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BBC News – Azhar Ahmed convicted of offensive Facebook message

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Dual and ugly face of Western media and law.

BBC News – Azhar Ahmed convicted of offensive Facebook message.

Isn’t it really pathetic??

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From ‘Desert Warrior’ to ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ a controversial YouTube video is both catalyst and scapegoat

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment
In early July, a YouTube user known as “Sam Bacile” posted a trailer for Innocence of Muslims, a vicious spoof of the Prophet Muhammad. The fourteen-minute video wasn’t a particularly good advertisement for anything — in fact, it failed to mention the title of the film. And for some time, it was all but ignored. Then, in September, dubbed Arabic versions began to appear in the Egyptian media. Protests broke out in several countries, denouncing both the video and the Pope’s upcoming visit to Lebanon. And in Benghazi, Libya, armed attackers set fire to the US Consulate, killing US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.
YOUTUBE SAID THE VIDEO WAS ‘CLEARLY WITHIN OUR GUIDELINES,’ BUT IT TOOK THE RARE STEP OF BLOCKING IT IN EGYPT AND LIBYA
The response was sudden. YouTube said the video was “clearly within our guidelines,” but it took the rare step of blocking it first in Egypt and Libya, then India, Indonesia, and other countries, sometimes after legal threats. YouTube itself was banned in some countries, most recently Pakistan. Although still available elsewhere, the English-language version was reposted several times with information about the protests or a simple “thumbs up for free speech.” The White House asked YouTube if it would review the video and remove it if necessary. Outlets from The Wall Street Journal toGawker tried to dig up information about Bacile, a mysterious figure who turned out to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian on parole for bank fraud. While the video is certainly drawing ire, it’s not clear that protests provided more than cover for the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens. Unnamed US officials have told CNNthe Consulate faced a “clearly planned military-type attack,” and that “the video or 9/11 made a handy excuse.” It’s also been suggested that the attackers used these protests as a diversion. Whatever happened, we’re left with the question of how a poorly produced YouTube video can spark global controversy and be credited with causing the death of a US official. The trailer for Innocence of Muslims is on par with a lesser Ed Wood film, its cast solemnly debating sexual ethics in face paint and pasted-on beards. Outdoor scenes were clearly shot in front of a green screen, making actors appear to float above stock footage of a desert. If anything, though, the poor quality makes it more effective propaganda. It may not be revealing, thought-provoking, or competent, but Innocence of Muslims is indubitably insulting, depicting Muhammad as a hypocritical and bloodthirsty philanderer in a truly terrible costume.
IF ANYTHING, THE TRAILER’S POOR QUALITY MAKES IT MORE EFFECTIVE PROPAGANDA
Since the trailer gained infamy, it’s become evident that almost no one involved knew it was meant to be about Islam. Casting calls show that it was described during filming as a period piece called Desert Warrior, with Muhammad given the name of “Master George.” In the trailer, he’s usually referred to as “Master,” and any direct references to Islam are clumsily dubbed in after the fact. It’s easy to believe the actors when they say they were misled. At the same time, the undubbed parts of Innocence of Muslims wouldn’t be nearly as effective if they didn’t play off existing fears and beliefs about Islam, including the frequently repeated claim that the Prophet molested children. The film fits into a long narrative about protests over the depiction of Muhammad. But unlike The Satanic Verses, which has also drawn criticism from Muslims, there’s no larger message or artistic flourish behind the trailer. And unlike the famous Danish political cartoons from 2005, Innocence of Muslims wasn’t professionally published or circulated much outside YouTube. Instead, it’s a disposable piece of internet trolling, created for the sole purpose of generating outrage. It’s just gained an extraordinarily wide audience.
ANY REFERENCE TO ISLAM IS DUBBED IN, BUT THE WHOLE TRAILER PLAYS ON COMMON FEARS AND STEREOTYPES
Given how unsympathetic Bacile / Nakoula is, it’s become easy to blame Innocence of Muslims for tension that may have already been building. When White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pushed for the video to be taken down, he told The Washington Post that “this is not a case of protest directed at the United States writ large or at US policy.” Recent events, he said, were “in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” One YouTube user who re-posted the film described it as the movie “that caused Muslims to kill United States ambassador, J Christopher Stevens,” succinctly summing up popular perception. As others have pointed out, it’s also simplistic. Coptic Christians like Nakoula have a tense relationship with Muslims in Egypt, and they’ve faced violence before. Both Egypt and Libya are still in the midst of major political transitions. And rising food prices could be contributing to unrest worldwide.
THIS IS NOT A CASE OF PROTEST DIRECTED AT THE UNITED STATES WRIT LARGE OR AT US POLICY.
In some ways, Innocence of Muslims is the culmination of the internet’s role as a great leveler. YouTube can place tiny, self-published projects on equal footing with those made by traditional media outlets, and an anonymous or pseudonymous troll can claim to havestolen data from the FBI or hold Mitt Romney’s tax returns hostage. But the novelty and reach of online culture can also make it easy to exaggerate its importance, something that’s seen both in protesters’ insistence that the trailer is somehow condoned by the US and in the belief that Innocence of Muslims caused an attack that was likely planned for months. Even if YouTube bans Sam Bacile and his trailer, the numerous repostings, dubbed versions, and translations highlight the near impossibility of silencing offensive material once it has been released into the remix culture of the web. And the violence that followed is a reminder of how powerful online video can be at promoting an idea… or inciting populist outrage.
Source: http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/17/3346428/innocence-of-muslims-protests

