New Age Islam
Sun Aug 09 2020, 08:07 PM

Islamic World News ( 16 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Letter on Burqua Ban gets Indian girl date with French president Sarkozy

Youth attack Mirwaiz at impulsive rally

Pakistani singers ruling Bollywood

Jim Jones: Amb. Haqqani was not involved in memogate

Memogate: Ijaz differs with Jones’ affidavit

Hang your heads in shame, judge tells terrorist plotters

Human rights report alleges torture, abuse in Uzbekistan

South Sudan president denies arming rebels in north

US Congress Restricts Aid To Egypt, Pakistan

Political discord root cause of Muslim disunity: Former Malaysian PM

Belgium: Islam discriminated, says researcher

Demand for ISI chief's resignation

Pak PM: `No compromise on sovereignty'

NATO forces apologised as they fired, says Pak

NATO attack: Pakistan makes its case in Washington

Pakistan's 'memogate' bodes ill for Zardari

Tunisia Marks First Anniversary of Uprising

One soldier, 25 terrorists killed in Orakzai clashes

Suicide bombers attack west Kabul police station

Two Pakistanis charged in immigration fraud in Canada

Bangladesh BSF kills 4 in Kurigram, Dinajpur, Meherpur

Bombs in Bangladesh explode during Jessore hartal

Syrian troops fire at protesters after Friday prayers

Syria crisis: Iraq's Falah al-Fayadh in mediation bid

Bloody clashes overshadow Egypt vote count

Taliban spokesman says Loya jirga reveals the invaders’ “sinister objective” to occupy Afghanistan

Libya’s Jalil demands release of Gaddafi billions

Russian customs seize Iran-bound radioactive metal

US Ambassador to Pak greets students leaving for US varsities

Last US base handed to Iraq ahead of pullout

Jury AT Boston ends 1st day deliberating Mass. terror trial

Insurgency Related Violence Reported in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia

Network of anti-Islamic NGOs in Kashmir: Mirwaiz

Veena missing for last 24 hours

Financial strength of India lures Pakistani talent

Christopher Hitchens dies at 62

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/letter-on-burqua-ban-gets-indian-girl-date-with-french-president-sarkozy/d/6162

--------

Letter on Burqua Ban gets NOIDA girl date with French president Sarkozy

Aniruddha Ghosal, TNN

NOIDA: Dec 11, 2011, French president Nicolas Sarkozy must have been surprised to receive a letter from a 16-year-old Indian girl, criticising the burqa ban in his country. Aakanksha Gupta, who studies in Class 11 in Pathways School, Noida, wrote the letter as part of an essay-writing competition. It was sent to the French premier, who decided to meet her to discuss the issue in detail. They will meet early next year.

The contest required Aakanksha to write an essay in the format of a formal letter to a global leader on a global issue. "I chose to write to Mr Sarkozy about why I disagreed with his burqa ban in France," said Gupta.

The ban went into force in April, and anyone wearing burqa in public faces legal action. The move was widely criticized by Muslims throughout the world as impinging on their religious freedom.

In the letter, Akanksha was very clear about the global impact of the ban. She wrote: "Dear Mr. Sarkozy, I am not a citizen of France but I am writing to you about an issue that is of great concern to the citizens in the world."

Following France's example, other countries in Europe, including Belgium and Netherlands, have taken steps to introduce a similar ban. The 16-year-old wrote in her letter that such laws were only fanning Islamophobia in Europe and they ultimately "amount to a suppression of democracy".

Her own experience of growing up in India, a melting pot of different cultures, had allowed her to understand the social tension that such a move would bring about in a society. But she was quick to point out that the moral policing faced by women in the country, especially with regards to how a woman dresses, was also a factor in her wanting to talk about this particular issue. "Women's rights are something that I feel strongly about and I believe a woman should be free to decide how she wants to dress," she said.

The avid Roald Dahl-lover still has over a year of school left and is visibly excited about meeting the French president next year. "I am looking forward to the meeting. I will have a lot of questions to ask him," she said with a grin.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Letter-gets-Noida-girl-date-with-French-president-Sarkozy/articleshow/11064951.cms

--------

Youth attack Mirwaiz at impulsive rally

AGE CORRESPONDENT RINAGAR, DEC. 16

Kashmir's chief Muslim cleric and chairman of his faction of separatist Hurriyat Conference alliance Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was attacked by a group of youth with stones and traditional firepots (kangris) after he had addressed an impulsive rally outside a place of worship in Sopore, 48 km northwest of Srinagar, on Friday.

The Mirwaiz escaped unhurt but some of his supporters surrounding him sustained minor injuries, reports said.

According to witnesses, the Mirwaiz offered Friday prayers and also addressed a huge congregation at Sopore’s Khankah (Khanoah) and later about ten thousand people outside the place of worship amidst chanting of profreedom slogans by the

crowd.

He demanded immediate demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir saying this would facilitate people living a peaceful and fearless life. A section of the crowd began prodding him to move towards the town’s main square, about 2 km away, in a procession which he refused. This infuriated the youth who hurled stones and other missiles towards the Mirwaiz.

Sopore is a stronghold of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the

octogenarian separatist leader who heads the rival faction of the Hurriyat Conference. A police statement issued here in the evening pointed finger of suspicion towards Mr Geelani supporters.

Terming the incident “unfortunate and condemnable,” the police said this was yet another manifestation of “hooliganism perpetrated by the elements hellbent to throttle the dissenting voice.”

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/Youth-attack-Mirwaiz-at-impulsive-rally-17122011002035.shtml?Mode=1

-----------

Pakistani singers ruling Bollywood

Chandna Arora, TNN

Dec 17, 2011,

Bollywood playback singing now forms a large chunk of the earnings of Pakistani singers, who've

delivered some of the biggest recent Hindi film hits

Doori sahi jaaye na, sang Atif Aslam, perhaps to express the Pakistani singers' distress at their doori from the lucrative music scene in India, especially Bollywood. And in recent years, listeners here have wholeheartedly addressed that complaint, smashing the dooris between the padosi countries by making Pakistani artistes among the most 'hit' playback singers in Bollywood today. Four of them, especially, have made a home for themselves, in Mumbai and at the top of the charts:

Adnan Sami

Adnan received much more fame, work and money in Indian movies than he ever did in Pakistan. After one movie and some musical success back home, the foreign-returned singer entered the Indian scene with a bang in 2001 with "Kabhi To Nazar Milao", his album with Asha Bhonsle, which topped the Indipop charts all of that year and into the next, selling over 20,00,000 copies, according to reports at the time. Bollywood and other albums followed, with music videos that almost always featured a famous face - Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan have both, for instance, been a part of them. Till his very public and turbulent spat with former wife Sabah Galadari, Adnan had to his credit 66 films as a singer, and 10 as composer. He's also judged the reality show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs".

Atif Aslam

In Atif's case, his popularity in India gave him not only a full-fledged career this side of the border, but also catapulted him into the movies in Pakistan after years of singing solo. In an interview, Atif had conceded that Pakistani artistes do look to India for greater visibility, commercial success and opportunities, saying, "The Pakistani film industry is not established, so leading singers have to explore other avenues. India has way more exposure in terms of both films and music, thus creating better opportunities for artistes there." After six years of soaring popularity in Bollywood as a singer, his first film as an actor, a Pakistani production called "Bol", opened this summer in both Pakistan and in India.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Quite like his uncle, the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat has sought to perform various kinds of music and therefore is well-known outside Pakistan too. But unlike Nusrat, Rahat's primary foreign conquest remains Bollywood, where he is a sought-after singer for the earthy, qawwali feel that he gives to many songs. "Yahi (Bollywood success) toh reason hai for why I love performing in India. Bollywood has given me a huge platform to showcase my talent," Rahat had once said in an interview to DT. In another interview, he'd said, "Bollywood meri jaan hai and it's like my home now." No surprise, that - since "Paap" in 2003, for which he sang the still popular "Lagi Tumse Mann Ki Lagan", Rahat has been a part of at least 45 other films, and has judged the TV shows "Chhote Ustaad 2" and "Junoon - Kuchh Kar Dikhaane Ka". Rahat is also the voice behind "Nazar Mein Rehte Ho", the theme song of Aman Ki Asha, a joint initiative of The Times of India and the Jang group of Pakistan.

