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Islamic World News ( 21 May 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim rocker on his 'jihad' against extremists

Hindu population: Door out of Dhaka

Gujarat: Hard facts to face

Minorities can set up academic institutes: SC

Now, Muslim boy faces khap ire for same-gotra marriage

Rabat expels 100 for proselytizing

Car bomb in Shia town near Baghdad kills 23

Moms leave Iran, but jailed Americans not freed

Politics of Fatwa in India      

Prophet toon surfaces, SA on edge

Cartoonist denies 'Draw Muhammad' role, says sorry

Indian Muslims call for ban on Facebook

Indian militant outfit says Pakistan's ISI offered help

Collapse of meritocracy and the rise of ‘politicocracy’ in Bangladesh

Double tragedy for businessman who lost 16 relatives in crash

Facebook page that led to Pakistani ban removed

Pak detains 5 over Times Square plot: Report  

Week out: Iran is in the dock, again

Pakistan to hike defence budget to Rs 448 billion

Hurriat lays down rules

Protests over screening of France-Algeria war film at Cannes

Pak yet to approach Interpol over Kasab, Ansari

At Ayodhya, BJP chief invokes Ram temple issue

Banning the niqab

UN: Afghan war killed, injured over 1,000 kids

Isolated Jama’at hits back at CPM

Pak Taliban blow up two American spies

Mush sets eyes on PM chair

US drone attack kills at least six in Pakistan

Embassy caterer among 6 arrested in NY bomb plot

Jews in Arab east Jerusalem defy Obama peace push

Mideast nuclear ban US, Egypt work to narrow gap

Just drop the arrogance with Iran

Forces kill 27 militants in Orakzai

Internalising impunity in Afghanistan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-rocker-on-his--jihad--against-extremists/d/2882

 

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Muslim rocker on his 'jihad' against extremists

22 May 2010

Pakistani-born rock star Salman Ahmad says he is using music to fight the cultural battle against Muslim extremism. Currently in the UK, he has been speaking to the BBC's Caroline Hawley about his own personal "jihad".

His rock band have been described as South Asia's U2. They have sold about 30 million albums around the world.

And now the pony-tailed, Pakistani-born Muslim rocker Salman Ahmad is in the UK to sell his message of tolerance and non-violence to Muslim groups, and promote his autobiography, Rock & Roll Jihad.

Ahmad is fighting a cultural battle against those he calls "murderous thugs masquerading as holy men".

Extremists are reaching out to the same youth market that he is, he says. But Salman Ahmad believes that arts and culture can play an important role in combating extremism.

"Music has the power to bring people together," he insists. "And that's what the extremists don't want."

Ahmad, who trained as a doctor, formed his band, Junoon, in 1990 after giving up medicine for music - a passion since childhood.

At the age of 18, in President Zia ul-Haq's Pakistan, Salman Ahmad suffered the loss of his precious first guitar which was smashed by extremist students who had stormed into a secret talent show in which he was participating.

"After they'd broken my guitar, they threatened to shoot me if I ever played it again," he says. "I saw radicalisation first hand."

Culture 'hijacked'

Salman Ahmad - a Beatles fan inspired by Led Zeppelin - refused to be silenced.

He now lives in the United States but travels regularly to Pakistan where, he says, today's artists have to perform "like guerrillas".

And he has had his own troubles, even in the US.

He told the BBC he was almost prevented from performing last month in New York's Times Square when the mayor's office was alarmed after an internet search revealed the word "jihad" in the title of his new album, due out on 1 June.

Ahmad, 46, defines jihad as "striving".

"The Muslim community is allowing their language and culture to be hijacked," he says.

"There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and they enjoy music and poetry and dance and laughter, but the picture that goes out in the world is the extremist picture. I wouldn't have been able to sell 30 million records if the extremist view had been the majority view".

He vehemently rejects the hardline view that Islam forbids music.

"I am a practising Muslim and I've studied the Koran," he says, "and I believe my faith inspires my creativity - 1,400 years of Muslim culture has seen artists, singers, and beautiful love poetry."

Salman Ahmad, with his felt hat, necklace, and dark glasses, sees himself as a cultural bridge between East and West.

He has played his blend of Western and Eastern music at the UN General Assembly. He has also performed - under tight security - at a concert in Indian-adminstered Kashmir.

And he has a huge following in his home country, Pakistan, where, in the 1990s, his band were banned from performing after they took a stand against political corruption in a song called Accountability.

"The extremists hate it," he says. "They would like nothing better than to ban all of this. But they can't because millions of kids listen to music and watch Bollywood films.

"I'm saying to the extremists, you don't speak for Islam. You don't speak for me. I say to them: 'If you want to go and blow yourself up it's your choice, if you want to commit suicide, but do not assign any spiritual value to it.'

"My faith tradition has no tolerance for suicide or for killing innocent women and children."

So is he making headway with his jihad?

