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Islamic World News ( 22 Dec 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iran cleric Montazeri’s funeral turns into slugfest

Iran Opp leader Mousavi’s car attacked

Iran's Regime 'Has Every Reason to Be Worried'

For this 93-year-old, it’s Never Too Late to Memorise Quran

India: Education Act may be amended for minorities

India: Minister moots Muslim share in OBC quota pie

A.R. Rahman is CNN-IBN Indian of the Year

US pressure on Pak not working

Pakistan not given enough credit, says Mullen

Remorseless American ‘jihadis’ in Pak want death for failing to achieve ‘shahadat’

Nabbing two Atlanta youths, FBI smashes a jihadi web

Bohra community holding Muharram discourses in suburban Mumbai

Heritage building Ghalib's haveli hired out for wedding reception

Ram and Rahim as Good Neighbours

Al-Qaeda speak out at Yemen rally

Auschwitz sign recovered, in bits

Little progress in U.S.-India liaison on Headley case

Didn’t kill any cops: Qassab

Qassab: I was shot at in police custody

26/11 panel lays blame at Gafoor’s door

Terror focus at India-Israel meet

Row over WB’s Kashmir clause

Sharif holds off full attack on Zardari

Iran nuclear plan: A thousand and one excuses

KARACHI: Case against policemen ordered

Israeli troops in Gaza incursion

Palestinian women suffer in Israeli jails

ABU DHABI:  Focus on Children of Mixed Marriages

Court rules Alan Jones 'racially vilified' Muslim youths

Bosnia court charges Muslim group for "terrorism"

'Muslim Mafia' Attorneys Show Court CAIR Doesn't Legally Exist

Muslim chef who went down the wrong road and eat pork

Iraqi vice president warns Iran to respect Iraq's borders

Pilgrims flock to Australian miracle house with mysterious oil flowing down walls

Muslim Brotherhood elects council

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page:’s-funeral-turns/d/2260


Iran cleric’s funeral turns into slugfest

Dubai: Tens of thousands of Iranian mourners turned the funeral procession of the country’s most senior dissident cleric into an anti-government protest on Monday, chanting “death to the dictator” and slogans in support of the opposition amid heavy security.

    Giant crowds filled major streets, beating their chests in mourning, waving banners in the green colors of the opposition and shouting denunciations of Iran’s rulers as Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri’s body was carried to a shrine in the holy city of Qom.

    Some mourners clashed briefly with security forces, throwing stones — and hardline pro-government militiamen charged some protesters until police held them back, opposition websites said. The militiamen tore down mourning banners and ripped to pieces posters of Montazeri near his home, the Hammihan website reported. Iranian authorities have barred foreign media from covering the rites.

    The death of Montazeri on Sunday, at the age of 87, pushed Iranian authorities into a difficult spot. They were obliged to pay respects to one of the patriarchs of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the one-time heir apparent to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    But officials also worried that his mourning rites could give a new push to opposition protests, particularly because they coincide with a week of traditional rallies commemorating a revered Shia martyr.

    Montazeri broke with Iran’s clerical leadership and became a vehement critic, denouncing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and calling the postelection crackdown the work of a dictatorship.

    Mourners shouted “Death to the Dictator” and other slogans in displays of anger against Iran’s ruling establishment during the procession in Qom. AP

‘Tehran jamming BBC signal’

London: The BBC has claimed that its Persian television signal was being jammed following the airing stories on the death of Iran’s top dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.

    The corporation said its service for Persian speakers began facing persistent interference on Sunday, affecting the Hotbird 6 satellite, which carries the BBC’s international television and radio services in various languages.

    “The fact that someone would go to these lengths to jam BBC Persian television’s signal is indicative of the impact we make in Iran,” the News quoted BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks, as saying. “The Iranian people want to know the truth about what is happening in their country, and they know they will get impartial and independent news from the BBC. We’ll do everything we can to give them that news,” he added. ANI


Iran Opp leader Mousavi’s car attacked

December 22, 2009

TEHRAN: The car of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi was attacked by “plainclothes men” on motorbikes on Monday and one member of his entourage was injured, the reformist Kaleme website reported. Kaleme said the incident happened when Mousavi was on his way back to Tehran after attending the funeral of a leading dissident cleric in Qom. It said the car’s back window was smashed in the attack. Kaleme said the group on motorbikes insulted Mousavi and those accompanying him and several times stopped his motorcade and prevented it from resuming its journey. “One of the assailants shattered the back window of the car carrying Mousavi,” Kaleme said, adding that one of the attackers was also injured in the incident. reuters\12\22\story_22-12-2009_pg7_4


Iran's Regime 'Has Every Reason to Be Worried'

22 Dec 2009

Josh Ward

Monday saw tens of thousands of regime critics marching in Iran for the funeral of a senior dissident cleric. Mourning turned to chants of "death to the dictator," and German commentators believe there is more to come.

Tens of thousands of anti-regime protestors marched through the streets of Iran's holy city of Qom on Monday. They had gathered for the funeral procession of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most senior of the regime's critics, who had died in his sleep Sunday at the age of 87.

The event reportedly turned into the largest civil protest since those that followed the contested re-election in June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which left an unknown number of protestors dead. In Monday's demonstration, protestors chanted "death to the dictator" and carried slogans voicing their support for the opposition leaders to whom Montazeri had given his support. Mir Hossein Mousavi, the head of the opposition Green Movement, and Mahdi Karroubi, a prominent protest leader, also took part in the demonstration.

Montazeri was one of the leaders of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution and had been the heir apparent for a time to Ayatollah Khomeini. However, he fell out of favor with the regime in the 1980s because he thought that the clerics who later came to rule the country should have served in an advisory role to political leaders rather than holding on to the reins of power themselves. After serving five years under house arrest, he was released in 2003 and kept a low profile until he publically expressed his outrage over June's disputed elections.

Foreign media were blocked from the site, but footage posted online shows massive crowds. There are also reports of clashes between protestors and security forces as well as hundreds of arrests, but the situation doesn't appear to be as tense as it was in June. Still, the Associated Press is reported that some private news sources were shut down, prominent critics were arrested on the way to the protest, Internet service was slowed and mobile phone service was unreliable.

In Tuesday's newspapers, German commentators see the protests as a signal of a reinvigorated opposition movement. Likewise, they predict that next Sunday will tell whether the protest movement can keep its steam or will be suppressed with greater might.

Conservative Die Welt writes:

"The regime-controlled Iranian media only gave passing mention to Montazeri's death and did not even refer to him as a grand ayatollah."

"Montazeri was the spiritual father of the reform movement. He lent both inspiration and spiritual legitimacy to the 'green' opposition movement as well as a political face to Mir Hossein Mousavi. Montazeri embodied the notion of an enlightened Islam."

"But the opposition needn't die with him. In fact, as the mass protests at Montazeri's funeral have shown … the opposite could actually be the case. Shiites traditionally hold memorial ceremonies seven days after one's death. In the case of Montazeri, it will fall right on the Day of Ashura, one of the most important religious holidays for Shiites. It commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who died in the Battle of Karbala in AD 680 and is reverred as a martyr. It is a day of mourning that could change into one of rage against the hated religious dictatorship. Montazeri's death will serve as a catalyst. The regime has every reason to be worried."

