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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Muslims and Islamophobia30 Aug 2010,
NewAgeIslam.Com
The Ground Zero -Sum Game

The word “Islamophobia” began to appear only in the 1980s. While it is a recently coined term, it refers to a history of fear and hatred of Muslims in the West that has had a long time to become implanted in our collective psyche. Its roots can be traced to the fourth century when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. After suffering centuries of bloody persecution under pagan Roman authority, Christians suddenly became privileged citizens of the empire. Many leaders of the Church considered the sea-change a divine sign of the absolute truth of their religion, that historical success proves theological truth. It was a zero-sum view of the world: “Truth is with us. All else is falsehood.” -- Reuven Firestone

The Ground Zero -Sum Game

By Reuven Firestone

Lurking behind suspicion about the new Islamic Center planned to be built near Ground Zero is something much more ominous than would appear. Skepticism about funding sources and concern for the sensibilities of those traumatized by the horror of 9/11—while legitimate concerns—are heightened by a deep-seated bigotry against Muslims and their religion. We come by it naturally because Islamophobia is deeply imbedded in the very culture of Western civilization. But most of us don’t recognize it.

The word “Islamophobia” began to appear only in the 1980s. While it is a recently coined term, it refers to a history of fear and hatred of Muslims in the West that has had a long time to become implanted in our collective psyche. Its roots can be traced to the fourth century when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. After suffering centuries of bloody persecution under pagan Roman authority, Christians suddenly became privileged citizens of the empire. Many leaders of the Church considered the sea-change a divine sign of the absolute truth of their religion, that historical success proves theological truth. It was a zero-sum view of the world: “Truth is with us. All else is falsehood.”

That conclusion would haunt Christian believers some generations later with the extraordinary success of Islam. Within twenty years of the death of the prophet Muhammad, Muslim armies controlled the Middle East and much of North Africa. After only two more generations the Muslim empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to India while the Christian Byzantine Empire was forced into a rump state confined to Anatolia and a few provinces west of the Bosporus. The conquest was followed by extraordinary Muslim contributions to philosophy, economics, literature, and all the sciences.

The success of Islam was an existential shock to the Christian world. Suddenly, the accepted notion that history proves theology seemed to prove the demise of Christianity with the rise of Islam.

Apologists quickly attempted to make sense of the crisis. One eighth-century Byzantine monk explained that Muhammad was a fraud; a poor but clever epileptic who rationalized his convulsive fits as periods in which the angel Gabriel would visit him and give him divine wisdom. The polemic intensified over the generations. Peter of Toledo in twelfth-century Spain wrote that Islam was the result of a Satanic plot. Riccoldo da Monte di Croce wrote in thirteenth century Tuscany that Muhammad was chosen not by God but by the devil. According to most medieval thinkers, the so-called prophet who inspired his warriors to overwhelm the forces of Christ was a satanic force working for the demons of hell.

Such reactions to the great success of Islam institutionalized a deep fear and resentment that became imbedded in the very core of Western identity. This is Islamophobia, even if no special word had yet been coined to describe the sentiment, and it reflects a zero-sum view of the world. Christianity is truth. There can be no other. First articulated in theological treatises, this perspective soon became infused into the very core of Western civilization through folklore, art, music, and literature. Hollywood, which is at its best when graphically depicting deep cultural assumptions, has maintained and boosted Islamophobic views in films from Laurel and Hardy in the 1930s (Beau Hunks, among others) to Disney’s more recent Aladdin and the Indiana Jones franchise. It is so natural, so expected, that most of us have no idea how it affects us. I’ve asked my college students what they think of when they see a scene from a movie in which they hear the call to prayer and see a minaret or dome. The answer? “Something bad is about to happen.”

Islamophobia can remain in latent form until it is triggered by economic, political, or social stress. In the last decades it has been activated by economic and social problems and the increased numbers and visibility of Western Muslims. But the biggest boost to Islamophobia without question has been the appalling deadly attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the lethal bombings in London and Madrid, and the nature of reaction by key Western leaders to these events. Given the deep suspicion of Islam so deeply imbedded in our culture and the horrendous nature of these attacks, the activation of Islamophobic bigotry is not surprising.

Discussions on the Web about the proposed Islamic Center planned to be built near Ground Zero repeat patterns of thinking established centuries ago by medieval polemicists. Just this week I read these comments: “Muhammad admittedly received a message from Satan and delivered it to the people as if it were from God.” “Any mosque built anywhere is a shrine to Satan.” It is unlikely the writers of these postings ever heard of Peter of Toledo or Riccoldo da Monte di Croce. For most Americans, negative expectations are instinctively twinned with the words Islam, Muslim, and Muhammad.

No wonder such a fuss has been made over the proposed Muslim-sponsored cultural center. Its purpose is to promote an atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect that most of us long for—but cannot believe Muslims could really want. Let’s not regress to the naive medieval equation by making this a Ground Zero-sum game.

Reuven Firestone is professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, and Co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement.

Source: Religiondispatches.org

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamMuslimsAndIslamophobia_1.aspx?ArticleID=3359

Islamic Personalities30 Aug 2010,
NewAgeIslam.Com
The Life And Teachings Of Muhammad – Part I

When the banner of the great Prophet was first carried to Europe, it came at a period of intellectual darkness. When the Roman catholic faith was a persecuting faith, and when the Moors invaded Spain and founded wonderful Universities, when they brought the light of science to Europe and for six centuries carried a torch of illumination to the European nations — in that time they were looked upon less as scientific teachers than as religious heretics; and because the Crescent instead of the Cross was blazing on their standards, their teaching was banned and they themselves were regarded as enemies.

It is well to remember that from the 8th century to the 14th it was from the Mussalman source that the light of knowledge spread over Europe, that the Muslims revived the knowledge of Greece and of Alexandria as it had been advanced and strengthened in the great University of Baghdad, sending out its messengers in all directions. From that entry into Europe there arose a prejudice against Islam as Islam which was not due to a knowledge of its religious teachings, but as a heretical faith; and therefore all its teachings of every kind were to be banned by good Christian people. -- Annie Besant


The Life And Teachings Of Muhammad – Part I

Lecture 1

By Annie Besant

Adyar Pamphlets No. 162

1903

as published in June, 1932

By The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai [Madras], 600 020, India

Lecture 1 is printed here for the first time from a type-written MS., unrevised by the author.

Lecture 2 was delivered at Junagadh on March 23, 1903

and was first printed in Junagadh at the expense of the State in 1903.

----

In speaking to you this evening one thing I want very much to do is try to lead a better understanding between the two vast populations of Hindus and Mussalmans in this country. I feel sure that if they understood each other better, they would feel as a single people. There is far more misunderstanding of Islam than there is I think of the other religions of the world. So many things are said of it by those who do not belong to that faith. Several things are said attacking those who follow the faith, not realising that it has gone far and wide over many nations and has brought reform and improvement to some of the very barbarous nations of the world; and the religion is blamed because while it has much improved them, it has not been able to entirely eradicate] much which makes other nations hostile to them. Then there has been a good deal of deliberate misrepresentation.

When the banner of the great Prophet was first carried to Europe, it came at a period of intellectual darkness. When the Roman catholic faith was a persecuting faith, and when the Moors invaded Spain and founded wonderful Universities, when they brought the light of science to Europe and for six centuries carried a torch of illumination to the European nations — in that time they were looked upon less as scientific teachers than as religious heretics; and because the Crescent instead of the Cross was blazing on their standards, their teaching was banned and they themselves were regarded as enemies.

It is well to remember that from the 8th century to the 14th it was from the Mussalman source that the light of knowledge spread over Europe, that the Muslims revived the knowledge of Greece and of Alexandria as it had been advanced and strengthened in the great University of Baghdad, sending out its messengers in all directions. From that entry into Europe there arose a prejudice against Islam as Islam which was not due to a knowledge of its religious teachings, but as a heretical faith; and therefore all its teachings of every kind were to be banned by good Christian people.

You can hear in England today good, kindly people saying of Islam that it denies to woman the possession of a soul. You can find others stating that the religion is evil, because it sanctions a limited polygamy. But you do not hear as a rule the criticism which I spoke out one day in a London Hall where I knew that the audience was entirely uninstructed, I pointed out to them that monogamy with a blended mass of prostitution was hypocrisy and more degrading than a limited polygamy. Naturally a statement like that gives offence, but it has to be made, because it must be remembered that the law of Islam in relation to women was until lately, when parts of it have been imitated in England, the most just law, as far as women are concerned, to be found in the world. Dealing with property, dealing with rights of succession and so on, dealing with cases of divorce, it was far beyond the law of the West, in the respect which was paid to the rights of women. Those things are forgotten while people are hypnotised by the words Monogamy and Polygamy, and do not look at what lies behind it in the West — the frightful degradation of thousands of women who are thrown into the streets when their first protectors, weary of them, no longer give them any assistance.

