried employees. We also have students — proctoral monitors and deputy proctoral monitors — who act as campus monitors. The aim is to maintain law and order in the university.” On the sting operation on Siras, Zubair said, “The LIU team had nothing to do with it.”

A research scholar in the department of mass communication said, “It is well known that the mastermind of the Siras sting operation is associated with the LIU. Students who are part of LIU enjoy the support of the university higher-ups—right from the V-C to the Proctor.”

A research scholar in Siras’s department of Modern Indian Languages, who too is an ‘informer’ for LIU, is also said to have played a crucial role in the sting operation. This student is said to have collected information about his “activities” and passed it on to the LIU.

Tariqul Islam, a reader in the department of philosophy, said: “There was some kind of surveillance of Siras’s residence at the behest of the university. It is mentioned in the Proctor’s report that he reached Siras’s residence after being informed by LIU guards.” “At AMU, you have sleuths in plainclothes snooping around, spying on you all the time,” he added.

SP, Aligarh, Maan Singh Chauhan, said, “We still have no leads on the third person named in the FIR. We can have some clue when we begin questioning (people) in the case.”

Siras was placed under suspension by AMU Vice Chancellor P K Abdul Aziz on charges of homosexuality at his house inside the campus after a sting operation. However, the Allahabad High Court stayed the decision. The body of 62-year-old Siras, who taught Marathi, was found on April 7 in his apartment outside the university after the police broke open the door.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/shadow-of-amus-spy-wing-on-siras-sting/604027/

-----

Polish President killed in plane crash

 

Moscow: Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife died on Saturday along with 130 others when their plane crashed while coming in for a landing in western Russia, officials said. The governor of the Smolensk region, where the crash took place about 11 a.m. (0700 GMT), said no one survived.

"The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing. Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart," Sergei Anufriev said on state news channel Rossiya-24. "Nobody has survived the disaster."

Rossiya-24 showed footage from the crash site, with pieces of the plane scattered widely amid leafless trees and small fires burning in the woods.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but reports said there was considerable fog in the area. The Polish foreign ministry confirmed that Kaczynski and his wife were aboard the plane.

The head of Russia's top investigative body, Sergei Markin, said there were a total of 132 people on the plane, a Tu-154. Kaczynski was flying to Russia for events marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police in Katyn and elsewhere during World War II.

The presidential plane was a Soviet-built Tupolev TU154M, at least 20 years old. The Army chief of staff, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer were on the passenger list.

In Warsaw, Prime Minister Donald Tusk called an extraordinary meeting of his Cabinet. Kaczynski, 60, became president in December 2005 after defeating Tusk in that year's presidential vote.

The nationalist conservative was the twin brother of Poland's opposition leader, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Kaczynski had said he would seek a second term in presidential elections this fall. He was expected to face an uphill struggle against Parliament speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Tusk's governing Civic Platform party.

According to the Constitution, Komorowski would take over presidential duties.

Kaczynski's wife, Maria, was an economist. They had a daughter, Marta, and two granddaughters.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/polish-president-killed-in-plane-crash/113043-2.html

-----

'Absolute immunity' rescues Zardari in graft case

Islamabad: Switzerland has said graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari cannot be reopened in its courts as he enjoys "absolute immunity" under international law, even as it rejected as "incomplete application" a fax sent to it by Pakistan's anti-corruption agency on the issue.

This is a "big problem" because the head of state, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister enjoy "absolute immunity" under international law, Swiss Attorney General Daniel Zappelli told a Pakistani news channel.

He made the remarks last night when asked if a closed case can be reopened if the government of a country makes a request as in the case of President Zardari.

"If an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts is submitted through Pakistan's embassy, it will be returned" since the head of a state enjoys absolute immunity, Zappelli said, replying to a query on reopening of the cases on the basis of a request by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan's anti-corruption agency.

The Supreme Court has been pushing the government led by Zardari's Pakistan People's Party to reopen cases in Swiss courts in which the President was accused of stashing away millions of dollars received as kickbacks in Swiss banks.

The apex court issued the order to reopen the cases after striking down the National reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf that benefited Zardari and thousands of others.

Zardari's aides have maintained that he enjoys immunity from prosecution by virtue of being President.

