Pages

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The War within Islam
30 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Pakistan's National Interest: The Strategic Depth Thesis

Those trying to reinvent the strategic depth thesis by claiming that Pakistan has ‘legitimate’ interests in Afghanistan should also try to define these interests. ... And the second more serious issue is the perception that a Pakistani civilian government lacks the support of the country’s establishment and something like Kargil may take place once a process starts. The Pakistan Army may of course have its own reasons. It is widely perceived that our army per chance or choice is India-centric. Many think that once there is genuine peace between the two nations, the army may lose the justification for its existence. Frankly, this perception is deeply flawed. The importance of a standing army in any nation’s defence cannot be overstated. The army will stay put because thanks to the war on terror it has acquired an internal counterinsurgency-related dimension too. The only change may come in defence spending for a bit. Once the country gets breathing space through these means and the economy manages to stand on its feet, the defence budget may also not be such a big burden. India, please note, has grown so beyond us. Rather than wasting more time in trying to control its policy choices, we need to harness its market potential for the greater good. --Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Pakistan's National Interest: The Strategic Depth Thesis

By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Those trying to reinvent the strategic depth thesis by claiming that Pakistan has ‘legitimate’ interests in Afghanistan should also try to define these interests. If they are talking of trade interests, such concerns can effectively be managed through effective diplomacy.

Pakistanis are jubilant, as if we have won another cricket final against India. Not only did the Chinese premier decide to come to Pakistan but he reiterated his nation’s support for us while addressing our parliament too. So the situation is not too bad. Or is it? Then perhaps our polite guest could not shatter our hopes by giving us a lecture on the virtues of reality. This of course proves that China indeed is a great friend of Pakistan. But please do believe me when I say that while the Chinese premier did say what we wanted to hear, we should not ignore the fact that the country is in a deeper mess than we have ever thought.

I know many among my friends say that I am being too harsh on this nation. That other nations also fail in their commitments. That countries like the US and Britain also support insurgencies. That we cannot keep trying to please the world. That the Taliban are not our enemies and we should engage with them through dialogue because the US is trying to do the same. That the Blasphemy Law is only one of the laws being abused in this country and similar instances are found abroad too. That if we talk about Indo-Pak peace building today, we are not patriotic enough. That secularism and democracy are alien concepts not suitable to the religiously charged environment of Pakistan.

Let me start answering the intrinsic distrust in all these questions by repeating here my constant refrain before our foreign peers. The only part of the world that I care about is my country. I do not care how or why it was created, what follies its various governments committed. The only thing I care about is that it is my home, I am what I am because of it, I love it, I can die for it and I definitely want to see it improving. It breaks my heart to see such a humungous potential being squandered by a myopic outlook. Trust me, unlike many who will take an instant in declaring me an enemy of the state or a foreign stooge, I take the pain and suffering of this nation quite literally and physically. I am a poor man by choice and anyone who thinks I argue all this because of foreign funds will be deeply disappointed.

As for those who do not want to give up their ideational political contradictions, I have only one thing to say. The founder of this nation, the Quaid-e-Azam, our sole spokesman then, chose democracy as the system of governance for this country. No matter how much he is projected otherwise or quoted out of context, the fact remains that he, essentially, was a secular man. It is hard to imagine that a person of his outlook would envision a state where faith takes precedence over citizen’s rights or civil liberties. Similarly, while it is true that in the 1947 war, especially in Operation Gulmarg, a ragtag band of sub-state actors was used, and the Quaid did at least tolerate their involvement, he never approved proxy wars as a state policy. In 1947 too, we often forget, it was a difficult choice made most likely out of sheer desperation over General Gracey’s insubordination and the birth pangs of the nascent state. If anything it was actually a political reaction to the army’s institutional defiance rather than a policy decision to give the army another tool against its neighbours. It is true that other countries, some of them otherwise quite civilised, I grant you, too fight proxy wars. But clearly no one is foolish enough to create a Frankenstein by equipping the insurgents with a religious cover or narrative.

Those trying to reinvent the strategic depth thesis by claiming that Pakistan has ‘legitimate’ interests in Afghanistan should also try to define these interests. If they are talking of trade interests, such concerns can effectively be managed through effective diplomacy. If all this talk is about the Indian presence in Afghanistan, then let me be very honest with you; the Indian presence there matters to us because there is hostility between the two countries. It is true that the two countries have fought four wars and a cold war continues between the two to date. This can be mitigated through direct dialogue and peace building. I know that there is no shortcut to peace. If there is any process in place it will take its due course. But the biggest problem is the absence of a process. I think there are two bottlenecks in its way. First of course is the pressure from the radical Hindu parties in India, especially following the Mumbai carnage. And the second more serious issue is the perception that a Pakistani civilian government lacks the support of the country’s establishment and something like Kargil may take place once a process starts.

The Pakistan Army may of course have its own reasons. It is widely perceived that our army per chance or choice is India-centric. Many think that once there is genuine peace between the two nations, the army may lose the justification for its existence. Frankly, this perception is deeply flawed. The importance of a standing army in any nation’s defence cannot be overstated. The army will stay put because thanks to the war on terror it has acquired an internal counterinsurgency-related dimension too. The only change may come in defence spending for a bit. Once the country gets breathing space through these means and the economy manages to stand on its feet, the defence budget may also not be such a big burden. India, please note, has grown so beyond us. Rather than wasting more time in trying to control its policy choices, we need to harness its market potential for the greater good.

And this brings us to the final point. This country’s economy needs a genuine boost. It is sad that we still want to play power poker on such crucial national issues. It is sad how we are defeating our national interest by playing partisan. The issue of reformed general sales tax (RGST) is critical to our economic revival and simultaneously the government should be able to work out the details of a growth stimulus. Build the economy and then indulge in imperial hubris as much as you like. But in international relations too, from Nazi Germany to Saddam’s Iraq and Ahmadinejad’s Iran, isolation has never been and will never be anything constructive.

The writer is an independent columnist and a talk show host. He can be reached at farukh@gmail.com

Source: Daily Times

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamWarWithinIslam_1.aspx?ArticleID=3852

Islam and Human Rights
30 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
A Call For Democracy And Human Rights In The Arab States

On Oct. 22-23, a group of Arab intellectuals, politicians, and civil society advocates convened a Conference on the Future of Democracy and Human Rights in the Arab World in Casablanca. Citing the “dramatic and alarming backsliding of political reforms in the Arab world,” they issued a remarkable, frank and courageousappeal to the Arab nations. The “Casablanca Call for Democracy and Human Rights” represents a powerful consensus among disparate political groups that democracy must be the foundation for social and political justice in the region. As such, it represents a signal event for Arab democrats and for friends of democracy around the world. -- Shanker Blog, A Voice of the Albert Shanker Institute

A Call For Democracy And Human Rights In The Arab States

By Shanker Blog, A Voice of the Albert Shanker Institute

December 20, 2010

On Oct. 22-23, a group of Arab intellectuals, politicians, and civil society advocates convened a Conference on the Future of Democracy and Human Rights in the Arab World in Casablanca. Citing the “dramatic and alarming backsliding of political reforms in the Arab world,” they issued a remarkable, frank and courageousappeal to the Arab nations. The “Casablanca Call for Democracy and Human Rights” represents a powerful consensus among disparate political groups that democracy must be the foundation for social and political justice in the region. As such, it represents a signal event for Arab democrats and for friends of democracy around the world.

Among the group’s key appeals was for the right to organize free and independent trade unions. The call underscores both the courage of the signatories and the dismal situation for labor. The Middle East region has the worst trade union rights record in the world, according to a recent Freedom House report, which found that unions in the area are controlled by the government, severely repressed, or banned outright.

The group also demanded that women (and youth) be empowered to act as equal partners in the development of their own nations, and called for freedom of expression and thought for all citizens.

Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), the organization that organized the “Casablanca Call,” noted that education is at the core of any development effort and that freedom of expression must include academic freedom in schools and universities. Any punishment or silencing of academic, scientific, political, economic, or religious speech is wrong and does not contribute to real and meaningful democracy, he said.

This “Casablanca Call” – which was overlooked by an American media preoccupied with midterm elections – also demands the release of all political prisoners, an end to torture, an independent judiciary and the supremacy of the rule of law, independent political parties, protection and recognition for independent civil society groups, respect for press freedom, and much, much more.

The group has set a goal of 2,000 signatures. As of this writing, around 1,000 Arab leaders from across the region have signed the appeal, representing groups that are secular and Islamic, civil and political.

The appeal also takes aim at political divisions among Arabs that are rooted in disagreements over the role of religion in political life. It urges Arabs to address and recognize the “interconnectedness of political reform with the renewal of religious thought,” and supports “the dialogue that began several years ago between Islamists and secularists at the local and regional levels.” That dialogue, according to the statement, would provide a “solid ground for the protection of democracy and human rights.” The appeal also calls for “ijtihad” – independent religious inquiry – in a “climate of complete freedom of thought, under democratic systems of government.”

