Emerging Islamic Fanaticism - Terrorism

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by santosh10, May 14, 2015.

  1. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    There’s a New Terrorist Threat Emerging in Western Sahara, and the World Isn’t Paying Attention
    Aug. 8, 2014

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    For 39 years, exiled Sahrawis have watched their homeland being stripped of its resources with the West's complicity. Now, they could feed into the latest wave of Islamic extremism in North Africa :coffee:

    When the Sahrawi refugees of North Africa drink tea, they make each successive cup sweeter than the last. The first cup, they explain, is bitter like life, the second sweet like love. The third one is sweeter still, they say — like death.

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    If that’s a rather mournful thing to say about the simple pleasure of drinking a warm beverage, it’s because these refugees are a mournful people. They are former soldiers, or the children of former soldiers, from one of the world’s forgotten conflicts: the Western Sahara war. For decades, about 100,000 of them have languished in camps for the displaced, waiting to fight anew in a struggle that never picks up, and killing nothing more besides time.

    North Africa has become ever more volatile since the Arab Spring, run through by militant Islamist outfits and Latin Americandrugcartels. The Algerian group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has established footholds in Mali, Niger and Mauritania, and recentlystaged its deadliest attack in Tunisia. Ansar al-Sharia hasfilled the power vacuum in several parts of Libya after Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall, and Morocco has, in recent weeks, raised itssecurity alert because of the fear that terrorist fighters will return from Syria and Iraq. Boko Haram and al-Shabaab are extending their reach from the west and the east. And on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced an annual $110 million investment to counteract the increasing terrorist threat across the African continent.

    Stuck in the middle of this vortex are the Sahrawis. The next lot of extremists could easily arise among them.

    A territory about the size of the U.K. stretched out along the Atlantic, between Morocco and Mauritania, Western Sahara is often called “Africa’s last colony,” since it never gained independence when Spain decamped in 1975 — 91 years after seizing it in 1884. Instead, Morocco invaded and fought a 16-year-long war against a Sahrawi army of independence, known as the Polisario Front. When the war ended, the Sahrawis were left with the arid easternmost part of the territory, and half of the population fled to six refugee camps on the Algerian side of the border. Morocco took territory along the seaboard. To defend it, the Moroccans built a fortified barricade half the length of China’s Great Wall, and laid before it an estimated 9 million mines.

    The U.N. called for a referendum on self-determination for the Sahrawis in 1991, but since Morocco had moved in hundreds of thousands of its nationals into its part of Western Sahara, the sides couldn’t agree on the electoral rolls. The Sahrawis have since rejected an offer of autonomy within the Moroccan nation and remain keen for the U.N.-backed poll.

    Morocco has meanwhile consolidated power over the territory it occupies, while the Sahrawis nurture the embryo of their would-be state — the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) — among the refugee camps in Algeria. SADR is currently recognized by 46 nations — its most vocal supporter being Algeria, which has a long-standing enmity against Morocco — and is a full member of the African Union. But because of strong Western support for Morocco — it is seen as the most stable state in the area and a bulwark against terrorism — the dream of an independent homeland seems ever more like a mirage.

    That has bred a good deal of resentment. In 2012, three Spanish aid workers were abducted in the camps, and over the following year several dozen Sahrawis were reported to have taken part in the militant Islamist advances in Mali. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned of the risk that: “fighting in Mali could spill over into the neighboring countries and contribute to radicalizing the Western Saharan refugee camps.” :coffee:

    J. Peter Pham, director of the Washington, D.C.–based think tank Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, believes that is already happened. “The disconcerting fact is that because these camps are closed, there needs to be at least tacit approval on the part of those responsible to permit infiltration and exfiltration,” he tells TIME. “Whether that’s because of policy or corruption, I don’t know.”

    In October 2012, Polisario reportedly set up a counterterrorism squad to protect the camps, but Pham views this initiative with skepticism. “In a way, it’s like breeding vermin and then setting up pest control,” he says. “The ongoing maintenance of a phantom state that will never exist creates the climate for extremism.”

    According to Pham, Polisario should accept the offer of autonomy, because an independent state would not be viable. “The last thing Africa needs is another failed state, and that’s exactly what Western Sahara would become if Morocco left,” he says. “There are no real natural resources which can be commercially exploited, it would never be viable by itself. An independent Western Sahara would be an even bigger breeding ground for terrorists.”

    That, of course, is not how the Sahrawis or their supporters see it. There is a possibility of offshore oil, and phosphates, fish and arable land are already being exploited in the occupied territory in violation of international law — and with Western connivance. In 2011, a major fishing agreement between Morocco and the European Union was scrapped, partly because fishing in Western Saharan waters was thought controversial, but in December 2013 it was surprisinglyrenewed. The new agreement talks about benefits to the “local population,” but makes no specific mention of the Sahrawis. :coffee:

    “The E.U.’s interpretation of the legal opinion is preposterous,” Hans Corell, former legal counsel of the U.N. and the author of its legal opinion on Western Sahara’s resources, tells TIME. “It is utterly embarrassing that the international community has been unable to solve this conflict. Since Morocco is able to capitalize in Western Sahara, there will be no incentive at all to change the situation.”

    Neither are the E.U. or the U.N. providing any mechanism for humanitarian monitoring in the territory. The U.N. has had a peacekeeping force in Western Sahara since 1991, but it’s the only such operation in the world lacking a mandate to monitor human rights, because of an annual French veto in the Security Council. Isabella Lovin is one of several members of the European Parliament who have tried both officially and unofficially to enter Western Sahara to take soundings among the Sahrawis, but she’s been both denied and deported.

    “If neither the U.N. nor the E.U. are allowed to monitor in Western Sahara, how can human rights ever be guaranteed?” Lovin asks.

    Protests are commonplace in the occupied territory, but they are invariably broken up by police, since any questioning of Morocco’s claims to Western Sahara is punishable with prison terms. Activists are commonly prosecuted on trumped-up charges such as assaulting a policeman or planning riots. The binding evidence is often a written testimony, supposedly made by the defendant during extended pretrial detention without access to legal counsel. Because of the lack of monitoring, it is often impossible to tell whether these statements are true, false or coerced.

    “These trials are the most blatant violations of human rights and end up in people being locked up for years,” Eric Goldstein, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, tells TIME. “Police beating demonstrators, however, is a weekly ritual.”

    Some rights activists worry that the protests, beatings and trials will escalate now, as oil companies off the Western Saharan coast intensify their exploration. In 2005, Norway’s Government Pension Fund, the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund, started divesting in Kerr-McGee, because their operations in Western Sahara constitutedan “unacceptable risk for contributing to other particularly serious violations of fundamental ethical norms.” However,Kerr-McGee’s American partners Kosmos Energy, continued the enterprise.

    Currently, Kosmos Energy has a drilling ship on its way to the region. Mohamed Alouat is one of many Sahrawis who have protested against Kosmos’ plans. A video from June 10 purportedly shows him taking to the streets with a poster that says the oil is Sahrawi, before a policeman assaults him with a razor blade.

    “They beat my mother so she fainted,” Alouat says. “This all happened to me now because I held a poster against Kosmos. Where are our rights?”

    Even though it is still some way from actual oil production, Kosmos Energy has gone out of its way to publicly promise that “local populations” will benefit from any discovery. “We believe that economic development of the territory can and should proceed in parallel with the U.N. mediation process,” a Kosmos spokesperson tells TIME. “In fact, some experts believe a discovery may be the catalyst to lead a resolution of the conflict.” The energy company adds that it is in the process of engaging with a range of local stakeholders, “including Sahrawis.”

    Erik Hagen, chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch, disagrees.

    “If oil is struck, the Sahrawi future is forever ruined,” he says. “Morocco is the only country in the region that doesn’t produce oil, it is completely unthinkable that they would seek a solution with the Sahrawi if they make a discovery.”

    That, of course, would only stoke frustration in the refugee camps. “Militant groups are operating in the camps and their influence is growing,” says the Atlantic Council’s Pham. That could make Africa’s last colony its newest terrorist hotbed. :coffee:


    Western Sahara: Could Sahrawi Refugees Produce a New Terrorist Threat? - TIME
     
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  3. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Iraq crisis: 'It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead'

    On board Iraqi army helicopter delivering aid to the trapped Yazidis, Jonathan Krohn sees a hellish sight

    Mount Sinjar stinks of death. The few Yazidis who have managed to escape its clutches can tell you why. “Dogs were eating the bodies of the dead,” said Haji Khedev Haydev, 65, who ran through the lines of Islamic State jihadists surrounding it. :facepalm:

    On Sunday night, I became the first western journalist to reach the mountains where tens of thousands of Yazidis, a previously obscure Middle Eastern sect, have been taking refuge from the Islamic State forces that seized their largest town, Sinjar. :coffee:

    I was on board an Iraqi Army helicopter, and watched as hundreds of refugees ran towards it to receive one of the few deliveries of aid to make it to the mountain. The helicopter dropped water and food from its open gun bays to them as they waited below. General Ahmed Ithwany, who led the mission, told me: “It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead.”

    Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.

    However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.

    Handfuls of refugees have managed to escape on the helicopters but many are being left behind because the craft are unable to land on the rocky mountainside. There, they face thirst and starvation, as well as the crippling heat of midsummer.

    Hundreds, if not more, have already died, including scores of children. A Yazidi Iraqi MP, Vian Dakhil, told reporters in Baghdad::coffee:

    "We have one or two days left to help these people. After that they will start dying en masse."

    The Iraqi Army is running several aid missions every day, bringing supplies including water, flour, bread and shoes.

    The helicopter flights aim to airlift out refugees on each flight, but the mountains are sometimes too rocky to land on, meaning they return empty.

    Even when it can land, the single helicopter can take just over a dozen refugees at a time, and then only from the highest point of the mountain where it is out of range of jihadist missiles. Barely 100 have been rescued in this way.

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    Displaced Yazidi people rush towards an aid helicopter (RUDAW)

    The flights have also dropped off at least 50 armed Peshmerga, Kurdish forces, on the mountain, according to Captain Ahmed Jabar.

    Other refugees have made their way through Islamic State lines, evading the jihadists to reach safety, or travelling through

    Kurdish-controlled sections of Syria to reach the town of Dohuk. So far the Yazidi refugees left behind have survived by hiding in old cave dwellings, drinking from natural springs and hunting small animals, but with families scattered across Mount Sinjar, a barren range stretching for around 35 miles near the border with Syria, there are fears aid will not reach them all unless the humanitarian relief operation is significantly stepped up .

    Hundreds can now be seen making their way slowly across its expanse, carrying what few possessions they managed to flee with on their backs. Exhausted children lie listlessly in the arms of their parents, older ones trudging disconsolately alongside while the sun beats down overhead.

    The small amount of relief the peshmerga militia can bring up into the mountain is not simply enough.

    One pershmerga fighter, Faisal Elas Hasso, 40, said: “To be honest, there’s not enough for everyone,” he said. “It’s five people to one bottle.”

    The refugees who made it out described desperate scenes as they awaited help from the outside world.

    “There were about 200 of us, and about 20 of that number have died,” said Saydo Haji, 28. “We can live for two days, not more.” :facepalm:

    Emad Edo, 27, who was rescued in an airlift on Friday at the mountain’s highest point explains how he had to leave his niece, who barely had enough strength to keep her eyes open, to her fate.

    “She was about to die, so we left her there and she died,” he said.

    Others shared similar stories. “Even the caves smell very bad,” Mr Edo added. According to several of the airlifted refugees, the Geliaji cave alone has become home to 50 dead bodies.

    Saydo Kuti Naner, 35, who was one of 13 Yazidis who snuck through Islamic State lines on Thursday morning, said he travelled through Kurdish-controlled Syria to get to Kurdistan.

    He left behind his mother and father, too old to make the rough trip, as well as 200 sheep. “We got lucky,” he said. “A girl was running [with us] and she got shot.” He added that this gave enough cover for the rest of them to get away.

    Mikey Hassan said he, his two brothers and their families fled up into Mount Sinjar and then managed to escape to the Kurdish city of Dohuk after two days, by shooting their way past the jihadists. Mr Hassan said he and his family went for 17 hours with no food before getting their hands on some bread.

    The Yazidis, an ethnically Kurdish community that has kept its religion alive for centuries in the face of persecution, are at particular threat from the Islamists, who regard them as 'devil worshippers’, and drove them from their homes as the peshmerga fighters withdrew.

    There have been repeated stories that the jihadists have seized hundreds of Yazidi women and are holding them in Mosul, either in schools or the prison. These cannot be confirmed, though they are widely believed and several Yazidi refugees said they had been unable to contact Yazidi women relatives who were living behind Islamic State lines.

    Kamil Amin, of the Iraqi human rights ministry, said: “We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them.”

    Tens of thousands of Christians have also been forced to flee in the face of the advancing IS fighters, many cramming the roads east and north to Erbil and Dohuk. On Thursday alone, up to 100,000 Iraqi Christians fled their homes in the Plain of Ninevah around Mosul.

    Refugees said the American air strikes on IS positions outside Erbil were too little, too late. They said they felt abandoned by everyone – the central government in Baghdad, the Americans and British, who invaded in 2003, and now the Kurds, who had promised to protect them.

