Jihadist challenge to al Qa'eda: Dr Fadl attacks tactics of mass slaughter that inevitably kills innocents
Libyan group denounces bin Laden ideology
Defiant Pak brothers get rich with erotic wear
'Make compassion the plinth of religions'
Delhi reaches out to lonely Tehran, may offer ISRO launch for satellite
Clinton raps continued Pakistani intelligence support for al-Qaeda
Clinton warns US has 'no long-term stake' in Afghanistan
Top Taliban commander arrested in Pak Punjab
Afghan migrants held in Indonesia
India: I was sold to Lashkar by my father: Mumbai attacker Kasab
Fort Hood and a coming bind
Cleric in Yemen says he was confidant to Hasan
Did political correctness help Maj. Hasan murder?
Signs of Fort Hood suspect's possible extremism were there, but most didn’t see them
A radical imam deems the Fort Hood shootings acceptable under Islam
Pakistan: Truck bombing kills three
Misrepresenting the ideology of Islamic terrorists
Qaeda leaders promote jihad from UK prisons
Islamists 'promote jihad in jail'
Gaddafi invites 500 Italian women and lectures them on Islam
Omar Sheikh’s Pak handler Ilyas Kashmiri also handled Headley
India, Pak keep channels open, Mirwaiz says ‘things happening’
From Kerala to Gujarat, Headley ran Terror Empire
Taliban militants mimic ‘Iraq tactics’ in Pakistan
When Jakarta's manipulation of Islam in Aceh goes badly wrong
Stu Bykofsky: American Muslims must stand up for America
DIG of Indian security force killed in IED blast in Jammu and Kashmir
US wants to destabilise Pakistan, Afghanistan: Jamaat-e-Islami
US asks Pakistan to step up pressure on Taliban, Al Qaeda
Would the Mullahs in Afghanistan approve of Birth Control?
Possible Hate crime: American Muslim woman says shopper pulled at her head scarf
Islamic Nations Seek Legally Binding Way to Counter Religious ‘Defamation’
Muslims meet Mounties
Ismail Fajrie Alatas: Reclaiming South Jakarta’s Sacred Streets
Yemen says Iran funding rebels
Dhaka daily demands immediate relations with Israel
MUI calls Muslims not to watch 2012
Running out of time for diplomacy with Iran: Obama
Granta editor who rejected Rushdie’s essay sacked, author denies any role
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
URL of this page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/bin-laden’s-spiritual-mentor-condemns-fort-hood-attacks/d/2102
Bin Laden’s Spiritual Mentor Condemns Ft. Hood Attacks
By Adam Rawnsley
November 16, 2009
The Ft. Hood shootings were so gruesome and inhuman, even Osama Bin Laden’s former spiritual mentor is condemning them — calling the massacre that killed 13 “irrational” and “empty of thought,” according to a translation provided to Danger Room by the NEFA Foundation.
Salman Al-Awdah, a Saudi cleric who played an influential role in Bin Laden’s early radicalism, made the statement during an appearance on his “Life is a Word” show on MBC, a Saudi-owned news and entertainment satellite TV channel, later posting his remarks on his website, Islam Today.
“Incidents [such as the Ft. Hood shootings] have bad consequences, and undoubtedly this man might have a psychological problem; he may be a psychiatrist but he [also] might have had psychological distress, as he was being commissioned to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, and he was capable of refusing to work whatever the consequences were.”
That’s in contrast to the words of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who quickly endorsed the shootings.
Danger Room spoke to NEFA Foundation senior analyst Evan Kohlman, who first flagged al-Awdah’s statement. He described Awdah’s comments as “a good indication of how far on a tangent Anwar al-Awlaki is, that even former favorites of [O]sama Bin Laden openly reject his globalist view of jihad. He’s been characterized as a deviant, even according to the standards of others within the Salafi-jihadi world itself.”
Al-Awdah, who Osama Bin Laden once cited as his “ideal personality,” first became a favorite of the al-Qaeda leader in the early 1990s through his opposition to the stationing of U.S. forces on Saudi soil during and after the first Gulf War. In lectures circulated on cassette tapes, Awdah became a prominent critic of the Saudi regime, joining an Islamist opposition, which grew out of Saudi Arabia’s “Sahwa” or “awakening” movement. In 1994, Saudi authorities arrested al-Awdah for his criticisms along with another prominent regime cleric, Safar al-Hawali. Their detention became a grievance regularly cited by Bin Laden, including in his first declaration of war against the United States, the 1996 “Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Two Holy Places.”
Following his release in 1999, al-Awdah has moderated his radicalism somewhat. He spoke out against the 9/11 attacks , Saudi al-Qaeda’s 2003 bombing campaign, the Mumbai attacks and terrorism in general, but signed an open letter in 2004 along with several other Saudi scholars calling for jihad against American forces in Iraq. In 2007, al-Awdah criticized Bin Laden directly, posting a much-publicized open letter to the al-Qaeda chief on his website, asking his former devotee “How much blood has been spilled? How many innocent children, women, and old people have been killed, maimed, and expelled from their homes in the name of ‘al-Qaeda’?”
Kohlman said that the contrast between Awlaki’s and Awdah’s statements reveals a gap between al-Awdah’s generation of Salafi jihadists, many of whom have mellowed in recent years, and the post-Iraq generation of jihadists.
“The naive younger guys have been raised and fed on bright-eyed propaganda about the ‘Shaykh of the Slaughters’ Zarqawi, beheadings, and suicide bombings. On the other hand, many of the older celebrated advocates of jihad and the mujahideen are increasingly opposed to the fanatical takfiri direction of Al-Qaida — casting it as counterproductive and even criminal,” said Kohlman, “And, of course, these critical issues of jihadi jurisprudence are now being debated and contested largely over the Internet.”
Jihadist challenge to al Qa'eda
November 16. 2009
In recent years, as the victims of violent jihadist attacks have predominantly been Muslims, the jihadist ideology as propounded and put into effect by al Qa'eda's leadership has been rejected by some of its original proponents.
"In May 2007, Sayyid Imam al Sharif, better known as Dr Fadl, a former member of the al Qa'eda leadership, attacked its tactics of mass slaughter, arguing that this inevitably led to the deaths of innocents, and was therefore un-Islamic," wrote Michael Smith in The National.
"He was particularly critical of the way in which Muslims lived freely within western societies, then attacked the very people who had given them shelter. Fadl's attack was dismissed by his fellow Egyptian, and former fellow student, al Zawahiri, as having been written while Fadl was in prison in Egypt.
"But last week saw a fresh attack, this time not from just one man, but from a complete militant movement previously aligned to al Qa'eda. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), issued a new religious document denouncing the tactics used by al Qa'eda as illegal under Islamic law."
The text featured in a new documentary, "The Jihadi Code", which aired on CNN on Sunday.
"The new code, a 417-page religious document entitled Corrective Studies is the result of more than two years of intense and secret talks between the leaders of the LIFG and Libyan security officials...
"The code has been circulated among some of the most respected religious scholars in the Middle East and has been given widespread backing. It is being debated by politicians in the US and studied by western intelligence agencies."
The document, authored chiefly by Emir Abdullah al Sadeq, the LIFG's leader, and Abu Munder al Saidi, the group's spiritual leader, explicity rejects the use of indiscriminate violence.
It says: "There are ethics and morals to jihad, among which are: that the jihad is for the sake of Allah, and the proscription of killing women, children, the elderly, monks, wage earners (employees), messengers (ambassadors), merchants and the like. Also among the ethics and morals of jihad is the proscription of treachery, the obligation to keep promises, the obligation of kindness to prisoners of war, the proscription of the mutilation of the dead and the proscription of hiding spoils from the leader. Adherence to these ethics is what distinguishes the jihad of Muslims from the wars of other nations that do not give any weight to ethics."
Noman Benotman, a former LIFG leader who has coordinated peace talks between the LIFG's imprisoned leaders in Triopli and Saif al Islam al Qadafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammer Qadafi, says: "The most important strategic impact for the ... book is not that it has pragmatically denounced violence, but that it his ideologically de-legitimised violence."
Frank J Cilluffo and F Jordan Evert from George Washington University interviewed Mr Benotman last month and noted: "In many ways, his ideological background is similar to that of al Qa'eda's senior leadership. He too fought in Afghanistan and even advised Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri on strategy.
"In the summer of 2000, Benotman traveled as the LIFG representative to a gathering of jihadists from across the Arab world convened by bin Laden in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It was at this time that Benotman began to break with al Qa'eda's leaders over differences in opinion about strategy.
"At first the break was private. Benotman warned bin Laden that a jihad against the United States would backfire. In November 2007 however, the break became public. In an open letter to al Zawahiri, Benotman argued that al Qa'eda's tactics violated Islam's call for the protection of 'man's religion, life, mind, off-spring, and wealth.' He called on the organisation to declare a unilateral cessation of military operations."
In the interview, the former LIFG leader described the genesis of the peace talks in Libya.
"I have to say the idea and the initiative was launched by Saif al Islam al Qadafi, Colonel Muammer al Qadafi's son, in December 2007. Because I was in the heart of that process since its launch, I can say without a doubt that Saif al Islam himself was the main driver and the power house for its sure success. And the LIFG, when they knew that Saif al Islam was sponsoring the initiative, they showed no hesitation to accept the window of opportunity to engage in the process of peace talks...
"There are many lessons one can take from this process, but the most important one is sometimes we face problems which appear to be unsolvable because our minds have been set by default. And when we start to think of the unthinkable we find that those unsolvable problems are actually solvable, and the main problem was our way of thinking, not the problem itself."
