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Friday, May 4, 2012

Media Solidarity: 'Hands off the media'

Chegubard Denies Orders Given To Breach Barrier

Report: US Muslim Population Nearly Triples in Decade

Muslims Praying
Muslims Praying

A 2010 survey shows the Muslim population in the US has risen from 1 million to 2.6 million in 10 years

A census of American religions released Tuesday showed the Muslim community in the United States has grown in the past decade.

According to a study carried out by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, the number of Muslims in America rose to 2.6 million in 2010 from 1 million in 2000, fueled by immigration and conversions.

Muslims now outnumber Jews in many parts of the American South and Midwest, but Christians remain the largest group in every state.

The number of Mormons with the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, grew by 45 percent to 6.1 million in 2010.

Among the other major US faiths, the Southern Baptist Convention held steady at 19.9 million over the decade, the United Methodist Church lost 4 percent down to 9.9 million adherents, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lost 18 percent to 4.2 million, and the Episcopal Church lost 15 percent of its adherents to 1.95 million.

Among major religions, the census found the number of Catholics, the largest single faith, declined 5 percent to 58.9 million during the decade. In the New England region, Catholic funerals outnumber baptisms.

However, the overall number of evangelical Protestant congregations continued to grow, albeit slowly, to 50 million adherents. Most of the growth was in urban areas and the vast majority of expanding congregations have fewer than 100 members.

Elsewhere, Buddhists made strong gains in the Rocky Mountain States, where the number of temples and congregations increased markedly. The total number of Buddhist adherents in the United States stands at nearly 1 million. There was no estimate in 2000.

According to the study, 55 percent of Americans attend religious services with enough regularity to be counted. By comparison, most surveys estimate roughly 85 percent of Americans profess religious faith, though they may not attend services.

Some 158 million Americans were classified as “unclaimed” by any religion in the survey.

The survey, which asked 236 religions to count their own adherents, also included family members of adherents in the numbers in most cases.

Jews did not respond to the survey in large numbers, but Jewish organizations in the US have conducted numerous up-to-date studies. The Jewish Population of the United States 2010 study by Prof. Ira Sheskin of Miami University, placed the American Jewish population at 6,543,820.

That number is up from an estimated 6,155,000 in 2000.

Declare Ahmadis non-Muslims: Grand Mufti

Mufti Muhammad Bashiruddin
Mufti Muhammad Bashiruddin

Kashmir’s Grand Mufti on Wednesday stirred up a real hornet’s nest by asking for declaring Ahmadis or Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims through a legislation in the state Assembly.

The cleric, Mufti Muhammad Bashiruddin, who is recognised by both the state government and the Centre as official 'Mufti Azam' or Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, while speaking at a meeting of religious leaders here organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Personal Board headed by him, said that all legislators should jointly table a bill in the state Assembly during its coming session and ensure it was passed with voice votes as well to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims.

“That will address the grievance of all the people in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he asserted, adding that the move had become imperative in the face of the “believers of Mirzaiat and Qadiyaniat only having increased their activities.”

A handout issued at the end of the meeting adds, “On the issue of increasing activities of the believers of Mirzaiat and Qadiyaniat, the Islamic Sharia Council has made it clear that in all parts of the world Qadiyanis have been declared non Muslims. Hence, Mufti Azam appealed all legislators of Jammu and Kashmir “to pass the bill in coming Assembly session to declare them non Muslims in our state as well so that grievance of all the people of state is addressed.”

Ahmadiyya is a reformist movement within Islam founded in British India towards the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (1835–1908), who claimed that he was the Mujaddid (divine reformer) and the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by Muslims.

The adherents of the Ahmadiyya movement are referred to as Ahmadis or Ahmadi Muslims. India has a significant Ahmadiyya population, most of them living in Kerala, Rajasthan, Orissa, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi, UP and in Qadian in Punjab, the birthplace of Mirza Ahmed.

