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  • nojoke
    04-21 04:19 PM
    The trillion-dollar mortgage time bomb


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  • Macaca
    08-08 09:19 PM
    A Shameless Congress Applauds `Ethics' Law (http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_carlson&sid=aSwNPAuJbnbU) By Margaret Carlson (mcarlson3@bloomberg.net), August 8, 2007

    To much fanfare and self-congratulation, the U.S. Congress passed ethics legislation last week supposedly making the members subject to the same standards of behavior the rest of us live by.

    At almost the same time, a federal court handed down a decision involving a congressman whose office was raided by the FBI last year as part of a bribery case that included the earlier discovery of $90,000 he stashed in his home freezer. The ruling reminds us how much more Washington is like Vegas than Peoria. Under the Constitution, a congressman can protect his legislative files from being searched. In other words, what happens in your Capitol Hill office stays in your Capitol Hill office.

    The ruling came in the matter of Representative William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat indicted for bribery in June. Jefferson allegedly got the $90,000 from a telecommunications entrepreneur who enlisted his help in getting approval from a Nigerian official to do business in that country.

    The court didn't buy that the Justice Department did everything it could during the search to shield privileged documents, short of letting Jefferson conduct his own raid. A ``filter team'' removed any material that smacked of Jefferson's legislative duties. The court found the effort insufficient ``to protect the privilege'' of the legislative branch to be free from intrusions by the executive branch.

    Shielding Lawbreakers

    This means that under the principle of shielding lawmakers, lawbreakers may be shielded from legitimate law enforcement. Jefferson's lawyer Robert Trout was thrilled, saying the decision shows that every member of Congress has an ``absolute right to review his records first and shield legislative material from review.'' Federal agents get to see what's left.

    Jefferson must be kicking himself. Why didn't he think to take the loot out of the freezer in his home and disperse it among the files labeled ``congressional bills'' at his office?

    Consider the possibilities. Yes, it would have been hard for former Representative Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham, now in prison, to keep his Louis XIV commode hidden in his office. But he could have easily stuffed any records about goodies provided by his defense contractor pals, such as the lease for his yacht ``Duke-Stir,'' into a file drawer labeled ``Hearings.''

    Like the Jefferson affair, the case of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska could give a whole new meaning to the phrase Capitol Hideaway. Stevens's house in Alaska was raided last week by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service as part of a broad corruption probe. Stevens has multiple ties to businessman Bill Allen, who, since pleading guilty to bribery in May, is said to be singing like an Arctic loon.

    If Only He'd Known

    With the court's ruling, Stevens could have shipped anything he didn't want to be discovered to the Hart Senate Office Building for safekeeping.

    Stevens and Jefferson are just two of at least a dozen members of Congress under investigation, which puts increasing pressure on the lawmakers to do something about corruption. That something, unfortunately, has loopholes large enough for a Gulfstream V to fly through.

    The ethics legislation allows members to do all kinds of things -- as long as they disclose them. Want to have a fat cat contributor? Just make sure he discloses that he's bundling donations from friends, clients and employees.

    Don't want to give up earmarks? You can still shoehorn an appropriation for millions of dollars onto an unrelated piece of legislation as long as you put your name on it.

    `Bridge to Nowhere'

    The law would have done nothing to stop Stevens from getting his ``Bridge to Nowhere,'' a quarter-mile span connecting an Alaskan town to an island of 50 people, a couple of years ago.

    Gifts and free travel are banned, unless they are part of campaigning. In other words, Congressman A can't have a rare rib-eye, creamed spinach and a bottle of Merlot with Businessman B at the Palm unless it's in conjunction with fundraising. In the case of congressional ethics, two wrongs do make a right.

    The reason disclosure no longer works as a deterrent is that shame no longer works. As the ethics legislation was rolling to passage, Stevens, at a private luncheon with Republican colleagues, threatened to hold the whole thing up if the ban on traveling on corporate aircraft wasn't removed. He will still be able to fly Air Lobbyist. He'll just have to pay for it at commercial charter rates.

