India: Intellectuals Express Concern Over Islamphobia
Wootton Bassett Defiant Over Muslim March Plans
British Universities 'A Hotbed Of Islamic Radicalisation'
Islamists Spark Deadly Fighting In Central Somalia Town
Somali Charged With Attempt To Kill Danish Cartoonist
Muslims In Western Media
American Book Banned In Iraq.
Awaiting Deportation, 3 Pak Men Flee
Taliban Attack On Match A Warning To Tribes?
Qaeda Hit Man Attacks Cartoonist
Challenges For Pak & Afghanistan
Afghan Parliament Rejects 17 Of Karzai's 24 Cabinet Nominees
Afghan Parliament Rejects Cabinet Nominees
Attacker Shouted 'Revenge', 'Blood': Danish Cartoonist
US Considers New Sanctions Against Iran
Obama Ties Airliner Plot To Al-Qaeda's Yemeni Affiliate
U.S. Closes Embassy In Yemen Over Qaeda Threats
Arab League And Oic To Enhance Arabs And Muslims Image In America
Malaysian Government To Appeal 'Allah' Ruling
London Summit On Terror Threat From Yemen
Delay In Cases Like Kasab Or Afzal Lead To Hijacks: Doval
India Concerned About China's Weapons Supply To Pak: Krishna
Pak Terrorists Escape: Rs 50, 000 Reward Announced
3 Pak Terrorists Escape From Delhi Hospital
Bomb Kills Ex-Pakistan Minister
S. Korean Court Backs Pakistani Gay's Refugee Bid
Muslim-Hindu Punk Rock Bands Part Of New Movement
Nik Aziz: Non-Muslims Can Use ‘Allah’
Egypt's Iron Wall On Gaza
Muslim Writers Say La Plante Attack On Bbc Is 'Insulting'
Muslim Terror Suspect Tries To Assassinate Danish Cartoonist
Iran To Try Ashoura Rally Detainees
Jerusalem: The Collapse In The Silwan Street Is Because Of The Israeli Excavations Under The Town And The Area Around Al Aqsa Mosque Complex.
To Beat the Terrorists We Need A Battle Of Ideas
Philippines - Halal Meat Trade Needs To Expand
O.C. Islamic Educational Centre A Target Of Anti-Muslim Acts
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Asks Muslims To Be Patient, Government Will Appeal
Egypt’s Steel Wall Sparks ‘Fatwa War’
India & Jihadi Terrorism During 2009
Developer Denies Deal With Gaddafi
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
URL of this Page: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/death-toll-in-central-somalia-fighting-rises-to-47/d/2322
Death toll in central Somalia fighting rises to 47
January 03 2010
Mogadishu - At least 47 people have been killed in central Somalia in fighting between Islamist rebels and a pro-government group for control of a strategic town, a human rights group and residents said on Sunday.
Al Shabaab, which seeks to impose strict Islamic rule on Somalia, attacked Dusamareb, 560 km (350 miles) north of the capital on Saturday, pounding positions of moderate Muslim group Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca.
The clashes were the first in the town since Dec. 2008 when the Ahlu Sunna took it after ousting al Shabaab fighters.
The town is the capital of the central region of Galgadud, coveted by al Shabaab, who would like to extend their area of control between Mogadishu and the pro-government northeast region of Punt land.
"We have counted 47 dead bodies and one hundred injured," Ali Yasin Gedi, vice chairman of Elman peace and human rights group told Reuters.
"Most of the casualties are from the two groups. The death toll might be double that as residents are still collecting bodies from alleys and under the trees. The whole region is tense and residents are fleeing from other towns."
A town resident agreed with Gedi's assessment:
"We have collected 77 dead bodies from inside and around Dusamareb town. We have reports that there are more dead bodies in the suburbs of the town. Yesterday afternoon's fighting was very fierce," local elder Hussein Aden told Reuters by phone.
Ahlu Sunna's spokesman said they had regained the town after losing it briefly to al Shabaab on Saturday.
"Our forces are in full control of the town now. We have chased them away from here yesterday. Their dead bodies packed the streets. We will surely pursue them in the other towns they went to," Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf, told Reuters.
Another resident said the presence of Ahlu Sunna's fighters on the streets of the town was not wholly re-assuring.
"We are afraid al Shabaab will attack again here. We are civilians, our sole power is to flee," Abdullahi Bile said.
Al Shabaab, which Washington accuses of being al Qaeda's proxy in the region, was not immediately available for comment.
The insurgency led by al Shabaab has undermined Western efforts to install an effective government in the country, which has been without one for the last 19 years.
Its prime minister said the government was ready to launch an offensive against the rebels, who are causing growing concerns due to their ability to team up with their counterparts in the Arabian Peninsula and perpetrate attacks.
"Our troops are prepared to act, and flush these terrorists out of the capital before the end of January, and continue taking over the control of more territories from these fighters," Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke told Reuters in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. - Reuters
Jan 2 2010
New Delhi: Muslim intellectuals, scholars and leaders express concern on the rise of Islamophobia as well as discrimination meted out to minorities, especially in India, in a seminar on the topic Minority Rights and Islamophobia: Limits and Freedoms.
Speaking on the occasion former judge Justice Syed Shah Mohammad Quadri focused on issues including Islamophobia, freedom of expression and western view of Islam. He said that every civilized society follows some norms of freedom of expression as per the social conscience, justice and human rights both individual rights and collective rights. He puts that there is no absolute freedom in human existence.
Delivering his key note address, Maulana Saifullah Rahmani, General Secretary of Islamic Fiqh Academy, spoke on a range of issues, especially on the majority-minority relation taking references from Quran, Sunnah and Fiqh. He said that if the minds of majority are filled with enmity, the possibility of clashes grow manifold. So there is need to properly define the relation between minority and majority.
Adding fillip to the idea of freedom expression and Islamphobia, Syed Shahabuddin, former MP, said that the issues were of global nature and required to be dealt with concerted effort by all like minded people. He added that inadequate representation of Muslims in the country's polity as well as their social and educational backwardness have led the community on the margin. He said that Islamophobia has become the part of dominant discourse in media and politics throughout the world with a view to check Islam which is fastest growing religion on earth. He urged the need to set up a media monitoring body to scrutinize anti-Muslim speeches and articles appeared in media. He said that in the statement of political leaders, more often, one come across the references of anti-Islamic remarks. He said the Islamophobia is mental disease and has been used as a tool of Weapon of Mass Destruction to tame Muslims across the globe.
Agreeing with the view expressed above, AB Bardhan, General Secretary CPI, said that religious minority had been meted out various forms of discrimination in the country including in job and employment, bank credit et al. 'Identifying terrorism with any religion is a mischievous act', said he. Pointing out that terrorism in Assam, Nagaland and various other parts of the country are never identified by their faiths. 'The US played greatest mischief in the backdrop of 9/11 in this regard," added he. He said he had a clear idea about what jehad means and that it is mischievous minds which call terrorists as jehadists.
Syed Mahmood Usman Mansoorpuri, president Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, said that the seminar was not organized to show minority strength but to impress upon the majority community about the validity of minority rights enshrined in the Constitution. He, however, urges Muslims to focus on character building effort instead of indulging in speeches and sermons.
Former MP of Godhra, Gujarat, Shanti Bhai Patel appreciated the effort which, he said, 'will certainly help in strengthening relation between minority and majority'.
Dr Faizan Mustafa, Dr Abdur Rasheed Agwan, Abdur Raheem Quraishi Prof Abdul Bari, Mohammad Wajihuddin and noted expert AG Noorani also spoke on various aspects of the issues. Many speakers were of the view that 9/11 as well as the incidents in neighboring countries served the purpose of Hindutva outfit in India to threaten the Muslim community.
Wootton Bassett defiant over muslim march plans
Sunday 3rd January 2010
A town famous for honouring dead British soldiers returning from Afghanistan reacted defiantly today to news that a controversial Islamic group is to march through its streets.
Islam4UK - which calls itself a "platform" for extremist movement al-Muhajiroun - plans to parade through Wootton Bassett in the coming weeks.
The group's website says the event is being held "not in memory of the occupying and merciless British military" but of the Muslims its says have been "murdered in the name of democracy and freedom".
Leader Anjem Choudary said today the protest, involving 500 people, would be peaceful one, with "symbolic coffins" being carried to honour Muslim victims of the conflict.
But the walk will not coincide with the return of a dead soldier's body, added Mr Choudary, 42, a former lawyer from East London.
Hundreds of people line the market town's High Street every week to watch servicemen's bodies being driven through from RAF Lyneham.
Family and friends of the fallen, shopkeepers, and British Legion members wait in all weathers to pay silent tribute to a cortege of Union flag-draped coffins.
Ex-mayor and councillor Chris Wannell said today: "We don't do what we do at Wootton Bassett for any political reason at all, but to pay our respects to those who have given their lives for our freedom.
"We are a Christian country and a traditional old English market town who honour very much our Queen and country. We obey the law and pay respects to our servicemen who protect our freedom.
"If this man has any decency about him he will not hold a march through Wootton Bassett."
He also called on the media not to give the group any attention.
North Wiltshire MP James Gray said: "I've seen in the past assorted groups threaten to march, but they don't actually do it. I wouldn't think they'd get permission from the police.
"The people of Wootton Bassett are not interested in politics. They will say, these are foolish people making a silly point - we'll get on with our ordinary lives thank you.
"This also misunderstands the nature of what the people of Wootton Bassett do. They are not blood-thirstily in favour of the war. Most people would say they were not qualified to comment on the rightness or wrongness.
"The people of Wootton Bassett are decent, quiet, pragmatic people and they'll stay at home instead (of reacting to the march)."
Islam4UK describes the plans for the "momentous march" on its website.
