New Age Islam
Wed Dec 02 2020, 04:42 PM

Islamic World News ( 18 Feb 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

India confiscates 'blasphemous' Jesus Textbooks

LEBANON: First-ever joint Muslim-Christian holiday celebrates Virgin Mary

Interfaith meeting strengthens American-Indonesian understanding

Caning 'has done us a world of good'

HOLMES: Who links terrorism to Islam? Not America

Army Investigates Alleged Attempt by Soldiers to Poison Food at Fort Jackson

U.S.-Pakistan cooperation has led to capture of Afghan Taliban insurgents

Can Saudi ties with the Taliban help stabilize Afghanistan?

Missile Kills Militant Commander’s Brother in Pakistan

In Pakistan Raid, Taliban Chief Was an Extra Prize

Dubai police chief in MOSSAD arrest call

Six NATO troops die in Afghan fighting

Afghan Taliban chiefs 'held in Pakistan'

Ex-IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei set to return to Egypt

Hai'a denies man married to six women was agent

Fallah Festival for orphan care begins in Jeddah

Tirah blast claims 30 lives including seven militants

Obama briefed on Pakistan-Afghan situation

At least 52 people feared dead as avalanche hits village

Protocol not an issue for talks with EU: Qureshi

Mullah Baradar’s arrest not due to US pressure: Qureshi

No peace in region without resolution of Kashmir issue, says Nawaz

NY 9/11 police chief sentenced to four years for corruption

No exit from Pakistani nukes

I’m a Muslim filmmaker and I make Islamic Films

After burqa, France protests Halal meat

This Has Not Been Good For Taliban Morale

Blast as Holbrooke visits Pakistan

Hijab: Oppression or protection?

Burqa as a symbol of oppression, In Habit

UNAMA trains Afghan police officers, prosecutors on human rights

India seeks facts about HUJI chief ahead of talks

Three accused 'intoxicated by the evil of terrorism'

UP Cebu to hold Muslim tolerance forum

Jos crisis: Ajibola panel faults creation of Jos North LG by IBB

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/india-confiscates--blasphemous--jesus-textbooks/d/2483

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Indian state confiscates 'blasphemous' Jesus textbooks

By Subir Bhaumik

The government in the Indian state of Meghalaya has confiscated textbooks showing pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a can of beer.

The book has been used for primary classes and has caused a furore in the north-eastern state, where more than 70% of the population are Christians.

State Education Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh said legal action against the publishers was being contemplated.

The company, based in Delhi, has so far not responded to the complaints.

'Insensitivity'

"We are now considering legal action against the Skyline Publications of New Delhi who published the controversial textbooks," Mr Lyngdoh said.

The controversial picture of Jesus was discovered in cursive writing exercise books being used at a private school in the state capital, Shillong.

The minister said that although private schools were not obliged to use textbooks prescribed by the Meghalaya Board of Secondary Education, his government has taken speedy action by seizing all the copies of the textbook from schools and bookshops.

"We are deeply hurt by the insensitivity of the publisher. How can one show such total disrespect for a religion?" asked Dominic Jala, the Archbishop of Shillong.

"Just think how this would impact on students at such a tender age."

The Catholic Church in India has banned all textbooks by Skyline Publications from all its schools.

"We have told all our member schools across the country to ban this publisher," said Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) spokesman Babu Joseph.

The Church has also asked the government to take strict action against the publisher and to ban any such "objectionable publications" from all schools in future, he said.

"Jesus Christ is central to Christian faith and Christian life. The attempt to tarnish his image is highly objectionable and goes against the spirit of religious tolerance in India," Mr Joseph said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8524043.stm

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LEBANON: First-ever joint Muslim-Christian holiday celebrates Virgin Mary

February 19, 2010

The Lebanese government has adopted Prime Minister Saad Hariri's proposal to make the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 a joint national holiday for Christians and Muslims, the Lebanese daily An-Nahar reported (in Arabic) on Friday.

The Feast of the Annunciation, which is called "Lady Day" in other countries, commemorates the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Mary and his announcement that she will give birth to Jesus.

Mary is also revered by Muslims, who consider Jesus an important prophet.

A statement released by Hariri's office said the holiday is intended to "celebrate the cultural and religious unity between Christians and Muslims."

But with 18 official sects constantly fretting over their place within Lebanese society and politics, introducing a new holiday is at least partly a political gesture.

Hariri was recently accused by Christian political rival Michel Aoun of neutralizing Christian political representation, and the Christian elements of Hariri's own March 14 Coalition were vocal about their dissatisfaction with Hariri's hands-off approach to disarming the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, as demanded by the United Nations.

Hariri appears to be smoothing things over with his Christian allies with the introduction of this new holiday and his visit to the Vatican on Saturday.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/02/lebanon-government-announces-new-muslimchristian-holiday.html

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Interfaith meeting strengthens American-Indonesian understanding

Lilian Budianto

19 February 2010

indonesia religionJAKARTA: From 25 to 27 January, Indonesia and the United States took steps to strengthen their socio-cultural ties by co-hosting their first bilateral interfaith dialogue in Jakarta.

The meeting was attended by a 20-member delegation from the United States, which included US government officials, bishops and civil society. From Indonesia, the 30 participants included members of the two largest Indonesian Muslim organizations – Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, as well as Christian, Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders and religious studies scholars from local universities.

Zainal Abidin Bagir, a Muslim scholar at the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies in Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University – which has sent dozens of students to attend religion courses in the United States and vice versa – said the meeting was also important for Indonesian participants to gain exposure to Americans, which allowed them to learn about the United States and the policies which contribute to upholding the rights of its Muslim minority.

“Greater interaction will allow for better understanding because … certain hardliner groups regard the United States as their number one enemy because they think the country has cracked down on Muslims worldwide,” said Bagir.

Participants in the US-Indonesia interfaith conference agreed to cooperate on four issues – poverty, education, climate change and good governance. However, the joint declaration they produced does not detail specific types of cooperation that need to follow the conference. Without committing to and implementing specific initiatives, the conference risks being just an opportunity for talk without action.

Along these lines, Jean Duff, Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, suggested that the joint declaration could form the basis for enhanced communication and understanding amongst civil society groups in Indonesia or the United States, specifically about the practice of Islam in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, which differs greatly from how Islam is practiced in the Arab world.

Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, is often described by Western governments as a model where the Muslim majority can coexist peacefully with people of different religions. The constitution upholds the rights of minorities and the government does not form its national policies on the basis of religious principles.

