Luar Negara

Malaysia ban on prophet cartoons

Malaysia has declared the possession of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad illegal as some 3000 Muslims marched in the capital against the caricatures, calling for the destruction of Denmark, Israel and the US.

"Long live Islam. Destroy Denmark. Destroy Israel. Destroy George Bush. Destroy America," shouted the protesters who on Friday marched in a steady rain to the Denmark Embassy from a nearby mosque in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

It was the second week that demonstrators have targeted the embassy after Friday prayers. But last week's protest attracted only about 300 people, in a country viewed as a model of a tolerant, modern Islamic state.

The protest came a day after the government ordered a nationwide ban on possessing or distributing the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad first published in a Danish newspaper that have outraged the Islamic world, saying they could trigger public tensions.

"You are playing with fire Denmark. We are ready to fight," said Hanifah Maidin of the youth wing of the pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which organised the protest.

Speakers condemned Danish and European newspapers for publishing the caricatures, demanding an apology from the Danish government. Riot police stood guard in front of the high-rise building where the embassy is located, as a police helicopter hovered above.

Khomeini pictures
An English-language banner held aloft read: "Distasteful depiction of the prophet is a declaration of war against Islam", while some protesters waved pictures of Iranian Islamic revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini.

In a statement late on Thursday, the Internal Security Ministry, headed by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister, said it was an offence for anyone to publish, produce, import, circulate or possess the caricatures.

The measure was ordered to curb the circulation of material that could cause uneasiness among Malaysians and disrupt public order, the ministry said.

The statement did not specify what penalties could be imposed on offenders, and ministry officials couldn't immediately be reached for further details.

The move came as the ministry ordered a small Malaysian newspaper, the Sarawak Tribune, to cease publication indefinitely after it reproduced one of the caricatures last weekend.

The Tribune's publishers apologised for what they called an editorial oversight, but the ministry said the newspaper had to be penalised because its action was "irresponsible and insensitive" to Muslims.

Malaysia's newspapers operate under government licenses that must be renewed yearly and bar them from publishing potentially provocative material on religion, race and other topics. - AP

Hamas leader wants Palestinian army

Khalid Mishaal, the political leader of Hamas, has suggested that the Islamic group could create a Palestinian army that would include its militant wing.

Israeli officials on Saturday condemned the plan, demanding that Hamas should renounce violence. Palestinian security officers, including loyalists from the Fatah party that Hamas defeated at the polls, said they would never submit to Hamas control.

Jibril Rajub, a former Palestinian minister, said: "Hamas has no power to meddle with the security forces."

But Mishaal reiterated that Hamas would not recognise Israel and indicated that attacks on Israeli civilians would continue as long as Israel continued to target Palestinian civilians.

"As long as we are under occupation then resistance is our right," he said.

Speaking from his base in Damascus, Syria, where Mishaal has been in exile, he said his group would not disarm and said Hamas's military wing, estimated at nearly 5000 gunmen in Gaza alone, could be merged into a Palestinian army.

"We are ready to unify the weapons of Palestinian factions, with Palestinian consensus, and form an army like any independent state," he said.

Israeli officials demanded that Hamas should look for peaceful solutions to the conflict.

Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: "If Hamas wants to be considered a partner in peace, it's very clear what it has to do. It has to renounce terrorism, disarm, accept Israel's right to exist and support political solutions to issues rather than pursuing violent jihad."

Holding fire?
At his press conference, Mishaal said Hamas would abide by existing agreements with the country "as long as it is in the interest of our people", but did not say which agreements he was referring to.

Israel and the Palestinians have a host of agreements dealing with everything from administration to security co-operation.

Israeli officials have said repeatedly they will not deal with Hamas, and Shaul Mofaz, the defence minister, said Israel would not rule out targeted killings against the group.

Israeli airstrikes in 2004 killed Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder of Hamas, and his successor, Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, a month later.

Deadly warning
Mofaz said on Israel's Channel 2 television: "Whoever stands at the head of a terror organisation and continues to carry out terror attacks against Israel is not immune."

