Books and Documents

Islamic World News (13 Nov 2009 NewAgeIslam.Com)

10 Percent of US Mosques Preach Jihad: FBI


Egypt gripped by 'veil martyr' trial

Closing the 'hijab murder' file

Iran slams UK scholarship in Neda's memory

Gloucester Muslim women hit the ground cycling

Maj. Hasan's problem isn't Islam

For Muslims, Fort Hood Case Sparks Fresh Fears

Backlash against Muslims in military ignores history of service

Muslims, mass murder after Fort Hood

Augusta Muslims say they face suspicion

Radical Muslim Cleric Who Defended World Trade Centre Bombers a Guest of NYC Mayor

Detroit-area Muslim veterans celebrate, pray

To counter hate, a more compassionate world

Pakistani filmmaker wins prestigious awards in Italy

China set to take on Obama by selling advanced jets to Pakistan

After France, Switzerland may ban burqas

A Christian janitor died saves Muslim lives

Pakistani PM, Sharif discuss Balochistan situation

'Obama must choose - Israel or Iran'

Central Bank pushes for Islamic banking

Nakheel debt talks turn spotlight on future of the Islamic bond market

Police officer pays for slapping grateful mother

Irish priest kidnapped in Philippines freed

Moro Muslims secure release of Irish priest in Philippines

Iran continues to consider proposal from international community

Indonesia Joins Malaysia In Proving Islam In Tandem With Democracy

No ‘love jihad’ in Kerala, DGP says again in High Court

Shias too oppose Vandemataram

Iran embassy man shot in Pakistan

Saudi missiles hit Yemen border areas

Iraqi Interpreter Wants To Join Pa. National Guard

Attacks kill 2 paramilitary members in Iraq

US Afghan mission 'not open-ended'

Baku to host workshop “Islamic Culture and Values of Civilizations”

Spanish subway 'terror' trial of 11 Muslims opens

Islamabad Police apprehend 51 suspects

Marine assaults priest, claims gay, Arab panic

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/10-percent-of-us-mosques-preach-jihad--fbi/d/2086


10% of US Mosques Preach Jihad: FBI

12 November 2009

The FBI estimates that approximately 10% of mosques in America preach some form of jihad, or holy war.

Additionally, a recent Pew Research Center survey shows that about a quarter of the Muslims in America ages 18 through 29 believe that suicide bombings can be justified.

The information comes from Robert Kessler, who writes about his findings in his new book, “The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack” and a new article for newsmax.com.

Agents interviewed by Kessler tell him the number of American mosques preaching jihad were larger prior to 9/11.



Egypt gripped by 'veil martyr' trial

By Yolande Knell

11 November 2009

In Egypt, where most women wear the Islamic headscarf, Marwa Sherbini has become known as "the veil martyr".

There were alerts on state television as news broke that her murderer had been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of an early release.

The Egyptian ambassador in Berlin, Ramzi Izz Al-Din, told Channel One that Alexander Wiens had received "the harshest ruling possible".

He said he did not expect the ruling to be reduced in case an appeal was filed.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki welcomed the verdict, saying it "served justice" and was "a warning to those motivated by hate".

Wiens, 28, stabbed Ms Sherbini at least 16 times in a courtroom in Dresden in July, when she was giving evidence against him in a defamation case.

He had called her a "terrorist" and "Islamist" in a children's playground because she covered her hair.

She had asked him to make room for her three-year old son to play on the swings.

Ms Sherbini, a 31-year-old pharmacist, was pregnant when she was killed. Her son was in the courtroom at the time and her husband was stabbed and accidentally shot by a German guard when he tried to intervene.

High security

Details of the case shocked Egyptians and there was outrage at what was seen as the slow response of the German authorities to offer condolences and deal with claims of Islamophobia.

A week after the killing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her sympathies to Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, but she did not comment publicly.

Meanwhile, thousands of people turned out for the funeral of Ms Sherbini in her home city, Alexandria. Many held banners demanding retribution.

There were also small but angry protests outside the German embassy and in the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.

Demonstrators described Germany as "a civilisation of tyrants" and shouted: "What happened to human rights? Where is justice?"

Wiens's trial was extensively covered in the Egyptian media, with particular attention given to the extra security measures taken in court.

Egyptian lawyers also travelled to Dresden and were allowed to present legal arguments.