The statement comes at a fraught moment for Muslim democrats. Although some democracy specialists have estimated that around half of the world’s more than one billion Muslims live in “democracies, near democracies or intermittent democracies,” there are no fully free nations in the Middle East, according to Freedom House’s 2010 Freedom in the World Report. As the Report notes, “Violence remains a dominant theme in the politics of the region and a significant impediment to the exercise of fundamental freedoms” in many countries.

Why democracy is having difficulty taking root in Arab countries is puzzling because polls confirm that “Arabs show a clear preference for a democratic system….” The reasons for democratic failure are complex, according to specialists. Democratic transitions are difficult, and attended by many uncertainties. Distrust between competing groups, moderate Islamists, secularists, and others is widespread. It is the historic distrust among these groups that makes the “Casablanca Call” so impressive. While differences remain – differences which have religious and cultural dimensions – the “Call” reinforces the argument that these differences are not rooted in the belief that Islam and democracy are incompatible.

The statement’s fearless call for self-examination and reform within the Arab world does not let the rest of the world off the hook. It also urges “democratic forces in the entire world to put pressure on their own governments to refrain from supporting non-democratic regimes in the Arab world, and from adopting double standards in their relations with Arab regimes”.

Although the Casablanca participants did not single out the U.S., Muslim democrats have been disappointed with U.S. policy, under Presidents Bush and Obama, who are viewed as having put democracy and human rights issues on the backburner.

The CSID conducted the conference, in cooperation with the Centre MADA, a civil society organization based in Casablanca.

Source: Shankerblog.org

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamHumanRights_1.aspx?ArticleID=3853


Islamic Ideology
30 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Support for Islamism is increasing

Revolutionary Islamism entails the two distinct denominations of Islam in West Asia. The US’s attempt to win over this attitude is flawed because it undermines the fact that such radical views are backed by structural and communal issues....

Why do people support Hamas and Hizbullah? Obviously, one reason is that they fight Israel (a country with which Jordan is at peace, by the way) but sympathy for the revolutionary Islamist aspect of Hamas and Hizbullah must be a huge factor here. Indeed, there is not necessarily any conflict between these two aspects. The Islamists are considered to be better fighters than the nationalists, while making war for the next generation is more attractive to those backing Hamas and Hizbullah than is making peace (a strategy associated with the Palestinian Authority and Fatah). Finally, let’s not forget that both of these groups are very anti-Western and anti-American. -- Barry Rubin

Support for Islamism is increasing

By Barry Rubin

December 23, 2010

Revolutionary Islamism entails the two distinct denominations of Islam in West Asia. The US’s attempt to win over this attitude is flawed because it undermines the fact that such radical views are backed by structural and communal issues

There’s a lot of interesting material in the Pew Foundation’s latest poll of West Asia, a survey that focuses on attitudes toward Islamism and revolutionary Islamist groups. The analysis that accompanies the poll, however, is not very good, so here is mine.

For example, in evaluating attitudes toward Hamas and Hizbullah, Pew says that they receive “mixed ratings from Muslim publics (while) opinions of Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, are consistently negative…” The implication is that the poll shows that people in these countries are not radical. Actually, the poll shows the precise opposite.

To begin with, let’s look at Jordan. There, 55 per cent say they like Hizbullah (against 43 per cent negative) while 60 per cent are favourable (compared to 34 per cent negative) toward Hamas. Yet this is even more impressive than the figures indicate. Jordan is a staunchly Sunni country whose Government opposes the ambitions of Iran and Syria, indeed it often identifies the threat as coming from Shia Muslims. Hizbullah is a Shia group which also is an agent of Iran and Syria. For a majority to praise that organisation, conscious of strong Government disapproval, is phenomenal.

The figures for Hamas can be more easily explained by the Palestinian connection. Yet the difference between support for Hamas and for Hizbullah in terms of public opinion isn’t that great. And liking Hamas also suggests that Jordan’s people — of whom a majority are Palestinian — prefer Hamas over Fatah and the Palestinian Authority — Hamas’s rival.

Why do people support Hamas and Hizbullah? Obviously, one reason is that they fight Israel (a country with which Jordan is at peace, by the way) but sympathy for the revolutionary Islamist aspect of Hamas and Hizbullah must be a huge factor here. Indeed, there is not necessarily any conflict between these two aspects. The Islamists are considered to be better fighters than the nationalists, while making war for the next generation is more attractive to those backing Hamas and Hizbullah than is making peace (a strategy associated with the Palestinian Authority and Fatah). Finally, let’s not forget that both of these groups are very anti-Western and anti-American.

But now let’s look at Al Qaeda. In Jordan, 34 per cent are favourable toward that terrorist group while 62 per cent are negative. That outcome, however, contrary to Pew’s spin on the numbers, is not at all encouraging. Remember that Al Qaeda carried out the September 11 attacks. Moreover, it has conducted terrorist attacks in neighbouring Iraq and, most important of all, it has murdered people within Jordan itself. The fact that one-third of Jordanians — whose country is generally considered the most pro-Western in the Arab world — like Al Qaeda is chilling indeed. Then, too, this preference cannot be attributed to anti-Israel sentiment since the vast majority of Al Qaeda’s operations are intended to overthrow Arab, Muslim Governments.

So one-third of Jordan’s people favour the most extremist terrorist group — despite the fact that it has murdered Jordanians and is hated by their Government — and roughly half or more like revolutionary Islamist organisation that are clients of their own country’s nominally biggest threats. What does that say about the hopes for moderation and stability?

Turning to Egypt, “only” 30 per cent like Hizbullah (66 per cent don’t like) 49 per cent are favourable toward Hamas (48 per cent are negative); and 20 per cent smile (72 per cent frown) at Al Qaeda. This is more encouraging than the figures in Jordan. But remember that not only is Egypt solidly Sunni but the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, the leaders of Islamism in Egypt, don’t like Hizbullah because it is a Shia group. The Egyptian Government has accused Hizbullah of trying to foment terrorism in Egypt. The Egyptian Government also views Hamas as a threat.

Roughly speaking, one-fifth of Egyptians applaud the most extreme Islamist terrorist group, while around one-third back revolutionary Islamists abroad. This doesn’t tell us what proportion of Egyptians want an Islamist Government at home, but it is an indicator.

And just remember that in two countries considered US allies and receiving US aid, one-third and one-fifth of the population, respectively, support the group that killed 3,000 Americans on September 11. The Obama Administration’s response is that this is the reason it has to follow certain policies: To win over those who are most antagonistic and to keep others from becoming more radical. The problem is that these policies don’t achieve those goals. What determines these views are structural and communal issues within each country.

Here’s an example of that point. In Lebanon, attitudes divide along sectarian lines. While 94 per cent of Shia Muslims support Hizbullah (only 5 per cent are negative), 84 per cent of Sunnis are unfavourable on Hizbullah (only 12 per cent are positive) toward it. Christians are 87 per cent negative on Hizbullah (and only 10 per cent positive). This shows why Hizbullah cannot just take over Lebanon itself, but of course Lebanon is largely being taken over by Iranian-Syrian power plus their local collaborators, of which Hizbullah is only one of the elements.

--The writer is director of the GLORIA Center, Tel Aviv, and editor of the MERIA Journal. To be concluded.

Source: Daily Pioneer

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicIdeology_1.aspx?ArticleID=3854









Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
30 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
In Yemen, al-Qaeda is a low priority

More than 50 per cent of Yemen's children are malnourished, rivalling war zones like Sudan's Darfur and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. That's just one of many worrying statistics in Yemen. Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day and doesn't have access to proper sanitation. Less than a tenth of the roads are paved. Water is running out. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes by conflict, flooding into cities. The government is riddled with corruption, has little control outside the capital, and its main source of income — oil — could run dry in a decade. As a result, al-Qaeda is far down on a long list of worries for most Yemenis. Donor nations are meeting in February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to gather millions of dollars for development in Yemen. Aid groups, economists and officials are scurrying to develop poverty reduction and economic restructuring plans for this nation of 23 million. -- Sarah El Deeb

In Yemen, al-Qaeda is a low priority

By Sarah El Deeb

A doctor would have recognised the signs of chronic malnutrition immediately in the seven-month-old girl, the swollen stomach, the constant cough. Her mother, though, had only traditional healers to turn to in her Yemeni mountain village, and they told her to stop feeding the girl.

The mother's feed had spoiled, they said. Their solution: stuff the baby's nose with ghee.

When that didn't work, the young mother, Sayeda al-Wadei, made the arduous 60-mile journey through the mountains to the closest hospital with facilities to treat her daughter, in the capital Sanaa.

Poverty, displacement

More than 50 per cent of Yemen's children are malnourished, rivalling war zones like Sudan's Darfur and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. That's just one of many worrying statistics in Yemen.

Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day and doesn't have access to proper sanitation. Less than a tenth of the roads are paved. Water is running out. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes by conflict, flooding into cities. The government is riddled with corruption, has little control outside the capital, and its main source of income — oil — could run dry in a decade.

As a result, al-Qaeda is far down on a long list of worries for most Yemenis. Donor nations are meeting in February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to gather millions of dollars for development in Yemen. Aid groups, economists and officials are scurrying to develop poverty reduction and economic restructuring plans for this nation of 23 million.

The United States has already dedicated $150 million in development money, alongside its counterterrorism aid to fight al-Qaeda, which is to grow to from $150 million to $250 million over the next year. Other donor countries have given millions more, acknowledging that the terror network cannot be uprooted unless Yemen is pulled out of poverty.

“The neighbouring countries and Europeans and U.S. have a lot of stake, not only in Yemen, but in the Middle East. I don't think anyone wants to see Yemen failing,” said Benson Ateng, the World Bank's Yemen country manager.

Some aid workers fear that the government, which clings to power through patronage, will direct aid to allied tribes while leaving others out in the cold, fuelling resentment. A focus by donors on steering aid to areas with a known al-Qaeda presence, not necessarily the poorest zones, may also backfire.

Malnutrition typifies how overlapping problems lead to crisis. Much of Yemen's agriculture — and 30 per cent of its water — has turned to cultivating qat, the mildly stimulating leaf that Yemenis addictively chew, leaving the country a net food importer with little cash to pay for it. At the same time, health infrastructure and education is lacking, the rate of breastfeeding for children under six months is only 10 per cent.

Moreover, the rise in malnutrition was able to pass largely unnoticed because the weak government was not keeping valid statistics and had no commitment or ability to head it off. “There is no single other country in the world where we ever have seen such high levels of malnutrition,” said Greet Cappelaera, Yemen country director of UNICEF.

At the Sanaa hospital, al-Wadei's daughter Maram has recovered after treatment. But another of her four children — a 21/2-year-old daughter — can barely stand, another malnutrition symptom, and the family can't afford to treat her.

“I don't want kids anymore,” mourns al-Wadei. “I don't even want myself.”

Yemeni officials say their resources are strained by security challenges, including a northern rebellion, a southern separatist movement and al-Qaeda.

Oil revenues

Oil revenues make up at least three-quarters of the government budget, but oil production is steadily declining. Yemen could become a net importer in the next five years and its oil reserves could run out completely by 2021.

What development there is in Yemen is a patchwork, depending on where the government has thrown its limited cash. Oil money has fuelled a consumption boom among a small slice of the population. In Sanaa, new hotels and restaurants have arisen, along with shopping complexes. Large video billboards advertise new housing projects.

But just beyond the capital's edge, rural Yemen immediately emerges, with little infrastructure. Donkey carts replace SUVs, and government authority largely vanishes, replaced by highly independent local tribes.

In Wadi Dhaher, a village just 10 km (six miles) outside Sanaa, floods have left mud houses partially demolished and deserted. Muddy roads lead to the village's qat plantations, which consumes most of the village water.

In a country with the seventh highest population growth in the world — 2.9 per cent a year — the tens of thousands of Yemenis entering the work force each year find few opportunities. Many pour into Sanaa for jobs, straining the infrastructure.

Mohammed Abdel-Malik Mutawakel, a Sanaa University political science professor, said the danger is that Yemen's youth find “the economy is closed to them.”

“So they will only think of a political struggle,” he said. “If that also is closed. they will fight then, either through al-Qaeda, the southerners, or any other way.”

Source: Daily Pioneer

Source: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamTerrorismJihad_1.aspx?ArticleID=3851

Spiritual Meditations
30 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Nature of relationship between God and man

The fact of the matter is that each and everything in this world belongs to Almighty Allah. He is the real owner of all. As such, man’s life and riches, which are part of this world, also belongs to Him, because it is He who created them and it is He who has assigned them to each man for his use. Looking at the problem from this angle, the question of any sale or purchase does not arise at all. Almighty God is the real owner, there is no question of His purchasing what is already His. Man is not their real owner; he has no title. But there is one thing that has been conferred on man, and which now belongs fully to him, and that is his free will, the freedom of choice of following or not following the path of Almighty Allah. -- Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

Nature of relationship between God and man

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

18 August 2010

Let us study the foundation on which the Holy Quran wants to develop man’s relationship with Almighty Allah and the concept of life, which naturally follows from that relationship.

The Holy Quran deals with this problem on many an occasion, but the entire concept of life envisaged by it is epitomised in the following verse:

“Verily Allah hath bought of the believers their lives and their properties for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise; so they fight in the way of Almighty Allah and slay and are slain. It (i.e. the promise of Paradise) is a covenant, which is binding on Him in the Tawrah and Injeel and the Holy Quran. And who is more faithful unto his covenant than Almighty God: Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph” (9:3).

In the above verse the nature of relationship which comes into existence between man and God because of Iman (the act of reposing faith in Allah) has been called a ‘bargain’. This means that Iman in Almighty Allah is not a mere metaphysical concept; it is in the nature of a contract by which man barters his life and belongings with Almighty Allah in exchange of Paradise in the Life Hereafter.

The fact of the matter is that each and everything in this world belongs to Almighty Allah. He is the real owner of all. As such, man’s life and riches, which are part of this world, also belongs to Him, because it is He who created them and it is He who has assigned them to each man for his use. Looking at the problem from this angle, the question of any sale or purchase does not arise at all. Almighty God is the real owner, there is no question of His purchasing what is already His. Man is not their real owner; he has no title. But there is one thing that has been conferred on man, and which now belongs fully to him, and that is his free will, the freedom of choice of following or not following the path of Almighty Allah.

As man has been endowed with free will in this respect, he is free to acknowledge or not to acknowledge the reality of things. Although this freedom of will and choice that man possesses, does not automatically make him the real owner of all the energies and resources on which he has command, it does mean that he is free to acknowledge the Sovereignty of Almighty God and His Lordship in his own life and belongings or refuse to acknowledge it and to arrogate to himself the position of total independence.

Now Almighty God demands that man should willingly and voluntarily (and not under duress or compulsion) acknowledge those things as His. These really belong to Him and he should use them as a trust from Almighty God and not as something that is his own, to be used as he pleases.

Thus a man who voluntarily renounces the freedom even to refuse Almighty God’s supremacy and instead acknowledges His sovereignty effectively ‘sells his ‘autonomy’ (which too is a gift from Almighty God and not something that man has acquired of his own) to Almighty God, and gets in return Almighty God’s promise of eternal bliss that is Paradise.

A man who makes such a bargain is a Mumin (believer) and Iman (belief) is the Islamic name for this contract; while the one who chooses not to enter into this contract, or after making such a contract adopts a behaviour in contravention thereof, is a Kafir and the attempt to avoid or abrogate this contract is technically known as Kufr.

Such is the nature of the contract.

Now let us briefly study its various aspects and stipulations.

1) Almighty God has put us to serious trial on two counts: (a) He has left man free, but even after giving him that freedom He wishes to see whether or not man realises his true position; whether he remains honest and steadfast and maintains loyalty and allegiance to the Lord, or loses his head and revolts against his own Creator, whether he behaves like a noble soul, or tramples under foot all values of decency.

2) He wants to see whether man is prepared or have such confidence in Almighty God as to offer his life and wealth in return for what is a promise, that is to materialise in the next world - and whether he is prepared to surrender his autonomy and all the charms that go with it, in exchange for a promise about the future.

It is an accepted principle of Islamic law that Iman consists in adherence to a certain set of doctrines and whosoever reposes faith in those doctrines becomes a Mumin. A Muslim who has real faith in Almighty Allah, makes every aspect of his life subservient to the will of Almighty Allah. The will of Almighty God, which it is obligatory upon man to follow, is the one that Almighty God has Himself revealed for man’s guidance. Therefore, if a person or society is honest and steadfast in its contract with Almighty Allah, it must scrupulously fashion its entire life in accordance with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

Paradise is therefore, not the reward for the mere profession of the bargain, it is the reward for the faithful execution of the contract. - From Islamic Way of Life by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.

Khwaja Mohammed Zubair is former Khaleej Times staffer

Source: Khaleej Times

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamSpiritualMeditations_1.aspx?ArticleID=3850


Islamic World News
30 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Sunny Muslims upset over controversial TV serial in Iran

At least 20 suspected militants killed in Kurram

At least 10 civilians dead in Afghanistan blast: NATO

Swami Agnivesh should apologise, Demand Muslims

Obama's overture to the Muslim world: Is Bangladesh left out?

