New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 07:48 AM

Islamic World News ( 10 March 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

UN rights body to condemn Swiss ban on minaret

Saving Iraq's Christians

A fatwa they can work with?

India mulls scaling down Afghan ops

‘Need to identify enemy within’

Jamia Millia staff threaten strike for minority status for varsity

Biden says peace talks must resume despite Mid-East row

Afghanistan does not want 'proxy wars', says Karzai

Hamas releases British journalist Paul Martin

 ‘Try Kasab for war against India’

 ‘A.Q. network offered nuke bomb to Saddam’

Where Hindus and Muslims pray together

Paying for Afghanistan’s poppy

Ulema Council threatens to launch agitation

Iran Prez criticises Nato, mocks Gates

Row as man marries eunuch in Tipu mosque

Start national campaign against terrorism: Abdul Kalam

Success of lone gunmen may shift al-Qaida strategy

Indonesian Islamic organization issues a fatwa against smoking

Muslims rightly engage in democracy

Hundreds protest Fairfax imam giving prayer in Va. House tomorrow

MI5 ex-chief: US misled allies over detainees

Bangladeshi, HuJI terrorist get life

Pak offered Saddam N-package

At FS talks, Pak said call in Ministers next, India said no

Terrorism being fanned to destabilise economy: PC

Pak MPs who refused body scan in US return as heroes

US court rejects terror suspect Rana's bail plea, fears he may flee

India may scale down its Afghan operations

Intention to disrupt Indo-Israeli relations, says prosecution

Al-Azhar head Tantawi buried in Madinah

Tabung Haji Operations To Be Shifted To Sepang By 2013 - Jamil Khir

Is the tide turning in Somalia?  

Before 'jihad,' Colleen had her demons

Maureen Dowd: Pilgrim non grata in Mecca

Success of lone gunmen may shift al-Qaida strategy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/un-rights-body-to-condemn-swiss-ban-on-minaret/d/2565

------

UN rights body to condemn Swiss ban on minaret

11 Mar 2010

The United Nations Council of Human Rights is intended to condemn a move by Switzerland to impose a ban on the construction of new minarets in the Alpine nation, characterizing the measure as "Islamophobic."

A draft resolution proposed by the Muslim states for consideration in the 47-member council, "strongly condemns ... the ban on construction of minarets of mosques and other recent discriminatory measures," AFP said.

Such actions are "manifestations of Islamophobia that stand in sharp contradiction to international human rights obligations concerning freedoms of religion, belief, conscience and expression."

They "fuel discrimination, extremism, and misperception leading to polarization and fragmentation with dangerous unintended and unforeseen consequences," cautioned the draft resolution.

The draft resolution is to be put to the Council for adoption by the end of the month.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has described the ban as a "deeply discriminatory, deeply divisive and a thoroughly unfortunate step for Switzerland to take."

The Organization of the Islamic Conference has also called on Swiss officials to abandon the move.

In a referendum last year the Swiss voted to stop Muslims building more minarets, a move that met with global condemnations.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120528&sectionid=351020606

-------

Saving Iraq's Christians

Father Raymond J. de Souza,

March 11, 2010

This new decade has gotten off to a rough start for Christians living in the Islamic world. Just this week, hundreds of Nigerian Christians were killed by Muslims, though the religious dimension of that event is disputed. Just yesterday, in Manshera, Pakistan, suspected Islamists attacked the World Vision office, killing at least five people using bombs, hand grenades and guns. World Vision is the world's largest Christian overseas relief and development agency, and its employees murdered yesterday -- all Pakistanis -- were assisting those still suffering from the Kashmir earthquake in 2005.

There was a massacre of Christians in Mosul, Iraq, on Jan. 2, and targeted killings of Christians throughout January and February. The "targeted killing" is an especially effective form of anti-Christian terror. A Christian -- either a man or woman will do -- is simply grabbed off the street by Islamists while walking to work or school, killed and the body dumped. No one can feel safe. When a Christian leaves home in the morning, he does not know if he will be killed that day solely for being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

There was a targeted killing of a Christian businessman on Jan. 17, the very day the city of Mosul received its new Catholic archbishop, Emil Shimoun Nona. Why the need for a new archbishop for Mosul? Islamists murdered the last one, Paulos Faraj Rahho, just two years ago.

Amid the general decline of Christians in the Middle East, the breakdown of order in Iraq has allowed Islamists to unleash constant violence against Iraq's Christians. The goal is to drive Christians out from lands in which they have worshipped God since the early Christian centuries.

The figures show the general trend, and the acceleration due to recent violent persecution by Islamist bandits, unrestrained by the Iraq security forces. In 1932, Christians were 20% of the Iraqi population. By 1979, when Saddam came to power, they were 10%. After the first Iraq War in 1991, they were down to 5%. Since 2003 and the second Iraq War they are fewer than 3% and dropping rapidly.

There were some one million Iraqi Christians in 2003, and it is estimated that over half have fled since. Those who remain in Iraq have often fled their homes in the cities to live in the north, without homes or jobs. Hundreds of thousands have fled into neighbouring countries -- Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey.

Even if the slaughter was to stop, most of these people could not return home safely. In order to flee Iraq without being killed en route, many Christian refugees have to pay for protection -- a nasty combination of religious persecution, organized crime and rapacious banditry. The refugee family likely has no home, no property, no car -- nothing to return to. All of it has been given over to the extortion racket, often with an explicit proviso that if the Christian family seeks to return, all will be killed.

It appears that little can be done to stop the Islamist drive to de-Christianize Iraq. But something can be done for some Iraqi Christians, and Canada is leading the way.

In February 2009, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney increased from 1,200 to 2,500 the annual number of privately sponsored refugees that Canada would accept for three years through the Damascus office, where the largest number of Iraqi refugees are. In addition to the privately sponsored places, there are 1,400 annual places in the government-assisted resettlement program for Damascus. Such places are not for Christians alone, but are an undeniable help to Christians seeking refuge.

