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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Islamic Ideology
30 Nov 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Drones: American And Pakistani

Pakistan has many more drones than America. These are mullah-trained and mass-produced in madrassas and militant training camps. Their handlers are in Waziristan, not in Nevada. Like their aerial counterparts, they do not ask why they must kill. However, their targets lie among their own people, not in some distant country. Collateral damage does not matter…..

Not all Pakistanis are angry at aerial drone strikes. According to Farhat Taj, a Pushto speaking female researcher at the University of Oslo who makes frequent trips to FATA, most tribals actually welcome the drone attacks. She says these victims of Taliban brutality do so out of helplessness and desperation. They would prefer their enemies to be killed by the Pakistan Army, but it is also acceptable if they are killed by infidel America. Bucking accepted wisdom, she claims, “In Waziristan people get really upset when there are no drone attacks. Their apprehension is that the US and Pakistani government might enter in an agreement to halt the attacks.” -- Pervez Hoodbhoy

Pakistan: The use and abuse of blasphemy

By Murtaza Razvi

Pakistan’s blasphemy law reeks of medieval witch-hunting, especially as it specifically targets the already constrained minorities. Since its inception in 1984 under the dictatorial rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, it has remained controversial, and claimed 10 lives extra-judicially, including those of two judges who had acquitted the accused. There has never been a conviction so far in that the latest accused, Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, is the first one. She has been imprisoned for over a year and sentenced to death by a lower court earlier this month for allegedly defaming the Prophet of Islam.

The law as it stands is no less than an instrument of oppression, and has been patently abused for personal score-settling. As with other so-called, and always controversial, Islamic Sharia laws that exist in Pakistan, the onus of proving innocence lies with the accused. This terrible feature utterly flouts the norms of natural justice. While civil society, rights groups, parliamentary committees and even the Federal Sharia Court and the Council of Islamic Ideology have recommended all but a repeal of the blasphemy law in the past, no government has had the courage to undo the blatant injustice that this and many other Sharia laws have dispensed. And now the possible granting of a presidential pardon to the convicted woman, Aasia Bibi, itself has become controversial, with right-wing elements demanding her execution.

The ongoing “war on terror” has drawn many new battle lines on the social landscape here, as hundreds of Pakistanis were picked up during the Musharraf regime and handed over to America without any due process. Many were held for months and years without trial in prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay; those who did undergo trial were convicted and handed out very harsh sentences under the new US anti-terrorism laws, and not without controversy. The recent conviction and sentencing to 86 years in a US prison of the Pakistani doctor, Aafia Siddiqui, over charges that she had tried to kill American soldiers while in custody in Afghanistan, has become a sore point. It has created much resentment in Pakistan, and to an extent generated a certain vengeful and devious mindset that is looking to make a horrible example of anyone accused of a crime here, with the Islamists insisting that the accused be subjected to equally stern Islamic laws.

The masochistic urge to swiftly bring the accused to justice without any process whatsoever has manifest itself in recent years in its crudest form. Blasphemy accused and alleged thieves and robbers — including in one harrowing case in September, two teenaged boys in Sialkot — have been beaten to death by a raging mad crowd; others have been burnt alive in Karachi. In certain cases the police too were part of such gross miscarriages of justice, yet few heads rolled. In a country where Islamist terrorists strike with impunity on a daily basis against their Muslim targets, such as Sufi saints’ shrines and mosques, and US drones rain down bombs, often killing innocent people, a certain amount of brutalisation of the public psyche and the urge for revenge have combined to unleash a sinister disorder. The government has all but failed to check the lawlessness.

In the case of the blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi, it is said the charge brought against her has more to do with repugnant caste and race relations than with blasphemy. She had dared to touch the water drawn by fellow Muslim village women, who accused her of having polluted their water because she was a non-Muslim and deemed “untouchable” — even though no such distinction is admissible in Islam. However, under the controversial blasphemy law, the testimony of only two adult Muslims is required for the accusation.

Christians and members of the minority Ahmadiyya community, a large section of which believes in the continuation of Islamic prophethood beyond Prophet Muhammad, and all of whom were declared non-Muslim by an act of parliament under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974, have borne the brunt of Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Which is not to say that Muslims have been spared; blasphemy accused have had to flee the country to escape lynching.

The abysmal state of Pakistani society today, which is in the thick of social turmoil, owes much to the unholy mixing of religion, politics and statecraft in the post-1970 period. State ideology based on Islam being the premise of the foundation of this country since that time in particular has eroded all secular state and social institutions. In the case of the Ahmadiyya community, Pakistan even managed to create a minority when none existed amongst its Muslim population, with the sole aim of systematically persecuting the adherents of that faith. In that sense society is now reaping the bitter harvest of what was sown and then nurtured, whether actively or by tolerating bigotry in its many forms, by successive rulers — whether democratically elected or dictators.

The writer is an editor with ‘Dawn’, Karachi

Source: Dawn, Pakistan

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicIdeology_1.aspx?ArticleID=3748


Islamic Ideology
30 Nov 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Pakistan: The use and abuse of blasphemy

The masochistic urge to swiftly bring the accused to justice without any process whatsoever has manifest itself in recent years in its crudest form. Blasphemy accused and alleged thieves and robbers — including in one harrowing case in September, two teenaged boys in Sialkot — have been beaten to death by a raging mad crowd; others have been burnt alive in Karachi. In certain cases the police too were part of such gross miscarriages of justice, yet few heads rolled. In a country where Islamist terrorists strike with impunity on a daily basis against their Muslim targets, such as Sufi saints’ shrines and mosques, and US drones rain down bombs, often killing innocent people, a certain amount of brutalisation of the public psyche and the urge for revenge have combined to unleash a sinister disorder. The government has all but failed to check the lawlessness. -- Murtaza Razvi

Pakistan: The use and abuse of blasphemy

By Murtaza Razvi

Pakistan’s blasphemy law reeks of medieval witch-hunting, especially as it specifically targets the already constrained minorities. Since its inception in 1984 under the dictatorial rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, it has remained controversial, and claimed 10 lives extra-judicially, including those of two judges who had acquitted the accused. There has never been a conviction so far in that the latest accused, Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, is the first one. She has been imprisoned for over a year and sentenced to death by a lower court earlier this month for allegedly defaming the Prophet of Islam.

The law as it stands is no less than an instrument of oppression, and has been patently abused for personal score-settling. As with other so-called, and always controversial, Islamic Sharia laws that exist in Pakistan, the onus of proving innocence lies with the accused. This terrible feature utterly flouts the norms of natural justice. While civil society, rights groups, parliamentary committees and even the Federal Sharia Court and the Council of Islamic Ideology have recommended all but a repeal of the blasphemy law in the past, no government has had the courage to undo the blatant injustice that this and many other Sharia laws have dispensed. And now the possible granting of a presidential pardon to the convicted woman, Aasia Bibi, itself has become controversial, with right-wing elements demanding her execution.

