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7084News in Brief

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  • Zafar Khan
    Sep 3, 2006
      For Muslim Law Students, Knowledge Is Power


      NEW YORK, Aug 31 (IPS) - His name is Junaid Ahmad. He
      is 24 years old. And he is among a rapidly increasing
      number of first generation Muslim-Americans who have
      decided to pursue careers in the law.

      Ahmad, who was born in Chicago, Illinois after his
      parents emigrated to the United States from Pakistan
      in 1973, is a second-year student at William and Mary
      Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia. He told IPS he
      chose the law over more traditional first-generation
      U.S. citizens' choices -- medicine, science and
      engineering -- because he cares deeply about human
      rights and civil liberties.

      Exquisite works of Islamic art come to BC


      The art of Islam dances with scripts, arabesques, and
      intricate patterns that unfold like blossoms. Perhaps
      because of the Koran's edict against idolatry, many
      Muslim artists through the ages have invested their
      energy not in representational work, but in covering
      ceramics, glass, architecture, and textiles with
      magnificent designs.

      New Quranic Reference Series Fills Gap in Western
      Academic Work

      Encyclopaedia of the Quran explores quranic concepts,
      people, places


      Washington – With the publication of the fifth and
      final volume of the Encyclopaedia of the Quran,
      Georgetown University professor Jane McAuliffe
      believes she and her editorial contributors have
      filled an important gap in Western reference material
      on the text that more than a billion Muslims regard as
      the word of God.

      “There really is no first-rate reference work on the
      Quran in Western languages,” McAuliffe said during a
      recent interview with the Washington File. “If you
      look at a correlative field such as biblical studies …
      there are dozens of encyclopedias of the Bible or
      dictionaries, et cetera, and there was nothing of that
      genre available for the Quran. It was an obvious and
      a rather big hole in the field.”

      McAuliffe and her editorial assistants collected
      nearly 1,000 articles from quranic scholars around the
      world to produce a comprehensive reference work on the
      concepts, practices, personalities and places
      associated with the Muslim holy text.

      Disabled Muslims Lobby for Better Access to Mosques


      August 30 - Every Friday afternoon, Betty Hasan-Amin
      asks her caretaker to help her tie a brightly
      patterned scarf around her head, making sure no
      strands of hair escape. In the next room, her husband
      finishes his ablution, the ritual washing Muslims
      conduct before praying.

      At 12:45, the couple departs for the congregational
      prayers held at their neighborhood mosque in Atlanta.
      Though the mosque is only about 25 minutes from her
      home in Stone Mountain, Amin usually leaves more than
      an hour before the prayers begin.

      Snakes On A Plane, Muslims Off The Plane


      Snakes On A Plane was, for a brief moment, the
      uber-hyped, internet-propelled, buzz film of 2006.
      With a title that is punch-line and plot synopsis
      rolled into one, the film provided a study in Barnum
      theory in action. Forget relational aesthetics in a
      museum, this was the ultimate exercise in audience
      participation. Long before the film opened, internet
      discussion of the film was at a fever pitch and the
      studio capitalized by adding scenes in response. The
      most-quoted dialogue from the script actually
      originated as an online parody of Samuel Jackson's
      pistol-whipping persona ever since Pulp Fiction:

      Gaining acceptance in service


      When Lt. Abuhena Saif-ul-Islam first arrived at the
      Camp Pendleton military base in California, recruits
      often asked the Muslim chaplain what the crescent on
      his lapel meant. Saif-ul-Islam, a Bangladeshi
      immigrant, jokingly told them he was an astronaut.
      Nowadays, fewer sailors find the Islamic symbol
      unfamiliar. But Saif-ul-Islam, a U.S. Navy chaplain
      since 1999, still is questioned often about his
      religion during training sessions he conducts at bases
      across the nation.

      The mystery death, a town in uproar and a $1bn UK
      mines deal


      Nasreen Huq was fighting a controversial opencast coal
      plan when she died in a car crash. Since then,
      conspiracy theories have multiplied and protests
      spiralled. Jamie Doward and Mahtab Haider report from

      The truth died with Nasreen Huq on 24 April, the day a
      car rammed her against a wall, expunging a life in its
      48th year. The private conversations she had with
      senior government officials in the weeks before her
      death went with her to the grave.
      But the ghost of the popular human rights activist has
      since continued to weave a haunting narrative which
      sweeps back and forth between Whitehall and the Indian
      sub-continent, and seems to have come straight from
      the pages of a John le Carré novel.

