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December 31, 2010

Muslims Celebrate New Year with Car Bomb at Church in Alexandria, Egypt

An explosion went off in front of the Coptic Christian church of Saints in Sedi Besher in Alexandria, Egypt. The explosion occurred sometime after the beginning of the New Year.

The explosion hit the Coptic church during their traditional prayer meeting in celebration of the New Year.

Information indicates that at least forty-five congregants are dead. There are several more injured along with others trapped inside the church.

Conflicted information is reaching our office which indicates that several dead bodies are on the sidewalk as well as inside the church.

The blast went off about thirty minutes after midnight. An eyewitness indicated that an explosion went off from a parked car outside the church.

It has been reported that at least forty-five persons are dead from an explosion taking place two minutes after drivers of a car fled after parking their car between two other cars in front of the church. The explosion took place causing the cars on either side of it to explode at the same time.

The Islamic effort to cleanse the Middle East from Christians has increased.

Four years ago in April, a Coptic man was killed next to the main entrance when an Arab Muslim stabbed him with a knife. The attack occurred on the last Friday of fasting before Easter. At that time and prior to any investigation the governor of Alexandria indicated that the attacker was mentally ill.

As of right now, the Egyptian regime and its Islamic court have not issued any verdict in this matter.

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December 28, 2010

Bulletin of Islamic Attacks: Nov. 29 – Dec. 27, 2010

November 29, 2010
Afghanistan
Two Afghans accused of converting to Christianity could face the death penalty, a prosecuting lawyer said on Sunday.

December 1, 2010
Pakistan (Hat tip to Atlas Shrugs)
Muslim extremists are blamed for the murders of five Christians in Pakistan in less than a week.

December 2, 2010
Indonesia
After closing churches in West Java, South Sulawesi, Sumatra, and other provinces, hard-line Islamic organizations are now attempting to stop Christian worship in or near shopping malls.

December 3, 2010
Egypt
Coptic teenagers were arrested by security authorities because they were working on building a new church which is in violation of Sharia law.

Pakistan (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
A pro-Taliban Pakistani Muslim cleric Friday offered a reward for anyone who kills a Christian woman who was sentenced to death on charges of insulting Islam, in violation of Sharia law.

Somalia

A Somali teenage girl was shot to death for becoming a Christian.

December 4, 2010
Pakistan
The Islamic terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Toiba and other Taliban groups have launched a fatwa (an official proclamation) against the Pakistani Minister for Religious Minorities, Shabhaz Bhatti, who happens to be a Catholic. Reliable sources in Pakistan confirmed that the minister is now being targeted by militants and has become a “legitimate objective” and “may be killed for being an accomplice to the blasphemy.”

December 6, 2010
Iraq (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
Iraq’s Christian minority took another hit Sunday evening when gunmen shot and killed an elderly Christian couple in their home.

Indonesia (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
US-backed elite Indonesian forces target church members and civilians.

December 7, 2010
NYC – USA (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
Historic St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, plans a multimillion-dollar suit against the Port Authority and other agencies for blocking its reconstruction.

December 8, 2010
Palestine (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
A video on official Hamas TV calls for Allah to kill Jews, Christians, Communists and their supporters. The video asks Allah to “count them and kill them to the last one, and don’t leave even one.”

December 9, 2010
Java (Hat tip to Jihadwatch)
The Archbishop of Semarang, has called the Catholic community “to remain calm” after the explosion of two bombs in the church of Christ the King in Central Java on 7 December. The attack is the latest in a series of attacks on Christian places of worship.

Australia
The leader of the Australian Anglican Communion, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall condemned attacks on Christians and Muslims in Pakistan in the December issue of FOCUS, the newspaper of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane.

December 11, 2010
Bangladesh (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Police in Bangladesh said they believe at least two Islamic extremists are responsible for a bomb blast in a Catholic church building that killed 10 young Christians and maimed dozens of others in 2001.

Palestine (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
Music video from Hamas: “Kill the Christians and Jews to the last one.”

December 13, 2010
Algeria
A Protestant clergyman and three of his parishioners were convicted on the basis of a controversial 2006 law that requires a permit to set up a place of worship. . . According to some observers, this trial against Algeria’s Christian minority reflects a crackdown undertaken by Algerian government since February 2006 against non-Muslim religions. Since the 1990s, the country has been targeted by Islamic extremists.

Pakistan
An evangelist is still recovering from burns after six young Muslim men beat him with clubs and belts and set him on fire.

December 14, 2010
Afghanistan (Hat tip to Atlas Shrugs)
The International Red Cross neglects an Afghani man who converted to Christianity.

December 15, 2010
Iraq
One month ago, Muslim terrorists in Iraq massacred Christians at a church in Bagdad. A three year old boy who witnessed this horror, including the death of his parents, followed the terrorists, saying “Enough, enough,” until he himself was murdered.

Kosovo (Hat tip to IslamInEurope)
Christian civilians detained by the Kosovo Liberation Army were allegedly shot to death in northern Albania so their kidneys could be extracted and sold on the black market after the war in Kosovo ended in 1999, according to a report prepared for Europe’s premier human rights watchdog.
Background info: HERE and from James Jatras HERE (Hat tip to GatesofVienna) and from a documentary on a jihadi martyr in Bosnia HERE.

December 16, 2010
Pakistan
(Hat tip to JihadWatch)
It promises to be a difficult Christmas for the Christian community in Pakistan. An alliance of radical Islamic groups has called for a large mass national demonstration on 24 December, after Friday prayers, to say “no” to the release of Asia Bibi and any changes to the blasphemy law.

December 17, 2010
Egypt (Hat tip to InfidelsAreCool)
A Muslim convert to Christianity has lost his family and job and has now been arrested and charged with ‘defamation of religion.’