Terrorism alert: ‘Punjab is home to banned organisations’

August 4, 2012 Leave a comment

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: The city witnessed two explosions in 2011 which left 13 people dead and 112 injured. More than 250 were killed in 18 terrorist activities in 2010.

In the first incident, on January 25, at Ghora Chowk, Urdu Bazar, a suicide bomber killed 10 people and injured 85. The second incident, on February 3, a bombing, killed three people and injured 27 near Haider Sayeen shrine.

Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and US citizen Warren Weinstein were kidnapped for ransom during the year.

Shahbaz was abducted from Gulberg on August 27, while Weinstein was picked up from his Model Town residence.

Security officials have claimed that Al Qaeda operatives are behind both abductions.

The police have still no clue to the whereabouts of Amir Aftab Malik, son-in-law of Gen (retd) Tariq Majeed, who was kidnapped at gunpoint on August 25, 2010.

Some defence analysts hold the view that the operations in Tribal Areas have effected the network of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which had resulted in a lull in incidents of terrorism. They say there is no evidence to conclude that the terrorists have changed their policy permanently.

Prof Hasan Askari Rizvi said overall incidents of terrorism had decreased but noted that some high profile attacks had occurred. He said the reduction was due to the operations being conducted in Tribal Areas. Rizvi added that TTP apparently lacked training facilities as many suicide attackers had been arrested last year. He said recruitment of suicide bombers had likely been denied by the operations in Tribal Areas.

Rizvi said Aiman al Zawahri had claimed to be behind the kidnapping of Weinstein. He said it was evident that Al Qaeda and TTP were involved in these high profile kidnappings.

Rizvi noted that last year several banned organisations, like Sipah-i-Sahaba and Jamatud Dawa, were allowed to continue their activities. He said although these organisations were limited to the Punjab they could surprise and harm to the security establishment, which currently is patronising them.

He said because the Punjab was relatively more conservative and had more of an ‘anti-India’ element than other provinces, these banned organisations had settled here. He said intelligence agencies were using these organisations to put pressure on the US and the Pakistani government against drone attacks and granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India. He said these organisations were also opposed to the military for its role in the war on terror.

A Counter Terrorism Department police officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that terrorists had suspended operations in the settled areas. He said it was evident from intelligence reports that many TTP leaders and operatives were alive and in regular contact. He said even Lahore was not free of TTP operatives.

Source : 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.

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Pakistan bans zakat, fitrana collection by militants

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

By Zia Ur Rehman

KARACHI – The Pakistani government has imposed a nationwide ban on collection of zakat and fitrana donations of food aid by banned outfits during Ramadan, Rehman Malik, senior advisor to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on interior affairs, said.

“Any social and welfare organisation willing to collect zakat and fitrana has to apply and acquire permission from the government; otherwise, no one will be allowed to indulge in these activities,” Malik said July 22.

“Directives have been issued to police and law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on fund-raising activities of banned militant outfits during Ramadan,” he said.

Banned extremist groups pose as charities to rake in millions of rupees that fund terrorism instead of helping the poor, charity activists say.

Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism – Dr Tahir Kamran

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism – Dr Tahir Kamran

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Pervez Hoodbhoy – Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Pervez Hoodbhoy – Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism

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Pakistan bans zakat, fitrana collection by militants

July 24, 2012 Leave a comment

By Zia Ur Rehman

 

KARACHI – The Pakistani government has imposed a nationwide ban on collection of zakat and fitrana donations of food aid by banned outfits during Ramadan, Rehman Malik, senior advisor to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on interior affairs, said.

“Any social and welfare organisation willing to collect zakat and fitrana has to apply and acquire permission from the government; otherwise, no one will be allowed to indulge in these activities,” Malik said July 22.

“Directives have been issued to police and law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on fund-raising activities of banned militant outfits during Ramadan,” he said.

Banned extremist groups pose as charities to rake in millions of rupees that fund terrorism instead of helping the poor, charity activists say.

 

SOURCE:   http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/newsbriefs/2012/07/23/newsbrief-05

 

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