Yet refugees have to be sponsored and helped once they arrive in a strange land. Canadian Christian churches had extensive refugee sponsorship programs during the Cold War to accommodate those fleeing communist persecution. Over the years, those programs atrophied, as happily there were fewer Christians fleeing religious persecution. Now with the rise of the Islamist threat, those networks have to be reconstituted. It is not an easy task, but an impressive lead is being taken by Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, whose city will likely be a principal place of resettlement. He has been encouraging his fellow Catholic bishops to intensify their efforts as well, and similar initiatives are being encouraged in other Christian communities.

The possible end of the Christian presence in Iraq -- the land of Abraham -- is an unspeakable sadness. Writing about this two years ago, I prayed that "fearsome justice" would be visited upon those who slaughter our fellow Christians in Iraq. That does not appear to be imminent. So while justice is delayed in Iraq, solidarity and charity in Canada is the best we can do.

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=0c48479e-ca84-4131-9c5c-ecc7db86b886&p=2

-------

A fatwa they can work with?

By Dominic Casciani

March 11, 2010

An Islamic scholar turned up in London last week to deliver a religious ruling denouncing terrorism in all its forms - but what was it about him that made everyone sit up and listen?

He's a man on a mission - a mission to state the obvious.

But for Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri it is the obvious facts that need stating loudest. Last week the Pakistani-born cleric took to a stage in London to declare his Islamic religious ruling, or fatwa, against terrorism.

There was a man from the other side of the world telling an audience that included Parliamentarians and other government officials what they had been wanting to hear. A clear, concise and quotable denouncement of al-Qaeda's worldview.

Canada-based Dr Qadri spoke for more than an hour on his reasons why the Koran forbids the murder and mayhem of suicide bombings.

If [the child] he has reached the stage where he is a terrorist, the parents are duty bound according to Islamic law to inform the anti-terrorist squad

Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri

"This fatwa is an absolute condemnation of terrorism. Without any excuse, without any pretext, without any exceptions, without creating any ways of justification," he said.

"This condemnation is in its totality, in its comprehensiveness, its absoluteness, a total condemnation of every act of terrorism in every form which is being committed or has been committed wrongly in the name of Islam."

Classically trained

Dr Qadri is a classically-trained Islamic scholar and his organisation, Minhaj ul-Quran International, has spent 30 years building a strong following in Pakistan.

He is also a former Parliamentarian who was very close to Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister assassinated by a suicide bomber in 2007.

Some two years on, Dr Qadri's vast review of what Islam says about terrorism comes down to the very simple idea that there is no theological or moral case for a wronged party being allowed to seek vengeance against the innocent.

His fatwa makes detailed observations of the principles of a just war and rules of engagement. And he goes further than some scholars in stating that bombers who use an ideology to justify their actions have turned away from their faith.

His arrival in the UK was a quite deliberate attempt to shake things up. The youth, he says, need more help to counter the brainwashers. But in saying so, the fatwa became political.

Its launch was notable not just for who was there from the corridors of power, but who wasn't from the Muslim communities.

Supporters from communities close to his own background turned out. But the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, the umbrella body representing 500 groups, sent apologies. Some of the scholars who had signed a fatwa led by the MCB against terrorism after the 7 July attacks, were not there either.

Community fault lines

Dr Qadri's intervention in the UK has exposed complicated fault lines in the Muslim communities that often go unseen. Some people in the MCB are suspicious of his motives. One Muslim campaign group close to the MCB, iEngage, accused Dr Qadri of sectarianism. He denies trying to stir things up.

The dome of a mosque in the UK

Hearts and minds: Communities divided over how to tackle extremists

"I have never been sectarian in my life. Never, ever," he says.

"I have helped Christians to celebrate Christmas. But that liberal point of view is not acceptable to [some Muslim groups in the UK].

"They talk about openness and integration but what do they really believe in? The language of the heart and the language of the mouth are different. "

Dr Qadri goes on to criticise scholars whom he believes are equivocal over violence in Israel or any other situation where they claim there are exceptions that make suicide bombing permissible.

He reserves special ire for scholars who argue that there the West is part of a "sphere of war," calling them "quacks" who have understood neither Islamic history, nor how to interpret the present.

But the real question is whether anyone is listening? Can a son on the edge of turning to al-Qaeda be brought back by his family?

"If he has reached the stage where he is a terrorist, the parents are duty bound according to Islamic law to inform the anti-terrorist squad," he says banging his point home on the table.

"If he is at the stage where he can be reformed, then they should take every possible act to reform him."

Countering extremism

But almost five years on from London's 7/7 attacks, in which 52 people died, there is no settled view on how to do it.

Government has put a lot of effort into backing groups like the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank led by two former members of a legal Islamist movement.

There are separate programmes involving the police and Security Service which deal with people right on the cusp. It uses a variety of methods - but some experts believe the best results come from deploying hardline Saudi-influenced clerics who have the street credibility to mentor a youngster while demolishing al-Qaeda's arguments.

There is tension between the two camps - because there are a great deal of people who see hardline clerics as part of the conveyor belt that ultimately leads to terrorism.

But both sides at least agree that they need a proper "toolkit" of theological arguments.

"If someone is going to be a suicide bomber, they have to be 100% convinced that they are going to heaven," says Maajid Nawaz, co-director of the Quilliam Foundation. "If you can put just 1% of doubt in their minds, then you could stop them. And you do that that by presenting them with detailed evidences from Islam itself. This fatwa helps."

That's not an argument that washes with everyone.

Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian academic based in London, infamously became a tabloid hate figure by supporting suicide bombing in Israel because it was the only means of self-defence available. He is less well known for the critical role he played in helping the police bring down the now-jailed preacher Abu Hamza.

"People who resort to these bombings do it because they believe it is justified, that it is commendable and rewardable," he says. "Otherwise they would not do it. For every fatwa there is a counter fatwa."

Amid all this fatwa flashing, many Muslims fear divide and rule - and suspect that someone, somewhere will use Dr Tahir ul-Qadri to further that agenda.

The scholar sees this as the signs of paranoia brought on by a weakness - and his answer is to expand his organisation's mission in the UK beyond its 10 mosques and 5,000 members.

