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Islamic World News ( 28 Sept 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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A new channel is paving the way for a new generation of Islamic TV

500 Muslim Professionals meet in Kochi at the Professionals’ State Conference

Over 600 Chinese nationals working in Saudi embrace Islam

KUALA LUMPUR: Beer-drinking Muslim woman's caning to go ahead

US threatens airstrikes in Pakisan From The Sunday Times by Christina Lamb

Chidambaram sceptical on Pak action against 26/11 accused

Tension Mounting in Kismayo as Somali Islamists Jostle for Power

Muslim Capitol Hill Rally Falls Short of Attendance Goal

Musharraf says US involvement in Middle East unacceptable to Muslim world

Education policy focuses on religious education

Dozens injured, five arrested as clashes erupt near Al-Aqsa Mosque

Clashes at mosque revered by both Jews and Muslims

16 terrorists arrested, four surrender

Muslim women discuss true meaning of Islam

Terrorism: Al-Qaeda no.2 remembers militant leader

Latest al Qaeda message eulogizes deceased leader

Egyptian Entry for Film Festival Opening Night

Muslims Gather at U.S. Capitol to Pray 'For the Soul of America'

Iranian telecoms eats itself. World not agog

Al-Maliki: Iraq at a "crucial" moment in its history

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





A new channel is paving the way for a new generation of Islamic TV.

Joseph Mayton / The Media Line


[Cairo, Egypt] The man on the television appears enraged, talking fast, yelling and demanding Muslims to follow the “right path of faith.” Not too far, at a nearby table, two young Egyptian girls, shrouded in their colorful hijabs – headscarves - watch the white clad sheikh speak. They turn to each other and their glances say it all: this is not what they are looking for in Islamic television.


The café, with its Islamic preachers blaring on most Fridays and often at other times during the week, have become more commonplace in an Egypt growing progressively more conservative by the day, but there are many who are fighting against this current, especially young veiled women.

Heba is a 22-year-old recent college graduate who studied media. She has worn the veil since she was 18-years-old, but these diatribes of elderly preachers is too much, she says, highlighting the growing gulf that exists in Egypt.


“I just don’t like how angry they sound and how judgmental they have become,” she told The Media Line, asking the waiter to change the channel. Her friend Sara nodded in agreement.

Both are part of the growing trend among 20-something Egyptian women looking for a more restrained approach to Islamic television.

The recent launch of Islamonline’s television channel Ana TV, is just such an option, and both Heba and Sara are excited.


“I read the articles from Islamonline because they give a nice, honest and not so arrogant perspective on the issues that affect my life,” said 21-year-old Sara, who says she was thinking of removing the veil until she discovered the moderate Islamic news organization. “It has given me a new sense of what it means to be a Muslim woman and someone who wants to be liberal and open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. I am grateful.”

Ana TV is part of a consortium of groups, led by Islamonline, to create a new perspective on the growing Islamic media that is taking hold in the Muslim world. For Heba and Sara, it is a trend they hope will continue, because without a moderate voice, Heba believes “Islam will continue to be misunderstood by Believers and non-believers alike, who try and make it something it is not.”


“We hope that such [an] aim would be a mutual goal for all the participant and non- participant organizations. It is truly an open invitation for all those interested in effective participation in the campaign,” a statement from Islamonline read, highlighting the growing need to accommodate the new wave of Islamic liberalism in Egypt and across the region.


An Islamonline reporter, who asked not to be named due to their connection with the organization, said that “we are a moderate Islamic institution in many ways and we try to give people a new route to discover what Islam means in the modern age.”

Rania Jalal, a Tunisian Islamic researcher who helped establish the new channel similarly feels that moderation is key.

“If we think back to when the Prophet was around and the other important people in Islamic history, then we see that they were open to debate, in talking about the issues at the heart of the faith, without preconditions,” she begins, “it was not until centuries later, when kings and caliphs tried to make Islam part of their rule that it became different than it was supposed to be.”