    In wanting to keep his perks, Stevens may be the most outspoken member, but he's, by no means, alone. ``Ethics'' is the one area in Congress where there is heartwarming bipartisanship.

    `Culture of Corruption'

    Former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich and Democrat Thomas Foley filed legal briefs in support of Jefferson. When the court said the search was unlawful, Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded. Earlier, Pelosi, who once pledged to end the Republican ``culture of corruption,'' took away Jefferson's coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee after the FBI raid on his office only to try to award him a coveted seat on the homeland security panel.

    Some legislation is worse than no legislation. Senator John McCain, showing again why he'll never be president, said the ethics bill will delude voters into thinking things have been fixed when they haven't.

    ``This will continue the earmarking and pork barrel projects,'' the Arizona Republican said. ``Again, the American people will have been deceived.''

    Most of the other members are chest-thumping as if they've really done something. The public would be better off if Congress had to live by the laws that apply to everyone else, criminal and civil, and at least a few of the Ten Commandments. I'd start with thou shalt not steal -- and work from there.

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  • devikas81
    12-19 01:38 PM
    All Pakistanis are not a Terrorist but all Terrorist are Pakistanis..

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    06-21 06:50 PM


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  • Marphad
    12-22 04:38 PM
    Alright! Let us be adults. It is like Sri Lanka going all over and telling the world that LTTE is as lethal as Al Qaida and is a threat to US, UK, Israel and Europe. Although US and UK has declared them as terrorist organization, I think it was more because they had a hand in Rajiv Gandhi's assasination.
    Agreed, LTTE is a terror org and their issue is Sinhalese treatment of Tamils.
    (another example of the tyranny of the majority against minority) .
    Lankans may be followers of Buddha but when it came to Tamils, they were far from being a Buddha and more like anti-buddha!

    And Israel did the same thing too. It projected its conflict with Palestinians as part of Bush's global war on terror, the centre piece of which was a war-of-choice in Iraq. Russians tried to project their conflict in Chechnya as part of Global war on terror. Now Georgia is trying to project it as a victim. The line between aggressor and the victim is becoming increasingly blurred. That is the reason I believe, this issue is much more than black and white with a shade of Gray all over it. We can argue till the cows come home but until the countries understand the motivation of (any) enemy, the enemy is not going to be defeated.

    So tomorrow if I loose a job and kill someone considering responsible for it is justifiable? Where is the gray area?

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  • Refugee_New
    01-06 06:00 PM
    Are they poor? I doubt, this is luxury!

    "... at least two of his four wives, as well as several of his children ...

    Mr Rayyan, a professor of Islamic law, .... his five-storey home ... He had been an advocate of men having up to four wives and as many children as possible,...

    He had vowed that Hamas would go on to seize control of the West Bank from Fatah, as it had done with Gaza in a week of street battles in June 2007. He accused the Western-backed Fatah leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, of collaborating with Israel, a charge that normally means execution in Hamas's rough justice

    I am not talking about who is right and who is wrong. What i am saying is "whole world is watching while genocide happens in palestine". thats it.

    See when Georgia attacked its neighboring state, Russia came for its rescue. Every nation, every leader condemn the Russian aggression against Georgia. I don't know who is right and who is wrong. But all the world leaders urged the killer to stop killing.

    Thats not happening in this case. When UN try to bring a resolution on cease-fire, so called peace loving leader veto it. What does it mean? Doesn't it mean its a green signal for killing and murdering?


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  • logiclife
    07-10 01:33 AM
    According to Lou Dobbs, all the problems faced by America today are purely a creation of immigration and immigrants.

    The global warming, Hurrican Katrina, Rising gas prices, inflation, rising interest rates, slowing economy, deficits...everything is something that is purely a product of immigrants.

    According to him had it not been for immigrants, everyone would have 2-3 mansions to live in, 10-20 high paying job offers, 4-5 luxury european cars. But immigrants took all that away by stealing the jobs of Americans. If the immigrants had not been sucking out the welfare from this country, the social security trust fund and the US treasury would be overflowing with money.

