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Episcopal minister defrocked after becoming a Muslim

Ann Holmes Redding says she sees no contradiction in being both a Christian minister and a Muslim.

SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) -- Ann Holmes Redding has what could be called a crisis of faiths.

For nearly 30 years, Redding has been an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Her priesthood ended Wednesday when she was defrocked.

The reason? For the past three years Redding has been both a practicing Christian and a Muslim.

"Had anyone told me in February 2006 that I would be a Muslim before April rolled around, I would have shaken my head in concern for the person's mental health," Redding recently told a crowd at a signing for a book she co-authored on religion.

Redding said her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago. During the meeting, an imam demonstrated Muslim chants and meditation to the group. Redding said the beauty of the moment and the imam's humbleness before God stuck with her.

"It was much more this overwhelming conviction that I needed to surrender to God and this was the form that my surrender needed to take," she recalled. "It wasn't just an episode but .... was a step that I wasn't going to step back from."

Ten days later Redding was saying the shahada -- the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Mohammad as his prophet.

But Redding said she felt her new Muslim faith did not pose a contradiction to her staying a Christian and minister.

"Both religions say there's only one God," Redding said, "and that God is the same God. It's very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven't shifted my allegiance." Watch Redding say, "Being a Muslim makes me a better Christian" »

The imam at the Islamic Center in Seattle, Washington, where Redding prays said she brings the best of both traditions to her beliefs.

"Coming from an example of wanting to be Christ-like and coming from the perspective of wanting to follow the best example -- the example of our prophet Mohammed -- it all makes sense then," Benjamin Shabazz said.

There are many contradictions between the two religions. While Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet, Christianity worships him as the son of God.

Diocese statement on defrocking Redding (PDF)

James Wellman, who chairs the department of comparative religion at the University of Washington, said that while it is not unusual for people to "mix and match" beliefs, it is almost unheard of for a minister to claim two religions.

"When you take ordination as a Christian minister, you take an explicit vow of loyalty to Jesus. It's hard for me to understand how a Christian minister could have dual loyalties," Wellman said.

Redding said she sees the theological conflicts but that the two religions, at their core, "illuminate" each other.

"When I took my shahada, I said there's no God but God and that Mohammed is God's prophet or messenger. Neither of those statements, neither part of that confession or profession denies anything about Christianity," she said.

To her parishioners and family, though, Redding has turned her back on her faith and office. There was, she said, "universal puzzlement" at her decision to convert to Islam but still remain an Episcopal minister.

"I have people who love me very much who really don't want me to do this, and I love them very much. And I would love to be able to say, 'Because I love you I will renounce my orders' or 'I will renounce Islam' ... I hate causing pain to people who love me, that's not my intention," Redding said.

The Episcopal Church also rejected Redding's religious choice.

"The church interprets my being a Muslim as 'abandoning the church,' " she said. "And that [there] comes an understanding that you have to be one or the other, and most people would say that. It simply hasn't been my experience that I have to make a choice between the two."

The Diocese of Rhode Island, where Redding was ordained, told her to leave either her new Muslim faith or the ministry. A diocese statement said Bishop Geralyn Wolf found Redding to be "a woman of utmost integrity. However, the Bishop believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim."

Even though she has been defrocked, Redding said she is not capable of turning her back on either faith. She said she wants to continue speaking about and teaching religion and perhaps even travel to the Hajj, a journey to Mecca that every Muslim is supposed to make in their lifetime.

Redding said she does not want her belief in two religions to diminish the value she holds for both Christianity and Islam. Each faith by itself is enough to fulfill a person spiritually, she said.

"It's all there. I am not saying you have to go somewhere else to be complete. Some people don't need glasses, some people need single lenses. I need bifocals

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Commentary: Pakistan isn't falling

Peter Bergen: Some have said Taliban advance threatens secular state of Pakistan

Bergen says Pakistan has many serious problems, including feeble economy

He says Pakistan isn't about to fall to the Taliban and has survived worse crises

Bergen: Pakistani support for pro-Taliban parties and suicide bombings has fallen

updated 3:54 p.m. EDT, Mon April 27, 2009Next Article in Politics »

By Peter Bergen

CNN National Security Analyst

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is a fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that promotes innovative thought from across the ideological spectrum, and at New York University's Center on Law and Security. He's the author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."

Peter Bergen says with all of its problems, Pakistan isn't in danger of being taken over by religious militants.

(CNN) -- In the past few weeks as the Pakistani Taliban have marched ever closer to the capital, Islamabad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sounded the alarm about the threat posed by the militants, who she said in congressional testimony pose "a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world."

Some media commentators have even warned that the populous, nuclear-armed state might fall into the hands of the religious zealots.

This is hyperventilation. Pakistan has myriad problems -- its economy is tanking; its political leadership is feckless; its military is not trained or equipped to fight a domestic insurgency; and the Taliban now can control the lives of millions of Pakistanis. But none of this means that Pakistan is in danger of becoming a failed state or that the religious militants are about to take over the country.

