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Photo: Uma Bharti Celebrating Demolition Of Babri Mosque With Murli Manohar Joshi
Babri demolition: Liberhan report flays 'fanatical Muslim leadership'
While pinning the blame of the Babri Masjid demolition on Hindu rightwing groups, the Liberhan Commission has also lashed out at the 'fanatical Muslim leadership' for 'its failure to protest effectively against the events which were building up to a crescendo'.
The voluminous report, running to more than 1,000 pages, indicted 'selective Muslim leaders, obsessed with building personal or individual influence or following for enhancing their political influence for self gain'. They were 'mere bystanders' and 'put forth a dismal performance'.
'While the RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the BJP brought the temple construction movement to the front burner and caused it to boil over, the fanatic Muslim leadership making the counterclaim were either completely complacent and had no substantial or effective leadership or were simply incompetent,' it stated.
Singling out the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), later the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC), it said 'the Muslim leadership did little to counter the latent fears stoked up by the RSS and VHP leadership and instead provided it with the opportunity to embark on what started out as a defensive strategy'.
According to the report, tabled in parliament Tuesday: 'It is impossible to fight a war or to recruit warriors without the presence of an adversary... The Muslim leadership wittingly or unwittingly fulfilled this requirement for the founders of the RSS and the VHP.'
The Muslim leadership, the one-man commission has concluded, was 'conspicuous by its absence'.
It did little to 'counter the distortions of history that were being bandied about by the Sangh Parivar to whip up the country into a frenzy'.
The leadership's sins of omission had made the Sangh Parivar's task easier, Justice Liberhan has said in his conclusion while holding the organisations and individuals 'guilty at a tertiary level for their failure to effectively champion the cause of their constituents, and of the neutrals, and for their failure as an effective democratic opposition'.
25 November 2009,
KOLKATA: A day after Justice M S Liberhan’s report was leaked to a section of the media, triggering an uproar in Parliament and debate across the country, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist from West Bengal, who had participated in one of the kar sevas in Ayodhya that culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, believes the commission is right in cracking down on the administration and politicians for the events that rocked the nation.
“I believe that the government was responsible for what had happened. Had the administration been efficient and strong, the demolition would never have taken place. It is a scar on the very concept of Hindutva that is rooted in non-violence and tolerance,” said Liluah resident Rakesh Mishra, the only one in his family to believe in the RSS ideology.
Rakesh had taken part in the kar seva in October 1990 when a lathicharge had injured Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) president Ashok Singhal. This had triggered brickbatting and violence that led to police firing in which fellow kar sevaks from Bengal — Ram and Sharad Kothari — were killed. In November 1992, Rakesh was bitterly disappointed when he could not join Mahendra Tiwari, Anil Singh, Anand Pandey and several dozen others as they set out from Howrah for Ayodhya. With college examinations round the corner, Rakesh could not make it to Ayodhya that time.
“I remember the tension in the air on the eve of December 6, 1992. Everyone was talking about kar seva and the vulnerability of the mosque. But I was supremely confident that people had got it wrong. For, I was there on the previous kar seva trip in October 1990. We sang devotional songs and chanted ‘Jai Siya Ram’. But there had never been any programme to tear down the structure. Hence, I thought they had got it all wrong and told my family members so,” he recalled.
Next evening, when the first photographs and visuals of the Babri Masjid being stormed were telecast, Rakesh stared in disbelief. “I was stupefied to see kar sevaks atop the dome. When the horror of what had happened subsided, I was glad that I was not there. For, violence was never part of the ideology of Hindutva. The demolition was a shameful act. It did enormous harm to the the cause of building a temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. Not only did the action lead to erosion of popular support, the movement lost the high moral ground,” said Rakesh, making it clear that the events of December should not have happened.
However, fellow RSS activist Madan Mohan Sarkar, who was at Ayodhya alongside Rakesh in 1990 and took part in the 1992 demolition, does not have any regrets. The Shibpur resident claims he went to Ayodhya with the implicit knowledge that the ‘structure’ had to be pulled down.
“We all went there with a mission to demolish the masjid and succeeded. We were third time lucky as the previous two attempts had failed. I was there on each occasion and ready for the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of my religion. We reached there a fortnight ahead of the D-day and stayed at a college outside the town. On December 5, we were shifted to various temples close to the restricted area. The march for the masjid began in the wee hours the next day. Then crowd surged past the barrier and I knew this was the day,” Madan remembered.
Seventeen years on, Madan does not repent what happened. His only regret is that Ram temple has not come up yet. And what does he think of the current brouhaha over the Liberhan Commission report? “I don’t care a fig. We went there to demolish the mosque and did just that. I pulled out a couple of bricks. Others hammered away at the structure and razed it to the ground. Had I lost my life in the attempt to pull the structure down, I would have considered myself fortunate,” he said.
But what about the cycle of violence that the act triggered in the subcontinent? “Yes, it did incite the Mumbai bombings in March 1993. And the Kali temple at Dhaka was razed. But what has to happen will happen. It is ordained. The mosque was to go and I was to be a part of it,” he said defiantly.
November 25, 2009
Bharatiya Janshakti chief Uma Bharti on Tuesday said she was taking moral responsibility of demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya and described the Liberhan Commission report as "political document".
"It's purely a political document," she said and wondered time consumed by the commission. "For preparing such a document the Liberhan Commission required 17 years and crores of rupees were spent on it," Bharti, who has been indicted by the Commission, told reporters here today.
There was nothing legal and findings could not punish anyone, the former BJP leader said.
"For crores of Hindus, Ram temple was a matter of faith. It was high time senior BJP leader LK Advani should take initiative in resolving the Ram Mandir issue," she said.
"It was the right time to resolve the issue which has been pending for nearly two decades. For some period of time, the issue can be freezed but can never be buried," she said.
She also expressed her desire to meet VHP international president Ashok Singhal on the temple issue, saying VHP was primarily responsible for uniting the people together for the cause.
Bharti evaded questions on joining BJP and said she will run her party and can even support the BJP on certain issues from outside.
The Liberhan Commission report has pulled up the Babri movement’s Muslim leadership for not being able to present cogent material before the panel and added that, while in the initial stages they participated in the proceedings that dropped off until the last stages of the Commission’s tenure.
Justice Liberhan observed, “Although some of the witnesses were cross-examined by the counsel for the Muslim Personal Law Board, with some exceptions, there was no effective participation on behalf of Muslims as a community or otherwise.”
He further remarked that the leadership could not provide an “alternative theory or any version” on behalf of the Muslims. He scathingly said, “Responsible educated literate citizens claiming to be the leaders of a particular community, or the ones who participated in negotiations preceding the demolition etc. never came forward to disclose any material, or facts in any form…They did not help the commission in collecting of evidence or by participating in the commission’s proceedings or by leading any evidence.” He also added that on the whole “no substantial help was rendered by them.”
Justice Liberhan noted that it was only during the “last stages” — almost a decade after the panel began work — that the counsel for Muslim personal law Board joined the proceedings. “Mushtaq Ahmed (the counsel) started appearing before the Commission after half a decade of its existence; before the joining or associating of the Muslim Personal Law Board before the commission… Another lawyer A Haq showed up once or twice but made no worthwhile contribution to the inquiry.”
The commission said that “selective Muslim leaders, obsessed with building personal or individual influence or following for enhancing their political influence for self gain, were reduced to mere “bystanders”.
Singling out the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), later the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC), the report remarked, “The Muslim leadership did little to counter the latent fears stoked up by the RSS and VHP leadership and instead provided it with the opportunity to embark on what started out as a defensive strategy.”
Blaming the Muslim for becoming a counterfoil to the Hindu groups, Justice Liberhan stated, “It is impossible to fight a war or to recruit warriors without the presence of an adversary... The Muslim leadership wittingly or unwittingly fulfilled this requirement for the founders of the
New Delhi: Missing from the otherwise detailed sequence of events recounted by the Liberhan report into the Babri Masjid’s demolition is an account of the role played by the Congress leadership in getting the mosque, which had remained locked for decades, opened for Hindu worshippers in 1986.
When the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute first flared up in 1949, the authorities decided to lock the disputed premises so that neither Hindus nor Muslims could use the act of worship to press their claims.
Tracing the rise of the Sangh Parivar’s anti-Babri Masjid campaign from 1984 onwards, Justice Liberhan describes how the central focus of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s movement was to get the mosque unlocked so that they could appropriate the space as a site of worship for Lord Ram.
