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Islamic World News (05 Jan 2010 NewAgeIslam.Com)



‘INDIAN WORKERS SOLD LIKE CATTLE IN SAUDI ARABIA’

Whose war is being waged?

Makkah to be made most advanced city in the world

Mujib killers may be executed in a month

Alert against Taliban-trained suicide bombers in Bihar, Kolkata

Media reflects on Yemen crisis

Beware Anti-Muslim Hysteria

Muslim Mob in Pakistan Wounds Christian Family

Militants burn village in Lower Orakzai

Dhaka court bans use of religion in politics

Qureshi calls Indian army chief’s remarks absurd: Pakistan for revival of dialogue with India

Ransom for ‘jihad’: Five arrested for kidnapping doctor

Islamists split over dropping loans

American terror suspects detained in Pakistan deny Al Qaeda link

What Oath? Muslims Unfit for Citizenship and Military Duty

Only the Islamic World Wants Russia to Recover as Great Power, Muslim Analyst in Moscow Says

Islamic cleric calls U.K. soldiers 'Nazis'

Freed Guantánamo inmates are heading for Yemen to join al-Qaeda fight

Iran Professors Ask for End to Violence

Yemen: Tackling the roots of terrorism through hip-hop

Reforms, Power and Politics in Morocco

Saudi Arabia: Spoilt Child of the Middle East

When the Swiss Voted to Ban New Minarets, This Man Built One

U.S. must address rise in home-grown terrorism

Terrorism rehab: Fighting jihad with writing, art contests

Pakistan’s Trauma – and Revenge

Detainee in Pakistan: 'We are not terrorists'

China Executes British Muslim, Despite UK Plea

Nigeria-Islam-Radicalism

America's New Face of Terrorism

West Java: Muslim extremists against Christians. Religious services blocked

AMU organises induction training program under IDSP

Compiled By: Akshay kumar ojha

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=2334

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Indian workers sold like cattle in Saudi Arabia: Stowaway

Rachna Singh

TNN 4 January 2010

JAIPUR: Habib Hussain of Moradabad, who hid in a toilet on an Air India flight from Saudi Arabia to return to his own country, says he did so for

his two children, his pregnant wife, and an ailing mother. After his bizarre experience, Habib says he has realised that `aadhi roti' (half a piece of bread) at home is better than one in an alien land. He also said Indian labour is sold like cattle in that country.

He had sold his two `bigha' land for Rs 1.25 lakh and left behind just about Rs 11,000 for his family after paying the agent. He now tearfully says, ``There was no point in staying in Saudi. I just had to return. My wife was two months pregnant when I left and will have a baby any time now. My family was hungry here; I was hungry there. I was better off earning Rs 80 a day and feeding my family rather than living on a promise of Rs 15,000-20,000 and not getting a paisa.

``I know there could have been serious problems during the flight, but I had confidence in my countrymen. Moreover, I was ready to face any consequence in India which would have been better than living in Saudi Arabia,'' he says.

``After grazing goats until noon, I offered namaz. In the evening, after helping a Haji with his bags, I slipped into a toilet in the lower deck of the aircraft. Forty-five minutes after the plane took off, an air hostess saw me. After she heard my story, she gave me a seat and food,'' said Habib.

All that Habib got to eat in the six months that he was away was one roti and a bowl of dal worth Re 1 each day - bought from the money that the Hajis tipped him with. ``I didn't get a penny from my employer and started saving whatever I could to get back to my country. I could manage to save Rs 800 and thought if my passport was returned to me, I could board a flight to India. But whenever we asked for our passports, we were kicked and thrashed and made to work for over 14 to 18 hours a day,'' he said.

``Indian labour is sold in Saudi like cattle and thousands of Indians from UP and Bengal are suffering there. They are helpless without their passports,'' said Habib. ``My agent (Imran) got an assignment to provide 50 labourers from India. We were recruited and sent in groups of five, 10 and 20. After landing, I was made to work in Jeddah for a month. I grazed goats during the day and worked as a cleaner at the airport in the evenings. I worked for 14-18 hours a day. Thereafter, I was sold to a `khafil' or agent in Medina who required 500 people. In Medina, I worked for over 15 hours daily. I wept and wondered how my family was doing back home,'' he said.

``My father passed away two years back and my mother is ill and needs medication. I just want to get back home. I hope my case will be seen with empathy. Who will feed my children if I am put behind bars?'' he asked.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indian-workers-sold-like-cattle-in-Saudi-Arabia-Stowaway/articleshow/5408084.cms

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Whose war is being waged?

By Iqbal Akhund

Tuesday, 05 Jan, 2010

CIA on the front line in war along Pak-Afghan border

The US-Pakistan relationship, rarely very smooth, is going through a particularly bad patch at present. It carries a load of past resentments, grievances and disappointments.

Paradoxically, the more America tries to make amends, talk of a long-term relationship, the more it seems to feed suspicions of its intentions at the popular level.

One is asked, ‘Why is America offering money and making a fuss over Pakistan now? It must have a purpose of its own!’ — taking away our nukes; turning Pakistan into a ‘secular’ country; breaking it up altogether.

The fact, however, is that the US does, at this juncture, wish Pakistan well — not because it sees Pakistan as a friend but, on the contrary, because it sees it as a potentially dangerous enemy — a country with nuclear weapons and technology (that it sold abroad), politically unstable, facing every sort of economic and social problem, where a variety of armed and radical tehriks and lashkars and jamaats etc, with sympathisers in the establishment, have had a free run for years and could get their hands on the nuclear weapons.

One of the reasons, the principal reason, for America’s interest in Pakistan at present is to prevent this from happening. If it comes to that, we can be sure that the US will not hesitate to use whatever it takes, including force, to this end. However, it has not come to that yet and it sees a better bet in a Pakistan that evolves into a stable democracy, with an educated and healthy population, moving ahead economically and socially. So one might say that our nuclear weapons are proving to be an asset in an unexpected way!

Of course the aid the United States is offering comes with conditions as aid always and from anywhere does, explicit or implicit. Our successive governments have taken the money and accepted the conditions because we needed the assistance and the conditions were acceptable. It has done the same in the present case. What should worry us is why after more than 60 years of independence, we still need such aid in order to remain afloat. As for whose war it is, the Afghan war was indeed not our war; Pakistan was dragooned into it by threats and blandishments. It was not really a war of necessity but was launched by the Bush administration in the post-9|11 surge of nationalist emotion and hubris of power without giving enough chance to negotiations with the Taliban (negotiations that the Americans are now anxiously seeking).

It should not have been fought the way it was — from the air, with daisy-cutters and bunker-busters causing innocent deaths; nor by co-opting the Northern Alliance and thus jumping into Afghanistan’s tribal, ethnic, sectarian fray and alienating the Pakhtun majority.

Now President Obama is prepared to settle for a ‘successful outcome’ — a subjective concept — and is sending more troops to Afghanistan to turn the situation around.

This seems a doubtful prospect even to some among the American military. Perhaps the intention is only to bring about an outcome that could be seen as ‘successful’ and that allows US troops to begin withdrawing as proposed. This means that either the Karzai government measures up or an agreement is negotiated with the Taliban or a bit of both.

Whether America leaves after some kind of settlement with the Taliban or just packs up, Afghanistan would very probably fall into the hands of the Taliban or revert to the anarchy that prevailed after the Soviet pullout. The Taliban stood above the scramble and imposed order on the post-Soviet anarchy and could do so again.

Now that the Afghans know what kind of order the Taliban order is, would they welcome them again? They may have no choice. The best alternative America’s eight-year adventure has produced has not worked. There is no one around who might bring even the symbolic unity that the monarchy had provided before it was overthrown.

None of this bodes well for Pakistan. In the worst-case scenario the presence of the Taliban on both sides of the Durand Line could provide an ethno-ideological basis for a revived Pakhtunistan movement.

The return of the Taliban, no longer Pakistan’s protégés, could, at the very least, provide moral or material boost for the Pakistani Taliban. The latter’s insurgency cannot be dismissed as a reaction to Pakistan joining the American war; they have aims of their own and are not going to stop even if Pakistan stops cooperating with the Americans.

Our war is not the same war as the Americans’ but a parallel war against a group for whom the Pakistani constitution is un-Islamic, a group that demolishes schools, beheads opponents, flogs women, blows up families out shopping, people at prayer etc.

The army will eventually win its battle against these fanatics if it keeps it up. We have a better chance of winning it because we know whom we are fighting (not many now see them as ‘our own people’) and what the fight is about — ‘hearts and minds’ or concretely, jobs, education, health and so forth. That, and for no sinister purpose, is where the new aid from the US and others is meant to go.

On the broader front, viz the India-Pakistan relationship, it now looms as a negative factor in the Afghanistan situation. It is a pity that President Obama was scared away from taking up this nettle as he had proposed to do in his pre-election speeches. Still, it is not to be supposed that the US is doing nothing in the matter. Adm Mullen and Gen Petraeus have publicly mentioned Pakistan’s concerns over Indian activities in Afghanistan and Hillary Clinton has urged India to stop playing hard-to-get over resuming the composite dialogue with Pakistan.

However, the ills that afflict the country are largely internal — political instability, social injustice, corruption, inefficient administration — the remedy for which lies entirely in our hands. The national consensus on the Balochistan package and the NFC agreement shows that we are capable of dealing with them and despite the prevailing despondency, there is reason to be optimistic.

The writer is a retired diplomat and was national security adviser to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1988-90.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/19-whose-war-is-being-waged-hh-05

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Makkah to be made most advanced city in the world

Galal Fakkar | Arab News

 JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has emphasized the importance of making Makkah one of the most beautiful, clean, civilized and advanced cities in the world.

Launching the first competition for the beautification of Makkah at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Jeddah, he said the Saudi leadership was keen to make Makkah one of the most developed and beautiful cities in the world.

A number of artists, consuls general, businessmen, government officials and media persons attended the ceremony organized by the Makkah municipality.

“The development strategy for Makkah has been at the heart of the Kingdom’s Five-Year Development Plans,” the prince said. “If Makkah had not been here, this region would not have attained such an important cultural and political position in the world,” he added. He said all development proposals and initiatives for Makkah’s development came from the vicinity of the Holy Kaaba.

“We are honored to serve the House of God and we have a responsibility to develop Makkah and ensure that peace and security prevail there for the welfare of pilgrims who come from different parts of the world,” he said.

He commended the efforts of those, including artists and businessmen who have taken the initiative for the beautification of Makkah.

Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar said the preparation for the first Islamic competition for the beautification of Makkah had taken two years to make a plan, taking into account Makkah’s preeminent position in the Islamic world.

He said the municipality intended to ensure the participation of a large number of artists from Arab and Islamic countries in the competition, adding that it would be publicized in the international media.

Spelling out the main objectives of the competition, Al-Bar said it primarily aimed at the beautification of Makkah by converting its corners into museums of Islamic artwork.

“It also offers a good opportunity for Muslim artists around the world to display their skills and standards,” the mayor said.

He said the competition also aims at spreading art by depicting Makkah’s heritage in artworks. It will help to exchange the participants’ expertise.

Prizes worth $300,000 will be given to the winners, said artist Taha Sabban, a member of the contest’s preparatory committee. The art works will be displayed at 12 locations in the city.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=130723&d=5&m=1&y=2010&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

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Mujib killers may be executed in a month

Haroon Habib

DHAKA: The five condemned prisoners, ordered to be hanged by the court for assassinating Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, might be executed in next 28 days, according to the jail officials.

The court has issued death warrants for the convicts in the nation’s sensational murder case.

Dhaka district and sessions judge M. Abdul Gafur issued the warrants in line with the Appellate Division verdict that upheld the High Court’s judgment endorsing the death sentences on 12 former Army officers who assassinated Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and all but two of his family members on August 15, 1975. One of the surviving daughters of Mujibbur Rahman is Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister.

The death warrants for sacked Lieutenant-Colonel Syed Faruque Rahman, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Muhiuddin Ahmed, retired Lieutenant-Colonel A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed and retired Major Bazlul Huda reached the Dhaka Central Jail on December 3.

Protracted legal battle

After a protracted legal battle, the five judges of the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court on December 17 signed the complete 412-page verdict of the case, clearing the way for starting the process for the executions, while six convicts are still hiding outside the country and one is dead. The five-judge bench on November 19 unanimously pronounced the order, dismissing all five appeals filed by the death row convicts.

Last resort

According to law, the five condemned prisoners can be executed in 28 days, but not before 21 days following the issuance of the death warrants. They, however, have a last resort — to petition the Appellate Division seeking revision of its verdict or to seek presidential clemency.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/05/stories/2010010555521500.htm

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Alert against Taliban-trained suicide bombers in Bihar, Kolkata

Press Trust Of India

Patna, January 04, 2010

An alert has been sounded in the Eastern and East Central Railway (ECR) zones after intelligence inputs suggested entry of Taliban-trained suicide squads into Bihar and in metropolises like Kolkata, official sources said on Monday.

Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of the Railway Protection Force of East Central Railway NK Sinha in a note to superintendents of railway police in Bihar, informed of the inputs suggesting infiltration by suicide squads into Bihar and metropolitan cities including Kolkata, they said.

"We have sounded an alert and special attention is being paid to guard vital installations in the wake of the inputs about possible attacks by Taliban-trained suicide squads," they said.

