New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 25 March 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Quebec niqab bill would make Muslim women unveil

Bin Laden threatens US over 9/11 plotter

Iraq election very close, results due Friday

Yemen: Where Men Marry Children

Bangladesh: Stage set for war trial

Big win for Muslims in India as SC upholds Muslim quotas

Expectations low for Arab summit to 'save' Jerusalem

Palestinians in at-Tuwani Fight for Their Education

Mullah Omar close aide held in Karachi

Pak: Bill today to slash down Zardari powers

‘Pak second reactor is in initial stage’

Burj tower will go dark March 27

New Saddam-era mass gave found in Iraq's south

Pak draws blank on Kashmir, N-deal

Gilani: US-Pak strategic talks shouldn’t affect Indo-US ties

Babri mosque security was slack on Dec 6, 1992: IPS officer

Headley plea bargain shows Qaeda-LeT nexus: Former CIA expert

Former chief cleric of Lal Masjid absolved in terror case

US wants Pak to address concerns on nuclear non-proliferation

Study shows French Muslims hit by religious bias

SC dismisses PIL seeking withdrawal of cases against MF Husain

Lashkar diktat in Kashmir: Give up uniform or die

Saudis bust Qaida's oil terror plot

Sharif backs out of move to clip Zardari powers

Awareness Campaign Stops Early Marriages In Amran

Reproductive Health Guide For Mosque Preachers

Kuwait calls for concerted efforts to eliminate racism

Woman held for beating husband

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/quebec-niqab-bill-would-make-muslim-women-unveil/d/2621

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Quebec niqab bill would make Muslim women unveil

ANDREW CHUNG QUEBEC BUREAU

MONTREAL–Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his cabinet have introduced sweeping legislation that effectively bars Muslim women from receiving or delivering public services while wearing a niqab.

According to the draft law, they would not be able to consult a doctor in a hospital, for example, or even attend classes in a university.

"Two words: Uncovered face," Charest told reporters during a press conference in Quebec City.

"The principle is clear."

However, Charest reaffirmed the right to wear other religious symbols, such as crosses, skullcaps or headscarves, which was met by some as evidence of hypocrisy and discrimination.

Some critics say the legislation could prevent women from integrating into Quebec society. "Mr. Charest is talking about welcoming people from different backgrounds and that this is going to unite us," said Shama Naz, a niqab-wearing woman who lives in the municipality of Kirkland on the island of Montreal.

"This is actually going to isolate people."

The 33-year-old mother of two young girls, a native of Pakistan, predicts women will be discouraged from going to a doctor, to school or work.

"It will isolate them from basic rights as human beings," said Naz.

The niqab is a veil worn by a small number of Muslim women that allows only their eyes to be visible. It's estimated there are "a few dozen" such women living on the island.

Charest explained that the legislation, Bill 94, demands a face in plain view, for reasons of identification, security and communication.

He further clarified that even public-service employees who do not interact with the public – the majority of the provincial bureaucracy – would also not be permitted to wear the niqab.

The province will hold public hearings on the draft legislation.

Though issues of so-called "reasonable accommodation" of religious differences elicit breathless coverage in the media, cases are few and far between.

Only 10 of more than 118,000 visits to the health board's Montreal office in 2008-09 involved niqab-wearers asking for special dispensation. Ontario has moved in the opposite direction of Quebec.

Accommodations are made for women in niqabs, said Geetika Bhardwaj, senior communications advisor to Government Services Minister Harinder Takhar.

Women can go into an interview room and have an identification photo taken by a female staff member. Or, a picture can be taken in a private location by a female agent. "If there is not a private interview room or a private location, a screen can be erected in order to obscure the photo subject from public view," Bhardwaj said.

And, in the Toronto area, health-care appointments can be made after hours, a system that will soon be extended across the province and will include health cards and driver's licences.

Critics of the niqab say they subjugate women and their right to equality.

After a woman was removed this month from a French-language class for refusing to remove her niqab, Christine St-Pierre, Quebec's minister responsible for the status of women, called niqabs "ambulatory prisons."

On Wednesday, St-Pierre said Quebec was a "world leader" when it comes to gender equality, and with Bill 94, "we prove it once again."

