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Islamic World News ( 1 Nov 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iran: Ahmadinejad Sees Collapse of ‘Bullies’ As Good Chance to Spread Islam

Saudi Arabia: Doctor Sentenced to 1,500 Lashes for Addicting Saudi Princess to Painkillers

Indonesia passes tough new anti-porn laws: downloading porn can land you in jail for four years

Mogadishu: Somali Clerics Condemn Suicide Attacks on Northern Cities

U.S. Election: Next President Must Understand Challenge of Radical Islam

Kozhikode: Muslims ask: from Kashmir to Kerala, How did terrorism spread?

San Diego : Muslim Association Student Sees Election as a Vote against Islam

Muslim Convert criticizes cardinal, says terrorism is ‘mature fruit of Islam’

Amman: Towards a winning Palestinian strategy

New Delhi: Hindu businessmen flourishing, feel safe in Muslim Jamia Nagar

Indonesia: Nine women labelled as witches are subjected to ill-treatment in West Papua

Compiled by Syed Asadullah




Ahmadinejad Sees Collapse of ‘Bullies’ As Good Chance to Spread Islam

October 30, 2008, By Julie Stahl

Ahmadinejad did not mention the U.S. by name but said that the “bullying powers” were on the verge of collapse because they are hated by the nations of the world, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Addressing a meeting of Islamic scholars and religious leaders, Ahmadinejad said that “all nations are looking for a new way as they lost their hope [in] the big powers.”

The present situation “is a great chance to introduce pure Islamic thoughts and ideals as well as Iran’s Islamic Revolution,” he said.

Retired Israeli army Lt.-Col Jonathan Halevi, a counter-terrorism expert, told in an earlier interview that Iran has been using the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah as a “long-arm” to spread its Islamic revolution throughout the world.

In an address to the United Nations last month, Ahmadinejad charged that the “American empire in the world” was “reaching the end of its road.”

Ahmadinejad’s latest comments came a day after Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani threatened the U.S. with suicide bombings in response to an alleged U.S. counter-insurgency strike five miles inside Syria earlier this week.

“The U.S. should not think that its mischievous measures would remain without any consequence,” Larijani was quoted by IRNA as saying on Wednesday.

“Over the last two months, the U.S. repeatedly has attacked Pakistan and killed dozens of Pakistanis under the pretext of fighting terrorism,” he said. “This time the U.S. has committed a crime against Syria…this measure represents a new adventurism by the U.S. in the Middle East.”

Larijani said Israel and the U.S. are vulnerable to suicide bombers. He warned the U.S. that such “childish maneuvers” would “cost them dearly” and said they should be careful not to “run into the landmines sowed by the suicide bombers.”

U.S. helicopters reportedly crossed the border from Iraq into Syria on Sunday. Damascus called the incursion a “serious aggression” and said the U.S. killed eight civilians. Syria has demanded an apology.

Washington has remained silent about the incident, but a military official said that U.S. Special Forces had targeted a network of al Qaeda-linked foreign fighters who were moving from Syria to Iraq. The U.S. has long accused Syria of turning a blind eye to the movement of insurgents across its border into Iraq.

Thousands of Syrians protested against the U.S. raid in Damascus on Thursday. The American embassy in Damascus was closed for security reasons and Syrian security forces ringed the embassy to prevent trouble. The Syrian government is closing the American school there as of next week and it already has closed the American cultural center.

Larijani said that military might is not enough to solve the situation.

“It needs strong will to get the job done, as was in the case of Martyr Mohammad Hossein Fahmideh,” he said. Fahmideh was a 13-year-old boy who is considered to be an Iranian national hero for blowing himself up under an Iraqi tank during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Larijani made headlines last week when he appeared to endorse Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

He said that of the two U.S. presidential candidates Obama seemed “more rational” than Republican presidential contender John McCain.



Saudi Arabia: Doctor Sentenced to 1,500 Lashes for Addicting Saudi Princess to Painkillers

By JOSEPH MAYTON (Middle East Times) Published: October 28, 2008


RIYADH, CITY OF CONTRASTS -- As a doctor working in Saudi Arabia, Raouf Amin lived very well. Today the Egyptian physician is in jail in Riyadh regretting the day a Saudi princess walked into his surgery complaining of back pains. Photo shows women walking through a mall in Riyadh. (By ABACAPRESS.COM via Newscom)


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CAIRO -- Egyptian Raouf Amin languishes in a Saudi jail and is punished with 70 lashes once a week. Cut off from his family in Egypt, the 52-year-old doctor was convicted for prescribing painkillers to a Saudi princess that led to her addiction.

An appeal court judge ruled that Amin will be beaten weekly until he has received 1,500 lashes - and then he'll spend another 14 years behind bars.


The judge doubled the original punishment meted out to him a little over one year ago in the lower court where Amin was sentenced to a seven-year jail term with 750 lashes.


Not surprisingly, human rights groups and the Egyptian doctor's syndicate are outraged.


The Middle East Times was told by a human rights lawyer that Amin was given his first 70 lashes last week and will get 70 more this week.


Meanwhile, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and the foreign ministry are taking an earnest look into finding a way to have Amin quickly returned to Egypt.


The doctor, who has lived and worked in the Gulf state for more than 20 years, had been treating the princess for several months for back pains after she visited the hospital in which he worked.


