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Islamic World News ( 9 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Thank you, Baba Mohammed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

Geelani Calls for ‘Fatwa’Against Farooq Abdullah

Turkish parliament human rights commission holds meeting on German neo-Nazi hit list

Zardari had stroke, facial paralysis says reports

'NATO behind spread of radical Islam'

NATO fuel trucks destroyed in Pakistan attack: police

Pak Actress Veena Malik says she was topless but 'not nude' in FHM

Ramp to Al-Aqsa compound to close

'Intelligent Pakistani generals recognise India's strength': Chair of International Relations and Terrorism Studies

Muslim-West ties main challenge: Jordan King

Calls for intervention increase as Syria teeters on brink of war

Lawyers question reappointment of judges convicted of sexual misconduct

Embrace Islamic Banking, Sanusi Tells Western Nations 

They want to delink Islam from India

AMRI hospital fire in Kolkata: Owners arrested, toll rises to 73

CIA 'secret prison' found in Romania - media reports

Bomb attack kills three paramilitary soldiers in Karachi

Pakistan upgrades air defences on Afghan border

Iran urges UN to condemn U.S. drone aggression

Iran Touts Aircraft It Says It Captured

Parliamentary Election In Kazakhstan: Who Will Come In Second?

A Reality Check On US-Turkish Relations

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau



Thank you, Baba Mohammed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI —9 December 2011, Alyazia, an orphaned young girl, could not believe her eyes when she saw ‘Baba Mohammed’ standing right in front of her.

It was only yesterday, the poor autistic child had written on her notebook with her fingers dipped in the paint: “To Baba Mohammed, I wish if could see you and you see me.”

Her message was telecast during the local TV programme News From Home (Akhbar Al Dar) on Wednesday evening as part of a reportage on her participation in the festivities marking the 40th National Day of the UAE.

Alyazia, though deprived of many abilities of the children of her age, had helped her widowed mother to design the UAE flag with painted pebbles.

The flag which the little girl had sculptured was displayed at the gate of the Al Muna School where she was studying. While the crew of the Abu Dhabi TV was shooting the footage of her artistic participation, Alyazia took her notebook and wrote her wish.

On Thursday,  General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, walked up to the school and stood right in front of the little girl. She was surprised to see ‘Baba Mohammed’ smiling at her. It was a surprise to the entire school, including children, the teachers and the staff.

Patting on her cherubic face with a parental affection, Gen Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed lauded the sincere feelings  Alyazia expressed during the National Day celebrations.

The Crown Prince also praised the school administration in nurturing the talents of the children and nourishing their creativity.

The school, run by the Al Dar Academy, had given enough encouragement to the child who, with the help of her mother, made a 20-metre long flag of the UAE using more than 13,400 coloured pebbles.


Geelani Calls for ‘Fatwa’Against Farooq Abdullah

By BS Unnikrishnan , December 7, 2011

A hardline Islamic leader has called for a 'fatwa' (religious edict) against an Indian minister for supporting the idea of reopening liquor shops and cinemas in the Kashmir Valley, it has been reported.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G), has slammed Farooq Abdullah, a minister in the Indian government and former chief minister of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, for his "anti-Islamist" ideas, according to the Kashmir website.

"Islam declares liquor as the mother of all evils and orders punishment against those who consume it. Therefore, Farooq Abdullah's call for opening liquor shops in this Muslim majority region shows his mental apostasy and proves that, despite old age, his mischievous character is still intact," Geelani has reportedly said after a meeting of his faction of the Hurriyat Conference.

"Ironically, on one hand, Farooq Abdullah openly talks of promoting liquor in Valley, while on the other, he pays obeisance at the shrines of aulia-ullahs. Hurriyat asks those maulvis and mujawirs who tie turbans on Farooq Abullah's head at these shrines to issue a fatwa against him," the Islamic leader has been quoted by the website as saying.

Geelani has contested Abdullah's claim that liquor shops will help promote tourism in the Valley. "There has been no impact on the tourism industry of states in India which have banned sale of liquor. There is no place for such bawdy activities in this land of aulia-ullahs," he has reportedly said.

Geelani has also alleged that Abdullah and his family are responsible for the lawlessness and growing immorality in Kashmir.


Turkish parliament human rights commission holds meeting on German neo-Nazi hit list

Dec 9, 2011

Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Commission has held a session to review the neo-nazi attacks against the Turkish community in Germany.

The head of the commission who had visited Germany earlier this month, as a member of a Turkish delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, shared his observations with other members of the commission in an effort to develop measures that should be taken to stop neo-Nazi and racist attacks in Germany.

