New Age Islam News Bureau
6 Sept 2012
• With fluent English, madarsa kids wow ‘British guest’
• Pakistan-based terror sleeper cells a cause for worry: Indian Foreign Minister
• SC reserves verdict in Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case
• Couple shot dead in Honour Killing just after marriage in Pakistan
• HRW pushes Pakistan to 'urgently' protect Shias
• US pressure ignored, Pakistan and Iran strike barter trade deal
• Taliban may attack Pakistan nuclear facility
• Taliban safe passage for peace talks on Pak-Af-US menu
• Pakistan evicts Save the Children foreign staff
• Defence Day of Pakistan being observed today
• Pakistan may boycott ICC awards ceremony
• Syrian neighbourhoods divided along sectarian lines
• Refugee boat sinks in Turkey, 58 dead
• Mursi’s shake-up puts Islamist stamp on Egypt government
• 25 Killed in Turkey Ammunition Depot Blast
• This is time for change, Mursi warns Assad
• In Istanbul, an Exhibition on Islam in China Accentuates the Positive
• UN chief Ban Ki-moon slams jailing of Bahrain opposition leaders
• Saudi Arabia could become oil importer by 2030: Citigroup
• Syria troops 'bombard Aleppo districts'
• Saudi Kingdom’s steadfast support for Yemen’s recovery praised
• OIC Conference sends team to probe Buddhist-Muslim clashes in Myanmar
• Muslim leaders hear promise of improved community relations from N.J. law enforcement officials
• Israeli airstrike on Gaza kills three Palestinians
• Israel urged to admit African migrants on Egypt border
• Fair trial urged as spy boss Senussi deported to Libya
• U.S. to Retain Role as a Jailer in Afghanistan
• Maldives likely to leave Commonwealth if not taken off CMAG agenda
• Maldivian Home Minister condemns “one-sided” Amnesty report
• Maldives Government “would consider” clemency for ex-president following trial outcome
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Photo: Pakistan-based terror sleeper cells a cause for worry: Indian Foreign Minister
With Fluent English, Madarsa Kids Wow ‘British Guest’
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, September 06, 2012, British high commissioner to India James Bevan was in for a pleasant surprise on Wednesday when girl students of a madarsa answered his queries in flawless English. The young students enrolled in Nizamia seminary of Islamic Centre of India (ICI) in Aishbagh also shared their career choices with the special guest.
“Given the freedom to practice their religion and indulge in community work, Muslims in India are happier that those in other countries,” the imam of Eidgah, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, told the visiting high commissioner. Maulana Khalid, who is also the secretary general of ICI, said the economic condition of the minority community, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, was getting steadily better though the due share was yet to be claimed.
Bevan, who came especially to visit the ICI, called on Madarsa Nizamia, where boys and girls are being provided education separately. He also paid a visit to other sections of the centre.
“He was impressed by the girls communicating in English,” Maulana Khalid said.
Later, in conversation with Maulana Khalid, the visiting dignitary wanted to know about the success of polio eradication and breastfeeding campaigns, which are being run by the centre. He was told the polio cases among Muslims have come down to a large extent in the state. Bevan also enquired about the political aspirations of youth, their plans for higher education and administrative decision-making process.
This is the second time in the last six days that a top foreign diplomat has visited the state capital. On August 30, Nancy J Powell, the United States ambassador to India, met chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and said there was tremendous scope for US investment in Uttar Pradesh. She had also expressed the desire to strength en bilateral ties between the US and India, particularly in the context of Uttar Pradesh.
Pakistan-based terror sleeper cells a cause for worry: Indian Foreign Minister
New Delhi, Sep 06, 2012: A day before External Affairs Minister SM Krishna holds talks with his Pakistani counterpart; Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has admitted that Pakistan-based sleeper cells are spreading tension in India.
"The Pune blasts showed the capabilities of terror groups. We remain aware of the threat that various terror outfits continue to pose and we are cognisant of the continuous thrust of Pakistan based Islamic groups to infiltrate terrorists and hardware across IB and LoC," Shinde said.
He also pointed out that misuse of social media was dangerous. "Motivated rumours and irresponsible use of social networking media pose a new challenge," Shinde said.
"Naxalism continues to pose a significant challenge. Nearly 80 per cent of Naxal violence is taking place in less than 30 districts," Shinde added.
SC reserves verdict in Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Sep 6, 2012, The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case relating to ex-Gujarat minister Amit Shah but clarifies that it will transfer the case trial outside the state rather than cancel his bail.
CBI said it needs six weeks time to complete investigation into larger conspiracy beyond the fake encounter, which the apex court granted.
The CBI on Tuesday named former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah and over half a dozen IPS officers, including former CID (crime) chief OP Mathur, as accused in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case of 2006. They were among the 20 people named in the CBI chargesheet.
Couple shot dead in Honour Killing just after marriage in Pakistan
Lahore, Sep 06 2012, A young man and a woman were gunned down while leaving a court in Pakistan's Punjab province after getting married against the wishes of their families, officials said Thursday.
The incident occurred yesterday at the district court complex in Sargodha district, 80 km from Lahore, the provincial capital.
Police said Yasmin, 19, had eloped with a relative, 21-year-old Nasir Awan, and appeared before a civil judge to get married.
They told the judge that their lives were in danger as their families were unhappy with their decision to get married.
As they were leaving the court after getting married, Yasmin's uncle, Farooq Awan, and an accomplice fired at the couple and killed them instantly.
Policemen present in the court complex nabbed Awan but his accomplice escaped.
