image_pdfimage_print

December 6, 2013

Egyptian Christian convert imprisoned for 15 days pending investigation

Minya (Upper Egypt), 6 December /MCN/
Minya Prosecution (Upper Egypt) ordered the imprisonment of Christian convert Bishoy Armiya, formerly known as Mohamed Hegazi, for 15 days pending investigation Thursday.

Prosecutors have accused Armiya, 31, with working as a correspondent of an “American TV channel that incites sectarian strife,” insulting Egypt, proselytizing, and receiving foreign funds.

A security source said the defendant photographed military and police institutions and a Copt who was attacked by MB members, hiding among citizen as a human rights activist in order to take photographs.

Armiya visited Nazlet Ebeid village, located about 6 kilometers from Minya City, and Badraman village in Deir Mawas – two villages that witnessed sectarian violence last week and resulted in deaths and injuries of both Christians and Muslims– where he met with Christian citizens.

The defendant was the first Christian convert in Egypt to file a lawsuit to change his religion on his ID card. Armiya was born in Port Said and married a woman from Minya, and said that he converted to Christianity before he was 16 years old.

top

October 26, 2013

Australia: Muslim mob severely injures five Jews in unprovoked anti-Semitic attack

True to form, the mainstream media doesn’t mention the identity of the perpetrators, but that in itself is a clue as to who they were: if the attackers had been neo-Nazis, the Herald would have had no trouble saying that. Only when it comes to Muslims do “brawls” and “bombings” and “violence” just happen by themselves, with no clear perp. Also, the mention of the facts that the attack was “racially motivated” and in a “multicultural area” makes clear the identity of these “youths” (a common mainstream media term for violent young Muslims in any case).

But why the coverup? Why must we read tea leaves when it comes to Muslim violence? The mainstream media is doing a grave disservice to the public by reporting stories in this way, rendering them ignorant and complacent in the face of a real threat.

“Five people hospitalised after brawl in Bondi,” by Sally Willoughby for the Sydney Morning Herald, October 26 (thanks to Raul):

Two men remain in hospital with serious injuries after an alleged anti-Semitic attack near Bondi Beach on Saturday.

Five people were injured suffering a fractured cheekbone, broken nose, concussion, lacerations and bruising when they were set upon by eight youths on Blair Street.
St Vincent’s Hospital spokesman and member of the Bondi Jewish community David Faktor said the victims told him the attack was unprovoked and racially motivated.

He said the family was returning from a Jewish Sabbath dinner and did not know their attackers or do anything to incite the violence.

”Any kind of serious unprovoked attack is of great concern but the fact it was racially motivated is all the more concerning,” Mr Faktor said.

”It is extremely shocking that an attack like this could happen in Australia let alone in Bondi being such a multicultural area.”

Mr Faktor said the victims were wearing skullcaps and told him the attack felt like it went for about 15 minutes.

Police said four men, aged 27 to 66, and a 62-year-old woman were walking along Blair Street when a group of eight males started hurling abuse and assaulting them at 12.30am on Saturday.

Police said the melee continued along Glenayr Avenue before police arrived and the attackers fled.

Police have arrested two teenage boys, 17, and a 23-year-old man.

top

September 22, 2013

Scores Are Killed by Suicide Bomb Attack at Historic Church in Pakistan

Description: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/09/22/world/middleeast/20130922_pakistan-slide-JYBW/20130922_pakistan-slide-JYBW-articleLarge.jpg

Muhammad Muheisen/Associated Press

Published: September 22, 2013

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide attack on a historic church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 78 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.

Enlarge This Image
Description: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/09/23/world/PAKISTAN/PAKISTAN-articleInline.jpg

Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press

The attack occurred as worshipers left All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, after a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 people had attended and were leaving to receive free food being distributed on the lawn outside when two explosions ripped through the crowd. “As soon as the service finished and the food was being distributed, all of a sudden we heard one explosion, followed by another,” said Azim Ghori, a witness.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who arrived in Peshawar on Sunday evening, said that 78 people had been killed, including 34 women and 7 children. “Such an attack on women and children is against humanity,” he said.Akhtar Ali Shah, the home secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, said that more than 100 people had been wounded. Mr. Khan said that 37 of those were children.

The dead included two Muslim police officers who had been posted outside the church. Witnesses reported scenes of mayhem as rescue workers ferried victims from the church, which was scattered with body parts, shrapnel and bloodied clothing.

On Sunday afternoon, the bodies of 45 victims were placed in coffins and moved to the nearby St. John’s Church, the oldest church in the city. The coffins were placed in the church playground as dozens of grieving relatives and mourners gathered. A large contingent of police officers was deployed outside the church, and mourners were allowed to enter the compound after a thorough security check. Ambulances were allowed to enter the compound one by one as dead bodies were then placed in vehicles to take them to the morgue.

Shafqat Malik, a senior official of the bomb disposal squad, said in an interview that evidence collected from the church confirmed that two suicide bombers had carried out the attack. “Each bomber carried six kilograms of explosives,” he said.

The attack coincided with a broader wave of attacks on religious minorities, including Shiite Muslims this year.

In March, a Muslim mob swarmed through a Christian neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore, burning two churches and more than 100 houses. Christians also frequently find themselves accused of blasphemy under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

The attacks are mostly orchestrated by Sunni extremist militant groups, although some have also been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.

All Saints Church is one of the oldest in Peshawar and was built during the British colonial era. It is at Kohati Gate in the city’s old quarter, where numerous militant attacks have occurred in recent years, mostly targeting Muslims.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to initiate peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, aimed at ending a decade of violence. An all-parties political conference held this month gave the government approval to start negotiations with the insurgents.

But that offer was publicly rejected by the Taliban, which later claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior army general in Upper Dir, near the Afghan border, last week.

Immediately after Sunday’s bombing, questions were again raised about the government’s plans to hold peace talks.

In a statement, Mr. Sharif said, “The terrorists have no religion, and targeting innocent people is against the teachings of Islam and all religions.” The Pakistan Ulema Council, the largest clerical body, also condemned the blast, saying that the council was “standing with our Christian brothers in this tragedy.” The opposition leader Imran Khan, who has advocated initiating peace talks with the militants, expressed solidarity with the Christian community but also repeated his call to tackle terrorism in the country.

Mr. Khan said he believed that the bombings were an attempt to sabotage the peace talks. “A conspiracy is being hatched to drag the country back to the 10-year-old morass,” he said, referring to the time when former President Pervez Musharraf allied himself with the United States in the effort against militancy and extremism.

But there were contrary voices, as well. Raja Nasir Abbas, a Shiite leader who is the secretary general of the party Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, demanded a “ruthless operation against the Taliban” and declared that the “weak policies” of the government had “emboldened the terrorists.”

Hundreds of Christians and activists from civil society groups protested in Lahore after the attack. They blocked roads as they condemned the violence.“We have not been protected,” said Pitras Masih, a young laborer who had a wooden cross in his hand and a chain with a cross around his neck. “We want justice.” Others held aloft placards demanding justice. “There is a uniform behind this terrorism,” one placard said.

Waqar Gillani contributed reporting from Lahore, Pakistan.

top

September 21, 2013

22 dead in Kenya mall attack on non-Muslims

AP Photo: Sayyid Azim
Saturday Sept. 21 2013.
Description: MSN News23 min ago MSN News with wire reports

A Kenya Red Cross official said the death toll from the attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi will likely rise.
NAIROBI, Kenya — Gunmen threw grenades, fired automatic weapons and targeted non-Muslims at the upscale Westgate mall in Kenya’s capital on Saturday, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens more, a Red Cross official and witnesses said.

