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Monday, September 5, 2011

Post Eid provocation. Tremendous torture upon Hindu minorities, loot, molestation, robbery and rampage upon Hindu Temples, Houses, Shops in Bangladesh.

An interior of vandalized Hindu House in Bhani Village of Comilla, Bangladesh by Islamists

Unbearable persecution upon Hindu minorities in Bangladesh by Quran loving people. Loot, molestation and rampage upon Hindu Temples and house hold after a provocation through loud speakers.

Hindu Existence Media Centre | Sunday, 4th Sept. 2011.

Reports came to us about tremendous torture upon Hindu minorities, loot, molestation and rampage upon Hindu Temples and house hold after a provocation through Miking in Comilla in Bangladesh. After Eid observation the Majority Muslim miscreants spranged upon the Hindu Minorities with all free Islamic provocations. All the political parties are silent rather enjoying.

On the morning (about 8 am) of Saturday on 3rd Sept, 2011, the Hindu residents of Bhani village of Debidwar upazill (sub district) of Comilla in Bangladesh saw an terrible incident of attack on Hindu minorities with some explanation of Quran ( 9.5  “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”) through loud speaker and attacked seven separate households of Seven Hindu minority families declaring them Kaffir and bitch malaun ( Malauner baccha) in broad daylight for two hours and more.

Though the crude fundamentalists in BNP leadership like Masum Billah, Ex Chairman of the local council – Harun ur Rashid, Momin Member, Prof. Tajul Islam planned the strategy and attacked the Hindu minorities, the Pseudo Secular (actually pro Islamic)  Awami Police reached the spot very late to let the persecution finds perfection. In the meanwhile the violent Muslim mob 300 heads tried to molest the women of Hindu ‘Das’ and ‘Ghosh’ family, ruined nine houses, desecrated every Puja sthal ( worshop place with idols and deities) in 29 rooms, rampaged a Home Temple, snatched 30 mobile sets, robbed 7 TV sets, 3 Fridges, 6 DVD players, 25 lacs of Bangladesh Rupees, papers , cheque  and funds of Bhani Esha Multi Purpose Co-Op Society and one generator from Das family.

Severely shocked and injured Lovely Das said that all these happened through a provocation while she was tutoring her wards in the morning and could not apprehend the severity beforehand. “They entered in numbers in our house and frightened us with religious slogans like ‘Allah ho Akbar – Naraye Takbir’ etc., tried to touch us badly and snatched all the belongs kept open and ruthlessly beaten up my brother who protested to desecrate the Worship place by urinating” a non traumatized Srabonti Ghosh (name changed) narrated to the media very fearfully. Srabonti is only a student of 7th standard of a local school. The attackers were empowered with lethal weapons including fire arms.

The Sub Inspector of Debidwar Police station reached the spot late and commented their helplessness before a huge Muslim mass attacking the less than 50 Hindu populace. Actually the Reserve Police were sent to the area to rescue the Hindus along with the injured police constable Daru Mia and Sarwar.

It is reported that a rift between local BNP and Awami League factions in the area council election and some clash between the two groups resulted this big attack upon the Hindus, which has already set a routine persecution upon the Bangladesh minority Hindus as their ate in daily life.

At latest the perpetrators like Masum Billah, Harun ur Rashid, Momin Member and Tajul Islam are absconding and police has the failure to arrest a single one. It is belived that the tortured and victimized Hindus tried to get a shelter of Awami League and hopelessly the counter BNP scaled havoc upon them.
The recent happening inside the Bangladesh now a days after the recent Constitutional amendments upholding Islam as a State Religion of Bangladesh and Bishmilla-Rahamir-Rahim in the prologue of BD Constitution, is unbelievable.  Reports are not being covered by the BD Press and media in exactness.  These are nothing but an ongoing Talibani Persecution upon the Bangladesh Minority Hindus.

An joint Attack by BAL (BNP, AWAMI &  LEAGUE) on HINDU Minority People at NORAIL in Bangladesh very recently………

Other News of post Eid persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh in last couple of days.

Muslim Robbers killed 1 Hindu & critically injured 5 Hindus in Netrakona

One Hindu villager was shot dead and five others were wounded when a gang of robbers opened fire on them in Khaliajuri upazila of Netrakona in the early hours of Sunday (04/09/2011).
The deceased was identified as Chayan Das, 24, of Adompur village of the upazila.

A gang of around twelve to fifteen Muslim robbers entered the Hindu village around 12:30am and looted valuables worth about Tk 10 lakh from four or five houses including the house of the deceased, reports our Netrakona correspondent quoting Md Shahiduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Khaliajuri Police Station.

When Hindu locals were alerted of the robbers’ presence, they chased them and at one stage, the robbers fired several rounds of bullets to avoid being captured, the OC added saying that Chayan died on the spot.

Critically injured villagers Joti Das, Dabol, Monoranjan, Sanjoy and Johor Lal have been undergoing treatment at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital.

A case was filed with Khaliajuri Police Station in this connection.

Robbers loot 10 Hindu shops in Kushtia, Barisal

Muslim Robbers looted nine shops belonging to Hindus in Kushtia on Saturday (03/09/2011) and took away over 150 tolas of gold from a jewellery shop in Barisal on Wednesday on Eid day (31/08/2011).
Armed robbers looted nine shops at Kamlapur bazar in Sadar upazila in Kashtia district early yesterday, reports our correspondent.
According to police, an armed gang went to the bazar, 6 kilometres away from Kushtia town and held two night guards hostage at gunpoint at about 2:00am.

Then the robbers broke the locks and looted cash and valuables from three jewellery and seven clothes shops.

In Barisal, robbers looted 152 tolas gold from a jewellery shop at city’s business centre at Katpotti road near Kotwali police station on Wednesday night.

Owner of ‘Badhua Jewellery’ Satyajit Karmakar said, on Wednesday, he returned to his house closing his shop at around 10:30pm but on Thursday morning he found the shutters of the shop broken.

He also found his iron safe broken and 152 tolas of gold ornaments missing. Satyajit said the robbers entered the shop late at night and looted the gold ornament worth about Tk 80 lakh.

A case was filed and police detained two night guards of the business centre for interrogation.

