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Islamic World News ( 1 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudis will Lose Virginity if Women Drive: Clerics

Afghan woman, jailed for being raped, wins pardon

Divorce ratio increases in Islamabad by 90pc

Veena Malik bares it all for FHM

Pakistan's overt support to terror has diminished: Chidambaram

Pakistan’s decision to boycott Bonn conference irreversible: Khar

Gratuitous attack by NATO will prove costly for USA

Pakistan officials gave nod for NATO strike: Report

Islamists Electoral Rise Due to Failed Secularism

Maldives: Religious NGOs to hold protest to protect Islam” on December 23

Maldives: City Council denies plans to erect signs banning ‘immodest dressing’

No one may tread religion and international relations with dirty feet: Nazarbayev

Extremism and terrorism research institute may open in Kazakhstan

India Dalit boy 'killed over high-caste man's name'

Eight terrorists killed in Orakzai operation

Uncles beat nephew to death in Bangladesh

‘Pakistanis would feel more secure without US aid’

Pak Hindu Council condemns NATO strike

Death sentence of 2 Indians commuted after blood money deal

Reservations for backward Muslims on cards: Khurshid

Parleys with Pak without pre-conceived notion: India

Thought the Muslim Brotherhood Was Bad? Meet Egypt’s Other Islamist Party.

Moderate Egyptians haunted by rising prospect of Islamist rule

US paper slams Obama Administration’s response to NATO strike in Pakistan

Pak leader for special visit permits to senior citizens

Al-Qaida holding US aid worker in Pakistan: SITE

Syria now in a civil war with 4,000 dead: UN

France protecting Syrian opposition after ‘threats’

Egypt's Islamists swear by secularism

Secular Syria's Opportunistic Use of Islam

Iran official says illegal churches harm youth

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saudis-will-lose-virginity-if-women-drive--clerics/d/6051

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Saudis will lose virginity if women drive: clerics

ANI

London, December 02, 2011

Allowing women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in ‘no more virgins’ the country’s highest religious council has warned. A ‘scientific’ report has alleged that relaxing the ban on women drivers, would also see more Saudis - both men and women - turn to homosexuality and

pornography.

The astonishing conclusions were deduced by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.

The scholars, in their report, evaluated the possible impact of repealing the ban in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed behind the wheel.

The report was delivered to all the 150 members of the country’s legislative body.

According to the account, allowing women to drive would ‘provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce’ the Daily Mail reported.

The scholars claimed that within ten years of lifting the ban, there would be ‘no more virgins’ in the Islamic kingdom.

They further corroborated their point of ‘moral decline’ by observing that in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive the decline is already visible.

In the report, Professor Subhi, exemplified the point by describing what he experienced while sitting in a coffee shop in an unnamed Arab state.

“All the women were looking at me," he wrote. "One made a gesture that made it clear she was available... this is what happens when women are allowed to drive,” he concluded.

The shocking report came after Shaima Jastaniya, a 34-year-old Saudi woman, was sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip after being caught driving in Jeddah.

Although there have been strong protests across the country about the sentence and law in general, resistance to reform and change remains strong among conservative royals and clerics.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/europe/Saudis-will-lose-virginity-if-women-drive-clerics/Article1-776933.aspx

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Afghan woman, jailed for being raped, wins pardon

Reuters

KABUL: Dec 2, 2011, , Afghanistan has pardoned a woman who was raped by a family member but then jailed for adultery, a statement from the presidential palace has said, in a case that highlights deep concerns about women's rights in the country.

It remained unclear whether the 21-year-old-woman, known as Gulnaz, would still have to marry the man who attacked her, her cousin's husband, after an earlier release offer which stipulated they must marry.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's palace issued the statement pardoning Gulnaz late on Thursday, a rare pardon in such a case in staunchly conservative Muslim Afghanistan.

Her case attracted international attention after she took part in a documentary film commissioned by the European Union but later withheld.

Gulnaz had eventually agreed to the condition she marry her attacker under the earlier release offer but her lawyer said the release granted this week did not depend on her going through with the marriage.

It was not clear whether she still intended to marry the man, her lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said. Her attacker is serving a 7-year prison term for the crime.

Motley said she hoped her client would be released shortly, and that there was a place for her in a women's shelter.

The palace statement said Justice Minister Habibullah Ghalib asked a panel of top legal officials to order her release. Gulnaz sought a pardon from Karzai earlier this week.

"After assessing Gulnaz's case, (they) decided that her remaining sentence in jail should be pardoned under the current rules and regulations of the country and she should be released," the palace statement said.

Gulnaz was initially sentenced to two years in jail for "adultery by force", which was later increased to 12 years on appeal. She was given the choice of marriage or serving a jail sentence.

Her sentence was then cut to three years after a third appeal, and the requirement for her to marry was dropped.

Gulnaz became pregnant as a result of the attack and gave birth to a daughter in the Badam Bagh women's prison in Kabul almost a year ago.

Motley also welcomed what she said was a decision to review the cases of other women in the same jail.

"The judiciary has effectively supported the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act by allowing for her to be released, for allowing for her to be pardoned," Motley said.

"Precedent definitely has been set. As I understand it, the judiciary today was also reviewing the files of other women in Badam Bagh," she said.

The presidential palace declined to comment on whether other cases were under review.

FILM BLOCKED

The film in which Gulnaz featured, a documentary on women in prison, was blocked from release by the EU mission in Afghanistan over fears it might compromise the safety of the women involved because it showed their identity.

The film-makers have been pushing for the film to be released, and say Gulnaz wanted her story to be told.

"I made a promise to these women that I would get their stories out. I am glad that I've been able to honour that promise to Gulnaz," said the film's director Clementine Malpas.

"I still hope that our film can be released, so people can hear the stories of the other women, and perhaps increase their chance of getting justice as well."

EU spokeswoman Lynne O'Donnell welcomed news Gulnaz would be freed but declined to comment on whether the film would be released.

Gulnaz's case had been condemned widely by human rights groups. An online petition started by Motley has been signed by more than 6,000 people.

Motley said she is still trying to ascertain whether the attacker will also be released if they agree to marry.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Afghan-woman-jailed-for-being-raped-wins-pardon/articleshow/10956297.cms

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Divorce ratio increases in Islamabad by 90pc

Women lead in applying for separation

By Ali Hassan

ISLAMABAD: December 02, 2011, The number of divorce cases has increased by 90 percent during on current year compared to last year in capital while surprisingly women are leading in initiating (of separation).