The Qatar-based news network Al-Jazeera said the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.

Stunned, injured shoppers escape Kenyan mall

Description: Stunned, injured shoppers escape Kenyan mall
2 hr ago 1:08 Views: 12k
The U.S. State Department said it had reports that American citizens were injured in the attack, and it condemned the shooting as a “senseless act of violence.”
“The U.S. Embassy is actively reaching out to provide assistance,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. She declined to give details of the Americans injured citing privacy considerations.
Kenyan military and police surrounded the mall, which had been hosting a children’s day event, and helicopters flew overhead, the Associated Press reported. Gunmen remained inside hours after the attack, although firing subsided.
People continued to trickle out from hiding places within the mall, which is frequented by expatriates and rich Kenyans in Nairobi’s affluent Westlands neighborhood. It was not immediately known how many people remained inside, and whether they were still alive.
Earlier in the day mall guards used shopping carts to wheel out wounded children, as others emerged crying or clutching their kids.
The death toll is expected to rise, said Kenya Red Cross official Abbas Gullet. Some reports put the death toll at 25 or 30.
“We are treating this as a terrorist attack,” said police chief Benson Kibue, adding that there are likely no more than 10 attackers involved. Police did not say what group was responsible for the attack.
Photo gallery: Terrorists open fire at Nairobi mall (graphic content)
Somali’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, vowed in late 2011 to carry out a large-scale attack in Nairobi in retaliation for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight the insurgents.
Off duty Sgt. Major Frank Mugungu said Saturday that he saw four male attackers and one female, and that he could clearly identify one of the gunmen as a Somali, though he could not identify the rest.
The Westgate mall, with shops like Nike, adidas and Bose, has Israeli ownership, and security experts have in the past identified the mall as a possible terror target in Nairobi.
The gunmen announced that non-Muslims would be targeted, said Elijah Kamau, who was at the mall at the time of the midday attack.
“The gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave. They were safe, and non-Muslims would be targeted,” he said.
Description: Kenya mall attackReuters: Goran Tomasevic
Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi Sept. 21, 2013.
Jay Patel, who sought cover on an upper floor in the mall when shooting began, said that when he looked out of a window onto the upper parking deck of the mall he saw the gunmen with a group of people.
Patel said that as the attackers were talking, some of the people stood up and left and the others were shot.

Nairobi mall shooting may be “terrorist attack” – government

Description: Nairobi mall shooting may be 'terrorist attack' - government
1 hr ago 0:29 Views: 9 Description: Reuters
The gunmen carried AK-47s and wore vests with hand grenades on them, said Manish Turohit, 18, who hid in a parking garage for two hours.
“They just came in and threw a grenade. We were running and they opened fire. They were shouting and firing,” he said after marching out of the mall in a line of 15 people who all held their hands in the air, in an apparent attempt to not be shot.
Rob Vandijk, who works at the Dutch embassy, said he was eating at a restaurant inside the mall when attackers lobbed hand grenades inside the building. He said gunfire then burst out and people screamed as they dropped to the ground.
It appears the attack began at the outdoor seating area of Artcaffe at the front of the mall, witnesses said.
Patrick Kuria, an employee at Artcaffe, said: “We started by hearing gunshots downstairs and outside. Later we heard them come inside. We took cover. Then we saw two gunmen wearing black turbans. I saw them shoot.”
Description: Kenya mall shootingReuters: Goran Tomasevic
Police take cover outside Westgate shopping centre where gunmen went on a shooting spree in Nairobi Sept. 21, 2013.
Some people were shot at the entrance to the mall after volleys of gunfire moved outside and a standoff with police began. Ambulances continued to stream in and out of the mall area, ferrying the wounded who gradually emerged from hiding inside the mall.
A local hospital was overwhelmed with the number of wounded being brought in hours after the attack, so they had to divert them to a second facility.
The United Nations secretary-general’s office said that Ban Ki-moon has spoken with President Uhuru Kenyatta and expressed his concern. Meanwhile, Britain’s Foreign Office urged British nationals to avoid the area, saying it is “urgently looking into” the incident and ready to provide consular assistance in case any British are involved.
Kenya suffered a spate of grenade attacks that killed more than 60 people from October 2011 to March 2013 after al-Shabab threatened attacks. Police attributed the attacks to sympathizers of al-Shabab in Kenya.
Authorities said they have thwarted other large-scale attacks targeting public spaces. Kenyan police said in September 2012 that they disrupted a major terrorist attack in its final stages of planning, arresting two people with explosive devices and a cache of weapons and ammunition.
Anti-terror Police Unit boss Boniface Mwaniki said vests found were similar to those used in attacks that killed 76 people in Uganda who gathered to watch the soccer World Cup finals on TV in July 2010. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for those bombings, saying the attack was in retaliation for Uganda’s participation in the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
In January 2012, Kenya said it had thwarted attempted attacks by al-Shabab over Christmas and the New Year.
Description: Kenya mall shootingReuters: Goran Tomasevic

People scramble for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree at Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Sept. 21, 2013.

top

September 5, 2013

Islamist takeover of a south Egypt town leaves Christians in fear

DALGA, Egypt (AP) — The Coptic Orthodox priest would only talk to his visitor after hiding from the watchful eyes of the bearded Muslim outside, who sported a pistol bulging from under his robe.

So Father Yoannis moved behind a wall in the charred skeleton of an ancient monastery to describe how it was torched by Islamists and then looted when they took over this southern Egyptian town following the ouster of the country’s president.

“The fire in the monastery burned intermittently for three days. The looting continued for a week. At the end, not a wire or an electric switch is left,” Yoannis told The Associated Press. The monastery’s 1,600-year-old underground chapel was stripped of ancient icons and the ground was dug up on the belief that a treasure was buried there.

“Even the remains of ancient and revered saints were disturbed and thrown around,” he said.

A town of some 120,000 — including 20,000 Christians — Dalga has been outside government control since hard-line supporters of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi drove out police and occupied their station on July 3, the day Egypt’s military chief removed the president in a popularly supported coup. It was part of a wave of attacks in the southern Minya province that targeted Christians, their homes and businesses.

Since then, the radicals have imposed their grip on Dalga, twice driving off attempts by the army to send in armored personnel carriers by showering them with gunfire.

Their hold points to the power of hard-line Islamists in southern Egypt even after Morsi’s removal — and their determination to defy the military-backed leadership that has replaced him.

With the army and police already fighting a burgeoning militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, there are growing signs that a second insurgency could erupt in the south — particularly in Minya and Assiut provinces, both Islamist strongholds and both home to Egypt’s two largest Christian communities.

The takeover of Dalga has been disastrous for the Christian community in the town, located 270 kilometers (160 miles) south of Cairo in Minya, on the edge of the Nile Valley near the cliffs that mark the start of the desert.

In the initial burst of violence, the town’s only Catholic church was ransacked and set ablaze, like the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and St. Abraam. The Anglican church was looted.

Some 40 Christian families have fled Dalga since, Yoannis said. Nearly 40 Christian-owned homes and stores have been attacked by Islamists, according to local Minya activists. Bandits from the nearby deserts joined the looting and burning, they said. To ensure the spread of fear, the attackers torched houses in all Christian neighborhoods, not just in one or two.