It says: "Wootton Bassett, is currently famous for its public mourning processions held in memory of British soldiers killed whilst on military service in Afghanistan; coffins containing the dismembered bodies of these soldiers are usually draped in union jack flags and driven through the town centre from RAF Lyneham, as a tribute to their 'sacrifice'.
"The proposed march by members of Islam4UK is however of a very different venture, held not in memory of the occupying and merciless British military, but rather the real war dead who have been shunned by the Western media and general public as they were and continue to be horrifically murdered in the name of Democracy and Freedom - the innocent Muslim men, women and children.
"It is quite extraordinary, that with well over 100,000 Muslims killed in Afghanistan in the last 8 years that those military serviceman who have directly or indirectly contributed to their death are paraded as war heroes and moreover honoured for what is ultimately genocide.
"We at Islam4UK find this totally unacceptable and as a result have decided to launch the 'Wootton Bassett March' to highlight the real casualties of this brutal Crusade."
Mr Choudary added today: "The British public is blissfully unaware of what's being done in their name. More than 10,000 innocent men women and children are being slaughtered.
"You may see one or two coffins being returned to the UK every other day but when you think about the people of Afghanistan its a huge number (being killed) in comparison.
"I intend to write a letter to the parents of British soldiers telling them the reality of what they died for."
The march will call for the withdrawal of British troops who Mr Choudary believes are largely in Afghanistan to "prevent the rise of Islam in the area."
He added that some families of the dead soliders had even offered him their support.
Another Wootton councillor, Jenny Stratton, said: "Everyone has the right to protest, but it's not a very tactful place to do it."
Secretary of Wootton Bassett British Legion Anne Bevis said she did not want to comment without knowing the full facts, but urged the group to reconsider.
She said: "I would say however, that I do hope members of this group think long and hard about the rights of the people of Wootton Bassett before going ahead with their proposal.
"The repatriations have never been political. We turn out to pay our respects to those who have lost their lives and support the families who must carry on without them."
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said it respected the right to peaceful protest but would deal with any breach of the law appropriately.
Wiltshire Police said they were aware of the "significant community concern" caused by the proposal, adding that they would have to approve details before permitting the march.
A force spokesman said: "In exceptional circumstances, the police may apply to the local authority for an order prohibiting such a march.
"In these particular circumstances, Wiltshire Police will be liaising closely with the local community and our partner agencies.
"Furthermore, contact will be sought with the organisers at the earliest opportunity in order to determine the facts of the proposed march.
"To date there has been no contact from Islam4uk or any other group wishing to arrange such a march in Wootton Bassett."
British universities 'a hotbed of Islamic radicalisation'
Sat, Jan 02, 2010
The Straits Times
British universities, especially those in London, are becoming a hotbed of Islamic radicalisation, the Times reported yesterday.
Quoting security sources, the newspaper said there was concern that the picture emerging of the undergraduate years of the Nigerian suspect in the Christmas Day airline bomb plot suggested that he was recruited by Al-Qaeda in London.
Security sources said that Islamic radicalisation was rife on university campuses, especially in London, and that college authorities had 'a patchy record in facing up to the problem'.
Previous anti-terrorist inquiries had uncovered evidence of extremists using political meetings and religious study circles to identify potential recruits to be groomed and sent for training.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, organised a conference under the banner 'War on Terror Week' as he immersed himself in radical politics while a student in London, according to The Times.
A former president of the Islamic Society at University College London (UCL), Abdulmutallab advertised speakers including political figures, human rights lawyers and former Guantanamo Bay prison camp detainees.
One lecture, Jihad versus Terrorism, was billed as 'a lecture on the Islamic position with respect to jihad'.
Abdulmutallab is the fourth president of a London student Islamic society to face terrorist charges in three years.
One is facing a retrial on charges that he was involved in the 2006 liquid bomb plot to blow up airliners. Two others have been convicted of terrorist offences since 2007.
Abdulmutallab left UCL last year.
The Times said he tried to renew his student visa in May this year, but it was refused on the grounds that it was based on an application to study 'life coaching' at a non-existent college.
That visa refusal may have saved Britain from an attack, the newspaper said.
Abdulmutallab then decided to move to Yemen, ostensibly to study Arabic, in August and received training from Al-Qaeda to carry out an airline attack.
He left Yemen in December.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.
Islamists spark deadly fighting in central Somalia town
January 3, 2010
Al-Shabaab rebels attacked a town in central Somalia early Saturday, sparking an intense firefight between rival Islamic groups, according to eyewitnesses and local journalists.
Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Dere said the Islamist rebel group took control of Dhusomareb after fighting members of Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a, a moderate Muslim group, according to Shabelle Media. However, the rival group claimed it pushed out the al-Shabaab rebels by Saturday evening.
While neither side officially claimed casualties, witnesses told a journalist about 30 people died in the fighting.
Al-Shabaab is made up of former allies of Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who once led the Islamic Courts Union -- the Islamist movement that briefly held power in Mogadishu in 2006.
But while Ahmed and other former members of the ICU accepted a U.N.-brokered peace agreement with the government they once fought, Al-Shabaab -- which the United States says has links to al Qaeda -- has rejected the peace agreement and has waged a bloody campaign against Somalia's transitional government.
The transnational Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a has maintained a strong presence in southern and central Somalia, where it has gathered powerful but small Sufi sects to counter extremist Islamist groups, especially al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab has been trying to expand its influence farther north in Somalia, including Dhusomareb, the provincial capital of Galgaduud.
A U.S. missile strike on Dhusomareb in May 2008 targeted and killed several senior members of al-Shabaab.
Somali charged with attempt to kill Danish cartoonist
January 03, 2010
* Axe-wielding Somali breaks into Westergaard’s house, screaming for ‘revenge’ and ‘blood’
COPENHAGEN: A Somali man was charged on Saturday with the attempted murder of a Danish cartoonist whose caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sparked riots and protests around the world.
The axe-wielding 28-year-old broke into Kurt Westergaard’s home late on Friday, screaming for “revenge” and “blood”. The cartoonist hid in a panic room with a five-year-old granddaughter and called the police.
The suspect is alleged to have thrown the axe at one of the policemen who arrived on the scene, just missing him, then launched an attack with a knife before being shot and wounded in the arm and thigh.
He was brought bandaged into court at Aarhus, northwest Denmark, on Saturday on a stretcher, in a hospital gown and covered with blankets, the Ritzau agency reported.
“He was charged with double attempted murder,” a court spokesman said, adding the suspect was remanded in custody for four weeks, the first two of them in solitary confinement.
The accused, who has not been named, had one arm bandaged, a leg in a splint and a towel over his face to avoid identification, media reports said, while describing him as bearded with a shaved head.
Denmark’s PET intelligence agency said he was linked to Somalia’s radical Shebab Islamic movement and leaders of Al Qaeda in east Africa. He lives on the Danish island of Seeland, where the capital Copenhagen is located. afp
Muslims in Western media
January 2, 2010
By: Ismail Farooki. Cambridge –England
The media plays a significant role in manufacturing Islamophobia within western societies by manipulating and shaping an individuals opinion on anything and everything. It presents us with distorted images of Islam and that in turn conjures stereotypes and prejudice.
For people who are sceptical about the notion of ‘Islamophobia’, a study was conducted in the US where the public were asked to write down, with as little thought and as much honesty as possible, all the words that come to mind when you think of the words “Islam” or Muslim”.
Most people gave an almost routine set of answers. The names and events they thought of tended to be associated with violence, e.g., Osama Bin Laden, 9/11, Palestinian suicide bombers. The ideas and practices were associated with oppression, e.g., Jihad, veiling, Islamic law. And the places were limited to the Middle East, e.g., Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran. Of course some answers escaped the pattern, e.g., the Qur’an, pilgrimage to Mecca, Muhammad Ali, but these were relatively few. When asked about their answers, many responded unfortunate as such associations may be, Muslims and Islam feature prominently in many of the world’s conflicts and injustices, and this they conclude says something about their religion. Judging from the portrayals of Muslims and Islam in Western media, it’s hard to argue with them.
he media plays a significant role in manufacturing Islamophobia within western societies by manipulating and shaping an individuals opinion on anything and everything. It presents us with distorted images of Islam and that i
Full report at: http://www.moroccopost.net/politics/532-muslims-in-western-media/
American Book Banned in Iraq.
The American Book "How Fatima Started Islam: Mohammad's Daughter Tells It All" by Noor Barack has been banned in Iraq.
Iraq's Deputy Cultural Minister Dr. Jaber al-Jaberi announced that Iraq has officially banned the American book "How Fatima Started Islam: Mohammad's Daughter Tells It All" by Noor Barack. Anyone found in possession of the book in Iraq will be subject to Sharia Law.
"This scurrilous, blasphemous assault upon all pious Islamic people in as affront to the Holy Qu'ran, the Prophet, and all wholesome people of the earth. This horrible, putrid, festering abomination will not ridicule the Holy Qu'ran within the Republic of Iraq or any other place adhering to Sharia Law. All persons promoting, possessing or trafficking this anathema within the Republic of Iraq are warned that they will be subject to the penalties of Sharia Law."
Dr. Jaberi also encouraged all the good people of the world to discourage dissemination of "How Fatima Started Islam: Mohammad's Daughter Tells It All" including the American bookseller Amazon.com.
Awaiting deportation, 3 Pak men flee
TNN 3 January 2010
NEW DELHI: Two Pakistani terrorists, who recently completed their jail terms after being convicted for carrying narcotics and explosives, and another terror suspect who spent as many years behind bars before being acquitted in October 2009, escaped while returning from a city hospital on Friday evening. The three were soon going to be deported to their country.