The meeting in the Turkish parliament's human rights commission to discuss the latest Neo-nazi attacks in Germany comes as Turkish leaders have repeatedly warned about rising racism and Islamophobia in the West.

The head of the commission said that Turkey will closely monitor the prosecution of the elements behind the attacks.

Turkey's foreign minister, during his visit to Germany, had vowed that Ankara will closely observe developments in the neo-Nazi case in Germany and said that he will not let them to be forgotten.

Davutoglu said the mentality behind no-Nazi murders should be examined, noting that he could not understand why the murders' case has not come to an end in a well-disciplined country like Germany in 10 years.

The human rights commission's meeting came as the names of sixty eight Turkish people have been reportedly found on a German neo-Nazi group's hit list. The list was reportedly found during a November inquiry into a far-right neo-Nazi group which is thought to be behind the killing of several people, including ethnic Turks.

The head of the commission called on Western states to make concrete measures to fight Islamophobia, as key inactive to stop racist attacks.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep tayyip Erdogan, in a meeting with Islamic leaders of African continent in Istanbul last month had also condemned the Islamophobia campaign that is underway by some Western circles.

Erdogan had said that there are groups who try to use some marginal cases, to equate Islam with terrorism, violence, intolerance and poverty.

The Turkish premier stated that a mistake by a member of a religion or society should not be attributed to the religion or society.


Zardari had stroke, facial paralysis says reports

PTI Dec 9, 2011,

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had a "mild" stroke that caused bleeding in the brain and facial paralysis before he was flown to Dubai for treatment, a media report said on Friday.

However, the President was stable and out of danger as the stroke and internal bleeding were not "life threatening", The News daily quoted its sources as saying.

Zardari would require "some treatment, including speech therapy, to resume his normal life", said the report in the daily known for its strident criticism of the President.

Zardari is "likely to be flown to London for detailed treatment", the daily quoted a source as saying.

Zardari "collapsed in the Presidency" on Tuesday because of the stroke, the source claimed after official denials that Zardari had not had a heart attack.

The presidential spokesman had said yesterday that Zardari's condition was stable and that he would undergo more medical tests in Dubai.

The spokesman further said the President had been moved from the intensive care unit to a normal hospital room.

Zardari abruptly travelled to Dubai on Tuesday to undergo tests for what officials have described as a previously diagnosed "cardiovascular condition".

His sudden departure fuelled speculation that he was on the verge of resigning on grounds of "ill health" due to growing pressure on him because of the "Memogate" scandal.


'NATO behind spread of radical Islam'

07 December, 2011,

The Arab spring could turn into a fiery Arab summer as a result of NATO actions, the Russian envoy to the alliance says.

“NATO’s political and military interference in the Arab spring may bring about a ‘hot Arab summer’, with a whole range of consequences for neighboring regions,” Dmitry Rogozin told Interfax ahead of Thursday’s Russia-NATO Council ministerial meeting.

He added that as a result of NATO’s interference, “Sharia law is coming to previously relatively secular states”.

At the December 8 meeting in Brussels, Russia wants to find out “to what extent NATO is aware of the fact that the coming of radical Islam to all the regions where it ‘projected its force’ is a result of its actions”, the envoy insisted.

The diplomat went on to say that during the military operation in Libya, the NATO-led international coalition “revamped” the relevant UN Security Council resolution.

"It said: no bombing – and they were bombing. It said: no arms deliveries to any party – and they were delivering arms. It said: no land operation – and they conducted special forces operations. It said: do not intervene in the domestic political situation – and they changed it,” Rogozin stressed.

The Russian envoy to NATO also pointed out that Moscow “insists on confirming the basic principles of international law” and wants NATO to “return to the legal field and recognize its subordinate role to the United Nations”.


NATO fuel trucks destroyed in Pakistan attack: police


QUETTA, Pakistan, Dec 09 2011 — Militants destroyed at least 34 trucks in a rocket attack Thursday on a NATO trucking terminal in southwest Pakistan supplying troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, police said.

Some 44 oil tankers and goods trucks were parked in the temporary terminal in Quetta after Pakistan shut down supply lines for NATO forces in anger at a deadly cross-border air strike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Quetta police chief Ahsan Mehboob said only two trucks remained unaffected by the gun and rocket attack which triggered the fire while eight other vehicles were partially damaged.

There were no casualties in the attack, he added.