So it is that Islam has to deal with an amount pf prejudice. There is much of course in the exclusive claims of Christianity which make it hostile to other faiths. But none the less that is no excuse for an ignorance of one of the great religions of the world — an ignorance that I think ought to be regarded as a duty by the Muhammadan world to diminish by making known the real character of the Lord Muhammad and by spreading a knowledge of his teachings in countries where those teachings are misrepresented. It is then that I had the idea of putting before you who hold that faith, and of putting before others who do not hold it, a way in which it may be regarded, which will replace mistrust with trust, which will make friendship instead of hostility. It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I now put to you I shall say things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel, whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence to that mighty Arabian Teacher. In order to understand his work at all, you want to consider the conditions under which he came.

What was the kind of country into which this teacher was born? What the surroundings that were his in childhood, what the kind of opposition he had to meet, not only as to teaching, but as to life? I cannot summarise more effectively than by borrowing a passage written many years ago by myself, but taken from great authorities, which sums up very briefly the condition of the country when this Child was born.

“When the sixth century of the Christian era had broken over the world, come with me, and see what is the state of Arabia the fair, or Syria, the land trodden by the Christ. Religious war on every side that breaks up homes and separates the people: quarrels brutal and bloody; blood-feuds that last from generation to generation; hatreds that divide man from man, and clan from clan, and tribe from tribe. Look at Arabia, Arabia where there is a fierce and cruel idolatry that even offers up human beings in sacrifice to idols, and where the worshippers feast on the bodies of the dead; where lust has taken the place of human love, and utter licentiousness the place of family life; where bitter and bloody wars break out on the slightest provocation; where kinsman slays kinsman and neighbour, and life is almost too foul for words. Into that seething hell of human passion, murder, lust and cruelty a child is born."

[The Religious Problem in India, by Annie Besant, page 4]

Now that is not an exaggerated description, but may readily be found by the statement made by some of his early disciples after he had taken to teaching and when terrible persecution was making life impossible in Mecca, a statement made by them of the change that the teaching of this Child when it came to manhood had made in their lives. "O King!" (the address was made to a monarch [Page 6] from whom they claimed protection) "we were plunged in the depths of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols; we lived in unchastity; we ate dead bodies, and spoke abominations; we disregarded every feeling of humanity and the duties of humanity and neighbourhood; we knew no law but that of the strong; when God raised among us a Man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty and purity we were aware; and He called us to the Unity of God, and taught us not to associate anything with Him; He forbade us the worship of idols, and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of neighbours; He forbade us to speak evil of women, or to eat the substance of orphans; He ordered us to fly vices and to abstain from evil; to offer prayers, to render alms, to observe the fast. We have believed in Him; we have accepted His teachings".

There is contemporary evidence to the change brought about by the teaching of the Prophet, and I submit that that ought to be familiar to everyone of you who live in a country where seven crores of people, follow his teachings and reverence his memory; and these people, you must remember, were not mere speakers of empty words, for we find of them that when they were frightfully persecuted, they willingly endured it and died blessing his name. A man who could raise such intense devotion, a man who was followed with such passionate love was a man, certainly, who among the surroundings, that I have described to you, must have been inspired by God, a true Prophet to the people to whom he came. And then you find that he lived up to what he taught, when you find that he never revenged himself on an enemy, when you find that in the days when he was at war instead of killing the prisoners of war, as was the brutal habit of this time, he not only gave them life, but his followers gave them all the bread they had and only kept the dates for themselves. So much were they inspired by the teaching of the Prophet that they began to realise that they were face to face with one of the mighty Ones of history, a man whom all men should reverence, whether they be followers of his special teachings or not.

I would then ask you to consider the conditions under which he had to teach, to teach the unity of God and to teach the duties of man to man — no easy task and for a long time unsuccessful. Let us remember how he was loved in the place where he lived. Little children would run to him and cling to his knees. His neighbours called him Al Amin, the trustworthy, the testimony to the character of which any man might be proud. And when at first he began to wonder what was to be his work in the world after he had married Khadija — he was 24, she very much older, one of the ideal marriages of the world for they lived twenty-six years of married life in perfect harmony and she was his first disciple — there came that terrible time in his life when for fifteen long years he was struggling for himself and wondering about his duties. You will read of him, time after time and months after months, living in the desert, separating himself from all human influence, praying aloud for light, crying aloud for teaching and nothing came. And then you hear how now and then a voice would be heard, he knew not whence, simply saying “cry", and he knew not what he was to cry nor what the voice demanded of him.

It was after fifteen years of those mental struggles, of that agony of mind and that rending anguish of human soul struggling in darkness to find the light, that one day as he was lying on the ground in his agony, a light shone around him and suddenly an Angel appeared before him and said to him: “Thou art the Prophet of God; rise up and cry". His answer was: “What shall I cry?" He was an ignorant man on these points. And then it took him and taught him of the world and of the divine life of the Angels and of man and then sent him back to the world with its Message. He went back still troubled, anxious and broken, and when he reached his home again he threw himself on the ground and said: “Who am I.? What am I ? How shall I cry ? And it was then that he made his first disciple his wifewho loved and trusted him and who spoke words so wise and so true that they are worthy of ever being remembered. "Nay ...” she said. "thou art true and faithful. Thy word is never broken, men know thy character; God does not deceive the faithful. Follow the voice then. Obey the call". In that there lies a great truth. A man who is true to his fellowmen, who never lies, whose word is trusted, that man has in himself a truth which would not be deceived by Him who is Truth Himself. The inspiration that came to him has built up the great faith of Islam. Over one country after another it flew; among the many countries it carried the light of knowledge.

You may say there was much cruelty and persecution. Have you ever tried to discriminate something about that and to judge the religion by the teaching of its Prophet rather than by the excess of its adherents ? You should always take a religion at its best and not at its worst, from its highest teachings and not from the lowest practices of some of its adherents. If you like to take an example from recent history, think of the white Huns who swept down to Europe, who destroyed some of the great monuments of Buddhist learning in the three chief Universities, and then notice how going out of India westward they destroyed the splendid University of Baghdad, although nominally they were Muslims. They hated learning and therefore they destroyed indiscriminately. It is true there was much destruction of idols, but against the teachings of the Prophet. You remember how he said: “Revile not the idols which they worship beside God".

A Prophet is always much wider than his followers, much more liberal than those who label themselves with his name. You may remember that wonderful statement of his that in the day of resurrection God would explain to the different religions the things in which they differed, and that until then they should live together in peace, not hating nor injuring each other. If those teachings were to be carried out in India, hatred would cease between Mussalman and Hindu and Parsi, Jew and Christian.

Take this example. A bier passed by with the corpse lying on it and someone said to him that it was the body of a Jew. “Whether it be the body of a Jew or Christian or Mussalman", answered the Prophet, “you should stand up as the bier passes by". And so it is that when studying his teachings you cannot help avoiding a deep reverence and even a respectful love for the man. So beautiful was the teaching that fell from his lips and so inspiring was his example.

The Prophet did not succeed very much. At the end of three years he had thirty followers, and last there came a time when the terrible persecutions scattered them all over the country and only three men were left; and then his uncle who had been so marvellously faithful to him throughout turned to him and said: “Give up your teaching, because it is hopeless". And the answer was: "As God is my witness if they place the sun on my right hand and the moon on the left I will not forsake this cause". And when the uncle seemed a little annoyed with him, he turned away and left him throwing his mantle over his head to hide his grief at seeing the breaking of the tie. And then his uncle cried after him: "Stop, stop, teach what you will, but do not go away". At last out of the three, there was only one left. And with him the Prophet wandered lonely across the desert and when the disciple said: "We are only two", the answer of Muhammad was: "Nay, we are three, for God is with us.”