Abdul Razzak, Mohammed Sadiq and Rafaqat Ali (all between 32 and 35 years) had been taken to an eye-speciality hospital in the capital for a check-up after which they fled. While Sadiq was acquitted in the case that lasted five years, Abdul and Rafaqat Ali were released after serving their sentence.
According to a senior officer, the Meghalaya Police personnel who escorted the three are being questioned. The three were in the custody of Meghalaya Police and were to going be handed over to the immigration authorities for deportation.
According to sources, the three had been kept at Lampur detention centre near Narela since they had
been released from Tihar Jail. A sub-inspector of Meghalaya Police was escorting them back from Guru Nanak Eye Hospital when they stopped for a meal at a food joint in Kotwali, north Delhi.
The police officer left them alone for a few minutes and returned only to find them missing. He informed the local police after which a case under sections of foreigners Act was registered at the Kotwali police station. A manhunt has been launched to nab them.
‘‘We have registered a case and are investigating the matter,’’ said joint commissioner of police Karnal Singh.
The three were arrested by the inter-state cell of crime branch in 2000 near Hauz Khas in south Delhi for carrying explosives and narcotics. A case under the explosive Act and foreigners Act was registered against them at Hauz Khas police station.
The three were allegedly carrying 17kg of RDX and 50kg of contraband at the time of arrest.
Later, the police also arrested some of their accomplices who were allegedly involved in planting explosives near the wastebin at Red Fort.Police said that Abdul was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment.
He was released in April last year while Rafaqat, who was sentenced for five-and-half years, came out on October 23 last year. ‘‘The delay in deporting these Pakistani nationals is also being looked into,’’ added a police officer.
Taliban attack on match a warning to tribes?
AP 3 January 2010
SHAH HASAN KHEL: A northwest Pakistani village that tried to resist Taliban infiltration mourned on Saturday the victims of an apparent revenge suicide bombing that killed 96 residents during a volleyball game.
The attack on the outskirts of Lakki Marwat city was one of the deadliest in recent Pakistani history and sent a bloody New Year’s message to Pakistanis who dare take on the armed Islamist extremists.
As villagers in Shah Hasan Khel held funeral services and rescuers searched rubble for more bodies, many in the area were too terrified to speculate on who staged the assault.
The suicide bomber detonated some 250 kilograms of high-intensity explosives on the crowded field in the village during a volleyball tournament held on Friday near a meeting of anti-Taliban elders. The elders, who had helped set up an anti-Taliban militia in the area, were probably the actual target, police said.
Lakki Marwat district is near South Waziristan, a tribal region where the army has been battling the Pakistani Taliban since October.
The military operation was undertaken with the backing of the US, which is eager for Pakistan to free its tribal belt of militants believed to be involved in attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan. The offensive has provoked apparent reprisal attacks that had already killed more than 500 people in Pakistan before Friday’s blast. Militants have struck all across the nuclear-armed country, and they appear increasingly willing to hit groups beyond security forces. No group claimed responsibility for Friday’s blast, but that is not uncommon when many civilians are killed.
Across Pakistan’s northwest, where the police force is thin, underpaid and under-equipped, various tribes have taken security into their own hands over the past two years by setting up citizen militias to fend off the Taliban.
The government has encouraged such “lashkars”, and in some areas they have proven key to reducing militant activity. Still, tribal leaders who face off with the militants do so at high personal risk. Several suicide attacks have targeted meetings of anti-Taliban elders, and militants also often go after individuals. One reason militancy has spread in Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal belt is because insurgents have slain dozens of tribal elders and filled a power vacuum.
Qaeda hit man attacks cartoonist
Jan 03, 2010
Daily Mail and agencies
DANISH police have shot a Somalian man wielding an axe and a knife who tried to break into the house of a controversial cartoonist.
The 28-year-old, with links to Al Qaeda group al Shabab, tried to enter Kurt Westergaard’s home in Aarhus on Friday night after breaking a window. The 75-year-old artist, who has received previous death threats for depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, pressed an alarm and fled with his visiting five-year-old granddaughter to a specially made safe room, Preben Nielsen from the Aarhus police said.
Officers arrived within minutes to find the man with “an axe and a knife in either hand” and shot him in the knee and on his left arm. Jakob Scharf, head of Denmark’s intelligence agency, said the attack was “terror related” and that the man wasn’t seriously injured in the shooting.
The suspect, whose name wasn’t released in line with Danish privacy rules has been charged with the attempted murder of the Danish cartoonist and of a policeman, Denmark’s Ritzau news agency reported. Westergaard was one of the 12 cartoonists commissioned by the Danish Jyllands- Posten newspaper to produce caricatures of the Muslim prophet.
Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favourable, for fear it could lead to idolatry. Muslims were particularly incensed by Westergaard’s cartoon, which portrayed Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and was seen as extending the caricature of Muslims as terrorists. The images sparked protests and outrage across the globe.
The attacker is suspected of involvement in terror-related activities in east Africa and had been under surveillance, although not in connection with Westergaard, Nielsen added. The man had a permit to be in Denmark. It was unclear whether the suspect actually managed to get inside the home of the cartoonist in Denmark’s second largest city, 200 km northwest of capital Copenhagen.
Westergaard told his employer, the Jyllands-Posten daily, that the assailant shouted “revenge” and “blood” as he tried to enter the room where he was hiding.
“My grandchild did fine. It was scary. It was close. Really close.
But we did it,” he said.
Westergaard remains a potential target for extremists nearly five years after his controversial cartoon was published. The drawing was printed along with 11 others in Jyllands- Posten in 2005.
He has received death threats and is the subject of an alleged assassination plot.
The case “ again confirms the terror threat that is directed at Denmark and against the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in particular”, Scharf said.
In October, terror charges were brought against two Chicago men whose initial plan called for attacks on Jyllands- Posten ’s offices. The plan was later changed to just killing the paper’s former cultural editor and Westergaard.
In 2008, Danish police arrested two Tunisian men suspected of plotting to murder Westergaard.
Neither suspect was prosecuted.
One of them was deported and the other was released on Monday after an immigration board rejected PET’s efforts to expel him from Denmark.
Challenges for Pak & Afghanistan
The situation in Afghanistan is turning from bad to worse. The last two months witnessed the deadliest attacks that killed record number of alien troops. The US role in Afghan elections, especially Washington’s drama in favour of Abdullah Abdullah to further pressurize puppet Afghan President Hamid Karzai was resented by a common man in the streets of Afghanistan. After a very long period, anti-US rallies were witnessed in which thousands of Afghans participated. The participants were seen pelting stones and shouting slogans against US, ‘’Down with America’’ and “Down with Israel” echoed the streets of Kabul. These protests were the result of hatred against US cum NATO forces for missile attacks on innocent Afghan women, children and civilian men as well as destruction of Massajid and Maddarrass. Last month’s burning of a copy of Holy Qur’an during a raid by US cum NATO forces added fuel to fire and situation seems out of control. For the first time people are openly expressing sympathy with those who have been ruthlessly killed for holding specific views against western values.
The latest address of US President Barack Hussain Obama to US Corps of Cadets, personnel of Armed Services and general American public basically spelled out US policy towards Muslim nations. Incident of September 11th 2001 has been described as turning point for changing US policy towards Muslim world. While claiming that the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated after Al Qaeda’s leadership escaped across the border into Pakistan in 2001 and 2002 and established a safe haven there, President Obama claimed that although a legitimate government was elected by the Afghan people, it’s been hampered by corruption, the drug trade, an under-developed economy, and insufficient security forces. He added that over the last several years, the Taliban has maintained common cause with Al Qaeda, as they both seek an overthrow of the Afghan government but there is no imminent threat of the government being overthrown.
President Obama disclosed that when he took office, US had just over 32,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, compared to 160,000 in Iraq at the peak of the war. He maintained that it is in America’s vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan which will begin to come home after 18 months. President Obama claimed that he made this decision because he is convinced that US security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan which are the epiCentre of violent extremism practiced by Al Qaeda. He claimed that from here that US was attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted. As per the strategy spelled out by President Obama, the 30,000 additional troops that will be deployed in the first part of 2010 to meet the following objectives: 1) Target the insurgency and secure key population Centres, 2) Increase US ability to train competent Afghan security forces and 3) To partner with Afghans trained troops so that they can get into the fight and help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans and allow US to begin the transfer its forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. This transfer would be on similar lines as done in Iraq, after taking into account conditions on the ground. It need to mention here that US would continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul.
Full report at: http://pakobserver.net/201001/03/Articles04.asp
Afghan parliament rejects 17 of Karzai's 24 cabinet nominees
Afghanistan's parliament on Saturday rejected 17 out of 24 cabinet nominees proposed by President Hamid Karzai, including a powerful ex-warlord and the only female candidate put forward.
Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, and Finance Minister Mohammad Omar Zakhelwal, three key ministers favoured by the West, were among the seven approved by the lower house of the parliament, government spokesman Haseeb Noori said.
More than 200 parliamentarians cast their votes of confidence in a secret ballot after two weeks in which the candidates made presentations on their platforms, he said.
Ismail Khan, the powerful former warlord who served as minister for water and energy in Karzai's first five-year term, failed to get the approval for the same post. Other rejected candidates includes those for the ministries of justice, commerce, economy, public health and higher education, Noori said.
Husn Bano Ghazanfar, the only female candidate in the proposed cabinet, had been set to take over the Ministry of Women Affairs before failing to win approval.
The move is seen as the last opportunity for the country's parliamentarians to use their political muscle, as their term comes to an end in a few months.
Meanwhile, the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced Saturday that it had set May 22 for the country's parliamentary elections, chief electoral officer, Daud Ali Najafi told a press conference in Kabul Saturday.