    Goddammit these immigrants who stole the jobs of thousands of hard working lettuce pickers and meat packers and farm workers, who, had it not been for these job-stealing, flag waving, non-english speaking, country invading, sovereignty ruining, wage-depressing immigrant intrudor-invader-thief would have been millionaires by now.

    When will the politicians listen to Lou Dobbs who is the only smart person left in the United States now?

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  • sledge_hammer
    06-05 11:12 AM
    Reading the article I take it that the writer is only concerned about the profitability of buying a house in the current situation. He's not of the opinion that buying a house is bad investment, ever! But a good investor does not try to time the market; it is, in my opinion, even if you tried, an art and not a science. So now maybe the best time to buy actually!

    But I have also seen many ignorant, anti-capitalist, anti-government, conspiracy theorist freaks out there, blogging from their basement, and writing articles suggesting that the government is somehow brain washing the public into buy a house so that they'll become the government’s slaves for the rest of their lives. These guys have actually never ever made any real money. They come up with short sighted calculations to prove that renting for life is better than owning a home. In my opinion no one should be listening to these people. I have yet to hear from a successful investor, or a businessman, or anyone that has what you may call reasonable wealth, saying that real estate is bad in the long run. I would take these people's advice any day because they have the money to show for their sound investment strategies, one of them being investment in a house, or a piece of real estate.

    We as immigrants who are not sure of where we'll be in the next 5 years may want to consider the fact before investing in a house. But anyone else that has no such worries would be foolish not to buy a house thinking it is a doomed investment.


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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-25 04:43 PM
    What men say and what they actually mean . . .

    � "I'M GOING FISHING" Means: "I'm going to drink myself dangerously stupid, and stand by a stream with a stick in my hand, while the fish swim by in complete safety."
    � "YES, DEAR..." Means: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.
    � "IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN" Means: "I have no idea how it works."
    � "TAKE A BREAK HONEY, YOU'RE WORKING TOO HARD". Means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."
    � "THAT'S INTERESTING, DEAR." Means: "Are you still talking?"
    � "I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU, AND GOT YOU THESE ROSES". Means: "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe."
    � "WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME?" Means: "What did you catch me at?"
    � "I HEARD YOU." Means: "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me."
    � "YOU KNOW I COULD NEVER LOVE ANYONE ELSE." Means: "I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse."
    � "YOU LOOK TERRIFIC." Means: "Please don't try on one more outfit, I'm starving."
    � "WE SHARE THE HOUSEWORK." Means: "I make the messes, she cleans them up."

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  • Macaca
    12-27 07:10 PM
    Dilip Kumar turns 88 (http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\28\story_28-12-2010_pg3_2) By Ishtiaq Ahmed | Daily Times

    The great thespian Dilip Kumar turned 88 on December 11, 2010. I had wanted to pay tribute to this larger-than-life megastar of Bollywood in my previous column but the tragedy in Stockholm made me postpone it till now. Thanks to YouTube I could follow some of the highlights of the birthday party from Stockholm. Among the many guests were veteran character actor Pran, 90 (started his film career in Lahore in a Punjabi film), and Dharmendra (also a Punjabi).

    His wife, once the beauty queen of Bollywood, Saira Bano, made very gracious remarks about her remarkable husband. The most touching was the warmth and feeling with which she narrated that 400 students of Khalsa College, Mumbai, where Dilip studied as a young man many, many years ago, donated 89 bottles of blood � one more than the 88 years that Dilip has completed � as a pious gesture to wish him a long life. For a very long time, Dilip sahib has been actively involved in charitable and philanthropic causes. On his first visit to Pakistan he was the guest of a blood donation organisation. Later, he has visited Pakistan to take part in Imran Khan�s campaign to raise funds for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital. In India, he is constantly involved in rendering service to movements dealing with the blind and other physically challenged human beings. He is truly a man with a golden heart.