Awan told police that he killed the couple for tarnishing the image of his family.
"After Yasmin's elopement, we were left with no option but to kill both the girl and boy," he was quoted as saying.
Dozens of instances of such "honour killings" are reported every year from across Pakistan, especially the most populous province of Punjab.
Rights activists and civil society groups have been demanding stricter laws to deal with such crimes.
HRW pushes Pakistan to 'urgently' protect Shias
QUETTA: September 6, 2012, Pakistan should “urgently act” to protect Shia Muslims from rising sectarian attacks that have killed hundreds this year, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
At least 320 Shias have been killed in targeted attacks this year across Pakistan, including more than 100 in Balochistan, the majority from the Hazara community, the US-based group it said in a statement.
“Deadly attacks on Shia communities across Pakistan are escalating,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in the same statement.
“The government’s persistent failure to apprehend attackers or prosecute the extremist groups organising the attacks suggests that it is indifferent to this carnage,” Adams said.
The rights watchdog said militant groups such as the “ostensibly banned” Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) had operated with “widespread impunity” across Pakistan while law enforcement officials looked the other way.
Adams said the arrest last month of of LeJ leader Malik Ishaq, who has been accused of killing some 70 people, was “an important test for Pakistan’s criminal justice system”.
Some extremist groups are known to be “allies” of the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, and affiliated paramilitaries, such as the Frontier Corps, HRW said.
On September 1, four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus near the Hazarganji area of Quetta, pulled five Shia vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead.
On August 30, unidentified gunmen shot dead Shia judge Zulfiqar Naqvi along with his driver and police bodyguard.
Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s.
In one of the bloodiest recent attacks, on August 16 gunmen dragged 20 Shia travelers off a bus and killed them at point blank range in northern Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s government cannot play the role of unconcerned bystander as the Shia across Pakistan are slaughtered,” Adams said.
US pressure ignored, Pakistan and Iran strike barter trade deal
By Our Correspondent
ISLAMABAD, September 6, 201: Shrugging off pressure from the United States which has imposed harsher sanctions on Tehran, Pakistan and Iran have signed a barter trade agreement – a key feature of which is export of one million tons of wheat to Iran at $300 per ton.
The two neighbouring countries struck the deal during visit of a Pakistani delegation to Iran last month.
“We have signed an accord with Iran for export of one million tons of wheat,” a senior official of the Ministry of Food Security and Research told The Express Tribune.
He said an Iranian team would arrive in Pakistan soon to examine the quality of wheat and after that exports would kick off.
“The two countries have set criteria and the Iranian team will conduct tests to check the quality of wheat before shipment.” In exchange, Pakistan will import fertiliser from Iran.
Pakistan has a surplus wheat stock of 1.5 million tons and even after export of one million tons, 500,000 will still be in surplus.
Iran will pay $300 per ton, the average price of wheat in the international market in July. However, Pakistan will pay for fertiliser the price prevailing at the time of shipment.
At present, the price of urea in the international market stands at $399 per ton, the latest rate quoted by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), which is tasked with importing urea to meet its shortage in the country. In the domestic market, the urea price was Rs1,659 per 50kg bag.
When approached, Ministry of Food Security and Research Secretary Ahmad Bakhsh Lehri confirmed that Pakistan and Iran had struck the deal for wheat export. He also said “we will buy fertiliser in exchange.”
Suspension or very low supply of gas to fertiliser plants has widened the gap between demand and supply of urea in the country, prompting the government to aggressively import the commodity, which is vital for cultivating crops.
In addition to the import of fertiliser from Iran under barter trade, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet – the highest economic decision-making body – has permitted import of 300,000 tons of urea from other sources. The Ministry of Industries had expressed the desire to import 600,000 tons.
The government will have to bear a huge subsidy of Rs1.77 billion on 300,000 tons of imported urea according to current market prices, a further burden on the finance ministry which is reeling from lack of finances.
Taliban may attack Pakistan nuclear facility
September 06, 2012,
Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have deployed large contingents of soldiers and policemen at one of the country's largest nuclear facilities in Dera Ghazi Khan following "serious" threats from the local Taliban, a media report said on Thursday.
Besides the deployment inside and around the nuclear installation, three Army divisions in the southern part of Punjab have been asked to launch a crackdown against banned groups, The Express Tribune reported, quoting its sources.
This could be the first ever security threat to a nuclear facility in Pakistan and the Army and security forces are taking no risks, the report said.
The daily quoted sources in the military and Punjab Police as saying that the nature of threat at the nuclear installation is "serious”, with an 80 percent chance of occurrence.
The ISI reportedly intercepted a telephone call from the Pakistani Taliban, during which members of the banned group were heard "finalising their strategy for attacks on nuclear installations in Dera Ghazi Khan”, the paper said.
"Dera Ghazi Khan houses one of the largest nuclear facilities in the country and has faced the first ever serious security threat from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan," an unnamed high-ranking military officer serving at the installation was quoted as saying.
According to an official who works at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, a key military and civilian fuel cycle site is located 40 km from Dera Ghazi Khan.
The site comprises uranium milling and mining operations and a uranium hexaflouride conversion plant.
According to the telephone call intercepted by the ISI, three to four vehicles carrying suicide bombers were about to enter Dera Ghazi Khan and could strike the nuclear facilities at any time.
Sources told the daily that, according to precedents, threats intercepted via phone calls often materialised within 72 hours. Direct threats via phone or letters often do not materialise, the sources said.