With programs debating Islamic tenants, perspectives and Shari’a (Islamic law), Ana TV is being seen by young Muslims as ushering in a new generation of Islamic media.

For Jalal and other young Muslim working women, this channel, she says, could help battle the male-dominated “sheikhdoms” that exist currently on satellite television.

“What we have seen in recent years is a rise in extremely conservative channels that broadcast a skewed perspective of Islam, such as the sheikhdom-style television programs run by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. It was time for a change.”


Time will tell whether Ana TV will set the standard for new Islamic media, or whether it will dwindle in the history of ideas that have come to represent much of the Islamic world, says leading liberal Islamic thinker Gamal al-Banna.

“I hope people see it as an opportunity to debate and have a conversation about the issues at the heart of our society,” says the 88-year-old scholar and younger brother of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. “I think openness is key to the success and future of Islam.”


As Sara and Heba relax, puffing away on their sheeshas, they believe they can help shape the future of their country, and region.

“If we look at how things are going, it is obvious to anyone with a brain that we need more ideas and more talk about the things that are affecting us. As a woman, I think it is important to talk about the role of the hijab in Egyptian society. Should we wear it or not, but that it needs to come from women and not be forced upon people is important,” says Heba.

Sara nods, laughing at a joke from a presenter on Ana TV. She points out that this is what has been missing.

“People are too serious and make everything black and white when they talk about my faith. I think that if we can joke, it will remove the tension and allow people to think for themselves,” she argues.


Both agree that the Prophet would have found Ana TV a useful endeavor for Muslims. One, Sara said, which would have enabled Muslims to look “into their hearts to find what Islam means to them,” before adding, “That is the point. If we don’t have our own faith, just that from others, then we are not good Muslims.”



500 Muslim Professionals meet in Kochi at the Professionals’ State Conference

28 September 2009

Kochi: About 500 Muslim professionals from all over Kerala assembled in Kochi today at the Professionals’ State Conference organized by the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen and its youth wing Ittihadu Shubbanil Mujahideen. They listened to various study classes about Islam and participated actively in the interactive sessions. The conference was held at the Abad Plaza from 10 am to 5.30 pm.


The conference was inaugurated by AP Abdul Qader Moulvi, general secretary of KNM. He recalled how the Mujahid movement worked to make the Muslim community aware of the importance of giving treatment when ill and providing good education. People understood and followed all the matters related to material life said by the KNM, but they ignored the spiritual matters. That is why, the KNM takes up da’wa with importance to Thouheed as the most important thing, said Moulvi.

The well-educated professionals of the Muslim community have a big responsibility of spreading the message of Islam, said TP Abdullakoya Madani, president of KNM, while giving the presidential address. The great scholars of the nineteenth century tried to bring people back to free thought and the path of Allah after Muslims went away from the right path. This duty should be carried on not only by the scholars but each and every Muslim, said Madani.

Full Report at:


Over 600 Chinese nationals working in Saudi embrace Islam

S.O. News Service, Monday, 28 September 2009 - 21:02:07 IST

Riyadh: Over 600 Chinese nationals working on the Haramain Rail project have embraced Islam in a recent ceremony in Makkah.

They are workers of the Chinese Railway Company, which won the multibillion contract for implementing the 450km rail road linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and Rabigh.

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Khudhairi, undersecretary at the Makkah Governorate, said that this year's celebration of the Kingdom's National Day coincides with a number of auspicious and historic occasions.

These included launching of the prestigious international research university - King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST), celebration of Eid Al Fitr and a recent ceremony of Chinese workers pronouncing their Shahada.


Dr. Abdul Aziz, who witnessed the event, described it as a “direct response to critics of the government for contracting Chinese company.”

Among the converts, there are 70 workers who are engaged in the construction of Makkah monorail project, which links the holy city with the holy sites of Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat.