The present crisis with the Taliban is not nearly as severe as the genuinely existential crises that Pakistan has faced and weathered in the past. Pakistan has fought three major wars with India and has lost each encounter, including the 1971 war in which one half of the country seceded to become Bangladesh.

Pakistan's key leaders have succumbed to the assassin's bullet or bomb or the hangman's noose, and the country has seen four military coups since its birth in 1947. Yet the Pakistani polity has limped on.

Don't Miss

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Bergen: Obama plan could be doomed to fail

In Depth: Commentaries

And lost in the disturbing pictures of well-armed Taliban foot soldiers advancing on Islamabad are three promising tectonic shifts in the Pakistan body politic.

First is the "lawyers' movement" that was largely responsible for the ouster of the military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf last year and the restoration of an independent judiciary.

Second is an explosion in independent media. Where in the 1990s there was one government-controlled television station, there are now dozens of channels. The new media is largely pro-democratic and secular in its orientation.

Third is that ordinary Pakistanis are fed up with the militants. The alliance of pro-Taliban religious parties known as the MMA secured enough of the vote in 2002 to win control of two of the four provinces that make up Pakistan. But in 2008 voters threw the MMA out of office, and it secured a miserable 2 percent of the vote.

Similarly, support for suicide bombing among Pakistanis had dropped from 33 percent in 2002 to 5 percent in 2008, according to the Pew Global Attitudes survey, and favorable views of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban have steadily eroded.

Pakistan also lacks a unifying religious figure of the stature of Ayatollah Khomeini, who united disparate Iranian forces to overthrow the Shah of Iran three decades ago. The Shah, after all, was a dictator and not the leader of an elected government.

But, conversely, Pakistan also lacks a leader to unite the country and the army in a common goal of defeating the religious militants. Benazir Bhutto, the country's most popular politician when she was killed by the Taliban in December 2007, might have been able to do it. But her husband, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, doesn't have her stature.

A new Pakistan leader will have to emerge who has the courage to say something like the following: "I have a plan. It is a Pakistani plan and not an American plan. Our main enemy is no longer India; if we go to war again, we may well destroy each other with our nuclear weapons. Our new enemy is the militants claiming to act for Islam in our midst. They do not represent the Pakistan that our great founder, Ali Jinnah, envisioned; a country for Muslims living in peace, not an ideologically Islamist state. We will make no peace deals with the Taliban again. Every time we have done such a deal the Taliban have used it as a prelude to steal more of our land and impose their brutal rule on more of our citizens. We will task and train our military for an effective campaign against the militants, and we will wipe them off our lands."

The United States can do little to help the process of such a politician emerging except to support Pakistan's fragile democracy and not be tempted by the mirage of another military strongman promising stability, but delivering instead a weakened Pakistani civilian state.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Peter Bergen.

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The qulity of our urdu media very well documented.


Pakistan’s Urdu Columnists Live in the La-La Land of Conspiracy Theories

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By: C.M. Naim

For the past five or six months I’ve been reading fairly regularly the web pages of three Urdu newspapers from Pakistan: Jang, Nawa-i-Waqt and the Express. I glance at the headlines cursorily then immediately turn to the columnists. Most days, each of the three carries a minimum of six columnists. Some of them are big names; they frequently appear on TV shows, get regularly invited to the President’s residence, and travel with the Prime Minister on important trips. These gentlemen never let you forget all that. One or two even give details of the food served on such occasions—there is always plenty of food served, not just a cup of tea, when they visit with any dignitary.

Some of them repeatedly tell us how uniquely they know the “history” of everything—how things actually happened, be it in Pakistan of here and now or any country in the past. They also inform us that had their advice been properly understood or taken, the disaster that followed in many cases could have been avoided. None of the sages has ever made a serious error of judgment. And if one of them ever makes a rare acknowledgment of that nature, it is always as a charge of betrayal on the part of some other party.

Conspiracy theories naturally abound in these columns, with three dependable conspirators: America, India (i.e. Bharat in Urdu; never Hindustan), and Israel. The labels may change and become CIA, RAW, and Mossad, or Nasara (the Christians), Hunud (the Hindus), and Yahud (the Jews), but their axis of evil remains unchanged. The alliteration of the last two—hunud and yahud—makes them a favourite and indivisible pair; they generate an assertion that no one questions in Urdu in Pakistan.

In these columns one discovers that M. A. Jinnah and Muhammad Iqbal were never correctly understood by except the particular columnist. They also offer amazing bits of ‘history’—often with a grand flourish. You can be sure to face something remarkable soon if the paragraph begins with the words: “Tarikh gavaah hai” “History is My Witness.” Fairly often a column might appear to have been written, not to communicate some idea or information, but for the sheer joy of writing those pretty words that, for plenty of Urduwalas, make it the “sweetest” language in the world.

