SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says signs of decadence are clearly evident in the fabric of the Western civilization.
The Western civilization and various stages of its establishment, climax and finally the emergence of signs of decay at the present juncture, provide an objective example for the study of flaws and shortcomings of a civilization, Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with a group of scholars and academic elite on Monday.
“The Western civilization has its roots in humanism with a view to political power and then a capital-based perspective, and after its heyday, the signs of decay and decadence have currently come to the surface,” the Leader added.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that sexual decadence and prevalence of moral and sexual depravity are the most important signs of the collapse of the Western civilization.
The Leader also mentioned high frequency of destructive wars in Europe over the past centuries as a major problem with the Western civilization.
“The emergence of [so many] problems and decadence in the Western civilization is due to the absence of spirituality [in the Western society],” the Leader pointed out.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Western media outlets have come under fire for their silence on attempts by the Israeli-French CEO of the European satellite provider Eutelsat to take Iranian television networks off the air in violation of the freedom of speech.
European news agencies are now being criticized for failing to cover what’s being seen in Iran as efforts to stifle freedom of expression.
In recent months, European satellite providers have launched a concerted campaign to silence Iran’s international broadcasters.
In the most recent move, the European satellite provider Eutelsat pulled the plug on Iran’s Arabic-language channel, al-Alam.
On March 2, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed the West’s attempts to take Iranian channels off the air, saying such measures are doomed to fail.
“This is natural that they (the Western powers) make every effort to prevent the spread of the Iranian nation’s humane message, but they will not succeed,” he stated.
Eutelsat’s Israeli-French CEO Michel De Rosen has stepped up his restrictive campaign by appealing to major satellite providers in Europe and Asia to silence Iranian media.
The campaign has revealed the true face of the West, which preaches respect for human rights and free speech but practices the opposite.
On February 20, the Arab satellite provider Gulfsat banned Iranian channels iFilm and Al-Kawthar under direct pressure from Eutelsat.
The encroachment upon freedom of speech targeting movie channel, iFilm, and Iran's Arabic-language Al-Kawthar came one day after Eutelsat asked Nilesat to take Iran's English-language news channel Press TV off the air. -www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Director of London-Based Institute of Islamic Political Thought Azzam Tamimi said that the Western media is still in collusion with the Israeli occupation, promoting an erroneous image about Palestinians and their resistance.
On the sidelines of "the war on Gaza.. its implications and future prospects" conference, Tamimi told PIC reporter that the occupation has recently promoted to the Western world several motives for its recent aggression on Gaza, including that Hamas movement has become stronger after Wafa al-Ahrar deal and it must be deterred, according to their claims.
Tamimi added that the Western media promoted the image that "Israel" is now so alarmed at the influx of weapons into Gaza especially after the exchange prisoners’ deal and the Arab spring, claiming that Hamas could not control the strip or stop rockets of Gaza militants.
He pointed out that the Arab and Islamic world silence towards the siege of Gaza is unjustified, especially after the resistance’s victory in the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Tamimi stressed the need to develop a defense system in the next phase and to adopt the resistance project by all factions to respond to any Israeli violation.
He pointed out that the Western world still considers the Arab region as an invalid strength, noting that the Arab world has killed the Palestinian issue by neglecting it on their speeches and on the ground.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The final hostages to die in the terrorist attack on the BP joint-operated gas plant in Algeria were strapped to machinery as a huge bomb was detonated, managers at the plant said Thursday.
Western media visiting the remote plant at In Amenas for the first time heard detailed accounts of the terrifying end met by a group of eight to 10 expatriate workers.
Lufti Benadouda, the site’s Algerian general manager, said there was a major explosion on the night of Thursday, Jan. 17, at the central production facility, where the hostage takers had gathered for a final stand.
Western hostages had been tied to parts of the gas construction complex, some at ground level, some a bit higher up, while the terrorists built a bomb in one of their vehicles. Many of their captors had been wearing suicide vests.
There was one big explosion and we saw the fire burning all night
“There was one big explosion and we saw the fire burning all night,” said Mr. Benadouda.