Zappelli said he had received a three-page fax from Pakistan and he believed this was an "incomplete application" for reopening the cases.

"... practically, documents like these are exchanged between governments through embassies and carry an official seal," he said.

The fax, based on the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was the only document he had received from Pakistani authorities, he said. The fax mentioned the name of the National Accountability Bureau.

Zappelli said he would prefer to respond to a letter from any official agency or the government of Pakistan that was dispatched with the relevant annexures. Without annexures, it would be difficult to respond, he said.

Responding to another question, Zappelli said, "these cases should be tried in the Lahore High Court if the Supreme Court of Pakistan declares non-availability of immunity to the President.

"If money laundering cases could not be proved in the courts of Pakistan, how could we do it?" he asked.

Zappelli said he could not confirm whether USD 60 million was laundered through Swiss banks.

If these were cases of corruption or kickbacks, where was the person who had given that money as a bribe? he asked.

He further said that if a Pakistani citizen commits a crime, it should first be proven in a Pakistani court. Pakistan will have to provide evidence that a crime has indeed been committed, he added.

Giving details about the closure of the cases against Zardari in Swiss courts, Zappelli said, "We received an application by the government of Pakistan through its embassy to close cases in Swiss courts on June 4, 2008."

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/absolute-immunity-rescues-zardari-in-graft-case/113110-2.html

-----

Dantewada ambush celebrations spark protest

 

New Delhi: Not everyone is mourning the loss of 76 CRPF jawans who were killed in Tuesday's massacre in Dantewada. Clashes broke out at Jawaharlal Nehru University here on Friday night, after two radical student organisations DSU and AISA held a public meeting which was seen as an attempt to support the Naxalites and celebrate the massacre.

The meeting was organised by the Democratic Students Union (DSU) and the All India Students Association (AISA) on campus. Opposition groups like the NSUI, ABVP and Youth for Equality allege they even shouted anti-India, pro-Maoist slogans at the meeting. But the organisers say they were only opposing the government's Operation Greenhunt. Authorities at the university say no permission had been taken to hold the meeting.

The National Students Union of India (NSUI), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Pari-shad (ABVP) and Youth for Equality (YFE) came together to allege that a campus function by the JNU Forum Against War on People was used by Maoist supporters to celebrate the Dantewada killings. But the organisers said the meeting was only meant to oppose Operation Greenhunt launched by the government.

The NSUI national general secretary, Shaikh Shahnawaz, recalled: "Members of Democratic Students Union (DSU) and All India Students Association (AISA) organised a meeting to celebrate the killing of 76 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh. They were even shouting slogans like 'India murdabad, Maovad zindabad'. How can this be allowed inside a Central university?"

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/dantewada-ambush-celebrations-spark-protest/113103-37-64.html?from=tn

-----

'Fatwa' against Sania, Shoaib for living together

Apr 11, 2010 at

Hyderabad: Tennis star Sania Mirza's marriage with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik has sparked another row with some religious scholars issuing a 'fatwa' or religious edict against their living and mingling freely even before the marriage is solemnised.

Sunni Ulema Board, a group of religious scholars, said both the sportspersons were bringing disrepute to Islam and Muslim community through their actions.

The board issued a 'fatwa' terming their actions 'haram' (forbidden) and asked Muslims to stay away from the April 15 marriage.

"The kind of actions the two are indulging in like living together and addressing media together are 'haram' in Islam," said Moulana Haseebul Hasan Siddiqui, a religious scholar.

Shoaib has been staying at Sania's residence here for more than a week and television pictures showed them dancing and doing physical exercises together.

"Islam permits a man and woman to see each other only once before marriage and it does not allow them to live together and indulge in this sort of activities before marriage," he said.

He felt that all the actions of Sania and Shoaib were bringing a bad name to Islam and the Muslim community and advised invitees to stay away from their marriage as men and women would mingle freely there in total disregard of Islamic principles.

"Muslims should stay away from such gatherings where men and women mingle freely in violation of Islamic principles," he said.

The religious scholar had also issued a 'fatwa' against Sania Mirza for favouring pre-marital sex three years ago. He had opined that Sania committed a big sin by promoting 'zina' (fornication). The tennis ace, however, denied making the remarks.

