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‘News channels are biased against Islam’ Issue: 40
say British Muslims
An independent poll carried out by Consumer PI has found that the vast majority of British Muslims perceive the three mainstream TV news channels (BBC, ITV and Sky) to be biased against their religion when reporting current affairs. The TV channels’ reporting of terror cases, news pieces on Iraq and Afghanistan and coverage of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings have been cited as examples of anti-Muslim bias. Furthermore, British Muslims believe that other topical issues such as the Israeli raid on the flotilla, it’s continued occupation of, and raids into, Palestinian territories, the dropping of terror cases by the police
as well as positive stories about Islam generally are either not given enough prominence or simply not covered. The poll also found that British Muslims were offended by some of the terminology used in news reports. Terms such as ‘jihadist’ or ‘moderate Muslims’ are often used in the wrong context or in a generalised manner, indicating there was a severe lack of understanding of Muslim communities on the part of news reporters. Many believe this type of reporting does play some part in fanning the flames of extremism. Shakir Ahmed, Director of Passion Islam Media said: “The reporting by
the mainstream TV news channels of stories concerning Muslims is at times unbalanced, ill-informed and sensationalist. I would expect this type of coverage in the tabloid press, not from respected news organisations at the BBC, ITV or Sky. However, this is not entirely surprising since these three news channels employ very few reporters who follow the Islamic faith and who would truly understand the Muslim communities and their culture and practices. Worryingly, the perception by some British Muslims of an unjust Islamophobic mainstream media may well fuel radicalism.”
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I July 2011
By Majed Iqbal
‘Prevent’ only targets Muslims and not far-right extremists
The Coalition Government released their long-awaited strategy to counter extremism, radicalisation and in the process diminish the threat of Terrorism the country faces. The ‘Prevent’ Strategy, a title borrowed from the previous Labour Governments efforts in this field, has been described by Political observers as simply a re-hash and recycled document that places blame on the Muslim Community for all the ills of Terrorism. David Cameron Set the scene and tone for this report on his Visit to Germany where in a speech in Munich He said “”Move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world view, including real hostility towards western democracy and liberal values”. The Prevent strategy made it clear that it will not fund Muslim Organisations that oppose British Values. Back in March 2009, the Report ‘Contest 2′ was released where the classification of an extremist was broadened to include anyone whose views do not correspond to the ‘government’ definition of shared British values. According to the Report, British Muslims would be considered “extremist” if they advocated nonparticipation in UK elections, called for the creation of a caliphate, promoted Shariah for the Muslim world and argued that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God. Additionally, extremist views included supporting armed resistance by Palestinians against Israel as seen in the current Gaza conflict – and a failure to condemn the killing of British service personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan. The 190 page report, available on the Home Office Website was immediately challenged by the Muslim Community and many of the Broadsheet newspaper editorials. Dr. Robert Lambert from the Department of Politics, University
of Exeter said “This is a policy first prescribed by Michael Gove and his friends at Policy Exchange and set now to become Home Office policy. It is also an extension of the policy that the arch Blairites, Ruth Kelly and Hazel Blears first began to implement when they enjoyed brief control at the Department for Communities and Local Government”. Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan highlighted his concerns with the proposals. “The report has many errors. But its fundamental flaw is its explicit assumption that terrorism is actuated by a hatred of democracy. With stunning intellectual dishonesty the government refuses to tackle in the report the fact that terrorism in the UK has been driven by disgust at British foreign policy, and especially the invasion of Iraq, and the continuing occupation and civilian deaths in Afghanistan”. ‘Prevent’ has also highlighted Universities as ‘hotbeds’ for extremism and even criticised the National body for Muslim University students, FOSIS. A spokesperson expressed concern at the Home Secretary’s comments.
“We find it disrespectful for commentators to throw around accusations of extremism so easily – especially when not only university vice chancellors but David Willets, the Universities Minister, himself have clearly elucidated how extremism is not widespread on campus, and have questioned whether universities are the “trigger” for radicalisation”. A key part of the drive to eradicate ‘extremism’ has been the previous and current governments drive to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, a non-violent Political Party that operates in over 40 countries championing the call for a caliphate to unify Muslim Countries under a single leadership. Questions have been raised over these proposals by both the Police and the Home office who have aired that there is no precedent for banning the organising Taji Mustafa from Hizb ut-Tahrir speaking on the ‘Prevent’ Strategy said “After bombing Afghanistan and Pakistan, does Mr Cameron still expect people to believe in the Blairite delusion that it is Islamic beliefs that are the cause of security threats to the UK?. “Most serious observers have abandoned this discredited world view, which continues to be propagated by some politicians, and self-serving think tanks and academics whose funding relies on such nonsense”. Time and time after again the Government has tried to convince the Muslim Community that they are not in the firing line of such initiatives, yet the report suggest otherwise, clearly demanding a subscription to certain values, even if Islamic views may conflict with them. The report has had no real debate on Far-right groups like the English Defence League (EDL) who in recent years have made overt and public appearances in blaming Islam as a cause for the many miseries which Britain faces today. A platform for such groups continues whilst Muslim organisations face continued scrutiny. passionislam.com
Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.passionislam.com This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -
Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not Necessarily of Passion Islam
Britain falls into Israeli regime’s trap
I July 2011
In Case You Missed It
The detention of a Palestinian leader in Britain marked yet another example of a rising tide of Islamophobia in Europe and the UK system’s obedience to racist policies of Israel. Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, was arrested by British authorities, irrespective of the fact that there were no legal or legitimate reasons for him to be pursued, British media reported. He was invited by Labour Party legislators to a pro-Palestinian event at the British Parliament.
