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Islamic World News (22 Oct 2010 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Post-9 /11, Qaida leader lunched at Pentagon

Will allow liquor sale in ‘free’ Kashmir: Geelani

Headley filmed Bhabha atomic facility for ISI

2 JeM militants killed in gunbattle near Srinagar

Kashmiri Hindu activists create ruckus at Syed Ali Geelani seminar

42 terror camps active in PoK, new ones added: Army Chief

Act tough on terror groups threatening India, Afghan: US to Pak

US to offer 125 scholarships to Pakistani journalists in 2011

Beggars make an early start for ‘Haj’

Bomb deals blow to Taleban

Peace council offers concessions to Taleban

Bangladesh: 33 million children live in poverty: UNICEF

US journalist fired for Muslim remarks on Fox

US bracing for major leak of secret Iraq war files

Muslims should give up claim on disputed Ayodhya site: VHP

Terror, not nuclear war, a threat: NSA

Finally, law may give Raja of Mehmoodabad his due

BJP’s Muslim efforts come unstuck

Afghan Army chief to hold talks with Antony, Gen Singh

Ahead of Obama's visit, US sees India as 'partner and not target'

Troops driving Taliban out of terror bastion Kandahar

Kasab appears via video-conferencing

Meddling on in Afghanistan: U.S.

Core group of al-Qaeda has weakened: US

US should make its position on Kashmir clear: D Raja

Ten militants killed in mine blast, shelling

Afghan panel asks Muslim states to help end war

Bahrainis excited ahead of Saturday's poll

Young Saudis use expo to promote important causes

Conference on mass gathering medicine to start Saturday      

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/post-9-/11,-qaida-leader-lunched-at-pentagon/d/3564


Post-9 /11, Qaida leader lunched at Pentagon

AFP, Oct 22, 2010, 06.08am IST

WASHINGTON: Anwar al-Awlaqi , an al-Qaida leader labeled a dangerous threat by the United States, was invited to a luncheon at the Pentagon in the months after the 9/11 attacks , the US military said.

Awlaqi, a Yemeni-American cleric, was brought to the Pentagon as part of an effort by the office of the secretary of defense (OSD) to reach out to the Muslim community after the September 11, 2001 attacks , military spokesman colonel Dave Lapan said.

"Our understanding thus far is that this was an informal outreach conducted by part of the OSD staff in the aftermath of 9/11 in an effort to gain a better understanding of Islam," Lapan said.

The account of the lunch with military officers and defense officials was first reported by Fox News, which cited FBI documents and sources. President Barack Obama's administration has authorized the targeted killing of Awlaqi, an American citizen who US officials believe is linked to three plots against the United States, including a shooting rampage at Fort Hood last year, a failed bid to blow up a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day and a plot to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square.

A current employee of the Defense Department told the FBI last year that she had helped arrange the invitation after hearing Awlaqi speak in Alexandria, Virginia.

The employee "recalls being impressed by this imam. He condemned Al-Qaeda and the terrorist attacks," according to an FBI document posted online by Fox News. At that time, the then-secretary of the US Army was interested in having a "moderate Muslim" speak to a Pentagon audience, said the FBI document.

Read more: Post-9 /11, Qaida leader lunched at Pentagon - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Post-9-/11-Qaida-leader-lunched-at-Pentagon/articleshow/6790529.cms#ixzz133lfPHpj


Will allow liquor sale in ‘free’ Kashmir: Geelani

Maneesh Chhibber

Posted online: Fri Oct 22 2010

New Delhi : Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Thursday announced that when Kashmir got “azadi”, strict prohibition would be enforced for members of the majority community — Muslims — “but if minorities feel they want to have liquor, they would be allowed it as their right”.

“The system of justice in an independent Jammu and Kashmir would be such that liquor would be prohibited for the Muslim majority, but if minorities feel they want to have liquor they would be allowed it as their right,” he said, adding that only those whose religion it permits would be allowed to drink.

Speaking here at a conference, “Azaadi — The Only Way”, organised by the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, Geelani said ‘independent’ Kashmir would be a secular state so that “if a member of a majority Muslim community accidentally breaks a liquor bottle of a minority member, the system will pay the penalty for the damage. Or else, the offender will have to pay penalty for the damage”.

Significantly, after the outbreak of militancy in Kashmir, one of the first things that the militants did was to announce a ban on sale and consumption of liquor. While the ban has not been revoked so far, this is the first time a separatist leader has spoken in favour of liquor sale in the Valley.

Earlier, the conference got off to a tumultuous start when some people, including activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, and Kashmiri Pandits, staged a protest against the anti-India diatribe by the speakers, who included pro-Naxal activists.

Geelani asked Kashmiris to boycott the interlocutors appointed by the Centre. “Kashmiris should follow our protest programme and not get swayed by those who tell them not to protest,” he said.



Headley filmed Bhabha atomic facility for ISI

Indrani Bagchi,

TNN, Oct 22, 2010

NEW DELHI: David Headley videotaped the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and its large residential colony in Mumbai for the ISI. This video, Headley revealed, was not given to the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

During his interrogation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Chicago, Headley said, "(in March 2008) Major Iqbal (who he described as his "handler" in the ISI) asked me to explore BARC in Mumbai and specially its staff colony as a target. He gave me the mobile phone camera (and) some counterfeit money." After he returned, Headley gave the video to Iqbal but did not give it to his LeT colleague, Sajid Majid.

The thread running through his answers is the importance and control of the ISI in these operations -- from planning to funding and training. He was clear that LeT's top leadership remains very close to the ISI. After the Mumbai attacks, he said, Zaki-ur-Rehman, lodged in Adiala Jail was visited by none less than ISI chief General Shuja Pasha, who wanted to get full details of the Mumbai conspiracy.