“Their conversion took place 24 hours after getting books introducing Islam in Chinese language at their worksite at Arafat, which is outside the Haram area,” he said adding that the credit goes to the Office of the Call and Guidance for Expatriates in Makkah.


Efforts are underway to spread the message of Islam among some 5,000 Chinese nationals working on the Haramain train,” he said adding that the major problem for the Call and Guidance Office is the lack of enough books on Islam in Chinese language.

It is noteworthy that the first phase of Haramain Rail consisting of 70km has well been started a few months ago. This represents expropriation of land, filling works, construction of bridges and tracks. The project is expected to be operational in 2012.



Beer-drinking Muslim woman's caning to go ahead

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A judge in Malaysia has upheld a court verdict to cane a Muslim woman for drinking beer, news reports said Monday, re-igniting a controversy over Islamic justice in this moderate Muslim-majority country.

The Star newspaper's Web site and national news agency Bernama said the chief Shariah judge of Pahang state ruled that a Shariah High Court's verdict against Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, was correct and should stay.

If the punishment is carried out, Kartika would become the first Muslim woman to be caned in Malaysia, where about 60 percent of the 28 million people are Muslims. No date was immediately set for the caning.


Kartika, a former model and nurse, was sentenced in July to six strokes of the cane and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) for drinking beer in December 2007 at a beach resort in violation of Islamic laws. Islam forbids Muslims from drinking alcohol.

Kartika, who pleaded guilty, refused to appeal her sentence and was on the verge of being caned on Aug. 24. But the punishment was halted at the last minute following uproar in the media and among rights activists.


Instead, the government asked the Shariah High Court Appeals Panel in Kuantan, the capital of Pahang, to review the verdict.

"I found that the High Court Judge had acted accordingly within his jurisdiction as provided" by relevant laws of Pahang state, Pahang Shariah Chief Judge Abdul Hamid Abdul Rahman told The Star.

"As such, the decision stays," he was quoted as saying.

He said it was now up to the Pahang Islamic Religious Department to implement the punishment. The department's officials, who are like morality police, routinely conduct raids to catch people violating Islamic laws but most perpetrators are usually let off with fines.

Full Report at:


US threatens airstrikes in Pakisan From The Sunday Times September 27, 2009

By Christina Lamb

The United States is threatening to launch airstrikes on Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership in the Pakistani city of Quetta as frustration mounts about the ease with which they find sanctuary across the border from Afghanistan.


The threat comes amid growing divisions in Washington about whether to deal with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan by sending more troops or by reducing them and targeting the terrorists.

This weekend the US military was expected to send a request to Robert Gates, the defence secretary, for more troops, as urged by General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander there.


In a leaked strategic assessment of the war, McChrystal warned that he needed extra reinforcements within a year to avert the risk of failure. Although no figure was given, he is believed to be seeking up to 40,000 troops to add to the 68,000 who will be in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

However, with President Barack Obama under pressure from fellow Democrats not to intensify the war, the administration has let it be known that it is rethinking strategy. Vice-President Joe Biden has suggested reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan and focusing on the Taliban and AlQaeda in Pakistan.


Last week McChrystal denied any rift with the administration, saying “a policy debate is warranted”.

According to The New York Times, he flew from Kabul to Ramstein airbase in Germany on Friday for a secret meeting with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss the request for more troops.

So sensitive is the subject that when Obama addressed the United Nations summit in New York, he barely mentioned Afghanistan. The unspoken problem is that if the priority is to destroy Al-Qaeda and reduce the global terrorist threat, western troops might be fighting on the wrong side of the border.

Full Report at:

Christina Lamb is Foreign Correspondent for The Sunday Times.


Chidambaram sceptical on Pak action against 26/11 accused

28 September 2009

NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram remained sceptical on Pakistan's action against 26/11 accused saying he would welcome the step only when

the trial begins as there have been flip-flops in the past.


"When it starts, I will say it is a positive step," he said when asked to comment on Pakistan's declaration that the trial of 26/11 accused would begin on October three.

