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Islamic World News ( 5 Jan 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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“Over 3,000 Killed in South Sudan Brutal Massacres Last Week”

  • FIFA Hijab U-turn Draws French Ire
  • Burning of Shi’ite Islamic Boarding School in Indonesia: Evidence of State Failure in Protecting Freedom of Religion                     
  • Ignoring the Call to Islam Will Bring Jihad
  • Ayatollah Khamenei: Woman and family matter among top priority national issues
  • Indonesia’s Counter Radicalisation Programme: Challenges From Radicals – Analysis
  • Two Boko Haram members arrested in Borno
  • Mullah Omar talking peace with US
  • Malaysia: Hindu temples to have guidelines by end-January
  • Hosni Mubarak: Egypt prosecutors seek death penalty
  • Support for Salafists among Dagestani Youth Reaches Record Level
  • Failure in Protecting Freedom of Religion
  • Syria unrest: Ten dead in Damascus blast, says state TV
  • US Sentences Pakistani over Taliban smiggling plot
  • Pak fears economic isolation as relations with US sour
  • Nawaz Offers to hot All-party Seminar to solve Balochistan's problems
  • Is Libya Sliding Toward Civil War? – Analysis
  • Canada PM: Iran is world's most serious threat
  • Pakistan Taliban free 17 kidnapped youths from Bajaur
  • Four TTP militants nabbed in Karachi
  • Afghanistan arrests British contractors with guns
  • Police Aman Committee protestors clash in Karachi
  • Turkey 'Ergenekon plot': Ex-army head Ilker Basbug held
  • Iran Mounts New Web Crackdown
  • Screws tighten on Iran as big buyers shun its oil
  • AMIN tasks Nigerians on tolerance
  • Israel's 2012 security outlook
  • UK-ASEAN relations for the 21st century

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Over 3000 killed in South Sudan massacre

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/“over-3,000-killed-in-south-sudan-brutal-massacres-last-week”/d/6308

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Over 3,000 Killed in South Sudan Massacre

AFP

Juba South Sudan, Jan 06, 2012, More than 3,000 people were killed in South Sudan in brutal massacres last week in bloody ethnic violence that forced thousands to flee, the top local official in the affected area said on Friday.

"There have been mass killings, a massacre," said Joshua Konyi, commissioner for Pibor county in Jonglei state.

"We have been out counting the bodies, and we calculate so far that 2,182 women and children were killed and 959 men died."

United Nations and South Sudanese army officials have yet to confirm the death tolls and the claims from the remote region could not be independently verified.

If confirmed, the killings would be the worst outbreak of ethnic violence ever seen in the fledgling nation, which split from Sudan in July.

A column of some 6,000 rampaging armed youths from the Lou Nuer tribe last week marched on the remote town of Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for cattle raiding and have vowed to exterminate.

The Lou Nuer gunmen attacked Pibor and only withdrew after government troops opened fire.

Over a thousand children are missing, feared abducted, while tens of thousands of cows were stolen, Konyi added, who comes from the Murle ethnic group.

The UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande, said earlier this week that she feared "tens, perhaps hundreds" could have died.

"Yes, there have been casualties, but we don't have the details, and can't at present confirm what the commissioner reports," said Jonglei state information minister Isaac Ajiba.

"We are awaiting reports from our (military) forces on the ground," said South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer. "For the assessment to be credible they must have gone into the villages to count all the bodies."

Ethnic violence, cattle raids and reprisal attacks in the vast eastern state left over 1,100 people dead and forced some 63,000 from their homes in 2011, according to UN reports based on local authorities and assessment teams.

http://www.asianage.com/international/over-3000-killed-south-sudan-massacre-902

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FIFA Hijab U-turn Draws French Ire

OnIslam & News Agencies

PARIS, 02 January 2012 – A decision by the football’s governing body to allow Muslim female players to take on hijab on pitch is coming under fierce criticism from feminist groups in France.

“To accept a special dress code for women athletes not only introduces discrimination among athletes but is contrary to the rules governing sport movement, setting a same dress code for all athletes without regard to origin or belief,” three French groups said in an open letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter cited by the Middle East Online.

The letter was signed by the League of International Women’s Rights (LDIF), FEMIX’SPORTS and the French Coordination for the European Women’s Lobby.

This followed a decision by FIFA to endorse proposals by its executive committee last month to lift a controversial ban on Muslim players to wear hijab on pitch.

The change came at a request from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) women’s committee to reconsider the ban.

FIFA rules ban the wearing of hijab on pitch.

In April 2010, FIFA announced that it was planning to ban hijab and other religious outings during the 2012 Olympics.

Under this rule, the dreams of Iran’s women football team of playing in the London Olympics were dashed.

Under Iranian rules, all women are required to cover their body head to toe.

In order to be allowed to function domestically and compete internationally, the women football team play in full tracksuits, headscarves and neck warmers.

No Problem

The French group ridiculed the FIFA U-turn on hijab on pitch.

“To pretend that hijab is a cultural and not a religious symbol is not only preposterous, but untrue,” they said, in reference to AFC assertion that hijab was a “cultural rather than a religious symbol”.

“You neither can put aside the fact that the conflict that has opposed FIFA to the Iranian regime is linked to Tehran’s will to impose its own religious law to women’s sport.”

The feminist groups argued that Iran was seeking “to impose a political religious outfit for women, which cover entirely their body”.

“Sport must stay clear of political and religious interfering,” the French groups said.

“Its aim also is to eliminate all forms of discrimination. FIFA ruling is about to abandon this noble aim and FIFA will be accountable for that,” the organizations said.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

France banned Muslim women from wearing hijab in public places in 2004 and face-veil in 2011.

Hijab has never posed a problem for veiled Muslim athletes.

In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, half a dozen of veiled Egyptians, three Iranians, an Afghan and a Yemeni completed in sprinting, rowing, taekwondo and archery.

