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Islamic World News ( 19 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Minarets over Alaska

Shahrukh Khan: The Historic touch in visit to Aligarh Muslim University!

Gujarat riots probe inches closer to Modi

Malaysia police arrest eight over church attack

Nigeria: Christian-Muslim fighting in Jos

570 Indians languishing in Pakistan prisons

‘Pak PM pro-US, Prez on shaky ground’

UK Muslims in battle for hearts and minds

New targets for Islamophobic 'witch-hunt'

Smart Bombers: Do Universities Breed Terrorists?

Ex-cons who converted to Islam in NY have turned up in Yemen as Al Qaeda recruits: Senate report

'US weapons have verses from Bible'

Veil curb proposed

Pakistani woman denies shooting US Afghan soldiers

Suspected Al Qaeda man nabbed in Bihar

Taliban threat for Kashmir

Nigeria riot city 'under control'

Osama, Zawahiri hiding in north-western Pak: Report

Pakistani politician wounded in blast: Police

Spanish lawmaker used in Osama pic rejects US apology

Brown unveils security measures

Groups linked to al-Qaida could provoke India-Pak war: Gates

Yemen 'bombs house of suspected al-Qaeda militant'

Iran 'formally rejects nuclear fuel deal'

Arab Christians try reviving town of Jesus miracle

Paharis and Gujjars fight over rights

Mideast Will Define Obama’s Legacy

Pak govt seeks ban on AQ's free movement

Iraq places almost 50,000 fighters in state jobs

Security in Kabul strengthened

Taliban told to attack as widely as possible: UK general

Bangladesh Prez rejects Mujib killers’ mercy plea

India, Pak exchange fire in Poonch

Iran: Will strike at West ships

Indian media blasted for anti-Muslim rhetoric in a Jeddah seminar

Hello IPL Dons! This is not cricket

Unlikely alliance of violence in Russia

Ban on international calls lifted

Sudan sentences 2 more Darfur rebels to death

Flier denouncing mosque goes around Sheepshead Bay

Muslims lobby against Islamophobia in Olympia

UCL professors and students: still turning a blind eye to Islamists on campus

The Educated Muslim Terrorist

UK Government backs Islamists in battle to remove their names from terror list

Not so bad for non-Muslims in Morocco

Obama Knows Better on Afghan War

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/minarets-over-alaska/d/2400

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Minarets Over Alaska

20 January, 2010

How did Michelle Shocked's "Anchorage" go back in 1988? "Hey Shell, you know it's kind of funny/Texas always seemed so big/But you know you're in the largest state in the union/When you're anchored down in Anchorage..."

Imagine what it must be like for someone from Somalia. Or Saudi Arabia. Or Pakistan.

"Anchorage," the Anchorage Daily News reports, "is now home to nearly 4,000 Muslims," up from a few hundred in the 1990s. Something other than Sarah Palin must be attracting Alaska's newest immigrants. And back in December, life got a lot more pleasant for the region's Muslims (not just because Palin looked like she'd be a Fox-trotting expat from then on): Anchorage got its first halal grocery store (halal food being the Islamic equivalent of kosher food).

Lamin Jobarteh, originally from Gambia, decided to quit his job as a banker and open shop on--what else--International road, a few doors down from Anchorage's Islamic Community Center.

News flash for Anchorage's Swiss expats, whose number is undetermined for now: the Islamic center recently acquired a 70-acre plot on Old Seward Highway, where it plans to build a mosque by 2011 and--brace yourselves now, as you so inadmirably can--a modest green minaret or two.

But first things first. For years, Jobarteh told the Daily News, he watched fellow Muslims order their halal food from Seattle or British Columbia and pay the hefty shipping charges. It was time to cut them a break. He bailed them out as only a former banker could:

Aside from the stocked goods, Jobarteh drives to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to preside over the Islamically correct butchering of animals at a slaughterhouse in Palmer once a week or so. His shop features a gleaming stainless steel kitchen in the back room where he can prepare custom orders of meat for families.

"I had no experience in butchering or being a grocer before," Jobarteh says. "This is all a new skill for me."

So, apparently, is a measure of political skills: his one store tends to the large diversity of the Muslim community, which does not, misconceptions aside, speak with one voice. Even in Alaska, Islam's mosaic-like nature is reflected in the long list of nationalities its practitioners represent, from Somalis to Albanians to Palestinians to South Asians and, of course American converts. It would take Alaska to contain several continents' worth of cultures (or at least America).

"Along with a sense of safety, Jobarteh said that Alaska Muslims have been largely welcomed by the community at large," the Daily News writes, "a situation that hasn't always been the case for some members who've lived in other American cities post-9-11. Alaskans seem to value a live-and-let-live approach, Jobarteh said, and that includes religious tolerance."

That's not anecdotal stuff. It's evidence-based, as The Economist's Lexington wrote this week: "To an encouraging degree, America's Muslims are well-off and well-integrated. A Gallup poll last year found them slightly more likely than other Americans to have jobs, and slightly more likely to be professionals. They are much more satisfied with their lives than Muslims in France or Britain. According to a Pew poll, 72% say their communities are good places to live and 71% believe that most people who want to get ahead in America can do so if they work hard."

The question is: will muezzins be welcome in Anchorage?

http://middleeast.about.com/b/2010/01/19/minarets-over-alaska.htm

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Shahrukh Khan: The Historic touch in visit to Aligarh Muslim University!

When it comes to Shahrukh Khan, all energy levels are defied. After reports of how the king Khan was suffering from a neck pain, he is not one to take things lying down. It is being reported that he has now planned to visit the Aligarh Muslim University along with the two stalwarts of Hindi cinema, Script writer and lyrist Javed Akhtar and his charming better half actress par excellence Shabana Azmi.

The University is considered as the epicentre of learning ever since it was established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1875. It was first founded as a school but later developed into the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College and after that it was converted to the status of aUniversity. This University is one of the landmarks in India that remains a Heritage structure and is still held amongst the best in promoting western and eastern education with equal zest.

The University boasts of many renowned students who have passed out and are in the prestigious list of great Alumni of the college and Javed Akhtar is one such great name. Shahrukh will be attending a conference to be held along with the two stalwarts Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi on the 23rd of January’10. According to sources, the exact details of the conference are not known as yet but the agenda is going to be one that will be of interest to the students as well as the professors’ concerned. Shahrukh, being the one with a penchant for true education is the right person to help students to work hard and try to better themselves in their chosen fields of education. This is surely going to be one event to watch out for. Keep an eye on this column for more on this.

http://www.entertainmentandshowbiz.com/shahrukh-khan-the-historic-touch-in-visit-to-aligarh-muslim-university-2010012031779

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Gujarat riots probe inches closer to Modi

20 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Nearly eight years after the post-Godhra communal mayhem in Gujarat, the probe by a Supreme Court-constituted Special Investigation

Team (SIT) into nine most gruesome riot cases appears to be moving closer to investigating the actions of chief minister Narendra Modi during the period of violence.

On Tuesday, SIT complained to a Bench comprising Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam that the Gujarat government had stonewalled its request for copies of speeches that Modi made in the immediate aftermath of the riots, along with other documents.

The Bench directed the state government to immediately supply the SIT, headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan, with copies of speeches as well as other documents to facilitate the probe.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday intervened on behalf of the SIT probing the post-Godhra riots with the Gujarat government. "If SIT thinks Modi’s speeches were relevant for the purpose of the probe, why wouldn’t you give those to it?’’ the court asked.

Importantly, the court also agreed to examine a plea, supported by the Centre, to reconstitute SIT on the ground that it had not been discharging its brief satisfactorily.

It was last year that the SC asked SIT to also probe a complaint by Jakia Nasim Ahesan Hussain Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed by a mob at Gulbarg Society, alleging that the communal riot was allowed to go on in the state with the CM, cabinet ministers, police and bureaucracy abdicating their constitutional duty to protect life and property of citizens irrespective of their caste and religion. Apart from accusing Modi and 62 others, including the collectors and SPs of every riot-affected district of grave dereliction of duty, Jafri had alleged that there had been "deliberate attempts to scuttle most of the cases".

Citing extracts of affidavits given by senior police officials, she alleged that the administration was deliberately lethargic in controlling the rampaging mobs. Jafri had also alleged that terror reigned in the state even now and key witnesses were being coerced into silence.

The bench also agreed to look into an application by one Devendrabhai Pathak seeking reconstitution of SIT, alleging that the SC’s crack team was ignoring vital evidence.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Gujarat-riots-probe-inches-closer-to-Modi/articleshow/5478452.cms

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Malaysia police arrest eight over church attack

20 January, 2010

Malaysian police say they have arrested eight people over the firebombing of a church earlier this month.

No-one was injured in the incident, but it was the first in a series of attacks that have highlighted religious and political divisions.

The attacks followed a 31 December court ruling allowing non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" for God, which the government is appealing against.

Some politicians have insisted on exclusive rights for Malay Muslims.

Word divisions

Bakri Zinin, the federal police chief of criminal investigations, said that the eight suspects had been detained overnight in connection to the 8 January attack on Kuala Lumpur's Metro Tabernacle Church.

Tensions flared after Malaysia's High Court ruled that a Roman Catholic newspaper, the Herald, was permitted to use the word Allah to describe God in its Malay language editions.

Some Muslim groups have argued that Christians using a word so closely associated with Islam could be a ploy to win converts.

