Saturday, July 25, 2009

NBK buys 13.2% of KIA’s stake in Boubyan for $295m

by Soren Billing

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has bought 13.2 percent of the Kuwait Investment Authority’s (KIA) stake in Islamic lender Boubyan Bank for $295m at a public auction.

NBK bought 154 million shares in the bank for KD84.7m ($295m) or 550 fils a share, taking its holding in Boubyan to 321 million shares, or 27.5 percent.

KIA had set a minimum price of 550 fils ($1.91) per share for the auction, it was reported last month.

NBK, the country's biggest bank by assets, previously agreed to buy a 19.2 percent stake in Boubyan from Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) but Investment Dar, the investment firm that has defaulted on a $100m sukuk, is disputing CBK’s right to sell the stake.

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has bought 13.2 percent of the Kuwait Investment Authority’s (KIA) stake in Islamic lender Boubyan Bank for $295m at a public auction.

NBK bought 154 million shares in the bank for KD84.7m ($295m) or 550 fils a share, taking its holding in Boubyan to 321 million shares, or 27.5 percent.

KIA had set a minimum price of 550 fils ($1.91) per share for the auction, it was reported last month.

NBK, the country's biggest bank by assets, previously agreed to buy a 19.2 percent stake in Boubyan from Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) but Investment Dar, the investment firm that has defaulted on a $100m sukuk, is disputing CBK’s right to sell the stake.

Related: NBK raises Boubyan Bank stake
Related: Kuwait's Investment Dar wins CBK lawsuit
Story continues below ↓

Dar, which owns half of luxury British car maker Aston Martin, has won a court ruling to have the sale suspended.

NBK vice chairman Nasser Al Sayer said Wednesday’s acquisition was an important strategic move for the bank, providing it with a gateway into the Islamic banking market.

“Our main goal is to stabilise Boubyan Bank, enhance its position in the local market and develop its various Islamic banking services,” he said.

The management and operations of NBK and Boubyan would be kept separate and fully independent of each other in accordance with Islamic Banking law and regulation, he added.
Source : Arabian Business

Key business continuity service a boon for BBK

MANAMA: Batelco will provide disaster recovery and business continuity services to BBK, it was announced yeaterday. The telecom operator will be working with BBK to ensure business continuity for the bank in the face of any unexpected event that could affect their daily operations and the provision of services to its customers.

"Business Continuity services help ensure that our customers are fully prepared for any unplanned event which could interrupt the delivery of their services and impinge on their profitability," said Batelco chief executive officer Gert Rieder.

Batelco offers Business Continuity services at a secure site within one of its premises with high-quality fully-equipped office space from which businesses can continue to run their operations.

The site is maintained within Batelco's fully-managed environment with fully-redundant power systems supported by backup and uninterrupted power supply to ensure high availability.

Strict measures are enforced to guarantee enhanced security backed up by a dedicated team at the facility round the clock.

"The infrastructure is based on a highly-resilient network with multiple high-speed connections to the Internet managed and monitored by out Network Operations Centre," said Batelco general manager for enterprise and government division Dr Abdullah Al Thawadi.

"Recovery stations are pre-installed with customer specific applications and connectivity to ensure the shortest possible restoration times in the event of a disaster or system failure at the customer's premises."

The Business Continuity services complement Batelco's Data Centre offering, which is very secure facility that serves as a repository for the storage, management and dissemination of data and information for organisations.

Major companies, including BBK, which has been a customer for five years, currently host their critical data off-site at Batelco's Data Centre to ensure business continuity in the face of any environmental or technical disaster.

Other global communication and technology providers also choose the Batelco Data Centre as their primary point of presence.

Source : Gulf Daily News

Israelis arrest Palestinian activist

By Mohammed Mar'i
RAMALLAH: Israeli troops arrested Palestinian activist Nasr Mahmoud Rashad Abu Kishk from his home in the West Bank town of Nablus overnight, a Palestinian security source and the Israeli army said on Friday.

Abu Kishek, 33, is chief of a local unit of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, an armed group affiliated to the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The source said Abu Kishk was one of a group of activists whom the Israeli security forces had agreed not to pursue after they renounced armed operations against the Jewish state.

