091217130956_abdul_ghafoor_haidri226Several senior Pakistani clerics and leaders of religious parties have been admitted to hospital after falling ill from eating contaminated sweetmeats.

Officials say they suspect the poisoning may have been deliberate.

Pakistani clerics have in recent months been targeted in several bombings and have upset the Taliban by issuing injunctions against militancy.

The poisoning happened as clerics prepared for a conference called by the ministry of religious affairs.

The agenda of the conference was to get the clerics to issue a joint statement against the rise of anti-government militancy.

At least 10 senior leaders were affected, including Liaquat Baloch, deputy head of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and Mufti Munib-ur-Rahman, head of one of Pakistan’s top religious committees. Continue reading

1213-veil-headscarf_full_380It liberates. It represses. It is a prayer. It is a prison. It protects. It obliterates. Rarely in human history has a piece of cloth been assigned so many roles. Been embroiled in so much controversy. Been so misjudged, misunderstood, and manipulated. This bit, or in some cases bolt, of fabric is the Islamic veil. For non-Muslims, it is perhaps the most visible, and often most controversial, symbol of Islam. From Texas to Paris, it has gained new prominence and been at the center of workplace misunderstandings, court rulings, and, in Europe, parliamentary debates about whether it should be banned. The veil’s higher profile stems from several factors, including greater awareness and curiosity about Islam since 9/11, US military interventions in Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rising visibility of Muslim immigrant communities in the United States and Europe. It has also become a magnet for trouble in times of distress, as Illinois

resident Amal Abusumayah discovered when a woman upset about the Fort Hood, Texas, killing spree tugged Ms. Abusumayah’s head scarf in a grocery store. “The veil has become a clichéd symbol for what the West perceives as Muslim oppression, tyranny, and zealotry – all of which have little to do with the real reasons why Muslim women veil,” says Jennifer Heath, editor of the 2008 book “The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics.” All this attention on the veil brings immense chagrin to Muslims because their faith means so much more to them than what women wear on their heads. But the veil – in its many manifestations – also gives rise to disagreement among Muslims. And their contemporary debate about it, while not yet widespread, raises fundamental questions relating to free will, women’s status in society, and even how to interpret Islam’s holy book, the Koran. IN ITS BROADEST SENSE, the “Islamic veil” refers to a large variety of coverings. The most widely worn is the head scarf. Covering hair and neck, it can be black and simple, or colorful and sweeping, as in Cairo, where scarves are tightly wound around women’s heads and then cascade luxuriously to their waists. The head scarf is often referred to as hijab or hejab, an Arabic word meaning a covering or a screen. Mujahabat means “women who are covered.” 1113-Isam-most-visible-symbol_full_380There is sweeping consensus among Islamic religious scholars around the world that Muslim women are required to, or at least should, cover their hair. So the head scarf, or some type of head covering, is widely viewed as mandatory in Islam. Other coverings worn by Muslim women also fall within the category of “veil.” Depending on the country, these outfits can be regarded as either optional or compulsory. Often they are said to be required on either religious or cultural grounds – categories that overlap in most Muslim countries. 1213-veil-scarf_full_380Iran’s traditional covering, for example, is the chador, an ample black cloth that fits over the head and reaches to the ground. Women often hold part of it over their face in mixed company. The more modern Iranian cover is a head scarf accompanied by a longish, coat-type garment. 1213-veil-niqab_full_380Women in Saudi Arabia wear an oblong black scarf flipped twice over their heads, along with the abaya, a loose black robe. Many add the niqab, a square piece of cloth that covers the mouth and nose, or sometimes hides the entire face with only a slit for the eyes. 1213-veil-burqas_full_380The most restrictive covering by far is the burqa of Afghanistan, a long billowy smock that totally covers a woman from head to toe, including her face. She sees the world only through a small square of cloth webbing. NON-MUSLIMS TEND TO REGARD VEILING as a sign of women’s repression. That is true in highly patriarchal societies like Iran and Saudi Arabia, where women have second-class status and are required to cover both head and body when outside the home. But most Muslim women, including most in the US, voluntarily opt to wear the head scarf out of religious commitment. They believe they are following God’s wish, and reject suggestions that their head covering means they have less autonomy at home or on the job. “It’s something that you love to do because it makes you feel that you are closer to Allah, that you’re doing the right thing,” says Reem Ossama, an Egyptian mother of three who covers her head when she leaves her home here. “Allah ordered us to wear the scarf … to protect our dignity, to protect women, [so we would] not be looked at just as a beautiful body, a beautiful face, [so others would] look at our minds and our personalities.” Continue reading

