New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 20 Jan 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Nigeria: Over 300 killed in Muslim-Christian clashes

OIC Condemns Religious Violence In Nigeria And Calls For Restraint

J&K temple opens after 21 yrs

Kashmiri Pandits need sense of security: Omar

Kashmir ban on pre-paid mobile phones lifted

Two Muslim prayer halls attacked in Malaysia: police

Malaysia's war of words over God

U.S. Lifts Bush-era Ban on Foreign Muslim Scholars

71% of Afghans say India playing most positive role: Poll

Kodnani blow for Modi over Gujarat riot ‘role’

Muslim Scholars in Yemen-Houthi Mediation

‘Another 26/ 11 can provoke Indo- Pak war’

Christian convert will not return to Muslim parents

Pakistan snubs US over new Taliban offensive

Yemen 'stops issuing visas at airports'

India's patience thinning, Pak must act against terror: Antony

Three killed, 20 hurt in bomb blast in Pakistan: Officials

Israeli blockade jeopardising health of 1.4 mn Palestinians

Afghan security forces to be increased by 100,000

UK counter-terror spending 'ambitions' cut - minister

Iraq murder accused Danny Fitzsimons' case delayed

Christian and Muslim leaders meet Home Minister on SC status

Indo-Pak amity suits J&K: Omar

Jews reopen Chabad House on temporary basis in Mumbai

David Headley, Tahawwur Rana to be arraigned next week

U.S. warns of threat from terror syndicate

Al-Qaida offshoots rebuilding in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa

US fears American converts being trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen

Israel expelled US journalist, says Palestinian media

Pak woman scientist taken out from NY court during trial

World Citizen: Iran and Israel Already at (Cold) War

Muslims Angry Over U.S. Military 'Jesus' Rifles

Yusuf Al Qaradawi More A Political Activist

Today's great defamation of the Jewish people

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Nigeria: Over 300 killed in Muslim-Christian clashes

January 21, 2010

The Nigerian city of Jos almost turned to a ghost town as residents fled to seek refuge in churches, mosques and military barracks on Wednesday, even as Muslim-Christian clashes spread to new regions leaving more than 300 dead in three days of communal-violence.

However, the government has reviewed the 24-hour curfew to 5pm to 10am in Jos. The partial lifting of the curfew was also meant to address the issue of humanitarian supply which has been hampered by restriction of movement.

Humanitarian agencies have estimated the number of displaced as 20,000.

There is also serious food scarcity as shops are locked and commercial activities crippled. The fighting which started on Sunday between Christians and Muslims has spread to neighbouring towns forcing the country's military to take over from the police on maintenance of law and order in the town that serves as a capital to Plateau state.

A Red Cross chief, Awwalu Mohammed has raised alarm on the humanitarian consequences of the movement restriction. A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Gregory Yenlong, also announced the suspension of the use of motorcycles for transportation within the metropolis.

A woman who opted to remain anonymous told PTI that despite being evacuated by security agencies after making a special plea on phone, it was not an easy journey.

"I was able to escape to Abuja this morning but the State Security Service officers who aided me did it under dangerous circumstances as shoot out between them and some religious zealots was avoided by whiskers," she said.

She said her decision to call in the security operatives came when the attackers started going from house to house attacking and killing with machete, guns and other lethal weapons.

The violence was said to have been caused by some youth who rejected building of a mosque in an area predominantly inhabited by Christians.

The United States has called on Nigeria to ensure that the perpetrators of these acts of violence are brought to justice. The US extended its sympathies to those who lost their loved ones and friends in the latest clash in the city which has enjoyed delicate peace since violent religious clashes claimed hundreds in 2001.

The US condemned the renewed fight in a statement saying, "We condemn mob violence in the strongest possible terms, and take this opportunity to urge all parties to support efforts to promote inter-communal and interfaith harmony and peaceful co-existence in Jos and the rest of Nigeria."

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Abdulrahaman Danbazzau, said the military medical teams are stationed at the various camps to make available medical assistance and to build toilets for the displaced persons.

The Secretary General Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Nigeria, Alhaji Latif Adegbite told PTI, "The crisis we are witnessing in Jos now should not be given religious inclination because the root of the problem is ethnicity and something has to be done about it fast or else Jos will continue to have problems because it is a divided town."

Ethnic and religious tension in Jos have led to loss of many lives in recent times often orchestrated by power struggle. Nigeria's 150 million people are evenly distributed between Christians and Muslims with the latter predominant in northern Nigeria and the former in the South.

United States based Human Rights Watch has given the number of people who have died in religious and ethnic clashes in Nigeria as 13,500 since the military handed over to civilians in 1999.

Image: A woman shares food with people at an internally displaced persons camp in Nigeria's central city of Jos on Wednesday

© Copyright 2010 PTI.

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OIC Condemns Religious Violence In Nigeria And Calls For Restraint

January 21, 2010

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has expressed his concern over and condemnation of the recurring sectarian tension and violence in and around Jos in Nigeria between so-called Muslim and Christian mobs which led to the loss of many lives and harmed the inter-communal harmony.

The OIC Secretary General stressed once more the need for both Muslim and Christian religious leaders in Nigeria to take strong stance against extremists and those who exploit Islam and Christianity as covers for their criminal and mischievous acts and incitements, to teach to the adherents of their faith the sacred value of human life, to engage in a genuine dialogue in order to bridge any misunderstandings and misconceptions and to promote tolerance and harmony among adherents of Islam and Christianity. He voiced his total rejection of violence in the name of any religion, including Islam, which preaches peaceful coexistence, compassion and tolerance. 

He further called upon the traditional rulers and community leaders in the country to join hands to encourage dialogue, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and rule of law as means of resolving disputes.

http://www.isria.com/pages/21_January_2010_114.php

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J&K temple opens after 21 yrs

21 January 2010

Sheetleshwar Bhairav, one of Srinagar's oldest and largest Hindu temples, was reopened to devotees on Wednesday amidst religious rituals after a gap of 21 years.

Terming the event as "historical" for Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley, Mr Sanjay K. Tickoo, a community leader, said that the Sheetleshwar Bhairav had not only been a place of worship for the Hindus, but also a centre for community activities which, however, came to a halt with the breakout of separatist violence in 1989.

"It has been reopened after 21 long years coinciding with Basant Panchami and we are quite happy today," he said. Mr Tickoo said that Kashmiri Pandits Sangharash Samiti (KPSS), a representative body of the Valley Hindus, has launched a campaign against encroachment of temples and other properties of Pandits by "unscrupulous elements who are trying to be the custodians of these properties after the mass migration of Kashmiri Pandit community in 1989, which is unlawful and anti-religious in nature". He added that not only the successive governments, but other local state political parties also ignored the Pandits' concern with respect to their identity and religious sentiments. "It seems that the leadership of these political parties, state as well as Central government penalise us (left out Kashmiri Pandits) because we did not chose to migrate from the Valley and stood with the Muslim majority in worst period of turmoil," he said.

