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  • Zafar Khan
    For Muslim Law Students, Knowledge Is Power http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34533 NEW YORK, Aug 31 (IPS) - His name is Junaid Ahmad. He is 24 years old.
    Message 1 of 530 , Sep 3, 2006
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      For Muslim Law Students, Knowledge Is Power

      http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34533

      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

      http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/09/01/divine_designs/

      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

      http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=August&x=20060831154920ndyblehs0.3371698

      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

      http://www.beliefnet.com/story/198/story_19887_1.html

      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

      http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1775_0_24_0_M

      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

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0608310268aug31,1,5932662.story

      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

      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1863721,00.html

      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
      Bangladesh

      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'

      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1863808,00.html

      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

      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1863820,00.html

      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

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article1325427.ece

      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

      http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article1269618.ece

      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?'

      http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article1269497.ece

      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"
      war.

      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

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1269491.ece

      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

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1269490.ece

      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

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1863474,00.html

      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

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,1863394,00.html

      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
      province.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Student in plane mutiny faces jail term for fraud

      http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article1223138.ece

      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

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article1223128.ece

      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

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1862889,00.html

      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

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,1862981,00.html

      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
      father.
      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

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1862473,00.html

      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

      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-09/03/06.shtml

      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

      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-09/03/04.shtml

      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
      squads.

      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

      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-09/03/03.shtml

      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
      Kurdistan.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      In US, Khatami Urges Dialogue with the Other

      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-09/03/01.shtml

      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).
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Zafar Khan
      Allah s name in Kashmir Sky http://www.islamawareness.net/Miracles/miracle_allah_sky.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ West Embraces Sham
      Message 530 of 530 , Feb 3, 2008
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        Allah's name in Kashmir Sky

        http://www.islamawareness.net/Miracles/miracle_allah_sky.html
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        West Embraces "Sham" Democracies

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199280060947&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        CAIRO — Europe and the United States increasingly
        tolerate autocrats posing as democrats in countries
        such as Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Russia out of
        pure self-interest, Human Rights Watch said on
        Thursday, January 31.
        "It's now too easy for autocrats to get away with
        mounting a sham democracy," Kenneth Roth, the HRW
        executive director, said in a press release.

        "By allowing autocrats to pose as democrats, without
        demanding they uphold the civil and political rights
        that make democracy meaningful, the US, the EU and
        other influential democracies risk undermining human
        rights worldwide."

        The watchdog's World Report 2008 said the US and
        Europe do not press governments on the key human
        rights issues that make democracy function such as a
        free press, peaceful assembly and a functioning civil
        society.

        It separately reviewed rights situations in more than
        75 countries, identifying many troubling cases such as
        atrocities in Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic
        of Congo, Ethiopia's Ogaden region, Iraq, Somalia, Sri
        Lanka, and Sudan's Darfur region.

        The report voiced concern at closed societies or
        severe repression in Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea,
        Libya, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

        It accused the Bush administration of failing to push
        for all governments to respect human rights.

        "The Bush administration has spoken of its commitment
        to democracy abroad but often kept silent about the
        need for all governments to respect human rights."

        In 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, Bush
        advocated democracy in the Middle East in a series of
        bold statements and speeches.

        But the reform tone died down as Washington was
        getting deeper and deeper into the Iraq quagmire,
        needing the help of repressive regimes in the region.

        In 2005, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
        again played the democracy tune, vowing support for
        "the democratic aspirations of all people."

        Little has changed since then.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Israeli Embassy in Mauritania Attacked

        http://www.islamonline.net/english/news/2008-02/01/01.shtml

        NOUAKCHOTT — Gunmen opened fire on the Israeli embassy
        in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott early Friday,
        February 1, wounding five people, amid growing public
        anger at the stifling Israeli blockade of the Gaza
        Strip.

        "At 2:20 this morning, there was shooting at the
        Israeli embassy in Nouakchott," Israeli ambassador
        Boaz Bismuth told Reuters.

        "It only happened a few hours ago, but a shooting on a
        foreign embassy is a very serious incident."

        Bismuth said all the embassy staff, Israeli and
        Mauritanian, are safe.

        Witnesses said six men wearing boubous – long flowing
        African gowns – and turbans got out of a vehicle and
        walked towards a restaurant near the embassy.

        After a few minutes "they said loudly in Arabic 'let's
        go' then shouted 'Allah Akbar' (God is Greatest) and
        opened fire" at the embassy, said one witness, who was
        at the restaurant when the attack took place.