On page 87 of his report, Mr. Liberhan describes the decision of the Faizabad district judge to unlock the mosque on February 1, 1986. One of the reasons the judge cited was a statement by the District Magistrate which said that the reopening of the mosque would not lead to any law and order problems.
What Justice Liberhan left out of his narrative was any consideration of the role played by the Congress Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Bir Bahadur Singh, and Rajiv Gandhi, who was the Prime Minister at the time.
According to reports at the time, the Congress leadership, acting through Arun Nehru, ensured that the locks of the mosque were opened within an hour of the Faizabad judge’s ruling. What is more, television cameras were on hand to record the triumphant entry of Hindu worshippers.
The Congress strategy was to undercut the BJP’s temple campaign, but it backfired as the Sangh Parivar quickly seized the initiative.
With the tabling of Liberhan Commission report in the Parliament on Tuesday, Muslim outfits too have redrawn their strategies. Amid hopes of nailing down leaders of Sangh Parivar organisations, they are surprised at the omission of Congress leaders in the report and a soft Action Taking Report (ATR) by the UPA Government.
Politics is also expected to hot up in the State over Babri Mosque issue. Shedding all apprehensions, the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) will approach various political parties seeking their support in their case. "We will issue an appeal and even contact political leaders from secular camp to support us in putting pressure over the Government, said Zafaryab Jilani, Convenor, BMAC.
"The findings in the report will strengthen our case in nailing down the BJP and its leaders. It has now been established that the mosque was razed with meticulous planning and it was not a sudden outburst. A charge of conspiracy should be added against the BJP leaders," he added.
Jilani however remained soft towards, BJP's Atal Bihari Bajpayee on grounds that they do not have evidence and he was not part of the conspiracy. "We do not want Bajpayee's indictment as he was not part of the conspiracy though he was aware about their designs."
On the other hand, the BMAC has expressed its disagreement over the exclusion of Congress leaders from the issue. "This is not accpetable to us. We are of the opinion that PV Narsimha Rao did nothing at his end to prevent the incident. It is strange that Congress leaders' do not figure in the report," said Jilani.
By Paul Handley
November 24, 2009
RIYADH - Thirty years ago, as tens of thousands of hajj pilgrims were completing dawn prayers inside Mecca, gunshots pierced the sanctity of the Grand Mosque.
To mark a new century on the Islamic calendar, a group of millennialist zealots, who claimed to have with them the new redeemer — the mahdi — seized Islam's holiest site.
The November 20, 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque by Juhayman al-Oteibi and his 400-plus fundamentalists, and the subsequent unholy, bloody military assault to dislodge them, stunned Muslims worldwide and rocked the Saudi monarchy to its foundation.
While Oteibi and 67 fellow militants were ultimately caught and beheaded, and the mahdi was shot dead in the battle, the incident continues to reverberate through Saudi society and the world, say historians.
"It is painfully clear: the countdown to September 11, to the terrorist bombings in London and Madrid, and to the grisly Islamic violence ravaging Afghanistan and Iraq all began on that warm November morning," wrote Yaroslav Trofimov, author of the most complete account of the uprising, "The Siege of Mecca".
The hajj had just finished when Oteibi and his band smuggled hundreds of assault weapons into the mosque at the center of Mecca.
Angered at what they saw was Saudi society's plunge into immorality, with Muslims embracing "Western" entertainment like cinema, television and sports, and Muslim women taking jobs, Oteibi's act was to herald a new age of purism.
His army took over every corner of the massive walled mosque, locking shut the normally welcoming gates, sending machine-gun armed snipers into the seven minarets, and taking hostage hundreds of the faithful.
Quickly shooting dead two guards who resisted, they denounced Saudi Arabia's leading clerics as corrupt and the ruling Al-Saud family as illegitimate.
Snipers picked off arriving policemen and soldiers and it would take two weeks and a massive Saudi army effort, that began with shelling the mosque and ended up with hand-to-hand fighting, to regain control.
The soldiers were backed by a small team of French commandos, led by the now infamous Lieutenant Paul Barril, and endorsed by a fatwa extracted the highest clerics that it was permissible to shoot the rebels inside the sanctum.
The official death toll was 127 soldiers, 117 rebels, and an unknown number of civilians. Trofimov cites independent observers in reporting a toll of "well over 1,000 lives."
Full report at: http://www.canada.com/news/years+bloody+Mecca+mosque+siege+reverberates/2261045/story.html
Key Indian Mujahideen commander Tandiyantavide Nasir held
MUMBAI: Bangladesh authorities say they have disrupted a Lashkar-e-Taiba attack plot timed to coincide with the anniversary of last year’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Police in Dhaka say Kannur-origin Lashkar commander Tadiyantavide Nasir had been ordered to lead a fidayeen assault against the Indian and United States diplomatic missions in Dhaka on November 26.
Early this month, the police held several suspects involved in the plot during a raid on a seminary in the mountains near Chittagong. Shahidul Islam and Al-Amin, also known as Saiful, were held along with the influential Islamist cleric Mufti Harun Izahar.
Izahar is the son of Mufti Harun Izahar, the leader of the Islami Oikya Jote [Islamic Unity Party] which is fighting to turn Bangladesh into an Islamic state.
Three Pakistani nationals allegedly linked to the Lashkar have also been reportedly held in Bangladesh. Mohammad Munwar, Mohammad Ashraf Ali Zahid and Syed Abdul Qayyum were held in raids following Mufti Izhar’s arrest.
Nasir and a second Indian associate, The Bangladesh Star reported on Tuesday, had evaded Bangladesh authorities during the raid, but were later held by Indian intelligence personnel near the Bibir Bazar border near Comilla. Indian government officials refused to either confirm or deny the report.
India’s intelligence services believe funds for the assault were despatched by Abdul Rehman Saeed, a Pakistan-based Lashkar commander responsible for managing its networks in Bangladesh.
Police in India say Nasir helped organise last year’s serial bombings in Bangalore, and also supplied electronic components used by the Indian Mujahideen to fabricate improvised explosive devices used in other strikes.
Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/25/stories/2009112561181400.htm
Humanist and Ethical Union
23 November 2009
Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims joined forces in London to protest against Sharia and against all religious laws and courts. The rally took place in Hyde Park, Saturday 21 November 2009. Speakers included: Roy Brown, of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU); rally organizer Maryam Namazie, of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (an IHEU Member Organization); David Pollock, president of the European Humanist Federation; Naomi Phillips of the British Humanist Association (IHEU MO); and Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society (IHEU MO).
The themes of the protest were "one law for all" and "universal human rights." Expressing solidarity with Muslims resisting the "inequalities and inhumanities" of Sharia law, the protesters affirmed their commitment to democracy, secularism, equality and human rights.
Among those addressing the crowds were speakers from Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and the UK. They expressed solidarity with Muslim communities worldwide and condemned racist, anti-Muslim far right and fascist groups.
"Sharia law is a form of religious dogma and tyranny. It is homophobic, sexist and anti-democratic. It persecutes LGBT Muslims. Same-sex acts carry the death penalty in several Islamic states. Gay people can be stoned to death or hanged in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. We support LGBT Muslims - and all Muslims - who are fighting for their freedom," said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage! and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East.
"This protest supports secular democracy. Secularism is often confused with anti-clericalism. The two are not the same. Secularism is not against religion per se. It is against giving religion privileged status, rights and protections.
"We believe there should be a separation of religion from the state. No faith should dominate any government and seek to impose its creed on the rest of society. When this happens, freedom of expression is diminished and minority faiths are victimised.
Full report at: http://www.iheu.org/no-sharia-rally-london-brings-together-muslims-and-humanists
Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has denounced Pakistan’s “selective” approach in the fight against terrorism, and said he did not want to speculate about India’s response in the event of another 26/11-type attack.
At an interaction at the Council on Foreign Relations – an American non-profit and non-partisan membership organisation, here, he, however, indicated India’s readiness to resume dialogue with Pakistan provided it abjured terrorism and came to the table with “good faith and sincerity.”
“It is my solemn hope that India and Pakistan can together move forward to write a new chapter in the history of the sub-continent...I have said that we are ready to pick up the threads of the dialogue, including on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
On joint statement
Asked about the reference to India-Pakistan relations in the recent joint statement issued by the U.S. and China after talks in Beijing between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, he said, “What happens between President Obama and President Hu is not our direct concern“.
Asked about China’s economic growth, the Prime Minister said there was no doubt that its performance was superior to that of India.
