Hindu, Muslim unity makes month of fasting special
Eid feast brightens city platter
Preaching Jihad on the streets of New York City
Pakistan and Terror ideologue Hafiz Saeed
Colorado terror plot suspect due in federal court
US terror probe: Three held for false statements
Iran’s Supremo Khamenei: Don’t accuse Opposition without proof
Iran Agrees to Meeting on Nuclear Program
At Obama door, another bid to break West Bank deadlock
The UN report on Israel and Gaza: Israel in the dock
Egypt: Mufti okays pants for women, but not too tight
AQ Khan nails Pakistan's nuke lies
At the tomb of Razia Sultan: Lost in encroachment
Talking terms in Kashmir
Photo: Rajesh Raghuvanshi breaks his fast with his family members
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Across India Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with religious zeal, fervour
New Delhi: TNN 21 September 2009, Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on the first day of Shawwal-the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, with the sighting of the new crescent, following the month of Ramzan.
Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival of joy, family reunion and thanksgiving, it being one of the two great Islamic festivals, the other being Eid-ul-Azha.
Eid-ul-Fitr's importance can be judged from the fact that Allah himself ordered the believers to celebrate it. Prophet Muhammad established the Islamic egalitarian society, free of all kinds of exploitation and corruption, and maintaining the sanctity of society was made obligatory of all believers in every age.
The month of fasting (Ramzan) was selected to help prepare believers for this responsibility. During the specific fasting periods, believers are required to refrain from enjoying such things which are otherwise allowed. To restrain from lawful things consistently for a month helps a great deal in building willpower to refrain from unlawfulness.
The purpose of this exercise is mentioned in the following verse of the Quran: "So that you may learn restraint".(2:183)
Usually festivals are celebrated to mark the change of seasons or on the establishment of monument or for recollecting a historic event.
What Islam declares is this: The change of season takes place according to the law of Allah; monuments by humans can perish and world events forgotten. But the message of Allah, preserved in the Quran, can never vanish-the charge of its preservation he got unto himself; he who is alive and can never die; is so lasting that he has neither any decadence, nor is destined to decay.
This Eid is the monument of the revelation of the Quran, the living and lasting Book of Allah, who is the living and the everlasting. To celebrate Eid preparations are made all through Ramzan.
The giving to a special charity on this occasion is obligatory. This is known as zakat. It is also a time to give to those who can't afford to participate in Eid and during the last few days of Ramzan, Muslim families give a determined amount as a donation to the poor.
This donation is in terms of food-rice, sugar, dates, vermicelli-to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).
Eid preparations begin at least a week before Ramzan. The entire family usually shops together. Clothes, household decorative articles, rice, vermicelli, dryfruits, are purchased and ladies draw mehendi designs on their hands.
On Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning to pray the Eid prayer preferably in outdoor locations (Idgah) outside the city as the Prophet would pray the two Eids on the outskirts of Madinah and he never prayed it in his mosque, except once when it was raining.
Before offering the Eid prayer Muslims breakfast with dates. The imam delivers a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer after which Muslims usually scatter to wish family and friends and exchange gifts. Greetings of "Eid mubarak" or "blessed Eid" are exchanged.
The specialty of the Eid meal is biryani and sheerkorma. Recreation and amusement, if they stay within the moral bounds, are permissible on Eid. All these activities traditionally continue for three days.
(The writer is the member of Jamaat e Islami, Mapusa)
India’s exemplary tradition: Hindu families fast in Ramadan with Muslim brothers
FOLLOWERS OF HARMONY
By Anup Dutta in Bhopal
Hindu families in Madhya Pradesh keep ‘roza’ with Muslim brothers
“IT’S ONLY a matter of faith which inspires me to observe roza (fast). I will continue to do so.” This is how Maya Sharan, a Hindu, explains her 15- year experience of fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In the Hindi- heartland state of Madhya Pradesh, many Hindu families have been drawn towards fasting and its added health benefits. It is also their way of setting an example of communal harmony and spreading the message of peace in society.
The practice of dawn to dusk fasts have increased manifold in the state over the last two decades.
An example of this exemplary tradition can be witnessed in Bhopal and smaller towns.
Building the bridge of harmony, Hindus have started keeping roza , hosting iftar — an evening meal for breaking the day- long fast — for their Muslim friends and neighbours.
Also, people, irrespective of religion, who preferred to stay away from fasting were seen busy with Monday’s Eid preparation. The festival of Eid will mark the end of the month- long fasting.
Monica Meena is a perfect case in point. Standing out as a symbol of unity, the young girl from Vidisha district started observing roza when she was a Class VIII student. Though no one else in her family fasts, Monica, now pursuing an MCA degree from Barkatullah University, Bhopal, is determined to continue with her spiritual endeavour in future.
Like any devout human being, she would wake up at dawn to have sehri — the early morning meal — and break the fast in the evening. “I believe in one God. So, I keep fasts and follow all its rules rigorously.
We used to stay in Bajaria, a Muslim dominated area earlier.
Some of my friends there taught me how to observe the fast and about the holy month of Ramadan. Even now, I tie rakhi to a brother, who is a Muslim.
Roza help me get closer to my friends and their family members who practice a different faith,” Monica said.
And Monica is not the only example of unity and communal harmony. In Bhopal, many Hindu families keep roza, organise iftar parties and celebrate Eid, like any other Muslim family.