Bob Woodward, in his book "Obama's Wars", writes that Shuja Pasha was called in to Washington to explain the Mumbai attacks. He reportedly said there were some ex-ISI officials involved but no serving officer. Later, Woodward says, the CIA received more information that contradicted Pasha. Mumbai attacks were planned by the ISI.

During the grilling, Headley gave a long list of potential targets for attack in India. Even two years after the Mumbai attacks, these venues remain vulnerable and probably on LeT's list, he said.

Interestingly, Headley tried to befriend a public relations officer of the Shiv Sena during his last couple of trips to Mumbai. "I tried to become close to Rajaram Rege, Shiv Sena PRO. Took him out to lunch, photographed him." Later, he said, he continued to receive emails from Rege. Shiv Sena supreme Bal Thackeray had come in for special criticism by LeT's `emir' Hafiz Saeed.

But Headley was clear that nobody in Mumbai, not even Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt's son Rahul Bhatt, had any clue about the real work that he did either for the ISI or LeT.

Headley's first trip to India from 2006 was actually funded by the ISI -- he revealed that he was given $25,000.

The other targets that Headley videotaped were Taj Presidency, World Trade Centre, Naval air station, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Chabad House, Maharashtra police station, state assembly, El Al and Indian Airlines offices, BSE and Radio Club and Shiv Sena Bhavan. He has also surveyed almost all the Chabad Houses in many cities.

To give a local touch to the attack, Headley even got wristbands for the attackers from the Siddhi Vinayak Temple, a touch that he says was much appreciated.

Initially, the sole target was Taj. The importance of Taj was emphasised repeatedly. The LeT particularly wanted to target some annual meeting of software professionals that is held at Taj. Headley said there was also some plan to loot the jewelry shop at Taj and sell the booty to fund operations.

But by mid-2008, the targets multiplied to include many other venues. That was also the time when the Jewish house was established as a target. His LeT handler, Sajid is described as a "Saudi Salafi" whose "number one" target are Jews. But even the ISI seemed "very happy" at targeting the Chabad House.

By July 2008, Headley said he had finalised surveillance for Taj, Naval air station, Police HQ state assembly, Blue Synagogue, CBI HQ, Leopold restaurant, Colaba police station, Delhi Darbar, Israeli consulate, D N Road and Trident Hotel.

There was a worry that the CST station attack might kill Muslims but that was dismissed with the thought that if the attack happened around iftaar, there would be few Muslims there.

Around August-September 2008, the attackers were shifted from their training base in Muzaffarbad to Muridke. "During this period Hafiz Saeed, Bhutti, Nasir Javed and Abdur Rehman Makki would regularly go to Muridke and take classes of the attackers. One Indian attacker was dropped from the list," Headley said.

From 2006, Headley says, numerous attacks against India began to be planned by the LeT, and potential targets were tossed around -- including an oil refinery in Rajkot, Cyberabad (outside Hyderabad) and even a Kumbh-mela. All of these remain on the target radar.

He said one Abdur Rehman Hashim's students attacked the PM's rally in Srinagar in 2004. Abdur Rehman Hashim and Major Haroon he described as were trainers of LET who prepared operatives for combat duties and suicide attacks.

In March 2009, Headley was given the cold shoulder by his ISI handlers saying the Mumbai investigations were getting "hotter". But by July 2009, he said, Sajid Majid of LeT told him they had got clearance for another attack in India. The ISI-LeT was back in business. It would be February 2010 that the next attack would be carried out on German Bakery in Pune, which had been scoped by Headley.

Read more: Headley filmed Bhabha atomic facility for ISI - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Headley-filmed-Bhabha-atomic-facility-for-ISI/articleshow/6789196.cms#ixzz133hdOKH8


2 JeM militants killed in gunbattle near Srinagar

PTI, Oct 21, 2010

SRINAGR: Two militants of Jaish-e- Mohammad (JEM) outfit were on Thursday killed in a day-long gunbattle with security forces in Malroo locality on the outskirts of Srinagar city.

The militants were killed after the security forces blasted two houses, where the two and their accomplice were believed to be hiding since last night. Two bodies have been recovered, police said.

According to police, security forces had information about the presence of three hardcore JeM militants in a house belonging to a property dealer in the locality, 15 kms from here.

As the gunbattle broke out between the two sides, one of the militants had jumped out of the house of the property dealer and taken shelter in the neighbouring house, police said.

Two policemen and a young girl were injured by stray bullets at nearby Goripora and Shalteng localities while another girl fell from the first floor of her house and suffered head injury, the sources said.

SSP Srinagar Ashiq Bukhari told reporters that the encounter has ended but the search operation for the third militant was going on.

He said the militants were coming towards Srinagar city from Bandipora district and they were being tailed by the security forces since Wednesday.

Bukhari confirmed that one suspected person was detained for questioning before the encounter began.

Earlier, several explosions were heard as security forces launched an assault to flush out the militants.

The two sides exchanged heavy volume of firing soon after security forces evacuated civilians including large number of women and children to safety from the houses in the vicinity of the building where the militants were taking shelter, they said.

The encounter started after police and troops of 2 Rashtriya Rifles cordoned off Malroo locality in the wee hours following a tip off about the presence of at least three militants in one of the houses in the area.

The ultras opened fire on the security forces when they were zeroing in on the house. The troops retaliated following which a gunbattle ensued, they said.

At one stage, security forces sent a group of locals to persuade the militants to surrender, they said. However, the ultras refused the offer.

A helicopter was seen flying very low over the house after which one of the militants started firing towards it, they said.

A defence spokesman said the movement of the choppers in the area is for routine administrative purposes as the headquarters of counter-insurgency 'Kilo Force' is located in nearby Shariefabad area.

"We do not use helicopters during encounter operations," Lt Colonel J S Brar said.

Director general of police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters that the operation was launched on Wednesday night.

He said the security forces were alert to the challenge of militancy and necessary steps were being taken to thwart them.

