Suspected Muslim insurgents kill 3 Buddhists in Thai south
Indian Muslim Law Board wants a Shah Bano on Shabana Bano
UK Muslims most patriotic in Europe
Somali Islamists order men to grow beard and cut moustache
Cambodia to expel 20 Uighurs despite US protest
Taliban may have reached Islamabad'
Terrorists, extremists are the country’s biggest enemies: Pak President, PM
Muslim Law Board wants a Shah Bano on Shabana Bano
India: Panel wants job quota for Muslims
Is religion about war -- or peace? Learn from St. Francis of Assisi
Muharram is month of peace and tranquility
Saint Maqdoom Shah Daulat shrine promotes communal harmony in Bihar
Christians in the Muslim World: Truly shocking record
France takes hard look at Muslims
Obama ordered deadly blitz on Yemen: US media
Muslim leaders upset with FBI
Muslim Jihadists already in the United States
Yemen Opposition Says Govt Attacks Killed Civilians
Do not cooperate with Al Qaida: Yemen
Mumbai accused Qassab says he was framed
Soofiya Madani arrested after HC rejects bail plea
`30,000 soldiers withdrawn from Jammu & Kashmir'
UK soldier killed in Afghanistan
Iran Confirms Iraq Oilfield Takeover
Pak forces kill 6 militants in Khyber tribal region
Here is no mistaking the dangers of jihad
Islam's Official Status Provides For Special Allocations
Call To Muslims To Strengthen Character, Unity
New centrifuge models for N-program ready, says Iran's nuclear chief
Who's in charge of nuclear-armed U.S. ally Pakistan?
Al-Qaeda threat used once again to justify war
Afghanistan leader Karzai presents cabinet nominees
US arrests three Africans in 'al-Qaeda cocaine sting'
Israel twists arm of the law
Obama's speech to Muslim world top religion story of the year
Bangladesh to ask Myanmar to stop pushback
Iran seizes Iraqi oil well near border
'Yemen played al-Qaeda card for US military support'
Muslim women union wants Muslims action on Swiss minaret ban
Gambia: Supreme Islamic Council Engineered The Arrest Of Imam Ba-Kawsu Fofana- Police Said
Compiled By: New Age Islam News Bureau
URL of this Page:http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/a-veiled-movement-for-women-s-rights-sweeps-iran/d/2244
A Veiled Movement for Women's Rights Sweeps Iran
December 19, 2009
Iran's Green Movement has embraced a new symbol of protest: the woman's veil. In an unprecedented show of support for women's rights, Iranian men have posted photos of themselves wearing the head covering typically worn by Muslim women. The images show hundreds of men clad in bright green headscarves posing mockingly for the camera.
This campaign was sparked by the government's attempt to humiliate leading student activist Majid Tavakoli. Authorities arrested Tavakoli after he delivered a fiery anti-government speech during Iran's Student Day demonstrations on December 7th. Following his detention, the semi-official Fars News Agency published photos of him wearing a woman's veil, claiming that he had been found trying to escape from campus using it as a disguise. Many members of the opposition believe the photos were fabricated to discredit and disgrace the young activist.
Once again, Iran's young and tech savvy opposition has cleverly utilized new media to bypass government censorship and laugh in the face of authority. The online campaign highlights the absurdity of the regime's attempts at character defamation. A similar strategy was used after the government subjected hundreds of reformers to show trials following the disputed June election. People posted YouTube videos of themselves confessing to the most ridiculous things in order to show how baseless and empty the government's forced confessions and accusations against its critics have become. By co-opting the government's own tools of repression, the opposition has rendered such tactics ineffectual.
Given the politically fraught history of the veil, this campaign is deeply symbolic. In 1935, Reza Shah Pahlavi banned women from wearing a head covering in public in an attempt to move Iran away from what he considered religious backwardness and toward modernity. Prior to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, there was a revival of social traditionalism and women would don the veil to reaffirm their Iranian-Islamic identity against the perceived onslaught of Western influence. Today, young women flout Islamic dress codes by exposing their hair from under colorful headscarves in mass defiance of the Islamic Republic.
Now, men too have taken up the veil as a symbol of political protest. This campaign is not only a reaction against the mistreatment of political prisoners, but also against male chauvinism. From the government's perspective, it is insulting to be likened to a woman. This only highlights the divide between Iran's ruling clique and the mass of young, progressive students who have spearheaded the veil campaign. One Iranian blogger who calls himself Blondie writes:
"With great pride I will wear women's clothing, and I am proud to fashion myself as an Iranian women. Do you know why Dictator? Because they were the ones who demanded their rights from the very beginning...From now on, in a show of respect towards Iranian women and girls, I will take a veil with me as a symbol of protest to every demonstration I attend, whether in the streets or in the university."
The world was surprised to see women at the forefront of the Green Movement, going face to face with baton-wielding Basij militiamen. The truth is, Iranian women are fearless because they have withstood years of harassment by the morality police who try to enforce Islamic dress and comportment upon them. They have fought tirelessly for democratic reform because they have the most to gain from it. For the first time, Iranian men have also organized to promote gender equality. As an Iranian woman, I am both amused and heartened by their rather unconventional show of support. I would even venture to say that this campaign marks an important milestone in the struggle for women's rights in Iran.
Nasim Novin is an Iranian-American writer based in DC.
Suspected insurgents kill 3 Buddhists in Thai south
NARATHIWAT, Thailand (Reuters) - Suspected Muslim insurgents blew up a gas tank near a school in southern Thailand on Saturday, killing three Buddhist villagers and wounding two including a local leader, police said.
The blast appeared intended for a senior official of Bajao district in Narathiwat, one of Thailand's three southernmost provinces plagued by insurgent violence as ethnic Malay Muslims fight for autonomy from Thailand's Buddhist majority.
"The bomb was planted near a school. The insurgents detonated it to attack the officials," police Colonel Jamlong Ngamnetara told Reuters.
The three people killed had volunteered to provide security for the official as he traveled in a pickup truck, he said.
More than 3,700 people have been killed in five years of unrest in the region bordering Malaysia, only a few hours by car from some of Thailand's most famous tourist beaches.
The troubled rubber-rich provinces -- Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat -- were part of a Muslim sultanate until annexed a century ago by predominantly Buddhist Thailand. About 80 percent of the region is Muslim and its people speak a Malay dialect.
The violence has ranged from drive-by shootings to bombings and beheadings. It often targets Buddhists and Muslims associated with the Thai state, such as police, soldiers, government officials and teachers.
Saturday, Dec 19, 2009
Lucknow : The executive committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), meeting here on December 20, will discuss the recent Supreme Court judgment upholding the right of a divorced Muslim woman to get maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the CrPC.
The AIMPLB believes the judgment reopens an issue that was settled during the Rajiv Gandhi regime in 1986 when Parliament enacted the Muslim Women Act after protests from Muslims against the Supreme Court verdict, which had awarded maintenance to Shah Bano in 1985.
In the recent judgment, delivered on December 4, a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Deepak Verma and Sudarshan Reddy upheld the right of a divorced Muslim woman Shabana Babo to get maintenance from her husband.
Shabana Bano had filed a petition for maintenance in 2004 in the family court of Gwalior, which had dismissed her petition. Later, the Jabalpur High Court dismissed her appeal.