In the London Review of Books, Hugh Niles noted: "The détente has been hailed as a victory over extremism and the latest indicator of Libya's reformist trajectory. It is undoubtedly a major coup for one of the Libyan leader's sons, Saif al Islam al Qadafi, who helped broker the deal, visiting the LIFG's leaders in prison and facing down the regime's old guard who were reluctant to pardon them. Terrorism in the name of Islam has always posed more of a threat to Arab countries than to the West. Since coming to power in 1969 Qadafi has, till now, shown a zero-tolerance policy towards his Islamist opponents. (It's notable that in the period since 9/11 there have been no killings or kidnappings of foreigners in Libya - unlike its neighbours.)
"Although it's highly unusual for an armed Islamic insurgency to end peacefully - a precedent is Gamma Islamiya, which called a ceasefire from within Egyptian prisons in 2003 - it's unlikely that this will put an end to terrorism in Libya for good. Most attacks nowadays are committed not by large organised groups but by nihilistic self-starters."
By Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank
In what may prove one of the biggest breakthroughs against Islamist terrorism since 9/11, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant Libyan Jihadist group, once allied with Osama bin Laden and with close personal ties to al Qaeda's senior leadership, is publicly repudiating al Qaeda's ideology.
Many expect the breakthrough talks to have an impact far beyond Libya.
The LIFG's disavowal of the use of violence to achieve political ends, its criticism of attacks in the West and its clear-cut ruling that the killing of civilians is never legitimate from an Islamic point of view, amount to a stunning rebuke of Bin Laden's brand of Jihad, from former allies with significant credibility amongst Jihadists worldwide.
The respect with which the LIFG is held in Jihadist circles will likely hurt al Qaeda's recruiting efforts in Libya and further afield. "If someone from the government starts talking [about] how bad is that terrorist activities it will not be received in the same way as when it comes from the leaders of the terrorist group because [they] have more credibility," Saif al Islam Gadhafi told CNN.
Gadhafi was in no doubt about the significance of the breakthrough: "It's big news. It's a big thing ... especially in the Middle East and North Africa for sure."
Noman Benotman, a key intermediary in the talks, told CNN that the LIFG's revisions will be "a very big shock" to al Qaeda.
Libyan officials hope that the revisions document will have an impact in Algeria in particular. In the last two years Libyan security services have grown increasingly concerned about the rising number of attacks launched across the region by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda's North African affiliate.
They have also grown concerned about the number of Libyans traveling across to Algeria to join the group. Over the last months LIFG revisions have been serialized in leading newspapers in Algeria and disseminated by the government to militants across the country. Libyan sources told CNN that, while it is still early days, the document may already have made an impact in Algeria because since the revisions were published attacks are down.
"We have to prevent those people from killing Muslims and Arabs and innocent people in Libya and Algeria and the best thing is that to let those people who led the terrorist activities in the past to show up and speak and talk about their experience and this is the best weapon against terrorism in our world," Gadhafi told CNN.
Full report at: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/11/16/libya.alqaeda.robertson/
Nov 16, 2009
Islamabad : Two Pakistani brothers who earn millions by selling leather-made erotic wear to the West are still going strong despite threats from hardliners.
Adnan Qadeer, 34, and Rizwan Qadeer, 32, the brains behind Karachi-based company AQTH, earn one to two million dollars a year by selling fetish and erotic wear. The company is making millions by selling these products, but many of its workers are unaware of its usage, a New York Times report said. A New York Times video showed a worker completely clueless about the purpose of a fetish product that was being made in the factory. The brothers’ conservative mother and their wives too are unaware of their work.
“Sex is a basic instinct. It is just like food. And in food, the more spices you will put, it will be more tasty. So our products play the same role in sex,” said Adnan Qadeer. However, some Pakistanis feel the new class of entrepreneurs that has emerged in their country is challenging religious orthodoxy.
Last year, a conservative Muslim group threatened to burn down the AQTH factory if it was not closed within a week. The next day they bribed a local Islamic political organisation to ensure their safety. “They present a sharp contrast to the rising wave of Islamic radicalism that the US and others view as an existential threat to Pakistan. AQTH offers a more shocking example of a small, entrepreneurial Karachi company that caters to the three billion dollar a year bondage and fetish industry in the US and Europe,” wrote popular blogger Riaz Haq.
The Qadeer brothers, who hit on the idea of making erotic wear after an earlier venture to manufacture basic leather goods like jackets ended in failure, have taken extreme steps to conceal their business in this conservative country. “If our mom knew, she would disown us,” Adnan Qadeer says. The brothers explained that it was merely a business, and that their items were not used in Pakistan.
“AQTH is one of the world’s largest corset, fetish, erotic, bondage and formal wear manufacturers. Founded in 1998, today our garments and made-ups are sold in over 50 countries and territories,” reads a note on the company’s website. The company sells its products online and its research shows 70 per cent of its customers are middle-to upper-class Americans. The Netherlands and Germany account for the bulk of their European sales.
16 November 2009,
Former Roman Catholic nun and one of the leading thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world, Karen
Armstrong, joined religious leaders from around the globe last week to unveil a ‘Charter of Compassion’ that calls for return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture breeding violence or hatred or disdain is illegitimate.
The charter is an attempt to counter highly organized and networked terrorists and extremists. “We must do the sa-me,” Armstrong told reporters.
The charter calls for restoring compassion to the centre of morality and religion and ensuring that youth are given accurate information about other traditions, religions and cultures ``to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity and cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings’’.
The charter used a unique web-based decision making platform to which thousands from over 100 countries added their voices. Thousands of submissions were entered which were then read and commented on by over 150,000 visitors to the website. A Council of Conscience then sorted out the contributions to craft the final charter document.
The charter underlines that the principle of compassion “lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves’’. It says compassion impels people to work to alleviate the suffering of fellow creatures, to dethrone themselves from centre of the world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every human being, treating everybody without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
“It’s also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and emphatically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism or self-interest to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others — even our enemies — is a denial of our common humanity,’’ the charter says.
It acknowledges that people have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion. “We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries,’’ it says.
Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Make-compassion-the-plinth-of-religions/articleshow/5233819.cms
New Delhi : New Delhi plans to woo Tehran with offers of greater intelligence sharing, revival of defence training and a possible launch of the latter’s satellite but will remain non-committal on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
India’s objective, drafted a month after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got a second term in July, is to engage more with Iran at a time when the West is treating it like a pariah over its nuclear programme.
“Increased isolation of Iran provides us with an opportunity... inviting the Iranian Foreign Minister to visit India at this juncture would be viewed as a big gesture by Iran,” an External Affairs Ministry official was quoted as saying during an inter-ministerial strategy meet.
A fresh invitation was sent following which Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is arriving on Monday for a two-day visit to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meet counterpart S M Krishna.
While discussing terrorism emanating out of Pakistan, India will suggest greater sharing of intelligence on the movement of Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives who, according to electronic intercepts, move to Tehran or Zahidan. Last November, India had passed on “useful” information to Tehran on terrorist movement.
The issue of Indian Muslim students going to Qom for religious studies will also be taken up with Mottaki as these students are being targeted by Pakistani operatives for recruitment as militants against India.
On the agenda will be a visit by the topmost official of the Research & Analysis Wing, India’s secret service, to Tehran that has been delayed because of the formation of a new government in India and revamp of the intelligence set-up in Iran.
Iran’s strategy on Afghanistan — that all foreign forces should leave it within a specified time frame — will also be taken up with the emphasis that Tehran should not just be bothered about consolidating the Afghan areas adjacent to it. The second concern on Afghanistan will be addressed by inviting an Iranian delegation from the Narcotics Control Board to cooperate on plugging the movement of narcotics to the two countries.
One “big gesture” by India at the talks will be an offer to launch Iran’s commercial satellite through an ISRO vehicle for which the technical details — sent by the Iranians in July — have been sent to Indian Space Research Organisation for “assessing the nature of the satellite”.
The Mesbah, designed to travel in low earth orbit to assist in data communication over three years, was first timed for a launch by a Russian Cosmos-3 satellite-carrier but that did not happen. Last week, satellite maker Carlo Gavazzi Space Company of Italy refuted Iran’s claim that it would be launching the satellite after March 2011.
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/541995/
Berlin, Nov 16, IRNA - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday slammed ongoing Pakistani secret service support for al-Qaeda.
Talking to the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, Clinton said, "The safe haven that al-Qaeda has found in Pakistan is very troubling."
She urged Pakistan's government to ensure that no support is given to the terrorist network al-Qaeda.
"I would like to see a real effort made on the part of the top leadership to make sure that no one down the ranks is giving any kind of support to the Qaeda leadership," Clinton said.
She stressed that the main objective of the American administration was "to defeat al-Qaeda and its extremist allies."
Clinton accused al-Qaeda of being "part of a syndicate of terror" in which al-Qaeda was still being "an inspiration, a funder, a trainer, an equipper and director" of global terrorist activities.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned the Afghan government Sunday it cannot count on long-term US support, demanding President Hamid Karzai take concrete steps to tackle graft.
Clinton starkly defined the limits to the US war effort as aimed at eradicating Al-Qaeda and not toward establishing a modern democracy, as President Barack Obama mulls the possibility of sending more US troops there.
"We're not interested in staying in Afghanistan. We have no long-term stake there. We want that to be made very clear," Clinton told ABC news.
"We agree that our goal here is to defeat Al-Qaeda. That has been a clear goal and a mission from the president ever since he made his commitment of additional troops back in the spring."
And with Obama expected to make another fateful troop decision soon after his return from Asia next week, Clinton turned up the heat on Karzai over alleged widespread corruption in his administration.
"There does have to be actions by the government of Afghanistan against those who have taken advantage of the money that has poured into Afghanistan in the last eight years so that we can better track it and we can have actions taken that demonstrate there's no impunity for those who are corrupt."
Clinton said Washington expected Karzai to set up a major crimes tribunal and an anti-corruption commission and warned that millions of US dollars of US civilian aid was contingent on seeing progress on graft. Afghan graft battle stands or falls with warlords
Karzai, for his part, has called on the West to do its part to clamp down on corruption.