The decision came amid international concerns about an electoral system which many analysts showed signs of needing reforms after a contentious presidential election in August.
More than 1 million, or around a quarter of all votes cast in those polls, were found fraudulent. Those votes were mostly in favour of Karzai. The IEC, which conducted the elections, was accused by other presidential candidates and international observers of bias in favour of the incumbent.
Since taking office for his second term, Karzai, who was declared the winner of the election only after his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, dropped out of the second round of the balloting, has been under mounting pressure by his government's Western backers to clamp down on widespread corruption in his administration.
Afghan parliament rejects cabinet nominees
AP 2 January 2010
KABUL: Afghanistan's parliament dealt a stinging rebuke to President Hamid Karzai on Saturday by rejecting 70% of his nominees for a new cabinet, including a regionally powerful warlord and the country's only female minister.
The laborious voting that took much of the day ended with the rejection of 17 of 24 nominees. The nominations, announced in mid-December, aimed to keep 12 current ministers in their posts for a second term. In part, that appeared aimed at satisfying US and Western desires to keep trusted hands in place.
Among those Karzai wanted to keep was Water and Power Minister Ismail Khan.
But that raised many hackles because Khan was a warlord in Herat province during the civil war of the 1990s and retains considerable local power; critics said keeping Khan indicated the extent to which Karzai appears to be beholden to regional power-brokers at the expense of the whole country's interests.
Many of his new nominees were also criticised as having been picked for reasons other than their competency.
"I think, unfortunately, that the criteria were either ethnicity or bribery or money," lawmaker Fawzia Kufi said before the voting.
Karzai has said he will make new nominations for the unfilled posts, but it is unclear when those names will be announced or a parliamentary vote held.
Attacker shouted 'revenge', 'blood': Danish cartoonist
AGENCIES 3 January 2010,
COPENHAGEN: A Somali man linked to al-Qaida tried to break into the house of a Danish artist whose cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 triggered riots and outrage across the Muslim world but was apprehended, authorities said on Friday. The 28-year-old intruder, who was armed with an axe and a knife has been charged with two counts of attempted murder.
The 75-year-old artist, Kurt Westergaard, who has been the target of several death threats since depicting the Prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, pressed an alarm and fled with his 5-year-old granddaughter to a specially made safe room in his Aarhus home, said Jakob Scharf, head of Denmark's PET intelligence agency.
Officers arrived two minutes later and tried to arrest the assailant, but then shot him in the hand and knee when he threatened them with the axe, Aarhus police said. The man's wounds were not life-threatening, they added.
``The arrested man has, according to PET's information, close relations to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab and al-Qaida leaders in eastern Africa,'' Scharf said. ``(The attack) again confirms the terror threat that is directed at Denmark and against the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in particular.'' The Somali man denied the charges at a court hearing on Saturday in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, even as the al-Shabab hailed the attack and a spokesman in Mogadishu called for ``all Muslims'' to target people like Westergaard ``who abused our Prophet''.
Westergaard could not be reached for comment. However, he told his employer, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, that the assailant shouted ``Revenge!'' and ``Blood!'' as he tried to enter the bathroom where Westergaard and the child had sought shelter.
Westergaard remains a potential target for extremists nearly five years after he drew a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad along with 11 others that were printed in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The drawings triggered riots and protests in the Muslim world, and Danish and other Western embassies in several Muslim countries were torched a few months later in 2006 by angry protesters who felt the cartoons had profoundly insulted Islam.
Scharf said the Somali is suspected of having been involved in terror-related activities in east Africa and had been under PET's surveillance but not in connection with Westergaard.
US considers new sanctions against Iran
AFP 3 January 2010
WASHINGTON: The administration of US President Barack Obama believes domestic unrest and signs of unexpected trouble in Iran's nuclear program make the country's leaders particularly vulnerable to strong and immediate new sanctions, The New York Times reported late Saturday.
Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper said the long-discussed sanctions proposal comes as the administration has completed a fresh review of Iran's nuclear progress.
Obama's strategists believe Iran's top political and military leaders were distracted in recent months by turmoil in the streets and political infighting, and that their drive to produce nuclear fuel appears to have faltered, the report said.
The White House wants to focus the new sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that is believed to run the nuclear weapons effort, The Times said.
Although repeated rounds of sanctions over many years have not dissuaded Iran from pursuing nuclear technology, an administration official involved in the Iran policy said the hope was that the current troubles "give us a window to impose the first sanctions that may make the Iranians think the nuclear program isn't worth the price tag," the paper noted.
The Obama administration officials said they believed that Iran's bomb-development effort was seriously derailed by the exposure three months ago of the country's secret enrichment plant under construction near the holy city of Qom, the report pointed out.
Exposure of the site deprived Iran of its best chance of covertly producing the highly enriched uranium needed to make fuel for nuclear weapons, The Times said.
In addition, international nuclear inspectors report that at Iran's plant in Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges spin to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, the number of the machines that are currently operating has dropped by 20 percent since the summer, a decline nuclear experts attribute to technical problems, according to the report.
Others, including some European officials, believe the problems may have been accentuated by a series of covert efforts by the West to undermine Iran's program, including sabotage on its imported equipment and infrastructure, the paper said.
These factors have led the administration's policymakers to lengthen their estimate of how long it would take Iran to accomplish what nuclear experts call "covert breakout" -- the ability to secretly produce a workable weapon, The Times noted.
"For now, the Iranians don't have a credible breakout option, and we don't think they will have one for at least 18 months, maybe two or three years," the paper quotes one senior administration official as saying.
The administration has told allies that the longer time frame would allow the sanctions to have an effect before Iran could develop its nuclear ability, The Times said.
Obama ties airliner plot to al-Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate
By Anne E. Kornblut and Karen DeYoung
Sunday, January 3, 2010
KAILUA, HAWAII -- President Obama said for the first time Saturday that the alleged Christmas Day airline bomber apparently was acting under orders from the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen, which "trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America."
The statement, in Obama's weekly address, reflected initial reviews of U.S. intelligence that he ordered after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man, was charged with trying to ignite an explosive device aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit.
White House officials traveling with Obama, as well as intelligence officials in Washington, have said privately for days that they suspected an al-Qaeda link to the foiled attack. But Obama's statement -- by far the most public and definitive -- appeared to be an attempt to stay ahead of events.
Obama also called for an end to the partisan attacks that quickly followed the Detroit incident. Responding to GOP accusations led by former vice president Richard B. Cheney, who said last week that the president does not consider the fight against terrorism a war, Obama quoted his inaugural address. "On that day," he said, "I made it very clear our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred, and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them. . . . And make no mistake, that's exactly what we've been doing."
He said he had "made it a priority to strengthen our partnership with the Yemeni government -- training and equipping their security forces, sharing intelligence and working with them to strike al-Qaeda terrorists."
Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, delivered a letter from Obama to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a meeting Saturday in Sanaa, the capital. According to Saba, the Yemeni news agency, Saleh "confirmed our country's keenness to enhance its relations and cooperation with the U.S. to serve the joint interests of the two countries." Petraeus said Friday that the United States will double the $70 million in counterterrorism aid it gave to Yemen in 2009.
Obama, who arrived in Hawaii on Christmas Eve, spent Saturday with his family, visiting a water park and going to the beach at a nearby Marine base. He is expected to return to Washington on Monday, and plans to meet with senior intelligence and homeland security officials on Tuesday.
Full report at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/02/AR2010010201966.html
U.S. Closes Embassy in Yemen Over Qaeda Threats
SAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- The U.S. closed its embassy in Yemen on Sunday, citing ongoing threats by the al-Qaida group that has been linked to the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas.
The confrontation with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has gained new urgency since the 23-year-old Nigerian accused in the attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told American investigators he received training and instructions from the group's operatives in Yemen. President Barack Obama said Saturday that the al-Qaida offshoot was behind the attempt.
''The U.S. Embassy in San'a is closed today, January 3, 2010, in response to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ... to attack American interests in Yemen,'' the embassy said in a message on its Web site. It did not say how long the embassy would remain closed and an embassy spokesman reached by phone would not comment on whether there was a specific threat.
The closure comes as Washington is stepping up aid to Yemen to fight al-Qaida. Over the weekend, Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. general who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, visited Yemen and announced plans to more than double counterterrorism aid to the impoverished Arab nation this year.
The U.S. also provided intelligence and other help to back two Yemeni air and ground assaults on al-Qaida positions last month, reported to have killed more than 60 people. Yemeni authorities said more than 30 suspected militants were among the dead.
The U.S. has increasingly provided intelligence, surveillance and training to Yemeni forces during the past year, and has provided some firepower, a senior U.S. defense official has said. Some of that assistance may be through the expanded use of unmanned drones, and the U.S. is providing funding to Yemen for helicopters and other equipment. Officials, however, say there are no U.S. ground forces or fighter aircraft in Yemen.
On Thursday, the embassy sent a notice to Americans in Yemen urging them to be vigilant about security. On Saturday, Petraeus met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and announced the increased counterterrorism aid.
Yemeni security officials said over the weekend that the country had deployed several hundred extra troops to two mountainous eastern provinces that are al-Qaida's main strongholds in the country and where Abdulmutallab may have visited. U.S. and Yemeni investigators have been trying to track Abdulmutallab's steps in Yemen, which he visited from August until Dec. 7. He was there ostensibly to study Arabic in San'a, but he disappeared for much of that time.
Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/03/world/AP-ML-Yemen-Al-Qaida.html?_r=1
Arab League and OIC to enhance Arabs and Muslims image in America
Edited by George Haddad
02 January 2010
The first meeting of the Joint High-level Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the League of Arab States (LAS) convened at LAS headquarters in Cairo , to discuss the best ways and means to correct the stereotyped image of Arabs and Muslims. The meeting, which brought together Arab and Islamic institutions, discussed OIC reports on Islamophobia as well as documents prepared by LAS General Secretariat and by other institutions on the cultural and media activities that have been conducted or could be implemented in the future to respond to the media spin campaigns targeting Islam and Islamic civilization.
