Sunday, November 30, 2008

Malaysia probes Mumbai attack credit cards, denies terror link

Malaysian police are investigating reports that Malaysian-issued credit cards were found in the belongings of the terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks, according to reports Sunday.

Indian media reported Saturday that Malaysian credit cards were discovered in the knapsacks of several terrorists who were killed in shootouts with Indian military commandos after attacks which officials say left 195 people dead and 295 injured.

"These reports have to be verified first as it is too early to make assumptions," deputy police chief Ismail Omar told the New Straits Times newspaper.

nst: Mumbai terror: Probe into credit card link

"Police will look into the possibility that the credit cards could have been forged," he added.

Meanwhile, home minister Syed Hamid Albar said Malaysia had no links with the terrorists, responding to another Indian news report that nine of the gunmen claimed to be Malaysian students when they travelled to Mumbai several months ago.

He said the attackers had no link to any Malaysian group and that the security services were monitoring the situation closely although India had yet to contact them over the matter, he told the Star daily.

"There is always close cooperation among security forces," he told the paper.
"Of course, if there is any information, anything that is considered useful or necessary, there will be an exchange of information," he added.
"However, there are no links and no information to that effect."
News reports of the unconfirmed Malaysian link in the attacks are a potential concern for the Malaysian government because of parallels to a visit to the country by the September 11, 2001 terrorists before they launched attacks on the United States. -- Agence France-Presse - 11/30/2008 5:56 AM GMT

Mumbai attacks: Al-Qaeda methods & ideology; Malaysian ICs

Indian and American intelligence sources tell ABS-CBN that there is increasing evidence that the attacks in Mumbai were carried out by a Pakistani militant group linked to Al-Qaeda. The primary suspects, they say, are Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Lashkar-e-Toiba has denied it’s behind the attacks.

Indian intelligence sources say that one of the gunmen now in custody told Indian authorities that he – along with seven others – pretended to be students, rented an apartment in Mumbai and meticulously staked out the targets. Allegedly, they carried Malaysian identity cards. A Pakistani national, he told authorities he was trained by Lashkar-e-Toiba – taught to hijack a sea vessel and carry out urban warfare. These are tactics used by Al-Qaeda in past terror attacks, honed and passed along in its training camps; Lashkar-e-Toiba has long been linked to Al-Qaeda.

The ties are clear if we take the facts in Mumbai and compare them with the history of Al-Qaeda and its affiliate groups. … (more)

Terrorist groups in South Asia change their names often. Once a terrorist group is identified, often it just changes its name. For example, one of the first groups discovered with an Al-Qaeda link was Harkat-ul-Unsar (it also has links to the Philippines). The group changed its name to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, and when they were declared terrorists, they changed their name again …. to Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Mumbai attacks are well-planned and coordinated using tactics and methods that reflect a very familiar virulent ideology. It shows the evolution of terrorist groups – how homegrown and foreign tactics are merging and creating new threats. The roots leading to Al-Qaeda are clear. We just have to follow the links. -- By MARIA A. RESSA, ABS-CBN News 11/29/2008 9:16 PM

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Anwar says march to victory has only been delayed

SHAH ALAM, Nov 29 – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim admitted today his plans to topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had been foiled but he did not say whether he had abandoned the idea of engineering defections to take power.

"Yes, there have been setbacks. We skirted with destiny on Sept 16 and despite our best efforts our march to victory has been delayed. I empathise with you and with the people of Malaysia," the PKR de facto leader said at the party national congress here.

"We are all forced to further endure the slings and arrows of an incompetent government that has lost touch with the people," he added.

Speaking before 2,000 party delegates at the PKR annual congress, Anwar took the opportunity to rally his supporters and attempted to redefine his promise for change.

"Although our promise has not yet been fulfilled, the Pakatan Rakyat leaders and I remain committed to the agenda for change and our tenacity has never been stronger," said Anwar to loud cheers from the crowd.

His fighting words to the party faithful come amid a sense of waning momentum on the part of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) challenge to the BN federal government.
The BN's transition plans, which will see Datuk Seri Najib Razak take over as prime minister from Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi next March, has brought renewed stability to a BN government which was badly shaken by the resurgent opposition boosted by the March general election results.

"I ask you, first as Malaysians and second as members of Keadilan, let us prepare ourselves with a renewed resolve and the courage of conviction that with our efforts a thousand flowers of freedom will yet bloom in Malaysia," declared Anwar.

