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Islamic World News ( 19 Jun 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Palestinians Seek To Attract Millions of Muslims Back To Al Aqsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mideast Asia

Palestinians Seek To Attract Millions of Muslims Back To Al Aqsa

Iranian Shia Cleric: Exploding Holy Sites Are Aimed At Muslim Disunity

Shadowy al-Qaida-linked group claims Israel attack

Ex-Israeli soldier renounce his Israeli citizenship to join Palestinian

Iran's Int’l Quran Contest Exports Islamic Revolution

Quranic Encyclopaedia compiled in Qom

Palestinians Nomination for Guinness Book of Records: Israel Demolishes Arab Village 38 Times

Opening of first Shia kids channel in Persian language

Yemen: 9 Killed in Fighting in South

Israel kills Gaza militant on third day of fighting

Israel Government, Settlers Cooperate in West Bank Move

CIA, Mossad responsible for Syria massacres: Turkish party

 

India

Christian Missionaries Destroying Kashmiri Culture, Claim Hurriyat Conference and others

Fai’s US judgment reveals how ISI fomented trouble in Kashmir valley

'Made in India' trains to chug in Pakistan, Bangladesh

Indian Muslims discuss Haj pilgrimage after SC abolish Haj subsidy

UNHCR helps refugees stitch up a livelihood

Delhi their home but Pandits yearn for Valley

Kashmiri boys excel in Marathi

India, Pakistan discuss Sir Creek, make no headway

 

Pakistan

Shia Cleric: Recognition of Shiite in Constitution of Pakistan Is "Ali Un-Wali Allah"

Pakistan Arts College Principal and Staff Accused Of Blasphemy

Pakistan refuses visas to Sikhs, Hindus

Pakistan SC refers to Indian SC verdicts to disqualify Gilani

Pak to elect new Prime Minister on Friday

Eight Booked In Blasphemy Case in Pak Over Quran Burning

Pakistan arrests French man accused of al-Qaida ties

Gilani hurt his own dignity: Sharif

Party loyalist who took on army, challenged judiciary

PPP asks workers to remain calm

Gilani's disqualification on expected lines

Pak media link 'judicial coup' to CJ's son's case

Historic ruling, says Imran Khan

Supreme Court disposes of Kohistan killings case

 

South Asia

Suicide bomber kills 18civilians in Afghan east

WUC Concerned over Deportation of Uyghurs in Sweden on World Refugee Day

Bangladesh arrest warrant over 'blasphemous' book

Myanmar communities torn apart by sectarian unrest

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesian Minister Responds to Criticism over Youth Condom Campaign

Indonesian court to decide fate of Bali bomb maker

Malaysia bookstore manager charged by Islamic court over banned book

From Lady Gaga to Atheist Alexander to DBS, Indonesia Is Sending Investors Bad Signals

 

Arab World

Saudi Wahhabi Authorities Arrest the Shiite Cleric

Saudi Arabia: Man Executed for Witchcraft and Adultery

Syrian National Council the Military Arm of CIA

Islamist moment in contemporary Arab history

Thousands protest in Cairo over military's bid to grab new powers

28 soldiers among 39 dead in Syria: rights group

Oman pledges support to UN human rights initiatives

Anti-Islam Protest at Arab International Festival in Dearborn

Bomb kills 2 in northern Iraq: Police

Two sentenced to death for shooting at policemen

Syrian people must decide their leadership: Putin

Exercise freedom of expression with restraint, cautions NHRC

Islamic Development Bank prices $800 mln 5-yr sukuk

Shafiq's campaign claims victory in Egypt's presidency run-off

Syrian forces bombard Homs before UN briefing

Hosni Mubarak on life support, not 'clinically dead', says Egypt's military

 

Africa

Violence in Northern Nigeria Kills at Least 80

Sudan: Convert from Islam Loses Wife, Children

Nigeria: From the Sharia movement to Boko Haram

Nigeria: Hundreds of Muslims Celebrated the Appointment of Hadhrat Muhammad as Prophet

Lebanon to host second Islam-Christianity dialogue

 

North America

Toronto Arab newspaper publishes love poem to jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber

US probe calls for punishment of troops in Quran burning

Guilty plea in NY 'mini-al Qaida' cell case

Al-Qaeda had training camps in Pakistan: CIA documents

2 US men plead guilty to providing material support to Qaeda

 

Europe

Russia's Council of Muftis protests court ban of Islamic books

UK: Tower Hamlets accuse Daily Mail of telling porkies

Islamic Courses to Be Held in Kazakhstan

“Jesus in Quran” Published in Germany

French appeals court approves construction of a large mosque in Marseille

Hostages held in Toulouse on claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: The Al-Aqsa mosque

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/palestinians-seek-to-attract-millions-of-muslims-back-to-al-aqsa/d/7676

 

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Mideast Asia

 

Palestinians Seek To Attract Millions of Muslims Back To Al Aqsa

Tom Heneghan

June 20, 2012

The grand mosques in Mecca and Medina, the two holiest in Islam, draw millions of pilgrims annually. Al-Aqsa, the last of the three sacred sites the Prophet Mohammad urged Muslims to visit, sees only a few thousand foreign worshippers a year.

The difference is political, not religious. The first two mosques are in Saudi Arabia, a proudly Muslim kingdom, while Al-Aqsa stands on Israeli-controlled land that may be the most disputed religious spot on earth.

Jews call the raised ground at the eastern edge of Jerusalem’s Old City the Temple Mount, while Muslims know it as the Noble Sanctuary. Both claim sovereignty over it.

Muslims have kept up an informal boycott of the walled esplanade since Israel seized East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan in a 1967 war, saying visits would amount to recognition of Jewish occupation of Palestinian territory.

Palestinian and Jordanian officials now want to reverse that.

President Mahmoud Abbas urged Muslims last February to resume the journeys to Jerusalem to counter what he called Israel’s attempts to “Judaise” the city and in solidarity with the Palestinians.

“Visiting a prisoner is an act of support and does not mean normalization with the warden,” he said.

Since then, several high-ranking Arab and Islamic leaders have turned up to pray at Al-Aqsa and – they hope – kick-start a new wave of pilgrimages.

“Some Muslims haven’t visited Al-Aqsa mosque since 1967, but this was a big mistake,” said Palestinian Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al-Habash.

“We have now decided to correct our mistake.”

TEMPLE, MOSQUE AND DOME

A senior Muslim official involved in the plan said one to two million foreign pilgrims could visit Al-Aqsa annually if access were free and unimpeded.

“It would protect Al-Aqsa and also provide an enormous boost to the Palestinian economy,” he said. He asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Jerusalem was traditionally a stop for Muslims on overland routes to or from the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

What they found was a tranquil esplanade with two jewels of Islamic architecture, an elegant mosque highlighted by arabesque stained glass windows and the octagonal Dome of the Rock clad in ornate tiles and topped by a gilded cupola.

The Dome was built by Jerusalem’s Arab conquerors in 691 on the spot where Muslims say the Prophet Mohammad began his Night Journey to heaven.

This is also where Judaism’s two Bible-era Temples once stood, the first destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the second levelled by the Romans in 70 AD. The Western Wall, the last remnant of the second structure, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism.

The crowded plaza in front of the Western Wall and the calm park-like enclosure around the mosque and the Dome seem worlds apart. The one link from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City is a shaky wooden ramp leading to the Mughrabi Gate, right next to the Western Wall. This is the main entry for non-Muslim visitors.

Muslims enter the compound from the Muslim Quarter through 10 other gates through the ancient walls, past checkpoints manned by Israeli security forces. Palestinian authorities escort their guests through the Gate of the Tribes, at the opposite end of the compound from the ramp.

So few foreign Muslims have visited the 35-acre (14-hectare) compound in recent decades that many Arabs were surprised to hear the news in mid-April that Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, the second-highest religious authority in the Arab world’s most populous country, had gone to pray there.

Gomaa and Jordanian King Abdullah’s chief religious adviser, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, added an interfaith dimension to their tour by visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – said to be on the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial – at the invitation of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Two weeks before that, Habib Ali Al-Jifri, an influential Sufi preacher fromYemen, had toured it with Abdullah’s brother Prince Hashem. Their visit was less noticed, but after Gomaa turned up, a pattern seemed to emerge.

Several Jordanian politicians and a Bahraini delegation have also made the pilgrimage to Al-Aqsa and Muslim officials said more high-level visits were expected, both from the Arab world and by Muslims from Europe and Asia.

CONTROVERSY

In his appeal last February, Abbas condemned the expanding Jewish settlement of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as the capital of a hoped-for future state, and accused Israel of excavating near the disputed site with the aim of undermining Al-Aqsa itself.

Mohammad Ahmad Husein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, issued a fatwa approving the pilgrimages.

But a split appeared almost immediately.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatari-based spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the world’s leading Muslim preachers, issued his own fatwa against foreign Muslims visiting Jerusalem.

Hamas, Abbas’s Brotherhood-linked Palestinian rivals in Gaza, denounced the plan as “a gift to the (Israeli) occupation by legitimizing its presence”. The Egyptian parliament, dominated by Islamists after a post-Arab Spring election, called on Gomaa to resign.

The mufti answered his critics via Twitter: “Visiting Jerusalem increases one’s feelings of rejection of occupation and injustice and helps strengthen the (Palestinian) cause.”

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Abbas’s remarks as “a complete fabrication” that “could start a religious war.”

In the Old City’s Muslim Quarter abutting the disputed mount, Palestinians seemed unsure what to make of the campaign.

“Jerusalem has undergone countless occupations throughout history, and it was never a problem to come visit it, so I don’t understand why it’s suddenly a problem,” said Sharif Qaddoumi, 26, a researcher at al Quds University.

“Personally, I think people need to come and support Jerusalem,” said Hussam Salaymeh, a 41-year-old taxi driver. “But I understand the argument that considers it normalization with Israel. Politically, I do think it is normalizing the situation.”

Speaking in his Ramallah office, Habash framed the Al-Aqsa issue in the wider context of Israel’s tightening grip on East Jerusalem, which it annexed in 1967, and parts of the occupied territories.

“In Al Aqsa, we don’t want to see a repetition of what happened in Hebron,” he said, referring to the West Bank town and its Tomb of the Patriarchs, which was controlled by Muslims for centuries and known to them as Ibrahimi (Abraham’s) Mosque.

“After the 1967 war, Israel began letting settlers pray in the Ibrahimi Mosque. Step by step, day by day, year by year, they occupied more than half the mosque and made that into a synagogue,” he said.

VIPS AND OTHER MUSLIMS

In the absence of any movement towards a peace settlement, practically speaking it is hard to see how many foreign Muslims can follow the path that Gomaa, Jifry and their Jordanian escorts have indicated.

Israel’s official position is that all pilgrims are welcome to visit the mosques, churches and synagogues under its control, a policy that contrasts with Jordan’s ban on Jewish visitors when it controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967.

“Any member of any religion is welcome,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. “If Muslims want to come and visit their holy sites, that’s fantastic and they should do so.”

But they have to cross Israeli-controlled territory by entering Israel proper or taking the Allenby Bridge from Jordan into the West Bank as the recent visitors have done.

Gomaa enjoyed VIP treatment for his entry but Palmor said the normal procedure would be to apply for a visa before the trip – something many Muslims would still refuse to do because it would imply recognition of the Jewish state.