Among the homes torched was that of Father Angelos, an 80-year-old Orthodox priest who lives close to the monastery. Yoannis’ home was spared a similar fate by his Muslim neighbors. A 60-year-old Christian who fired from his roof to ward off a mob was dragged down and killed, the activists said.

“Even if we had firearms, we would be reluctant to use them,” said Yoannis. “We cannot take a life. Firing in the air may be our limit.”

Those who remain pay armed Muslim neighbors to protect them. Yoannis said his brother paid with a cow and a water buffalo. Most Christian businesses have been closed for weeks.

Armed men can be seen in the streets, and nearly every day Islamists hold rallies at a stage outside the police station, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement.

Most Christians remain indoors as much as possible, particularly during the rallies. They say they are routinely insulted on the streets by Muslims, including children. Christian women stay home at all times, fearing harassment by the Islamists, according to multiple Christians who spoke to the AP. Most requested that their names not be published for fear of reprisals.

“The Copts in Dalga live in utter humiliation,” said local rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim. “They live in horror and cannot lead normal lives.”

None of the town’s churches held Mass for a month, until Wednesday, when one was held in one of the monastery’s two churches. About 25 attended, down from the usual 500 or more.

“They don’t want to see any Christian with any power, no matter how modest,” Yoannis said of the hard-liners now running Dalga. “They only want to see us poor without money, a trade or a business to be proud of.”

Like other Christians in town, he said police and authorities were helpless to intervene.

“Everyone keeps telling me that I should alert the police and the army,” he said. “As if I hadn’t done that already.”

At intervals, the 33-year-old father of three would stop talking, move carefully to the edge of a wall, stick his head out to check if someone was coming.

His big worry was the bearded Muslim at the gate, Saber Sarhan Askar.

Skinny with hawk-like hazelnut eyes, Askar is said by Dalga’s Christians to have taken part in the torching and looting of the monastery. Outside the monastery that day, Askar was telling priests he was there to protect it. But the orders he yelled to other priests left no doubt who was in charge.

“Bring us tea!” he barked at one priest. “I need something cold to drink!” he screamed at another soon after.

School teacher and part-time entrepreneur Kromer Ishaq fled Dalga a day after the Islamists took over. The Islamists already were accusing his father in a family blood feud — a charge that could prompt the killing of Ishaq. Then on the night of the takeover, Ishaq’s gold shop was broken into and looted.

The son of a wealthy family, Ishaq fled with his extended family all the way to the Nile Delta north of Cairo, where he is now looking for work.

“I used to employ people and now I’m looking for work. I once lived in a house I own and now I live in a rented apartment. You ask me what life is like? It’s like black tar,” Ishaq said by telephone.

Dalga is the most extreme example of Islamist power in Minya — no other towns are known to be under such extreme lockdown. But the province in general has seen a surge in Islamist violence since the coup against Morsi.

In the province, 35 churches have been attacked, including 19 completely gutted by fire. At least six Christian schools and five orphanages have been destroyed, along with five courthouses, seven police stations and six city council buildings. A museum in the city of Malawi was looted and ransacked.

On Aug. 11, policemen suspected of loyalty to Morsi stormed the provincial police headquarters in Minya city. They dragged out the province’s security chief and his top aide from their offices and ordered them both to leave the province. They did.

Minya was the epicenter of an Islamic militant insurgency against the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in the 1980s and 1990s. It remains a stronghold of Islamists, including the extremist Gamaa Islamiya group. It also has the largest Christian community of any of Egypt’s 29 provinces — at 35 percent of Minya’s 4 million people, compared to around 10 percent nationwide.

Over Egypt’s past 2 ½ years of turmoil, Islamist strength has grown. Hundreds of jailed radicals who purportedly forswore violence — though not their hard-line ideology — were freed after Mubarak’s 2011 fall and given the freedom to recruit. The south has seen a flood of heavy weapons smuggled across the desert from neighboring Libya.

A top Interior Ministry official in Cairo said the Minya police force suffered large-scale infiltration by pro-Morsi Islamists. The local force is now under investigation by the ministry. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was still undergoing.

The Minya security chief who fled the province, as well as two top aides, were replaced on Wednesday for what the Interior Ministry called the failure to maintain law and order.

In the security vacuum, it has been Christians largely paying the price.

Christian businessman Talaat Bassili recounted how on Aug. 15, dozens of men, some armed, stormed his home in the city of Malawi, not far from Dalga. For three hours, with no police or army in sight, the attackers made off with TV sets, washing machines, mobile phones, jewelry and cash.

The attackers descended on the house from the scaffoldings of a mosque next door. In footage from Bassili’s security camera, shown to AP, men in robes and boys in sandals try to force their way into the house, then finally blast away the lock with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Some loaded their loot into a donkey cart.

Later, the footage shows Bassili, his wife Nahed Samaan — in a nightgown and a house robe — and son Fady leaving to take refuge with a neighbor.

A week later, Bassili said a man called him on his mobile phone to ask whether he wanted to buy some of his stuff back. “I said no.”

top

July 13, 2013

Wave of attacks on Copts and churches

Written by The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

EIPR: authorities must take immediate action to protect citizens and houses of worship, bring perpetrators and inciters to justice

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today warned about the gravity of sectarian violence and incitement seen in several governorates since the massive demonstrations and marches of 30 June. The way that state agencies, particularly the security apparatus, have dealt with these attacks is disturbing.

These agencies have acted slowly and have not performed their legally mandated roles, failing to intervene to protect citizens and their property despite prior knowledge of the charged atmosphere and despite their presence on the scene during attacks.

Sectarian violence in Nagaa Hassan in the Luxor governorate left four Copts dead and several homes torched and looted in the wake of the killing of a Muslim citizen. Police took no action to protect unarmed citizens although they repeatedly called on security to extract them from their homes, which were surrounded, and take them out of the village. An orthodox priest was also murdered in North Sinai, while the tense climate and incitement led churches in the area to close their doors and stop receiving worshippers.

Furthermore, some churches and Coptic-owned property came under assault starting on Wednesday evening, 3 July, following the statement by General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, minister of defense. Angry supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsy, looted and torched a building belonging to the Catholic church in Dilga in the Minya governorate, also looting the Islah Church in the same village, terrorizing local Copts and attacking their homes. One citizen was killed and several injured in the events; other governorates saw less severe attacks.

In the same context, unknown assailants opened fire on the Mar Mina Church in the Port Said governorate, injuring two citizens. In Marsa Matrouh, angry demonstrators destroyed parts of the main door and windows of the Church of the Virgin before security forces were able to disperse them.

“Copts are paying the price of the inflammatory rhetoric against them coming from some Islamist leaders and supporters of the former president, who accuse Coptic spiritual leaders of conspiring to foment army intervention to remove Dr. Morsy. Incendiary speeches indicate that Islamist leaders believe Copts were heavily involved in the anti-Morsy protests,” said Ishak Ibrahim, EIPR officer for freedom of religion and belief. “At the same time, Copts are paying a tax to exercise their constitutional rights and take part in political life as equal citizens like any other. What is disturbing is the failure of the security apparatus to act—which at times looks like collusion—to protect citizens and their property who are being targeted on the basis of their religion.”

The EIPR is troubled by state institutions’ disregard for these incidents and their failure to deal decisively with the perpetrators and those inciting them. It is also greatly disturbed by their failure to intervene to prevent any escalation. This helps to perpetuate the attacks, especially considering that flyers were and continue to be distributed in several provinces inciting against Copts and churches.