There is one story which I want to read to you because it shows that Lord Muhammad has a sense of humour in him. Sleeping one day under a palm tree he awoke suddenly to find an enemy standing before him with drawn sword. Then the man asked: “Who is there now to save thee?". “God,” answered Muhammad. Then the enemy dropped his sword. Muhammad seized it and asked him who was there to save him. "No one", replied the enemy. Then the Prophet handing the sword with the hilt turned towards the enemy said: "Then learn from me to be merciful". So it was that he was fearless at all times, because he knew that he was never alone.

Then he came to Medina where he went his way. There is one scene in that so beautiful as showing the great love that his followers felt for him that I think it worthwhile to read it now. There has been a battle and a victory and the spoil has been divided; and those who have followed him longest have not shared the spoil and they complained to him that they were badly used. He said: "I have learnt the discourse that you were holding among yourselves. When I came amongst you, you were wandering in darkness and the Lord gave you the right direction. You were suffering and He made you happy. You were at enmity amongst yourselves and He has filled your hearts with brotherly love. Was it not so? Tell me". "Indeed it is true, as thou sayest, to the Lord and His Prophet belong the benevolence and the grace was the reply. "Nay, by the Lord”, said the Prophet, “but ye might have answered and answered truly, for I would have testified to its truth myself: Thou camest to us rejected as an impostor and we believed in thee; thou camest as a helpless fugitive and we assisted thee; poor and outcaste, and we gave thee food and shelter. Why disturb your hearts because of the things of this life. Are you not satisfied that others should have the flocks and herds and that I should dwell in the midst of you? By Him who holds my life in His hands while you go back to your homes I will never abandon you. If all mankind went one way I would go with them. The Lord be favourable unto them and bless them, and their children and their children's children". It is written that these rough warriors wept till the tears ran down their beards.

Now that is the impression he made on the people, this intense love, and that is the one reason why you never find a Mussalman ashamed of his religion, while you will see him, when the time of prayer comes, pray in the very midst of those who revile his Prophet and care nothing for these. That is very rare in those who follow any other faith. It is because the memory of that wonderful influence has come down through centuries, and also that that influence still spreads from him over the hearts of his followers and makes a tie between the Prophet and disciple, that nothing can avail to break it. There is indeed a strong humanity, a strong feeling of the greatness of this Teacher, the more remarkable, because they have never allowed their love to defy him or to look on him more than as a great Prophet.

The Prophet never in any way tried to conceal any possible mistake he might have made. I remember one story and I must rely on my memory. A poor and blind man had gone to him and asked for teaching. The Prophet was talking to a man of high rank at the time, and he took no notice of this poor man. Three times the man asked and three times he was disregarded. The next morning the Prophet sent for this man and told him that he had a message in the night, which is now in the Al Quran, that he had repulsed a poor man who cried out for knowledge and that he had not done well. Then the Lord Muhammad took him, placed him in a seat of honour and treated him always with the greatest courtesy because he said that "on account of this man my Lord rebuked me". Now that kind of thing, the humility of thought, the readiness to repair a blunder, the frank admission of a mistake, is not so common among the great Teachers of the world and yet you find it in him over and over again.

All through his teachings there is this thing which has so much influence on the character of the Muslim nations, a certain determination to stand on their own feet, to be under obligation to none, feeling proud to some extent; one of the best forms which pride can assume so that you find them independent as well as always ready to be hospitable throughout from their childhood — these are the precepts of their Teacher.

Then there are some remarkable points about the teaching which I mean to read to you because they are very impressive in the exact words of the Teacher. There is a phrase that you must all know well. "The pen of the scholar is more valuable than the blood of the martyr". That was one of the things that caused Ali, his beloved son-in-law, to start the great circle of pupils and begin the growth of marvellous steady discovery which characterises the great Arabian scholar of Baghdad. If you take what happened during the 8th century you will not marvel at the discoveries that were made by the followers of the Prophet, how they had two other sciences, how they took up one, how taking the great astronomical works of the Hindus they translated them into Arabic, and basing themselves on those went on to new discoveries in Astronomy that have been later passed on into Europe. You find that they studied mathematics and added very largely to mathematical knowledge. You find their wonderful skill in architecture, some of the most exquisite monuments in India having been built by Muslim Emperors. And so you find some splendid record of knowledge.

Now how is it that with such a record there are so many ignorant among the Muslims today — so many that they are sometimes spoken of as a backward class in education? If you look into it carefully, I think you will find that knowledge lingered on after the Great Emperors, Akbar, his son and grandson had passed away, when the court of the emperor was the resort of all men of learning from all the countries, practically all the nations of the world. In one way, the fact that the school was attached to the mosque had the same effect upon it later on as the fate of every temple of the Hindu and Buddhist that had the school attached to it; it brought the destruction of the schools very often, because the worship in the temple was objected to, and so when foreign rule came holding another religion, there was the tendency to try to discourage the religion and through that the teaching. Even now you will find in very many mosques elementary schools existing where the young Islamite learns his sacred books and his prayers before he is allowed to go to a general school where he might learn other forms of literature or art.

So I would ask you to consider — especially those of you who have time to study carefully — the writing of the Muslim doctors from the 8th to the 14th century. I would ask you to study this, because they are the real bridge between the two religions, because you will find the Advaita Vedanta in the Sanskrit religion is practically identical with the presentment of that high Metaphysics in Arabic by the doctors of Arabia. After that I would point out to this great audience of Muslims that here they may find the reconciliation between their own faith and the ancient religion of this land, not in the external but in matters of the intellect and of the spirit; that it is by the translation of those wonderful writings into modern languages that very much might be done in order to prevent hostility between the different faiths. For it is there you will find some of the most wonderful metaphysics of the world — metaphysics as subtle from those keen Arabian brains as you may find among Indians with the admitted subtlety of their metaphysics. It is there that I find one bridge of union, not in the outer surface, which is different, but in the fundamental teaching of the Unity of God, the nature of the Supreme; they link hands together and there is practically no difference between the two.

Then again in the ethics you will find another point of union. You will find the most exquisite moral teachings. Sometimes I have thought of putting more effectively what they call the science of the Lord Muhammad, for even in Al Quran itself that is so written, in translations by people who do not believe it, that it is very difficult to get at the real spirit of the original. If it is translated by Muslims it makes an enormous difference in effect and the depth of the teaching. There is a little book published as the Science of the Prophet Muhammad, full of the most exquisite ethics. One phrase in it that you should never forget if you hear that Islam is unfair to women, is his saying: “Heaven lies at the feet of mothers”. Or you may read how he preached to the Muslims to be reverent to their parents, that they should pray to God that He be kind to them, for they took care of them when they were little children. So looking at the metaphysics on the one side and the ethics on the other, we find so much in common between the two faiths that no adherent of either should mistrust or dislike the other. Many will try to make oppositions, will try to prevent reconciliation; but all the best men of both faiths will join together to link the hands of Islam and Hinduism in a brotherly clasp which shall not be broken again by any. It is there that lies the greatness of the country in the future.

India is a country in which every great religion finds a home. Go back as far as you will and you will find that Hinduism exists. Go down later and you will then find Buddhism establishing itself with its wonderful ethics. Go down further still, and you will find Jainism almost contemporary with Buddhism. But you will find Christianity in the first century after Christ and on the west coast. It has to become one of the Indian religions and no longer only the religion of the foreigner. Then still later you will come to the great Prophet of Arabia and his people together with the exiles from Persia, the Parsis; the whole of them are here in India in a common motherland, and have a common interest, and should have a common pride. It is in these ways by studying each side that so much will be gained.

You will find passages of exquisite beauty in Persian which may vie with any of the ecstasies of the Hindu Yogis. You will find that there is a yearning after God, a love of God and a testimony to His infinite compassion that you cannot tell is Hindu or Sufi but for the language in which the identical feelings are clothed. Why then should not this land which has all the religions, be a temple to the world of the truths of God, as it were, where all the religions would be brethren and only rival each other in good deeds?

