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Islamic World News ( 16 Sept 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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US gets Indian-origin envoy for Muslim world: Farah Pandith to work at solving pressing problems of Muslims

Women Namazis keep a tradition alive

Indonesia Police: Terrorism mastermind Noordin Top dead by IMRON ROSYID and ANTHONY DEUTSCH

China-made 'Islamic' jeans irks Iran

Egypt's mufti says women can wear trousers

TEHRAN -Muslim women can wear Islamic dress in games

Pakistan: Muslims burnt down Church in village Jhethe Key on accusation of blasphemy

Al-Qaida seeking N-secrets from Pak: Holbrooke

Al-Zeidi released, fears for life: I wish Bush could see our happiness, says brother by Atul Aneja

'I need you,' CIA chief tells Arab and Muslim Americans in Dearborn

Dr Murad Hofmann: First Western Muslim honoured as Islamic personality of the year in Dubai by Dr SMM Nainar/Doha

Muslim students celebrate faith on Catholic campus By Kaellen Hessel

US military aid not misused: Musharraf

PESHAWAR: Chief Baitullah’s two in-laws die in Taliban custody

India, Pak, Afghan among major drug producing countries: US

Afghan govt failures as dangerous as Taliban, says US

Convert Languishing in Jail in Ethiopia for Handing Out Bibles by Simba Tian

Militant Al-Shabaab issues demands to release Frenchman

US 'lightning' raid kills top al-Qaida leader in Somalia

Car bomb in Kabul kills 6 Italians, 10 Afghans

Muslims chill U.S. freedom of the press

Obama powerless in Afghan war: Laden Maamoun Youssef

New Tape: Bin Laden Lying to the West to Defame Israel, says a former associate by Tawfik Hamid

Pak arrests terrorist Sher Muhammad Qasab in Swat Valley

Syria sceptical of Israel peace efforts

Muslims prepare for end of Ramadan

Lebanon convicts 5 Palestinians for armed attacks

Osama's American yes-men: By Gabriel Schoenfeld

Air-conditioned Islamic televangelism: Convergence of religion and television by Muhammad Ayish

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/us-gets-indian-origin-envoy-for-muslim-world--farah-pandith-to-work-at-solving-pressing-problems-of-muslims/d/1757

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Us Gets Indian-Origin Envoy For Muslim World

Sworn in on Tuesday, Farah Pandith said her department will work at solving the pressing problems faced by the community

September 17, 2009

Washington: Farah Pandith, sworn in on Tuesday as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s envoy to Muslim communities, said she would broaden ties with the world’s Muslims to help solve “pressing” problems.

Clinton “has asked me to find ways to build strong partnerships and create new connections and join together with grass roots organisations to effect positive change,” she said after swearing on the Quran to carry out her duties.

“Under the leadership of Secretary Clinton, the Department of State is recalibrating the way in which we work with Muslim communities around the world,” Pandith said.

“Through this office, we will engage Muslim communities to solve collaboratively the most pressing problems facing these communities around the world,” Pandith said.

Clinton said Pandith’s office, which will both advise the secretary and the State Department, will focus on a broad array of issues.

“This is a dialogue that is not going to focus solely on terrorism or radicalisation, but instead, focus on what all of us have in common, what we all hope for our children,” Clinton said at the ceremony.

“It will also deal with broader problems like poverty, hunger, climate change and corruption which are “not unique to any part of the world,” Clinton said.

“In addition to these broad challenges, we have to focus on concers of specific Muslim communities,” she said.

“How are we going to get more investment into Iraq and put people who want to work back to work? How are we going to engage with young Muslims in Europe who feel marginalized or disassociated from their communities?

“How do we make sure that the message we send from our country is not just government to government, but people to people, community to community?” the chief US diplomat said.

Pandith immigrated to the United States as a child from Srinagar. She has worked in the European bureau as a special adviser for outreach to Muslim communities in Europe.

Source: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/4/200909172009091702552898419071479/US-gets-Indianorigin-envoy-for-Muslim-world.html

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Woman namazi keep a tradition alive

Manjari Mishra, 16 Sep 2009

LUCKNOW: Empowerment comes in many forms — even in the shape of women covered from head-to-toe in ‘burqas’. Ask participants in ‘Salatut Tasbeeh’, a special namaz to purge a life full of sins. Tuesday saw a steady stream of women — from young girls to grand moms — trickling into Lucknow’s Zanana Park.

The green yet forlorn patch, right in the middle of bustling Aminabad market, has been a female preserve since 1936. And now it’s fighting hard to survive in the era of multiplexes and malls.

Tuesday was designated for the annual special namaz for women and led by a woman. Members of Bazm-e-Khawateen — the 75-year-old feminist organisation set up to promote social causes — were not going to miss the annual bonding session for anything in the world.