        Footage showed the embassy undamaged, but there were
        three bullet holes in the windscreen of a vehicle
        parked outside.

        The gunmen also sprayed bullets at a nightclub about
        50 meters (yards) from the embassy on the same street.

        Five people, including a French woman, were injured in
        the two attacks.

        Friday's attack also came just weeks after the 2008
        Lisbon-Dakar rally, which was due to have passed
        through Mauritania, was cancelled due to a security
        alarm caused by two December attacks claimed by
        Al-Qaeda.

        Al-Qaeda's North African branch claimed responsibility
        for the killings last month of a number of Mauritanian
        soldiers and four French tourists.

        Public Anger

        The attack comes as pressure increases within
        Mauritania against the presence of an Israeli embassy
        there.

        The president of the national assembly, Messaoud Ould
        Boulkheir, called Sunday for the country to
        "reconsider" its "shameful" relations with Tel Aviv
        following its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

        It was up to parliamentary "deputies and the
        Mauritanian people to urge the government to
        reconsider the shameful ties with an entity that kills
        our brothers, occupies their land and keeps them under
        the blockade," Ould Boulkheir told the National
        Assembly earlier this week.

        "Gaza is aching at the massacres of its sons and at
        the blockade," he told the opening of a special
        parliamentary session, referring to Israel's total
        lockdown since January 17 of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

        Ould Boulkheir, who is constitutionally the most
        powerful man in the west African country after the
        head of state and Senate president, became the first
        senior politician publicly and officially to question
        relations established with Israel in 1999, under the
        regime of Maaouiya Ould Taya.

        The speaker is the leader of the Progressive Popular
        Alliance, now in power, which has always called for
        Mauritania to break off those ties sealed with the
        Hebrew state, in solidarity with the Palestinians.

        Domestically, the government of President Sidi Ould
        Cheikh Abdallahi has pursued a policy of freeing up
        the press and working for reconcilation among the
        traditional rulers and the black African population.

        Last week, leaders of parties in an increasingly
        active opposition and some allied with the government
        sent a letter to Abdallahi calling on him to sever
        relations with Israel.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        US Army Suicides Spike

        http://www.islamonline.net/english/news/2008-02/01/03.shtml

        WASHINGTON — The number of US army soldiers committing
        suicides after deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan
        continued to spike in 2007, hitting levels not seen in
        more than a quarter century, army data has shown.

        "We are perturbed by the rise despite all of our
        efforts," Colonel Elsbeth Ritchie, psychiatric
        consultant to the army's surgeon general, told Agence
        France-Presse (AFP).

        Ritchie was part of a team that reviewed suicide
        prevention efforts in Iraq in October after Lieutenant
        General Raymond Odierno raised concerned about
        suicides among deployed soldiers.

        Data released by the army Thursday, January 31, show
        the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides spiked
        in 2007 with 89 confirmed suicides and another 32
        deaths awaiting confirmation as suicides.

        In 2006, 102 active duty soldiers committed suicide,
        almost double the number in 2001.

        According to the figures, more than 2,000 soldiers
        tried to take their own lives or injure themselves in
        2006, compared to about 375 in 2002.

        Most suicides are young males between the ages of 18
        and 24, but the army experts are also starting to see
        higher numbers of suicides among older soldiers and
        females.

        Ritchie said 11 female soldiers killed themselves in
        2006. "That's the highest number of females we've ever
        seen," she said.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Conflict spells disaster for whole of East Africa

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/conflict-spells-disaster-for-whole-of-east-africa-776768.html

        Kenya's political meltdown is threatening its economic
        lifeline to Somalia and other neighbouring countries
        and disrupting the supply of desperately needed relief
        aid.


        The economies of landlocked states such as Uganda,
        Rwanda and Burundi, which rely on Kenya's trade links
        via its Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, are already
        being hit by the effects of the unrest.

        Goods are piling up in Mombasa amid fears of blockages
        along the main road to Nairobi. Other arteries
        including the roads from the capital to the western
        city of Kisumu and the highway between Nakuru and
        Eldoret have also been blocked. Guillermo Bettocci,
        the Somalia representative of the UN High Commissioner
        for Refugees, expressed concern about the cancellation
        of flights at Nairobi airport, which is used to fly
        out supplies to Somalia.

