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Islamic World News ( 21 Oct 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam doesn’t breed terrorism, Swami Onkarnath

New Delhi: Islam doesn’t breed terrorism: Swami Onkarnath

European Commissioner: “Islam Is Welcome. Immigration Is Moral Necessity”

KHOTAN (CHINA): Wary of Islam, China tightens rules

CAIRO: Ultraconservative Islam on rise in Middle East

Malaysia: Islamic banking escapes fallout

LONDON: Muslim woman cop in UK alleges bias

Malaysia: Islamic bank to give poor countries 2 billion dollars to cope with food crisis

KHAR, Pakistan: US diplomat visits Pakistan amid new violence

CHICAGO: Farrakhan speech lacks 'new beginning' specifics

CHICAGO: The Nation of Islam plans multi-faith dialogue in a ‘new beginning’

Islamabad: Pakistani aircraft pound Swat valley

PESHAWAR: 40 militants said killed in Pakistan as US diplomat visits

MINGORA: 100 feared dead in Swat aerial blitz

Sydney's eternal message crosses the religious divide

Fighting for the American Muslim through documentary

Iraq:  Jihad Community Puts on Show for Soldiers, Local Leaders



Islam doesn’t breed terrorism: Swami Onkarnath

19 October, 2008

 New Delhi: A top Hindu seer on Sunday said that Islam does not breed terrorism and its followers should not be termed as terrorists.

"Today, efforts are being made to malign Islam by terming it a religion of terrorism. But the truth is that Islam does not breed terrorism. Those who say so should try to understand Islam and its teaching," said Shankaracharya Swami Onkarnath Saraswatiji Maharaj of Prayag Math.

What should Muslims do?

Onkaranath was here to address concluding ceremony of a two-day conference, ‘Message of Islam to the Humanity,’ organised by the Jamiat Ahle Hadees, the Muslim Wahhabi sect here at Ramleela ground.

"The prophet of Islam, Prophet Mohammed, was a messenger of peace and he taught tolerance to its follower, and in this regard, I am a great admirer of him," the seer said amid applauds by thousand of Muslims at the jam-packed venue.



European Commissioner: “Islam Is Welcome. Immigration Is Moral Necessity”

From the desk of Tiberge

Oct 18 2008

Jacques Barrot is the European Commissioner for Justice. In an interview at Café Babel [in French] he gives some revealing answers which indicate that the European suicide is underway. He calls immigration an economic and moral necessity, adding that Islam is welcome in Europe.

Mr Barrot is a former deputy in the French National Assembly, from 1967 to 2004. He was one of the founders of today's UMP party, an institution that claims to be conservative. UMP is the party of Nicolas Sarkozy, who is known to the media and the world as a politician of the "Right." Barrot had previously supported Jacques Chirac, and before that had been a leader of the centrist movement. In 2000 he was convicted in a French court of "abuse of confidence". The case involved the diverting of government money to his party. He received an eight month suspended prison sentence but was pardoned by Jacques Chirac. Since 2004, Barrot has been a European Commissioner. He is also a Vice President of the European Commission.

Below are excerpts from the Barrot interview: Does Europe need immigration?

  Barrot: Yes. The demographic situation of Europe requires a migration that must be concerted. Europe's mission is also a desire to facilitate exchanges between countries. Immigration is both an economic and a moral necessity. […]

     Islam is perceived by some as incompatible with European values of democracy, peace and equality of the sexes. What is the EU's position with regard to this problematical situation?

     B: This way of looking at Islam as antagonistic to European values is a totally partial and erroneous view. Islam is a monotheistic religion that seems to me to be compatible with our principles of laïcité. What is not compatible, are all the fundamentalists, not only Islamic, who wish to segregate and exclude other religions. As soon as pluralism is accepted by Islam, in any case in Europe, Islam is welcome. What IS true is that we will always fight against the fact that in the Islamic milieu Christian communities are not always respected as they should be. But that is characteristic of a certain number of Islamic States, it is not characteristic of Europe. Europe favours religious pluralism and it is obvious that if Islam wants to exist in Europe, it must accept this pluralism.

A reader of Yves Daoudal’s blog over the interview:

    This guy [Barrot] is the archetype of the majority of our elite. He is himself the son of a distinguished father, a deputy, he has been minister several times, he helped create the UMP, etc... What he thinks, what he says is the reflection of what all those in power think and say. That is what is terrifying. These people are burying France and her people ("the demographic situation in Europe requires a migration that must be concerted"), without even considering the issues of French birth-rate, abortion, French identity, her religion.

        I loved this sneaky attack ("...all fundamentalists, not only Islamic...") against traditional Catholics.


Jacques Barrot uses the term "migration", a word I see more and more as a substitute for "immigration." I guess the latter sounds more "discriminatory" than the former which, in its vagueness, refers to a natural and predictable process. When he does use "immigration" he speaks of it as a "moral" good, hence to be against it is to be immoral.

Here are a few more excerpts from the interview at Café Babel:

       Early in October, [German] Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked the first immigrants, during the ceremony "Germany Thanks You." Can you conceive of such an event on a European scale?

      Barrot: There are many such symbolic acts that could be imagined to show the immigrants that they really have a place here. We will probably work out this type of ceremony when we have written the new directive on the conditions for welcoming refugees.

     The European policy of immigration is not founded on gratitude. Critics reproach you for constructing a "European fortress".

