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Islamic World News ( 11 Feb 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Move over, Bond. My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist

Indians who wish to return from PoK are welcome: Chidambaram

'Pak failure on terror camps not to hit talks'

India: Panel to fast-track Muslim job quota

Hindu Threats For Muslim Bollywood Film

Airport scanners are ‘anti-Islamic’

12 killed in twin blasts at police complex in Pakistan

Pak wants Kashmir issue on the table

Pak indicates readiness for secy-level talks on Feb 25, wants Kashmir included

Hundreds of thousands back Iran Revolution

Saudi religious police see red

Pakistan, not Afghanistan, my greatest worry: Biden

Advani: Terror is main issue

Yemen declares truce with northern rebels

Iraq 'expels Blackwater security employees'

Muslim-American body issues fatwa against airport body scanners

Muslim groups pitch for implementation of Rangnath report

On Butt’s death anniversary, life disrupted in Kashmir

Textile unions and riot police clash in Egypt

Five Americans wounded in suicide attack at US base in Afghanistan

Muslim Public Affairs Council defends students' "right" to shout down an Israeli speaker

A Muslim/Jewish Gift in Rapping at Nuyorican Poets Café

France has right to protect its culture

Israeli soldier's alleged killer 'was tired of life'

Somalia's Shebab vow all-out war against government

Iran braces for protests to mark Islamic revolution anniversary

26/11 accused Fahim Ansari's lawyer Shahid Azmi shot dead

No pre-conditions for talks from either side, says Pak

Mulayam a "green snake in the grass" for Muslims: Amar Singh

Target poverty, illiteracy not people, BJP President Gadkari tells Pak editor

Iran declares itself a nuclear state

Strides in N-technology: Ahmadinejad

Green light for Muslim girls’ boarding school in Burnley

Challenging “West versus Islam” media paradigms

Iraq election campaign under way amid candidacy row

Indonesia jails former corruption chief over murder

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/move-over,-bond-my-name-is-khan,-and-i-am-not-a-terrorist/d/2456

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Move over, Bond. My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist

Shubhra Gupta

Feb 12, 2010

New Delhi: “My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.” This is not just cheesy dialogue delivered by Shah Rukh Khan in his new film. It is a line all set to go viral as soon as the first show opens tomorrow, and it could well make My Name Is Khan bigger than it is was meant to be.

It may or may not release in Mumbai this weekend (theatre-owners are being chary) but that’s only a knee-jerk reaction to extra-constitutional bullying. This is a film whose time has come. It is shockingly naïve, yes, but nothing can be truer: not all Muslims are terrorists.

For a long time now, and especially after 9/11, this statement, both scarily defensive and stating the obvious, has played out the world over, in different forms, and in different media. But this new articulation, which comes from India’s biggest star who, by no coincidence, also happens to be a Muslim, and a Khan, makes it at once acquire fresh, urgent meaning.

For Shah Rukh Khan to not pick up a Pakistani cricket player for his IPL team, and then lament the absence of Pak players on prime-time TV is clearly duplicitious. But when he plays upfront, with a Forrest Gump-ish, endearing honesty, a good Muslim man who is NOT a terrorist, there are no false notes: will the Thackerays ask him to take back this line as well?

The cynics amongst us have been skeptical about the genesis of the Shiv Sena uproar. Was it all a carefully planned strategy to get endless, free publicity? Even if distributors 20th Century Fox had expended millions, they wouldn’t have done such carpet coverage without the controversy. Sure, he did a brave thing by standing up to the Sena rhetoric, but would SRK have been quite as forthcoming if his film’s release wasn’t around the corner?

The star got on to Twitter just a few weeks ago, and amassed thousands of followers in a matter of hours: passionate tweeters also buy tickets, and get others to do so. So do Facebookers, and other social media addicts, and every human on the planet who’s happened to catch a Fox publication or TV channel.

My Name Is Khan started life as every producer’s dream. An ambitious project from candyfloss king Karan Johar’s stable, with Bollywood’s Badshah in the lead, a story aimed at wringing heartstrings, and a lucrative distribution deal with a Hollywood studio giant that would take the film’s release to a whole new level: it couldn’t get better than this.

On each of those counts, MNIK rings the changes. Given their earlier smash-hit track record, the Karan Johar-Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol combine commands instant stickiness. Distribution partner 20th Century Fox ensures a sea of visibility: have you managed to go to a single TV channel in the past month, which hasn’t had an MNIK connect?

Shah Rukh Khan playing a differently-abled man is a proposition his vast fan base will find irresistible. No sena, Shiv or otherwise, can stop this juggernaut once the initial hiccups are over. Rizwan Khan has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism, which leaves a person with impaired social skills, accompanied, most often, by an incredibly high IQ. As a child, he learns to fix things, and he carries that ability with him when he makes the long journey from a grungy Mumbai suburb to a serene Californian city. There he finds love and companionship, but it is short-lived: a tragedy breaks into the idyllic life he’s created with single mom Kajol and her young son.

That is the cue for Rizwan to get on to the road, with a single point agenda, to meet the President of the USA to deliver his message — that his name is Khan and that he is not a terrorist.

All these are good points for furious exchanges. We can have impassioned debates about how SRK performs as a person with Asperger’s, but there is no doubt that film brings into the kind of blazing spotlight only a big-budget blockbuster can provide, the extraordinary difficulties a person with special needs faces when he meets life head on.

We can go back and forth on how effective SRK is as a full-blown Muslim character, (a part he’s played before in Chak De but in which his Muslim-ness is not as much to the fore). But there’s no denying the power of seeing a hugely popular, hugely charismatic star sporting a skull cap, and doing a sajda, or reading the namaaz.

Despite its flaws, MNIK is all set to be the first real crossover Bollywood film: its format is full-on, unabashed Hindi masala, its message completely universal. Move over, James Bond. The new line is going to be My name is Khan, Rizwan Khan.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/move-over-bond.-my-name-is-khan-and-i-am-not-a-terrorist/578923/

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Indians who wish to return from PoK are welcome: Chidambaram

12 February 2010

NEW DELHI: In a significant gesture, the government on Thursday said it was ready to "welcome" Kashmiris who had gone to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) if they were ready to return after giving up militancy.

"The idea that any Indian who had crossed over to PoK and wishes to return India is certainly welcome," home minister P Chidambaram told reporters backing the proposal mooted by Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.

"The idea is accepted... This idea must now be translated into a scheme," the home minister said, adding it was one of the recommendations of one of the Working Groups appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for recommending measures to address problems of Jammu and Kashmir.