    “When the Americans withdrew from Iraq they didn’t protect the Christians,” said Jenan Yousef, an Assyrian Catholic who fled Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian town, in the early hours of

    Thursday. “The Christians became the scapegoats. Everyone has been killing us.”

    The situation in Sinjar has irreparably damaged the notion of home for the Yazidis. For a large portion of them, the unique culture of the area will never return, and they will therefore have nothing to go back for.

    “We can’t go back to Sinjar mountain because Sinjar is surrounded by Arabs,” said Aydo Khudida Qasim, 34, who said that Sunni Arab villagers around Sinjar helped Islamic State take the area. Now he as well as many of his friends and relatives want to get out of Iraq

    altogether. “We want to be refugees in other countries, not our own,” he said.

    Iraq crisis: 'It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead' - Telegraph
     
  4. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    France Diplomatie ‏on Twitter @francediplo 2h
    #Irak - Exactions contre des minorités par l'#EIIL près de Sinjar: les djihadistes ont déjà procédé à des tueries et des conversions forcées

    (Abuses against minorities by the # EIIL near Sinjar: Jihadists have already made killings and forced conversions)

    My Comment

    it used to be the time of mid ages when, if you convert then survive. forced conversion but survived....

    while now we have reached a state, when people are 'straight' killing each others on the name of religion....

    .
    @Picdelamirand-oil
    @averageamerican

    PD, if you remember, once i told you on this forum when ISIS attacked on Iraq, "how exactly a 'Buffer Zone' of an extremist Islamic zone between Syria and Iraq will benefit the world society, we have yet to see." do you remember? :coffee:

    and have a look on the state of Iraq right now, those minority groups who were very safe, living peacefully in Iraq till rise of ISIS, are now facing a time which is just hard to believe..... in fact, they were killing non-Sunni people since the beginning, but now they are open with a complete "Extremist Islamic State" which does require killing those who refuse to convert into Islam. as i had said even on the first day of this crisis :coffee:

    and the fundamental difference i stated that time also, "this religious conversion is a typical Sunni states philosophy, who have a history to fund Taliban. like how Saudi, UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey etc even maintained Diplomatic ties with Taliban till 9/11 2001 too. while Shia-Sunni riots have been in usual news even in Pakistan for many years."

    i mean, you always have a reason to put Iran, Iraq, Syria in the category of China, Russia type opponents of US, while these NATO allies of Gulf are the main religious challenge........ go anywhere in world including in US/EU, or to Australia where main fund for conversion of Aboriginals comes from Gulf itself :coffee:
     
  5. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    25,000 Muslim rioters torch Buddhist temples, homes in Bangladesh
    September 30, 2012

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    A statue of Lord Buddha is left standing amidst the torched ruins of the Lal Ching Buddhist temple at Ramu, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) from the capital Dhaka on September 30, 2012 (AFP Photo)

    Tens of thousands of rioters left a trail of destruction in southeastern Bangladesh as they torched Buddhist temples and homes near the town of Ramu. The violence was sparked by a photo posted on Facebook that allegedly insulted Islam. :toilet:

    A 25,000-strong mob set fire to at least five temples and dozens of homes throughout the town and surrounding villages after seeing the picture, which they claimed was posted by Uttam Barua, a local Buddhist man, AFP reported.

    The group chanted “God is Great” while setting fire to the centuries-old temples.

    "I have seen 11 wooden temples, two of them 300 years old, torched by the mob. They looted precious items and Buddha statues from the temples. Shops owned by Buddhists were also looted," local journalist Sunil Barua said.

    Security forces were deployed to contain the uprising: "At least 100 houses were damaged. We called in army and border guards to quell the violence," district administrator Joinul Bari said.

    No casualties were reported, and authorities did not confirm whether police arrested any of the rioters.

    Buddhist monks protested against the attacks on Sunday, forming a human chain in the country’s capital of Dhaka.

    Bangladeshi Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said the attacks were pre-planned, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    "The attack was conducted in a coordinated manner. Temples and houses were set on fire using patrol and gun powder. It would have been impossible if the attacks were not planned," he told Bangladesh’s Bdnews24.

    The government will provide financial assistance for reconstruction of the damaged houses and temple, Alamgir said.

    Before launching their attacks, Muslims publicly rallied against the picture and called for Barua's arrest. However, several Facebook users said that Barua did not post the photo, and that he was linked to the photo after group called 'Insult Allah' tagged his name on the image.

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    Statues are pictured at the burnt Buddhist temple of Shima Bihar at Ramu, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka on September 30, 2012 (AFP Photo)


    Religious tensions on the rise

    Buddhists make up less than one percent of Bangladesh’s population, and sectarian clashes between they and the country's Muslim majority are rare. Tensions between the communities have risen since June, when deadly clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in nearby Myanmar.

    Thousands of Muslims also took to the streets across Bangladesh over the past few weeks in protest against a US-made video and French cartoons that mock the Prophet Muhammad.

    On Saturday, tens of thousands of activists from the Islamist group Jamiyat-e-Hizbullah protested the video and cartoons near the national mosque in Dhaka.

    [​IMG]
    A Bangladeshi man stands amidst the torched ruins of the Buddhist temple called Ramu Moitree Bihar (Ramu Friendship Temple) at Ramu, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka on September 30, 2012 (AFP Photo)

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    A temple burnt by Muslims is seen in Cox's Bazar September 30, 2012 (Reuters / Stringer)

    [​IMG]
    Bangladeshi Buddhist monks form a human chain during a protest against attacks on Buddhist temples and homes, in front of national press club in Dhaka September 30, 2012 (Reuters / Andrew Biraj)

    25,000 Muslim rioters torch Buddhist temples, homes in Bangladesh (PHOTOS) — RT News

    25,000 Muslim rioters torch Buddhist temples, homes in Bangladesh (PHOTOS) — RT News
     
  6. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Radical Lure of Pakistan's Jihad Tourism
    May 06, 2010

    The ease with which Times Square bomb-plot accused Faisal Shahzad was allegedly able to undergo bombmaking instruction during a visit to Pakistan has once again highlighted the country's enduring reputation as the destination of choice for jihadist tourism.:coffee: The claim by Pakistani government sources that Shahzad trained at a camp in North Waziristan will ratchet up pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militant groups that operate in zones of lawlessness on its soil, and to dismantle the infrastructure that continues to attract aspiring terrorists seeking to attack the West.

    [​IMG]
    Authorities have accused Faisal Shahzad, 30, of parking a Nissan Pathfinder filled with explosive materials in New York City's Times Square on a busy Saturday night. A naturalized American citizen, Shahzad was born in Pakistan, entered the United States on a student visa and later married an American woman. :coffee:

    Although details of Shahzad's ideological journey remain murky, Pakistanis who knew him say Shahzad came from a quietly religious family, and may only have become radicalized recently. "Last time when I met him," retired schoolteacher Nazirullah Khan told Reuters, "he didn't have a beard. I attended his wedding." Shahzad's possible links to Pakistani militant groups are under investigation, but some officials suspect that he may have had ties to Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), a banned terror group that began its life as a proxy of Pakistan's intelligence services deployed to fight India in Kashmir. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group responsible for the 2008 Mumbai massacre, is also being investigated as a possibility, a senior Pakistani government source told TIME.

    If suspicions of such links prove true, Shahzad's case would hardly be the first time a Western walk-in has turned up in the midst of Pakistani jihadist groups. Last October, David Headley, another U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin, was arrested and later charged with helping plan the November 2008 Mumbai massacre. According to a plea agreement issued by the Justice Department in March, Headley made contact with al-Qaeda operatives during two trips to North Waziristan — the tribal area under limited central government authority, where Shahzad is also said to have received his training. North Waziristan is the only tribal area untouched thus far by Pakistan's military offensives against its domestic Taliban insurgency, and the region is home to an assortment of jihadist groups that have working relationships with one another (including al-Qaeda). The Pakistani Army has deferred any offensive in the area, claiming limits on its capacity to take on such a mission right now, but the Times Square plot is likely to revive U.S. pressure for an offensive there. :coffee:

    Shahzad and similar volunteers who arrive from the West are believed by Pakistani analysts to have begun their radicalization before making contact with local militant groups. "Somehow, in Canada, Britain and the U.S., people get self-radicalized, then they try and get in touch with radical organizations, depending on their background," says Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. "If they are Pakistanis, they come here." And the Internet has proved to be a powerful tool for both radicalization and recruitment. "There's so much available in cyberspace, it would scare you to death," says Ayesha Siddiqa, an independent security analyst in Islamabad. :coffee:

    Any aspiring jihadist arriving in Pakistan is spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a militant group with which to sign up. Banned organizations such as LeT operate openly under different names, and it's not very difficult for the determined volunteer militant to find his way to such groups. "It's like a drug addict arriving in a new town," adds Siddiqa. "They always figure out where to get their fix." :facepalm:

    Recruits bearing Western citizenship are prized by terror groups, because their passports, education, facility with language and relative comfort with life in Western cities are largely absent among the young, impressionable madrasah students often chosen to carry out vicious bombings in Pakistan, Afghanistan or even India. The potential of these more cosmopolitan recruits to strike in the heart of the West further fuels jihadist fantasies. As Michael Chertoff, the former head of Homeland Security, told MSNBC on Wednesday, "Unfortunately this is the kind of perfect mole for the terrorists. And this is why they're recruiting people who ... have clean records, are American citizens, have lived in America, because they want to take advantage of that cleanliness as a way of evading our defenses."
    :facepalm:

    Britain has had to deal with this problem since the July 2005 bombings of the London commuter system. Given the vast number of Britons of Pakistani origin who move back and forth between the two countries, policing the traffic has severely tested authorities. :coffee: The U.S. is not immune: Headley was able to move undetected between America, India and Pakistan for nearly seven years. Clearly, a problem also exists with respect to the extent of coordination between Western intelligence agencies and their Pakistani counterparts.

    Shahzad, had he been seeking to join up with militants in Pakistan, would have had two distinct advantages over other Western-based volunteers. Having spent the first 18 years of his life in Pakistan, he was at ease in the country. His family's background in the northwest meant that he likely spoke Pashto, a rare asset. And the status of his father, retired senior air-force officer Bahar ul-Haq, is the sort of connection known to avert a suspicious gaze from law-enforcement agencies in Pakistan. Siddiqa goes further: "If you are traveling in Waziristan, and you are stopped, the fact that you are an air-force vice marshal's son can offer you protection," she says.

    But whatever training Shahzad may have received in Waziristan must have been mercifully poor, judging by the multiple mistakes in the botched bombing attempt to which U.S. officials say he has confessed. Yet he's unlikely to have been the only Western wannabe to have passed through these camps and then returned to the West to put his militant education to work.

    Faisal Shahzad Bomb Inquiry Looks at Pakistan Training - TIME
     
  7. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Radical Islam: The New Cold War
    September 19, 2013

    WASHINGTON, September 19, 2013 — The United States of America is now actively engaged in supporting the Syrian Opposition forces in their effort to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. After waiving a federal statute making the “material support” of terrorist organizations legal, President Obama has somewhat muddied the waters of American foreign policy, considering that some of the Opposition fighters the US now supports are designated by the U.S. as terrorist groups.

    The current American defense doctrine identifies militant radical Muslim groups as one of the greatest threats to US interests at home and abroad.

    According to the National Security Strategy released by the White House, “The United States is waging a global campaign against al-Qa’ida and its terrorist affiliates. To disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, we are pursuing a strategy that protects our homeland, secures the world’s most dangerous weapons and material, denies al-Qa’ida safe haven, and builds positive partnerships with Muslim communities around the world.”

    Now the United States is now in direct contradiction of our own National Security Strategy. In supplying Al-Qaeda linked groups with weapons, the Obama Administration has shown the country and the World that the United States is unable to act decisively. Furthermore, it shows that the United States is unable to recognize that radical Islam is the largest threat to American interest since Communism.

    Thus far, our policy has been to ignore the events in Africa because there really is no policy in place to deal with such situations to begin with. The US arms al-Qaeda in one area of the World and fights them in other areas of the World. Despite the fact that al-Qaeda is particularly called out in the most recent publication of the National Security Strategy as being the organization most dangerous to American interests, the Obama Administration has failed to adequately realize that it is not just al-Qaeda, but all radical Muslim groups which pose a threat to the United States. :coffee:

    While the Obama Administration has seen fit to arm our enemies, radical Islamic groups have been quietly building support and strength in North and Western Africa. Much like the Communist expansion in Southeast Asia and South America during the 20th Century, the expansion efforts of radical Muslim groups target weak governments in an attempt to replace or overthrow the existing leadership with their own ideology. They do this by targeting vulnerable leaders, governments at war abroad, or governments in a state of civil war. Africa is home to over a dozen ongoing conflicts, as well as countless natural resources managed by corrupt officials.:coffee:

    During the Cold War, the United States practiced the strategy of Containment, which was a concerted effort to stop the spread of Communism by means of financial and military assistance, and in some cases direct military intervention. Southeast Asia in particular was a favored target of the Communist because of the general disconnect of the governments towards the people, the squalid conditions of much of the population, as well as a population of restless military age men ready to fight. These aspects were exploited by the Soviet Union and China who funneled money into revolutionary groups who sought to replace existing governments with Communist or Socialist regimes. Much like the Communist Domino Effect in Southeast Asia, North and West Africa are also in danger of falling victim to revolutionary groups funded by outside sources. :coffee:

    While Russia and China were responsible for spreading Communism through Asia and Europe in the 20th Century, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among those responsible for funding and propelling the spread of radical Islam in the 21st Century. And just like Russia and China, direct war in response of such support would lead to global disaster. And as such, the United States cannot counter the result of such support at the source, but must do so, as it did with Communism, where the results of that support emerges.:coffee:

    The United States made a mistake in its handling of the Arab Spring. Under President George W. Bush, the dictators in the Middle East and North Africa, though tyrants, still managed to keep the radical Muslim groups in check. The United States was able to counter groups such as al-Qaeda and al-Shaabab where they sprung up, or where they were attempting to infiltrate the governments of weaker nations such as Afghanistan through their support of the Taliban.