This is the first encounter in Srinagar city since January six suicide attack at Lal Chowk.

The north Kashmir belt, comprising Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla districts, have witnessed surge in militant activity during the current year as a large number of infiltration bids have taken place near Line of Control in these districts.

More than 100 militants have been killed in these districts since January this year.

Read more: 2 JeM militants killed in gunbattle near Srinagar - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-JeM-militants-killed-in-gunbattle-near-Srinagar/articleshow/6787942.cms#ixzz133hwU6AO


Kashmiri Hindu activists create ruckus at Syed Ali Geelani seminar

IANS, Oct 21, 2010

NEW DELHI: A group of Kashmiri Hindu activists Thursday heckled and tried to prevent hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and author-activist Arundhati Roy from speaking at a seminar in the capital, prompting police to arrest a dozen of the slogan-shouting protesters.

The activists, mainly from a Hindu group that is demanding separate land for migrant Kashmiri Pandits, shouted slogans like "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Vande Mataram", leading to a ruckus at the seminar, 'Azaadi -- The Only Way', organized and attended by sympathisers of Kashmiri separatists.

Some Kashmiri students in Delhi countered by shouting slogans in Geelani's favour and for 'azadi' - or Jammu and Kashmir's independence from India.

Anticipating trouble at the pro-freedom seminar, organised by the Campaign for Relief of Political Prisoners, authorities had deployed a large number of police persons at the LTG Auditorium venue in the heart of the capital.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kashmiri-Hindu-activists-create-ruckus-at-Syed-Ali-Geelani-seminar/articleshow/6789302.cms#ixzz133ihIgw2


42 terror camps active in PoK, new ones added: Army Chief

PTI, Oct 21, 2010

NEW DELHI: Anti- India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is intact and currently 42 terror camps, including new ones in Pak-occupied Kashmir, are being run, Army Chief Gen V K Singh disclosed on Thursday.

Now even women are being trained to wage Pakistan's proxy war against India, he said in an interview.

Gen Singh said infiltration has gone up recently and around 600 terrorists are waiting at "launch pads" in PoK along the Line of Control and international border to sneak into India.

Pakistan has "invested heavily in the proxy war against India" and there has been "no substantial effort" by it to act against terror groups which operate from its soil and are used as a "strategic tool" by that country.

"Currently, 42 terrorist training camps are located in Pakistan/PoK. Inputs reveal that some new camps have also been established in PoK for undertaking terrorist training," he said.

The Army Chief was responding when asked whether Pakistan has done something to dismantle anti-India terror infrastructure as has been promised by it repeatedly.

"It is assessed that Pakistan will continue to foster terrorism against India and the terrorist infrastructure is likely to remain intact in the foreseeable future," he said.

Gen Singh revealed that the terror outfits are maintaining a number of officers, stores, transit accommodations and temporary training facilities at various locations in PoK.

"Launch pads are used extensively for infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir and are located all along the Line of Control and parts of International Border," he said, adding "As on date, approximately 600 terrorists are located in the launch pads, poised for infiltration in the near future."

Talking about infiltration, he said it has recently gone up, with 10 incidents being recorded in June, six in July and 33 in August.

Significantly, August witnessed the peak of stone-pelting incidents and other forms of agitation in the Kashmir Valley, which also was being fuelled from across the border.

Gen Singh felt that about 20-25 infiltration attempts had succeeded, which is indicated by the fact that 12 to 15 terrorists were killed in the last 15-20 days. "This shows people have come from somewhere," he said.

Full report at:



Act tough on terror groups threatening India, Afghan: US to Pak

PTI, Oct 22, 2010

WASHINGTON: In a move which is seen as getting tough on Pakistan, the US has asked top Pakistani leaders, including powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, to stop all terrorist elements within its border that poses threat to neighbouring India and Afghanistan.

"We will continue to work with Pakistan, try to find ways to put pressure on these extremist elements that represent a threat to Pakistan, a threat to Afghanistan, a threat to India, a threat to the region as a whole and a threat to the United States. So this security and counter- terrorism remains a significant part of our strategic dialogue," state department spokesman P J Crowley told foreign reporters on issues being discussed at the ongoing US-Pak Strategic Dialogue here.

The Foreign Policy's blog 'The Cable' reported that the tough message was delivered personally by US President Barack Obama to the visiting Pakistani delegation during the meeting with National Security Advisor in-waiting Tom Donilon.

Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani were among those who were present in the Pakistani delegation.

Obama dropped in on that meeting and stayed for 50 minutes, according to an official who was there, and personally delivered the tough message that other top US officials have been communicating since the Pakistani delegation arrived, The Cable reported this while confirming reports from various sources that the Obama Administration is taking a markedly tougher tone than before.

Full report at:



US to offer 125 scholarships to Pakistani journalists in 2011

Oct 22, 2010

WASHINGTON: The US has agreed to offer 125 scholarships to Pakistani journalists during 2011 as part of public diplomacy and capacity building cooperation, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said after leading discussions with senior American officials on public diplomacy. The scholarships will be extended to journalists both in the private and public sectors, officials said as Pakistan and the US began their three-day Strategic Dialogue. Besides, the US will also offer training to 80 public administrators to help build capacity of Pakistani officers. The training will be offered to information officers from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and media-affiliated public organisations, officials said. Kaira was assisted in the discussions by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani and Federal Information Secretary Mansur Sohail. Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith Michael led the US side. Kaira told journalists, the two sides also discussed the project of national data centre for e-governance to facilitate public access to information. app



Beggars make an early start for ‘Haj’


Oct 22, 2010

JEDDAH/MAKKAH: Many beggars from Jeddah and nearby towns are heading to Makkah hoping to take advantage of the charity from pilgrims ahead of the Haj season.

“Many of the local beggars have begun going early in order to position themselves in the key locations outside and near the Grand Mosque,” Aisha, a Somali beggar, told Arab News.