Shafqat Amanat Ali

Already a household name in Pakistan thanks to his lineage (he's the seventh generation of the Patiala gharana) and the band Fuzon, Shafqat nevertheless welcomed the opportunity to gain a foothold in Bollywood, and has since done selective but popular work. Starting with "Hyderabad Blues", which featured two of Fuzon's songs, Shafqat was properly introduced to Bollywood by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with "Mitwa" for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna", and his last song has been "Dildaara" for another Shah Rukh-starrer, "Ra.One". Live concerts are a large part of his work in India, and like Rahat, Shafqat has also done many for Aman Ki Asha.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/music/news-and-interviews/Pakistani-singers-ruling-Bollywood/articleshow/11133004.cms

--------

Jim Jones: Amb. Haqqani was not involved in memogate

By Josh Rogin

December 16, 2011

Former National Security Advisor Jim Jones has submitted a confidential affidavit, obtained by The Cable, in which he swears that he has no reason to believe that former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani had any role in the scandal known as "memogate."

Jones was the go-between in the transmission of a secret memo from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen in the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad. The memo, purportedly from the Pakistani civilian leadership, asked for U.S. government help to avoid a pending military coup in Pakistan and pledged, in return, to reorient Pakistan's foreign and national security policy to be more in line with U.S. interests.

Ijaz has claimed over and over that the memo and the scheme it contained was derived and driven by Haqqani, who has since resigned over the scandal and is now in Islamabad without permission to leave the country. Ijaz also claims that that Haqqani discussed the scheme with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who faces increasing domestic political pressure from opponents and is in Dubai due to what is being described as a recent "mini-stroke."

Haqqani has always claimed that he had no role in the writing or delivery of the memo. Earlier this week, Jones broke his silence on the issue by signing a confidential affidavit about his role in "memogate," which he sent to Haqqani's lawyers as part of their planned libel suit against Ijaz. In the affidavit, Jones states that Ijaz never mentioned to him that the memo came from Haqqani.

"A few days before May 9, 2011, I received a phone call from Mr. Mansoor ljaz. I have known Mr. ljaz in a personal capacity since 2006. During the call Mr. Ijaz mentioned that he had a message from  the ‘highest authority' in the Pakistan government which he asked me to relay to then Chairman  of the Joint Chiefs  of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen," Jones wrote in the confidential affidavit.

"At no time during the call do I remember Mr. Ijaz mentioning Ambassador Haqqani, and he gave me no reason to believe that he was acting at the direction of Ambassador Haqqani, with his participation, or that Ambassador Haqqani had knowledge of the call or the contents of the message."

Jones told Ijaz he would only forward the message to Mullen if it was in writing. On May 9, Ijaz sent the unsigned memo to Jones's personal e-mail account and Jones passed it on to Mullen. Mullen has acknowledged that he received the memo but claims he gave it no credence and took no action on it whatsoever.

"It was my assumption that the memo was written by Mr. Ijaz, since the memo essentially put into writing the language he had used in our telephone conversation earlier," Jones wrote in his affidavit. "I do not recall whether Mr. Ijaz claimed that Ambassador Haqqani had anything to do with the creation of the memo. I have no reason to believe that Ambassador Haqqani had any role in the creation of the memo, nor that he had any prior knowledge of the memo."

The Jones affidavit will be used by Haqqani's legal team to bolster Haqqani's claims that Ijaz was the author's memo, not him. Ijaz's main evidence of Haqqani's involvement is a series of Blackberry Messenger communications that Ijaz claims he had with Haqqani to discuss the memo during its formation. Ijaz has said his Blackberry is being examined by Pakistani forensic experts as part of the ongoing investigation.

Ijaz's activity throughout the scandal has raised several questions about his motives. For example, he publicly disclosed the existence of the memo in an Oct. 10 op-ed in the Financial Times, purportedly to defend Mullen from attacks and slanders in Pakistan. Then, on Oct. 22, he met in London with Pakistan's Gen. Shuja Pasha, the leader of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which Ijaz's memo promised would be replaced with new, U.S.-friendly national security leaders in Pakistan.

Last week, Ijaz claimed in a Newsweek article that Haqqani and Zardari knew of the raid to kill bin Laden in advance and may have given the U.S. military tacit permission to violate Pakistani airspace. Haqqani has initiated legal action against Ijaz over those claims and the Jones affidavit is part of that litigation.

In the most interesting part of the affidavit, Jones states his personal opinion that the memo probably did not come from the Pakistani government at all.

"Upon my reading of the memo that I was asked to forward to Admiral Mullen, it struck me as highly unusual that the ‘highest authority' in the Pakistan government would use Mr. ljaz, a private citizen and part-time journalist living in Europe, as a conduit for this communication," Jones wrote. "My personal opinion was that the memo was probably not credible."

Asked for comment on Friday by The Cable, Jones declined to elaborate.

Ijaz responded to Jones' affidavit with a lengthy comment to The Cable. Here are some excerpts, after the jump:

On December 12, 2011, Gen. James L. Jones issued an Affidavit to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in which he, to the best of his knowledge, information and belief, tried to recall the events of May 9, 10 and 11 of this year, which are the dates on which Amb. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States, asked me to assist him in delivering a message that he dictated to me and whose content originated entirely from him to Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Gen. Jones was the individual who I asked to deliver Haqqani's message to the admiral.

Gen. Jones and I have known each other since 2006.  I consider him a friend and have learned many valuable lessons from him during the five years we've known each other.  He has been a guest speaker at my charity events and I have been an overnight guest at his official home when he was NATO commander.  We have published an op-ed together, ironically, in the Financial Times on the subject of Pakistan.  Our families know each other, as do our spouses.  He is a man of the highest possible integrity who has served the United States with unparalleled dignity and honor.

But in the case of his recollections with regard to this matter, I have a friendly disagreement with him on a number of the points he raises in his affidavit...

First, Gen. Jones states in Point 3 of his affidavit, "A few days before May 9,2011, I received a phone call from Mr. Mansoor ljaz..."  This is factually incorrect for a number of reasons.  The only telephone number I had for Jim at that time was his home number after he left the National Security Council.  A thorough review this evening of my telephone records for the only two telephone numbers I maintain (a US cell and a UK cell) shows that on neither billing statement for that time period is there a single call to Jim's home telephone number other than the one made on the morning of May 9th after Amb. Haqqani and I spoke -- in fact just after we spoke.  There are no calls at all to any number I have ever had for Jim in any single day in May prior to May 9th, and indeed, not on any date for that billing cycle going back to April 21, 2011...

Secondly, Jim states in Point 4 of his affidavit, "At no time during the call do I remember Mr. Ijaz mentioning Ambassador Haqqani, and he gave me no reason to believe that he was acting at the direction of Ambassador Haqqani, with his participation, or that Ambassador Haqqani had knowledge of the call or the contents of the message. I informed Mr.ljazthat I would not forward an oral message of this type to Admiral Mullen and that if he wanted anl.thing forwarded it would have to be in writing."