The copies of the letter were available with superintendents of railway police at Patna, Bhojpur, Buxar, Jehanabad, Nawada, Gaya, Nalanda, Lakhisarai, Jamui and Begusarai.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/patna/Alert-against-Taliban-trained-suicide-bombers-in-Bihar-Kolkata/Article1-493557.aspx

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Media reflects on Yemen crisis

The security situation in Yemen is causing concern in the region

The media in the Middle East have reacted with alarm to the growing security crisis in Yemen as the US and UK embassies in Sanaa remain closed due to fears of attack.

There was widespread concern that the US might use the presence of al-Qaeda elements in the country as a pretext for military intervention. Many commentators warned against a repetition of the "pre-emptive" action taken against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Several commentators called on Arab countries in the region to take an active role in resolving the situation, while voices in the Israeli press said that the situation demonstrated the need to combat the global reach of extremist Islam.

Is Yemen to be the next failed state?

Amid fears that the country might become a "failed state" to be exploited by terrorist organisations, Yemen's government-owned al-Thawrah urged the rest of the world not to give up on the nation. It was "deplorable", said the editorial, that people should compare Yemen to Somalia or Afghanistan.

Egypt's pro-government al-Jumhuriyah warned that the US, UK and "Western media" were trying to paint Yemen as a hotbed for terrorist activity "as an excuse to control the Arab and Islamic countries". Fearing that Yemen might suffer the same fate as other countries accused of harbouring al-Qaeda, the paper asked what Arab countries would do "to spare Yemen the destiny of Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan".

Calls for multilateral solution

The prospect of a co-ordinated international response to the situation in Yemen was welcomed elsewhere in the Middle East press. Writing in Egypt's semi-official al-Ahram, Ibrahim Nafi urged the international community to formulate a "clear plan to extend military and economic support" to Yemen in order to "empower it to destroy al-Qaeda".

The situation in the country is "far too complex to be confined to the unilateral vision of Washington", according to Saudi Arabia's privately-owned al-Watan, which noted the US' history of "unsuccessful pre-emptive wars". Any effective response to the threat would require the US to pursue a "policy of partnership and understanding with the international community".

The Arab countries must act as a "safety valve" in dealing with the situation in Yemen, according to the editorial in the United Arab Emirates' al-Bayan. There was a risk that Yemen could become an "arena for internal, regional and international confrontations" if its Arab neighbours did not adopt an effective stance in dealing with the situation.

Writing in Iran's Arabic-language al-Vefagh, Ali al-Musavi asked "has the Yemeni crisis entered the phase of internationalisation?" Noting that the UK will "seek in the coming days the support of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states", the commentator urged Yemen to reconcile its internal divisions and reassert its national unity.

UK, US seeking to "protect regional interests"

The US and UK plan to "transform Yemen into a new US-UK military base in the Gulf of Aden to safeguard US-Western interests in the region", according to the state-run Iranian Arabic-language television channel al-Alam. London's involvement was based on a need to protect its "economic future", said the report, as the Somali Islamist al-Shabab militia plans to support Al-Qaeda in targeting Western interests in the region.

A separate report on al-Alam suggested that there was a familiar pattern to the events unfolding in Yemen. There is a "recipe" for US and Western intervention in Islamic countries demonstrated by "the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 [and] the claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq". Now, noted the station, the US and British embassies "are closing their doors under the pretext of security threats". On the morning of 4 January the station carried the caption: "Terrorism... a new/old pretext for Western presence in the region".

US "beating the drums of war"

There was much hostility in the Syrian press towards the prospect of international intervention in Yemen's affairs. The editorial in Syria's al-Thawrah attacked the "embarrassment" of a mooted "internationalisation" of the response to the conflict. It was ironic, said the paper, that the US and UK embassies should be closed on the same day that the countries sought to convince the world of their commitment to resolving the situation through dialogue. Writing in the same paper, Husayn Saqr contended that a war in Yemen would "threaten, fragment and weaken the country on political, economic and social levels".

Rather than prop up a failing state, US intervention in Yemen could "lead to the whole of the Arab peninsula becoming a failed and unstable region", cautioned Abd-al-Bari Atwan in the independent, pan-Arab al-Quds al-Arabi. Iran's conservative daily Siyasat-e Ruz accused the West of "beating the drums of war in Yemen".

The link between Yemen and the plot to blow up a transatlantic airliner merely provides the US with a convenient excuse to invade the country, wrote Dawud al-Shiryan in the London-based pan-Arab daily al-Hayat. The real target of a US invasion is the al-Huthi rebel movement, who "have created a security situation similar to that created by the Taleban in Afghanistan". The commentator warned that the US risks "repeating its foolish experience... in Yemeni territory".

Airline plot creates culture of fear

The failed attempt to blow up a US airliner brought the existence of al-Qaeda in Yemen to the attention of the American public, according to al-Jazeera TV. The plot had "frightened public opinion" in the US and taken the country "back to the era of ex-President Bush and the so-called War on Terror". The station's London correspondent wondered whether the UK's announcement of funding for a Yemeni counter-terrorism task-force would herald "strong British engagement in Yemen... as happened in Afghanistan and Iraq".

Israeli press calls for action

Two voices in the Israeli media urged Western leaders to adopt a consistently hardline policy towards Islamist extremism across the globe. The editorial in the English-language Jerusalem Post contended that the link to Yemen was further evidence that the "Islamist danger is not primarily rooted geographically but theologically and politically within the larger Muslim civilization". Amos Gilboa, in the centrist daily Ma'ariv, said that the failed plot was a "powerful reminder" of the reach of Islamic terrorism and urged President Obama to put the issue "high on the list of US priorities".

BBC Monitoringselects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8439616.stm

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Beware Anti-Muslim Hysteria

By Matthew Rothschild, January 4, 2010

The hysteria has begun.

With the attempt to bring down that Northwest jet flying into Detroit on Christmas, the urge to profile Muslims and demonize Islam is becoming irresistible for some—especially those on Fox.

On Sunday, retired General Thomas McInerney said, “We have to use profiling. And I mean be very serious and harsh about the profiling. . . .“If you are an 18-28 year-old Muslim man, then you should be strip searched.” Since there are a couple hundred million people in that category, this would make strip-searching at airports an interminable exercise.

McInerney didn’t make any effort to hide his hatred of the entire religion of Islam, which he called “an ideology, not a religion.”

The general is no theologian, but his crude response is quite popular, I’m afraid.

Sarah Palin, after the Fort Hood murders, said the military had fallen victim to “political correctness” and instead should “profile away.”

Others on the right have weighed in, also, as Think Progress has noted.

Newt Gingrich said he was all for it.

Radio host Mike Gallagher put it crudely: “There should be a separate line to scrutinize anybody with the name Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed.”

And Rep. Peter King of New York chimed in: “100 percent of the Islamic terrorists are Muslim, and that is our main enemy today. So why we should not be profiling people because of their religion?”

In America, we’re going to start asking people’s religion at the airline gate?

There are hundreds of thousands of African Americans who are Muslims. Should they all automatically be suspect?

There hundreds of millions of Muslims from countries where there is no Al Qaeda presence. Should they all automatically be suspect?

There are also hundreds of millions of Muslims where there is an Al Qaeda presence. Should they all automatically be suspect?

The Obama Administration’s new mandatory policy of giving everyone from a list of 14 nations a full-body pat down is also overly broad and misguided. A nine-year-old girl from Lebanon deserves a pat down? A 90-year-old Algerian man traveling with his grandchildren needs one, too?

By relying on such crude yardsticks for measuring the risk of terrorism, the U.S. government and the fulminators on the right are not only going to be searching through endless haystacks, they are also going to be creating enmity among people in all these countries who are singled out. On top of that, the anti-Muslim rhetoric and any de facto anti-Muslim policy will invite hate crimes here in the United States.

That’s why it’s wise to take a more prudent and nuanced approach, relying on behavioral tip-offs and other tells. When someone pays in cash and carries little baggage, as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab did, then that person merits an extra look and a pat down. When someone is acting peculiar, that person should be pulled aside.

And, of course, when our government receives good intelligence—e.g., when a father goes to the U.S. embassy to warn about his son’s radicalism—it would be nice if it could act swiftly and competently on that information.

Instead, whenever there is an intelligence breakdown, as there was here and as there was before 9/11, we’re told we need to sacrifice more of our liberties. This leads to an endlessly slippery slope, as Jay Stanley of the ACLU has noted in his critique of full-body scanners.

“If terrorists even perceive that scanners will work, they take the next logical step and conceal explosives in their body cavities,” Stanley writes. “Al Qaeda has already used this technique; in September a suicide bomber stowed a full pound of high explosives and a detonator inside his rectum, and attempted to assassinate a Saudi prince by blowing himself up. (The prince survived.) So it seems that when the next terrorist tries to blow up an airliner using this technique, all the usual jittery voices surely will once again say that we must abandon our personal dignity and privacy in order to block that particular kind of plot. So we'd just like to get ahead of the game and state right now that the ACLU will be opposed to that.”

We need to be on guard for terrorism, no doubt about it.

But we shouldn’t alienate a quarter of the world’s population people in the process.

That won’t make us any safer.

http://www.progressive.org/wx010410.html

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Muslim Mob in Pakistan Wounds Christian Family

Assailants threaten to charge mentally ill son with ‘blasphemy’ if victims pursue justice

By Compass Direct News|Brian Sharma

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Compass Direct News) – Infuriated by an alleged anti-Islamic comment by a mentally ill man, more than a dozen Muslims attacked his Christian family here last week, beating his 20-year-old sister unconscious and breaking her leg.

The woman’s father, Aleem Mansoor, said his daughter Elishba Aleem went unconscious after being struck in the head with an iron rod in the Dec. 28 attack. Mansoor said a Muslim known as Mogal beat him and his daughter with the rod on the street in front of their apartment home after falsely accusing his 32-year old son, who suffers from schizophrenia, of blasphemy.

“Elishba shouted, ‘Father look! He is going to hit you,’ and she came somewhat in front and the rod hit her head,” Mansoor told Compass. “She touched her head, and her hand was covered with blood.”

After she fell unconscious, the assailants began striking her on her legs and back, Mansoor said.

As soon as the mob realized that Elishba was totally unconscious, they shouted that the girl was dead and fled from the scene,” he said.

Elishba Aleem had rushed down from the family’s third-floor apartment in Iqbal Town, Islamabad and was attacked when she pleaded for the mob to stop beating her father, who received five stitches for a hand wound. With iron rods and cricket bats, the mob also injured Mansoor’s wife Aqsa and his sister-in-law Aileen George. Another of Mansoor’s sons, 24-year-old Shazir Aleem, saw the assault from the apartment and also was beaten when he hurried down.

“When Shazir’s wife Sanna saw that her husband was being beaten, she rushed down with [infant daughter] Hanna in her arms and pleaded with them, ‘Why are you beating my husband?’” Mansoor said. “Someone in the mob snatched Hanna from Sanna and threw her on the ground, and then those beasts began beating Sanna as well.”

The baby girl escaped serious injury.

Initially the assailants had attacked Mansoor as he tried to leave home with his son Shumail Aleem, whom he intended to take to police to clear up accusations by shopkeeper Muhammad Naveed that he had spoken ill of Islam.

As Mansoor reached his car, however, about a dozen men with cricket bats and metal rods got out of a parked Suzuki van and surrounded them, he said, and within 10 minutes more than 100 angry Muslims had joined Naveed, his other brothers and his father, Mogal.

“Naveed shouted, ‘Why are you people looking at these choohras [derogatory term for Christians]? Catch them and kill them,’” Mansoor said. “My wife Aqsa and sister-in-law Aileen George threw their doppatas [Indian head coverings] at Naveed’s and others’ feet to humbly request that they not attack us, but they refused to listen. They began beating all of us with rods and cricket bats.”

Area Muslims resent that the family has a car and is well-off, Mansoor said.

“They say Christians should be suppressed and kept under a tight control,” he said. “They think Christians should salute them when they pass by them.”

His son Shumail has been under medical treatment for schizophrenia for more than five years, he said, and because of his condition he does not work.

“As long as Shumail takes medicine, there is no one nicer than him on the earth, but if he is not taking the medicine then he is the worst creature,” Mansoor said.

Mansoor’s daughter, a first-year college student, received treatment at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and eventually regained consciousness, though she remains in intense pain. Mansoor said members of the Muslim mob ensured that she did not receive a medical-legal certificate documenting her condition.

Then Mansoor told Naveed and others that he would take them to court over the attack, his Muslim adversaries said he would fail because they had paid PIMS officials 50,000 rupees (US$600) to withhold the medical report on his daughter’s injuries. He said they also told him that they had paid off officers at the Shehzad Town Police Station to pressure the family to drop the case with an out-of-court settlement.

“The assistant sub-inspector, Ghulam Gilani, of Shehzad Town Police Station, called my wife and told her that if the family pursued the case of assault on us, then we would be implicated in the blasphemy case, which would have serious consequences for us,” Mansoor said.

Gilani and hospital officials were not immediately available for comment.

‘Blasphemy’ Accusation

The comment said to have triggered the violence was uttered at a nearby general store, where Shumail Aleem had gone to buy cigarettes at about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 28.

Dec. 28 was Islam’s 10th of Muharram, or Yom-e-Ashura, when Shiite Muslims mourn the death of Hussein ibn Ali, grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Pakistan’s population is made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, who also honor the day on the claim that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for freeing the Israelites from Egypt.

At the store an elderly Christian man known as Baba Sadiq asked Shumail Aleem why movie channels were not being shown on the store’s cable-fed TV.

“Shumail told him, ‘Are Muslims out of their minds? Why would they show movie channels on Ashura?’” Mansoor said.