Salah, the three times elected mayor of the Palestinian town of Umm el-Fahm has been accused by the Zionist establishment and its supporters in the UK of antisemitism. Failing to produce any legal evidence against Salah, the UK authorities are using the charge of antisemitism as a way of suppressing criticism of Zionist regime’s policies. Salah has rebutted the fabricated allegations behind these claims and instructed his lawyers to begin legal action against those repeating them. It appears that those states that boast of their democratic credentials are suppressing people for their political views. The British authorities cannot give one legal reason for Salah’s arrest since his statements against Israeli policies are no stronger than those
made by many Israeli leftwingers and humanitarians. However, it seems that the British government has bowed to pro-Zionist lobbies’ pressure even when it comes to its home affairs. Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain and elsewhere are manipulating growing Islamophobia in Europe as a tool to discredit those people who are combating racism by falsely portraying the democratic Palestinian struggle against racism and discrimination in the Occupied Palestine as antisemitic. The British authorities have fallen into an Israeli trap. Instead of supporting democracy activists and their campaign for freedom and democracy, they are supporting Israeli persecution of the Palestinians. - Press TV
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I July 2011
Anti arms group to sue government over Saudi deals Passion Islam
In Case You Missed It
A British anti-arms trade campaign group says they are going to request a judicial review of the Business Ministry’ failure to revoke licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. In a letter to Business Secretary Vince Cable, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) slammed the continued exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia which
are clearly used to “suppress” the pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain. The group said on its website that the British government’s export licensing criteria makes clear it will “not issue an export license if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression”. Yet London has not withdrawn licenses to Saudi Arabia despite evidence that “scores of UK-made armored personnel carriers [were deployed] into Bahrain to aid the government’s bloody suppression of pro-democracy protestors”. According to CAAT, even regardless of the personnel carriers’ deployment to Bahrain, it is evident that Saudi Arabian forces ‘might’ use the equipment they are buying from Britain for internal repression as they are present in the Persian Gulf state to help the al-Khalifa regime crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations.
“We contend that the failure of the UK government to act to revoke arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia is unlawful and cannot be justified. The difference in the treatment of Bahrain, where licenses have been revoked, and Saudi Arabia, where they have not, further undermines the government’s credibility,” Kaye Stearman, for CAAT, said. This comes as Saudi Arabia has been a major customer for British Weaponry since the 1960’s, and is listed as a “priority market” for the Defense and Security Organization (DSO), which is part of the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). Earlier in April, the Commons’ Committee on Arms Export Controls said in a damning report on British weaponry export policy questioning how London “intends to reconcile the potential conflict of interest between increased emphasis on promoting arms exports with the staunch upholding of human rights”.
Once the beating heart of the Muslim Ummah, Iraq is now seen as a symbol of suffering. A legacy of sanctions, conflict and neglect has led to a situation where at least a million women have no husbands, millions of children have no fathers, and countless mothers have no sons. In a time when people have forgotten about this poor nation, UWT asks you to extend your hand once again and help the people of Iraq. ‘If a dog dies hungry on the banks of the River Euphrates, Umar will be responsible for dereliction of duty.’ - Umar (Radiallahu’anh) WIDOW SPONSORSHIP (And her children)
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I July 2011
Pakistan orders UK to withdraw military trainers
Pakistan has ordered the United Kingdom to withdraw some of its military training teams from the country, the British Embassy said Monday. The demand is likely related to fallout from the covert US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden last month. Following the Al-Qaeda chief’s death, Pakistan sent home at least 120 US military trainers, an expression of the country’s anger over the American operation, which was kept secret from the Pakistani government. Relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom tend to be less turbulent than with the US But the Pakistani army has been under serious pressure to reassert the country’s sovereignty in the wake of the May 2 raid that killed Bin Laden in Abbottabad, an army town not far from the Pakistani capital. “The UK has been asked to
withdraw some of its training support teams on a temporary basis by the Pakistan government in response to security concerns,” said British Embassy spokesman George Sherriff. “The training teams will continue their own training and will be ready to redeploy at the first possible opportunity.” The withdrawal was first reported by the British newspaper the Guardian on Sunday. The newspaper said Pakistan expelled at least 18 British military advisers, deployed as part of a 15 million pound ($23.9 million) program to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps. The newspaper said the training program began last August and was scheduled to run until at least summer 2013. The trainers were stationed at a British-funded Frontier Corps base near Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s southwest province of Baluchistan.
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Cambridge Gets New Muslim Council In a celebration attended by the city officials and Muslim leaders, Muslims in Cambridge celebrated the inauguration of their first Muslim council in the city, hoping to bring together the growing number of Muslim communities in Cambridgeshire. “Many of the Muslims in this county come from different countries and different backgrounds,” Dr Tahir Kamran, chairman of the council said. “Culturally they are quite diverse, but ideologically they have so much in common.” Representing 29 Muslim organizations and some 7000 Muslim population, Dr Kamran said it would provide “a platform” for different groups. Officially launching it, the council hopes to draw in more Muslim organizations. The Cambridge Muslim Council intends to be an “umbrella organization promoting peace, tolerance and understanding” throughout the county, said Dr Kamran. Vice-chairman of the council, Mirza Baig, agrees. Baig noted that with so many different organizations in existence, coordinating events and meetings had become a problem Yet, under the new council, all such organizations would be held under one umbrella of common grounds. “It was especially a problem for service providers because if they wanted to disseminate information to Muslims, they didn’t know which groups to contact,” Baig said. “The council will provide a central interface to interact with those outside the community, and at the same time will give all Muslims the opportunity to have their say.” Along with Cambridgeshire Muslim leaders, the event was attended by the city’s MP Julian Huppert, mayor Cllr Ian NimmoSmith and Farooq Murad, the Muslim Council of Britain chairman.