Other Muslim groups, such as the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) have said there is no bar to Christians and Jews using the word Allah.

Malays, who are required to be Muslim in Malaysia, make up a majority of the country's population alongside substantial Chinese and Indian minorities.

The Malaysian constitution gives primacy to Islam but allows the free practise of other faiths.

Under the slogan "One Malaysia", the government has made racial harmony a central policy. Its commitment to that policy is now being severely tested.

The "Allah" ban is unusual in the Muslim world. The Arabic word is commonly used by Christians to describe God in such countries as Egypt, Syria and even nearby Indonesia, which is the world's world's largest Muslim nation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8469384.stm

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Nigeria: Christian-Muslim fighting in Jos

20 January, 2010

KANO (Nigeria) - The deadly violence between Christians and Muslims, which have claimed nearly 300 killed in three days, continued Wednesday morning in Jos and its periphery (central Nigeria), where the military have increased their presence.

"The attacks are continuing in the southern districts of the city Kuru Karama Bisiji, Sabongidan and Kanar" said Wednesday morning AFP Idris Sarki, who fled the city of Jos, capital of the state of the Plateau.

 "The area where I was had been devastated. All the people who have had the chance to do are gone, but many, many have been killed," he added.

A local resident of Anguwarogo neighbourhood in Northern Jos, told AFP that more troops were deployed in the streets.

"It's quiet since last night, from my balcony I can see more soldiers patrol yesterday that there were reinforcements," said Bashiru Mohammed who told AFP by telephone.

The fighting erupted as a result of the construction of a mosque in Nasarawa Gwon, a Christian area of Jos, located between the Muslim north and Christian and animist south, with half a million inhabitants.

According to statistics Tuesday night from several sources, 288 deaths were reported dead since Sunday.

192 corpses have been brought into the central mosque, according to Imam Dawud Balarabe. On Monday, he had already announced 26 deaths. The religious leader also reported at least 800 injured, including 90 serious evacuated to military hospitals.

There has been no official confirmation of these assessments.

These clashes have provoked in three days the displacement of 20,000 people and a shortage of water and food, said Wednesday humanitarian organizations.

Full report at: http://www.ennaharonline.com/en/international/2934.html

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570 Indians languishing in Pakistan prisons

Islamabad

A total of 570 Indian nationals, most of them fishermen, are currently in Pakistani jails while 848 Pakistanis are in Indian prisons, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan said on Tuesday.

Sixty Indian civilians and 510 fishermen are being held in Pakistani jails, Khan said while replying to a question in the Upper House of Parliament.

The Pakistanis being held in Indian jails include 63 civilians and 785 fishermen, 79 of whom had completed their prison terms, he said. The Pakistani Government regularly raises the issue of repatriating all Pakistani prisoners with India, he added.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230439/570-Indians-languishing-in-Pakistan-prisons.html

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‘Pak PM pro-US, Prez on shaky ground’

Lalit K. Jha

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is on shaky grounds, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is pro-America and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani is doing well in taking military action against terrorists in his country, a top Republican Senator said on Tuesday.

"Pakistan is doing much better. The President of Pakistan is on shaky ground because of a loss of immunity that has been enacted by the Parliament. The Prime Minister is, I think, also very pro-American," Senator John McCain told the Fox News in an interview.

Mr McCain, who lost to US President Barack Obama in October 2008, was recently in Pakistan; wherein he met the top leadership of the country. "I think there is no doubt that General Kayani, who is the head of the Pakistani Army, has a good relationship with our military leaders Admiral Mike Mullen and General David Petraeus. The Pakistani Army is doing much better, and they are sustaining significant casualties," Mr McCain said.

Admiral Mullen is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the US Staff, while General Petraeus is Commander of the US Central Command. Both the leaders make frequent trips to Pakistan.

Mr McCain said the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan is doing well against terrorists. "They’re planning on going into areas that have never been controlled by any government. So, I am pleased with the progress that has been made militarily, but it is also going to be a very long, tough slog here, and we have to prepare for that," Mr McCain said.

He, however, said there is strong anti-American sentiment in Pakistan there. "There are difficulties in the government. But a year ago, people thought that Pakistan, the whole government would collapse. It has not. Their military has been performing better," he argued.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/%E2%80%98pak-pm-pro-us,-prez-on-shaky-ground%E2%80%99.aspx

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UK Muslims in battle for hearts and minds

David Sapsted

British right-wing parties exploit anti-Muslim sentiments. Above, a member of the English Defence League at a rally in Birmingham. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

London // Muslims in Britain are launching a “hearts and minds” campaign to counter growing Islamophobia in the country.

The move comes at a time when polls throughout Europe are showing growing resentment of Islam’s perceived influence on daily life following the arrival of millions of Muslim migrants in the past 20 years.

Right-wing parties are exploiting people’s fears, abetted by radical Muslim groups that achieve enormous publicity for provocative stunts – such as a recent demand that Queen Elizabeth convert to Islam – which command practically no support among the Muslim community at large.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA), one of Britain’s oldest Muslim communities, is now attempting to counter the negative images by launching a nationwide campaign this week that includes posters on 100 London buses and visits to three million homes across the country.

Meanwhile, another leading Muslim organisation in Britain issued a fatwa this week against suicide bombings and terrorism, declaring them to be un-Islamic.

“The vast majority of Muslims want to live peacefully in their country but we are becoming the target of hatred and discrimination,” Basharat Nazir, the spokesman for the AMA, said yesterday.

“In Switzerland, this has been shown by the minaret ban and, in France, proposals to ban the burqa. This call is now being exploited by the [far right] British National Party and the UK Independence Party in Britain.

“What we are really worried about is that the government will start taking notice and take action against people’s faiths and traditions.

Mr Nazir said that his association decided to act because the behaviour of such “nutcase” groups as Islam4UK – an organisation which the government banned last week after it called for a parade of empty coffins through the country town of Wootton Bassett, whose residents turn out in silent tribute every time one of Britain’s war dead is brought back from Afghanistan.

Full report at: http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100120/FOREIGN/701199876/1013

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New targets for Islamophobic 'witch-hunt'

January 20th, 2010

Postgraduate teacher Reza Pankhurst has become the latest victim of Islamophobia.

He has been accused of Islamist “infiltration” of the London School of Economics (LSE). He has rightly dismissed the allegations against him as a “McCarthyite witch-hunt”.

Pankhurst spent four years in Egyptian prisons for his membership of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group.

Pankhurst was detained with two other Britons in Cairo in 2002, where he was tortured.

He said individuals were being “hounded because of their views”.

The LSE has defended his right to “freedom of expression within the law”.

The attacks on Pankhurst follow home secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to ban the Islam4UK group.

Membership of Islam4UK, and its parent organisation, Al Muhajiroun, will be a criminal offence punishable by up to ten years in jail.

Socialist Worker does not agree with the politics of these groups but banning organisations is a clear attempt to silence dissent.

The idea is to whip up hatred against Muslims as part of the justification for the “war on terror”.

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=20025

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Smart Bombers: Do Universities Breed Terrorists?

January 20, 2010

LONDON -- In the aftermath of the Christmas Day bombing attempt, our nation is once again grappling with how best to protect itself against terrorist attacks. So far, the U.S. government has been directing its resources towards things like airport security and strengthening the government in Yemen, a new hotbed for al-Qaeda. But it's worth asking whether we'd be better served by focusing on what goes on inside universities.

"What most people say is that people who turn to terror are the underclass, excluded, social detritus of the globalized economy," says Anthony Glees, a professor of political science and director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence at the University of Buckingham. "But a significant number of people convicted of terror offenses or killed in the commission of those offenses are university students or graduates."

In fact, the Centre for Social Cohesion -- a non-partisan think-tank that studies issues related to community cohesion in the U.K. -- puts that number at slightly over one-quarter for this country. According to a forthcoming report by the center, 26.2 percent of those involved in Islamist related terrorism convictions and attacks between 1999 and 2009 in the U.K. were educated at or above university-degree level. As Glees -- who identified extremist organizations on as many as 30 British university campuses in his 2005 book, "When Students Turn to Terror" -- put it, "Not every radical is a violent extremist. But every violent extremist has been a radical."

The idea that terrorists can be well-educated isn't a new one. I moved to London 3½ years ago, the day before a group of "home grown" British terrorists -- at least one of whom attended university here -- was arrested for a "liquid bomb plot" at Heathrow airport. Ten months later, a bunch of doctors tried to blow up Glasgow airport. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's executioner -- Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh -- went to the London School of Economics. And it isn't just the U.K. where some students turn to violence. Osama bin Laden also -- and famously -- has a university degree. In a recent article in Slate, Anne Applebaum describes the emergence of an international jihadist elite who are educated, eloquent, cosmopolitan and -- crucially -- often the children of ambitious, Westernized parents.

Full report at: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/01/19/smart-bombers-do-universities-breed-terrorists/

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Ex-cons who converted to Islam in NY have turned up in Yemen as Al Qaeda recruits: Senate report

By Richard Sisk

January 20th 2010

WASHINGTON - Ex-cons who converted to Islam in New York and other state prison systems have turned up in Yemen as Al Qaeda terror recruits, a new Senate report says.

The focus on ex-cons was part of an intensified effort by Al Qaeda to involve Americans who could more easily slip through security and pose a "significant threat" to carry out attacks in the U.S., said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

"These Americans are not necessarily of Arab or South Asian descent" but "include individuals who converted to Islam in prison," Kerry said in a foreword to the report by his committee.