The arrest of five American Muslims in Pakistan allegedly conspiring to join the terrorist groups Jaysh Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba exposes a troubling phenomenon of domestic radicalisation, but also highlights an evolved, proactive Muslim American community seeking partnership to curb extremism.

The five young, American born, basketball loving, community service volunteers from Virginia allegedly join a growing number of jihadist-wannabes. Despite appearing mild mannered, well educated and seemingly assimilated, they are often hijacked by an appealing and delusional narrative extolling the heroism of martyrdom which is promoted by extremists, who successfully use the internet for global recruitment and indoctrination. The justification for their criminality is rationalised by a perverse misunderstanding of their religion which is anchored by a growing resentment towards those state actors committing what they see as anti-Muslim violence and oppression.

Recently, the disturbed army major Nidal Hasan killed 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood allegedly retaliating against the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which he often referred to as “war on Islam”.

Furthermore, two US Muslim men were convicted of plotting to aid terrorists by filming landmarks around Washington DC and sending the clips as potential target sites to terrorists abroad.

These isolated examples of imported radicalism nonetheless fuel the latent prejudices of a minority convinced their 4 million Muslim American neighbours represent a treacherous fifth column of stealth jihadists ready to spontaneously ignite. Despite the visible existence of millions of practising American Muslims who belie this stereotype by never engaging in terrorism, let alone felonies or misdemeanors, a study by the Pew Research Centre found that 38% of all Americans say Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions. Continue reading

Ramy Zamzam
Ramy Zamzam

Ramy Zamzam, 22, one of a group of young men arrested by Pakistani intelligence officials, graduated from West Potomac High School in 2005.
Zamzam, of Egyptian family background, was a senior dental school student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. at the time of his arrest in Sargodha, Pakistan.
The other men, all Americans, are now being held in Lahore: Ahmad A. Minni, 20; Umar Chaudhry, 24; Waqar Khan, 22, and Aman Hassan Yamer, 18. Chaudry’s father, Khalid, was also arrested in Pakistan. All five of the young Americans worshipped at a local mosque off Route 1 on Woodlawn Trail — the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Two of the men live on the same street as the mosque.
Their arrest by Pakistani police is based on allegations that they have been working with extremist Pakistani recruiters to join a training camp run by the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Nina Ginsberg, a Washington criminal defense lawyer and spokesman for the young men’s families, has refused to comment on the case or the views of the families beyond that the families are concerned about their safe return to the U.S., and do not believe they were involved in extremist activities as reported by the Pakistan government.
The families reported the men missing in late November, and released a farewell tape in an effort to assist authorities in locating the men. Shortly thereafter Pakistani officials announced their arrest in Pakistan. They have been held in custody since.
At the present time the FBI and the Pakistan intelligence service are investigating the men’s activities. The effort by the U.S. Department of State and the FBI’s effort to secure their release and deportation to the U.S. to face possible criminal charges has been held up by a recent court decision in Lahore to temporarily block the handover of the men to the U.S. government until the Pakistani government submits a detailed report on Thursday, Dec. 17. Continue reading

We’ve been hearing about it from so many experts, and it seems that every marketer should know about it in order for one to be successful.

Target Market.

It’s a very big word when it comes to marketing any business
. From the experts, a target market is a portion of the general population to whom you direct your advertising efforts to. They are the people who you want to connect with because they are the ones most likely to take interest and finally purchase what it is you’re offering. It is very important therefore to know them well and concentrate on what they want so you can provide them with what they’re looking for.

Continue reading

Marketing accountability continues to be a hot topic. The reality is that there is a lot of talk, but not an equivalent degree of action.

