New Age Islam
Sat Oct 24 2020, 02:48 AM

Islamic World News ( 25 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Malaysia: Stay Away From Book On Muslim Women, Muslims Advised

Malaysian court lifts ban on book by Muslim women:

"Muslim Women and The Challenge of Islamic Extremism"

Pak will be held responsible if 26/11 recurs: Chidambaram

Kashmiri pandits seek US help in rehabilitation

"Jihad Chill": making it too expensive for anyone to dare criticize Islam

China sentences four more to death for Urumqi riot

Islam Channel chief arrested in South Africa over terror claims

France MPs' report backs Muslim face veil ban

Moderate Turkish Islamists hit the big time

India has a major role to play in Afghanistan: Brown

US must talk to Taliban, says 'Colonel Imam'

Karzai wants Taliban off UN blacklist

Drop 'good' Taliban from terror list: UN

Pak no to fight against Taliban disappoints US

Kurram: Air attacks kill 21 militants

Taliban insurgency increasingly effective

Israel: Turkish leader fuels anti-Semitism

Straw rejected advice that Iraq invasion was 'unlawful'

Egypt: Will Gamal inherit power?

Nigeria: Perpetrators of religious riots could be freed again

Journalist Naomi Kelin warns of hypocrisy

Heavy firing at India-Pak border, army on alert

Germany to expand Afghan forces

Bomber strikes near US military base in Kabul

Iraq crime lab car bomber kills many in Baghdad

BJP not anti-Muslim, it is anti-Pakistan, says Gadkari

Kabul, Pakistan ready to talk with Taliban

Taliban leaders may join Afghan govt: US

Congress asks Pakistan to exercise restraint

Now, Kasab makes desperate call for help from Pakistan

No international court for Kasab

Church attacks: CM blames "organised group", Guv says be firm

Iran summons Swiss envoy over scientist's killing

Pakistani court bans AQ Khan's free movement

India to Nepal: Terror threat, need marshals on planes

Nuclear war between India, Pak could spell climate disaster

Can the United States contain Islamic terrorism?

Togadia feels Kerala is now jihadis’ land

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/malaysia--stay-away-from-book-on-muslim-women,-muslims-advised/d/2421

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Stay Away From Book On Muslim Women, Muslims Advised

26 January 2010

The book "Muslim Women and The Challenge of Islamic Extremism" can create doubt and disharmony among the people in the country, according to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM).

Its director general, Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz Wan Mohamad said the contents of the book contravened the Islamic Publication Materials Censorship Guidelines issued by Jakim in 1996.

"Several obvious errors were found (in the book)," he said in a statement Tuesday.

He said among others the book stated that Islamic family laws and Syariah criminal laws were promoting prejudice and discrimination against women.

The book also questioned the Fatwa institution and the ban on non-Islamic scholars from discussing Islamic issues, besides promoting re-interpretation of the verses in the Quran, especially on gender bias, he said.

Wan Mohamad said the book had been scrutinised, checked and referred to the Islamic Publication Materials Censorship Committee chaired by the Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Dr Harussani Zakaria.

"Hence, Muslims in the country are advised to be wary of reading materials which contravene Islamic teachings. If in doubt, refer to the guidelines issued by Jakim," he said.

Wan Mohamad said Jakim also respected the High Court's decision on Monday to lift the ban on the book, but felt that it was its responsibility to explain to the public on the errors found in any Islamic book in the market.

-- BERNAMA

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=471387

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Malaysian court lifts ban on book by Muslim women

26 January 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: A Malaysian court overturned a government ban on a book about Muslim women that authorities claimed was a misinterpretation of Islam and a threat to public stability, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

The verdict marks a rare occasion that a publisher has successfully challenged the Home Ministry's power to block books considered as inappropriate. Dozens of books have been banned in the last few years, often because they contained too much sexual content or were deemed to misrepresent Islam, Malaysia's official religion.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled Monday that ``Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism'' did not pose any threat to national security, said Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a lawyer for Sisters in Islam, the Malaysian women's advocacy group that published the book.

The Home Ministry had banned the compilation of essays in 2008, two years after it went into circulation, saying it could undermine people's faith and disrupt public order.

According to a 2008 ministry letter to Sisters in Islam, the book mainly went too far in questioning whether Islamic family laws discriminate against women in issues such as polygamy and divorce.

Sisters in Islam insisted the 215-page book was a purely academic work in which Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean, Iranian, Egyptian and Filipino female activists and scholars studied the challenges they face in promoting women's rights in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The group estimates 3,000 copies had been sold before the ban, including as university textbooks.

High Court Judge Mohamad Ariff Mohamad Yusof said the ban was irrational because there was no evidence of any threat to public order in the seven pages to which the Home Ministry objected, Malik Imtiaz said.

"The reaction to ban the book is wholly disproportionate to the concerns expressed,'' Mohamad Ariff was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper.

Government lawyer Noor Hishamuddin Ismail said he was still awaiting instructions on whether to appeal the ruling.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Malaysian-court-lifts-ban-on-book-by-Muslim-women-/articleshow/5501230.cms

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Pak will be held responsible if 26/11 recurs: Chidambaram

Jan 26, 2010

New Delhi : Asserting that Pakistan will be held responsible if there is a Mumbai-type attack, India on Monday termed as “very irresponsible” the statement by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that his country cannot guarantee that such an incident will not recur.

Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed unhappiness over the way Pakistan has dealt with the evidence provided to it in connection with Mumbai terror attack and said India continues to be “vulnerable” as the “level of threat is pretty high”.

He rejected Pakistan’s effort to make distinction between state and non-state actors.

“I don’t think Pakistan can get away with this charade of making a distinction between state and non-state...if it emanates from Pakistan soil,” he said.

“I never believe in this distinction between state and non-state actor as far as Pakistan is concerned and information that we have recently makes it quite clear that this so called distinction does not exist. Therefore, if there is another attack, emanating from Pakistan soil, I think whole world will hold Pakistan responsible,” he told Times Now.

On Gilani’s contention that Islamabad cannot guarantee that there would be no repeat of 26/11 Mumbai attack, he said “Mr Gilani is the prime minister of that country, ordinarily I should not comment on the prime minister’s statement. But with great respect, that was very irresponsible statement."

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-will-be-held-responsible-if-26-11-recurs-chidambaram/571534/

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Kashmiri pandits seek US help in rehabilitation

S Rajagopalan

26 January 2010

The US-based International Kashmir Federation has sought the Obama administration’s assistance for the rehabilitation of thousands of uprooted Kashmiri Pandits.

On the 20th anniversary of the mass exodus of Pandits from Kashmir in the face of violence and intimidation, a delegation of the federation met with State Department officials and lawmakers to press for American assistance.

A memorandum issued by the federation accused India of not making efforts for rehabilitation of the Pandits and demanded that it carve out a safe haven to enable the scattered community’s return home.

“This safe haven, also called ‘Panun Kashmir’ meaning ‘My Kashmir’ will allow the Kashmiri Hindus promote their culture in safety,” the federation said, adding: “Kashmiri Pandits want to return to Kashmir because, first, they have lived there for thousands of years; second, because their jobs are there; third, because the backdrop of their ethos is there.”

Jeevan Zutshi, chairman of the federation, said that 20 years after the exodus, the Kashmiri Pandits are still disenfranchised politically, socially and economically. “More than 45,000 people are still in camps. The State Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been busy making false promises while Government of India has been consistent with a policy of appeasement,” he charged.