The ongoing “war on terror” has drawn many new battle lines on the social landscape here, as hundreds of Pakistanis were picked up during the Musharraf regime and handed over to America without any due process. Many were held for months and years without trial in prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay; those who did undergo trial were convicted and handed out very harsh sentences under the new US anti-terrorism laws, and not without controversy. The recent conviction and sentencing to 86 years in a US prison of the Pakistani doctor, Aafia Siddiqui, over charges that she had tried to kill American soldiers while in custody in Afghanistan, has become a sore point. It has created much resentment in Pakistan, and to an extent generated a certain vengeful and devious mindset that is looking to make a horrible example of anyone accused of a crime here, with the Islamists insisting that the accused be subjected to equally stern Islamic laws.

The masochistic urge to swiftly bring the accused to justice without any process whatsoever has manifest itself in recent years in its crudest form. Blasphemy accused and alleged thieves and robbers — including in one harrowing case in September, two teenaged boys in Sialkot — have been beaten to death by a raging mad crowd; others have been burnt alive in Karachi. In certain cases the police too were part of such gross miscarriages of justice, yet few heads rolled. In a country where Islamist terrorists strike with impunity on a daily basis against their Muslim targets, such as Sufi saints’ shrines and mosques, and US drones rain down bombs, often killing innocent people, a certain amount of brutalisation of the public psyche and the urge for revenge have combined to unleash a sinister disorder. The government has all but failed to check the lawlessness.

In the case of the blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi, it is said the charge brought against her has more to do with repugnant caste and race relations than with blasphemy. She had dared to touch the water drawn by fellow Muslim village women, who accused her of having polluted their water because she was a non-Muslim and deemed “untouchable” — even though no such distinction is admissible in Islam. However, under the controversial blasphemy law, the testimony of only two adult Muslims is required for the accusation.

Christians and members of the minority Ahmadiyya community, a large section of which believes in the continuation of Islamic prophethood beyond Prophet Muhammad, and all of whom were declared non-Muslim by an act of parliament under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974, have borne the brunt of Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Which is not to say that Muslims have been spared; blasphemy accused have had to flee the country to escape lynching.

The abysmal state of Pakistani society today, which is in the thick of social turmoil, owes much to the unholy mixing of religion, politics and statecraft in the post-1970 period. State ideology based on Islam being the premise of the foundation of this country since that time in particular has eroded all secular state and social institutions. In the case of the Ahmadiyya community, Pakistan even managed to create a minority when none existed amongst its Muslim population, with the sole aim of systematically persecuting the adherents of that faith. In that sense society is now reaping the bitter harvest of what was sown and then nurtured, whether actively or by tolerating bigotry in its many forms, by successive rulers — whether democratically elected or dictators.

The writer is an editor with ‘Dawn’, Karachi

Source: Dawn, Pakistan

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicIdeology_1.aspx?ArticleID=3748


Debate
30 Nov 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Church teaching against artificial contraception: Pope Benedict deviates from the missionary position

Others, including prelates in Africa, have said condom use is worth considering when one partner in a marriage is HIV positive. Benedict did not address such cases in his interview, and he reaffirmed church teaching against artificial contraception. But he said, “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility.” Asked if that meant that the church wasn’t opposed in principle to condoms, the Pope replied: The church “of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality,” according to an English translation of the book obtained by The Associated Press. -- Victor L Simpson

Photo: Pope Benedict XVI

Church teaching against artificial contraception: Pope Benedict deviates from the missionary position

By Victor L Simpson

Vatican officials insist it’s nothing “revolutionary,” but to many other people Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments regarding condom use mark an important moment in the battle against AIDS and an effort by the pontiff to burnish his image and legacy. Just a year after he said condoms could be making the AIDS crisis worse, Benedict said that for some people, such as male prostitutes, using them could represent a first step in assuming moral responsibility “in the intention of reducing the risk of infection”. The Vatican’s ban on contraception remains, but Alberto Melloni, an Italian church historian, said Benedict “opened without a doubt a crack that cannot help but have consequences”. Benedict stepped where no Pope has gone since Paul VI’s famous 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae” barred Catholics from using condoms and other artificial contraception. Pressure to lift the ban has grown with the spread of the HIV virus, which has infected some 60 million people worldwide and led to 25 million AIDS-related deaths over three decades.

The Pope chose to make his statement not in an official document but in an interview with a German journalist, Peter Seewald, that is coming out this week in the book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published excerpts on Saturday.

The Pope says in his own writings that he takes personal responsibility for the remarks, meaning they are not official church teaching. The conservative Benedict previously had given little sign of budging on the issue of condoms. Last year while en route to Africa, the continent HIV has hit hardest by far, he drew criticism from many health workers by saying condoms not only did not help stop the spread of AIDS but exacerbated the problem. A number of top churchmen, including the Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, one of Benedict’s rivals during his 2005 election as Pope, have been calling for a humanitarian gesture on the issue of condoms.

Others, including prelates in Africa, have said condom use is worth considering when one partner in a marriage is HIV positive. Benedict did not address such cases in his interview, and he reaffirmed church teaching against artificial contraception. But he said, “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility.” Asked if that meant that the church wasn’t opposed in principle to condoms, the Pope replied: The church “of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality,” according to an English translation of the book obtained by The Associated Press.

The Holy See’s chief spokesman, the Rev Federico Lombardi, issued a statement stressing that the Pope’s comment neither “reforms nor changes” church teaching. “The reasoning of the Pope cannot certainly be defined as a revolutionary turn,” he said. Many Catholics, however, saw the remarks as a signal that the Vatican is softening its stance on condom use in general. “It was well said. I believe you have to try to protect yourself against AIDS,” 50-year-old Andrew Oyoma said after participating in Sunday Mass at St Eugenia Catholic Church in Stockholm, Sweden. In Zimbabwe, where roughly 15 per cent of adults have the HIV virus, a Catholic priest said he would spread the news. “I’ve got brothers and sisters and friends who are suffering from HIV because they were not practicing safe sex,” said the Rev Peter Makome, who works in the capital Harare’s Southerton Parish. “Now the message has come out that they can go ahead and does safe sex; it’s much better for everyone.”

The UN agency tasked with combating AIDS said the Pope’s comments were “a significant and positive step” but noted that while more than 80 per cent of HIV infections are caused through sexual transmission, only 4 per cent to 10 per cent result from sex between men.

Benedict has a reputation as a shy intellectual, and the interview was clearly an attempt to show a more human, more modern thinker. The Pope, who is 83, spoke of his getting old, and went on to say that Popes who are no longer physically able to carry on their missions have an obligation to resign.

Benedict has endured several crises since becoming Pope in 2005, including his lifting of the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop, a speech early in his papacy in which he linked Islam to violence, and revelations of widespread sex abuse by Catholic clergy around the world. His own handling of a case while a bishop in his native Germany raised questions. Even his comments about condoms turned into something of a PR gaffe with questionable translations in the Italian version that made the remarks appear stronger than they were.

The Italian version said there may be some “justified” cases, while the original German and English texts were less direct, saying “there may be a basis in the case of some individuals”. Mr John Haas, President of the National Catholic Bioethic Center in the United States, said that when L’Osservatore published the excerpts in advance of publication he wondered “had the Vatican lost its collective head”. Or, said Mr Hass, who insists the Pope made no change in policy, “there may be an agenda. I am utterly baffled.”