Dera Ghazi Khan district police chief Chaudhry Saleem confirmed the threat and said that police had received instructions from the military officer in charge at the nuclear installation to beef up security around the facility as much as possible.
Full Report at:t.
Taliban safe passage for peace talks on Pak-Af-US menu
ISLAMABAD: Sep 6, 2012, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States on Wednesday discussed how to provide Taliban leaders safe passage to join peace negotiations, a key issue to allow the talks to succeed, officials said.
Many senior Taliban commanders, including leader Mullah Omar, are believed to be based in Pakistan, making Islamabad's cooperation critical. Pakistan also has strong historical ties with the group that many analysts believe have continued.
The US and Afghan governments have urged Islamabad to push the Taliban to participate in a peace process that has had trouble getting off the ground.
The discussions that took place on Wednesday in Islamabad, marked the inaugural meeting of the Safe Passage Working Group, said the Pakistani foreign ministry. It is focused on choosing which Taliban leaders should be provided safe passage, guaranteeing their security and dealing with logistics like visas, said a US official
The US began clandestine talks with the Taliban last year, aided by Germany and held in Qatar. It is widely believed that Pakistan provided safe passage to some Taliban militants to attend those discussions. But the contacts have run into problems.
The Taliban broke off talks earlier this year, saying the US reneged on a promise to release Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, the US security prison in Cuba. To get the Taliban back to the table, the US has said it is considering a proposal to transfer some Guantanamo Bay inmates to a prison in Afghanistan. The Taliban have said they want the prisoners freed unconditionally before resuming talks.
Pakistan evicts Save the Children foreign staff
ISLAMABAD, 06 09 12: A spokesman for Save the Children in Pakistan said the government has ordered its foreign staff members to leave the country.
Ghulam Qadri said on Thursday that the order from the Ministry of Interior for the organisation’s six expatriate staffers to leave came earlier this week.
He said the ministry gave no reason for the expulsion.
The group has come under Pakistani government scrutiny recently because of reports alleging that it helped facilitate meetings between the US and a doctor who helped hunt down Osama bin Laden.
The group has vehemently denied any such role.
Qadri said Save the Children had about 2,000 Pakistani employees across the country, and that the expulsion will not hinder its work.
The expulsion was first reported by the British newspaper The Guardian.
Defence Day of Pakistan being observed today
06 September 2012
ISLAMABAD: The 47th Defence Day of Pakistan is being celebrated today with simplicity all over the country.
The 47th Defence Day of Pakistan is being observed today with simplicity all over the country with pledges to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan at all cost.
The day dawned with prayers in Army Units, Naval Establishments and Air Force Bases for the progress and prosperity of the country.
Special prayers offered for the eternal peace of the Shuhada, who laid down their lives in defence of the country.
Special messages of the services chiefs would be read out to the troops of Army, Navy and Air Force.
Wreath-laying ceremonies held at the graves of the recipients of the Nishan-e-Haider, the country's highest gallantry award.
Ceremonies held to pay homage to the country's brave sons who had demonstrated indomitable courage and valour in the defence of the motherland.
The President, in a message on the Defence Day of Pakistan, said that Pakistan was a moderate, tolerant and peaceful nation, where political choices were made by the ballot.
Full Report at:
Pakistan may boycott ICC awards ceremony
Karachi, Thu, Sep 06 2012, The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is under pressure to boycott the annual ICC awards ceremony after the game's apex governing body refused to include Saeed Ajmal in the final list of nominations for any category.
"Ajmal deserved to be shortlisted for either the Test cricketer of the year or ODI player of the year award. The way the ICC has ignored him is unjust and the PCB must convey its reservations by boycotting the awards ceremony in Sri Lanka," Pakistan's former captain, Rashid Latif told PTI. "How can they ignore Ajmal when he has performed brilliantly and led Pakistan to a shock 3-0 clean sweep over the world's top Test side England this year," Latif asked.
Other former players also expressed their discontent with the decision of the ICC.
"This ICC process to shortlist players is clearly flawed because cricket is all about performance, not personal likes and dislikes. Better if the PCB boycotts the awards function," former Test player and ex-coach of the national team, Mohsin Khan said.
"It will at least send out a strong message to the ICC. South Africa also did it in 2009 when their deserving players were ignored for the awards," Mohsin, who is also a former chief selector, said.
The annual ICC awards ceremony will be held in Sri-Lanka on September 15, just prior to the start of the World T20 in the emerald Island.
The omission has already led to the PCB writing letters to the ICC, expressing its dissent with the decision, and pointed out that Ajmal was the top wicket-taker in Tests in the qualifying period for the awards, taking 72 wickets in 12 games and was also placed second in the ODI top bowlers list. Former Test batsman, Basit Ali also criticised the ICC for ignoring Ajmal insisting that the PCB must not accept the decision tamely.
OIC Conference sends team to probe Buddhist-Muslim clashes in Myanmar
By The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar, September6, 2012- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has sent a team to investigate deadly violence between Buddhists and Muslims that sparked allegations of human rights violations against the minority Muslim community.
The fact-finding team arrived Thursday for a 10-day visit ahead of a trip planned by OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
The 57-nation OIC said it will present its findings at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly.
Fighting between Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state in June left 80 people dead and displaced tens of thousands.
Human rights groups have accused government troops of committing "atrocities" in attempts to restore order.
A government spokesman, Ko Ko Hlaing, welcomed the visit as a way to clear up "misperceptions." He added, "The Muslim world has expressed concern ... mainly because of misinformation."
