Archive for the ‘Muslims’ Category

Philippine rebels ambush soldiers

December 3, 2008

The military in the Philippines says communist rebels have ambushed an army vehicle, killing five soldiers and wounding two others.

The landmine and gunfire attack happened in Surigao del Norte province, in the south of the country.

Rebels seized assault rifles, a laptop computer and the soldiers’ personal belongings, an army spokesman said.

The latest ambush came after talks held in Norway between rebel and government representatives broke down.

BBC

Communist rebels in the Philippines (file pic)
Rebels say they plan to intensify attacks against the government

A rebel spokesman, Fidel Agcaoili, said before the latest attack that New People’s Army guerrillas would take advantage of “crisis conditions” faced by President Gloria Arroyo and step up its long campaign.

Peace talks held sporadically since 2004 are unlikely to resume, he said, until Mrs Arroyo’s term ends in 2010.

Peace deferred

The peace talks held in Oslo ended on Sunday with no agreement over what kind of ceasefire should be agreed….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7762067.stm

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Mumbai: In India, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Pressures Pakistan

December 3, 2008

As the United States tried to calm tensions between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressured Pakistan to cooperate fully in the effort to track down those responsible for the bloody attacks in Mumbai last week.
But, at a news conference in New Delhi, she declined to blame Al Qaeda unequivocally for the assault which claimed more than 170 lives and was blamed by India on militants in Pakistan.In a two-pronged diplomatic effort, Ms. Rice landed in New Delhi to meet Indian leaders on Wednesday while Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew to Islamabad to talk to Pakistani officials.

Ms. Rice said Pakistan had assured her that it would cooperate with India in its search for those responsible for the slaughter in Mumbai. But she stopped short of commenting on whether Pakistan would turn over fugitives as India demands.

She said President Asif Ali Zardari “has told me he will follow leads wherever they go” but she made clear that Washington expected him to do so wholeheartedly.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/world/asia/04india.html?_r=1&hp

Muslims — India’s new ‘untouchables’

December 2, 2008
The condition of the country’s Muslims has deteriorated, and the world has overlooked the nation’s problems.
By Asra Q. Nomani
The Los Angeles Times
December 1, 2008

The news of the attacks in Mumbai eerily took me back to a quiet morning two years ago when I sat in Room 721 of the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, reading the morning newspaper, fearing just the kind of violence that has now exploded in the city of my birth. The headlines recounted how the socioeconomic condition of the people of my ancestry, Muslims in India, had fallen below that of the Hindu caste traditionally called “untouchables,” according to a government report.

“Muslims are India’s new untouchables,” I said sadly to my mother, in the room with me. “India is going to explode if it doesn’t take care of them.” Now, indeed, alas it has. And shattered in the process is the myth of India’s thriving secular democracy.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/comm
entary/la-oe-nomani1-2008dec01,0,4752.story

Pakistan’s Zardari Says Militants Could Start Regional War

December 2, 2008

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for last week’s attacks in Mumbai, saying militants have the power to precipitate a war in the region, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Zardari, whose wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by Islamist militants last year, warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Zardari in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We live in troubled times where non-state actors have taken us to war before, whether it is the case of those who perpetrated (the) 9/11 (attacks on the United States) or contributed to the escalation of the situation in Iraq,” said Zardari.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the ... 
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the National Security Conference to discuss ongoing tension between India and Pakistan flared after the last week’s Mumbai attacks, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan has proposed a joint investigation of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after India blamed elements in Pakistan for the bloodshed.(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

More from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200812
01/ts_nm/us_india_mumbai_1

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From the Financial Times (UK) 
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Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, made an urgent appeal to India yesterday not to punish his country for the terror unleashed on Mumbai last week, as Indian officials blamed a Pakistani militant group for the three-day rampage.

As the government in New Delhi faced mounting domestic pressure to respond forcefully to the attacks, Mr Zardari urged Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, to resist striking out at his government should investigations show that Pakistani militant groups were responsible.