Obama on Friday promised to announce his Afghan strategy review soon as he edges closer to a decision on reinforcing the 68,000 US troops that will be fighting in Afghanistan by the end of the year.
His administration has sought to deflect claims from the Republican opposition that the commander-in-chief is dithering and does not have the stomach for making tough decisions.
Full report at: http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-world/clinton-warns-us-has-no-longterm-stake-in-afghanistan-20091116-iglq.html
16th November, 2009
Islamabad, Nov 16 : Pakistani intelligence agencies have captured a top leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from a major city of Punjab after tracking him for a week.
The leader who can only be identified by his initials N.A.Z owing to sensitive ongoing interrogations is said to rank amongst the top leaders of the category -3 classification done by the law enforcing agencies.
Category-1 includes Osama Bin Laden, Mulla Omar and Aymen al-Zawahiri. Category-2 includes Hakeemullah Mehsud, Maulvi Fazlullah etc, while Category-3 top leaders comprise the cadre that is directly responsible for specific territories, which in this terrorist leader's case was the entire Punjab and the federal capital.
The News quoted an investigating official as describing the arrest os the commander as an "information treasure trove".
N.A.Z hails from a Middle Eastern country and was reportedly the chief planner of terrorist activities in Punjab and the federal capital territory, the sources said.
The apprehended terrorist top gun had arrived in Punjab a few days back to put terrorism activities in Punjab and the federal capital in top gear.
16 November 2009
Police on the Indonesian island of Java say they have detained a group of about 40 Afghan migrants who were about to board a boat heading for Australia.
Their detention comes days after a boat carrying more than 60 Afghans trying to get to Australia was intercepted in southern Indonesia.
Indonesia has become a transit point for people fleeing war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Many pay traffickers to take them to Australia in search of a better life.
Smugglers often use Indonesia to traffic people through to Australia, with hundreds arriving this year.
Last week, 22 Sri Lankan asylum seekers came ashore from an Australian customs ship anchored in Indonesia's waters.
They were among 78 ethnic Tamils on the Oceanic Viking, moored off Bintan island near Singapore, who had refused to leave the ship.
Indonesia agreed to take the asylum seekers last month as part of an agreement with Australia to cope with an influx of migrants to both countries.
In July, 74 Afghan migrants went missing after their boat sank in Indonesian waters.
In April at least three Afghan asylum seekers died and dozens were injured when the boat they were in exploded.
Washington, (Indo-Asian News Service)
Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the group of ten sent by the Pakistan based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba to attack Mumbai, says his father essentially sold him into the group.
Kasab, who was part of the pair that killed 50 and wounded more than 100 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the city's main railway station, makes the suggestion in tapes included in a new documentary, "Terror in Mumbai" airing on HBO on Thursday.
Snatches of cellphone conversations - many never heard before - between the gunmen and their controllers in Pakistan, as well as video footage of the police with Kasab were aired on Sunday in a preview of the documentary by narrator Fareed Zakaria in his GPS programme on CNN.
One of the tapes of Kasab's interrogation points to how he got involved with the LeT terror group:
Kasab: He said, "These people make loads of money and so will you. (Inaudible) We'll have money, we won't be poor any more. Your brothers and sisters can get married. Look at these guys living the good life. You can be like them," he said.
Unidentified Male: Your dad said this?
Kasab: Yes. So, I said, "Fine, whatever."
Unidentified Male: What does he do for a living?
Kasab: He used to sell yogurt and potato snacks in the street.
Unidentified Male: How much did they give you? Did they put it in your account?
Kasab: There is no account. They gave it to my dad.
Unidentified Male: How much did they give him?
Kasab: I don't know. Maybe (ph) a few hundred thousand.
In another tape, Kasab recalls how the terrorist group was trained.
Police: How long were you in training?
Kasab: Three months. There were 24 or 25 in our class.
Police: Where were the people from?
Kasab: They don't tell you. I only knew about one. He said he was from Lahore. He became my friend.
Police: Didn't they allow you to speak to each other?
Kasab: We were forbidden to speak to each other. It was very strict. The proper training where they say, "This boy is ready now" - that only takes three months. That's it.
Police: Did you ever ask, "Won't I feel pity for the people I'm killing?"
Kasab: I did, but he said you have to do these things if you're going to be a big man and get rewarded in heaven.
Police: So you came here for jihad? Is that right?
Kasab: (crying) What jihad?
Police: It's no use crying. Tell me the truth. Is that right or no?
Kasab: You wouldn't understand.
Locked in a bathroom at Mumbai's Trident Oberoi hotel, another young Pakistani terrorist named Fahadullah knew the end as near. He was out of food, water, energy and ammunition, and could hear the steady stream of police gunshots getting closer.
He and nine other terrorists were winding down from a gruesome, 36-hour killing spree through the city, and he was talking on the phone to a handler far away in Pakistan.
"You mustn't let them arrest you, remember that," the controller insisted.
"Fahadullah, my brother, can't you just get out there and fight?"
Fahadullah could not. "I am out of grenades," he weakly offered.
"Be brave, brother. Don't panic. For your mission to end successfully, you must be killed. God is waiting for you in heaven."
By Daniel M. Ryan
Nidal HasanIt didn't take long for the mother-henning to start. Despite the eye-witness evidence that Nidal Hasan yelled out Allahu Akbar! just before his murderous rampage; despite reports that Dr. Hasan was an Islamist with a habit of aggressively proselytizing; despite his proselytizing being mixed with sympathy for the enemy and his insistence that it was wrong for Muslim soldiers in the U.S. to shoot fellow Muslims; despite his wearing a garment the same color that suicide jihadists use when they're ready to kill; despite him echoing extremist Muslim beliefs in personal E-mails and even at work – despite all these factors, the old media is still pumping out the message that his faith was irrelevant to his actions. Some are even using the word "anecdotal" to describe eye-witness testimony, which would make a large majority of guilty verdicts "anecdotally-based." The use of a term that's appropriate to the sciences, but inappropriate to the law, is a clear sign of mother-henning.
Admittedly, there's a case to be made for it. If Hasan's actions are linked to his faith, then it could make all Muslims into enemies. Doing so would pit the United States against 1.57 billion Muslims, not to mention forty-five nations with majority Muslim populations. (Not to mention almost all OPEC nations.) That wouldn't exactly be prudent, let alone diplomatic.
However, making an enemy of 22.9% of the world's population doesn't seem to be the issue here. At issue is the reaction of American Muslim soldiers when America is invading a Muslim nation. This quandary isn't specific to Islam; it's true of any faith. Case in point: the Mexican war. Since (Protestant) U.S soldiers began burning churches and desecrating the Host, some Roman Catholic troops deserted and fought for the other side in the St. Patrick's Brigade. (Those who like to ascribe Know-Nothingism to "mob hysteria" may want to reconsider with this fact in mind.) The Islamic faith does specify that a Muslim's allegiance to Allah trumps any other allegiances, regardless of oaths. It's true that killing a Muslim enemy is not the same as attacking Islam itself; had that been the case, there would be no wars between Muslims. Nevertheless, there is a strain of Islam that deems a Muslim soldier of a non-Muslim country's military to be a bad Muslim if (s)he kills Muslims on the order of an infidel government. Hasan's killing spree was not the first massacre of its kind. Given these facts, there are grounds to question whether or not restrictions need to be put in place vis-à-vis Muslim combatants in the U.S. Army. Muslim soldiers of that strain could be treated as non-combatant conscientious objectors, for example.
As long as this kind of reasoning has the ban placed on it, there will be grounds to think that "diversity" has become counter-productive.
The Liberals' Magic Bullet…
The New Left was right about liberals, in that their magic bullet is co-optation. Standard liberal operating procedure is to see an alien system of beliefs as a mere political plank, subject to log-rolling or Hawthorneing. The ones that aren't, are written off and called bad names. If they are, then they're pegged as "reasonable."
This liberal method explains the paradox of liberal anti-Communists – sincere ones -aiming to enact parts of the Marxist program as an anti-Communist measure. They trusted in co-optation to thin the ranks of the Communists.
Full report at: http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/1109/1109bind.htm
SANA, Yemen — In his first interview with a journalist since the Fort Hood rampage, Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki said that he neither ordered nor pressured Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to harm Americans but that he considered himself a confidant of the army psychiatrist who was given a glimpse via e-mail into Hasan's growing discomfort with the U.S. military.
The cleric said he thought he played a role in transforming Hasan into a devout Muslim eight years ago, when Hasan listened to his lectures at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in northern Virginia. Awlaki said that Hasan "trusted him" and that the two developed an e-mail correspondence over the past year.
The portrait of the alleged Fort Hood shooter offered by Awlaki provides some hints as to Hasan's mind-set and motivations in the months leading up to the Nov. 5 rampage, in which 13 were killed. Awlaki's comments also add to questions over whether U.S. authorities, who were aware of at least some of Hasan's e-mails to Awlaki, should have sensed a potential threat. U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted e-mails from Hasan, 39, but the FBI concluded that they posed no serious danger and that an investigation was unnecessary, said federal law enforcement officials.
• • •
Awlaki declined to be interviewed by an American journalist with the Washington Post. But he provided an account of his relationship with Hasan — which consisted of a correspondence of a dozen or so e-mails — to Abdulelah Hider Shaea, a Yemeni journalist and terrorism expert with close ties to Awlaki whom the Post contacted to conduct the interview. The Post reimbursed Shaea's travel expenses but did not pay him.
On Sunday, Shaea offered details of his interview with Awlaki, an influential preacher whose sermons and writings supporting jihad have attracted a wide following among radical Islamists. Shaea allowed a Post reporter to view a video recording of a man who closely resembles pictures of Awlaki sitting in front of his laptop reading the e-mails, and to hear an audiotape in which a man, who like Awlaki speaks English with an American accent, discusses his e-mail correspondence with Hasan.
The quotes in this article are based on Shaea's handwritten notes. Shaea said he was allowed to review the e-mails between Hasan and Awlaki, but they were not provided to the Post.
