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latest levee breach, caused by the Indus river overflowing its banks in Sindh province. The river is raging at 40 times its normal volume. Many evacuees decided to camp out along the main road from Thatta while others kept moving in buses, cars, trucks and ox-drawn carts.
Taking shelter in graveyard
Thousands have headed for the high ground of an ancient graveyard for Muslim saints. The Makli Hill burial ground is not believed to be
in danger of flooding. The UN reports that around one million people have been displaced in Thatta and Qambar-Shadadkot districts since Wednesday because of floodwaters. The floods began in the mountainous northwest about a month ago with the onset of monsoon rains and have moved slowly down the country toward the coast in the south, inundating vast swaths of prime agricultural land and damaging or destroying more than one million homes. More than eight million people are in need of emergency assistance across the country. U.S. officials announce Friday they would be sending 18 more helicopters to Pakistan by mid-September to help with flood relief efforts. These aircraft will supplement a fleet of 15 choppers and three transport planes already in use.
Judge Mazhar Iqbal ordered Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority to block the websites due to “material against the fundamental principals of Islam and its preaching,” according to a copy of the judgement obtained by AFP. Pakistan shut off Facebook for nearly two weeks last month in a storm of controversy about a competition to draw the Prophet Mohammad and has restricted access to hundreds of online links because of blasphemy. Iqbal announced a short version of the order in the eastern city of Bahawalpur on Tuesday and released a written detailed order on Wednesday, lawyer Latif ur-Rehman who brought the petition for the ban, told AFP. But while the PTA quickly implemented the earlier ban against Facebook in May, regulators told AFP on Thursday that they had yet to receive the latest order. “We have not yet received any directives from the ministry of information technology. The ministry is the decision-making authority,” Khurram Mehran, a PTA spokesman, told AFP. The ministry was not immediately reachable for comment. Iqbal called on the PTA and information technology ministry to submit detailed reports to the court next Monday. Retired civil servant Siddique Mohammad had petitioned the court through Rehman for the ban on nine websites — Google, Yahoo, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube, Islam Exposed, In The Name of Allah and Bing. A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan warned that the order could strangle Internet access for millions. “If implemented the decision will choke Internet users. It will seriously impact millions of Internet users in Pakistan who use search engines for email, education, business and other productive purposes,” said Wahaj-us-Siraj. “Courts are not a competent jurisdiction to handle technical issues. The issue should have been handled by the PTA,” he said. Islam strictly prohibits the depiction of any prophet as blasphemous and the row sparked comparison with protests across
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the Muslim world at the publication of satirical cartoons of Mohammed in European newspapers in 2006. When a Facebook user decided to organise an “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” competition to promote “freedom of expression”, it sparked a major backlash among Islamic activists in the South Asian country of 170 million.
By Ed West Why does Europe hate Israel? That’s the question asked in Robin Shepherd’s A State Beyond the Pale, which I’ve reviewed in the Catholic Herald this week. The book came out some months back, but with Helen Thomas’s recent outburst (Shepherd also includes the American Left in the growing league of Israel haters) it’s more timely than ever. I tend to avoid the subject of Israel-Palestine because there are already a billion people expending measureless energy discussing it on a million internet messageboards and social media outlets, probably costing the world economy trillions of dollars a year in lost production. It’s also a very complex issue that seems to attract the most ironic and absurd partisans: on the one hand feminist or gay and lesbian organisations that support the violently reactionary Islamists of Gaza against one of the most gay-friendly states on earth; on the other, Christian religious nuts who support the settlement of Jews in the West Bank at the expense of the Christian community there – and not just any Christian community either, but one founded by Jesus Christ himself. And those on both sides who paint this as a simple clash of civilisations between Jews/Christians and Muslims ignore the fact that Israel’s arch-enemy, Syria, has a large, well-protected and equally anti-Israeli Christian minority (indeed if and when the current dictatorship falls the Christian community may well face the same fate as their brethren in Iraq). The Syrians also have an attitude towards Islamists that makes the Israelis look like Birkenstock-wearing pinkos in comparison – 53 Palestinians (mostly combatants) were killed during the IDF’s attack on Jenin a few years back; anywhere between 25-40,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed when the Syrians stormed the town of Hama to crush an Islamist revolt. How many of the flotilistas have even heard of Hama? None, because no one in Europe cares about 40,000 dead Arabs if it’s Arabs doing the killing – it seems if you can’t blame the Jews, it ain’t news. Continue reading