    As an actor there is hardly anyone who has attained so much fame and won so many laurels as Dilip sahib. He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 for lifelong contribution to cinema. Mian Nawaz Sharif, like the late General Ziaul Haq, is very fond of Indian films. As prime minister, Mian sahib indulged his artistic self by conferring the Nishan-e-Imtiaz on Dilip Kumar. Those were the days when Mian sahib was considered a peacenik and had developed close rapport with another Punjabi, Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral (originally from Jhelum).

    I remember being in Lahore in February-March 1999 just after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mian sahib had reached the Lahore Declaration, which was to usher in peace and prosperity between India and Pakistan. At some of the social gatherings the atmosphere was extremely positive to India-Pakistan trade. One industrialist convinced me that we would benefit most because while the Indians will get a market of 150 million we would get a market of one billion. Somebody must have been listening to all this and wanted to subvert such economist argumentation. So, the Kargil mini-war broke out in May 1999.

    After the Kargil showdown, Shiv Sena�s Bal Thackeray and his goons carried out a hate campaign against Dilip sahib, alleging that like all Muslims he is at heart a Pakistani. They demanded that he must return the Nishan-e-Imtiaz because Pakistan had committed aggression against India. Dilip did not give in to such blackmail. He retorted, �This award was given to me for the humane activities to which I have dedicated myself. I have worked for the poor; I have worked for many years to bridge the cultural and communal gaps between India and Pakistan. Politics and religion have created these boundaries. I have striven to bring the two people together in whatever way I could. Tell me, what does any of this have to do with the Kargil conflict?�

    I had the rare privilege of spending some three hours with him late evening on October 20, 2001. The famous actor of the 1970s, Raj Babbar (parents originally from Jalalpur Jattan, northern Punjab), had on my request arranged the interview. Originally it was meant to last not more than half an hour. However, once I was inside his sitting room and met him I could feel that Dilip wanted to talk to me more and more.

    To my very great surprise he wanted to conduct the conversation in his native Hindko, which to a Lahore-born like me was hundred percent Punjabi, but with a peculiar accent. We went over his long life, starting with Peshawar of course, where he was born as Mohammad Yusuf to the family of a fruit trader, Lala Ghulam Sarwar and his wife Ayesha. That trade brought his father to Maharashtra. Some years later Yusuf Khan became Dilip Kumar.

    He convinced me to have an omelette, saying that this way he could also join me otherwise Saira Bano was against him eating fatty stuff. I enjoyed watching him as he shared his heartfelt views about some people that I wanted him to comment on. He dispelled the rumour that he and Raj Kapoor had at any time been estranged from each other or been against each other. On the contrary, he told me that Raj Kapoor was always a steadfast friend and their Peshawar roots cemented that relationship on the family level. About the great Rafi sahib he told me that a gentler human being than him was difficult to find. He and Sunil Dutt (originally from village Khurd, Jhelum district) were next-door neighbours. Their families also met regularly and were very close to one another. He spoke very highly of Sunil Dutt, calling him a man of great courage and a very pure conscience. Equally he showered praise on Pran, calling him a man of lofty principles and integrity.

    I was tempted to probe his feelings about some of the female stars he had worked with, with some of whom rumours about amorous relationship had circulated. Then, I thought it would be trespassing into his private life and I would be abusing his hospitality. So, I did not broach that topic. I could however easily understand why so many women fell in love with this very fine specimen of Pakhtun ancestry.

    Politically he appeared to be very well informed. The Americans had just started aerial bombing of Afghanistan in retaliation for al Qaeda�s 9/11 terrorist attacks. He expressed great concern for the loss of life that such conflict entailed. Being from that region himself, he was worried that if the conflict escalated, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would suffer the most. It is amazing that at such an early stage he could foresee what was in the offing. I was quite surprised by his extensive reading of both Urdu and English literature and his interest in philosophy.

    The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University. He is also Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.