December 18, 2010
Iran
A group of nine Christians arrested in Hamadan are in prison, after being held in isolation without specific charges.

Indonesia
About 200 demonstrators from hard-line Islamic organizations in West Java on Sunday (Dec. 12) disrupted the worship of a church in Bandung, driving more than 100 worshippers from the building.

December 20, 2010
Egypt
An Egyptian priest has explained that radical Muslims are trying to rid the Middle East entirely of Christians, who once comprised the largest religious group in the region.

Somalia (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
The jihadi group Al Shabab destroyed a Christian library. They brought Bibles, books, and a/v material to the city center and burned them after Islamic noon prayers.

Middle East
(Hat tip to Investigative Project on Terrorism)
Threats and attacks against Christians in the Holiday Season.

Indonesia
Authorities have banned all public activities or celebrations associated with Christmas, including Christmas Mass, at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church. More HERE.

Turkey
Attorneys prosecuting the murder of three Christians in southeastern Turkey are making progress linking the knifemen who slayed them to the masterminds who put them up to it.

December 21, 2010
Canada (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
More than 100 Canadian-Arab Christians are listed on an al-Qaeda affiliated website, apparently targeted because of their alleged role in attempting to convert Muslims.

December 22, 2010
England
Muslims from a banned Islamic hate group have launched a nationwide poster campaign denouncing Christmas as evil.

Iraq
Iraq’s Christian leaders called off Christmas celebrations amid new al-Qaida threats on the tiny community still terrified from a bloody siege on a Baghdad church. Update, December 24th HERE.

Bethlehem

This Christmas in Bethlehem, the cross has been banned from souvenirs for tourists and pilgrims in the Holy Land due to fear of retaliation from Islamic militants.
December 23, 2010
Pakistan
Update on the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced for death for blasphemy who is requesting a pardon. December 25, 2010
Philippines/Nigeria
(Hat tip to JihadWatch and Atlas Shrugs)
A bomb in a church during Christmas mass in the southern Philippines wounded six people, including the priest, even as Christian leaders highlighted the plight of believers facing the threat of attacks around the world. Update HERE.

In the northern Nigerian city of Kano on Friday, there were bombings during various Christmas Eve services. More on the Nigerian attack that killed thirty one people HERE.
December 26, 2010
Sweden (Hat tip to and translated by IslamInEurope from GP)
The Coptic Christian church in Gothenburg was closed down after receiving an internet threat.
December 27, 2010
Cyprus (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
The Cyprus government has protested to the United Nations and the European Union over an illegal act by the breakaway regime in the areas of the Republic occupied by Turkish troops to stop a religious service on Christmas day at a Turkish-occupied village, where Christian Orthodox Cypriot live as enclaved.

West Java
Hundreds of members of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church celebrated Mass under the sun and in a tent set up in the parking lot of an elementary school due to the hostilities of local Muslims.

Produced by Political Islam.com
Publisher: Bill Warner; Edited by Asma Marwan

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October 17, 2010

Merkel says German multi-cultural society has failed

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend, calling on the country’s immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values.

Merkel weighed in for the first time in a blistering debate sparked by a central bank board member saying the country was being made “more stupid” by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants.

“Multikulti”, the concept that “we are now living side by side and are happy about it,” does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.

“This approach has failed, totally,” she said, adding that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values.

“We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here,” said the chancellor.

“Subsidising immigrants” isn’t sufficient, Germany has the right to “make demands” on them, she added, such as mastering the language of Goethe and abandoning practices such as forced marriages.

Merkel spoke a week after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they pledged to do more to improve the often poor integration record of Germany’s 2.5-million-strong Turkish community.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in a weekend interview, also urged the Turkish community living in Germany to master the language of their adopted country.

“When one doesn’t speak the language of the country in which one lives that doesn’t serve anyone, neither the person concerned, the country, nor the society,” the Turkish president told the Suedeutsche Zeitung.

“That is why I tell them at every opportunity that they should learn German, and speak it fluently and without an accent. That should start at nurseries.”

German President Christian Wulff was due for a five-day visit to Turkey and talks with the country’s leaders on Monday.

The immigration debate has at times threatened to split Merkel’s conservative party, and she made noises to both wings of the debate.

While saying that the government needed to encourage the training of Muslim clerics in Germany, Merkel said “Islam is part of Germany”, echoeing the recent comments of Wulff, a liberal voice in the party.

Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, CSU, who represents the right-wing, recently said Germany did not “need more immigrants from different cultures like the Turks and Arabs” who are “more difficult” to integrate.

While warning against “immigration that weighs down on our social system”, Merkel said Germany needed specialists from overseas to keep the pace of its economic development.

According to the head of the German chamber of commerce and industry, Hans Heinrich Driftmann, Germany is in urgent need of about 400,000 engineers and qualified workers, whose lack is knocking about one percent off the country’s growth rate.

The integration of Muslims has been a hot button issue since August when a member of Germany’s central bank sparked outrage by saying the country was being made “more stupid” by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants with headscarves.

The banker, Thilo Sarrazin, has since resigned but his book on the subject — “Germany Does Itself In” — has flown off the shelves, and polls showed considerable sympathy for some of his views.

A recent study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think tank showed around one-third of Germans feel the country is being “over-run by foreigners” and the same percentage feel foreigners should be sent home when jobs are scarce.

Nearly 60 percent of the 2,411 people polled thought the around four million Muslims in Germany should have their religious practices “significantly curbed.”

Far-right attitudes are found not only at the extremes of German society, but “to a worrying degree at the centre of society,” the think tank said in its report.

“Hardly eight weeks have passed since publication of Sarrazin’s theory of decline, and the longer the debate continues to a lower level it falls,” the weekly Der Spiegel commented Sunday.