The EIPR asked the transitional administration to take swift action to protect Egyptians and end inflammatory campaigns targeting citizens on the basis of religion. The authorities should exercise their prerogatives under the constitutional declaration issued by the interim president, Articles 4, 7 and 11 of which uphold equality before the law, freedom of belief and worship and the sanctity of private property.

The EIPR also asked the Office of the Public Prosecutor to launch investigations, carry out on-site surveys and take the statements of victims, their families and witnesses, in order to identify those responsible and prosecute them before their natural judge. The Public Prosecutor should also investigate the role of the police in these events and their failure to protect citizens and prevent further attacks, releasing its findings to the public to clarify the gravity of the situation.

top

June 10, 2013

Seven Christians injured in explosion in Kenya church

Kenyan police announced that seven people were injured in an explosion inside a church in Mombasa, on Monday, after two people riding a motorcycle threw a bomb inside the church.

According to Agency France Presse, Aggrey Addoli, police chief in Mombasa, said, “The attack happened during prayers in the church, and the wounded were transferred to a hospital.”

Kenyan authorities said “Islamic youth movements” are likely behind this event, after the Kenyan military invaded southern Somalia in 2011 to hunt down extremists linked to Al-Qaeda.

Kenya was among one of the 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted, according to Open Doors 2012 report.

top

May 20, 2013

Huge fire devours Virgin Mary Church and neighboring houses in Sohag, Egypt

Sohag (Egypt), 20 May /MCN/ – by Nader Shukri
A huge fire broke out late Sunday night in the church of the Virgin Mary in Tema, Sohag [Upper Egypt], and resulted in significant losses in the church building due to fire trucks’ delayed arrival.

The fire also destroyed the houses neighboring the church.

All attempts by citizens to control the fire, which caused some injuries from severe smoke inhalation, failed.

The fire’s cause has yet to be determined.

Police and the criminal investigation department moved to the scene to inspect the site after the fire was extinguished on Monday. An accurate estimate of losses has not been carried out so far due to power outage.

The incident has not result in deaths and the number of injured people, either those who received treatment on-site or those who were transferred to the hospital as a result of smoke inhalation or burns, has not been determined yet.

For his part, Fr. Paul Samaan, priest of the church, said he received a telephone call from Copts near the church on the outbreak of fire at 11.30 p.m. on Sunday.

“The fire was tremendous, as the flames rapidly devoured the wooden roofs and furniture of the church which dates back to 1935,” Fr. Samaan said in exclusive remarks to MCN.

“The church is an ancient two-story building with some buildings for services. This resulted in heavy losses to the church’s building.”

According to Fr. Samaan, eight fire trucks arrived at the scene to control the blaze, which moved to the Coptic homes adjacent to the church. Although the trucks arrived late, the fighters managed to control the fire by Monday morning.

He added that the fire broke out on all sides of the church at once.

Fr. Samaan said they obtained a preliminary approval before the revolution to rebuild the church, but this approval was suspended after the 25 January. He pointed out that they have been trying to obtain a license to rebuild the church but to no avail.

Losses have not been fully estimated due to the smoke continuing to rise from the building. The number of homes affected by the fire has not also been calculated.

Fr. Samaan met with security agencies at 4.30 a.m. to find out the reasons behind the fire and discuss the implications of the situation.

It is worth mentioning that on flier was distributed in Tema on 19 December 2012, which threatened the death of Christians and burning of churches.

The publication read: “To the Crusaders of Tema and sons of the traitor Tawadros, you who announced war on Islam and began with insulting the Prophet. You conspired against the Islamic president and mobilized people to prevent the application of Sharia and the repeal of Article II. Therefore, your churches, monasteries and priests will be a target to our attacks in case we discover these churches or any Christian schools are built without licenses, or if any Christian disdains the divine majesty, Prophet Muhammad, his Companions or the Islamic sanctities.”

top

May 18, 2013

One dead as thousands of Muslims storm the Al-Azraa Church during attacks on Coptic Christians

Al-Abram reported:
One person has died and dozens injured in clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Egypt’s north coast city of Alexandria, the Ahram Arabic news website reported.
Clashes erupted Friday night in Al-Geish Street in western Alexandria, after a fight started between two young men, one Copt and the other Muslim, when the Copt allegedly sexually harassed the latter’s sister. The parties involved in the fight reportedly used Molotov cocktails and machine guns.

The incident left one person, Sherif Sedki Saad, dead by a heart-attack during the clashes, and dozens others injured.

Nasser El-Abd, Alexandria’s investigations director, said that Central Security Forces prevented the crowds from storming into Al-Azraa Church in Al-Geish Street where clashes have been taking place. Security forces have also spread in the area to restore order.
According to Reuters, police arrested eight people after two hours of fighting.
The situation is currently reported to be calm in the area.

This was the second attack this week on a Christian Church in Egypt.

top

May 12, 2013

Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia sentenced a Lebanese citizen to six years in prison and 300 whip lashes on charges of forcing a Saudi girl to convert to Christianity helping her escape.

Sky News reported the same court sentenced another Saudi national to two years in prison and 200 lashes on the grounds of facilitating the smuggling of a girl who was working at the same insurance company as the defendants.

The girl’s case, which is known as the “Khobar girl”, stirred public opinion in the conservative kingdom, which applies Sharia law.

The girl is currently in the custody of a human rights organization in Sweden, according to Saudi newspapers, with conflicting information about the truth behind her conversion to Christianity.

She appeared in a video confirming her conversion to Christianity and her escape from the kingdom.

top

May 5, 2013

Over 1,000 Christians killed in Nigeria since 2012

Abuja (Nigeria), 7 May /MCN/

A weekend of violence in Nigeria has left the country’s Christians mourning, writes BosNewsLife’s Africa Service.

Since 2012, it is reported that over a thousand Christians have been killed in Nigeria, a nation with the “highest known Christian death toll.”

In the most recent round of violence, clashes broke out last Friday between Christians and Muslims at a funeral in the state of Taraba, leaving 39 people dead.

The clashes began when a funeral procession for a Christian leader passed through a Muslim area of Wukari.

“The clashes came a day after a penal was set up to investigate sectarian clashes in February,” BosNewsLife writes.

Last month alone, nearly 200 people were killed in the town of Baga, in northern Nigeria, when the military attempted to conquer Islamist group Boko Haram.

The military, however, claimed only 37 people died in the violence.
According to rights activits, writes BosNewsLife, Boko Haram and other Islamic militants in Nigeria have encouraged anti-Christian violence.

“They are so radical they don’t even spare Muslims,” said Mark Lipdo, program coordinator for the Stefanos Foundation. “If Muslims are sympathetic to any cause at all … if they are sympathetic to the Christians cause, or the minorities cause, they are also termed as infidels,” Lipdo told the U.S-based Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

According to CBN figures, cose to 900 Christians were killed in Nigeria last year. This year, 120 Nigerian Christians have been killed by Islamist militants.

“Tensions have been rising between Nigerian Muslims, who mainly live in the north, and Christians who mostly live in the south along with followers of traditional animist religions,” BosNewsLife explains.

Thousands of people have been forced to flee from their homes because of the violence carried out by Boko Haram.

“Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is sinful’, seeks to establish a strict Islamic state and has repeatedly warned Christians to leave northern areas,” BosNewsLife says.

Lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe told BosNewsLife that Nigeria may be on the brink of a full-out religious war.

