New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 27 Oct 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Ulema and feminists against polygamy club

Indonesia district bans tight trousers for women

Pakistan and Turkey agrees to evolve joint strategy against terrorism

Pakistan shocked by Iran’s allegation

Pakistan requires internal discourse to counter extremism

Fatwa fear as Islamic world watches trial of Alexander W over court killing

German man on trial for stabbing Muslim woman

Lebanon breaks Guinness record

Pitched battle in Waziristan, Pak loses 11 soldiers

Top Indian politicians on Al Qaeda’s hit list

Iran’s Ayatollah opposes direct talks with US

19 militants, 6 soldiers die in Pak ops

Bid on Afghan governor’s life is thwarted

India is funding Taliban fighters, claims Pakistan

Nuclear deal with Iran possible

From Judaism to Islam and back again

Obama has a vision for a better world

Temple Mount riots part of Arab agenda?

Hamas: War will settle Jerusalem dispute, not talks

Smiley-Face Definitions of 'Jihad' Grow Ever More Comical

The crisis in Afghanistan An unwanted second round

Iran’s nuke smokescreen still hazy

South Waziristan: There they go again

Islam Siddiqui, Obama Nominee, Under Fire from Environmentalists

Moscow’s Muslim University to Promote Islam via Distance Learning

Israel announces Gaza inquiry review as protests held over al-Aqsa

Iraq seeks UN inquiry into blasts

14 Americans killed in 2 helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

Pakistan arrests 12 Iranians for illegal infiltration: officials

Tashkent hosts week of culture, art and fashion

Uzbekistan enhances national security

Security analyst says Pakistan requires internal discourse to develop alternatives to extremism

Journalism education in Central Asia called outdated

Tajikistan to lease pastures in Kyrgyzstan

Government shake-up in Kyrgyzstan

The big freeze: By Barry Rubin

The Roman Catholic and Anglican churches unleashing the Counter-Reformation

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URLof this page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/ulema-and-feminists-against-polygamy-club/d/2003

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 Ulema and feminists against polygamy club

by Mathias Hariyadi, Oct 27, 2009

Many Muslim authorities calling for a fatwa to ban the spread of this practice. According to the promoters polygamy nears one to "love of God." But according to women the practice humiliates wives and is a source of domestic violence and abuse. Suharto was anti-polygamy; Sukarno had many women.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Groups of Muslim leaders are furious with a club that promotes polygamy and has asked the National Council of Ulema (MUI) to issue a fatwa banning it. Even the Indonesian feminists are up in arms against the club because polygamy “is a violence against women".

The Global Ikhwan polygamy Club was opened on 18 October in Bandung (West Java) in the Grand Aquila Hotel, with the participation of 150 guests. Among the guests was the founder of the club in Malaysia, Chodijah Binti Am. The purpose of the club is to promote and disseminate polygamy. The theme of the evening was in fact "Polygamy, a powerful solution to meet the love of God." "By adhering to the philosophy of the club and practicing polygamy - explained Am - people experience the merciful love of God When the wives are not good, they will pray to ask God's help. If a woman is married to a polygamist, the use of praying for God's help will be continuous”.

Such affected religiosity is unconvincing for Muslim leaders. Kiai Hajj Bunyamin, Bandung Islamic leader, says that the club of Malaysian origin is "immoral" because its purpose is to "inflate carnal desire among males”. "I am totally opposed to the club," he said. The Head of Ulema of West Java, Kiai Hajj Hafidz Usman asks "What is the benefit of this controversial club "; academic Jujun Junaedi, warns against instrumental use of Islam made by the club. "According to me - he says - the Ulema Council should block it”.

The polygamy club of in Bandung was founded by Mohammed Umar, of Malaysian nationality, according to whom the club just wants to "promote the moral value of the practice of polygamy." To find new members, the club has opened an account on Facebook, with 302 new members so far, 32 other Indonesian families intend joining.

There are three directors of the club: Mohamad Safir, Latifah Abd Al Qohar and Andrew Fah Tan. They require only one condition from new members: the wives of polygamists should not be more than four.

Hedi Muhammad, head of Indonesia's West Java Muslim called on the Ulema Council to ban the club to prevent possible conflicts between husbands and wives. The opening of the club has in fact caused a wave of resentment and outrage among the women of Bandung. The director of the Women’s Institute, Elin Rozana, in a press conference declared her categorical rejection of the club. "The presence of this group - she said - not only hurts women from Indonesia, but also produces moral violence against women."

According to the Rozana, by promoting polygamy, the club violates the basic human rights of women. "Polygamy is one of the most widespread violences against women. It has always created conflicts between family members and produces domestic violence such as sexual abuse, physical attacks, psychological pressure, etc... "

She is echoed by Abdul Hamim Yauza, Head of Legal Division of the Institute of Indonesian Women for Justice: "the practice of polygamy - he says - will only result in a number of sad stories in the home: abuse and strained relations among members." In his opinion, polygamy is against the spirit of Indonesian Law No. 7 / 1984 that ratifies the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Hegel Tarom, of the Woman Group Kalyanamitra, is fighting for the closure of the club. "Every marriage - she says - must be based on the philosophy of equal status between man and woman."

According to traditional Islamic law, Muslims can have up to 4 wives. Some personalities from Indonesia, pro-polygamy and rich, say that they should have more than four wives.

Under President Suharto (1967-1998), Indonesia adopted an anti-polygamy stance. Each representative of the government and bureaucracy who practiced polygamy was immediately fired. To make things clearer, Suharto has also launched the Law no. 1 / 1974 which prohibits members of the government apparatus from practicing polygamy. According to Indonesians, Suharto's strong stand was inspired by his wife, Tien Suharto, a woman from Java, very traditional, but who did not see anything positive in polygamy, only "family disputes and domestic abuse."

The first Indonesian president, Sukarno, known as a megalomaniac and a womaniser, had practiced polygamy.

Source: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=16697&size=A

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Indonesia district bans tight trousers for women

By Reza Munawir, Oct 27, 2009

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - Women may soon be banned from wearing tight trousers in parts of an Indonesian province that practices strict Islamic law, and offenders could see their attire cut up.

Aceh is the only province in predominantly Muslim Indonesia to use Islamic sharia for its legal code. The previous provincial government passed a controversial law in September allowing adulterers to be stoned to death.

Now Ramli Mansyur, regent of a district in West Aceh, said on Tuesday he plans to introduce a regulation forcing women to wear Muslim dress, which could come into effect in December.

"Trousers are allowed, as long as the woman also wears a long skirt down to her ankles," he said. "The fashion has become too open, and it embarrasses me."

