New Age Islam
Tue Jun 25 2024, 08:09 AM

Islamic World News ( 12 Oct 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Jammu-Valley Hindu-Muslim love story ends in tragedy

Suicide blast in Pakistan kills over 40, injures 46

Pakistani Police Had Warned Army about a Raid

Death sentences for China rioters

Lahore HC dismisses anti-terror FIR against Hafiz Saeed

Honour killing girl 'wanted love'

Aceh outrage over Miss Indonesia

Arabs for Israel: meet the Egyptian woman who campaigns against Sharia

Muslims in U.S. feel unfairly implicated in the war on terror

Trying to sell antiques with Quran verses, four held

Christian Girl Attacked for saying she’s Pakistani

Kashmir Valley Muslims open doors to public to share culture

How one US Muslim sees her government's war on terrorism

California artist contemplates Islam's holy book

Pak bombs Taliban hideouts in South Waziristan; ground offensive 'imminent'

Next on terror hit list: Pak’s nuke installations

America may pay Afghan fighters to ditch Taliban

Huge fraud in Afghan vote: UN official

In Kashmir Valley asylum, long wait to go home

Israel, U S to hold key missile exercise amid nuclear row with Iran

Pakistan's Offensive, Afghanistan's Risk

Pakistan Rangers gets first officer from Sikh community

Afghan message to India: do not be deterred

Pak ISI station chief in Delhi dies of electrocution

GHQ attack reactions: Entire nation stands united with army against terrorists

Taliban attack on Pak GHQ was planned in South Waziristan: ISPR chief

LONDON: 'HQ attack signals terror threat is up'

Sudanese to hang over US killing

Iranians demand loan of treasure

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau




Jammu-Valley love story ends in tragedy

Ishfaq Naseem

Oct 10, 2009

Jammu: A seven-year love story of a Muslim girl from Kashmir and a Hindu boy from Jammu has ended in tragedy: the boy is dead and the girl — now his wife — has accused police of colluding with her family to kill him. Two policemen have been suspended and a third transferred, and the administration is struggling to put a lid on simmering tension that has already seen two senior officials being manhandled by mobs.

On October 6, Jammu businessman Rajneesh Sharma was found hanging in a cell in Srinagar’s Ram Munshi Bagh police station. He had been picked up from his brother Pawan Sharma’s home in Rehari in Jammu on October 2 by policemen who apparently mistook him for Pawan.

The Srinagar administration ordered a magisterial inquiry into the custodial death, and an autopsy was conducted. However, after the Sharma brothers’ mother Raj Rani identified the body as Rajneesh’s, a second autopsy was done at the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu.

Rajneesh’s wife Anchal — who used to be called Amina earlier — told Jammu Deputy Commissioner Manoj Dwivedi today that she believed her family in the Valley had a hand in her husband’s death. “My father and brothers have killed my husband... you hang them,” she shouted, distraught. She accused her family in Kashmir of lying when they said she was underage, and declared she had married Rajneesh of her free will.

“When I left the Valley, my mother knew I was going to Jammu to get married. She prepared food for the journey,” Anchal told The Indian Express. “My family bribed the police, spent money to get my husband killed,” she alleged.

According to Anchal, she first met Rajneesh seven years ago — when she was 20. He used to visit Kashmir in connection with his aluminium fabrication business. “We met in Gulmarg. We would meet in restaurants, and stayed in touch on cell phones. Finally, we decided to marry,” she said. They were married in an Arya Samaj temple on August 21.

The same day, Anchal’s father Mohammad Yousuf filed a report with the Nehru Park police post in the Valley saying his 17-year-old daughter Amina was missing. On August 25, the police registered a case of kidnapping of a minor, and zeroed in on Rajneesh and Pawan through cell phone records. According to police, the family of Amina/Anchal told them they knew the brothers, who would frequently stay at their houseboat.

With the help of their counterparts in Jammu, the Srinagar police located Rajneesh in Rehari. However, it seems that when the police arrived, Rajneesh pretended he was Pawan. He was brought to Ram Munshi Bagh police station, where he, according to an initial probe by the police, hanged himself with a pheran.

The Sharmas alleged foul play and refused to cremate the body, demanding the registration of a case of murder, and the arrest of the policemen. Two policemen and the SHO of Ram Munshi Bagh police station have been taken off their posts.

Today, a mob gheraoed Deputy Commissioner Diwedi outside the Sharma home. His deputy Rohit Khajuria was manhandled. The officers were finally rescued by SP City Randeep Kumar and SDPO Swatantar Arora.

In the evening, senior civil and police officers met with the family in the presence of prominent Jammu citizens at the police control room. The administration agreed to a cash compensation and jobs for two members of the family. The family agreed to cremate Rajneesh tomorrow.



A suicide blast in Pakistan kills over 32, injure 46

Oct 12, 2009

Hangla, NWF, Pakistan – October 12, 2009 – /IR Summary/Aljazeera Net –

In a suicide blast carried out by a Taliban faction on foot in a suicide bomb on Monday, around 32 people were killed of whom 28 civilians and 4 were from a security unit, and 46 injured, 6 from forces, of whom one is serious, which targeted military in Shangla, a district bordering Swat valley in North West of NWF, Pakistan, as per Major Mushtaq Khan, a spokesman at the military run Swat Media Centre.

Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility on Monday for that attack, saying "it was carried out by our Punjab unit".

The fact remains that Pak government has no clear idea about the real strength of Taliban militants and have no clear strategy how to deal with them militants who are residing in southern Punjab. Pak has no proper idea how much Taliban have concentrated their power within that area?

This suicide attack seems to be the result of Pak’s rescuing operation in Rawalpindi, Pak Army had sent commandos on Sunday to storm an office and rescue dozens of its own security officials taken captive after an attack on the general army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Fazllulah Khan, the Member of Parliament from Shangla, confirmed the toll, but said on the private Geo television channel that his information suggested that the suicide bomber drove an explosives-packed car into the convoy.

"The target was a security convoy near an army check post. This is a crowded bazaar and a lot of people were present at that time," he said.

Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility on Monday for that attack, saying "it was carried out by our Punjab unit".

The Pakistani air force was quick to respond with bombings targeting suspected Taliban fighters in South Waziristan.

"The jets hit and destroyed two of their hideouts in Makeen and Ladha and we have a total of about 16 militants killed," a unnamed Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters news agency.