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I July 2011
Parliamentary committee urges UK to renegotiate extradition treaties
A parliamentary committee has urged the UK government to renegotiate its much-criticised extradition treaties with the US and EU to avoid future cases like that of British Muslim Babar Ahmad, who has spent seven years fighting removal to America. Swift action was needed in particular to make sure Britons were not sent overseas for trial over alleged offences committed wholly or mainly inside the UK or, as is currently the case, without any evidence being offered against them, the Joint Committee on Human
Rights (JCHR) said. The family of Babar welcomed the parliamentary report and called upon the British government to release the 37-year old IT specialist or to put him on trial in the UK so he has the opportunity to prove his innocence before a jury of his peers. A key recommendation is that the government immediately enacts a socalled forum provision, which would give UK judges powers to decide whether an alleged offence would be better tried in Britain. Hywel Francis, Labour MP who
chairs the committee, said the government needed to look into renegotiating both the extradition agreement with the US and the separate EU-wide European arrest warrant, both of which come under the 2003 Extradition Act. ‘There were 699 UK extradition cases in 2009/10. That is an enormous number of extraditions. I was surprised not just by the numbers of people involved, but the nature of the problems,” Francis said. Apart from Babar’s case, the committee highlighted others sought by the US, including of Gary McKinnon, who has spent nine years fighting extradition for hacking into US government computers. The extradition treaty with the US has been widely criticised including from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, who since forming the coalition government last year, have only set up a review due to be published in the summer. IRNA
Muslims lauded as better citizens in UK Passion Islam
I July 2011
The head of the UK’s equality watchdog says British Muslims are better making themselves compatible with the so-called mainstream views than followers of other religions. Trevor Phillips said Muslims are integrating into British society better than Christians, The Daily Telegraph reported. Phillips warned that “an old time religion incompatible with modern society is driving the revival in the Anglican and Catholic Churches and clashing with mainstream views, especially on homosexuality”. The equality watchdog’s chief said Christians, particularly evangelicals, make complaints about discrimination in their attempt to exercise greater political influence. However the chairman of the
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Equality and Human Rights Commission voiced concern that people of faith are “under siege” from atheists whom he accused of attempting to “drive religion underground”. He admitted that the Commission has failed to tackle faith-based discrimination in the past, particularly when Muslims of even Christians are attacked. The Commission has said in its annual report that some religious groups have been the victims of rising discrimination over the last decade. “Muslims are less vociferous
because they are trying to integrate into British liberal democracy”, admitted Philips. “Muslim communities in this country are doing their damnedest to try to come to terms with their neighbours to try to integrate and they’re doing their best to try to develop an idea of Islam that is compatible with living in a modern liberal democracy”, Phillips said.
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I July 2011
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‘Libya war costs UK taxpayers £260m’ Passion Islam
I July 2011
The UK government has finally announced that the cost of UK military involvement in the Libya war so far is £260 million, contrasting George Osborne’s former argument, claiming the Libya war would cost UK tens, not hundreds of millions of pounds. In a written statement to the MPs, Defence Secretary Liam Fox revealed that the estimated cost of “the six-month, NATO-led campaign
LOCAL & NATIONAL / WORLD NEWS
was in the region of £120m”. Fox went on to say that “another £140m will have to be spent replacing missiles and other munitions if the mission continued at the same rate.” Liam Fox also told the MPs that the Treasury admitted to meet the Libya costs from the reserve. The announcement comes as the UK taxpayers increasingly urge the government to halt the Libya war, speculating that the interference by the UK has placed a heavy burden on the British taxpayers who are struggling with the government’s harsh spending cuts. Since the coalition forces began their airstrikes over the country, aiming to oust the Libyan ruler and change the regime, several speculations have been made, rejecting the government’s on and off shocking estimations. Chancellor George Osborne
formerly estimated that the cost of the country’s interference over Libya would only be “in the order of tens of millions of pounds, not hundreds of millions.” Meanwhile Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander declared that the cost would run into hundreds of millions of pounds. Ministers have strongly insisted that the government took the cash from the Treasury reserve and not the defence budget. This is while analysts believe that, instead of claiming to save the lives of Libyan civilians by spending a lot of money in the war, the British government can instead use this amount of money on the Education Maintenance Alowance (EMA), or bringing care homes back into public ownership, or cutting VAT, or even keeping public sector pensions. British taxpayers have repeatedly expressed their outrage against the government’s war policies; the public strongly urged the government to spend the budget wasted on the wars on Libya and Afghanistan, on the public services formerly cut due to the country’s economic deficit.
Bank of London launches Sharia compliant web-based FX trading platform Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) has launched a Sharia’a compliant web-based FX trading platform, BLMEFX. According to the company, the new platform will provide clients in Kuwait with direct access to multiple currencies in order to undertake overseas transactions. BLMEFX, which will be available over the internet, uses industry standard secure sockets layer (SSL) technology to deliver the functionality to its clients.
The trading platform, which is fully approved by BLME’s Sharia’a Supervisory Board, is noncommission based. Clients can trade without paying commission and receive the full amount of funds purchased directly into their BLME account. BLME CEO Humphrey Percy said given the increasingly international scope of Sharia’a finance, there was an urgent need to develop a Sharia’a compliant FX platform to take the strain out of cross-border
transactions. “In addition, our expertise and local market knowledge within GCC and European currency pairs in the Spot market meant that we were ideally placed to develop an FX product which fulfils the need of our customers and which offers the same functionality as a conventional product,” Percy added. In a Sharia’a compliant environment, currency trading is used to support cross-border transactions rather than to realize a profit.