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamDebate_1.aspx?ArticleID=3747


Islam and Spiritualism
30 Nov 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Under the sufi spell

While unfolding the vibrant love story of Heer and Ranjha, the book also engages the reader in Dara Shikoh’s secular journey and his desire to understand and follow both Hinduism and the Islam faith. Besides this, there are articles on Guru Nanak and Beas. Waris Shah the famous Sufi poet who immortalises Heer Ranjha in verse displayed a lyrical quality that reached the masses. Desolate with the massacre of the partition Poet Amrita Pritam’s plaint to Waris Shah is recorded. While artist Manjit Bawa’s love for Sufism is reflected in his paintings, the universal love and light of Baba Farid is beautifully portrayed in the book. -- Divya Kapoor
Photo: Muzaffar Ali

Under the sufi spell

By Divya Kapoor

Be it films, music festival, clothes or paintings, he has celebrated Sufism all the way. And now, the noted film director, artist, fashion designer, Sufi follower and politician Muzaffar Ali, has compiled The Sufi’s of the Punjab a coffee table book by Rumi Foundation in association with The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. The articles of the book are a fusion of different faiths with similar goals aspiring peaceful co-existence, communal harmony and love for each other. Calling Punjab the gateway of India, Ali said that the Sufis have been in Punjab for over thousand years, thanks to the constant movement of people. “Punjab has always been at the crossroads… people have gone out of the city and come into it. For instance, Guru Nanak Dev ji went to places like Mecca and Baghdad and Niyamat Ali Bhojpuri came to India. Like this, there have also been invaders and conquerors in the country. While all this was going on, there was a kind of message of peace and tolerance that was being generated. Punjab in that sense is very significant as all this affected its spiritual side,” he said.

“Punjab is a state where people on both sides of the border warm up to each other. Because, at the time of partition, the central point of the division was Punjab only. That’s a very big debating factor and is essential for the stability and harmonious relationships between India and Palkistan,” he added.

While unfolding the vibrant love story of Heer and Ranjha, the book also engages the reader in Dara Shikoh’s secular journey and his desire to understand and follow both Hinduism and the Islam faith. Besides this, there are articles on Guru Nanak and Beas. Waris Shah the famous Sufi poet who immortalises Heer Ranjha in verse displayed a lyrical quality that reached the masses. Desolate with the massacre of the partition Poet Amrita Pritam’s plaint to Waris Shah is recorded. While artist Manjit Bawa’s love for Sufism is reflected in his paintings, the universal love and light of Baba Farid is beautifully portrayed in the book.

Commemorating those who tragically lost their lives on 26/11 during the terrorist attack in Mumbai, the book shows us the need for peace and tolerance in our lives which has resonated for years in Sufi poetry, music and art. With respect to this resonance of peace, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also shared a message with the foundation, “The Sufis occupy an honoured place in the cultural, religious and spiritual tradition of Punjab. They have vastly enriched our composite culture by stressing the essence of religion as a liberating, unifying and uplifting force in society. The sublime poetry of the Sufis, based on commonalities of all faiths, promotes communal harmony and peaceful coexistence. Because of their transcendental approach to life and nobility of purpose, the Sufis endure in popular imagination and command respect from all sections of society. I commend those associated with the publication of this work.”

Sufi influenced the way of life in many ways. The way of reaching out, the way of connecting within, and all these were discussed in the book. (priced at Rs 2,500)

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamAndSpiritualism_1.aspx?ArticleID=3749


Islamic World News
30 Nov 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Saudi King Abdullah proposed planting chips in Gitmo prisoners upon release

'Af govt releasing top Taliban men for cash'

Pakistani sues US for drone death of son & bro, seeks $500m

Arrest warrant for WikiLeaks chief as chaos spreads

Plot to blow up Pakistani PM's rally foiled

Asma Jahangir assails LHC’s Aasia order

Balochistan governor escapes bomb attack

Six killed in suicide attack in Bannu

Pak court bars Zardari from pardoning blasphemy accused woman

Car bomb kills three, injures 22 in Iraq

Nine Afghan guards kidnapped in Kabul province

Sherry submits bill for amending blasphemy laws

Israel says Arabs agree on Iran threat

N-tangle : Washington mulling military options against Tehran

Iraq court gives Tariq Aziz new 10 year sentence

Shia leader killed in Karachi

Sonia in Rae Bareli: Dalits and Muslims on agenda

Ace scholar Dr. Omar Khalidi dies in an accident

Over 35 Pakistani Govt Websites Hacked

WikiLeaks: Hillary called India self-appointed front-runner for UNSC seat

Saudi King calls Zardari rotten head

U.S. behind disclosures, says Ahmadinejad

CIA targets Qaeda No. 2 who’s a step ahead of them

Muzaffar Ali lends words to his romance with the Sufis

Wiki al- Qaeda! US Congressman wants WikiLeaks on terror list

Al Qaeda claims attack on Yemen Shia

Kin of Pakistan drone victim to sue CIA

Women Human Rights Defenders Day marked in Lahore

“Ghadir” Special Volume Published in Sierra Leone

Media need to create awareness of women's issues, says Adela

Jeddah school gives pupils a ‘lesson’ in social service

Hariri says Lebanon won’t pressure Iran on nukes

Turkish PM to receive Qaddafi award

Western economic aid to Muslim nations who hate non-Muslims

Muslim Orphans Caught Between Sharia, U.S. Law

'WikiLeaks founder could be charged under Espionage Act'

Shahrukh to promote Bangladesh

Terrorist arrested for Sri Lankan team attack in Lahore

A former imam, ideologist of terrorists killed in Dagestan

Canada slammed for Afghan child prisoner handover

UK study highlights anti-Muslim hate crimes

Islamic Clothing Most Popular Fashion in Indonesia

Suburbs Greater Threat to Muslims in UK

Iran's supreme leader has terminal cancer: WikiLeaks

Man behind the bombshell: A disgruntled US soldier

Young US soldier at center of WikiLeaks probe

US vs WikiLeaks: Whose side are you on?

WikiLeaks: Pakistan, the world's nightmare

Bangladesh apex court upholds Zia's eviction

Pak peaceniks try to soothe pain of Mumbai terror attacks

Cong pulls RSS card on BJP over House deadlock

Roy & Geelani charged with sedition for ‘ anti- India’ barbs

Leaks trigger US diplomatic 9/11

Big Blow To World’s Big Brother

Musharraf won’t answer queries on Benazir death

WikiLeaks reports are 'worthless' and 'mischief': Iran

Turkey did not invite India on Afghan meet to appease Pak

Somali pirates hijack Malaysian ship

Missing Baloch leader not in ISI, MI custody, SHC told

NADRA cancels 80,000 CNICs issued to Afghan refugees

Nawaz dangerous, not trustworthy: Abu Dhabi crown prince

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia proposed planting chips in Gitmo prisoners upon release

November 30, 2010

The release of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables revealing backroom war negotiations — where truth sometimes becomes collateral damage — could become fodder for Al Qaeda propagandists, analysts warn.

Take for instance the blunt admission contained in the thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables that states Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh concealed U.S. missile strikes against a local branch of Al Qaeda.

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh is quoted as telling U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, then the American commander in the Middle East, in a January meeting.

The cable notes that Saleh’s comment prompted Yemen’s deputy prime minister to light-heartedly add that he had just ‘lied’ to parliament, telling them that Yemeni forces had carried out the strike.