Senior police official Malik Arshad earlier told AFP that gunmen fired bullets and a rocket at the NATO oil tankers and the ensuing blaze engulfed more than 20 vehicles in Quetta, capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

"Flames were rising from more than 20 vehicles. We do not know about any casualties yet because the blaze is still so huge," Arshad said.

"First the fire started in two oil tankers and the fuel started leaking which spread the fire to other vehicles," Arshad said.

Full Report at:


Pak Actress Veena Malik says she was topless but 'not nude' in FHM

8 December 2011

Pakistani actress Veena Malik has defended a recent photoshoot in an Indian men's magazine, saying she was "topless" and "covered" but not "nude".

Ms Malik is seeking $2m in damages from FHM India, alleging that they "morphed" the images to make her appear naked. The magazine denies the claims.

Ms Malik told the BBC that she did not get paid for the photographs, which have caused controversy in Pakistan.

She said she had refused another offer from an agency for a nude photoshoot.


Regarding the photos in FHM India magazine, she said: "If you look at my shoot, I do admit that I have done a topless shoot."

"But it was not that topless - a proportion of the body was covered with my hands," she said.

"I liked the idea of a bold shoot, but I did not do a nude shoot - that's why I am standing here today, because I have to prove it.

"I won't allow anybody to remove my bikini or my shalwar (loose trousers) or my dupatta (scarf).

"If I want to do it, I will do it myself. And if I do it, I will own it," she told BBC's World Have Your Say programme.

Full Report at:


Ramp to Al-Aqsa compound to close

Jerusalem - 2011-12-08 . Jerusalem's city council has ordered the closure within a week of a wooden access ramp to the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City, saying the structure is "a threat to public safety".

The order was outlined in a letter from city engineer Shlomo Eshkol given on Wednesday evening to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation responsible for the upkeep of the Mughrabi ramp.

"It is my intention to issue an order for the immediate closure of the structure and not to allow any use of it," he wrote, giving them "seven days from the date of this notice to outline any reservations".

The structure has been at the centre of a complex row between the city council and the Jewish and Muslim groups which respectively oversee the Western Wall plaza and the Al-Aqsa mosque compound next to it.

The city says the ramp poses a fire hazard and could collapse onto the women's prayer section by the Western Wall.

But Muslim leaders fear the demolition could have a destabilising effect on the mosque compound and accuses Israel of failing to co-ordinate the renovation with the Waqf, which oversees Islamic heritage sites.

Palestinian officials condemned the Israeli announcement.

"This shows their determination to Judaise Jerusalem and to take over the city's Muslim holy places," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

The Hamas movement called in a statement for "our Palestinian people and Arab and Islamic masses to show their solidarity with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places".

Provocation of Muslims

Israel "bears full responsibility for the consequences of this criminal act which constitutes a flagrant violation of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and a provocation to the feelings of millions of Muslims", it added.

The ramp leads from the plaza by the Western Wall, the most sacred site at which Jews can pray, up to the adjoining compound, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Speaking to AFP, Jerusalem Waqf head Azzam al-Khatib said the organisation was ready to undertake the work itself if Israel would agree.

"We can, and are willing to restore [the ramp] to the condition it was before or better, within days, if Israel allows it," he said.

When the closure order goes into force next Wednesday evening, barring any last-minute appeals by the Foundation, only the security forces will be allowed to use it "in urgent circumstances," the letter said.

In a statement to AFP, the Western Wall Foundation said its head, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, was "studying the order and taking legal advice regarding how to act.

"Obviously any decision will take into account safety considerations for those going up the bridge and those praying at the Wall," it said.

There are 15 gates leading into the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, 10 of which are in use. The Mughrabi Gate is the only access for non-Muslims to enter the site, meaning its closure will prevent tourists from visiting until a replacement structure is built.

Great concern

The council said the state of the ramp, which is used daily by hundreds of visitors and security personnel, had been of "great concern" for some time.

In October it gave the Western Wall Foundation 30 days to dismantle the ramp and rebuild a permanent replacement, sparking anger in Jordan, which is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

In November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed demolition, over fears it could spark a wave of anti-Israel protests across the Arab and Islamic world.

"The situation in the region is sensitive, therefore I decided that the time is not right to go ahead with it," he told a parliamentary committee, denying reports it was due to pressure from Egypt and Jordan.

Jordan's powerful Islamists were quick to respond on Thursday.

"Israel is disregarding all Arab and international warnings," said Hamzeh Mansur, head of the opposition Islamic Action Front party, accusing Israel of pursing a "policy of Judaising the Holy Land".

The plaza which houses the mosque complex is venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site where King Herod's temple once stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

It is the holiest site in Judaism, but Jews are forbidden to worship there.