Mansyur said women who will flout the law will not be served at government offices and their trousers could be destroyed. He has ordered 7,000 skirts to be set aside for women who cannot afford to buy such attire.

"If a woman wears pants and tucks her top in, that's wrong. Even if she is wearing a headscarf, her dress can still show her body shape, and that is not perfect Muslim dress," the head of sharia department in West Aceh, Nur Djuned, also said.

Aceh, on the far western tip of the Indonesian archipelago, is sometimes referred to as the "verandah of Mecca" because the staunchly Muslim province was one of the first parts of the country to turn to Islam.

(Writing by Olivia Rondonuwu in Jakarta; Editing by Sara Webb and Miral Fahmy)

Source: http://af.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idAFTRE59Q14Z20091027

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Pakistan and Turkey agrees to evolve joint strategy against terrorism

26th October, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to evolve joint strategy against menace of terrorism and extremism, international peace, stability and prosperity and decided to form a bilateral High Level Cooperation Council to increase practical cooperation in political, diplomatic, economic, energy, cultural, security and military fields.

The High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) will be co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of the Pakistan and Turkey and its session would be held twice in year while Turkey has recommended to convene meeting of neighbouring country of Afghanistan for peace and stability there and Pakistan backed it stance. This was decided in meeting between Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Turkish Prime Minister Rajab Taib Erdogan.

Addressing the joint news conference after meeting, both leaders agreed to continue efforts against terrorism and extremism, peace and stability in the region and world. The Premier of both countries while declaring the volume of trade between Pakistan and Turkey as insufficient underscored to need to increase it. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on the occasion said the discussion was held in very cordial atmosphere in which all issue of mutual interests and concern were discussed.

We have reviewed with satisfaction the entire gamut of our bilateral relations, he said, adding that, he is very to say that we have decided to comprehensively upgrade our strategic partnership and intensify political and economic cooperation.

Full Report at: http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=154370

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Pakistan shocked by Iran’s allegation

Javed Mahmood, 23/10/2009

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Commander Mohammad Pakpour (C) attends a funeral for Guard members in Tehran on Oct. 20. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubaz)

KARACHI — Pakistani politicians and analysts were shocked by Iran’s allegation that Pakistan sponsored an attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guard members in the Sistan-Baluchistan area, which killed more than 40 people on Oct. 18.

“Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism; how could the government sponsor or facilitate terrorism in Iran?” inquired Prof Muhammad Naeem, an International Relations expert at Karachi University, on Oct 21.

The banned religious organisation Jundullah that claimed responsibility for the suicide attack conducted a number of terror attacks in Pakistan in the past.

For example, in June 2004, members killed 11 people in a foiled attempt on Karachi Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hayat’s life, Naeem recalled. “How could Pakistan collaborate with a notorious terror group that was already carrying out terror attacks in the country?” he asked. In his opinion, instead of blaming Pakistan, Iranian officials should look into the possible motives behind the tragic incident.

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091023_shock_nws/

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Security analyst says Pakistan requires internal discourse to develop alternatives to extremism

Sanm Malik, 24/10/2009

LAHORE — Pakistan needs an internal discourse, without which it cannot counter extremism or terrorism at the state and societal level, according to leading independent security analyst and strategic affairs expert Dr Ayesha Siddiqa Agha.

The South Asian region currently faces grave security threats due to increasing extremism and terrorist activities within its states. The politics of violence can be linked to the contradictions arising out of flawed national policies, she said.

Religious extremism is a global issue, but in South Asia, Pakistan is the nation worst affected by it. Extremism and terrorism are interlinked and the contributing factors of bad governance and ideology make extremism more threatening in Pakistan.

“A counter-terrorism strategy cannot be developed without considering counter-extremism at the same time,” Agha said.

She called for internal discourse within the Muslim world to provide alternatives to extremism and suggested that one would require an overhaul of government policies to generate political stability.

Agha said the rise of extremism and terrorism in Pakistan can be attributed to a variety of factors such as oppressive cultural norms, social injustice, ideological contradictions, rigid religious beliefs and foreign interference, while poverty, unemployment, hunger and illiteracy only made things worse.

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091024_growing_nws/

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Fatwa fear as Islamic world watches trial of Alexander W over court killing

October 27, 2009

Alexander W shuffled into court in Dresden in a baseball cap, hood, sunglasses and scarf covering his mouth.

The 28-year-old German is accused of murdering a pregnant Egyptian woman in a courtroom stabbing and was hiding his identity for good reason — a fatwa has been issued against him and authorities fear that he is the target of revenge for the Islamic world.

 “Acting out of naked hate against non-Europeans and Muslims, whom he believed did not have the right to live, the accused man exploited the situation in the courtroom in order to extinguish the lives of two people,” said the state prosecutor Frank Heinrich, who will argue that Alexander W should be sentenced to life for murdering Marwa al-Shirbini, 31, a pharmacist, and attempting to kill her husband, Elwi Okaz.

Alexander W did not enter a plea, an option in the German legal system, and turned his back to the court. The judiciary has asked for his full name not to be released to help to ensure his safety. About 200 police, including rooftop marksmen, have been assigned to guard the courthouse. All other trials have been moved out of the building and everyone entering it yesterday was subjected to strict body searches. The irony was immediately apparent to the 20 journalists from Egypt invited to the trial: had there been an airport-style metal detector in place, the accused would never have been able to smuggle a long kitchen knife into the courtroom last July. Now all the security measures are designed to protect his life.

The case began on a children’s playground in Dresden in the summer of 2008. Alexander W, a German citizen of Russian origin, was occupying a swing, smoking. Mrs al-Shirbini, who had trained as a pharmacist in Dresden, wanted to place her two-year-old on the swing. Alexander W reacted with a torrent of abuse, calling her a terrorist, an Islamist and a prostitute.

That evening Mrs al-Shirbini agreed with her husband — who was studying for his doctorate in microbiology in Germany — that they should press charges. Evidence was taken by the police and Alexander W was found guilty of racial abuse and fined. But the man, who emigrated from the Russian city of Perm in 2003, appealed.

By the time the case reached court last July Mrs al-Shirbini was three months pregnant. It was expected to be a routine hearing and she had taken her young boy along, and her husband for support. There was no policeman in the room. She had just finished her testimony when, according to the indictment, Alexander W took three strides across the floor and stabbed her 18 times. Mr Okaz was the first to react and pulled at Alexander W’s arm. The accused turned away from the bleeding Mrs al-Shirbini and dug his knife 16 times into her husband. After several minutes a policeman arrived — and shot Mr Okaz.

Mr Okaz entered the courtroom on crutches yesterday; the policeman’s bullet had ripped tendons in his leg.