But he hastened to add that he would not like to choose the Chinese path and instead stick to the one pursued by India.
Dr. Singh said:
“There are several dimensions to human freedom, which are not always caught by the numbers with regard to the GDP. So I do believe that even though Indian performance with regard to GDP might not be as good as the Chinese, certainly I would not like to choose the Chinese path. I would like to stick to Indian path.
“No doubt the Chinese growth performance is superior to India’s growth performance. But I always believe that there are other values that are important than the growth of GDP – respect for fundamental human rights, respect for rule of law, respect for multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious rights.”
Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/25/stories/2009112555831000.htm
WASHINGTON: The United States cannot play a role in resolving the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday.
The US president, who had extensive discussions with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the situation in South Asia, said, “Obviously there are historic conflicts between India and Pakistan. It is not the place of the US to try, from the outside, to resolve all those conflicts.”
Obama, however, said Washington wanted to “be encouraging ways in which both India and Pakistan can feel secure and focus on the development of their own countries and their own people”.
Pakistani efforts: Obama noted that Pakistan had made progress in fighting terrorists and hoped for anti-terrorism cooperation between all regional parties for the benefit of the people of Pakistan and India, and the world as a whole.
“We have seen some progress, the work the Pakistani military is doing in Swat, in South Waziristan, all indicate the degree to which they are beginning to recognise that extremism can have an adverse impact on their security internally,” he said. “With respect to security issues in the region, the prime minister and I had extensive discussions about that. I think our core goal is to recognise that our core goal is to achieve peace and security for all the peoples in the region, not just one country or the other,” he said at a joint White House appearance with Singh.
Indispensable: The US president hailed India as an “indispensable” partner, as he pledged to work on a range of issues with Manmohan Singh, AFP reported.
Obama assured India that the world’s largest democracy was a true partner in his top priorities from counter-terrorism to climate change. “The US welcomes and encourages India’s leadership role in helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia,” he said.
Full report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\11\25\story_25-11-2009_pg7_1
Pakistan indicts Mumbai suspects
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has indicted seven suspects over last year's attacks in Mumbai, India, which killed 166 people.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday, a defence lawyer said, on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks.
Malik Rab Nawaz, a prosecutor in the case, said the men are accused of helping to plan and execute the Mumbai attacks.
The detained include Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the November 26 - 29 siege in India's financial capital, and Zarar Shah, an alleged key Lashkar-e-Taiba operative.
Lashkar-e-Taiba is an armed group based in Pakistan, founded to confront India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. It has also been accused of carrying out a spate of deadly attacks on Indian soil over the past decade.
"All seven of them have been indicted, including Lakhvi. The accused pleaded not guilty as evidence is not supported by the charges," Shahbaz Rajput, a lawyer at the trial, told the AFP news agency.
"They have been indicted under the anti-terrorism act and the Pakistani penal code," Rajput said.
Hafiz Saeed, the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa aid group, which is suspected of having strong links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, has not been charged, disappointing many people in Delhi, Prerna Suri, Al Jazeera's correspondent there said.
Saeed, placed under house arrest by Pakistani authorities in September 2009, is one of India's most wanted men.
After weeks of high-level meetings to review his administration's strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama said he would announce his troop decision soon and declared his intention to finish a job that began more than eight years ago.
The main goal in the region remains the same: to destroy and dismantle al Qaeda and prevent the group and its extremist allies from operating effectively. After Thanksgiving -- and likely as soon as Dec. 1 -- the president plans to explain the rationale behind his decision to send what it expected to be thousands more troops to Afghanistan.
"After eight years, some of those years in which we did not have I think either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job," Obama said today at a joint news conference with India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "And I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we're doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive."
During the campaign, then-candidate Obama frequently painted Afghanistan as the good war, a war of necessity, arguing that too much focus on a war of choice in Iraq had robbed the effort in Afghanistan of vital resources. His troop announcement, which could come in the form of a primetime address, will include discussion of the obligations of the broader international community in defeating extremists in the region and about helping to make sure the Afghan people are ultimately able to provide for their own security.
Pakistan will play an important role in any strategy Obama announces, and the president acknowledged that the United States had focused too much in the past on military assistance to the country -- to the detriment of helping it develop the kind of civil society necessary for a country to thrive. Obama said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had made progress in helping to refocus energies in that area, and he talked about the important progress Pakistan has made in recognizing the threat of extremism.
Full report at: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/11/24/2136228.aspx
Five Pakistani army officers have been detained for questioning over possible links to two US terror suspects accused of plotting an armed attack on a Danish newspaper, intelligence officials said on Tuesday.
The detentions underscore long-standing allegations that elements in Pakistan support a militant group known as Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, which is devoted to fighting the country’s arch enemy, India. The group is blamed for last year’s terror attacks in Mumbai and other strikes in India in recent years.
Last month’s arrests of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana in Chicago have cast a fresh spotlight on the group. US prosecutors said the two men were believed to be working with an unidentified senior member of the outfit and a senior al-Qaeda operative.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking anonymously because they are not allowed to release their identity, said phone records showed the five Pakistani officers had contacted Headley and Rana.
They say the five include a retired brigadier general and two active lieutenant colonels, but did not provide more details. Pakistani military officials could not immediately be reached for confirmation.
The FBI says Headley traveled to Pakistan this year and may have been headed there when he was arrested Oct. 3 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport en route to Philadelphia.
Indian officials say Headley also may have been involved in planning the Mumbai terror attack, which occurred a year ago Thursday.
Headley, 49, and Rana, 48, are accused of plotting to kill one of the editors and a cartoonist at Danish paper Jyllands-Posten for publishing 12 cartoons in 2005 depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which ignited outrage in much of the Muslim world. AP
Ex-Soviet states see threat of Afghan spillover
ALMATY: Afghanistan’s Taliban may seek to establish a foothold in ex-Soviet Central Asia to recruit supporters and disrupt supplies for US troops in Afghanistan, regional security officials said on Tuesday.
Former Soviet republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan act as transit nations for US Afghan supplies and all but Kazakhstan have reported armed clashes with Islamists this year.
In the past year, the Taliban insurgency has spread to parts of northern Afghanistan that had long been relatively peaceful, even as violence raged in the south and east of the country.
“The deteriorating situation in northern Afghanistan enables the Taliban to spread their influence in that region, giving international terrorists more opportunities to infiltrate the territory of Central Asian states,” Mikhail Melikhov, a senior official at the Common Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), told a conference in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
CSTO, dominated by Russia, is a defence bloc of ex-Soviet republics. Marat Imankulov, the head of the anti-terrorist centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), another post-Soviet bloc that focuses on economic and political ties, said security risks were compounded by the economic downturn.
“Frankly speaking, the economic crisis in the CIS countries is turning into a social one,” he told the conference. “We cannot avoid talking about the growing risks of extremist and terrorist activities.”
Imankulov said some security analysts expected the Taliban to try destabilising Central Asian states “to disrupt equipment and food supply channels for coalition forces.”
TEHRAN: Iran can take legal action against Russia if it fails to honour a deal to supply Tehran with an advanced air defence missile system, a top general said on Tuesday.
Russia, Tehran’s sole ally among world powers, has so far not delivered the S-300 missiles to Tehran, in a delay which Iranian officials blame on growing pressure on Moscow from Washington and Iran’s arch-foe Israel.
“The Russians are under the pressure of the Zionist lobby and America and so have not fulfilled their commitments,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Brigadier-General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian as saying.
“As this is an official agreement it can be pursued through international legal bodies,” said Mansourian, the deputy head of Iran’s air defences.
On November 11, the Iranian armed forces chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said that Russia was now six months late in delivering the missiles.
It was the first time that an Iranian official had spoken of a delivery date for the missile system, under a deal which has never been officially confirmed by Moscow.
Earlier in the month, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi urged Russia to ignore Israeli pressure to scrap the deal and to honour its obligations.
“We have a contract with Russia to buy S-300 missiles. I don’t think it is right for Russia to be seen in the world as a country which does not fulfil its contractual obligations,” Vahidi said at the time. “Russia has to fulfil the contract and not be influenced by Zionist pressure.”
Last month, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Iran had not yet paid for the missiles because Moscow has not given its final approval for the deal, which has set alarm bells ringing in the West.
Under the contract, Russia would sell Iran five batteries of S-300PMU1 missiles for around 800 million dollars, Interfax reported.
The S-300PMU1 — codenamed the SA-20 Gargoyle by Nato — is a mobile land-based system designed to shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles.