Some of these Hindus even start their day with early morning prayers and end their day with the traditional iftar. Kartik Agrawal, whose shop is located next to a mosque in the city’s Chowk Bazaar, said: “ I do not remember how and when our family begun hosting iftar , but this year more than 500 people attended the ceremony during the month.” Almost 115km from the state capital in Harda district, members of the Sharan family, are strictly observing roza. “This is my sixth year (of fasting) but my mother has been keeping roza for the past 15 years,” Akhilesh Sharan said.
His mother, Maya, is a diabetic.
She suffers from fluctuating blood pressure and started observing fasts after meeting a ‘Pir Baba’. Her troubling health has since improved.
Similar tales of ‘spiritual’ and communal harmony could be witnessed in other parts of the state too. Rajesh Raghuvanshi’s family members in Malwa have been observing fasts for over a decade now. Seeing their parents fasting, their two daughters — aged 18 and 15 — and 12- yearold son have also started keeping roza . The family will celebrate Eid with equal fervours. On Saturday, the class IV employee in the state’s horticulture department took his son to a local market and bought sweets for Eid.
“Besides sewaiyaa and other sweet dishes, badam phirni would be this year’s special attraction for Eid,” Rajesh said.
And with the festival of Navaratri also having begun, the Raghuvanshui family, sensing the opportunity of attaining double blessings, has decided to continue with their fast.
“I have special attachment to this ( Eid) festival. This year my wife observed 12 rozas. My son and two daughters observed two and four fasts respectively. This is my 14th year of fasting and I feel happy after observing each fast.
After celebrating Eid, I will be fasting during the Navaratri festival as well,” Rajesh said.
‘Suicide bomber’ among nine released from jail by TN govt
| Coimbatore: He was a teenage ‘human bomb’ that failed to explode during the serial blasts that rocked the industrial hub of Coimbatore in February 1998. On Tuesday, a smiling Fakrudeen Ali Ahmed and eight other Al Umma prisoners, who were convicted for harbouring, planting and distributing explosives, walked free from Coimbatore Central Prison after the DMK government remitted their 13-year sentences on the occasion of the birth centenary of party founder C N Annadurai.
All nine prisoners were released from jail on Tuesday.
The nine prisoners who walked free are aged between 27 and 45; they were due for release in 2011. Taking into consideration provisions for ‘good conduct in jail’, they could have been let off either in December 2009 or sometime next year, say prison officials.
The state government’s decision to release them as a humanitarian gesture has raised legal questions because last year it had said it would not commute the sentences of prisoners convicted for serious crimes involving explosives, arms, drugs, and violence against women. The DMK government released more than 1,400 prisoners to mark the commencement of Anna’s birth centenary celebrations in September 2008, including some serving life sentences. A petition challenging the release is pending in Supreme Court.
This year, all nine convicts freed are members of a banned Islamic extremist group, who were jailed for carrying or harbouring explosives. They escaped life sentences because the bombs they planted did not go off. Now, 42 Al Umma convicts, including the outlawed outfit’s leader S A Basha, who were all sentenced to life by a special court in 2007, remain in the Coimbatore prison. The explosions which rocked Coimbatore minutes before the arrival of BJP leader L K Advani during the 1998 Parliamentary election campaign had killed over 50 people and left several maimed.
Source: Times of India
Eid-ul-Fitr observed in Pakistan with enthusiasm
ISLAMABAD, Sep 21 (APP): Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated across country on Monday in a befitting manner as the faithful offered Eid prayers in all the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan with great religious fervour and festivity, marking the culmination of the holy month of Ramazan. Special arrangements were made to offer Eid prayer across throughout the country including Faisal Masjid, Islamabad; Badshahi Masjid, Lahore, Memon Masjid, Karachi and Binori Town and at different places at Quetta and Peshawar.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani offered Eid ul Fitr prayers at the lawn of Prime Minister House along with the officers and staff of the Prime Minister House.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan and a large number of employees of the Prime Minister House and their family members offered the Eid prayers.
Special prayers were also offered for the solidarity, prosperity and progress of the country and over all progress of Muslim Ummah. The Prime Minister then exchanged Eid greetings with the people who joined with him at the Eid prayers.
Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani mixed with his staff and members of their family and exchanged Eid greetings with them.
After offering the Eid Namaz, special prayers were offered for the progress and prosperity of the country, unity of the ‘Ummah’, solution of their problems and liberation of Muslim territories, including occupied Kashmir.
In the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the ‘Eid’ congregations were held at more than 300 places.
In Islamabad, the biggest congregation was held at the grand Faisal Mosque , where the high-ups of the government offered Eid prayers. In Rawalpindi, the biggest Eid congregation was held at the historic Liaquat Bagh.
Following the Eid prayers, Muslims spend their time feasting with family and friends and feeding those who are less fortunate. Sweets and other special dishes have been prepared for serving the guests. People also exchange gifts on the occasion.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani received a number of guests at PM House Monday morning after offering Eid prayers.
The first to call on the Prime Minister Gilani were services chiefs. Chiarman Joint Chief of Staff Committee General Tariq Majid, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Salman and Naval Chief Admiral Noman Bashir.
The Services Chief remained with the Prime Minister Gilani for some time and exchanged Eid greetings with him.
Acting President Farooq H Naek offered Eid prayers at Bagh-e-Jinnah (old Polo ground) at Karachi. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal also offered prayers at the same venue.
Karachiites celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr with religious fervour and enthusiasm in the metropolis. The city wore a festive look with decorated and illuminated shopping centres, buildings and sweet and food outlets.
Millions of people offered Eid prayers at more than 1,000 Eidgahs, mosques, Imambargahs, parks and open places here Monday and prayed the Almighty Allah for the progress and prosperity of their city as well as the country.