During the games, many hijab-clad athletes made it to the medal schedule, including veiled Bahraini sprinter Ruqaya Al-Ghasara, who made history for Muslim women athletes after winning a gold medal at the 2006 West Asian Games.

http://onislam.net/english/news/global/455241-french-groups-attack-fifa-for-allowing-hijab.html

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Burning of Shi’ite Islamic Boarding School in Indonesia: Evidence of State Failure in Protecting Freedom of Religion                     

BY THE ASIAN MUSLIM ACTION NETWORK (AMAN)

INDONESIA, 06 JANUARY 2012, The present condition relating to freedom of religion in Indonesia is increasingly moving towards becoming worse. Discrimination against minority groups that re-appeared at the end of 2011 clearly showcases the ever increasing human rights violations in Indonesia. While the government still seems to be struggling in providing a good solution for the adherents of the Jemaah Ahmadiyah in Indonesia, now the Shi’ite community in Sampang-Madura has to experience similar violence. A group of people, who claim to belong to Sunni faith burned Shi’ite’s homes, school, and places of worship at Nangkernang Shiite hamlet, Karang Gayam village, District Omben, Sampang Regency on Thursday, 29th December 2011. A madrasa, a mosque and three houses were burned down by this group. The group even threatened to kill all the followers of Shi’ite Islam because this group is considered to believe in heretical teachings. Moreover, after 351 people were evacuated by Shi’ite Islamist groups to a shelter in GOR Sampang, their belongings left at the site were also looted by the group.

Ironically, the police, who are supposed to provide protection to the Shi’ite Muslims, instead spread terror among the Shiite refugees and forced them to convert and become Sunnis. Though the government and the police believe that the burning of the Shiite hamlet was because of a family conflict, but media reports over time have clearly shown that conflict between Shiites and Sunnis   started since 2006 and has in fact turned violent because of prejudice and hatred that has been planted by some ulamas since 2004.

Instead of being firm and conducting a thorough investigation on the perpetrators of violence, East Java provincial government together with the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) at district level has proposed a solution that seems unreasonable, that, to relocate Shiite followers, who have fled from their village to a transmigration area. People think it is better to separate this group from the rest of society that is Sunni majority. The idea supported by the Deputy Governor, Saifullah Yusuf, Government of East Java, seems to imply that the Shiite followers should to find a separate place and live their life far from the majority, that is, people subscribing to the Sunni faith.

It is very obvious that this solution offered by the government is against basic human rights. It is also contradictory with the substance of the 1945 Indonesian constitution, Article 29, that provides guarantee for people of Indonesia to believe and worship according to their religion and belief. It is also obvious that the relocation was violating the civil rights of citizens as enumerated in Article 27 of Law no. 39 of 1999, on Human Rights, "Every Indonesian citizen has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the territory of the Republic of Indonesia". In addition, removal or relocation of the community can not be done on the basis of differences in beliefs. In this context, the transfers were a form of police and government reluctance to reveal the arsonists responsible and the violence experienced by residents.

As an institution that cares for the protection of religious freedom and believes in creating a harmonious society, and is deeply concerned with the struggle of human values?? of  justice and equality , We  The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia urge:

1. The Government to carry out their responsibilities in protecting the minority Shi'ite Followers from attacks and to uphold their right of freedom of religion.

2. The Police officers to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of violence in accordance with the mechanism of criminal law in Indonesia, as well as ensuring the security of the Shiite Community which may suffer further from the after-effects of this violence.

3. Local Government and the Government of East Java Province Sampang must restore the fundamental rights and guarantee the security of Shiite refugees to return to their village, Nangkrenang, instead of relocating them to another place.

By The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia

http://www.just-international.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5054:burning-of-the-islamic-boarding-school-of-shiite-followers-in-sampang-madura-indonesia-evidence-of-state-failure-in-protecting-freedom-of-religion-&catid=45:recent-articles&Itemid=123

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Ignoring the Call to Islam Will Bring Jihad

by: Clare M. Lopez

‘Conquest through Da’wa [proselytizing] that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da’wa.’                   --  Yousef al-Qaradawi , Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leaderThe Arabic word ‘Da’wa’ means the “call to Islam.” But do not think that Da’wa is the same thing as an invitation to an optional holiday event. The classical Islamic doctrine of jihad mandates that enemies must be given the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay the jizya tax before it is permissible to attack them. This obligation is compulsory because it is written in the Qur’an as a divine order.‘Invite all to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.’      -- Q 16:125So, too, the inevitable consequences for those who refuse the Da’wa call to Islam are spelled out in the Qur’an:‘Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit; who goeth astray doth so to his own loss…When We decide to destroy a population, We first send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: then it is We destroy them utterly.’                                                               -- Q 17:15-16From these Qur’anic citations, then, it can be seen that Da’wa, the invitation to convert or submit, is preliminary to jihad. Jihad will inevitably follow Da’wa if the call to convert or submit is ignored. But only after due warning has been given are Muslim forces free to launch attacks of military conquest. It is written that Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, preached for some thirteen years in Mecca without much success before making the hijra to Medina, from where he launched his first military raids. The Islamic doctrine of Progressive Revelation, as explained in detail by the Muslim Brotherhood theoretician Sayyed Qutb as well as modern-day spiritual leader, Yousef al-Qaradawi, teaches that, today just as with the early Muslims, shariah Islam is to be revealed and implemented in stages, gradually. This is so that those non-Muslim kuffar (infidels) in the cross-hairs don’t get alarmed too soon, before the campaign is fully ready to overwhelm them.The obligation to issue the Da’wa call to Islam before striking is why Usama bin Laden issued not just one, but two separate declarations of war in 1996 and 1998 (which are widely mischaracterized to this day as fatwas). It is why Maj. Nidal Hassan screamed “Allahu Akbar” just before he opened fire on his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood in 2009. And it is why the Imam Faisal Rauf wrote a book whose original title was “A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11 ” even as he worked to raise a triumphalist mosque overlooking Ground Zero. Supposing Americans were too deficient in Islamic history to notice that his mosque project was part of something Rauf mockingly called “The Cordoba Initiative ,” he was only stopped after a few alert fact-checkers pointed out that Cordoba was the seat of the Iberian Peninsula Caliphate for some 800 years. Faced with decades of harsh repression by successive Egyptian regimes, the Brotherhood provides the modern-day example of persevering patiently with Da’wa. The Brothers kept their heads down, preaching the message of shariah Islam, until the moment was ripe for violence. Al-Qa’eda gave the signal in the July 2010 issue of its online magazine Inspire that it was time for the Ikhwan to turn the page, as it were, from Mecca to Medina. The Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood, Muhammad Badie, responded with an October 2010 declaration of war (jihad) against the U.S., Israel, and Western-influenced Arab rulers. Without even waiting for the January 2011 fatwa on offensive jihad from al-Azhar University, the North African revolts broke out, beginning with Tunisia in December 2010. The long years of Da’wa were over, the calls and warnings had been issued, and the revolutions began. The objective of both Da’wa and jihad is the establishment of Islamic law (shariah). If a population can be induced to accept shariah through Da’wa alone, then violent jihad is unnecessary. This is what Yousef al-Qaradawi means when he talks about conquering Europe and America by way of Da’wa alone. Never mistake, however, the raw threat that Da’wa represents: it is not just a peaceful call to Islam, but a deadly warning that violent wars of conquest will follow if the targeted population does not convert or submit. Witness the so-called “Arab Spring” if in doubt.    This is the context for looking at the Da’wa activities of imams and preachers in the non-Muslim world, too. Remember that the Islamic term for such lands is Dar al-Harb, the House of War, and it signifies that all such communities are targets, in the Islamic bull’s-eye, for eventual conquest and subjugation to Islamic law. Recall, too, the role that taqiyya (deceit and dissimulation) plays in the Da’wa campaign. Lying to the enemy (the infidel or kuffar) is permitted and even encouraged under shariah if it serves the purpose of advancing the cause of Islam. So, when representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military, mosques, prisons, and universities preach that Islam is a religion of peace, or that there is no compulsion in religion, or that shariah is completely compatible with the U.S. Constitution, it’s best to do some independent research. Due diligence invariably will lead to the concepts of Progressive Revelation (telling the whole truth about Islam and jihad gradually), Da’wa as warning before the attack, and ultimately, jihad (warfare to spread Islam).   Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund, is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, and counterterrorism issues.