Ahmed Amin, the doctor's son, who himself was born in Saudi Arabia, claims the woman went into the hospital and specified the medication she wanted.


The woman had been receiving similar treatment in the United States after she had fallen from a horse while riding.


Hafez Abu Saeda, the director of EOHR concurred that the medication Amin had prescribed was the same as the woman had been receiving in the United States, "so it is obvious that the doctor was not at fault for her addiction," Abu Saeda concluded.


"It is a harsh sentence that really must be looked at," he said at his Cairo office, flipping through reports on Amin's case.


Abu Saeda was astounded that the appeal judge gave a stiffer penalty than in the original case. It is tantamount, he said, to penalizing Amin for asserting his right of appeal.


"When you appeal against a sentencing it is the rule that it cannot go higher, but in Saudi Arabia it appears anything is possible."


Abu Saeda said he has been in contact with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to publicize the jailing.


Also, the Doctor's Syndicate in Cairo has threatened demonstrations in support of Amin.


On Monday, a small sit-in led by human rights activists and Amin's son was held in front of the Saudi Embassy in Cairo, as a means of publicizing the sentence.


Their threats have driven the Egyptian foreign ministry to seek a solution, partly out of concern that negative repercussions in Egypt may damage relations between Cairo and Riyadh.


"We have been in contact with the foreign ministry, which has asked us for information and help to end this crisis," Abu Saeda said, half-laughing at how quickly the government is willing to call on human rights organizations when the case is outside Egypt's borders.


"This is strange, because if this had happened in Egypt they would be against us; but because it happened in Saudi then it is okay to work with us," he smiled, cynically.


The Egyptian government and human rights groups have often been at odds over cases in Egypt. And especially in recent months over alleged police torture and brutality that rights groups say is endemic to the country. The state denies these incidents as mainstream, arguing that they are not the rule.


In advising ministry officials, Abu Saeda said his organization is trying to push forward points that are essential to Amin's defense.


First, he said, Amin was not given a fair trial and this must be stated up front.


And second, the "continuous use of physical punishment is prohibited under international law in these situations and must be discontinued."


He believes that with pressure, the Saudi government will release Amin and let him return to Egypt, "but pressure must continue. We will not stop our campaign until he is released."


Both the Egyptian foreign ministry and the Saudi Embassy in Cairo refused to comment on the case, saying the matter is still under investigation.


The foreign ministry would only tell the Middle East Times that they "are working hard to have an Egyptian citizen returned to Egypt in the face of such harsh conditions."


Amin's family are grateful for any help they can get and welcome the Egyptian government's actions as a chance to move forward.


"The last time I saw my father was over a year ago," Hafez, his son said. "We can't visit and we can't get a visa since his residency was dropped. We can't even talk to him over the phone; there is no connection between us right now."




Indonesia passes tough new anti-porn laws: downloading porn can land you in jail for four years

 By Indonesia Correspondent Geoff Thompson

Posted Fri Oct 31, 2008


Possessing or downloading porn can land you in jail for four years

After years of debate, Indonesia's Parliament has passed a far-reaching anti-porn law which empowers authorities to jail people for any sexually suggestive performance.

Protests against Indonesia's controversial Pornography Law had brought thousands into the streets of Bali.

But as the bill was suddenly rushed through Parliament in Jakarta yesterday, the few hundred protesters present were Islamic conservatives cheering on the bill's passage into law.

The law may have been most fiercely backed by Islamic parties but it has also been supported by the Government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - which has proven itself fearful of being on the wrong side of Indonesia's Muslim hardliners.

It is quite a law. Possessing or downloading porn can land you in jail for four years and a sexually suggestive performance can attract a 12-year sentence.

Eva Sundari is a lawmaker from the Democratic Party of Struggle. She takes issue with law's definitions of "bodily movements" and walked out of Indonesia's Parliament in protest.

"It includes the body movements which of course will be difficult to [determine] what kind, and how far the movements [go to] imply sexual arousal," she said.

The anti-porn law also invites members of the public to play a role in enforcing it - something which critics say will give legal licence to already unruly groups of Islamic vigilantes.

So while pornographers can now be locked up in Indonesia, convicted mass-murdering terrorists like Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra are still permitted to incite murder and revenge even as their date with a firing squad draws very near.

The bombers have managed to smuggle out of prison what may be their last angry letters to the world. They are dated October 22 and were posted on Islamic websites yesterday.

Mukhlas, or Ali Guhfron as he is also known, implores fellow Muslims to commit to Jihad and use swords and weapons to destroy infidels and those who do not live in Islamic states.

He says he does not fear the death penalty because he will become a martyr following God's path.

Imam Samudra rails against the Indonesian officials organising his execution and asks why do they not understand that America is drawing its last breath?

Writing occasionally in English, Samudra says his enemies will not get away with executing him and will get a "Smack Down!" from the Mujahadeen.

He ends by saying not a single drop of Muslim blood is free.

Amrozi's letter of course condemns infidels too, but it is barely literate by comparison.

The International Crisis Group's terrorism expert Sidney Jones says she is amazed that, even at this late stage, the bombers are still allowed to incite violence from their cells.

"I just think that if there's an increase in the security threat as the result of the executions, the Government it at least in part to blame for allowing these three men access to the media over and over and over again - issuing threats and encouraging their supporters to take revenge and so on," she said.

"It's unbelievable to me that this kind of activity could have gone ahead without any attempt to restrict it."