Urdu newspapers—or for that matter, the English language ones—do not seem to employ fact checkers or copy editors for their columnists; they seldom carry any correction except of the most minor kind. One, in fact, wonders if their editors read them. One can be quite certain that the English newspaper editors and columnists in Pakistan don’t read them, not even if these Urdu columns appear in a sister publication brought out by their own publisher. In my limited experience of reading the columns in the Daily Times and the News fairly regularly—and inDawn, infrequently—I have not come across any column in English that commented in any fashion on some Urdu column or columnist. But the Urdu columnists are certainly read by a huge number of people who save them and treat them as gospel truth. Recently one of them published a call for people to send him their saved cuttings of his column so that he could put together a book; in no time he had more than enough.

I must now offer some illustrations. But first I must hasten to add that not all Urdu columnists in Pakistan write in that manner. Quite a few—Hameed Akhtar, Zaheda Hena, Munno Bhai, Tanwir Qaisar Shahid, Asghar Nadeem Sayyad, Abdullah Tariq Suhail, Kishwar Naheed, Rafeeq Dogar, to name my own favourites—consistently write with clarity, sober reasoning, and in a manner that is both eloquent and passionate. As for the others—the majority—meet a few below.

Hamid Mir writes a regular column in Jang; he writes with passion but is usually quite careful. I was taken aback when I read his column on April 27. He gave it the title “Children, True of Heart.” In it he described a meeting he addressed where school children were present, and where one child stood up and told him something that he had not known before. The child pointed out, Mir wrote, that America was such a sworn enemy of Pakistan that when Pakistan was born in 1947, the United States refused to recognize it for two years. The U.S. did so, according to the child, because it expected Pakistan to collapse and disappear any day. Mr. Mir was so moved by the child’s fervour and knowledge about Pakistan that he decided to write a column and acknowledge his ignorance of the truth that even a child knew. (In fact the U.S.A. recognized Pakistan on August 15, 1947, and opened an embassy the same day. The first American ambassador arrived six months later.)

Dr. A Q Khan of Kahuta fame writes regularly in both Jang and its sister English journal, The News. In his Urdu column on April 29, Dr. Khan claimed that President Obama had no authority of his own, that he was in fact totally controlled by the white men who stood to his right and left in photographs. He then asserted, without naming his sources, that President Obama had once asked that the Ka’ba should be destroyed, for that would put an end to all the conflicts the world was faced with. When I checked the English version I found it contained no mention of the Ka’aba. On inquiry, an editor at The News informed me that it had been deleted because it was based on hearsay. Apparently, hearsay was all right so long it was in Urdu.

Safir Ahmad Siddiqui, not a regular columnist, wrote a piece in Jang on May 17, denouncing any possible attempt on the part of the government to allow transit facilities to India in its trade with Afghanistan. Mr. Siddiqui reminded the readers: “what the Indians did to the Pakistanis POWs after the war of 1971-2 was of such cruel nature that historians forgot what Hitler and Mussolini had done in their prison camps.” He then presented an analogy whose logic, not to mention factual accuracy, was mind-boggling. According to him Pakistan should learn something or other from Hitler and Poland. According to Mr. Siddiqui, Hitler wanted back his two lost seaports Alsace and Lorraine from Poland—no, I’m not making it up—and resorted to force only when Poland refused him even transit facilities. Therefore, Mr. Siddiqui concluded, Pakistan should also refuse India any transit facility.

The difference between the Urdu and English sister papers nurtured by the same family of publishers also stood out in stark contrast with reference to the reporting on a fatwa issued by some convention of Sunni ‘Ulema on May 17. According to Jang, the learned men of God had declared that it was haraam to commit suicide bombings, or cut the throats of Muslims. According to The News, however, the Sunni scholars had “termed the suicide attacks and beheadings as haraam.” The sages most likely meant what was said in English, but the Urdu version carried its own slant recklessly and never made it clear that the fatwa covered the necks of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Abdul Qadir Hasan is a top-slot columnist in The Express—despite the name the paper is in Urdu. On May 17, he wrote:

“In 1948, 1965, and 1971, and now again in 2009 we are fighting a fourth war with India. In this war we fight not only India but also its two patrons, USA and Israel. This triad is bent on destroying us. And this war is much more dangerous than the first three wars. In those wars, armies faced and fought armies, but this time it is a clandestine war, in which one side consists of Bharat-trained and armed guerrillas, i.e. Taliban, and facing them on the other side stands the regular soldiers of Pakistan.”

This theme, common to so many columnists, was given its most perfervid interpretation five days later (May 22) by Dr. Ajmal Niazi, who is a top-slot columnist in Nawa-i-Waqt. He entitled his column: ”Pakistan will be the battlefield of the Third World War.” He made three powerful assertions—he did not use the word mubayyana (“alleged”) anywhere. (The word is rarely, if at all, used in Urdu columns.).

