New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 06:33 AM

Islamic World News ( 15 May 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Qaida manual: Think of virgins when you hear drones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

Khaleel Chisti lands in controversy over remarks on judiciary

Aamir Khan can take heart from conviction against sex selection

Pak envoy meets home secretary ahead of talks

Death sentence by Pak court raises hackles of rights activists, kin of convicts

India bows to US pressure, cuts Iran oil import by 11%

Will life term now mean 30 years in jail?

Akhilesh Yadav wants UP quota of Haj pilgrims to be hiked

58697 Kashmiri migrants in country: Govt

Love, affection of distant kin good enough for donation of organs: HC

 

Pakistan

Pakistani-American artists Lubna Agha loses her final battle

Steps urged to curb ‘forced conversion’

Pak blinks on Afghanistan routes, gets Nato invite for talks

Pakistan gets invitation for Chicago meet on Afghanistan

Saeed serves legal notices on journos; seeks Rs. 100mn as damages

Court moved to restrain Gilani from framing budget for 2012-13

Muslims asked to remove wrong perceptions about Islam

Babar Awan withdraws intra-court appeal in contempt case

Relations with Nato, US at critical juncture: Gilani

Two killed, seven injured in Karachi firing, hand grenade attack

 

Mideast Asia

Bahrain protests Iran criticism of GCC union plans

Palestinians mark Al-Nakba Day

Libya's Belhadj quits military post for politics

GCC cool to Riyadh's meet-Iran-threat plan

Arafat's former aide faces embezzlement charges

 

Arab World

Iraqi VP’s ex-guards say they had orders to kill

Yemen teaches tolerance to fight extremism

Anti-Qaeda sweep kills 53 across south Yemen

"Mainstream" Islamist Group Attacks Law Enforcement and Whitewashes Jihadists

Vigilante groups ‘could battle’ Muslim radicals

3 killed as Syrian forces fire on refugee camp: Watchdog

Al-Qaida leader calls new Yemen leader a US agent

Symposium to review role of governments, NGOs

IIROSA general assembly to discuss issues affecting humanitarian work

Fears grow over Annan’s Syria plan

 

Asia

Bosnian Serb Leader Faces War Crimes Charges

 

South Asia

As Trained Afghans Turn Enemy, a U.S.-Led Imperative Is in Peril

Taekwondo: Martial arts for peace in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Home to ‘world’s most extreme golf’

Taliban release video tape of Bannu jail assault

Bangladesh Denies Bail to 33 Opposition Leaders

 

West Asia

BBC uncovers abuse at children's care homes in Jordan

 

Southeast Asia

Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra lauds Islamic culture

Bangladesh Denies Bail to 33 Opposition Leaders

Indonesia: sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people

 

Africa

Sharia Law Imposed in Mali

Tunisian Islamists join jihad against Syria's Assad

Amnesty Int'l: Mali Suffering Its 'Worst Crisis'

Half of South Sudan facing food shortages, warns UN

 

North America

Group urges Brownback to veto bill aimed at Sharia law

What Radical Anti-Islam Christians Teach Their Flock: Islam “Does Not Teach” Charity

Bush Says U.S. Must Stand by Reformists in Arab Spring

French Afghan exit would impact Nato: US expert

Haqqani deplores campaign by ‘people full of hate’

Cyber space played key role in 26/11 attack: US commander

Pentagon says working to get over obstacles with Pakistan

US sanctions Dawood Ibrahim's top aides Chhota Shakeel, Ibrahim Tiger Memon

US officials sought to testify in Guantanamo 9/11 trial

 

Europe

Bradford Imams seek action on sexual grooming

Breivik trial: Victim 'hid under body' to survive

Man jailed in UK for keeping Pak daughter-in-law as sex slave

Bangladeshi man in UK jailed for inciting child prostitution

Power with dignity, simplicity: Hollande

‘Blue Lady’ from M. F. Husain’s past rises at London auction

Qaida manual: Think of virgins when you hear drones

 

Australia

Australia pledges $300 mn to Afghan forces

Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Syed Zafar Hussain and Imam Musta Qeem Shah with the Imams’ statement on sexual grooming

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/qaida-manual--think-of-virgins-when-you-hear-drones/d/7350

 

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India

 

Khaleel Chisti lands in controversy over remarks on judiciary

May 16 2012

Ajmer : He may have gone home briefly with the Supreme Court's permission but Pakistani virologist Khaleel Chisti has left behind a controversy by his remarks against the judiciary here.

A petition has been filed in a local court for launching contempt proceedings against Chisti, who returned to Pakistan after spending 20 years in a Rajasthan jail, for reportedly saying "there are illiterates in the Indian judiciary but also intelligent judges".

The petition was filed by advocates Devendra Singh Shekhavt and Prakash Meena in the Fast Track Court here.

They alleged that Chisti had said in a television interview that "there are illiterates in the judiciary but also intelligent judges. Intelligent judges reach up to the Supreme Court".

The Fast Track Court will hear the application on May 28.

However, as the controversy blew up, he sought to clarify saying he did not mean to be disrespectful.

"I wish to clarify that I did not mean to be disrespectful to the Indian judiciary, I am a law abiding man with utmost respect for judiciary. If my remarks hurt anyone please accept my deepest apology," Chisti, who is facing life sentence in a murder case and was on May 10 permitted by the Supreme Court to visit Pakistan for a temporary stay, had said yesterday.

He had also thanked the Indian judiciary and people for their support and said he will return to India as ordered by the Supreme Court.

"I am grateful to the Indian Supreme Court for allowing me to return home for five months and for expediting the special leave petition which is scheduled for hearing on 20th of November 2012.

"I look forward to returning as ordered by the Supreme Court of India and having my name exonerated," 82-year-old Chisti had said in an open letter released here.

Chisti came to Ajmer in 1992 to visit his ailing mother. However, he allegedly got himself involved in a brawl in which one of his relatives was killed.

The apex court granted him bail on April 9 and since then he was living with his brother's family in Dargah area in Ajmer.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/950104/

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Aamir Khan can take heart from conviction against sex selection

 May 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: Actor Aamir Khan, whose first episode of tele-show Satyamev Jayate focused on sex selection, will be happy to hear this.

In 2011, 21 clinics and 22 doctors were convicted under the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, for carrying out sex selection of an unborn child.

Census, 2011, showed girl child is still a curse and unwanted. And, the girl child population has fallen to an all-time low since Independence. The sex ratio for 2011 stands at 914 girls down from 927 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001.

Maharashtra led the way in 2011, with the highest number of convicted cases against doctors at 15, followed by Haryana (7) and Madhya Pradesh (2).

Majority of the punishments included three years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1.3 lakh.

Dr Ambadas Kadam from Maharashtra was convicted on November 14, 2011, with a three-year jail term and had to cough up the highest compensation of Rs 1.3 lakh.

All the convictions in Haryana resulted in a three-year jail term, and also had to pay fines between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Aamir-Khan-can-take-heart-from-conviction-against-sex-selection/articleshow/13159552.cms

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Pak envoy meets home secretary ahead of talks

May 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: Pakistani high commissioner Shahid Malik on Tuesday met home secretary R K Singh and is learnt to have discussed various aspects of the forthcoming home secretary-level talks between the two countries which is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on May 24-25.

The two countries are expected to sign a liberalized visa agreement during the talks. The new visa agreement, if signed, will allow 'certified' businessmen from both sides to get one year multiple-entry 'non-police reporting' visa. It will also allow them to visit five cities instead of three at present.

The new visa regime will also benefit elderly people from both sides as they will be exempt from police reporting. The Cabinet had given its nod to the pact on April 25.

The Indian delegation will also press for action from Pakistan to bring the Mumbai attack perpetrators, including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, to justice and speedy trial in a Pakistani court of seven 26/11 accused like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, sources said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-envoy-meets-home-secretary-ahead-of-talks/articleshow/13159533.cms

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Death sentence by Pak court raises hackles of rights activists, kin of convicts

May 16, 2012

AMRTISAR: A Karachi-based anti-terrorism court's orders, awarding death sentence in a murder case, overlooking the moratorium on capital punishment, has triggered a wave of criticism in India and Pakistan.

Human rights activists of both the countries believe that if the scheduled hanging takes place, it would badly affect the prospects of Indian prisoners and death row convicts -- Sarabjit Singh and Kirpal Singh.

Behram Khan, the convict, is to be hanged on May 23 as per court orders, for killing a lawyer in 2003.

There has been a moratorium on capital punishment in Pakistan since 2008. "Pakistan government had announced in Parliament to convert all death sentences into life imprisonment. We will not allow any hanging here," Pakistan's rights activist and former federal minister for human rights, Ansar Burney, told TOI on Tuesday.

"Not only Sarabjit and Kirpal, but all death sentence awardees in Pakistani jails, who were either expecting release or commutation of their sentence into life imprisonment would be morally degraded and emotionally shattered by this," said Burney.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Death-sentence-by-Pak-court-raises-hackles-of-rights-activists-kin-of-convicts/articleshow/13157953.cms

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India bows to US pressure, cuts Iran oil import by 11%

May 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: Indian state-run refiners will import 11% less oil from Iran, the government told Parliament on Tuesday, a day when a US emissary arrived in a bid to wean New Delhi away from Teheran's fuel.

"The target fixed for import of crude oil from Iran for 2012-13 is approximately 15.5 million tonne," minister of state for petroleum R P N Singh told the Upper House in a written reply. He said Indian refiners imported 18.5 million tonne crude from Iran in 2010-11 and 17.44 million tonne in 2011-12.

India imports 80% of its oil requirement and about 12% of this comes from Iran. But refiners have been tying up alternative supplies ever since the RBI scrapped a regional arrangement in December, 2010, that made it difficult to route payments for Iranian oil.

India is one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil along with China. The US and the EU have been pressuring New Delhi to halt buying crude from Iran as they try to arm-twist Teheran into abandoning its nuclear programme.

The government has steadfastly denied any pressure. But it has also been quietly tying up additional quantities from West Asian oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, and looking at other types of crude that are similar to Iranian crude and suit present refinery configurations.

During her visit here last week, US secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said India needed to do more on cutting Iranian oil purchase and Washington would send a special envoy to help New Delhi along.