‘Conquest through Da’wa [proselytizing] that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da’wa.’  --  Yousef al-Qaradawi , Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader

The Arabic word ‘Da’wa’ means the “call to Islam.” But do not think that Da’wa is the same thing as an invitation to an optional holiday event. The classical Islamic doctrine of jihad mandates that enemies must be given the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay the jizya tax before it is permissible to attack them. This obligation is compulsory because it is written in the Qur’an as a divine order.

‘Invite all to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.’     -- Q 16:125

So, too, the inevitable consequences for those who refuse the Da’wa call to Islam are spelled out in the Qur’an:

‘Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit; who goeth astray doth so to his own loss…When We decide to destroy a population, We first send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: then it is We destroy them utterly.’

-- Q 17:15-16

From these Qur’anic citations, then, it can be seen that Da’wa, the invitation to convert or submit, is preliminary to jihad. Jihad will inevitably follow Da’wa if the call to convert or submit is ignored. But only after due warning has been given are Muslim forces free to launch attacks of military conquest. It is written that Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, preached for some thirteen years in Mecca without much success before making the hijra to Medina, from where he launched his first military raids. The Islamic doctrine of Progressive Revelation, as explained in detail by the Muslim Brotherhood theoretician Sayyed Qutb as well as modern-day spiritual leader, Yousef al-Qaradawi, teaches that, today just as with the early Muslims, shariah Islam is to be revealed and implemented in stages, gradually. This is so that those non-Muslim kuffar (infidels) in the cross-hairs don’t get alarmed too soon, before the campaign is fully ready to overwhelm them.

The obligation to issue the Da’wa call to Islam before striking is why Usama bin Laden issued not just one, but two separate declarations of war in 1996 and 1998 (which are widely mischaracterized to this day as fatwas). It is why Maj. Nidal Hassan screamed “Allahu Akbar” just before he opened fire on his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood in 2009. And it is why the Imam Faisal Rauf wrote a book whose original title was “A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11 ” even as he worked to raise a triumphalist mosque overlooking Ground Zero. Supposing Americans were too deficient in Islamic history to notice that his mosque project was part of something Rauf mockingly called “The Cordoba Initiative ,” he was only stopped after a few alert fact-checkers pointed out that Cordoba was the seat of the Iberian Peninsula Caliphate for some 800 years.

Faced with decades of harsh repression by successive Egyptian regimes, the Brotherhood provides the modern-day example of persevering patiently with Da’wa. The Brothers kept their heads down, preaching the message of shariah Islam, until the moment was ripe for violence. Al-Qa’eda gave the signal in the July 2010 issue of its online magazine Inspire that it was time for the Ikhwan to turn the page, as it were, from Mecca to Medina. The Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood, Muhammad Badie, responded with an October 2010 declaration of war (jihad) against the U.S., Israel, and Western-influenced Arab rulers. Without even waiting for the January 2011 fatwa on offensive jihad from al-Azhar University, the North African revolts broke out, beginning with Tunisia in December 2010. The long years of Da’wa were over, the calls and warnings had been issued, and the revolutions began.

The objective of both Da’wa and jihad is the establishment of Islamic law (shariah). If a population can be induced to accept shariah through Da’wa alone, then violent jihad is unnecessary. This is what Yousef al-Qaradawi means when he talks about conquering Europe and America by way of Da’wa alone. Never mistake, however, the raw threat that Da’wa represents: it is not just a peaceful call to Islam, but a deadly warning that violent wars of conquest will follow if the targeted population does not convert or submit. Witness the so-called “Arab Spring” if in doubt.   

This is the context for looking at the Da’wa activities of imams and preachers in the non-Muslim world, too. Remember that the Islamic term for such lands is Dar al-Harb, the House of War, and it signifies that all such communities are targets, in the Islamic bull’s-eye, for eventual conquest and subjugation to Islamic law. Recall, too, the role that taqiyya (deceit and dissimulation) plays in the Da’wa campaign. Lying to the enemy (the infidel or kuffar) is permitted and even encouraged under shariah if it serves the purpose of advancing the cause of Islam. So, when representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military, mosques, prisons, and universities preach that Islam is a religion of peace, or that there is no compulsion in religion, or that shariah is completely compatible with the U.S. Constitution, it’s best to do some independent research. Due diligence invariably will lead to the concepts of Progressive Revelation (telling the whole truth about Islam and jihad gradually), Da’wa as warning before the attack, and ultimately, jihad (warfare to spread Islam).  

Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund, is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, and counterterrorism issues.

http://www.radicalislam.org/content/ignoring-call-islam-will-bring-jihad

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Ayatollah Khamenei: Woman and family matter among top priority national issues

Tehran, Jan 5, IRNA – Hundreds of intellectuals, think tanks, seminary and varsity professors and scientific works’ authors here Wednesday night exchanged viewpoints on a most fundamental issues from viewpoint of IRI, women and family, in presence of Supreme Leader.

According to the internet website of the Supreme Leader’s Office, the objective of the former two Strategic Thoughts of Islamic Republic of Iran Conferences, titled “Islamic Paradigm, Iranian Advancement” and “Justice”, like the third one, has been establishment of a scientific, end expert level atmosphere for exchange of ideas and viewpoints leading to decision making over strategic and essential national level issues.