Replying to questions at a briefing after meetings of the Cabinet and Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Chidambaram said the return could be facilitated through a scheme which will entail identification, screening, travel, debriefing, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Noting that "PoK is actually an Indian territory", he said the government "should facilitate the return" of those who had gone across the Line of Control for "some reasons".

Significantly, his statement counters the view of his Cabinet colleague and former J and K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who has questioned the idea of allowing the return as he apprehended that they could come here to "create trouble".

Thousands of Kashmiri youths had crossed over to PoK from 1989 to join militant ranks. While many of them infiltrated back, a large number have not returned. Around 800 of them are understood to have conveyed their desire, through various channels, to return home. Several feelers have been received by the state government about their pathetic condition.

"We will consult all sections of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir," Chidambaram said noting that there were two parties, National Conference and Congress, in the ruling coalition in the state.

The Leader of Opposition in Jammu and Kashmir would also be consulted on this issue, he said, adding "Then we will formulate a scheme. It will take time."

Chidambaram said this when asked to comment on Abdullah's proposal that a surrender and rehabilitation policy should be formulated to allow Kashmiris to return from PoK.

Abdullah had said at the chief ministers' conference on internal security here last Sunday, "To encourage more militants to return to the state and manage their transition to civilian life, a new surrender and rehabilitation policy of militants is under active consideration of my government".

However, Azad questioned the idea, apprehending it could be used as a cover by Pakistan to push foreign militants into India.

"Who will take guarantee of these youth willing to return? How can you prove that these are the same youth who had gone to that side for arms training and are now willing to come back on their own choice? Some foreign terrorists can take advantage of this move," said the Union health minister and senior Congress leader from the state on Tuesday.

"Pakistan has not handed over the accused involved in the Mumbai terror attacks so far. Who can trust them in this case? There are chances of adopting a strategy to push militants (into India) taking cover of this surrender policy," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indians-who-wish-to-return-from-PoK-are-welcome-Chidambaram/articleshow/5560051.cms

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'Pak failure on terror camps not to hit talks'

12 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Despite Pakistan doing very little to dismantle the 42 anti-India terror training camps across the border, New Delhi is keen to hold the proposed foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan for the greater good of South Asia.

"Terror infrastructure continues to thrive on Pakistani soil. We continue to be firm with our demand that Pakistan must put an end to terror activities emanating from its soil,'' said defence minister A K Antony on Thursday.

"(But) Indo-Pak relations always have a huge bearing on regional peace and security. Our government's willingness to resume negotiations with Pakistan must be seen in this backdrop,'' added Antony, speaking at the 12th Asian Security Conference.

While holding that the Pakistan government had not taken concrete steps to dismantle the 42 terror camps and that infiltration levels had shown a distinct jump this year, Antony said the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan will "not be affected''.

"We have also been watching what action Pakistan has been taking against terror groups responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Even though we are not fully satisfied, we feel they have taken some action. It's a positive development. So, we decided to initiate the talks,'' he said, adding that India was "carefully monitoring'' developments across the border.

During his speech, Antony said India's experience with militancy had taught it that the line of distinction between state-sponsored terrorism and the role of non-state actors was often blurred and rather indistinguishable.

"Transnational terrorism has, of late, emerged as a real threat. Our neighbourhood, particularly Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home to terrorist organisations like LeT and al-Qaida, which pose a threat to the entire world,'' he said.

"The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan too are victims of these organisations. Unless the real support base of these organisations is tracked down and dismantled, their activities will continue to pose a serious threat,'' he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-failure-on-terror-camps-not-to-hit-talks/articleshow/5561844.cms

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India: Panel to fast-track Muslim job quota

Swati Sengupta

12 February 2010

KOLKATA: The Left Front government is pulling out all the stops to woo the Muslims. With just around a year left for the 2011 assembly elections, the government on Thursday decided to appoint a panel to grant OBC status to different backward groups in the state. This was done to put its proposal for 10% job reservation for Muslim OBCs on the fast track.

Interestingly, the new committee — to be headed by chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti — will be vested with powers to supersede the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes that was appointed 17 years ago for the same purpose.

"The new committee will revise the existing OBC list. This involves including new groups and excluding existing ones, though the immediate purpose is clearly to include more Muslim groups in the OBC category so that they can benefit from the government’s recent decision," a bureaucrat said.

The formation of the panel is significant as it will now be executing the order as per the Left Front government’s stand. The commission, on the other hand, is an independent body comprising experts and may not necessarily tow the government’s view on who deserves the OBC status.

Officials said the state government is well within its right to form the panel and has legal sanction. Under the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, the state may "undertake a revision of the lists with a view to excluding from such lists those classes who have ceased to be backward classes or for including in such lists new backward classes".

While the Act mentions the commission has to be consulted, officials indicated the new panel would have the final say. The committee’s decisions would also be cleared by the state cabinet.

According to rule, the revision can be done only 10 years after the formation of the commission. So the state had the power to revise the list since 2003, but chose to do it now, evidently to woo the Muslim voters. In last year’s Lok Sabha polls, the CPM lost a major chunk of the Muslim votebank. After the polls, the party had identified the loss of Muslim votes as a key reason for the debacle.

For the past six months, the Commission has been examining the cases of several applications from different groups of Muslims as well as Hindus on OBC status. Recently, the commission granted OBC status to four Muslim groups and more are expected to get the nod.

But the government isn’t taking any chances. It wants to act at the earliest so that the benefit of 10% job quota may reach the grassroots before the elections.

The largesse for backward Muslims is aimed essentially at the voters in minority-dominated areas of Malda, Murshidabad, and South 24-Parganas. The state’s decision follows the Ranganath Mishra Commission report that recommended 10% reservation for Muslims and 5% for other minorities on the basis of the Sachar Committee report.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Panel-to-fast-track-Muslim-job-quota/articleshow/5563116.cms

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Hindu Threats For Muslim Bollywood Film

12 February 2010

MUMBAI – Fearing attacks by Hindu extremists, cinemas in the Indian city of Mumbai on Friday, February 12, shied away from screening top Muslim actor Shah Rukh Khan’s new film.

"Shiv Sainiks tore the screen at Maratha Mandir (cinema) even before the release of the film,” Manoj Desai, who owns a number single-screen theatres, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Why should I take chances?"

Another cinema owner in central Mumbai also decided not to screen the “My Name is Khan” movie over the Hindu threats.

Ultra-nationalist Shiv Sena Party has vowed to disrupt the film’s release after Khan regretted the absence of Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League.