Some like Raheeman Bi have been regulars for the last 20 years. The middle-aged seamstress had come all the way from Nakkhas with her son. They parted at the gate with Raheeman reminding the teenager to collect her after two hours. Stepping inside, she folded away her ‘burqa’ and proceeded to join others waiting under a bright-coloured ‘shamiana’. The crowd swelled as minutes ticked by. Male chaperones, aware of their limited role, stopped at the gate in keeping with the tradition. At 2 pm, a grave voice on the microphone reminded the ‘namaz’ was to begin in next 10 minutes. Then began the scramble to the water tank and tap for a quick wash.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/lucknow/Woman-namazi-keep-a-tradition-alive/articleshow/5016528.cms

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Indonesia Police: Terrorism mastermind Noordin Top dead

By IMRON ROSYID and ANTHONY DEUTSCH

17 Sep, 2009

SOLO, Indonesia – Noordin Muhammed Top, a militant mastermind who eluded capture for seven years and terrorized Indonesia with a string of deadly al-Qaida-funded bombings, was killed during a raid Thursday, the Indonesian police chief said.

Police hunting for suspects in bombings of two luxury Jakarta hotels raided a hide-out in central Indonesia, sparking an hours-long gunfight that ended at dawn with an explosion. Four suspected militants died, including Noordin, national police Chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said. Three suspects also were captured.

The operation left behind a charred house with no roof and blown-out walls. Noordin's remains were found inside the house on the outskirts of the town of Solo in central Java, the main Indonesian island, Danuri said.

Fingerprints of Noordin's obtained from authorities in his native Malaysia and stored on a police database matched those of the body, Danuri said. DNA tests have not yet been conducted. The bodies were flown to Jakarta for autopsies.

"It is Noordin M. Top," Danuri told a nationally televised news conference to loud cheers from the audience of reporters, photographers and TV crews. Documents and laptop computers confiscated from the house prove that Noordin "is the leader of al-Qaida in Southeast Asia," he said.

Hundreds of pounds (kilograms) of explosives, M-16 assault rifles, grenades and bombs were removed from the house as ambulances shuttled away the dead and injured.

"We asked Noordin M. Top to surrender, but they kept firing," Danuri said. "That is how he died. ... He even had bullets in his pockets."

Noordin fled to Indonesia in 2002 amid a crackdown on Muslim extremists in Malaysia in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. He is accused of heading a splinter group of the al-Qaida-funded regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah and has been implicated in every major attack in Indonesia since 2002, including two separate bombings on the resort island of Bali that together killed 222 people, mostly foreigners.

Full Article at: http://news.yahoo.com/

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China-made 'Islamic' jeans irks Iran

17 September 2009

A Chinese clothing company has angered Iranians by creating a line of jeans bearing the Islamic expression “In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful”.

The marketing ploy backfired as the phrase “Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim” was prominently displayed on the back pockets of the jeans, something likely to be seen as disrespectful by devout Muslims, reports the Guardian.

The perceived slight prompted a firm response from the police who announced they had seized the garments and arrested three businessmen said to have imported them.

Asriran website said the women’s jeans had sold for around £6-£7 in Iran and bore labels reading Made in the PRC (People’s Republic of China). Beijing is Tehran’s biggest trading partner and has used its veto on the UN Security Council to protect Iran from further sanctions over its nuclear programme.

Asriran accused China of “attacking Iranian Muslim sacred symbols in the most offensive manner”. It added: “In Islam, Allah is a respected word that you need to have ablutions before saying. Now it is embroidered on the sitting place of these jeans. Worse, they are sold in Tehran, which many would like o call the heart of the Islamic world.”

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/middle-east/China-made-Islamic-jeans-irks-Iran/articleshow/5020280.cms

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Egypt's mufti says women can wear trousers

PTI 16 September 2009

 CAIRO: Egypt's top Islamic authority has defended women's rights to wear trousers in public following a high profile court case in neighbouring Sudan were women where flogged for dressing in pants.

Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said in a public lecture on Monday that trousers covering women's bodies are permitted, emphasising they should be loose and not see through.

Gomaa's remarks were published today in the Egyptian daily al-Shorouk as well as other newspapers. His answer was in response to a question from the audience.

Sudan caused a stir when it flogged 10 women for wearing trousers. One contested penalty and was let off with a fine for public indecency in a trial that garnered international attention.

Source:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/rest-of-world/Egypts-mufti-says-women-can-wear-trousers/articleshow/5020115.cms

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TEHRAN -Muslim women can wear Islamic dress in games

September 17, 2009

TEHRAN - FIVB president Jizhong Wei said that Muslim women are able to participate in the competitions observing Islamic dressing code.

Speaking in the news conference on Tuesday, Jizhong said, “So many Asian countries have Islamic culture and we respect them. No woman will be enforced to wear a dress which is discordant with their culture for competitions.”

