By Gilad Atzmon

Israeli press reported this evening that French gunman Mohamed Merah had been on a trip to Israel in the past.

According to the report, Merah’s passport had Israeli stamps in it. The purpose of his visit is  unknown. Israeli analysts suspect he was either trying to visit the Palestinian territories or preparing for a terror attack.

However, I won’t rule out the possibility that Merah was actually trained by Israeli forces. Marah may have conducted a false flag operation. By way of deception is,  after all, the Mossad’s motto.

Read the story of Naeim Giladi, an Israeli agent operating in Iraq in the late 1940’s.

“On May 10, at 3 a.m., a grenade was tossed in the direction of the display window of the Jewish-owned Beit-Lawi Automobile Company, destroying part of the building. No casualties were reported.

On June 3, 1950, another grenade was tossed from a speeding car in the El-Batawin area of Baghdad where most rich Jews and middle class Iraqis lived. No one was hurt, but following the explosion Zionist activists sent telegrams to Israel requesting that the quota for immigration from Iraq be increased.

On June 5, at 2:30 a.m., a bomb exploded next to the Jewish-owned Stanley Shashua building on El-Rashid street, resulting in property damage but no casualties.

On January 14, 1951, at 7 p.m., a grenade was thrown at a group of Jews outside the Masouda Shem-Tov Synagogue. The explosive struck a high-voltage cable, electrocuting three Jews, one a young boy, Itzhak Elmacher, and wounding over 30 others. Following the attack, the exodus of Jews jumped to between 600-700 per day.

Zionist propagandists still maintain that the bombs in Iraq were set off by anti-Jewish Iraqis who wanted Jews out of their country. The terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews.”

( / 22.03.2012)

Every third Muslim in urban area is poor: Planning Commission

New Delhi: The Planning Commission of India, in its latest poverty estimates, has claimed that the number of poor Indians – both in urban and rural areas – has declined substantially between the periods of 2004-05 to 2009-10, but it has admitted that Muslims still are the leading religious community in urban poverty at national level and in rural poverty in many states.

According to the Poverty Estimates for 2009-10 released on 19th March 2012, Indian Muslims in urban areas have got the highest number of poor people. Christian community has the lowest number of poor in urban India.

National poverty comes down
The commission’s report claims the all-India poverty has declined by 7.3 percentage points from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 29.8% in 2009-10. The urban poverty came down by 4.8 percentage points from 25.7% to 20.9% while the rural poverty has declined by 8.0 percentage points from 41.8% to 33.8%.

But it seems the decline has not passed through the Muslim community as they are still leader in urban poverty and also in many states in rural poverty.


Most Muslims are self-employed [TCN Photo]


Muslims lead in urban poverty
As per the Planning Commission’s figures on poverty and inequality, poverty ratio in urban areas at all India level is highest for Muslims (33.9%) i.e. every third Muslim in urban India is poor. And Tendulkar Committee – on whose methodology the poverty estimates were made both in 2004-05 and 2009-10 – had set cut-off mark for poor in 2006 as one who earns Rs 20 in urban areas and Rs 12 in rural areas.

Some states have lower than the national urban Muslim poverty percentage. Rajasthan has got 29.5% of poor Muslims in urban areas while West Bengal has 34.9%. But the situation is disturbing not only in poor UP but in Modi-led Gujarat which is rather considered as the most developed state of India and in Nitish Kumar-led “fast developing” state of Bihar also.

The urban areas of “developed” Gujarat has 42.4% poor Muslims while the national Muslim urban poverty percentage is 33.9%. Almost 50% of Muslims in urban areas of Uttar Pradesh are poor but “fast developing” Bihar of Nitish Kumar is ahead of UP. The figure for Bihar is 56.5%.

At national level, poverty is at its minimum (12.9%) among the Christian community in urban India.

Rural Muslim poverty
The Planning Commission has noted that the rural poverty has declined by 8.0 percentage points from 41.8% in 2004-05 to 33.8%. in 2009-10. But if we talk of Muslims, there are many states where Muslims have greater number of poor people than any other religious community.