NIA links SIMI to Lashkar-e-Taiba

'Mumbai-style' massacre plot foiled in Denmark

RSS and SIMI a threat to the security of the country: Amanatullah Khan

Blasphemy law: religious parties strike tomorrow

Alcoholism booms in 'dry' Pakistan, as does addiction counselling

Majlis-e-Ahrar Islam pays tribute to the martyrs of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat

Sonia the target of Vishwa Hindu Parishad

First Muslim selected in Australian Cricket Team

America’s ‘Islamophobia machine’ doing great damage

Ignorant Wahhabis Killed Fifty Imams and Muftis in North Caucasus

Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia supports terrorism in Iraq

Thirteen on trial over attack on Christians in Indonesia

Suicide bombers kill four in Iraq police station

Security forces kill 7 terrorists in Kurram

BBC stars don burqas, stir religious row

Terror-free Islamabad Police use mosques to create awareness

Book on role of Shia in Islamic Iranian civilization published

Telling bin Laden that jihad against West was a total failure shocked and upset him: Ex-Libyan jihadi

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in Christians’ Holy Book Translated in Hausa

Libyan donation to Mariam al Batool School

Iran objects to Saudi refusing visas for Quran memorizers

UAE cancels six-month visa ban for foreign workers

Bomb explodes outside Athens court

Israel's ex-president Katsav guilty of rape

Ending 15 years agony, Ugandan student leaves for home

Gilani assures NA of resolving drone strikes issue

Minor girl’s rape and murder case

FATA teachers protest community schools’ closure

Israel rabbis’ wives warn on intermarriage

'Human bomb' spills beans on all-women Taliban death squads

Clooney, Google, UN watch Sudan using satellites

Obama names envoy to Syria, bypassing Congress

Insurgents in Af-Pak team up against US

Abassiya psychiatric hospital to be listed an Islamic monument

Congregational prayers are necessary in schools

Imamia student organization rally against Karachi university blast

Simple Solutions Save Women’s Lives in Afghanistan

Disappearances With Reported Ties to Pakistan Worry U.S.

Pakistani cop moves court to reclaim ransom paid to Taliban

West quickly agreed to back Afghan resistance in 1980: British files

Acid attacker must lose eye, ear, rules Iran court

700 NATO soldiers killed in 2010; new firefights

Setback for Pak govt as another ally quits coalition

Iran has gone nuclear, claims Ahmadinejad

Islamist sect website claims Nigeria Christmas bombings

Suicide bombers blow up Iraqi police HQ, kill chief

Dhaka’s judiciary most corrupt body in country

US lauds India’s trade curbs on Iran

Sanjay Dutt to sue producer Noorani

Suicide rate rise in Kingdom alarming, warn experts

Saudi team on Paris tour to enhance rights awareness

Women seek greater role in literary clubs

NATO strikes kill Taleban in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora

Violent deaths in Iraq fall 'but at slower rate'

Compiled by New Age Isalm News Bureau

Photo: America President Barack Obama

-------------

Sunny Muslims upset over controversial TV serial in Iran

New Age Islam News Bureau

Dec 31, 2010

Dubai: Despite Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s instructions not to hurt the religious sentiments of the Sunnis, a TV serial is running on an Iranian TV channel which has evoked protests from Sunni leaders while a Sunni religious scholar has declared watching the serial on Mukhtar Saqafi haram. In the TV series titled ‘Mukhtar Nama’, the operations of the leader of an armed movement to avenge the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain have been shown. The series Mukhtar Nama or the Message of Mukhtar gives the impression that the Shia sect has been suppressed all through the Islamic history and they have been ill-treated. It should be noted that when the Umaiyyid caliph Yazid bin Amir Muawiya assumed power in 683, the Muslims had stood up against him under the leadership of Imam Hussain. Subsequently, the army of Yazid martyred him in the maidan of Karbala.

After this incident, two sects, the Shiaan-e-Ali and the majority Sunnis, had come into existence and the confrontation between them has been going on since then.

Hadhrat Imam Hussain revolted against Yazid’s government and reached Koofa via Medina and Makkah. Mukhtar Saqafi was in jail when the battle between Yazid and Imam Hussain was fought. When he came to know about what had happened with Imam Hussain in 686, he launched an armed movement to avenge the martyrdom of Hadhrat Hussain and his supporters. Therefore, Mukhtar Saqafi captured many killers of Imam Hussain and killed them.

A religious leader of the Sunnis in the state of Seeistan, Balochistan, Maulvi Abdul Hameed says that the supreme leader Ayotollah Khamenei has recently issued a fatwa declaring insults to Sunni Muslims’ beliefs and religious personalities haram but the Iranian Radio and TV agency has ignored the fatwa thought the head of the agency is appointed by the supreme leader himself. ‘After the development how can we expect the agency to respect the fatwa’, he said. He demanded a ban on the TV serial because, according to him, many holy companions of Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) including Hazrat Zubair (R.A) have been insulted in the programme. The series consisting of 40 episodes has been directed by the Iranian director Dawood Mir and has cost a whopping 2 crore dollars. It is claimed to be the costliest TV serial in Iran.

-----------

At least 20 suspected militants killed in Kurram

Dec 30, 2010

PARACHINAR: Helicopter gunships pounded a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region, killing at least 20 suspected insurgents, a government official said.

Jamil Khan said the army launched the strike Thursday morning in the Chinarak area of Kurram after receiving intelligence reports about insurgents gathering there.

He said the choppers also destroyed an explosives-laden vehicle.

Kurram is located near the Afghan border. Many Taliban militants escaping a Pakistan army operation in the nearby Orakzai tribal region are believed to have fled there.

It is difficult to independently confirm the clash or death tolls because access to Pakistan’s tribal belt is restricted.

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/30/at-least-20-suspected-militants-killed-in-kurram.html

-----------

At least 14 civilians dead in Afghanistan blast: NATO

Dec 30, 2010

KABUL: More than 14 Afghan civilians were killed and several others were hurt in an explosion caused by insurgents Thursday in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, officials said.

International forces put the death toll in the incident at more than 10, while provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi told AFP that the toll of dead and injured was 16 and the incident happened when a mini-van hit a mine.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/At-least-10-civilians-dead-in-Afghanistan-blast-NATO-/articleshow/7190272.cms#ixzz19aaA6ynQ

-----------

Swami Agnivesh should apologise, Demand Muslims

New Age Islam News Bureau

Dec 31, 2010

Ludhiana: Recently Swami Agnivesh attended the annual conference of the Qadianis in Qadian. Speaking on the occasion, Swami Agnivesh said that he was happy to be there because he learnt about the real teachings of Islam in the conference as he had come in the conference with a horrible image of Islam in mind. Swami Agnivesh’s statement which was published in a Urdu daily of Punjab has sparked protests from Muslims. The President of Majlis-e-Ahrar of Punjab, Maulana Habibur Rahman Sani Ludhianvi has demanded that Swami Agnivesh should apologise to Muslims. He said that if Swami Agnivesh wants to attend the conference of the Qadianis, he was free to do that but by declaring them the representatives of Islam, he has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims worldwide. It should be noted that Swami Agnivesh is a known figure among Muslims and is often seen in programmes with the President of Jamiat Ulema Hind Maulana Mahmood Madani. The pro-Qadianism stand of Swami Agnivesh is surprising. Replying to a question, Shahi Imam said that Swami Agnivesh was an irresponsible man. He attended the conference despite his knowledge about Qadianiat.

-----------

Obama's overture to the Muslim world: Is Bangladesh left out?

AZM Anas

Dec 30, 2010

PRESIDENT Obama wound up his 10-day, four-nation tour through Asia only last month -- a visit touted by White House as an economic mission. In Indonesia, where he spent four of his boyhood years, the President focused on development, democracy and religion, not just economics. Some of the remarks he made in the Southeast Asian country, the world's largest majority Muslim nation, have a bearing on the lives of an estimated 1.5 billion Muslim populations around the globe. In fact, the visit to Jakarta was part of his broader goal to foster a "new beginning" with Muslim countries since his Cairo odyssey. In contrast to his predecessor, Mr. Obama pledged to redefine America's relations with the Islamic world by broadening cooperation in areas such as education and science, not limiting it to merely security, in a growing recognition that stronger ties, not neglect, can make a difference.

Full report at:

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=121228&date=2010-12-29

-----------

NIA links SIMI to Lashkar-e-Taiba

Ananthakrishnan G

Dec 30, 2010

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Investigation Agency on Thursday linked the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) to the dreaded Pakistan-based Islamic terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The NIA claimed the link between the two in a chargesheet filed against 18 activists of SIMI in the designated court in Kochi. The central investigating agency filed the chargesheet in connection with a secret meeting held by the SIMI activists in Panayuikkulam near Kochi on August 15, 2006. The case which was allegedly derailed by the Kerala police had attracted national attention forcing the government to hand it over to the NIA after a TOI report in August 2008, in the aftermath of the Jaipur and Bangalore blasts.