Many in the 58,000-member Palestinian security force rejected the idea of Hamas control.

Ala Husni, the Gaza police chief, said: "The security institution is a red line. We will not allow anyone to tamper with it. It will remain a powerful and impartial arm that carries out the decisions of the presidency [Abbas] and that stops any in-fighting or civil war."

Dozens of armed police officers briefly stormed the parliament building in Gaza City on Saturday, demanding that the security forces should remain in Fatah's hands. They called for Hamas members who have killed police in recent months to be brought to justice.

Ramzi Ubaidi, a leader of the Fatah-allied al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, told the crowd: "We'll show them hell as an opposition, and we will turn the Palestinian Authority security forces into armed militia led by al-Aqsa."


Hamas sedia bentuk kerajaan campuran

GAZA: Biarpun saling bermusuh, namun kumpulan pejuang Hamas yang diramal menang pada pilihan raya Parlimen Palestin diadakan hari ini bersedia membentuk kerajaan campuran dengan parti pemerintah Fatah.

Kempen pilihan raya Palestin berakhir kelmarin dan tinjauan awal menunjukkan Hamas berpeluang menang. Namun pemerhati politik percaya tiada pihak akan meraih 67 daripada 132 kerusi untuk kemenangan majoriti.

Senario itu membuatkan Israel, Amerika Syarikat dan Eropah kini sedang menangani kemungkinan apa bakal berlaku jika Hamas menang besar.

Pegawai Hamas berkata mereka akan membenarkan Mahmoud Abbas memimpin kerajaan dan terus bekerjasama dengan regim Yahudi tetapi akan menguasai Kabinet Palestin sekali gus menamatkan kebimbangan Israel.

“Kami akan memperbetulkan dasarnya. Kami juga akan menyokong demi kepentingan rakyat Palestin,” kata pemimpin terkemuka Hamas, Ghazi Hamad yang bertanding di Gaza.

Ketika ini, poster pilihan raya menguasai tembok dan tiang elektrik di seluruh Gaza dan Tebing Barat.

“Jangan benarkan sesiapa rosakkan imej anda. Adalah tidak mengaibkan kalau kita berbincang. Namun memalukan kalau kita mengaku kalah,” kata calon Fatah, Samir Masharawi kepada penyokongnya.

Calon Fatah turut menggunakan pengaruh bekas Presiden Palestin, Yasser Arafat untuk memenangi hati pengundi. – AP

Scholars Threaten Boycott Over Anti-prophet Cartoons

By Adel Abdel Halim, IOL Correspondent

CAIRO, January 21, 2006 ( – The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) threatened on Saturday, January 21, to call for a boycott of Danish and Norwegian products over the publication of controversial anti-Prophet cartoons in both Scandinavian countries.

"We urge the officials in Denmark and Norway to take a firm stance against these repeated insults to the Muslim nation and the prophet followed by 1.3 billion people across the globe," read a statement by the Dublin-based body, a copy of which was mailed to on Saturday, January 21.

"Otherwise the IUMS will be forced to urge millions of Muslims across the world to boycott all Danish and Norwegian products and activities."

The union asked Arab and Muslim countries to boycott an upcoming Middle East exhibition organized by the Danish Center for Culture and Development (DCCD).

Twelve drawings depicting Prophet Muhammad in different settings appeared in Denmark 's largest circulation daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30.

In one of the drawings, an image assumed to be that of the prophet appeared with a turban shaped like a bomb strapped to his head.

The controversial cartoons have been reprinted in a Norwegian magazine on January 10.

The images, considered blasphemous under Islam, have drawn rebuke from Muslim minorities in both countries and triggered a diplomatic crisis with Arab and Muslim countries.

Not Enough
The IUMS demanded a clear apology for the blasphemous cartoons, saying recent remarks by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen were not enough.

"The prime minister only reaffirmed commitment to freedom of _expression and condemned any statement or acts against certain groups or people because of their religion or ethnicity," read the statement.