But an Israeli military spokesman, who confirmed Thursday night’s arrest, said the activist had been wanted since 2001 for attacks on Jewish occupiers in Yitzhar and Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank. Abu Kishk was also wanted for “trafficking of arms and the assassination of a Palestinian suspected of having collaborated with Israel,” the spokesman said.

In other military activity in the West Bank overnight Thursday, troops arrested a “wanted” Palestinian in the village of Biddo, southwest of Ramallah.
Source : Arab News

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kuwaiti firm CEO sued

NEW YORK: Securities regulators yesterday sued the head of a Kuwaiti investment firm seeking the return of millions of dollars in profits reaped after false takeover rumors sent shares of two US companies soaring.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which filed the civil lawsuit in the US District Court in Manhattan, said Hazem Khalid Al Braikan, Al Raya Investment Company and other related entities in Kuwait and Bahrain had realised trading profits of more than $5 million from suspicious trading.

The SEC said the defendants "profited from amassing large positions" in securities of Harman International Industries and Textron shortly before bogus announcements of takeover offers for the companies.

Other defendants include United Gulf Bank, described in the court papers as the investment banking arm of Kuwait Projects Company (Holding), and KIPCO Asset Management, a UGB unit.

The SEC said Al Braikan is chief executive officer of Al Raya, which the SEC said "purports to be" an international asset management company created in 2007 with KIPCO Asset Management.

Source : Guld Daily News

Clinton clarifies Iran nuclear policy

by AFP
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday stirred Israeli fears that Washington would accept a nuclear armed Iran when she raised the idea of a US "defence umbrella" for Gulf allies.

However, Clinton, during a visit to Thailand for an Asian security conference, said later that she was not announcing a new policy and simply wanted to turn Iran away from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Clinton told Thai television in Bangkok that President Barack Obama's administration was still open to engage Iran in talks about its nuclear programme but warned that Tehran would not be safer if it obtains a bomb.

"We will still hold the door open" to talks over its nuclear program Clinton said.
"But we also have made it clear that we will take action, as I've said time and time again, crippling action, working to upgrade the defence of our partners in the region," she said.

Her previous references to "crippling action" have referred to sanctions.

"We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment: that if the US extends a defence umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it is unlikely Iran will be any stronger or safer," Clinton said.

"They won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon."

In Jerusalem, Israeli Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor criticised her remarks.

"I heard without enthusiasm the American declarations according to which the United States will defend their allies in the event that Iran uses nuclear weapons, as if they were already resigned to such a possibility," he said.

"This is a mistake," Meridor said. "We cannot act now by assuming that Iran will be able to arm itself with a nuclear weapon, but to prevent such a possibility."

Clinton made her initial comments during a recording for a Thai television show before heading to Asia's largest security forum in the Thai resort island of Phuket, where talks were expected to focus on possible nuclear links between North Korea and Myanmar.

Speaking at a press conference in Phuket later, Clinton suggested her remarks were misunderstood.

"I'm not suggesting a new policy. In fact we all believe that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, and I've said that many times," she said.

"I'm simply pointing out that Iran needs to understand that it's pursuit of nuclear weapons will not advance its security or achieve its goals of enhancing its power regionally and globally," she said.

"The focus that Iran must have is that it faces the prospect - if it pursues nuclear weapons - of sparking an arms race in the region," she said.

"That should affect a calculation of what Iran intends to do and what it believes is in its national security interest because it may render Iran less secure, not more secure," she said.

US lawmakers on Monday stepped up pressure on Obama to ready tough new economic sanctions on Iran in the event Tehran fails to freeze its uranium enrichment programme by late 2009.

Iran, labouring under UN sanctions for its defiance, has rejected the West's charges that it seeks nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.

Obama has said he wants a diplomatic solution to the standoff but has repeatedly warned that he has not ruled out the use of force.
Source : Arabian Business

How Israel lobby controls US

Jeff Gates
IN the early 1960s, Sen. William J. Fulbright fought to force the American Zionist Council to register as agents of a foreign government. The council eluded registration by reorganizing as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has since become what Fulbright most feared: A foreign agent dominating American foreign policy while disguised as a domestic lobby.