But the military has been conducting air and artillery raids in South Waziristan for months, while moving troops, blockading the region and trying to split armed opposition to Islamabad's authority.

Rehman Malik, the Pakistani interior minister, said in an interview in Singapore that a ground offensive was "imminent".

"There is no mercy for them because our determination and resolve is to flush them out," he said.

"They have no room in Pakistan, I promise you."

Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist, Lead Man of God believers, World Peace & Earth Saving Mission, (WP&ESM) said in New Delhi that Pakistan has been encouraging Taliban for a very long time to operate against india and Afghanistan and today Pakistan is paying the price. It is still time when India and Pakistan should improve their bilateral relations rather than expanding their enmity. More



Death sentences for China rioters

Urumqi has been under heavy security since the July riots

A Chinese court has sentenced six people to death for murder and other crimes during ethnic riots in Xinjiang region in July, state media have said.

Nearly 200 people were killed during the riots between ethnic Uighurs and members of China's dominant Han group.

A seventh person received a life sentence, the official Xinhua news agency said.

These are the first convictions relating to the riots - the worst ethnic clashes in China for decades.

The six sentenced to death at the Intermediate People's Court in Urumqi - Xinjiang's capital - were reported to be Abdukerim Abduwayit, Gheni Yusup, Abdulla Mettohti, Adil Rozi, Nureli Wuxiu'er, and Alim Metyusup.

As well as murder, state media reported that they were convicted of other crimes ranging from arson, leading mobs and causing "economic loss".

Rising tensions

Tayirejan Abulimit was given the lesser punishment of life imprisonment because he admitted to charges of murder and robbery and helped the police capture Alim Metyusup.

Footage of the rioting between Uighurs and Han in July

The government says most of those killed in the riots were Han Chinese, but the exile activist group the World Uighur Congress (WUC) claims many Uighurs were also killed.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the WUC, said the trial had been a sham.

"The whole process lacked transparency and was unfair. They were not given any kind of legal aid," he told Reuters news agency.

"Uighurs have no protection under the law."

A protest by Uighurs in Urumqi erupted into violence on 5 July, leaving at least 197 people killed and another 1,700 injured.

Shops were smashed and vehicles set alight and passers-by set upon by rioters.

'Heavy police presence'

Hundreds of people were detained after the violence and, according to Xinhua, 21 people have been charged.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville says 14 people are still waiting to be tried.

"It is a very long way from Beijing but it is one of the most heavily policed parts of the country," our correspondent says.

"The security forces are really keeping the peace between these two ethnic populations in that part of China."

Further ethnic unrest in Xinjiang was provoked in August by a wave of attacks with hypodermic syringes that many Han blamed on Uighurs.

Growing tensions

The initial protest in July was over an earlier fight in a toy factory in Guangdong province - on the other side of China - that left two Uighurs dead and 14 others seriously injured.

On Saturday a court in Guangdong sentenced Xiao Jianhua to death and Xu Qiqi to a life sentence for their roles in the factory brawl.

The riots broke out in the western region of Xinjiang in July

Nine others were jailed for sentences of between five to eight years for the violence at the Xuri Toy Factory.

Tensions between the mainly-Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang and Han have been growing in recent years. Millions of Han have moved to the region in recent decades.

Many Uighurs want more autonomy and rights for their culture and religion - Islam - than is allowed by China's strict centrist rule.

According to a government white paper on Xinjiang, released last month, the July riots were caused by Uighur separatists promoting an independent "East Turkestan".

It also noted that during the violence 331 shops and 1,325 motor vehicles were destroyed or burned with many public facilities also attacked.



Honour killing girl 'wanted love'

Tulay Goren's body has never been found

A teenager allegedly murdered by her father in a so-called "honour killing" hated her family and wanted to run away, a court has heard.

Tulay Goren, 15, a Kurdish Turk from Woodford Green, north London, vanished in 1999 and her body has never been found, the Old Bailey has been told.

Her boyfriend at the time, Halil Unal, 41, told the jury she said she wanted "a man who will love me and marry me".

Her father Mehmet Goren, 49, denies murdering her.

Tulay's uncles Cuma Goren, 42, and Ali Goren, 55, both from Walthamstow, east London, also deny her murder.

State benefits

Mr Unal gave evidence from behind a screen about a conversation he had with Tulay at a clothing factory.

He was working at the factory as a supervisor, when Tulay began a summer job there in 1998.

He told the court that Tulay said she was constantly under pressure from her father.

She told him that she and her father used to go together to the post office to collect state benefits and then her father would use the money to gamble with.

I am looking for a man who will love me and marry me

Tulay Goren

Mr Unal told the court: "She said, 'I hate my family and I want to run away from that house.

"'I am looking for a man who will love me and marry me'."

He recalled the time he met Tulay at Stratford bus station, in east London after she had been beaten.

"I saw that she had bruising to her eye.

"She told me that her father tortured her and beat her and that her uncle Cuma was pressuring her."

"I said 'all this will pass, don't worry'."

'Mutual love'

Mr Unal, who came to the UK in 1992, said Tulay had told him she was 17.

"Tulay said 'age isn't important, what is important is mutual love'."

Mr Unal spoke with Tulay everyday on the phone after her summer job ended.

"She was saying that she loved me very much. She said 'I want to be with you'."

He said he wanted "start a family" with Tulay and asked her mother, who worked at the factory, for her daughter's hand in marriage but was told that Tulay was promised to an uncle's son in Switzerland.

Mr Unal said: "I have been waiting for 10 years for this case to be brought about and I am very happy and at peace at the fact that I am here today."

'Restore honour'

He said in December 1998 Mehmet Goren went to the factory, attacked him and asked him to stop "bothering" his daughter.

Tulay was last seen alive on 7 January 1999 with her father, of Navestock Crescent, Woodford Green, who is alleged to have killed her later that day.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said Tulay was killed "to restore the so-called honour" of the family, who originate from Turkey.

The court heard Mr Unal was brought up as a Sunni Muslim while the Gorens were from the Alevi branch of the faith.

While they came from places no more than 60 miles apart in Turkey, a relationship between the sects "would not have been tolerated".

The trial continues.



Lahore HC dismisses anti-terror FIR against Hafiz Saeed

Oct 12, 2009

The Lahore High Court on Monday ordered the case against Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind behind the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, to be disposed off, saying the country’s anti-terror laws did not apply to him.