IN NEXT THREE YEARS BANGLADESH MAY BE HINDU LESS UNDER A DEVOUT ISLAMIC DESIGN. SHOULD INDIAN AND WORLD HINDUS ONLY LOOK VACANT ?? ONE BANGLADESHI HINDU SHOULD TRY TO HAND OVER THIS COPY OF REPORTING TO VISITING PM OF INDIA MR.  MANMOHAN SINGH IN DHAKA.   

Professor in 'jail' after four con weddings




The much-married Mohammad Kamil.Some get hooked to making money, others to sex and drugs, but Mohammad Kamil had a unique problem - he was obsessed with getting married. To achieve this, he even converted to Islam.

Kamil was born a Hindu and was called Manoj Krishna.

But at the end it was four weddings and then jail for the 40-year-old, who was the director and professor at a private college in Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

A BTech and an MBA, he first married a girl in Mumbai in 1994. He was doing his MBA from a private college in Mumbai when he married Geeta, who gave birth to a son.

Soon after his son's birth, Kamil left Geeta and hooked up with Pooja, whom he married in Mumbai in 1998.

Pooja gave birth to a boy the next year and once again Kamil dumped her.

He moved to Uttar Pradesh and took up a job at a private college.

To further his wedding plans, he converted to Islam in 2002 and married a Muslim girl in Kanpur.

"The woman gave birth to two children and Kamil left them soon after. He then moved to Lucknow and married another Muslim girl in 2008," inspector A. K. Dwivedi of Thakurganj police station, said.

Kamil's fourth wife also gave birth to a boy but he dumped them as well and was planning his fifth marriage when he was nabbed by the Lucknow police.

Kamil was planning to marry a teacher who was posted in a degree college in Thakurganj locality. One Karunakar Chaudhary, a native of Kanpur, came to know about Kamil's background and approached the police with his details.

In the FIR lodged at Kanpur's Kalyanpur police station, it was reported that Kamil had allegedly fired at Chaudhary in a bid to kill him so that he could marry for the fifth time, Dwivedi said.

The police said Kamil also used to threaten his ex-wives.


Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/professor-in-jail-after-four-con-weddings/1/150047.html?cp

Khairy to take on Mat Sabu in ‘communist’ debate

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — Khairy Jamaluddin has accepted a challenge to debate Mohamad Sabu on the PAS deputy president’s recent controversial remarks on Malaya’s pre-independence freedom fighters that some say undermine Umno’s role in that process.

The Umno Youth chief, who has repeatedly derided Mohamad following a report in Utusan Malaysia that the latter had glorified the communists by saying that the 1950 Bukit Kepong tragedy was perpetrated by freedom fighters, said last night that he had accepted the invitation extended by the PAS-led Kelantan government.

“Done. Got invitation to rumble w/ Sabu. I’ll be there,” Khairy (picture) said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

A copy of the invitation sighted by The Malaysian Insider said that the debate will be held at the Balai Islam in Kota Baru at the end of the month.

Although the letter said that the Kelantan administration is still arranging for Mohamad to go up against Khairy, the Rembau MP told The Malaysian Insider that “only Sabu (will do) for me.”

“No need to look for a neutral venue. Your lion’s den. See you there, Mat Sabu,” he added on Twitter.
However, it is unclear if this is the same debate proposed by PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man yesterday as Khairy said his invitation came directly from the Kelantan government.

Tuan Ibrahim had said that PAS will challenge Umno to a debate entitled “Who are the true fighters for independence” on the history of the Bukit Kepong tragedy which saw 25 killed 61 years ago.

He had continued PAS’s defence of Muhammad Indera, who led the guerrilla assault on the Bukit Kepong police station, saying his party felt “sympathetic” to the Malay communist leader and his kinsmen, claiming they had been forced to endure wild accusations in “Umno’s version of history” without being given room to defend themselves.

Umno’s Utusan Malaysia had reported that Mohamad, popularly known as Mat Sabu, told a ceramah recently that those who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station during the pre-independence communist insurgency were “freedom fighters”.

The maverick politician has since been accused of being a communist sympathiser by Umno leaders and sniped at daily in Utusan Malaysia despite denying that he had used the word “communism” during his speech.

But Umno appears determined to use Mohamad’s statement to woo support from the Malay electorate, among whom communism remains a bogeyman, and last week announced a nationwide campaign to attack the PAS deputy president.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has accused PAS of glorifying the communists in hopes of reducing public gratitude towards Umno for defeating the British and achieving independence for Malaya.

But the former prime minister predicted the more experienced politicians in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would not accept this strategy as it erodes support from those who struggled for independence.

PAS has made inroads in getting a major share of the Malay vote, which is now seen as split among Umno, PKR and the Islamist party since 1999, a year after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister.

The controversy over PAS’s support for the communists is seen as Umno’s strategy to claw back support for a two-thirds parliamentary majority from the dominant Malay electorate in the next general election widely speculated to be called within a year.
A man in a Spiderman costume attempting to entertain a young boy during a mass circumcision ceremony at the House of Representatives in Jakarta recently. Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.  
A man in a Spiderman costume attempting to entertain a young boy during a mass circumcision ceremony at the House of Representatives in Jakarta recently. Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear. 

West Java. Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.

“This will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Council of Ulema [MUI] approves of it,” said Jurnalis Uddin, a doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University in Jakarta.

Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia’s Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate, Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising “not to cut too much,” and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure.

By directing health professionals not to cut a girl’s genitals but to “scrape the skin covering the clitoris, without injuring the clitoris”, the Ministry of Health stands by the regulations, passed in June, as a medically safe form of FGM/C representing an effort to further regulate the illegal practice and protect women.

But recent uproar has questioned this reasoning. Others are concerned the guidelines could well be misinterpreted as an endorsement of the procedure, combined with an enticement for doctors to encourage the practice, Uddin said.

“I think that doctors will use these guidelines to make money from circumcision,” Uddin said, adding that Indonesia’s poorly regulated medical practitioners often viewed medicine as a business.

FGM/C is typically done at birth, or before a girl is five years old and in the past was often performed by local healers, called dukun, or by birth attendants. Traditionally, FGM/C was mostly “symbolic” with a small cut on the clitoris, or rubbing the clitoris with tumeric root, making it less invasive than other types of FGM/C.

However, Uddin, who conducted an Indonesia-wide survey of FGM/C practices in 2009, said he had found that when medical practitioners performed the procedure, there was a trend toward more extensive cutting of the clitoris.