According to Islamabad Arbitration Council, during current year, 713 cases of divorced were registered, of which 374 divorce were initiated by women and 275 cases were registered by men, besides 64 were miscellaneous.

In 2010 the number was far less 625. Of which, 425 were initiated by women and 100 cases registered from men, besides this 100 were miscellaneous.

The Arbitrary Council official said divorce trends were related to a number of factors. The increasing trend from women for separation is somehow associated with empowerment of women empowerment, an exercise of their independent choice, changing attitudes towards divorce or the changes in the legal and institutional environment.

The council divorce registers posit that this increase is still low despite a sharp rise in recent years. From just 98 cases in 1995, the total number of registered divorce rose threefold to 314 in 2005. Significantly, female initiated divorce rose from 19 in 1995 to 151 in 2005, from a fifth in 1995 to 48 percent in 2005.

Significantly, after 2002 when the Muslim Family Courts Amendment Ordinance (that a move for khula be finalised if reconciliation fails and should be done so within six months), was affected, female initiated divorce rose by almost 50 percent the following year. Male divorces also rose by 40 percent.

Pakistan’s last census reveals that marital dissolution occurs mainly through widowhood; the number of divorced individuals seem insignificant to that of widows. Also divorce seems more visible in Punjab and Sindh.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\02\story_2-12-2011_pg11_6

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Veena Malik bares it all for FHM

TNN | Dec 2, 2011,

Pakistani actress Veena Malik, known for enraging conservative sections of the Pakistani society following her participation in the Indian reality tv show Bigg Boss 4, has bared it all for the men's international lifestyle magazine, FHM (For Him Magazine).

Malik has done a strip photo shoot for FHM India and even tattooed her arms with 'ISI'- Pakistan's notorious intelligence agency known for its close ties with terror organizations. The issue also has Malik talking about controversial topics like veil in Muslim societies.

Veena Malik, a Pakistani actress, model and comedienne, shot to fame in India when she entered the Indian reality tv show Bigg Boss season four 2010. The actress, who cosied up with male contestants on the show and flaunted her curves unabashedly, drew sharp condemnation and criticism from Muslim clerics and conservative media in Pakistan.

After returning to her country, she engaged in a fierce debate with a Muslim cleric, who decreed that Malik had displayed "immoral behaviour" as a contestant on Bigg Boss. In her defence, Malik said that she was an artist and she wore the same clothes and behaved in the same fashion back home. She snubbed the cleric by giving him a taste of his own orthodox medicine. She asked him if he had not violated the Islamic law by watching a strange woman (Malik in the Bigg Boss show) more than once.

Malik, soon received a threatening letter by Maulana Masood, a terrorist leader known for his connections with Osama bin Laden. The letter accused her of humiliating Islam and Pakistan's name during her stay in the Bigg Boss' house.

Before entering Bigg Boss, Malik had established herself as a leading actress in Urdu cinema in Pakistan. She also worked with news and entertainment channels.

Malik is known for her various social and liberal causes. She is also a representative of the World Health Organization.

The news about Veena Malik's strip off photo shoot has gone viral on the web and among her Pakistani fans and critics.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/tv/Veena-Malik-bares-it-all-for-FHM/articleshow/10956608.cms

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Pakistan's overt support to terror has diminished: Chidambaram

IANS

NEW DELHI: Dec 2, 2011,, Pakistan has not delivered on its promise to bring the 26/11 perpetrators to justice, home minister P Chidambaram has said, adding that Islamabad's overt support to state and non-state actors involved in cross-border terror has diminished.

In an interview to Doordarshan, Chidambaram said Pakistani ministers had promised him that seven people whose names had been handed over in connection with the 26/11 attack would be arrested and their voice samples delivered.

"They have not delivered on the promise. The trial has not started. The judge has been changed four or, may be, five times. Now what do I conclude - that Pakistan is not serious about bringing to justice real perpetrators behind 26/11," Chidambaram said.

"I think they have realised that any overt support to state actors or non-state actors, if that is discovered, they will pay a heavy price. So I think overt support has certainly diminished. Covert support, I really can't make an assessment," Chidambaram said.

On reports about facilities provided to Hafiz Sayeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi - accused in the 26/11 conspiracy - Chidambaram said Pakistan's attitude is there for all to see and diminishes its credibility.

"If this one guy (Lakhvi) is treated with with such kindness, generosity what does say about the credibility of Pakisan's justice system? It is not only I (who) read about Lakhvi having access to cell phones, the whole world is reading it...I think they should introspect themselves."

Chidambaram denied there were different voices in the government on Pakistan. He said on issues like liberalisation of the visa regime, exchange of prisoners and fishermen detained on both sides and crossborder trade, India can move the extra mile.

"But on terror-related issues I don't think we can do anything but remain firm and make sure that Pakistan delivers."

While supporting the dialogue process, Chidambaram ruled out any immediate possibility of a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.

Chidambaram said the country has to be vigilant about militants in Arunachal Pradesh and those that have sanctuary in China.

"We have to be vigilant about militant groups operating out of Arunachal. We also know that a number of leaders and militant groups have sanctuaries in China. We know there is an armed bazaar on the border of Myanmar and China and Chinese weapons are smuggled through Myanmar into India," he said.

On Maoist violence, the minister said more people were killed by the ultra leftwing rebels than in attacks by terrorists. He said 30 people, including three securitymen and 27 civilians, were killed in attacks by Maoists in November.

He said Maoists killed civilians by "unfairly and unjustly" labelling them as police informers. "Who gave Communist Party of India-Maoists the right to kill? So I think people must understand that CPI-Maoist is driven by an ideology that believes in an overthrow of the democratic parliament system," Chidambaram said.

He said Maoists as a group were more "anti-poor than the worst capitalists".

Asked if he found his present assignment stressful, Chidambaram said he did not feel stressed but it required him to be vigilant all the time.

"No, I am not stressed internally. But it is a 24X7 job. I do not switch off my mobile. It's a job in which you have to remain alert and vigilant 24x7. It is why, sometimes, I say half-seriously and half-jokingly that it's a job for a younger person," Chidambaram said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistans-overt-support-to-terror-has-diminished-Chidambaram/articleshow/10957312.cms

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Pakistan’s decision to boycott Bonn conference irreversible: Khar

APP

ISLAMABAD: Dec 2, 2011, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Friday said the decision to boycott Bonn Conference was irreversible and Nato supplies have been blocked on violation of parliament’s resolution of May 14, 2011.