Saeed’s lawyer A K Dogar said the case against his client was weak as it lacked credible evidence.

“There is no evidence against Saeed. My client was wrongly accused of terror,” Dogar told a private news television channel.

He added that all notions regarding Saeed’s involvement in terror activities, and particularly in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, were false.

“He (Saeed) would be the last person to carry out a terror attack,” Dogar said.

Dogar also said that he was convinced that there was a difference between the type of Islam the Taliban espousing and what the Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD) was promoting, adding that those who followed Islam with piety and humility, including the Taliban would soon see the benefit of joining hands with the JuD and end their terrorist and insurgent ways.

Earlier, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik had given an indication as to how the matter would proceed when he claimed that there wasn’t enough evidence against Saeed, and that Islamabad would not be dictated to by India in this regard.

In an interview to The Daily Times, Malik had blamed New Delhi for the delay into the 26/11 probe, and said that Pakistan has done enough to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Whatever we had committed with India, we have done it... in terms of bringing the accused to justice. We arrested the mastermind, it is another thing that they (India) are changing their statements,” Malik said.

“First the Indians were saying that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was the mastermind and then they started pointed fingers at Hafiz Saeed. It is an organized kind of campaign against Pakistan to counter and divert attention from Kashmir and the water issue,” he added.

Pakistan had even rejected the sixth dossier received from India, saying that the contents provided in it were not enough to arrest or prosecute Saeed in a court of law and had asked New Delhi to provide more evidence in connection with the case.



Pakistani Police Had Warned Army About a Raid

By JANE PERLEZ, October 11, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The mastermind of the militant assault on Saturday that shook the heart of the Pakistani military was behind two other major attacks in the last two years, and the police had specifically warned the military in July that such an audacious raid was being planned, police and intelligence officials said Sunday.

The revelation of prior warning was sure to intensify scrutiny of Pakistan’s ability to fight militants, after nine men wearing army uniforms breached the military headquarters complex in Rawalpindi and held dozens hostage for 20 hours until a commando raid ended the siege. In all, 16 people were killed, including eight of the attackers, the military said.

The surviving militant, who was captured early Sunday morning, was identified as Muhammad Aqeel, who officials said was a former soldier and the planner of this attack and others. Mr. Aqeel, who is also known as Dr. Usman because he had once worked with the Army Medical Corps before dropping out about four years ago, is believed to be a member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant group affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.

The army has been promising to fight back against the fierce Taliban insurgency holed up in the tribal region of South Waziristan amid pressure from the Obama administration, which is about to secure a major aid package that would give $1.5 billion a year to the government here.

The attack on the headquarters was a signal that the Taliban insurgency had penetrated deeply into Punjab Province, where the military headquarters are located, and was no longer confined to the wild tribal areas that serve as the operational center for the Pakistani Taliban.

The militant leader, Mr. Aqeel, led the commando operation against the Sri Lankan cricket team during its visit to Lahore earlier this year, according to a senior police officer in Punjab involved in the investigation into that assault. He was also behind the suicide bombing that killed the army surgeon general in 2008, military officials said.

In a warning to the authorities in July, the criminal investigation department of the police in Punjab said the militants who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in March would make a similar kind of assault on military headquarters. The warning, contained in a letter to the leading intelligence agencies, predicted militants would dress in military uniforms and would try to take hostages at the headquarters.

The contents of the letter were published in the Oct. 5 editions of a leading newspaper, The News, and were confirmed Sunday by a senior official of the criminal investigation department.

Full Report at:


Aceh outrage over Miss Indonesia

By Karishma Vaswani

October 12th, 2009

Clerics in Indonesia's conservative Muslim province of Aceh say they are outraged that an Acehnese woman has won the title of Miss Indonesia.

Qori Sandioriva, 18, won the Miss Indonesia title on Friday, beating 37 other contestants for the crown.

The clerics say that by failing to wear a veil during the competition she has betrayed her Acehnese roots and brought shame to the province.

Aceh has special autonomy in Indonesia and has implemented partial Sharia law.

It is the only province in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, that follows these laws.

Qori Sandioriva was born in Jakarta but has an Acehnese mother. Thanks to her mother's connection to the province she was able to enter the competition as Miss Aceh.

But Islamic clerics in Aceh say she has misrepresented her region.

They say she should have worn a veil during the competition, in keeping with the traditions of her mother's province.

Teung-ku Faisal Ali, the secretary general of Aceh's Ulama Association, told the BBC that anyone who represents Aceh must uphold the province's values.

He said Qori Sandioriva did not wear a veil during the competition and therefore did not represent the Acehnese people, who have strong Islamic faith and values.

When asked about not wearing a veil during the competition, Ms Sandiorova said she believed hair is beauty, and that she is proud of beauty.

The controversy is likely to return next year when she goes on to compete in the Miss Universe contest where she will have to don a swimsuit as part of the pageant.



Arabs for Israel: meet the Egyptian woman who campaigns against Sharia

October 12th, 2009

I recently met an Egyptian writer called Nonie Darwish, the founder of the unlikely sounding Arabs for Israel. What makes her story so amazing is that her father was a senior Egyptian military leader (and founder of the Palestinian Fedayeen) who was killed by the Israelis, and Darwish had grown up being taught to hate Jews. But after Israeli doctors saved her brother from a stroke, and seeing the disastrous influence of Sharia law on Muslim countries, she is now a staunch supporter of the Jewish state and a Christian. Here is the interview, from this week’s Catholic Herald (the original can be found here):

Slight of build and dressed in the stylish manner of the European-influenced Arab middle class, Nonie Darwish could be any wealthy Levantine in Paris or west London.

But behind the veneer of Egyptian elegance is a one-woman anti-jihad machine, a Christian convert from Islam, founder of a group called Former Muslims United and author of two books highly critical of Sharia law, Arab policy towards Israel and Islamists’ ambitions for global conquest.

Darwish is often compared to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch feminist, but whereas Ali is an atheist who stands up for Europe’s “Enlightenment values” against Islam, Darwish is a Christian who believes “that Judeo-Christian culture produces healthier, happier and more just societies, whereas Islamic culture produces tyrannical regimes and oppression”.

As a result her life is in danger. Is there any specific death threat, I ask, when we meet in central London.

“I’m not aware of a fatwa, but my life is in danger,” she says with a shrug. “Just like anyone who speaks about the nature of Islam.”