In a New Year address translated into Arabic and distributed to Middle Eastern countries, Rasmussen said "free speech should be exercised in such a manner that we do not incite hatred and cause fragmentation of the community that is one of Denmark 's strengths."

The IUMS said the "un-clear statements" were part of an attempt to avoid directly addressing the issue of the anti-prophet cartoons by speaking about minorities in general terms.

"This hurts the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world as well as those of the some 180,000 Danish Muslims who represent three percent of the population."

The union asked Arab and Muslim governments to exercise all possible political and diplomatic pressures on the Danish and Norwegian governments to grind to a halt such organized anti-Islam campaigns.

The IUMS was launched in July of last year in the British capital London as an independent body and a reference for all Muslims worldwide with prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi as its chair.

Al-Azhar, the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world, has vowed to raise the issue of the provocative caricatures with the UN and international human rights organizations.

A five-member delegation representing 21 Islamic centers and organizations in Denmark has recently toured a number of Arab and Muslim countries to drum up support for their case.

Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, a prominent Muslim figure in Denmark , told IOL on Friday, November 18, that the Muslim minority in Denmark wants to "internationalize" the issue of the cartoons to head off similar anti-Islam campaigns in the future.

Islam is Denmark 's second largest religion after the Lutheran Protestant Church , which is actively followed by four-fifths of the country's population.

Yahudi terus ceroboh al-Aqsa

BAITULMAQDIS: Israel yang diselubungi kemelut politik selepas Perdana Menteri Ariel Sharon masih koma akibat serangan angin ahmar, tetap meneruskan usahanya untuk memusnahkan Masjid al-Aqsa bagi membina rumah ibadat ketiga Yahudi di kompleks berkenaan.

Ini didedahkan Yayasan al-Aqsa yang mentadbir tempat suci Islam di Palestin, semalam.

Dalam kenyataannya itu, Yayasan itu mendakwa, rejim Zionis itu kini mempercepatkan usaha memusnahkan masjid berkenaan.

“Mereka sememangnya berazam melakukannya. Malah kerajaan Tel Aviv itu turut berusaha mendapatkan sokongan antarabangsa bagi tujuan itu,” kata kenyataan itu.

Selain itu dalam perkembangan berkaitan, pertubuhan Yahudi yang dikenali Kajian Israel Institut Al-Aqsa (QIIS) kelmarin mengesyorkan kerajaan Zionis dan Pihak Berkuasa Palestin bersetuju dengan cadangan membenarkan pembabitan pihak asing bagi pentadbiran tapak sejarah dan suci di Baitulmaqdis.

Syor institusi itu terkandung dalam dokumen yang akan dikemukakan pada persidangan keenam Kongres Harzelya Zionis pada 21 hingga 24 Januari ini.

Persidangan itu mendapat liputan meluas kerana dihadiri sekurang-kurangnya 300 pakar keselamatan, strategik, politik, ekonomi dan sosial Israel, Amerika Syarikat dan Eropah. – Agensi

Barat usah buli hak Iran

Teheran 14 Jan. - Presiden Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad menegaskan, negaranya berhak memiliki teknologi nuklear tetapi tidak berminat untuk memperoleh senjata-senjata nuklear.

``Kami telah berulang kali mengatakan bahawa Iran tidak memerlukan senjata nuklear.

``Kami merupakan negara bertamadun. Mereka yang mahu menyelesaikan semua masalah dengan tindakan ketenteraan dan membuli merupakan mereka yang mahu memiliki senjata,'' kata beliau pada sidang akhbar di sini hari ini.

``Berdasarkan peraturan agensi nuklear dan NPT (Perjanjian Pengawalan Senjata Nuklear), semua negara boleh memiliki teknologi nuklear dan tiada alasan atau strategi-strategi yang boleh menghalang hak-hak ini, malah pemeriksaan tidak harus menghalang mana-mana negara daripada melaksanakan hak mereka,'' kata beliau.