Shoaib has already come under criticism from clergy for denying marriage with Ayesha Siddiqui even after admitting that he signed the 'nikahnama'. The Pakistani star last week divorced Ayesha after the latter filed a case of cheating against him.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/fatwa-against-sania-shoaib-for-living-together/113111-3.html?from=tn

-----

Jaswant Singh to release book on Jinnah in Islamabad next week

Apr 10, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh will release his controversial book on Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah next week.

There had been talk of Singh releasing 'Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence' in Pakistan since August last year.

The much-delayed launch ceremony has finally been scheduled by Oxford University Press, the book's publisher in Pakistan, at Islamabad Club on April 14.

Singh is expected to participate in events in other cities also, including Karachi, during his first visit to Pakistan since the release of the book.

Earlier, Mr Books, one of Islamabad's most popular book stores, had planned to host Singh in the federal capital but his trip to Pakistan was put off as the book had then not been published in the country. Despite the delay in Singh's visit to Pakistan, copies of his book have been flying off the shelves.

Pirated copies of the book too entered the market and Oxford University Press filed a complaint with police that led to the arrest of several book store owners. Singh argued in his book that Jinnah was not solely responsible for the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.

Singh was expelled by BJP following the release of the book last year.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Jaswant-Singh-to-release-book-on-Jinnah-in-Islamabad-next-week/articleshow/5781663.cms

------

In Germany, Xenophobia Diverted by Open Doors

By NICHOLAS KULISH

VÖLKLINGEN, Germany — Everything seemed to be in place for a protracted xenophobic row and attendant media frenzy in this depressed industrial town near the French border.

A Muslim congregation applied in November to build a minaret and three golden cupolas on the roof of the old movie theater it had converted into a mosque. The far-right party here in the state of Saarland, emboldened by last year’s ban on minarets in Switzerland, seized on the issue, calling the proposed 28-foot minaret “the bayonet of Islam.”

But after a quick turn in the media spotlight, the pending furor fizzled out. A neighborhood group recently issued a statement with mosque leaders calling for “peaceful and constructive” cooperation, while the mosque’s leadership agreed to temporarily shelve the plan for the minaret.

They will spend the rest of the year reaching out to the non-Muslim community, opening their doors to promote understanding before moving ahead. “Whether it comes to building the minaret or not, we’ve started the dialogue and we’re going to continue it,” said Atnen Atakli, the mosque’s chairman.

Analysts say that strong social safety nets have kept intolerance toward Europe’s Muslims from growing significantly through the economic crisis, at least so far, with the worst sparring coming between countries — in particular Germany and Greece — rather than within them.

“Governments have been willing to cushion the blow and expand the deficits, so the debate has not heated up,” said Justin Vaïsse, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe, who studies Muslims in Europe. “You’re not looking at a 1930s situation where a social crisis derives from an economic crisis.”

Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/world/europe/24germany.html

------

Don't rubbish Sudan elections

Simon Tisdall

The chorus of condemnation from those pursuing a Darfur-focussed agenda misses the point.

Not a single vote has yet been cast in Sudan's elections but already international pressure groups and domestic opponents of the current government are queuing up to rubbish the process. This chorus of condemnation seems a little premature. It also misses the point. While it's likely the polls will be flawed in important respects, in a fundamental sense, that does not matter. For the major players inside and outside Sudan, the elections, beginning on Sunday, are merely a staging post on a much longer journey.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, is among the most outspoken critics. He said sending EU and African Union observers to monitor the vote was a waste of time. “It's like monitoring a Hitler election,” he said. Moreno-Ocampo urged western countries to concentrate instead on arresting Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, charged by the ICC with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Moreno—Ocampo has a particular axe to grind. Like the Waging Peace and the Save Darfur Coalition pressure groups, broader issues of democratic governance and implementation of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan's ruinous north—south civil war take second place, in his view, to the importance of avenging Darfur and arraigning Bashir in The Hague.

“It is clear to all observers that these much heralded ‘multi-party elections' have never been more than an attempt by [Bashir] to legitimise his position in the eyes of the international community,” said Sophie McCann of Waging Peace. The process was “unsalvageable”. For its part, Save Darfur seized on the partial poll boycott by some opposition parties to urge the US, Britain and others to disown the whole business and condemn Bashir's “dictatorial rule”.