Several Israel spies arrested by Hezbollah
I WORLD NEWS
Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has arrested several people within its own ranks on suspicion of spying for Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad. According to the Lebanese sources, more than 10 Hezbollah members, among them high-ranking figures, were arrested over the past few days for collaborating with Israel.
I July 2011
Mohammad Atwi from the Nabatiyeh district in south Lebanon, who was responsible for organizing security within the party and coordinating activities with Iran and Syria, is one of the high ranking Hezbollah officials arrested in this regard, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai reported. A cleric is also reported to be among the suspected Israeli spies. “A group of Hezbollah members were detained in the past few days for collaborating with Israel,” an unnamed Hezbollah source told Now Lebanon but refused to disclose the number of those detained or their position in the party. The Lebanese resistance movement says the detainees are
being interrogated, adding that some have confessed to spying for Mossad while others deny the charges. Hezbollah says it discovered the spy cell three months ago after very crucial information about the movement was passed to Israel. Several prominent Lebanese figures, including members of the army, politics and business, have been arrested over the last two years on charges of spying for Israel. Tel Aviv has launched an intelligence war against Hezbollah following its defeat during the 33-day war against the Lebanese resistance movement in 2006. If convicted, the spies will face life sentences with hard labor. Should they be found guilty of contributing to the loss of the Lebanese life, the agents will face capital punishment. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has called for severe punishment for Israeli spies, saying he would sign death sentences handed down by the court.
its blockade of the besieged coastal strip to allow in consumer goods, a decision that came after nine activists on a Turkish aid convoy were killed in an Israeli attack on a flotilla that tried to break years of Tel Aviv’s siege on Gaza. In a recent development, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman branded the participants in the Freedom Flotilla II as “hardcore activists” that are “looking for blood,” and threatened that they would be confronted should they approach the coastal sliver. “It is clear that those who are still participating in the (relief aid) flotilla are the hardcore terror activists,” Liberman claimed. The Israeli regime laid an
economic siege on Gaza in June 2007 after an elected Hamas government took control of the strip. Some 1.5 million people in Gaza are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
Gaza worse off than ever Milina Shahin, who is with the Public Information Office at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, says unemployment has climbed to 45.6 percent while the number of Palestinians earning just $1.6 per day has tripled over the past year. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that still very little gets through the blockade. “The Israeli occupation was not honest when they announced that they would let into Gaza everything that Gaza needs, including the raw materials that are needed for construction,” Abu Zuhri added. However, the coordinator of Tel Aviv’s operations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Major General Eitan Dangot, denied that Gazans lacked anything. Dangot claimed there were more trucks with supplies crossing into the enclave. The Israelis announced in 2010 that they were ‘significantly easing’
I July 2011
Plan for Zam Zam distribution water centre in Holy City of Madinah
Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen outlined his ministry’s plans to establish a Zamzam water distribution project near the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. “Tenders to implement the project will be opened within two weeks,”
he said after opening the automatic Zamzam water distribution system and the central warehouse. The distribution system is part of an SR700 million King Abdullah Zamzam Water Project. Speaking to reporters after the inaugural ceremony, the minister
said 42 outlets have been set up for the distribution of the holy water daily, adding that it would meet the requirements of pilgrims who come for both Haj and Umrah. “The Zamzam water bottles are taken directly from the bottling factory to the main warehouse that can accommodate 1.5 million bottles. Later they are supplied automatically to the distribution centers,” AlHussayen said. He said revenues from the endowment project would be used for the development of the service. “We’ll make sure that all Zamzam water bottles are filled and closed in a hygienic manner.” The distribution outlets will work 24 hours daily and seven days a week. “We have set up a special area for wrapping Zamzam water cans and bottles for pilgrims to carry them safely while traveling to their home countries by plane,” the minister said.