Talking to the media outside Parliament House, she said only Parliament was the right forum to review any decision including blockade of Nato supplies and attending Bonn moot.

She said Pakistan was not hostile to any country however national interests would be protected at any cost.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/02/pakistans-decidion-to-boycott-bonn-conference-irreversible-khar.html

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Gratuitous attack by NATO will prove costly for USA

2011-12-02

By Asif Haroon Raja

The total strength of ISAF in Afghanistan exceeds that of any foreign military force ever before stationed in that country. It has completed ten years and nearly two months, which is the longest in Asian nation’s history. It is also the longest armed conflict in Afghanistan and the US history.

The US has decided to pullout by end 2014 but desires to leave behind 20-30000 troops in military bases for another ten years because it has failed to achieve any of the stated or concealed objectives in Afghanistan and in other regional countries. Apart from the hawks within US military and CIA, its strategic partners India, Israel and Britain as well as Hamid Karzai led regime in Kabul, the US defence and construction tycoons are averse to the idea of pullout and are desirous of staying on till the accomplishment of their common objectives.

Other than Afghanistan where the Taliban have blocked the ambitions of imperialist powers, the other countries on their hit list are Pakistan, Iran and China. Among the three, Pakistan figures out on the top because of its nuclear program, its closeness with China and Iran and its refusal to accept India’s hegemony and to solve Kashmir dispute on Indian terms. The four strategic partners had mutually agreed at the outset in September 2001 to dupe Pakistan by offering hand of friendship and economic assistance and then systematically destabilizing, de-Islamizing, denuclearizing and Balkanizing it. With these aims in view, Gen Musharraf was roped in and made an ally to fight so-called war on terror. This war was a deception to defame and weaken Islam, re-align boundaries of Middle East and to loot the wealth of the Muslim world.

The US and its real allies have succeeded in installing puppet regimes in Kabul, Baghdad and Tripoli and in ruining these countries, but have made partial success in Pakistan.

On the pretext of helping Pakistan’s agencies in tracing and nabbing Al-Qaeda and Taliban runaways as well as those harboring them, a secret deal was struck with Gen Musharraf in December 2001 and later renewed in March 2008 that CIA and FBI operatives would be allowed complete liberty of action and immunity from criminal jurisprudence to operate in any part of the country and provided full cooperation by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Four airbases at Jacobabad, Dalbandin, Pasni and Shamsi near Kharan were also handed over to the US air force out of which Shamsi airbase was allowed to be used for employment of drones for reconnaissance purposes. This facility was misused from 2006 onwards and drones were armed and Blackwater elements inducted as missile loaders. These bases also became dens for CIA to destabilize Balochistan and to trigger Baloch separatist movement. NATO containers carried arms for Baloch rebels as well. In addition, Jundullah group was patronized by CIA to destabilize Sistan province of Iran.

http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2011/12/01/gratuitous-attack-nato-will-prove-costly-usa

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Pakistan officials gave nod for NATO strike: Report

AFP

WASHINGTON: Dec 2, 2011, Pakistani officials gave the green light for the NATO strikes that killed 24 of their troops last month, unaware that the forces were in the area, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The Journal cited US officials briefed on the preliminary investigation into the incident -- the worst exchange of friendly fire between the two reluctant allies in the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

The officials told the Journal that an Afghan-led force including US commandos was pursuing Taliban fighters near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when they came under fire from what they thought was a militant encampment.

When they called in air strikes on the camp, team members contacted a joint command-and-control center manned by US, Afghan and Pakistani troops, and Pakistani representatives said there were no friendly forces in the area, clearing the way for the air assault, the officials told the Journal.

The officials nevertheless acknowledged errors on both sides.

"There were lots of mistakes made," it quoted an official as saying. "There was not good situational awareness to who was where and who was doing what."

They also cautioned that the latest account is based on initial interviews with the commandos involved and could change as more details come to light.

The Pentagon has insisted there was no deliberate attack on Pakistani forces, but US officials have stopped short of apologizing over the incident.

Pakistan has said the air assault on its soldiers was unprovoked and spread over a period of two hours, despite Pakistani protests to the Americans.

Relations have long been tense between the two allies, with Washington accusing elements of Pakistan's military and intelligence services of collaboration with the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

Pakistan has in turn alleged that US drone strikes aimed at militants have killed scores of civilians, stoking extremism and bolstering its own domestic Islamist insurgency.

The friendly fire incident over the weekend set off the worst crisis in relations between the two countries since US commandos swooped in to kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town in May.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-officials-gave-nod-for-NATO-strike-Report/articleshow/10955619.cms

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Islamists Electoral Rise Due to Failed Secularism:

By Pankaj Mishra

Bloomberg December 02, 2011, -- My last column, on the strangely renewable appeal of political Islam, provoked some strong reactions from both extremes of the ideological spectrum.

Some correspondents urged me to reconsider -- even embrace -- Islam as the most superior way of life, one that holds answers to all problems of individual and collective existence. Others accused me of endorsing the ideology of Islamism that legitimizes such inhumane punishments as cutting off limbs and stoning women to death.

Admittedly, much intellectual confusion -- and mischief -- is caused by an elastic concept like Islamism, which can be stretched to accommodate the mass-murderer Ayman Al-Zawahiri as well as the Tunisian leader and modernist thinker Rashid Ghannouchi. As it turns out, fast-moving events in the Arab world illustrate what I was trying to say better than any intellectual abstraction.

Since I wrote, voters in Morocco have given the moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party more than one-quarter of the parliamentary seats for which elections were held, making it the largest bloc. Egyptians, turning out in large numbers to exercise their long-denied franchise, also seem likely to empower Islamist parties. Libyans as well.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-02/islamists-electoral-rise-due-to-failed-secularism-pankaj-mishra.html

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Religious NGOs to hold “protest to protect Islam” on December 23

By Ahmed Nazeer

December 1st, 2011

A coalition of religious NGOs has claimed that 100,000 people will join a protest in December “to protect Islam”, and called on “all Maldivians to take part”.

Speaking to the press at the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) studio, President of the NGO Coalition Mohamed Didi said that more than 127 local NGOs, music clubs, political parties and Island Councils would take part in the protest on December 23.

According to MNBC, Didi said the protest was not a movement against the government but a movement “against all un-Islamic ideas.”