The OIC delegation was led by the Organization’s Assistant Secretary General Amb. Abbullah Abdurrahman Alim, who delivered a statement at the opening of the two-day meeting, in which he stressed the OIC’s readiness to further boost its existing outstanding relations with the Arab League, and its desire to map out modes of cooperation and coordination with the League on all issues of common interest to the Arabo-Islamic world and to face up to the phenomenon of Islamophobia and the widespread hate campaigns in the West against Islam and Muslims.
Amb. Alim outlined the various actions undertaken by the OIC in countering the phenomenon and invited the Arab League at the same time for joint action in various fields, particularly in the area of information.
Amb. Alim also emphasized the need to remove the confused picture held by the public opinion in the West and in America where a deliberate amalgam is made between Islam and terrorism, and the need to underline Islam’s inherent rejection of all acts or manifestations of violence and extremism.
The work program of the meeting included examination of documents on the ways and means likely to help correct the stereotypical image of Arabs and Muslims in the West, particularly in the US . The documents included notably a concept paper that laid forth the motives and background of existing stereotypes and a roaster of proposals for across-the-board action.
Participants in the meeting agreed on a principles paper on the key themes and components of the action plan to be undertaken in the US in terms of implementing an Arabo-Islamic cultural and media program in a bid to correct the image of Arabs and Muslims. The Joint Committee will meet in the near future at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , to carry through its work.
Global Arab Network
Malaysian government to appeal 'Allah' ruling
AFP 3 January 2010,
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's minister in charge of Muslim affairs said the government would appeal a court ruling allowing a Catholic paper the right to use the word "Allah".
Malaysia's high court ruled last week the Herald weekly had the right to use the word "Allah" after a long-running dispute between the government and the newspaper in the Muslim-majority nation.
The paper has been using the word as a translation for "God" in its Malay-language section, but the government argued it should be used only by Muslims.
Jamil Khir Johari said the country's national fatwa council had ruled in May 2008 that "Allah" could only be used by Muslims in Malaysia, state news agency Bernama reported late Saturday.
"Therefore it is important for Muslims here to guard the use of the word and if there is any attempt to insult or misuse the word we must take all legal action as allowed under the federal constitution", he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
The court ruled on Thursday the Catholic paper had the "constitutional right" to use the word "Allah", declaring the government's ban on the word "illegal, null and void".
Muslim groups have opposed the ruling, saying they will stage demonstrations against it.
The Herald is printed in four languages, with a circulation of 14,000 a week in a country with about 850,000 Catholics.
The court case was one of a string of religious disputes that have erupted in recent years, straining relations between Muslim Malays and minority ethnic Chinese and Indians who fear the country is being "Islamised".
London summit on terror threat from Yemen
Man who attempted to blast plane was trained in Yemen
LONDON: Britain has called a summit of world leaders in London later this month to discuss the terror threat posed by Yemen, seen with concern in the West as a new breeding ground for al-Qaeda- linked extremists.
The move comes after it emerged that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young Nigerian who allegedly attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas day, was trained in Yemen. He is reported to have told investigators that he was radicalised and trained in Yemen.
A Yemeni offshoot of the al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the failed plot. The incident has prompted concern that the al-Qaeda, under pressure in Afghanistan, has set its sights on Yemen as a new safe haven. The conference, to be held alongside an international conference on Afghanistan on January 28, is said to have the support of U.S. President Barack Obama, the European Union and the Arab world.
Besides U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representatives from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries are expected to attend the summit.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has called the conference, described Yemen as an "incubator" and a "potential haven" for terrorism, and said Britain wanted to help Yemen drive the al-Qaeda out of the country. He also urged the international community to support Yemen in its fight against terror. "The international community must not deny Yemen the support it needs to tackle extremism... I have said before that Yemen - both as an incubator and potential safe haven for terrorism - presents a regional and global threat," Mr. Brown said.
The summit will discuss, among other things, financial assistance to Yemen for training its security forces. Britain is reported to have committed œ100 million over the next two years while America is considering "doubling" its existing aid package. Media reports said Mr. Brown would spend the next few weeks pressing Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to step up to the plate.
Delay in cases like Kasab or Afzal lead to hijacks: Doval
Fast decisions should be taken in terrorist cases like 26/11 strikes involving Ajmal Kasab and the attack on Parliament as otherwise another hijacking of an Indian aircraft may
happen to get jailed militants freed, the country's chief negotiator during the IC-814 hijack has said.
While attempting to make a list of lessons learnt from the Kandahar hijacking, Ajit Kumar Doval stressed on the need to have quick disposal of cases like 26/11 or the Parliament attack and punish the guilty at the earliest.
"We must evolve a system of good disposal of cases and the due process of law must be this thing... That it reduces the possibility" that anti-national elements could take advantage of it, 64-year-old Doval told PTI here.
"Now for example say we have got the man has been given a death sentence in Parliament case (Mohammed Afzal) or we have got so many important people. Whatever has to be done by law, it must be expedited. If they are to be hanged let them be hanged. If they have to be convicted, let them," Doval, the youngest IPS officer who was awarded the second highest military award Kirti Chakra, said.
Doval, who later rose to become the Intelligence Bureau Chief, went on to the case of Kasab, the lone Lashker-e-Taiba terrorist arrested during the 26/11 in Mumbai, and said "take the case of Kasab. May be that after six months or one year you don't do (punish him), there might be a hijacking demanding his release."
"...So expedite these cases, whatever is...Executing the punishment and the things like that... Whatever is that they should become fast track cases," Doval said and cited the example of Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the three terrorists exchanged for the passengers of IC-814 flight.
Azhar was here for five years and at finally India had to withdraw those cases because he had not even been charged, Doval said. One of the lessons is to shorten the trial duration, he said, adding there should be an amendment in the law to ensure that the burden of proof lies on all those whose release had been sought in exchange of hostages.
Doval negotiated with the hijackers for nearly 110 hours at the Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan to secure the release of hijacked Indian Airlines plane in December 1999.
The hijacking ended after the release of Azhar, Sheikh Omar and Mushtaq Zargar.
India concerned about China's weapons supply to Pak: Krishna
New Delhi : Taking exception to China's involvement in several projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), India on Sunday described it as "illegal" and said it has conveyed its concern over this as well as supply of Chinese weapons to Pakistan.
Despite differences on a host of issues with China, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna who is expected to visit Beijing in April this year, said the country did not see it in "antagonistic terms".
In a year-end review of the foreign policy and India's relations with its neigbours, the Minister said, "India lives in a difficult neighbourhood" and national security and terrorism originating from "across our borders" would remain a major challenge in 2010.
During an interview, he touched upon the troubled ties with Pakistan, relations with China and his optimism about "meaningful cooperation" from the US in regard to cases of two terror suspects David Headley and Tahawwur Rana, arrested there for plotting terror attacks in India. Asked about the "pinpricks" from China in the shape of border incursions, issuance of separate visas to Kashmiris, the Dalai Lama and status of Arunachal Pradesh, he replied,
"We are indeed concerned about some of these developments." He went on to emphasise that China's continued supply of weapons to Pakistan and activities of Chinese companies in PoK were a matter of concern and India was talking about all these issues with China.
Explaining why India sees these activities in PoK as "illegal', Krishna said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and neither Pakistan nor China have a "locus standi" there.
Still India did not see China in "antagonistic terms" as it believes that there is enough space for both to develop in a "mutually supportive manner while remaining sensitive to each other's concerns and aspirations", as befits good neighbours and strategic partners, Krishna said.
On the outlook for 2010, he said, "I am optimistic about the progress in our bilateral ties with China in the year ahead".
He also said "India and China are engaged in deepening their strategic and cooperative partnership on the one hand and narrowing divergences on the other."
Krishna emphasised that India was "committed to close and friendly relations with our neighbours" as it was convinced "that our destinies are interlinked". Referring to Pakistan, he noted that progress had been achieved in five years of composite dialogue but it was "eroded" by continued terrorism emanating from that country.
Full report at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-concerned-about-chinas-weapons-supply-to-pak-krishna/562764/
Pak terrorists escape: Rs 50, 000 reward announced
New Delhi : A reward of Rs 50,000 was on Sunday announced by Delhi Police for anyone providing information on the three Pakistani terrorists who escaped while being escorted to a city hospital.
They also released the pictures of the trio for identification. Abdul Razzak, Mohammed Sadiq and Rafaqat Ali, who were arrested in connection with blasts near the Red Fort nine years ago and were to be deported to Pakistan as they had completed their jail term, escaped on Friday, leaving the authorities red-faced and prompting them to sound an alert in the national capital and neighbouring areas.
"We have announced a reward of Rs 50,000 each for providing information on the three Pakistanis. We have also released their pictures," a senior police official said.
The three were arrested on October 30, 2000, from Rohtak and Delhi along with five other Pakistani nationals and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, including 17 kg of high-grade RDX as well as 50 kg of heroin, were recovered from them. Sadiq, 55, a resident of Sabajpur, Sialkot and Rafaqat
Ali alias Pappu, 55, hailing from Batapur, Lahore, were convicted for waging war against the state, attempt to murder, conspiracy as also under the Explosives Act and Arms Act. Razzak, 61, from Narwal, Lahore was convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act for possession of heroin, officials said.
The three were being taken to Guru Nanak Eye Hospital by Meghalaya police personnel who were on deputation to the Delhi Police's Special Branch when they fled. After the escape, Delhi Police registered a fresh case against the trio for violating the restraint order under the Foreigners' Act, a senior police official said. Home Ministry officials said an alert has been sounded in Delhi and adjoining areas to nab them.