"The job of an artist is to express what's in his or her heart and to be a mirror for society," he says. "What's important is to keep doing what you're doing, whether you get instant gratification or not."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/10138395.stm

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Hindu population: Door out of Dhaka

Rema Nagarajan

May 22, 2010

Pre-Partition, Hindus in Bangladesh constituted 28 per cent of the population. Their numbers have been steadily declining since then. Most of this drastic demographic shift was during the Partition and the two decades of East Pakistan, claims Dhaka. Yet, the minority in the country that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman built has a different story to tell.

Are Hindus in Bangladesh quietly giving up on their country? Has the deep brotherhood forged by a shared language, culture and history caved in? Is the country’s biggest minority group being forced to migrate in large numbers due to persecution? Though no one can deny that the Hindu population of Bangladesh has been slowly declining over the years since it got independence from Pakistan, questions of how much it has declined and why it has happened generates heated debate among both the communities, Muslims and Hindus.

According to the census website of Bangladesh, in 2001, Hindus were 9.6 per cent of the population. Most blogs and websites devoted to the status of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh contrast this with the 28 per cent that once existed there. But they don’t take into account the fact that this was the pre-Partition figure, calculated during the 1941 census. Soon after Partition in 1947, millions of Hindus fled to India.

In the census after the Partition exodus, in 1951, the Hindu population had already fallen to 22 per cent and this again fell to 18.5 per cent by the 1961 census. “During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, Hindus in particular bore the brunt of the Pakistan army’s onslaught, leading to more migration,’’ a Bangladesh government official told TOI-Crest . “Though many returned after the formation of Bangladesh, the 1974 census showed that the population had fallen to 13.5 per cent, mostly because of steady emigration to Burma and India. Obviously, since Bangladeshi independence, the Hindu population has not fallen as much as is being claimed. Bangladeshis cannot be held responsible for what happened even before they became an independent country.”

Rabindranath Trivedi, president of the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), has a different take altogether. According to Trivedi, the census was deliberately undercounting Hindus in Bangladesh, who, by his estimate, constitute about 15 per cent of the population even today. “The government does this on purpose to deflect the charge of large scale Hindu migration due to state oppression,’’ he said. “With a low percentage to start off with, there can be no declining population due to migration. In reality, there is continuous migration of Hindus from Bangladesh because of torture and humiliation.”

But there are other, equally compelling, reasons for the demographic shift. India’s long and porous borders with Bangladesh, old family ties and ethnic similarity coupled with better economic opportunities have resulted in continuous illegal migration of poor Hindus and — not to forget — a considerable number of Muslims. In fact, the home ministry concedes its inability to fix a number to the volume of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants coming into India. “India being economically better off, it is the natural destination for the poor, both Hindus and Muslims,’’ explained a Bangladeshi official. “A lot of migration is on economic grounds rather than due to any persecution.”

Government officials and civil society leaders further argue that violence against religious minorities comes with its share of political and economic undertones rather than purely religious ones. “It suits those who have fled to India to make the situation seem worse for Hindus in Bangladesh than what it is. This helps justify their fleeing and seeking refuge in India,” one of them said.

Farid Hossain, journalist and social commentator, who accepts that Hindus don’t have it easy in Bangladesh, said, “Hindus perceived to be supporters of the Awami League become opposition party targets, especially at the time of elections. No matter who wins or loses, Hindus are the target of violence. But as even stray incidents of violence against Hindus are widely reported, it adds to their sense of insecurity. This, in turn, affects their sense of belonging and induces them to leave.’’

International rights bodies such as Amnesty International and UNHCR, too, have repeatedly castigated the Bangladesh government for its treatment of minorities. Even the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) slammed Dhaka in 2006 for continuous persecution of minority Hindus.

Historically, though, Bangladesh was founded as a secular republic in 1971. However, Islam was declared the state religion after the military takeover in the 1980s. The constitution, of course, guarantees the right to practice and propagate all religions.

Bimal Pramanik, director of the Centre for Research in Indo-Bangladesh Relations, Kolkata, said, “Bengalis fought communal forces to fight for independence as a Bengali nation. There was only one identity, that of a Bengali. But after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and the army takeover, total Islamisation started and the Hindus felt betrayed.”

While freedom of religion might be publicly supported by the government, all international reports observe that attacks on religious and ethnic minorities are an unremitting problem. Almost all the reports refer to numerous instances of illegal land seizures, arson, extortion , sexual assault and intimidation of religious minorities, particularly Hindus. Most of these refer not only to the 1990s, but also to the period when the BNP led by Khaleda Zia shared power with Islamist parties during 2001-06 , a time when the country witnessed an unprecedented rise in religious intolerance.

After the Awami League’s victory in 2008, Sheikh Hasina came to power and initiated steps to secure the rights of minorities. International bodies have since then been more positive about Bangladesh’s efforts to protect minorities. This even as one of the most vexatious of issues, land grabbing, continues unaddressed.