Western governments fear Iran could use the system to boost defences around its nuclear sites against any Israeli or US air strike.
Neither country has excluded the possibility of military action to prevent the Islamic republic acquiring an atomic bomb, an ambition which Iranian officials strongly deny.
25 Nov, 2009
WASHINGTON, Nov 24: US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has confirmed that Saudi Arabia has initiated a dialogue with the Taliban and that the United States would support any Saudi initiative.
Separately, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the United States is open to the prospect of Afghan government’s talks with elements of the Taliban, but she advised Kabul officials to proceed cautiously.
“As far as the Saudis go, (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai mentioned them by name in his speech. It’s well known that he asked King Abdullah to play a role here,” said Mr Holbrooke when asked if the Saudis had initiated a dialogue with the Taliban.
“I have talked to the Saudis. I’ve been to Riyadh. I talked to King Abdullah about it myself. We would be supportive of anything that the kingdom chose to do in this regard,” he added, while explaining how the United States viewed the Saudi-sponsored talks.
Asked if the British were also involved in these talks, Mr Holbrooke said: “I can’t speak about the British. You have to ask them.”
Meanwhile, Saudi newspaper Al Watan reported on Tuesday that the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gen Karl Eikenberry, held talks with the former Taliban Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mulla Mutawakil, in Kabul.
They exchanged views of their governments with the goal of ending the Afghan war. The US ambassador offered to recognise the Taliban rule in several provinces, including Kandahar, Helmand, Arzakan, Kunar, and Nuristan. In return, the US ambassador demanded that the militants stop their attacks on US forces and bases in the country.Mulla Mutawakil is now expected to convey the US initiative to Taliban leader Mulla Omar through his adviser Mulla Brader Akhond.
On Monday, DawnNews reported that high-level talks with senior Taliban militants were currently under way, indicating that the Obama administration might reverse course on its Afghan strategy which previously ruled out such contacts with the militants.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/us-confirms-saudi-role-in-talks-with-taliban-519
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, Nov 24: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday re-emphasised Pakistan’s key position in the American strategy for South Asia, telling a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Islamabad had an enormously important role in the security of that region.
His statement, in response to a question about US military assistance to Pakistan, was a calculated departure from the tributes he had paid to India earlier.
In remarks delivered before the news conference, Mr Obama described India as “indispensable” for his visions for the future of the world, “a leader in Asia and around the world”, and a “nuclear power” with which the United States would like to work “in preventing the spread of the world’s most deadly weapons, securing loose nuclear materials from terrorists, and pursuing our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons”.
While Mr Obama continued this eulogy in the press conference as well, he paused to stress Pakistan’s importance in the South Asian region when an Indian journalist spoke about the perception that US military aid to Pakistan was misused against India.
Obviously, Pakistan has an enormously important role in the security of the region,” said Mr Obama, adding that Islamabad could fulfil this role “by making sure that the extremist organisations that often operate out of its territories are dealt with effectively”.
While acknowledging that Pakistan faced the problem of terrorism, Mr Obama said he also had “seen some progress” in Islamabad’s efforts to fight the militancy.
“The work that the Pakistan military is doing in the Swat Valley and in South Waziristan all indicates the degree to which they are beginning to recognise that extremism, even if initially directed to the outside, can ultimately also have an adverse impact on their security internally,” he said.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/pakistan-has-important-role-in-s.-asia-obama-519
ISLAMABAD, Nov 24: The National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (Navtec) announced on Monday that as many as 13 new vocational training institutes would be established in the uncovered tehsils of Balochistan.
The announcement came ahead of the federal government’s plan to present its ‘Balochistan package’ in the joint sitting of the Parliament on Tuesday. The government under the president’s Funni Maharat Programme will spend Rs156.24 million on these institutes in the province, Navtec Chairman Adnan A. Khawaja told Balochistan Minister for Quality Education Jan Ali Changezi.
The tehsils selected for the institutes are Noukundi, Dalbandin, Kahan, Mewand, Gandhaka, Jhal Magsi, Gandawa, Bhag, Duki, Musa Khel, Drug and Barkhan.
The Navtec chairman said the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) was required to be activated forthwith for the completion of the project of these institutes.
By Sajid Ali and Saboor Khan
BARA/HANGU/KHAR: At least 33 Taliban were killed and several injured in military offensives in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency, Shahukhel area of Hangu district and Bajaur Agency on Tuesday, according to security officials and local sources.
As part of efforts to reinforce security for Peshawar, troops moved into Bara from three directions – from Choora and Shakas areas of Jamrud and Orakzai Agency – to flush out Taliban arriving in Khyber Agency from Orakzai. The operations in Hangu, Orakzai and Khyber are being viewed as an extension of Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan.
Security officials told Daily Times that troops – backed by tanks, helicopter gunships and armoured personnel carriers – moved into Bara – killing 18 Taliban, injuring 15 and arresting another 10. Local sources said helicopter gunships targeted Taliban hideouts in Akakhel area, while security forces pounded areas of Bara from Shakas Fort in Jamrud.
Meanwhile, security forces killed 11 Taliban and injured eight others in operations in Hangu and Orakzai Agency. Troops continued a clearance operation in Shahukhel area of Hangu, killing three Taliban and injuring two others. Helicopter gunships and fighter jets pounded Taliban hideouts in the Daboori, Ghalju, Sefal Darra and Mamuzai areas – killing eight Taliban. In Bajaur, four Taliban were killed and several injured in clashes with security forces, said officials. Political administration officials told Daily Times that two soldiers were also killed.
In South Waziristan, troops arrested two Taliban
By Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: Foreign hands were behind the recent series of bomb blasts in Peshawar, provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said on Tuesday.
The minister expressed these views at a press conference at the Frontier House after the inauguration of the NWFP Information branch office, to aid communication with the central government.
He termed the ongoing series of bomb blasts in NWFP, particularly in Peshawar “a reaction to the ongoing military operation in South Waziristan”. Peshawar also witnessed similar pressure when the government initiated military operations in the Malakand and Swat areas, he said. Hussain said if the provincial government did not take timely and appropriate measures, the number of these blasts could double.
The minister credited this success to the provision of proper training to the police, equipping them with modern weapons and doubling their numbers.
The information minister said that the attacks carried out on Peshawar were from Darra Adam Khel, Khyber Agency and Mohmand Agency. However, the people and the government of the province were determined to support military operation in South Waziristan and get ride of the terrorists. These terrorists have only one agenda, to create unrest, and destroy the people, their property and destabilise the country.
Presence of Uzbek, Chechen, Gulf and European terrorists in South Waziristan was a 20-year old matter. However, the involvement of local terrorists was also crystal clear. Waziristan became the hub of international terrorists and the NWFP government fully supports the ongoing military operation and expressed the hope that it would be cleared soon like Swat.
Answering a question regarding the presence of Afghan refugees, the minister said that all those who did not have proper documents should leave the country.
About the presence of Blackwater in Peshawar, the minister said that the influence of America has always been there, but it should not be mixed up with terrorists’ activities.
To another question regarding changing the name of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the Constitutional Committee, the minister totally rejected it and said such issue might disturb the friendly atmosphere of the Committee. Under 1973 Constitution, the name of Pakistan will remain the same, which was given to the country by late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and then leader of opposition Khan Abdul Wali Khan.
JEDDAH: International TV channels and news agencies such as CNN, BBC, ABC, NBC, Associated Press, Agence France Presse and Reuters have sent their reporters and crews to cover the annual pilgrimage this year.
Other major media organizations taking part in the Haj coverage include Al Jazeera of Qatar, SCTV of Malaysia, Al Arabiya, MBC, Islam Channel of Britain, KBC of South Korea, Japan’s NHK television, Russia Today TV and Indonesian Television.
“The Ministry of Culture and Information has established full-fledged media centers in Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites of Mina and Arafat for the use of foreign journalists and media organizations,” said Abdul Aziz bin Salamah, deputy minister of culture and information for foreign information.
“We have provided all facilities for the foreign media organizations to give coverage of the Haj events,” the minister said. They are also provided with high-speed Internet services in addition to telephone and fax facilities. The ministry also organizes special tours for foreign journalists.
By Ecumenical News International
24 Nov 2009
For the first time in northern Nigeria, a Muslim state governor has accepted an invitation to a church revival programme during which he called for unity and peaceful co-existence between the country's Christians and Muslims - writes Lekan Otufodunrin.