He also urged party members in BN-controlled states to work harder to ensure the party's victory.

"To those living outside the Pakatan states, the task is formidable. You believe in Keadilan and you believe that with Pakatan Rakyat the future of the country can be great. Yet, you live in the stronghold of Barisan Nasional. We need your unwavering commitment and we need you to work harder than ever before so that Pakatan Rakyat's banner can be raised throughout Malaysia," said Anwar.

The Permatang Pauh MP, who was welcomed with Malaysian multicultural dances as he walked into the Malawati Stadium here, also reminded the delegates of the party's extraordinary performance in the last general election.

"Our successes in 2008 are immense and we should be immensely proud. After two successful elections we have proven that the Pakatan Rakyat coalition is strong and unified," he said.
Anwar is expected to address a public rally later this evening to explain why he had failed to form the federal government on Sept 16. -- By Adib Zalkapli, M/Insider

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Indonesia’s DPR wants CIA book banned

Indonesia’s House (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) Speaker Agung Laksono on Monday said he had requested the Attorney General's Office (AGO) ban a recently published translation of a book on CIA history, which claims an important Indonesian figure was a CIA agent.

"We have entrusted the matter to the AGO," he said as quoted by

The book, titled Legacy of Ashes, The History of the CIA and written by New York Times journalist Tim Weiner, discusses CIA history in relation to international political events including the bloody political situation in Indonesia of 1965.

Weiner quoted former CIA top agent Clyde McAvoy saying "Adam Malik was a CIA agent in 1964".

Malik was Indonesia's top diplomat and served as the country's vice president from 1978 to 1983.
Separately on Monday, AGO spokesman Jasman Panjaitan said his office was still analyzing the book and had yet to decide whether to ban it.

"Our Social-Political Affairs Directorate is studying the book. We are looking into the substance of the book, and have yet to summon its writer," he said.

Jasman, however, said Malik's family could file a complaint over the book if they felt slandered. (anb/ewd) -- The Jakarta Post Mon, 11/24/2008 4:47 PM (GMT +9)

ibnuhasyim: Bekas Wakil Presiden Indonesia Adalah Agen CIA..

“This is the process of how a fatwa is implemented in the state”

It is the prerogative of the state religious authorities and their Rulers to accept or reject the National Fatwa Council’s decision to bar Muslims from practising yoga.

Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abd Aziz said the council’s fatwa (edict) prohibiting Muslims from practising yoga would be discussed in the state fatwa committees, whose members were appointed by their respective rulers.

“After it is agreed upon by the committees, the matter will then be presented to the various state religious councils before it is brought before the Sultan for consent.

“This is the process of how a fatwa is implemented in the state,” he said.

“It is the state’s prerogative to decide whether to implement a fatwa,” he said after chairing a meeting with the country’s state Islamic religious council heads here on Tuesday.

The various stands of certain state authorities on the matter did not reflect a difference in opinion between the state bodies and the council, he added.

Since the council came out with the fatwa on Saturday, the Sultan of Selangor has said that the fatwa could not be implemented as the state Fatwa Committee had yet to deliberate on the matter.

afp/msn: Malaysia's yoga ban faces opposition from royals

nst: FATWA ON YOGA: 'Consult the rulers first'

Perak Religious Department director Datuk Jamry Sury, who had earlier been quoted as saying that the state would abide by the fatwa, retracted his statement a day later.

Jamry clarified that the fatwa had not been discussed by the Perak Fatwa Committee and brought to the attention of the State Religious and Malays Customs Council before being presented to the Sultan of Perak for consent.

Perlis Mufti Dr Asri Zainal Abidin had also spoken out against the fatwa, saying yoga with the non-Muslim elements removed should be allowed, while other states were set to go ahead with the implementation.

Wan Mohamad explained that Jakim’s duty, as the secretariat of the National Fatwa Council, was to coordinate the process by conducting research on an issue before presenting it to the council.

On the statement by Dr Asri that yoga should not be banned entirely but an alternative should instead be offered, Wan Mohamad said:

“Did the Perlis Fatwa Committee meet before the mufti voiced his disagreement? The matter has to be discussed first before it is agreed or disagreed upon.”