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October 8, 2010

A woman in Tours wears a niqab during protests over efforts to ban Islamic face coverings.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Court rules the law does not violate the French Constitution
  • It bars Islamic face coverings in public places
  • The ban is due to come into effect in the spring
  • It would fine women for wearing a veil or forcing a woman to do so

(CNN) — France’s law banning the burqa and other Islamic face coverings in public places is legal, top constitutional authorities in France ruled Thursday, clearing the final hurdle before the ban goes into effect.

The ban passed both houses of the French legislature by overwhelming margins earlier this year, and is scheduled to come into effect in the spring.

The law imposes a fine of 150 euros ($190) and/or a citizenship course as punishment for wearing a face-covering veil. Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa will be punishable by a year in prison or a 15,000-euro ($19,000) fine, the government said, calling it “a new form of enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil.”
Lawmakers also cited security reasons for forbidding people from covering their faces in public.

The French Constitutional Council said the law did not impose disproportionate punishments or prevent the free exercise of religion in a place of worship, finding therefore that “the law conforms to the Constitution.”

A panel of French lawmakers recommended a ban last year, and lawmakers unanimously passed a non-binding resolution in May calling the full-face veil contrary to the laws of the nation.

“Given the damage it produces on those rules which allow the life in community, ensure the dignity of the person and equality between sexes, this practice, even if it is voluntary, cannot be tolerated in any public place,” the French government said when it sent the measure to parliament in May.

French people back the ban by a margin of more than four to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey earlier this year.

Some 82 percent of people polled approved of a ban, while 17 percent disapproved. That was the widest support the Washington-based think tank found in any of the five countries it surveyed.

Clear majorities also backed burqa bans in Germany, Britain and Spain, while two out of three Americans opposed it, the survey found.
Amnesty International has repeatedly urged France not to impose the ban, saying it violates European human rights law.

The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes.

The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face, and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, apparently are not banned by the law.

Video: French Senate passes burqa ban

RELATED TOPICS

However, a 2004 law in France bans the wearing or displaying of overt religious symbols in schools — including the wearing of headscarves by schoolgirls.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that France has about 3.5 million Muslims, or about 6 percent of the population.

France does not keep its own statistics on religious affiliation of the population, in keeping with its laws requiring the state to be strictly secular.

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October 6, 2010

The grandson of the billionaire king of Saudi Arabia ‘sexually abused his man¬servant lover and battered him to death’

Tom Kelly
Daily Mail, London
6 October 2010
Trial: Al Saud, left, on his way to City of Westminster magistrates court in a
prison van for his original hearing following the death of Bandar Abdulaziz, right

A Saudi prince beat his man­servant lover to death in a ‘ferocious’ sexually motivated attack at an exclusive London hotel, the Old ­Bailey heard yesterday.

Saud Abdulaziz Bin Nasir Al Saud, the grandson of the billionaire king of Saudi Arabia, murdered Bandar Abdulaziz after subjecting him to weeks of physical and sexual abuse, the jury was told.

The royal allegedly downed champagne and six Sex on the Beach cocktails before repeatedly punching his 32-year-old aide in the head, knocking out teeth and leaving him with severe brain injuries in the suite they shared at the five-star Landmark Hotel in Marylebone.

He also strangled Mr Abdulaziz with such force that he fractured bones in the ­servant’s neck and bit him on both cheeks in way that clearly had a ‘sexual connotation’, the court heard.

Al Saud, 34, allegedly tried to ‘cover his tracks’ by cleaning up blood from the attack before raising the alarm. He was said to have at first told police Mr Abdulaziz had suffered the injuries in a robbery.

The prince later changed his story and admitted killing his servant, but he denies murder and one count of grievous bodily harm with intent.

The pair arrived in London in December last year for the final leg of an extended world holiday. They had visited Prague, Milan, Marrakesh and the Maldives, apparently using the Spartacus International Gay Guide as a travel planner.

Al Saud enjoyed a party lifestyle in the capital, rising late and spending the afternoons shopping before eating out and going to nightclubs until the early hours.

He was spotted flirting with barmen and used male prostitutes at least twice during his stay, the jury was told.

The prince told police he was a ‘friend and equal’ of Mr Abdulaziz, the adopted son of middle-class Saudi parents, and that his aide travelled with him everywhere.

But the court heard how Mr Abdulaziz flew in economy while Al Saud went first class. It was also said the servant walked two steps behind his master and slept most nights on the floor of the hotel room they shared.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said: ‘Theirs was a far more complicated relationship than the defendant was prepared to admit and there was an abusive undertone to it.
‘Bandar was treated as an aide or servant and there was a far more sinister aspect to the defendant’s treatment of the victim.

‘He would beat Bandar up and the abuse was not confined to physical violence – there was a ­sexual element to it as well.’

The jury saw CCTV footage of an earlier attack in which Al Saud bared his teeth as he subjected Mr Abdulaziz to blows with his fists and elbows in the hotel lift on January 22.
Family: Al Saud’s father Prince Abdulaziz, left, and brother Prince
Faisal arriving at the Old Bailey yesterday

Mr Laidlaw said: ‘What is also ­evident from the victim’s behaviour is that he had become by this point almost entirely submissive.

‘He could not or did not at any stage offer any sort of resistance, attempt to fight back or even to raise his hand to the defendant.’

The attack left Mr Abdulaziz’s ear three times its normal size and requiring reconstructive surgery.

On February 14, the night of the alleged murder, the pair went for a Valentine’s meal before returning to their hotel just before midnight.

A guest in the room below recalled hearing raised voices and what sounded like furniture being knocked over.

The following afternoon Al Saud called a contact at the Saudi Embassy, who arrived at the room to find him ‘very upset and crying’ beside his lifeless servant.

Hotel staff recalled Mr Abdulaziz lying dead in the bed as Al Saud sobbed and told an unknown caller on the phone: ‘I don’t believe it.’