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef warned that “our faith will not be shaken by something someone says, but because of these things it might turn the non-muslims living in neighboring countries against us.’’

MNBC reported that the People’s Alliance Party (PA) had called on parents to bring children to the gathering.

Local newspaper Sun quoted Didi as saying that the government had been conducting many activities with the motive of erasing Islam from the country, and claimed that the NGO coalition was “left with no other choice but to protest to protect Islam.”

Senior officials from the Adhaalath Party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and Jumhoree Party (JP) were present at today’s meeting.

Claims that national monuments placed in Addu for the SAARC Summit were idolatrous and hostility towards a call by UN Human Rights Ambassador Navi Pillay for a national debate on flogging sparked protests in Male’ recently.

“This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country,” Pillay said, referring to the practice of flogging a punishment for fornication.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

http://minivannews.com/politics/religious-ngos-to-hold-protest-to-protect-islam-on-december-23-28946

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City Council denies plans to erect signs banning ‘immodest dressing’

By Ahmed Nazeer

Male’ December 1st, 2011  City Council member Ahmed Falah has denied media reports today that the council has decided to put up sign boards banning immodest dressing to discourage tourists from wearing bikinis on beaches and other public areas in the capital.

Local newspaper Haveeru reported Male’ City Council member Ibrahim Shujau as telling the paper that the council had received complaints from the public that tourists had been wearing improper clothing around the capital’s beach. He reportedly said the council met with the Tourism Ministry and decided to put up sign board to inform tourists that improper clothing was not allowed.

However, Falah today said that the council has not made any such decision.

‘’I am sure that the council has not decided anything like that,’’ Falah said. ‘’Media reports are incorrect.’’

Speaking to Minivan News earlier this year, Secretary General of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), ‘Sim’ Mohamed Ibrahim acknowledged that such occurrences would be a challenge for the mid-market tourism ambitions of the Maldives.

“The way it is currently structured is that alcohol is banned and there is a dress code for inhabited islands. Unless the regulations are changed – and I’m not saying they should be relaxed – tourist areas will need to be separated from local areas. In Male’ people cannot drink alcohol openly and nobody wears bikinis – it isn’t a problem.”

Ibrahim suggested that unless there were demarcated tourist areas, “there will always be these kinds of issues. It’s not an Adhaalath party issue or necessarily a religious issue – Western tourist dress is very different from traditional Maldivian dress.”

In April this year The Criminal Court sentenced a man to six months imprisonment after he was found guilty of ‘skinny dipping’ (swimming naked) in the Artificial Beach in Male’.

http://minivannews.com/society/male%E2%80%99-city-council-denies-plans-to-erect-signs-banning-%E2%80%98immodest-dressing-28953

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No one may tread religion and international relations with dirty feet: Nazarbayev

Friday, 02.12.2011,

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev spoke about harmful influence of religious intolerance and extremism on the country, Tengrinews.kz reports from the Forum of Scientists in Almaty.

“Both religion and international relations are a science, no one may tread upon it with dirty feet,” the President said noting that research in these areas has to be brought to a new quality level.

“That’s why, dear friends, let’s be alert in this matter, we need to prove extraneity and harmfulness of different forms of religious intolerance and extremism for our people and the country. Scientists should stand against the attempts to pull our society back into the past,” President said noting that “there are powers that don’t like peace and concordance in our common house”.

According to Nazarbayev, there are many extremist trends in Central Asia and “Kazakhstan is also facing such manifestations”. However, the President thinks that there is no need to “see religious ways in everything and start thinking that something is on the raise in our country”. “Recent case in Taraz: it turned out that there was no religious underpinning there and that they were simple criminals, who used to commit crimes before,” Nazarbayev said.

Earlier Tengrinews.kz English reported that Kazakhstan Education and Science Minister Bakytzhan Zhumagulov suggested to open the institute on research of extremism and terrorism. He noted that “there is a necessity for a research in this direction.”

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Extremism and terrorism research institute may open in Kazakhstan

Friday, 02.12.2011,

Kazakhstan Minister of Education and Science Bakytzhan Zhumagulov suggested to open an institute for research of religious extremism and terrorism, Tengrinews.kz reports. The Minister made the suggestion at the Forum of Scientists held in Almaty.

“I think that there is a necessity of a clear research in this direction. We suppose that this requires creation of a certain scientific-research institute,” Zhumagulov said. The Minister also suggested to open the first Kazakhstan Institute of Nuclear Safety.

The Forum was attended by Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev. It was announced at the event that Kazakhstan will apply to the Commission on New Minerals and Their Names of the International Mineralogical Society for registration of a new mineral called Nurnazen.

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India Dalit boy 'killed over high-caste man's name'

2 December 2011

A low-caste Dalit boy has been killed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for sharing a name with a man of a higher caste, police say.

They said Neeraj Kumar's father Ram Sumer had been asked to change the names of two sons as they were the same as those of Jawahar Chaudhary's sons.

The body of Neeraj, 14, was found on 23 November in a field. Two friends of the Chaudhary family have been arrested.

Mr Chaudhary denies the involvement of his family in the murder.

He says the family is being framed by police.

Dalits, formerly known as "untouchables", are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system in India.

Although caste discrimination is illegal, biases remain in many areas.

Strangled

The latest incident took place in Radhaupur village in Basti district.

Both Ram Sumer and Jawahar Chaudhary have sons named Neeraj and Dheeraj and that has long been an issue between the two families, Sub-inspector Praveen Kumar said.

Mr Chaudhary, who belongs to a higher caste, had given several warnings to Mr Sumer to change the names of his boys.

On 22 November, Neeraj left home after dinner to watch television at a friend's house. His body was found the next day.

Police said he was strangled.

Mr Chaudhary's sons - Neeraj and Dheeraj - are missing, but police have arrested two friends of the family who they say had a role in the murder.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-15997648

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Eight terrorists killed in Orakzai operation

KALAYA: December 02, 2011, At least eight terrorists were killed and three of their hideouts destroyed as armed forces continued forward movement in different areas of Orakzai Agency on Thursday. According to details, security forces engaged suspected hideouts of terrorists in Mamozai, Khadazai, Shigerpingi and other areas of Upper Orakzai Agency with heavy artillery fire. During security force’s shelling eight terrorists were killed and three hideouts were destroyed. More than 170 terrorists have been killed during an operation which is continuing for the last 18-day. At least 15 soldiers, including three officers, have been martyred and more than two dozen others injured. inp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\02\story_2-12-2011_pg7_6

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Uncles beat nephew to death in Bangladesh

UNB, Sherpur, December 2, 2011, A young man was killed allegedly by two of his uncles at Jugania Kandapara village in Nalitabari upazila early Friday.

