Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stop proxy war urges Iraq

by Mark Summers from Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

In a strongly worded address on the closing day of a major security meeting in Bahrain, Iraq's national security adviser Dr Mowaffak Al Rubaie stated, "From where we sit in Baghdad and from an Iraqi perspective, we look at the region and see competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran has turned into conflict on the soil of Iraq." He told delegates at the Manama Dialogue, "We cannot continue playing Tehran and co versus Riyadh and co, otherwise we will continue suffering in this region." ... Dr Al Rubaie was clear that much of the instability in his country bore the fingerprints of its neighbours. "Some of the regional countries are helping fuel the sectarian conflict and maintaining the political stagnation in my country." ... "If GCC countries continue to be imprisoned by their paranoia or scepticism of Iranian influence on the central government of Iraq, of Shia-Kurd dominance of Baghdad, for how long is it going to go on?" he asked. "What you have in Iraq is a democratic, parliamentary constitutional system, and that is what you have to accept."

Saudi's size 'hampering terror clamp'

by Geoffrey Bew from Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

Deputy Chief of General Intelligence Prince Faisal bin Abdullah al Saud said tough measures were in place to control the movement of people at its boundaries, but said their sheer size meant it was impossible to scrutinise everyone. "No one can give any guarantees," he told the GDN on the sidelines of the security conference. "The Saudi Arabian border is thousands of kilometres long and we are still developing technology and the people. This (terrorism) is a disease that has been planted and unfortunately is part of our nation. The best guarantee we can give is that we are working very hard on our youth, their education and creating prosperity."

Nigeria: Stepping Up the Fight Against Child-Trafficking

from Integrated Regional Information Networks (United Nations)

An estimated six million Nigerian children are at risk of trafficking for domestic and forced labour, prostitution and pornography every year, according to a national survey conducted by the International Labour Organization in 2003. The Nigerian government and non-governmental organisations are trying to fight the problem - through repatriation, awareness and prosecution. Globally, child trafficking is one of the fastest growing organised crimes with an estimated 1.2 million victims per year, of whom 32% are African, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). In view of the clandestine nature of trafficking, accurate and reliable figures are hard to get. But with between 50% - 70% of the population living on less than a dollar a day in Nigeria, the phenomenon is widespread. “Every state has a variant of child trafficking,” estimated Orakwue Arinze, spokesperson for NAPTIP, the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons. He said in the largely Muslim northern states, traffickers take children to Saudi Arabia. In the southern states, children are trafficked within the country or to neighbouring countries, he said.

Somali Islamists seize town from government troops

by Aweys Yusuf from Reuters

"It is true that Islamists captured Bule Burte (140 miles north of Mogadishu), but they will not last there. The government will fight them and will liberate the town from the enemy," Yusuf Ahmed Hagar, government chairman of Hiraan province, told Reuters by phone. The Islamists, who before their defeat by the government and Ethiopian troops a year ago had tried to impose Islamic sharia law on Somalia, put sharia into force again in Bule Burte, residents said. Witnesses said an Islamist who called himself Amin Daad gave a short speech to people of the town after seizing it from a handful of Somali troops. "You should limit your movements because we are now in operation and when we are finished with our duties, we will meet you," Daad told the people of Bule Burte. Islamist insurgents have fought back against the government and allied Ethiopian troops in the capital Mogadishu since they were ejected by them a year ago in a lightning war backed by U.S. intelligence.

Muslim apostates threatened over Christianity

from The Telegraph (UK)

Pakistan is currently considering a Bill that would make apostasy a capital crime for men and one carrying a sentence of imprisonment for women. As it is, ordinary Pakistanis take the law into their own hands and kill Muslim apostates. The same thing happens in Turkey where, earlier this year, two people were killed for "having turned away from Islam". Patrick Sookhdeo was born a Muslim, but later converted to Christianity. He is now international director of the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that aims to research and to ameliorate the conditions of Christians living in countries hostile to their religion. He notes that "all four schools of Sunni law, as well as the Shia variety, call for the death penalty for apostates. Most Muslim scholars say that Muslim religious law - sharia - requires the death penalty for apostasy. "In 2004, Prince Charles called a meeting of leading Muslims to discuss the issue," adds Dr Sookhdeo. "I was there. All the Muslim leaders at that meeting agreed that the penalty in sharia is death. The hope was that they would issue a public declaration repudiating that doctrine, but not one of them did."

