Radical Islamic Attacks in a Moderate Region Unnerve the Kremlin

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

KAZAN, Russia — A string of violent attacks by Islamic militants has shattered this city’s reputation as a citadel of religious tolerance and unnerved federal officials in Moscow, who have worked for decades to prevent the spread of radical Islam out of the southern borderlands and into places like this city 500 miles east of Moscow.

Officials have long sought to contain Islamic fervor in the Caucasus to the south while insisting that places like the republic of Tatarstan, where Kazan is the capital, were different, representing a moderate “Russian Islam,” said Aleksei Malashenko, the co-chairman of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s religion, society and security program.

But that comfortable assumption began to crumble just before the start of Ramadan in late July, when a senior cleric in charge of education was shot outside his apartment building on Zarya Street. Roughly an hour later, the city’s chief mufti survived a bomb attack that demolished his Toyota Land Cruiser. A previously unheard-of group, the mujahedeen of Tatarstan, claimed responsibility.

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Fisk on Syria: “Assad faces a well-armed & ruthless enemy whose Islamist supporters are receiving help from the West.”

Robert Fisk: The bloody truth about Syria’s uncivil war

Those trying to topple Assad have surprised the army with their firepower and brutal tactics

By: Robert Fisk

A few hours after the ferocious attack on Damascus by the Free Syrian Army began last month, the new Syrian minister of information, Omran Zouhbi, turned on journalists in the capital. “What are you doing here in Damascus?” he roared. “You should be out with our soldiers!” And within a day, tired images of a primly smiling President Bashar al-Assad and pictures of Syrian troops happily kissing children were replaced by raw – and real – newsreel footage of commandos fighting their way across Baghdad Street under fire from the rebel opponents of the regime, grimy-faced, running from street corners, shooting from the cover of walls and terraces. “We’ve cleaned up here,” one tired but very angry officer said. “So now we’re going to get the rest of those bastards.” Never before – not even in the 1973 war when the Syrian army stormed Observatory Ridge on the heights of the Golan – had the Syrian public witnessed anything as real as this on their television sets.

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MPA wants Christian girl released, blasphemy law abolished

KARACHI, Aug 24: MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, who represents the Christian community in the Sindh Assembly, has called for the immediate release of a Christian girl arrested recently near Islamabad. She was accused of desecrating the Quran and charged under the blasphemy law.

Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday, Mr Khokhar appealed to the government to abolish the blasphemy law, claiming that it was being misused to settle personal scores and victimise the minorities.

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Israel and Pakistan

By IQBAL JAFAR

No two countries in the world are so close in their experience as a young nation and yet so far apart in their political compulsions as Israel and Pakistan.

To a lesser degree of uniqueness, these two countries have much to do with the questions of war and peace in the vast landmass from the Nile Valley to the Indus Valley, that once was a cradle of civilization, and could next be its graveyard. What happens in these two countries and between them and their neighbors should be of great interest for the international community.

Born only a few months apart, both on a Friday, Israel and Pakistan share an incredibly long list of other remarkable, even uncanny, commonalities.

Consider: both were carved out of a British colony; both were created in the name of religion by leaders who were secularists at heart; both were born as geographical oddities, Israel in three blocs and Pakistan in two; both saw large-scale exodus and immigration in the first year of their existence; both got involved in territorial disputes with their neighbors immediately after birth; both have borders that have yet to stabilize after more than six decades of existence.

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Times of troubles

By: Shamshad Ahmad

Looking at the dynamics of contemporary international relations, one is reminded of the ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” which could perhaps never have been more relevant than to our times at this critical juncture. We are passing through interesting and critical times which according to the so-called predictions of the Nostradamus Code could also be categorised as “time of troubles.” These are indeed times of trouble. More so for the world’s Muslims now representing more than one fourth of humanity.

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Tribal feud?: MNA’s sons booked over torturing students

By Ashraf Mughal

DAHARKI: Two sons of MNA Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho have been nominated among eight people for allegedly torturing two young members of the Mahar community.

On Wednesday, two students were reportedly tortured by Mian Mitho’s sons, Mian Rafique and Mian Aslam, and then handed over to the police. Three robbery cases were later registered against the youth. When Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and MNA Faryal Talpur took notice of the incident, the Sindh inspector general of police formed an investigation team led by Hyderabad DIG Sanaullah Abbasi. The fake cases lodged against Imtiaz Mahar and Allah Wadhayo Mahar have been withdrawn, said Abbasi. Daharki SHO Sharif Mahar has been reverted and suspended. On the order of the DIG, a medical team visited the judicial lockup in Ubauro and provided medical treatment to the students.

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