     B: We have emerged from a security-driven period when borders had become an obsession. Today, the pact on immigration that the French presidency (of the EU) has had adopted is a balanced agreement where one finds both the legitimate desire to turn away illegal immigrants and that of a Europe more dynamic in the way it welcomes immigrants.

     [...] Concretely, how did you convince [Spanish Prime Minister] Zapatero to sign the immigration pact since Spain benefits fully from immigration?

      B: Mr. Zapatero, like the majority of heads of State, knows very well that what happens in one of the member States has an effect on the others, and that the States are condemned to stick together in solidarity. [...]

I like the word "condemned".

  He goes on in the interview to describe how immigration will be strictly regulated so that each EU member state can determine the number of immigrants it needs and each Donor State (African or Asian) can determine the number of skilled workers it can spare. He says that forcing illegals to return home is not to criminalize them, pointing out that the new directive will outline the appeals process they will be entitled to, and will monitor the conditions in which they are detained (i.e., confined in some kind of prison). He also believes that they should be induced to leave voluntarily in exchange for compensation. In other words, they will not be sent home?



Wary of Islam, China tightens rules

20 Oct 2008

KHOTAN (CHINA): The grand mosque that draws thousands of Muslims each week in this oasis town has all the usual trappings of piety: dusty wool car pets on which to kneel in prayer, a row of turbans and skullcaps for men without headwear, a wall niche facing the holy city of Mecca in the Arabian desert.

But large signs posted by the front door list edicts that are more Communist Party decrees than Koranic doctrines.

The imam’s sermon at Friday Prayer must run no longer than a half-hour, the rules say. Prayer in public areas outside the mosque is forbidden. Residents of Khotan are not allowed to worship at mosques outside of town. One rule on the wall says that government workers and nonreligious people may not be “forced” to attend services at the mosque — a generous wording of a law that prohibits government workers and Communist Party members from going at all.

“Of course this makes people angry,” said a teacher in the mosque courtyard, who would give only a partial name, Muhammad, for fear of government retribution. “Excitable people think the government is wrong in what it does. They say that government officials who are Muslims should also be allowed to pray.”

To be a practicing Muslim in the vast autonomous region of northwestern China called Xinjiang is to live under an intricate series of laws and regulations intended to control the spread and practice of Islam, the predominant religion among the Uighurs, a Turkic people uneasy with Chinese rule.

The edicts touch on every facet of a Muslim’s way of life. Official versions of the Koran are the only legal ones. Imams may not teach the Koran in private, and studying Arabic is allowed only at special government schools. Two of Islam’s five pillars — the sacred fasting month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca called the hajj — are also carefully controlled. Students and government workers are compelled to eat during Ramadan, and the passports of Uighurs have been confiscated across Xinjiang to force them to join government-run hajj tours rather than travel illegally to Mecca on their own.

Government workers are not permitted to practice Islam, which means the slightest sign of devotion, a head scarf on a woman, for example, could lead to a firing. The Chinese government, which is officially atheist, recognizes five religions — Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism and Buddhism — and tightly regulates their administration and practice.



Ultraconservative Islam on rise in Middle East


Oct 19, 2008

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — The Muslim call to prayer fills the halls of a Cairo computer shopping center, followed immediately by the click of locking doors as the young, bearded tech salesmen close shop and line up in rows to pray.

Business grinding to a halt for daily prayers is not unusual in conservative Saudi Arabia, but until recently it was rare in the Egyptian capital, especially in affluent commercial districts like Mohandiseen, where the mall is located.

But nearly the entire three-story mall is made up of computer stores run by Salafis, an ultraconservative Islamic movement that has grown dramatically across the Middle East in recent years.

"We all pray together," said Yasser Mandi, a salesman at the Nour el-Hoda computer store. "When we know someone who is good and prays, we invite them to open a shop here in this mall." Even the name of Mandi's store is religious, meaning "Light of Guidance."

Critics worry that the rise of Salafists in Egypt, as well as in other Arab countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, will crowd out the more liberal and tolerant version of Islam long practiced there. They also warn that the doctrine is only a few shades away from that of violent groups like al-Qaida — that it effectively preaches "Yes to jihad, just not now."

In the broad spectrum of Islamic thought, Salafism is on the extreme conservative end. Saudi Arabia's puritanical Wahhabi interpretation is considered its forerunner, and Saudi preachers on satellite TV and the Internet have been key to its Salafism's spread.

Salafist groups are gaining in numbers and influence across the Middle East. In Jordan, a Salafist was chosen as head of the old-guard opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood. In Kuwait, Salafists were elected to parliament and are leading the resistance to any change they believe threatens traditional Islamic values.

The gains for Salafists are part of a trend of turning back to conservatism and religion after nationalism and democratic reform failed to fulfill promises to improve people's lives. Egypt has been at the forefront of change in both directions, toward liberalization in the 1950s and '60s and back to conservatism more recently.

The growth of Salafism is visible in dress. In many parts of Cairo women wear the "niqab," a veil which shows at most the eyes rather than the "hijab" scarf that merely covers the hair. The men grow their beards long and often shave off mustaches, a style said to imitate the Prophet Muhammad.

The word "salafi" in Arabic means "ancestor," harking back to a supposedly purer form of Islam said to have been practiced by Muhammad and his companions in the 7th century. Salafism preaches strict segregation of the sexes and resists any innovation in religion or adoption of Western ways seen as immoral.