On Tuesday, Carlos Pascual, special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs in the US State Department, held discussions with key Indian officials. Officially, he briefed the Indian officials about the emerging trends in global energy market, especially due to the advent of shale gas.

Increasing supplies of shale gas and oil from huge deposits have depressed Henry Hub - the US benchmark for gas trade - and reduced US demand for LNG, or liquid gas transported in ships, mostly from West Asia and Nigeria. Combined with huge shale gas deposits reported from Argentina, Poland, parts of Africa and China have sparked a worldwide clamour for benchmarking LNG, or liquid gas transported in ships to the Henry Hub rather than more expensive crude and put pressure on LNG producers.

Even Russian president Vladimir Putin recently acknowledged the threat shale gas and oil posed to Russian state-run oil and gas giants, the biggest suppliers outside Opec, and asked them to prepare for a possible new world energy order.

At home, state-run gas utility GAIL has been first to catch the trend by taking stake in a US shale gas firm and tying up shale-LNG at Henry Hub price. This has made it difficult for Petronet, India's biggest LNG player, to tie up additional supplies from Qatar which has indexed its price to crude.

Private sector Reliance Industries, the first Indian firm to acquire US shale gas equity, is also eventually likely to bring shale-LNG to India for marketing through its joint venture with BP.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-bows-to-US-pressure-cuts-Iran-oil-import-by-11/articleshow/13156867.cms

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Will life term now mean 30 years in jail?

Dhananjay Mahapatra

May 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: Increasingly reluctant to award death penalty even in the "rarest of rare cases" involving unspeakable brutality, the judiciary appears to be gradually enhancing the spell of life term to not less than 30 years in order to meet society's cry for adequate punishment for heinous crimes.

Those sentenced for life, strictly speaking, are supposed to spend their remaining years behind bars. In practice, however, life imprisonment means incarceration for 14 years when lifers become entitled to remission of the rest of the sentence as per Prison Manual provisions.

That might change as the apex court seeks to balance the growing judicial aversion towards imposing death sentences with the need to deter heinous crimes. In potentially trendsetting verdicts, an SC bench of Justices B S Chauhan and F M I Kalifulla set the 30-year imprisonment benchmark for two accused - a father who raped and killed his four-year-old daughter and the other who brutally killed his girlfriend after she refused to abort her pregnancy.

Justice Chauhan wrote the judgment for the bench in punishing the father while Justice Kalifulla imposed the 30-year prison term on the boy who killed his girlfriend for her refusal to abort the fetus after having lured her away to Haridwar with the promise to marry her.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Will-life-term-now-mean-30-years-in-jail/articleshow/13156614.cms

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Akhilesh Yadav wants UP quota of Haj pilgrims to be hiked

16 May 2012

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said better facilities would be provided to Haj pilgrims this year and he would write a letter to the Centre to increase the state's quota of pilgrims.

Describing Haj quota of the state as "insufficient", the CM, after inaugurating a lottery programme for selection of pilgrims, said he would write a letter to the Centre requesting to increase it substantially.

He said construction of the Haj house in Ghaziabad would be completed in a year and land for another in Varanasi would be ready at the earliest.

Akhilesh said the previous SP government had got a Haj house constructed in Lucknow but proper attention was not paid on its maintenance in the last five years.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Akhilesh-Yadav-wants-UP-quota-of-Haj-pilgrims-to-be-hiked/articleshow/13153308.cms

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58697 Kashmiri migrants in country: Govt

May 16 2012

New Delhi : Government today said that 58697 families have been reported to have migrated from Kashmir Valley to other places since the emergence of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

"58697 families have been reported to have migrated from Kashmir valley to Jammu, Delhi and other places", Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He was answering a question on the number of families who have migrated from Kashmir by January, 2011.

"The central government is reimbursing expenditure for cash and ration relief in respect of Kashmiri migrants in Jammu. The migrants in other states have been provided facilities to the eligible ones (migrants) which includes monthly allowance, provisions of other amenities for health, education and better living conditions as per scale fixed by them", Singh said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/950091/

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Love, affection of distant kin good enough for donation of organs: HC

 May 16 2012

New Delhi : In what could script new rules for organ donation between distant relatives, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that love and affection between the donor and recipient held top priority in such cases and a request could not be turned down simply because a family member had not stepped forward.

Justice Vipin Sanghi made these observations while adjudicating a petition by Parveen Begum who was in dire need of a kidney. The Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s authorisation committee had turned down her request to receive the organ from her niece.

Her case was first reported by Newsline on April 24 when her family moved court against the hospital’s decision.

Justice Sanghi said that a hospital’s authorisation committee, which examines cases of organ donation between distant relatives, could reject such a request only when there is ground to apprehend that the donation involved commercial transaction.

“Merely because in a given case, a near relative may not be willing to donate his or her organ/tissue to the recipient, it is not ground to either raise suspicion of a commercial transaction, or to reject the case altogether. It is not the mandate of the authorisation committee to compel or drive the near relative of the recipient to donate their organ/tissue to the recipient,” he said.

Justice Sanghi opted to interpret the term “payment” under the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissues Act and noted that this would not cover a monetary transaction between a donor and recipient in the past when such a transplant was not required.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/949872/

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Pakistan

 

Pakistani-American artists Lubna Agha loses her final battle

16 May 2012

AMONG the top ranking Pakistani-American artists, Lubna Agha, who sadly passed away on Sunday in Boston, did not opt to convey her themes to Western art enthusiasts through traditional genres like miniatures, but chose to communicate through an idiom which was unique and, at the same time, not totally alien to them. She combined the modern-abstract style of the West with traditional Islamic art motifs.

She imparted meditative and repetitive qualities to her paintings, when in her later life she was exposed to the art, architecture and manuscripts in North Africa and the Middle East. Her exposure to this genre of fine art was earlier restricted to the masterpieces she saw in the subcontinent.

The fact that she was highly successful is reflected in two recent events. The US National Endowment of the Arts decided to put two of her paintings on the covers of a couple of poetry anthologies and three of her paintings were also bought and featured by the prestigious “ART in Embassies” initiative, which places Americans’ art in embassies as part of a cultural diplomacy effort.

Lubna Agha was born in Quetta in 1949, where her father, a government officer, was posted. She belonged to a well-educated and widely-read family from Delhi which moved to Pakistan when her father opted to work for the newly created country.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/lubna-agha-loses-her-final-battle/

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Steps urged to curb ‘forced conversion’

16 May 2012

ISLAMABAD, May 15: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday called for urgent steps to curb the forced conversion of religion and suggested formation of a national commission for minorities to address such social issues effectively.

The seminar was organised by the Ministry of National Harmony.

The speakers also supported strengthening the jirga system to check the social evil.

The seminar, however, failed to come up with concrete proposals to solve the issue in more effective manner.

Representatives of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), NGOs, officials and diplomats of different countries

attended the seminar.

Minister for National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti while speaking on the occasion said poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and social injustice made the victims an easy target for forced conversions.

Dr Makesh Kumar Malani, Maulana Mohammad Hussain Akbar, Raja Tri Dev Roy,  Bahram D Avari, Ms Samia Raheel Qazi, Bishop Humphery Peter, Hafiz Hussain Ahamad, Bajan Das Tanwani, Maulana Roohallah Madni, Maulana Tariq Usmani also addressed the seminar.

Dr Paul stressed the need of bringing poor minority peasants into mainstream of economic and social uplift as a long term solution to this problem. “We can encourage small cottage industry in areas which are more vulnerable,” he observed.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/steps-urged-to-curb-forced-conversion-2/

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Pak blinks on Afghanistan routes, gets Nato invite for talks

Chidanand Rajghatta & Omer Farooq Khan

 May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan won for itself an invitation to the Nato summit in Chicago this weekend to discuss the future of Afghanistan after Islamabad signaled that it was standing down from its confrontation with Washington and re-opening US/Nato supply routes.

Pakistan indicated that it might review its decision on Nato blockade that has put its relations with not "only US but another 42 countries' ' in a tailspin. "It's not a matter of one, but 43 countries," Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted as telling journalists in Islamabad.

Nato responded immediately by announcing that the organization has decided to invite President Asif Ali Zardari to Chicago for the summit , which will include contributor nations, as well as Japan, Russia, other countries from the region and international organizations.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pak-blinks-on-Afghanistan-routes-gets-Nato-invite-for-talks/articleshow/13159783.cms

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Pakistan gets invitation for Chicago meet on Afghanistan

ANITA JOSHUA

16 May 2012

Defence Committee of Cabinet clears Zardari's participation

Pakistan on Tuesday secured an invitation to NATO's Chicago Summit on Afghanistan with Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen personally calling up President Asif Ali Zardari to extend the invite. Though the President responded that the invitation would be considered in line with the guidelines of Parliament for re-engagement with the U.S./NATO and advice of the government, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) late in the night green signalled his participation.

According to the President's office, this was an unconditional invitation and not linked to the reopening of the ground lines of communication (GLOC/ NATO supply lines) or any other issue. Mr. Rasmussen's statement last Friday that all countries providing transit facilities to the NATO to Afghanistan were invited to Chicago was inferred in Pakistan as an indication that it may be left out if it did not open the GLOC that have been closed following the Salala incident in November.

The uncertainty over whether Pakistan would be invited to the high table at Chicago ended after clear indications from Islamabad that it wanted to move on from the stalemate that has settled on relations with the U.S.-led NATO since Salala, where 26 Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in a helicopter attack by the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3423094.ece

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Saeed serves legal notices on journos; seeks Rs. 100mn as damages

 May 16, 2012

LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has served legal notices on two Pakistani journalists for allegedly concocting a report about his secret meeting with US Ambassador Cameron Munter, seeking Rs. 100 million as damages. The notices were served on columnist Nazir Naji and reporter Amir Mir by

Saeed's lawyer AK Dogar.

The notices contended that Naji's column in the Urdu daily Jang on May 9 and Mir's report in the Asia Times Online website on May 12 were aimed at tarnishing Saeed's image.

Dogar said Saeed did not want to meet an envoy of the country that he claims is the "murderer of millions of Muslims and an enemy of Pakistan."

He said Saeed would file a criminal case against both journalists who tried to defame him in Pakistan and abroad.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Saeed-serves-legal-notices-on-journos-seeks-Rs-100mn-as-damages/Article1-856567.aspx

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Court moved to restrain Gilani from framing budget for 2012-13

May 16 2012

Lahore : Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani should be restrained from using his powers to frame the federal budget for 2012-13 in the wake of his conviction for contempt, demands a petition filed in the Lahore High Court.