Professor Abul Barkat of Dhaka University’s Department of Economics, in his survey on the status of Hindus since independence, found that the Vested Property Act was the single largest cause of migration of Hindus from Bangladesh. The law, which allowed the government to possess property abandoned by those who fled during Partition, soon metamorphosed into something abused by both citizens and the state.

The study found that 2.01 million acres, comprising 45 per cent of the land owned by Hindus, was lost due to this Act. Though there were attempts to amend the law, little has changed. Sustained campaigning on the issue led to the Awami League government passing the Vested Property Return Act 2001. But this law to return appropriated land is caught in bureaucratic and legal tangles. “When it comes to land, there is no secularism. All parties have been involved in land grabbing and no one is keen on implementing this law,” Hossain said.

Faced with charges of persecuting minorities, the pomp and peaceful conduct of Hindu festivals like Durga Puja and Saraswati puja are often held up by the government as examples of religious tolerance and proof of the rule of law. But Trivedi has a counter view. “Muslims, too, participate in our festivals,’’ he said. “But that is because it is part of their culture as Bengalis. Hence, even if the last Hindu leaves this country, Muslims will continue to celebrate the festivals.”

Many Hindus see the Pujas more as a sort of dole and appeasement of minorities, seeing no hope for real improvement in their status. “The persecution will continue till the last Hindu is driven out. Hindus will become objects in a museum, a people who once inhabited this land,” Trivedi said. Pramanik agrees. “Despite all efforts of the Awami League to undo the damage done to Bangladeshi society from decades of Islamisation, it just might be a case of too little too late,’’ he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/South-Asia/Door-out-of-Dhaka/articleshow/5962198.cms

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Gujarat: Hard facts to face

May 22 2010

The normally sedate Planning Commission found itself the venue for some unexpected aggression at the annual discussion for Gujarat. Chief Minister Narendra Modi brandished his own data, and vented his sense of victimhood when it was pointed out that his state seemed to studiously ignore its Muslim children. In a letter to Modi on May 18, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, had pointed out the disparities in primary and upper primary school enrolment: while the state’s Muslim population hovers at 9.1 per cent, only 4.7 per cent of primary school children and 4.8 per cent of upper primary school children were Muslims. However, Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed (who had once headed a women’s rights forum to investigate the Gujarat riots and its traumatic aftermath) was the clear target of Modi’s ire.

Whatever the actual state of schooling in the Muslim-dominated area of Juhapura, Ahmedabad — the specific area that was disputed — there is little point objecting to a critical assessment of the gradual disentitlement and ghettoisation of Gujarat’s Muslims. After the violence and pain of the 2002 riots, one of the most scarring incidents in India’s recent history, and the state administration’s perceived complicity, Muslims have been fearful and insecure, and have increasingly retreated behind their own walls. There is persistent anecdotal evidence of how Muslims are being cut off from public services, including NREGA, and that Muslims who inquire about jobs are turned away. Despite all Modi’s attempts to refashion himself after the riots and talk a bland “development” talk seemingly emptied of ideology, there is no denying that his politics thrives on, and exploits, these social divisions.

In fact, it is precisely in that realm, of education and health and social services, that Modi’s rhetoric must be tested. How effectively has he drawn in the state’s religious minorities into Gujarat’s growth and success? Does his fabled governance genius translate into a better life for those his politics rejects? If he is confident that it does, then Modi should be open to verification of his claims. That could undercut the idea that Gujarat’s Muslims are deliberately deprived of public services. A question as important as this should not be taken over by bluster — and neither side in this confrontation should object to impartial, empirical facts on the state of Muslim welfare in Gujarat.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hard-facts-to-face/622193/

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Minorities can set up academic institutes: SC

May 22 2010

New Delhi : The Supreme Court has reiterated the fundamental right of minorities to establish educational institutions without the government imposing any unreasonable restrictions.

“It appears that the appellant is a religious minority. As a religious minority, it has a fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of its choice in view of the clear mandate of Article 30,” the apex court said in a recent judgment.

According to Article 30, “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions, in the country.” The Article further provides that the State shall not discriminate against such institutions even if they obtain aid from the government.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Minorities-can-set-up-academic-institutes--SC/622060

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Now, Muslim boy faces khap ire for same-gotra marriage

Manveer Saini

May 22, 2010

CHANDIGARH: Haryana's khap menace is crossing religious lines and spreading to the formally casteless Muslim community. An eight-time national wrestling champion, Ikhlash, 22, is facing the wrath of a khap of 360 villages of Meo Muslims for getting married within the same gotra.

Little did Ikhlash, a resident of Mewat's Dwarka village, know what he would be up against when on May 9 he married Anjum, whose ancestors had migrated to Rajasthan almost a century ago.

