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Thread: Today's Top Islamic News (DAILY)

  1. #1001
    'US behind Iran pilgrim disappearance'
    Wed, 07 Oct 2009 16:16:05 GMT

    Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said the US is behind the disappearance of the Iranian Umrah pilgrim, Shahram Amiri, in Saudi Arabia.

    "We have found documents that prove US interference in the disappearance of the Iranian pilgrim Shahram Amiri in Saudi Arabia," Mottaki told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

    The Iranian minister, however, pointed out that the Saudi government is responsible for its failure to fully protect the Iranian pilgrim.

    "Iran's Foreign Ministry will follow the case," Mottaki concluded.

    Amiri, a researcher at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, went missing after he traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah Hajj (a shortened version of the major hajj pilgrimage) on the June 4, 2009.

    According to his wife, the missing Iranian pilgrim has not contacted his family except for a few phone calls he made at the beginning of his trip.

    Mohammad Marandi, a Tehran University professor, described the event as a “disturbing sign,” and drew a parallel between Amini's case and another incident in which US soldiers kidnapped Iranian diplomats and held them for two years.

    "But I think what is even more disturbing is the fact that the Saudi regime has effectively discredited itself and...will be seen by those who know what has gone on in the region as being confined to American demands and effectively abiding by American wishes," the scholar said.

    Marandi added that the incident will impede any move towards rapprochement between Iran and the United States.

    "because it would be considered as a hostile act by the Iranian people on the part of the United States. Kidnapping the citizen of one country is unacceptable and I think it will raise questions as to whether the United States is truly willing to resolve these issues with Iran or whether it wishes to continue confrontations."

    " As long as the United States continues to behave in an unacceptable manner, I think it will be very difficult for Iranians to be convinced that true negotiations can lead to a fruitful conclusion."


  2. #1002
    Opposition says US aid package will enslave Pakistan
    Thu, 08 Oct 2009 01:30:41 GMT
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    Pakistan's opposition has expressed concerns about a US aid package that would provide the country with 7.5 billion US dollars over the next five years.

    Last week, the US Congress approved the bill to give Pakistan 1.5 billion dollars annually in aid for the next five years.

    However, the opposition as well as the army say some parts of the legislation might have negative impacts on Pakistan's national security.

    Lawmakers from the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-N believe the bill would push the country into US enslavement.

    The bill demands Pakistan "to take action against nuclear proliferation networks."

    The Pakistani parliament has started a debate on the bill upon a request by the opposition to discuss amendments to it. The government, however, has backed the bill.

    "It is the Parliament that represents the will of the people of Pakistan, which would deliberate on the issue, enabling the government to develop a national response," Pakistani army commanders also said in a statement on Wednesday after a meeting with Military Chief General Ishfaq Parvez Kayani.

    Many analysts including former intelligence officials have raised doubt about the intentions of that the US in Pakistan. They believe that Washington is seeking to take the control of the country's nuclear arsenals.


  3. #1003
    US 'will' disregard borders in terrorist hunt, says Obama
    Wed, 07 Oct 2009 14:25:25 GMT

    US President Barack Obama (L) speaking at the Counterterrorism Center
    Afghanistan and Pakistan are not the Pentagon's sole targets in its war on terror, says Obama adding that the US will not hesitate to attack anywhere it deems a threat.

    US President Barack Obama, speaking at the Counterterrorism Center in McLean Virginia on Tuesday, pledged that the US would target al-Qaeda "wherever they take root" and do everything to wipe out safe havens, where Osama bin Laden's network can plot against the United States.

    "The United States and our partners have sent an unmistakable message: We will target al-Qaida wherever they take root," he said, Xinhua reported.

    The US president cited East Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf in addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as the hotbeds for terrorist activities and what he called threats against Washington.

    Obama's speech was reminiscent of his predecessor George W. Bush's notorious 'Bush doctrine', which says the United States has 'the right' to launch preemptive strikes on countries that pose a threat to the US security.

    "We will not yield in our pursuit; and we are developing the capacity and the cooperation to deny a safe haven to any who threaten America and its allies," said Obama.

    With its primary mission to synchronize the fight on terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was established in 2001 on the hills of the 9/11 attacks on the US soil.

    The center, a government agency under the Director of National Intelligence, coordinate and share data with US government departments and agencies and US foreign partners.


  4. #1004
    Spanish soldier dies in Afghanistan blast
    Wed, 07 Oct 2009 13:45:39 GMT

    Hundreds of Spanish soldiers are fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan
    An explosion has killed a Spanish soldier serving with the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan, amid widespread discontent over the foreign forces' handling of the war.

    Five other Spanish troopers were wounded in the deadly incident that took place at Syah Washann, near Herat in western Afghanistan. Media reports said the blast was caused by a landmine.

    Spain has over 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan and is expected to increase its presence in the conflict-torn country.

    Madrid recently agreed to a Washington request for the deployment of 220 more Spanish troops to Afghanistan.

    The United States has called for troop reinforcements in response to the escalating Taliban insurgency, which is at its highest level since the 2001US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

    Despite the presence of over 100,000 foreign troops in the country, the escalated militancy has made the current year the deadliest for foreign forces, as well as Afghan civilians.

