Seven suspects arrested in connection with last year's attacks on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai were charged in connection with the siege Wednesday, a defense attorney for one of the men told CNN.
The suspects are Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Umar Abjul Wajid, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jameel Ahmed, Mohammad Younas Anjum, Mazhar Iqbal and Hammad Amin Sadiq.
Alyas Saddiqi, the defense attorney representing suspect Jameel Ahmed, said the defendants were charged with acts of terrorism, money laundering, supplying funds for terrorism, and providing tools for terrorism. Saddiqi said all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Fareed Zakaria | BIO
President Obama landed in South Korea Wednesday for the last stop on his 10-day trip to Asia. The president made earlier visits to China, Singapore and Japan, in his first Asian journey as president.
In Japan, he made reference to his birth in Hawaii and his childhood spent partly in Indonesia, calling himself "America's first Pacific president." But as the trip winds down, analysts are seeking to answer the question of what Obama accomplished.
Fareed Zakaria, author and host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria: GPS" spoke to CNN Tuesday about the president's trip and about a grim anniversary that's about to be marked in Asia. It's been one year since 10 Pakistani gunmen put India's commercial capital, Mumbai, through an ordeal of terror that killed 170 people. [Zakaria is the narrator of a documentary on the Mumbai attacks premiering on HBO on Friday.]
Night is falling and I can see the Gateway of India from my Sea View room at the Taj in Mumbai, my favorite hotel in the world. There are boats coming and going, people eating and arguing, vendors buying and selling. A few minutes ago there was a band playing Sufi Muslim love songs, and now there is some sort of parade approaching - maybe a wedding, maybe a political rally. Drummers dressed in red uniforms, horn players in orange, dignitaries (the groom and his family?) in carriages drawn by oxen, a group of uniformed schoolchildren walking by, clapping along, utterly delighted.
The carnival of India.
It is chilling to think if I was sitting in this same room on November 26, 2008, I would have been witness to the nightmare of India, when a group of ten terrorists hijacked a boat and came ashore on the spot that I am staring at now, and attacked the building I am sitting in with guns and grenades - six explosions in total in this hotel.
They killed nearly 200 people and injured over 300 more, but they failed in their most important pursuit - to create a religious civil war in a city that had fallen prey to the ugliest version of the clash of civilizations in the recent past.
So why was this time different? Why did Mumbaikers overwhelmingly view November 26 as a case of pluralism vs. extremism, rather than Hindu vs. Muslim?
I've been asking journalists and religious leaders in the city this question, and here's what they've had to say:
1) The Muslim community came out against the terror attacks immediately and clearly and strongly. They organized press conferences and marches. They refused to bury the terrorists in Muslim cemeteries. "Since the ... terrorists were neither Indian nor true Muslims, they had no right to an Islamic burial in an Indian Muslim cemetery," the Indian Muslim journalist MJ Akbar told Tom Friedman in a widely read column.
2) The media paid attention. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, a Professor of Islamic Studies at St. Xavier's College and founder of an interfaith project in Mumbai, told me that Indian Muslims have long spoken out against terrorism, but their voices had rarely been carried by the media. This time, the media were not looking for messages of division, but instead messages of unity - and the Muslims of Mumbai were there with that message front and center.
Los Angeles Times
The Pakistani extremist group suspected in the Mumbai rampage remains a distant shadow for most Americans. But the threat is much nearer than it seems.
For years, Lashkar-e-Taiba has actively recruited Westerners, especially Britons and Americans, serving as a kind of farm team for Islamic militants who have gone on to execute attacks for Al Qaeda, a close ally. The Pakistani network makes its training camps accessible to English speakers, providing crucial skills to an increasingly young and Western-born generation of extremists.
Briton Aabid Khan was one of them. When British police arrested him at Manchester International Airport on his return from Pakistan in June 2006, they found a trove of terrorist propaganda and manuals on his laptop that the trial judge later described as "amongst the largest and most extensive ever discovered." The haul included maps and videos of potential targets in New York City and Washington.
One video, shot deep in Pakistani extremist turf, shows the then-21-year-old Khan with a grinning young man who says he's from Los Angeles - a mysterious figure in a case that apparently illustrates Lashkar's dangerous reach.
Alexandra Sage Mehta
American living in Mumbai
Had a night of terrified boredom—what a weird combination. Is that what ongoing fear becomes. Boring? Went to dinner at Indigo Delhi, behind the Taj hotel with two friends. It's an "ex-pat" spot, little sibling of Bombay's fanciest restaurant, Indigo, serving continental kids' food: pizza, waffles, burgers, and tollhouse-tasting cookies you can order in advance. Right before dessert we heard the first shootings down the road. An American friend called to tell me to sit tight–I casually said we had ice cream and could bide our time, a heinous thing to say. Then the area was closed off, and we were essentially in hiding. The iron curtains came down over the big glass windows, the lights were turned off and a policeman was stationed outside the door. We moved to the back of the restaurant and hunkered down to sleeplessness and second-hand news–there was no TV or radio in the restaurant.
We were a mixed group - a German couple, two French, an Indian family whose papers were in their suite at the Taj. Our bills had been brought and alcohol cut off - but the waiters continued to serve throughout the night - water, tea, coffee and then in the early morning, cakes. I had toast and an apple pie - starved from nerves. Two Indian women used table clothes as blankets, some waiters slept on chairs or benches. Through the uncovered tops of of the windows, we could see ambulances and fire engines passing and, finally, we saw day break. It was somehow relieving. The night was over. Eggs were served and we were told we could go soon, and about 7am they let us out. Being let out into the thin morning light of Thanksgiving Day, was wonderful. The relief of fresh air now seems obscene next to the awful news. The city was quiet - is it over? We thought so, and couldn't have known then that the seige wouldn't end for many more hours.