Mixed motives also lie behind the decision of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the main southern political party, to boycott polling in Darfur and the north. The SPLM and other opposition groups have voiced concerns about the accuracy of the 2008 census on which voting is based, the ruling National Congress party's (NCP) monopoly of state resources, and alleged bias of the national elections commission.

Full report at : © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010

------

US wants nations to help lock down N-materials within 4 yrs

Apr 10, 2010

WASHINGTON: The US today warned that al-Qaida has stepped up clandestine hunt for a nuclear bomb lending urgency to the upcoming historic nuclear summit, where President Barack Obama wants countries, including India, to help lock down the world's vulnerable atomic materials within four years.

White House has high expectations from the two-day Summit which, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be the largest assembly of world leaders hosted by an American President since the 1945 San Francisco conference which founded the UN.

The tone for the conference would be set by Obama by meeting with Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, the two new nuclear powers, tomorrow as well as leaders of South Africa and Kazakhstan, two countries that gave up nuclear weapons programme voluntarily.

A communique to be issued at the end of the Nuclear Security Summit recognises that nuclear terrorism is a serious threat and wants countries to endorse a pledge to take steps both at national and international level to strengthen nuclear security and prevent terrorists and criminal groups from gaining access to atomic weapons.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-wants-nations-to-help-lock-down-N-materials-within-4-yrs/articleshow/5782177.cms

------

Kyrgyzstan holds funeral ceremonies for protest victims

10 April 2010

Funeral ceremonies are being held in Kyrgyzstan for some of the at least 78 people killed during a violent uprising that ousted the president.

Thousands of mourners watched as 15 coffins draped in the national flag were carried through the burial ground outside the capital, Bishkek.

The interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, said those killed were heroes.

Meanwhile, the US has suspended all troop flights to Afghanistan from Kyrgyzstan amid continuing tension.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, hundreds of cars drove to a memorial site some 20km (12 miles) outside Bishkek for the funerals of 15 of those who died during last week's violence.

Other victims were being buried at private family funerals.

The memorial site was the scene of a massacre by Soviet forces in the 1930s of Kyrgyz noblemen.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8612812.stm

------

Somalia Islamists al-Shabab ban BBC transmissions

By Peter Greste

10 April 2010

Al-Shabab and its allies control most of southern and central Somalia

The Somali Islamist movement al-Shabab has banned the BBC and closed down transmitters broadcasting the Somali language service inside the country.

Al-Shabab accused the BBC of fighting against Islam and supporting the transitional federal government, which the rebels are fighting to overthrow.

The group said the BBC had been broadcasting the agenda of crusaders and colonialists against Muslims.

The BBC said it was strictly impartial and spoke to all sides in the conflict.

The BBC has been broadcasting its services in Somali, Arabic and English across the country on a series of FM frequencies for at least a decade, and surveys suggest it is one of the most widely listened-to news services in Somalia.

'Strict standards'

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8612654.stm

------

Qaida threatens to strike during soccer World Cup

Apr 10, 2010,

ALGIERS: Al-Qaida’s North African branch has threatened to attack the World Cup Football finals in South Africa which start in June.

In addition to the US and British teams, the teams representing France, Germany and defending champions Italy are on the terror group’s list of targets.

“All those countries are part of the Zionist-Crusader campaign against Islam,” says al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in a recent issue of the jihadist online magazine ‘Mushtaqun Lel Jannah’.

“How amazing could the match between the United States and England be if, during a live broadcast with a stadium packed with spectators, the sound of an explosion rumbles through the stands, the whole stadium is turned upside down and the number of dead bodies are in their dozens and hundreds, God willing,” the statement says. The US and England are scheduled to play each other June 12 in the South African city of Rustenburg.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb says it will use an undetectable explosive that will be able to circumvent security checkpoints.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Qaida-threatens-to-strike-during-soccer-World-Cup/articleshow/5779747.cms

------

Defiant Iran unveils faster enrichment centrifuge

Apr 10, 2010,

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran unveiled a faster centrifuge for enriching uranium on Friday, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned major powers mulling fresh UN sanctions that it would not give in to threats.

Western governments seized on Iran's defiance as evidence of its "nefarious" intent as they sought consensus at the Security Council on a tough new package of measures to secure compliance with repeated ultimatums for a freeze on uranium enrichment.