Syrian neighbourhoods divided along sectarian lines
DIANA AL-JASSEM | ARAB NEWS STAFF
JEDDAH: 6 September 2012, Syrian expats say their relatives are attempting to resume their lives as the Free Syrian Army and Basher Assad’s Syrian Arabic Army leave their cities, towns and villages to fight for control in other parts of the country.
An estimated 100,000 Syrians fled their country in August for Turkey and Jordan. But many say they are prepared to return to their homes to pickup up their shattered lives.
In interviews with refugees and their expatriate relatives in Saudi Arabia, Syrians say the homes they left behind no longer exist or their neighbourhoods are now divided along sectarian lines.
In Homs, the countryside outside Damascus, and Deir Azzour, Syrians are returning to lives under extremely different circumstances than before the war started.
Some Syrians claim people in the neighbourhoods of Baba Amro, Al- Khalidiya, Al-Qussair, Bab Al-Seba’a and Al-Hamidya, have been forced to seek refuge in other neighbourhoods as armed gangs target minorities, especially Christians.
George Zeitoun, an opposition activist who welcomes a change in government but who said he has not taken up arms, said he has been forced to leave his home in Homs as the Syrian Arabic Army chased gangs and rebels to maintain order.
“My family and I were forced to flee because gangs were attacking Christians,” Zeitoun said. “Christians in Al-Rastan and Talibiseh were also attacked. There is discrimination against Christians as most of them support President Assad.
“Previously Sunni families lived in predominantly Shiite communities and Shiite families lived in Sunni communities,” he said.
Full Report at:
Refugee boat sinks in Turkey, 58 dead
ISTANBUL: Sep 6, 2012, Turkish media say 58 people drowned when a fishing boat carrying migrants that smugglers had promised refuge in Europe sank after hitting rocks off the coast of western Turkey.
Reports cite officials as saying dozens of survivors, mostly from Iraq and Syria, were able to swim through the Aegean waters to shore, only 50 meters (160 feet) away.
The website of Hurriyet newspaper said Thursday that 58 people died.
Illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa have long sought to reach Europe by passing through Turkey, and their desperate efforts have occasionally ended in disaster. Turkey is now hosting 80,000 Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country, and some countries are concerned that larger numbers of Syrians could try to reach Europe illegally.
Mursi’s shake-up puts Islamist stamp on Egypt government
By Maggie Michael
CAIRO: September 06, 2012, Egypt’s Islamist leadership took a new move this week to put its stamp on the country’s government, appointing members of the Muslim Brotherhood as provincial governors and installing conservatives and other Islamists in the state’s top human rights body and a powerful media council.
The shake-up was the latest step by President Mohammad Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood to reshape state institutions that were long the monopoly of ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak, his ruling party and the military that backed him.
Supporters have praised the moves as part of a drive to cleanse the system of Mubarak loyalists after Mursi was inaugurated in late June as the country’s first freely elected president. But the heavy infusion of Islamists into government institutions has raised fears of Brotherhood domination monopolizing power as much as Mubarak did and moving Egypt into a more religious rule.
The governorships of Egypt’s 27 provinces have long been prime posts for solidifying the president’s power. The governors are appointed by the president and generally implement his policies. Under Mubarak, the positions went to retired military generals or ruling party loyalists.
On Tuesday, Mursi’s office announced 10 new governors. Four of the new names are leading members of the Brotherhood, taking the posts in the southern provinces of Minya and Assiout – two areas with heavy Christian populations – and the Nile Delta provinces of Kafr al-Sheikh and Menoufia, a stronghold of former regime supporters. In a gesture to Egypt’s still powerful military, three of the new governors are retired generals.
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said the new governors were chosen based on their “good reputation, not party affiliation.”
Another significant shakeup came in the National Council for Human Rights, a body that Mubarak created in his final years in response to demands for greater respect for human rights. The council, once headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was touted as a rights watchdog over the government. Other rights groups dismissed it as toothless. But after the revolution, it played an active role in proposing to parliament bills against torture and discrimination against Christians and formed fact-finding missions to investigate killings of anti-military protesters.
The new 27-member council includes at least seven Islamists, including several members of the ultraconservative Salafi movement, which advocates a strict, segregationist interpretation of Islam similar to Saudi Arabia’s.
Many Salafis have voiced opposition to international human rights treaties as “Westernized” standards and to many women’s rights advocates they feel are un-Islamic. They also oppose equal political rights between Muslims and Christians.
Only two members in the new line-up are known as long-time human rights advocates, said Bahy Eddin Hassan, who heads the Arab Centre for Human Rights Studies and is not among those on the council. The line-up includes three women – two of whom are Christians – and a third Christian.
“For the first time, we see a council tasked to defend human rights while its members are opponents to human rights,” he said.
Full report at:
25 Killed in Turkey Ammunition Depot Blast
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ANKARA, Turkey (AP, September 6, 2012, An explosion and blaze triggered by an accidentally dropped hand grenade killed 25 soldiers during a stock check at a Turkish ammunition depot, the government said Thursday.
Four other soldiers were injured in the blast, which lit up the night sky late Wednesday with flames, and shattered windows in homes in the nearby town of Afyonkarahisar in western Turkey, terrifying residents.
Forestry and Water Minister Veysel Eroglu ruled out terrorism and sabotage, saying the blast occurred in a section where hand grenades were kept. The soldiers' remains were discovered early Thursday after a subsequent blaze was extinguished.
"One hand grenade was dropped during stock-taking and sorting, causing a large explosion," Eroglu said. "There was no external intervention. There certainly was no sabotage or anything like that."