Once they reached Jerusalem, it is not clear the pilgrims could always enter the disputed sanctuary. Muslims are normally allowed free entry, but Israeli security posts at its gates sometimes limit entry to older men, from 40 or 50 years up, if they fear younger Muslims might stage protests there.

Despite these problems, Muslim officials say they will push ahead with their pilgrimage plan.

“We will not give up,” Grand Mufti Husein told Reuters. “Al-Aqsa is important for Muslims because it is important for God.”

http://muslimvillage.com/2012/06/20/24131/palestinians-seek-attract-millions-muslims-back-al-aqsa/

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Iranian Shia Cleric: Exploding Holy Sites Are Aimed At Muslim Disunity

Jun 20 2012

An Iranian religious figure condemned attack against Islamic holy sites saying the measure aims at bringing disunity among Muslim communities.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Hujjat-ol-Islam Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, Secretary General of Ahlul Bayt World Assembly said the enemies misuse Wahhabis to realize their aim, waging sedition among Muslims.

He slammed a recent explosion near the holy shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim (AS), seventh Shia Imam, and said,” Sacrilege of Ahlul Bayt (AS), household of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), is a series of plots by the enemies which are aimed at disagreement among different Islamic denominations.”

Shia cleric added, “Enemies, in a bid to achieve their objectives, focus on a group of extremist and ignorant Wahhabis, as agents to carry out their hostile plots.”

He referred to a background of demolition of Islamic holy sites by Wahhabis and denounced the measure which is still prevalent.

“Now that Islam has had a satisfactory promotion and Islamic Awakening is opening its way among different nations, enemies let the opposing movements to commit crimes and carry out explosions.” Hujjat-ol-Islam Akhtari said.

He also referred to the explosions in the holy shrines of Imam Hadi and Imam Hassan Askari (AS) in Samarra in 2007 and suicide bombings during the martyrdom anniversaries of Imams (AS) across different Iraqi cities and said the enemies hoped to discourage Muslims towards Ahlul Bayt (AS).

He praised the straight reaction of Al-Azhar and Egyptian scholars against similar moves to attack Islamic holy sites in Egypt.

Prominent cleric said the similar moves in Iraq are aimed at destabilizing the country, waging sedition among Shia and Sunni and hindering the moves for development of Iraq.

Religious and cultural figure stressed vigilance as the solution to confront these agents and stressed informing the public and security forces about these agents.

He said such moves can never fade the beliefs of the people or undermine Shia Sunni unity.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323227

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Shadowy al-Qaida-linked group claims Israel attack

Jun 19, 2012

GAZA CITY: A shadowy militant group claiming ties to the al-Qaida terror network says it carried out a deadly cross-border attack in Israel.

The group, calling itself the Mujahedeen Shura Council of Jerusalem, made the claim in a video distributed in Gaza on Tuesday.

The short video identifies two men, one Egyptian and one Saudi, as the perpetrators of Monday's attack. The men, speaking in front of an al-Qaida flag, say they are about to carry out a "double suicide mission."

In Monday's attack, two attackers crossed into Israel from Egypt and killed an Israeli civilian before they were shot dead by Israeli security forces.

The authenticity of the video could not be verified. Israel has warned that al-Qaida-inspired groups now operate in Gaza.

Israeli officials declined comment.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Shadowy-al-Qaida-linked-group-claims-Israel-attack/articleshow/14278945.cms

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Ex-Israeli soldier renounce his Israeli citizenship to join Palestinian

Jun 20 2012

A former Israeli soldier has announced he wants to renounce his Israeli citizenship and move to a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A former Israeli soldier has announced he wants to renounce his Israeli citizenship and move to a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Andre Pshenichnikov, a 23-year-old Jewish immigrant from Tajikistan, has said that he plans to live in the Deheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, where he used to work as a waiter and a construction worker.

He is currently traveling in Europe for two months and plans to move to the occupied West Bank when he returns home.

He began questioning Israel's policies toward Palestine while he was still serving in the military.

Now an outspoken anti-Zionist figure, Pshenichnikov told the Associated Press, "I hate Zionism… I want to be part of the Palestinian resistance… I call for other Israelis who support the existence of a state of Palestine to do the same, to come live in the West Bank or Gaza as Palestinians.”

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=322752

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Iran's Int’l Quran Contest Exports Islamic Revolution

Jun 20 2012

The 29th International Quran Competition plays a pivotal role in exporting the Islamic Revolution to other Muslim lands.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The 29th International Quran Competition plays a pivotal role in exporting the Islamic Revolution to other Muslim lands.

This is according to Mohammad Bahrami Khoshkar, member of the Assembly of Experts, who also highlighted the Holy Quran as a book of guidance as well as the main pivot on which Muslims’ solidarity relies.

“The Holy Book can be the source of inspiration for the developments in the Islamic world and an effective means to unite all Muslims against the enemies’ oppression,” he added.

He also highlighted the significant role of International Quran Competition in strengthening the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah and enhancing religious and cultural qualities in the youth.

Referring to the existing deficiencies in Quranic activities, he noted: “We are not lacking Quranic scholars, interpreters or researchers; what we need, however, is to create a sense of cooperation among Quran activists.”

“We also ought to prevent conducting similar projects by launching a Quranic database to keep a record of all the projects carried out in the field,” Bahrami Khoshkar went on to say.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323184

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Quranic Encyclopedia compiled in Qom

Jun 20 2012

QOM, Iran (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Iran's Head of the Quranic Culture Center, Hojjatol Islam Muhammad Sadeq Yousefi, announced that a “Quranic Encyclopedia” for the youth has been compiled  in the holy city of Qom and went to the marker recently.

“The Encyclopedia has been compiled in 8 volumes,” said the Islamic scholar stating that in the current year experts and Quran interpreters will compile the next volumes of the Encyclopedia up to its 11th one.

“We are about to compile the Quranic Encyclopedia in 25 volumes and these volumes will be ready in following years,” he underscored.

Hojjatol Islam Muhammad Sadeq Yousefi underscored the important effects of Quran instructions in Muslims life and urged Muslim youth to use Quranic teachings in their lives.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=322807

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Palestinians Nomination for Guinness Book of Records: Israel Demolishes Arab Village 38 Times

Jun 20 2012

Palestinian villagers have addressed the Guinness Book of World Records to register a ruinous "record". A Bedouin village in "Israel" has been demolished 38 times by Israeli authorities, who say people in the village do not have building permits.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Palestinian villagers have addressed the Guinness Book of World Records to register a ruinous "record". A Bedouin village in "Israel" has been demolished 38 times by Israeli authorities, who say people in the village do not have building permits.

Al-Araqeeb village with population of 500 residents in the Negev declared that some 40 homes have been destroyed over three dozen times by "Israel" Land Administration. Residents of the al-Turi Arab Bedouin tribe said they are being pushed off their own land.

"We have ownership documents that go back to the Ottoman era," the head of the Committee for the Defense of al-Araqeeb, Awad Abu Farih, stated to Anatolian news agency.

The residents believe that the village's centuries-old cemetery could serve as strong evidence of their historic rights.

Despite the unceasing governmental acts of destruction, the villagers remain firm and full of self-righteous belief, continuing to resist "Israeli" authorities.

"Every time they demolish our houses, we rebuild them and we will keep doing that even if the demolitions reach 99. We will never leave our land," Abu Farih said.

"Our village has become a living example of the flagrant violations committed by the Israeli authorities against its Arab population," Awad Abu Farih stated.

Since they cannot expect assistance from anywhere else, the villagers are considering an official address to the Guinness Book of World Records to draw international attention to their case.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=322757

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Openning of first Shia kids channel in Persian language

Jun 20 2012

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Shia kids channel Hodhod aired officially with Persian language on Monday. It is important to mention that this channel is the first Shia kids channel.

Before this the channel was in Arabic language.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323196

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Yemen: 9 Killed in Fighting in South

Jun 20 2012

SANAA, YEMEN (AP) — Yemeni military officials say fighting in the country's south has killed six al-Qaida fighters and three soldiers as the government presses an offensive that has retaken several militant strongholds..

The officials say the fighting that continued until early Wednesday took place about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from Azan in Shabwa province. The army seized the town earlier this week and militants fled to mountainous areas. One soldier was also wounded.

In another recently recaptured town, Zinjibar, demining teams found the bodies of seven militants including three Egyptians killed in earlier fighting. The team spotted another Egyptian militant but he killed himself with a hand grenade before being arrested.

Three civilians were killed Tuesday in Zinjibar by landmines planted by the militants, the officials said, speaking anonymously according to regulations.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/06/20/world/middleeast/ap-ml-

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Israel kills Gaza militant on third day of fighting

Jun 20, 2012

Israel killed a Gaza militant on Wednesday as a surge of fighting across the border of the Palestinian enclave entered a third day despite what Egypt said were its efforts to broker a truce.

The militant, a Palestinian belonging to one of Gaza's fringe Islamist Salafi networks, died and a comrade was wounded in an air strike on their motorcycle in southern Rafah, near Gaza's frontier with the Egyptian Sinai, medical officials said.

Israel said the man targeted had been involved in a raid on Monday from adjacent Sinai territory into the Jewish state, which killed an Israeli. Soldiers shot dead two infiltrators, who were later claimed by a newly formed radical Islamist movement, the "Shura Council of Mujahideen in the Holy Land".

Palestinians fired at least 16 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, causing no casualties, the military said.

Fighters from Gaza's ruling Hamas movement have joined in the barrages after months of staying on the sidelines, a shift that holds the prospect of a wider conflict during the contested ascendancy for political Islam in Egypt.

Cairo has brokered Gaza truces in the past and an Egyptian official said renewed mediation had secured agreement by Israel and Palestinian factions on Tuesday night.

A Palestinian source accused the Israelis of violating the deal. Israel neither confirmed nor denied there was such deal, and the military said in a statement it would "continue to operate with perseverance and determination against those who use terror against the State of Israel".

(Reporting by Saleh Salem in Gaza, editing by Diana Abdallah)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/20/us-palestinians-israel-violence-idUSBRE85J0G620120620

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Israel Government, Settlers Cooperate in West Bank Move

Jun 20 2012

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A cluster of Jewish settlers ordered to be evicted by an Israeli court said on Wednesday they would go quietly, sparing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a showdown with a core constituency.

The 30 families living in five unauthorised apartment blocks in Beit El accepted a government proposal to move them and physically relocate the buildings. The state will also erect 300 new homes elsewhere in their settlement in the occupied West Bank.

"We are peaceful people," the settlers said in a statement after overnight negotiations between a Beit El rabbi and Netanyahu aides. "Fraternal struggles rupture all of society ... and consume our creative energies, which are meant to be building up the nation."

Israel's Supreme Court had ruled that the apartment blocks, on Beit El's Ulpana hill, should be torn down by July 1 as they sit on privately owned Palestinian land.

Such distinctions are largely irrelevant abroad, where all the settlements are viewed as illegal for taking in territory occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and where Palestinians seek statehood.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/06/20/world/middleeast/20reuters-palestinians-

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CIA, Mossad responsible for Syria massacres: Turkish party

Jun 20 2012

A Turkish political party says the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s spy agency Mossad are responsible for massacres in Syria.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A Turkish political party says the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s spy agency Mossad are responsible for massacres in Syria.