Coming down hard on Kashmiri politicians, the memorandum said: “In direct violation of the Constitution of India and the United Nations Charter, the Kashmiri politicians have denied the basic human rights to Hindus.”

http://www.dailypioneer.com/231804/Kashmiri-pandits-seek-US-help-in-rehabilitation.html

 

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"Jihad Chill": making it too expensive for anyone to dare criticize Islam

 

January 26, 2010

As I mentioned the other day, Ezra Levant, my comrade in the battle to restore free speech to Canada, is being sued by the same Islamist sock puppet who attempted to make me legally unpublishable up north. Robert Sibley in The Ottawa Citizen puts it this way:

Awan and his Muslim friends weren’t really concerned about rights or justice or wanting to be treated the same as other Canadians. Nope, it was all about making it too expensive for anyone to dare criticize Islam.

They are aided in that objective by the soft totalitarianism of the multicultural state, which in Europe and Canada increasingly presumes the right to police the citizenry's opinions in the interests of social mediation. (I see the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission is now appealing its first legal setback in three decades - in part, thanks to the efforts of Ezra and me: See us testifying to Parliament here.) Robert Rubin writes:

A state that puts people on trial for things they’ve said, written, or drawn—as have the Netherlands and Canada's human rights commissions, to name but two—is no longer a truly democratic country. Or how about the United Kingdom where, for example, a blogger who accurately depicted an Anglican cleric as a Holocaust denier and an associate of Islamist terrorists received a threatening visit by police? In the same country, the police tried to prosecute a television network for showing videos of sermons taken inside mosques, though a court finally ruled that the police (that is, the taxpayers) had to pay damages to the television network.

The Islamo-left alliance is attempting to criminalize discussion of public policy. As Geert Wilders' Dutch prosecutors admit, whether what he says is true is not relevant; the very act of raising the subject is illegal.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjAzZDcxZmE3Y2Y1YTcyNGFiZDlkNzZhOTc0YzBmOWU=

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China sentences four more to death for Urumqi riot

26 January 2010

BEIJING: A Chinese court sentenced four more people to death for their part in bloody ethnic rioting in July last year in Urumqi, the capital of far western Xinjiang region, state media reported on Tuesday.

The new trial brings the number of death sentences for the rioting to at least 26, of which at least nine have already been carried out.

Judging from the names, the four sentenced to death are all Uighurs, a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people native to Xinjiang. Many Uighurs resent an influx of Han Chinese that has left them accounting for only half the population of their homeland.

Another defendant received the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, which is usually commuted to life in prison, the Xinhua News Agency said on its website (www.xinhuanet.com.cn). Seven others received life sentences or other jail terms.

Uighurs attacked Han Chinese in Urumqi on July 5 last year after protests against Han attacks on Uighur workers in South China a few weeks earlier.

Han launched revenge attacks two days later.

At least 197 people died in the riots, mostly Han Chinese who form the majority of the Chinese population. -- Reuters

http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=42815

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Islam Channel chief arrested in South Africa over terror claims

26 January 2010

London : The chief executive of Islam Channel, Britain’s most popular Muslim television station, has been arrested in South Africa and faces deportation to Tunisia over terrorism allegations.

Mohamed Ali Harrath, who is also an adviser to Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit, was detained after arriving at Tambo Airport in Johannesburg at the request of Tunisia under an Interpol Red Notice because of alleged activities in his homeland.

Islam Channel, which is watched by an estimated 59 percent of British Muslims as well as being beamed to 132 countries, accused Tunisia of “unlawful use” of the Interpol Red Notice System as a “part of an established process of harassment and intimidation.”

“Such intimidation tactics have been well documented by human rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which have detailed a range of methods used to inconvenience and harass members or former members of the democratic opposition,” it said.

Before fleeing Tunisia, Harrath was a former opposition figure who co-founded the Tunisian Islamic Front in 1986. He was subsequently convicted in absentia of numerous criminal and terrorism-related offences including belonging to an unauthorised political party.

At Tunisia’s request, he has been on Interpol’s highest form of alert since 1992 but was allowed into Britain, where he was granted political protection in 1997 under the 1951 Geneva Convention.

A spokesman for Islam Channel told IRNA that a full High Court hearing on the case was due to be held on Wednesday on what he called a “shameful injustice against a person who has always stood up for democratic rights.”

http://twocircles.net/2010jan26/islam_channel_chief_arrested_south_africa_over_terror_claims.html

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France MPs' report backs Muslim face veil ban

26 January 2010

A French parliamentary committee has recommended a partial ban on women wearing Islamic face veils.

The committee's near 200-page report has proposed a ban in hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport.

It also recommends that anyone showing visible signs of "radical religious practice" should be refused residence cards and citizenship.

The interior ministry says just 1,900 women in France wear the full veils.

In its report, the committee said requiring women to cover their faces was against the French republican principles of secularism and equality.

"The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable. We must condemn this excess," the report said.

The commission called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating that the face veil was "contrary to the values of the republic" and proclaiming that "all of France is saying 'no' to the full veil".

Presenting the report to the French National Assembly, speaker Bernard Accoyer said the face veil had too many negative connotations.

"It is the symbol of the repression of women, and... of extremist fundamentalism.

"This divisive approach is a denial of the equality between men and women and a rejection of co-existence side-by-side, without which our republic is nothing."

The report is expected to be followed by the drafting of a bill and a parliamentary debate on the issue.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield, in Paris, says the reasoning behind the report is to make it as impractical as possible for women in face veils to go about their daily business.

There is also a fear that an outright ban would not only be difficult to implement but would be distasteful and could make France a target for terrorism, our correspondent says.

France has an estimated five million Muslims - the largest such population in Western Europe.

Months of debate

The report follows months of public debate, including President Nicolas Sarkozy's intervention, saying all-encompassing veils were "not welcome in France".

However, he did not explicitly call for a ban, saying "no-one should feel stigmatised" by any eventual law.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8480161.stm

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Moderate Turkish Islamists hit the big time

January 26, 2010

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti commentator Dmitry Babich) - On Monday the presidents of three influential Muslim states, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, gathered for a summit in Istanbul. This top-level meeting is another testimony to Turkey's ambition to take a lead in the Islamic world. Given that Russia is Turkey's second largest partner after the European Union with a $25 billion annual trade turnover, Ankara's success may boost Moscow's weight on the international stage.

Monday was marked by two more events from Turkey, which only improve Ankara's chances. On that day Mevlut Cavusoglu was elected president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and the population of Turkey reached 72 million people, which is half of Russia's population.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul's meeting with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai is held in the run-up to the London conference on Afghanistan. It is no chance that Istanbul has become the venue for a comprehensive discussion aimed at finding alternative sources of income for Afghan farmers. So far they have earned their living producing heroin, trafficked to Western Europe through Russia.

This is not the first time Turkey organizes a meeting of the Afghan and Pakistani leaders, whose relations have been strained. In addition, Ankara has been coordinating the efforts of Muslim states to render assistance to Kabul.

Ankara wouldn't measure up to this role but for its improved financial capabilities. At their meeting, Presidents Gul and Zardari initiated the restoration of the Islamabad - Istanbul railroad, which will pass through Teheran, a project requiring $20 billion in investment.

Turkey is one of the few states able to stay on good terms with the West, Russia and Iran. In the past two years Turkish diplomats managed to prove that a government can develop cooperation on all directions. Ankara has interacted with the West without risking trouble for its relations with other civilized states. A NATO member and a U.S. ally, last year Turkey successfully negotiated visa-free regulations with Syria, the country that Washington calls the sponsor of international terrorism and viewed as its most probable military target after Iraq.

