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Islamism - 6

<b>Old thread</b> Link

Australian muslim schoolboys urinate on Bible
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> www.theaustralian.news.co...02,00.html
<b>Muslim boys urinated on Bible</b>
Cameron Stewart
December 06, 2006
TWO Muslim students have been expelled from an Islamic school in Melbourne for urinating and spitting on a Bible and setting it on fire.
The explosive incident has forced the East Preston Islamic College to call in a senior imam to tell its 650 Muslim students that the Bible and Christianity must be respected.

Anxious teachers at the school have also petitioned principal Shaheem Doutie, expressing "grave concern" about an "inculcation of hatred and radical attitudes towards non-Muslims" at the school, including towards non-Muslim teachers.

The Bible desecration took place last week at a school camp held near Bacchus Marsh, about 50km west of Melbourne, attended by 33 teenage Muslim boys ranging in age from Year7 to Year 10.
<b>Cleric's 2nd wife sparks polygamy debate</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->JAKARTA (Reuters) - A popular Indonesian Islamic cleric's decision to take a second wife has sparked a fiery debate about polygamy laws in the world's largest Muslim country where multiple marriages are only banned among civil servants.

The turban-clad but leather-jacketed Abdullah Gymnastiar's announcement prompted the government to consider extending the ban to lawmakers, a move that sent many legislators leaping to the defense of polygamy arguing that it is allowed under Islam.

"If the government wants to regulate polygamy, it has to do it correctly because Islam allows polygamy with some strict conditions," Ichwan Sam, secretary general of the Indonesian Ulema Council, an umbrella group of Muslim clerics, told Reuters.

"There should not be an impression that government regulations or laws are reducing religious teachings."
<b>"Women tend to be monogamous, that's how their software is. But men, you know ... their software is different," the Jakarta Post quoted Gymnastiar as saying in a sermon when asked if he had married again.

Women's activists say polygamy should be completely banned.

"In our marriage law, our principle is monogamy ... but the law puts polygamy as an exit in the worst situation," Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, a leading feminist lawyer and member of parliament, told Reuters.

"For me, polygamy is discrimination or like apartheid. If your husband doesn't like you he can get rid of you."
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why my website was banned in India

Posted: July 22, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Rusty Shackleford

Two days after the Mumbai bombings last week that killed more than 180, the government of India issued a directive banning 17 websites. These websites were singled out because, according to the Indian government, they might incite religious violence. The nine American websites banned by India are all critical of the Islamist movement. Not a single website of Islamic extremists justifying and even celebrating the Mumbai bombings has been banned.

Why did India ban these websites? And what is the larger meaning of this action? As proprietor of one of the banned websites, I am in a unique position to answer those questions.

The short answer to the first question is that we offended Islamists, and India is afraid of its own Muslim citizens. The short answer to the second question is that liberty may not be able to exist where there are large populations of Muslims.

Some time ago, a false story began to be circulated in the mainstream press that a detainee's Quran had been put in a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. Some Muslims reacted by protesting, some rioted, and some were killed as a result.

This reaction was a clarifying moment for many of us. Islam, as understood by many Muslims, is not a tolerant religion.

The very definition of tolerance is to allow that which we do not agree with. The moment Muslims demand that their governments punish those who say, write or depict things they find offensive, they reveal their intolerance.

So, the reaction of our websites was to make fun of this overreaction. Oddly, mocking the intolerant is now considered a form of intolerance by many in the world.

The specific reason for India's ban was that our reactions to the Quran-flushing story could cause religious violence. Since it was only websites deemed offensive to Muslims that were banned, we know precisely who it is that India fears.

India's banning of our websites is completely rational. It is based on the real fear of real people who do real violence.

I understand India's reason for banning our websites, but certainly don't condone it.

Giving in to violent threats is not, in my book, a winning strategy for defeating the very people who are threatening you. Appeasement only works if your goal is appeasement.