But the KPSS has now decided to take over all the socio-religious centres of the Pandits along with their moveable and immovable properties to save them from further ruin.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/india/jk-temple-opens-after-21-yrs.aspx

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Kashmiri Pandits need sense of security: Omar

21 January 2010

 Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that there was a “yearning” in Kashmir’s majority community for the return of the Kashmiri Pandit community but underlined the need for instilling a “sense of security” in the refugees who fled the Valley 20 years ago.

“The Kashmiri Pandits’ problem is neither political nor economic, but it is a sense of security which they need,” he told reporters after inaugurating a renovated hospital here.

“They fled the Valley because their sense of security was snatched from them,” Abdullah said, underlining the major factor that led to the exodus of the community.

Noting that the Dussehera festival was celebrated in the Valley last October after a gap of 20 years, he said the function was attended mostly by the majority community (Muslims) than Hindus. “It showed the yearning of the majority community for the return of the community to the Valley,” he said.

More than 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits fled the Valley since December 1989 with many locking up their homes and giving the keys to their Muslim neighbours, in the hope that they would be returning soon.

On the state government’s plans to draw the community members back to the Valley, Abdullah said various steps have been taken, including reservation of a certain number (3,000) jobs for Kashmiri Pandit youth.

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article84399.ece

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Kashmir ban on pre-paid mobile phones lifted

21 January 2010

The Indian government has lifted a ban on pre-paid mobile phone services in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

The ban was imposed nearly three months ago to "prevent the misuse of pre-paid mobile services by militant groups".

Officials said militants would buy mobile phone SIM cards providing fake identity documents. These phones would later be used for militant operations.

Authorities said the ban was lifted because they now had a reliable system to verify all customers.

The ban was imposed on 1 November by India's home ministry.

Unpopular ban

Kashmir Valley had about 3.8 million pre-paid subscribers. In recent weeks many had shifted to different services.

On Thursday the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) telecommunications company told the BBC that the ban had been revoked.

"We have told the service providers that they can re-start the pre-paid mobile services in the state," a spokesman said.

The ban was very unpopular with people acrossIndian-administered Kashmir and all political parties in the state criticised the move as "discriminatory".

"The ban had unnecessarily caused confusion and inconvenience to people in Kashmir," Irfan Ansari, one telecoms entrepreneur in Srinagar told the BBC.

The president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nazir Ahmed Dar welcomed the government's decision.

"I am happy they understood that the ban was a wrong decision and that a system of verification similar to post-paid mobiles should be put in place [for pre-paid connections]," he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8472049.stm

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Two Muslim prayer halls attacked in Malaysia: police

Jan 21, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21, 2010 (AFP) - Two Muslim prayer halls in Malaysia were set on fire Thursday, police said, following a spate of violence against churches triggered by a row over the use of the word "Allah".

Eleven churches across the mainly Muslim nation have been pelted with Molotov cocktails, stones and paint in recent weeks, in attacks that have escalated ethnic tensions.

The two Muslim prayer halls, both in Muar in the southern state of Johor, suffered only minor fire damage said the town's deputy police chief Lee Choon Guan.

In the first incident, an arsonist threw diesel at the building's window, damaging the frame and curtain, but passing motorists noticed the fire and managed to put out the blaze, he said.

In the second incident about a kilometre (less than a mile) away, fire damaged the door, carpet and curtain of a prayer room which also had its window broken with stones.

"Police are investigating to identify the suspects and motive," Lee said in a statement, urging all parties not to exploit the assaults.

The church attacks broke out after a December 31 court ruling that overturned a ban on non-Muslims using "Allah" as a translation for "God." The ruling has been suspended pending an appeal.

The row is the latest in a string of religious disputes that have erupted in recent years, straining relations between Muslim Malays and minority ethnic Chinese and Indians who fear the country is being "Islamised."

Police said Wednesday they had arrested eight people over the first of the church attacks, a firebombing that gutted the ground floor of an Assemblies of God church in suburban Kuala Lumpur.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in multiracial Malaysia, which experienced deadly race riots in 1969.

Malaysia's population is 60 percent Malay, but also includes indigenous tribes as well as the large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities - practising Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism, among other religions.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20100121-193561.html

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Malaysia's war of words over God

January 21, 2010

Spurious objections to Malaysian Christians' use of the word Allah must be countered by inclusivist Muslims

In countless tourism adverts, Malaysia asks the world to see it as "Truly Asia". In the past days and weeks, its government's bid to portray the nation as a harmonious multicultural society has gone up in flames.

Since its high court lifted a three-year embargo that prevents non-Muslims from using the Arabic word Allah in their prayers and literature on 31 December, detractors firebombed several churches and vandalised others across the nation. While there were no casualties, several churches have thus far been hit, with one so severely damaged that its members had to conduct their service elsewhere. Eight of the attackers have now been arrested.

Despite these attacks, Malaysia's Christians, who make up about nine percent of the 27 million-strong Southeast Asian nation, are insisting that the use of Allah is not exclusive to Muslims, who account for some 60% of the population.

Last February, Malaysia's Catholic archbishop, Murphy Pakiam, publisher of the Herald newspaper, filed for a judicial review against the ban that was first enforced in 2007 by the then home affairs minister, Syed Hamid Albar, against the Catholic weekly for using Allah to refer to God in its Malay language version.

The rationale behind the Catholic church's appeal was that Allah is a generic word for God that preceded the spread of Islam. After all, the word Allah, when translated from Arabic, comprises the definite article al, and the noun ilah which means God – connoting a singular deity, a belief common to adherents of the Abrahamic faiths.

Indeed, Biblical scholar Kenneth J Thomas outlined evidence in a 2001 research paper (pdf) suggesting that Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Arab world have used Allah when citing and translating the Bible since the first centuries of Islam.

In Malaysia, its use by Christians developed along similar lines. Since Christianity became widespread there in the 19th century, primarily through the missionary efforts of English colonisers, Allah has been used extensively by Malay-speaking Christian indigenous peoples of the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

When juxtaposed against the fact that Malay-speaking Christians in neighbouring Indonesia have long used Allah in their worship to no complaint, it is understandable that Malaysia's church attacks have been viewed with much chagrin.

Observers have rightly argued that the rumpus is tied to Malaysia's ethnic-based political landscape. To be more precise, it arises from the form of Islam nurtured by a segment of the nation's Malay political elites.

Full report at: www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/jan/21/malaysia-christians-allah-god

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U.S. Lifts Bush-era Ban on Foreign Muslim Scholars

21 January 2010

The Obama administration has lifted a Bush-era ban on two Muslim scholars who were barred from entering the United States. On Wednesday, the State Department said Adam Habib and Tariq Ramadan are no longer deemed a security threat and will be allowed to apply for entry visas. Ramadan was offered a position at the University of Notre Dame in 2004. The Bush administration initially barred his entry without explanation and then said it was because he once gave money to a Palestinian charity. A South African social scientist, Habib was deported in 2006 after traveling to the U.S. for a series of academic meetings. In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union hailed what it called “a major victory”, and called on the Obama administration to “retire the practice of ideological exclusion for good.”