    However with the Arab Spring the United States went from holding dictators in check to supporting destabilization and the rise of radical Islamic regimes in Egypt and Libya, which led to a series of civil wars and revolutions further undermining the ability of these nations to govern themselves. Under President Obama and his National Security Strategy, the US has allowed the Middle East and North Africa to become increasingly unstable, a haven for radical Islamic groups.

    What can we do? Well, for one we have to realize that the groups operating in North and West Africa, called the Maghreb, are threats to the interests of the United States. By arming al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebel groups the US has made it clear that it does not have a workable foreign policy, so we need to adopt one. We need to recognize that, like Communism in Southeast Asia before it, Africa has become the Dominos and radical Islam has become the Effect. And just like Communism in Southeast Asia, radical Islam in Africa must be recognized as a threat to US international interests and directly addressed through diplomatic and military action. These actions include propping up weak regimes, expanding the training of host nation security forces, as well as expanding the capabilities of our military to assist at risk nations in military operations with minimal manpower but maximum effectiveness.

    As a model, the United States should look to the Vietnam Mission under JFK. Through the implementation of small scale, local efforts to assist the South Vietnamese government and people, and the deployment of no more than 20,000 advisers and special operators, the US was able to make leaps and bounds in opposing Communist forces in their respective areas. This model could be repeated with success, if applied to Africa and radical Islam.

    The United States must counter the spread of radical Islam on the Maghreb with the same tenacity and strength that it met the threat of Communism during the Cold War. That means that the US must recognize that this is a credible threat. Arming radical Muslim organizations in Syria not only sends the wrong message but is counterproductive to American interests. The United States cannot arbitrarily bomb every nation that supports radical Islam; however they can make the act of supporting such groups enormously expensive and ultimately futile. :coffee:

    Radical Islam: The New Cold War | Washington Times Communities
     
  8. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    :facepalm:
    :tsk:
     
  9. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pak minorities have no faith in democracy :facepalm:
    May 8, 2013
    In majority Muslim Pakistan, religious minorities say democracy is killing them. :tsk: :facepalm:

    Intolerance has been on the rise for the past five years under Pakistan’s democratically elected government because of the growing violence of Islamic radicals, who are then courted by political parties, say many in the country’s communities of Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus and other minorities.

    On Saturday, the country will elect a new parliament, marking the first time one elected government is replaced by another in the history of Pakistan, which over its 66-year existence has repeatedly seen military rule. But minorities are not celebrating. Some of the fiercest Islamic extremists are candidates in the vote, and minorities say even the mainstream political parties pander to radicals to get votes, often campaigning side-by-side with well-known militants.

    More than a dozen representatives of Pakistan’s minorities interviewed by The Associated Press expressed fears the vote will only hand more influence to extremists. Since the 2008 elections, under the outgoing government led by the left-leaning Pakistan People’s Party, sectarian attacks have been relentless and minorities have found themselves increasingly targeted by radical Islamic militants. Minorities have little faith the new election will change that.

    “We are always opposed to martial law (but) during all the military regimes, the law and order was better and there was good security for minorities,” said Amar Lal, a lawyer and human rights activist for Pakistan’s Hindu community.

    The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in a report last month berated the Pakistani government for its poor record of protecting both its minorities and its majority Sunni Muslims and recommended that Pakistan be put on a list of worst offenders, which could jeopardize billions of dollars in US assistance.

    Pakistan’s Hindu minority complains that scores of Hindu girls have been kidnapped, forced to marry their abductor and convert to Islam. They say some 11,000 Hindus living in Baluchistan province have migrated to India because they were worried about security. :coffee:

    Pakistan’s Christian communities have complaints as well. They are often charged with blasphemy with trifles with majority muslims.

    They also accuse political parties of aligning with radical Islamic groups to get votes. Minority religious groups fear extremists will piggyback on the backs of mainstream political parties to a position of political power. They most often point to Nawaz Sharif, the head of the Pakistan Muslim League.
    Sharif’s spokesman Siddiq-ul-Farooqi flatly rejected any links to extremist groups.

    The non-believer epitaph is also widely used in reference to Ahmedis, who consider themselves Muslims but have been explicitly declared non-Muslims in Pakistan’s constitution. :rofl:

    So virulent is the abhorrence of Ahmedis by Pakistan’s religious right-wing parties that many candidates in Saturday’s elections have found it necessary to openly declare their view that Ahmedis are non-Muslims.

    Pak minorities have no faith in democracy
     
  10. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Bangladeshi man gets 30 years for plot to blow up New York Federal Reserve
    9 August 2013

    'I tried to do a terrible thing,' says 22-year-old man who lawyers said became radicalised at university in Bangladesh


    [​IMG]
    Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis's father, Quazi Ahsanullah, shows a picture of his son. Photograph: AM Ahad/AP

    A 22-year-old Bangladeshi man who begged for leniency after pleading guilty to terrorism charges for trying to blow up the Federal ReserveBank in New York was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison. :facepalm:

    "I'm ashamed. I'm lost. I tried to do a terrible thing. I alone am responsible for what I've done. Please forgive me," Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis said before his sentence was handed down in Manhattan federal court. He apologized to the judge, the United States, New York City and his parents.

    Nafis became radicalized at his university in Bangladesh and came to the US with aspirations of jihad, according to lawyers on both sides. He said personal problems also were a factor.

    The defendant had said in a five-page typed letter to judge Carol Bagley Amon that he no longer believed in radical Islam.

    "My actions are inexcusable and cowardly," he wrote. "After giving a deep thought I truly hate my actions and I know that I will never pursue such behavior again that is not only un-Islamic, but also destroyed my family and my life."

    He was charged in October with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida. He pleaded guilty in February.

    Nafis told the judge he had a stammering problem and no real friends in his native country. "For being a very simple guy I fall for people very easily," he wrote in explaining how he fell in with a group of radical students at his university there. "I was becoming religious but never realized that I was misguided slowly but surely with the wrong teachings of Islam." :coffee:

    He originally came to the United States to study cybersecurity at a Missouri college where he also became vice-president of the school's Muslim student association. But he was put on probation because of poor grades, he said, and came to New York to find a job. While in New York, he discovered a woman he cared about back in Bangladesh was cheating on him, he said.

    It made him suicidal, which is forbidden in his religion, he said, and pushed him over the edge.

    Authorities say Nafis adopted increasingly more radical views and began using Facebook and other social media to seek support for a terror attack. One of his contacts turned out to be a government informant who notified authorities.

    While under investigation, Nafis spoke of his admiration for Osama bin Laden and talked of writing an article about his plot for an al-Qaida-affiliated magazine. He also talked about wanting to kill President Barack Obama and bomb the New York Stock Exchange, officials said.

    As the plot progressed, Nafis selected his target, drove a van loaded with dummy explosives to the door of the bank and tried to set off the bomb from a hotel room using a cellphone he thought had been rigged as a detonator, authorities said. No one was ever actually in danger because the explosives were fakes provided by the government.

    Nafis said he has been shown great kindness while in the US – and in prison. "Everybody is very respectful towards religion," he wrote. He has been allowed to pray, and given halal food and fresh fruits.

    "Truly after being in prison, my viewpoints toward America has really changed," he said. "I want to say to your honor that I love Americans."

    His parents, who live in Dhaka, pleaded for mercy in letters to the judge. His mother, Rokeya Siddiqui, described her son as shy, ridiculed and unfocused. He was, she said, "just a kid."

    Bangladeshi man gets 30 years for plot to blow up New York Federal Reserve | World news | theguardian.com

    Bangladeshi man gets 30 years for plot to blow up New York Federal Reserve | World news | theguardian.com
     
  11. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    BSF gives list of 66 terror camps to Bangladesh
    March 09, 2014

    Shillong: The BSF has handed over a list of 66 camps of north-east insurgents to the Border Guard Bangladesh, seeking actions against them. :coffee:

    "We have requested our counterparts in Bangladesh for cooperation in dismantling the camps of insurgents from the region. We have handed over a list of 66 camps that exist in Bangladesh," Sudhir Kumar Srivastava, IG, BSF Assam Frontier, told reporters here on Sunday.

    The list was handed over at the 3-day bi-annual Inspector General level meeting of border management and coordination held from March 6 at the headquarters of Meghalaya Frontier of the BSF here.

    The camps belonged to ULFA and NDFB (anti-talks) of Assam, PLA and KYKL of Manipur, NSCN (IM) of Nagaland besides those of the Tripura's NLFT and Meghalaya's HNLC and ANVC-B, the BSF official said.

    Brig General Habibul Karim, Region Commander North East Region, who led a 20-member delegation from Bangladesh, had assured actions against those camps located all along the northern parts of Bangladesh, Srivastava said.

    The inspectors general of Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Cachar frontiers of BSF officials attended the meeting along with an official representative of the Ministry of External Affairs. :coffee:

    "The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and discussed many issues like better border management, tackling smuggling of banned cough syrup Phensydyl and fake currency and reducing border crimes and dacoities," he said.

    BSF also requested for early solution of disputes regarding erection of barbed wire fencing in some patches of the border, especially the single row fencing, he said.

    Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam share a 1,880-km border with Bangladesh.

    BSF gives list of 66 terror camps to Bangladesh
     
  12. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Uncontrolled Muslim influx a threat

    A FEW weeks ago in London, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told me that 75 per cent of the terrorist plots aimed at Britain originated in the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan. Some 800,000 Pakistanis live in Britain.

    The vast majority, it goes without saying, are law-abiding citizens. But there is a link between uncontrolled Muslim immigration and terrorism. :coffee:

    The real historic significance of the illegal immigration crisis in our northern waters is that this could, if things go wrong, be the moment Australia loses control of our immigration program, and that would be a disaster.:sad:

    It is extremely difficult to talk honestly about Muslim immigration. All generalisations about it are subject to countless exceptions. Muslims are very different from each other. Most are reasonably successful.

    But a much bigger minority end up with social, political, extremist or other problems resulting from a lack of integration than is the case with any other cohort of immigrants in Western societies. A lack of honest discussion about this results in bad policy.

    The most enlightening book you could possibly read on this is by USjournalist Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. It is by far the best book on public policy of any kind I have read for a long time. It is wittily written but attempts to be neither provocative nor politically correct. It is dense with data but its greatest strength lies in laying bare the intellectual, political and social dynamics that have led to the mess in Europe. The way the Australian debate is reprising what were profoundly destructive and misguided European debates, dominated by moral sanctimony and a failure to grasp reality, is eerie.

    Caldwell is enlightening on the way asylum assessment processes are so easily scammed, and the sophisticated, intense exchange of information that means the slightest change in attitude by a receiving country is instantly relayed throughout illegal immigrant networks.:tsk: He writes: "An easily game-able system was in place that made admissions automatic to prospective immigrants who understood it. Various immigrant advocacy NGOs in Europe made sure they understood it... migrants knew the best countries to claim to come from. They also knew the best countries to go to ... (There was an) incredible sensitivity of prospective migrants to shifts in immigration law, and to countries' moods towards immigrants."

    Caldwell also shows that once an illegal immigrant route is established as reliable it becomes immensely popular. This is what the struggle in the waters to Australia's north now is really all about. He further demonstrates how completely subjective and plastic the asylum-seeker assessment procedures are. In 2001 Denmark approved a majority of asylum applicants. By 2004, when the mood had changed, it approved only one in 10, though of course in Europe rejected applicants basically don't go home.

    At times Caldwell seems to be arguing against immigration in principle, although all the problems he adduces relate specifically to Muslim immigration, and he acknowledges the success of other immigrants in Europe.

    He frequently acknowledges the success of immigration in Canada, the US and Australia. In Canada and Australia, the governments choose the immigrants. In the US, most illegal immigrants come from Latin America and don't have the Muslim problems.:cheers:

    But in so far as he makes a general case against immigration, I strongly disagree with Caldwell.

    What he is really concerned with is uncontrolled Muslim immigration. The facts he produces are very disturbing. No European majority ever wanted this to happen. There are 20million Muslims in western Europe and this number will double by 2025. :rockroll:

    How did this mass immigration of people with few relevant job or language skills, and a culture deeply alien to Europe, come about? Caldwell argues that the post-World War II period saw a radical disjuncture in European attitudes. Europe had just been wrecked by an enemy, the Nazis, who were avowedly racist. The unimaginable disaster of the Holocaust haunted every discussion of morality or policy. Europe was in the throes of decolonisation and felt guilty about its relations with non-white people.

    This made an ideology of anti-racism - which itself became extreme and distorted, detached from reality and in many cases downright intolerant - the more or less official state religion of Europe. This had little to do with really combating racism.