Police experts found forensic evidence from Al Saud on Mr Abdulaziz’s underwear. Despite this, the prince continued to deny he was gay.

But Mr Laidlaw said: ‘The evidence establishes quite conclusively that he is either gay or that he has homosexual tendencies.

‘There is clear evidence, over and above the bite marks, that there was also a sexual element to his mistreatment of the victim.’

A search of the prince’s laptop revealed he looked at gay massage and escort agency websites, jurors were told.

Al Saud’s mother is the daughter of King Abdullah. His father, Prince Abdulaziz, who is the nephew of the king, watched from the public gallery as his shaven-headed son sat in the dock following proceedings through an Arabic interpreter.

The trial continues.

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August 30, 2010

Libyan Leader Urges People to Convert to Islam During Trip to Rome

Aug. 29: Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi gestures as he arrives at Ciampino airport, near Rome.

ROME — Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi gave a lesson on Islam and copies of the Koran to a few hundred young Italian women as he arrived in Rome for his fourth visit in a year.

Some participants identifying themselves as Roman Catholics in this overwhelmingly Catholic country, said Qaddafi had urged others to convert to Islam and had dismissed Christianity as unimportant.

Michela, who asked that her last name not be used, told Associated Press Television News that three of the participants converted to Islam on the spot Sunday.

“It was a really beautiful meeting and went very well,” she said. “He is very easygoing and he gave us a copy of the Quran. Three girls converted themselves to Islam during the ceremony. It was a beautiful event.”

It was the second time the Libyan leader — who travels with female bodyguards and fancies himself a self-styled feminist — had staged such an event for Italian women, who were recruited by a modeling agency and paid an undisclosed sum to attend.

Between 200 and 500 young women attended, arriving 10 buses at the Libyan ambassador’s residence just as Gadhafi’s plane was landing at Rome’s Ciampino airport at the start of a two-day visit.

The visit, amid steadily improving business ties between Libya and its former colonial ruler, also marks the second anniversary of a friendship treaty in which Italy agreed to pay Libya $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation, which ended in 1943.

When Qaddafi was in Italy in November for a U.N. food summit, he hosted 200 young Italian women who had been recruited and paid about $75 by the same modeling agency to attend. Then, too, he gave a lecture on Islam and handed out copies of the Koran.

This time around, the women wouldn’t say how much they had been paid, only that they had received a small “reimbursement.”

During his first visit to Italy in June, 2009, Gadhafi invited 700 prominent Italian businesswomen and female politicians to listen to a lecture in which he criticized Islam’s treatment of women but also suggested male relatives should decide if a woman can drive.

As part of the friendship treaty anniversary celebrations, some 30 Libyan horses were arriving in Rome to take part in a joint demonstration with Italy’s carabinieri equestrian forces on Monday, news reports said.

Qaddafi made his first visit to Italy in June, proclaiming a new era in relations following the friendship treaty. But that first visit also was marked by a symbolic demonstration that the wounds of colonialism still ran deep: He arrived wearing a black-and-white photo pinned to his military uniform of a Libyan national hero killed by Italian colonial authorities.

Qaddafi sported no such photo upon arrival Sunday at Ciampino, where he was greeted by Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

Despite the colonial past, Italy and Libya have long had good ties, and major Italian corporations such as oil giant Eni have invested heavily in the oil-and-gas rich country.

Libya’s central bank, meanwhile, has a 4 percent share in Italy’s largest bank UniCredit, which earlier this month won the first international license to operate in the North African country.

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July 16, 2010

Pastor killed by gunman

A dynamic Christian pastor has died after being shot in the head as he was leaving church, in what is being seen as a bid to intimidate converts from Islam in the strongly Islamic republic of Dagestan.

Artur Suleimanov (49), himself a convert from Islam, was murdered by a gunman who approached and opened fire as the pastor got into a car outside Hosanna House of Prayer in the capital, Makhachkala, on Thursday July 15. He died from his wounds in hospital around an hour later. Nobody else was injured in the attack. Pastor Suleimanov leaves behind a wife, Zina, and five children, the youngest of whom is twelve years old.

Mr Suleimanov’s church is one of the largest Protestant churches in Dagestan. In a context where Christians face regular harassment and intimidation, his life had been threatened on several previous occasions.

Barnabas Aid has supported Christians in Dagestan, and our co-ordinator for the Former Soviet Union met Pastor Suleimanov a number of times. He said, “Pastor Suleimanov was a wonderful Christian brother and his shocking death is a devastating loss for the Dagestan church. He and the Hosanna House of Prayer church were very active in ministry and outreach in particular. We see his murder as an attempt to put further pressure on Christian converts in Dagestan.”

Please pray

  • That God will comfort and uphold Pastor Suleimanov’s family, and their large church family, in their distress and grief.
  • That the murderer and all those behind this horrendous incident will be brought to justice, and that they will come to faith in the Lord Jesus.
  • For protection over those attending Pastor Suleimanov’s funeral as well as the wider Church in Dagestan.
  • That Christians will not be intimidated by this act of violence.

The Russian Republic of Dagestan borders Chechnya in the turbulent North Caucasus. The population is 98 per cent Muslim, and the Church faces harassment and intimidation from various groups.

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May 21, 2010

After minarets, will Switzerland ban burqas too?

Full Muslim face veils could become the next divisive religious issue to take centre stage in Switzerland, where voters last November approved a measure banning the construction of new minarets. The Swiss federal government said in February it saw no need for a “burqa ban.” Politicians at the national level say there’s no “burqa problem” in Switzerland. But few thought there was a “minaret problem” either, until the question was put to a national referendum and the minaret ban campaigners won.