“Because of the massive Christian [and] Muslim population in Nigeria, there is no country on Earth that is as rich and as ready for a religious war. All the elements, all of the ingredients are there,” Ogebe told BosNewsLife.

top

April 8, 2013

Cairo clashes at St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral after funerals

Written by Aleem Maqbool
Monday, 08 April 2013
BBC News

One person has been killed in clashes outside Cairo’s main cathedral following the funerals of four Coptic Christians killed in religious violence on Thursday.
Mourners leaving St Mark’s Cathedral clashed with local residents.

Police fired tear gas to break up the violence. More than 80 people were injured, the state news agency said.

The health ministry said one Christian man was killed. The ambulance service said he was struck with birdshot.

Mourners inside the church had earlier chanted slogans against Egypt’s Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi.

Witnesses told local TV stations that the violence started when a mob attacked mourners as they exited the cathedral, pelting them with stones and petrol bombs. There was initially little police presence.

The Christians responded by throwing stones back, the witnesses said, until police arrived and attempted to quell the unrest, firing tear gas into the cathedral compound.
Appeals for calm

Egypt’s state news agency said the streets around the cathedral had seen “on-and-off” clashes between Christians and “unidentified persons”.

It said a fire had started in a building adjacent to the cathedral, but the blaze had since been extinguished.

It also said President Morsi had denounced the violence in a phone call to the head of the Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Christian church.

“Any attack against the cathedral is like an attack against me personally,” he was reported as saying.

Pope Tawadros, who only took office in November, appealed for calm.

The political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), posted a statement on its Facebook page stressing its “utter rejection and condemnation of violence”.

It urged both sides “not to respond to systematic provocations” or “ploys that target the homeland”, but did not say who might be responsible for inciting the violence.

Egypt’s minority of Coptic Christians, who make up about 10% of the population, have accused the government of failing to protect them, following the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians have been seen numerous times since then, but this weekend’s violence was the worst seen in several months.
Gun battle

Police said five deaths – four Copts and one Muslim – occurred on Saturday in Khosous, about 10 miles (15km) north of Cairo, after inflammatory symbols were drawn on an Islamic institute, provoking an argument.

The dispute escalated into a gun battle between Christian and Muslim residents, while Christian-owned shops were also attacked.

Violence there flared again on Sunday, with police reporting more sectarian fighting on the streets and clashes between police and youths.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s top judicial body has urged the chief prosecutor appointed by Mr Morsi to step down.

Talaat Abdullah, who was named to the post by President Morsi in December, has provoked anger by demanding the arrest of several high-profile political activists.

In a statement on Sunday, Egypt’s Supreme Judiciary Council urged Mr Abdullah to return to his previous job as a judge.

Last week a court annulled the presidential decree that appointed him, but Mr Abdullah continued to carry out his duties, including issuing arrest warrants for activists accused of insulting President Morsi and Islam.

Discontent with the government has also spread to the economy. Unemployment is continuing to rise and industrial action has become commonplace.

On Sunday Egypt’s railways were brought to a standstill after train drivers went on strike, demanding salary rises and the payment of other benefits.

top

March 27, 2013

Italy’s Famous Catholic Convert From Islam Leaves the Catholic Church

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Whatever his frustrations with the public stance of the Church on issues that affect Italy’s national interests, matters upon which the faithful can legitimately argue since they largely involve areas of political prudence, it seems that Magdi Allam has traded in his Catholic heritage for a mess of Italian right-wing, nationalistic porridge.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) – Five years ago, in a highly-publicized event, Magdi Cristiano Allam, an Egyptian-born Muslim, naturalized Italian citizen, former contributor to Manifesto and Repubblica, and vice-director of the Corriere della Sera, left Islam and converted to Catholicism.  The event received significant press coverage because this notable convert was baptized by then-Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica during the Easter Vigil on March 22, 2008.

Allam was instructed in the Catholic doctrine by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, and was sponsored by Maurizio Lupi, a high-ranking member of the Forza Italia party, a political party that was founded by Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister.  You’d have thought with that behind him, the Faith would have stuck.

Unfortunately, after five years as a Catholic, Allam has announced in a very public way that he has left the Catholic Church. “I believe in Jesus . . . . but I no longer believe in the Church,” he wrote in an editorial in the Italian daily Il Giornale.

“My conversion to Catholicism, which came at the hands of Benedict XVI during the Easter Vigil on March 22, 2008,” Allam explains in the Monday-edition of the right-wing Milan daily newspaper Il Giornale, “I now consider over, in line with the end of his pontificate.”

While he describes his decision as “extremely painful,” he attributes the decision to a variety of factors, all of which he addresses in his editorial.

A number of things apparently triggered Allam’s decision.  The most important and overriding reason in Allam’s view was the Church’s accommodating policies regarding Islam, a position which is resulting he says in practical dhimmitude and impairing the proclamation of the Gospel.

Other reasons include the Church’s anti-national positions regarding immigration which hamper the Italian desire to preserve their culture from foreign elements caused by illegal immigration. Also in play is what Allam calls the recent “papalotry” arising from out of the recent resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis. Finally, Allam appears to have rejected some of the Church’s teachings on moral theology and ecclesiastical disciplines.

As Allam explains it: “The thing that drove me away from the Church more than any other factor was religious relativism, in particular the legitimization of Islam as a true religion.”  In Allam’s view, Islam is an “intrinsically violent ideology,” and does not deserve the respect that it is getting from those responsible for fashioning the Church’s public stance regarding Islam including the papacy and the curia.

It is an error of first proportion to legitimize even implicitly Islam as a true religion where “Allah is a true God, and Muhammad a true prophet, the Qur’an a sacred text, and mosques as places of worship.”  This, he says, is nothing less than “genuine suicidal folly” and a practical relativism.

As examples of this excessive accommodation, Allam pointed to Blessed John Paul II’s controversial kissing of the Qur’an, and Benedict XVI’s placing his hand on the Qur’an while facing Mecca when praying in the Blue Mosque in Instanbul.

It is clear to Allam that this sort of accommodation will increase under Pope Francis, who spoke early in his pontificate about the Muslims “who adore the one God, living and merciful,” and who has announced that he looks forward to continuing dialogue especially with Islam.

While the Church speaks–in the words of Benedict XVI–of the “dictatorship of relativism,” Allam observed, “the truth is that the Church is, from a practical [literally, physiological] perspective, relativist (fisiologicamente relativista).”

Moreover, in Allam’s view, the Church’s message against the dictatorship of relativism and in favor of a confident Christian message is encumbered by the fact that it recognizes and promotes modern secular society, with its tolerant acceptance of multiculturalism, itself a relativistic secular social creed.

Additionally, he complains that the Church has taken a globalist and therefore anti-nationalistic, pro-immigration, and hence anti-Italian ideology.  As a result of these positions, the Church in Allam’s view, has pitted herself against the common good of nation states, in particularly–as far as Allam is concerned — Italy.

“I am opposed to globalism,” Allam stated, “which opens unconditional national borders based on the principle that humanity as a whole must be conceived as brothers and sisters, that the whole world should be viewed as a single land available to all mankind.”

Against such a view, Allam stated that he was “convinced that the indigenous people should be entitled to enjoy the right and the duty to preserve their culture and their heritage,” a position the Church has not only not publicly aligned itself with, but has placed itself in practical opposition to.

“I am opposed to that sort of doing good that makes the Church stand as the highest protector of immigrants, including and especially illegal immigrants,” Allam wrote.  “I am for the ordering society in accordance with rules, and the first rule is that in Italy we must first ensure the good of the Italians,” thus “correctly applying the exhortation of Jesus to ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself.'” Charity for Allam begins at home and embraces Italians first and aliens second.