Wan Mohamad pointed out that discussions generated by various quarters over the council’s decision showed that Malaysians were interested in understanding Islam better.

“There is good and bad. It is good that at least now we can take the opportunity to explain the beauty of Islam to non-Muslims.

“As we live in a multi-religious country, it is good for our religious authorities to share information and knowledge with one another,” he said.

However, he reminded the people that Islam was the official religion in the country, as enshrined in the Constitution, and hence should be respected by all. – The Star

The National Fatwa Council had, last Saturday, issued a fatwa to ban systematic yoga practice for Muslims as chanting of mantra and oneness with God are part of the physical regime, and are therefore against Islamic teachings.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

‘Penyatuan Diri Dengan Tuhan’

Matlamat amalan yoga adalah kearah penyatuan diri dengan tuhan. "Amalan yoga yang berasal dari masyarakat Hindu mempunyai tiga peringkat,
  1. peringkat pertama adalah fizikal iaitu senaman,
  2. peringkat kedua adalah mentera dan pemujaan bagi mendapatkan ketenangan dan
  3. peringkat ketiga adalah penyatuan diri dengan tuhan.
"Oleh itu ahli muzakarah bersetuju memutuskan bahawa apa jua jenis atau bentuk amalan yang mengandungi unsur-unsur tersebut adalah dilarang dan bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam," kata Pengerusi Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan kepada pemberita di Putrajaya kelmarin.

Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan kelmarin mengharamkan umat Islam mengamalkan yoga secara sistematik, yang melibatkan unsur-unsur fizikal dan spiritual kerana ia bertentangan dengan syariat Islam.

Pengerusinya Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin bagaimanapun berkata, amalan fizikal iaitu senaman dalam yoga, tanpa adanya unsur-unsur mentera dan pemujaan pada zahirnya tidak menjadi kesalahan.

Namun, menurut laporan Bernama yang dipetik Malaysiakini, beliau berkata, ia tidak digalakkan kerana dikhuatiri boleh menghakis akidah seseorang Muslim memandangkan ia merupakan salah satu komponen daripada keseluruhan amalan yang diharamkan itu.

Keseluruhan amalan yoga, pada pandangan kami, matlamatnya ada persamaan dengan amalan tareqat berfahaman Wahdatul Wujud yang mana telah lama difatwakan haram. Maka dalam program kesedaran yang dirancang akan diperluaskan ke seluruh negara nanti Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) harus juga memperjelaskan tentang fahaman Wahdatul Wujud ini serta amalan-amalan tareqat yang berkaitan dengannya.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Green venture turns sour: Bruce Willis sues M’sian royal

Hollywood actor Bruce Willis is suing a Malaysian company and its royal chairman over an investment in an eco-friendly rubber venture which went sour, the firm said Friday.

Petra Group said Willis had filed a complaint in a Los Angeles court to recover 900,000 dollars from a two million dollar investment in the firm's subsidiary, Green Rubber Global.

Petra is chaired by Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar, a prince in the royal family of Malaysia's Negeri Sembilan state.

"The company is very surprised with Mr. Willis' legal actions and refutes in the strongest possible terms any allegations of impropriety," Petra Group spokesman Andrew Murray-Watson told AFP.

He said Petra had refunded most of Willis' investment and had every intention of paying the remainder within a deadline, a fortnight away.

"As a gesture of good will, 1.1 million dollars of the two million Mr. Willis invested has been repaid already. Mr. Willis is aware that the balance will be repaid within the next few weeks," he said.

Murray-Watson said in 2007 Willis contacted Petra's chief executive Vinod Sekhar -- who personally owns almost 100 percent of the group -- asking to invest in Green Rubber, which uses an environmentally friendly technology to recycle tyres.

Sekhar agreed to buy back Willis' shares at any time he wanted to sell.

At the time Green Rubber was planning to list on the London stock market, but because of the global credit crunch the plans had to be put on hold -- triggering the disagreement between the two sides, Murray-Watson said.

Willis' friend and fellow Hollywood actor, Mel Gibson, is another investor in Green Rubber and is reported to be a close friend of Sekhar.

Petra said in a statement Gibson was still happy with his investment and agreed with the decision not to list the company. It quoted him as saying that "in hindsight, it has turned out to be absolutely the right decision".

Green Rubber said last year Sekhar, through Petra, owns 84 percent of the firm, with the remainder held by his celebrity friends including Indian former cricketer Kapil Dev, former golfer Lee Westwood, and the Forbes publishing family.