“We found the hostages had been tied to the structure and put close to each other …
“The terrorists wanted a big explosion. They wanted to destroy the plant and make a big impression. They didn’t destroy the plant.”
“The next day we arrived at the plant,” he went on. “It was my job to identify the bodies of my colleagues, but I could not, except one, an American.”
Among the dead were a Norwegian, and, he thinks, a Briton. He added he saw the remains of three terrorists that suggested they had detonated suicide vests. Salim, who did not want to give his surname, recalled helping Gary Roberts, a Briton, to hide in the false ceiling of the cafeteria with a few other foreigners as they heard the first shots.
With the Algerian army, he returned the next day to retrieve Mr. Roberts, whom he said lives in Thailand.
“We have spoken, he is doing OK,” Salim said.
Thursday, evidence of the carnage remained on view, with parts of the plant’s infrastructure showing signs of considerable blast damage.
The attackers, who called themselves the Signatories in Blood Battalion, appeared out of the desert at dawn on Wednesday Jan. 16, and stormed through the gates of the accommodation compound. They quickly identified Mr. Benadouda as a senior figure and used him to relay messages to Algerian forces.
Having missed the initial attack, the army quickly encircled the sprawling 15-hectare facility, which is enclosed by a 3.6-metre barbed-wire fence and surrounded by sand and scrub.
At first, Mr. Benadouda said, the terrorists’ mood was “quite calm,” but they soon demanded the plant be restarted. It had been closed after a security guard sounded the alarm. Moments later he was shot in the head.
“After some time they realized they were not getting out alive, and they wanted to blow up the plant,” he said. “They asked me to start it again, but I said it was too difficult.”
His defiance may have saved the plant from much greater destruction.
Expatriates have yet to return, but 120 Algerians are preparing for the day when the plant, run by BP with Norway’s Statoil and Algeria’s Sonatrach, can resume producing gas with a daily average output worth US$14-million.
The attack that killed 38 foreign workers, including six Britons, has stunned Algeria, which thought it had contained the internal threat posed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Instead, it finds itself on a new front line of the war on terrorism that spreads west to Mali, where the French intervened to quell an Islamist advance, south to Niger and east to Libya, the source of the weapons for the attack and from where it was launched.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A 5.9-magnitude earthquake has struck the western Indonesian island of Sumatra, reportedly killing one person.
The quake hit Aceh province around dawn on Tuesday.
Local media said it was felt strongly in the capital Banda Aceh and surrounding districts. It hit at a depth of 37km
with its epicentre about 112km southeast of Banda Aceh.
Serambi newspaper and other local outlets reported that one girl was killed and several other people injured.
Aceh is often rocked by earthquakes. Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.
In 2004, a temblor off its shores triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people across Asia. Most of the deaths were in Aceh.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al Jazeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Following repeated insults by Western media on Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), a Qatari-base company is planning a movie series about the life of the Muslims’ spiritual leader.
“The team of experts has finished writing the scenario after overcoming numerous artistic and dramatic challenges,” chairman of Alnoor Holding Ahmed Al-Hashemi said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The seven-part series will have a budget of $1 billion.
It will be produced in English and will be translated into several different languages "to correct the wrong image Western societies have of Islam," the company said.
A host of prominent Muslim scholars are helping in producing the film, including Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS).
“We are aware of the fact that this (film) is a difficult and a challenging task,” the company said in September.
“This is why we have consulted many famous Islamic scholars, among them Dr Al-Qaradawi, who will guide us on the Shari`ah aspect of the film.”
The movie follows repeated insults of the prophet by western media.
In September, massive protests swept the Muslim world over a US-made film insulting Prophet Muhammad.
Scores of people were killed in the protests against the film titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which was produced by a California man convicted of bank fraud.
The insulting material, which was promote by anti-Qur’an pastor Terry Jones, has also caused strain between the Muslim world and the West over the freedom of expression.
A French magazine has also published insulting cartoons of the prophet on the pretext of freedom of expression.
Insulting the Prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam.
In September 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 drawings, including one showing a man described as Prophet Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.
The reprint of the controversial drawings by European papers strained Muslim-West ties.