Full report at: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20100126/157685635.html

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India has a major role to play in Afghanistan: Brown

ASHIS RAY

26 January 2010

LONDON: British PM Gordon Brown believes India has a major role to play in Afghanistan. Replying to a question at a press conference at 10

Downing Street, the office and residence of the UK's head of government, ahead of Thursday's Afghanistan Conference, he told TOI: "I believe that the neighbours of Afghanistan should come together to help sustain an infant democracy like Afghanistan. India has a big role to play."

In saying neighbours should come togather, there was probably a hint to Pakistan that it should stop dragging its feet on an enhanced role for India in Afghanistan. Islamabad has been rather uncomfortable about India's $1.3 billion aid to its western neighbour and the work India is engaged in — much lauded by the British government — in the realms of reconstruction and developing infrastructure in Afghanistan, not to mention the re-opening of Indian consulates in that country. India's growing popularity in Afghanistan, as a result, has made Pakistan increasingly insecure.

Pakistan's despondency been reflected in its ambivalence towards the Afghan Taliban, which it sees as an asset if and when western troops pull out of Afghanistan, which, according to US President Barack Obama, will begin in August 2011. The Afghan Taliban was created and nurtured by Pakistan's Inter-Servies Intelligence, which continues to maintain links with it, much to the irritation of the western military alliance fighting them.

Brown, however, signalled that there were elements within the Afghan Taliban, who were mercenaries. He saw scope in co-opting them back into the mainstream. He said he awaits Hamid Karzai's proposal on this as well as "anti-corruption measures" at the Afghanistan Conference, which will be co-chaired by the two and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-has-a-major-role-to-play-in-Afghanistan-Brown/articleshow/5500844.cms

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US must talk to Taliban, says 'Colonel Imam'

Omer Farooq Khan

26 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: The United States must talk to the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar if it wants to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan, said  the Pakistani former spymaster who trained the Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

Retired Brigadier Sultan Tarar, known as Colonel Imam, a former operative of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said that Mullah Omar is open to such talks.

"If a sincere message comes from the Americans, these people (the Taliban) are very big-hearted. They will listen. But if you try to divide the Taliban, you'll fail. Anyone who leaves Mullah Omar is no more Taliban. Such people are just trying to deceive," said colonel Imam, in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers.

His comments come as the Nato's top commander in Afghanistan has said increased troop levels could bring a negotiated peace with the Taliban. US Gen Stanley McChrystal has said that there had been enough fighting and a political solution in all conflicts was inevitable. His remarks came as the top UN envoy in Kabul said it was time to talk to the militants. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to unveil the initiative at an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday.

However, Pakistan’s security establishment believes that Omar's ambitions are limited to Afghanistan, and that the Taliban can now be persuaded to share power with other Afghan factions.

"Mullah Omar is highly respected, very faithful to his country. He's the only answer. He's a very reasonable man," said Imam. He said that Mullah Omar would be willing to cut a deal, if it would lead to the departure of foreign troops and included funds to rebuild Afghanistan. "I can help," he said. "But can I trust the Americans?"

Colonel Imam, who is a specialist of commando-guerrilla warfare, is widely believed to have trained Mullah Omer and other Taliban factions in guerrilla warfare. After the Soviet defeat and the collapse of communism, "Colonel Imam" was invited to the White House by the then US President George Bush (senior), and was given a piece of the Berlin Wall with a brass plaque inscribed: "To the one who dealt the first blow." Today, western intelligence agencies believe Imam is among a group of renegade officers from Pakistan’s ISI who continued to help the Taliban after Pakistan turned against them following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/US-must-talk-to-Taliban-says-Colonel-Imam/articleshow/5502334.cms

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Karzai wants Taliban off UN blacklist

26 Jan, 2010

ISTANBUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday he would press for Taliban names to be removed from a UN blacklist, as he sought support for his country in talks with the leaders of Pakistan and Turkey.

Mr Karzai said he would ask for the names to be scratched at a major conference in London on Thursday at which he hoped to win western support for a plan to offer money and jobs to cajole Taliban fighters into laying down arms.

“I will be making a statement at the conference in London to the effect of removing Taliban names from the UN sanctions list,” Mr Karzai told reporters in Istanbul.

The idea had previously met resistance but “as we are talking today, there is more willingness that this can be reconsidered,” he said.

The move is seen as a step towards persuading militants to accept peace talks.

Mr Karzai wants to bring low- and mid-level fighters into mainstream society to end the gruelling resistance but the leadership of Taliban groups active in the battered country has reservation on negotiations.

Mr Karzai was in Istanbul for talks with President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday to be followed by a meeting with leaders of his country’s neighbours on Tuesday.

Monday’s meeting was also attended by Pakistan and Afghan military and intelligence chiefs, and in a joint declaration afterwards both parties stressed cooperation between their security forces and intelligence agencies.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Ankara would be ready to contribute to efforts to persuade the Taliban to lay down arms.

Tuesday’s meeting, to be hosted by Mr Gul, will gather Mr Karzai and Mr Zardari and senior officials from Iran, China, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, a Turkish official said.—AFP

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/13+karzai-wants-taliban-off-un-blacklist-610-za-09

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Drop 'good' Taliban from terror list: UN

Dexter Filkin

26 January 2010

KABUL: The leader of the United Nations mission here called on Afghan officials to seek the removal of at least some senior Taliban leaders from the United Nations' list of terrorists, as a first step toward opening direct negotiations with the insurgent group.

In an interview, Kai Eide, the United Nations special representative, also implored the American military to speed its review of the roughly 750 detainees in its military prisons here — another principal grievance of Taliban leaders. Until recently, the Americans were holding those prisoners at a makeshift detention center at Bagram air base and refusing to release their names.

Together, Eide said he hoped that the two steps would eventually open the way to face-to-face talks between Afghan officials and Taliban leaders, many of whom are hiding in Pakistan. The two sides have been at an impasse for years over almost every fundamental issue, including the issue of talking itself.

"If you want relevant results, then you have to talk to the relevant person in authority," Eide said. "I think the time has come to do it."

In recent days, officials have signaled their willingness to take steps that might lead to direct talks, including striking the names of some Taliban leaders from the terrorist list, as Eide is suggesting. Some Taliban leaders have indicated that they might be willing to engage in some sort of discussions if their names were stricken from the United Nations' so-called "black list." The list contains the names of 144 Taliban leaders.

Eide said he did not believe that senior leaders like Mullah Omar should be removed from the list. But some second-tier Taliban should be taken from the list, he said. Those leaders are not necessarily associated with terrorist acts but might be able to speak for the movement, he said, and might be willing to reciprocate a good-will gesture.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Drop-good-Taliban-from-terror-list-UN/articleshow/5500737.cms

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Pak no to fight against Taliban disappoints US

S Rajagopalan | Washington

US military officials have voiced their ‘deep frustration’ over the Pakistani Army’s announcement that it would not mount any new offensive against militants in next six to 12 months.

Pentagon officials, cited by the New York Times, have said the Pakistani stance could affect President Barack Obama’s strategy to reverse the Taliban’s gains by deploying 30,000 additional troops in the coming months.

\Washington reckons that Islamabad’s inability or reluctance to open a new front in North Waziristan will compel US forces to rely more on missile strikes by CIA drones to disrupt the attacks aimed at Afghanistan, without the requisite ground support from Pakistani military.