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"The 'green' opposition movement in Iran won't allow itself to be intimidated by either threats or brutal violence. … The death and burial of 87-year-old Grand Ayatollah Montazeri … are bringing thousands into the streets. … And, once again, Mousavi and Karroubi, the underdog candidates in the presidential elections held six months ago, are marching with them. At that time, Montazeri had already voiced his support for them and criticized the 'falsifications' of the incumbent president. Despite the supression, the opposition has had a certain effect precisely because both this and the earlier protest were articulated within the system of the Islamic Republic. But can such actions really alter the circumstances?"

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Montazeri clearly expressed what many other critical clerics would only hint at. He recognized the doubts that many Iranians had about the president's re-election, their longing for freedom and that the goals of the reform movement were warranted. His morally based stance made the official suspicions that the opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi were foreign agents seem even more ridiculous."

"Montazeri didn't consider either himself or the Ayatollah Khomeini … to be infallible. He was willing to face up to his mistakes, which is something that the powerful in the current regime have never done. In November, when Iran was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran, Montazeri said: 'At the time, I supported it, but not today. It was a mistake.' Iranians have appreciated this kind of frankness much more than the regime's hot-air choir."

Left-wing Die Tagezeitung writes:

"In 1979, Montazeri only wanted a religious authority to make sure that the state didn't violate fundamental Islamic principles. But things turned out differently. Today, Ali Khamenei rules like a dictator. Montazeri was what we in the West hope for in a public intellectual. He constantly got into the thick of things and did not shy away from criticizing the government in harsh terms."

"In historical terms, he played the role that the Shia clergy traditionally played before it came into power in Iran. For many, he represented both restraint and a refuge. And losing his critical voice will weigh heavily on all of those in Iran who are currently mobilizing for reform."

"On the other hand, Montazeri's death could open up new opportunities for protest. Shiites traditionally commemorate their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after their deaths, so it's fairly easy to figure out when the next demonstrations against the regime will be held. On top of that, it is currently Muharram, the month of mourning for Muslims, and the seventh day after Montazeri's death will fall on Ashura, which is next Sunday. For practicing Shiites, this is the most important holiday of the year. And the regime cannot outlaw commemorative marches on this day.",1518,668596,00.html


For this 93-year-old, it’s Never Too Late to Memorise Quran

Ahmed Shaaban

22 December 2009

SHARJAH - Illiterate or not, Fatima Mohammed Ali, Emirati, is the first 93-year-old woman to have participated in a Holy Quran Award in the whole world.

The mother and grandmother of 120 children, Fatima started her journey with the Holy Quran at the age of 80, and has memorised many chapters of the holy book.

“Although she is pretty old, she never misses a lesson of Quran at the mosque early in the morning every day,” Ahmed Musa, one of Fatima’s grandsons, told Khaleej Times.

“She is even more keen to fully memorise the holy Quran than her young kids, seeking God’s blessings and paradise in the hereafter.”

Based in Khor Fakkan of the emirate of Sharjah, Fatima started participating in the Sharjah Quran Award since it was open for all ages to enhance her memorisation and encourage her grandchildren to learn the holy Quran by heart.

“My grandmother does not read or write. However, listens to the cassettes and receives help from her grandchildren, particularly 23-year-old Badr, who has always been very close to her,” Musa said.

“Badr, who is studying law, patiently teaches her the Quran verse by verse after she moved to his house, following a gruesome accident that claimed five members of the family.”

Musa said his grandmother was a furious woman before memorising Quran. “She has become more tolerant thanks to the holy Quran. She even refuses to go outside her house unveiled.”

Meanwhile, the second edition of the Al Hassawi Holy Quran Award, which is part of the Establishment of Quran and Sunnah Award, Sharjah, saw the participation of many other old women aged between 61 and 66 competing.

As many as 900 contestants participated in the two broad categories of the competition - one for competitors below 16 years old and one for above 16.


India: Education Act may be amended for minorities

Nitin Mahajan

The Union human resources development ministry, under pressure from minority-run institutions, proposes to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Official sources stated the HRD ministry proposes to drop the RTE Act provision that requires 75 per cent of a school’s management committee to consist of guardians or parents of students after stiff opposition from minority institutions.

The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, India’s apex minority education watchdog, had also opposed the provision, stating that members of an institution’s management must belong to a particular minority community for that institution to be eligible for minority status. The NCMEI had pointed out that children from several religions studied at missionary and other minority schools and forming the school management committee according to the right to education law could mean giving up minority status. Others, however, say minority institutions could ensure by themselves that parents or guardians of the community concerned are appointed members of the management.

The NCMEI had stated that under Article 30 of the Constitution, minorities are allowed to run and administer their own education institutions, and claimed that this provision violated the statute. Sources said that though the HRD minister had earlier maintained that the act doesn’t violate minority rights, he is understood to have given the go-ahead for the amendment.

The latest move for an amendment comes soon after another HRD ministry proposal to amend the act to include sections of the disabled left out of the legislation’s ambit. This move was prompted after the law was criticised by groups representing the disabled for leaving out certain sections of the disabled.

This newspaper had first reported the planned amendment on November 3. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act was passed by Parliament in the Budget Session and the HRD ministry wants to begin implementing the act in a phased manner from the forthcoming academic session.


India: Minister moots Muslim share in OBC quota pie

22 Dec 2009

NEW DELHI: In a move that could anger the powerful OBC leadership, the minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid has mooted a controversial

proposal — awarding quota for backward classes among Muslims within the existing 27% reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The development that would make another grouping eligible for the 27% OBC quota is certain to be opposed by their leaders. On his part, the minister expressed his doubts about the implementation of the recommendations of the Ranganath Commission report, the trigger for the demand for reservation for minorities and Hindu converts. Striking a cautious note, Mr Khurshid said the report by the National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which was tabled in Parliament last week, cannot be rejected outrightly.

“I have doubts about the implementation of its recommendations, but it needs to be studied,” the minister said. The commission, headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra, former chief justice of India, has defined religious and linguistic minorities in India as backward classes and recommended 15% reservations for all minorities in jobs, education and welfare schemes.

The panel, constituted in October 2004, has recommended 10%, of the 15% quota, for Muslims — the largest minority in the country — in government jobs, educational institutions and social welfare schemes. “Now the report is out in public, we need a debate over it. Full Cabinet has to consider it. We will examine it with sincerity,” Mr Khurshid said.

The minister also refused to comment on whether the proposal for religious quota was in accordance with the Constitution. The minister said the panel had the former Supreme Court judge as its head and “the report cannot be dismissed outrightly. We need study it thoroughly and see what can be implemented. As of now I cannot say a clear yes or no,” he said. The Mishra report has said that Indian minorities — “especially the Muslims — are very much under-represented, and sometimes wholly unrepresented” in government jobs. “Educational levels of Muslims and Buddhists are low and next to SC/ST”.


A.R. Rahman is CNN-IBN Indian of the Year

Rahul adjudged “Politician of the Year” for being the key strategist behind revival of Congress in U.P.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award 2009 to music composer A.R. Rehman; Photos Below : the Lifetime Achievement Award to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar; and the Special Achievement Award to actor Kamal Hassan, at a function in New Delhi on Monday.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday described A. R. Rahman’s music as inspirational, saying when he heard his songs in the White House, he had a sense of joy and achievement.