Delhi Police had yesterday claimed the three Pakistanis were in detention of the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, while the FRRO had said the custody of such prisoners was always with the Special Branch of Delhi Police.
3 Pak terrorists escape from Delhi hospital
IANS 2 January 2010
NEW DELHI: Three Pakistani terrorists who have already completed their sentences and were soon to be deported home on Saturday escaped from a city hospital after giving immigration officials the slip, police said. ( Watch Video )
The trio managed to slip out of the clutches of Foreigners Regional Registration (FRRO) officials at the G.B. Pant hospital in central Delhi.
"There were not in the custody of the police. But they were under restraint orders of the FRRO. We have registered a case and are searching for them," Joint Commissioner of Police Karnal Singh said.
The hospital administration feigned ignorance about the incident.
"I do not remember any such case in last few days. We are verifying our records," the hospital's Additional Medical Superintendent, Shashi Gururaja, said.
The police said the three Pakistanis were arrested in 2000 for planting a bomb near Delhi airport. A large amount of RDX was seized from them.
Bomb kills ex-Pakistan minister
3 January 2010
A former provincial minister and two other people have been killed in a bomb attack near the north-western Pakistani town of Hangu, police have said.
Ghani-ur Rehman, a former North-West Frontier Province education minister, died when a roadside bomb exploded next to the car in which he was travelling.
The driver and bodyguard of the Awami National Party member were also killed.
The attack comes two days after 98 people were killed by an explosion at a volleyball tournament in Lakki Marwat.
No group has said it carried out that attack, which was the deadliest since a bombing in Peshawar in October killed 120.
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, condemned the attack and said Washington would continue supporting Pakistan's efforts to combat extremism and bolster democracy.
For his part, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said such actions would not weaken his government's resolve to fight terrorism.
Lakki Marwat lies in an area regarded as a Taliban stronghold until recently, when the militants were driven out by the Pakistani army.
In a separate incident on Sunday, two people were killed and four injured when their vehicle was struck by a remote-controlled bomb near Khar in the Bajaur tribal area.
The victims were tribal elders who were trying to set up an anti-Taliban militia.
S. Korean court backs Pakistani gay's refugee bid
Sun, Jan 03, 2010 AFP
Seoul - A South Korean court said on Sunday it had ruled in favour of a gay Pakistani man who sought refugee status on the basis that he faced persecution back home, Yonhap news agency reported.
The Seoul Administrative Court said it had overturned a decision by the justice ministry to deny refugee status to the man, whose name and age were withheld.
The court cited a "high likelihood that the plaintiff will be subject to persecution" if repatriated to Pakistan, where homosexuality can be punished.
The man applied for refugee status citing his sexual orientation early last year, having arrived in South Korea in 1996.
"My life, as a homosexual, was in danger in my country," Yonhap quoted him as saying.
"My family and relatives were my enemy. They said I was insulting my family, Islam and my country and threatened that they would report me to police."
The administrative court ruling now has to be reviewed by the Supreme Court before becoming final.
South Korea signed on to the United Nations' refugee treaty in 1992. It has since granted asylum to 145 out of 2,413 applicants for refugee status.
Muslim-Hindu punk rock bands part of new movement
By Russell Contreras
WAYLAND, Mass. — Artwork from the Punjab state of India decorates the Ray family home. A Johann Sebastian Bach statue sits on a piano. But in the basement -- cluttered with wires, old concert fliers and drawings -- 25-year-old Arjun Ray is fighting distortion from his electric guitar.
For this son of Indian immigrants, trained in classical violin and raised on traditional Punjab music, getting his three Pakistani-American bandmates in sync is the goal on this cold New England evening. Their band, The Kominas, is trying to record a punk rock version of the classic Bollywood song, "Choli Ke Peeche" (Behind the Blouse).
"Yeah," said Shahjehan Khan, 26, one of the band's guitarists, "there are a lot of contradictions going on here."
Deep in the woods of this colonial town boils a kind of revolutionary movement. From the basement of this middle-class home tucked in the woods west of Boston, The Kominas have helped launched a small, but growing, South Asian and Middle Eastern punk rock movement that is attracting children of Muslim and Hindu immigrants and drawing scorn from some traditional Muslims who say their political, hard-edged music is "haraam," or forbidden.
The movement, an anti-establishment subculture borne of religiously conservative communities, is the subject of two new films and a hot topic on social-networking sites.
The artists say they are just trying to reconcile issues such as life in America, women's rights and homosexuality with Islam and old East vs. West cultural clashes.
"This is one way to deal with my identity as an Arab-American," said Marwan Kamel, the 24-year-old lead guitarist in Chicago-based Al-Thawra. "With this music, I can express this confusion."
The movement's birth is often credited to the novel "The Taqwacore," by Michael Muhammad Knight, a Rochester, N.Y.-raised writer who converted to Islam.
Knight coined the book's title from the Arabic word "Taqwa," which means piety or God-fearing, and the word hardcore. The 2003 book portrayed an imagined world of living-on-the-edge Muslim punk rockers and influenced real-life South Asians to form their own bands.
Full report at: http://www.usatoday.com/life/topstories/2010-01-02-667696719_x.htm
KAILUA, HAWAII -- President Obama said for the first time Saturday that the alleged Christmas Day airline bomber apparently was acting under orders from the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen, which "trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America."
Obama also called for an end to the partisan attacks that quickly followed the Detroit incident. Responding to GOP accusations led by former vice president Richard B. Cheney, who said last week that the president does not consider the fight against terrorism a war, Obama quoted his inaugural address. "On that day," he said, "I made it very clear our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred, and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them. . . . And make no mistake, that's exactly what we've been doing."
Nik Aziz: Non-Muslims can use ‘Allah’
By Mohd Zuharman
KOTA BARU – PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat has come out in support of the Catholic weekly Herald use of ‘Allah’ to describe the Christian God in the national language, saying it was permissible for those following the Abrahamic faith.
But the popular cleric expressed worry that the word “Allah” could be abused by certain quarters, echoing growing sentiment of Muslim Malaysians aghast at the Dec 31 High Court ruling that permitted its use.
“Its just a fear it can be abused. That’s the worry,” the Kelantan mentri besar said today when commenting on the landmark ruling.
Justice Datuk Lau Bee Lan said in her oral judgment that the Herald had a constitutional right to use the word, touching off a controversy that has led some Muslim groups to protest the ruling.
The government has said it will appeal against the ruling. A group has already started a Facebook group to get the government to reverse the ruling.
However, others including influential cleric and former Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainal Abidin, have supported the ruling, saying all are encouraged to follow Allah.
Speaking to reporters after launching the state Women, Family and Health Development Secretariat, Nik Aziz said the authorities, such as scholars, should have a dialogue with the Christian clergy over the issue.
“This is so that there is no confusion among the society.
“In fact, Islamic philosophy itself can be spread through such events,” he added.
The PAS Kelantan commissioner also said he was willing to attend such events if it was organised.
However, PAS Kelantan Council of Religious Scholars chief Datuk Mohammad Daud Iraqi declined to comment on the issue.
Instead, he said it was weaknesses in the government in monitoring the issue that has led to the controversy.
“This is not a new issue, it has gone on so long. The government should have looked specifically into the laws earlier on,” he added.
Egypt's Iron Wall on Gaza
By Uri Avnery
Sunday, 03 January
When the most extreme Zionist, Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky, wrote 80 years ago about erecting an "Iron Wall" against the Palestinians, he did not dream of Arabs doing just that.
SOMETHING ODD, almost bizarre, is going on in Egypt these days.
About 1400 activists from all over the world gathered there on their way to the Gaza Strip. On the anniversary of the "Cast Lead" War, they intended to participate in a non-violent demonstration against the ongoing blockade, which makes the life of 1.5 million inhabitants of the Strip intolerable.
At the same time, protest demonstrations were to take place in many countries. In Tel-Aviv, too, a big protest was planned. The "monitoring committee" of the Arab citizens of Israel was to organize an event on the Gaza border.
When the international activists arrived in Egypt, a surprise awaited them. The Egyptian government forbade their trip to Gaza. Their buses were held up at the outskirts of Cairo and turned back. Individual protesters who succeeded in reaching the Sinai in regular buses were taken off them. The Egyptian security forces conducted a regular hunt for the activists.
The angry activists besieged their embassies in Cairo. On the street in front of the French embassy, a tent camp sprang up which was soon surrounded by the Egyptian police. American protesters gathered in front of their embassy and demanded to see the ambassador. Several protesters who are over 70 years old started a hunger strike. Everywhere, the protesters were held up by Egyptian elite units in full riot gear, while red water cannon trucks were lurking in the background. Protesters who tried to assemble in Cairo's central Tahrir (liberation) Square were mishandled.
In the end, after a meeting with the wife of the president, a typical Egyptian solution was found: one hundred activists were allowed to reach Gaza. The rest remained in Cairo, bewildered and frustrated.
Full report at: http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=52127
Muslim writers say La Plante attack on BBC is 'insulting'
By Susie Mesure
Sunday, 3 January 2010
Muslim writers have hit back at the crime doyenne Lynda La Plante after she claimed they found it easier to get scripts commissioned by the BBC than she does.
A row broke out yesterday after the creator of Prime Suspect stoked allegations that the corporation favours Muslims by complaining that its drama commissioning team would rather read a script by a "little Muslim boy" than one she had written.
"If my name were Usafi Iqbadal and I was 19, then they'd probably bring me in and talk," the scriptwriter, who has mainly worked for ITV, told The Daily Telegraph.