Wife of the Governor Begun Shahina Ibad exchanged Eid greetings with the ladies at Governor House.
Other important congregations were held at Eidgah in Nazimabad, Jinnah Ground in Azizabad, Masjid Tooba in Defence, Binnori Town Mosque, Memon Masjid, Masjid Baitul Mukarram.
People also thronged graveyards in various parts of the city to offer fateha to their departed beloved ones after Eid prayers. A heavy rush was witnessed at the entry and exit points of these graveyards this morning. Foolproof security arrangements were made on Eid Day specially during Eid prayers at mosques, Eidgahs, Imambargahs and open places for the safety of worshipers.
Fouzia Gilani, wife of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and her daughter Fizzah Gilani celebrated Eidul Fitr along with the orphan children at the Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam Dar-ul-Shafqat at Lahore.
Mrs Gilani and Fizzah Gilani also gave Eidi in cash and gifts to 200 children. She mingled with the children and exchanged Eid greetings besides inquiring about their common problems as well as their studies.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif offered Eidul Fitr prayers at Sharif Medical City Mosque Raiwind, near Lahore.
MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Salman Shahbaz Sharif, party leaders and hundreds of party workers also offered the Eid prayers there.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah offered Eid prayers at Garhi Khuda Bux. He was accompanied with Aftab Shahban Mirani MNA, Sindh Ministers Agha Siraj Durrani, and Ayaz Soomro.
Eid was also observed in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. Strict security arrangements were made for the faithful. Balochistan had put the security on high alert and made strict security arrangements on Eid-ul-Fitr to shun any untoward incident on the occasion.
According to a senior Balochistan Home Department official, police, Anti-Terrorist Force, Balochistan Constabulary and Frontier Corps personnel were deployed at main Eidgahs, mosques and Imambargahs to ensure security of Eid congregational prayers in the province.
The law enforcement agencies’ personnel were also deployed at all important public and private places in the province including the provincial metropolis, he added.
Police and ATF personnel increased their patrolling here around the congregational prayers and in main bazaars in order to avert any untoward incident in the city.
Police and bomb disposal squad officials were also deployed at entry points of main Eidgahs, and mosques who checked the people with metal detectors before their entrance to prayer venue in the valley. Besides, close circuit cameras were also installed at main Eidgahs and mosques to ensure security of Eid congregational prayers in the city, bomb disposal squad officials said.
Eid prayers were also held at scattered places in Peshawar as most of the inhabitants had already obsreved Eid on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Eid was celebrated in most parts of Dera Islail Khan, Swat, Buner, Upper Dir, and Hazara division.
The government had declared Eid holidays from September 21 to 23 and paid advanced salaries to employees for enabling them to meet their Eid expenses.
The Radio and Television channels had chalked out a series of special programmes on the occasion of Eid while newspapers carried publish special supplements, highlighting the significance of the day.
Meanwhile, foolproof security measures were adopted on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. Policemen were deputed outside the bazaars, shopping centres and sensitive public and private buildings.
Strict security measures were adopted outside the ‘Eidgahs’, while police and Rangers kept patrolling the areas across country. No untoward incident happened throughout the Eid day. http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86337&Itemid=1
Hindu, Muslim unity makes month of fasting special
Abid Suhail, TNN 21 September 2009
The month of fasting has come to an end on a happy note as ever, with many pleasant memories like breaking of fast with the preparations cooked
by the Hindus, the offering of namaz inside a temple, the awakening of the Muslims by a devout Hindu for "Sahri" in Aliganj.
Hats off to the residents of the Naubatpur village of Chamauli who have set a record of sorts of brotherhood and secularism. The Hindus of the village hold an Iftar party in which the Muslims break their fast by the food cooked by them within the precinct of a temple. They also offer the maghrib namaz there. (Rashtriya Sahara 18/90). Likewise, a Hindu has been awakening the Muslims all through the month in Aliganj for "Sahri". A police officer of Mumbai, Ashok Laksman, according to the daily (19/9), is observing fast during the month of Ramazan since 1989. He claims that the roza gives him not only mental peace, it solves may of his problems.
By-poll results: The Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Bihar by-election results could not have come at a better time for the BJP and Lalu Prasad. The results have given a clear majority to the BJP in Uttarakhand whereas it has humbled the Congress on many seats in Gujarat. In Bihar, the RJD, which seemed to be down and out after the Lok Sabha elections, staged a comeback by bagging nine out of 18 assembly seats. On the whole, the results have not been favourable to the Congress, However, Zafar Agha, a columnist, keeps on harping in his middle (Rashtriya Sahara 15/9) that the Hindutva forces are in a shambles and the secular forces seem to be gaining a sort of an upper hand in the country. The Congress, it may be mentioned, has lost both seats it contested in Delhi to BJP and RJD.
Austerity drive: The Aag (14/9) is not much amused by the austerity drive launched by the Congress and the governments led or run by it. Two of the Union ministers of the party, it says, were found to be staying in hotels spending one lakh rupees each per day as the houses allotted to them were, in their opinion, not up to the mark. The party, says the daily, has launched the drive to off set the embarrassment caused by the disclosure. Approvingly mentioning a BJP leader's plea that the drive should start from the top, the daily wants the President and the governors to opt for smaller accommodations. The daily even wants the governors to go as their work can be done by chief justices and the speakers. Though not opposed to the measure, the daily disfavours the symbolic character of the drive.