    In one of history's countless ironies, Muslim immigrants benefited from the legacy of the Jewish Holocaust. The determination initially to extirpate anti-Semitism didn't help many European Jews because they were almost all gone, but it offered a template for Muslim immigrants to find and exploit an ethnic victim status. This set up profoundly destructive dynamics and, in another irony, reintroduced serious anti-Semitism to Europe, carried with the Muslim arrivals.

    Caldwell suggests a welfare state makes a bad marriage with mass, unskilled immigration. Welfare rather than opportunity becomes the attraction. More importantly, welfare becomes a lethal poverty trap.

    At the same time, satellite television, the internet and mass immigration from a few countries means the old culture is always on hand for Muslim migrants. They don't need to integrate if they don't want to or find it difficult.

    In many cases Caldwell cites, the second-generation of Muslim immigrants is less integrated than the first, and the third less than the second.

    The demographic figures he cites are familiar but still shocking. Native Europeans won't have babies at anything like replacement level while the fertility of Muslim immigrants does not decline through time, as is the case with other immigrants.

    Religion is the strongest predictor of fertility in Europe.

    By mid-century Islam will be the majority religion of Austrians under the age of 15. In Brussels, most births are to Muslims and have been since 2006. In France, one in 10 people are Muslims, but they are one in three of those entering their child-bearing years, and Muslims have three times as many children as other French. :laugh:

    Caldwell writes: "Europe finds itself in a contest with Islam for the allegiance of its newcomers. For now, Islam is the stronger party in that contest ... when an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture meets a culture that is anchored, confident and strengthened by common doctrines, it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter."

    Uncontrolled Muslim immigration is a change to Europe so great it makes all the treaties and bureaucratic falderol of the EU look footling and transitory by comparison. :coffee:

    Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian
     
  13. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    USCIRF Annual Report 2013 - Countries of Particular Concern: Pakistan
    30 April 2013

    United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Annual Report 2013 - Countries of Particular Concern: Pakistan, 30 April 2013, available at:Refworld | USCIRF Annual Report 2013 - Countries of Particular Concern: Pakistan [accessed 28 November 2013]

    Religious freedom violations in Pakistan rose to unprecedented levels due to chronic sectarian violence particularly targeting Shi'i Muslims. The government continues to fail to protect Christians, Ahmadis, and Hindus. Pakistan's repressive blasphemy laws and anti-Ahmadi laws are widely used to violate religious freedoms and foster a climate of impunity.


    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    FINDINGS: The government of Pakistan continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief. Sectarian and religiously-motivated violence is chronic, especially against Shi'i Muslims, and the government has failed to protect members of religious minority communities, as well as the majority faith. Pakistan's repressive blasphemy laws and other religiously discriminatory legislation, such as the anti-Ahmadi laws, have fostered an atmosphere of violent extremism and vigilantism. Pakistani authorities have not consistently brought perpetrators to justice or taken action against societal actors who incite violence. Growing religious extremism threatens Pakistan's security and stability, as well as the freedoms of religion and expression, and other human rights, for everyone in Pakistan.

    In light of these particularly severe violations, USCIRF recommends in 2013 that Pakistan be designated a "country of particular concern," or CPC. Since 2002, USCIRF has recommended Pakistan be named a CPC, but the State Department has not followed that recommendation. Pakistan represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated as "countries of particular concern" by the U.S. government.

    The exceedingly poor religious freedom environment in Pakistan worsened during the reporting period. The Pakistani government failed to effectively intervene against a spike in targeted violence against the Shi'i Muslim minority community, as well as violence against other minorities. With elections scheduled for May 2013, additional attacks against religious minorities and candidates deemed "un-Islamic" will likely occur. Chronic conditions remain, including the poor social and legal status of non-Muslim religious minorities and the severe obstacles to free discussion of sensitive religious and social issues faced by the majority Muslim community. The country's blasphemy law, used predominantly in Punjab province but also nationwide, targets members of religious minority communities and dissenting Muslims and frequently results in imprisonment. USCIRF is aware of at least 16 individuals on death row and 20 more serving life sentences. The blasphemy law, along with anti-Ahmadi laws that effectively criminalize various practices of their faith, has created a climate of vigilante violence. Hindus have suffered from the climate of violence and hundreds have fled Pakistan for India. Human rights and religious freedom are increasingly under assault, particularly for women, members of religious minority communities, and those in the majority Muslim community whose views are deemed "un-Islamic." The government has proven unwilling or unable to confront militants perpetrating acts of violence against other Muslims and religious minorities.


    PRIORITY RECOMMENDATIONS: Promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief must be an integral part of U.S. policy towards Pakistan, and designating Pakistan as a CPC would enable the United States to press Islamabad to undertake needed reforms. The forces that threaten Pakistani and U.S. security interests largely are motivated by a violent extremist ideology that rejects international human rights standards, including freedom of religion or belief. To make religious freedom a key element in the bilateral relationship, the U.S. government should include discussions on religious freedom and religious tolerance in U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogues and summits. It should urge Pakistan to protect religious minorities from violence and actively prosecute those committing acts of violence against Shi'a, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, and others; unconditionally release individuals currently jailed for blasphemy; repeal or reform the blasphemy law and repeal anti-Ahmadi laws; and ensure that the Federal Ministry for National Harmony continues in the new government. Additional recommendations for U.S. policy towards Pakistan can be found at the end of this chapter.


    RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CONDITIONS

    GENERAL OVERVIEW

    The situation in Pakistan for religious freedom declined during the reporting period. Pakistan's civilian government has been led by President Asif Ali Zardari since 2008, and is scheduled to complete its full term after the close of the reporting period, which will be a first in the history of Pakistan. President Zardari is the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007, reportedly by militants linked to al-Qaeda. The Bhutto and Zardari families are Shi'i Muslims from the province of Sindh and have assumed leadership roles in a country traditionally dominated by Sunnis from Punjab. Despite a civilian government, the Pakistani military and intelligence services continue to be influential and independent of civilian oversight and are believed to maintain close contacts with terrorist organizations and other militant groups.

    Discriminatory laws promulgated in previous decades and persistently enforced have fostered an atmosphere of religious intolerance and eroded the social and legal status of members of religious minorities, including Shi'a, Christians, Ahmadis, and Hindus. While the constitution provides for religious freedom, the right is undercut by other provisions and basic laws. Government authorities do not adequately protect members of religious minority communities from societal violence, and rarely bring perpetrators of attacks on minorities to justice. This impunity is partly due to the fact that Pakistan's democratic institutions, particularly the judiciary and the police, have been weakened by endemic corruption, ineffectiveness, and a general lack of accountability. Also important are the suspected links between Pakistan's army and intelligence service with militants who target religious minorities.

    In December 2012, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban) offered, in exchange for a cessation of TTP violence, that Pakistan amend its constitution to bring it into conformity with their version of Islamic law and break all ties with the United States. While a senior Pakistani government official reportedly called the offer "preposterous," there are concerns Pakistan would agree to such an offer, as similar demands were met in 2009 after the TTP took the Swat valley. In that situation, both the local and federal government agreed to implement the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009, which imposed the TTP's interpretation of Shari'ah (Islamic law) in that area. According to the International Crisis Group, these regulations remain in place and there has been no effort to repeal them.

    Pakistan is a religiously diverse country. U.S. government figures estimate that 85-90 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim, with 10-15 percent belonging to the Shi'i Muslim community. The Sunni community is divided into Barelvi, Sufi, Deobandi, Whahabbi, and other sects. Approximately 4 percent comprise other minority religious communities, such as Christian, Hindus, and Sikhs. Ahmadis are estimated to comprise 3-4 million Pakistanis, and the community considers themselves part of the Muslim majority.


    SECTARIAN OR RELIGIOUSLY-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION

    Violent attacks continued during the reporting period against members of minority faith communities and members of the majority faith whose views contradicted those of extremists. During the reporting period, militants and terrorist organizations consistently attacked schools. In October 2012, the Pakistani Taliban attempted to execute Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old advocate for girl's education from the Swat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, because of her outspokenness. She survived the attack and was taken to the United Kingdom to receive medical care.

    Sunni Muslim leaders and other members of the majority faith also were attacked. In June, a bomber targeted a Sunni mosque in Quetta, killing 14 and wounding 40. In the same city the following month, a Sunni religious leader, Maulvi Abdul Qasim, was killed in a drive-by shooting. Also in June, a bomb exploded near the Panj Pir Sufi shrine, killing three individuals and wounding 34 others. In May, a Sunni cleric described as "anti-Taliban" was targeted for assassination; Maulana Syed Moshsin Shah and his son were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when militants attacked his madrassa.

    Overall, the U.S. Department of State has noted a five-fold increase in extremist violence since 2006. In this environment, armed extremists, some with ties to banned militant groups, continued their attacks on religious minorities, including bombings, against Shi'a, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and others. The following examples of sectarian or religiously-motivated violence are illustrative of the numerous and often fatal attacks against innocent Pakistanis by militants who use religion to justify their crimes.

    Refworld | USCIRF Annual Report 2013 - Countries of Particular Concern: Pakistan

    .
    Attacks against Shi'i Muslims

    Militants and terrorist organizations targeted Shi'i processions and mosques with impunity during the reporting period. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch put the number of Shi'a killed over the past year at over 400. Attacks occurred across Pakistan, but particularly large bombings occurred in the province of Balochistan. Information collected by USCIRF during the reporting period, which is not exhaustive, documented approximately 50 incidents of violent attacks causing death, as well as 10 different attacks with explosive devises or suicide bombers. Shi'i activists have referred to the level and severity of attacks as constituting genocide.

    The response by the Pakistani government has been grossly inadequate. While at times police were present when attacks occurred, they were unable to stop attackers before people were killed. Recognizing this inadequacy, in September 2012, a panel of three Supreme Court judges, led by Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, issued a highly critical statement of government efforts to bring security in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. Federal rule was imposed in Balochistan after a large bombing in January 2013. This move came in part as a result of families of the deceased refusing to bury the dead until there was an adequate governmental response. However, the government has proven unwilling or unable to crack down on groups that repeatedly plan, conduct, and claim credit for attacks, or prevent future violence.

    Following are select examples of violence against Shi'a that occurred during the reporting period:

    On January 10, 2013, 81 people died in twin bombings on a pool hall in a Shiite area of Quetta. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility. The day before, Dr. Syed Riaz Hussain was shot outside his Karachi medical clinic in a drive by shooting and later died of his wounds. He was a leader in the Karachi Shiite community and had received death threats from LeJ and other militant groups for his advocacy against violence.

    In November 2012, a suicide bomber struck a Shi'i processional during Muharram in Rawalpindi, killing 23 people, including 8 women and children. Police reportedly tried to search for the attacker, but he evaded capture and detonated his explosives in a crowd. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. In Hyderabad, members of the Dawoodi Bohra community, which is considered a subset of Ismaili Shiism, were targeted in shootings in November, with 11 individuals killed.

    On September 10, a car bomb killed 12 Shi'a in the Kurram tribal region, the only tribal area where Shi'a are a majority. On September 19, the Dawoodi Bohra community in Karachi was targeted in two bombings, killing at least seven people, including a three-month-old baby and a 12-year-old girl, and injuring at least 22. There was also separate drive by shootings targeting Shi'i Muslims in Quetta that month.

    At least 25 Shi'a were killed on August 16, when armed men intercepted four buses en route to Gilgit Baltistan. The attackers lined the people up and opened fire on passengers whose identity documents listed them as being Shi'a.

    On July 11, two brothers were reportedly beheaded for converting to the Shi'i faith in Punjab province. That same month, 14 Hazara Shi'a were killed in Balochistan after LeJ gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying 50 pilgrims to Iran.

    On June 28, attackers bombed a bus carrying pilgrims to Iran near Quetta. At least 13 people died and 20 were injured. The bus had a police escort and two policemen were also killed.

    On April 3, a group described as a Sunni mob forcibly removed 9 nine Shi'a from buses and killed them. The incident occurred about 60 miles south of Gilgit.

    In February, 18 Shi'i pilgrims were murdered while returning from a religious pilgrimage. They were taken off the buses on which they were traveling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit Baltistan. Also in February, 29 Shi'a died in a bomb blast targeting a Shi'i market near Peshawar.

    On January 16, a remote controlled bomb detonated near a Shi'i religious processional in Khanpur. 18 people were killed, and at least 30 wounded. On January 25, four Shi'i attorneys were targeted in a drive-by shooting near a courthouse in Karachi. Three of the four died of their wounds.

    Many of the attacks were perpetrated either by LeJ or TTP. LeJ, which originated from Punjab province but has developed a nationwide network, has proclaimed its goal of "cleansing" Pakistan of Shi'a, who it believes are not true Muslims. The Pakistani Taliban has stated they are in a "war or beliefs" against Shi'a and will "continue attacking them." Both organizations have been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the U.S. State Department. While the Pakistani government has banned them both, some observers conclude that the Pakistani intelligence maintains contacts with the groups and fosters relationships.

