New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 7 Jun 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Sharia law would make Egypt the ‘mightiest nation in the world’: Egyptian Cleric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arab World

Sharia law would make Egypt the ‘mightiest nation in the world’: Egyptian Cleric

Saudi Arabia beheads Pakistani for drug trafficking

Al Qaeda leader’s wife praises women for Arab Spring

Bahraini 11-Year-Old Facing Protest Charge

Massacre was planned terror: Syrian envoy

United Nations monitors blocked from Syria massacre site

Clinton tells Syria's Assad to quit, leave country

Isfahan Cultural Festival underway in Dublin

Egypt's ruling generals and political parties seal deal on constitutional panel

Egypt's political future tangled in legal web

 

India

If Pakistan withdraws support, war will be fought there: Kashmiri militant leader

India says it does not have Jinnah's 1947 speech

Hizb warns Pak against not backing J&K Jihadis

Bangalore, Pune blasts accused Siddiqui, murdered in jail

Omar Abdullah extends Valley's hospitality to 250 children

Military approach to Syrian crisis will fuel civil war: India

Panchayat member's house attacked in Kashmir, terror threats forcing many to quit

 

Pakistan

As Al Qaeda Loses a Leader, Its Power Shifts from Pakistan

14 people killed in bomb blast outside madarsa in Pak

Pak CJ quits bench hearing son's case

Fake FBI agent arrested in Pakistan: police

Bomb blast kills 19 in northwest Pakistan: Police

Pakistan fumes at Panetta's terror remarks

Ten killed in Karachi violence

Resolution of Balochistan, FATA problems govt’s priority: BISP Chairperson

No more in the name of religion, please!

 

South Asia

Taliban criminals escape from jail in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: NATO airstrike kills women, children

China pledges 'selfless help' for Afghanistan

Myanmar police ‘open fire’ in Muslim minority dominated area amid religious unrest

Myanmar: Inquiry Begun in Killing of Muslims

B’desh appoints Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan as new Army Chief

 

Southeast Asia

Indonesia may not have ‘silent majority’ that supports pluralism

U.N. Envoys Ask Malaysia to Protect Activists

 

Mideast Asia

Iraq executes Saddam Hussein's aide Abid Hamid Mahmud

Yemeni army clashes with al Qaeda fighters, 25 killed

Iranian gov't pays paramilitary hackers, bloggers to bring you Islamic Revolution

Stand of the Qur’an and the Bible towards the Children of Israel

Carleton hosts event honouring Ayatollah Khomeini

Nuclear Agency Resumes Talks With Iran over Access to Sites

 

North America

Drone attacks inside Pakistan will continue: US Senator Lindsey Graham

US Muslims file federal suit to stop NYPD spying

Panetta warns Pak over terror havens

Haqqani network, a friction point in US-Pak ties: US General

US unilateralism, Pakistani hyper-nationalism cause of concern: Haqqani

 

Africa

In Mali, rise of Islamic radicals poses new terrorism fears

Afghans, Pakistanis training militants in Mali: Niger

Malawi Refuses to Host Sudan Leader for Summit

African leaders urge UN intervention in north Mali

Somali opens Mogadishu's first dry cleaners in decades

 

Europe

Top Muslim cleric says Sharia law already in use in Finland……..

Prayers Centre Closure Shocks UK Muslims

Forced marriage to become criminal offence, David Cameron

Denmark approves same-sex marriage and church weddings

Kazakhstan: Guard Says He Killed 15

Norway to keep Breivik at prison near Oslo after trial

Russia skirts talk of asylum for Bashar al-Assad as world condemns latest massacre

Kofi Annan fears Syria crisis will soon 'spiral out of control'

UN says civil war 'imminent' in Syria, West urges sanctions

Heavy weapons, drones, gunfire used against UN in Syria: Ban

UN increasingly worried over 'sitting duck' monitors in Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Egyptian Cleric Sheik Muhammad Sallah

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/sharia-law-would-make-egypt-the-‘mightiest-nation-in-the-world’--egyptian-cleric/d/7563

 

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Arab World

 

Sharia law would make Egypt the ‘mightiest nation in the world’: Egyptian Cleric

June 7, 2012

Jason Howerton

As the Egyptian run-off presidential elections draw near, many citizens have no idea whether their country will soon be governed by a new constitution, or Islamic Sharia law. The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Mursi, is expected to face former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in a run-off vote with dire implications.

But Egyptian cleric Sheik Muhammad Sallah is already making a case for Sharia law that may be hard to argue against – if it were true. Appearing on Al-Hekma TV in Egypt on May 4, he said that if Egypt would simply force its citizens to live by the “Shari’a of Allah,“ it would become the ”mightiest nation in the world” and even more wealthy than Sweden.

First though, he cleared up some misconceptions about Sharia law in an attempt to sexy the concept up a bit.

“You are wrong in your assessment that if Islam comes to power people’s hands would be chopped off. This would mean that we are thieves. Are we really thieves? They say that Islam will stone people. This would mean that we are fornicators. Are we really fornicators? They say that people’s hands and feet on alternate sides will be chopped off. This would mean that we have committed hiraba. But we are not like that,” Sallah said. ”This people rejects sin and rebels against tyranny.”

“Hiraba” is the crime of waging “war against Allah and His messenger” and spreading disorder across the land, according to the Koran.

The irony of his statements is he essentially admits that if you do so happen to be a thief, fornicator or commit hiraba, you are in big trouble under Sharia law. His premise was based on the flawed logic that no one in Egypt would ever commit these crimes. This was apparently lost on Sallah.

Sallah went on to say that success for Egypt would mean triumph for all of Islam and Muslim countries. But at the same time, the collapse of Egypt would also “spell the collapse of the Islamic world.”

“If it implemented the law of Allah. By Allah (Egypt) would become the mightiest nation in the world. It would be richer than Sweden and its per capita income would be higher than any European nation,” he continued. “Hence, our enemies do not want us to have stability, prosperity or security and they are constantly instigating civil strife which afflicts the people like wildfire.”

Further, all the instances of victory over the “oppressors and infidels” in modern times were achieved under Egyptian commanders, according to Sallah. Therefore, he explained, it is their duty to come to the aid of places like Syria, where the “West” is trying to instigate civil strife.

“The (West) does not want this courageous people to enjoy stability or security,” he said, in a thinly veiled criticism of U.S. foreign policy. “Therefore, you must be vigilant. Be vigilant.”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/egyptian-cleric-sharia-law-would-make-egypt-the-mightiest-nation-in-the-world/

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Saudi Arabia beheads Pakistani for drug trafficking

Jun 7, 2012

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a Pakistani man convicted of drug trafficking, the second execution in as many days, the interior ministry said.

Zohur Hussein Mohammed Sadeq had been found guilty of smuggling heroin into Saudi Arabia, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The previous day the ministry reported that a Saudi had been executed after he was found guilty of murdering a compatriot.

The latest beheading brings to 31 the total number of executions in the ultra-conservative kingdom so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.

Under the AFP count, at least 76 people were beheaded in 2011, while rights group Amnesty International put the number of executions last year at 79.

The death penalty in Saudi Arabia applies to a wide range of offences including rape, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking, as well as murder, as stipulated by Islamic Sharia law.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Saudi-Arabia-beheads-Pakistani-for-drug-trafficking/articleshow/13906102.cms

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Al Qaeda leader’s wife praises women for Arab Spring

 8 June 2012

DUBAI: The wife of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri praised Muslim women for their role in the Arab Spring uprisings and said the unrest would soon lead to an “Islamic Spring”, according to a rare message posted online on Friday.   

The letter, signed by Omaima Hassan, singled out women beaten during Egypt’s unrest and lauded mothers for bringing up the revolutionaries who went on to topple four heads of state it described as “tyrant criminals”.

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the undated message, posted on a website used by militants.

Al Qaeda was effectively sidelined by Arab Spring uprisings, launched mainly by middle class activists and intellectuals eager for economic and political reforms.

But there have been signs that the militant network has since been trying to capitalise on the unrest.

“I congratulate all females of the world for these blessed revolutions and I salute every mother who sacrificed her loved ones in the revolutions. It is really an Arab Spring and will soon become an Islamic Spring,” read the message.

“These revolutions toppled the tyrant criminals, and thanks to your efforts, patience and raising your sons in dignity,” it added.

The message urged Muslim women to keep wearing the veil.

“The veil is the Muslim woman’s identity and the West wants to remove this identity so she will be without an identity.”

It added: “My advice to you sisters is to raise your children on the love of martyrdom … and to prepare them for restoring the glories of Islam and the liberation of Jerusalem.”

A similar message was posted online in Omaima Hassan’s name in 2009.

Friday’s posting came several months after an eight-minute video recording by Zawahri urging Syrians not to rely on Western or Arab governments to help their uprising to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the message posted on Friday, Omaima Hassan said she hoped that the uprisings sparked by a Tunisian setting himself on fire would “liberate Jerusalem” and restore it to its days of glory.

“We will have a new Islamic state based on sharia (Islamic law) arbitration, and we will free Palestine and build a state of succession to the prophecy,” the message added.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/08/al-qaeda-leaders-wife-praises-women-for-arab-spring/

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Bahraini 11-Year-Old Facing Protest Charge

 8 June 2012

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A defense lawyer says a court hearing is planned next week for an 11-year-old boy detained for allegedly taking part in anti-government protests.

The lawyer, Mohsen al-Alawi, says the sixth-grade student is scheduled to appear in court on Monday on charges of joining an illegal gathering and other claims related to the ongoing protests by Bahrain's majority Shiites.

Al-Alawi said on Friday that the boy, Ali Hasan, was arrested last month and took his school exams behind bars. He is among the youngest suspects detained in crackdowns by the Gulf nation's Sunni monarchy.

More than 50 people have died in Bahrain's unrest since 2011.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/06/08/world/middleeast/ap-ml-bahrain.html?ref=global-home&gwh=B4658C3B5067EABDA126C16F731213A0

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Massacre was planned terror: Syrian envoy

 07 JUNE 2012

Militant groups are responsible for a fresh massacre that left some 100 people dead in a Syrian village, said the Syrian envoy here who added that the May killing of over 100 people in Houla was a “pre-planned terrorist crime”.