Further, banning religiously offensive speech kills two freedoms at once. A nation cannot truly have freedom of religion if that religion is immune from public criticism. A nation cannot truly have freedom of speech if blasphemy becomes a criminal act.

India's actions lead us to suspect that it will not just be Islamic states where religious oppression is the norm, but that any country with a sizeable and vocal Muslim minority might also be forced, for the sake of domestic tranquility, to ban blasphemy. And we believe that our fears are founded on more than this one case.

While many Muslim countries in the post-Bush Doctrine era are moving toward more liberalization, many non-Muslim countries are moving the wrong way. Some criminalize religiously offensive speech, and nearly all of their leaders bend over backwards to never say anything that could possible be construed as critical of Islam.

If India and other countries hope that condemning speech critical of Islam will appease their Muslim populations, they have greatly miscalculated. What offends Islamists is not what we or others say, it is that they are not in power to stop us from saying it.

Their ultimate goal is the creation of a state based on Islamic law. It is only then, when it is Muslims who decide what needs banning, that they will be happy. The real gripe Muslims have in non-Muslim countries is about power.

India, of all countries, should understand this. Both Pakistan and Bangladesh were states founded because Muslims refused to be part of the secular Indian state. India has fought wars over this. That war continues today in Kashmir and on the streets of Mumbai.

India is said to be a secular state with aspirations of greatness. Its recent actions show that it is neither completely secular nor ready for its proper place on the world stage. This is all doubly sad because India is also a natural ally against the cancer of Islamic fundamentalism.

It is India, not the U.S., which has bloody borders with Islam. Mumbai should be a reminder to India who its real friends are and who are its enemies.

The move towards religious censorship by India is a mistake. A nation does not cement its alliances by adopting the values of its enemies and rejecting those of its allies.

Despite this slap in the face by India, I will continue to wish her continued progress and prosperity. A wealthy India is an India better able to stave off the attacks of the barbarians who are our common enemies at her gates.

India may have turned its back on us, but we should not be so petty as to completely turn our backs on her.

<b>The Gym Jihad</b>
[quote=Mudy,Dec 7 2006, 10:38 PM]

Women's activists say polygamy should be completely banned.

I can understand how women want to ban the part of Islam that is the most practically offensive to them. But please don't stop there. Ban Islam. It stinks through and through.
<b>The Jihad: We're All in This Together </b>
You have a problem. It’s a problem shared by Jews in Hebron, Serbs in Kosovo, Hindus in the Kashmir, Catholics in Lebanon, and Americans walking the streets of New York.
Consider the inter-connectedness of the following incidents, all of which took place in the past few months:

<b>In Indonesia, three Christian schoolgirls were beheaded.
In Iraq, a Syrian Orthodox priest was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.
In Somalia, a nun was shot to death as she left the hospital where she worked, tending the sick and dying.
In Lebanon, just days ago, a cabinet minister was assassinated.
In Britain, authorities uncovered a conspiracy in which native-born Brits plotted to blow up several trans-Atlantic flights, killing as many as 3,000.
In Afghanistan, suicide bombers are at work again.
In Iraq, they never stopped. Additionally, the week before last, a group of worshippers were abducted from a mosque, doused with gasoline and burned to death in what’s described as “sectarian violence.”
In France, a high school philosophy teacher is in hiding after very credible death threats following publication of a September 19th commentary in Le Figaro.
Some 139 people died in riots in Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – following the publication of Danish cartoons.
Europe is experiencing the worst wave of anti-Semitic violence since Kristallnacht. The former director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum reports there an average of 12 assaults a day on Jews in Paris.
In Kosovo, 90 percent of Serbs gave been ethnically cleansed from the province since 1999. The rest live in a state of siege.
In Mumbai, India, a series of blasts killed almost 200.
In Gaza, terrorists recently celebrated the latest “ceasefire” by raining more rockets on southern Israel. </b>
And the leader of more than a billion Catholics received death threats and demands that he convert after giving a speech in which he called for a balance of faith and reason, and quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor.