And Islamic fundamentalists have every reason to hate her. She is regularly attacked on the front pages of Egyptian newspapers, where she is called a “traitor”. She campaigns against Sharia law and against those who threaten apostates. She is a regular on the lecture circuit, where she criticises Arab foreign policy.

And perhaps even more irritating for many back home, she is the founder of the oxymoronic-sounding group Arabs for Israel, and has written two books with subtitles that need little explanation: Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror, and the recently published Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Sharia Law.

And what makes the story so amazing is that she is the daughter of the godfather of the Palestinian resistance movement.

Born and raised in Cairo, she grew up in Gaza, where her father, Lt General Mustafa Hafez, was head of the Egyptian army’s intelligence in Gaza, and founder of the Fedayeen, the paramilitary force that killed over 400 Israelis in the early 1950s. Although, as she points out, with a look of fierce loyalty: “At that point the Fedeyeen did not do suicide bombings.”

But in 1956, when Nonie was just eight, the Israeli Defence Force killed her father, who was proclaimed a martyr by President Nasser, who then asked his children: “Which one of you will avenge your father’s death by killing Jews?”

Darwish explains that she always blamed Israel for his death and grew up pledging jihad against Egypt’s neighbour.

But she also lived in two different worlds. Being from an educated, middle-class family, she attended a British Catholic school and an American university, and got to experience the last days of cosmopolitan, secular Egypt, just as President Nasser’s disastrous Arab nationalism drove out the ancient communities of Greeks, Italians, Armenians and Jews.

“The British were able to separate mosque and state. We got used to that, and it took us two decades to go back to our roots,” she says. “When the British were in Egypt for 70 years we had incredible reforms for human rights, minorities were protected, and there was a feminist movement protected by the British. In 1919 Egyptian feminist Hoda Shaarawi visited Europe and when she returned to Alexandria and arrived at the railway station, she threw off her headscarf, along with 20 other women from the upper class. It was a huge event, and that was why my grandmother and mother never wore a hijab. And I have to say, thank you, Great Britain, for protecting those women, and for stopping them going to jail or being killed.”

Full Report at:


Trying to sell antiques with Quran verses, four held

Oct 10, 2009

The police on Friday claimed to have arrested four men who were allegedly trying to sell priceless antique bronze plates with verses from the Quran inscribed on them.

The arrested persons have been identified as Shakeel Ahmad, Imtiaz, Afaq Ahmed and Hamid — all residents of Jaipur in Rajasthan. They were caught from near the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium late Thursday night while allegedly trying to sell off the plates for Rs 2 crore, a police official said.

According to the official, the arrest came after investigations into a tip-off that Ahmad was in possession of antique bronze plates with inscriptions of the Quran. “We got the information that Ahmed and his accomplices were trying to sell the bronze plates for Rs 2 crore,” the official said. “We got to them when we followed the lead.”

According to the official, a decoy set up a meeting with Ahmed and the police laid a trap near D-Gate of the stadium. “When the four men arrived at the meeting point, we arrested them.”



Christian Girl Attacked For Saying She’s Pakistani

October 11, 2009

By Jawad Mazhar, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

There is a tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.

DHAREMA, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)--  A Christian schoolgirl in Pakistan's Punjab province was recovering Sunday, October 11, after she was allegedly "ruthlessly beaten" with a bamboo stick by a Muslim headteacher for saying she is "a Pakistani" citizen.

The bedridden Nadia Iftikhar, 11, told BosNewsLife she was seriously injured when the   teacher of the local evening coaching school 'Bright Future Academy' in the town of Dharema got angry because she challenged her views on Islam.

“Our teacher was teaching us about the culture of Pakistan and Pakistani people and  quoted a sentence from the text book saying 'We are Pakistani and all of us are Muslims'," the girl recalled. "At this point I interrupted and said: "Madam, I am also a Pakistani, but not a Muslim instead I am a Christian."

The teacher, identified as Humaira Hassa,  "got furious and grabbed a bamboo stick and started thrashing in a barbarian way and kept saying all Pakistanis are Muslim, you are not a Pakistani but a Christian," the girl said. "Your home land is some where in Europe or America," the teacher allegedly said.

Nadia added showed scars of the wounds at her back. Classmates said the girl briefly became unconscious, but was eventually brought home. The teacher could not be reached for comment.


The girl's father, Iftikhar Masih, 45 said he did not went to local police. "I am an impoverished Christian man and am busy working for a daily wage to feed my family."

Local Christians in Punjab province have also complained of police complicity in attacks against Christian believers. “However I have taken her to the doctor and and we believe that her injuries will be healed and she will be able to return to her school.”

It was not immediately clear whether the 6th grade girl would be welcomed again by the Bright Future Academy where she said she has been studying for three years.

The attack is no isolated incident in the tense province, Christians said. There have been protests in Punjab province against attacks on churches and individuals and alleged persecution by authorities.


Recently Muslim militants reportedly invaded the home of regional church leader Joseph Pervaiz. "They came and were stealing a jewelry and millions of rupees from me," he told BosNewsLife.

Christian workers in Punjab province have also complained about discrimination. In of the most recent incidents last month a radical Muslim transporter allegedly expelled his Christian bus conductor from his job for asking short leave of about two hours to offer Sunday Prayers in a local church."

Mushtaq Gill’s said he had been working as a bus conductor in the transport company, Dadial Travels, owned by "a radical Muslim man" for the last five years.

Muslim drivers, conductors, bus attendants and cleaners are usually granted leave on Friday to offer "their Islamic Friday Prayers," Gill said. "At certain times due to the lack of staff Dadial Transport Service comes to stand still and travellers also get annoyed."

Gill said his family are very devoted to Christianity. "We can not imagine missing even a single Sunday  service." He was apparently dismissed, without due payment, after attending the church service anyway. The transport company has denied wrongdoing, saying his absence  undermined its operations.


Yet, receiving compensation through a court appears difficult, with rights groups saying the justice system often colludes with Muslim militants. "There are for instance many Christians held behind bars for bootlegging," said Ghulam Masih whose son was detained October 4.

Police said Noman Masih was carrying 20 bottles of alcoholic drinks to his slum. He father has denied the charges sating police tried to extort money from his son. "Christians are allowed to carry alcohol anyway, Muslims are not," he added.

Christians cmprise a minority in mainly Islamic Pakistan where Muslim militants have increased attempts to impose Muslim laws in several areas and to influence authorities, rights groups say.