Police reports lodged over fracas

PKR has filed two police reports, claiming that MIC Youth had carried out a pre-planned attack outside the PMO.

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR has lodged two police reports over the fracas which took place outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.

The reports were lodged by PKR members K Gunasekaran and S Gobikrishnan at the Travers police station here.

“I have all the evidence to prove that the scuffle was pre-planned by MIC Youth where they hired gangsters to assault PKR members,” said Gobikrishnan.

“Their target was PKR vice-president N Surendran and not (Puchong PKR division chief S) Murali,” he told reporters.

Yesterday, the MIC Youth members, led by their chief T Mohan, and PKR members clashed outside the PMO and both groups blamed each other of being the catalyst.

While PKR had gone to the PMO to submit a memorandum demanding that 17-year-old student B Reshina be issued a MyKad, the MIC delegation was there to thank the prime minister for issuing identification cards and birth certificates to Malaysian Indians under the MyDaftar programme.

Also present at the police station were Subang MP R Sivarasah and Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran.

Gobikrishnan also claimed that a MIC Youth leader’s wife had sent a Twitter message yesterday, stating: “Surendran where are you? We (MIC) are waiting for you!”

He said that the MIC Youth leader’s wife was also present outside the PMO and her message indicated that the attack was pre-planned.

“Can Mohan clarify the twitter message?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Gunasekaran said that MIC had nothing doing with this matter.

“Our (PKR) battle is with the National Registration Department (NRD) and not MIC. In the first place, PKR does not recognise the MyDaftar campaign which was an election gimmick,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sivarasah and Manogaran urged the police to take action against the MIC Youth members involved.

In a related development, Mohan gave the assurance that Reshina would be able to sit for her examination.

“We will help sort out her citizenship documents,” he said.

The MIC Youth leader also reitereated his challenge that if Surendran could prove that there were 300,000 stateless Malaysian Indians, he would quit his post.

MIC to probe MyKad brawl

The party's disciplinary chief condemns the violent confrontation, and takes the MIC Youth members involved to task.

KUALA LUMPUR: The MIC disciplinary committee will probe the fracas which took place outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

In a statement today, committee head KS Nijhar condemned the incident and described it as nothing short of disgraceful.

He also took the MIC Youth members involved to task for resorting to violence and expressed sympathy for those injured in the punch-up.

Even if provoked, Nijhar said, “The (MIC) Youth should have acted with dignity and not retaliated with violence.”

Yesterday, the MIC Youth members, led by their chief T Mohan, and PKR members clashed outside the PMO in Putrajaya and both groups blamed each other of being the catalyst.

MIC Youth accused Puchong PKR division chief S Murali, who sustained injuries to his face, of hurling vulgarities and throwing the first punch, which was denied by the opposition party.

PKR claimed that the MIC Youth members had tried to attack17-year-old student B Reshina and PKR vice-president N Surendran. But MIC Youth rubbished this claim.

While PKR had gone to the PMO to submit a memorandum demanding that Reshina be issued a MyKad, the MIC delegation was there to thank the prime minister for issuing identification cards and birth certificates to Malaysian Indians under the MyDaftar programme.

Will PKR do the same?

Meanwhile, Nijhar stressed that there was no justification for violence based on verbal provocations.

“If it is true that the provocations were of a physical nature, the retaliation is still unjustified unless these physical provocations are of a dangerous nature.

“Instead police reports should have been made and MIC Youth would have then stood on a high moral ground,” he said.

The same rule, Nijhar added, applied to PKR members who were embroiled in the fracas as well.

“They have made their point on the issue of stateless Indians loud and clear. Now, was it necessary to resort to street politics and vulgarities to drive the same point again?” he asked.

On the same note, the veteran politician questioned if PKR would follow MIC’s lead and launch an internal probe into the incident.

‘It was a premeditated attack’

Contacted later, Surendran dismissed the need for PKR to conduct a probe on the incident and disagreed with Nijhar’s assertion that the opposition party members were embroiled in street politics and had hurled profanities.