As many as 36 of the ex-cons, nearly half from New York, were believed to be in Yemen, and U.S. counterterror officials were on "heightened alert because of the potential threat from extremists carrying American passports," the report said.

The FBI and CIA were also concerned about a separate group of fewer than 10 Americans without criminal records who went to Yemen, converted to Islam and married Yemeni women to be allowed to remain in the country.

The report quoted a U.S. official who described the smaller group as "blond-haired, blue eyed-types" who fit the profile of Americans wanted by Al Qaeda for terror missions.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the moniker for the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, was behind the attempted Christmas Day attack on Flight 253 over Detroit by a 23-year-old Nigerian.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/01/20/2010-01-20_excons_who_converted_to_islam_in_ny_have_turned_up_in_yemen_as_al_qaeda_recruits.html#ixzz0dAEQEaux

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'US weapons have verses from Bible'

20 January 2010

Coded references to passages about Jesus Christ in the New Testament have been inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the American

military by a Michigan company for years, a media report said on Tuesday.

The sights are used by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the US army, the ABC News reported.

US military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the United States was embarked on a religious "Crusade" in its war against al-Qaida and Iraqi insurgents.

One of the citations on the gun sights, 2COR4:6, is an apparent reference to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament, which reads: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Other references include citations from the books of Revelation, Matthew and John dealing with Jesus as "the light of the world." John 8:12, referred to on the gun sights as JN8:12, reads, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Trijicon confirmed that it adds the biblical codes to the sights sold to the US military. Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions "have always been there" and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them. Munson said the issue was being raised by a group that is "not Christian." The company has said the practice began under its founder, Glyn Bindon, a devout Christian from South Africa who was killed in a 2003 plane crash.

The company's vision is described on its website: "Guided by our values, we endeavor to have our products used wherever precision aiming solutions are required to protect individual freedom." "We believe that America is great when its people are good," says the website. "This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals."

Spokespeople for both the US army and the Marine Corps said on Tuesday their services were unaware of the biblical markings. They said officials were discussing what steps, if any, to take in the wake of the report. It is not known how many Trijicon sights are currently in use by the US military.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-weapons-have-verses-from-Bible/articleshow/5478283.cms

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Veil curb proposed

COPENHAGEN

January 21, 2010

Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen says his Government is considering restricting the burqa and niqab worn by a tiny minority of Muslim women there.

''The Government's position is clear: the burqa and the niqab have no place in Danish society. They symbolise a view of women and humanity that we totally oppose and that we want to combat in Danish society,'' he said.

He said his centre-right Government was discussing ways of limiting wearing of the burqa and niqab that would not violate the constitution.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/veil-curb-proposed-20100120-mlpf.html

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Pakistani woman denies shooting US Afghan soldiers

20 January, 2010

A Pakistani woman alleged to have shot at US soldiers yelled at jurors on the first day of her trial that she had been held in a secret prison. Neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, 37, had to be escorted out of a courtroom in New York after disrupting a witness giving testimony.

She is being tried on attempted murder charges - she says she is innocent.

She is alleged to have used a rifle to fire at US agents while waiting to be questioned in Afghanistan.

Ms Siddiqui was shot during that incident.

'Mass-casualty attacks'

Assistant attorney Jenna Dabbs told jurors that Ms Siddiqui was taken into custody by Afghan police in July 2008 because she was carrying containers of unidentified chemicals and notes referring to "mass-casualty attacks" in New York such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ms Siddiqui is charged only with the shooting incident.

She wore a white veil and sat with her head in her arms throughout most of the proceedings in the federal court.

She interrupted evidence against her to allege that she was held in a "secret prison... where children were tortured".

There was "no list of targets against New York", she added. "I was never planning to bomb it."

US Army Capt Robert Snyder told the jury on Tuesday that an unnamed soldier created a deadly risk by not securing his weapon at an Afghan police outpost on 18 July 2008.

He described seeing the soldier put down the rifle and turn away to shake hands with police before gunfire started.

Prosecutors allege that while being detained at that outpost, Ms Siddiqui grabbed the weapon and fired it.

Capt Snyder testified that at the time of the shooting he looked towards a curtain and saw a woman kneeling on a bed and pointing the rifle.

"I could see the inner portion of the barrel, which indicated to me it was pointing straight at my head," he said. "I was absolutely certain there was nothing I could do to get out of her line of fire."

Seconds later he saw an interpreter for the army struggling to subdue Ms Siddiqui.

She has declined to work with her defence lawyers and argued that she would not get a fair trial if there were Jewish people on the jury.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8467832.stm

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Suspected Al Qaeda man nabbed in Bihar

Amarnath Tewary

A suspected terrorist linked with Al Qaeda was formally arrested on Tuesday from the bordering district of Purnia in Bihar. The alleged terrorist was taken into custody a week ago on Tuesday while moving about in a suspicious manner.

“Gulam Rasool Khan alias Mirza Khan was arrested today for his links with terrorist outfits. After he was investigated by various investigating agencies the police booked him under various sections of the IPC and Passport Act as he was carrying a fake Pakistani passport with him”, said Purnia police chief Nayyer Husnain Khan, following his sustained interrogation.

The district police chief also said that Gulam’s link with another little known terrorist outfit ‘IMMM’ has also been traced.

If police sources are to be believed the suspected terrorist having links with Taliban based Al-Qaeda has admitted his connection with the Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist outfit.

However, it is also said that no proof has been found from the alleged terrorist for his involvement in any anti-India activities.

According to police information Gulam was a driver in Dubai and had come to Hyderabad in 1987 and stayed there for long period of time after marrying a local girl.

He was even was sent to jail in a connection with a murder charge.

Local reports said that during his interrogation by the intelligence agencies it was found that Mirza Khan alias Gulam Rasool had strong anti-American feelings I his heart than anti-Indian.

The reports also said that during his intense interrogation he has admitted that he was collecting information about America and had come to India in the connection while making hi base at Hyderabad.

He also has reportedly said that he wanted to sneak into Bangladesh through bordering district of Bihar and then to enter into Pakistan.

The arrested terrorist reportedly has also spilled the startling information that Sofia, second wife of Al-Qaeda chief Osama-Bin-Laden had come to Hyderabad ten years ago and had stayed there for some time.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230429/Suspected-Al-Qaeda-man-nabbed-in-Bihar.html

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Taliban threat for Kashmir

January 20, 2010

Recent surge of violence in both parts of contentious state of Jammu and Kashmir has fuelled the concerns about the expansion of Taliban network in the Himalayan region. Despite significant increase of terrorist operations in India and Pakistan during the last few years, Jammu and Kashmir remained relatively a peaceful zone. The momentum of two decade long insurgency in Indian Administrated Kashmir is greatly reduced with a considerable transition from turmoil to normalcy.

However, in neighboring Pakistan terrorism and bloodshed is rife where Islamic Taliban and Pakistan forces are engaged in a violent war in NWFP and lawless Waziristan regions since 2004 when Pakistan army started operations in border Waziristan region against local groups involved in attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan. Now this war has extended to almost all major Pakistani cities through suicide attacks committed by young Taliban. In this six years war between Pakistani troops and Taliban, Pakistani administrated Kashmir remained far from any major terrorist activity till June 26, 2009 when Taliban took the responsibly of first suicide attack on a military vehicle. Till now over 20 people, majority of them security personnel, have been killed and more than 125 have wounded in fiveterrorist attacks in Pakistani Kashmir within six months. Officials have also foiled more terrorist attempts of Taliban.

Taliban threat for KashmirThe militancy in Kashmir has a long history of linkages with Afghanistan and Pakistani northern areas now under the influence of Taliban. The defeat of Soviet Union by Afghan warriors contributed to encourage young Kashmiris to take gun against India. Since the inception of uprising in the Valley, almost all Kashmiri militant groups were trained inAfghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal regions. This Afghan- Kashmir relationship also changed the configurations of Kashmiri resistance movement which turned a national liberation movement into a part of global Jihad when young Kashmiri recruits were trained ideologically and militarily by devout Pashtun and Arab instructors inAfghanistan and NWFP areas.

Full report at: http://www.littleabout.com/news/59600,taliban-threat-kashmir.html

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Nigeria riot city 'under control'

20 January, 2010

The Nigerian army says it has regained control of the city of Jos, where fighting between Muslims and Christians in recent days has left scores dead.

Lt Col Shekari Galadima told the BBC the city was "very calm" as the army was enforcing a 24-hour curfew. He insisted there would be no more riots.

But a BBC reporter in the region says the violence has now spread to Pankshin town, 100km (60 miles) from Jos.

Rights groups say at least 200 people are believed to have died since Sunday.

Jos has been blighted by religious violence over the past decade.

At least 200 people were killed in an outbreak of fighting between Muslims and Christians in 2008, while some 1,000 died in a riot in 2001.

Food fears

Col Galadima told the BBC's Network Africa programme that Jos city "has been brought under control tremendously".

"Because of the 24-hour curfew imposed by the government, movement has been restricted so you cannot have any riots or any demonstrations going on," he said.

"Our troops in combination with the police are fully deployed and fully on the ground to check all movements."

The Associated Press reported that soldiers with machine guns were patrolled the streets of Jos in the back of pick-up trucks.

Residents were stopping and raising their hands to show they were not a threat as the trucks passed, according to AP.

