Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tribal Leaders Condenm Video of Little Boy (Report)

In a video, the Taliban showed a young boy beheading a man, who was accused of spying. In reaction to the video, tribal leaders condenmed Talibans' action, calling it un-Islamic.

Click on the headline and read the complete reporter by REUTERS.

Shiite-Sunni Friendship Never Gets Media Attention (Video)

While most Media report the conflict between Shiite and Sunni, the friendship among a local restaurant staff contradicts it.

Click on the headline and watch the video about this topic.

Related to Shiite-Sunni (In-depth)
Zabihullah Noori

While thousands of Muslims kill each other over the sectarian fights in Iraq, many Shiite and Sunni Muslims live in peace and brotherhood in different parts of the U.S.
They say that the tension in Iraq is not as deadly as it is being reported by the media.
Amirah Ismail, an Egyptian-American sophomore at ASU believes that the media is not lying about the sectarian fights in Iraq. However, she said, “The media is biased when it comes to Islam.”
Ismail said that she had serious discussions with her Shiites friends, but they all ended peacefully. She said, “If we notice, we have more similarities in both sectors than the differences.” She does not prefer one sector over the other, as she said, “Each Muslim has his/her own relation with Allah. No one is better than the other.”
Faraz Khan, a Pakistani Sunni, is a software developer at ASU. He never had any discussions with his Shiites friends about religion. Khan believes that the differences in both sectors are not deadly. It is just a matter of preferences in practice.
Khan said, “Once I invited some of my Sunni and Shiite friends at my house. The Sunnis prayed collectively, while the Shiites offered there prayers individually.”
The reason why Shiites did not join the prayer is because Shiites do not pray after any individual unless they know that person’s background up to three generations. Sunnis attend collective prayer, regardless of who is leading it.
Khan said that there are Shiites and Sunnis living in Pakistan, but their relations are brotherly and peacefully. Khan also believes that the media is not fair about this issue. He said, “The issue of Shiite and Sunni is over-exaggerated in the U.S. media, for the most part.”
Hani Rahal, is the public relation officer for Al-Mahdi Community Center, the only Islamic center for the Shiite Muslims in the Valley. Rahal said that the relations between Shiite and Sunni in the valley are excellent. He said, “We pray with each other and hang out with each other.” As for the issue of Shiite and Sunni in Iraq, Rahal Said, “Anyone who is killing any innocent claiming to be either Shiite or Sunni has no religion at all.”
According to Rahal, since the U.S. policy failed in Iraq and Middle East, they are causing these sectarian fights to legitimize their stay there. Rahal said, “There is a failure of American policy in Middle East; the only way to succeed is to cause sectarian fights.” He believes that the sectarian war in Iraq is a political issue, not a religious one. As he said, “It is a political issue that people of different sectors are fighting in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East. It has got nothing to do with Islam.”
The sectarian war between the Shiite and the Sunni in Iraq maxed out after the U.S. Marines entered the country. Iraq, having a Shiite majority population was ruled by Saddam Hussein, a dictator from a Sunni minority. Shiites were suppressed throughout Hussein’s regime. After the presidential election of Iraq with the support of U.S., Shiites took over the power, but it was not accepted by Sunni minority. This power shift was the main reason behind this bloody sectarian war, which resulted in the death of insurgents from both sides, but also cost many innocent civilians including women and children, to lose their lives. Since it is an ongoing war, there is no exact figure of casualties, but according to a report on CNN Web site, the number of civilians killed in Iraq in the first half of 2006 is 14,000.
Firas, who would only allow his first name to be printed, is an Iraqi-American engineer living in the U.S. for the past 25 years. He looks at the issue a bit differently. Firas said that the situation in Iraq was different before the collapse of late Saddam Hussein’s regime. He said, “There weren’t sectarian wars back then. They didn’t feel any difference.” But, he said that after the collapse of Hussein’s regime, Shiites became powerful, and this was not accepted by the Sunni minority. On the other hand, Firas said that the U.S. military force is not welcomed by all Iraqis. According to Firas, “Some people are upset with the presence of U.S. military because they have lost their friends and family members in the air strikes and bombings.”