Syria’s Ambassador Riad Abbas Thursday strongly denied the government’s involvement in the latest killings.

An opposition group has claimed that some 100 people, including children, were killed in al-Qubair village near the central city of Hama.

Syria’s state TV was quick to defend the government, saying the massacre was designed to tarnish and frame the Syrian administration a night before a scheduled meeting of the UN Security Council.

The latest bloodletting took place barely a fortnight after more than 100 people were killed in Houla over two days May 25-26.

Terrorists are “taking advantage of the situation”, Abbas told journalists here.

He blamed militant groups for the fresh killing that took place as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on China and Russia to use their influence on Damascus to stop the Syrian bloodshed.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/world/71312-massacre-was-planned-terror-syrian-envoy.html

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United Nations monitors blocked from Syria massacre site

Jun 8, 2012

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations said its monitors in Syria were fired upon Thursday and prevented from accessing the site of a new massacre, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned of an "imminent" threat of civil war.

Ban said President Bashar al-Assad has "lost all legitimacy," but world powers were as divided as ever on how to end the violence as the United States clashed with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on whether to involve Iran in seeking a solution.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 55 people were killed in Wednesday's assault on Al-Kubeir, a small Sunni farming enclave surrounded by Alawite villages in the central province of Hama.

Pro-regime militiamen swept through the farmlands, slaughtering women and children, activists said. The Syrian opposition reacted by urging more armed rebellion to bring down Assad's brutal and defiant regime.

The Al-Kubeir incident comes after at least 108 people were killed in a May 25-26 massacre near the central town of Houla, most of them women and children who were summarily executed.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/United-Nations-monitors-blocked-from-Syria-massacre-site/articleshow/13917167.cms

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Clinton tells Syria's Assad to quit, leave country

Jun 7, 2012

ISTANBUL: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power and leave his country, condemning a massacre near the town of Hama that was blamed on his supporters as unconscionable.

Speaking in Istanbul, Clinton said the United States was willing to work with all members of the UN Security Council, which includes Russia, on a conference on Syria's political future.

But that conference would have to start with the premise that Assad and his government give way to a democratic government, she told a news conference.

"We are disgusted by what we are seeing," she said, referring to continuing violence in Syria.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Clinton-tells-Syrias-Assad-to-quit-leave-country/articleshow/13905779.cms

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Isfahan Cultural Festival underway in Dublin

06 June 2012

TEHRAN -- The Isfahan Cultural Festival is currently underway in Dublin, Ireland representing the potentials and tourist attractions of the historical city of Isfahan.

Organized by the Isfahan Municipality, the festival opened on June 5.

Several exhibitions of photos, visual arts, and handicrafts have been arranged for the event, which runs until Friday, the Isfahan Municipality announced in a press release on Wednesday.

Isfahan is a historical city which has played a major role in the promotion of Islamic culture and civilization in the world, and it is the duty of the Isfahan Municipality to strengthen the role of the city in the world, the report added.

Live music and Zurkhaneh sport performances are also among the programs. Zurkhaneh is an Iranian martial art that combines elements of Islam, Gnosticism and ancient Persian beliefs.

Introducing the sister cities of Isfahan has also been included in the program.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/component/content/article/98492

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Egypt's ruling generals and political parties seal deal on constitutional panel

Jun 8, 2012

CAIRO: Egypt's ruling generals and representatives of 22 political parties have agreed on how to form a panel tasked with drafting a new constitution, breaking a three-month deadlock on the issue.

The state news agency says the meeting called by military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi agreed on how to select the panel's 100 members and what its voting mechanism would be. Under the agreement, Islamists will take half of the panel's seats.

The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, who dominate Egypt's parliament, packed a previous panel with their supporters, sparking an angry outcry and prompting a court to order it disbanded.

The agreement comes after Egypt's ruling military council threatened Tuesday to issue its own blueprint if parties failed to come up with one within 48 hours.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypts-ruling-generals-and-political-parties-seal-deal-on-constitutional-panel/articleshow/13911728.cms

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Egypt's political future tangled in legal web

Jun 8, 2012

CAIRO: Egypt's newly elected parliament could be dissolved, the presidential election may have to be abandoned and the country's new constitution has yet to be drafted.

Sixteen months after Hosni Mubarak was swept out of office by a popular uprising, Egypt's political future is tangled in a thick web of court cases and bitter public squabbles. How everything is straightened out will be the difference between an end to military rule by July 1 as scheduled or a return to square one of a turbulent transition, a prospect that is certain to unleash a fresh wave of turmoil and bloodshed.

"Court decisions will raise a million questions. What we are seeing now is political messiness," said Sobhi Saleh, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist group that stands to lose the most if parliament is dissolved and a Mubarak-era prime minister is confirmed as the one going head-to-head against its uninspiring candidate in a presidential runoff vote.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Egypts-political-future-tangled-in-legal-web/articleshow/13922014.cms

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India

 

If Pakistan withdraws support, war will be fought there: Kashmiri militant leader

Jun 08 2012

New Delhi : Frustrated by Islamabad’s recent push to normalise relations with India, top Kashmiri militant leader Syed Salahudin has said that this “new approach” sidelining “Kashmir’s struggle for the right of self determination” by Pakistan has turned him “desperate’’ and “agitated’’ .

In an interview with the Arab News, Salahudin, the chairman of the amalgam of militant outfits United Jihad Council and Chief of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, has said, “We (militants) are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir and if it withdraws its support, the war would be fought inside Pakistan.” He said that Islamabad’s move to “bestow the title of Most Favoured Nation to India, open several trade routes along the Line of Control and along the settled boundaries’’ has given “a clear signal” to Kashmiri political and militant leaders that “Pakistan wants business with India”.

But at what cost does Pakistan seek peace and under what strategy will it follow the peace process, Salahudin asked. “Kashmir has been the key issue but now it has become peripheral as all claims of supporting our struggle politically, diplomatically and morally are nothing but lip service,” he said. “Pakistan is doing all this without keeping its own interest as prime due to western pressures without analysing its disastrous consequences.”

Salahudin’s comments are especially important as they come soon after the Home Secretary level talks between the two countries in Islamabad recently.

He also said that “several successive governments in Pakistan, starting from Benazir Bhutto to Nawaz Sharif, then Gen. Musharraf and now Asif Ali Zardari, have all adopted the policy of normalizing relations besides continuing to discuss the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir with India at bilateral level talks but more than a dozen such talks have brought no fruit”.

“All those who were involved in the so-called peace talks eventually admitted that India is not serious and that it gained more and more time to implement its own design for the region,” he said.

Criticising the shift of Pakistan’s policy, Salahudin said that “the process started in Musharraf’s era supported by the Americans for de-escalating tensions successfully brought down militancy in Kashmir, but for many this strategic shift damaged Pakistan a lot”.

He said a solution of Kashmir can only be achieved through militancy. He also said that the “existing dichotomy on the Kashmir issue has placed the Pakistanis in a dilemma on whether to support militancy or the peace process’’ and “that is why the Pakistanis are silent and irreverent”.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/959340/

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Bangalore, Pune blasts accused Siddiqui, murdered in jail

June 08, 2012

Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Qateel Mohammed Jaffer Siddiqui, named in the German Bakery blast in Pune and the Bangalore terror attacks, was on Friday found murdered inside his cell in Pune's Yerawada Central Jail, police said.

Siddiqui was found strangled with a thin rope inside his cell in the high-security jail, a police official told IANS.

Preliminary investigation point to a gang war among members of rival mafia gangs in the prison which could have led to Siddiqui's killing

Siddiqui had been caught by Delhi Police in November 2011.

He was arrested for involvement in the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore besides an aborted bid to blow up the Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple in Pune last year.

Following the incident, security has been beefed up in several jails including Mumbai's Arthur Road Central Jail where Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab is lodged.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Maharashtra/Bangalore-Pune-blasts-accused-murdered-in-jail/Article1-867811.aspx

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India says it does not have Jinnah's 1947 speech

 8 June 2012

The state-run All India Radio (AIR) has told the BBC that it does not have any recordings of the 1947 speech by Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Pakistan's state-run broadcaster asked AIR for the historic speech in which Jinnah had said people could follow any religion without state interference.

Jinnah had addressed the Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947, three days before the creation of Pakistan.

Pakistani officials said they had first contacted the BBC for the speech.

Murtaza Solangi, the director general of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, told Press Trust of India that the British broadcaster was unable to locate it in its extensive archives.

"I had received a call from Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation asking for a recording done on a certain date, but we don't have the tape with us," AIR director general LD Mandloi told the BBC.

"We will inform the Prasar Bharati [Indian government broadcasting authority] and it is up to them to take it forward and inform Pakistan," he said.

Earlier, Mr Solangi had told PTI: "This [Jinnah] speech is very important for people who want to direct the country [Pakistan] to the goal of a modern, pluralistic, democratic state."

In the speech, Jinnah is reported to have said: "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan.

"You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state."

Mr Solangi says in 1947, radio stations in what is now Pakistan did not have proper recording facilities and hence they do not have a copy of the historic speech.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-18363958

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Hizb warns Pak against not backing J&K Jihadis

June 08, 2012

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin has vowed to turn the guns on Pakistan if it stops backing jihadis in Jammu and Kashmir who, he claimed, were fighting "Pakistan's war".

"We are fighting Pakistan's war in Kashmir and if it withdraws its support, the war would be fought inside

Pakistan," said Salahuddin, who also heads the Muttahida Jihad Council, a grouping of terrorist organisations based in Pakistan.

Salahuddin made the remarks during an interview with Arab News while referring to a reduction of tensions in Jammu and Kashmir following several rounds of talks between India and Pakistan.

He said he was "desperate and agitated" with the new approach adopted by Pakistan in the peace process with India.

The report said the Pakistani political leadership's new approach for normalising relations with India had "stunned" Kashmiri leaders.