A Turkish paper quoted the Deputy Chief of Turkey’s Felicity Party, Temel Karamollaoglu as saying, “Not only the Syrian crisis will not be solved, but also it will lead to civil war.”

On the one hand, western countries claim that they do not support armed conflicts in Syria, but, on the other, the US is obviously making attempts to arm the Syrian rebels, who are fighting the Middle Eastern country’s government, he said.

“Due to having common interests in Syria, the US, Israel, and the EU make no attempt to stop bloodshed in the country.”

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323451

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India

 

Christian Missionaries Destroying Kashmiri Culture, Claim Hurriyat Conference and others

June 20, 2012

The Hurriyat Conference along with other Muslim organizations has accused the Christian missionaries of harming the youth and culture of Jammu and Kashmir.

The statement was made after a delegation from Khudai Khidmatgar and National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) met Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Gilani during his house arrest in Srinagar.

In a statement issued by Khudai Khidmatgar, the Hurriyat leader said non-government organizations (NGOs) and agencies which are here in the name of voluntary services are destroying the traditional and cultural values of Kashmir.

He also alleged that some of the agencies and missionaries are doing forceful conversion by offering money and rewards to people as well as making the youth addicted to liquor and drugs.

Gilani urged the NGOs coming from several parts of India to Kashmir to first concentrate on their own places since various issues of minorities, Scheduled Caste and tribal there are unsolved.

He also said that his organization has no interest in supporting non-Kashmir organizations.

During the meeting, Gilani also highlighted the violence being committed by security agencies in the state.

He alleged that according to government statistics, 2011 was peaceful because there was less violence, but in the same year 300 to 350 Kashmiri youths were shot dead by Armed Forces.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/20062012-christian-missionaries-destroying-kashmiri-culture-claims-muslim-leader/

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Fai’s US judgment reveals how ISI fomented trouble in Kashmir valley

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

Jun 20 2012

THE PROTEST movement in Jammu and Kashmir was never “ indigenous” in nature and was financially and logistically supported by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI from the very outset, US attorney Neil MacBride has said.

The attorney made this claim in his explanation of reasoning for the sentencing of US- based Kashmiri activist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai.

Fai was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy and tax violations last March. The sentencing was made in connection with a decades- long scheme to conceal transfer of at least $ 3.5 million from the Pakistani government to fund his lobbying efforts in the US. The sentencing was announced among others by MacBride, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

MacBride’s reasoning (‘ Supplemental Position of the US with respect to sentencing factors’) available with M AIL T ODAY shows the US attorney has countered Fai’s arguments on his ISI links.

Fai claims he concealed his connections to the ISI because revealing them would have undermined “ his credibility with his constituents and particularly with the government of India and the indigenous Kashmiri resistance”. But MacBride reasons that “ to the contrary, revealing his ISI connection would not have undermined his credibility with the Government of India because he had no credibility with the Government of India; the Indian government understood that Fai was an agent of Pakistan”. Since 1989, when the militant movement was launched in J& K, India has been contending that this resistance was entirely created by the ISI. MacBride also claims that Fai’s tax evasion conspiracy was extremely sophisticated. “ Fai never carried more than $ 10,000 in cash outside the US… Instead he made arrangements either for Zaheer Ahmad to send him money in the country to which he was travelling, or for someone affiliated with the ISI to deliver money to Fai.” Fai was arrested in July 2011 and charged with being part of a longterm conspiracy with associate Zaheer to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the US without disclosing their affiliation.

Fai had said he was approached by an ISI official with an offer to provide funding to KAC. “ The KAC was incorporated on April 4, 1990… Fai admitted in a letter to the ISI in 1995 that he had already by that time been working with the ISI for more than a decade,” MacBride says.

Fai had claimed the ISI- KAC link was only limited to receipt of funds from the spy agency. But MacBride says the KAC was run by the ISI.

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'Made in India' trains to chug in Pakistan, Bangladesh

 Jun 20, 2012

CHANDIGARH: It has united India. Now, it is all set to forge strong bonds with the neighbours. Indian Railways will soon have air-conditioned coaches and locomotives chugging in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The country's biggest rail coach manufacturing unit, the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, along with diesel locomotives manufacturing units in Patiala and Varanasi, are making these coaches for the two countries.

Railways Infrastructure Technical and Economic Services (RITES) has already signed a deal with Bangladesh for supplying 16 broad gauge locomotives and is in negotiations with Pakistan railways advisory consultancy services for sending 50 locos.

A deal by RITES was inked with the Bangladesh Railway on June 10 to supply 16 broad gauge locomotives at a cost of Bangladesh Taka 6.09 billion or Rs 413 crore.

Earlier, in April, Pakistan had placed a request to hire 50 diesel locomotives from India.

India will start exporting the rakes to Bangladesh after 18 months, starting with two each month.

"It's a first-of-its-kind deal of railways with Bangladesh. We are first supplying them locos and coaches will roll out soon," said V K Jain, executive director, RITES.

Bangladesh railway secretary Fazle Kabir told TOI over phone from Dhaka that the "deal with India was a breakthrough for a country whose rail network together holds the key to future developments of industrial towns".

"We are trying to upgrade the network and transform the Bangladesh Railway just like India," said Kabir.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Made-in-India-trains-to-chug-in-Pakistan-Bangladesh/articleshow/14287170.cms

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Indian Muslims discuss Haj pilgrimage after SC abolish Haj subsidy

Manash Pratim Gohain

Jun 19, 2012

NEW DELHI: Forum for Haj Pilgrimage Management in India (FHMI) organized a one day Conference that deliberated on the issues and concerns related to Haj Pilgrimage Management and suggested options for a subsidy-free Haj Management in India on Tuesday. The primary objective of conference organized by FHMI under the chairmanship of Member of Parliament K Rahman Khan (former deputy chairman, Rajya Sabha) was to understand the functioning of Tabung Haji, a successful Haj Pilgrim Management Institution of Malaysia, and to create a consensus among the Indian Muslims on the possibility to establish an institution in India on the lines of Tabung Haji. Such a fund will not only help better Haj Pilgrimage Management but also work towards inclusion and social betterment of the Muslim community in India.

The Conference focused on the need to devise a sustainable institutional mechanism to minimize the impact of gradual withdrawal of Haj subsidy on the majority of poor Indian Haj Pilgrims, in the event of the recent judgement of the Supreme Court to phase out subsidy in the next 10 years.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indian-Muslims-discuss-reforms-to-Haj-pilgrimage-

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UNHCR helps refugees stitch up a livelihood

SMRITI KAK RAMACHANDRAN

June 20, 2012

For as long as she can remember, Mary Hamid has flitted between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now in India, and registered as a “refugee” from Afghanistan, she says she feels far from settled and is already worried about where life will take her next.

In Delhi with her family, which includes her orphaned nephew, she says her life has been a never-ending struggle. “These past years have been difficult. My husband lost vision in one eye; we had no job and a family of six to support. Because we have no work permits, all we could do were odd jobs that barely fetched us enough.”

Getting registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has, however, helped the husband-wife duo source an income. The Hamids work at a livelihood centre at Malviya Nagar, run by the UNHCR. While her husband makes paper plates, Mary stitches clothes. “We make just enough to pay the rent and buy food, but it is a start.”

At the same centre, 37-year-old Fatimah helps to stitch cotton kurtas for women and tries to bond with people who do not speak her language. Fatimah fled Sudan in 2008 after her husband was killed by a stray bullet and her five children went missing when violence rocked her city. “I came with a family that had employed me, but then they went back to Sudan and left me here,” she said through her interpreter.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3547712.ece

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Delhi their home but pandits yearn for Valley

Anahita Mukherji

 Jun 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: It was the Janmashtami of 1990, and Rashneek Kher, a 16-year-old Kashmiri pandit in exile in the squalid refugee camps of Jammu, stood in line at the milkman's. In addition to selling milk, the vendor also stored copies of the morning newspaper, which Kher would hungrily pore over. That day Kher read that his house was burnt down. "My father didn't speak to anyone for a month. He had built that house himself," says Kher.

According to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, 26.4 million ended 2011 as internally displaced people, a figure far higher than the number of refugees. Kher and his clan know what internal displacement means, having lived like refugees in their own country since 1990, when an estimated 3.5 lakh pandits left the valley. Yet their flight from Kashmir remains shrouded in silence.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Delhi-their-home-but-pandits-yearn-for-Valley/articleshow/14280328.cms

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Kashmiri boys excel in Marathi

Jun 20 2012

Eleven boys from the conflict-ridden region of Kashmir have excelled in Marathi in the Class 10 exam conducted by the Maharashtra government. Being in Pune for the last eight years after they were adopted by the non-profit organisation, Sarhad, the language and the city has become their own, they said.

15-year-old Tenzin Namdol from the Jhaskar region scored the highest in Marathi amongst the boys. “I got 76 marks in Marathi, and 69 per cent in the rest of the subjects,” he beams proudly. All of them attend the Sarhad School in Pune, along with the local children. They study in the English medium, with Marathi as the second language.

“In the beginning, it was difficult to understand the language, but we learnt slowly,” Manjur Ahmed, who scored 75 in Marathi and 70 per cent in all, states.

“When we return home for the holidays, people ask us what we are doing in a place that is so far away. But this doesn’t seem far away anymore,” Tenzin said. His home in the Jhaskar valley is a day’s travel from Kargil, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3547978.ece

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India, Pakistan discuss Sir Creek, make no headway

Jun 19, 2012

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan on Tuesday wrapped up their two-day talks on the Sir Creek marshlands without much headway, but agreed on finding "an amicable solution" to finalize the land and maritime boundary in the disputed area.

"The two sides discussed the land boundary in the Sir Creek area and also delimitation of International Maritime Boundary between India and Pakistan," said a joint statement after the talks.

"They reiterated their desire to find an amicable solution of the Sir Creek issue through sustained and result oriented dialogue," said the statement.

During the talks, the Indian delegation was led by surveyor general of India Swarna Subba Rao and the Pakistani side was led by Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmad, additional secretary in the ministry of defence. The Pakistan delegation also met Shekhar Agarwal, additional secretary in India's defence ministry.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Pakistan-discuss-Sir-Creek-make-no-

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Pakistan

 

Shia Cleric: Recognition of Shiite in Constitution of Pakistan Is "Ali Un-Wali Allah"

Jun 20 2012

Answering a question, top Shiite leader and a Senior Vice President of Milli Yakjehti Council Ayatollah Sajid Ali Naqvi said that no compromise on Shiite beliefs and do not ever imagine it because in an age that may have happened it did not, and now Shiite beliefs are like line on the iron and those who wanted to erase were erased themselves but could not delete the Principle of Shiite Muslims.

He stresses to not give any importance to the non-issues; it's not a problem at all. Many enemies of Shias surfaced and we delivered them to their future life. They were finished but Shiite and Shiite Beliefs are alive.

Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi said that to make these things Issue are not profitable but a loss, simple and innocent people will be upset and objective of enemy will be resolved, this type of case is not important. Hundreds of cases were brought before and this is not the first case.

Senior Vice President of Milli Yakjehti Council has said that, I am keeping an eye on this regularly and better no one touch this because it could be times chessman. Do not damage credibility with childish acts and avoid helping enemy in their targets. He said that whenever problem like this arise courts and agencies contacts me and I immediately process. It is Islami Nazriati council or Mutahidda Ulma Board, I am in contact with all. Do not make Shiite people psychological sick by these issues, circumstances are not good so innocent Shiite be taken away from enemy's dirty actions.