The case had its origin in the arrest of 5 SIMI men, who were part of the meeting held at the Happy Auditorium in Panayikkulam. Though a total of 18 SIMI men were rounded up from the venue, Kerala police mysteriously registered a case against only 5 and let off the rest. The FIR registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act named five accused – Shaduli, Ansar Moulavi, Nizamuddin, Abdul Rafeeq and Shamas.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/NIA-links-SIMI-to-Lashkar-e-

-----------

'Mumbai-style' massacre plot foiled in Denmark

Dec 30 2010

Copenhagen : Scandinavian intelligence agencies have said they had foiled a "Mumbai-style" plot by Islamic extremists to massacre staff at a Danish newspaper which published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

Denmark's PET intelligence service said yesterday five suspects had been arrested, preventing an imminent assault on the Copenhagen offices of the Jyllands-Posten daily in which as many staff as possible would have been killed.

Four men were arrested in Denmark while a spokeswoman for Swedish intelligence agency Saepo said a fifth was arrested in Sweden in connection with the same international plot.

"It is our sense based on intelligence that this is a militant Islamic group with links to international terrorist networks," PET head Jakob Scharf told reporters.

They were planning an attack "within the next few days", the agency said in a statement.

In an email to Danish news agency Ritzau, Danish Justice Minister Lars Barfoed said the arrests prevented what could have been the most serious attack to ever occur in Denmark.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mumbaistyle-massacre-plot-foiled-in- /

-----------

RSS and SIMI a threat to the security of the country: Amanatullah Khan

New Age Islam News Bureau

Dec 31, 2010

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former national general secretary of the BSP, Amanatullah Khan asked in a statement issued here that when it has become clear that the RSS and its affiliates are a threat to the security of the country, why the Congress-led UPA government failed to put a ban on them. He said that the failure on the part of the government to ban these parties proves that there was something fishy. Mr Amanat further said that the Congress had made it clear in it conference that the country faces threat from the saffron forces and Rahul Gandhi had said that the RSS and the SIMI were the two sides of the same coin. Morever, DIgivijay Singh has also said that the investigations into the blasts so far have revealed the names of people associated with the RSS. Rashid Alvi and other Congress leaders have also demanded a ban on it. In this situation, there is no escape route for the Congress. He said that if the Congress was making these statement with an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections to woo the Muslims, it should realize that the Muslims now live in the world of reality. He demanded that the youth arrested on charges of involvement in Makkah Masjid, Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts should be released with compensation and government jobs as the real culprits had been exposed. He further said that when even Digvijay Singh has admitted that Batla House Encounter was a fake one, the government’s unwillingness to order a judicial enquiry shows that it was indeed a fake encounter. The government should not delay the inquiry otherwise the country will never forgive it, he said.

-----------

Blasphemy law: religious parties strike tomorrow

Dec 30, 2010

RAWALPINDI: Local chapter of Tehrik-i-Tahaffuz-i-Namoos-i-Risalat (TTNR) has chalked out a comprehensive plan to make the December 31 strike call against proposed amendments to the blasphemy law a success.

TTNR, a conglomerate of different politico-religious parties, in its meeting on Wednesday announced its decision to stage a demonstration at Committee Chowk on December 31 after Friday prayer.

The meeting was attended among others by local leaders of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) and Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith.

The speakers warned the government and its parliamentarians to refrain from repealing or amending the blasphemy law otherwise hundreds and thousands of people would pour into streets and roads against them.

They said that to protect the dignity of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the responsibility of the whole nation and people would not allow the government to amend the blasphemy law.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/30/blasphemy-law-religious-parties-strike-tomorrow.html

-----------

Alcoholism booms in 'dry' Pakistan, as does addiction counselling

Dec 30 2010

Islamabad : Despite being banned in Pakistan, alcohol is easily available across the country, prompting rising alcoholism and a growing trade in clinics trying to treat middle-class patients.

Pakistan has been dry for much longer- since 1977- and drinkers risk severe punishment: 80 lashes of the whip under strict Islamic laws, the Guardian reports.

But the law is ignored, as alcohol is widely available in the country, and for those who go too far, addiction clinics offering help are quietly flourishing.

The last time a Pakistani drinker received 80 lashes was under the Islamist dictator Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, however the culture has changed these days. Former president Pervez Musharraf made little secret of his fondness for a drink; neither does his successor, Asif Ali Zardari, the report said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/alcoholism-booms-in-dry-pakistan-as-does-addiction-

-----------

Majlis-e-Ahrar Islam pays tribute to the martyrs of Khatm-e-Nubuwwat

New Age Islam News Bureau

Dec 31, 2010

On the second day of the celebrations of the day of the establishment of Majlis-e-Ahrar Islam Hind, a grand ceremony was organised to pay tribute to the martyrs of the finality of the Prophethood in the Jama Masjid of Ludhiana. Ahrar leaders from all over Punjab participated in the ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, President Maulana Habibur Rahman Sani Ludhianvi said that the martyrs of Khatme Nubuwwat had a very exalted place in the eyes of Allah. He further said that the martyrs had written the history of Islam with their blood. In every age, mischief mongers had hatched big conspiracies against the finality of the Prophethood but the holy believers scuttled their conspiracies and in most cases they had to lay down their lives for this cause, he said. He added it was very unfortunate that some people time and again try to play with the belief of the finality of the Prophethood and saluted those who attained martyrdom opposing the false claims of prophethood by Maselma Kazab after the death of Hadhrat Muhammad (PBUH) and the martyrs including Syed Lal Hussain who attaind martyrdom fighting against the fitna of Qadiyaniat to protect the finality of the Prophethood during the British reign.

-----------

Sonia the target of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Threatened with Indira-like fate

New Age Islam News Bureau

Dec 31, 2010

New Delhi: The recent statement of the head of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ashok Singhal threatening her with a fate similar to that of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi hints at a conspiracy to kill Sonia Gandhi. The statement implies that the VHP has a secret squad similar to what was prepared for the assassination of Indira Gandhi and eventually she was killed. The statement that has come out of the mouth of Ashok Singhal suggests that his past has been linked to such secret operation. The tongue of the leader of the VHP which is surrounded by allegations of involvement in the demolition of Babari Masjid, Makkah Masjid and Samjhauta Express blasts is coughing out the truth gradually, showing how terrorist acts can be executed blaming them on the minorities. It can be guessed that Indira Gandhi’s assassination was aimed at creating a rift between the Congress and the Sikhs and Babri Masjid demolition was aimed at creating a rift between the Congress and the Muslims. Full report at:

-----------

First Muslim selected in Australian Cricket Team

Dec 30, 2010

As a boy Usman Khawaja waited for the SCG gates to open so he could watch his heroes for free. On Monday he will have another priceless experience there when he plays his first Test as the injured Ricky Ponting's replacement at No 3.

Khawaja, who will become the first Muslim to receive a baggy green, moved to Australia from Pakistan when he was three and as he grew up, his family couldn't afford match tickets. So he would hang around at the entrance until the gatemen let him in for a peek at Steve Waugh and Co.

When he enters the ground over the next week he will be treated like royalty by the home fans and as a target by England. "It's been a childhood dream for me," he said at the SCG. "Ever since I can remember I wanted to play for Australia."

Khawaja, 24, is a graceful, wristy left-hander who has impressed team-mates with his calm maturity. He is already a qualified pilot and is now in charge of navigating Australia from first-drop in an Ashes Test. Not since Justin Langer in 1992-93 has a debutant stepped out at No.3.

Full report at:

http://muslimvillage.com/2010/06/22/first-muslim-selected-in-australian-cricket-test-

-----------

America’s ‘Islamophobia machine’ doing great damage

Dec 30, 2010

WASHINGTON: A prominent Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is urging the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department not to use anti-Muslim extremists to train counterterrorism officials.

That request by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, comes following a Washington Post investigative report on post-9/11 government surveillance, which stated: "Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and US intelligence agencies.”

The Post released the report on the extensive security measures entitled "Top Secret America."

The investigation was first released in July of 2010, and is a series that is being updated, with its latest installment "Monitoring America" released on Dec. 20.

As a result, Ibrahim Hooper, the Communications Director for the Council for CAIR spoke out on Iranian TV against what he called the rising Islamophobia in the US.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/world/article226094.ece

-----------

Ignorant Wahhabis Killed Fifty Imams and Muftis in North Caucasus

Dec 30, 2010

Renowned islamologist Roman Silantyev cited statistics according to which about fifty Islamic spiritual leaders were killed in the North Caucuses for fighting against Wahhabism.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Renowned islamologist Roman Silantyev cited statistics according to which about fifty Islamic spiritual leaders were killed in the North Caucuses for fighting against Wahhabism.

"Almost 50 people were killed. These people could have formed a big muftiat," he said in the The Faith and the World program on the Voice of Russia radio.

According to the islamologist, there are few such people left in Russia: "they are killed almost every month, losses is some muslim boards are irreplaceable, the greater number of people who were able to actively fight against Wahhabism have been killed."