During the meeting that lasted four hours ten thinkers presented their viewpoints in accordance with their presented research papers which were chosen from among 188 papers presented to the secretariat of the conference, and selected as the top works, each elaborating on their viewpoints and hypotheses.

After listening to the scientific comments by their authors, Ayatollah Khameneie addressed the distinguished audience elaborating on the objectives of Strategic Thoughts of Islamic Republic of Iran Conferences with the elites and the think tanks of the country.

His eminence said, “Exchanging scientific ideas aimed at providing an appropriate atmosphere for taking advantage of the various scientific viewpoints and achieving a sound and comprehensive shared viewpoint as a disciplined program that can be turned into a work plan are the objectives of these sessions.”

The Supreme Leader emphasized, “The outcome of these meetings, which are held on major issues and would continue to be held, must be noble, deep, sustainable, presentable, and defendable.”

Full Report at:

http://www.irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=30749645

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Indonesia’s Counter Radicalisation Programme: Challenges from Radicals – Analysis

By V. Arianti and Nur Irfani Saripi

THE INDONESIAN government has realised the importance of winning hearts and minds of the public and educating them on the dangers of extremist ideology. This awareness is evident in the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Agency, better known by its Indonesian acronym: BNPT (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Terorisme) whose responsibility includes organising public education programmes. However, BNPT’s programme is facing strong counter-campaigns from radicals; BNPT may need to revise its approach to achieve its objectives.

Indonesia

Since November 2010, BNPT has organised at least a dozen seminars on deradicalisation within the Muslim community in Indonesia. BNPT cooperated with the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) – a semi-government body that comprises representatives of various Muslim organisations in Indonesia – at the national level and with other Muslim organisations and non-governmental organisations.

Radicals’ Responses

The radicals have responded cleverly to the government’s campaign against them. Within a week of BNPT’s deradicalistion seminar, Islamic Ummah Forum (Forum Umat Islam/FUI) swiftly organised a counter seminar. MUI’s branch in Solo, which does not share the stance of MUI at the national level, even published a book on countering BNPT’s deradicalisation programme and has pledged to organise a series of counter seminars in every city where BNPT had previously held seminars. The series of seminars held by MUI Solo invited speakers from different backgrounds including BNPT, academicians and also prominent Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) figures such as Abu Rusydan.

These seminars were held in university campuses, thus giving credibility to its programmes. Furthermore, BNPT’s deradicalisation seminars are also heavily criticised in various radical study groups, websites, banners, and even JI-linked magazine, An-Najah (The Success), which carried a special edition on Indonesia’s deradicalisation programme.

Since BNPT deradicalisation seminars highlight the Chairman of BNPT Ansyaad Mbai, a retired top police officer, while not resorting much to the presence of Muslim clerics, the radicals question his credential to speak on Islamic concepts such as al-wala’ wal bara’ (loyalty and enmity), jihad (struggle) and bai’ah (oath of allegiance). BNPT is also portrayed as an anti-Islam institution. Such attacks could eventually further undermine BNPT’s credibility in carrying out the counter radicalisation programmes. The concerted response from the radicals should not be underestimated as they had garnered up to 5,000 participants in one of its seminars, outnumbering the participants in BNPT’s seminar.

Recommendations For BNPT

Full Report at:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/06012012-indonesia%E2%80%99s-counter-radicalisation-programme-challenges-from-radicals-analysis/

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Deoband fatwa against selling of firecrackers

January 05, 2012,

PTI

Muzaffarnagar:Jan 6, 12, Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa against manufacturing and selling of firecrackers, saying it was against Sharia law.

Manufacturing and selling of firecrackers is against Sharia law, and bursting of crackers is misuse of money, the fatwa said, adding that men who misuse money are the "brothers of devil."

The fatwa was issued on a query from a man involved in the business of manufacturing firecrackers.

A large number of Muslims are involved in manufacturing firecrackers in the country.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/deoband-fatwa-against-selling-of-firecrackers_750541.html

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Two Boko Haram members arrested in Borno

By Our Reporter Jan 6, 2012

Two suspected members of the Boko Haram sect have been arrested in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, after they killed two people, the military said yesterday.

Their arrest followed increased surveillance and crackdown on members of the dreaded Islamic sect.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in two northeastern states of Borno and Yobe with some local government areas in Plateau and Niger states on December 31, last year.

The sect is agitating for the implementation of the Islamic Sharia law across the country.

An official of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on security in Borno State, Col. Victor Ebhemele, confirmed the arrest.

He said: “We have arrested two of the Boko Haram members who killed a man and his son in Dala on Wednesday night. They left behind their handsets through which we were able to trace them.”

Dala is a ward in Maiduguri, a remote dusty region which sits on borders with Cameroon, Niger and Chad. These borders have been closed as part of Jonathan’s emergency rule measures.

Ebhemele said there were three bomb blasts in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening but there were no casualties.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks across Nigeria on Christmas Day, including one at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State.

Thirty-seven people were killed in the suicide attack and 57 were wounded.

http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news/32332-two-sect-members-arrested-in-borno.html

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Mullah Omar talking peace with US

 IANS

Kabul, Jan 06, 2012, The elusive Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who had called on his warriors in 2011 November to continue the war against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, has now confirmed having opened peace talks with the US authorities, Geo News reported.

The one-eyed Omar, who has escaped the US manhunt since his regime was ousted in late 2001, made two demands - release of Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention facility and complete pullout of US-led forces from Afghanistan, the report added.

The US State Department, however, said that no decision has yet been made on releasing the Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison.

"A total of 1,462 Afghan civilians had been killed in the first half of 2011, up 15 percent over the same period in 2010," the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in mid-year report released in July, 2011.

Last year, in mid-December, a Dawn news report said US officials confirmed that they had held talks recently with Taliban representatives in Qatar and Germany. The US also supported the step of opening a political office by Taliban in Qatar, which would serve as an outpost for the outlawed insurgent movement.

Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban movement, has been in hiding since 2001 when the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled his Islamist fundamentalist regime.

The US officials earlier claimed that Mullah Omar was one of the original planners of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, it added.

http://www.asianage.com/international/mullah-omar-talking-peace-us-886

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Malaysia: Hindu temples to have guidelines by end-January

MYT

PETALING JAYA, January 6, 2012: All Hindu temples in the country will have guidelines by the end of this month, Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president R.S. Mohan Shan said Friday.

He said the guidelines would comprise the suitable rules and regulations that a temple should practise in order to preserve rituality.

