December 26, 2009
US Calls Explosion on Airplane ‘Attempted Act of Terrorism’
The United States is increasing security for air travel across the country after a Nigerian man set off a small explosion aboard a flight bound for the U.S. city of Detroit.Â White House officials are calling it “an attempted act of terrorism.” Â
The incident happened just about twenty minutes before Northwest Airlines Flight 253, flying from Amsterdam, landed in Detroit.
“We heard a loud pop and a bit of smoke and then some flames, and then yelling and screaming,” one passenger said.
“It was scary,” said another.Â “It was a loud firecracker that went off, and there was a fire in the plane after a few seconds. It was very scary for everyone,” the passenger said.
One passenger immediately sprang into action when it appeared something was wrong.
“There was one guy who sat on the other side, on the right side of the wing,” recounted a passenger who observed the heroic act. “This was on the left side of the wing. He jumped over all the other people and he took care of it, so the fire went out.”
No one was injured and once the plane landed the suspect was taken into custody.
U.S. counterterrorism officials say he is a 23-year-old Nigerian named Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab and that he was trying to blow up the plane.Â They also say his name does appear on a U.S. intelligence watch list, butÂ notÂ on a no-fly list that would have prevented him from boarding the flight.
Mutallab suffered third-degree burns, but still managed to tell investigators he was acting on behalf of al-Qaida.Â Those claims have yet to be confirmed. Â
“We have real concerns here, because we know that Nigeria is a source of terrorist activity, al-Qaida connected activity,” said New York Congressman Peter King, a ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.
The Republican congressman said critical questions will have to be answered, and answered quickly.
“How he was able to get on in Nigeria, what happened in Amsterdam, which is a visa waiver country, how he was able to get through and make it this far with the devices he had, these are all issues that have to be resolved.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says additional security measures are being put into place for all flights, and is encouraging passengers to be observant and report any suspicious activity.
IntelCenter, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring group that works with the U.S. government, says the incident appears to be a serious attempt against the United States, with connections to Yemen and Nigeria.Â It also says the possibility of additional attempts over the next day or two cannot be ruled out.
December 13, 2009
CAIR: Southern California Mosque Vandalized
4th mosque vandalism reported nationwide in past month
(LOS ANGELES, CA, 12/13/2009) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today asked law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for recent vandalism at an Azusa mosque.
[NOTE: On Monday, December 14, CAIR-LA will release its annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in California.]
Rahmat P. Phyakul, board chairman and one of the founders of Al-Fatiha Masjid, reported to CAIR-LA that vandals shattered windows and glass doors of the mosque’s office and prayer hall on Monday, December 7. A plaque with Quranic verses was tossed on the floor, the sound system was destroyed and donation boxes were broken into.
The mosque has suffered prior incidents of vandalism. In the past, a passerby shouted anti-Muslim slurs at worshipers. The slurs reportedly included: “You, terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, F… your God, F…. you Allah.” Prayer rugs in the mosque were also covered with urine.
The December 7 incident appeared to have taken place between 4 and 7 p.m. and was reported by congregants arriving for evening prayer. Mosque officials immediately contacted the Azusa Police Department to report the break-in, vandalism and robbery.
“We urge law enforcement authorities to utilize all their resources to immediately and fully investigate the vandalism at Masjid Al-Fatiha as a possible hate crime, especially because of the nature of the vandalism,” said Affad Shaikh, civil rights manager for CAIR-LA.
Phyakul added: “For those who have committed hate crimes against people of any faith, especially Muslims, they should know that they cannot silence us, shut us down or cause us to go away. This is our country, and we are here to stay and we are willing to stand for the truth and peace under any circumstances.”
Earlier this month, vandals broke into the back door of a Sacramento mosque and damaged religious wall hangings and a book shelf that held Qurans, as well as other property in the facility, according to a police report. The vandals also stole items from the mosque.
Additionally, an Oregon mosque last month was targeted with hate graffiti. A police report indicated that vandals wrote “Allah is a pig” on the Abu-Bakr As-Siddiq Islamic center’s mailbox on or before November 15th. Local police said they view the incident as a bias crime.
Also last month, CAIR called for an investigation of a possible bias motive for repeated vandalism at a North Carolina mosque.
SEE: Muslims Say Attacks are More Than Vandalism
CAIR is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
SEE: Muslim Community Safety Kit
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
November 29, 2009
Swiss voters back ban on minarets
|There are only four minarets in Switzerland
15:48 GMT Sunday, 29 November 2009 Swiss voters have supported a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets, official results show.
More than 57% of voters from 26 cantons – or provinces – voted in favor of the ban, Swiss news agency ATS reported.
The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People’s Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation.
Opponents say a ban would amount to discrimination and that the ballot has stirred hatred.
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes, in Bern, says the surprise result is very bad news for the Swiss government which had urged voters to reject a ban on minarets, fearing unrest among the Muslim community and damage to Switzerland’ s relations with Islamic countries.
Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets..
Our correspondent says voters worried about rising immigration, and with it the rise of Islam, have ignored the government’s advice.
Islam is the most widespread religion after Christianity in Switzerland, but it remains relatively hidden.
There are unofficial Muslim prayer rooms, and planning applications for new minarets are almost always refused.
Supporters of a ban claim that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system – Sharia law – which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.
But others say the referendum campaign incited hatred. On Thursday the Geneva mosque was vandalised for the third time during the campaign, according to local media.
Before the vote, Amnesty Intertio l warned that the ban would violate Switzerland’ s obligations to freedom of religious expression.
The president of Zurich’s Association of Muslim Organisations, Tamir Hadjipolu, told the BBC that if the ban was implemented, Switzerland’ s Muslim community would live in fear.
“This will cause major problems because during this campaign in the last two weeks different mosques were attacked, which we never experienced in 40 years in Switzerland.
“So with the campaign… the Islamaphobia has increased very intensively. ”
Sunday’s referendum was held after the People’s party collected 100,000 signatures from eligible voters within 18 months calling for a vote.
SVP member of parliament Ulrich Schluer said the referendum campaign had helped integration by encouraging debate. He rejected the charge of discrimination.
“Every Muslim is allowed to come together with other Muslims to have the religion together,” he told the BBC.
“But a minaret is a political symbol. It is a symbol for introducing, step-by-step, Sharia rights also in Switzerland, parallel to the Swiss law which is a result of Swiss democracy. And this is the problem. It is nothing against Muslims.”
To become law, a majority of canton voting districts must approve the referendum result, as well as a majority of voters.
In recent years many countries in Europe have been debating their relationship with Islam, and how best to integrate their Muslim populations.