This statement is partially correct, and can be simply corrected by looking more closely at the timeline of discussion during that call.  To the best of my recollection, at the outset of the call and for much of the call, I did not mention Haqqani's name because I felt it was necessary to gauge Jim's reaction to the message content first.  As his skepticism of the message grew, he asked me who this was coming from and I said, exactly as Jim has stated in Point 6 of his affidavit, that it was from the highest authority in Pakistan.  His skepticism persisted, and so to avoid any view from Jim about sourcing, near the end of the call I made it clear to him that the message was originating from Haqqani.  He asked me, as I have stated in my Supreme Court testimony, about my relationship with Haqqani and I gave him a very short overview.  He indicated his views of Haqqani, which he repeated to me in more strongly worded terms in a recent call after the controversy erupted, and the call ended.

It is important to note that I never mentioned Gen. Jones' name to Haqqani in any conversation or correspondence we had.  Haqqani knew I was talking to more than one person, although it is my belief that he probably knew I would rely on Jim in the end.  He certainly knew of my strong personal feelings for Jim, which I had conveyed in no uncertain terms when Haqqani took me to see President Zardari in Washington on May 5, 2009.  President Zardari knew as well...

Third, Jim erroneously notes that we had spoken a "day or two earlier" in Point 6.  It was on that day for the first time in a very long time.

Fourth, Jim notes that he assumed I wrote the memo since our conversation was reflected in it.  Of course it was.  But that doesn't mean the content of the Memorandum arose from that conversation.  I say again, the content of the Memorandum to Adm. Mike Mullen originated entirely from Amb. Husain Haqqani.  He dictated it to me and was responsible for all key edits.

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/16/exclusive_jim_jones_amb_haqqani_was_not_involved_in_memogate

--------

Memogate: Ijaz differs with Jones’ affidavit

Dec 17, 2011,

Mansoor Ijaz, the US businessman at the centre of the memogate scandal, has clarified that he had first contact with former US National Security Advisor General James Jones on May 09, a private TV channel reported.

Mansoor rejected General James Jones sworn affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court in which the former advisor had claimed he had conversation with Ijaz on telephone a few days prior to May 9.

Ijaz said it could be proved from his two cell phone bill records that he did not made any contact with James Jones prior to May 09.

Mansoor Ijaz said that six minutes after contacting Husain Haqqani in London on phone, he made contact with James Jones on his residential phone number, adding that after that James contacted him via his new cell phone.

The information of that is present in the statement submitted in the Supreme Court, he said and added that he would present complete telephone record to the SC investigation officials at an appropriate time.

Mansoor said point No 4 of Jones statement is partially correct because he never used the name of Husain Haqqani during their conversation, adding that he also never used name of Jones during conversation with Haqqani. But Husain Haqqani had knowledge about contacts with many persons on memo.

Mansoor Ijaz claimed that Husain Haqqani had dictated the memo to him.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/memogate-ijaz-differs-with-jones-affidavit/

---------

Hang your heads in shame, judge tells terrorist plotters

Andrea Petrie

December 17, 2011

A JUDGE has told three Muslim extremists convicted of conspiring to plan an Australian terrorist attack that they should ''hang your heads in shame'' as she sentenced each of them to 18 years' jail.

The men were part of an Islamic terrorist cell planning to attack the Holsworthy army barracks, in Sydney's south-west.

Their aim was to enter the barracks armed with military weapons and shoot as many people as possible before they were killed or ran out of ammunition.

Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 35, of Melbourne, Saney Edow Aweys, 29, of Carlton, and Nayef El Sayed, 27, of Glenroy, who had all met at the Preston Mosque in Melbourne's north, were arrested in August 2009 after undercover police infiltrated the group.

The men were connected to the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, and tried to obtain a fatwa, or religious decree, justifying the attack.

A jury found them guilty after a trial that lasted more than five months.

Covert recordings were played that outlined their plan and detailed their extreme religious and political views, and an expressed hatred of Australian people and non-Muslims.

Justice Betty King, sentencing the men in Victoria's Supreme Court yesterday, told them: ''All of you believe in the principle of martyrdom.

''All of you believe it is your obligation to oppose and deal with those you describe as infidels, being persons who are not of the Muslim faith, or those of the Muslim faith who do not observe the faith in what you perceive as an appropriate manner, or adhere to the strong and fundamentalist views that you all hold.

''The fact that Australia welcomed all of you and nurtured you and your families is something that should cause you all to hang your heads in shame, that this was the way you planned to show your thanks.''

Justice King said Fattal - who was covertly videoed walking along the perimeter fence at the army base - appeared to be the ''most dogmatic'' among them and also had an ''entirely rigid view'' of the Muslim faith.

But she said each of them was a willing participant.

Fattal was ejected from the court as soon as the sentencing hearing began, due to a garbled outburst directed at the judge.

''This is corruption,'' he yelled, before Justice King ordered prison guards to remove him.

When she resumed, Justice King described the trio's plan as ''deadly serious'' and ''evil''. It would have been a ''totally horrific event'' if it ever came to pass, she said. ''None of you, not one … recanted from any extremist view that you held, that you no longer supported jihad or terrorism as being appropriate for pursuing the course of the Muslim faith.

''That is a significant factor because each of you, whilst you hold those views, remains a danger to the members of this community.''

But, she added, the group's effort was ''amateurish''.

Two other men were acquitted by the jury of involvement in the plot.

Fattal, Aweys and El Sayed were all ordered to serve a minimum of 13 years and six months before they will become eligible for parole.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/hang-your-heads-in-shame-judge-tells-terrorist-plotters-20111216-1oyst.html

--------

Human rights report alleges torture, abuse in Uzbekistan

By Ruby Russell

The Washington Times Friday,

BERLIN, December 16, 2011 — Human rights officials expressed concern this week over the widespread use of torture in Uzbek prisons and called on Western governments to impose sanctions on and end dealings with the former Soviet republic’s autocratic regime.

“Uzbekistan really has very few rivals in the world as a country where torture exists,” said Steve Swerdlow, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who wrote a report on Uzbekistan’s abuses. “It’s one of the classic totalitarian police states left in the world today.”

Mr. Swerdlow said he spent two years compiling first-hand accounts of torture in pretrial detention that included electric shocks, asphyxiation, beatings with rubber batons and sexual violence.

His report was presented to German lawmakers in Berlin on Tuesday. Uzbek officials were not available to comment on the report.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has ruled the country with autocratic fervor since 1991, having come to power after the demise of the Soviet Union. His country’s location in Central Asia has made it a valuable transit point in the war on terror.

Uzbekistan’s relationship with the European Union and the United States soured in 2005 after government troops opened fire on protesters in the southern city of Andijan, killing hundreds of civilians.

The West strongly criticized the Uzbek government and imposed travel bans on government officials believed to have been responsible for the massacre. In retaliation, Mr. Karimov evicted U.S. forces from a key air base close to the border with Afghanistan.

In 2008, Uzbekistan announced reforms such as the introduction of habeas corpus, which Western governments commended.

The EU lifted its sanctions in 2009. Today, Germany pays the Karimov government of $33.8 million a year to lease an air base.

In addition, the U.S. decided in September to restart military assistance to Uzbekistan.

Full Report at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/16/human-rights-report-torture-abuse-uzbekistan/?page=2

--------

South Sudan president denies arming rebels in north

Dec 16, 2011

South Sudan’s president said Friday that his country is not arming rebels in two of Sudan’s Border States, from where more than 50,000 refugees have fled fighting in recent months, according to U.N. estimates.

