New Age Islam News Bureau
19 March 2010
Rana knew every detail of 26/11 plan: Headley to US court - Times of India
• US suspect in Mumbai siege, Danish plot pleads guilty
• Headley confession not a setback: Chidambaram
• Headley attended five terror camps in Pak
• No decline in Pak support to terrorists: Army chief
• No surgical strike on terror camps in Pak, says MoS Raju
• ‘No nukes for Iran is highest priority’
• Jihad Jane pleads not guilty to terrorism charges
• Pakistan arrests halt secret UN contacts with Taliban
• Terror clouding region, spy chiefs flock to India
• Iran gives arms to Taliban?
• Al Qaeda on the run, says CIA chief
• Osama & Zawahiri hiding in Pak: CIA
• How close are Osama, Al Qaeda to acquiring material for N-weapon
• Hamas: Learning from mistakes
• Somalia: Hizbul Islam Vows Attacks Against Ethiopian Troops in Central Somalia
• Syria snubs US plea on Hezbollah
• Putin, Hillary clash over Iran nuclear plant launch
• Middle East Quartet urges Israeli settlement freeze
• ‘Indonesia needs national religious laws’
• Arab hopes in Obama shrinking
• Nato hands over Serb site to Kosovo police
• Gaddafi comment sparks diplomatic row with Nigeria
• Ties with Pakistan go far beyond security, says US
• Pak judge backtracks on 'Hindu terror' remark
• Facebook row as Middle East officials ban user 'who insulted Islam'
• Mousavi vows 'year of perseverance' against Iran government
• Opposition couple demand 'year of resistance' against Iran's rulers
• Interim relief for Islamic scholar Rabbani
• Muslim Mahila Andolan calls for boycott of `male chauvinist' ulema
• SRK's ancestral home traced to Pakistan
• Husain's work sold for over Rs. 2 crore
• ‘Israel ancient synagogue was Arabic palace’
• Indian Muslims weary of court relief over quota
• The Battle for Jerusalem
• No freedom in Muslim Bethlehem
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Rana knew every detail of 26/11 plan: Headley to US court
Mar 19, 2010
CHICAGO: Pakistan American terrorist David Headley, who has pleaded guilty to charges of plotting the Mumbai terror attack, has claimed that co-accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana too was involved in the conspiracy.
Contrary to Rana claims of not being aware of the conspiracy, Headley, in his plea agreement, has said he not only told the former about his Lashkar-e-Taiba membership but operation details of the audacious attack.
"In or around June 2006, defendant (Headley) travelled to Chicago and met with co-defendant Rana. Defendant advised co-defendant Rana of his assignment in India, and explained that opening an office for First World Immigration (a company run by Rana) would provide a cover story for his activities."
"Following defendant's explanation, Rana agreed to open an immigration office in Mumbai, India, and provide assistance to defendant's activities. At co-defendant Rana's direction, an individual associated with First World prepared documents to support defendant's cover story. Rana further advised defendant on how to obtain a visa for his travel to India," the plea agreement between Headley and the US government said.
It said after receiving Rana's approval, Headley travelled back to Pakistan and met with Lashkar leaders 'A' and 'D', among others, on several occasions. Rana had agreed to the the use of such a cover for his activities. "Defendant also showed them the visa that he had obtained with Rana's assistance," the agreement said.
It said Headley kept meeting Rana in between and updated him about his surveillance of possible terror targets including Taj Mahal hotels and landing sites for the terrorists. He also kept Rana informed about the reaction of his Pakistani handlers.
The plea agreement states that whenever directed by the US Attorney's Office, "Headley must fully and truthfully participate in any debriefings for the purpose of gathering intelligence or national security information."
Since his arrest in October last year, Headley has been cooperating with the US government and has provided substantial assistance in the investigation of this case as well as "critical" information regarding intelligence on other matters, Theis said.
He said all the information that Headley has given to US authorities is and has been shared with India and Denmark. Through the 13 days that Headley "talked", he was informed of his right to remain silent, of his right to counsel, that anything he said could and would be used against him.
"But he chose not to exercise those rights and in fact (decided) to provide timely, thorough, trustworthy and complete information," Robert Seeder, another lawyer for Headley, said.
Seeder said the information provided by Headley has "significantly helped the United States and has also aided other countries".
The lawyer refused to comment on the issue of Headley -- son of a former Pakistani diplomat and a Philadelphia socialite -- being a double agent. "There is nothing in the plea agreement about anything about that (his being a double agent). I don't know where that kind of language comes from".
On whether Headley would get a life sentence, Theis said the range of the sentence could be either life or any other sentence less than that as authorised by law.
"It is obviously a complicated case. Sentencing is up to Judge Leinenweber. This case has a long way to go," he added.