As for the relations between Shiites and Sunnis in the U.S., Firas said, “It is friendly.” However, he admitted “There is some sensitivity, but both Shiite and Sunni understand the level of their argument and discussion.”
The Shiite and Sunni sectors did not exist before 632, the time when the Prophet Mohammad was alive. During this time, all Muslims were following one path. The sectarian division took place after the Prophet Mohammad’s death in 632.
Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet's companions—Imams, that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. The Prophet Muhammad's close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph—the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the leader of the Islamic Ummah, which means successor or representative—of the Islamic Nation. The word "Sunni" in Arabic comes from a word meaning "one who follows the traditions of the Prophet."
Yet some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet's own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself.
The main disagreement between Shiite and Sunni seem to be Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad. Shiites claim that Ali was the first rightly guided Caliph, while Sunnis regard him the fourth one in the row following Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali were the four closest companions of the Prophet Mohammad who run the Islamic state of the time after Prophet Mohammad’s death.
Despite the disagreement over the issue of the first Caliph of Islam, Shiite and Sunni Muslims were living in peace. They both followed their preferred practices. There were Shiites and Sunnis living together in many countries like Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, but there were no sectarian wars and killings. Even in Iraq, it wasn’t until early 2006 when the Al Aksa mosque was bombed, that sectarian violence exploded.
Chris Sheppard, a graduate student at ASU, served in Iraq twice. He said that the Iraqis were fighting the U.S. troops until the February of 2005, when he left Iraq. Sheppard said that when he was in Iraq he noticed different colors of flags in Shiite living areas. He admitted that back then he didn’t know what those flags meant, but he learned about it when he came to the U.S. Sheppard said, “It was Shiite’s pilgrimage, Karbala, Muharram.”
Muharram is the first month according to the Islamic Lunar calendar. The significance of this month lies in the fact that in this month the Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and the son of Ali, was martyred along with his companions in Karbala. Shiites mourn this month by designing their mosques with flag of green, red, white and mostly black color. They recite Holy Quran and read rhythmic poems about the event of Karbala.
The flags are signs of Shiites pilgrimage, which they offered for the first time after the collapse of Hussein’s regime. This could be another reason for the sectarian war because in the time of late Saddam Hussein, Shiites were not allowed to perform such pilgrimage in the month of Muharram. The tension in Iraq cannot be solved easily. As Sheppard explains, “The Shiites want strong American presence because it is to their benefit,” while, “The Sunnis don’t want Americans on the soil.” Concerning the existence of American troops in Iraq, Sheppard said, “It is in America’s best interest right now.” Referring to American troops, he said, “They have created a mess, but it will become much more of a mess, if they pull out.”
Lately, the tension has spread out to parts of the U.S. A report in the Feb. 4, 2007 ediction of The New York Times said Sunnis broke the windows of Shiite owned businesses in Dearborn, Mich. Luckily no signs of such tensions and hatred have been observed in ASU or in the Valley.
Rema Nasaredden, a senior and the elected president for the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at ASU is a Sunni Muslim. Nasaredden says that from the time she came to ASU, she never remembers having any problems with Shiites. She said that MSA represents all Muslims and there are Shiites in the MSA. However, she admitted that there are no Shiites on the board of directors of MSA. But she said that the election for the board is based on the members’ involvement in the MSA’s activities, not on their religious affiliation. Nasardden said, “There is no sectarian preference in the election process in MSA.”
Shifa Al-Khatib, A Palestinian Muslim focusing on Justice Studies, at ASU is so neutral about the religious sectors that she doesn’t know the difference between the two. She said, “I have Muslim friends, but I don’t know if they are Shiite or Sunni.” Al-Khatib said, “I feel bad to ask people about their religious sectors. I think it is too personal.”
Everyone interviewed noted that the general solution to sectarian conflict is to educate Muslims of both sectors about the similarities of the two sectors. As Ismail said, “Muslims from both sectors must notice the similarities between the two sectors rather than focusing on differences.”