Salva Kiir Mayardit said South Sudan does not want to return to war with Sudan, despite the recent escalation in violence between the two African countries.

“We are not supporting” the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, Mr. Kiir told a small group of reporters in Washington, referring to rebels in Sudan’s border states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.

Mr. Kiir heads the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which he said has distanced itself from rebels in Sudan after the referendum for South Sudan’s independence in January. He said his organization has asked the rebels to change the name of their group.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan on July 9 after two decades of civil war that killed about 2 million people.

Full Report at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/16/south-sudan-president-denies-arming-rebels-north/

-------

US Congress Restricts Aid To Egypt, Pakistan

BY DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) Dec 16, 2011— Congress would impose restrictions on aid to Egypt, Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority in a $53.3 billion bill that avoids deep cuts in foreign assistance and State Department funding that Republicans had pursued this year.

The legislation is part of a sweeping, $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package that provides money for 10 Cabinet agencies through next September. The House was expected to pass the measure on Friday and the Senate sometime this weekend.

Foreign aid amounts to just 1 percent of the federal budget, but lawmakers intent on cutting the deficit, especially conservative tea party Republicans, have clamored for significant reductions in spending overseas. Democrats and the State Department, led by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, successfully pressed to spare the accounts.

The legislation would provide $53.3 billion for foreign assistance and the State Department — $42.1 billion for the base budget and $11.2 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations account. That account pays for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other expenses. Lawmakers shifted costs for security and economic assistance, funds for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development into the account, increasing the amount from $7.6 billion to $11.2 billion

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/congress_restricts_aid_to_egypt_pakistan/

-------

Political discord root cause of Muslim disunity: Former Malaysian PM

BUTTERWORTH: Decemeber 17, 2011, Political discord and not Islam is the root cause of Muslims disunity in the country, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the Muslims in the country were split into three groups although they were not fighting against each other using weapons like in other Islamic countries.

"Just because of ideological differences, some Muslims have refused to share the same mosque and burial ground with fellow Muslims.

"As Islam promotes brotherhood, we need to foster unity among us. Unity is the foundation of the Islamic community, and not discord and hostility towards each other," he told reporters after opening the third Multaqa Wehdatul Ummah here Saturday.

Mahathir, who is also Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia president, said Muslims should portray the true Islamic teachings to gain the respect of other communities.

"Muslims will become weak due to conflicts among us. We might have forgotten that 55 years ago, all Muslims and Malays in this country fought for the independence and against the Malayan Union," he said.

He said although Muslims were weak and poor, and had no power then, they managed to defeat the Malayan Union because they were united. - Bernama

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/17/nation/20111217173429&sec=nation

-------

Belgium: Islam discriminated, says researcher

DECEMBER 06, 2011

Via GvA (Dutch):

"Islam is discriminated in Belgium. It's never recognized in a true multicultural fashion," writes researcher Jonathan Debeer (Policy Research Centre on Equal Opportunities, Antwerp University) in a recently published book. His study also shows that Muslims reject the Muslim Executive.

Debeer sees discrimination of Islam in many fields:

- Islam was recognized already back in 1974, but mosques were only recognized in 2007.

- The newly recognized religious community have to satisfy various formalities that didn't apply in the past (such as submitting annual budgets).

- The Muslim Executive represents the whole of Islam, but all candidates are screened by State Security and many democratically elected persons are rejects. That doesn't happen by other religions.

- The Flemish decree of public worship was written for Catholicism with its hierarchical structure, and hasn't been adapted to Islam.

His research also showed that Muslims themselves are critical of the Muslim Executive. They don't agree on its functions (administrative or also religious?), they think it's inefficient, they think that they delay the recognition of new mosques and imams. Above all, Muslims say that the Executive is not representative. The Turks and Moroccan in the Executive fail to agree on things.

Debeer criticizes the Magits report, which calls for one representative body for every recognized religion. Debeer says this fits the Catholic mold, and that religions should be represented by multiple bodies.

http://islamineurope.blogspot.com/2011/12/belgium-islam-discriminated-says.html

---------

Demand for ISI chief's resignation

MOSCOW: Dec 17, 2011, A Pakistani parliamentarian has demanded that ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha should resign following the claims that he travelled to Arab countries to discuss a move to oust President Asif Ali Zardari.

Bushra Gohar, of the Awami National Party, noted that former envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, had resigned after being implicated in the memogate scandal.

Similarly, the ISI chief should quit after being implicated in the same case, she said. PTI

http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/PUBLICATIONS/HT/HD/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/Demand-for-ISI-chiefs-resignation-17122011019015.shtml?Mode=1

----------

Pak PM: `No compromise on sovereignty'

Rezaul H Laskar

ISLAMABAD: Dec 17, 2011, The US must respect Pakistan's “red lines“ and give a guarantee that there will be no transgression of the country's borders in order to regain Islamabad's cooperation in the war on terrorism, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday.

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with US ambassador Cameron Munter, who “emphasised that both Pakistan and the US should fully cooperate to fight the menace of terrorism,“ said a statement from the Premier's office.

Pakistan “wanted to work with the US to defeat the common enemy“ of terrorism, Gilani said. “The Prime Minister, however, made it clear to the ambassador that Pakistan's red lines should be respected, adding that the US must ensure respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan with the guarantee of non-occurrence of the transgression of Pakistan's frontiers in future,“ the statement said. Anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries has virtually stopped after a crossborder Nato air strike on two military posts killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26.

Pakistan closed all Nato supply routes and forced US personnel to vacate Shamsi airbase, which was used by CIAoperated drones. Gilani had referred to Pakistan's “red lines“ for cooperating with the US while making a policy statement in parliament on Thursday.

He had said the conditions included “sovereign equality and mutual respect, no unilateral actions inside Pakistan or against Pakistan and no transgression of our territorial frontiers.“ PTI

http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/PUBLICATIONS/HT/HD/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/No-compromise-on-sovereignty-17122011019004.shtml?Mode=1

-------

NATO forces apologised as they fired, says Pak

KIMBERLY DOZIER

WASHINGTON: DEc, 17 2011, Pakistani officials say US forces knew they were opening fire on Pakistani forces, and even apologised to Pakistani officers, throughout the friendly fire incident that killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border in November.

The rare Pakistani embassy briefing on Thursday offered little new beyond what has been reported in Pakistan on the November incident, but it put the Pakistani version of events front and centre, ahead of the results of

Nato’s official investigation due out next week.

Pentagon officials refused to comment on the Pakistani account, saying they will not speak until their own investigation is complete. One new element was the alleged apology offered by the Nato officer in charge to his Pakistani liaison officer counterpart, at the Nato border outpost where such incidents are supposed to be managed and avoided.

The Pakistanis say the Nto officer apologised for relaying the wrong coordinates of the location Nato planes were about to fire

upon. The error meant that the Pakistanis could not warn Nato forces that they were about to fire on a friendly post. The officer apologised again, according to the Pakistanis, for the continued fire on the two remote outposts. The attack was in support of a nearby US-Afghan joint patrol that thought it was under fire from Taliban militants. The incident briefly severed military coordination between the two sides. It’s also further complicated an already fractured political relationship and again angered the Pakistani public.

— AP

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/Nato-forces-apologised-as-they-fired-says-Pak-17122011008010.shtml?Mode=1

---------

NATO attack: Pakistan makes its case in Washington

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Dec 17, 2011, Pakistan is offering a view of what happened in NATO’s deadly attack on a pair of the Pakistani Army border outposts last month that concludes that the operation could not have been a mistake – and that the shooting by helicopter gunships that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead continued for an hour after NATO forces said it would stop, write Howard LaFranchi in Christian Science Monitor and Pamela Constable in Washington Post.