Amid fears of Hindu attacks, hundreds of police personnel were deployed to protect cinemas.

"Hundreds of men have been deployed in plain clothes and in uniform to see that everything goes well," said Mumbai police commissioner D. Sivanandhan.

Police this week arrested more than 2,000 Shiv Sena members, mainly as a preventative measure, after sporadic violence outside cinemas.

Shiv Sena, which runs the Mumbai municipality, sees itself as a guardian of traditional Hindu values and pushes a strong anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan rhetoric.

It has long claimed to champion the rights of people from western Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, over "outsiders", often backing up its stance with violence.

The right-wing party draws political sustenance from hardline Hinduism and an ultra-nationalism that includes strident opposition to Pakistan.

Anti-Muslim

Full report at: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1265890296096&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

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Airport scanners are ‘anti-Islamic’

February 12, 2010

Muslim groups in US back a fatwa issued against the body scanners, saying they violate rules on modesty

Washington: Some Muslim-American groups are supporting a fatwa issued by a body of Islamic scholars forbidding Muslims from going through full body scanners at airports, a media report said.

The Fiqh Council of North America issued the religious ruling this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty, Free Press reported.

“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” reads the fatwa issued on Tuesday. “Islam highly emphasises haya (modesty) and considers it part of faith. The Quran has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts.”

After the Christmas Day bombing attempt in Detroit by a Muslim suspect from Nigeria, some US airports are now in the process of buying and using the body scanners to find explosives and other dangerous materials carried by terrorists.

But Muslim groups say the scanners, which show in graphic detail the outlines of a person’s body, go against their religion. One option offered to passengers who don’t want to use the scanners would be a pat down by a security guard. The Muslim groups are urging members to undergo those instead.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says it endorses the fatwa. “We support the Fiqh Council’s statement on full-body scanners and believe that the religious and privacy rights of passengers can be respected while maintaining safety and security,” Nihad Awad, national executive director of CAIR was quoted as saying.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it was committed to keeping passengers safe and also protecting their privacy. “TSA’s mission is to keep the travelling public safe. Advanced imaging technologies are an important tool in a multi-layered security system to detect evolving threats such as improvised explosive devices,” it said, adding that the scanners “do not produce photos”, rather, the images “look like chalk outlines”.

http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/12/201002122010021219031734422a0210f/Airport-scanners-are-%E2%80%98antiIslamic%E2%80%99.html

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12 killed in twin blasts at police complex in Pakistan

12 February 2010

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: Two powerful blasts, including one triggered by a suicide bomber, ripped through a police complex killing at least 12 people, many of them policemen, and injuring over 20 in the restive Bannu district in northwest Pakistan today.

A suicide bomber blew himself up near a gate at the heavily guarded police lines in Bannu at around 6.40 pm and the second blast occurred minutes later near a hospital within the complex, witnesses said.

Hospital officials were quoted by TV news channels as saying that at least a dozen people, many of them policemen, were killed and over 20 others injured. Most of the casualties were caused by the second blast. State-run PTV reported that district police chief Iqbal Marwat was among the injured.

The nature of the second blast could not immediately be ascertained. Security forces cordoned off the area and closed roads.

Rescue workers and ambulances rushed to the site as smoke rose over the police lines, witnesses said.

The sound of gunfire could be heard in footage aired by TV news channels. Witnesses said policemen had opened fire in panic after the blasts.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and ordered an inquiry into the incident. He deplored the loss of lives in the incident.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/12-killed-in-twin-blasts-at-police-complex-in-Pakistan-/articleshow/5561555.cms

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Pak wants Kashmir issue on the table

Omer Farooq Khan

12 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday sought unconditional resumption of wide-ranging talks including the Kashmir issue with India, days after New Delhi offered a limited dialogue to Islamabad. Islamabad has maintained that only full-blown peace talks can foster regional stability.

‘‘Pakistan looks forward to the foreign secretaries meeting to discuss how an all-encompassing dialogue could be renewed,’’ said foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit. Basit said Islamabad was yet to formally respond to New Delhi’s offer. ‘‘We’ve to discuss all issues important to us,’’ he said. ‘‘We can’t have a dialogue with preconditions.’’

The two sides, still haggling over the dialogue framework, are yet to announce a date for their first direct talks in 15 months. Basit reiterated that Pakistan wants to focus on the composite dialogue that existed before the Mumbai attacks and include the Kashmir issue as well. ‘‘The whole purpose of any engagement between our two countries should be to resolve all disputes.’’ He said the engagement should be irreversible and produce results. ‘‘One hopes that this time India will not backtrack and allow the composite dialogue process to move forward in a meaningful manner.’’

Earlier, Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said composite dialogue, covering eight issues including Kashmir, was the only way forward. ‘‘They have agreed to talk to Pakistan but don’t want to talk on Kashmir,’’ he told reporters in Islamabad.

New Delhi hasn’t given details on the proposed talks, but has indicated that counterterrorism would be high on its agenda. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday presided over a meeting to formulate a response to the talks offer.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-wants-Kashmir-issue-on-the-table/articleshow/5562869.cms

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Pak indicates readiness for secy-level talks on Feb 25, wants Kashmir included

11 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has indicated its readiness for the foreign secretary-level talks on February 25, saying the two sides need to "move forward" but insisted on resumption of composite dialogue covering Kashmir and other outstanding issues that is "meaningful and result-oriented".

Responding to the two sets of dates proposed by India for the talks, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that February 25 is "not a bad date" for the talks.

Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had proposed February 18 and 25 as dates for the talks with her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir. The composite dialogue between the two sides was suspended in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

"I believe we should move forward. Common sense states that talks should be held as soon as possible," Qureshi said.

"What is important is that we start talking. Of course we feel that these talks should be the re-start of the composite dialogue and take it up from where we left off. After all, all the issues that both sides want to raise are included in the composite dialogue," he said in separate interviews to Geo news channel and the News daily.

"We have many outstanding issues on our agenda, like the Kashmir issue that India recognises. There is the waters issue on which there should be talks," he said.

"If you do not hold talks on these issues, the talks will not be beneficial. Do you want progress or just talks? We want progress and not talks for the sake of talks. We want meaningful and result-oriented talks," he said.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-indicates-readiness-for-secy-level-talks-on-Feb-25-wants-Kashmir-included/articleshow/5560492.cms

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Hundreds of thousands back Iran Revolution

Feb 12 2010

Hundreds of thousands of pro-government Iranians have been rallying to mark the 31st anniversary of Iran's revolution.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the rally to attack the West, and said Iran had produced its first stock of 20% enriched uranium.