Ahmadinejad's comments marking Iran's National Nuclear Day came a day after China agreed to join five other major powers for more talks on a fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran, rowing back on its previous opposition.

Atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran had successfully tested the new centrifuges which are capable of enriching uranium six times faster than its existing ones at a plant in Natanz, south of Tehran.

Full report at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100409/wl_afp/irannuclearpolitics

------

Bomber shoots cop in Russia, blows herself up

Apr 10, 2010,

EKAZHEVO: A female suicide bomber killed herself after shooting dead a policeman on Friday in Russia’s North Caucasus region, where the Kremlin is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency, police said.

Suicide bombers have killed more than 50 people and injured 100 in a series of attacks that began on March 29 when two young women blew themselves up on the Moscow metro.

Police said that the woman, wearing a suicide belt, opened fire at them, wounding one policeman who later died. When police returned fire she blew herself up with the explosive device strapped to her body, officers at the scene said.

Dressed in a long jeans skirt and black top, her body later lay badly mutilated in a pool of blood. The shoot-out took place in the village of Ekazhevo in Ingushetia, where senior rebel leader Said Buryatskty was killed in a battle with security forces in early March.

Three other militants were killed in Ekazhevo on Friday in gunfights with police. Earlier on Friday, a bomb exploded in the centre of Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala, but no one was hurt.

The Moscow bombings turned the global spotlight on Russia’s North Caucasus region, where Islamist militants are fighting for an independent state.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Bomber-shoots-cop-in-Russia-blows-herself-up/articleshow/5779758.cms

------

Bush knew most in Gitmo innocent: Col Wilkerson

Apr 10, 2010,

LONDON: Former US president George W Bush and his top aides were accused on Friday of covering up that many Guantanamo Bay detainees were innocent, amid fears releasing them could harm the “war on terror”.

The allegations were made in a document by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to Bush’s first secretary of state, Colin Powell, in a lawsuit filed by a former Guantanamo inmate and published by the Times in London.

Wilkerson alleged Bush’s vice-president, Dick Cheney, and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld knew that most detainees held at the US detention camp in 2002 were innocent but believed it was “politically impossible to release them”.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Bush-knew-most-in-Gitmo-innocent-Col-Wilkerson/articleshow/5779745.cms

------

Militants attacks Indian camp in Afghanistan

Apr 10, 2010

KABUL: Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn attack on an Indian road construction camp in eastern Afghanistan today, burning vehicles and equipment and sending the crew fleeing, authorities said.

No deaths or injuries were reported in the attack in Khost province's Domanda district, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Suspected Taliban, who are active in the mountainous eastern region bordering Pakistan, descended on the camp around 2 a.m local time.

Such raids seek to discourage foreign involvement in Afghanistan and destabilize the central government, which is struggling to bring development to the impoverished countryside and extend its mandate outside the capital, Kabul.

Elsewhere, two members of a nomadic tribe were killed by a roadside bomb Friday in the southern province of Kandahar, the ministry said. No details were given.

Also today, NATO said it still had no information on what caused the crash of a US Air Force Osprey in which three service members and a civilian contractor were killed. It was the first crash of the costly tilt-rotor aircraft in a combat zone, the US military said.

Numerous other service members were reported injured when the aircraft went down late Thursday 11 kilometers from Qalat, the capital of Zabul province about 300 kilometers southwest of Kabul.

A Taliban spokesman said militants shot down the aircraft, but the insurgents often make exaggerated claims.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Taliban-attack-Indian-camp-in-Afghanistan-no-casualties/articleshow/5782094.cms

------

100 Kashmir peaks to be opened to foreign climbers

Apr 10, 2010

Mountaineers, rejoice: India will, for the first time, allow foreign climbers to scale more than 100 high-altitude peaks this summer in the Himalayan state of Kashmir.

Officials said the move was an effort to boost the scenic region's ailing tourism industry, hit by two decades of separatist rebellion. Officials say 60 percent of Kashmiris are dependent on tourism.

Kashmir was once dubbed the Switzerland of the east. It was once a mecca for climbers, skiers, honeymooners and film-makers drawn to the state's soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats bobbing on Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital.