France focused on the headscarf, while in Germany there was controversy over plans to build one of Europe’s largest mosques in Cologne. http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 1/hi/world/ europe/8385069.stm
November 12, 2009
U.S. Moves to Seize 4 Mosques and Skyscraper Tied to Iran
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors took steps Thursday to seize four U.S. mosques and a Fifth Avenue skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government.
In what could prove to be one of the biggest counterterrorism seizures in U.S. history, prosecutors filed a civil complaint in federal court against the Alavi Foundation, seeking the forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets.
The assets include bank accounts; Islamic centers consisting of schools and mosques in New York City, Maryland, California and Houston; more than 100 acres in Virginia; and a 36-story glass office tower in New York.
Confiscating the properties would be a sharp blow against Iran, which has been accused by the U.S. government of bankrolling terrorism and trying to build a nuclear bomb.
A telephone call and e-mail to Iran’s U.N. Mission seeking comment were not immediately answered.
John D. Winter, the Alavi Foundation’s lawyer, said it intends to litigate the case and prevail. He said the foundation has been cooperating with the government’s investigation for the better part of a year.
”Obviously the foundation is disappointed that the government has decided to bring this action,” Winter told The Associated Press.
It is extremely rare for U.S. law enforcement authorities to seize a house of worship, a step fraught with questions about the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
The action against the Shiite Muslim mosques is sure to inflame relations between the U.S. government and American Muslims, many of whom are fearful of a backlash after last week’s Fort Hood shooting rampage, blamed on a Muslim American major.
”Whatever the details of the government’s case against the owners of the mosques, as a civil rights organization we are concerned that the seizure of American houses of worship could have a chilling effect on the religious freedom of citizens of all faiths and may send a negative message to Muslims worldwide,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The mosques and the skyscraper will remain open while the forfeiture case works its way through court in what could be a long process. What will happen to them if the government ultimately prevails is unclear. But the government typically sells properties it has seized through forfeiture, and the proceeds are sometimes distributed to crime victims.
”No action has been taken against any tenants or occupants of those properties,” U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Yusill Scribner said. ”The tenants and occupants remain free to use the properties as they have before today’s filing. There are no allegations of any wrongdoing on the part of any of these tenants or occupants.”
Prosecutors said the Alavi Foundation managed the office tower on behalf of the Iranian government and, working with a front company known as Assa Corp., illegally funneled millions in rental income to Iran’s state-owned Bank Melli. Bank Melli has been accused by a U.S. Treasury official of providing support for Iran’s nuclear program, and it is illegal in the United States to do business with the bank.
The U.S. has long suspected the foundation was an arm of the Iranian government; a 97-page complaint details involvement in foundation business by several top Iranian officials, including the deputy prime minister and ambassadors to the United Nations.
”For two decades, the Alavi Foundation’s affairs have been directed by various Iranian officials, including Iranian ambassadors to the United Nations, in violation of a series of American laws,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
There were no raids Thursday as part of the forfeiture action. The government is simply required to post notices of the civil complaint on the property.
As prosecutors outlined their allegations against Alavi, the Islamic centers and the schools they run carried on with normal activity. The mosques’ leaders had no immediate comment.
Parents lined up in their cars to pick up their children at the schools within the Islamic Education Center of Greater Houston and the Islamic Education Center in Rockville, Md. No notices of the forfeiture action were posted at either place as of late Thursday.
At the Islamic Institute of New York, a mosque and school in Queens, two U.S. marshals came to the door and rang the bell repeatedly. The marshals taped a forfeiture notice to the window and left a large document sitting on the ground. After they left a group of men came out of the building and took the document.
The fourth Islamic center marked for seizure is in Carmichael, Calif.
The skyscraper, known as the Piaget building, was erected in the 1970s under the shah of Iran, who was overthrown in 1979. The tenants include law and investment firms and other businesses.
November 5, 2009
12 Dead, 31 Wounded in Base Shootings
The New York Times
5 November 2009
Military officials identified the gunman as Army Maj. Malik Nadal Hassan. Two other suspects are in custody.
Lt. Gen. Robert Cone spoke to the press at Fort Hood.
At least one gunman killed 11 soldiers and wounded 31 others on Thursday afternoon at Fort Hood in Texas. Authorities then killed the gunman, who was identified as Malik Nadal Hasan, an Army major who was about to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, the commanding officer at Fort Hood, the largest active military installation in the country, said the base was placed in lockdown as military authorities, with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigate the rampage.
â€œThis was a terrible tragedy,â€ said General Cone, speaking at a news conference Thursday afternoon. â€œStunning.â€â€˜
An Army spokesman, Gary Tallman, said that the dead gunman was an Army major. A law enforcement official identified the him as Malik Nadal Hassan.
President Obama, speaking from the White House, called it â€œa horrific outburst of violence.â€
â€œMy immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen,â€ the president said.
â€œWe donâ€™t yet know all the details at this moment,â€ he said. â€œWe will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.â€
â€œIt is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil,â€ the president said.
General Cone said the shooting began at about 1:30 p.m. Central time, when a soldier entered the soldier readiness unit, where soldiers receive last-minute medical attention and other instruction before being being deployed overseas, including to Iraq and Afghanistan.
â€œA soldier opened fire, and due to the quick response of the police forces, he was killed,â€ General Cone said.
â€œThere were several eyewitness accounts that there was more than one shooter,â€ he said. Two other soldiers were also taken into custody, he said, but the authorities are continuing to sort out what exactly happened.
General Cone said that the sprawling base has facilities that house children, but that there were no children among the dead or wounded.
â€œThe soldiers and family members are absolutely devastated,â€ he said.
He said that the local police had responded quickly and that the wounded were taken to an area hospital.
Earlier, Senator Hutchison she had been apprised of the shootings.
â€œOur hearts go out,â€ she told Fox 4 News. â€œThese are soldiers who are getting ready to go out to Iraq or Afghanistan and their families were under stress already. This was just a terrible tragedy and we donâ€™t even know the extent of it yet.â€
The based was the site today of the annual college graduation ceremonies for soldiers and family members who have not had the opportunity to participate in college commencement exercises during the past year because of deployment, according to the Fort Hood Sentinel
October 28, 2009
Imam Who Led Radical Islam Group Killed in FBI Raid
DETROIT â€” Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested several members of a radical Sunni Islam group in the U.S., killing one of its leaders at a shootout in a Michigan warehouse, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Agents were trying to arrest Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, at a Dearborn warehouse on charges that included conspiracy to sell stolen goods and illegal possession and sale of firearms. Authorities also conducted raids elsewhere to try to round up 10 followers named in a federal complaint.
Abdullah refused to surrender, fired a weapon and was killed by gunfire from agents, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.
In the 43-paged complaint unsealed Wednesday, the FBI said Abdullah, also known as Christopher Thomas, was an imam, or prayer leader, of a radical group named Ummah whose primary mission is to establish an Islamic state within the United States.