The opposition has been trying to stage counter-demonstrations, but faced a big security crackdown, and several of its leaders have reportedly been attacked.

The anniversary is the most important day in Iran's political calendar.

The government has warned protesters will be dealt with.

Official events were held across Iran, but the main gathering was at Tehran's Azadi Square. State TV showed tens of thousands of people filling the streets.

Mr Ahmadinejad told the crowds Iran was now a "nuclear state" and would soon treble output of 20% enriched uranium.

He added that Western countries were hampering genuine reform in Iran.

BBC Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says the anniversary could be the largest confrontation since the disputed election last June, and the government and opposition have chosen to make the day a huge trial of strength.

Our correspondent says the government is very nervous about the opposition demonstrations, but its own supporters have drawn a good crowd.

Meanwhile, reports from the micro-blogging site Twitter and pro-opposition websites said opposition Green Movement supporters were holding rallies, one of them in the city's Saddeqiya Street.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8509765.stm

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Saudi religious police see red

12 February 2010

RIYADH: The Saudi religious police launched on Thursday a nationwide crackdown on stores selling items that are red or in any other way allude to the banned celebrations of Valentine's Day, a Saudi official said.

Members of the feared religious police were inspecting shops for red roses, heart-shaped products or gifts wrapped in red, and ordering storeowners to get rid of them, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Red-colored or heart-shaped items are legal at other times of the year, but as February 14 nears they become contraband in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom bans celebration of Western holidays such as Valentine's Day, named after a Christian saint said to have been martyred by the Romans in the 3rd Century.

Most shops in Riyadh's upscale neighborhoods have removed all red items from their shelves. A statement by the religious police, informally known as the muttawa, was published in Saudi newspapers, warning shop owners against any violations. "Those who don't comply will be punished," the statement said.

The Valentine's Day prohibition is in line with Saudi's strict Wahhabi school of Islam that the kingdom has followed for more than a century. The birthplace of Islam also bans several Muslim holidays except the two most important ones because it considers them "religious innovations" that Islam doesn't sanction.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Feb-14-Saudi-religious-police-see-red/articleshow/5562761.cms

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Pakistan, not Afghanistan, my greatest worry: Biden

12 February 2010

WASHINGTON: US vice president Joe Biden on Thursday said that his greatest concern was not Afghanistan nor threat of Iran turning nuclear but Pakistan, which he said had a significant radicalised population and only a "functional democracy".

"I think it's a big country that has nuclear weapons that are able to be deployed. It has a real significant minority of radicalised population", Biden said. Pakistan is not "a completely functional democracy in the sense we think about it, and so that is my greatest concern", the US vice president said.

Biden's comments come as US and Nato troops are all set to undertake their biggest offensive on Marjah to retake the Helmand Valley from the Taliban and pressure being exerted by the Obama administration on Pakistan to widen its crackdown on militants.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pakistan-not-Afghanistan-my-greatest-worry-Biden/articleshow/5562723.cms

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Advani: Terror is main issue

12 FEBRUARY 2010

New Delhi, Feb. 11: Asserting that the principle issue between India and Pakistan to be discussed is terrorism, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on Thursday said the proposed talks between the two countries should not be held unless the terror infrastructure in the neighbouring country is dismantled.

Mr Advani also expressed surprise at the "sudden" move for talks with Pakistan by the Indian government.

"The principal issue is terrorism. We are not interested in talks for talks sake," Mr Advani said on the sidelines of a workshop on "Politics for Development" and launch of the "Antyoday" scheme on the death anniversary of party ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

He added that India should go by the joint statement signed in January 2004 between then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Mr Advani said the main Opposition party will raise this issue along with the sensitive issue of price rise during the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament.

The BJP leader asked why "all of a sudden" the UPA government had taken this initiative.

"My biggest surprise was that after 26/11 they (government) involved the CIA and the US, gave them all the proof and then did a turn around and said there is no link between the two (talks and terrorism). That terror should stop but even if it doesn’t talks should continue," Mr Advani said.

He said after 26/11, he had expected that the Congress-led government would "have learnt its lessons". Mr Advani reiterated his stand that the initiative for talks could have come after a "nudge" from the US.

He recalled that US President Barack Obama had stated in an interview during his election campaign that one of the principal matters for him would be solving the Kashmir issue.

http://www.asianage.com/home/india/2110-advani-terror-is-main-issue.html

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Yemen declares truce with northern rebels

Feb 12 2010

The Yemeni authorities have declared a ceasefire with rebels fighting government forces in the north.

The truce started at midnight local time (2100 GMT) and came after days of negotiations between the government and rebels on how to end the conflict.

The leader of the rebels, known as Houthis, ordered his men to abide by the truce.

The rebels have been battling Yemen's army since 2004. More than 250,000 have been displaced in the region.

The government launched its latest offensive against the rebels last August. Saudi Arabia has also been drawn into the conflict.

Observers say many will question how long the declared truce may last.

The Yemeni government still faces two other conflicts: against southern separatists and militants sympathetic to al-Qaeda.

Rebel statement

News of the ceasefire came in a presidential decree read out on state television.

"We decided to stop military operations in the north-west from midnight," the decree said.

In a statement in response, rebel leader Abdel-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi ordered his fighters to "cease combat on all fronts at the hours announced by the government".

"Once the ceasefire is consolidated, we will proceed to reopening roads and dismantling checkpoints and barricades," the statement added.

The move comes after the rebels reportedly accepted several conditions, including a pledge not to attack Saudi Arabia, put forward by the government to end the hostilities.

Houthi rebels from the minority Shia Zaidi sect based in the north-western Saada district have been battling the government for more than five years.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8511705.stm

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Iraq 'expels Blackwater security employees'

Feb 12 2010

Iraq has ordered 250 former and current staff of US security firm Blackwater to leave within a week, a minister says.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani told the Associated Press news agency that all "concerned parties" were notified of the order three days ago.

It comes after a US judge last December threw out manslaughter charges against five Blackwater guards over the 2007 killing of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad.

The incident stoked anti-American sentiment in Iraq.

The activities of foreign security firms in Iraq have been curbed since then.

US Vice-President Joe Biden has said the US government will appeal against the court ruling.

Mishandled evidence

"We want to turn the page. It was a painful experience, and we would like to go forward," Mr Bolani said.

Seventeen Iraqis were killed in the shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square in September 2007.

Iraq maintains the Blackwater guards fired without provocation. Blackwater said the firing followed an ambush on one of its convoys.