Aisha added that it was not merely a case of individual beggars going to Makkah and randomly begging. She said it has developed into a business with the aim of raking in as much cash as possible.

“The most valuable and sought after places to beg in include the mosque courtyard, as well as roads leading to it and outside nearby hotels and markets,” she said.

Aisha added that simply sitting in these strategic locations can easily bring in a thousand riyals on any given day or night.

Full report at:



Bomb deals blow to Taleban


Oct 21, 2010

PARACHINAR: A roadside bomb killed six Taleban militants, including a prominent local commander, in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, an attack that could have been motivated by tensions between different insurgent groups.

The bomb was detonated by remote control as Hakim Khan and five lower ranking militants were driving through the town of Marindy in the Kurram tribal region, said Jamil Khan, a local administrator. The commander who was killed was suspected of attacking Pakistani troops and kidnapping people for ransom, he said.

It was unclear who carried out the attack, but rivalries between different groups of fighters in northwestern Pakistan sometimes escalate into violence.

The slain commander was from Kurram but had close ties to the Pakistani Taleban, an umbrella group of militants that is based in nearby North and South Waziristan and has declared war on the Pakistani state, Khan said.

Kurram, which is located along the border with Afghanistan, has experienced frequent militant attacks in the past few years. The Pakistani military has targeted the area with troops and airstrikes in an attempt to beat back the militants, but violence has persisted.

The Pakistani government is also grappling with a rising wave of politically motivated killings in the country’s largest city and main economic hub, Karachi. At least 52 people were killed this week in four days of violence sparked by a contentious local election.

The southern port city of about 16 million people began to return to normal Thursday, with schools and offices reopening, said Sharmila Farooqi, a provincial government spokeswoman in southern Sindh province.

“People are back to work and there is a normal flow of traffic on the roads,” said Farooqi.

Parts of the city shut down on Wednesday in response to the wave of killings.



Peace council offers concessions to Taleban


Oct 21, 2010

KABUL: Afghanistan’s new peace council said on Thursday it would be willing to make concessions to bring insurgents to the negotiating table, but repeated Kabul and Washington’s longstanding demand that they renounce violence.

Inducements to tempt fighters back into the government fold could include jobs, homes and cash said Qiyamuddin Kashaf, the spokesman for the High Peace Council.

The body was proposed by President Hamid Karzai to seek a negotiated end to a war now in its 10th year and endorsed by a jirga, or traditional gathering, earlier this year.

The 70-member council, Kashaf said, had settled on the mechanism it wishes to use as a road map for starting the negotiations with insurgents, focused on seeking an “honorable” way for militants to return to mainstream society.

“This honorable return involves position, house, salary and self-respect. They want concessions and we will give them,” he told a news conference, but declined to give further details.

“The High Peace Council is earnestly asking Afghanistan’s armed opposition and their leaders to give up violence and join the peace process,” Kashaf added, reading from the council’s first statement after days of deliberation.

Kashaf also urged Muslim countries to play its role. “The Muslim Afghan nation wants to bring peace to this country and is asking Islamic countries: ‘Help your brothers. It is the responsibility of the Muslim world to respond to this request of the Afghan nation,’“ he told reporters.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters on Thursday that Pakistan supports an Afghan-led reconciliation process.

“We are working toward that end, and we will continue supporting in whatever way ... the government of Afghanistan wants us to help,” he said. “We will leave this issue here because it is better not to get into specifics at this stage.”

For years, both Karzai and Washington have demanded that any militants wanting to talk must first renounce violence, cut ties with Al-Qaeda and accept the new constitution — conditions repeatedly rejected by the Taleban.

Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani recently suggested that he might be willing to leave more room for maneuver saying the body was independent and willing to be flexible about preconditions for any discussions with the militants.

If Kashaf’s comments calls for a renunciation of violence are a sign the council plans to a stick to Karzai’s longstanding demands, it could complicate efforts to reach out to insurgents.

The Taleban have always pushed for the withdrawal of the nearly 150,000 foreign forces now in Afghanistan as their main condition for holding talks with Karzai’s government.

NATO and Afghan officials have confirmed preliminary contacts between Karzai’s government and the Taleban, although a spokesman for the insurgents has dismissed reports of negotiations as propaganda and rejected Karzai’s peace council.



Bangladesh: 33 million children live in poverty: UNICEF

Staff Correspondent

Oct 21, 2010

Bangladesh’s 33 million children, a half of all the children in the country, live in poverty, according to a report of United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Released in Dhaka on Thursday, the report states that one in four children in the country is deprived of at least four basic needs.

According to UNICEF estimates 45 per cent of the country’s total population are children and one fourth of them, 7.5 million, live in hard core poverty.

The report dealt with socio economic inequalities and investment on vulnerable children and called for higher government allocation to reduce children’s poverty.

It states 64 per cent of children in Bangladesh are deprived of sanitation, 59 per cent of information, 41 per cent of shelter, 35 per cent of food, 16 per cent of health and eight per cent of education.

In 10 years, with an investment of US $ 4 million, it says it would be possible to provide access to basic education to almost all the most vulnerable children in Bangladesh.

The investment for such a programme would only require on an average 2.4 per cent of the national social safety net budget and 0.37 per cent of the national budget.

At the same time, it said, the investment could create 46,000 jobs through social interventions.

Launching the report, UNICEF country representative Carel de Rooy told a seminar that followed that the government allocated just 1.44 per cent of its budget for the children, who constitute almost 50 per cent of the country’s population.

The budgetary allocation for the children, he said, was set aside under the government’s social safety net.

The seminar dealt with mitigation of socio-economic inequalities to accelerate poverty reduction.