His appeal came as tensions rose between the two countries. A day after the security forces finally regained control of Mumbai, Indian officials blamed Lashkar-i-tayyaba, a prominent militant group linked to previous attacks against India. Its name translates as Army of the Pure.

Speaking exclusively to the Financial Times, Pakistan’s president warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-i-tayyaba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Mr Zardari, whose country is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its border with Afghanistan.

But Indian officials last night stepped up the pressure on Pakistan. The ruling Congress party’s general secretary M Veerappa Moily told the FT: “All the terrorists involved in the Mumbai blasts are related to Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-tayyaba. We are seriously concerned and the government won’t let such acts go lightly.”

New Delhi was yesterday facing intense domestic criticism over its response to the attacks which claimed at least 172 lives.

India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan ... 
India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan over the attacks in Mumbai, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday.(AFP/Raveendran)

Shivraj Patil, the home minister, resigned as criticism intensified over the response of the security forces to the attack on India’s financial capital.

“The Congress government has no moral authority to survive,” said Arun Jaitley, a leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, blaming its weakness for collapsed intelligence gathering and a poor security response to the terror strike.

The Mumbai attacks ended on Saturday when commandos killed the last gunmen holed up at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Some of the most stinging criticism of the response of the emergency services came from business. “The police were woefully inadequate in terms of equipment and in terms of being prepared,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group that owns the Taj Mahal hotel. He said fire engines had taken three hours to arrive when the hotel caught alight.

Additional reporting by James Fontanella-Khan in Mumbai

American Media and Culture Go Global; Even As America’s Image Sours

December 1, 2008

Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, a delegation of high-level media executives, including the heads of every major studio, met several times with White House officials, including at least once with President Bush’s former top strategist, Karl Rove, to discuss ways that the entertainment industry could play a part in improving the image of the United States overseas.

By Tim Arango
The New York Times
.
One of the central ideas was using “soft power” by spreading American television and movies to foreign audiences, especially in the Muslim world, to help sway public opinion.

There were few tangible results from the meetings — lesser ways of supporting the war on terrorism like public service announcements and packages of free DVDs sent to American soldiers.

But since then, the media companies have gotten what they wanted, even if the White House has not. In the last eight years, American pop culture, already popular, has boomed around the globe while opinions of America itself have soured.

The television program “CSI” is now more popular in France than in the United States. Hollywood movies routinely sell far more tickets overseas than at home. A Russian remake of the TV show “Married With Children” has been so popular that Sony, the producer of the show, has hired back the original writers to produce new scripts for Russia. Even in the Muslim world, American pop culture has spread.

But so far, cultural popularity has not translated into new friends. The latest data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, released in June, shows that the image of the United States remained negative in the 24 countries in which Pew conducted surveys (although in 10 of those the favorability rating of the United States edged up slightly).

Joseph S. Nye Jr., the Harvard professor who coined the phrase “soft power” in 1989 to refer to the ways beyond military muscle that America influences the world, said that “what’s interesting about the last eight years is that polls show a decline in American attractiveness.”

He added: “But then you ask the follow-up questions and you see that American culture remains attractive, that American values remain attractive. Which is the opposite of what the president has said — that they hate us for who we are and what we believe in.”

Jeffrey Schlesinger, the head of international television at Warner Brothers, had a simpler explanation for the popularity of American entertainment.

“Batman is Batman, regardless….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/business/media/01soft.html?_r=1&hp

104 Killed As Muslim Militants Attack India’s Hollywood

November 27, 2008

Mumbai is the business center and the Hllywood (often called Baliwood) of india.  The former city of Bombay, it is now very western in its ways…


AP

A trickle of bodies and hostages emerged from a luxury hotel Thursday as Indian commandoes tried to free people trapped by suspected Muslim militants who attacked at least 10 targets in India‘s financial capital of Mumbai, killing 104 people.

More than 300 were also wounded in the highly coordinated attacks Wednesday night by bands of gunmen who invaded two five star hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station, a Jewish center and at least five other sites, armed with assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives.

