India: No Leads in Mumbai Bomb Attacks

This is un update on this story:

Indian police are looking into “every possible hostile group” in their search for the culprits behind the triple bombing in the heart of Mumbai that killed 17 people and wounded 131 others, the country’s top security official said Thursday.

The attacks, which authorities said came without warning, were the worst terror strike in the country since the siege of Mumbai that killed 166 people 31 months ago, and government officials were struggling to reassure Indians over their safety.

…No one has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s bombings, which shook three separate neighborhoods within minutes of each other during the busy evening rush hour. The attack came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan. Indian officials have so far refused to speculate who might be behind the blasts.

“We are not pointing a finger at this stage,” Chidambaram said. “We have to look at every possible hostile group and find out whether they are behind the blast.”

via India Says No Leads in Mumbai Bomb Attacks – FoxNews.com.

India: bombing rips through central Mumbai (BREAKING)

Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India’s busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing 21 people in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege. The attacks came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan, which New Delhi has blamed for past attacks.

Blood-covered bodies lay on Mumbai streets and people hugged and wept. Others carried the wounded to taxis. Crowds gathered in the blast areas as police questioned witnesses, and bomb squads inspected the undercarriages of vehicles searching for clues and other explosives.

Motorcycles were charred, shopfronts shattered and a bus stop ripped apart. Bleeding victims crowded into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital.

via Triple bombing rips through central Mumbai – INDIA – FRANCE 24.

India: Catholic bishops condemn sex-change operations for infant girls

The state of Madhya Pradesh in India

Image via Wikipedia

After gendercide, now they are changing sex on infant girls, because “boys are much more valued”:

The Indian episcopal conference has “strongly condemned” sex-change operations performed on infant girls at the request of their parents. In Indore–a city of 1.5 million in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh–some 300 girls under the age of one have reportedly been victims of the operation.

“We have strongly condemned, as Indian bishops, this horrible practice,” said Father Charles Irudayam, an official of the Episcopal Conference of India. “It is the result of a mindset that favors [the] male as a source of profit and as a son of greater value, mortifying the dignity of women.”

via Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : India: bishops condemn sex-change operations for infant girls.

The War Against Girls

India sex ratio map en

Image via Wikipedia

Mara Hvistendahl is worried about girls. Not in any political, moral or cultural sense but as an existential matter. She is right to be. In China, India and numerous other countries (both developing and developed), there are many more men than women, the result of systematic campaigns against baby girls. In “Unnatural Selection,” Ms. Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance: what it is, how it came to be and what it means for the future.

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that’s as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.

Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121—though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China’s and India’s populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.

What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl. By Ms. Hvistendahl’s counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world. Moral horror aside, this is likely to be of very large consequence.

via Book Review: Unnatural Selection – WSJ.com.

Report: Afghanistan is the worst place to live for women

Even worse than Saudi Arabia?

Widespread violence, lack of health care and poverty make Afghanistan the worse country in the world for women, this according to a study by the Thomson-Reuters Foundation. However, AsiaNews sources do not share such a negative view.

The study, based on interviews with 213 experts from around the world, indicates that Afghanistan tops a list of five worst nations, ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia. The inclusion of India has raised eyebrows given its great economic development; however, widespread female foeticide and the nation’s sex trade explain its low ranking.

The survey was compiled to mark the launch of a website, TrustLawWoman, aimed at providing free legal advice to women’s groups.

High maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a “near total lack of economic rights” render Afghanistan such a threat to its female inhabitants. “Continuing conflict, NATO air strikes and cultural practices combine to make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women,” Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, said.

More here.

Child brides

In India, the girls will typically be attached to boys four or five years older, an investigation in the June issue of National Geographic magazine has found. But in Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and other countries with even higher rates of marriage at an early age, the husbands may be young men, middle-aged widowers or even abductors who rape first and claim their victims as wives afterwards.

'Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him': Tahani (in pink) was just six years old when she she married Majed, 25 (standing next to her). The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah, Yemen  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2001029/Child-brides-young-5-married-secret-middle-aged-men.html#ixzz1OoziS8vd

'Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him': Tahani (in pink) was just six years old when she she married Majed, 25 (standing next to her). The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah, Yemen

Read more.

Pakistan: Newspaper faked Wikileaks cables for propaganda war against India

The story was broken by The Guardian’s Declan Walsh, who discovered that none of the purported US assessments could be found on the WikiLeaks database. The Guardian, a British daily which has all the leaked WikiLeaks cables, could find no match for any of the claims made in the Pakistani press.