Full report at:



US journalist fired for Muslim remarks on Fox

Oct 22, 2010

WASHINGTON: The NPR terminated the contract of Juan Williams on Wednesday after comments the veteran journalist and news analyst made about Muslims on Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly stirred up controversy last week on “The View” after making the blanket statement that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” a comment that led to co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walking off the set.

On Monday, O’Reilly asked Williams if there is a “Muslim dilemma” in the United States. The NPR analyst and longtime Fox News contributor agreed with O’Reilly that such a thing exists, and added that “political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.”

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot,” Williams continued. “You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Some commentators and a leading Muslim civil rights organisation took issue with Williams’ comments.

The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan wrote on Wednesday morning that Williams’ statement about fearing Muslims on planes is an example of bigotry. “What if someone said that they saw a black man walking down the street in classic thug get-up,” Sullivan wrote. “Would a white person be a bigot [if] he assumed he was going to mug him?’

The Council for American-Islamic Relations sent out a press release Wednesday afternoon calling on NPR to address the matter.

Nihad Awad, the organisation’s national executive director, called the comments “irresponsible and inflammatory” and said they “should not pass without action by NPR.”

They certainly didn’t. NPR took action Wednesday night and put out a statement regarding the severing of Williams’ contract: “His remarks on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ this past on Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

Williams often appears on Fox as the liberal counterpart to one of the network’s conservative hosts or guests. But some NPR listeners — an audience certainly more left-leaning than Fox’s conservative one — don’t see Williams as an advocate for progressive politics when he appears on the cable news network.

Last year, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard wrote that Williams had become a “lightning rod” among NPR’s staff and noted many complaints from listeners after an appearance on O’Reilly’s show.

Williams had described First Lady Michelle Obama as having a “Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going,” a reference to the militant African-American activist. After those comments, NPR executives asked that NPR’s logo be removed when he appears on Fox News.



US bracing for major leak of secret Iraq war files

Oct 22, 2010

22 October 2010, WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is bracing for the disclosure by the WikiLeaks website of a vast cache of secret US Iraq war documents that could throw a light on some of the darkest episodes of the war.

The self-described whistle-blower website is expected to post up to 400,000 documents online this week after having shared them in advance with several news organisations.

It would be the second major release of classified US war reports by WikiLeaks in the past four months.

In July, despite objections by the US government, the international anti-secrecy group posted nearly 77,000 documents from the Afghan conflict on its website.

Together, the two sets of disclosures would represent a massive breach of US informatio n security.



Muslims should give up claim on disputed Ayodhya site: VHP

Oct 21 2010

Ayodhya : A day after its leaders decided to approach the Supreme Court against the trifurcation of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri mosque disputed site by the Allahabad High Court, the VHP on Thursday appealed to Muslims to give up their claim and hand over the entire land for construction of a grand Ram Temple.

"The faith and beliefs of crores of people is connected with the Ram Janmabhoomi and Muslims should give up their claim over it, paving the way for construction of a Ram temple there," VHP president Ashok Singhal said while addressing a meeting here.

No new mosque would be acceptable to Hindus within the "cultural boundary of Ayodhya", he said.

The VHP chief said that over ten thousand saints and fifty thousand Hindus would take part in two-month-long programmes including "Hanumat Shakti Jagran Mahayagya" at the Kar Sewakpuram here from Novemeber 19 in order pressurise the Central Government to enact a law for giving the entire land for construction of a Ram temple.

Playing down objections raised by Nrimohi Akhara, the main litigant in the Ayodhya title suit, over the VHP's decision that the temple would be constructed by their Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas, Singhal said that its role would be confined only to construction of the temple.

The Nirmohi Akhara had said yesterday that the temple would be constructed by its Ramjnmabhoomi Nyas and that the VHP's Nyas had no locus standi in the construction.

However, Singhal said there was no friction with the Akhara, and blamed Congress persons and Muslims for spreading rumours in this regard.

"There can be no row between the Nirmohi Akhara and the VHP as the former is always respected by all of us," he said, adding that the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas was set up in 1984 by Ramanandancharya Shivramacharya and it was this Nyas which has given shape to the temple movement.



Terror, not nuclear war, a threat: NSA

TNN, Oct 22, 2010, 05.11am IST

NEW DELHI: India wants a new security architecture, "an open, balanced and inclusive" one that corresponds to the security challenges of the 21st century, which are "radically different" from the last century.

"Nuclear confrontation or war between the major powers is not as likely as the threat from derivatives of nuclear deterrence, namely terrorism and nuclear proliferation , which are being used to subvert the emergence of a plural, secular and democratic international order in the 21st century," said national security adviser Shivshankar Menon.

Speaking at the National Defence College's golden jubilee celebrations on Thursday , Menon said the challenges of a globalised world cannot be handled by 20th century military alliances or containment strategies.

"We have made it clear that while we need nuclear weapons for our own security , it's our goal to work for a world free of nuclear weapons , and that we are ready to undertake the necessary obligations to achieve that goal in a time-bound programme ," he said.

Read more: Terror, not nuclear war, a threat: NSA - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Terror-not-nuclear-war-a-threat-NSA/articleshow/6790410.cms#ixzz133i3mPek


Finally, law may give Raja of Mehmoodabad his due

Pankaj Shah, Oct 22, 2010

LUCKNOW: The modified enemy property bill, if passed in the winter session of parliament, would make Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, a 'raja' in the real sense, giving him absolute right over properties worth Rs 30,000 crore left behind by his father.

And the amendments approved by the Union cabinet on Wednesday appear tailor-made for him. Look at a proposed clause in the modified bill and its implications for the raja: ''If the enemy property was divested from the custodian by a valid order made under section 18 prior to July 2, 2010 or where the property had been returned to the owner or his lawful heir by an order of the court; and if the lawful heir is a citizen of India by birth such enemy property will continue to remain with such person.'' Raja Mehmoodabad meets all these conditions as in his case the property was divested from the custodian in 2005, the property was returned to him by an order of the Supreme Court and he is a citizen of India by birth.