Senior Pakistani officials made their presentation in Washington on Thursday amid a downward spiral in US-Pakistan relations that began early in the year but has accelerated while the two uneasy partners trade allegations in the aftermath of the November 26 attack.

On Wednesday the House of Representatives approved a freeze on $700 million in military aid to Pakistan. For its part, Pakistan has evicted the US from an airbase where drones were stationed, has closed its borders to the transfer of NATO supplies into Afghanistan – and is now proposing to charge NATO transit fees for using Pakistani supply routes if and when the borders reopen to NATO.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\17\story_17-12-2011_pg7_7

---------

Pakistan's 'memogate' bodes ill for Zardari

By Haroon Rashid, BBC News,

London, 16 December 2011, With Pakistan's powerful military breaking with the government and backing a supreme court inquiry into the "memogate" scandal, things do not look good for President Zardari's three-year-old administration.

Former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has already lost his job in the row, although he claims he is innocent. Who is to say more heads will not roll?

The scandal revolves around a memo allegedly sent from Pakistan's political leadership via Mr Haqqani to Adm Mike Mullen seeking US help to tame the Pakistani military.

Pakistan's civilian leaders were allegedly worried the military was about to launch a coup after US forces killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in May.

In recent days, the president's absence from Islamabad has fuelled speculation over what is going on.

Political observers went into overdrive last week when news emerged of his sudden departure to Dubai for medical treatment.

Political pundits think Mr Zardari is waiting outside the country and watching court proceedings from a safe distance. He does not want to get stuck like Mr Haqqani, who is barred by the court from leaving the country until the case is decided, the theory goes.

The existence of the memo is more or less proven. In his court statement, Pakistan's military chief, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, said the memo's existence had been confirmed by Adm Mullen and Gen James Jones. Now the answer everyone is looking for is - who was really behind it?

President Zardari and Husain Haqani both deny any involvement but the controversy continues to unfold.

The allegations against the ambassador were made by a US-based lobbyist, Mansoor Ijaz, and there are many still unanswered questions about his role. Mr Ijaz has a decade-long association with Mr Haqqani. Is he now playing a double game? Who stands to benefit - the Americans or the Pakistani military?

Full Report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16217679

----------

Network of anti-Islamic NGOs in Kashmir: Mirwaiz

16 DECEMBER 2011

SRINAGAR: KDNN  

Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday claimed that “anti-Islamic” forces had set up a network of NGOs in Kashmir to erase the religious identity of the Muslim majority.

“Under a deep-rooted conspiracy, efforts are also on at educational and administrative level to promote un-Islamic  activities,” Mirwaiz said addressing a Friday gathering at Khanquah Moulla Sopore in North Kashmir.

Mirwaiz said the Ulema, irrespective of their school of thought, had joined hands to fight the “apostasy immorality and other social evils.”

Highlighting the services of Hazrat Shah-e-Hamdan, Mirwaiz said it was because of such spiritual and learned personalities that Islam had spread in Kashmir.

“The designs to spread apostasy in this land of saints and seers will never be allowed to succeed,” he said.

Mirwaiz termed the Kashmir issue as key to peace and stability in south Asia. “The issue of Kashmir can only be resolved by implementation of UN resolutions or meaningful dialogue between the  three parties to the issue,” he said.

Full Report at:

http://www.kashmirdispatch.com/headlines/16127374-network-of-anti-islamic-ngos-in-kashmir-mirwaiz.htm

-----------

Tunisia Marks First Anniversary of Uprising

December 16, 2011

Tunisia marks the year anniversary on Saturday, December 17 of the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, whose act of protest triggered a revolution in the North African country - and the wider popular uprising now known as the "Arab Spring." While Tunisia appears to be heading toward a largely positive future, the outlook for other countries in the region appears less bright.

It was a singular act of defiance by an impoverished, 26-year-old vegetable vendor living in Tunisia's economically depressed heartland. Bouazizi's self-immolation last year on the 17th of December - to express his despair and anger at local authorities - triggered a national uprising that brought down dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali a month later.

The protests crossed Tunisia's borders. From Algeria to Yemen, angry people began setting themselves on fire, and the popular revolt we now call the Arab Spring was born. Besides Ben Ali, the leaders of Egypt and Libya have fallen in much bloodier uprisings - and Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down.

Today, Tunisia is fundamentally - and most believe irreversibly - changed. In October, widely praised elections ushered in a new coalition government, with the moderate Islamist Ennahdha party the dominant power.

Retired US diplomat William Jordan, a North Africa expert, gives Tunisia a largely upbeat assessment.

"I think that overall, the trend is positive. Tunisia's new institutions are proving to be much more durable and much more responsive to Tunisians' desire for a more democratic, more open political system - and a decisive break from the Ben Ali regime," said Jordan.

Human Rights Watch's deputy regional director Eric Goldstein also praises Tunisia's evolution over the past year.

"People are free to go out and protest. New newspapers have been created. There's an atmosphere there that's completely different from the state of fear that Ben Ali enforced," said Goldstein.

Full Report at:

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Tunisia-Marks-First-Anniversary-of-Uprising-135759513.html

-----------

One soldier, 25 terrorists killed in Orakzai clashes

Dec 17, 2011

PESHAWAR: Dozens of terrorists ambushed Pakistani troops on Friday, killing a soldier and sparking clashes that left up to 25 terrorists dead in Khanki village in the Upper Orakzai region, officials said.

Members of the Frontier Corps were attacked while driving through the Mamuzai area of Orakzai, the stronghold of Hakimullah Meshud, the leader of the nebulous Pakistani Taliban faction. “Around 50 local terrorists, waiting on both sides of the road, opened fire on the convoy. One soldier was killed and more than 20 were wounded,” a paramilitary official told AFP on condition of anonymity. They were ambushed at around 7:30am and ensuing clashes lasted around 40 minutes, the official said. “The troops, backed by helicopters, retaliated and killed at least 25 terrorists,” he added. Sher Bahadur Khan, an administration official in Orakzai, gave the same casualty numbers. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\17\story_17-12-2011_pg7_5

-------

Suicide bombers attack west Kabul police station

KABUL: Dec. 17, 2011, An attack on a police station in the west of Kabul on Friday ended without casualties, police and the Interior Ministry said. An attacker threw a hand grenade at the station, ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on his official Twitter account, and soon afterwards police said they had regained control. “There were gunfights in Police District Five. There were no casualties. Now everything is under control and we are investigating the case,” said Muhammad Zahir, head of the criminal investigation department for Kabul police. Police officials denied the incident was a suicide attack. Earlier, a Reuters witness heard gunfire and at least two explosions, and a police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said several suicide bombers had attacked the police station. The Taliban generally target military personnel or foreigners, such as in the attack on a convoy of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicles in late October, which killed 13. That attack was also in the west of the city, an area which does not have a high concentration of foreign residents. A huge suicide bomb killed 80 people at a Shia shrine in Kabul last week, an attack the Taliban condemned. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\17\story_17-12-2011_pg7_9

----------

Two Pakistanis charged in immigration fraud in Canada

Dec, 17, 2011

OTTAWA: Two Pakistani nationals have been charged with immigration fraud for allegedly providing false Canadian residency information on their citizenship application, police announced on Friday. Mukesh Maheshwari, 37, and Usha Bai, 33, are accused of using an “address of convenience” in Toronto on their applications in an attempt to mislead Canadian immigration officials into believing that they met residency requirements for Canadian citizenship, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement. Permanent residents must acquire three years of residence out of four years to apply for Canadian citizenship. To retain their status as permanent residents, they must be physically present in Canada for two years out of five. The charges come on the heels of a massive investigation into immigration fraud announced earlier this month by authorities that could see as many as 6,500 people from more than 100 countries stripped of their Canadian citizenship or permanent residency. Most of the cases are reportedly linked to three immigration consultants in Halifax, Montreal and Toronto. Prior to this year, only 67 citizenships had been revoked since the enactment of the Citizenship Act in 1947. The two accused in this latest case face a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a CAN$1,000 fine if convicted. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\17\story_17-12-2011_pg7_8

---------

Bangladesh BSF kills 4 in Kurigram, Dinajpur, Meherpur

Star Online Report, Dec 17, 2011

Despite repeated assurance by Indian authorities of restraint on border, the country’s border force, BSF, killed four Bangladeshi citizens in the bordering areas of Kurigram, Dinajpur and Meherpur since Friday evening.