You know what religions are. They are like the broken rays of the white light of the Sun; the truth broken in the prism of the intellect, which cannot reach the great truth of the unity of the Spirit. If you were inside some great cathedral in Christendom, you would see windows of different colours, some green, some blue, and some yellow. You will see differences of colours in the world around you where the white light of the Sun is broken up in the flowers. and they shine with reflected rays of the colours that are hidden in the white light of the Sun. It is only if you are outside the temples of religion that you see the differences in them; from inside you see the truth through a coloured glass of religion which is adapted to the times, to the people, to the wants of the age, when the Prophet gives his teaching to the world. Do not sit outside them all: rather enter into all of them and worship in all of them, the one Supreme, and then you will see the white light, which the lamps there are throwing out — the white light which is coloured by the glass of the windows and not from any change in the light. Go into all religions and love them, learn them, respect them, realise their spiritual unity, and then India will have a religion in which all the beauties of every faith shall be blended together as it were and shall give out to a wondering world the pure white light of God.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicPersonalities_1.aspx?ArticleID=3360

Islamic Society30 Aug 2010,
NewAgeIslam.Com
25,000 Jews Live In Iran

25,000 Jews live in Iran. It's the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Iranian Jews are not persecuted or abused by the state, in fact, they are protected under Iran's constitution. They are free to practice their religion and to vote in elections. They are not stopped and searched at checkpoints, they are not brutalized by an occupying army, and they are not herded into a densely-populated penal colony (Gaza) where they are deprived of the basic means of survival. Iranian Jews live in dignity and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

"(Ahmadinejad's) office recently donated money for Tehran's Jewish hospital. It is one of only four Jewish charity hospitals worldwide and is funded with money from the Jewish diaspora - something remarkable in Iran where even local aid organizations have difficulty receiving funds from abroad for fear of being accused of being foreign agents." -- Mike Whitney

25,000 Jews Live In Iran

By Mike Whitney

17 August, 2010

25,000 Jews live in Iran. It's the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Iranian Jews are not persecuted or abused by the state, in fact, they are protected under Iran's constitution. They are free to practice their religion and to vote in elections. They are not stopped and searched at checkpoints, they are not brutalized by an occupying army, and they are not herded into a densely-populated penal colony (Gaza) where they are deprived of the basic means of survival. Iranian Jews live in dignity and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is demonized in the western media. He is called an anti-Semite and the "new Hitler". But if those claims are true, then why did the majority of Iran's Jews vote for Ahmadinejad in recent presidential elections? Could it be that most of what we know about Ahmadinejad is just baseless rumor and propaganda? This excerpt appeared in an article by the BBC:

"(Ahmadinejad's) office recently donated money for Tehran's Jewish hospital. It is one of only four Jewish charity hospitals worldwide and is funded with money from the Jewish diaspora - something remarkable in Iran where even local aid organizations have difficulty receiving funds from abroad for fear of being accused of being foreign agents."

When did Hitler ever donate money to Jewish hospitals? The Hitler analogy is a desperate attempt to brainwash Americans. It tells us nothing about what Ahmadinejad is really like.

The lies about Ahmadinejad are no different than the lies about Saddam Hussein or Hugo Chavez. The US and Israel are trying to create the justification for another war. That's why the media credits Ahmadinejad with saying things that he never really said. He never said that he wanted to "wipe Israel off the map". That's another fiction. Author Jonathan Cook explains what the Iranian president really said:

"This myth has been endlessly recycled since a translating error was made of a speech Ahmadinejad delivered nearly two years ago. Farsi experts have verified that the Iranian president, far from threatening to destroy Israel, was quoting from an earlier speech by the late Ayatollah Khomeini in which he reassured supporters of the Palestinians that "the Zionist regime in Jerusalem" would "vanish from the page of time."

He was not threatening to exterminate Jews or even Israel. He was comparing Israel's occupation of the Palestinians with other illegitimate systems of rule whose time had passed, including the Shahs who once ruled Iran, apartheid South Africa and the Soviet empire. Nonetheless, this erroneous translation has survived and prospered because Israel and its supporters have exploited it for their own crude propaganda purposes." ("Israel's Jewish problem in Tehran", Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada)

Ahmadinejad poses no threat to Israel or the United States. Like everyone else in the Middle East, he just wants a breather from US and Israeli aggression.

This is from Wikipedia:

"The U.S. State Department has made claims of discrimination in Iran against Jews. According to its study, Jews may not occupy senior positions in government and are prevented from serving in the judiciary and security services and from becoming public school heads. The study says that Jewish citizens are permitted to obtain passports and to travel outside the country, but they often are denied the multiple-exit permits normally issued to other citizens. Allegations made by the U.S. State Department have been condemned by Iranian Jews. The Association of Tehrani Jews said in a statement, "We Iranian Jews condemn claims of the US State Department on Iranian religious minorities, announced that we are fully free to perform our religious duties and we feel no restriction on performing our religious rituals."

Who should we believe; the Jews who actually live Iran or the troublemaking US State Department?

There are 6 kosher butcher shops, 11 synagogues and numerous Hebrew schools in Tehran. Neither Ahmadinejad nor any other Iranian government official has made any attempt to close any these facilities down. Never. Iranian Jews are free to travel (or move) to Israel if they chose. They are not imprisoned by an occupying army. They are not deprived of food and medicine. Their children do not grow up with mental disorders brought on by the trauma of sporadic violence. Their families are not blown up by gunships lobbing rounds on the beaches. Their supporters are not crushed by bulldozers or shot in the head with rubber bullets. They are not gassed and beaten when they peacefully demonstrate for their civil liberties. Their leaders are not hunted down and killed in targeted assassinations.

Roger Cohen wrote a very thoughtful essay on the topic for the New York Times. He said:

"Perhaps I have a bias toward facts over words, but I say the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran — its sophistication and culture — than all the inflammatory rhetoric. That may be because I’m a Jew and have seldom been treated with such consistent warmth as in Iran. Or perhaps I was impressed that the fury over Gaza, trumpeted on posters and Iranian TV, never spilled over into insults or violence toward Jews. Or perhaps it’s because I’m convinced the “Mad Mullah” caricature of Iran and likening of any compromise with it to Munich 1938 — a position popular in some American Jewish circles — is misleading and dangerous." ("What Iran's Jews Say", Roger Cohen, New York Times)

Things aren't perfect for Jews living in Iran, but they're better than they are for Palestinians living in Gaza. Much better.

Source: Counter currents

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicSociety_1.aspx?ArticleID=3361

Spiritual Meditations30 Aug 2010,
NewAgeIslam.Com
Can violence be dharma?

What is the greatest dharma? It is said, “Non-violence or non-injury is the supreme dharma”. Violence is something that disturbs the entire society, and it begins at the mental level. Dislike can turn to anger, and if uncontrolled it will result in physical and emotional abuse within the home as well as in the society. We usually consider violence only at the physical level, but it can occur at the thought and speech level also. So it is important to practice non-injury (ahimsa) at all levels — at the levels of thought and speech as well as the physical level. -- Swami Tejomayananda

Can violence be dharma?

By Swami Tejomayananda

August 17th, 2010

What is the greatest dharma? It is said, “Non-violence or non-injury is the supreme dharma”. Violence is something that disturbs the entire society, and it begins at the mental level. Dislike can turn to anger, and if uncontrolled it will result in physical and emotional abuse within the home as well as in the society. We usually consider violence only at the physical level, but it can occur at the thought and speech level also. So it is important to practice non-injury (ahimsa) at all levels — at the levels of thought and speech as well as the physical level.

At the physical level, the word ahimsa is relative. A surgeon cuts the body for the good of the patient. His motive is to heal. This is an act of ahimsa. On the other hand, a murderer using a knife commits a definite act of violence because his motive is to hurt or kill. The same action can be dharmika or adharmika depending upon whether one is acting to integrate or destroy.

Now a very important question arises. In the Gita, Lord Krishna teaches about non-injury (ahimsa). How is it then that He asks Arjuna to fight? Many people wonder, “How can this war be considered dharmika (righteous) while at the same time observing the law of ahimsa?”

Earlier we spoke about dharma as it pertains to physical health. When the body is in a healthy condition, we will live comfortably. There is no need for medical treatment of any kind. But suppose the body develops a disease? Then possibly some medications or minor surgery may help. But if the disease is very serious, major surgery or even amputation may be the only solution.

In the same way, if everyone is living happily and peacefully in society, then there is no need for war. But, as in the case of the Mahabharata, the evil, battle-hungry Duryodhana became strong and powerful, much like a cancer, whose growth was out of control. Small remedies could not fix the problem. If people like him are not removed from society, good people suffer and disintegration of the society is certain. Therefore, in such situations the ideal of ahimsa and a righteous war go together.

So anything that nourishes, sustains, integrates and leads to prosperity and spiritual revival is called dharma. Any virtues, values, attitudes or behaviour that contribute to that sustenance is dharma.

Moral Conflict: The question then arises, “Why are we not able to follow this principle of non-injury, or ahimsa? Why do we dislike someone?” We all know that there is never a need to tell a mother to act with ahimsa towards her baby. Would a mother ever think of harming her own child? Even when she has to punish the child she herself suffers because there is a sense of oneness between them. She sees her child as a part of her own self.

