Canadian Muslim Journalist Kidnapped in Pakistan

Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a Web magazine publisher in British Colombia, along with her translator and guide, were seized at gunpoint while traveling in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan. Ms. Qahaar was known as Beverly Giesbrecht prior to her conversion to Islam, and publishes the website Mark Federman, an expert in media studies at the University of Toronto, said he had not previously heard of But looking at the circumstances of the reported abduction, “my skepticism detectors start flashing on this one,” he said. While Mr. Federman acknowledged the threat of abduction was very real in the region Ms. Qahaar was travelling, he questioned the timing of a website posting calling for money to deter abduction the week prior.

Lisa Monette, spokesperson for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs did not confirm the report, but did say a Canadian was missing in Pakistan. Monette added, “The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the High Commission in Islamabad are working with Pakistani officials right now and they are pursuing all appropriate measures.”

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Denmark: Three Muslims attacked after embassy bombing in Pakistan

Former spokesperson of the Islamic Faith Society (ISF) Kasem Said Ahmed was attacked on his way to work, shortly after the attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan was announced in the Danish media. The attack occurred in Copenhagen, and Ahmed said he was punched in the face after being asked if he was an imam. Two women also were reportedly threatened by three men next to the IFS mosque in Copenhagen. ISF also said they had received hate e-mail from angry Danes following news of the embassy attack.

British Muslim delegation arrives in Pakistan

A delegation of British Muslims from the United Kingdom arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for a weeklong visit aimed at sharing their experiences as Muslims living in Britain by engaging in constructive dialogue and debate. The delegation will focus on Islamabad and Mirpur, two Pakistani cities with prominent links to the Pakistani diaspora in the UK. The six-member delegation consists of British nationals of Pakistani origin from different walks of life. Their visit to Pakistan is part of the _Promoting British Islam’ programme that is support by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Thousands Protest Drawings In Karachi

By ASIF SHAHZAD About 25,000 people – some chanting “Death to America!” – rallied against the Prophet Muhammad caricatures in Pakistan’s largest city Sunday, but police prevented a rally in the eastern city of Lahore by arresting the religious ringleader and detaining scores of supporters. In Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and economic hub, where the provincial government has not banned such rallies, protesters also chanted “Down with the blasphemer!” and “End diplomatic ties with European countries!” No violence was reported. About 25,000 people joined the downtown rally organized by Tahafuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat, a Sunni Muslim religious group, said Shaukat Shah, a Karachi police officer. The protest was the biggest in the port city since 40,000 rallied there Feb. 16 against the cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September but have been reprinted across Europe since. In Lahore, clerics, opposition lawmakers and religious school administrators were among 150 people arrested or detained without charge Saturday and Sunday in a bid to thwart the illegal protest, police official Amir Zulfiqar said. Pakistan banned such rallies in Lahore after several demonstrations turned deadly. Police blocked all streets leading to a central Lahore mall where the protest was to be held. Some 15,000 policemen and 3,000 paramilitary troops were deployed in the city, guarding major traffic intersections, government buildings, mosques and foreign consulates, Lahore police chief Khawaja Khalid Farooq said. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, a leader of a coalition of six radical Islamic parties, attempted to lead the rally but was taken away in a police vehicle after trying to break through a barricade, Zulfiqar said. Nearly 100 of Ahmed’s supporters chanted “Punishment for insulting the Prophet is death!” as they stood near the police blockade. There was no violence. Parliamentary opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who was prevented by police from boarding a flight to Lahore from Islamabad, vowed that the protests would continue. “By arresting religious and political workers, the government displayed a dictatorial attitude which is condemnable,” Rahman said. “The government has shattered democratic values and by its steps it has strengthened those forces which have insulted the Prophet.” Protests targeting President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the United States and the caricatures are scheduled for March 3 – a day before President Bush visits Islamabad. Police also detained former cricket great Imran Khan, a lawmaker who now leads the Movement for Justice party, and 10 of his supporters near the venue of the planned rally, Zulfiqar said. The prophet drawings have ignited violent protests across the Muslim world that have killed at least 45 people. Muslims have denounced the drawings – one of which shows a prophet with a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse – as offensive to their religion. Muslims consider any physical representation of Islam’s prophet blasphemous. The caricatures were first published by a Danish newspaper in September, then reprinted by other Western media, mostly in Europe but by some U.S. outlets, in the name of free speech and news value. In Hong Kong, about 1,000 Muslims staged a peaceful rally in a downtown park Sunday. “Any insults to the prophets will hurt Muslims,” read placards held by some of the protesters. “Don’t abuse the freedom of speech.” “I cannot describe how hurt I feel. The Prophet Muhammad is not only the prophet we follow, but he is dearer to us than our own selves,” said Wael Ibrahim, an Egyptian sales manager who lives in the city of Shenzhen, across the border in mainland China. In Malaysia, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he had ordered the suspension of a third newspaper that published a photograph showing the cartoons. The Berita Petang Sarawak, the only Chinese-language evening daily on Borneo island, will be banned from publishing for two weeks, Abdullah said. The government earlier ordered the suspensions of the English-language Sarawak Tribune and Chinese-language Guang Ming newspapers for reproducing the cartoons.

Muslims Try to Storm U.S. Embassy in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Hundreds of Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad tried to storm the U.S. Embassy today, smashing the windows of a guard post but failing to push through the gates. Several people were injured. Pakistani security forces, meanwhile, sealed off the capital of Islamabad to block a planned mass demonstration and fired tear gas and gunshots to chase off protesters. In Turkey, tens of thousands gathered in Istanbul chanting slogans against Denmark, Israel and the United States.

Former President Clinton Says Cartoon Protests Have Wasted an Opportunity

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Bill Clinton says he thinks Muslims have “squandered” an opportunity to build bridges to the West. The former president today denounced the violent protests that have rocked the Muslim world in recent weeks. The cartoons depicting Muhammad were first published in Denmark last fall but have since sparked destructive riots, including protests aimed at the U-S. Clinton commented during a visit to Pakistan, one of the countries rocked by violence.

Denmark: Pakistani, Danish Diplomaitc ties Collapse over Cartoons

Pakistan’s ambassador to Denmark has been called back to Islamabad “for consultations” amid a continuing row over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the foreign office said on Friday. The move comes shortly after officials said that Denmark, where the drawings were first published in September, had temporarily closed its embassy in Islamabad.