Pakistan's government says it is cracking down on extremism. On Sunday, October 11, officials said the siege near the army's headquarters in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad, is over. Commando forces raided a building where militants were holding more than 30 hostages just before dawn Sunday. Four militants, two soldiers and three hostages were killed during the operation. Another wounded militant was captured.

Copyright 2008 BosNewsLife. All rights reserved. This material may only be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed by those sponsoring BosNewsLife for $10/month and/or with our prior written consent.



Valley Muslims open doors to public to share culture

October 12, 2009, By Sean Barron

Most all Muslims lead peaceful, law-abiding lives, a leader at Sunday’s Islamic event said.

In the eight years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, much fear and anger toward Muslims have abated, and efforts are under way to repair relations between the United States and millions of Muslims worldwide.

Many Muslim-Americans continue to feel, however, that they’re being subjected to unfair scrutiny at home, especially by law enforcement, and some still report being victims of discrimination and violence.

Understanding the Islamic religion and its practitioners and appreciating what Muslim Americans do and don’t stand for require increased education and awareness, Valley Muslims say.

Promoting such awareness was the main idea behind Sunday’s third annual open house, hosted by the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown at its mosque, 1670 Homewood Ave., on the city’s South Side. The free four-hour program coincided with Islamic Day in Ohio, which was Saturday. The event’s offerings included jewelry, food, handmade crafts and activities for children.

It’s imperative to realize that Islam, like every other religion, has its fanatics, but that they are not representative of Muslims, most of whom believe in the sanctity of life, noted Saeeda Ghani, the Islamic society’s president.

“The religion itself does not teach what fanatics are doing,” Ghani explained. “Islam is a religion of peace.”

Ghani said she agrees with the conclusions of a recent poll that found most citizens believe American Muslims face greater discrimination than other religious groups, but cautioned that the numbers depend largely on location.

Post Sept. 11 saw many Muslims in large cities being victims of discrimination, but such problems were virtually nonexistent here, she noted. In fact, Ghani continued, many area residents showed support for the Muslim community.

“After 9/11, we got cards and flowers saying ‘we’re behind you,’ ” Ghani recalled.

Nevertheless, certain myths about the religion persist and should be debunked, she continued. They include the idea that women who choose to be covered are submissive, and that Islam fails to respect women. Another says that strictly adhering to Islamic principles is always confining, Ghani said.

Most Muslim women travel, shop, go to movies and live like nearly everyone else, she noted, adding that it’s also untrue that following a regimen of praying five times a day, for example, means that Muslims can’t enjoy other facets of life.

To the contrary, most Youngstown society members perform community-service projects and make donations to help those less fortunate; the mosque also works with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley to assist those in need, she pointed out.

Full Report at:


How one Muslim sees her government's war on terrorism

Oct. 11, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS -- Abia Ali is known in her neighbourhood, at work and in the local Somali community as a woman of kindness. At the Abu Bakr as Siddique mosque in South Minneapolis, the youngsters call her "Mama."

On a recent day during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Ali, a community activist who volunteers in her neighbourhood and at the mosque, sat down on a folding chair in the community room. This was one of the last nights of Ramadan, and Muslims here would pray together until dawn.

Little girls ran through the community centre and teenagers sat cross-legged and gossiped or did their homework.

Ali set out a donation box — as she did every night of Ramadan, a time of charity — to sponsor sick children from Somalia who live in poverty in the midst of violence and need medical help.

"I put it under my name and I send it," she said. "If I'm going to be punished for helping my needy people let it be."

Other people are too afraid to contribute, concerned that even innocent gestures will be flagged.

Ali was subpoenaed by the FBI, questioned for two days and appeared in front of a grand jury in June. Every face on the jury was white.

"Mama Abia, the FBI showed us your picture," she recalled teens in the mosque telling her just before she was subpoenaed.

She wept as she told the story. Now she takes blood pressure medication every day.

Full Report at:


California artist contemplates Islam's holy book

By Moni Basu, October 12, 2009

(CNN) -- Of all things, it was surfing that first led Sandow Birk to Islam.

Illustration of Sura (chapter) 57 of the Quran is described by Sandow Birk as a triptych.

The southern California artist rode the waves in Indonesia, India and Morocco, and on dry land, his curiosity piqued about the religion practiced there. He visited mosques and eventually, acquired a translated copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book.

Then came the chilling attacks of September 11, 2001, and Birk realized that Americans knew very little about the teachings of the Quran. He embarked on a project to paint all 114 suras (chapters) -- but in a way that no one had done before.

The 46-year-old painter re-imagined God's 7th-century revelation to the Prophet Mohammed in contemporary American context. Birk began transcribing the chapters, relating each to the things he knew best.

So far, he has completed 60 chapters. "American Quran" is currently on display in two California galleries.

"The simple goal was to take text and make it more familiar," he said.

So, the Quran's opening chapter, seven verses asking for God's guidance, often found displayed in Muslim homes, is bordered with arabesqing shapes that on closer inspection reveal objects essential to American home life -- spatulas, forks, toothbrushes, glasses, ladders, egg beaters, flip-flops.

To illustrate a verse that speaks metaphorically about the thundering hooves of camels, Birk painted a stock-car race. How would Americans, after all, relate to camels?

The red, white and blue hues of a political convention accompany verses on hypocrisy.

Other scenes unfold in offices, suburban lawns and sushi bars. They show funerals, weddings and holidays.

And then there is sura 44, called ad-dukhan (smoke).

"Therefore, watch for the day when the sky brings a profound smoke. It will envelope the people; this is a painful retribution," chapter 44 says. Birk pushes buttons with his interpretation: a diptych of a Manhattan street scene, smoke billowing from the World Trade Center.

"I knew I would have to bring up the Trade Center. Otherwise this project would have been disingenuous," Birk said. "It was the crux of understanding of Islam for Americans."

And the impetus for Birk's undertaking.

San Francisco gallery owner Catharine Clark knew the Sura 44 panel had the greatest potential to offend. She said she worried about reaction to the piece, but said there was nothing malicious about Birk's intent.

Full Report at:


Pak bombs Taliban hideouts in South Waziristan; ground offensive 'imminent'

October 12, 2009

Pakistani aircraft attacked Taliban militants in their South Waziristan stronghold near the Afghan border as the government said a ground offensive against the al-Qaeda-lnked fighters was imminent.