Now that’s hardly surprising. Whatever you may think about US State Department officials, on reading the WikiLeaked cables, you have to admit, as Roger Cohen put it in his New York Times op-ed, US diplomats write “clear, declarative English sentences”.

So if a US diplomat sends a cable calling a former Indian Army chief an “incompetent combat leader and rather a geek” with a “much far from reality” war doctrine of eliminating China and Pakistan, someone should have smelt a rat.

The stories were apparently generated by the Islamabad-based Online wire agency, that is known for its close links to the Pakistani intelligence services.

The Pakistani mainstream media’s willingness to toe the official military-intelligence line has been much noted, and is a subject worthy of discussion by other people – especially editors of international dailies such as the International Herald Tribune, whose Pakistani affiliate, Express Tribune, published the piece followed by a front-page retraction.

via Faking WikiLeak-ed Cables for Propaganda or How to Beat ‘The Onion’ at Farce | Les blogs.

Read it all.

PS: By the way, Assange has been freed on bail.

Religious Freedom: The ACN Report is released

The 2010 Report on Religious Freedom in the World by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was released yesterday in Rome. It shows that the situation is serious in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia. In the Near East, Iraq represents an especially bad case where anti-Christian violence is taking on the form of systematic persecution, as the latest episodes indicate. In Egypt, despite the fact that it is a major tourist destination, there have been many acts of violence against the Christian minority in 2009-2010. Lebanon shows how difficult it is for foreign religious staff to enter the country. The situation of Christians in Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is getting worse with episodes of explicit persecution.

In India, ethnic and religious violence is rising as well. The year 2009 clearly illustrated the problem. However, China is certainly among those nations where religious freedom is denied in all its facets. However, information about what happens in that nation remains limited and hard to obtain. The state is officially atheist and suppresses all form of religion through arrests and detention in concentration camps. The case of Mgr Julius Jia Zhiguo is one of the better known. The underground bishop of Zhengding (Hebei) was arrested by five police officers on 30 March 2009; he was eventually released 15 months later.

In Pakistan, the blasphemy law is used as weapon against religious minorities, especially Christians who are the victims of Muslim fundamentalism. In Afghanistan, the government is not able to ensure effective religious freedom. In Bangladesh, where Islam is also the state religion, several cases of discrimination and attacks against minorities have been recorded with security forces showing little interest in protecting them.

via ASIA The ACN Report on religious freedom in the world is released – Asia News.

When I find the report in English I will post the link here. It’s necessary that these facts are reported and really known outside those countries.

UN: Iran Loses Vote for Board Seat of Women’s Agency

Iran was defeated today in its bid for a seat on the board of a new United Nations body to promote women’s rights after what an Iranian envoy called a “politically motivated” campaign by the U.S.

The UN’s 54-member Economic and Social Council elected 41 members to the board of the agency, to be known as UN Women, which officially begins its work Jan. 1. The UN General Assembly voted in July to create the agency by merging four existing bodies.

These policies by the U.S. to put pressure on others to not vote for Iran is very sad for the UN,” Eshagh Al Habib, Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said in an interview. “It is a very politically motivated position. It is not constructive.” Al Habib said Iran was “progressing very fast in the field” of women’s rights.

The U.S. and rights groups including London-based Amnesty International and New York-based Human Rights Watch opposed Iran’s candidacy for one of the 10 board seats designated for Asian nations. There were only 10 candidates, which would have virtually guaranteed Iran’s election, until East Timor sought a seat this week.

East Timor, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Pakistan were elected to the Asian board seats.

via Iran Loses Vote for Board Seat of UN Women’s Agency – BusinessWeek.

Good news. Although some of those elected countries are not beacons of the protection of Human Rights either… :cry:

Background: Iranian Mullahcracy to “protect” women’s rights?

Indonesia: Michelle Obama’s handshake with conservative Muslim raises Indonesian eyebrows

Oh, that “moderate” Indonesia, where the Minister of Information boasts of not giving his hand to women not belonging to his family (wouldn’t be interested in any case… ):

Indonesia’s pious information minister, Tifatul Sembiring, is in hot water for touching the hand of First Lady Michelle Obama, in what he describes as forced contact. The politician flaunts his conservatism as a Muslim and claims to avoid touching women who aren’t family members, the Associated Press reports. 

Indonesia — which has the world’s largest Islamic population, the vast majority moderate — had been debating how to handle encounters between the first lady and observant Muslim officials far in advance of the Obamas’ arrival in the country Monday.

Sembiring sought to deflect criticism by claiming Tuesday’s skin-to-skin contact was all Michelle Obama’s fault. “I tried to prevent [being touched] with my hands but Mrs. Michelle held her hands too far toward me [so] we touched,” Tifatul Sembiring explained on his Twitter page (according to a translation provided in the AP report).

