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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Taliban put their heads together, Iran Rattled, Ameican Muslims, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Talabani, Indonesia

Sheikh Ali Gomaa is the grand mufti of Egypt and one of the world's most recognisable Muslim scholars. He has travelled the world, lectured to thousands, and composed over 30 works spanning Islamic legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and contemporary issues. Since becoming grand mufti in 2003, Gomaa has been both an admired and at times polarising figure with each of his fatwas (non-binding religious edicts) closely monitored and scrutinised. His deep knowledge provides him with a rare optimistic outlook for the future on the condition of simple sincere work. His major interest lies in holding intellectual discourse with the West as much as building local and foreign capabilities at home. "We all need to learn from history and call people to work for the betterment of our societies for our children and grandchildren in a manner in which all are given their due respect and recognise their duties to one another. Let's love ourselves and love the other and build bridges of understanding to reach human integration on the earth that we share. It's time to work on the recipe, to know and act positively, and to live by Islam," Gomaa concluded.

Of jackals and crocodiles Talabani's "chance" handshake with Barak simply confirms what everyone knew: Israel has been at the centre of the project of destroying Iraq, writes Ramzy Baroud. Most people would not have even realised that the 23rd congress of the Socialist International was being held near Athens were it not for the moment when Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak shook the hand of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. An Associated Press report, published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, dubbed the handshake "historic". History was supposedly made in Athens on 1 July 2008. Centred in a photo, featuring a widely grinning Barak and Talabani, is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was credited for introducing the two.

American Muslims eight years after 9/11 - Having talked the talk of improved US-Muslim relations, Obama must now put his best foot forward and walk the walk, writes Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Iran rattled by Washington's resolve The sudden decision by Washington to ditch its long-held dream of a missile defense shield has generated unexpected momentum for a united diplomatic front against Iran at next month's nuclear talks in Istanbul. Tehran has hardly missed this point - President Barack Obama's gambit poses a tough test for Iran's strategic acumen. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi

Taliban put their heads together In a significant development, rival Taliban commanders - including some of the most powerful in Afghanistan and Pakistan - have agreed to cooperate in the fight against coalition forces. They have also resolved to bury their differences in the Pakistani tribal areas, where security forces and United States drones have been exacting a heavy toll. - Syed Saleem Shahzad

Indonesia strikes a blow against terror Authorities in Jakarta confirmed on Thursday the killing of terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top following a raid and gun battle at a Central Java home. The death of this "Robin Hood figure" - one of Southeast Asia's most wanted and dangerous militants - has eliminated a major threat before United States President Barack Obama's expected visit in November. - Sara Schonhardt


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