In Allam’s view, Islam has to be rigorously opposed as “incompatible with our civilization and fundamental human rights,” which are based upon Christian values.  It is of the highest imperative to have a more steeled resolve against Islam.  “I am more convinced than ever,” Allam wrote, “that Europe will end up being subjugated to Islam just like what happened beginning in the seventh century on the other side of the Mediterranean.”

His reference, of course, is to the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and Northern African, including such Christian centers such as Damascus, Antioch, and Alexandria.  Magdi Allam is not the only one who has expressed such concern.

Magdi Allam also complained of what he characterized as “papalotry” arising from an undue and excessive attachment to the person of the Pope which places him above criticism for practical decisions which do not have anything to do with his teachings ex cathedra.

Finally, it appears that Allam has trouble with some of the Church’s disciplines and moral teachings.  In his article, he accuses the Church as being “practically tempted” (fisiologicamente tentata) by evil, pointing to its public positions regarding morality which “requires behaviors that are in conflict with human nature, such as priestly celibacy, abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage, the indissolubility of marriage, in addition to the temptation of money.”  This cryptic comment suggests that he rejects the Church’s positions on the disciplinary or moral matters.

“I will continue to believe in Jesus, whom I have always loved and will continue to identify with Christianity as the civilization that more than any other brings man closer to God who chose to become man.”  The Jesus Allam loves is not clearly the Jesus as the Church sees him, but Jesus as Allam sees him.

It appears that Allam has forgotten a basic tenet of Catholicism and traditional, at least traditional Western, Christianity: ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia; ubi ecclesia, ibi Christi est.  Where Peter is, there is the Church.  Where the Church is, there is Christ.

There are hundreds of gates into the Church observed G. K. Chesterton.  Unfortunately, there are hundreds of gates out, as well.  We can always come up with some grievance to excuse our lack of fidelity, to rationalize our loss of Faith, to justify our disobedience to the Lord.

Whatever his frustrations with the public stance of the Church on issues that affect Italy’s national interests, matters upon which the faithful can legitimately argue and even differ with the hierarchy since they largely involve areas of political prudence, it seems that Allam has traded in his Catholic heritage for a mess of Italian right-wing, nationalistic pottage.

Bad move, Magdi.  Bad move.  It’s not smart to join the ranks of Esau and go into the wilderness alone.  I’d rather wrestle with God like Jacob and even put up with the treason of the clerics, so long as I always keep the Faith and never break ranks from the Body of Christ.  I shall pray for you and for your return.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention:
The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.

top

February 12, 2013

Jihad murder in New Jersey? Coptic Christians beheaded, hands cut off

Why did he cut off their hands? New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said: “We allege that the defendant was ruthless and calculating in the manner in which he carried out the killings and attempted to prevent identification of the victims by cutting off their heads and hands before burying their bodies.”

That may be, but the story below notes that the victims were Coptic Christians, and “privately some wonder if it had something to do with the victims’ religion.” So apparently Yusuf Ibrahim is not himself a Copt, but a Muslim. Could then, the cutting of the heads and hands have had something to do with this Qur’an passage? “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!” — Qur’an 8:12
It is not clear what was going on here, and whether these murders were Yusuf Ibrahim’s jihad — and given how clueless and/or complicit the mainstream media is, we may never know.

“Gruesome double murder, men decapitated,” from WABC, February 11 (thanks to K.):
JERSEY CITY (WABC) — There’s a gruesome double murder mystery in New Jersey.
Police say who did it’s not a mystery because someone is under arrest but the mystery is why the accused killer cut of two men’s heads and hands.

The victims are reportedly from Jersey City, but their remains were found buried in a town southwest of Philadelphia.

On the streets of Jersey City along Bergen Avenue, to the naked eye it’s not obvious.
But to members of the close knit Coptic Orthodox church the pain is real.

“It’s a shock, something like this doesn’t happen to people like that,” a resident said.
Now they know two members of the church have been brutally murdered.
But no one in this community seems to know why.

“It was crazy what happened to these two. Do they deserve it? No. Was it expected? Never. And it’s just sad,” a resident said.

The two victims were found buried in a back yard in Buena Vista, New Jersey last Thursday.

Monday, police announced an arrest.

28-year-old Yusuf Ibrahim is in custody.

Investigators say Ibrahim shot and killed the victims, severed their heads and hands, and buried the remains at a Buena Vista house.

Back in Jersey City, friends of the victims are praying that police will have the answers to the questions that now haunt them.

Privately some wonder if it had something to do with the victims’ religion.

“I leave it for the police and the investigation,” said Samy Hohareb, the victim’s friend.
So far, police have not revealed a motive for the grisly murders as the suspect sits behind bars, waiting for his day in court.

Posted by Robert on February 12, 2013 12:21 PM

top

February 11, 2013

Shock claim: Obama picks Muslim for CIA chief

Former FBI expert claims John Brennan converted to Islam

By  Zahn

john brennan
One of the FBI’s former top experts on Islam has announced that Obama’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, converted to Islam years ago in Saudi Arabia. As WND has reported, former FBI Islam expert John Guandolo has long warned the federal government is being infiltrated by members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. But Guandolo now warns that by appointing Brennan to CIA director, Obama has not only chosen a man “naïve” to these infiltrations, but also picked a candidate who is himself a Muslim.

“Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in official capacity on behalf of the United States in Saudi Arabia,” Guandolo told interviewer and radio host Tom Trento. “That fact alone is not what’s most disturbing,” Guandolo continued. “His conversion to Islam culminated a counter-intelligence operation against him to recruit him. The fact that foreign intelligence service operatives recruited Brennan when he was in a very sensitive and senior U.S. government position in a foreign country means that he’s either a traitor…[or] he’s unable to discern and understand how to function in those kinds of environments, which makes him completely unfit to be Central Intelligence director.” Brennan did indeed serve as CIA station chief in Riyadh in the 1990s and today holds the official title of Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism. On Jan. 7, Obama nominated Brennan as the next director of the CIA, though he has yet to be confirmed.

“Are you kidding me?” Trento balked at Guandolo’s allegations. “The head of the CIA is a Muslim? For real? Are you sure?” “Yes,” asserted Guandolo. “The facts confirmed by U.S. government officials who were also in Saudi Arabia at the time John Brennan was serving there and have direct knowledge. These men who work in very trusted positions, were direct witnesses to his growing relationship with individuals who worked for the Saudi government and others, and they witnessed his conversion to Islam.” A former Marine and combat veteran, Guandolo worked for eight years in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division as a “subject matter expert” in the Muslim Brotherhood and the global spread of Islamism. Guandolo boasts he created the Bureau’s first counter-terrorism training/education program and twice received United States Attorney’s Awards for investigative intelligence. Guandolo is also one of the authors of the Center for Security Policy’s Team B II report,
“Shariah: The Threat to America.” Read report yourself in paperback, available in the WND Superstore!
“My contention is that [Brennan] is wholly unfit for government service in any national security capacity, and that would specifically make him unfit to be the director of Central Intelligence,” Guandolo told Trento. Guandolo then broke down a three-part argument against Brennan’s confirmation. “First, he’s interwoven his life professionally and personally with individuals we know are terrorists,” Guandolo asserted. “He’s overseen, approved and encouraged others to bring known leaders of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood into the government in positions to advise the U.S. government on counter-terrorism strategy as well as the overall ‘war on terror.’” Second, Guandolo asserted, Brennan has “proven through his own comments publicly that he is clueless and grossly ignorant of Al-Qaida’s strategy.