In constitution of Pakistan recognition of Shiite is Ali un-Wali Allah and we are constitutionally independent Civil and in religious proportion we are not called minority.

As a constitution we have National and International freedom rights. Promote unity in your ranks.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323203

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Pakistan Arts College Principal and Staff Accused Of Blasphemy

 Jun 20 2012

Lahore: The principal and staff of Pakistan's first college of arts are facing accusations of blasphemy for including paintings and a feature that allegedly support homosexuality and ridicule Islamic values in the institution's annual journal.

An additional district and session’s judge on Tuesday directed the chief of Old Anarkali police station to act in accordance with law on an application seeking the registration of a criminal case against the administration of the National College of Arts in Lahore.

The application filed with police contended that the college's principal and staff had published paintings and a feature that "favoured homosexuality" and ridiculed Islamic values in the annual journal "Sohbat".

Judge Sajjad Ahmad issued the order in response to a petition filed by a man named Abad Ali and directed the police station chief to lodge an FIR if any cognizable offence was made out against the respondents.

The petitioner's counsel Mumtaz Ahmad Mangat argued that the college's principal and other members of its administration were liable to be prosecuted for disgracing the Quran and ridiculing Islam.

He asked the court to direct police to register a case against the respondents under the blasphemy law and the Anti-Terrorism Act.

NCA Principal Fauzia Qureshi and the editorial board and publisher of the journal were named as respondents in the petition.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/964397/

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Pakistan refuses visas to Sikhs, Hindus

 Jun 20, 2012

AMRITSAR: Pakistan high commission in Delhi recently refused visas to Hindus and sehajdhari Sikhs who wished to observe the martyrdom anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore on June 29.

Various Sikh organizations including the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society and Khalra Mission Committee had applied for visas for their respective groups, said society president Harpal Singh Bhullar on Tuesday.

He said they took up the issue with the president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Sham Singh and urged him to pursue the matter with the Pakistan government through Evacuee Trust Property Board, but this did not yield any results.

He said, "The Pakistan high commission earlier issued visas to every one but now they have refused nearly 50% of the applicants." In charge of yatra branch, SGPC, Jaspal Singh, said they had applied for visas of 310 devotees.

President of Nankana Sahib Sikh Yatree Jatha Swaran Singh said all Sikh religious organizations had decided to meet the minister of state for foreign affairs Preneet Kaur.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-refuses-visas-to-Sehajdhari-Sikhs-Hindus/articleshow/14287367.cms

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Pakistan SC refers to Indian SC verdicts to disqualify Gilani

Jun 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan's Supreme Court referred to two judicial verdicts by the Indian apex court in its ruling disqualifying Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani following his conviction of contempt.

The four-page short order issued yesterday by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry referred to a total of eight judicial verdicts, including six by Pakistani courts and two by the Indian judiciary.

The references, included in the second paragraph of the order, mentioned the cases of "Jagjit Singh vs State of Haryana (AIR 2007 SC 590)" and "Rajendra Singh Rana vs Swami Prasad Maurya (AIR 2007 SC 1305)" without giving details.

The order said these eight judicial verdicts showed that the Supreme Court, while exercising the power of judicial review, could examine rulings given by the Speaker of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

The apex court yesterday disqualified Gilani in response to several petitions that had challenged National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza's decision not to disqualify the premier following his conviction of contempt.

The court ruled that the post of premier had been vacant since April 26, when another seven-judge bench had convicted Gilani of contempt for refusing to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-SC-refers-to-Indian-SC-verdicts-to-disqualify-Gilani/articleshow/14296062.cms

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Pak to elect new Prime Minister on Friday

Jun 20 2012

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari summoned Parliament to meet on Friday to elect a new Prime Minister, with the outgoing Textile Minister emerging as the likely candidate for the job.

Yousuf Raza Gilani was dismissed on Tuesday along with his Cabinet by the Supreme Court for failing to investigate his ally Mr. Zardari for corruption, adding to political instability in a country already saddled with massive economic and security problems.

But in moving quickly to install a new premier and not defying the court order as some had predicted the government may reduce fears of major upheaval, at least in the short term.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Presidency said the National Assembly would be convened on Friday afternoon.

A government official confirmed that the purpose of the meeting was to elect a new premier.

Mr. Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party has the largest number of seats in Parliament and is currently in government with coalition partners, which must also support his choice for Prime Minister to ensure he gets elected. Mr. Zardari has been meeting those partners to discuss a candidate.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3549026.ece

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Eight Booked In Blasphemy Case In Pak Over Quran Burning

Jun 20 2012

Lahore: Pakistani police have registered a case under the controversial blasphemy law against eight persons in Punjab province for allegedly desecrating the Quran, officials said today.

According to the FIR, several people led by Musharraf Mazari, a brother of PML-N legislator Atif Khan, set a shop belonging to Ghulam Farid on fire in Dera Ghazi Khan district, 400 km from Lahore.

During the incident, a Quran was also allegedly burnt.

Mazari had acted against Farid after the latter disobeyed his instructions regarding the arrangement of a marriage in the area, officials said.

The attackers allegedly beat up some women.

Police registered the case against eight persons, including Mazari and others belonging to his clan though no arrest has been made so far.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/8-booked-in-blasphemy-case-in-pak-over-quran-burning/964373/

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Pakistan arrests French man accused of al-Qaida ties

Jun 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has arrested a French man accused of being a prominent al-Qaida militant, a reminder of the country's vital role in the war on international jihadist groups at a time of deteriorating relations with the US, security forces said on Wednesday.

Naamen Meziche was captured in a raid near the border with Iran, officials said, without specifying when this had happened. Western media reports have described Meziche as an al-Qaida operative with links to European jihadi groups believed to have been living until now in either Pakistan or Iran.

The officials did not give their names in keeping with the policy of the Pakistani security forces.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-arrests-French-man-accused-of-al-Qaida-ties/articleshow/14294243.cms

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Gilani hurt his own dignity: Sharif

Jun 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: By disobeying the court order to reopen corruption cases against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Yousuf Raza Gilani "not only dishonoured the judiciary but also hurt his own dignity", former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said.

"No matter who becomes the new prime minister, he will have to write the letter (to the Swiss authorities to open graft cases against Zardari)," the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief told Geo News.

Sharif described the present government as a "perfect recipe for the country's disaster" if it continued to remain in power, and said the government should hold general elections immediately.

"What is a single good thing that the present government has done so far to justify its further being in power?" Sharif asked.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Gilani stood disqualified as prime minister as well as MP since the apex court's April 26 verdict holding him in contempt of court for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heard a set of constitutional petitions challenging national assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza's ruling over Gilani's qualification as prime minister.

A seven-member bench of the apex court had convicted Gilani April 26 of contempt of court. The court, however, sentenced him only "until the rising of the court", or till the time the judges left the court chamber. That was only for about 30 seconds after the verdict was handed down.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Gilani-hurt-his-own-dignity-Sharif/articleshow/14292615.cms

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Party loyalist who took on army, challenged judiciary

Jun 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Engaged in a continued tug-of-war for supremacy with the military on one side, and an assertive judiciary on the other, Yousaf Raza Gilani's four years at Pakistan's helm was indeed a tumultuous period for him and the country which also saw frosty ties with India.

When Gilani became Pakistan's PM after a return of democracy in 2008, not many critics gave him a chance for a long innings. However he showed resilience and determination to steer his democratically-elected government to a record term.

Gilani became Pakistan's 17th PM in March 2008 when Pakistan People's Party (PPP) swept to power in the post-Musharraf era. Within months, Pakistan's ties with India suffered a major jolt when Lashkar-e-Taiba militants attacked Mumbai, killing 166 people in November.

Gilani, who shared good relations with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also led his government's efforts to revive ties with India and put them back on track.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Party-loyalist-who-took-on-army-

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PPP asks workers to remain calm

Jun 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The ruling PPP on Tuesday asked its workers to remain calm following PM Yousaf Raza Gilani's disqualification by the supreme court as the party leadership decides its future course of action in consultation with its coalition partners.

The PPP's central executive committee has reservations about the apex court's judgement and the party's leadership will consult legal experts and political partners to decide on a "final outcome" , party spokesman, Qamar Zaman Kaira said.

"The CEC and the cochairman (President Asif Ali Zardari) have specially directed party workers to remain calm and not to organize protests ," said Kaira.

Kaira said Punjab was witnessed widespread protests against power outages that were being "sponsored" by provincial government of the opposition PML-N .

PPP sources said the party had called a meeting of leaders on Tuesday night and a meet of PPP parliamentary party on Wednesday to choose a replacement for Gilani.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/PPP-asks-workers-to-remain-calm/articleshow/14286554.cms

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Gilani's disqualification on expected lines

ANITA JOSHUA

Jun 20 2012

The disqualification of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was along expected lines. Anchorpersons on various news channels had been speaking about it often enough over the past few days for the nation to be well prepared.

But, it still came as a disappointment for the advocates of democracy who had been willing to indulge the bungling Pakistan Peoples Party-led dispensation for the sake of keeping the democratic exercise on track. All they had hoped for was to see a democratically-elected Prime Minister complete his term, for that has been something of a novelty in a country where the civilian leadership has always had to look over its shoulder.

And being a conspiracy-theory-prone country with a history of coups, people were quick to describe this as a “judicial coup” and began saying that the only way the judiciary can shake off this suspicion would be by proceeding with equal zeal in cases against the powerful security establishment, particularly the missing persons cases in which the intelligence agencies are suspect.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3547686.ece

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Pak media link 'judicial coup' to CJ's son's case

 Jun 20 2012

Islamabad : The Supreme Court's decision to disqualify the Prime Minister has pitted state institutions against each other at a time when the country is grappling with several challenges and raised questions about a "judicial coup" overseen by the top judge, the Pakistani media said today.

Sections of the media questioned the apex court's ruling that declared Yousuf Raza Gilani ineligible for the post of premier, with commentators asking why the judiciary had acted almost two months after the Prime Minister was convicted of contempt for refusing to revive graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The news of Gilani's ouster dominated the front pages of Pakistani dailies, with The News headlining its report, "Out you go Mr PM".

The headline in the influential Dawn newspaper read, "Prime minister is sent packing".

In an editorial titled 'A judicial coup?', The Express Tribune questioned the timing and the reasoning behind the Supreme Court's decision.

The daily said, "The view, that with this verdict, the apex court has played the role of judiciary, legislature and executive, may find some takers".

The Tribune cautioned that there would be people, and "not entirely from within the (ruling Pakistan People's Pary), who may consider whether yesterday's verdict is, in effect, a judicial coup".

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-media-link-judicial-coup-to-cjs-sons-case/964442/

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Historic ruling, says Imran Khan

Jun 20 2012

Islamabad : Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Tuesday welcomed judgment of the Supreme Court disqualifying Yousuf Raza Gilani as prime minister.

The PTI was one of the petitioners in the case.

“We took decision to approach the apex court because after Yousuf Raza Gilani had been held in contempt, Speaker National Assembly had no authority to question the verdict. Her role was simply to transmit the superior court decision to the Election Commission, which she refused. This created a situation of constitutional deadlock and it was necessary for the Supreme Court to adjudicate upon it,” said the PTI chief.