“Rahman’s music is inspirational... When I heard Rahman in the White House, you cannot imagine the sense of joy and achievement...,” Dr. Singh said, conferring the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year award on the Oscar-winning music director.

Rahman, who was also given an award for entertainment, said “lessening the divide” through music was his intention.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Dr. Singh called him an “inspirational genius,” saying “there is only one Panditji and he has been a role model and will be a role model.”

For sports, Saina Nehwal was given the prize for taking Indian badminton to unprecedented heights by becoming the first Indian woman to win a Super Series title.

In business, Dr. Singh gave the award to the Satyam revival team for the deft handling of the crisis triggered by a scam in the IT company. For public service, the award was given to Pratham, an NGO, working in the field of education.

The Indian cricket team, which bagged the first ranking by the ICC for Tests, was also honoured. The former captains, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, received the award from the Prime Minister.

Culmination of journey

Full report at:


US pressure on Pak not working

Anne Gearan

December 22, 2009

Pakistan will not go as far as Washington wants, and there’s nothing the US can do about it: That’s the sobering reality as the US tries to persuade a hesitant Pakistan to finish off the fight against terrorists.

Expand the current assault against the Taliban?

Pakistan has made clear that will happen only on its own terms. US officials acknowledge that so far they haven’t won the argument that militants who target America are enemies of Pakistan, too.

The US has offered Pakistan $7.5 billion in military aid and broader cooperation with the armed forces. The assistance is intended to help Pakistan speed up its fight not only against internal militants, but also against Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders hiding near the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistanis are deeply suspicious of America’s power and motives, making it difficult for their leaders to accede to Washington’s pressure in public, lest they look like US puppets.

US officials say that while Pakistani officials cooperate more in private, there are definite limits. The US wanted Pakistan to move forces deeper into the tribal belt before winter. It didn’t happen, and might not at all.

A senior US diplomat hinted at a separate agreement that would allow the US itself to take on some of the hidden war against Pakistan’s militants.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks with Pakistan, the diplomat said last week that more US action is expected against the Haqqani network, led by longtime resistance fighter and former US ally Jalaluddin Haqqani. His network, based in the Waziristan tribal area in northwest Pakistan, reportedly has strong ties with Al Qaeda and targets US forces in eastern Afghanistan from across the border.

The diplomat said the stepped-up US action would come with Pakistani support, but would not elaborate on the potential cooperation.

Pakistani officials claim they have targeted the Haqqani leadership, albeit unsuccessfully, and will go after the network when the time is right. Some US officials believe that, others don’t.

Full report at:


Pakistan not given enough credit, says Mullen

By Anwar Iqbal

Tuesday, 22 Dec, 2009

WASHINGTON: Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has said that Pakistan does not get enough credit for its role in the war against extremists although some of its achievements were ‘pretty extraordinary’.

‘Too many people eagerly and easily criticise Pakistan for what they haven’t done, and when I go to Swat and look at what they did there on the military side I think it’s pretty extraordinary,’ said the US military chief while talking to journalists on Sunday.

A report released on Monday by the American Forces Press Service, noted that last week Pakistani authorities arranged for Admiral Mullen to visit Swat and showed him the areas they had retaken from the Taliban.

‘Swat was in danger, and the Taliban began moving even closer to the Pakistani capital. Admiral Mullen’s visit there showed that the Pakistani military has done a good job of counter-insurgency. The army cleared the valley and is holding it,’ the report noted.

It quoted Admiral Mullen as saying that while Pakistan’s job in Swat was not complete yet, what Pakistanis had achieved so far was remarkable.

The report noted that more than most US officials, Admiral Mullen had a cordial and long-standing relationship with the Pakistani military.

The report pointed out that Admiral Mullen ‘advises patience and humility’ in dealing with Pakistan, a view not shared by some leading Republicans in Congress.

Separately, the Pentagon reported that Admiral Mullen signed guidelines for the US military for 2010, which goes to members of the Joint Staff and informs the joint force.

Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups remained the biggest threat to the United States, the admiral wrote in the guidance. ‘The threat is still real,’ he said. Defeating those groups will take more than military power, and the admiral called on the US military to work with other national agencies and international allies to take on the threat.

Full report at:


Remorseless American ‘jihadis’ in Pak want death for failing to achieve ‘shahadat’

by Pankaj Mathur

22 Dec 2009

Lahore, Dec. 22 : The five American origin ‘jihadis’, who were arrested earlier this month from Sargodha, Punjab, have no remorse for planning terror attacks which would have killed scores of innocent civilians.

“We have no remorse for what we were planning. Rather we have regrets that we could not embrace shahadat (martyrdom) for our cause to (wage) jihad against the US,” Sargodha District Police Officer Dr Usman Anwar quoted the suspected terrorists, as saying.

Waqar Husain Khan, 22 (Virginia), Ahmed Abdullah Mani, 20 (Virginia), Ramay S Zamzam, 22 (Egypt), Iman Hasan Yamar, 17 (California), and Omar Farouk, 24 (Virginia) were arrested from Sargodha on December 9.

Zamzam has demanded the authorities to hang them, as they have failed complete their mission.

“Since our failure to embrace shahadat we want this other way – hang us,” The Dawn quoted Anwar, as saying.

“The others are also insisting on this,” he added and said that the arrested suspects have been provided English translation of the Holy Quran on their request.

“The five US students hold the US responsible for all miseries of the Muslim world. They hate the US policies in Muslim world, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine,” Anwar said further.

He said that the men were so desperate to wage holy war (against the US) that when militant organisations such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Muhammad refused them to take them in their folds, they formed their own group. (ANI)


Nabbing two Atlanta youths, FBI smashes a jihadi web

Vinay Kumar

The two cased U.S. targets including the Capitol and Pentagon

Both were in touch with terror suspects, via Internet, in a dozen nations

NEW DELHI: Even as the Headley-Rana case, linked to 26/11, is being probed in India and the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation has smashed a terror network which was trying to strike root in the U.S., where two American youths had been lured into the “jihadi” web.

Last week, a U.S. court sentenced Ehsanul Sadequee, a Bangladeshi-American, to 17 years in prison and Syed Haris Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan, to 13 years. For both, the sentence will be followed by 30 years of supervised release.

The FBI posted the details of the case and its probe on its website. Acknowledging that it was a tip from a foreign intelligence partner that set the case in motion, the FBI said it learnt in the summer of 2005 that a central player in a terrorism investigation in another country was in e-mail contact with someone in the Atlanta area.

Armed with court orders, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Atlanta tracked down that person, who turned out to be 19-year-old Sadequee. He was also exchanging regular e-mails with the 20-year-old Georgia Tech student, Ahmed.

“Initially, our investigation — codenamed “Northern Exposure”—was focussed on finding out what the two young men were up to and why Sadequee was trading e-mails with a terrorism suspect. We began both electronic and physical surveillance on each one and began tracking their financial and travel patterns with the help of partner agencies in the U.S.” The FBI team found that both Sadequee and Ahmed were in touch with terror suspects in nearly a dozen nations. A great deal of this contact was via the Internet.

Full report at:


Bohra community holding Muharram discourses in suburban Mumbai

22 December 2009

Mumbai: The Dawoodi Bohra community is conducting the annual Muharram discourses in the suburb of Mumbai this year for the first time. Over 1 lac community members from all parts of India and the world have gathered in Mumbai to attend Ashara Mubaraka, the ten-day Muharram discourses being conducted by Dawoodi Bohra community leader Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. The discourses will conclude on 26th December.