Significantly, the clause takes July 2, 2010 as a cut-off date. It is on this date that the Central government had brought an ordinance which sought to do away with any court interference in the enemy property. Armed with the ordinance, local administration had sealed all properties belonging to raja in UP and Uttarakhand which had been divested to him in 2005 following the Supreme Court order.

In Lucknow, properties like Lawrie Manzil Halwasiya Market, and Mehmoodabad Mansion in Hazratganj; Rang Mahal (Butler Palace); Mohammad Siddique Building, Raqabganj and Lal Kothi in Maulviganj were seized by the district administration.

Read more: Finally, law may give Raja of Mehmoodabad his due - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Finally-law-may-give-Raja-of-Mehmoodabad-his-due/articleshow/6789584.cms#ixzz133i9v6Fe


BJP’s Muslim efforts come unstuck

Faizan Ahmad & Binay K Jha, Oct 22, 2010

JALE (Darbhanga): While BJP leaders have discarded their Hindutva plank for the Bihar elections and do not mention Ayodhya in their election speeches, Muslim voters seem resolute in not voting for the party.

Jale, which went to polls on Thursday, is dominated by close to 60,000 Muslims. But, with Congress and CPI both fielding Muslim candidates — Aftab Alam and Ahmad Ali Tamanna — the minority vote is split.

Said Mohammad Ilyas, exsarpanch of Bharwara panchayat here, said that although the Muslims are divided about whom to vote, none will back BJP. While Ilyas is favouring Congress, another villager Mohammad Yunus of Shankarpur village said most Muslim are supporting the CPI nominee.

"We admire Nitish Kumar and support his work, but it's difficult for us to vote BJP,'' said Yunus, a farmer, who came to Singhwara to listen to BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, which was later cancelled.

Following delimitation, five panchayats of Singhwara block have shifted from Keoti to Jale. Although this is a Muslim-dominated seat, it went to BJP after seat-sharing formula with JD(U). Vijay Kumar Mishra (BJP) is again trying his luck. He was defeated by RJD's Ramnivas Prasad by just 200 votes in 2005

Read more: BJP’s Muslim efforts come unstuck - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/BJPs-Muslim-efforts-come-unstuck/articleshow/6790446.cms#ixzz133iD4DBe


Afghan Army chief to hold talks with Antony, Gen Singh

Oct 22, 2010

NEW DELHI: Continuing with its efforts to counter Pakistan's moves in strategically-located Afghanistan, India has rolled out the red carpet for Afghan Army chief General Sher Muhammad Karimi during his five-day visit here from Thursday.

Gen Karimi is slated to hold talks with Army chief Gen V K Singh and other top military brass as well as defence minister A K Antony and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar. He will also visit the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Kadakwasla in Pune, among other places.

India has been regularly training Afghan officers and other ranks at its military training institutions -- ranging from the NDA and Indian Military Academy at Dehradun to the School of Artillery at Deolali -- ever since the Hamid Karzai government came to office.

Apart from several development projects like construction of the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram road in war-ravaged Afghanistan, India has also posted some Army officers in the central Asian nation to teach basic military fieldcraft and English skills to the Afghan army, apart from sending several military doctors to help at hospitals in Kandahar and elsewhere.

Incidentally, Gen Karimi, on his first visit to India after taking over as the new Afghan Army chief, is an alumnus of the National Defence College, which is currently celebrating its golden jubilee. He has also undertaken other courses in India like the one in Counter-Insurgency and Jungle-Warfare School at Vairengte in Mizoram.

Afghanistan has, in fact, sought more Indian help in "capacity-building" of its armed forces, which even includes training of its pilots and technicians in operating Russian-origin Mi-35 helicopter gunships, as well as sourcing supplies for its Soviet-era tanks and aircraft.

Read more: Afghan Army chief to hold talks with Antony, Gen Singh - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Afghan-Army-chief-to-hold-talks-with-Antony-Gen-Singh/articleshow/6788349.cms#ixzz133l6bOhV


Ahead of Obama's visit, US sees India as 'partner and not target'

Oct 22, 2010

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the visit by US President Barack Obama, Washington on Thursday said it has a deep strategic interest in India's rise as a global power. US under secretary of state for political affairs William Burns, who met foreign minister S M Krishna and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao to carry out the groundwork for the visit, also said US will reform "export control policies" to ensure that India is a partner and not a target when it comes to hi-tech exports.

"We will work with India to adapt and reform export-control policies so that they reflect the realities of the 21st Century," said Burns.

In a remark, which is being seen as suggesting easing of restrictions on exports of dual use technology, Burns said, the US wanted to see New Delhi as a "partner and not a target".

According to Burns, US is expecting a successful and historic visit by Obama.

"We have rich agenda before us, and, I think, the president's visit will provide us an opportunity to demonstrate progress on a whole range of issues -- agriculture, health, development, our defence cooperation, counter terrorism cooperation, on working together on our important strategic interests across Asia and the Pacific," Burns said.

Full report at:



Troops driving Taliban out of terror bastion Kandahar

Oct 22, 2010

ARGHANDBAD( AFGHANISTAN): American and Afghan forces have been routing the Taliban in much of Kandahar province in recent weeks, forcing many hardened fighters , faced with the buildup of American forces, to flee strongholds they have held for years, Nato commanders, local Afghan officials and residents of the region said.

Aseries of civilian and military operations around the strategic southern province, made possible after a force of 12,000 US and Nato troops reached full strength here in the late summer, has persuaded Afghan and western officials that the Taliban will have a hard time returning to areas they had controlled in the province that was their base.

Western and Afghan officials say heavy losses for Taliban have sapped the momentum insurgency had in the area. Unlike the Marja operation , they say, one in Kandahar is comprehensive civil and military effort that is changing public mood as well as improving security.