'Intelligent Pakistani generals recognise India's strength': Chair of International Relations and Terrorism Studies

Dec 9, 2011,

Anatol Lieven , Chair of International Relations and Terrorism Studies at King's College, London, analyses pressing geopolitics in his book Pakistan: A Hard Country. As participants at the Bonn Conference pledged conti-nued support to stabilising Afghanistan, Lieven spoke with Sameer Arshad about tense US-Pakistan ties, Afghanistan's future - and how India-Pakistan dynamics might just pan out:

How will recent Nato airstrikes killing Pakistani troops impact US-Pakistan relations?

The attack on Pakistani troops does not transform the landscape between the US and Pakistan - but it marks further worsening of an already decaying relationship. There was never a chance that Pakistan would launch a military offensive against the Afghan Taliban or the Haqqani network, as the US was demanding. The key question now is whether Pakistan will continue its blockade of Nato supplies to Afghanistan. If so, there'll be an end to US aid to Pakistan and increased US military pressure along the border. If not, the relationship will return to a troubled but partly cooperative state.

In the longer term, the question is whether the US will seek a peace settlement with the Afghan Taliban or commit itself to a permanent military campaign against them by the Afghan National Army - with Pakistan on the opposite side.

How different are the Afghan Taliban from the Pakistani ones?

The Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan are very close in their ideology but face different directions. The Afghan Taliban are fighting the US and the Karzai government in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban are seeking Islamist revolution in Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban are a loose coalition of different groups, the Afghan Taliban are more united...

Pakistan will not get an Afghanistan wholly controlled by the Taliban and under Pakistani influence. The strength of non-Pashtun ethnicities and the US, India and Russia's opposition make that impossible...But India is also unlikely to see a uni-ted Afghanistan under a friendly government which excludes the Taliban and exercises real authority in the Pashtun areas.

You've mentioned India - in your book, you write of a changed mindset amongst Pakistani generals vis-a-vis India. Could you elaborate?

There has not been any fundamental change among the vast majority. But some of the more intelligent Pakistani generals recognise that India's growing strength - and their weakness - mean Pakistan cannot possibly prevail in this contest. Such figures may have a genuine will to seek compromise - as General Musharraf demonstrated after 2002.

If it proves impossible to persuade the high command to give up most of its positions on Kashmir, then they may be more flexible on secondary issues like Afghanistan.

Would the ISI let tensions with India cool?

The ISI is immensely powerful in areas where it has a direct role, like support for militants in India and Afghanistan...the ISI is not supreme within the military itself. It is subject to the high command and the other intelligence service, Military Intelligence, balances it. It would not be in a position to block the high command's majority decision.

You say regarding Kashmir, India could get the greater part of what it has wanted by offering concessions - what does that involve?

Any settlement will have to recognise Indian sovereignty over the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir and the LoC as an international frontier. This would mean on central issues, India had won. In return, as with the British in Northern Ireland, on every secondary issue - cross-border institutions, human contacts, trade, large-scale demilitarisation - India should be prepared to show the greatest possible flexibility. I don't know whether this would work - but nothing else would.


Muslim-West ties main challenge: Jordan King

By Nissar Hoath

ABU DHABI —9 December 2011, The Muslim-West relations are one of the central challenges the world faces with 75 per cent of all current conflicts involve Muslim nations due to misconception and mistrust, King Abdullah II of Jordan told a conference in Liwa on Thursday.

In the speech read out by Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed of Jordan, King Abdullah said: “Muslims and Christians together make up over 55 per cent of the world’s population, and 75 per cent of all conflicts in the world involve Muslim-majority countries. Thus, the issue of Muslim-West relations is obviously one of the central challenges for the future of the world as such.”

The two-day conference was held to release the Gallup Muslim-West Perceptions Index (MWPI) in Liwa.

King Abdullah also stressed on greater research and statistical works to show the world the real picture of the Muslim-West relations that have always been mistaken, thus creating these conflicts. Praising ADGC for its efforts in carrying out data and research studies on the issue, he said: “The centre is important because to make correct decisions, especially in these times of upheaval in the Arab world, it is necessary to have correct information.

He urged the centre and members of other think tanks to tell the world exactly and unequivocally what percentage of the 1.6 billion Muslims and 2.2 billion Christians have negative attitudes towards each other, and where and why.

Dalia Mogahed, ADGC Director, released the MWPI that suggests the majority of the residents in Arabian Gulf and Sub-Saharan African countries are the most positive about Muslim-West relations.