Let’s hope the world is right. Israel is almost totally isolated. A visitor from another planet would have every reason to report back home that the greatest problem on planet earth was this planet’s Jewish state. Though Israel is the size of the American state of New Jersey and smaller than El Salvador, and though its population is smaller than that of Sweden, Burundi and Bolivia, it is the most censured country in United Nations history. Let’s hope the world is right. Though Israel is a thriving liberal democracy for all its citizens, including the one out of five that is Arab (83 percent of whom are Muslim), with an independent judiciary and press; though it signed an agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state; though it returned to Egypt every inch of the Sinai Peninsula, a land mass larger than Israel itself with major oil reserves — the world deems Israel a villain. Continue reading
‘Sultans of science’ is an ongoing exhibition on inventions and discoveries by Muslim scientists being held in Canada, and aims to highlight the Muslim civilization’s contribution to science. Held at the TELUS World of Science Center from May 19 to Sept. 7, the exhibition – brought to life through more than 40 magnificent interactive exhibits and giant functional replicas that uses cutting-edge technology to recreate the ingenuity of a golden age – is being enjoyed by visitors of all ages and backgrounds. The exhibition celebrates the contribution of Arab and Muslim scholars to science and technology during the first Golden Age of the Islamic World (700-1700 CE) and the influence of their discoveries and inventions on contemporary society. It covers Arab and Muslim scientific endeavors in architecture, the arts, astronomy, engineering, exploration, flight, mathematics, medicine, instrument making, fine and utilitarian technology and optics researched and manufactured by MTE Studios. MTE Studios is a specialized consultancy firm focused on themed architecture and interactive learning experiences. The firm claims that it “designs, prototypes and manufactures inspiring interactive exhibits for science centers, museums, shopping malls and corporate environments.” “Sultans of Science’ is a unique exhibition, which not only provides visitors with insight and the rediscovery of missing history, but also sends a powerful and positive message to the world about the way we evaluate history, bridge cultural gaps and realize the need to embrace multi-cultural knowledge,” said Ludo Verheyen, the CEO of MTE Studio’s in an email message to Saudi Gazette. This is the second time the inventions and discoveries of Muslim scientists has been put on display in Canada. “The exhibition drew record crowds at the Ontario Science Center, hence leading to increased interest in the exhibition by other Science Centers in North America. The
exhibition is at the venue for 3 months and travels to another North American venue thereafter,” Verheyen explained. The ‘traveling exhibition’ has already been to the Cape Town Science Center in South Africa, the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey and the Ontario Science Center. Continue reading
Yemeni officials have claimed that some of the foreign nationals detained have connections with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to blow up a transatlantic airliner on Christmas Day last year, and Anwar al-Awlaki, a jihadist cleric.
The arrests of the British nationals follow an investigation into the activities of an Australian woman by police in the capital Sana’a after information was supposedly passed to the Yemenis by the Australian government.
Shyloh Jayne Giddens, a Muslim convert who moved to Yemen to bring up her two children in an Islamic country, has been detained without charge in Sana’a’s political prison since May 15.
Her Australian passport was cancelled two months ago by the Australian government for “national security reasons”.
Ms Giddens, 30, was teaching English in Sana’a at the time of her arrest. She denies having any terrorist links.
At least two of the British nationals being held are of Yemeni extraction, and others detained include American and French nationals as well as “Asians and Africans”, the Independent reports.
Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian student responsible for the failed Christmas Day attack, told US investigators after his arrest that there were “many like me” trained by the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP).
officials warned in February that al-Qaeda was trying to recruit English-speaking westerners, particularly women, who could easily slip past security controls to launch terrorist attacks.
The above statement is meant to fully summarize the reason behind the outrage that arises in Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world whenever a provocative “artist” decides to express his freedom of expression and “expose” Muslims as anti-democratic.
Such a simplistic interpretation of such an intricate issue.
There is no denial — and no shame — in the fact that most Muslims hold their Prophet (peace be upon him) in the highest regard. Despite the continued decrease in the number of faithful in increasingly secularized Western societies, Muslims are clinging even tighter to their faith. However, while the outrage over the latest transgression by some Facebook users may appear as a straightforward news story — that of Western values versus Muslim narrow-mindedness — the true underpinnings of the outrage are suspiciously missing.
The naïve depiction by the Western media makes it easy for “freedom of expression” enthusiasts to condemn Muslims for yet again failing the democracy test. Continue reading