“We (the PKR delegation) proceeded in a peaceful and orderly manner. I saw a large number of MIC ‘gangsters’ rush towards the small PKR group with the intention to cause harm.

“I also saw how the injured PKR members tried to block them from attacking Reshina and me, therefore there is no need for a probe as it was an unprovoked attack,” he said.

Surendran also stressed that the incident cannot be described as a fracas, riot or scuffle simply because it was a “premeditated” attack by the MIC Youth members.

In view of this, the PKR leader dismissed the MIC internal inquiry as meaningless.

“I want the inspector-general of police to take criminal action against the perpetrators,” he said.

In an immediate reaction, Nijhar said he too was in favour of the police conducting a thorough investigation and to charge those responsible without fear or favour.

Missing schoolboy found

The 12-year-old schoolboy, found this morning, is safe and with his family.

PETALING JAYA: Nayati Moodliar, the 12-year-old student who was kidnapped in front of the Mont Kiara international school on April 27, was found this morning.

“Nayati is back and is safe and healthy. Thank you for your concern,” said S Viswa, a relative of the boy.

“We will be issuing a press statement soon,” he added.

Nayati was abducted from the corner of Jalan Kiara 1 while he was on his way to school at 7.45am.

According to Nayati’s parents, Janice Smith and Shamelin Moodliar, two men in a black Proton Gen 2 abducted him and drove away.

Meanwhile, The Star online reported that the boy was released at a rest and recreation stop in Rawang at 7.30am this morning.

Quoting police sources, the Star said Nayati was freed after several attempts at negotiating for his release.

The sources said the kidnappers contacted the family shortly after he was grabbed by two men in a black car and later demanded for a ransom for his safe release.

Sources also revealed that after several attempts at negotiations, the kidnappers finally agreed on a substantial ransom amount which was paid to the kidnappers Thursday morning.

A check on a the Facebook page set up to trace Nayati also confirmed the return of the boy, who had captured the hearts of millions not only in Malaysia but also overseas.

“To all our family/friends/supporters of Nayati. We have got NAYATI back!!! He is back to our arms again! Thank you all for your support! We will post soon! Thank you – Moodliar Family,” said a message on the Facebook page.

Police Release Bersih 3.0 ‘Most Wanted’ List

(Malaysia Digest) - Police today have begun circulating images of 49 individuals they had linked to the public violence during Saturday’s Bersih 3.0 rally.

Kuala Lumpur City Chief Police, Datuk Mohmad Salleh said that the police these individuals need to be questioned for various offences.

"They are wanted by the police for various penal code offences,” he told reporters at the Police Contingent headquarters.

"We urge all of them to come forward or the public who knows them can help the police by giving information," he added.

Images of the 49 individuals can be accessed by the public via the Polis Diraja Malaysia Facebook page.

Mohmad also said that there are several other individuals wanted by the police and information on these people will be disclosed soon.
He also confirmed that no police officer or political leader were among the 49 individuals on the list.

"They are all civilians," he said.

"We are still investigating this. If there are proof by anyone linking the violence to political leaders or policemen, come forward and submit your proofs. Police will investigate it with no fear or favor," he added.

bersih_3.0_wanted2 bersih_3.0_wanted4 bersih_3.0_wanted3

Najib Further Linked to Sub Scandal

Najhib runs silent, runs deep
Najhib runs silent, runs deep
New documents appear to tie him to demands for kickbacks

A flood of new documents relating to the US$1 billion purchase of French submarines has turned up additional, damning connections to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the Malaysian rights group Suaram said Thursday.

Frustrated by lack of progress in Malaysia about allegations of kickbacks and bribery surrounding the purchase of the two Armaris-class submarines through an offshoot of the French defense giant DCNS, Suaram in 2009 asked French lawyers for the firm Avocat a la Cour to pursue the case in France.