Giving his response to the verdict, the head of the Egyptian Bar Association, Hamdi Khalifah, said it proved the German judiciary was "neutral".

An international law professor at Zagazig University, Nabil Himli, believed it showed the system was not "biased against Islam or Arabs and that the German authorities are fair".

'Bad image'

Still, many Egyptians have expressed the wish that Germany had a death sentence to use in this case.

"She died, but he's still alive," Badr Shorbagy, a neighbour of Ms Sherbini from Alexandria, complained to the Associated Press news agency.

Ms Sherbini's husband, Olwi Akaz, gave wrenching testimony in the trial, telling how his son, who now lives with family in Egypt, misses his mother.

Mr Akaz had moved to Germany to carry out doctoral research in molecular biology but has said he does not think he will continue to live in Dresden.

Tarek Sherbini, the brother of the dead woman, said "the image of the German people is very bad" following the attack and claimed it showed hatred of Muslims.

There was a recent sign of a continuing strain in relations when the Dresden orchestra postponed planned performances in Egypt.

Officials say they hope tensions will now ease.



Closing the 'hijab murder' file

Khaled Diab

12 November 2009

The life sentence imposed on Marwa al-Sherbini's killer shows that European Islamophobia exists but is not institutionalised

While justice can never resurrect the fallen, it can lay them to rest in dignity and help their loved ones better come to terms with their loss.

In the case of Marwa al-Sherbini, the 31-year-old Egyptian pharmacist who was brutally murdered in a German courtroom this summer, the life sentence handed down by a Dresden court to her racist murderer should help ease tensions surrounding the case, which seems to have been hijacked for political point scoring.

First, let me be clear. This was an ugly and disgusting crime and caused the untimely death of an intelligent mother whose loss has undoubtedly left a huge hole in the lives of her husband and her three-year-old son. Her murderer, Alexander (or Axel) Wiens, a 28-year-old German of Russian origin, was certainly a racist and Islamophobe of the first order whose blind, irrational hatred of Muslims is frighteningly common in far-right circles.

But it was the extent and fury of the reaction in Egypt that astounded me. Although it is understandable that public sympathy for al-Sherbini – whose story is set to be turned into a film – and a certain amount of anger would pour out, I was shocked by the fact that she became popularly known as "the martyr of terrorism" and her case was used by some to claim that European Muslims were a "persecuted" minority and Europe was irredeemably Islamophobic.

Rising anti-German sentiment in Egypt even led to calls for sanctions against Germany. For example, the Egyptian Pharmacists' Association, of which al-Sherbini was a member, unfairly called for a boycott of German drugs.

While this over-reaction probably has some roots in the very real discrimination some Muslims face in Europe and the popular anger at US-led western intervention in places like Iraq, and the heavy human toll this has inflicted, Egyptians should not have allowed the actions of a tiny minority to lead them to make unfair generalisations.

As fellow Cif commentator Nesrine Malik said at the time: "Muslims (me included) constantly protest that the actions of a few extremists should not be allowed to denigrate Islam and its adherents as a whole – but this is exactly what they are doing themselves in connection with Europeans and the actions of Axel W."

At the time of the murder, I was struck by the ironic parallel between the one-sided self-righteous indignation being expressed by some conservative Egyptian Muslims and the almost identical brand of righteous anger targeted at Muslims by the European far right.

For example, many Egyptians pointed to western prejudice against the hijab and how it was prohibited in government institutions by some European states, such as France, as examples of this alleged persecution. "But what about Muslim prejudice against bare heads?" I asked in an article at the time. "In the interest of fairness, why aren't more Muslims openly outraged by attempts to force women to wear the headscarf against their will, as in Saudi Arabia?"

In Egypt, few protests are raised when the mutaween, the Saudi morality police, routinely arrest and beat Saudi women who are out alone or not wearing a headscarf. In an extreme manifestation of their puritanical attitude, they even caused, in 2002, the death of 15 schoolgirls who were not allowed to flee a burning building because they were not dressed in decent Islamic fashion.

In addition, while European Muslims can and do face discrimination, this Egyptian criticism overlooks the fact that Muslims often have more freedom of conscience in Europe than they do in Egypt, and that non-Muslims can also be the victims of enormous prejudice in Egypt.

Copts have to deal with a lot of unofficial and even some institutionalised discrimination in Egypt, as I highlighted in a recent article.