Some local observers laughed at that idea, and one female reporter gleefully said he wouldn’t be able to avoid shaking her hand anymore, AP reported.

via First lady’s handshake with conservative Muslim raises Indonesian eyebrows | The Upshot Yahoo! News.

Obama with the head covered

Meanwhile, Obama has doneMuslim outreach in Indonesia“, visiting a mosque. The interesting thing is that he didn’t go to the Golden Temple of the Sikhs because “he didn’t want to cover his head while in the Temple“. Was that an excuse because of the ancient enmity between Muslims and Sikhs?

Why Obama does a “Muslim outreach” but not a “Sikh outreach”? :?:

Of course, about the daily persecution on non-Muslims, nothing has been said, although Obama has insisted that “Islam has been hijacked by some extremists”… with the inestimable help of some Governments, including “moderate” ones, such as Indonesian:

CAUTION: THE VIDEO HAS IMAGES THAT CAN HURT YOUR SENSIBILITY. WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Bulletin of the Oppression of Women: Aug 12 – Nov 2, 2010

August 12, 2010
Iran
The ‘confession’ from a woman facing stoning.

August 13, 2010
India
A female engineer is facing threats for not wearing a veil.

August 15, 2010
USA
A Tulsa shelter helps abused Muslim women.

UK
Muslim parents are charged with beating and imprisoning their daughter over a facebook fling. Continue reading

India: man who chopped off blasphemer’s hand, wins election

Christian lecturer TL Joseph

Contesting from prison, an accused in the sensational case of chopping off the hand of Thodupuzha Newman college lecturer TJ Joseph, has won from a block panchayat division in Ernakulam in the civic body elections.

Anas won from the Vanchinad division of Vazhakkulam block in Ernakulam district on a ticket of Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI), political arm of Popular Front of India (PFI), whose activists were allegedly behind the attack on Joseph for preparing a question paper containing blasphemous references to Prophet Mohammed.

Anas, now in judicial custody and lodged in the Viyyur central jail in connection with the case, won from the division defeating the nearest UDF candidate by a margin of more than 1,000 votes, while the LDF candidate came third.

(found).

As ever the problem is not that ONE man is a violent intolerant (although for the victim was enough and he was not alone when he did it), but that this guy is actually supported. Winning an election, after everyone knew he was accused of this brutality, is just the same as sanctioning it.

India: Youth attacked for befriending Muslim girl

A local court on Thursday granted bail to Yogish (29), a resident of Uppinangady who was reportedly assaulted by a vigilante mob on Monday, for fraternising with a teenage Muslim girl. 

Mr. Yogesh was charged with “outraging the modesty” of the girl under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. The court granted bail to four persons who were part of the mob that allegedly assaulted Mr. Yogish, and charged under Sections 146 (rioting) and 295-A (outraging/insulting a religious class). They have been identified as Mansoor, Noor Ahmed, Anees and Iliyas.

Speaking to The Hindu after his release from the government hospital where he was treated under judicial custody, Mr. Yogish said that he had been falsely charged in the case. He said that he was attacked only because he had befriended a Muslim girl.

“I have known the girl for a few weeks now. She lives in my neighbourhood and we were just friends. All we would do is wave out to each other and say ‘hello’ whenever we met,” he said.

According to him, these “innocent gestures” were construed to be something else by fundamentalists in the area.

via The Hindu : Karnataka / Mangalore News : Youth attacked for befriending girl.

India: Major Challenges include Threat From Pakistan, Extremist Groups, Poll finds

Indians See Threat From Pakistan, Extremist Groups | Pew Global Attitudes Project:

“Indians believe their country faces a number of major challenges, including crime and corruption. And nearly two years after the deadly Mumbai attacks, 81% say terrorism is a very big problem.

Moreover, a plurality of Indians characterize Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group widely blamed for the Mumbai attacks, as the greatest threat facing their country. One-third name Pakistan as the greatest threat – and overwhelmingly Indians believe there is a link between these two threats: 58% say the Pakistani government actively supports extremist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, while another 21% think it at least tolerates them. And if these groups were to conduct another terrorist attack against India, most would support military action against them in Pakistan.

Overall, Indians take a dim view of their neighbor and longtime rival: 81% express a negative opinion of Pakistan. Concern that the Pakistani state will be consumed by extremism is widespread: 78% are worried that extremists groups will take over Pakistan.”