``Beberapa negara Barat yang memiliki senjata nuklear mempersoalkan Iran, malah dengan adanya pemeriksaan dan penyeliaan tidak disangka, tiada bukti terhadap Iran,'' tegas beliau.

Tambah beliau, pihak-pihak berkenaan menganggap ada kuasa untuk menafikan hak-hak Iran dalam soal pemilikan teknologi nuklear.

Semalam Iran mengancam akan menamatkan semua kerjasama sukarela dengan Agensi Tenaga Atom Antarabangsa (IAEA) jika Iran dirujuk kepada Majlis Keselamatan berhubung dengan program nuklearnya.

Menurut Menteri Luar Iran, Manouchehr Mottaki, negara-negara Eropah akan kehilangan peluang untuk berurusan dengan Teheran jika ancaman merujuk Teheran kepada Majlis Keselamatan berlarutan.

Keputusan itu mencetuskan pelbagai reaksi di seluruh dunia.

Dalam pada itu, Amerika Syarikat berkata, isu mengheret Teheran ke Majlis Keselamatan turut dibangkitkan oleh Setiausaha Negaranya, Condolezza Rice ketika pertemuan beliau dengan pemimpin-pemimpin China semalam.

Menurut jurucakap Jabatan Negara AS, Sean McCormack, Rice mengadakan perbincangan mengenai isu berkenaan dengan Menteri Luar China, Li Zhaoxing dan Menteri Luar Brazil, Celso Amorim.

Bagaimanapun, kerajaan China menurut dutanya ke PBB, Wang Guangya, kelihatan enggan bersetuju dengan cadangan Rice itu.

Katanya, sebarang tindakan mengheret Teheran ke Majlis Keselamatan hanya akan merumitkan ketegangan yang timbul sekarang dan mungkin menyebabkan Teheran bersikap lebih keras. - Agensi

Israel to decide on Jerusalem vote

Ehud Olmert's announcement came a day before a team of US envoys were scheduled to arrive to help resolve the dispute.

Olmert told Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, in a phone conversation on Tuesday that cabinet would vote on the matter at its weekly meeting on Sunday, a statement from Olmert's office said.

Rice called Olmert for an update on the condition of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister who was hospitalised after a massive stroke.

If the cabinet approves the plan, it would resolve a dispute that threatened to derail the 25 January election.

Israel had threatened to prevent the voting in Jerusalem, which had been allowed in previous elections, because of the presence on the ballot of Hamas, a Muslim group pledged to the destruction of Israel.

Conflicting accounts
A cabinet decision to allow the voting to go forward would be contingent on Hamas not participating, Olmert's statement said.

Israeli officials gave conflicting accounts as to whether the proposal would pass.

Shaul Mofaz, the defence minister, said on Tuesday that Israel would allow Jerusalem voting along the same lines as previous Palestinian elections, when it permitted some residents to cast absentee ballots in local post offices.

The remainder of voters cast ballots in outlying West Bank suburbs. "Israel's policy regarding elections in East Jerusalem will stay like it was," Mofaz said while on a tour near Jerusalem.

But Silvan Shalom, the Israeli foreign minister, said there would be no voting in Jerusalem. "Israel is of the opinion - and it was an opinion widespread when Prime Minister Sharon was still functioning as a decision-maker - that under the present circumstances, residents of East Jerusalem are not to be allowed to vote in Jerusalem itself but only in the adjoining (West Bank) villages," he said.

Position welcomed
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, said he had not heard anything official from the Israelis. "If this is the case, I welcome this position of the Israeli government," he said.

On Tuesday, Israel's security cabinet recommended that the government boycott elected Hamas representatives unless the group accepts Israel and lays down its weapons, said security officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

Israeli police also reversed a ban on allowing Palestinian candidates to campaign in Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, police published conditions for the campaigning, saying that members of armed groups, such Hamas or Islamic Jihad, were still banned.

Other candidates could hold meetings in private homes, but assemblies in public buildings would require a police permit. - AP