Seymour Hersh, Dr. Niazi claimed, had disclosed that Benazir Bhutto was killed at the orders of Vice President Dick Cheney, and by a death squad commanded by Gen. Stanley C Crystal. He further claimed that Z.A. Bhutto, Murtaza Bhutto, and Benazir Bhutto were all killed by the Americans. Finally, Dr. Niazi claimed that Benazir Bhutto had given an interview to Al-Jazira on Nov. 2, 2007, in which she had said that Osama bin Laden was already dead, and that he had been killed at the orders of Shaikh Umar Sa’id. But the Americans ordered [whom?] to have the remark deleted, because if bin Laden were already dead they—the Americans—would have had no reason to do what they did in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Having thus established to his own and his readers’ satisfaction a chain of reasoning, Dr. Niazi concluded his column with a scary flourish.

“The Western and American media are in an uproar over Pakistan’s nuclear bombs, but they should also listen to me. I’m telling them that if the nuclear weapons of Pakistan were put in any danger the third world war will immediately start. Then both India and Israel will cease to exist. What will the United States do then? The battlefield of ‘World War III’ will be Pakistan.”

Then there are the wonderful “insider’s exclusives” about the great ones. Here is Mr. Majeed Nizami, the chief editor and owner of Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation, in a letter to his main rival Jang (May 23), explaining a remark he reportedly had made.

“The bomb-exploder prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had called a meeting of some 60 or 70 journalists and editors to seek their advice before deciding to have the nuclear tests. Many people of I.A. Haqqani’s ilk opposed the idea, and tried to frighten him by warning of America’s wrath. He clearly seemed to waver. At that time I was indeed forced to speak to him firmly. ‘Miyan Sahib,’ I said to him, ‘explode the bomb otherwise the nation will explode you. We will explode you.’ And Almighty Allah gave him the ability to explode the bomb. But before that could happen President Clinton phoned him five times, offered millions in bribe, and [finally even] threatened him [personally].”

And here is a charming vignette from one of Mr. Mahmud Sham’s columns—I regret my failure to note the date; it was sometime in May—that contained excerpts from his book of interviews.

“Dr Fahmida Mirza has vacated her seat for me and taken another chair. Now I’m seated on the chair next to the Daughter of the East, the first Muslim woman Prime Minister in the Muslim World, the Life Chairperson of P.P.P., Honourable Benazir Bhutto. Also present are other senior journalists, TV anchorpersons, newspaper proprietors, and her party’s senior leaders. She wants to know if she should take part in the elections… It’s a good thing that she is seeking advice from people who are outside her party. Most of us want her to take part in the elections. She is asking each person individually. The tea has come, together with Chaat. She herself enjoys Chaat. Her dupatta keeps slipping, but she never lets it fall. I’m seeing her after many years and so my feelings are intense.”

In this la-la land of column writing in Urdu in Pakistan three names stand out in my view: Irfan Siddiqui, Dr. Aamir Liaquat Husain, and Haroon-al-Rashid. All three are regular columnists forJang. The first two surpass everyone in finding ‘facts’ where facts may not exist; they also write with great verve in an Urdu that has all the flourishes and graces required in a ghazal. The third, Mr Haroon-al-Rashid, is in a class by himself. I cannot put into English his pyrotechnical Urdu and his riffs of free-association. He must be read in the original. But here is one sample each of Mr. Siddiqui’s and Dr. Husain’s insightful writings.

In a column in May—I apologize again for not noting the date—Dr Husain first defended himself against the charges of faking his doctorate degree, then wrote:

“Those who invoke the name of the Qaid-e-Azam should first show they have the samenafs [“lower self” in mystical thought]. He was educated in England, grew up surrounded by Western culture, and started his political life from the platform of a secular party. But when he became the leader of ‘those who were his own’ he never took removed his cap from his head or took off sherwani; he did not let his nafs rule over him for a moment; he did not use the broom of greed to sweep the yard of his desires (sic). He knew he was the leader of the Muslims, and so he always looked like them among them. He knew how to wear a suit much better than many who wear suits; he knew how to cross his legs and smoke cigars. He had seen such scenes many times in the durbar of the British, but he also understood that millions of people oppressed by the Hindus had whole-heartedly claimed him as their own. And so he gave all his wishes and desires the name of Pakistan, and never looked back to that Muhammad Ali who perhaps had some personal desires too.”

And here is Mr Irfan Siddiqui on a topic that was hot for a couple of days in May. He wrote in his column in Jang (May 23):

“President Zardari was in Washington. A schoolmistress named Hilary Clinton had him and the Clown of Kabul sit on her either side, and then lectured them. In every gathering, every meeting, and every function it was specially arranged that Hamid Karzai should be on the right hand [of the American dignitary] and President Zardari on the left. I do not recall any occasion in the past when an American Secretary of State conducted a meeting of two presidents in such a fashion.”

Finally, since I come from India, I must point out that Urdu newspapers in India are in no way better. Their columns and editorials carry similar feats of conspiratorial thinking and convoluted reasoning. And in rhetorical passion they can match any Pakistani columnist. I have written about them in the past, most recently in 2007 in a note concerning the treatment meted out to Taslima Nasreen at Hyderabad.