No Urdu stall: The book fair at the Moti Mahal Lawns is an yearly affair, but the 2009's stands out as something unique: It has no stall of Urdu books, probably for the first time for any book fair in Lucknow. However, it will be wrong to find fault with the organisers of the fair. The Urdu-lovers themselves should have seen to it that a stall was set up. Even the Urdu Akademy could have done it.
Eid feast brightens city platter
TNN 21 September 2009
LUDHIANA: As month of Ramadan came to an end, members of Muslim community celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday, marking the day with prayers and
colourful festivities. After offering ‘namaz’ at various mosques, the devout wished family and friends on the happy occasion, exchanging gifts and relishing ‘sewayian’ along with them.
“After an entire month of fasting, Eid is the perfect occasion to celebrate with family and friends,” said Abdul Kadir, a city resident. Addressing devotees at Jail road near Jama Masjid, Shai Imam Maulana Habbeeb-Ur-Rehman said Muslims had made enormous sacrifices for the unity and integrity of India and would always work for strengthening communal harmony in the country. “Eid stands for the universal message of unity and so people must try to live with others in peace and harmony,” he added. He also highlighted the struggle that India had to undergo to free itself from Britishers, who had used divide-and-rule policy.
The minister for jail, tourism and cultural affairs, Hira Singh Gabria extended heartiest congratulations on the eve of Id-ul-Fitr and exhorted the participants to pledge for strengthening mutual brotherhood in the society, which was the real message of all religions. “The traditional bond of brotherhood between Sikhs and Muslims go back to the time of gurus. For instance, take the case of Bhai Mardana and Guru Nanak Dev and fifth guru, Guru Guru Arjan Dev, who got the foundation brick of Harmandir Sahib laid from Sain Mian Mir.”
At the tomb of Razia Sultan
Mon, Sep 21
New Delhi, Sept. 21 -- At the end of a narrow, congested lane in Bulbuli Khana, beyond the Turkman Gate in the Walled City, a sharp turn leads to a brown stone plaque and a characteristic blue board of the ASI. It announces the monument behind the wall as protected by the ASI. Inside, there is a small courtyard, cramped by modern buildings double the height of the compound wall on all sides.
In there rests the remains of Razia Sultan, the only woman to have ruled Delhi. The state of the monument is deplorable.
There are two black PVC tanks with pipes and taps, and a porta-cabin, where people stay. A man, who identified himself as Touhid (he refused to give his full name), said: "This may be an ASI-protected monument, but we have been living here for many years now.
We offer namaz here regularly five times a day." He claims the structure was not just a tomb but a mosque too because the west-side wall has a mihrab (a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, the direction of the Kaaba).
There is a tin and fibre sheet shed above the wall with Islamic verses in oil paint. Things hang from notches nailed on wall.
The place has fixed lights and fans. Sohail Hashmi of Sahmat said: "The encroachment at the Razia Sultan monument is recent.
It is barely ten years that people have started living there.".
Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
Preaching Jihad In NYC
This highly disturbing video of Yousef al-Khattab preaching jihad on the streets of New York City just days ago comes courtesy of Jarret Brachman. It serves as a reminder of the radicalism that exists here in the United States. From Brachman's website:
Here is a video from 4 September 09 of Yousef ‘preaching’ a ‘Ramadan’ message in NYC. This is radicalization in its rawest form. You’ll see people sitting down on the stairs across listening, then one will get up and grab a CD that has recorded lectures from Abdullah Faisal (RM.com’s spiritual advisor – and a firebreathing cleric in the UK who was amain inspiration of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 bombers).
Watch how quickly the jars fill with cash. Watch how many men congregate at the step across from Yousef.
Posted by Bill Roggio on September 21, 2009 10:38 AM | Permalink
Email the article Preaching Jihad In NYC to a friend:
Pakistan and Terror ideologue Hafiz Saeed
September 20, 2009
Two interesting developments in Pakistan, possibly linked, offer some hope that sections of that country’s leadership understand India’s and the world’s concerns about Hafiz Saeed and may want to address them. He is the leader of the Jamat-ud-Dawa, a group that fronts for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the nationalist mythology of Pakistan, LeT is a defunct group that ceased to exist after it was banned in 2002; JuD is a charity organisation that educates children and offers free health services; and Hafiz Saeed is a harmless preacher-teacher-philanthropist. Much of this mythology was derived from the Pakistan security establishment’s patronage of Mr. Saeed and LeT for the jihad in Kashmir. Forced by the United States to act against LeT and other jihadi organisations after 9/11, General Pervez Musharraf reluctantly banned the group in 2002. But Hafiz Saeed’s re-emergence as the leader of JuD indicated that he continued to enjoy some state indulgence. In recent days, a few red lines around him have been breached. First, on September 16, police in the Punjab province registered two cases against him in Faisalabad for glorifying and soliciting funds for jihad, unconnected to the Mumbai attacks. Since 2002, he has been a veteran of house arrests, including after the Mumbai attacks. But this is the first time Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act has been used against him. At the risk of being accused of bending to Indian pressure, Interior Minister Rehman Malik even announced that Mr. Saeed was under investigation for the 26/11 attacks.
From this there is no need to jump to the conclusion that justice is at last being done. Going by the reported contents of the two First Information Reports, the case against Mr. Saeed seems weak.
Full Report at: http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article22843.ece
Colorado terror plot suspect due in federal court
By P. SOLOMON BANDA and STEVEN K. PAULSON (AP)
DENVER — An Afghanistan-born Colorado man who allegedly received al-Qaida training and had bomb-making instructions on his computer faced a court appearance Monday as the government warned law enforcement around the nation about the danger of an attack on mass transit.