The US had rejected attempts for a trial in Iraq but charges in the US were thrown out when a judge ruled in December that the guards' constitutional rights had been violated and that the justice department had mishandled evidence.

Last month, Mr Biden said during a visit to Iraq that the dismissal of the Blackwater charges was just that and "not an acquittal".

Expressing "personal regret" over the incident, he said the US justice department would file its appeal against the court's decision next week.

In 2007, Blackwater - now known as Xe Services - was the largest of the US State Department's private security contractors working in Iraq.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8509475.stm

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Muslim-American body issues fatwa against airport body scanners

12 February 2010

WASHINGTON: Some Muslim-American groups are supporting a fatwa issued by a body of Islamic scholars forbidding Muslims from going through full body scanners at airports, a media report said.

The Fiqh Council of North America issued the religious ruling this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty, Free Press reported.

"It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women," reads the fatwa issued Tuesday. "Islam highly emphasises haya (modesty) and considers it part of faith. The Quran has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts."

After the Christmas Day bombing attempt in Detroit by a Muslim suspect from Nigeria, some US airports are now in the process of buying and using the body scanners to find explosives and other dangerous materials carried by terrorists.

But Muslim groups say the scanners, which show in graphic detail the outlines of a person's body, go against their religion. One option offered to passengers who don't want to use the scanners would be a pat down by a security guard. The Muslim groups are urging members to undergo those instead.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Muslim-American-body-issues-fatwa-against-airport-body-scanners/articleshow/5564134.cms

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Muslim groups pitch for implementation of Rangnath report

February 11 2010

New Delhi: A group of Muslim organisations from across the country today pitched for implementation of the Rangnath Mishra Commission report on reservation to the community and said they would seek support of all political parties to ensure the recommendations were executed.

The groups are seeking a 10% quota in jobs for the community as recommended by the Commission, which also suggested giving scheduled caste status to dalits in all religions.

"The consensus is that the Muslim community should be recognised as a backward class and a weaker section and should be entitled to a separate quota of 10 percent as recommended by Mishra Commission," chief organiser of the National Movement for Muslim Reservation (JCMOE), Abdul Waheed said.

The organisations include JIH, JUH, JAH, AIMC, AISC, Karnataka-based Popular Front of India, the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Khazagam, All India Federation of Muslim Backward Classes in Mumbai, the Muslim Reservation Movement in UP and the Milli Muttaheda Mahaz from Bihar.

After a conference in New Delhi today they jointly made the demand after building a consensus on the Mishra Commission report.

Denying there was any constitutional bar for giving reservation on the basis of religion, the JCMOE said Articles 15 (I), 15 (4), 16(4) and 46 permit reservation on the basis of religion as on the basis of caste if a group is found to be constituting a backward class under uniform parameters.

Secretary general, LJP, Abdul Khaliq said the conference has built a consensus on the recommendations as well as the

modalities to implement them (reservation) and the group will soon meet all political parties demanding their support for

Full report at: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_muslim-groups-pitch-for-implementation-of-rangnath-report_1346156

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On Butt’s death anniversary, life disrupted in Kashmir

Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: A shutdown to mark the 26th death anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Butt affected life in the Kashmir valley on Thursday. The police clamped restrictions in many areas of the city to prevent protests.

JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and 10 others were arrested. “The police raided the house of Mr. Malik in the early morning and arrested him,” a JKLF spokesman said.

Shops, business establishments, government offices and banks remained closed in all 10 districts of Kashmir. Traffic went off the road.

In Srinagar downtown, the district administration clamped an undeclared curfew in several areas, including Eidgah, Nowhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal and Rainawari. Thousands of police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel were deployed in the old city. All roads were sealed with barbed wires.

The restrictions came just two days after normality returned to the city after eight days of clampdown sparked by the killing of a 13-year-old schoolboy, Wamiq Farooq, and Zahid Farooq (16).

The police also arrested JKLF vice-chairman Bashir Ahmad Bhat and six others when they tried to take out a rally from Abi-Guzar in Lal Chowk.

“Another front leader Mohammad Yasin Bhat was arrested at Nigeen in Srinagar. Two more JKLF activists Hafiz-u-llah Sofi and Mushtaq Ahmad were detained in their homes in Srinagar,” the spokesman said.

Clashes in Baramulla

Clashes broke out between the police and youth at Baramulla and Maisuma. The police lobbed teargas shells to chase away the protesters at Maisuma.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/12/stories/2010021250341100.htm

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Textile unions and riot police clash in Egypt

Feb 12 2010

Hundreds of textile workers have clashed with riot police in Cairo after a demonstration against the privatisation of a factory.

The Tanta Linen, Flax and Oil company was sold off by the government four years ago.

Workers who say their pay and conditions have suffered and have held a series of strikes.

And on Wednesday demonstrators took to the streets outside the Cabinet Office in central Cairo and police responded.

Trade unions have emerged as a serious force in Egyptian politics in recent years, correspondents say.

But their move to take their demonstration to the streets of Cairo, near the seat of government, is seen as an unusual move.

Egypt has strong laws against public demonstrations, and riot police moved in to break up the sit-in.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8510131.stm

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Five Americans wounded in suicide attack at US base in Afghanistan

12 February 2010

KABUL: An Afghan official says a suicide attacker wearing a police uniform blew himself up at a US base in eastern Afghanistan, wounding five Americans.

The spokesman for Paktia province, Roullah Samoun, says the attack occurred tonight in the Dand aw Patan district near the Pakistan border about 70 kilometres east of Gardez.

A US spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, says US officials have a report that some Americans were wounded, but he had no further details.

The reported attack occurred about 640 kilometres northeast of a Taliban town under siege by US and Afghan troops in Helmand province.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Five-Americans-wounded-in-suicide-attack-at-US-base-in-Afghanistan/articleshow/5562816.cms

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Muslim Public Affairs Council defends students' "right" to shout down an Israeli speaker

February 12, 12:20

One doesn't want to invoke George Orwell lightly. But there is something positively Orwellian about defending, in the name of freedom of speech, a gang's attempt to shut down a speech.

The facts are these:

Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, was invited to speak at the University of California Irvine. The invitation came from the Law School and the Political Science Department. Now, UC Irvine has an active--some would say, aggressive (others would say, obnoxious)--chapter of the Muslim Student Union. The UCI MSU has a, shall we say, controversial history, ranging from allegedly fundraising for Hamas to hosting virulently anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic speakers.