"Others are demoralized and stopped opposing or just deserted to the enemy. The situation is critical," Silantyev believes.

He is satisfied that Russian authorities ordered to give security guards to Muslim spiritual leaders in the North Caucasus, "or we can just stay without allies."

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=219049

-----------

Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia supports terrorism in Iraq

Dec 30, 2010

Several Iraqi authorities have accused extremist Wahhabi elements in Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist attacks in the war-wrecked country.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - "We hope that our neighboring countries do their best to help the Iraqi government control the borders and improve the security," Fawzi Tarzi of Sadr movement told a Press TV correspondent on Wednesday.

Members of Iraqi national coalition said some circles in Saudi Arabia offer financial and moral support to terrorists, who have been behind numerous attacks in the war-torn country.

They added that some religious authorities in Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa that permits killing of Shia people, who make up the majority of Iraqi population, and that the Saudi government does everything possible to make the Baghdad government fail.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=219043

-----------

Thirteen on trial over attack on Christians in Indonesia

Dec 30, 2010

JAKARTA: The chief of a violent extremist vigilante group has gone on trial with 12 others over an armed assault on Christian elders, a report said Thursday, in a case that has raised fears for pluralism in Indonesia.

Murhali Barda, head of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) in the Jakarta suburb of Bekasi “provoked the attack” against priest Luspida Simanjuntak and Christian elder Asia Sihombing, prosecutor Priorenta was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe newspaper.

Simanjuntak was beaten with a stick and Sihombing stabbed as they were on their way to a service in September in Bekasi, the report said.

The FPI is known for its cosy relations with government officials and its armed attacks on moderates and minorities.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/30/417448.html

-----------

Suicide bombers kill four in Iraq police station

Dec 30, 2010

MOSUL: Two suicide bombers on Wednesday killed four policemen in a police station in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, including an officer who oversaw a deadly raid on terrorists, security officials said.

A third bomber was shot dead before setting off his explosive belt in the attack targeting Lieutenant Colonel Shamil Ahmed Oglah, who commanded the operation last week against an al Qaeda affiliate, a police officer said. The early morning bombings killed Oglah and three other policemen, an Interior Ministry source said, and destroyed most of the police station in the Qabr al Binat area of western Mosul, according to the officer.

He said Oglah had commanded an operation in western Mosul in which a Syrian leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate, was killed, and pinned the blame for the police station bombings on al Qaeda. “The attack was carried out by al Qaeda members because the lieutenant colonel coordinated an operation against al Qaeda in the last week,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\30\story_30-12-2010_pg7_31

-----------

Security forces kill 7 terrorists in Kurram

Dec 30, 2010

PESHAWAR: Security forces on Wednesday targeted terrorist hideouts in Kurram Agency near the Afghan border, killing seven Taliban.

A Frontier Constabulary source said that the forces launched the attack in the Chinarak area in central Kurram Agency, killing seven terrorists, injuring many others, besides destroying three hideouts, including an ammunition depot. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\30\story_30-12-2010_pg7_8

-----------

BBC stars don burqas,stir religious row

Dec 30, 2010

London: Jeremy Clarkson has once again caused religious outrage.He and his Top Gear co-stars have been slammed after dressing up in burqas on the Boxing Day special.

Clarkson and Richard Hammond decided to dress in niqabs,a form of the burqa where everything but the eyes is covered,in order to disguise themselves on the road.They also got James May in on the act when they greeted him from hospital after he fell and hit his head on rocks in the Syrian desert.

But the joke backfired after Muslims slammed them for mocking their religion.The burqa is a symbol of religion and people should not make jokes about it in any way, Islamic extremist Anjem Choudhary said.This is not the first time Clarkson has caused a storm over a burqa.In July he told viewers he had seen a Muslim woman wearing saucy underwear beneath her gown.

Times of India

-----------

Terror-free Islamabad Police use mosques to create awareness

By Munawer Azeem

Dec 30, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The capital police on Wednesday made announcements from all central mosques seeking public help in curbing any possible terrorism activity in the city.

A senior police officer told this reporter that the announcements were made in response to a ‘serious threat’ which came to the knowledge of intelligence agencies and law enforcers after they intercepted a conversation between two groups of terrorists.

The announcements were made after Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers by members of vigilance and security committees on the request of the police.

The residents were asked to keep an eye on their surroundings and suspected elements. In case they spotted any suspect or suspicious activity in their vicinities, the police should be informed.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/30/terror-free-islamabad-police-use-mosques-to-create-

-----------

Book on role of Shia in Islamic Iranian civilization published

Dec 30, 2010

TEHRAN -- A book examining the role of Shia in the development of the culture and civilization of Islam and Iran has recently been published here in Iran.

Written by Ali-Akbar Velayati, the former Iranian foreign minster, “Role of Shia in Culture and Civilization of Islam and Iran” was unveiled during a ceremony held at Tehran’s Art Bureau on Monday.

Senior advisor of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Velayati penned the book over a period of four years.

Published by Amirkabir Publications affiliated with the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO), the book with over 1000 pages contains articles on Shia seminaries, ulema, literati, scholars, artists and philosophers.

Velayati made his remarks on the book at the ceremony attended by a group of cultural and political figures, saying the Shia have been the pioneers of Islamic civilization.

Full report at:

http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=233155

-----------

Telling bin Laden that jihad against West was a total failure shocked and upset him: Ex-Libyan jihadi

Dec 30, 2010

Quaker Heart MissionAds by GoogleFind Your Heart's Health at Good Morning Heart. Take the Test now www.goodmorningheart.com

A former Libyan militant, who now lives in a bustling north-west London borough, raining his three children watching his beloved Chelsea and listening to Pink Floyd, recalled how he shocked and upset Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by saying that the jihadi movement over the last 20 to 30 years had been a total failure.

Noman Benotman, 43, was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) - dedicated to overthrowing that country's dictator, Colonel Gaddafi. And like 200 other militants from across the Arab world, he had been summoned to Kandahar in Afghanistan to discuss Bin Laden's latest strategy in his terrorist war against the West.

That event took place in the summer of 2000 and within a few minutes of arriving at a modest guest house in the city, Noman recalls that he was greeted by his host and former comrade-in-arms, al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.

Full report at:

http://www.sify.com/news/telling-bin-laden-that-jihad-against-west-was-a-total-failure-

-----------

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in Christians’ Holy Book Translated in Hausa

Dec 30, 2010

Translation of the book “Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in Christians' Holy Book” in Hausa language was published in Nigeria.

HAUSA, Nigeria(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Translation of the book “Hazrat (Prophet) Mohammad (PBUH) in Christians' Holy Book” in Hausa language was published in Nigeria.

Written in English by Ahmad Didad, Muslim intellectual from South Africa, the book has been translated into Hausa language by Mohammad Thani Abubakr, a Muslim translator from Nigeria.

It has been translated to inform the Hausa speaking people that the mission of the holy prophet of Islam (Bi’that) after Jesus has been approved in the holy book of Christians.

As some of Christian preachers are propagating their religion among Hausa speaking people,the book stresses the mission of the holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the last prophet of God.

The translator believes that the book reveals the truths about Islam and provides answers to many of doubts and questions in this regard.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=219038

-----------

Libyan donation to Mariam al Batool School

Dec 30, 2010

The Secretary of the Libyan People’s Bureau, Saadun Suayeh recently presented a cheque for €10,000 to the Mariam al Batool School as a contribution to help it to continue its educational and spiritual services and to attain its aim of securing a modern education for Muslim students, maintaining their Islamic cultural identity, and preparing them to become good Maltese Muslim citizens who believe in mutual respect, tolerance and peace and work for the prosperity, development and welfare of Maltese society.

The donation of the Libyan People’s Bureau was handed to the headmistress, Maria Camilleri, in the presence of Omar Farhat, director of the Malta Branch of the World Islamic Call Society and Imam Mohammad el Sadi.

Dr Suayeh praised the hard work and the dedication of the school administration and staff who played a vital role in achieving a good academic level, success and a good reputation for the school. He also commended the important financial support granted annually to the school by the World Islamic Call Society, and promised to do his utmost to continue to help the school, which is a non-profit institution, depending on token fees and donations and run on a charitable basis, helping poor students further their studies.

On behalf of parents and students, Ms Camilleri expressed her thanks and gratitude to the Libyan Ambassador for the donation and the continuous generous Libyan help to the Maltese Muslim community.

http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=117726

-----------

Iran objects to Saudi refusing visas for Quran memorizers

Dec 30, 2010

TEHRAN: Iranian Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance for Cultural Affairs Bahman Dorri raised objections to Saudi Arabia denying visas to Iranian Quran memorizers.

Saudi Arabia has refused to issue visas to three Iranian Quran memorizers who were due to attend the 32nd King Abdul Aziz International Qur'an Recitation and Memorization Competition (December 27 to January 2) in Mecca.