Where there is love, non-injury is natural. Dislike occurs only when we have a sense of separateness or alienation. And we have created many divisions amongst ourselves by thinking, for example, I am a man, you are a woman; I am black, you are white; I am a Christian, you are a Hindu. If a husband and wife consider themselves to be united, without any thought of separateness, then there will be harmony. If, however, the man thinks himself to be superior to the woman, then the woman will feel that she is being taken advantage of.

With the thought of separateness, alienation arises and the oneness is lost. Once these differences are created, we look down upon others and violence occurs. Thus there is a most unusual challenge in the world of relativity: To know the truth of oneness and yet to live here practically.

Dharma at the individual level is also different from that practiced at the community level. As individuals we may not carry any weapons, trying always to respond with peace and non-injury. However, if one is the secretary of defence of a country then that person cannot allow anyone to jeopardise its peace and he must be prepared to defend the national security. Therefore, dharma has to be understood in its totality.

— Swami Tejomayananda, head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide, is an orator, poet, singer, composer and storyteller. To find out more about Chinmaya Mission and Swamiji, visit www.chinmayamission.com.

© Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.

Source: The Asian Age

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamSpiritualMeditations_1.aspx?ArticleID=3362

Islamic World News 30 Aug 2010
NewAgeIslam.Com
15 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan

Bruni branded 'marriage breaker' in Iran

Seven U.S. Soldiers Die in Afghan Attacks

Europe should convert to Islam: Gaddafi

Sadpara Dam in Gilgit Baltistan may Collapse - Engineers Fear

China invests in confident Christians

Muslim cabbie attack case: New York student indicted

Tehrik-i-Taliban militant arrested from Karachi

Biden visits Iraq to mark formal end to US combat

India says six rebels killed on Kashmir border

Afghan president criticizes anti-terror strategy

Death toll rises to 12 in Yemen army post attack

Protesters Pray In Freedom Square

Salzburg gala raises 300,000 euros for Pakistan

Iran sets 2020 target for nuclear fusion reactor

8 die as bullets settle militants' argument over widow

6 Saudi women to file suit against dad for preventing their marriage

Seven US troops killed in latest Afghan fighting

Unpaid Saudi imam locks worshippers out

‘The PA barred 17 religious figures from preaching in mosques’

UK Muslim shops ban Israeli produce in Palestine protest

In Pakistan, Muslims and Hindus pray together against floods

Afghan women depend on NATO forces: Dr. Yacoobi

Israelis destroyed 1200 Mosques in Palestine

Jamat-e-Islami Hind: Muslims will accept Court verdict on Babri Masjid issue

Yemen denies foreign troops on its soil

Bahrain may ban marriage of couples with genetic disorders

Imam cleared of charges of molesting eight-year-old

Muslims donate nearly $1 billion to Pakistan

Muslims break Ramadan fast

Ghadr Night Ceremonies to Be Held in Austria

Shia Atlas to Be Translated into Arabic

125 Filipinos convert to Islam in Dubai

Sadhvi’s special leave petition in SC today

Kerala Prof attack: NIA probe still uncertain

Muslim League to launch TV channel

Hasina asks Hindu leaders to reach consensus on property law

Bangladesh ex-dictator Ershad meets Hasina, may escape punishment

Iraq says it may abide by OPEC quotas in 2-3 years

Alwaleed visits flood-hit regions of Pakistan

EU to help Iraq clean up nuclear facilities

Pakistan game must not suffer, says Imran

War ‘not ending’ despite US drawdown: Iraq

History will never forget Shaikh Zayed for his feats Adel Arafa

Ground Zero mosque leader Imam: Radicalism a common threat to muslims and non-muslims

Islamist charities gain goodwill in flood calamity

Hazrat Ali’s (RA) martyrdom day termed ‘most sensitive’

Karzai wants change in Afghan war strategy

Taliban leader found dead in Kabal

Spanish police arrest man for jihad recruitment

100 Indian fishermen to be set free today

Suicide blast kills at least one in Jalalabad

Afghanistan's blasted Buddhas beckon tourists

Iran's Judiciary Chief Calls for Massive Muslim Turnout on Quds Day

OIC head calls on Muslims to be more generous to Pakistanis

Israel must be listed as Turkey's top enemy

Iranian Minister: Islamic banks, safe from crises

Six terrorists killed

Transfer warrants issued against Ansari, Sabahuddin

8 explosive belts seized near Amara in Iraq

Iranian Sculptor to Attend Munich Islamic Art

Compilation of Shia Jurisprudence Encyclopedia in 100 volumes

Top Punjabi Taliban commander shot in Pak

Violence in the Valley has ravaged its culture’

New terror cells emerge in ‘unholy alliance’ with Pak Taliban

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Carla Bruni

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15 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan

2010-08-30

Fifteen Taliban militants, including a rebel commander, were killed in fighting with security forces in Afghanistan, Xinhua reported Monday.

The fighting took place Sunday in Wardak province, 40 km west of Kabul.

'Taliban militants attacked a convoy of international troops in Lalam village of Syedabad district Sunday, but the troops retaliated killing 15 insurgents, including their commander Mullah Fazal Rahman,' said Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman of the provincial government.

Rahman was a key Taliban commander in the area. There was no casualty among the Afghan and the NATO-led troops.

http://sify.com/news/15-taliban-militants-killed-in-afghanistan-news-international-ki4puechaac.html?scategory=international

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Bruni branded 'marriage breaker' in Iran

2010-08-30

France's First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy has been branded a "prostitute" and a "marriage breaker" in Iran after she criticised a Tehran court ruling of stoning a woman to death for adultery, a media report said.

The 42-year-old former Italian supermodel, who signed a petition calling for Iran to free Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani who has been convicted of cheating on her husband and helping to kill him, was also accused by Iranian media of intervening in the case to "cover up her own extra-marital relations".

'Kayhan', a vernacular daily newspaper which acts as a mouthpiece for Iran's rigorous Islamic regime, has accused Bruni of being a "hypocrite", the 'Daily Mail' reported.

An editorial pointed to her chequered love life, which has included numerous affairs with high-profile celebrities. Titled "French prostitutes join the human rights protest" it also singled out the actress Isabelle Adjani, who has joined the clamour for 43-year-old Sakineh's release.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/bruni-branded-marriage-breaker-in-iran/674394/

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Seven U.S. Soldiers Die in Afghan Attacks

By ROD NORDLAND

31 August 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Seven American service members were killed by two roadside bombs in southern Afghanistan on Monday, according to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

The two bombings were unrelated, officials said, with one killing five service members and the other killing two. Fourteen American service members have been killed in Afghanistan, mostly in the south, since Saturday.

Witnesses near Kandahar City reported seeing a large blast strike an American military convoy on Monday afternoon on Highway 1, just west of the southern city, which has been the focus of stepped-up American military operations in recent months. An American armored vehicle was completely destroyed.

It was not known precisely where the second bombing took place, and officials declined to specify whether the victims were American Marines or Army soldiers. Both are operating in the area.

Earlier in the day, in the eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad, a district governor and was killed by a car bomb. The bomb had been planted in the vehicle of Said Ahmad Pahlawan, governor of Lalpor District in Nangarhar Province, and exploded just outside the Jalalabad office of the governor of the province, according to Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the governor’s spokesman. The bomb also wounded four of the official’s security guards, he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/world/asia/31afghan.html?_r=1&hp

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Europe should convert to Islam: Gaddafi

Aug 31, 2010

ROME: Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's visit to Rome to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty with former coloniser Italy stumbled into controversy on Monday after he said Europe should convert to Islam.

Kadhafi made the comments on Sunday during a lecture to a group of 500 young women hired and paid by an agency to attend his lecture.

"Islam should become the religion of all of Europe," one of the women quoted Kadhafi as saying in the Italian press.

The agency paid the women, mainly students who hire themselves out for advertising of publicity events, 70 or 80 euros (90 or 100 dollars) to attend and said it would not pay girls who gave their names to the press.

It also told them to dress conservatively for the lectures.

About 200 women on Monday gathered at the Libyan cultural centre in Rome to attend a second lecture.

One of the women present said that Kadhafi had said at the gathering that "women are more respected in Libya than in the West" and offered assistance in finding Libyan husbands.

"Islam is the last religion and if we are to have a single faith then it has to be in Mohammed," he said, according to the participant.