What do the foregoing have in common?

<b>To quote columnist Mark Steyn, in his excellent book America Alone: The End of The World As We Know It, it begins with an “I” and ends with a “slam.”</b>...............<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Thailand fears Buddhist exodus from Muslim insurgency in south

By Rungrawee C. Pinyorat

9:30 a.m. December 10, 2006

YALA, Thailand – Thailand's Muslim insurgency has prompted hundreds of Buddhists to flee their homes in the restive south, creating refugee-like communities of Thais in their own country.

So far, the migration is limited to a handful of villages, but it has alarmed Thai authorities who fear the daily violence of the three-year-old rebellion could provoke a larger Buddhist exodus and leave the three southern provinces exclusively Muslim.

Buddhist monks have been beheaded, Buddhist teachers slain, and leaflets distributed around Buddhist villages warning that raising dogs and drinking alcohol are offensive to Muslims.

Buddhist monks in one province have halted their alms-seeking rituals after coming under fire, and some Buddhist temples have become military barracks and heavily guarded fortresses.

Suspicions are growing that some of the shadowy groups behind the violence see Buddhists as “infidels” and want them gone. A leaflet which the military says was distributed among Muslim villages called for a separate Islamic state and compared the south to “Palestine and Afghanistan.”

“Increasingly, insurgent violence is being used to scare away Buddhists and keep Muslims under control,” said a recent statement by the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.

High-level officials have paid morale-boosting visits to the displaced Buddhists and Queen Sirikit has funded construction of a dozen heavily guarded Buddhist safe havens in the three provinces for villagers fleeing Muslim-dominated villages.

Authorities have pledged to guarantee the safety of Buddhists and are encouraging them to learn to use firearms, but have issued no detailed plan of action.

Buddhists are 90 percent of Thailand's 65 million people but are a minority of 360,000 among 1.3 million Muslims in the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani. Here, insurgencies have waxed and waned over various Muslim grievances since the once independent Malay sultanate was annexed by Thailand about a century ago.

The latest round began in January 2004 and has claimed more than 1,800 lives. They include soldiers, civil servants and innocent bystanders. Unofficial statistics show that more than 900 of the dead were Muslims, most of them killed as alleged government collaborators. There are no official figures on how many have left their homes, though at least some of them are Muslims.

The Buddhists feel targeted simply for being Buddhists.

“Buddhists don't feel safe anymore because they know insurgents want them out,” said Srisompop Chitphiromsri, a professor at the Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani who researches the insurgency. “If people are being killed in their homes and in their communities they have one choice: That's to move away.”

The leaflet obtained from security forces was signed by the “Islamic Warriors of Pattani State” and said the south should be Muslim-only.

“This land must be liberated and ruled by Islamic Law. This land does not belong to Thailand,” it said. “This is a land of war that is no different from Palestine and Afghanistan ... Muslims and nonbelievers have to live separately.”

Many are too poor to move, and there have been no mass migrations, Srisompop said.

The nation is closely watching Niwej Sankharam, a Buddhist temple in Yala city, now a safe house for some 230 Buddhists, with teachers being brought in to teach the children in monks' residence halls.

The Buddhists fled here beginning Nov. 9 after attacks on their two remote mountainous villages, which are now empty.

“I don't want to go back to my village again. I have nothing left,” said Thongchai Eamhiran, 36, whose wife and father-in-law were fatally shot and house burned down.

He keeps a framed photograph of his slain wife by his bedside in the basement of a pagoda where dozens sleep side by side on the floor. “I just want a place where I can live peacefully,” he said.

Some 40 Buddhist villagers from Narathiwat fled to a temple and returned home after a few days' stay. Another 20 have camped for two weeks at an abandoned police barracks.

Because of the shadowy nature of the insurgency, it is impossible to get reaction from the perpetrators. But Muslim leaders have condemned the attacks on Buddhists in their sermons, said Waedueramae Maminggi, chairman of the Pattani Islamic Council.

