"It would be a resounding message to the Islamic world if the investigations confirm that the Mumbai massacre was carried out by a Pakistani organisation championing the Kashmiri separatist movement," Hussein Shobokshi wrote in an opinion piece for Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. "Kashmir is a part of India with a Muslim community that must obtain its rights as a political entity equally and justly within the framework of democratic India," he wrote in the UK-based paper.
India wants to integrate its Muslim population, and this approach would grant justice and equality to all citizens, since Muslims have thrived in India for centuries, he added. Muslims should worship God no matter where they are and strive to obtain rights away from political slogans and the waving of separatist flags. "There needs to be a decisive and clear position against the Kashmiri separatist movement. It will be a new but necessary Islamic message to the world."
"Lately, numerous malls have been competing in decorating their entrances and main gates with green trees carrying colored lamps in celebration of the Christian Christmas holiday," Muhammad Lashib reported in Qatar's independent Al Arab daily. "Some shops have set up special corners for dark red presents, Santa Claus toys, clothes and hats, Christmas cards, lamps and tree ornaments."
A number of citizens polled by Al Arab condemned the fact that the malls decorated their display windows for the Christian holiday of Christmas, while ignoring the holy Eid al-Adha and Qatar's national day. "Eid al-Adha is only a few days away. It is then followed by the Qatari national holiday then by the New Year. This chronology must be respected at least," resident Muhammad al-Lawzi told Al Arab.
The Palestinian-owned Al Quds al Arabi daily said in its lead editorial that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had addressed an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad to meet in London to discuss activating the peace process. "The British Prime Minister addressed the invitation to the wrong people at the wrong time," the UK-based paper said. Olmert has resigned from his party's command due to corruption charges.
"It is still not clear why Brown invited Mr Fayyad and not the head of the authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, unless Brown is clinging to the view that there should be 'economic peace' as a prelude to 'political peace'." Brown believes in focusing on improving the economy of the occupied territories to make building an eventual state easier. "This theory was proved wrong on the ground. Economic peace will remain elusive in light of the security barricades and the massive expansion of the settlements."
"There is time to waste in Lebanon in the wait for the parliamentary elections," wrote Khaled Saghieh, a regular columnist for Lebanon's independent pro-opposition newspaper Al Akhbar. "Everyone knows that nothing major can be done before that popular poll, which will be held next year." There is also time to kill in Lebanon in the wait for the new American administration, since everyone knows nothing major can be done before President-elect Barack Obama steps on to the scene, he wrote.
Nonetheless, the former opposition remains active. Hezbollah keeps pushing for more reconciliation following the May clashes in Lebanon. The Free Patriotic Movement leader, General Michel Aoun, goes on visits to Damascus and Tehran. "But, on the other side, we see the March 14 team without any initiative, as if it has come to terms with the upcoming defeat." * Digest compiled from www.mideastdigest.com