Chidambaram said a date for the trial to begin had also been set in the past by a Pakistan court only to be told later that the concerned judge was on leave.


"So, when it starts it is a positive step," he told a news channel.

The home minister stressed that the trial must begin and Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed must be arrested, interrogated and investigated.

"All the evidence against Hafiz Saeed is on Pakistani soil. That has to be gathered," he said.

Chidambaram also said that Pakistan has to respond to letters rogatory sent by India in this regard.


Tension Mounting in Kismayo as Somali Islamists Jostle for Power

By Alisha Ryu, Nairobi. 28 September 2009

          A power struggle between Islamist insurgent groups in Somalia's strategic southern port town of Kismayo is threatening to turn violent and tear the alliance apart. The rift between al-Shabab and Hisbul Islam Islamist groups has also been growing in other insurgent-controlled regions of Somalia.

Hundreds of people in Kismayo took to the streets Monday, demanding a peaceful end to a political dispute that began last week between two factions of Hisbul Islam and the local leaders of Somalia's al-Qaida-linked militant group, al-Shabab.

Residents say they fear violence could break out at any time, following threats by al-Shabab to retaliate against Hisbul Islam's decision to send hundreds of extra fighters and dozens of battle wagons into the city on Saturday.  The arrival of the fighters forced al-Shabab to withdraw most of its guerrilla force out of Kismayo and re-locate them to another town north of the city.

The two Hisbul Islam factions, Ras Kamboni and Anole, and al-Shabab have been in an uneasy alliance in Kismayo since last August, when they jointly captured the city from a local factional leader.  In addition to sharing security and administrating duties, the Islamist groups shared tax and other key revenue generated from Kismayo seaport and airport.

But on Wednesday, al-Shabab named its own local governing council for Kismayo that excluded members of the Ras Kamboni Brigade and Anole.  Al-Shabab's announcement angered the powerful Islamist leader of the Ras Kamboni group and Hisbul Islam in the Lower Jubba region, Hassan Turki, who denounced the new al-Shabab administration and has refused to recognize it.

Full Report at:


Muslim Capitol Hill Rally Falls Short of Attendance Goal

By Aaron J. Leichman, Sep. 27 2009

Around 3,000 people gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol on Friday for a Muslim prayer service that organizers had hoped would draw around 50,000.

Among those present were around 50 protesters, who – though few in number – were audible enough to prompt organizers at one point in time to ask for respect.

"We would never come to a prayer meeting that you have to make a disturbance," Hamad Chebli, imam of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, said from the speaking stand. "Please show us some respect. This is a sacred moment. Just as your Sunday is sacred, our Friday is sacred."

Friday’s event, “Islam on Capitol Hill,” had drawn notable attention and concern as it was expected to be a historic and unprecedented event. One Christian leader, the Rev. Canon Julian Dobbs of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, called Friday’s initiative “part of a well-defined strategy to Islamize American society and replace the Bible with the Koran, the cross with the Islamic crescent and the church bells with the Athan (the Muslim call to prayer).”

Full Report at:


Musharraf says US involvement in Middle East unacceptable to Muslim world

Sep 28th, 2009

Lahore, Sep. 28 (ANI): Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said that the Muslim world would not accept America’s involvement in the Middle East peace process because the US has always been pro-Israel.


Musharraf was referring to a recent tripartite meeting that US President Barack Obama hosted with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York.

The Daily Times quoted Musharraf a saying that Israel would object to the inclusion of a non-Arab country in the Middle East peace process.

 joint international forum, consisting of Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia and the European Union, could help push the process between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the right direction, he added.

Furthermore, Musharraf said that a give-and-take policy was best for any successful peace deal, adding that peace was necessary for the development of any society.

Speaking about his political decline, he said that his downfall began in 2007 when he submitted a reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry before the Supreme Judicial Council. But it was legitimate and constitutional, he pointed out. (ANI)


Education policy focuses on religious education

Sep 28, 2009, Islamabad

The new education policy of the federal government has focused on teaching of human rights as envisioned by Islam. In line with the policy, religious education will be promoted through hiring of qualified teachers and publication of quality textbooks.