"Kashmir has been the key issue but now it has become peripheral as all claims of supporting our struggle politically, diplomatically and morally are nothing but lip service," Salahuddin claimed.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Hizb-warns-Pak-against-not-backing-J-amp-K-Jihadis/Article1-867778.aspx

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Omar Abdullah extends Valley's hospitality to 250 children

Jun 08 2012

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today extended the Valley's famous hospitality to 250 children of 33 different states and union territories of the country by bearing the expenses of their Gondola cable car ride at Gulmarg.

"You are not only our guests but our children, as such my office will arrange and bear the expenditure of your Gulmarg visit and Gondola ride," Omar said during his interaction with the young boys and girls participating in a national camp here.

The Chief Minister was responding to a request from the children for a Gondola ride.

"Jammu and Kashmir is known for its hospitality world over," he quipped while issuing instructions for fulfilling the children's wish.

The CM asked the children to take the Valley's message of love and affection back to their respective homes.

"Tell them about the hospitality, natural beauty and cultural richness of Jammu and Kashmir and make them visit this place along with you again and again," he said.

The camp has been organised by the Indian Council of Children Welfare, New Delhi, with the collaboration of several departments of the host state.

Terming children as future of the country, Omar said their proper grooming, inculcating the spirit of public service, self-help and confidence along with academic excellence is imperative to cultivate capable human resource to lead the country ably.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/959512/

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Military approach to Syrian crisis will fuel civil war: India

 Jun 08 2012

United Nations : India expressed concern that the growing “militarization” of the Syrian conflict will have serious consequences for peace and security in the region, as it warned that a military approach to the 15-month long crisis would fuel a large-scale sectarian civil war.

India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said a military approach to tackle the Syrian crisis would result in “havoc” as it would lead to aiding and abetting of terrorism which would have serious consequences for the entire region.

“India continues to remain deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation in Syria. We strongly condemn all violence, irrespective of who the perpetrators are. We also condemn all violations of human rights,” Puri said at the informal plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on the situation in Syria.

Puri said the “growing militarization” of the conflict in Syria would have serious consequences for peace, stability and security not only in the troubled nation but also in the larger region.

“A military approach to the Syrian crisis will not only further exacerbate the situation and fuel a large-scale sectarian civil war but also cause havoc by aiding and abetting terrorism and proliferation of weapons that will have serious consequences for the entire region and beyond,” Puri said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/959472/

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Panchayat member's house attacked in Kashmir, terror threats forcing many to quit

Jun 8, 2012, 04.27PM IST

SRINAGAR: Unidentified gunmen attacked a panchayat (village self-government) member's house with automatic rifles at Gaffabal in Jammu & Kashmir's Kulgam district on Thursday night. The attack came two days after the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad had asked village local bodies' members in the area to resign. The warning and the latest attack has triggered mass resignations of 'panchs' and 'sarpanchs' in south Kashmir, where Kulgam is located.

Police said Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat and his family was home at the time of the attack, but they escaped unhurt.

Panchayat elections were held in the state after three decades last year and seen as the government's attempts to capitalize on an unprecedented spell of calm and an all time dip in militant violence. The government recently empowered panchayats with more powers for more effective governance at the grassroots level.

Reports said the Jaish-e-Muhammad's purported treat along with a similar warning from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) earlier has so far forced about 20 panch and sarpanchs to resign. A number of sarpanchs and panchs have been shot at, mostly in their legs, in the valley since Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Panchayat-members-house-attacked-in-Kashmir-terror-threats-forcing-many-to-quit/articleshow/13929606.cms

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Pakistan

 

As Al Qaeda Loses a Leader, Its Power Shifts From Pakistan

By ERIC SCHMITT

 8 June 2012

The death this week of Al Qaeda’s deputy leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, is likely to accelerate a shift in power from the group’s dwindling leadership in Pakistan to its increasingly autonomous franchises, particularly the branch in Yemen, whose focus on attacking American interests is sure to continue, according to United States counterterrorism officials.

For now, Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s nominal leader, still holds the broad influence that he has consolidated since Osama bin Laden’s death last year. But the hierarchical structure of global jihad may be loosening a bit. Mr. Libi’s death in a drone strike has torn at the connective tissue between the group’s embattled leadership in Pakistan and its far-flung affiliates across the Middle East and Africa.

Mr. Libi’s killing may even augur increased violence as younger, more impetuous fighters vie to seize the mantle of global leadership, analysts say. At the top of that list are leaders from the affiliate in Yemen, formally known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or A.Q.A.P., who three times in the last three years have tried unsuccessfully to blow up commercial airliners bound for the United States. The most recent plot was thwarted last month when the suicide bomber turned out to be simultaneously working for the Saudi, British and American intelligence agencies.

“Libi’s death won’t have an impact on A.Q.A.P.,” said Will McCants, a former State Department counterterrorism official who now works for the Center for Naval Analyses outside Washington.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the presence of Bin Laden, along with most of Al Qaeda’s founding members, in Pakistan gave the core leaders a depth of experience and standing with their allies.

“Now, with most of their well-known figures out of the picture, it will be hard for Al Qaeda’s core to maintain its role as the example for its affiliates to follow,” said one American official who follows classified counterterrorism reports.

Bin Laden himself, in the documents that Navy SEALs recovered from his house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, worried about “the rise of lower leaders who are not as experienced, and this would lead to the repeat of mistakes.”

American counterterrorism officials said Mr. Libi had played a pivotal role as the organization’s theological traffic cop, enforcing a unified message and ensuring that younger fighters in the affiliates did not go off the rails. Senior Qaeda leaders worried, for instance, about attacks that killed Muslim civilians.

“He kept the movement on track, on message and in line,” said Jarret Brachman, author of “Global Jihadism” and a consultant to the United States government about terrorism. “Al Qaeda’s global movement cannot endure without an iron-fisted traffic cop.”

Even with the network’s operatives in Pakistan under siege, Al Qaeda’s wings in Yemen, North Africa and even Iraq have had little difficulty sustaining a wave of violence, a trend that is likely to continue well after Mr. Libi’s death, officials said.

In Somalia, the Shabab, the most recently anointed Qaeda affiliate, are reeling from a series of setbacks on the ground, including from an American-backed force of African Union troops in Mogadishu, the capital. Still, the organization’s ranks include several dozen foreign fighters, some with United States passports that could allow them to slip back into the country.

In North Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has stepped up its kidnappings for ransoms, offering Qaeda affiliates a financial model for survival as other sources of money have been eliminated by allied counterterrorism efforts. The group has also been bolstered by Tuareg rebels returning from Libya with heavy weapons, possibly including surface-to-air missiles. The rebels joined force with Islamic extremists to seize the northern half of Mali after a military coup toppled the civilian government.

There is even evidence that the various affiliated groups across Africa may be increasingly acting in league with one another. The newest member of the group is Boko Haram, an Islamist movement in northern Nigeria that appears to have borrowed tactics like the use of improvised bombs from other Qaeda branches.

In Iraq, American counterterrorism officials say, as many as a few hundred militants with ties to Al Qaeda’s branch there have moved into neighboring Syria to exploit the political turmoil, and are likely to be responsible for at least some of the major bombings against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

But American officials express their deepest concerns over the Yemeni affiliate, led by Nasser al-Wuhayshi, a Saudi who served as Bin Laden’s personal secretary in the 1990s and who has overseen attacks against both Yemen and the United States.

The Yemeni branch gained notoriety in December 2009 when an American-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, supervised the training of a young Nigerian man who attempted to blow up an American jetliner that was headed to Detroit, using a bomb in his underwear. Ten months later, the organization packed explosives in printer cartridges and placed them on cargo planes bound for Chicago.

Both plots failed, but the operations quickly elevated the Yemeni Qaeda branch to the top of the affiliates and positioned the group’s leaders as the logical heirs to Mr. Zawahri.

“Al Qaeda supporters will naturally turn to the branch of Al Qaeda that is succeeding,” Mr. McCants said. “In some ways, this has already been happening over the past few years, thanks to A.Q.A.P.’s successes on the ground and its superlative propaganda.”

Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism analyst at the New America Foundation, summed up the strategy of the Yemeni branch, even as it has been attacked this year in a barrage of drone strikes by the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. “The bottom line is that day-to-day operations of A.Q.A.P. are run locally, and their mandate to strike at the U.S. is unlikely to change,” he said.

Some analysts express concerns that the shift in power is likely to lead to more attacks.

“What is coming next is a generation whose ideological positions are more virulent and who, owing to the removal of older figures with clout, are less likely to be amenable to restraining their actions,” Leah Farrall, a former senior counterterrorism intelligence analyst with the Australian Federal Police, said on her blog this week. “Contrary to popular belief, actions have been restrained. Attacks have thus far been used strategically rather than indiscriminately.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/world/asia/al-qaeda-power-shifting-away-from-pakistan.html?ref=global-home&gwh=17E86B45728FC5125B41F1803760A5A9

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14 people killed in bomb blast outside madarsa in Pak

07 JUNE 2012

At least 14 people, including three children, were killed and more than 35 others injured on Thursday when a powerful bomb went off outside a seminary in the troubled Quetta city of southwestern Pakistan.

The bomb was detonated by remote control outside Jamia Islamia Maftah-ul-Uloom at Saryab Road this afternoon while a ceremony for students who had completed memorising the Quran was being held inside, police said.

Fourteen people were killed, officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels.

Officials at hospitals said they had received 37 injured people. A doctor at the state-run Civil Hospital said three boys aged between six and eight years were among the dead. The explosive device was strapped to a bicycle left near the seminary’s gate, DIG Qazi Abdul Wahid said.

He said the seminary was the target of the attack.

The bomb contained six kilogrammes of explosives and ball bearings, police said. Several cars and buildings were damaged by the blast.