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  • alisa
    12-27 02:09 AM
    The world is more worried about Militants getting their hands on Nukes and has some confidence in India's caution. Madeline Albright recently said pakistan is like a migraine for the world. How many times we have seen stories where leaders after leader, strategists after strategists express concerns that Militants may get the nuke trigger.
    I believe the world has a stake in neutralizing Pak's Nukes. Do you believe the Nukes are partially controlled by US at present? Or is it Zardari who has the complete control?
    I am ambivalent about eliminating Pakistan's nuclear program. On the one hand, you are right that nukes in the hands of militants is a scary scenario. (Ironically, you increase the probability of the nukes falling into wrong hands by having a destabilizing war between Pakistan and India.)
    But then equally scary is a defenseless Pakistan against India. Atleast, thats our perception.
    I don't know who all controls the nukes. The army is certainly one part of it.

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  • thakurrajiv
    03-26 05:01 PM
    So what do you advise, is it right time to refinance or wait it out and why?
    Unfortunately, there are no simple answers. Mortgage rates are tied to 10 year bond rate, so they generally are not affected much by short term fed rate. With credit crunch, bond market is in real bad shape.
    Fed is trying to supply short term funds to ease this crunch. I don't know how low Fed will go for this. What I am seeing is mortgage rates being stable or going down a little in near term bcoz of Fed easing. For long term, I believe rates will go up as bonds have to become attractive to get new investors.This may not be the best ( absolute bottom) but definitely very good time to refinance if it makes sense for your conditions.
    For first time buyers like me, there are a lot of parameters to be considered. In my opinion the parameters are tilted towards faster house price drop . Hence I am waiting at least for a year. I will not do anything till next spring.


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  • NKR
    08-06 04:15 PM
    That PD was for an entirely different skill set and job. I know its the law. I still disagree. Can do that last I knew :-)

    If you go strictly by that, then allocating unused EB1 visa numbers to EB2 is also wrong. EB1 visas are meant for an entirely different skill set and job.

    EB2 guys and EB3 guys are at a disadvantage depending on which way you look at it. I guess capturing previous years� unused visa numbers is the only way to go then�

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  • desi485
    08-05 08:06 PM
    Hey Bro! Think of you this way.

    You are no different than those trying to move from EB3 to EB2. They are doing this to get GC faster then others.

    You are stopping others from entering in your line, to get GC faster. :p

    Ultimately you both are the same.

    I am sure he doesn't have a mirror, only a desire to get GC and at any cost. He is using weird arguments to reach his goal and keeping others out of EB2. In way, he is cheating himself too.

    He should pay attention to real issues like per country quota, retrogression and so on.


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  • JunRN
    09-26 08:03 PM
    Under the Democrats immigration principle, family members of EB GC applicants will be given GC but not count towards the 140,000 quota.

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  • vinabath
    03-26 09:59 AM
    If I make money from a due to a piece of information or knowledge directly obtained from biggerpockets, I'll buy you a beer! :D

    Atleast I could sqeeze a beer from you ;)


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  • sledge_hammer
    03-24 04:11 PM
    >>>>Why don't you give me the proof that ALL consulting companies are not complying.
    The fact that most of the companies that USCIS is coming after are desi consulting companies proves that MOST desi comapanies are corrupt. There you have your proof.

    And I have not seenn any non-desi company use the "bench". Since you support your desi company, tell me how many non desi consulting companies don't pay their employees on bench?

    Answer the above question before calling me ignorant.

    P.S: And when did I say that non desi consulting companies don't have to comply with USCIS rules???

    1. Why don't you give me the proof that ALL consulting companies are not complying. You are the one who is making the argument. Do you have any statistics to prove that ? Do you know all the consulting companies in US ? Do you know all the companies that directly hire H1 ? Do you know their compliance statistics ?

    2. Did I say any of these are legal ? If a company applies for H1B, the company has to comply with the requirements of the law. It is that simple. It doesn't matter whether it is a consulting company or a direct placement.

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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-05 02:15 PM
    A married couple in their early 60s were out celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary ...

    ... in a quiet, romantic little restaurant. Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their table and said, "For being such an exemplary married couple and for being faithful to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish."

    "Ooh, I want to travel around the world with my darling husband" said the wife.

    The fairy moved her magic stick and... abracadabra!.... two tickets for the new Queen Mary2 luxury liner appeared in her hands.

    Now it was the husband's turn.