The objective of religious education is to teach ethics and good behaviour to the students and make them learn the basic principles for spending their daily social life.According to the policy, Islamiat will be taught as a compulsory subject from Class 1 to 12. Students will be instructed about morality through examples set by Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) in his day-to-day affairs and dealings with Muslims and non-Muslims.

The government will ensure that the Islamiat textbooks and other learning materials do not contain anything contrary to Islamic injunctions or any controversial material regarding any sect or religious and ethnic minorities.

The policy will make sure that the Islamiat textbooks allow the children to learn, understand and apply the fundamental principles in their lives, with an aim to change and build a society based on the principles of Quran and Sunnah.

Full Report at:


Dozens injured, five arrested as clashes erupt in Old City near the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jerusalem – Ma'an – At least 40 people were injured and five arrested as fierce clashes broke out in and near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.

Dozens of Palestinians were hurt by police batons and high-velocity tear-gas canisters, medics said, including several who sustained serious eye and head injuries.

Israeli forces said 17 officers were also wounded during the clashes, most from rocks.

Reports conflicted on how many Palestinians were detained during the incident. Palestinian sources said five were seized, while Israeli sources put the number at nine.

According to witnesses, clashes broke out after a group of about 150 Israeli settlers entered the Al-Aqsa compound on Sunday morning, reportedly under the guard of local authorities who also escorted the group away from the area when worshipers began to protest.

On Thursday, the Al-Aqsa Foundation had warned that Israeli authorities were planning to permit settlers entrance to the area. Officials in East Jerusalem predicted that the break-in would occur on Sunday under the pretext of marking Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.

On Sunday morning, the French news agency AFP reported that "a group of some 200 mostly religious and right-wing Jews had gathered in the early morning at the gate through which police allow tourists access."

But there were also conflicting reports about the group spotted prior to the clashes. An Israeli police spokesman, who initially said the visitors belonged to the Jewish group, later insisted it was actually a group of French nationals that toured the compound.

In any event, Palestinians were seen throwing stones and other objects at police sent to the mosque area, reportedly hurting several. Using police batons and stun grenades, Israeli forces injured dozens during attempts to forcefully disperse the gathering crowds.

Full Report at:


Monday, September 28, 2009

Clashes at mosque revered by both Jews and Muslims

Michael Jansen was in the Old City of Jerusalem during clashes at a sacred site between Israeli activists and Palestinians Muslim worshippers

SHOPS WERE tightly shuttered along the narrow street leading from Herod’s Gate to the mosque compound. A few elderly Palestinian men in white caftans and women in long coats and headscarves hurried away from fresh clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli activists seeking to pray in the Noble Sanctuary, the site of al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims.

According to Palestinian sources, yesterday’s clash erupted in the early morning when Palestinians inside the complex – sacred to both Islam and Judaism – saw a group of Jews trying to enter. The Jews did not manage to get in because several hundred Palestinians began a loud protest. Israeli police responded with tear gas then stun grenades.

These clashes were expected. Jewish activists who made an attempt on Thursday night pledged to return as Palestinians marked the ninth anniversary of their second uprising, sparked by a visit by former Israeli defence minister Ariel Sharon to the mosque compound, and Jews prepare for Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the holiest day of the year. The activists belong to a group that seeks to destroy the mosques and erect a third Jewish temple on the site, regarded as the Temple Mount by Jews.

A knot of Palestinian men and boys hovered at the corner of Mujahideen Street, ready to bolt if charged by Israeli forces massed outside the compound.

Jaber said: “The trouble began at half past seven when Israeli soldiers allowed settlers to enter the compound and closed all the gates. Muslims were not allowed in. Muslims inside and outside threw stones at the Israelis. The soldiers fired back with rubber bullets and gas.”