Full report at: http://bikyamasr.com/?p=8803

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Caning 'has done us a world of good'

February 19, 2010

KAJANG: Ayu, Aishah and Nur (not their real names) are not at all upset they were caned under the Syariah law for committing illicit sex.

The punishment at the Kajang Prison did not leave physical scars on their bodies.

The three, aged between 18 and mid-20s, had each delivered a child out of wedlock.

They had surrendered themselves to the Federal Terrority Religious Department (Jawi).

Ayu, who was released from Kajang Prison last Sunday, said the caning was not painful and was over in a few minutes.

"I truly am sorry for committing the sin and I have repented. I feel that it is my responsibility to remind my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters not to commit sin, and that is why I am sharing my experience," she told reporters yesterday.

Ayu was sentenced to a RM1,000 fine and caned four times.

She had heard about Muslims being caned for committing religious offences but never thought that such punishment really existed.

On Wednesday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein confirmed that three Muslim women were caned last Tuesday for engaging in illicit sex, making them the first women in Malaysia to receive such punishment under Syariah law.

The issue of caning of women had ignited a fierce debate in the country after 32-year-old Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced to be caned for drinking beer last July.

The sentence against her has yet to be executed.

Aishah, 18, surrendered herself to Jawi last December after her child, who was born prematurely, died.

The Syariah Court had sentenced her to six months jail, RM3,000 fine and six strokes of the rotan.

Full report at: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20100219-199594.html

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HOLMES: Who links terrorism to Islam? Not America

By Kim R. Holmes

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security created quite a stir last week. Their reports on terrorism failed to make any reference to the Islamist nature of the threat. It struck Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, as a "glaring omission." It was.

The Homeland Security report lists as "Goal 1.1" the need to "understand the threat" and to "acquire, analyze and appropriately share intelligence and other information on current and emerging threats." You'd think that what the terrorists themselves say is motivating them would be on the list of things to "understand."

Obviously, the administration omitted it to avoid the appearance that America is waging war on Islam. This is a deep-seated fear of American leaders. Even President George W. Bush went to great lengths to avoid this misperception.

But such sensitivity, particularly manifest in a refusal even to talk about Islamist-inspired terrorism, makes no difference to the terrorists. Osama bin Laden isn't interested in what Mr. Bush or President Obama say. He believes he is in a fight to the death to impose his radical version of Islamic theocracy on the rest of us.

Nor does it make much difference to public opinion in Muslim-majority nations. The view that America's actions in the world are aimed primarily at weakening and dividing the Islamic world is still widespread. A poll taken in Egypt in June, more than four months after Mr. Obama became president, found 76 percent of people agreed with that idea.

Our outreach on this subject isn't working, in part because it is based on an obvious falsehood, one that everyone - including Muslims who are supposed to be its target - recognizes but is afraid to admit.

Full report at: washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/19/who-links-terrorism-to-islam-not-america/?feat=home_headlines

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Army Investigates Alleged Attempt by Soldiers to Poison Food at Fort Jackson

February 18, 2010

The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that soldiers were attempting to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

The ongoing probe began two months ago, Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, told Fox News.

The Army is taking the allegations “extremely seriously,” Grey said, but so far, "there is no credible information to support the allegations."

Five suspects, detained in December, were part of an Arabic translation program called "09 Lima" and use Arabic as their first language, two sources told Fox News. Another military source said they were Muslim. It wasn't clear whether they were still being held.

Grey would not confirm or deny the sources’ information.

Fox News' Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,586721,00.html

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U.S.-Pakistan cooperation has led to capture of Afghan Taliban insurgents

By Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung

February 19, 2010;

KARACHI, PAKISTAN -- The capture of senior Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan represents the culmination of months of pressure by the Obama administration on Pakistan's powerful security forces to side with the United States as its troops wage war in Afghanistan, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

A new level of cooperation includes Pakistani permission late last month for U.S. intelligence officials to station personnel and technology in this pulsating megacity, officials said. Intercepted real-time communications handed over to Pakistani intelligence officials have led to the arrests in recent days of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's No. 2 commander, and two of the group's "shadow" governors for northern Afghanistan.

The detentions, which have taken place in a wave since early last week, were initially kept secret to allow intelligence operatives to use information gleaned from captures to draw additional militants into exposing their locations and movements, according to officials who discussed the ongoing operations on the condition of anonymity. Final agreement on the Karachi operation came during the last week of January, with the intercept system up and running by the first week of February.

"The ISI and the CIA are working together, with the Americans providing actionable intelligence and the Pakistanis acting together with them" to track down the insurgent leaders, a Pakistani official said, referring to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate.

The arrests offer stark evidence of something that has long been suspected: Top Afghan Taliban leaders have found refuge across Pakistan, particularly in its cities -- a fact the government here has long denied.

Full report at: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/18/AR2010021800434_pf.html

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Can Saudi ties with the Taliban help stabilize Afghanistan?

By Mai Yamani

February 19, 2010

In his quest to stabilize his country, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, dressed in white robes, arrived last week in Mecca on what can only be called a diplomatic pilgrimage. Although Karzai undoubtedly spent time praying at Islam’s holiest site, his mission was intended to prove more than his piety.

So what diplomatic or financial gain was Karzai seeking? Why travel to Saudi Arabia at the very moment that US President Barack Obama’s military surge has become operational? Can Saudi Arabia play a serious role in resolving his country’s increasingly bloody conflict?

One card the Saudis can play is their severe Islamic ideology, which the Taliban shares. Indeed, the Saudis, backed by Pakistani military intelligence, nurtured the religious schools that educated the Taliban before their march to power in the 1990s. In theory, the Saudis also have the economic clout both to entice and rein in the Taliban. Being present at the Taliban’s creation, the Saudis know how to talk to its leaders.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has been increasingly willing to use Mecca as a forum to attempt to resolve regional political disputes. Only recently, it seems, has the Saudi regime discovered the great soft power that its custodianship of Mecca and Medina – Islam’s holiest sites – provides. Mecca has, indeed, become a potent venue for political summitry and a tool for mediation if not media manipulation.

In October 2006, for example, Mecca was used to host talks among Iraq’s warring sectarian factions. In February 2007, the short-lived Palestinian government of national unity was created as the result of a summit there. In December 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad performed the hajj at the personal invitation of King Abdullah, marking the first time a head of state of the Islamic Republic was able to do so.

Full report at: www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=5&article_id=1119

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Missile Kills Militant Commander’s Brother in Pakistan

By PIR ZUBAIR SHAH

February 20, 2010

Islamabad, Pakistan — A missile believed to have been fired Thursday from an American drone killed the younger brother of a top militant commander in the North Waziristan tribal area, according to several Pakistani security and intelligence officials, residents in Waziristan and a friend of the commander’s family.