"I was struck with sadness to hear of this news and I think it is quite the opposite of the Quranic teachings that promote respect," Dorri said in a statement yesterday.

Muslim countries, including Shiite and Sunni, must stand against global arrogance aiming to weaken the Islamic countries through disunity, he added.

Based on a report released by the State Endowment and Charity Affairs Organization, the cultural officials of the organization had submitted their request to the organizing committee of the competition in Saudi Arabia three months ago.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Iran-objects-to-Saudi-refusing-visas-

-----------

UAE cancels six-month visa ban for foreign workers

Dec 30, 2010

DUBAI: In a bid to reform its labour market, the UAE has introduced a new work permit which will allow foreign workers, including Indians, in the country to switch jobs after two years without facing a six-month ban for leaving their work.

Expatriate workers in the UAE who have received a six-month ban on leaving their jobs recently will be able to obtain new work permits from the beginning of the new year, a senior official has said.

The new work permit will be issued only if they have completed two years with their former employers, Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director-General at the Ministry of Labour, said.

Deemas told a local radio programme that these workers will be issued new work permits from January even if they have not served the full six-month ban.

"Expatriate workers who have completed two years with their employers can change jobs without serving the ban following the implementation of the new rules," Bin Deemas said.

He said sponsors cannot force employees to continue to work for them if the workers do not wish to do so.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/UAE-cancels-six-month-visa-ban-for-

-----------

Bomb explodes outside Athens court

Dec 30, 2010

ATHENS: A bomb exploded outside an Athens court on Thursday, causing damage to the building but no injuries after a warning phone call had enabled police to evacuate the area, police said.

Television footage showed smoke billowing in front of the administrative court complex near the city centre shortly after the device detonated at 8:10 am (0610 GMT).

Several of the building's windows were smashed and vehicles parked nearby were also damaged.

Early information indicated that the device, probably a time bomb, had been placed on a stolen motorbike, the police source said.

"It was a rather strong explosion," a local kiosk owner told Alter television, which received the warning phone call some 40 minutes before the blast and notified the police.

"I am 100 metres (yards) away and all my wares have fallen off the shelves," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Bomb-explodes-outside-Athens-

-----------

Israel's ex-president Katsav guilty of rape

Dec 30, 2010

TEL AVIV: An Israeli court found former President Moshe Katsav guilty of rape and other sexual offenses on Thursday, convictions of unprecedented gravity for a head of the Jewish state.

"Katsav's testimony was riddled with lies," the three-judge panel said in its ruling. "When a woman says no, she means no."

Katsav, president from 2000 to 2007, had denied the charges of rape, molestation or harassment lodged by three ex-aides. He may now try to contest the Tel Aviv District Court's verdict, and what could be a lengthy jail sentence, in the Supreme Court.

Though the scandal had forced Katsav's early retirement in disgrace, it had no impact on Israeli government functions, as the presidency is largely ceremonial.

But the allegations against the Iranian-born leader, whose rise from the slums once served as a shining example for disadvantaged Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, stirred deep emotions in Israel, where the head of state is supposed to be a beacon of morality and national unity.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israels-ex-president-Katsav-guilty-of-

-----------

Ending 15 years agony, Ugandan student leaves for home

P J Joychen

Dec 30, 2010

JAIPUR: Finally, the 15-year-old agonising wait of Ugandan student Mujungu Mark ended, as he boarded plane for his home country with the money collected by some good samaritans on Wednesday.

Mujungu Mark had come to Jaipur 15 years back to do his graduation. But he could neither complete his study nor return to his home as the Anti Corruption Bureau booked him in a case of attempt to influence the valuator for revaluation of his answersheet.

However, the bureau failed to file any chargesheet against him in the court, leaving him stranded in the country for a long fifteen years.

His wait for justice came to an end when he filed a mercy petition in a local court here requesting that either he be put in a jail or allow him to go back to his home country as he was not in a position to get a roof over his head and earn one square meals a day. He struggled to find a living by selling watches on the footpath.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Ending-15-years-agony-Ugandan-student-

-----------

Gilani assures NA of resolving drone strikes issue

Dec 30, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday assured the National Assembly that he would resolve the issue of drone attacks by US forces in Tribal Areas of the country, terming the drone attacks ‘counter productive’.

Answering a point of order raised by parliamentarians from both treasury and opposition benches, the PM said that drone attacks were bringing tribes closer to terrorists.

He said the country’s military and political leadership had distanced local tribes from terrorists, but the drone attacks were creating sympathy for terrorists among locals, adding that Pakistan was asking the US to transfer the drone technology to it.

“Our military and political leadership had very ably alienated local tribesmen from the terrorists, but when a drone attack is carried out they get reunited again. This shows these (drone attacks) are counter productive, therefore we condemn it and we are against them,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\30\story_30-12-2010_pg7_1

-----------

Minor girl’s rape and murder case

Dec 30, 2010

KARACHI: Anti-Terrorism Court Karachi headed by Judge Syed Hasan Shah Bukhari on Wednesday sentenced to death a convict for kidnapping and killing a five-year-old girl in July in Karachi.

It also sentenced him to life imprisonment for subjecting minor to sexual assault. It also imposed Rs 200,000 fine on him and said convict would undergo additional RI of one year on default to the fine payment. According to prosecution, Sher Khan kidnapped a minor outside her house on July 17, 2010 and took her to a nearby house where he raped her. Due to fear of being exposed, he later strangled her to death in the limits of Clifton police station, Karachi and dumped her body in Gizri area.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\30\story_30-12-2010_pg7_18

-----------

FATA teachers protest community schools’ closure

By Zakir Hassnain

Dec 30, 2010

PESHAWAR: FATA teachers protested permanent closure of 956 community schools in various tribal areas, rendering 2,000 male and female teachers jobless.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor had issued a notification to this effect on December 13 at the behest of FATA Secretariat without any justification, said All Teachers Association FATA Action Committee while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.

The action committee demanded the government close down the FATA Secretariat as it was no longer working for the welfare of tribal people.

Aziz Muhammad Daud, chairman action committee, said FATA was a backward area that lacked basic needs of life including education and because of this reason, former governor Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah decided to establish community schools in 1998 and his decision was implemented by former governor Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai who set up community schools for boys and girls in 2003.

Daud said around 2,000 teachers got jobs and about 76,000 male and female students benefited from these schools.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\30\story_30-12-2010_pg7_25

-----------

Israel rabbis’ wives warn on intermarriage

Dec 30, 2010

JERUSALEM: At least 27 Israeli rabbis’ wives have signed a letter calling on Jewish women to avoid intermarriage with Arabs and even avoid working alongside Arab men, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

The letter also warns Jewish women they risk falling under the sway of Arab men if they serve alongside them in Israel’s national service.

“For your sake, for the sake of future generations, and so you don’t undergo horrible suffering, we turn to you with a request, a plea, a prayer,” said the text of the letter as quoted in media reports. “Don’t date non-Jews, don’t work at places that non-Jews frequent, and don’t do national service with non-Jews.”

The letter accuses Arab men of using Jewish names to deceive unsuspecting women, and warns a life of ‘curses, beatings and humiliations’ awaits them if they date or marry an Arab.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\30\story_30-12-2010_pg4_3

-----------

'Human bomb' spills beans on all-women Taliban death squads

Dec 30, 2010

Islamabad: Taliban have set up all women suicide squads to carry out deadly terror mission on both sides of the Afghan-Pak border, a captured 12-year-old girl has revealed.

Meena Gul, trained to be a 'human bomb' was apprehended from the Munda area, in Dir close to the Afghan border in January, and her disclosures have sent shivers down the spine of Pakistani security establishment. Gul said that women suicide bombers were trained for their deadly task in small cells on both sides of the porous border and were dispatched to their missions with a sermon, "God will reward you with a place in heaven".

The 12-year-old Afghan girl was quoted by the Express Tribune as having told the police that she trained in a group which was headed by her sister-in-law Zainab and she battled Pakistani troops dressed as a man. She claimed that her younger sister blew herself up in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, but she had managed to escape as she was too scared to die.

Nato trucks attacked in Pakistan, driver killed: Taliban militants in Pakistan attacked two Nato supply trucks, killing a driver and wounding two others. Half a dozen militants launched the attack in Landikotal, in Khyber district bordering Afghanistan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Human-bomb-spills-beans-on-all-

-----------

Clooney, Google, UN watch Sudan using satellites

Dec 30, 2010

NEW YORK: Groups including the United Nations, Harvard University, Google Inc and an organization co-founded by actor George Clooney are launching a project using satellites to "watch" Sudan for war crimes before a vote that could split the African country in two.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, which begins on Wednesday, is meant to provide an "early warning system" for human rights and security violations before the Jan. 9 referendum on whether to divide Sudan into north and south.

"We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we're watching, the world is watching," Clooney said in a statement.