“The Supreme Court judgment is a direct interference in Muslim personal law. It is also against the Shariat, which states that marriage is a contract between two individuals and it becomes null and void after divorce,” said Maulana Khalid Rashid, a member of the board. “This issue had been settled way back in 1986. Yet high courts in several states and the SC in 2001 and 2007 had given verdicts awarding maintenance to divorced Muslim women,” he said.
“The AIMPLB will decide on sending a delegation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apprise the government of its stand on two issue, the SC verdict awarding maintenance to Shabana Bano and the Liberhan Commission report,” Khalid said.
“The executive committee of the AIMPLB will discuss two options, to move the Supreme Court for referring the matter to a larger Bench for review or to petition the Union government for amendment in the Muslim Women Act 1986,” said Zafaryab Jilani, who is also a member of the board.
The meeting of the 41-member executive committee of the board, which would be held at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulma seminary, will also decide the agenda for the three-day annual general meeting to be held in Lucknow from March 19.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Malegaon: The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomes and commends the excellent work carried out by the Open Society Institute in producing their report, Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities, says a statement issued by the council.
The report is the first comprehensive set of studies to look at needs and aspirations of Muslims across 11 EU cities, and its findings convey a structured series of recommendations for achieving common goals for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The MCB statement says, contrary to the usual media sensationalisms, stereotyping Muslims as being a community that "live parallel or segregated lives", the report's findings clearly highlight that Muslims have a strong sense of belonging to a city or a nation.
Muslims in the UK top the table for being the most patriotic and in identifying themselves as British. However emphasis is given to the need to tackle rising discrimination and prejudice that exists against Muslims.
The report highlights many areas of concern where much work needs to be done to ensure equality for Muslims, particularly women within the workplace. Similarly, the situation for young Muslim men and the "discrimination and unfair treatment" they face at the hands of the authorities cannot be left unattended.
The MCB supports the recommendations made in the report and encourages individuals, groups, and leaders, whether local or notional, to take an active role in promoting and implementing sustainable delivery programmes.
Secretary General, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said of the report, "This is a fine example of what we should be doing to explore the best ways of collaborating with one another. The substantive recommendations from the report only go to strengthen the idea of working towards shared interests and goals for the betterment of society as a whole."
"Muslims and non-Muslims together form the fabric of our nations, and I sincerely hope that leaders and key influencers across the UK and Europe take note of the suggestions and begin in earnest the process of bringing communities closer together", he added.
"With general elections just around the corner we in the UK have a prime opportunity to work together and build upon the efforts already being made by many organisations including the MCB to address the issues raised in the report. The UK should be proud that we have the most diverse make up of Muslims in Europe; if there is enough will from all quarters we can lead the way in our work towards greater community cohesion and understanding", he said.
APA-Mogadishu (Somalia) The administration of Somali Islamist hard-line group, ALShabab in the southern Jubba regions has ordered all men in the region to grow their beards and cut moustaches, Islamist radio broadcasted Saturday.
The chief of AL-Shabab’s preaching department in the region Sheik Ibrahim said in an interview with Al Andaluz radio that the Islamist administration has decided to issue this order adding that any man who doesn’t obey the orders will be dealt with in accordance with Islamic law.
“We are also telling the Muslim men to have their trousers not reaching lower than ankle, because this is the system of Islamic dress that our religion allows so all men must follow it,” the militant official stated.
“Men in the Jubba regions must fulfill the orders within three days and any one caught not dressed in accordance with Islamic system will be punished,” he said.
The Islamists have already ordered Somali women in areas under their control to wear veils and yashmaks and as the result arrested hundreds of women who said they could no afford to buy the clothes which cost on more than 800,000 Somali shillings which is equivalent to $27.
“I have been a Muslim since I was born, so I don’t know what is the kind of Islamic dress they are telling” a 35 year old Mohamed Ali told APA by telephone from Kismayo about 500 Kilometers south of the capital Mogadishu.
“I have decided to leave because I don’t want to have a style of dress that is not my option,” he added.
PHNOM PENH — Cambodia said Saturday it would expel 20 Muslim Uighurs who sought refuge after unrest in China's Xinjiang region, despite protests from the United States and rights activists.
The Cambodian interior ministry said the group would be sent "back to where they came from", but declined to confirm whether the group would go back to China where exile groups say they could face torture.
"Currently they are still in Cambodia, but they will be sent out of the country within seven days," said spokesman Khieu Sopheak, adding that it "could be China".
Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said the group must be expelled in accordance with domestic law, but rights experts argued the deportation would breach an international convention on refugees.
"They are illegal immigrants and according to Cambodian immigration law they should be expelled from the country. So we must expel them," Koy Kuong said.
The group arrived at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office after clashes between Xinjiang's Uighurs and China's majority Han ethnic group in July left nearly 200 dead and 1,600 injured, according to official tolls.
Violence erupted when Uighurs -- a Muslim minority that has long complained of repression under Chinese rule -- attacked members of China's Han ethnic majority. In subsequent days, mobs of Han roamed the streets seeking revenge.
Last month, nine people were executed for their roles in the violence.
The Uighurs' presence in Phnom Penh was made public two weeks ago as they sought UN refugee status in Cambodia, saying they risked torture in China.
But two of the original group of 22 Uighurs have disappeared since their arrival and Cambodia Saturday insisted the UN agency take responsibility for them.
"UNHCR must take responsibility for the two Uighurs who fled while they were in their care. They disappeared and we demand that UNHCR find and bring the two Uighurs back," he said.
UNHCR spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey told AFP that as signatories to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, Cambodia should not force the Uighurs to return to China and said the agency could not take responsibility for the missing persons.
"We have definitely conveyed a message to the Cambodian government to refrain from deporting them," said McKinsey.
"UNHCR has no knowledge of the whereabouts of these two individual Uighur asylum seekers, just as we have no official knowledge of the whereabouts of the other 20 Uighurs," she later added.
A US-based Uighur rights organization said Friday the group had already been taken to Phnom Penh airport to be put on a plane to Shanghai.
Henryk Szadziewski of the Uighur Human Rights Project in Washington said local sources in Cambodia informed him that "there is a plane ready to take them away."
US State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said Cambodia should "honour its commitment under international law."
"We are deeply disturbed by reports the Cambodian government might forcibly return this group of Uighurs without the benefit of a credible refugee status determination process," Duguid told reporters.
Cambodia's decision comes as Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping is expected to visit the country for a three-day visit beginning on Sunday.
China and Cambodia have long kept close relations, with China giving large amounts of aid to the impoverished Southeast Asian nation.
China warned Tuesday that UN refugee programs "should not be a haven for criminals" and said the Uighurs, earlier said to number 22 including three children, were involved in criminal activity
The Taliban militants would have stormed Islamabad had the government not initiated a military action against them, Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik said.
"Had these people been shown leniency, they would have reached Islamabad," Mr Malik said. Defending government's anti-terrorists drive, he said that writ of the government had to be established because that was the only way to bring peace to the country.
In an interview to a private Pakistani television channel here, the minister expressed dissatisfaction over the cooperation of Afghan authorities in Pakistan's anti-terrorism drive saying that mere expression of soli- i darity over the loss of lives is insufficient.