Eroglu said hand grenades were found strewn across the area and authorities were detonating them with controlled explosions. Turkey's NTV television showed security officers walking along a road and in fields, looking for unexploded ammunition.
President Abdullah Gul urged a full investigation, though some opposition lawmakers questioned whether any high-ranking military officials would be called to account.
Cihan News Agency quoted Yakup Evirgen, a retired military major who handled logistics, as saying a variety of factors can be involved in an accident involving munitions, including their production date, where they had been previously stored and whether they had degraded over time, making them unstable.
Another retired military officer, Haldun Solmazturk, said that, based on his experience as a brigadier general, the stock check should not have been conducted at night and that the number of soldiers involved in the procedure at Afyonkarahisar seemed to be too high. His comments were reported by Ilhas News Agency.
Families of conscripts serving at the facility rushed to the area after hearing news of the explosions. Many broke into tears after the deaths were reported, NTV said. Some remains were sent to the capital, Ankara, for DNA tests so they could be identified.
Some civilians were evacuated from the nearby town overnight. Authorities warned people to stay away from the area.
In 1997, an explosion at Turkey's largest weapons factory in Kirikkale in central Turkey killed two people and sparked a fire that raged for days.
This is time for change, Mursi warns Assad
CAIRO: 6 September 2012, Syria came under scathing international criticism yesterday, with Turkey calling the country a terrorist state and Egypt’s leader calling on President Bashar Assad to “learn from recent history” and step down.
Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi warned his Syrian counterpart that “it’s too late to talk about reform; this is the time for change.”
Mursi’s strong comments to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo followed a recent address during a summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, where the Egyptian leader gave a hearty call for world support of Syria’s fighters.
Also yesterday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Assad’s government.
"The regime in Syria has become a terrorist state," Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AKP party in Ankara.
"Syria is not an ordinary country to us. We do not have the luxury to remain indifferent to what's happening there," he said.
“Syria is going through a huge humanitarian saga. Unfortunately, as usual, the international community is merely watching the slaughter, massacre and the elimination of Muslims.” Despite the condemnation, Syria appears poised for an increasingly drawn-out conflict.
Making his first presidential address to the Arab League in Cairo, Muhammad Mursi also said a quartet of states — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Egypt — would meet to discuss the Syrian crisis.
“The quartet which Egypt has called for will meet now,” Mursi told Arab foreign ministers, without giving details.
An Egyptian delegate said the president’s comments meant the four states were talking about what action could be taken but the formal formation of the quartet was still under discussion. He said no date had been set for its representatives to meet.
Tehran has backed Syria’s government but the three other states want President Bashar Assad to stand down.
Analysts said the group was unlikely to agree on how to handle the crisis but said the initiative was a sign of how determined the newly elected president was to put Egypt back at the center of regional politics.
Full Repost at:
In Istanbul, an Exhibition on Islam in China Accentuates the Positive
BY MATTHEW BRUNWASSER ⋅ SEPTEMBER 5, 2012
Chinese government seeks to soothe Turks’ concerns about the ill treatment of China’s 23 million Muslims, including Turkic Uygurs. Unlike Tibetans, China’s Uygurs have no Dalai Lama to galvanize international support.
Muslims in China make up less than 2 percent of the population. But that’s still 23 million people, almost the population of Texas. And Zhang Jian from the Chinese state religious body, says the exhibition is meant to inform international audiences about the richness of Islamic culture in China.
“To know more about how Chinese Muslims live their lives in China and how they live their religious life,” says Jian.
There are a lot of rumours he says, that the Chinese government prevents Muslim men from wearing beards for example, or that it stops women from covering their heads.
It’s not true, he says. Muslims live freely in China and the exhibits are proof of this reality.
“The reasons we hold such kind of activity, to know what really happens in China,” he says.
The exhibition features traditional songs and dances by two Muslim performing groups. The Uygur dancers are dressed in intensely colorful costumes as they perform tightly choreographed songs and dances. But unlike the music, and the rosy picture painted by the government official, life for Uygurs in China isn’t especially joyful.
“I don’t want to speak Chinese,” says a Uygur émigré I spoke to at the performance. She didn’t want to use her name, fearing reprisals against her family in Xinjiang. She says the Chinese government is trying to wipe out the Uygur language.
“I’m afraid for the future. I fear for the Uygur language that everyone will forget it everywhere it’s only Chinese,” she says.
The woman says the Chinese government is trying to assimilate Uygurs by force, eliminating Uygur-language education and giving economic opportunities only to the majority ethnic Han Chinese.
Human Rights Watch concurs. A recent report said, “under the guise of counterterrorism and anti-separatism efforts, the government maintains a pervasive system of ethnic discrimination against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.” Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, in Turkey, the people and government are sensitive to Uygur pleas. Hugh Pope is a Turkey analyst and author of “Sons of the Conquerors: The Rise of the Turkic World“.
“Every Turkish school child is taught that the Uygurs are brothers,” says Pope. “Eight million people who are under Chinese sovereignty in Xinjiang, or as it used to be known East Turkestan, because it’s the eastern bit of where Turks still live in Central Asia, still in the Turkish consciousness as being a Turkic people, blood brothers according to the state ideology of the Turkish Republic.
China hopes that cultural exchanges like the one happening now will help ease Turks’ reservations about Muslims in China. But Pope says PR is probably not even needed. China’s economic power will always move Turkey more than the human rights of their Uygur brothers.