The deceased was identified as Habez Ali, 24, son of Abdul Latif of the village.

Police said Abdul Latif died two years back and since then Habez had an enmity with his uncles -- Abdul Majid and Abdul Barek -- over land dispute.

Locals said an altercation ensued between Habez and his two uncles over the issue late at night. At one stage, Habez was beaten mercilessly by the duo, leaving him critically injured.

Later, Habez was rushed to Nalitabari hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at about 3:00am.

Police arrested Majid and Barek Friday morning.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=34110

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‘Pakistanis would feel more secure without US aid’

01 December, 2011

Despite the huge amount of aid Pakistan gets from the US, the relations between the troubled allies are plunging into deeper crisis. An expert told RT that the Pakistani people would be better off if the US was not subsidizing the Pakistani military.

The latest blow to Pakistan’s relations with the West came with Islamabad’s decision to boycott a key international meeting in Germany aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan.

Late on Tuesday, the Pakistani prime minister rejected a personal request from Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai asking him to attend the December 5 meeting in Bonn.

The decision was taken in response to a recent NATO air strike that killed some 24-28 Pakistani troops.

Neta Crawford, a professor at Boston University believes Pakistan has a lot to lose in this situation as it receives a significant amount of money from the US.

“The US subsidy of Pakistan has in fact enabled the Pakistanis to increase their own military spending quite substantially and also subsidizes their security services that essentially run much of the country,” she told RT.

However Crawford underlined that should US aid be cut off, the Pakistani people would feel more secure. “The Pakistani military has been engaged in fighting insurgents in Baluchistan and in Waziristan, causing an enormous number of civilian casualties,” she explained.

Following the deadly NATO strike, Islamabad decided to cut NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

http://rt.com/news/pakistan-us-aid-nato-615/

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Pak Hindu Council condemns NATO strike

KARACHI: December 02, 2011, Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) on Thursday strongly condemned the NATO’s unprovoked air strike on Pakistan Army posts in Mohmand Agency killing more than two dozens officers and jawans and described it as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty. The council assured full support to Pakistan’s brave army to face all kind of challenges while fighting for the honour, sovereignty and safety of the country. “Pakistan Army is the custodian of our country. We promise to stand by them in thick and thin,” the council leadership committed while addressing the media at Karachi Press Club (KPC). The PHC leaders included former member Sindh Assembly and patron of PHC Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, vice president PHC Mahesh Kumar Talreja, general secretary Dr Mohan Lal Harchandani, joint secretary Devanand Mankani, adviser to PHC Seth Jethanand Kohistani, Dr Mangla Sharma. They appealed to the international organisations specially United Nations to take note of the US aggression. They underlined the need for change in Pakistan’s foreign policy upholding its interests and sovereignty. “We would have to take certain difficult decisions,” Dr Vankwani added. Later, they were joined by other PHC officials and workers, and held a demonstration outside the KPC to show solidarity with the Pakistan Army. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\02\story_2-12-2011_pg7_9

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Death sentence of 2 Indians commuted after blood money deal

PTI

DUBAI: Dec 2, 2011, , Two Indians, who were facing death sentence in the UAE for killing a compatriot, are set to be released this month as their death penalty was commuted by a Sharjah Sharia court after Rs eight lakh was paid in blood money to the family of the victim.

The two youths from Punjab had been awarded death sentence in Sharjah for bootlegging and murdering another Indian from Andhra Pradesh.

Talwinder Singh from Kapurthala and Paramjiit Singh from Gurdaspur were in prison since 2009 for murdering Chinna Ganganna Chepuri from Hyderabad. The case was being heard at a Sharia court in Sharjah.

"We have paid blood money, which alongside other expenses, have cost around Rs 10 lakhs. Their death penalties have been waived and they will now only get three years of jail, which they have almost served," S P Singh Oberoi, a local businessman and founder president of Indian Punjabi Society told PTI.

Oberoi said the verdict was delivered on Tuesday after a pardon letter was signed by the family of the victim.

"It will take around a week to 10 days for the two Punjabis to be released," Oberoi, who has been making efforts to get several of such individuals released, said.

Oberoi had paid Rs eight lakh as 'diya' or blood money to the family of Chepuri last month.

Earlier, the hotelier was instrumental in securing the release of 17 Indians, who were awarded death penalty for killing a Pakistani in Sharjah. Oberoi had helped raise blood money for the Indians.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Death-sentence-of-2-Indians-commuted-after-blood-money-deal/articleshow/10955297.cms

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Reservations for backward Muslims on cards: Khurshid

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

New Delhi, Dec 1: The government is considering giving reservation to backward Muslims within the 27 percent quota fixed for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a decision in this regard will be taken soon, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said Thursday.

“Of the 27 percent OBC quota in jobs, the government is examining to fix a quota for backward Muslims,” he told reporters outside Parliament.

Khurshid said the decision on fixing a quota for backward Muslims within the OBC quota would come before the Cabinet the “soonest”, but refused to give a timeline.

“We are working towards it, but I can’t give a dateline or a deadline,” he said noting that the issue has been on the government’s agenda for the last two years and a decision on it is pending and has to be decided soon, he said.

He added, “Whatever our commitment, our manifesto, for having reservation within reservation for backward minorities as done in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, we are observing it as it is our commitment to do it. We are hopeful of fulfilling our commitment. We are working on it. We are not making any announcement as no decision has yet been taken on this.”

He said under the law all reservations can only be on the basis of OBCs. “Indira Sahni judgment is what we can go by in this regard,” he said.

Admitting that there already was reservation for backward Muslims, he said the effectiveness of this reservation, which is not happening and to which the Sachar Committee has also pointed out, is to be ensured.

The decision, which may come ahead of the crucial Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, is aimed at wooing the sizeable Muslim population in the state, where the ruling Congress is working hard to stage a comeback.

http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2011/Dec/2/reservations-for-backward-muslims-on-cards-khurshid-32.asp

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Parleys with Pak without pre-conceived notion: India

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

New Delhi, Dec 1: India will attend the proposed Home Secretary-level talks with Pakistan without any “pre-conceived notion” but expects Islamabad to address New Delhi’s all concerns, “particularly on terrorism.”