So will Dr Qadri's fatwa do some good or end up on the great big pile of similar denouncements?

An hour after he delivered his address, the former leader of al-Muhajiroun, a group recently banned for extremism, turned up at the doorstep of a news channel and asked to go on air to counter Dr Qadri.

Would he have bothered if the scholar was such an irrelevance in the battle for hearts and minds?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8550927.stm

-------

India mulls scaling down Afghan ops

Mar 11, 2010,

Falling in line with US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement about beginning of withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan by July 2011, the Indian Government is also considering options to scale down its rehabilitation missions in Kabul. The move is based on security concerns assessed by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon on his visit to Kabul in the wake of deadly terror attack on February 26 on guesthouses frequented by Indians.

It was also stated that the US has given Pakistan an upper hand in Afghanistan.

Sources said the government is likely to reduce the number of its employees involved in carrying out work in the field of education, medicinal aid, and construction works. It has already issued an advisory to the employees of the private companies that the Government would ensure their safe return if they wished to come back to India.

The NSA is believed to have detailed the options to the Cabinet Committee on Security on ensuring the safety of Indian Embassy, Consulates and other allied offices in the troubled country. Apart from the embassy in Kabul, India also has consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.

Interestingly, after TV channels and agencies throughout the day ran stories about scaling down of the Indian operations in Afghanistan based on briefing by highly-placed officials, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash “categorically dismissed” these reports as “baseless and factually incorrect”.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/241398/India-mulls-scaling-down-Afghan-ops.html

-------

‘Need to identify enemy within’

Amrish Baagri

Mar 11, 2010,

Kakodkar, Doval voice concern at security convention

Internal and external securities are two sides of the same coin. There is need to define the enemies first within the country and then the external ones. The diabolical intentions of external forces trying to destabilise the nation can be defeated by action matched with the words spoken time and again by the political establishment in context of the internal threat.

These views emerged at a two-day convention on national security organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security in Hardwar attended by leading luminaries from the field of security, politics, spirituality, religion and the social sector.

Leading security experts, including former Secretary, DAE Anil Kakodkar, former Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain and former director of Intelligence Bureau Ajit Doval echoed the view that when the external forces failed to defeat India in direct warfare, they started aiding and creating forces to cause internal disturbance in the form of terror attacks, Maoist and Naxalite insurgency, armed insurgency in the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir. They stressed upon the need to identify and define the hostile forces and problems within the country and to address them tactically.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/241392/%E2%80%98Need-to-identify-enemy-within%E2%80%99.html

-------

Jamia Millia staff threaten strike for minority status for varsity

Mar 11, 2010,

Demanding minority educational institution status for Jamia Millia University (JMI), over 2,000 professors and administrative staff of the university will be on strike on March 15. According to Jamia officials, status of minority educational institution will allow 50 per cent reservation for Muslims and no quota for any other category. "This is another effort to press the Government to recognise JMI as a Muslim minority educational institution in clear terms," said NU Khan, president, Jamia Teachers Association.

Khan said that if their demand is accepted then 50 per cent of the university seats will be reserved for Muslims and no other reservation will come into effect. "Reserving 50 per cent seats for Muslims will leave the rest 50 per cent for general category. Implementation of the reservation will do away with other types of reservations for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs)," Khan added. He further said that colleges like Khalsa and St. Stephen's also have minority status.

It is pertinent to mention that under Central Government guidelines, all central universities must implement 27 per cent OBC reservation quota. Jamia -- which has central university status — is yet to initiate the process. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written any times that the varsity must implement the Government rule or else it may face monetary sanctions. The university, established in 1920 by an act of the Parliament, currently has around 19,000 students.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/241307/Jamia-Millia-staff-threaten-strike-for-minority-status-for-varsity.html

------

Biden says peace talks must resume despite Mid-East row

11 March 2010

US Vice-President Joe Biden says there must be no delay in resuming Mid-East peace talks, despite a row over Israeli plans for new homes in East Jerusalem.

Mr Biden repeated his criticism of the timing of the building decision, but praised the response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the controversy.

He also stressed that the United States had "no better friend than Israel".

The Palestinian Authority earlier said talks would be "very difficult" if the plans for the homes were not rescinded.

Both sides had only agreed on Monday to hold indirect, so-called "proximity talks" in a bid to restart the peace process, which has been stalled for more than a year.

'Willing partners'

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8561998.stm

------

Afghanistan does not want 'proxy wars', says Karzai

11 March 2010

Afghanistan does not want other countries' "proxy wars" fought on its soil, President Hamid Karzai has said.

He was speaking following talks with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad, and a day after Iran and the US traded blows over their activities in Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai said he did not want India and Pakistan, or anyone else, to fight their wars on his country's territory.

Parties to the Afghan conflict are rethinking policy ahead of 2011 when the US says it will begin to withdraw.

Pakistan role

Mr Karzai is making his first visit to Pakistan since his controversial re-election last year.

The trip comes amid an expected surge of Western troops in Afghanistan this summer. It also follows the recent arrests of Taliban leaders in Pakistan which indicate the military there may be willing to reign in the militants.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8561395.stm

------

Hamas releases British journalist Paul Martin

11 March 2010

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has released a British journalist accused of espionage in the Gaza Strip.

Paul Martin, a freelance journalist accused by the movement of working for Israel was arrested on 15 February.

Hamas, which runs the enclave, has not filed any charge against him in court but said it was deporting him because it "believed him to be guilty".

Mr Martin's lawyer said the charges were "ridiculous" and strongly denied the accusations.

Mr Martin's family also strongly rejected Hamas's accusations, saying he was an innocent journalist.

"We are extremely relieved that Paul has been released and pleased that the authorities responded to our appeals," his wife Anne said.

He had gone to Gaza to give evidence in the defence of a Palestinian man he had interviewed, who had also been accused of spying for Israel.

"Paul has maintained his innocence throughout this ordeal," Mrs Martin said.

No charges were brought against Mr Martin in court, but he was made to leave the country on the orders of Hamas.

Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8561705.stm

-------

‘Try Kasab for war against India’

Jigna Vora

11 March 2010

MUMBAI, March 10: The prosecution in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack trial stressed in its final arguments on Wednesday that the lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Aamir Kasab as well as the two co-accused Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed must be tried for waging war against the nation. However, additional Chief Justice M.L.Tahiliyani presiding over the special court has expressed his doubts regarding this charge.

Mr Nikam cited Supreme Court judgments, including that of the terror attack on Parliament, where the apex court had upheld the charges of waging war against the nation against the accused in the case.

The court, however, observed that in the Parliament attack case, only Indians were involved in the act. “In this case, the question of whether the trial of a foreign national on the charges of ‘waging war against the nation’ can be conducted in this trial court still remains, since the Supreme Court judgment speaks about Indians,” the judge noted.

Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5102:try-kasab-for-war-against-india&catid=35:india&Itemid=60

-------

‘A.Q. network offered nuke bomb to Saddam’

LALIT K. JHA

10 March 2010

WASHINGTON: An agent linked to disgraced Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan had offered Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1990 that they could build an atomic bomb for him in three years under a $150 million “nuclear package deal,” according to a new book.

The “package” deal included not only weapon designs but also details of production plants and foreign experts to supervise the building of a nuclear bomb, David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector, said in his book to be released next week, the Washington Post reported. Reporting on the book entitled Peddling Peril — How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies, the paper said the newly-uncovered documents suggest that Dr Khan’s offer of nuclear assistance to Saddam was more comprehensive than previously known.

“A 1990 letter attributed to a Khan business associate offered Iraq a chance to leap past technical hurdles to acquire weapons capability,” it said. “Pakistan had to spend a period of 10 years and an amount of $300 million to get it,” begins one of the memos, the daily said reporting from the book. 

“Now, with the practical experience and worldwide contacts Pakistan has developed, you could have ‘A.B.’ in about three years’ time and by spending about $150 million. ‘A.B.’ was understood to mean “atomic bomb,” Mr Albright wrote, adding that aid from the Dr Khan could have accelerated Iraq’s quest for a weapon if the Iraqi leader had not run out of time. One memo cited in the book promised to provide “all the vital components and materials” needed to make fissile material and added that “two to three Pakistani scientists could be persuaded to resign and join the new assignment” in Iraq, the daily said. Copies of the original Arabic documents, several with handwritten comments in the margins, were shown to the Washington Post.    

http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5052:aq-network-offered-nuke-bomb-to-saddam&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

-------

Where Hindus and Muslims pray together

Mar 11, 2010,

GADDEAJIJPUR: When Hindus visit a temple in Gaddeajijpur village of Uttar Pradesh, they also make it a point to pray at the adjacent mausoleum. It is no different for Muslims. For, the villagers believe their prayers will not be answered otherwise.

Gaddeajijpur village, located on the outskirts of Hardoi district, some 110 km from state capital Lucknow, sees Hindus and Muslims pray together at the Lord Hanuman Temple and the Jind Peer Baba Mazar that are adjacent to each other.

According to locals, any prayer offered only at the mazar or the temple is not fulfilled, as the almighty, according to them, answers only those prayers that are offered at both the places.

"You can term it a specialty of this place...Whosoever comes here pays equal obeisance to Baba and Hanumanji...In fact, it has become a ritual for this place," said Kanta Pushpak, 59, who runs a grocery shop in Gaddeajijpur village.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Where-Hindus-and-Muslims-pray-together/articleshow/5670584.cms

-------

Paying for Afghanistan’s poppy

Mar 11, 2010,

The United States has completed a military operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province and is preparing a new operation, in Kandahar. The US says its new strategy in Afghanistan does not emphasise action against drug producers.

The US most likely does not want to provoke the wrath of the Afghans, whose welfare largely depends on opium poppy plantations.

According to a recent report published by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, although the area sown with opium poppy in Afghanistan has decreased from 193,000 in 2007 to 123,000 hectare in 2009, the production of drugs there has grown considerably since 2001 and now amounts to 7,500 metric tonne of opium.

Heroin production is a major threat. Secret laboratories in the provinces of Badakhshan, Hilmand and Nangarhar annually produce more than 800 metric tonne of heroin.

However, it is Russia that leads in the number of heroin-related deaths. The UNODC report says addicts in the Russian Federation now consume a staggering 75-80 tonne of Afghan heroin a year, or 20 per cent of Afghan heroin production.

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/241283/Paying-for-Afghanistan%E2%80%99s-poppy.html

-------

Ulema Council threatens to launch agitation

Mar 11, 2010,

Lucknow: Threatening to launch an agitation, Rashtriya Ulema Council today demanded immediate arrest of BJP MP from Azamgarh Ramakant Yadav. In a statement issued here today, national president of Ulema Council Maulana Amir Rashadi Madni said, "It is unfortunate that even after three days, MP Ramakant Yadav against whom an FIR of murder and attempt to murder had been registered is yet to arrested by the police.

" Madni alleged that the police was shielding the BJP MP. A youth Abdul Rehman was killed and two others injured, when supporters of BJP MP allegedly opened fire on the supporters of Ulema Council in Jagdishpur area of Azamgarh district on August 12. Madni alleged that the MP and his supporters deliberately opened fire in a bid to terrorise the people and said, "Gangster Act and National Security Act should be evoked against Yadav," he said.

The Ulema council chief demanded that Rs 10 lakh compensation should be paid to the kin of Rehman and Rs five lakh financial assistance to injured. .

http://sahilnews.org/english/news.php?catID=nationalnews&nid=6162

-------

Iran Prez criticises Nato, mocks Gates

WAHEEDULLAH MASSOUD

11 March 2010

KABUL ,March 10: Iran’s outspoken President on Wednesday accused the United States of playing a double game in Afghanistan and mocked the US defence secretary during their overlapping visits to the country.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at arch foe the United States while paying his first visit to Afghanistan since he and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai were re-elected in 2009 in controversial polls.