The apparent target of the attack was Sirajuddin Haqqani, who the Americans say operates from his base in North Waziristan. He took over major responsibilities for the family’s militant network in recent months from his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who has been reported to be ill. The Americans blame the Haqqani network for helping plan the suicide bombing against the C.I.A. base in Afghanistan’s Khost Province last December, in which several C.I.A. operatives and a Jordanian intelligence officer were killed.

The brother, Mohammad Haqqani, was killed along with three others when their white station wagon was hit by a missile in Dande Darpakhel village of North Waziristan bordering Afghanistan. Americans believe that the commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda and that his force is the most potent one working against international forces in eastern and central Afghanistan.

Dande Darpakhel, is about a mile north of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, and is considered the main base of the Haqqani network since the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It has been a repeated target in missile strikes, one of which was believed to have killed several members of the Haqqani clan last year.

According to a family friend of the Haqqanis, Mohammad, who was about 20, was on his way to see his brother, the commander, when the missile struck. The family friend in the village said Mohammad Haqqani was not an active member of the militant network and that his brother had wanted him to pursue religious studies away from the area so that he could lead a more normal life. Mohammad and Sirajuddin, the sons of a militant leader named Jalaluddin Haqqani, share an Afghan mother and have an Arab stepmother. Funeral prayers for Mohammad Haqqani were held in Miranshah Friday afternoon, said a resident of the city who was reached by phone.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/world/asia/20pstan.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

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In Pakistan Raid, Taliban Chief Was an Extra Prize

By SCOTT SHANE and ERIC SCHMITT

February 19, 2010

WASHINGTON — When Pakistani security officers raided a house outside Karachi in late January, they had no idea that they had just made their most important capture in years.

American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications saying militants with a possible link to the Afghan Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, were meeting. Tipped off by the Americans, Pakistani counterterrorist officers took several men into custody, meeting no resistance.

Only after a careful process of identification did Pakistani and American officials realize they had captured Mullah Baradar himself, the man who had long overseen the Taliban insurgency against American, NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan.

New details of the raid indicate that the arrest of the No. 2 Taliban leader was not necessarily the result of a new determination by Pakistan to go after the Taliban, or a bid to improve its strategic position in the region. Rather, it may be something more prosaic: “a lucky accident,” as one American official called it. “No one knew what they were getting,” he said.

Now the full impact of Mullah Baradar’s arrest will play out only in the weeks to come.

Relations between the intelligence services of the United States and Pakistan have long been marred by suspicions that Pakistan has sheltered the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistanis have long denied it.

The capture of Mullah Baradar was followed by the arrests of two Taliban “shadow governors” elsewhere in Pakistan. While the arrests showed a degree of Pakistani cooperation, they also demonstrated how the Taliban leadership has depended on Pakistan as a rear base.

Jostling over the prize began as soon as Mullah Baradar was identified. Officials with the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s military spy agency, limited American access to Mullah Baradar, not permitting direct questioning by Central Intelligence Agency officers until about two weeks after the raid, according to American officials who discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity.

Full report at: www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/world/asia/19intel.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

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Dubai police chief in Mossad arrest call

19 February 2010

Dubai's police chief has called for the head of Mossad to be arrested if Israel's spy agency was behind the killing of a Hamas boss in the emirate.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan said Interpol should issue a "red notice" to approve the arrest of Meir Dagan.

Israel shrugged off the calls, saying the Dubai police chief had provided no incriminating proof.

Mahmud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas's military wing, was found dead in a Dubai hotel on 20 January.

Several fake European passports - including six from the UK - are thought to have been used by his 11 suspected killers.

The UK government denies it had any prior knowledge of the fake British passports being used, although Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said it was "entirely possible" the government had been alerted.

And a British newspaper claimed on Friday the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, and the government had received a tip-off from Israel.

Red notice call

Lt Gen Khalfan has said he was "99% certain" Israel was involved in the assassination.

In a televised interview on Thursday, said: "If the Mossad were proven to be behind the crime, which is most likely now, Interpol should issue a red notice for the head of the Mossad because he would be a killer."

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8523588.stm

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Six Nato troops die in Afghan fighting

19 February 2010

A Nato soldier puts barbed wires on top of the protective walls around a newly setup joint Afghan and Nato base in Marjah on 18 Feb 2010

Nato forces in Afghanistan say that six of their soldiers have been killed in a single day during their major offensive against the Taliban in the south.

Two of those who died on Thursday were British; the nationalities of the other four have not been given.

Nato says it is investigating an air strike which killed seven Afghan policemen in the Kunduz province.

The officers were mistakenly hit after a joint Nato-Afghan patrol was ambushed by Taliban insurgents, officials said.

On Thursday, Isaf said four Nato soldiers had died and Britain's Ministry of Defence confirmed that two Britons were among them.

Then, in a brief statement, Isaf said two further service members had died during Operation Moshtarak on Thursday.

"One service member was killed by small-arms fire and another died following a separate small-arms fire incident," it said.

'Tough resistance'

Operation Moshtarak, which means "together" in Dari, began a week ago in the southern province of Helmand.

Map of Afghanistan showing Helmand and Kunduz provinces

About 15,000 Afghan and Nato troops, mostly US and British, are battling Taliban in and around the town of Marjah.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8523357.stm

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Afghan Taliban chiefs 'held in Pakistan'

19 February 2010

Two senior members of the Afghan Taliban are reported to have been seized in Pakistan, media reports say.

Mullah Abdul Salam and Mullah Mir Mohammad are thought to be respectively the "shadow governors" of the northern Afghan provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan.

But there are conflicting reports over exactly where in Pakistan they were apprehended.

On Thursday, Pakistan's army spokesman told the BBC that he was not aware of any such arrests.

The two men are reported to have been picked up about two weeks ago, unnamed Afghan and Pakistani officials have said.

But there is little clarity over the circumstances of the reported arrests.

Taliban spokesman have denied the reports and have accused Nato of spreading propaganda to undermine Taliban morale, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Coalition forces are continuing their assault for a seventh day against Taliban fighters entrenched in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.

Confusion over arrests

If confirmed, correspondents say the arrests would be a further blow to the Taliban just days after the capture in Karachi of the Afghan Taliban's military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Mullah Abdul Salam is said to be the Taliban's chief commander for northern Afghanistan, where Kunduz province has emerged as a major Taliban stronghold over the last couple of years.