"The arms are coming i from Afghanistan side and it i is the responsibility of the Afghan authorities to con- t trol the movement of arms traffickers at their side of borders," the minister said.
He said the enemy is common and "we should seriously help each other to defeat it". i The minister said that if i the arms delivery from i Afghanistan side is stopped, 90 per cent of the militancy would come to an end by tself. To a question, Rehman Malik said that he has clearly stated about the nvolvement of Indian hand n the ongoing militancy wave in the country. He said hat 4 trucks loaded with Indian made weapons were captured from South Waziristan adding heaps of Indian made weapons are stocked in Bara.
"The terrorists are trained n guerrilla warfare and the nvolvement of foreign hand n their training cannot be ruled out," he said.
Terrorists, extremists are the country’s biggest enemies: Pal President, PM
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister and other Federal Ministers have strongly condemned the blast at Tamirgarah, Lower Dir.
Atleast 8 persons have been killed and 25 others injured in a blast occurred in police lines in Balambut area of Lower Dir on Friday afternoon.
The blast occurred in front of DPO office in Balambut area of Lower dir.
In their separate messages, President and PM deplored the loss of lives and ordered the authorities for immediate provision of best medical facilities to the injured.
They also ordered for the inquiry into the incident. They said the perpetrators of such heinous crime would not be spared.
They expressed condolence over the loss of innocent lives and said the government was committed to root out terrorism from the country.
They said that terrorists and extremists were the country's biggest enemies and every effort would be made to eradicate them at all cost. They directed the concerned authorities to investigate the matter and asked the medical staff to ensure better treatment of the injured. On the other hand, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Watoo, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Program Farzana Raja, NA speaker, Deputy speaker and other high ups of the state strongly condemned the suicide blast at Tamirgarah, Lower Dir.
Full report at:http://www.regionaltimes.com/19dec2009/nationalnews/terroirst.htm
By Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi
THE governmentappointed Ranganath Misra Commission has recommended 10 per cent reservation for Muslims and 5 per cent for other minorities in government jobs and favoured Scheduled Caste (SC) status for Dalits in all religions.
In case of non- availability of Muslims to fill the 10 per cent earmarked seats, these may be made available to other minorities but in no case shall any seat within the recommended 15 per cent be given to anybody from the majority community.
Union minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid tabled the report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, headed by former Chief Justice of India Ranganath Misra, in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
Among a host of recommendations, the commission suggests delinking of SC status from religion and abrogation of the 1950 Scheduled Caste Order which excludes Muslims, Christians, Jains and Parsis from the reserved category.
The order originally restricted SC status to Hindus, but Buddhists and Sikhs were brought under its ambit later.
The report recommends other backward class ( OBC) status for Muslims and Christians and 15 per cent reservation for them within the said quota. The commission also stated that there was caste system among Christians and Muslims and identified Dalits in minority communities.
The panel also said since minorities constituted 8.4 per cent of the total OBC population according to
the Mandal Commission report, an 8.4 per cent subquota should be earmarked for minorities in the 27 per cent OBC quota. The internal break- up should be 6 per cent for Muslims, commensurate with their 73 per cent share in India’s minority population and 2.4 per cent for other minorities.
Full report at:http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=19122009
By Paul Moses, Special to CNN
New York (CNN) -- Evangelical Christian leaders such as Pat Robertson have assailed President Obama's effort to engage Iran, and the results so far have not vindicated the president's approach as a diplomatic policy.
But if these leaders' goal is to bring Christian attitudes into the realm of public policy -- which, of course, is what they have called for time and again -- they might just as well be thanking the president for his new strategy. That is what the experience of one of history's greatest Christians, Francis of Assisi, teaches us.
Francis engaged Christendom's enemy, Egypt's Sultan Malik al-Kamil, by approaching him unarmed in the midst of the Fifth Crusade in 1219. The Crusaders had laid siege to Damietta, a city at the mouth of the Nile where 80,000 people were dying of disease and starvation.
The Christian forces were hoping to conquer Egypt, which would not only make it easier to take and hold Jerusalem but would deal a heavy blow against all Islam.
Francis actually believed what Jesus said in the New Testament about loving his enemy and took a much different approach than his fellow Christians.
His goal was to convert Sultan al-Kamil to Christianity through peaceful persuasion. He didn't succeed in that, but, amazingly, the two men found common ground and appear to have genuinely appreciated each other.
The sultan, who no doubt viewed Francis in light of an ancient Muslim tradition of reverence for holy Christian monks, permitted him to stay in his camp for several days, preaching the enemy's faith in the midst of the Crusade.
Francis was so influenced by the unexpectedly tranquil encounter with the sultan that when he returned home, he attempted to revise his order's code of conduct to urge that his friars live peacefully among Muslims and "be subject" to them as a way of giving Christian witness -- a revolutionary approach, considering that the Crusade was still being fought.
Francis' journey to the sultan's camp on the east bank of the Nile should be viewed as a mission of peace, since the sultan's conversion might have led to the end of the Crusade.
Francis, it should be said, was a tireless advocate of peace, a stance that stems from the trauma he suffered as a soldier and prisoner of war when he was a young man who saw his comrades massacred on the battlefield.
Full report at: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul Moses.
Muharram is month of peace and tranquillity
Quaid-i-Millat Jafariya Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi said Islamic calendar
begins with Muharramul Haram and this month is considered from amongst those four months that are considered the month(s) of peace and tranquillity and Quran and ‘Hadith’ stand witness to the honour and dignity of the same.
He said that Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S.) confronted oppression, suppression and brutality in exemplary manner that human history remained unable to produce.
According to a press release, he stated this in a special message issued at the beginning of Muharramul Haram.
Agha Moosavi said Imam Aali Muqaam (A.S.) presented a great and eternal sacrifice in the hot plains of Karbala along with his 72 near and dear ones for the protection and defence of high Islamic values and humanity.
He said the way Hussain Ibne Ali (A.S.) stood before the evil forces is a beacon of light for the freedom fighters the world over including those in Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and for the brave sons of motherland Pakistan.
He said Imam Hussain (A.S.) proved through his strategy that Islam does not
initiate any aggression, is not aggressive rather condemns oppression and brutality. He said Islam has defeated oppression and brutality point blank by adopting ‘Mazloomiyyat.’
Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi said at present the Islamic World in general, and motherland Pakistan in particular, was confronted with great oppression such as terrorism.
He said the satanic world desires to fulfil her nefarious designs by creating fear and harassment at every level. He said Pakistan is in a state of war, therefore, we would have to adopt the path of Hussainiyyat and inculcate the spirit of patriotism so as to thwart the designs of the satanic trio.
For this purpose, he added, we would have to keep an eye of colonial powers and their agents keeping wisdom and seriousness intact.
He said remembering the greatest martyrdom rendered in Karbala guarantees success here and the hereafter.
By Ajay Kumar
The Dargah of Sufi saint Maqdoom Shah Daulat, here has become a symbol of communal harmony,as people of all faitha visit here to pay obeisance.
Dating back to medieval period at Maner in Bihar the shrine popularly known as Manersharif located 30 kilometres from Patna.