        He described the situation in Somalia, where fierce
        fighting has resumed between Islamic fighters and
        Ethiopian forces sent to prop up a transitional
        government, as "the world's worst humanitarian
        disaster" which he said had now overtaken Darfur in
        terms of a humanitarian emergency. A total of one
        million people have been displaced inside Somalia by
        the conflict, including 250,000 in Mogadishu alone.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        One of Bin Laden's top six aides is killed in
        suspected US strike

        · Abu al-Libi dies in attack on Pakistan compound
        · Leader of Afghan militants targeted Cheney last year


        http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,,2250433,00.html

        senior al-Qaida figure in Afghanistan, described by
        Western officials as one of Osama bin Laden's top six
        lieutenants, has been killed, it was reported
        yesterday.
        Abu Laith al-Libi was "martyred along with a group of
        his brothers on the territory of Islamic Pakistan"
        according to a statement on Ikhlaas.org, a website
        that often posts communiques from Islamists in
        Afghanistan and Iraq.

        Libi's death may be linked to what is suspected to be
        a US missile strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan
        region earlier this week, in which 12 people - several
        Arabs and central Asians, as well as local Taliban
        members - are believed to have died. Locals told
        reporters that they heard US Predator drones flying in
        the area shortly before the explosion at a compound,
        and a Pakistani daily newspaper, The News, reported
        that the attack was targeted at Libi and another
        senior figure, Obaidah al Masri.

        Pakistani officials said they had "no information"
        indicating that Libi was dead, but the Associated
        Press quoted a "knowledgeable western official"
        confirming the death: "It appears that Al-Libi has met
        his demise."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Letters: British Muslims
        Muslims should not be surprised at backlash against
        atrocities

        http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-british-muslims-776112.html
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Robert Fisk: The curious case of the forged biography

        When Robert Fisk heard that his life of Saddam Hussein
        was selling well, one thing bothered him: he had never
        written one. His investigation took him to the
        murkiest corners of Cairo

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/fisk/robert-fisk-the-curious-case-of-the-forged-biography-776775.html

        It arrived for me in Beirut under plain cover, a brown
        envelope containing a small, glossy paperback in
        Arabic, accompanied by a note from an Egyptian friend.
        "Robert!" it began. "Did you really write this?"


        The front cover bore a photograph of Saddam Hussein in
        the dock in Baghdad, the left side of his head in
        colour, the right side bleached out, wearing a black
        sports jacket but with no tie, holding a Koran in his
        right hand. "Saddam Hussein," the cover said in huge
        letters. "From Birth to Martyrdom." And then there was
        the author's name – in beautiful, calligraphic
        typeface and in gold in the top, right-hand corner.
        "By Robert Fisk."

        So there it was, 272 paperback pages on the life and
        times of the Hitler of Baghdad and selling very well
        in the Egyptian capital. "We all suspect a well-known
        man here," she added. "His name is Magdi Chukri."

        Needless to say, I noticed one or two problems with
        this book. It took a very lenient view of the
        brutality of Saddam, it didn't seem to care much about
        the gassed civilians of Halabja – and it was full of
        the kind of purple passages which I loathe. "After the
        American rejection of the Iraqi weapons report to the
        UN," 'Robert Fisk' wrote, "the beating of war drums
        turned into a cacophony..."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Danish library plans to house cartoons of prophet
        Muhammad

        · Controversial works will be secure, says spokeswoman
        · Muslim society vows to ignore 'provocation'

        Robert Tait
        Wednesday January 30, 2008
        The Guardian

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoonprotests/story/0,,2249021,00.html

        Denmark's national library is to risk re-opening an
        international political storm by housing the cartoon
        images of the prophet Muhammad that provoked violent
        convulsions throughout the Islamic world two years
        ago.
        The royal library in Copenhagen - founded in the 17th
        century by King Frederik III and home to many historic
        treasures - has declared the drawings to be of
        historic value and is trying to acquire them for
        "preservation purposes".