US marines with 1/3 marine Charlie Company kneel and pray before going on patrol in Trikh Nawar - 18 Feb 2010

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8523429.stm

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Ex-IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei set to return to Egypt

19 February 2010

Egyptian security officials have warned against any large gatherings to welcome home the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei.

The Nobel laureate is considering running for the presidency in next year's election.

Egyptian media have been saying a hero's welcome is being planned for Mr ElBaradei when he returns on Friday afternoon after many years abroad.

Large public gatherings are illegal in Egypt and can be broken up by police.

Security officials have told news agencies any "illegal gatherings" at Cairo's airport to greet Mr ElBaradei as he returns would be met with a heavy security presence. He is expected at around 1300 GMT.

Mr ElBaradei, 67, has built a strong reputation as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

He stepped down in November and is now seen as the most credible potential opposition challenger for the presidency.

He has said he might stand if there were reforms to guarantee a fair election.

Facebook campaign

President Hosni Mubarak, 81, has ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years and there is much speculation he is grooming his son Gamal to take over when he steps down.

Opposition and civil society groups have long complained the authorities have used emergency laws and the security forces to curb political freedoms.

The largest opposition party, the religious Muslim Brotherhood, is banned and its candidates have to stand as independents.

A campaign on the social networking website Facebook has become a focal point for those calling for Mr ElBaradei to run for the presidency.

The Facebook campaign is advising supporters to travel to the airport in groups of three - the maximum number allowed to associate together in public.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8522472.stm

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Hai'a denies man married to six women was agent

Feb 18, 2010

JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Hai'a) Thursday denied reports that the 56-year-old man charged and convicted of marrying more than four wives is a commission agent. Instead, a Hai'a spokesman said, the man was a security guard of a Hai'a precinct in Masarha, Jizan.

"The accused was neither a field employee nor an administrator in the Hai'a but rather a building security man," Abdul Mohsen Al-Qifari, director of public relations for the Riyadh-based General Presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said in a statement.

Al-Qifari said the Hai'a had been responsible for investigating and pursuing charges against the man. He was arrested in July 2008.

The man, who has not been identified publicly, was sentenced by a local court in this southern town to 120 lashes and ordered to memorize chapters of the Holy Qur'an. He has also been prohibited from leaving the country for five years or delivering sermons and leading prayers in mosques.

"By dealing with this case the Hai'a is sending a clear message that it will not favor or spare anyone who breaks the divine laws," the spokesman said in his letter.

The convicted man was married to three Saudi women and three Yemenis who were reportedly illegal residents. The man said in court that he had no idea that Islam prohibited marrying more than four wives. However, at the time of his arrest he had denied the charges saying that he had already divorced two of his wives.

Capital punishment was removed from the case once it was determined that the man was not an adulterer, however he faces charges of being illegally married to non-Saudis without permission from the Interior Ministry.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article18999.ece

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Fallah Festival for orphan care begins in Jeddah

By MD HUMAIDAN | ARAB NEWS

Feb 18, 2010

JEDDAH: The Fallah Festival for orphan care — under the theme “Protection and Compassion to Orphan Children” — began at the car racecourse in Jeddah on Tuesday evening.

The event, organized by the Saudi Corvette and Camaro Club in collaboration with the Social Care House in Makkah province, was attended by 300 orphan children, 1,000 families and several private and public establishments.

The festival aims to create awareness about social responsibility and voluntary social services.

Six well-known Saudi car racers — Ahmad Al-Tabash, Sultan Hamdi, Saud Al-Oqail, Raid Zahran and Turki Allam and Saleem Al-Tabash — demonstrated their driving skills at the event.

Folk dance, poetry recitations, and cultural and social competitions were also held at the opening, which was attended by poets, singers and sportsmen.

Children were excited when participating families started distributing gifts. “The organizing committee aims to organize similar events in 20 cities to benefit one million orphan children in the Kingdom. It will also organize sponsorship programs for children with special needs, the old and the weak, and also encourage people to offer voluntary service when natural calamities occur,” said Saud Al-Oqail, chief of the festival’s organizing committee.

Racer Ahmad Al-Tabash said the festival includes sports and cultural contests. “The event, which was organized during the school vacation, also aims to help orphans acquire creative skills that would enable them to integrate into the social mainstream,” he said.

Sultan Hamdi stressed the importance of organizing festivals that encourage society to participate in sponsorship programs for orphan children. “The Fallah festival reflects the cooperation of all sections of society, including individuals and establishments to support orphans, children with special needs and the old and the infirm,” said Hamdi, calling on people to come forward to sponsor orphans.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article18774.ece'

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Tirah blast claims 30 lives including seven militants

By Ibrahim Shinwari

Friday, 19 Feb, 2010

LANDI KOTAL: A militant commander and 29 people were killed and 80 others were injured when a bomb exploded in a cattle market in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Thursday.

The commander was identified as Azam Khan of Lashkar-i-Islam. His six bodyguards also died.

According to sources, explosives packed in a rucksack went off near the Dars Jumaat mosque, which was used as base by Lashkar-i-Islam in the Akkakhel area adjacent to Orakzai Agency. The entire area is also considered to be a stronghold of Taliban.

The sources said Azan Khan might have been the target of the assailants seeking revenge for a suicide attack on a mosque in Maidan area of Tirah, which is a stronghold of Ansaarul Islam.

The Lashkar and Ansaar had been at loggerheads since 2006 and more then 200 activists of both the organisations are believed to have been killed in clashes between them.

AP adds:

The explosion tore through the mosque, killing at least 29 people and wounding some 50 others, local official Jawed Khan said.

Earlier reports had said the blast occurred in the Orakzai area.

Officials were still investigating whether the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber or a planted device.

No group claimed responsibility, but Mr Khan said the dead included militants from Lashkar-i-Islam.

The blast underscored the relentless security threat in the tribal belt even as Pakistani-US cooperation against extremism appears on the upswing.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-khyber-blast-qs-09

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Obama briefed on Pakistan-Afghan situation

By Anwar Iqbal

19 Feb, 2010

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has reviewed the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan with his senior officials and diplomats as his administration continues a two-pronged offensive to subdue militants in that region.

The new approach includes a major military offensive in southern Afghanistan and a US-led process to encourage repentant Taliban activists to join the Afghan mainstream.

Diplomatic sources in Washington told Dawn that US and Pakistani officials were also looking at the possibility of using the arrested Afghan Taliban commander — Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to expedite the reintegration process.

Diplomatic sources in Washington say the Obama administration did not know whether to present Baradar as an enemy combatant or a useful collaborator.

Pakistani and US officials interrogating Mullah Baradar were trying to persuade him to join the reintegration process, the sources said.