No one was charged with terrorism. But Abdullah was “advocating and encouraging his followers to commit violent acts against the United States,” FBI agent Gary Leone said in an affidavit.
He told them it was their “duty to oppose the FBI and the government and it does not matter if they die,” Leone said.
Abdullah regularly preached anti-government rhetoric and was trained, along with his followers, in the use of firearms, martial arts and swords, the agent said.
Leone said members of the national group mostly are black and some converted to Islam while in prisons across the United States.
“Abdullah preaches that every Muslim should have a weapon, and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed,” Leone wrote.
Seven of the 10 people charged with Abdullah were in custody, including a state prison inmate, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Three were still at large. Another man not named in the complaint also was arrested.
The group believes that a separate Islamic state in the U.S. would be controlled by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Colorado for shooting two police officers in Georgia in 2000, Leone said. Al-Amin, a veteran of the black power movement, started the group after he converted to Islam in prison.
“They’re not taking their cues from overseas,” said Jimmy Jones, a professor of world religions at Manhattanville College and a longtime Muslim prison chaplain. “This group is very much American born and bred.”
The movement at one time was believed to include a couple of dozen mosques around the country. Ummah is now dwarfed in numbers and influence by other African-American Muslim groups, particularly the mainstream Sunnis who were led by Imam W.D. Mohammed, who recently died.
By evening, authorities still were working the scene near the Detroit-Dearborn border and the warehouse was surrounded by police tape.
The U.S. attorney’s office said an FBI dog was also killed during the shootout.
Abdullah’s mosque is in a brick duplex on a quiet, residential street in Detroit. A sign on the door in English and Arabic reads, in part, “There is no God but Allah.”
Several men congregated on the porch Wednesday night and subsequently attacked a photographer from The Detroit News who was taking pictures from across the street. Ricardo Thomas had his camera equipment smashed and had a bloody lip from the attack.
Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn, said the FBI had briefed him about Wednesday’s raids and told him they were the result of a two-year investigation.
“We know that this is not something to be projected as something against Muslims,” Hamad said.
The complaint shows the FBI built its case with the help of confidential sources close to Abdullah who recorded conversations.
A source said that Abdullah regularly beat children inside the mosque with sticks, including a boy who was “unable to walk for several days,” Leone said.
The source, according to the agent, regularly listened to a recording of a 2004 sermon in which Abdullah said, “Do not carry a pistol if you’re going to give it up to police. You give them a bullet!”
In January 2009, members were evicted from a former mosque for failing to pay property taxes. An FBI search turned up empty shell casings and large holes in the concrete wall of a “shooting range,” Leone said.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the federal authorities’ description of Abdullah’s extremist links didn’t match what he knew of Abdullah.
“I knew him to be charitable,” Walid said. “He would open up the mosque to homeless people. He used to run a soup kitchen and feed indigent people. … I knew nothing of him that was related to any nefarious or criminal behavior.”
Abdullah had a wife and children, Walid said. A phone number for the family had been disconnected.
September 20, 2009
A Muslim prayer on the West front of Capitol Building
Washington, D.C. – Â On September 25th there will be a national prayer gathering of Muslims on the west front of the U..S. Capitol Building . Â They are expecting at least 50,000 to attend from mosques all across America . They will gather to pray from 4:00 AM until 7:00 PM. The gathering will take place by the site where U.S. . Presidents have been inaugurated since 1981. Â The organizers say that it was Obama’s inauguration speech in January and his speech broadcast from Egypt in June that gave them the idea for this prayer gathering on Capitol Hill.Â
They have a website set up for this event. If you never look at another website look at this one,Â especially the final words– below “donate”
: Â islamoncapitolhill. comÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â click and scroll “Our Time Has Come”
September 1, 2009
The Canadian Hate Speech Law, known as Section 13, has been declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL
â€œMarc Lemire, a Canadian freedom of speech fighter and computer genius, has won a decisive victory against the odious Human Rights Tribunal.â€
The Canadian Hate Speech Law, known as Section 13, has been today declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.Â
Left-wing McCarythist Richard Warman will have to take what we dish out and shove it up his rear end! No longer will he, the bullies of Bnai Brith, the Muslims or assorted censorship lobbies be able to intimidate those who would dare to speak out against the Secular Multicultural Growthist Theocracy!
SECTION 13 HAS BEEN STRUCK DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!
I have determined that Mr. Lemire contravened s. 13 of the Act in only one of the instances alleged by Mr. Warman, namely the AIDS Secrets article. However, I have also concluded that s.Â 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) and (1.1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter. Since a formal declaration of invalidity is not a remedy available to the Tribunal (see Cuddy Chicks Ltd. V. Ontario (Labour Relations Board),  2 S.C.R. 5), I will simply refuse to apply these provisions for the purposes of the complaint against Mr. Lemire and I will not issue any remedial order against him (see Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Martin, 2003 SCC 54 at paras. 26-7).
Next step: Abolish the Human Rights Tribunals!
August 26, 2009
Saudi Child Bride Turned Back Over to 80-Year-Old Husband
A Saudi Arabian father forced his 10-year-old daughter to return to her 80-year-old husband Sunday, after she was found hiding at the home of her aunt for 10 days, Arab News reported.
The young girl’s husband, who denies he is 80 despite family claims, accused the aunt of violating the terms of his marriage, allowed by Sharia Law.
“My marriage is not against Sharia. It included the elements of acceptance and response by the father of the bride,â€ he told a local newspaper.
A member of the National Society for Human Rights said there are no regulations in place to stop the marriage of young girls, which is seen as harmful to their wellbeing.
â€œSuch marriages are considered a gross violation of charters on the rights of children, which the Kingdom has signed and which set the age of adulthood at 18,â€ Maatouq Al-Abdullah told Arab News.
August 14, 2009
Four More Christians Beheaded in Somalia
Baptist Press Staff
August 14, 2009
WASHINGTON (BP) — Four more Christians have been beheaded in Somalia, according to the Washington-based human rights organization International Christian Concern.
The four Christians had been working for a non-governmental organization that aids orphans in southern Somalia. The Islamic extremist group al Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaida, “kidnapped and eventually beheaded the Christians after they refused to renounce their faith,” International Christian Concern reported Aug. 11.
According to the ICC report:
“On August 4, a junior [al Shabaab] militant notified all the families of the victims that the four Christians had been beheaded for apostasy. He described the Christians as promoters of ‘fitna,’ a Muslim term for religious discord. The militant, who called himself ‘Seiful Islam’ (‘the Sword of Islam’), told the families that the bodies will not be given to them ‘as Somalia does not have cemeteries for infidels.’