The legislation doesn't stop at driver's licence or health card offices. It encompasses nearly every public and para-public institution as well, including universities, school boards, hospitals, community health and daycare centres.

Daniel Weinstock, director of the ethics research centre at the University of Montreal, applauded the spirit of the law.

Still, he emphasized, the law is based on the principles of not hindering identification or communication. In that, there seemed to be some "wiggle room," he said.

"I can imagine a person whose mouth is covered still being able to convey her point of view without having to uncover her face."

Charest and his ministers said the bill highlights the primacy of equality and state "neutrality" on religion.

Nevertheless, the law aims at niqabs but not other religious symbols.

For Naz, it's simply "hypocrisy. A lot of Muslims will think it's racially oriented," she said. "Everybody else goes on wearing whatever they want to express themselves."

With files from Tanya Talaga

www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/785036--quebec-niqab-bill-would-make-muslim-women-unveil?bn=1#article

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Bin Laden threatens US over 9/11 plotter

26 March 2010

Cairo, March 25: Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened in a new audio recording released Thursday to kill any captured Americans if the US executes the self-professed mastermind of the September 11 attacks or any other Al Qaeda suspects.

The US is still considering whether to put Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four of his fellow plotters on military tribunal for their role in the September 11 attacks. The Obama administration is also looking into recommendations for civilian trials, and is expected to announce a decision soon.

In a brief 74-second audio tape aired on Al Jazeera television, Bin Laden said if the US decides to execute any Al Qaeda suspects in its custody — and explicitly mentioned Mohammed — his terror network would kill American captives.

The terror leader said such a decision “would mean the US has issued a death sentence against whoever of you becomes a prisoner in our hands.” It was not immediately clear whether Al Qaeda is currently has any US captives, but the Haqqani group — the Pakistan-based Taliban faction closest to Al Qaeda — is holding an American soldier it captured in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. It released a video of him in December.

Bin Laden said US President Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of his predecessor George W. Bush by escalating the war in Afghanistan, being “unjust” to Al Qaeda prisoners and supporting Israel in its occupation of Palestinian land.

In a veiled threat, Bin Laden said Americans had previously thought their homeland was beyond the reach of his group until the 9/11 attack.     —AP

Bin Laden threatens US over 9/11 plotter

THURSDAY, 25 MARCH 2010 22:09  

Cairo, March 25: Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened in a new audio recording released Thursday to kill any captured Americans if the US executes the self-professed mastermind of the September 11 attacks or any other Al Qaeda suspects.

The US is still considering whether to put Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four of his fellow plotters on military tribunal for their role in the September 11 attacks. The Obama administration is also looking into recommendations for civilian trials, and is expected to announce a decision soon.

In a brief 74-second audio tape aired on Al Jazeera television, Bin Laden said if the US decides to execute any Al Qaeda suspects in its custody — and explicitly mentioned Mohammed — his terror network would kill American captives.

The terror leader said such a decision “would mean the US has issued a death sentence against whoever of you becomes a prisoner in our hands.” It was not immediately clear whether Al Qaeda is currently has any US captives, but the Haqqani group — the Pakistan-based Taliban faction closest to Al Qaeda — is holding an American soldier it captured in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. It released a video of him in December.

Bin Laden said US President Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of his predecessor George W. Bush by escalating the war in Afghanistan, being “unjust” to Al Qaeda prisoners and supporting Israel in its occupation of Palestinian land.

In a veiled threat, Bin Laden said Americans had previously thought their homeland was beyond the reach of his group until the 9/11 attack.   

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id= -911-plotter-&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

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Iraq election very close, results due Friday

By KHALID AL-ANSARY

Mar 26, 2010

BAGHDAD: The coalitions of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and challenger Iyad Allawi will be separated by only one or two seats when election results are announced on Friday, Iraq's elections chief said.

The tight race promises weeks or months of tough and potentially divisive negotiations to form a new government as Iraq tries to consolidate security gains made over the past two years and rebuild an economy shattered by war and sanctions.

The Independent High Electoral Commission was scheduled to release final preliminary results 19 days after the March 7 parliamentary vote Iraqis hoped would help stabilise their country after years of bloody sectarian conflict as US troops prepare to withdraw.