Justice Umar Bandial of the Lahore High Court yesterday admitted the petition for regular hearing and observed that a larger bench should hear the matter since the points raised by the petitioner are of grave importance.

Bandial forwarded the matter to Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed with a request for constituting a larger bench for proceedings on the petition.

Saeed today declined to hear the petition and observed that a bench would be formed to take up the case.

The Supreme Court had given Gilani a symbolic sentence of less than a minute after convicting him for contempt for refusing to act on orders to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani has refused to resign and said only the Speaker of the National Assembly can decide the issue of his disqualification.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/950057/

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Muslims asked to remove wrong perceptions about Islam

16 May 2012

ISLAMABAD: It is high time to clear wrong perceptions about Islam and Muslims,” said Al-Sheikh Al-Sayyed Affeefuddin Al-Gailani, a renowned Islamic scholar of Malaysia, during his visit to the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) on Tuesday.

He said that the IIUI played a great role in portraying the true picture of Islam, adding that Pakistan was a precious gift of God for Muslim Ummah and he was very happy to visit the country.

He said it was the responsibility of every Muslim to convey the message of Islam to human beings and remove misunderstandings about Islam created by anti-Islamic elements.

He added that the IIUI could play tremendous role in this regard.

Dr Sajidur Rehman, IIUI acting president, lauded the religious services rendered by Al-Gailani and his forefathers and said that Pakistanis were very fond of Sufis because they played a vital role in spreading Islam in the Sub-continent. He said Pakistan came into being on the basis of Islamic ideology and IIUI was promoting the same cause.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\16\story_16-5-2012_pg11_2

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Babar Awan withdraws intra-court appeal in contempt case

16 May 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Barrister Ali Zafar, the counsel for Senator Babar Awan, to withdraw an intra-court appeal seeking a restraining order for a two-member bench that would indict the former minister for contempt of court on Thursday.

A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, accepted the request of the counsel who wanted to raise certain objections on the plea before a two-judge bench hearing the contempt matter.

At the outset of proceedings, Barrister Zafar cited various judgments and contended that under set judicial precedents when an accused tendered an apology before a court, it was either accepted or rejected and then further trial process under contempt of court charges took place.

He said his client had already tendered an unconditional apology before a two-judge bench hearing the case and there was no need to proceed further on the matter.

Justice Khwaja asked Barrister Zafar to cite a single precedent of the High Court over the issue.

The barrister said it was the right of his client to raise such objections before the bench.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/babar-awan-withdraws-intra-court-appeal-in-contempt-case/

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Relations with Nato, US at critical juncture: Gilani

16 May 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani premier has said that his government would make all crucial decisions, including one of a possible resumption of Nato supplies, keeping the “nation’s strategic interests” into account.

Addressing a session of the federal cabinet in Islamabad on Wednesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that the country’s tense relationship with the United States and Nato was currently going through a critical juncture.

However, the government would neither bargain on its principled stance nor would it take any hasty, undesired steps based solely on emotion, said Gilani.

Pakistan last year had closed ground supply routes to coalition forces in Afghanistan after a US air raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Salala checkpost on Nov 26, when ties between the two allies hit their lowest.

The prime minister’s words come after a meeting of the Cabinet’s Defence Committee (DCC) on Tuesday, which not only gave a nod to the conclusion of an agreement for reopening supply routes after a deadlock of almost six months, but also cleared the way for President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the upcoming Nato summit in Chicago.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/relations-with-nato-us-at-critical-juncture-gilani/

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Two killed, seven injured in Karachi firing, hand grenade attack

16 May 2012

KARACHI: One person was killed and two others injured in incidents of firing in Karachi on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

Unknown assailants shot and killed one person who was affiliated with a political party in Orangi Town’s Bangla bazaar area.

The incident led to tensions in the neighbourhood where business activities were subsequently suspended.

Moreover, two people were injured in incidents of firing near the Karimabad bridge and near Sea View.

Separately, one person was killed and five were wounded in a hand-grenade attack that targeted a hotel near the Quaidabad bridge in the city’s Shah Latif Town.

Earlier on Tuesday, at least seven people, including three Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, were shot dead in different parts of the city.

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/one-killed-six-injured-in-karachi-firing-hand-grenade-attack/

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Mideast Asia

 

Bahrain protests Iran criticism of GCC union plans

16 May 2012

DUBAI: Bahrain has summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires to protest at what it called “gross violation of its sovereignty” in a new diplomatic row after Tehran criticized efforts by Gulf Arab states to forge closer political and military union.

Arab heads of state met in Riyadh on Monday to discuss a call by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to unite the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to counter Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, but failed to agree on further integration. Talks on the matter are to resume later this year.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Bahrain would be better off heeding the calls of its people instead of seeking a union with other Gulf Arab monarchies.

Responding to an Iranian MP’s comments reiterating Iranian territorial claims to Bahrain, the official IRNA news agency on Monday quoted Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani as saying: “If Bahrain is supposed to be integrated into another country, it must be Iran and not Saudi Arabia.”

Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry condemned both comments, saying diplomats presented a protest memorandum to the Iranian charge d’affaires in Manama.

“These statements represent a flagrant interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom, and gross violation of its sovereignty and independence, (and they) constitute completely unacceptable conduct,” the ministry said in a statement carried by Bahrain’s official BNA news agency late on Tuesday.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the solution to Bahrain’s crisis was to fulfil the legitimate demands of its people, according to IRNA.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/bahrain-protests-iran-criticism-gcc-union-plans

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Palestinians mark Al-Nakba Day

16 May 2012

Thousands of Palestinians have attended demonstrations to commemorate what they refer to as the "Al-Nakba" or Catastrophe.

It marks the day after the anniversary of Israel's independence in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes or were displaced.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said they would never forget "the beginning of our continued hardship".

Many people also celebrated yesterday the end of a two-month hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Israeli authorities agreed concessions over the use of detention without trial and solitary confinement, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners agreeing not to coordinate "terrorist activity" from behind bars.

Demonstrators poured onto the streets in several towns and cities across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, chanting slogans against Israel.

In East Jerusalem, protesters burned dozens of Israeli flags and hurled stones at Israeli troops manning security points.

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/palestinians-mark-al-nakba-day

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Libya's Belhadj quits military post for politics

16 May 2012

Libyan Islamist commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj has resigned his military post in a bid to enter politics.

Mr Belhadj, a key brigade leader in the 2011 toppling of Col Gaddafi, plans to run in elections next month.

He is a former member of an Islamist insurgent group which sought to overthrow Gaddafi in the 1990s.

Mr Belhadj is currently taking legal action against the UK authorities, alleging they were complicit in his 2004 rendition to Libya.

He claims he was interrogated by agents from countries including Britain and United States while detained in Libya.

'Mixed views'

Mr Belhaj said he had handed in his resignation on Monday night, telling AFP news agency that it was "now time to turn to politics".

He said he quit as head of Tripoli's Military Council in order to compete in the elections next month as leader of The Nation party, which will be launched next week.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18078436

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GCC cool to Riyadh's meet-Iran-threat plan

ATUL ANEJA

16 May 2012

Saudi Arabia has formally launched the process for a closer political integration of the six Gulf monarchies as a hedge against the perceived threat from Iran and to counter any challenge posed by the possible intrusion of the “Arab Spring” into this energy rich zone.

After a day-long meeting in Riyadh on Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal announced that the attempt at political consolidation among the six countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates — was still on course. “I am hoping that the six countries will unite in the next meeting,” Prince Saud observed optimistically.

Analysts point out that Saudi Arabia has been the chief advocate of the federation, to stand up as a bulwark against the tide for change that has been sweeping across West Asia and North Africa. The Saudis have identified Iran as the chief challenge to regional stability, and have along with Qatar tried to undermine the Tehran supported regime in Syria. The perceived interference of Iran last year became the backdrop of the movement of Saudi troops, as head of a GCC force, into Bahrain to crush an uprising that seemed to threaten the ruling monarchy there.

Unsurprisingly, tiny Bahrain has shown the maximum enthusiasm for a unity pact with the Saudis. King Hamad of Bahrain went on record to say the proposed Gulf union was a “response to changes and challenges that face us on international and regional fronts”.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3422592.ece

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Arafat's former aide faces embezzlement charges

 May 16 2012

Ramallah : The top Palestinian anti-corruption campaigner says he wants the shadowy financial adviser of the late Yasser Arafat to appear before a Palestinian court on embezzlement charges.

Anti-Corruption Commission chief Rafik Natche told the Voice of Palestine radio today that Mohammed Rashid is suspected of transferring millions of dollars out of the Palestinian Investment Fund and setting up fake companies.

Rashid left the Palestinian territories after Arafat's death in 2004 and is thought to be moving between countries.

Natche says he asked Rashid to return to the West Bank, but that Rashid refused. Natche says he sought Interpol's help and asked several countries to freeze Rashid's assets.

The case would be the biggest since the commission was established in 2010.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/950059/

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Arab World

 

Iraqi VP’s ex-guards say they had orders to kill

16 May 2012

BAGHDAD: Former bodyguards for Iraq’s fugitive vice president have testified that they were ordered to kill security officials and plant roadside bombs as a politically charged terror trial against the Sunni leader got under way.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who was in Turkey but faced trial in absentia, has denied all charges against him. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

The case threatens to paralyze Iraq’s government by fueling simmering Sunni and Kurdish resentments against Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who critics claim is monopolizing power. Al-Hashemi is an ardent critic of al-Maliki, whose government issued a warrant for the vice president’s arrest the day after US troops left Iraq last December.

Al-Hashemi has been accused of playing a role in 150 bombings, assassinations and other attacks from 2005 to 2011, according to the judicial council. The Iraqi government alleges that Sunni death squads were largely composed of his bodyguards and other employees.

The charges against the vice president span the worst years of bloodshed that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq as retaliatory sectarian attacks between Sunni and Shiite militants pushed the country to the brink of civil war. He has been in office since 2006.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/iraqi-vps-ex-guards-say-they-had-orders-to-kill/

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Yemen teaches tolerance to fight extremism

16 May 2012

Yemen's government started a program aimed at eradicating extremism by teaching schoolchildren the values of tolerance and kindness, officials said.