    The Pakistani government and court system have been unable to keep LeJ's leader Malik Ishaq in jail. In July 2011, Pakistan's Supreme Court released Ishaq from prison after 14 years, deciding prosecutors failed to present evidence of his involvement in the murders of Shi'i Muslims. Ishaq was implicated in 44 cases involving 70 murders, but courts acquitted him in 34 of the cases and granted bail in 10. Soon after his July release, he was rearrested under public order laws after giving speeches that could incite violence against Shi'a. However, in January 2012 a Punjab provincial review board turned down a government request to extend the arrest and ended his detention. Ishaq was again arrested for inciting violence against Shi'a in August 2012 in Lahore, after his return from a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, but was released on bail the next month. He was rearrested after the close of the reporting period, after LeJ claimed responsibility for a major bombing targeting Shi'a.

    Assassinations of Blasphemy Law Opponents

    Two prominent Pakistani officials – Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti – were assassinated in early 2011 because of their opposition to Pakistan's flawed blasphemy law. On January 2, 2011, Salman Taseer was assassinated by one of his police bodyguards, Mumtaz Qadri, who later confessed that he had killed the governor because of his views on blasphemy. Sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court on October 1, his case is on appeal and he is being represented by a former chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Khawaja Muhammad Sharif. The judge who sentenced Qadri to death and his family have fled to Saudi Arabia due to death threats. Taseer's son also was abducted in August 2011 by militants and remains missing.

    On March 2, 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, a longtime Christian activist for religious freedom and the only Christian in Pakistan's federal cabinet, was assassinated outside his mother's home in Islamabad by the Pakistani Taliban. Bhatti had received multiple death threats because of his advocacy against the blasphemy law. The investigation into his murder has seemingly ended and no one is currently in jail.

    Attacks and Discrimination against Ahmadis

    In recent years, scores of Ahmadis have been murdered in attacks which appear to be religiously motivated. During the reporting period, USCIRF received reports of 44 different attacks targeting Ahmadis, with 22 incidents resulting in the death of 23 individuals. Attacks occurred across the country, including major cities such as Lahore, Quetta, and Karachi. For instance, the president of the local Ahmadi community in the Orangi Town section of Karachi, Mr. Naeem Ahmad Gondal, was killed in July in a drive-by shooting as he left his home for work. Many of the targeted Ahmadis were professionals, such as doctors or businesspersons, with drive-by shootings a common tactic. In addition, an Ahmadi schoolteacher, Mr. Abudl Qudoos Ahmad, died while in police custody in Punjab province, with his body showing signs of torture. The poor legal standing of Ahmadis under Pakistan's constitution and criminal code (discussed below) fosters a climate of impunity, where perpetrators feel empowered to attack them with little or no fear of arrest or prosecution.

    In addition to attacks on individual Ahmadis, local police repeatedly forced Ahmadis to remove Qu'ranic scripture from mosques and minarets. USCIRF is aware of nine such incidents over the past year, including the following examples. On January 18, 2013, local Punjab police ordered scripture to be removed from an Ahmadi owned property. When the president of the local community refused, police destroyed the tiles with chisels. In September 2012, local police, at the insistence of imams from the town, removed Islamic scripture from an Ahmadi mosque in Punjab province. In March, local police removed Islamic scripture from within an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore.

    There were also at least seven instances of Ahmadi graves being desecrated, some by local police. Graves often have inscribed passages from the Qu'ran. On September 4, 2012 in Faisalabad, police demolished 23 Ahmadi gravestones to remove Islamic inscriptions at the request of local Islamic leaders. A similar event occurred in Hafizabad in Punjab in August, with police removing religious text from Ahmadi graves.
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    Attacks and Discrimination against Christians

    Violence against Christians continued, usually perpetrated by banned militant groups or other societal actors, but also at times at the hands of government officials. USCIRF received reports of 16 different incidents of violent attacks against Christians during the reporting period, with 11 individuals killed. While the murders could not always be definitely linked to religious animus, five churches were attacked by mobs during the reporting period, as were one Catholic hospital and one Christian village. These attacks were on: St. Francis Xavier's Catholic Cathedral in Hyderabad; St. Francis Catholic Church in Karachi; Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church in Faisalabad; Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Karachi; St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Mardan; St. Elizabeth Hospital in Hyderabad; and the Christian colony in Lahore. The vulnerable position of Christians in Pakistani society makes them susceptible to such violence.

    Punjab province is the locus for the majority of violence, blasphemy cases, and discrimination against Christians, as it is home to the largest Christian community. (See the section below for more about blasphemy cases.) Observers note a trend of Christian cemeteries being seized without compensation. In addition, some Christian schools that were nationalized by past governments have yet to be de-nationalized. In January 2012, a Catholic facility used to provide community assistance in Lahore was bulldozed to the ground on orders of the provincial government, which claimed the church did not have proper title to the property. During the demolition copies of the Bible were destroyed. The Christian community is requesting the return of the property and restitution for the destroyed facilities. Local authorities have reportedly made a verbal commitment to do so, but it had not been fulfilled by the end of the reporting period.

    Marginalization and poverty make the Christian community in Pakistan vulnerable, and sexual assaults against underage Christian girls by Muslim men continue to be reported. Catholic NGOs estimate at least 700 Christian girls are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam every year. During the reporting period, two reports surfaced of Christian women being forcibly converted to Islam, married, and then raped, with law enforcement either hesitant to act or societal actors pressuring victims to recant their allegations. Three cases of kidnapping of Christians were also reported.

    Attacks and Discrimination against Hindus

    Due to their minority status, Pakistan's Hindus are vulnerable to kidnapping, rapes, and forced conversions of Hindu women, including minors. Hindus predominately live in Sindh province, as well as Balochistan. Persistent reports of such abuses continued to arise during the reporting period. Fifteen to 20 Hindu kidnapping cases are reported each month to the Hindu Council in Karachi, and the Human Rights Council of Pakistan has reported that cases of forced conversion are increasing.

    Allegations of kidnapping of Hindu women, followed by the forced conversion to Islam and force marriage to Muslim men, consistently arose throughout the reporting period. In early 2012, 16 year-old Rachna Kumari was reportedly kidnapped by a police officer guarding a Hindu temple in Sindh province. A court affirmed the conversion and marriage, despite Kumari's family alleging she was forced into the marriage. In August, the family of Manisha Kumari, a 14 year-old Hindu, claimed she was forcibly converted and married to a Muslim. Press reports stated she claimed her conversion and marriage were voluntary. :coffee:

    The highest profile case involved a Hindu girl named Rinkle Kumari, who was reportedly kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, and married to a Muslim man in the Ghotki district of Sindh province in February 2012. Her case, along with that of two others, Lata Kumari and Asha Kumari, was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. In August 2012 the court gave the three women the right to decide their future and they chose to go with their Muslim husbands. However, as is common in these cases, there is concern that the women's decisions were a result of societal pressure and fear of repercussions from the local community, and not a genuine act of free will.

    A parliamentary panel has been established to investigate the issue of forced conversions and, at the direction of President Zardari, prepare amendments to the constitution. The president also directed the Sindh parliament to take action. At the end of the reporting period, USCIRF was unaware of any action taken by either body.

    According to local organizations, at least 80 Hindus were kidnapped in Balochistan province between 2011 and the first months of 2012. In July 2012, armed men kidnapped three prominent Hindu businessmen traveling in Sindh province. One of the abducted men was Ramesh Lal, president of a Hindu local council. Their whereabouts are still unknown, and no ransom was demanded. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported in December 2012 that a six year-old Hindu girl named Vijanti Meghwar was raped and tortured in Sindh province, but the police took no action against the perpetrator.

    Hindu religious sites have also been targeted for violence. In December 2012, a private developer, assisted by Karachi police and Pakistani Army Rangers, destroyed the Shri Rama Pir Mandir, a century-old Hindu temple, along with several nearby Hindu homes. The event occurred while the Sindh High Court was hearing a petition seeking a stay order. Authorities removed religious statues, but claimed there was no temple, but only unauthorized encroachments. In September 2012, a Hindu temple outside Karachi was attacked by violent mobs protesting the YouTube film about the Prophet Mohammed. Religious statues were broken, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita destroyed, and the temple's priest assaulted.

    USCIRF received reports of 250 Hindu families having left Balochistan and Sindh provinces for India during the reporting period, due to concerns of violence and impunity. The Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), a non-governmental body representing Hindus in Pakistan, estimates that more than 50 Hindu families are migrating to India from Pakistan every month due to the climate of impunity and fear of violence.

    Hindus are also the largest religious minority in Pakistan whose marriages are not registered officially by the government. Without a way to register marriages, Hindu women are left vulnerable to forcible marriage as they cannot prove their marital status. In addition, Hindu wives cannot claim inheritance from deceased husbands and have difficulty obtaining divorces or remarrying. In 2011, the Hindu Marriage Registration Bill was introduced in the National Assembly to correct this serious problem. However, passage has been delayed, due to a lack of cross-party support and reports that some Hindu religious leaders object to provisions in the bill. Notably, in 2011 the federal government directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to register Sikh marriages and it has done so.

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    BLASPHEMY LAW

    Legal System

    Severe penalties for blasphemy and other activities deemed insulting to Islam were added to the penal code during the regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. Article 295, Section B, makes defiling the Qur'an punishable by life imprisonment. Under Section C of the same article, remarks found to be "derogatory" against the Prophet Mohammed carry the death penalty. Blasphemy allegations, which are often false, have resulted in the lengthy detention of, and occasional violence against, Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus, other religious minorities, and members of the Muslim majority community. Reportedly, more cases are brought under these provisions against Muslims than any other faith group, although the law has a greater impact per capita on minority religious faiths. While no one has been executed under the blasphemy law, the law has created a climate of vigilantism that has resulted in societal actors killing accused individuals.

    Despite the law's national application, two-thirds of all blasphemy cases reportedly are filed in Punjab province. Because the law requires neither proof of intent nor evidence to be presented after allegations are made, and includes no penalties for false allegations, blasphemy charges are commonly used to intimidate members of religious minorities or others with whom the accusers disagree or have business or other conflicts. The provisions also provide no clear guidance on what constitutes a violation, empowering the accuser and local officials to rely on their personal interpretations of Islam. In addition, blasphemy offenses are considered cognizable, so that the police file charges and can arrest without a warrant. And blasphemy is a non-compoundable crime, a category that does not allow for out-of-court settlements. Consequently, once a charge is filed, it is difficult for the case to be quashed, and the accuser cannot simply drop the charges.

    Once a case is registered and a court hearing is scheduled, militants often pack courtrooms and publicly threaten violence if there is an acquittal. Lawyers who have refused to prosecute cases of alleged blasphemy or who defend those accused, as well as judges who issue acquittals, have been harassed, threatened, and even subjected to violence. The lack of procedural safeguards empowers accusers to use the laws to abuse religious freedom, carry out vendettas, or gain an advantage over others in land or business disputes or in other matters completely unrelated to blasphemy.

    Pakistani law does contain legal provisions that could limit blasphemy abuses, but they are not commonly applied to do so. When allegations of blasphemy arise against members of religious minorities, mobs often form to pressure police to file a First Information Report and to intimidate the broader minority community. In some cases, loudspeakers from mosque minarets are used to broadcast news about an alleged case, which quickly escalates the situation and fosters the growth of a mob. The use of these loudspeakers in this way violates Pakistani law: Section 3 of the Misuse of Loudspeakers Act limits the use of mosque loudspeakers to the call to prayer and the Friday sermon. In addition, under Article 153 of the Pakistani Penal Code, an individual can be sentenced to prison and fined for "wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot." These two legal provisions offer a potential foundation from which to deter communal violence against minority groups.

    Individual Cases

    During the reporting period, a high-profile blasphemy case caught international attention. Rimsha Masih, believed to be between 10 and 13 years old, was accused of burning pages with Qu'ranic passages. Rimsha comes from an impoverished Christian family living near Islamabad, and reportedly suffers from Down Syndrome. Police took her into custody for her own protection on August 17 after she was reportedly assaulted. Threats against the Christian community forced almost 400 families to flee to other parts of the capital and drove Rimsha's family into hiding.

    In response, police filed more than 150 First Information Reports against protesters who damaged property and threatened violence. In an unexpected turn of events, witnesses testified against Rimsha's accuser, a local imam, saying that the imam had falsified evidence by placing pages of the Qu'ran in the trash. Since this was considered blasphemous, he was charged with blasphemy and arrested by Pakistani police. Rimsha was held in jail for several weeks, before being released on bail in October. Dr. Paul Bhatti, the Prime Minister's Adviser for National Harmony, and others worked to have her and her family moved to a safe house, due to death threats (including a veiled one from the accuser's attorney). Her case was eventually dismissed by the Islamabad High Court on November 20. The case against the accuser was also dismissed, after three of the four witnesses recanted their statements that he falsified evidence.

    Before the Rimsha case, the highest-profile blasphemy case in recent years involved Aasia Bibi, a Christian farm worker and mother of five, who was sentenced to death under Article 295C in November 2010. She remains in jail while her case is on appeal. NGOs report that Ms. Bibi's health has been affected from being kept separate from the prison population. Her family is in hiding.

    Two individuals were sentenced to death during the reporting period: Sufi Ishaque and Hazrat Ali Shah (the latter was also sentenced to 10 years in prison). These individuals join 14 others USCIRF is aware of on death row for alleged blasphemy. In addition, USCIRF received reports of an additional 20 individuals serving life sentences. Manzarul Haq Shah Jahan was sentenced to life in prison and a fine of 200,000 rupees during the reporting period. In addition, USCIRF has received reports of more than 40 individuals currently in jail for violating the blasphemy law; a detailed list of these individuals is included in the appendix to this Annual Report.