Now, instead of planning his honeymoon, Ikhlash, a constable in the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Bhondsi, finds himself and his family excommunicated for marrying the girl, who according to the khap, belongs to the same gotra.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Now-Muslim-boy-faces-khap-ire-for-same-gotra-marriage/articleshow/5960361.cms

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Rabat expels 100 for proselytizing

By LAMINE GHANMI

May 22, 2010

RABAT: Morocco has expelled foreign Christians who tried to convert Muslims because, as an Islamic state, it wants to foster "order and calm" and avoid a clash between faiths, its Islamic affairs minister said.

The government has expelled around 100 foreign Christians since March, many of them aid workers, in what Western diplomats have called an unprecedented crackdown on undercover preaching.

"These incidents (expulsions) were prompted by the activism of some foreigners who undermined public order," Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs Minister Ahmed Toufiq told Reuters in an interview late Thursday. "There are some who hide their proselytism and religious activism under the guise of other activities," he said.

The latest expulsion was that of Spaniard Francisco Paton Millan, the head of a small energy company, who was ordered last week to leave the country for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, church workers and European diplomats said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article56324.ece

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Car bomb in Shia town near Baghdad kills 23

22 May 2010

A car bomb exploded Friday at an open-air market in a Shia town northeast of Baghdad, killing 23 people and wounding more than 50, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.

 The bombing struck the town of Khalis, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad, a former al-Qaida in Iraq stronghold that has seen several powerful blasts. In March, twin bombings struck a restaurant in the same town, killing 57.

Khalis is a Shiite enclave in the largely Sunni province of Diyala.

The dead and wounded were taken to the nearby city of Baqouba, said city officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Baqouba is the provincial capital of Diyala.

While violence has fallen dramatically in Iraq since the height of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007, there are fears that militants are taking advantage of political uncertainty after an inconclusive election to try to destabilize the country.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/May/middleeast_May375.xml&section=middleeast&col

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Moms leave Iran, but jailed Americans not freed

By NASSER KARIMI

May 22, 2010

TEHRAN: The mothers of three Americans jailed in Iran for 10 months left for home Friday, getting one last chance to embrace their children but failing to secure their immediate release.

In a glimmer of hope, Iran announced that two of its nationals held in Iraq by US forces for years were freed Friday. The release raised the possibility that a behind-the-scenes swap was in the offing or that their release was a gesture of goodwill in an attempt to free the Americans.

The Iranians' release "may have some diplomatic effect on this case," the Americans' lawyer, Masoud Shafii, told The Associated Press.

The US has said it is not offering a direct swap, and Iranian officials made no public connection between the freed Iranians and the Americans.

Sarah Shourd, 31, her boyfriend Shane Bauer, 27, and Josh Fattal, 27, were arrested in July along the Iran-Iraq border, and Iran has accused them of espionage. Their families say the three were simply hiking in Iraq's largely peaceful mountainous northern Kurdish region and that if they crossed the border, it was accidental.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article56384.ece

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Politics of Fatwa in India

By Navaid Hamid

May 22 2010

Indian Muslims are not aloof from the global Muslim community which is feeling the brunt of a crisis from within. They suffer from an identity crisis in spiritual, social and political spheres. Muslim intellectuals today follow western modules in order to pretend that they are secular and liberal. On the other hand, Muslim clergy fails to give weightage to changed times, conditions and social realities while pronouncing edicts - opinion - fatwas - on issues of social importance while Muslim politicians are not only busy safeguarding their petty interests but also feel shy to actively take up the case of the community to which they belong. Most of the time, the only common thread between all of them is a visionsless approach to deal with a crisis.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=1988

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Prophet toon surfaces, SA on edge

May 22, 2010

JOHANNESBURG: A South African weekly on Friday published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad complaining that his followers lack a sense of humour, angering Muslims and raising fear of reprisal attacks during next month's World Cup.

South Africa will host the month-long soccer tournament from June 11 and police have pledged to protect the 300,000 expected foreign visitors and the teams taking part.

The Mail & Guardian newspaper published a sketch by renowned South African cartoonist Zapiro after a court rejected an overnight bid by Muslim advocacy groups for an injunction to prevent the newspaper from printing the cartoon. The cartoon depicts the Prophet on a psychologist's couch saying that his followers do not have a sense of humour.

Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam to be offensive. In 2005, a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Muhammad which were subsequently republished elsewhere, sparking violent protests that killed several dozen people.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Prophet-toon-surfaces-SA-on-edge/articleshow/5960288.cms

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Cartoonist denies 'Draw Muhammad' role, says sorry

May 22, 2010

WASHINGTON: An American cartoonist whose work inspired the controversial 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Page' on Facebook has condemned the effort and issued an apology to Muslims.

Molly Norris, of Seattle, drew a cartoon in April to protest the decision by the US TV channel Comedy Central to cancel an episode of the popular show 'South Park' over its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit. In her cartoon, Norris satirically proposed May 20 as an 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'.