Somali clerics condemn suicide attacks on northern cities

APA-Mogadishu (Somalia)

An Islamist organization of non-militant Somali clerics, Ahlu Sunna Wal jama’a, on Thursday denounced the 5 suicide bombings which rocked two northern Somali cities on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people.

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, the spokesman of the non-militant group Sheik Abdulkadeer Sheik Mohamed Sheik Somow said the “attacks were not in accordance with Islamic religion.”

As old clerics of Somalia we condemn such unwanted and anti-Islam habits. Islam does allow the killing of innocents, he added.

One of the most well known Somali clerics urged all Somali people not to protect "those who want to deteriorate the already troubled situation in Somalia."

“Puntland and Somaliland were the only territories that have been peaceful compared to south-central Somalia. We are totally against what happened yesterday in Hargeysa (northwest) and Bossasso (northeast),” the non-militant cleric insisted.

Sheik Somow also accused Puntland Intelligence service of wounding and arresting Sheik Mohamed Ismail on Wednesday, hours after two suicide explosions hit two security compounds in Bossaso at about 1505km north west of Mogadishu. Sheik Mohamed Ismail is a non-militant preacher in Puntland.

“This is a very big mistake against Islam, so we are calling on the Puntland intelligence service to free Sheik Mohamed Ismail and compensate him” he said once again.

US under secretary of state for African affairs Jendayi Frazer accused Al Shabab, an extremist group fighting in Somalia, of being responsible for Wednesday’s suicides attacks. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings.



Next President Must Understand Challenge of Radical Islam, Former Senator Says

October 30, 2008, By Kevin Mooney

( - To keep America free from terrorist attacks in the post 9/11 world, it is imperative that the next president have an acute understanding of radical Islam and the need for a forceful response that extends beyond mere criminal prosecution, said former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

He made the comments at a debate focusing on the 2008 election.

The Pennsylvania Republican also credited the Bush administration for pursuing effective counter-terrorism measures, re-affirmed his vote in favor of the Iraq war and suggested that Iran could be on verge of inciting a major conflict.

Santorum teamed up with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, on the campus of Regent University in Virginia Beach. The Republicans made a case for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other Republican candidates in this year’s election, addressing the question of “Which Party is Best Suited to Lead America?”

The Democratic side was represented by Geraldine Ferraro, a former congresswoman from New York, who was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 1984; Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for the Gore-Lieberman ticket in 2000; and Alan Colmes of Fox News, all of whom spoke in favor of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as the more desirable presidential nominee.

Although the war in Iraq has had its problems, the Republicans in power have demonstrated that they have a firm grip on the challenge presented by radical Islam and the will to pursue necessary albeit unpopular polices, Santorum argued.

“The bottom line is that the United States has been safe since 9/11,” he observed in his opening statement. “Not one person on this panel, not one person in this audience, would have predicted on September 12, 2001 that we’d be sitting here today without another terrorist incident. That is not a mistake.”

In the question and answer segment, Colmes, a liberal commentator with Fox News, challenged Santorum on the concept of religious fundamentalism. Colmes pointed out that Christian conservative such as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, and President George W. Bush also have invoked their faith.

In response, Santorum said the motivations of Christians like Palin and Bush are much different than those of jihadists who are out to invade conquer and coerce others. Unlike radical Islamists, Christians are motivated by a desire to serve and to love others, he said.

The question Colmes raised on the differences between Christian fundamentalists and Islamic fundamentalists was particularly relevant to the audience at Regent University, Charles Dunn, dean of the school of government, told in an interview.

“I think he [Santorum] handled the question well on a philosophical and theological basis,” Dunn said. “Sometimes you will hear people say that fundamentalist Christians are like fundamentalist Islamists, but they are very different, the endgame is very different, and that was brought out.”

Santorum’s defense of the Bush administration’s foreign policy also was noteworthy in that it is rare to find voices, even among Republicans, who are willing to rally behind the incumbent president, Dunn observed.

Dunn drew a comparison between the momentous decisions Bush had to make after 9/11 and the challenges Harry Truman faced as president at the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.

“George Bush is like Harry Truman,” he said. “Flash back and you will see Harry Truman made some of most significant foreign policy decisions in history. Dropping the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, all were his decisions. Yet when he left office, his popularity ratings were lower than Bush’s. So I think history will have much more favor to cast on George Bush than it does right now.”

The success Bush has had in preventing more attacks on the American homeland and in overthrowing terrorist regimes does not make headlines because it is not in the nature of the news media to report on success, but it will be captured in history, Dunn said.

As previously reported, coverage of the war in Iraq has declined dramatically in concert with falling U.S. casualties. (See earlier story, below)

Ferraro, the first female nominated as a vice presidential candidate, challenged Santorum on his vote in favor of using force against Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. She said the war had been a mistake. Although 3,000 lives were lost on 9/11 there are now over 4,000 casualties connected with the Iraq war, she pointed out.

“Would you have voted for it [the Iraq war], if you had known there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)?” Ferraro asked Santorum.

Recalling the debate over Iraq in 2003, Santorum told Ferraro that the threat of WMDs was just one of many factors and was not the primary reason he voted in favor of going to war.

At the time there were Democrats in Congress who had accused the Bush administration of failing to “connect the dots” in the months leading up the 9/11 attacks, he recalled.