Public outcry

Dozens of Indonesian groups continue to call for the Ministry to revoke the guidelines.

“This gives a justification for health practitioners to damage women’s bodies,” said Frenia Nababan, spokeswoman for the Indonesian Family Planning Association. She added, “We fear it will increase control of women’s bodies by the state and religious groups.”

Amnesty International, is one of more than 100 signatories to a letter stating that the guidelines should be revoked partially on the grounds of Indonesia’s child protection laws, as well as the government’s commitment to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), signed by Indonesia in 1984.

Experts say there has been increasing support for the practice from Muslim groups since the downfall of authoritarian leader Suharto in 1998, resulting in greater religious and political freedom, known as “Reformasi”.

“Before Reformasi [FGM/C] was mostly done on an individual basis, but since Reformasi, it has been done in mass events,” said Siti Musda Mulia, an academic specializing in Islamic studies, who initially conducted research on the process during the Suharto era, and has conducted follow-up research since 1998.

Uddin found Indonesia-wide FGM/C had not increased dramatically since the Suharto era; however in some areas, such as Bandung, West Java, there was an increasing tendency to perform it, even among moderate Muslims.

Across Indonesia approximately 12 percent of female babies born in hospitals, birthing centres or assisted by government midwives have been circumcised, a figure that excludes FGM/C procedures done outside such facilities, Uddin said.

FGM/C remains a controversial practice, with debated origins. Religious experts say it is a foreign cultural practice not sanctioned in any of Islam’s religious texts.

Even a scratch or small cut on the clitoris is a dangerous procedure to perform on infants, say medical practitioners. Long-term consequences include bladder and urinary tract infections, as well as cysts and infertility.

The Ministry of Health argues it is not “legitimizing or legalizing” FGM/C with its standards but only trying to make the practice less risky by encouraging trained health professionals rather than traditional healers to perform the procedure.

“It is feared that community members who want to circumcise female babies will therefore go to traditional healers for this procedure, and it will increase the number of [medical] complications. If this procedure is done by health professionals, then it has to be done in accordance with the ministerial instruction 1636, and this will guarantee the protection of the female reproductive system,” the Ministry stated in response to national criticism.

IRIN

Too see the original article, click here

Insulting Muslims 101

The Nut Graph Shape of a Pocket by Jacqueline Ann Surin

This post is reproduced from here

HOW does one insult Islam in Malaysia? And how does one insult Muslims in Malaysia?

Over the past few years and increasingly over the past months, the state, politicians and pressure groups like Perkasa have demonstrated just how to do either one or both. For the most part, these incidents are an insult to Muslims in Malaysia, rather than to the world’s fastest growing religion per se.

Here’s my take on how these groups have been giving lessons to the nation, and to the world, on Insulting Muslims 101.

Step 1: Weak and wavering

Here’s how to portray Malaysian Muslims as weak and easily swayed by all manner of external influence:

Ban a movie about a pig because it may just convince Muslims to eat what their faith teaches them to be haram. Don’t stop there. Discipline a child for bringing to school the pork lunch his Christian mother prepared for him. Similarly, make sure alcohol can’t be sold in Muslim-majority areas.

Tell Muslims that if they practise yoga, they might be tempted to worship Hindu gods. If there is a Hindu temple in their neighbourhood, their faith might be threatened.

Ban the use of “Allah”, and three other Arabic words, in non-Muslim worship. Send a message to Muslims in Malaysia and in other parts of the world, where incidentally “Allah” is used by non-Muslims in their worship, that Malaysian Muslims are easily confused.

Step 2: Intolerant and judgemental

This is oh-so-easy to execute especially post-Sept 11 when many fear Muslims to be violent and irrational terrorists. Within that global context, adding “intolerant” and “judgemental” to the cocktail of bad traits Muslims purportedly have doesn’t require very much effort.

Projecting an image of Malaysian Muslims as intolerant and judgemental can be done in several ways. For example, show them in an 8TV Ramadan ad as being affected by a non-Muslim Chinese Malaysian who wears a sleeveless top to a Ramadan bazaar. Let them be police and judge in these TV ads who can tell non-Muslims what good, moral behaviour is all about and how non-Muslims should dress.

Step 3: Constantly needing state intervention

If Step 1 is effectively executed, Step 3 is a logical next step. Because Malaysian Muslims are purportedly so weak and easily swayed, the state must step in to protect Muslim faith. And so apostasy is made a crime under syariah law in Malaysia. Not fasting during Ramadan is a punishable offence for Malaysian Muslims. Never mind that in Indonesia, in the most populous Muslim country in the world, no such regulation is needed.

Ostensibly, it’s also because Muslims are so weak in Malaysia that should a non-Muslim marry a Muslim, she or he must convert. No such legal requirement is imposed on non-Muslim couples of different faiths who marry each other. Neither is this legal requirement in place in Indonesia where Malays can even be Christians and yet this poses no threat to Indonesian Muslims.

Yes, and because Malaysian Muslims are weak, they need a Faith Rescue Unit in Selangor and at the federal level, they need an Islamic Affairs Ministry in an already over-bloated cabinet. Without the state watching over how Muslims live out their faith and intervening in both their public and private lives, woe is sure to follow the ummah.

Step 4: Afraid of Christians and Christianity

Are Malaysian Muslims so threatened by Christians and Christianity? Apparently, they are or even if they really aren’t, they need to be.

And that’s why Christian events should not be held during Ramadan. And of course, Muslims must be shown that that it would be disastrous for them to attend any event held on church premises. Muslims who do attend such events must go for counselling so their faith can be protected.

How is this insulting? Well, I’m reminded of my own experience living as a Catholic with other non-Muslims in Third College in Universiti Malaya where the boarders and administrators were predominantly Muslim. And where the loudspeaker for the azan was just outside the bedroom I shared with a Hindu senior. Even though we were bombarded with the call for Muslim prayer five times a day, every single day, and surrounded by Muslims and their practises, that didn’t stop us from going to church or the temple or from practising our faith. Somehow, we were not tempted to apostasise.

So, if even stepping onto church premises for a community dinner can so quickly turn their faith on its head, Muslims must be particularly vulnerable to Christian influence. We must remember though, that this vulnerability may not be applicable for Muslims, including Malaysian Muslims, in other countries where Muslims can visit cathedrals and temples and not feel compelled to apostasise.