"When you are filled with stress and uncertainty, black and white is very good, it's very easy to manage," said Selma Cook, an Australian convert to Islam who for more than a decade described herself as a Salafi.

"They want to make sure everything is authentic," said Cook, who has moved away from Salafist thought but still works for Hoda, a Cairo-based Salafi satellite channel.

In most of the region, Salafism has been a purely social movement calling for an ultraconservative lifestyle. Most Salafis shun politics — in fact, many argue that Islamic parties like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinians' Hamas are too willing to compromise their religion for political gain.

Its preachers often glorify martyrdom and jihad — or holy war — but always with the caveat that Muslims should not launch jihad until their leaders call for it. The idea is that the decision to overturn the political order is up to God, not the average citizen.

But critics warn that Salafis could easily slide into violence. In North Africa, some already have — the Algerian Salafi Group for Call and Combat has allied itself with al-Qaida and is blamed for bombings and other attacks. Small pockets of Salafis in northern Lebanon and Gaza have also taken up weapons and formed jihadi-style groups

"I am afraid that this Salafism may be transferred to be a jihadi Salafism, especially with the current hard socio-economic conditions in Egypt," says Khalil El-Anani, a visiting scholar at Washington's Brookings Institution.

The Salafi way contrasts with the Islam long practiced in Egypt. Here the population is religious but with a relatively liberal slant. Traditionally, Egyptian men and women mix rather freely and Islamic doctrine has been influenced by local, traditional practices and an easygoing attitude to moral foibles.

But Salafism has proved highly adaptable, appealing to Egypt's wealthy businessmen, the middle class and even the urban poor — cutting across class in an otherwise rigidly hierarchical society.

In Cairo's wealthy enclaves of Maadi and Nasr City, robed, upper-class Salafis drive BMWs to their engineering firms, while their wives stay inside large homes surrounded by servants and children.

Sara Soliman and her businessman husband, Ahmed el-Shafei, both received the best education Egypt had to offer, first at a German-run school, then at the elite American University in Cairo. But they have now chosen the Salafi path.

"We were losing our identity. Our identity is Islamic," 27-year-old Soliman said from behind an all-covering black niqab as she sat with her husband in a Maadi restaurant.

"In our (social) class, none of us are brought up to be strongly practicing," added el-Shafei, also 27, in American-accented English, a legacy of a U.S. boyhood. Now, he and his wife said, they live Islam as "a whole way of life," rather than just a set of obligations such as daily prayers and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

A dozen satellite TV channels, most Saudi-funded, are perhaps Salafism's most effective vehicle. They feature conservative preachers, call-in advice shows and discussion programs on proper Islamic behavior.

Cairo's many Salafist mosques are packed on Fridays. Outside Shaeriyah mosque, a bookstall featured dozens of cassettes by Mohammed Hasaan, a prolific conservative preacher who sermonizes on the necessity of jihad and the injustices inflicted on Muslims.

Alongside the cassettes, a book titled "The Sinful Behaviors of Women" displayed lipstick, playing cards, perfumes and cell phones on the cover. Another was titled "The Excesses of American Hubris."

Critics of Salafism say it has spread so quickly in part because the Egyptian and Saudi governments encouraged it as an apolitical, nonviolent alternative to hard-line jihadi groups.

These critics warn that the governments are playing with fire — that Salafism creates an environment that breeds extremism. Al-Qaida continues to try to draw Salafists into jihad, and its No. 2, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, praised Salafists in an Internet statement in April, urging them to take up arms.

"The Salafi line is not that jihad is not a good thing, it is just not a good thing right now," said Richard Gauvain, a lecturer in comparative religion at the American University in Cairo.

The Salafis' talk of eventual jihad focuses on fighting Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, not on overthrowing pro-U.S. Arab governments denounced by al-Qaida. Most Salafi clerics preach loyalty to their countries' rulers and some sharply denounce al-Qaida.

Egypt, with Saudi help, sought to rehabilitate jailed Islamic militants, in part by providing them with Salafi books. Critics say President Hosni Mubarak's government sees the Salafists as a counterweight to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

The political quietism of the Salafis and their injunctions to always obey the ruler are too good an opportunity for established Arab rulers to pass up, said novelist Alaa Aswani, one of the most prominent critics of rising conservatism in Egypt.

"That was a kind of Christmas present for the dictators because now they can rule with both the army and the religion," he said.

The new wave of conservatism is not inevitable, Aswani maintains, noting that his books — including his most popular, "The Yacoubian Building" — have risque themes and condemnations of conservatives, and yet are best-sellers in Egypt.

"The battle is not over, because Egypt is too big to be fitting in this very, very little, very small vision of a religion," he said. Source:


Islamic banking escapes fallout

Oct 20, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - ISLAMIC banking has largely escaped the fallout from the global financial crisis, thanks to rules that forbid the sort of risky business that is felling mainstream institutions.

But experts say that because of its heavy reliance on property investments and private equity, the booming 1.0 trillion dollar global industry could be hit if the turmoil worsens and real assets start to crumble.

'In the current financial turmoil, it is interesting to note that Islamic financing may have prevented a majority of the mess created by the conventional banking and financial institutions,' Kuwait Finance House said in a report.

'The outlook for Islamic financing is bright and will likely take the lead in terms of providing funding for major projects as the conventional banking system revaluates its business model.'

The rules of Islamic banking and finance - which incorporate principles of sharia or Islamic law - read like a how-to guide on avoiding the kind of disaster that is currently gripping world markets.