The poverty figure of Muslims in rural areas is also quite disturbing. Assam has got almost 53.6 % of the total Muslim poor in rural parts of the Congress ruled state. In rural UP the figure for poor Muslims is disturbing 44.4% whereas the figure for West Bengal is 34.4% and for Gujarat it is 31.4%.

At national level, Sikhs have lowest number (11.9%) of poor people in rural areas.

The most disturbing part of the story is that this is the number of poor Muslims when one takes the definition of poor as somebody who manages his/her daily life with Rs 32 or less.

National Poverty ratio for Social Groups
In rural areas, Scheduled Tribes have the highest level of poverty (47.4%), followed by Scheduled Castes (SCs) (42.3%), and Other Backward Castes (OBC) (31.9%), against 33.8% for all classes.

In urban areas, SCs have 34.1% poor people followed by STs (30.4%) and OBC (24.3%) against 20.9% for all classes.

In rural Bihar and Chhattisgarh, nearly two-third of SCs and STs are poor, whereas in states such as Manipur, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh the poverty ratio for these groups is more than half.

Hundreds of Muslim castes come under the OBC category both at national level and states level.

Who is poor?
According to the Planning Commission of India, if you are earning more than Rs 32 per day you are not poor. The commission had come under attack over the Rs 32 per capita per day cut off for poverty line. In October 2011 Planning Commission had made this definition of poor in an affidavit it submitted in the Supreme Court. It said that persons consuming items worth more than Rs 32 per day in urban areas (Rs 26 in rural areas) are not poor.

The commission had made this cut-off mark on the basis of the Tendulkar Committee’ poverty cut-off mark of Rs 20 per day in urban area and Rs 12 in rural area in 2006.

( / 22.03.2012)

Wat is de achtergrond van de Koran?

In tegenstelling tot de Thorah, die in één keer op stenen aan Mozes werd geopenbaard, werd de koran in de 23 jaar van de missie van profeet Mohammed (vzmh) geopenbaard. De openbaring was meestal gekoppeld aan bepaalde gebeurtenissen, vragen van gelovigen of ongelovigen en op basis van behoefte toen de eerste moslimgemeenschap tot stand kwam. Soms werden een aantal verzen, een andere keer een aantal hoofdstukken op verschillende manieren geopenbaard (42:51).

Degenen die getuige waren van de ontvangst van een openbaring door profeet Mohammed (vzmh) zeggen dat hij tijdens het hele proces bij bewustzijn was en zelfs wanneer het een koude dag was, begon te zweten.

Het is een essentieel onderdeel van de islam dat moslims in alle profeten en openbaringen die hen door de menselijke geschiedenis heen gezonden zijn, dienen te geloven. Moslims geloven dat de koran de laatste ‘bijwerking’ is van God’s openbaring aan de mensheid, die bevestigt wat eerder geopenbaard werd. (5:45). Het is tevens een feit dat de islam de vier ‘geïnspireerde’ boeken – de koran, de Wetten van Mozes, de Psalmen van David en het Evangelie van Jezus – erkent.

Omdat de koran in essentie de waarheden van eerdere openbaringen bevat, “Geen van Onze openbaringen schaffen Wij af of laten Wij vergeten worden, maar Wij vervangen ze met iets beters of soortgelijks: Weten jullie dan niet dat God macht over alle dingen heeft ?” (2:106), is het voor moslims niet nodig eerdere boeken te bestuderen, aangezien ze alles in de koran moeten kunnen vinden. Aan de andere kant zouden  moslims of geleerden die interesse hebben in vergelijkend religieus onderzoek, de bijbel, torah of enige andere religieuze teksten kunnen lezen.

( / 22.03.2012)

Fayyad welcomes call to boost PA funding

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The premier in Ramallah Salam Fayyad on Thursday welcomed the call to donors to give the Palestinian Authority $1 billion, but said the funds must be received swiftly to ease the deepening financial crisis.

At a donors’ conference in Brussels on Wednesday, the chair of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee on Palestine, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, urged donors to pledge $1 billion to fill the PA’s budget deficit.

Fayyad told Voice of Palestine radio that it was crucial that at least half of the money was transferred quickly to reduce the fiscal crisis.