Born in New Mexico, the thick-bearded, white-robed Awlaki served as an imam at two mosques attended by three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers — Virginia's Dar al-Hijrah and another in California. Awlaki, who is in his late 30s, speaks English with an American accent and is fluent in Arabic. U.S. officials have accused him of working with al-Qaida networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving northern Virginia. In mid 2006, he was detained in Yemen, his ancestral homeland, at the request of U.S. authorities. He was released in December 2007.
Explaining why he wrote on his Web site that Hasan was a "hero," according to Shaea, Awlaki said: "I blessed the act because it was against a military target. And the soldiers who were killed were not normal soldiers, but those who were trained and prepared to go to Afghanistan and Iraq."
Awlaki's views are controversial, earning him not only designation by U.S. counterterrorism officials as a leading English-language promoter and supporter of al-Qaida, but also criticism from other fundamentalist Islamic clerics. Shaykh Salman al-Awdah, a Saudi religious leader, gave an interview last week calling the massacre at Fort Hood "unjustified," "irrational" and "inadvisable" because it will cause a backlash against Muslims in America and Europe.
But Awlaki's statements reflect the increasingly radical path he has taken since settling in Yemen in 2004. Print, video and audio files of his words have been found on the private hard drives of terrorism suspects in Canada in 2006 and in the United States in 2007 and 2008. He also wrote congratulations to al Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group leading an insurgency in Somalia, after it apparently used the first U.S.-citizen suicide bomber last fall.
"Fighting against the U.S. army is an Islamic duty today," Awlaki wrote on his Web site last week after Hasan's ties to him were reported. "The only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the U.S. army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal."
On Dec. 23, 2008, days after he said Hasan first e-mailed him, Awlaki also posted online words encouraging attacks on U.S. soldiers, writing: "The bullets of the fighters of Afghanistan and Iraq are a reflection of the feelings of the Muslims towards America," according to the NEFA Foundation, a private South Carolina group that monitors extremist Web sites.
Awlaki is an "example of al-Qaida reach into" the United States, U.S. officials said publicly in October 2008, years after his ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers were probed by the 9/11 Commission. The panel also revealed earlier FBI investigations into his connections to al-Qaida associates.
Full report at: http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/cleric-in-yemen-says-he-was-confidant-to-hasan/1052066
By Naomi Lakritz
November 15, 2009
Political correctness is cloying, stupid, stifling, hypocritical and a whole host of other pejorative adjectives, but in the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is charged with 13 counts of murder in the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings last week, could political correctness also have indirectly proven fatal?
There now seems to be a whole slew of people stepping forward to recount how Hasan's allegedly radical Islamist rants made them uncomfortable. And when you read about these incidents, and you see how little or nothing appears to have been done as far as inquiring further into his potentially dangerous mindset, you have to wonder if the fear of being perceived as anti-Muslim in general led those around Hasan to sidestep all these issues and let them go by.
Former classmates say Hasan was supposed to be giving PowerPoint discussions about health, but he instead talked about the justification for suicide bombings. The classmate said while complaints went to supervisors afterward, the audience didn't voice loud objections to what he was saying. Nobody appeared to have stood up and said, "There is no justification for suicide bombings." Why not? Would it have been considered discourteous to challenge someone's radical views? Would his views have been challenged without hesitation if he hadn't been a Muslim?
Hasan allegedly also claimed he was loyal to sharia law, rather than to U.S. law, according to two classmates. Nor did his peers in class perceive him as mentally ill. No surprise there. One needn't be mentally ill to espouse radical and dangerous views; the two are not connected, for if they were, it would have to be concluded that the members of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations all suffer mental health problems. They don't. Fanaticism and hate are not symptoms of mental illness; they are manifestations of perverse and dangerous thinking.
Here is a guy justifying suicide bombings, the premeditated mass killings of innocent others, and it appears no alarm bells went off anywhere? Did everyone just conclude that Hasan was merely exercising his freedom of speech, which he was certainly entitled to do, but without any concern for the content of his speech whose underlying message posed an insidious danger to the freedoms of others and runs counter to the military oath that he took?
What is so suffocating about political correctness is its underlying assumption that if you say something critical about someone else's belief, regardless of how wrong or dangerous that belief is, you are tarnishing an entire cultural, racial or religious heritage. Nothing could be further from the truth. We must be free to challenge individuals who espouse radical Islamist views like Hasan, and doing so must never equate to smearing everyone who follows Islam. Thousands of Muslims have immigrated to both the U.S. and Canada to escape the kind of oppressive beliefs that Hasan allegedly has openly championed; these people are loyal citizens and very appreciative of the freedoms they've found here. I've never understood why it's assumed that criticizing radical Islamist beliefs and practices is any reflection on them at all.
Full report at: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/political+correctness+help+Hasan+murder/2225328/story.html
By GUILLERMO CONTRERAS
Nov. 16, 2009
KILLEEN — The signs pointing to Nidal Malik Hasan's suspected extremism might have been there for years before the fatal Fort Hood shootings, but most people around him in Killeen never suspected a thing.
When the Army major gave his belongings to neighbors days before the massacre, they assumed it was because he was going to be deployed overseas.
But Hasan left behind business cards with cryptic abbreviations of suspected links to radical Islam and exhibited a calm a day before the shootings that now gives people pause.
The green and white cards, one of which remained partly visible Friday with more of Hasan's belongings that FBI agents left behind after searching his apartment, say “Behavioral Health — Mental Health — Life Skills” and appear to advertise a side venture as a therapist for other Muslims. The card did not list his rank or his Army affiliation.
The card listed a Maryland phone number (calls to the number were met with a message saying the voicemail is full), and an AOL e-mail address for Hasan, one of several that investigators now are poring over.
Under his name on the card, the abbreviation “SoA (SWT)” appears. SoA is used as an acronym for “Soldier of Allah,” and the phrase often appears on jihad Web sites.
Like ‘Servant of Christ'?
Hasan's lawyer, retired Army Col. John P. Galligan, cautioned people to not jump to conclusions.
“‘Soldier of Allah' has no more threatening significance than ‘Servant of Christ' that I have seen referenced or quoted by Christian advocates,” Galligan said. “I would again urge that proof, not prejudice, govern our journey.”
The information on the card was not known to those who lived in the same apartment complex, where Hasan rented a $300-a-month one-bedroom unit on a major's $80,000-plus military pay. Neighbors interviewed by the San Antonio Express-News said Hasan, a psychiatrist, kept details of his job to himself.
According to other news reports, Hasan was conflicted about what to tell fellow Muslim soldiers about the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Osman Danquah, a board member of the Islamic Community Center of Greater Killeen, told the Associated Press that Hasan did not seem satisfied when Danquah, a retired Army first sergeant and Gulf War veteran, told him that the soldiers had volunteered to fight, and that Muslims were fighting each other in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestinian territories.
But Danquah also said he didn't see the need to tell anyone at Fort Hood about the discussions because Hasan never expressed anger toward the Army or indicated any plans for violence. And, Danquah said, he assumed the chain of command was aware of Hasan's doubts.
‘I have to forgive'
Full report at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6722290.html
SHANGHAI (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. and China carry the burden of world leadership on many issues, especially climate change. Obama is making his first visit to China as president and answered questions from Chinese students during a town hall-style event. He says the U.S. and China must cooperate if global challenges are to be solved.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — An area that has become the focal point for militant retaliation against a recent army offensive has again been targeted. A pickup truck laden with explosives blew up near a police station in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least three people. Suspected militants have killed more than 300 civilians and security personnel in the area recently.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A newspaper report says a radical Muslim imam deems the Fort Hood shootings acceptable under Islam. Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who communicated with the suspect, says "America was the one who first brought the battle to Muslim countries." The imam was interviewed by a Yemeni journalist under contract with the Washington Post. The cleric denies pressuring the suspect to act.
KOKONOGI, Japan (AP) — Scientists say increasing invasions of fishing grounds by jellyfish is another indication of climate change. Scientists believe climate change has allowed jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers. The U.S. National Science Foundation blames the creatures for devastating fishing industries.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Twitterers will be all aflutter Monday when space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for blast off. For the first time ever, NASA last month invited its Twitter followers to sign up online for the chance to see a space shuttle launch up close. They plan to let loose with electronic messages unless initial awe at the launch spectacle tempers their tweets until they catch their breath.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan—A pickup laden with explosives attacked a police station in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 3 people in an area that has become the focal point for militant retaliation against a recent army offensive.
Suspected militants have killed more than 300 civilians and security personnel in the last month in an attempt to weaken the country’s resolve to continue the military operation in the tribal area of South Waziristan, where al-Qaida and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding.
Police opened fire on the pickup truck as it approached a checkpoint in front of a police station in Badh Ber, but the driver was able to detonate his explosives, said Liaqat Ali Khan, the senior police chief in the main northwestern city of Peshawar.
The attack, which partly damaged the station and destroyed a small mosque and a house nearby, killed three people and injured 20 others, said Khan.
Local television footage showed rescue workers searching for survivors and police examining the deep crater caused by the explosion.
A senior government official in the area, Sahibzada Anees, said the death toll may rise as rescue workers continue their search through the debris.
“This is an obvious reaction to the operation in the tribal areas,” Anees said.
Badh Ber is located some 7 miles (12 kilometers) south of Peshawar. The area in and around the city, which borders Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal region, has experienced a wave of attacks since the army launched its South Waziristan offensive in mid-October. More than 50 people have been killed in the area in a little over a week.
Militants staged a pair of attacks against anti-Taliban figures in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing one of the men.
The government has supplemented its military campaigns by helping tribal leaders and local government officials set up militias to battle the Taliban. The militias, known as lashkars, have been compared to Iraq’s Awakening Councils, which helped U.S. forces turn the tide against al-Qaida there.
As in Iraq, militants in Pakistan have targeted the leaders of such groups.