It must be this special vulnerability to Christians in Malaysia that forms the reason for Perkasa wanting Christian teachers to be barred from teaching in national schools or at least, to have them monitored. Never mind that our prime minister and other notable Malaysian Muslims attended Christian missionary schools and today remain Muslims. Or that Datuk Seri Najib Razak was at the Vatican with the head of the Catholic Church and did not recant his faith. The prime minister must be in a league of his own compared to other Muslim mortals who don’t hold such high office.

The sting of the insult

Why are these insults really insulting?

Well, because Malaysian Muslims, at least most of them, are far more certain about their faith, and less susceptible to non-Muslim influence and lifestyles, then they are made out to be.

During Ramadan for example, I stayed in a Muslim household for a week to help a good friend with her new-born. Guess what happened when I had breakfast and lunch in front of the fasting Muslims? Was I chastised for tempting these Muslims and endangering their faith? Not at all. Even though they could not eat, they made sure food was available for me, even cooking for me.

On another occasion, a non-Muslim friend who was dressed in a spaghetti strap top didn’t receive stares or rebukes at the Ramadan bazaar we were at in Section 3, PJ. The Muslim vendors and customers weren’t interested in looking at her bare arms and shoulders, nor did they find it offensive. They were more interested in the food so that they could break fast.

So who are these people who would insult Malaysian Muslims and make them out to be so weak and so much in need of state support? And why would they want to do that?

The politics of fear

One way to answer this question is to ask: Whose interest would it serve to have Malaysian Muslims believe they are weak and under threat from non-Muslims, and hence need constant rescuing?

Seems to me it would serve the interest of the politicians and state and non-state actors who insist that without them, Muslims in Malaysia would indeed be lost souls.

Who might these be? Well, Umno and PAS for certain, who demonstrate repeatedly just how much they would like to control the lives of Muslims — even to the point of disrupting the lives of non-Muslims — in Malaysia. That Utusan MalaysiaTV3 and TV1 — all of which fall under Umno either through ownership or government control — have published and broadcast inaccurate reports about Christian proselytisation of Muslims is yet another sign of what is at stake. The possibility that the religious beliefs of the majority in Malaysia are being threatened by the minority is surely one of the easiest ways to fester disharmony and distrust in multi-racial Malaysia.

And of course, there’s Perkasa which, in the name of Islam, would emasculate all Malaysian Muslims with their politics of fear and animosity, and threat of violence against non-Muslims and non-Malays.

If Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians were to believe everything that is done from Steps 1 to 4,  this country would have crumbled a while ago from the strain of having a fearful, besieged Muslim majority reacting to every external influence as a threat.

That we haven’t become a Humpty Dumpty nation suggests that we are all far more resilient and respectful of each other than what has been portrayed. And yes, that includes the Muslims who live among us. Question then is, what will we do to stop this campaign of insulting Muslims in Malaysia? 

Jacqueline Ann Surin wonders just how the revived Inter-faith Relations Working Committee will address the phenomenon of Muslims insulting Muslims and Islam in Malaysia.

India's great expectations

Fears Indonesian Female Circumcision Guidelines Could Increase Practice

A man in a Spiderman costume attempting to entertain a young boy during a mass circumcision ceremony at the House of Representatives in Jakarta recently. Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.  
A man in a Spiderman costume attempting to entertain a young boy during a mass circumcision ceremony at the House of Representatives in Jakarta recently. Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear. 

West Java. Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.

“This will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Council of Ulema [MUI] approves of it,” said Jurnalis Uddin, a doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University in Jakarta.

Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia’s Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate, Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising “not to cut too much,” and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure.

By directing health professionals not to cut a girl’s genitals but to “scrape the skin covering the clitoris, without injuring the clitoris”, the Ministry of Health stands by the regulations, passed in June, as a medically safe form of FGM/C representing an effort to further regulate the illegal practice and protect women.

But recent uproar has questioned this reasoning. Others are concerned the guidelines could well be misinterpreted as an endorsement of the procedure, combined with an enticement for doctors to encourage the practice, Uddin said.

“I think that doctors will use these guidelines to make money from circumcision,” Uddin said, adding that Indonesia’s poorly regulated medical practitioners often viewed medicine as a business.

FGM/C is typically done at birth, or before a girl is five years old and in the past was often performed by local healers, called dukun, or by birth attendants. Traditionally, FGM/C was mostly “symbolic” with a small cut on the clitoris, or rubbing the clitoris with tumeric root, making it less invasive than other types of FGM/C.

However, Uddin, who conducted an Indonesia-wide survey of FGM/C practices in 2009, said he had found that when medical practitioners performed the procedure, there was a trend toward more extensive cutting of the clitoris.

Public outcry

Dozens of Indonesian groups continue to call for the Ministry to revoke the guidelines.

“This gives a justification for health practitioners to damage women’s bodies,” said Frenia Nababan, spokeswoman for the Indonesian Family Planning Association. She added, “We fear it will increase control of women’s bodies by the state and religious groups.”

Amnesty International, is one of more than 100 signatories to a letter stating that the guidelines should be revoked partially on the grounds of Indonesia’s child protection laws, as well as the government’s commitment to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), signed by Indonesia in 1984.

Experts say there has been increasing support for the practice from Muslim groups since the downfall of authoritarian leader Suharto in 1998, resulting in greater religious and political freedom, known as “Reformasi”.

“Before Reformasi [FGM/C] was mostly done on an individual basis, but since Reformasi, it has been done in mass events,” said Siti Musda Mulia, an academic specializing in Islamic studies, who initially conducted research on the process during the Suharto era, and has conducted follow-up research since 1998.

Uddin found Indonesia-wide FGM/C had not increased dramatically since the Suharto era; however in some areas, such as Bandung, West Java, there was an increasing tendency to perform it, even among moderate Muslims.

Across Indonesia approximately 12 percent of female babies born in hospitals, birthing centres or assisted by government midwives have been circumcised, a figure that excludes FGM/C procedures done outside such facilities, Uddin said.

FGM/C remains a controversial practice, with debated origins. Religious experts say it is a foreign cultural practice not sanctioned in any of Islam’s religious texts.

Even a scratch or small cut on the clitoris is a dangerous procedure to perform on infants, say medical practitioners. Long-term consequences include bladder and urinary tract infections, as well as cysts and infertility.