The comment apparently supported Naveed’s decision to refrain from showing films on the Muslim holy day, but the shopkeeper began beating Shumail Aleem, demanding to know why he had profaned Hussein’s name, Mansoor said.

Two weeks prior, Mansoor said, Naveed and his brothers had beaten a Christian boy so severely that when he bled a piece of flesh issued from his nostrils.

“Shumail had seen this all, and had protested with Naveed over this, and when he came home he was very upset over the beating and repeatedly asked his mother to go and ask Naveed about it,” Mansoor said. “We think that Naveed bore a grudge because of Shumail’s inquiry and protest about that beating of a Christian.”

Mansoor said that after Naveed severely beat him, Shumail Aleem returned when the rest of the family was not at home, as several had taken Mansoor’s 3-month-old granddaughter Hanna to the doctor. When they returned at 9:45 p.m., Mansoor said, he found several things in the house “thrown around or broken.”

A neighbor told them that police and about two dozen men had come searching for Shumail Aleem – who had hid in an upper storeroom – because Naveed had accused him of blasphemy.

“We went to Naveed, who was at his shop, and inquired what had happened,” Mansoor said. “He told us that Shumail had tried to steal several things from the store and also damaged several things, and worst of all that he profaned Imam Hussein. My wife told Naveed that he knew that Shumail was mentally ill so he should have waited for us, and that we would have paid the damage, but that there was no need to go to the police.”

Naveed told them that whether their son was mentally ill did not matter, that he had filed a police report – which later proved to be untrue – and that they would search relentlessly for Shumail Aleem, Mansoor said.

The mob stopped pursuing members of Mansoor’s family only after the intervention of Pakistan People’s Party politician Malik Amir, he said, but neither police nor the hospital has cooperated with him in legal matters. An influential Muslim in the area, Raja Aftaab, is also urging the family to settle out of court, he added.

“My stance is that the entire mob that attacked us should come to our house and apologize in front of all the neighbors, and then I will start negotiations with them,” he said.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100104/muslim-mob-in-pakistan-wounds-christian-family/pageall.html

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Militants burn village in Lower Orakzai

By Our Correspondent

Tuesday, 05 Jan, 2010

KOHAT: Militants set on fire an entire village in Feroze Khel area of Lower Orakzai on Monday.

According to officials, armed men of the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan raided the village of Tori Mela and set on fire 63 houses which had been lying vacant for about a month because most tribesmen had moved to other areas, leaving behind one or two members of their families to take care of their belongings.

The TTP men asked these people to leave their houses and then set out on the arson spree.

Local people said the Tehrik-i-Taliban had ‘punished’ tribesmen because of their refusal to stay on in the village and support them in their fight against security forces.

The families had moved to Hangu and Kohat, fearing that the TTP might use them as human shields and to protect themselves during shellings and bombings by helicopter gunships and planes.

Meanwhile, an unidentified body was found in the area.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/12-militants-burn-village-in-lower-orakzai--bi-01

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Dhaka court bans use of religion in politics

Tuesday, 05 Jan, 2010

DHAKA, Jan 4: Bangladesh’s dozens of Islamic political parties must drop Islam from their name and stop using religion when on the campaign trail following a court ruling, the country’s law minister said on Monday.

The Supreme Court on Sunday upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court from 2005 throwing out the fifth amendment of the constitution, which had allowed religion-based politics to flourish in the country since the late 1970s.

“All politics based on religion are going to be banned as per the original constitution,” Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said.

The verdict does not affect constitutional amendments that made Islam the Muslim majority nation’s state religion in 1988 and incorporated a Quranic verse in the constitution.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is allied with two Islamic parties, said it would appeal the verdict.

Bangladesh’s original constitution barred the use of religion in politics.

“We want to reinstate the original constitution. Secularism was a pillar of the 1972 constitution,” said Mr Ahmed.

The move follows the Awami League’s sweep to power in 2008 elections, which saw them beat the BNP with a landslide.

The new government outlawed a controversial Islamic party, accusing it of destabilising the country. Four other Islamic organisations, including the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were earlier banned after they carried out a series of nationwide bombings that left 28 people dead in 2005.—AFP

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/dhaka-court-bans-use-of-religion-in-politics-510

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Qureshi calls Indian army chief’s remarks absurd: Pakistan for revival of dialogue with India

 Tuesday, 05 Jan, 2010

KARACHI, Jan 4: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said here on Monday that Pakistan wanted best relations with the entire world, especially the neighbouring countries, but it would never compromise on national sovereignty, dignity and interests.

He condemned what he described as an irresponsible statement recently made by the Indian army chief and said it was against India’s own interests and would damage the process of bringing all South Asian counties closer to each other for peace and economic prosperity of the region.

Being a responsible nation, he said, Pakistan did not believe in sensationalism.

“I would call it an absurd statement. It doesn’t befit a person holding such an important and responsible position,” the foreign minister said while talking to journalists at the residence of Sindh Minister for Population Welfare Syed Ali Mardan Shah where he had gone to offer condolences on the death of his father.

Mr Qureshi said he was always careful in his statements, keeping the interests of the country, the nation and the region in mind.

The Pakistan government, he said, had adopted a responsible and balanced attitude.

He said Pakistan wanted to continue the composite dialogue with India which had proved helpful in resolving various issues.

Responding to a question, he said China was a trusted friend and it was playing an important role in Pakistan’s development.

About Iran, the foreign minister said the government had succeeded in reviving and strengthening relations with Tehran.

“We have enhanced interaction and coordination on different fronts, including diplomatic one, and there are frequent visits of delegations of government functionaries of the two countries.”

He said the government had achieved good progress in the gas pipeline project with Iran which had remained in doldrums for 25 years.

He said he had invited foreign ministers of Iran and Afghanistan to Islamabad so that a clear and joint regional approach could be adopted at the international conference scheduled to be held in London on Jan 28.

About Pakistan’s position in Saarc, the foreign minister said Pakistan had strengthened relations with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He referred to his recent meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who had extended an invitation to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to visit her country.The foreign minister said that no sensible person could demand a change in the popularly elected government fully recognised by the international community.

Highlighting PPP’s policy of reconciliation and accommodation, he said that in Sindh his party had a clear working majority and did not need any coalition partner, but it formed a coalition government to promote reconciliation.

In Punjab, he said, the PPP had offers to form its government with the support of the PML-Q, but it had honoured the mandate of the PML-N, setting aside all political differences with them.—APP

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/qureshi-calls-indian-army-chiefs-remarks-absurd-pakistan-for-revival-of-dialogue-with-india-510

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Ransom for ‘jihad’: Five arrested for kidnapping doctor

By Our Staff Reporter

Tuesday, 05 Jan, 2010

LAHORE, Jan 4: The Cantonment CIA police claimed on Monday to have arrested five members of a gang who kidnapped a doctor for Rs30 million ransom and planned to spend the money on ‘jihadi’ activities. The police recovered the doctor unhurt and without paying a penny through the intervention of a tribal jirga.

The gang led by Ziarat Gul, alias Badshah, had abducted child specialist Dr Aslam Khan on Aug 22, 2009, when he was going to his hospital in Wahdat Colony.

The police got the doctor released without paying ransom from Tera Bara area in Khyber Agency in exchange of Tariq Charat, son of Hasan Baz, who had phoned the victim’s family and demanded ransom, through the intervention of the jirga.

Investigation SSP Zulfikar Hameed disclosed this during a news conference at his Qila Gujjar Singh office on Monday. Dr Aslam was also present there.

During initial investigation, the suspects admitted that they had abducted the doctor on the directives of commander Mangal Bagh of ‘Lashkar-i-Islami’ and extorted ransom was meant to be spent on jihad.

The culprits had also stolen several vehicles since 1997 from different parts of the city and kidnapped five other persons, who had been taken to the tribal areas.

Dr Aslam Khan worked in Social Security Hospital, Riawind Road, as child specialist. He also worked at Noble Hospital, Rehmanpura, Wahdat Colony.

One of the suspects, Suleman Butt, alias Mani, of Hall Road, developed intimacy with Dr Aslam. On the day of incident, Butt drove Dr Aslam to Bokhari Market, Wahdat Road, to get his mother examined. When the doctor reached there, Butt and his accomplices abducted him.

A special team constituted to trace the doctor first detained Ziarat Gul, of District Dir, currently residing at 14/A Abbott Road, Royal Park, Lahore, and then held Butt.

On a lead provided by these suspects, a police team went to the NWFP and picked Tariq Charar, son of Hasan Baz, and his friend from Peshawar under the pretext that they had to hand over ransom to Hasan Baz. Tariq confirmed that Dr Aslam was present at his father’s outhouse.

The police phoned Hasan and demanded Dr Aslam’s release in exchange of Tariq and finally the exchange took place through the intervention of the jirga.

The police also arrested their other accomplices Moeen Butt, of Shahid Colony, Muhammad Asif, of Railway Road, and Ali Maan Shah, of Landi Kotal.

Dr Aslam told reporters that around 25 to 30 mujahideen of Lashkar-i-Islam operated by Mangal Bagh were working at Bara Khajorri camp in Khyber Agency, where he spent 10 days. The Pakistan Army attacked the place after which he was shifted to Tera Bara.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/ransom-for-jihad-five-arrested-for-kidnapping-doctor-510

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Islamists split over dropping loans

Published Date: January 05, 2010

By Ahmad Saeid, Staff Writer

KUWAIT: The debate to write off the interest on citizen's loans gained intensity hours before the historic National Assembly session today. Prior to the second reading of the proposed bill, government officials, Members of Parliament, Sharia experts and activist exclaimed their perspectives on the proposed piece of legislation. While the government and a number of MPs have taken opposing sides on the issue, the newest debate has occurred within the Islamist movement. Islamists have begun openly debating th

e legitimacy of paying off interest based debts according to the Islamic tradition.

Renowned Kuwaiti clergyman Ajeel Al-Nashmi said at a press conference that it is legally and religiously immoral to differentiate between those citizens "who took loans and those who didn't." He added, "it's also against Sharia for the government to pay interest back to the banks because interest itself is a sin in Islam.

The ex-Minister and member of the Salafi movement, Ahmad Baqer, said that the proposed legislation will overshadow the insolvent's fund and cost the government more than KD 6 billion. He argued that the proposed law violates financial, constitutional and religious principles.

Bader Al-Shebeeb, General Secretary of the Salafi movement in Kuwait, disagreed. In a press release yesterday, Al-Shebeeb said that according to a Fatwa issued by noted Saudi cleric Ibn Uthaimeen, issuing interest in a loan is compliant with Sharia law. Also, Al-Shebeeb referred to the insolvent's fund as "part of the problem rather than a solution" and rejected all justifications to vote against the bill by representatives from both the government and Parliament.

In addition to the religious debate, the political debate is heating up between the government and a number of MPs in favor of the law. Minister of State for Development and Housing Affairs, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad, said the bill "contains a number of discrepancies and loopholes in addition to being incompatible with the banking system and unfair." Al-Fahad made his comments yesterday during a joint press conference with the Minister of Finance, Mustafa Al-Shemali, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuw

ait, (CBK) Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah.

During the press conference the Governor of CBK said the proposed legislation does not offer any solution for loans taken from investment companies and only addresses loans from banks. Many of the supporters of the bill argue that the government bailed out banks and investment companies and should now help citizens in need as well. A number of MPs expressed confidence about the bills acceptance in the Parliament and warned the government against maneuvering around passing the law. MP Askar Al-Enizi said th

e government should respect parliamentary majority. Also, MP Saad Al-Khanfoor said "the government should not be arrogant in this regard.

http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=OTAyNTY2NTc3

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American terror suspects detained in Pakistan deny Al Qaeda link

By Mail Foreign Service

05th January 2010

A group of American citizens accused of contacting the Taliban over the internet to join a 'holy war' have denied planning to carry out terror attacks in Pakistan.

The five men, from the U.S. state of Virginia, appeared in a court in eastern Pakistan wearing chains amid tight security including rooftop snipers.

The group was arrested during a raid on a house in the city of Sargodha last month, where police said they recovered laptops, mobile phones and maps of various Pakistani cities.

Police say the five men had used the internet to try and join a holy war in Pakistan, which is a key ally of the U.S. and is struggling to contain a Taliban insurgency.

But a lawyer for the group said the men have no ties with Al Qaeda or other militant groups and had been preparing to travel to Afghanistan simply to 'help' fellow Muslims 'who are bleeding and who are being victimised by Western forces'.

Two of the men are Pakistani-Americans, while the remaining three are of Eritrean, Ethiopian and Egyptian origin, officials said. All of them have U.S. passports.

Police said they plan to charge the men with terrorism and will be seeking life sentences against them. They have been remanded in custody for 14 days while police prepare their case and will appear in court on January 18.

The suspects' case underscores increasingly complex security challenges in the American-led global 'war on terror'.

The internet offers instant, inexpensive channels to some of the world's most dangerous militant groups, and violent individuals still manage international travel despite steps to identify them and restrict their movements.

From today, air travellers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and nine other countries will face full-body pat-downs before boarding airliners under new security screening procedures.

It comes after the alleged attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

Officials believe 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is accused of carrying a bomb sewn into his underwear, was trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen.