Meanwhile, US Attorney spokesperson Randall Samborn said life imprisonment in the case of Headley is the maximum sentence without probation. He said Headley is "not eligible for probation".
US suspect in Mumbai siege, Danish plot pleads guilty
Friday, 19 Mar, 2010
CHICAGO, March 18: The Pakistani-American man accused of scouting out the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege and plotting to kill a Danish cartoonist pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in a Chicago court on Thursday.
David Coleman Headley, 49, admitted to using a friend’s immigration company as a cover for surveillance activities in India and Denmark on behalf of two different Pakistan-based terrorist groups.
The Washington-born son of a former Pakistani diplomat and American woman, Headley reportedly befriended Bollywood stars and even dated an actress during his lengthy surveillance trips
In a plot that reads like a movie thriller, Headley spent two years casing out Mumbai, including taking boat tours around the city’s harbour to scope out landing sites for the attackers who killed 166 people, including six Americans. Charging documents also indicated Headley was so eager to kill a Danish cartoonist, who sparked outrage with blasphemous cartoons, that he began working seriously on that plot two months before the Mumbai siege.
CHICAGO: The United States has agreed not to extradite Headley to India or Pakistan, prosecutors said.
Headley – who said he began working with LeT in 2002 – also had Bollywood and one of India’s temples in his sights as he began plotting a second India attack during a March 2009 surveillance trip.
Headley told prosecutors that he changed his name from Dawood Gilani in 2006 so he could “present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani,” documents said.
He began working with an Al Qaeda-linked group in Pakistan called Harakatul Jihad Islami on the Danish plot after LeT became distracted with the final planning for the Mumbai attack.
He was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in October as he was on his way to deliver 13 surveillance videos he obtained after pretending to be interested in buying ads in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.
Headley was later charged in the Mumbai attacks, as was his old friend from military school in Pakistan, Tahawwur Hussain Rana.
Rana, who owns the Chicago-based First World Immigration Services that Headley allegedly used as a cover, insists he is a pacifist who was ‘duped’ by his friend. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.—AFP
Headley confession not a setback: Chidambaram
Mar 19, 2010
NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram on Friday said Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley's confession that he planned the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and his deal with US prosecutors was "not a setback to India".
New Delhi, he said, would "wait and see" and continue its case to extradite or get access to him.
"It is not a setback. We have not yet charged Headley. We will charge Headley at an appropriate time," Chidambaram told reporters here.
"We will continue with our extradition plea," he said after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Headley, a Pakistani-born US national, has entered a deal with prosecutors in a Chicago court that he won't be sentenced to death or extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark after pleading guilty to terror charges.
"There is a good chance that he will testify in judicial proceedings where Indian (investigators) will have a right to question him," the home minister said.
Headley on Thursday pleaded guilty to a dozen federal terrorism charges in a Chicago court and admitted his role in planning the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Headley, 49, also admitted that he attended training camps in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on five separate occasions between 2002 and 2005.
Headley attended five terror camps in Pak
Mar 19, 2010
CHICAGO: In changing his plea from 'not guilty' to 'guilty', Pakistani American terror suspect David Headley has given graphic details of his preparations for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, including training at Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) operated camps in Pakistan.
Pleading guilty before a Chicago court Thursday to all 12 charges against him, Headley, 49, admitted he attended LeT training camps five times between February 2002 and December 2003 starting with a three-week course providing indoctrination on the merits of waging jihad, before being instructed by LeT to travel to India to scout targets for the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
Four other three-week courses in August 2002, April 2003, August 2003 and December 2003 provided training in the use of weapons and grenades; close combat tactics, the use of weapons and grenades and survival skills; counter-surveillance skills; and combat and tactical training.
After receiving instructions from three LeT members in late 2005 to travel to India to conduct surveillance, Headley changed his name in February 2006 in Philadelphia from Daood Gilani to facilitate his activities on behalf of Lashkar by portraying himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Headley-attended5702248.cms
No decline in Pak support to terrorists: Army chief
Mar 19, 2010
NEW DELHI: There has been "no decline" in support from Pakistan to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and top militant leaders including Hafiz Saeed are operating with impunity from its territory despite international pressure after Mumbai terror attacks, army chief Deepak Kapoor has said.
Pointing to ISI and Pakistan army officials aiding terrorist camps and the functioning of top militant leaders including Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen's Syed Salahuddin from Pakistani soil, General Kapoor said the terrorists "are probably more emboldened".
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/No-decline-in-5702136.cms
No surgical strike on terror camps in Pak, says MoS Raju
Mar 18, 2010
NEW DELHI: India on Thursday ruled out the possibility of any surgical strike on terror camps inside Pakistan, but asserted that adequate measures would be taken to ensure its interests are protected.