Gudria Kumari, a Hindu devotee, who had come to pay her obeisance at the shrine, said that her prayer was answered after visiting this shrine.
When I had fallen ill, I had made a wish that if I get well then I will lay a chaddar here. Now since that my wish has been fulfilled, I have come here to lay the chaddar." said Kumari.
Mohammad Ishaq, the Muslim caretaker of the mausoleum, said that people belonging to Hindu religion come in large number to pray at theshrine.
"This is the shrine of a Muslim saint Maqdoom Shah Daulat and it is a very old shrine and was built by Ibraham Khan Kakar. People of all faith come here and pray for their wishes. Many Hindus come here and offer prayers." said Mohammad Ishaq.
The shrine was built in 1619 by the local ruler Ibrahim Khan on the grave of Maqdoom Shah Daulat, a Muslim saint who died in 1608.
Ever since then, it has been a prominent place of worship for Muslims as well as Hindus and people of all religion. - ANI
A recent referendum banning the construction of new minarets in Switzerland triggered outrage in the Muslim world. Government leaders from countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan strongly condemned the move, arguing that the measure was discriminatory in nature and violated the right of Muslims to freely exercise their religion. Turkish President Abdullah Gul called the ban “shameful” and his State Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen Bagis, urged wealthy Muslims around the world to pull their financial assets out of Switzerland and transfer them to Turkey instead. “Switzerland should not be an open-air museum for intolerance in the middle of Europe,” Bagis added.
The controversial Swiss referendum should prompt a closer look at the situation of Christians living in the Muslim world. The record there is truly shocking. According to One Free World International (OFWI), a Toronto-based human rights organization headed by Egyptian Christian convert Rev. Majed El Shafie, in 2009 more than 165,000 Christians will have been killed because of their faith, most of them in Muslim countries. Speaking during a high-level OFWI study tour of Israel last week, Majed El Shafie declared that an estimated 200-300 million Christians are being persecuted in the world today, 80 percent of whom lived in Muslim countries and the rest in Communist and other countries. Even in Turkey, the supposed poster child for a secular, democratic, and pro-Western Muslim country that is trying to enter the EU, non-Muslims living in the 99-percent Muslim majority country face major obstacles in the exercise of their religious freedom. As the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report 2009 observed about Turkey a few weeks ago:
“Religious minorities said they were effectively blocked from careers in state institutions because of their faith. Minority religious groups also faced difficulties in worshipping, registering with the Government, and training their followers. Although religious speech and persuasion is legal, some Muslims, Christians, and Baha’is faced some restrictions and occasional harassment for alleged proselytizing. There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Threats against non-Muslims created an atmosphere of pressure and diminished freedom for some non-Muslim communities. Many Christians, Baha’is, and heterodox Muslims faced societal suspicion and mistrust, and some elements of society continued to express anti-Semitic sentiments. Additionally, persons wishing to convert from Islam sometimes experienced social harassment and violence from relatives and neighbors.”
Full report at: http://www.weeklystandard.com
EDWARD CODY, CASTRES
December 20, 2009
A national identity debate has been blamed for legitimising racism.
WHEN Muslim worshippers showed up at the Bilal Mosque early last Sunday morning, they found two pigs' ears and a poster of the French flag stapled to the door; a pig's snout dangled from the doorknob. ''White power'' and ''Sieg heil'' were spray-painted on one side, they recalled, and ''France for the French'' on the other.
The desecration of the mosque in Castres, a tranquil provincial town east of Toulouse, was an ugly exception in generally easygoing relations between the native French population and about 10,000 Muslims, mostly Algerian immigrants and their children, who in recent years have made Castres their home. Mayor Pascal Bugis was quick to condemn the outrage, and police vowed a swift arrest of those responsible.
But for Abdelmalek Bouregba, head of the Castres Islamic Association, the vandalism was a troubling sign of the times. Signals are flashing everywhere that France is uneasy with its more than 5 million Muslims, he said, and the atmosphere has soured particularly since President Nicolas Sarkozy's Government last month began its ''great debate on national identity.''
In parallel with the debate, he noted, a parliamentary committee is holding hearings to determine whether legislation is needed forbidding public wearing of full veils by Muslim women. Its chairman, Andre Gerin, last week called such veils ''barbaric'' and Mr Sarkozy's friend and confidant, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, urged a ban in public buildings, such as town halls and hospitals, saying ''there is no place in France for burqas''.
A group of legislators from Mr Sarkozy's coalition, the Union for a Patriotic Movement, have proposed a law to forbid foreign flags at immigrant weddings in city halls.
And a small-town mayor from the Sarkozy coalition, Andre Valentin, warned during a government-sponsored national identity debate last week that ''we are going to be gobbled up'' unless something is done to halt the influx of immigrants, who he said ''are paid to do nothing''.
Full report at: http://www.theage.com.au
Sat, 19 Dec 2009
US Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Barack Obama has signed the order for a recent military strike on Yemen in which scores of civilians, including children, have been killed, a report says.
Upon the orders of Obama, the military warplanes on Thursday blanketed two camps in the North of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, claiming there were "an imminent attack against a US asset was being planned," ABC News quoted anonymous administration officials as saying on Friday.
The US air raids were then followed by a Yemeni ground forces attack.
The operation led to the death of around 120 people of whom many were civilians, including children, the report quoted Yemeni opposition as saying.
Obama also contacted Yemen's President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, after the blitz in order to "congratulate" him on his efforts against 'al-Qaeda,' the US news outlet quoted White House officials as telling reporters earlier.
The latest development comes in the wake of recently intensified attacks on the country's Shia Houthi fighters which has brought about a dire humanitarian situation in northern Yemen.
So far, the US officials have categorically denied any direct involvement in the air strikes on Houthi fighters, alleging they have only targeted growing al-Qaeda training camps, mostly located in southern parts of the Persian Gulf state. Yemen's Houthi fighters however insist US fighter jets have been bombing their region, claiming the lives of civilians in their air raids.
Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114119§ionid=351020206
Dec. 18, 2009
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Muslim leaders in the United States say relations between the religious community and the FBI have worsened in recent months, a newspaper reported Friday.
Some Muslims say in lawsuits they were told their green cards depended on whether they were willing to inform on family members outside the country, The New York Times reports. A group of South Asian Muslims in New York told the newspaper they were assembling a data base of complaints about investigators.
Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, was the Muslim representative at a prayer service in Washington after President Obama's inauguration. She said she knows Muslims who have canceled overseas trips or are less willing to give to Muslim charities.
"There is a sense that law enforcement is viewing our communities not as partners but as objects of suspicion," she said. "A lot of people are really, really alarmed about this."
The FBI says it tries to work with Muslim leaders. In October, agents met with 40 leaders in the New York borough of Queens.
© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
terrorist attacks are being carried out by terrorist all across the world. London, Israel, and Madrid were the lastest targets in the Western world. Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq-these are the places that suicide bombers are taking a serious toll on innocent civilians. Attacks that are ever increasing as radical Islamists telegraph their messages of hate around the world. It makes no difference whether the victims is Muslims, Christian, Jewish, man, woman, or child. Everyone is a legitimate target under the fatwa of Jihad. Everyone. You, me, our children, the elderly neighbors. Everyone, anywhere.