He got through security screening in Amsterdam, and was subdued by passengers and crew after allegedly trying to blow up the plane.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1240472/American-terror-suspects-detained-Pakistan-deny-Al-Qaeda-link.html#ixzz0bkWrh7L4

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What Oath? Muslims Unfit for Citizenship and Military Duty

By Scott W. Winchell

Editor-in-Chief; Interim CEO; Stand Up America Project

In 1960, one of the biggest questions in the race for the Presidency between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was Kennedy’s religion. Being a Catholic, Kennedy was asked if his allegiance was to the country or the Pope. In those days, the same as today, in Catholicism, each adherent was first a Catholic, and second, a citizen of their country.

On Sept. 12, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a major speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, on the issue of his religion. At the time, many Protestants questioned whether Kennedy’s Roman Catholic faith would allow him to make important national decisions as president independent of the church. Kennedy addressed those concerns before a skeptical audience of Protestant clergy.

The following is from a transcript of Kennedy’s speech:

But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured – perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in – for that should be important only to me – but what kind of America I believe in.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

Apparently, this was enough to resolve the question, and he won the election. Today, we have a new question of allegiance. Not a question regarding Catholicism, but rather, Islam. The reason we ask this question is based on the fact, that a Muslim, is a Muslim first no matter where that person lives. Islam recognizes Dar el Islam, the “house of Islam” as any place a Muslim is present. Islam may not control that place, but the man that proclaims his devotion and submission to Allah is by Sha’ariah Law, a Muslim first and foremost.

Islam means submission, literally; there is no doubt that a devout Muslim must proclaim this or he is an apostate. This is something worse than an infidel, or non-believer, for he has forsaken his duty to Allah. Therefore, he must always be a Muslim first, and that means he is not only unable, but also forbidden from acting in any other fashion. If he is in our military, he may take orders, and obey, but at some level, when the order runs afoul of Islam, he must revert to Islam first. This is very obvious in the case of the terrorist, Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood.

Unlike Catholicism, Islam enforces this by the sword. In many lands around the world, there are frequent examples of this enforcement, especially among the woman in Islam. Honor killings are frequent and occur everywhere, even here in the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and many other places in the western world. Kennedy, back in 1960 was not even ex-communicated let alone receiving a Fatwa from an Imam, declaring he must die, and that all Muslims are duty bound to carry this edict out. This is a religious edict known only to Islam. Somehow, Major Nidal found that he could no longer be a member of the Military and decided to act on his devoutness to Islam, and to proceed to kill his own military comrades to whom he swore an oath.

Therefore, as we see in Hasan’s example, Islam is first in the mind of the devout, and it is clear that he never intended on living up to his oath as a soldier. He took the license of takiya, the Islamic right to lie for the sake of Islam to infidels. His oath never mattered and therefore, regarless of any oath a Muslim takes, it is to be totally discounted. Not only did he commit acts of terrorism, he also broke numerous laws, both military and civil. The worst of which was violating 18 U.S.C. § 2385 : US Code – Section 2385: Advocating overthrow of Government:

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

These are acts of Sedition and Treason. But to a Muslim, they are acts of devotion to Allah. So which prevails? As a free society where we are a land of laws, not men, the former applies. So we now have a very real question of loyalty.

To a lesser degree, when a Muslim from another land is naturalized in the United States, and they swear an oath to gain citizenship, to whom are they beholding? When a recruit signs up for the military, takes the oath, yet declares he is a Muslim on the form, what should we expect?

Here is the oath on citizenship:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Or was that Allah?

Here are the oaths for the military:

I, (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

I, (State your name) (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of (BLANK) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God. (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

Citizenship form n-400 also asks whether or not the applicant has:

…advocated the overthrow of any government by force or violence (either directly or indirectly)?

I think a great many Muslims would fail this test immediately if it could be proven, but takiya absolves them anyway under Islam if they lie about it. How do we prove or disprove these issues?

The answer is clear, we cannot. If we tried, the ACLU would file cases by the boatload. Therefore the only sane thing to do to protect us from the Hasan’s of the world and Islamic deceit is to ban any person with Muslim affiliation of any sort from both citizenship and military service. Islam has no place in modern society. It is a barbaric political ideology, not a religion, and therefore, it is akin to citizenship from another country. Islam knows no boundaries, but acts as if it were a separate state. Therefore, we should treat them as if they were. They are devout, abiding peoples of another country/state make no mistake about it.

http://sonoranweeklyreview.com/?p=1987

 

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Only the Islamic World Wants Russia to Recover as Great Power, Muslim Analyst in Moscow Says

January 04, 2010

Paul Goble

The revival and growth of Islam is typically portrayed as a threat to Russia, but a leading Muslim commentator in Moscow argues that “the only global force which is interested in the rebirth of Russia as a great super power is the Islamic world,” a category that he insists includes Muslims within the Russian Federation itself.

Shamil Sultanov, the president of the Moscow Center for Strategic Research on Russia and the Islamic World, makes this provocative and controversial argument in the course of a lengthy essay on the state of the Muslim community in Russia now and over the next 20 years that was posted online today on the IA-Centr.ru portal (www.ia-centr.ru/expert/6841/).

As the leftwing analyst notes, estimates about the number of Muslims in the Russian Federation vary widely, with the Orthodox Church putting the figure at no more than 14 million, while the Russian government typically suggests there are 20 million, and some experts abroad have put the number as high as 30 million.

In fact, Sultanov says, “if one accepts 20 million as a mid-range figure, then that number certainly will include all ethnic Muslims and migrants,” even though it is certain that not all Tatars are Muslims and that not all Kyrgyz Gastarbeiters now in the Russian Federation are followers of Islam.

Sultanov says that on the basis of his own observations, “only 2.5-3 million people [in the Russian Federation] put their Muslim identity on the first place in the scale of self-identification. For the rest, this identity is in second or more often in third or even fourth place, yielding pride of place to corporate, professional, clan or ethnic identity.”

Because this is so, the most important division among Russia’s Muslims is not in terms of the legal school of Sunni Islam to which they attach themselves but rather “by the quality of their religious orientation.” Viewed from that perspective, he says, the Muslim community in Russia divides into three groups.

First out of the 20 million figure he cites are the 2.5-3 million Muslims who fulfill all the requirements of the faith, although Sultanov suggests that “of these three million, possibly only one in ten has a deep knowledge of Islam, an Islamic way of thinking and follows and pursues an Islamic way of life.”

Second, he continues, are the approximately six million Muslims who “from time to time observe sincerely or not very sincerely certain Muslim rituals.” And the third – the remaining 11 million – follow a largely “secular way of life and only from time to time recall their Muslim roots.”

Together, Sultanov says, the Muslims of Russia participate in approximately 3,000 registered jamaats (communities) and 3,000 unregistered ones, numbers that are significantly lower than the ones offered by the Muslim Spiritual Directorates (MSDs) or even Russian officials.

The leadership of the overwhelming majority of cases, Sultanov says, is weak because of “the incompetence, hypocrisy, greed, lack of principles, and kleptocracy” of its members and the presumption of unqualified people to serve as muftis even though they know little or nothing of the Koran.

There is one group that represents an important exception to this pattern, Sultanov continues. It includes the more than 100,000 “so-called ‘new Muslims’” as converts to Islam from historically non-Islamic nations like the Russians, Ukrainians, and Chuvash are typically referred to in Russia.

According to Sultanov, this group, despite all its diversity, is marked by two special characteristics: On the one hand, it manifests “a high level of passionate attachment” to the faith, and on the other, “the intellectual level of ‘Russian Muslims’ significantly exceeds the average IQ of the other Muslims of Russia.”

Over the next generation, Sultanov says, there is no question that the number of Muslims will increase and that the intensity of their attachment to Islam will expand as well, but instead of posing challenge to Russia as some have suggested, the rise of Islam there will help Russia recover its status as a great power.

For Russia’s Muslims, he argues, “the motherland is part of [their] faith.” Second, he continues, “Russia’s Muslims possibly have a greater basis for considering Russia their Motherland than do the Orthodox,” because Islam arrived there earlier and because Russia even now is “the heir to the traditions of the great Muslim Golden Horde Empire.”

And third, there is a geopolitical reason for that. “Russia and the global Muslim umma have a common enemy – Western civilization. If Russia is the main enemy for the West in the medium term, then Islam [including the Muslims within the Russian Federation] is its strategic and metaphysical enemy for the entire 21st century.”

One of the reasons Muslims look to Russia in this way, Sultanov argues, is that they remember that the Soviet system was opposed to the kind of interest-based capitalism of the West. “And the prohibition on interest is one of the unqualified foundations of Islamic economics.”

Consequently, “the only global force which is interested in the rebirth of Russia as a great super power is the Islamic world.’ (Sultanov acknowledges that there are “ultra-radical Muslims” who disagree with this analysis, but he says that their number is “happily, not great” and can be ignored.)

This means, Sultanov concludes, that “the historical mission of the Russian Islamic community is still ahead. Even if all the other peoples will be infected by consumerism, a lack of will and defeatism, and their cultural code will be rewritten in a negative way, Russian Muslims on their own will struggle for a great Russia as their Motherland.

http://georgiandaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16310&Itemid=72

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Islamic cleric calls U.K. soldiers 'Nazis'

Jan 5, 2010

LONDON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- An Islamic cleric, founder of two organizations banned in Britain as terrorist, compared English soldiers fighting in Afghanistan to Nazis, authorities say.

Anjem Choudary is a British citizen of Pakistani descent who in the past has urged Muslims not to cooperate with police in fighting terrorism, The Sun reported. He appeared on the English radio show Sun Talk Monday after the program confirmed he had sent an open letter to families of fallen soldiers urging them to convert to Islam "to save yourselves from the hellfire," the newspaper said.

Choudary said he opposed crowds honoring Britain's fallen, such as those in the town of Wootton Bassett, a village famous for such demonstrations. He compared the dead soldiers to Nazis, the suicide bombers of Sept. 11, 2001, and coordinated suicide bomb attackers of the London Transport System July 7, 2005.

"The same could be said about the Germans fighting for Nazism in the Second World War. Those involved in 7/7 and 9/11 considered themselves to be soldiers. How would the British people feel if there was a parade for those who carried out 9/11 or 7/7?"

The talk show host said that kind of march would be act of "treason."

"It may be considered against the British Government and Foreign policy. If that is treason, then yes, I am treasonous," Choudary said.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/01/04/Islamic-cleric-calls-UK-soldiers-nazis/UPI-89691262652435/

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Freed Guantánamo inmates are heading for Yemen to join al-Qaeda fight

Tom Coghlan

At least a dozen former Guantánamo Bay inmates have rejoined al-Qaeda to fight in Yemen, The Times has learnt, amid growing concern over the ability of the country’s Government to accept almost 100 more former inmates from the detention centre.

The Obama Administration promised to close the Guantánamo facility by January 22, a deadline that it will be unable to meet. The 91 Yemeni prisoners in Guantánamo make up the largest national contingent among the 198 being held.

Six prisoners were returned to Yemen last month. After the Christmas Day bomb plot in Detroit, US officials are increasingly concerned that the country is becoming a hot-bed of terrorism. Eleven of the former inmates known to have rejoined al-Qaeda in Yemen were born in Saudi Arabia. The organisation merged its Saudi and Yemeni offshoots last year.

The country’s mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it, in the opinion of many analysts, a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, voiced concern about the growing strength of al-Qaeda in Yemen. “Obviously, we see global implications from the war in Yemen and the ongoing efforts by al-Qaeda in Yemen to use it as a base for terrorist attacks far beyond the region,” she said.

A Yemeni, Hani Abdo Shaalan, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, was killed in an airstrike on December 17, the Yemeni Government reported last week. The deputy head of al-Qaeda in the country is Said Ali al-Shihri, 36, who was released in 2007. Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who was released in 2006, is a prominent ideologue featured on Yemeni al-Qaeda websites.

Geoff Morrell, the spokesman for the Pentagon, said: “This is a large question that goes beyond the issue of transferring detainees. The bulk of the remaining detainees are from Yemen and that has been the case for a long time. We are trying to work with the Yemeni Government on this.”

The US Government issued figures in May showing that 74 of the 530 detainees in Guantánamo were suspected or known to have returned to terrorist activity since their release. They included the commander of the Taleban in Helmand province, Mullah Zakir, whom the British Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, called “a key and seemingly effective tactical leader”. Among others who returned to terrorism was Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who killed six Iraqis in Mosul in 2008.

The number believed to have “returned to the fight” in the May 2009 estimate was double that of a US estimate from June 2008. US officials acknowledged that more detainees were known to have reoffended since, but the number has been classified.

“There is a historic trend and it continues. I will only say that we have said there is a trend, we are aware of it, there is no denying the trend and we are doing our best to deal with this reality,” Mr Morrell said.

Officials said that a higher proportion of those still being held were likely to return to terrorism because they were considered more of a security threat than those selected in the early stages of the release programme.

Chris Boucek, an expert on the region for the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, said that up-to-date figures for Saudi Arabia showed that 26 of the 120 Saudis released from Guantánamo were either in jail, wanted by the authorities or dead.

Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University, said evidence showed that al-Qaeda was seeking to use Yemen to mount a renewed campaign into Saudi Arabia. He cited a recent incident in which two Saudi militants, one the brother-in-law of alShihri, were killed while trying to cross the border in women’s clothing. Martyrdom videos were subsequently posted on militant websites.

The Saudi Government had boasted previously of a zero reoffence rate for Guantánamo detainees who were put through its widely praised rehabilitation programme for al-Qaeda members.

Robert Lacey, who writes about Saudi Arabia, made numerous visits to the Prince Mohammad bin Naif rehabilitation facility north of Riyadh.