Full Report at:


16 terrorists arrested, four surrender

28 Sep, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Sept 27: Security forces have detained 16 terrorists, including two ‘commanders’ in various areas of Swat and Malakand. Four other terrorists had surrendered voluntarily.

A terrorist ‘commander’ who identified himself as Maaz was captured near Fizaghat, an ISPR press release said on Sunday.

During a search operation in Ser Colony near Tiligram, troops arrested five terrorists. Four others were rounded up in Banjot, Dagai near Kabbal and Tarkani near Shah Dheri.

Four terrorists surrendered at Tighak in Galoch near Tutan Banda and Kabbal Camp.

Six terrorists, including ‘commander’ Janat Gul, were arrested in Bajoro Killay, near Shergarh.

According to the ISPR, 304,335 cash cards have been distributed among displaced people who have so far withdrawn Rs7.3 billion.—APP


Muslim women discuss true meaning of Islam

Gathering examines misconceptions

By Deidre Williams, September 28, 2009

What is the meaning of jihad? What is shariah?

How many wives did the Muslim Prophet Muhammad have, and was he married to them simultaneously?

Such topics were discussed Sunday at a women’s-only seminar sponsored by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Buffalo chapter. About 100 women, mostly Muslim, attended the event in the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga.

The seminar was partly in response to the case of Aasiya Zubair Hassan, a Muslim wife and mother who was beheaded Feb. 12, allegedly by her Pakistan-born husband and business partner in their Orchard Park television studio.

The crime was labeled as an honor killing. We want people to know there is no place for honor killing in Islam, said Tahmina Rehman, seminar organizer and president of the organization’s Buffalo chapter.

Shanaz Butt, moderator for the event as well as acting dean for research and graduate studies and a pharmacology professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, said misconceptions about Islam include the idea of jihad, which is often associated with the military, violence and bloodshed.

But lost in translation is the true meaning of the word, which is to strive or to make an effort, Butt said.

A student trying to pass an exam is a jihadist. A mother raising her children is a jihadist. The people in the seminar are all jihadists because we are striving, she added.

Often Islam is portrayed as a backward and barbaric, viewing women as weak and submissive to a religion that oppresses them, said the speakers.

They acknowledged that some Muslim women are not treated well, but said that should not be blamed on Islamic religious law, or shariah.

The problem is those who misinterpret the teachings to suit their own agendas.

They use different interpretations; hence, we see acts of terrorism conducted in the name of Islam. Some use it to condone beating of wives, said Saliha Malik, a professor at Brown University, who converted to Islam in 1987.

Muhammad’s relationships with his 12 wives, the speakers said, show him as a role model for treating a wife.

Even though the prophet had many spouses, he was in a monogamous marriage for 25 years with his first wife, Khadija.

He became polygamous after she died, Malik said, but not to satisfy his physical appetites.

His marriages were examples of how a man should treat his wife, said Nusrat Rashid, a Philadelphia attorney and guest speaker.

In addition, she said, Muhammad united various Islamic tribes through his marriages, and he demonstrated compassion, fairness and justice to women.

His 11 other wives included elderly widows, two war widows, a non-Arab slave, a Jewish widow who converted to Islam and a widow with small children.

Muhammad never beat his wives. He didn’t yell at them. If they were angry with him, he played aloof and stayed away from them for a short while, said Malik, who referred to specific verses in the Quran to prove the points.

According to the text, Malik said, wives were created for husbands to find peace of mind in them and that it is unlawful to inherit women against their will, or to detain them wrongfully.

There are so many inaccuracies, Rehman said. Were trying to teach and clear up misconceptions and trying to get people to understand that Islam is about peace and love, not oppression and depression.


Terrorism: Al-Qaeda no.2 remembers militant leader

Dubai, 28 Sept. (AKI) - Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has released a new audio message on Islamist websites eulogising the late Pakistani Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud.