A group of militants opened fire on the house of an elder, Malik Sher Zaman, in the Bajur tribal region around midnight on Sunday, killing him several months after he signed an agreement with the government to battle the Taliban, said senior local official Abdul Malik. The militants blew up part of his house in the Mamund area after the attack, he said.
Several hours later, more than a dozen militants opened fire on the house of an anti-Taliban mayor outside Peshawar, but security guards repelled the attack, killing three of the assailants, said police official Nabi Shah.
The militants who initiated the attack against Mayor Mohammad Fahim Khan’s house in Bazid Khel town, some 10 miles (15 kilometers) south of Peshawar, had disguised themselves by donning burqas, the all-encompassing garments traditionally worn by Muslim women, said Shah.
Full report at: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/WireHeadlines/2009/11/16/truck-bombing-at-police-station-in-pakis-64.php
By Jennifer Rubin
it’s extremists,” Judith Miller and David Samuels wrote regarding the Ft. Hood shootings that "in taking aim at the evasive psycho-babble that dominated early news accounts, the right has engaged in an equally dangerous bias that conflates [Nidal Malik] Hasan's radicalism with the religious beliefs of mainstream Muslims. In their narrative, any Muslim might suddenly 'snap,' as Hasan apparently did, and reveal himself to be the enemy within." They identify me as a proponent of this view. While acknowledging that I added "sensibly that not all Muslims might be so inclined," they assert that I "left it to more primitive commentators to draw the inevitable conclusion that all Muslims in the U.S. military should be viewed as potential traitors."
Miller and Samuels distort, quite egregiously, my views. In a different post from the one they referenced, I wrote:
"To be clear: it is the ultimate red herring, a straw man of gargantuan proportions, to suggest that those pointing to Hasan's ... announced intentions (‘I am going to do good work for God’) are suggesting that Muslim soldiers as a group are untrustworthy or suspect. No, there is no 'backlash' in the works. What there is, and what elite opinion makers should recognize before the public's fury builds, is that ignoring signs of Islamic-fundamentalist-inspired animus toward America will get people killed. It has. And it will again unless and until we stop tip-toeing around the obvious link between a murderous ideology and murder."
In another blog post, I made a similar argument:
"But let's be clear: the Army didn't fail the 'Muslim community'; it failed 43 wounded or slain people and their families. And to prevent it from happening again, we need to get over the diversity fetish (which imagines that Americans are too dumb to distinguish between nonviolent Muslims and those who've adopted a murderous ideology) and get on with the business of fighting a war against those who want many, many more Fort Hoods."
One would be hard-pressed, after a fair reading of these, to conclude that I conflated fanatical jihadists with nonviolent Muslims or left "it to more primitive commentators to draw the inevitable conclusion that all Muslims in the U.S. military should be viewed as potential traitors." The opposite is obviously the case.
But there is something more fundamental and of greater consequence than the sloppy distillation of one commentator's work. The suggestion by Miller and Samuels that what is really at play is the "perverted political ideology" of heretics who merely use the language of religion to achieve their goals deserves scrutiny.
Their argument might be strengthened by evidence that the brand of jihadist ideology we confront is alien to Islam or that its followers have been declared heretics by prominent Muslims. But the evidence for this is thin, if nonexistent. Cliff May, writing for National Review Online, reminds us: "Hateful, medievalist, supremacist, and genocidal ideologies, movements, and regimes have risen up from within the world's Muslim communities. They are waging a war against the West -- and against Muslims who don't go along with them." To say that the majority of Muslims don't subscribe to the strain of radical fundamentalism is a truism. To say that it is not rooted at all in Islam is sophistry.
Full report at: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-rubin16-2009nov16,0,1067134.story
London, Nov. 15: Al Qaeda leaders are promoting jihad from inside the high-security prisons in Britain by smuggling out propaganda for the Internet and finding recruits, a home office-funded think tank has claimed. In an authoritative report, Quilliam, the think tank, said "mismanagement" by the prison service is helping Al Qaeda gain recruits and risks "strengthening jihadist movements".
According to the report, Abu Qatada, described by Britain’s intelligence agency MI5 as "Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe" has posted ‘fatwas’ on the Internet from Long Lartin jail, calling for "jihad" or holy war and the "murder" of moderate Mus-lims, the Times reported.
Abu Qatada is a radical Islamic cleric wanted on terror charges in Jordan. Like other jailed terrorist leaders, Qatada is meant to be cut off from his supporters outside.
Even during a brief spell of freedom in 2005, a government control order barred him from spreading his incendiary sermons without the permission of the home secretary.
Yet in 2008, under the noses of warders, it is said that Qatada and Adel Abdel Bary, leader of the UK branch of Egyptian "Islamic Jihad", were able to smuggle out a series of "fatwas" — religious decrees — legitimising attacks by Al Qaeda.
Qatada and Bary are two of about 100 Islamist terrorists in UK prisons. Many are held in supposedly top-security jails for inciting or plotting attacks in which hundreds of people could have died. —PTI
Radical Muslims are spreading extremist propaganda and promoting jihad from inside UK jails, a report has claimed.
Counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation said radicals were also being allowed to lead prayers.
And its report said extremist cleric Abu Qatada had issued fatwas from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire where he is awaiting deportation.
The Ministry of Justice said it had a dedicated unit to tackle the risk of extremism and radicalisation in prison.
The Quilliam Foundation said the study, to be published on Monday, was based largely on accounts sneaked out of prisons by high-profile extremists.
The report said: "Prominent pro al-Qaeda ideologues such as Abu Qatada have been able to smuggle messages out of prison to their supporters.
"Other convicted extremists have issued pro-jihadist statements from prison while others have appeared on Islamic TV stations from within prison.
"In 2008 and 2009, two of the most prominent Arab jihadists imprisoned in the UK released pro-jihadist propaganda and fatwas from within Long Lartin prison.
"Adel Abdel Bary, a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, produced written pro-jihadist tracts from within prison aiming to refute criticism of al-Qaeda, while Abu Qatada issued fatwas from within prison which legitimised jihadist attacks worldwide."
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, whose constituency includes Long Lartin, plans to raise the report's findings with Home Secretary Alan Johnson and Justice Secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Luff said: "In my view the courts have, in the past, failed to protect us by allowing the release of dangerous individuals from Long Lartin and other prisons, and by delaying the deportation of many others.
"While these deeply dangerous men remain in British custody, we must be absolutely confident that they can do no harm - and these revelations suggest we cannot be confident of that.
"The government must move quickly to address the exceptionally serious issues this report raises."
Full report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8361440.stm
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi invited hundreds of attractive Italian "hostesses" to a villa in Rome last night for an evening at which he urged them to convert to Islam and told them Christianity was based on a fraud, Italian reports said today.
The Libyan leader is in Italy to attend a United Nations summit on world food security. Reports said that Colonel Gaddafi's aides phoned an agency which provides elegantly dressed young women to act as hospitality staff at events.
The agency was asked to send 500 women to the residence of Hafed Gaddur, the Libyan ambassador in Rome, where Colonel Gaddafi is staying, over a series of evenings during the three day summit.
The agency advertised for "500 pleasing girls between 18 and 35 years of age, at least one metre 70 high." The women were asked to dress elegantly but soberly, with both miniskirts and cleavage-revealing decolletage firmly banned.
Those who replied were offered €60 (£53) to attend an evening at the villa for an "exchange of opinions" and to "receive a Libyan gift", which turned out to be a copy of the Koran. They were given nothing to eat or drink, however.
Paola Lo Mele, a journalist with the Italian news agency ANSA who posed as a hostess to enter the villa, said the 200 women who attended yesterday had to pass through metal detectors, before being ushered by white turbanned Libyan staff into a "sumptuous drawing room" with white and red divans arranged in a semi-circle in front of Colonel Gaddafi. He arrived an hour late. He sat next to an interpreter and two of his renowned female guards.
The Libyan leader said it was "untrue that Islam is against women" according to Corriere della Sera. He urged the women to convert to Islam, pointing out that whereas there were four different Gospels, there was only one Koran.
He then observed — to "general incredulity" — that Christ had not died on the Cross and been resurrected, as Christians believe, because the person crucified had been "a look-alike" who was substituted for the real Jesus.
"Convert to Islam. Jesus was sent to the Jews, not for you. Mohammed, on the other hand, was sent for all human beings," he reportedly said. "Whoever goes in a different direction than Mohammed is wrong. God's religion is Islam, and whoever follows a different one, in the end, will lose," Colonel Gaddafi added, according to La Stampa.
He said women must do only "what their physical condition allows them", and spoke about the role that women played during the Second World War. He claimed that in the West women "have often been used as pieces of furniture, changed whenever it pleases men. And this is an injustice." He then invited the women to travel to the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
As the soiree broke up at midnight he handed out copies of the Koran, his own Green Book on the Libyan revolution, and a pamphlet entitled How to be a Muslim.
Colonel Gaddafi, noted for his eccentric behaviour, aroused hackles in Italy in June when he arived for celebrations marking an historic Italian-Libyan reconciliation accord with a photograph pinned to his chest of a Libyan national hero executed by Italian Fascist troops during Italy's occupation of Libya.
Full report at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6918541.ece
New Delhi: In late 1994, a milkman knocked on the door of a Ghaziabad house. As the door opened, he noticed men with guns inside, but he still delivered the milk. He then tipped off police who raided the place and rescued several foreign hostages being held by a group of terrorists, seeking the release of some arrested militant leaders including Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar had been arrested in February that year.
When the police reached there, the commander of the terrorist group that called itself Al-Hadid — essentially it was a Harkat-ul Ansar-Harkat-ul Jihad-al-Islami operation — had just stepped out with his trusted lieutenant Omar Saeed Sheikh. The police confronted them as they returned and, in the gunbattle that ensued, Sheikh was injured and arrested but the commander escaped. He was none other than Ilyas Kashmiri. Omar Sheikh was later released in exchange for passengers aboard the hijacked IC-814 at Kandahar.