The satellite project received funding for six months from Not On Our Watch, an organization co-founded by Clooney and his Hollywood friends, actors Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman and producer Jerry Weintraub.

The group has been active in raising money to help the many displaced people in the Darfur region of western Sudan, which has been ravaged by war and genocide.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Clooney-Google-UN-watch-Sudan-using-

-----------

Obama names envoy to Syria, bypassing Congress

Dec 30, 2010

HONOLULU, Hawaii: President Barack Obama on Wednesday bypassed Congress to name the first US ambassador to Syria in nearly six years, part of his Middle East engagement drive criticized by his Republican opponents.

Obama took the controversial step of forcing through the appointments of Ambassador Robert Ford and five other officials while Congress -- which normally needs to approve nominations -- was out of session.

A senior administration official traveling with Obama on vacation in Hawaii justified the recess appointments, saying: "The extent of Republican obstruction of Obama nominees is unprecedented."

Obama also rammed through the appointments of US ambassadors to Turkey, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic, as well as two other administration officials.

The United States withdrew its ambassador to Damascus after Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed in February 2005 in a bombing blamed on Syria.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Obama-names-envoy-to-Syria-bypassing-

-----------

Insurgents in Af-Pak team up against US

Dec 30, 2010

Washington : Rival militant organisations on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have increasingly been teaming up in deadly raids, in what military and intelligence officials say is the insurgents’ latest attempt to regain the initiative after months of withering attacks from American and allied forces.

New intelligence assessments from the region assert that insurgent factions now are setting aside their historic rivalries to behave like “a syndicate,” joining forces in ways not seen before. After one recent attack on a remote base in eastern Afghanistan, a check of the dead insurgents found evidence that the fighters were from three different factions, military officials said.

US commanders recently have been seeking even more latitude to operate freely along the porous border, including inside Pakistan. One official said it was “a wake-up call” to find evidence, after the attack on the forward operating base, that the fighters were partisans from three factions with long histories of feuding: the Quetta Shura Taliban of Mullah Muhammad Omar; the network commanded by the Haqqani family; and fighters loyal to the Hekmatyar clan.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/insurgents-in-afpak-team-up-against-us/730903/

-----------

Abassiya psychiatric hospital to be listed an Islamic monument

Nevine El-Aref

Dec 30, 2010

Cultural listing may settle the controversy surrounding the fate of the Abassiya public hospital for mental illness

Following a comprehensive study and inspection of its building the Al Abassiya psychiatric hospital was declared an Islamic monument.

Culture minister Farouk Hosni pointed out that the report, prepared by the scientific and archaeological committee that checked the hospital's buildings, will be submitted to the permanent committee of Islamic and Coptic monuments at its next meeting, in order to list the hospital on Egypt’s Islamic heritage list.

Full report at:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/43/2809/Heritage/Islamic/Contested-Abassiya-

-----------

Congregational prayers are necessary in schools

Dec 30, 2010

The leader of Friday prayer Aabeek stressed on congregational prayers in schools and said that teachers can play a significant role in creating eagerness in the students about participation in congregational prayers.

QAZVIN, Iran (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The leader of Friday prayer Aabeek city Hujjatul Islam Abu Turab Mousvi said at the end of a sitting of the leaders of Friday prayer Qazvin province with the officials of education department that congregational prayer in schools played an important role in enhancing Islamic Ma'arif and prayer culture among the youth.

He mentioned the role of teachers in eagerness about congregational prayer among the students and said that the participation of teachers in congregational prayers along with the students was the best way to persuade the young generation towards congregational prayers.

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=218914

-----------

Imamia student organization rally against Karachi university blast

Dec 30, 2010

Imamia Student organization (ISO) on Wednesday condemned the blast in Karachi University (KU), and urged the government to immediately take action against the miscreants involved in the bomb blast during Zohar prayers at KU.

KARACHI, Pakistan (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Imamia Student organization (ISO) on Wednesday condemned the blast in Karachi University (KU), and urged the government to immediately take action against the miscreants involved in the bomb blast during Zohar prayers at KU.

They further demanded the government to provide them the separate Mosque to Shia students and staffers inside the Karachi University for prayers and remove the Rangers from Karachi University over their failure to maintain the peace of the University.

These demands were made by the participants of the protest rally organized by ISO at Karachi University to condemn the bomb blast attack on worshippers on yesterday.

Full report at:

http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&Id=219039

-----------

Simple Solutions Save Women’s Lives in Afghanistan

By Shannon Galpin

Dec 30, 2010

Lack of a few simple medicines, lack of pre- or post-natal care, and lack of female doctors leads to death on a large-scale

You would think there would be more of an uproar in a country with the highest maternal death rates. No other country in the world loses more women in childbirth than Afghanistan. None. Rarely has being first at something meant so much loss.

It's not just the women either, lest you callously chalk it up to the inevitable argument over women's oppression in a country like Afghanistan, where women set themselves on fire to escape arranged marriages, rapists go free, victims go to jail, and women die in childbirth when a male doctor lives just 10 minutes down the road because he is unable to view her naked or worse yet, touch her below the belt.

The children, too, are dying at alarming rates. Skirting at the top of the heap, currently in the second position, is the highest infant death rate in the world. Babies die from suffocation when a nasal suction would clear out their mouth and nose post-delivery. Babies die of dehydration when they are given dirty water instead of breast milk. Babies die of common colds due to harsh winters with little to keep them warm.

Full report at:

http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/12/22/simple-solutions-save-womenand-8217-s-

-----------

Disappearances With Reported Ties to Pakistan Worry U.S.

By ERIC SCHMITT

Dec 30, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expressing alarm over reports that thousands of political separatists and captured Taliban insurgents have disappeared into the hands of Pakistan’s police and security forces, and that some may have been tortured or killed.

The issue came up in a State Department report to Congress last month that urged Pakistan to address this and other human rights abuses. It threatens to become the latest source of friction in the often tense relationship between the wartime allies.

The concern is over a steady stream of accounts from human rights groups that Pakistan’s security services have rounded up thousands of people over the past decade, mainly in Baluchistan, a vast and restive province far from the fight with the Taliban, and are holding them incommunicado without charges. Some American officials think that the Pakistanis have used the pretext of war to imprison members of the Baluch nationalist opposition that has fought for generations to separate from Pakistan. Some of the so-called disappeared are guerrillas; others are civilians.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/world/asia/30disappear.html

-----------

Pakistani cop moves court to reclaim ransom paid to Taliban

Dec 30, 2010

Islamabad- A policeman has moved the Peshawar High Court against the police department to get back Rs.500,000 that his family paid to the Taliban for his release from captivity.

Head Constable Pir Jamal petitioned the court against the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Department for reclaiming the ransom money, Daily Times reported Wednesday.

He said in the writ petition that a group of Taliban rebels attacked Doaba Police Post at Hangu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Nov 6, 2009.

Jamal was in-charge of the police post and three police constables were killed and two injured in the attack.

The Taliban abducted Jamal and two police constables Tariq and Akhlaq Ahmed. They were taken to an undisclosed location.

Full report at:

http://www.sify.com/news/pakistani-cop-moves-court-to-reclaim-ransom-paid-to-taliban-

-----------

West quickly agreed to back Afghan resistance in 1980: British files

Dec 30, 2010

LONDON: Western powers met in secret soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and formed plans to back Islamic resistance, according to British files from 1980 released.

Senior officials from Britain, France, then West Germany and the United States met in Paris on January 15 that year to discuss the West's response to the December 24, 1979 invasion.

The National Archives' release of the secret papers after 30 years in the vaults comes as Western allies prepare to enter another year of conflict in Afghanistan, battling Islamist insurgents.

US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was among those at the Paris meeting, as was Britain's cabinet secretary Robert Armstrong, the top civil servant.

He said support for the mujahideen should be coordinated by "our friends" -- a euphemism for MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, and its peers from the allies.

Armstrong reported from the Paris meeting that while they wanted to avoid sparking a border war with Pakistan in the volatile tribal region, there was still much they could do.

He said that the powers at the meeting concluded "it would be in the interests of the West to encourage and support resistance".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/West-quickly-agreed-to-back-Afghan-

-----------

Acid attacker must lose eye, ear, rules Iran court

Dec 30, 2010

TEHRAN: An Iranian court has ruled that a man must lose an eye and an ear after he blinded and burnt an ear of another man in an acid attack.

Judge Aziz Mohammadi gave the order against the man, who was only identified as Hamid, after convicting him of the throwing acid on the victim, named as Davoud.

The judge also ordered Hamid to pay blood-money for the burn injuries suffered by Davoud, in a ruling issued under the Islamic republic's eye-for-an-eye justice code. Hamid told the court he had mistaken Davoud for a classmate who had bullied him in school.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Acid-attacker-must-lose-eye-ear-rules-Iran-court/articleshow/7188470.cms#ixzz19ZSZJBWH

-----------

700 NATO soldiers killed