The Ministry of Health argues it is not “legitimizing or legalizing” FGM/C with its standards but only trying to make the practice less risky by encouraging trained health professionals rather than traditional healers to perform the procedure.

“It is feared that community members who want to circumcise female babies will therefore go to traditional healers for this procedure, and it will increase the number of [medical] complications. If this procedure is done by health professionals, then it has to be done in accordance with the ministerial instruction 1636, and this will guarantee the protection of the female reproductive system,” the Ministry stated in response to national criticism.

IRIN

Too see the original article, click here

Can the Saudis See the Difference between Saturn and the Moon?


Saturn - or the moon?
Saturn - or the moon?
Israel news photo: Flash 90


The Muslim world is in an uproar over the possibility they celebrated instead of fasting because Saturn was identified as the moon.

If the new moon marking the end of the fast days of the month of Ramadan was cited incorrectly, Muslims would have committed the sin of celebrating the start of Eid al-Fitr on a day on which they should have fasted.

The Fars News Agency of predominantly Shi’ite Muslim Iran, which is in a constant feud with the Sunni-led Saudi Arabia monarchy, charged that the Jeddah Astronomy Society made a colossal mistake and caused other Muslim nations to pronounce Tuesday as Eid al Fitr.

“The society had said that people actually saw the planet Saturn and not the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal,” the government-controlled news agency reported.

Hatem Auda, director of the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research, had said that astronomical calculations by scientists of the institute noted that the first day of the Eid was Wednesday, August 31, making Tuesday, August 30 the last day of Ramadan.

It claimed that the Saudi government apologized and will pay citizens money as compensation for the sin of breaking the fast a day early.

However, the Egyptian Fatwa Authority told the country’s Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, "The crescent was clearly seen with the naked eye…

"There are seven committees made up of the finest astronomers that view the crescent… and they coordinate with each other before they take a collective decision, so as to avoid error."

Maged Abu Zahra, director of the Jedda Astronomy Society explained that all astronomers in the Arab world sighting the crescent in Saudi Arabia on the same night would be impossible.

www.israelnationalnews.com

DAP, PSM head for standoff over Jelapang

DAP secretary-general S Arutchelvan refutes Perak DAP's 'PSM spoiler' claim and insist on contesting in the Perak state seat.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and DAP look set to head for a clash over the Jelapang state seat in Perak with both parties not willing to compomise on their interest in the seat for the next general election.

PSM first expressed its interest to contest in the state seat on Friday but that was immediately rejected by DAP yesterday.

Today, PSM secretary general S Arutchelvan expressed his disappointment with Perak DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham over his strong stand in not willing to give the Jelapang seat to PSM.

He was also upset by Ngeh labelling the PSM as being spoilers for wanting to contest in the seat.
“PSM can only be spoilers if we put candidates in all Pakatan Rakyat areas, but we are only asking for one (state) seat in Perak where DAP (candidate) ran away.

“How can we be spoilers?” Arutchelvan asked.

In 2008, DAP rep Hee Yit Foong won the seat in a three-cornered fight which saw PSM’s M Sarasvathy losing her deposit. Hee subsequently quit the party to become a BN-friendly independent, leading to the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat state government in 2009.

PSM is now saying that Sarasvathy stands a strong chance to trounce any Barisan Nasional candidate following the work she has done on the ground since 2008.

Ngeh however had rebuffed this by stating that although Hee had defected, the voters in Jelapang – almost 90% are Chinese- were still with the DAP.

“The people of Jelapang did not reject DAP, they only rejected the candidate,” he told FMT yesterday.
“How can PSM ask for a DAP winning seat? I hope PSM would not become spoilers (in the coming general election),” said Ngeh, who is also Bruas MP and Sitiawan state assemblyman.

Betrayed in 2008

Responding to Ngeh today, Arutchelvan said DAP should only consider contesting in the seat if it could produce a candidate who had worked harder than Sarasvathy, a PSM deputy president.

“If DAP can produce another candidate who has done more work than Sarasvathy in Jelapang, we can consider.

“If not Sarasvathy is the best candidate and DAP should not be the spoilers,” said Arutchelvan.

“We hope DAP will give in to wisdom by allowing PSM to contest and avoid a three-cornered race.
“PSM is not greedy as it wants only one state seat in Perak,” he said.

Arutchelvan added that his party was ‘betrayed’ by the DAP during the last general election.
“When we lost the last time, we did not stand under our logo and we were only informed at the 11th hour of DAP’s betrayal as they did not allow us to contest in Jelapang and Jalong.”

He added he has requested in writing for a meeting with DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng to negotiate on this matter.

The spin by The Unspinners


The Unspinners say that Rosmah could not have been at the scene of Altantuya’s murder because she was at a dinner event at the Tabung Haji building in front of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. But the dinner was at 8.00pm. Altantuya was murdered between midnight and dawn.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Konspirasi mekanik bodoh dari RPK si penipu,” said The Unspinners, a pro-Umno Blog, on Friday. In English, that would roughly translate to ‘Conspiracy by the stupid mechanic, RPK, the liar’.

I suppose I should be honoured that Umno would devote so much time in attacking me. This means I must be hurting them real bad if they need to try to bring me down.

In that article they raised two issues. One was about the allegation against Rosmah being at the scene of Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder and the other about the USD 24 million ring. These are supposed to be the lies that I spun.

To support their argument, they mentioned that I lack a tertiary education, had been kicked out from the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) while in form 2, and worked as a mechanic.

As usual, there is no name to that article. Normally, The Unspinners and the other Umno Blogs never reveal the writers of their articles or they may use pen (false) names. They never reveal the real identity of their writers. I always put my name to my articles. Yet The Unspinners have the gall to call me gutless.

Actually, what The Unspinners said is true. I did leave the MCKK, but in form 3, not form 2. I then went to the Victoria Institution (VI). You see, I could not stand an entirely Malay environment and I was more comfortable in the multi-racial VI environment. The fact that most of my friends in the VI were Chinese and Indians rather than Malays is testimony to this.

In form four, after my LCE, my father bought me a motorcycle, which was what I had longed for since I was in form 1. But I could not get a driving licence until I was 15 (form 3). My father, however, refused to buy me a motorcycle unless I can pass my LCE.