"There is no big difference between the two main leading lists," IHEC chief Faraj Al-Haidari told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. "The difference will be one or two seats, not more." A partial vote count released on Sunday put Iraqiya, a cross-sectarian coalition headed by secularist former prime minister Allawi about 11,000 votes in front of Maliki's State of Law bloc with 95 percent of nearly 12 million ballots tallied.

Allawi's strong support among minority Sunnis has exacerbated concerns that any attempt by majority Shiite coalitions to push him aside could reignite sectarian tensions.

Analysts have said they expect the top two coalitions to win around 90 seats each in the 325-member parliament. Seats will be allocated on the basis of a coalition's strength in each of Iraq's 18 provinces, not on the national popular vote.

UNION OF SHI'ITE BLOCS?

Maliki's State of Law is already in merger talks with the third-place group, the Iraqi National Alliance, according to officials for the two mainly Shiite coalitions. INA is expected to win 65-70 seats, and the combination of the two could be close to the 163 seats needed to form a government.

Despite mortar, rocket and bomb attacks that killed 39 people on election day, a Defense Ministry spokesman said no special security measures had been enacted for the release of the results.

"Iraqi security forces are fully prepared for anything," the spokesman, Mohammed Al-Askari, said. "Our forces are in normal security measures." On Thursday a roadside bomb killed a leader of a Sunni government-backed militia group in the Al-Ray district of southwestern Baghdad, and in a separate attack gunmen stormed a house in the capital's Diyala bridge area and killed a woman and her daughter.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article35109.ece

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Yemen: Where Men Marry Children

by: Mira Baz

25 March 2010

Fathers marry off pre-teen daughters here for many reasons, not least to remarry themselves.

Sanna, Yemen - A new white dress, chains of gold jewelry sparkling brightly and more attention than this 13-year-old girl had ever received before: It was like playing dress-up, but better, for Zainab Hussein.

"I'm a bride and I'm getting married!" she bragged to her friend, showing off her new jewelry.

A few days later, Zainab, who'd barely reached full growth, was married off to a 30-year-old groom who also was her cousin. He paid $5,000 to Zainab's father for his child bride.

Now 28, she says of the experience: "It was very difficult. I still don't know who to blame. Blame myself? Blame my father? Or my mother? I don't know. I blamed my parents a lot."

There's much about her marriage that Zainab prefers not to recall. She had dreamed of becoming a doctor, but talks about it as if it were someone else's dream. She laughs occasionally and nervously, bitter and confused emotions about her early marriage bubbling toward the surface.

Full report at: www.truthout.org/yemen-where-men-marry-children57987

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Bangladesh: Stage set for war trial

Julfikar Ali Manik and Hasan Jahid Tusher

On the eve of the anniversary of the genocide committed by Pakistan occupation forces in 1971, the government yesterday announced the tribunal, investigation agency and prosecution team for trying war criminals of the Liberation War.

The landmark announcement came just seven hours before the moment the massacre was committed on the black night of March 25, 1971.

In a packed conference room of the home ministry at 4:00pm, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed declared formation of a three-member tribunal, seven-member investigation agency and a 12-member prosecution team to hold the trial under the country's own law, International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.

Trial of war criminals has long been a demand of the nation and the Awami League promised in its election manifesto to meet that demand.

The investigating agency may kick off investigation from now and even arrest accused war criminals and confiscate their properties in the interest of investigation upon the tribunal's permission. The trial will begin on completion of the investigation, said Shafique.

If any specific evidence is found that a person committed the offence, the trial and investigation will continue simultaneously, he added.

High Court Division Judge Md Nizamul Huq has been made the chairman of the tribunal. Its two other members are High Court Judge ATM Fazle Kabir and retired District Judge AKM Zahir Ahmed.

Full report at: www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=131639

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Big win for Muslims in India as SC upholds Muslim quotas

26 March 2010

New Delhi ,March 25: In a major victory for the Andhra Pradesh government in India in its pursuit of providing four per cent reservations to backward Muslims, the Supreme Court on Thursday permitted the state to continue with the quota for the 14 identified groups in the community as an interim measure despite the Andhra Pradesh high court striking down a law to this effect passed by the state Assembly.