Private security guards fired in the air after the blast, hampering rescue efforts. The area was later cordoned off by security forces. No group claimed responsibility for the blast.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/world/71309-14-people-killed-in-bomb-blast-outside-madarsa-in-pak.html

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Bomb blast kills 19 in northwest Pakistan: Police

Jun 8, 2012

PESHAWAR: A bomb blast killed at least 19 people, including women, and wounded 30 others on Friday on the outskirts of Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, police said.

The explosion went off in the Daudzai area near a bus carrying government employees, senior police official Tahir Ayub said.

Another senior local police official Dilawar Bangash confirmed the new death toll.

The attack came one day after a remote-controlled bomb killed at least 15 people outside a madrassa in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta.

Pakistan sits on the frontline of the US-led war on al-Qaida and since July 2007 has been gripped by a local Taliban-led insurgency, concentrated largely in the northwest.

In the last five years, attacks blamed on Islamist bombers have killed more than 5,000 people according to an AFP tally.

Its relations with the United States are in disarray and for the last six months Pakistan has imposed a blockade on NATO supplies crossing overland into Afghanistan since US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the border.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Bomb-blast-kills-16-in-northwest-Pakistan-Police/articleshow/13927577.cms

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Pakistan fumes at Panetta's terror remarks

Jun 8, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday reacted strongly to US defence secretary Leon Panetta's remarks questioning its actions in tackling terrorism, saying the sharp comments only added an "unhelpful twist" in the already oxygen-starved ties.

Pakistan's ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman said the remraks have further reduced the space for narrowing bilateral differences, that have been hit by a series of conflagrations in the recent past.

"This kind of public messaging from a senior member of the US administration is taken very seriously in Pakistan, and reduces the space for narrowing our bilateral differences at a critical time in the negotiations," Rehman said in a statement.

"It adds an unhelpful twist to the process and leaves little oxygen for those of us seeking to break a stalemate," she said.

Panetta had said in Kabul on Thursday that the US was losing patience with Pakistan on the issue of militant safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan.

Panetta's remarks on the need for Pakistan to do more to tackle militancy and extremism, made during a visit to India and Afghanistan, have irked the Pakistan government.

While in New Delhi, Panetta said the US would continue drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's tribal belt despite protests from Islamabad that the attacks violate its sovereignty.

Panetta's remarks came at a time when the two countries are set to resume key negotiations on ending a six-month blockade of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed the supply lines after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 of its soldiers in November.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-fumes-at-Panettas-terror-remarks/articleshow/13924567.cms

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Pak CJ quits bench hearing son's case

 Jun 8, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday stepped down from a bench hearing a corruption case against his son.

Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice over allegations that Arsalan Iftikhar had received up to $4.5m from Malik Riaz, a real-estate developer and President Asif Ali Zardari's friend, for unknown deals.

Before stepping down, Chaudhry questioned Geo TV anchor Kamran Khan, summoned to share evidence.

Khan described details of documents that Riaz had showed to him. Riaz had shared the information and alleged evidence about the unique scam with several other journalists.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-CJ-quits-bench-hearing-sons-case/articleshow/13915061.cms

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Fake FBI agent arrested in Pakistan: police

 8 June 2012

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani confidence trickster was arrested for posing as an FBI agent and defrauding unwitting customers in Islamabad of $21,000, police said Friday.

Hayat Khan, 48, was detained in a sting operation on Thursday following a number of complaints in the capital, police official Suhail Akram told AFP.

“The fake FBI agent grabbed millions of rupees. He is now under arrest,” he said.

Khan, who also went by the alias Riaz Khan, claimed to have worked for the FBI and trapped his victims by offering to sell US dollars at a lower rate than on the market.

He reeled them in by offering favourable exchange rates for relatively small amounts of money, say $500 or $1,000, and then overcharging them for much larger amounts.

It was not immediately clear why he pretended to work for the FBI — the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“We have recovered two million rupees ($21,000) from his possession and are investigating,” Akram said.

Currency exchange is an attractive business in Pakistan, where the rupee has lost 4.1 per cent of its value this year and last week sank to its lowest level against the dollar.

Yaseen Anwar, the governor of Pakistan’s central bank, said last week that the fiscal deficit and lack of external financing would continue to challenge Pakistan.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/08/fake-fbi-agent-arrested-in-pakistan-police/

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Ten killed in Karachi violence

 8 June 2012

KARACHI: Target killings and other related violence has left 10 people dead in Karachi, DawnNews reported.

Two people related to a political party were killed in Saeedabad. Firing near Quaidabad and Federal B Area claimed the life of two other men.

Meanwhile firing in Zeenat Square, Sharifabad, left one man dead and another injured.

Two more men were killed in Peerabad and Teen Hati, Liaquatabad, in separate incidents.

Firing in Korangi left one man dead and another injured. Meanwhile atrader was also killed in Kharadar.

Earlier five people were injured in a grenade attack in Pak colony.

http://dawn.com/2012/06/08/ten-killed-in-karachi-violence/

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Resolution of Balochistan, FATA problems govt’s priority: BISP Chairperson

 8 June 2012

ISLAMABAD: Prompt solution of the problems faced by the people of Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is priority of the government and it will leave no stone unturned to resolve their rightful problems on permanent basis. This was stated by Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Farzana Raja during her meeting with Muhammad Usman, an MNA from Khuzdar, at the BISP Secretariat.

During the meeting, Usman thanked Raja on running the BISP in the most transparent manner and specifically for her untiring efforts to implement the programme in every nook and corner of Balochistan. He informed the BISP chairperson about the issues faced by the beneficiaries of Khuzdar.

On this occasion, Farzana assured Usman of her full support to resolve all such problems. She also issued directives to complete a poverty survey in Balochistan and FATA on fast track and that it must be ensured that the poorest people from these areas should be extended help. Farzana said that the BISP has been primarily focusing on providing relief to the poor people of Balochistan and underlined the need for striving hard to solve the issues faced by the people of Balochistan and bring them in the mainstream.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\08\story_8-6-2012_pg7_19

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No more in the name of religion, please!

By Raja Riaz

 8 June 2012

LAHORE: In his book Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk, Neil Postman says that “the key to all fanatical beliefs is that they are self-confirming...(some beliefs are) fanatical not because they are ‘false’, but because they are expressed in such a way that they can never be shown to be false”.

What are the meanings of these words and what does it prove perhaps cannot be said with surety but if one goes by the recent happening in the political arena that has focused on Punjab Minister for Finance Rana Asif Mehmud, a member of Christian fraternity, it comes to light that the above-mentioned statement has been written keeping in mind the personality of former PML-N and current PTI leader Amanullah Khan Niazi who declared the honourable legislator an ‘apostate’.

The main purpose of Amanullah Niazi might be to get political mileage on his former political fathers, the PML-N leaders, but the question arises whether he did not know the social implications of his words? Niazi said while addressing a press conference that Rana Asif was a Muslim and had become ‘apostate’ to contest on a seat reserved for the non-Muslims and was liable to death.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\08\story_8-6-2012_pg7_27

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South Asia

 

Taliban criminals escape from jail in Afghanistan

Jun 08 2012

Kabul : Afghan officials say more than a dozen prisoners, including criminals and members of the Taliban, have escaped from a jail in northern Afghanistan.

Abdul Jabar Haqbeen, the governor of Sar-e-Pul province, says a bomb was detonated on the outside of one of the prison walls on Thursday night, and the prisoners escaped through the rubble.

He says guards opened fire, killing three prisoners. Many were recaptured but authorities are still looking for 14 prisoners who managed to escape.

A member of the provincial council, Abdul Ghani, says inmates made the bomb inside the compound and blew up a prison tower. He says he fears the jail break will mean deteriorating security in the province.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/taliban-criminals-escape-from-jail-in-afghanistan/959490/

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Afghanistan: Nato airstrike kills women, children

June 08, 2012

Afghan officials and residents say a pre-dawn Nato airstrike aimed at militants in eastern Afghanistan killed civilians celebrating a wedding, including women and children. An Associated Press photographer saw the bodies of five women, seven children and six men piled in the back of vans

that villagers drove to the capital of Logar province to protest Wednesday's strike on a house in the volatile Baraki Barak district.

The villagers say all of those killed had been at a wedding. Afghan government officials said militants were also among the dead.

Nato says it has no reports of civilians killed in the overnight raid to capture a local Taliban leader.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Afghanistan/Afghanistan-Nato-airstrike-kills-women-children/Article1-867703.aspx

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B’desh appoints Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan as new Army Chief

07 JUNE 2012

Bangladesh on Thursday  appointed Lieutenant General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan as the county’s new army chief to replace MA Mubeen who is set to retire.

“President Zillur Rahman on Thursday appointed Quarter Master General (QMG) Chief of Army Staff effective from June 25,” said a Bangabhaban presidential palace spokesman.

He said “as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces” the president made the appointment of Iqbal, who would be promoted to the rank of General from June 25.

A defence ministry statement later reconfirmed the appointment saying the president also extended the tenure of incumbent army chief General Mubeen for 10 days as he was scheduled to go to retirement on June 15.

The development came a day after the defence ministry announced Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari as the new Air Force chief for a three-year tenure with effect from June 12 when incumbent Air Chief Air Marshal Shah Mohammad Ziaur Rahman would go on retirement leave.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/world/71307-bdesh-appoints-iqbal-karim-bhuiyan-as-new-army-chief.html

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China pledges 'selfless help' for Afghanistan

June 08, 2012

China's president pledged "selfless help" to Afghanistan on Friday and the leaders of the two nations agreed to upgrade their ties, as NATO-led forces prepare to withdraw from the war-torn country in 2014. Hu Jintao told visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai that China would "continue to

provide sincere and selfless help to the Afghan side" as it entered "a critical transition period".

China agreed to provide 150 million yuan ($24 million) in aid to its impoverished neighbour, said a statement in which the two nations agreed to upgrade relations in the political, economic and security spheres.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/China/China-pledges-selfless-help-for-Afghanistan/Article1-867716.aspx

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Myanmar police ‘open fire’ in Muslim minority dominated area amid religious unrest

 8 June 2012

YANGON: Police in western Myanmar on Friday opened fire in an attempt to quell religious tensions in a town dominated by the Rohingya Muslim minority group, a government official said.