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Afghanistan's Attorney General Jabbar Sabet in Tolo TV (Video)

Watching the controversial interview of Afghanistan's Attorney General with the reporter of Tolo TV, which resulted to the arrest of three Tolo TV staffs, may provide you with more information about the case.

Click on the headline and watch the video
(link courtesy of Shafiq Mirzazada)

Sabet's Working background as Attorney General (Video)

The Afghanistan government and most Afghans have always blamed Pakistan and Iran for their involvement in Afghanistan’s affairs. But the issue of Afghanistan’s Attorney General and Tolo TV goes way beyond the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran.

Click on headline and watch skyreporter's video in regard to Sabet's past.

Harper Claims Ignorance Of Beatings At Tolo TV

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to be unaware of what happened at Kabul’s Tolo TV offices Tuesday night – despite the fact that the man who ordered 50 armed police to raid the station, Afghan Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet, enjoys Canadian residency. As well, has been submitting detailed questions about Sabet to Mr. Harper’s office since April 5th, two weeks before the raid. Spokespeople for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter MacKay, have been receiving the same detailed questions since mid March. Specifically, the questions deal with Sabet’s role in the Kabul Airport heroin scandal, his mysterious status in Canada and his work with Information Minister Karim Khoram to restrict media freedoms. (See the AFGHAN HEROIN series of film reports here at Strange, then, how Mr. Harper answered QR77 Radio’s Dave Rutherford Thursday, when asked this question in relation to the violent raid: “This isn’t what we’re fighting for, is it?” (Canada has 2,300 troops fighting the Taliban in Kandahar province.) “I’ve just sort of heard about it,” the Prime Minister said, “I’m not aware of what the details are.” Which is simply not true – phoned the Prime Minister’s office two days earlier, about three hours after the Tolo TV raid took place, to ensure his staff was aware of the incident. A detailed email account was sent two hours later, followed by a further email and phone call the next day. And an article in the Ottawa Citizen Thursday morning - before the radio interview. And “details?” How about seven journalists taken away by police and beaten, some with rifle butts. Three held in Sabet’s office. No search or arrest warrants issued. Protests the next day at the Afghan parliament. Even more revealing, though, is what the Prime Minister went on to tell Dave Rutherford’s listeners. ““In Afghanistan there is an extremely free press,” he said. “There’s all kinds of media outlets.” Mr. Harper continued: “President Karzai is constantly criticized in the media and in the national parliament. And look, as I told him, you have that and you don’t even have the CBC.” This last reference, to Canada’s respected public broadcaster, is a regular complaint of Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party, namely that the CBC is biased and out to get him. One expects anything of a politician, but to be reading from Sabet’s script? While Canadian troops are fighting and dying to promote democracy in Afghanistan? But of course all of this begs the question: if Mr. Harper, as one of President Hamid Karzai’s leading foreign sponsors, is not against Sabet’s violent assault on Afghanistan’s leading private TV station, is he for it? Significantly, neither the Canadian Embassy in Kabul nor any of Mr. Harper’s ministries has joined the United Nations in condemning the raid. The U.N. mission in Kabul released a morning-after statement expressing concern about “police actions against Tolo TV and the accompanying manhandling and detaining of Tolo TV staff.” The U.N. insisted: “Complaints against the media must be dealt with in accordance with established legal norms, not by unlawful physical intervention.” But nothing like the U.N.’s statement came from Messrs. Bush, Blair or Harper. Which explains why President Karzai himself found it easy to keep mum over the outrageous breach of democratic rights perpetrated against Tolo TV. If Karzai’s patrons – his bankers and protectors – aren’t too troubled by jackboot tactics to silence the media, well then, why shouldn’t he just sit back, have another puff and savour the possibilities of suppressing the media. Oh – except for one small thing. The people of Afghanistan are fed up to the teeth with a government that displays only chronic and contemptible incompetence and corruption. Hamid? Mr. Harper? You are public servants. Do something today to earn the public trust. Like punishing those who would send policemen into the night to rifle-butt unarmed young reporters, whose only crime is searching for the truth in the mess we’ve all made of Afghanistan.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Playing With Media=Playing With poisonous Bees (Video)

Playing with poisonous bees will eventually hurt the player, simply because, even if they graze you, they will transfer poison on to your body. Playing with media will have the same poisonous effects, as it had to Afghanistan’s Attorney General.
A Canadian reporter reveals Sabet’s background, while the famous Afghan poet and human right activist Dr. Samey Hamed condemns Sabet’s action in public rally in Kabul.

Click on the headline and watch Dr. Samey Hameed’s video.

TV station raids make Afghan corruption hard to ignore (ACN)
The Ottawa Citizen 04/19/2007 By Arthur Kent
The Harper government has been caught off guard by a deepening scandal in Afghanistan's justice system, following a police raid Tuesday evening on the country's most popular TV channel. The operation was ordered by Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet -- who is also a former resident of Montreal.

For more than a month, officials at Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Prime Minister's Office have dodged questions about Mr. Sabet's entry into Canada in 1999, and exactly how he was able to gain residency. Mr. Sabet has a history of association with Afghan extremist groups, and his earlier attempt to move to the United States was denied by American authorities.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's accident-prone attorney general first created a potential problem for Canadian Forces personnel last autumn, when he abruptly suspended Kabul Airport's respected police chief. Gen. Aminullah Amerkhel was an accomplished drug-buster, and his removal triggered a resumption of heroin trafficking through the airport, according to senior Afghan lawmen and legislators. Heroin profits help finance the Taliban's war effort against NATO forces, including Canadian troops based in Kandahar province.