An 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' page quickly turned up on Facebook but Norris said she had nothing to do with it. "I did NOT 'declare' May 20 to be 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'," she said, adding her idea was satire but "was taken seriously, hijacked and made viral".

"I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this 'day' be called off," she said. Among the dozens of pictures submitted to the page are depictions of a man in Arab garb engaged in sexual acts.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Cartoonist-denies-Draw-Muhammad-role-says-sorry/articleshow/5960278.cms

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Indian Muslims call for ban on Facebook

22 May, 2010

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s anger against religiously offensive web-based networking groups spread to India on Friday as Muslim protesters in Mumbai demanded a ban on the Facebook website. India has periodically banned websites, but mostly for their alleged links with terrorism.

United News of India said Muslims in the country’s financial hub protested against the Facebook website for hosting a competition of offensive caricatures.

In a protest meeting at Minara Masjid at Bhendi Bazaar and at Hindustani Masjid at Byculla in South Mumbai, various Muslim organisations demanded a permanent ban on Facebook and chanted slogans against the website’s operators.

The protest at Minara Masjid, conducted by Raza Academy, asked the government to take action against the organisers of the competition.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/indian-muslims-call-for-ban-on-facebook-250

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Indian militant outfit says Pakistan's ISI offered help

May 22, 2010

The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a militant outfit in Meghalaya, said that Pakistan's main intelligence agency and jehadi groups offered it help to fight the Indian state.

"The ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and several jehadi groups extended help to the GNLA but I refused," GNLA chairman Champion R Sangma said over telephone from an undisclosed location.

Sangma, a former Deputy Superintendent of Police, deserted the Meghalaya Police and floated the GNLA due to alleged harassment by his seniors.

The outfit's cadres are deserters, mostly from the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) and the Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF).

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Indian-militant-outfit-says-Pakistan-s-ISI-offered-help/H1-Article1-546987.aspx

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Collapse of meritocracy and the rise of ‘politicocracy’ in Bangladesh

22 May 2010

What we have been witnessing over the past three decades in Bangladesh is that everything in the nation has been boiled down to politics, and not the other way round. ‘Politicocracy’ has grown so deeply and pervasively in the entire fabrics of the society that the much-needed meritocracy for the nation’s progress has embraced an early death,

writes Dr Md Saidul Islam

THOUGH the term ‘meritocracy’ was first used in 1958 by Michael Young in his book Rise of the Meritocracy, albeit in a pejorative manner, the positive practice of this culture dates far back in most developed nations in order to harvest the best talents for development and progress. In meritocracy, appointments are made and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based upon demonstrated talent and ability (merit), and not upon other considerations such as political affiliation and social location. A long array of research overwhelmingly supports that a nation’s development is largely contingent upon, and deeply connected to, the culture of meritocracy in higher education.

Full report at:

http://www.newagebd.com/2010/may/22/oped.html

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Double tragedy for businessman who lost 16 relatives in crash

May 22, 2010

MUMBAI: For 24-year-old Saudi-based businessman Sameer A Shaikh going to attend the last rites of his grandmother, the Mangalore plane crash was a double blow as he lost 16 relatives in it. All of them, like Sameer, were going to Mangalore for the last rites of his grandmother, who died on Friday.

"I flew into Mumbai from Saudi Arabia yesterday and was scheduled to catch a Jet Airways flight to Mangalore this morning as I could not get a connecting flight from there," he said. Distraught over the tragedy that struck the family, Sameer said his maternal uncle, his wife and two children, besides 12 distant relatives were among those killed when Air India Express flight from Dubai crashed near Mangalore airport.

"I have been waiting here since morning and there is nobody to inform me about when the flight will depart. Several other overtaxed people who look as if they just ran the marathon are waiting like me for information about the flight to Mangalore, but there is no one to give us the correct information," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Double-tragedy-for-businessman-who-lost-16-relatives-in-crash/articleshow/5962054.cms

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Facebook page that led to Pakistani ban removed

By CHRIS BRUMMITT

May 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD: A Facebook page that was considered offensive to Islam and led to a Pakistani ban on the site has been removed, possibly by its creator.

Facebook said Friday it has not taken any action on the page, which had attracted more than 100,000 users and encouraged users to post images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, purportedly in support of freedom of speech.

Most Muslims regard any depiction of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.

Najibullah Malik, the secretary at Pakistan's information technology ministry, said earlier Friday that the government had no option but to shut down Facebook on Wednesday after a court order to do so.

"We know some people are suffering because of this blockade, but we have to obey the court order in letter and spirit," Malik said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article56356.ece

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Pak detains 5 over Times Square plot: Report

May 22, 2010

WASHINGTON: Pakistan has detained a co-owner of an upscale catering company in Islamabad and at least four others in connection with the botched Times Square bombing plot for which Pakistani-American terror suspect, Faisal Shahzad has been arrested in the US, a media report confirmed on Saturday.