“Police opened fire in Maungdaw in Rakhine state. There are no casualties,” the official said.

Sectarian tensions have surged in Rakhine state, along the Bay of Bengal, since 10 Muslims were killed by an angry Buddhist mob on Sunday.

The victims’ bus was surrounded by a crowd of hundreds of people enraged at the May 28 rape and murder of a Rakhine woman, allegedly by three other Muslim men, state media reported Tuesday.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/06/08/myanmar-police-open-fire-amid-religious-unrest/

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Mayanmar: Inquiry Begun in Killing of Muslims

 8 June 2012

Myanmar’s government has appointed a minister and senior police chief to head an investigation into the killing of 10 Muslims by a Buddhist mob that has stoked communal tensions in the country’s westernmost state. The government has been quick to respond to Sunday’s killings by a group of vigilantes who were angered by reports of a recent gang rape and murder of a local woman, allegedly by Muslims in the predominantly Buddhist Rakhine state. The new civilian-led administration says national reconciliation and unity is one of its top priorities. The government took the unusual step of announcing the investigation on the front pages of several state-controlled newspapers on Thursday after a protest by Burmese Muslims in the biggest city, Yangon, and anger on social media sites about the brutal killings.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/world/asia/mayanmar-inquiry-begun-in-killing-of-muslims.html?ref=world&gwh=82F6C744745DCD11F7A14EF3B2EEF25B

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia may not have ‘silent majority’ that supports pluralism

 06/07/2012

Increasing religious intolerance as documented in a recent survey should be blamed on official indecisiveness in confronting hostile radical groups, an activist has said.

“Some surveys show that, in fact, there’s no ‘silent majority’ that supports pluralism. The majority of Indonesian people probably still practice religious intolerance,” Wahid Institute director Zannuba “Yenny” Wahid said on Wednesday.

Radical groups condoned by the authorities have affected how communities understand pluralism and religious difference, she added.

“Increasing intolerance is most likely carried out by radical groups that will eventually spread intolerance in society. They also question pluralism,” Yenny said.

Yenny was commenting on a report released by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that showed intolerance was on the rise in Indonesia.

According to the survey, 68.2 percent of respondents did not want people from different faiths to build places of worship in their neighborhoods.

The survey also found that while 83.4 percent of respondents claimed that they would accept neighbors from a different ethnic group, 79.3 percent objected interreligious marriage.

Yenny, the daughter of late president Abdurrahman Wahid and a campaigner for pluralism, said intolerance could be curbed by law enforcement and government intervention.

“In the end, only the government can stop the spread of radical movements across the nation by enforcing the law and promoting the value of tolerance,” Yenny said.

According to Yenny, a Wahid Institute survey reported 92 religious freedom violations in 2011, up 18 percent from 62 in the previous year.

The Wahid Institute, an organization promoting pluralism and peaceful Islam, also recorded 49 cases of prohibiting and restricting religion practices and 85 “controversial statements” from Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali in the same period.

Separately, Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deputy chairman Ma’ruf Amin stood his ground on opposing interfaith marriage.

“Tolerance means that we are able to live side by side and peacefully with people from different faiths. Interfaith marriage, however, has nothing to do with tolerance. It’s a different context,” he said on Wednesday.

According to Islamic teachings, he said, Muslim women were not permitted to marry non-Muslims. “It’s part of the basic teachings.”

On places of worship, Ma’ruf said that people should refer to the joint ministerial decree on the subject that was the fruit of deliberations held by religious leaders in the country.

Ma’ruf said he agreed with the 80 percent of the respondents to the CSIS survey who said all restaurants should close during the day during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, calling it an example of tolerance.

“That’s a sign of respect for Muslim people during Ramadhan. If the restaurant owners wish to have their places open, they must put up a screen to conceal them,” he said.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/06/07/indonesia-may-not-have-silent-majority.html

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U.N. Envoys Ask Malaysia to Protect Activists

By LIZ GOOCH

 8 June 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Three United Nations special rapporteurs have urged the Malaysian government to protect activists calling for electoral reform from harassment and to withdraw a civil suit it filed against the leaders of a group that organized a rally in April that drew thousands to the streets.

In a statement released on Thursday, the special rapporteurs detailed how leaders of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections have received threats because of their campaign for reforms to Malaysia’s election system. The rapporteurs expressed particular concern about the treatment of Ambiga Sreenevasan, a co-chairwoman of the group, which also is known as Bersih, or clean in Malay. They said Ms. Ambiga had received “credible threats” against her life.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/world/asia/un-envoys-ask-malaysia-to-protect-activists.html?ref=world&gwh=B1F9962242AFBA31BA655C34820D18E5

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Mideast Asia

 

Iraq executes Saddam Hussein's aide Abid Hamid Mahmud

 8 June 2012

Iraq has executed a top aide of toppled leader Saddam Hussein, the country's justice ministry says.

Saddam's personal secretary and chief bodyguard Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti was hanged for crimes of genocide relating to the suppression of Iraqi Shia Muslims during the 1980s.

When he was captured in 2003 by US-led coalition forces, he was number 4 on a list of most-wanted Iraqi officials.

Saddam Hussein himself was executed in December 2006.

Iraq's former Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz and former Interior Minister Saadun Shaker are also awaiting execution after they were handed death sentences alongside Mr Mahmud in October 2010.

Mr Mahmud's execution is the first high-profile hanging since that of Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali", in January 2010.

Mr Mahmud was known as the ace of diamonds on the US deck of cards that ranked leaders of Saddam Hussein's government.

Saddam Hussein was known as the ace of spades, while his sons Uday and Qusay were known as the ace of hearts and the ace of clubs.

Mr Mahmud, who came from the same village as Saddam Hussein and was a distant cousin, controlled access to the president and was frequently at his side.

He is said to have directed matters of state and handed down many of the regime's repressive orders.

The US claimed Mr Mahmud was also authorised to deploy weapons of mass destruction.

In February, rights group Human Rights Watch called on Iraq to halt executions after 65 prisoners were hanged in the first 40 days of 2012.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18356722

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Yemeni army clashes with al Qaeda fighters, 25 killed

Jun 7, 2012

(Reuters) - Yemen's army engaged on Thursday in heavy gun battles with Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda on the edge of the southern town of Jaar, part of a month-long offensive to retake several towns seized by rebels, local officials said.

At least 20 Islamist fighters from Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), an offshoot of al Qaeda, were killed, residents said. Five tribesmen fighting alongside government forces also died, the residents said.

The Yemeni army is trying to recapture towns in the southern province of Abyan that were seized by the militants last year during a popular uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who formally stepped down in February.

Residents said military helicopters took part in Thursday's battles, bombing several rebel-held positions.

The United States has become increasingly alarmed at the situation in Yemen which it views as being in the front line of its war on anti-American Islamist militants.

In support of the army campaign, the United States has stepped up drone strikes against suspected militants.

Concerned about the humanitarian and security crisis in Yemen, Gulf Arab states and the West pledged more than $4 billion in aid to the impoverished state last month.

About 40 percent of Yemenis live on less than $2 a day. Aid agencies said in May almost half of them lack enough to eat.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/07/us-yemen-clash-idUSBRE85613Q20120607

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Stand of the Qur’an and the Bible towards the Children of Israel

Shahul Hameed

 2012/06/07

Muhammad Farhat: Allah says in the Qur’an that Bani Israel were cursed by the tongues of Dawud (David) and `Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary). The Gospels record the sayings of `Isa (peace be upon him) against the Jews but Dawud is respected by the Jews and his star is on the Israeli flag. Can you please explain?

Salam Muhammad,

Thank you very much for your question.

The exact verse of the Qur’an you have referred to is translated thus:

*{Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.}* (Al-Ma’idah 5: 78)

It is a theme of the Bible that, soon after they were liberated from the tyranny of the Pharaoh, the Children of Israel forsook God and His prophet. They made a golden calf and started worshiping it. And we see how angry Moses himself was with them:

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.” (Exodus 32: 19-20)

It is only natural that the prophets of God were angry with the people who broke God’s commandments, so much so that some of them really invoked the wrath of God on the perpetrators of evil. From the Bible we understand that `Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary, peace be upon him) cursed those sinners, as we can read in the Gospels. For instance, we see how he curses the scribes and the Pharisees among the Jews:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone....Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23: 23-33)

The Jews do not believe in Jesus, whereas they believe in David as one of their own prophets. They use the star of David as a symbol on their flag, too. Your doubt, as I understand it, is how the Jews could respect David, if he too cursed them.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-about-islam/society-and-family/interfaith-issues/166159-the-stand-of-the-quran-and-the-bible-towards-the-children-of-israel.html

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Iranian gov't pays paramilitary hackers, bloggers to bring you Islamic Revolution

 Cyrus Farivar

June 7 2012

TALLINN, ESTONIA—Iran has significantly stepped up its use of corporate acquisitions, online propaganda, and hacking capabilities in recent years, according to an open source intelligence expert.

Jeff Bardin, the chief intelligence officer at Tread stone 71—an American company that researches publicly available materials—told a packed session at the International Conference on Cyber Conflict on Wednesday that Iran has become much more sophisticated and pervasive in its use of online tools.

He outlined the major paramilitary organizations that operate within Iran, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, and Ashiyane. The latter is a notorious hacker group that works in conjunction with the Iranian government. All of these groups, he said, share an overarching focus on an Iranian concept used to promote the movement that became the philosophic foundation of the Islamic Revolution: westoxification. It's the loss of Persian language, culture, and influence to Western countries.

“[Iranians'] patience is, in my view, legendary,” he told Ars. “The United States is famous for underestimating the adversary.”

Full report at:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/iran-expands-online/

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Carleton hosts event honouring Ayatollah Khomeini

By Macleans.ca

 June 6th, 2012

Carleton University in Ottawa last weekend hosted a pro-Islamic Republic of Iran propaganda event sponsored in part by the Iranian embassy.