Moreover, it was widely acknowledged that one of key lessons derived from the attacks on American soil was the importance of taking pre-emptive action, before terrorist plans could be launched, Santorum said.

Hussein’s support for terrorist groups and his history with chemical and biological weapons showed he was danger to the U.S. and to neighbouring countries, Santorum argued.

Ferraro asked if it is now necessary to take action against Iran, since it is also a terrorist state with an appetite for weaponry.

“In the next months something is going to happen in Iran,” Santorum said. “I don’t know whether it will be us or another country, but Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon, period.”

Obama is ill-suited to lead America at this critical moment in history because he is far too inclined to treat today’s enemies as mere criminals instead of as dangerous extremists bent on converting “infidels” to Islam, Santorum argued.

On the other side, Ferraro said the current Republican administration has been responsible for serious missteps in foreign policy and that new leadership is needed. 

As an ardent supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Ferraro acknowledged that she did not rush in to support Obama when he emerged as the nominee.

Ferraro told audience members she was ultimately swayed when Obama began to exhibit a stronger comfort level with key issues. She also likes his selection of Joe Biden (D-Del.) as his running mate.

Huckabee spoke out forcefully on the pro-life cause in his opening statement and drew a connection with the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

Brazile criticized the economic polices of the Bush administration and said an Obama presidency would translate into tax relief for average Americans.

One topic that has not received a lot of attention throughout the presidential campaign has been the future direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), observed in his introductory remarks before the debate.

The next president could determine the court’s direction for many years to come he suggested. Source:


Background story: Number of Embedded Reporters in Iraq Falls to All-Time Low since Start of Surge

Tuesday, October 14, 2008, By Kevin Mooney

The number of embedded reporters working in Iraq in September fell to an all-time low for any month since the U.S. surge in troops in Iraq began in January 2007, according to data provided to by the Multi-National Force in Iraq.

There were just 39 embedded reporters covering Iraq in September 2008 compared to 219 in September 2007, a decline of 82 percent.

See Chart on Decline of Embedded Media in Iraq.

The drop in the number of reporters appears to coincide with the success of the U.S. strategy in the country.

There were six U.S. combat casualties in September 2008 compared to 43 in September 2007, a drop of 86 percent. (Defence Department casualty and embedded reporter data have been incorporated into a database built and analyzed by

Any journalist who remains with a unit to cover military operations for at least a few days is considered an “embed” by the MNF.  Any journalist who is linked with a unit for more than one day is tracked by the military.

After rising in concert with the troop surge and the initial increase in violence following the surge in the first half of 2007, the number of embedded reporters in Iraq began to decline toward the end of the year as the U.S. military gained ground against al Qaeda and other terror groups, the analysis shows.

The influx of 30,000 additional troops into Iraq began in late January 2007 but was not fully in place until June of that year.  An initial spike in combat casualties peaked in May--at a time when offensive operations were launched against al Qaeda strongholds--but was followed by a steep decline.

The number of embedded reporters began to rise in April 2007 and reached a peak of 219 in September 2007 when Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker first testified on the initial positive results of the surge strategy.

The number of embeds fell off as the U.S. military achieved significant gains on the ground against al Qaeda and U.S. casualty numbers dropped. The number of embedded reporters covering Iraq in December 2007 was almost half the number from September 2007, the MNF statistics show.

There were 14 U.S. combat-related casualties reported by the Pentagon in December 2007, the fewest of any month at that time in the past two years.

It was in August 2007 that combat-related casualties began to fall to the point where they were occurring at a lower rate, on a month-to-month basis, than they had in 2006, according to the database.

The single biggest month-to-month fall off in press coverage last year occurred between September and October when the U.S. military began to experience sharper declines in combat deaths on a year-to-year basis.

Press coverage picked up again in February 2008, when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s government began to move against Shi’ite extremists in Basra and in Sadr City. After absorbing some initial setbacks, the Iraqi security forces went on the offense, with only limited American help in some instances.

The Iraqis successfully swept terrorists out of neighbourhoods, Fred Kagan, an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar, explained in an interview.

Even so, the fighting in Basra and in Sadr City was viewed as a setback on Capitol Hill when Petraeus and Crocker testified for the second time in April 2008.

The subject was addressed by Petraeus in testimony.

“The recent flare-up in Basra, southern Iraq, and Baghdad underscored the importance of the ceasefire declared by Moqtada al-Sadr last fall, as another factor in the overall reduction in violence,” he said. “Recently, of course, some militia elements became active again.

 “Though a Sadr stand-down order resolved the situation to a degree, the flare-up also highlighted the destructive role Iran has played in funding, training, arming, and directing the so-called Special Groups, and generated renewed concern about Iran in the minds of many Iraqi leaders. Unchecked, the Special Groups pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq,” Petraeus added.

Yet, in retrospect, the offensive operations launched against Shi’ite fighters turned out to be a major turning point that worked in favor of Maliki’s government, Kagan told

Media coverage began to fall off again in the summer months of 2008 as Basra and Sadr City were pacified. The number of embedded reporters recorded for this September was down 64 percent from where it was in April, when Petraeus and Crocker last testified.



Muslims ask: from Kashmir to Kerala, how did terrorism spread?

30 October 2008, By IANS

Kozhikode: The killing of four men from Kerala by security forces in far away Jammu and Kashmir has led to worried community leaders here introspecting on the hows and whys of terrorism striking root in their state.