was about Osama Bin Laden being able to operate with a safe haven, and that was the Taliban,” added the Republican Congressman. In a separate interview with Fox News, Gates defended President Barack Obama’s limited involvement in Libya, calling it “the right strategy.” “We were at war in Iraq still, we had 50,000 troops in Iraq, we have 100, 000 troops in Afghanistan, we have 24,000 people engaged in Japanese earthquake relief, we have a number of commitments around the world,” he added. Gates noted “the arrangement and the understanding that the President had with our key allies form the very beginning was the US would come in heavy at the beginning, establish the no fly zone and then had off the operation to our allies and that we would recede into a support role”, said Gates while adding that this strategy can work over time. The Pentagon chief also argued that Obama is not in
violation of the War Powers Act over ongoing operations in Libya, as some members of Congress are suggesting, which asks the President to seek congressional approval within 60 days of the start of hostilities. “I believe that President Obama has complied with the law consistent in a manner with virtually all of his predecessors. I do not think he is breaking any new ground here,” affirmed Gates. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain warned his Republican colleagues of continuing to push the White House on not being involved in Libya. “I would say to my Republican friends, if this were a Republican President, would you be trying to impose these same conditions? I caution my friends, both here in the Senate and in the House of Representatives that we do not want to do anything or pass legislation which would encourage (Libyan leader Muammar) al-Qadda. passionislam.com
US in talks with Taliban
Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that the US administration has been in talks with Taliban as it tries to cut down troops in Afghanistan this year. “There has been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States. I would say that these contacts are very preliminary at this point,” said Gates in an interview with CNN commenting on a recent statement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that US is in direct talks with Taliban. But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers warned during an interview on CBS that direct talks with the Taliban reflects a “disaster” for US strategy in Afghanistan, saying “we are in a very, very precarious place in Afghanistan right now. “This administration’s weakness is they want to have those successes but they want to have the political solution first and then find the military component; this was not about Osama Bin Laden. This
Pakistan issues 67 visas for CIA agents: report
I WORLD NEWS
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington has issued 67 visas to CIA officials for deployment in Pakistan, a leading Pakistani daily reported. The decision followed an understanding between the two governments on CIA deployments and postings in Pakistan, Dawn newspaper reported. “Under the new arrangement, the CIA has accepted Islamabad’s demand that all intelligence
postings in the country should be fully disclosed, and shared with the Pakistani government,” the paper quoted sources as saying. “Pakistan agreed to issue the visas only after an understanding on full disclosures.” The agreement was reached after talks in Islamabad earlier this month between ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and top CIA officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta. “Now the ISI will be fully aware of who is doing what and where he is posted at,” a diplomatic source said. “There will be no room for misunderstanding and suspicions. Relations between the CIA and Pakistan’s major spy agency, ISI, soured over several issues especially over the arrest of a CIA undercover agent, Raymond Davis, in February who had killed two Pakistanis in the
I July 2011
city of Lahore. After Davis was proved to be a CIA agent, Islamabad then asked the CIA to provide information about the number and activities of its agents in Pakistan. Relations reached at the lowest ebb when the US military helicopters conducted unilateral operation and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad on May 2. Days after Osama’s murder, the US media reported that the CIA had established its center in Abbotabad for spying on the compound where Osama was killed. Opposition religious and political parties had mounted pressure on the government to expel the CIA agents from Pakistan. The reports about visas to CIA agents may spark protest in Pakistan.
Israeli Army prepares to confront new naval humanitarian mission to Gaza The Israeli Army has declared readiness to confront the second naval flotilla of humanitarian aid for the besieged Gazans, due to be launched soon, the Israeli media network, Haaretz, reported. Haartez quoted a spokesman of the Israeli Army as saying that the military pursued preparations to face the forecast humanitarian mission, despite a declaration by the Turkish relief organization, IHH, that the ship, Mavi Marmara, that was raided by Israeli paratroopers off Gaza last year, would not be included in the new expedition. The Israeli Army is hoping to quickly release images of the operation to the press “to avoid a
situation like last year, in which the only version of events available to world media for hours was that of the flotilla participants,” Haaretz said. Navy head Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom spoke about the flotilla during remarks delivered at a ceremony marking the completion of the navy’s submarine training course. Marom said in part, “the navy has prevented, and will continue to prevent, the arrival of these flotillas.” He added the flotilla’s goal is to “cause a confrontation with army soldiers, and create a media provocation and thereby foster delegitimization of the state of Israel.” He called on international officials to “impose all their authority to prevent
the departure of this needless, provocative flotilla.” The planned expedition is expected to assembly eight or nine ships from various ports in the Mediterranean. The Islamist, Turkish IHH organization, which owns the Mavi Marmara ship and which organized the flotilla effort last year, has recently announced that due to technical reasons, it would not participate in the current flotilla. The Mavi Marmara is also expected to not be used in the second flotilla. Despite the IHH pullout, a coalition of 23 pro-Palestinian organizations have announced their intention to take part in this new relief mission, also according to Haaretz.
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I July 2011
Fatah-Hamas meeting adjourned over unity gov’t lineup differences In a move that may cast doubt on last month’s conciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah to end a four-year rift, a scheduled meeting between the leaders of the two groups postponed indefinitely. The Cairo meeting, scheduled to be held was meant to reach a consensus over an interim reconciliation government. “We demanded this postponement due to (Palestinian) President Mahmoud Abbas’ planned visits to Turkey and Jordan as well as to the failure to reach an agreement on the government lineup,” Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, told KUNA. He added that Fatah wanted to
assure the best atmosphere for the successful implementation of the reconciliation agreement. “We do not want for the meeting to be held and ends in failure,” Al-Ahmad said, adding that a new date for the meeting would be set after President Abbas visit to Turkey. He revealed that the differences are high over who will lead the unity government. “We informed Hamas that current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is our favorite candidate,” he pointed out. But Hamas has explicitly expressed opposition to Fayyad, since it considers him part of the Palestinian split. The split has left the Palestinians with rival governments in the Fatah-governed West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The unity agreement is intended to pave the way for a joint interim government ahead of national elections next year.
Drone strikes target Taliban in Pakistan At least ten people including five militants were killed in two drone strikes in a Pakistani tribal agency near Afghan border, said local officials. A vehicle carrying Taliban militants was moving from Pakistan to Afghanistan when US predator drones fired two missiles at it in Lower Kurram tribal agency, said Muhammad Noor Alam, a local government official while talking to media. Minutes later, he added, another air strike took place. About three missiles were fired at a house. He confirmed ten casualties and said that at least five militants were among the killed.
Dutch MPs vote in favour of ritual slaughter ban The lower house of the Dutch parliament voted by 116 to 30 to ban the Muslim halal and Jewish kosher slaughter of animals, Dutch media reported. The draft legislation still has to be approved by the upper house of parliament before it can become law. Several deputies voted against the bill on religious grounds, arguing that freedom of religion should be
more important. They also said that ritual slaughter does not lead to more suffering for the animals. Jewish and Islamic groups which can prove that animals do not suffer more during ritual killing than while being killed after stunning in an slaughterhouse will be able to apply for permit to continue their traditional practices, noted the media reports.