“I know a number of young men from Guantánamo who were successfully reintegrated,” he told The Times. “The programme involves the whole family with a mixture of religious re-education, patriotism, guilt and co-opting in terms of being given a car, job and a nice wife.”

However, other analysts suggested that the claims for the Saudi programme were exaggerated. Mr Johnsen pointed out that an attack that nearly killed Prince Mohammad bin Naif, the Saudi head of counterterrorism, in August was mounted by a Yemen-based al-Qaeda terrorist who had offered to join the reintegration programme to get near his target.

“The Saudi programme is nothing but bureaucratised bribery. The ideologically committed terrorists simply won’t listen,” Mr Johnsen said.

The Yemen reintegration programme for terrorists was abandoned on December 10, 2005.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6975971.ece?&EMC-Bltn=JIWDZ1F

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Iran Professors Ask for End to Violence

By NAZILA FATHI

Published: January 4, 2010

Risking expulsion and possible arrest, 88 professors at Tehran University signed a letter on Monday calling on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme religious leader, to end the use of violence against protesters, saying it was a sign of the government’s weakness.

“Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength,” the letter read in part. “Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment.”

An opposition Web site, Jaras, reported that in another open letter released Monday, five leading opposition figures from outside the country called for the resignation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, free elections, release of political prisoners, greater freedom of speech and an independent judiciary.

The letters did nothing, however, to deter the authorities, who continued a recent crackdown on the opposition with the arrests of dozens of activists and student leaders around the country, Jaras reported. A prominent reporter, Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, who was arrested in June, was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison and 34 lashes, the Web site said.

But the letters did challenge the authority of Ayatollah Khamenei, something that was unthinkable and punishable before the protests that broke out in June after what the opposition calls a fraudulent presidential election.

The five opposition figures abroad singled out Ayatollah Khamenei and warned him that he “would be accountable for the consequences” if the authorities refused to take the steps they recommended to mend the damage done not only over the past seven months, but for many years before.

“The hatred and resentment that has built up against the regime in the past three decades has deep roots,” their letter said. “The discontent has a great destructive power and can unleash a vast wave of violence throughout society.”

The letter was signed by Akbar Ganji, an opposition journalist in New York; Mohsen Kadivar, a senior cleric now at Duke University; Abdolkarim Soroush, a scholar and philosopher at Harvard; Abdolali Bazargan, the son of the first prime minister of the Islamic republic; and Ataollah Mohajerani, the culture minister under President Mohammad Khatami.

The opposition continues to demonstrate the power to mount impressive protests in defiance of official warnings and despite the government’s fiercely repressive tactics. During protests Dec. 27 during the observance of the holy day of Ashura, hundreds of thousands of Iranians protested in the face of a bloody crackdown that killed at least eight people and wounded scores more, according to official figures. The opposition claims the death toll was higher.

The government has blamed Western countries, particularly Britain and the United States, for stirring the unrest. On Monday, the intelligence minister, Heidar Moslehi, told state television that “several foreigners” involved in psychological warfare against the government had been arrested during the Ashura protests. He refused to identify them, but said that they had entered the country on Dec. 25 and that their cases would be handed over to the judiciary by Wednesday.

A visit by members of the European Parliament scheduled to begin Thursday was canceled on Monday, after the Iranian authorities blocked the group’s scheduled meeting with senior members of Parliament and opposition leaders, said Barbara Lochbihler, the German head of the delegation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/world/middleeast/05iran.html

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Yemen: Tackling the roots of terrorism through hip-hop

By Laura Kasinof Correspondent / January 4, 2010

Sanaa, Yemen

•A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Turbaned men dancing with daggers and rappers donning New York Yankees caps may not seem to have anything in common, but in Yemen this combination sent a packed theater of more than 500 Yemeni youth into a boisterous frenzy.

On Nov. 17, a sold-out show at the Yemeni Culture House in the nation’s capital, Sanaa, fused elements of hip-hop culture such as break dancing with traditional Yemeni music, and doubled as a campaign to promote peace and national unity in this desperately poor country that is being torn apart by different domestic insurgencies – as well as touted as a new base for Al Qaeda.

In Yemen’s staunchly traditional society, the main activities for young people are chewing khat, a mild narcotic, or going to mosques. Events like last week’s show hope to promote hip-hop culture as a healthy alternative and keep youths from being swept up into extremist ideas, say event organizers.

“[In Yemen] you have people who are trying to gain support among the youth for every sort of cause: Al Qaeda, Salafis.… We have to win the hearts and minds of the kids,” said one of the event organizers who wishes to remain anonymous because of his close ties with the Yemeni government.

“Yemen is hungry for hip-hop. When I first came here in 2003 you couldn’t find a rapper or a break dancer,” said Hagage Masaed, an American of Yemeni descent and self-described “Snoop Dogg” of Yemen who has been a centerpiece of hip-hop’s growth in the country.

“All the problems youth are facing in Yemen – there’s no work – this a way for them to release. It’s an outlet,” he said before the start of the show.

Indeed, when Mr. Masaed came onstage rapping, with lyrics such as “one Yemen united” and “no terrorism please,” the crowd went wild.

“I hope in the future hip-hop grows more in Yemen,” said Yunis Shuilah, a rapper who likes to go by the nickname “Pro Boy,” after the show. “The music and the dance are the best for the guys. We are free when we do hip-hop.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0104/Yemen-Tackling-the-roots-of-terrorism-through-hip-hop

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Reforms, Power and Politics in Morocco

Matein Khalid (Geopolitics)

5 January 2010

A decade after he ascended the Alawite throne after the death of his father Hassan II in July 1999, King Mohammed VI has transformed Morocco’s political culture, even if constitutional and de facto power is still concentrated in the royal palace.

Morocco under King Hassan II was a repressive security state and his 38 year reign is remembered in Morocco as “les annes de plomb”, the years of lead. Hassan II survived two assassination attempts in the 1970’s, a rebel attack on his seaside palace and a volley of machine gun fire from an air force escort jet as the royal place entered Moroccan airspace above the Mediterranean coast. Hassan II’s regime was a classic “mukhabarat” state run by intelligence agencies whose ultimate powerbroker General Mohammed Oufkir was even implicated in the plots to assassinate Hassan II.

King Mohammed VI engineered a historic policy U-turn soon after he succeeded his father as Morocco’s ruler. The new king released hundreds of political prisoners, closed down the notorious secret desert prison Tazmamart (where General Oufkir’s widow and children were imprisoned for decades), reformed the Family Code to give greater rights to women despite bitter opposition from clerics and tribal chieftains, eased press censorship laws and dismissed his father’s ruthless secret police boss Interior Minister Driss Basri. The new Moroccan king even created a Justice and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human rights abuses during his father’s regime, a tribunal whose model was clearly post-apartheid South Africa. The royal palace declared that Morocco would be ruled under a new concept of authority, with respect for human rights, religious tolerance and the empowerment of women. The king of Morocco was soon hailed in Paris, London and Washington as the symbol of a new reformist revolution in the Arab world.

Yet Morocco’s quest to evolve into a liberal parliamentary democracy ended on May 16, 2003, after a terrorist cell slaughtered 53 people in a Casablanca bomb attack. The terrorist attacks shocked Morocco because the suicide bombers were homegrown jihadists from Casablanca’s slums. Even though the Alawite sultans and kings of Morocco boast an impeccable religious lineage with the caliph title of “commander of the believers” the regime’s new Islamist enemies are Takfiri Salafists who brand all pro-West Muslim regimes as apostates and incite revolts against them. The Takfiri cells in the slums of Rahat, Casablanca, Meknes and Fez reflect the emergence of a violent, pitiless underclass that use religious fanaticism and terrorism to wage war against a society that shuns them. The traditional, communal, moderate Islam of the medina, symbolised by the Adele Fehrsen (justice and charity) political party, has no relationship with the terrorists whose bombs have killed hundreds of innocent people in Casablanca and 
Madrid, Spain.

The Casablanca terrorist attack forced the Moroccan government to depend on repression and the security services to combat its revolutionary, Islamist opponents. The domestic war on terror, not political liberalisation, defined the state’s priorities after May 2003. Morocco boasts a vibrant civil society, but its democratic culture is embryonic. The Moroccan king appoints the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, sets the legislative agenda, commands the armed forces and the intelligence agencies. The Parliament is dominated by royalist parties, such as the Party for Authenticity and Modernity, (PAM) founded by King Mohammed’s close friend Fouad El Himma, a former Deputy Interior Minister and staunch monarchist. The Moroccan political elite, known as the Makhzen, is subservient to the royal palace and mostly obsessed with self-enrichment and its own privileges, as in the reign of Hassan II.

While Morocco is a rare model for political reform in a feudal, autocratic and military ruled Arab world, it is nowhere near the sort of constitutional monarchy that Spain evolved into after King Juan Carlos succeeded the dictator Francisco Franco. King Mohammed’s commitment to political and economic reform was tempered by the need to protect the regime after the Casablanca terrorist bombings in May 2003 and the carnage caused by Moroccan veterans of the Afghanistan war against the Soviets. The Interior Ministry and the intelligence agency, while not omnipotent as they were under Hassan II, play a critical role in parliamentary politics. “The New Era”, as the first decade of King Mohammed reign is known, has changed the texture and atmospherics of Moroccan politics.

However, Morocco’s political parties are still weak, its legislature ineffective, press censorship and judicial manipulation are pervasive, the makhzen elite is uninterested in any change in the balance of power and the security forces still engage in a shadow war with the regime’s violent armed opponents. The French proverb “the more thing change, the more they stay the same” defines Moroccan politics in the new era.

Matein Khalid is an investment banker based in Dubai

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=&section=opinion&xfile=data/opinion/2010/January/opinion_January25.xml

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Saudi Arabia: Spoilt Child of the Middle East

By Michael I. Krauss

In one of the supreme acts of chutzpah of our new decade, Saudi Arabia has just accused Israel of behaving like a "spoilt child," getting away with "war crimes" (cf. Gaza operations) and "violations of international law" (cf. new "settlements" in Jerusalem). "When they violate international law, other countries get punished, but not Israel ... Israel has become like the spoilt child of the international community," declared Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on January 2. "It [Israel] gets away with anything it does without accountability or punishment," he added.

Orwellian Newspeak can take hold only if the population stops protesting when the language is misused. The Saudi minister's declaration easily qualifies as Newspeak, and I'm calling him on it.

I am currently a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Haifa. Every day, I bear witness to the extraordinary free speech in Israel. My students are Jewish, Druze, and Muslim. Political protest of all stripes is allowed. The Israeli courts are open to all; just this week, the Israeli Supreme Court overturned as discriminatory and contrary to Israeli human rights an army rule prohibiting Arab residents of Judea and Samaria from using an Israeli highway on which dozens of Jews had been shot dead by passing Arab motorists. Meanwhile, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended new construction of Jewish residences in Judea and Samaria, pending resolution of the legal status of those territories. As Peter Pham and I have shown elsewhere, Israel has easily the strongest legal claim to these areas -- though, of course, it may choose to renounce the majority of its claim if ever it finds a peaceful negotiating partner. In Israel's intensely overcrowded capital, Jerusalem, the government has just approved new housing for seven hundred Jews and five hundred Arabs -- but the Saudis cannot stand that Jews be allowed to live in the capital city. As for the "war crimes" accusation, it doubtless refers to the infamous U.N. Human Rights Council's "Goldstone Report" on the Gaza campaign, which Harvard's Alan Dershowitz has decisively shown to be an anti-Israel (and possibly anti-Semitic) screed.

Israel is condemned just for existing, not to mention for defending itself as an outpost of freedom in the Middle East. On the other hand, if there is a spoilt child in the international community, Saudi Arabia (followed closely by the Palestinian authority) easily qualifies for the epithet. How is Saudi Arabia an international spoilt child? Let me count the ways:

1. As Amnesty International has noted, the government of Saudi Arabia executes an average of two people each week. Almost half of all execution victims are foreign nationals. For example, Lebanese national 'Ali Hussain Sibat, a presenter on a TV show on the Lebanese satellite station Sheherazade, is due to be executed any day now for the crime of "sorcery":  He gave advice and predictions about the future on his Beirut-produced TV show. Sibat had the misfortune to be caught while on a Muslim pilgrimage to Medina. According to his lawyer, "interrogators told him to write down what he did for a living, reassuring him that if he did so, he would be allowed to go home after a few weeks. This document was presented in court as a 'confession' and used to convict." Also on death row is Nigerian Suliamon Olyfemi, sentenced to be beheaded (and then crucified) for murder. He was one of thirteen Nigerian nationals arrested in September 2002 for the crime. He was forced to fingerprint a confession in Arabic, which he does not understand, and this "confession" was the principal evidence against him at trial. His trial was in Arabic, reportedly with no legal, consular, or translation assistance for the accused. Along with Iran, Pakistan, and Yemen (all either terrorist sponsors or arguably failed states), Saudi Arabia continues to execute juvenile offenders. With 102 reported executions in 2008 (the last year for which data is public), Saudi Arabia executes more people per capita than any country in the world, including China.