The lectures are "a new, humiliating violation of Italian women's dignity," opposition lawmaker and former health minister Rosy Bindi said.

Kadhafi's show also caused discomfort within the coalition of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a close ally of the Libyan leader.

"Kadhafi's words show his dangerous Islamisation project for Europe," said European MP Mario Borghezio of the anti-immigrant Northern League, junior partner in the coalition, according to Il Messaggero.

Carlo Giovanardi, a government undersecretary, tried to stem the criticism, saying Kadhafi's words were simply "a remark made during a private meeting."

Kadhafi, who came to power after the overthrow of the monarchy 41 years ago, landed in Italy on Sunday to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty signed with Berlusconi that drew a line under the countries' bitter colonial-era relationship.

Berlusconi and Kadhafi met privately for 30 minutes on Monday, during which Kadhafi confirmed the policy of opening Libya to Italian investment, a member of Berlusconi's staff said.

After the meeting, the two men toured a photography exhibition tracing the history of the Italian-Libyan relationship, including the bloody colonial period.

Speaking later alongside Berlusconi at a closing ceremony, Kadhafi suggested that the European Union pay Libya "at least five billion euros a year" to put a halt to illegal migration from its Mediterranean shores.

To do so would be in Europe's interest, he said, if it wants to head off "the advance of millions of migrants" from Africa.

"There is also desirable immigration," Kadhafi added. "There are Libyans who have money and I encourage them to come to Italy to invest."

Berlusconi credited good relations between Italy and Libya "for countering with success the trafficking of illegal migrants from Africa to Europe controlled by criminal organisations".

Ties between Rome and its former colony have deepened since the signing of the friendship accord, with Italy now the third largest European investor in the North African country.

Italy has said it will invest five billion dollars and build a 1,700 kilometre (1,050 mile) highway in Libya to compensate for its three decades of colonisation from 1911 to 1943.

The two countries also reached an agreement that allows the Italian navy to intercept illegal migrants at sea and return them to Libya, triggering sharp criticism from the United Nations' refugee agency and human rights groups.

Kadhafi travelled, as usual, with a Bedouin tent for his accommodation which was pitched in the gardens of the residence of the Libyan embassy in Rome.

In a sign of protest against his visit, an opposition party planted a "tent of legality" in front of the embassy.

Kadhafi was set to return to Libya on Tuesday morning, according to sources with knowledge of the visit.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Europe-should-convert-to-Islam-Gaddafi/articleshow/6464781.cms#ixzz0y9raF0y8

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Sadpara Dam in Gilgit Baltistan may Collapse - Engineers Fear

Senge H Sering

31 August 2010

Sadpara Dam was constructed in 2009 on Sadpara Rivulet some 8 miles south of Skardo town. The rivulet joins Indus River near Rzasna village and provides much of the irrigation water for the Skardo Valley's agricultural system. When the dam was being constructed, the technical team of Descon Ltd. (sub-contractors of WAPDA Lahore) admitted to the media that retaining walls had not been placed in some parts of the dam. Even before the construction completed, water seepage had started and instead of fixing the problem, the authorities tried to cover it up by pouring more gravel over the seeping areas. Over the months, the problem has worsened and now as reported by Karakoram Printing Network, there is a greater chance of water reaching the spillway and causing further damage to the water reservoir. Skardo Valley is home to more than 150,000 people and damage to this dam will destroy the entire valley reducing the thousands of years-old civilization to a rubble.

Full report at:

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China invests in confident Christians

By Christopher Landau

31 August 2010

The National Catholic Seminary in Beijing prepares many for the priesthood. Three decades ago, China's Cultural Revolution saw some of the most dramatic restrictions on the practice of religion ever seen in the modern world.

But today's communist rulers have radically altered their views about religion and have granted substantial freedom to Christians prepared to worship within state-sanctioned churches.

Within these boundaries, Christianity is growing in China as never before - and doing so supported by millions of dollars of government funding.

The BBC has been given unprecedented access to China's state-sanctioned Protestant and Catholic churches, to examine why the government seems so keen to invest in religion.

State funding

Full report at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11020947

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Muslim cabbie attack case: New York student indicted

Aug 31, 2010

NEW YORK: Prosecutors say a New York arts student accused of slashing a Muslim taxi driver's neck has been indicted on hate-crime charges.

Michael Enright waived his right to be in a Manhattan court yesterday as his indictment was announced. He's due to be arraigned next month on charges of attempted murder and assault, both as hate crimes.

His lawyer declined to comment on the charges. The 21-year-old is being held without bail in a psychiatric ward.

Authorities have said a drunken Enright greeted the Bangladeshi driver in Arabic before telling him to "consider this a checkpoint" and stabbing him last week. The driver survived the attack.

Enright went to Afghanistan last spring with a group that aims to promote interfaith understanding.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Muslim-cabbie-attack-case-New-York-student-indicted/articleshow/6465849.cms#ixzz0y9rSmX65

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Tehrik-i-Taliban militant arrested from Karachi

30 Aug, 2010

KARACHI: The CID police arrested a militant associated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Karachi’s Banaras area on Monday, television reports said.

Explosive material was also recovered from the militant, reports quoted police sources as saying.

The militant was arrested during an operation conducted by the CID in Banaras.

He was being interrogated by the police.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/metropolitan/04-ttp-militant-arrested-karachi-qs-08

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Biden visits Iraq to mark formal end to US combat

31 August 2010

Vice President Joe Biden returned to Iraq Monday to mark this week’s formal end to US combat operations.

He also pushed the country’s leaders to end a six-month postelection stalemate blocking formation of a new government.

Wednesday’s ceremony will signal a shift toward a greater US diplomatic role as the military mission dwindles seven years after the American invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Underscoring the shift, officials said Biden will make a new appeal to Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to end the political deadlock and seat a new government. March 7 parliamentary elections left Iraq without a clear winner, and insurgents have exploited the uncertainty to hammer Iraqi security forces in near-daily attacks.

Biden and al-Maliki will meet Tuesday morning “to discuss the political situation and withdrawal, and Iraqis taking over responsibility for security,” the prime minister’s adviser, Yasin Majeed, told The Associated Press.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle09.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August588.xml&section=middleeast

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India says six rebels killed on Kashmir border

31 August 2010

SRINAGAR, India - Indian soldiers on Monday shot dead six separatist militants trying to cross over from Pakistan into the disputed region of Kashmir where popular protests against Indian rule have mounted in recent weeks.

India’s parliament was told last week that militants based in Pakistan have stepped up efforts to infiltrate into Indian Kashmir before winter snow blocks the Himalayan mountain passes.

Such militants, India fears, could help worsen a violent uprising in Kashmir against New Delhi’s rule, which first broke out in 1989 and New Delhi says is being abetted by Pakistan.

Pakistan denies providing military aid to the rebellion and says it only extends moral and diplomatic support to what it calls an independence struggle by Kashmiris. The conflict has officially killed around 47,000 people.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/August/international_August1663.xml&section=international&col=

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Afghan president criticizes anti-terror strategy

31 August 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai renewed his criticism of coalition strategy in fighting Afghanistan’s stubborn insurgency, saying it has thus far produced nothing but civilian deaths.

Meanwhile, a district chief from eastern Afghanistan was killed Monday by a bomb placed in his car that exploded as he was entering a government compound to attend a meeting of provincial security and political leaders.

Insurgents had apparently planned for the bomb that killed Syad Mohammad Palawan to explode inside the governor’s compound in Nangarhar province’s capital of Jalalabad, said provincial police spokesman Ghafor Khan. Officials were meeting at the compound Monday to discuss strategies for battling the insurgency and improving governance in the volatile province.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/August/international_August1645.xml&section=international&col=

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Death toll rises to 12 in Yemen army post attack

31 August 2010

The death toll of a weekend attack by suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen on an army post in south Yemen has risen to 12, including one civilian, the interior ministry said on Monday. Skip related content

"Two charred corpses of soldiers were found" on the site of the attack, in Al-Rai neighbourhood, west of the town of Jaar in the Abyan province, the ministry said on its website.

A security official had said Sunday that the death toll had gone up to 10 after a wounded soldier succumbed to his injuries.

Four assailants had targeted the army post with rocket-propelled grenades after sunset as the soldiers were having a meal breaking the dawn-to-dusk fast of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, an official had said on Saturday.