At the time, the Muslim world reacted with fury. In Cairo and Alexandria, the home city of the couple, there were demonstrations outside the German Embassy and German institutions. The protests spread to Iran and Karachi in Pakistan, where women held up placards denouncing the West and calling for justice for the “headscarf martyr”. “The Egyptians wanted to see the death sentence imposed on the murderer,” says Aktham Suliman, a correspondent for al-Jazeera, the TV channel that first broadcast detailed reports on the case.

Michael Sturm, the defence lawyer, argues that the international tension surrounding the trial will compromise its objectivity.

Alexander W was allowed to take German citizenship because, like many Russian émigrés to the country, he has distant ethnic German roots. He apparently spoke poor German and, according to the indictment, led an isolated life, drinking heavily, living on unemployment benefit and addicted to computer games. No link to an active neo-Nazi group has been found.

The authorities fear a repetition of the riots against Danish and Scandinavian institutions after the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad in September 2005.

The fatwa has been issued by a Sheikh Ihab Adly Abu al-Madjd in a video clip on the internet. He calls on all Muslims in Germany to take vengeance and “receive the award of Allah”.

The authorities are taking it seriously. A high wall of bulletproof glass has been installed to separate spectators from the hearings. A special corridor has been constructed so that no one disguised as a cleaner or court official can cross the path of the accused.

The Egyptian Ambassador was in court yesterday accompanied by a delegation that included the president of the Egyptian chamber of lawyers and the state prosecutor of Alexandria. Mrs al-Shirbini’s family, who are appearing as co-plaintiffs, have been assigned an Egyptian lawyer as well as a German legal team.

The trial will continue until November 11 — in courtroom 84, two minutes’ walk from the one where Marwa al-Shirbini died in front of her young son.

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6890841.ece

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German man on trial for stabbing Muslim woman

By Frederik Pleitgen

October 26, 2009

Berlin, Germany (CNN) -- A German man accused of stabbing to death a pregnant Muslim woman in a Dresden courtroom went on trial Monday -- in the same court and amid tight security.

The defendant -- a 29-year-old unemployed ethnic Russian -- is accused of stabbing Marwa El-Sherbini 18 times in front of her 3-year-old son during a defamation hearing in the court in July.

As the trial got under way, he entered in a hooded top and sunglasses, which the judge asked him to remove, fining him €50 ($70) when he kept the glasses on, according to Agence France-Presse.

Prosecution lawyer Frank Heinrich told the court that the defendant had stabbed Sherbini "out of pure hatred against non-Europeans and Muslims", AFP reported.

"He wanted to annihilate them," he said.

The killing of Sherbini, a pharmacist who was three months pregnant, stirred outrage in the Muslim world, especially in her native Egypt.

Many accused Germany of lax security and for not adequately protecting its minority Muslim population from a new wave of hatred against Arabs.

Sherbini moved to Dresden in 2003 after the husband received a grant to study genetic engineering in the Max Planck Institute. He was scheduled to present his doctoral thesis when Sherbini was killed.

The case stemmed from an incident in August 2008 at a public playground when Sherbini asked the man to move his niece from a swing so her son Mustafa could use it.

Full Report at: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/10/26/germany.egypt/

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Lebanon breaks hummus, tabbouleh Guinness record

By Omar Katerji

October 26, 2009

BEIRUT: Lebanon successfully made three entries in the Guinness Book of Records over the weekend for the largest plate and the largest plates of hummus and tabbouleh. The “Hummus and Tabbouleh are 100 percent Lebanese” festival took place on Saturday and Sunday at Saifi Market in Downtown Beirut. Thousands attended the two-day event marking Lebanon’s attempt to claim the two dishes.

The dishes were prepared un­der the watch of Guinness adjudicator Tallal Omar by 250 sous chefs from the Kafaat catering school. The 50 chefs  were led by the famous Lebanese chef and culinary figure Ramzi Choueiri.

The first attempt for the largest hummus dish reached an incredible 2056 kilograms, shattering the previous record of 362.8 kilograms set in New York in 2006. The tabbouleh dish weighed in at an even more astonishing 3557 kilograms, which surpasses Israel’s previous record of 2359 kilograms.

Both dishes were prepared in the world’s largest plate designed by Lebanese engineer Joseph Kabalan which was designed to hold over 3 tons.

The event was organized by the International Fairs and Promotions group (IFP), along with the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and the Industry Minister Ghazi Zaiter.

Full Report at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=107936

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Pitched battle in Waziristan, Pak loses 11 soldiers

27 October 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani forces fought pitched battles with Taliban fighters in their bid to wrest their hub of Sararogha in South Waziristan killing

34 militants to raise the terrorist death toll to 227, but lost 11 soldiers as insurgents opened new fronts in the lawless region.

Six soldiers were killed in pitched battles as the troops advanced from Kotkai to capture Sararogha and Jandola but had to face heavy resistance from well entrenched Taliban militants at Ghalai village. With Monday’s losses army casualties climbed upto 30.

The troops were supported by helicopters as the fighting in operation 'Rah-i-Nijat' entered the 10th day. In the fight to secure Ghalai six soldiers and 10 Taliban militants were killed, a military statesman said.

Fourteen soldiers were also injured in the clashes. Seven militants were killed and five soldiers injured in fighting in and around Chalwastai village, from where the security forces are also advancing into Taliban-held territory.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pitched-battle-in-Waziristan-Pak-loses-11-soldiers/articleshow/5166411.cms

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Top Indian politicians on Al Qaeda’s hit list

Rakesh K Singh, October 27, 2009

Emboldened by the audacious Mumbai terror attacks, the Al Qaeda and its affiliate Lashkar-e-Tayyeba plan to target top politicians like the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers of the country besides prominent installations such as Parliament.

Two e-mail intercepts, including a three-page letter, warn that one Kamran, a Pakistani national trained along with Mohammad Azmal Kasab, key accused in the Mumbai attacks, is one of the two key commanders for the latest nefarious plan. Kamran is said to be an electronics engineer and operates from Karachi in Pakistan.

According to the September 12, 2009 intercept, Kamran’s another associate-Sarfaraz is a civil engineer having expertise in assessing the quantity of explosives required to cripple a building of a certain dimension and strength. Sarfaraz has been named as commander of the Super Afghanistan Resistive Force, a new mission of the Al Qaeda for executing the plan that was firmed at a meeting in Rawalpindi in the first week of last month. Sarfaraz is presently engaged with a road and building construction company in Rawalpindi and has meet Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden at least five times between 1997 and 2009. Both Sarfaraz and Kamran have been trained at the Al Qaeda and Taliban camps.