It’s only a matter of time before the rising tide of Islamic terrorist begin attacking our streets killing our children. It’s inevitable because America is a prime target. A symbol of power that must be attacked in order for Islamic terrorist to announce that Americans are weak and easily defeated.
Already in 2009 the FBI has thwarted Ten Jihadist plots to attack Americans. Those are just the plots that are being publicized, the one’s that they are talking about-there are probably more under investigation.
Ten plots by jihadist living right here in the United States legally. Ten plots to kill innocent Americans as they go about their lives. Most of whom are oblivious to the existential threat and danger by Islamist that have already breached our inner sanctum waiting for the moment that Allah calls to them-forever changing America and our perception of security at home.
It’s coming just as sure as the tide roll in and out. But this tide is awash in blood.
SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen's opposition accused the government on Friday of killing dozens of civilians, including whole families, in raids a day earlier which the authorities said had killed about 30 al Qaeda militants.
Yemen said on Thursday that security forces and warplanes had foiled a planned series of suicide bombings by attacking targets including an al Qaeda training center in the southern province of Abyan and sites in Arhab district.
The troops killed 30 al Qaeda militants and arrested 17 in Abyan and in Arhab, northeast of the capital Sanaa, it said.
U.S. President Barack Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, saying the operation "confirms Yemen's resolve in confronting the danger of terrorism represented by al Qaeda for Yemen and the world," Yemen's state media said.
An opposition website quoted sources in Abyan as saying 18 children and 41 men and women were killed in the attack there, eight families losing four to seven members each.
"In a dangerous precedent, ... the Sanaa regime committed a brutal massacre against our people," exiled southern leader Ali Salem al-Beidh said in a statement, calling for an investigation by the United Nations, and by Arab and Muslim countries.
A government official accused Beidh, who lives in Germany, of supporting al Qaeda in his statement and called for him to be handed over to Yemen, the state news agency Saba said.
Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com
Statement issued for citizens as operatives escape crackdown
Sana'a: The Yemeni government has warned its citizens against cooperating with Al Qaida operatives who escaped a government crackdown on Thursday.
In an official statement, the government praised its security men as heroes in the operation against the Al Qaida group. The crackdown was praised by both the US and Egypt as both countries said they stood with Yemen in their fight against Al Qaida.
The leader of Al Qaida in Abyan, Mohammad Saleh Al Kazimi, was confirmed to be among those killed.
The second man in Al Qaida in Yemen, Qasim Al Raimi, reportedly survived the attack. Ten of the Al Qaida members killed in Thursday's attacks were not Yemenis, according to the report.
Between 24-34 Al Qaida members were reportedly killed in the attack, but independent sources and eyewitnesses say that nearly 50 were killed and 60 injured including women and children.
Mumbai accused says he was framed
The man alleged to be the sole surviving gunman in last year's Mumbai attacks, Mohammad Qasab, has retracted a confession that he took part.
Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Qasab, a Pakistani national, said he had been forced by police to confess after being repeatedly beaten up.
He said he was not the man seen in pictures wielding an assault rifle during the attacks.
Mr Qasab faces 86 charges, including waging war on India and murder.
The November 2008 attacks left 174 people dead, including nine gunmen, and strained ties between India and Pakistan.
The BBC's Prachi Pinglay said Mr Qasab looked calm in court as he repeatedly denied having anything to do with the attacks, insisting he had been framed by the police.
A special court in Mumbai (Bombay) is prosecuting him and a verdict in the case is expected early next year.
Giving evidence in court, Mr Qasab said that all previous confessions he had given in relation to the attacks were false and made under duress. He said that an identity parade in which he took part had been "manipulated" by police.
He said that he had never been to any of the locations where the attacks took place and prior to his appearance in court had never even seen an AK-47 assault rifle.
He said that numerous eyewitness accounts of his role in the attacks were "completely wrong".
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk
PTI | Kochi
In an apparent fallout of the detention of a suspected LeT militant, Soofiya Madani, wife of PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madani, was arrested on Thursday in the 2005 Tamil Nadu bus burning case in Kerala shortly after the state High Court rejected her plea for anticipatory bail.
A 50-member police commando team, including women police personnel, picked up Soofiya from her residence and took her to the Thrikkakara police station, top police sources said.
Soofiya is likely to be produced before the Aluva Judicial First Class Magistrate court by tomorrow.
She was named as the 10th accused by Kerala Police recently after the interrogation of suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militant T Nazir, who was picked up on December 2 by Bangladesh Rifles along with an aide and handed over to Indian security agencies.
Nazir and his associate Shafaz have been questioned by Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police in connection with terror-related cases, including the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts that left two persons dead and 12 others injured.
Soofiya's arrest came within minutes after Justice K T Sankaran dismissed her bail plea observing that serious allegations had been levelled against her and waging war against the government was punishable with imprisonment for life or for 10 years.
Observing that the act of setting fire to the bus was accomplished as a result of "pre-mediation" and with the active assistance and involvement of several persons, the judge said there was prima facie evidence to indicate that terrorist activities took place.Relief of anticipatory bail was not intended to protect the accused in such offences, the court pointed out.
Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com
`30,000 soldiers withdrawn from J&K'
Pioneer News Service n New Delhi
Union Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday announced that the Army had withdrawn two divisions (about 30,000 men) from Jammu and Kashmir as security situation was improving.
He said the Government could pull out more troops if the situation further got better but favoured continuing with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to enable the Army to deal with terrorism and insurgency.
Stating that the law and order situation in the border State was improving, the Minister said, "Indian Army, by their own initiatives, have withdrawn two divisions (30,000) from J&K. Last year, they withdrew one, and this year the second division was withdrawn. They have been withdrawn because the situa tion has improved."
The two divisions were moved to their respective static locations in West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh over a span of two and half - years. These two divisions . were sent back in a phased manner in small detach ments, sources said. These - divisions were deployed in the wake of Kargil war in 1991 and during Operation Parakram in 2002.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on internal security, Antony said, "Whenever we feel situation is improving, we are willing to , further reduce the visibility and presence of the Armed Forces. But at the same time, , as long as the Army and Armed Forces are deployed, they need some special powers. Without special powers, Army cannot operate. I think with special powers they will not be able to act effectively.
But at the same time, we can have a detailed discussion about making some modifications here and there."
Full report at: http://epaper.dailypioneer.com
The soldier is the 103rd British death in Afghanistan this year
A British soldier from 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, has been killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
The soldier died from wounds which were sustained in a blast while on foot patrol in the Nad-e-Ali area of central Helmand on Saturday.
Next of kin have been informed of the soldier's death.
A total of 240 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001, including 103 this year.
Lieutenant Colonel David Wakefield, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "It is my sad duty to confirm that a soldier from 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment was killed this morning.
"One of our fellow soldiers taken from us in the course of his duty, who will not be forgotten."
On Tuesday, two UK soldiers were killed in Afghanistan as they stopped suicide bombers attacking a packed marketplace, their commanding officer said.
L/Cpl David Kirkness, 24, of West Yorkshire, and Rifleman James Brown, 18, from Kent, both of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, were killed by an explosion at a vehicle checkpoint near Sangin in Helmand.
IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
TEHRAN – Iran confirmed Saturday, December 19, the takeover of an oil well on the Iraqi border, in the first such incursion since the US invasion, insisting that the field lies on its territory.
“Our forces are on our own soil,” the armed forces command said in a statement cited by Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam television.
“Based on the known international borders, this well belongs to Iran."
Iranian troops on Friday took over Well 4 in Maysan province and raised the Iranian flag over the field.
"We summoned Iran's ambassador to Baghdad yesterday (Friday) to tell him that this attack is unacceptable,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hajj Hamud told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“Our ambassador to Tehran delivered a note to their foreign ministry to ask them to pull out their troops.”
Hamud said an Iranian unit made up of around a dozen soldiers and technicians was still posted at the disputed oil well on Saturday.
Well 4 is in the Fauqa Field, part of a cluster of oilfields which Iraq unsuccessfully put up for auction to oil majors in June.
The field has estimated reserves of 1.55 million barrels.
The Iranian incursion is the first into Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein, whose forces fought a 1980-1988 war against Iran.
Many leaders of Shiite parties who were exiled to Iran during the Saddam era are now in power in Baghdad.
Full report at: http://www.islamonline.net
Peshawar, Dec 19 (PTI) At least six militants were killed when Pakistani troops repulsed an attack on a security forces position in the restive Khyber tribal region bordering Afghanistan, authorities said today.
A group of militants fired several rockets at the Jhansi Camp of security forces in Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency late last night.
Six militants were killed when troops retaliated against the attack, the second strike by militants in two days.
No security personnel were injured in the militant attack or the subsequent skirmish, the media cell of the Frontier Corps said.
Troops are currently conducting operations in Khyber Agency against militants of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam.
Two security personnel were killed when militants targeted a convoy with a remote-controlled bomb in Malik Din Khel area. This prompted troops to launch a retaliatory action that killed three militants.
Here Is No Mistaking The Dangers Of Jihad
Dec. 16 — To the Editor:
I'm sorry Mr. Okhuysen, but the particulars of the case at Fort Hood does point to terrorist Hasan as being jihad and his actions before, during and those that will be forthcoming, are purely jihadist.
I understand your not wanting to debate this political ideology that has religion as one of its components, but then most die-hard liberals won't touch the subject and Islamic apologists just end up throwing the race, bigot and Islamophobia card around. That's fine, because we critics of Islam — not Muslims, but Islam — will continue to expose this political ideology for what it really is and the danger it poses to democracy.
This brings us to Sharia law. They are legal codes that are said to be the product of divine fiat, which do not lend themselves to compartmentalization or limitations on power.
They are laws that have something to say about every element of life and most troubling is the mandate within Islam to impose Islamic rule by all means (Qur'an 8:39), especially while violence is not only acceptable, but glorified in the Qur'an and the example of Muhammad.
Sharia law is primarily about the religious practice of Islam, but does include rules and regulations on trade, inheritance, and marriage (suitable partners, legal rights, custody). Divorce and justice comprise about one-third of the manual and are among the most controversial because they impose draconian punishments, authorize jihad and sanction discrimination on the basis of religion and gender. If this is to compete with democracy, then it must be debated.
Peter P. Bresciano
TANJUNG MALIM, Dec 18 (Bernama)
Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah on Friday said that Islam's status as the country's official religion as enshrined in the constitution and the position of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and Malay state rulers as heads of the religion allows for the Federal Government and State Governments to allocate spending for the matters related to the religion.
He said apart from that the government also had the wisdom to meet the needs of other religions in the country.
"Religious matters are enshrined in the country's Constitution. Article 3 (1) of the Malaysian Constitution sets Islam as the official religion; but other religions can be practised in peace and harmony," he said at a function to commemorate Maal Hijrah 1431 Hijrah at the Perak-state level as well as to officiate the Masjid At-Taqwa at Proton City here.
Also present was the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.
Sultan Azlan said the constitution was drafted as an instrument of reference to governance as the country achieved independence and the consitution was not only drafted by Muslims and Malays but was drafted with agreement of various quarters who represented various races and religions.
"The spirit enshrined in Article 3 (1) of the Constitution is recognised by the country. That is why on festivals various cultures and religions are respected to the point that Malaysia has so many public holidays to respect religious and cultural events," he said.
He said the high level of tolerance and understanding displayed by Muslims and Malays as the indigenous people of the land enabled and allowed the fostering of various cultures and religions and this was the basis for Malaysia's strength as a united nation, with political stability, capable of economic growth that was effective and focused.
"Matters related to race, culture, language and religion are sensitive and can easily touch emotions. Such sensitive matters can easily lead to provocation as well as misunderstanding leading up to controversy and confrontation," he said.
Sultan Azlan Shah also presented the 'Tokoh Maal Hijrah Perak 1431 Hijrah' award to Ibrahim Mahmud at the function.
Ibrahim, 71, who is the principal of Sekolah Menengah Agama Imam As-Syafie in Ipoh received a plaque, a medal, RM10,000, a 'umrah' package worth RM5,000 and a certificate.
PUTRAJAYA, Dec 18 (Bernama)
Muslims must work on building strong character while adopting good practices and staying away from the bad, said Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Muad'zam Shah.
He said the Muslim community should emulate the tolerance and ability to give and take as demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad and his compatriots. "Although the clans (duirng the time of Prophet Muhamamd) initially wanted to defend their views and opinions, they were willing to put aside their interests for their people, and whatever problems they had were resolved amicably. "As a result, Islam continued to spread and flourish," he said at the 2009/1431 National-Level Maal Hijrah celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here on Friday.
He also reminded each Muslim to take responsibility for uniting the Muslim community and set aside group or individual interests.
"Muslims must put Islamic law above anything else. This is the only way to avoid disturbances, slander, friction and disunity.
"They must work hard to attain the strength, greatness and excellence achieved by Muslims long ago," he added.
The ceremony was also graced by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Maj Gen (Retd) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom.
In KOTA BAHRU, the Regent of Kelantan, Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra stressed on examples related to the fall of Islam such as the fall of the Ottaman empire in 1924 which happened of Muslim disunity.
"Muslims are now in an era of weakness and total collapse. They are disunited based on race, thinking and clans, which results in them being challenged and insulted everywhere," he said.
In KOTA KINABALU, Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah called upon the people to place harmony and devotion in increasing knowledge and ensuring peaceful living.
"I hope the people will work together to achieve the religious, racial and national vision," he said at the state-level Maal Hijrah celebration held at Dewan Saadah, Wisma MUIS, near here on Friday.
Full report at: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=463220
New centrifuge models for N-programme ready, says Iran's nuclear chief
Ali Akbar Dareini
Ir F s an's nuclear chief said on riday that the country has started making more efficient centrifuge models that it plans to put in use by early 2011 -- a statement that underscores Tehran's defiance and adds to international concerns over its nuclear ambitions.
The official, Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, said Iranian scientists are still testing the more advanced models before they will become operational at the country's enrichment facilities. Tehran has been saying since April that it is building more advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium with higher efficiency and precision, but Salehi's remarks were the first indication of a timeline when the new models could become operational.
The new centrifuge models will be able to enrich uranium much faster than the old ones -- which would add to growing concerns in the West because they would allow Tehran to accelerate the pace of its programme.