The aircraft struck the militants late on Sunday, hours after commandos stormed an office building and rescued 39 people taken hostage after an attack on the army headquarters.

"The jets hit and destroyed two of their hideouts in Makeen and Ladha and we have a total of about 16 militants killed," a Pakistani intelligence official in the region said.

Pakistani Taliban militants linked to al-Qaeda have launched numerous attacks on government and foreign targets over the past couple of years killing hundreds of people.

The military has been conducting air and artillery strikes in south Waziristan for months, while moving troops, blockading the region and trying to split off militant factions.

But a ground offensive, in what could be the army's toughest test since militants turned on the state, has yet to begin.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters in an interview in Singapore the offensive was "imminent".

"There is no mercy for them because our determination and resolve is to flush them out," Malik said. "They have no room in Pakistan, I promise you."

Malik said members of the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda were suspected to have been behind Saturday's attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, which ended a week when suicide bombers struck in the capital Islamabad and Peshawar, killing more than 50 people.

Malik said the offensive against the militants in South Waziristan was no longer a matter of choice.



WASHINGTON - Next on terror hit list: Pak’s nuke installations

October 12th, 2009

WASHINGTON - The audacious terror strike on the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi has once again raised concerns about the safety of nuclear establishments in that country, and experts believe that it may be only a matter of time when terrorists could target nuke installations with the same tactics and intensity.

A professor at Britain’s Bradford University and an expert on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Shaun Gregory, said though severely bruised in its own back yard, the Pakistan Army is the only determining factor that stands between the nuclear weapons and terrorist organizations such as the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

“The only thing that stands between Al-Qaeda and nuclear weapons is the Pakistan Army,” The Globe and Mail quoted Gregory, as saying.

“It is an incredible shock that terrorists can strike at the heart of GHQ.Terrorists could mount this sort of assault against Pakistan’s nuclear installations,” he added.

He highlighted that all the terror strikes in Pakistan in the recent past have been suicide attacks, but the GHQ attack was more of a commando attack carried out by well-trained jihadists.

Gregory expressed apprehensions that such military-style tactics could be used against Pakistani nuclear sites.

While fingers were being pointed towards various banned Islamic terror organizations for the GHQ attack, including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba, which receives covert support from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), a famous Pakistani journalist stressed that it was high time when the ‘bad’ religious extremists should be called bad.

“Perhaps the attack on the GHQ may prove to be a watershed that compels the security and civilian establishment, as well as most of the opposition groups, to realize that the time to distinguish between (so-called) good and bad religious militants or Taliban was over, and a consensus was needed to confront all such groups as enemies of the state,” said Zaffar Abbas, an editor at Dawn. (ANI)



America may pay Afghan fighters to ditch Taliban

12 October 2009

The Obama administration is considering outbidding the Taliban to persuade Afghan villagers to lay down arms as it struggles to find a new

approach to a war that is fast losing public and congressional support.

Afghans are known for changing sides back and forth during their long years of war — there is an old saying that “you can rent an Afghan but never buy one”— and battles have often been decided by defections rather than combat.

Paying Taliban foot-soldiers to switch sides could spare US lives and save money, say its advocates.

A recent report by the Senate foreign relations committee estimated the Taliban fighting strength at 15,000, of whom only 5% are committed idealogues while 70% fight for money — the so-called $10-a-day Taliban. Doubling this to win them over would cost just $300,000 a day, compared with the $165 million a day the US is spending fighting the war.

The tactic was used to good effect in Iraq where the US put 100,000 Sunni gunmen on its payroll for $300 a month each.



Huge fraud in Afghan vote: UN official

12 October 2009

DUBLIN: The head of the UN mission in Afghanistan acknowledged on Sunday that there was “widespread fraud” in the August presidential election

but refused to give specifics or lay blame to avoid influencing the ongoing recount.

Kai Eide appeared before reporters to respond to allegations by his ex-deputy, Peter Galbraith, that the Norwegian diplomat had sought to cover up evidence of massive fraud allegedly committed on behalf of President Hamid Karzai during the August 20 balloting.

Galbraith was fired on September 30 by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon after a dispute over how to deal with the fraud charges.

Eide said he could “only say that there was widespread fraud” and that “any specific figures would be speculative” until the recount is complete. Galbraith’s allegations against him “have affected the entire poll process”, he said.



In Valley asylum, long wait to go home

Muzamil Jaleel, Oct 10, 2009

Srinagar: For eight months now, Kapoor Jan has been living in Srinagar’s Government Psychiatric Hospital with schizophrenic patients for company. She is fit to go home, doctors say. But home is on the other side of the LoC and the police team that admitted her never returned to take her back.

In July 2005, Jan strayed into this side of the LoC in Uri while grazing her goats. Since then, she has been convicted, served her time and hoped in vain for the government to send her back. In February this year, she broke down from the stress of her long-drawn wait and suffered a “brief psychotic episode.” She recovered after a brief stay at the Srinagar hospital.

“I didn’t know I had crossed the border. I had gone to fetch goats and they (soldiers) caught me,” says Jan. “My family doesn’t know. They must think I am dead,” she says.

Baramullah deputy commissioner Latief-u-Zaman Deva said her case has been recommended for deportation.”We are also waiting,” he said.

Sources in the police say her deportation has been ordered but the CID has not been intimated about the LoC point from where she would be sent back.

After she crossed the LoC in 2005, she was handed over to the Uri police, who booked her under the Egress and Internal Movement Control Ordinance. She was sentenced to six months simple detention and released on January 26, 2006. She has been awaiting deportation ever since.

“I have pleaded with everyone to help me send a message back home. I am married and I want my husband to know I am alive. His name is Javaid and we live at Jabdi Chodian,” she says. Police records say she is the daughter of Abdul Aziz Malik of Malik Bagh, Muzaffarabad.

After her release from prison in 2006, Jan was again lobbed back to the custody of the Uri police station. The policemen gave her a separate room near the police station where she set up her kitchen. “I was living on alms. Occasionally, the policemen would bring rice and vegetables for me,” she says.

When she suffered a breakdown, a team of doctors led by Dr Deepak Sharma of Uri sub-district hospital was set up to examine her. The doctors advised psychiatric help. On February 2, Jan was admitted to the hospital. “She was put on medication and was completely normal when we assessed her condition on February 28,” said a psychiatrist attending her, who refused to be named. “We have written to the government but there has been no response. Nobody has come to take her.