    The mounting number of Western soldiers coming home in body bags has sent support for the war plummeting in Europe, Canada, and the United States.


  5. #1005
    N Korea angered over US 'hostility'
    Thu, 08 Oct 2009 04:57:15 GMT

    Robert King was chosen as Obama's special envoy on North Korean human rights issues.
    North Korea has accused the US of continuing its hostile policy after President Barack Obama nominated a special envoy on Pyongyang's human rights record.

    The nomination 'testifies that the US is not confining its hostile policy towards our republic to the nuclear area, but is trying to extend it to the human rights area', the cabinet newspaper Minju Joson said on Thursday.

    Two weeks ago, Robert King was named Obama's special envoy on North Korean human rights issues.

    "It is not a secret that the US has used its 'human rights diplomacy' as an important policy tool to interfere with internal affairs of other countries and to achieve its goal to invade and control them," said the article which was carried by the North's official website, Uriminzokkiri.

    The paper described what it called US human rights offensive as 'nothing but a euphemism for its policy to stifle' Pyongyang and insisted there were no human rights problems in the country.

    King replaced Jay Lefkowitz, who left his post in January after serving under former president George W. Bush.

    Once confirmed by the Senate, King will work as part of a team headed by the special representative for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth.


  6. #1006
    Obama meets advisors on Afghanistan
    Thu, 08 Oct 2009 04:11:02 GMT
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    US President Barack Obama has met with top advisors on Afghanistan and Pakistan amid mounting rift over Washington's future strategy in the war-torn country.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that the meeting between Obama and a team of about 15 advisors, including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and top military commanders, lasted for at least three hours.

    "This is a test for our country to adequately address and correctly address the extremist threat that emanates from Afghanistan and Pakistan," Gibbs said about the third gathering of the president's national security team.

    Gibbs noted that most of those who masterminded the September 11 attacks have now shifted to Pakistan, which was the focus of the meeting.

    The White House Press Secretary said the Afghanistan-Pakistan border remains a hotbed for terrorist activities and is a concern for US national security.

    The US and NATO casualties have sharply risen in recent months as public support for the eight-year-old war has eroded.

    Sending as many as 40,000 additional troops as General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, has asked for could spark a backlash within Obama's own Democratic Party.


  7. #1007
    US budget deficit may hit record $1.4 trillion
    Thu, 08 Oct 2009 00:57:05 GMT
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    The US budget deficit is expected to hit a record 1.4 trillion dollars in 2009, some 950 billion dollars greater than the shortfall recorded last year.

    On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office a non-partisan financial watchdog said that the forecast federal deficit for the fiscal year that ended in September was the highest shortfall -- relative to the size of the economy -- since 1945.

    The deficit resulted from both declining revenues and increased spending, stemming mostly from aid to the financial system and fiscal stimulus to jolt the world's largest economy from a prolonged recession, the CBO said.

    Revenues in 2009 were almost 420 billion dollars or 17 percent below receipts chalked up last year, the lowest level in over 50 years, it said.

    At the same time, outlays increased by over 530 billion dollars or 18 percent in 2009 to the highest level also in over half a century.

    The federal deficit in 2008 was 459 billion dollars.

    The deficit estimates were based on data from daily statements from the US Treasury and CBO projections.


  8. #1008
    CAIRO -- Sheikh Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, (US Controlled)the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, is under fire over ordering a school girl to remove her niqab and vowing to ban the face-veil in schools affiliated to the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world. "Tantawi cannot stay in his post; he hurt's Al-Azhar every time he says something,” Hamdi Hassan, an MP with the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday, October 7.
    During a visit to a school earlier this week, Sheikh Tantawi ordered a school girl to remove her niqab, telling her the face-veil is “a tradition and has nothing to do with Islam.”

    Tantawi, the Muslim-majority country’s top religious authority, vowed to ban the niqab all schools linked to Al-Azhar.

    Established in 359 AH (971 CE), Al-Azhar mosque drew scholars from across the Muslim world.

    Over the years it grew into a university, predating similar developments at Oxford University in London by more than a century.

    The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar is appointed by the president of Egypt and is treated, in terms of protocol and salary, on equal footing with the prime minister.

    Why Ban?

    Tantawi’s critics are not necessarily contesting his view on niqab, but rather his decision to ban it.

    "I believe the niqab is not an obligation, but it is a benefit," said MP Hassan.

    But MP Hassan still does not understand why Tantawi wants to ban it.

    "Why ban it from Al-Azhar? It's a religious institution, not a belly dancing academy."

    Sheikh Ali Abu al-Hasan, the former head of the Fatwa Council at the Islamic Studies Institute (ISI) in Cairo, agrees.

    He contends that although it was not required by Islam for women to cover their faces, Al-Azhar University should allow women to choose what they want to wear.

    "No official has the right to order a young lady to remove a form of dress that was sanctioned by none other than Umar ibn al-Khattab, except for the purposes of identification for security reasons," Abu al-Hasan told Al-Jazeera

    "The niqab is not in contravention of Shari’ah or Egyptian law."