The Palestinian Authority is relying on foreign aid to cover a 2012 budget deficit projected to reach $1.1 billion, but most donor countries have not fulfilled their pledges.

Palestinian officials say more than $150 million of US aid is frozen. The US cut off some funding to the PA after President Mahmoud Abbas sought membership of the United Nations.

The World Bank said in a report released ahead of the meeting in Brussels that the Palestinian Authority had received just over half of the funds it needs.

Mariam Sherman, the World Bank’s director for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, called on donor countries to meet their pledges to help stabilize the Palestinian economy in the short term.

The report said a slowdown in growth in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-autonomy, “can be attributed to falling donor support combined with the uncertainty caused by the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal crisis, as well as lack of significant new easing of Israeli restrictions”.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi addressed the conference and expressed the Palestinian people’s gratitude for international assistance, but urged donors to end Israeli restrictions on economic development.

“The United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund have all submitted reports recognizing the Palestinian Authority’s remarkable achievements in the economy and development sectors.

“These reports also unanimously agree that the Israeli occupation and its illegal punishing measures is the single most important obstacle to Palestinian economic prosperity and stability.”

She added: “The goals driving international assistance will only be possible when this occupation ends.”

In a 2011 study, the PA found that in 2010 the Israeli occupation cost the Palestinian economy $6.897 billion, some 93.3 percent of the Palestinian GDP.

UN special envoy Robert Serry, in his report to the committee, said: “Restrictions on Palestinian movement and access continue to compromise economic growth, undermine livelihoods, hinder access to basic services including education, health and water supply, and contribute to conditions whereby a continuation of external aid is required.”

( / 22.03.2012)

Saudi Wahhabism and Conspiracies


Haytham A. K. Radwan  for

   While Islam as a faith is the main religion in 48 countries, and Muslims around the globe are rapidly growing, Saudi Islam is the main sectarian movement in Saudi Arabia, and its influence is also rapidly growing. Acting as the protector of Islam through its own form of Islam, while it remains an American client state through its location, petrodollar’s cheque book, and American diplomatic and military protection, it could be argued that among the major influential players, Saudi Arabia’s policies, its own form of Islam, and its relations with the US, undoubtedly constitute one of the most serious threats to the security of the world today.

     Indeed, since the eighteenth century, and in conjunction with the Wahhabi religious establishment, Saudi Arabia became the centre for a new brand of religious imperialism based on sectarian movements. For nearly a century, the kingdom’s religious fervour kept the oil-rich country in the Western political camp. Today, the existence of radical Islamic groups is in part a legacy of the Saudi form of Islam, not Islam itself, and the Saudi-US alliance, and of political decisions made to address a different set of security concerns which helped no one accept the US projects.

     While Islam itself as a faith is not a threat to international security, it is Saudi Islam that is a threat. Indeed, it is fair to say that the problems within the Muslim world today rise not from Islam itself, but from the Saudi form of Islam, Muslim religious leaders who are relying on Saudi support, and their own interpretations of the Quran. It is also fair to say that questions pertaining to why Americans see Islam as a threat to world stability is because of the American failures to distinguish between Islam as a faith and Saudi Islam. In the US, Islam has been perceived as a threat to its civilization. However, while Americans knew that Islam itself is not a threat to their civilization, the majority of American politicians, journalists, and ideologists have ignored the truth that the threat is coming from Saudi Islam. This is seen as a tactic to avoid any damage to the relations with the House of Saud in order to keep economic and political interests alive.

     As a result, the Saudi-US relationship and the Saudi Wahhabi expansionist policy not only transform Muslim world politics, but also world politics. Saudaisation movements may expand into broader struggle throughout the Arab and Muslim nations and beyond. In some parts of the Muslim world, steps toward Saudaisation have already begun while the US is turning a blind eye to the Saudi rulers. At the same time, the US is also busy trying to convince the world that their policies towards Saudi Arabia is about promoting democracy and protecting human rights.

   Apart from the obvious results of such a conflict, such as loss of power in some Muslim countries, it would impact on the behaviour of other Western and non-Western states which could use the conflict for more ideological and tactical reasons. So, because religion has no borders, it could become global religious and sectarian conflicts.