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I WORLD NEWS
I July 2011
Israel threatens Palestinian inmates 16
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he intends to make conditions tougher for Palestinian prisoners. “I have decided to change Israel’s treatment of terrorists sitting in prison,” Netanyahu said in a speech at an international conference. “We will give them all that they deserve according to international law but nothing beyond that,” he added. The Israeli premier also said Tel Aviv is taking a series of steps to change prisoners’ conditions. Some 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, including women and children, are currently held in Israeli jails. Many of them are held without charges, leaving several families with no breadwinner. The prisoners held in Israeli
detention camps are continuously subject to lengthy solitary confinements, sudden night raids and torture. The Israeli prison administration is accused of using the policy of
NATO welcomes withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he welcomes the announcement by US President Barack Obama to begin the pullout of US forces in Afghanistan in July. “The President’s decision is a natural result of the progress we have made. It follows close consultations with NATO Allies and partners, “ he said in a statement. Earlier in Washington, Barack announced the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year and another 23,000 by the end of September 2012. Rasmussen said the “United States took a bold decision in December 2009 to increase their forces by 30,000. Together with nearly 10,000 additional troops from other Allies and partner nations, they reinforced ISAF’s mission to take the
fight to the Taliban and help build the Afghan forces. “ “We can see the tide is turning. The Taliban are under pressure. The Afghan security forces are getting stronger every day. And the transition to Afghan security lead is on track to be completed in 2014, ‘ noted the NATO chief. Rasmussen said the role of NATO and of ISAF will evolve, from combat to support. “That process is based on conditions on the ground. It is based on close consultation with Allies and partners. It is based on the principles we have all agreed. And it is based on our commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan, “ he added. NATO has some 130,000 troops under its ISAF mission in Afghanistan. passionislam.com
humiliation, pressure and punishment under the guise of security in its jails. It also deprives Palestinian political detainees of the simple right of bathing, access to clean clothes and family visits.
U.S. Launches Drone Strikes In Sixth Muslim Country U.S. drones targeted and wounded two leaders of alShabab, a Somalian Islamist group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Washington Post reported. That makes Somalia the sixth predominantly Muslim country in which the U.S. has used drones. Al-Shabab has been fighting the Somalian government since 2006. The U.S. accuses it of working with al-Qaeda to plan attacks outside Somalian territory The Obama administration has sharply increased the use of military drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. is also using them against Qaeda-affiliated militants in Yemen and the Qaddafi regime in Libya. Although the American military has executed previous special forces operations in Somalia this is reportedly the first time drones have been used in the country.
Frank Rijkaard to coach Saudi Arabia Passion Islam
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I July 2011
Former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has signed a contract to lead Saudi Arabia, according to an official from the team. Rijkaard sighned a three-year deal worth €11 million (15.9 million). The former Netherlands midfielder was fired as Barcelona coach in 2008 after five years at the club, leading the team to two Spanish championships and the Champions League title in 2006. His last coaching assignment was with Turkish club Galatasaray. Once among the top teams in Asia, Saudi Arabia has been without a coach since crashing out of the Asian Cup in January. A deal was signed with Ricardo Gomes but it was canceled after Saudi Arabia rejected his demands for taking over.
Saudi Arabia has appeared in four World Cups, but its fortunes have declined since reaching the 2006 tournament. The team missed out on the 2010 event and has fallen to 92nd in the FIFA world rankings after reaching a high of 23rd in 2004. Saudi Arabia’s low point came earlier this year after being knocked out of the Asian Cup, a tournament it has won three times, in the group stage after an opening loss to Syria. The team’s Portuguese coach was fired after the loss. His successor, Nassir Al-Johar, was sacked after the campaign ended with a 5-0 loss to Japan.
After the tournament, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah removed Prince Sultan bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as football federation president.
Female Weightlifter wins right to wear hijab
Kulsoom Abdullah, a 35-year old female weightlifter from Atlanta, Georgia, received long-awaited word from the International Weightlifting Federation that she would be allowed to compete in a modified weightlifting uniform that complied with the hijab and her faith. For the past year, Ms. Abdullah
has been working to be allowed to compete in the sport she loves without conceding her religious values. And with persistence, tenacity, and faith, she was able to see her ambitious efforts pay off. “This is a great victory. I am hopeful for more participation in sports for women and I have a positive outlook on getting costume details finalized for Olympic lifting competitions,” said Ms. Abdullah. “Change is not going to happen if you do nothing. It’s better to at least try your best … I think we always learn through journey and struggles.” Last year, Ms. Abdullah was initially barred from competing in the
American Open because she would not wear a singlet – the short, tight, regulation uniform. Officials told her that loose clothing and covered limbs presented a safety hazard and prevented judges from making sure she was executing a proper lift. Ms. Abdullah then put together a 44-page presentation offering an alternative costume that showcased her elbows and knees without compromising her Muslim faith. Her proposal was submitted to the IWF to consider a policy change for Islamic attire with the support of the United States Olympic Committee, the USA Weightlifting Federation, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
CONGRATULATIONS TO MOHAMMED ASHRAF, LONDON FOR WINING A SIGNED ANDY CARROLL SHIRT
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I July 2011
Hasan Pasha Mosque, Crete The first immigrants of Islamic faith, mostly Egyptian, arrived in the early 1950s from Egypt, and are concentrated in the country’s two main urban centres, Athens and Thessaloniki. Since 1990, there has been an increase in the numbers of immigrant Muslims from various countries of the Middle East, North Africa, as well as from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Somalia. However, the bulk of the immigrant Muslim community has come from the Balkans, specifically from Albania and Albanian communities in the Republic of Macedonia, and other former Yugoslav republics. Since the collapse of communism
in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, Albanian workers started immigrating to Greece, taking low wage jobs in search of economic opportunity, and bringing over their families to settle in cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. An official 2001 census listed 443,550 Albanian nationals residing in Greece; not counting undocumented residents and Albanians from the Republic of Macedonia. However, most of these Albanians are Orthodox or Catholic Christians, and the census lists that roughly half of these Albanian nations are ethnic Greek (homogeneis) and Orthodox Christian. The majority of the immigrant
Demographics Although the actual numbers are uncertain, there are an estimated 370,000 Muslims in Greece, approximately 3.5 percent of the population. Most are from Albania, although there is an indigenous Muslim community in Thrace of about 120,000 persons.