Two cattle traders were killed in Dinajpur, one in Meherpur while a local in Kurigram.

Our Dinajpur correspondent reported that the BSF troops from Gobindapur camp No. 96 killed two Bangladeshi cattle traders when nearly five to six people went to Daudpur frontier area in Katla union of Birampur upazila to bring cows from Indian side around 4:00am Saturday.

Motiar Rahman, 20, son of one Siddiq Hossain of Dakkhin Daudpur village of the upazila and Tajul Islam, 26, son of one Asir Uddin of Rongaon village died on the spot.

The other cattle traders however managed to flee unhurt.

The BSF men later took away the bodies, Tareq Iftekhar Ahmed, acting commander of Phulbari camp of the BGB 40 Rifles Battalion, told The Daily Star.

Full Report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=34465

--------

Bombs in Bangladesh explode during Jessore hartal

Star Online Report, Dec 17, 2011

Four bombs were exploded in Sarsha upazila of Jessore on Saturday during the hartal enforced by the district BNP protesting the killing of its leader.

No damage or casualty was reported in the blasts at Navaron Bazar around 1:30pm, our correspondent said quoting Sarsha upazila BNP president Khairuzzaman Madhu.

Besides, one BNP man was injured when activists of ruling Awami League allegedly attacked them with sticks at about 12:30pm at Syamlagachhi in the upazila.

Laltu Hossain was admitted to Navaron Hospital with serious head injury.

Madhu said, “Some activists of Awami League attacked our supporters when they were holding a peaceful procession in the area.”

Full Report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=34462

---------

Syrian troops fire at protesters after Friday prayers

AP & AFP

BEIRUT: Dec 17, 2011, Syrian activists say troops have opened fire to disperse anti-government protests after Friday midday prayers at several locations around the country, shooting dead at least one person.

The Local Coordination Committees and the Britishbased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say Friday's death took place in the restive central city of Homs.

The Observatory says there was also shooting near a mosque in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour but it's unclear if there were casualties there.

The UN raised its death toll for the Syrian uprising substantially this week, saying more 5,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in midMarch.

Syrian army defectors killed 27 government forces in apparently coordinated attacks Thursday that were among the deadliest by rebel troops so far.

mass rallies in syria Hundreds of thousands of Syrians protested nine months into their uprising on Friday, demanding the Arab League hasten its response to a bloody crackdown on dissent, activists said.

The mass protests came after Russia, a longtime ally of Syria's embattled President Bashar alAssad, drew a guarded response from Western governments for signs of toughening its stance at the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 200,000 protested in the besieged central city of Homs alone.

http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/PUBLICATIONS/HT/HD/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/Syrian-troops-fire-at-protesters-after-Friday-prayers-17122011019020.shtml?Mode=1

--------

Syria crisis: Iraq's Falah al-Fayadh in mediation bid

17 December, 2011

An Iraqi delegation led by National Security adviser Falah al-Fayadh is in Syria attempting to mediate an end to the violence there.

The group is trying to broker a deal based on Arab League peace proposals, and says it is in touch with Syria's opposition as well as its government.

The visit comes as Syria's main opposition group meets in Tunisia.

The Syrian National Council is trying to present itself as a government in waiting set to replace Bashar al-Assad.

Pressure is mounting on the Syrian president to end the violence that the UN says has taken more than 5,000 lives since March.

Widespread anti-government protests encouraged by the Arab Spring triggered a harsh crackdown that has brought regional and international condemnation.

But after months of bloodshed and no sign of the regime falling, some Syrians have taken up arms in a bid to remove President Assad.

'Clearer targets'

The Arab League is considering how to deal with Syria's failure so far to accept without qualification its own peace plan which includes the deployment of hundreds of outside observers to monitor an end to the violence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16229210

--------

Bloody clashes overshadow Egypt vote count

SAMER AL-ATRUSH

CAIRO, DEC. 16, The clashes, which had raged since dawn, were the bloodiest since five days of stir in November killed more than 40 people already

The Egyptian troops clashed with petrol bombthrowing protesters against military rule in Cairo on Friday, as the worst violence in weeks overshadowed the count in the second phase of a landmark general election.

At least 99 people were wounded as the soldiers repeatedly attempted to break up a sit-in outside the Cabinet’s offices demand

ing an immediate transition to civilian rule, state television reported.

The television also said 32 security forces personnel were wounded, including an officer hit by birdshot it said came from the protesters.

The clashes, which raged since dawn, were the bloodiest since five days of protests in November killed more than 40 people just ahead of Egypt’s first parliamentary elections since the ouster of

Full Report at:

http://epaper.asianage.com/PUBLICATIONS/ASIAN/AAGE/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/Bloody-clashes-overshadow-Egypt-vote-count-17122011009007.shtml?Mode=1

---------

Taliban spokesman says loya jirga reveals the invaders’ “sinister objective” to occupy afghanistan

In a recent interview with a Taliban-run news agency, Afghan Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi provided an official response to the recent Kabul Loya Jirga (Grand Council) that approved a continued American military presence in Afghanistan as well as an assessment of the Taliban’s struggle against NATO forces in various regions of the country. [1]

The four-day Loya Jirga produced a nearly unanimous vote in favor of a strategic agreement with the United States that would permit the continued presence of American military bases in Afghanistan after the scheduled pull-out of U.S. forces in 2014. There were, however, conditions attached, including an end to night raids on residential housing, the closure of all prisons operated by foreign forces and accountability to the Afghan justice system for Americans who commit crimes in Afghanistan (Khaama Press [Kabul], November 19).

The Taliban spokesman suggested that the Loya Jirga decision would actually play into the Taliban’s hands: “The people have realized that the invaders are here for sinister objectives. They want to endanger our religion, prestige and other sanctities at the hands of a few traitors and corrupt agents. They want to keep us as an occupied nation and impose their own systems upon us.”

Given the Loya Jirga’s decision, the Taliban spokesman was asked how long the Taliban will continue to fight against a foreign military presence: “Jihad is a religious obligation upon us. We have no specified time framework for it. When the need for Jihad is ceased, the war will naturally come to an end. It totally depends on the invaders.”

The Taliban spokesman also offered an assessment of the military situation in the southern and northern operational theaters:

In the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, the site of some of the war’s fiercest clashes, the spokesman admits the Taliban have been driven out of some areas, but attributes this to the occupiers’ complete destruction of orchards and houses in these districts. Otherwise he denies NATO claims that the Taliban are restricted to limited areas in the south of these provinces, insisting that foreign forces are confined to their bases in urban centers while the Taliban conduct attacks throughout the rest of the region at will. Qari Yusuf suggests the inaccurate perception of the situation in the southern provinces is partly due to “the absence of free international media” to observe and report Taliban activities accurately. While attributing this absence to threats against journalists by internal and external secret services, this complaint from an official spokesman demonstrates the Taliban’s growing appreciation for the value of the media in the struggle for Afghanistan. The movement once known for smashing televisions now manages a website in five languages, Twitter and Facebook accounts, radio stations, magazines and a video production company that posts its work on YouTube (Express Tribune [Karachi], December 1).