The BBC Hausa service's Shehu Saulawa says the violence appears to have spread much further than was previously thought - to the town of Pankshin.

He says reports claim public buildings in the town have been set alight, places of worship have been burnt and locals are appealing for the security forces to intervene.

Roadblocks have been set up on roads leading out of Plateau State and Christian and Muslim leaders have appealed for calm.

'Little faith'

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8469863.stm

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Osama, Zawahiri hiding in northwestern Pak: Report

20 January 2010

WASHINGTON: Nine years after their mysterious disappearance following the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the US still believes the two top al al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are in hiding in northwestern Pakistan.

According to the latest report on al-Qaida and its expanding network by a powerful Congressional committee, the two leaders are in hiding in tribal areas on the Pakistan- Afghan border. The Senate Committee's views are in variance with those of Pakistani leaders, who believe Osama might well be dead.

In a major observation, the report said al-Qaida appears to have increased its influence among the myriad Islamist militant groups operating along the Af-Pak border.

The 21-page report by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations examines the role of al-Qaida in international terrorism and its expansion in new areas - Yemen and Somalia - beyond its nerve-centre in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

US officials remain concerned that al-Qaida militants maintain bases and training camps in Pakistan.

"Bin Laden and Zawahiri are believed to be hiding in northwestern Pakistan along with most other senior operatives. al-Qaida leaders have issued statements encouraging Pakistani Muslims to 'resist' American 'occupiers' in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to fight against Pakistan's US-allied politicians and officers," the report released by Senator John Kerry, the Committee's Chairman said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Osama-Zawahiri-hiding-in-northwestern-Pak-Report/articleshow/5480111.cms

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Pakistani politician wounded in blast: Police

20 January 2010

PESHAWAR: A Pakistani politician was among four people wounded on Wednesday when a bomb exploded on a road as he driving by in the city of  Peshawar, police said.

The politician, Aurangzeb Khan, is a member of an ethnic Pashtun-based party that is part of the ruling coalition and vehemently opposed to the Taliban and its Islamist allies.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-politician-wounded-in-blast-Police/articleshow/5480199.cms

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Spanish lawmaker used in Osama pic rejects US apology

20 January 2010

MADRID: A Spanish lawmaker on Tuesday angrily rejected the United States' apology for the FBI's using a photo of him to create a poster showing

what Osama bin Laden might look like today.

Gaspar Llamazares, of Spain's communist-run United Left party, demanded the US investigate the incident and take appropriate action. "Apologies are not enough," he told a news conference at the parliament after the US ambassador apologized via Spain's interior minister on Monday.

"I want a thorough investigation into this disgraceful case, which not only causes concern but also worry and indignation over the behavior of the FBI," he said, adding that he did not rule out legal action.

The FBI used parts of a photo of Llamazares taken from Google Images to create a digitally modified image of the al-Qaida leader for a new wanted poster, which appeared on the state department website and offered a reward of up to $25 million. The FBI has since removed the doctored photo of bin Laden from the site, but Llamazares said he wanted guarantees that the images were not still in the hands of intelligence services at airports or other places abroad.

He said it bothered him to think what would have happened if the FBI had used the photo of an ordinary person, and not a public figure able to draw attention to the matter. Llamazares said he also wanted to know if the FBI has a habit of keeping files on leftist politicians in the US, Europe, Latin American or elsewhere. He said he doubted the FBI had found his photo by chance on the internet.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Spanish-lawmaker-used-in-Osama-pic-rejects-US-apology/articleshow/5478277.cms

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Brown unveils security measures

20 January, 2010

Gordon Brown has announced enhanced measures to track terrorist suspects and strengthen airport security after the attempted Christmas Day bomb plot.

A "no-fly list" is to be set up to stop suspected terrorists from travelling to the UK while other individuals will be subjected to more extensive checks.

Direct flights between the UK and Yemen are also to be suspended amid concerns about Yemeni links to terrorism.

Mr Brown said the UK faced "active" terrorist threats from over the world.

'Tracking terrorists'

Mr Brown ordered a review of airport security in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a flight from Detroit.

Following the review and further intelligence briefings, he told MPs that the government would introduce a range of measures to protect the UK's borders and further strengthen aviation and airport security.

He said the Home Office's current watch list of terrorist suspects would be extended and two further watch lists created.

“ It is because we fully recognise the global nature of the terrorist threat we face today that our response must be truly global, ”

Gordon Brown

A "no-fly list" of banned individuals would be complemented by a further list of individuals under suspicion who will be subject to "special measures" and more extensive screening before travelling to the UK.

By the end of the year, all UK airports and ports will be covered by the e-borders scheme, which he said meant information passengers provide when buying tickets can be checked against the watch lists.

Enhanced global co-operation will mean that suspect individuals, including those in transit between flights, would be further checked against the watch list 24 hours before boarding a flight to, or via, the UK.

The measures would ensure that individuals "posing the greatest risk" could not travel to the UK Mr Brown said, while terrorist movements would be "seamlessly tracked and disrupted".

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8470072.stm

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Groups linked to al-Qaida could provoke India-Pak war: Gates

20 January 2010

NEW DELHI: Al-Qaida is seeking to de-stabilise the entire South Asia region and could trigger a new war between Pakistan and India, US Defence

Secretary Robert Gates told reporters on Wednesday.

Groups under al-Qaida's "syndicate" in Afghanistan and Pakistan are trying "to destabilise not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but potentially the whole region by provoking a conflict perhaps between India and Pakistan through some provocative act," Gates said during a visit to New Delhi.

Gates, who is on a two day visit to India, has also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign minister S.M. Krishna to bolster US-India defence and strategic ties.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Groups-linked-to-al-Qaida-could-provoke-India-Pak-war-Gates/articleshow/5480155.cms

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Yemen 'bombs house of suspected al-Qaeda militant'

The Yemeni air force have bombed the home of a suspected al-Qaeda leader, a week after the military said he had died, official and tribal sources say.

The attack on the home of Ayed al-Shabwani was met with anti-aircraft fire from his village, AFP News agency reported, quoting a tribal source.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had denied Mr Shabwani had been killed in the 15 January attack in north Yemen.

No figures on casualties have yet been released for this latest attack.

The attacks on the house and farm in Marib province were continuing into Wednesday afternoon, AFP said.

The attack is part of a continuing crackdown on al-Qaeda militants by the Sanaa government after the organisation in the country was linked to an attempted bombing of a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8469959.stm

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Iran 'formally rejects nuclear fuel deal'

20 January, 2010

Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency it does not accept the terms of a deal to ease concerns about its nuclear programme, diplomats say.

For months, the Iranian government has criticised the offer to ship low-enriched uranium abroad in return for fuel, but never responded formally.

But diplomats say Tehran is now suggesting an alternative involving a simultaneous exchange on its territory.

Correspondents say the proposal is very unlikely to be acceptable to the West.

The US and its allies fear Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna says it is not clear whether Iranian officials have responded in writing or only verbally to the IAEA about the deal that envisages Iran sending about 70% of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be processed into fuel.

But diplomats say they appear to have rejected one of the main conditions - that all the uranium leaves Iran well before any fuel is dispatched.

When asked about the reports on Tuesday, a US state department spokesman said Iran's proposal was inadequate.

"I am not sure that they have delivered a formal response, but it is clearly an inadequate response," P J Crowley said.

"I am not sure that whatever they have done, perhaps today, is any different than what they have done previously."

Neither officials at the IAEA nor Iran's representative to the organisation, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, have so far commented.

The US and its allies on the UN Security Council have been pushing for a fourth round of sanctions if Iran's rejects the deal.

But Russia and China are said to be sceptical of any new penalties.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8469332.stm

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Arab Christians try reviving town of Jesus miracle

By DIAA HADID

January 20, 2010

KUFR KANA, Israel -- In this small Galilee town where tradition says Jesus turned water to wine, an ambitious priest hopes to perform his own miracle - revive a shrinking flock.

Father Masoud Abu Hatoum, nicknamed "the bulldozer" for his enthusiasm, has come up with a few ideas, like re-enacting the New Testament story of Jesus transforming the water for guests at a wedding in the Galilee hamlet of Cana, now this northern Israeli town of Kufr Kana.

"We have to attract people," said Abu Hatoum, who looks as much rock star as priest with his trim beard and large wrap-around sunglasses.

But he will have a tough time slowing the hemorrhage of Christians from this bleak, economically depressed town, as the young move away to cities like nearby Nazareth, which offer bigger Christian communities, more jobs and better marriage prospects.

"Our youths leave the village, they tell us: 'We don't want to die here.' We get old, and they leave," said 65-year-old Said Saffouri, a parishioner whose two sons have moved out of town.

Migration and low birth rates have diminished Christian populations across the Middle East. Israel's community of 123,000 Arab Christians is one of the few in the region whose numbers have held steady - it grew slightly by 2,000 in 2009. But it does face a problem of rural flight to big cities, which leaves traditional small Christian towns like Kufr Kana to waste away.

Kufr Kana was entirely Christian at the beginning of the 20th century, but Muslims began settling in the village first as traders, and then as refugees fleeing fighting during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, locals said. Now the village is home to 16,000 Muslims and 4,000 Christians.

The remaining Christians are already discussing what happens when their community dies out completely: Would local Muslims one day have to oversee the Christian holy sites or would members of the clergy stay behind to do so?