The firm's recycling process, which avoids used tyres being burned or ending up as landfill, reportedly uses waste-free environmentally friendly technology to produce a rubber compound that can be used to make products including tyres. -- Agence France-Presse - 11/21/2008 9:58 AM GMT

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DR M: Islamic banking could be answer to global financial woes

Islamic banking should not be dismissed as a potential solution for the ongoing global financial crisis, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed said today.

He said those who had put in place the current financial system used were in denial and did not want to admit that the system they have been using all these while were wrong and open to abuse.

“They try to patch up here and there with bailouts. But that is not going to solve anything,” Dr Mahathir told reporters at the Fourth International Convention on Takaful and Retakaful here.

“So in the process of trying to solve the problem, don’t dismiss any idea including Islamic banking. Maybe not the whole Islamic banking, but elements of it can contribute towards stabilising the banking system of the world,” he said.

Asked if he thought that if bodies like United Nations are seeing a need for change by setting up a high-level task force to examine possible reforms of the global financial system, Dr Mahathir said: “There is a political element there.”

Earlier in his keynote address, he said two Malaysians were picked to join the high-level task force, with one of them being the Central Bank governor and another a critic of the government.
“They pick a person whom is against the government. If they want to do something, they already have an agenda,” Dr Mahathir “They must find a person who is against the government they don’t like and he is the one who is going to advise them. And he is going to be wrong because he has never done anything positive... he’s merely a critic and to be a critic is very easy,” he said.

Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz and Malaysian economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram have been appointed members of the UN’s Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System.

Asked if he thought the RM7 billion stimulus package announced by the government was enough to stimulate economic growth during these trying times, Dr Mahahtir said “It may contribute to something, but it is like a patchwork kind of treatment.” “You have a headache because you are sick, and you just treat the headache.

That is not good enough. You have to treat the whole body,” he said.

“So this RM7 billion Panadol given may solve the headache, but there are other parts of the body that are going to be very sick.” Asked about his thought of the current domestic economic situation and if it could withstand the global recession, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia as a trading nation would be affected.

“To say that we can withstand the effects of this terrible recession is wrong. There must be an impact because we are a trading nation,” he said.

“We have to sit down and think what has gone wrong with the rest of the world and how does it affect us. We exist by selling things to 200 different countries. That’s how we built our economy, in trade. If our trading partners are not doing well, we cannot very well do well,” he added. -- Bernama via NST

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'Islamic banks in Malaysia likely to merge'

ISLAMIC financial institutions in Malaysia could merge in the next five years to compete with their conventional counterparts, says Maybank Islamic acting chief executive officer Ibrahim Hassan.

"This is because their current capital and asset size are small," he said at the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum 2008 (KLIFF 2008) yesterday.

This is due to be a regional development, said Fajr Capital (Malaysia) managing director Rafe Haneef.

"We will see consolidation of Islamic banks in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) eventually. It will also be seen in markets like Dubai, which have over 40 banks servicing commercial and retail sectors," he said.

Both were speaking at a session during KLIFF 2008 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. -- NST, Published: 2008/11/19

KLIFF 2008 is being organised by the Centre for Research and Training and co-hosts by Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority and Halal Industry Development Corp in collaboration with Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes, International Institute of Islamic Finance and Messrs Hisham, Sobri & Kadir.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Malaysia cuts fuel price by 7.0 percent

Malaysia on Monday cut petrol prices by 7 percent, bringing pump prices down to 2.00 ringgit (0.56 dollars) per litre as global crude prices continued to ease.

Deputy premier Najib Razak said the 15 sen cut would be effective Tuesday with diesel also reduced by 15 sen to 1.90 ringgit per litre.

"This reduction... follows the promise the government has made to reduce (fuel) prices if there is a drop in oil prices in the global market," he said in a statement.

"The government hopes that businesses will take steps to reduce the price of goods so that the public can get the full benefit of the price cuts," he added.

"We also hope that consumers will use petrol and diesel sparingly even though prices have dropped."

It is the fifth fuel price cut the government has announced since June's 41 percent hike on the back of soaring crude costs, which sparked angry street protests and calls for premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign.

The last cut, by 15 sen, was just over two weeks ago.