“Third and finally, which some would say is most disturbing, is that Brennan did convert to Islam,” Guandolo said, but stressed, “I think the [larger] news is that conversion culminates the work of Saudi Arabians who worked for the Saudi Government – and that makes John Brennan just naïve, foolish, dangerously ignorant and totally unfit for this position. “That in and of itself…shouldn’t shock people,” Guandolo continued. “The Saudis have the clip where Brennan specifically says during a public address that he’s learned and structured his understanding and his ‘worldview’ in large part from Islam. Surely, it shouldn’t be a large leap to imagine his Islam conversion. Grandolo’s discussion with Trento about Brennan’s conversion, and Brennan’s speech in which he discusses how Islam shaped his “worldview, and Trento’s interview with Guandolo, can be seen below: Discover how deep the danger of Islamism in the U.S. goes, from the research of policy and intelligence experts themselves, with “Shariah: The Threat to America.”

top

January 30, 2013

Egypt court slaps alleged makers of anti-Islam film with death sentences

US Pastor Terry Jones and seven Copts living abroad receive maximum punishment in Egypt court – in absentia – for alleged involvement in production of anti-Islam film that led to riots last year
Ahram Online, Tuesday 29 Jan 2013

A Cairo Criminal Court slapped seven Coptic expatriates with death sentences and American pastor Terry Jones with a five-year jail term for their alleged roles in the production last year of a short film that defames the Islamic faith, German news agency DPA reported on Tuesday. All the defendants were tried in absentia.
The court ruled the film in question, dubbed ‘The Innocence of Muslims,’ to be defamatory to Islam and the Prophet Mohammed and a potential threat to Egypt’s national unity.
The seven convicted Coptic expatriates were: Maurice Sadiq Gerges, founder of a US-based Coptic association; Morkos Aziz, a US-based television presenter; Fekry Abdul-Messih, a US-based doctor; Nabil Adib, media coordinator for another US-based association; Nahid Metwally, an Australia-based doctor; Egyptian-born Copt Mark Baccil Youssef (charged with producing the film); and Nader Farid, a commerce graduate.
On 18 November, Egypt’s State Security Court referred the requested death sentences to Egypt’s Grand Mufti for his approval, in accordance with Egyptian law. Gerges and Jones, the latter of whom is known for his public burnings of the Quran, are believed to have been involved in promoting the film but not in its production, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.

The film sparked angry protests throughout much of the Islamic world, including Egypt and Libya, when it appeared online in September.

Egypt-based Coptic schoolteacher Bishoy Kamel was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison for sharing the film on Facebook.

Egyptian Coptic activist Alber Saber, was released on bail last month after spending three months in detention in Egypt for also sharing the film online.

top

January 23, 2013

The struggle between Muslims and Catholics in Nigeria

      Statement by Father Juan Carlos Martos cmf

 

    Secretariat of PV Clarettiani Missionaries

“This is a brutal example of how far the struggle between muslims and catholics in Nigeria has reached.

Muslims are determined to impose their ‘religion’ all over Africa as well as in other continents and countries of the world. Islam has but one goal: rule the world at any cost!”

“And where are the International Human Rights Organizations?
Christians are burnt alive in Nigeria: a horrific Holocaust right in front of International indifference! As denounced by Father Juan Carlos Martos, on behalf of the Missionari Clarettiani, via del Sacro Cuore di Maria, Rome, Italy.”

“By publishing this graphic document on Facebook, I have intended to make the world aware of certain terrible events totally ignored or minimized by the mainstream media; an authentic genocide so cruel and inhuman only comparable with the most hateful and vile acts in the nazi extermination camps.”

“To my great surprise, Facebook has criticized me for the publication of this graphic document as a proof of the Holocaust that Christians have been suffering in Nigeria in the last ten years. According to Facebook’s Security policy of the ‘social’ Network, this photo has been classified as ‘pornographic’, ‘violent’ or ‘inappropriate’ and hence I was disallowed to publish any picture for a week. And I was threatened drastic measures if I insist publishing any document that prove the terrible violations of Human Rights in Nigeria.

This attitude by the (Spanish) Facebook Management is an attack to the freedom of expression as much as a shameful insult to the 500 victims (only in this horrible episode) slaughtered by islamic terror only for being christian.”

“I thought that this social network, originated in the United States, would not bend its knees in front of terror. Especially, when still healing their wounds suffered in the gruesome 9/11 attack, just as our own 3/11 at Madrid railway station, all innocent victims of the wild fury and insanity of islamic terror.”

“This seems even more unacceptable in Spain, a Democratic state, where the rights of opinion, expression and religion are guaranteed by the Constitution (Art. 16 and 20), if there is an attempt to limit such rights, let alone through threats and coercion thus weakening their freedom of expression by condemning as “inappropriate” a graphic document (not a photomontage) which reflects a brutal reality in all its crudeness.”

“Contrarily, the Administrators of Facebook Spain should welcome this public protest advocating that such a barbarian act will never be replicated and that its perpetrators will be brought to justice. This is a right and duty of every citizen: a service to society, ultimate goal, I feel, of any network that defines itself as ‘social’.”

“Regrettably, if the murders continue, this is greatly because truth is always hidden to the sovereign people, so that they may not be aware and ‘disdained’ by it: complicit silence by the mainstream media leads to the indifference of the international political community facing this unspeakable Holocaust! Let alone the cowardice already rooted in the western world facing the islamic terror. A consequence of the stupid “Alliance of civilizations”: another regrettable incident of our former Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero.”

“Can you imagine the reaction of the islamic terrorist organization in the (impossible) case of a massacre of muslims in a mosque, by the hands of christian terrorists? And how widely would our media cover and condemn the crime and the criminals??”

“Therefore, from this modest blog, I ask a favor from all people who are reading me: please distribute this photo and its comments using all the media you have. If only for commemorating these martyrs since, unfortunately, Facebook seems to be on the side of the executioners by preventing the publication of such tragic events.”

top

January 19, 2013

EGYPT
Upper Egypt, thousands of Islamic extremists attack a Christian village

The second case in less than a week. The attack took place yesterday in el-Marashda, predominantly Christian, in the province of Quena (Upper Egypt). Muslims burned at least six homes of Coptic Christians and tried to demolish the local church. Wrath unleashed at the alleged rape of a Muslim girl by a Christian. Village Iman calls on youth to protect Christian shops.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) – More attacks against the Coptic minority in Upper Egypt. A thousand Muslims attacked the predominantly Christian village of el-Marashda (province of Quena, Upper Egypt). Incited by outside religious authorities, extremists burned down homes and shops and tried to demolish the local church. The attack, which took place yesterday, was interrupted by the arrival of the police, who arrested 10 Muslims. Since yesterday evening, a crowd of radical Islamic hav eblocked access to the city, to prevent the police from taking those arrested away. The police responded by firing tear gas. For safety, the authorities ordered the Christian population not to leave their homes and the local parish has canceled the celebrations for the Coptic Orthodox epiphany. In solidarity with christian community, the Iman of the village calls on muslim youth to protect Christian shops.

Anba Kyrollos, Coptic Orthodox bishop of Nag Hammadi, said the group of extremists, including many Salafis, attacked the village in revenge for a Christian accused of abusing a Muslim girl of 6. The rumors about the pedophilia case had emerged in recent days, sparking tension between the two communities, but police investigations have cleared the man. The girl did not suffer any kind of violence. The Salafis have attacked the Christian village all the same, in spite of outcome of the inquiry.