Investigators say Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old airport shuttle driver, played a direct role in an alleged terror plot that unraveled during a trip to New York City around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 anniversary. But he has only been charged with lying to the government, and has a court appearance Monday afternoon in Denver on the charge.
Investigators said they found notes on bomb-making instructions that appear to match Zazi's handwriting, and discovered his fingerprints on materials — batteries and a scale — that could be used to make explosives.
Publicly, law enforcement officials have repeatedly said they are unaware of a specific time or target for any possible attacks. Privately, officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the case said investigators have worried most about the possible use of backpack bombs on New York City mass transit trains, similar to attacks carried out in London and Madrid.
Backpacks and cell phones were taken from apartments in the Queens raids last week.
A joint FBI-New York Police Department task force feared Zazi may have been involved in a potential plot involving hydrogen peroxide-based explosives like those cited in an intelligence warning issued last week, according to two law enforcement officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.
On Monday, federal officials reminded law enforcement across the country that rail and transit systems can be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
In a joint assessment, the FBI and Homeland Security Department warned that improvised explosive devices are the most common tactic to blow up mass transit and rail systems overseas. And they noted incidents where homemade bombs made with various types of peroxide.
n the assessment, obtained by The Associated Press, officials recommended that transit system security officials conduct random sweeps at terminals and stations and that law enforcement make random patrols and board some trains and buses.
Zazi and his 53-year-old father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, were arrested Saturday in Denver. Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, was arrested in New York, where he is an imam at a mosque in Queens.
The three are accused of making false statements to the government. If convicted, they face eight years in prison.
Afzali appeared in federal court Monday in Brooklyn and was ordered held without bail. His attorney, Ron Kuby, said he would seek bail for him on Thursday.
The younger Zazi has publicly denied being involved in a terror plot. His attorney, Arthur Folsom, dismissed as "rumor" any notion that his client played a crucial role.
Mohammed Zazi and Afzali are accused of lying to FBI agents about calls between Denver and New York. An affidavit accuses Afzali of lying about a call in which he told Najibullah Zazi that he had spoken with authorities.
Zazi's father is accused of lying when he told authorities he didn't know anyone by the name of Afzali. The FBI said it recorded a conversation between Mohammed Zazi and Afzali.
Prosecutors have said they're not seeking to detain Zazi's father.
Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who tracks such investigations, said authorities could have made the arrests because they feared too much information was getting to the suspects. Additional charges could be filed later, he said.
Kuby has said the government may have been forced to act after Najibullah Zazi went to New York. Zazi has said he drove there in September to resolve issues with a coffee cart he owns in Manhattan.
Kuby said Monday that his client had fully cooperated with the FBI, and was aware all along that his phone calls were being monitored.
"Why in the world is he going to lie about the content of a conversation that he knew was being taped?" Kuby said before Afzali's court appearance.
He accused authorities of trying to make Afzali a scapegoat for a botched investigation.
"The government wants somebody to blame for the fact that they haven't caught any terrorists," he said.
An arrest warrant affidavit alleges Zazi admitted to FBI agents that he received instruction from al-Qaida operatives on subjects such as weapons and explosives. It also says he received the training in the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan.
The FBI said it found images of handwritten notes on a laptop containing formulas and instructions for making a bomb, detonators and a fuse. Zazi told the FBI that he must have unintentionally downloaded the notes as part of a religious book and that he deleted the book "after realizing that its contents discussed jihad."
An affidavit says the handwriting on the notes appeared to be Zazi's. It also says they were e-mailed in December as an attachment between accounts believed to be owned by Zazi, including an account that originated in Pakistan.
FBI agents say Najibullah Zazi traveled to Pakistan twice this year. Zazi says he was visiting his wife, who lives in the Peshawar region.
Zazi was born in Afghanistan, moved to Pakistan at age 7 and emigrated to the United States in 1999. He returned to Pakistan in 2007 and 2008 to visit his wife, according to Folsom.
Aaron Donovan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the MTA was in touch with the New York City area's joint terrorism task force, but wouldn't comment Monday on any communications it had received from the NYPD or FBI. The agency operates the city's subways — carrying about 8 million daily riders — and commuter rail lines.
Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Devlin Barrett in Washington, D.C., Ivan Moreno in Denver, and Samantha Gross, Jennifer Peltz and Larry Neumeister in New York City contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
US terror probe: Three held for false statements
Sep 21, 2009 at 0239 hrs Denver:
The FBI arrested a 24-year-old Colorado man on charges of making false statements to federal agents in an ongoing terror investigation. Najibullah Zazi of Denver was arrested late Saturday after three days of questioning by the FBI, the Justice Department said on Sunday. Zazi, a legal permanent resident from Afghanistan, was due to appear in federal court on Monday.
Zazi’s father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53 and an associate, Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, of Queens were also arrested. Both were also charged with making false statements to federal agents, a charge that carries a penalty of eight years in prison.
Zazi has repeatedly denied to reporters any connection to al-Qaida or to a terrorist plot. His statements contradict claims made by a senior US intelligence official on Friday, that Zazi had indicated a direct link with al-Qaida.
“The arrests carried out tonight are part of an ongoing and fast-paced investigation,” said David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security. “It is important to note that we have no specific information regarding the timing, location or target of any planned attack.”
In documents filed with the court, investigators say Zazi admitted to FBI agents last week that in 2008 he received weapons and explosives training from al-Qaida in federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan.