However, a bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices J.M. Panchal and B.S. Chauhan restrained the government from extending the reservation benefit to any other “unidentified” groups of the Muslim community placed in item No. 15 in the scheduled list of groups mentioned in the 2007 law providing reservations to Muslims.

Since the issue involved a vital constitutional question whether the reservation could be provided exclusively to the Muslim groups, by creating separate category for them different from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), the court referred the case to a Constitution Bench, which is likely to assemble in the second week of August to take up the matter.

Full report at: www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6782:big-win-for-ap-as-sc-upholds-muslim-quotas&catid=34:top-story&Itemid=59

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Expectations low for Arab summit to 'save' Jerusalem

26 March 2010

Arab states are preparing a summit to "save" Jerusalem from Israel and want urgent action to promote Palestinian reconciliation and boost international pressure to ease or lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Heads of state from the 22-member Arab League meet in Libya on Saturday against a background of deepening alarm about the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

King Abdullah of Jordan set the tone by warning today that Israel was "playing with fire" by expanding settlements in East Jerusalem – the source of tensions between Israel and the Obama administration as well as Arab anger.

Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad – seeking to bridge the gap with the pro-western camp in the region – also called on the Arab world to close ranks and "rescue Jerusalem from Israeli schemes".

But worries about the summit host, the unpredictable Muammar Gaddafi, and the conspicuous absences of several key leaders, suggest it will be hard to resolve bitter inter-Arab disputes. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is staying away, as is the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, who is recovering from surgery.

Full report at: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/25/arab-jerusalem-summit-libya

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Palestinians in at-Tuwani Fight for Their Education

By: Amanda Mueller

25 March 2010

In the rolling, rocky hills of South Hebron, where electricity and water are scarce and Israeli settler violence is plenty, a group of children huddle together, waiting to be escorted to school by the Israeli military.

They come from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed, facing intimidation and harassment, for an education. What should be a peaceful 20-minute walk to the area school in at-Tuwani has become a testament to the determination of this group of Palestinians to nonviolently protest the appearance of settlers attempting to steal deeded land, using physical violence against children and adults, Palestinians and international volunteers to gain control of a region.

Violence against the children and international volunteers assisting on the walk to school, on Palestinian land, but claimed by the Ma'on settlement since 1981, became so prevalent that in 2004 the Israel Parliament mandated an order to the Israeli military to provide an escort for these children seeking an education. To and from school, soldiers are supposed to insure safety, with promises of prosecution against settlers guilty of violence and threatening behavior.

Full report at: www.truthout.org/palestinian-at-tuwani-fight-their-education57968

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Mullah Omar close aide held in Karachi

25 MARCH 2010

Islamabad, March 25: Abdul Hai Salik, former governor of Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province and close aide of Taliban chief Mullah Omar was arrested in Pakistan’s Karachi city on Thursday, officials said.

“Salik and one of his helpmates were arrested from Sohrab Goath area of Karachi,” a police official said. Abdul Hai Salik was a mastermind of assaults on US and Nato forces and after the death of commander Naik Mohammad in a drone attack he was allegedly involved in attacks on Pakistani forces, reports our Pakistan correspondent.

Zaki Izzat Mohammad, arrested with Abdul Hai Salik, is the richest person of Egypt.

The Asian Age, New Delhi.

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Pak: Bill today to slash down Zardari powers

26 March 2010

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday said the government will on Friday table the bill in the Parliament for 18th amendment in the Constitution to slash the powers of the presidency. “We are moving for the amendments in accordance with the recommendations by constitutional reforms committee,” he said.

The amendments in the Constitution will slash all powers of President Asif Ali Zardari including sacking of the assemblies and the appointment of the services’ chiefs. After the amendment, the Prime Minister will exercise the powers, reports our Pakistan correspondent.

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6815:mullah-omar-close-aide-held-in-karachi&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

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‘Pak second reactor is in initial stage’

26 March 2010

Washington, March 25: The second nuclear reactor at the Khusab is in its initial stage of operation, a leading US-think tank said on Thursday, based on the latest Google imagery of the nuclear reactor of Pakistan.

“Google Earth recently posted satellite imagery from GeoEye featuring the Khushab nuclear site in Pakistan”.