    He thought for a moment and said: "Well this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this only occurs once in a lifetime, so I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me".

    The wife and the fairy were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish...

    So the fairy made a circle with her magic stick and .... abracadabra! ....the husband became 92 years old.

    The moral of this story: Men might be ungrateful idiots... But fairies are....female!

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  • reedandbamboo
    06-07 12:23 PM
    I don't know where you can find 5% interest p.a. investment today but for the sake of argument that I found one, I think I can't get the $60k at the end of 10th yr.

    5% per month is easily attainable with some options strategies. But not everyone has the temperament/stomach/psyche for active trading.

    08-05 02:13 PM
    Dick Cheney walks into the Oval Office and sees The President whooping and hollering.

    "What's the matter, Mr. President?" The Vice President inquired.

    "Nothing at all, Dickie. I just done finished a jigsaw puzzle in record time!" The President beamed.

    "How long did it take you?"

    "Well, the box said '3 to 5 Years' but I did it in a month!"

    12-28 07:23 PM
    In India, a struggle for moderation as a young Muslim woman quietly battles extremism (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/27/AR2010122704519.html) By Emily Wax | Washington Post

    Rubina Sandhi had settled in for a night of homework when panic swept through the narrow, congested alleys of her neighborhood.

    It was Sept. 11, 2001. Television sets in the mosques, tea shops and market were beaming images of the World Trade Center engulfed in flames in New York. Five months later, Rubina's house was burning as Hindu mobs torched Muslim areas of her city, leaving thousands of people homeless. She remembers smoke hovering over Ahmedabad just as it had over New York.

    With their few remaining possessions, Rubina's family members took refuge in a squalid relief camp and, several weeks later, moved into ramshackle housing on the edge of the city - where only Muslims lived and worked. "We felt like ghosts," recalled Rubina, who was then 12.

    The rioting was among India's worst sectarian violence in decades, hardening divisions between the Hindu majority and the country's 140 million Muslims as hard-liners on both sides sought to exploit the tensions. Soon after the rioting, many young Muslims in Rubina's neighborhood started following stricter forms of Islam as imams fanned out into the region's poorest Muslim areas, some bringing with them Wahhabism, the fundamentalist form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia.

    Some Indian Muslims even sought training in Pakistan to carry out acts of revenge in India, their version of violent jihad. For her part, Rubina chose a different struggle, determined to be a good Muslim and daughter as the community around her became more radicalized. She fought for the right to make decisions for herself, and she tried to find a way to voice her beliefs as a woman, as others around her were being silenced.

    Her decisions would mirror those of many other young Muslim women in her city who entered adulthood in the aftermath of religious violence and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She would be asked to compromise her dreams, and her commitment to Islam would be questioned.

    Ahmedabad, a 600-year-old city in the state of Gujarat, has long been a vibrant historical center where religions aspired to coexist. It was the headquarters for Mahatma Gandhi's ashram and his peaceful freedom struggle and is celebrated for its Indo-Islamic architecture. Of the city's 5 million people, 11 percent are Muslim.

    Before the riots, many Muslims in Rubina's neighborhood celebrated Hindu traditions. Yet tensions between Hindus and Muslims here often rose to the surface.

    The violence in 2002 erupted after 59 Hindus were burned to death on a train as they were returning home from a pilgrimage site. Muslim extremists were blamed for the blaze, but the cause of the fire remains in dispute. In 2004, a government-appointed panel ruled that the train fire was an accident and not caused by Muslims.

    Soon after the anti-Muslim riots, extremist imams started to gain more clout. Among them was a firebrand televangelist named Zakir Naik, whose weekly sermons are broadcast from Mumbai and Saudi Arabia. Thousands of young Muslims have been drawn to his powerful slogans, including his declaration that to defend Islam, "every Muslim should be a terrorist."

    This more conservative brand of Islam became more acceptable, and it seemed to empower Muslim men in India. But it had the opposite effect on Muslim women. The imams and mullahs warned young women to stay indoors, to forgo higher education and to become dutiful mothers of as many children as God would give them. The children, they said, would replace the Muslims killed during the riots.