Islamic law prohibits the payment and collection of interest, which is seen as a form of gambling, so highly complex instruments such as derivatives and other creative accounting practices are banned.

Transactions must be backed by real assets - not shady repackaged sub prime mortgages - and because risk is shared between the bank and the depositor there is an incentive for the institutions to ensure the deal is sound.

Investors have a right to know how their funds are being used, and the sector is overseen by dedicated supervisory boards as well as the usual national regulatory authorities.

'Islamic banking has, thus far, remained positive, despite the current challenging global financial environment,' said Mr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the central bank governor of Malaysia, which is Southeast Asia's leader in Islamic banking.

Mr Zeti said this month that because of the slowing global economy, plans for Islamic 'sukuk' bonds had been postponed or scrapped by companies including Kuwait's Abyaar Real Estate Development and Malaysia's Perisai Petroleum.

And Ms Jennifer Chang, a partner at Price water house Coopers in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, said that given the extent of the global crisis, Islamic banks may suffer damage despite their strong position.

'Islamic banks, especially in the Middle East, got heavily into private equity and real estate investments, and a lot of loans may be backed by properties. So if the property market goes down, there will be an impact,' she said.

'If a borrower is not able to pay then the bank will foreclose and the question is - can you sell the property in the market and at what value? These are issues which all banks can face.'

There have been calls for the conventional banking industry to take a leaf out of the book of Islamic finance, which also shuns investments in gaming, alcohol and pornography in favour of ethical investments.

Influential Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi earlier this month called on Muslims to take advantage of the turmoil to build an economic system compatible with Islamic principles.

'The collapse of the capitalist system based on usury and paper and not on goods traded on the market is proof that it is in crisis and shows that Islamic economic philosophy is holding up,' said the Egyptian-born, Qatar-based cleric.

In recent years the sector has broken out of its niche and been embraced by mainstream banks. As well as basic bank deposits and investment accounts, it has expanded into areas including equity funds, bonds and Islamic hedge funds.

Mr Abhishek Kumar, a senior research analyst at Financial Insights, a company under market research and analysis firm International Data Corp (IDC), said recent events may further boost the sector.

'More and more institutions will be interested in providing Islamic services to diversify their risk portfolio,' he said, while warning that in the current financial storm there were no absolutely safe harbours.

'We're not really sure what the real extent of the impact is, and whether we've passed the worst of it or not, But the extent is not going to be as bad as in the mainstream sector,' he said. – AFP Source:


Muslim woman cop in UK alleges bias

20 Oct 2008

LONDON: After three senior Asian officers recently filed racism charges against the London Metropolitan Police, a Muslim woman officer has taken her department (Met) to the employment tribunal saying she was bullied because of her colour and sex.

The complainant, Yasmin Rehman, 42, is the Met’s director of partnerships and diversity. She is responsible for upholding racial and religious diversity within the Met.

A copy of Rehman’s employment tribunal claim lodged with the tribunal and the Met and passed to The Sunday Times, reads: “A senior detective] stated she did not want the claimant to touch her coffee cup or ever make her coffee. This was soon after the July 2005 bombings and [the detectives reasons for saying this were apparently connected to the bombings.” Rehman, who joined the Met in March 2004, is a civilian and the most senior Muslim woman within the force, with a rank equivalent to chief superintendent. The documents say her treatment at the hands of her white colleagues became so unbearable she is off work with stress and has considered suicide.

        According to the documents, she says one female detective told her not even to touch her coffee cup because she was Muslim. At every turn her colour, religion and sex caused her to be “undermined, marginalised and excluded”, she claims. Source:


Islamic developing bank to give poor countries, Islamic mostly, 2 billion dollars to help cope with the world food crisis


- Malaysia Today, Britain Tomorrow - Part B

InvestTechFX, Mr. Saad, head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account recently was interviewed. Mr. Saad from InvestTechFX talked about the latest donations by the Islamic Developing Bank (IDB). Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free account, explained that the Islamic developing bank (IDB) is going to give poor countries, Islamic mostly, 2 billion dollars to make them cope with the world food crisis. According to InvestTechfx the bank has announced donations to the undeveloped countries.

Toronto, Canada (PRWEB) October 20, 2008 -- PART B: Recently Mr. Ali Saad, head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account at InvestTechFX, was interviewed. Mr. Saad was asked for his opinion about the latest involvement and donations by InvestTechFX customers and the Islamic Developing Bank (IDB). Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free account, explained that the Islamic developing bank (IDB) is going to give poor countries, Islamic mostly, 2 billion dollars to make them cope with the world food crisis. According to InvestTechfx the bank has announced donations to the undeveloped countries, most of them in Africa, including Senegal, Mauritania and Yemen.

According to Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free account, the bank announced that the funds was not made for emergency aid to cope with the lack of food or the rising of prices, but to fund seed purchasing and agricultural manure. Further more Mr. Saad said that the money will be used for research, to let the farmers improve the way they act and some of the research money will be used for genetic engineered growth. Growth food is controversial, but sum of the states like Uganda, starting to relate to the idea positively.

Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free account, explains that the season of plantation is close to an end in many states, and it brings fears to the agricultural and food organization manager of the UN (FAO). InvestTechFX the Islamic & Swap Free accounts department Mr. Saad explains that the FAO is demanding from the rich states to increase the crops and that the trading block will be removed, to help to the most hungry states in the world.

Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free account, explains that recently there was a food summit by the UN in Rome and the UN announced for another food aid that will cost 1.5 billion dollars to 60 states that has been injured from the cost of prices rise and there will be need of 20 billion dollars every year to increase the food produce and to fight the hunger.

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The Muslim capital market has been a local matter, deep in the Parisian Golf, now also enters Europe. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account said that Britain government has announced on her willing to produce 'sukuk' bounds, and the treasure office has made regulatory changes. Further more Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account said that the German district state has produced 'sukuk' bounds of it's own in 2004, and was the first European government that made it. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account said that the country hoped by the process to draw more investments in the Middle East. It was standing on 100 million Euros, but didn't produce another 'Sukuk'.

Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that even surprising competitors are interested of the big slice. Malaysia, the Muslim country, was strong and active in the market at the last decade, but now there are Asian states that are joining with a tiny Muslim population. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account said that Japan wants to be the first state in the G7 club which produces sovereigns 'sukuk' bounds, If Britain won't be the first. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that the governor of Hong-Kong wants to develop an Islamic bounds to magnify it's city's finance.

Mr. Ali Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that London is the strongest centre of the Islamic capital from the cities that outside the Muslim world. He also thinks that London will bit Malaysia and the rest of the Muslim world.

InvestTechFX- The Leading Forex Trading Company - Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account - London waits for the Islamic Forex Trading

Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account said that the strongest centre of the Islamic capital is London, between the cities that outside the Muslim world. London will bit Malaysia and the rest of the Muslim world. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account said that he believes that London got all the advantage of a traditional finance center, from a solid foundation and up to a power source of a quality job. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that Singapore also has trying to fit in this activity and she has her own advantages in Forex trading market, but in a low degree.

Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free, said that London is already enjoying from investors purchase that are loyal to the 'Shariah' law, whether they are companies or states who produce 'sukuk' bounds in London. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that London has also the benefit of the relativeness indifferent of New York to the Islamic capital.

Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that Forex annalists claim that the American Finance Capital doesn't have the strength to Islamic assets compare to other economic centers. Mr. Saad, InvestTechFX head of Forex Islamic Account & Forex Swap Free Account, said that in New York, the investors has shown so far an interest in the shares that connects to the 'Shariah' law, but not in the sukuk or in 'Takaful', the Islamic Insurance.



US diplomat visits Pakistan amid new violence


Oct 20, 2008

KHAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A top U.S. diplomat met with Pakistan's prime minister Monday as Pakistani security forces used artillery and fighter jets to kill seven suspected insurgents in the northwest tribal region, officials said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher's visit comes amid strains between the two nations over suspected American missile strikes on militant targets in Pakistani territory. Television footage showed him meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad. He also was expected to hold talks with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan has carried out its own offensives against insurgents in the northwest, which borders Afghanistan. Overnight, three suspected militants were killed by artillery fire in Bajur, a tribal region where the military has been battling insurgents since early August, government official Jamil Khan said.

Four more suspected insurgents were killed in airstrikes Monday morning, Khan said.

The military said nearly a month ago that it had killed more than 1,000 suspected militants in Bajur, but has not announced a new death toll since then. Officials also have not estimated civilian deaths, though Bajur residents have reported that many have been killed.

In the northwest's Swat Valley, the army media center raised the death toll from clashes the previous day to 25 suspected militants. The bombs hit an ammunition dump in the Barthana area, causing extensive damage.

The army center said it had no reports on civilian casualties there. But Anwer Ali, a Barthana resident, told The Associated Press in a phone interview the bombing by fighter jets had hit a house, killing a woman and two of her children.

Their bodies were recovered by villagers after the bombing stopped, Ali said.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor confirmed that Boucher was in Islamabad but would not provide details of his schedule other than to say he would meet a range of government and civil society leaders.

On Sunday, Boucher visited Peshawar, the main northwest city.

There, North West Frontier Province Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti told Boucher that the provincial government wants to "resolve all political problems through peaceful dialogue, but there wouldn't be any compromise on maintaining the writ of the government," a statement from Hoti's office said.

The U.S. has criticized previous peace deals with insurgents, saying they simply gave the extremists time to regroup.

Associated Press writers Zarar Khan and Nahal Toosi in Islamabad contributed to this report. Source:


Farrakhan speech lacks 'new beginning' specifics


October 19, 2008

CHICAGO - The event was billed as a "new beginning" by Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan.

But in a two hour speech before thousands at the Nation's Chicago headquarters, the 75-year-old leader did not specifically outline a change in direction or shift in leadership for the movement.

The themes that recurred were a return to tenets of orthodox Islam, which does not have a racial basis, while still maintaining an adherence to Black Nationalism, which the Nation has long espoused.

Farrakhan, who has haltingly tried to move the Nation toward orthodox Islam, has walked the line between both over the past few years and did so again on Sunday.

In referencing the late Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, Farrakhan said, "he taught what you could call a black theology. That turned a lot of people off. But they don't know what happened to us."

He later said, "There’s a oneness of God and the oneness of humanity."

Sunday's event comes just weeks after the death of Imam W.D. Mohammed, son of the late Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, who eventually broke with the movement after his father's death. He was credited with moving thousands of African-Americans toward mainstream Islam and widely considered one of the greatest Islamic leaders in North America.

A successor for his movement, which is highly decentralized and involves mosques nationwide, has not been publicly named.

Experts say Sunday's speech could be an attempt for Farrakhan to gain some of W.D. Mohammed's prominence and followers.