Yet Canada and its NATO allies acquiesced to the crisis, despite calls from the Speaker of Afghanistan's Senate to have Gen. Amerkhel reinstated, and choruses of demands from Parliament that Mr. Sabet himself be removed from office. There, legislators lament that President Karzai's international sponsors appear content to be spectators of the corruption and ineptitude wracking their client administration in Afghanistan. Tuesday's raid may change that.

"The international community now has an obligation to act," says Saad Mohseni, head of Tolo TV, the channel whose offices were raided by 50 heavily armed policemen. Several Tolo journalists were badly beaten, and three were arrested. Four Associated Press employees covering the raid were taken away and roughed up as well. Mr. Mohseni says: "Sabet has shown that he is totally unfit to hold his position. Our international allies must tell the president this type of official is not acceptable to the Afghan people."

Witnesses say police lacked any form of warrant for the incursion, so Attorney General Sabet stands accused of breaching both Afghanistan's criminal law and its constitution. Yesterday the United Nations' Afghan mission denounced the "manhandling and detaining of Tolo TV staff" and called on the Karzai government to ensure that "unlawful action against media outlets is prevented in the future."

But it's not Mr. Karzai who holds the keys to Kabul. It's his foreign sponsors -- especially the Bush administration. Officials from Washington were behind Mr. Sabet's bizarre rise to high office. Mr. Sabet was a longtime aide to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, once the United States' most-favoured anti-Soviet guerrilla leader, but now on their most-wanted list of terrorists. In 1992, Mr. Sabet's continuing links with Mr. Hekmatyar led to his dismissal from a job at the Voice of America. He was denied re-entry to the United States.

Mr. Sabet turned next to Canada, immigrating to Montreal and becoming a familiar face in the local Afghan community. He returned to Kabul in 2003, working as a lawyer for the Interior Ministry. Then, in an ironic twist typical of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, he formed a relationship with a U.S. Justice Department adviser seeking favourable reviews of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. As a result, Mr. Sabet led an Afghan government inspection of the site, declaring afterward that there were "only one or two" complaints from prisoners, and that "conditions of the jail were humane. The rumours about prison conditions were all wrong."

Soon after, both the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul began lobbying for Mr. Sabet's promotion, according to an aide of President Karzai's who witnessed the sessions. Mr. Sabet was nominated as attorney general just months later. In Ottawa, a Foreign Affairs spokesman denies any Canadian involvement in Mr. Sabet's appointment, but declined any comment on the attorney general's Canadian residency, or his role in the Kabul Airport heroin scandal.

Meantime, efforts by reform-minded Afghan lawmakers to restore order in the airport's anti-narcotics policing are being thwarted, they say, by corrupt individuals at the highest levels of the Karzai administration. "We are trying each week to persuade the president to address this issue," says a high-ranking official of the Senate, the Meshrano Jirga, who asks not to be named due to the dangers posed by Afghanistan's heroin trafficking gangs. "But it is clear that others at the Presidential Palace are counselling Mr. Karzai against taking action."

Here, too, Afghans appeal for help from Mr. Karzai's Western sponsors, including Canada. "These cases stand in the way of our democracy," says the Senate official. "If the Canadians are serious about helping us, they must begin their work in Mr. Karzai's office."

As for Mr. Karzai's attorney general, officials who know and have worked with Mr. Sabet wonder why Canada, while placing troops on Afghan battlefields, turns a blind eye to disruptive figures in high office. One Interior Ministry supervisor says: "Sabet is able enough to prepare a legal brief, but he is totally incapable of exercising executive authority."

An Afghan Foreign Ministry official puts it much more darkly: "As his past shows, the man is unstable." And, by all indications, soon to be unemployed.

The question is: Will Mr. Sabet's next port of call be Montreal?

Arthur Kent has reported regularly from Afghanistan since 1980. A series of his film reports is now appearing at

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Shooter Poses For Media (Report/photo)

The Virginia Tech shooter sent his different poses for NBC after he killed two students in the dorm early Monday morning. Then he went to Norris Hall, where he killed 31 innocent people, including students and professors.
Click on the headline to read NBC's report on his background, and watch his photos.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

These People Will Be Part of U.S. History (Report)

The massacre of Virginia Tech cost of the lives of 33 people.
Click on the headline and read each individual's profile in

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Scheme on suppression of ideas (Report)

As the death of Afghan journalist Ajmal Naqshbani lift up criticism on government’s stake, now the Afghan government is paving the way for its tricky scheme to suppress people’s thoughts and freedom of expression. It has started at the government level, but in no time, will reach the civilians and ordinary Afghan citizens.
Click on the headline and read the BBC report about this issue.
You may also find the related link interesting.