Source: Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/211526/Top-Indian-politicians-on-Al-Qaeda%E2%80%99s-hit-list.html

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Iran’s Ayatollah opposes direct talks with US

Oct 26, 2009

Tehran: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opposes holding direct negotiations with the United States, an Iranian newspaper on Monday cited a senior politician as saying.

The comments by vice speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar appeared to be in contradiction of talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme that took place in Switzerland earlier this month and that included officials from the two old foes.

Relations with the United States are a sensitive issue in the Islamic Republic, whose clerical leaders see Washington as the Great Satan guilty of “global arrogance”.

“Presently, the Supreme National Security Council and the Supreme Leader emphasise that our strategic policies are based on the absence of negotiations with the United States,” Hambastegi newspaper quoted Bahonar as saying.

“That is why we will not have any direct negotiations with the United States,” he said at a meeting of an Islamic engineers association, the reformist daily reported.

Bahonar did not elaborate on what he meant with “direct negotiations”.

But he may have been referring to wide-ranging bilateral talks aimed at normalising U.S.-Iran relations, rather than ruling out all contact between Tehran and Washington.

Full Report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/irans-ayatollah-opposes-direct-talks-with-us/533472/

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19 militants, 6 soldiers die in Pak ops

SHAFQAT ALI

Oct. 26: The Pakistan Army said on Monday that it had killed 19 militants in the past 24 hours and six security officials also died in the operation in South Waziristan.

"In last 24 hours, 19 terrorists have been killed during security forces operation in South Waziristan Operation", a military statement issued here said.

"In Jandola Sararogha Axis, security forces moved forward of Kotkai and secured important Road Y junction at Kazhakas the roads leading to Inzar Kalle and Sararogha. The dominating ridges east and west of this Road Y junction have been secured", the statement said.

"Security forces also secured Gharlai village on main road Kotkai-Sararogha and the adjoining ridges". Meanwhile, an aide of radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah has been arrested in the Swat region as the Pakistani Army continued with its offensive against the Taliban fighters. Ali Shah Khan, an aide of Maulana Fazlullah, was arrested during search operations in Charbagh area, Geo TV reported on Monday.

Full Report at: http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/19-militants,-6-soldiers-die-in-pak-ops.aspx

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Bid on Afghan governor’s life is thwarted

Jalalabad (Afgh-anistan), Oct. 26: The governor of Afgha-nistan’s eastern Nang-arhar province survived an assassination atte-mpt on Monday which saw one of his attackers gunned down in a shootout, an official said.

Two gunmen armed with AK-47 machine guns and hand grenades carried out the attack at an information technology conference near the governor’s office in the city of Jalalabad, said a provincial government spokesman. As governor Gul Agha Shairzai arrived at the venue’s entrance in his motorcade, one of the attackers dropped a hand grenade, Ahmad Zai Abdulzai said. "It was an attack against the governor as it took place as he arrived," he said.

Source: http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/international/bid-on-afghan-governor’s-life-is-thwarted.aspx

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India is funding Taliban fighters, claims Pakistan

26 October 2009

ISLAMABAD: Interior minister Rehman Malik has once again claimed that India is fomenting unrest within Pakistan through steps such as funding

Taliban fighters based along the border with Afghanistan.

Malik said he was "convinced" India is among "certain hostile agencies" that are backing the Taliban to create instability in Pakistan.

Asked during an interview to a TV news channel as to who was backing the Taliban, he said: "There are certain hostile elements against Pakistan and there are certain hostile agencies which do not want Pakistan to be (stabilised)."

In response to a question on whether India is among the hostile agencies, Malik said, "Yes, of course, I am convinced. I have no doubt about it. I was very open. I have given the full details.

"If the interior minister of India or anyone else wants to confront me, I will be very happy to confront them because I know what I am saying," he added.

Malik had said last week that Pakistan has "solid evidence" of India's alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan province and this can be shared with Indian ministers or representatives at any forum of their choice.

"I invite their interior minister or anyone else (to come to Pakistan) and I will put on record all the material about India's interference in Balochistan. I'll prove it to the world," he had said.

Source:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/India-is-funding-Taliban-fighters-claims-Pakistan/articleshow/5163405.cms

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Nuclear deal with Iran possible

CA Online and wire service, 23/10/2009

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei (R) briefed media on the Iranian nuclear issue in Vienna on Oct. 21. (Reuters/Herwig Prammer)

VIENNA — On Oct. 21, Iran edged toward a landmark agreement with the West that would curb its nuclear programme. It remains unclear, however, whether Tehran's leadership will endorse the deal by Oct. 23, the deadline set for Iran to sign the agreement, which would require it to export most of its uranium for enrichment. Iranian diplomats and U.S., Russian and French delegations worked out the deal in Vienna at the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters.

While Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said the draft agreement was "on the right track," he cautioned that his country's leadership had yet to endorse it.

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091023_possible_nws/

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From Judaism to Islam and back again

By MATTHEW WAGNER

Oct 26, 2009

Sometimes embracing a faith is easier than living with the people who profess that faith.

This was a lesson well-learned by "X," a young woman who was born a Jew, converted to Islam but last week stood before a rabbinical court in Jerusalem and declared her fidelity to Judaism.

Once she had made the decision to embrace Islam, it was easy enough for X to make the shahada: "There is only one God and He is Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

But it was altogether a different story when it came to living with Muslims. The cultural differences were impossible to bridge.

X refused to speak to the press for fear of retribution for accepting and then rejecting Islam - an act punishable by death according to Muslim law, as understood by the four major Sunni schools of jurisprudence.

Her story was related by a rabbinical courts representative after all facts that could disclose X's identity were removed by X.

She related how, as a young woman she had doubts about the Jewish faith. She went through a self-searching process that led her to Islam. X gathered information about Islam from the Internet, gradually educating herself about the basic tenets of the faith and learning the prayers.

She remained at home with her traditional Jewish parents, living a double life. But after meeting a young Muslim at Jerusalem's central bus station, she took his advice and ran away.

Full Report at: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256557966915&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

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Obama’s New Thinking

26 Oct 2009

The announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize to American President Barack Obama has generated a heated debate across the world with clear polarization between those who have welcomed the award to Obama and an equally vociferous section of people who are opposed to the naming of the US President as a Nobel laureate. As such many people are asking the question as to what actually President Obama has accomplished to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Still others may support Obama and say that the purpose of this award is not so much about recognizing past success but to support someone’s current efforts, which is in fact what the Nobel committee appears to have done this time round. For instance the committee recognizes the “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” It is also true that Obama’s leadership is focused on commonalities rather than differences. The world’s most powerful man is reaching out to other peoples, culture, religion and societies. This is both inspiring and humility and this has won admiration from many people across the world. Let’s admit this about President Obama—his vision for a better world order of peace and dignity.