Full report at:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20100830/twl-death-toll-rises-to-12-in-yemen-army-3cd7efd.html?printer=1

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Protesters Pray In Freedom Square

31 August 2010

SANA’A, August 24 — Hundreds of people with different complaints protested once again at Freedom Square in Sana’a on Tuesday. State school teachers demanded Ikramia or a Ramadan bonus introduced in 2006, human rights activists demanded the release of detained journalists, and the people of Al-Ja’ashin, Ibb governorate, sought government protection from their sheikh.

Police prevented journalists and activists from taking pictures of the protest. The protesters were prevented from entering Freedom Square in front of the prime minister’s office, but the crowds forced their way into the square and held their sit-in.

Police officers attacked journalists Sami Al-Ansi and Abdullah Ghurab and tore off the face veil of one of the female journalists attending the protest. The protesters, most of whom were teachers from Sana’a, Amran and Dhamar, performed afternoon prayer in Freedom Square.

Full report at:

http://www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=34647

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Salzburg gala raises 300,000 euros for Pakistan

31 August 2010

Salzburg's exclusive summer music festival raised 300,000 euros in aid for Pakistan's flood victims at a star-studded benefit gala, organisers said today. The Russian superstar soprano, Anna Netrebko, headlined the special fundraiser held Thursday night in the Austrian city's Haus fuer Mozart

theatre. Some 1,560 punters paid between 40 and 280 euros (USD 51-356) each for a seat in the audience, raising a total of 300,000 euros (USD 380,000).

All the artists and the orchestra performed for free in an evening of arias and readings, capped by a tango danced by Netrebko's Uruguayan partner, the baritone Erwin Schrott. Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/europe/Salzburg-gala-raises-300-000-euros-for-Pakistan/Article1-593795.aspx

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Iran sets 2020 target for nuclear fusion reactor

Aug 31, 2010

TEHRAN: Iran says it has set a 2020 target date to build its first experimental nuclear fusion reactor, a feat that has yet to be achieved by any nation.

Iran said in July that its nuclear agency began research on the experimental reactor.

Nuclear fusion, the process powering the sun and stars, has so far only been mastered as a weapon, producing the thermonuclear explosions of hydrogen bombs. It has never been harnessed for power generation.

Asghar Sediqzadeh, the head of the new fusion research centre, is quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying the centre will hire 100 experts to join the national project.

Tehran is not known to have carried out anything but basic fusion research.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-sets-2020-target-for-nuclear-fusion-reactor/articleshow/6465251.cms#ixzz0y9rWb2Jq

8 die as bullets settle militants' argument over widow

2010-08-30

The argument over an Arab militant's widow last weekend became so heated that gunfire broke out among insurgent factions, leaving eight people dead, militant sources told AKI from the Pakistan's North Waziristan.

The dead include Usman Punjabi, the abductor of British journalist Asad Qureshi.

Tension mounted between the Punjabi (non-Pushtun Pakistanis) and Mehsud (local tribe) militants after an Arab militant was killed in a drone strike, leaving behind his widow.

'The widow was rich and after the incident of husband's death she was alone. The local Mehsud tribesmen took her into their custody and were aiming to arrange her marriage to one of their own men. Usman Punjabi objected and insisted she must be left to her own free will to select whether she wants to marry into the Mehsud tribe,' said a source who witnessed the event.

After the Muslim Ramadan breakfast Saturday morning, all militants belonging to Mehsud tribes and the Punjabi camp gathered in a local school in Dande Darpa Khail in North Waziristan near Afghanistan to discuss the widow.

The argument between the two parties intensified until both parties pulled out their guns and opened fire. A total eight people were killed, including Usman Punjabi.

'We have killed the spy', Mehsud's members cried after killing Usman Punjabi.

Usman Punjabi was the abductor and assassin of former ISI official Khalid Khawaja and also abducted former ISI official Colonel Imam and British journalist Asad Qureshi.

Usman refused to release those he abducted despite the instruction of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. The fate of abducted is still unknown.

http://sify.com/news/8-die-as-bullets-settle-militants-argument-over-widow-news-international-ki4pEeiehji.html?scategory=international

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6 Saudi women to file suit against dad for preventing their marriage

Aug 30, 2010

DUBAI: In an unusual legal fight, six Saudi sisters have decided to file a lawsuit against their father for repeatedly having turned down their suitors and not allowing them to get married.

The women, all in their 30s, have written a letter to Sultan Bin Zahem, chairman of Saudi Arabia's Advocacy Committee, demanding that they be given the authority to get married.

They allege that their father always turned down their suitors claiming that there was no woman in his family to negotiate the marriage terms.

In the letter, the women alleged that their father has rejected many suitors even though they were pious men and of good conduct, Saudi Okaz newspaper reported.

Bin Zahem said the women can file a lawsuit against their guardian and the judge will summon him to ask him why he has not allowed his daughters to get married.

If his reasons were not convincing, the judge would use his authority to approve their marriages to appropriate men.

The girls' complaint cannot be considered as disobedience of parents because they were demanding the right to their private social lives; the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The sisters are now preparing to file a suit against their father.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/6-Saudi-women-to-file-suit-against-dad-for-preventing-their-marriage-/articleshow/6460162.cms#ixzz0y4irocmy

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Seven US troops killed in latest Afghan fighting

Aug 30th, 2010

KABUL: Seven US troops have died in weekend attacks in Afghanistan’s embattled southern and eastern regions.

Two servicemen died in bombings on Sunday in southern Afghanistan, while two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south on Saturday, and three in fighting in the east the same day, NATO said. Their identities and other details were being withheld until relatives could be notified. The latest deaths bring to 42 the number of American forces who have died this month in Afghanistan after July’s high of 66. A total of 62 international forces have died in the country this month, including seven British troops. Fighting is intensifying with the addition of 30,000 US troops to bring the total number of international forces in Afghanistan to 140,000 - 100,000 of them American. Most of those new troops have been assigned to the southern insurgent strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces where major battles are fought almost daily as part of a gathering drive to push out the Taliban.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\08\30\story_30-8-2010_pg7_7

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Unpaid Saudi imam locks worshippers out

Aug 30, 2010

RIYADH: Worshippers who arrived to pray at a mosque in a remote area of central Saudi Arabia this week discovered they were locked out by the disgruntled imam because he had not been paid.

Al-Yaum newspaper reported Sunday that the imam, a Sudanese national, had been told a philanthropist would pay for his services as spiritual leader of the small mosque in Najd region. But the benefactor withdrew the funding after local religious authorities failed to confirm the cleric as the official imam.

The worshippers, angry at being prevented from Friday prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, have failed to convince the imam to re-open the mosque.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Unpaid-Saudi-imam-locks-worshippers-out/articleshow/6459145.cms#ixzz0y4HAC5jH

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Hamas lawmaker: The PA barred 17 religious figures from preaching in mosques

Aug 30th, 2010

GAZA -- Hamas lawmaker Hatem Kufaisheh said Friday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) issued a decision preventing 17 lawmakers, who are also noted religious figures, from giving speeches or Friday Khutbas (sermons) in West Bank mosques.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, GAZA -- Hamas lawmaker Hatem Kufaisheh said Friday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) issued a decision preventing 17 lawmakers, who are also noted religious figures, from giving speeches or Friday Khutbas (sermons) in West Bank mosques.

Kufaisheh underlined that this campaign against mosques and religious figures is being carried out according to a carefully-prepared plan targeting the religion of Islam and its followers in Palestine.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201401

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UK Muslim shops ban Israeli produce in Palestine protest

Aug 30th, 2010

In a move that has worried Jewish groups, Muslim families who own stores in Glasgow’s south side are refusing to stock Israeli goods in protest at Israel’s West Bank settlements and policy towards Palestinians.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, In a move that has worried Jewish groups, Muslim families who own stores in Glasgow’s south side are refusing to stock Israeli goods in protest at Israel’s West Bank settlements and policy towards Palestinians.

Around 30 stores in Muslim communities in Pollokshields, Pollokshaws and Govanhill are supporting the drive and yesterday campaigners took to the streets to applaud shopkeepers who are no longer stocking Israeli products.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201404

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In Pakistan, Muslims and Hindus pray together against floods

Aug 30th, 2010

In times of adversity, religious differences are forgotten. In a rare demonstration of communal harmony, Muslims recited the Quran while the minority Hindus gathered for special prayers ...