“Imagery dated December 31, 2009 shows what appears to be steam distorting the view of some of the cooling tower fan blades for the second plutonium production Khushab reactor,” said Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based think tank.

“This would indicate that the second Khushab reactor is at least at some state of initial operation,” Mr Brannan said in a press statement that also released the latest Google Earth pictures of the Khushab reactor.

The Asian Age, New Delhi

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Burj tower will go dark March 27

26 March 2010

Dubai, : Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure, will join tens of thousands of iconic buildings and landmarks from across the world for the Earth Hour on March 27.

To mark the occasion, the golden glow that cascades down the 828-metre tower will be turned off. Other local landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Abu Dhabi Tower of Commerce and Hyatt Regency will also embrace darkness to express solidarity.

Expressing appreciation for the record number of participants in 2010, Earth Hour, in a statement, said Burj Khalifa was the epitome of global cooperation and unwavering determination and, hence, perfectly reflected the campaign’s ideals. Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley said growing number of participants symbolised the campaign’s popularity and the world’s resolve to save the planet. Mr Ridley has seen the campaign grow from a one-city affair in 2007 to more than 4,000 cities in 2009.

“Earth Hour demonstrates the determination of the world’s citizens for a better and healthier world. It is an opportunity for the global community to speak in one voice on the issue of climate change.”     —PTI

www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6817:pak-second-reactor-is-in-initial-stage&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

The Asian Age, New Delhi.

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New Saddam-era mass gave found in Iraq's south

26 March 2010

BAGHDAD: Iraq's Human Rights Ministry says a Saddam Hussein-era mass grave dating to his 1991 suppression of a Shiite revolt has been unearthed in the south. Ministry's spokesman Kamil Ameen says government teams working on an irrigation project found the grave in an agricultural area in Maysan province. Ameen told The Associated Press yesterday that about 20 bodies were unearthed.

The irrigation project has been put on hold until the excavation is complete. Since the 2003 US-led invasion toppling Saddam's regime, mass graves have been found across Iraq. Following Saddam's defeat in the first Gulf War, Iraq's Shiites revolted in the south, but were brutally suppressed. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been killed.-AP

www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MTI3MTcxMzA5NQ==

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Pak draws blank on Kashmir, N-deal

S Rajagopalan

26 March 2010

Pakistan has practically drawn a blank on its never-say-die push for American involvement in Kashmir as also in its all-out bid to get an India-type civil nuclear deal. At the end of Day 1 of the newly-launched US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that Washington cannot dictate India’s foreign policy or Pakistan’s on the Kashmir issue. All it can, and which it does, is to encourage the two to talk to each other, she said.

On the ticklish nuke deal demand, which she termed a “complicated” matter, all she would assure Islamabad was to say that “we will listen to and engage with our Pakistani partners on whatever issues the delegation raises”.

The only concrete announcement at the end of the first round of talks was an offer of $125 million for tapping non-nuclear energy sources to help Pakistan deal with its energy crisis. It was seen as a firm indication that the US would prefer to steer clear of a copycat nuke deal for Pakistan that would most certainly be rejected by Congress.

At a joint news conference with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Clinton deftly handled pointed questions on both matters over which Islamabad had given considerable build-up in the run-up to the Washington meeting.

Full report at: www.dailypioneer.com/244593/Pak-draws-blank-on-Kashmir-N-deal.html

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Gilani: US-Pak strategic talks shouldn’t affect Indo-US ties

26 March 2010

Contending that Pakistan and the US have a shared desire for stability in South Asia, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said their strategic dialogue should not affect the Indo-American ties.

“As far as the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue is concerned, the US has good relations with India and we don’t want those relations to be affected. We have our relations with the US and they have theirs,” Gilani said.

“As far as India is concerned, the whole world knows that we want good relations with our neighbours. We want regional stability and the US too desires regional stability and better relations between us and our neighbours,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an official function.

www.dailypioneer.com/244585/Gilani-US-Pak-strategic-talks-shouldn%E2%80%99t-affect-Indo-US-ties.html

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Babri mosque security was slack on Dec 6, 1992: IPS officer

Umesh Raghuvanshi

The senior IPS officer Anju Gupta told the special CBI court here today that security arrangements were inadequate around Babri Masjid-Ramjambhoomi complex on December 6, 1992.