Enter the double standard. The MSU feels perfectly free to bring to campus speakers that Jews, friends of Israel, and others consider absolutely repulsive. And it has the right to do so (aside from providing material support to terrorists, which is forbidden by federal law). But when the MSU considers a speaker not to be kosher (as it were), it seeks to disrupt his appearance.

Thus, the MSU reacted to Oren's approaching visit to UC Irvine with a February 8 release:

The members of the Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine, condemn and strongly oppose the presence of Michael Oren on our campus today. We resent that the Law School and the Political Science Department have agreed to cosponsor a public figure who represents a state that continues to commit human rights violations, thereby breaking international law and law of Israeli accord [sic]. We strongly condemn the university for cosponsoring, and therefore, inadvertently supporting the ambassador of a state that is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world combined. . . .

As people of conscience, we oppose Michael Oren’s invitation to our campus. Propagating murder is not a responsible expression of free speech. Oren and his partners should only be granted a speakers platform in the International Criminal Court and should not be honored on our campus.

Full report at:  http://www.examiner.com/x-4814-LA-Middle-Eastern-Policy-Examiner~y2010m2d12-Muslim-Public-Affairs-Council-defends-students-right-to-shout-down-an-Israeli-speaker

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A Muslim/Jewish Gift in Rapping at Nuyorican Poets Café

by: Alan Zeitlin

Feb 12 2010

Arabs and Israelis arguing over century-long issues could get so angry they’d want to spit on each other. But this Tuesday night, one Muslim rapper from Iran and one Jewish rapper from Israel will spit rhymes on the microphone about conflict in The Middle East.

As part of The Muslim/Jewish Tug-Of War Tour, Mazzi Behi and Yoni Ben-Yehuda will showcase their lyrical skills at the Nuyorican Poets Café on East 3rd Street in Manhattan at 9 p.m. The duo, known as Mazzi and Sneakas, is somewhat controversial and both have taken some flak for performing together.

“Some are quick to point fingers,” Behi said. “It’s either in a scolding manner or in a way that they’re saying ‘it’s not gonna make a difference because you’re just wasting your time. I understand their point but I also have a mission. If you can’t break down a wall altogether, you gotta chip away at the stone. This is my way of chipping away at the stone.”

Ben-Yehuda, who is from Chadera and whose performance and recording resume includes Subliminal and Hadag Nachash, said the two are not under any illusion that their music will result in a peace treaty. But he said it’s important to stimulate dialogue.

“I want to learn from him and give my side in an honest way,” Ben-Yehuda said. It’s okay to be a little confrontational without wanting to kill each other. It’s not about, ‘can’t we all just get along?’”

Full report at: http://nyblueprint.com/articles/view.aspx?id=654

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France has right to protect its culture

Chad Groening

Feb 12 2010

French FlagA bestselling author and terrorism expert believes the French government should have every right to require immigrants to adopt the French culture and language if they want to settle in the country.

The BBC reports that France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced an initiative to preserve France's national identity. Newcomers will be required to sign a declaration of values as well as fly the French flag and sing the national anthem "La Marseillaise" at schools to promote patriotism. They will also have to study French.

Fillon said the emphasis of the new initiative is to promote respect for the values of the Republic, particularly the principle of equality between men and women. The announcement came a week after France's immigration minister refused to allow a Muslim citizenship because he forced his wife to wear the full Islamic veil.

Robert Spencer"I don't think that France should be faulted for wanting to protect French culture, anymore than the Saudis are ever faulted for wanting to protect Saudi culture," contends Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch. "People who travel to Saudi Arabia who are not Muslims are expected to conform to the practices, the customs, the morays, the culture of the Saudi Kingdom."

Considering the latter, the Jihad Watch director believes Muslims demand a double standard. "With Islam, when you travel to a Muslim country you're expected to conform your behavior to Islamic mores, and when Muslims travel to non-Muslim countries, you're expected to conform your behavior to Islamic mores," he notes. "And so it's a lose-lose situation for non-Muslims."

Spencer hopes the French will stand their ground against Islamic criticism of the new guidelines.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=893770

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Israeli soldier's alleged killer 'was tired of life'

Feb 12 2010

A Palestinian man accused of killing an Israeli soldier in the West Bank may have been suicidal, the Israeli military has said.

A senior military officer who spoke to alleged killer Mohammed Khatib, 34, told journalists "he said he was tired of living".

Sgt Maj Ihab Khatib, 26, was stabbed in the chest as he sat in a 4x4 army vehicle on Wednesday.

The attack has been condemned by the Palestinian Fatah movement.

'Personal circumstances'

Mohammed Khatib, who is not related to the victim, is a senior police officer working for Fatah.

Investigations by security services have failed to link the stabbing to militant groups or a wider plot.

Brigadier General Nitzan Alon said he had spoken to the suspect personally.

"I met this murderer shortly after the stabbing. He said he was tired of living and this looks like something that was related to his personal circumstances," Brig Gen Alon said.

Israeli media suggested this was an indication Mr Khatib may have hoped he would be killed as he carried out the alleged attack.

Sgt Maj Khatib, a Druze non-commissioned officer in the elite Kfir Brigade, had tried to drive away, but had lost consciousness and his vehicle flipped over, the authorities said.

Israeli media reported Mr Khatib's car had been halted when a security officer from a nearby settlement rammed it.

Airstrike

Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian has been killed and three others injured in two Israeli attacks.

A spokesman said the Israeli air force had killed a man preparing to fire a Qassam rocket into Israel and injured another.

The Israeli Defence Force identified the dead man as Fares Ahmed Jaber, 26, of Islamic Jihad.

Earlier, two sisters, aged five and 13, had been injured in cross-fire between Palestinian men and Israeli troops, Israeli media reported.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8510257.stm

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Somalia's Shebab vow all-out war against government

By Mustafa Haji Abdinur

MOGADISHU — Somalia's Shebab-led rebels rallied support after Friday prayers and vowed all-out war as the conflict-riven country braced for a huge nationwide government offensive to crush insurgents.

As residents poured out of the capital in recent days, Islamist fighters poured in to face off with newly-trained government forces backed by African Union troops ahead of the battle.

A skirmish that broke out early Friday when fighters from the Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab movement opened fire on government troops, drawing heavy retaliatory shelling, left five civilians dead and 20 others wounded.

At the Nasreddin mosque in southern Mogadishu, Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansur, a top military leader with the Shebab, said his movement was ready to face an onslaught by the Western-backed government.

"You are aware of the recent indiscriminate shelling of the enemy against our people. This war is a religious obligation for all of us to go to and fight them," Robow told the crowd after prayers.

"The soldiers of Allah are now fully prepared to launch attacks to eliminate the enemy from the country," he said.