And I did pass my LCE with a grade A. So I got my motorcycle at last, something I would not have been allowed if I had remained in the MCKK.

I spent most of my time modifying and racing that motorcycle. I even raced in the Malaysian Grand Prix in 1968 (I was only 18 then). I crashed, though, and ended up in the University Hospital for a short stint.

My only interest was tinkering with engines and racing motorcycles. I even raced from Kuala Lumpur to Penang and round Penang Island. Those were in the days before we had such things as highways.

I decided that the only career I would love would be as a motor mechanic. Any career other than trying to make bikes and cars go faster would not be my cup of tea. In one trip to England, my father brought back tons of books on how to modify engines and I knew I had met my calling.

England was where the action was. I asked my father to send me to England. My father wanted me to be a Barrister, just like him (he went to Lincolns Inn). I wanted to be a motor engineer.

My father thought that this was a dirty job and he was not sure if I was serious about this career. He wanted me to prove that my heart was really in this so he sent me to Volkswagen to do an apprenticeship. Pak Arshad was the manager then and he laughed when I met him. You are too qualified for an apprenticeship, he told me. Normally, school dropouts choose this route. I should go overseas, he told me.

But my father was adamant that I would first have to dirty my hands to prove I was serious enough.

I spent the first three months in the car wash, where all apprentices have to start. So for three months I was a basuh kereta boy. After that only are we transferred to the workshop and put under one of the mechanics.

By the end of the first year, I could strip a Volkswagen by lunchtime and put it back together again before the end of the day. It was now time to go to England. But my father wanted me to get a diploma first and then go to England for my degree or whatever. So he enrolled me in the FIT for a two-year motor engineering course.

As I was sitting for my final exams, my father died. He was only in his mid-40s and my mother decided that the plan to go to England would have to wait. The family could no longer afford to pay for my overseas education. So I had to abandon the plan for a further education and instead go out to work for a living.

This was in 1972 and my salary then was only RM250 a month. But with the early death of my father and no money in the bank, it was not much of a choice that I had. I had to learn how to get through life from the bottom and work my way up the ladder.

But I did all this without the rakyat’s money, unlike those Umno Malays writing for The Unspinners. It was clean money. It was halal money. I did not receive any government grants or scholarships financed by the Chinese taxpayers like those Umno Malays in The Unspinners who are so proud of their higher education and which was denied me.

Of course, The Unspinners mock me about my lowly education. I, however, am proud that I started from the very bottom, way bottom as a car wash boy, and crawled my way up the ladder

Okay, now let’s talk about my ‘lies’.

First, about Rosmah’s ring. The Unspinners just say that I lied about the ring. Actually, that was not even my story. I did not break that story. I don’t know why I am the one being accused of this story.

Anyway, The Unspinners say that I lied. But they did not explain in what way I lied.

They did not say that the ring does not exist. So it does. They did not say that the ring does not cost USD 24 million. So it does. They did not say the ring was not sent to Malaysia. So it was. They did not say the ring was not sent to Malaysia addressed to Rosmah Mansor. So it was.

So where is the lie then? The Unspinners did not explain where. Just saying that I lied is not good enough. They need to explain which part is the lie. This, they did not do.

In short, The Unspinners is spinning and they spin by merely denying without explaining.

Okay, on the next issue, about Rosmah being at the scene of Altantuya’s murder.

The Unspinners say that Rosmah could not have been at the scene of Altantuya’s murder because she was at a dinner event at the Tabung Haji building in front of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. But the dinner was at 8.00pm. Altantuya was murdered between midnight and dawn.

How long was the dinner? What time did the dinner end? The Unspinners did not say. Would the 8.00pm dinner go on and on until 6.00am the following morning? I would imagine not. I would imagine the dinner would have ended before midnight, say 11.00pm at the latest, considering that the dinner was for young children (orphans). I doubt these young kids would be partying till 6.00am.

So, Altantuya was murdered after midnight while the dinner ended before midnight. Did The Unspinners explain this? Certainly not!

Now, who were the two military officers who entered Najib’s house around midnight and exited around dawn? Were Najib and Rosmah home? Why would two military officers need to go to the Deputy Prime Minister’s house around midnight and not leave until sunup the following morning?

The Unspinners does not tell us. The Unspinners just says that I lied.

And what about the odometer on Rosmah’s car? If the car were used only to drive Rosmah from Jalan Duta to the Tabung Haji bulding near the US Embassy, then it would show a certain mileage. But the mileage was too high. In fact, the mileage would be more appropriate for a journey to Shah Alam than a journey from Jalan Duta to Jalan Pekeliling.

Now, Malaysia Today has previously published the odometer reading for Rosmah’s car plus the police logbook showing all movements in and out of Najib’s house. So we are talking about documentary evidence here. The Unspinners just makes a denial without offering any explanations and without replying to these points.

And to prove that I lied, instead of rebutting the allegations with facts, The Unspinners raises the issue of my lowly education and my start in life as a mechanic. Actually, even that is a lie. I started life in a car wash.

Tun Ghafar Baba must be turning in his grave. He used to be so proud that he received only a standard six education and yet he went on to become the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Is The Unspinners now going to mock Tun Ghafar because of his even lower education than mine?

Anyway, back to the allegations against Rosmah. Remember what I said earlier? In Malaysia, you are guilty until you can prove your innocence. This is how the system works in Malaysia. So The Unpsinners will have to prove Rosmah’s innocence. If they fail to do so then we will have to assume that Rosmah is guilty. That is how it works in Malaysia.

Program Umno Merendahkan Martabat Bekas Perajurit Demi Politik Sempit

Oleh YB Nurul Izzah
Rancangan Pemuda UMNO untuk mengadakan program jelajah yang akan “menyerang” Timbalan Presiden PAS Hj Mohamad Sabu amatlah mendukacitakan dan tidak perlu. Tindakan ini diputuskan walaupun pelbagai pihak menunjukkan Hj Mohamad Sabu tidak pernah mengagungkan golongan Komunis ataupun mempromosi keganasan dalam ucapan beliau 21 Ogos yang lalu.

Apa yang terang lagi bersuluh dalam kontroversi terkini adalah: perbalahan pendapat yang masih belum terhenti mengenai zaman Darurat dan juga zaman-zaman lain dalam sejarah negara membuktikan versi “rasmi” sejarah Malaysia yang diangkat pentadbiran BN belum diterima sepenuhnya semua pihak. Malah ia kelihatan menimbulkan rasa tidak puas hati dan kegusaran dalam masyarakat, dan menyulitkan segala usaha untuk menyatupadukan rakyat.