Deposing before the court in CBI case pending here about the conspiracy in the demolition of the mosque, Gupta, who was then posted as Assistant SP Ayodhya, said the then IG Lucknow AK Saran at a meeting on December 5 had

said that in view weak security arrangements the mosque could be demolished.

“It was for this reason within few minutes the kar sevaks succeeded in breaking barricades and stormed into the complex”, she said. Anju Gupta is at present on deputation to the Centre.

Referring to senior BJP and VHP leaders AK Advani, Dr MM Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharati, Pramod Mahajan, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Acharya Dharmendra deo, SC Dixit, Sadhvi Rithambhara and others who were

then at the dais, Anju Gupta said they were all very happy when the mosque was being brought down.

They were celebrating and distributing sweets at the dais, Anju said and added they were embracing each other.

Full report at: www.hindustantimes.com/Babri-mosque-security-was-slack-on-Dec-6-1992-IPS-officer/H1-Article1-523426.aspx

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Headley plea bargain shows Qaeda-LeT nexus: Former CIA expert

26 March 2010

Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley's plea bargain under which he confessed to plotting the Mumbai attacks throws light on close links between al-Qaeda and LeT, according to former CIA expert Bruce Riedel.

49-year-old Headley's story showed in clear contours the close relationship between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Riedel, who led the review of the Obama Administration's Af-Pak strategy, was quoted as saying by 'The New York Times'.

Revelations in Headley's plea agreement around al-Qaeda's European cell were particularly disturbing, said Riedel, who was also a member of the National Security Council in the Clinton administration and is now at the Brookings Institution.

They showed that "al-Qaeda still has a significant operational infrastructure somewhere in Europe," he said.

The paper said the plea agreement released last week showed that Headley moved effortlessly between the US, Pakistan and India for nearly seven years, training at a militant camp in Pakistan on five occasions.

www.indianexpress.com/news/headleypleabargainshowsqaedaletnexusformerciaexpert/596079/

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Former chief cleric of Lal Masjid absolved in terror case

26 March 2010

A Pakistani court has acquitted former chief cleric of Lal Masjid, which was stormed by the military in July 2007 to flush out militants holed up inside, in a terrorism case and removed charges against him in four other cases.

Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan of Rawalpindi's anti-terrorism court no 1, who is also conducting the trial of seven suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks, yesterday absolved Maulana Abdul Aziz in a case registered at Aabpara police station in Islamabad in 2007.

Aziz was charged in that case with disturbing law and order, violating a ban on unlawful assemblies and inciting violence.

The judge also removed terror charges against Aziz in four cases related to unlawful assembly, criminally intimidating members of the business community, kidnapping a Pakistani woman and the abduction of some Chinese masseurs.

These cases were registered in two police stations in Islamabad in 2007.

Aziz was released from detention last year after the Supreme Court granted him bail in all cases registered against him by law enforcement agencies.

He had been under house arrest since July 2007, when he was captured during the military operation against militants and members of radical groups who were holed up in the Lal Masjid.

Law enforcement agencies had registered 27 cases against Aziz. He was earlier acquitted in one of the cases.

The regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf launched the military operation against radical elements in the mosque in the heart of Islamabad after a standoff lasting several months.

www.indianexpress.com/news/formerchiefclericoflalmasjidabsolvedinterrorcase/596068/

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US wants Pak to address concerns on nuclear non-proliferation

26 March 2010

The US has asked Pakistan to first take necessary steps to address the non-proliferation concerns of the international community, especially on rogue scientist A Q Khan's clandestine network, as a basis for consideration of a request for a civilian nuclear deal.

Pakistan has so far failed to secure a clear commitment for its much sought-after civil nuclear deal from the US on the lines of that of India.

It is believed that the US has not said a "No" to the Pakistani request in this regard; but instead asked visiting delegation led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, which also included Pakistani Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, to initiate steps that would restore the confidence of the international community in its nuclear programme.

The high-level Pakistani delegation is understood to have given assurances to initiate steps in this regard, the sources said, adding that the administration would closely monitor the developments in the country in this regard.