“As far as the talks with Pakistan go, I would not approach the talks with any pre-conceived notion. I will say what we have to say, I will say what are the facts, how we see them and (share) the evidence that we have (about militant acts). I will say what we expect of them,” Union Home Secretary RK Singh told reporters here today.

He was responding to a question on India’s stand during the proposed Home Secretary level talks later this month. “Militant camps are still there across LoC.

 We have specific reports, detailed photographs. There is no question of denying that. We also hear the conversations of militants. We know, we are certain, they are in large number. Attempts (of infiltration) are still continuing despite the fact that the winter has set in,” he said.

 Asked about the recent statement of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) threatening India, Singh said there were many elements in Pakistan who were radicalised. He asked Islamabad to rein in such ‘Jehadi’ elements so that they do not “create any hysteria”.

 “We look to Pakistan to control these elements and I am sure that these elements will not be allowed to move freely and create any hysteria,” he said.

 Asked about pumping of fake Indian currency into the country, the Home Secretary said the quality of fake currency notes suggested that state actors were involved in it.

 “We believe that some state actors are working to pump fake currency notes into India. There could be state actors employing non-state actors. We are not taking the name of the state actor, you could understand who is the state actor,” he said.

http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2011/Dec/2/parleys-with-pak-without-pre-conceived-notion-india-28.asp

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Thought the Muslim Brotherhood Was Bad? Meet Egypt’s Other Islamist Party.

Eric Trager

FAYOUM, Egypt— December 2, 2011 The big story from Egypt’s parliamentary elections,the first round of which concluded on Tuesday, will likely be the Muslim Brotherhood’s impressive victory. But the Brotherhood’s anticipated rise from outlawed organization to parliamentary power won’t be surprising: the Brotherhood’s strong mobilizing capabilities are well known, and Hosni Mubarak often warned the West that its choice was between his autocracy or the Brotherhood’s theocracy.

The real surprise is the emergence of the Salafist Nour party, a deeply theocratic organization that bases its ideology on a literal reading of the Qur’an and Sunna and, most astoundingly, didn’t exist until a few months ago. Although Salafist political activity was, unlike the Brotherhood, completely banned under the Mubarak regime, the Nour Party is giving the Brotherhood a run for its money in some districts. Not only is the Islamist Alliance, in which the Nour Party is the major player, running 693 candidates—but those candidates’ banners and images have been ubiquitous, even in Egypt’s least religious neighborhoods. It is now expected to place second when the final round of elections is completed in January, perhaps winning as much as 30 percent of the vote.

The Nour Party’s strong campaign was particularly noticeable here in Fayoum, a rural governorate 81 miles southwest of Cairo that is home to 2.5 million people. Based on my experiences covering various Cairo polling places on Monday, I fully expected a strong showing in Fayoum for the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Islamist ideology is very much at home in this traditional countryside region. And, indeed, the Brotherhood was quite visible. But the Nour Party was, without question, much more visible. From the moment we entered the governorate, Nour banners—and often only Nour banners—were everywhere: atop light poles, along traffic islands, and even on mosques. (One aspect of the Nour’s campaign particularly impressed me: To get around the ban on using the Islamic crescent as a party symbol, Nour chose to be represented on ballots by another Islamic symbol: the fanous, a decorative lamp that Muslims display during Ramadan.)

My first stop was at a polling station along a major road, a schoolhouse that was one of the few structures in an otherwise pastoral setting. Although there was little foot traffic, approximately two dozen enthusiastic Nour party supporters—again, only Nour party supporters—were milling about, apparently waiting to help voters. “I voted for the Nour party yesterday,” Ahmed Kamel, sporting the bushy-beard-sans-mustache look that is typical of Salafists, told me. “They are honest and I trust them a lot. They depend on the Holy Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him.”

At my second stop, a very busy polling station towards the center of Fayoum city, the Nour Party and Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice—and no other parties—manned nearby voter assistance kiosks. But here, the Nour Party’s presence was notably more advanced: whereas the Brotherhood was using an old desktop with a boxy monitor to tell people which voting box was theirs, the Nour activists were working off of two sleek, new-looking laptops and handing out impressively concise copies of their platform.

Full Report at:

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98036/egypt-salifist-nour-muslim-brotherhood

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Moderate Egyptians haunted by rising prospect of Islamist rule

PATRICK MARTIN

Dec. 01, 2011

With Islamist parties poised to win a majority of seats in Egypt’s parliamentary election, the country’s Christians and secular Muslims are growing desperate for ways to avoid the restrictions of an Islamic regime.

Many are quietly discussing what they call “Plan B,” an exit strategy – first for their money, then for their family. Others imagine a cataclysmic outcome.

The Globe and Mail's Affan Chowdhry speaks with our middle east correspondent Patrick Martin from central Cairo as a fourth day of clashes between protesters and police continues. The violence has plunged Egypt in to its worst crisis since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February and it comes less than a week before parliamentary elections. The conversation was recorded at 0745 ET before a 'million man' march called by organizers was about to get underway.

“The odds of there being violence have just gone up,” says a well-connected business consultant in Cairo’s affluent Maadi district. “Mubarak’s old guard hates the Islamists,” he explained. “They might try to disrupt the electoral process in hopes that the army will step in.”

It may take something like that to derail the Islamists’ campaign. The lead established after the first round of voting by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the strong showing by the upstart Salafists’ Nour Party may actually increase in the second and third regional rounds of voting that end in early January. These rounds, in Giza, the Nile Delta, Sinai and Upper Egypt, are even richer veins of conservative Muslims.

If the Salafists can do this well in Cairo and Alexandria without much of an organization, says Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel, imagine how well they can do in these other areas and with the number of volunteers they now can draw on.

Seeing as it’s falling behind, the leading secular movement, the Free Egyptians Party, created this year by telecom mogul Naguib Sawiris and some like-minded business people, met Thursday to plot its strategy for the upcoming rounds.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/moderate-egyptians-haunted-by-rising-prospect-of-islamist-rule/article2256771/

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US paper slams Obama Administration’s response to NATO strike in Pakistan

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Dec 1 (APP): An American newspaper on Thursday criticized the Obama Administration for its muted response to the deadly NATO attack on Pakistani checkposts, warning of serious consequences of further deterioration in U.S.-Pakistan ties. “Given the stakes involved, the administration’s response has been surprisingly muted,” The Boston Globe said in an article, weighing in on implications in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead in Mohmand tribal border posts. The editorial noted that the US military central command launched an investigation into the airstrike, which U.S. officials said took place only after US soldiers came under fire.“But a US military investigation is unlikely to sway anyone in Pakistan, where the attack has been described as deliberate and unprovoked,” the paper observed. The editorial also referred to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s expression of regret over Pakistan’s decision to boycott talks on Afghanistan’s future and over the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers.

