#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN – October 23 – Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the Pakistani-Canadian cleric whose supporters have overrun the government quarter of Islamabad in a protest against corruption, on Monday issued a darkly mysterious ultimatum.
Waving a burial shroud, Mr. Qadri, 63, who has twice left a quiet life of retirement near Toronto for the roiling cauldron of Pakistani politics, set a 48-hour deadline for the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister.
Failing that, Mr. Qadri told thousands of supporters his own life could be the price.
“I am giving this deadline today as I am ready to be martyred and I have taken the last bath today,” Mr. Qadri said in front of Pakistan’s parliament, raising fears protestors would storm the building, despite its military guard.
“I’m calling on people from across the country to come out and reject this corrupt and undemocratic government,” he told the Sunday Times.
“People saw what we could do before. This time we will not stop until the government is removed,” Mr. Qadri said, referring to the march he led last year, which ended with the arrest of the previous prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
#AceNewsServices (Opinion) – BRITAIN – September 18
A MAJOR issue being debated in Britain today concerns the Muslims – men and women. It is what is termed the radicalisation of their youth.
Concerns were sparked off by the Islamic State (formerly Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) when its militants beheaded James Foley, an American journalist covering the war in Syria, and circulated a video of the bestial act. Even before this incident grabbed the headlines, media reports had been suggesting that authorities in London believed that as many as 500 Muslim men with British nationality had left the UK to join the IS ‘jihad’.
The last straw came when Foley’s killer was identified from his speech and accent as British. Writing for The Sunday Times, the foreign secretary summed up the widely felt sentiments: “It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain.”
Since then the police have been empowered to seize the passports of people if need be. The move has come too late in the day and two more hostages have been murdered since and one more is under threat.
Many young Muslims draw inspiration from websites with extremist content.
One had hardly got over the shock when came another bombshell. A couple having Pakistani roots made public their dismay at their daughter’s decision to leave home to join IS jihadis. In a statement released to the Glasgow press, they described her as a “bedroom radical” and termed her action as a betrayal of her family, her community and the people of Scotland. It would be upsetting for them as many migrate from Pakistan to give their children a better future, so bleak has life become for the youth in our own country.
Against the backdrop of these horrifying events is the fact that a number of young Muslims are drawing inspiration from websites notorious for their extremist content. At the same time, there have been reports in Britain as also other Western countries of an increase in racism and hate crimes against Muslims in the wake of 9/11. Publications such as Maybe we are hated: The experience and impact of anti-Muslim hate on British Muslim women by the University of Birmingham are cited in support of the claim that Muslims are being victimised for their beliefs.
What can one say about this perversity that is creeping into a section of the Muslim youth? It can under no condition be condoned even if this is viewed as a reaction to the perceived injustice to Muslims. Two wrongs do not make a right.
No Pakistani I met in Scotland justifies it. How the immigrants explain this extremism would depend on who you are talking to. Many who complain of personal experiences of racial discrimination might be immigrants who remain on the fringe of local society. Living in ghettoised conditions, many Pakistani women do not even want to socialise with people not from their own community. They shop for groceries at South Asian stores and thus manage to avoid interaction on a regular basis with the majority.
There are others — mainly employed professionals — who interact with the indigenous population who may have a different story to tell.
The problem is that the absence of awareness and knowledge of ‘the other’ leads to fear, alienation and prejudice. When people from different communities living together are inclusive in their approach and accept one another’s way of life, chances are there will be more harmony among them.
Much of the alienation in children comes from the identity crisis that is created. In order to preserve their identity as ‘good Muslims’ (even of the moderate kind) children are often indoctrinated in such a way that the message is that theirs is a superior faith. By implication other religions are berated. Many of these children whose parents are migrants fail to adjust in the society they grow up in because of the dichotomy between their home environment and outside surroundings. This makes them vulnerable to the influence of extremists scouting for recruits.
But the fact is that most Muslim youth do not end up as jihadis. The problem needs to be contextualised and rational analysis can help identify the factors that make some more vulnerable than others.