The OECD collects data on education from various statistical agencies within the country, the majority of which comes from census data from the year 2000. The OECD classifies educational achievement using the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED): ISCED 0/1/2: Less than upper secondary; ISCED 3/4: Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary; ISCED 5A: “Academic” tertiary; ISCED 5B: “Vocational” tertiary; ISCED 6: Advanced research programs. 0-2 are considered low, 3-4 as medium, and 5 and above
Labor Market Muslims are substantially underrepresented in state-controlled jobs Education
Muslim community resides in Athens. In recognition of their religious rights, the Greek government approved the building of a mosque in July 2006. In addition, the Greek Orthodox Church has donated 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2), worth an estimated $20 million, in west Athens for the purpose of a Muslim cemetery. However, both commitments continued to remain dead letters by 2010. The anti-Muslim rhetoric from right-wing circles has increased in Greece as the Muslim community has increased due to the increase in numbers of Muslim immigrants are considered high. This data is not reported by religion, but does have country of origin as reported by the respondent. It is thus possible to construct an approximate picture of the educational achievement of the population in the country with ancestry from predominately Muslim countries. One significant problem is that some countries, such as India and Nigeria, have large Muslim populations but the immigrant population cannot be readily classified as predominately Muslim or non-Muslim. As such, the educational data is split by predominately Muslim
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origin, predominately non-Muslim origin, and a separate category for those whom classification would not seem justified. Proportions are for all reported data, individuals with no reported ancestry or education are excluded. State and Church In Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church is established as the primary recognized religion in Greece. Legislation passed in the 1930′s gives only the Orthodox Church the right to construct houses of worship without government approval. Until only recently, the Orthodox Church was consulted before allowing construction. This practice has apparently become less common Islam has been given a legal categorization that entails some of the privileges given to Judaism and the Orthodox Church. Due to the presence of a substantial indigenous Muslim (and generally Turkishspeaking) population in Thrace, there is a special agreement between the Greek and Turkish governments known as the Treaty of Lausanne, established in 1923 (US State Dept., 2004). The treaty provides language, religious and education rights to the Thracian community, but the Government claims that those outside Thrace are not covered by the agreement. Thus, Muslims in other parts of the country often have to travel to Thrace to obtain state-recognized functions such as marriage and funerals. As well, the Greek government maintains the right to appoint the religious leaders for the community in Thrace and there has been some controversy over this policy. Muslims in Legislatures In the Greek elections of 2004, Ilhan Ahmed was the sole Muslim member of the national parliament. Muslim Organizations The Treaty of Lausanne mandates that the Greek state recognize the muftis as religious authorities in Thrace, with various civil and legal privileges. As such, although they officially only represent this specific minority, they can be seen as taking some leadership roles for the Muslim community at large. Islamic Education The Treaty of Lausanne dictates that schools should be established for children from the Muslim community in Western Thrace. Instruction
is in both Turkish and Greek. In general these are considered poor schools which handicap the ability of the students to succeed in the labor market. Recently, the Greek government has attempted to improve the educational opportunities of the members of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace. Economic incentives, preferential admissions policies at universities, and quota systems for jobs and schools have been instituted. However, the schools remain in poor condition, leading many Muslim families to send their children to the general public schools. Students in these schools receive instruction in Islam, but such instruction has not been available for communities of Muslims outside Thrace. Although Muslims are allowed to opt out of instruction in Greek Orthodoxy, various organizational issues sometimes make this difficult. Western Thrace also maintains two high schools to prepare Muslim students for higher level studies in Islamic theology. Security, Immigration and Anti Terrorism Issues In Greece, public encouragement to hatred or violence against a person or a group of persons on the grounds of race, national origin or religion is criminalized. The situation has been similar for Muslims in other countries. In Greece, there have been reports of police bias towards Muslims, especially in the run-up to the Olympic Games.3 Greece has been roundly criticized by human rights groups and international monitoring bodies for immigration policies violating international human rights standards. Immigrants are rarely notified of their rights and are deported without access to the asylum procedure. Greece and Turkey agreed to return illegal immigrants after September 11th, and hundreds fleeing persecution are believed to have been forcibly turned back in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. Generally the Greek government has neglected to confront the problems of the immigrant community. However, this attitude seems to be changing slowly. In the last few years an amnesty program was set up to regularize the status of undocumented immigrants. Although it has been poorly administered, the effort represents a step forward on
the issue by the government. Islamic Practice About 290 mosques operate in Western Thrace and on the islands of Rhodes and Kos, while there is no mosque for the estimated 200,000 Muslims in Athens. Permission was granted by the Greek government for the building of a mosque in 2000, after decades of lobbying by Muslims. The mosque will be funded by the Saudi Arabian government, but construction has not yet begun. Due to the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church, which argued that “the people are not ready for accepting the site of a minaret in the center of a Christian Orthodox country,” the mosque is to be built in the suburb of Peania. Opposition to the mosque in Peania has also arisen with the mayor, local residents and the Orthodox Church objecting. They claim that it will be one of the first buildings seen from the airport, damaging the Greek character of the area. Muslims also have objected to the approximately one hour trip required to reach the site from downtown Athens for Friday midday prayers. The only Muslim cemeteries are in Western Thrace. Although they formally have the right to use municipal cemeteries, this practice is reportedly discouraged, and few have done so. Generally, Muslims in Greece must pursue burials either in Thrace or other countries, which can be a substantial burden for the less wealthy. Greece allows halal slaughter with no restrictions. The Treaty of Lausanne also provides powers over some aspects of civil law to muftis in Thrace. These provisions have been respected by the Greek government. Public Perception of Islam With rising immigration, antiimmigrant sentiments has been increasing in Greece. A survey commissioned by the EU in 2003 found 83% had either very negative or quite negative attitudes towards immigrants, the highest of all the researched countries. The predominance of the Greek Orthodox church also makes many Greeks consider non-Orthodox individuals as fundamentally non-Greek. These attitudes are sometimes reflected in the rhetoric of Orthodox clergy, and official handling of this problem has been remiss due to the continuing power of the Greek Orthodox Church.