The Ministry of Endowment and Guidance campaign, which started in Sanaa, the capital, targets all provinces, the Yemen Post reported.

"Some clerics have told the students that Islam prohibits the killing of innocents and attacking electricity, oil and other public facilities and properties," the head teacher of a school in Sanaa said.

"Moreover, clerics are delivering lectures focused on the effects of extremism and the acts of the jihadist groups, including al-Qaida," he said.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2012/05/14/Yemen-teaches-tolerance-to-fight-extremism/UPI-47921337013473/?spt=hs&or=tn

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Anti-Qaeda sweep kills 53 across south Yemen

16 May 2012

Yemen’s military on Tuesday ramped up its offencive against Al Qaeda in the country’s restive south, launching ground and air assaults that reportedly killed at least 53 people, including 12 civilians.

The town of Jaar in Abyan province was pounded by air strikes which killed 13 extremists and the 12 civilians, while battles raged in Loder, another Abyan town the jihadists have been wrestling to control, leaving another 12 Al Qaeda fighters dead, according to witnesses and tribal leaders.

Eight militiamen fighting against Al Qaeda as well as eight soldiers also died in Loder, militia and military officials said. Troops on Saturday launched a multi-pronged assault aimed at recapturing Qaeda-held towns and cities across Abyan, including the regional Capital Zinjibar.

On Tuesday, the military called in air strikes against targets in Jaar, five days after dropping leaflets warning civilians to stay clear of Al Qaeda hideouts.

A first strike killed two Al Qaeda suspects while the 12 civilians, part of a group who had gathered around the residence right after the attack, died in a second raid soon after, witnesses said.

“Eight bodies were pulled out of the rubble,” one witness said. Another four among 25 civilians hurt in the second attack died later, said residents.

A later attack by the air force killed another 11 jihadists, a local source and residents said. “The army has advanced in the area surrounding Jaar and arrested around 25 members of Ansar al-Sharia (Islamic law) on their motorbikes,” said a military official.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/world/65598-anti-qaeda-sweep-kills-53-across-south-yemen.html

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"Mainstream" Islamist Group Attacks Law Enforcement and Whitewashes Jihadists

16 May 2012

The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Few organizations in the United States have been as consistent in attacking law enforcement as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and its president, Salam al-Marayati. 

Marayati, who attended last year's White House Iftar Dinner during Ramadan, has suggested that Muslim Americans are at war with both al-Qaeda and the FBI. "We in the Muslim American community have been battling the corrupt and bankrupt ideas of cults such as Al Qaeda," he wrote in October in the Los Angeles Times." Now it seems we also have to battle pseudo-experts in the FBI and the Department of Justice."

Marayati was incensed over reports that the FBI and one U.S. Attorney's office had used training materials "revealing a deep anti-Muslim sentiment within the U.S. government." One example was a 2010 presentation by an analyst working for a U.S. Attorney in Pennsylvania which warned of a civilizational jihad that is "waged today in the U.S. by 'civilians, juries, lawyers, media, and charities'" who "threaten our values."

Full report at:

http://www.rightsidenews.com/2012051416223/us/islam-in-america/qmainstreamq-islamist-group-attacks-law-enforcement-and-whitewashes-jihadists.html

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Vigilante groups ‘could battle’ Muslim radicals

16 May 2012

Muslim activists are warning that people might form vigilante groups if the government takes no action against the violent campaigns carried out by a number of hard-line organizations.

Wahid Institute pluralism activist Rumadi said members of the public were likely to take the law into their own hands because they believe the police have been protecting hard-line groups .

“It is possible because the police continue to side with the hard-line groups and people know they can’t rely on the police anymore for protection,” Rumadi said on Monday.

After harassing minority groups across the country, some radical groups recently turned their attention to attacking individuals and institutions that promote liberal ideas.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/05/15/vigilante-groups-could-battle-muslim-radicals.html

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3 killed as Syrian forces fire on refugee camp: Watchdog

May 16, 2012

BEIRUT: Regime troops opened fire on a refugee camp in southern Syria on Wednesday, killing three people including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The camp in Daraa province houses Palestinian refugees and Syrians displaced from the occupied Golan Heights, the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Blasts and gunfire were also heard early Wednesday in Daraa city, the Observatory said in a statement, without giving further details.

The Britain-based watchdog also updated its toll of people killed in Syria on Tuesday to 64, including two rebel fighters and 11 regular army soldiers.

Also among those killed were 20 people the Observatory said were "massacred" at a funeral in Khan Sheikhun, a town in Idlib province.

During the funeral, a convoy of UN truce observers came under bomb attack in Khan Sheikhun, damaging three vehicles but causing no casualties, the UN said.

The bloodshed comes despite a truce brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan as part of a six-point plan aimed at ending violence that has swept Syria since March 2011, when the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began.

The United Nations has accused both sides to the conflict of violating an April 12 ceasefire and warned that the country is edging closer to full-blown civil war.

More than 12,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have died since the Syrian uprising began, according to the Observatory, including more than 900 killed since the truce came into effect.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/3-killed-as-Syrian-forces-fire-on-refugee-camp-Watchdog/articleshow/13162691.cms

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Al-Qaida leader calls new Yemen leader a US agent

May 16, 2012

SANAA: Al-Qaida's leader has released a 17-minute audio address aimed at swaying public opinion against Yemen's new president, calling him a US agent and a traitor.

Ayman al-Zawahri attacked President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for serving as vice-president during the "corrupt rule" of deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Hadi took over from Saleh earlier this year in a US-backed power transfer deal that Washington hoped would allow Yemen to increase operations against al-Qaida, which seized control of much of the country's south.

"Out went a (US) agent and in came an agent," al-Zawahri says. The audio was put online yesterday, the same day that Yemen's military announced that US troops were working directly with them in a major offensive against the militant network.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Al-Qaida-leader-calls-new-Yemen-leader-a-US-agent/articleshow/13159084.cms

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Symposium to review role of governments, NGOs

16 May 2012

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has approved the convening of a acientific symposium by the International Islamic Relief Organization-Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) on the sidelines of its 7th general assembly meeting in Jeddah tomorrow.

IIROSA Secretary-General of Adnan Khalil Basha said the symposium would be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., while the general assembly would start at 11 a.m. He said that invitations to participate in the symposium had been sent to a galaxy of intellectuals, men of letters, media personalities, a number of people working in the humanitarian domain and specialists in development in addition to members of the general assembly to enrich the symposium with their interventions.

The secretary-general said the symposium would witness live discussions on two themes. General assembly member Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Namlah will speak on the “Role of Governments in Developing Poor Societies,” while general assembly member and Makkah Deputy Gov. Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Khudairi will speak on the “Role of Non-Government Organizations in Developing Poor Societies.”

The first scientific symposium held by IIROSA last year within the meeting of its sixth general assembly received a positive response in the charity field, particularly that it came out with a number of sound ideas and constructive proposals that promoted the organization to hold this symposium to be one of the channels that will help in drawing its future plans and programs.

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/symposium-review-role-governments-ngos

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IIROSA general assembly to discuss issues affecting humanitarian work

16 May 2012

The general assembly of the International Islamic Relief Organization-Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) will hold its seventh annual meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jeddah tomorrow under the chairmanship of Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the Muslim World League. More than 200 members from Saudi Arabia and abroad are expected to attend the meeting.

IIROSA Secretary-General Adnan Khalil Basha said a number of ministers, Islamic scholars and influential personalities from Morocco, Yemen, Thailand, Nigeria, India, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and others will attend the meeting to discuss a number of issues and subjects related to the humanitarian work.

He said the members would come up with concrete proposals and constructive ideas on the topics on the agenda of the meeting to promote the work and activities of the organization to cope with the requirements of the era and the new developments in the humanitarian domain.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/iirosa-general-assembly-discuss-issues-affecting-humanitarian-work

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Fears grow over Annan’s Syria plan

16 May 2012

DAMASCUS: Syria's anti-regime revolt entered its 15th month yesterday amid relentless violence that has killed over 12,000 people and growing fears by Arab states that a UN-backed peace plan will fail.

Another 16 people were killed on Tuesday in nationwide violence, including seven in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, four in the coastal city of Banias, and four in Damascus province, among them a six-year-old girl, a watchdog said.

All of those killed were civilians except for a rebel fighter who died in Deir Ezzor, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The bloodshed comes despite a truce brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan as part of a six-point plan aimed at ending violence that has swept Syria since March 2011, when the uprising against President Bashar Assad broke out. The UN has accused both sides to the conflict of violating the cease-fire and warned that Syria was edging closer to full-blown civil war.

The Damascus government maintains that foreign-backed "armed terrorist groups" are behind the unrest, trying to undermine the regime and scuttle attempts at political reform.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/fears-grow-over-annan%E2%80%99s-syria-plan

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Asia

 

Bosnian Serb Leader Faces War Crimes Charges

By MARLISE SIMONS and ALAN COWELL

16 May 2012

THE HAGUE — Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander, went on trial here on Wednesday for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from some of the bloodiest events of the Bosnian war in the 1990s, including the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo.

The court heard a prosecutor’s recital of atrocities said to have been committed by soldiers directly under Mr. Mladic’s command as Bosnian Serb units carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing and, in Sarajevo, directed a “spigot of terror” that could be opened or closed at will against the civilian population.

Twenty years after the war started as the former Yugoslavia fragmented, the 11-count indictment against him laid out details of the worst killings of the conflict, when Sarajevo was subjected to a 44-month campaign of sniping and shelling in which more than 10,000 people died. He is the last of the major players in the Bosnian conflict to face trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia here.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/world/europe/mladic-bosnian-serb-leader-faces-war-crimes-charges.html?ref=europe

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South Asia

 

As Trained Afghans Turn Enemy, a U.S.-Led Imperative Is in Peril

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG

16 May 2012

COMBAT OUTPOST SANGESAR, Afghanistan — A burst of gunfire snapped First Sgt. Joseph Hissong awake. Then came another, and another, all with the familiar three-round bursts of an American assault rifle — and the unfamiliar sound of its rounds being fired in his direction.

The shooters were close. His first thought: “Are Taliban inside the wire?”