Khan described apex court’s judgment as “historic because it has demarcated limits of judicial and parliamentary authority. It will set a precedent that once superior judiciary has convicted someone, no non judicial forum can hold otherwise. The obvious implication is that once a conviction from a court of law has attained finality, disqualification from membership of a legislature would be automatic.”

Shahbaz Sharif, a senior leader of the opposition PML-N, which also instigated the court action, hailed the decision. “It upholds the supremacy of the law and the Constitution,” Sharif said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/964238/

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Supreme Court disposes of Kohistan killings case

Jun 20 2012

ISLAMABAD: A three member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday concluded the suo moto case taken over the Kohistan killings case stating that the girls in question have been found alive and the claim of the killings was unverifiable, DawnNews reported.

The court stated that the investigative teams comprising  a civil judge, MNA Bushra Gauhar, rights activist Farzana Bari (part of civil society) were sent twice to verify the claims aired on certain television channels and the report submitted by the team was found to be satisfactory according to the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice, while giving his remarks, said that the court condemns the holding of any illegal jirga but  no evidence was found that would suggest any error in the report and  that he trusted the judicial officer working on the case.

Chaudhry also thanked former Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the administration for their cooperation on the case.

He further directed rights activist Farzana Bari to present the court with any other evidence that she might posses and added that the case could be taken up again in case any evidence turned up.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/06/20/supreme-court-disposes-off-kohistan-case/

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South Asia

 

Suicide bomber kills 18civilians in Afghan east

Jun 20 2012

KHOST: A suicide bomber on a motorbike attacked a convoy of Nato troops in the eastern Afghan city of Khost on Wednesday killing 18 civilians, hospital officials said, the second attack on foreign forces in the troubled province this month.

At least 16 people were wounded including women and children, said officials at the main hospital in the city near the Pakistan border.

A spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said there was an insurgent attack in the city involving Isaf and Afghan forces, but he had no confirmation about casualties.

This month, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a US base in the province in which a US soldier, US contractor and an Afghan civilian were killed, the Nato force said.

It said 14 insurgents were killed in the June 1 attack carried out by fighters wearing suicide-bomb vests and firing rocket-propelled grenades.

Khost is a main area of operations for the Taliban-linked Haqqani militant group which the United States says has been behind a string of bombings in Kabul as well as attacks on foreign forces in the countryside.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta blamed the group for the attack on the base and vowed to fight them.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/20/suicide-bomber-kills-10-civilians-in-afghan-east/

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WUC Concerned over Deportation of Uyghurs in Sweden on World Refugee Day

20 June 2012

Since the inception of the World Refugee Day in 2001 following the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/76, the 20 June has stood as a poignant reminder to the international community of the adversity that all refugees face around the world, as well as acting as an important opportunity for all refugees to stand in solidarity with each other in the pursuance of their fundamental human rights. A decade after the UN adoption of the World Refugee Day, however, the situation of Uyghur refugees has been rapidly deteriorating. Countries neighbouring or near China, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, have deported Uyghur refugees in violation of the international principle of nonrefoulment. Many extradited Uyghur refugees were put on show trials and given long sentences by China. Furthermore, the whereabouts ofmany extradited Uyghur refugees are unknown.

While the extradition of Uyghur refugees by the non-democratic states of Asia is to some extent not a surprise, there have been cases of Uyghur refugees being deported by Western democracies, chief among them is Sweden. Sweden has been reputed for its fair treatment and handling of refugee cases in the world. But the recent trend of deporting Uyghur refugees who will face severe political persecution after deportation to China is disturbing. The World Uyghur Congress is seriously concerned with such a trend and requests the Swedish government not to deport Uyghur refugees to China.

As World Refugee Day approaches on 20 June 2012, two Uyghurs in Sweden are facing the threat of deportation back to China following the Swedish authorities’ refusal to grant them political asylum. Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported yesterday on the imminent deportation of two Uyghurs from Sweden to China after their latest asylum requests were refused. Maierhubai Delimulati (also known as, Merhaba Dilmurat), has been involved in speaking out against the Chinese government's repressive policies directed against Uyghurs in East Turkestan, whereas Tuogeluke Haimiti (also known as Tughluq Hemit) was involved in the peaceful protests on 5 July, 2009 in Urumchi that were violently suppressed, causing widespread ethnic unrest. He subsequently fled China after several of his friends were detained as the authorities cracked down on the Uyghurs in the aftermath of the ethnic unrest.

Both now fear that they will be sent back to China - where they will almost certainly face torture, lengthy prison sentences and beatings, as precedents suggest – being that all avenues have been exhausted through the Swedish asylum process.

“The World Refugee Day should stand as a stark reminder to the international community of the serious situation facing Uyghur refugees and their obligations to protect them in accordance with international law. I urge the Swedish authorities not to deport Merhaba Dilmurat and Tughluq Hemit to China, but to reconsider their cases on humanitarian grounds,” said WUC President Rebiya Kadeer.

Under international law, refugees are afforded substantial protection. They are protected under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, 1984 Convention on Torture and customary international law. The principle of non-refoulement, which forbids the return of a true victim to their persecutor, is a jus cogens principle of international law. It is therefore something from which a state cannot derogate, irrespective of the purported crime of the person in question.

One common problem the Uyghur refugees are facing is that state authorities are unaware of the realities that Uyghurs face on the ground once they have been returned, especially if they have been involved in pro-democracy and human rights activism in their host country or when they were in China, as in the cases above. In this vein, Sweden and other states should take stock of the fact that the whereabouts and conditions remain unknown of two Uyghurs who were previously deported from Sweden in January 2012.

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Bangladesh arrest warrant over 'blasphemous' book

 5 Jun 2012

Judge orders arrest of novelist Salam Azad for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed in his 2003 book 'Broken Temple'

A Bangladeshi court has issued an arrest warrant for the writer of a 2003 novel that allegedly contains insulting remarks against the Prophet Mohammed, a lawyer said Tuesday.

The court in Dhaka issued an arrest warrant in response to a petition from a Muslim activist accusing author Salam Azad of hurting religious sentiment in his banned book "Bhanga Math" ("Broken Temple") published in 2003.

"We told the court that the book contained slanderous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. The judge accepted the petition and issued a warrant of arrest," the petitioner's lawyer Ekhlas Uddin told AFP.

Dhaka police confirmed the warrant.

Azad told AFP the case was part of a smear campaign against him launched by a senior official from the ruling Awami League party.

"I became his target after I protested his grabbing of Hindu property. He has already filed a case against me," he said.

Azad, 48, said the book, published in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, was banned for blasphemy by the Bangladeshi government in 2004.

The book is alleged to contain insulting remarks about the Prophet Mohammed and the Koran.

In May Bangladesh banned a novel by popular writer Humayun Ahmed for allegedly distorting how the nation's first president and his family were murdered in 1975.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/18/0/43869/Books/0/Bangladesh-arrest-warrant-over-blasphemous-book.aspx

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Myanmar communities torn apart by sectarian unrest

June 20, 2012

Deadly communal clashes in western Myanmar have cleaved apart communities, leaving Buddhists and Muslims deeply sceptical about whether they can ever live side by side again. Dozens of people have been killed in unrest which has swept Rakhine state, with tens of thousands of people

displaced as neighbourhoods were set ablaze and knife-wielding mobs stalked the streets.

Both sides blame the other for the cycle of revenge attacks, apparently sparked by the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and the subsequent lynching of 10 Muslims by a crowd of angry Buddhists.

The spasm of violence has exposed deep divisions between the mostly Buddhist ethnic Rakhine and the Muslim Rohingya, and prospects for reconciliation between the communities appear distant.

"We lived together in the past. We are very sorry this is happening because we used to help each other," said Mya Win, 48, who sought refuge during the unrest in a monastery with other ethnic Rakhine women and children.

"But they (the Muslims) started to attack us. Although we were friends before, I don't want to see them at all now because we have no home... it is impossible to live together in the future," she added.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Myanmar/Myanmar-communities-torn-apart-by-sectarian-unrest/Article1-875306.aspx

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian Minister Responds to Criticism over Youth Condom Campaign

Antara & Dessy Sagita | June 20, 2012

Newly-appointed Health Minister Nafsiah Mboy posted a video to YouTube on Tuesday explaining the ministry's plan to promote condom use among teenagers and other at-risk groups after Indonesia's conservative organizations rallied against the campaign.

"We know that some groups engage in risky sexual relations," the health minister said in her video-taped response. "They should be counselled to change their lifestyle, but if they continue to do it, we can only advise them to use condoms.

"This is very important. Ignorance of this will lead to unwanted pregnancies and [the spread of] HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases."

Indonesia has one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemics rate in Asia, according to United Nations figures. More than three-quarters of the nation's HIV/AIDS cases result from unprotected sex, according to AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA) figures.

Statistics on teen pregnancy in Indonesia are hard to pin down. A study conducted by the Child Protection Commission (KPAI) claimed that 21.2 percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have had at least one abortion. The commission — which recently called on the government to curb condom sales to minors — found that 62.7 percent of teenagers ages 14 to 18 have had sex.

The Health Ministry's campaign will focus on sexually-active high school- and college-aged Indonesians.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/new-health-minister-responds-to-criticism-over-youth-condom-campaign/525516

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Indonesian court to decide fate of Bali bombmaker Patek

Jun 20 2012

Patek will likely be spared the maximum penalty — death by firing squad — with prosecutors seeking a life sentence because the accused has shown remorse during the four-month trial

AN Indonesian court will hand down its verdict Thursday on Umar Patek, an accused bombmaker in the 2002 Bali attacks, bringing to an end a 10-year probe into the nation’s deadliest act of terror. Patek, 45, is accused of assembling explosives for twin suicide bombings on a bar and a nightclub in Bali that killed 202 people, and church attacks in Jakarta on Christmas Eve in 2000 that killed 19. Patek will likely be spared the maximum penalty - death by firing squad - with prosecutors seeking a life sentence because the accused has shown remorse during the four-month trial.

Patek, dubbed ‘Demolition Man’ by local media, is the last suspect detained in Indonesia to be tried over the Bali attacks that killed mostly foreigners, including 88 Australians. The attacks triggered a long crackdown on terrorism in Indonesia, focused on weakening the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network responsible for the bombings.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\20\story_20-6-2012_pg4_7

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Malaysia bookstore manager charged by Islamic court over banned book

19 Jun 2012

A Malaysian Islamic court on Tuesday charged a bookstore manager with selling a book by a Canadian Muslim lesbian activist that was recently banned in the Southeast Asian country.

Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, who manages the bookstore chain outlet in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is accused by the Islamic court of distributing Irshad Manji's "Allah, Liberty and Love."

The Home Ministry banned the book last month after it was deemed offensive to Islam, contained "elements that could mislead the public," and was "detrimental to public order".

According to Manji's website, the book "shows all of us how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas".

Nik Raina faces up to two years in jail and a fine if the Islamic court finds her guilty, her lawyer Rosli Dahlan said. No plea was recorded Tuesday with the next court date set for September 19.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/18/108/45564/Books/World/Malaysia-bookstore-

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From Lady Gaga to Atheist Alexander to DBS, Indonesia Is Sending Investors Bad Signals

William Pesek | June 20, 2012

As economic indicators go, Lady Gaga isn’t a big market mover.

The pop superstar’s decision to scrap a sold-out concert in Indonesia had the country in the news for all the wrong reasons. Protests by Islamic hard-liners made it easy for the performer — who advocates gay rights and features sexually suggestive dance routines in concert — to bypass Jakarta on her Asian tour.