“Majority Muslim societies that see the West as a source of aid, but also those that look to West as a trade partner are most positive about Muslim-West relations,” the Gallup findings show.

The conference. attended by local, regional and international experts and leaders, was held to examine crucial global issues affecting Muslims worldwide and release the MWPI. “In the wake of the regional unrest, it is essential to provide evidence-based recommendations to policymakers across the globe on key issues that affect Muslim communities.—


Calls for intervention increase as Syria teeters on brink of war


As the violence in Syria threatens to ignite a civil war that could destabilize the region, pressure is mounting to impose no-fly and buffer zones in order to protect civilians from crimes against humanity.

The eight-month long lethal crackdown by the Syrian government against an opposition uprising has begun to spiral toward civil war, leading to a historic raft of punitive measures by Arab nations and increased calls for a humanitarian intervention by the opposition and France.

A United Nations commission of inquiry has accused President Bashar al Assad's regime of committing crimes against humanity, saying in a report based on evidence presented by 223 victims that "orders to shoot and otherwise mistreat civilians originated from policies and directives issued at the highest levels of the armed forces and government."

The UN estimates that 4,000 civilians have been killed since the opposition uprising began in March. The human rights organization Amnesty International has called for an investigation of the Assad regime by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

International isolation

The Arab and Islamic worlds, meanwhile, have roundly condemned the lethal crackdown by the Assad regime, taking unprecedented measures to isolate the Syrian government. The Arab League suspended the membership of Syria, one of the institution's founders, and imposed sanctions after Assad's government failed to fully implement a plan that called for the withdrawal of military forces from civilian areas, the release political detainees and the initiation of talks with the political opposition.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world's largest Islamic body, called on Assad to "immediately stop using excessive force against citizens and to respect human rights." And Turkey, once a close Assad ally, has frozen assets and banned transactions with Syria's central bank "until a legitimate government which is at peace with its people is in charge," according to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Although international diplomatic pressure has rapidly escalated over the past weeks, the violent crackdown continues as the humanitarian situation deteriorates. Increasingly, members of Syria's conscript army have begun to defect and join an organization called the Free Syrian Army, which has launched hit and run attacks against loyalist security forces.

"They (the opposition) are peaceful demonstrators so far, but they will not be able to tolerate more humiliation," Mousab Azzawi, chief coordinator of the world service for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Deutsche Welle.

Full Report at:,,15585647,00.html


Lawyers question reappointment of judges convicted of sexual misconduct

By Hawwa Lubna, December 8th, 2011

A group of lawyers have questioned the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)’s decision to reappoint two judges, previously removed from the bench for sexual misconduct, as magistrate court judges.

The lawyers, including Former Attorney General Husnu Suood, said on Thursday that  Gaafu Dhaalu Thinadhoo, Meeraaz Ahmed Shareef and Dhaalu Meedhoo Biloori Villa, Ali Shafeeg who were appointed as magistrate court judges had previously been convicted for sexual misconduct.

Speaking to Minivan News, Suood said the two judges were removed from bench in 2010 because they did not possess the “high moral character” required to be a judge according to the article 149 (a) of the amended constitution.

According to the records, Shareef – appointed to Gaafu Alifu Dhevadhoo Court – was sentenced to two months under house arrest on July 30 2001, for having an affair. He was former Chief Magistrate of Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.

Ali Shafeeg, appointed to Kaafu Gaafaru Magistrate Court, was sentenced to four months banishment and subjected to seven lashes in 1989, for having an affair with a married woman.

Full Report at:


Embrace Islamic Banking, Sanusi Tells Western Nations

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has urged Western nations to embrace Islamic banking.

Sanusi, who said this at the annual conference of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit, held at Adeyemi Bero Hall, Alausa Ikeja, Lagos, added that it would help in giving a face lift to their economic crisis.

Represented by his Special Assistant on Non-Interest Banking and a member of the Technical Committee of Islamic Financial Services Board of Malaysia, Dr. Bashi Umar, Sanusi reiterated that Islamic banking is the best alternative to already failing Western banking system.

He reminded them that Islamic banking is all about social justice which many non-Muslims are now embracing through calls for zero-interest banking.

“The exchange of property and all transactions are very sacrosanct in Islam and believers are expected to fulfil their contract agreement. There is also the principle of risk-sharing and you cannot exploit the misfortune of others to make profit but rather, they must be assisted,” he said.

He urged stakeholders, especially Muslims, to submit themselves to all the principles of Islamic transactions.

The success or otherwise of the Islamic banking system, according to him, depends on the sincerity and truthfulness of everybody involved in its operation.