The detailed cable goes on to quote Saleh’s concerns about drugs and weapons smuggled from nearby Djibouti — then joking that he is not concerned about whiskey being brought into the Islamic republic, “provided it’s good whiskey.”

It is a poorly kept secret that the U.S. has been heavily involved in Yemeni security since Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed credit for last year’s failed Christmas Day plot to down a Detroit-bound flight, among other attacks.

But some warn that Saleh’s candid admission in a country where foreign intervention is despised will be a boon for groups like AQAP.

“President Saleh’s comments will be translated and used over and over again by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as a recruiting and propaganda tool,” says Princeton scholar and noted Yemen analyst Gregory Johnsen.

“His statements regarding lying about U.S. air strikes and ‘whiskey’ fit seamlessly into a narrative that AQAP has been peddling in Yemen for years.”

Sunday’s disclosure of nearly a quarter-million cables from website whistle-blower WikiLeaks touches on some of the most sensitive and pressing national security concerns, including U.S. fears about the rise of Islamic militant organizations in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

But the cables also provide bizarre details of candid conversations that were sure to make foreign leaders squirm Sunday night and dread the continued release this week of thousands of more cables.

Saudi King Abdullah is reported to have suggested during a March 19 meeting with U.S. counterterrorism advisor John Brennan that surgically implanted chips could help monitor released Guantanamo detainees.

“ ‘I’ve just thought of something,’ the King added, and proposed implanting detainees with an electronic chip containing information about them and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth,” the cable states.

“ ‘This was done with horses and falcons,’ the King said,” according to the released document.

To which, Brennan reportedly replied, “horses don’t have good lawyers.”

The issue of closing Guantanamo appears often in the cables, although the anticipated disclosure of documents concerning Canadian detainee Omar Khadr was not released Sunday.

Negotiating placement for the Guantanamo detainees became a diplomatic version of “Let’s Make a Deal,” with State Department officials promising lucrative financial and political payoffs to personal meetings with President Barack Obama if allied countries would take a detainee off their hands.

One cable notes that accepting Guantanamo prisoners would be a “low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

http://theswash.com/2010/11/29/king-abdullah-of-saudi-arabia-proposed-planting-chips-in-gitmo-prisoners-upon-release/

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'Af govt releasing top Taliban men for cash'

Dec 1, 2010

KABUL: Afghan security forces are freeing captured senior Taliban for payment or political motives, with President Hamid Karzai and his powerful brother among those authorising and requesting releases.

The practice is so systemic that the Taliban have a committee focused on getting their fighters out of jail. It undermines the deterrent effect of arrest and the potential of the prisoner population as a card to play in peace talks, analysts say.

The releases, which were confirmed by several sources familiar with a range of cases, also raise questions about the capacity and political will of Afghan security forces meant to be taking over from foreign troops starting next year.

US forces will begin drawing down numbers from next July and Nato hopes to meet Karzai's 2014 target for all security to be provided by Afghan police and military.

But cases including that of Ghulam Haidar, a top insurgent in the southern Taliban heartland of Kandahar, suggest that a web of complex loyalties and widespread corruption are undermining the fight against the insurgency.

Ghulam Haidar, meaning "servant of God", is a common name in Afghanistan so when Canadian forces turned one of the most dangerous men in Kandahar city over to their Afghan counterparts in March, they may not have realised who he was.

Days later he was walking free again, according to three sources who have investigated prisoner releases or have seen documents about Haidar's capture. They asked not to be named because they are not authorised to release information .

A Kabul-based source with links to Western intelligence services confirmed Haidar was a Taliban leader known to have a major role in the insurgency around the city. Yet his freedom was requested by Karzai's younger brother Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of the Kandahar provincial council.

A spokesman for the interior ministry said it had not been involved in release of any Taliban. "We have no evidence that detained Taliban were released by government officials," Zemarai Bashary said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Af-govt-releasing-top-Taliban-men-for-cash/articleshow/7019775.cms#ixzz16phzUWA6

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Pakistani sues US for drone death of son & bro, seeks $500m

Dec 1, 2010

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani man whose brother and son were killed by what he said was a US drone strike is on an ambitious courtroom quest to get $500 million in compensation and end attacks Washington launches against top militants.

Kareem Khan said a CIA-operated drone fired missiles at his house in Pakistan's North Waziristan on the night of December 31 2009, killing his son Zaenullah, 18, and brother Asif Iqbal.

In a legal notice to US officials including defense secretary Robert Gates and CIA director Leon Panetta, his lawyer is demanding $500 million in compensation.

"We say to them that these drone attacks you are carrying out are killing innocent people," Khan said describing the message he wanted to convey to the Americans.

A US embassy spokesman said no communication had been received over the case.

Pakistan's government routinely protests against the strikes, but analysts say they could not occur without Pakistani help. Khan's attorney, Shahzad Akbar, also plans to file a constitutional petition in a bid to force a showdown.

"If the government is really pushed, we expect it to say it is happening with their knowledge, but not their consent, that they can't do anything against the United States," he said. Akbar hopes the Supreme Court will then rule the drone attacks illegal and put the United States under moral and legal pressure to end them.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistani-sues-US-for-drone-death-of-son-bro-seeks-500m/articleshow/7019786.cms#ixzz16pi5umyJ

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Arrest warrant for WikiLeaks chief as chaos spreads

Dec 1, 2010

WASHINGTON: Interpol on Wednesday issued a global arrest warrant for the shadowy founder of WikiLeaks, as the chaos from its massive dump of secret US cables spread from governments to financial markets.

The United States suspended the military's access to some sensitive US diplomatic correspondence in a bid to stop new leaks, as the leaders of France and Pakistan were the latest to be stung by cables obtained by the website.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a 39-year-old Australian computer hacker, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over the alleged rape and molestation of two women. Assange has denied the charges.

Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France, said early Wednesday local time that it had alerted all member states to arrest Assange if he is spotted. He spends much of his time in Britain and Sweden.

Assange is said to lead a spy-like life of rarely sleeping in the same place twice. Ecuador's left-leaning government initially offered Assange residency, but President Rafael Correa backtracked Tuesday.

In one of a series of defiant media interviews, Assange boasted that he was ready with a fresh "megaleak" that could take down a major bank, leading Bank of America shares to tumble more than three percent Tuesday on speculation.

Assange told Forbes magazine that the bank leak would "give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume."

In another interview conducted from an undisclosed location over a Skype Internet phone, Assange told Time magazine that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should resign over a cable that appeared to show the United States ordered diplomats to spy on foreign officials, particularly at the United Nations.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Clinton did not draft the document and that her name was affixed systematically to many cables out of Washington.

Crowley said the State Department had temporarily suspended the Pentagon's access to some of its correspondence, halting a trend to greater information sharing within the US government launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"Steps are being made ... to correct weaknesses in the system that have become evident because of this leak," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, who characterized Assange as an "anarchist."

WikiLeaks and US authorities have not fully explained how the 250,000 sensitive cables managed to go public. But suspicion has fallen on Bradley Manning, a disgruntled 23-year-old ex-Army intelligence analyst.

The Pentagon has faced questions on how it entrusted so much sensitive data to the low-ranking soldier, who was arrested in May after WikiLeaks released a video showing a 2007 US Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad that killed civilian reporters.