“One eyewitness account said, ‘All the four apostates were given an opportunity to return to Islam to be released but they all declined the generous offer.'”
Earlier this year, seven other Somalis were beheaded, along with two sons of a village church leader.
According to Compass Direct News, a California-based organization that also reports on incidents of persecution:
— The seven Somalis were publicly beheaded July 10 in the town of Bladoa for being deemed “Christians” and “spies” by al Shabaab (which means “the Youth” in Arabic).
— The two sons of a church leader were beheaded Feb. 21. Their father, Musa Mohammed Yusuf, 55, formerly led an underground church in the village of Yonday. He and his wife and a third son subsequently took refuge in Kenya.
Somalia’s Christians comprise less than 1 percent of the African nation’s 9.8 million people.
After the seven beheadings, the Associated Press noted, “Punishments such as stoning, amputations and beheadings are historically rare in Somalia, which traditionally practices moderate Sufi Islam. But a more extremist form of jihadi Salafist Islam with its roots in Saudi Arabia has taken root during the chaotic warfare of recent years, strengthened by a recent influx of hundreds of foreign fighters.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address the issue of religious freedom when she met with Somali President Sheik Sharif Ahmed in Nairobi during her recent trip to Africa.
USCIRF chair Leonard Leo, in a July 30 letter to Clinton, noted:
“For the first time, USCIRF placed Somalia on its Watch List in 2009…. [I]n the absence of the rule of law, freedom of religion or belief, like all other human rights, is circumscribed by insurgents, warlords, self-appointed officials, local authorities, and prevailing societal attitudes.
“While the international community is focused on piracy, terrorism, and the security situation in Somalia, problems of religious extremism and the rule of law must also be addressed. USCIRF believes that improving freedom of religion and related human rights and governance will help to address many of the problems in Somalia.”
Media outlets such as the Associated Press did not report whether Clinton raised such issues.
However, Clinton described Ahmed’s moderate Islamist transitional government as “the best hope we’ve had for some time,” The New York Times reported. The Times described Ahmed as “a former religious teacher who rose to popularity in Somalia by helping rescue kidnapped children.” Ahmed is not a warlord, one Clinton aide told The Times. “But he’s shown the ability to lead. And he’s shown the ability to survive.”
Clinton promised Ahmed more aid, training and weaponry for battling the insurgents, but The Times noted that the challenge is daunting because the government “controls no more than a few city blocks in a country the size of Texas, with extremist Islamist groups, like the Shabaab, in charge of much of the rest.”
Clinton said Al Shabaab intends for Somalia to become “a future haven for global terrorism” — “a base from which to influence and even infiltrate surrounding countries and launch attacks against countries far and near.”
After Clinton’s visit, the Voice of America reported Aug. 11, Islamic insurgents rejected overtures from Ahmed to stop the violence and begin peace negotiations.
USCIRF, in its 2009 report, expressed a degree of hope. Ahmed announced in February 2009 that sharia law would become the basis for law in Somalia, but he has said it should respect human rights and women’s rights. This may help in “undercutting support for the militias,” USCIRF stated. “Reports indicate that Somalis are tired of fighting and that popular support for al Shabaab has fallen.”
August 7, 2009
Nigerian Taliban Beheaded Three Christian Pastors After They Refused to Convert to Islam
One of the victims of last weekâ€™s attack by the Yusufiya sect in Borno State has given a shocking account of how the Islamic extremists killed three pastors who were captured along with other victims on the second day of the insurgence.
The victim was among those held hostage in Yusufâ€™s enclave.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun in Maiduguri, the eye witness who preferred anonymity disclosed that the three pastors were beheaded on the instruction of the sect leader, Mohammed Yusuf shortly after bringing them out of his inner chamber.
â€œThe pastors alongside one Ibo man were asked to change their faith to Islam like they did to other people taken as hostages. I think there was an argument by one of the pastors which gave the others some level of confidence to also resist accepting Islam.
â€œThe Yusufiya men who were armed on that Tuesday afternoon were not comfortable with the pastors and they took one of them to the sect leader in his inner chamber. They came out later to the courtyard within the compound and cut their heads one after the other and thereafter, shouted allah akbar in wild celebration accompanied with several gun shots,â€ the eye witness disclosed.
He said the hostages numbering about 50 within the area of the execution of the pastors and another fair complexioned man which he could not identify, were gripped with fear as non could foretell the outcome of their stay at the enclave of the fundamentalists. He was however lucky to escape as he was freed in the night with others with a warning not to mix with kafrici (infidels).
Corroborating the account of the killing, a Senior pastor with Good News Church, Wulari Maiduguri Rev. Baba Gata Ibrahim told Daily Sun in an interview that a pastor in his church, Pastor George Orjih was beheaded on the instruction of the Boko Haram leader because the clergy man refused to accept Islam.
â€œAn eye witness who was also captured by the Islamic militants gave us details of how the pastor was killed. He told us they were persuading him to accept Islam and he said over his dead body. He was even said to have preached Christ to Mohammed Yusuf and that reportedly angered the sect leader who then as he ordered that the pastor and others be killed immediately,â€ he disclosed.
The late Pastor George Orjih was said to have arrived Maiduguri last week from Jos where he was doing his Masters programme in Theology. Described as a fearless, hardworking, and intellectually sound, his care for the welfare and well being of his family allegedly contributed to his capture and eventual death.
â€œHe was mindful of his family and their welfare. He was really out of the house but thought to go back again. That was how he was captured by the Boko Haram before he was killed. It was the very week, in fact the following day he returned from school where he was doing his Masters in Theology that he was arrested,â€ the senior pastor added.
He urged the government to provide adequate security for Christian in the state.
Also delivering a sermon during the funeral rites for late Rev. Sabo Yakubu, slain COCIN Church pastor, the speaker, Rev Bulus Azi urged Christians to emulate the pastors who were killed because of their refusal to betray their faith. Quoting from the bible in Revelation 7: 9-15, the regional chairman of the church told Christians to prepare to die anytime as their calling demand.
August 1, 2009
9 Shot & many burned in Gojra, Pakistan
(PCP) It was an other day of mourning for Christians when Muslim mob attacked at Christian Town and gunned down 9 Christian women, children and men and burnt down 50 homes in Gojra. The first was identified as Inyat Masih among dead and fleeing Christian of Gojra are hiding to save life to identify other dead Christians.
The march of Muslims started from Railway Station Gojra at 12:00 noon today was attended by thousands of local and from near by villages marched towards Christian Town. The Christian Town Gojra is residence of two thousand Christian families who settled here over fifty years.
When Muslim marchers approached Christian Town, some two hundred Muslims hiding their faces with traditional Islamic scarf opened fire on Christian houses.