Abdullah had said prices would be reviewed periodically based on the cost of oil.

June's hike saw inflation soar, with the August price index reaching a 26-year high of 8.5 percent, also driven by the escalating cost of food and transportation.

In September, inflation eased to 8.2 percent as fuel prices dropped. -- Agence France-Presse - 11/17/2008 10:51 AM GMT

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New LCC Airport in Negri Songo

MAB have identified the site which they believe will be ideal for Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) operations and will also provide a link to the Express Rail Link (ERL).

Negri Songo will have an airport when the integrated 2,800-hectare corridor development project near Kompong Gadong Java in Labu is developed, Negri’s premier said according to reports Thursday.

Mamak Bendahara DS Mohamed el-Hasan said the development of the airport would be undertaken by Sime Darby.

He said the working paper on the project had been submitted to the cabinet. He added that the development of the airport would further boost economic growth – riba, in the state.

“The modern economic zone would also have medical, education, sports and tourism facilities.”

El-Hasan also said UAE, a Dubai-based company, had agreed to develop a 400-hectare plot in Sendayan into a tourist town with hotels and a F1 One village.

They are in final discussions with the government to put these plans into effect. They are considering turning the existing Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) into a cargo transportation hub when the new LCCT is ready in the next three to four years. – [cheetah@enstek]

‘Time to globalize Islamic finance concepts’

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic finance needs to quickly integrate itself into the international financial system and prove that it is a viable alternative to conventional banking, the prime minister said yesterday. By transforming itself into an essential element of global finance, he said Islamic finance would surely end its perceived position as a niche or boutique service.

However, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi added that for it to effectively complement global finance, a sound legal framework, which would provide it with the credibility it required was crucial. “The consistent application of syariah must form the basis of all transactions, be it domestic or international.

"Practitioners of Islamic finance would do well to utilize the Islamic concept of hikmah (wisdom) to ensure successful reforms at the international level," he said in his speech at the official launch of Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd, the Islamic finance subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd.

StanChart's Saadiq to boost Islamic assets

Abdullah said Malaysia was positioned to lead an attempt to reform global banking by infusing concepts and themes from Islamic finance. He said the country was ready to act as a knowledge centre for Islamic finance and pointed to the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (Inceif) and the International Shari’ah Research Academy (Isra) as examples of Malaysia's commitment to developing the specialty.

Abdullah also said Islamic finance was one area where the world's Muslims could forge vital links with non-Muslims. "In business, we are poised on the brink of an old way of life which is dying and a new way of life that is in the process of being born.

"Behind lies an industrial and financial age that lavished wealth, but left the planet polluted and societies fragmented.

"I firmly believe that there exists tremendous opportunities for Islamic finance to come to the fore to lead the financial fraternity into a new growth era." -- By: Marc Lourdes, NST

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Global crisis a chance for Islamic banking'

The global economic crisis presents an opportunity for Islamic banking to show it is a viable alternative to conventional finance, Malaysia's premier said according to reports Wednesday.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the meltdown showed the need for laws enshrined in Islamic banking, which prohibits speculation and high levels of debt, and which has so far been relatively unscathed by the credit crunch.

"These ethical and moral safeguards are missing in the conventional system," Abdullah said in a speech, adding that the crisis was caused by trade in loans which few truly understood.

"In reality these repackaged subprime loans were nothing more than artful works of deception that fed the speculative excesses and hubris in the financial markets," he said at the launch of an Islamic law research academy.

However, he called on Islamic banking -- a booming 1.0 trillion dollar global industry -- to work on clarifying and resolving conflicts in interpretation over what products are allowed under religious laws.

"The Islamic finance community should not be complacent or unduly proud. We must continue to critically evaluate ourselves," he said according to the state Bernama news agency.

"For instance, have we truly established an alternative system or are we still very much mimicking the established conventional system?"

Islamic law prohibits the payment and collection of interest, which is seen as a form of gambling, so highly complex instruments such as derivatives and other creative accounting practices are banned.

Transactions must be backed by real assets, and because risk is shared between the bank and the depositor there is an incentive for the institutions to ensure the deal is sound.

There have been calls for the conventional banking industry to take a leaf out of the book of Islamic finance, which also shuns investments in gaming, alcohol and pornography in favour of ethical investments. -- Agence France-Presse - 11/12/2008 4:13 AM GMT

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lawyer team to file lawsuit over Bali bombers' executions

The Bali bombers' team of lawyers, the Muslim Defence Team (TPM), are planning to file a lawsuit against the government over their clients' execution which they say violated human rights.