Expressing shock and pain that some young men from their community are reportedly involved in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, Muslim leaders blame political parties, a lack of proper understanding of Islam as well as the proliferation of organisations with narrow views.

Kerala Police have confirmed that the four youths killed in two gun battles with security forces in Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir on Oct 7 and 10 were from the southern state.

Two were from Kannur district and one each from Malappuram and Ernakulam districts, the police said.

"We are pained by this development," said Pinangode Aboobacker, working secretary of the Sunni Yuvajana Sangham (SYS), which is affiliated to the Samastha Kerala Jamiat-ul-Ulema, a prominent Sunni group in the state.

"I think the problem of terrorism reared its head after cracks developed in Muslim unity in the state. Later, certain organisations became successful in attracting people to terrorism," Aboobacker told IANS.

Aboobacker blamed political parties for creating dissensions within the community. The media and governments have also failed to nurture a sense of nationalism among the people and youth were becoming an easy prey to the propaganda of anti-national forces, he said.

"Until a few decades ago celebrations of Independence Day and Republic Day were occasions for people to come together. This has now changed. Now, people consider them just as another holiday."

Kerala state secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami, M.K. Muhammadali, said that there was a proliferation of organisations with narrow views in the community that helped the spread of the terrorist ideology.

"The government should promote organisations with social commitment and discourage others," he suggested.

Muhammadali said that "those killed in Kashmir had criminal backgrounds. It must have been their criminality that made them join terrorist organisations".

He said Islam does not approve of its followers working against the country or a community.

"Our nation allows freedom of religion and freedom of thought to all people. Terrorism has no place here," said A.P. Abdul Khader Moulavi, general secretary of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahidden (KNM), a Sunni organisation that follows the Salafi School of philosophy.

"It is wrong to blame a community for incidents like this. The youths who died in Kashmir were obviously led astray by wrong company," he added.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) said that it was a matter of great concern that the roots of terrorism had reached the state.

"Kerala has been a model for religious harmony. It is unfortunate that the terrorist ideology is gaining currency here," said E.T. Muhammed Basheer, state secretary of IUML and a former education minister.

He claimed that one of the reasons for the rise of terrorist tendencies in the state was the efforts of the Left parties to weaken IUML.

"The Left always tried to capitalise on the moderate stand we had taken on various issues. When the Babri Masjid was demolished, the Left promoted groups like PDP (People's Democratic Party) led by Abdul Nassar Maudani that held extreme views. This has helped spawn terrorism in the state," Basheer claimed.

Hussain Saqaffi, head of the department of Islamic studies at Jamia Markazu Ssaquafathi Ssunniyya, a Muslim educational and religious institution in Kozhikode, said that youngsters were attracted to terrorism as they have not understood the Islamic precepts properly.

"These people jeer at religious scholars and there are organisations here which mould them that way. We have to bring these youths back to the true Islamic fold," said Hussain.

As per the 2001 census Kerala's Muslim population is around eight million and constitutes 24 percent of the state's total population. It is the second largest community in the state after Hindus. The community is well organised and plays a pivotal role in state politics.Source:


Muslim Student Association Student Sees Election as a Vote against Islam

Steve Emerson

In the final days of the 2008 Presidential election season – with just five days now remaining until voters cast their ballots – both campaigns are carefully manoeuvring to gain an edge, while still others are singularly focused on just "getting out the vote." Regardless of the outcome desired by these activists, there seems to be one unified message across the American political spectrum these days: Participate in our democratic system.

However, one college's Muslim student organization has sought to air a completely different message regarding the election: that of the Islamists.

A student named Farhad Akbari posted an essay on the internal Yahoo! Group of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at San Diego Mesa College on October 14th. In his post, "The Issue of Voting," Akbari delves into the election, warning his fellow group members of the fate in store for those who cast a ballot for "a person who fights Islam, governs contrary to Islam, and is himself a kafir [infidel or unbeliever]…" Akbari does not reserve this treatment for any specific candidate. Rather, he holds both major party candidates in equal regard.

Continuing in his reproach of American democracy, Akbari writes:

"Whether you vote for the white kafir or the half-black kafir, they will kill our brothers and sisters. They will subjugate our brothers and sisters. And they will certainly support Israel in killing our brothers and sisters. There is no "lesser of two evils" here. They are both greater evils. The lesser evil is avoiding the situation, as both are equally poisonous to the cause of Islam…Brothers and sisters; I have one thing to say: DON"T [sic] VOTE."

In most cases, publicly proclaiming one's decision not to vote – even encouraging others to follow suit – would not be noteworthy. For better or worse, the right to vote in the U.S. democratic system includes the choice not to exercise that right. For many, this decision is one of protest – speaking out on a variety of concerns from the lack of third party viability, to the perceived unimportance of a single vote. "The Issue of Voting," however, is in a league of its own, considering what Akbari, the MSA chapter Treasurer, proposes to be the real answer to Muslim grievances by invoking the words of Islamic scholars:

"Those who do not govern according to [sic] the (law) which Allah has revealed [Shari'ah law], verily, they are the kaafiroon…

Democracy, like all other systems fabricated by the minds of men is untenable in Islam. It is an un-Islamic system… [And] there is absolutely no basis anywhere in the Qur'aan for western democracy and its parliamentary system. A government of democracy is a government appointed by Juhhaal (ignoramuses). Ignoramuses, fussaaq and fujjaar have no share in appointing a government in Islam. The Islamic system is Khilaafat…"

The moral of the story: don't support the "infidel" system; defeat democracy in the U.S. and replace it with Islamic law. So much for a mere protest.