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, In times of adversity, religious differences are forgotten. In a rare demonstration of communal harmony, Muslims recited the Quran while the minority Hindus gathered for special prayers

While the Muslims recited verses from the Quran, the Hindus chanted hymns from the Bhagvad Gita, the reports said. They said the flooding was a result of bad morals prevalent in Pakistani society and it was necessary to pray for forgiveness.

The town has been protected by a temporary embankment erected by the locals.

According to religious leaders, the calamity has brought people from different faiths closer so that they can face the tragedy.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=200814

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Afghan women depend on NATO forces: Dr. Yacoobi

2010-08-30

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), has said that women of the country completely depend on the NATO allies and that with any foreign troop withdrawal "the first blood shed will be of women and children".

"The women of Afghanistan completely depend on the NATO allies. At this moment, I think it would be unfair for the people of Afghanistan, especially for the women and children, who have been suffering for 20 and 30 years to just leave them and walk out. As soon as allied soldiers walk out and leave Afghanistan, the first blood shed will be women and children," The Age quoted Dr Yacoobi, as saying.

Full report at:

http://sify.com/news/afghan-women-depend-on-nato-forces-dr-yacoobi-news-international-ki4oOeighbd.html?scategory=international

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Israelis destroyed 1200 Mosques in Palestine

Aug 30th, 2010

1200 mosques and scores of churches destroyed since creation of Zionist regime in 1948

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, Monitoring group on Al-Aqsa Islamic sanctuaries has revealed that Zionist authorities have destroyed as many as 1200 mosques and scores of churches since the creation of the Zionist regime in 1948.

Zionists carried out a systematic campaign to destroy and obliterate the religious sites of Muslims and Christians in Israel.

They wanted to bury Islamic and Christian history in this land.

Israeli troops refuse to allow Muslims to pray at many mosques throughout Palestine.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=201526

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Jamat-e-Islami Hind: Muslims will accept Court verdict on Babri Masjid issue

Aug 30th, 2010

New Delhi: “The stand of Muslims in India on the issue of Babri Masjid title case is very clear. We will accept whatever will be the verdict of the court,” said Syed Jalaluddin Umri, President Jamat-e-Islami Hind.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, New Delhi: “The stand of Muslims in India on the issue of Babri Masjid title case is very clear. We will accept whatever will be the verdict of the court,” said Syed Jalaluddin Umri, President Jamat-e-Islami Hind.

In an interaction with media person on 28th of August, he said Jamat-e-Islami has repeatedly emphasized that it will make sure that no mishap takes place, after the court delivers its verdict next month. Indian Muslims are patient and this attitude by on this issue deserves public appreciation and praise, he added.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201439

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Yemen denies foreign troops on its soil

Aug 30, 2010

ADEN: Yemen denied on Sunday that foreign forces are involved in its battle against Al-Qaeda, as Sanaa's security forces went on high alert after nine soldiers were killed by suspected jihadists.

"We are surprised at groundless allegations in several media reports lately on the presence of British soldiers and on the arrival of US forces to aid in fighting terror in Yemen," the Defense Ministry's 26sep.net news website quoted a Yemeni official as saying.

The official said that Yemen's cooperation with the "United States or other countries" in fighting terrorism is "restricted to the exchange of information which facilitates its hunt (for) terrorist elements and handing them over to justice."

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article118977.ece

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Bahrain may ban marriage of couples with genetic disorders

30 August 2010

MANAMA — Bahrain might consider banning couples with hereditary diseases or who are carrier of any genetic aberration to get married.

That was hinted last week by the cabinet while discussing proposals and solutions to tackle sickle cell disease after the death of 24 patients this year, with four died in one day.

The cabinet asked Health Minister Dr Faisal Al Hamer to draw up a plan to combat sickle cell disease in coordination with the justice and Islamic affairs minister and other departments. The plan would enable the authorities to combat the disease by adopting effective medical, legal and legislative measures.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/August/middleeast_August569.xml&section=middleeast&col=

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Imam cleared of charges of molesting eight-year-old Amira Agarib

30 August 2010

DUBAI — The Dubai Court of Appeal has acquitted an Indian imam of the charges of molesting an eight-year-old American boy.

Earlier, the Dubai Court of First Instance had sentenced him to three years in jail on the charges for molesting the boy while teaching him the holy Quran along with his 10-year-old brother in a room adjacent to a mosque.

According to the charge sheet, Z.H had lured the boy to the private where he hugged him and kissed him on his cheeks.

The 26-year-old imam (a person who leads the prayers) had denied molesting the boy.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2010/August/theuae_August784.xml&section=theuae&col=

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Muslims donate nearly $1 billion to Pakistan

Aug 30th, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Muslim countries, organizations and individuals have pledged nearly $1 billion in cash and relief supplies to help Pakistan respond to the worst floods in the nation's history, the head of a group of Islamic states said Sunday.

The announcement came as floodwaters inundated a large town in Pakistan and authorities struggled to build new levees with clay and stone to prevent one of the area's biggest cities from suffering the same fate.

Foreign countries have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to help Pakistan cope with the floods, which first hit the country about a month ago after extremely heavy monsoon rains. But some officials had criticized the Muslim world for not contributing enough.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/06-muslims-donate-nearly-1-billion-to-pakistan-rs-07

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Muslims break Ramadan fast

Aug 30th, 2010

Ahlul Bayt News Agency – ABNA -The Yolo County Muslim community invites county residents to fast for a day and join to break the fast on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the Davis Veteran's Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

Admission is free and people of all faiths are invited.

"It feels so good and joyous to break the fast with our great Davis community," states Muslim community leader Hamza El-Nakhal of Davis. "The sun sets at 7:38 p.m. on that day. Social time starts at 7 p.m.

"As you may know that the month of Ramadan started on Wednesday, Aug. 11, and the last day is projected to be on Thursday, Sept. 9, based on the new moon sighting," El-Nakhal stated.

The event will offer opportunities for people of all faith to experience the Muslim month of fasting.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201535

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Ghadr Night Ceremonies to Be Held in Austria

Aug 30th, 2010

On the occasion of Ghadr Nights, some special ceremonies will be organized by Imam Ali (AS) Center in Vienna, capital of Austria.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, The programs will be held on Sunday August 29, Tuesday August 31, and Thursday September 2 from 7:30 to 11:45 p.m.

They include the Iftar (fast breaking) ceremony, recitation of Joshan-e Kabir Supplication, recitation of the holy Quran by Mr. Soltani the international reciter, a speech by Hojat-ol-Islam Aali, as well as mourning eulogies by Mr. Maalekinejad on the martyrdom of Imam Ali (AS).

Ghadr Night or “night of power” refers to a night in the holy month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201532

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Shia Atlas to Be Translated into Arabic

Aug 30th, 2010

The Atlas of Shia Islam by Hojat-ol-Islam Rasul Jafarian will be translated into Arabic, the author said.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, Hojat-ol-Islam Jafarian who is a prominent researcher in the field of the history of Islam said an institute in Najaf has vowed to translate the work into Arabic.

He said he expects the translation to take at least a year because of the need for redesigning the maps and tables of the atlas in the Arabic version.

Hojat-ol-Islam Jafarian explained that the Atlas of Shia Islam begins by defining Shia and its history during the first Hijri century (describing the role of Imam Ali (AS) in the battles of the first years after the advent of Islam) and goes on to expound on the history of Shia Islam based on geographical categorization of the Islamic world.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201527

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125 Filipinos convert to Islam in Dubai

Aug 30th, 2010

A total of 122 ladies and three men, all expatriates from the Philippines, converted to Islam in Dubai, after a lecture by popular Muslim Filipino orator and preacher Omar Penalbar.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency, A total of 122 ladies and three men, all expatriates from the Philippines, converted to Islam in Dubai, after a lecture by popular Muslim Filipino orator and preacher Omar Penalbar.

Penalbar was lecturing on tolerance in Islam and the message of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

The lecture was organised in the Al Twar area in Dubai by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=201410

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Sadhvi’s special leave petition in SC today

Aug 30th, 2010

A Special Leave Petition (SLP), filed by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur — one of the main accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case, challenging the rejection of her bail application by the Bombay High Court in March this year, will come up for admission before the Supreme Court on Monday.

In her SLP filed before the Supreme Court, Sadhvi Pragya has contested the high court’s ruling given on March 12, 2010, rejecting her “bail by default” application on the ground that she had been unlawfully detained by Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) from October 10, 2008 to October 23, 2008.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/279508/Sadhvi%E2%80%99s-special-leave-petition-in-SC-today.html

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