On hearing that the German courts had given the murderer the stiffest possible sentence – life, without eligibility for early release – my first reaction was that this should help restore shaken confidence, though there have been some complaints that the sentence was too lenient.

Some of the people interviewed on al-Jazeera last night and posting on newspaper message boards today expressed the view that Wiens should have been tried in Egypt and sentenced to death. They are obviously unaware of European laws banning the extradition of suspects to countries where they may face capital punishment.

But the verdict has generally gone down well. For instance, Egypt's ambassador to Germany welcomed the court's ruling, while the independent al-Dostour newspaper called it a "victory for justice". This should demonstrate to the doubters that, though there may be racist and Islamophobic Germans and Europeans, discrimination against Muslims is not universal nor is it generally institutionalised.



Iran slams UK scholarship in Neda's memory

12 November 2009

LONDON: Iran has written to an Oxford University college to complain about a scholarship in memory of a slain Iranian student who became a symbol

of anti-government protests in her country, the college said on Wednesday.

Queen’s College established the Neda Agha Soltan Graduate Scholarship in Philosophy earlier this year. The 27-year-old student was shot in Tehran on June 20 during a demonstration against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Her dying moments were caught on a video and she became an icon in the opposition’s struggle.

Queen’s College confirmed it had received a letter from the Iranian Embassy in London. Iran’s state-run Press TV reported that the letter called the scholarship a “politically motivated move”. The provost of the college said the names of scholarships were decided, “within reason”, by donors.



Gloucester Muslim women hit the ground cycling

November 12, 2009,

Learning to ride a bike may be considered child's play by some, but for a group of Muslim women, lessons are proving to be a breath of fresh air.

Thanks to an initiative being run by Gloucestershire County Council's Road Safety Partnership and the Friendship Cafe in Barton Street, women from the Barton and Tredworth area have hit the ground cycling.

One of the learners, Hasina Musaji-Miah, said: "I have children, and road safety is such an important issue.

"These lessons are really good to bring us up to scratch. I drive, but I cycle a lot as well.

"They can also enable us to pass on what we learn to other people by becoming instructors.

"I think it's a very important service for us."

The county council's cycling co-ordinator, Don Muir, said: "Women generally feel more intimidated by today's traffic conditions while minority groups can have more cultural barriers to taking up this type of training.

"That makes it a double challenge for these ladies and we are doing all we can to help them get the training they need to develop the skills to overcome those barriers".

Barton and Tredworth county councillor Sonia Friend (Lab) said: "I'm pleased that this initiative is happening in our community as it enables local women to participate in an activity which could help their wellbeing and our surroundings".

County council cabinet member for environment Stan Waddington (Con) said: "Barton and Tredworth was identified to us as an area where the benefits of cycling should be promoted.

Full report at: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/gloucestershireheadlines/Gloucester-Muslim-women-hit-ground-cycling/article-1508192-detail/article.html


Maj. Hasan's problem isn't Islam

Nov 12, 2009

I'm not making excuses for what took place at Fort Hood, but I do think people are pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Regarding those who think this is a problem rooted in Islamic radicalism, I've yet to hear a coherent prescription for what needs to be done to fix it. Are we supposed to ban Muslims from serving in the military or government? Do we require them to pass a loyalty test? Should we go to their homes and inspect their reading material to ensure they've only read texts that a panel of Christians and Jews believe are acceptable? Should we start deporting Muslims because, really, how can we trust any of them? What's the solution?

People who are stirring up fear and hatred along these lines are completely missing the point. It doesn't matter what Maj. Hasan's religion is. It matters a lot what his sanity level is and was. His sanity level was off the charts. In medical/psychological terms, I think the technical term is "nut-case loony." Anyone who's been listening to Daniel Zwerdling's reports on NPR over the past day would know that Hasan's colleagues had been worried about him for years, concerned that he was psychotic and capable of inflicting harm. The reason he was assigned to Fort Hood was that he would be further out of harm's way there. At least, that's what they thought. They knew he was in significant psychological trouble, but no one seems to have done anything about it.

Full report at: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/11/maj-hasans-prob.html


For Muslims, Fort Hood Case Sparks Fresh Fears

by Jamie Tarabay

November 12, 2009

There are thousands of active-duty Muslims in the U.S. military, and thousands more who work for the government. Their experiences and backgrounds are as diverse as any other group's.

But after the shootings at Fort Hood, many service men and women fear they're in for some unpleasant scrutiny.