Like the minarets, of which there are only four in Switzerland, there are very few veiled women in Switzerland. The most likely place to see them is Geneva, where many rich Middle Easterners do their banking. Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey recently told the newspaper Blick that she’sd once seen fully veiled women there and was “furious, because the burqa is a symbol of the enslavement of women.” But she insisted to her interviewers: “I’m against burqas. And I’m against a burqa ban … we don’t have a burqa problem in Switzerland. Very few women wear a burqa here. Have you even seen one?”

Similarly, Economy Minister Doris Leuthard, who is also serving this year as the country’s president, has said  “we’ve got much tougher, more important problems.” Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has said “we don’t really have a burqa problem in Switzerland now.” She did add, though, that she was watching to see whether a “parallel society” was developing. “We are not ready to let our legal system and our values be compromised,” she said. Down at the cantonal level, though, things may be moving. The legislature in the canton of Aargau has voted overwhelmingly to propose a national bill to outlaw full face veils. Two more canton legislatures, in Bern and Solothurn, are reported to be ready to do the same.

Will these initiatives lead to a national ban? It’ss too early to say. But the  minaret ban idea started at the regional level, too,  in Zurich canton, and turned into a national referendum that ended in a surprise. It will be worth watching to see if Switzerland looks likely to follow the example of Belgium and France.

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April 29, 2010

Franklin Graham Retained as Speaker at National Day of Prayer Event

Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 29, 2010) — Coral Ridge Ministries today applauded the decision of U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt and other members of Congress to retain Rev. Franklin Graham as a speaker at a Capitol Hill National Day of Prayer event, May 6.

While the Council on American-Islamic Relations’s effort to censor Franklin Graham met with success at the Pentagon, we are pleased that Rep. Aderholt and others Members dismissed the call to remove Mr. Graham.

Franklin Graham is a distinguished American who has led relief efforts in 100 nations through his organization, Samaritan’ss Purse. He serves this year as honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which seeks to mobilize Christians to pray for America and its leadership.

CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror finance case, objects to Franklin Graham’ss statement after 9/11 that Islam is “a very evil and wicked religion.” Graham is correct. The sad fact is that not only were the 9/11 terrorists inspired by Islamic teaching to kill some 3,000 people on our soil, but Christians today around the world are harassed, threatened, jailed, beaten, tortured, and martyred in Muslim lands. In Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, Christianity is illegal. Christians there are forced to meet in secret for fear of police raids, whipping, and worse. Saudis who turn to Christ are at risk of honor killings by members of their own family. Eight of the ten nations where anti-Christian persecution is most severe are Muslim, according to the Open Doors World Watch List, a detailed analysis of persecution worldwide. The attack on Graham is not only utterly mistaken but it is a distraction at a time when America desperately needs to repent and return to God in prayer. That is the opportunity the National Day of Prayer affords all of us, and it is what Christians and others should be focused on both on May 6 and throughout the year.

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April 29, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: U.N. Elects Iran to Commission on Women’s Rights

Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

NEW YORK — Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”

Just days after Iran abandoned a high-profile bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, it began a covert campaign to claim a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, which is “dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women,” according to its website.

Buried 2,000 words deep in a U.N. press release distributed Wednesday on the filling of “vacancies in subsidiary bodies,” was the stark announcement: Iran, along with representatives from 10 other nations, was “elected by acclamation,” meaning that no open vote was requested or required by any member states — including the United States.

The U.S. currently holds one of the 45 seats on the body, a position set to expire in 2012. The U.S. Mission to the U.N. did not return requests for comment on whether it actively opposed elevating Iran to the women’s commission.

Iran’s election comes just a week after one of its senior clerics declared that women who wear revealing clothing are to blame for earthquakes, a statement that created an international uproar — but little affected their bid to become an international arbiter of women’s rights.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” said the respected cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi.

As word of Iran’s intention to join the women’s commission came out, a group of Iranian activists circulated a petition to the U.N. asking that member states oppose its election.

“Iran’s discriminatory laws demonstrate that the Islamic Republic does not believe in gender equality,” reads the letter, signed by 214 activists and endorsed by over a dozen human rights bodies.

The letter draws a dark picture of the status of women in Iran: “women lack the ability to choose their husbands, have no independent right to education after marriage, no right to divorce, no right to child custody, have no protection from violent treatment in public spaces, are restricted by quotas for women’s admission at universities, and are arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws.”

The Commission on the Status of Women is supposed to conduct review of nations that violate women’s rights, issue reports detailing their failings, and monitor their success in improving women’s equality.

Yet critics of Iran’s human rights record say the country has taken “every conceivable step” to deter women’s equality.

“In the past year, it has arrested and jailed mothers of peaceful civil rights protesters,” wrote three prominent democracy and human rights activists in an op-ed published online Tuesday by Foreign Policy Magazine.

“It has charged women who were seeking equality in the social sphere — as wives, daughters and mothers — with threatening national security, subjecting many to hours of harrowing interrogation. Its prison guards have beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and raped female and male civil rights protesters.”

Iran’s elevation to the commission comes as a black eye just days after the U.S. helped lead a successful effort to keep Iran off the Human Rights Council, which is already dominated by nations that are judged by human rights advocates as chronic violators of essential freedoms. The current membership of the women’s commission is little different.

Though it touts itself as “the principal global policy-making body” on women’s rights, the makeup of the commission is mostly determined by geography and its membership is a hodge-podge of some human rights advocates (including the U.S., Japan, and Germany) and other nations with stark histories of rights violations.

The number of seats on the commission is based on the number of countries in a region, no matter how small their populations or how scant their respect for rights. The commission is currently made up of 13 members from Africa, 11 from Asia, nine from Latin America and the Caribbean, eight from Western Europe and North America, and four from Eastern Europe.

During this round of “elections,” which were not competitive and in which no real votes were cast, two seats opened up for the Asian bloc for the 2011-2015 period. Only two nations put forward candidates to fill empty spots — Iran and Thailand. As at most such commissions in the U.N., backroom deals determined who would gain new seats at the women’s rights body.