“This man is the Taliban’s military chief. If he backs the reintegration process, it will definitely succeed,” said one such source.

Meanwhile, President Obama met top US officials in Washington on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president received briefings from US ambassadors in both countries, as well as an update from Gen Stanley McChrystal about the anti-Taliban offensive in Helmand province.

The meeting began with a briefing on the situation in Pakistan from Ambassador Anne Patterson, including a discussion of the progress made in building a strong partnership with the country.

“Ambassador Patterson gave a robust update on both the governmental and military side of Pakistan,” said Mr Gibbs.

Before the briefing, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke told reporters that the Taliban in and around Marja were talking about switching sides.

“It’s clear that a lot of individuals with the Taliban decided that they did not want to stay in this stronghold and had left,” said Mr Gibbs when asked to comment on Mr Holbrooke’s statement.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/obama-briefed-on-pakistanafghan-situation-920

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At least 52 people feared dead as avalanche hits village

By Nisar Ahmad Khan and Khalid Khan

19 Feb, 2010

MANSEHRA/ALPURI: At least 52 people were feared dead and scores of others injured when an avalanche slammed into a remote hamlet in Kandian Tehsil of Kohistan district late on Wednesday night.

Inclement weather hampered rescue work in the mountainous area of Saroo in Bagro Dara. Local people retrieved bodies and injured from a number of houses buried under snow.

“So far 32 bodies and nine injured have been retrieved, but about 52 people are feared to have died,” Kohistan’s Nazim Dr Saidur Rehman told Dawn on phone.

The village is about 70km off Dassu, the district headquarters of Kohistan, and there is no paved road in the area. “We have received information that six houses were destroyed and around 25 others were damaged,” Dr Rehman said, quoting some people who have managed to come out of the area.

He said the government had not started any rescue and relief work despite repeated requests. The injured cannot be taken to hospital because all approach routes are blocked. They had been kept in mosques, he added.

Police and personnel of other government agencies could not reach the village because Kandian road which links the affected valley with the rest of the country through Karakoram Highway is blocked.

Kohistan DCO Ameenul Haq told Dawn that about 50 people had died. He said the provincial Disaster Management Authority had promised to send a helicopter which would carry food, blankets and tents to the affected valley and airlift the injured.

The district nazim said that heavy snowfall over the past couple of days had made it difficult for rescue teams sent by the district administration to reach the affected area.

District Police Officer of Kohistan Mohammad Ilyas said that a police team had been sent to the area, but it had to walk on foot and was finding it difficult to reach the valley.

Head of the provincial Disaster Management Authority Shakeel Qadir told Dawn a helicopter would soon start operation, but it would depend on the weather condition.

Agencies add:

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/03-pakistan-avalanche-kills-20-30-missing-police-ss-

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Protocol not an issue for talks with EU: Qureshi

From Shada Islam

19 Feb, 2010

BRUSSELS: Pakistan will not allow questions of protocol to get in the way of efforts to upgrade relations with the European Union, the foreign minister told Dawn.

“We will do what is best and in Pakistan’s interest,” Mr Qureshi told this correspondent following reports that a planned EU-Pakistan summit could be jeopardised over suggestions by Islamabad that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani rather than President Asif Ali Zardari would attend the meeting.

Mr Qureshi said Pakistan was not making a ‘big issue’ of the EU demands and wanted the summit to be held as planned on April 21 in Brussels.

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso have said that the Pakistani delegation at the summit should be led by President Zardari.

Confirming the EU stance, Mr Qureshi said he had been told that Mr Gilani was respected and welcome in Brussels but any meeting between the Pakistani premier and the EU’s senior-most officials could not be described as a summit.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/19-protocol-not-an-issue-for-talks-with-eu-920-hh-06

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Mullah Baradar’s arrest not due to US pressure: Qureshi

19 February 2010

* Foreign minister says arrest shows Islamabad’s commitment to fighting

terrorism

* Talibanisation of Pakistan can’t be allowed

BRUSSELS: Pakistan’s arrest of an Afghan Taliban commander was not made under pressure from the US and shows Islamabad’s sincerity to the fight against terrorism, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.

“We have done it because it is in our interests to do so,” Qureshi told Reuters on the sidelines of a security conference in Belgium.

“If you think that Pakistan is deploying over 100,000 troops on the western border under pressure, if you think we are conducting military operations in Pakistan under pressure, that’s the wrong impression,” he said at the EastWest Institute. “We do not want to see the Talibanisation of Pakistan,” he said. “This is service in a common cause,” Qureshi said.

Baradar, the most senior Taliban commander ever arrested in Pakistan, was picked up in Karachi this month in a raid by Pakistani and US agents.

“It (the arrest) is a reflection of Pakistan’s seriousness in dealing with terrorism and terrorists,” he said.

“The world should have been appreciative that a person known to be involved in activities in Afghanistan where there are soldiers from NATO and ISAF was arrested. This is positive,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi dismissed the notion that Baradar’s arrest showed that Pakistan could, if it chose, move more forcefully against Pakistani militant groups that see India as their main enemy.

He also denied that it was a ploy to ease US pressure on Islamabad for increased help in stabilising Afghanistan.

Some analysts said the Pakistani security establishment realised it must demonstrate cooperation with the US to stake its claim to a role in any Afghan peace process.

“Can’t the sceptics see the price we have paid for terrorism? The lives lost? The huge economic cost?” Qureshi said.

“You can always say the glass is half empty or half full but we feel public opinion has moved against extremism convincingly. “We have lost more than anyone else in this fight,” he said. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\02\19\story_19-2-2010_pg1_10

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No peace in region without resolution of Kashmir issue, says Nawaz

19 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: There can be no permanent peace and stability in the region without a negotiated resolution of the Kashmir issue, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday.

Talking to US special envoy Richard Holbrooke he said, as an advocate of cordial and cooperative relations between Pakistan and India, he welcomed the forthcoming foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries but felt that instead of a one-off meeting, the two countries should resume the composite dialogue process, which is the only formal, structured and mutually agreed upon format, for peaceful negotiations between the two countries.

According to a press release issued by the PML-N, Nawaz emphasised that there could be no peace and stability in the region, without a negotiated resolution of the issue of Kashmir in accordance with the aspirations of its people.

Nawaz also commented on the growing concern in Pakistan about India’s efforts to divert and deny Pakistan its rightful share of the waters, from rivers allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Water Basin Treaty.

“We already have enough problems between us, so India should stop creating another,” said Nawaz.