Full Report at: Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-terror-probe-three-held-for-false-statements/519600/
Don’t accuse open without proof khamenei
Iran’s leader says US nuke accusations wrong
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader said Sunday that U.S. officials know they are wrongly accusing Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
In Iran’s first official reaction to the U.S. decision to scrap a European missile intercept system to defend against threats from Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed President Barack Obama’s administration is following the same policies as its predecessor.
“The U.S. officials who talk about Iranian missiles and their danger while saying Iran intends to build a nuclear bomb, they know these words are wrong,” Khamenei said in remarks broadcast on state-run radio. “Despite its apparent friendly messages and words” the Obama administration is pursuing the same policy of Iran-phobia, he said.
The U.S. administration has invited Iran to start a dialogue on its nuclear program and gave a vague September deadline for Tehran to take up the offer. The U.S. and five other world powers accepted an offer from Iran earlier this month to hold “comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive” talks on a range of security issues, including global nuclear disarmament.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Oct. 1 for talks on Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has long maintained the program is purely for peaceful purposes and Khamenei reiterated that Iran considers the production and use of nuclear arms forbidden by the country’s Muslim beliefs.
Full Report at: http://blog.taragana.com/n/irans-leader-says-us-officials-know-they-are-wrongly-accusing-iran-on-nuclear-ambitions-173729/
Iran Agrees to Meeting on Nuclear Program
By JAY SOLOMON, SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
VIENNA -- The Obama administration, hoping to persuade Tehran to curtail its nuclear program and initiate a dialogue that focuses on other issues, will have its first formal meeting since it took office with Iran on Oct. 1.The four other United Nations Security Council permanent members -- China, Russia, France, and the U.K. -- along with Germany will participate in the meeting, which was brokered Monday in a call between Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign-policy chief, and Saeed Jalili, Iran's main nuclear negotiator.
The event, whose location hasn't been decided, won't be a "formal negotiation," a spokeswoman for Mr. Solana said. There will be no set agenda or specific goals. Instead, she said, it will serve as an opportunity to question Iran on a proposal it released last week calling for a discussion with the international community on a range of security and development issues.
Iranian officials said for the first time Monday that they would be willing to discuss elements of the country's nuclear program as part of a broader dialogue aimed at ending the threat of nuclear weapons globally.
"We have always stated that we are [in favour of] dialogue, but of course unconditional dialogue," the chief of Iran's atomic energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, told reporters in Vienna at the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual conference. "It seems now that the environment is conducive towards this issue and...we are very hopeful that the dialogue which is going to be held next month will pave the way further for the future." U.S. officials voiced frustration that the Iranian document ignored Washington's demand that Tehran cease enriching uranium and allow inspectors from the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, greater access to its nuclear installations.
"We plan to address this issue of their not living up to their obligations head on," said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. "We are not planning on starting a whole new process here."
Even at the best, the meeting won't lead to broad forceful sanctions against Iran. China has said it won't back sanctions. And last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia won't back any new rounds of sanctions. Western diplomats have said the U.S. will likely pursue a more narrow sanctions agreement just with European Union countries.
However, U.S. officials are eager to gain Iranian cooperation in stabilizing Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington also hopes Iran can support the Arab-Israeli peace process by cutting off support for militant groups fighting Israel, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. "I think this is an important first step in the discussion. We hope for the best," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Monday in Austria. He was attending the annual General Conference of the IAEA.
The U.S. estimates Iran has produced enough nuclear fuel for one atomic weapon, should it be enriched further into weapons-grade material -- though it could take years for Iran to make a nuclear warhead and develop the ability to use it on a missile.
[Javier Solana] Associated Press
A U.S. intelligence report, released in 2007, alleged Iran had been experimenting in the weaponization of its nuclear technologies, before allegedly stopping the effort in 2003. The U.N. has been pressing Iran to answer questions about the alleged military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Iranian diplomats stressed again Monday that Tehran would never relinquish its right under the U.N.'s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to produce nuclear fuel.
Full Report at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125292366236408269.html
At Obama door, another bid to break West Bank deadlock
Sep 21, Jerusalem
After a frustrating week of shuttle diplomacy here in which the Obama administration failed to persuade Israelis and Palestinians to renew peace talks, leaders of both sides are heading to the US to make their cases that the administration should push the other harder.
Obama will meet in New York on Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian leaders say the sources of frustration could not be clearer — Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in keeping with earlier commitments and its insistence on holding peace talks without agreeing to deal with key issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
“Without a settlement freeze or an agreement to talk about the core issues, there is no point in starting the negotiations,” Saeb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator said. “Ask Netanyahu if he is willing to negotiate on Jerusalem and on refugees. He refuses. And we all know that if he ever accepted, he would lose his governing coalition.” Netanyahu’s coalition is largely right-wing and pro-settlement.
The UN report on Israel and Gaza: Israel in the dock
Sep 17th 2009 | JERUSALEM
A report by a UN body controversially chastises Israel’s government and its army for their actions during the war in Gaza earlier this year
EVER since Israel’s intense, three-week war in Gaza ended in January, its politicians and soldiers have been carpet-bombed by critical reports, both foreign and Israeli. These have taken aim at the conduct of the operation, some of the weapons used, many of the targets chosen, and the behaviour of some members of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). For a country that prides itself on having “the most moral army in the world”, the accusations, though mostly rejected, have stung.