“On the request of the members of the Dawoodi Bohra community residing in Marol, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS) is conducting the annual Moharram discourses in the suburb this year for the first time,” said Qureish Raghib, a community member.

Over 1 lac community members from all parts of India and the world have gathered in Mumbai to attend Ashara Mubaraka, the ten-day Moharram discourses of His Holiness which shall conclude on Saturday, 26th December, Raghib said.

Giving details about the speeches of Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, he said: In his discourses, Syedna narrates the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (SA), the grandson of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in Karbala, Iraq on Friday, 10th October 680 AD and recounts Imam Husain’s (SA) sacrifice for the cause of Islam and humanity. Apparently, the ten solemn days of Ashara Mubaraka are observed with much spiritual significance by the Dawoodi Bohras living across the world.”

“As an Ambassador of Peace, Syedna in his discourses, conveys the universal message of social justice, peace and international harmony and specifically prays for the wellbeing and prosperity of humanity at large.”

The community’s International Ashara Mubaraka Committee has arranged for all necessary facilities and recourses for the thousands of community members converging to the city. Dawoodi Bohras from all over India, South Asia, Far East, the Arabian Gulf, East Africa, Europe, America and Australia gathered in Mumbai and in the suburbs are attending the Ashara Mubaraka venue in Marol in a rotation system of 23,000 persons everyday.

Full report at:


Heritage building Ghalib's haveli hired out for wedding reception

Richi Verma

22 December 2009,

About a decade after the haveli in Old Delhi where poet Mirza Ghalib spent the last years of his life was saved from annihilation -- it was in a dilapidated condition and had been turned into a coal depot -- by Delhi government, it is being used to host wedding parties on the sly.

The 19th century haveli is situated in Gali Qasim Jaan in Chandni Chowk's Ballimaran area. Late on Sunday night, the place was overflowing with guests with food and beverages being served. It was a wedding party.

While the haveli is partly private property, portions of it were acquired by the government and declared protected. The party was being hosted in the protected portions with Ghalib's personal possessions in close proximity.

Heritage activist Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who was passing by around 10pm, was taken aback to see all the activity.

"There was a lot of light and fanfare in the haveli which otherwise should be closed for visitors after 5pm. A buffet had been organised on one side while plates were piled up on the other. There was a coffee machine in one corner," an outraged Ahmed told TOI. The place was littered with food crumbs, crushed plastic glasses and disposable plates.

When TOI arrived at the haveli on Monday morning, it was locked -- Monday being the official holiday -- and there was little to show that a wedding reception had been held here just hours earlier. There was some scarring of the floor though, enough to indicate what had happened last night. The shopkeepers around the haveli declined to comment.

However, when TOI contacted the groom (name withheld) whose wedding was being celebrated, he admitted the reception had indeed been held inside the haveli. "We live nearby and requested permission to use the haveli for a few hours," he said. The groom also told TOI that they had to pay some amount. The role of the government-appointed watchman here needs to be investigated as the function could not have taken place inside the haveli without his involvement.

A senior official of the state department of archaeology of Delhi government reacted with disbelief when told about the party. He said he would look into it immediately. There was, however, no formal reaction till late in the night.

Full report at:


Ram and Rahim as Good Neighbors

By Ram Puniyani,

22 December 2009

The leak and tabling of Liberhan Commission report has created a big turmoil in the country. While most of the sides have been shouting hoarse about their own position on the issue, not much has been talked about the future solution of this vexed problem.

We recall that the mosque built by Mir Baqui around five centuries ago has been deliberately dragged into the controversy. At the time of Independence it was a mosque, no political party had claimed anything to the contrary. As per the understanding in the constitution, the status of 1947 was to be maintained in cases of places of worship. The installation of Ram lalla idols by deceit in midnight of 22nd Jan 1949 sowed the seeds of controversy. Later in 1975 the dispute between two local groups was taken up by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and in 1989, BJP decided to make a political issue out of it. The tragic demolition and the making of makeshift Ram temple there have added new dimensions to the issue.

It is around this issue that Hindu and Muslim communalists raised the emotional pitch and the tragedies which followed, the demolition, the post demolition communal violence and communalization, polarization of society along religious lines are too well known by now. The court case regarding the same is dragging from last several years without any outcome so far.

Where do we go from here? Do we let this sore to continue on the body politic of the nation? This may act as the trouble spot for the future. It is time that we look at all the aspects of the issue and try to bring a peaceful solution to the issue.

The first step in the issue is to realize that it the communal forces from both communities which have claimed that they represent the community and so they will decide on behalf of Hindus or Muslims respectively. The fact of the matter and, this has been confirmed by Liberhan Commission report, is that these communal groups neither represent the community nor reflect the opinion the communities as a whole. It is imperative that we look forward to the liberal sections, leadership from these communities to come forward and talk in the language of reconciliation. The liberal sections are those who have so far been ignored, but they are the one’s who have talked of peace and accommodation. The election results have also shown that those claiming to represent the aspirations of a particular community have been routed in popular elections. The elected representatives of the area have a major role to play in bringing the consensus. We cannot undo the past but we can definitely chart a peaceful path for future. The peaceful talks between these sections along with the local people of Ayodhya are the central core for solution.

Full report at:


Al-Qaeda speak out at Yemen rally

22 Dec 2009

Suspected al-Qaeda commanders have appeared at an anti-government rally in southern Yemen, held at the site of an air raid, reportedly backed by the US, that killed dozens of civilians.

Al Jazeera broadcast footage of an unmasked man and his armed compatriot telling the crowd that al-Qaeda's fight was with America rather than the Yemeni military.

"We carry bombs for God's enemies," the man said at the rally, which took place on Monday.

"Soldiers, you should know that we do not want to fight you. There is no problem between you and us. Our problem is with America and its allies. Beware taking the side of America."

Yemen's government has been battling al-Qaeda in the country at the same time as dealing with a Shia uprising in the north and rising secessionist sentiment in the south.

'Collateral damage'

The al-Qaeda rally took place in the southern Abyan province in an area that was bombed in an air raid last week.

The government said at the time that the raid had foiled a planned series of suicide bombings by attacking targets that included an al-Qaeda training centre.

But dozens of civilians, including children, are thought to have been killed in the bombing.

Abbas al-Assal, a local human rights activist, said at the time that 64 people were killed, including 23 children and 17 women.

Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani, a political analyst based in Yemen, said that the air raids meant civilian casualties were unavoidable, but that the government could take steps to lessen public anger.

"Unfortunately collateral damage cannot be avoided in operations like this [as] al-Qaeda live with their families in their bases and training camps, so there's no way of avoiding it," he told Al Jazeera.

US support

Full report at:


Auschwitz sign recovered, in bits

Warsaw: Polish police said they have recovered the Nazi German “Arbeit macht frei” sign stolen from the site of the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland and arrested the alleged thieves.

    “We have arrested five men aged from 20 to 39 in the north of Poland. The recovered sign has been cut up into three pieces,” Dariusz Nowak, spokesman for the police in southern Krakow, said.

    “They were picked up shortly before midnight and the sign was found in a house,” he added without giving further details.