Praising Iran’s facilities, he added,“I am pleased with the standard of facilities in Iran, which enable the country to host international tournaments including beach volleyball.”

FIVB President Jizhong Wei and his wife, Li Lingpei, are in Iran on a four-day working visit.

He is scheduled to meet with high-ranking sports authorities and members of the Volleyball Federation from the Islamic Republic of Iran before returning to Switzerland. He is making arrangements for the start of the annual CAVB Congress on September 24 in Algeria.

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=203539

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Pakistan: Muslims burnt down Church in village Jhethe Key on accusation of blasphemy

September 16, 2009

Sialkot: September 11, 2009. (PCP report) Violence erupted in Sialkot district after Gojra incident when Muslim mob set on fire Church in village Jhethe Key on accusations of desecration of Holy Quran here today.

Jhethe Key village is in sub-district Sambarial of Sialkot where Christian and Muslim are living in harmony over a century but today Muslim of same village took out weapons and sticks and attacked on Christians after Muslim cleric made announcement from mosque to kill Christians and burnt their homes.

This morning one teen age Muslim girl complained to her family that part of Holy Quran fell down in drain when a Christian boy pushed her in street.

Without any confirmation, Muslim family members of girl started shouting on Christians and Muslim cleric also approached and issued decree that Christians must be punished to death.

The Muslim cleric announced from mosque loudspeaker to gather all Muslims from where procession marched to the homes of Christians. On their way they put Village Church administered by Church of Pakistan on fire.

Meanwhile Christians fled from village to save their lives and called for police help. The heavy contingent of police have encircled village and no one is allowed to enter in village. It is feared that situation in village is worst than Gojra when Muslims burnt 7 Christians alive on blasphemy accusations. When PCP correspondent from Sialkot reached to witness situation, he was not allowed by police to meet any Christian.

Source: http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/viewnews.php?newsid=1492

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Al-Qaida seeking N-secrets from Pak: Holbrooke

16 September 2009

WASHINGTON: Al-Qaida is trying to seek nuclear secrets from Pakistan and it remains as dangerous as ever, Special US Representative for Pakistan

and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke said on Wednesday.

"Al-Qaida is still there in the region, ever dangerous and publicly asking people to attack the US and publicly asking nuclear engineers to give them nuclear secrets from Pakistan," Holbrooke said at a reception hosted by the Congressional Caucus on Afghanistan at the Capitol Hill.

Holbrooke - the point man of the Obama Administration for Afghanistan and Pakistan -- said the US is not in Afghanistan to support the elections, but it is there for its own national interest and security.

"We are not in Afghanistan for the election. We are in Afghanistan for the whole host of reasons, starting with our own national interests and going on to the fact that what happens in Afghanistan, would affect the region and what happens in the region affect the world," Holbrooke said.

He said the Obama Administration has not only increased the number of security forces in the country but has also increased the aid substantially to both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/us/Al-Qaida-seeking-N-secrets-from-Pak-Holbrooke-/articleshow/5017982.cms

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Al-Zeidi released, fears for life: I wish Bush could see our happiness, says brother

Atul Aneja

Sep 16, 2009

I wish Bush could see our happiness, says brother

DUBAI: The jailed Iraqi television reporter, Muntadhar Al-Zeidi who grabbed world headlines last year for throwing his shoes at the former U.S. President, George Bush, has been released.

The 30-year-old Mr. Al-Zeidi who was warmly received outside jail said later at a press conference on Tuesday that his freedom could be short-lived as he feared for his life at the hands of American intelligence operatives. “These fearsome services, the U.S. intelligence services and its affiliated services, will spare no efforts to track me as an insurgent revolutionary ... in a bid to kill me,” he said. “And here I want to warn all my relatives and people close to me that these services will use all means to trap and try to kill and liquidate me either physically, socially or professionally.”

Mr. Al-Zeidi had a scarf in the colours of the Iraqi national flag draped around his neck. At one time during his interaction with the media, he said: “I am free again, but my homeland is still a prison.”

Full Article at:http://www.hindu.com/2009/09/16/stories/2009091660011600.htm

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'I need you,' CIA chief tells Arab and Muslim Americans in Dearborn

September 17, 2009

Dearborn -- CIA Director Leon Panetta made a strong pitch Wednesday for Arab- and Muslim Americans to come work for his spy agency.

"I need you; the nation needs you," Panetta told about 150 Metro Detroit leaders at an invitation-only banquet at the Bint Jebail Banquet Hall in Dearborn.

Panetta wants to sharply increase the number of Central Intelligence analysts and agents with knowledge of Arabic languages and culture. He told reporters just before the dinner that the CIA needs to re-examine security clearance procedures that may, in the past, have improperly excluded job candidates for reasons such as having family members in homelands such as Lebanon or Iran.

"We can't collect the information that we need or the intelligence that we need unless we have language capability," said Panetta, who was warmly received.