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/21/headlines/us_lifts_bush_era_ban_on_foreign_scholars

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71% of Afghans say India playing most positive role in country: Poll

21 January 2010

NEW DELHI: No prizes for guessing which country is going to eat its heart out over this. A domestic poll in Afghanistan commissioned by international agencies has found that an astonishing 71% of Afghans believe that India, among all countries active in the country, is playing the most positive role in the rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

In a double whammy for Pakistan, only 2% of the 1,500 Afghans who participated in the poll voted in favour of Pakistan. In fact, the Taliban fared better with 3%.

The poll, held by Afghan Centre for Socio Economic and Opinion Research and commissioned by agencies like BBC, ABC and German TV ARD, cut across all ethnic and geographical divides. The poll was carried out in all 43 provinces between December 11 and 23 last year. India was followed by Germany (59%), the US (51%), Iran (50%) and Britain (39%).

For India, it's recognition of the massive aid and relief work which it has carried out in Afghanistan even in the face of stiff opposition by Pakistan which has used its clout with the US to raise doubts over India's relief work.

India has pledged over $1.2 billion for a wide array of reconstruction activities ranging from education to building roads, bridges, power stations to digging tubewells and grassroot development projects. This obviously has generated a lot of goodwill among ordinary Afghans for India.

The poll has called Pakistan's bluff categorically dismissing Islamabad's contention that India's growing profile in Afghanistan was part of the problem, and not the solution. It's based on in-person interviews with a random national sample of 1,534 Afghan adults during that period.

The poll also brought to the fore the growing unpopularity of the Taliban in Afghanistan with only 6% of people polled saying they favoured a Taliban administration. Ninety per cent said they wanted their country run by the current government.

A Gallup poll last year in November had said that 56% preferred India's role in the reconstruction of the country, while 51% preferred the UN, 44% Nato, 30% Pakistan and 42% Iran. Pointing out that India is the largest regional donor in Afghanistan, the poll report said, "The country's increasing visibility in reconstruction and development efforts is evident in the roles Afghans see the country as playing and think India should play." The Gallup data further showed that one in seven Afghans identified India's current role in economic development and said India should continue to play this role.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/71-of-Afghans-say-India-playing-most-positive-role-in-country-Poll/articleshow/5482018.cms

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Kodnani blow for Modi over riot ‘ role’

21 January 2010

GUJARAT chief minister Narendra Modi is facing increasing heat over his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. On Wednesday, the Gujarat High Court directed the state advocate general to get information from the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 post- Godhra riots, whether it proposes to summon Modi.

While this is for the first time that rumblings on Modi’s alleged direct involvement in the 2002 pogrom is being heard in the legal corridors, he seems to be up against more obstacles. Making things worse for him, Amina Belif, a witness in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, has identified former Modi cabinet member Maya Kodnani during a cross-examination in a special court.

Belif, whose grilling was over on Wednesday, told the special court that she had seen Kodnani, the BJP MLA from Naroda Patiya, interacting with a Hindu mob near Noorani Mosque on February 28, 2002 and instigating them to attack the Muslim locality.

Belif also told her interrogators that the minister fired at the locality from a “pistol-like weapon”, before leaving the place. “She told the mob that they should keep things going before she left,” Belif told the court.

While Kodnani along with Joydeep Patel, a VHP leader and Modi’s former close aide, were arrested by a special investigation team (SIT) last year, this is for the first time a witness identified Kodnani before a court.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had directed the state government to hand over 14 riot- related documents, including transcripts of three of Modi’s alleged inflammatory speeches after the Godhra train carnage, to the SIT. Apart from Modi, the high court wants the advocate general to confirm whether the Nanavati Commission proposes to call the home minister, Assembly speaker Ashok Bhatt and police officer R. J. Savani for deposition by February 15.

A division bench of the high court comprising chief justice S. Mukhopadhyay and Justice Anang Dave said in case the advocate general failed to comply with the order, the court would decide on the petition filed by the Jan ‘ She instigated mob in Naroda Patiya’ Sangharsh Manch seeking summons for the four accused by the commission.

In another development, IPS officer Geeta Johri has written to SIT chief R. K. Raghavan, probing nine- most heinous cases of the riots, requesting him to relieve her from the team. Johri’s resignation came in the wake of the Supreme Court making adverse observations on her regarding her role in investigating the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

Mail Today, New Delhi

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Muslim Scholars in Yemen-Houthi Mediation

By  Ahmed Abdel- Salam

DOHA – The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has formed a delegation to outline a comprehensive plan to end the raging fighting between the Yemeni government and the Houthi Shiite rebels.

"The IUMS Executive Council under Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has decided to mediate between the Yemeni government and Houthi Shiite rebels to end violence there," Sheikh Abdullah bin Beya, a member of IUMS Board of Trustees, told IslamOnline.net.

A high-level IUMS team will arrive in Yemen in the coming days to discuss ways of ending the fighting between government troops and Houthis in the northern Saada province.

Led by Qaradawi, the scholar delegation will group Mauritanian bin Beya, Qatari Ali Al-Qurdaghi, Saudi Salman Oudah, Omani Mufti Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Khalili and Iranian Shiite scholar Mohamed Ali Taskhiri.

Yemen troops are engaged in fierce fighting against Shiite rebels in the northern province of Saada.

Sana'a says the rebels, known as Houthis, have been fighting to restore the Zaidi imamate, which was overthrown in a 1962 republican coup.

The rebels deny the claim, saying they are defending their villages against what they call government aggression.

Saudi Arabia was dragged into the conflict last year after the Shiite rebels shot dead two border guards and made incursions into Saudi territories before being driven out.

Before launching the initiative, the IUMS listened to a report by President of Malaysia’s Islamic Party (PAS) Abdul Hadi Awang who visited Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran to discuss the solution to the conflict.

The Dublin-based IUMS was launched in July 2004 in the British capital London as an independent body and a reference for all Muslims worldwide.

End Bloodshed

Full report at: www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1262372596808&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout#ixzz0dFvPaKzE

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‘Another 26/ 11 can provoke Indo- Pak war’

By Pinaki Bhattacharya

US DEFENCE secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday hinted that another 26/ 11- type terror attack could trigger an armed conflict between India and Pakistan.

And this was exactly what Pakistan- based terrorist groups linked with al- Qaeda and the Taliban wanted, he warned.

He praised New Delhi’s restraint after the Mumbai terror strike, but in a clear signal to Pakistan, cautioned that India could not show unlimited patience.

Gates, who was on a two- day visit to India, had a 40- minute interaction with his Indian counterpart, defence minister A. K. Antony, on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, he had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and external affairs minister S. M. Krishna.

The highlight of his visit was his articulation of the US position on India’s response in the event of any future terror attack, besides dwelling on the US arms export regime.