"The fact that he's died ... has left a certain vacuum among the leadership among the African-American communities," said Jimmy Jones, a religion professor at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. He added the Nation of Islam might "court" those followers.

Others experts say the rare event, which was open to the public and offered a glimpse into the generally secretive group, shows how the Nation has been reaching out to other races and ethnic groups in recent years.

"They are moving more diligently, more conspicuously into advocating for the community," said Aminah McCloud, a professor of Islamic studies at DePaul University in Chicago.

For example, the group has designated a Latino liaison and Nation of Islam members often participate in immigrant rights events.

At one such gathering in 2006, the Minister Ishmael Muhammad, an assisting minister at Mosque Maryam and widely considered to be Farrakhan's potential successor addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English.

He told the crowd that all people, "whether they are black, brown, white, yellow or red," should live without borders and "that we are all children of God."

Whether the speech will result in a shift of direction for the Nation, which has been marked by numerous factions and divisions since it was founded in the 1930s, remains unclear.

The Nation has often made public announcements which haven't materialized.

For one, in 2006 Farrakhan handed over leadership of the organization to an executive board while he recuperated from severe complications due to prostate cancer. Months later he gave a speech in Detroit that was billed his final public address.

But earlier this year, Nation of Islam officials told The Associated Press that Farrakhan was back in control. He has since made several public appearances and done lecture series at the mosque.

Associated Press writer Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report. Source:,0,645240.story


Earlier report

The Nation of Islam plans multi-faith dialogue in a ‘new beginning’

October 19, 2008

Chicag:The Nation of Islam, a secretive movement generally closed to outsiders, has planned a rare open-to-the public event at its Chicago-based headquarters in what the Minister Louis Farrakhan deemed a "new beginning" for the group. Hundreds of religious leaders of different faiths have been invited to the event planned for tomorrow, a rededication of the group's historic Mosque Maryam on the city's South Side. Farrakhan, 75, has tried to play down some of the group's more controversial beliefs. The Nation of Islam has taught that whites are descended from the devil and that blacks are the chosen people of Allah.



Pakistani aircraft pound Swat valley

October 20, 2008

Authorities in Pakistan say government aircraft have attacked a rebel position in the north-western Swat Valley, killing at least 25 militants and destroying an ammunition dump.

The attack in the Matta district occurred as America's top South Asia diplomat is visiting Islamabad for talks.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher has already met a number of senior Pakistan officials, and is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani on Monday.

Relations between the two countries have been strained by a series of cross border raids conducted by US-led forces.



40 militants said killed in Pakistan as US diplomat visits

Oct 19, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Pakistani forces killed about 40 Taliban militants on Sunday, security officials said, as the top US diplomat for South Asia visited the volatile country for talks.

US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher met Pakistani officials after a series of US missile strikes into Pakistan's tribal regions that have strained bilateral relations.

Ties between the "war on terror" allies have also been tested by US Special Forces in Afghanistan launching a raid into Pakistan last month that killed several Pakistanis.

Boucher's visit was for "routine talks planned in advance," the US embassy said without giving further details.

He met interior ministry chief Rehman Malik on Saturday for "cordial and friendly" discussions, according to Pakistani officials, and was scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday.

It was unclear whether he would meet with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan is facing major economic problems as well as rising attacks by Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban militants, and has been seeking support from allies to stabilise the country.

The US says insurgents striking international troops in Afghanistan are based in Pakistan's border tribal belt, and has stepped up its missile attacks since a new civilian government came to power in Islamabad in March.

Zardari has vowed zero tolerance against violations of his country's sovereignty amid the attacks, which have stoked anti-US sentiment in Pakistan.

In the latest clashes of Pakistan's own military operations against Islamic militants, jets bombed a hideout in the north-western Swat valley, killing two rebel commanders and about 25 other men, officials said.

The two rebel leaders killed in the air strike were closely associated with pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah, a security official said, adding an ammunition dump at the hideout had exploded.

The official said that intelligence had indicated a large militant gathering in the area, a stronghold of extremists loyal to Fazlullah, who has declared a jihad or holy war against the government.

Also in Swat on Sunday three militants and a soldier were killed in a Taliban attack on a security forces convoy, a separate security official said.

The mountainous Swat valley was until last year a popular tourist destination where many Pakistani city dwellers went for their annual holidays.

In the tribal district of Bajaur, which borders Afghanistan, a combined land and air assault killed at least 10 Al-Qaeda linked Taliban militants.

The casualties occurred in fighting which began late Saturday after militants fired at troop positions, a security official told AFP.

The United Nations refugee agency recently said almost 190,000 people had been displaced from the Bajaur region in recent fighting.

Pakistan's military said in late September that the fighting had killed at least 1,000 militants since early August.



100 feared dead in Swat aerial blitz

October 20, 2008

By Delawar Jan & Musa Khankhel

PESHAWAR/MINGORA: Some 100 people, including militants, were feared dead and scores of others injured when jet fighters targeted Barthana village in the militant-infested Matta Tehsil of Swat Valley on Sunday.

Confirmed reports, however, said at least 30 people, including 25 militants, were killed and scores of others injured in the air strike on Sunday morning in Barthana area. Dozens of houses were flattened by the bombardment and efforts were on to retrieve the dead and injured from the rubble by the local people.

After receiving tip-off about the presence of militants in Barthana village, the security forces targeted it from jet fighters. Though there were conflicting reports about the number of casualties due to suspension of communication system, there were confirmed reports of 30 casualties.