Israelis and pro-Israelis object when they hear that charge. How, they ask, can we so few wield such influence over so many? Answer: It’s all in the math. And in the single-issue advocacy brought to bear on US policy-making by dozens of “domestic” organizations that now compose the Israel lobby, with AIPAC its most visible force.

The political math was enabled by Sen. John McCain whose support for all things Israeli ensured him the GOP nomination to succeed George W. Bush. McCain’s style of campaign finance reform proved a perfect fit for the Diaspora-based fundraising on which the lobby relies. Co-sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, this change in federal election law typifies how Israeli influence became systemic.

“McCain-Feingold” raised the amount (from $1,000 to $2,300) that candidates can receive from individuals in primary and general elections. A couple can now contribute a combined $9,200 to federal candidates: $4,600 in each of the primary and general elections. Primary elections, usually low-budget, are particularly easy to sway.

Importantly for the Diaspora, this change also doubled the funds candidates can receive without regard to where those contributors reside. A candidate in Iowa, say, may have only a few pro-Israeli constituents. When campaign support is provided by a nationwide network of pro-Israelis, that candidate can more easily be persuaded to support policies sought by Tel Aviv. Diaspora-based fundraising has long been used by the lobby with force-multiplying success to shape US foreign policy. Under the guise of reform, John McCain doubled the financial resources that the lobby can deploy to elect and retain its supporters.

Fulbright was Right. The influence-peddling process works like this. Candidates are summoned for in-depth AIPAC interviews. Those found sufficiently committed to Israel’s agenda are provided a list of donors likely to “max out” their campaign contributions. Or the process can be made even easier when AIPAC-approved candidates are given the name of a “bundler.”

Bundlers raise funds from the Diaspora and bundle those contributions to present them to the candidate. No quid pro quo need be mentioned. After McCain-Feingold became law in 2003, AIPAC-identified bundlers could raise $1 million-plus for AIPAC-approved candidates simply by contacting 10 like-minded supporters. Here’s the math:

The bundler and spouse “max out” for $9,200 and call 10 others, say in Manhattan, Miami, and Beverly Hills. Each of them max out ($10 x $9,200) and call 10 others for a total of 11. (111 x $9,200 = $1,021,200.)

Imagine the incentive to do well in the AIPAC interview. One call from the lobby and a candidate can collect enough cash to mount a credible campaign in most congressional districts. From Tel Aviv’s perspective, that political leverage is leveraged yet again because fewer than 10 percent of the 435 House races are competitive in any election cycle (typically 35 to 50).

Additional force-multipliers come from: (a) sustaining this financial focus over multiple cycles, (b) using funds to gain and retain seniority for those serving on congressional committees key to promoting Israeli goals, and (c) opposing any candidates who question those goals.

“Jewish Achievement” reports that 42 percent of the largest political donors to the 2000 election cycle were Jewish, including four of the top five. That compares to less than two percent of Americans who are Jewish. Of the Forbes 400 richest Americans, 25 percent are Jewish according to Michael Steinhardt, a key funder of the Democratic Leadership Council. The DLC was led by Jewish Zionist Sen. Joe Lieberman when he resigned in 2000 to run as vice president with pro-Israeli presidential candidate Al Gore.

Money was never a constraint. Pro-Israeli donors were limited only by how much they could lawfully contribute to AIPAC-screened candidates. McCain-Feingold raised a key limit. The full impact of this foreign influence has yet to be tallied. What’s known, however, is sufficient to apply the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Of the top 50 neoconservatives who advocated war in Iraq, 26 were Jewish (52 percent).

Harry Truman, a Christian Zionist, remains one of the more notable recipients of funds. In 1948, he was trailing badly in the polls and in fundraising. His prospects brightened dramatically in May after he recognized as a legitimate state an enclave of Jewish extremists who originally planned to settle in Argentina before putting their sights on Palestine.

That recognition was opposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bulk of the diplomatic corps, the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency and numerous distinguished Americans, including moderate and secular Jews concerned at the troubles that were certain to follow. Not until 1984 was it revealed that a network of Jewish Zionists had funded Truman’s campaign by financially refueling his whistle-stop campaign train with $400,000 in cash ($3 million in 2009).

To buy time on the public’s airwaves, money raised from the Israel lobby’s network is paid to media outlets largely owned or managed by members of the same network. Presidents, senators and congressmen come and go but those who collect the checks rack up the favors that amass lasting political influence.