"No, no," minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju, said when asked about the possibility of surgical strikes on terror camps inside the neighbouring country.
He told reporters here, "We will take adequate measures to see to it that our nation is safe, our citizens are safe, and our interests are safeguarded."
While expressing hope that Pakistan will act against terror camps operating from its soil, he said India will also ensure that its interests are protected and the nation is secure.
"The first responsibility is towards ensuring adequate security towards which we are leaving no stone unturned. Beyond that whatever information we have about these camps, we have brought it to the notice of our neighbour and we hope they will take action on that," he said on the sidelines of a seminar at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses here.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/articleshow/5697801.cms
‘No nukes for Iran is highest priority’
Lalit K. Jha
March 18: Making sure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapon is the top priority of US President Barack Obama.
“It is one of our highest priorities to make sure that Iran doesn’t possess a nuclear weapon. And that is why I have worked so hard to mobilise the international community successfully to isolate Iran,” Mr Obama told the Fox News in an interview.
He said Iran government was “more concerned” about preventing their people from exercising their democratic and human rights than trying to solve this problem diplomatically. “That’s why we are going to go after aggressive sanctions. We haven’t taken any options off the table. We are going to keep on pushing,” the US President said.
In response to a question, Mr Obama termed it a hard problem which needs to be solved and said “because if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, then you could potentially see a nuclear arms race throughout the Mideast, and that would be tremendously damaging to our national security interests.”
The Asian Age, New Delhi.
Jihad Jane pleads not guilty to terrorism charges
19 March 2010
Colleen LaRose, known popularly by her Internet aliases "Jihad Jane" and "Fatima Rose," pleaded not guilty on Thursday to plotting with militant Muslims abroad to commit terrorist acts in Europe and Asia. Her plea is the latest in a string of high-profile 'homegrown terrorists' who are now taking the stand in court.
The Pennsylvania resident faces four criminal charges, including conspiracy to provide support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, lying to the FBI, and identity theft. (Read the unsealed indictment here.)
Her trial is set for May 3. If convicted, she could face a life sentence and a $1 million fine.
Ms. LaRose, however, is said to have confessed to the FBI soon after her October arrest about her role in the plot, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, citing two sources close the investigation. Her not guilty plea is routine and does not preclude a negotiated plea agreement, the Inquirer adds.
She appeared in the courtroom looking "nothing like the pictures of her that had been previously released," according to the Los Angeles Times. "Gone was the heavy eyeliner and shock of blond hair. Gone was the black burka. Instead, the tiny 46-year-old Pennsburg, Pa., woman entered the courtroom wearing a dark green prison uniform and her hair braided in cornrows."
Full report at: http://www.csmonitor.com/0319/Jihad-Jane-pleads-not-guilty-to-terrorism-charges
Pakistan arrests halt secret UN contacts with Taliban
By Lyse Doucet
The UN's former envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has strongly criticised Pakistan's recent arrest of high-ranking Taliban leaders.
Mr Eide told the BBC the arrests had completely stopped a channel of secret communications with the UN.
Pakistani officials insist the arrests were not an attempt to spoil talks.
Mr Eide confirmed publicly for the first time that his secret contacts with senior Taliban members had begun a year ago.
He said they involved face-to-face talks in Dubai and elsewhere.
"The first contact was probably last spring, then of course you moved into the election process where there was a lull in activity, and then communication picked up when the election process was over, and it continued to pick up until a certain moment a few weeks ago," he said.
Mr Eide said there were now many channels of communication with the Taliban, including those involving senior representatives of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Speaking at his home outside the Norwegian capital Oslo, Mr Eide would not comment on these other channels.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8575623.stm
Terror clouding region, spy chiefs flock to India
Mar 19, 2010
New Delhi : Spy chiefs of three countries have dropped in within a month of each other in New Delhi, amid concerns among the international community of the impact a major terror strike in India could have on regional stability. On Thursday, US Director for National Intelligence Dennis C Blair met Home Minister P Chidambaram, with the two discussing the security scenario in the region, particularly Afghanistan.
Barely a week ago John Sawers, the chief of the British secret service MI6, had visited India to acquaint himself with the new intelligence set-up in the country and to take forward cooperation in combating terror.
Before that, in February, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR), Mikhail Fradkov, an old India hand, had met top intelligence officials and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon in New Delhi on his first visit after taking command.
In November, CIA director Leon Panetta had flown down to India at a time when Indian and US officials were working closely on the David Headley case.
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/592897/
Iran gives arms to Taliban?
Thursday, 18 March 2010 18:39
London, March 18: The Iranian government has been accused of supplying tonnes of weaponry to the Taliban, including plastic explosives, mortars, grenades and technical manuals, the British media reported on Thursday.