“It’s disappointing, but not entirely surprising,” an unnamed Pentagon official has been quoted as saying. Washington, however, was caught unaware by the timing of the Pakistani rebuff, coming as it did during US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to the country.

North Waziristan is regarded as the main base of operations for the Haqqani network to mount attacks against the US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Its hand is seen in several recent attacks, including the major assault last week near the presidential palace in Kabul.

The reading here is that the Pakistani announcement may also be aimed at putting Washington on the backfoot over its growing proximity to New Delhi. Gates’ own comments in New Delhi a couple of days earlier that India’s patience could not be taken for granted in case of another major terror strike, have not gone down well with Islamabad. That was apparent from Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s retort that his country can’t ‘guarantee’ that there won’t be another Mumbai-type terror strikes in India.

Washington, however, is trying to play down what is being regarded as a clear rebuff of the US during Gates’ visit. Before leaving Islamabad, Gates himself sought to stress that it was entirely up to Pakistan to decide on the best timing for its military operations. “We’re in this car together, but the Pakistanis are in the driver’s seat and have their foot on the accelerator. And that’s just fine with me,” Gates had remarked in reply to questions from reporters.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/231800/Pak-no-to-fight-against-Taliban-disappoints-US.html

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Kurram: Air attacks kill 21 militants

26 Jan, 2010

KHAR, Jan 25: At least 21 militants were killed and several others injured in shelling by military planes and gunbattle in Bajaur and Kurram tribal regions on Monday.

Ten militants were killed and several others injured when military jets and helicopter gunships pounded militants’ positions in different areas of Bajaur.

The areas which came under intermittent attacks throughout the day, included Banda, Damadola, Sewai and Sperai in Mamond tehsil and Cjinar and Mano in Salarzai tehsil.

Four hideouts were destroyed in Banda considered to be a stronghold of Taliban commander Abdullah. According to sources, militants have a number of training centres and prisons in the area.

A large number of troops have been deployed in Ward Mamond.

In Kurram, 11 militants were killed when helicopter gunships and artillery pounded militants’ positions.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/air-attacks-kill-21-militants-610

 

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Taliban insurgency increasingly effective

January 26, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan,-- The Afghan Taliban's strategy has made its insurgency increasingly effective, says CNN, citing a briefing by the top U.S. intelligence official in the country.

CNN reports the Dec. 22 briefing by Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, which it obtained, says the Taliban's "organizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding," giving it greater capability for more frequent attacks.

CNN reported factors sustaining the insurgency include increased availability of bomb-making technology and material, the Taliban's access to funding from opium and donations from Muslim countries through the "hawala" system of informal banking, and its continuing ability to recruit foot soldiers.

Flynn's briefing showed the group's actions such as improvised-explosive attacks, ambushes, mortar and missile assaults averaged 500 a week in the second half of last year compared to about 40 five years ago.

The briefing warned such "security incidents" were projected to be higher this year.

Flynn's briefing said captured insurgents revealed during interrogation the Taliban wants to project itself as a national group seeking to liberate Afghanistan from foreigners, and thus considers al-Qaida a handicap. However, the briefing said, al-Qaida also "provides facilitation, training and some funding."

The briefing said the Taliban's overall strategy is to "outlast international will to remain in Afghanistan."

CNN quoted a senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan as saying its account of the report was accurate. The official also cited significantly fewer civilian deaths caused by coalition forces, improved counter-insurgency efforts and more effective partnering with Afghan security forces.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/01/26/Taliban-insurgency-increasingly-effective/UPI-29801264509618/

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Israel: Turkish leader fuels anti-Semitism

By JOSEF FEDERMAN

January 26, 2010

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli Foreign Ministry accused Turkey's prime minister of fueling anti-Semitism with his criticism of Israel, officials said Tuesday, threatening to spark a new diplomatic row with one of Jewish state's few Muslim allies.

The ministry's report comes weeks after Israel's deputy foreign minister enraged Turkey by summoning Ankara's ambassador for a humiliating public reprimand. It says the reprimand made it clear to Turkey that there must be a limit to its criticism.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to protest a Turkish TV show depicting Israeli agents as cruel and refused to shake his hand while forcing him to sit on a low sofa.

Israel was forced to apologize after Turkey threatened to summon its ambassador home.

The new report concluded that Turkey viewed the incident as a "severe blow" to its pride - but added that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had gone overboard in his repeated criticism of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.

"The way the crisis was handled by top Turkish officials, including Erdogan, could indicate that Turkey understands that they have crossed a red line and the outer limits of the Israeli government's patience," added the report.

Excerpts of the report were published in the Haaretz daily and confirmed by an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a confidential document.

Erdogan, who leads an Islamic-oriented government, has repeatedly condemned last year's Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The report accused Erdogan of using anti-Semitic language in his rhetoric and creating "negative public opinion" toward Israel.

"He does this by repeating motifs in his speeches of describing the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza and blaming Israel of committing war crimes, going as far as using anti-Semitic expressions and incitement," the report said.

There was no immediate reaction from Turkey. But the Israeli criticism could renew tensions once more between the two nations.

Israel and Turkey have forged close military and economic ties in recent decades. The Turks have given Israel a rare ally in the Muslim world, while for Ankara the alliance has boosted its standing with the West.

Last year, the Turks mediated several rounds of indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria.

Full report at: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012600999_pf.html

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Straw rejected advice that Iraq invasion was 'unlawful'

26 January 2010

Jack Straw rejected advice in early 2003 that invading Iraq without UN backing would break international law, the Iraq inquiry has heard.

Mr Straw's chief legal adviser at the time, Sir Michael Wood, said he warned the then foreign secretary it would "amount to the crime of aggression".

But Mr Straw told him he was being "dogmatic" and that "international law was pretty vague", Sir Michael said.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith had the final say on legal matters, he added.

And it was Lord Goldsmith who ultimately advised then Prime Minister Tony Blair that force could be used without a second UN resolution.

'Not authorised'

Arguments about the legality of the war are taking centre stage this week as Lord Goldsmith gives evidence on Wednesday, ahead of Mr Blair's appearance on Friday.

Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the Foreign Office lawyer who resigned because she thought the invasion was illegal, is now giving evidence.

Sir Michael - chief legal adviser to the Foreign Office between 2001 and 2006 - said he believed the invasion did not have a legal basis as the UN Security Council neither met to agree Iraq was in "material breach" of existing disarmament resolutions nor explicitly approved the use of force.

"I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law," he said

Newly declassified letters published by the inquiry show Sir Michael raised his concerns directly with the foreign secretary.

On 24 January 2003, Sir Michael wrote to Mr Straw telling him the "UK cannot lawfully use force in Iraq in ensuring compliance" on the basis of existing UN resolutions, including resolution 1441 which gave Saddam a "final opportunity" to comply in November 2002.

"To use force without Security Council authority would amount to the crime of aggression," he wrote.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8479996.stm

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Egypt: Will Gamal inherit power?

Bikya Masr Staff

26 January 2010

CAIRO: A recent study issued by the United States Institute of Peace revealed that Article 76 of the Egyptian Constitution serves largely to confine presidential candidacy in Egypt for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). According to the study, the NDP has traditionally monopolized political participation, which is seen in the 23 percent turnout during the 2005 presidential elections. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak won that election with some 90 percent of the vote.

The study also asserted that Gamal Mubarak, son of President Mubarak, is set to inherit executive power from his father. In this event, the study found, the younger Mubarak’s policies would most likely support current trends of “liberal [economic] reform” while further clamping down on domestic Islamic movements in an attempt to guarantee the semi-authoritarian regimes continuity.