The US system of government is meant to ensure that members of the House represent the concerns of Americans who reside in congressional districts — not a nationally dispersed network (a Diaspora) committed to advancing the agenda of a foreign nation. Federal elections are meant to hold senators accountable to constituents who reside in the states they represent, not out-of-state residents or a foreign government.

In practical effect, McCain-Feingold hastened a retreat from representative government by granting a nationwide network of foreign agents disproportionate influence over elections in every state and congressional district. Campaign finance “reform” enabled this network to amass even more political clout — wielding influence disproportionate to their numbers, indifferent to their place of residence and often contrary to America’s interests.

This force-multiplier is now wielded in plain sight, with impunity and under cover of free speech, free elections, free press and even the freedom of religion. Therein lies the perils of an entangled alliance that induced the US to invade Iraq and now seeks war with Iran. By allowing foreign agents to operate as a domestic lobby, the US was induced to confuse Zionist interests with its own.
Source : Arab News

Monday, July 20, 2009

Aramco to seek bids for gasfield contracts

KHOBAR: Saudi Aramco is planning to invite bids for gas facilities contracts at its Arabiyah gasfield and Shaybah oilfield in the second quarter of next year, sources said yesterday.

The company is shifting its exploration and production focus to developing gas supply to meet rapidly rising domestic demand after completing a massive crude capacity expansion this year.

The world's top oil exporter is experiencing annual gas demand growth of seven per cent per year as oil revenues fuel economic expansion.

Preliminary design and engineering work and project management contracts for the two projects will be awarded in September, contractors said.

The early design should be completed in the second quarter, after which the bidding packages for building the facilities will be issued, they said.

Arabiyah is one of two offshore gasfields non-associated with oil that Aramco discovered in January. The other was Hasbah. It is unclear how much gas Arabiyah alone could pump, but the two together could supply 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas. The Arabiyah gas development programme includes gas processing facilities, platforms and subsea pipelines that will be built at the 900,000 bpd Moneefa oilfield.

The project was scheduled to come on stream in February 2014, one contractor said.

An Aramco executive said earlier that the state-run firm will build a gas plant at Moneefa. The plant will process 1bn cfd of gas from Arabiyah and Hasbah, he said.

At Shaybah, Aramco plans to build a natural gas liquids recovery plant. Work includes building a natural gas liquids splitter and debottlenecking gas-oil separation plants, sources said.

Shaybah's gas facilities will be ready by March 2014 and on stream in May 2014.

Source : Gulf Daily News

Sukuk defaults seen rising as global slowdown weighs

by Reuters
A default on Islamic bonds by Kuwaiti firm Investment Dar is just the tip of the iceberg, with more failures expected as the weak global economy hits issuers, industry experts warned on Wednesday.

Unlike traditional banking, the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry has just begun to feel the chill of the global downturn, with practitioners and analysts trying to assess the extent of the fallout on the sector.

Investment Dar said in May it had defaulted on a $100 million Islamic bond, the first such default for a major, public Islamic instrument in the Gulf.
Troubled Saudi conglomerates Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros, are restructuring their debt, triggering concerns of a spillover effect on the Islamic finance industry.

Neale Downes, a Bahrain-based lawyer at Trowers & Hamlins, estimated that 5-8 percent of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, in the market are susceptible to default as many were raised for real estate projects which have been hurt by the slowdown.

"A lot of the issuers are ultimately really sovereign or quasi sovereign so they will probably be able to draw on government support either directly or behind the scenes," Downes said on the sidelines of an Islamic banking conference in Kuala Lumpur.

The value of sukuk issued in 2008 dropped by more than 56 percent compared with 2007 to $14.9 billion, due mainly to the global credit crunch, according to Standard & Poor's. It expects the market to recover in the second half of 2009 or early 2010.

"The longer the global recession goes, the higher the likelihood of default," said Mohammad Faiz Azmi, global Islamic finance leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"People are now using reserves or savings to try to keep themselves going. How long can that last? So far what we've seen is the tip of the iceberg."