    The infamous metal sign which hung over the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp, now a museum, was stolen on Friday sparking outrage from world leaders, Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors.

    Learning of the sign’s recovery, Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for Auschwitz museum, said: “This symbol, probably one of the most important of the past century, can now be put back in its place”. AFP

Pope says visit to Holocaust memorial ‘upsetting’: Pope Benedict XVI described a visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial as a disturbing encounter with hatred. Benedict, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth and deserted from the Nazi army, has repeatedly spoken out against the horrors of Nazism and anti-Semitism. AP


Little progress in U.S.-India liaison on Headley case

Praveen Swami

Dec 22, 2009

New Delhi believes United States is reluctant to expose Lashkar-e-Taiba’s links with Pakistan’s ISI

U.S. officials had denied that Headley had ever been an intelligence mole

New Delhi fears that full disclosure may never come

NEW DELHI: More than two months after Pakistani-American jihadist David Headley was held in Chicago, India’s intelligence services are divided on whether they were told the whole truth about the Lashkar-e-Taiba clandestine agent’s operations.

Many in the intelligence services even suspect that the United States is less than committed to letting the whole truth be known.

Public debate has focussed on claims that Headley—who served as a Drug Enforcement Administration informant after being arrested with two kg of heroin in 1988—may have planted by the U.S. covert services inside the Lashkar after his release in 2002.

Little evidence exists to support these claims. But there is mounting concern in New Delhi that the U.S. may prove reluctant to fully explore Headley’s links in the Lashkar—links, which they believe could implicate Pakistan’s military and its ISI Directorate.

FBI meeting

In meetings with Indian authorities earlier this month, officials from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations flatly denied that Headley had ever been an intelligence mole.

Headley, the officials said, was first subjected to surveillance in July this year, after failing to provide coherent answers to an airport inspector, who asked about his repeated journeys to Europe. Later, FBI investigators discovered a mass of evidence linking him to plots to attack the National Defence College here and the offices of Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten.

The officials said at the meeting that they only learned of Headley’s role in carrying out reconnaissance for the Lashkar in Mumbai during his interrogation. For that reason, India was told, the Mumbai-related charges against Headley were filed eight weeks after criminal proceedings first began. FBI investigators, the officials said, were still working to gather more evidence.

Full report at:


Didn’t kill any cops: Qasab


Mumbai: Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab on Monday continued with his own astounding version of what happened on 26/11, denying all allegations that he had gunned down three senior police officers outside Cama Hospital.

    ‘‘Main udhar nahin tha (I was not there),’’ Kasab said with a straight face when confronted with witnesses’ accounts that said he fired at the police Qualis in which the officers were travelling.

    Explaining the injuries on his body, which the prosecution said he sustained during a gunbattle with police officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar, Kasab said he had been taken to a ‘‘police station’’, ‘‘given local anaesthesia injections to numb his arms’’ and then shot with a revolver. ‘‘The bullet just grazed me. The bone in my arm didn’t break, I was not shot in any other part of the body,’’ he said gesturing towards his chest to suggest that police had wounded him intentionally.

    Kasab was shown photographs clicked by TOI photographer Sriram Vernekar and Mumbai Mirror’s Sebastian D’Souza. ‘‘That’s not me in the photographs,’’ Kasab replied.

    Judge M L Tahaliyani also asked the court staff to get the clothes which Kasab was wearing when he was arrested. When shown a pair of trousers and a T-shirt, Kasab insisted that they were ‘‘too small’’ for him. ‘‘The clothes were splashed with my blood but they were not mine,’’ he added. A pair of shoes shown in court were also not his size, he said. He also denied ever having held the AK-47 rifle which was allegedly seized from him.


Qassab: I was shot at in police custody

Mumbai: Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab told the special sessions court on Monday that while in custody, the police shot his arm after administering local anaesthesia. Kasab’s response came after the court asked him about the firing incident in the Rang Bhavan Lane, where three top police officers lost their lives. The court was recording his statement under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC).

“Police station me maari thi, sunn karneka injection deke. Tike lagaye. [I was shot in the police station after being given anaesthetic shots],” he said showing his hands to the judge.

According to the prosecution’s evidence, Kasab’s hand was injured during the exchange of fire between the police, and him and his partner Abu Ismail.

In response to the testimony of doctors, who examined him on the night of November 26, the lone surviving gunman conceded that he was admitted to the hospital, but said he was taken there from police custody. “At 11.15 p.m. I was taken to the hospital for the recording of my statement.” He could not remember his casualty number.

M.L. Tahaliyani presented witness testimonies pertaining to all the incidents, beginning from Kasab and Ismail’s exit from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kasab’s capture in the encounter at Girgaum Chowpatty. Kasab denied knowledge of each one of them, including that of Ismail. He said around six police officers took him around the various locations.

At one point, in response to constable Arun Jadhav’s testimony, Kasab said, “Sach mujhe yaad nahi.” The court asked him to clarify whether he meant, “I don’t remember the truth” or “Truly, I don’t remember.” To a question on the Girgaum encounter, he said, “There was no one with me except the police.”

In his deposition, assistant police inspector Sanjay Govilkar had described how the police had overpowered Kasab with lathis and seized his AK 47. Refuting this, the gunman stated he was beaten at the police station. “Sharafat se leke gaye the. Mere paas kahan se ayi AK 47? [They took me to the police station respectfully. How can I possibly have an AK 47?],” he answered.

Full report at:


26/11 panel lays blame at Gafoor door

Somit Sen & Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN

Pradhan Report Says Top Cop Lacked Control & Command

Nagpur: Ram Pradhan, who probed the state’s reaction and response to the 26/11 terror attack, has squarely blamed former Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor for ‘‘serious lapses’’ in handling the multi-pronged strike.

    In a covering letter accompanying the 90-page report to chief minister Ashok Chavan, the former governor and Union home secretary said, ‘‘Gafoor failed in handling the attack. There was an absence of overt leadership on the commissioner’s part and lack of his visible command and control at his office.’’ TOI was the first to publish the key contents of the Pradhan panel report in July. The report was kept under wraps by the state government for nearly seven months befor being tabled in the legislative assembly on Monday.

    Pradhan also mentioned in his letter that ‘‘he found several lacunae in the working within Mantralaya and the police establishment’’. ‘‘Well setout procedures for handling intelligence and crisis management were overlooked. These require urgent attention,’’ the letter said. It said that Gafoor didn’t exhibit adequate initiative in handling the attack and remained rooted to one spot near Trident Hotel throughout the operations.

    The panel, comprising Pradhan and former RAW official V Balchandran, observed that the war-like attack was beyond the scope of the Mumbai police. It had to be tackled by specialised forces such as the NSG. Among the conclusions and recommendations made by the panel were:

    The panel did not find serious lapses in the conduct of any individual officer. What it found was lack of intelligent appreciation of threats, handling of intelligence and lack of overt and visible leadership

    Panel was impressed with the speed and urgency with which the police, as a whole, reacted to unfolding of events

    The state had received six alerts on a sea-borne attack and 11 on the possibility of multiple and simultaneous attacks. An overall assessment and proper analysis of these reports would have revealed a strong indication that some major terrorist action was being planned against Mumbai.