Such local sensitivities risk upending something bigger: the very direction of Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

International investors rarely know what to do with displays of social or religious intolerance. Lady Gaga’s cancelation came two weeks before Alexander Aan was sentenced to over two years in jail for posting “God does not exist” on Facebook. Although this stands as a blight on Indonesia’s democratic credentials, it’s an ambiguous signal to an American, British or Singaporean investor.

The same can’t be said when intolerance extends to economic matters. The poster child of this is the proposed $7 billion takeover of Bank Danamon Indonesia by Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings. The deal is in question as Indonesia considers restricting foreign ownership of lenders for reasons that smack more of emotion than rationality. New taxes on metals, curbs on raw-material shipments and laws that require some foreign companies to divest stakes in local projects have left Indonesian stock markets with some of the weakest returns in the region this year.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/from-lady-gaga-to-atheist-alexander-to-dbs-

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Arab World

 

Saudi Wahhabi Authorities Arrest the Shiite Cleric Shaikh Hosham al Khoneizi

Jun 20 2012

On 18 June 2012, the Saudi Wahhabi security forces arrested the Shiite cleric Shaikh Hosham Abdul Wahid al-Khoneizi, 45 years, from Qal'a district in Qatif city.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - On 18 June 2012, the Saudi Wahhabi security forces arrested the Shiite cleric Shaikh Hosham Abdul Wahid al-Khoneizi, 45  years, from Qal'a district in Qatif city.

Shaikh Hosham al-Khoneizi was immediately arrested by the police at Al-Dammam Airport as he arrived from Iran.

Shaikh al-Khoneizi had suffered health problems since his residence in Iran as he has been studying in religious Hawzat in the Iranian city of Qom .

Al-Khoneizi was transferred to the prison of General Intelligence Al-Mabahith Al-'Aamma of al-Dammam without clarifying reasons behind the arrest .

On the other hand a security force arrested the Shiite youngster Mohammad Hassan al-Nemer from Awwamiyah town in Qatif.

Mohammad al-Nemer was transferred to unknown location. His family has no information about him.

Another security force tried to arrest the youngster Mohammad Hassan Al Zayed from Awwamiyah town in Qatif, but he could to escape.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323454

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Saudi Arabia: Man Executed for Witchcraft and Adultery

Jun 20 2012

Saudi Arabia executed a man for practicing witchcraft and committing adultery, the state news agency said Tuesday, citing a statement from the Interior Ministry. The man, Mareeh bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri, “was in possession of books and talismans from which he learned to harm God’s worshipers and admitted adultery with two women,” the statement said. He was executed in Najran Province, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Last year, Saudi Arabiabeheaded a man and a woman for witchcraft in two cases.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-man-executed-for-

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Syrian National Council the Military Arm of CIA

Jun 20 2012

A document prepared by the Catholic lobby in France mentioned that the Syrian National Council is the military arm of the American intelligence.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Controversial atmosphere took place after Basma Qadamani attended the largest Masonic conference in the world.

The report from which we are going to publish a document is attached to the conference of the global Bilderberg Group and prepared by a group of French activists who support the so-called Catholic lobby which is the most powerful in France. The report mentions that the position of France has deteriorated recently on the global level. The weakness of its presence in Bilderberg Club, the most important economic, political, security, and military club ever, is clear evidence. The conference classified the National Syrian Council as security and political council, and reported that there was a significant Turkish and Israeli representation as well as a sort of weird Syrian representation by the spokesperson of the Syrian Council "Basma Qadamani" and attributing her attendance to the presence of two high-level American security officials.

Some Arabic sites did not comment on Qadamani's attendance at Bilderberg Conference, yet some sides in the Syrian opposition criticized the event in electronic mails. Although we obtained some of those mails that were distributed among activists in this domain, however we will only publish certain paragraphs from the report of the French Catholic lobby since its publishers have a significant experience in Western relations, French security and politics, and inside the churchly lobby that is close to decision-making in France.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323230

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Islamist moment in contemporary Arab history

By Dr AbdulKhaleq Abdulla

June 20, 2012

Islamists are trusted because people have had enough of decades upon decades of corrupt regimes

Now that Egypt has elected an Islamist President, Mohammad Mursi, with the narrowest of margins, and political Islam is firm in the beacon of power in major Arab capitals, including the pivotal capital of Cairo, the two lingering questions are: What do Islamists want and what do we want from the plethora of the Islamist parties.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been patiently waiting for this moment for nearly 80 years. They are finally in the driver’s seat and most likely they will be taking the responsibility of leadership in this turbulent region in the foreseeable future.

This is the Islamist moment in contemporary Arab history. They are in the seat of power in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt and possibly in Libya and Syria as well and they are the majority in the Kuwaiti parliament.

Interestingly, they did not come to power through cheating or by a coup and violent means. Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/islamist-moment-in-contemporary-arab-history-1.1037921

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Thousands protest in Cairo over military's bid to grab new powers

Jun 20, 2012

CAIRO: Thousands of Egyptians packed into Tahrir Square on Tuesday to protest the ruling military's bid to grab new powers, as both presidential candidates claimed victory in the country's historic vote.

In the hub of the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, protesters chanted against his military successors, with a steady trickle of people joining the demonstration after sunset.

The demonstration comes against a backdrop of uncertainty over the winner of the presidential vote, with the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi and his rival former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq both claiming victory.

The Brotherhood said it would participate in Tuesday's protest, called by several groups that participated in Egypt's 2011 uprising, against measures by the ruling military council to claim sweeping powers.

Just as counting began in the pivotal presidential polls late on Sunday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a constitutional declaration claiming legislative power after a court ordered parliament's dissolution.

The declaration also gives the council veto power over the wording of a new permanent Constitution and appeared to interfere with the ability of the incoming president to exercise his powers.

"The dissolution of the parliament is null and void, the military council must leave and now legitimacy lies with the people who elected Mursi," said Abdel Basset Mohieddine, a Brotherhood support taking part in the protest.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Thousands-protest-in-Cairo-over-militarys-

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28 soldiers among 39 dead in Syria: rights group

Jun 20 2012

Beirut : Twenty-eight soldiers and a Shiite Muslim cleric were among 39 people killed in violence across Syria today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

At least 20 troops were killed in fierce clashes with rebel fighters in the northwestern province of Latakia, the Britain-based watchdog said.

Five rebels were also killed in the clashes that began late yesterday and continued through dawn today in a region known as the Kurdish Mountain near the border with Turkey.

“The majority died in direct fighting with the rebels, while other soldiers were killed in a rebel attack on two buildings, which the army was using to launch mortar attacks against the Kurdish Mountain,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Dozens of soldiers were also wounded, Abdel Rahman said.

“A number of soldiers, including an officer, were captured by the rebels, who also took their weapons,” he added.

In Idlib, another northwestern province that borders Turkey, five government troops were killed when a car bomb exploded at their checkpoint overnight. Explosions and shooting were also heard in the town of Maaret al-Numan, the Observatory said.

In the central province of Hama, clashes in the town of Kernaz left three soldiers dead. Shelling by government troops also killed a man and his wife.

“Unidentified gunmen assassinated a Shiite cleric in Sayyida Zeinab," the Observatory said, referring to an area of south Damascus that houses a revered Shiite shrine of the same name and is home to many Iraqi refugees.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/28-soldiers-among-39-dead-in-syria-rights-group/964427/

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Oman pledges support to UN human rights initiatives

June 19, 2012

Geneva: The Sultanate has stressed on the importance of Human Rights Council and its effectiveness in addressing the important issues related to human rights.

The Sultanate hailed the achievements of Laura Dupuy Lasserre, president of The Human Rights Council, and her success in running the body.

The Sultanate also congratulated Navi Pillay for the extension of her tenure as the High Commissioner for Human Rights, asserting that this is a logical translation for her untiring efforts in executing her responsibilities to ensure human rights across the world.

Yahya bin Salim Al Wahaibi, the Sultanate's permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, was speaking during the general discussions of the Human Rights Council at its

20th session.

The Sultanate affirmed that it seeks to disseminate the human rights culture through continuous cooperation among various organisations of the civil community and respective government departments in the Sultanate.

(Follow timesofoman.com on Facebook and on Twitter for updates that you can share with your friends.)

http://www.timesofoman.com/innercat.aspx?detail=6767

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Anti-Islam Protest at Arab International Festival in Dearborn

Jun 20 2012

For a brief moment Friday, the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?" blared over the speakers of a ride at the Arab International Festival in Dearborn; but nearby, an anti-Islamic protest made its way down Warren Avenue, drowning out the lyrics' message of friendship with the angry shouts of attendees.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - For a brief moment Friday, the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?" blared over the speakers of a ride at the Arab International Festival in Dearborn; but nearby, an anti-Islamic protest made its way down Warren Avenue, drowning out the lyrics' message of friendship with the angry shouts of attendees.

The incident led to two charges of disorderly conduct, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=322802

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Bomb kills 2 in northern Iraq: Police

Jun 20 2012

SULAIMANIYAH: A police official said that a car bomb targeting a local judge killed two people and wounded 16 in a northern Iraqi city that is rife with ethnic tensions.   

Police Col Shezat Mofriee said that the Wednesday morning explosion went off just as criminal court Judge Aziz Ibrahim was arriving at his office near a police station in downtown Kirkuk, located 290 kilometers  north of Baghdad.

Mofriee said the judge and two of his bodyguards were among the wounded. Three policemen also were injured.

The explosions also set at least one shop on fireand knocked nearby people to the ground.

Kirkuk, some 290 kilometers north of Baghdad, is ethnically divided among Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen, each of whom claim the right to control the city and the oil-rich lands around it.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/20/bomb-kills-2-in-northern-iraq-police/

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Two sentenced to death for shooting at policemen in Bani Yas

Convects were processing narcotics for trading purpose

June 20, 2012

Dubai: Two men have been sentenced to death by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court for their involvement in shooting at two policemen in Bani Yas.

The court said the death sentence was issued against the two who carried out the crime after they were convicted of processing hashish narcotics for trading purpose. The court added that the death sentence abolishes any other sentence.

The court had sentenced the first suspect, aYemeni national, for 10 years of jail, a Dh20,000 fine, and deportation for resisting the police by force and violence.

The second suspect, a UAE national, was given a life sentence by the court for the charge of the attempted murder of two policemen by shooting at them when they were on duty.

The suspect was also fined with Dh10,000 as compensation for one of the victims and Dh40,000 as compensation for the other victim.

A four-years prison sentence was added for the use of narcotics and another six months jail sentence was added for processing a fire arm and an electric prod.

The court listened to the two policemen who were shot by the two suspects.

Full report at:

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/two-sentenced-to-death-for-shooting-at-policemen-in-bani-yas-1.1037978

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Syrian people must decide their leadership: Putin

Jun 20 2012

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that China and Russia are “not aligned” with the US and other nations on Syria but says both countries’ leaders recognize the dangers of a civil war.

Obama’s comments at the end of the Group of 20 meeting of the world’s largest economies came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said only the Syrian people have the right to decide whether their leader, Bashar Assad, steps down.

Putin told a separate news conference that only some Syrians “who are represented by the armed position” want Assad to step down.

“It’s my personal belief, and I shared this with them, I don’t see a scenario in which Assad stays and violence is reduced,” Obama countered.