That would mean Iran could amass more material in a shorter space of time that could be turned into the fissile core of missiles, should Tehran choose to do so. Iran's uranium enrichment is a major concern to the international community, worried that the program masks efforts to make a nuclear weapon.
Tehran insists its enrichment work is peaceful and only meant to generate electricity, not make an atomic bomb.
By SAEED SHAH
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan, a country that's critical to the U.S.-led war on terrorism, Friday appeared to be sliding toward a judicial coup, in which judges are moving to oust top officials in the civilian government, but without putting the military, or anyone else, in charge.
Courts summoned dozens of senior members of the ruling political party and were on the verge of issuing an arrest warrant for Interior Minister Rehman Malik as they followed up a landmark Supreme Court decision this week that nullified a legal amnesty that had shielded politicians from long-standing corruption charges.
The U.S. relies on Pakistan for transit of most supplies NATO forces in Afghanistan and has pressed the government to crack down on al-Qaida and Afghan militants who have sanctuary in the lawless border region, but top U.S. officials are playing down the crisis as an internal matter for Pakistan.
Just who's running this nuclear-armed country of 165 million - the independent judiciary or another arm of the state - is unclear. The government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, appeared paralyzed, and a creeping change in command seemed to be under way.
"It's complete (judicial) control now," said Asma Jahangir, the chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent watchdog. "The issue is whether the (democratic) system is going to pack up again (and go away)." She asked why the judiciary was "again" letting itself be used by "the establishment?"
Jahangir, a U.N. special human rights envoy, said the judiciary wouldn't have acted so boldly unless it felt confident of backing.
The army, which has dominated the country for most of its existence, is Pakistan's traditional power center, but it's strongly denied that it will interfere in politics again since democracy was restored last year. The U.S. has also said repeatedly that the Pakistani military is staying out of politics.
"It seems to me that Zardari's administration has lost its moral authority to govern. Power is slipping away," said Najam Sethi, an analyst and newspaper editor. "People are looking instead towards the chief justice. ... The military is pretending to be out of it, but the military will have a very decisive say in everything."
Full report at: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/world/AP/story/1389500.html
The old cliché that the first casualty of war is truth has never been so blatantly evident as we witness the making of further wars and conflict. As 2010 heralds in with fresh hopes and expectations and sentimental songs of love and peace will be sung at end-of-year parties, our leaders have already signaled that occupation and war will be continuing in the New Year. Ironically US President Barack Obama, fresh from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, had already ordered 30,000 troops to be deployed to Afghanistan to basically “get Al-Qaeda’ which Obama has declared is still “holed up there and a threat to US national security.”
As history has shown, the first casualty of war is not only the truth but also a free press. In more autocratic regimes blatant censorship is the rule; however the twisted phenomena practiced in the Western media is to abhor censorship but at the same time omit the truth. The main trend after 9/11 has been not to question government policies while at the same time omit the facts that do not fall in line with “our reality.” The mainstream prominent broadcasters and newspapers today continue the same unquestioning narrative that led President Bush to start the “unending war on terror”.
Many critics view the war in Iraq as a failure. Far from transporting democracy, American occupation turned the country into one big violent insurgency. Attempts were made to link the insurgents to Al-Qaeda, yet the truth could not be disguised; the insurgents were just mostly Iraqis against American occupation. In the same way that the Taleban which after 2001 was just a weak and dispersed group have turned into a strong fighting force. Many Afghanis disagree with their ideas, but joined it just to fight against occupation of their country. Most Western journalists continue to omit the facts in their news reports and push the government line that all insurgents are linked to “Al-Qaeda”.
Full report at: http://pakobserver.net/200912/19/news/world05.asp
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has presented his cabinet nominees to parliament, amid close Western scrutiny on the need to tackle corruption.
The list was read to a packed parliament amid boisterous scenes.
The BBC's Peter Greste in Kabul says Western powers will be largely satisfied - two ministers accused of corruption have lost their jobs.
Mr Karzai was last month declared the winner of the presidential election after a poll process marred by fraud.
Hamid Karzai was not in parliament as the list of 23 nominees was read out by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anwar Jigdalak.
"You esteemed delegates of the people are asked to take another positive step by giving a vote of confidence to the above mentioned nominees," Mr Jigdalak said.
Our correspondent says most of the key ministers with solid reputations have held on to their jobs.
The interior, finance and defence ministries remain unchanged.
Two politicians accused of pocketing large sums of donor money - the ministers of mines and the Hajj - have both gone.
One surprise change is that Foreign Minister Rangin Spanta has lost his job, although no replacement has been announced.
Mr Spanta will stay on for a key conference on Afghanistan in London in January. No reason was given for his departure.
One appointment likely to draw criticism is Ismail Khan - a former warlord from the western province of Herat who has been accused of human rights abuses and corruption.
He retains his post as minister of water and energy.
The only female nominee is for women's affairs.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8422058.stm
The suspects are said to have offered to drive cocaine across the Sahara
A court in the US has for the first time charged suspected members of al-Qaeda with plotting to traffic cocaine in order to fund terrorism.
The three suspects, who are believed to be from Mali, were extradited to New York from Ghana.
They were arrested this week in an operation involving informants posing as Colombian leftist rebels.
The suspects allegedly offered al-Qaeda protection for moving cocaine from West Africa through the Sahara to Spain.
They arrived in the US on Friday and were ordered to be held without bail after a brief court appearance. They did not enter pleas to charges of narco-terrorism conspiracy and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, US officials said.
Washington has long been concerned about close ties between militants and the heroin trade in Afghanistan but the African case appears to show an expansion of both al-Qaeda's global operations and the US response, The Associated Press news agency reports.
The US authorities say the men are associates of al-Qaeda's North African branch and had told US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informants that al-Qaeda could protect major shipments of cocaine in the region, driving the drugs by lorry through the Sahara desert.
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8422010.stm
By Abdel Bari Atwan
It is remarkable that Britain is considering changing its laws to prevent Israeli officials from being arrested
Irony is heaped upon irony in the wake of the warrant for Tzipi Livni's arrest for war crimes issued by a British judge last week. Livni was due to address the ultra-Zionist Jewish National Fund (JNF) conference in North London on December 13 but, on hearing of the British judiciary's alterative plans for her weekend, suddenly discovered a ‘diary clash' and stayed at home instead.
Livni is the latest in a string of Israeli parliamentarians to find themselves on the wrong side of international law. In October, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon pulled out of an JNF dinner on the advice of Israeli legal experts who have also warned Cabinet ministers with a security portfolio and senior Israel Defence Forces (IDF) officers not to visit Britain, Spain, Belgium or Norway, where lawyers are seeking to apply ‘universal jurisdiction' to bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice.
Universal jurisdiction, of course, is the principle applied by Israel when it brought Adolf Eichmann to trial in Occupied Jerusalem in 1961. It is the principle under which ‘Ivan the Terrible' aka John Demjanjuk is currently being tried in Germany for the murder of 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.
Shockingly, the question does not appear to be whether or not the Israelis committed war crimes during the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza (which left more than 1,400, mostly civilian, dead) but whether or not they should be held to account for them.