In the northern provinces, particularly Kunduz, a decrease in Taliban activity is blamed on the reluctance of the “mostly non-American” NATO garrisons there “who are fed up with this war” to venture far from their bases, thus reducing the opportunities for Taliban operations. Nonetheless, Qari Yusuf says the Taliban is continuing to increase its presence in the north. The Kunduz Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is one of five PRTs that come under ISAF’s Regional Command-North. With Germany as the lead nation, PRT-Kunduz includes German, Belgian, Armenian and American troops.

Qari Yusuf summed up the rationale behind the Taliban’s continued commitment to a military resolution in Afghanistan rather than entering into political negotiations: 

"We can never tolerate foreign invasion in our country. We want the strict implementation of Islamic rules and regulations. We want Islamic brotherhood and unity among the countrymen. We want cordial relation with the world on the basis of Islamic principles where no one is harmed. But the enemy is extending the occupation and is dreaming for a prolonged subjugation of our country. In these circumstances we are compelled to insist on a military solution rather than political one because the enemy is not ready to leave our country… and to solve the disputed issues by political negotiations."

Qari Yusuf also stressed that the Taliban’s operational flexibility is a factor in its favor: “When we notice that the public and the mujahideen are both under pressure, simultaneously we open new fronts in other villages and districts. In the same way if one zone is under pressure, we have increased our activities in other zones… We have entered a new phase in the war where we have been able to inflict heavy losses on the enemy and have significantly reduced our own.”

Note:

1. Afghan Islamic News Agency, “Interview of the Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” Ansar1.info, December 4, 2011.

---------

Libya’s Jalil demands release of Gaddafi billions

WARSAW:  Dec, 17, 2011, Libya’s interim leadership demanded on Friday the release of up to $160 billion of assets frozen in sanctions against former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

“All the Libyan people want from the international community is to try to speed the process of unfreezing our assets so we can pay wages and go back to normal,” National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said.

“As all are aware ...the money of Muammar Gaddafi, between 140-160 billion dollars is frozen under international decisions,” he told a European Union rights and development conference in Warsaw. “If we get this money back we can help Libyans recover,” Jalil said, adding that so far individual countries had released just a fraction of the frozen cash.

“There is also a financial crisis in the world and it might be beneficial for them to keep this money for a while,” Jalil said. “If a country has four billion US dollars, they just unfreeze maybe 100 million.” He said the money is needed for reconstruction and to help the families of up to 25,000 rebel fighters killed during the uprising against Gaddafi. “The number of martyrs is 24,000 to 25,000 and among them are 5,000-6000 married people who left behind widows and children — there are also some 35,000 wounded and injured persons,” Jalil said.

Full Report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\17\story_17-12-2011_pg7_35

----------

Russian customs seize Iran-bound radioactive metal

By Nataliya Vasilyeva-Associated Press

MOSCOW, December 16, 2011 — Russia’s customs agency said Friday that it seized radioactive metal from the luggage of an Iranian passenger bound for Tehran.

Spokeswoman Kseniya Grebenkina told The Associated Press that the luggage had been seized some time ago, but could not specify when. The Iranian hasn’t been detained, she said.

The Federal Customs Service said in a statement that its agents found 18 pieces of metal at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport after a radiation alert went on. It says the gauges showed that radiation levels were 20 times higher than normal.

It was not immediately clear if the substance could have any use in Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Full Report at:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/16/russia-customs-seize-iran-bound-radioactive-metal/

----------

US Ambassador to Pak greets students leaving for US varsities

STAFF REPORT

ISLAMABAD - Dec 17, 2011US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has congratulated over 100 Pakistani students who will traveling to the United States for university education as part of the US government-funded Global Undergraduate (UGRAD) Program.

Speaking on the occasion here on Friday, Munter said: “We are very fortunate to have so many talented Pakistani students attending American universities through the UGRAD Program. This is one example of the US government’s long-term commitment to the education of Pakistanis and to increasing mutual understanding between both countries.” The UGRAD Program awards cover all costs for one semester of studies at an American university. Friday’s orientation programme, which was organised by the US Education Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), which has prepared the students with the required skills, attitude, and knowledge to make the most of their experience in the United States, said a press statement issued here.

The students, hailing from all regions of Pakistan, will attend 45 universities across the US. They will study a wide variety of academic disciplines, such as public policy, health, social sciences and fine arts.

This one-semester programme for undergraduates was first launched in the fall of 2010 with 50 participants. The US embassy since then has doubled the size of the programme as at least one hundred students are studying in the United States this fall. The US Embassy in Pakistan administers the largest array of US-funded educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs in the world. More information about US-funded exchange programmes can be accessed on the US embassy’s website: http://islamabad.usembassy.gov or at http://www.usefp.org.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/munter-greets-pakistani-students-leaving-for-us-varsities/

----------

Last US base handed to Iraq ahead of pullout

Agence France-Presse

AFTER YEAR-END, THE US EMBASSY WILL RETAIN JUST 157 US SOLDIERS, TO TRAIN OF IRAQI FORCES

NASIRIYAH (IRAQ): Iraq took control of the last US military base in the country on Friday, a day after US forces formally marked the end of their mission, bringing a divisive war to a low-key conclusion.

The transfer of the sprawling installation on the outskirts of the southern city of Nasiriyah is a final step ahead of a complete US withdrawal from Iraq in the coming days.

The Imam Ali Base, known to the US military as Camp Adder, housed 15,000 American troops at its peak and was officially signed over at a ceremony attended by Hussein al-Assadi, the Iraqi official responsible for base transfers.

“We proudly announce to the Iraqi people today the handover of the last American military base,“ Assadi said after the signing. “Today we are turning the last page on the occupation.“

The base, which will now be used by Iraq's fledgling air force, lies on the edge of the ancient city of Ur, the Biblical birthplace of Abraham.

Friday's handover comes after US defence secretary Leon Panetta and US commanders took part in a subdued “casing of the colours“ ceremony on Thursday near Baghdad airport, the first site US forces occupied in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion.

All that remains of the American military in Iraq are around 4,000 soldiers, down from a peak of nearly 170,000 troops and 505 bases across the country. After year-end, the US embassy will retain just 157 US soldiers, to train of Iraqi forces, and a group of marines to secure the diplomatic mission.

http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/PUBLICATIONS/HT/HD/2011/12/17/ArticleHtmls/Last-US-base-handed-to-Iraq-ahead-of-17122011019023.shtml?Mode=1

-------

Jury AT Boston ends 1st day deliberating Mass. terror trial

By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man accused of plotting to help al-Qaida was someone who talked about waging violent jihad against the United States for years, then took steps to realize his dream by traveling to Yemen to seek training in a terrorist camp so he could later go to Iraq to kill American soldiers, prosecutors said Friday.

But defense lawyers for Tarek Mehanna said he was an aspiring scholar of Islam who went to Yemen looking for religious schools. Although he was angry about the U.S. invasion of Iraq and expressed strong anti-American sentiment in online chats presented by prosecutors during his federal trial, Mehanna never wanted to kill Americans and never planned to fight U.S. soldiers, his lawyers told jurors during closing arguments.

Mehanna, 29, an American from Sudbury, an upscale Boston suburb, faces seven charges that could send him to prison for life if convicted, including conspiracy to provide material to a designated terrorist organization, al-Qaida, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and making false statements to the FBI.