'I'm An American First'

Specialist Naveed Ali Shah, based at Balad Air Base in Iraq, was online with his wife and their 18-month-old son when he heard about the Fort Hood shooting. His family was chatting with him from Texas.

"My immediate reaction is, 'Oh my God, where is this happening?' " said Shah. "Not knowing where the shooters were, I felt like they were in my own backyard. I told my wife to go lock herself in the bathroom."

Meanwhile, he scoured news Web sites for details. Eventually, the alleged shooter's religion was revealed. Debate filled the airwaves over the tension American Muslim soldiers face fighting in Muslim countries. But for Shah, there is no contradiction.

"When I joined the military I put on the uniform knowing I'm an American first and my religion has nothing to do with it," said Shah.

He doesn't see the U.S. military's war in Iraq as a war against Islam.

"I see it as I'm fighting for American freedom and American ideals to succeed," said Shah. "I just don't think that this is a religious war in any sort of way."

There's been little reaction from non-Muslim soldiers at his base, Shah said. He thinks most of them understand that whatever the shooter's background or beliefs, he doesn't represent all Muslim soldiers.

Shah is more concerned about how to raise his son without having him influenced by negative Muslim stereotypes.

I think with this incident there are going to be a select few who will object to Muslims in the military and Muslims in America," said Shah. "And for my son's sake, that's the only reason I worry."

Nonmilitary Muslims Affected, Too

Full report at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120314051


Backlash against Muslims in military ignores history of service

By Susan Taylor Martin

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The backlash has already begun.

After an officer of Arab descent opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, a leader of a conservative Christian group called for a ban on Muslims in the military.

"As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve,'' said Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. "Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk.''

It was the kind of reaction feared by Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, who had called the shootings a "kick in the gut'' and warned they could "heighten the backlash'' against Muslim soldiers.

Whether last week's rampage, which left 13 soldiers dead, was religiously motivated is unknown. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has not talked to authorities, who are investigating his reported anger over the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his e-mail contacts with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen.

Yet history shows that Muslims have served with honor not only in the U.S. Army but also in the militaries of other largely non-Muslim countries.

If any nation has reason to be wary about Muslims in its military, it is Israel. The Jewish state has fought several wars against Muslim countries and organizations, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip last winter.

But thousands of Muslims serve in the Israel Defense Forces, including an entire battalion, about 800 soldiers, of Bedouins.

A once-nomadic Arab people, the Bedouins are considered trustworthy enough to guard Israel's secretive nuclear facility at Dimona. In some poor Bedouin villages, most men voluntarily join the military even though they, like all Arabs, have long been exempt from the three years of service required of Jews and other Israeli citizens.

Full report at: http://www.tampabay.com/news/military/backlash-against-muslims-in-military-ignores-history-of-service/1051161


Muslims, mass murder after Fort Hood

Steve Chapman

November 12, 2009

Mass murders usually are a mystery. When Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly committed one last week at Fort Hood, though, there was no time wasted in solving the mystery by blaming the massacre on his religion, which is Islam.

Maybe Hasan is just a homicidal lunatic set to work by fevered demons inside his brain. But post-9/11, you can't be a killer who happens to be a Muslim. If you're a killer, it has to be because you're a Muslim.

In this case the claim of a religious motive has some evidentiary basis. Hasan had contacts with an extremist imam. The Army psychiatrist had been known to rail against the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to argue that Muslims should be allowed to leave the military rather than fight against other Muslims. He reportedly shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" -- Arabic for "God is great!" -- as he began his rampage.

In spite of his views and e-mail buddies, neither the Army nor the FBI (which monitored his correspondence with the cleric) found enough grounds to take action against him. Maybe they were blinded by "political correctness" not to do anything that might offend Muslims. Or maybe his past comments are being exaggerated with the benefit of hindsight. Or maybe those who noticed simply concluded he posed no more danger than other cranks.

It's also possible, as so many insist, that the slaughter was a direct product of a violent brand of Islam that encouraged and sanctioned his deed. But even if that's the case, it doesn't tell us what to do about it.

Is the Pentagon supposed to refuse induction to Muslims? Do extensive vetting before accepting them? Continuously monitor their Internet use? Generally treat them as suspect, which almost none of them is? Blustering about "political correctness" doesn't offer practical solutions to a malady that is about as common as a two-headed cow.