“Most people are interested in buying Chinese products, Turkish companies are building things in Chinese cities just like everyone else in the world,” Pope says. “We are seeing the beginning of a military relationship. Turkish leaders do go and visit Xinjian and wear Uygur dress. And China is happy with that because it shows that everything is alright.”
Turkey is a rising regional power but it’s still a medium-sized developing country. Its not in Turkey’s interest to have trouble with China, says Pope. Whats more, most of the Uygurs’ ancient cities have already been razed, to make way for new cities likely to be dominated by majority ethnic Han Chinese.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon slams jailing of Bahrain opposition leaders
UNITED NATIONS: Sep 6, 2012, UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday sharply criticized tough jail terms imposed on 13 leading Bahraini opposition figures, calling on the country's leaders to ensure the right to a fair trial.
"The secretary-general is concerned by the harsh sentences, including life imprisonment, upheld by a Bahrain appeals court," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
The jail terms, which included seven life sentences, were imposed for charges of plotting to overthrow the Sunni Gulf monarchy during last year's Shiite-led protests.
Ban "urges the Bahraini authorities to allow all defendants to exercise their right to appeal and to ensure that due process is observed."
And he "reiterates his appeal to the Bahraini authorities to ensure the application of international human rights norms, including the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," the statement added.
The UN chief also renewed his belief "that there needs to be an all-inclusive and meaningful national dialogue that addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis."
Saudi Arabia could become oil importer by 2030: Citigroup
DUBAI: Sep 6, 2012, Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer at 11.1 million barrels per day and exporter of 7.7 mbpd, could become an oil importer by 2030, a Citigroup report has said.
The country consumes 25 per cent of its production. According to the report, the country's energy consumption per capita exceeds that of most industrial nations.
Saudi Arabia's oil and its derivatives account for 50 per cent of its electricity production, used mostly (less than 50 per cent) for residential use. Peak power demand is growing by around 8 per cent per year.
"Our analysis shows that if nothing changes Saudi may have no available oil for export by 2030," said the report, adding that it ran the risk of becoming oil importer.
The country already consumes all its gas production, 9.6 billion cubic feet (ft3) per day of natural gas, all of which is entirely consumed domestically.
The country is looking to raise gas production to 15.5 billion ft3/day by 2015, implying a 2011-15 CAGR of 12.7 per cent. However, peak power demand is growing at almost 8 per cent per annum.
"We believe Saudi Arabia will need to find new sources to meet residential and industrial demand," it said.
As per the report, implications for the global petrochemical market point to potential feedstock restrictions for Saudi petrochemicals given the priority of residential demand.
Syria troops 'bombard Aleppo districts'
5 September 2012
Security forces have shelled parts of Syria's second city of Aleppo, killing at least 19 people, activists say.
Troops began to bombard the districts of Bustan al-Qasr, Marjeh and Hananu before dawn. Many of those killed were reportedly women and children.
One opposition activist network put the morning's death toll in Aleppo at 54.
Meanwhile, Egypt's new leader has said President Bashar al-Assad must "take lessons from recent history" and step down before it is too late.
"Don't take the right step at the wrong time... because that would be the wrong step," Mohammed Mursi warned his Syrian counterpart in a speech at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
Mr Mursi also said that a quartet of regional states - Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt - would meet to discuss the Syrian crisis.
Later, the Egyptian-owned Nilesat satellite channel ceased coverage of Syrian state TV and two other pro-government channels, al-Ekhbaryah and al-Dunya.
A Nilesat executive said the Arab League group for Syria had asked the channel to stop the broadcasts.
Syrian state TV was seen on Nilesat early on Wednesday, but reception was lost around 11:30 GMT, after the Cairo ministers meeting.
Nilesat continued to broadcast anti-government Syrian channels.
Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, separately accused President Assad of creating a "terrorist state" in Syria.
The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that more than 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August - the highest monthly total since protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011.
There are also thought to be more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Syria, and 2.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.
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Saudi Kingdom’s steadfast support for Yemen’s recovery praised
JEDDAH: 6 September 2012, Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Salman yesterday held talks with Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa at his office in Al-Salam Palace on major regional and international issues.
Prince Salman and Basindawa also reviewed bilateral relations and explored ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries. Basindawa thanked Saudi Arabia for its support to Yemen in all areas. “The Yemeni government and people appreciate this continuous Saudi support,” the prime minister said.
Basindawa, who was in the Kingdom to attend a meeting of global donors in Riyadh, later flew back to Yemen.
The Riyadh meeting mobilized $ 6.4 billion aid for Yemen’s reconstruction.
Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf signed three agreements with Yemeni International Cooperation Minister Mohammed Al-Saadi detailing Saudi aid package, which includes a $ 1 billion deposit in Yemen’s Central Bank, a $ 1.75 billion grant, and $ 500 million to finance and guarantee Saudi exports to Yemen.
Muslim leaders hear promise of improved community relations from N.J. law enforcement officials
BY HANNAN ADELY, STAFF WRITER
NEWARK – SEPTEMBER 5, 2012, New Jersey’s law enforcement leaders have pledged to improve diversity training and expand recruitment in Muslim communities in an effort to strengthen ties with Muslims in the wake of a police surveillance scandal.
The steps were announced Wednesday, following the first meeting of a new outreach committee formed to improve relations with Muslims and law enforcement. A spokesman for Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa also said the committee could make membership changes, in response to criticism that it wasn’t sufficiently diverse.