According to the institute’s report, Egyptian decision-makers and the U.S. cannot predict that regime policies would end up strengthening Islamic groups, especially the so-called “banned” Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is considered Egypt’s largest and most popular opposition group and has succeeded in securing 88 seats of the 444 parliamentary seats of government.

Nevertheless, according to the study, the MB would not secure a victory even if allowed to field candidates in upcoming presidential elections.

The study concluded by stating that the regime’s principal challenge was to implement democratic changes “while simultaneously safeguarding national security amid rising popular discontent and deteriorating economic conditions.”

http://bikyamasr.com/?p=7961

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Nigeria: Perpetrators of religious riots could be freed again

January 26, 2010

The aftermath of the Christian-Muslim conflict in the Northern Nigerian city of Jos has seen hundreds of people arrested. However, there are fears that the culprits, like in past conflicts, could go unprosecuted, leaving room for a possible recurrence of religious violence in the near future.

300 people have been arrested, and almost half of them have been taken from the central Plateau state for questioning in the capital, Abuja.

Reports indicate that many of those arrested yesterday had been arrested and taken into custody after the November 2008 Christian-Muslim clashes. A state government spokesman told reporters that the culprits are never prosecuted and they eventually end up inciting more violence, eventually.

"We are afraid the same situation will occur again. They were moved to Abuja last time, but they were never prosecuted," Plateau state government spokesperson Gregory Yenlong was quoted as saying.

Religious violence broke out in the city of Jos last week, rapidly spreading to nearby villages.

Local reports estimate the deaths after the clashes to be over 400, but more bodies have been found in wells near Jos, where Christians and Muslims have failed to co-exist amicably.

Several thousand people remain displaced after abandoning their homes and fleeing machete wielding mobs.

Prominent figures in the religious community [both Christian and Muslim] have said that the real cause of the violence is the struggle for ethnic and political superiority in the city.

There were deadly riots in 2001 and 2008.

Nonetheless, the fear of a weak justice system that allows the perpetrators of this violence to go scot-free and subsequently incite another religious violence is not the only issue troubling the people of Jos.

Intelligence reports gathered by the head of Nigeria’s armed forces said some people were trying to infiltrate the military ranks.

"We are aware of the fact that there is tension in the country. We want to ensure that we control the movement of troops to protect them against people who will try to take advantage of them," Lt Gen Abdulrahman Danbazzau told reporters in an interview.

Division amongst the Christians and Muslims in Jos also exist along party lines: Christians mostly back the ruling PDP, while Muslims generally support the opposition ANPP.

http://en.afrik.com/article16841.html

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Journalist Naomi Kelin warns of hypocrisy

January 26, 2010

ISTANBUL

One of the foremost critics of Israel’s Gaza policies turned her guns on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday for ignoring human rights violations both domestically and internationally.

Activist and journalist Naomi Klein criticized the Turkish government for ignoring the rights of its own Kurdish and Armenian population while voicing solidarity with the plight of Palestinians. She said it is easy to stand up for Palestinian rights in Turkey because it is “popular, populist.”

Speaking at a seminar at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University where a part of a conference was held in memory of slain Turkish–Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Klein talked about activities to boycott Israel in order to uphold the rights of Palestinians.

“Demonstrating a commitment to universal standards makes the argument for Palestinian rights stronger not weaker. Not only is it simply just, but it takes away Israel’s most potent political tool, which is the claim that its critics are hypocrites,” she said.

“This principal needs to be understood everywhere in the world including here in Turkey. Because as difficult as it may be for me to voice solidarity with Palestinians in the strange North American context, voicing solidarity with Palestinian is as easy here as it is difficult in North America. It is popular, it is populist, it's a way to get votes, it isn’t a risk,” said the Jewish Canadian, who has written books critical of the Western economic and political system.

It was enormously important for the Turkish Prime Minister to speak out in Davos against Israel and its Gaza war crimes last year to pierce that little bubble, said Klein, in reference to when Erdoğan walked out of a discussion panel in the Swiss town after voicing serious criticism in the face of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

It was also important that the government intervened in the Gaza Freedom march to help secure passage for humanitarian goods, according to Klein.

“But how can we simply cheer that solidarity when it comes out of a system that persecutes Kurdish citizens or denies the existence of the Armenian genocide? How can we simply cheer when it comes from a government that claims with regards to Sudan, and this is a quote, 'that it is not possible for those who belong to the Muslim faith to carry out genocide?’” she said.

Turkey is not accepting claims that the World War I killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans amount to genocide. Meanwhile, Turkey has many times hosted Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir, despite accusations that he has committed war crimes that some claim amount to genocide.

Full report at: www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=journalist-naomi-kelin-warns-of-hypocracy-2010-01-26

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Heavy firing at India-Pak border, army on alert

26 January 2010

JAMMU: The Indian Army was put on alert following heavy exchange of fire at the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir early on Tuesday

following a major infiltration bid, defence sources said on Tuesday as the country celebrated its 61st Republic Day. ( Watch Video )

The firing, at the Kanachak sector near Akhnoor, 30 km northwest from here, started at 2 a.m. and went on four hours. Officials said Pakistani Rangers provided covering fire to a group of infiltrators. The BSF men retaliated and the guns fell silent around 6 a.m.

The Indian Army has been put on alert along the border, where the first line of defence is provided by the BSF.

Army sources said troops were put on alert after the fire started from Pakistani side. They described the firing as heavy and said it was a clear attempt by Pakistan to push terrorists into India on Republic Day.

The exchange of fire was heavy for about two hours initially. "Thereafter, it was intermittent firing that lasted till 6 a.m.," Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters.

It was the 15th ceasefire violation incident and infiltration attempt from across the border this month.

"Pakistan is desperate to push terrorists to the Indian side," a senior army official said, adding that they wanted to strike on India's national day and were unhappy with the peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Heavy-firing-at-India-Pak-border-army-on-alert/articleshow/5501986.cms

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Germany to expand Afghan forces

26 January 2010

Germany plans to increase its military commitment to Afghanistan by sending 500 extra troops, Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

Germany currently has 4,300 soldiers in the country - the third-largest foreign contingent after the US and UK.

The extra deployment will need parliamentary approval. German MPs are due to debate the issue on Wednesday.

The announcement comes two days before an international conference in London on the future of the Afghan mission.

As well as the 500 extra troops, Germany will prepare a "flexible reserve" of 350 soldiers who could be deployed to Afghanistan for a limited time, Mrs Merkel said.

The focus of Germany's effort would be on training Afghan security forces and protecting civilians, she said.

'No shame'

She said Berlin would also put 50m euros ($70m, £44m) into an international fund to win over more moderate insurgents, and increase its development aid to 430m euros per year - nearly double the current level.

Germany, along with other Nato countries, has come under intense pressure to increase its commitment to Afghanistan, where the US is launching a "surge" with 30,000 extra troops to combat growing instability.

Mrs Merkel said: "I think that if Germany plans to train at least one-third of the police forces in Afghanistan, if it doubles what it is doing in terms of civil reconstruction and we make our entire approach more effective and harmonise it with the international community, plus adds 500 troops and a flexible reserve of 350 troops, then we have nothing to be ashamed of."

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8480399.stm

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Bomber strikes near US military base in Kabul

26 January 2010

A suspected suicide car bomber has struck near a military base in the Afghan capital Kabul, officials say.