"So far, there are no suitable guidelines for temples to follow, and they are free to do all kinds of programmes at any time they wish.

"We are going to bring out the guidelines on how a temple should be positioned, which temple to conduct which celebration, and how to manage a temple," he said.

The guidelines, among others, would encourage all the temples in the country to start providing community service, he said, adding that the management of temples should also think of the community, and not just religion and rituals.

"The guidelines will be prepared by a religious advisory board involving all Hindu association presidents and also religious experts," he said.

So far, Mohan Shan said, only 2,000 of the 3,300 Hindu temples in the country have registered under the MHS.

"We are asking all our local council members to approach the temples to become members of the MHS as we are the only organisation that deals with temple issues," he said. - Bernama

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/1/6/nation/20120106185914&sec=nation

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Hosni Mubarak: Egypt prosecutors seek death penalty

5 January 2012

Prosecutors at the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have demanded the death penalty for him.

Mr Mubarak is being tried in Cairo on charges of ordering the killing of demonstrators during unrest which led to his overthrow last year.

The demand also applies to former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly and six other former security chiefs.

More than 800 protesters were killed during an 18-day revolt before Mr Mubarak was ousted on 11 February.

"Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants," prosecutor Mustafa Khater said, according to AFP.

"He [Mubarak] can never, as the head of the state, claim that he did not know what was going on," chief prosecutor Mustafa Suleiman told the court.

"He is responsible and must bear the legal and political responsibility for what happened", he added.

Full Report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16429694

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Support for Salafists among Dagestani Youth Reaches Record Level

Jan 6, 12

A survey in Dagestan has found that 20 percent of the republic’s youth consider themselves moderate Salafis. Only 10 percent of the respondents referred to themselves as Sufis – traditionally the main Muslim branch in Dagestan. The most educated among those who identified themselves as moderate Salafis said they were in favor of mimicking the experience of such countries as Brunei, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman in bringing norms of sharia into governance in Dagestan. The survey also found that 12 percent of the respondents favor the radical methods of struggle adopted by the North Caucasus militants. It is especially striking that young people openly stated support for rebels in the republic. According to a Dagestani expert on Islam, Ruslan Gereyev, the survey was conducted only in cities, and support for the rebels would have been even higher had the interviews been conducted in rural areas of the republic (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 9).

The survey was carried out in Dagestan’s largest cities – Makhachkala, Kaspiisk, Khasavyurt, Derbent, Izberbash and Kizilyurt – among 6,000 respondents, including high school teens and university students. All of those surveyed described themselves as religious believers. Gereyev told the Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Knot) website that a widening gap between rich and poor, rampant official corruption and discrimination against Muslims leave radicalization as the only attractive option for some young people. If two years ago the insurgency consisted mainly of people aged 25 to 40, today the insurgents range in age from 18 to 30 years old, although some independent experts say the age range is from 14 to 45, Gereyev asserted. “The time has come when we need to struggle for the youth,” he said. “In essence, there is an undeclared war going on for the young generation’s minds” (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 9). One can understand why the government is losing this battle for young people’s minds if all it is doing is trying to scare them into submission without providing career and other life opportunities.

An expert with the Russian Muftis’ council, Rinat Mukhametov, pointed to the paradox that better religious education was likely to prevent the radicalization of young people. According to Mukhametov, although there is no direct link between education and radicalization, there are no people highly educated in Islam among the militants. “If in Ryazan [in central Russia] people under duress escape into their personal inner selves, as a rule starting to drink vodka, in the Caucasus people protest, sometimes including unruly protest beyond any thinkable limits,” Mukhametov said (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 9). In addition, increasingly there is a cultural dimension in the North Caucasus that tends to put the government at loggerheads with the people. As Moscow tries to keep the Russian Federation as unified as possible, developments on the ground and the rise of Islam contradict the central government’s efforts and a clash becomes inevitable if Moscow fails to adjust its policy.

In November 2010, the Dagestani state commission for the adaptation of militants to civilian life was created and by November 2011 it claimed to have won over 40 former militants who had surrendered (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 18). However, one of the commission’s members, Abbas Kebedov, noted: “It needs to be understood that not a single real militant from ‘the forest’ has gone through the commission. The problem is that we do not have the necessary power [to pardon rebels]. Today we simply ask the relevant authorities to take into account that a person went through our commission. That’s it. I don’t want to take every person’s case for the commission’s consideration, because I can’t be the guarantor of his safety and legal status. If a militant comes through the commission and tomorrow is killed, who will be held responsible for his death? In a republic where even its leader says he does not know who abducts people, no one can be worry-free” (http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197442/, December 11).

On December 13, the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee hailed the killing of a leader of the Khasavyurt rebels, 25-year-old Yusup Magomedov. He was killed along with two other rebels, 28-year-old Shamil Nutsalkhanov and 25-year-old Shamil Makhmudov, on December 12 during a counterterrorism operation near the village of Karlanyurt (http://ria.ru/defense_safety/20111213/515545095.html, December 13). The Russian security services regularly claim that slain militants are high-ranking figures in the insurgency but rarely substantiate their claims.

A cab driver named Gabibula Shabkhanov was kidnapped by police on December 7 and remains in custody. Shabkhanov’s lawyer said his client was badly beaten up and tortured with electric shocks applied to his fingertips. According to Kavkazsky Uzel, at least 28 kidnappings took place in Dagestan alone in January-November 2011. Earlier, the prosecutor general’s office in Dagestan said the agency received 29 complaints about kidnappings in January-October 2011. Thirteen of these cases were not confirmed, but 16 others are pending (http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197404/, December 11).

Given the situation in Dagestan, it sounded ironic that the Russian leadership came out in support of the Dagestani government’s application to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in the republic. Russia and Azerbaijan are expected to apply jointly to host the games in 2018 (http://dagestan.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197505/, December 12). While it is still unclear whether the Sochi Olympics will take place as planned in 2014, due to project management issues and security concerns, it is hardly feasible to attract any significant international audience to Dagestan because of its persistent volatility. The government, it seems, remains intent to substitute substantive policy reforms in the North Caucasus with glistening shows in the hope of impressing the local population. However, without first doing their homework on the political and economic issues in Dagestan, the situation in that volatile republic is unlikely to improve tangibly, particularly when local support for Salafism continues to grow. It is rather ironic that more than a decade after the Russian intervention in its rebel republic of Chechnya, which was touted as an effort to subdue extremism in the North Caucasus, support for Salafist groups in neighboring Dagestan among the local population is now at an all time high and that this volatile republic is now the epicenter of a regional insurgency.