        The library, widely acknowledged as the most
        significant in Scandinavia, has agreed to take
        possession of the caricatures on behalf of the museum
        of Danish cartoon art, a spokesman told the Art
        Newspaper.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        UK lacks counter-terror policy, says Musharraf

        · Pakistani president hits back at British critics
        · Your Islamist militants are home-grown, Brown told

        http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,2248535,00.html

        Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, claimed
        yesterday that Britain lacked a long-term
        counter-terrorist strategy and argued that Islamist
        extremism was a home-grown problem for Britain rather
        than his country's responsibility.
        Speaking before meeting Gordon Brown in Downing
        Street, and in response to persistent British
        criticism of his record on counter-terrorism,
        Musharraf set out the shortcomings he sees in the UK's
        efforts to deal with militant young Muslims, pointing
        out that all the July 7 2005 bombers were born in the
        UK

        "We have adopted a five-point strategy. You need to
        adopt a similar strategy to curb this kind of tendency
        in youngsters, who tend to become terrorists, because
        merely getting hold of them and punishing them legally
        does not solve the problem or get to the root of the
        problem," he said.
        He listed the five elements of Pakistan's
        counter-terrorist strategy: curbing the propagation of
        extremism in mosques; restricting the publication of
        extremist literature; banning extremist organisations;
        stopping the teaching of militant Islam in schools;
        and bringing madrasas (religious schools) into the
        mainstream.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why is racial abuse now
        considered acceptable?

        http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/yasmin-alibhaibrown-why-is-racial-abuse-now-considered-acceptable-774878.html

        On the day my beloved son was born at the John
        Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Margaret Thatcher gave a
        speech on how her kith and kin felt rather "swamped"
        by alien cultures and peoples. My child was branded –
        rejected, I felt – as he took his first breath. I
        never forgave the Iron Lady for inciting animosity
        against us.


        This Wednesday the boy, now a barrister, turns 30. His
        Britain is dynamic, diverse and – in spite of old and
        new fissures – remarkably at ease with itself, as is
        he. Though discrimination blocks talent and top jobs
        still go to white, clubbable chaps, opportunities have
        been prised open and a meritocracy operates in many
        professions. There is nowhere else I would choose to
        live.

        And yet, and yet, I see a return to some of the
        attitudes personified by Thatcher and Enoch Powell,
        cultural protectionists who wanted England to be their
        England and only theirs once again. There are also
        ominous signs that racial intolerance is breaking out,
        even among the usually civil middle classes. It is
        hugely upsetting that we blacks and Asians
        increasingly experience spit-in-your-face racism, even
        in London, the city made by strangers.

        Last Monday, I was speaking at an Evening
        Standard/YouGovStone public debate on what we wanted
        from the London Mayor. We were at Cadogan Hall in
        smart Sloane Square. The audience– many well-heeled –
        was lively and keen, a good sign of political
        engagement. Such debates can get fiery and that makes
        them real and exciting. Other panellists were Michael
        Eboda, the ex-editor of The Voice newspaper, the
        prolific and weighty columnist Simon Jenkins, and
        Boris Johnson. All went spiffingly well until I said
        we needed time-limited, affirmative action in
        recruitment and promotion for key institutions such as
        the police forces.

        In Northern Ireland, affirmative action has
        transformed the police force so it reflects the
        Catholic/Protestant population. Mr Eboda then directly
        interrogated Mr Johnson on some of his insulting
        assertions about black people. The Tory MP first
        huffed and puffed and then blew out a timid apology.
        Neither Mr Eboda nor I were rude or aggressive, yet we
        seemed to stir some pretty revolting feelings in a
        number of ladies and gents attending. There was much
        unruly shouting. I was called a "cunt" and told to go
        back to Uganda. Mr Eboda was also racially abused, as
        was anybody else, black and white, who stood up to the
        posh hooligans. Members of the Black Police Federation
        later told me they were actually afraid of the mob
        malevolence. Five years ago, few readers resorted to
        ugly, racist abuse. Now hundreds mug me via email.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Talk to Al-Qaeda: French Expert

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199279913449&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        PARIS — A French expert in terrorism and Islamic
        militancy is calling for a dialogue with Osama bin
        Laden's Al-Qaeda organization to refute its
        "unrealistic" ideologies as the security option has
        proved a "fiasco."
        "In talking to Al-Qaeda and its leaders, I'm sure we
        are able to counter their ideology with facts on the
        ground," Anne Giudicelli told IslamOnline.net in an
        interview.

        "This will be the first step to face Al-Qaeda."

        Giudicelli, a former anti-terror adviser to the French
        Foreign Ministry, said a quite dialogue with Al-Qaeda
        leaders could help convince them that their ideas,
        like enforcing Shari`ah in European societies, simply
        do not work.

        "An in-depth dialogue will enable us convince Al-Qaeda
        leaders that their ideology is inapplicable and
        unrealistic."