The Amir of MSSN, Alhaji Qazeem Badrudeen, said the world is yet to come out of the devastating effect of the 2008 global financial crisis. A fall-out of it, he said, is the on-going debt crisis in the Euro-zones where governments are having difficulties in meeting the needs of their citizens.

“Austerity measures are being imposed on the masses in an attempt to save the countries from collapsing economically. All these problems are man-made and Islam has perfect answers to them,” he said.

— Jamiu Yisa


They want to delink Islam from India

Monday, 5 December 2011

New Delhi, December 05: Arshad Alam, who teaches at Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia, in his recent book 'Inside A Madrasa: Knowledge, Power and Islamic Identity in India' offers insight into the diversity of Indian Islam and attempts to dispel myths about madrasas. He talks to Sunday Times about the ongoing Wahabi vs Sufi debate

What do you make of this debate?

Wahabism is used pejoratively in India and refers to Islamic revival movements such as the Deoband. It's better to understand the current polemic as Barelwi vs Deobandi conflict. It is a contest of power within Indian Islam.

What is the background of this debate?

In India, the British first used the term Wahabi for Muslims who declared jihad against them. The Deobandis were alleged to be Wahabis because they were against syncretic practices such as visiting the shrine. Defending some of these practices was Ahmad Riza Khan, who justified the importance of shrines and pirs. The Barelwi identity crystallized around the writings of Khan.

Sunni Sufis claim Deobandis are trying to import petrodollar-Islam ...

The promotion 'petrodollar' Islam is part of the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia. Their funds have gone into building mosques and promoting Islamic education in many countries. Muslim groups have tried to get a slice of this pie by positioning themselves close to Wahabism, which which alienates them from their specific cultural location.

We can see attempts to "purge" Islam of Indian influences...

Islamic reform is primarily about 'purging' indigenous influences, taking Muslims away from the Indian cultural landscape towards an Arabian cultural model . De-coupling Islam with its Indian environs has consequences for cultural pluralism . The challenge is daunting as the project of Islamic reform is common to both Deobandis and Barelwis.

Courtesy: TOI


AMRI hospital fire in Kolkata: Owners arrested, toll rises to 73

Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey, TNN

KOLKATA:  Dec 9, 2011,, The owners of AMRI hospital in Kolkata have been arrested after they surrendered before the police.

Six directors of the hospital were taken into custody after they reached Lalbazar police headquarters to face police interrogation.

AMRI is a joint venture of Emami group and Srachi group owned by RS Goenka and SK Todi respectively.

Meanwhile, the death toll at the Amri (Dhakuria) Hospital has increased to 73.

70 patients and three hospital staff were among those killed at the multistoreyed private hospital which turned into a towering inferno in the early morning hours.

The fire spread fast from the basement of the hospital, engulfing one ward after the other and trapping hundreds of people. While many patients died of burns, several others died due to suffocation caused by carbon monoxide accumulation all over the building. About 50 bodies have been sent to the SSKM Hospital where post mortem has already been conducted on 42 bodies.

The tragedy unfolded over many hours as patients were suffocated to death, some trapped in their beds, others dying in their sleep, too infirm to escape the smoke. The lucky few were brought down the side of the four-storey glass facade building, only six years old, using ropes and ladders as thousands looked on in horror.

Full Report at:


CIA 'secret prison' found in Romania - media reports

By The BBC

December 08, 2011 "BBC" -- The CIA operated a secret prison in the Romanian capital Bucharest where terrorism suspects were interrogated, an investigation by the Associated Press and German media has found.

Former CIA operatives identified the building where, they said, detainees were held and tortured.

The building belongs to a Romanian agency, Orniss, which stores classified information from the EU and Nato.

Orniss has denied hosting a CIA prison and the CIA has refused to comment.

The investigation, by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and the German TV network ARD, said those held in the secret prison included Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who has admitted organising the 9/11 attacks.

He was seized in Pakistan in March 2003 under the US programme known as "extraordinary rendition" - the extra-judicial detention and transfer of terrorism suspects.

He has been in the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay since 2006, where he is awaiting trial.

'Bright Light'

The building identified in the German investigation houses the Office of the National Register for Secret State Information, or Orniss.

Orniss has denied all claims that its premises were used as a CIA prison.

Full Report at:


Bomb attack kills three paramilitary soldiers in Karachi


KARACHI: Dec 09 2011 A bomb attack killed three paramilitary soldiers and wounded four others on Friday in Karachi.