Talking to the media at the US embassy, Gates said: “ After the Mumbai attacks, India had showed great restraint and statesmanship. But if attacked again, it will be unreasonable to assume that India would show the same patience. So if attacked again, their response will be a question. I leave that question to the Indian government.” Significantly, he cautioned that terror elements were trying to provoke a war between the two South Asian neighbours in a bid to destabilise the entire region.

“ The magnitude of the terrorist threat to the region needs to be recognised. There is a syndicate of terrorist operations.

While al- Qaeda is operating in Afghanistan along with the Taliban, the Tehreek- e- Taliban is focusing on Pakistan. The Lashkar- e- Tayyeba is focusing on Pakistan as also India.

“ Under the umbrella, they intend to destabilise not only Pakistan, but the entire region by provoking confrontation between India and Pakistan through terror attacks. This is a very complicated issue and very dangerous for the entire region,” Gates said.

The defence secretary said there was close co- operation between India and the US, besides other powers, on the issue of terrorism.

“ India is the success story of the last two decades,” he said.

Noting that there was increased co- operation between India and the US, Gates talked about “ joint training, counter- terrorism and military exchanges between the two countries”. He acknowledged that India’s contribution was vital to the situation in Afghanistan. “ The support India is providing is vital. It is a significant support of $ 1.3 billion… India can be an anchor,” Gates asserted.

He, however, added that India and Pakistan needed to walk the extra mile to remove mutual suspicion as far as their involvement in Afghanistan was concerned.

“ There are real suspicions in India and Pakistan about each other’s role... about what the other is doing in Afghanistan. So each country should focus on development and humanitarian assistance, and perhaps in a limited way, in training. A bit of transparency with each other in what they are doing will allay their suspicions and frankly create opportunities to the Afghan government,” Gates added.

During his meeting with Gates, Antony raised India’s concerns regarding America’s denial of export licences for various defence related requirements.

He also expressed India’s worries about inclusion of some of the defence PSUs and the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s laboratories in the ‘ Entity List’ of the US government.

The US restricts sale of technologies, especially dual- use technologies, to the institutions included in the ‘ Entity List’. Antony told Gates that such restrictions “ were anomalous in the context of the steady improvement in bilateral defence ties”. Gates reportedly told Antony that US President Barack Obama had initiated a comprehensive reform of the country’s export control regulations and assured that this would facilitate the supply of defence technology and equipment to India.

Mail today, New delhi

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Christian convert will not return to Muslim parents

21 January 2010

A teenager who converted to Christianity and ran away from her Muslim parents fearing an “honour killing” has been allowed to stay in foster care, a court has ruled.

American Rifqa Bary ran away from her parents in July because she said her father would kill her for converting to Christianity. He denies the allegations.

There have been several court battles over her case.

This latest ruling means the teen will be allowed to stay in foster care until she is 18.

Miss Bary and her parents say they will attempt to work at their problems through counselling.

“Rifqa and her parents love and respect each other”, a statement agreed by the two parties read.

The family, who are originally from Sri Lanka, emigrated to the USA in 2000 seeking medical treatment for Rifqa.

Back in August Miss Bary spoke to an American TV station about her fear of being murdered for her conversion to Christianity.

She said: “In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first – imagine the honour in killing me.”

She claimed that her father “would kill me or send me back to Sri Lanka” where, she said, “they have asylums where they put people like me.”

A law enforcement investigation found no credible threats against her, but an expert on ‘honour killings’, Dr Phyliss Chesler, has claimed that such killings are not understood by most Americans, including those in law enforcement.

In September Dr Chesler, professor of psychology at City University of New York, said: “Anyone who converts from Islam is considered an apostate, and apostasy is a capital crime”.

Dr Chesler added: “Muslim girls and women are killed for far less.”

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/video-christian-convert-will-not-return-to-muslim-parents/

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Pakistan snubs US over new Taliban offensive

21 January 2010

Pakistan's army has said it will launch no new offensives on militants in 2010, as the US defence secretary arrived for talks on combating Taliban fighters.

Army spokesman Athar Abbas told the BBC the "overstretched" military had no plans for any fresh anti-militant operations over the next 12 months.

Our correspondent says the comments are a clear snub to Washington.

The US would like Pakistan to expand an offensive against militants launching cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Pakistan on Thursday for his first visit since US President Barack Obama took office last year.

'Embarrassing'

The one-day trip comes at a crucial time in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, with the US planning to commit 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Mr Gates was expected to tell Pakistan that it could do more against top Taliban leaders operating in its territory, some of whom are alleged to have close links to Pakistan's ISI intelligence service.

The Pakistani army launched major ground offensives in 2009 in the north-west against Pakistani Taliban strongholds in the Swat region, last April, and in South Waziristan, last October.

The militants have hit back with a wave of suicide bombings and attacks that have killed hundreds of people across Pakistan.

In the capital, Islamabad, on Thursday, Maj Gen Abbas, head of public relations for the Pakistan army, told the BBC: "We are not going to conduct any major new operations against the militants over the next 12 months.

"The Pakistan army is overstretched and it is not in a position to open any new fronts. Obviously, we will continue our present operations in Waziristan and Swat."

'Trust deficit'

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8471789.stm

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Yemen 'stops issuing visas at airports'

21 January 2010

Yemen is to stop issuing visas to foreigners arriving at international airports, state media has reported.

The move was to "halt terrorist infiltration," Saba state media said.

The change will affect Western visitors, including those from the US, Canada and Europe, who had generally been able to get visas at airports.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, apparently trained a Nigerian man charged over the failed bomb attempt on a US plane last month.

There has been increasing pressure on Yemen to crack down on al-Qaeda in the wake of the 25 December plot.

According to the Yemeni defence ministry newspaper September 26, a military official said "granting visas to foreigners will take place only through the embassies of Yemen, and after consulting security authorities to verify the identities of travellers".

This is to "prevent the infiltration of any suspected terrorist elements," he was quoted as saying.

Six airports in Yemen receive international flights, AFP news agency reported.

Separately, the US said there were concerns that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was expanding its recruitment efforts "to attract non-traditional followers".

The US Senate foreign relations committee, in a report released on 21 January into al-Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia, said there were concerns about some Americans who "had disappeared and are suspected of having gone to al-Qaeda training camps in ungoverned portions of the impoverished country".

Law enforcement officials believed there could be as many as 36 US citizens who converted to Islam while in US prisons and travelled to Yemen in the past year, "possibly for al-Qaeda training".

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8471768.stm

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India's patience thinning, Pak must act against terror: Antony

21 January 2010

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday asked Pakistan to take "strong, convincing" action against perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, saying unless they were brought to book, it will remain impatient.

It also asked the US to advise Pakistan to dismantle the terror infrastructure and to stop use of its soil by terrorist groups to carry out attacks inside India, adding the government and the people did not want any confrontation with the neighbouring countries, but it would be difficult to move forward unless Pakistan acted.

"Unless government of Pakistan takes action against the involved in the heinous acts of 26/11....strong, convincing action to dismantle the terrorist outfits across the border, Indian people will be always impatient," Antony told reporters on the sidelines of the NCC Republic Day Parade Camp here.