The suspects, including Salman Ashraf of 'Hanif Rajput Catering Service', were taken into custody following the May 1 Times Square terror plot, 'The Washington Post' reported on Saturday.

The report came a day after Pakistan's Geo News channel said that six persons had been detained in different places in the country on suspicion of having links to Shahzad.

Citing a US embassy alert in Islamabad, the Post said Americans have been warned about the 'Hanif Rajput Catering Service' as "terrorist groups may have established links" to it.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-detains-5-over-Times-Square-plot-Report/articleshow/5962114.cms

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Week out: Iran is in the dock, again

May 22, 2010

The world’s biggest economic and political powers are tightening the screws on Iran over that country’s nuclear weapons programme. This week, Germany joined the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council — the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China — in agreeing upon a new round of sanctions against Iran. This came a day after the Islamic Republic committed to ship half of its nuclear fuel to neighbouring Turkey — an attempt to placate the US. President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, however, did not help matters by shooting off his mouth and railing against the US. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the new agreement on sanctions and said, “We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China... I think this announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Middle-East/Week-out-Iran-is-in-the-dock-again/articleshow/5962285.cms

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Pakistan to hike defence budget to Rs 448 billion

May 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to hike defence spending for 2010-11 to Rs 448 billion(Rs 24,835 crore in Indian currency), marking an increase of Rs 105 billion(Rs 5,821 crore in Indian currency) over the outlay for the current fiscal.

The defence ministry had sought an increase of Rs 110 billion(Rs 5,821 crore in Indian currency) in the upcoming budget while the finance ministry allowed a hike of Rs 105 billion in view of the tight fiscal position, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has said.

While briefing parliament's Standing Committee on Finance, Sheikh and Finance Secretary Salman Siddique said defence expenditure increased by Rs 60 billion in the current fiscal because of military operations in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the tribal areas.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-to-hike-defence-budget-to-Rs-448-billion/articleshow/5962987.cms

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Hurriat lays down rules

May 22, 2010

SRINAGAR: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (Moderate) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday rejected “quiet diplomacy” as “tactics” to create confusion among the Jammu and Kashmir people. He asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce “meaningful” talks with the Kashmiri people and Pakistan during his proposed visit to Srinagar.

Addressing a rally organised to commemorate his father Moulvi Farooq's death anniversary, the Mirwaiz said it was time to initiate purposeful dialogue with people. “The Prime Minister is visiting the Valley next month. I urge him to come here not just to announce economic packages, subsidies, loans, and inauguration of railway lines. During his visit he should declare a programme for a meaningful dialogue with the people of Kashmir and the Government of Pakistan for resolution of the long-pending Kashmir issue.”

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/05/22/stories/2010052264311100.htm

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Protests over screening of France-Algeria war film at Cannes

May 22 2010

Cannes : Palace, the main venue here was turned into a fortress as hundred of people turned up to protests against the screening of Rachid Bouchareb's film 'Outside The Law', dealing with Algeria's struggle for independence from France.

The security was beefed-up at the festival yesterday for the first screening of the film as protesters, called by right wing National Front party, demanded that the film be removed from the competition.

The party and other political organisations are peeved with the inclusion of the movie in the festival line-up. They are calling it an inaccurate version of the 1945 Algerian revolt against France.

Incidentally, the film, which is an Algerian entry, is a strong contender for the Cannes' top prize --Palme d'Or tomorrow.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/protests-over-screening-of-francealgeria-war-film-at-cannes/622309/

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Pak yet to approach Interpol over Kasab, Ansari

May 22 2010

Islamabad : Pakistani authorities were on Saturday caught on the wrong foot as an anti-terror court hearing the 26/11 case was told that Interpol was yet to be approached for a Red Corner notice for Ajmal Kasab, weeks after they claimed the matter had been taken up with the Paris-based agency.

The Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of LeT's operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects in the Mumbai attacks adjourned the case till June 5.

Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan adjourned the trial after hearing arguments by the prosecution and defence on whether Kasab and Fahim Ansari could be made part of the trial.

Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested alive during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, was given death penalty by a Mumbai court earlier this month while Ansari, who was also an accused, was acquitted for want of evidence.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-yet-to-approach-interpol-over-kasab-ansari/622335/

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At Ayodhya, BJP chief invokes Ram temple issue

May 22 2010

Ayodhya : The newly-appointed state BJP president Surya Pratap Shahi visited the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya and vowed to construct a Ram temple there.

“The BJP is committed to the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya as it is a matter of faith and belief of crores of Hindus and not a political agenda of the party,” Shahi told mediapersons after offering prayers at the site.