“We do not see the presence of foreign military forces in Afghanistan as a solution for peace in Afghanistan,” Mr Ahmadinejad told a joint press conference with Mr Karzai. The US has spearheaded a major troop surge in a last-ditch bid to end an eight-year Taliban insurgency against more than 120,000 Nato and US-led troops supporting Karzai’s government. “Our policy is full support for the Afghan people and Afghan government and reconstruction of Afghanistan and we will continue this support in the future,” Mr Ahmadinejad said.

Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5054:iran-prez-criticises-nato-mocks-gates&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

------

Row as man marries eunuch in Tipu mosque

PARWEZ HAFEEZ and DIBYAJYOTI CHAUDHURI

10 March 2010

Kolkata, March 9: The nikah of a man with a eunuch in the historic Tipu Sultan mosque has triggered a major controversy in the city. The Muslims, who claim that an act of sacrilege has been committed, are up in arms against the Imam of Tipu Sultan mosque, Syed Noor-ur-Rahman Barkati for presiding over such an illegal act. The Imam is considered close to railway minister Mamata Banerjee and had even campaigned for the Trinamul Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Ms Banerjee later made him a member of the Passengers’ Services Committee of the Indian Railways.

On March 5, the nikah of one Mohammed Sharfuddin of Park Circus area was performed with a eunuch Muskan bibi. The matter would have remained under wraps had the groom’s outraged parents not gone to the mosque and kicked up a shindy. They confronted the Imam and asked him as to how could he conduct the nikah of their son with a eunuch. Maulana Barkati denied that he had performed the nikah, passing the buck to assistant Imam Hafiz Haroon.

Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4978:row-as-man-marries-eunuch-in-tipu-mosque&catid=35:india&Itemid=60

------

Start national campaign against terrorism: Abdul Kalam

Somendra Sharma

March 11, 2010

Mumbai: Former president APJ Abdul Kalam has said that there should be a national campaign to eradicate terrorism from the country. Addressing a national seminar on ‘Fight against terrorism’ on Wednesday, he also stated that since the terrorist groups are using ultra modern technology, the security agencies too should be armed with modern weaponry.

According to him, all political parties should declare terrorism a menace and fight together to combat it. “Terrorism is a national issue and can be fought only with unity of mind. All political parties should come together and declare it as a menace for the nation. Like the way they came together in support of the Women’s Bill, they should come together to eradicate terrorism,” said Kalam.

Besides Kalam, the others who were present at the seminar at NCPA were governor K Sankaranarayanan, DGP AN Roy, Mumbai police commissioner D Sivanandhan, retired director of Intelligence Bureau Shyamal Datta, National Maritime Foundation and Strategic Analyst director Uday Bhaskar and veteran journalist MJ Akbar.

Full report at: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_start-national-campaign-against-terrorism-abdul-kalam_1357860

------

Success of lone gunmen may shift al-Qaida strategy

By LOLITA C. BALDOR

March 11, 2010

WASHINGTON — On Christmas Day, a passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit tried to blow up the plane with plastic explosives in his underwear. He failed, yet the very attempt shook the U.S. government, set federal agencies against each other and triggered months of political second-guessing.

In fact, short of mass casualties, the attack allegedly attempted by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had exactly the kind of reaction that al-Qaida is after. And, it appears, that lesson is resonating with the terror network's leadership.

For the first time, the group that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and has prided itself on its ideological purism seems to be eyeing a more pragmatic and arguably more dangerous shift in tactics. The emerging message appears to be: Big successes are great, but sometimes simply trying can be just as good.

U.S. officials and counterterrorism experts say the airline attack and last November's shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, prove that simple, well-played smaller attacks against the United States can be just as devastating to the democratic giant as complex and riskier ones.

In a recent Internet posting, U.S.-born al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn made a public pitch for such smaller, single acts of jihad.

Full report at: Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press.

------

Indonesian Islamic organization issues a fatwa against smoking

March 10, 2010

Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organization in the country for followers, declares that smoking is "haram" morally wrong. It leads to unhealthy lifestyles, weakens and pushes frustrated people to suicide. Tobacco industry, a major economic resource at risk.

Jakarta - The Muhammadiyah has launched a fatwa against smoking, saying that smoking is haram, or "morally wrong". A tough stance from the moderate Muslim organization, that counts about 40 million members and in Indonesia - the most populous Muslim country in the world - is second only to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU, with 60 million followers). The religious edict, moreover, goes to hit the tobacco industry, one of the most important economic activities in the country in turnover and as a source of employment.

The two organizations maintain, usually, a moderate position in relation to controversial issues such as jihad, Islamic terrorism, morals, code of ethics and clothing. Precisely for this reason Indonesian public opinion is "surprised" by the announcement of the Muhammadiyah. The central committee and executive arms of the Muslim movement has in fact declared "morally illicit" (haram), the vice of smoking. 

Full report at: http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=28761&t=Indonesia%3A+++Indonesian+Islamic+organization+issues+a+fatwa+against+smoking

------

Muslims rightly engage in democracy

11 March 2010

Groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir calling for Muslims to not participate in the British political process are woefully misguided

An email from Dr Abdul Wahid, chair of the British branch of the Islamic political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), arrived in my inbox on Tuesday afternoon. Entitled "The price for political participation in the UK", it was centred on a recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme presented by Andrew Gilligan, which hysterically accused an Islamic organisation, the IFE (headquartered in east London) of trying to "infiltrate" the local Labour party with a view to "imposing" Islamic values on the UK. I commented on the programme last week for Cif.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a small but very active organisation – especially on British campuses. It has long campaigned for UK Muslims to refrain from taking part in democratic politics or joining any of the mainstream political parties, declaring it all to be haraam (forbidden). Judging by the email from Wahid, HT clearly viewed the C4 programme as a welcome opportunity to further promote this message.

Full report at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/mar/11/muslims-know-value-democratic-engagement

------

Hundreds protest Fairfax imam giving prayer in Va. House tomorrow

Anita Kumar

March 10, 2010;

Hundreds of people are urging House of Delegates leaders to revoke an invitation to a Falls Church imam to give the prayer tomorrow, accusing him of condoning violence and defending the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Johari 'Abdul-Malik demonstrates regularly his contempt for the rule of law and his support for terrorist acts against America,'' writes James Lafferty, chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force. "Speaking before the General Assembly is an honor which should be reserved for those who have done something worth honoring."

Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said he asked Abdul-Malik of the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center to give the opening prayer in the House tomorrow because many of his constituents attend the center. "He's a great guy,'' Ebbin said.

Ebbin sent a letter to his 99 colleagues this morning defending his choice of Abdul-Malik, and saying any concerns about him were driven by "false rumors propagated on the Internet."

Many of the e-mails have asked Speaker William J. Howell to revoke Abdul-Malik's invitation, but Howell's chief of staff, G. Paul Nardo, said the House's practice is generally to allow delegates to invite religious leaders of differing faiths if they choose.

Abdul-Malik would be the first imam to deliver the opening prayer in the House during this year's legislative session, although others have done so in the past.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/03/post_636.html

-------

MI5 ex-chief: US misled allies over detainees

11 March 2010

London: The United States intelligence agencies had deliberately concealed mistreatment of terrorist suspects from Britain, according to former MI5 director-general Eliza Manningham-Buller.

“The Americans were very keen that people like us did not discover what they were doing,” she said at a lecture organised by the Mile End Group at the House of Lords on Tuesday night. Baroness Manningham-Buller, who is a member of the House of Lords, said she had discovered that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times only when the US justice department released a memo in 2009 and this was reported in the media. British intelligence agencies have been accused by human rights activists of colluding with their US counterparts in allegedly torturing terrorism suspects. “In recent weeks a raft of criticism has been made of the Service in which I spent 33 years. I have no wish to pour petrol on the flames, the reverse. I believe strongly in the rule of law. I abhor torture or the threat of it,” Baroness Manningham-Buller, who led the secret service between 2002 and 2007, said.

In 2002 and 2003, she said that she had wondered how the US had been able to supply the UK with intelligence from Sheikh Mohammed. “I said to my staff, ‘Why is he talking?’ because our experience of Irish prisoners, Irish terrorists, was that they never said anything. They said, well, the Americans say he is very proud of his achievements when questioned about it. It wasn’t actually until after I retired that I read that, in fact, he had been waterboarded 160 times,” Lady Manningham-Buller said. The UK government, she said, had lodged “protests” with the Americans about its treatment of detainees, but refused to elaborate on the details. “The Service today has to deal with a severe threat from Al Qaeda and those directed or merely inspired by it. It also has to deal with countries, some of which have little law. Dealing with such countries raises troubling issues,” she said.

 http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5058:mi5-ex-chief-us-misled-allies-over-detainees&catid=36:international&Itemid=61

-------

Bangladeshi, HuJI terrorist get life

Mar 11, 2010,

A city court on Wednesday sentenced a Bangladeshi national and his Kashmiri associate belonging to banned militant organisation Harkat-Ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) to life imprisonment for possessing explosives and waging war against the country.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Nivedita Anil Sharma sentenced Mohammed Amin Wani, a Jammu & Kashmir resident, and Lutfur Rahman, the Bangladeshi national who is alleged to have received training at the instance of Pakistan-based Jamaat-Ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to life imprisonment and said that they did not deserve capital punishment as the case was not the rarest of rare.

"Keeping in view the unlawful and illegal activities of the convicts, a substantive and stern sentence is required to be imposed upon the convicts so that it is not only in the commensuration with the gravity of crime but also serves as an example for others who might also venture on the same forbidden path," said the court. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 7.5 lakhs on Rahman and Rs seven lakhs on Wani.

Declining the plea for leniency, the court said "The convicts do not deserve any leniency except that their life not to be taken away lawfully." Rejecting the plea of police for death penalty, the court said that the offence did not fall in rarest of the rare category.

Both the accused were convicted on February 16 for possessing explosives and hawala money in 2007 the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Explosive Substances Act under the IPC.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/241304/Bangladeshi-HuJI-terrorist-get-life.html

-------

Pak offered Saddam N-package

March 11, 2010

As troops amassed on his border near the start of the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein weighed the purchase of a $150 million nuclear “package” deal that included not only weapons designs but also production plants and foreign experts to supervise the building of a nuclear bomb, according to documents uncovered by a former UN weapons inspector.

The offer, made in 1990 by an agent linked to disgraced Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, guaranteed Iraq a weapons-assembly line capable of producing nuclear warheads in as little as three years. But Iraq lost the chance to capitalise when, months later, a multinational force crushed the Iraqi army and forced Hussein to abandon his nuclear ambitions, according to nuclear weapons expert David Albright, who describes the deal in a new book.

Full report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Pak-offered-Saddam-N-package/H1-Article1-517585.aspx

-------

At FS talks, Pak said call in Ministers next, India said no

Pranab Dhal Samanta

Mar 11, 2010

Barely two weeks after India and Pakistan sought to break the ice through Foreign Secretary-level talks, it now emerges that the two sides hardly made any headway in the conversation with almost no meeting ground on any of the proposals put forward by either side.

It’s learnt that Pakistan came to the table with a “roadmap” leading to the resumption of composite dialogue which entailed an invitation for External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to visit Pakistan. But India was more keen on broadening the discussions at official levels and suggested a “technical meeting” to improve cross-LoC trade as a measure to show it was not skirting the Kashmir issue.

Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/at-fs-talks-pak-said-call-in-ministers-next-india-said-no/589441/2

-------

Terrorism being fanned to destabilise economy: PC

Mar 10, 2010

Terrorism and militancy are being fanned to destabilise the economy of the country which is at the threshold of a double digit growth, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said.

He said hostile forces seek to undermine the security and stability of our nation.

"Even while they (hostile forces) challenge our borders and our boundaries, they make attempts to destabilize our economy. Terrorism and militancy are being fanned to hinder the growth of our country," Chidambaram said in his address at the CISF Raising Day Parade here.

He said since the 1980's, India has emerged as one of the most happening economies of the world. "The past decade has seen good growth and our economy is on the threshold of a double digit growth," Chidambaram said.