Read more: Troops driving Taliban out of terror bastion Kandahar - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Troops-driving-Taliban-out-of-terror-bastion-Kandahar/articleshow/6790516.cms#ixzz133lwb9HC


Kasab appears via video-conferencing

Staff Reporter

Oct 22, 2010

Mumbai: After a day's absence, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab on Thursday appeared briefly before the Bombay High Court via video-conferencing in the case of confirmation of death sentence awarded to him for his role in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam presented evidence of witnesses in the attack outside the Cama Hospital and the robbery of a car at the Nariman Point. Top police officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar were killed in the firing outside the hospital.

Justice Ranjana Desai expressed surprise that constable Arun Jadhav, who was a prime eyewitness to the killings, survived the nightmare. He was in the same police vehicle with the three officers and three other police personnel. All except Mr. Jadhav fell to the bullets of terrorists.When Mr. Nikam arrived for Mr. Jadhav's testimony, Ms. Desai said, “Oh! That's an important witness. He survived! It's a miracle!”

While examining the evidence of the car robbery, the court remarked, “Everything on earth has been brought on record in the cross-examination. The [defence] went on cross examining.”

On Thursday, Fahim Ansari, another accused in the case who was acquitted by the trial court, moved an application before the High Court seeking dental treatment. He is now lodged in the Arthur Road Jail. The court granted his request.



Meddling on in Afghanistan: U.S.

Oct 22, 2010

Washington: The United States finds itself doing a precarious tightrope act between India and Pakistan this week, with the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue kicking off in Washington exactly two weeks ahead of President Barack Obama boarding a flight to India.

Nowhere was the tension more evident than in Wednesday's State Department briefing and, more specifically, on the subject of Afghanistan. At the briefing, Department spokesman P.J. Crowley hinted that Pakistan had been “meddling” in Afghanistan's politics and emphasied that India would continue to play a constructive role in Afghanistan.

Mr. Crowley's first salvo came in response to a question on whether countries such as India and Iran — and not just Pakistan — had a role in the ongoing reconciliation talks between the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan and the Taliban.

He responded, “We recognise Afghanistan's need to have a dialogue with its neighbours. We have had concerns about Iran's meddling in Afghanistan, just as we have had concerns about other countries meddling in Afghanistan,” a likely reference to Pakistan.

Suggesting that Pakistan's earlier support to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan might still rankle in the U.S.' memory, Mr. Crowley noted: “To the extent that the Taliban once ruled Afghanistan, there were a small number of countries that recognised that government. Pakistan was one of them.”

Full report at:



Core group of al-Qaeda has weakened: US

Fri Oct 22 2010

Washington : Despite adapting and expanding itself to new frontiers in Africa, al-Qaeda's core group has weakened over the years in the face of sustained global action against the terrorist outfit, the US has said.

"Al-Qaeda has adapted over the past 10 years. Certainly, the core group that was responsible for attacks, you know, in a range of countries, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya and more recently, the United States and other places. You know, the core al Qaeda we believe is weaker," US State Department spokesman P J Crowley said on Thursday.

"By the same token, there is a broad global network, as the Secretary (of State, Hillary Clinton) has termed it, a syndicate of terror. There are groups, regional groups that have chosen to affiliate themselves with al-Qaeda.

"You have al-Qaeda in Iraq, and we've had success against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. We are working intensively with the government of Yemen to help combat al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," he said in response to a question.

"We are concerned about al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and are working collaboratively with countries in the region and others who have an interest in that part of the world. So we have certainly improved our capabilities over the past 10 years," he added.

The US had strengthened its ties with all concerned countries to develop global collaboration to combat terrorism. "We've significantly improved our collaboration and cooperation with a range of countries, including Pakistan and India, because whether it is al-Qaeda or others who practice terrorism, this represents a threat, you know, in South Asia, but more broadly in other parts of the world as well."

“So we have strengthened our relationships with all countries that confront a threat of terrorism, including Russia. Since we're mindful of the attack in the Caucasus over the past few days, this is something that has become a significant area of discussion with many, many countries around the world," Crowley said.

"The global collaboration is stronger than its ever been. Our mutual commitment to fight violent extremism in all its forms is stronger than its ever been. But this, obviously, will be something that will take some time to resolve," he noted.



US should make its position on Kashmir clear: D Raja

Fri Oct 22 2010

New York : In the wake of renewed calls by Pakistan seeking US intervention on Kashmir, visiting Indian parliamentarian and CPI leader D Raja has said Washington needs to clear the "ambiguity" in its position on the issue.

“There can be some ambiguity... It is for the US to make its position clear... otherwise why should Pakistan plead with the US," said Raja.

Raja said the US, which is aware of India's stated position on the issue, should make it clear to Pakistan that it has nothing to do with Kashmir.

"I don't think the US has anything to do with India and Pakistan relations and the US should make that clear to Pakistan... no we're not interested... it is not a village panchayat for there to be a middle man," he said.

Warning against "sinister designs" of the US in the region, Raja stressed that Kashmir and other outstanding issues would have to be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan.

"This is the stated position of all political parties... there is consensus on this... dialogue is the only way," he said. "If India and Pakistan cannot resolve their problems how can US resolve the problems... we understand our own problems".

He said he was confident that the people of India and Pakistan were capable of sorting out their problems and resolving their differences.

On whether the US had made its position clear to Pakistan, State Department spokesperson P J Crowley had said on Thursday that Washington believes in encouraging dialogue.

"We have not been asked by both countries to play a particular role but this is the reason why... we continue to encourage further dialogue between India and Pakistan".

"We recognise the importance of Kashmir to both countries. We absolutely want to see tensions eased and ultimately a resolution to the situation in Kashmir and that needs to come through additional dialogue between Pakistan and India," he told journalists in New York and Washington DC in a joint-press conference.