 Valery Dzutsev

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Protecting Freedom of Religion                     

BY THE ASIAN MUSLIM ACTION NETWORK (AMAN)

INDONESIA, 06 JANUARY 2012, The present condition relating to freedom of religion in Indonesia is increasingly moving towards becoming worse. Discrimination against minority groups that re-appeared at the end of 2011 clearly showcases the ever increasing human rights violations in Indonesia. While the government still seems to be struggling in providing a good solution for the adherents of the Jemaah Ahmadiyah in Indonesia, now the Shi’ite community in Sampang-Madura has to experience similar violence. A group of people, who claim to belong to Sunni faith burned Shi’ite’s homes, school, and places of worship at Nangkernang Shiite hamlet, Karang Gayam village, District Omben, Sampang Regency on Thursday, 29th December 2011. A madrasa, a mosque and three houses were burned down by this group. The group even threatened to kill all the followers of Shi’ite Islam because this group is considered to believe in heretical teachings. Moreover, after 351 people were evacuated by Shi’ite Islamist groups to a shelter in GOR Sampang, their belongings left at the site were also looted by the group.

Full Report at:

http://www.just-international.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5054:burning-of-the-islamic-boarding-school-of-shiite-followers-in-sampang-madura-indonesia-evidence-of-state-failure-in-protecting-freedom-of-religion-&catid=45:recent-articles&Itemid=123

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Syria unrest: Ten dead in Damascus blast, says state TV

6 January 2012

At least 10 people have died in a suicide attack on a district in central Damascus, Syrian state media say.

State TV showed pictures of the blood-spattered streets of Midan district following the attack, which it blamed on "terrorists".

Two weeks ago 44 people died in similar blasts the authorities also blamed on terrorists. Opposition activists accused the government of staging them.

Arab League monitors are in Syria on a month-long observer mission.

They are trying to ensure compliance with a peace plan, but activists say a Syrian government crackdown has continued, with scores of people killed.

Opposition activists supplied pictures of anti-government protests in Midan two days ago

A resident of Midan - the scene of reported anti-government protests in recent weeks - told Reuters news agency that ambulances were in the area.

Most foreign correspondents have been barred from reporting within Syria itself.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16437865

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US Sentences Pakistani over Taliban smiggling plot

AFP

WASHINGTON, January 6, 2012 : A Pakistani man convicted on terrorism charges has been sentenced to more than four years in jail in the United States over a plot to smuggle a member of the Pakistani Taliban into the country.

Irfan Ul Haq, 37 – who last September pleaded guilty along with two other Pakistanis to conspiracy to provide support to a terror organization – was sentenced to 50 months in jail by a US federal judge in Washington on Thursday.

The other two men were sentenced last month to 40 months and 36 months in prison over the same plot, carried out between January and March 2011. All three men have agreed to return to Pakistan following their sentences.

“Haq conspired with others to smuggle into the United States an individual who was believed to be a member of a foreign terrorist organization,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a statement.

“Such conduct presents a serious threat to our national security.”

The US Justice Department said undercover law enforcement agents had directed “confidential sources” to contact the three men – then residing in Ecuador – to request help in smuggling a fictitious individual, said to be a member of the Pakistani Taliban, into the United States.

Haq, according to the court documents, told the sources it was “not their concern” what the men “want to do in the United States – hard labor, sweep floor, wash dishes in a hotel, or blow up. That will be up to them.”

It said the three men accepted payment for the operation, without specifying how much, and that they produced a false Pakistani passport.

The sting operation was carried out by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Ecuadorian national police, the Justice Department said.

The three men, who were arrested in Miami on March 13, had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/317429/us-sentences-pakistani-over-taliban-smuggling-plot/

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Pak fears economic isolation as relations with US sour

Omer Farooq Khan, TNN |

ISLAMABAD: Jan 6, 2012,  Pakistan's deteriorating relations with the United States may bring it international isolation on the economic front, Pakistan's finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Friday told the parliamentary committee tasked by the government to review bilateral terms with the US.

Pakistan-US relations steadily declined in the beginning of 2011 after CIA contractor Raymond Davis killed two Pakistani nationals in Lahore. This was followed by the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in May. The NATO-ISAF incursion in November in the Mohmand tribal region which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers brought the ties to an all-time low with Islamabad freezing the visa regime and transit facilities and the US freezing the military aid to Pakistan.

"There are some shocks Pakistan can absorb but there are others it can't," Abdul Hafeez Sheikh was quoted as telling members of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS).

"A single incident must not determine our relations with the US," Sheikh said while referring to the steps taken by the government following the Nato aerial strikes. "Any decision should be taken while keeping in mind the multidimensional paradigm of security, prosperity of the country and economic diplomacy," he said.

Full Report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-fears-economic-isolation-as-relations-with-US-sour/articleshow/11387901.cms

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Nawaz Offers to hot All-party Seminar to solve Balochistan's problems

QUETTA, January 6, 2012: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif offered to host an all party seminar in Islamabad to discuss the problems being faced by Balochistan.

While addressing the leaders of the National Party in Quetta today, Nawaz said that the whole country needs to work together and find solutions to Balochistan’s troubles.

“If we work together, we can bring Balochistan in the mainstream again,” he stressed.

Nawaz Sharif arrived in Quetta earlier today. Upon his arrival he was greeted by Balochistan Provincial Minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri , Sardar Yaqub Khan Nasir and other party members.

While addressing the gathering, Nawaz said that it was high time that something was done about the hurt sentiments of the people of Balochistan.

Nawaz said that Balochistan should be given its rights and that target killings and kidnappings should stop. He added that the focus should be shifted to improving the health and education facilities in the province.

Full Report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/317422/nawaz-offers-to-host-all-party-seminar-to-solve-balochistans-problems/

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Is Libya Sliding Toward Civil War? – Analysis

By Charles Recknagel

January 6, 2012 It’s been more than two months since antiregime fighters captured and killed former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

But the National Transitional Council (NTC) that now rules Libya has yet to be able to consolidate its hold over the fractious militias that toppled the old regime.

Just how restive conditions in Libya remain was highlighted this week when members of two militias fought over territory in Tripoli.

The clash on January 3 reportedly left two dead as the gunmen battled using machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and antiaircraft guns in the heart of the capital.

??The clash shocked the city’s residents and signaled how far Libya still has to go to become peaceful again.

“This happened after the revolution but not before,” a relative of one of the men killed in the fighting said. “They said there will be a government and order. Twenty-three fighters came to claim territory and to kill young boys. They killed young boys for territory.”