But even the most battle-hardened officials were shocked, then furious, at the litany of accusations in a 575-page report published this week by a fact-finding mission headed by Richard Goldstone, an eminent jurist. The incendiary premise of his report, to be delivered to the UN’s 47-country Human Rights Council in Geneva this month, is that Israel is guilty of one of the worst crimes: deliberately and systematically attacking civilians and making them suffer as a war aim. The Israelis knew they would get pasted, as the council is a serial Israel-bashing outfit that often lets more egregious human-rights abusers around the world off the hook. But the report was even more critical than they had feared.
Just as damning in Israel’s eyes is its claim to find little or no evidence that Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian group that controls the densely populated Gaza Strip while refusing to recognise Israel, deliberately fired rockets from civilian houses, stored weapons in mosques and used the basement of one of Gaza’s main hospitals as a military command centre. If Hamas did such things, says Mr Goldstone, they might be judged war crimes too.
The report claims that Israel specifically sought to punish Gaza’s civilians because many of them back Hamas, which won a general election in 2006 in the Palestinian territories, including the separate but bigger West Bank. A year later, in Gaza, Hamas violently ousted Fatah, its secular rival that had long ruled the Palestinian roost.
Israel, which refused to co-operate with the UN mission, flatly denies it sought to hammer civilians. Its aim, it says, was to stop Hamas firing rockets, with increasing range, at towns in southern Israel. Since late 2004, they had killed 16 Israeli civilians and injured many more, terrified thousands of them, and disrupted the economy. Mr Goldstone’s report criticised the indiscriminate firing of rockets as potential war crimes, but concentrated overwhelmingly on Israel’s shortcomings. President Shimon Peres remarked that the authors “would not have written those things if their children lived in Sderot [a southern Israeli town close to Gaza], under the threat of constant rocket attacks”.
The number of civilian deaths in the Gaza war is disputed. B’Tselem, an Israeli human-rights monitor, puts the figure at more than 770; the Israeli government says much fewer. Various international outfits put the overall death toll at more than 1,400; the Israeli government says 1,166.
In any event, an interim report issued by Israel’s government in July listed measures it said it had taken to keep the civilian toll as low as possible. It had aborted air strikes when the risk to civilians was too great, dropped warning leaflets and made telephone calls to Gazans, and declared daily humanitarian pauses in the fighting.
Full Report at: http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14462427
Egypt: Mufti okays pants for women, but not too tight
Bikya Masr, 21 September 2009
CAIRO: It has become a pants controversy in the Islamic world, after Sudan sentenced a female journalist to six months in prison for wearing trousers. Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, a journalist, refused to pay a fine for her release in protest, but the country’s journalist syndicate intervened, much to her anger. Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa has chimed into the debate, saying that women have the right to wear pants.
He cited a hadith – saying of the Prophet Mohamed – that proves the right of women to wear these clothes. He added that “if this Hadith wasn’t proven correct, Islamic Sharia laws didn’t forbid women from wearing pants, as there are outfits worn by Pakistani women where it includes pants.”
It was not the first time Sudanese women have been under attack for what they wear. In July, at least 13 Sudanese women received public lashes for wearing tight clothes, which sparked widespread outrage among activists in Sudan and abroad.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) in Cairo said that the Sudanese authorities are “continuing further to persecute reporters and oppress all voices defending freedom of expression.”
ANHRI has called on the Sudanese government to abolish or change the public discipline law, one of the most oppressive and discriminating laws against women as it violates basic individual freedoms.
Gomaa stressed that allowing women to wear pants does not mean that Muslim women “should wear tight ones, because tight pants must not be worn by women,” adding that Islam stands up for women. “We, as Muslim scholars, apply Islamic laws.”
In his statements, Gomaa also permitted women to take the position of the Secretariat of institute for issuing Fatwas (Islamic opinions), saying “I do not say so to appear as if I am open-minded and defending women’s rights, but because Islam permits this and if a woman reached the level of science that is required by any post, such as issuing opinions, then there is no reason, according to Sharia, that would prohibit women from taking such posts.”
He noted that throughout Islamic history, society has witnessed about 600 women taking over top positions in various fields.
**reporting by Mohamed Abdel Salam
AQ Khan nails Pakistan's nuke lies
CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA, TNN 21 September 2009
WASHINGTON: An angry, humiliated, and wounded A.Q.Khan has finally made public and official what has long been suspected: his nuclear proliferation activities that included exchanging and passing blue-prints and equipment to China, Iran, North Korea, and Libya was done at the behest of the Pakistani government and military, and he was forced to take the rap for it.
''The bastards first used us and are now playing dirty games with us,'' Khan writes about the Pakistani leadership in a December 2003 letter to his wife Henny that has finally been made public by an interlocutor. ''Darling, if the government plays any mischief with me take a tough stand,'' he tells his wife, adding, ''They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things they got done by me.'' But Henny was unable to play hardball because Khan had also sent copies of that letter to his daughter Dina in London, and to his niece Kausar Khan in Amsterdam through his brother, a Pakistan Airlines executive. Pakistani intelligence agencies got wind of it and threatened the well-being of the family, forcing him to recant and publicly take the blame for the proliferation activities in a humiliating television spectacle engineered by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
However, a copy of the four-page letter reached Khan’s long-time journalistic contact Simon Henderson in 2007. In fact, in the letter, Khan tells his wife, ''Get in touch with Simon Henderson and give him all the details.'' Henderson says when he acquired the copy of the letter, he was shocked. His acquaintance with Khan goes back to the late 1970s, but it was never intimate, and consisted of an occasional interviews and conversations, and seasonal greetings.