While postings similar to Akbari's do not appear to be common among the group, it is telling that not one person responded to challenge his argument (nor does it appear that anyone followed up in support either). Additionally, the fact that the MSA members voted in as Treasurer an individual whose MySpace page includes a photo of him wrapped in a kefiya (reminiscent of Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamist militants) with a caption reading "not shown: AK-47/Suicide bomb jacket strap/anthrax/airplane/boxcutter" leads to questions about the activities of the MSA chapter on the whole. Akbari's newly created Facebook profile shows that he lists his "Political Views" as "Khilafa" – or a political system based on the Islamic caliphate and Shari'ah law.

As far as the chapter itself, it's not clear whether the San Diego Mesa College MSA is directly affiliated with the Muslim Students' Association - National (MSA) organization. The college's chapter is not among those listed on the MSA – West Zone USA directory of chapters. However, as noted in the IPT's dossier on the national, Muslim Brotherhood-linked organization, the MSA has nearly 600 chapters, of which roughly 150 are directly affiliated.

MSA is a member organization of a national "taskforce" that recently sent out an "election advisory," encouraging Muslims to "full[y] participat[e]" in elections on Tuesday.

However, it must be noted that the radical rhetoric being spewed in San Diego is not an anomaly among MSA chapters on campuses nationwide. At chapters across the U.S. and Canada, directly affiliated to the parent organization and not, Islamism and its hate-filled ideology is on full display. Take, for instance, the March 2003 account of Aaron Klein of, who, after secretly attending a private MSA (aka "Muslim only") event at Queensborough Community College in Queens, NY, reported what he saw. According to Klein, one of the speakers at the event, Mohammad Faheed, blasted America and its democracy, and encouraged the audience to help bring about its demise:

"We are not Americans!" [Faheed] shouted. "We are Muslims! [The U.S.] Is going to deport and attack us! It is us vs. them! Truth against falsehood! The colonizers and masters against the oppressed, and we will burn down the master's house…we reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don't lobby Congress or protest because we don't recognize Congress! The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it!"

Faheed continued, paralleling Akbari's more recent calls for Shari'ah:

"The so-called terrorists are the only people who truly fear Allah. We must join these organizations. They are the only worthy causes, and the mighty superpower only fears them… [The U.S] Is not strong Vietnam, they lost. Somalia, they ran away from. America hasn't won anything since World War II. We can defeat America…Eventually there will be a Muslim in the White House dictating the laws of the Shariah."

Such radical sentiment against the United States rises to the highest levels of MSA leadership. At the April 2007 MSA-West Zone Conference, West Zone President Amir Mertaban told students their paramount loyalty is to Muslims first, no matter what they may do:

"Osama bin Laden – I don't know this guy. I don't know what he did. I don't know what he said. I don't know what happened. But we defend Muslim brothers and we defend our Muslim sisters to the end. Is that clear? I am not saying support terrorist acts. I am not saying any of that. I am saying generally speaking. If a man comes and robs a store – if you're going to rob the store, go ahead and rob the store, are we going to condemn him? No, you support your Muslim brothers whether it is right or wrong. When they do wrong you grab them and you slap some sense into them, you're doing wrong. You see what I am saying.

So you never compromise on your faith. You be confident in every aspect of life. In every aspect of Islam you are confident. Four wives? Yes men are allowed to have four wives within this context. Jihad? Yes Jihad! Jihad is the tightest thing in Islam. Don't compromise on these little things. Be proud of it. Why? Because Islam is a perfect religion. If you sit here and you start saying, ‘Jihad is only an internal this and that,' you are compromising on your faith."

These comments beg the question: is it possible that the small, community college MSA chapters are as radical as some of their larger campus counterparts? San Diego Mesa College and Queens borough Community College – from two opposing coasts, both not directly affiliated with the national MSA, yet still espousing the same hate-filled and violent rhetoric seen at larger and more directly-affiliated chapters. It is clear that the Islamist infiltration goes far beyond what may first meet the eye. Contributing Editor Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and heads the Investigative Project on Terrorism.



Muslim convert criticizes cardinal, says terrorism is ‘mature fruit of Islam’

October 30, 2008

Magdi Allam, the Muslim journalist who converted to Catholicism and was baptized by Pope Benedict during the Easter Vigil, has issued an open letter to the pontiff in which he criticizes recent comments about Islam made by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Cardinal Tauran said in August that Muslims who engage in violence have ‘betrayed their faith.’

Allam, the vice editor of Italy’s leading national newspaper, replies that ‘Islamic extremism and terrorism are the mature fruit’ of ‘the sayings of the Quran and the thought and action of Mohammed.’ In his open letter, Mr. Allam asks Pope Benedict to rule definitively on whether Islam is a valid religion, saying that a papal statement on the question is ‘vital for the common good of the Catholic Church, the general interest of Christianity and of Western civilization itself.’



Towards a winning Palestinian strategy

By Daoud Kuttab, 30 October 2008               

AMMAN – I must say I wasn’t surprised when I read the statements made by outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I had been informed by an Israeli friend of mine about Olmert’s dramatic conversion over the past few years, and especially last year.