Full report at:


Terror focus at India-Israel meet

New Delhi: India and Israel will hold a joint working group (JWG) meeting on defence on Tuesday to review ongoing cooperation in military R&D projects, counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing as well as chalk out new areas for collaboration.

    The JWG will be co-chaired by the director-general of Israeli defence ministry Brigadier-General (retd) Pinchas Buchris and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar, said officials. Buchris also has meetings lined up with defence minister A K Antony, national security advisor M K Narayanan, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik and Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, among others.

    This comes shortly after Gen Kapoor visited Israel, which in turn was followed by a reciprocal visit here by Israeli Defence Forces chief of general staff Lt-General Gabi Ashkenazi. As reported earlier, Israel has emerged as the second largest defence supplier to India, notching up military business worth a whopping $9 billion since the 1999 Kargil conflict, next only to Russia.

    Despite allegations of kickbacks, India has pressed ahead with joint R&D projects with Israeli armament companies. Similarly, IAF wants to induct nine air defence squadrons under the mammoth Rs 10,075 crore DRDO-IAI project to develop a MR-SAM system, capable of detecting and destroying hostile aircraft.


Row over WB’s Kashmir clause

Govt Against Disclaimer For Loan

New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has assured a delegation of J&K MPs that the government will oppose a disclaimer clause put up by World Bank in return for a Rs 740 crore loan it has sanctioned for a watershed project in the state. The Bank has asked the state government to give an undertaking that the loan would not be treated as a certificate that the “disputed territory” was an integral part of India.

    This is not the first time an international agency has put up conditions to its sanctioned loan, Mukherjee told the delegation. He assured the state government that Centre will sort out the matter immediately, J&K forest minister Altaf Mian told TOI.

    A six-member delegation led by the J&K forest minister met Mukherjee at his North Block office on Thursday and told him the Bank had stopped disbursement of a sanctioned loan and raised fresh conditions.

    India had encountered similar difficulties earlier this year when China had objected to an Asian Development Bank loan in Arunachal Pradesh seeking to defer the loan as it was a “disputed territory”.

    However, Altaf Mian said World Bank had funded two projects in J&K, in 1991 and 1999. Though the loan component was much smaller, the multilateral agency had never sought any disclaimer.

    No one from the Department of Economic Affairs in the finance ministry, which is dealing with the issue, was ready to speak on the matter. While finance secretary was out of town, the ministry spokesperson said he would get back.

    The state government was not even aware of the fresh conditions till a follow up with the Union environment and forest ministry revealed that a demand had been raised by World Bank seeking the disclaimer.

    “We have brought this to the FM’s notice and he has assured that in shortest time, the Centre will sort this out with the Bank,” Mian said.



Sharif holds off full attack on Zardari

22 December 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's main opposition party said on Monday it would not support any unconstitutional action against President Asif Ali Zardari or his government but warned of protests if Zardari did not give up some powers.

Political tension has been running high in Pakistan since last week when the Supreme Court threw out an amnesty that protected him, several government ministers and thousands of others from corruption charges.

Zardari has faced some calls to resign but he has rejected them. He and his ruling party issued a defiant statement on the weekend, saying no members of the government would resign and condemning what they called a witch-hunt against them.

Several of Zardari's aides and two of his top ministers -- Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar -- were also on a list of people protected by the amnesty, and they too are facing calls to quit.

While some members of the main opposition party, led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, have called for President Asif Ali Zardari and the two ministers to step down, the party has been circumspect.

A spokesman for the party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), said the party felt it was the "moral duty" of Zardari and the two ministers to step down, but it was up to them.

"If Mr Zardari and his ministers, who were covered by the amnesty, do not resign, that's completely up to them," the spokesman, Siddiqul Farooq, told a news conference.

"Mr Nawaz Sharif has very clearly stated that democracy has to go on and if someone thinks that he will do something unconstitutional, he won't get our support."

Sharif's party would not be part of any unconstitutional move against Zardari, the spokesman said.


Iran nuclear plan: A thousand and one excuses

Dec 22, 2009

Is Iran trying to build a bomb, or is its nuclear work aimed merely at keeping the lights on? Gathering evidence, and Iran’s refusal to heed a string of UN Security Council resolutions and stop its suspect activities, make the question seem quaint.

Few believe the tales Iranian officials have spun since the first news, in 2002, of their covert efforts to enrich uranium-usable for civilian nuclear reactors, but abusable at high enrichment for making weapons. Yet even the recent discovery of another hitherto secret enrichment plant being built deep in a mountainside on a heavily guarded military compound near the city of Qom had a ready explanation: to keep “civilian” enrichment going if other nuclear sites were attacked.

A steady leak of documents in recent months appears to tell a compelling story at odds with Iran’s version. A memo published in Britain by the Times, if authentic, shows Iran in 2007 about to embark on a four-year set of experiments, picking up on related past work, to develop a neutron initiator, or bomb trigger, containing uranium deuteride, or UD3 (a compound used by Pakistan in its bombs). The actual tests, however, would be done with substances less likely to be detected by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear guardian.

Some, like Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, have hitherto complained that, for all Iran’s odd behaviour, there is no hard evidence it is after a bomb. The experiments reported in the Times have no other purpose. Iranian officials dismiss these and other documents as forgeries, yet refuse inspectors access to scientists in Iran who could answer their questions.

Publicly, IAEA inspectors say they cannot confirm that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. Behind closed doors, they reportedly judge it has mastered the skills it would need to build a nuclear weapon. They have had the report about neutron initiators for some time, part of a trove of documents collected from different governments. These describe weapons-related design work and other experiments, as well as the organisational structure of Iran’s military effort.

Full report at:


KARACHI: Case against policemen ordered

Tuesday, 22 Dec, 2009

KARACHI, Dec 21: A district and sessions judge on Monday directed the SHO of the Baldia Town police station to register a case against some policemen for raiding the house of a lawyer and extending threats to him and his family.

Advocate Nizar Tanoli filed an application under Section 22-A of the criminal procedure code, stating that he was a practising lawyer and a resident of Baldia Town and on the night of Dec 18 ASI Ashraf, Head Constable Shadab Mir and other policemen of the Khwaja Ajmair Nagri police station had unlaw- fully raided his house and threatened him and his family members of dire consequences.

He submitted that he approached the police station concerned to lodge a case against the policemen, but the police refused to entertain his request.

He requested the court to direct the SHO of the police station concerned to register a case against the policemen.


Israeli troops in Gaza incursion

Hisham Abu Taha

22 December 2009

GAZA: Israeli military vehicles backed by Apache helicopters invaded the northern Gaza Strip early Monday, said witnesses and local sources.

Military vehicles rolled into Al-Ghoul area under intense heavy gunfire, said witnesses. Medical sources said no one was wounded in the attack. Israeli military sources would not confirm the invasion or the shelling.

Earlier on Sunday, fighters from Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the National Brigades, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said they traded fire with Israeli troops in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that a military vehicle came under fire near the Nahal Oz crossing point.

This Israeli incursion comes just one week before the first anniversary of the massive Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip that began on Dec. 27, 2008, and lasted for three full weeks and in which over 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

Meanwhile, Hamas urged its supporters on Monday to protest in Rafah city against Egypt for building an underground metal wall along the border with Gaza.