C. M. NAIMis Professor Emeritus of Urdu at the University of Chicago. Besides being an acclaimed columnist, he has written extensively on Urdu language and literature and has translated widely from Urdu fiction and poetry.

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Al Jazeera must have given Kashmir to India...


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Someone needs to complain to these clowns!!!

It just goes to show how aware these idiots are of the problems of South Asia's Muslims. So much for Muslim unity.

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Now we have a clown in Islamabad...

Pakistan's Half-hearted Military Offensives Aren't Enough

4 Comments | Posted November 10, 2009 | 03:25 PM (EST)

The Pakistani military has launched a major offensive against the Taliban in the South Waziristan region. The area is home of the Pakistani Taliban; a terrorist outfit that conducts sabotage activities in Pakistan but remains aloof from the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. North Waziristan, on the other hand, is...

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Thank for sharing it guys.

Your post are highly appreciated.

There is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn't any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.

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Anyone watch British drama "Spooks" tonight on BBC1!? Had potential fictional nuke war scenario with PN Navy Ships forcing a Indian Sub to rise and captruring it! :D

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Anyone watch British drama "Spooks" tonight on BBC1!? Had potential fictional nuke war scenario with PN Navy Ships forcing a Indian Sub to rise and captruring it! :D

damn, i missed it... gonna iPlayer it now!

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yeeh haw,,,something to watch... opening iPlayer as i type..thank you ever so much yasser

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Anyone watch British drama "Spooks" tonight on BBC1!? Had potential fictional nuke war scenario with PN Navy Ships forcing a Indian Sub to rise and captruring it! :D

Just seen it - shows the difference (not new) between the army and the presidency!!!

lots of stereotypical BS but harmless viewing.


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History Channel - Snipers - One Shot, One Kill

send PM , if any one interested in this great documentary.

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This journalist fails to understand that convicting innocent people by Pakistan cause it is ordered by

India is hardly important. If he looks at the military buildup and the tricks in Afghanistan and Baluchistan then how come he just talks about unsolvable Kashmir... The answer is at the end... : based in Delhi. We could have known.


When it comes to India-Pakistan relations, there seems to be one certainty for 2010: If nothing changes, they will only get worse.

Paul Beckett

We have been told time and again that another attack on India from Pakistan is inevitable. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates reiterated the warning on his recent visit to India and Pakistan, saying that al Qaeda and its affiliated groups – read Lashkar-e-Taiba – were determined to spark another Indo-Pak war.

Even as the dire warnings pour in – "You WILL be attacked!" – the governments of both countries have so far chosen to take the path of least courage. That is, they have maintained the same frozen state of sour relations that has existed since India pushed the international community to push Pakistan to acknowledge that the Mumbai attackers sailed from Karachi and to round up some suspects.

The subsequent trial in Pakistan of some of those allegedly involved has been insufficient to satisfy India that the matter is being treated with adequate seriousness to warrant any thaw. Pakistan, meanwhile, insists it is ready to restart stalled talks with India on a wide range of issues but that India should recognize that Pakistan is doing what it can to stop the menace of terrorism.

In other times, this might all be delicate diplomatic posturing (at best) or (more likely) the predictable utterances of two distrustful nations not quite at war but not really at peace. People would yawn and get on with their lives.

But what neither government appears to be dealing with is the fact that they face a stark deadline: the next, apparently imminent, attack on India.

Once that happens, the political paralysis of repetitive rhetoric that persists today will quickly turn to something much more sinister.

Indian officials already have made it known that limiting their response to diplomacy isn't on the table the next time. They also complained after the Mumbai attacks that when it came to calling Pakistan to vent their anger, they didn't even know whom to call.

Because of the current stalemate in relations, they won't be any better prepared the next time, which will only increase the likelihood that the first meaningful correspondence will be a missile fired into a Kashmiri militant camp.

From there, who knows…But whatever happens, the last several months of posturing will prove an ineffective coolant for the fiery tempers that will ignite. In that scenario, it will likely be U.S. officials who are left desperately trying to apply the balm.

There is still time. Time for what the Obama administration calls a reset. Time for politicians on both sides to show that they can put up some meaningful resistance to the inevitability of deteriorating relations, or worse, when the next strikes comes.

Given all that Pakistan is dealing with now, including the weakness of its own administration's position, the greater potential for such political bravery lies with India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is said to consider peace with Pakistan one of his top two priorities, along with – and related to – sustained economic growth of close to 10%. And he has the stable position, in the absence of any meaningful opposition, to take a risk as long as his own party lines up to back him. (This time, Mr. Prime Minister, perhaps don't mention Baluchistan.)

Certainly, there are those in the government who will resist any overtures to Pakistan because they feel Pakistan can't yet – or ever – be trusted to deal straight. But he likely would have little quarrel from his public.