2. Saudi law requires all citizens to be Muslims. The non-private practice or preaching of other religions, even by non-citizen guests, is prohibited. Authorities typically deport those detained for non-Muslim worship after lengthy periods of arrest. In some cases, lashes are administered prior to deportation. Non-Muslim clergy may not enter the country, so Christian and other non-Muslim religious services (even in private) are virtually nonexistent. Customs officials regularly open postal material and cargo to search for non-Muslim materials. Bibles, crucifixes, and Stars of David are confiscated from tourists. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, approximately fifty "Call and Guidance" centers throughout the kingdom work to convert foreigners to Islam. But conversion from Islam to any other religion is punishable by death. Participants at an international Muslim conference in India debated this issue in April 2009, with some scholars calling for a review of the death penalty requirement. According to one American source, the Egyptian government minister Mahmoud Zaqzouq was quoted by Saudi Arab News as conceding that "religious freedom is a right that should be guaranteed to every human being." 
A prominent Saudi religious law professor, Muhammad al-Nujaimi, argued in response that the only legitimate discussion about apostasy is over how quickly the apostate should be executed -- after three days, a week, or several months.
 Human rights complaints were irrelevant. "These groups will never stop attacking Islam even if we were to agree to all their demands," he said. "We will never allow others to dictate our religion to us."

3. In 2004, the United Nations Committee against Torture criticized Saudi Arabia over the amputations and floggings it carries out under Sharia. The Saudi delegation responded by defending "legal traditions" held since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago and rejected interference in its legal system.

4. Freedom of speech and the press are restricted to forbid criticism of the Saudi government. Trade unions and political organizations are banned. Public demonstrations are forbidden. The Saudi government is an active censor of internet reception within its borders.

5. Saudi Arabia practices a vicious form of gender apartheid. Women may not drive. Only 5% of women work. According to the kingdom's Shariah law, women's clothing must meet the following conditions: a) it must cover their entire body (an abaya); b) the only part of the body that may be exposed is one or both eyes (in 2008, the religious authority in Mecca called on women to wear veils that reveal only one eye so they would not be tempted to use eye makeup); c) it must be loose-fitting; and d) it must not show any bright colors or adornments that might attract a man's attention. McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc. all must maintain strictly sex-segregated eating zones in their restaurants. All restaurants in Saudi Arabia bar entrance to women who come without husbands or close male relatives.

Saudi Arabia is a primitive embarrassment to the world. It is a throwback to the dark ages, a perpetual violation of the freedoms the international legal community claims to enshrine, the violation of which would not be tolerated elsewhere. Solely by virtue of its massive oil wealth, however, the Wahhabi kingdom gets international respect and attention. Now that sounds like the definition of a spoilt child to me.

Michael I. Krauss is Professor of Law at George Mason University.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/saudi_arabia_spoilt_child_of_t.html

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When the Swiss Voted to Ban New Minarets, This Man Built One

5 January 2010

Mr. Morand Put It on His Roof, Shined Spotlights on It and Thumbed His Nose

By DEBORAH BALL and ANITA GREIL

BUSSIGNY, Switzerland -- In November, Switzerland voted to ban the construction of new minarets, the towerlike structures that adorn mosques. A week or so later, in an apparent act of defiance, a new minaret unexpectedly sprang up here.

But the new minaret is not attached to a mosque; this small town near Geneva doesn't even have one. And it's not the work of a local Muslim outraged by Switzerland's controversial vote to ban the structures, which often are used to launch the call to prayer.

Instead, Bussigny's minaret is attached to the warehouse of a shoe store called Pomp It Up, which is part of a Swiss chain. It was erected by the chain's owner, Guillaume Morand, who fashioned it out of plastic and wood and attached it to a chimney. The new minaret, nearly 20 feet high and illuminated at night, is clearly visible from the main highway connecting Lausanne and Geneva.

"The referendum was a scandal," Mr. Morand said recently at his cavernous warehouse, near pallets piled high with shoe boxes as pop music played on an old stereo system. "I was ashamed to be Swiss. I don't have the power to do much, but I wanted to give a message of peace to Muslims."

Mr. Morand's provocation has attracted national interest as Switzerland grapples with the fallout of the referendum. On Nov. 29, 58% of Swiss voters approved the ban on new minarets, thus sparking a fresh debate around the world over the integration of Muslims in Western society. While civic and religious leaders in many Muslim countries denounced the ban, the feared backlash against Swiss interests around the world hasn't materialized.

In Switzerland, the debate over the referendum is still hot. On Dec. 13, hundreds of Swiss Muslims protested the vote in Bern, the capital. According to Swiss legal experts, it is next to impossible to contest the outcome of a referendum. Indeed, on Dec. 18, a Swiss federal court refused to hear a plea by two Swiss citizens to nullify the vote.

But one Swiss Muslim leader has already requested that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, consider whether the ban violates international law on freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Meanwhile, Mr. Morand's gesture has rallied Swiss citizens upset by the vote. There are only four minarets in Switzerland, the most prominent one in Geneva. Only four of Switzerland's 26 cantons, or states, voted against the referendum, including Vaud, the canton in which Bussigny is located. Bussigny, a sleepy commuter town of 8,000 just five miles from Lausanne, voted 52% against the ban. Bussigny has three Christian churches but no mosque, so the roughly 150 Muslims of the town must travel to Lausanne in order to worship in a mosque.

When the referendum passed, the ban on the construction of new minarets instantly became Swiss law, but the government didn't define exactly what constitutes a minaret. The law simply bans the construction of new ones. A parliamentary report outlining the issue before the vote says a minaret can exist without a mosque and without any religious function. Indeed, one of Switzerland's four existing minarets is a free-standing structure not attached to a mosque.

Mr. Morand, a Lausanne native who does not actively practice any religion, decided the day after the vote to build his minaret.

His business partner, an architect by training, searched the Internet for the right style of minaret, settling on one common in Turkey. After discarding a first design because it would have weighed 770 pounds , he settled on a second that used a large slice of a hard plastic tube to make the base. He fashioned a cap from pressed wood and painted it gold, topped by a gold crescent.

It took Mr. Morand's workers half a day to raise the 265-pound minaret up four floors and over the lip of the roof. He then installed two 500-watt spotlights to light it at night.

As Mr. Morand, who has been making shoes since 1989, and his team set the minaret into place, the police, alerted by a neighbor, arrived. They took photographs and quickly left.

Mr. Morand, a wiry 46-year-old who goes by the nickname Toto and dresses in jeans and a leather jacket, has dipped his toe into political causes before, taking out newspaper ads opposing the expansion of an incinerator with the slogan "Lausanne is not a trash bag." He has also refused to travel to the U.S. since the start of U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Pomp It Up minaret, however, stands as his biggest political statement yet. The reserved Swiss have largely not confronted him, though he has received some nasty letters. "Are these the sort of wonderful Muslims you're defending?" wrote a man from Geneva, enclosing a newspaper clipping on fiery sermons by radical imams in Switzerland. Mr. Morand proudly shows off the letter.

Journal Community

Instead, news of Mr. Morand's minaret brought out supporters. A Muslim doctor from Geneva sent chocolates. "Thank you for restoring my faith in Switzerland," wrote an admirer on a postcard bearing an image of a minaret.

"It's great," Tawfiq El Maliki, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Lausanne, said of the minaret. "A lot of people didn't agree with the vote and they're searching for a way to show how they feel."

Even though Mr. Morand's minaret seems to be in violation of the law, local authorities are trying not to see it that way. The police never came back after their visit, and local prosecutors don't plan to file charges. A spokesman for the Justice Ministry said it has no plans to take legal action against Mr. Morand. The ministry views the minaret as a temporary structure.

Claudine Wyssa, the town's acting mayor -- who called Mr. Morand's action infantile -- doesn't think the do-it-yourself project qualifies as a minaret and plans no legal action.

"It doesn't violate the law," she said in an interview. "It has nothing to do with Islam. A minaret needs a mosque. In this case, there isn't one. There's just a shoe warehouse."

Mr. Morand doesn't plan to remove the minaret. "I'm leaving it up," he says. "If they want to come and take it down themselves, I won't fight it. But I'll take photos of them doing it and send them to the media. Then they'll have to take responsibility for it." In the meantime, he has added several new spotlights to his roof to better show off his handiwork.

Write to Deborah Ball at deborah.ball@wsj.com and Anita Greil at anita.greil@dowjones.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126264916012115609.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel

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U.S. must address rise in home-grown terrorism

IPT

Staff graphic/The Klaxon

By Chuck Frank and Joshua Wilwohl

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was a brisk December morning. Way too early for suburban commuters. The train was slated for a 7:05 a.m. departure from Penn Station, and the Amtrak system seemed to be on time.

The conductor yelled, “All aboard,” and ticketing seemed seamlessly easy—as no one checked identification or scanned luggage.

Aboard the Carolinian, we delved into all the notes dredged up through the past weeks of research on the Investigative Project on Terrorism and Steven Emerson, the Project’s executive director.

Of these, we devised a series of questions that would be hard-hitting, yet capable of answers in one hour or less.

Emerson’s personal secretary, “Kim,” arranged the meeting in a one-hour time slot. She seemed like a very cheerful, yet stressed individual from her exclamations in e-mails. Kim also informed us of specific instructions once we reached Washington, D.C.

The three-hour trip went quickly—tiredness must have set in—or the work made it seem effortless.

Either way, we arrived at Union Station on time.

That was the easy part. The hard part: the rendezvous.

In Emerson’s book, “American Jihad,” he writes that after his documentary, “Jihad in America” aired in the mid-1990s, he became a target of Islamic extremists.

“One night I was taking a cab back to my apartment from Reagan National Airport in Washington. I glanced at the front seat and saw an Arabic-language newspaper,” he writes. “On the front page was my picture with a bull’s-eye superimposed on it.”

He later describes that, as the Project began to build momentum by conducting covert operations, more risks were attached.

Emerson writes that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation briefed him on incoming death threats and that, “…as far as they knew, the assassins had already entered the country.”

We knew the risks from the first contact made with Emerson. Meeting him, however, became a completely different ballgame.

In our research, we discovered part of this procedure included wearing blindfolds when escorted to an undisclosed location, also known as “the bat cave.”

We both agreed and informed the Project we would follow their rules to conduct a face-to-face interview…

…The first handshake came from the secretary. She fit the exact description of our thoughts.

The next was Emerson.

The five-foot-six redhead certainly was not the man we imagined was connected to the world of Islamic intelligence.

“How was the trip?” he asked.

A bit bumpy when you don’t know where you’re going was the first thought that came to mind, but a simple, “Not too bad,” was a good enough response.

We were escorted to a room where maps plastered the walls and hierarchical graphs of terrorist organizations and their leaders provided the wallpaper.

Emerson was prepped and ready—as were we.

“Has there been a significant increase in domestic terrorism in 2009?”

“There has been a radical increase and spike in domestic terrorist incidents…the greatest number we’ve seen since Sept. 11. That’s because we’re seeing the effects of a narrative that has been disseminated by radical Islamic groups via the Internet, via the mosque, via the imam…that ensures there’s a war against Islam and that it has to be avenged and the war is being waged by the United States,” he said.

“And that narrative is the single-most common narrative in all of the terrorism cases we have seen in terrorists carrying out Jihad—whether it’s being carried out against the United States on American soil or whether that’s against American allies on foreign soil.”

“You’ve said repeatedly in your books that a vast majority of practicing Muslims are a wonderful, peace-loving people. What does the spike in domestic terror mean for those in their day-to-day lives and their worship?”

He answered the question unreasonably, but with the intent to inform.

“We don’t have good empirical data on the real views of the vast majority of Muslims in the United States…There were disturbing figures (from a study by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in 2007 on Muslim Americans and the War on Terror). One is that a third of all young Muslims justified suicide bombings,” he said.

Emerson’s right. The Pew study states, “…Younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified.”

The study also notes, however, “…absolute levels of support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans are quite low, especially when compared with Muslims around the world.”

“In early December, there became concern over five missing American men who were later found in Pakistan. What is the background on the five men and what was their alleged plan?”

This he answered assuredly.

“The five men were going on Jihad and they were going to join up on a Jihad group one way or another. Either among the Taliban or al-Qaeda and apparently their credentials were not burnished enough that they weren’t accepted immediately,” he said. “There was a recruiter in the United States…but we don’t know what the role was with ICNA—the Islamic Circle of North America—which also was a large feature of their personal lives in…going to the center. So, when ICNA expressed shock that they were going on Jihad…The expression of shock was a little bit disingenuous…So far, ICNA has supported Jihad in the past and is closely identified with Jemaah Islamiya in Pakistan.”

The U.S. Department of State lists the Jemaah Islamiya organization as a foreign terrorist group.

Naeem Baig, vice president for public affairs and the executive director for the Council of Social Justice at the Islamic Circle of North America, denied the organization is linked with any foreign group.

“ICNA is an American Muslim organization and we don’t have ties with any kind of organization outside the U.S.,” he said.

Baig said ICNA did have contact with the five men—Umar Farooq, Waqar Khan, Ahmed Minni, Aman Hassan Yemer and Ramy Zamzam—before they left for Pakistan.

“We won’t say we don’t know them,” said Baig. “These five young men were from the area (Washington, D.C.) and ICNA has a center in that area where they were regular participants in the prayers.”

He said they were not members of the organization and did not know if they expressed interest in becoming members.

“You mentioned terrorism has hit home in the United States. Would you classify the Fort Hood shooting under this same category?”

“Fort Hood certainly was an act of terrorism. The fact that the shooter, Major Hasan, expressed the belief that infidels should be killed. The fact that he yelled, ‘Allahu Akbar.’ The fact he wore the white robes as a martyr and expressed views of a Jihadist. It was an act of Islamic terrorism. I’m rather shocked the DOJ (Department of Justice) has refused to categorize it as an act of terrorism, thereby preventing the PATRIOT Act from applying. That has frustrated prosecutors.”