Ibrahim Shekarau is the governor of Kano State, one which practices Islamic Sharia laws, and which earlier this year experienced clashes between Christian and Muslims in the predominantly Islamic-populated north of the country.
On 15 November 2009, a Sunday and the Christian Sabbath, Governor Shekarau attended a gathering in Kano organized by the Pentecostal fellowship of Nigeria.
"The governor's presence at the revival and his disposition is a watershed in the struggle to restore peace and religious harmony in northern Nigeria," said the general overseer of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi, who was a speaker at the meeting.
Hundreds of Christians have been killed in the past in anti-Christianity riots involving Islamic extremists in Kano, a predominantly Muslim state.
Nigeria's population is almost evenly divided between Christians, who live mainly in the south and Muslims, who make up the largest segment in the north.
Speaking in both English and the local Hausa language and making references to the Bible and the Quran, Shekarau maintained that both Islamic and Christian teachings are centred on love, good conduct and service to humanity.
"Living strictly by the teachings of the holy books, there should be no need for rancour or intolerance. Christians and Muslims ought not to fight one another," the governor stated.
Full report at: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/10660
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Malaysian and UK Islamic banks signed off on a standardised wakala deposit agreement on Tuesday, which some bankers said could help the industry reduce its reliance on the controversial commodity murabaha structure.
Lenders such as Malaysia's Maybank Islamic, Bank Islam and CIMB Islamic, UK's Gatehouse and Indonesia's PT Bank Syariah Muamalat agreed to use the template for interbank and corporate wakala deposit placements, said an Islamic banking body.
Besides cost and resource savings, the adoption of the standardised wakala placement agreement would promote transparency, consistency, operational efficiencies and robustness in Islamic deposit placement transactions,' said the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia, which launched the template agreement.
Twenty-six institutions signed the pact.
Wakala is an agency structure where a depositor authorises an agent to invest his funds in sharia-approved assets.
Apart from the wakala, many Malaysian banks now use the commodity murabaha structure to operate deposit accounts.
Under the murabaha account, a company that wants to place surplus funds with an Islamic bank will appoint the bank as its buying agent.
The bank then buys commodities such as metal or palm oil on behalf of the company. The bank then offers to buy the commodities from the company on a deferred cash payment basis, with the sale price including a profit to the company from the sale.
The commodity murabaha structure has drawn criticism from some sharia scholars who liken it to a paper trail designed to satisfy the letter of the law, with no actual sale of assets.
Full report at: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/11/24/afx7152950.html
by Doug Chandler
Special To The Jewish Week
Although he lives in a borough with a sizeable Muslim population and leads a congregation of Bukharian Jews, a community that hails from a mostly Muslim region of the former Soviet Union, Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov says that, until Sunday, he never visited a mosque.
Moreover, his congregants expressed concern for his safety when they learned he would make the visit, says the rabbi, who leads Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim, a synagogue in Kew Gardens Hills.
But Sunday’s visit to the Jamaica Muslim Center turned out to be a safe one for Rabbi Nisanov and other leaders of the Bukharian-Jewish community in Queens, a population that numbers about 50,000, and chances are likely that similar meetings will take place in the future.
The City Winery meeting between the small delegation of Bukharian Jews and members of the Jamaica Muslim Center took place as part of the second annual “Weekend of Twinning” between mosques and synagogues. Sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a New York-based group founded by Rabbi Marc Schneier, the project began as a national one and grew this year to include Jewish and Muslim institutions in Europe.
More than 100 events, some scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, are part of this year’s “Weekend of Twinning,” said Walter Ruby, a program director with the foundation. Nearly 30 programs took place in Europe, with the majority of those events in France, a country racked by tensions between Muslims and Jews.
The foundation also reached out this year to Russian-speaking Jews, many of whom hold more hawkish views on Israel-related issues than American Jews in general.
In Jamaica, Queens, where one of those programs took place, Rabbi Nisanov led a delegation that also included Rabbi Yitzhak Yehoshua, the chief rabbi of Bukharian Jews in North America, and Rafael Nektalov, editor of the Bukharian Times. Greeting them were leaders of the Muslim center, including Imam Shamsi Ali.
Full report at: http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a17310/News/New_York.html
By Ethan Cole
Nov. 24 200
Hundreds of angry Muslims, and by some accounts thousands, attacked Coptic Christians in a southern Egyptian town this past Saturday over an allegation that a Christian man kidnapped and raped a Muslim girl.
The mob looted and burned Christian owned stores in Farshoot, which is located about 300 miles south of Cairo, causing an estimated six million Egyptian pounds (over one million dollars) in damage, according to the Coptic American Friendship Association. Witnesses also reported that the mob made wooden crosses and burned them on the streets.
“We have never been so frightened and humiliated as Christians all our lives,” said one witness, according to Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). “Our religion and our Lord were openly insulted.”
In addition to Christian stores, the protesters also attacked the police station where they believed the accused man was being held, a police official told Agence France-Presse.
Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and arrested 60 people during the clash that left seven Coptic owned shops destroyed, according to the official.
But Coptic reports show that at least 50 Christian owned stores, including jewelry stores and pharmacies, were looted and damaged during the uproar.
“They are destroying the Coptic economy in these areas,” said Wagih Yacoub of Middle East Christian Association, according to AINA. “They want the Copts to be poor and are therefore destroying the Coptic economy in these areas.”
Full report at: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091124/massive-riot-in-egypt-over-christian-muslim-rape-claim/
Muslims no longer have to purchase sacrificial goats and cattle for Idul Adha in person, but can arrange for them to be delivered to their home or slaughtered in their name via the Internet.
In the days prior to Idul Adha, most Muslim families of sufficient means purchase livestock at their neighborhood mosque or at tethering stalls on the side of the road.
On the holiday itself, the majority of them bring the animals to halal slaughterhouses for butchers to sacrifice, but some others, who know how to kill animals humanely following the Koran’s edicts, take matters into their own hands.
The main purpose of the slaughter is to feed the needy, who receive portions of meat. However, it is not always easy to find a healthy animal, a halal butcher and bona fide poor people.
Aiming to simplify the process, a number of Indonesian-based halal livestock sellers have begun operating online.
Risdiyanto, 32, a physics teacher living in Central Java, established www.sapiqu.com about six weeks ago, just in time for Idul Adha.
He said his family had always been in the halal cattle industry, but he worked as a teacher and simply didn’t have time to run a cattle market.
“With Internet technology you don’t have to spend a lot of money building an office or store,” Risdiyanto said.
Full report at: http://thejakartaglobe.com/home/indonesian-muslims-surf-internet-for-a-sacrifice/343764
November 25. 2009
Dearborn -- Hundreds of Metro Detroiters are among an estimated 2.5 million Muslims in Mecca this week observing the Hajj, which officially begins today.
This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) are conducting a study that looks at the health impact of the annual event on Hajj pilgrims since the outbreak of the H1N1 pandemic.
Four pilgrims to Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad in Saudi Arabia, have died of the H1N1 flu virus.
Some 200 participants in the study were interviewed before they left for Mecca last week and will be interviewed upon return.
"The outcome of the feedback is going to be helpful to new (health and scientific) techniques to prevent infectious disease, said Dr. Adnan Hammad, senior director of the Community Health & Research Center for ACCESS.
The study will help doctors and epidemiologists track how illnesses and viruses spread, Hammad said.
The Hajj pilgrimage is among Muslim religious duties described in the Five Pillars of Islam.
Full report at: http://www.detnews.com/article/20091125/LIFESTYLE03/911250325/1041/LIFESTYLE04/Muslims-who-observe-the-Hajj-are-part-of-medical-study
By Gogul Krishnan
Hijabi Monologues and workshop
Portland State’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) along with the Women’s Resource Center and the Multicultural Center is hosting the Hijabi Monologues tomorrow, Nov. 24.
The show uses real-life stories of Muslim women and presents a soul-searching journey into the lives of the Muslim-Americans.
The MSA aims to create awareness about laws that contradict faith, such as ones banning teachers from wearing religious attire.
While talking about the Hijabi Monologues event, MSA President Erica Aisha Charves said, “There will be a play that emphasizes individualism and a workshop after, [during] which dinner will be served.”
“Many Muslim women share the experience of facing an entire set of assumptions about their faith, politics, preferences, education, class, etc., based on whether they choose to wear, or not to wear, a headscarf,” said a press release for the event.
According to Senate Bill 786, also known as the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act, “No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher.”