The activists’ letter sent to the U.N. Tuesday argued that it would be better if the Asian countries proffered only one candidate, instead of elevating Iran to the commission.

“We, a group of gender-equality activists, believe that for the sake of women’s rights globally, an empty seat for the Asia group on (the commission) is much preferable to Iran’s membership. We are writing to alert you to the highly negative ramifications of Iran’ss membership in this international body.”

A spokeswoman for the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which oversees the commission, did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.

When its term begins in 2011, Iran will be joined by 10 other countries: Belgium, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Estonia, Georgia, Jamaica, Iran, Liberia, the Netherlands, Spain, Thailand and Zimbabwe.

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April 22, 2010

Army withdraws Franklin Graham Pentagon prayer day invitation

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Online Edition, Thursday, April 22, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army has disinvited Franklin Graham to speak at the Pentagon on National Prayer Day after a military advocacy group objected because Graham has reportedly described Islam as “evil” and “wicked.”

“I regret that the Army felt it was necessary to rescind their invitation to the National Day of Prayer Task Force to participate in the Pentagon’ss special prayer service,” Graham said in a statement on Thursday.

I want to express my strong support for the United States military and all our troops. I will continue to pray that God will give them guidance, wisdom and protection as they serve this great country.”
Graham was expected to speak at the Pentagon on May 6, drawing the ire of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group focused on religious favoritism in the military.

The group had been prepared to seek a temporary restraining order against National Prayer Day if it were “polluted by someone as hideously Islamophobic as Franklin Graham,” said Mikey Weinstein, head of the group.

In a 2001 op-ed piece, Graham wrote that he does not believe Muslims are evil, but he objects to the treatment of women in Muslim countries and Islam’ss historic “persecution or elimination” of other religions.

On Thursday, Graham told Fox News that while he loves Muslims, “I speak out for people that live under Islam, that are enslaved by Islam and I want them to know they can be free through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone.”Council on American Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said it is “completely inappropriate” for Graham to speak in front of a military audience.

“These are individuals who are potentially going to be stationed in Muslim majority nations, and they don’st need to hear from someone spreading hatred of Islam and Muslims,” Hooper said.

“What does that say to those who are going to be asked to serve in these regions and how is that going to affect their interaction with the local population?” Graham is honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a group that organizes Christian events that was invited to participate in National Day of Prayer by the Pentagon chaplain’ss office.

An Army spokesman told the Associated Press the Pentagon’ss relationship with the Christian group does not violate Defense Department rules.

We are an all-inclusive military,” said Col. Tim Collins. “We hold observances throughout the year. This one happens to be a Christian-themed event.”

But his comments were criticized by the Secular Coalition for America, an advocacy for non-religious Americans.

“For the Pentagon to hold an explicitly ‘Christian-themed event’s around the day of prayer is brazenly out of all reasonable bounds, and explicitly exclusionary to U.S. servicemembers of all non-Christian faiths and of no faith,” group Executive Director Sean Faircloth said in a release.

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March 29, 2010

Double suicide bombings kill 38 on Moscow subway

Reuters – A woman cries as Interior Ministry officers block her way in front of the exit of Lubyanka metro station …

By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press Writer
David Nowak, Associated Press Writer – 12 mins ago
MOSCOW – Female suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 38 people and wounding more than 60, officials said. The carnage blamed on rebels from the Caucasus region follows the killings of several high-profile Islamic militant leaders there.
The blasts come six years after Islamic separatists from the southern Russian region carried out a pair of deadly Moscow subway strikes and raise concerns that the war has once again come to the capital, amid militants’ warnings of a renewed determination to push their fight.
Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing late last year on a passenger train en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Last month, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov warned Russians in an interview on a rebel-affiliated Web site that “the war is coming to their cities.”
The first explosion took place just before 8 a.m. at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow. The station is underneath the building that houses the main offices of the Federal Security Service, the KGB’s main successor agency, a symbol of power under Vladimir Putin.
About 45 minutes later, a second explosion hit the Park Kultury station, which is near the renowned Gorky Park. In both cases, the bombs were detonated as the trains pulled into the stations and the doors were opening.
“I heard a bang, turned my head and smoke was everywhere. People ran for the exits screaming,” said 24-year-old Alexander Vakulov, who was on a train on the platform opposite the targeted train at Park Kultury.
“I saw a dead person for the first time in my life,” said Valentin Popov, 19, who had just arrived at the station from the opposite direction.
Prime Minister Putin, who built much of his political capital by directing a fierce war with Chechen separatists a decade ago, vowed Monday that “terrorists will be destroyed.”
Militants in the Caucasus have declared the creation of an Islamic state as their top goal. The militants receive moral and financial support from al-Qaida, which for years has celebrated the Chechen struggle as one of the key fronts for roving Muslim fighters along with Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
Moscow is unlikely to hit back at the rebels with massive firepower: The Kremlin has installed loyal leaders in the areas where the militants operate, making bombing campaigns of the kind used in the 1990s Chechen wars out of the question.
The Kremlin is already engaged in a huge escalation of its operations to smash the rebels, and it is difficult to see what more it could do.
The iconic Moscow subway system is the world’s second-busiest after Tokyo’s, carrying around 7 million passengers on an average workday, and is a key element in running the sprawling and traffic-choked city.
Russian TV showed amateur video from inside the Lubyanka station of wounded and possibly dead victims sitting and lying on the floor. The train platform was filled with smoke. The LifeNews.ru site showed gruesome photos of dead passengers sprawled inside a mangled subway car and a bloody leg lying on a station platform.
Outside both stations, passengers flooded out, many of them crying and making frantic calls on their cell phones. The wounded were loaded into ambulances and helicopters, some with their heads wrapped in bloody bandages, as sirens wailed.
The last confirmed terrorist attack in Moscow was in August 2004, when a suicide bomber blew herself up outside a subway station, killing 10 people. Responsibility for that blast was claimed by Chechen rebels.
A more devastating attack took place in February of that year, when a suicide bomber from the North Caucasus set off explosives during morning rush hour as it traveled between stations. More than 40 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.
Russian police have killed several Islamic militant leaders in the North Caucasus recently, including one last week in the Kabardino-Balkariya region, which has raised fears of retaliatory strikes by the militants.
The militants receive moral and perhaps financial support from al-Qaida. Dozens of contributors to three Web sites affiliated with al-Qaida wrote comments in praise of Monday’s attacks.
One site opened a special page to “receive congratulations” for the Chechen rebels who “started the dark tunnel attacks in the apostate countries,” and all wished for God to accept the two sisters as martyrs.
“Don’t forget Russia’s crimes of genocide in the Caucasus and Chechnya,” said one writer. “The battle has been shifted to the heart of Moscow,” another wrote.
In a televised meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev, Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov said body fragments of the two bombers pointed to a Caucasus connection. The bombers have not been identified and Bortnikov did not elaborate.
“We will continue the fight against terrorism unswervingly and to the end,” Medvedev said.
Neither he nor Putin, who was on an official trip in Siberia, announced specific measures and it was not clear if Russia has new strategies to unleash in the Caucasus, where violent separatism has spread from Chechnya into neighboring republics.
Although the Russian army battered Chechen rebels in massive assaults a decade ago, the separatists continue to move through the region’s mountains and forests with comparative ease and launch frequent small attacks.
New York’s transit system beefed up security as a precaution following the Moscow bombings. A spokesman for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Kevin Ortiz, said the agency has a “heightened security presence,” but declined further comment.
The agency is in charge of New York City buses and subways, as well as suburban trains, and bridges and tunnels. In London and Madrid, two other cities that have suffered transit system terror attacks, officials said there were no immediate plans to tighten security.
At 4 p.m., the two Moscow subway stations reopened and dozens boarded the waiting trains.
“It’s really terrifying,” said Vasily Vlastinin, 16. “It’s become dangerous to ride the metro, but I’ll keep taking the metro. You have to get to school, to college, to work somehow.”
Both stations had been scrubbed clean. Holes left by shrapnel in the granite were the only reminder of the day’s tragic bombings.