The Christian fled from home but who trapped were executed by face covered Muslims with automatic firearms. The Muslim attacker looted 100 homes and set on fire more than fifty Christian houses.
These Militants used a particular type of chemical which is hard to extinguish to burn Christian homes This chemical was used first in the village of â€œShanti Nagarâ€ which was set on fire in February 1997. Later this chemical was used in â€œSangla Hill Townâ€ and recently used to burn 60 homes of village Korian on night of July 30, 2009.
Sunny Gill based in Karachi told PCP that he called his relatives in Gojra on their Cell Phone after watching news of attack on a local TV channel and they were crying and telling â€œthey have burnt whole colony and they have no shelter to stay in Gojra nowâ€ They are very far from Karachi and do not have money to reach to him in Karachi. There are hundreds of Christians stranded and in hiding in Gojra and near by villages.
According to information of PCP, received by calls and e-Mails by relatives of Christians of Gojra, 4 women, one child and 4 men are dead due to gun shots and many have burn injuries.
According to news agencies, four women and one child were burnt alive by Muslims and burnt dead were received by federal Minority Ministry.
Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have condemned statement issued by a minister in Punjab government that â€œ Muslim marcher were peaceful and some one shot fire on rally to ignite anger among themâ€
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti expressed concern on media reports which reported attackers to be Sunni Muslims because Christians had always cordial relation with Sunni Sect of Muslims in Pakistan. Such reporting can flare up riots which Christians are not bear to afford because Christian do not guns to protect them.
â€œPCC demands Punjab government to adopt strict security measure to main law and order to ensure safety of life and property of Christians.
July 12, 2009
Car Bomb Kills 4 Outside Church in Iraq
BAGHDAD â€” A car bomb exploded near a church as worshippers left Sunday Mass, killing at least four civilians and injuring 18 in one of several attacks on Iraq’s beleaguered Christian minority.
The coordinated assault came as the Iraqi military predicted that insurgent attacks, though declining, could continue for a few years, raising the prospect of militant violence after the scheduled withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.
Three Christians and one Muslim died in the bombing at around 7 p.m. near a church on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, said a police officer who was at the scene. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
An official at al-Kindi hospital confirmed the death toll and said at least 18 people were injured.
Also Sunday, a bomb exploded near a convoy of American personnel that included U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, though no one was injured.
State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore said the bomb exploded as the convoy was traveling through Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq.
Violence is sharply down in the war that began with the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, but militants still carry out lethal attacks on a regular basis, some seemingly aimed at fomenting sectarian tension. The U.S. military completed a withdrawal of combat forces from Iraqi cities to outlying bases last month as part of a plan to let Iraq take the lead on ensuring its own security.
Gen. Babaker B. Shawkat Zebari, the Iraqi army chief of staff, said insurgents once held sway in cities and provinces, but had been whittled down to a few highly dangerous cells that he expected would continue attacks for “a year or two or three.” He said the Iraqi military would get help from American forces if needed, but would also rely on assistance from its own citizens.
“To face terrorism, the Iraqi army does not need tanks or armored vehicles, but needs intelligence, fast communication and people’s support,” he said “The government has to coordinate with the population to get information about the terrorist cells.”
The army chief spoke after meeting Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the holy Shiite city of Najaf, south of Baghdad. Al-Sistani enjoys massive support among Iraq’s majority Shiites, and the Iraqi military sees the backing of religious leaders as vital to its legitimacy and success.
While violence has diminished since 2007, insurgents exact a steady toll with bombs and targeted killings that would amount to a crisis in most other countries.
In the northern city of Kirkuk, gunmen with silencers in a car waited outside the house of Aziz Rizqo Nisan, head of the provincial audit department, and shot him as he drove to work on Sunday morning. His death was confirmed by local police and the national government’s media office in Baghdad.
The motive for the killing of Nisan, a Christian, was unclear. Insurgents commonly target Iraqi government officials and security forces. Ethnic and sectarian tension is high in Kirkuk, a disputed city that Kurds want to annex into their northern region despite Arab opposition.
South of Baghdad, a member of a Sunni militia that is overseen by the Shiite-led government, was found dead with gunshot wounds in his chest in Jurf al-Sakhar town, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The militia, known as the Awakening Councils, includes many former insurgents who joined forces with the Americans and promised to fight al-Qaida in Iraq. The movement was considered a key factor in a drop in violence over the past two years, and has complained about missed payments and crackdowns on its leaders since the Iraqi government took control late last year.
Iraq’s Christians have often been attacked by Islamic extremists, and many have fled the country.
Two bombs that were planted in a church in western Baghdad exploded at midnight Saturday, causing some damage but no injuries. Then three bombs exploded near other Baghdad churches at around 4:30 p.m., injuring eight civilians, police said. The fatal bombing followed two and a half hours later.
“The terrorists are determined to hamper the political process in Iraq and not let Iraqis live in peace even after the withdrawal of foreign forces from the cities,” said Younadem Kana, a Christian lawmaker. “We demand that the Iraqi government take all necessary measures to protect Christians in Baghdad, and in all of Iraq.”
Also Sunday evening, a roadside bomb blew up near a police patrol in Baghdad, killing one civilian and injuring four others, police and hospital officials said.
Half a dozen lawmakers demanded that a general census planned later this year be postponed until after parliamentary elections in January. They argued that the upheaval of war had caused radical change in the ethnic and sectarian makeup of many areas and the results could ignite fresh tension.
Lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab from the northern city of Mosul, noted that large numbers of Kurds had moved into the oil-rich Kirkuk area amid Arab concerns that they seek to take control. In Baghdad, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Arabs altered the face of neighborhoods as people fled their homes or quit the city altogether.
“The form for the census has an item about the ethnicity of the person, and that would lead to shocking results,” al-Nujaifi said at a news conference.
July 1, 2009
Islam-wary Swiss may ban minarets
Switzerland will hold a referendum on banning the construction of new minarets on November 29 in response to a petition for a popular vote on the issue, the government said.
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A group of politicians from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and Federal Democratic Union gathered enough signatures last year to force the referendum, but the government opposes a ban.
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Switzerland is home to more than 300,000 Muslims – about four percent of the population – as well as hundreds of mosques, but only a handful of the mosques have a minaret tower and applications to build more prompted the campaign for a ban.
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Supporters of a ban say minarets do not have any religious justification but are symbols of Islamic power which injures Swiss constitutional rights to religious freedom.
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The right-wing SVP, the country’s biggest party which won 29% of the vote in the last election, has drawn accusations of racism for its anti-immigration campaigns, including one featuring white sheep kicking a black sheep off a Swiss flag.
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The government said last year it was against a ban, saying it would violate international human rights and the country’s constitution and might incite tensions between religions and hinder integration of the Muslim population.