The Arab, Muslim and human-rights activists who instigated the legal application for Livni's arrest warrant were obliged to take justice into their own hands when the British government failed to abide by the fourth Geneva convention, which requires the 189 participating countries (Britain included) to bring persons who have committed grave breaches of its principles to trial.
Full report at: http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/israel-twists-arm-of-the-law-1.555611
Columbia -- President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world last June was chosen as the top religion story of 2009 in a survey of journalists who cover the beat.
Obama extended a hand to the Islamic world in a speech in Cairo while quoting from the Quran, the Gospel of Matthew and the Talmud, the collection of Jewish law.
"So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity," Obama said in the speech. "And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end."
Sat, Dec 19th, 2009
Dhaka, Dec 19 (bdnews24.com) -- Bangladesh will put pressure on Myanmar to stop pushback of Rohingya people across border at the upcoming foreign secretary level talks, foreign secretary said Saturday.
Bangladesh foreign secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes will receive his Myanmar counterpart U Maung Mynt on December 28 for a two-day bilateral talks.
"We will talk on repatriation of Rohingya refugees and stopping pushback by Myanmar," Quayes told reporters at a press briefing at the foreign ministry.
"In addition to 29,000 refugees living in the camps, some 300,000 people have intruded into Bangladesh over the past several years."
"We will stress on improving the situation in Myanmar so that exodus of the people stops," the foreign secretary said.
Repatriation of Rohingya refugees has remained a major issue for discussion between the two countries since 1992 when over a million people from Myanmar's Northern Rakhain state from crackdown on its Muslim Rohingyas in the bordering Bangladesh.
The two neighbours with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees repatriated most of the refugees, but about 29,000 people have refused to go back to their homes in Myanmar fearing further repressive actions by the military.
According to the government officials, most of the "repatriated" Rohingya refugees returned to Bangladesh as human rights and economic situation has not improved in their ancestral homes.
Full report at: http://bdnews24.com/details.php?id=149190&cid=2
Tehran denies raid; Iraq demands withdrawal as tensions rise
Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service, with files from Reuters and Agence France-Presse
UNITED NATIONS - Iraq demanded on Friday that Iran immediately withdraw its forces from the Iraqi oil well it seized after crossing the border with tanks.
Although an Iranian agency report denied there had been any incursion, Iraq's deputy interior minister said 11 Iranian soldiers had dug in at the well in the Fauqa field and raised the Iranian flag.
An Iraqi border general said the Iranians "positioned tanks ... and dug trenches" around the field's Well No. 4, while other officials said the incursion was the latest of several like it this week.
Iraq is the third-largest oil producer in the Middle East, while Iran is second only to Saudi Arabia.
"Iraq will not give up its oil wealth," said Jawad al-Bulani, Iraq's Interior Minister, in a televised statement.
Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, called an emergency meeting of the Iraqi National Security Council, which ruled Iran had violated Iraq's "territorial integrity" and demanded it withdraw.
The U.S. military in Iraq said "no violence" had taken place as it confirmed the presence of the Iranian soldiers.
The border dispute erupted as Iran announced a new development in its nuclear program, which Western countries believe is secretly aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.
Iran's nuclear chief said yesterday the Islamic Republic had begun making more efficient centrifuge models, which it planned to place at the country's uranium enrichment plants.
Ties between Iraq and Shiite-run Iran have improved since a Shiite government took power in Baghdad after elections made possible by the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein's Sunni regime.
Full report at: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2361845
Yemeni government allegedly benefited from US military equipment and intelligence support under the pretext of fighting “al-Qaeda” although the attacks have mostly killed civilians.
The New York Times on Saturday quoted US officials as reporting the reinforcement which was approved by President Barack Obama after an alleged request by the Yemeni government. They said the aid was meant to be used to throttle al-Qaeda attacks "against American and other foreign targets."
The newspaper quoted Yemeni officials as saying that the government raids had killed at least 34 militants. Bystanders, however, say more than 60 people — most of them civilians — were killed in the attack. A provincial official said that only ten suspected militants were killed in the attack.
American broadcaster the ABC News, meanwhile, said US missiles had been used by the Yemeni soldiers during the assault.
On Friday, the channel quoted administration officials as saying that the commander-in-chief had authorized earlier deadly airstrikes on two camps north of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a based on the claim that "an imminent attack against a US asset was being planned," there.
Yemeni Houthi fighters said the US attacks on Thursday had killed 120 civilians, including women and children. A report on the Houthis' website on Saturday said that three civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed in fresh air raids carried out by US warplanes.
White House officials, cited by the ABC News, said Obama afterwards contacted Yemen's President, Ali Abdullah Saleh to "congratulate" him on his efforts against "al-Qaeda."
Pentagon spokesman, Bryan G. Whitman was also quoted by the Times as saying “Yemen should be commended for actions against al-Qaeda…Al-Qaeda poses a serious threat to Yemeni, US and regional interests."
Full report at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114154§ionid=351020206
Muslim Women Union Wants Muslims Action On Minaret Ban By Swiss Govt
19 Dec 2009
KHARTOUM, Dec 19 (NNN-SUNA) — The International Union of Muslim Women Union has urged Muslims to take a clear cut stands towards the decision taken by Switzerland on the ban of construction of minarets.
The union says Muslims should consider withdrawing all of their money from that country’s banks.
A statement issued by the Union In Khartoum said this move was a part of the cycle of conspiracy woven against Islam by the international Zionism.
The union recalled that zionists’ aim is to remove all symbols and signs of Islamic presence starting from the minarets construction up the banking of the erection of mosques and that this would culminate with the plan of erasing Islamic presence from existence there if they could be able to do so.
However, the statement said the Zionist movement would not be able to reach that objective. — NNN-SUNA
By Staff Reporter James Jammeh, Banjul
Imam Fofana Accused Of Making “ Hostile Statements” Against The SIC
The Supreme Islamic Council, which is Gambia’s main Muslim religious body, has been accused of facilitating the arrest of a highly respectable Imam Ba-Kawsu Fofana. Mr. Fofana was lured into the Yundum police station on the pretext that he was needed there for questioning, only to be arrested on arrival. He was accused of making hostile statements against the religious body, which he emphatically denied. Police say they received a complaint from the Supreme Islamic Council against Imam Fofana regarding his opposition to the organization. That the religious leader was bent on “undermining” their activities in the country.
Mr. Fofana was booked by the police on December 4th 2009, on arrival at the Yundum Police, sources said. The controversial Imam who hailed from Jarra Kanikunda, never minces his views on religious matters. He preached about honesty, accountability, good manners, and tolerance in the country.
The Supreme Islamic Council has been empowered to determine dates for Muslim festivities in The Gambia. But Imam Fofana’s views on the Muslim feast Tabaski, do not go down well with the Council. The Imam urged Gambians to pray on the same day and avoid confusion on feasts like Tabaski.
Imam Fofana told police that he fears only God and no human being. He says his preaching were premised on religious teachings and that no one can make him to circumvent the dictates of the Koran.
"I only fear God and the day of judgment,” he posited.
The popular Imam told Police he does not believe in appeasing the powers that be just for the sake of achieving one’s personal aggrandizement.
Full report at: http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/Homepage/tabid/36/mid/367/newsid367/4750/Breaking-News-Gambia-
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