Relations with Muslims tend to be cool but polite. Some Christian residents describe warm friendships with Muslims - while others claim Muslims want them banished from town. Mostly, Christians said they just felt outnumbered.

From a distance, the town reflects its overwhelmingly Muslim population. Visitors can see three minarets spiking up amid the jumble of concrete block houses, with not a church spire in sight.

Full report at: © Copyright 1996-2010 The Washington Post Company

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Paharis and Gujjars fight over rights

By Binoo Joshi

January 20th, 2010

Jammu, Jan 20 (IANS) In Jammu and Kashmir a war of words is going on between Paharis, who are demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, and Gujjars, who have the status since April 1991 but don’t want the Paharis to get it.

People of the Pahari community live in mountainous areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The language they speak is also called Pahari. Roughly 10 percent of the 11 million people of Jammu and Kashmir are Paharis. They include Hindus - Brahmins, Rajputs - and Muslims.

Gujjars form about 15 percent of the state’s population. They are tribals and can be either Muslim or Hindu.

Mushtaq Ahmed Bukhari, former minister and chairman of the Pahari Cultural and Welfare Forum, pointed out that the state government had in 1989 recommended granting of ST status to Paharis along with Gujjars. “Our demand is long pending,” he told IANS.

Opposing the demand, Javaid Rahi, secretary of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation - an organisation working on Gujjar affairs - said: “Paharis are a linguistic group and not a tribal entity by any standards. They (Pahari-speaking people) are neither tribal nor nomadic in character and they are not socially, economically and educationally backward.”

He held that the grant of ST status to Paharis would weaken the tribal character of all tribes with ST status, “and we will oppose it tooth and nail”.

Waseem Mirza, spokesman of the Jammu and Kashmir Youth Pahari Cultural and Welfare Forum, countered: “We will fight to get our right. When Gujjars got ST status we never opposed it. We do not understand why are they jittery over our demand.”

Most Paharis and Gujjars live in the mountainous parts of the Jammu region and the Kashmir valley. Both can speak the language of the other.

There is some variation in the language as you move across the region from Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Kishtwar, and Bhaderwah in the Jammu region and Karnah, Kupwara, Bopore, Anantnag and Shopian in the Kashmir valley. “These different regions have slightly different accent and vocabulary,” Rahi told IANS.

The Paharis under the leadership of Bukhari are mobilising through demonstrations in Poonch and Rajouri districts. The assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008 were fought on sharp caste, tribe and linguistic divides in this region.

It was during this time that sharp divisions between Gujjars and Paharis came to the fore.

Objecting to the demand of the “Pahari- speaking people”, senior leaders of the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities said they would oppose with full force any such move “aimed at diluting the tribal status by adding a non-tribal linguistic entity into the tribal amalgam”.

They said that the community will challenge the state’s recommendations in the Supreme Court.

Full report at: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/paharis-and-gujjars-fight-over-rights_100306551.html

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Mideast Will Define Obama’s Legacy

20 January 2010

Barack Obama completes his first year in the White House today, and it’s hard to resist the temptation of rushing in with the verdict on his performance. However, given the extraordinary challenges this US president has faced even before he walked into the White House, it is more complicated than summing it up as success ?or failure.

One year is perhaps too short a period to judge a president who has inherited a mindboggling mess at home and abroad.  But judged Obama will be, especially in the Middle East where his unusual background and his powerful message of change have kindled unprecedented hopes and expectations.   And the hopes and expectations about finally bringing peace to the Middle East haven’t just swept the region but captured the imagination of the world at large.

Those soaring expectations had been hardly unjustified, considering Obama launched his Middle East peace initiative in his first week in office swiftly dispatching George Mitchell to the region.  His first executive decision ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay within a year set the tone for Obama’s engagement with the Muslim world.  His inaugural speech talked of exploring a “new way forward” with the world’s Muslims, as he tried to undo the bitterness and confrontation of the George W Bush years. 

In his address to Turkey’s parliament and later university students in Cairo, he reached out to the Muslim world like no Western or US leader had ever done—or perhaps ever will.  Without apologising for pro-Israel US policies, Obama talked of justice, freedom and equal rights for the Palestinian people.  He talked of his own Muslim inheritance and family to bridge the chasm of the West and Islamic world.

The Middle East, and the larger Islamic world, hasn’t still forgotten that historic, powerful speech in Cairo nor has it given up on Obama’s promise of change and the ‘audacity of hope’.   However, it’s getting impatient for the change this amazing, young president promised.  A year is perhaps too short a time to judge anyone, let alone judge a US president over a complex issue such as the Middle East.  But there’s a growing feeling in the region that Obama’s initial enthusiasm for finding a solution for the Palestinian-Israel tangle has given way to helpless indifference, or even apathy.  No one ever suggested resolving the Middle East was a child’s play.  It wouldn’t be festering all these years — for nearly a century — if this issue were that simple.  But this is precisely why the US has to do more and flex its muscles, as it has been doing elsewhere all these years to protect its interests, to push the Israelis to deliver on their commitments and obligations.  Israel has to be singled out because the Palestinians, for their part, have been waiting, endlessly waiting all these years for peace, justice and a piece of whatever remains of this moth-eaten land.

The US ally and biggest recipient of US aid has been openly defying and mocking Obama by expanding Jewish settlements on what little remains of the Palestinian land. Even that charade of “peace talks” is over. And Obama’s envoy, George Mitchell, seems to have given up after numerous futile trips to the region.  This must change if Obama wants to be remembered as a successful leader.  For, it’s the Middle East that will eventually determine his legacy.     

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2010/January/editorial_January39.xml&section=editorial&col=

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Pak govt seeks ban on AQ's free movement

Omer Farooq Khan

20 January 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government has filed a petition at the Lahore High Court on Tuesday, seeking a ban on the free movement and interaction of the nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan with media.

The petition filed by the federal government stated that the liberty granted to Dr Qadeer Khan poses serious threat to national security. The country’s security establishment was deeply perturbed over Khan’s recent interactions with foreign and local journalists. It has been alleged that the nuclear scientist has shared sensitive information with the international media.

The decision to file petition was taken in a high-level meeting convened by the security establishment last Friday and attended by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, interior Minister Rehman Malik, Director general ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Tariq Majid, DG Strategic Planning Division Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Kidwai and attorney general Anwar Mansoor. The meeting decided that the court would be requested to hold the nuclear scientist accountable for violating the undertaking given by him to the court.

The federal government has appealed in Tuesday’s petition that the scientist be kept under constant surveillance by authorities and a security escort be assigned to him. Earlier the Lahore High Court had granted permission to Dr Qadeer to live as a free citizen but restricted him from communicating with foreign journalists. Despite the court judgment, Khan has been frequently interacting with media.

In a letter, published by The Washington Post, Khan had described about the illegal transfer of nuclear know-how's to China, North Korea and Iran. In the latest story of the Post relating to proliferation to North Korea, Khan had allegedly accused DG Strategic Planning Division (SPD) Gen Kidwai of being involved in proliferation. In a latest interview with a local news channel, Dr Khan defended the act of sharing nuclear technology with friendly countries.

The court has issued notification to Dr Qadeer Khan to appear in the court on January 25.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-govt-seeks-ban-on-AQs-free-movement/articleshow/5478341.cms

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Iraq places almost 50,000 fighters in state jobs

19 January 2010

BAGHDAD: Iraq's government says it has found jobs for nearly 50,000 Sunni fighters who played a key role in US efforts to fight insurgents.

The head of an Iraqi national reconciliation committee said Tuesday he hopes to place all the estimated 96,000 members of the Sons of Iraq movement in government jobs by the middle of the year.

Many of the Sons of Iraq were former insurgents who switched sides and joined American forces in trying to subdue al-Qaida and other militant groups.

Iraq's Shiite-led government has reluctantly agreed to absorb 20 percent of the fighters into state security forces.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iraq-places-almost-50000-fighters-in-state-jobs-/articleshow/5477605.cms

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Security in Kabul strengthened

January 20th, 2010

KABUL: Afghan forces tightened security in Kabul on Tuesday, a day after a brazen Taliban assault on the capital left 12 people, including seven militants, dead and raised concerns about the government’s ability to protect even urban centres.

President Hamid Karzai ordered a review of the security plan for the capital but said Afghan troops should be praised for their performance in preventing an even bigger disaster.

Troops searched vehicles entering the city and increased the number of checkpoints, along with foot patrols and vehicle patrols, said deputy police chief Mohammad Khalil Dastyar.

The streets were otherwise calm, and traffic was back to normal following the attack, which left many roads deserted except for security forces as terrified Afghans raced for cover from explosions and machine-gun fire that echoed across the city. Afghan forces along with NATO advisers managed to restore order after nearly five hours of fighting.

The assault by a handful of determined militants dramatised the vulnerability of the Afghan capital, undermining public confidence in the ability of the government and its U.S.-led allies to provide security. A handful of gunmen — perhaps fewer than a dozen — paralysed a city of 4 million for hours, forcing Ministries to stop work as police used the buildings for firing positions.

Mohammad Nasir, a taxi driver, said the government must do more to stop foreign attackers from crossing the border.

“They always say that these attackers are coming from outside, but they don’t have wings to fly from the sky and come here, so they come from the ground,” he said. “If we had professional Afghan forces, they could stop them ... but we see we don’t have professional forces to keep them from coming.”

Mr. Karzai asked for the security review after he was briefed by the Defence and Interior Ministers.