While Obama said Russia and China recognize the dangers of all out civil war in Syria, “I wouldn’t suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China in their positions.”

Obama met with Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of an economic summit. Syria was a top subject.

China and Russia have close ties to Syria and have vetoed two UN resolutions that mentioned the threat of sanctions against President Assad’s regime. China and Russia, however, did support an observer mission in Syria and a plan by special envoy Kofi Annan to end the violence.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3548914.ece

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Exercise freedom of expression with restraint, cautions NHRC

June 19, 2012

Muscat: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has slammed the recent events witnessed in the Sultanate in which some people indulged in inflammatory writing and disseminating them through the e-networking.

Such activities contradict the principles of religious values and are considered to be criminal acts as per the laws of the Sultanate and international legislations in this regard.

In a statement, the NHRC said that freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed by the basic law of the state and the laws should be respected while practising the right to the freedom of expression.

The NHRC pointed out that there is a difference between freedom of opinion as a right and the misuse of this right in reality. The dividing line defines the legality of this right and going beyond it is a crime punishable by the law.

The rule is that the freedom of an individual ends when the freedom of other individuals begins, the NHRC said in its statement.

Full report at:

http://www.timesofoman.com/echoice.aspx?detail=6771

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Islamic Development Bank prices $800 mln 5-yr sukuk

Jun 19, 2012

DUBAI, June 19 (Reuters) - Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) priced an $800 million five-year sharia-compliant bond, or sukuk, on Tuesday, lead arrangers said, in its first public debt issuance in over a year.

The size of the sukuk was increased to $800 million from $750 million at launch, indicating string demand for the sale, and the issue carries a profit rate of 1.357 percent.

The sukuk priced at a spread of 40 basis points over midswaps.

Qatar's Barwa Bank, BNP Paribas, CIMB, HSBC, NCB Capital and Standard Chartered are joint lead arrangers and bookrunners on the deal.

Abu Dhabi-based lender Al Hilal joined the deal as co-lead manager.

IDB, rated AAA, last tapped debt markets in May 2011, when it priced a $750 million five-year sukuk at a spread of 35 basis points over midswaps to yield 2.35 percent.[ID: nLDE74H1NW] (Reporting by David French; Writing by Rachna Uppal, Editing by Dinesh Nair)

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/19/idb-sukuk-idINL5E8HJAWW20120619

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Shafiq's campaign claims victory in Egypt's presidency run-off

Jun 19, 2012

CAIRO: A day after Mohammed Mursi claimed victory in Egypt's presidency run-off vote, his opponent Ahmed Shafiq's campaign today made a dramatic counter-claim of winning the polls, accusing Muslim Brotherhood of circulating "false results".

Shafiq's presidential campaign held a press conference today at its headquarters in Cairo, where campaign officials challenged claims that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mursi had won Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential election over the weekend.

"Neither we, nor our rival's campaign, have the authority to announce final numbers, but our assumptions confirm that our candidate received 51 per cent of the votes," Shafiq campaign official Karim Salem was quoted as saying by Ahram Online.

"Our candidate asks you all to celebrate, but to remain peaceful," Salem added.

Salem blamed widespread reports of Mursi's victory on "fake results" propagated in the media.

Shafiq spokesman Ahmed Sarhan, for his part, reiterated claims that his rival's campaign was circulating "false results."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Shafiqs-campaign-claims-victory-in-

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Syrian forces bombard Homs before UN briefing

Jun 19, 2012

BEIRUT: Syrian forces bombarded the central city of Homs on Tuesday and clashed with rebel fighters shortly before the chief United Nations monitor was due to brief world powers on the escalating violence which forced him to suspend operations.

A resident in Homs said the sound of explosions could be heard across the city, and activists also reported shelling in the Damascus suburb of Douma and fighting between soldiers and rebels in northern Aleppo province near the border with Turkey.

The violence is the latest wave of relentless bloodshed which led United Nations observers - who were sent to Syria to monitor a ceasefire deal brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan - to halt operations on Saturday.

Norwegian peacekeeper General Robert Mood was due to brief the UN Security Council at 3pm EDT on the renewed violence, which he has blamed on both President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Syrian-forces-bombard-Homs-before-UN-briefing/articleshow/14277916.cms

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Hosni Mubarak on life support, not 'clinically dead', says Egypt's military

Jun 20, 2012

CAIRO: Hosni Mubarak was on life support in hospital on Wednesday, Egyptian military officials said, denying a report that the ousted president was clinically dead.

Earlier the state news agency, amid high tension over the election of a new president, quoted medical sources as saying the former head of state was "clinically dead". That description was also used to Reuters by a hospital source.

But several sources in the military and security services, which retain control following the revolt, said Mubarak, 84, was being kept alive and said they would not use the expression "clinically dead" to describe his condition.

General Said Abbas, a member of the ruling military council, told Reuters that Mubarak had suffered a stroke but added: "Any talk of him being clinically dead is nonsense."

Another military source said: "He is completely unconscious. He is using artificial respiration."

Another member of the military council, General Mamdouh Shaheen, told CNN: "He is not clinically dead as reported, but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition."

The confusion over the state of health of the former leader came as his long-time opponents in the Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory over a candidate drawn from the military elite in a presidential election held at the weekend.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Hosni-Mubarak-on-life-support-not-clinically-dead-says-Egypts-military/articleshow/14286216.cms

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Africa

 

Violence in Northern Nigeria Kills at Least 80

Jun 20 2012

KADUNA/ABUJA (Reuters) - At least 80 people have been killed since Monday in clashes in two northern Nigerian cities triggered by Islamists waging an insurgency against the government, figures from police and the Red Cross showed on Wednesday.

Boko Haram insurgents waged gunbattles with security forces in the remote northeastern city of Damaturu, near the radical sect's heartland, throughout Tuesday, police chief for the surrounding Yobe state Patrick Egbuniwe told Reuters. He said 40 people were killed, 34 insurgents and 6 security forces.

In separate clashes between Muslim and Christian residents of the northern city of Kaduna on Tuesday, triggered by suspected Islamist bombings of three churches two days earlier, at least 40 people were killed and 62 wounded, according to figures from local Nigeria Red Cross official Awwal Sani.

(Reporting by Garba Mohammed and Mike Oboh; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/06/20/world/africa/20reuters-nigeria-

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Sudan: Convert From Islam Loses Wife, Children

June 20, 2012

A year ago Mohammed Khidir Khalil was glad his family had obtained refugee status in Egypt after fleeing Islamic hostilities in Sudan.

The 38-year-old Christian was also heartened that his formerly unbelieving wife was attending church with him.

Today the convert from Islam is back in Sudan fighting to recover his family after his in-laws compelled his wife to claim she was Muslim and divorce him. A Sudanese court automatically granted her custody of their two sons and forbade him to see them, he said. He fears that if he persists in his legal battle, he faces the threat of being accused of “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.

It was last August that his Muslim mother-in-law visited them in Egypt.

“Without my knowledge, she took my wife and children back to Sudan,” Khalil said.

The couple had fled Sudan just before the South Sudan vote for independence on Jan. 9, 2011, after threats from the couples’ Muslim families and others intensified, Khalil said. In Egypt, they reported their case to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and won asylum.

Full report at:

http://www.eurasiareview.com/20062012-sudan-convert-from-islam-loses-wife-children/

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Nigeria: From the Sharia movement to Boko Haram

By ALI A. MAZRUI

19 June 2012

In the politics of Nigeria, religion, ethnicity and regionalism are intermingled. Almost all Hausa are Muslim and overwhelmingly located in the North. Almost all Igbos are Christian and are geographically concentrated in the East. The Yoruba, on the other hand, are half Christian and half Muslim and are concentrated mainly in Western Nigeria. Since its 1960 independence, Nigeria’s national politics have been bedeviled by Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba ethnicity tensions, Christian vs. Muslim sectarianism violence and North vs. South regionalism.

The militant Islamic movement, Boko Haram, consists mainly of young Hausa in the north of the country. The movement signifies a different kind of radicalization and precipitated from the 1990s Sharia movement in the north.

The Sharia movement was a cultural assertion by Northern elites at the state level to compensate for their political decline at the federal level. Although Nigeria as a country was supposed to be a secular state, one Northern state after another established Sharia Islamic law within their state boundaries. Of the 36 Nigerian states, about one-third opted to adopt Islamic law and governance.

The world woke up to its implications when Amina Lawal, an unmarried pregnant woman, was sentenced to death for adultery by a Sharia court. The sentence was never carried out mainly because of national and global outcry, not least among fellow Muslims worldwide. However, Islamic law remained theoretically operational in most northern Nigerian states, but the militancy declined among the elite.

While the Sharia movement was ultimately an assertion of pride in Islam, Boko Haram’s ideology is adversarial toward other religions. The Sharia movement in Nigeria was a declaration of loyalty and adherence to Islam, while Boko Haram is substantially a declaration of hostility towards Christianity and aspects of Western civilization.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2012/06/19/221606.html

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Nigeria: Hundreds of Muslims Celebrated the Appointment of Hadhrat Muhammad as Prophet

Jun 20 2012

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The African Shia Islamic Movement marked the occasion of Mab’ath on Friday the 26th of Rajab 1433 (15th of June 2012) at Husainiyyah Baqiyyatullah,

Zaria. The occasion was well attended by thousands of people from far and near. Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky delivered a lengthy speech on the significance of the day.

These pictures taken during the commemoration of Mab'ath at Husainiyyah Zaria on Saturday the 26th of Rajab 1433 (17/6/2012).

Hadhrat Muhammad's first revelation is the event in which he is said to have been visited by the angel Gabriel who revealed to him a verse from the Qur'an. It was after this event that Hadhrat Muhammad was nearly 40, proclaimed to be a prophet of God.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323190

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Lebanon to host second Islam-Christianity dialogue

Jun 20 2012

Lebanese capital of Beirut will host the second of four interfaith dialogues between Muslim and Christian leaders to discuss common foundations of peace and justice.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Lebanese capital of Beirut will host the second of four interfaith dialogues between Muslim and Christian leaders to discuss common foundations of peace and justice.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, Iranian cleric and Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought will deliver a speech in the second summit between Muslim-Christian leaders.

Iranian senior religious figure will relate on “Muslim-Christian Joint Foundation for Peace and Justice in a Changing violent World” which will mainly focus on the relation between peace and justice.

Cardianl Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Sheikh Malek Shaar, Tripoli and Mount Lebanon Mufti and Bishop John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington in the Episcopal Church are among other prominent lecturers of this conference.

Beirut interfaith dialogue is one of a series of face-to-face meetings between celebrated Muslim and Christian leaders from both western and eastern countries.

This conference, to be held on 18-20 June, 2012, aims at developing a better understanding of other religions and denominations and also motivating religious leaders for promoting peaceful and reconciliatory means.

The first of four interfaith dialogues on reconciliation was held in Washington National Cathedral back in March 2010.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=322805

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North America

 

Toronto Arab newspaper publishes love poem to jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber

June 17, 2012

Don't be concerned. It's multiculturalism. That makes it all right. "Mosaic Of Diversity Alert: Toronto Arab Newspaper 'Meshwar' Publishes Love Poem To Suicide Bomber," from Blazing Cat Fur, June 16 (thanks to Kathy Shaidle):

Jonathan Halevi writing in Shalom Toronto brings us news of the Muslim Community's latest contribution to Toronto's Mosaic of Diversity.