     It is possible we are already seeing the war in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and of course, the non-stoppable Wahhabi-American pressure on Syria.

Why? This is because Wahhabism itself is nothing more than an extension of Western imperialism. This short paper shed light on the roots and origin of the Saudi Wahhabism.

The Roots of Wahhabism:

      Although the origin of the Saudis’ current expansionist and extremist policy dates back to the religious and military alliance with the Wahhabi establishment, it was actually the British who initially provided the Saudis with the ideas of Wahhabism and made them its leaders for their own purposes to destroy the Muslim Ottoman Empire.[1] Indeed, the intricate details of this intriguing British conspiracy are to be found in the memoirs of its master spy, titled “Confessions of a British Spy” (For details see Sindi 2004). [2] In his memories, the British spy “Hempher” who was one of many spies sent by London to the Arabian Peninsula in order to destabilize the Ottoman Empire has stated:

“In the Hijri year, the Minister of Colonies sent me to Egypt, Iraq, Hejaz and Istanbul to act as a spy and to obtain information necessary and sufficient for the breaking up of Muslims. The Ministry appointed nine more people, full of agility and courage, for the same mission and at the same time. In addition to the money, information and maps we would need, we were given a list containing names of statesmen, scholars, and chiefs of tribes. I can never forget! When I said farewell to the secretary, he said, the future of our State is dependent on your success. Therefore you should exert your utmost energy”. (Nabhani, see also confession of a British spy). [3]

As a result, a small Bedouin army was established with the help of British undercover spies. In time, this army grew into a major menace that eventually terrorized the entire Arabian Peninsula up to Damascus, and caused one of the worst Fitnah (violent civil strife) in the history of Islam.[4] In the process, this army was able to viciously conquer most of the Arabian Peninsula to create the first Saudi-Wahhabi State.[5]

After the death of Muhammad ibn Saud, his son, Abd al-Aziz, became Ad Diriyah’s new emir who captured Riyadh in 1773. By 1781, the al-Saud family’s territory extended outward from Ad Diriyah, located in the Arabian Peninsula’s central region of Najd, about one hundred miles in every direction. In 1788, Saud, son of Abd al-Aziz, was declared heir apparent. He led his Wahhabi warriors on more raids.[6] To fight what they considered Muslim “polytheists” and “heretics”, the Saudis-Wahhabis shocked the entire Muslim world when in 1802, invaded Iraq’s Shiite majority, sacked Karbala, where Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad and the leading Shiite martyr is buried, and also demolished the massive golden dome and intricate glazed tiles above Hussein Bin Ali’s tomb, a holy shrine to Shiite Muslims. In the same year, the Saudi-Wahhabi warriors committed another atrocity in Taif, just outside Mecca. Again in 1810 they ruthlessly killed many innocent people across the Arabian Peninsula. They raided and pillaged many pilgrimage caravans and sever major cities in Hejaz including the two holiest cities of Makah and Medina.

In Makah they turned away pilgrims, and in Medina they attacked and desecrated Prophet Mohammad’s Mosque, opened his grave, and sold and distributed its valuable relics and expensive jewels.[7] The Saudi-Wahhabi crimes angered the ottomans.

In 1818, an Egyptian army destroyed the Saudis-Wahhabis army and razed their capital to the ground. The Wahhabi Imam Abdullah al-Saud and two of his followers were sent to Istanbul in chains where they were publicly beheaded. The rest of the Saudi-Wahhabi clan was held in captivity in Cairo. The destruction of the Saudi-Wahhabi warrior’s alliance did not last long. It was soon revived with the help of British colonialist.[8]

Accordingly, when Britain colonized Bahrain in 1820 and to expand its colonization in the area, the Wahhabi House of Saud sought British protection through Wahhabi Imams.[9] As a result, the British sent Colonel Lewis Pelly in 1865 to Riyadh to establish an official British treaty with the Wahhabi House.[10] Between 1871 and 1876, power changed hand seven times and the Wahhabis led more raids. This marked the end of the second Saudi state. This period however, kept the Wahhabi movement alive, ready to influence Muslims again in the twentieth century—and in the twenty-first.[11]