We’re following breaking news on the auto bailout. We’re getting reports that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says the Big Three bailout is in jeopardy. Democrats apparently don’t have enough votes to give the Big Three the money they want from the $700 billion rescue plan pot. We’ll have more details by air time.
According to new CNN polling, the bailout is already a bust among Americans. Six in 10 oppose rescuing the Big Three with taxpayer money. In early November, nearly half the public supported federal help for Detroit. So what’s changed? We’d love to hear your take.
Some more baffling math from the poll: Three-quarters of respondents said they think they’ll personally feel the impact if the auto makers go bankrupt. We’re intrigued that so many Americans support letting the auto makers go belly up, while admitting their families will suffer from the consequences. Again, we’d love your input.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
All terrorism is monstrous, but the murder of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg by ‘religious Islamic extremists’ stands out for its unspeakable infamy. The deliberate targeting of a small Jewish center and its married young directors, whose only purpose it was to provide for the religious needs of a community and feed travelers, proves that those who perpetrated this crime are bereft not only of even a hint of humanity, but every shred of faith as well. The world’s most aggressive atheists are more religious than these spiritual charlatans and pious frauds. When Osama bin Laden, whose beard masks the face of the ultimate religious hypocrite, attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the target was purportedly chosen as the very symbol of American materialism and excess. But what could these ‘religious’ people have been thinking in exterminating a twenty-something couple with two babies who moved from the world’s richest country to India to provide religious services and faith to the poor and the needy? What blow against Western decadence were they striking by targeting a Chabad House whose entire purpose it is to spread spirituality to people whose lives lack it? Now is not only a time to remember the victims but to hate their killers. One cannot love the innocent without simultaneously loathing those who orphan their children.
I know how uncomfortable people feel about hatred. It smacks of revenge. It poisons the heart of those who hate. But this is true only if we hate the good, the innocent, or the neutral. Hating monsters, however, motivates us to fight them. Only if an act like this repulses us to our core will we summon the will to fight these devils so that they can never murder again.
Editor’s Note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of www.TheMuslimGuy.comand contributing editor for Islamica Magazine in Washington.
The world mourns for the people of Mumbai. Ranked immediately behind New York City as the 5th largest metropolitan city in the entire world; over 19.2 million Mumbai citizens of all religions and ethnicities watched in horror as part of the city’s virtual ‘five-star’ district reeled from the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks which has (thus far) claimed the lives of 179 people and wounded at least 300 more.
As the financial capital of India and birthplace to the global phenomenon known as Bollywood, in many ways, the city formerly known as Bombay is central to the societal heartbeat of our world’s largest democracy. As people all around the world send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims of these outrageous terrorist attacks; the world can again reunite to send our thoughts and prayers to anyone touched by this terrible tragedy.
Most people are unaware of the fact that there are over 1.1 billion (yes, one billion) inhabitants of India today. As the single largest democracy in the entire world, India’s ethnic and religious diversity will withstand these latest heinous terrorist attacks and strengthen its own democratic social fabric amidst the shattered glass of the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotel lobbies. The ridiculously hateful ideology of criminal terrorists who would carry out such a senseless terror campaign will not unravel the resilient social fabric which is turning India into a future millennial global powerhouse.
Erica Hill | BIO
Thanksgiving wasn’t the same this year. It was a wonderful day – my husband’s family was in town, and it’s rare we have everyone together more than once a year. It was a beautiful day here in NY; we took in our first live Thanksgiving Day Parade, enjoyed a wonderful feast and created new memories. We made up for lost time and were reminded how lucky we are to be blessed with a family we all like. Yet, I couldn’t help but think of Mumbai and the families forever torn apart by these senseless terrorists.
I take some comfort in the vigils being held worldwide, uniting people across oceans and continents, bringing together different faiths, united in one belief: the 179 people killed and the 300 injured last week in Mumbai should still be here.
December 1 is World AIDS Day…another good reason to reflect. Dec 1 was first set aside as a day to highlight the disease 20 years ago. The good news: Progress, and lots of it, on both the medical and social fronts.
M.J. Gohel and Sajjan Gohel
The Indian media have described the Mumbai terrorist siege as India's 9/11.
The targets for the attacks, many of them symbols of Mumbai's growing power and wealth, were not randomly selected and were intended to send a direct message to India, Israel and the West.
Indeed, the Mumbai attacks had all the hallmarks of a powerful transnational terrorist group inspired by the ideology of al Qaeda.
Mumbai is no stranger to terrorism.
On March 12, 1993, a series of 15 bombs exploded across several districts of India's financial capital, killing 257. On July 11, 2006, a coordinated bombing spree on the city's transportation system killed 209 people.
Uniquely disturbing about the recent Mumbai attacks, in addition to killing locals, is the deliberate targeting of restaurants and hotels used by Westerners and a Jewish cultural center.
Mumbai is to India as New York is to the United States or London to the United Kingdom. The city is driving India's economic boom.
It is the commercial and entertainment capital of the country, where the "Bollywood" film industry is based. It is the heartbeat of India. What happens there vibrates throughout the nation.
Three factors may help explain the timing of the attacks.