Full Report at: http://www.morungexpress.com/editorial/36128.html

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Temple Mount riots part of Arab agenda?

Aaron Klein examines political motives behind clash at Judaism's holiest site

Posted: October 25, 2009, By Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV – Today's Islamic riots on the Temple Mount may be more about internal Palestinian politics and regional negotiation strategy and less about any so-called Jewish threat to the holy site.

Earlier today, at least 25 Arabs and three Israeli policemen were wounded in clashes that saw Arab youth hurl stones, paint and at least one fire bomb at riot gear-clad security forces here. It was the latest in a series of disturbances on the Mount over the past six weeks.

The unrest, however, is not spontaneous and is not occurring in a vacuum.

The riots are being directly incited by the Palestinian Authority, whose official media outlets and institutions have been stoking Arab flames the past few weeks by claiming right-wing extremist Jews are attempting to threaten the Al Aqsa mosque – a decades-old blood libel that should be easily dismissible in light of heavy Israeli restrictions on Jews and Christians from ascending the Mount during most hours of the day.

Muslims, on the other hand, are usually free to access the site at any time. Israeli police also ban all non-Muslims from praying on the site.

Official PA television and radio have been calling on Muslims to "storm" the Al Aqsa Mosque to "protect" the site from "Jewish threat."

Today's clashes had all the trappings of a pre-planned PA campaign. The violence began when Israeli officers attempted to accompany a group of tourists on to the mount. The Jerusalem police revealed today they have film of several Muslim youth preparing the unrest by gathering rocks and pouring oil onto the ground to foil security forces.

Full Report at: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=114001

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Hamas: War will settle Jerusalem dispute, not talks

By Jack Khoury, 26, Oct 2009

Following a conflagration of violence at Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal declared that "Jerusalem's fate will be decided with jihad (holy war) and resistance, and not negotiations."

Clashes between Israeli police and youths armed with rocks broke out Sunday at the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount compound, home of the Muslim holy site, the al Aqsa mosque. The confrontation was apparently sparked by radical Jewish clerics' call to their followers to go up to the compound, and by calls by radical Muslim clerics for their followers to defend the site.

Meshal, in Damascus, voiced hope that Israel's Arabs and the residents of the West Bank would join the residents of the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas, in staging demonstrations in protest of the Jerusalem events, Israel Radio reported.

Meanwhile, Jordan warned the Israel Police and religious Jewish radicals on Sunday that further provocation at the compound would "fuel violence in the region and jeopardize peace efforts".

"Any new provocative attempts by Israeli troops and Jewish extremists such as what happened today in the shrine's compound represents a flagrant violation of international law and conventions and sets the stage for more tension and acts of violence," Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communication Nabil Sharif said in a statement.

Full Report at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1123409.html

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Smiley-Face Definitions of 'Jihad' Grow Ever More Comical

By David J. Rusin, 25 October 2009

Words matter in the battle against radical Islam. As Raymond Ibrahim explains, "In the war on terror, to acquire accurate knowledge - which is pivotal to victory - we need to begin with accurate language." And nowhere is accuracy more wanting than in discussions of jihad.

While the term does translate to "struggle," Ibrahim notes that each school of Islamic jurisprudence emphasizes the military aspect of struggling in the path of Allah (i.e., jihad as holy war).

Yet PC-addled "experts" continue to insist that jihad is a purely benign endeavor, more spiritual self-improvement than al-Qaeda-style self-immolation (and infidel-immolation). Below are three recently highlighted examples that fail the giggle test.

First, a September 28 article in the Buffalo News recounts a women-only meeting held by a local Muslim group, wherein moderator Shanaz Butt lamented the many "misconceptions about Islam," including jihad. According to Butt:

A student trying to pass an exam is a jihadist. A mother raising her children is a jihadist. The people in the seminar are all jihadists because we are striving.

jyllandsposten_bombhead_Mo200x250Second, Diana West dug up a three-year-old story about Omer Bajwa, Yale University's "coordinator of Muslim life," who made a scene during a recent campus appearance by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, famous for his "explosive" caricature of Muhammad. As the Cornell Chronicle reported on February 28, 2006, regarding a talk by Bajwa:

Full Report at: http://www.rightsidenews.com/200910256998/culture-wars/smiley-face-definitions-of-jihad-grow-ever-more-comical.html

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The crisis in Afghanistan An unwanted second round

Oct 22nd 2009

The presidential run-off offers only a cosmetic improvement. Afghanistan needs real reform

IT HAS taken over eight weeks of counting and recounting—and pressure from America, Britain and France—for President Hamid Karzai to acknowledge reality: the first round of the presidential election on August 20th was so crudely stolen by his supporters that he must do it all over again in a run-off against his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, on November 7th. In accepting a second round, Mr Karzai was widely praised as a statesman. In truth, he has been acting as a corrupt chieftain.

The election has exposed much that is wrong with Afghanistan: the rottenness of Mr Karzai’s government, the inability of NATO to bring security, the ineffectiveness of Western attempts at state-building and the failure of the UN to supervise a decent election. The only thing that can be said for this sorry affair is that it has, unwittingly, enhanced the stature of two figures. It has established Mr Abdullah as the authoritative opposition leader; his firm but calm response to the blatant fraud has cast him as more of a statesman than Mr Karzai.

And John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate’s foreign-relations committee (and a failed presidential candidate), has proven himself to be an able international troubleshooter. Some see his impromptu diplomacy, during a fact-finding trip, as evidence that Mr Karzai can still be managed with “tough love” from America. But the fact that it was administered by a visiting senator raises worries about the value of the Obama administration’s frustrated Afghan power-brokers: Karl Eikenberry, its ambassador in Kabul, and the now-absent Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Full Report at: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14699885

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South Waziristan: There they go again

Oct 22nd 2009

By DERA ISMAIL KHAN

War-weary refugees hope that this time the army finishes the job

THIS time the signs are that Pakistan’s army means business in South Waziristan. Civilians, who have fled the ground offensive launched on October 17th in their tens of thousands, tell of intense aerial bombardment. Three previous campaigns against the Pakistani Taliban there since 2004 petered out. Either they were carried out half-heartedly, or bafflingly abandoned in the midst of battle. They left the obscurantist thugs in even firmer control of the region. Now the army seems determined to wrench it back.

With journalists kept away from the fighting, and the two sides giving differing accounts, the progress of the campaign is not clear. But the size of the exodus from South Waziristan suggests fighting is intense. By the middle of this week over 17,500 now destitute families, an estimated 128,000 individuals had registered as displaced people with the authorities in the towns of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank.