But Muslim writers hit back, accusing La Plante of "old-style racism" for reinforcing stereotypes. Max Malik, a novelist and playwright, called her comments "divisive, unhelpful and discouraging for young writers". Mr Malik, who won the Muslim Writers' Award two years ago, added: "She's trying to force me and my ilk into a corner. I don't call her a ginger-haired, middle-aged, female writer. That would be insulting."
Sarfraz Manzoor, journalist, broadcaster and author of the memoir Greetings from Bury Park, said Ms La Plante should "get that chip off her shoulder and return to the real world rather than playing the misunderstood victim in the fantasy world in which she is currently residing." He added: "I would love to meet the Muslim writers whose output is currently clogging up the television schedules: can she name any of these mythical individual,s or are her comments simply a headline- grabbing way to yet again bash the BBC and blame Muslims?"
A BBC spokesperson denied that it based its commissioning decisions "on the ethnicity or the age of a writer", adding that executives in its drama department were tasked solely with finding scripts that are "innovative and challenging for audiences to enjoy".
Deepak Verma, the playwright and former EastEnders actor, called on broadcasters to tell stories that "show Asian characters as human beings going about their normal lives and not merely quotas to build up their diversity record", adding: "Multiculturalism and ethnic diversity are concepts that propagate the very thing that they aim to nullify and should be condemned to the dustbin of political correctness."
Muslim terror suspect tries to assassinate Danish cartoonist
By David Randall
Police shoot and arrest axe-wielding Somali man with links to al-Qaida and other terror groups
The most prominent of the Danish cartoonists whose 12 drawings provoked outrage throughout the Muslim world in 2006, narrowly survived an assassination attempt late on Friday night. His attacker, who has close ties to both al-Qaida and a Somali group that has killed 42 relief workers trying to bring food to displaced people, was shot and arrested by police. He has now been charged with two counts of attempted murder in this, the latest effort to kill Kurt Westergaard or his cartoonist colleagues.
It is less than a year ago that Mr Westergaard, 74, and his wife stopped living in hiding in a succession of "safe houses" provided by the Danish authorities and began to have a more open existence. Their home in Aarhus, Denmark's second city, was said to be like a "fortress", a claim which now looks less than convincing. It was at this house on Friday evening that the man, aged 28 and armed with an axe and a knife, managed to penetrate whatever alarm systems there were, break a window and enter the property.
Inside were Mr Westergaard and his five-year-old grand-daughter. In some reports, the cartoonist grabbed the girl and rushed to the bathroom, which had a reinforced door and a panic button. He managed to lock the door before the intruder, a Somali native who has not been named in line with Danish privacy law, could open it. In other reports, the girl remained sitting on the sofa and witnessed the attack. The man shouted "Revenge!" and "Blood!" as he tried to smash the door with his axe. Mr Westergaard, who has received previous death threats for depicting the Prophet Mohamed with a bomb-shaped turban, pushed the panic button, and police arrived within two minutes in what they said were "strong numbers".
Fritz Keldsen, of Aarhus city police, told the BBC: "When we saw the suspect, he was moving away from the scene. Then he attacked the police patrol. He did that with such skill that they had to shoot him." It is understood that at one point the man threw the axe at an officer. He was shot in the knee and a hand, and is now under guard at a hospital. Yesterday he was wheeled on a stretcher into court, where he denied the charges.
The cartoonist later said on the website of his newspaper, Jyllands-Posten: "My grandchild did fine. It was scary. It was close. Really close. But we did it." He added he was "quite shocked" but not injured.
Full report at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/muslim-terror-suspect-tries-to-assassinate-danish-cartoonist-1856173.html
Iran to try Ashoura rally detainees
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Iran is set to put on trial seven opposition protesters arrested during anti-government demonstrations held around the Shia Muslim commemoration of Ashoura, according to Iranian media.
The trails are due to begin "from Sunday to Tuesday" the Iranian Labour News Agency, which is seen as close to the country's reform movement, reported.
It quoted Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran's chief prosecutor, as saying the seven had been indicted.
But virtually no information about the trials has been released to the media.
Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran, said that although there had been a request from lawyers to hold the trials as an open session, that request had not been granted.
"It seems that the judiciary has not reacted very well to that [proposal]. We haven't got any information as to how the trial has gone on, what the charges are or even who has actually being put on trial," he said.
Iran has been in political turmoil since disputed elections in June poll, when Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad, the president, was re-elected to a second term in a vote the opposition said was rigged.
The polls prompted supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the lead opposition challenger, and other candidates to take to the streets.
Since then, despite government measures to curb protests, there have been intermittent opposition demonstrations, often triggering violent clashes between protesters and security forces.
In the latest round of violence during Ashoura, eight Iranians - including a nephew of Mousavi - were killed. The opposition said they died in police shooting, a charge denied by the authorities.
Full report at: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/01/20101311141665150.html
Jerusalem: the collapse in the Silwan Street is because of the Israeli excavations under the town and the area around Al Aqsa mosque complex.
Jerusalem, WAFA: The avalanche occurred last night, in the main Street of Silwan town, linking the town Centre and the Al Aqsa Mosque because of Israeli excavations beneath the town.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqaf and heritage declared in a press statement, that the avalanche led to the collapse of a crater two meters long and a meter and a half meter depth.
It explained that the Israeli occupation authorities are currently digging a network of tunnels stretching down of Silwan about 700 meters length towards Al-Aqsa mosque, indicating that large quantities of dust and stones are being transmitted to unknown destinations from excavation sites in Silwan.
"Al-Aqsa Foundation," described this collapse and excavation as serious, since many of Silwan houses are air spark outstanding, because of excavations and mounds and tunnels, in addition to dozens of homes and other roads in the Silwan area is under the threat of collapsing.
Silwan “is being targeted and exposed by occupation through home demolitions, jewdaaized settlement, paleontology, and Judaization tourist routes. Through these practices the Israeli occupation seeks the displacement and deportation of Jerusalemites from Silwan, which is totally rejected The Palestinians in Silwan.
It is noteworthy to mention that another landslide had occurred in this street , in August 2009 as a result of the excavations, and that collapse was of four meters long and two meters and half wide, in addition to a number of crashes that are constantly repeated in the region.
The "Elad" settlement association started in 2007 with excavation of the tunnels under Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, including the Silwan, residents were able to seek the court's decision to prevent work in the pits, but the assembly continued to, and did not comply with the resolution. Residence of Wade IL Hilo, in Silwan to the south of Alqsa Mosque reported yesterday, that they were surprised yesterday evening, when a large collapse occurred in the main street to a depth of four meters and a length of three meters.
According to residents loud noise was heard at six in the evening yesterday, an explosion rocked nearby homes, and were surprised that the cause of the explosion was due to the collapse of the main street in Wade Il Hilo near the Muslim child kindergarten, and also close to a mosque named Ein Silwan which is only twenty meters away from Al-Aqsa Mosque in a tunnel four meters deep and a length of three meters.
Fakhry Abu Diab, a member of the Committee for the Defense of the Busman territory neighborhood Said, "that in 2009 there were more than five landslides In Wade Il Hilo, and in the main street there were three landslides, suggesting that the excavations beneath is a continuing day and night, which constitutes a real threat to passers-by children and school students life, and the movement of transport, adding that the tunnel is completely empty of dust."
Abu Diab also added that the occupation authorities aimes to open more of the tunnels, especially down the main street of the Al Hilweh Valley inorder for the main street to fully collapse as planned, inorder to close the entire region, and make traffic re-routing under the pretext of danger. He said despite the real danger to the lives of the citizens of Wadi Il Hilweh, yet the Israeli municipality did not work to close the tunnel, where the road remains open to the movement of transport.
To beat the terrorists we need a battle of ideas
January 4, 2010
Scholars examine the factsabout Jesus' claims to be God
Another botched terrorist attack, and a much-needed excuse for some agenda-driven American ideologues to demand opening ''new fronts'' in the ''war on terror'': ''profiling'' Muslims at airports is expected to be at the core of the airport-security review announced by the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
That thinking is flawed and will make matters worse.
Yemen is not a willing home to al-Qaeda - it is victim to an ideology exported from neighbouring Saudi Arabia. In our desire to blame and eventually bomb, let us not forget the other Yemen: one of the last bastions of traditional, serene Islam.
Yemeni Sufis have been imparting their version of normative Islam for centuries through trade and travel. Hundreds of British Muslims have been studying in Yemen's pristine Islamic institutions. They have returned to Britain connected to an ancient chain of spiritual knowledge and now lead several Muslim communities with the Sufi spirit of love for humans, dedication to worship and service to Islam.
For me, empowering and supporting this Yemeni Islam against the rigid, literalist, supremacist Wahhabi ideology of our Saudi allies in Riyadh is a sure recipe for eventual victory. But will we dare upset the House of Saud? It seems unlikely. The US President, Barack Obama, literally bowed before the Saudi king in London last year.
We are now being told that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula runs terrorist camps and this justifies ''pre-emptive strikes'' on Yemen. But what is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula except leading Saudi terrorists - Naser al-Wahishi and Said al-Shihri - who have set up shop in Yemen with a ragtag army of 200 men? Who is Osama bin Laden except a Saudi who wanted political reforms in his own country, failed, and then turned his guns on the Western backers of the Saudi regime?
Full report at: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/to-beat-the-terrorists-we-need-a-battle-of-ideas-20100103-ln82.html
Philippines - Halal meat trade needs to expand
03 Jan 2010
The Philippines has to adopt the Australian approach for halal meat and meat products to get a bigger pie of the $150 billion halal market.
This was determined after government and industry representatives led by Trade and Industry Senior Undersecretary Thomas Aquino went to Australia to gain a first hand knowledge on the best practices of Australia’s halal meat processing system through actual plant visits witnessing of proper halal procedures on the slaughter of cattle, sheep, goats, and chicken and informative briefings as well.