Israel, United States to hold key missile exercise amid nuclear row with Iran

11 October 2009

JERUSALEM: Israel and the United States are set to conduct a crucial joint missile defense exercise to simulate a response in the event of war

between Israel, Iran, Syria and Lebanon, amid growing tensions between Tel Aviv and Tehran over the Islamic nations nuclear ambition, a news report said on Sunday.

The Juniper Cobra exercise will include the Arrow missile defense system as well as three American systems - the THAAD, Aegis and PAC-3 - that will all be deployed in Israel for the duration of the exercise.

The biennial exercise, which will begin tomorrow and end on Friday, will simulate a response in the event of war between Israel, the Islamic republic, Syria and Hizbullah, The Jerusalem Post said today.

More than 1,000 American troops from the European Command in Stuttgart, Germany have been deployed in Israel for the exercise - mostly in the Negev - in addition to some 15 missile ships, some of them carrying the Aegis ballistic missile defense system, the report in the Israeli daily said.

The exercise comes amid growing tensions between Israel and Iran over the Islamic nations nuclear ambition.

Iranian cleric Mojtaba Zolnour, who is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in the Revolutionary Guard, warned that Tehran will responde decisively if and Israeli or American missile lands in Iran.

"Should a single American or Zionist missile land in our country, before the dust settles, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel," Zolnour was quoted as saying by the state IRNA news agency.



Pakistan's Offensive, Afghanistan's Risk

By Killid Correspondents*

KABUL, Oct 12 (IPS) - For generations, Pakistan's southern Waziristan region has been a launching pad for insurgent military operations in Afghanistan

During the Soviet invasion of this country, Mujahiddin used the area as a staging ground for attacks on Russian soldiers. Now, the region is a strategic base of Taliban and Al Qaeda operations as well as a keystone in the insurgent supply line.

This region is also the staging area for operations against the Pakistani government itself and that army has suffered massive losses in Waziristan. And it's not just Waziristan. Western Pakistan's Swat, Dir, Bonir, Bajour and Mohmand valleys are all remote, mountainous areas, cut off from the government in Islamabad, and teeming with fighters ready for a fight in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Now, the army of Pakistan has vowed to cleanse these insurgent-hospitable regions of insurgent elements. Recently, a Pakistan army spokesman announced that in the next three months, military operations would commence in western Pakistan; operations that would root-out these anti-government insurgents and hopefully crush the threat to Pakistan's sitting government.

Pakistan will bring 60,000 soldiers - already deployed in the region - to the fight, in what would soon become Central Asia's fiercest battleground. The once scenic district of Swat will devolve further into the miasma of war, as its crystalline streams run red with blood.

This operation will benefit Afghanistan in that many of the insurgents who meet their deaths in Pakistan would otherwise soon be fighting here. But it could also have a potentially catastrophic effect on the civilian population on this side of the Durand Line.

Simply put, when the Pakistani army begins to push the insurgents in its western tribal region, it will be pushing them into Afghanistan. This will expand the war here exponentially and drive the most hardened jihadi's and their leadership structure into areas of this country where the Kabul government, to say nothing of the NATO coalition, has a weak or tenuous presence and little loyalty from the local population.

It's worth mentioning that the Pakistani government and army are not the only ones with an operational strategy.

Mullah Mohammad Omar, head of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan asked his foot-soldiers to turn their guns west, toward the foreign forces in Afghanistan. If a recent video of Baitullah Mehsud, broadcasted on Al Jazeera, is to be believed, that charismatic leader of hard-core insurgents is alive and well.

Just a month ago, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence reportedly killed Mehsud in a drone-borne missile strike. But last week, he appeared on television and radio reports, having recently given an audience to five journalists who broadcast his wish to expand the war in Afghanistan. He also voiced his support of and allegiance to Mullah Omar.

Full Report at:


Pakistan Rangers gets first officer from Sikh community

October 12, 2009

Amarjeet Singh has become the first Sikh to be inducted as an officer in the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, following closely on the heels of other members of minority communities who have joined the army and Foreign Service.

Amarjeet, 25, a Sub-Inspector in the Pakistan Rangers, recently completed his training at the Rangers Academy in Mandi Bahauddin. He is a resident of Nanakna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak.

He was among 763 officials who passed out from the Rangers Academy. Expressing jubilation on completing the rigorous training, Amarjeet vowed to serve Pakistan and said he was ready to sacrifice his life for the country.

Lt Gen Nadeem, the army's Corps Commander for Mangla, said Amarjeet's level of motivation was the same as that of other officers.

Nearly four years ago, Harcharan Singh, also a resident of Nankana Sahib, was selected as the first Sikh officer in the Pakistan Army.

In August, Gyan Chand became the first Hindu to join Pakistan's Foreign Service.



Afghan message to India: do not be deterred

Siddharth Varadarajan

12 Oct, 2009

Kabul, New Delhi to tell U.S. that Pakistan cannot have veto on bilateral ties

New Delhi: Afghanistan has told India at the highest level that the most fitting response to last week’s terrorist attack on its embassy compound in Kabul would be for the Indian government to step up its ongoing efforts to strengthen the development and security capabilities of the Afghan authorities through infrastructure projects, police and human resource training.

The Obama administration told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month that it did not see India’s assistance in Afghanistan as a source of “regional tension” — a charge laid recently by the seniormost U.S. military officer there in a confidential report. Nevertheless, Indian and Afghan officials recognise the need for both countries to tell the American side that Pakistan cannot have a veto over the kind of relationship Kabul wishes to build with New Delhi.

Full Report at:


Pak ISI station chief in Delhi dies of electrocution

Shishir Gupta

Oct 12, 2009

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Pakistan ISI station chief, MK Afridi, at its High Commission in Delhi got electrocuted “while drying his hair late Sunday night at his Vasant Vihar residence” and died. His body was taken to Pakistan via Wagah border in the wee hours of morning after intervention at the highest levels.

Government sources told The Indian Express that Pakistan High Commission told the local police that Afridi, who held the post of Counsellor, was electrocuted as he was using a dryer after having bath in the evening at his Vasant Vihar residence. Apparently as no foul play was suspected, no post mortem was conducted. It was at the diplomatic intervention that Pakistan High Commission was allowed to transport the body to Pakistan. It is learnt that the Pakistan High Commission officials took the body via road at 3.00 am this morning and the entourage crossed Wagah around 8.00 am.