    The accusation of blasphemy can lead to acts of violence perpetrated by societal actors. In April, an elderly man was shot dead in Punjab, after being acquitted by a court from blasphemy charges and released from prison. Also shocking was the mob attack in June on Ghulam Abbas, a Sunni Muslim accused of blasphemy. He was pulled from a police station in Punjab province, beaten to death, and his body burned.

    On January 17, 2013, the Pakistani Supreme Court accepted a petition filed against the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman, over allegedly blasphemous comments made two years ago while speaking on television about Aasia Bibi's sentencing under the country's blasphemy laws. Police were instructed by the two judge panel to collect evidence.


    THE AHMADI MINORITY AND ANTI-AHMADI LEGISLATION

    Pakistan's Ahmadi community is subjected to the most severe legal restrictions and officially-sanctioned discrimination. As described above, egregious acts of violence have been perpetrated against Ahmadis and anti-Ahmadi laws have helped create a permissive climate for vigilante violence against members of this community. Ahmadis are prevented by law from engaging in the full practice of their faith and may face criminal charges for a range of religious practices, including the use of religious terminology. In 1974, the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto amended Pakistan's constitution to declare members of the Ahmadi religious community to be "non-Muslims," despite their insistence to the contrary.

    Basic acts of worship and interaction also have been made criminal offenses. In 1984, during General Zia-ul-Haq's dictatorship, sections B and C of Article 298 were added to the penal code, criminalizing Ahmadis "posing" as Muslims, calling their places of worship "mosques," worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, performing the Muslim call to prayer, using the traditional Islamic greeting in public, publicly quoting from the Qur'an, or displaying the basic affirmation of the Muslim faith. It is also a crime for Ahmadis to preach in public, seek converts, or produce, publish, or disseminate their religious materials. Ahmadis are restricted in building new houses of worship, holding public conferences or other gatherings, and traveling to Saudi Arabia for religious purposes, including the hajj. :tsk:
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    During the reporting period, USCIRF received reports of 10 Ahmadis being charged under Article 298. In many of these cases, police were pressured to act by local religious leaders who are opposed to the Ahmadi faith. Many of the individuals arrested were released on bail, but will likely spend years in the backlogged Pakistani court system as their cases are tried and possibly appealed.

    In 2002, then President Musharraf issued an executive order that abolished Pakistan's separate electorate system. However, he soon thereafter issued Chief Executive's Order No. 15 mandating that Ahmadis register in a separate voter registry, therefore keeping a separate electoral system for this religious community alone. In addition, obtaining a Pakistani national identity card or passport requires the applicant to sign a religious affirmation denouncing the founder of the Ahmadi faith as a false prophet. Because Ahmadis are required to register to vote as non-Muslims and national identity cards identify Ahmadis as non-Muslims, those who refuse to disavow their claim to being Muslims are effectively disenfranchised from participating in elections at any level.

    Since Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim in 1974, no Pakistani government has attempted to reform the anti-Ahmadi laws and regulations, with the sole exception of an abortive attempt in late 2004 to remove the religious identification column in Pakistani passports, which would have enabled Ahmadis to participate in the hajj. This initiative was reversed in 2005 when the government restored the column, reportedly in response to pressure from Islamist political parties. In recent years, individuals have refused to sign the religious affirmation clause for a passport and still received the document. In 2012, the government blocked the international website for the Ahmadi community.

    HUDOOD ORDINANCES

    Under the Hudood Ordinances, which criminalize extramarital sex, rape victims risk being charged with adultery, for which death by stoning remains a possible sentence. The Hudood laws apply to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Although these extreme corporal punishments generally have not been carried out in practice, lesser punishments such as jail terms or fines have been imposed. In 2006, the Protection of Women Act removed the crime of rape from the sphere of the Hudood Ordinances and put it under the penal code, thereby eliminating the requirement that a rape victim produce four male witnesses to prove the crime. Under the law, convictions for rape must be based on forensic and circumstantial evidence. The Act also prohibited a case of rape from being converted into a case of fornication or adultery, which had been possible under the Hudood laws. Marital rape once again was made a criminal offense, as it had been prior to the 1979 implementation of the Hudood laws. However, an offense of fornication was included in the penal code, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years. In 2010, the Federal Shariat Court ruled that key sections of the 2006 law were unconstitutional and un-Islamic, which threatened to undermine these reforms entirely. The federal government has taken no action to implement the ruling.


    RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CONCERNS IN PAKISTANI EDUCATION

    A significant minority of Pakistan's thousands of religious schools, or madrassas, reportedly continue to provide ongoing ideological training and motivation to those who take part in religiously-motivated violence in Pakistan and abroad. In mid-2005, the Pakistani central government required all madrassas to register with the government and expel all foreign students. While most registered, this reportedly has had little if any effect on the curricula, which in many of these schools includes materials that promote intolerance and violence. The government also still lacks full knowledge of the madrassas' sources of funding. In 2010, the Ministry of Interior, which oversees the madrassa system, and the five main madrassa boards signed a memorandum of understanding in another attempt to reform their curriculum and regulate their financing.

    Religious freedom concerns also are evident in Pakistan's public schools. Pakistani primary and secondary schools continue to use textbooks that foster prejudice and intolerance of religious minorities, especially Hindus and Christians. Hindu beliefs and practices are contrasted negatively with those of Islam. Bangladesh's struggle for independence from Pakistan is blamed in part on the influence of Hindus in the education sector of the former East Pakistan. Such references are not only in Islamic studies textbooks, but also in both early elementary and more advanced social studies texts used by all public school students, including non-Muslims. Moreover, the textbooks contain stories, biographies, and poems regarding exclusively Muslim characters.

    In 2011, USCIRF commissioned a study that analyzed more than 100 social studies, Islamic studies, and Urdu textbooks used in grades 1 through 10 by schools in Pakistan's four provinces. The study also examined pedagogical methods and asked teachers and students their views on Pakistan's religious minority communities. Researchers visited 37 middle schools and high schools and 19 madrassas and interviewed over 500 students and teachers.

    The study found that an alarming number of Pakistan's public schools and privately-run madrassas devalue religious minority groups. While there are some positive exceptions, many foster a climate conducive to acts of discrimination and even violence against members of these groups. For instance, in public schools, all children, regardless of their faith, had to use textbooks that often had a strong Islamic orientation and frequently omitted mention of religious minorities or made derogatory references to them. Hindus were depicted in especially negative ways, and descriptions of Christians often were erroneous and offensive. Also, both public school and madrassa teachers lacked an understanding of religious minorities and a large portion of their pupils could not identify these minorities as citizens of Pakistan.

    GOVERNMENTAL EFFORTS TO IMPROVE INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING AND MINORITY RIGHTS

    The government has taken some steps to promote interfaith understanding. After the March 2011 assassination of Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, Prime Minister Gilani appointed his brother, Dr. Paul Bhatti, as the Minister In Charge for the Ministry of National Harmony and Advisor to Prime Minister on inter-faith harmony. While Dr. Bhatti cannot serve in the cabinet since he is not an elected official, he enjoys all the powers, responsibilities, resources, and protections of a federal minister, including responsibility over the Federal Ministry of National Harmony. President Zardari and then-Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani issued statements in March 2012 commemorating the one year anniversary of the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti.

    Dr. Paul Bhatti played an important role in the release of Rimsha Masih from blasphemy charges (discussed above). During the reporting period, Dr. Bhatti and others in the government worked to expand the number of reserved seats for non-Muslim minorities in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies. The federal cabinet unanimously approved an expansion in early fall 2012, and the government moved a bill in December to amend the constitution. Under what would be the 23rd amendment, the National Assembly would gain four seats for non-Muslim minorities, bringing the total to 14. In provincial assemblies, the number of reserved seats in each would increase at different rates; the Punjab provincial assembly would see an increase of 10 for a total of 18, Sindh increase by 12 for a total of 21, and Khbyer Pakhtunkwa and Balochistan would both have their current 3 seats increased by an additional 4 for a total of 7 each. These increases address concerns that previous increases in reserved seats under the 18th amendment in 2010 did not reflect the size of the non-Muslim community. At the end of the reporting period, the National Assembly had yet to approve the amendment.

    Dr. Bhatti also scheduled an international conference on interfaith harmony to be held in Islamabad in January 2013, but it was postponed due to security threats. USCIRF Commissioners and staff were invited to participate and planned to attend. Dr. Bhatti convened a domestic conference after the end of the reporting period that was attended by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Muslim and non-Muslim religious leaders.

    It has been difficult to gauge the success of previous efforts taken by the Pakistani government under the late Minister Bhatti. In May 2009, the government announced a five-percent minimum quota in federal employment for members of religious minority communities. However, it appears that the quota has not been met, and if applied at all, it has been done so unevenly across the country. The government also designated August 11 as an annual federal holiday, called "Minorities' Day," which President Zardari celebrated in 2012 for the second time, giving a statement about the importance of religious minorities to Pakistan. Minister Bhatti also established District Interfaith Harmony Committees to promote religious tolerance through understanding in every district of Pakistan. The Pakistani embassy reported that in 2011, 124 interfaith committees have been established at the district level.

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    Also under the 18th amendment, the Ministry of Minorities Affairs was removed from the federal cabinet and devolved to the provinces. It is unclear whether all provinces have established a Minority Affairs Ministry, and if so, what level of funding and support they receive from the provincial government. Sindh has reportedly done so and Punjab province already had a ministry that focused on minority concerns and human rights.

    According to information received from the Pakistani embassy, the government is planning to create a National Commission for Minorities, which will consist of two representatives each from the Christian and Hindu communities, a Sikh, a Parsi and two Muslims. These individuals have yet to be named. This Commission will review laws and policies brought to its attention for discrimination, investigate allegations of abuse, recommend actions to fully include minority religious communities into the life of Pakistan, and ensure that places of worship are protected. It is unclear how this Commission will interact with the Ministry for National Harmony or the provincial Ministries for Minorities Affairs.


    U.S. POLICY

    Pakistan is central to the United States' global campaign against al-Qaeda and to the support of U.S. and multinational forces fighting in Afghanistan. The 2014 scheduled departure of combat troops from Afghanistan will change the relationship with Pakistan, potentially dramatically, as U.S. government reliance on Pakistan for transport of supplies and ground lines of communication to Afghanistan will decrease. However, the United States will remain engaged with Pakistan, due to concerns about Pakistani links to terrorists and other militants opposed to the Afghan government, the country's nuclear arsenal, its contentious relationship with neighboring India, and other issues.

    U.S.-Pakistan relations have long been marked by strain, disappointment, and mistrust. The government-to-government relationship improved somewhat during the reporting period, after reaching a nadir following the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden and a November 2011 incident near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in which U.S. and NATO forces fired on Pakistani soldiers, killing two dozen Pakistanis. In retaliation for the shooting incident, Pakistan closed all ground lines of communication and supply used by NATO forces into Afghanistan. These were not reopened until Secretary Clinton apologized in July 2012. In what the Congressional Research Service calls "an apparent quid pro quo for the reopening," on July 6, 2012, the U.S. government released $1.18 billion in Coalition Support Fund military reimbursements to Pakistan. In addition, the bilateral Strategic Dialogue was later restarted, albeit with a more modest agenda.

    Human rights and religious freedom have not been visible priorities in the bilateral relationship, although U.S. Embassy Islamabad has been active in tracking cases and U.S. officials have raised concerns with Pakistani officials. One example of the lack of visibility is the Strategic Dialogue, established between the United States and Pakistan in 2010 that includes the topics of "economy and trade; energy; security; strategic stability and non-proliferation; law enforcement and counter-terrorism; science and technology, education; agriculture; water; health; and communications and public diplomacy." The Dialogue was dormant for some time, due to the aforementioned challenges in the bilateral relationship. However, by the end of the reporting period, select bilateral working groups were reportedly restarted: defense, finance, law enforcement and counter-terrorism, strategic stability and non-proliferation, and energy. Human rights remained absent from the list of bilateral concerns incorporated into the dialogue.

    The aid relationship with Pakistan is complex and changing. During the reporting period, Congress continued to question the U.S. partnership with Pakistan and levels of funding, while also understanding the need to balance Pakistan's strategic importance. Several laws condition aid or have certification requirements and new bills were introduced to encourage greater accountability. For instance, both the Economic Support Funds and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund place conditions on U.S. assistance. Other laws, before U.S. aid can be disbursed, require the Executive branch to certify that Pakistan meets specific criteria, such as on human rights or in combating terrorism. On September 13, 2012, the State Department notified Congress that the Obama administration would waive two certification requirements that placed conditions on U.S. assistance. According to the Congressional Research Service, the State Department certified that Pakistan was "cooperating with the United States on a range of counterterrorism, nonproliferation, democracy, and other issue-areas."

    Non-military U.S. aid dramatically increased in recent years, while military aid has ebbed and flowed over the decades of engagement. In October 2009, President Obama signed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (also known as the Kerry-Lugar Bill) authorizing an additional $7.5 billion ($1.5 billion annually over five years) in mostly non-military assistance to Pakistan. However, the $1.5 billion amount was only met in the first year, and the appropriated amount has been approximately one-third of that each year since.