A previously unknown Islamic militant group claimed responsibility for the carnage, the latest in a series of nationwide terror attacks over the past three years that have dented India’s image as an industrious nation galloping toward prosperity.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed “external forces.”

“The well-planned and well-orchestrated attacks, probably with external linkages, were intended to create a sense of panic, by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners,” he said in address to the nation.

Among the dead were at least one Australian, a Japanese and a British national, said Pradeep Indulkar, a senior government official of Maharashtra state, whose capital is Mumbai. An Italian and a German were also killed, according to their foreign ministries.

Police said 104 people were killed and 314 injured. Officials said eight militants were also killed.

The most high-profile target was the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, a landmark of Mumbai luxury since 1903, and a favorite watering hole of the city’s elite.

Police loudspeakers declared a curfew around the Taj Mahal hotel Thursday afternoon, and black-clad commandos ran into the building as fresh gunshots rang out from the area.

Soldiers outside the hotel said the operation would take a long time as forces were moving slowly, from room to room, looking for gunmen and traps.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_india_shooting;_
ylt=AsWTCZyulChg59N_S4irMfqs0NUE

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MUMBAI, India – Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India’s financial capital a day after attacks by suspected Muslim militants killed at least 110 people.

About 10 to 12 gunmen remain holed up inside the hotels and a Jewish center, a top Indian general said. The remaining gunmen appeared to have been killed or captured, Maj. Gen. R.K. Huda told New Delhi Television.

Authorities said 110 people died and 300 were injured when suspected Islamic militants — armed with assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives — launched a highly coordinated attack against 10 sites in the city Wednesday night.

Officials said eight militants were also killed.

Dozens of people were being held hostage at the hotels, as well as a nearby Jewish center, by the well-trained and heavily armed gunmen, authorities said.

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_india_shooting;
_ylt=Ahot72P39OL2rOyCLWlzRc6s0NUE

Rome hosts Vatican-Muslim summit

November 4, 2008

Muslim and Vatican officials are holding historic talks in Rome to establish a better inter-faith dialogue and defuse any future tensions.

Catholic-Muslim ties soured after Pope Benedict XVI’s speech in 2006, in which he linked Muslims with past violence.

BBC

The speech provoked Muslim outrage and triggered violent protests.

It also prompted leading Muslim scholars to launch an appeal to the Pope for greater theological dialogue, called the Common Word.

The manifesto now has more than 250 signatories.

Pope Benedict XVI. File photo

The Pope has sought to improve ties with the Muslim world since 2006

Muslim leaders say protests against the Pope’s speech – and also the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005 – might have been avoided if Christian and Muslim leaders had spoken out together against such violence.

‘New chapter’

The three-day talks in Rome are being attended by nearly 60 religious leaders and scholars from each side.

The Muslim delegation is being led by Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Ceric, while Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran heads the Vatican officials.

The meeting opens ” a new chapter in the long history” of the dialogue between the two faiths, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran told France’s La Croix newspaper on the eve of the talks.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7707606.stm

World hopes for a ‘less arrogant America’

November 4, 2008

A world weary of eight years of George W. Bush was riveted Tuesday by the drama unfolding in the United States. Many were inspired by Barack Obama‘s focus on hope, or simply relieved that — whoever wins — the current administration is coming to an end.

From Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to the small town of Obama, Japan, the world gears up to celebrate a fresh start for America.

By WILLIAM J. KOLE and MATT MOORE, Associated Press Writers
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In Germany, where more than 200,000 flocked to see Obama this summer as he moved to burnish his foreign policy credentials during a trip to the Middle East and Europe, the election dominated television ticker crawls, newspaper headlines and Web sites.

Hundreds of thousands prepared to party through the night to watch the outcome of an election having an impact far beyond America’s shores. Among the more irreverent festivities planned in Paris: a “Goodbye George” party to bid farewell to Bush.

“Like many French people, I would like Obama to win because it would really be a sign of change,” said Vanessa Doubine, shopping Tuesday on the Champs-Elysees. “I deeply hope for America’s image that it will be Obama.”