GHQ attack reactions: Entire nation stands united with army against terrorists

October 12, 2009

LAHORE: Congratulating the Pakistan Army on its successful operation against the terrorists who attacked the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and took hostages, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said the entire nation stands united with the army in the war against terror. He told Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani by telephone that the entire nation salutes the brave and valiant officers and troops of the Pakistan Army who had laid down their lives in the military operation to free the GHQ from the terrorist threat. The sacrifices of the soldiers would not go to waste, he added. staff report

Our soldiers have made the nation proud

LAHORE: Pakistan’s armed forces have always displayed their best professional skills in the greatest hour of need, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer said on Sunday. During telephone conversations with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani and Special Services Group chief Major General Haroon Aslam, he congratulated the military leaders on the successful operation against the terrorists at the General Headquarters. A Governor’s House spokesman said the soldiers had made the nation proud through their actions against the terrorists. Taseer also paid tribute to the valiant officers and troops of the Pakistan Army who had laid down their lives in the line of duty. app

It’s time for the nation to show unity against terrorism

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain congratulated on Sunday the Pakistan Army and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani on the successful operation against terrorists at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. In a statement issued by the MQM, Altaf commended the Pakistan Army commandos for putting their lives at risk to eliminate the terrorists and rescue the hostages. The MQM chief also paid tribute to the army personnel, who embraced martyrdom during the operation against the terrorists. He said it was time for the entire nation to display complete unity against terrorists and cooperate with security forces to eliminate them. app

Defence minister appreciates armed forces

Full Report at:\10\12\story_12-10-2009_pg7_17


Taliban attack on Pak GHQ was planned in South Waziristan: ISPR chief

12 Oct 2009

Rawalpindi, Oct.12 - ANI: The Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of the Pakistan armed forces, Major General Athar Abbas, said on Tuesday that the 18-hour-long Taliban attack on the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Saturday and Sunday was planned in South Waziristan.

Major-General Abbas told a press conference here that the Pakistan armed forces was now more determined than ever to go after the Taliban in South Waziristan in the wake of the attack that resulted in the death of 16 people, including eight militants

Major General Abbass statement came even as Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in Singapore that a military offensive against the militants in South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold, was imminent.

It has been decided, the civilian leadership has decided, the operation is imminent, Malik told a foreign news agency in Singapore.

Malik said initial investigations suggest that the GHQ attack was planned by the Taliban, but added that Al-Qaedas hand could not be ruled out.

The man who has been arrested, his name is Usman. Hes a TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) guy, but we have some indications he is also from al Qaeda, The Dawn quoted Malik, as saying.

In one of the most audacious terror strikes in Pakistan in the recent past, a team of commando-trained terrorists raided the Pakistan ArmsGeneral Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Saturday and took several hostages inside one of GHQ buildings. - ANI



LONDON: 'HQ attack signals terror threat is up'

12 October 2009

LONDON: An audacious Taliban attack on Pakistan’s army headquarters shows there is a growing terrorist threat to the nuclear-armed country, US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.

But Clinton and her British counterpart said there was no risk of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into terrorist hands. Clinton said extremists were “increasingly threatening the authority of the state, but we see no evidence that they are going to take over the state”. “We have confidence in the Pakistani government and military’s control over nuclear weapons,” she said.

At a joint news conference, British foreign secretary David Miliband said Pakistan faced a “mortal threat,” but there was no danger of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons being seized by terrorists. “I think it’s very important that alarmist talk is not allowed to gather pace,” he said.

Clinton is on a five-day tour of Europe in which the conflict in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan and the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program have been major topics. She was meeting British prime minister Gordon Brown on Sunday before travelling to Ireland and Russia.

Clinton also warned Iran that the world “will not wait indefinitely” for it to live

up to international obligations regarding its nuclear program.



Sudanese to hang over US killing

The four men said their confessions had been obtained through torture

A Sudanese court has upheld a death sentence against four Islamists who shot dead a US envoy on 1 January 2008.

John Granville, 33, and his Sudanese driver Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama were killed as they returned from a New Year's Eve party in Khartoum.

Mr Granville's mother had earlier asked for the death sentence to be passed.

Under Sudan's Islamic law, the family of a murder victim can either request the death penalty for those convicted, forgive them or ask for compensation.

A death sentence was originally passed in June but some members of Mr Abbas' family then pardoned the killers, reports the AFP news agency.

The four have always protested their innocence, saying their videotaped confessions were extracted under torture.

Mr Granville was shot five times while travelling in his car

After the sentence was read out, defendant Mohaned Osman shouted: "This sentence is not credible," and said the US had murdered Muslims, according to Reuters news agency.

In a letter read out to the Khartoum North court on Sunday, Mr Granville's mother formally demanded the death penalty in order to "safeguard the lives of others from those who killed her beloved son". There was no option of life imprisonment

The FBI had sent agents to help investigate the murder of Mr Granville, who worked for the US Agency for International Development.

The incident shocked many people, including the small Western community in Khartoum.

The Sudanese capital had previously been considered one of the safest in Africa.

The BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum says there have been some concerns that the incident could prove damaging for the already fragile relationship between Sudan and the US.

The Sudanese authorities condemned the attack immediately, and seem to have made resolving the case a priority, our reporter says.



Iranians demand loan of treasure

The Babylonian clay cylinder dates from the sixth century BC

Iran has said it will cease cultural co-operation with the British Museum if a treasure is not loaned to the nation.

The Cyrus Cylinder is being held by the museum because of Iran's "post-election situation", an Iranian official told the country's Fars news agency.

Hamid Baqaie said the museum's pledge to send the Babylonian artefact at another date was "just an excuse".

The British Museum said its trustees "reaffirmed their intention to lend the Cylinder to Iran". Their statement added: "There are a number of issues and practicalities to be resolved, but the intention is to send it as agreed."

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper recently, the British Museum's head of press Hannah Boulton said: "When lending any material you have to check that it is an appropriate moment.

"We hope to be able to honour that commitment, we can't say when that will be. At the moment we are monitoring the situation in Iran," she added.

Mr Baqaie said Iran's Cultural Heritage Organisation would consider severing ties with the British Museum if the piece was not loaned to them within two months.

He added that it was due to have been lent last month.

The object, which is around 2,500 years old, was ordered to be made by Persian king Cyrus.

It is said to represent the first bill of rights and encapsulate religious toleration.