"The executions were not conducted in accordance with existing procedures. We are preparing to take legal action," one of the lawyers, Agus Setiawan, said as quoted by Antara.

The rights of the convicts' lawyers and families were violated because they had been forbidden to meet the convicts at Batu Prison, Nusakambangan Island, and were not able to fully take care of the bodies after the executions, Agus said.

Separately, Lulu Jamaluddin, the younger brother of Bali bomber Imam Samudera, said his family could not accept his brother's death.

"We will file a lawsuit against the Attorney General's Office," he said.

Amrozi, 47, Muklas (Ali Gufron), 48, and Imam, 38, were executed by firing squad near their prison, shortly after midnight early on Sunday, for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. (dre) -- The Jakarta Post, Mon, 11/10/2008 8:31 AM (GMT + 9)

Indonesia executes Bali bombers, backlash feared

Friday, November 7, 2008

Judge sets Anwar Ibrahim free

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim scored a legal victory Friday, his lawyer said, as a judge struck down the government's bid to shift his sodomy trial to a higher court.

Anwar fears the government will be able to manipulate the case more easily at the High Court, said lawyer Sankara Nair who hailed the ruling by a lower court judge as "courageous".

"We are very happy... this is rather refreshing that a judge has been able to make a decision professionally and judicially," Sankara told AFP.

"My client fears there will be judge-fixing, and there is good reason to fear that because we've been there before," he said of Anwar's trials a decade ago which saw him convicted of sodomy and corruption.

Those decisions were widely seen as politically motivated, and there has been a furore over the latest sodomy allegations against Anwar who says the government is trying to prevent him from seizing power.

Anwar, who is married and the father of six children, has rejected the allegations levelled by 23-year-old former aide Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan who said he was sodomised in June.

The charges emerged after March general elections which saw Anwar's opposition alliance make huge gains, securing a third of parliamentary seats and five states in the ruling coalition's worst ever performance.

Anwar has said he has enough support from defecting lawmakers to seize power, but failed to meet a self-imposed September deadline to topple the coalition which has ruled for half a century.

Sankara said the government was very likely to appeal Friday's decision by Sessions Court judge Komathy Suppiah, but that if it does not intervene, the lower court will on November 14 set a date to begin the trial. -- Agence France-Presse - 11/7/2008 9:53 AM GMT

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Islamist jihadists protest...

Islamic extremists (jihadists –ed.) rallied in the Indonesian capital Thursday against the imminent execution of three Bali bombers, as defence lawyers demanded the families be allowed final visit.

Chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great -ed.), some 100 militants descended on the offices of the national human rights body as the bombers' lawyers met officials inside to demand access for the families.
The radicals condemned the executions, believed to be hours or days away, and praised bombers Amrozi, 47, his brother Mukhlas, 48, and Imam Samudra, 38, as "holy warriors."
They carried banners pledging to follow the bombers' path of jihad or "holy war" and warning that "hell" awaits the executioners.

Defence lawyer Mahendradatta urged the human rights body, Komnas Ham, to back the families' demand for visiting rights.
Komnas Ham chairman Ifdhal Kasim said the prisoners had a right to meet their families before they faced the firing squad. "A prisoner awaiting execution must be given a chance to meet their families," he said, promising to take up the matter with the prosecutors office which handles executions.

Meanwhile the families wrote to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pleading for a delay in the executions, defence lawyer Fahmi Bachmid said. He said however that the letter was not a request for clemency.

The bombers have said they want to die to become "martyrs" for their dream of creating an Islamic utopia (caliphate -ed.) across Southeast Asia.
"We don't know the contents of the letter. The families only told me that they hope the execution will be postponed until the president gives an answer to the letter," he said.

The bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists.