Weapons and documents shown to Channel 4 News indicate that more than ten tonnes of weapons have been intercepted at Iran’s desert border with Afghanistan in the past year, with a tonne and a half recovered in the past week.
The reports come as General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Iran also provided a base for Al Qaeda operatives. According to reports, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency estimates that about 60 per cent of the weaponry it has intercepted from Iran has been supplied by the Iranian government rather than black market dealers.
In a report on Iran’s weapons smuggling to the Taliban, the Channel 4 News said the Iranian border is assuming greater importance. “Day by day the Iranian border becomes more important for us,” said Commander Noori, a senior insurgent in Kunduz.
Al Qaeda on the run, says CIA chief
19 March 2010
WASHINGTON, March 18: Attacks in Pakistan have driven Osama bin Laden and other leaders underground and reduced Al Qaeda’s ability to plan attacks, CIA Director Leon Panetta said.
He told The Washington Post in an interview that Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders had gone into hiding. He said intelligence operatives recently intercepted a message from an Al Qaeda official urging Bin Laden to provide leadership to the terrorist organisation, the Post reported.
The CIA chief said the setbacks for Al Qaeda resulted from an accelerated number of drone strikes and improved coordination with Pakistan in what he called “the most aggressive operation that CIA has been involved in our history”.
The Washington Post reported that so far the CIA had mounted 22 such strikes this year, putting the agency on course to exceed last year’s roughly 53 strikes, a record.
“It’s pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling,” he said. “And that we really do have them on the run.”
Mr Panetta said the combined US-Pakistan campaign was taking a steady toll in terms of Al Qaeda leaders killed and captured, and was undercutting the group’s ability to coordinate attacks outside its base along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The CIA chief, however, warned that Al Qaeda was still seeking to recruit people who lack criminal records or known ties to terrorist groups.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-930
Osama & Zawahiri hiding in Pak: CIA
18 March 2010
Washington, March 18: The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) believes Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are inside Pakistan though it does not know precisely where. The agency officials believe the two are hiding, “either in the northern tribal areas or in North Waziristan, or somewhere in that vicinity,” CIA director Leon Panetta told the Washington Post in an interview published on Thursday. While there have been no confirmed sightings of either man since 2003, the continued pressure on Al Qaeda increases the opportunities for catching one or both, he said. Relentless attacks against Al Qaeda in the Pakistan tribal region appear to have driven bin Laden and other top leaders deeper into hiding, leaving the organisation rudderless and less capable of planning sophisticated operations, Mr Panetta told the Post. So profound is Al Qaeda’s disarray that one of its lieutenants, in a recently intercepted message, pleaded to Bin Laden to come to the group’s rescue and provide some leadership, Mr Panetta claimed. In what the post called a near-acknowledgement of the CIA’s war against extremists in Pakistan, Mr Panetta credited an increasingly aggressive campaign against Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies, including more frequent strikes and better coordination with Pakistan. Calling it “the most aggressive operation that CIA has been involved in our history,” he said, “Those operations are seriously disrupting Al Qaeda.”
“It’s pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling. And that we really do have them on the run.” —IANS
How close are Osama, Al Qaeda to acquiring material for N-weapon
By Masood Haider
Friday, 19 Mar, 2010
NEW YORK, March 18: Theft and smuggling of nuclear materials by terrorist groups remain a deep concern for the international community writes respected nuclear physicist David Albright in his latest book “Peddling peril — how the secret nuclear trade arms America’s enemies.”
“The danger is so imminent not only with regard to countries acquiring nuclear weapons but also terrorists getting their hands on uranium or plutonium,” the former International Atomic Agency’s ( IAEA) head, Mohamed ElBaradei, said in 2004. “We are actually having a race against time which I don’t think we can afford,” Mr ElBaradei added.
Against the backdrop, Albright conjures the image of Osama bin Laden discussing nuclear weapons around a campfire with two former senior Pakistani nuclear engineers. Saying it is the stuff of movies, Albright asserts in the book excerpted in Foreign Policy magazine, it actually happened in August 2001, when A.Q. Khan’s deal with Libya was in full swing. Access to these Pakistani engineers was a major shortcut to possessing nuclear weapons. No one could dismiss the likelihood of nuclear terrorism again.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-for-nweapon-930
Hamas: Learning from mistakes
By Sami Moubayed
DAMASCUS - Anyone who has watched the performance of Hamas or followed its rhetoric since its founding in Palestine in the late 1980s realizes that the Islamic group has greatly matured over the past 20 years.