Kashmiri is the common thread that runs between Sheikh and David Coleman Headley, arrested by FBI for plotting terror attacks on India at the behest of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Both were Pakistan-born anglicized youth, equally committed and skilled in understanding and adapting to the ways of the West. They did not fit the traditional description of a jihadi terrorist, yet were very effective in planning attacks.
Kashmiri, who was once the head of the infamous 313 brigade and the HuJI that carried out attacks in Kashmir, always looked for recruits with such attributes that allowed them to move under the radar, contributing to his terror missions abroad.
Headley or Daood Gilani was no exception. The FBI believes he is an alumnus of the Cadet College in Hassan Abdal, Pakistan which is very much like India’s military schools that train young children to join the Army. But Gilani moved to the US and then changed his identity in 2006. His cover for travels abroad was that of a representative of First Immigration Services, a company run by co-accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana.
Headley used “doctor” and “Pir Sahib” as the codewords for his patron-in-chief Ilyas Kashmiri. On September 13, amid press reports of Kashmiri’s death in a drone attack, he spoke to his contact in Pakistan who informed him that the “doctor may have got married there”. A distraught Headley shot back, “so it means our company has gone into bankruptcy then”.
FBI investigators believe that “getting married” was coded language for dying or having achieved martyrdom. This 13-minute phone call, according to the FBI, ended at 5.09 pm Chicago time and at 5.12 pm Headley did a Google search for Ilyas Kashmiri to read the latest reports. He repeated the search three days later on September 16 at 7.29 pm and accessed reports on Kashmiri’s alleged death.
The next day he again spoke to his Pakistan contact and said: “It is everywhere now... their marriage has been confirmed”. In the same conversation, a shaken Headley wanted to even fold up their activities. “But now there is nothing to do there. Now let us collect unemployment from the company... when a company lays off in case of bankruptcy, it discharges employees”. When his contact tried to console him that this was not a big loss to their effort, Headley replied: “No, it’s not a small loss, it is a major loss.”
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/542006/
Srinagar : Away from public glare, India and Pakistan Track II channels have been busy and it is learnt that two rounds of meetings have taken place in Bangkok in the last three weeks between former Pakistan High Commissioner to India Aziz Ahmed Khan and former RAW chief A S Dullat.
Aziz was in Srinagar recently in connection with an intra-Kashmir conference which was also attended by former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Humayun Khan. They later met Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief of the moderate Hurriyat faction, at his residence.
Dullat is an old Kashmir hand, known to most separatist leaders.
In fact, the moderate Hurriyat, invited by Islamabad for talks, plans to travel to Pakistan after Eid-ul-Azha on November 28.
The Mirwaiz, who today broke away from a tour of Doda to meet Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik in New Delhi over lunch, later told The Indian Express: “There is some momentum getting built for a substantive Indo-Pak engagement... Things are happening. Various proposals are being discussed.”
Earlier, Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat colleague Abdul Gani Bhat met Malik twice in the past week. Bhat has been camping in New Delhi where he had gone to attend a seminar early this month. Bhat has called for a broader political alliance between mainstream and separatist forces in the Valley.
From Kerala to Gujarat, Headley ran terror empire
Enlarging the scope of investigation to trace the movements and designs of David Headley, a US citizen arrested by the FBI on terror charges, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has formed several teams in Mumbai and other States. The measure followed leads that David, his accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana and his wife had visited Kochi ten days before the 26/11 terror attacks last year. Investigations so far have proved that Headley and Rana had criss-crossed India and stayed at Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Probe into the visits of the two terror suspects have also led sleuths to the disclosure that Rana’s wife, Samraz Rana, had visited India along with him. Samraz, a Canadian national born in Bahawalpur of Pakistan, had accompanied Rana to Kochi on November 16, 2008, sources said.
While these investigations were on, Home Secretary GK Pillai said in Delhi on Sunday that the Government had not given a clean chit to anyone related to David Headley case. He also said the ongoing probe spread across several States would take four to six weeks to unearth the truth.
Reports from Mumbai said the NIA formed several teams here as well as in other States and started questioning several people to trace the footsteps of Headley and Rana as new leads suggested that they had visited Kerala.
NIA officials were looking for an estate agent in Khar, a western suburb of Mumbai and Tardeo in central Mumbai, who could have helped Headley in finding a house in Breach Candy in South Mumbai, official sources said.
Sleuths were now in the process of procuring CCTV footage and other records from various hotels in Mumbai frequented by Headley and Rana during their stay, officials said.
In a related development, sleuths of Central security agencies found that Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistan origin, went to Kochi in Kerala.
Home Secretary GK Pillai, while making it clear that no one has been given clean chit in the Headley case so far, said in New Delhi that Rana had visited Kochi last year 10 days before the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Kerala Police chief Jacob Punnoose said, “A man named Tahawwur Hussain Rana had stayed in a hotel in Kochi on November 16 (last year).” The hotel records in Kerala showed that Rana checked in at a five-star hotel in Kochi on November 16 and left for Mumbai the next day. Sleuths were investigating whether the purpose of Rana’s visit was for recruiting youth for militant activities.
Reports from Kochi said that intelligence officials on Sunday confirmed Rana had visited Kochi in November 2008 even as they intensified the efforts to find out the real purpose of the visit and to track down the people who had met or contacted him during the stay here. Investigators also got hold of two mobile phone numbers Rana had used while in Kochi.
Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/216139/From-Kerala-to-Gujarat-Headley-ran-terror-empire.html
Nov. 15: Suicide attacks, car bombings, shootings in the capital and fighting in the mountains, Taliban rebels are dragging Pakistan into a war deadlier than in Afghanistan and mimicking the carnage of Iraq.
Militant attacks killed at least 320 people in nuclear-armed Pakistan in October alone, including 170 civilians slaughtered in market bombings in Peshawar, according to tallies from the police and medics, and the bloodshed has continued in November. Across the border in Afghanistan, where US President Barack Obama is
mulling whether to send thousands of extra troops into battle against the Taliban, attacks were more frequent, but the death toll for October was around 130.
Pakistan is on the frontline of the US war on Al Qaeda and has been a key ally in the Afghan campaign, but local analysts warn that increased instability in the country of 167 million people could prove more damaging.
"The danger here is much greater. It's a bigger country, more developed with the nuclear bomb and all that," said tribal affairs expert Rahimullah Yusufzai.
I am currently reading the fascinating study 'Official Ulama and the Politics of Re-Islamisation: The Majelis Permesyuwaratan Ulama, Shariatisation and Contested Religious Authority in Post-New Order Aceh' by my dear friend and colleague Moch Nur Ichwan of Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta. It has proven to be a worthwhile effort that has taught me many interesting things about the state of religious politics in Indonesia and the troubled province of Aceh in particular.
Ichwan's thesis is that what we have witnessed in Aceh since the end of the Suharto era is a complex and at times clumsy attempt to domesticate the forces of Acehnese resistance by playing the religious card. This is, unfortunately, a tactic that has been used and abused too many times by floundering political elites in Muslim countries worldwide, and Indonesia is no exception to the rule.
To set things in context, we need to remember that Aceh has historically been one of the most Islamic parts of Indonesia as it was the point of entry when Islam first arrived to the Indonesian archipelago from the 13th century onwards. Aceh has historically seen and presented itself as the 'verandah of Mecca' and the centre for Muslim piety as well as scholarship, and rightfully boasts of having produced some of the more important Muslim thinkers of Southeast Asia for centuries.
However as Ichwan also correctly notes, the Acehnese are equally proud of their culture, language and customs as they are of their Muslim identity, and they played a vital role in the resistance to Dutch colonial rule from the 19th to 20th centuries. Since Indonesia gained its independence many Acehnese leaders had hoped that the Indonesian republic would recognise their efforts in the liberation struggle and would offer the province the status of special province instead. This never happened, and the failure to recognise Aceh's historical role as a centre for culture as well as political resistance was one of the factors that fueled the communitarian sentiments of the Acehnese from the 1940s to the present.
During the eras of Sukarno (1945-1965) and Suharto (1965-1998), Aceh was the seen as one of the 'problematic' regions of Indonesia and sadly became the battleground for an insurgency war when the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) was created in the mid-1970s led by Hasan Tiro. The Acehnese leaders have constantly complained about their loss of local political control and that vital resources such as oil and gas were being tapped from Aceh but with little development in their own region. This merely fueled even more resentment against the federal government in Jakarta, which in turn escalated the conflict in Aceh further, leading to the region being declared a military zone (DOM) and the loss of thousands of lives.
Fast-forward to the late Suharto era and we see how successive administrations in Jakarta have tried to deal with the Aceh issue: The late Suharto era witnessed the state's support of conservative Ulama organisations that were courted by the Suharto regime and co-opted into the state institutional framework. After the fall of Suharto in 1998, successive administrations in Jakarta have tried to pacify the demands of the Acehnese by making token concessions in terms of offering them the opportunity to implement Islamic law: Though as Ichwan notes, Acehnese groups like GAM have never asked for the implementation of religious laws and punishments per se, but instead more political autonomy and the right to manage their own natural resources.
Full report at: http://www.mysinchew.com/node/31529?tid=14
By Stu Bykofsky
AN AMERICAN, who seems normal but is driven by religious fanaticism, picks up a gun and kills 29 unarmed, innocent people.
This was not U.S. Army Major NidalMalik Hasan, who killed 13. It was Baruch Goldstein, who killed Muslim worshippers in a West Bank mosque in 1994.
I have no trouble calling Goldstein a religious extremist and a Jewish terrorist. He was widely and loudly condemned by almost all American Jews and Israelis.
Why should anyone pause before calling Hasan a religious extremist and an Islamic terrorist? He was apparently animated by religious belief; his business card carried the acronym SOA, for Soldier of Allah.