The term halal, which means "permissible" in Arabic, refers to anything that is allowed under Islam. In the non-Arabic-speaking world, it is most often used to describe food that can be consumed by observant Muslims. Halal standards are complementary with other food standards, such as the Good Manufacturing Practice and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.
The global halal market is estimated to be 1.6 billion consumers in 112 countries in five continents and worth around $80 billion to $150 billion.
While the Philippine mission has realized that not all features of the Australian system are applicable to the Philippines, the mission identified areas for adoption in the Philippines.
For instance, being a non-Muslim country, the Australian national government’s intervention was focused on halal meat exports to ensure access to foreign markets.
Setting up of a similar approach would be appropriate considering that halal has a religious dimension that would readily fit into the country’s regulatory framework, Aquino said.
The training of Filipino Muslim slaughtermen especially those who will be chosen to work on halal meat for exports will raise the bar of halal conformance in the country.
Full report at: http://www.meattradenewsdaily.co.uk/news/030110/philippines___halal_meat_trade_needs_to_expand.aspx
O.C. Islamic Educational Centre a target of anti-Muslim acts
By Kim Christensen
Costa Mesa police step up patrols after incidents at the Centre, including the burning of two copies of the Koran. The Muslim part of an interfaith display in Mission Viejo was defaced, a group says.
Costa Mesa police have stepped up patrols near the Islamic Educational Centre of Orange County, the target of recent anti-Islamic acts including vandalism, hate mail and the burning of two copies of the Koran.
Vandals also recently defaced part of an outdoor interfaith holiday display in Mission Viejo, according to the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which denounced both acts as "incidents of anti-Islam hate targeting the local Muslim community."
The two incidents are thought to be unrelated but appear to be part of a recent uptick in anti-Muslim acts nationally, especially since the attempted terrorist bombing of a jetliner headed to Detroit on Christmas, council spokeswoman Munira Syeda said Saturday.
A burned and torn copy of the Koran was found in the parking lot at the educational Centre, on Airport Loop Drive, during Friday prayers. It was the second time in a month that a desecrated Koran had been found there, according to a statement on the Costa Mesa mosque's website.
"This deplorable incident is a form of anti-Islamic assault, hate crime and terror campaign against American Muslims," it read. "Even more, it is a great offense against 1.2 billion Muslim followers worldwide because it defiles their holiest and most sacred divine book."
Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Ed Everett said that his department has increased patrols in the area but that no arrests have been made.
In the Mission Viejo incident, vandals defaced the Islamic portion of the holiday display but left nearby Christian components untouched. They painted over a verse from the Koran and left behind a piece of paper reading "No Islamic Lighthouses in the U.S.A."
Full report at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mosque3-2010jan03,0,1179578.story
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Asks Muslims to Be Patient, Government Will Appeal
PEKAN, Jan 3 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Sunday called on Muslims to be calm and not "heat up" the issue of the High Court decision to allow a Catholic weekly to use the word "Allah" in its publication.
The Prime Minister said the government was quite aware that the issue was sensitive as well as touching on the feelings of Muslims in the country and as such the government would deal with the matter as soon as possible.
"The government is very much aware and concerned of various reactions that it has received after the recent High Court decision.
"The issue is very sensitive and touches on the feelings of Muslims, we need to be calm now and let the matter be resolved through the courts," he told reporters after presenting Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) excellence awards to pupils in the Pekan parliament constituency here.
As is known, an appeal can be made on the High Court decision to the Appeal Court and the Federal Court, he said when asked to comment on the various reactions to the High Court decision last Thursday that allowed Herald-The Catholic Weekly to use the word "Allah" in its publication.
Najib said the Home Ministry will forward an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Besides that the Prime Miniser will also inform the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin about the appeal process.
"They (the Home Ministry) will make an appeal and I will inform the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and if he wishes he will be briefed, as well as the Rulers' Council," he said.
Najib said a resolution to the issue was very sensitive and needed to be made wisely.
He also hoped that the issue would not be further complicated with demonstrations, petitions and memoranda on the matter.
"I do not encourage (Muslims to demonstrate and the like), (but) I know the feelings among the Muslims, they feel discontented.
"I just hope that given the sensitive matter, we let the government handle the issue through appeal (in court)... and I don't want to heat up the matter, the government knows the feelings of the Muslims, let us find the best solution," he said.
Full report at: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=465807
Written by Rachelle Kliger
Published Sunday, January 03, 2010
Religious clerics in Egypt embroiled in ‘fatwa war’ over anti-smuggling wall on Egypt- Gaza border.
A religious ruling in support of the construction of a massive steel wall on the Egypt-Gaza border is drawing fire from fellow clerics.
The steel wall intended to stop smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza border was declared permissible in a religious ruling, or fatwa, by the Islamic Studies College of the renowned Al-Azhar institution, drawing angry responses from other Muslim figures in Egypt, including from within Al-Azhar itself.
“This fatwa is not legitimate,” critical clerics of Al-Azhar said. “It contradicts previous decisions made by the Islamic Studies College in 1965 and in 1970, which prompted the defense of Palestine and the provision of assistance to Palestinians.”
Egypt has started to lay the foundations for the ten-kilometer-long steel wall aimed at stopping the vast network of illegal commerce through smuggling tunnels from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into the Gaza Strip.
Cairo’s decision to build the wall has drawn criticism from across the Arab world, which is censuring Egypt and accusing it of siding with the United States and Israel regarding the Palestinians.
“The issue of the wall between Egypt and Gaza is related to political calculations and considerations and should not be subject to religious interpretation,” Hala Mustafa, Editor in Chief of the Democracy Review Quarterly, published by the Al-Ahram Foundation, told The Media Line. “But since this is a popular culture and a populist issue, the state has to frame it in a religious reference. People who support open borders between Egypt and Gaza refer to their own religious interpretation.”
“[The issue] should only be subject to the treaty between Egypt and Israel which regulates the borders and to the understandings Egypt has with the European Union and the Palestinian Authority,” she argued. “It should be subject to these treaties and understandings and at the same time to Egypt’s national considerations.”
“There’s a problem with the overlapping of religion and politics,” Mustafa said. “This is what Egypt and perhaps the whole Arab and Muslim world is suffering from.”
Full report at: http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=27617
India & Jihadi terrorism during 2009
For the first time since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December,1992, we did not have any act of jihadi terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K during 2009----either by indigenous or by Pakistan-based terrorists. I would attribute it to the following reasons:
(a). The good investigation of the acts of terrorism involving the Indian Mujahideen (IM) in 2007 and 2008 by the police of Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and the arrest of most of those involved.
(b). The neutralisation of the cells of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) by the police of the above States and Madhya Pradesh.
(c). As a result of these actions, the IM and the SIMI have not been able to reconstitute their cells and command and control.
(d). The more sensitive handling of the grievances and anger of the alienated sections of the Indian Muslim community by the Government of Manmohan Singh. The anti-State anger in the Indian Muslim community is less.
(d). The strengthening of the intelligence and counter-terrorism machinery by P.Chidambaram since he took over as the Home Minister after the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai.
(e). The greater co-operation between the counter-terrorism communities of India and the US.
(f). The sustained pressure exercised by the US on the Pakistani political and military leadership to see that 26/11 is not repeated. The US continues to be reluctant to take punitive action against the State of Pakistan for not acting against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure. At the same time, it is anxious to ensure that there is no more 26/11 in Indian territory outside J&K by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists lest uncontrollable tensions between India and Pakistan come in the way of its operations in Afghanistan..
(g). After 26/11, there is growing international concern over the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). Consequently, it is under watch by the intelligence agencies of the US and many other countries.
One must remember that while there were no acts of jihadi and Pakistani-sponsored terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K, the Pakistan-based organisations, with the nod of the ISI, continued to attack Indian interests in Afghanistan during 2009. There was a second major act of terrorism outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul during 2009.
There has been no change in the jihadi objective of making India bleed. We should be prepared for more surprises, but try to prevent them by following the present policy of sustained revamping of the Intelligence and counter-terrorism machinery, continued attention to the grievances and sensitivities of the Indian Muslims, continued pressure on Pakistan to act against the anti-Indian terrorist infrastructure in its territory and continued co-operation with the US, despite our periodic unhappiness with Washington DC over matters such as not allowing us to interrogate David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana of the Chicago cell of the LET. Indo-US counter-terrorism co-operation will be mutually beneficial. If it wants and decides to, the US is the only country in a position to make Pakistan behave. We should use the US skilfully. Occasional anti-US breast-beating is necessary, but overdoing it could be counter-productive.
Developer denies deal with Gaddafi
Jan 4, 2010
The developer of the Threepwood resort near Queenstown says the rumoured sale of the project did not come up in conversation when he and a son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi met for drinks.
Jim Boult, who is also the chief executive of Christchurch Airport, hosted Gaddafi's London-based son and heir apparent, Saif al Islam al Gaddafi, in his home near Lake Hayes on Friday night.
Mr Boult said it was the first time the two had met.
The evening was arranged by mutual acquaintances who were organising Mr Gaddafi's holiday in the Wakatipu Basin, where Threepwood is developing 42 lots spread over 200ha of countryside.
"He's a very well-educated, worldly person and we traversed the usual ranges of conversation.
"He's interested in New Zealand. He's interested in early Maori settlement, about the Maori association and early white settlement here. He loved the smell of Lake Hayes [from the Boult residence deck]."
Mr Gaddafi did not talk about buying property or land, Mr Boult said.
Mr Gaddafi flew by private jet from Queenstown to Christchurch and departed New Zealand on Saturday.
He had arrived in the country on December 28.