Full report at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-oped1112chapmannov12,0,5799691.column


Augusta Muslims say they face suspicion

By Kelly Jasper

November 12, 2009

Heather Abdelnur's reaction to the deadly shooting at Fort Hood on Nov. 5 wasn't all that different from her reaction to Sept. 11.

The same fears flashed through her mind. "As soon as I heard about this thing, I thought: 'Please don't let it be a Muslim. Please don't let him have a Muslim-sounding name."

It was, and he did.

The suspected shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, is an American-born Muslim. So is Mrs. Abdelnur, an assistant professor of history at Augusta State University.

"It was a letdown to find out a Muslim was involved," she said.

Muslim leaders were quick to condemn Maj. Hasan's actions, calling it "a black eye" upon Islam and its practitioners. Many said they feared retaliation; some increased security.

Retaliation against Muslims does occur -- Augusta's Imam has even taken to wearing a T-shirt and jeans out in public this week instead of his traditional tunic -- but Mrs. Abdelnur and others are quick to emphasize that experiences with discrimination vary widely among Muslims.

About three-quarters of American Muslims say they've never experienced discrimination, according to a survey of Muslim Americans released by the Pew Research Center in May 2007.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the Islamic Society of Augusta, the largest mosque in the area, was vandalized with graffiti directed at Osama bin Laden.

What gets less media attention is how members of the community sent money and flowers to the mosque upon hearing the news, said Hossam Fadel, a member of the mosque.

Full report at: http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/11/12/met_555524.shtml


Radical Muslim Cleric Who Defended World Trade Center Bombers a Guest of NYC Mayor

November 12, 2009

 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed to City Hall an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, later claiming he didn't know the radical Muslim cleric had been invited, the New York Post reported.

Siraj Wahhaj has called the FBI and CIA the "real terrorists," defended the convicted World Trade Center attack plotters and said his hope is that all Americans will become Muslim.

Wahhaj was among a group of religious and community leaders who met Wednesday with Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to talk about the Fort Hood massacre that killed 13 last week in Texas.

In 1995, Wahhaj was identified as one of 170 who are "unindicted co-conspirators" in the World Trade Center bombing two years earlier, the Post said. He has denied involvement in the conspiracy.



Detroit-area Muslim veterans celebrate, pray

By Niraj Warikoo

Nov. 11, 2009

With a backdrop of American flags and a picture of the Quran, local Muslims who served in the U.S. military gathered inside a Detroit mosque today to mark Veterans Day.

“We salute all the veterans today,” said Shelton Hasan, 54, of Detroit, to a crowd at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit. “We honor you for serving.”

The gathering started with a singing of the U.S. national anthem followed by a silent prayer for the victims of the shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, last week. The shooting has brought attention to Muslims who serve in the U.S. military since the shooter was a Muslim. One conservative Christian group has called for a ban on Muslims serving in the U.S. military.

But those who attended today’s ceremony said what the shooter did has absolutely nothing to do with their faith.

Hasan served in the Army from 1975 to 1977. He said he gained a lot from the experience.

“They made a man out of me, and made me responsible,” he said.

Dawud Walid, a Navy veteran who is now head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, attended the ceremony in a building that is the oldest mosque in Detroit with a predominantly African-American congregation.

Walid said he hopes people will not paint all Muslims with a broad-brush “based on the actions of one sick individual.”

“We honor all who have and continue to defend our nation through their service,” Walid said.



To counter hate, a more compassionate world

Chidanand Rajghatta

12 November 2009

WASHINGTON: In more than two decades of studying and writing about world religions, historian Karen Armstrong, author of ‘A History of God’,

‘Faith After September 11’, and most recently, ‘The Case for God’, was repeatedly struck by the emphasis that all the great traditions place on compassion.

Whatever she was researching, this theme of compassion kept recurring — when she was examining a history of the idea of God in the three monotheistic faiths; in her study of the history of fundamentalism, where she found lack of compassion was the major flaw in these militant movements; and above all in her book ‘The Great Transformation’, which traced the history of the ‘Axial Age’ (c900-200 BCE), when all the great world faiths either came into being or had their roots, where compassion and nonviolence were so essential.

“It repeatedly struck me as sad that, despite this marvelous ideology, which should be of such benefit to our polarized world, religion is often seen as part of the problem, and secondary goals, such as doctrinal orthodoxy, often get more attention,” the British-born historian said in an interview to The Times of India on Tuesday.