He was responding to queries regarding US defence secretary Robert Gates' remarks that it would "not be unreasonable to assume that India's patience will be limited were there to be further attacks" such as the 26/11 and if such patience would wear out in case of another terror attack.

"What he told on Wednesday, I also told him that our people are becoming impatient. So you please advise Pakistan. They must act against those involved in terrorist activities such as 26/11 and also almost all these terrorist outfits operating across the border...they are still very active," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indias-patience-thinning-Pak-must-act-against-terror-Antony-/articleshow/5485083.cms

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Three killed, 20 hurt in bomb blast in Pakistan: Officials

21 January 2010

KHAR, PAKISTAN: A roadside bomb on Thursday killed two anti-Taliban tribal elders and a woman travelling on a bus in Pakistan's lawless northwest, officials said, adding 20 other passengers were injured.

The incident happened in Salarzai district in the tribal region of Bajaur, a day after a similar bomb planted in the road injured a provincial parliamentarian in the northwest capital Peshawar.

"It was an improvised explosive device which exploded as the bus headed to the region's main town of Khar," local government official Mazhar Ali said, confirming that about 20 people were injured in the blast.

Senior administration official Abdul Kabir said one woman died on the spot while "two others succumbed to their injuries in the hospital."

The two men were members of a tribal militia formed to fight against Taliban insurgents in the region, he said, in the latest in a string of killings of elders who have spoken out against the Islamist extremists.

Also in Bajaur, two Taliban militants were killed when a bomb they were preparing exploded in Savaei village, local official Farooq Khan said.

Pakistan's tribal belt has become a stronghold for local Taliban and hundreds of Islamist extremists who fled Afghanistan after a US-led invasion ousted the hardline Taliban regime in Kabul in late 2001.

Bajaur was the scene of a major anti-militant operation in August 2008. Security forces in February 2009 claimed the six-month operation cleared the area of militants, but unrest rumbles on.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Three-killed-20-hurt-in-bomb-blast-in-Pakistan-Officials-/articleshow/5484954.cms

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Israeli blockade jeopardising health of 1.4 mn Palestinians

21 January 2010

UNITED NATIONS: The UN and its partnering NGOs have warned that the continuing blockade of Gaza Strip has jeopardised the health of 1.4 million

Palestinians, and called for the immediate opening of Gaza crossing.

"The continuing closure of the Gaza Strip is undermining the functioning of the health care system and putting at risk the health of 1.4 million people in Gaza," said Max Gaylard, the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory.

"It is causing on-going deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. It is hampering the provision of medical supplies and the training of health staff and it is preventing patients with serious medical conditions getting timely specialised treatment outside Gaza," he added.

Operation Cast Lead, carried out last year by Israeli forces, damaged 15 of Gaza's 27 hospitals, and 43 of its 110 primary health care facilities were either damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told journalists here that hospitals and primary care facilities, damaged during the fighting, have not been rebuilt because construction materials are not allowed into Gaza.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israeli-blockade-jeopardising-health-of-14-mn-Palestinians-/articleshow/5483944.cms

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Afghan security forces to be increased by 100,000

21 January 2010

Afghan security forces take position in a public market during clashes between Taliban-linked militants and security forces on January 18, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan

The Afghan government and its international partners have agreed to increase the country's security forces by more than 100,000 within two years.

A panel of officials from Afghanistan, the UN and countries contributing troops want an army of more than 170,000 and a police force of 134,000.

The move comes ahead of a conference in London next week which aims to boost international support for Afghanistan.

But Afghan security forces have long been battling high rates of desertion.

The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board agreed to increase the size of the Afghan National Army from the current figure of about 97,000 to 171,600 by the end of 2011, the Associated Press news agency reported, quoting officials.

The Afghan National Police would be be boosted from about 94,000 today to 134,000 under the plan, it said.

Authorities say they are introducing incentives to bring down the rate of desertion. Work in Afghanistan's security forces is considered low-paid and dangerous, particularly for those battling insurgents in the south and east of the country.

The board set a long-term goal of expanding the Afghan security force to 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police within five years.

But officials said that figure may not be necessary if the US-led campaign against the Taliban succeeds in crippling the insurgency, AP reported.

Warning

In his inauguration speech, while being sworn in for the second term in November, President Hamid Karzai said the strength of Afghan security forces had to be bolstered and the role of international forces reduced.

But Mr Karzai warned that it would be a long time before Afghanistan would be able to pay the cost of maintaining its own army and police force.

The president said it would take 15 years before the country was able to pay for the cost of its own security forces and appealed to the US and the international community to continue funding them.

Last year, US President Barack Obama announced that he would be sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Nato allies agreed to send at least 7,000 extra troops to support the US surge in Afghanistan.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8471642.stm

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UK counter-terror spending 'ambitions' cut - minister

21 January 2010

Foreign Office projects hit: From BBC Democracy Live

The government has admitted it will be spending "less than we had ambition to spend" on counter-terrorism projects in Pakistan due to the falling pound.

But Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant told MPs the budget would still go up next year.

He was making an urgent statement after fellow minister Lady Kinnock appeared to contradict a statement by PM Gordon Brown on counter-terrorism.

The Lib Dems said government policy in this key area was "shambolic".

Mr Bryant acknowledged that the Foreign Office budget had been hit by the falling value of the pound.

But he said counter-terrorism spending in Pakistan had risen from £6.2m in 2008/09 to £8.3m in 2009/10 and would be between £9m and £9.5m in 2010/11.

Lady Kinnock, who was speaking at the same time as Mr Bryant in the House of Lords, gave slightly different figures, saying the budget would go from £8.2m in 2009/10 to £9.5m in 2010/11.

She said: "This is a smaller rise than we would have hoped, we are still spending more than on Pakistan CT (counter-terrorism) than we have ever done. Pakistan remains a critical partner in our nation's security. A small number of particular projects that were not delivering as effectively as other projects at meeting CT objectives have been cut or scaled back."

She said the government's counter-terrorism strategy was "but a small part" of its overall efforts in Pakistan.

Mr Brown, speaking on a visit to Stevenage, said: "It is important to recognise our counter-terrorism effort is also linking up the efforts of our police forces here and our border control system, which is keeping the country as safe as possible.

"We are extending the range of work we are doing on de-radicalisation... but we also want to support the moderates."

Counter radicalisation

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8471608.stm

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Iraq murder accused Danny Fitzsimons' case delayed

21 January 2010

The trial of a former soldier accused of killing two colleagues in Iraq has been adjourned for psychiatric reports.

Danny Fitzsimons, 33, of Middleton, Greater Manchester, is accused of the murder of two ArmorGroup workers in Baghdad's Green Zone.

Paul McGuigan, of Peebles, Scotland, and Australian Darren Hoare, both 37, were shot dead in August 2009. All three men worked as security guards.

The case in Baghdad is due to resume on 18 February.

Mr Fitzsimons' defence counsel had asked for him to be referred to a medical board for a full assessment of his state of mind at the time of the incident.