“I regret what has happened,” he said in a telephone interview. “We want Buddhists to return home. We want to give them encouragement and want security forces to protect them. This is where they were born and they have the right to live here as much as Muslims do.”

Villagers at the temple are divided about what to do next. Some say they hope to return home if their safety can be assured. Others want the government to rehouse them outside the three provinces. But the government and monarchy fear that would set a precedent.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn recently visited villagers at the temple and encouraged them to return home. “If you leave your houses and farms, you will need to start all over again,” he said.

Another visitor, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, promised them, “We will try to ensure that you return home safely and stay there safely in the future.”

Surayud, installed after a Sept. 19 coup, has pledged to make peace in the south a priority and reverse the hard-line policies of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin favored a military approach and rejected peaceful negotiations.

But the violence continues. On Oct. 22 five monks in Narathiwat province were wounded during their morning alms walk when a bomb killed two of their military escorts. Shortly afterward, all 300 monks living at the province's 78 temples decided to forgo the traditional morning ritual until their safety could be guaranteed.

One of the injured, Phra Khru Sangkarak Somchaichotiwaro, said that monks were staying put for now, but noted that if they change their mind it could herald a wider evacuation.

“If temples are abandoned,” he said, “Buddhists will be demoralized and they will leave.”

Associated Press correspondent Sumeth Panpetch contributed to this report.

Notice the similarities with what happened to KP's in India.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Dec 10 2006, 07:22 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Dec 10 2006, 07:22 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/...le.asp?ID=25888
<b>The Jihad: We're All in This Together </b>
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->

<b>To quote columnist Mark Steyn, in his excellent book America Alone: The End of The World As We Know It, it begins with an “I” and ends with a “slam.”</b>...............<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Good. Let the truth about Islam be shouted from each rooftop.

I am amazed at people who run around like headless chickens asking for "solutions, not whining" when it comes to Pakistan and Islam. "Whining" is just highlighting things for people to see, and in diseases like Islam which thrive exclusively on lies, telling the truth is the natural cure.

People want solutions when the solution is there in the problem itself. This is like self-realization: what is to be realized is there all the time, but dumb people think that they need to find something external (let us wait for the messiah onlee, no)..

Slaughter the piglets, Devi !
Om Skandamaatey Namah !

<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Malaysia's Ethnic Relations In "Precarious" State</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Malaysia's politically dominant ethnic Malays form a slim majority of a population of 26 million and are overwhelmingly Muslim, while ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indians account for about 25 percent and 8 percent respectively.

The ethnic Malays have a history of tension with the ethnic Chinese, who dominate business and are far wealthier.

In May 1969, hundreds of people were killed in race riots that many people in political power today, including the premier, fear could happen again if tensions get out of control.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Speeches at a November meeting of Abdullah's United Malays National Organisation fed the racial fears, Anwar said.

Some delegates at the meeting, televised live for the first time, shocked non-Muslims with a call to sever the heads of non-believers and veiled talk of using a knife on the party's political opponents.

Anwar said he did not believe the current tension could explode in violence similar to 1969 because Malaysians had become more mature in their thinking since then.

"I don't think that scenario would happen, although I think the situation is bad enough," he said. "I think Malaysians are mature and they have strong views, but I don't think they would go to that extent."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Christoislamic intolerance is being downplayed again as 'race' or 'ethnic' tensions. Yes the Chinese and Indians are not ethnically Malay. But the real reason is islam.
<b>Intel, partners to make electronic Quran</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->SAN FRANCISCO - Intel Corp., the world's largest computer chip maker, has partnered with two Saudi Arabian software companies to develop an electronic version of Islam's holy book and a training computer for teachers packed with the government-approved curriculum for schoolchildren.