He said the country's growth depends on infrastructure and the CISF, which guards some of the most critical installations, is securing India's future.

About the renewed mandate of the force to provide security to private installations also, the Minister said his Ministry continues to receive requests which are being examined and security will be provided as per priority.

At present the government has selected Information Technology, Power, Oil and Natural Gas sectors as the top three priorities.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/terrorism-being-fanned-to-destabilise-economy-pc/589147/

-------

Pak MPs who refused body scan in US return as heroes

Jane Perlez,

Mar 11, 2010,

ISLAMABAD: A tour of the US arranged by the state department to improve ties to Pakistani legislators ended in a public relations fiasco when the members of the group refused to submit to extra airport screening in Washington, and they are now being hailed as heroes on their return home.

"People should be thankful, you made them so proud," said Hamid Mir, the host of a popular national talk show, during an interview on Tuesday with four of the six politicians, who railed against the security precautions at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Meetings with the Obama administration's top policy makers on Pakistan did not allay the anger the politicians said they felt at being asked to submit to a secondary screening on Sunday before boarding a flight to New Orleans. They declined to be screened and did not board the flight.

Pakistan is one of 14 mostly Muslim countries whose citizens must go through increased checks before they fly into the US, a procedure mandated by the Obama administration in the wake of the failed attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up an airliner flying from the Netherlands to Detroit on December 25.

The leader of the parliamentary group, Senator Abbas Khan Afridi, said that before they were to board the flight for New Orleans, he and his colleagues were selected from a crowd of passengers at the airport and asked to stand aside.

They were then asked to accept a full-body scan by a machine, he said.

One of Afridi's colleagues, Akhunzada Chitan, told Mir on his "Capital Talk" program, "Going through a body scan makes you naked, and in making you naked, they make the whole country naked."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pak-MPs-who-refused-body-scan-in-US-return-as-heroes/articleshow/5669580.cms

-------

US court rejects terror suspect Rana's bail plea, fears he may flee

Mar 11, 2010,

CHICAGO: A US court on Wednesday again turned down the bail plea of terror suspect Tahawwur Rana, accused of plotting terror attacks in India at the behest of LeT, saying the Pakistani-Canadian is charged with "very serious crimes" which give him a motive to flee.

"Defendant Rana's motion to revoke Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan's detention order is denied," read an order by Judge Harry Leinenweber of US District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Rana has made several pleas to be released on bond since his arrest last year contending that he was "duped" by American-Pakistani LeT operative David Coleman Headley.

Headley, 49, and Rana, 48, were arrested by FBI in October last year and are accused of plotting terror attacks at the behest of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba against India and a Danish newspaper.

"The evidence in the form of recorded conversations, while not conclusive, appears to corroborate the government's contention that he was a knowing ally of Headley and had been acquainted in advance of the Mumbai attacks," the US court said.

In addition, the more serious charges if proved would undoubtedly lead to a higher sentence, the court said, adding that Rana has not "rebutted the presumptions".

Rana has been indicted of "very serious crimes which is sufficient itself to trigger probable cause of his guilt which establishes the reputable presumption of a danger to the community".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-court-rejects-terror-suspect-Ranas-bail-plea-fears-he-may-flee-/articleshow/5670673.cms

-------

India may scale down its Afghan operations

Mar 10, 2010

India is looking at options to scale down operations of its missions in Afghanistan in the wake of terror attacks against Indians there, said Government sources.

Government is also considering keeping all Indians working in road and power projects in Afghanistan together for security reasons.

At least 10 Indians were killed when Taliban suicide bombers carried out a string of attacks in the heart of Kabul on February 26, in yet another incident targeting Indian interests in Afghanistan.

The bombers struck at a number of guest houses, particularly at Park Residence, rented out by the Indian embassy for its staffers and those linked to India's developmental work in Afghanistan.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-may-scale-down-its-afghan-operations/589191/

-------

Intention to disrupt Indo-Israeli relations, says prosecution

Mar 11, 2010,

Mumbai: Presenting his arguments for the charge of waging war under section 121 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Wednesday contended that the intention of the handlers to kill Israeli nationals in the 26/11 attacks was to disrupt the friendly ties between India and Israel. The aim of liberating Kashmir and the choice of Mumbai as the target, all amounted to the waging of “a proxy war” with India.

Mr. Nikam said, according to Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab's judicial confession, “All attackers were told to selectively kill American, British and Israeli nationals for the injustice done [by their respective countries] to Muslims. Agar yeh log [the Holtzberg family] mare jate hai to unke desh ke talukat kharab ho sakte hai [If the Holtzbergs are killed, relations between the countries can sour].”

The prosecutor argued: “The reason given was to arouse communal sentiments, but the hidden intention was to wage war. Handlers gave Imran Babar [one of the two terrorists at Nariman House] clear instructions to kill Israelis to spoil the friendly relations between India and Israel. So that they [Israel] start a fight against India.”

However, judge M.L. Tahaliyani asked Mr. Nikam if the intention could really be taken as inciting a war between the two countries instead of being related to the “so-called atrocities by Israel on Palestine as we know it.”

“We are concerned with the idea [behind the acts of the 26/11 accused] and not with their [attackers'] sense of right and wrong or their cause,” Mr. Tahaliyani pointed out.

Through telephonic conversations, the handlers instructed the Nariman House attackers to put forth a set of demands, namely “asking for the release of prisoners, handing over Muslim states to the Muslims and withdrawing troops from Kashmir,” Mr. Nikam said.

Found napping

Throughout the proceedings, Kasab was found napping and at one point had to be roused out of his slumber.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/11/stories/2010031158521200.htm

-------

Al-Azhar head Tantawi buried in Madinah

By GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

Mar 11, 2010

RIYADH: Sheikh Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, a prominent voice of the Islamic world and head of Al-Azhar, the highest religious authority in Egypt, died here on Wednesday at the age of 81 following a heart attack. Sheikh Tantawi had arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday to participate in the award-giving ceremony of the King Faisal International Prize.