The attack unfolded as Cabinet members were being sworn in despite Parliament’s rejection of most of Mr. Karzai’s choices in two rounds of voting.

With just 14 Ministers confirmed, the President has named caretakers for the 11 vacant posts amid pressure to assemble a Cabinet ahead of a January 28 international conference in London to discuss ways to shore up Afghanistan’s security and development.

Most of the caretakers were nominees who had been rejected by Parliament. Several also were officially appointed as deputies in the Ministries, meaning they will remain in office even after a new Minister is named.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/20/stories/2010012059691700.htm

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Taliban told to attack as widely as possible: UK general

January 20th, 2010

Taliban fighters, who launched an assault in Kabul on Monday, have been ordered to attack in as many places as possible to try to make it look as though they are everywhere, the head of the British army said.

General David Richards said the Afghan security forces had responded well to the attacks, disproving critics who doubted their ability to withstand such an assault.

Suicide bombers blew themselves up at several locations in the Afghan capital as militants battled security forces from inside a shopping centre engulfed in flames.

"They (the Taliban) have given orders to their people to attack in as many different places as they possibly can -- it doesn't matter if they are successful or not -- in order to reinforce this impression of being everywhere," Richards said.

"It doesn't mean we should draw the deduction that they are ... hugely popular Robin Hoods," he said after giving a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He said he had contacted friends in Kabul and "their assessment is that actually the Afghans have handled it very well ... Both on a higher level and at the tactical level I think they've handled that well."

"We won't really know till tomorrow how well, but they did not fall apart. They responded in a very professional manner. They encircled those involved," he said.

"They could, if some people who are critical of the Afghan national security forces were right, they could have collapsed, because right in the heart of Kabul this is something that would have been a psychological shock to everybody," he said.

He said the Taliban were deliberately "creating the impression in all our minds that they are everywhere, that they can get in everywhere."

"Actually they might have had six attacks in Kabul in the last six months and that is six more than we would like but it is only six. And if they are quite so omnipotent as some people would tell us they are they could do a lot worse than that."

He said the Taliban were not popular with Afghans and he believed international forces in Afghanistan were "putting in place now the means and the people to ensure that over time we can succeed."

Britain has 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, based mainly in the south, as part of a NATO-led force fighting the Taliban.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230592/Taliban-told-to-attack-as-widely-as-possible-UK-general.html

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Bangladesh Prez rejects Mujib killers’ mercy plea

Dhaka

Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman has rejected the mercy petitions of three of the five former Army officers who were sentenced to death for the killing the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

Mohammed Shafiul Alam, secretary to the President, told bdnews24.com: “There is nothing more to do here. The petition has been refused and was sent to the Home Ministry on Sunday.”

The Government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the execution of all five former Army officers who were awarded death sentences has been stayed till the apex court rules on their review petitions. The court said it would hear the five petitions on January 24.

Two of the five, Syed Farooq Rahman and Mohiuddin Ahmed, filed their petitions on Tuesday, while three others — Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan — had done so earlier this month.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members were killed in a putsch led by serving and former Army officers on August 15, 1975.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230428/Bangladesh-Prez-rejects-Mujib-killers%E2%80%99-mercy-plea.html

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India, Pak exchange fire in Poonch

YUSUF JAMEEL

January 20th, 2010

Indian and Pakistan border guards exchanged machine gun and rocket fire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch sector for, at least one hour late on Monday night and early Tuesday morning, heightening already existing tensions down the de facto border.

While India said there was no casualties in the Pakistani firing termed as unprovoked and yet another violation of the November 2003 ceasefire agreement by the officials in Jammu, a military spokesperson in Islamabad claimed that one Pakistan soldier was killed and another injured in the Indian firing. He also claimed that the Indian action was "gratuitous."

BSF officials in the winter capital said that the Pakistani Rangers targeted Kranti post in Krishna Ghati sub-sector in Poonch district from their Kaddu Post for over an hour on Monday night with machine gun fire and rockets. There was, however, no casualties in the Pakistani firing which was "unprovoked," they said, adding that the Indian border guards retaliated to the firing. "Why the Pakistanis resorted to firing is being ascertained but we understand they did it apparently to provide firing cover to infiltrating militants or for some other reason. Notwithstanding, the matter is being raised with Pakistan in a serious way," said one of the BSF officials.

Both Army and BSF authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have accused the Pakistan troops of helping the militants in sneaking over to the Indian side of the LoC and International Border (IB) in the state, often by providing them firing cover. The charge is vehemently denied by Islamabad.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/india/india,-pak-exchange-fire-in-poonch.aspx

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Iran: Will strike at West ships

January 20th, 2010

Tehran: Iran’s defence minister warned on Tuesday that Iran could strike back at Western warships in the Gulf if it is atta-cked over its nuclear programme, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Ahmad Vahidi said there were now more than 90 war vessels in the Gulf — a waterway crucial for global oil supplies — and that they had created a "military environment" there. They included submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers, he said. "What is the reason underlying the deployment of this many warships and what aim are they pursuing ... are they arrayed against Iran?" Fars quoted Mr Vahidi as saying.

"The Westerners know well that the existence of these warships in the Persian Gulf serve as the best operational targets for Iran if they should want to undertake any military action against Iran," he said.

Iran has often warned it would retaliate for any attack on its nuclear facilities. —Reuters

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/iran-will-strike-at-west-ships.aspx

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Indian media blasted for anti-Muslim rhetoric

P.K. Abdul Ghafour

JEDDAH: A seminar organized by Tanima, a Keralite cultural organization, here on Friday denounced a section of the Indian media for their deliberate attempt to incriminate Muslims with false, biased and sensationalized reporting.

Speakers at the seminar voiced their fears that such illegitimate and unjust media intervention would isolate Muslims from the mainstream and destroy communal harmony, and thus making a negative impact on the country.

Farouk Muhammad presented a research paper on the main theme “Media Terrorism: Its Unknown Dimensions.” Citing several examples, he argued that some media organizations in India were making intentional effort to project Muslims as terrorists.

He called on peace-loving people to raise their voices against the media’s anti-Muslim tirade and double standards.

“The media’s duty is to stand by the victims and not by the oppressors,” he insisted.

Kassim Irikkur, news editor of Gulf Madhyamam daily, said the fascist media had played a big role in upsetting communal amity in Kerala where Hindus, Muslims and Christians have been living peacefully for centuries.

“If intellectuals and politicians fail to reverse this situation, Kerala will be lost forever,” he added. He criticized the move to demonize Soofiya, the wife of PDP leader Abdunnaser Madani, saying it is a gross injustice. Soofia has been falsely implicated in a terrorism-related case.

KTA Muneer of the Indian Cultural Congress censured the Muslim-bashing by some television channels and newspapers. However, he pointed out that such incidents should encourage Muslims to review their activities and change their ways.

Gopinath Nedungadi of Kalaswadaka Sangam said terrorism was not only found in the media but also in trade, health service, education and other sectors as a result of moral degradation. He advised Muslims to deal with things intelligently rather than emotionally.

Rayinkutty Nirad of KMCC and Lateef of Novodaya also spoke. Fasal Kochi was the moderator. Earlier, K.M. Basheer, chief patron of Tanima, released the 60th anniversary issue of Prabhodanam Islamic weekly by giving a copy to Nedungadi. K.H. Abdul Raheem welcomed the guests and K.K. Nizar gave a vote of thanks.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=131495&d=20&m=1&y=2010&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

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Hello IPL Dons! This is not cricket

Jan 20, 2010

NO HEAVEN has not fallen with Pakistani cricketers not featuring in the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year after being ignored by franchises at the players' auction last night.

 Yes, it’s a victory of Politics over Sports. It’s a failure of imagination; faltering of spirits; It’s another scathing blow to the dream - Aman Ki Asha  of “The Times Of India” and “Jung” of Pakistan. It’s another  defeat for Gulzar who wanted to go and see ailing Mehdi Hasan and advocated that Visa should not be stamped on eyes; its another smack to the spiritual dreams of Abida Parveen.

Who is responsible for that ?

 Since the inception of Pakistan, its rulers have regarded Islam as bulwark AGAINST their myopic philosophies. They took India-bashing their second religion - a ruse to survive in power; a strategy to hold the contradictory internecine society intact.

They desperately failed to keep the country from dismemberment. They failed to serve Islam.

 Wahabiyat took its root in Pakistan and Taliban destroyed the basic polity of society beyond reach. Unfortunately for Muslim Ummah, before Talban, it was the crude  style of operation  of PLO that took away every sympathy from the suffering of innocent Palestinian.

 Their destructive modus operandi  was followed, in the same violent mode, by these Wahabbi Talabanis, who are financed and supported by Middle Eastern Emirates and Sultanates. It made the bearded man a symbol of blood-shed, destruction, mayhem and hatred. Pakistani leaders kept sending their Jihadi groups across the border to mount terrorist attacks all over India. These idiots did never let an Indian Muslim sit in peace.

 It was but for  these Jihadis that every Indian Muslim is drawn in the net of  suspicion despite his Two Hundred percent loyalty and devotion to Mother India. These Jihadis have failed and Inshallah would never succeed in destabilizing India but they have shaken the roots of true Islam of Prophet Mohd (PBUH).

Pakistani Cricketers are paying today the price of the obnoxious, ‘play with the hare and hunt with the hound’ policy of their rulers and their protégé -  these Jihaidis and Talebanis.