Not Uncle Sam. Allah.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, America's largest Muslim civil-rights and advocacy group, denounced Hasan's alleged actions, but stopped short of calling him a "terrorist." In a brief interview Thursday, CAIR Executive Director Ibrahim Hooper told me that all the facts are not in.
I had follow-up questions, but Hooper begged off because of a heavy interview schedule.
In an interview Saturday, M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, had no problem declaring Hasan's act "terrorism," which he called a symptom of the underlying cause, "political Islam."
The government has charged Hasan with 13 counts of premeditated murder, which means the government doesn't think he suddenly "snapped."
Jasser, a physician and U.S. Navy veteran who describes himself as a devout Muslim, believes that "Dr. Hasan slid down a slippery slope that took years."
We now hear there were red flares in Hasan's work history going off like bottle rockets, but were not reported, probably for fear of someone being labeled "Islamophobic."
If so, we've got to ditch the idea that American Muslims are such hothouse orchids that they wilt under cold scrutiny. Muslims must understand that if murderous plots are hatched in a mosque - as was the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center - then that mosque needs to be surveilled and worshippers might be persons of interest to law enforcement.
The government would swoop in like a falcon if white supremacists were meeting in a church to draw up attacks on blacks. We can't let legal astigmatism blind us to PWM - Plotting While Muslim.
At the Fort Hood memorial service, President Obama reminded America that this is a "time of war."
In a time of war, as we ask young men and women to die for America, we are entitled to ask questions of American Muslims without igniting a witch hunt. Questions are not accusations.
Full report at: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20091116_Stu_Bykofsky__American_Muslims_must_stand_up_for_America.html
DIG of Indian security force killed in IED blast in Jammu and Kashmi
Srinagar, India, Nov 16, IRNA - A Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) was today killed and two other force officials seriously injured in a blast triggered by militants near the Indo-Pak border in Samba district's of Jammu region.
DIG had gone to the area to conduct a combing operation this morning after the post came under fire from across the border since last night, said official sources.
During the combing operation, a blast took place, killing Kanwar, a BSF cadre officer, and leaving two others badly injured, sources said.
As per preliminary information, terrorists had planted an improvised explosive device (IED) on the Indian side and taken cover at a safe place in Pakistan territory. As soon as the militants found out that a senior officer was visiting the area, the IED was detonated in which the DIG was killed, said sources.
They said there has been intermittent cross-border small arms firing on the forward Ballad post since last night. The BSF troops have replied to the firing, they said.
Islamabad: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Secretary General Liaquat Baloch has said that America is undermining the roots of Pakistan through political, strategic and economic intervention, and its presence in Afghanistan would cause devastation for this region.
Addressing a press conference, he blamed America for promoting extremism among the people in a bid to destabilise the entire region in general and Pakistan and Afghanistan in particular.
He opined that India was not ready to have good relations with Pakistan, as it was using delaying tactics to solve the core issue of Kashmir.
"The presence of India in Afghanistan is stunning for the world but it is busy there in completing its hawkish intentions under the supervision of America," The Nation quoted Baloch, as saying.
Blaming the spy agency of India, he said that it was involved in terrorist activities taking place in the country, which had created chaos in Pakistan.
"The hand of India in terrorist activities taking place in Punjab, Balochistan, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) cannot be ruled out", he added.
Criticising the incumbent govt, he said that it had also several times admitted the involvement of Indian hands in the terror activities occurring in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan, but never dared to raise the issue internationally.
"The IGP Balochistan had provided enough evidence to the Interior Ministry fixing responsibility on India for poor law and order situation in the province" Baloch said.
16th November, 2009
As President Barack Obama prepares to announce his new strategy for Afghanistan, his administration is stepping up pressure on Pakistan to expand and reorient its fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the New York Times reported Monday.
As Obama travelled to Asia, his national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, was quietly sent to Islamabad to warn that failing to do so would undercut the new strategy and troop increase for Afghanistan, the influential US daily said citing unnamed American officials.
His message, the daily cited officials as saying, was that the new American strategy would work only if Pakistan broadened its fight beyond the militants attacking its cities and security forces and went after the groups that use havens in Pakistan for plotting and carrying out attacks against American troops in Afghanistan, as well as support networks for Al Qaeda.
While Afghanistan has dominated the public discussion of Obama's strategy, which officials say could be announced as early as this week, Pakistan is returning to centre stage in administration planning, the Times said.
The daily said General Jones praised the Pakistani operation in South Waziristan but urged Pakistani officials to combat extremists who fled to North Waziristan.
General Jones also delivered a letter from Obama to Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, in which Obama said he expected Zardari to rally the nation's political and national security institutions in a united campaign against extremists threatening Pakistan and Afghanistan, it said citing an unnamed official briefed on the conversations.
In his letter to Zardari, Obama offered a range of new incentives to the Pakistanis for their cooperation, including enhanced intelligence sharing and military cooperation, the Times said citing officials.
For their part, Pakistani officials have told the Americans that they harbour two deep fears about Obama's new strategy: that the US will add too many troops on the Afghan side of the border, and that the American effort will end too soon, it said.
Their first concern, described by officials on both sides of the recent discussions, the Times said, is that if Obama commits an additional 30,000 or more troops, it will inevitably push more Taliban fighters across the border into Pakistani territory and complicate the South Waziristan offensive.
Would the Mullahs approve of Birth Control? Many of them have…
November 16th, 2009
By Nancy Reyes
One of the frustrating things when working in child maternal health in poor countries is trying to integrate medical aims into the cultural background of the people, without destroying it.
This NYTimes story, about trying to get the Mullahs in Afghanistan to approve of their people using birth control, is a good example of how to tackle the problem, but only hints on how they could manage to persuade the Mullahs.
The answer is to emphasize the health needs of the mother and the child. A real man protects those whom God has put under his authority, and this means not risking a woman’s mental and physical health with pregnancy after pregnancy. Similarly, people know that women who are too young, too old, or have children too closely together often have children with health problems.
But what about Islam? That religion “hates” women, according to a lot of Islamophobic blogs in the US, who can’t see how the western emphasis sexual promiscuity and abortion on demand has harmed American women who want to raise a family, whereas Islam stresses protection of women by her family so that she can fulfill her calling as a homemaker.
That is why Family Planning is used widely in Iran.
After the Iran-Iraq war, population growth was threatening the economy, and so the Mullahs issued fatwas approving of clinics giving birth control to married women.They justified using family planning for the reasons I stressed above: because it helps the health of the mother and the child.
One result of this is that Iran’s population level is at replacement level, which is either good or bad, depending on who is viewing the statistics. (One is not surprised that the present President wants to scrap the policies, but that’s another story).
Will the Muslim clergy who advise the more conservative tribes in Afghanistan permit family planning?
Afghanistan is not Iran, which has a much more highly educated population, and tends to be Shiite (which has leaders) rather than Sunni (where leadership is less defined).
Full report at: http://www.bloggernews.net/122984
Possible Hate crime: American Muslim woman says shopper pulled at her head scarf By Kim Janssen
Tinley Park police investigating incident as possible hate crime
Police are investigating an alleged hate crime against a Muslim woman who says her head scarf was pulled by a supermarket shopper angry about the Fort Hood shootings.
Amal Abusumayah, 28, says she was shopping at a Tinley Park grocery store at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 when a middle-aged woman passed her in the aisle and made a loud reference to Fort Hood.
"She said, 'The man that did that shooting in Texas was from the Middle East,' in a really loud and angry voice," Abusumayah said.
Minutes later, while Abusumayah was paying for her groceries, the woman approached her from behind and tugged hard on her blue and beige head scarf, she said.
"I turned around and looked at her, and she walked out of the store," she said.
"My scarf didn't come off because it was on very tight, but my head was tugged back."
Abusumayah followed the woman into the lot and called police, who arrested the woman soon after, she said.
Abusumayah said she initially declined to press charges against the woman because she was "upset and confused," but that she returned to press charges Sunday.
Tinley Park Police Chief Michael O'Connell said Friday his officers are investigating the incident as a "possible hate crime."
"Pulling a woman's head scarf is clearly a hate crime and should therefore be investigated as such," said Christina Abraham, the Chicago civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Abusumayah was born in the U.S. and raised in Berwyn by Palestinian immigrants. "I had to report this incident because I don't want this to happen to anyone else," she said.
She said the shootings at Fort Hood, where 13 soldiers were killed by a Muslim U.S. soldier last week, were "very upsetting and very sad to me -- as Muslims and Arabs we do not tolerate these kinds of actions."
By Patrick Goodenough,
As support wanes for its campaign to secure controversial but non-binding “defamation of religion” resolutions at the United Nations, the Islamic bloc is pushing ahead with an alternative route – one that would carry the weight of international law.
The OIC is now attempting to have a key U.N. panel amend an existing international treaty to encompass supposedly religiously defamatory speech.
Unlike the resolutions, changing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to cover religion would be legally enforceable.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has for the past decade overseen the passage of non-binding resolutions at the U.N. General Assembly and human rights bodies.
Last week, the most recent effort passed in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, cultural, and humanitarian issues. It will go before the full General Assembly for a vote next month, but the committee vote indicates a continuing, measurable decline in support.
Eighty-one countries voted for the resolution, 55 opposed it and 43 abstained. The result showed less support for and more opposition against the resolution than for those introduced by the OIC over the last three years. (see graph)
As in past years, most support came from the 57-member OIC (although two members, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon, abstained) plus non-Muslim allies in the developing world, led by China, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.
Comparisons of voting records from 2006 to date reveal a continuing erosion of support in Latin America. Chile, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay all voted against the OIC-led resolution this year, having abstained in 2008. Elsewhere, Lesotho and Sri Lanka were among those who moved from supporting the resolution in 2008, to abstaining this year.
Full report at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/57158
The room fills up slowly. The 20 or so participants hesitate before entering the basement of the Anatolia Islamic Centre on Maingate Dr. in Mississauga. Most of them come to the mosque every day for prayer. This is the first time they are joined by national security officers from the RCMP.