Some members of the new committee reacted with relief to the announcement that the surveillance program once operated by the New York Police Department had come to an end, news that was revealed last month in police testimony in a civil rights lawsuit and confirmed by New Jersey homeland security director Edward Dickson on Wednesday.
The Attorney General announced the outreach committee in May, when he also unveiled results of a review that found the New York Police Department violated no state laws when it spied on Muslim mosques, businesses and schools.
Despite lingering bad feelings over the spying and Chiesa’s report, Muslim leaders said Wednesday that they welcomed the effort to improve dialogue.
“We experienced disappointment, and rightfully so,” said Imam Mustafa El-Amin, of the Masjid Ibrahim in Newark. “Now there are steps being taken to prevent this from happening again.”
Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General, said plans will be made to improve diversity training for law enforcement officers, and to do recruitment among Muslim youth for law enforcement careers.
The two steps were direct results of a discussion during the meeting Wednesday in Newark, he said.
“There is no substitute for face-to-face dialogue to enhance and sustain law enforcement understanding and respect for the issues that affect the Muslim community,” he said.
Imam Deen Shareef said a subcommittee will work with law enforcement to provide education about Islamic traditions and principles. But he also said law enforcement should go beyond the committee and meet directly with people in the community, to talk about their work and to answer questions.
He hoped the efforts would help dispel negative notions about Muslims that he believes drove the NYPD to do surveillance in the first place.
“My hope is to change perceptions so that the mistakes of the NYPD won’t be repeated,” said Shareef, the Convener of the Council of Imams in New Jersey and a plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD over spying allegations filed by the group Muslim Advocates.
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Israeli airstrike on Gaza kills three Palestinians
GAZA CITY (Palestinian Territories): Sep 6, 2012, An Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians and wounded a fourth late Wednesday, said a spokesman for the territory's health ministry.
"Three civilians have been killed and another seriously wounded during an Israeli air raid to the east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp," in the centre of the Gaza Strip, ministry spokesman Achraf al-Qudra told AFP.
Two of those killed had been identified, he said: Khalil al-Jerba, aged 27, and 25-year-old Khaled al-Qerem.
Witnesses said the Israeli strike had targeted the car in which they were travelling.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the attack to AFP.
"The Israeli army targeted a group of terrorists who were preparing to fire rockets at Israel from the centre of the Gaza Strip," she said.
"This team has been implicated in the previous launching of rockets targeting communities in southern Israel."
In recent days, Palestinian militants have fired rockets into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, without causing any casualties, according to the Israeli army.
A radical Salafist splinter group has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.
Despite an informal truce between Hamas and Israel, tensions flare periodically on the Gaza-Israel border, with Palestinian militants firing rockets into the Jewish state and the Israeli military launching retaliatory air strikes on the Palestinian territory.
The last major flare-up was in June, when militants fired more than 150 rockets at southern Israel, wounding five people, and Israel hit back with air strikes that killed 15 Palestinians.
Israel urged to admit African migrants on Egypt border
6 September 2012
The UN's refugee agency has called on Israel to grant entry to African migrants trapped on the country's tightly controlled border with Egypt.
Around 20 people, believed to be from Eritrea, have been stuck at the fenced desert barrier for a week.
Israel's refusal to grant them asylum "is highly irresponsible", the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.
But the Israeli Interior Ministry said it had no legal obligation to let the migrants in.
Soldiers said they had provided those stranded with food, water and shelter from the sun, but human rights groups have so far been prevented from visiting the group, the BBC'S Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem reports.
Thousands of Africans fleeing conflicts in Eritrea and Sudan have tried to cross the border in recent years, he added.
They pay Bedouin tribesmen to lead them from Cairo through the Sinai desert into Israel.
'Shut the door'
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Fair trial urged as spy boss Senussi deported to Libya
September 5, 2012
The US and human rights groups have called on Libya to give a fair trial to Col Gaddafi's ex-intelligence chief after he was deported by Mauritania.
The US said Abdullah al-Senussi must be tried "in full compliance with Libya's international obligations".
Libya's PM insisted Mr Senussi would face trial "according to international standards for human rights".
Mr Senussi, who is being held in Tripoli, fled Libya after last year's uprising against Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Mr Senussi is accused of crimes allegedly committed during Col Gaddafi's rule and is also wanted by France and the International Criminal Court.
'Rule of law'
Pictures on social media appeared to show Mr Senussi stepping down from a helicopter in Tripoli on Wednesday after news broke that Mauritania had agreed to deport him.
Mr Senussi was arrested on his arrival in Mauritania in March, sparking repeated requests to the West African nation from the Libyan government for his return.
"Abdullah al-Senussi will have a fair trial according to international standards for human rights, the rights from which Libyans were deprived," Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib told reporters in Tripoli.
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U.S. to Retain Role as a Jailer in Afghanistan
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and GRAHAM BOWLEY
WASHINGTON, September 5, 2012, The United States military will maintain control over dozens of foreign detainees in Afghanistan for the indefinite future, even as the two countries prepare to ceremonially mark the hand-over of detention operations to the Afghan government, officials from both countries say.
Further, although thousands of Afghan detainees have already been turned over, the United States will continue to hold and screen newly captured Afghans for a time, ensuring continued American involvement in detention and interrogation activities.
The hand-over deal, signed on March 9 at President Hamid Karzai’s demand, set a six-month transfer schedule and was a reflection of rising Afghan assertions of sovereignty at a time of extreme tensions over American troops’ burning of Korans.