Describing the four-page letter as ''extraordinary,'' Henderson says in numbered paragraphs, it outlines Pakistan’s nuclear co-operation with China, Iran and North Korea, and also mentions Libya. Some of the disclosures are stunning , and in one para that is bound to embarrass Beijing, besides implicating it, Khan writes about how Pakistan helped China in enrichment technology in return for bomb blueprints.
''We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian),” Khan writes. “The Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50kg of enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%).'' UF6 is uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous feedstock for an enrichment plan.
On Iran, the letter says: ''Probably with the blessings of BB [Benazir Bhutto]...General Imtiaz [Benazir’s defence adviser, now dead] asked me to give a set of drawings and some components to the Iranians. The names and addresses of suppliers were also given to the Iranians.''
On North Korea: ‘‘[A now-retired general] took $3million through me from the N. Koreans and asked me to give some drawings and machines.''
Henderson does not explain why he waited nearly two years since he got hold of the letter to make it public. But he writes sympathetically about Khan’s travails in Pakistan, where he is held largely incommunicado under house arrest. The Pakistani government and the military have repeatedly rejected and challenged court orders to free him, and an episode last month, where Khan was freed just for a day on court orders before Islamabad locked him up again under pressure from Washington, appears to have precipitated the leak of the explosive letter.
Henderson’s Sunday Times expose also implicates the U.S and other western powers, who he says, basically shoved Islamabad’s rampant proliferation (while blaming it solely on Khan) under the carpet in order to get Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terror. The move also saved Washington from huge embarrassment since it was basically asleep on the watch when Pakistan began its nuclear proliferation and then winked at it when it was discovered, all the while lavishing billions in military supplies on its unstable client state.
PAK GOVT RESCUED BROKE A.Q.KHAN WITH $ 2500 PER MONTH PENSION
Henderson also implicitly defends Khan from charges that he profited from proliferation activities, as alleged by deposed military ruler Pervez Musharraf. Khan, he says, is adamant that he never sold nuclear secrets for personal gain. So what about the millions of dollars he reportedly made?
''Nothing was confiscated from him and no reported investigation turned up hidden accounts. Having planted rumours about Khan’s greed, Pakistani officials were curiously indifferent to following them through,'' Henderson writes.
According to Henderson, much was made of a ''hotel'', named after Khan’s wife, Henny, built by a local tour guide with the help of money from Khan and a group of friends in Timbuktu. But it is a modest structure at best, more of a guesthouse, he says. A weekend home at Bani Gala, outside Islamabad, where Khan went to relax, is hardly the palace that some reports have made it.
In fact, says Henderson, Khan was close to being broke by the summer 2007, when he was finding it difficult to make ends meet on his pension of 12,200 (Pakistani) rupees per month. After pleading with General Khalid Kidwai, the officer supervising both Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and Khan, the pension was increased to $2,500 per month and there was a one-off lump-sum payment of the equivalent of $50,000. Hendersen says he has copies of the agreement and cheques.
Henderson’s 3000-word expose also reveals a couple of intriguing tid-bits that should interest the world’s strategic community, including New Delhi. Besides details of the Pakistan-China nexus, he says Pakistan tested only two devices in its 1998 tit-for-tat nuclear tests that followed India.
While Pakistan claims it conducted six tests to be one-up on India’s five tests, Western experts and seismologists have long said they recorded only two signals for devices that measured between two and four kilotons. Khan also states clearly that China gave Pakistan designs for the nuclear bombs.
In fact, in one colorful passage in his article, Henderson describes how Khan was warned by a Chinese counterpart about the Pakistani Army. On a visit to Kahuta, Li Chew, the senior minister who ran China’s nuclear-weapons programme, tells Khan, ''As long as they need the bomb, they will lick your balls. As soon as you have delivered the bomb, they will kick your balls.''
Henderson himself seems deeply conscious of any perception that he is close to Khan or that he is a cat’s paw for any country. ''Any relationship with a source is fraught with potential difficulties. One doesn’t want to be blind to the chance of being used. Government officials and politicians in any country are seldom interested in the simple truth. They all have their particular story to tell. In this context, I am frankly amazed that Khan has chosen me to be his interlocutor with the world,'' he writes.
But Pakistani authorities were clearly aware that he and Khan had been in touch and Khan may have managed to smuggle a copy of the letter implicating Islamabad to him. Henderson says in a court document that Khan was asked to sign when he was promised freedom, there is a line that read “That in case Mr Simon Henderson or anyone else proceeds with the publication of any information or material anywhere in the world, I affirm that it would not be based on any input from me and I disown it.” That line was eventually deleted and replaced with a more general prohibition about unnamed ''specific media personnel.''
In other words, stand by for a flurry of denials.
Lost in encroachment
New Delhi, September 21, 2009
In 2007, when Parliament was informed that as many as 35 centrally protected heritage monuments across the country had gone missing due to urbanisation, there was a big hue and cry.
Twelve of the monuments were in Delhi.
Two years later, the government — to be precise, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) — has not taken any preventive or corrective measures.
Officials of the government body admit that no comprehensive survey or investigation of such sites was done.
“There was no inquiry into the missing monuments, simply because it did not happen overnight but over several years,” said a senior ASI official who did not wish to be quoted.
Another query in Parliament had directly pointed to “rapid urbanisation and development” as the cause for encroachment at heritage monuments and they going “missing”.
Legal battles are on over some monuments.
At some other structures, unauthorised buildings have come up within the prohibited area.
Full Report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/newdelhi/Lost-in-encroachment/Article1-456166.aspx