The statements can be seen as a refreshing vindication for Abbas’ engagement instead of confrontation. But will they be translated into real change, or will these be just more courageous statements made after a senior politician has lost power?

Olmert’s statements, made after his days in office, remind me of the many statements made by US presidents and senior officials after they left office and were no longer under the pressure of the pro-Israel lobby.

Of course, the problem for Palestinians is much more complicated. The decades of struggle and fighting produced no substantial results. On the ground, Palestinian control over their land and future has been gradually deteriorating since 1948. Palestinian efforts to attain freedom and liberty have passed through the entire ambit. From commitment to the armed struggle as the only way to liberate Palestine, to the use of diplomacy and negotiations, they passed through a partially nonviolent Intifada and a much more violent Intifada in between.

Palestinians are also starting to question the shape of the state they want to live in. Ever since the PLO was established, the Palestinian charter had specified that the inhabitants of the area need to live in a secular democratic state. But in 1988, with Yasser Arafat declaring a Palestinian state on part of Palestine, Palestinian nationalism shifted to embrace a two-state solution. Non-stop Jewish settlements in the Palestinian part of this two-state division have rendered this territorial idea impractical and nearly unexecutable.

The coming months are certainly going to force Palestinians to choose a strategy and an overall direction. The Islamic Hamas declared that 9 January 2009 is the final day for President Mahmoud Abbas. According to the Palestinian interim constitution, when the term of a president ends or when he is no longer around (as was the case with Arafat), the speaker of the parliament rules the country for 60 days, during which preparations for presidential elections are to take place.

Parliament speaker Aziz Dweik is held administratively by the Israelis ever since an Israeli soldier was captured. Hamas and others are demanding Dweik and other prisoners (reportedly including Marwan Barghouthi) to be released in return for freeing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

There is, of course, a dispute irrespective of whether Abbas’ term ends on 9 January, or one year later, when the parliament also reaches the end of its term. Much can happen between now and then, but unless agreement is reached for early parliamentary and presidential elections, it will be difficult to see how this problem can be resolved easily.

Early elections are unlikely to take place without Hamas’ voluntary agreement. And with polls showing them not regaining a majority or winning the presidency, it is unlikely that they will voluntarily agree on early elections.

In Cairo recently, Hamas was reported to have backed down on contesting a possible extension of Abbas’ presidency.

A number of Palestinians feel it is illogical to discuss elections, the presidency or the parliament while the siege of Gaza, the occupation of the West Bank, and the illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands continue unabated.

A study by the Palestine Strategy Study group calls for a serious change of discourse. It notes that terms like peacemaking, and state-building have become code words for the continuation of the status quo, in which Palestinians react, not act. This must be replaced, they argue, by “smart resistance” and “self-determination”.

The Palestinian strategy, they say, might have to resort to the decolonisation strategy rather than waste time and effort on useless nation building and peace making discourse.

Naturally, the study group, made mostly of Palestinians living in occupied Palestine, calls for national unity as one of the most strategic points of power for Palestinians. Their call is not limited to Gaza and the West Bank, but, more importantly, asserts the need for Palestinians to have unified goals and strategy. The group insists that Palestinians must clarify to the Israelis and to third parties the meaning of the loss of the two-state solution.

While not agreeing on the alternative, they note that if needed, the new Palestinian strategy might have to pursue the one-state solution, and, if and when appropriate, dissolve the Palestinian Authority and let the Israelis take legal, moral and financial responsibility, thus exposing their real ongoing occupation. Their argument is summarised by the need to use strategic tools to make costly whatever option Israelis choose.

The ideas of the study group have not gathered enough steam among Palestinians. It will take some time before such ideas reach critical mass. But this 80-some-page document at least outlines in clear, logical terms a direction that Palestinians need to look at in order to get out of the decades-old policies of reacting instead of taking the initiative.

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist. He was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the United States. This article is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) with permission from The Jordan Times. Source: The Jordan Times, 23 October 2008, Copyright permission is granted for publication. Source:


Hindu businessmen flourishing in and feel safe in Muslim Jamia Nagar

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, 30 October 2008,

New Delhi: While Jamia Nagar was being demonized and its image along with  that of Jamia Millia Islamia tarnished following the killing of two suspected terrorists in September 19 encounter at Batla House, Hindu businessmen in the area were wondering why the entire area was being labelled as the hub of terrorists.

Their surprise was reasonable as they hardly encountered a criminal while doing business in the area, not to talk of terrorists.

“I do not agree with the view of the police that the area has become a hotbed of terrorism. I have been here at this shop for years and none came here and tried to use force while purchasing any item,” says Ajit Chauhan (27). If locals are becoming terrorists, it should reflect in their manner, he adds.

Sitting at his electric goods shop near Okhla Head bus stand Chauhan denies that he ever felt any communal feeling here despite the fact that “more than 98% of my customers are Muslims as the area is overwhelmingly Muslim-dominated.” Rather, he says, the people are very civilized and talk good and cultured.

Similar is the view of Mohit, owner of Chawla Paints shop in the lane connecting Okhla Head and Batla House. He admits that he never came across any individual who ever tried to misuse the presence of the overwhelming majority of his community in the area. More than 99% of his customers are Muslims and barring one or two incident in years, he had no quarrel with any.