But Osama Siblani, spokesman for the Congress of Arab American Organizations of Michigan and publisher of the Arab American News, gave Panetta a message for the president

"We are ready to serve this country that we love," Siblani told Panetta from the podium. However, "we Arab-Americans and Muslims have suffered since 9/11 and it's time that we were treated like Americans."

Full Article at: http://www.detnews.com/article/20090917/POLITICS02/909170412/-I-need-you---CIA-chief-tells-Arab-and-Muslim-Americans-in-Dearborn

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Dr Murad Hofmann: First Western Muslim honoured as Islamic personality of the year in Dubai

By Dr SMM Nainar/Doha

Murad Hofmann: honour

The grant of the Islamic Personality of the Year award to Dr Murad Hofmann by the Dubai International Holy Qur’an Award (DIHQA) last week is noteworthy for the fact that this is the first time since its inception 13 years ago that a person from the West has gained recognition in the world of Islam.

Dr Murad Wilfried Hofmann of Germany was born a Catholic. He converted to Islam in 1980 at the age of 50 and remains a practising Muslim.

Accepting the Dh1mn award from the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, at a function held at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Hofmann said: “I am grateful for this award because in choosing a European Muslim, for the first time Dubai has given recognition to the important fact that Islam is not an Arab religion or phenomenon but Allah’s religion for all mankind.

“Indeed, through me you are honouring some 30mn Muslims living in Europe, of whom 15mn live in Western Europe alone. This fact will not go unnoticed in the West.

“In spite of our diverse languages, skin colours, nationalities …our unity is one in spirit and devotion, in solidarity and aspiration. If one part of it suffers all do. May this ceremony help to signal to the world-at-large that this unity is a reality, and growing as an effective factor in world of politics.”

Author of several books on Islam, Dr Hofmann is known for his clear grasp of the issues affecting Islam and Muslims. He has said on more than one occasion that dialogue between the Muslims and the West should be from a position of strength and not subservience.

Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=315101&version=1&template_id=46&parent_id=26

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Muslim students celebrate faith on Catholic campus

September 17, 2009.

By Kaellen Hessel

Many Muslim students say being on Marquette’s Catholic campus isn’t difficult, but there are some institutional practices that get in the way of celebrating Ramadan, the month-long Islamic celebration that ends Saturday.

“People on campus are so willing to learn about Islam and fasting,” said Shazia Ali, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and the vice president of the Muslim Student Association.

A lot of people at Marquette are close to their faith, even if they’re not Muslim, Ali said.

“Even though it’s not the same religion, we’re all a part of that community, that faith-based community,” she said.

Ramadan is a month-long fast that all able-bodied Muslims are supposed to observe, said Irfan Omar, a Marquette assistant theology professor. It is the most sacred time in the Islamic calendar, he said. Muslims believe Muhammad, prophet and founder of Islam, received the revelation from God, called Allah, to write the Quran during this time, Omar said.

Muslims eat breakfast before sunrise, then fast until after sunset. The fast is then broken with dates and water because this is the way Muhammad, prophet and founder of Islam, broke his fasts.

Muslims then say the Maghrib, the prayer that breaks the fast, said Shazeen Harunani, president of MSA and a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Full Article at: http://marquettetribune.org/2009/09/17/news/muslim-students-celebrate-faith-on-catholic-campus-jk1-mg2-mn3

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US military aid not misused: Musharraf

16 September 2009

WASHINGTON: Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday denied saying that while he was in power, he allowed using US military aid to Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday that US military aid was misused when he was in power.

In a statement issued in Philadelphia, Musharraf said the issue highlighted by some Indian leaders and media was not even raised in the interview, according to Dawn website. The former president is currently in the United States on a lecture tour.

The Indian media reported on Monday that in an interview to a Pakistani television channel, Musharraf acknowledged using US military aid meant to fight the extremists to strengthen Pakistan’s defences against India.

 “No question was asked regarding US funds for fighting the militants in this interview or at any other time,” he said. ‘I have never said Pakistan violated any agreement,’ the website reported.

Pakistan, he said, ‘never violated any agreement or miss-utilised US funds’ for strengthening its defences against India.

 ‘As far as the equipment issued to a military unit is concerned, the equipment moves wherever the unit is deployed,’ he said. ‘The US at the time was aware of what we were doing.’

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/pakistan/US-military-aid-not-misused-Musharraf-/articleshow/5017547.cms

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PESHAWAR: Chief Baitullah’s two in-laws die in Taliban custody

September 17, 2009

PESHAWAR: Two, among six detained in-laws of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s slain Chief Baitullah Mahsud, have died here under Taliban’s custody.

Earlier, Taliban had kidnapped six in-laws of Baitullah over charges of alleged spying for US forces, Geo news reported on Wednesday.