He called upon the Obama administration to arrange for the early release and repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who had already suffered a lot over the past years. The former prime minister emphasised the importance of US investment in Pakistan, especially in the sectors of power, energy and agriculture.

Holbrooke briefed Nawaz on the efforts of the US to enhance the capacity of power generation in Pakistan and to improve other energy related projects. Richard Holbrooke was accompanied by US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson and Brian Hunt.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\02\19\story_19-2-2010_pg7_29

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NY 9/11 police chief sentenced to four years for corruption

Friday, 19 Feb, 2010

NEW YORK: Former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday for corruption, tax fraud, and lying to the White House, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

Kerik, 54, headed the police under New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the time of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. He pleaded guilty in November and agreed to pay $187,931 restitution.

The plea helped him avoid a maximum potential sentence of up to 61 years in prison. However, the judge still imposed a sentence greater than that recommended by prosecutors.

Kerik admits to accepting $255,000 worth of renovations to his apartment from a construction firm angling for government contracts.

The company — which is suspected of having mob ties — installed marble bathrooms, a Jacuzzi and a new kitchen in the former police chief’s apartment in the upscale New York suburb of Riverdale.

Kerik then contacted regulators on behalf of the firm, but concealed the payments in tax returns as the firm was being investigated.

He also pleaded guilty to lying to White house officials about the renovations while being considered as a future head of the Department of Homeland Security.

“It is a very sad day when the former commissioner of the greatest police department in the world is sentenced to prison for base criminal conduct,” said Preet Bharara, US attorney.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/international/ny-911-police-chief-sentenced-to-four-years-for-corruption-920

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No exit from Pakistani nukes

Probal DasGupta

In the movie Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), based on the US role in the Soviet-Afghan war, the protagonist fears about the consequences of abandoning a post-war role in Afghanistan. Fact pursued history, because in the years that followed, the Taliban stepped in to impose a beastly medieval society, mentored terrorist outfits and played midwife to attacks such as the 2001 Kandahar hijack and 9/11.

Eight years after the Taliban were driven out, a deadlier history might repeat itself, if not handled properly. A hazy withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, alongside talks of engaging a “moderate Taliban”, appears potentially catastrophic. Today, the Taliban have supporters in the Pakistani army, prop up the Al Qaeda and have a subcontinental presence across two countries. Consequently, the terror network is disturbingly closer to a vulnerable Pakistani nuclear arsenal, with serious consequences for India.

Al Qaeda has never hidden its desire for nuclear weapons. In 1993, it tried to purchase highly enriched uranium in Sudan. Five years later, Osama bin Laden declared that Muslims had a religious duty to acquire a bomb. He and his lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri met two Pakistani nuclear scientists and explored A.Q. Khan’s supermarket. Given the collusion between terrorists and state representatives, accessibility to sites and key geographical factors, nuclear sites in Pakistan pose a dangerous global terrorist threat.

In the 1980s, Pakistan built its nuclear sites in the north and west to prevent India from overrunning them. Ironically, these sites lie in Wah, Fatehjang, Golra, Sharif, Kahuta—places now dominated by the Pakistani Taliban. So, can terrorists attack a nuclear complex here and seize control? Not theoretically, since Pakistan adopts security measures where components are kept separated under dual control to prevent sabotage. Its Strategic Plans Division, which guards the sites, has traditionally inducted personnel from Punjab instead of the radicalized Pashtun belt.

Full report at: http://www.livemint.com/2010/02/18213240/No-exit-from-Pakistani-nukes.html

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I’m a Muslim filmmaker and I make Islamic Films

By Zan Azlee

FEB 19 — I’m a Muslim and I make films. I guess that constitutes me as a Muslim filmmaker. It doesn’t even matter if my films are about Islam or not. Well, my films are mainly about myself anyway (and from all the complaints I get from readers, so is this column, apparently!) and indirectly, my films become about Islam too.

Whenever I meet people who have seen my films, they always ask me advice about Islam. There was a time when I made a mockumentary on ‘samak’, and I got calls from Muslims asking me about the procedure to clean their newly-bought houses just in case some Chinese had eaten pork or kept a dog there.

Even PhD candidates and journalists sometimes request for interviews with me as if I’m some kind of expert when it comes to matters of religion. I need to let everyone in on a little secret — I don’t know much!

The reason I make these films that deal with my religion is because I want to find out more myself. I see the process of making the films as a process of discovery and learning in order to understand my religion better. And most importantly, understand it the way I want to understand it.

Like the time I went to the Middle-East to shoot a film. I had gone to a holy site by the river Jordan. There was an orthodox church near the banks and I approached the entrance. The priest there saw me walk up and greeted “Assalamualaikum”. Shock! Horror! Never would this happen in Malaysia.

While there, I conversed with a local Muslim guide who spoke excellent English. For some reason, we were talking about inter-racial marriage (must have been because I mentioned that Arab women had beautiful eyes and that I wouldn’t mind getting to know them better!) and that led to us talking about inter-religious marriage.

Full report at: my-1.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/opinion/zan-azlee/53632-im-a-muslim-filmmaker-and-i-make-islamic-films-

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After burqa, France protests Halal meat

 February 19, 2010,

Paris, Feb 19: After inviting the ire of the international Muslim community by mulling a ban on Burqa, France has now raised a cry opposing Halal menus in restaurants.

A fast food chain has found itself right in the middle of the controversy over its decision to serve only Halal meat in eight of its restaurants.

The decision by 350-branch Quick chain was based on the fact that these restaurants enjoy a strong Muslim clientele.

The Halal menu, however, did not fit in well with a right-leader, Marine Le Pen, who accused the fast food chain of imposing an 'Islamic tax' on its customers.

A lawsuit for discrimination against customers may also be filed as a mayor believes that serving the meat who do not want to eat according to Muslim dietary laws is discriminatory.

Ahead of Mar 2010 regional elections, this has led to a debate similar to the recent one over the Muslim women face veil against national identity.