A roadside bomb exploded alongside a vehicle carrying members of the Rangers paramilitary force in the eastern part of the city after daybreak, officials said.

“Three troops from Pakistan Rangers were killed and four were hurt. It was a remote control bomb,” Sharfuddin Memon, a spokesman for the home ministry Sindh, told AFP.

Friday’s attack was not immediately claimed by any group.

Memon said the bomb that exploded Friday was buried on the roadside and the force of the explosion badly damaged the vehicle.

“Seven personnel of Pakistan Rangers were taken to hospital, where four of them died,” he added.

Mohammad Salim, an office boy in a nearby government office, said he saw the troops lying on the ground with the vehicle in flames.

“It was a loud explosion. I was going to the office and I rushed to the spot where the rangers were lying on the ground. They were bleeding,” he told AFP.

Friday’s attack was the deadliest in Karachi since a car bomb killed eight people, including six police officers, on September 19.


Pakistan upgrades air defences on Afghan border


ISLAMABAD: Dec: 09 2011, Pakistan has upgraded its air defence system on the Afghan border to make it capable of shooting down aircraft, after Nato strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, a security official told AFP on Friday.

“Now we have a fully equipped air defence system on the Afghan border. It has the capability to trace and detect any aircraft,” the official in Peshawar told AFP by telephone.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the step had been taken to avert air incursions from Afghanistan and to respond to any future air strikes.

“The system has also been upgraded to immediately respond after detecting any aircraft or helicopter and to shoot it down,” he added.

Pakistan shut its border to Nato supply convoys on November 26, the same day as the deadliest single cross-border attack of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

The government also ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi air base in the southwest, widely reported as a hub in the covert CIA drone war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan.

Pakistan gave tacit support to the programme, but no US drone strike has been reported on Pakistani soil since November 17.

The November 26 attacks brought the fragile Pakistani-US alliance to a fresh low, already reeling from an American stealth raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.

It was after that raid, conducted by US Navy SEALs who flew in from Afghanistan, that Pakistan first upgraded its defence systems on the border.

US President Barack Obama has expressed condolences over the November 26 border deaths, insisting it was not a “deliberate attack” by Nato as claimed by the Pakistani army.


Iran urges UN to condemn U.S. drone aggression   2011-12-09

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Iran has urged the United Nations to condemn the violation of its air space by a U.S. drone and sought "clear and effective measures" to end such "dangerous and unlawful acts" against the country.

Mohammad Khazaee, Iran's permanent representative to the UN, made the appeal in his letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It was dated Dec. 8 and a copy was obtained by Xinhua on Thursday night.

Another copy was sent to Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador who holds the rotating UN Security Council presidency for December, and Nasser A. Al-Nasser, president of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.

"Upon instructions from my government, I have the honor to draw your kind attention to the provocative and covert operations against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the United States government, which have increased and intensified in recent months," said the letter.

"In the continuation of such trend, recently, an American RQ-170 unmanned spy plane, bearing a specific serial number, violated Iran's air space," he said.

"This plane flew 250 Kilometers deep into Iranian territory up to the northern region of the city of Tabas , where it faced prompt and forceful action by the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Tehran said it shot down the stealthy drone, and the Iranian envoy called such flights an "act of aggression and covert operation ... tantamount to an act of hostility."

He said it was "not the only act of aggression and covert operation by the United States against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"My government emphasizes that this blatant and unprovoked air violation by the United States government is tantamount to an act of hostility against the Islamic Republic of Iran in clear contravention of international law, in particular, the basic tenets of the United Nations Charter," the letter said.

"My government, hereby, calls for the condemnation of such acts of aggression and requests clear and effective measures to be taken to put an end to these dangerous and unlawful acts in line with the United Nations' responsibilities to maintain international and regional peace and security, in accordance with the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter," said the single page diplomatic note.

It asked the letter be circulated as an official document to the Security Council and the General Assembly.

"The Iranian government expresses its strong protest over these violations and acts of aggression and warns against the destructive consequences of the recurrence of such acts," Khazaee said. "The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its legitimate rights to take all necessary measures to protect its national sovereignty."

Also on Thursday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Livia Leu Agosti to protest the "violation" of its airspace by a U.S. drone, the state IRIB TV reported.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran represents the U.S. interests in Iran since Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic relations in 1980.

IRIB TV Thursday aired the footage that showed a U.S. drone shot down four days ago by Iranian troops in the eastern region.

But U.S. officials denied the drone was brought down by Iran, insisting it crashed due to mechanical difficulties. P The RQ-170 drone is an unmanned aircraft which has been used for reconnaissance and surveillance by the United States in Afghanistan.