Although the mainstream media in Malaysia has kept a tight lid on the scandal, it is increasingly breaking open overseas. Lawyers William Bourdon and Joseph Breham of Avocat a la Cour succeeded in winning the appointment of investigating magistrates Roger Le Loire and Serge Tournaire at the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance to examine the evidence.

Cynthia Gabriel, a member of the Suaram secretariat, held a press conference in Kuala Lumpur Thursday to say the organization has gained “full access” to 153 confidential investigation papers on the transactions between the DCNS and the Malaysian Ministry of Defense, which Najib headed when the submarines were purchased in 2002.

The documents, Gabriel told reporters, show the case has ”has magnified into a web of lies involving a slew of companies formed to complicate the concealment of the blatant robbery of Malaysian and French taxpayers’ money.”

One of the documents seized by French police from the office of Henri Gide, an official with Thales, an offshoot of DCNS, indicated Najib had met personally with Gide on July 14, 2001, to demand that DCNI, another offshoot of DCNS, pay US$1 billion “for the stay in France” of Perimekar Sdn Bhd, a company that was wholly owned at that point by Abdul Razak Baginda, then a close friend of Najib’s and the head of a Kuala Lumpur-based security think tank.

The papers do not make it clear what that means. However, Gabriel told reporters: “We were really shocked to find that one of the documents contained Najib’s name and (he) had placed a condition in writing in France that DCNS would need to pay a maximum sum of US$1 billion to Perimekar for their stay in France,” Gabriel told reporters.

Razak Baginda was implicated in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaaribuu, his jilted girlfriend, in 2006 but was exonerated by a Kuala Lumpur judge without having to put on a defense. Two of Najib’s bodyguards were convicted of the crime and sentenced to hang, although the trial carefully skirted the question of who had offered to pay the two RM100,000 to kill her. The two remain in jail on appeal.

French investigators have found at least another €33 million channeled through a Hong Kong-registered company called Terasasi Hong Kong Ltd, whose directors were Razak Baginda and his father. Still other reports have indicated that the €33 million was part of €146 million that may have been funneled to officials of the United Malays National Organization and Najib, who traveled with Abdul Razak Baginda several times to France as defense minister at the time the Malaysians purchased the submarines from DCNS.

Another document was an invoice faxed by Terasasi Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian predecessor to Terasasi HK, to Bernard Baiocco, then the chief executive officer of Thales, demanding the payment of €359, 450.00 as “success fees” to be paid to Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd in the Malaysian suburb of Petaling Jaya, along with a handwritten note in French as follows:

“Razak demande si ce SF peut etre pris en compte assez vite. Le Support Fee suit avec un rapport,”
translated as “Razak requests if that SF can be taken into account quite urgently. The support fee follows with a report.” Although the prime minister is known by his name Najib in Malaysia, it is unclear if Thales officials were referring to him, or to Razak Baginda.

Since the purchase of the submarines became public, a plethora of reports have detailed the distribution of millions of dollars through companies controlled by Razak Baginda. Perimekar received €114.9 million in direct commissions on the purchase, according to questions on the floor of Parliament in 2006.

Still other reports have indicated that the €33 million in the Terasasi account was part of €146 million that may have been funneled to officials of the United Malays National Organization and Najib, who traveled with Abdul Razak Baginda several times to France as defense minister at the time the Malaysians purchased the submarines from DCNS.

A fax from Thales dated June 1, 2001 from by Francois Dupont, a Thales official, to his bosses and titled “Malaysia/Submarine Project” detailed the chronology of visits and future actions during journeys to Malaysia for meetings with the Ministry of Defense and Peremikar, during which two contract proposals were mentioned.

According to Suaram, Dupont “ finally indicated a meeting with Dato’ Sri Najib in France on 14 July 2001 with the condition that DCNI offers a maximum sum of US$1 billion for Perimekar’s stay (in France).