The latest revelations include US accounts that Pakistan's army chief has mused about mounting a coup against President Asif Ali Zardari and that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was so pro-US he considered sending troops to Iraq.

China has called on the United States to "properly handle" the leak after cables indicated that Beijing was frustrated with longtime ally North Korea and may accept its collapse and absorption by the US-backed South.

The head of Russia's foreign intelligence, Mikhail Fradkov, said that WikiLeaks "released a treasure trove of analytical material" and made clear that his service will make use of it.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu poked fun at a leaked memo's description of him as "exceptionally dangerous," saying that he sees only a smiling face in the mirror.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates also tried to play down the leak, telling reporters that some reactions have been "significantly overwrought."

"Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for US foreign policy, I think fairly modest," said Gates, a former CIA director and intelligence analyst.

But Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate who is popular with many US conservatives, denounced what she called the Obama administration's "incompetence."

"Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle WikiLeaks?" she wrote on Facebook, asking if the United States had requested that NATO and the European Union disrupt the website.

Palin called for the United States to treat WikiLeaks like a terrorist organization by freezing the assets of people working for it.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Arrest-warrant-for-WikiLeaks-chief-as-chaos-spreads/articleshow/7020402.cms#ixzz16pi9WEKV

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Plot to blow up Pakistani PM's rally foiled

Dec 1, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani security officials have arrested two militants and unearthed a plot to carry out a bomb blast at a public rally of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani in Sukhur district of Sindh province, media reports said on Wednesday.

The prime minister addressed several gatherings of people and party workers in the country Tuesday to mark the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party's 44th foundation day. He reached Sukhur in the evening.

"Some terrorists belonging to a banned militant outfit had plotted to sabotage the rally with explosives and time devices," Dunya TV reported.

Police, acting on a tip off, intercepted a goods truck that was coming from Peshawar. "Upon searching the truck, huge cache of arms including at least 12 Kalashnikovs and over three thousand bullets were recovered," the channel added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Plot-to-blow-up-Pakistani-PMs-rally-foiled/articleshow/7020441.cms#ixzz16piRJE46

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Asma Jahangir assails LHC’s Aasia order

Dec 1, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir denounced on Tuesday the stay granted by the Lahore High Court against any action leading to a presidential pardon for blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi.

In her first comment on the LHC order, Ms Jahangir expressed surprise that a stay had been granted on an action that was yet to take place. She disapproved of the idea of suspending the constitutional prerogative of the executive.

“If they want to get popular there are other ways to do it. Do not twist the laws as court verdicts become precedence,” she remarked.

Ms Jahangir was speaking at a seminar on ‘The blasphemy laws: a call for review, organised by Jinnah Institute,’ a think-tank launched by former information minister Sherry Rehman.

Constitutional expert Basharat Qadir read out article 45 of the Constitution which empowers the president to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/01/asma-jahangir-assails-lhc%E2%80%99s-aasia-order.html

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Balochistan governor escapes bomb attack

Dec 1, 2010

QUETTA: A convoy of Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi escaped a bomb blast in Mangochar area of Kalat, some 126km from here, on Tuesday.

The Balochistan Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The governor was returning to Quetta from Kalat after attending the funeral of his mother-in-law.

“It was a remote-controlled device concealed in a destroyed Nato trailer lying along the Quetta-Karachi highway,” a senior official told Dawn.

Governor Magsi and members of his convoy remained safe. Sources said the device exploded late because of jammers installed in vehicles in the convoy.

Security personnel cordoned off the area and arrested a suspect, identified as Hidayatullah Samalani.

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/01/balochistan-governor-escapes-bomb-attack-2.html

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Six killed in suicide attack in Bannu

Nov 30 2010

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber blew himself up near a police station in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing six people, including two children, officials said.

The attack occurred in the town of Bannu, which lies close to Pakistan’s tribal belt on the Afghan border.

“It was a suicide attack. The bomber came on foot and detonated himself near a police van close to a police station,” said Bannu police chief Iftikhar Khan.

“The death toll is now six. They include two boys aged seven and nine, one police official and three pedestrians. Nineteen people were injured,” Khan told AFP.

Officials had said earlier that four people died.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/11/30/explosion-in-bannu.html

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Pak court bars Zardari from pardoning blasphemy accused woman

Nov 30 2010

Lahore : A Pakistani court barred President Asif Ali Zardari or any other government functionary from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy in a case that has outraged rights activists.

Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif of the Lahore High Court issued the stay order in response to a petition filed by a man named Shahid Iqbal, who claimed Asia Bibi's case is sub-judice and the President was not authorised to grant her a reprieve.

Chief Justice Sharif also issued notices to the federal and Punjab governments, asking the federal Law Secretary and the provincial chief Secretary to file detailed replies on the matter by December 6.

The petitioner also demanded the disqualification of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer for taking up the matter of a presidential pardon for Asia Bibi.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-court-bars-zardari-from-pardoning-blasphemy-accused-woman/717681/

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Car bomb kills three, injures 22 in Iraq

Nov 30 2010

BAGHDAD: A car bomb exploded outside a restaurant in the town of Baquba northeast of Baghdad on Monday, killing three civilians and wounding 22, police and hospital sources said.

The car was parked in front of the restaurant when it exploded, killing three people who were passing by. Some of the wounded were in the restaurant, the police source said.

Baquba is 65 km to the north of the capital.

Earlier on Monday police found the bodies of a policeman and a member of the government-backed Al-Sahwa militia in western Baiji, 180 km north of Baghdad.

They also found the bullet-riddled body of a woman in eastern Mosul, 390 km north of the capital. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply since its peak in 2006-07 but killings and bombings still occur daily.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article203800.ece

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Nine Afghan guards kidnapped in Kabul province

Nov 30, 2010

KABUL: Afghan gunmen attacked a construction company in Kabul province, wounding one security guard and kidnapping nine others, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

Gunmen opened fire on 18 Afghan guards in the mountainous Sarobi district, about 27 miles east of the capital, Kabul on Monday.

Nine guards were kidnapped and nine escaped, said Zemeri Bashary, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. The gunmen also seized several rifles.

The attack came the same day an Afghan border policeman killed six American service members during a training mission, underscoring one of the risks in a US-led program to educate enough recruits to turn over the lead for security to Afghan forces by 2014.

The attacker was killed in the shootout, which appeared to be the deadliest attack of its kind in at least two years.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for killing the six US troops in Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border, saying the officer had enlisted as a sleeper agent in order to have an opportunity to kill foreigners.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/11/30/nine-afghan-guards-kidnapped-in-kabul-province.html

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Sherry submits bill for amending blasphemy laws

Nov 30 2010

ISLAMABAD: Amid announcements by the religious forces in the country to resist any move to change the blasphemy laws, former information minister and Pakistan People’s Party MNA Sherry Rehman has submitted a bill to the National Assembly Secretariat seeking an end to the death penalty under the existing blasphemy laws.

Talking to Dawn here on Monday, Ms Rehman said that she had submitted a private member’s bill as she believed that blasphemy laws as set out in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) found their roots in colonial laws and had in their present form become a source of victimisation and persecution of the minorities in the country.