    The Obama administration's FY2013 request for aid to Pakistan totaled $2.2 billion. The Congressional Research Service reported that Pakistan was the third highest recipient in aid in FY2012. Since 2009, over $2 billion in civilian assistance has been disbursed, of which $500 million was for emergency humanitarian relief. That same year Congress also established the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF) within the Defense Department appropriations and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) within the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    Promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief must be an integral part of U.S. policy in Pakistan, and designating Pakistan as a CPC would enable the United States to more effectively press Islamabad to undertake needed reforms. USCIRF has concluded that the conflict with violent religious extremists now taking place in Pakistan requires the United States actively to bolster the position of elements in Pakistani society that respect democratic values, the rule of law, and international standards of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.

    To this end, USCIRF recommends a number of measures to advance religious freedom through specific U.S. programs and policies, end violations of religious freedom, and improve education in Pakistan.

    I. ENDING VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN PAKISTAN

    As part of designating Pakistan as a CPC, the U.S. government should urge the government of Pakistan to:

    initiate a nationwide effort to end the activities of banned militant groups, such as LeJ and TTP, and arrest and prosecute their leaders and any members perpetrating acts of violence against religious minorities or others deemed "un-Islamic;"

    provide visible security protection for vulnerable minority religious communities, such as Shi'a, Ahmadis, Christians, and Hindus, their routes used for religious processionals, and their leaders;

    place a moratorium on the use of the blasphemy law until it is reformed or repealed, immediately release those detained on blasphemy charges, and unconditionally pardon all individuals convicted of blasphemy;

    ensure that those accused of blasphemy, their defenders, witnesses, and trial judges are given adequate protection, including by investigating and prosecuting death threats and other statements inciting violence issued by political leaders, religious officials, or other members of society;

    address incitement to imminent violence by prosecuting government-funded clerics, government officials, or individuals who incite violence against disfavored Muslims and non-Muslims, disciplining or dismissing government-funded clerics who espouse intolerance, and enforcing the Misuse of Loudspeakers Act and Article 153 of the Penal Code regarding starting a riot;

    increase efforts to find, arrest, and prosecute all those involved in the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, and prioritize the prevention of religiously-motivated and sectarian violence and the punishment of its perpetrators;

    amend the constitution and rescind criminal laws targeting Ahmadis and repeal Chief Executive's Order No. 15 to permit Ahmadis to vote alongside all other Pakistanis as part of a joint electorate;

    ensure that the Federal Ministry for National Harmony continues in the new government, is adequately funded and staffed, and that minority affairs ministries are established in all four provinces;

    enforce government-mandated employment quotas for minorities and work to see that religious minorities are proactively recruited into government jobs, consistent with current policies, and that the representation of non-Muslims in the parliament is increased; and

    call on the Pakistani government to comply with and fully implement recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan, including those related to freedom of religion or belief.

    Refworld | USCIRF Annual Report 2013 - Countries of Particular Concern: Pakistan
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    II. ADVANCING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM THROUGH U.S. PROGRAMS AND POLICIES

    To clearly articulate that upholding religious freedom and related human rights is an essential element of the U.S. policy toward Pakistan, the U.S. government should:

    include discussions on religious freedom and religious tolerance in U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogues and summits;

    instruct the Secretary of Defense and the commander of U.S. Central Command to raise with Pakistan's military leadership the importance of addressing violent extremism by combating militant groups with paramilitary and law enforcement bodies, rule of law, law enforcement, and policing, and stress the need to reform Pakistan's blasphemy law;

    ensure U.S. assistance supports Pakistani government and civil-society institutions that work to uphold and guarantee religious freedom and increase religious tolerance and understanding, including by directing U.S. officials and recipients of U.S. grants to prioritize projects promoting multi-religious engagement and developing the political ability of ethnic and religious minorities to organize themselves and convey their concerns to the government effectively;

    increase the funding for strategic communications programs to counter violent extremism, and incorporate messaging on the importance of religious tolerance and religious freedom to oppose rhetoric used to promote and justify violent acts;

    ensure that U.S. assistance for capacity development going to the Pakistani executive, legislative, and judicial branches addresses religious freedom and related human rights by, for example, assisting the programs developed by the Federal Ministry of National Harmony that promote pluralism and religious tolerance;

    emphasize the training of Pakistani police officers and leadership to enhance their capacity to fight violent religious extremism by providing technical assistance, equipment, and training on best practices for law enforcement outreach to and protection of vulnerable minority religious communities, such as Shi'a, Ahmadis, Christians, and Hindus;

    fund teacher-training programs that promote positive concepts of tolerance and respect for the rights of others and exclude material promoting intolerance, hatred, or violence against any group of persons based on religious or other differences;

    engage the political leadership of Punjab province about reducing the large number of blasphemy cases in that province and preventing violence against religious minorities; and

    expand the Fulbright Program, the International Visitor Program, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program, and other exchanges for professionals, journalists, students, women, and religious and civil society leaders from all of Pakistan's diverse religious and ethnic communities, in order to promote a vibrant civil society in Pakistan.

    III. IMPROVING EDUCATION

    The U.S. government should urge the government of Pakistan, and provincial authorities, as appropriate, to:

    set national textbook and curricula standards that actively promote tolerance toward all persons, establish appropriate review and enforcement mechanisms to guarantee that such standards are being met in public schools, and take concrete steps to fully implement the 2006 curricular reforms;

    introduce into the curriculum for all students the "Ethics for Non-Muslims" course in order to promote interfaith understanding;

    sign into law and implement the madrassa reform agreement made with the National Madrassa Oversight Board; until that can be accomplished, ensure that a temporary madrassa oversight board is empowered to develop, implement, and train teachers in human rights standards and provide oversight of madrassa curricula and teaching standards; and

    implement guidelines for textbooks used in public schools and replace current public school textbooks with ones that exclude messages of intolerance, hatred, or violence against any group of persons based on religious or other differences.

    Refworld | USCIRF Annual Report 2013 - Countries of Particular Concern: Pakistan
     
  14. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Shocking image defines conflict

    US Secretary of State John Kerry’s description of The Australian’s front-page photo of an Australian boy holding the severed head of a decapitated Syrian soldier as shocking shows how powerfully the image has resonated around the world. :facepalm:
    :tsk:

    Everyone knows what an evil group the Islamic State really is.

    But this photograph, of a father, an Australian citizen, encouraging his son to hold a human being’s severed head in exultant triumph, distils the essence of this group.

    It is a single image that tells you everything you need to know about the Islamic State.

    Kerry says it is one of the most revolting and sickening things he could imagine.

    It defines a conflict, perhaps in the way that the photo of the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon defined the Vietnam War.

    It is right that Kerry, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and their Australian counterparts, Julie Bishop and David Johnston, focused on the security threat that returning violent jihadists will pose in societies such as the US and Australia. The urgent need for intelligence co-operation in this sphere will drive ever closer US-Australia ties. :coffee:

    Yet in some ways the dominance of Iraq in the public presentation of the AUSMIN meeting demonstrates the old adage that the urgent is sometimes the enemy of the important.

    The most important achievement at AUSMIN was the signing of the Force Posture Agreement, which provides a comprehensive framework and legal basis for US marines rotating through Darwin. It also lays the ground for a possible home porting, or at least rotational presence, of US navy vessels in western or northern Australia.

    The key partnership between the US and Australia is in Asia, which dominated most of the AUSMIN discussion.

    But, of course, the urgent need to co-operate in the crisis of the Middle East, and in counter-terrorism, naturally dominated the attention of the moment.

    Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian
     
  15. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    UN declares highest level of emergency in Iraq over ISIS advance

    [​IMG]
    An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 11, 2014 by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Nineveh province.

    The UN has declared the highest level of emergency in Iraq as the ISIS advance threatens minority groups in the country as the Security Council urged Iraq's new PM to form an inclusive govt to preserve state integrity and ease sectarian tensions.

    Haider Al-Abadi, in a UN Security Council statement, is asked “to work swiftly to form such a government as quickly as possible and within the constitutional time-frame”and called on “all political parties and their supporters to remain calm and respect the political process governed by the Constitution.”

    Meanwhile, a “Level 3 Emergency” has been declared as the ISIS onslaught across much of the country’s north and west continues, threatening Kurdistan and its oils reserves. Up to 30,000 minority Christian and Yazidi people have fled to Mount Sinjar to seek safe-haven.

    “Declaring the crisis in Iraq a ‘Level 3 Emergency’, which represents the highest level of humanitarian crisis, will help trigger more resources and expedite administrative procedures for the response”, said Nickolay Mladenov, the Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. :tup:

    UN minority rights expert Rita Izsak warned that refugees face “a mass atrocity and potential genocide within days or hours,” as they remained trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq.

    “The situation of displaced people on Sinjar Mountain remains of critical concern, where tens of thousands of people are reportedly still trapped, with health conditions quickly deteriorating,” said UNICEF Representative to Iraq, Marzio Babille. :facepalm:

    UNICEF is also trying to help some 12,000 displaced Christians in the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The UN estimates that more than 400,000 other Iraqis were forced to flee to the Kurdish province of Dahuk as ISIS began capturing vast territories since June. Overall a total of 1.5 million are now displaced after in June the Islamists captured Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul.

    On Tuesday, the UN Human Rights office said it received “verified reports that the Islamic State is systematically hunting down members of minority groups who remain trapped in areas under their control and giving them the ultimatum, “convert or die,”stated Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur. :frust:

    [​IMG]
    An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 11, 2014 by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Nineveh province. (AFP Photo)

    The latest figures show that so far the US military with the help of the Iraqis conducted six airdrops of 108 bundles of food and water for refugees on Mount Sinjar. A day earlier US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that Washington sent an additional 130 military advisers to help Kurdistan battle the Islamic State.

    The US may also send ground troops to Iraq, a senior White House advisor revealed, not to fight but only to try to rescue displaced Yezidis.

    Paris has also announced it is sending arms to the Kurds, and the UK said it would deliver military aid from “other contributing states.” Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed that his country too will aid the humanitarian airdrops in Iraq.

    Iraq crisis: UK steps up role with move to support Kurds, Yazidis against ISIS

    Meanwhile, Washington and now the UN Security Council continue to support prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, after Iraqi President Fuad Massoum accepted his nomination on Monday.

    “We urge him to form a new cabinet as urgently as possible, and the US does stand ready to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government,”US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Al-Abadi has 30 days to come up with an all-inclusive government to ease the sectarian tensions in the country.

    UN declares highest level of emergency in Iraq over ISIS advance — RT News
    .
     
  16. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    here we have video, "why 75% Moderates are irrelevant in front of rest 15-25% Muslim terrorists"
    :frown:
     
  17. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Missing schoolgirls converted to Islam: Boko Haram
    May 12, 2014

    Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging the teenagers had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. :coffee:

    The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, speaks on the video obtained by AFP for 17 minutes before showing what he said were the girls, in Muslim dress and praying in an undisclosed rural location.

    A total of 276 girls were abducted on April 14 from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state, which has a sizeable Christian community. Some 223 are still missing.

    The footage shows about 130 girls in black and grey full-length hijabs sitting on scrubland near trees, reciting the first chapter of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and holding their palms upwards in prayer.

    Three of the girls are interviewed. Two say they were Christian and had converted while one said she was Muslim. Most of the group were seated. The girls appeared calm and one said that they had not been harmed.

    There was no indication of when the video was taken, although the quality is better than on previous occasions and at one point an armed man is seen in shot with a hand-held video camera.

    Boko Haram has been waging an increasingly deadly insurgency in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north since 2009, attacking schools teaching a "Western" curriculum, churches and government targets.

    Civilians, though, have borne the brunt of recent violence, with more than 1,500 killed this year alone while tens of thousands have been displaced after their homes and businesses were razed.

    Nigeria's government has been criticised for its lack of immediate response to the kidnapping but has been forced to act after Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves.

    President Goodluck Jonathan has now accepted help from the United States, Britain, France, China and Israel, which have sent specialist teams to help in the search effort.

    In the video, Shekau appears in front of a lime green canvas backdrop wearing combat fatigues and carrying an automatic weapon. Shekau does not appear in the same shot as the girls at any point during the 27-minute video.

    Speaking in Hausa and Arabic, he restates his claim of responsibility made in a video released on last Monday and said the girls had converted to Islam.

    "These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with... we have indeed liberated them. We have indeed liberated them. Do you know we have liberated them? These girls have become Muslims," he said.

    The militant leader said that Boko Haram's brothers in arms had been held in prison for up to five years and suggested that the girls would be released if the fighters were freed.

    "We will never release them (the girls) until after you release our brethren. Here I mean those girls who have not submitted (converted to Islam)," he added.

    Boko Haram has used kidnapping of women and young girls in the past and Shekau indicated that more were being held.

    Eleven girls were abducted from the Gwoza area of Borno state on May 4.

    - See more at: Missing schoolgirls converted to Islam: Boko Haram - Hindustan Times
     
  18. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Nigerian Girls Seen in Video From Militants
    MAY 12, 2014

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — The fears have been mounting for weeks: that the girls have been sold, married off, spirited across international borders, and perhaps even killed. :facepalm: Their fate has become the focus of intense international concern, with Michelle Obama holding up a placard appealing for their safe return and governments across the globe pledging to help track them down.