While Suaram weren’t able to obtain hard copies and distribute them, Gabriel said, “we are however entitled to full view of the documents and are able to quote them to the media and to the public. It is also to be noted that the complaint lodged by Suaram has led to the evolution of a criminal investigation which has just commenced which will result in the criminal prosecution of those involved in this corruption scandal. The French, Malaysian officials and the companies involved in the corruption scandal may be put on the suspect list as the criminal case proceeds in the French Court.

The French courts are expected to issue subpoenas in writing to the witnesses, which include Najib, Razak Baginda and several other Malaysian figures, obliging the witnesses to appear. If they are unwilling to do so, the e court can issue a notice “mandate d ‘amener”, compelling them to appear in the face of an arrest warrant.

The warrant, however, is only good on French soil. Razak Baginda remains in the UK and the ability of France to compel the head of a soverign government to appear is nonexistent. Nonetheless, a red alert can be sent to Interpol, which would probably shut down jaunts to Europe by Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, who visited Italy last year to meet the Pope.

“It has become apparent that this constitutes one of the Malaysian government’s greatest robberies over its people. It is no longer just the €114.9 million commissions to Perimekar that formed the basis of the complaint to the French courts that is in question,” Gabriel told reporters. “It has magnified into a web of lies involving a slew of companies formed to complicate the concealment of the blatant robbery of Malaysian and French taxpayers’ money. More retro-commissions have surfaced allowing the misuse of such bodies as the pilgrimage funds (Lembaga Tabung Haji) and the military pension funds (Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera).”

French prosecutors: Najib sought US$1bil for Perimekar

(Malaysiakini) French public prosecutors probing shoddy deals in French-Malaysian arms deals found evidence that then-defence minister Najib Abdul Razak had sought US$1 billion (RM3 billion) for local company Perimekar from French shipmaker DCN's subsidiary DCNI.

According to prosecution papers revealed by NGO Suaram today, a fax shows that Najib had asked for the amount for Perimekar as a condition for a meeting with him on July 14, 2001.

The fax,dated June 1, 2001 was from Francois Dupont, the Malaysian representative for private company Thales Asia International, to one D Arnaud.

The document, one of 153 shown to Suaram, was seized by French police from the office of Henri Gide, an officer with Thales.
However, no copy of the fax was provided to media at the press conference today as Suaram said it is not allowed to take the documents out of France.

Instead, the NGO, which is pursuing a civil complaint against state-owned DCN for allegedly paying 114 million euros in defence kickbacks to Perimekar, provided media with notes from its French interpreter.

According to the notes, Dupont had in the fax detailed out the chronology of visits and future actions during a visit to Malaysia, including details of “negotiation meetings with the Ministry of Defence and the management members of Perimekar”.

“(In the negotiations) two contract proposals would be mentioned (from DCNI to Perimekar as well as between Perimekar and the Malaysian government).

“(Dupont) finally indicated a meeting with Datuk Seri Najib in France on July 14, 2001 with the condition that DCNI offers a maximum sum of US$1 billion for Perimekar’s stay (in France),” it reads.
Malaysia purchased two Scorpene class submarines in 2002.
Perimekar is owned by Najib’s associate Abdul Razak Baginda, who was acquitted on a charge of abetting in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuuyaa Shariibuu, without his defence being called.

Razak Baginda’s company paid 360,000 euros
According to Suaram, another document obtained by the prosecutors revealed that Terasasi Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Abdul Razak and his father, was also linked to the scandal.
Suaram's interpreter noted that prosecutors had on Aug 22, 2011, obtained an invoice faxed to Terasasi Sdn Bhd on Sept 19, 2004, to the then-chief executive officer of Thales, Bernard Baiocco, for the purpose of “success fees”.

The invoice states that 359,450 euros (RM1.43 million) was to be paid into a bank in Petaling Jaya, while a handwritten note on the fax reads:

Razak demande si ce SF peut etre pris en compte assez vite. Le Support Fee suit avec un rapport (Razak is asking whether the SF can be paid into the account quite urgently. The support fee follows with a report.)”

However, Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel said the prosecutors were still trying to determine whether the ‘Razak’ stated in the note refers to Najib or Abdul Razak.

‘The Great Malaysian Robbery’

Referring to the case as “the Great Malaysian Robbery”, Gabriel said the prosecutors also found “a slew of companies” had been formed to muddy the money trail.

apcet II 221209 cynthia gabriel“More retro-commissions have surfaced, allowing the misuse of bodies such as a pilgrimage fund (Lembaga Tabung Haji) and the military pension fund (Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera).

“The Malaysian and French people have clearly been misled, cheated and robbed of their monies through blatant corruption and mismanagement of funds in the name of national safety and security,” Gabriel (right) said.

As such, Suaram demanded that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission open investigation papers on these new revelations and for the Malaysian government to cooperate with the French inquiry.

It also demands that the Defence Ministry lists out to Parliament the companies involved in the procurement process involving DCN and the commissions paid.

'Langgar penghadang tak tentang arahan mahkamah'

Tindakan melanggar penghadang polis di persimpangan Jalan Raja dan Jalan Raja Laut semasa perhimpunan BERSIH Sabtu lalu tidak menyalahi larangan mahkamah, kata Ketua Jawatankuasa Perlembagaan Majlis Peguam Syahredzan Johan.

NONESyahredzan berkata, arahan mahkamah hanya melarang orang awam daripada memasuki Dataran Merdeka dan bukan jalan sekitarnya.

"Saya rasa ia perangkap. Mereka pasang penghadang di kawasan berdekatan Kelab Diraja Selangor dan Jalan Raja walaupun tempat itu bukan dikira sebahagian daripada Dataran.

"Tetapi apa yang tidak boleh dilanggar? Arahan mahkamah apa? Arahan mahkamah hanya menyebut kamu tidak boleh melanggar ke Dataran, bukan penghadang," katanya dalam forum analisis pasca-BERSIH 3.0 di Kuala Lumpur malam tadi.


5 men on death row lose appeal

The New Straits Times

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court yesterday reaffirmed the death sentences imposed on five men for murder and dadah trafficking in three separate appeals.

In all the cases, the High Court had found them guilty and the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence and conviction.

The appellants are:

Ong Lock Soon, a former debt collector who trafficked in 821.9gm of heroin at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 28, 2002;

P. Vellertore, an ex-security guard, who murdered his three children, Rudraa Kumar, 6, Kesappata, 5, and Harini, 3, by strangling them at his house in Taman Muhibbah, Kulai, Johor on Jan 20, 2004; and,

Former welders Mohd Rizal Masiran, 28; Shuhaizal Shuaid, 33; and Mohd Razip Mohd Ali, 42, who jointly trafficked in 2.7kg of ganja in Chemor, Perak, on Oct 29, 2002.

MIC's Hostel In Bandar Utama Would Help Indian Students

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 (Bernama) -- The latest effort by the MIC to build a student hostel on its land in Bandar Utama was to further its goal in uplifting and providing better educational facilities to needy students from the Indian Community.

Its president, Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the only student hostel they had before for the Indian students was the PPN hostel in Petaling Jaya which was built by The National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW) for the benefit of students from estates.

"However, some years ago the PPN hostel was demolished to give way for a condominium project," he said in a statement here, Thursday.

Palanivel said since then there had been no hostel facilities for rural Indian students who were unable to find accommodation in their respective university campuses.

He said the MIC hostel project in Bandar Utama would solve the problem and added that the hostel complex would come complete with a good sports field.

Full-scale probe on Scorpene deal needed

In view of the latest revelations about the France-Malaysia arms deals, a wide-ranging and full-scale independent inquiry is required.
Too many questions have been raised, and it is a shame that we have to rely on the French courts to unravel the truth.

But I suppose we will have to wait until the cows come home before any such inquiry is held here. Right, MACC?