Describing the hi-tech specifications of the downed aircraft, the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' aerospace commander Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said military experts are well aware that the drone has very invaluable technological data.

The drone, the technology of which has been used in B2 and F35 planes too, is equipped with highly advanced surveillance technology and electronic communication and radar systems, Hajizadeh said, adding that the drone is controlled both by satellite and stations based in Afghanistan and the Untied States.


Iran Touts Aircraft It Says It Captured


DECEMBER 9, 2011

Iranian authorities showed what they said was a downed U.S. drone on state television, touting it as the latest high-tech model of secret aircraft used by the U.S. to spy on Iran.

The beige-colored aircraft, identified by Iran as an RQ-170 Sentinel drone, was elevated on a black podium under Iran's flag. A banner underneath stated a famous quote by the Islamic revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini, "America can't do a damn thing."

Iran released this photo, which it says shows the country's aerospace chief, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, right, inspecting a downed U.S. drone.

The footage showed two uniformed members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite military unit, inspecting the alleged drone, which appeared intact and undamaged.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the guards' aerospace division, on Thursday said the drone was ambushed in a joint operation between the guards and Iran's air force by using technical interference in order not to damage the aircraft.

"Recently we discovered, based on thorough examination and intelligence, that this aircraft intended to infiltrate our airspace and spy on our country," Gen. Hajizadeh said during the ceremony on state television.

The U.S. has stepped up efforts to pry into Iran's nuclear program. Given the stealth capabilities of the stricken drone, analysts and experts have presumed it was deployed in the region to spy on Iran.

The drone was in Iranian airspace when its remote pilots lost control of it and the aircraft went down, U.S. officials said.

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Parliamentary Election In Kazakhstan: Who Will Come In Second?

A total of eight political parties have registered for the upcoming parliamentary election in Kazakhstan on January 15, yet the outcome is already fairly clear. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s party, Nur Otan, currently the only political party represented in parliament, is expected to win by a wide margin.

In the last election, in 2007, Nur Otan won over 88 percent of the votes. As no other party cleared the seven percent threshold to win seats, the Mazhilis, the lower chamber, became a one-party parliament. Nur Otan held 98 of the 107 seats. The other deputies were chosen by the People’s Assembly.

However, following the electoral debacle of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, which lost its two-third majority in the December 4 State Duma election, observers in Kazakhstan wonder whether Nur Otan might not find itself in a similar position next month. A survey conducted by the Institute of Political Solutions in November found that 88.5 percent of the people questioned trust Nazarbayev, but only 51.4 percent said they would vote for Nur Otan.

Even so, public opinion polls in Kazakhstan, an oil-producing country and Central Asia’s leading economy, are not necessarily an indicator of a likely election outcome. “Everyone understands that the main thing is not how voters vote, but how the votes are counted,” says Mukhamedzhan Adilov of the weekly opposition newspaper Respublika (Respublika, December 2)

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A Reality Check On US-Turkish Relations

US Vice President, Joe Biden, paid a working visit to Turkey, which provided an opportunity for a reality check of the current condition of US-Turkish bilateral relations. In addition to meeting with Turkish leaders, Biden attended the Global Entrepreneurship summit, which was developed as a new platform by the Obama administration to foster dialogue and cooperation with the Muslim world. Throughout his public appearances, Biden praised Turkey’s economic and political achievements, highlighting its potential to serve as a model for other nations.

Beyond these words of praise, his contacts largely served to reiterate the growing consensus between the two countries, rather than breaking new ground on any major issue. While seeking to mobilize Ankara’s support for key US strategic interests in the Middle East, Biden at the same time worked to assure his Turkish counterparts about the continuation of US strategic involvement in ensuring regional stability. In charge of the Obama administration’s Iraq portfolio, Biden’s visit to Ankara was preceded by his earlier stopover in Iraq. In many ways, the US experience in Iraq was also a major turning point for Turkish-American relations. Following the disagreements caused by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, bilateral relations cooled, resulting in serious questioning on both sides concerning the future of the alliance that tied both nations together. Over time, the two countries adjusted their policies in Iraq, as they soon realized that they have major stakes in the stabilization of this country. Their coordinated action in Iraq has been an important development that helped maintain strategic cooperation in recent years. In an environment where the region is in flux in the wake of the Arab Spring and the US military withdrawal is imminent, however, Turkish concerns over the future of Iraq have become even more worrisome. In that regard, Biden largely worked to convey the message to Turkish leaders that the United States will remain committed to that country after the military withdrawal.

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