“This bill is against religious rights and restricts Muslim teachers from wearing their headscarf,” Charves said.
After a protest at Pioneer Courthouse Square on the day the law came into force, the Hijabi Monologues event came next in the process of getting the government to revoke the law.
“Many people can’t believe that there is such a law. So we are trying to create awareness among people about the laws that violate religious rights,” Charves said.
The MSA is also teaming up with the Sikh community to fight for their religious rights.
ANTI-terror police investigating an alleged Easter bomb plot in Manchester believed they had intercepted a coded email urging al-Qaeda to ‘be ready to strike’.
The message – a seemingly innocuous note about a wedding – was intercepted on April 3 this year, just a week before Easter.
The email sparked arrests in Manchester and across the north west. Twelve people were held – but none was ever charged.
Details of the alleged plot have emerged for the first time in a damning report on the raids by the government’s independent reviewer of terror laws, Lord Carlile.
He slammed police for failing to consult specialist, security-vetted Crown Prosecution Service lawyers until a week AFTER the suspects were detained.
He also criticised apparent police ignorance about terror laws and questioned the ‘combat-style’ arrests – three of which were carried out by armed officers in Cheetham Hill.
The raids had to be brought forward after the country’s most senior anti-terror cop, Bob Quick, was pictured walking into Downing Street holding documents about the impending raids. He later resigned.
Lord Carlile said the email that sparked the raids, was ‘suspicious’ but too ‘vague’ to secure a conviction.
Full report at: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1183842_cops_feared_alqaeda_attack
Nov. 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- As of Saturday, November 21, 2009 the Egyptian town of Farshoot, located 300 miles south of Cairo, and the neighboring villages of Kom Ahmar, Shakiki and Ezbet Waziri, have been the scenes of massive Muslim mob attacks against Coptic Christian inhabitants. The mob looted, vandalized and burnt Coptic properties estimated for six million Egyptian pounds (over one million dollars), while Copts are still hiding indoors fearing for their lives. There are reports that many Copts were attacked and injured. According to many eye witnesses, the mob made wooden crosses and burnt them in the streets while shouting "Allah Akbar."
Victims and eye witnesses said that nearly 3000 angry Muslims have been damaging and looting at least 50 shops all owned by Christians, including jewelry stores and pharmacies, over a claim that a 20 year old Christian man, now in custody, had a relationship with a 12 year old Muslim girl. Coptic priest Rev. Benjamin Noshi was attacked and is now hospitalized as a result of a fracture in his skull. His car was damaged by the Muslim mob. By the evening most Coptic businesses were looted and burnt and many Coptic Christian families were thrown out of their homes by other Muslim residents.
Farshout's Bishop, Kirollos, said the attacks were definitely preplanned and suggested that the principal of an Islamic Institute in Farshoot motivated his students to attack the Christians. He also pointed out to the shameful role of the security forces, which disappeared without giving proper justifications or making any arrests, despite several demands by the victims to put an end to the organized attacks against the Copts.
Full report at: http://www.earnedmedia.org/cafa1124.htm
Saeed Khan, 25 November 2009
AHMEDABAD: All scholars at some point agree that the mosques in Ahmedabad are of a distinct style, a curious mixture of Saracenic and Indian
architectures not found elsewhere in the country. However, the first of those who assessed these monuments were convinced that the mosques here were "a Hindu body in Islamic apparel".
Ratnamanirao Jote, the modern historian who wrote extensively on the city, has concluded that the Muslim sultans who ruled Gujarat were the second generation convert to Islam, and the architect who designed the mosques and the masons who built them were all Hindus. "Hence, the architects worked on principles of Hindu architecture. And, Ahmedabad’s architecture remained Hindu in its essential features. Its like a Hindu body in Islamic apparel," Jote wrote in 1929 and put forth the examples of the first two mosques constructed by the founder of the city, Sultan Ahmed Shah.
Except pointed arches and minarets, the scholars find nothing from Islamic architectural style. Even the minarets are different from the ones found elsewhere, and their designs were adopted from the ‘Kirti Stambha’ of Chittorgarh.
A Scottish authority on architecture, James Fergusson in his ‘History of Indian & Eastern Architecture’ notes that except arches and minarets, the mosques are typical Indian Hindu structures. "Of the various forms which the Saracenic architecture assumed in India, that of Ahmedabad may probably be considered as the most characteristic of all," he wrote.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Indo-Saracenic-design-makes-city-mosques-special/articleshow/5265749.cms
Israel rejects to free 40 Palestinians, delaying prisoner exchange: source
GAZA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Israel refuses to release 40 Palestinians whom the Islamic Hamas movement demands for freedom in a prisoner exchange deal a well-informed Palestinian source said on Tuesday.
The Israeli reservations on the 40 names delayed the prisoner swap deal, which German and Egyptian mediators have tried to broker, the source told Xinhua.
"Accomplishing the swap within one week is unexpected, it is almost impossible," the source said.
Under the deal, Israel will release hundreds of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli Corporal Hamas has been holding hostage since 2006.
"Differences between the two sides are still going on, involving a big number of prisoners from Gaza, the West Bank and those who live in the 1948 territories (Israel)," the source added.
The source denied reports that a list of 450 prisoners, who would be freed in the first phase of the exchange, had been agreed upon.
The reports about a breakthrough in the indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel have fueled speculations that the swap would take place in days.
The source said progress has been made in which Israel agreed to free all jailed women and children. Israel used to reject Hamas' demands that the young and female prisoners be released in Shalit's deal.
Earlier, a delegation from Islamic Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, crossed into Egypt for a meeting with Egyptian security officials in Cairo to discuss the deal that Egypt and Germany have been mediating.
BY Courtney Shove
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
COLUMBIA — Muslims worldwide celebrate two major festivals: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Fast-Breaking, marks an end to Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting. Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, is a three-day holiday that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's faith.
This year, Eid al-Adha begins the day after Thanksgiving. Eid al-Adha marks the end of the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which occurs annually. Muslims who can afford the trip must participate at least once in their lifetimes.
On the first day of the festival, Muslims attend morning prayer services at local mosques and spend time with family and friends. Many Muslims also exchange gifts.
According to Islamic belief, God called Ibrahim (known as Abraham to Christians and Jews) to sacrifice his son Ishmael. As Ibrahim was preparing the sacrifice, God replaced Ishmael with a ram.
"Just like in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Muslims believe that as a mercy to Abraham, God replaced his son with an animal instead," Furqaan Sadiq of the Muslim Speakers Bureau of Columbia said in an email.
Custom is that at some point during the festival, families make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the holiday.
According to the Islamic Society of North America Web site, "The meat should be divided into three shares: one for the family, the second for relatives and friend and the third ... for the poor and the needy."
The Islamic Center of Central Missouri will offer an Eid prayer and sermon at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Windsor Ballroom in the Holiday Inn Select, according to outreach coordinator Rafa Nizam, and the center will host a community dinner the following week.
Afghan instability seen behind terror acts in Pakistan
PESHAWAR: The civil society members and representatives of the political parties have expressed concern over rising terror acts in the Frontier province, saying there will be no peace in Pakistan, nay in the whole region, till the policy of establishing strategic depth in Afghanistan is not revisited.
“Our interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan led us to the current mayhem in the country, particularly in the Pakhtun belt,” Provincial Senior Vice-President of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Dr Said Alam Mahsud said while speaking at a consultation on ‘Dehshatgardi Kab Tak?’ (Terrorism for How Long?) here Tuesday.
Members of civil society and office-bearers of various political parties attended the moot, organised by Amn Tahrik, which is a conglomeration of civil society organisations.
Dr Mahsud also expressed his dissatisfaction at the ongoing military operation in South Waziristan Agency, saying: “The security forces have launched operation in South Waziristan from three sides why not from all the sides. He added that the move created suspicions about the intentions of the planners of the operation Rah-i-Nijat.
He said terrorism was a big menace, which had engulfed the whole Pakhtun belt. He said terrorism from the last eight years had put severe dents in Pakhtuns’ culture as their hujras, jirgas and weddings were all targeted and devastated. He said it had not only affected the culture but the economy, trade and communication of Pakhtuns were also badly damaged.
Full report at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=210346
25 November 2009
Vandals have targeted Muslim graves at a south Manchester cemetery for the third time in two months.
More than 20 headstones at the Southern Cemetery on Barlow Moor Road were pushed over in what police are treating as a racially-motivated attack.
The offenders struck sometime between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, a police spokesman confirmed.