      Huq, a household name in her native Bangladesh for her
      work with the campaign Action Aid, had become
      concerned about the activities of a British company
      planning to develop an opencast coal mine in the
      country's poorest province, a controversial move that,
      if approved by the government in the capital, Dhaka,
      will lead to between 40,000 and 100,000 local people
      losing their homes.

      Critics of Israel 'fuelling hatred of British Jews'


      A group of prominent MPs, alarmed at the rise of
      anti-semitism in Britain, will accuse some left-wing
      activists and Muslim extremists this week of using
      criticism of Israel as 'a pretext' for spreading
      hatred against British Jews. The charge is made in a
      hard-hitting report - by MPs from all three major
      political parties - which will be unveiled at a
      Downing Street meeting with Tony Blair on Thursday.

      Young Muslims held in terror camp crackdown


      Police are investigating a network of terror training
      camps across Britain which they fear are nurturing a
      new wave of home-grown Islamic extremists. The
      investigation is linked to raids late on Friday in
      which anti-terrorism officers arrested 14 people.
      Yesterday police also sealed off a school in East
      Sussex run by an Islamic charity, Jameah Islamiyah, in
      the grounds of which The Observer understands the
      jailed cleric Abu Hamza secretly ran terror camps,
      training young militant Muslim men to use firearms.

      Abu Ghraib is consigned to the past as US returns
      prison to Iraqi control


      The notoriety of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison - a byword
      for torture under both Saddam Hussein's regime and the
      US occupation - was definitively consigned to the past
      yesterday as the American military transferred the
      now-empty complex to Iraqi government control.

      "Now the prison is protected by Iraqi forces, and the
      Iraqi government will look into how to benefit from it
      in the national interest," a government spokesman told
      a Baghdad news conference. Abu Ghraib, located 20
      miles west of the capital, is not expected to be used
      as a prison ever again.

      14 terror suspects arrested in London


      Police have arrested 14 men following anti-terror
      raids in south and east London.

      The men were arrested late last night and in the early
      hours of today on suspicion of the commission,
      preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

      Searches are being carried out at homes in south, east
      and north London, Scotland Yard said.

      'Why did Blair send my teenage son to fight an illegal
      and dishonest war?'


      The mother of a British soldier caught up in one of
      the bloodiest incidents in Iraq this year has accused
      Tony Blair of sending her son to fight an "illegal"

      Dani Hamilton-Bing, whose son tried to quell rioters
      in Basra after the downing of a Lynx helicopter in May
      that killed five British soldiers, attacked Mr Blair
      for putting the lives of over-stretched troops in Iraq
      and Afghanistan at risk.

      Baghdad attacks kill 68 in half an hour


      Baghdad experienced one of its worst days of carnage
      yesterday when 68 people were killed and almost 300
      others injured by co-ordinated attacks in the space of
      half an hour.

      About 3,500 civilians were killed in Iraq in July, one
      of the highest monthly death tolls since the US-led
      invasion of 2003, while August was also one of the
      most deadly months for US forces, with 64 soldiers and
      marines being killed.

      Plane catches fire on landing in Iran, killing 29


      An Iranian passenger plane carrying 148 people skidded
      off the runway and smashed its wing on the ground,
      sparking a fire as it landed in the northeastern city
      of Mashhad on Friday, killing 29 people in the latest
      deadly accident involving a Russian-made aircraft.

      $100bn later, Star Wars hits its first missile


      The Pentagon claimed a victory for America's missile
      defence system last night when a mock warhead was
      successfully destroyed in space in a test which cost
      $85m (£45m). A target missile was launched from Kodiak
      island, Alaska, yesterday morning. Seventeen minutes
      later, an interceptor missile left a silo in
      California, hitting the target above the Pacific Ocean
      at a speed of 18,000mph.

      Angry family boycott funeral of Pakistan chieftain

      · Burial in desert grave follows five days of riots
      · Some doubt coffin contains body of leader


      The tribal chieftain killed by the Pakistani army was
      buried yesterday in a hurried and mysterious ceremony
      likely to foment further unrest following five days of
      widespread rioting. A cheap coffin sealed with Chinese
      padlocks said to contain the remains of Nawab Akbar
      Khan Bugti, 79, was lowered into a desert grave near
      his fortress in a remote corner of Baluchistan

      Student in plane mutiny faces jail term for fraud


      An Asian student who was at the centre of a race row
      when he was removed from a holiday flight following a
      mutiny from passengers, is a convicted fraudster
      facing a possible jail term. Sohail Ashraf, 21, and
      his friend Khurram Zeb, 22, were escorted from the
      Malaga to Manchester flight last month after other
      tourists voiced fears that the men could be
      terrorists. The incident provoked accusations of
      racism, but suspicions about the motives of the two
      men were raised after it was revealed that they had
      only been in Malaga for a few hours before flying
      home, leading to allegations that the affair had been
      a publicity stunt.