June 23, 2009
Muslim burka “not welcome” in France: Sarkozy
Al Arabiya News Channel
French president: “The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience”
President says burka undermines French secularism and women’s rights
The burka, or face covering some Muslim women wear, is “not welcome” in France because it is not a symbol of religion but a sign of subservience for women, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday.
“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” he said. “That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.”
“The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience,” he told lawmakers. “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.”
Sarkozy told a special session of parliament he was in favor of holding the inquiry sought by some French lawmakers into whether Muslim women who cover themselves fully in public undermine French secularism and women’s rights.
But the president added “we must not fight the wrong battle, in the republic the Muslim religion must be respected as much as other religions” in France, which has Europe’s biggest Muslim population estimated at several million.
The proposal to hold an inquiry has won support from many politicians from both the left and right, but France’s official Muslim council accused lawmakers of wasting time focusing on a fringe phenomenon.
In 2008, the Netherlands banned the burka from universities, not only for students but also mothers and anyone else entering the grounds.
Education Minister Ronald Plasterk announced in parliament that the planned ban, initially intended to apply only to the compulsory schooling system, would now also extend to tertiary education institutions.
June 10, 2009
Two policemen convicted of killing a Christian in Giza, Egypt have received only a five-year prison sentence
ISTANBUL (Compass Direct News) — Two policemen convicted of killing a Christian in Giza, Egypt have received only a five-year prison sentence for what lawyers are calling the cold-blooded murder of a Copt who stood up for his rights.
The Giza Criminal Court sentenced the two policemen for manslaughter on May 25 for the 2007 death of Nasser Gadallah, 39. Police say he jumped out of a window in an effort to escape, but family members who were eyewitnesses said the officers beat Gadallah and pushed him out the window in intentional murder because he was a Christian who had filed a complaint against police.
The court, however, determined Gadallah died from the officers beating him, and that they did not intend to kill him.
“The court did not punish them [more severely], because from its point of view the officers didn’t kill him,” said family lawyer Nadia Tawfeeq. “They just beat him, and when they beat him he died.”
Gadallah, a plumber, was walking home from work on Aug. 3, 2007 when a police officer, Amir Sobhi, stopped him and took all the money on him, 280 Egyptian Pounds (US$50), and his mobile phone. Recognizing Sobhi because he had previously harassed him, Gadallah filed a police report against him citing the most recent and previous extortion incidents. Sobhi was suspended from duty for four days while police investigated the report.
A source said Gadallah’s wife told him not to file the complaint, saying they did not have power and would be unable to defend themselves. In Egypt, police corruption is rampant, according to local sources.
“But it is a known fact that Copts are definitely picked on more, because they are Christian,” said a source. “They are peaceful people and simply don’t know how to ask for their rights.”
After midnight, in the wee hours of Aug. 7, 2007, two cars full of police officers, along with Police Investigations Officer Ahmed Alnawawy, arrived at Gadallah’s home but found the gate of the family apartment complex locked. The five policemen broke into the neighbor’s home and beat him before they jumped over a wall into the Gadallah home complex.
After beating Gadallah’s brothers and father, the officers broke into his third-floor apartment and beat him, and two of them threw him out a window onto the street as his wife and children looked on, according to Tawfeeq.
“In their minds, he shouldn’t have complained because he was a Copt,” said Tawfeeq.
According to Gadallah’s widow, Mariam Gadallah, who saw the officers beating her husband, one of the officers said to him, “You are Coptic. You have no value.”
“The judge didn’t believe her,” said Tawfeeq of the widow’s testimony. “You know the man is a Christian, so they did not consider it murder.”
Tawfeeq confirmed that the court gave the two policemen who threw him out the window a lenient sentence because it determined that Gadallah’s cause of death was complications due to beating.
The lawyers said that Alnawawy gave the order to the officers to kill Gadallah. According to a neighbor’s account, one of the officers ran out of the building to Alnawawy saying: “We killed the guy, we killed the guy,” said Tawfeeq.
Seeing his body on the ground, neighbors attacked one of the police cars, while some of the officers in the other vehicle managed to escape.
Although most facts and witnesses point to direct orders of Alnawawy, the court freed him of complicity, said prosecuting lawyer Naguib Gobraiel.
“There were instructions from Alnawawy,” Gobraiel said. “The police can’t do anything without him.”
Mariam Gadallah, left with three children ages 2 to 8 and no viable source of income, said she was disappointed in the court’s soft sentence and the lack of compensation to the deceased’s family.
With irritation in her voice, she said, “I think the sentence is very lenient.”
Lawyers applied for an appeal to the federal attorney general last week calling for a re-classification of the killing as “willful, premeditated, and deliberate.” Gobraiel said they also plan to also file a lawsuit against the internal minister for allowing five officers to leave their post at the police station during work hours to attack Gadallah in his home.
“I see this decision as very weak and not suitable for this crime,” Gobraiel said. “This crime is a killing, not a beating.”
May 12, 2009
Islamâ€™s Day in Hawaii
AP: Â HONOLULU – Hawaii’s state Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill to celebrate “Islam Day,” despite the objections of a few lawmakers who said they didn’t think the state should honor a religion connected to Sept. 11, 2001.
The resolution to proclaim Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day passed the Senate on a 22-3 vote Wednesday. The bill was previously passed by Hawaii’s House of Representatives.
The bill recognizes what it calls “the rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions” that Islam and the Islamic world have made.
But the Senate’s two Republicans argued that radical Islamists cheered the 2001 attacks. They also noted that other religions didn’t have a special day honored.
The lone Democrat voting in dissent opposed it on church-state separation grounds.
April 22, 2009
Obama advisor draws cautious optimism
Dalia Mogahed, a veiled Egyptian American, will advise President Obama on prejudices and problems faced by Muslims. Many Arabs hope it’s a step toward reversing stereotyping.
By Noha El-Hennawy
April 22, 2009
Reporting from Cairo — Egyptians are cautiously rejoicing over the recent appointment of a veiled Egyptian American Muslim woman as an advisor to President Obama.
Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed this month to Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
April 16, 2009
Islamists Fight Yemen Law Banning Child Marriage
She was 2 years old when her father promised her in marriage to a man in his 30s. It was a swap, so the father could marry the man’s sister without paying the obligatory bride-price.
At age 9, the girl was put on a sack of rice to appear taller next to the bridegroom in the wedding picture. At 11, she was taken to her husband’s house to live. Despite promising not to consummate the marriage before she reached puberty, he tied her to a bed, stuffed a rag in her mouth and raped her, she says.
“One day he tied me up and attacked me,” the girl, who is now 13 and has fled her husband, told The Associated Press on Wednesday, choking with tears during an interview at an orphanage that has given her shelter. Her name and her husband’s aren’t being used to protect her identity.