Originally, Hamas shunned everything related to the Oslo Peace Agreement signed by Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, claiming that by accepting United Nations resolutions Arafat was offering de facto recognition of Israel. The founding charter of Hamas refused to recognize the Jewish state and promised to eradicate it completely, thereby restoring all of Palestine of 1948.
It refused to hold government or parliamentary office in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) that was born out of the Oslo Agreement and waged a bloody war against Israel during the
second intifada that broke out 10 years ago, in September 2000. It also refused to recognize any US role in the Middle East. Today, 22 years after its founding, Hamas is taking a long hard look at its history, learning from both its successes and mistakes to chart a new course for the party and its top leadership.
Full report at: (Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd.
Somalia: Hizbul Islam Vows Attacks Against Ethiopian Troops in Central Somalia
19 March 2010
Somalia — The Islamist fighters of Hizbul Islam in Hiran region in central Somalia have vowed that they would attack Ethiopian troops who reportedly reached at parts of the region recently, officials said on Friday.
Sheik Mohamed Wehliye Odowa, the spokesman of Hizbul Islam organization in Hiran region had held press conference in Beledweyn town said that Ethiopian troops had made military maneuver in parts of region asserting that they would assault for the coming hours.
The spokesman said that they had good support from the people in Hiran region reiterating that they would attack the Ethiopians in the region
The statement of the spokesman of Hizbul Islam organization comes as several units of the Ethiopian troops were continuing military movements in region recently.
It was recently while more well armed Ethiopian troops had reached in parts of the region and made operations though they lastly returned back and it is unclear whether they had completely returned back to home and also it is unknown what change would bring the statement of the Hizbul Islam organization in the region.
Syria snubs US plea on Hezbollah
Khaled Yacoub Oweis
Thursday, 18 March 2010
DAMASCUS, March 18: Emboldened by its strong ties with Iran and Turkey, Syria is ignoring US demands that it stop backing Hezbollah, despite the risk that this will spoil its rapprochement with Washington and raise regional tensions. Syria’s support for the armed Lebanese Shia movement is at odds with its stated aims of improving relations with the US and resuming peace negotiations with Hezbollah’s arch-foe Israel, diplomats and political analysts said. Syria has also sought to reinforce its alliance with Iran and expand links with Turkey, which hosted indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel until they broke down in 2008.
Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/index.php?:international&Itemid=61
Putin, Hillary clash over Iran nuclear plant launch
Friday, 19 Mar, 2010
MOSCOW, March 18: The United States and Russia on Thursday clashed over Iran’s first nuclear plant which Russia is helping build after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the station would come online this summer.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Moscow hoping to secure Russia’s support for a tougher line on Iran, said such a move would send Tehran the wrong message.
“The launch of the first unit of Iran’s nuclear power station should be implemented already this summer,” Mr Putin said at a meeting in the city of Volgodonsk in southern Russia in remarks released by his government.
The prime minister is due to meet Mrs Clinton on Friday. Russia has been helping Iran build the plant in the southern city of Bushehr since the mid-90s but its launch has been marred by a series of delays and the issue remains hugely delicate amid the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/ clash-over-iran-nuclear-plant-launch-930
Middle East Quartet urges Israeli settlement freeze
19 March 2010
The international Quartet of Middle East peace mediators has called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity.
Speaking for the Quartet, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel's announcement of plans to build new homes in disputed East Jerusalem.
The announcement has undermined US efforts to restart indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Mr Ban met Quartet foreign ministers from the US, EU and Russia in Moscow.
"The Quartet urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, dismantle outposts erected since March 2001 and to refrain from demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem," Mr Ban said.
He was meeting the foreign ministers of the US and Russia - Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov - and the EU's new foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton.
In a strongly worded statement, the Quartet condemned Israel's announcement last week of planning permission for 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8575723.stm
‘Indonesia needs national religious laws’
The Indonesian government should administer religions nationally to prevent regional governments from issuing discriminatory and intolerant bylaws, the head of the constitutional court told a meeting of religious leaders and lawyers sponsored by the Indonesian bishops.
“The state has an obligation to protect every citizen in practicing his or her own religious teachings,” Mohammad Mahfud told the March 18 meeting at the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) headquarters in Jakarta.
The Muslim layman said Syariah Islam (Shari’a or Islamic law) imposed by the provincial government of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam was an example of a “bylaw that disunites local people.”
Full report at: http://www.cathnewsindia.com/2010/03/19/indonesia-needs-national-religious-laws/
Arab hopes in Obama shrinking
ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY
18 March 2010
BEIRUT ,March 18: Arabs across West Asia are unconvinced the United States will stand up to Israel despite Washington’s rare public outrage over plans to build new Jewish homes in a traditionally Arab part of Jerusalem.
The scepticism is eroding Arab hopes that US President Barack Obama will push hard for a long-sought peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians to end a conflict that has fuelled anti-US sentiment in the region.