But the number of visitors began falling after a revolt broke out in 1989 that has killed more than 47,000 people so far.

Pakistan and India have fought two wars over Muslim majority Kashmir, which is divided between the South Asian neighbours who both claim it in full. India accuses Pakistan of backing separatist militants fighting its forces. Pakistan says it only offers them political backing.

Full report at:

http://www.newsofap.com/news_details.php?new_auto_id=11367&name=25-100-kashmir-peaks-to-be-opened-to-foreign-climbers-newsofap&start=20

------

Pak's nuclear arsenal is in 'safe hands': Gilani

Apr 10, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today assured the world community that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is in "safe hands" as he embarked on a visit to the US to attend the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

"I assure the world, I assure the people of Pakistan that the nuclear capability, the nuclear programme is in safe hands," Gilani told reporters at the Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi before boarding a special flight to the US.

Noting that the summit had been convened as the world has concerns about nuclear safety, Gilani said Pakistan's "nuclear programme is in experienced hands and we have experience of over 30 years".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Paks-nuclear-arsenal-is-in-safe-hands-Gilani/articleshow/5782260.cms

------

Crackdown on terror credit cards

Pradeep Thakur,

Apr 10, 2010,

NEW DELHI: After seeking information from the US authorities on who picked up the tab for Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley's credit cards, security agencies have launched a crackdown against terror suspects using international cards as a mode of funding their operations in India.

In two operations in Lucknow and Delhi, intelligence agencies with the help of local police seized more than 65 international credit cards with at least Rs 4-5 crore withdrawn on them and distributed to sleeper cells, sources said.

In the first operation, the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the UP police last month recovered 20 international cards from two individuals in Lucknow after a close surveillance revealed that they were using the credit cards to draw money and pass it on to sleeper cells in the city on the instructions of Nepal-based masterminds.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Crackdown-on-terror-credit-cards/articleshow/5780006.cms

------

Yet another 'honour killing' rocks Haryana

Apr 10, 2010

HISAR/SIRSA: The death of a 25-year-old man and his lover, a minor, due to poisoning in Dookhra village of Sirsa district has sparked fears of yet another honour killing in Haryana.

While the police confirmed that the two died due to poison, they are not ruling out the possibility of honour killing. "Preliminary investigations suggest that it is case of suicide. However, we are exploring all angles. This area is not the traditional khap belt, says Sirsa superintendent of police Satinder Kumar.

Dharmender and the girl, both residents of Jamaal village of Sirsa, had been missing since Wednesday night.

According to the police, the two consumed poison at a brick kiln located on the outskirts of the village. While the girl died instantly, Dharmender succumbed at the Sirsa General Hospital.

http://toi.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Yet-another-honour-killing-rocks-Haryana/articleshow/5780003.cms

------

Gay Indian professor found dead after students filmed him having sex

April 9, 2010

A gay professor at a Muslim Indian university has been found dead after his students and a television crew broke into his home and filmed him having sex with a man.

Srinivas Ramchander Siras, professor of modern languages at Aligarh Muslim University, was found dead on Wednesday at his home.

Police believe he may have committed suicide, although the results of a post mortem examination were inconclusive.

He was suspended from his job and asked to leave his college apartment after the sting, in which he was filmed having sex with a rickshaw puller.

The 62-year-old was reinstated after a high court revoked the university's decision.

The Indian Express reported it had spoken to Siras on Monday evening after the suspension was lifted.

Full report at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/04/09/gay-indian-professor-found-dead-after-students-filmed-him-having-sex/

------

Manmohan and Obama will discuss Af-Pak strain in Indo-US ties

C. Raja Mohan

Apr 10, 2010

New Delhi : As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heads to Washington tomorrow, his bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama are being seen here as an opportunity to limit the potential dissonance between India and the United States on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sources here say the meeting at the White House on Sunday is unlikely to last longer than an hour but Singh and Obama will have enough time to seek and offer clarifications on their respective policies towards the deepening turbulence in the north-western parts of the subcontinent.

Besides Pakistan, a perennial theme in Indo-US relations, the Afghan situation too will come up for discussion. The deteriorating relations between Obama and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Delhi’s review of its Afghan policy after the recent attacks on the Indian medical missions in Kabul are also expected to figure prominently in the talks.