Topping the list is the complete disbanding of the rogue nuclear scientis A Q Khan network, so that the US is convinced that such a network could not grow up in the future. It also requires international monitoring/inspection of its nuclear facilities.

"Given Pakistan's history of selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, such an agreement would realistically be 10 or 15 years away. Still, the administration was careful not to dismiss the idea out of hand," a senior administration official was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

www.indianexpress.com/news/uswantspaktoaddressconcernsonnuclearnonproliferation/596038/

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Study shows French Muslims hit by religious bias

26 March 2010

French Muslims face considerable discrimination based purely on their religion instead of their country of origin, according to a study released Thursday by French and American researchers.

The study, "Are French Muslims Discriminated Against in Their Own Country?" found that Muslims sending out resumes in hopes of a job interview had 2.5 times less chance than Christians of a positive response to their applications. It also showed that monthly salaries of Muslims was on average euro400 less than Christians.

"The discrimination Muslim candidates endure in the French labor market therefore seems to have concrete repercussions on their standard of living," the study says.

The study bills itself as the first to isolate Islam as the source of discrimination in the labor market. The work was conducted by two Stanford University professors, David Laitin and Claire Adida, and a colleague at the Sorbonne University, Marie-Anne Valfort. It was carried out in conjunction with the French-American Foundation and a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

www.indianexpress.com/news/studyshowsfrenchmuslimshitbyreligiousbias/596019/

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SC dismisses PIL seeking withdrawal of cases against MF Husain

26 March 2010

NEW DELHI: In a major setback to controversial painter M F Husain, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to direct the government to take steps to ensure his return to India and withdrawal of cases against him.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan refused to entertain a petition seeking a direction to the government to withdraw all criminal cases against the 95-year-old artist to ensure his return to the country.

"If he is in Doha, what is the problem," the bench queried while asking the petitioner to withdraw his plea.

“Husain has every right to return to India, but he has to take a decision,” SC said.

Husain had recently given up his Indian passport and accepted Qatari citizenship. He has been living in self-exile for nearly four years following a spate of cases in India over his controversial paintings of Hindu goddesses.

"The prayer made in the petition cannot be granted," the bench said.

The judges were hearing the petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh in which he had pleaded that the court should ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take steps to bring Husain back to India.

The apex court said it cannot direct the Union of India to withdraw the cases as the complaints were filed by private individuals.

The bench pointed out that it had transferred all the cases against him for adjudication in Delhi.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/SC-dismisses-PIL-seeking-withdrawal-of-cases-against-MF-Husain/articleshow/5726230.cms

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Lashkar diktat in Kashmir: Give up uniform or die

26 March 2010

NEW DELHI: Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has issued an outrageous warning in Kashmir, telling residents to stop helping defence forces or face death.

In its latest diktat, Lashkar-e-Taiba has put up posters in the Doda district of Kashmir warning locals that all who either serve in the paramilitary forces or the police force will be slaughtered.

The posters warn locals who are working in the paramilitary or police force, that they should resign or face consequences.

The Lashkar goes on to add that in coming days the group will target 5 SPOs.

Since January this year more than eight top commanders of LeT have been eliminated by the troops in Doda and adjoining Kishtwa heights giving a jolt to the outfit.

The men in khaki, especially the Special Police Officials (SPOs) are said to have played a crucial role in getting these commanders eliminated which could have led to these latest threats.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Lashkar-diktat-in-Kashmir-Give-up-uniform-or-die/articleshow/5725929.cms

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Saudis bust Qaida's oil terror plot

26 March 2010

DUBAI: Saudi Arabian anti-terror forces swooped down and busted heavily-armed cells of al-Qaida linked terrorists who were planning to strike nation's oil installations and security establishments.

More than 100 insurgents were arrested in raids carried out earlier this week and the terror cells busted comprised mostly Saudi and Yemeni nationals, as well as residents of Somalia, Bangladesh and Eriteria, the interior ministry said in a statement read out over state television.

Those rounded up included a Yemeni, whom Saudi security officials described as being a prominent member of al-Qaida. Armaments seized included explosive belts used by suicide bombers, assault rifles, ammunition, computers, pre-paid mobile SIM cards and documents, the interior ministry said.