Det Ch Insp Steve Eckersley called it "mindless racist behaviour" that was being treated as a hate crime.
On 29 September, 26 Muslim headstones were vandalised and three days later 27 were targeted.
Police have now increased their patrols in the area.
Det Ch Insp Eckersley added: "It is an absolute disgrace that whoever is responsible thinks it acceptable to repeatedly target the graves of loved ones.
"The repeated nature of these attacks and the fact the offenders are only targeting Muslim graves means we are treating this as a hate crime.
"This sort of mindless, racist behaviour must be utterly condemned and I'm sure the whole community will be outraged.
"To those who know who is responsible or have been told who is responsible I would like to ask how you would feel if someone damaged a grave of one of your loved ones and how hurt or upset that would make you.
"Please do the right thing, tell us what you know and help us put a stop to this."
The next 24 hours will be critical in terms of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel; senior Hamas sources told Arab media on Wednesday morning. The organization's leaders, who left Cairo on Tuesday evening, are meeting in the offices of Hamas' politburo chief Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, who is expected to give his answer Wednesday on the compromise formula and to decide whether to accept Tel Aviv's latest offer.
Members of the Hamas delegation from the Gaza Strip traveled to Damascus Tuesday night, after concluding talks with the German mediator in Cairo. The mediator, whose identity remains classified, is the one dictating the timetable for both sides. If there are no unforeseen obstacles there is a feeling that the deal will be ready for implementation in a few days.
And in a sign that the negotiations were moving forward, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyyeh canceled a trip to Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim pilgrimage at the last minute on Tuesday.
Anticipation that hundreds of Palestinian detainees might soon be released in a deal with Israel was so high in Gaza that Haniyyeh had been asked to remain in the Gaza Strip to greet the prisoners, said a Hamas legislator in Gaza City.
An Egyptian source told Fox News on Wednesday that a final decision on the swap deal does not rest solely on Hamas, but rather it is Israel that must decide whether to green light several of the names on Hamas' list and make the exchange happen.
In Damascus on Tuesday, Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal said Israel still had reservations over releasing some prisoners sought by Hamas who had "long prison terms." "If Israel reacts with flexibility it will end soon, or it will be postponed indefinitely," he said. "During the next few days the picture will become clear."
Israel refuses to release 40 Palestinians whom the Islamic Hamas movement demands for freedom in a prisoner exchange deal a well-informed Palestinian source said on Tuesday.
"Accomplishing the swap within one week is unexpected, it is almost impossible," the source said.
Under the deal, Israel will release hundreds of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli Corporal Hamas has been holding hostage since 2006.
The source said progress has been made in which Israel agreed to free all jailed women and children. Israel used to reject Hamas' demands that the young and female prisoners be released in Shalit's deal.
The UN is expected to vote on a controversial proposal for members to be able to punish religious "defamation." A 20-nation poll finds support among Muslim countries, but little elsewhere.
By Dan Murphy | Staff writer 11.24.09
A poll released last Friday found a sharp divide between majority Muslim states and other nations on the limits of free speech. When it comes to criticizing religion, Muslim states favor allowing legal sanctions on such “hate speech.”
The poll, conducted by World Public Opinion.org, comes as the UN General Assembly prepares to debate a controversial proposal that urges member nations to combat public speech deemed to denigrate religions, particularly Islam.
The proposal was crafted by the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC), a group of 56 majority Muslim states who argue that UN member states should “effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular.”
The desire of many Muslims to limit free speech when it comes to questions of religion has been a hot button topic for years, particularly since a Danish newspaper in 2005 ran a series of cartoons deemed offensive to Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. The publication of the cartoons fed global Muslim protests against Denmark that saw embassies attacked and dozens of protesters killed – though it also fostered an increased inter-faith dialogue.
In many Muslim countries, laws against criticizing religion are rigorously enforced. Egyptian writer and Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s 1959 book “Children of the Alley,” an allegory that depicted a poor Egyptian as Mohammed, was banned in his home country and across the Arab world.
Full report at: http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/11/24/muslim-states-back-limits-on-free-speech-ahead-of-un-debate/
By THE MANILA BULLETIN NEWS TEAM
November 24, 2009, 5:06pm
Amid the flurry of reactions to the senseless murder of scores of people in Maguindanao perpetrated by suspected followers of a political kingpin in the province, and the prevailing perception that the government is helpless to deal with the massacre, the nagging question in the minds of the people remains: What now?
Workers and media groups from the Philippines and around the world condemned the massacre, but there is no apparent concrete government action more than 24 hours after it has transpired.
The massacre is unprecedented since it was the earliest electionrelated violence and the "worst loss of life in one day in the history of journalism'', as stressed by Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
"Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day,'' the press freedom organization said.
"We convey our condolences and sympathy to all journalists in the Philippines, who are in state of shock after this appalling massacre.''
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines described the massacre “a brazen challenge to efforts to strengthen our admittedly fragile democracy.’’
“Taking as hostage the journalists, who were merely going about their job of informing the public, worsens the already heinous crime and elevates it into an assault on the Constitution itself and the freedom of the press and of expression it enshrines, and the people’s right to know which these freedoms serve,’’ the NUJP said.
Full report at: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/231023/massacre-single-biggest-loss-life-journalists
Local officials, Muslim elders in GenSan condemn Maguindanao massacre
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
by Allen V Estabillo/MindaNews
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 November) – Local officials and Muslim elders here strongly condemned Tuesday the brutal killing of journalists, members of the Mangudadatu family, and two female lawyers at the outskirts of Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province on Monday morning.
Police and the military have recovered 46 bodies as of Tuesday afternoon.
City Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. said he was still shocked about the reported massacre that also claimed the lives of several print, radio and television journalists from this city and nearby Koronadal City.
“I condemn this act in the highest degree. I am calling on the national government, especially President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to act decisively on this matter. They should show their concern to us here in Mindanao by solving this problem now,” he said.
About a hundred armed men reportedly held and later killed two women lawyers, over two dozen journalists and members of the Mangudadatu family who were on their way to file the certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao governor of Buluan Vice Mayor Ismael Mangudadatu at the Commission on Elections provincial office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
The suspects, who were tagged as hired thugs of the Ampatuan family, initially stopped a convoy of six vehicles carrying the group upon reaching Barangay Saniag in Ampatuan, Maguindanao at around 9:00 a.m. and brought them at gunpoint to Barangay Malating, a mountain village around 10 kilometers from the national highway.
Acharon said he could not think of any reason why it happened to the journalists “who were just there for their story and were just doing their job.”
Rajahmuda Alimudin Hassan, a leader of the council of elders of General Santos City’s Muslim community and of the Sogoda Buayan Royal House, said it was hard for them to accept what happened and also could not find any justification for such inhuman act.
Full report at: http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7261&Itemid=240
Egypt invites Palestinian reconciliation committee for talks, official
GAZA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian official said Tuesday that Egypt invited members of the Palestinian reconciliation committee to Cairo to discuss Hamas observations on the Egyptian-drafted pact.
Eyad al-Saraj, who is a member of the committee, confirmed to reporters that Egypt will invite the members of the committee to Cairo soon to discuss the notes of Hamas on the reconciliation pact.
Last month, Egypt presented a 25-page pact of reconciliation, which calls for deploying security force of 3,000 people in Gaza and holding the general presidential and legislative elections on June 28, 2010.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah party accepted the Egyptian pact, but Hamas movement said it has some observations that need to be amended before signing on the pact.
Egypt rejected Hamas demands and said that signing on the pact should be first, and observations, reservations and notes would be added after the signing in a special appendix.
A senior Islamic Hamas movement delegation headed by Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar is currently in Egypt to discuss with the Egyptian sponsors the observations of the movement on the Egyptian deal.
Meanwhile, head of the independent figures to the dialogue in Egypt Yasser al-Wadeya told reporters earlier on Tuesday that Egypt intends to invite the Palestinian factions to sign on the reconciliation pact right after Eid al-Adha (Greater Bairam), the Muslims' holiday that starts on Friday.
Uzbekistan: Opposition Leader Sent to U.S. After Early Release From Prison
By C. J. CHIVERS
Published: November 24, 2009
Sanjar Umarov, an Uzbek opposition leader imprisoned on charges that his supporters said were fabricated, returned to freedom in the United States over the weekend. Mr. Umarov, who led the Sunshine Uzbekistan opposition movement, was granted amnesty and released from a labor camp on Nov. 7. His wife and three of his children are American citizens, and he is recuperating at a family home in Tennessee, his family said. After the crackdown on antigovernment demonstrators in Andijon in 2005, Mr. Umarov emerged as a vocal critic of President Islam A. Karimov. He was arrested that fall and charged with tax fraud and other violations and was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. His lawyers and family said he was tortured and perhaps drugged during the trial. His release followed extensive lobbying by his family, human rights groups and the American government.