As further evidence that the army has at last decided to close down the terrorists’ haven for good, locals point to the huge scale of the troop mobilisation seen rumbling through on its way to South Waziristan. Moreover, the authorities have also tried hard to rid Dera Ismail Khan of the sectarian violence that usually plagues it.

Pakistan’s international allies, as well as the terrorised locals, have long pressed for real action in a mountainous lawless area that had become a jihadist playground. Afghan insurgents, al-Qaeda commanders and Pakistani extremists have had their own fiefs. The army’s campaign, however, is not aimed at the anti-Western Taliban groups which are not at war with Pakistan. They operate from one half of South Waziristan and from North Waziristan, against foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Rather, the target is the other half of South Waziristan, the part occupied by the fierce Mehsud tribe. It provides the base for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), led by Hakimullah Mehsud, a bloodthirsty jihadist. Ahead of the operation, the TTP unleashed a 12-day terrorist spree on Pakistan, killing at least 166 people in a wave of suicide-attacks and gun assaults. This week, extremists even attacked an Islamic university in Islamabad, killing eight, in a twin suicide-bomb blast that forced all educational institutions across Pakistan to close to allow time to beef up their security.

Full Report at: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14710416

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Islam Siddiqui, Obama Nominee, Under Fire From Environmentalists

By The Huffington Post News Team, Huffington Post

Politico reports that the Obama administration's nominee to be Chief Agriculture Negotiator has come under fire for his ties to the chemical and pesticide industries.

Environmental groups are working to derail the nomination of Islam Siddiqui, vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America. Green organization's have pointed to statements Siddiqui made as a lobbyist for CropLife, while he was the Department of Agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, and as a senior agricultural trade adviser in the Clinton administration:

    In 1999, for instance, he derided the European Union's ban on hormone-treated beef. According to Reuters, when the French agriculture minister expressed concern that the hormones could cause cancer in 20 to 30 years, Siddiqui reportedly said of the minister, "He wanted assurances that 30 years from now, nothing would happen. No one in the scientific community can give you that kind of decision."

At CropLife -- a trade association that represents producers and distributors of "crop protection products" -- Siddiqui is responsible for regulatory and international trade issues, according...

Source:  http://www.alternet.org/rss/the_wire_provided_by_huffington_post/96386/islam_siddiqui,_obama_nominee,_under_fire_from_environmentalists/

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Moscow’s Muslim University to Promote Islam via Distance Learning

October 26, 2009

Moscow’s Islamic University is seeking the approval of the Russian government for a system of distance learning for Muslims to reduce the costs involved in brick and mortar institutions, prevent Muslims studying abroad from becoming radicalized, and instruct others who will be teaching about religion in Russia’s public schools.

Speaking to a Moscow conference on the use of contemporary technologies in the development of religious education last week, Marat Murtazin, rector of that university and the chairman of the Council on Islamic Education, argued that this use of the Internet could mark a breakthrough for the faith in Russia (www.muslim.ru/1/cont/33/35/1916.htm).

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of Moscow’s Islamic University, Murtazin said, and today, it not only works closely with the Islamic universities in Kazan, Ufa and Makhachkala but is developing ties with academic centers in the republics of the North Caucasus and other regions.

But such brick and mortar institutions while a major improvement over the Soviet-era situation in which the only domestic Islamic training institutions were in Central Asia, are clearly insufficient to meet the challenges posed the rapid growth of the Muslim community in the Russian Federation, the Moscow rector said.

An important effort to supplement their work, he said, is represented by the complex program for the training of specialists on Islam that has been developed by the Council of Muftis of Russia (SMR), the Administration of the Russian President, and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.

Over the last six years, “dozens of young Muslims” have taken part in this program in the state universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Stavropol, Nizhny Novgorod, and other cities. And the first graduates of this program, the rector said, “have already begun their work in Muslim organizations.”

Full Report at: http://georgiandaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15403&Itemid=72

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Israel announces Gaza inquiry review as protests held over al-Aqsa

October 27, 2009

Jordanian trade unionists set an Israeli flag on fire in Amman and demanded the abolition of the peace treaty with the Jewish state in protest against violence at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site.

In Istanbul about 500 pro-Islamic Turks also held a demonstration after Israeli police entered the compound to confront Palestinian rioters.

Israel announced yesterday that it would review its internal inquiry into the war in Gaza in a move meant to defuse some of the criticism from the UN’s Goldstone report.

The Goldstone Commission accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes during the 23-day offensive that killed up to 1,387 Palestinians and 13 Israelis — but the UN’s resolution cites only Israel. Israel has faced strong pressure to set up an independent investigation into the Goldstone allegations but has refused, dismissing the UN report as biased. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, and Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister, say that the review of findings already established by an internal military inquiry should be enough to stem criticism.

“The idea is to set up a team to double-check the findings, to ensure there was no whitewash or lack of professionalism,” an Israeli government official said.

While Mr Netanyahu had reportedly considering setting up a committee with a stronger mandate, Mr Barak and other security officials strongly oppose any investigation into the military.

Mr Barak said that Israel “sent the fighters on the mission and they deserve our full support.”

Full Report at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6891249.ece

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Iraq seeks UN inquiry into blasts

October 27, 2009

Iraq's foreign minister has called for a UN inquiry into Sunday's twin suicide bombings in Baghdad which left at least 155 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Hoshiyar Zebari said the inquiry should focus on the support given by foreign countries to insurgents, adding that the attacks reinforced the need for international support to help his country defend itself.

The call came shortly before a reported claim of responsibility for Sunday's blasts from an al-Qaeda linked group, the Islamic state of Iraq.

The statement posted on the internet said its "martyrs ... targeted the dens of infidelity".

The authenticity of the statement, posted on a website commonly used to claim responsibility for such attacks, could not be independently confirmed.

"Suicide bombers targeted the dens of infidelity and pillars of the rejectionist Shia state in the land of the caliphate," the statement read.

Deadly attacks

The attacks were the deadliest seen in Iraq in two years, targeting the justice ministry and the Baghdad provincial administration and raising fears about Iraq's ability to protect itself as it prepares for the US military withdrawal.

"The bloody Sunday explosions strengthen Iraq's demand to the UN and the Security Council to nominate a senior international envoy to come to Iraq and evaluate the degree of interference targeting stability in Iraq," Zebari told al-Arabiya television.

Full Report at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/10/200910274924795886.html

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14 Americans killed in 2 helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

26 October 2009

KABUL: A series of helicopter crashes killed 14 Americans in insurgent-wracked Afghanistan on Monday, the US military said. It was one of the

deadliest days of the war for US troops.