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I July 2011
Biblical Prophecies on the Advent of Prophet ) H U B P ( d a m m a h Mu The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18, Moses stated that God told him: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).1 From these verses we conclude that the prophet in this prophecy must have the following three characteristics: 1) That he will be like Moses. 2) That he will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the Ishmaelites. 3) That God will put His words in to the mouth of this prophet and that he will declare what God commands him.
Let us examine these three characteristics in more depth: A prophet like Moses: There were hardly any two prophets who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad . Both were given a comprehensive law and code of life. Both encountered their enemies and were victorious in miraculous ways. Both were accepted as prophets and statesmen. Both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlook not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well. These include the natural birth, the family life, and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus. Moreover Jesus was regarded by his followers as the Son of God and not exclusively as a prophet of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as Muslims believe Jesus was. So, this prophecy refers to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and not to Jesus, because Muhammad is more like Moses than Jesus. Also, one notices from the Gospel of John that the Jews were
waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. This is obvious from the three questions that were posed to John the Baptist: “Now this was John’s testimony, when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” (John 1:19-21). If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.2 We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18.
From the brothers of the Israelites: Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21). Ishmael became the grandfather of the Arab nation, and Isaac became
I July 2011
the grandfather of the Jewish nation. The prophet spoken of was not to come from among the Jews themselves, but from among their brothers, i.e. the Ishmaelites. Muhammad , a descendant of Ishmael, is indeed this prophet. Also, Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the servant of God, His “chosen one” and “messenger” who will bring down a law. “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:4). Verse 11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Kedar. Who is Kedar? According to Genesis 25:13, Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) . God will put His words in the mouth of this prophet: The words of God (the Holy Quran) were truly put into Muhammad’s mouth. God sent the Angel Gabriel to teach Muhammad the exact words of God (the Holy Quran) and asked him to dictate them to the people as he heard them. The words are therefore not his own. They did not come from his own thoughts, but were put into his mouth by the Angel Gabriel. During the life time of Muhammad , and under his supervision, these words were then memorized and written by his companions. Also, this prophecy in Deuteronomy mentioned that this prophet will speak the words of God in the name of God. If we looked to the Holy Quran, we will find that all its chapters, except Chapter 9, are preceded or begin with the phrase, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” Another indication (other than the prophecy in Deuteronomy) is that Isaiah ties the messenger connected with Kedar with a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sung to the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). This is mentioned more clearly in the prophecy of Isaiah: “and another tongue, will he speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11 KJV). Another related point, is that the Quran was revealed in sections over a span of twentythree years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28 which speaks of the same thing, “For it
is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.” (Isaiah 28:10). Note that God has said in the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18, “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy, 18:19). This means that whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says, and this prophet is the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Verses in the Quran That Mention Future Events Which Later Came to Pass
One example of the events foretold in the Quran is the victory of the Romans over the Persians within three to nine years after the Romans were defeated by the Persians. God has said in the Quran. The Romans have been defeated in the nearest land (to the Arabian Peninsula), and they, after their defeat, will be victorious within bedd’ (three to nine) years.(Quran, 30:2-4) Let us see what history tells us about these wars. A book entitled History of the Byzantine State says that the Roman army was badly defeated at Antioch in 613, and as a result, the Persians swiftly pushed forward on all fronts.1 At that time, it was hard to imagine that the Romans would defeat the Persians, but the Quran foretold that the Romans would be victorious within three to nine years. In 622, nine years after the Romans’ defeat, the two forces (Romans and Persians) met on Armenian soil, and the result was the decisive victory of the Romans over the Persians, for the first time after the Romans’ defeat in 613.2 The prophecy was fulfilled just as God has said in the Quran. There are also many other verses in the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that mention future events which later came to pass.
Miracles Performed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Many miracles were performed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by God’s permission. These miracles were witnessed by many people. For example:
When the unbelievers in Makkah asked the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to show them a miracle, he showed them the splitting of the moon. Another miracle was the flowing of water through Muhammad’s fingers when his companions got thirsty and had no water except a little in a vessel. They came to him and told him that they had no water to make ablution nor to drink except for what was in the vessel. So, Muhammad put his hand in the vessel, and the water started gushing out between his fingers. So, they drank and made ablution. They were one thousand five hundred companions. There were also many other miracles that were performed by him or which happened to him. courtesy Islam guide
The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible.
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I July 2011
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