The conference, “The Contemporary Awakening and Imam Khomeini’s Thoughts,” was held to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the death of the Islamic Republic’s founding dictator, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It was presented by the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is run out of Iran’s embassy on Metcalfe Street, and the Iranian Cultural Association of Carleton University. Iranian students at Carleton in the past have contacted me to complain about attempts by the Iranian embassy to influence their student group at the university.

The conference featured a talk by Moulana Sayyid Muhhamad Rizvi, the “Guidance Alim” of a Toronto Islamic school whose teaching materials—some of which which were written in Iran or by a foundation believed by the FBI to be controlled by the Iranian government—refer to “crafty” and “treacherous” Jews.

Rizvi told the conference that Khomeini “proved that Islam is not just a religion of prayers and personal laws that only deals with matters of divorce and inheritance, rather it is a complete code of life that can govern all aspects of society—spiritual, material, as well as personal, social, economic and political aspects.”

Full report at:

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/06/06/carleton-hosts-event-honouring-ayatollah-khomeini/

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Nuclear Agency Resumes Talks With Iran Over Access to Sites

By ALAN COWELL

 8 June 2012

LONDON — Senior inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog renewed talks with Iran on Friday aimed at securing access to restricted sites where the agency believes scientists may have tested explosives that could be used as triggers for nuclear warheads, officials at the agency said. .

The dicussions at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna are separate from the broader talks between Iran and world powers on its contested nuclear program, which are to resume in Moscow later this month after an inconclusive round in Baghdad in May.

But the more technical discussions in Vienna are seen as offering a clue to Iran’s readiness to adopt a more cooperative attitude as a deadline looms on July 1 for tighter sanctions on its oil and banking industries. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes but Western leaders say they suspect it is designed to achieve the capability to build nuclear weapons.

In Beijing on Friday, President Hu Jintao urged the visiting Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to be “flexible and pragmatic” at the talks scheduled for Moscow on June 18 and 19, and to cooperate with the I.A.E.A., news reports said. China is one of the six powers along with the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany conducting talks with Iran.

Last month, Yukiya Amano, the I.A.E.A. director general, announced after talks in Tehran that Iran had basically agreed to a program for his agency’s inspectors to gain access to the Parchin site south of Tehran. I.A.E.A. officials said on Friday that the talks were not only about the Parchin site but about creating what the agency calls a “structured approach” over possible military dimensions to the nuclear enrichment program.

On Monday, Mr. Amano expressed concern about satellite images taken last month that showed the Iranians had demolished buildings at one site that inspectors have been pressing to visit.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/world/middleeast/nuclear-agency-resumes-talks-with-iran-on-site-access.html?ref=world&gwh=C73ECE0363DEF64EFA38706B5C9765D9

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North America

 

Drone attacks inside Pakistan will continue: US Senator Lindsey Graham

Jun 8, 2012

WASHINGTON: Acknowledging that relationship with Pakistan has never been worse as it is now, a top US Senator said that the drone strikes in that country will continue.

"The drone attacks will continue. They must continue to deal with the threats in the tribal region, the ungoverned part of Pakistan," Senator Lindsey Graham, said in an interview.

"This is where al-Qaeda and the Taliban go to seek refuge, and these attacks coming out of Afghanistan are not attacks on the Pakistani people. They are attacks on terrorists who want to undermine us, kill our soldiers, and also undermine Pakistan," he said.

Graham said, Pakistan he thinks is not going to change its behaviour until they believe that the US is going to be successful in Afghanistan.

"The more you talk about leaving Iraq, the more you talk about leaving Afghanistan, the more uncertainty you create in the region," he said.

"The day that the Pakistani government and army realises that Afghanistan is not going to go back into the hands of the Taliban will be the day that they stop betting on the Taliban," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Drone-attacks-inside-Pakistan-will-continue-US-Senator-Lindsey-Graham/articleshow/13916875.cms

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US Muslims file federal suit to stop NYPD spying

 June 08, 2012

One of the Obama administration's go-to civil rights groups in its efforts to build relationships with American Muslims is suing the New York Police Department over its surveillance programs, some of which were paid for with federal money. Eight Muslims filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday

in New Jersey to force the NYPD to end its surveillance and other intelligence-gathering practices targeting Muslims in the years after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The lawsuit alleged that the NYPD's activities were unconstitutional because they focused on people's religion, national origin and race.

It is the first lawsuit to directly challenge the NYPD's surveillance programs that targeted entire Muslim neighborhoods, chronicling the daily life of where people ate, prayed and got their hair cut. The surveillance was the subject of series of stories by The Associated Press that revealed the NYPD intelligence division infiltrated dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds.

The Muslims suing the NYPD are represented by Muslim Advocates, a California-based civil rights group that meets regularly with members of the Obama administration.

One of the lawsuit's plaintiffs stopped attending one New Jersey mosque after learning it was listed in an NYPD file. The mosque, like and dozens of others along the East Coast and listed in NYPD files, was not linked to terrorism either publicly or in the confidential police documents.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/US-Muslims-file-federal-suit-to-stop-NYPD-spying/Article1-867738.aspx

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Panetta warns Pak over terror havens

Jun 08 2012

Leon E. Panetta, the United States defence secretary, arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday, after the deadliest day for civilians this year and amid controversy over a NATO airstrike the day before in which Afghan officials say 18 women and children were killed.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the strike in the strongest terms and decided the episode was serious enough to cut short his trip to China where he was participating in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit meeting.

“NATO cannot justify any airstrike which causes harm to the lives and property of civilians,” Karzai said in a statement released by his office.

A joint investigation into the episode by the Afghan government and NATO has begun, according to a NATO spokesman. Initial reporting by NATO, however, said no civilians had been killed.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/panetta-warns-pak-over-terror-havens/959275/

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Haqqani network, a friction point in US-Pak ties: US General

Jun 8, 2012

WASHINGTON: The United States today expressed "frustration" with Pakistan on its unwillingness to take head on the Haqqani network, a issue which a top Pentagon commander acknowledged is one of the points of friction with Islamabad.

"As far as that has strained our relationship with Pakistan, there are friction points in our relationship with Pakistan and those activities are one of those friction points," Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told reporters, referring to the reluctance of Pakistan to take action against the dreaded Haqqani network.

"We have some interests on which we cooperate almost without question, and then there are other issues where we just have not been able to find common ground. The presence of Afghan Taliban in the FATA is one of those areas. And it's our view that the Haqqani Network is as big a threat to Pakistan as it is to Afghanistan and to us, but we haven't been able to find common ground on that point. So that's been very frustrating," Dempsey said.

"We are at war with al-Qaeda. We will pursue them wherever we find them because they are a a global network which has the intent of threatening our homeland. So we are at war with al-Qaida and al-Qaida is in the FATA," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Haqqani-network-a-friction-point-in-US-Pak-ties-US-General/articleshow/13919526.cms

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US unilateralism, Pakistani hyper-nationalism cause of concern: Haqqani

 8 June 2012

WASHINGTON: Former ambassador to the United States Prof Husain Haqqani said that the US-Pakistan relationship was deteriorating due to the rising hyper-nationalism in Pakistan and the United States’ unilateral actions that did not take into account Pakistan’s sovereignty. Tensions between the two countries only benefit hardliners on both sides.

He was the main speaker at an event at the Washington-based think-tank Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FDD) along with two FDD experts Reuel Marc Gerecht and Bill Roggio. The event was titled, ‘Is al Qaeda dead? – a conversation with Ambassador Husain Haqqani’.

Professor Haqqani said that although al Qaeda had been degraded, several components of the terrorist group were not yet dead and its ideology was alive, which could resuscitate the terrorist outfit any time. He said that the west had not paid enough attention to the ideas that draw some extremists to terrorist causes.

Most of the questions at the event, however, were about Pakistan.

Haqqani said that “the biggest complication in Pakistan is the rise of a very twisted version of Pakistani nationalism”, which promotes an isolationist worldview. He said that for one or two days after Osama bin Laden being killed in Pakistan, the country’s news media discussed why the terrorist mastermind was in the country. But after that, the media debate was focused only on how the Americans found bin Laden, without asking whether his presence was also bad for the country.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\08\story_8-6-2012_pg7_23

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Africa

 

In Mali, rise of Islamic radicals poses new terrorism fears

BY MATTHEW SCHOFIELD

June 6, 2012

WASHINGTON -- The government is in shambles. Rebels backed by money and weapons from terrorists have taken control of a large swath of the country. A shadow government is reportedly installing a radical Islamist agenda, with harsh Sharia law and anti-Christian attacks by roving armed bands.

This isn’t Afghanistan in the mid-1990s or Somalia in the last decade. It’s the northern half of Mali, an arid, Texas-sized chunk of northwest Africa.

Although details are sketchy, an unlikely alliance of Islamic radicals and moderate but long-marginalized Tuareg tribesmen seized northern Mali following a coup in the south two months ago. They proclaimed a new nation, Azawad, where Islamists have separated boys and girls in school, banned soccer and television and whipped people publicly for drinking alcohol.

The degree to which terrorist groups – including al Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb and Nigeria’s Boko Haram – have grabbed power is unclear, experts say. A U.S. official described the situation as “fluid.” But Maman Sidikou, the ambassador to Washington from Mali’s neighbor, Niger, says the world is looking at the formation of international terrorism’s next safe haven unless there is swift action to stop that from happening.

“The time to kill the snake is before it has babies. We don’t have the resources in the Sahel to deal with this problem,” he said, referring to the sparsely populated region of West Africa below the Sahara.

“The world is simply watching. Each day, radical Islam is consolidating its power and control in the area.”

U.S. officials in Washington say that while Mali isn’t at the top of their priority list, they are closely monitoring the situation.

“We are very concerned about developments in northern Mali,” said a U.S. official was not authorized to speak on the issue. “Extremists there are taking advantage of the security vacuum to spread their influence.”

Concern is more palpable in France, the former colonial power, where officials have described northern Mali as “a potential West African Afghanistan.” New French President Francois Hollande has said that Mali was at the “center of our discussions” about the region and that France’s priorities are “the restoration of constitutional order for Mali, territorial integrity and fighting terrorism.”