Most of those arrested were from the southern province of Jazan, near the border with Yemen, where Yemeni forces and al-Qaida linked rebels and Shia groups have been locked in fierce fights. Saudi officials said those apprehended comprised 47 Saudis, 51 Yemenis and a Somali, Bangladeshi and an Eriterian national. One group consisted of more than 100 insurgents, while two others were smaller.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Saudis-bust-Qaidas-oil-terror-plot/articleshow/5724840.cms

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Sharif backs out of move to clip Zardari powers

26 March 2010

ISLAMABAD: In a surprise move, opposition leader and former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif decided against supporting a constitutional reforms package that envisaged a major overhaul of the country's constitution and undoing constitutional changes made by former military rulers.

The package, which was slated to be introduced before the country's parliament on Friday, sought to amend one-fourth of the constitution's articles. Sharif said he had taken the decision at the eleventh hour, as the country's superior judiciary wasn't taken into confidence regarding the procedure of the judges' appointment. Earlier, the government claimed to have developed a consensus over the constitutional reforms.

The package also sought to transfer powers from the president to the prime minister in line with the Pakistan's 1973 constitution. The former military rulers — general Zia ul Haq and general Pervez Musharraf — made changes to the constitution through legal framework orders and later got them endorsed by their rubber stamp parliaments.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Sharif-backs-out-of-move-to-clip-Zardari-powers/articleshow/5724834.cms

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Awareness Campaign Stops Early Marriages In Amran

Mo’ath Monassar

26 March 2010

AMRAN, March 20 – An awareness campaign on the hazards of early marriage has succeeded in preventing ten early marriages in Amran, according to its organizers.

The campaign concluded earlier this month in the Al-Sood and Al-Sooda districts of Amran, and was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Shahrazad Al-Haiti, coordinator of the program, said that the program was conducted in these two governorates due to lack of health education, widespread illiteracy, and the absence of health centers there.

She pointed out that the project had required great efforts due to the local tribes’ initial refusal to welcome them to the area.

The campaign organizers held lectures, plays and competitions to make people aware of the risks of early marriage.

The team members consisted of doctors, academics, members of the local council, teachers, and mosque preachers.

Full report at: www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=33756

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Reproductive Health Guide For Mosque Preachers

26 March 2010

SANA’A,  – Mosque preachers left a recent workshop held by the National Population Council for Population in Sana’a with manuals on reproductive health.

Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Anisi, population expert at the Ministry of Endowments and Guidance, reviewed the contents of the manuals at the workshop as part of the ministry’s push to legitimize the country’s population policy.

According to the United Nations’ Status of the Population report for 2009, the population of Yemen is expected to reach over 53 million in 2050.

Yemen’s population increased at a rate of 9 percent during the past five years, according to Al-Anisi.

The preachers were chosen so that they may use their religious authority and influence to raise awareness about health issues addressed in Islam and the Holy Quran and their link to limiting population growth in the country.

According to Al-Anisi, the reproductive guide for religious leaders in its first chapter focuses on educating the family and society on sexual and reproductive health, both linked to physical and mental health.

Full report at: www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=33755

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Kuwait calls for concerted efforts to eliminate racism

26 March 2010

GENEVA: Kuwait assured yesterday the need for concerted international efforts to eliminate racism and racial discrimination according to the Islamic tenets and its belief the relevant international covenants.

Sheikh Jarrah Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, third secretary of the Permanent Mission of Kuwait to the United Nations in Geneva said in his speech to the Human Rights Council session that his country "engaged the world community at affecting the rejection of any abuse of religions and their symbols," referring to the Kuwaiti efforts, assistance and programs at the international level "to achieve the concepts and principles of moderation, tolerance, rejecting extremism and discrimination.

Full report at: www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=OTMwMTAxMDU4

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Woman held for beating husband

Mar 26, 2010

MAKKAH: Police here are investigating a 43-year-old woman charged with beating up her 61-year-old husband, sending him to hospital, a local daily reported on Thursday. Police say the man claimed he was attacked in his sleep and that his wife has a history of being abusive. The wife was arrested and transferred for investigation and possible prosecution.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article34989.ece

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/quebec-niqab-bill-would-make-muslim-women-unveil/d/2621


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