Consider a recent study by the CMO Council that found less than 20% of top technology marketers surveyed had developed “meaningful, comprehensive measures and metrics for their marketing organizations.” The last major study on marketing ROI found that 68% of marketers were unable to determine the ROI of their initiatives.

While marketing accountability is a priority, these studies send a clear message: We’re not there yet.

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Andrew Baird ,Partner, Asset Finance

The Islamic finance sector in the United Kingdom has seen enormous growth both domestically and internationally. London is one of the top five financial centers in the world for Islamic finance and is the premier center outside the Muslim world. What are the key factors that have lead to this success?

An essential ingredient is a regulatory framework that can accommodate Islamic finance principles and a regulator that is prepared to work with Islamic institutions to overcome technical hurdles. The Bank of England has had a close interest in the Islamic banking sector since the early 1990s. The Financial Services Authority, created in 1998, articulated the policy of “no obstacles, no special favors,” its approach being one of establishing a level playing field within the overall framework of its risk-based approach to regulation.

There must be a tax regime that enables Islamic financing structures and products to be treated in an equivalent manner to their conventional counterparts. The U.K. tax authorities’ aim has been to ensure that Shariah-compliant financial products are taxed in a way that is neither more nor less advantageous than equivalent banking products in the conventional sector. A package of measures has evolved and been introduced over a period of six years which, in broad terms, works by setting out particular fact patterns that describe generically equivalent Islamic financing structures and products, but without naming them, and applying specific tax treatment to putting them on a level playing field with the nearest equivalent conventional financing structure. The specific tax treatment is not restricted to Muslim customers or Shariah-compliant products. Indeed, the legislation is silent on this, as to avoid discrimination issues. Continue reading

Exclusive: Strip search of woman by Sheriff”s Deputies Reported by channel 3 News. Just think if one day you call 911 and you are calling for help,instead of being protected you end up be arrested. As each day passes we entering into a Police State and we will no longer have any say. Welcome the New World Order and say good bye to the little freedoms we had.

A 17 year old Muslim girl is flogged publicly in the swat valley in Northwest casino Pakistan, by the Pakistani Taliban. This punishment was carried out because the Taliban believed the girl was seen with a man she was not married to. The Taliban carry out these & more harsher kinds of punishments on people, because they are in accordance with Islamic sharia law.

head scarfIn Islam, a woman who chooses not to wear a head scarf in public has a strong defense: the Koran. Nowhere does Islam’s primary text mandate that she cover her head.

A Muslim woman, then, should have the freedom to cover her hair – or not. But that is not the case in a country like Saudi Arabia. The Koran also supports a woman’s right to own and inherit property, to be educated, and to choose her husband – but not all societies in the Muslim universe of 1.5 billion people recognize these rights.

The disconnect lies in the interpretation of Islam, done for centuries by men. In the interest of achieving gender equality, Muslim women activists and scholars are challenging the male interpretation. Wisely, they are using the Koran to do it.

Much authority in the Muslim world stems from scholarship, and so Muslim women have become Islamic scholars. Their work of the past 20 years has shed a new light of equality on texts in the Koran. They challenge, for example, the patriarchal interpretation and enforcement of the idea that males are the guardians of females and responsible for their morality.

These scholars are spreading the word in books, in conferences, and on the Internet. Grass-roots groups in Islamic countries are turning to them for guidance – and learning to use the Koran themselves to argue for greater rights.

Slowly, “Islamic feminism” is producing results: a 2004 sea change in Moroccan family law that recognizes men and women as equal; female judges in sharia courts in Jordan, Syria, Malaysia, and Indonesia; women leaders in mosques and women teachers in Islamic religious institutions. Continue reading

You have listened to fools that would control your lives for their own gain. You live your lives never fully understanding the enormous damage you manafest in your own world . I believe that anyone that teaches hatred is a murderer and the student that acts on these teachings is a common thief who steals lives and that all of these theves of life should have their right hands removed immediatly the words (thief of life) should be tattoed on their foreheads. Men should never be defined by their religion. Manhood should be defined first with the understanding that violence is the stupidest form of communication ever invented and that only an idiot would ever think that it accomplishes anything.