"The peace constituency in both countries has actually grown despite our problems," said M.J. Akbar, author and journalist, at a discussion last week. Returning relations to the relative openness that existed before the 1965 war "is a realistic objective, a doable project – part of a process that can be foreseeable in real time, in real space."

Kashmir, he added, won't be solved by 2065, let alone 2011. "But what are we going to do in the meantime?"

At the same discussion, Zahid Hussain, Pakistani author and journalist (he is the WSJ's correspondent in Islamabad) added that in Pakistan, too, "there is a growing consensus among liberal and other political parties that they need to have better relations with India – it's still vague but there is a desire for that."

He added, "The general public there also desires peace. There is no room for us to continue in a state of conflict for long."

Recently there have been rumblings in Delhi that the Indian government might be interested in restarting the stalled "composite dialogue" in the next few months.

Here's where Pakistan can play its part: the Indian government wants something – a real trial, a conviction, a series of convictions, senior Lashkar leaders behind bars for a meaningful period of time – that will give it the opening to make the call.

That is something Islamabad's government, however weak, should strive mightily to deliver so that Delhi's call doesn't come too late.

—Paul Beckett is the WSJ's South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi.

Write to Paul Beckett at

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Fake Muslim Out of the University

Ergun Caner OUT: Muslim-Turned-Preacher Will No Longer Be Liberty University Dean

YNCHBURG, Va. — A Baptist minister who toured the country to talk about his conversion from Islam to Christianity is no longer the dean of Liberty University's theological seminary following allegations he fabricated or embellished facts about his past, the school said Friday.

The university founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell said that a board of trustees committee concluded Ergun Caner made contradictory statements. Although it didn't find evidence that he was not a Muslim who converted as a teenager, it did discover problems with dates, names and places he says he lived, a statement said.

Caner will remain on the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, but won't be dean when his term expires on June 30.

"Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review," the school said.

A phone number listed for Caner in Lynchburg, where Liberty is located, was not in service.

An unlikely coalition of Muslim and Christian bloggers, pastors and apologists led the charge to investigate the preacher with video and audio clips they claim show Caner making contradictory statements.

Caner has been a celebrity in evangelical Christianity since 2001, when he and his brother began appearing on news shows and other venues to discuss Islam in the aftermath of 9/11.

The author and charismatic speaker became dean of the seminary at Liberty in 2005. Since then, enrollment has roughly tripled to around 4,000 students.

He told The Associated Press in 2002 that he was born in Sweden to a Turkish father and Swedish mother, who brought the family to Ohio in 1969, when he was about 3 years old. He said he accepted Christ as a teenager at a Baptist church in Columbus, and then pursued ministry, getting a degree from Criswell College, a Baptist school in Dallas.

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Since questions arose about contradictory, he changed the biographical information on his website and asked friendly organizations to remove damning clips from their websites. But the questions didn't go away, leading to the Liberty investigation.

While few doubt that Caner was raised as a Muslim, they question changing biographical details in his speeches and whether he was a believer to the extent he told audiences.

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Has anybody had recent trouble accessing recently? I noticed that right after the Tasir murder, at first it was overloaded, and now I frequently timeout. Same on website.

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Fareed Under Fire

Aug. 12 2010 - 3:14 pm


Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria blasted the Anti-Defamation League last week for its opposition to a mosque near Ground Zero.

The ADL’s stance undermines forces of moderate Islam, said Zakaria. To make his point, he returned a First Amendment award the group gave him 5 years ago.

Now it’s Zakaria who’s drawing fire. His reporting on Islam and Pakistan is biased and historically inaccurate, say two prominent Pakistani-Americans.

The criticism comes from Akbar Ahmed, former Pakistani ambassador to the UK whom the BBC terms “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam,” and Amra Tareen, founder of global citizen news site Allvoices. Both charge Zakaria with anti-Pakistan bias in his Newsweek column and on his CNN show, “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

In an interview with Forbes, Ahmed points to a May 7 column in which Zakaria writes that Pakistan’s “jihadist connections go back to the country’s creation.” From the nation’s very founding, states Zakaria, it has “supported and encouraged jihadi groups.”

That idea is an insult, says Ahmed. “There is only one founding father of Pakistan, and that’s Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He is one of the great men of history. He was a constitutional lawyer who never broke the law. Jinnah stood for women’s rights. By comparing him to the terrorists of the Taliban, Fareed has crossed all lines.”

Zakaria’s opinions on these matters are taken seriously. As host of his own show on CNN and a columnist at Newsweek International (of which he is editor), Zakaria is the most influential Muslim in the U.S.

Known for his erudite, nuanced views on foreign affairs, Zakaria, a native of India, also takes a hit in Ahmed’s new book, “Journey Into America: the Challenge of Islam.” In it, Zakaria is described as part of a new generation of “media Muslims” who are “too eager to say what Americans would like to hear.”