It was a sad scenario that none of the 11 Pakistanis who went under the hammer, including flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, were sold despite their national team being the reigning World Twenty20 champions.

Let us look at the whimsical attitude of the cricket and political authorities of Pakistan. Pakistani cricketers took part in the IPL's inaugural season in 2008, but were denied permission by Islamabad to play last year due to growing political tensions with India. Looking at the pathetic reactions of the faces of these much admired and loved players, one wonders how desperately  we all have failed to bring the two people together.

Afridi, 29, said that "Pakistani players were humiliated. We applied for the IPL only on their insistence and not on our own."

Sohail Tanveer, who helped the Rajasthan Royals win the inaugural IPL title in 2008, was equally bemused. "We have been in demand and made a lot of friends in the first edition but this is disappointing that we were first asked to apply and then not included in the bidding," said Tanveer. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt said that Tuesday's snub "depressed" him.

Multi-millionaire owners of the eight clubs, who attended the auction, declined to comment on why the Pakistanis were kept out. But a franchise official, who preferred to remain unnamed, told  that he was not surprised. "We were not sure if the Pakistanis will get visas and we did not want players who won't be available," he said. "Besides, there is also the security issue. No one was willing to take a chance."

Of a total of 66 players up for bid, only 11 were sold, with West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard and New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond drawing the highest prices at 750,000 dollars each.

The snub to Pakistani players was a hit below the belt in the Gentleman Game of Cricket. What is needed is to better guard at the borders of India not to react racially in the cricket ground. It either  brought no glory for any of us.

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Unlikely alliance of violence in Russia

By Dmitry Shlapentokh

While most Russian observers regard Muslim militants from the North Caucasus as the major source of terrorism, a new threat is emerging: Russian extremist nationalists, who are carrying out an increasing number of attacks.

The most recent was the November 27, 2009, Nevsky express bombing that killed 20 people and injured 100. Russian nationalists claimed responsibility, although subsequently Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov's Islamists said it was their work.

Still, the predominant role of Muslim extremists in terrorist

activities does not diminish the potential danger of Russian extremists, especially if they begin to cooperate with Islamists. Indeed, this process might already have started.

According to Moskovskii Komsomolets, a popular Russian newspaper, which, despite its yellowish tint often provides important information, some Russian extremist groups have contacted Umarov to engage in a common struggle in defense of "white men" (pure Slavic) and, implicitly, against the regime in Moscow.

This week, Moscow police arrested 24 protesters following an anti-fascist gathering of about 1,000 people to commemorate the first anniversary of the murder of a human-rights lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, and a journalist, Anastasia Baburova. The protesters blame the murders on nationalists and have called for a crackdown on far-right groups, saying that Russia is becoming a police state. Those arrested - on charges of staging an illegal rally - came from the main group of protesters. They had been heckled by about 50 men in balaclavas chanting slogans like "forward with the Russian race", according to a Reuters report.

This raises the issue of why Russian nationalists, mostly young people, would be against the administration of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who themselves have been under attack for failing to solve a number of cases involving high-profile critics of the Kremlin over the past few years.

A brief review of post-Soviet history provides a clue.

The attitude of Russian youth to the post-Soviet regime has experienced several dramatic changes in the past 20 years. At the dawn of the post-Soviet era in the early 1990s, most youths sympathized with or were a part of pro-Western groups. They saw the West as not so much a symbol of political liberty or even of an orderly market economy, but as an anarchical utopia with little restraint, not to mention abundant sex and money.

Full report at: Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Ban on international calls lifted

January 20th, 2010

BEIJING - CHINA said on Wednesday it had lifted its ban on international phone calls in restive Xinjiang, further easing restrictions on communications triggered by deadly ethnic unrest over six months ago.

'Xinjiang's international long-distance call services were restored at midnight today,' a spokesman for the regional government, who refused to be named, told AFP.

Ending the ban came just days after authorities restored text messaging services in the troubled region. Internet access has also been partly reintroduced.

'Some websites, such as Sina and Sohu (two popular Chinese web portals) have been reopened, other websites should reopen very soon,' the spokesman said. 'At present, it is still not possible to go onto foreign websites.'

Riots erupted in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi on July 5, pitting mainly Muslim Uighurs against China's majority Han. A total of 197 people were killed, according to official data, in the worst ethnic violence in China in decades. Authorities quickly reacted by restricting the flow of information going in and out of the region in China's far west.

The government says terrorists, separatists and religious extremists used the Internet, telephones and mobile text messages to spread rumours and hatred as the July violence erupted. But residents in Xinjiang complained that they remained isolated from the outside world due to the long-lasting Internet and phone cuts, and some businesses were even forced to relocate to other parts of China. -- AFP

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_479779.html

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Sudan sentences 2 more Darfur rebels to death

20 January 2010

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese court sentenced another two Darfur rebels to death on Tuesday for a deadly 2008 attack, raising to 105 the number of Justice and Equality Movement fighters ordered hanged for the raid.

"Abdullah Ali Adam and Al-Murdi Bakheet were sentenced to death by hanging," for their alleged involvement in the unprecedented attack on the Sudanese capital's twin city of Omdurman in May 2008, their lawyer Adam Bakr told AFP.

More than 222 people were killed when rebels thrust more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) across the sandy expanse from conflict-torn Darfur in western Sudan to Omdurman, just across the Nile from the presidential palace.

Special tribunals set up in the wake of the attack have judged the alleged rebels in batches, with the last sentencing handed down in June 2009 against 12 rebels.

During Tuesday's hearing, a third suspect was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "collaboration" with the rebels, Bakr said, adding that he will be appealing the verdicts.

The court also found a fourth man guilty of involvement in the deadly attack but freed him because he is over 70 years old, the lawyer said.

Five other defendants were acquitted of any wrongdoing, he added.

The United Nations, as well as human rights groups, expressed concern over the trials in Sudanese courts especially created for the case and urged Khartoum to abolish capital punishment.

Defence lawyers have argued that the special courts are unconstitutional and have not guaranteed their clients' legal rights.

Under Sudanese law, any death sentence must be ratified by an appeal court and the high court. All death warrants must then be signed and approved by President Omar al-Beshir.

The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes since ethnic minority rebels in Darfur rose up against the Arab-dominated regime in Khartoum in February 2003.

Sudan says 10,000 have been killed.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Sudan-sentences-2-more-Darfur-rebels-to-death/articleshow/5478536.cms

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Flier denouncing mosque goes around Sheepshead Bay

By Stephen Witt

January 19, 2010

An anonymous flyer distributed in parts of Sheepshead Bay last week proclaimed that the Muslim organization behind a proposed mosque and community center supports terrorist groups and encourages suicide bombings.

But the owner of the property, the national Muslim organization behind the project and Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo, called theperpetrators of the flier ignorant people who understand neither the spirt nor the letter of American law guaranteeing freedom of religion.

At issue is the proposed building of a four-story mosque and community center with classrooms at 2812 and 2814 Voorhies Avenue off East 29th Street.

The properties were bought by Allowey Ahmed, 60, a Muslim immigrant from Yemen, who has been living in Brooklyn for over 40 years.

Records show Ahmed bought the property through Illinois-based Guidance Residential LLC, a company that helps Muslim-American families buy homes and property under Islamic laws which do not allow for interest payments.

The company partners with their clients and co-owns the home until it is paid off.

Since buying the property, Ahmed is in the process of forming an affiliation with the national Muslim American Society (MAS) on the property under the name MAS of Sheepshead Bay, LLC.

The flyer distributed within a several-block radius of the property asks residents to “Say no to mosque at 2812 Voorhies Avenue.”

It states there are quality of life issues such as parking, traffic and noise. It goes on to state that the MAS has a goal of establishing an Islamic state in America, has a troubling history of associations with radical organizations and individuals that promote terrorism, anti-Semitism and rejects Israel’s right to exist.

Additionally, the flyer state’s the MAS supports terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah and encourages suicide bombings.

Full report at: http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2010/01/19/brooklyn/courier_frontpage_mosquefolo.txt

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Muslims lobby against Islamophobia in Olympia

By Sepideh Behzadpour

January 19, 2010

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Members of the Muslim Student Association of the University of Washington (MSA UW) were part of a group that gathered in Olympia on Monday to meet with legislators about the issues of Islamophobia (prejudice against Muslims) and low-income housing. The group included 10 members from MSA UW, several Seattle high-school students, and a couple of working professionals.

The group met with three Democratic legislators from the 46th district – Rep. Scott White, Rep. Phyllis Gutíerrez Kenney and Sen. Ken Jacobsen’s assistant – as part of the 2010 Washington State Muslims Day at the Capitol. Jacobsen represents the U-District but could not attend in person due to a committee meeting.

The group presented the legislators with an English translation of the Quran and a DVD intended to explain the fundamental principles of Islam.

“Overall, I think it was a great success. All of the attendees from MSA UW had a great time talking to legislators and learning about the lobbying process,” said Amina Ramadan, the public relations officer for MSA UW. “We will definitely want to do this again if we get a chance.”

The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Washington, Arsalan Bukhari, organized the event. Bukhari said that Muslims have the desire to be engaged and that the day provided the opportunity for them to do so.

In his closing remarks, he said it was an educational process for everyone; the legislators learned more about Islam and the Muslims learned how to engage with their legislators and talk about issues of concern, primarily Islamophobia.