“But her statements hardly seem to reflect the importance that the Obama administration placed on Pakistan just two years ago,” the paper said. While the relationship is not without frustrations, the paper argues that “an outright break would be far more costly than maintaining the current fragile and sometimes disingenuous friendship.

“It’s clear that the long-troubled US-Pakistan relationship is at a crossroads. But it should be equally clear that the United States and Pakistan still need each other, and that the Obama administration should do all it can to forestall a permanent rupture.” The newspaper also takes those American politicians to task who are calling for an end to US aid to Pakistan.

“That would be a mistake. The Obama administration should do more to explain how costly a break with Pakistan would be, especially as the United States seeks to scale back the war in Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Thursday that the White House has for now overruled State Department officials who favoured a show of remorse to help salvage relations over Nov 26 NATO bombing inside the Pakistani territory. 

Citing administration officials, the newspaper said the United States ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, told a group of White House officials that a formal video statement from President Obama was needed to help prevent the rapidly deteriorating relations between Islamabad and Washington from cratering.

The ambassador, speaking by videoconference from Islamabad, said that anger in Pakistan had reached a fever pitch, and that the United States needed to move to defuse it as quickly as possible, the officials recounted.

Full Report at:

http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=167955&Itemid=2

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Pak leader for special visit permits to senior citizens

TNN

CHANDIGARH:  Dec 2, 2011,, Suggesting certain measures to strengthen Indo-Pak relations, speaker of the provincial assembly of Punjab in Pakistan, Rana Muhammed Iqbal Khan, has said that citizens of both countries, who had attained the age of 60 years, should be issued special permits so that they can visit the other country without any problem.

Khan was here to attend a function organised by Punjab and Haryana high court Association, Chandigarh at the high court premises on Thursday.

Belonging to a political family of Punjab, Pakistan, Khan is a four-time member of provincial assembly. Addressing a gathering of lawyers, Khan emphasized the need for love, affection, peace and harmony on both sides, "as people on both sides are like brothers".

Praising the agriculture production in Punjab and Haryana, Khan said the two states should also help farmers of his province in scientific farming for economic growth. Amazed at the large wedding expenses incurred by people of Punjab here, he said that in his state of Punjab in Pakistan, people do not spend such huge amounts on marriages and most of them cannot even afford such expenditures.

Khan, a lawyer by profession, said that coordination of bar and bench should be strong. Citing the incident of curtailing the judiciary by the then military ruler, Pervez Mushrraf, Khan said that both bar and bench in Pakistan determinedly fought the odds and emerged as a winner finally.

Later, Khan was honoured by the president of the high court bar association, Kulbir Singh Dhaliwal, who also shared experiences of his recent visit to Pakistan and praised the hospitality received from the other side. Senior advocate Manjit Singh Khaira also recalled the warm reception extended to high court lawyers by Punjab assembly speaker during their visit to Pakistan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-leader-for-special-visit-permits-to-senior-citizens/articleshow/10952697.cms

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Al-Qaida holding US aid worker in Pakistan: SITE

AFP | Dec 2, 2011,

WASHINGTON: Al-Qaida is holding hostage a US aid worker kidnapped in August in Pakistan, the extremist group's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a Thursday statement seen by US website monitors.

Zawahiri said that on August 13 al-Qaida abducted elderly USAID contractor Warren Weinstein, who was "neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan," and that the White House could secure his release if it halts air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and releases the 1993 World Trade Center bombers and relatives of Osama bin Laden.

"Just as the Americans detain all whom they suspect of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban, even remotely, we detained this man who has been neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan since the 1970s," the SITE Intelligence Group quoted Zawahiri as saying in a 31-minute video sent to jihadist forums.

Full Report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Al-Qaida-holding-US-aid-worker-in-Pakistan-SITE/articleshow/10953622.cms

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Syria now in a civil war with 4,000 dead: UN

AP

BEIRUT, December 2, 2011, Syria has entered a state of civil war with more than 4,000 people dead and an increasing number of soldiers defecting from the army to fight President Bashar Assad’s regime, the U.N.’s top human rights official has said.

Civil war has been the worst-case scenario in Syria since the revolt against Assad began eight months ago. Damascus has a web of allegiances that extends to Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement and Iran’s Shiite theocracy, raising fears of a regional conflagration.

The assessment on Thursday that the bloodshed in Syria has crossed into civil war came from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

The conflict has shown little sign of letting up. Activists reported up to 22 people killed Thursday, adding to what has become a daily grind of violence.

“We are placing the (death toll) figure at 4,000 but really the reliable information coming to us is that it’s much more than that,” Ms. Pillay said in Geneva.

“As soon as there were more and more defectors threatening to take up arms, I said this in August before the Security Council, that there’s going to be a civil war,” she added. “And at the moment, that’s how I am characterizing this.”

The Free Syrian Army, a group of defectors from the military, has emerged as the most visible armed challenge to Mr. Assad. The group holds no territory, appears largely disorganized and is up against a fiercely loyal and cohesive military.

International intervention, such as the NATO action in Libya that helped topple longtime dictator Muammar Qadhafi, is all but out of the question in Syria. But there is real concern that the conflict in Syria could spread chaos across the Middle East.

Syria borders five countries with whom it shares religious and ethnic minorities and, in Israel’s case, a fragile truce.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2680523.ece

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France protecting Syrian opposition after ‘threats’

(AFP)

PARIS: 2 December 2011,  France’s interior minister said on Friday that authorities are providing protection to Syrian opposition members based in the country after they came under threat.

The minister, Claude Gueant, would not provide details of the security measures or the nature of the threats, but he said the measures affect members of the Syrian National Council (SNC).

“A certain number of threats have appeared concerning Syrian citizens, notably opposition figures, living in our country. Of course measures have been taken to ensure the protection of these Syrian citizens,” Gueant said.

“We must protect all of those who are likely to be threatened,” he said, especially those “who are called upon to play a role in Syria’s democratic renewal,” he told journalists.

“We know that the Syrian state is violent and does not hesitate to resort to threats,” Gueant said.