Security guards

Family and friends claim he was suffering mental torment from events he witnessed while serving eight years in the British Army, including tours of duty during the Balkans conflict and in Iraq.

Mr Fitzsimons is understood to be the first Westerner facing an Iraqi trial on murder charges since an agreement giving foreign workers immunity was lifted.

His lawyers, John Tipple and Nick Wrack, were attempting to have him extradited back to the UK to face any charges.

Mr McGuigan, 37, a former Royal Marines commando from Peebles-shire in the Scottish Borders, had a son and was about to become a father for a second time.

Father-of-three Mr Hoare, 37, from Queensland, served in Iraq as a member of the Royal Australian Air Force before starting work as a private security contractor.

Full report at: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/8471849.stm

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Christian and Muslim leaders meet Home Minister on SC status

By: John Malhotra

21 January 2010

A delegation of Christian and Muslim leaders on Wednesday met the Home Minister of India P. Chidambaram and urged the implementation of Ranganath Mishra Commission report that recommends extending SC status to all Dalits regardless of religion.

A memorandum was submitted calling for the deletion of para 3 of Constitutional Order 1950 which originally restricted the Scheduled Castes net to the Hindus and later opened it to Sikhs and Buddhists, but still excluding from its purview the Muslims and Christians.

"For more than five decades Muslims and Christians of Scheduled Caste Origin are being excluded from the process of development. Such an exclusion of a section of the people goes against the “inclusive growth” repeatedly invoked by the Union Government," they informed.

The delegation comprised of Rev. Dr. Enos Das Pradhan, general secretary of Church of North India (CNI), Fr. G Cosmon Arokiaraj, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC, Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, ex-President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat and others.

They hoped that as India celebrates its sixtieth year of Republic, such discrimination and prejudice against religious minorities can be shunned and equality be practiced.

Mr. Chidambaram told the delegation that the government was intently studying the matter and is also to express its concerns while replying to a petition filed in the Supreme Court.

The Home Minister also acknowledged that although caste is not practiced in Christianity and Islam, the lot of Muslim and Dalits was no better than their Hindu counterparts.

In 2008, a study conducted by the National Commission for Minorities, noted that "Dalit Christians and Muslims are socially known and treated as distinct groups within their own religious communities" and "they are invariably regarded as ‘socially inferior’ communities by their co-religionists.”

Full report at: in.christiantoday.com/articles/christian-and-muslim-leaders-meet-home-minister-on-sc-status/5087.htm

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Indo-Pak amity suits J&K: Omar

21 January 2010

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Wednesday that India-Pakistan amity was in the best interests of Jammu and Kashmir as their relationship has direct bearing on the ground situation in the state. "Indo-Pak relationship has direct bearing on the developmental activities of Jammu and Kashmir; hence it is always in the best interest of our state that both the countries live in amicable, friendly, peaceful and cordial atmosphere," he asserted while speaking at a rally at Swankha, Vijaypur near Jammu.

The chief minster added that it was also in the interest of Pakistan to have good relations with India and avoid approach of confrontation. "They should also realise that situation in their country is deteriorating," he said hoping that all in the two countries will play their role in strengthening peace. Turning to Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Abdullah said that forces have remained always active in creating divisions and fissures between its people and make them fight in the name of religion, region and caste.

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/india/indo-pak-amity-suits-jk-omar.aspx

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Jews reopen Chabad House on temporary basis in Mumbai

21 January 2010

Over a year after the 26/11 attacks, Jew residents have regrouped to start a Chabad House on a temporary basis in the metropolis after the Narmiman House was destroyed in the Mumbai terror strikes.

"A temporary Chabad House is currently operational in the city. A new Rabbi and his wife will soon arrive for the same," Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, Director of the Chabad Mumbai Relief Fund told PTI here.

"The Jewish priest, who is expected to arrive in a few months, will continue offering the services to the people of our community."

Nariman House also known as Chabad House, is a testimony to the bloodshed by two terrorists - Babar Imran and Nasir, who laid a two-day terror siege and slaughtered four Jews including baby Moshe's parents.

Nariman House, a Jewish outreach center run by Chabad-Lubavitch Movement having an educational center and a synagogue, offered drug prevention services and stayed to the people of their faith.

"There are many students and volunteers here who have been actively helping in maintaining and rebuilding the Chabad House since the last few months. We have rented a place in the city where the operations are going on," Berkowitz said.

"We will continue with our services in Mumbai. We have not left after the attack. Our goal is to help rebuild what is destroyed. We need to give people a strong security. We will rebuild it in a way that everyone feels secure," Berkowitz said.

He said they enjoy the "good co-operation" of Mumbai police, especially its Commissioner D Sivanandan.

"We are pleased to receive a donation of USD 1,00,000 from Prince Michael of Kent and other donors from London to rebuild at least two floors including kitchen," he said.

"Rebuilding the house would take nearly USD 1.5 million and by next anniversary of the attack we will see some progress," he said, without revealing the funds collected till date.

On financial aid received from other countries, Berkowitz said, "We have lot of hope from the people of Israel, the US, Canada and Australia."

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230646/Jews-reopen-Chabad-House-on-temporary-basis-in-Mumbai.html

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David Headley, Tahawwur Rana to be arraigned next week

21 January 2010

CHICAGO: Terror suspects David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, indicted on charges of being involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, will be arraigned in a court here next week.

The arraignment of Rana and Headley was initially scheduled for today but have now been rescheduled. While Pakistani-Canadian citizen Rana will be arraigned on January 25, Pakistani-American Headley's arraignment has been set for January 27 before US Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, US Attorney's Office spokesman Randall Samborn said.

Further, a status hearing that was scheduled for today in Rana's appeal of detention has also been cancelled and not yet been rescheduled, Samborn said.

Chicagoans Headley and Rana were indicted on January 14 by a federal grand jury on charges of being involved in the Mumbai attacks and planning a terror strike against a Danish newspaper in Copenhagen.

The 12-count superseding indictment contains the identical charges that were filed against Headley on December 7 while adding Rana as a defendant in three of the counts charging material support of the terrorism plots in Denmark and India, as well as in support of terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Ilyas Kashmiri, an allegedly influential terrorist organisation leader in Pakistan who is alleged to be in regular contact with leaders of al Qaeda, and Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman), a retired major in the Pakistani military were also indicted.

Headley had in December pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him. Rana has been in custody since his arrest last year and has been denied bond.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/David-Headley-Tahawwur-Rana-to-be-arraigned-next-week/articleshow/5482728.cms

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U.S. warns of threat from terror syndicate

K.V. Prasad

India’s patience will be limited if terror attack recurs: Gates

NEW DELHI: The United States on Wednesday cautioned that the “syndicate of terror” operating in Afghanistan-Pakistan is a threat that intends to provoke an India-Pakistan conflict and destabilise the region.

Washington also made it clear that India’s restraint and “statesmanship” shown after the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 would be “limited” if such an event recurred.