Local Arab Rag "Meshwar" has published a love poem to terrorists one of whom was a suicide bomber. Read the full story in the jpeg at right.

Said Kamal Hanani, a PFLP activist. Said Hanani, a suicide bomber, blew himself up on December 25, 2003, near a bus stop east of Tel Aviv (on Jabotinsky Street in Bnei Brak). The suicide bombing killed four Israelis (three soldiers and a civilian) and wounded 24 other Israelis....

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/06/toronto-arab-newspaper-publishes-love-poem-to-jihadmartyrdom-suicide-bomber.html

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US probe calls for punishment of troops in Quran burning

Jun 20, 2012

WASHINGTON: A US military investigation has recommended disciplinary action for up to seven troops over their role in the burning of Qurans at a base in Afghanistan, a US official said Tuesday.

No final decision has been made yet on the findings of a probe that examined the torching of Qurans at a US air base in February that sparked deadly riots, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The investigation called for administrative punishment but no criminal charges of up to six Army troops and one member of the Navy, the official told AFP.

The US Army confirmed the probe of the incident had been wrapped up but offered no details on recommended disciplinary measures.

"The investigation is complete and is pending review," said spokesman George Wright.

The Koran burning ignited days of violent anti-US protests in which about 40 people died, plunging relations between foreign forces and their Afghan allies to an all-time low and forcing US President Barack Obama to apologize.

Taliban insurgents sought to exploit the incident and called on Afghans to kill foreign troops in revenge.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-probe-calls-for-punishment-of-troops-in-Quran-burning/articleshow/14292014.cms

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Guilty plea in NY 'mini-al Qaida' cell case

June 18, 2012

NEW YORK — A New Yorker accused of trying to start what prosecutors called "a mini al-Qaida cell" pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of conspiracy and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

An indictment had alleged that Wesam El-Hanafi pledged loyalty to al-Qaida and sought to teach the terror group how to evade detection on the Internet after he went to Yemen in 2008.

The Brooklyn-born El-Hanafi admitted in federal court in Manhattan to having conversations in 2009 with a co-defendant about "seeking out additional contacts within al-Qaida." The co-defendant, Sabirhan Hasanoff, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month.

Prosecutors had portrayed the two U.S. citizens as a new, more sophisticated breed of homegrown terrorist: Both had earned college degrees and landed well-paying jobs before trying to share their expertise with al-Qaida.

El-Hanafi, 37, faces up to 20 years in prison. No sentencing date has been scheduled.

He was arrested in Virginia on April 30, 2010, after he was brought to the United States from Dubai, where he was being paid $170,000 a year to work in a government job safeguarding computers. According to the FBI, he told an agent and a police detective that he traveled to Yemen in February 2008 for two job interviews.

Full report at:

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP20e03aaa5f974e97b600c206d11e34b7.html

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Al-qaeda had training camps in Pakistan: CIA documents

 Jun 20 2012

Washington : Al-Qaeda had training camps in Pakistan and its operatives had successfully evaded security at a New York airport in a test-run for Osama bin Laden's plan to hijack a US airplane five years later, according to declassified CIA documents released today.

Nearly 100 top CIA documents recently declassified, which were released by the National Security Archive today, provide the first of its kind insight and information into the documents related to al-Qaeda and 9/11.

According to these documents, al-Qaeda had training camps in Pakistan and it planned to hit the plane of the then US President, Bill Clinton, when he visited the country in February 2000.

A previously undisclosed raw intelligence report that became the basis for the December 4, 1998, President's Daily Brief notes, five years before the actual attack, said that al-Qaeda operatives had successfully evaded security at a New York airport in a test-run for bin Laden's plan to hijack a US airplane.

CIA analytical reports also provide interesting insights into al-Qaeda's evolving political strategies.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/alqaeda-had-training-camps-in-pakistan-cia-documents/964326/

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2 US men plead guilty to providing material support to Qaeda

 Jun 19 2012

New York : Two US citizens, who had planned to travel to Afghanistan and Iraq to fight for al-Qaeda, have plead guilty to providing material and financial support to the terror group.

Wesam El-Hanafi (37) and Sabirhan Hasanoff (36) plead guilty in Manhattan federal court to providing material support, including financial support, equipment and technical advice to al-Qaeda associates in Yemen and elsewhere.

El-Hanafi is a US citizen who was born and lived in Brooklyn, while Hasanoff is a dual citizen of the US and Australia and resided in Brooklyn.

They both face a maximum sentence of 20 years each in prison.

Hasanoff is scheduled to be sentenced on July 23, while El-Hanafi will be sentenced on October 22.

They had been transferred to the US custody following their arrest in the UAE in 2010.

Indian-origin US Attorney Preet Bharara described the guilty pleas of two "avowed supporters" of al-Qaeda as a "chilling reminder of the threat of homegrown terrorists and the unwavering vigilance that must be exercised so they can be thwarted."

According to court documents, beginning in 2007 the two conspired with others to support and receive assignments from al-Qaeda.

In November 2007, Hasanoff received approximately USD 50,000 from a co-conspirator with the understanding that some part of the money would be used to support the terrorist organisation.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/2-us-men-plead-guilty-to-providing-material-support-to-qaeda/964006/

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Europe

 

Russia's Council of Muftis protests court ban of Islamic books

Jun 20 2012

The Russia's Council of Muftis has expressed its protest against an Orenburg court ruling with respect to Islamic books.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The Russia's Council of Muftis has expressed its protest against an Orenburg court ruling with respect to Islamic books.

"On March 26, 2012, Judge A.V. Nuzhdin at the Leninsky District Court in Orenburg granted a prosecutor's request to ban 65 book titles of theological and historical content from all Russian Islamic publishing houses," the Mufties Council said in a statement.

A copy of the ruling effective as of April 2012 was produced to book retailers at a recent Islamic book fair in Kazan.

"The prosecutor and judge at the Leninsky District Court in Orenburg, having failed to invite a single author, translator or publisher to act as a defendant at the hearings, made a behind-the-scenes decision that jeopardizes Muslims' loyalty to our state!" the statement said.

The ban of religious literature is an attempt to revive "total ideological control," the council said.

"Russian Muslims are convinced that determining a list of extremist religious literature is an internal affair of every religious organization and it is at this level that such decisions should be made. Decisions on whether to put religious literature on the list of extremist material require an expert opinion from Russian religious organizations, for which purpose boards of experts have been set up and are operating, including experts on religious literature," the document said.

There needs to be a legal framework for dealing with organizations which violate the effective laws, "instead of making the religious literature responsible for the existing socio-political problems," the Mufties Council said.

Very often, decisions to put Islamic literature on the list of extremist material are based on "expert opinions that are not always objective, substantiated and comprehensive," Russian Muftis said.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323234

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UK: Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman accuses Daily Mail of telling porkies

Jun 20 2012

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman has refuted allegations that the borough has banned pork sausages from being served in schools.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Mayor Rahman responded on his blog to an article in the Daily Mail which claimed the council has banned sausages due to “religious reasons.”

The article stated that 85 out of 90 schools in Tower Hamlets do not offer pupils a pork option, a figure which Mayor Rahman attributed to a lack of demand.

He wrote: “The facts are that pork sausages are available to the minority of schools where there is a continuing demand for them.

“However, it is the case that in a majority of our schools there isn’t any demand for them. Clearly there is no demand for pork sausages for Muslim and Jewish school pupils, but that is hardly a new development.

“At a time when there are severe pressures on local authority budgets, why should our council be obliged to waste money on unwanted pork sausages?”

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323225

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Islamic Courses to Be Held in Kazakhstan

Jun 20 2012

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A series of courses on the principles of Islam and Tajweed will start on Monday, June 25, in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

They will be organized by the Central Mosque in the city of Almaty in Russian language.

They will be carried out for men only focusing on Quran reading and the basic principles of Islam.

Danial Maher Beykov, a graduate of the Nur Mubarak University of Islamic Culture in Egypt, will teach the courses.

The Central Mosque of Almaty and the Department of Kazakhstan Muslims Affairs are among the main organizers such events in the country.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323235

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“Jesus in Quran” Published in Germany

Jun 20 2012

A book titled “Jesus (AS) in Quran” by Martin Bauschke has been published in Germany.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A book titled “Jesus (AS) in Quran” by Martin Bauschke has been published in Germany.

Bohlav Publication Institute has released the book in 210 pages.

It covers 12 chapters including “Names of Jesus in Quran”, “Birth of Jesus”, “Message of Jesus”, “and Miracles of Jesus”.

“Death of Jesus”, “Secret of the Cross” and “The Concept of Quranic Jesus and Islamic-Christian Dialogue” are among other topics addressed at the book.

Dr. Martin Bauschke, works half-time as the representative of the Global Ethic Foundation in Berlin and in the eastern federal states of Germany and is particularly active in connection with showings of the exhibition "World Religions - Universal Peace - Global Ethic" as well as in teacher training.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323453

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French appeals court approves construction of a large mosque in Marseille

Jun 20 2012

A French appeals court approved Tuesday the construction of a large mosque in the city of Marseille, home to an estimated 250,000 Muslims.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A French appeals court granted permission Tuesday for the building of a mega-mosque in the southern city of Marseille that has been touted as a symbol of Islam's growing place in France.

The court overturned an October ruling by Marseille's administrative tribunal that cancelled the project's construction permit for supposed failures to meet urban-planning requirements.

A community association led by a local butcher had filed a complaint against the building permit, saying the mosque project did not fit with the surrounding urban environment.

The project was granted a permit in September 2009 but construction was suspended following complaints from local residents and businesses.

The 22-million-euro ($28-million) project would see the Grand Mosque, boasting a minaret soaring 25-metres (82-feet) high and room for up to 7,000 worshippers, built in the city's northern Saint-Louis area.

Muslim leaders in the Mediterranean city had hailed the approval of the project as a key step in recognising the importance of Marseille's large Muslim community.

France's second city is home to an estimated 250,000 Muslims, many of whom flock to makeshift prayer houses in basements, rented rooms and dingy garages to worship.

Home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority, estimated at between five and six million, France has for years been debating how far it is willing to go to accommodate Islam, now the country's second religion.

The appeals court in December also rejected complaints against the mosque project filed by France's National Front (FN) party and another far-right group.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=323459

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 Hostages held in Toulouse on claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda

Jun 20, 2012

Four people have been taken hostage in a bank in the southern French city of Toulouse by a man claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, police say.

Officials say the gunman first demanded money. When he was refused, a shot was fired and hostages taken.

The man demanded to speak to the elite Raid police unit that shot Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah.

Merah, who claimed al-Qaeda training, killed seven people in Toulouse before he was shot dead by police in March.

There are no reports of injuries in the incident so far.

The area around the bank has been cordoned off and two nearby schools have been closed.

"We're taking measures so we can start a dialogue," said public prosecutor Michel Valet, at the scene.

A police union source told the regional newspaper Ouest-France it was not clear whether the man's claim about al-Qaeda was "serious or a fantasy".

The BBC's Christian Fraser, in Paris, says the bank is 100 metres (330ft) from Merah's flat, in an area adjacent to the barracks where the elite Raid police unit was based during the siege of Merah's flat.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18516934

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/palestinians-seek-to-attract-millions-of-muslims-back-to-al-aqsa/d/7676

 

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