    A researcher prevented from using the library at the American University in Cairo in 2001 because of her niqab took her case to the Supreme Court and eventually won.

    The court ruled a total ban on the niqab to be unconstitutional.

    Husam Bahgat, of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, accused the government of "arbitrary" measures against women who wear the niqab.

    "They are barred from government subsidized housing and nutrition because they are considered extremists."

    About two dozen students, wearing the face veil, protested outside the state-run Cairo University on Wednesday for being denied access to the dormitory because of their dress code.

    "I have exams in two weeks. I haven't found a house and I can't study," one student who gave her name as Fatin told AFP.

    "What happened to individual freedom? Cosmetics are freedom, but not the niqab?

    Source: IslamOnline

  9. #1009
    GENEVA -- Switzerland's Federal Commission against Racism banned on Wednesday, October 7, a racially prejudiced poster, part of a campaign by a far-right party against the building of minarets in the central European country. "The commission believes that this could threaten social cohesion and public peace," it said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
    The Swiss People's Party (SVP) has unveiled a campaign poster depicting a woman wearing a burka against a background of a Swiss flag upon which several minarets resembling missiles were erected.

    "Stop! Yes for the ban on minarets," read the French and German posters, referring to a referendum on minarets construction in November.

    The government commission asserted that the posters "feed prejudices, are over-simplistic and presents Islam overall in an unfavorable manner."

    The cities of Basel and Lausanne earlier described the poster as racist and banned it in publicly-owned spaces.

    One of Switzerland's major media groups, Ringier, has said it will not publish the poster.

    The Tages-Anzeiger and the free 20 Minuten dailies will also not carry it.

    The SVP has collected more than 100,000 signatures to force a referendum on the issue of minaret after the Senate overwhelmingly rejected a ban proposal.

    Its anti-minaret campaign has caused an outcry, with the government denouncing it as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

    The centre-right Free Democratic Party (FDP) has also attacked the idea, saying it would only compound "unfounded" fears against the country's Muslims.

    Switzerland’s Roman Catholic bishops have urged voters to reject the proposed ban on minaret construction.

    Amnesty International has blasted the proposed ban, warning the drive aims to exploit fears of Muslims and encourage xenophobia for political gains.


    The government commission said the posters suggest that the Muslim minority in Switzerland represents a danger.

    It added that the controversial fliers send the message that the Muslims are seeking to dominate the Swiss people, oppress women and disregard fundamental rights.

    "This is equivalent to defamation of Switzerland's peaceful Muslim population."

    The anti-minaret drive has shocked Switzerland's 350,000 Muslims, many of whom have been campaigning for decades for more recognition for their faith.

    Islam is the second religion in the country after Christianity; however Muslims are often the object of animosity.

    Mosques in Switzerland tend to be confined to disused warehouses and factories.

    In the capital Berne, the largest mosque is in a former underground car park.

    Across the country, there are only four mosques with minarets; none of them is used to raise the Azan, the call to prayer.

    Source: IslamOnline

  10. #1010
    CAIRO – Terry Holdbrooks began his work duties in Guantanamo prepared to deal with the "worst of the worst" people on earth. But the time he spent guarding the detainees at the notorious detention center changed his life.
    "We were not taught anything about Islam," Holdbrooks, the only son of junkie parents who split up when he was seven, told the Guardian on Wednesday, October 7.

    "We were shown videos of 11 September and all we kept being told was that the detainees were the worst of the worst – they were Bin Laden's drivers, Bin Laden's cooks, and these people will kill you the first chance they get."

    Gitmo in Focus While other guards indulged themselves in alcohol and porn, Holdbrooks, who joined the army to find himself a stabilized life, had a plenty of opportunities for communication with the detainees.

    He was struck by their ability to smile despite the long hours of interrogations and abuse.

    "I wanted to learn as much I could,” said Holdbrooks, nicknamed "the nice guard" by the detainees.

    “I started talking to the detainees about politics, ethics and morals, and about their lives and cultural differences.”

    The discussions were an eye-opener.

    "I knew nothing about Islam prior to Guant?namo. So this was a complete culture shock to me."

    Holdbrooks, who came to Guant?namo as a godless 19-year-old with a love of drinking, hard rock music and tattoos, embraced Islam in a matter of few months.

    "It was not easy praying five times a day without my colleagues finding out," he noted.

    "I told them I had to go the bathroom a lot."

    Born Again

    But Holdbrooks, who now goes by the name Mustafa Abdullah, could not tolerate life in Guantanamo anymore.

    But even after his departure he continued to be haunted by the scenes of detainee abuse.

    "I was having nightmares about my time in Guant?namo."

    The pressure was immense and he sought solace in the pre-Islam old comforts of drinking, casual sex and music.

    “I spent the best part of three years just trying to drink Guant?namo out of my mind.”

    But thanks to Islam, he is back again on his feet and lives as a practicing Muslim.

    "Islam is a very disciplined, regimented faith and it requires a great deal of effort and conviction," he says.

    "I've had an unbelievable fascination with structure and order for as long as I can remember: structure, order and discipline – I just love them.”

    Source: IslamOnline

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