In the first crash, a chopper went down in the west of the country after leaving the scene of a firefight with insurgents, killing 10 Americans _ seven troops and three civilians working for the government. Eleven American troops, one US civilian and 14 Afghans were also injured.

In a separate incident in the south, two other US choppers collided while in flight, killing four American troops and wounding two more, the military said.

US authorities have ruled out hostile fire in the collision but have not given a cause for the other fatal crash in the west. Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmedi claimed Taliban fighters shot down a helicopter in northwest Badghis province's Darabam district. It was impossible to verify the claim and unclear if he was referring to the same incident.

US forces also reported the death of two other American troops a day earlier: one in a bomb attack in the east, and another who died of wounds sustained in an insurgent attack in the same region. The deaths bring to at least 46 the number of US troops who have been killed in October.

Earlier this month, insurgents killed eight American troops in an attack on a pair of isolated US outposts in the eastern village of Kamdesh near the Pakistan border. That was the heaviest US loss of life in a single battle since July 2008, when nine American soldiers were killed in a raid on an outpost in Wanat in the same province.

``These separate tragedies today underscore the risks our forces and our partners face every day,'' Col. Wayne Shanks, a spokesman for the NATO-led coalition, said Monday. ``Each and every death is a tremendous loss for the family and friends of each service member and civilian. Our grief is compounded when we have such a significant loss on one day.''

This has been the deadliest year for international and US forces since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban. Fighting spiked around the presidential vote in August, and 51 US soldiers died that month _ the deadliest for American forces in the eight-year war.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/14-Americans-killed-in-2-helicopter-crashes-in-Afghanistan/articleshow/5163413.cms

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Pakistan arrests 12 Iranians for illegal infiltration: officials

October 26, 2009

Pakistani authorities have arrested 12 Iranians for illegally crossing the border and they were undergoing interrogation on Monday, officials said.

"There are 12 Iranians who have been arrested along with two vehicles," Baluchistan provincial home secretary Mohammad Akbar Durrani told AFP.

"They are being interrogated," Durrani said declining to give any details on the possible identities of the men.

"We informed the Foreign Office about the arrests," he added.

A border official said 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were arrested after they crossed the border into Pakistan, but he spoke on condition of anonymity and there was no other confirmation.

A paramilitary spokesman said only that "some Iranians" who intruded four kilometres (2.4 miles) into Pakistani territory were arrested at Mashkail, some 400 kilometres (240 miles) west of Quetta.

ull Report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/pakistan/Pakistan-arrests-12-Iranians-for-illegal-infiltration-officials/Article1-469491.aspx

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Tashkent hosts week of culture, art and fashion

Zarina Muradova

26/10/2009

The latest fashions were on display at the Uzbek House of Style in Tashkent on Oct. 17. (Photo by Yves Forestier/Getty Images For Style.UZ)

TASHKENT — From Oct. 12 to 17, the fourth annual Art Week Style.uz Week of Culture, Art and Fashion took place in Uzbekistan's capital. The six-day event included exhibits, competitions for photographers and young designers, a national costume festival, shows of clothing by domestic and leading foreign designers and master classes in design. Distinguished guests included leading Spanish opera singer, Montserrat Caballé and British pop star Sting.

On Oct. 17, the latest Uzbek fashion trends were presented at a clothing show from the House of Style. Two nights before, Valentino (Italy), Sonia Rykiel (Paris) and Oscar de la Renta (U.S.) fashion house collections were displayed there.

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091026_week_ent/

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Uzbekistan enhances national security

Andrey Alexandrov

26/10/2009

There are no more than 20km of railroad in Afghanistan. (Photo by Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

TASHKENT — On Oct. 20, the first freight train carrying military cargo for coalition forces in Afghanistan crossed Uzbekistan. Under tight security, the train followed a route that avoided Tashkent.

The country has a railroad network built during the Soviet era and it added a line continuing directly to Afghanistan.

Freight containers will now be loaded onto railway flat-cars from ships at the port of Riga in Latvia and be unloaded in Hairaton, Afghanistan, offering a far more secure route than shipping such cargo through Pakistan. With the country's economy stalled, charges for the transit of military freight will be welcomed by Tashkent.

To make this transit route a reality, Uzbekistan accelerated construction of the

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091026_afganistan_nws/

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Journalism education in Central Asia called outdated

Tair Shamshiev, 23/10/2009

Director of the Russian Institute of the Right to Information, Andrei Rikhter. (Photo by Tair Shamshiev)

KYRGYZSTAN — On Oct. 15 and 16, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OSCE Centre in Bishkek jointly held a regional conference on “Improving the Quality of Journalism Education and New Technologies.”

Participants included reporters, media experts and university faculty from Central Asian countries, France, Germany, Finland, Russia, Lithuania and Georgia. For the first time, representatives from Turkmenistan also took part in the conference.

Regional conference on issues in journalism education in Central Asia. (Photo by Tair Shamshiev)

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091023_media_nws/

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Tajikistan to lease pastures in Kyrgyzstan

Tamiris Takhiri

23/10/2009

The arrangement will allow Tajikistan to maintain its current volume of meat and dairy production. (Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

TAJIKISTAN — The Kyrgyz Parliamentary Committee for Regional Development and Local Self-Government has approved an agreement to lease pastures to Tajikistan.

The agreement calls for Kyrgyzstan to lease 17,800 hectares of summer and fall pastures for the grazing of farm animals in a region bordering northern Tajikistan.

According to a statement by Kyrgyz Agricultural Minister Iskenderbek Aidaraliev, the request for a yearly lease came from administrators of the Batken, Osh and Zhalal-Abad regions. “The effective price per head of sheep will by $3. According to zoological norms, one hectare can sustain five sheep and one large-horned animal. The total lease price will therefore be US$267,000,” he said.

In order to prevent the introduction of disease carriers, Tajikistan has assumed the responsibility of observing veterinary requirements while transporting livestock to Kyrgyz territory.

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091023_agreement_bus/

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Government shake-up in Kyrgyzstan

Tair Shamshiyev

23/10/2009

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. (Press office of the president of Kyrgyzstan)

KYRGYZSTAN — President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev has announced sweeping government reforms.

Sensational aspects of the shake-up include the dismissal of the government, a reduction in the number of ministries and a 40 percent cut in the number of employees in the Presidential Administration.

Daniyar Usenov, one of Kyrgyzstan’s wealthiest men and an experienced politician whose career has been beset by scandal over the past few years and who is one of President Bakiyev’s closest associates was named Prime Minister.