The amendments to the Blasphemy Act, she said, were intended to ensure that all citizens of Pakistan had an equal right to constitutional protection and that miscarriages of justice in the name of blasphemy were avoided at all costs.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/11/30/sherry-submits-bill-for-amending-blasphemy-laws-

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Israel says Arabs agree on Iran threat

Nov 30, 2010

JERUSALEM: Israel's prime minister said Monday that newly leaked U.S. diplomatic memos provide clear proof that the Arab world agrees with his country's assessment that Iran is the chief danger to the Middle East.

According to the documents released Sunday by online whistle-blower Wikileaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program.

The king was one of several Arab voices in the documents calling for tough action against Iran - prompting accusations from the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that the leak was intended to stir "mischief."

"We don't give any value to these documents," Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Tehran. "Iran and regional states are friends. Such acts of mischief have no impact on relations between nations."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israel-says-Arabs-agree-on-Iran-

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N-tangle : Washington mulling military options against Tehran

Nov 30, 2010

WASHINGTON: Suspicious of Iran's nuclear capacity, the United States is weighing military options in the face of Tehran's announcement it had a nuclear power plant up and running, the top US military officer said today.

"We've been thinking about military options for a significant period of time," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff said in an interview with CNN.

Mullen said he doesn't believe that Iran's nuclear plant is for civilian use "for a second" .

"In fact, the information and intelligence that I've seen speak very specifically to the contrary. Iran is still very much on a path to be able to develop nuclear weapons, including weaponizing them, putting them on a missile and being able to use them," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/N-tangle-Washington-mulling-military-options-against-Tehran-/articleshow/7013106.cms#ixzz16jtDgNB3

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Iraq court gives Tariq Aziz new 10 year sentence

Nov 30 2010

29 November 2010, BAGHDAD - An Iraqi court on Monday convicted Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein’s longtime foreign minister, of terrorizing Shiite Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war, sentencing him to 10 years in prison.

The jail term piles a new penalty on the 74-year-old Aziz, the only Christian in Saddam’s inner circle who already faces an execution sentence from another case.

It is the fourth set of charges against Aziz, who is asking Iraqi President Jalal Talabani for a pardon to spare him from execution. Aziz attorney Giovanni di Stefano said Monday afternoon that it is also the last legal hurdle that the former diplomat and deputy prime minister had to face before Talabani could consider pardoning him.

Aziz, wearing a blue suit and leaning heavily on his cane, was without a lawyer in court. He has predicted he will die in prison.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2010/November/

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Shia leader killed in Karachi

Nov 30 2010

KARACHI: A Shia leader was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in Mehmoodabad on Monday. in an apparent sectarian killing incident as Muharram approaches.

Ferozabad police said Pasban-e-Aza president Nayyar Zaidi, 50, was travelling in his car with his nephew. An armed man intercepted them near the railway line in Chenesar Goth. He dragged out Zaidi from the car and shot him five times, they added.

DSP Chauhadry Asad said the culprit resorted to firing with a submachine gun and managed to flee on a motorcycle parked a few feet away from the spot.

The body was handed over to the family after medico-legal formalities. The police, with the help of Zaidi’s nephew, have drawn the sketch of the killer.

After the incident, tension prevailed in Soldier Bazaar, Ancholi, Rizvia and other Shia-majority areas while heavy contingents of law enforcers were called in.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\30\story_30-11-2010_pg7_4

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Sonia in Rae Bareli: Dalits and Muslims on agenda

30 Nov, 2010

Rae Bareli: The first day of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's three-day visit to her parliamentary constituency Monday seemed to be virtually devoted to Dalits and Muslims.

While it is a routine ritual for Gandhi to undertake periodical tours of her constituency, it was somewhat unusual for her to be concentrating only on Dalits and Muslims.

She visited a couple of Dalit homes, interacted with the community members and sought information relating to welfare and social security schemes funded by the central government.

She also visited a Darul-Uloom Mohammadi Madrasa in Hallaur village and readily conceded their demand for construction of an additional classroom out of her constituency fund.

Earlier, after landing in Lucknow Monday morning, she drove straight to the Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital run by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation from the erstwhile building of one-time popular English daily, National Herald.

The newspaper was founded by her grand-father-in-law Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister.

Full report at:

http://www.ummid.com/news/2010/November/29.11.2010/sonia_to_woo_muslims_dalits.h

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Ace scholar Dr. Omar Khalidi dies in an accident

30 Nov, 2010

Malegaon: Dr. Omar Khalidi, a great scholar and the man, who articulated the voice of the Indian Muslims during some of their darkest hours, died in an accident November 29.

He died at 11:15 AM, November 29, in Boston at the age of 57.

Dr. Khalidi had worked at Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) there for many years.

Survivors include his wife, Nigar Khalidi, and daughter, Aliya, but hundreds of thousands of admirers at home and abroad also mourn his passing.

Family sources informed from Boston that Dr Khalidi was driving in his car to MIT and was probably trying to catch a train to buy medicine at the next station when he was hit by a train.

Full report at:

http://www.ummid.com/news/2010/November/30.11.2010/dr_omar_khalidi_dies.htm

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Over 35 Pakistani Govt Websites Hacked

Nov 30, 2010

Over 35 Pakistani government websites went on a blink and the authorities blamed a group called "Indian Cyber Army". An official spokesman said the government took action to secure the hacked websites and most of them were restored by the afternoon.

Among the sites that were hacked was that of the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan's main anti-corruption agency.

A message posted by the hackers on the website of NAB read: "Hacked by Indian Cyber Army". The message was accompanied by a historical photograph of US soldiers raising a flag on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima in World War II but the American flag was replaced with an Indian one.

In an email sent to media outlets, the Indian Cyber Army claimed to have gained "root access" to the server hosting the government websites. The group hacked at least 36 of the 40 websites hosted on the server.

http://www.asianage.com/international/over-35-pakistani-govt-websites-hacked-186

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WikiLeaks: Hillary called India self-appointed front-runner for UNSC seat

Nov 29, 2010

Nov 30 2010

'Hillary called India self-appointed front-runner for UNSC seat'

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described India as a "self-appointed front-runner" for a permanent UNSC seat and directed US envoys to seek minute details about Indian diplomats stationed at the United Nations headquarters, according to classified documents released by WikiLeaks today.

In a potentially damaging disclosure, the whistle-blower website released a "secret" cable issued by Clinton on July 31, 2009, as part of its massive leak of a quarter million classified documents of the American government.

The cable posted by The New York Times gave directions to US diplomats to collect information on key issues like reform of the UN Security Council and Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and pass it on to the intelligence agencies, including on foreign associates' credit card and frequent-flier numbers that could be used to track a person's movements.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/WikiLeaks-Hillary-called-India-self-appointed-front-

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Saudi King calls Zardari rotten head

Nov 30 2010

ISLAMABAD: The king of Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Pakistan, has labelled President Asif Ali Zardari the greatest obstacle to the country's progress.

"When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body," King Abdullah was quoted as saying by the New York Times in leaked US diplomatic cables.

Zardari is reportedly unpopular at home and has spent 11 years in jail on charges ranging from corruption to murder, but has never been convicted.

A spokesman for the President, who is currently on a visit to Sri Lanka has dismissed the reported insult, saying that Zardari considers King Abdullah his "elder brother".