    "The Hindu mobs who attacked us called us all terrorists. Then the mullahs wanted to take away our freedoms," Rubina said, adding: "Everyone felt confused."

    A pervasive fear

    Rubina's father, Mohammed Sandhi, had an eighth-grade education and a job selling incense sticks to Hindu temples. When he was a young boy, his grandparents had told him haunting stories about Muslim-Hindu tensions in the 1930s and rioting in the southern city of Hyderabad that forced the family to migrate to Ahmedabad.

    Mohammed believed in the aspirations of a rising India. He had saved for years to move the family into a comfortable two-room home, and he hoped that his two children - Rubina and her older brother, Irfan - would be the first in their family to attend college.

    But after the riots, Mohammed began to believe that his ambitions were naive, at least for Indian Muslims. "We thought that was the past, over, just our history. But after the 2002 riots, we worry every day that the violence could happen again," he said.

    In the street just outside the family's housing complex, 69 people, mostly Muslims, were burned alive during the riots, the first and largest single massacre during the crisis, a federal investigation later found.

    From there, fighting spread. Over the next two months, more than 200 mosques and hundreds of Muslim shrines were burned down, and 17 ancient Hindu temples were attacked, according to police and human rights workers.

    Everything in Rubina's home was destroyed: childhood photographs, birth certificates, school records and land deeds.

    The family left behind the charred ruins of their home for a relief camp, one of more than 100 that housed 150,000 Muslims after the riots.

    The city slowly calmed, but acts of violence on both sides continued and people remained fearful.

    Watching their parents weep, Rubina and Irfan grew angrier and more confused. "We never thought this could happen here," said Rubina's mother, Mumtaz Sandhi. "We thought we are Muslims. But we are also Indians."

    Silencing women's voices

    After several weeks in the camps, Rubina's family settled in Juhapura, a poor area on the western outskirts of the city where many Muslims moved from Hindu-dominated localities.

    The neighborhood has some middle-class areas but is largely poor, and activists have fought for basic government services, including paved roads, a sewage treatment system and garbage collection.

    During her teenage years, Rubina started to notice that her brother, like many young Muslim men, was growing more observant of Islam, more conservative, introverted. They had always been close, and tragedy had strengthened their bond. But their paths began to diverge as Irfan sought comfort and sanctuary in the strictures of Islam.

    Rubina, like other young Muslim women, feared she would lose her freedom under those strictures. She resisted calls from increasingly conservative imams to wear a traditional black garment that covers the body and sometimes the face.

    In Gujarat, more and more women suddenly started dressing more conservatively, often as a show of Muslim pride but also to ward off sexual advances and potential sexual violence.

    Rubina's mother began covering her hair, and Rubina said Irfan soon told her that he preferred to marry a woman who dressed conservatively.

    Around this time, Rubina met a social worker named Jamila Khan at a meeting for Muslim women concerned about the living conditions in Juhapura and profiling of Muslim men as terrorists. But Khan also spoke out against Muslim leaders intent on reeling in Muslim women, curbing the liberties enshrined in India's secular constitution. She described herself as an "Islamic feminist."

    "It doesn't matter what our women were wearing," Khan told Rubina and her friends. "What is important is still having a voice. Islamic rigidity is silencing our most dynamic Muslim female minds."

    Many of Rubina's peers were giving up on having a career and were marrying and starting families earlier. Instead of going to college to study business or medicine, many were taking up courses at nearby mosques that taught them to be good Muslim wives.

    But as Rubina entered young adulthood, she said, she became aware of the hypocrisy among many of the imams. Although they preached that Muslim women should be homemakers, they sent their daughters to private schools and universities in Britain, Canada and the United States.

    During her first and only year at college, a Hindu extremist group circulating on campus began warning Hindus against having friendships or romantic relationships with Muslims. Rubina said some Hindu students started calling the places where Muslim students gathered "the Gaza Strip" or "Pakistan."

    "But I am Indian, too," Rubina said she wanted to tell them. She felt ashamed. Betrayed. Silenced.

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