Daniyar Usenov, the new prime minister of Kyrgyzstan. (Press office of the president of Kyrgyzstan)

Full Report at: http://www.centralasiaonline.com/en/articles/091023_reform_nws/

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The big freeze

Barry Rubin

October 26, 2009

US policy on West Asia has come to a dead halt

If solving the Israel-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflict is the centrepiece of the Obama Administration’s West Asia policy — at times it seems the keystone of its entire policy — there is an obvious problem derailing it.

The President of the United States and high officials have repeatedly announced that they are organising as a high priority final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It is one of the most basic rules of foreign policy that you don’t put the chief executive’s prestige on the line unless you know for sure beforehand that what he says will happen.

The fly in the ointment here is the PA. It forcefully insists that it won’t even meet formally with Israel until all construction on all Jewish settlements on the West Bank plus east Jerusalem stop completely. Already, however, US-Israel discussions have moved past that point. We don’t know precisely where they stand but clearly the Obama Administration isn’t pushing for a total halt and it isn’t pushing all that urgently on the issue.

Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/211208/The-big-freeze.html

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The Roman Catholic and Anglican churches

Unleashing the Counter-Reformation

Oct 22nd 2009

The pope makes it easier for Anglicans to convert to Catholicism en masse—but creates a rod for his own back

SINCE the Church of England voted 17 years ago to admit women to the priesthood, disenchanted individual members of the 80m-strong worldwide Anglican Communion have been quietly converting to Roman Catholicism. Since 2003, when the Episcopalian church, the American branch of the Communion, first ordained an openly gay bishop, the number of alienated conservatives has been swollen by those dismayed by their Church’s growing tolerance of homosexuality.

Many traditionalist Anglicans, nevertheless, have held back, reluctant to sacrifice their liturgy and heritage. On October 20th Pope Benedict offered them a way out of their unease and into the Catholic church. In so doing, he created a new headache for the beleaguered Anglican leadership—and resuscitated an old conundrum for the Vatican.

For years, the pope’s officials have been mulling over what to do about Anglican splinter groups which sought to join the Catholic church as a body. Foremost among these is the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), led by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth. It had been thought the pope might offer the TAC a status within the Roman Catholic Church like that given to the conservative fellowship, Opus Dei—one that gives its members their own pastors rather than putting them under the local diocesan bishop.

But the papal decree goes much further. It enables not just the TAC, but any Anglican group—community, parish, even an entire diocese—to enter into communion with Rome without sacrificing its traditions. The so-called Apostolic Constitution (the highest form of pontifical ordinance) creates a new entity that transcends diocesan boundaries: the “personal ordinariate”, similar to the “military ordinariates” for Roman Catholics in the armed forces. In charge of each will be a former Anglican prelate. The Vatican has already taken, following reordination, several dozen rebel Anglican priests, some of them married. It makes a similar exception to its rule of priestly celibacy for the Eastern Catholic churches (which recognise the pope but use their own rites). The Vatican does not, however, permit married bishops. So the pastors of these new “personal ordinariates” must either be unmarried bishops or married priests.

Archbishop Hepworth declared himself “profoundly moved by the generosity” of Pope Benedict. But Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglicans’ mother Church, seemed stunned. Writing to his bishops, he complained he had been informed only at “a very late stage”.

No wonder he was shocked. The pope’s scheme will make it even harder for the Anglican leader to sustain an already difficult balancing act. To keep his worldwide Communion together, he is hewing to a relatively conservative line on homosexuality that would involve gay-friendly Americans settling for a sort of associate status. But in his own Church, he has gone along with a liberal policy on women. Preparations are in train for the ordination of female bishops. And there is likely to be an end to the procedural devices allowing traditionalist clergy to avoid serving alongside (or, in future, under) women. That may have persuaded the Vatican to act: it had to decide how to respond to conservatives who felt the Church of England was about to make their position untenable.

Hitherto, an uneasy alliance of low-church evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics has struggled to resist liberal Anglicanism. “This will change the balance in the Church of England in favour of the liberals,” says Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia, a think-tank. “The evangelicals won’t go to Rome and they may now be abandoned by their Anglo-Catholic allies.” Some think (or fear) that as many as one in seven Church of England priests could convert.

The effect on the Catholic church may also be far-reaching. With the pope signalling a readiness to give married prelates the authority, if not the status, of bishops, it may be asked how long he can hold the line on priestly celibacy in the Western Church. Celibacy is widely ignored in Africa and Latin America. And it is an obstacle to Benedict’s dream of re-evangelising Europe, as it is the leading cause of the collapse in the numbers of Europeans studying for the priesthood.

As Richard Chartres, the Anglican bishop of London, commented, the pope’s initiative “sounds to me like a vindication of the idea of married priests, which was one of the achievements of the Reformation.” He was being ironic. Probably.

Source:  http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14700662

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Pakistan, Turkey sign MoUs for bilateral co-op in different sectors

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan and Turkey have signed a joint political declaration and two MoUs to bolster cooperation through High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) in different fields including defence, trade, investment, industry, agriculture and infrastructure development.

The Declaration was signed by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their talks in Islamabad on Sunday.

Under the Declaration, a High Level Cooperation Council was established which will be jointly chaired by the Prime Ministers of the two countries who will meet at least once a year

The joint political declaration referred to the relationship between the two countries that rests on the strong foundations of bonds of history, culture, fraternity and solidarity, solid record of mutual assistance and solidarity in times of difficulty and says that Turkey and Pakistan share the objectives of the promotion of regional and international peace, stability and prosperity.

The two countries expressed their determination to build on the staunch people to people bonds to elevate their cooperation to unprecedented levels for the benefit of their peoples. Both countries agreed to cooperate to overcome regional and global challenges and to benefit from opportunities.

The joint political declaration reiterated the resolve of the leadership to reinforce their close cooperation in different areas, and for this purpose both sides decided to form a bilateral High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC).

The main purpose of the HLCC is to oversee and steer the unique partnership and intensified cooperation between the two countries. Meetings of the High Level Cooperation Council will be held alternatively in Islamabad and Ankara and in between preparatory meetings will be held at the level of Foreign Ministers and senior officials.

The intensified cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan as two partners will cover a wide-range of issues with a focus on practical cooperation in political, diplomatic, economic, energy, cultural, security and military fields.

The two leaders agreed that for enhancing cooperation to increase economic and trade relations to the mutual benefit of the two countries and to achieve that end decided to discuss a Free Trade Agreement.

Full Report at: http://dailymailnews.com/1001/26/FrontPage/FrontPage1.php

URLof this page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/ulema-and-feminists-against-polygamy-club/d/2003

 

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