"The so called leaks are attempt to create misperceptions between two brotherly Islamic countries.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Saudi-King-calls-Zardari-rotten-head/articleshow/7010639.cms#ixzz16jt38ByB

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U.S. behind disclosures, says Ahmadinejad

Atul Aneja

Nov 30 2010

DUBAI: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the U.S. of masterminding the release of thousands of cables by the WikiLeaks website as part of a “psychological warfare” campaign. At a press conference in Tehran on Monday, Mr. Ahamdinejad said the Americans had released the documents intentionally as part of a well organised plan. Asked to elaborate, he said: “Let me first correct you. The material was not leaked, but rather released in an organised way,” Iran's state-run Press TV reported.

A cable of April 20, 2008 released by WikiLeaks cites Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz comparing Iran to the “head of a snake” which needed to be “cut off.” However, in his riposte, the Iranian President stressed that the documents would not affect Tehran's external relations. “The U.S. administration released them and based on them they pass judgment …. [The documents] have no legal value and will not have the political effect they seek,” Press TV quoted him as saying. Mr. Ahmadinejad compared the WikiLeaks disclosure to a “game,” which, in his view is “not worth commenting upon and that no one would waste their time reviewing them”.

Full report at:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/11/30/stories/2010113063040700.htm

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CIA targets Qaeda No. 2 who’s a step ahead of them

Nov 30 2010

THE CENTRAL Intelligence Agency ( CIA) has come closer to capturing Osama bin Laden’s top deputy than ever before. The CIA has been on the trail of Ayman al- Zawahiri for the past nine years.

Targeting al- Zawahiri — along with al- Qaeda chief bin Laden — forms the core of the US’s counter- terror efforts.

“ Finding senior al- Qaeda terrorists — at a time when we’re pursuing the most aggressive counter- terrorism operations in our history — is of course a top priority for the CIA,” agency spokesperson George Little said.

But unlike bin Laden — a cipher since the September 11 attacks who has surfaced only in occasional taped statements — al- Zawahiri has kept a higher public profile, taking risks that expose him more. But despite this, he has always been able to keep several steps ahead of his pursuers.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Muzaffar Ali lends words to his romance with the Sufis

By Aishwarya Sati

Nov 30 2010

Muzaffar Ali, the name behind the celebrated Jehan- e- Khusrau festival of Sufi music, took his affair with the Sufi way of life a step further with the launch of the coffee table book, The Sufis of The Punjab recently. The book that touches manifold aspects of Sufism as it has developed over the centuries in the land of five rivers, was launched by Gursharan Kaur, the wife of the prime minister Manmohan Singh.

“ The Punjab has been a vital gateway to our subcontinent. And Sufis have been in Punjab for over a thousand years, thanks to the constant movement of people. All along, a message of peace and tolerance was being generated which affected the spiritual side of the land,” said the noted filmmaker and fashion designer.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Wiki al- Qaeda! US Congressman wants WikiLeaks on terror list

Nov 30 2010

PETER King, the incoming chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security, has demanded a ban on the whistleblower site WikiLeaks for allegedly putting thousands of American lives at risk.

King, a Republican Congressman from the state of New York, has written to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and US Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday asking them to put WikiLeaks in the State Department’s list of “ foreign terrorist organisations”. The state department’s list of foreign terrorist organisations includes 47 terror outfits including the al- Qaeda, Lashkar- e- Tayyeba and Lashkar- e- Jhangvi.

King said he also supports Holder in his effort to prosecute Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, for violating the Espionage Act. “ I have also called upon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call WikiLeaks a foreign terrorist organisation,” King told a section of the US media late Sunday night.

Full report at: Mail Today

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Al Qaeda claims attack on Yemen Shia

November 30, 2010

Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing killing Shiite tribesmen in northern Yemen. In a statement appearing Sunday on extremist websites, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula described the Shiites as "despicable plants" to be uprooted, according to the SITE Intelligence Unit, which monitors such sites.

On Wednesday, a suicide car bomber struck a convoy of Shiites in northern Yemen killing 17. Though an estimated 15-30 percent of the population is Shiite, Yemen has been spared sectarian warfare.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/300018/Al-Qaeda-claims-attack-on-Yemen-Shia.html

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Kin of Pakistan drone victim to sue CIA

Nov 30 2010

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani man who says he lost his son and brother in an American missile attack in the northwest threatened Monday to sue the CIA unless he receives compensation, a move that will draw attention to civilian casualties in such strikes.

Kareem Khan and his lawyers said they were seeking $500 million in two weeks or they would sue CIA director Leon Panetta, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a man they said was the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad for “wrongful death” in a Pakistani court.

The United States does not publicly admit to firing missiles into northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border, much less say who they are targeting or whether civilians are also being killed. Privately, officials say they are taking out Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants and dispute accounts that innocents often die.

Pakistani officials, who face criticism from their own people for allowing the attacks, rarely discuss them.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article203502.ece

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Women Human Rights Defenders Day marked in Lahore

Nov 30 2010

LAHORE: Different non-governmental organisations got together for the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day. Shirkat Gah and South Asia Partnership (SAP) Pakistan organised a solidarity walk at the Lahore Press Club on Monday.

Dozens of other women rights activists from all over Punjab also participated in the walk. The day is celebrated in connection to the ‘16 Days of Activism’ to reject and prevent violence against women.

Talking to Daily Times, SAP Media Coordinator Farzana Mumtaz said, “We are paying tribute to the defenders of women’s rights. Pakistan is not only facing violence against women, but also the people who are working for women rights have also been under pressure. We want to create an atmosphere where every person should live freely.”

Talking about the blasphemy law, she said that every anti-human law must be eliminated from Pakistan. “We would try our best to eliminate these types of laws from our society. We as women human rights defenders, peace activists, human rights advocates, feminists, young and old, around the world, should speak out against all forms of violence and commit ourselves to the values of equality and peace.”

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\30\story_30-11-2010_pg13_6

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“Ghadir” Special Volume Published in Sierra Leone

Nov 30 2010

A book on “Ghadir” was published in 2000 copies with the cooperation of Iran Cultural Center in Sierra Leone in Moyamba region, South West of the country.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A book on “Ghadir” was published in 2000 copies with the cooperation of Iran Cultural Center in Sierra Leone in Moyamba region, South West of the country.

Mohammadali Siseh, in charge of Ahlul Bayt (AS) Islamic Organization published the book entitled “Ghadir-2010” which was distributed among scholars, Imams of mosques, preachers and university lecturers and students of the country.

Ghadir incident in detail, including the call for attending Hajj pilgrimage by the holy prophet (PBUH) in the 10th of Hijrah, future of the leadership of the Ummah in view of the holy prophet (PBUH), date of the departure to the holy city of Makkah, teaching of Hajj rituals, and Welayah (leadership) of the infallible imams (AS) are among the themes discussed at the volume.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=214792

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Media need to create awareness of women's issues, says Adela

Nov 30 2010

JEDDAH: Princess Adela bint Abdullah lauded the achievements of Saudi women in different fields in a presentation on the role of Saudi women in society.

Speaking at the first session of the Forum on the Participation of Women in National Development on Monday, Princess Adela emphasized that women face many challenges at work because of tradition. The forum was opened by her on Sunday night.

“The participation of women in social development in developing countries is still not clear. Women face many challenges at work because of tradition,” she said.