He said the day BJP will form government both at the Centre and in UP, the path for construction of Ram temple would be cleared. Shahi, who also visited Hanuman Garhi temple, said the “emotions of crores of people had led to the demolition” of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992 and that no particular party should be blamed for it.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/at-ayodhya-bjp-chief-invokes-ram-temple-issue/622257/

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Banning the niqab

22 May 2010

Across Canada there has been considerable debate concerning the expulsion of Naema Ahmed from a French-language class following her refusal to remove her niqab, a garment that covers its wearer's face except for the eyes. In the aftermath of this debate, legislators in Quebec have been weighing the merits of Bill 94, a proposed law that aims to ban face coverings from public and government buildings.

I encountered the first signs of controversy over this bill in the form of a poster that was clearly opposed to the proposed law with the challenging question: “Will you allow your government to deny essential services to women based on what they wear?”

Another poster claimed, “governments have no right in women's closets,” going on to say that “Bill 94... would deny essential government services, public employment, educational opportunities, and health care to Muslim women who wear the niqab.” As a footnote, it appealed to the reader to “take action to defend women's rights and freedoms in Canada.”

Full report at:

http://imprint.uwaterloo.ca/2010/may/21/opinion/banning-niqab/

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UN: Afghan war killed, injured over 1,000 kids

22 May 2010

NEW YORK (dpa) – More than 1,000 children were killed or injured in the war in Afghanistan in 2009, including 131 killed by airstrikes and bombings by international forces, a United Nations report on children in armed conflict said Friday.

The Afghan National Police was cited for the first time in a list of worst violators of children's rights. Others included the rebel Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace in Central African Republic and the insurgent Hizbul Islam in Somalia.

The annual report to the UN Security Council was drawn up to alert the international community to the plight of children caught in armed conflicts and to seek government assistance in improving their condition. Ironically, some of the violators are beneficiaries of UN support, including Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The armed groups involved in sexual violence against children as well as in recruiting children operated also in countries where UN peacekeeping troops are deployed.

Full report at:

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/258540/un-afghan-war-killed-injured-over-1000-kids

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Isolated Jama’at hits back at CPM

VR Jayaraj

May 22, 2010

Following the setback it suffered to get a foothold in mainstream politics, the Kerala Jama’at-e-Islami on Friday hit back at the CPI (M) saying Marxists did not have the right to speak about democracy. “When did the communist movement begin to respect Indian democracy? Weren’t they calling it a bourgeois democracy?” asked Jama’at’s Kerala Amir T Arifali.

The Jama’at’s efforts to establish its position in mainstream Kerala politics suffered a blow when the Indian Union Muslim League, a Congress ally, dropped the plan to forge an electoral alliance due to objections from within and the Marxist party’s vehement campaign that the Muslim outfit’s ideology was based on the concept of religious nationhood.

Arifali claimed that his organisation was not working for the creation of a religious state but was trying to form a party of all sections of people. “[CPI(M) secretary] Pinarayi Vijayan need not teach us to be democratic. How can Pinarayi’s party, which idol-worships Joseph Stalin, claim to be democratic?” Arifali asked.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/257354/Isolated-Jama%E2%80%99at-hits-back-at-CPM.html

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Pak Taliban blow up two American spies

Omer Farooq Khan

May 22, 2010

Islamabad: Taliban militants blew up two men,accusing them of spying for the US,with explosives at a public place in Pakistans lawless North Waziristan tribal region,intelligence and local sources said on Friday.

The killings took place at Datta Khel area of North Waziristan,Pakistans lawless tribal region on the border with Afghanistan,where al-Qaida and Taliban have established their writ.

Sources said five masked militants paraded the handcuffed men before hundreds of people in the Datta Khel area and accused them of passing information to the US.They strapped explosives around their bodies and then blew them up, said a Pakistani intelligence official.

Taliban militants have killed dozens of people they suspect spying for the US or the Pakistani government over the past few years.They usually decapitate or shoot the suspects.Residents of North Waziristan said this was the first time the militants had blown up suspected spies.

Since January 2010,43 drone attacks were carried out in Waziristan while the total number of drone strikes in the tribal areas reached 214.

The Times of India

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Mush sets eyes on PM chair

May 22, 2010

Washington: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf plans to return home to re-enter politics and has indicated that he wants to be the prime minister.

In an interview to CNN on Thursday,he also discounted the findings of a UN probe that laxity on his governments part had resulted in the December 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a gun and bomb attack in the garrison town of Rawalpindi.

Musharraf initially declined to say whether he was eying a particular office,telling CNNs Wolf Blitzer: The question ... of whether I am running for president or prime minister will be seen later.

But his subsequent remarks clearly implied he wants to be the prime minister.We run a parliamentary system there Musharraf said,adding: So you have to your party has to win in the election.Then only do you decide to run.

Basically,you are heading the party,you are running for the prime ministership, he said.Because in Pakistan,the chief executive is the prime minister,not the president.