The twentieth century’s Saudi Arabia comprises the third period of Wahhabis political power. It has changed Saudi Arabia dramatically and the Saudi-Wahhabi’s kingdom has changed the century significantly. The first interval began in 1902, when Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud captured Riyadh and proceeded to re-establish a Wahhabi Kingdom. In 1904, Abd al-Aziz captured Anaiza, an oasis near Hail. In 1913, he captured Al Hasa Province, but had no idea that he had just acquired a quarter of the world’s oil.[12]

Not surprisingly, after his return from Al Hasa, the British helped ibn Saud with the establishments of the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood), an army of fierce religious warriors. The Ikhwan looked for the opportunity to fight non-Wahhabi Muslims—and non-Muslims as well—and they took Abd al Aziz as their leader. The Ikhwan movement began to emerge among the Bedouin. They abandoned their traditional way of life in the desert and moved to an agricultural settlement. By moving to agricultural settlement, the Ikhwan intended to take up a new way of life to enforce a rigid Islamic orthodoxy.[13]

To achieve his goals, on December 26, 1915, Abd al Aziz signed treaty with Sir Percy Cox, Britain’s political agent in the Arab Gulf. The British praised Abd al-Aziz as the greatest Arab man,[14] and recognised his [Abd al- Aziz] sovereignty over Najd and Al-Hasa (central and eastern Arabia), while Abd al-Aziz promised the British that he would not have any dealing with any other country without the British approval and supplies.[15] In addition, the British praised Abd al-Aziz despite his unattractive traits such as public beheading, amputations and floggings. The advisor of Abd al-Aziz for more over 30 years, Harry St John Philby, had described him as ‘the greatest Arab since the Prophet Muhammad’. Philby was sent to Arabia by the British government to assist Abd al-Aziz, perhaps to play kingmaker, in 1917.[16]

Indeed, when in 1915, there were more than 200 hujar in and around Najd and nearly 100,000 Ikhwan waiting to fight, the British supplied Abd al-Aziz with weapons and money. The word hijra (hujar) was related to the term for the Prophet’s emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622. This period ended in 1934, with the declaration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud.

Since then, Abd al-Aziz declared the relationship between oil and religion. Indeed, after establishing his British-made Wahhabi State, the Wahhabi king and imam Abd al-Aziz became an autocratic dictator who named the whole country after his own family, calling it the Kingdom of “Saudi” Arabia.[17] Since then the House of Saud has allocated a significant amount of oil revenues to building Islamic schools and mosques throughout the Muslim world,[18] which eventually has inspired radical Islam.[19] At that time however, Abd al-Aziz had various goals: he wanted to take Hail from the Al Rashid’ clan, to extend his control into the northern deserts (Syria), and to take over the Hejaz and the Persian Gulf coast. While Cox openly encouraged Abd al-Aziz to attack al-Rasheed’s clans to divert them from helping the Ottomans he prevented him from taking over much of the Gulf coast, where they [the British] had established protectorates.[20] They also opposed Abd al Aziz’s efforts to extend his influence beyond the Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi deserts because of their own imperial interests. But Abd al-Aziz continued his mission, and after he began the siege of Hail, the city surrendered to the Saudi’s warriors. In 1922, the Ikhwan warriors attacked Amman, the capital of Trans-Jordan. This caused problem with the British because, unlike Mecca and Medina, Hail had no religious significance. However, Abd al-Aziz apologised to the British. The British asked him to draw borders between his kingdom and Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait.[21]

Today, although a few Wahhabi religious leaders have tried to “distant” themselves from the House of Saud’s brutality and anti-Islamic policies in a vain attempt to save Wahhabism’s image from further deterioration, most of the top Wahhabi religious leaders are still firmly behind the House of Saud. In fact, most Wahhabi leaders have openly supported the House of Saud’s unpopular domestic and foreign policies. Indeed, in the Arab nations, the rise of extremism in the form of the Wahhabi movement during the twentieth century could not have taken place without the huge investments made by the Al-Saud family in conjunction with the American in the name of democracy, freedom and human rights to destroy Arab nationalism, socialism, secularism, and of course Islam. This has intensified since the discovery of oil in the 1930s, reached its peak during World War II, and the Cold War, and took more extreme directions since the establishment of the Iranian Islamic Republic in 1979, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the same year.