Afghan and Nato officials said the blast went off outside a US base called Camp Phoenix on the road leading east out of the city centre.

There are reports that at least six people have been injured.

Security has been tight in Kabul since a group of gunmen and bombers attacked the highly-fortified centre of the city on 18 January.

A statement from Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said the explosion was outside the main gate of Camp Phoenix.

It was most likely an improvised bomb hidden in a vehicle, Isaf said.

A spokesman for Afghanistan's interior ministry said five civilians had been injured. There are no reports of any deaths.

The Taliban claimed to have carried out the attack in a text message sent to the Associated Press news agency.

The bombing comes a week after a group of gunmen and suicide bombers struck the centre of Kabul, attacking government and commercial buildings.

Seven of the attackers were killed as well as two civilians and three security personnel and 71 people were injured, officials said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8480942.stm

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Iraq crime lab car bomber kills many in Baghdad

26 January 2010

A suicide car bomber has killed at least 18 people and injured 80 at a government forensics centre in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police say.

The attacker apparently tried to drive through a police checkpoint and blast walls protecting the centre in the Kerrada district.

The building was badly damaged by the massive blast, and the rubble is being searched by rescue teams.

On Monday, bomb attacks near well-known hotels in the city killed 36 people.

This is the latest in a series of attacks on official buildings, including those to do with crime and punishment.

The justice ministry was badly damaged in October by a huge truck bomb, and a court complex was hit in December.

There have been fears that attacks will increase as the parliamentary election approaches in March and those predictions seem to be coming true, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from Baghdad.

'Vehicles in flames'

An Iraqi military spokesman, Maj Gen Qassim Atta, said the suicide bomber had raced his vehicle towards the Criminal Evidence Department on al-Tahariyat Square at 1045

Most of the casualties were staff from the forensics centre, he said, adding that it had been targeted by two bomb attacks in the past.

Hassan al-Saidi, a mechanic who works in the area, said he had seen at least five vehicles in flames and more than a dozen people wounded by flying glass.

"I've heard many explosions in the past but nothing like this," he told Reuters news agency.

The Associated Press news agency reported that rescue teams in blue jumpsuits were combing through the debris of the three-storey building as a crane removed some of the fallen blast walls.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8480220.stm

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BJP not anti-Muslim, it is anti-Pakistan, says Gadkari

Jan 26, 2010

New Delhi: Declining that his party is anti-Muslim, Bharatiya Janata Party President Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that his party is in fact anti-Pakistan, anti-Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Pakistan's Inter-State-Intelligence agency.

In an exclusive interview with ANI TV, Gadkari said it is wrong to assume that BJP is anti-Muslim and sought to remind all that Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was made the President of the country during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime.

"We are not anti-Muslim. We are anti-Pakistan, anti-Lashkar-e-Taiba, ISI. But we are not anti-Muslim. If the BJP is against Muslims, then you tell me, how Atal Bihari Vajpayee made Dr. Abdul Kalam the President of India? There is a misimpression," said Gadkari.

Gadkari slammed the UPA government over its terrorism policy by saying that it lacks moral courage to fight terrorism due to some reservation, which the people have to find out.

"So, the way in which our Government is working, somewhere there is appeasement for terrorists, that is the smell. And that's why government is not taking the result. What type of people... are expecting from the government. And I don't know what the policy... have but I feel that this government has no courage, no moral courage, having no that much of power to fight against the terrorism because they have some reservation in the minds, what the reservation is, that is really we have to find out." adkari said that BJP is all for modernization but not for westernization and added that with generational change the thinking changes but the main focus remains the same.

"BJP has a modern approach, and particularly myself, I am concerned with the modern things, modern management, modern approach. We are all in favour of modernization but we are not in favour of westernisation. So, there's a difference between modernization and westernisation. And frankly speaking, when the generation is changed, thinking is changed, but spirit is same, target is same, focus is same, only the system is changed and that's why we have no problem to change the system," Gadkari said. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/01/25/bjpnot-anti-muslim-it-is-anti-pakistan-saysgadkari.html

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Kabul, Pakistan ready to talk with Taliban

26 January 2010

ISTANBUL: The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan will seek closer cooperation in the fight against militants during a summit in Istanbul beginning later Monday, but a plan to reach out to Taliban insurgents will likely dominate the talks.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari meet a day ahead of a London conference where Afghanistan and the international community are set to agree on a framework for the Afghan government to take responsibility for its own security. The two men were set to meet on the sidelines of a summit with Turkey, which has been working behind the scenes to repair relations between the two, notably over negotiations with the Taliban.

Pakistan has long played an important role in Afghan affairs, having nurtured the Taliban in the 1990s, but Kabul remains suspicious that Islamabad is pursuing its own agenda to the detriment of Afghanistan. Afghan ambassador to Turkey Masood Khalili said the aim of the meet was to "forge cooperation that might lead to reconciliation in the region. Everybody is thirsty for peace."

Nato top gen: Afghan peace deal is possible

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is under intense pressure from Western backers to strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces at a time of worsening violence, and is preparing a programme to reintegrate some Taliban insurgents in order to encourage them to lay down arms.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Kabul-Pakistan-ready-to-talk-with-Taliban/articleshow/5500591.cms

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Taliban leaders may join Afghan govt: US

By Anwar Iqbal

26 Jan, 2010

WASHINGTON: The commander of US forces in Afghanistan said in an interview published on Monday that senior Taliban leaders could join a new government in Kabul.

Although US leaders started talking publicly about including the Taliban in a political solution earlier this month, Gen Stanley McChrystal went a step ahead when he spoke of also accepting senior Taliban leaders in a possible new arrangement.

When asked if senior Taliban leaders might eventually become government leaders in Kabul, Gen McChrystal said: “I think that anybody who dedicates themselves to the future and not the past, and anybody whose future is focussed on the right kinds of things for Afghanistan,” might participate in government.

In a related development, the leader of the UN mission in Afghanistan called for the removal of some Taliban leaders from the UN terrorist list as a step towards beginning negotiations.

In an interview to The New York Times, Kai Eide, the United Nations special representative, also implored the American military to meet another Taliban demand -- speed up its review of the roughly 750 detainees in its military prisons in Afghanistan.

Mr Eide said he hoped that the two steps would eventually open the way to face-to-face talks between Afghan officials and Taliban leaders, many of whom are hiding in Pakistan. “The two sides have been at an impasse for years over almost every fundamental issue, including the issue of talking itself,” the NYT noted.

Diplomatic observers in Washington say that Gen McChrystal’s remarks are particularly significant because they come before an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday, which is expected to address a framework for transferring security responsibilities to the Afghans.

In an interview with the Financial Times and also published in a number of US newspapers on Monday, Gen McChrystal said high-level political negotiations with leaders of the Taliban could help bring an end to the conflict.

“I think that (negotiations) is in the purview of the government of Afghanistan to do, but I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it’s the right outcome. I think that the re-integration of fighters can take a lot of the energy out of the current levels of the insurgency. Then I think you open up, the option, the possibility, for everybody to look at what’s the right combination of participation in the government here,” he said.

Full report at: www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-pag

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Congress asks Pakistan to exercise restraint

26 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Congress on Saturday warned Pakistan to refrain from making provocative statements in an already surcharged atmosphere and told the neighbouring country to keep in mind the consequences of another terror attack of the scale of 26/11.

Reacting sharply to a strong statement by the Pakistan foreign ministry attacking India's foreign minister S M Krishna, the party said Islamabad would do well to exercise restraint.