Intel said Monday the projects are part of broader push to bring low-cost computing and Internet access to emerging markets and are only two uses for the Intel-designed hardware.
The E-Quran is a small computer with wireless Internet access that contains the text of the Islamic holy book, audio recitations in 40 different languages and interactive interpretations of the material.
<b>Dutch youngsters convert in a flash</b>


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Fatwa-issuing Uttar Pradesh Minister guilty for IPC 107 - encouraging murder.
Speaker of UP Vidhan Sabha Mata Prasad Pandey is believed to have found controversial State Haj Minister Haji Yakoob Qureshi guilty of abetting crime by announcing a reward of Rs 51 crore for anybody who would kill the Danish cartoonists who caricatured Prophet Mohammed.
This is a very nice graphical depiction of the changes that have taken place in the Middle East over the last 5000 Years.

Who Has Controlled the Middle East over the last 5000 Years

This graphic shows the History of Religion over the last 5000 Years.

History of Religion

<b>Veils should be banned for Muslim women: Nazir</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->London, December 24: In an effort to improve security and cohesion in Britain, Muslim women should be banned from wearing the veil in the country, the Church of England's only Asian bishop Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali has said.

The Bishop of Rochester urged the government to introduce legislation that would force Muslims to remove the veil when they are at work or travelling.

The Pakistan-born bishop said the Islamic community needed to make greater efforts to integrate into British society.

<b>"It is fine if they want to wear the veil in private,  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->  but there are occasions in public life when it is inappropriate for them to wear it," </b>he was quoted as saying by The Sunday Telegraph.
<b>Pakistan Bans Truth About Muhammad</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, published by Regnery (a HUMAN EVENTS sister company), was pulled off shelves after it was found to contain "objectionable material" about Islam's founder, according to a notification obtained by the Kuwait National News Agency.

The Pakistani government has confiscated all copies and translations of the book.

"It is interesting that they would say the book contains 'objectionable materials,' since it is all scrupulously sourced from texts that Muslims themselves consider reliable," Spencer told HUMAN EVENTS. "It manifests a certain cultural insecurity that, instead of having a fruitful dialogue or debate about what's in the book, the Pakistani government just bans and confiscates it."

In response to questions about the ban, Shahid Ahmed, counselor of community affairs of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Washington, D.C., said he had not yet read the latest reports but that "the book is very, very damaging—let me tell you." He also said the book was ill-sourced.

Spencer said his primary sources for the book were the Koran, the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim, and the two earliest biographies of Muhammad, which, he said, were "both written by pious Muslims: Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa'd."

"Obviously, this official hasn't looked at the book," Spencer said.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Meet the real Muhammad:</b>

-Muhammad's bizarre reaction to his first "revelation": "I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself"

-The heretical Christian who convinced Muhammad he was a prophet – and may have taught him his erroneous views of Christianity

-Islamic borrowings from Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism – and Muhammad's enraged replies to charges that he borrowed material rather than received actual divine revelations

-The "revelation" that allowed Muhammad to marry his beautiful daughter-in-law

-The strange incident in Muhammad's life that makes it virtually impossible to prove rape in Islamic countries today

-The real "Satanic Verses" incident (not the Salman Rushdie version): how Muhammad's attempt to win over his opponents ended with his saying he had been inspired not by God, but by Satan

-How the Qur'an's teaching on warfare against unbelievers developed – with constant war to establish the hegemony of Islamic law as the last stage

-The first year of the Muslim calendar: not when Muhammad was born or became a prophet, but when he became a warlord

-How Muhammad used the graphic lure of Islamic Paradise to urge his warriors to fight furiously to extend his rule

-"Kill every Jew who comes into your power": why Muhammad became so angry with both Jews and Christians – with disastrous consequences that are still playing out in the world today

-The momentous command by Muhammad that led to good being identified with anything that benefited the Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them --without reference to any larger moral standard

-Muhammad's child bride – and the terrible consequences his marriage to a nine-year-old still has in the Islamic world

-"This is the caravan of the Quraysh possessing wealth. It is likely that Allah may give it to you as booty": how Muhammad gave divine sanction to the Muslims' bloody raids

-"War is deceit": the permission Muhammad gave his followers to lie in order to gain an advantage over their enemies