India: Dalit youth executed ‘Taliban-style’ in Kerala

Dalit youth executed ‘Taliban-style’ in Kerala – The Times of India

Six months after the mysterious death of a Dalit youth in Kannur district of Kerala, police have confirmed that he was in fact brutally tortured for hours.

The death evoked widespread criticism with some terming it “Taliban-style execution by Islamic fundamentalists” and seeking a NIA probe. Eight of the 13 accused have been arrested and charged with “attempt to commit culpable homicide and abetment of suicide“. Investigating officer P Sadanandan said, “The accused are Popular Front of India activists, a Muslim radicals group.”

US: FBI warned years in advance of Mumbai attacker’s terror ties

FBI warned years in advance of Mumbai attacker’s terror ties | Raw Story:
NBC news reports that US officials were warned not once but twice about a US businessman who was planning to launch terrorist attacks against targets in Mumbai. But unlike the first warning, the second was never passed on to the FBI.

The second warning, which came from David Coleman Headley‘s second wife, came less than a year before the Mumbai attacks of November, 2008. Those attacks involved a series of coordinated bombings of at least 10 locations over three days and resulted in 166 deaths injuries in India’s largest city. The first warning came two years earlier, from Headley’s ex-wife.

The FBI arrested Headley in Chicago last year and accused him of running reconnaissance missions for the Mumbai attacks. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

…In three interviews with federal agents, Headley’s wife said that he was an active militant in the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba, had trained extensively in its Pakistani camps, and had shopped for night vision goggles and other equipment, according to officials and sources close to the case. The wife, whom ProPublica is not identifying to protect her safety, also told agents that Headley had bragged of working as a paid U.S. informant while he trained with the terrorists in Pakistan, according to a person close to the case.

Federal officials say the FBI “looked into” the tip, but they declined to say what, if any, action was taken. Headley was jailed briefly in New York on charges of domestic assault, but was not prosecuted. He wasn’t captured until 11 months after the Mumbai attack, when British intelligence alerted U.S. authorities that he was in contact with al Qaeda operatives in Europe.

In the four years between the wife’s warning and Headley’s capture, Lashkar-i-Taiba sent Headley on reconnaissance missions around the world. During five trips to Mumbai he scouted targets for the attack, using his U.S. passport and cover as a businessman to circulate freely in areas frequented by Westerners. He met in Pakistan with terrorist handlers, including a Pakistani major accused of helping direct and fund his missions, according to court documents and anti-terror officials.

US has denied they had specific information about the attack:

The United States regularly provided threat information to Indian officials in 2008 before the attacks in Mumbai,” said Michael Hammer, spokesman for the National Security Council. “Had we known about the timing and other specifics related to the Mumbai attacks, we would have immediately shared those details with the government of India.”

Background:
Mumbai bombings: Headley’s plea is a “step forward in justice for victims”.

Mumbai attacks: what is going to happen about Mr. Headley?
CIA Expert: ‘Headley plea revealed Qaeda’s European links’.
Mumbai attacks: India May Get Access To Headley.

India: Muslims protest Adyodhya mosque verdict

An Indian court has ruled that a disputed site sacred to Hindus and Muslims should be divided between the two faiths, in a bid to forge a compromise and end a historic battle that has triggered modern India’s most deadly religious clashes.
…In their ruling, the judges ordered the site – now controlled by the government – to be divided, with two thirds, including the spot where Hindu idols now stand, going to Hindu groups and one-third to the Muslim community.
Explaining the decision, one judge said the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram “as per the faith and belief of Hindus”, and another said it had an “almost unprecedented” tradition of Hindu worship inside the mosque compound.
Muslims are not satisfied with the verdict:
Indian Muslim clerics and leaders rallied on Friday against a court ruling over a disputed religious site that largely favored Hindus, raising fears of further alienation of the minority community.
But:
Muslim groups said reaction was also measured because they still hoped to appeal in Supreme Court and rebuild the mosque.