According to UK television channel, following the slaying of Baitullah in US drone attack, Taliban had picked up six close relatives of him including his father-in-law Molana Akraamuddin and nephew Iqbal Mehsud.

According to his relatives, Taliban told them that Iqbal Mehsud had died of heart failure and assured family members of provision of his dead body, meanwhile, government sources termed two deaths as the result of brutal torture.

Source: http://www.thenews.jang.com.pk/updates.asp?id=87119

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India, Pak, Afghan among major drug producing countries: US

16 September 2009

India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are among the list of 20 major drug producing and trafficking countries, the United States on Wednesday said.

India along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and 17 others are major producing and trafficking countries, US state department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

Kellly, however, said that a country's presence on the list does not necessarily reflect its counternarcotics efforts nor does it reflect its cooperation with the US.

"The designation can reflect a combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to be produced and/or trafficked through a country despite its own best efforts," Kelly said in a statement.

Other countries identified as major drug-transit or drug-producing countries include Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

The list prepared for the purposes of the Foreign Relations Authorisation Act has been notified to the Congress.

Of these, the US has found that Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela, have "failed demonstrably" during the last 12 months to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements and to take measures set forth in US law.

In the cases of Bolivia and Venezuela, Kelly said President Barack Obama has issued a national interest waiver so that the US may continue to support specific programs to benefit the people of these countries.

Full Article at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/americas/India-Pak-Afghan-among-major-drug-producing-countries/Article1-454459.aspx

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Afghan govt failures as dangerous as Taliban, says US

16 September 2009

WASHINGTON: The top US military officer said on Tuesday that the Afghan people's doubts about their government's effectiveness and legitimacy posed as serious a threat to US goals there as Taliban fighters.

"I consider the threat from lack of governance to be equal to the threat from the Taliban," Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

US-led forces drove the Taliban from power in late 2001, but the Islamist insurgents have returned and asserted control over parts of Afghanistan because of "the lack of legitimacy in the (Afghan) government at every level."

Mullen expressed serious concerns that charges of vote-rigging in the war-torn country's recent presidential ballot would only deepen doubts Afghans have about their government in Kabul.

"There needs to be a level of legitimacy that the Afghan people see in their government, whether it's local to national, and there's a great question about that right now, and so far, the elections are not helping," he said.

"We need to get through these elections, see what the results are, see who we're dealing with, what's the government look like and move forward accordingly. But that issue of legitimacy is a huge, huge issue," he said.

Full Article at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/south-asia/Afghan-govt-failures-as-dangerous-as-Taliban-says-US/articleshow/5016047.cms

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Convert Languishing in Jail in Ethiopia for Handing Out Bibles

Simba Tian, September 16, 2009

ADDIS ABABA (CDN) — A convert from Islam who has led a push for Muslim-Christian understanding in Ethiopia has been in jail for nearly four months since his arrest for "malicious" distribution of Bibles.

Christian sources in Ethiopia said that, contrary to Ethiopian law, 39-year-old Bashir Musa Ahmed has not been formally charged since his arrest on May 23 in Jijiga, capital of Somali Region Zone Five, a predominantly Muslim area in eastern Ethiopia. Zonal police arrested him after he was accused of providing Muslims with Somali-language Bibles bearing covers that resemble the Quran, the sources said.

An Ethiopian national, Ahmed is known as a bold preacher of Christianity and is credited with opening discussion of the two faiths between Christian and Muslim leaders. He is well-known in the area as a scholar of Islam, but his case has gone largely unreported in Ethiopia.

A source who requested anonymity said authorities likely are secretly planning to transfer Ahmed from his Jijiga cell to Ghagahbur jail some 200 kilometers away near the Somali border, in part to prevent other Christians from visiting him and in part because he has not been charged.

 The source told Compass that Ahmed's own relatives and tribe instigated the arrest with the intent of stopping him from spreading Christianity in the region, whose 5 million predominantly Muslim inhabitants are mainly of Somali origin. 

 "The Ethiopian constitution allows for religious tolerance," said the source, "but to date Ahmed has not been taken to court. He is still in the cell now, going on the fourth month, which is quite unusual for an Ethiopian nationality and the constitutional requirements."

Full Article at: http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/11608554/

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Militant Al-Shabaab issues demands to release Frenchman

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mogadishu, September 17: Somali insurgents have issued a list of demands which they say must be met in return for the secure release of a French security advisor held since July.

Militant al-Shabaab group issued a statement on Thursday, saying France must withdraw its warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden -- part of an effort to uproot relentless piracy in the Somali waters.

The statement also wants Paris to stop its military and political support for Somalia's 'apostate government' and pull out all its security advisors from the Horn of Africa country.

The French foreign minister rejected their demands, saying the current government 'represents Somalia'.

The al-Qaeda-inspired militants called for an exchange of prisoners and demanded the 'freeing of mujahedeen prisoners in countries whose names will be announced later'.