A press release of the ISPR-run Swat Media Centre (SMC) claimed that 25 militants were killed in the attack. It said that the forces also destroyed the Hujra of a militant commander, Alamgir, which was being used as a den in Barthana area of the Matta Tehsil, besides the destruction of an ammunition depot.

Spokesman for the Swat chapter of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Muslim Khan, told The News from an undisclosed location that they had retrieved more than 30 bodies from the rubble of the houses.

He said that 35 houses had been destroyed in the aerial strike and dozens of people were still feared to be stranded under the rubble. However, he was quick to claim that none of the Taliban fighters had been killed in the attack and all the victims were civilians, mostly children and women.

“Jets hit a house in Barthana, killing scores of people. While the people were engaged in retrieving the bodies of the people when jets reappeared and attacked the rescuers,” he alleged.

Some reports suggested that 100 people, including Taliban fighters and their commanders, were killed. Local sources said that 15 civilians, including women and children, also died in the attack while another 35 sustained serious injuries. A mosque and several shops were also destroyed in the bombing.

Sources told The News that a linesman, Adam Khan and six members of his family, four persons of another linesman Mian Gul’s family, 10 members of Ghulam Rabbani’s family and six of a family in the nearby Pishtonai and Qawi area were killed in the blitzkrieg.

In a separate incident, a soldier and three militants were killed in exchange of fire following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on the security forces’ convoy in Sarsinai area of the adjoining Kabal Tehsil.

The militants attacked a convoy of the security forces with IED but they suffered no casualty. Following the blast, an exchange of fire between the insurgents and the security forces took place in which, according to the SMC, three militants, including the operator of the IED, were gunned down while a soldier also died in the incident.

In the same area, two children, Irfan and Shagufta, were killed and six others, including two women, injured when their houses were hit by mortar shells. Meanwhile, Cheena Market comprising 1,200 shops remained closed for the second straight day on Sunday in the wake of threats to owners to stop women from shopping or the whole market would be blown up.

The militants blew up a tourist resort owned by central leader of the Awami National Party and former federal minister, Afzal Khan Lala, in Jali Gudar area of the Matta Tehsil. In Totano Bandai, the militants fired seven rockets at a checkpost of the security forces but no human and material loss was reported in the incident.



Sydney's eternal message crosses the religious divide

October 20, 2008

WHEN the British-born graffiti artist Mohammed Ali received an invitation to come to Australia, he began looking for a way to connect his pioneering street art with something that would resonate here.

Ali - whose name has no connection with the famous American boxer - was amazed to discover the work of Arthur Stace, the reformed alcoholic who for 35 years emblazoned "eternity" in copperplate script on Sydney's pavements.

"It meant my kind of spiritual public message is nothing new to Sydney," he said. "I am continuing in Stace's footsteps."

Calling into Sydney last week on his way to the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Ali gave a striking demonstration of his unique blend of street art and Islamic sacred text to students at the Al-Ghazzali Centre in Lakemba.

He produced a four-by-two-metre painting that features the Sydney Harbour Bridge and blends Stace's signature graphic with the Arabic phrase "As-Samad", which loosely corresponds to "the eternal".

But Ali was not always so dedicated to producing what he calls "universal spiritual messages".

He grew up in Birmingham, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, and as a youth found himself torn between an Islamic upbringing and the city's thriving club scene.

"I was not observant. My lifestyle was pretty unIslamic, going out, music, all my friends were DJs and MCs," he recalls.

He felt a misfit at his selective school, one of only a handful of Muslims in the overwhelmingly Anglo student body. Graffiti was a way of making his mark on the world - literally.

But while others were happy tagging their names on bus shelters, he was drawn to more. "For me it was always about adding colour," he says. "We would call our work 'pieces', short for masterpieces. I would find the ugliest wall in town and resolve to turn it into a piece of art.

"I would be on the bus the next morning and see everybody's heads turning, looking at it, and I would think, 'Yeah … I have enhanced part of their daily life.' "

Now aged 30, he no longer works in the dead of night. He stopped "creating art without permission" eight years ago, after rediscovering his faith at Leicester University in Britain.

He says he was "blown away" to find out how much traditional Islamic art was based on beautifying the word of God as set out in the Koran.

Now he has found a way to fuse that with street art.

It proved to be an easy evolution for him. "Graffiti artists have an obsession with words. We are forever playing with them, finding ways to link one letter into the other."

The joy of all that is intensified, he says, when the artist uses Arabic script. "It is a majestic, elegant, fluid script. They say it is the 'geometry of the soul'."

These days Ali, who also works under the moniker Aerosol Arabic, is mostly welcomed with open arms by civic authorities, and in Melbourne will be working on a mural in the city's heart with the Muslim women's group Crooked Rib.

His Sydney work will be given to the Australian Catholic University as an "interfaith gift".

The university's gallery co-ordinator, Lachlan Warner, said the painting would be an "important contemporary addition" to the university's collection, which would reinvigorate Stace's original message.

He described the work as "very strong and beautifully executed".

Ali maintains that his art is a direct rebuttal of the clash of civilisations. "It is graffiti, the most Western art form you can think of, together with Islamic script. Looking at it you wouldn't see any clash - it's taking the best of both those worlds."



Fighting for the American Muslim through documentary

BRIAN PETER - Staff Writer

Buffalo University: Students who gathered in Clemens Hall Wednesday evening were offered a rare look into an often misunderstood person in the community: the American Muslim.