In reality, the world is busy tearing itself to pieces over differences. So when she won the prestigious TED Prize in 2008, and with it was granted a wish for a better world, she proposed a Charter which would restore compassion to the centre of attention, could challenge the voices of extremism and hatred, empower people to demand compassionate speech/action, and make compassion audible in our troubled world. She calls it the Golden Rule that must now be implemented globally, “so that we treat all peoples as we would wish to be treated ourselves”.

Full report at: compassionate-world/articleshow/5221191.cms


Pakistani filmmaker wins prestigious awards in Italy

November 12, 2009

Shahina Maqbool

Prominent Pakistani filmmaker Samar Minallah has won the prestigious ‘International Roberto Rossellini Award 2009’ and the ‘Cannon Award 2009’ at the International Film Festival held in Italy.

She has been awarded in recognition of her many artistic and personal achievements, notably her work for civil rights and support of disadvantaged groups, particularly women in Pakistan.

Since the theme of this year’s festival was ‘Women in Cinema,’ Samar has dedicated the award to the women of Pakistan who, she said, continue to play a significant role in society. Peruvian filmmaker Claudia Llosa and William Raee from Hollywood were also awarded at the ceremony.

For more than a decade, Samar has been highlighting various issues related to the women of Pakistan. She has, for the last 20 years, been conducting anthropological research on various aspects of Pukhtun women and documenting the positive aspects of their lives through print and electronic media. Most of her works including ‘Bibi Shireenay: Where Honour Comes From’ and ‘Shinwaray Lawangeena: Where the Waters Meet’ are still keenly being viewed by audiences in Afghanistan and North West Frontier Province.

While Samar has primarily been documenting the positive aspects of the lives of Pukhtun women, her documentaries have also focused on social and human rights issues. Most of her documentaries, especially the award winning ‘Swara: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters’, is being used for educational purposes at Amnesty International while ‘Bibi Shireenay’ has been screened at the United Nations building in New York. Her documentaries have helped in breaking the silence around many sanctioned forms of violence against women. All her documentaries are issue-based, targeting the general audience and policymakers.

Full report at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=208139


China set to take on Obama by selling advanced jets to Pakistan

Saibal Dasgupta

11 November 2009

BEIJING: China has sent out an interesting signal ahead of US president Barack Obama's scheduled visit to Beijing by offering a set of advanced

fighter jets to Pakistan. It has agreed to sell $1.4 billion worth of jets to Islamabad days ahead of the planned visit of the US president Barack Obama to Shanghai and Beijing on November 15-18.

The move is expected to jolt the US administration as it works on notes and talking points for Obama's meetings with Chinese leaders. He is expected to discuss Beijing's relationship with India and its role in internal conflicts in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Beijing is keen to reduce US influence on Pakistan, which will make it easier for it to deal with India, sources said. Washington's recent decision to extend massive financial assistance to Islamabad is seen in some quarters as a policy setback for China.

It is now trying to get back its influence over Pakistan by selling two squadrons of advanced jets, sources said. Even more significant is Beijing's eagerness to share advanced technology with Pakistan, which is something US suppliers are usually reluctant to do.

A report from Pakistan said it wants to buy a larger number of war planes from China besides the two squadrons of J-10 fighter planes it is buying at the moment. A Pakistani official described the plane sales deal as a "landmark" in Pak-China relations.

"The agreement should not simply be seen in the narrow context of Pakistan's relations with China. There is a wider dimension. By sharing its advanced technology with Pakistan, China is ... also saying to the world that its defense capability is growing rapidly," Abdul Qayyum, a retired Pakistani general, was quoted in the Pakistani media as saying.



After France, Switzerland may ban burqas

12 November 2009

GENEVA: Switzerland’s justice minister said on Wednesday that her country could ban full-body Muslim veils in the future, as neighbouring France

is currently debating.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said seeing a woman in a burqa makes her uncomfortable, even though the head-to-toe outfits are rarely worn in Switzerland.

“If the number of women wearing a burqa increases, we could study a possible ban,” said Widmer-Schlumpf, 53, at a news conference to which she wore a short skirt and black leather boots.

But she said the veils weren’t currently on the government’s agenda.

Switzerland is holding a national referendum November 29 on whether to ban the construction of minarets. Widmer-Schlumpf opposes the proposal, saying a ban on minarets would be discriminatory and violate Swiss laws on freedom of religion.