But if ordinary residents of the city were worried by the clash, the government seemed even more so.

Full Report at:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/06012012-is-libya-sliding-toward-civil-war-analysis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29

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Canada PM: Iran is world's most serious threat

By JPOST.COM STAFF

01/06/2012

Harper says he is sure Tehran seeking to develop nuclear weapons, international response needed to counter threat.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Iran poses the "world's most serious threat to international peace and security," and opined that a coordinated international response is requisite to confronting Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

"In my judgment, [Iran] is the world's most serious threat to international peace and security," Harper said on Calgary radio station CHQR.

Harper said he was sure Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons.

"The is a regime that wants to acquire nuclear weapons," he said. 

The Canadian prime minister said his country was working with its allies to impose strict sanctions on the Islamic Republic in an attempt to counter their bid for nuclear armament.

He insisted that Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, an important passage for global oil, underlined the success of Western sanctions. Iran's threats were a response to the crippling effect of sanctions, he continued.

"That's why the regime is lashing out from time to time," he explained.

Harper said sanctions were the right course of action for tackling the Iranian threat, but that a coordinated international response would prove more effective.

He insisted that even Russia and China, two countries that are large consumers of Iranian oil and generally apprehensive about adopting international resolutions regarding the Islamic Republic, agreed that the Iranian nuclear issue is pertinent.

Tensions simmered between the Islamic Republic and Canada this past week, as Tehran chastised the Canadian charge d'affaires in Tehran, Dennis Horak, over Canada's treatment of its aboriginal people.

A Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson called the Iranian criticism absurd, saying it was "regrettable that the regime in Tehran is choosing not to address its own internal shortcomings before resorting to the ridiculous and engaging in this type of preposterous PR stunt."

Canada, meanwhile, has joined Western nations including the United States in casting sanctions on Iran, including prohibiting financial transactions with the country.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=252487

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Pakistan Taliban free 17 kidnapped youths from Bajaur

5 January, 2012

The Taliban have freed 17 young men from north-west Pakistan who they seized four months ago, officials say.

About 30 youths were abducted in early September after they inadvertently strayed across the Afghan border.

Several managed to escape over the past few months. At least eight more are still being held by the militants, an official in Bajaur tribal area said.

The Taliban said they kidnapped members of the Mamund tribe because it supported the Pakistani government.

Over the past few years, influential members of the Mamund tribe have sided with the Pakistani military and raised private militias to fight the Taliban. The Pakistani government says the co-operation has helped clear the area of Taliban influence.

The youths, reportedly ranging in age from 10 to about 30 years old, were at a picnic to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid and had mistakenly crossed the border from Bajaur to take a bath in a spring, when the militants seized them.

At the time of the kidnap there were reports that the militants had demanded Taliban prisoners be released. But local administration officials told the AFP news agency that the 17 youths had been "freed unconditionally".

Two boys who escaped in October spoke extensively to the media about their ordeal.

Securing the long, porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has long posed a major challenge to the authorities.

The Pakistani government says that many militants have based themselves across the border in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, from where they are known to have carried out attacks in north-western Pakistan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-16427823

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Four TTP militants nabbed in Karachi

By Atif Raza

KARACHI: Jan 6, 2012,  Crime Investigation Department (CID) police on Thursday claimed to have arrested four top militants affiliated with banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including its Karachi Ameer, besides recovering live suicide jackets, rockets and missiles from their possession.

Additional IG CID Ghulam Shabbir Sheikh, while addressing a press conference at the CID Civil Line Complex, disclosed the arrest of four top Taliban operatives, including one of the chiefs of TTP, Abdul Qayyum Mehsud besides Muhammad Sharif Mehmand, Usman Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud.

Qayyum Mehsud, also the former gunman of Baitullah Mehsud, is involved in several cases of militancy within the country. He was dispatched to Karachi by the TTP leadership with some high profile targets on his list. Qayyum said that he had served as a gunman to Baitullah Mehsud for four months in 2004.

Full Report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\06\story_6-1-2012_pg7_11

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Afghanistan arrests British contractors with guns

KABUL, Jan 6, 2012: Afghan police arrested two British private security contractors and two Afghan colleagues and ordered their company closed down after finding a cache of weapons in their vehicle, an official said on Thursday. They are being held for investigation into illegal arms transport.

Their detention spells the latest trouble for Afghanistan’s dozens of private security companies that guard supply convoys, development projects and private businesses. President Hamid Karzai has ordered all the protection companies shut down by March, to be replaced by a unified government-run protection force. Police who stopped the contractors’ vehicle at a Kabul checkpoint on Tuesday, found more than two dozen AK-47 rifles in a metal box covered by a blanket, Interior Ministry Spokesman Sediq Sediqi told a press briefing.

All 30 weapons had their serial numbers scratched off, and the men had no permits for them, so police arrested all four men on suspicion of illegal arms transport, Sediqi said. He said the case has been sent to Afghanistan’s attorney general for investigation.

Full Report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\06\story_6-1-2012_pg7_2

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Police Aman Committee protestors clash in Karachi

KARACHI, Jan 6, 2012: A rally of protestors led by the People’s Aman Committee has been stopped near Shaheen Complex, to proceed further on Friday, Express News reported.

A heavy contingent of law enforcers was deployed to prevent them from reaching Bilawal House and the police have also fired tear gas shells to disperse them.

Roads leading to the Bilawal House are blocked by containers and a number of arrests have been made, while there are reports of multiple injuries in the ongoing clashes.

According to Express News, no efforts were made by authorities to conduct talks with the protestors to address their issues.

The traffic in the area is at standstill and the residents are unable to get out.

As reported earlier, the People’s Aman Committee had earlier announced that it will organise a protest in front of Bilawal House on January 6, in order to voice its anger at the fact that authorities concerned had not taken any substantial steps to catch suspects involved in the targeted killing of two football players about a month ago.

Zafar Baloch had claimed that though Lyari had become a stable neighbourhood, the targeted killing could disrupt the tranquility prevailing in the area. He had pointed out that the investigation committee formed by the Home Minister had not made true on its promise to produce results within 48 hours.

The leader of the People’s Aman Committee had also  said that the people who represent Lyari in the Sindh Assembly were part of a conspiracy to malign the neighbourhood and its residents.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/317452/police-aman-committee-protestors-clash-in-karachi/

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Turkey 'Ergenekon plot': Ex-army head Ilker Basbug held

6 January 2012

A former head of the Turkish armed forces has been remanded in custody to face charges over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Gen Ilker Basbug, who retired in 2010, is the highest-ranking officer to be caught up in a widening probe into the so-called Ergenekon network.