When Obama received Singh as the first state guest at the White House last November, the two leaders did have an expansive conversation on Pakistan and how it affects regional stability and the bilateral relationship between Delhi and Washington.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Manmohan-and-Obama-will-discuss-Af-Pak-strain-in-Indo-US-ties/602737

------

Cong chief steps in, communal violence Bill back on drafting board

Maneesh Chhibber

Apr 10, 2010

New Delhi : The Union Law Ministry is learnt to be re-drafting “crucial” clauses of the proposed Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of victims) Bill.

The move comes after UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi wrote to Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, asking him to include more stringent clauses in the proposed Bill to ensure that incidents of communal violence as witnessed in the past are not repeated. She is also learnt to have suggested that the Bill have a comprehensive definition of communal violence and what constitutes it.

While Law Ministry officials were tight-lipped on the exact contents of Sonia’s letter, it is learnt that she perceived some clauses of the proposed Bill as weak. Along with her letter, Sonia has also forwarded to the ministry representations submitted to her by NGOs that are opposed to the proposed Bill in its present form.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Cong-chief-steps-in--communal-violence-Bill-back-on-drafting-board/602735

------

Netanyahu ducks US nuclear summit, fearing censure

Apr 10, 2010,

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu has withdrawn from a nuclear security summit  in Washington next week, fearing Muslim delegates will demand  Israel give up its assumed atomic arsenal.

Netanyahu, who plans to send a deputy and two senior  advisers to the April 12-13 conference instead, cancelled “after  learning that some countries including Egypt and Turkey plan to  say Israel must sign the NPT”, an Israeli official said.

Arab diplomats countered that they suspected Netanyahu had  cancelled mainly to avoid further confrontation with US  President Barack Obama over Jewish settlements, and denied  having any plans to press Israel on atomic policy.

Full report at:

http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/world/04/10/netanyahu-ducks-us-nuclear-summit-fearing-censure/

------

Qatar Diplomat Who Sparked Airplane Bomb Scare Was Visiting Jailed Al-Qaeda

By MATTHEW LEE AND P. SOLOMON BANDA

WASHINGTON — A Qatari diplomat was on his way to an official visit with an imprisoned al-Qaida sleeper agent when he touched off a bomb scare by slipping into an airline bathroom for a smoke, officials said Thursday as the diplomat prepared to leave the U.S.

The diplomat, Mohammed Al-Madadi, was going to pay a consular visit to the prisoner, said Alison Bradley, a public relations executive hired to speak for the Qatari Embassy, and a State Department official.

The prisoner, Ali Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, is serving eight years after pleading guilty last year to conspiring to support terrorism. Al-Marri was arrested after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a sleeper agent researching poisonous gasses and plotting a cyberattack.

Consular officials frequently visit foreigners held in the United States to make sure they are being treated well.

Full report at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/qatari-diplomat-who-spark_n_530557.html

------

India: Govt wants to end rising Haj subsidy

Jayanth Jacob,

April 10, 2010

In a move that is bound to be opposed bitterly, the government has set in motion a proposal aimed at phasing out the subsidy for Haj pilgrims, which worked out to Rs 826 crore in 2008.

A note for cabinet made by the Ministry of External Affairs, the nodal agency for Haj, has been sent to stakeholder ministries such as civil aviation, finance and minority affairs for their response.

The note proposes to cut the number of pilgrims being sent on subsidised airfare by 10 per cent every year.

Over 1.60 lakh Indians made the Haj pilgrimage — to Mecca, Medina and Mina in Saudi Arabia — in 2009. The government subsidised the trip for 1.15 lakh who went through the Haj committee.

The rest went on their own using private tour operators.

The government subsidises the airfare, which has been rising, pushing up the subsidy bill from Rs 367 crore in 2006 to Rs 390 crore in 2007 to Rs 826 in 2008.

“The Government is striving to reduce such expenditu-re,” minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor told Lok Sabha last year.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Government-wants-to-end-rising-Haj-subsidy/H1-Article1-529422.aspx

------

61 Pak-Hindu nationals staying illegally in Amravati

Apr 9, 2010

MUMBAI: As many as 61 Pakistani Hindu nationals were staying illegally in Amravati city for the last four to five years, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly was told on Friday.