“India responded with statesmanship…It is not unreasonable to assume India’s patience will be limited, if it [Mumbai-type terror attacks] were to happen again,” the visiting Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, said at a press conference after meetings with leaders here.

Dr. Gates said the terror syndicate was trying to destabilise the region and it was for each country to understand its magnitude, engage to reduce and eliminate the threats posed by it with a high degree of cooperation.

About the syndicate, he said that while al-Qaeda was primarily in safe havens on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the Taliban was active in Afghanistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban targeted Pakistan. The Lashkar-e-Taiba focussed on both India and Pakistan to trigger a conflict.

“It is a very complicated situation. It is dangerous for the region as a whole. They are a syndicate of terror operating with the intention of destabilising the whole region,” he said. The success of any one group led to new capabilities and new reputation for all, he pointed out and felt that targeting one group would not eliminate the threat.

While praising India’s “extraordinary” support to Afghanistan, with New Delhi committing $1.3 billion in developmental assistance, Dr. Gates talked of suspicion in both India and Pakistan over what the other was doing there.

India was focussed on development, humanitarian assistance, and providing limited training to the Afghan police. However, if it was done with full transparency, it would help to dispel the suspicions.

Dr. Gates said that while the discussions with Indian leaders on China were generic in nature, both sides talked about Beijing’s military modernisation plan. In the same breath, he said Washington preferred to engage more with China to avoid any miscalculation.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/21/stories/2010012158150100.htm

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Al-Qaida offshoots rebuilding in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa

21 January 2010

WASHINGTON: While the United States successfully disabled al-Qaida from Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9 /11; the terrorist organisation and its offshoots are rebuilding in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa, a top American intelligence official has said.

"While we disabled al-Qaida's training and financing mechanisms in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks, it is clear that al-Qaida and its offshoots are rebuilding in Pakistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa," Robert S Mueller, director federal bureau of investigation (FBI), said yesterday.

Appearing before a congressional committee, Mueller said the US also face threats from home grown extremists, those who live in the communities they intend to attack, and are often self radicalised and self trained.

"We also face threats from individuals who travel abroad to terrorists training camps in order to commit acts of terrorism overseas or to return home to attack America.

And these threats continue to change and evolve as extremists are now operating in new sanctuaries around the world, as al-Qaida and its offshoots are rebuilding in Pakistan, Yemen and the Horn of Africa," he said in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"While the terrorist threat has not diminished, together with our intelligence community partners, we have disrupted a number of plots over the past year.

We have learned a great deal from these cases, both about the new emerging threats and how to stop them," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Al-Qaida-offshoots-rebuilding-in-Pakistan-Yemen-and-Africa/articleshow/5482937.cms

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US fears American converts being trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen

S. Rajagopalan

The US has raised concern over three dozen Americans, who converted to Islam in prison and have travelled to Yemen, apparently to get training from the Al Qaeda. A new report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cites US law enforcement officials as saying that while there is no public evidence of any terrorist activities by these individuals as yet, several of them have “dropped off the radar for weeks at a time”.

US officials are said to be on “heightened alert because of the potential threat from extremists carrying American passports and the related challenges involved in detecting and stopping homegrown operatives”. The former convicts headed to Yemen ostensibly to study Arabic, but there is concern they could have been radicalised in prison and could be attractive recruits for Al Qaeda, CNN said citing the report.

The document also voiced concern also concern about another group of 10 Americans who have converted to a fundamentalist form of Islam and married Yemeni women to remain in the country. One American official referred to these men as “blond-haired, blue eyed-types” fitting a profile of Americans that Al Qaeda would like to recruit.

Committee chairman John Kerry said: The group seeks to recruit American citizens to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States. These Americans are not necessarily of Arab or South Asian descent; they include individuals who converted to Islam in prison or elsewhere and were radicalised.” Meanwhile, the US has slapped financial sanctions on the Yemen-based Al Qaeda affiliate, called the Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the outfit behind the failed attempt to blow up a US airliner over Detroit on Christmas.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230663/US-fears-American-converts-being-trained-by-Al-Qaeda-in-Yemen.html

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Israel expelled US journalist, says Palestinian media

Jerusalem

Israel expelled a US journalist on Wednesday, working for a Palestinian news agency, Maan, the agency reported. Maan said its English-language editor Jared Malsin, who had been held at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport since past week, called to say he was being placed on a flight to New York.

“He sounded shaken and confused,” said George Hale, a journalist with Maan. Malsin had appealed the expulsion order but apparently dropped the challenge on Tuesday without the knowledge of his lawyer, Maan said in a statement.

“Maan is deeply concerned that there was no lawyer present when Malsin apparently filed this independent motion,” the private news agency said. “Without jumping to conclusions, Maan wants to be sure these events did not take place under duress,” it said, adding that Malsin’s lawyer and relatives had been unable to reach him in the 24 hours before the deportation. Malsin was detained on January 12 upon returning from vacation in Prague and told he would be deported on security grounds, Hale said. The interior ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230660/Israel-expelled-US-journalist-says-Palestinian-media.html

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Pak woman scientist taken out from NY court during trial

New York

A US-trained Pakistani woman neuroscientist, who has been accused of shooting at American military officers and FBI agents, evicted out of the court on the first day of her trial after she shouted that the prosecution’s first witness was lying.

Aafia Siddiqui exploded into a disjointed protest shortly after the first witness, US Army Captain Jack Snyder, began testifying about a paper on which the defendant allegedly had written words like “radiation material”, “dirty bomber”, and names of New York City landmarks including Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building.

“I was never planning a bombing! You’re lying!” Siddiqui shouted as she was rushed out of court. Her outburst came less than two hours after the trial began in federal court in Manhattan. The prosecutors requested that Siddiqui not be allowed back in for the rest of the trial that is expected to last about 10 days.

The defendant, herself, has refused to participate in the court proceedings, several times, and does not recognise her defence team retained by the Pakistani government including, Charles Swift, who is well know for being the lawyer for Osama bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamadan.

Siddiqui was picked up by Afghan forces after she was found wandering around the governor’s house in the city of Ghazni with a small boy, the alleged handwritten paper and a thumb drive with more notes in many languages including Urdu.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/230656/Pak-woman-scientist-taken-out-from-NY-court-during-trial.html

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World Citizen: Iran and Israel Already at (Cold) War

21 Jan 2010

JERUSALEM -- At about 5 p.m. on Jan. 14, a loud blast rang out along the Jordanian road that leads to the main bridge connecting the Hashemite kingdom with its neighbor, Israel. The target of the remote-controlled explosion was a two-car convoy carrying Israeli diplomats posted to Jordan, traveling back to Israel for the weekend. The assassination attempt failed, but it triggered a number of investigations as well as rampant speculation on both sides of the Jordanian-Israeli border. Differing theories point to various possible extremist perpetrators. The most intriguing reports, however, quote insiders in Jordan's security services who claim that the Islamic Republic of Iran ordered the assassination attempt on the Israeli diplomats.