But it was not the Taliban. Over the next 52 minutes, as his company of paratroopers braved bullets and rocket-propelled grenades in the predawn darkness to retake one of their own guard towers in southern Afghanistan, they found themselves facing what has become a more pernicious threat: the Afghan soldiers who live and fight alongside the Americans.

The attack on Sergeant Hissong’s company, on March 1 at Combat Outpost Sangesar, left two Americans dead along with two Afghan assailants, but it was not the first time that Afghan solders had attacked forces from the American-led coalition, nor would it be the last of what the military calls “green on blue” attacks. Already this year, 22 coalition service members have been killed by men in Afghan uniform, compared with 35 for all of last year, according to coalition officials.

Yet with the coalition as a matter of policy offering only the barest of details about the attacks — the episode at Sangesar, for instance, was disclosed in a 71-word coalition statement — interviews conducted during a week at this outpost provided a rare and detailed account of the violence.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/world/asia/trained-by-the-us-led-coalition-some-afghan-allies-turn-enemy.html?ref=global-home

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Taekwondo: Martial arts for peace in Afghanistan

16 May 2012

KABUL: The taekwondo star who became Afghanistan’s first ever Olympic medallist at the Beijing Games in 2008 wants to repeat the feat in London—in the hope of bringing peace to his troubled homeland.

Rohullah Nikpa’s story is something of a fairytale in a war-ravaged country with few happy endings. As a 10-year-old obsessed with Bruce Lee and martial arts movies, he followed his brother to the taekwondo club while civil war raged in Afghanistan.

“I was crazy about taekwondo from the day I started it. I remember the first day I arrived at the club to practise, I was already able to do it well.

I already had the mentality of being determined to reach the top,” he said.

Now 25, he was 14 when the Taliban regime fell at the end of 2001 and began training in Kabul in earnest while a bloody insurgency against the government and its Nato allies raged throughout the country.

Nikpa overcame tremendous problems, not least financial, to qualify for Beijing, where he claimed a life-changing bronze in the under-58 kilogram division. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his memory.

“I was so happy because throughout the history of my country Afghanistan, no one has ever won an Olympic medal before. I was so happy that I cried right there in the arena,” he said.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/taekwondo-martial-arts-for-peace-in-afghanistan/

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Afghanistan: Home to ‘world’s most extreme golf’

16 May 2012

KABUL: “Welcome to the most extreme golf in the world,” says the European Union ambassador to Afghanistan, as half-a-dozen heavily armed bodyguards fan out around him and scan the Kabul Golf Club course.

But Vygaudas Usackas is not talking about security threats facing golfers in a war zone—he’s talking about the course.

It is one big hazard, with unfair fairways of rock and thistles, sand-and-oil “greens” and the chance of falling into a ditch making even the most wicked of traditional sand traps and water hazards seem benign.

But in a country where guns far outnumber golf clubs and diplomats live in compounds set deep behind blast walls and razor wire, Usackas revels in the chance to “get out and get some fresh air”.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/05/15/afghanistan-home-to-worlds-most-extreme-golf/

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Taliban release video tape of Bannu jail assault

16 May 2012

BANNU: The Taliban have released the video of last month’s Bannu jail attack in which Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud is briefing his fighters’ squad. The tape also contains messages of Adnan Rasheed who was allegedly involved in plotting the murder of former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf. The 34-minute video is being openly sold in various areas of North Waziristan and South Waziristan in which Hakimullah Mehsud is briefing his team of warriors through a map containing different routes leading towards Bannu jail. He is also briefing them about inside situation of the jail. The videotape shows some 150 fighters, including Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, gathered at one place, forming a strategy to assault the jail and attacking it with heavy weaponry without facing any hurdle from police. Scenes after the attack are also filmed in the tape when the top terrorists are escaping from the jail.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\16\story_16-5-2012_pg1_8

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Bangladesh Denies Bail to 33 Opposition Leaders

16 May 2012

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police used batons to disperse stone-throwing opposition supporters outside a court in Bangladesh's capital Wednesday after a judge denied bail to 33 senior opposition members charged with involvement in an arson attack during an anti-government strike last month, witnesses said.

The opposition announced a daylong general strike in five districts Thursday in response to the ruling.

The defendants include former Cabinet ministers and the acting secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The party heads the 18-party opposition alliance that has called a series of general strikes to protest alleged government involvement in a politician's disappearance.

The opposition also set a June 10 ultimatum for the government to restore a caretaker government system to oversee the next national elections, due in 2014. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina scrapped the 15-year-old system last year in what the opposition says was part of a plan to rig the elections.

The opposition has said it will boycott the elections if the system is not restored.

Political tensions have sharply escalated since Elias Ali, an organizing secretary in Zia's party, went missing along with his driver on April 17 from a street in Dhaka.

The opposition says the government and its security agencies are behind his disappearance. Authorities deny the allegation.

As a result of Wednesday's ruling, the 33 defendants will remain in jail until further legal proceedings.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/16/world/asia/ap-as-bangladesh-opposition.html?ref=global-home&gwh=2BA80649EA8C4AD0789D11C749B55C82

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Indonesia: sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people

By ALI KOTARUMALOS

May 16, 2012

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Lady Gaga will have to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people.

National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar, responding to the pressure, said Tuesday that the permit for her June 3 "Born This Way Ball" concert had been denied.

Indonesia, a nation of 240 million people, has more Muslims than any other. Although it is secular and has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

Hard-liners have loudly criticized Lady Gaga, saying the suggestive nature of her show threatened to undermine the country's moral fiber. Some threatened to use physical force to prevent her from stepping off the plane.

Lawmakers and religious leaders, too, have spoken out against her.

Worried they could not guarantee security, local police recommended the permit for the show be denied, said Amar, adding that national police decided Tuesday to comply.

It was supposed to be the biggest show on Lady Gaga's Asian tour, with fans snapping up every seat in Jakarta's 52,000-seat Gelora Bung Karno stadium - half of them in the first two hours of sales.

Permits usually are issued about three weeks before a concert in Jakarta, so it is common to sell tickets well ahead of receiving a permit. It was not immediately clear if the ticket sales would be refunded. The local promoter, Michael Rusli, could not be reached for comment.

"I'm very disappointed," said Mariska Renata, who had tickets to the Jakarta show.

She said by bowing to the wishes of "troublemakers," authorities only give them more power. "We are mature enough to be able to separate our own moral values from arts and culture," Renata said.

Lady Gaga's Asian tour started late last month and many of the stops have sold out. The South Korean concerts were limited to fans 18 or older because conservatives there raised objections.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.koamtv.com/story/18414082/lady-gaga-may-have-to-cancel-indonesia-concert

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West Asia

 

BBC uncovers abuse at children's care homes in Jordan

16 May 2012

A BBC Arabic investigation has uncovered cases where children have been seriously injured in Jordan's private care homes for the mentally disabled.

Nasar Sharmain trusted the al-Helal Centre in Amman with his 15-year-old son Ahmad.

But on a surprise visit, he was shocked when he saw his son.

"His arm was broken. His finger was broken. His ear, his nose, his chin from here to here was all covered with blood," he says.

The centre says Ahmad arrived with behavioural problems and denies he was beaten up, saying he deliberately threw himself onto a wardrobe.

But Mr Sharmain believes Ahmad's teacher attacked his son. He sued him, without success.

His lawyer, Basam al-Dmor, says it is very difficult to bring cases like his.

'Extensive burns'

The director of al-Helal, Dr Shaker Abo Hatab, says an initial hospital report stated Ahmad had a head injury after falling and any further wounds must have happened after he left the centre.

"We have reports from the ministry of health that the child has a tendency to hurt himself," he adds.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18073144

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Southeast Asia

 

Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra lauds Islamic culture

 16 May 2012

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday visited Ahmed Al Fateh Islamic Centre in Bahrain where she was received by Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa.

She was accompanied by Head of the Mission of Honour and Deputy Premier Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

The visiting leader was briefed about the centre's main facilities, architectural design and cultural activities to promote awareness of Islam and its noble values.

She lauded the edifice's major role in projecting the Islamic religion and culture, wishing its staff every success in broadening the sphere of the centre's activities and maximizing its social role.

The Thai Premier also visited Isa Cultural Centre and was briefed about its facilities and the wide range of scientific resources it has to cater for students and researchers' needs.

She praised the centre's varied and advanced services to protect national cultural and intellectual heritage.

Thai Prime Minister later visited Bahrain National Museum in the company of Shaikh Ali and Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa and toured its halls where she was briefed about the historical artifacts which keep record of the kingdom's history since the old ages.

She praised the historical and archaeological items displayed at the museum which stand witness of Bahrain's glorious history.

http://www.tradearabia.com/news/MEDIA_217497.html

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Bangladesh Denies Bail to 33 Opposition Leaders

16 May 2012

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police used batons to disperse stone-throwing opposition supporters outside a court in Bangladesh's capital Wednesday after a judge denied bail to 33 senior opposition members charged with involvement in an arson attack during an anti-government strike last month, witnesses said.

The opposition announced a daylong general strike in five districts Thursday in response to the ruling.

The defendants include former Cabinet ministers and the acting secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The party heads the 18-party opposition alliance that has called a series of general strikes to protest alleged government involvement in a politician's disappearance.

The opposition also set a June 10 ultimatum for the government to restore a caretaker government system to oversee the next national elections, due in 2014. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina scrapped the 15-year-old system last year in what the opposition says was part of a plan to rig the elections.

The opposition has said it will boycott the elections if the system is not restored.

Political tensions have sharply escalated since Elias Ali, an organizing secretary in Zia's party, went missing along with his driver on April 17 from a street in Dhaka.

The opposition says the government and its security agencies are behind his disappearance. Authorities deny the allegation.

As a result of Wednesday's ruling, the 33 defendants will remain in jail until further legal proceedings.

The opposition says the arson charge involving a bus burning on April 29 is politically motivated.

Opposition supporters protested the ruling outside the court, and police charged at them with batons, said Kamruzzaman, a lawyer at the scene who uses one name. Several people were injured, he said.

ATN Bangla television station said several opposition supporters were arrested. Other stations said at least two vehicles were burned in separate incidents in Dhaka immediately after the ruling.

Defense lawyers argued Wednesday that the defendants should be granted bail because the charges were bailable, but prosecutors said they would disturb the peace if they were released.

A local rights group, Ain-o-Salish Kendra, says at least 22 people, mostly politicians, disappeared in the first three months of this year. Another group, Odhikar, says more than 50 have disappeared since 2010.