Kita tidak boleh nafikan kewujudan pendapat berlainan mengenai sejarah Malaysia dan kita juga tidak boleh nafikan pelbagai pihak yang masih belum sembuh luka silamnya. Sebagai parti pemerintah, UMNO seharusnya memudahkan perbincangan isu-isu sebegini demi usaha perdamaian nasional, agar sejarah menjadi batu asas dan bukannya batu api kepada masa depan kita bersama.

Inilah yang sepatutnya menjadi matlamat parti-parti politik, terutama sayap-sayap pemuda. Yang sedihnya, UMNO sekali lagi mengguna peluang yang ada untuk menimbulkan syak wasangka dan rasa benci di kalangan rakyat Malaysia demi masa depan politiknya sendiri.

Walaupun begitu, pasti timbul keraguan di hati pembaca bila melihat pihak ini tiba-tiba begitu beria-ia mahu perjuangkan nasib bekas perajurit. Nampaknya Pemuda UMNO tidak mahu menumpukan usaha mereka untuk betul-betul membantu bekas perajurit dan mereka yang masih berkhidmat, tapi sebenarnya hanya berminat untuk mencerca PAS dan Hj Mohamad Sabu.

Sememangnya, jika UMNO benar-benar mahu perjuangkan nasib para perajurit negara, mereka akan perjuangkan hak para perajurit untuk mengundi dengan bebas dan adil dan bukannya mempertahan sistem undian pos yang sedia ada yang menganiaya hak mengundi para tentera dan polis.[1]

Lebih dari itu, bukanlah lebih baik jika UMNO menyalurkan masa, wang ringgit dan tenaga mereka untuk membantu bekas perajurit Malaysia yang memerlukan bantuan, dan bukannya untuk menjalankan program-program jelajah sebegini? Bukankah Utusan Malaysia, akhbar alat sebaran mereka, sudah cukup untuk mencerca PAS, Hj Mohamad Sabu dan Pakatan Rakyat amnya?

Kita juga terfikir mengapa para “patriot” ini menganggap siri jelajah sebegini lebih membawa manfaat dan kebaikan dari menyokong, mengawas, dan memberi maklum balas kepada badan kebajikan para perajurit seperti Lembaga Tabung Amanah Tentera (LTAT) dan badan-badan seperti itu? Jika mereka bekerjasama dengan badan-badan ini – untuk perjuangkan pembelian aset-aset Exxonmobil, sebagai contoh – pasti pejuang dan perajurit negara akan menikmati kebaikan dan keuntungan, dan kepentingan negara akan terjaga lagi terselamat.

Akhir sekali, jika UMNO begitu serius untuk perjuangkan nasib bekas perajurit yang telah berjuang demi tanah air tercinta, bukankah mereka sepatutnya membantu bekas perajurit yang telah berjuang sewaktu Perang Dunia Kedua, yang mana ada di antara mereka yang masih belum menerima pampasan atau bantuan di atas perjuangan mereka? [2]

Oleh kerana UMNO berkata ia lah satu-satunya pengasas gerakan kemerdekaan negara kita, UMNO wajib sedar bahawa ia telah mempersendakan prinsip-prinsip asas negara kerana kerajaan pimpinannya masih memperguna empat perisytiharan darurat yang masih wujud, walaupun sudah 54 tahun kita merdeka. Apakah negara kita masih belum aman damai hingga empat perisytiharan darurat ini masih diperlukan?

Malah bukankah ini menunjukkan UMNO secara tidak langsung merendahkan martabat para perajurit yang kita kasihi dan memperlekehkan perjuangan mereka selama ini, kerana kononnya negara masih belum selamat dan masih memerlukan empat perisytiharan darurat ini? Atau adakah UMNO yang sebenarnya memerlukan empat perisytiharan darurat ini demi masa depan politik sempit mereka?

Sedarlah wahai UMNO, buanglah kepura-puraan kamu, dan marilah berganding bahu bersama Pakatan Rakyat untuk menyembuhkan segala duka lara dan luka negara. UMNO dan lebih-lebih lagi Pemuda UMNO harus sedar bahawa, meminjam kata-kata Edward Murrow, membangkang tidak bererti mengkhianat, dan tiada sesiapa yang boleh memonopoli kebenaran ataupun rasa cinta kepada negara.
Inilah patriotisme sejati.

- Nurul Izzah ialah MP Lembah Pantai dan Naib Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat
1. Dan jika seseorang warga negara Malaysia boleh menjadi anggota polis ataupun tentera pada umur 18 tahun tapi masih belum boleh mengundi, ia hanya merendahkan lagi martabat dan hak-hak mereka yang berkhidmat sebagai perajurit negara.
2. Lihat http://www.thesundaily.my/news/letters/veterans%E2%80%99-families-seek-compensation danhttp://www.thesundaily.my/news/letters/pensions-paid-after-war

Is it history or his-story?

SEPT 4 — I was a little apprehensive as I entered the small tutorial room. It was my first day attending class in England.

In the centre of the unassuming room was an oblong table, around which sat eight post-graduate students of various nationalities. I flashed a timid smile before taking my place amongst them.

At the far end of the table, a heavyset man in a worn tweed jacket and polka dotted bowtie cleared his throat. Pushing the thickest glasses I have ever seen up the bridge of his nose, he made a gesture to indicate that the tutorial was about to start.

“I assume you’ve all familiarised yourselves with the required readings for the week?” asked our tutor rhetorically, after early pleasantries and introductions had been done and dealt with. “Now then, let’s start with you.”

It took me a few seconds to realise that he was referring to me. “Er, yes?” I stammered in response.

“Go on. Tell us what you think about it.”

After spending my entire schooling years in the Malaysian national education system, and after having earned a Bachelor’s degree in a Malaysian university, I was faced with a grossly unfamiliar situation. For the first time, I was asked for an opinion rather than have one written down on the whiteboard for me to copy.

Two memories stand out from my first day at SOAS. First, I had been suddenly thrust into an entirely new concept of study, where opinions mattered, where questioning everything was encouraged and where you were marked according to how you argued a point, no matter how far-fetched it was, and where the notion of “correctness” did not exist.