Jurors have listened to nearly eight weeks of testimony. Prosecutors focused on hundreds of online chats on Mehanna's computer in which they say Mehanna and his friends talk about their desire to participate in jihad. Several of those friends were called by prosecutors to testify against Mehanna, including one man who said he, Mehanna and a third friend wanted to get terrorism training in Yemen so they could fight American soldiers in Iraq.

Prosecutors allege that when Mehanna and another man were unable to find a terrorist camp in Yemen, Mehanna returned to the United States, saw himself as part of al-Qaida's "media wing," and began translating and distributing online texts and videos promoting violent jihad.

Full Report at:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jUBPdmWn9loLTO5YKFYc4YoLaTNg?docId=832a1101c25243eab486aa9cf3618053

---------

Insurgency Related Violence Reported in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia

The founder of the Dagestani independent weekly newspaper Chernovik, Khadzhimurad Kamalov, was shot to death In Makhachkala late yesterday (December 15). The incident took place around 11:30 pm, local time, near the newspaper’s offices in the Dagestani capital. Kavkazsky Uzel reported that the murder was not carried out in a fashion typical of Dagestani militants: the website noted that it took place near the victim’s office and that the shooter was reportedly wearing a mask. It is also worth noting that Kamalov’s name was among those that appeared on an anonymous so-called “execution list” circulated in Makhachkala in September 2009 that threatened to kill more than 250 alleged rebels in revenge for the killing of police and civilians by militants. Eight journalists, including Kamalov and several other Chernovik staffers, were included on the list for allegedly having collaborated with the militants (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 16; EDM, September 9, 2009).

In June 2009, Dagestani authorities filed a lawsuit to shut down Chernovik because of its alleged support for extremist views. The authorities’ campaign against Chernovik started soon after it published an article in 2008 about a highly controversial counter-insurgency operation in Makhachkala during which, according to the newspaper and other reports, innocent people were killed – including a professor of a local university, his wife and their friend (EDM, June 30, 2009).

In July of this year, Kamalov reported that Russian security forces had fired on two civilian cars they thought were rebel vehicles, killing three local residents and wounding five. The incident took place in Dagestan’s Kizlyar district after the federal servicemen came under insurgent fire (EDM, July 8).

The head of Dagestan, Magomedsalam Magomedov, announced today (December 16) that he had taken the investigation of Kamalov’s murder under special control, ordering that the killers be found as quickly as possible (www.rbc.ru, December 16). For his part, the Russian president’s envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, Aleksandr Khloponin, said today that he had taken the investigation into Kamalov’s murder under his personal control (www.interfax.ru, December 16).

Kamalov’s murder took place on the day of remembrance for Russian journalists killed in the line of duty. That day has been observed by Russian journalists every December 15 since 1991(www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 15).

Also on December 15, unidentified men kidnapped Aleksandr Misrikhanov, the general director of Dagestan’s largest chain of jewelry stores, in Makhachkala. The incident took place around 8 pm, local time, when Misrikhanov was forced into a Lada Priora automobile and driven off in an unknown direction (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 16).

On December 14, the acting head of the investigative department of the Investigative Committee’s branch in Makhachkala’s Sovietsky district, Arsen Gadzhibekov, was killed in the city of Kaspiisk. The murder took place shortly after midnight near an apartment building when gunmen in a Lada Priora shot the 45-year-old Gadzhibekov, who died on the spot (www.newsru.com, www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 14).

In Kabardino-Balkaria, the bullet-riddled bodies of three residents of the Elbrus district were found in a car in the village of Bylym, according to reports from the republic today (December 16). The victims were identified as Boris Akhmatov and Sapar Makitov, both of them Bylym residents, and Svetlana Malkarova, a resident of the city of Tyrnyauz. Investigators found nineteen 7.62 mm shell casings, ten 5.45 mm shell casings and two 9 mm casings at the scene of the crime (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 16).

On December 13-14, security forces in Kabardino-Balkaria conducted a special operation targeting rebels on the outskirts of the village of Zhankhoteko. According to the republic’s Interior Ministry, four rebels were killed in the operation, which involved the use of aviation (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 14).

On December 12, a 30-year-old investigator with the investigative department of Kabardino-Balkaria’s Interior Ministry, Murat Gergov, was shot to death in the republic’s Baksan district. The incident took place around 9 p.m., local time, near Gergov’s home in the village of Islamaee (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 12).

In Ingushetia, three servicemen were wounded on December 14 when a roadside bomb detonated on the outskirts of the city of Nazran as servicemen from the 126th regiment of the Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops were patrolling the area around their base. The incident took place around 8:20 am, local time (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 14).

On December 9, Ingushetia’s deputy health minister, Sofa Esmurzieva, was wounded when gunmen fired at her as she was getting into her car near her home in Nazran. She was hospitalized with a bullet wound to the leg (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 9).

----------

Veena missing for last 24 hours

Dec 17, 2011

According to Veena’s manager, she has gone missing since December 16 and all her cell phones are turned off. She was on the shoot of a film “Mumbai 125 kilometer” in Mumbai, a private TV channel reported.

The director of the film, Hemant Madurkar said that a message was received from Malik on December 15 saying that she was “troubled.” He said that he has filed a complaint in Bandra Police Station.

“Veena Malik was working in my film. She was depressed since past two days and messaged me that she was upset.” Madurkar told an Indian news agency.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/12/veena-missing-for-last-24-hours/

--------

Financial strength of India lures Pakistani talent

TNN, Dec 17, 2011,

Whoever said 'Love Thy Neighbour' probably had no idea of how seriously our padosis would devote their careers to living by this tenet.

Actually, neither did we till we looked at all those fair maidens and handsome strangers who'd come to India recently and realised that they all came, fell 'in work', and found an alternative home sweet home in India. Of course, their bank balances have only increased since then.

Sach toh yeh hai ki humare aamne saamne wali countries mein joh talent ke tukde rehte hain, all of them have been smart enough to access the combined commercial potential of the cine and entertainment industries in India. The sound of Pakistani vocals first reverberated across Bollywood and national radio programmes when legends like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan crossed over to find the country going gaga for their Sufi sounds. Now, no one perhaps makes for a stronger example of this than the names from Pakistan's music world, who've found an unparalleled fan following as well as stupendous demand for their music and voices from India.

Full Report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/tv/Financial-strength-of-India-lures-Pakistani-talent/articleshow/11132840.cms#write

---------

Christopher Hitchens dies at 62

AP

New York Dec 16, 2011, Christopher Hitchens, the author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right and wrote the provocative best-seller “God is Not Great,” died Thursday night after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.

The death of Mr. Hitchens announced in a statement from Vanity Fair magazine. The statement says he died on Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer.

“There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar,” said Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. “Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls.”

A most engaged, prolific and public intellectual who enjoyed his drink (enough to “to kill or stun the average mule“) and cigarettes, he announced in June 2010 that he was being treated for cancer of the esophagus and cancelled a tour for his memoir “Hitch-22.”

Mr. Hitchens, a frequent television commentator and a contributor to Vanity Fair, Slate and other publications while based in Washington, had become a popular author in 2007 thanks to “God is Not Great,” a manifesto for athiests that defied a recent trend of religious works. Cancer humbled, but did not mellow him. Even after his diagnosis, his columns appeared weekly, savaging the royal family or revelling in the death of Osama bin Laden.

“I love the imagery of struggle,” he wrote about his illness in an August 2010 essay in Vanity Fair. “I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient.”

Full Report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2720276.ece?homepage=true

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/letter-on-burqua-ban-gets-indian-girl-date-with-french-president-sarkozy/d/6162


Loading..

Loading..