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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jihad Council warns U.S. to change Muslim policies
By Bridget Johnson
Posted: 04/10/09 01:47 PM [ET]
A militant Islamic group has called upon the Obama administration to change its policies toward the Muslim world or make more enemies after regional envoy Richard Holbrooke said the U.S. would not try to mediate between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir.Holbrooke and Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen visited New Delhi on Wednesday after meeting with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad earlier in the week.

“We cannot negotiate between the two countries," Holbrooke said to reporters after meeting with Indian officials, when asked if the U.S. was pushing for a Kashmir settlement. "Our trip was designed to move forward a process in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We stopped here to inform and consult the Indian government.”The U.S. envoys stressed the importance of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India working together with America against the "common threat" of extremism.A coalition of militant groups in Kashmir, the United Jihad Council (UJC), reacted angrily to the U.S. statements, warning that America was out to make more enemies than friends with its policies.“The only version of democracy and international relations the U.S. accepts is the one that serves its own vested interests,” UJC spokesman Syed Sadaqat Hussain said in a Thursday statement. “Flouting all international norms, the U.S. is declaring India as the leader in this region, and is trying to weaken China on the one hand and Pakistan on the other by granting India regional supremacy."Examined carefully, the terrorism on which worldwide hysteria has been whipped up is not terrorism at all but a fight to protect one's rights, of which the U.S. double standards are the basic cause,” the UJC spokesman said.“Resistance is bound to grow if the U.S. does not alter its current policy against Muslims, and it will have more enemies in the world than friends, which would not be in its interests,” he said.Pakistan has been concerned that its archenemy India is contributing to coalition operations in Afghanistan, and India was concerned that Holbrooke and Mullen may have arrived with a Pakistani push to convince India to settle the disputed territory.Holbrooke told Indian media that was not the case. “We did not come here to ask the Indians to do anything; we came here to inform them about our trip, as we always do, and to get their views," he said. "We did not come here with any requests.“For the first time since the partition, India, Pakistan and the U.S. are facing a common threat and a common challenge,” Holbrooke added. “But now that we face a common threat, we must work together and in the center of that area is Pakistan.” Indian-Pakistani relations have been further strained by India's desire to see suspected Pakistani planners of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks brought to justice. The only gunman to be captured in those attacks reportedly said Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the terror plot. Lashkar-e-Taiba was originally formed, with the aid of the Pakistani government, to combat Indian forces in Kashmir. Pakistan then banned the group in 2002.
President Obama attempted to reach out to the Muslim world on his recent visit to Turkey, where he told the parliament that America "is not and never will be at war with Islam." He later said "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation," echoing campaign-trail comments that the U.S. is composed of various faiths and nonbelievers.

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