During a visit to Bangladesh earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised Ali's disappearance with the government, reflecting international concern over the issue.

Amnesty International and New York-based Human Rights Watch have also expressed concern and urged the government to investigate.

(This version CORRECTS number of defendants to 33 from 34)

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/16/world/asia/ap-as-bangladesh-opposition.html?ref=global-home&gwh=2BA80649EA8C4AD0789D11C749B55C82

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Africa

 

Sharia Law Imposed in Mali

May 16, 2012

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A resident in the northern Malian city of Gao says Islamists smashed TV sets that were being used to play video games or watch programs considered un-Islamic, in a further attempt to impose Shariah law there.

The resident who asked for anonymity because he feared reprisal said that residents took to the street in protest after the incident Sunday. The witness said the Islamist fighters fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd.

As the resident spoke by telephone Monday, sporadic shots could be heard in the background.

Islamist fighters have taken up a dominant position in northern Mali since they forced out Malian government troops in March. Since then, they have been gradually imposing a strict form of Shariah law.

http://www.inamibia.co.na/news/africa/item/16374-sharia-law-imposed-in-mali.html

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Tunisian Islamists join jihad against Syria's Assad

16 May 2012

The first that Tunisian schoolteacher Mokhtar Mars heard of his brother fighting alongside rebels in Syria was a phone call from a foreign number, telling him Houssein was dead.

"We got an anonymous call telling us he had been martyred. Just three words. We tried to call back but there was no answer," said Mars, 40, sitting on a mattress along a wall of what was his younger brother's room, bereft of other belongings.

"The last call we got from him in February was from Libya. He said he was there to study ... Then all contact was broken. We tried to call the number he used but there was no answer."

Houssein Mars, 34, is one of at least five Tunisians, all from the southeastern town of Ben Guerdane on the border with Libya, who are believed to have been killed in Syria. Two of their families agreed to be interviewed, as did the family of a sixth man, from the same town, whose fate is not known.

The families either received calls from their sons in Syria or calls from strangers telling them their sons were dead.

Though the families have seen no corpses or proof of the deaths, a video carrying the black flag of al Qaeda has appeared on Facebook eulogizing the five men to a backdrop of Koranic verses and stating they had been killed in Homs, which has seen some of the worst bombardment by Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Syria's envoy to the United Nations says 26 Arab fighters have been captured and "confessed" to al Qaeda sympathies. Another envoy to the U.N. said 19 of those 26 were Tunisians.

Foreign Islamist fighters appear to be a fringe element only in the conflict between assorted Syrian rebel groups and Assad's armed forces. But the fate of this one band of Tunisian friends offers some of the hardest evidence yet that Syria could become a magnet for the kind of young Muslim men from around the world who once sought jihad and martyrdom in Iraq or Afghanistan.

At least one young man in Ben Guerdane told Reuters he was himself ready to go and fight in Syria.

The Tunisians' families say they were simply devout Sunni Muslims anguished by images of civilians suffering at the hands of forces dominated by Assad's minority Alawites, whom many Arabs see as waging sectarian war on Syria's Sunni majority.

"What we see on television cannot make any Muslim happy ... An army killing its people. No one can accept this," said Mokhtar Mars, adding that because his brother and others wore beards and prayed often did not make them militant Islamists.

"There are bearded, religious people but that does not mean they are extremists," he added. " If you saw these boys you would be surprised if they killed a fly."

The Syrian list of captured fighters suggests men from all over Tunisia have gone to fight in Syria. However, the Facebook video eulogizing the dead quotes Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late Jordanian leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, praising the bravery of men from Ben Guerdane in particular. That suggests the town had a history of sending volunteers to the Iraqi conflict too.

Residents of Ben Guerdane, which lives off trade and smuggling with Libya and where outward displays of religious fervor have spread since last year's Tunisian revolt ousted secular leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, say more youths may have quietly slipped away to join rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.

"There are some youths who are going to Syria via Ben Guerdane. They are religious. We think they are from Salafi Islamist currents but it is not certain," said a security source in the town. "What we know is that more than 10 left from here."

FOREIGN FIGHTERS

Syria's government has from the outset sought to paint the uprising as a plot by foreign fighters and al Qaeda militants. It points to Thursday's twin suicide bombings which killed 55 people in Damascus as evidence that it is fighting "terrorism".

In February, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Muslims to come to the aid of Syrian rebels.

That call coincided with reports from Iraq that fighters and arms were seeping into Syria, fuelling violence in a country that once sent guns and militants the other way.

Russia, which is Assad's main arms supplier and defender, said in March he was fighting al Qaeda-backed "terrorists" including at least 15,000 foreign fighters and accused Libya of running a training centre for rebels.

Libya's prime minister has said he was unaware of any camps, and Syrian opposition members, keen to rally Syria's minorities to a revolt led largely by the Sunni Arab majority, are at pains to distance themselves from militant links.

"I have received offers from Arabs and foreigners to send us fighters but we said 'no'. We have fighters. We need guns. There is no al Qaeda here or any such group. It is all lies," said Lieutenant Colonel Khaled Hammoud, a commander of the opposition Free Syrian Army, speaking by telephone from the Turkish border.

"We don't want to give the regime an excuse to accuse us of bringing in foreign fighters."

Whether or not they are working with Syrian rebels, however, as the violence drags on foreign fighters may take advantage of the chaos, further complicating the conflict.

"Foreign volunteers are part of the picture and that was virtually inevitable given the context: growing chaos across the country, a political conflict with sectarian undertones, and extreme forms of violence leading to some radicalization," said Peter Harling, Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group.

"But jihadis generally are still a sideshow. In a sense it is surprising that relatively few bomb attacks of the kind they may engage in have occurred."

DEVOUT MEN

The families of the men from Ben Guerdane say they were devout Sunni Muslims who spent much time in prayer.

At least two of them, including Houssein Mars, had spent time in jail under the ousted president Ben Ali charged with alleged links to Islamist radicals, their families say.

At least one, 26-year-old Mohammed Lafi, was jailed after trying, and failing, to slip into Iraq via Syria, his family says. He then went to Algeria, where he was arrested and sent back to Tunisia. Jailed for three years, he was freed in 2010.

The men had spoken to relatives about their desire for jihad, or holy war, and to die as martyrs but had said nothing specific, it seems, before making their way to Syria.

Walid Hilal has been missing since February 24, when he told his family he was going to the capital for a kung fu tournament. The 21-year-old had taken up the sport a year before and appears mid-kick in the Facebook eulogy, in a red martial arts outfit.

"My son is a martyr. He did nothing wrong and I'm not worried about him," said his mother Mabrouka, sitting beside her husband and other sons on a couch. "He used to say 'I'll go to jihad and you mustn't cry' but I didn't take him seriously."

Walid's mobile phone has been off since he left. Like the Mars family, the Hilals received a mysterious call from a Syrian number on April 17 telling him Walid had become a "martyr".

"After two days, when he was not answering the phone, we found out his friends had gone too and their phones were off too. We realized something was happening and we heard that some of them called their parents from Turkey to say they were going to Syria, but our brother did not call," said Taher Hilal.

"All we know is he was martyred, but how and why? We have no pictures and no proof."

The families say their sons were not involved with political parties, but followed the news in Syria, where some 12,000 people are estimated to have been killed since March 2011.

"He liked to pray and fast. Since he was a child, he was into religion," Lafi's mother Masouda said, wiping away tears with a colorful headscarf. "He always wanted martyrdom."

Unlike the Hilal and Mars families, the Lafis received no mysterious phone call but their eldest son last rang his brother from a Syrian number.

For all their grief, relatives in Ben Guerdane defended the impulse that prompted their sons and brothers to head for Syria - though some said there was a less clear case for jihad there than against foreign invaders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If there was a real jihad, don't imagine a single Muslim would not go. If it was a jihad against Israel," said Mokhtar Mars, who also wears the beard typical of Islamist sympathizers. "But in Syria you may have to fight other Muslims."

Now, the families want help confirming the deaths but have little expectation of recovering the bodies. And even as they mourn, others in town contemplate following their sons' lead.

One man, who would speak only if he were not named, already sported the long beard and Afghan-style dress that is common among jihadist guerrillas and said he was hoping to get to Syria, even though his wife had just given birth to a daughter.

Aged about 30, the man, who knew at least one of those killed in Syria well said he was ready to follow: "I would like to go to Syria," he said. "God willing, if it works out."

(Additional reporting by Tarek Amara in Tunis and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations, Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/14/us-syria-tunisia-fighters-idUSBRE84D0UN20120514

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Amnesty Int'l: Mali Suffering Its 'Worst Crisis'

16 May 2012

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — An international human rights group says the West African state of Mali is suffering its worst crisis since independence after a coup in the capital and a rebel takeover in the country's north.

Amnesty International said Wednesday that all parties to the conflict in Mali's north were responsible for abuses and that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting.

Among the abuses Amnesty described are summary executions, arbitrary detentions and sexual assaults including rape.

The north of Mali was taken over by a mix of Tuareg separatist forces and Islamist fighters in late March. The Islamists have been attempting to impose Shariah law, an affront to the region's moderate interpretation of Islam.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/16/world/africa/ap-af-mali.html?ref=africa&gwh=9BC7C7CD386D546B82CFD649DBD0D345

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Half of South Sudan facing food shortages, warns UN

16 May 2012

More than half the population of South Sudan are facing food shortages due to the continuing conflict with Sudan, the UN is warning.

It says fighting on the border between the two countries and the shutdown of oil production have had a devastating impact on the South's economy.

It adds there are fears the situation in the South, which gained independence from Sudan last July, is worsening.

Previous estimates suggest 4.7 million people are at risk of food shortages.

In this latest report, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) says a complex combination of factors has "raised fears that the South Sudanese are sliding into destitution".

Those factors include:

clashes between north and south along the contested border regions

inter-communal violence in Jonglei state

the closure of oil production in a row over transit fees with Khartoum.

Citing research from the World Food Programme, the report says food shortfalls have continued to worsen in the first four months of 2012. It says at least one million people will be food insecure this year while a further 3.7 million people are borderline.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18082150

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North America

 

Group urges Brownback to veto bill aimed at Sharia law

By Scott Rothschild

16 May 2012

The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization on Tuesday called on Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill that the group described as an attack on Sharia, the religious principles of Islam.