Source : Reuters

Hamas, Fatah delay unity talks again

Hisham Abu Taha & Mohammed Mar'i

GAZA/RAMALLAH:Egyptian-mediated Palestinian reconciliation talks between rivals Fatah and Hamas set for next Saturday have been delayed for a month. A senior Fatah official on Saturday said that his movement and Hamas decided to postpone the talks until Aug. 25.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah team to Cairo reconciliation talks, said in a press statement that the dialogue between the two groups had failed to reach a deal. “Egyptian officials decided that some issues required further discussion and efforts. The date for the last round of talks, July 25, does not leave enough time to resolve the differences,” said Al-Ahmed.

“So it was agreed to delay the talks until Aug. 25,” he added.

The rival Palestinian factions resumed reconciliation talks in February and had agreed to begin what they said would be a final round on Saturday.

Cairo has been mediating the talks between President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas aimed at healing bitter divisions between the two, aggravated when Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas and Fatah delegations have been meeting in Cairo over the last two days to discuss the talks’ progress.

The talks hope to seal a deal which will lay out a new electoral law as well as define the make-up of security forces and of a committee to liaise between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank ahead of an election in 2010. Meanwhile, a senior Hamas leader on Sunday accused Fatah movement of creating a negative atmosphere by continuing to arrest Hamas members in the West Bank, and rejecting the Egyptian proposals.

In an interview with a local news agency Ma’an, Sami Abu Zuhri said that “Fatah is not interested in any national reconciliation”, while his movement has already accepted an Egyptian initiative to end political arrests and create an interim committee to govern the Gaza Strip and a joint security force.

“We in Hamas are ready to hold the elections but on the condition of holding it inside Palestine and in diaspora including the National Council and the Judicial Committee,” he said, accusing Fatah of seeking to delay elections slated for next January. He also said that elections would require an end to the siege of Gaza, the beginning of reconstruction in Gaza, the release of prisoners, and international safeguards against further Israeli arrests of Palestinian legislators.

Source : Arab News

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Garuda to need one year to prepare for European market

Garuda to need one year to prepare for European market

Denpasar - PT Garuda Indonesia will need nine to 12 months to prepare for the European market following the lifting of the European Union`s ban on Indonesian airline fligths into the region.

"Our fleet is now being prepared and new aircraft will be added to it every year," the airline company`s senior general manager for the Eastern region, Suranto, said after opening Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyers (GFF) Golf Tournament 2009 in Tabanan, Bali, on Friday.

He said Europe was an extraordinary market to tap. Garuda meanwhile plans to start flying to Amsterdam in the middle of 2010.

"We have longed for the lifting of the ban. We now have to prepare the time frame for entering there," he said.

The general manager of the Garuda Indonesia office here, Bagus Y Siregar, said Garuda as a national air carrier would continue to expand its market.

"This year we are still growing. A number of domestic routes have been reopened as well as international ones such as Hong Kong," he said.

Garuda, he said, has loyal and strong markets. To maintain the loyalty of its customers, he said, Garuda, would give its best service to them.

"The GFF Golf Tournament is one of the forms of appreciation we give to our customers. We always want to be the best for our customers," he said.

He said until now the number of GFF members had already reached 10,608. The best player in the tournament would be sent to international tournaments. The tournament offers Rp400 million in cash prize for players who make a hole-in-one.

"Many Garuda passengers holding GFF cards fly twice to three times a week," he said.

Source : Antara News

Dow Jones launches Islamic Index

by Martin Morris
Dow Jones Indexes announced on Wednesday it has licensed the Dow Jones Islamic Market International Titans 100 Index to Javelin Investment Management, an investment adviser registered with the SEC.
ISLAMIC INDEX: New index from Dow Jones will give investors exposure to 100 non-US Shariah compliant companies. (Getty Images)

The blue-chip index will underlie the first Shari'ah compliant exchange-traded fund listed in the US - the JETS Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund (JVS).

The index measures the stock performance of 100 leading non-US companies that have passed rules-based screens for Shari'ah compliance.

To determine their eligibility firms are screened based on their industry type and their financial ratios.
The US dollar denominated index is free-float market capitalization weighted and each component's weight is capped at 10% of the index to avoid overweight of one single stock.

"The Dow Jones Islamic Market International Titans 100 Index provides market participants around the world with exposure to the 100 leading Shari'ah-compliant companies outside the United States.