[1] – Abdullah-M, S 2004, ‘Britain and the Rise of Wahhabism and the House of Saud’,Kana’an Bulletin, vol. IV, no. 361, pp. 1-9.

[2] -Sindi, A-M 2004, ‘Britain and the Rise of Wahhabism and the House of Saud’, Kana’n bulletin, vol. IV, no. 361.

[3] -Nabhani, Y Khulasat-ul Kalam, Dar-ul-kitab-is-sufi (the House of Sufi book), Cairo, Egypt, see also Confession of a British Spy and British Enmity Against Islam, available at: , <>.

[4] Weston, M 2008, Prophets and PrincesSaudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, Wiley &Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

[5] -Sindi, A-M 2004, ‘Britain and the Rise of Wahhabism and the House of Saud’, Kana’n bulletin, vol. IV, no. 361.

[6] Weston, M 2008a, Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, Wiley &Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

[7] Ibid; Sindi, A-M 2004, ‘Britain and the Rise of Wahhabism and the House of Saud’, Kana’n bulletin, vol. IV, no. 361.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Weston, M 2008, Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, Wiley &Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey; Troeller, G 1976, the Birth of Saudi Arabia: Britain and the Rise of the House of Saud, Frank Cass, London.

[10] Lacey, R 1981, the Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Saud, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York.

[11] Weston, M 2008, Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, Wiley &Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Aburish, SK 1994, A Brutal Friendship: the West and the Arab Elite, first edn, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

[15] Weston, M 2008, Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, Wiley &Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

[16] Aburish, SK 1994, A Brutal Friendship: the West and the Arab Elite, first edn, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

[17] Sindi, A-M 2004, ‘Britain and the Rise of Wahhabism and the House of Saud’, Kana’n bulletin, vol. IV, no. 361.

[18] Long, D 1979, The Wilson Quarterly (1976), vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 83-91.

[19] Redissi, H 2008, ‘The Refutation of Wahhabism in Arabic Sources, 1745-1932′, inKingdom without Borders: Saudi Arabia’s Political, Religious and Media Frontiers, ed. A-R M, Hurst, London, pp. 157-177.

[20] Aburish, SK 1994, A Brutal Friendship: the West and the Arab Elite, first edn, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

[21] Weston, M 2008, Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present, Wiley &Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey.

( / 22.03.2012)

First Baloch women’s conference calls for Balochistan sovereignty

Mazar-e-Sharif (Afghanistan), Mar.21 (ANI): Baloch women representatives from Central and Eastern Balochistan, Western Balochistan, Northern Balochistan, Arab, Europe and America gathered for the first Baloch Women’s Conference in Afghanistan recently.

The three-day conference, which ended last week, came out with a 12-point declaration, the gist of which was a reiteration of a long standing demand for a free, united, democratic and gender balanced Balochistan.

The declaration also said that the struggle for a unified Balochistan would continue, and demanded the withdrawal of all kinds of Pakistani and Iranian forces from Balochistan.

They demanded the release of Zarina Marri, Baloch women from Dera Bugti Ardi, Sangsila, Sryab, Dasht and other parts of Balochistan, including 15000 Baloch men, women and children abducted by Pakistan and Iran army.

Demanding equal rights for Baloch women must be an integral part of all the charters and constitutions of Baloch parties, groups and alliances, conference particpants appealed for socio-economic support for the families of all honorable Balochs who sacrificed their lives for the Baloch cause.

They also demanded the right to education, mobility, and decision making at individual and political level for all Baloch women.

A new seven-member team representatives headed by Professor Naela Quadri Baloch as president, was alos elected at the conference.

( / 22.03.2012)

Long power outages cripple daily life in Gaza Strip

Power outages and all-out blackouts of up to 18 hours a day have crippled the lives of 1.7 million people residing in the Tel Aviv-blockaded Gaza Strip, Press TV reports.