Meet Rep. Sue Myrick, Founder of the Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus

by Pam Meister from Family Security Matters (US: New Jersey)

Q: according to some experts, Saudi Wahhabists are not only funding radical texts in American mosques, but their funding also influences what American schoolchildren from elementary school through college learn about Islam and the Middle East. What can we do to stop this trend?

Rep. Myrick: Well, we’ve got to start by educating the American people that this is happening. It’s our country, and it’s people in the country that need to make the difference, but we’ve got to educate them. It’s scary to me, because yes it is happening. The funding does go into the colleges in particular; they’ve been doing that for at least 20 years, where they fund professors in the schools. And then these schools...the professor starts out with a small amount of money; I’m told by a former professor who actually was part of this, and the point was, they give you, like $25,000 the first year, and no strings attached, and it keeps going up in amounts each year. And by the time they reach about $100,000 then they start to say “why don’t you say this, why don’t you teach this, why don’t you use this book,” etcetera, etcetera. And that’s how they are molding the minds of young people in this country. And then those people are going out and they’re in our military and our justice system and our legal system; they’re in all sections of the government – the State Department – and they’re the ones that are making decisions about how we address and how we deal with this problem, and that’s part of the reason nothing’s getting done.

PA rips Saudis for hosting Mashaal

by Khaled Abu Toameh from The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

The Saudi invitation to the Hamas delegation was a "severe blow" to the PA's efforts to end the Hamas reign over the Gaza Strip, the PA officials told The Jerusalem Post. The officials were particularly enraged by the red-carpet welcome that Khaled Mashaal and his colleagues received upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. The Hamas delegation has met with several top Saudi officials and members of the royal family, including Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. "Saudi Arabia has made a huge mistake by inviting Mashaal and his friends," said an official close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. "The Arab states should boycott Hamas because of its violent coup in the Gaza Strip ... Hamas is doing its utmost to undermine the authority of President Mahmoud Abbas," he said. ... Apart from Mashaal, the Hamas delegation included Musa Abu Marzuk, the No. 2 man in Hamas, as well as Muhammad Naser and Sami Khater, members of the Hamas politburo. Naser said Monday the Saudis had invited him and his colleagues to brief them on the outcome of the Annapolis conference and to discuss ways of ending the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah. "We discussed with our Saudi brothers the issue of national unity and reconciliation," he said. "We also discussed the ongoing Israeli aggression against our people and the measures that the Palestinian leadership has been taking against Hamas."

LSE welcomes first Shari'ah compliant exchange traded funds

from Hedge Funds Review (UK)

The first ever Shari’ah compliant exchange traded funds (ETFs) have been listed on the London Stock Exchange’s main market. The three funds launched by iShares (Barclays) enhance the range of Shari’ah compliant products available in London, underlining the City’s emerging role as an important centre for Islamic finance. The three funds are the iShares MSCI World Islamic, the iShares MSCI USA Islamic and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Islamic. The funds’ compliance with Shari’ah requirements will be reviewed annually by a Shari’ah Panel ... David Shrimpton head of product management and development at the LSE, said “The range of Shari’ah compliant products listed on the LSE’s main market continues to grow. In the past year and a half we have admitted 14 Islamic finance instruments, or sukuk, to trading on our markets, which have raised in excess of £5 billion ($10.1 billion ).” The LSE is playing a key part in the drive by the UK Government and the City to enhance London's position as a global gateway for Islamic finance, and is part of HM Treasury’s Islamic Finance Experts Group, which is currently examining the feasibility of the UK Government becoming an issuer of wholesale sterling Islamic financial instruments.