''Javelin's decision to select it as the underlying index for the first Shari'ah compliant ETF in the United States enables market participants to complement their existing US portfolios with international coverage," said Michael A. Petronella, president, Dow Jones Indexes.

The index composition is offiically reviewed annually in June, as well as on an ongoing basis to account for corporate actions such as mergers, de-listings or bankruptcies. Year-to-date, it is up 10.34% through June 30, 2009.

There are currently more than 150 licensees with more than $7 billion in assets benchmarked to the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes.

Source : Arabian Business

Muslims decry violence against Uighurs

Siraj Wahab
ALKHOBAR: A large section of Muslims yesterday offered special prayers for the well-being of their co-religionists in Urumqi and Kashgar in China’s far-west Xinjiang province. They expressed shock at the violence that is being meted out to Uighurs by Han Chinese in a region that Muslims know as East Turkestan. They prayed for peace to prevail in the region and expressed complete solidarity with the besieged people.

“The images that are coming out of Urumqi are very painful. Club-wielding Han Chinese, who are being resettled in the region, are roaming the streets. I have seen television images of Uighur women cowering in fear at the impending attacks.

“We knew not everything was all right in the Muslim-dominated province of China, but we were oblivious to the scale of the anti-Muslim sentiment there,” said Amin Nasser Kashgari, who works as a subcontractor for a water utility firm in Dammam. Amin Kashgari’s forefathers belonged to Kashgar, which is close to Urumqi and which has also been the focus of the recent troubles.

“These are very dark days for the Uighur people. It is a repressive regime in China. Remember what they did to their own people at Tiananmen Square. Uighurs are not Chinese. They speak their own language. They have their own distinct culture. This is certainly not to the liking of the Han Chinese who are being resettled in the predominantly Muslim region... Violence has been simmering in the region for a long time,” he pointed out.

Saad Muhammad Al-Qahtani, who offered Friday prayers along with a large group of faithful at a prominent mosque in Alkhobar, said China enjoyed a good reputation among Saudis. “We all know they are a hard-working people, that they are in line to become the world’s next superpower. However, this repression against Muslims in China has unnerved me. What I see and hear is beyond words. Some people in our family circle have suggested that what is happening there is certainly no different than what is happening in Palestine. It is just that the media is not fully aware of what is happening in China,” he said.

“Witnesses quoted by Arabic television channels have confirmed that demonstrators were shot and beaten to death by Chinese police, and some were even crushed under armored vehicles,” claimed an agitated Al-Qahtani. Jameel Muhammad Hotani, a young science student at a local university, said chat rooms frequented by Arabs were vociferously discussing the Uighur issue. “There is a lack of awareness about the region. Whatever information is available is available through the Western news agencies. They are basically talking about only the current troubles. There is no mention of the roots of the problem,” he said. According to Saudis of East Turkestani origin, what is happening in East Turkestan is nothing less that what is happening in Palestine. “Just as Israel is busy usurping Arab land and ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem, China is usurping East Turkestan. In the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s China brought in millions of Han Chinese to settle them on Uighur land. A lot of these Han Chinese were basically criminal elements and they have wreaked havoc in the region,” said Abdul Qader, Jameel Muhammad’s brother.

The Hotani brothers trace their ancestry to Hotan in East Turkestan. They said their father and grandfather were among the Uighur elite. They were part of the East Turkestani government. When China flooded East Turkestan with Han Chinese, most of the Uighurs who had the resources fled the region. “It was in mid-1940s that our parents landed in Saudi Arabia. They were among so many Uighurs who were offered Saudi hospitality,” said Qader. They urged China to heed international opinion and end all violence. “We call on the Chinese government to ensure the safety of everyone living in East Turkestan,” Qader added. The violence in East Turkestan prompted Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to issue two statements in the last three days. He expressed deep concern at the deteriorating situation in Uighur Autonomous Region of China and in particular the loss of life in great number among the civilians and the loss of property.

Ihsanoglu deplored the climate of fear that the Uighur people are obliged to live in. He called upon the Chinese government to provide protection for the civilian population and to allow them to return to their normal life.

“It is my belief that the chronic problem facing the Uighur people could not be solved through security measures alone.”

Source : Arab News