The Shebab control around 80 percent of southern and central Somalia and since his election a year ago, President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and his administration have been pinned down in a small area of the capital.

"Our promise is to engage in all-out war against them. Are you going to be with us?," he shouted, rousing the crowd of faithful who roared back with a resounding "Yes".

Robow, whose group last month officially declared it was a component of Al Qaeda's global jihad, explained to his audience that their struggle was not simply to remove Sharif from power.

Full report at: Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

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Iran braces for protests to mark Islamic revolution anniversary

11 February 2010

TEHRAN: Tens of thousands of Iranians, shouting "Death to America", gathered Thursday at a Tehran square to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution amid tight security and expected opposition protests.

State television showed footage of men, women and children carrying banners reading "Death to America! Death to Israel!" as they headed to Azadi (Freedom) Square in southwest Tehran to mark the day the US-backed shah was toppled in 1979.

Opposition website Rahesabz reported that thousands of anti-government protesters were also in the streets of Tehran. There was no independent confirmation as the foreign media has been banned from covering street marches.

An AFP reporter among a group of journalists taken by Iranian officials to cover a speech at Azadi Square by Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said security forces had been massively deployed in the area.

Celebrations to mark the day the shah have been traditionally festive, and an opportunity for Iranian leaders to showcase popular support for the establishment.

But this year, opposition groups -- led by some of the founding fathers of the Islamic republic -- look set to hijack the national day as they continue to reject the legitimacy Ahmadinejad's government.

If the opposition does succeed in mounting protests, this would be highly symbolic given the anniversary's historic significance.

The elite Revolutionary Guards and police have warned they will crack down heavily on any protests which, since they first erupted last June, have threatened the very pillars of the Islamic regime and split the senior clergy.

"If anyone wants to disrupt this glorious ceremony, they will be confronted by people and we too are fully prepared," police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam warned on Wednesday. Several people who had been planning to protest are already in custody, he added.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-braces-for-protests-to-mark-Islamic-revolution-anniversary/articleshow/5559821.cms

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26/11 accused Fahim Ansari's lawyer Shahid Azmi shot dead

12 February 2010

MUMBAI: The 26/11 Mumbai attacks accused Fahim Ansari's lawyer Shahid Azmi was shot dead at his office in suburban Kurla, police said.

Four assailants barged into his office in Taxi Men colony in Kurla and shot two bullets into him at point blank range, they said.

He was rushed to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar where he was declared dead, they said.

The assailants fled from the scene after the incident, police said.

Shahid, who was nephew of Samajwadi Party leader and Govandi MLA Abu Asim Azmi, had also appeared as defence counsel for the accused in July 11 Mumbai local train blasts.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/26/11-accused-Fahim-Ansaris-lawyer-Shahid-Azmi-shot-dead/articleshow/5561910.cms

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No pre-conditions for talks from either side, says Pak

11 February 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said there are no pre-conditions on either side for the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks, indicating its readiness for parley's with India later this month.

"Let's not get into specifics. At this stage it is important to remember that there are no pre-conditions on either side," Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters.

He was asked whether there has been a climbdown since Pakistan has been insisting that nothing short of a composite dialogue will be accepted.

India has proposed talks between Foreign Secretaries Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir to be held on either February 18 or 25.

"We are yet to respond to India's suggestion but whenever the meeting takes place, we have to discuss all issues that are of importance to us. We strongly believe that with pre-conditions, we can't have a dialogue," Basit said.

Basit's remarks cames hours after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accused India of trying to sidestep Kashmir issue, saying "In fact, they (India) do not want to talk about Kashmir."

Gilani also made it clear that the Indo-Pak composite dialogue, covering eight issues including Kashmir and stalled since the Mumbai terror attacks, is the "only way forward".

India had suspended the composite dialogue in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and linked resumption of talks with dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan and punishing those behind the attacks.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-pre-conditions-for-talks-from-either-side-says-Pak/articleshow/5561097.cms

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Mulayam a "green snake in the grass" for Muslims: Amar Singh

11 February 2010

NEW DELHI: Attacking Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for the first time after being expelled from the party, Amar Singh virtually dubbed him as a "green snake in the grass" for Muslims.

"I don't support Kalyan Singh ideologically, but personally feel he is better than Mulayam Singh Yadav... At least people like Kalyan and Bal Thackeray openly attack Muslims.

"These people are less dangerous than those secular leaders, who say they are with Muslims but stab them in their back. Who is more dangerous, the enemy who is visible or the one who is like a green snake in the grass. It is for you to decide," Singh said.

The expelled SP leader, who was addressing a symposium on 'Prevailing Conditions in the Country and Muslims' organised by Muslim Political Council of India, used the opportunity to vent his ire against the SP chief.

"Mulayam Singh Yadav said he and Kalyan Singh came closer in order to consolidate Yadav and backward community votes, thinking that even if Muslims don't vote for SP, the Yadav-OBC votes would far outnumber them. However this plan of his backfired as Muslims left him and backward votes could not be consolidated," he said.

The former SP spokesman added that after the failure of this move, "The party leadership conveniently put the entire blame on me, as I was the dustbin of the party".

Singh said, "It was Yadav who made Kalyan Singh's son Rajvir SP general secretary and it was again Mulayam who during his earlier tenure as UP Chief Minister had made Rajvir and Kalyan's close associate Kusum Rai, his cabinet colleagues".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Mulayam-a-green-snake-in-the-grass-for-Muslims-Amar-Singh/articleshow/5560609.cms

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Target poverty, illiteracy not people, BJP President Gadkari tells Pak editor

12 February 2010

NEW DELHI: An eminent Pakistan editor and internationally renowned Urdu poet Mahmud Shaam met BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday evening and expressed hope that under his leadership bilateral ties would improve bringing peace in the region.

Gadkari , while welcoming the guest from Pakistan said that India and Pakistan both are facing acute challenges of poverty and infrastructure development but unfortunately Pakistan is harboring terror elements creating problems for India and for itself also. “It is in the interest of Pakistan to work with India for development and eradication of poverty and spreading education instead of providing shelter to terrorist groups,” the BJP president said.

Gadkari also presented Shaam his book Path of Development.

Mahmud Shaam, who is the chief group editor of Pakistan's largest circulated newspaper group Daily Jang, said that it was true some extremist groups were encouraging terrorism in Pakistan and the people of his country were also in trouble because of that. The Pakistan government had tried to control them like in Swat and other areas, he said.