A Christian janitor died saves Muslim lives

Nov. 12, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A Christian janitor died saving the lives of Muslims in the suicide attack at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan, officials say.

The Oct. 20 twin suicide bombings at the university killed six people including three women but university officials and students said the toll would have been higher were it not for the bravery of Pervaiz Masih, CNN reported.

Witnesses say one of the attackers, disguised as a woman, shot the guard on duty at a women's cafeteria packed with hundreds of students. When Masih intercepted the bomber at the doorway, the attacker set off the explosives but much of the impact was directed toward open parking lot instead of inside the cafeteria, the report said.

Afsheen Zafar, 20, told CNN but for Masih "there could have been great, great destruction."

"As a Christian, a person of minority, he stood in front of the Taliban to protect the university," said Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan' minister of minorities. The government has promised to award his family about $12,000.

Christians are a small minority in Pakistan and most of them are poor. Masih, father of a 3-year-old girl, earned about $60 a month in his week-old job and had lived in a small room with seven other family members, the report said. The university has offered free education for Masih's daughter and will employ his wife.




Pakistani PM, Sharif discuss Balochistan situation

Nov 12, 2009

 ISLAMABAD, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Thursday underlined the need to develop consensus on the under consideration Balochistan package by taking all stockholders into confidence to end people of Balochistan's sense of deprivation and to ensure protection of their rights.

    "There should be consultation with the entire political leadership of Balochistan besides debate in Parliament, public and media prior to finalizing the package so that it could be acceptable to all," Sharif told a press conference in Islamabad after meeting with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

    The PML-N leader appreciated what he called the "genuine" efforts of the prime minister for taking all parties along and evolving the consensus over the issue.

    Sharif said that decisions of a single man have led to the problems currently being faced by the country in general and the province of Balochistan in particular.

    The situation has become so grave that now each and every citizen wants quick solution to all of the issues, he observed, adding that it was one man who made all the decisions and now it is the democratic government that has to play its role in providing relief.

    He said the present problems in the country are the result of the derailing of democracy time and again. The country would not have been facing this situation had the democracy be allowed to function smoothly in the past, Sharif complained.

    The PML-N chief said the government package for Balochistan came under detailed discussion during his meeting with the prime minister. "Our stance was that the people of Balochistan be taken into full confidence, open discussions be held besides interacting with the common citizens of the province and exchanging views the Balochistan leaders who are out of the country," he said.

    Sharif said mere announcement of a package will not be a right approach. "The package could be rejected, if failed to hold talks with all the stakeholders," he said.

    He said India's involvement in Balochistan is a thing of concern and concrete evidence in this regard should be brought before the world.



'Obama must choose - Israel or Iran'

Nov 12, 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the US to choose between Israel and Iran on Tuesday night, according to Iranian state media.

Speaking in Istanbul at the 25th Session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Iranian president said that it was up to US President Barack Obama to realize his motto of "change".

"The support of both Israel and Iran can't go hand in hand," he was quoted as saying by IRNA. "No change is made unless great choices are made.

"We would welcome the changes, and wait for big and correct decisions to be made... We will clasp any hand that is extended sincerely toward us, but changes should be made in practice."

Addressing the same conference a day earlier, Ahmadinejad said that capitalist excesses caused the global economic meltdown and were un-Islamic, as leaders at a Muslim forum touted their religion's banking system a way to revive battered economies.

He also slammed investments that pay interest, deemed usury by Muslims, and said they had contributed to financial and social problems such as homelessness.

"Usury, which is entrenched in the capitalist system, is perhaps the main reason why the system has gone bankrupt," Ahmadinejad said. "It is a way of accumulating capital without working. Usury, according to the Koran, is fighting with Allah."

Ahmadinejad did not mention Iran's struggling economy, nor did he refer to its dispute with the West over its nuclear activities.

The Islamic forum held its meeting in a plush hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait that divides Istanbul between the Asian and European continents. Syrian President Bashar Assad and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan were also in attendance.

Full report at: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1257770037656&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


Central Bank pushes for Islamic banking

By Simon Musasizi

11 November 2009

Bank of Uganda is urging the government to pass the regulatory requirement for the establishment of the country’s first Islamic Bank which is expected to attract an infusion of millions of dollars into the banking system

“We have seen that Islamic financing is doing well in the United States, United Kingdom and other non-Islamic countries. There is no reason why it shouldn’t come here,” said Juma Walusimbi, the Communications Director at BoU.