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March 11, 2010

6 killed, 8 injured in Pakistan firing

Islamabad, Mar 11: Unidentified attackers killed six aid workers of US-based charity organisation World Vision and injured eight others in Mansehra, a remote village in Pakistan, on Wednesday, Dawn reported on Thursday. Two women were among those killed According to the report, a government official said the attack appeared to be the work of militants, added that an inquiry had been ordered into the incident.

A group of 12 to 13 gunmen stormed the offices of World Vision in Oghi, put all employees in one room and started shooting, Hazara Commissioner Waqar Ayub told Dawn.

“The assailants were from different ethnic groups. They spoke Urdu, Hindko and Pashto. They rounded up the aid workers while shouting at them that they had been warned to stop spreading obscenity,” an official quoted an injured worker as saying.
Locals said that police watched as the attackers escaped into nearby mountains. They said the World Vision staff were not involved in any unethical activities.

The attackers lobbed grenades while leaving that destroyed the building.

The charity organisation has been working in the area since the October 2005 earthquake, helping women and children.

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March 09, 2010

Women, kids among 300 killed in Nigeria on Sunday

Published on Tue, Mar 09, 2010 at 15:43, Updated on Tue, Mar 09, 2010 at 16:54 in World section
As many as 300 people, many of them young children, were killed in Nigeria on Sunday. The latest communal bloodletting between Muslim and Christian villagers erupted near the central Nigerian city of Jos. Ongoing tensions over farmable land is thought to be at the root of the violence.

The majority of those slaughtered in the attacks were women and children who had tried to flee their homes after hearing gun shots outside.

They were hacked to death with machetes as they fled. Survivors blame the neighboring Fulani tribesmen for the massacre.

On Monday, Nigeria buried hundreds of victims of Sunday’s sectarian clashes in mass graves in the country’s central region. The latest communal bloodletting between Islamic pastoralists and Christian villagers erupted near the central Nigerian city of Jos, where sectarian violence killed hundreds in January.

The majority of those slaughtered in the early morning attacks were women and children who had tried to flee their homes after hearing gun shots outside, but were hacked to death with machetes as they came out. Survivors blamed the neighboring Fulani tribesmen for the massacre.

Nigerian indicted in US for airline bomb plot

‘Terror suspect Nigerian was sexually frustrated’

In January, four days of sectarian clashes between mobs armed with guns, knives and machetes killed hundreds of people in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, which lies at the crossroads of Nigeria’s Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.
The latest unrest in the volatile region comes at a difficult time for Nigeria, with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan trying to assert his authority while the country’s ailing leader Umaru Yar’Adua remains too sick to govern.

Jonathan deployed hundreds of troops and police to quell January’s unrest, in which community leaders put the death toll at more than 400 while official police figures estimated the death toll at 326.

The instability underscores the fragility of Africa’s most populous nation as it approaches the campaign period for 2011 elections with uncertainty over who is in charge. The bloody aftermath of deadly clashes in Jos state in Nigeria. As many as 300 people, many of them young children, were killed in the attacks early on Sunday. Witnesses say Hausa-Faulani herders from surrounding hill areas attacked three villages around 3:00 am.

As the slain bodies were collected in the village of Dogo Nahawa, those who survived, like Moses Tarrok, described their ordeal. Aid workers say some bodies were charred, and some had been shot. It was not immediately clear what triggered the latest attacks, which left many in serious condition in hospital, though ongoing tensions between Muslim herders and Christians over farmable land is thought to be at the root of the violence.