The long blackouts have been affecting the Israeli-besieged territory’s population for three weeks now, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.

The health sector and public utilities, including water supply and sewage treatment systems, are among the hardest hit by the outages.

The coastal sliver’s sole electricity-generating plant stopped working in late February after Egypt blocked the flow of diesel fuel through underground tunnels into the besieged territory.

Some residents of the strip demonstrated in front of the Rafah crossing to protest against Egypt for blocking the fuel shipments.

Gazans have been struggling with the blackouts under Israel’s tight blockade, which has caused a severe decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty in the enclave.

The full-scale land, aerial, and naval siege, which was imposed by Israel on the territory in 2007, has turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest open-air prison.

( / 22.03.2012)

Book review: “Patriot Acts” tells shocking stories of post-9/11 injustice

"Patriot Acts" book cover

Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injusticetells the stories of individuals in the United States whose rights have been abused as a result of the racist, Islamophobic backlash and the so-called War on Terror that followed the attacks of 11 September 2001.

Patriot Acts is part of the non-profit Voice of Witness publishing project, which aims to “illuminate human rights through oral history,” and has published books on the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, wrongful incarceration and undocumented immigrants. Compiled and edited by Alia Malek, a civil rights lawyer turned journalist, Patriot Actsfeatures testimony from 18 individuals who lost family to racist vigilantes, were swept up in immigration raids under the guise of national security, fired from a job, or subjected to extraordinary rendition.

Highly readable and intensely engaging, Patriot Acts includes an introduction by Karen Korematsu, whose second-generation Japanese American father, Fred T. Korematsu, “defied US military orders to be incarcerated along with 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast” (9), at great expense to his freedom.

The mass internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during the Second World War offers a warning for contemporary times. The civil liberties and human rights of countless people living in the US have been sacrificed in the name of national security, recalling one of the most shameful periods in US history.

The stories told in Patriot Acts are quite shocking. Sixteen-year-old Adama Bah, the daughter of immigrants who fled Guinea, was awoken by armed FBI agents who arrested her and her father. Bah was put in a juvenile detention center and subjected to humiliating treatment based on unfounded suspicions that she was shortlisted to be a suicide bomber; her father was eventually deported to Guinea.

Though now free, Bah states, “I still live in constant fear of federal agents taking me or any of my family members. They did when I was innocent, and they could do it again” (47).


The persecution of Muslim Americans in the US court system is shown through the experience of Palestinian American Ghassan Elashi, who cofounded what was formerly the largest Islamic charity in the US, the Holy Land Foundation. He is now serving a 65-year sentence in a Communications Management Unit — special detention centers for terror convicts (this was the subject of Malek’s investigative feature”Gitmo in the Heartland” published by The Nation last year).

Elashi and four of his colleagues — dubbed the Holy Land Five — were subjected to two extraordinary trials that, amongst other court precedents, relied on testimony from an anonymous Israeli intelligence agent. The men were accused of providing material support to Hamas, a Palestinian political party declared a terrorist organization by the US State Department, by funding Islamic charitable committees in Palestine through the Holy Land Foundation.

Though the five were not accused of any violent acts, “prosecutors focused on the killing of Israeli soldiers and civilians by Palestinian elements, and specifically Hamas, as opposed to the actions of the HLF [Holy Land Foundation] or the defendants themselves” (199).

Aside from arbitrary detention and unjust convictions, Patriot Acts includes testimony from parents who fought against anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia in their children’s schools, and undocumented immigrants who were subjected to deportation proceedings as part of the national security crackdown.

Hate crimes

But scariest of all is perhaps the story of Rana Sodhi, a small business owner in Phoenix whose family had left India because of religious persecution, only to face worse treatment in the US. Sodhi’s brother Balbir was gunned down in front of his gas station on 15 September 2001, targeted because he wears a turban as part of his Sikh faith. A second brother, Sukhpal, was shot and killed in his taxi in San Francisco; police said it was gang-related violence, but Sodhi insists that this too was a hate crime.

Patriot Acts is eye-opening even for the reader who is familiar with the racist, bigoted backlash and deterioration of civil liberties after 11 September 2001. Its readability makes it a highly-recommended title for a high school or university class reading list.