Prosecutors say in 2003 the hardline nationalist group tried to bring down PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Gen Basbug rejects the allegations. Some 400 suspects are already on trial.

"We can say it is really tragicomic to accuse somebody who commands such an army of forming and directing a terrorist group," Turkey's NTV network quoted Gen Basbug as telling prosecutors.

The Ergenekon trial is one of several involving accusations of anti-government plots by the military and secular establishment.

Some military officers already charged in the case have said they acted in a chain of command.

Full Report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16436743

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Iran Mounts New Web Crackdown

By FARNAZ FASSIHI

Iran is mounting new clampdowns on Internet expression, including rules that will impose layers of surveillance in the country's popular Internet cafes, as Tehran's political establishment comes under increasing strains from economic turmoil and threats of more international sanctions.

Until now, Iran's cybercafes have been a youth-culture mainstay of most towns and neighborhoods, used not only by activists but also by other Iranians who believe the security of their home computers is already compromised.

Iranian users also have reported more blocked sites this week, as well as new barriers to accessing social-networking services. Internet connections, too, have bogged down.

The network slowdown likely heralds the arrival of an initiative Iran has been readying—a "halal" domestic intranet that it has said will insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet. This week's slowdown came amid tests of the Iranian intranet, according to domestic media reports that cited a spokesman for a union of computer-systems firms. He said the intranet is set to go live within a few weeks.

Full Report at:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203513604577142713916386248.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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Screws tighten on Iran as big buyers shun its oil

Reuters |

TEHRAN (Iran), Jan 06, 2012, Iran faced the prospect of cutbacks in its oil sales to China and Japan as new measures to block Tehran's crude exports over its nuclear program appeared to be driving its economy to the wall.

The developments in Asia on Thursday followed news 24 hours earlier that EU leaders had agreed to halt European purchases of Iranian crude.

China, Iran's biggest trade partner, had already cut its purchases of Iranian oil by more than half this month and would extend the cuts to February, a Beijing-based trader who deals with Iranian oil said.

Japan would consider cutbacks in its Iranian oil purchases to secure a waiver from new U.S. sanctions signed into law on New Year's Eve by President Barack Obama, a government source said.

Between them, China, the EU and Japan buy about half of Iran's exports of 2.6 million barrels of oil per day.

Full Report at:

http://www.asianage.com/international/screws-tighten-iran-big-buyers-shun-its-oil-835

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AMIN tasks Nigerians on tolerance

06 January 2012

The Assembly of Muslims in Nigeria (AMIN) has joined others to condemn the spate of bombings in Nigeria and called for religious tolerance based on justice and fairness.

The Chairman of AMIN, Sheik Ibrahim Saleh, in a statement in Abuja, condemned any form of attacks on any places of worship or the Nigerian people under any guise.

“The Assembly of Muslims in Nigeria (AMIN) hereby, wishes to call the attention of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, religious leaders of both Islam and Christianity to deal with the issue at hand with caution and maturity” he said.

Quoting various portions of the Qur’an, the Assembly denounced the Christmas bomb attacks and killing of innocent souls under any guise, saying “ Islam has prohibited any assault on souls, organs and bloodshed.

“Islam also ordains the protection of the brain, one’s dignity, lineage, properties as well as protection of the environment where all creatures live together. The recent bloody bombardments are unacceptable in all religions and faiths. There is no compulsion in religion”, he said.

AMIN called on all stakeholders to fear Allah in everything they do as Allah would punish people for their bad intentions.

The Assembly also advised both religious and political leaders to avoid inflammatory statements capable of worsening the already tensed situation in the country.

AMIN applauded the security measures and awareness taken by the Federal Government especially on the state of emergency in some local governments in the country and urged it to step it up.

http://tribune.com.ng/index.php/islamic-news/33901-amin-tasks-nigerians-on-tolerance

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Israel's 2012 security outlook

01.05.12,

There is no doubt that the wave of uprisings that swept through the Arab world in 2011 changed the rules of the game in the region and created potential old-new threats for Israel. With most of them we already successfully contended in the past – for example, the Egyptian army's deployment in the Sinai or terror on our borders with Jordan and Syria. Yet alongside the substantive and potential threats piling up at the outset of 2012, mostly in the short term, we can see quite a few positive developments that may improve Israel's strategic position in the medium and long range.

For example, the blow to be sustained by the "Iranian axis of evil" should Assad's regime in Syria be toppled; or the determination and actions of Sunni Gulf states in contending with Iran's strategic threat using all means – political, economic and military. Even the political rise of Islamic movements as result of the regional uprisings is apparently much less menacing and dangerous for Israel than it seemed.

Full Report at:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4171989,00.html

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UK-ASEAN relations for the 21st century

6/01/2012

Today the idea of a developed West and developing rest is all but irrelevant. Put simply, the world has changed and Britain must too, if we are to prevent our role and influence in international affairs from declining.

Key to this challenge will be making the most of the opportunities presented by a new international paradigm in which economic power and influence is moving east and south. Britain is doing this by shifting our diplomatic weight to reflect these changes and by working hard to build up significantly our relationships with the emerging powers. We know that these relationships will be increasingly vital both for forging important agreements on the international stage and for boosting trade and investment that will support Britain's prosperity.

Southeast Asia epitomises the rationale for this approach. The 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are already more populous than the European Union or the Arab world, have a larger economy than India and absorb more UK exports than China. They hold substantial geopolitical significance, with important influence on neighbouring major powers China, India and Japan.

This means that they should be, and are, key partners for Britain on issues ranging from climate change to non-proliferation. Their considerable prosperity and significant future economic potential is also vital to our interests. Average growth forecasts for Asean members over the next four years are around 6% and plans to establish an economic community by 2015 hold even further promise. We know full well from our own experiences of the European Single Market the benefits market integration can bring.

The region therefore deserves serious attention from global partners. The United Kingdom is fortunate to be able to draw on a foundation of existing relationships and we already enjoy multi-billion-pound trade and investment links with the Asean countries; our largest businesses in finance, energy, life sciences, food and drink are establishing a regional foothold and more of our retailers, such as Boots and Tesco, are becoming household names, especially in Thailand.

Full Report at:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/273890/uk-asean-relations-for-the-21st-century

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/“over-3,000-killed-in-south-sudan-brutal-massacres-last-week”/d/6308


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