Recalling Krishna's earlier comments that any such terror attack originating from Pakistan would adversely impact relations between the two countries, Congress spokesman Shakil Ahmed said that there were no doubts about Pakistan's connivance at terrorist activity on its soil.

"Krishna was only echoing the sentiments within the government and of the entire country as well," Ahmed said.

The statement from Islamabad dismissed Krishna's remarks as `immature' among other things.

Calling for restraint by Pakistan, Ahmed said, "We hope the Pakistan government will ask its officials to refrain from making loose statements."

Replying to a question about the picture of a former Pakistan air chief appearing in a government ad, Ahmed said an inquiry had been ordered into the matter. "Let us wait for the inquiry report," he said.

Asked about the role of women and child development minister Krishna Tirath in the fiasco, Ahmed said it was not essential for the minister to vet every ad being issued by her ministry.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Congress-asks-Pakistan-to-exercise-restraint/articleshow/5500242.cms

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Now, Kasab makes desperate call for help from Pakistan

Kartikeya

26 January 2010

MUMBAI: Giving his final statement before court on Monday, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab made a desperate cry of help to his home country,

Pakistan. "If there are any mediapersons from Pakistan present here then, through them, I want to convey a message to the government of Pakistan: I want to summon witnesses in my defence from Pakistan," Kasab said.

Judge M L Tahaliyani had to remind Kasab that so far his country had "done nothing" for him. "It was we who gave you a lawyer to fight your case, it was we who heard your defence. Till date, Pakistan has not even responded to the letters you wrote at the start of the trial asking for assistance," Tahaliyani said.

The judge even offered to summon witnesses from Pakistan on his behalf but Kasab denied the offer. "I will call them only through the government of Pakistan. It is their internal matter. If the Pakistani government sends any representatives then I will hold discussions with them," Kasab said.

In fact, Kasab claimed that while he was in police custody, some officials from Pakistan had visited him to satisfy themselves that he was their citizen. He demanded that his trial be conducted in an "international court" since he was sure that an Indian court would not give him justice.

Denying the voluminous evidence that came up against him during the trial, Kasab said that he was picked up by police at Juhu Chowpatty weeks before the 26/11 attack and handed over to "RAW". "They are jasoos (spies)," Kasab said when the judge asked him what he meant by RAW. He also alleged that some evidence in form of CCTV recordings had been suppressed so that he could be framed in the case. Kasab has insisted that another gunman, called "Abu Ali", carried out the killings at CST and he was framed.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Now-Kasab-makes-desperate-call-for-help-from-Pakistan/articleshow/5500868.cms

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No international court for Kasab

TN Raghunatha

Jan 26, 2010

A special court trying Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab in 26/11 attack cases rejected his plea to transfer his case to an international court, on Monday.

Turning down Kasab’s request for being allowed to be tried by an international court, Special Court Judge ML Tahaliyani said that he had heard and rejected a similar plea by Kasab in the past, and the question of his entertaining the same plea again does not arise.

The accused, if he so desired, could contemplate moving the international court after the trial court delivered its verdict in the 26/11 case, the Judge said.

Making a voluntary statement before the court after getting his statement recorded under Section 313 of the Cr PC, Kasab also told the court that he wanted to examine the defence witnesses.

“I would like to consult Pakistani authorities on the issue of examining the defence witnesses,” Kasab said.

When the Judge asked him especially as to who were the defence witnesses whom he would like to examine, the Pakistani terrorist declined to identify them.

Kasab, however, said, the defence witnesses could be passport officers or the other Government officials. Kasab’s statement should be seen in the light of a claim made by him in the recent past that he had come to Mumbai from Pakistan by Samjhauta Express holding a valid passport.

After hearing special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and defence lawyer KP Pawar, the Judge ruled that Kasab was entitled to examine the defence witnesses. The Judge allowed Kasab time till January 27 to decide on examining the defence witnesses.

Not so surprisingly enough, Kasab told the court that he does not wish to be examined as witness on oath. This did so, after consulting his lawyer Pawar. “Had he agreed for examination on oath that would has given me an opportunity to cross-question him on his false claims which Kasab did not want,” Nikam told mediapersons outside the court.

Monday’s was the second occasion when Kasab told the special court that he preferred to be tried by an international court.

It may be recalled Judge Tahaliyani had on October 12, 2009 rejected a written application by Kasab, seeking the transfer of his case to an international court on the ground that he had no faith in Indian courts. The Judge had then observed: “The plea is totally misconceived and mischievous and it needs no judicial order”.

Full report at: www.dailypioneer.com/231806/No-international-court-for-Kasab.html

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Church attacks: CM blames "organised group", Guv says be firm

26 January 2010

BANGALORE: Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa blamed an "organised group" for twin attacks on churches in the state, saying it was an  attempt to tarnish the BJP government's image.

While Governor Dr H R Bhardwaj called for dealing with the forces disturbing communal peace and harmony with a "heavy hand."

"I am aware of the incidents. Since these incidents have happened before the Republic Day, I suspect some organised group is trying to tarnish the image of the government which is working for the welfare of the people," Yeddyurappa, who is facing flak over the attacks, said after the Republic Day parade.

Yeddyurappa's comments came after the Governor said in his Republic Day address it was the constitutional duty of every government to deal with heavy hand forces disturbing communal peace and harmony.

"I have no doubt that the concerned law enforcing agencies will act with promptitude against the offenders", Bhardwaj, who in the past was critical of the law and order situation in the state and government's handling of flood situation, said.

Bhardwaj said the founding fathers had a vision to build a secular, united democratic society with people of all faiths and religions enjoying basic freedom and right to practice their religion.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Church-attacks-CM-blames-organised-group-Guv-says-be-firm-/articleshow/5501716.cms

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Iran summons Swiss envoy over scientist's killing: Reports

26 January 2010

TEHRAN: Iran summoned on Monday the Swiss ambassador representing US interests in Tehran to protest at what it called Washington's support for a group it linked to an atomic scientist's killing, reports said.

Livia Leu Agosti was "summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday" to receive "Iran's protest over the activities of the Tondar terrorist group which resides on US soil," said a foreign ministry statement carried by news agencies.

"The terrorist group has some connections with the martyrdom of Dr. Ali Mohammadi, the Iranian scientist, based on leads found in the case, and thus Iran is demanding their extradition to stand trial here," the statement added.

Switzerland has represented the interests of the United States in Iran since the two countries broke off ties in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution.

Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at prestigious Tehran University, was killed on January 12 morning by a bomb strapped to a motorcycle in the capital.

A day later, parliament speaker Ali Larijani accused intelligence agents of the United States and Israel of plotting the bombing.

Larijani also slammed US President Barack Obama for "rashly resorting to a monarchist group which has no credibility to cover such an operation."

He was alluding to a group called Takavaran Tondar which claimed responsibility for the bombing on its website.

But according to the opposition website Rahesabz.net, the group later disavowed the claim and accused Iranian intelligence agents of "plotting a hoax."

Tehran officials have repeatedly accused the United States and Israel of seeking to foment unrest in Iran.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-summons-Swiss-envoy-over-scientists-killing-Reports/articleshow/5500739.cms

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Pakistani court bans AQ Khan's free movement

Jan 26, 2010

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday banned the free movement of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist who mentored Pakistan's nuclear programme but was later accused of proliferating the country's nuclear technology, a media report said.