Child marriages are widespread in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, where tribal customs dominate society. More than a quarter of its females marry before age 15, according to a recent report by the Social Affairs Ministry.
The issue of child brides vaulted into the headlines here two years ago when an 8-year-old boldly went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s. She eventually won a divorce, and legislators began looking at ways to curb the practice.
In February, parliament passed a law setting the minimum marriage age at 17. But some lawmakers are trying to kill the measure, calling it un-Islamic. Before it could be ratified by Yemen’s president, they forced it to be sent back to parliament’s constitutional committee for review.
Child marriage is an issue elsewhere. In neighboring, more affluent Saudi Arabia, several cases of child brides have been reported in the past year, though the phenomenon is not believed to be nearly as widespread as in Yemen.
The U.S. on Wednesday sharply criticized the practice after a ruling by a Saudi judge upheld the marriage of a girl whose father gave her at age 8 to a man in his late 40s. The girl’s mother has sought a divorce for her daughter.
“Child marriage is a clear and unacceptable violation of human rights in our view. U.S. officials at all levels frequently raise with the Saudi government our human rights concerns, especially those dealing with children and marriages,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.
Saudi Arabia sets no minimum age for marriage. But the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan this week quoted the kingdom’s new justice minister, Mohammed al-Issa, as saying the government is doing a comprehensive study on underage marriage that will include regulations. He did not indicate how long the process would take.
In Yemen, poverty is the main reason families marry off young daughters, to get bride-prices up to several hundred dollars. Local traditions encourage the practice out of a belief a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation.
The weak government relies on support from tribal leaders and Islamists so is reluctant to take action on customs they support.
Yemen once set 15 as the minimum marriage age, but parliament eliminated it in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries.
Legislator Sheik Mohammed al-Hazmi, one of the most ardent opponents of a minimum marriage age, says the new law is a “Western plot aimed at Westernizing our culture.”
“The West wants to teach us how to marry, conceive and divorce. This is cultural colonization that we reject,” he told AP.
Al-Hazmi said Islam permits the practice because nothing in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad bans it. “Everything that is not forbidden is permitted,” he said.
Lawmaker Sheik Shawki al-Qadhi vehemently disagrees. He said that according to Islamic law “a ruler can ban that which is permitted if it is proven to cause harm.”
Regulations short of an outright ban won’t work, he said. “Are we going to post a policeman at every bedroom to ensure husbands don’t consummate marriages before girls reach puberty?”
Al-Qadhi said he is confident the new law will survive review, though some say the age could be lowered to 15.
The girl who spoke with the AP is now living at the Alrahma Foundation for Human Development, an orphanage in the capital, San’a.
She first came to the orphanage when her father died, when she was 11. She had not yet moved in with her husband, because the agreement had been that she would do so at puberty.
But she said her brother showed up at the orphanage and persuaded her to go with him, telling her they would seek a court annulment of the marriage. Instead, he took her to her husband’s house in the southern town of Thammar for a bribe of about $200, the girl said. About nine months later, the husband forced her into sex, she said.
She got a chance to break away when she developed stomach and vocal cord problems last year and her husband sent her to San’a for treatment. She escaped from the house where she was staying and fled to the orphanage 10 months ago.
Today, at 13, she is learning to read and write and beginning to think about the future.
“I want to become a businesswoman,” she said, two tiny dimples lighting up her thin face
April 11, 2009
Target: Egypt’s Coptic Church issues conversion certificate to convert from Islam
CAIRO (AFP) â€” Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church has for the first time issued a certificate of conversion to a Muslim-born Christian, his lawyer said, in a country where religious conversion is highly sensitive.
Maher al-Gohari, who is seeking to change his religion on his official documents from Muslim to Christian was asked by a court to provide a conversion certificate from the Egyptian church.
“He handed it in today,” Nabil Gabriel told AFP. “It is the first time the church provides this sort of certificate.”
In Egypt, citizens are required to carry their personal ID cards at all times. Without an ID card, one has no access to basic services.
It is only the second time that such a request has been formally made in a country where converting to Christianity, while not illegal, is practically impossible.
Last year, a court rejected a request by a Christian convert from Islam, Mohammed Higazi, to have his new religion written on his identity card.
Highlighting the sensitivity of the topic, the church would not comment on Gohari’s case specifically….
Not surprising. More lives could be at risk than just Gohari’s.
March 17, 2009
Revised Islamic History Books at Saudi Academy Face Criticism
The Islamic Saudi Academy developed new Islamic studies textbooks for all grades after a 2008 congressional report called portions of the previous editions troubling.
An Islamic school in Northern Virginia has revised its religious textbooks in an apparently unsuccessful move aimed at ending longtime accusations that the school promotes hatred and intolerance.
The Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches nearly 900 students in grades K-12 at its campus outside Washington, D.C., developed new Islamic studies textbooks for all grades after a 2008 congressional report called portions of the previous editions troubling.
The school deleted from its texts some of the most contentious passages, including references to Jihad, killing infidels and hatred of Jews and Christians.
But critics say the books are still “toxic” and contain more subtle references, such as criticism of secular forms of government.
Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Gulf Institute, which has been pressing the school to make revision since 2004, told FOX News that the textbooks characterize secular governments as “committing unbelief and allowing us to wage war against them.”
“So you’re teaching American students — implanting the seeds of insurgency in these people — and this is very dangerous,” Al-Ahmed said.
He added that the textbooks teach girls that they should not aspire to be judges or political leaders and when a girl gets married, she must ask her husband if she wants to leave the house.
The school has stood by its latest revision.
“We know our students’ needs,” school director Abdul Rahma said. “We believe these books match their needs.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says it wants to look at the books but the Saudi government, which funds the academy, won’t give the panel a copy.
“We can’t figure out what the Saudi government has to hide and why they continually keep these secrets,” said Felice Gaer, chairwoman of the commission.
Gaer’s panel released a 2008 report commissioned by the U.S. Congress which stated the school’s earlier textbooks contained several troubling passages, including one that claims it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, and another that claims “the Jews conspired against Islam and its people.”
Gaer said the State Department should translate the textbooks and determine whether they encourage violence, which would be against the law.
The school has come under fire before.
Founded in 1984, it drew national attention after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which turned the focus onto the Saudi educational system after 15 of the 19 hijackers were of Saudi origin.
In December 2001, former ISA students Mohammed El-Yacoubi and Mohammed Osman Idris were denied entry into Israel when authorities there found El-Yacoubi carrying what the FBI believed was a suicide note linked to a planned martyrdom operation in Israel.
In 2005, a former ISA valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted in federal court of joining Al Qaeda while attending college in Saudi Arabia and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush.
Last year, the school’s then-director Abdalla al-Shabnan was convicted of failing to report a suspected case of child sex abuse.