The meeting is the start of six weeks of dialogue between the Mounties and the Muslim community, a small effort to rebuild a relationship that has become strained.
Corporal Steve James starts off the session with a joke.
"I want to welcome you and introduce you to the RCMP officers here today," says James. "Don't worry, none of them are here to arrest you."
There is some nervous laughter and a few smiles. This is the first time many here have ever spoken to the police in Canada. Where they are from, police normally don't have a sense of humour.
All of the attendees, mostly middle-aged Muslim men and a few women of various ethnic backgrounds, are here to take part in the RCMP citizen's academy course, a get-to-know-your-local-law-enforcement workshop that will take place over the next few Tuesday nights and cover such things as Internet safety, immigration and recruitment.
The national security arm of the RCMP created the academy in 2005 as a way to give Muslim leaders and community members a venue to air counter-terrorism concerns and dispel misconceptions about how the RCMP operates.
The academies have been meeting in mosques across the city, welcoming dozens of community leaders and activists. But three years later, many of the initial concerns still exist.
"The concerns are pretty much the same," said Supt. Jamie Jagoe, responsible for national security investigations in Ontario, who came up with the idea for the academy.
"But the further we move away from 9/11 ... the angst that was there is getting reduced."
Full report at: http://www.mississauga.com/community/article/162106--muslims-meet-mounties
Those who live in South Jakarta would undoubtedly have experienced a traffic disruption on a Saturday night caused by a lengthy and extensive motorcade of youngsters dressed in white shirts, sarongs and skullcaps. They pervade the cityscape with flags and banners written in Arabic script unintelligible to many inhabitants of the capital. Behind them were several trucks overflowing with youth singing paeans to God and blessings to the prophet, accompanied by melodious drumming. To make this carnivalesque picture complete, stretches of road were filled with banners and billboards showing a picture of a man of Hadhrami extraction garbed in a colored robe and white turban.
This was a procession of Majelis Taklim Nurul Musthafa, one of many new Muslim study groups that appeared in the late 1990s. Since 1998, Habib Hasan bin Ja’far Assegaf has been proactive in visiting slums on the outskirts of Jakarta, preaching to the youth. Over the years, the Bogor-born preacher’s network has expanded and the once modest Nurul Musthafa now attracts literally thousands of devotees to its weekly gatherings.
Most of Habib Hasan’s followers are young people who come from the lower rung of the social hierarchy. In the meetings, the young and charismatic Habib Hasan leads his congregation in reciting Sufi liturgical texts and poetry, complete with drums and fireworks. Far from being radical or anarchic, however, the Nurul Musthafa study group has been proactive in steering the youth away from the more radical elements of Islamic activism.
Full report at: http://thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/reclaiming-south-jakartas-sacred-streets/341975
Yemen has repeated its accusation that Iran is funding Houthi rebel fighters in their war against government forces in the north of the country.
General Yahya Salih, Yemen's counter-terrorism chief, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that it would be impossible for the group to be able to wage its campaign without foreign support.
"The Houthis cannot fund and fight this war with pomegranates and grapes or drugs," he said.
"No doubt there is Iranian support, especially when you consider that the Yemeni state is spending billions of riyals."
Yemen launched a military offensive against the Houthis in the northern Saada region in August after the group's fighters stepped up its campaign against the government.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has become embroiled in the conflict in recent weeks, launching air raids and artillery strikes on suspected Houthi targets after the group crossed the border and reportedly seized a small area of Saudi territory.
Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, last week warned against perceived foreign intervention in the conflict.
"Countries of the region must seriously hold back from intervening in Yemen's internal affairs," he told a news conference in Tehran.
Mottaki also said that Yemen needed to "rehabilitate relations" with its public, including the Shia minority from which the Houthi fightyers come, adding that Iran had already announced its willingness to mediate between them.
But Salih told Al Jazeera that Tehran had no right to question Yemen's treatment of ethnic or religious minorities.
"Who has given Mr Mottaki the right to talk about minorities?
"Minorities are persecuted in Iran, just recently they executed Kurd activists. He who lives in a glass house shouldn't throw stones."
The Houthis, who are from the Shia Muslim Zaidi sect, first took up arms against the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, in 2004, citing political, economic and religious marginalisation by the Saudi and Western-backed administration.
Full report at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/11/2009111675649700628.html
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Influential and front ranking vernacular daily Manabzamin published front page lead commentary on November 16, 2009 titled ‘Where is problem in recognizing Kosovo and Israel’. According to this commentary, United States is continuing to request Bangladesh in recognizing Kosovo while there has never been any request from United States in according recognition to Israel.
Manabzamin is edited by prominent Bangladeshi journalist Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, who enjoys high esteem in the society as a very successful editor and political analyst.
Manabzamin said Bangladesh is the only Muslim country in the world, which has been maintaining total ban on Israel since independence in 1971, although Israel was amongst the first four nations to extend recognition to newly born Bangladesh. Due to non existence of any relations between Dhaka and Jerusalem, Bangladesh is continuing to be deprived of receiving various types of assistances from Israel.
Israel recognized Bangladesh on February 4, 1972. Although 37 countries are yet to establish full diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, but Bangladesh is the only country in the world, which stops its citizen from traveling to Israel. Bangladesh government clearly mentions in the passport that no Bangladeshi citizen can travel to Israel with this passport.
It is learnt that, a number of ultra-Islamist group as well some terror-patron nations like Iran are continuing to give instigations to Dhaka in not opening doors for Israel. Due to heavy influence of such elements, Bangladesh is virtually compelled in continuing total ban on Israel.
Experts opine Bangladesh should immediately remove the words in its passport, which stops the citizen of the country from visiting Israel. Moreover, Jerusalem is one of the two most sacred places for the Muslims. It goes the Muslim sentiment as well to stop Bangladeshis from visiting Israel and having relations with that only democracy in the Middle East.
They said, Saudi Arabia established economic relations with Israel since 2005, while a large number of Muslim and Arab nations are having either diplomatic or economic relations with Jerusalem for years. In contrary, Bangladesh maintains total ban on Israel including postal ban, telecommunication ban, shipping ban, business ban and travel ban. Many of the Bangladeshi officials, being brain-washed by Iranian or Jihadist notions, consider Israel as a ‘enemy nation’ of Bangladesh.
It is learnt that, sensing extremely cordial assistance and cooperation between Jerusalem and Dhaka, some anti-Bangladesh quarters are continuing to create blockade in any form of relations between Bangladesh and Israel.
Full report at: http://www.weeklyblitz.net/index.php?id=1096
MUI calls Muslims not to watch 2012
A chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the highest Muslim authority, called on all Muslims Monday to not watch 2012, saying that the Hollywood movie was misleading and against Islamic belief.
Mahmud Zubaidi, head of the East Java's Malang regency chapter of MUI, told reporters that the movie was inappropriate, especially for the Muslims, who should believe that no one but Allah knows when doomsday will come. He warned that the film could give people the wrong idea about doomsday.
Produced by Sony Pictures, Roland Emmerich's 2012 is a new movie about the Mayan doomsday starring John Cusack.
Mahmud said that Muslims should not believe the ancient Mayan prediction and the description about doomsday in the movie.
Since the film was screened in Malang on Friday, it has attracted huge crowds, who braved a long queue for the tickets, according to Nawang Matik from Cinema 21 in Malang Town Square.
Singapore : US President Barack Obama said on Sunday time was running out for diplomacy in a dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme, but a top Iranian official said it was up to the West to show it sincerely wanted a deal.
Russia and France, both involved in talks with Iran over what the West fears are its plans for an atomic bomb, also put pressure on Tehran, with French Foreign Bernard Kouchner saying Iran looked set to reject a UN-drafted accord.
Obama suggested patience was running low in the dispute with Iran, which faces possible harsher international sanctions or even Israeli military action. “Unfortunately, so far at least, Iran appears to have been unable to say yes to what everyone acknowledges is a creative and constructive approach,” Obama said after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore. “We are running out of time with respect to that approach.”
Medvedev said other means could be used if discussions did not yield results, but did not specify what they might be.
A draft deal brokered by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), calls on Iran to send some 75 per cent of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and France to be turned into fuel for a Tehran medical research reactor.
An adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no official response to the proposal had been announced. “We are waiting to see how much sincerity the Western countries have in their pledges,” said Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi.
Iranian officials have said Tehran prefers to buy reactor fuel from foreign suppliers rather than part with its LEU, or at most swap small amounts of LEU for the reactor material on Iranian soil. They have called for more talks. Iran has amassed enough LEU for 1-2 bombs, analysts say.
Asked by an Israeli newspaper whether a final Iranian decision was pending, Kouchner said: “You could phrase it that way, but in effect the answer has almost been given already, and it is negative. That’s a shame, a shame, a shame.” Reuters
London : Sir Salman Rushdie has got into a literary row, after it is claimed that he may have been involved in the sacking of books magazine Granta’s editor who had rejected an essay he submitted. In fact, the literary world is bemused after magazine publisher Sigrid Rausing recently announced that Alex Clark was stepping down as the editor of Granta.
Now, the British-Indian novelist has entered the fray to deny that he had anything to do with Clark’s departure and he withdrew the essay Notes on Sloth, The Daily Telegraph reported. But, to add salt to his wounds, an email to his agent explaining the rejection ended up in Sir Salman’s inbox.
“It is true that there was a rude email that was forwarded to me. I wasn’t particularly happy about it, but I spoke to Alex and said, ‘Look, I have no interest in forcing people to publish things they don’t want to publish,’ so I withdrew it,” he was quoted as saying. However, John Freeman, Granta’s new editor, will publish the essay in his first issue.
The magazine was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta, a periodical of student politics, student badinage and student literary enterprise. During the 1970s, it ran into trouble from which it was rescued by a small group of postgraduates who successfully relaunched it as a magazine of new writing, with both writers and their audience drawn from the world beyond Cambridge.
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