Ahmed and Tareen acknowledge that Pakistan is the apparent home of Osama bin Laden—and that elements of the Pakistani intelligence services are friendly to the Taliban. But that doesn’t excuse painting all Pakistanis “with a single brush,” says Tareen–and stacking CNN segments with experts who are hostile to Pakistan.

On a May 9 CNN broadcast, for example, Zakaria discussed Pakistan’s ties to terrorism with 3 guests: a French philosopher, a Muslim from Uganda and a professor of Arab descent from the London School of Economics. “He had 3 people who supported his view of Pakistan as a hotbed of terrorism, none of whom were of Pakistani descent,” says Tareen. “We shouldn’t be taking this crap lying down, especially from someone who has a show called ‘global public square’ on CNN.”

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who campaigned against the Taliban, was assassinated by Al Queda in 2007. Some 30,000 people have died fighting Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan, says Ahmed. His wife is the Princess of Swat (the northern Pakistani state temporarily held by the Taliban last year). Six members of her family have been killed by the Taliban, he says. “Imagine how those family members feel when an American commentator who is Muslim calls their entire country a supermarket of terrorism.”

On CNN and on Newsweek’s web site, Zakaria had plenty to say about the ADL’s stance on religious freedom. Asked about his own coverage of Islam in Pakistan, he did not respond to requests for comment.

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Main Media Alert is Pakistanis bad mouthing Pakistanis wherever Pakistanis are around the world.


Similarly, GEO tv has become a symbol of a foreign funded traitor news media channel. Geo's credibility, false reporting, below standard journalism and victimisation has led to its own destruction of independence, reliability and massive decrease in viewership.


There should be served with permanent suspension, displacement, and complete closure of Geo TV from Pakistan.


Anyway the evil Geo channel responds :


Treason charge: Geo/Jang Group serves Rs 50 Bn notice on Govt, ISI, Pemra

Notice demands public apology for levelling baseless allegations; no proof of charges provided despite requests; baseless charges maligned Jang/Geo, incited violence against it, its journalists, caused huge financial loss; its TV transmission blocked, newspapers burnt; info ministry, Pemra have failed to restore Geo channel.
Friday, June 06, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Geo and Jang Group has served a legal notice on the Ministry of Defence, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for defaming and maligning the group by accusing it of working on an anti-Pakistan agenda, inciting and fuelling violence against the group, pressuring cable operators to black out Geo channels, the failure of Pemra to get the Supreme Court order to restore Geo channels implemented, and has asked all to publicly apologise within 14 days and pay damages of Rs50 billion.


In its legal notice, the group — which played a role in the Pakistan Movement, in the creation of Pakistan and came into existence much before these institutions — has alleged that because of the uncalled for, baseless allegations of being traitors and furthering an anti-Pakistan agenda, more than 8,000 journalists, workers and professionals attached to the group and their families are not only being harassed but also attacked and tortured across Pakistan.


Geo and the Jang Group have served the notice on the Federation of Pakistan and the ISI through the Ministry of Defence and on Pemra and have demanded that all must publicly apologise to the group and all its workers and their families for levelling absolutely baseless, wrong and shameful allegations without any proof and endangering the lives of thousands of professionals attached with the group.


The lawyers of the Geo and Jang group have made it clear in categorical and the strongest terms in the legal notice served on the ISI and Pemra that the group shall initiate appropriate legal proceedings against all of them in a court of competent jurisdiction for direct damage to repute caused to their clients (Geo and Jang Group and its workers) and also actual losses that they are suffering on a daily basis.


The legal notice served by Geo and the Jang Group on the Ministry of Defence, ISI and Pemra on June 5, 2014 reads;“Legal notice under section 8 of defamation ordinance, 2002.”“We, on behalf and instructions of the Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited (IMC), Independent Newspaper Corporation (Pvt) Limited (INCL), News Publications (Pvt) Limited (NPL), Independent Music Group (Pvt) Limited (IMG), (hereinafter referred to as ‘our clients’) are writing to address you as follows:


“1. That together all our clients along with dozens of other companies from the ‘Jang/Geo Group’, the leading electronic and print media group of Pakistan broadcasting TV channels with the highest rating namely ‘Geo News’, ‘Geo Entertainment’, ‘Geo Tez’, ‘Geo Kahani’ and ‘Geo Super’. The Jang Group also publishes newspapers having the widest circulation in Pakistan namely “Daily Jang” and “The News”.


“2. That our clients are actively involved in the field of journalism, making and broadcasting national/international news, articles, interviews, mega events and current affairs and are considered as the most reliable sources of information by the public at large and enjoy an incontrovertible, overwhelming, unequivocal and an unparalleled reputation both at the national and international level.


“3. That on 19.4.2014, one of the leading columnists and anchorpersons of Pakistan, Hamid Mir, who is associated with our clients, was attacked in Karachi. In the environment of extreme tension and under tremendous pressure of the family of Hamid Mir, our clients’ channel Geo News broadcast a statement of Hamid Mir’s brother Amir Mir.