The second memory that I can never forget is my introduction to a cardinal maxim that has stuck in my mind to this very day. To paraphrase the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “There are no facts, only interpretations.”

Suddenly, I was blown away. Every belief I had about everything I knew was totally and completely changed. History as taught to me by our KBSM syllabus was now nothing more than the opinion of those who wrote it. And as with every other opinion in the world, it was my choice to accept it or not.

My mind had been liberated. From that day on, everything I read or learnt would be tempered with a critical assessment of the source. I began to yearn for alternative interpretations in my hunger for choice. The world was a buffet and I had been fasting for years.

And so it is in such a spirit that I approach the recent uproar surrounding Mat Sabu’s purported remarks about the Bukit Kepong tragedy. Of course, reports by the Malaysian mainstream media are necessarily suspect and have to be digested with a bagful of salt.

That said, I am convinced that there was neither any disparagement of the police nor glorification of the communist aggressors in the PAS deputy president’s speech. Any contention to the contrary is merely exaggerated spin-doctoring.

More significantly, the Mat Sabu incident has brought to question the wisdom of accepting history as fact, without considering who the authors are and what their motivations may be. This is something we must never forget when we contemplate any kind of information.

Like a movie on terrestrial TV, much of our country’s official history has been censored for general viewing. It is shaped and presented in such a way as to trumpet the contributions of selected personalities while conveniently snipping out or downplaying the roles of those deemed counter-productive to the political agenda of those in power.

From the gradual contraction of Yap Ah Loy’s role in the development of Kuala Lumpur to the pitiful passing mention of the ancient Hindu civilisation in Bujang Valley — a historical treasure in any other country — Malaysians are slowly but surely fed a doctrine of half-truths and value judgements passed by politically-motivated authors.

And then we have the vilification of the leftist movement, nullifying decades of political and nationalist activism. By this I am talking about anti-Colonial movements such as SABERKAS (officially “Syarikat Berkerjasama Am Saiburi” and secretly “Sayang Akan Bangsa Ertinya Redha Korban Apa Segala”), of which my late father was the founding secretary; Ibrahim Yaacob’s Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM); Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy’s Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM), and of course the little-known PUTERA-AMCJA, our country’s first multiracial coalition.

The coalition had even gone to the lengths of preparing an alternative set of Constitutional proposals in opposition to the Malayan Union. As a result, the “People’s Constitution” was adopted and presented in 1947, a good 10 years before Merdeka.

The ground-breaking document had proposed, inter alia, equal citizenship rights, protection of Malay customs and religion, as well as the adoption of the moniker “Melayu” as the designation for all citizens of Malaya.

Of course, studying and appreciating the above will by no means displace the contributions of other parties and movements such as Umno and the Alliance. Historiography is not a zero-sum game. There is room for more than one interpretation, more than one point of view and certainly more than a few heroes.

The key to opening our minds is to first remove our blinders. Thus, whenever presented with history that appears to be his-story, it is probably best that we ask ourselves: exactly whose story is this?


* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Slain Journalist's Enthusiasm An Inspiration For All - Najib

PETALING JAYA, Sept 4 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today the shooting death of a Malaysian journalist in war-torn Somalia should not demoralise fellow newsmen in the country because providing coverage in high-risk areas was part and parcel of journalism.

Describing the slain journalist, cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor of BernamaTV, as a national hero, the prime minister said he admired his enthusiasm and perseverance in discharging his duty.

"I was impressed by the fact that Noramfaizul was adventurous and full of enthusiasm in that he frequently accompanied humanitarian missions abroad and, in the face of risks, courageously overcame impediments to send back excellent coverage for the Malaysian people," he said.

Najib spoke to reporters at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang near here after the arrival of Noramfaizul's remains and the 54 other members of the humanitarian aid mission to famine-hit Somalia organised by the Putera 1Malaysia Club.

"Noramfaizul's enthusiasm and dedication should inspire us to organise more humanitarian aid missions," he said.

Najib said the spirit displayed by Noramfaizul had elevated Malaysia's standing as a nation always at the forefront in providing aid to countries suffering from calamities.

Noramfaizul, 39, was killed on Friday in Mogadishu after he was shot while travelling in a four-wheel-drive vehicle with other Malaysian media personnel covering the humanitarian aid mission in famine-hit Somalia by the Putera 1Malaysia Club.

Asked to comment on the work of journalists in high-risk areas, Najib said these were usually zones of conflict.

"Of course, there won't be any risk if we go to an area where there is no more conflict. However, to provide up-to-date coverage in a war zone, one has to face many risks. There will be many warring factions, and their people will be armed.

"Weapons in the hands of irresponsible and unprofessional people can give rise to many risks even when we are not their targets," he said.

Najib said the unexpected shooting involving Noramfaizul could be categorised as collateral damage. Collateral damage is unintentional damage to civil property and civilian casualties caused by military operations.

The prime minister extended his condolences to Noramfaizul's family and said the government would provide assistance.

He said the government had decided to bear the educational expenses of Noramfaizul's two sons, Mohd Irfan, eight, and Mohd Naufal, three.

Noramfaizul was the eldest of six siblings, and the only son in the family.

Old Penang: Chulia Street

An old photo of Chulia Street that has been circulating in cyberspace.

I am not sure what year or even decade this is. Perhaps a pre-war image?

Says mabis60 via twitter: “The road hasn’t changed very much except cars have replaced the rickshaws and the trolley bus elec lines have disappeared. I think the pic was taken somewhere near Cheapside A short lane where you can buy knife, axe, parang, changkul. I rode in one of those rickshaws during my young days in the early 1950s.”

Yes, those were the days when the eco-friendly trams cruised up and down the streets.
Did you know a map of George Town in the late 18th century shows paddy fields located on part of present day Chulia Street? Most likely to provide the staple food for the early community of George Town, some of whom arrived from the Kuala Kedah area.

The majority of the early settlers at Chulia Street were South Indian Muslim traders while Chinese shopkeepers arrived in the late 19th century.

Here's where you can submit those fading, nostalgic or interesting photos of Penang and other parts of Malaysia or other images of public interest. 1) Just scan the photo and upload 2) include in the subject field the caption for the photo, the approx year it was taken, and the name of the photographer, if you want it included, and then 3) click submit. Selected photos will be published on this blog.