        Giudicelli regretted European rejection of bin Laden's
        truce offer in 2004 in the aftermath of the deadly
        Madrid bombings claimed by his network.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Artificial Life Under Fire

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199279899471&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        WASHINGTON — An announcement by controversial US
        scientist Craig Venter of taking a major step toward
        creating the first ever artificial life form by
        synthetically reproducing the DNA of a bacteria has
        aroused heated scientific debate over the ethics of
        the lab trial and its success rates.
        "Venter is not God," Helen Wallace, a biologist and
        spokeswoman for GeneWatch UK, told Agence
        France-Presse (AFP).

        Hamilton Smith, from the J.Craig Venter Institute, in
        the study published Thursday in Science magazine, that
        through a five-year research effort showed that
        building large genomes is now feasible so that
        important applications such as biofuels can be
        developed.

        The move is seen as the penultimate stage in the
        endeavor to create an artificial life in the form of a
        bacteria based entirely on a man-made DNA genome.

        The research has been carried out at the laboratories
        of Venter, who has hailed artificial life forms as a
        potential remedy to illness and global warming.

        The chromosome which Venter and his team has created
        is known as Mycoplasma laboratorium and, in the final
        step of the process, will be transplanted into a
        living cell where it should "take control,"
        effectively becoming a new life form.

        The bacteria, which causes certain sexually
        transmitted diseases, has one of the least complex DNA
        structures of any life form, composed of just 580
        genes. In contrast, the human genome has some 30,000.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Beirut Blast Kills Senior Officer

        http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1199279898797&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

        BEIRUT —A senior intelligence officer was killed with
        three other people in a car bombing in the Lebanese
        capital, Beirut, on Friday, January 25, in the second
        bombing targeting an official at the security and
        military establishments in as many as days.
        "Captain Wissam Eid, a member of the Internal Security
        Forces, and his bodyguard were killed in the blast," a
        security official told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Desert state channels oil wealth into world's first
        sustainable city
        Lord Foster designs car-free, solar-powered project
        for 50,000 people

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jan/21/climatechange.energy

        In an expanse of grey rock and dust in one of the
        harshest environments on earth, the United Arab
        Emirates is about to build what is being described as
        the world's first sustainable city, designed by
        British architect Lord Foster.

        The site is far from promising. Miles from a polluted
        sea, a fierce sun raises temperatures to 50C (120F) in
        the summer, and there is no fresh water, no soil and
        no animals. But tens of billions of petro-dollars will
        be poured into these seven square kilometres of desert
        on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

        Called Masdar - "the source" in Arabic - the walled
        city is intended to house 50,000 people and 1,500
        businesses. It will have no cars and be
        self-sufficient in renewable energy, the majority of
        which will be solar energy.

        The formal unveiling of the desert eco-city will be
        made today at a summit on future energy sources in Abu
        Dhabi, attended by the UK business secretary, John
        Hutton, and Prince Andrew.

        "It's extremely ambitious," said Gerard Evenden,
        senior partner in Lord Foster's architecture practice
        in London, which has had a team working on the design
        for nine months. "We were invited to design a
        zero-carbon city. In this harsh place we needed to
        look back at history and see how ancient settlements
        had adapted to their environments." The buildings will
        huddle together as in a casbah, and will be cooled by
        wind towers which will collect the desert's breezes
        and flush out hot air. No building will be more than
        five storeys high; the city is to be oriented
        north-east to south-west to give the optimum balance
        of sunlight and shade.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        'To impose democracy from outside is inherently
        undemocratic'

        Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, tells Simon
        Tisdall in a rare interview that western policy in the
        region is ill-informed and at times arrogant

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2246188,00.html

        Western countries should stop trying to browbeat
        Kenya's warring political leaders into submission and
        do more in practical terms to prevent poverty, lack of
        opportunity, and Islamist terrorism from further
        destabilising the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia's prime
        minister, Meles Zenawi, has told the Guardian.
        "The threat of western sanctions as a response to the
        current crisis in Kenya is very, very misguided,"
        Meles said. "If it is presumed that the Kenyans will
        democratise in order to eat the peanuts of development
        assistance from the European Union, for example, it
        would be a big mistake."

        Placing pressure on resources to influence the
        post-election process, which has degenerated into
        violence amid claims of government-engineered fraud,
        would not work and could be counter-productive, he
        said.

        "What it does do is give the impression that Africans
        democratise in response to development assistance and
        all you have to do is close the taps and they will sit
        up and behave like proper schoolchildren. That is very
        unfortunate and quite demeaning."
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