“The people were very much against extremists and they want peace with India as people of India also want peace with Pakistan,” he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Target-poverty-illiteracy-not-people-Gadkari-tells-Pak-editor/articleshow/5559561.cms

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Iran declares itself a nuclear state

11 February 2010

TEHRAN: Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced today that the Islamic republic has produced its first package of highly enriched uranium just two days after beginning the process.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today told hundreds of thousands of cheering Iranians on the anniversary of the foundation of the Islamic republic that the country was now a "nuclear state."

"The first package of 20 per cent fuel was produced and provided to the scientists," he said, referring to the recently begun process of enriching Iran's uranium stockpile to higher levels.

Enriching uranium produces fuel for a nuclear power plants but can also be used to create material for atomic weapons. Iran announced Tuesday it was beginning the process of enriching its uranium stockpile to a higher level.

The international community has warned Iran against further enrichment activities, threatening new UN sanctions.

Tehran has said it wants to further enrich the uranium which is still substantially below the 90 per cent plus level used in the fissile core of nuclear warheads, as a part of a plan to fuel its research reactor that provides medical isotopes to hundreds of thousands of Iranians undergoing cancer treatment.

But the West says Tehran is not capable of turning the material into the fuel rods needed by the reactor. Instead it fears that Iran wants to enrich the uranium to make nuclear weapons.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-declares-itself-a-nuclear-state/articleshow/5560811.cms

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Strides in N-technology: Ahmadinejad

Atul Aneja

REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses a huge gathering at the Azadi Square in Tehran on Thursday, on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Declaring the country to be a “nuclear state,” he said it had produced a “first stock” of 20 per cent enriched uranium for its nuclear programme and was capable of enriching it to 80 per cent, but would not do so.

DUBAI: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that Tehran has already produced the first batch of uranium enriched to a 20 per cent level.

At a mammoth rally of supporters on Thursday at the iconic Azadi square in Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran would soon treble the production of 20 per cent enriched uranium, needed for producing medical isotopes to treat cancer patients. He added that Iran had Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/12/stories/2010021252881500.htm

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Green light for Muslim girls’ boarding school in Burnley

12th February 2010

Photograph of the Author By Tyrone Marshall »

PLANS for a Muslim boarding school in Burnley have been given the go ahead.

Last night members of the borough council’s development control committee voted to allow the scheme in the former Burnley College building in Ormerod Road.

The Birmingham-based charity Mohiuddin Trust is behind the plans for the 1,500 pupil school which will have 230 boarders from all over Europe.

Vice principal of the new college Jean Weston told the committee: “The college will improve achievement in the town and will raise aspirations locally.

“People from the college will go on to employment locally and will be of benefit to the town.

“They will shop in Burnley and will use local services while the boarding part of the college will create jobs for local people.”

Coun Mohammed Malick said: “There were no problems with 4,500 students at the old college so why will 1,500 cause a problem?

“People seem to forget this is not a Muslim college, it is open to all of the community.”

Burnley resident Brenda Rochester, of Shorey Bank, also spoke at the meeting.

She said: “With obscuring materials on the windows we will be looking at something that looks like a prison.

“Parking has been a problem in this area for decades.

"We already pay for the privilege of parking on our own street but this will make things worse.”

Full report at: http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/5004981.Green_light_for_Muslim_girls____boarding_school_in_Burnley/

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Challenging “West versus Islam” media paradigms

Gabriel Faimau

12 February 2010

anti-cnnBRISTOL, England: At an international conference on “Islam and the Media” organized by the Center for Media, Religion and Culture at the University of Colorado-Boulder in January, many of the participants, including myself, examined the negative stigma attached by the media to Islam and Muslims, especially after 9/11 and various terrorist attempts made in the name of Islam by extremists and militants operating on the fringes of the larger mainstream Muslim community.

In his influential 1981 book, Covering Islam, the late author and literary theorist Edward W. Said captured public attention regarding how experts and the media have determined the way we see Islam. At the heart of Said’s analysis is the notion that media coverage of Islam has closely associated Muslims with militancy, danger and anti-Western sentiment.

In 1997, the Runnymede Trust, a UK-based think tank that promotes a successful multi-ethnic Britain, echoed the same idea in “Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All”.

A similar tendency was employed to read the events of 9/11 in 2001. Analyzing these events, a good number of pundits, analysts, journalists and politicians believed that what we witnessed in the 9/11 attacks and its aftermath was a “clash of civilizations”, that is, a battle between Western and Islamic civilizations as predicted earlier by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington.

Full report at: http://bikyamasr.com/?p=8548

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Iraq election campaign under way amid candidacy row

12 February 2010

Campaigning for the election in Iraq is getting under way amid a continuing row over the ban on scores of candidates.

As posters appeared across Iraq for Friday's start, the fate of more than 170 candidates is still undecided.

A panel is continuing its work hearing appeals from the candidates, many banned for ties to the Baath party through which Saddam Hussein governed.

Correspondents say the row could worsen Shia-Sunni sectarian tension and undermine the election's credibility.

US fears

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse, in Baghdad, says that although the controversial list of banned candidates straddles the sectarian divide, Sunni groups have felt disproportionately targeted.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8511941.stm

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Indonesia jails former corruption chief over murder

12 February 2010

Antasari Azhar said the case was revenge for his anti-corruption work

Former Indonesian corruption chief Antasari Azhar has been jailed for 18 years for murder.

Azhar was convicted of ordering the murder of wealthy businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen last year over an alleged love triangle with a female golf caddy.

Prosecutors had called for the death sentence for Azhar in a trial that gripped the country.

Azhar said he was innocent and the charge had been revenge for his work unveiling corruption among officials.

Judge Herri Swantoro told the packed Jakarta court room Azhar was guilty of "participating in persuading the carrying out of a premeditated murder".

He said the sentence was "not intended as revenge, but to make the defendant aware of his mistakes".

Azhar, 56, said he respected the court's verdict but that "as a citizen and law-enforcer" he intended to appeal against it, the AFP news agency reported.

Azhar's lawyer said the court had ignored evidence and based the verdict on police documents alone.

"The verdict did not touch on the evidence. For us, this trial was just a formality," the Associated Press news agency quoted Juniver Girsang as saying.

In a separate trial on Thursday, senior police officer Williardi Wizar was jailed for 12 years for recruiting the five men who carried out the killing - currently serving sentences of up to 18 years each - and businessman Sigit Haryo Wibisono was sentenced to 15 years for financing the operation.

Election promise

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8510072.stm

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/move-over,-bond-my-name-is-khan,-and-i-am-not-a-terrorist/d/2456


 

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