The rebels also called for the withdrawal of African peacekeepers from Somalia, especially those from Burundi.

But French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner flatly rejected rebel calls on Paris to stop supporting the Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed as a condition for the release of the hostage security advisor.

Full Article at: http://www.siasat.com/english/news/al-shabaab-issues-demands-release-frenchman

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US 'lightning' raid kills top al-Qaida leader in Somalia

16 September 2009

NAIROBI: American commandos killed one of the most wanted al-Qaida militants in Africa in a daylight raid in Somalia on Monday, according to American and Somali officials. Somalia’s hardline Shebab Islamist group has vowed to avenge the death of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan during the lightning US military operation on Somali territory. “Muslims will retaliate against this unprovoked attack,” a top Shebab leader said. “The United States is Islam’s known enemy and we will never expect mercy from them, nor should they expect mercy from us.”

Intelligence agents have described Nabhan as the ringleader of a Qaida cell in Kenya responsible for the bombing of an Israeli hotel in 2002. Nabhan may have also played a role in the attacks on two American embassies in East Africa in 1998.

American military forces have been hunting him for years, and on Monday, around 1pm, villagers near the town of Baraawe said four military helicopters suddenly materialized over the horizon and shot at two trucks rumbling through the desert. American officials confirmed that Special Operations forces, operating from a nearby American warship, participated in the helicopter raid.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/rest-of-world/US-lightning-raid-kills-top-al-Qaida-leader-in-Somalia/articleshow/5016382.cms

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Car bomb in Kabul kills 6 Italians, 10 Afghans

17/09/2009

KABUL (AP) - A suicide car bomber attacked an Italian military convoy on a road in Afghanistan's capital Thursday, killing six Italian soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians, officials said.

The suicide bomber rammed his explosives-filled car into two Italian military vehicles about midday, Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said in Rome. He said six of those aboard were killed and four wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility, saying in a text message that they had ordered had carried out the suicide attack against foreign forces.

The explosion shattered windows in buildings about half a mile (a kilometer) away and shook offices and homes throughout the central Afghan neighbourhood that houses a number of embassies and military bases.

Charred vehicles littered the area around the blast site, a road just off a main traffic circle that leads to the airport. An Associated Press reporter saw at least six vehicles burned, including an Italian Humvee, and two burned bodies that were later covered with plastic sheets.

Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said at least 10 Afghan civilians were killed and 52 wounded. Shopkeeper Feraudin Ansari said he felt the blast in his store about 50 yards (meters) from the site. Windows were broken in all the shops on the street. He said he was angry at NATO forces for patrolling in downtown areas.

"Why are you patrolling inside the city? There is no Al Qaeda, no Taliban here," 25-year-old Ansari said. "My shop is destroyed and my head hurts from the blast."

The explosion was the fourth major attack in the capital in five weeks.

In the latest, a car bomb exploded Sept. 8 near the entrance to the military airport in Kabul in an attack on a NATO convoy, killing three civilians. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast.

Source: http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=18146

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Muslims chill U.S. freedom of the press

September 16 2009

U.S. freedom of the Press was chilled when Yale University Press barred publication of a book about the 12 Danish cartoons spoofing Muhammed.  The Press thought publication could provoke violence (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/ Arutz-7, 8/20).

Is the great United States of American going to submit to Muslim threats?  Are we going to allow a hostile culture to threaten our own?  They constantly defame other faiths.  Now, I find the Danish cartoons in poor taste.  They should have left Islam’s founder alone.  But what they symbolized is true, the extensive terrorism emanating from branches of Islam.  Threats against whistle blowers vindicate them.  Other faiths can accept criticism, why not Islam?  If Islam is insulted, why do the mosques in the Palestinian Authority and Jordan and in many places insult other faiths routinely?  Those imams want tolerance for themselves but not for others.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-7095-NY-Israel-Conflict-Examiner~y2009m9d16-Muslims-chill-US-freedom--of-the-press

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Obama powerless in Afghan war: Laden

Maamoun Youssef | Cairo, 16 September 2009

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden described President Barack Obama as ‘powerless’ to stop the war in Afghanistan and threatened to step up guerrilla warfare there in a new audiotape released to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

In the 11-minute tape, addressed to the American people, Bin Laden said Obama is only following the warlike policies of his predecessor George W Bush and

Vice-President Dick Cheney and he urged Americans to ‘liberate’ themselves from the influence of ‘neo-conservatives and the Israeli lobby.’

The tape was posted on Islamic militant Websites two days after the eighth anniversary of the 2001 suicide plane hijackings. The terror leader usually addresses Americans in a message timed around the date of the attacks, which sparked the US-led war in Afghanistan the same year, and then in Iraq two years later. Bin Laden said Americans had failed to understand that Al Qaeda carried out the attacks in retaliation for US support for Israel. If America reconsiders its alliance with the Jewish state, Al Qaeda will respond on ‘sound and just bases.’