The school had hired two outside academics with backgrounds in Middle East studies to review the textbooks. The two, Eleanor Doumato, a visiting fellow in international studies at Brown University, and Gregory Starrett, an anthropology professor at UNC-Charlotte,Â reported back favorably.
“These books do not contain inflammatory material, nor do they encourage students to exhibit intolerance or violence toward others,” the two wrote in a letter to the academy.
But Al-Ahmed said the Gulf Institute is putting together a detailed report on these textbooks that he says will show that the school “has been deceiving’ the American people on its real intention.
FOX News’ Molly Henneberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
February 8, 2009
Ottawa radio host chastised for making “abusive and discriminatory,” but true, statements about Islam and Muslims
|Green: He posed a question|
The Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223).
The Qur’an also declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282).
It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3).
It rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11).
Worst of all, the Qur’an tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them” (4:34).
It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).
Nor is that all. There are ahadith in which Muhammad says that hell is filled with many more women than men, there are Islamic legal justifications for child marriage, stoning for adultery, honor killing, and female genital mutilation, and there is abundant evidence that these views of women have created hardened cultural attitudes across the Islamic world that institutionalize misery for women and discrimination against them.
All that is fine, however, with our cultural and political elites — but woe betide the non-Muslim, like Lowell Green, who dares to make reference to it.
Free Speech Death Watch Update: “Ottawa radio station chastised for comments on Muslims,” by Chris Cobb for the Ottawa Citizen, February 6 (thanks to the indomitable and magnificent Kathy Shaidle, who asks, “Dear me: how all this ‘words can rape, maim and leave you for dead in a ditch!!’ alchemy operates is an awful big mystery to poor stupid right-winger me… “):
OTTAWA â€” A veteran open-line radio host in Ottawa contravened Canadian broadcasting standards when he made “abusive and discriminatory” remarks against Muslims, the national broadcast watchdog ruled Friday.
According to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, Lowell Green launched an “uninformed and unfair” attack when he told his CFRA audience in early December that the majority of Muslims are fanatics, and extremist behavior is symptomatic of the religion, not just a radical minority.
“Uninformed,” yes. Those who notice Islamic jihad and the Islamic justifications made for it by its Muslim perpetrators are always “uninformed.” Those who turn a blind eye to it all are the ones who are “informed.”
Green had been inspired by the story of British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons, whose elementary class in the Sudanese capital Khartoum named a teddy bear “Muhammad,” causing a storm of outrage across the Muslim world.
Gibbons was forced to leave the country after being threatened with imprisonment and death.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, apparently.
Green posed the question to listeners: “Is there something inherent in the Muslim faith that promotes violence and oppression of women?”
He posed a question! Horror of horrors!
In response to one Muslim caller who tried to defend Islam, Green responded: “Baloney,” and during another call, told a sympathetic, but apparently non-Muslim, caller that she had “abandoned common sense” and was being “silly.”
“Almost every act of terrorism around the world today is carried out in the name of Islam,” responded Green. “Don’t tell me this is the work of a few fanatics.”
A position that can be abundantly supported by mountains of evidence.
The broadcast watchdog, an arm’s-length organization created and funded by private broadcasters to rule on listener and viewer complaints, was especially critical of Green for refusing to listen to pro-Islam callers, especially those who were clearly informed about the religion.
“The host has mounted a sweeping, abusive and unduly discriminatory criticism of Islam,” it said.
Worse, said the CBSC report, was the manner in which the broadcaster dismissed those who disagreed with him.
“Green did not merely disagree with opposing points of view,” it said. “He mocked, ridiculed and insulted their interlocutors.”
Well, then, he must be silenced!
Under CBSC rules, stations violating rules must broadcast the decision, but there is no other punishment.
January 14, 2009
Senior Saudi Cleric OKs 10-Year-Old Girls for Marriage
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia Â â€”Â
A pan-Arab newspaper quotes Saudi Arabia’s most senior Muslim cleric as saying it is OK for 10-year-old girls to marry.
The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper also quotes Sheik Abdul-Aziz bin Baz, the country’s grand mufti, as saying that those who believe women should not marry before the age of 25 are following a “bad path.”
His comments during a lecture Monday come as Saudi human rights groups are fighting to put an end to marriages involving the very young. The groups are pressing the government to define the minimum age for marriage.
On Sunday, the government-run National Human Rights Commission condemned marriages of minor girls, saying such marriages are an “inhumane violation.”
January 2, 2009
9 Muslim passengers kicked off flight after remark
AFP/Getty Images/File – A photograph showing an AirTran plan. Nine Muslims, including three children, were ordered off an AirTran …
WASHINGTON – Nine Muslim passengers were kicked off a flight from Washington, D.C., to Florida after other passengers reported hearing a suspicious remark about airplane security.
AirTran Airways spokesman Tad Hutcheson called the incident on the New Year’s Day flight from Reagan National Airport to Orlando, Fla., a misunderstanding, but defended the company’s response. He said the airline followed federal rules and did nothing wrong.
One of the Muslim passengers, Kashif Irfan, told The Washington Post the confusion began when his brother was talking about the safest place to sit on an airplane.
“My brother and his wife were discussing some aspect of airport security,” Irfan said. “The only thing my brother said was, ‘Wow, the jets are right next to my window.'”
Irfan told the newspaper he thought he and the others were profiled because of their appearance. The men had beards and the women wore headscarves, traditional Muslim attire.
Irfan, 34, is an anesthesiologist and his brother is a lawyer. Both live in Alexandria, Va., with their families, and were born in Detroit. They were traveling with their wives, Irfan’s sister-in-law and Irfan’s three sons, ages 7, 4 and 2. A family friend also was traveling with the group to a religious retreat in Florida.
Federal officials ordered the rest of the passengers from the plane and re-screened them before allowing the flight to depart.
The family was upset that AirTran didn’t allow the Muslim passengers to book another flight. They eventually made it to their destination on a US Airways flight.
“The FBI agents actually cleared our names,” Inayet Sahin, one of the family members kicked off the flight, told CNN. “They went on our behalf and spoke to the airlines and said, ‘There is no suspicious activity here. They are clear. Please let them get on a flight so they can go on their vacation,’ and they still refused.”
Hutcheson said the passengers were given a full refund and are welcome to fly on AirTran now that the investigation is complete.
Hutcheson and a federal Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said the pilot was right to postpone the flight.
“At the end of the day, people got on and made comments they shouldn’t have made on the airplane, and other people heard them,” Hutcheson said. “Other people heard them, misconstrued them. It just so happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance. It escalated, it got out of hand and everyone took precautions.”
One of the passengers removed, Abdur Razack Aziz, said he will consider a lawsuit.