In a written reply, home minister R R Patil said the 61 Pakistani nationals, belonging to the Sindhi community, have been found over staying even after their passports and visas had expired.

They were trying to get their passports renewed by the Pakistan embassy in Delhi. But, the authorities were not entertaining their request, Patil said adding this creates problems in granting them visa extension.

The issue came to light in February this year, Patil said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/61-Pak-Hindu-nationals-staying-illegally-in-Amravati/articleshow/5778081.cms

------

India wants Afghanistan to expedite Kabul probe

Apr 10, 2010

NEW DELHI: Not satisfied with the pace at which the investigations into the February 26 Kabul attacks are progressing, India wants the Afghan authorities to expedite the probe.

Officials said that Afghanistan's internal intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS), has conveyed to Indian authorities that LeT was involved in the attacks — which left 17 persons, including six Indians dead — as the assailants spoke in both Pashto and Urdu but so far Afghan agencies have not come up with concrete findings which they have shared with India.

Investigations are currently said to be veering around the car which was blown up outside a guest house which was home to mostly Indians. "All the agencies involved meet every week to take stock of the investigations but so far there is no real breakthrough," said an official.

Briefing reporters a few days ago, a senior government official had said India had every reason to believe LeT was involved in the attacks. Apart from assertions made by NDS about the language used by the assailants, as also the fact that they they specifically hunted down Indians, New Delhi has come to the conclusion also on the basis of satellite phone conversations intercepted by its own agencies. These phone intercepts, in which plans to launch strikes in Kabul were discussed, were in Urdu. "If you put the pieces together, it all adds up to LeT. And so, there is a reason for us pointing to LeT," said the official.

While it is true that the police in Kabul have their hands full, Indian officials don't rule out the possibility of them soft-pedalling the case because of the sensitive nature of the probe.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-wants-Afghanistan-to-expedite-Kabul-probe/articleshow/5780043.cms

------

The vice president bears good news from Iraq

By David Ignatius

April 11, 2010

Vice President Biden didn't use the jinxed phrase "mission accomplished." But he offered an optimistic assessment of Iraq after last month's parliamentary election, saying that Iran's covert bid for influence there had been "clobbered" and that Baghdad appears headed toward an "inclusive" coalition government.

"Politics has finally broken out in Iraq," Biden said in an interview Thursday. "Everyone is in on the deal, and it's real."

Biden's upbeat comments came days after a new wave of attacks raised fears that Iraq might be slipping back toward sectarian violence. His staff proposed the interview in an effort to counter these worries and to show where U.S. "red lines" are drawn in this delicate post-election period.

Biden said he has "made it clear to everyone involved" that the United States believes the March 7 election was fair and opposes any illegitimate effort to overturn the result. He said that next year the United States will still have 50,000 troops in Iraq "that will be able to shoot straight" and it would consider any government request for help if major sectarian violence were to resume.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/09/AR2010040903715.html

------

In Baghdad, for a fast buck

Apr 10, 2010

"We need to get the job done." This was the refrain former US president George W Bush used every time he announced he was sending more troops to Iraq. His men in the war zone, however, would have told him that whenever they wanted to get a job done, they turned to an Indian.

Considering India has not contributed a single soldier to the coalition forces in Iraq — even ordinary citizens are warned not to travel to the conflict ridden country — it is surprising that one of the untold stories of what happened after the second US invasion of Iraq is that of what the Indians did there. One of the enduring images of the First Gulf War in 1991 is special Air India flights taxiing into the Saddam Hussein International Airport (now renamed Baghdad International Airport) to bring back the thousands of Indians stranded in the country.

This time, it is a completely different story. Instead of fleeing the war-torn country, Indians are risking everything to get involved in the rebuilding effort. Indians now run the show not only for the British and American troops, but also for the global corporations that have bagged multi-billion-dollar contracts to work on Iraq's oilfields, infrastructure projects and security. According to a quip often heard around Camp Victory — a massive US army base in Baghdad — whenever the commanding officer wants hot water for his morning shave, his men go looking for an Indian.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/indians-abroad/In-Baghdad-for-a-fast-buck/articleshow/5781553.cms

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/her-husband-converted-sons-to-islam-without-asking-her/d/2680


Loading..

Loading..