The book is also a useful resource for researchers thanks to its appendices. A timeline traces the development of counter-terrorism legislation and its political context, and a thought-provoking analysis is presented in the essay “US Counterterrorism after 9/11.”

Though it could have benefitted from more careful copy-editing, Patriot Acts deserves a space on the shelf of every public and school library in the US. The stories told in Patriot Acts must be heard widely and serve as warning that the US is hurtling down a most dangerous path.

Maureen Clare Murphy is managing editor of The Electronic Intifada.

( / 22.03.2012)

United Nations Orders First Probe Of Israeli Settlements

Human Rights Council passes resolution ordering complete review of Israel’s West Bank settlement policies, possible infringement of Palestinians’ right.
PM: Council is hypocritical

The United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a resolution ordering a first probe into how Israel’s West Bank settlements may be infringing on Palestinians’ rights.

The resolution was adopted with 36 votes in favor and 10 abstentions. While Spain and Italy have called for abstention, the United States were the only ones to vote against the draft resolution.

The US representative explained that “the US position vis-à-vis the settlements is clear and had not changed.” But he argued that “direct negotiations” were the only solution.

Strongly opposing the establishment of an investigative mission, the US envoy said that “such measures do nothing to promote a just and lasting peace.”

Presenting the resolution, a Pakistani envoy criticized Israel for insisting on building more settlements, saying that they are “in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws.”

“This resolution seeks to respond to the humanitarian and human rights challenges this illegal Israeli practice has created in the occupied territories,” he said.

Beyond ordering an investigation into the implications of settlements, the resolution also calls on Israel to “take and implement serious measures” such as confiscating arms to prevent acts of violence by Israeli settlers.

But the United States spoke up against the move, saying it was “deeply troubled by this Council’s bias against Israel.”

“Steps like this do nothing to promote a just and lasting peace,” said a US envoy, adding that they only serve to “push parties apart.”

Israel’s move to expand settlements has been criticized by the international community, which deems the action illegal.

Earlier this week, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said the expansion of Israeli settlements is deeply linked to problems including violence in the territories.

‘Council hypocritical’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the UN’s decision, calling the Human Rights Council “hypocritical.”

“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel,”
Netanyahu said. “This council ought to be ashamed of itself. Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran,” he said.

“This council has proven once more that it is detached from reality, by inviting a member of Hamas – an organization whose creed advocated the murder of innocent people, to speak before it.”

Professor Gabriela Shalev, formally Israel’s UN ambassador, told Ynet Thursday that “The Human Rights Council is a biased, anti-Israeli body that has passed more resolutions against Israel than against any other UN member.

“When the council was formed in 2006 there was hope that it would change things, but those hopes soon faded, because it doesn’t address human rights issues and it doesn’t monitor what’s going on in countries like the Congo, China and Iran, where human rights and the rights of women and children are constantly violated – but those countries escape censure,” she said.

“On the other hand, since there are many Arab nations on the council, Palestine enjoys an automatic majority; and the result is that his body is motivated by political interests and not by the desire to protect human rights.

“I think that it is up to the Foreign Ministry to decide whether allow the council into Israel,” she continued. “I don’t think that the Foreign Ministry will cooperate… even if some nay think that Israel would be better off demonstrating transparency – in this case transparency doesn’t really exist because the results have already been determined against Israel,” Shalev concluded.

Dr. Alon Liel, former director general of the Foreign Ministry, added: “This isn’t the firs time that a UN council wants to review the matter of the settlements, but there is no question that the Human Rights Council is very biased and pro-Palestinian.

“We know what they’re hoping to find and what the results will be.
The question in cases like these is always the same – is refusing to cooperate better than cooperating. Experience has taught us it can go either way.

“These decisions… have to be considered on a case-by-case merit.
If the conclusion is that the results have been predetermined than don’t cooperate with it.

“The issue of the settlements is very difficult to explain, PR-wise so the Foreign Ministry usually tends not to cooperate with such review.
I have no doubt that the relevant people in the Foreign Ministry are following the situation closely and will make the right decision,” he said.

( / 22.03.2012)