Local sources say that the representatives of the Christian and Muslim communities, met this morning for a reconciliation. However, the police continue to patrol the town for fear of attacks.

Yesterday’s was the second attack in less than a week. On 15 January, hundreds of Islamists demolished a building owned by the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George Taymah in the diocese of the Fayyum (Egypt central 133 km south of Cairo).

After the fall of President Mubarak and the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, attacks against churches and Christian buildings have increased. In the poorest areas of the country, but also in the capital, cuts to public security and the army have left them powerless in the face of these attacks instigated by Salafis. With their money and their promises, the extremists urge residents to drive Christians out to take over their lands, taking advantage of the absence of a clear law that regulates the construction of religious buildings.

top

January 19, 2013

Egyptian court sentences Christian family to 15 years for converting from Islam

By Benjamin Weinthal
Published January 16, 2013
FoxNews.com

morsi_egypt.jpg

Critics fear Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s regime is taking the nation further toward Islamic extremism. (AP) (AP)

coptics.jpeg

Egyptian Christian women grieve before a mass funeral for victims of sectarian clashes. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

coptic2.jpg

Egypt is home to an estimated seven million Christians. (Reuters)
The 15-year prison sentence given to a woman and her seven children by an Egyptian court for converting to Christianity is a sign of things to come, according to alarmed human rights advocates who say the nation’s Islamist government is bad news for Christians in the North African country.

A criminal court in the central Egyptian city of Beni Suef meted out the shocking sentence last week, according to the Arabic-language Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm. Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam when she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab Mustafa, a Muslim, 23 years ago. He later died, and his widow planned to convert her family back to Christianity in order to obtain an inheritance from her family. She sought the help of others in the registration office to process new identity cards between 2004 and 2006. When the conversion came to light under the new regime, Nadia, her children and even the clerks who processed the identity cards were all sentenced to prison.

Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, said conversions like Nadia’s have been common in the past, but said Egypt’s new Sharia-based constitution “is a real disaster in terms of religion freedom.”

“Now that Sharia law has become an integral part of Egypt’s new constitution, Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever.”

– Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice

“The cases will increase in the future,” Tadros said. “It will be much harder for people to return to Christianity.”

President Mohamed Morsi, who was elected last June and succeeded the secular reign of Hosni Mubarak, who is now in prison, pushed the new constitution through last year.
Tadros said the constitution limits the practice of Christianity because “religious freedom has to be understood within the boundaries of Sharia.” He added that the constitution prescribes that the highest Sunni authority should be referred to as an interpreter of the religion clause contained in the constitution.

Opponents of the constitution, including Coptic Christians and secular and liberal groups, protested at the time against passage of the document because of the mix of Islamic-based Sharia law and politics. Roughly 10 percent of Egyptians are Coptic Christians.

A government spokeswoman told FoxNews.com she would determine “who is responsible for this and covers this issue in Beni Suef,“ a city of 200,000 located about 75 miles south of Cairo. She did not offer further comment.

The case is the latest example of the increasingly dire plight of the nation’s roughly 7 million Christians, say human rights advocates.

“Now that Sharia law has become an integral part of Egypt’s new constitution, Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. “This is another tragic case that underscores the growing problem of religious intolerance in the Muslim world. To impose a prison sentence for a family because of their Christian faith sadly reveals the true agenda of this new government: Egypt has no respect for international law or religious liberty.”

Morsi has been under fire for failing to take action against rising violence inflicted on Egypt’s Christians. In August, the roughly 100-family Christian community in Dahshour was forced to flee after Muslim neighbors launched attacks against the Christians’ homes and property. Morsi said the expulsion and violence was “ blown out of proportion.” Radical Salafi preachers — who have formed alliances with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood — called for Muslims to shun Christians during Christmas.

Sekulow urged U.S. diplomatic intervention in Egypt to promote religious freedom. Morsi is scheduled to meet with President Obama, possibly in March.

”The U.S. State Department must play more of a role in discouraging this kind of persecution,” Sekulow said. “The U.S. should not be an idle bystander. The U.S. provides more than $1 billion to Egypt each year. The State Department should speak out forcefully against this kind of religious persecution in Egypt.”

top

January 18, 2013

Oxford exploitation trial: Girl had ‘back-room abortion’

The nine men, from Berkshire and Oxfordshire, are accused of sexually exploiting six girls, aged between 11 and 15
Continue reading the main story

Related Stories

A 12-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped by a group of men was also made to have a back-room abortion after falling pregnant, a court has heard.
She is one of six alleged victims of nine men accused of grooming children and exploiting them for sex in Oxford.
She was also “branded” with the initial of a man who claimed to “own her”.
The men deny 51 charges including rape, arranging child prostitution and trafficking relating to girls aged between 11 and 15 from 2004 to 2012.
Jurors at the Old Bailey heard the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was “sold” to Mohammed Karrar when she had just turned 11 to “cure her bad attitude”.
Noel Lucas QC, prosecuting, said he then groomed her for sexual activity, giving her alcohol and drugs.
Hair-pin branding
Both he and his brother, Bassam Karrar, repeatedly raped the girl and arranged for her to be raped by other men in a way she described as “torture”, the court heard.
Mr Lucas said that on one occasion Mohammed Karrar heated a hair pin with a lighter and branded the girl with the letter M on her buttock to show she belonged to him.
When she became pregnant, aged 12, he arranged for her to have an illegal abortion in a back-room in Reading.
Mr Lucas told jurors: “This brief summary of the very extensive and persistent abuse [she] suffered at the hands of Mohammed Karrar illustrates his view of her as something to be used and abused at will.
“He regarded her as his property. He showed her no regard.
“He felt he was entitled to have sex with her when he wanted and in whatever manner he wanted.
“If she had the courage to resist, he beat her. He branded her to make her his property and to ensure others knew it.”
The court heard Mr Karrar would charge men between £400 and £600 to use the girl.
‘Want to be loved’
Another 14-year-old girl was burned with a lighter and threatened if she refused to have sex with men, the court heard.
She met defendants Kamar Jamil, Anjum Dogar and his brother Akhtar Dogar, while she was living at a children’s home aged 14.
The court heard she drank and took drugs “to the point of passing out because she knew what was expected of her”.
Mr Lucas said she felt she had to do what she was told by the men, otherwise they would threaten her and get rough with her.
It is claimed she was taken to alleyways, woods and various houses and flats where men would have sex with her.
Mr Lucas also told the court the girl had said to a friend: “I have no choice, I just want to be loved. I’ve never been loved and this shows me love.”
The court has previously heard the group of men deliberately targeted vulnerable young girls with troubled upbringings which made it less likely anyone would be looking out for them.
The trial is expected to last until April. The defendants are all in custody.
The defendants are:

  • Kamar Jamil, 27, of Aldwych Road, Oxford
  • Akhtar Dogar, 32, of Tawney Street, Oxford; and his brother Anjum Dogar, 30, of Tawney Street, Oxford
  • Assad Hussain, 32, of Ashurst Way, Oxford
  • Mohammed Karrar, 38, of Kames Close, Oxford; and his brother Bassam Karrar, 33, of Hundred Acres Close, Oxford
  • Mohammed Hussain, 24, of Horspath Road, Oxford
  • Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, of Palmer Road, Oxford

Bilal Ahmed, 26, of Suffolk Road, Maidenhead