Cambodia: mosques radicalised due to foreign "aid",

As they struggled from the wreckage, poor Muslim congregations came to depend on foreign charities for help rebuilding their mosques, whose numbers have risen tenfold to around 250 today, says Bjorn Blengsi, an anthropologist. They also became receptive to imported versions of Islam, which tend to be stricter than the traditionally relaxed local variety. Agnès de Féo, another anthropologist and author of “L’Islam au Cambodge et au Vietnam” says both Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia and Tablighi Jemaat from India are gaining adherents.
Nothing wrong with that, perhaps. Most Islamic charities teach the faith and help the poor. But not, alas, all. In one much-publicised incident in 2002, according to the American government, a local member of the Kuwaiti-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) helped an Indonesian fugitive, Riduan Isamuddin (alias Hambali), the mastermind behind the nightclub bombings in Bali. Hambali, who is now in prison in Guantánamo Bay, reportedly said he had hoped to bomb the American and British embassies in Phnom Penh and to use Cambodia as a base for terrorist operations throughout South-East Asia. RIHS, which has been cleared of links with terrorism by Kuwait’s government, remains active in Cambodia. A local affiliate, the Kuwait-Cambodia Islamic Cultural Training Centre, recently met the president of parliament.
The influence of foreign religious organisations seems to be growing along with rising government loans from Gulf states. These loans include help for rebuilding religious institutions. In January, for example, Cambodia approved an agreement with Kuwait from 2008 in which the oil-rich state promised loans of $546m, mostly for energy and agriculture, and including $5m for new mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools). The only unusual thing about this was that the religious component was revealed. According to Milton Osborne of the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank, most aid packages from the Gulf include such a component but do not make it public.

Islam in Cambodia.

Flag: Wikipedia.

India: plot to kidnap or target British athletes, fans in CWG averted

Sify.com:

A plot to target or kidnap British athletes and fans coming to India for the 2010 Commonwealth Games has emerged over their country’s support to the war in Afghanistan.

Security sources have warned of “specific intelligence” about a threat by an unnamed Al Qaeda-linked group to take hostages in front of a global television audience.

Reports emerging from Australia suggest a number of countries are worried but will not upgrade travel warnings for fear of angering India.

They said citizens of Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand could be targets of a snatch attempt because their countries supported the war in Afghanistan.

Australia has asked fans not to wear national colours and in Britain it has emerged that security forces will work with counterparts from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to protect athletes at every venue.

It is a serious situation. There is specific intelligence about an attempted hostage snatch. People travelling to India, and particularly Delhi, need to be aware of the risks,” The Daily Express quoted a source, as saying.

There are also concerns about Pakistani group Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) getting into the act, after Michael Leiter, director of the US National Counter-Terrorism Centre, told the US Senate the games would make “an appealing target“.

Background: Jihadis appear near CWG.

India: Jihadis appear near Commonwealth Games

Foreign Policy runs an article about the last Jihadi attack, which happened last Sept 19th. Two guys in a motorcicle shot people near a mosque, injuring two Taiwanese journalists. After that, they disappeared in the alleys behind the mosque and minutes later a bomb exploded nearby but didn’t actually cause a lot of damages because of errors in its fabrication.

Commonwealth Games will be held in New Delhi between from next October 3rd. Of course, this Jihadi (re)appearance is not a positive development:
The Jama Masjid attack was a far cry from the sophisticated November 2008 massacre in Mumbai, but it suggests that India’s jihadi movement can no longer be ignored. It also demonstrates the durability of the Indian Mujahideen, whose bombings claimed hundreds of lives between 2005 and 2008, and raises the prospect that it is regrouping. In their email, the militants threatened to disrupt the Commonwealth Games, scheduled for next month in New Delhi. India’s various failings in planning for the high-profile sporting event have garnered all the headlines, but a larger, more successful attack — if demonstrated to have been carried out by a terrorist group linked to Pakistani jihadi groups — could spark a regional crisis between two nuclear powers.
Much of the Indian Mujahideen’s leadership is drawn from the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) — a banned Islamist student group founded in 1977 by Jamaat-e-Islami, India’s largest Islamist political party. From the outset, SIMI made clear its belief that the practice of Islam would remain incomplete until a caliphate was established. SIMI’s strident Islamism soon led the Jamaat to distance itself from the organization.
SIMI appealed to an emerging class of educated, middle-class urban men who felt economically marginalized and politically disenfranchised by anti-Muslim chauvinism in India. By 2001, when the group was outlawed, SIMI boasted more than 400 ansar, or full-time workers, and 20,000 ikhwan, or volunteers. As scholar Yoginder Sikand has noted, the organization provided “its supporters a sense of power and agency which they were denied in their actual lives.”
After December 1992, when Hindu extremists smashed a mosque in northern India, SIMI’s polemics became increasingly bitter. In a 1996 statement, SIMI called on Muslims to follow the path of the 11th-century warlord Mahmood Ghaznavi and avenge the destruction of mosques in India. At SIMI’s 1999 convention, the language was inflammatory. “Islam is our nation, not India,” thundered Mohammad Amir Shakeel Ahmad — one of several SIMI-linked operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani jihadi group, who was arrested in 2005 for smuggling in military-grade explosives and assault rifles for a planned strike in the state of Gujarat.

Read it all.

Flag: Wikipedia.