The Saudi construction magnate’s son-turned ‘holy warrior’ and his deputies have frequently sought to wrap Al Qaeda in the Palestinian cause, seeking to draw support in the Arab world, where the issue is one of the public’s top concerns.

Al Qaeda has also sought to depict Obama as no different from Bush, who was widely despised in the Arab world for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and his close support of Israel.

Full Article at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/202584/Obama-powerless-in-Afghan-war-Laden.html

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New Tape: Bin Laden Lying to the West to Defame Israel, says a former associate

By: Tawfik Hamid

I have listened to the latest Osama bin Laden tape in Arabic on Al-Jazeera TV. He released it in memory of Sept. 11. It was clear that bin Laden was trying to convince a Western audience that the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, and the larger phenomenon of Islamist violence, is caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict. He argued that the land of Palestine belongs to Muslims rather than the Jews, and that Muslims will never forget this.

This tape raised some questions that need to be answered:

# Is bin Laden trying to convince us that his fellow jihadists in Iraq, Algeria, and Pakistan — who explode mosques, detonate Muslim funerals to kill innocents, and behead their fellow Muslims — are committing these barbaric atrocities because of the Arab-Israeli conflict?

# If the cause of terrorism against the West is the Arab-Israeli conflict, why don’t the Christians in the Middle East, who live under the same circumstances, commit suicide bombings and attack Western targets as their fellow Muslims do?

# If the cause of Islamic terrorism is the “occupation” of the Arab land, as bin Laden claimed, how can he explain the lower levels of terrorism against the West between 1976 and 1993, when the Palestinians started to take more control over the West Bank and Gaza as stipulated by Oslo Accords? During the pre-1993 period Israel fully controlled the West Bank and Gaza, but Islamic terrorism was much less common than we see today. In brief, terrorist acts by radical Muslims became much more frequent after Israel started to withdraw from these areas and cede them to Palestinian control.

Full Article at: http://www.newsmax.com/tawfik_hamid/bin_laden_israel_palestin/2009/09/16/260977.html

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Pak arrests terrorist Sher Muhammad Qasab in Swat Valley

Sep 17, 2009

Pakistan arrested a wanted militant commander accused of beheading troops in the Swat Valley, notching up another success in an offensive in the northwestern region that has pushed backed many of the insurgents, an army spokesman said Thursday.

Sher Muhammad Qasab was captured this week at an undisclosed location in the valley, said Col. Akhtar Abbas.

He had a bounty of 10 million rupees ($121,000) on his head.

Pakistan's army launched an offensive in April after militants seized control of much of the valley in the country's volatile northwest. It has cleared much of Swat and killed more than 1,800 insurgents, although sporadic militant attacks continue.

Abbas said Qasab had beheaded many troops in Swat when the Taliban was in control.

The army announced Friday the capture of five other Swat Taliban commanders, including spokesman Muslim Khan and commander Mahmood Khan. The arrests were the first time the army had captured any senior commanders in the offensive.

The Swat offensive has been praised by the United States, which wants to see Pakistan fighting militants hiding out in its rugged northwest who are blamed for plotting and carrying out attacks on US and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-makes-another-arrest-in-swat-valley/518182/

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Syria sceptical of Israel peace efforts

17 September 2009

Damascus, September 17: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has voiced doubts over a revival of stalled peace talks with Israel, saying Tel Aviv does not appear to be a partner in the process.

"Israel has again showed that it does not want peace," Assad said following a Wednesday Iftar reception hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

"Israel has dynamited all peace negotiations so far, it has massacred people in Lebanon, it has attacked Gaza," he recalled.

The Syrian leader said Israel's presence at the negotiation table was only 'virtual', echoing his Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem, who earlier made the same remarks through an interpreter.

Moallem denoted the Israeli government's refusal to freeze its illegal settlement construction and its continued aggression against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, expressing doubts if Israel was actually after peace.

Turkey, mediating four rounds of indirect Syrian-Israeli talks last year, has offered to help restart the peace negotiations after they broke off when far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power in Israel in March

Source: http://www.siasat.com/english/news/syria-skeptical-israel-peace-efforts

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Muslims prepare for end of Ramadan

September 16, 2009

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, concludes Saturday at sunset. During the month, Muslims have been abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset as a spiritual practice.

Amal Damaj, wife of Imad Damaj, president of the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs, wrote this essay about fasting and Ramadan meals:

"Fasting, despite its initial difficulty, is a very joyful experience, as attested by the number of children who, each year, beg their parents for the permission to fast along with the adults of the family.

"It makes one feel lucky and grateful to have food on the table at the end of the day. It also instills a different kind of self-esteem when the fasting person realizes that he/she can vanquish his or her most basic needs for food and water, at least for a while.