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/02/19/after-burqa-france-protests-halal-meat.html

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This Has Not Been Good For Taliban Morale

February 19, 2010

 Pakistan revealed that it had arrested Taliban leaders Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdul Salam over a week ago. Baradar was the number two man in the Afghan Taliban, and the senior military commander. He was captured in Karachi. Salam was in charge of Taliban operations in northern Afghanistan, around Kunduz, and was arrested in the Peshawar (the Pakistani tribal territories.) Announcements of the captures were delayed so that intelligence information taken from the captives could be exploited. The sharp increase in such captures was the result of over a year of increased missile attacks by American UAVs on Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan. Through most of this, Pakistan would not allow missile attacks in Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan), particularly the main city of Quetta. That's where most of the Afghan Taliban leadership had always been, and more went there, from the other tribal territories to the north, as the missile attacks increased last year. But in the last few months, the U.S. and Pakistan appeared to be expanding the attacks to Quetta. The success of the missile attacks elsewhere along the Afghan border caused a panic in Quetta, and Taliban leaders began looking for a safer place. Some went for Peshawar, the largest city in the Pushtun tribal territories, but most headed for Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and home of over a million Pushtuns (many of them pro-Taliban, or rentable for Taliban seeking hideouts). But the mere act of so many Taliban leaders shifting to new hideouts, and those in Afghanistan no longer going to Quetta for meetings, led to more opportunities to detect, and attack, the Taliban leadership. Thus in the last few weeks, more than a dozen key Taliban and al Qaeda leaders have been detected and arrested in Karachi and Peshawar (the two favorite urban hideouts for the terrorist leadership.) You get a cluster of such captures because each one you grab yields bits of information (from documents, interrogation, laptops, cell phones) that help identify and locate others. The American have gotten very good (especially in Iraq) at rapidly exploiting this information to capture an expanding network of terrorists. This has put the Taliban and al Qaeda into panic mode, with no one sure which of their fellow leaders has been compromised, or even captured. This comes after a Pakistani invasion of South Waziristan, formerly Taliban Central in Pakistan, but now government controlled (and most of the Taliban facilities destroyed or in army hands.) Across the border, a similar operation is taking place in Helmand province, with the Taliban headquarters town of Marjah recently surrounded and taken, destroying many Taliban support facilities (ammo supplies, bomb workshops, clinics, staff housing and headquarters).

Full report at: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/india/articles/20100219.aspx

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Blast as Holbrooke visits Pakistan

Fri, 02/19/2010

Holbrooke, centre, lauded 'Pakistani and American collaboration' after his meeting with Gilani

An explosion at a mosque in northwestern Pakistan has killed at least 29 people and wounded dozens more.

The attack on Thursday in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, came hours after Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, arrived to meet Pakistan's prime minister in the capital Islamabad.

The explosion tore through a mosque in the Aka Khel area of Khyber, killing at least 29 people and wounding about 50, Jawed Khan, a local official, said.

Officials, who said the blast could be the result of factional rivalry, were still investigating whether a suicide bomber or a planted device was responsible.

No group claimed responsibility, but Khan said the dead included fighters from Lashkar-e-Islam, an insurgent group in Khyber that has clashed with another armed group known as Ansarul Islam, both of whom espouse Taliban-style ideologies.

Khyber is part of Pakistan's tribal belt on the Afghan border where Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked fighters have carved out strongholds, in what the US calls the most dangerous region on earth.

Holbrooke's trip to Pakistan is his eighth in a year, and, in a sign of warming ties, plans to return next month with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US military's joint chiefs of staff.

Full report at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/02/2010218232824418823.html

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Hijab: Oppression or protection?

Kiira Jamal

Fri, 02/19/2010

Tempers are flaring around the Muslim world over the proposal to ban on Muslim women from wearing the hijab (hair veils for Muslim women) in France. The proposal stems from a report prepared by a parliamentary committee. Thirty-two deputies on the committee allegedly studied the issue of wearing traditional Muslim clothing in public places due to numerous complaints received from native citizens of France.

It is alleged that the native French are concerned with the growing number of women dressed in dark coveralls in the streets. The members of the committee came to the conclusion that hijabs  symbolize oppression and terrorism. The deputies decided that the garments violated the principle of sexual equality and were therefore incompatible with the norms of France.

The committee recommended that the government draft a law regulating the wearing of hijabs in public places including schools, markets and offices.

A woman who wears a hijab as a religious obligation does not expect a reward from her husband or members of family, but from her creator. This proposal from France borders on the extreme and is in bad taste. France is one of the countries which claim to believe in democracy and individual enjoyment of freedoms.

The events in France raise two questions: Are Muslim women putting on hijabs because they are of a lesser sex or inferior? Does the hijab have benefits for those who choose to wear it? Muslim women wear it for many reasons including piety, identity and even as a political statement.

According to the Koran, women put on hijabs for their own protection: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever forgiving, merciful” (Koran 33:59).

Full report at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/02/19/letters-hijab-oppression-or-protection.html

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burqa as a symbol of oppression, In Habit

February 16, 2010

MARS DRUM, 'IN HABIT'

 

WESTERN liberal democracies struggle with the burqa, and many would like to forbid or confine its use. We see the burqa as a symbol of oppression, negating the very face of the person, almost as if women are buried alive.

The men who impose it on women would never endure it for themselves; and it seems only a matter of time before women are emancipated from the outmoded drag, which is bulky, drab and burdensome.

Mars Drum, on the other hand, has a lot of sympathy for the burqa and its wearers. After September 11, 2001, she took to wearing the garment as a gesture of support for Muslim women. Drum recalls that wearing the burqa is "surprisingly liberating". She enjoyed being "anonymous, shapeless, no one measuring me up and down, including myself".

Drum has produced a series of paintings of a character called Burka Woman, who also happens to be Ned Kelly's bride and this unlikely pair of hooded outcasts undertakes a survey of Australian culture. It's amusing and poignant, as the anti-hero of Irish Victoria tried to protect himself from the bullets of the police so Burka Woman has to protect herself from the rapid fire of globalisation on Muslim culture.

While some of us see the burqa as a retrograde blanket to suppress and deny female individuality, some Muslims see exactly the same horror and irrationality in our make-up and high heels, which have a grotesque disabling effect on the wearer. Both cultures view the other with suspicion and disgust and neither set of conventions has more reason or justification by logic.

If anything, the moral purpose of the burqa is superior, because the burqa is a powerful symbol of resistance to marketing culture, whereas women in our culture are trained not to feel comfortable unless they're part of a promotional strategy, from their lipstick to curve-clinching fashion. We fetishise the body and our appearance must aspire to consumerism.

As well as deploying female sexuality to sell products, we sell a highly codified image to women themselves: they are taught from girlhood to comply as much as they can to an image and behaviour that flatters the erotic interests of men. Celebrity role models demonstratively flaunt their physical attractiveness.

Full report at: http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/arts/arts-reviews/in-habit/2010/02/17/1266082288148.html?page=2

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UNAMA trains police officers, prosecutors on human rights

By Tilak Pokharel, UNAMA

Date: 19 Feb 2010

As a part of strengthening Afghanistan's state institutions, United Nations human rights officers have trained about 30 members of the Afghan National Police and prosecutors on human rights in the justice sector, in the east of the country.