The government has said the condemned men will be executed by firing squad in "early November" after they exhausted the appeals process (except for seeking presidential clemency khuda kay liye. -ed.). -- Agence France-Presse - 11/6/2008 5:19 AM GMT

Anwar’s View of Obama’s Win

Malaysia said Wednesday that Barack Obama's victory could mean less use of American force in solving world conflicts, and more respect for smaller nations.
"Malaysia... hopes Obama's government will be more sensitive to the sovereignty of smaller nations and will not use force in resolving global conflicts," Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement.
"Obama's victory is seen as bringing change and hope to the world," he added.
"Malaysia welcomes him as the new light in the struggle for democracy. As America's first black president his victory has shown that Americans can accept a leader regardless of colour, religion or beliefs."
Rais said that Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation, hoped the new administration would also pay greater attention to developing countries as well as to humanitarian and developmental issues.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy premier who was strongly backed by the United States after being sacked and jailed in 1998, said Obama would boost prospects for engagement between the US and Muslim countries.
"Some of the most contentious issues of our time, including the ongoing conflicts and confrontations in the Middle East, require a commitment to diplomacy, a willingness to engage in a meaningful dialogue and a departure from the aggressive unilateralism witnessed in recent years," he said.
"In this we anticipate that president-elect Obama will show leadership where previous administrations have failed."
Malaysia has been a long-term critic of the US intervention in Iraq, with former premier Mahathir Mohamad branding incumbent US President George Bush a "war criminal". -- Agence France-Presse - 11/5/2008 9:20 AM GMT

Anwar congratulates Obama, says we can learn from America
By Debra Chong and Shannon Teoh, m/insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 – Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called Barack Obama's victory in the US elections a "phenomenon."
"I know it is not easy to say anything positive about America, at least not in Malaysia, particularly not the way the media has been portraying me," he said, referring to allegations that he is a stooge of the American government.
"But his strength – unlike Bush – is that he is prepared to engage. And this is very critical for the US," Anwar continued.
He was referring to outgoing US President George Bush's famous "You are either with us or against us" catchphrase.
"But this is a very healthy and welcome trend ... that you have a black and minority leading as an American and not as a black person. We should learn from this," he said at a press conference in Parliament today.
Anwar, however, added a caveat that he did not necessarily share the same foreign policy prescriptions as Obama.
"In fact, some of his views regarding the Middle East conflict are quite disturbing," the former Deputy Prime Minister stressed.
He also told reporters that he had written a congratulatory note to Obama and called on him to "act on the need to immediately engage with all quarters and to try first to withdraw from Iraq."
"I've great admiration for him personally. I believe Barack, at least, represents change in the US. He represents the face that is willing to engage and have a meaningful dialogue and serious conversations with various groups," he said.
"I have been in touch with him and I am really pleased that he and Senator Biden won."
Joe Biden was Obama's running mate and now America's new Vice President.

[From The Time] Anwar’s View of Obama’s Win: Greater Expectations

What seemed audacious and improbable before is now a reality. In Obama’s victory are sown the seeds of great expectations that a truly new chapter will be written in the history of the world.

Muslim nations will have cause to celebrate this triumph; it offers prospects for genuine dialogue and engagement and should witness the politics of diplomacy supplant the politics of war and the theology of terror. Other nations traditionally at loggerheads with America may find reason to reciprocate to a more balanced approach.

—By Anwar Ibrahim
Former Deputy Prime Minister

His full PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tahniah Kepada Perubahan!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'Obama wins,' pronounce Indonesian sixth-graders

Students at US presidential candidate Barack Obama's old primary school in Indonesia were prematurely celebrating his election win Wednesday, and looking forward to his first presidential visit.

"Obama wins! McCain loses!" chanted the crows of about 250 excited children at the Menteng One primary school in the affluent central Jakarta suburb of Menteng, as they watched coverage on local television.

Deputy principal Akahmad Solikhin won rapturous applause when he announced to the children that Obama would be visiting them soon. "If Obama wins he'll visit our school," he said.

The son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father, Obama was raised in Hawaii and moved to Indonesia when he was six after his divorced mother remarried an Indonesian.

He went to school in Menteng in the late 1960s, and in his memoirs recalled his time here as the "bounty of a young man's life."

Solikhin said that with the Democrat senator appearing set to become the first black US president and the most powerful man in the world, he was having a powerful new influence on his old school on the other side of the planet.

"We're using Obama as a tool to motivate the students to be successful.

There is an emotional connection between the students and Obama," he said, adding that enrollments had increased 5.0-10 percent over last year.

Sixth-grader Farhan Ashardi, 11, said he now believed he could be president of Indonesia one day.

"If Obama can do it so can I," he said.