      US pushes for sanctions on Iran after deadline passes


      Iran and the US are locked even more firmly on a
      collision course after the United Nations formally
      declared that Tehran had failed to meet an
      international deadline to halt uranium enrichment,
      opening the way for sanctions by the Security Council.

      After Iran's latest, studied acts of defiance,
      including the opening of a heavy water plant at the
      weekend, yesterday's verdict from the Vienna-based
      International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was a
      foregone conclusion. "Iran has not suspended its
      enrichment-related activities," a report said, nor had
      Tehran addressed "long outstanding verification
      issues". Indeed, according to the IAEA, Iran had
      started a new round of enrichment on 24 August, a week
      before the deadline.

      Coordinated Baghdad blasts kill 64


      Baghdad residents were today clearing rubble and
      recovering bodies after at least 64 people died in a
      series of coordinated blasts last night. A number of
      mainly Shia districts in the capital were attacked.
      The blasts - caused by car bombs, rockets, mortars and
      explosives left inside flats - injured more than 280
      people, police said today. The death toll has risen
      from around 50 in the aftermath of the attacks, after
      more bodies were found today.

      Scottish schoolgirl 'happy' in Lahore


      A 12-year-old girl from the Western Isles who is at
      the centre of an abduction investigation said today it
      was her "own choice" to go to Pakistan with her
      Smiling and appearing happy, Molly Campbell appeared
      at a news conference in Lahore sitting between her
      father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, and her sister Tahmina, 18.

      Muslim anger over plans for Freddie Mercury party


      A beach party to honour Freddie Mercury in Zanzibar,
      his birthplace, has come under fire from Muslim
      leaders. Azan Khalid said Mercury, who died of Aids in
      1991, violated Islam with his flamboyant lifestyle.
      Mr Khalid vowed to stop a restaurant holding a party
      on Mercury's birthday on September 2. But the manager
      of Mercury restaurant, named after the singer,
      insisted it would go ahead. "Our main idea is to
      promote tourism," Simai Mohammed said. Zanzibar's
      semi-autonomous government has asked Tanzanian
      state-owned media not to write about Mercury's
      birthday because of the row.

      Democrats to Sweep US Polls: Analysts


      WASHINGTON — With US President George W. Bush's low
      approval ratings and public dissatisfaction with the
      Iraq war, gas prices and the country's direction,
      analysts expect Democrats to wrestle control of the
      House of Representatives and make significant gains in
      the Senate.

      "I don't think the question any longer is can
      Democrats win control of Congress, it's can
      Republicans do anything to stop it?" Amy Walter, House
      analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report
      newsletter, told Reuters on Sunday, September 3.

      Sistani Helpless to Prevent Civil War


      AN-NAJAF, IRAQ -- Iraq's most revered Shiite scholar
      Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani has said that he is
      helpless to prevent a civil war in Iraq, lamenting
      that he no longer as an influence on Shiites who have
      switched allegiance to militant groups and death

      Asked whether Ayatollah Sistani could prevent a civil
      war, his spokesman Ali Al-Jaberi replied: "Honestly, I
      think not. He is very angry, very disappointed,"
      Britain's The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday,
      September 3.

      Maliki Challenges Kurds on Flag


      BAGHDAD — The controversy spared by Kurdish leader
      Massoud Barzani's decision to fly down the Iraqi
      national flag showed on sign of abating on Sunday,
      September 3, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
      setting himself on a collision course with Kurdish
      leaders and a defiant Barzani bashing their critics.

      "The present Iraqi flag should be hoisted on every
      inch of Iraqi soil until parliament makes a decision
      as laid down in the constitution," Maliki said in a
      statement issued by his office and cited by Reuters.

      The statement not only defended the national tricolor
      but implied that the Kurds' own flag was illegitimate.

      Barzani, the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish
      region, has earlier this week banned the flying of the
      national flag over government buildings across

      In US, Khatami Urges Dialogue with the Other


      CHICAGO – In the first such visit by a high-level
      Iranian figure in decades, former Iranian president
      Mohammad Khatami called for a constructive dialogue
      between Islam and the other, denouncing extremists who
      hijacked the Muslim faith.

      "The dialogue can help to bring these two communities
      together," Khatami told a group of Muslim minority
      leaders at a suburban Chicago mosque in his first
      pubic appearance in the US, reported Agence
      France-Presse (AFP).
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