In a press release, Hamas called its supporters to gather near the Salah Al-Deen Gate on the Egyptian border to protest against what it described as prejudice and a blockade against the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians have established a network of tunnels to smuggle goods, food supplies, and humanitarian aid from Egypt into Gaza because of an Israeli blockade.


Palestinian women suffer in Israeli jails

Mohammad Mar’i

22 December 2009

RAMALLAH: The head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club (Nadi Al-Asir), has accused Israeli authorities of holding 35 Palestinian women in its jails and subjecting them to harsh living conditions.

Qaddoura Faris, who is also the former Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees, said in a statement on Monday that the women are detained in jails built in a period dating back to the British Mandate era (1922-1948), which lack modern infrastructure or gender-sensitive health care. Humid, unhygienic, deprived of natural sunlight and overcrowded, he said these facilities have been designed for men and rarely do they meet women’s needs.

He added that while interrogated, the female prisoners are often subjected to cruel treatment such as humiliation, intimidation, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation, prolonged shackling in painful positions, isolation in cells and beatings. Faris said that psychological pressure is the most preferred technique used on Palestinian women by Israeli interrogators.

Threats of house demolition, arrests of family members, coercion, rape or other forms of sexual abuse and harassment are commonplace.

Faris added that due to insufficient and poor quality nutrition, the women suffer weight loss and thinning hair, general weakness, anemia and iron deficiency. Their diet is not changed when they fall ill, are pregnant or breast-feeding. He added the prisoners’ menstrual cycles are unbalanced through lack of appropriate nutrition, isolation and the Israeli interrogators’ application of huge mental pressure.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces operating in West Bank cities arrested four Palestinians, Israeli and Palestinian security sources said. The Palestinian sources told Arab News that the civilians were arrested in the governorates of Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron.

Israeli soldiers assaulted the detainees and their families before arresting them, they added.

Israeli sources told the Army Radio that the arrested were transferred to security forces for questioning.

Full report at:


Focus on Children of Mixed Marriages

22 December 2009

ABU DHABI - The special committee entrusted to look after the welfare of citizens born to Emirati fathers and foreign mothers outside the UAE convened on Monday to discuss ways to boost their sense of citizenship and belonging.

The meeting, presided over by Major-General Nasser bin Al Awadhi Al Minhali, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalization, Residency and Ports Affairs in the Ministry of Interior, discussed 50 cases of citizens born to Emirati fathers and foreign mothers outside the country. The committee also reviewed the possibility of striking partnership agreements with a number of public sector institutions to implement several projects meant to inspire national identity on Emirati children born to foreign mothers, inculcate a sense of citizenship as well as boost their sense of belonging to the UAE.


Court rules Alan Jones 'racially vilified' Muslim youths

December 22, 2009

BROADCASTER Alan Jones and 2GB radio have been ordered to pay $10,000 in damages after a court ruled he vilified Lebanese Muslims.

Upholding a complaint of "`racial vilification'' against Jones and 2GB, the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal today said a number of Jones' comments were neither reasonable nor made in good faith.

The tribunal had heard that, presenting his regular talk-back slot over the course of a number of days in April 2005, Mr Jones said Lebanese youths hated Australia and raped, pillaged and plundered the country, undermining its culture.

Jones also identified "car hoons'' as Lebanese youths and said they disrespected the police.

He also expressed the view Australia was not a multi-racial but a mono-cultural society and this monoculture was now under threat from "enemies within''.

The tribunal's ruling said: ''...Jones' comments about `Lebanese males in their vast numbers' hating Australia and raping, pillaging, and plundering the country, about `a national security' crisis and about the undermining of Australian culture by `vermin' were reckless hyperbole calculated to agitate and excite his audience ...''

The tribunal also ruled Jones interpreted a speech made by Lebanese-Australian cleric Sheik Faiz Mohammed in Bankstown as an excuse for sexual assaults by Muslim men on non-Muslim women.

Sydney-based Lebanese-born Muslim figure Keysar Trad, complained to the tribunal.

He was later invited onto Jones' program for an exchange during which the presenter accused Mr Trad, as a Muslim leader, of doing nothing to stop car hoons or speeches such as the one said to have been made by Sheik Faiz Mohammed.

The tribunal awarded the damages and ordered the presenter make a public apology, although its exact nature was not determined.

"We find that the complaint of racial vilification as against both respondents are substantiated,'' the ruling said.


Bosnia court charges Muslim group for "terrorism"

Tue Dec 22, 2009

 SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia's state court indicted a group of radical Muslims on Tuesday on charges of terrorism and arms trafficking, saying they had planned to destabilise the country.

A total of five people were charged with being in the group which, the court said, "purchased and possessed weapons, explosive and various products suitable for making improvised explosive devices."

Police had also found video recordings of trainings in the use of arms and combat activities, the court said in a statement.

"All of this was prepared in order to carry out an attack on one of the identified objects ... with the aim to seriously intimidate the citizens and destabilise the fundamental political, constitutional, economic and social structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina," it said.

The court did not name the possible targets but local media reported the group had planned to attack a Catholic cathedral in Sarajevo and a monastery in the central town of Fojnica.

Some media also said the group might have planned attacks on the international peace force deployed in Bosnia as well as on Bosnia's own armed forces, whose units are expected to join international troops in Afghanistan next year.

Some members of the group were arrested last year but released due to lack of evidence. Media said they were members of the fundamentalist Wahabbi branch of Islam, which has in recent years attracted young Bosnian Muslims.

Many foreign Islamic fighters or mujahideen arrived in Bosnia during the 1992-95 war to fight along Bosnian Muslims against Serbs and Croats. Most of them have left the Balkan country under U.S. pressure but some have remained.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Robin Pomeroy)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


'Muslim Mafia' Attorneys Show Court CAIR Doesn't Legally Exist

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WASHINGTON, Dec 22, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ ----Martin Garbus and Bernard Grimm Join Defense Team

Legal checkmate dealt to CAIR yesterday in federal court

Of all the bombshells that the authors of Muslim Mafia have exposed about the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most explosive revelation--which aired in federal court yesterday--would shake CAIR to its very foundations.

If however, those foundations actually existed.

But CAIR the organization, attorneys for Muslim Mafia investigators revealed in court yesterday, legally doesn't even exist. Like its purported goals of protecting Muslims, helping law enforcement sniff out terror leads and upholding the best of American traditions.

In fitting irony, this comes to light in a court fight that the notoriously litigious CAIR picked to ultimately suppress the First Amendment and silence the damning discoveries that the book documents in intricate detail.

"CAIR is not a valid entity," explains attorney Daniel Horowitz' motion to dismiss in the case filed in federal court in the nation's capital. From there--piece by piece--he dismantles CAIR's case.


Part of the research for Muslim Mafia stems from a daring six-month investigation by Chris Gaubatz--son of co-author P. David Gaubatz--and two young ladies. All three pretended to convert to Islam--he grew a beard, they donned veils--and landed positions as CAIR interns. In the process, they retrieved 12,000 pages of internal CAIR documents.

Those documents illustrate what the FBI, which severed ties to the organization, and members of Congress, already acknowledge: CAIR is a Saudi-funded, terror-front group that supports Hamas, positions interns and staffers in key congressional offices, and strives to undermine post-9/11 security, according to

Full report at:


Muslim chef who went down the wrong road and eat pork

Dec 21, 2009

62-year-old Muslim, Hasanali Khoja has made a mockert of Islamic beliefs, he took his employer to court accusing them of forcing him to handle port products, but all the time he was happily eating sausage and bacon rolls.