    On Monday came the first hint that many of them may still be alive: a video from Boko Haram, the radical Islamist group that claimed responsibility for kidnapping more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls last month, shows scores of girls, covered from head to toe, stone-faced, somewhere in the pervasive semidesert scrub that covers this arid region.

    After weeks of global concern over the girls’ plight, Boko Haram appears to have seized on the international attention and begun to use the girls as bargaining chips in its war with the Nigerian state.

    “These girls will not leave our hands until you release our brothers in your prison,” Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, warns in the video.

    [​IMG]
    A screengrab from a video released by Boko Haram claiming to show the missing girls.Creditvia Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    If genuine, the video would be the first public glimpse of the girls since they were seized on April 14 from the village of Chibok in Nigeria’s far northeast, a region in turmoil for years over an Islamist insurgency.

    In the message, Mr. Shekau seems almost surprised at the global shock over the mass abduction of schoolgirls, and tries to use it to his advantage.

    “Just because we kidnapped these young girls, you are making noise?” Mr. Shekau says in the video. “You are making so much noise about Chibok, Chibok, Chibok.”

    In a previous video message just last week, Mr. Shekau had treated the girls more as an ideological prize than a negotiating tactic, calling them slaves and threatening to “sell them in the market.”

    He reiterated the group’s longstanding position that “Western education should end,” and warned that, “Girls, you should go and get married.”

    But in the latest video, Boko Haram’s demands became more focused on its violent struggle with the Nigerian authorities, saying the girls would not be freed until the release of “our brethren that are held all over Nigeria,” Mr. Shekau said.

    At one point, he chuckles, waves a stick at the camera, spits out the word “infidel” in Hausa, the dominant language of Nigeria’s north, and promises to “kidnap even Obama.” :coffee:

    The video offered a fleeting picture of the coerced new life these teenagers, until recently simply high school students who saw their parents every morning, have been thrust into.

    The girls chant verses passively. Two hold up the black flag of the Islamists in the background. Three girls are questioned by an off-camera voice. One says she converted to Islam because “Jesus is not the son of God.” Another tells the interviewer in a rote monotone: “I will rebel against my parents. I am grateful to God. I have seen the correct path.” :biggthumpup:

    The interviewer asks if she has been “manhandled,” and she answers, “no.” He asks what she has been eating, and the solemn answer is, rice.

    It is unclear whether the Nigerian government, widely criticized for its inability to rescue any of the kidnapped girls, is in negotiations with Boko Haram. A top northern official said over the weekend that the federal authorities in the capital, Abuja, had engaged the services of an “Australian intermediary” to negotiate with the group.

    Adding credence to his assertion, the official noted days before the video was released that the group appeared to be seeking a “prisoner exchange.” A government spokesman on Sunday stopped short of an outright denial, saying merely that he was “not aware” of “formal” negotiations.

    Still, over the five years of the Boko Haram insurgency, reports of negotiations with the group have frequently trickled out of Abuja, with no clear results. The Nigerian government has continued its aggressive, sometimes brutal, counterinsurgency campaign, killing many civilians in the process. Boko Haram has showed little reservation about killing large numbers of civilians, and when it has wanted its prisoners released, it has sometimes simply attacked the prisons where they were held.

    Just in March, the government said that Boko Haram carried out an assault on a notorious military detention center where hundreds of suspected extremists were held. Well over 500 people, most of them detainees, were killed in the episode, many by Nigerian security forces.

    In this region, where few aspects of civilian life are fully insulated from the violence, schools had been closed for weeks before the mass kidnapping because of other Boko Haram attacks. But the girls had come back to the Chibok government school to take an exam, and were staying overnight. The Islamists overpowered what little police protection the town possessed, and seized more than 300 girls. About 50 were able to flee their captors. Chibok is primarily a Christian village, and Mr. Shekau appeared to acknowledge that many of the girls seized were not Muslims. “The girls that have not accepted Islam, they are now gathered in numbers,” he said. “And we treat them well the way the prophet treated the infidels he seized.”

    The education commissioner here in Borno state said that he would bring the girls’ parents to the state capital to watch the video on Tuesday, to see if they could identify their daughters. One parent reached in Chibok said that nobody there had seen it because there was no electricity. The chairman of the local government, Bana Lawan, watching the video on Monday said, “this face is familiar to me,” as one of the girls was questioned on the video. But he said it was difficult to identify others because of their extensive clothing.

    On Monday, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said of the video: “We have no reason to question its authenticity. Our intelligence experts are combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help in ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls.”

    The United States is part of a worldwide effort to try to rescue the girls. American surveillance aircraft have joined the search, making flights over Nigeria, and imagery from satellites has been provided to the Nigerian government, according to an American official, who asked for anonymity to discuss a delicate operation.

    In the past, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has remarked that it was not possible to negotiate with the group, suggesting it was too nebulous, erratic and violent an organization to engage with.

    The video released Monday reinforced that view, as Mr. Shekau, wearing fatigues and cradling a rifle, stares intently into the camera, makes wild threats and seems to glory in the worldwide attention the girls’ kidnapping has brought him. He squints and grins, and at times his voice cracks in excitement at his newfound celebrity.

    “I don’t follow international law,” he says, as if mocking the world’s outrage at the abduction of the girls. He adds: “There are many verses in the Quran that allows the seizing of slaves. Abduction of slaves is allowed.” :coffee:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/world/africa/boko-haram-video-kidnapped-nigerian-girls.html
     
  19. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    British Muslim population 'rising 10 times faster than rest of society'
    June 17, 2011

    The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years, according to official research collated for The Times. :coffee:

    The population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society, the research by the Office for National Statistics reveals. In the same period the number of Christians in the country fell by more than 2 million.

    Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam during the period of 2004-2008, when the data was gathered. They said that it also suggested a growing willingness among believers to describe themselves as Muslims because the western reaction to war and terrorism had strengthened their sense of identity.

    Muslim leaders have welcomed the growing population of their communities as academics highlighted the implications for British society, integration and government resources.

    David Coleman, Professor of Demography at Oxford University, said: “The implications are very substantial. Some of the Muslim population, by no means all of them, are the least socially and economically integrated of any in the United Kingdom ... and the one most associated with political dissatisfaction. You can't assume that just because the numbers are increasing that all will increase, but it will be one of several reasonable suppositions that might arise.”

    Professor Coleman said that Muslims would naturally reap collective benefits from the increase in population. “In the growth of any population ... [its] voice is regarded as being stronger in terms of formulating policy, not least because we live in a democracy where most people in most religious groups and most racial groups have votes. That necessarily means their opinions have to be taken and attention to be paid to them.”

    There are more than 42.6 million Christians in Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics, whose figures were obtained through the quarterly Labour Force Survey of around 53,000 homes. But while the biggest Christian population is among over-70s bracket, for Muslims it is the under-4s.

    Ceri Peach, Professor of Social Geography at Manchester University, said that the rapid growth of the Muslim population posed challenges for society. “The groups with the strongest belief in the family and cohesion are those such as the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. They have got extremely strong family values but it goes together with the sort of honour society and other kinds of attributes which people object to,” he said. “So you are dealing with a pretty complex situation.”

    Professor Peach said that the high number of Muslims under the age of 4 — 301,000 as of September last year — would benefit Britain's future labour market through taxes that would subsequently contribute to sustaining the country's ageing population. He added, though, that it would also put pressure on housing and create a growing demand for schools. “I think housing has traditionally been a difficulty because the country is simultaneously short of labour and short of housing. So if you get people to fill vacancies in your labour force you also need to find places for them to live,” he said.

    Muhammad Abdul Bari, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, predicted that the number of mosques in Britain would multiply from the present 1,600 in line with the rising Islamic population. He said the greater platform that Muslims would command in the future should not be perceived as a threat to the rest of society.

    “We each have our own set of beliefs. This should really be a source of celebration rather than fear as long as we all clearly understand that we must abide by the laws of this country regardless of the faith we belong to,” he said.

    The Cohesion Minister, Sadiq Khan, told The Times: “We in central Government and local authorities need to continue our work to ensure that our communities are as integrated and cohesive as possible.”

    Growing numbers

    The total number of Muslims in Great Britain:

    2004: 1,870,000

    2005: 2,017,000

    2006: 2,142,000

    2007: 2,327,000

    2008: 2,422,000 :coffee:
    Source: Labour Force Survey

    British Muslim population 'rising 10 times faster than rest of society'

     
  20. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Muhammad the most common baby name in London
    Aug 13, 2013

    LONDON: In a sharp jump in just one year, Muhammad has emerged as the most common first name given to baby boys born in London in 2012. The name was also second most common among new born male babies across UK and Wales the same year-Harry being the most common second year in a row.

    Interestingly in 2011, Daniel and Oliver were the top two names given to new born male children in London. Muhammad (spelt this way) was ranked third (658) in London with Mohammed (spelt like this) ranked as the eight commonest name in London given to 634 male children.

    Across England and Wales, Harry and Amelia were the most popular first names given to babies maintaining the top spots from 2011.

    In 2011, Mohammed (with this spelling) was ranked 19th most popular baby name while Muhammad (spelt this way) was ranked 22.

    Over the total of 729,674 registered births in 2012 there were more than 28,000 different boys' names and over 36,000 different girls' names.

    Interestingly three different spellings of the name Muhammad are listed in the top 100 names for boys.

    The most common is Muhammad, which is in 19th place on the table. Mohammed comes 26th and Mohammad is in 60th place.

    Overall the name was given 7,139 times in 2012, just 29 behind Harry-which took the top spot.

    Despite this variation, those in each top 10 accounted for 13% of all given names.

    Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the most popular first names for babies born in England and Wales in 2012 on Monday. In particular, it examined the 100 most popular first names for boys and for girls and compared the ranks of those names with the ranks in 2011 and 2002.

    Experts say Asian names have become very common in London specially because of the city's swelling migrant population. Indians have become the largest foreign-born group in London. Nearly 9% of all foreign-born residents in London are now Indian.

    In sheer numbers, this means 2.63 lakh persons born in India are now living in London.

    London had about 3 million foreign-born residents in 2011 (37% of the total London population and 40% of the total foreign-born population of England and Wales).

    London's foreign-born population increased by 54% since 2001, accounting for 105% of the total population increase, as the UK-born population decreased in the decade.

    Moreover, London concentrates a large proportion (40%) of the entire foreign-born population of England and Wales.

    Between 2001 and 2011, the total resident population of England and Wales increased by 14%, by about 1 million residents.

    However, the UK-born population in London actually declined, by 1% (about 50,000 residents). This means that the entire growth of the London population can be accounted for the by increase in the number of residents that had been born outside of the UK.

    ONS had looked at the top five non-UK born mothers' countries by number of births (Poland, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nigeria).

    GFRs for the UK show that women born in Pakistan have the highest fertility rates of the five individual maternal countries of birth examined, with around 180 births per thousand women in 2011, compared with around 60 births per thousand for UK born women. :coffee:

    The impact of non-UK born women on fertility is largest in London.

    This is due to a high proportion of the childbearing age population in London being non-UK born, and lower UK born fertility in London than the UK average. This could also explain the higher number of Mohammad's being born.

    Muhammad the most common baby name in London - Times Of India
    .
     
  21. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    =>China's one-child policy means many benefits for parents


    Increasing Muslim Population to Fulfill Religious Goals in World

    hmmmmm, its widely believed that that the countries like Pakistan+Bangladesh are increasing population to fulfill their Islamic Fanaticism interests only.

    Population of Pakistan was 34mil in 1947 while that of Bangladesh was around 36mil at the time of freedom in 1947, while now its over 180million+ in Pakistan and over 160million+ in Bangladesh. and all the population increase in these countries is mainly intended to export Islamic Jihad in other countries......

    and here we always give example of India, where population of Hindus reduced from 88% in 1947 to less than 80% at present, while that of Muslims increased from 8% to 16%+ to total India's population since 1947 to date.......while about Pakistan, minorities are almost gone, Shia-Sunni-Ahmadies problem there we find now. while state of minorities in Bangladesh is also being discussed in the thread as below :facepalm:

    Illegal immigration from Bangladesh has turned Assam explosive | Indian Defence Forum

    and when we want to discuss "One Child Policy" of China, then it tells us the story of that country which wants to build itself, but doesn't want others to get problem from Chinese people. "Having only as much population as it may be fed by the limited resources, the China has." the topic of this thread. :tup:

    while that of Muslim population is mainly meant to export Islamic fanaticism to other countries, the reason even if population of Bangladesh is more than the largest country of world, Russia, Bangladesh even import a third of the food for its population also, they don't want to stop population growth, for the purpose to achieve their religious goals. even if Bangladesh falls among the Least Developed Countries, having enough support from rest of the world too this way....

    and if you want to build your own country, you may do anything within, good or bad, but if you are increasing Muslim population just to create problems for the non-Islamic states of world, we have a reason to ask, "WHY?"

    what exactly these highly populated Muslim countries are intended in this world, we do have a reason to get to know :tup:

    for example, population of Australia is less than 25million, while its a quite big country with hefty resources. and here, they do have a reason to ask, what others are doing in this world? would Christian states also increase Christian population to have competition with others, or, others would learn something in this regard? :what:
     

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