"It helps people feel much lighter and thus able to focus on the spiritual realm of life rather than the material one. However, most of all, it instills compassion in those who practice it as they realize that for so many people in the world, hunger and thirst are unfortunately experienced not by choice.

"Thus Ramadan becomes an act of devotion to the Creator who gives us unlimited bounties and only asks of us that we share some of them with those who are among the less fortunate."

Full Article at: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/lifestyles/food_cooking/article/F-RAMA16_20090915-183807/293038/

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Lebanon convicts 5 Palestinians for armed attacks

16 September 2009

BEIRUT — A Lebanese military court has convicted five Palestinians of carrying out armed attacks, including a bombing aimed at U.N. peacekeepers, a court official said Tuesday.

Only one of the five men convicted is in custody. He was sentenced to three years of hard labour, the official said, while the other four men, who are still on the run, were given life sentences in absentia.

Lebanon’s most powerful militia is the Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah, but the country is also home to smaller armed factions, some of them inspired by al-Qaida, whose members have attacked international and Lebanese government forces and periodically launch rockets at Israel.

The court found that the men established an armed gang with the intent to kill people, obtained explosive materials and attempted to kill members of a U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon by detonating a roadside bomb targeting a vehicle carrying troops, according to Tuesday’s ruling.

In that attack, in January 2008, a roadside bomb that exploded near a U.N. vehicle on a coastal highway south of Beirut lightly wounded two peacekeepers.

The official spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge details of court proceedings to the media.

Full Article at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2009/September/middleeast_September342.xml&section=middleeast

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Osama's American yes-men:

Osama urges Americans to read "The Israel Lobby" by academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and Jimmy Carter's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." This adds to his earlier endorsement of the writings of former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer.

By Gabriel Schoenfeld

September 17, 2009

 OSAMA bin Laden's recommended reading list has been growing. The surprise isn't that the al Qaeda-approved books all condemn Jewish influence on US policy -- but that the authors in effect return the favour.

In his latest audiotape, the al Qaeda leader urges Americans to read "The Israel Lobby" by academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and Jimmy Carter's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." This adds to his earlier endorsement of the writings of former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer.

In their book and other writings, Mearsheimer and Walt denounce what they call the "stranglehold" that American Jewish and allied groups supposedly have on US foreign policy. Carter, for his part, scores the "domineering" influence on American politics of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group.

 Scheuer, meanwhile, has declared that both the Democratic and Republican parties are "owned by AIPAC," and that Israeli spies are "popping up all over" in America. He has called the establishment of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington part of what is "probably the most successful covert-action program in the history of man."

All this fits neatly with bin Laden's own demented ideology. Outsized views of Jewish power, a classical anti-Semitic theme, permeate the ranks of al Qaeda. Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 and its chief theoretician, says that in America and the West, "Jews are in control of the media and propaganda tools," and that "the world's Jewish government" stands behind anti-Islamic movements worldwide.

Full Article at: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/osama_american_yes_men_zYgiheWyD8SOqiRJrVn7IM

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Air-conditioned Islamic televangelism: Convergence of religion and television

Muhammad Ayish

September 16. 2009

Last month, as I joined a group of media researchers and experts in Amman for a Cambridge University workshop on religious broadcasting in the Middle East, I realised the impact that satellite television has had on the presentation of Islamic values to an international audience. The convergence of religion and television, two powerful players in this region’s cultural life, has given rise to a new genre of Islamic “televangelism” that seeks to promote Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance, and love in their simplest terms.

Islam provides peace of mind for more than one billion people around the world and defines much of their cultural identity in an age of globalisation. I see the new generation of satellite television preachers as fostering global receptivity to Islam and the Muslim world. When one speaks of the new wave of Islamic “televangelism”, Amr Khaled always jumps to the forefront.

Billed as “the Billy Graham of the Muslim World”, Mr Khaled was named in 2007 by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Time noted that although the lay preacher “is not a household name in the West”, he is still “a rock star for a segment of the Islamic world” and “a needed voice for moderation”. Contrary to some commentaries that see the rise of the Mr Khaled as a function of show business, I believe the combination of his innovative presentation style and his theological perspectives are the key to his spectacular success.

For young Muslim audiences, Mr Khaled’s preaching style has been inspiring primarily because it engages their senses in a spiritual and communicative experience. He uses simple verbal and non-verbal presentations to reveal Islam’s cherished values. Unlike traditional preaching styles defined by sometimes monotonous and abstract formulas, Mr Khaled directly addresses the audiences and relates theological abstractions to their concrete realities.

Full Article at: http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090917/OPINION/709169952/1080/NEWS

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/us-gets-indian-origin-envoy-for-muslim-world--farah-pandith-to-work-at-solving-pressing-problems-of-muslims/d/1757

 

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