Obama-mania was evident not only across Europe, where millions geared up for all-night vigils, but even in much of the Islamic world, where Muslims expressed hope that the Democrat would seek compromise rather than confrontation.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081104/ap_on_re_
eu/eu_us_elections_world_view

Muhammad reports from Pakistan, March 23, 2008

March 23, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,I hope you and your team at the Peace and Freedom will be alright. As usual there is still uncertainty. Terrorists have still been roaming freely. The officials have still been patronising them. But today I have been sharing a very interesting news with you. According a report carried by the Nation newspaper, a paper of anti-Musharraf establishment, The alleged militant group familiarly known as “Taliban” was declared “out of Islam” by 73 different sects of Muslims through an edict (Fatwa) circulated in parts of the narrow tribal strip of Darra Adamkhel.

The edict in Urdu language was circulated on behalf of Mufti Zainul Aabideen on Friday night. The one page edict focuses on Talibans’s terrorists acts in the area, particularly slaughtering of human beings and suicide attacks. The edict against the Taliban terror is considered first-ever effort on the part of any religious figure in the last five years. Earlier, the late Maulana Hassan Jan publicly denounced Taliban acts, but he was mysteriously assassinated in retaliation.

After the killing of late Maulana Hassan Jan, a large number of Ulema and religious scholars remained reluctant to say anything openly against the Taliban.It is for the first time that a religious scholar declared “Taliban” as being “out of
Islam.”

The edict said that all the acts of Taliban are against the basic norms of Islam and humanity. “Even the Taliban leaders are considering themselves and their directives as superior to true Islamic principles and directives as ordained by Almighty Allah,” the edict said.

Elaborating his point of view, the author of the edict states that the Taliban declare those infidel who oppose their ideas and interpret Islam according to their own needs and ideas, which is contrary to the all-embracing ideas of Islam.

In this respect, the author of the edict invited the attention of Taliban Mufti Khalid Shah’s edicts against internationally recognized Islamic scholars like late Maulana Hassan Jan, Allama Taqi Usmani, Maulana Tariq Jameel and others. He said that such edicts of Mufti Khalid Shah against such highly credible and respectable religious scholars were available on Tliban-made CDs.

Mufti Zainul Aabideen further states that Taliban, despite chanting slogan of “Allah’s rule on Allah’s land” are ignoring this slogan in the areas under their control. They not only impose the system of their choice in these areas, but also forcibly collect the so-called taxes and fines from the people. They justify their terrorist acts discussing in mosques, schools and other public places and claim, “There is no sin in killing 100 innocent persons for one guilty person.”

Islam prohibits killing of innocent people whereas the Taliban are killing innocent Muslims. Even they congratulate the terrorists and suicide bombers on, what they claim, “entrance into the heaven for killing the innocent people.”

The author of the edict further states that Taliban give preference to the directives of their amirs (heads or commanders) instead of following the directives of Allah Almighty and sayings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Even Taliban affiliated to different groups are reluctant to recognize each other’s amirs (heads or commanders).The author of the edict has in particular denounced slaughtering and beheading of the innocent people at hands of the Taliban. In the light of this edict, the author has requested Ulema and religious scholars to come forward to denounce such inhuman and immoral acts on the part of the Taliban.

Dear Sir, this is a positive development. I want to tell you your continued cooperation has bringing some positive change on our lives.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

China labels plane scare a ‘terror act’

March 13, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – An attempt to crash a domestic flight last week was an act of organized terrorism, China‘s state media said Thursday, adding to signs of new volatility in the country’s restless western regions ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

China responded by stepping up security at its airports, on top of stringent security plans being put in place for the Olympic Games in August. Passengers are now banned from carrying any kind of liquid aboard domestic flights, and passenger and luggage searches are being increased.

“Additional special air safety policies are being taken to ensure air transport security and provide safe air transport service for the Beijing Olympic Games,” China’s Civil Aviation Administration said in a notice posted on its Web site.

The Global Times newspaper said…

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080313/ap_on_re_as/china_terror_5