“The public’s action in support of religious freedom is critical to prevent legalized discrimination against Muslims in Kansas and nationwide,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “This bill and the others like it are based on misinformation and fear-mongering.”

Brownback has not indicated whether he will veto the bill or sign it into law.

The Washington, D.C.-based CAIR said the measure is one of more than 25 “similar pieces of discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation that have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide. These legislative initiatives are promoted by those who seek to marginalize American Muslims and demonize them.”

Senate Bill 79 was approved last week by the Senate, 33-3, and the House, 120-0.

The measure bans Kansas courts and administrative agencies from basing rulings on foreign laws or legal systems.

It doesn’t mention Sharia law, but several senators said that was their concern.

“They stone women to death in countries that have Sharia law,” said Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita. “If you vote to not adopt (the bill), it’s a vote against women.”

But Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, said the bill was unnecessary because courts already are ruled by United States laws and the U.S. Constitution. He said the bill was based on intolerance and fear and would make people think only those with a Christian, religious-right perspective were welcome in Kansas.

Awad said the legislation could infringe on the right to choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills or to be buried according to one’s religious beliefs. It could also negatively affect the validation of international adoptions and foreign marriages.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/may/15/group-urges-brownback-veto-bill-aimed-sharia-law/

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What Radical Anti-Islam Christians Teach Their Flock: Islam “Does Not Teach” Charity

16 May 2012

 Garibaldi

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon says, “Islam does not teach charity.”

It is a blatant lie, since one of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat, or mandatory charitable giving. The Qur’an, if these right-wingers would ever read it is also filled with exhortations on nearly every page extolling the virtues of Sadaqah or voluntary charity.

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon today used his column praising the admirable works of Christian charitable organizations to criticize Muslims.

If there ever was a contrast in worldviews, it is with Christianity and Islam. One of the most striking differences is that Christianity teaches, practices, and encourages charity. Islam does not. It is the Christians from America who are doing the majority of the private charity and humanitarian work around the world. Just these past couple of weeks alone, I was reminded by several examples of this.

Full report at:

http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/05/what-radical-anti-islam-christians-teach-their-flock-islam-does-not-teach-charity/comment-page-1/#comment-171651

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Bush Says U.S. Must Stand by Reformists in Arab Spring

16 May 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States must stand by reformists in the Middle East and North Africa as the euphoria of revolution gives way to the tough work of building democratic societies, former U.S. President George W. Bush said on Tuesday.

Bush, who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq that deposed Saddam Hussein, called the Arab Spring "the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism."

However, he warned that the difficult path to democracy would test those societies and their supporters.

"There are no guarantees, and there will certainly be setbacks," he said in a speech in Washington. "But if America does not support the advance of democratic institutions and values, who will?"

Bush dismissed the arguments of those who saw inherent risks in democratic change in the Middle East and North Africa and felt the United States should be content "with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability."

"It is not realistic to presume that so-called stability enhances our national security," he said.

Bush said events in Central Europe after Moscow-backed Communist regimes were overthrown in 1989 showed how initial joy at throwing off dictatorship can give way to disillusionment.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/05/16/world/middleeast/16reuters-usa-bush-rights.html?ref=global-home&gwh=F406DAF0D6DB0BE3D93DF62C1AAC8112

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French Afghan exit would impact Nato: US expert

16 May 2012

WASHINGTON: A swift withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan as promised by new President Francois Hollande would put pressure on Nato allies, a former US ambassador said Tuesday.

“I think people will regret an early French withdrawal. I think they probably will ask him (Hollande) to reconsider,” said James Dobbins, a national security expert and diplomat under previous US administrations.

“If France leaves, that won’t collapse the Nato mission, but it certainly would set an unfortunate precedent and it would put pressure on other allies.”

Hollande, who was inaugurated on Tuesday as the new president of France, has vowed in past months to withdraw the French troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, two years earlier than planned by Nato allies.

Afghanistan is set to dominate the agenda of an upcoming Nato summit with the leaders of 50 countries gathering in Chicago for the two-day talks on Sunday and Monday.

France has some 3,400 troops deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in the northeastern Kapisa valley, making it the fifth largest contingent among the 130,000-strong Isaf forces fighting the Taliban insurgency.

“France will not be the first country to pull its troops out early. But France is a major participant there and has made quite a successful contribution and I think its participation will be missed,” Dobbins told reporters on a conference call.

Dobbins said he thought that bilaterally Nato countries would probably urge Hollande to “reconsider or at least find some way of slowing down withdrawal.”

“I don’t know how possible that is within the framework of French politics,” he added.

http://dawn.com/2012/05/16/french-afghan-exit-would-impact-nato-us-expert/

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Haqqani deplores campaign by ‘people full of hate’

16 May 2012

WASHINGTON: Former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani attributes the “constant media campaign” against him to ideologically motivated “people full of hate” which would not deter him from arguing in favour of Pakistan’s future as a modern, pluralist nation.

“InshaAllah, I have ideas to articulate, books to write and students to teach. In the greater scheme of things, a little noise from people full of hate makes little difference,” he observed confidently when asked if he had been shaken by the memo saga.

Talking to Pakistani newsmen in the US capital for the first time since resigning as ambassador, Haqqani made it clear that he was not playing any role in US-Pakistan relations and does not intend to do so while out of office.

“My views about the need for a reality-based foreign policy and the need for positive US-Pakistan relations free of ideological hatred are well-known and I would continue to voice my opinions,” he declared.

Haqqani said that comments by former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi about him still influencing Pakistani policy towards the United States were untrue. “Unlike Makhdoom sahib, I remain loyal to the Pakistan People’s Party but now that I do not have an official position, I have no business interfering in government policy,” he said. The former envoy added that unlike “Makhdoom sahib” from Multan, he understood foreign relations enough to know that these cannot be privatised and any personal relations he had with US policy-makers were not a substitute for formal ties between officials.

According to Haqqani, who is once again professor of international relations at Boston University, misrepresentation and labelling of views other than those held by one ideological group was a major tragedy of Pakistan.

“A minority of ideologues dominates the national discourse by describing anyone with a different view as anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan. But after several decades of propaganda, the ideologues have still not been able to win a majority in elections,” he added.

Professor Haqqani said that his recent article in the New York Times was about the national discourse in Pakistan and how very little of it dealt with eliminating terrorism.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\16\story_16-5-2012_pg7_18

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Cyber space played key role in 26/11 attack: US commander

 May 16 2012

Washington : The Mumbai attack perpetrated by Pakistan-based LeT was an example of how terror outfits use latest available IT tools for their decisive motives, a top US commander has said, highlighting the role of cyber space in such events.

"All the mission planning (for Mumbai terrorist attack) was done via Google Earth. There was no investment in technology of (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) platforms or anything like that," US Marine Corps Lt Gen George Flynn, Joint Staff's director of joint force development, said.

Flynn stated this in his address to the sixth annual 2012 Joint Warfighting Conference in Virginia Beach.

During the Mumbai attack, Flynn said, terrorists used cellular phone networks as command and control and social media to track and thwart the efforts of Indian commandos.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/950072/

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Pentagon says working to get over obstacles with Pakistan

May 16, 2012

Throwing hint that the closed NATO supply routes would be reopened soon, the Pentagon on Tuesday said it is working to get over obstacles with Pakistan so as to reinvigorate its partnership with Islamabad.

"We, at the end of the day, believe that we share common interests with

Pakistan. The relationship, we believe, is getting to where it needs to be, and that's why we're committed to ongoing dialogue not just on GLOCs (ground lines of communication) and on terrorism but across the full range of security issues that we have common interest on," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters.

Little said the US has got a team that's been in discussions with the government of Pakistan for some time on the reopening of the ground lines of communication.

"We are hopeful that in the very near future they will be reopened. They are important supply routes for us," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Pentagon-says-working-to-get-over-obstacles-with-Pakistan/Article1-856446.aspx

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US sanctions Dawood Ibrahim's top aides Chhota Shakeel, Ibrahim Tiger Memon

 May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON: The United States today designated underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's two close aides as key drug traffickers and placed sanctions on them aimed at constricting their access to business and financial networks.

The department of the treasury's office of Foreign Assets Control designated Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim " Tiger" Memon as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers for their roles as part of 'D Company', a criminal group run by Dawood.

It said Mumbai-born 57-year-old Chhota Shakeel is Dawood's lieutenant who coordinates for D Company with "other organized crime and terror groups."

The department said Memon, 52, is a trusted lieutenant of Dawood and controls D Company's businesses across South Asia and is also wanted by India for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed more than 250 people.

"Treasury continues to target the nexus of crime and terrorism in South Asia with today's action against one of the world's most notorious criminal organizations," said OFAC director Adam Szubin.

Interpol has issued provisional arrest warrants or "red notices" for both Shakeel and Memon.

Dawood was named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in October 2003, and in June 2006, he was named as a drug trafficker.

Also in June 2006, the Dawood group was named as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-sanctions-Dawood-Ibrahims-top-aides-Chhota-Shakeel-Ibrahim-Tiger-Memon/articleshow/13157192.cms

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US officials sought to testify in Guantanamo 9/11 trial

16 May 2012

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: Defense teams in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo are asking a military judge to order senior US government officials to testify at the US base in Cuba as part of a motion to dismiss charges, a lawyer for one of the defendants said Tuesday.

The motion to dismiss includes a request to compel testimony from eight "top officials'' from the administrations of President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, said Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, who represents Saudi defendant Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi.

Ruiz declined to identify the officials, and the motion has not been released pending a security review. A Pentagon spokesman also declined to release the list until it has been cleared for release.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/US-officials-sought-to-testify-in-Guantanamo-9/11-trial/articleshow/13159944.cms

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Europe

 

Bradford Imams seek action on sexual grooming

16 May 2012

Imams in Bradford are seeking talks with police chiefs for a plan of action to safeguard girls against sexual grooming.

They aim to ensure Bradford does not suffer a similar case to that in Rochdale, which last week saw nine Asian men jailed for a total of 77 years for grooming vulnerable girls as young as 13.

A statement released yesterday, signed by ten Islamic clerics, “wholeheartedly and unequivocally” condemned the “reprehensible” actions of the Rochdale sex offenders.