Khoja took his employer Metropolitan Police to court and lost the lost a claim of religious discrimination after complaining he was forced to cook sausages and bacon faces a legal bill of more than £75,000.

The Muslim chief claimed his bosses were putting undue pressure on him and felt 'stressed and humiliated' when it was suggested he use tongs and wear gloves to handle the pork products his religion forbids him to ear

Later it was revealed by Khoja’s colleagues he eat port, therefore Khoja lost his claim in May after a police employee told an employment tribunal how she saw Mr Khoja eat bacon rolls and sausages.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has now won a ruling ordering Mr Khoja to pay its costs, which total at least £76,200. In its costs claim, the Met said Mr Khoja 'knew that he had asked for a bacon roll two or three times for personal consumption before bringing his claim and throughout the conduct of his claim'.The Daily Mial has reported

It is believed the Muslim chef would force money form the Met police of religious grounds, but his tactics have failed and he is left with his own legal bill of  £30,000 and will now also have to pay the legal bill for the Met police of £76,200

Mr Khoja, from Edgware, North London, who is still employed by the Met, claimed at a hearing in Watford that he could afford to pay only £80 a week as he has little income, lives in rented property and is struggling with £30,000 legal bills of his own.

But the court discovered he had sold another home last year, splitting profits of almost £200,000 with his wife and two sons.

Mr Khoja, who sits on a Foods Standards Agency advisory committee on Muslim issues, decided to take action after Scotland Yard chiefs placed him on unpaid leave for a year after his refusal to work with pork.

Judge Southam also heard how Mr Khoja had made 'wild and baseless' allegations about a human resource manager, allegedly making racial facial gestures.


Iraqi vice president warns Iran to respect Iraq's borders


Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on Tuesday protested Iranian troops' moves to claim an oil well on the Iraqi- Iranian border last week, calling it a "wanton aggression against Iraq's sovereignty."

"Iraq is not weak, and will not accept any breach of its sovereignty or interests at home," the vice president, a Sunni Muslim, said in a statement, DPA reported.

His remarks stood in stark contrast to conciliatory calls for calm from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim who lived in exile in Iran from 1982 until 1990, after an Iraqi general on Friday said Iranian troops had taken positions around the oil well and had raised the Iranian flag over it.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh on Saturday said Iranian troops had removed the flag and had pulled back following Iraqi diplomatic protests, but had not fully returned to the point where they were located prior to the start of the controversy on Friday.

Tehran and Baghdad have since maintained diplomatic contacts to settle what Iran dubbed a "misunderstanding."

On Monday, an Iraqi Oil Ministry official said Iraq would explore setting up joint ventures with Iran to exploit fields that straddle the border. The statement was made to investors at a press conference announcing the government's award of a contract to a Japanese- Malaysian consortium to develop southern Iraq's Gharraf oil field.

Iran's actions on Friday "reaffirmed Iran's ambitions on Iraqi territory and national wealth," al-Hashemi said Tuesday.

"Lowering the Iranian flag is not enough," he said. "If Iran aspires to have good relations with Iraq, it should refrain from harming (Iraq)."

Al-Hashemi praised the people of southern Iraq for overcoming internal Iraqi sectarian divides, saying Friday's "aggression unleashed a change."

Shiite and Sunni Iraqis found their "national spirit and said that the danger is external, not internal," he said.

The vice president urged all Iraqi politicians and parties to overcome sectarian divisions, which he said had recently reached a "critical" state, and to "line up and unite behind the banner of the national project."

"Today's turmoil and the lack of a solid relationship between Iraqis themselves has tempted others," he said. "The greedy reach out for our land and our resources."

Iran and Iraq fought a long and costly war between 1980-1988 that left millions dead. Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Shiite and Kurdish-dominated government in Baghdad has established closer relations with Tehran, a common source of complaint for many Sunni Iraqi politicians.


Pilgrims flock to Australian miracle house with mysterious oil flowing down walls

By Mark Chipperfield in Sydney

22 Dec 2009

Hundreds of Roman Catholics have made a pilgrimage to a modest suburban house in Sydney in the hope that a mysterious oil weeping from its walls can cure illnesses.

Lina Tannous, the owner, said that the yellow oil started to appear in the bungalow shortly after Mike, their 17-year-old son died in a car accident in 2006.

Mrs Tannous and her husband George believe that oil has special healing qualities, including healing one woman's cancer.

Mike is a messenger between us and God," said Mrs Tannous, 39. "He has healed so many people."

The numbers of believers arriving at the house ballooned in the wake of last weekend's announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that Mary MacKillop, a nun who died in 1909, will become Australia's first saint.

The oil, which has not been identified, initially appeared on framed photographs of the dead teenager and on religious icons, but now flows down almost every wall of the three-bedroom house.

The "weeping house", which is open to the public every day, is now attracting hundreds of pilgrims from all over the world. Tourists including a Muslim family from Dubai have also visited the house.

"Over the weekend we had people everywhere, we even had to close the street," said Mr Tannous.

The couple believe that their son has been "hand-picked by God" to perform miracles on earth.

Mr Tannous, 50, is now urging church authorities to look at his son's healing achievements. He said: "My son's spirit is in this house. He loved God and Jesus. He has come to this house and the oil is his spirit."

The family, which emigrated from Lebanon 37 years ago, claims that the oil has been responsible for six miracles, including a woman who was told by doctors she could not have a child and became pregnant. Following the news of Mary MacKillop's imminent canonisation, there has been widespread discussion among Australian Catholics about who might be the country's next saint.

George and Lina now hope that the Vatican will beatify his late son.

"There is no question, this is a miracle," said Mr Tannous. At this time of year, it is a Christmas miracle."


Muslim Brotherhood elects council

He Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's main opposition group, has elected a new governing body.

Most of the 16 members of the new Guidance Bureau, announced on Monday, are said to be conservatives.

The vote was carried out amid deep division between the group’s conservatives and reformists who call for more flexibility in the group’s stances towards internal and foreign issues, such as holding a dialogue with the US.

The wing now dominating the movement is more focused on religious aspects and is not in touch with the political reality on the ground, Amr Shoubaky, an analyst with the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, told the AFP news agency.

He said divisions within the party are likely to "lessen the brotherhood's political weight and weaken its participation in the 2010 parliamentary elections".

Mohamedd Mahdi Akef, the group's chairman whose term ends on January 13, said: "The Muslim Brotherhood group members have suffered during the past few weeks from several incidents, contradictory statements and the general atmosphere that had prevailed."

The new governing body excludes several key members considered to be moderates.

Mohammed Habib, the group's deputy leader, and Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a reformist, were not elected.

Internal split

Habib told the Al-Shorouk newspaper on Sunday that the group was split between those who wanted the Brotherhood to become more active in the country's political life, and those who wanted to maintain the status quo.

Diaa Rashwan, a political analyst, said sidelining Habib and Abul Futuh "is a serious coup for the reformist group within the movement which seeks more openness and participation with other opposition groups."

"The results of these elections signal the immediate regression of political activity of the group in the coming period."

The new governing body is likely to focus on social and religious grassroots work and avoid open confrontation with the state, Rashwan said.


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