“Diversity makes democracy stronger,” White said after the meeting.

White believes that differences need to be embraced for the future success of the United States, regardless of religion, ethnicity or country of origin.

Bukhari said the turnout was greater than expected. The first year they did this event, five Muslims attended. This year, more than 300 Muslims signed up, and about 100 legislators attended.

Full report at: http://dailyuw.com/2010/1/19/muslims-lobby-against-islamophobia-olympia/

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UCL professors and students: still turning a blind eye to Islamists on campus

January 20th, 2010

Well, UCL students were never going to admit that their university was “complicit” in terrorism. Students feel defensive and don’t want to believe their actions have consequences. But even by my low expectations the level of denial and abdication of responsibility at last night’s debate on the subject was striking.

UCL’s President, Professor Malcolm Grant, wouldn’t come out and debate me, hiding behind an official “review” process. So far his only public contribution has been to accuse UCL’s online critics of “quite disturbing Islamophobia”. Which is interesting, because as I and my comrade last night, Rashad Ali, repeatedly pointed out to the students in Grant’s care, he doesn’t appear to be too disturbed by the hate-speakers he allows onto his campus. In recent years, these have included people who teach where and when to commit terrorism and when and where to kill minorities. So its comforting to know that Grant spends his days scanning blogs that criticise him.

The university was represented last night by one of its law professors, Philippe Sands, who argued that criticising UCL would mean students would be “snooped on” by the authorities. Which is certainly one way of changing the issue and ignoring the duty of care owed to students. At the end of the evening I gave Professor Sands the university’s code of conduct for speakers. Just in case he wants to scan it the next time his students invite a jihadi on campus.

But best of all was “Wes” Streeting. I know you shouldn’t expect much from presidents of the NUS, but Streeting showed himself to be unfit even for that role. A silly, preening little man, he spent his entire speech attacking me and at one stage was reduced to reading out the rantings of an ex-employee I had to get rid of a few years ago. Which, flattering as it all was, didn’t quite address the issue of why UCL’s Islamic society has for years been inviting speakers who preach hatred and murder, why the NUS have ignored and denied this problem despite repeated warnings, or why UCL authorities have condoned an environment which the Christmas Day bomber found very conducive indeed.

Full report at: blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/douglasmurray/100022762/ucl-professors-and-students-still-turning-a-blind-eye-to-islamists-on-campus/

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The Educated Muslim Terrorist

By Wm. B. Fankboner

East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. ––Rudyard Kipling

Nidal Hasan, Abdulmutallab and Humam al-Balawi are jihadists who were educated and came from privileged middle- and upper-class backgrounds. Hasan was an American-trained U. S. Army doctor, Abdulmutallab was a London engineering student and the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, and double-agent Dr. Humam al-Balawi was a member of the Jordanian professional class.

Many Westerners are confused by the willingness of university-educated middle-class Muslims to perpetrate barbarous acts of terrorism. It appears to be a reversal of the usual process: typically college students raised in religious households become more secularized by exposure to the humanities and sciences, and the rationalist values of the European Enlightenment. Yet when embryonic jihadists attend Western universities they graduate with their faith intact: 9/11 terrorists Mohammed Atta and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were both beneficiaries of Western university educations. These men, who sought to advance themselves with Western training and technical skills, ultimately turned against, and attempted to destroy, the very society that provided them with the means to that advancement. Instead of employing their newly acquired learning and knowledge to improve the lot of their fellow countrymen and co-religionists, they turned this very learning and knowledge against their Western benefactors.

This phenomenon begs the question: How do jihadists reconcile such hypocrisy and ingratitude in their own minds?

As the 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie proved, the list of Jihad’s grievances against the West is subtle and inventive. The exquisite sensitivities of the faithful guarantee the manufacture of injury and insult without end, providing inspiration for Islam’s perennial street theater; for no sooner does the Arab street grow tired of one threadbare grievance, e.g. Israel, than it discovers another in an irreverent Danish cartoon.

Full report at; http://frontpagemag.com/2010/01/20/the-educated-muslim-terrorist/

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UK Government backs Islamists in battle to remove their names from terror list

January 20, 2010

The seven men were placed on the United Nations list because they were suspected of having links with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

As a result they have been barred from leaving Britain and their assets have been frozen by the Bank of England and HM Treasury.

They include individuals who were:

* convicted of involvement in the 2003 Casablanca bombings and of possessing terrorist documents in the UK,

* accused of assisting the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa and of being an associate of Osama bin Laden,

* found guilty by a military court of plotting terror attacks.

But an attempt by the men to have their names removed from the UN list has now won the backing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The FCO has insisted that it is acting because it has reviewed the men's cases and does not think they are dangerous.

However, sources in Washington said the move by the British Government risked worsening relations between the US and UK at a time of heightened concern over security. The men are also named as suspected Islamist extremists on a US Treasury list barring them from travel to the United States.

The Obama administration is determined to tighten up the country's border controls in the wake of the failed attempt to blow up a transatlantic jet on its approach to Detroit airport by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who spent three years in Britain studying at University College London.

Washington is unlikely to relish the prospect of removing a number of men classed as terror suspects by the UN from its own watch lists, or of having to unblock any financial assets the men may have in the States, as a result of diplomatic pressure by Britain.

A US terrorism expert who has advised the American government said: "This action by the UK government will not go down well with the administration in Washington."

Full report at: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/7024631/UK-Government-backs-Islamists-in-battle-to-remove-their-names-from-terror-list.html

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Not so bad for non-Muslims in Morocco

By Mohsine El Ahmadi

20 January 2010

Many people wonder what relevance shari'a-Islamic principles- has in the modern world. In Morocco it has influenced national laws, especially the civil code and family law, primarily in a positive sense. Coupled with the country's tradition of tolerance and openness, this has provided the Moroccan government with a foundation for protecting the rights of religious minorities within its borders.

King Mohammed VI, who ascended to the throne in 1999, made a strategic decision to introduce democratic reforms and restructure the legal system so that Morocco can move toward becoming an inclusive, multi-religious society, one which better adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is partly dedicated to progress on religious freedom.

This decision resulted in the adoption of an official agenda known as the "Reformation of [the] Religious Field" in 2004 by the King, who then delegated carrying out this reform to the Minister of Endowment and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Tawfik.

The goal of this new policy was expressed in the King's address to the nation on 31 July 2009 in which he distinguished between Islam and politics.

An exception is made, however, for his own role as both the head of state and Commander of Faithful, a religious title inherited from the earlier days of Islam and which makes the Moroccan king the eminent representative for both Muslims and religious minorities living in Morocco. Accordingly, Articles 6 and 19 of the Constitution state that the King's role is to protect the Muslim identity of the Moroccan people, while respecting the rights of religious minorities.

Morocco has a long tradition of religious freedom, evident by its longstanding Jewish community. Today, this community exists alongside a nascent Christian one. Continuing his efforts to affirm the value of a pluralistic society, King Mohammed VI encouraged those of all faiths in Morocco to draw on this tradition at a September 2009 conference called "Seeking Enlightened Islam: the Golden Age of Monotheism".

Precise information on the religious makeup of Morocco is difficult to find, but according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Muslims represent nearly 99 per cent of the population. Estimates put Christians at under one per cent and Jews at about 0.2 per cent. Most of the Christians are Europeans or Sub-Saharan African students working and living in big cities like Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakesh. Analysts estimate that about 5,000 Moroccans have converted to Christianity in the past five years, due to evangelical Christians' increased proselytising and their outreach to the young and the poor.

However, there is no official Moroccan data on this issue since the government does not gather data on religious affiliation in its census.

Full report at: www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201001194446/Culture/not-so-bad-for-non-muslims-in-morocco.html

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Obama Knows Better on Afghan War

By Ivan Eland

January 19, 2010

Editor’s Note: Democrats continue to think they can counter Republican accusations that they are weak on national security by adopting GOP-like policies on terrorism and other geopolitical challenges around the world, such as President Obama’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

In this guest essay, the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland suggests that Obama should follow in Afghanistan the logic he has applied to other conflict zones:

President Barack Obama recently expressed a reluctance to send U.S. forces to Yemen and Somalia, two “failed states” where al-Qaeda is active. Obama seemed to realize that such a U.S. military presence might make the terrorism problem worse.

If he understands this effect in these two nations, why doesn’t the same principle apply to the war in Afghanistan?

In resisting pressure to send U.S. troops to Yemen in the wake of the underwear bomber’s connections there, Obama commented on sending American forces to places such as Yemen and Somalia. He said that he had “no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground in those regions” while the local governments remain effective partners.

Obama also concluded that Washington must ponder “how we project ourselves to the world, the message we send to Muslim communities . . . the overwhelming majority of which reject al-Qaeda but where a handful of individuals may be moved by a jihadist ideology.”

Obama advocates “a larger process of winning over the hearts and minds of ordinary people and isolating these violent extremists.” He had expressed similar sentiments during his famous speech in Cairo.

These are mostly valid sentiments but contrast sharply with his acceleration of the war in Afghanistan. The governments of Yemen and Somalia are no stronger, less corrupt, more competent, or in control of more of their own territory than the Afghan government.

Yet more U.S. troops are seen as beneficial in Afghanistan but as counterproductive in Yemen and Somalia. Obama would likely say that added American forces are needed in Afghanistan because the central leadership of al-Qaeda operates in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

Full report at: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/011910a.html

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