Jamie Glazov Posted by Jamie Glazov on Nov 25th, 2009 and filed under FrontPage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. Email him at email@example.com.
With apologies to those who actually take soccer seriously, and without minimizing the injuries and property damage that have occurred:
Just when you thought the Egyptian-Algerian football war couldn't get any funnier (See "The Egyptian-Algerian football war," and "Mubarak to Algeria: 'Egypt does not tolerate those who hurt the dignity of its sons"), the Arab League has asked the famously peace-loving, notably sensible and celebratedly conciliatory Libyan strongman Moamar Kadafi to mediate the dispute.
One would really love to have been in on the Arab League's deliberations. How did they settle on Kadafi? Does he have a hitherto secret expertise in soccer? Were no other human rights-abusing dictators available? Or is it part of a long-term Kadafi plan to rehabilitate his image (much needed now, after the whole trying to convert 200 Italian women to Islam fiasco)?
Well, we'll see how it goes. If it works out, perhaps Obama should ask Kadafi to zip over to Tehran to persuade the mullahs to give up their nuclear ambitions, or to Jerusalem to patch things up between the Palestinians and Israelis. Hey, what could it hurt?
09 Nov, 2009
AL-BIREH (Occupied West Bank): Palestinian relatives of accused Fort Hood US Major Nidal Malik Hasan grappled with his motives on Sunday as some neighbours hailed the rampage as revenge for US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and continuous backing and support to Israel.
Many Palestinians living in and around the West Bank town of Al-Bireh have friends and relatives who have gone to the US and prospered.
But like much of the Arab and Muslim world they view American policy on the decades-old Middle East conflict as hopelessly tilted towards Israel and were outraged by the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mohammed Hasan, a 25-year-old cousin of the US-born gunman, remembers when Major Hasan spent a month at his family home in Al-Bireh 15 years ago.
‘I was only 10 years old, but as far as I remember Nidal was quiet, and he was happy to be working for the American military,’ Mohammed Hasan said.
‘I am not happy or angry, but what concerns us as a family is to know what it was that pushed Nidal to do such a thing.’ On Thursday Major Hasan, 39, allegedly went on the rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding another 30 in one of the worst mass shootings ever on a US military base.
Investigators are probing whether the suspect, who survived gunshot wounds, was motivated by Islamic ideology or had snapped under the pressure of his job counselling soldiers traumatised by combat.
His cousin Mohammed Hasan and other relatives living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank initially denied knowing anything about him because they feared if their names appeared in print it would harm their chances of travelling to the United States, another family member told AFP.
Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/19-palestinians-struggle-with-fort+hood-motives-hh-03
A school lesson on the Islamic religion is causing quite a stir in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Parents are upset the subject matter is too deep for sixth graders and doesn't tell the whole story of the faith. WFMZ's Jaccii Farris has the details.
>> REPORTER: I spoke with one parent who says she has no problem with her child learning about Islam. But.. she and others say the textbook being used.. reads more a Koran.. than a textbook.
>> REPORTER: This textbook.. History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond is at the heart of the controversy. Its section on the Islamic faith and the lessons taught from it at Alexandria Township Middle School in Hunterdon County.. New Jersey has some parents upset. Those parents voiced their concerns to the district's curriculum meeting.
>> MICHAEL MAHLER: This book was not properly researched. There has been disputes on this book in Arizona.. Texas. It was banned due to the indoctrination of all type of studies it ensued. Basically in this book up to 40 percent of it is dedicated to Islam and the Muslim nation.
>> REPORTER: Michael Mahler and about ten other parents say the textbook preaches the Islamic faith in depth as part of a social studies lesson of the middle ages... But says nothing of other faiths of the time. The Alexandria Township School District allowed us to see the cover of the book.. but not the contents inside. The school district says there are parents who have told them they think this textbook's lesson on Islam is a good one.
>> If an objection to the text book is filed which you can find that on our web site then certainly we will convene and follow the process to review the textbook.
>> Three parents we spoke with say they have downloaded the curriculum forms and will be filing a complaint with the district. Again they say they have no problem with their children learning about Islam. But she says what's being taught flies in the face of no religion in the classroom. And doesn't talk about the modern reality of radical Islam.
By François Laforge
PRINCETON, N.J.—A campaign by students at Princeton University forced the cancellation of a planned speech by the anti-Islam, pro-Israel conservative Nonie Darwish.
Darwish was due to speak at Princeton University on November 16, but after a campaign by a pro-Palestinian student group exposed her Islamophobia, the pro-Israel student group Tigers for Israel decided at the last minute to rescind her invitation.
Darwish is a supporter of the occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. She uses crass generalizations about Islam and Muslims to justify her extreme Islamophobia. For example, she writes in her book Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, "Even without conquering, [Muslims] can do a lot of long-term harm through immigration, high birth rates and proselytizing among vulnerable western citizens."
There is no place on a university campus for hate speech like Darwish's. Thus, members of the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) decided to expose her as a hate-monger. PCP President Yoel Bitran wrote an article in the Daily Princetonian, and the group began posting flyers with Darwish's racist quotes all over the campus.
After two days of campaigning and concerns voiced by the Center for Jewish Life's director Rabbi Julie Roth and Muslim Chaplain Imam Sohaib Sultan, Tigers for Israel decided to cancel their invitation, with the dubious excuse of "not being aware" of Darwish's Islamophobic views. The cancellation is a victory for supporters of Palestinian rights at the university.
By Melody Hanatani
OLYMPIC BLVD — A rude awakening awaited the diverse and progressive community at New Roads School where a threatening message had been scribbled on a bathroom stall inside the boy's restroom.
"On 4-20-09 a black kid will die at this school."
"P.S. Be ready."
The unfulfilled threat that was discovered at the local private school on April 15 was one of two hate crimes that have been reported in Santa Monica this year, an increase from 2008 when no such incidents were reported to police.
State law defines a hate crime as offenses that were motivated by the suspect's bias, hatred or prejudice against the victim's real or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation. The numbers for such crimes in liberal Santa Monica have remained low over the past decade when an average of half a dozen incidents were reported each year with the exception of 2001 when there were 29, most of which were fueled by anti-Islamic sentiments following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
"We're such a melting pot … and I think whenever you see something that is hate based it becomes such big news and it's not something promoted or accepted as a community," SMPD Sgt. Jay Trisler said.
The most recent hate crime took place on Sept. 3 on the 2900 block of the beach where a woman and her 3-year-old son were accosted by a homeless man, who remarked to the woman "Speaky English," followed by a racial epithet.
The suspect allegedly approached the woman and her son again, this time kicking the boy off of his scooter, referring to him as the racial epithet again.
Police have not made arrests in either incidents.
Full report at: http://www.smdp.com/Articles-c-2009-11-24-65596.113116_Hate_crimes_remain_low.html
24 November 2009
Common Decision.. Won’t separate..
In the name of Allah the most merciful,
In terms of history, religion, Arabism, humanity and the principles of ethics:
We, the undersigned, agree to this statement on the spirit and content at the current time in which we are in greatest need for the voice of reason and conscience and to rise above the pettiness and nonsense things. If not in the name of Arabism and Islam and the cross ties of geography and history, at least on behalf of common interests and mutual understanding that we are trying to make off with the other west, let alone “the other Arab!”
At a time when the elite has failed to take the leadership of public opinion, and some of them fell in the exam, and it appeared that all songs of Arabism and unity that they presented was from the womb of hypocrisy except a few .. Then the scene was left to the non-professionals and bad opinion makers to mislead people and engage them in unnecessary issues. It is therefore better for us to take the lead. And sign this statement of principle for all of us to drive up the skirmish immoral.
First: We as Egyptians and Algerians offer a mutual recognition that some parties – or less abounded – from people of both countries had encroached on their fellow brothers. This was repeated against the Egyptian residents in Algeria recently, against the Algerian national team and their fans in Egypt and finally, against the masses of Egypt in Sudan. This comes in the context of recognition that the circulation of the rosary and self-description with flower and depicting the others with defects complicate matters and does not solve anything.
Full report at: http://bikyamasr.com/?p=6017