He continued. “The FBI wasn’t paying enough attention to his communiqués and e-mail interaction with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni cleric who was tied to the Sept. 11 hijackers. And there were 19 messages going back and forth and they focused on only three of them,” he said. “And the reason they were interested is because they were focused on Hasan’s research as a psychiatrist, when, in fact, these were questions from a Jihadist seeking out permission to carry out Jihad.”

A report obtained by National Public Radio shows that supervisors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center expressed concern over Hasan’s behavior and recommended his termination. Read the report here.

Emerson said al-Awlaki was trying to step into the breach for Western-educated Muslims. His English was impeccable and he knew the lingo of Jihad. He has a widespread following and people can buy his sermons on many Muslim-American Web sites, and his calls for Jihad are structured in such a way that he appealed to young Muslims. Since this interview, however, al-Awlaki was allegedly killed in a Yemen airstrike supported by U.S. intelligence, Dec. 24, in the Shabwa province, according to reports.

No sources would comment on who might step up in al-Awlaki’s place if he is, in fact, dead. Officials stated on Jan. 1 that Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab, the suspect in the Christmas Day bombing attempt on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, had direct contact with al-Awlaki.

And, as for predications on the rise of domestic terrorism in 2010, following Abdulmatallab’s attempt, Emerson simply said, “I try not to make predictions in baseball or terrorism.”

http://theklaxon.com/u-s-must-address-rise-in-home-grown-terrorism/3193

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Terrorism rehab: Fighting jihad with writing, art contests

By Shannon Proudfoot,

Canwest News ServiceJanuary 4, 2010

The future of fighting extremism around the world may lie in terrorism rehab, according to the World Future Society.

"It's sort of treating jihadism the way a lot of American cities have decided to treat drug addiction: as a behaviour that is curbable through counselling, as opposed to something that should be highly enforced with the death penalty," says Patrick Tucker, senior editor of the society's magazine, The Futurist.

"It's a behaviour that people adopt and you can prevent them with a clear and compelling argument for adopting a different behaviour and rely on their capacity for logic to make a different choice."

Saudi Arabia has already had surprising success with a pilot program that does just that, he says. In prison, jihadists undergo psychiatric counselling to convince them that using violence to bring about change is unacceptable, and recruits with little education get a chance to study and debate Islamic law.

About 3,000 prisoners have already participated in the program and achieved a rehabilitation rate of 80 to 90 per cent, Tucker says, with only a handful re-arrested for security offences.

Prevention programs in Saudi schools educate students about the dangers of terrorism with writing and art contests much as North American schools tackle the dangers of drugs, according to a report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"It's controversial because it sidesteps our passionate response to terrorism, which is that it's an absolute and total offence against all of humanity," Tucker says. "This really puts the onus on the United States and other Western powers to really follow through with the whole 'winning hearts and minds' thing and improve people's circumstances."

The success of the Saudi problem has inspired others, including the Religious Rehabilitation Group in Singapore. Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and the U.S. military in Iraq have started to use some of the tactics, according to The Futurist.

Demographic realities might make this the most effective way to quell jihadism in the future, Tucker says, because terrorism is most attractive to disenfranchised youth — the bulk of whom live in developing counties and whose numbers are on the rise.

"In the future, the world looks young and poor and that's the segment of the global population to whom radicalism is going to be most appealing," he says. "So it you decide to treat that entire group of people as though their entire political opinions are nothing short of a disease because they don't align conveniently with Western interests, you are setting yourself up for disaster."

About this series: The World Future Society, a Washington, D.C. think-tank founded in 1967, tracks future trends in technology, politics and society. This week, Canwest News Service highlights five of the organization's most fascinating forecasts for 2010 and beyond.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Terrorism+rehab+Fighting+jihad+with+writing+contests/2405630/story.html

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Pakistan’s Trauma – and Revenge

January 4th, 2010

This is the tenth installment in Kapil Komireddi’s series, Pakistan: Anatomy of a Failed State.  Click here for the rest of the series.

On December 3, 1971, the Pakistani air force launched a massive pre-emptive attack on India from the western border, raining down bombs for 6 hours on airfields from Amritsar to Agra. Pakistan’s ground forces advanced into Rajasthan from Sindh. India’s retaliation the following day was devastating: in addition to immobilising airstrikes and ground attacks, the navy was deployed to seize Pakistan’s port city of Karachi. On the 6th of December, India officially recognised the exiled East Pakistani leadership in Calcutta as the provisional government of the “People’s Republic of Bangladesh.” As Indian troops advanced into East Pakistan, they found the slush terrain impossible to navigate. But virtually every Bengali was on India’s side. As AAK “Tiger” Niazi, the commander of Pakistani forces, later recalled in his memoir, the Indians were aware of all the Pakistani positions, thanks to the locals. In every village, ecstatic Bengalis greeted advancing Indian troops with garlands and cries of “Joi Bangla.” Tagore’s ode to “Golden Bengal” reverberated across the land that winter. “Forever your skies, your air set my heart in tune as if it were a flute… Ah, what a beauty, what shades, what an affection, and what a tenderness! What a quilt have you spread at the feet of banyan trees and along the banks of rivers!”

Niazi, however, still held out the hope for victory. “Remember,” he told reporters in Dhaka, “every Muslim soldier is worth ten Hindus… Gentlemen, the great battle for Dhaka is about to begin.” In reality, Niazi had 30,000 men defending Dhaka; India had 3,000 men on the city’s outskirts. General J.F.R. Jacob’s plan for Indian victory and Bengali liberation rested on bluff. He caught hold of Niazi on wireless on the evening of 13 December and terrified him with news of an imminent Indian attack aided by Bengali rebels. The next evening, Jacob had the Governor’s mansion bombed by the Indian air force. Niazi now agreed to a ceasefire. Jacob landed in Dhaka with an instrument of surrender. The Pakistani general was furious. Who said anything about surrender? He had merely agreed to a ceasefire. Jacob placed the document on the table. “General,” Jacob said, “I cannot give you any better terms. I will give you 30 minutes.” Smoking his pipe outside Niazi’s office, Jacob felt more anxious than ever: the war had been won, but Dhaka had not fallen, and Niazi’s fighting force outnumbered India’s by 10 to 1. Jacob morphed back into a monster as he walked back inside. “General, do you accept this document,” he asked. Niazi was in tears. Dhaka had fallen. But Jacob was not satisfied with this enormous victory. He wanted Niazi to surrender at the Ramna Green racecourse in Dhaka, in front of the Bengali masses. “I won’t,” Niazi said. “You will,” Jacob snapped. “You will also provide a guard of honour.” On December 16, 1971, 38 years ago this week, General Niazi surrendered to General J.S. Aurora, commanding officer of India’s ground forces, in the Dhaka racecourse. Over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken into custody as prisoners of war. Bangladesh was born that day – and the Pakistan that was created in 1947 ceased to exist, the rationale for its creation blown to bits. In 13 days, India had liberated Bangladesh.

Even as mass graves were surfacing everywhere in Bangladesh and horrifying tales of Pakistani brutality began to emerge, in what remained of Pakistan in the western wing, the war was being depicted as a battle between Islam and the kafirs. One Pakistani newspaper reassured its readers that like the invader Ghori, Pakistan would reemerge “with renewed determination to unfurl the banner of Islam over the Kafir land of India.” In New York, Zulfi put on a spectacle at the UN, tearing apart documents and pledging to “fight for 1,000 years as we have fought for 1,000 years in the past,” casting Hindus and Muslims as inexorable enemies of each other and appropriating a distorted past of the Muslims. Another newspaper echoed Zulfi’s sentiments: “Today for the first time in 1,000 years Hindus have won a victory over Muslims.” This must have appeared odd to the men who led Indian forces to victory – because none of them was a Hindu. India’s air marshal was a Muslim (Idris Latif); the commander of its ground forces in Bangladesh was a Sikh (J.S. Aurora); the chief of the armed forces was a Parsi (Sam Manekshaw); and the brilliant strategist who captured Dhaka and pushed Pakistan into abject surrender was Jewish (J.F.R. Jacob). The war of 1971 was between secular pluralism and the forces of religious bigotry.

After losing half of its territory and a majority of its citizens, what was Pakistan? And after killing so many Muslims, what moral right did it retain to speak for the Muslims of Kashmir – or indeed Muslims anywhere? Bigotry, however, has a tremendous ability to breed self-righteousness. Not a single Pakistani official was held to account for the crimes in Bangladesh. Instead, Pakistan convened a major international Islamic conference two years later. Without a hint of remorse or irony, assorted heads of the world’s Islamic states gathered in Lahore as “dear brothers in Islam” to hear Zulfi issue condemnations of Israel. For all its hypocrisy, this was mere rhetoric. The real trouble had begun brewing elsewhere. In 1971, as jubilant crowds mounted the Indian general on their shoulders after Pakistan’s surrender in Dhaka, a young Pakistani student of metallurgy was watching the events with mounting dismay on his television 3,500 miles away in Belgium. His name was A.Q. Khan.

http://www.frumforum.com/pakistans-trauma-and-revenge

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Detainee in Pakistan: 'We are not terrorists'

By Mark Magnier and Arshad Khan

Los Angeles Times

Jan. 5, 2010

Five Americans detained in Pakistan after allegedly trying to link up with extremist groups over the Internet denied in court yesterday that they had had any intention of carrying out terrorist attacks, their defense attorney said.

The suspects, who range in age from 19 to 25, denied they had ties to al-Qaeda or other extremist groups during a court appearance in Sargodha, a city in eastern Pakistan, said their attorney, Ameer Abdullah Rokri.

"We are not terrorists," one of the five men, Ramy Zamzam, told the Associated Press as he entered the courtroom.

"We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism," said Zamzam, 22, an Egyptian American who was a dental student at Howard University.

Jihad has several different meanings in Islam, but Zamzam seemed to be referring to the duty to fight against foreign forces viewed as occupying a Muslim country, the AP said.

The five told the court that they intended to cross the border into Afghanistan to wage jihad against Western forces, according to the AP.

The five, all young Muslim men from the Washington area, were arrested in early December in Sargodha.

The court ordered the release of Khalid Farooq, the father of one of the suspects, saying there was no evidence to continue holding him, although his son, Umer Farooq, remained in custody. It also gave police two more weeks to prepare terrorism charges.

"They said that they only intended to travel to Afghanistan to help their Muslim brothers who are in trouble, who are bleeding and who are being victimized by Western forces," Rokri told the AP.

But a public prosecutor, who asked not to be identified, saw it differently:

"We told the court that the five men came to Pakistan with the intention of engaging in terrorism," he said in a telephone interview. "And they should be dealt with according to the antiterrorism laws."

Yesterday's hearing took place under tight security. Dozens of police accompanied the five suspects - Farooq, Waqar Khan, Ahmed Minni, Aman Hassan Yemer, and Zamzam - into the court, while others manned vantage points on surrounding buildings.

Police, who have said they planned to seek life sentences for the men, reportedly told the court that the five were in contact with an al-Qaeda operative.

Pakistani authorities have made various allegations about the five men and their intentions, while the United States - which hopes to interrogate and charge them - has said little.

Some analysts said Pakistan's judiciary may want to prosecute the five Americans aggressively to make a point, having come under criticism by the United States and India for failing to forcefully pursue the alleged Pakistani masterminds behind the November 2008 attack on Mumbai that killed 166 people.

But Sher Afghan Khan, an analyst and Pakistan's former ambassador to Turkey, said Islamabad won't be in any hurry to send the suspects back to the United States for trial, although they could be deported eventually.

The two countries don't have an extradition treaty, he said, and Washington has denied past requests by Islamabad to turn over corrupt Pakistanis who fled to the United States.

Pakistani authorities say the five men had a map of a reservoir structure near nuclear power facilities in Punjab province, about 125 miles southwest of Islamabad.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/80682672.html

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China Executes British Muslim, Despite UK Plea

URUMQI, CHINA - China brushed aside international appeals on Tuesday and executed a British Muslim man convicted of drug smuggling whose relatives say was mentally unstable and unwittingly lured into the crime.

Britain's prime minister condemned the execution - China's first of a European citizen in nearly 60 years.

"I condemn the execution of Akmal Shaikh in the strongest terms, and am appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted. I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken," Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

Shaikh, 53, first learned he was about to be executed on Monday from his visiting cousins, who made a last-minute plea for his life. They say he is mentally unstable and was lured to China from a life on the street in Poland by men playing on his dreams to record a pop song for world peace.

Brown had spoken personally to China's prime minister about his case. Foreign secretary David Miliband also condemned the execution and said there were unanswered questions about the trial.

"I also deeply regret the fact that our specific concerns about the individual in this case were not taken into consideration ... These included mental health issues, and inadequate professional interpretation during the trial," Miliband said in a statement.

Shaikh was arrested in 2007 for carrying a suitcase with almost 9 pounds (4 kilograms) of heroin into China on a flight from Tajikistan. He told Chinese officials he didn't know about the drugs and that the suitcase wasn't his, according to Reprieve, a London-based prisoner advocacy that is helping with his case.

He was convicted in 2008 after a half-hour trial. In one court appearance during his trial and appeal process, the judges reportedly laughed at his rambling remarks.

It was not known how Shaikh, who is of Pakistani descent, was executed. China, which executes more people than any other country, is increasingly doing so by lethal injection, although some death sentences are still carried out by a shot in the head.

An Associated Press reporter who was detained on Tuesday by paramilitary police while trying to take pictures of the Xishan Detention Center, where Shaikh was held during his incarceration, was told by a prison police officer who refused to give his name that prisoners in the Xinjiang region were all now executed by lethal injection.