-How Muhammad broke the principal treaty he entered into, again setting a pattern for Muslim states thereafter

-Muhammad's commands to his followers to wage perpetual war against non-Muslims, including Jews and Christians

-Muhammad on women's rights: women "are prisoners with you having no control of their persons"

-"If justice is not to be found with me then where will you find it?" Why Muhammad still stands for Muslims as the supreme model for human behavior

-"I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, and will not leave any but Muslims" – and other statements by Muhammad that contemporary jihadists take very seriously

-Islamic tolerance? The onerous tax burden and other discriminatory regulations mandated for non-Muslims under Islamic law

-How Muhammad ordered the killing of apostates from Islam

-The massacre of a Jewish tribe by Muhammad that was invoked by modern-day jihadists at the beginning of Israel's July 2006 operations against Hizballah in Lebanon

-"Embrace Islam, and your lives and property will be safe": Muhammad's threatening letters to the rulers of the lands around Arabia

-Muhammad's frequent avowals that the Muslims would overcome the empires bordering on Arabia and one day stand as masters of the world

-"I have been made victorious with terror" – and other statements of Muhammad on his deathbed

-Six steps that American leaders can and must take in order to protect our nation from Islamic jihad terrorism<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:bevil--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_evil.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_evil.gif' /><!--endemo-->
..and Muslims worldwide continue to follow this child molesting woman-hating murderer. Islam is the fastest growing faith onlee..

Yeah, and AIDS is the fastest spreading disease onlee. That makes it good?
There are times in this world when some people came who worked against the evils in the society. Some of these people were contented with their efforts confined to social boundary, but some used their fight as a start of a new religion. These man-made religions created dis-harmony in the soceity. Islam is one such religion.
<!--QuoteBegin-SureshG+Dec 26 2006, 07:20 PM-->QUOTE(SureshG @ Dec 26 2006, 07:20 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->There are times in this world when some people came who worked against the evils in the society. Some of these people were contented with their efforts confined to social boundary, but some used their fight as a start of a new religion. These man-made religions created dis-harmony in the soceity. Islam is one such religion.

Exactly..and the more the reality about Islam is spread, the better..but many Muslims societies are going to do their best to not allow the truth to be told..it is going to be a long-term headache <!--emo&:mad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Up to 1,000 Islamists dead in Ethiopia offensive-Meles

26 Dec 2006 13:39:44 GMT

By Tsegaye Tadesse

ADDIS ABABA, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Somalia's Islamists are in full retreat after Ethiopian airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed up to 1,000 of the religious movement's fighters, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Tuesday.

"A joint Somali government and Ethiopian force has broken the back of the international terrorist forces... These forces are in full retreat," Meles told reporters in Addis Ababa, adding that up to 1,000 Islamist fighters had been killed.

"A few are Somali but the majority are foreigners," he said of the dead.

Addis Ababa has vowed to protect Somalia's weak interim government from rival Islamists based in Mogadishu. A week of artillery and mortar duels between the two sides has spiralled into open war that both sides say has killed hundreds.

Meles said most fighters of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) had fled to their home areas. He said Ethiopian forces were now hunting down troops from his arch-foe Eritrea, which he accuses of supporting the Islamists.

"The only forces we are pursuing are Eritreans who are hiding behind the skirts of Somali women, and terrorist mujahideen," Meles said.

Ethiopia says the SICC has recruited foreign jihadists, and that a handful of almost 300 prisoners taken after one battle for a central Somali town held British passports.

Meles said he had sent between 3,000 and 4,000 Ethiopian troops into Somalia, but denied they were occupiers. He said it was a small force, but carried a lot of firepower.

"Our military is skirting the towns and attacking only military bases," he said.

"We have already completed half our mission, and as soon as we finish the second half, our troops will leave Somalia."

He said he had information 3,000 wounded had been taken to hospital in the Islamist stronghold Mogadishu. But he said there were few civilian casualties because most of the fighting had taken place away from settlements.


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