The SNC’s leader, Burhan Ghaliun, is based in Paris along with many leading members of the Syrian opposition.

SNC spokeswoman Basma Qoudmani told AFP: “Burhan Ghaliun has had bodyguards (provided by the French authorities) for three months. I have for the last six weeks.”

Gueant said France is “extremely concerned by what is happening in Syria and considers the authorities’ attitude toward their own people to be absolutely intolerable.”

France “is working with the United States in all international forums to have Syria condemned and to obtain sanctions,” Gueant said at a news conference with US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Attorney General Eric Holder after security talks in Paris.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2011/December/middleeast_December39.xml&section=middleeast

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ICC seeks Sudan defence minister arrest over Darfur

2 December 2011

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has requested an arrest warrant for Sudan's defence minister for alleged crimes in Darfur.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein was suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 2003-04.

At the time, Mr Hussein was Sudan's representative in its western region.

The Hague-based ICC has already indicted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on genocide charges in Darfur.

Sudan-Kenya row

The request was made by Mr Moreno-Ocampo's office in a statement on Friday.

It asked the ICC "to issue an arrest warrant against the current Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004".

The statement added that Mr Hussein was among those who "bear greatest criminal responsibility" for atrocities in Darfur.

Mr Hussein at the time was also serving as Sudan's interior minister.

ICC judges will now study the prosecutor's request before deciding whether to issue a warrant.

Together with President Bashir, the court has also indicted another former Interior Minister Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, a suspected leader of the Janjaweed militia, over alleged atrocities in Darfur.

They all deny the charges and refuse to surrender to the ICC.

On Monday, Kenya's High Court issued the arrest warrant for President Bashir after Nairobi allowed him to visit the country in August in defiance of the ICC warrant.

In response, Sudan ordered the expulsion of the Kenyan ambassador in Khartoum.

The Hague-based court has also indicted two Darfur rebels, who are accused of attacking African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. The suspects surrendered to the court last year.

Some 2.7 million people have fled their homes since the conflict began in Darfur in 2003, and the UN says about 300,000 have died - many from disease.

Sudan's government says the conflict has killed about 12,000 people and the number of dead has been exaggerated for political reasons.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16003299

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Egypt's Islamists swear by secularism

ATUL ANEJA

CAIRO, December 2, 2011, ,Islamist parties, set to win the majority of seats in the first round of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, have shifted into top gear to negate fears that their country could evolve into a theocracy.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) could end up winning around 40 per cent of the votes during the two-day poll, which wrapped up on Tuesday. The Al Nour coalition formed by the more doctrinaire Salafists is running in second place behind FJP in several constituencies.

“I expect Islamists [FJP and the Al Nour coalition] to win at least 65 per cent of seats in the first round,” said Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic movements and head of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. In the first round of the three-phased election, nine of 27 governorates went to the polls to elect deputies to the Lower House of Parliament.

Sources inside the Muslim Brotherhood said the FJP had done exceptionally well in Fayoum, south of the capital, and had also distinguished itself in the Cairo and Red Sea governorates. The Al Nour coalition offered stiff competition to the FJP in the governorates of Alexandria and Kafr al-Sheikh governorates, which have become Salafi strongholds.

The spectacular performance of the Islamists has jolted their secular and liberal opponents. “Egypt will get into its darkest era ever if the Brotherhood reached the Parliament and then assumed power, it will be the worst epoch ever … I think the country will suffer as long as the Brotherhood represents the majority,” author Gamal El-Gitani was quoted as saying by the Al Ahram website.

Analysts point out that the result has alarmed minorities such as the Coptic Christians, as well as leftists and secularists. Women activists, fearing the imposition of a dress code and Sharia law, are also wary of the Muslim Brothers' vibrant assertion at the polls.

Full Report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2678921.ece

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Secular Syria's Opportunistic Use of Islam

By Valentina Colombo

December 2, 2011

While the UN Security Council has finally condemned "the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities," -- stressing that the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through "an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expression and peaceful assembly"-- the Syrian regime is trying to play what is probably its final trump card. Syria's President, Bashar Assad, the head of the secular Baath party, has chosen to pin his survival on Islam.

Like Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Syria has always presented itself as a secular country led by an Arab nationalist party. But just as Saddam modified the original Iraqi flag after the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 with the "Flag Law No. 6 of 1991," by adding green between the stars the takbir, or the words, Allahu Akbar ["Allah is Greater"] to show that his battle was an Islamic battle, so too the Syrian regime is now trying to survive by an opportunistic use of Islam.

On July 31, Syrian authorities announced the launch of the religious satellite channel "Noor al-Sham" ["The Light of Syria"]. While other actions have been attemps by the Syrian gvernment to appease its Muslim constituency, launching the satellite channel is the first time Syria has been directly promoting an Islam of the State.

Full Report at:

http://www.hudson-ny.org/2635/secular-syria-islam

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Iran official says illegal churches harm youth

December 1, 2011

As the anniversary of Iran’s 2010 Christmas raids on Christian homes and house-based churches approaches, Iran’s minister of intelligence has announced that underground Evangelical churches pose a serious threat to the nation’s youth. Meanwhile a senior Iranian religious official said Christianity is worse than Satanism.

Inelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said the Ministry of Intelligence “has already started a serious effort” to shut down grassroots Evangelicalism in Iran, according to reports from Mahabat News, an advocacy group that reports on the persecution of Farsi-speaking Christians in Iran and neighboring countries.

Last year, Iranian security authorities conducted Christmas Day raids of home-based churches in an effort to catch groups of Christians worshiping together. Hundreds of converts were arrested.

In September 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order that imposed sanctions on a number of Iranian officials said to be responsible for human rights abuses involving Iran — including Moslehi.

Speaking at the Islamic Seminary of Feizieh, Moslehi urged leaders, teachers and students to “get involved in this field and guide the youth to the true way” — Shi’ite Islam — the official faith of Iran.

“Evangelical Christianity has seriously harmed the regime to varying degrees through 20 satellite TV channels, thousands of websites and tens of mission organizations,” he told seminarians. He said Christianity, New Age religions and mysticism all pose “serious threats” to Iran and blamed them for last year’s street protests. “The footprints of this threat are observable in recent events and protests following the presidential election,” he said.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2011/12/iran-frets-illicit-bible-studies-harm-youth.php

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saudis-will-lose-virginity-if-women-drive--clerics/d/6051


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