New judge appointed in Fort Hood shooting case

Updated 06 December 2012
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New judge appointed in Fort Hood shooting case

FORT HOOD, Texas: The Army’s highest legal branch appointed a new judge to preside over the case of the Fort Hood shooting suspect, indicating the court-martial is on track to move forward after lengthy delays.
US Army Col. Tara Osborn was named Tuesday to head the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings that killed 13 and wounded more than two dozen on the Texas Army post.
The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces on Monday ousted the previous judge, Col. Gregory Gross, saying he appeared biased against Hasan. The court also tossed out Gross’ order to have Hasan’s beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial, though it didn’t rule on whether the order violated his religious rights as he claimed.
While in custody this spring, Hasan started growing a beard that he says is an expression of his Islamic faith. Gross had sided with prosecutors who say the beard violates Army grooming standards and could confuse witnesses.
The ruling Monday by the military’s highest court said the command, not a judge, is responsible for enforcing grooming standards, which means another judge isn’t likely to order Hasan to shave, some military law experts said.
“This ruling will have a chilling effect on the future judge because he or she ... will not pursue this beard issue any longer, and the appeals court still hasn’t answered the key question of whether Hasan has to comply with military regulations and shave like every other military officer,” said Jeff Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio.
The retired military attorney is not involved in Hasan’s case. “But on the flip side, the jury is going to see him in a full beard and may think he is motivated by radical Islamic beliefs. That’s what prosecutors and the judge (Gross) were trying to prevent.”
The case had been on hold since Hasan appealed Gross’ order a few days before the trial was to start in August. Gross previously delayed Hasan’s trial from March to June and then to August.
Army spokesman Maj. S. Justin Platt said he didn’t know when Osborn would arrive at Fort Hood. It’s unclear when hearings in the case will resume.


King Salman declared ‘Islamic World’s Personality of the Year’

Updated 7 min 8 sec ago
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King Salman declared ‘Islamic World’s Personality of the Year’

  • Religious leaders demand an independent Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital
  • UNSC should take notice of Houthi missile attacks on Saudi cities

LAHORE: A group of religious scholars in Pakistan have declared King Salman the “Islamic World’s Personality of the Year 2017,” in recognition of his services to the Muslim world, especially to Palestine.

The scholars gathered in Lahore to participate in the International Paigham-e-Islam Conference (Message of Islam Conference) organized on Monday by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC).

The event was chaired by PUC President Maulana Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi and attended by Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary Talal Al-Aqeel as chief guest. 

The Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf Saeed Ahmad Al-Maliki, was also in attendance.

The participants of the conference expressed deep appreciation for the role played by King Salman in uniting the Muslim Ummah and raising his voice for its rights at every international forum.

King Salman’s Islamic World’s Personality of the Year Award was received on his behalf by the Saudi ambassador.

During the course of the conference, the participants fully endorsed the decision of the 29th Arab League Summit and rejected US decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem. They unanimously declared that the US decision was not acceptable to anyone among the Muslim countries.

“The only solution to the issue is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that has its capital in Jerusalem. No other solution can bring peace to the region,” said the resolution adopted by the conference.

The participants also noted that Muslims of the world were facing significant challenges due to the menace of extremism, terrorism and sectarianism.

Many of them stated that the enemies of Islam were benefiting from these differences that had fragmented Muslim communities all over the world. They also noted that after destroying Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, such elements were also planning to turn on, and destablize, Saudi Arabia.

The conference participants expressed their concern over missile attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Houthis, saying no Muslim would tolerate an attack on Islam’s holiest cities and that the UN Security Council should take note of those who were supporting the Houthis.

“No one can afford the destabilization of Saudi Arabia, and Iran should not support the Houthis. The world should take notice of excesses committed by Houthis,” Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, president of the PUC, said while addressing the gathering. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Saudi ambassador thanked the conference for declaring King Salman the Islamic World’s Personality of the Year.

“The Saudi government is always ready to serve the people of Pakistan. The two countries are tied by the bonds of friendship and Saudi Arabia values Pakistan's feelings for the Kingdom,” he said.

The conference also lauded the Pakistan Army for providing training facilities to Saudi forces.

“The Pakistan Army, being the force of a nuclear country, has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all Muslim countries. It should fully cooperate with the Saudi armed forces by providing them consultation and training to meet the challenges of terrorism from external forces,” another resolution passed by the conference read.