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Tuesday, 07 November 2006 20:00 Sheharyar Shaikh Editorial Dept - Middle East
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"F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." The famed actor Mel Gibson then slowly turned to the deputy and inquired, "Are you a Jew?"

His comments uttered on July 28th 2006 during his drunken arrest have brought him the seething wrath of Jewish community groups everywhere and a worldwide condemnation. He has said to have seriously undermined his career in Hollywood , and if convicted, could be sentenced to jail for six months.

I do not agree with his comments about the Jews. War is a human concept, much bigger than the doings of one group. Nevertheless one can not help but laud the activism of global Jewish organizations that forced Gibson to recant his comments and repeatedly apologize for the ‘hurt’ he caused to the Jewish sensibilities. The career damage he has done to himself, however, is permanent.


All this occurred in the backdrop of uninhibited Israeli bombing of innocent people in Lebanon . The global community, the UN, the global humanitarian organizations are utterly powerless to stop the power-drunk Jewish state from bombing the humanitarian relief convoys meant for the victims.
 

 
Tuesday, 05 September 2006 20:00 Eric Koo Editorial Dept - Middle East
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 September 11, 2006 will mark the fifth anniversary of that fateful day in which two airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre (WTC) in New York City, even as onlookers looked on in horror. This event was captured on television camera and broadcasted worldwide by the media.

Thanks to Sept 11 [1][1], the world today has been alerted to the workings and goals of this shadowy network spread throughout the Muslim world and much of the West. Al Qaeda, literally “the Base”, is believed to be financed and led nominally by Osama bin Laden, an ex-Saudi millionaire whose name has become unanimous with terrorism. Western intelligence agencies had placed this terrorist group as top priority in tracking and targeting.


To this day, the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden remains unknown.

In Oct 2001, the retaliatory military campaign waged by the USA against the Taliban in Afghanistan was for the purpose of rooting out and capturing Osama and his followers. The US-Afghan War concluded with the toppling of the Taliban and regime change. Thousands of Al Qaeda members or suspects, including elements from liked minded localized militant groups, were arrested or eliminated world wide. In counter terrorism intelligence operations, pre-dominantly Muslim nations such as the Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia had taken the lead in the arrests of key Al Qaeda figures such as Khalid Shiek Mohammad, Abu Zubayd Ah, and Qari Saifullah Akhtar. Other non Muslim nations, in alignment with the US foreign policy towards terrorism, had also taken to terrorist crackdowns with gusto.
 

 
Monday, 04 September 2006 20:00 Sheharyar Shaikh Editorial Dept - Middle East
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You may wonder why this article is entitled as such, as the Arabic term fitnah generally denotes negative connotations. In order to best describe the latest situation in Lebanon , frankly I could not find a better word, and here’s why:

Linguistically, the term fitnah refers to the process of removing impurities from a gold nugget by exposing it to a steady fire. The impurities gradually drip away leaving bright pure gold in your hand. Hence, the more intense and enduring the fitnah process, the more pure the gold attained.


In Islamic parlance, a fitnah is a (suddenly appearing) element in our circumstances that causes one to lay bare our inner reality in terms of faith. In the absence of an alternative means or measure to judge faith (Iman), the social significance of fitan (pl.) in the Ummah can never be ignored. A fitnah provides us clues that reflect the other’s spiritual status (along with our own) and thus enables us to part and classify ‘real gold’ from the ‘impurities’ around us.
 

 
Monday, 17 July 2006 20:00 Eric Koo Editorial Dept - Middle East
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Sept 11, 2006 will mark the fifth anniversary of the great tragedy that struck New York City. And the man apparently responsible is a hereto little known Saudi millionaire called Osama bin Laden. Since then, his name has become associated with terrorism and is on the top of wanted lists in most countries. The whereabouts of this man is still a mystery, even after two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, had been waged by the USA in its quest to hunt this elusive terrorist mastermind.

Even as Pakistan also admits that they have lost track of Osama bin Laden [1][i], US Senator Mark Steven Kirk, who visited Pakistan last year said that the Al Qaeda collects some US$28 million a year from the heroin market, and is used to pay Osama’s bodyguards, bribe warlords in Pakistan and finance the Al Qaeda’s leader on the run. [1][ii]


In December 2004, another of his audio tapes has resurfaced, praising the recent militant attacks on the US consulate in Saudi Arabia. [1][iii]

What will happen one day if Osama bin Laden is announced as captured, or even killed, just as what happened to many of his fellow high-ranking Al Qaeda members? If Osama is neutralized, then it may be possible that the Al Qaeda may slowly fade in terms of threat as well as recede in importance from the world political stage and the war against terrorism. Others will no doubt succeed him, perhaps Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, (his second-in-command) or some other lieutenant, as the next Al Qaeda emir but the charisma needed to inspire in Islamic militants worldwide to oppose the United States cannot be duplicated.
 

 

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