A revered figure among a large section of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, Tantawi had been associated with Saudi Arabia and the Arab world for the last several decades. He carries a legacy of exemplary services to Islam.

He was boarding an early morning flight when he suffered severe pain and fell on the stairs, Egyptian television said. He was rushed to the Amir Sultan Hospital in Riyadh where doctors pronounced him dead.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, sent messages of condolence to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the death of Tantawi.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article28572.ece?comments=all

-------

Tabung Haji Operations To Be Shifted To Sepang By 2013 - Jamil Khir

March 11, 2010

 The operations of Tabung Haji (TH) in Kelana Jaya, Selangor will be shifted to Sepang once a new complex is ready by 2013 said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Jamil Khir said the complex would be build at a cost of RM303 million at a 16-acre site near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

"The new complex will have better facilities to enhance the processing and management of Tabung Haji and pilgrims to perform the Hajj," he told reporters after a ground breaking ceremony for the new complex here on Thursday.

Jamil Khir said space at the current TH complex in Kelana Jaya was limited and encounters congestion during the Hajj seasons.

Apart from providing a spacious environment, the proximity of the new complex to a mosque and the KLIA would reduce travel time to the airport and become easily accessible to pilgrims from all over the country, he said.

He added that the new complex, featuring modern Islamic architecture, would comprise a four-star hotel with about 300 rooms, a multi-purpose hall, Hajj Gallery, administration office, convention centre, sports centre, district branch office and a Bank Islam branch.

"We will also set up one stop centres that sell a variety of products, food, souvenirs and Arabian cuisine.

"Just like the Kelana Jaya TH building which has a unique architecture and design, the new complex will also feature modern Islamic architecture. However, the Kelana Jaya TH will not be left idol but instead upgraded and used for various purposes," he said.

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=481590

-------

Is the tide turning in Somalia?

11 March 2010

Long-suffering residents of Mogadishu are steeling themselves for a new round of fighting as the western-backed transitional federal government (TFG) prepares to launch an offensive to expel Islamist militiamen from the Somali capital. Yet grim though the prospect is of renewed violence, the looming attack is a sign the tide may be turning in Somalia: the "good guys" are fighting back.

Speaking in London on Tuesday, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Somalia's president, declined to detail his plans to wrest control from the hardline al-Shabaab militia, which currently holds most of the city. Asked about reports that the US military may provide air cover during the forthcoming offensive, he said he would welcome any support the Americans and British chose to offer.

Britain says it gives no direct military or security-related financial assistance. But it does provide "advice and support" on security force development, via a joint security committee, and help with training TFG forces and African Union peacekeepers. The US does much the same. London donated £11.5m in humanitarian aid in 2009-10, much of it delivered via Unicef and NGOs. Significant additional funding will be announced this week.

Full report at: http://insidesomalia.org/201003112880/News/Politics/Is-the-tide-turning-in-Somalia.html

-------

Before 'jihad,' Colleen had her demons

By KITTY CAPARELLA & GLORIA CAMPISI

March 11, 2010

COLLEEN LaRose was a troubled woman even before, authorities say, she went on the Internet as JihadJane and offered herself up as an avenging angel to Islamic militants.

A possible suicide attempt prompted by the death of her beloved father, drinking bouts and reported legal troubles in her former home in Texas all preceded the arrest of LaRose, 46, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County, last fall for allegedly trawling the Internet in search of terrorists she could aid and pledging to die for their cause.

A federal indictment was unsealed Tuesday charging LaRose, who also called herself Fatima LaRose, with providing material support to terrorists and plotting with others to kill a Swedish artist who had depicted the prophet Muhammad as a dog.

Full report at: http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/87314257.html

-------

Maureen Dowd: Pilgrim non grata in Mecca

March 11, 2010

By Maureen Dowd

I was tempted to turn my abaya into a black masquerade cloak and sneak into Mecca, just hop over the Tropic of Cancer to the Red Sea and crash the ultimate heaven's gate.

Sir Richard Burton, the 19th-century British adventurer, translator of "The Arabian Nights" and the "Kama Sutra" and self-described "amateur barbarian," was an illicit pilgrim to the sacred black granite cube. He wore Arab garb and infiltrated the holiest place in Islam, the Kaaba, the "center of the Earth," as he called it, in the Saudi city where the Prophet Muhammad was born.

But in the end, it seemed disrespectful, not to mention dangerous.

So on my odyssey to Saudi Arabia, I tried to learn about the religion that smashed into the American consciousness on 9/11 in a less sneaky way. And that's when the paradox sunk in: It was nearly impossible for me to experience Islam in the cradle of Islam.

Full report at: http://www.news-record.com/content/2010/03/10/article/maureen_dowd_pilgrim_non_grata_in_mecca

-------

Success of lone gunmen may shift al-Qaida strategy

By LOLITA C. BALDOR

March 11, 2010

On Christmas Day, a passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit tried to blow up the plane with plastic explosives in his underwear. He failed, yet the very attempt shook the U.S. government, set federal agencies against each other and triggered months of political second-guessing.

In fact, short of mass casualties, the attack allegedly attempted by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had exactly the kind of reaction that al-Qaida is after. And, it appears, that lesson is resonating with the terror network's leadership.

For the first time, the group that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and has prided itself on its ideological purism seems to be eyeing a more pragmatic and arguably more dangerous shift in tactics. The emerging message appears to be: Big successes are great, but sometimes simply trying can be just as good.

U.S. officials and counterterrorism experts say the airline attack and last November's shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, prove that simple, well-played smaller attacks against the United States can be just as devastating to the democratic giant as complex and riskier ones.

In a recent Internet posting, U.S.-born al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn made a public pitch for such smaller, single acts of jihad.

"Even apparently unsuccessful attacks on Western mass transportation systems can bring major cities to a halt, cost the enemy billions and send his corporations into bankruptcy," Gadahn said in a video released and translated by U.S.-based Site Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamic militant message traffic.

Full report at: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/03/11/1062366/success-of-lone-gunmen-may-shift.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/un-rights-body-to-condemn-swiss-ban-on-minaret/d/2565


Loading..

Loading..