Seth Jones, a terror expert at the RAND Corporation, says the situation “isn’t helpful” to U.S. interests, but many questions remain: “What’s the goal? Who are they going to target? The threat right now appears to be to the region, and, if it escalates, to southern Europe.”

The U.S. sends Mali $140 million in aid annually, a combination of military and civilian assistance. In addition, the U.S. military has trained some members of Mali’s armed forces, including Capt. Amadou Sanago, who led the coup by junior officers two months ago. While the officers seized control of the south, the Tuaregs – a minority ethnic group whose power peaked centuries ago at the height of the African salt trade – remained in control of the north.

How did rebels outmuscle a national army long backed by U.S. dollars? Many blame the NATO-assisted collapse of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime for the rise of the terrorist enclave.

When Gadhafi’s regime fell, his weapons flooded from Libya through the Sahel. Many were carried by non-Malian Tuareg fighters looking for a new cause. Others were bought with money al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb made from kidnapping and the drug trade.

The alliance of Tuareg nationalists and Islamic radicals also bolstered their power by seizing arms caches abandoned by the Malian army – some of it reportedly supplied by the United States – when its forces fled south.

The African Union, which sent a peacekeeping force to Somalia to battle the militant Islamist group al Shabab, has offered help, but the southern-based government remains too dysfunctional even to accept. After leading the coup, Sanago ceded control of the south to an interim government, but neither it nor the military retain any credibility. An interim president was beaten by a crowd of unhappy Malians and flown to France for unspecified medical treatment. Refugees have flooded south.

J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, says that it will be “at least months before the government is able to function well enough to make decisions about the north, and perhaps a year before the military will again be capable of carrying out those policies.”

The Tuareg had launched previous rebellions against the southern-based government in Bamako. Their leader, Iyad Ag Ghali, now is at the helm of a radical Islamist group called Ansar Dine, which maintains deep respect among Tuareg nationalists. Experts say this likely explains what many see as an unnatural alliance between radical Islam and traditionally moderate, almost secular Tuaregs, but it’s unclear how long the alliance will last if the radicals overshadow the Tuaregs. For example, Ansar Dine and AQIM fighters reportedly are stationed at the most prestigious barracks, while Tuareg have accepted lesser lodgings.

“I think the Tuareg thought they were going to ride this very dangerous beast to victory, and instead they got bit, badly,” Pham said. “There is talk that the rebellion will collapse because the people in the region don’t back the harsh Sharia law being imposed, but the people with all the gold and guns will make the rules.”

Alexander Stroh, an expert at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, said the north is far from being a functioning state, but that there is fear this rebellion could spread.

“It’s not clear, even, how many of the Tuareg fighters in the north have previous ties to Mali,” he said, adding that many Tuaregs have fled to the south as refugees.

While the Islamist coalition is hosted by Ansar Dine and largely funded by AQIM, it’s also thought to contain fighters from Nigeria’s Boko Haram and an AQIM offshoot called the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa. Boko Haram has struck repeatedly in Nigeria, including a series of bombings of churches last December that killed 40 people, but this is believed to be its first foray abroad. There are also reports that foreign fighters from as far away as Pakistan are making their way into the world’s newest terror haven.

Sidikou, the ambassador from Niger, believes that the world’s inaction benefits the Islamists.

“The Tuareg are too weak to ever be in control of this coalition,” he said. “The world is giving dangerous radicals the time they need to sell their agenda to a very poor people. Starving people can be swayed by food. This is the type of land in which terrorism can thrive. And we have seen that when terrorism takes root even in very remote regions, it can quickly spread to the rest of the world.”

Email: mschofield@mcclatchydc.com

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/06/3647504/in-mali-rise-of-islamic-radicals.html#storylink=cpy

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Afghans, Pakistanis training militants in Mali: Niger

 8 June 2012

PARIS: Jihadi fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan are training militant groups in northern Mali, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou warned Thursday, as world powers discussed military intervention.

“We have information on the presence of Afghans and Pakistanis in northern Mali… They are believed to be working as instructors,” he told the France 24 news channel.

“They are the ones who are training those who have been recruited across various west African countries,” said Issoufou, whose country shares a long and porous desert border with Mali.

Mali, once considered a beacon of democracy in western Africa, has plunged into chaos since the collapse of Moammar Qadhafi’s regime in Libya last year scattered mercenaries and weapons across the Sahel.

Tuareg rebels rekindled their decades-old struggle for independence in January and conquered the entire northern half of Mali virtually unopposed in March, after renegade soldiers who accused then-president Amadou Toumani Toure of failing to do enough to fight the rebellion toppled his regime.

The Tuareg rebels fought alongside a previously unknown militant group called Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), which is believed to be backed by al Qaeda’s North African branch.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been active for years in northern Mali, where it has launched attacks against government army positions, kidnapped foreigners and allegedly benefitted from drug running.

France TF1 channel aired amateur footage shot in the fabled northern Malian town of Timbuktu that purportedly shows Abou Zeid, an Algerian considered one of the top AQIM leaders driving a pick-up truck.

Issoufou said the militant groups are part of a global network spanning much of Africa and reaching all the way to Afghanistan.

“I think all these organisations cooperate amongst themselves, whether the Shebab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, AQIM in Algeria and in the Sahel in general, all the way to Afghanistan,” he said.

“Our concern is that the Sahel not becomes a new Afghanistan.” The comments came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sounded the alarm on Thursday over the continuing threat posed by al Qaeda even in the wake of the killing of its mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

“The core of al Qaeda that carried out the 9/11 attacks may be on the path to defeat, but the threat has spread, becoming more geographically diverse,” Clinton said in an opening address to the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul.

Government troops have no control over Mali’s north, a territory larger than France, heightening fears in the region and beyond that the landlocked country could become a new global haven for al Qaeda.

Talks on a possible military intervention in Mali opened Thursday in Abidjan between officials from the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Participants at the talks will discuss whether to ask the UN Security Council to authorise military action in Mali, said Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

Issoufou said he feared the hardline militant groups regrouping in northern Mali could spread to his country, which has also been hit by AQIM attacks in recent years.

“These groups in northern Mali are continuing to get their supply of weapons from southwestern Libya,” he said.

He also said he could not rule out a military intervention in Mali, stressing however that it should be “a last resort.”

http://dawn.com/2012/06/08/afghans-pakistanis-training-militants-in-mali-niger/

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Malawi Refuses to Host Sudan Leader for Summit

 8 June 2012

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Malawi's vice president says it won't host an African summit next month after a dispute over the southern African's country's refusal to host Sudan's leader, who faces war crimes charges.

In a statement on state radio Friday, Vice President Khumbo Kachali said Cabinet "has decided not to host the summit." Earlier, according to Kachali, the government had received a letter from the African Union saying that it had no right to dictate who could attend the AU summit, and if it insisted on barring Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, the summit would be moved to AU headquarters in Ethiopia.

Joyce Banda has steered an independent path for Malawi since stepping in as president in April after the sudden death in office of Bingu wa Mutharika. Mutharika had welcomed al-Bashir at a regional summit last year.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/06/08/world/africa/ap-af-malawi-sudan.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=print&gwh=AF536A1A0C22EB1A057C34E55AA12E0B

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African leaders urge UN intervention in north Mali

Jun 8, 2012

ABIDJAN: African leaders on Thursday called for UN backing for military intervention in northern Mali, currently controlled by feuding armed groups.

Participants at a meeting of officials from the African Union, the western African grouping ECOWAS and the United Nations, agreed on the need for the AU to make "a formal request" for UN backing for intervention to re-establish Mali's territorial integrity, according to the meeting's final document.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/African-leaders-urge-UN-intervention-in-north-Mali/articleshow/13913704.cms

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Somali opens Mogadishu's first dry cleaners in decades

By Mary Harper

8 June 2012

A businessman has opened a dry cleaners in Somalia's capital - the city's only one, and its first since the start of the civil war more than 20 years go.

Mohamed Mahamoud Sheik decided to start it when he returned home recently to Mogadishu after years abroad.

He told the BBC the city's security had improved in the last 10 months, since Islamist militants were pushed out by African Union and government forces.

Mr Sheik also noticed businessmen would take suits abroad to clean them.

"My dad, friends and people in the government were taking their clothes to be dry cleaned in Kenya," Mr Sheik said.

"They either took them themselves, or gave them to friends who were flying to Nairobi. Everyone, from the president downwards, was really suffering."

Somalia has had no effective central government since 1991, and has been wracked by fighting ever since - a situation that has allowed piracy and lawlessness to flourish.

The Islamist al-Shabab militia, which is fighting the UN-backed interim government, still controls much of the south of the country, but since it was forced from Mogadishu, the city is coming back to life.

People are going to the beach, opening restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

Government guards

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18357660

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Europe

 

Top Muslim cleric says Sharia law already in use in Finland……..

Simo Alastalo

 07/06/2012

You could say that Sharia is already very much in force in Finland, says the Islamic Society of Finland Imam Anas Hajjar Thursday’s Kotimaa magazine. According to him, Sharia law, wants to share everything right. According to Hajjar, sharia principles are realized in Finnish legislation fairly well in some of the inheritance and divorce practices.

Sharia according to him, has nothing to do with any activity, which uses religion as a violent struggle to achieve political objectives.

[TT: This is an outright lie. Jihad is the institution by which the sharia is brought into being in a previously non-Muslim country. Whether it is through actual violent jihad, it's non-violent version of stealth jihad, or through simple demographics.]

Hajjar admitted that harsh sentences are to be part of Sharia law. But this will not be applied until the society is ripe for it.

According to Hajjar in the ideal Islamic state, no one has the need to steal, because society will ensure fair access for all people’s basic needs.

- Only in such a society can Islamic Penal Code be adopted, Hajjar says. He does not object to a thief’s hand being cut off if the thief was not stealing to eat.

http://tundratabloids.com/2012/06/top-muslim-cleric-anas-hajjar-says-sharia-law-already-in-use-in-finland.html

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Prayers Center Closure Shocks UK Muslims

05 June 2012

LONDON – A sudden decision by a British university to shut down an Islamic center used for performing daily prayers is shocking Muslim students.