Speaking at a public event organised by the prestigious Brookings Institute and Asia Society, Qureshi had once again asked the US to work for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

"It is in the interest of lasting peace, stability and development of the region that the US works for the resolution of disputes in South Asia. This has to begin with justice for the Kashmiri people," he said.



Ten militants killed in mine blast, shelling

Dawn Report

Friday, 22 Oct, 2010

PARACHINAR / KALAYA: Ten Taliban militants, a ‘commander’ among them, were killed and several others injured in a landmine blast in Kurram Agency and shelling by helicopter gunships in Orakzai tribal region on Thursday.

Local people said a vehicle carrying militants hit a landmine along a road in Marandi area of central Kurram, killing six militants and injuring several others.

The dead included local Taliban commander Hakeem Khan, Nawaz Khan and Rahim Khan. The vehicle was destroyed in the blast.

Officials said that two people were injured in bomb explosions in Balishkhel area of Lower Kurram and Boshera area of Upper Kurram.

In upper Orakzai tehsil, four militants were killed and two others wounded when helicopter gunships pounded their hideouts.



Afghan panel asks Muslim states to help end war

Friday, 22 Oct, 2010

KABUL, Oct 21: Afghanistan’s new peace council said on Thursday it would be willing to make concessions to bring militants to the negotiating table, and called for Saudi Arabia’s help in mediating peace talks.

Qiyamuddin Kashaf, the spokesman for the High Peace Council, also appealed to all Muslim nations for help in brokering an end to a war now in its 10th year, and repeated Kabul and Washington’s longstanding demand that militants renounce violence.

Inducements to tempt fighters back into the government fold could include jobs, homes and cash, Mr Kashaf told a news conference in the Afghan capital.

“The High Peace Council expects the Islamic world, in particular the (Organisation of the) Islamic Conference, and the Saudi king, to support the pious people of Afghanistan in achieving peace,” he said, reading from a council statement.

When pressed what role Saudi Arabia could play, and why he mentioned it, Mr Kashaf said it was one of the three nations that recognised the Taliban government, had good ties with Pakistan, and was custodian of the holiest Islamic sites.

Saudi Arabia sponsored secret talks last year and has acted as an interlocutor between Afghan officials and Taliban commanders in the past.

The 70-member council was proposed by President Hamid Karzai and endorsed by a jirga earlier this year.—Reuters



Bahrainis excited ahead of Saturday's poll

Oct 21, 2010

MANAMA: There is excitement and tension in the air as Bahrain goes to the polls Saturday.

This is the third time in a decade that the Gulf Arab country, a mere 25 km away from the Saudi city of Alkhobar, is holding elections for the lower house of Parliament. The elections, first held in 2002, were part of King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa's wide-ranging reforms involving a new constitution.

Huge billboards and colorful posters greet you as you enter the country from the causeway that links Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over the rolling Gulf waters. Many posters had pictures of women candidates as well.

Bahrain has a population of about 1 million, of whom about half are expatriate workers. Of the native Bahrainis, men and women over the age of 20 can vote. Around 300,000 registered voters will be able to cast their vote on Saturday for the Majlis Al-Nuwab, or the Council of Representatives. There are 140 candidates vying for 40 seats in the lower house, representing constituencies in the country's eight governorates.

Five of them, including independents Abdulla Al-Dossary, Latifa Al-Gaoud and Khamis Al-Rumaihi, Abdul Jalil Khalil of Bahrain’s largest poll grouping Al-Wefaq and Adel Al-Ma'awada, who is a lawmaker for Al-Asalah, have been elected unopposed from their constituencies. To win, candidates must secure 50 percent or more of the total votes in the constituency they are hoping to represent.

In the last election, which saw a 72 percent turnout, Al-Wefaq won 17 seats, Al-Asalah took eight seats and Minbar bagged seven. The rest of the seats were won by Mustaqbal and independents.

Full report at:



Young Saudis use expo to promote important causes


Oct 22, 2010

JEDDAH: The Young Businesses Expo at the International Exhibitions Center in Jeddah is not just about business, as a group of young Saudis are participating to promote their own environmental and intellectual causes.

Among the participants is the Jeddah-Intellect Group, a group of 12 young Saudi girls between the ages of 17 and 30.

Their objective is to develop analytical skills and respect others’ opinions. Amna Fatani, the head of the group, said they are a nonprofit group that cooperates with Bridges, a library coffee shop in Jeddah, to host their sessions.

Attendance is restricted to women only so girls feel comfortable. Among the many topics discussed is to respect others' opinions and human rights concepts.

“We cooperate with specialists in different fields and they come to present their talks,” said Fatani.

Full report at:



Conference on mass gathering medicine to start Saturday


Oct 22, 2010

RIYADH: A three-day conference on mass gathering medicine is to be held on Oct. 23-25 in Jeddah with the support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

“This three-day conference aims at sharing international experiences on mass gathering (MG) and its healthcare implications in order to get a better understanding in the light of latest developments,” said Dr. Khalid Al-Marghalani, spokesman for the Ministry of Health and head of the conference’s media committee.

“The conference also aims to share with the world the rich and long Saudi experience in managing mass gatherings such as Umrah and Haj, and explore potentials of enhancing and improving our knowledge by learning from those experiences using the input of high profile participations of international and national healthcare officials and experts,” he added.

International participants will include health ministers from the US, Germany, Lebanon, Yemen and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries; Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization; the secretary-generals of the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Arab League, the GCC and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US.

Local participants include officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of Haj, the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, the Makkah Region Governorate, the Saudi Red Crescent, and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Center for Haj Research.

Al-Marghalani said that major topics to be discussed include: Implications of international health regulations on MG management for disease control, the Haj as a model for MG medicine, global health and MG, health services and delivery during MGs and emergencies, communicable diseases during MGs, the multidisciplinary nature of MG legacy, injury and environmental health during MGs, and information technology and research priorities during MGs.


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