America’s dwindling credibility could also jeopardise another major West Asian goal — uniting the Arab world against Iran. Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut, said Arab countries will be less likely to engage with the US on issues such as Iran if they get nothing in return. “A lot of the Arab countries already in 2009 saw that there wasn’t much delivery from the US on the Israeli side,” Mr Salem told the Associated Press. “So why engage, why compromise, from their point of view?”
Full report at: The Asian Age, New Delhi.
Nato hands over Serb site to Kosovo police
Friday, 19 Mar, 2010
PRISTINA (Kosovo), March 18: Nato on Thursday put local police in charge of securing the site of an ancient battle that lies at the historical heart of Serbia’s resolve to retain the territory of Kosovo.
The move comes despite objections from Kosovo’s minority Serbs, who are distrustful of ethnic Albanians.
Kosovo’s 8,000-strong police force is made up primarily of ethnic Albanians.
The commander of the alliance’s force in central Kosovo praised the move, however, saying it shows that Kosovo police are able to secure the sensitive site.—AP
Gaddafi comment sparks diplomatic row with Nigeria
Mar 19, 2010
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria has recalled its ambassador to Libya and questioned whether the north African country is sponsoring violence after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said Nigeria should split along religious lines.
The Nigerian Foreign Ministry said it had recalled Ambassador Isah Mohammed for urgent consultations after Gaddafi's comments, which come as Nigeria tries to contain violent clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs which have killed hundreds of people around the central city of Jos.
The Nigerian parliament meanwhile passed a motion late on Thursday urging the government to order an investigation by the African Union into whether Libya was supplying "infiltrators" to destabilize the country.
"The insensitive and oftentimes irresponsible utterances of Colonel Gaddafi, his theatrics and grandstanding at every auspicious occasion have become too numerous to recount. These have diminished his status and credibility as a leader to be taken seriously," the Nigerian Foreign Ministry said.
Full report at: © Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters
Ties with Pakistan go far beyond security, says US
By Anwar Iqbal
Friday, 19 Mar, 2010
WASHINGTON: The partnership between the United States and Pakistan “goes far beyond security”, said the US State Department while announcing the first ministerial level strategic dialogue between the two countries.
“High-level officials from both governments will come to the table to discuss issues of common concern and shared responsibility,” the State Department said.
“Topics for discussion will include economic development, water and energy, education, communications and public diplomacy, agriculture, and security.”
The brief announcement noted that US President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton had “repeatedly stressed the breadth and depth of the US-Pakistan relationship, a partnership that goes far beyond security.”
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspape
Pak judge backtracks on 'Hindu terror' remark
Omer Farooq Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif has contradicted the observation that the Hindu community was involved in funding terrorism in Pakistan, clarifying that observation was misreported and wrongly attributed to him.
A handout issued by the Lahore HC registrar on Wednesday said that it is noted with great concern at the observation made by the Chief Justice while hearing a constitutional petition on extradition of alleged foreign terrorists has been misreported and misconstrued in certain sections of press.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/5698790.cms
Facebook row as Middle East officials ban user 'who insulted Islam'
Mar 19, 2010
A row has erupted in the Middle East after officials banned a Facebook user in Abu Dhabi for breaking the law after they “insulted” Islam by claiming to be Allah.
All internet providers in the United Arab Emirates have been ordered to block the unnamed user behind the site, after he alleged his claims were supported by verses of the Koran.
His actions sparked a wave a protest, with many calling on users to boycott the social networking site unless the site was removed.
After dozens of complaints about the Arabic-language site, titled “God and Prophets”, the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced this week it would ban the user from holding an internet account.
But that decision was met with more protest from what some viewed as censorship of the internet.
The user claimed they were an atheist and believed in no God but him/herself, reports in the Middle East claimed.
They said that Muslim prophets would be able to connect with users through the site, which contained Koranic verses and also appeared to mock Islam, as well as answering their questions.
Full report at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Islam.html
Mousavi vows 'year of perseverance' against Iran government
Mar 19, 2010
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed a "year of perseverance" in his fight against the government, in an Internet message on Friday marking the Persian new year.
Mousavi, who remains steadfast in rejecting the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June last year, said a "retreat would be treason to Islam, the nation and to the blood of the martyrs."
"We will face issues and problems in (the Iranian year to March 2011). Part of it goes back to the demand of the people after the election which is a rightful demand," Mousavi said in a statement posted on his website.
"These demands will continue and the new year will be the year of perseverance for this rightful and legal demand," Mousavi said on his website Kaleme.com.
Once seen as a pillar of the Islamic regime, former premier Mousavi is now a bitter critic of the country's hardline leadership along with fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi.