"One of Islam's greatest heroes has died. He battled the enemies of Islam and Muslims. His name is Baitullah Mehsud, a martyr that during his life has done more than what people think," said the voice, purported to be of al-Zawahiri (photo) in his opening statement.

"Baitullah had begun his Islamic studies, but was forced to stop once the crusaders campaign against Islam began, and instead chose the way of jihad.

"This sincere young man Baitullah managed to create a massive Jihadi movement that launched wars, ambushes and battles against the crusaders and their agents in Afghanistan and Pakistan," said the 28 minute-long audio message.

Baitullah Mehsud was killed in an alleged US drone attack in August.

Al-Zawahiri also attacked US president Barack Obama, calling him a liar in regard to the plight of the Palestinians.

Full Report at:


Latest al Qaeda message eulogizes deceased leader

September 28, 2009

A purported audio message from Al Qaeda's second-in-command appeared on radical Islamist Web sites on Sunday eulogizing Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

Baitullah Mehsud, right, and a bodyguard in Pakistan in 2004.

"Baitullah managed to create a massive Jihadi movement that launched wars, ambushes and battles against the crusaders and their agents in Afghanistan," said the speaker, identified as Ayman al-Zawahiri. "He also managed to clearly show that the Pakistani government is not Islamic but instead an infidel treacherous government working as a servant to the crusaders."

The praise of Mehsud came nearly two months after his death in August. The militant group had previously acknowledged his death.

CNN obtained the 28-minute message from IntelCenter, a think tank that specializes in tracking terror groups. A still picture over the audio showed al-Zawahiri dressed in white and seated in front of bookshelves. CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the message.

The Pakistani military is fighting Taliban militants in the country's north, and missile attacks from suspected U.S. drones have targeted militant leaders -- one of them killing Mehsud.

Full Report at:


Egyptian Entry for Film Festival Opening Night

Silvia Radan

28 September 2009

ABU DHABI — Egyptian entry ‘Traveller’, a debut film written and directed by Ahmed Maher, starring Omar Sharif, Khaled El Nabawy and Lebanese singing star Ceryne Abdel Nour, now in her first major film role, will be screened at Middle East International Film Festival’s (MEIFF) opening night gala on October 8.

This is the first time in three years that the MEIFF will open with an entry from the region.

‘Traveller’ is also among the festival’s 18 selections for narrative feature competition. The screenings for the fest will take place at the Emirates Palace’s auditorium till October 17.

Two world premiers, the ‘Son of Babylon’ by Mohammed Al Daradji (Iraq) and ‘True Colours’ by Oussama Fawzi (Egypt), as well as one international premiere (screening for the first time outside its country of production), ‘Cooking with Stella’ by Dilip Mehta (Canada) are promised to be strong contenders.

The audience will also see a colourful musical set in the oppressive 1950s Soviet Union, a lyrical portrait of a criminal on the run, a daring look at the illegal world of Iran’s independent music scene and a life examination of an Israeli Arab living in Nazareth by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, who won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2002.

The only thing we are not going to see is any Emirati filmmaker, although several of them submitted theirmovies for the first time in the full feature competition.

The documentary feature competition will screen nine titles, most of them Middle Eastern premiers.

The selection includes the ‘Age of Stupid’, by UK director Franny Armstrong, a fact and fiction documentary set in 2055, when the Earth has been ravaged by climate change.

A teacher, an artist and a marriage-fixer are among those featured in ‘Being Here’, a Tunisian documentary by Mohammed Zran, set in a hardware shop, the unlikely arena for some pertinent political and philosophical discussions.

Radically poetic, ‘Port of Memory’, a Palestinian-UAE co-production by Kamal Al Jafari, is a reflection on the absurdity of being at once presentand absent.

The little known story of non-violent activist Badshah Khan, a Pashtun warrior who became the frontier region’s answer to Mahatma Gandhi is brought to life in ‘The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, a Torch for Peace’ documentary, done by TC MacLuhan, across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.