The first day of the two-day event, organized by the Khadijah bint Khuwallid Center at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was attended by a large number of women as well as men.

Princess Adela said 93 percent of Saudi women have been to school and added there are 215,000 women teachers, far exceeding their male counterparts.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article203877.ece

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Jeddah school gives pupils a ‘lesson’ in social service

Nov 30 2010

JEDDAH: Pupils at Al-Ferdous Schools have once more volunteered to help the needy, this time by providing poor pupils from other schools with school bags and other basic school stationery.

“The school is trying to teach pupils the concept of social awareness by involving them in community service with the hope that this will be the start for many good deeds for the rest of their lives,” said Sameera Al-Harakan, administrator at Al-Ferdous Schools.

Pupils at the school were involved with providing relief to people affected by the floods last year in Jeddah.

The latest project is titled “School Bag.” “One of the teachers involved in community service classes picks up on a project or a charity issue that needs urgent help and then we involve the children,” said Al-Harakan.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article203741.ece

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Hariri says Lebanon won’t pressure Iran on nukes

Nov 30 2010

TEHRAN: Lebanon’s prime minister said Monday his country will not be part of any international group that aims to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

Saad Hariri said Lebanon supports Iran's right to have nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

The West suspects Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon — a charge Tehran denies, saying the program is only geared toward peaceful aims.

Hariri spoke at the end of his three-day visit to Iran. It followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's October tour of Lebanon, during which the Iranian leader reinforced Tehran's ties to Hezbollah that is part of Hariri's fragile unity government.

Lebanese and Iranian officials signed several accords on Monday.

Earlier during a meeting, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Hariri that he should strengthen his ties with Hezbollah. The website of Khamenei's office said he was "pleased" that Hariri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah currently had good ties, adding "these relations must be more consolidated."

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article203908.ece

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Turkish PM to receive Qaddafi award

Nov 30 2010

ANKARA: Turkey's prime minister is flying to Tripoli to attend an EU-African summit and receive a human rights award, given in the name of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government is planning to open several diplomatic missions across Africa to boost relations with African nations while seeking to become a member of the European Union. Turkey already has friendly ties with Libya and Sudan.

Erdogan said Monday the award he will receive is a sign of international appreciation of Turkey's efforts for “peace, justice and human rights.” Erdogan's international profile has risen lately with Muslims across the Middle East holding him up as a hero for his tough talk against Israel.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article203796.ece

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Western economic aid to Muslim nations who hate non-Muslims.

Lee Jay Walker

Nov 30 2010

The Islamic onslaught in Pakistan continues to grow despite this nation being deemed an ally and receiving Western economic aid throughout this land. The recent floods saw mainly Western nations donating quickly but just like Afghanistan and Iraq it is clear that Muslims still hate religious minorities.

Political leaders in non-Muslim nations keep on telling us how peaceful the religion of Islam is and President Obama says very little about Islamic persecution of minorities. Instead, President Obama and other political leaders, and many parts of the mass media, desire to not only gloss over reality but they are prepared to lie openly and use quotes that suit their agenda.

In Afghanistan thousands of American troops and other allied forces have been killed for trying to develop and stabilize a nation which is divided by ethnicity, sectarianism, and clan based politics. However, if one Afghan national desires to openly convert to Christianity or Buddhism or any other non-Muslim faith then they face the death penalty.

Full report at:

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=2455

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Muslim Orphans Caught Between Sharia, U.S. Law

Nov 30 2010

Islamic law is hindering American Muslims from adopting needy children. Child welfare agencies report they're having trouble finding new homes for Muslim children removed from their homes.

The problem stems from a gap between Western and Islamic law.

Muslims wanting to adopt refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq also say their faith is keeping them from adopting. Islamic law stresses the importance of direct lineage when passing on the family name and inheritance.

Instead of adoption, it emphasizes a guardianship system called kafalah that resembles foster care.

Full report at:

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2010/November/Muslim-Orphans-Caught-Between-Islamic-Western-Law-/

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'WikiLeaks founder could be charged under Espionage Act'

Nov 30 2010

Washington : WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be charged under the Espionage Act for making public classified US government documents which he obtained illegally, a media report said here on Tuesday.

US authorities are investigating whether Assange, also Editor-in-Chief of the whistle-blower website, violated criminal laws by disclosing the classified information, 'The Washington Post' reported.

The FBI is examining everyone who came into possession of the documents, including those who gave the material to WikiLeaks and also the organisation itself, it said, citing those familiar with the probe.

According to the Post, charges against WikiLeaks and Assange could be filed under the Espionage Act.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/wikileaks-founder-could-be-charged-under-espionage-act/718043/

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Shahrukh to promote Bangladesh

Nov 30 2010

Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan will promote Bangladesh by calling on the world community to explore the beauty of the country, claimed one of the organisers of the concert King Khan Live in the city.

"We would like to tell the world through Shahrukh's utterance that Bangladesh is a country of immense natural beauty," said Shafique Alam Mehdi, chairman of Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), official sponsor of the mega event.

At a press conference jointly organised by BTB and Antar Showbiz at a city hotel, he said the Bollywood actor would campaign for the Sundarbans and would tell the world people to visit Bangladesh and the world's longest sea beach Cox's Bazar during the concert.

"The programme will be one of the major events in the realm of culture and entertainment in Bangladesh and it will have a huge impact on our tourism if Shahrukh speaks about the country's beauty," Shafique, also the secretary-in-charge of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, observed.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=164237

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Terrorist arrested for Sri Lankan team attack in Lahore

Nov 30, 2010

LAHORE: A key terror suspect has been arrested for his involvement in the March 2009 brazen attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore that left six players injured and six escorting policemen dead.

Express Tribune on Tuesday quoted police officials as confirming the arrest of Qari Abdul Wahab, alias Umar alias Farhan alias Behram alias Umar Daraz, son of Akbar.

At least six Sri Lankan cricketers -- captain Mahela Jayawaredene, his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas -- were injured when the team bus came under heavy attack from gunmen en route to the Gaddafi Stadium for a Test match.

Six escorting policemen were killed in the attack that took place near the Liberty Market crossing.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Terrorist-arrested-for-Sri-Lankan-team-

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A former imam, ideologist of terrorists killed in Dagestan

Nov 30 2010

Makhachkala, November 29, Interfax - One of the militants killed in the Kizlyar district in, Dagestan has been identified as Abdulmumin Abdulmuminov born in the village of Khutsiyevka known as an ideologue of terrorists, Interfax was told at the Russian National Antiterrorist Committee.

"Abdulmuminov used to be an imam at a mosque in the district. Last May he went into hiding and was regarded as an ideologist of the underground. Extremist websites posted his articles and calls for a jihad. The identification of the second dead militant continues. The special effort in the district also continues," a spokesman for the committee said.

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7961

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Canada slammed for Afghan child prisoner handover

30 November 2010

OTTAWA - Opposition legislators blasted the Canadian government on Monday after it emerged that Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan captured children suspected of working with the Taliban and then handed them over to an Afghan security unit alleged to have abused prisoners.

The revelations are the latest blow to Canada’s increasingly unpopular combat mission in southern Afghanistan, which is due to end next year.

The question of Afghan detainees — and whether Canadi