Iran witnessed one of its worst political crisis when Mousavi, Karroubi and hundreds of thousands of their supporters took to the streets after Ahmadinejad's re-election, protesting that the poll was massively rigged.
Full report at: ©2010 AFP
Opposition couple demand 'year of resistance' against Iran's rulers
March 19, 2010
The First Couple of the Iranian opposition movement have marked the start of the Persian New Year this weekend by demanding a "year of resistance" against a despotic regime.
In defiant video messages posted on the internet Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, accuse the regime of violating the constitution, wrecking the economy and destroying Iran's international standing.
The coming year should be known as the "year of resistance", Mr Mousavi declared. The so-called Green movement must not abandon its demands for freedom. To do so would be "treason against the nation, Islam and the blood of our martyrs."
"We want deceit and darkness to end," said Ms Rahnavard, a fiery artist and academic who champions women's rights.
Full report at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7068454.ece
Interim relief for Islamic scholar Rabbani
Mar 19, 2010
The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked police not to take any coercive action against Islamic scholar Maulana Sheikh Mehraj Rabbani who had moved court for anticipatory bail.
The court has asked him to give an undertaking that he would not make any inflammatory speeches till further orders.
Rabbani, who belongs to the radical Ahle Hadees sect of Islam, has been accused of making derogatory remarks about Khwaja Garib Nawaz of Ajmer, whose shrine is visited by lakhs of devotees annually.
Upon a complaint filed by one Siraj Ahmed Abdul Shaikh, police registered a case for ‘hurting religious sentiments’ of Dargah-going Sunnis against him last month. The complaint alleged that he made inflammatory statements against Hindus and Christians too.
Rabbani made the speech on February 28 in suburban Ghatkopar, but he denied making such remarks.
Sessions court last week rejected his application for anticipatory bail after which he moved the High Court.
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Interim-relief-for-Islamic-scholar-Rabbani/592758/
Muslim Mahila Andolan calls for boycott of `male chauvinist' ulema
Mar 19, 2010
LUCKNOW: Taking a strong exception to the `male chauvinism displayed lately by a section of ulema', the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan has called for their total boycott. In a strongly worded statement condemning the `pseudo religious assault on the gender-friendly move', the state convener of BMMA, Naaz Raza, termed the women's reservation bill as the first step towards equality and justice for women.
"We believe that once the bill is adopted there can and will be democratic processes through which space and genuine participation of the marginalised segment of women — including those from the Muslim community — can be worked out, she hoped.
Raza particularly slammed Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad (without naming him) for his recent controversial statements made before the media. "Some men claiming to be cleric have made statements like Allah has sent women on earth to produce children and raise them to doctors and engineers. Their job is to give birth to `achche nasl ke bachche'...what do they know about politics," she said. Strongly condemning the "irresponsible and disgraceful statements", Raza termed the uttering "unjust, inhuman and violative of the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and also unIslamic."
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Muslim-Mahila-Andolan/5699923.cms
SRK's ancestral home traced to Pakistan
Omer Farooq Khan
Mar 19, 2010
PESHAWAR: Peshawar has a strong Bollywood connection. In the bustling streets of Peshawar’s walled city, it takes ten minutes on foot to come across the homes of the three greatest legends of Indian cinema. The genesis of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan can be traced back to these narrow alleys. The birthplaces of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in Peshawar are known to all and sundry but an accurate account of the family history of the Indian cinema icon Shah Rukh Khan has not been reported, the way it deserves.
Shahrukh’s entire paternal family lives in Shah Wali Qataal area of Peshawar’s famous Qissa Khwani (Kahani) bazaar. The Qissa Khwani Bazaar (Street of Story-tellers) extends from west to east in the heart of the city of Peshawar. The cosmopolitan character of Qissa Khwani Bazaar is lined with its traditional ‘Kehwa khanas’, stalls of Tikka and Chapli Kabab and dry fruit shops. In days gone by, the bazaar was the site of camping ground for caravans and military adventures. The professional storytellers recited ballads and tales of war and love to mobs of traders and soldiers.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/SRKs-ancestral-home-traced-to-Pakistan/articleshow/5701179.cms
Husain's work sold for over Rs. 2 crore
19 March 2010
New Delhi: An untitled oil-on-canvas work, with four horses and a woman rider, by M.F. Husain was sold for Rs. 2.01 crore, the highest at the spring sale of online auctioneer Saffronart.
The 1970s work had a pre-sale estimate of Rs. 90 lakh to Rs. 1.2 crore.
The auction saw 75 per cent of the lots selling for a total of Rs. 20.82 crore. A majority saw competitive bidding, with 60 per cent of the sold lots exceeding estimates.