The persistence of American-operated prison buildings, in a section of the main Parwan complex at Bagram Air Base, underscores the complexity of relinquishing control over detainee operations while American troops are still in the field conducting raids and making arrests — including the risk that detainees could be freed only to come back and stage attacks.
Some of the difficulties raised by the non-Afghan detainees, moreover, echo problems that have slowed the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It is illegal to repatriate prisoners to countries where they are likely to be tortured or killed, for example, and American officials have also wanted to ensure that other governments are willing and able to keep tabs on any released detainees.
Still, Afghan guards now operate most of the cellblocks at Parwan, and they have taken custody of most of the roughly 3,000 Afghans who were already being held as suspects in the insurgency when the allies signed the transfer agreement. There are many fewer inmates — about 50, officials say — from Pakistan and other countries, while more than 600 Afghans have been taken into custody since the March 9 deal. A major unresolved issue is how quickly newly arrested Afghans should be turned over.
William K. Lietzau, the Pentagon’s top detainee policy official, said in a recent interview that the United States was “on a trajectory to be able to comply” with the Sept. 9 “milestone” in the transfer agreement — he rejected the word deadline. Compliance, he said, meant having transferred all Afghan citizens who were already in custody when the agreement was signed.
So far, Mr. Karzai, who early this year demanded the immediate transfer of prison operations, has not publicly objected to that narrow interpretation of the agreement. He has announced plans for a ceremony on Monday to mark the “full transfer” of the detention center.
Some Afghan officials signaled that the continuing American role was understood and, to a degree, acceptable. “The priority for Afghanistan is Afghan citizens,” said Janan Mosazai, the Foreign Ministry spokesman. “When it comes to third-country nationals, that will be a matter we decide with our international partners at some point down the road.”
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Maldives likely to leave Commonwealth if not taken off CMAG agenda
By Mariyath Mohamed | September 6th, 2012
State Minister of Foreign Affairs and daughter of former President of 30 years Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Dunya Maumoon, has said the Maldives would likely leave the Commonwealth if not removed from the formal agenda of the Commonwealth’s human rights and democracy arm.
Speaking at a press conference held in the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Dunya said, “We call on all the member countries of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to remove us from the agenda at the earliest possible opportunity. We do not altogether deserve to have been put on this agenda”.
Dunya stated that following the release of the report by the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), many foreign countries had complimented the commission’s work. While she expressed concerns that “reactions from two countries are somewhat worrying”, she declined to name either country.
President Mohamed Waheed’s government reformed the CNI at the Commonwealth’s request, to include a representative from Nasheed and a foreign legal authority as co-chair. The government requested a retired Singaporean judge, and G P Selvam was duly appointed.
The final report, published at the end of last month, concluded that the transfer of power on Feburary 7 was constitutional, that President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation was not made under duress, and that there had not been a police or military mutiny. It also noted that there were “acts of police brutality on 6, 7 and 8 February 2012 that must be investigated and pursued further by the relevant authorities.”
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Maldivian Home Minister condemns “one-sided” Amnesty report
By Daniel Bosley | September 6th, 2012
Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has criticised Amnesty International for failing to seek comment from the government when compiling its recent report, “The Other side of Paradise: A Human Rights Crisis in the Maldives”, local media has reported.
“They had not sought any comments from the Maldives government. I’m extremely disappointed that a group advocating for fairness and equal treatment had released a report based on just one side of the story,” Jameel told Haveeru.
“An international group of the caliber of Amnesty should have heard the other side as well. But they had failed to obtain our comments,” Jameel is quoted as saying.
Minivan News was awaiting a response from Amnesty at the time of press.
When talking with Haveeru, Jameel did not appear to dispute the content of the statements that were included in the report.
Jameel was also not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.
The Amnesty report recounts sustained and pre-meditated beatings of protesters with a variety of weapons.
Some of those interviewed reported people being attacked in their hospital beds, whilst others recalled torture and further degradation whilst in detention.
Amnesty also detailed a number of incidents of police brutality on February 8, including attacks on Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs Eva Abdulla and Mariya Didi.
“The overall objective of these violent attacks has been to silence peaceful government critics and stifle public debate about the current political situation,” said the report, compiled by Amnesty researcher Abbas Faiz.
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Maldives Government “would consider” clemency for ex-president following trial outcome
By Neil Merrett | September 5th, 2012
The government has said it will have no involvement in the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed, adding it would consider the possibility of offering clemency should he eventually be found guilty.
Nasheed, who yesterday announced he had started his campaign for re-election, has called for the trial over his role in the controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed earlier this year to be expedited. The former president has alleged that the trial against him is politically motivated to prevent him from contesting in presidential elections scheduled for 2013.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad claimed that the government was committed to its pledge of not interfering in the Maldives judicial system and played down fears of the trial being politicised.
“We would regret any parties or international organisations trying to politicise this trial,” he said. “However, after a judgement on the case has been given, if there is an opportunity to do so, I’m sure President Waheed would consider the possibility of clemency [for former President Nasheed].”
The comments were made today as Department of Judicial Administration Spokesperson Latheefa Qasim confirmed to Minivan News that the decision had been taken to appoint three judges to hear the former president’s trial. Qasim added that a date for the hearing or the identities of the three judges presiding over the trial had yet to be decided.
Last week, the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court was cleared to hold the trial that will see Nasheed along with several senior military figures under his command face charges for the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
During Nasheed’s administration Judge Abdulla was accused by the government of demonstrating political bias, obstructing police, stalling cases, having links with organised crime and “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist” to protect key figures of the former dictatorship from human rights and corruption cases.
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