Attacks between the two groups in January left at least 326 people dead in Jos province.
Never will the division inside minds of people will stop.

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February 24, 2010

The Center for Democracy and Human rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, Washington, DC.

www.cdhr.info

An Influential Saudi Cleric Calls for Beheading of Apostates

For Immediate Release

Contact: Dr. Ali alyami
Phone: 202-413-0084
ali@cdhr.info

Washington, DC (February 24, 2010). The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia unequivocally denounces Shaikh Abdulrahman Al-Barrak call for the beheading of those who initiate or accept gender mingling in schools or in the work place. “They should be given one chance to repent, but if they do not, they should be considered apostate and beheaded,” Al-Barrak said.

Al-Barrak published his Fatwa, a religious edict, on his website, which is read by Muslims all over the world. The Saudi clerics (the religious branch of the government) participate fully in ruling Saudi Arabia. They are in total control of the country’s sectarian and arbitrary judicial system as well as its educational institutions, including approval of schoolbooks.

Despite King Abdullah’s cosmetic judicial and educational reforms, he and his large and diverse family (tribe) are keenly aware that the only base of legitimacy and source of power, which ensure their control of the country and its disenfranchised people, is the strength and ruthlessness of the theocratic establishment, which Shaikh Al-Barrak represents. Even if King Abdullah is serious about reforms, and most Saudis do not think he is but cannot say so, he is primarily accountable to his powerful and competing senior brothers who can easily override his decisions and/or render him powerless altogether.

Saudi Arabia’s domestic policies affect most Muslims across the world. This is due to Saudi Arabia’s centrality to Islam, control of its holy sites in Mecca and Medina, and influx of petrodollars. The Saudi autocratic and theocratic regime uses these powerful assets to exert its disproportionate influence and impose its will on Muslim communities worldwide. The Saudi government does this by exporting its stringent Wahhabi ideology, bribing heads of states, building religious schools and mosques wherever it wishes including in the US. This is the reason Muslim countries, represented by the Organization for Islamic Conference, OIC, sign up for whatever the Saudi ruling family wishes them to do.

Because of Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious and financial influence in the Muslim World, transforming Saudi educational and religious institutions should be President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s first foreign policy order of business in the Muslim World. Appointing an American Muslim envoy to the OIC by the Administration strengthens and legitimizes the Saudi extremist religious ideology, Wahhabism, at home and throughout the world.

http://www.alwatan.com.sa/news/newsdetail.asp?issueno=3435&id=137688&groupID=0

 

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February 03, 2010

Muslim Chaplain Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Smuggle Razor Blades Into NYC Jail

Authorities say a New York jails chaplain has been charged with trying to smuggle three razor blades and a pair of scissors into a facility.

The Department of Investigation says 58-year-old Imam Zul-Qarnain Shahid was arrested at the Manhattan Detention Complex on Wednesday.

The department says Shahid was arrested on several charges, including four counts of promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a felony.

Officials say Shahid was arrested while entering the jailhouse when a bag he had brought with him triggered an alarm from the X-ray machine. Authorities discovered razor blades and scissors inside the bag.

No phone number was listed for Shahid at his Staten Island residence. It wasn’t known whether he had an attorney.

A spokesman for the city Department of Correction had no comment.

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January 7, 2010

Muslims kill at least 7 Christians in Southern Egypt

By SARAH El DEEB, Associated Press Writer Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press Writer

CAIRO – Three men in a car sprayed automatic gunfire into a crowd of churchgoers in southern Egyptian as they left a midnight Mass for Coptic Christmas, killing at least seven people in a drive-by shooting, the church bishop and security officials said.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry said the attack Wednesday just before midnight was suspected as retaliation for the November rape of a Muslim girl by a Christian man in the same town. The statement said witnesses have identified the lead attacker.

The attack took place in the town of Nag Hamadi in Qena province, about 40 miles from the famous ancient ruins of Luxor. A local security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed that seven were dead and three seriously wounded.

Bishop Kirollos of the Nag Hamadi Diocese told The Associated Press six male churchgoers and one security guard were killed. He said he had left St. John’s church just minutes before the attack.

“A driving car swerved near me, so I took the back door. By the time I shook hands with someone at the gate, I heard the mayhem, lots of machine gun shots,” he said in a telephone interview. He said he saw five bodies lying on the ground when he first looked at the site of the shooting, about 600 yards where he was.

The bishop said he was concerned about violence on the eve of Coptic Christmas, which falls on Thursday, because of previous threats following the rape of the 12-year-old girl in November.

He got a message on his mobile phone saying: “It is your turn.”

“I did nothing with it. My faithful were also receiving threats in the streets, some shouting at them: ‘We will not let you have festivities,'” he said.

Because of the threats, he said he ended his Christmas Mass one hour early.

He said Muslim residents of Nag Hamadi and neighboring villages rioted for five days in November and torched and damaged Christian properties in the area after the rape.

“For days, I had expected something to happen on Christmas day,” he said. The bishop said police have now asked him to stay at home for fear of further violence.

Qena is one of Egypt’s poorest and most conservative areas.

Christians, mostly Coptic, account for about 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Muslim population. As Islamic conservatism gains ground, Christians have increasingly complained about discrimination by the Muslim majority.

Clashes between Muslims and Christians are not uncommon in southern Egypt and in recent years have begun seeping into the capital. An Amnesty International report said sectarian attacks on the Coptic Christian community, comprising between 6 million and 8 million people in Egypt, increased in the year 2008. Sporadic clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslims left eight people dead.

Vendetta killing is also common among southern Egyptians, and is usually over land or family disputes.

The bishop said he had an idea of who the attackers were, calling them “Muslim radicals.”

“It is all religious now. This is a religious war about how they can finish off the Christians in Egypt,” he said.