Four trainers from the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) gave presentations for three days this week to Afghan officers dealing with justice from four eastern provinces of the country which are struggling to have their own fully functional state institutions to deliver justice to the people.

Organised by the US Government-funded Afghanistan Justice Sector Support Programme in Rodat district of Nangarhar province, the training covered some of the most pertinent issues like rights of the accused, domestic violence, women's rights, child abuse, access to justice, problems arising from interpretation of Islam and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), among others.

For Saydan Mohammad, an Afghan police officer from Achin district, the most interesting thing that was covered in the training was violence against women.

"Talking about violence against women is something new to me," said Mr Mohammad, adding that although there might be such cases in his district, "hardly any come to the police."

UNAMA Human Rights Officer Rasha Al-Kaisy told the participants that one of the objectives of the training was to minimise the mistakes in the justice system, thereby reducing cases of human rights violations.

"Violence is a broader term. It is not only about hurting a person physically; it's both physically and psychologically," Ms Al-Kaisy told police officers and prosecutors, adding that Afghanistan should have an environment where "the people can trust you and the rule of law."

Full report at: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/SKEA-82TDTM?OpenDocument

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India seeks facts about HUJI chief ahead of talks

By Amir Mir

February 19, 2010

LAHORE: On the heels of the much-awaited Indo-Pak secretary level talks, Indian authorities have sought intelligence sharing from Pakistan regarding the possible whereabouts of Commander Ilyas Kashmiri, the fugitive Amir of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), an al-Qaeda-linked Pakistani Jihadi group, which recently threatened to target several international sporting events being hosted by India this year.

According to well-placed diplomatic circles in Islamabad, Indian intelligence agencies want from their Pakistani counterparts credible information about the likely whereabouts of Ilyas Kashmiri and his possible links with some other Jihadi groups, especially Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is also believed to be involved in the February 15, 2010 bomb blast at the German Bakery in the Indian city of Pune in which 10 people, including two foreigners were killed.

The attack came hardly 24 hours after India and Pakistan agreed to resume their stalled foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi from February 25. However, a few hours after the Pune bombing, an email message allegedly sent by Ilyas Kashmiri implied the involvement of his 313 Brigade, which is believed to be an operational arm of al-Qaeda, pursuing its Jihadi agenda in Pakistan while working in tandem with several other militant groups.

Diplomatic circles say some Pakistan-based pro-Kashmir Jihadi organisations have accelerated their terrorist activities to sabotage the Indo-Pak confidence-building process and scuttle the ice-breaking secretary-level talks between the two nuclear neighbours. Therefore, they say, Kashmiri’s recent threat to target the forthcoming international sporting events to be held in India was timed to derail the scheduled resumption of the Indo-Pak peace talks.

Full report at http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=225078

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Three accused 'intoxicated by the evil of terrorism'

February 19, 2010

The three styled themselves as The Blackburn Resistance, the court heard

Three men "intoxicated by the evil of terrorism" trained in a park to join or carry out violent jihad, a court heard.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said they gathered a stockpile of weapons as they studied guerrilla warfare and filmed the training in Blackburn, Lancashire.

The trio styled themselves as The Blackburn Resistance, a jury at Manchester Crown Court was told.

Abbas Iqbal, 24, his brother Ilyas Iqbal, 23, and Muhammed Ali Ahmad, 26, deny preparing for acts of terrorism.

Abbas Iqbal also denies disseminating terrorist publications and possessing documents likely to be useful to a terrorist.

Ilyas Iqbal pleaded not guilty to two counts of possessing documents likely to be useful to a terrorist.

'Firing weapons'

Mr Brown told the court: "The prosecution does not suggest that this group is a highly sophisticated, well-trained or well-funded terrorist cell.

"We do suggest however these three young men from Blackburn had become intoxicated by the evil of terrorism and had started to train themselves to join or carry out violent jihad.

The three defendants were... readying themselves for active participation in violent jihad or training for jihad, probably abroad

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting

"At the stage when they were stopped by police, they had not got very far."

It is alleged the park video and images of the three defendants firing weapons into the air in the back garden of the Iqbal family home were contained in a mobile phone storage card belonging to Abbas Iqbal.

Full report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/lancashire/8522890.stm

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UP Cebu to hold Muslim tolerance forum

February 19, 2010

THE Lahore-Ahmadiyya Islamic Society – Philippines (LAIS-Phil.), a movement for Islamic reform, tolerance, pluralism and peace making, together with the Social Sciences Division, and the Political Science Society of the University of the Philippines Visayas Cebu College will hold a lecture-forum entitled “Reforming the Muslim World” at the UP Cebu Conference Hall on Feb. 22 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The forum will be graced by notable Islam speakers from Ohio University, who will speak on matters related to reforms, religious tolerance and rationality in the context of the Muslim world, here and abroad.

The lecture-forum aims to reshape individual and group perceptions of the Muslim world.

The students of political and social sciences and other participants will be given an opportunity to interact with the speakers about Islam and the movement of some of its members for tolerance and reform with the guidance of Muslim scholars.

Registration starts at 1 p.m. Interested parties may contact the Social Sciences Division at 2334708.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/community/view/20100219-254101/UP-Cebu-to-hold-Muslim-tolerance-foru

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Jos crisis: Ajibola panel faults creation of Jos North LG by IBB

By Olusola Fabiyi and Jude Owuamanam,

19 Feb 2010

The Justice Bola Ajibola Commission of Enquiry on the November 28, 2008 sectarian strife in some parts of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State has faulted the creation of the local government area by former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

The commission has also observed that local government election of November 27, 2008 in Plateau State was not the cause of the crisis, but only gave impetus to the Hausa/Fulani community to perpetrate mayhem since they felt that they were about to lose their primary source of economic and political dominance.

In an Executive Summary obtained by our correspondent on Thursday in Jos, the panel said that the local council, which was created through the States (Creation and Transition Provision Decree No 2 of 1991), was not done in consultation with the people.

The panel recommended the splitting of the area into three sustainable local government administrative areas.

The commission observed that when the indigenous people rejected the creation of the local government, the then Gen Ibrahim Babangida administration did not do anything about it until the regime left office.

The commission said that the 2008 election was just an excuse by the Hausa/Fulani population to cause trouble.

It said, “Even though there is no doubt in the minds of the commission that the unrest of November 28, 2008 erupted from acts of violence initiated by Hausa/Fulani Muslims, a point corroborated by the police, nevertheless the commission felt that it ought to hear from both sides.”

Full report at http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art201002193202514

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/india-confiscates--blasphemous--jesus-textbooks/d/2483

 

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