But fifth-grader Aisya Nadine said she had no plans to become president of Indonesia, itself a rowdy democracy of 234 million people.

"It's hard to become president in Indonesia, there's a lot of corruption here, it's hard to control," she said. – Agence France-Presse - 11/5/2008 3:30 AM GMT

Ex-classmates in Indonesia applaud 'Barry' Obama

Monday, November 3, 2008

Khuda Kay Liye, Salamander Is Coming!

The three Islamist militants (jihadis –ed.) convicted over the Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people have received notification of their imminent execution, a prison source said Saturday.

The source at the Nusakambangan island prison (sijn –ed.) off southern Java also said the bombers had been placed in isolation (waqfuka bil-haqq ma‘aka –ed.) away from other prisoners in preparation for their date with the firing squad.

"The letter ordering the execution was submitted last night at 9:00 pm (1400 GMT Friday)," the source said. He did not say whether the letter gave a precise time for the executions.

Officials have not confirmed the letter and neither the families nor the lawyers for the bombers have received the usual three-day notice of execution.

The government has said only that Amrozi, 47, his brother Mukhlas, 48, and attack strategist and ringleader Imam Samudra, 38, will be executed by firing squad in early November over the 2002 attacks on the resort island of Bali. -- Agence France-Presse - 11/1/2008 5:09 AM GMT

The 2002 bombings targeted nightspots packed with Western tourists, killing more than 160 foreigners including 88 Australians. The bombers said they were retaliation for US-led aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq.

They were convicted and sentenced in 2003 under a new anti-terror law which was applied retroactively, leading anti-death penalty campaigners to question the legality of their executions.

The bombers, members of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional “terror” network, have expressed no remorse for the carnage they unleashed six years ago.

In a string of media appearances and interviews the authorities have allowed them to conduct from prison, they have parroted Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's world view (tasawwur –ed.) of a militant Islam at war against an evil West.

Mukhlas claims to have met bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and named his son Osama. They have promised retribution from God and their followers in the event of their execution.

In Tenggulun, the family of Mukhlas and Amrozi -- a former mechanic known as the "smiling assassin" for his childish courtroom antics -- remained defiant.

"If they die because they are standing up for the religion they will be placed in paradise," 52-year-old elder brother Muhammed Chozin told AFP.

Their 70-year-old mother said on Friday her sons were right to "kill infidels." "I don't cry. I leave it all to God," Tariem said. "I feel that killing infidels isn't a mistake because they don't pray."

Lawyers for the bombers have launched a string of appeals to delay the death sentences being carried out, and said Saturday they would launch a fresh, unspecified, legal bid to save the bombers' lives.

Family members of all three bombers and their lawyers have flown to Jakarta and will later go to Bali to present an "extraordinary" appeal to the Bali court that convicted them, lawyer Fahmi Bachmid told AFP.

Bachmid refused to specify what kind of legal appeal the lawyers would make. Indonesian authorities and the Supreme Court have said the bombers have exhausted all avenues for appeal, except for seeking presidential clemency

Security forces have been placed on high alert across the country as a precaution against an explosion of Islamist anger at the first executions to be carried out under Indonesia's anti-terror law.

Sensitive areas like foreign embassies, tourist spots, shopping malls and ports were under close guard. On the mainly Hindu resort island of Bali, 3,500 police were on the streets, officials said.

In the East Java city of Surabaya, hand-written posters appeared overnight promising "retaliation" for the bombers' execution. "The blood of martyrs nourishes jihad (holy war)," one poster said. "One word for Amrozi's killers: retribution," said another. – [kerabu w/ extract from: Agence France-Presse - 11/1/2008 6:52 AM GMT, 11/1/2008 8:43 AM GMT]

Beware! that things do not produce effects by themselves; fire does not burn because of its nature – tabi‘eyyah, nor does water irrigate because of its natural inclination,” our sheikh told a circle in pondoq, where he further said, “The fire of Namrod did not burn Abraham (as). Al-Khawlani (ra) was not burned when he was cast into the fire. The salamander is not burned by fire.

O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham.” [21:the Prophets:69]

يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ

Al-budala’: The Exchanged Ones, or Alternates. They are seven. Whoever of the People of Sufism has journeyed from a place, having left a body in such shape that no one knows he is missing – this, and no other, is the Exchanged One. They belong to the heart of Abraham (as).