The key to promoting interfaith, inter-cultural harmony is how ‘the other’ is projected and interpreted, especially to young children. A social worker giving the leftist perspective pointed out that integration of communities is a mutual process that is hindered by the universal rise of racism in the West that puts immigrants on the defensive. The media is not helpful either given its penchant for sensationalism.
The real problem, she feels, is the crisis the youth face worldwide due to the vacuum created by societies. The vulnerable ones turn to violence. For Muslims it is ‘jihad’. Global conflict spurs them on.
Don’t we see that in Pakistan as well?
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2014
#AceNewsServices (Exclusive) – September 18 – NEW YORK: Pakistan-born neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui has become a rallying cry for militant groups demanding her release from a US prison. But in a little-noticed move she is trying to abandon her legal fight for freedom, saying the US court system is unjust.
Islamic militants in Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan have made Aafia’s release a condition for freeing certain foreign hostages. Islamic State, for example, proposed swapping American journalist James Foley for her, but he was executed after their demands, which also included an end to US airstrikes in Iraq, were not met.
A 42-year-old mother of three with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University, Aafia is serving an 86-year sentence in a prison medical centre in Texas. A jury in 2010 convicted her of attempting to shoot and kill a group of FBI agents, US soldiers and interpreters who were about to interrogate her for alleged links to Al Qaeda.
Aafia, who during her trial interrupted proceedings repeatedly and at times was removed from the courtroom, wrote to US District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan on July 2 seeking to end her most recent appeal.
“I refuse to participate in this system of total injustice that has punished and tortured me repeatedly, and continues to do so, without my having committed a crime,” she wrote.
Aafia said she wanted to be sent home to Pakistan through diplomacy, not through the legal system. But her lawyer Robert Boyle told the judge he was concerned she did not fully understand that as a consequence of her request she might not have another opportunity to challenge her conviction.
US prosecutors were scheduled to respond to Aafia’s letter with their own letter by late on Wednesday. Aafia was likely unaware of the attempt by Islamic State to free her in a prisoner swap for Foley, Boyle told Reuters. Federal Medical Center Carswell severely restricts her contact with the outside world, he said.
Aafia already lost one appeal. In 2012, an appeals court rejected arguments that her trial was unfair and upheld her conviction.
Her latest appeal, filed in May, argues that Aafia received an unfair trial because she was not allowed to fire defence lawyers who were paid by the Pakistani government, and that US prosecutors failed to turn over important evidence.
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#AceWorldNews – PAKISTAN (Lahore) – July 06 – Pakistani police say that a court has indicted five relatives accused of stoning to death a pregnant woman for marrying against the family’s wishes, AP reported.
The woman’s father, two brothers, a cousin and ex-husband pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and torture, according to the investigator in the case, Mian Zulfiqar.
The 25-year-old woman was killed on May 27 before a crowd of onlookers in the eastern city of Lahore.
#AceWorldNews – MUMBAI – May 08 – A Pakistani court released an American on bail Thursday that the US had identified as an FBI agent, AP reported, citing police.
The court ordered the man to submit a surety bond of 1 million rupees ($9,800) for his bail, according to police officer Rao Anwaar.
The police had detained the American on May 5 at an airport in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi after seizing ammunition and three knives from him.
Officials reportedly found the man also carrying electronic devices.
#AceBreakingNews – DUBAI – May 06 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it had uncovered an al Qaeda militant group with links to “extremist elements” in Syria and Yemen that had been plotting to assassinate officials and attack government and foreign targets.
The cell comprised 62 members, including 59 Saudi militants, a Yemeni, a Pakistani and a Palestinian, Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said in a televised briefing.
An investigation into social media postings “led security forces after months of hard work to pinpoint suspicious activities that unveiled a terrorist organisation through which the elements of al Qaeda in Yemen were communicating with their counterpart elements in Syria in coordination with a number of misguided people at home in various provinces of the kingdom,” he said.