"When I first heard about the plan last Friday I went straight to the students' union to ask for details,” Mohammed Patel, of the Islamic Society, told the BBC News Online.

"No-one there knew about the move and no-one in the university's Islamic Society had been informed.”

The University of East Anglia has shut down an Islamic center used by Muslim students to perform prayers.

"It's a pretty shocking way to handle it,” Patel said.

The university defended the shutdown, arguing that the prayer facility was always temporary and that permission had now lapsed.

“I can understand they are unhappy but there has been no ambiguity," Professor Tom Ward, one of the pro-vice chancellors at the university, said.

“The center was always going to have to move at the end of the planning permission. The facilities were always temporary and we've come to the end of that time.”

The University of East Anglia is a public research university based in Norwich, United Kingdom.

It provides a chaplaincy center for quiet reflection, worship and conversation between students and staff of all faiths.

The chaplaincy includes a common room, a quiet room for individuals or small groups and a large meeting room for group meetings and religious services.

Prayers facilities for Muslim students are available in the UEA’s Islamic Prayer Center on campus, according to the university’s website.

Friday Prayers

Justifying the decision, University officials argue that they want Muslim students to join prayers at the multi-faith chaplaincy.

"We are adapting the building so that space in the chaplaincy can be used especially so that separate rooms can accommodate men and women," Professor Ward said.

"The answer is to use the multi-faith building where each should accommodate the others."

But Muslim students complain that the chaplaincy room was too small to accommodate their Friday prayers.

"We already share the chaplaincy especially when students do not have time to reach the Islamic Center on the campus to pray,” Patel said.

"The space there, however, is too small to accommodate those who want to attend Friday prayers."

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority, estimated at nearly 2.5 million.

There are 400,000 Muslim students in British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

There are nearly 90,000 Muslim students studying in higher education institutions in the European country.

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/457462-uk-univ-shuts-prayer-center-upsets-muslims.html

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Forced marriage to become criminal offence, David Cameron confirms

Alan Travis

 8 June 2012

Forcing someone to marry is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales, leaving parents who coerce their children into a marriage facing the prospect of prison, David Cameron has confirmed.

The prime minister said he had listened to concerns that making forced marriage a specific criminal offence could deter victims from coming forward and would in response put into place a comprehensive package of protection and support to ensure "this most distressing issue" was not driven underground.

The announcement by the prime minister and the home secretary, Theresa May, of their intention to introduce legislation is light on detail but it is expected that the existing civil remedy of forced marriage protection orders will continue to exist alongside the new criminal offence.

This is designed to give victims the choice of taking the civil route or making a complaint to the police leading to a possible criminal prosecution. Victims will also be guaranteed that they will not be forced to support a prosecution against their wishes. However, ministers have ruled out giving victims a veto over whether a prosecution already begun should continue, which would have been a radical departure from existing English criminal law practice in which all prosecutions are carried out in the name of the crown.

The precise timetable to create the offence is unclear but it is expected that any legislation would be published in draft form for consultation and is unlikely to be put before parliament before 2013.

Full report at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/08/forced-marriage-criminal-offence-david-cameron?newsfeed=true

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Kazakhstan: Guard Says He Killed 15

 8 June 2012

A Kazakh border guard has confessed to killing 14 fellow soldiers and a herder at a remote post near the Chinese frontier, prosecutors said Thursday, adding that hazing, or severe bullying, might have prompted the massacre. The suspect, Vladislav Chelakh, who has yet to undergo a psychiatric examination, said he had acted alone, a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s office said. At the time of the attack, President Nursultan Nazarbayev called the crime a “terrorist act.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/world/asia/kazakhstan-guard-says-he-killed-15.html?ref=world&gwh=E753005015164326C61CAA16E272273C

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Russia skirts talk of asylum for Bashar al-Assad as world condemns latest massacre

Jun 7, 2012

Russia would accept a Yemen-style power transition in Syria if it were decided by the people, but denied it would provide direct protection for President Bashar al-Assad if he stepped aside, Russia Foreign Ministry officials said on Thursday.

Richard Johnson/National Post

It was the latest statement seemingly aimed at distancing the Kremlin from President Bashar al-Assad, coming amid reports that at least 78 villagers — as many as 40 women and children among them — had been massacred by Syrian forces in Mazraat al-Qubeir, near Hama. Opposition activists have posted video on the Internet bloodied and charred bodies, claiming they are victims of the latest attack.

The United States is seeking Russia’s support in getting Assad to step aside but Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the president’s fate was “not a question for us” but for the Syrian people.

Full report at:

http://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CAsQqQIwAA&

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Kofi Annan fears Syria crisis will soon 'spiral out of control'

Jun 8, 2012

UNITED NATIONS: UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the UN Security Council on Thursday that the Syria crisis will "spiral out of control" if international pressure does not produce quick results, diplomats told AFP.

Annan renewed calls for the major powers to warn President Bashar al-Assad of "clear consequences" if he does not comply with the six-point peace plan, diplomats inside a closed-door council briefing said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Kofi-Annan-fears-Syria-crisis-will-soon-spiral-out-of-control/articleshow/13910975.cms

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UN says civil war 'imminent' in Syria, West urges sanctions

Jun 8, 2012

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Security Council on Thursday that a full-blown civil war in Syria was "imminent," while international mediator Kofi Annan said it was time to step up the pressure on Damascus to halt the violence.

The Syrian opposition and Western and Gulf nations seeking President Bashar al-Assad's ouster increasingly see Annan's six-point peace plan as doomed because of Syria's consistent use of military force to crush an increasingly militarized opposition.

Western Security Council diplomats said the message from Annan and Ban at the United Nations was clear: It was time to hit Assad's government with sanctions.

"The Syrian people are bleeding," Ban told reporters after addressing the Security Council. "They are angry. They want peace and dignity. Above all, they all want action."

"The danger of a civil war is imminent and real," he said, adding that "terrorists are exploiting the chaos."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/UN-says-civil-war-imminent-in-Syria-West-urges-sanctions/articleshow/13921882.cms

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Heavy weapons, drones, gunfire used against UN in Syria: Ban

Jun 08 2012

United Nations : Heavy weapons, armor-piercing bullets and surveillance drones have been used against UN observers in Syria to hamper their efforts to monitor the worsening conflict, UN leader Ban Ki-moon told a Security Council meeting.

Diplomats inside a closed council briefing on Syria quoted Ban as saying the tactics had been used to try to force the unarmed monitors to withdraw from areas where government forces have been accused of staging attacks.

Ban said the heavy shelling had been used to deter a UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) convoy, drones had monitored the movements of observers and the armor-piercing bullets had been fired at UNSMIS vehicles.

According to UN officials, UN vehicles are shot at almost every day in Syria.

Ban told the 15-nation council that UN observers had seen Syrian military convoys approaching villages and tried to stop tank assaults against populated areas, but had been “ignored”.

Ban and UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan briefed the Security Council only hours after a new massacre in Syria in which dozens of people were reported killed. Ban said shots were fired at the UN convoy which tried to get into the village of Al-Kubeir.

Ban said that according to preliminary evidence, the Syrian army had surrounded the village and militia had entered Al-Kubeir and killed civilians with “barbarity”, according to diplomats at the meeting.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/heavy-weapons-drones-gunfire-used-against-un-in-syria-ban/959447/

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UN increasingly worried over 'sitting duck' monitors in Syria

 Jun 08 2012

United Nations : The United Nations is increasingly worried about the unarmed observers it has sent into Syria to monitor the war between President Bashar al-Assad's troops and opposition rebels.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is caught between hostile troops accused of firing at its patrols and increasingly bitter Syrians who cannot understand why it has not halted the bloodshed, officials said.

Susan Rice, US ambassador to the United Nations, likened the monitors to "300 sitting ducks in a shooting gallery, one IED from a disaster," at a recent UN Security Council meeting.

An Iraq-style Improvised Explosive Device, or roadside bomb, exploded in front of a convoy of UN ceasefire monitors last month, without wounding anyone.

Yesterday, shots were fired at another UN patrol as it tried to get to Al-Kubeir, a village near Homs, where a fresh massacre reportedly left dozens dead. No monitors were wounded, and they planned to try to return today.

The Security Council has ordered a review of the mission to be ready before its 90 day mandate ends on July 20.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/959548/

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Norway to keep Breivik at prison near Oslo after trial

By Anne Leer

 8 June 2012

Norway plans to keep Anders Behring Breivik at Ila prison after his trial over the massacre last July, even if he is declared insane.

A high-security hospital unit has been built in the prison near Oslo, at a cost of about 2m kroner (£213,000).

It will house Breivik if he is ruled criminally insane, Norway's Deputy Health Minister Robin Martin Kass said.

Breivik admits setting off a bomb and shooting Labour Party activists in attacks that killed 77 people.

He has been kept in isolation at Ila prison since his arrest.

Since his terror attacks - a bombing in the capital Oslo and a shooting rampage on Utoeya island - Norwegian legislators have been working overtime to complete new mental health legislation to manage "high-risk individuals who are criminally insane".

Mr Kass said the Norwegian parliament was expected to pass the new mental healthcare bill in two scheduled sessions, on 11 and 16 June, and subsequently obtain the King's approval, so that the new law could be implemented by 1 July.

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18365522

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Denmark approves same-sex marriage and church weddings

 8 June 2012

Denmark has become the latest country to approve same-sex marriage.

The law was passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament, and also covers weddings in the Church of Denmark.

Denmark was the first country in the world to recognise civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 1989.

However, no further steps were taken under the previous centre-right government, while other countries have passed laws extending marriage to same-sex couples.

The bill put forward by Denmark's centre-left government was passed in an 85-24 vote on Thursday.

"This is equality between couples of the same gender and couples of different genders. A major step forward," Danish Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs Manu Sareen said after the vote.

The legislation takes effect on 15 June.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18363157

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