Several were sold well past their high estimates, including Akbar Padamsee's 1953 portrait, “Prophet,” with a winning bid of Rs. 1.25 crore, sold for more than three times the estimate of Rs.36 lakh.
“The strong results of our Spring Online Auction 2010 are an affirmation of the renewed confidence of the growing collector base for Indian art. The results from the auction indicate a consistent demand from collectors for top quality and rare works with important provenance,” said Saffronart CEO Dinesh Vazirani.
Other notable works
Other notable works sold include, Subodh Gupta's “Doot” for Rs. 1.75 crore, F.N. Souza's “Decomposing Head” for Rs. 1.57 crore, S.H. Raza's “Prakriti Purush” for Rs. 95.7 lakh and an untitled Manjit Bawa work for Rs. 88.8 lakh. — PTI
‘Israel ancient synagogue was Arabic palace’
18 March 2010
JERUSALEM: Israeli archaeologists have announced that ruins long thought to be of an ancient synagogue are actually the remains of a palace built by Arab caliphs 1,300 years ago.
The site, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, was identified as a synagogue in the 1950s because archaeologists found a carving of a menorah, a seven-armed candelabra that is a Jewish symbol. But scholars said in a report published this week that the identification was an error, and that the site was a winter palace used by the caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty, the same rulers who built Jerusalem’s gold-capped Dome of the Rock.
Early Arab historians had described the palace, calling it Al-Sinnabra, but its location was previously unknown. The new identification came as part of a broader re-examination of the site, which contains ruins dating back to the Bronze Age. The Umayyad caliphs ruled the Islamic world from 661 to 750 AD, expanding its borders from modern-daySpain to Pakistan.
Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/index.php?:international&Itemid=61
Indian Muslims weary of court relief over quota
19 March 2010
Hyderabad—Muslims are weary on any possible relief in the Indian Supreme Court verdict over their allocation quotas in provision of jobs and educational institutions.
The Indian Supreme Court hearing of the case will start from 22 March 2010. Earlier a 7-member bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court had quashed the Government’s allocation of 4% allocation to 15 backward classes of Muslims enacted in 2007.
The judgment of the High Court not only proved bias against the Muslims but also infuriated the community and put a question mark on the future of thousands of Muslim students who got admission in professional colleges including medical and engineering under the 4% quota since 2007.
BJP hailed the decision whereas Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen warned of State wide agitation to force the government to safe guard the interests of the Muslim community.
The judgment tantamount to a total social disintegration of whole the Muslim community with the very Indian fabric and to completely alienate them from all walks of life.—Agencies
The Battle for Jerusalem
By Ted Belman
March 19, 2010
The focus on settlements or the “occupation” has now taken a back seat to the focus on Jerusalem itself. It is understood by all that so goes Jerusalem, so goes the peace process
Daniel Pipes in his well known 2001 article, The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem, asks
The city being of such evidently minor religious importance (to Islam), why does it now loom so large for Muslims, to the point that a Muslim Zionism seems to be in the making across the Muslim world? Why do Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets shouting “We will sacrifice our blood and souls for you, Jerusalem” and their brethren in Jordan yell “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Al-Aqsa”? Why does King Fahd of Saudi Arabia call on Muslim states to protect “the holy city [that] belongs to all Muslims across the world”? Why did two surveys of American Muslims find Jerusalem their most pressing foreign policy issue?
Full report at: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/21142
No freedom in Muslim Bethlehem
Ethel C. Fenig
While Vice President Joseph Biden (D) was gravely insulted when a low level government clerk issued a low level routine approval for a housing development in Jerusalem while he was visiting, Biden was apparently not insulted when a high level Arab government official issued the following order in Bethlehem, a few miles from Jerusalem.
The Palestinian National Authority has shut down Al-Mahed "Nativity" TV for operating without a licence. Samir Qumsieh, owner and general manager of the Christian broadcaster, slammed the decision. After 14 years on the air and despite a long list of "thank you letters" by grateful viewers, Palestinian police raided the broadcaster's offices yesterday at 2 pm. Waving an order by the Interior Ministry, they put the station off the air. (snip) Located on high ground at about 350 metres from the Church of Nativity, in Bethlehem, Al-Mahed "Nativity" TV was for years the "only Christian voice" among Palestinian media.
Once a majority in Bethlehem their numbers have dwindled in recent years. Bethlehem's Christians have become refugees , fleeing the city as personal and professional attacks by Arab Muslims have made life difficult, often extremely dangerous, for Christians. The annual holiday festivities in Manger Square are all run by the city's Muslim officials and business owners.
Biden, a Christian, was apparently indifferent to the insults to his fellow religious practioners preferring to be insulted instead by a minor housing order for Jewish apartments in Jerusalem. That says a lot about him.