The UB Intercultural and Diversity Center, along with the Asian Studies Program, introduced independent filmmaker Mara Ahmed and her documentary The Muslims I Know.

Much of the film is devoted to having Muslims, mostly those living in the Rochester area, share their values and beliefs on America and the Islamic extremists that they say so badly misrepresent them.

Ahmed, a former financial analyst, also interviewed non-Muslims who voiced their questions and concerns about the Muslim community.

"It was important to have a dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims," Ahmed said.

According to Ahmed, who financed much of the film, the main purpose of the project was to change the unfair perception Muslims, especially those living in America. She believes much of that perception is due to slanted reporting by the media aiming to garner ratings through fear.

"Sometimes I think after the death of communism...we needed this kind of huge monster," Ahmed said. "We were very confused for a while because for a while there was no monster, and now I feel that it is Islam."

The beginning of the film examines many of the images Ahmed sees as examples of the media depicting Muslims as one homogenous group—men with rifles parading through the streets, a woman wearing a burqa concealed head to toe except for her eyes, and Osama bin Laden.

Many American Muslims who speak in the film are concerned by these images, feeling that the media lumped together all Muslims as terrorists or supporters of terrorism. Ahmed said she was troubled that the media rarely mentioned that most Muslim organizations released statements denouncing the attacks on Sept. 11.

According to Ahmed, the film tries to combat this idea by including Muslims engaging in everyday activities that are often not included in the media.

Scenes of a family sitting at a dinner table, a girl on a swingset at a playground, and boys playing football embraced classic slices of Americana to show the audience that these people could be their neighbours, the filmmaker said.

Muslims in the film expressed concern that Americans misunderstood the wearing of burqas and other traditional Islamic garb by Muslim women as a notion that the women are repressed. Ahmed interviewed Muslim women who explained that Muslim women differ in what they wear as their own personal interpretation of a provision in the Quran to dress moderately.

The film was followed by a round of applause and a lengthy discussion.

"I saw some aspects of Muslim life I wasn't used to," said Amanda Kaczmarek, a junior linguistics major. "I definitely agree there should be more dialogue."

Some of those in the audience were critical of parts of the film.

"There are Muslims who disagree with U.S. foreign policy who are very religious, but are also not extremists," said Sam Fleming, a sophomore Asian studies major. "I think [the film] didn't go into that issue."

Fleming was alluding to the fact that most Muslims interviewed were of high socioeconomic status, spoke fluent English, and wholeheartedly embraced American values.

Ahmed acknowledged that this was deliberate and admitted that not all types of Muslims were represented in the documentary. She sought to use the film as a starting point for Muslims and non-Muslims in America to connect, converse, and better understand each other.

Ahmed believes a few things need to happen before the inaccurate portrayal of Muslims can be broken. She said that Americans need to do their own research and go out of their way to seek information from actual Muslims, not TV pundits.

Ahmed also called on Muslims to do their part.

"Every Muslim in America should be an ambassador for their religion," Ahmed said.

A list of screenings for The Muslims I Know can be found at Source:


Jihad Community Puts on Show for Soldiers, Local Leaders

By Capt. Jeffrey Tounge

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq - Iraqi Security Forces and local leaders organized a community event at the Jihad Neighborhood Council building in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, coordinated with local leaders and residents to hold a banner contest for Iraqi adults and children in the West Rashid neighbourhood.

"The banner contest was a great opportunity for the community to show its support," said Capt. Michael Garling, commander of Company E, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div. "The songs, prayers and play were a welcomed addition to the day. It showcased the strength of the Jihad community.

Capt. Michael Garling, commander of Company E, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, stands with Iraqi Security Forces, community leaders and residents of the Jihad neighborhood together after an event in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The Iraqis competed in a banner contest to show their support for the ISF.(U.S. Army photo contributed by the 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

The contest started as a small idea and grew into a complete production of song, dance and support for local community strength and perseverance, said Garling, a native of Albany, N.Y.

The theme of the contest was community support for local Iraqi Security Forces.

Sid Wasil, a leader from the Jihad Neighborhood Council, invited many children and residents of Jihad to participate in the contest with a reward for the individuals with the most creative and inspiring banner.

Staff Brig. Gen. Bahaa Noori Yaseen, commander of 5th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division, and Staff Col. Ali, commander of 1st Battalion, 53rd Brigade, 14th Iraqi Army Division, attended the event as judges in the competition.

The morning started with a song and prayer from a group of community children, followed by a poem written by a thirteen-year-old girl whose parents were killed during terrorist attacks. The audience was emotionally touched by the poem and showed tremendous compassion toward the young orphaned child.

The play performed by the children demonstrated a united Iraq, showing a Sunni group and a Shia group arguing with each other. During the altercation, a child, acting as a terrorist, snuck up and planted an explosive device.

The group stopped their bickering and, together, they called the IA. The IA came running onto the scene and arrested the terrorist. The children erupted into song and dance in a circle around an Iraqi flag.

It was a festive atmosphere, said 1st Lt. Casey Staker, intelligence officer assigned to Co. E, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.

"The kids did a play and sang some songs for the audience," said Staker, a Cincinnati-native.

Children and adults of all ages created colorful banners depicting their support for the ISF. The banners that placed in the top three won a monetary reward for their outstanding work, said Staker, adding that all the participants in the contest received soccer balls and soccer jerseys.

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