The officer said Shaikh did not appear to have mental problems, was friendly with other prisoners and had learned to speak a little Chinese while detained.

China has defended the handling of Shaikh's case, saying he received a fair trial.

"Drug smuggling is a grave crime. The rights of the defendant have been fully guaranteed," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news conference last week.

According to Reprieve, a London-based prisoner advocacy helping Shaikh's family, the last European executed in China was Antonio Riva, an Italian pilot who was shot by a firing squad in 1951.

"The death of Akmal Shaikh is a sad indictment of today's world, and particularly of China's legal system. ... We at Reprieve are sickened by what we have seen during our work on this case," said Sally Rowen, legal director of Reprieve's death penalty team.

Reprieve issued a statement from Shaikh's family members saying they expressed "their grief at the Chinese decision to refuse mercy."

http://www.thelinkpaper.ca/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1262638050&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1

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Nigeria-Islam-Radicalism

Leading Nigerian Muslim official urges youths to shun radicalism

APA - Lagos (Nigeria) The Secretary-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Dr Abdul-Lateef Adegbite, has advised Muslim youths in Nigeria to shun extremism, saying radicalism is not Islam.

Speaking at the 4th annual Muharram symposium organised by the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lafenwa/Sabo branch on Sunday in Abeokuta in south-western Nigeria, Adegbite said : “excessive radicalism is not Islam.’’

Reacting to the attempt by a Nigerian youth to bomb an American aircraft, Adegbite, who is also a legal luminary, said : “I want to request all of us that we cannot practice Islam with ignorance. I want to warn that if you are knowledgeable about Islam, you must not engage in extremism."

“Excessive radicalism is not Islam. Islam is a religion of the middle path.

“So I am asking us let us take our religion seriously, but let us avoid being unnecessarily extreme. Of course we can never tolerate injustice.

“Allah says justice is absolute, we must always fight injustice,” he said.

“We don’t need to fight injustice violently ; we can always carry peaceful protest and demonstrate on the streets without violence. Excessive violence is always giving us a bad name.

“The unfortunate thing that happened in America, a week ago, about one of us, a Nigerian, attempting to bomb an aircraft ; that is not Islam.

“I know he felt deeply in him, against what the Americans are doing in Afghanistan and Iran. I feel strongly about it too, if there is demonstration, I will join the demonstration to carry a placard, but I will not throw a bomb, shoot a gun or brace a machete in order to espouse what I want.

“So let us try to avoid violence because Allah has told us that even if somebody slaps you, you are free to slap him back, the same measure of slap.

“If he does it again, and it is a very difficult principle that Allah has ordained, Allah says you should leave him to Allah,’’ he said.

http://www.apanews.net/apa.php?page=show_article_eng&id_article=114921

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America's New Face of Terrorism

African Americans, Arabs and the Muslim Diaspora now all have something in common. They are more easily viewed as terrorists and there's no escaping it... It looks like America is getting rid of its Civil Rights, notes Yvonne R. Davis.

Newsweek unveiled the newest face of Terrorism this week - the young black man. If you are an African American parent, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab looks no differently than your son. Donning a black scully, wearing a somewhat oversized dark blue Nike jacket with a sporty Hip-hop flair, the Nigerian born terrorist is no longer the son of a prominent and wealthy businessman. Mutallab is what Newsweek calls a child of devil incarnate Usama Bin Laden.

As the Christmas day underwear terrorist bomb scare continues to play out, the US intelligence and government once again too many times discovered systemic incompetencies for checking, tracking and following up on terrorist leads and no-fly lists, there is another dangerous dynamic taking place African Americans are ignoring because they might be too afraid to confront publicly. Black men are now officially lumped in with Arabs and Muslim men around the world as potential terrorists and dangers to the West.

America perhaps by necessity is laying down their last bit of Civil liberties and rights to privacy in the name of National Security agreeing to more invasive screening airport procedures. However, as Justice Thurgood Marshall has written, "History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."

It looks like America is getting rid of its Civil Rights so that the government can actively profile all persons who are as General McInerney said on Fox News, "are Muslim and between the ages of 18-24." Both he and Newt Gingrich won't say stop all people brown or black skinned; the majority will draw this conclusion on their own. The operative words are "discriminating based upon behavior." As much as people willfully fool themselves into thinking that the "stepped up" efforts by security agencies will be spent on reviewing the suspicious actions of passengers, there is not enough time management resources to properly train and educate TSA employees to become astute observers of suspicious behavior. Instead TSA workers will revert to the easier way to stopping "the enemies" - discriminate based upon name, religious affiliation, race and ethnicity.

For the United States to implement more intelligent and effectual offensive towards stopping violence against Americans abroad and the homeland, the road taken will sadly involve alienating the Muslim World, and American Muslim populations inclusive of African Americans. The US psyche is that it must be seen as tough and using all of its technical solutions i.e. ramping up technology procedures to spy, x-ray, body scan and inspect. But the US government system even with an African American President will continue to miss something always ignored to start to address terrorism; the cooperative efforts needed from Muslim polities, Muslim American communities and now African American communities on making sure that profiling for terrorists that will inevitably take place more aggressively will not turn into an overwhelming justification for targeting the black and the brown.

The harsh reality is that the overwhelming majority of the terrorist acts against the US are men of color and Muslim. The blackening of terrorists started with Richard Reid the shoe bomber of 2001 a Jamaican, then black faces showed again with DC Sniper John Muhammad, London's 7/7 showed more black faces, and this past May with four black males involved in a foiled terrorist plot against a Jewish Synagogue - James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen.

The African American community has been silent about what is happening cringing every time a new terrorist plot is foiled shows a black male face. President Obama for the first time since running for office used the word, "systemic" to describe the huge security failure, but racial profiling is also systemic and often skirted.

No matter how hard one tries to denounce and deny, race, ethnicity and religion (Islam) will become a factor in profiling passengers who might board any flight to the United States from any country. The New York Times reports, "Citizens of 14 nations, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria who are flying to the United States, will be subjected indefinitely to the intense screening at airports worldwide." It appears the United States and its European allies have completed a cost-benefit analysis of its National security systems and will sacrifice more than some diplomatic ties with countries it has "friendly" relationships with possibly now making a collaborative fight against terrorism lip service. Americans should expect these same countries to retaliate in-kind when it comes to airport screening and visa entry requirements. As the NYT states, "Rather than screen all passengers, these officials said, the government needed to focus on passengers who might be a threat."

"[This new world wide security measure is] an unethical, ineffective and counterproductive means of counter terrorism," says Alejandro Beutel, Government Liaison, Muslim Public Affairs Council. "This undermines our stated commitment to Democratic values and Civil Liberties. This is propaganda victory for the terrorists and does nothing to add to our National security. This is a wrong headed approach that casts a wide net of suspicion over entire countries instead of gathering intelligence that focuses on the criminal activities of those few dangerous individuals."

Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and others are calling on the US to enact the same measures implemented by Israel's El Al airline which has not had an incident in over thirty years. During the Bush Administration, Secretary Rice spoke privately spoke to Minister of Defense Ehud Barak on more than one occasion about the racial profiling of certain Americans (the black ones) coming into Israel. El Al constantly singles out young Arabs as well as passengers of color sometimes flanking the passenger with two armed security guards at JFK airport even after they passed through the double layers of screening.

California Legal Secretary and former Chief Deputy Attorney Peter Siggins said, "Recent surveys [since September 11, 2001] indicate that 66% of whites and 71% of African-Americans support the ethnic profiling of people who look to be of middle-eastern descent."An interesting irony African Americans categorically reject being profiled for driving while black, but have no problem with Arabs being treated in this manner.

Thanks to a 23-year old black man who deceptively looks like an innocent boy and the United States' initial failure to stop him in his tracks, African Americans, Arabs and the Muslim Diaspora all have something in common. They are more easily viewed as terrorists and there's no escaping it. It's the proverbial perception that dictates reality.

Muslims in America are diverse communities within communities often separating themselves from each other as well as from social and political discourse inclusive of aggressive lobbying efforts that would influence the outcomes of some of these serious issues of flying while Arab or Muslim, profiling and discrimination. It would behoove African American, Arab and Muslim Leadership to come together immediately to fight against what will become increasingly devastating consequences; alienating both communities inside the United States and throughout the world.

Yvonne R. Davis, President and CEO of DAVISCommunications, is an internationally recognized leadership development coach, speaker, and award winning journalist. She is an expert in cross-cultural and global emerging markets. A hard-hitting political columnist, Ms. Davis is passionate about critical economic and socio-political issues in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. She continues to play a crucial role in developing strategies to advance the status of women in these developing regions.

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/opinion/?id=36493

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West Java: Muslim extremists against Christians. Religious services blocked

by Mathias Hariyadi

A crowd of protesters prevented the faithful reaching the church. Similar provocations on Christmas Day and 27 December. The protests provoked by the refusal to issue permission to build places of Christian worship. Activist for peace: the scenario is "worrying."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Christian community of the regency of Bekasi, West Java province, is once again being targeted by Islamic fundamentalists. Sunday, January 3, hundreds of residents of the sub-district of Jejalen prevented the faithful of the Protestant Church of Philadelphia to participate in religious services. A representative of the Huria Batak Protestant Christians Group (Hkbp) – an umbrella group of various Protestant communities in the country - confirms that the "attackers blocked the access roads to the place of worship" stopping anyone trying to "travel the road that leads to church”.

Reverend Panjaitan, chairman of the Protestant Church of Philadelphia, was not present at the time of attack. He is in North Sumatra for a period of vacation and not reachable for comment. Local witnesses tell that the crowd, "shouted at the Christians", demanding the interruption of celebrations because "the place of worship does not have the building permit." The document issued by the authorities for the construction of buildings (IMB) follows an articulated procedure, which is further complicated in the case of Christian places of worship. Governmental permits, must also be cleared by the inhabitants of the area affected by the project. It may take up to 10 years to get to all the documents necessary.

Officials from the Hkbp have made available the necessary funds for the purchase of the land, but lack of a permit for construction which has blocked the work. The faithful erected a temporary building to celebrate functions: it is over a target of extremists, which prevent access to the place of worship. Demonstrations against the Christians were already held Christmas Day: the local community was preparing to attend functions, where a crowd chanted slogans and staged protests. The tense situation in the area was denounced before the holidays by Theophilus Bela, an activist for peace and interreligious dialogue. "The scenario is worrying – he confirms - and the same groups that demonstrated on Christmas Day, repeated their provocations December 27”. Previously, in conjunction with the new Islamic year, a mob of extremists attacked and damaged the Catholic Church of St. Albert at Harapan Indah, also in Bekasi regency. Thousands of demonstrators, including women and children, broke into the complex - under construction - and burned furniture and objects of worship.

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=17266

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AMU organises induction training program under IDSP

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

AMU honours its award winning faculty: The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) felicitated one of the illustrious faculty members, Professor Abul Kalam Qasmi, Department of Urdu for awarding India’s top most literary recognition “Sahitya Academy Award” for his Urdu book “Maasir Tanqueedi Rawaiyye”........ Read Full

Malegaon: The Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) organized an Induction Training Programme on Epidemiologists recruited under Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) from January 4-16, 2010.

The IDSP has been sanctioned to the Department of Community Medicine by the Government of India.

According to Zeeshan Ahmad Assistant Public Relations Officer AMU, the inaugural function of the training programme was held in the Committee Room of Dean's Office.

Participants from 27 districts of Uttar Pradesh (UP) are attending the programme while resource persons from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and different medical colleges of U. P. are participating in the programme to deliver lectures and conduct demonstrations in the field.

In her welcome address Prof. Zulfia Khan, Academic Coordinator of the Programme discussed the early warning signals of outbreak of an epidemic and suggested preventive measures to be adopted to control such communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Prof. S. Abrar Hasan, Dean Faculty of Medicine congratulated the staff of the department of community medicine for being selected as one of the two IDSP training centres in UP. Prof. M. Ashraf Malik, Principal & CMS, JNMC discussed the role of epidemiologists in decreasing the mortality indicators.

Prof. Najam Khalique, Medical Superintendent enlightened the participants on future strategy of the IDSP programme.

Integrated Disease Surveillance Project is a state based surveillance programme. With the help of this programme, any outbreak or epidemic may be anticipated early and subsequently appropriate measures will be taken in time to control it.

The programme will run to identify the communicable and non-communicable diseases such as Malaria, Acute Diarrhoeal Disease (Cholera), Typhoid, Tuberculosis, Measles, Poliomyelitis, Road Traffic Accidents) and to assess the magnitude of the problem, trend and distribution of the problem in the country in terms of time, place and person affected. Other main objective of this project is to find out measures for prevention and control of the problem.

Dr. A. R. Siddiqui and Dr. Ali Amir are trained nodal persons for the training programme. Dr. Iqbal M. Khan, Mr. Salman Khalil, Dr. Suboohi Afzal, Dr. Anees Ahmad, Dr. Saira Mehnaz, Dr. Uzma Eram, Dr. M. Salman Shah, Dr. M. Asif Khan, Junior Residents and the staff of the department of community medicine helped in the conduct of training programme.

Dr. Sakina Mushfiq conducted the programme while Dr. M. Athar Ansari, Chairman, Department of Community Medicine presented vote of thanks.

http://www.ummid.com/news/2010/January/05.01.2010/amu_organises_induction_training_program.htm

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicWorldNews_1.aspx?ArticleID=2334




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