It said: “We welcome these convictions and are committed to ensuring that any future abuse is prevented and actively challenged.

“Their actions can in no way be justified, and we are committed to working with all the safeguarding agencies to ensure that these actions are prevented from occurring in the future.

“We unreservedly challenge the distorted notion that somehow ‘other women’ are lesser and not as deserving of protection as Muslim women/girls. All females are to be seen equally and afforded the same protection.

“Sexual abuse occurs in all communities and is perpetrated by people from all backgrounds, and where this abuse occurs within the Muslim community, and by members of the Muslim community, we will strive to actively prevent and challenge it.”

Syed Zafar Hussain, president of the UK Islamic Mission in Bradford, said Imams would be forming a committee and arranging a meeting with police chiefs and other agencies on the issue.

Bradford Councillor Ralph Berry, who is responsible for children and young people’s services, said: “It is very helpful to have a clear reference point from a very broad range of Islamic opinion from people who are highly respected.

“We are always vigilant about any issue of exploitation and abuse of children. It would be daft for me to say that I didn’t think there was a grooming issue in Bradford, but I am not aware of any major issue.”

Police said the new partner working had led to 22 people being arrested on suspicion of involvement in child sexual exploitation in the last three months.

Bradford District Chief Inspector Marianne Huison said: “We welcome the support of the Bradford UK Islamic Mission in our continued efforts to tackle street grooming and child sexual exploitation.”

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/localbrad/9707238.Bradford_Imams_seek_action_on_sexual_grooming/?ref=rss

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Breivik trial: Victim 'hid under body' to survive

16 May 2012

A teenager who survived Anders Breivik's attack on Utoeya island has told his trial in Oslo that she only lived because she hid under another victim's body.

Ingvild Leren Stensrud told the court of the "dreadful seconds" as she waited for Breivik to leave the cafe building where he had shot 13 people dead.

She then used the dead girl's phone to try to call emergency services.

Breivik admits the killings last July but denies criminal responsibility.

Addressing the court, Invgrild Stensrud, 17, explained that she had first heard shots on the island when she was walking to the main building to get her mobile phone charger.

She said she did not realise what the noise was, but when others started to run away, she did the same.

She ran into the cafe building and hid behind a piano. Breivik followed.

Stensrud told the court that she and another girl were both shot. When the girl fell on top of her, she stayed under her dead body until the sound of shooting stopped.

"These were dreadful seconds", she said, as the court saw pictures of the room where it happened.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18082560

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Man jailed in UK for keeping Pak daughter-in-law as sex slave

 May 16 2012

London : An evil father-in-law, who had forced his son’s Pakistani bride to become his sex slave, has been jailed for seven years by a court in England, after the 22-year old victim managed to learn enough English to call the police and beg for help.

The Bradford Crown Court heard that the victim’s life was so miserable that she considered committing suicide after her husband had abandoned her at his parents’ home.

The immoral 56-year-old made her swear on the Koran that she would keep the abuse a secret and warned that he would heap shame on her by forcing her to divorce his son if she refused to have sex with him.

According to the Daily Mail, he deprived his daughter-in-law of her jewellery and passport after she came to Britain following an arranged marriage.

The defendant also physically abused her, scratching her arm with a screwdriver and burning her with an iron to reinforce his authority over her, the court heard.

The victim suffered constant sexual abuse from her father-in-law for three months before acquiring a basic understanding of English to call the police one night and ask for help.

Prosecutor Richard Clews said the defendant told his daughter-in-law not to wear underwear to make the sexual abuse easier, and molested her when his wife was out of house.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall told the Pakistani man, “She was your prisoner and slave in your home. The slavery turned into repeated, sustained sexual abuse and degradation.”

 The judge praised the woman’s bravery and commended Detective Constable Sharon Larkin, of West Yorkshire Police, for her work on the case.

The man pleaded guilty to sexual assault, between May 1 and August 12, 2010, causing his victim to engage in sexual activity against her will, causing her actual bodily harm.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/950061/

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Bangladeshi man in UK jailed for inciting child prostitution

16 May 2012

London : A Bangladeshi national in Britain was jailed today for 15 years for attempting to recruit four girls as young as 12 into prostitution.

Azad Miah, 44, was also found guilty of running a brothel from his business and paying two teenagers for sex.

Miah was owner of the former 'Spice of India' restaurant.

Judge Peter Hughes said the case at Carlisle Crown Court showed "the seedier side" of UK towns and called for more protection for children.

Miah was cleared of child prostitution allegations relating to two other girls, the BBC reported.

Hughes said the conduct of the married father of four "corrodes the foundations of decency and respect by which all right-thinking people live their lives."

Detective Inspector Geoff Huddlestone of Cumbria Police, said Miah had got the sentence he deserved and that he had "committed heinous crimes".

The hearing heard that one girl was encouraged to have sex with him out of desperation for cash when she was 15, while he had a sexual relationship with the other, a heroin addict, when she was aged between 15 and 17.

The jury also heard that the Bangladeshi national had targeted "desperate and vulnerable" victims and treated them in a "cold and clinical way," Judge Hughes said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/949794/

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Power with dignity, simplicity: Hollande

VAIJU NARAVANE

16 May 2012

Francois Hollande was on Tuesday officially inaugurated as the 7th President of France's Fifth Republic, marking a return to the left after 17 years of conservative rule. Throughout this long day of pomp and circumstance, the President made it a point to underscore his difference from his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom he defeated on May 6.

Unlike Mr. Sarkozy who tried to create his own Kennedy-style presidential myth five years ago when he arrived at the Elysee flanked by then wife Cecilia and their recomposed family (children from earlier marriages in addition to those they had together), Mr. Hollande came without encumbrances, accompanied only by his present companion Ms. Valerie Trierweiler.

Mr. Sarkozy and the new President met in private for some 35 minutes when the outgoing head of state reportedly communicated “the nuclear codes” to his successor. After the formal handing over of power marked by a 21-gun salute, Mr. Hollande said he would exercise power with “dignity and simplicity”.

The second major moment of his inauguration was a speech on state education which he described as “the weapon of republican justice and equality”. Mr. Hollande said France needed an “impartial State, of peace and reconciliation”.

In a second speech at the Tuileries gardens, Mr. Hollande discussed education, paying homage to Jules Ferry, father of France's free and compulsory state schools. However, he also criticised Ferry's defence of colonisation as “a moral mistake”. Mr. Hollande had been criticised for wishing to honour the memory of Jules Ferry, especially in French overseas departments and territories such as Guadeloupe or Reunion. In another symbolic gesture, he paid homage to Marie Curie, the distinguished scientist of Polish origin, the only woman to have won the Nobel Prize for both physics and Chemistry.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3421822.ece

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‘Blue Lady’ from M. F. Husain’s past rises at London auction

By Georgina Maddox

16 May 2012

IT was at the flat of P. N. Sharma, a friend and well- wisher of M. F. Husain in New Delhi, that Elizabeth Partridge saw the painter on his hands and knees ( Husain rarely used an easel) surrounded by a number of half- finished canvasses which covered every surface and hung from every wall.

Now the Modern and Contemporary South Asian art auction on June 7 in New Bond Street, London, will bring down the hammer on The Blue Lady , valued at £ 70,000- 90,000 ( ` 77.7 lakh), which is now part of the private collection of UK- based John Hay.

The Blue Lady was acquired from Dhoomimal Gallery in New Delhi in the mid- 50s by Hay’s aunt, who then presented it to Hay’s mother Partridge as a wedding present in India. Elizabeth was a foreign correspondent for The News Chronicle and also worked for The Times of India in New Delhi during a time when the country was still adjusting to its newfound independence.

Hay’s aunt expressed her great interest in the work and Husain, in turn, told her that he was “ under contract” to produce a number of paintings for the proprietor of the Dhoomimal Art Gallery in Connaught Place. Having seen how beautiful Husain’s paintings were, Hay’s aunt resolved to purchase one of them as a wedding present for her much- loved sister.

The gallery owner told her that Husain called the work ‘ The Blue Lady ’ and that is forever how it was known within the family.

Mail Today

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Qaida manual: Think of virgins when you hear drones

May 16, 2012

LONDON: An English language manual for Westerners seeking to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been published, which asks potential jihadists to think of virgins in paradise when bomber-drones are overhead.

Described as a "mustread" source, the guide has emerged on the internet shortly after it was leaked that AQAP had been penetrated by a British spy who managed to smuggle out the latest version of their "underpants bomb" .

The manual recommends on how to cope with the hardships and dangers of life as a jihadist, and includes rules such as keeping clean and not using mobile phones, The Telegraph reports.

"In some cases, you will be staying with a few brothers in a tight room or house. In order to avoid unnecessary problems , encourage yourself and your brothers to clean the room(s) on a regular basis. As for yourself, a daily shower is ideal, but not possible in many cases" , the first section tilted 'cleanliness' read.

Another section headed "aerial bombardment" describes the "bee-like sound" of the unmanned aerial vehicles . "If you feel terrified, Close your eyes and imagine yourself inside paradise. Think of your hoor [virgins] that are awaiting you as well as meeting prophets," it says.

The guide was written by Samir Khan, an American who served as the top propagandist for the Yemen-based branch of the terrorist movement . He was killed by a drone attack in September, alongside AQAP's leader Anwar al-Awlaki .

According to the paper, the manual says that one of the "pillars of modern day jihad" is secrecy. "If I am British but of Indian descent, I tell the brothers I'm from so-and-so land (a place where you obviously not from)," the manual says.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Qaida-manual-Think-of-virgins-when-you-hear-drones/articleshow/13159711.cms

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Australia

 

Australia pledges $300 mn to Afghan forces

16 May 2012

Australia will contribute $100 million annually for three years beginning in 2015 toward the $4 billion a year cost of running the Afghan National Security Forces after they take responsibility for their country’s security.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Defence Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement Wednesday they will take this commitment to the NATO and U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force summit in Chicago on Sunday and Monday.

This follows Australia’s commitment to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund of $200 million over five years beginning in 2009-10.

Afghanistan will have responsibility for its own security by the end of 2014.

Ms. Gillard said she spoke by telephone to President Barack Obama late Tuesday about the size of the Australian financial contribution to the costs of the Afghan forces.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3424728.ece

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/qaida-manual--think-of-virgins-when-you-hear-drones/d/7350

 

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