Full report at: The Times of India

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US drone attack kills at least six in Pakistan

By HAJI MUJTABA

May 22, 2010

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: At least six people have been killed in a US drone missile attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan, a major Al-Qaeda and Taleban sanctuary, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Saturday.

The missiles struck a house around midnight in a village about 25 km (15 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, the officials said.

"US drone aircraft fired five missiles at a house owned by a tribesman identified as Khayli, killing six militants," said one intelligence official who declined to be identified.

But residents in the area said 12 people, including four women and two children, were killed. They said those killed were not militants and were from the same family.

Six women and two children were also wounded in the attack and being treated at a hospital in Miranshah, one witness said.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article56399.ece

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Embassy caterer among 6 arrested in NY bomb plot

By ASIF SHAHZAD & KATHY GANNON

May 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The co-owner of a catering company that organized events for the US Embassy is among six men detained by Pakistan for allegedly helping the failed Times Square bombing suspect, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said.

In a statement on its website, the US Embassy warned the catering company was suspected of ties to terrorist groups and said American diplomats had been instructed to stop using the firm.

Like Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American accused in the failed New York bombing, the six Pakistani detainees were all members of their country's urban elite, including several who were educated in the United States.

One was a former major who bought his way out of the army because of a "disagreement with its policies," the Pakistani official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article56424.ece

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Jews in Arab east Jerusalem defy Obama peace push

By TIA GOLDENBERG

May 22, 2010

JERUSALEM: When Devorah Adler's children go to school, they pass underneath the gun-toting security officer who stands on their roof 24-hours a day, walk down a path dotted by surveillance cameras and get in a van manned by another armed guard.

Adler is one of 2,000 Jews who reside in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in the heart of east Jerusalem, part of a movement that aims to ensure Israel's hold on the sector, which Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state.

Revved up by the Obama administration's latest attempts to limit Jewish encroachment in disputed areas of the holy city, they are working furiously to cement and expand their presence.

Adler believes her neighborhood, which Palestinians call Silwan and Jews call the City of David, was where the biblical King David once walked and is the heart of Israel's historic capital. She is willing to brave the occasional rock-throwing and rioting that erupt in the sector — sometimes sparked by Jewish expansion moves — to remain in the place she believes is so tied to Jewish history.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article56352.ece

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US, Egypt work to narrow gap on Mideast nuclear ban

By LOUIS CHARBONNEAU

May 22, 2010

UNITED NATIONS: The United States and Egypt are working to bridge differences on a proposed Middle East nuclear arms ban, an idea that could one day force Israel to scrap any atom bombs it has, UN diplomats say.

The US efforts to secure a deal with Egypt and other Arab countries reflect Washington's concern to win their backing for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program by offering a concession over US ally Israel, even though Washington says such a ban is impossible without peace in the Middle East.

Western diplomats say that the success or failure of a month-long meeting on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) currently under way in New York hinges on the sensitive negotiations on an Egyptian proposal to hold a conference on establishing a zone free of nuclear arms in the Middle East.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article56325.ece

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Just drop the arrogance with Iran

May 22, 2010

The agreement on Iran’s nuclear fuel announced on Monday after mediation by the Turkish and Brazilian governments should be good news for those who seek to use the rule of law to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. From both the American and Iranian perspectives the political dimension of the current dynamics is more important than the technical one. The accord should remind us that the style and tone in diplomatic processes is as important as substance.

Iran and its international negotiating partners have not reached agreement on Iran’s nuclear programs in the past half-decade, to a large extent because American- and Israeli-led concerns have been translated into an aggressive, accusatory, sanctions-and-threats-based style of diplomacy that Iran in turn has responded to with defiance.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article56273.ece

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Forces kill 27 militants in Orakzai

May 22, 2010

PESHAWAR: Twenty-seven were killed and 21 injured during fresh offensive of security forces against militants in Orakzai Agency.

Sources said a militant commander among 27 killed during a clash between security forces and militants in Orakzai Agency. Twenty-one militants wounded whereas two security men also sustained injuries. Four militants hideout were destroyed in the clash.

On the other hand, security forces operation is underway in Dabori and other adjoining areas.

http://thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=105224

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Internalising impunity in Afghanistan

Wazhma Frogh

May 22, 2010

The key to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan is not in encouraging the culture of rewarding bullies and strongmen, but in providing justice and so winning public support

A woman is yelling in pain but the man continues to beat her on her back with a whip. With every lash, her body jolts, moving up and down while she cries for forgiveness. A large number of men, and some women, are gathered around her, watching the scene. With each lash, the man shouts at her, “Shame on you...You must be punished...Others should learn a lesson from your punishment.” The flogging continues for around three minutes in this video that was shown on the national television channels in Kabul on February 18, 2010 and we are told that there was another woman who would be flogged afterwards.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\22\story_22-5-2010_pg3_4

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-rocker-on-his--jihad--against-extremists/d/2882


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