“4. That subsequent to the above, ISI sent a complaint to the Ministry of Defence which without even providing any evidence/proof, contained baseless and untrue allegations that “Geo Network has a history of acting illegally in furtherance of anti Pakistan agenda.”


“5. That upon receipt of the complaint of ISI, the Ministry of Defence immediately without verification of the allegations levelled in it, forwarded the said complaint containing the allegations regarding our clients having a history of acting on an anti-Pakistan agenda, as it is, to Pemra seeking immediate suspension and cancellation of Geo News’ licence.


“6. That after receiving the above complaints from the ISI through the Ministry of Defence, Pemra too, without seeking any proof/evidence of anti-Pakistani activities of our clients, issued a show cause notice to our clients, accusing them of being involved in anti-Pakistan activities.


“7. That the show-cause notice of Pemra was distributed all over Pakistan including the media of Pakistan that has caused great reputational loss to our clients.


“8. That despite our clients’ various requests to the ISI, the Ministry of Defence and Pemra to provide them evidence on the basis of which such a heinous allegation was levelled by them against our clients, no proof/evidence has been provided to them so far.


“9. That all of you have thus defamed our clients by levelling such false statements to injure their reputation, to lower them in the estimation of others and to reduce them to ridicule, unjust criticism, dislike, contempt or hatred against which this statutory notice is being served to all of you.


“10. That in addition to the reputational loss that our clients have suffered at your hands, this false and malicious allegation due to the current tense political situation in the country, was deliberately aimed at provoking and inciting the masses to engage in physical violence against our clients and thousands of their employees including journalists, putting all their lives at serious risk. You have succeeded in achieving the purpose of the false allegations as soon after having levelled them a smear campaign against our clients has also been started on the ground that our clients are traitors/anti-Pakistan.


“11. That due to your illegal threats and pressure on the cable operators of the country, they first shuffled/showed on last number of the spectrum, the transmission of our clients’ channels, ‘Geo News’, ‘Geo Entertainment’, ‘Geo Kahani’ and ‘Geo Tez’ and now the transmission of these channels have been completely suspended throughout the country.


“12. That similarly, distribution of our clients’ newspapers has also been disturbed/banned in different parts of the country. The newspapers’ distribution vans of our clients are being set ablaze on a daily basis and the employees of our clients have also been threatened and tortured in various parts of the country, on the pretext that our clients are Anti-Pakistan.


“13. That despite our clients’ repeated requests, Pemra and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in utter violation of the statutory provisions have failed to restore the transmission of Geo News and other channels of our clients on their previous position.


“14. That in the above background, our clients have approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On 26.05.2014, the Supreme Court disposed of our clients’ application on the basis of Pemra’s counsel, Ibrahim Satti and Pemra’s head legal department, Zahid Malik’s undertaking that Pemra “shall abide by the terms of order dated 13.08.2012 passed in Constitution Petition No 51 of 2010, by which the report of Javed Jabbar, the mediator, was made part of the said order and that the Pemra will ensure that there is no shifting of the channels contrary to or in violation of the order dated 13.08.2012.


“15. That it is, however, regretfully noted that despite clear direction of the Supreme Court, Pemra has till to date not ensured implementation of the SC order in letter and spirit which shows that all of you, in collusion to each other, are bent upon damaging our clients.


“16. That due to your illegal actions, our clients are on a daily basis suffering huge financial loss as transmission of their channels has been illegally suspended and distribution of their newspapers has also been disturbed due to which they are not receiving any advertisements.


“17. That we on behalf of our clients request you to immediately provide our clients all the documentary evidence/proof in support of your allegations that our clients are involved in anti-Pakistani activities.


“18. That in view of the foregoing, our clients having no other option hereby call upon all of you to do the following within 14 days of this legal notice:


i. To stop levelling such defamatory statements;


ii. To broadcast or publish retraction or clarification for accusing our clients as traitors or anti-Pakistan;


iii. To publish an apology in a newspaper and make one through a TV interview in the same manner and in the same prominence;


iv. To restore the transmission of our clients’ channels ‘Geo News’, ‘Geo Entertainment’, ‘Geo Kahani’ and ‘Geo Tez’ to their previous positions all over Pakistan;


v. Not to harass cable operators to illegally suspend the transmissions of our clients’ channels;


vi. Though the defamation caused is immeasurable in monetary terms however, to pay our clients direct reputational damage and actual damage that come around almost to be Rs50,000,000,000 (Fifty billion rupees only).


“20. That if you fail to do the above within 14 days from the date of this legal notice, we have strict instructions from our clients to initiate appropriate legal proceedings against all of you in a court of competent jurisdiction for direct reputational damage caused to our clients and also actual losses that they are suffering on daily basis.


“21. That this legal notice is being served to you without prejudice to all the rights that our clients may be enjoying against you under the prevailing laws.”



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wait did CNN just say a sentence sympathetic to Pakistan's position?


Edited by zeeshan

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