He, however, admits that “new people residing in the area seem to have communal feeling and this is reflective when they come and talk while purchasing something from my shop.”

There are dozens of big shops owned by Hindu businessmen in the area. The Aggarwal chain of sweet shops has their outlet in the heart of Batla House and flourishing. Almost all of their customers are Muslims. Despite Delhi bombings, Batla House encounter, charged atmosphere in Jamia Nagar and ongoing communal riots in some states, they are working as usual as if nothing has happened.

This is a good sign and in fact these Hindu-owned businesses in this area stand witness that everything has not lost when it comes to communal harmony in the country.




INDONESIA: Nine women labelled as witches are subjected to ill-treatment in West Papua


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-242-2008, 31 October 2008


INDONESIA: Nine women labelled as witches are subjected to ill-treatment in West Papua, ISSUES: Ill-treatment; violence against women    


Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the OYO Papua Foundation that nine women have been subjected to ill-treatment after being labeled as 'Suranggi' (witches) by local religious leaders in Seya village, West Papua. They were segregated from their family members and forced to live rough in the jungle where there are no facilities for their protection. They are now suffering from malnutrition.


According to information received, on June 14, 2008 nine women were subjected to a sacred ceremony by local religious people who accused them of being witches in Seya village, sub- district of Mare, West Papua, Indonesia. During the ceremony, they were given poisoned water to drink which gave them stomach pains which was interpreted as proof that they were in fact witches.

After the traditional ritual, all of them were labelled as 'sinful women' or 'devil women', and were then brought out to an isolated location in the surroundings of Seya village. They were forcibly segregated from their husbands and children, and forced to reside in the jungle where they lacked basic facilities for day-to-day living. Many of the women have reportedly suffered from malnutrition and are in urgent need of help.

The cases that have been reported are as follows;

1: Salomina Tahoba, 56 years old

She has five children and her husband died in 2001. She lived together with her daughter-in-law. She was labeled as ' suranggi' by her daughter-in-law in September 2007. She now lives alone in a place called Kyuo which is about one kilometre from Seya village.

2: Paulina Bame, 55 years old

She is from Mosun village, east of Seya village. She was believed to be possessed by supernatural spirits. Her son took her to local religious groups for healing of her sins. But she ran away from Mosun to Seya.

3: Agustina Semunya

She married Herman Nauw from Seya village and later separated. After the separation, she moved to Mosun village with her daughters and her former husband remarried. Her husband alleged that Agustina was possessed by devils as the result of her close living with Weheliman, her sister-in-law. Wehelliman was believed to be a devil woman and killed in place near Seya in 1983.

4: Kristina Nauw

She is a wife of Willem Korain. She was believed to be 'suranggi' infected by Seo Nauw because they lived together on a farm.

5: Kamatan Nauw, 60 years old

She became 'surranggi' from associating with the late Rosina Nauw who died in Seya in 2005. The people in the community believed that Rosina Nauw was queen of the devils in Seya. Kamatan was believed to be a major devil that could infect women in Seya, Mosun and Sun villages. She also had to undergo the traditional ritual to prove that she is a devil woman. She now lives alone in surrounding Seya.

6: Oktovina Nauw

She had a husband and five children. She was believed to be next-of-kin to the devil derived from Rosina Nauw and chairperson of the devils from Seya. She now lives alone in a place surrounding Seya village.

7: Aplonya Bame

She is from Mosun. She married twice and has children. She was also punished as the next generation of devils derived from Wehelmina Nauw. She was caught in her village, Mosun. She was given some water to drink and suffered resultant stomach pain justifying that she was one of the devil women who all came from the group of Rosina and Wehelimina Nauw. She now lives as a segregated woman in surrounding Seya village.

8 and 9: Katarina Baru and Maksima Taa

They are from Konja village, located in the Northeast of Seya. They were also believed to be devil women and forcibly separated from their village.


The people who refer to themselves as Mare People speak Mare and come from the Northern part of the South Sorong Regencies. The Mare sub-district has a population of around 700 people, speaking several dialects of the Mare language. Many of them retain traditional beliefs, including the belief in witches, devil women and black magic. Usually, when misfortune strikes in the guise of disease or death, women are usually targeted as responsible for this. They are in effect labeled witches by local religious leaders through their traditional rituals. Older women with few family members are the ones who are most frequently accused of being witches.

When a woman is believed to be a witch she is alleged to have plotted against someone whose soul she is going to steal and whose entrails she is going to eat at night. Witches are seen as Satan's most dangerous associates, and are often condemned in sermons by local religious leaders. It is reported that opening the abdomens and examining the internal organs of the accused is a method used to confirm the status of witch.  Another example is making the alleged witch drink water infused with alcohol or poison and then invoking the woman's insobriety or vomiting as a proof that she is in fact a witch. Accused women endure severe physical and mental violence.

Having established, through one of these methods, that the woman in question is a witch, she is then punished to relieve the rest of society from these much feared 'suanggis'. It is reported that deportation from the community, cuttings and homicide had been used as punishmets.


The Mare people reside in the villages of Seya, Suswa, Seni, Sire and Kuber which are located in the lush green range of the Karst hills of the Northern part of the South Sorong Regency. It is a remote area in West Papua province. They have remained unyielding in keeping to their traditions. Once a disease breaks out in the community and because they lack knowledge of the action of bacteria and viruses, the practice of 'witch hunting' is used to eradicate it.