During the hearing on a petition seeking a ban on Khan's free movement, the government contended that he had violated an agreement governing his release from house arrest last year by giving an interview to a foreign media outlet that had put national integrity in jeopardy, Online news agency reported, quoting a private TV channel.

The government also said that no information would be provided to the media about the current hearing keeping in view national security.

The court later adjourned the hearing till February 3.

In a petition filed in the Lahore High Court on Jan 19, the government said Khan's free movement should be banned as he was a threat to national security, having shared sensitive information with the international media.

The petition said Khan should be kept under constant surveillance by the authorities and a security escort should be assigned to him.

In February 2009, the Islamabad High Court had lifted Khan's house arrest that was imposed in 2004 after he "confessed" on national television to the proliferation charges.

"These things happen. We should forget and look forward," Khan had said after the verdict, noting that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had also been "inside" (jail).

In an interview to IANS in May 2008, Khan claimed that he never sold nuclear technology illegally and that he should have never made a confession to that effect.

Describing himself as "an innocent man", Khan said that Pakistan's nuclear assets and weapons were "quite safe" and they could not be taken out of the country.

The civilian government that came to power in March 2008, had eased the restrictions placed on Khan.

Full report at: www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan/Pakistani-court-bans-AQ-Khan-s-free-movement/Article1-501733.aspx

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India to Nepal: Terror threat, need marshals on planes

Shishir Gupta

Jan 26, 2010

New Delhi : New Delhi served a demarche on Nepal last week to persuade its neighbour to allow sky marshals on board Air India flights to the Himalayan nation following “concrete intelligence inputs” that the Lashkar-e-Toiba plans to hijack an Indian carrier flying to and from SAARC countries.

This request for sky marshals has been hanging fire since the 1999 IC-814 hijack — from Kathmandu to Kandahar — but the issue has acquired significance and urgency after the latest terror alert. The alert came after HUJI terrorist Mohammed Amjad aka Khwaja, arrested in Chennai on January 16, is said to have suggested a jehadi plot to hijack Indian aircraft.

However, in the face of Maoist opposition, the seven-month-old Madhav Nepal government is treading cautiously and has asked for time to build “political consensus.”

Sources said reservations have been raised in Kathmandu over a possible scenario where an armed marshal has to be allowed to enter Nepal in case of a technical snag or inclement weather.

India has conveyed to Nepal — at the highest levels — that it expects a “prompt and positive” response and could even be forced to take “unilateral action” in the eventuality of a hijack from Kathmandu.

Full report at: www.indianexpress.com/news/india-to-nepal-terror-threat-need-marshals-on-planes/571719/

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Nuclear war between India, Pak could spell climate disaster : Report

26 January 2010

UNITED NATIONS: A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could cause severe "climate cooling" and may have a devastating impact on agriculture worldwide, says a report jointly produced by Japan and Australia on nuclear-non proliferation and disarmament.

"Just a limited regional nuclear exchange, for example between India and Pakistan, with each side attacking the other's major cities with 50 low-yield Hiroshima-sized weapons, would throw up major concentrations of soot into the stratosphere which would remain there for long enough to cause unprecedented climate cooling worldwide, with major disruptive effects on global agriculture," the report says.

It reveals that during the eighties scientists had conducted research on the impact of nuclear war on the climate and found the possibility of pollution of atmosphere by massive amounts of debris and smoke would block out the sunlight for decades and lead to a "nuclear winter".

This would kill many plants and animals, drastically changing ecological balances, cause famines and lead to breakdown of communities not directly affected by nuclear explosions, says the report produced by International Commission for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

It states that after the eighties there was a great deal of suspicion about the "nuclear winter" theory but research on the subject was picking up again.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/Nuclear-war-between-India-Pak-could-spell-climate-disaster-Report/articleshow/5501247.cms

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Can the United States contain Islamic terrorism?

By Mahfuz R. Chowdhury

January 26, 2010

New York, NY, United States, — The United States has often fought the wrong war at the wrong time and against the wrong people – like the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Apart from the human tragedy, there was enormous economic fallout from the Vietnam War. The full outcome of the Iraq war is still awaited, and it will take many more years to assess the damage in Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan is also affecting neighboring Pakistan and creating huge controversy in terms of its cost and, more importantly, whether it is winnable. Although opinions vary, those who doubt that the war can be won seem to be gaining ground.

Afghanistan is a sectarian and unmanageable country. Foreign powers including the Soviet Union and Britain failed to control it. The country has not changed much since those days.

The enemy is elusive and the situation on the ground erratic and unpredictable. Recurring terror attacks like the recent one in Khost province that killed seven CIA operatives, and the ever increasing human carnage in neighboring Pakistan is proof of the growing might of terrorists. In fact, the escalating insurgency in Pakistan, a nuclear country, is cause for fear that its nuclear weapons are not safe.

Is the goal of the United States to contain terrorism or oppose organized Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan? If the fight is to contain fundamentalism, then winning the war in Afghanistan alone is not likely to achieve it.

Skeptics should only look at the unrelenting and vicious terror activities as well as the outright defiance spreading not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also in Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and many other countries, including the United States.

Clearly, there are innumerable signs that the conflict is spreading – like the failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound transatlantic flight on Christmas Day last year.

The United States believed it had found a willing partner in the Yemeni government that would support the deployment of U.S. troops in the country to fight Islamic militants. But the Yemeni government has reportedly rebuffed the idea for fear of losing local support.

Religious fundamentalism is not new; it has existed since the birth of religion. Although the supposed theme of every religion is to guide people to lead a noble life, human society has experienced enormous oppression, suppression, violence, crime and war in the name of religion.

Full report at: www.upiasia.com/Security/2010/01/26/can_the_united_states_contain_islamic_terrorism/8324/

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Togadia feels Kerala is now jihadis’ land

26 January 2010

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international secretary general Pravin Kumar Togadia has said Kerala, God’s Own Country, has become jihadis’ land as it had transformed into a breeding ground for terror modules in the region.

Talking to the media in Kozhikode on Monday, he described Kerala as the Kashmir of south India.

Terror elements operating in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had established links with Kerala, if the recent developments were any indication, according to Togadia. This had also pointed out the stark reality that the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government in the State had failed miserably in containing the menace, he alleged.

Preaching jihad was the main cause of growing terrorism and any political party attempting to glorify jihad was not being sincere to the nation, Togadia said. Several other political parties were as responsible as the ruling CPI(M) and the Left front in not taking effective measures t contain the menace of terrorism in the State.

Referring to discussions on job reservations, the VHP leader said that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre was attempting to rob the 27 per cent quota allocated to Other Backward Classes to appease minorities in the country by increasing ten and five per cent more to Muslims and Christians, respectively as recommended by Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission.

He described the move as a dacoity on Hindu community, adding that the VHP would mobilize students and youth if the Government went ahead with the proposal. On the alleged move to give below-poverty line status to Muslims, he said the move was an affront to non-Muslims.

A campaign would be launched throughout the country against it, he said. The main backwardness of the country was due to population growth as people of a particular community were able to have multiple wives and many children, Togadia said.

Speaking at a function the other day here, Togadia said the terror attacks and jihadi operations in India were aimed at destabilizing the country’s economy. The aim was to create widespread miseries among people through large-scale unemployment created by terror attacks that destabilised the economy, he said. He alleged that Kerala was on the way of becoming the biggest terror base after Afghanistan.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/231717/Togadia-feels-Kerala-is-now-jihadis%E2%80%99-land.html

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/malaysia--stay-away-from-book-on-muslim-women,-muslims-advised/d/2421


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