The crisis prompted Muslims in Denmark and worldwide to champion local campaigns to wash away widely circulated misconceptions about Prophet Muhammad.
While the prophet will not appear in the movie, his companions will be screened.
“Following the studies and the consultations, I have come to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with showing the companions in dramatic work,” Sheikh Qaradawi said in statements published by Qatari daily Al-Sharq on Tuesday.
Although visual depictions are not explicitly banned in the Qur’an, Sunni scholars have generally agreed that personifications of religious figures are banned because it can lead to idolatry, which is strictly forbidden.
“I used to oppose the idea as we have formed our own cognitive image and characterization of the prophets and companions and that we should not distort them with human images,” Qaradawi said.
“However, following long researches and studies, I realized that we have been excessive in our approach and that there is no text or reference in the Qur’an or in the Prophet’s Tradition and Sayings that does not allow it.”
Uproar engulfed the Arab world in July over a television series depicting the life of second Muslim Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab.
Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world, issued a fatwa against the series, saying that portrayals of Prophet Muhammad and his companions are forbidden.
Saudi Arabia's Dar al-Ifta, the kingdom's Islamic legal research center that issues religious edicts, also issued a fatwa against the series.
But Kuwait scholar Tariq Al-Swaidan, the head of the consultancy team, opines that film will serve the new generations, who have new ways of gathering information
“There is a need to understand the mentality and mindset of other people.”- www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Jordan has foiled a plot by an al-Qaida-linked cell to bomb its shopping centers and assassinate Western diplomats, state television said on Sunday, thwarting an attempt to destabilize the key U.S. ally.
Security forces had detained 11 suspects, all Jordanians, in connection with the plot, which envisaged carrying out attacks in the capital Amman using smuggled weapons and explosives from Syria, according to security officials cited by television.
The plot had been active since June.
Minister of Information Samih al Maaytah said the arrests underscored the serious threat posed by radical "terror groups" seeking to undermine the kingdom's long tradition of stability.
A key U.S. ally in the Middle East and Israel's peace partner, Jordan enjoys close ties with Western intelligence agencies and has often been targeted by al-Qaida.
The cell had targeted two major shopping malls in the capital and was planning a bombing campaign in the capital's affluent Abdoun neighborhood, where many foreign embassies are located.
The U.S. and British embassies were among the targets, reported the Jordan Times, quoting a security source.
A security source said the suspects had manufactured explosives "aimed at inflicting the heaviest losses possible".
"The group was able to devise new types of explosives to be used for the first time and planned to add TNT to increase their destructive impact," said the source.
Links to Syria
The same security source said there was a crucial link with Syria where President Bashar al-Assad is battling to put down an uprising against his family's rule.
"Their plans included getting explosives and mortars from Syria," the security source told Reuters, saying the militants had sought to strike at a time of regional upheaval when the country's security establishment is over stretched.
The authorities said they had seized large quantities of ammunition, machine guns and other items such as computers. The militants were training to use "suicide bombers using explosive belts and booby-trapped cars", said another security source.
The case was referred to the state security court's prosecutor who began questioning "11 Jordanian nationals from Salafist movements," a judicial source told the AFP.
Maaytah told reporters that members of the militant group had spent some time in Syria, without saying when they had returned to Jordan.
"This group arrived from Syria. They have been going in and out," said Maaytah, explaining that the case had been transferred to the state security prosecutor.
Another security source said the cell had been fighting for "some period" alongside Islamist rebel groups in Syria.
If Jordan allows Assad's opponents to aid the armed uprising, Amman's security forces fear the Syrian government could retaliate by sending agents to carry out bomb attacks inside the country.
Intercepted electronic mail showed that the cell had received advice from explosives experts affiliated with al-Qaida in Iraq.
In 2005, al Qaida claimed responsibility for three suicide bombings that ripped through luxury hotels in Jordan's capital killing dozens of people.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A state of deep confusion still haunts the Israeli occupation leadership after the strategic achievement represented by Hezbollah’s "Ayyoub" drone flight over the southern part of occupied Palestine. A battle of accusations is being traded among different military and security divisions as to whom the blame should be directed in this new Israeli failure.