The attack is a stark reminder that, while the international community ponders diplomatic formulas and economic sanctions as a way to stop Iran's nuclear program without going to war, Israel and Iran are already at war. For now, it is mostly a cold war -- with flashes of extreme heat.

Even if the investigation into the attack in Jordan ultimately clears Tehran, there is a reason why the names of Iran and Israel almost always come up whenever violence surfaces in the region. All the players in the Middle East know that Israel and the Islamic regime that rules Iran are sworn enemies. And they know that violence in the Middle East very often has connections to the conflict between those two countries. Israel's two most-recent wars were fought against militant organizations with close links to Iran. To some extent, the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and the late-2008 war against Hamas in Gaza were proxy wars between Iran and Israel.

In both cases, Israel fought against militias armed and financed by Iran. Although Hamas and Hezbollah are very different groups, they both enjoy strong backing from Iran, as well as encouragement in their view that, ultimately, the only acceptable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is the elimination of Israel.

According to anonymous sources at Jordan's General Intelligence Department, the Jan. 14 attack was ordered by Iranian agents seeking revenge for the assassination of Iranian physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi, killed on a Tehran street last week. When Mohammadi was killed, Iranian sources promptly blamed "the Zionist regime" and the United States. The country's interior minister vowed that Iran would seek revenge.

Full report at: http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/article.aspx?id=4976

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Muslims Angry Over U.S. Military 'Jesus' Rifles

January 21, 2010

Muslim groups reacted angrily Wednesday after it emerged that the U.S. military is using combat rifle sights inscribed with coded Biblical references.

Army officials have said they will investigate whether a Michigan defense contractor violated federal procurement rules by stamping references to Bible verses on the gun sights used by American forces to kill enemy fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday said the continued use of the sights with the religious references would send a negative message to the Muslim world.

"The use of military equipment with hidden Bible references sends the false message to Muslims worldwide that we are at war with Islam," said CAIR Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili. "In addition, these sights are a potential recruiting tool for anti-American forces, endanger our troops and alienate our Muslim allies. They should we withdrawn as soon as logistically possible."

The Marine Corps, another major customer of the telescoping sights that allow troops to pinpoint targets day or night, says service acquisition officials plan to meet with Trijicon to discuss future purchases of the company's gear.

"If determined to be true, this is clearly inappropriate and we are looking into possible remedies," Commander Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman, told AFP.

The references have stoked concerns by a watch dog group about whether the inscriptions break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops. But military officials said the citations don't violate the ban and they won't stop using the tens of thousands of telescoping sights that have already been bought.

The codes were used as "part of our faith and our belief in service to our country," Trijicon said.

"As long as we have men and women in danger, we will continue to do everything we can to provide them with both state-of-the-art technology and the never-ending support and prayers of a grateful nation," a company spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

Trijicon said it has been longstanding company practice to put the Scripture citations on the equipment. Tom Munson, Trijicon's director of sales and marketing, said the company has never received any complaints until now.

Full report at: www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/national/Muslims_Angry_Over_US_Military_Jesus_Rifles_41109584

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Yusuf Al Qaradawi More A Political Activist

By Tariq Alhomayed

21 January 2010

Once again we are facing the equation of religious figure plus politician, and at the centre of the equation, as always, is Dr. Yusuf al Qaradawi. This isn’t about his religious edict in which he called for stoning the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [to death]; it is about what was said in his most recent interview in the Egyptian Al Shorouk newspaper in which Yusuf al Qaradawi appeared to be more like a political activist, rather than a religious figure.

In that interview he refrained from discussing matters [related to] the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, particularly in response to the question: “What is your view of the recent Muslim Brotherhood crisis?” Al Qaradawi was content with saying: “I believe that the crisis ended with the election of the new guide. I’d rather not talk about this and I do not want to get involved in the Muslim Brotherhood issue after the [new] guide has been elected.” At the same time however, he did not leave out a single political issue in the interview, from US politics to the role of Turkey and Iran in the region, the Palestinian Cause, negotiations etc. ending with the Egyptian presidential elections. [In the interview] he even advised Jamal Mubarak not to run in the elections.

However, the importance of this interview lies in the fact that it reveals how al Qaradawi is manipulating religion to serve his own political goals. In the same interview al Qaradawi criticized Egypt for building a wall along its border with Gaza, and responded to the claim that the wall is for protecting Egyptian national security saying, “This is a mistake strengthening [the concept of nationalism] and is not based on Arabism or Islam.” He even criticized those who raise slogans about “Egypt first.”

In the same interview, against the backdrop of the Egyptian presidential elections, al Qaradawi also launched scathing attacks on the ruling regime in Egypt to the extent that he said, “Egypt will not regain its status, its wellbeing and its role unless it opens the windows of freedom.” He added, “It must open the doors completely and make way for [new] figures and competition as real democracy is the solution, not fake [democracy].”

Full report at: http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=19596

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Today's great defamation of the Jewish people

Holocaust remembrance is being defiled, denied and distorted

By Isi Leibler

January 21, 2010

Until recently, Holocaust memorials were almost exclusively sponsored by Jews mourning murdered kinsmen. Today, many democratic governments have transformed Holocaust commemoration into an educational vehicle to demonstrate the monstrous consequences of unbridled racism and antisemitism. The UK is one of a number of western countries that have an annual Holocaust Commemoration Day.

However, today’s Israel bashers have stooped to the depths of distorting the genocidal murder of the Jews as a vehicle to demonise the descendents of the victims.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad may have taken Holocaust denial to new depths and in Muslim countries generally it may have become a primary component of antisemitic delegitimisation of Israel, but in western nations it no longer occupies a major role.

Prosecution of Holocaust deniers in democratic countries transforms them into martyrs and is thus counterproductive. In fact, deniers are now usually considered cranks or charlatans; more sophisticated antisemites steer clear of outright denial.

Even more bizarrely, Islamic countries that actively promote Holocaust denial have begun citing the criminalisation of Holocaust denial to justify criminal proceedings against any critique of Islam, Islamic practice or Sharia Law. Resolutions to this effect have already been passed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Today, a more potent challenge to the Jewish people has emerged in the trivialisation, distortion and inversion of the Holocaust. The first systematic study of this phenomenon is contained in Manfred Gerstenfeld’s recent book, The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses.

Dr Gerstenfeld describes the efforts of some European nations to present themselves as victims of Nazi persecution in order to deflect attention from the role of their own citizens who collaborated with the Nazis or participated directly in the mass murder of Jews. For example, until the “Waldheim Affair”, Austria was notorious for its insistence that it was a victim rather than an accessory, suppressing the fact that the majority of Austrians had been enthusiastic Nazi collaborators.

Baltic countries are now applying moral equivalency between Nazi genocidal policies and Soviet crimes in order to cover up the fact that their own Nazi collaborators and murderers of Jews were never brought to justice.

Full report at: www.thejc.com/comment/comment/26345/todays-great-defamation-jewish-people

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/nigeria--over-300-killed-in-muslim-christian-clashes/d/2403


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