Monday, April 16, 2007

University shooting, Virginia (Breaking News)

University shooting history repeats itself after four decades. A gunman shot at least 31 people in Virginia Tech this morning, April 16, 2007.

Professor Ed Sylvester of Arizona State University said that the only incident of such nature that he can recall is the shooting at the University of Texas Tower in Mid 60s.
Sylvester said that the Virginia Tech shooting was the only big incident at the university level after the shooting of University of Texas.
According to memory archive, "Charles Whitman killed 15 people and wounded 31 from a tower of Univeristy of Texas in 1966."
Sylvester said, "There had been single anger killing, but not any incident of such nature."

Click on headline and read the latest CNN report about the Virginira Tech.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Farhad Darya Represents Afghanistan In Supporting Children In Hunger (Video)

Farhad Darya, our pride in music and culture of the country, represents Afghanistan in
global efforts for poverty erardication, supporting children in hunger.

Click on the headline and watch Darya's video.
(Youtube link courtesy of Javed Sidiqi)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pollution in Kabul (Environmental Report)

What is the solution to Kabul pollution issue? A report from BBC discusses this topic.
Click on the headline and read the complete report.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who is involved in Ajmal's death? (Developing Story)

The exchange of an Italian journalist with five Taliban and the lack of reaction concerning Ajmal Naqshbandi, seem to be an unforgivable deal of the Afghan government.

Click on the headline to read the IWPR analytical report in this regard.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

American Journalists Talk About Afghanistan (Video)

The war torn Afghanistan had a lot to offer to American journalists.
Click on the headline and watch the video.

An Open Letter To Afghan Government (Report)

KABUL, Apr 10 (Pajhwok Afghan News):

A group of Afghan students in the United States have condemned the killing of Ajmal Naqshbandi and poured scorn over the government for its failure to save his life.

In an open letter to the Afghan government, the students said Taliban had killed a man who was out to earn bread for his family.

"We condemn in severest terms the Taliban and their sponsors who brutally murdered our brother, a husband, a would-be father and the son of a mother," said the students in their open letter.

They said this 'inhuman' act of Taliban was against the "noble principles of Islam that value human life and human dignity".

The students said "the Taliban and their international terrorist supporters have a malicious strategy to destabilise Afghanistan's nascent democracy through murdering innocent civilians".
They also expressed anger over the handling of the situation by the Afghan government.

They asked the people of Afghanistan to join them in demanding an explanation from the government.

The students said the government should have treat Ajmal Naqshbandi and Daniele Mastrogiacomo on an equal footing. "However, you, the Afghan government, demonstrated that you put more value on the life of non-Afghans than on the life of the very people who elected you. You showed to us that in fact, in your eyes, the life of an Afghan is still worthless and his blood cheap."

At the end of their open letter, the students posed the following questions to the Afghan government:

Why did you negotiate with the terrorists in the first place, putting at risk the lives of numerous aid workers, journalists and other friends and citizens of Afghanistan?

Even if there were valid grounds for negotiation, why did you not secure the release of both Afghan and foreign citizens?

They also asked the government to extend compensation to the widow and family of the slain journalist.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dating Culture Reaches Afghanistan ( Yahoo Video)

Dating, the only Western culture most Afghan parents have always feared, reaches the capital city of Kabul.
Click on the title to watch the ABC News video.

To read the NPR report about Cellular Afghanistan, please click on the link below.
(Text report, courtesy of W.N.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

India names street after Ahmad Shah Massoud (Report)

It is really pleasing to see something good about the Afghan Hero outside of the Afghan border.
The Indian government named one of its streets after our national hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud, in its capital city of Delhi.
To read the complete report by, please click in the link on the headline.
(Link courtesy of Wasima Naseer, Picture retrieved from BBC)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Shame on Afghan Government and President Karzai (Report)

Afhganistan’s double standard policy toward its own citizens and the foreigners cost Ajmal Naqshbandi’s life. Lack of reaction for such an unfair and biased act by Afghan citizens inside the country and elsewhere will result to the death of every journalist and Afghan citizen. Shame on the Afghan politicians, for the most part the Afghan President Hamed Karzai, and the Afghan policy makers, if they only care about foreigners just to remain in power and save their seats and positions.
To read the BBC’s news coverage about Ajmal’s death, please click on the title.