After the devastating blows that the Syrian army has dealt to the terrorist groups, it has been noticed that Turkey has increased its involvement in the Syrian crisis. This new attitude was attributed according to some analysts to Turkey's plan to support the military groups’ morals and to busy the Syrian troops to ease the pressure around the rebels.
During a meeting for Western states’ ambassador and after they tackled the Syrian issue, one of the ambassadors asked whether his other colleagues think President Bashar Al-Assad would be toppled. No one raised his hand…— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —Western governments believe that Iran’s economy is imploding so quickly that it could essentially collapse next spring under the combined pressure of international sanctions, an oil embargo and internal mismanagement by officials in Tehran, said a European diplomat here.
Western government experts estimate that Iran will run out of foreign exchange reserves in six months to a year, making it impossible for the Islamic Republic to sell products abroad and buy the imports it needs to continue its manufacturing sector and run public services, the European diplomat said.
Western governments have steadily tightened economic sanctions on Iran this year in the hope of crippling trade and setting off an economic crisis that will force leaders in Tehran to curb or abandon a nuclear program that the West fears is aimed at building a nuclear bomb. Tehran has remained defiant, insisting it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes. Western officials believe that a full-scale balance-of-payments crisis could spark domestic unrest and threaten the regime’s survival.
The European Union this week added new sanctions on Iran’s energy, financial and natural resources sectors, moves likely to further drain Iran’s foreign currency reserves and accelerate the plunge in the value of its currency, the rial.
Sanctions have cut Iranian oil exports by half and curtailed Tehran’s ability to conduct international financial transactions, said the diplomat, who spoke to several reporters on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the subject.
Western governments have focused on calculating when Iran’s foreign exchange reserves will run low because they want to force the government to yield on nuclear development before it can enrich enough uranium and acquire sufficient knowledge to build a working warhead. Israel’s government believes that date could come late next spring; the Obama administration believes it may be several years off.
Other Western governments have avoided saying publicly when they think Iran will reach the crisis point.
Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank that has pressed for tougher sanctions, said an economic meltdown would need to occur at least six months before Iran reaches the nuclear threshold. That would allow time for the economic shock to “cascade through the political system, and convince the leadership they need to change course… These guys are hard core revolutionaries,” said Dubowitz.
Cliff Kupchan, a former State Department official at the Eurasia Group consulting firm, said he believes it's impossible to estimate when Iran’s economy will be disabled because so many complex factors are involved. Estimates of Iran’s accessible foreign exchange reserves vary wildly, from $30 billion to $110 billion, he noted.
“The numbers available to me don’t allow a prediction,” he said.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The wave of protests against an anti-Muhammad movie made in America is said to prove, yet again, the unbridgeable gap between the West and the world of Islam.
Don’t we laugh off insults to Jesus? Haven’t even the Mormons taken the satirical Broadway musical The Book of Mormonin their stride? But Muslims, they are different. They get all worked up — into paroxysms of violence, as seen after the Danish cartoons, the inadvertent burning of the Qur’an in Afghanistan, the deliberate burning of the book in the U.S., and now over the Muhammad movie and 30 Muhammad cartoons in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
But the divide over free speech is far less clear-cut than it is made out to be, as recent events show.
The BBC apologized to the Queen after one of its reporters revealed that she once told him how “pretty upset” she was about a radical Muslim cleric in London, whom the government wanted to deport. The secrecy demanded by palace protocol trumped the public’s right to know their subsidized monarch’s thinking on an important issue.
A French court ruled against a magazine for publishing pictures of a bare-breastedKate Middleton, and imposed a fine of $12,700 a day if it didn’t remove them from its website.
The British tabloid Sun was criticized for printing a photo of a nude Prince Harry in New York.
The royal private bits are off limits, even if they give much enjoyment to many. But it’s fine to show the Prophet Muhammad as a sex fiend, as the film does, or portray him in crude, lewd and nude poses, as does Charlie Hebdo, even if that upset tens of millions.
These different approaches reflect the differences in jurisdictions, sure. Still, in Europe and North America, both legal strictures and social pressures work disproportionately against Muslims and Islam.— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: The Muslim Times