Muslims Gather at U.S. Capitol to Pray 'For the Soul of America'

September 28, 2009

By Penny Starr

Organizers of the “Day of Islamic Unity” billed the event as a non-political gathering meant to bring the diverse community of American Muslims to pray “for the soul of America.”

While the event was largely non-political, some people who spoke to the crowd on the West side of the Capitol on Friday praised President Barack Obama for his outreach to Muslims around the world.

Imam Abdul Malik of Elizabeth, N.J., who helped organize the event, said Obama included all people in his speeches during the presidential campaign.

“He didn’t speak to black Americans, he didn’t speak to white Americans,” Malik said. “Allah touched his heart. He talked to America.”

 Malik also said that support from Muslims helped Obama win the presidency.

 Attorney Hassan Abdellah also helped organize the event. “This is a great day for Muslims, a great day,” Abdellah told the crowd as his voice cracked. “Don’t be afraid to be Muslim in America.”

“The main message is Islam is a beautiful religion,” Abdellah said.

One woman in the crowd credited Obama for Friday’s event.

 “I’m very happy to be here to make heard my voice as a Muslim and to take this great appointment which President Obama gave to the Muslim nations everywhere in the world,” Fanda Iqbal Shariff told

Full Report at:


Iranian telecoms eats itself. World not agog

28 September 2009

The world might be getting twitchy about Iran's overt and covert nuclear programmes and the imminent testing of a long range missile that could hit Israel and/or US bases in the Gulf and Turkey and thus precipitate the Third World War but, inside the topsy-turvy world of the Islamic Republic, the eyes of those that have not been jailed for protesting the recent fixed presidential election are being firmly directed onto the telecoms industry, reports Martyn Warwick.

So, comes the news today that a so-called "consortium" has bought "50 per cent plus one share" in the state-owned carrier, the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) the for the equivalent of of some US$7.8 billion.

Iran's geriatric theocracy presided over by the permanently tie-less and, some would opine, equally clueless Mr. Imadinnerjacket might be de facto dictators but they are also, apparently, in favour of a bit of competition and privatisation - provided it's state-sponsored.

So this morning the "semi-official" Mehr News Agency (whatever that means) has been instructed to cite a report issued by the country's "Privatisation Organisation" to the effect that two consortia have been vying to take a controlling interest in TCI.


Al-Maliki: Iraq at a "crucial" moment in its history

Sep 27, 2009, 16:31 GMT

Baghdad - Iraq is at a 'crucial' juncture in its history, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Sunday in a speech to Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders.


'We are at a crucial, sensitive moment,' al-Maliki said in televised remarks. 'It requires us to make great efforts to provide citizens with services, particularly in the areas of electricity, agriculture, education and jobs-creation.'

'We are in the midst of a crisis,' the prime minister said of Iraq's agricultural and electrical infrastructure, blaming Saddam Hussein's regime for 'delays' in vital improvements.

His address to Sunni tribal leaders in the province of Salah al- Din was his latest attempt to court the Sunni vote ahead of general elections scheduled to take place in January.

Al-Maliki's main coalition partner, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, split from the ruling coalition to join forces with followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in late August.

Baghdad's al-Sabbah daily on Saturday reported that al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, would announce a new coalition, drawing on support from a patchwork of Sunni tribes, within the week.

'Salah al-Din province alone,' he told tribal leaders there Sunday, 'Two hundreds schools were built out of mud because of the former regime's negligence and its many wars ... There are 900 such schools across Iraq, with its oil wealth.'

Al-Maliki asked voters in Salah al-Din to chose 'those who have the competence and dedication to meet the needs of the people.'

Al-Maliki said the world financial crisis had led to delays in agricultural, irrigation, transportation, housing, education and health projects.

'The coming election is the fundamental solution to all problems, and the way to bring about the change we all desire, to harness Iraq's resources to achieve Iraq's potential ... and the prosperity the Iraqi people deserve,' he said.