Islam in the News (April 2012)

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Islam in the News
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'Islam in the News' contains worldwide news concerning Islam and its followers. Further news covering the persecution of minorities, free speech, and some other issues can be found via the hub page


Afghanistan: Two insurgent bomb attacks leave six children dead and another five injured

Six children were killed and five others injured in two separate incidents in south-eastern Afghanistan, local authorities said Monday, dpa reported.

In the southern province of Zabul, NATO-led US special forces accompanied by Afghan security forces were talking to villagers in Shahjoy district when two gunmen opened fire on them, the provincial governor's office said in a statement.

The incident took place on Monday, according to the statement.

"As result of the gunfire, four children were killed and three others were wounded," Sardar Mohammad Hotak, the provincial police chief was quoted in the statement as saying.

One of the insurgents was wounded in the gunfight and later died from his wounds, it added.

Separately, in another incident in Paktika province, which borders the volatile tribal regions of Pakistan, two children were killed and two others were wounded, the provincial governor's office said in a statement.

The statement said the boys were playing when the bomb that had been planted by the "armed opposition," a term used by the Afghan officials to describe the Taliban militants, went off in the Surobi district.

Two victims were both aged 12.

The injured children, one in a critical condition, were taken to hospital run by NATO-led international forces, according to the statement.

Homemade roadside bombs are the number one killer in the conflict-torn country.

Muslim former soldier who emigrated to the US becomes first woman to be convicted of Bosnian war crimes

A Bosnian Muslim former soldier has become the first woman to be convicted of war crimes after pleading guilty to killing Croat civilians and prisoners during the 1990s war.

Rasema Handanovic "participated with other members of her unit in the executions of three civilians and three soldiers", according to war crimes court judge Jasmina Kosovic.

She was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail.

The crimes were committed on April 16, 1993, in the village of Trusina, in southern Bosnia. A total of 18 Croat civilians and four prisoners of war were killed at the time.

Handanovic pleaded guilty last week and agreed to testify against other former members of her unit under a plea bargaining agreement which saw her get a lighter sentence.

She was a member of the Zulfikar special unit, which was under the direct control of the Muslim-led Bosnian army headquarters.

Somalia: Theater bombing and clash with Al Shabaab insurgents leaves seven dead including a child

Somali government forces and African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) clashed with Al Shabaab insurgents in the late hours of Saturday night in Mogadishu, Radio Garowe reports.

Al Shabaab insurgents attacked AMISOM and TFG troops in Dharkenley and Hoosh district, located in north Mogadishu. The battled lasted for a few hours and resulted in a young child's death among other civilian casualties.

Dharkenley district representative Ma'allin Abdullahe Ali who spoke to Mogadishu media said that Al Shabaab agents attacked TFG and AMISOM security post in the neighborhood of Kahda. According to Mr. Ali both TFG and AMISOM forces were able to repel the insurgents without sustaining any casualties.

There were at least 4 civilians killed in the attack by Al Shabaab, as both Al Shabaab and the allied forces (TFG and AMISOM) used heavy artillery heard across Mogadishu in Saturday night's battle.

In a separate incident, a theater located in Hodan district was targeted by Al Shabaab. At least 3 people were killed and 10 others injured after grenades were thrown inside the theater where many youth were enjoying a film.

Azerbaijan's government commits "anti-Islamic acts" and "hurts Muslim hearts" by holding Homosexual Parade

Friday prayer leader of Tabriz condemned Anti-Islamic acts perpetrated by the government of Azerbaijan.

The despotic policy of Azerbaijan government disappointed Muslims and hurt their hearts,” said Friday prayer leader of Tabriz, Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari.

Ayatollah Mojtahed Shabestari rebuked the dictatorship policy of Azerbaijan government stating that Arrogant powers such the U.S and the regime of Zionism aggravate the exasperating condition in this country.

“The current condition in Azerbaijan is, obviously enough, abysmal especially for Shia people,” said the senior cleric.

“Holding the homosexual parade in a country which most of its population consisted of Muslims is literally disappointing,” the Islamic Scholar mentioned.

Turkey: Erdogan’s “march through the institutions” leaves Parliament no longer hijab-free

Turkey, to our day, likes to be described as the refuge of Muslim laicism. The fact that this is becoming more and more a thing of the past since Erdogan’s “march through the institutions” is intentionally ignored by mainstream politicians just as much as the Sharia Revolution in North Africa about which one would like to cheer us up as being “winds of freedom.”

As read on, the tabu Islam head covering is now sprouting up in the Turkish parliament, where it could be seen last Monday at the traditional reception for the anniversary of the opening of the first post-Ottoman parliament in 1920. The wives of the minister presidents and parliament presidents especially showed themselves off with this new order of clothing. As Erdogan strikingly stated on this occasion, the times have truly changed in Turkey since 2002 when the Islamic AKP party was able to seize power.

It will be interesting to see what pops into the minds of the neo-Ottoman Mohammedan zealots at the Bosporus so that they don’t fall too far behind their fellow North African believers.

Syria: UN chief encourages rebels to "commit more crimes and terrorist acts" by not discussing them

Syria has accused the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of bias and encouraging terrorism, after he blamed government forces for violating a ceasefire it agreed to earlier this month.

An editorial in the state-run Tishreen newspaper said on Saturday that Ban had avoided discussing violence by opposition fighters in favour of "outrageous" statements against the Syrian government.

"He encourages these groups to continue to commit more crimes and terrorist acts, which at the end of the day, the Syrian citizen pays for with his life, blood and security," the editorial said.

The comments came a day after state media reported that nine people were killed by a suicide bomber in the Damascus neighbourhood of al-Midan. A number of smaller blasts also occurred in the capital.

The main opposition bloc blamed government forces for the bombing and demanded an international inquiry.

"The Syrian National Council condemns this criminal act, which is aimed at further undermining the security and stability of our country and at terrorising our people," it said in a statement.

Both the government and the opposition were required to cease hostilities by April 12, under a six-point peace plan drafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

Opposition activists say more than 360 people have been killed since the ceasefire deadline and state media have reported dozens of deaths in roadside bombings and shooting ambushes targeting security forces.
Syria: UN chief encourages terrorism
Al Jazeera, April 28, 2012

Commentary: Europe isn't “Islamophobic.” We have no fear of Islam. But Christians in Islamic countries...

Christians are fleeing from the city of Timbuktu in the West African country of Mali where the Sharia has been instituted by “freedom fighters.” All churches in the area have already been destroyed. Timothee Yattara (photo), a Christian leader had to flee with his family to the capital city of Bamako, however he has no money for shelter.

“We are running from the death threats of the Islamists who have put together a list of all the Christians in Timbuktu whom they want to behead. As evidence for their threats, they have already executed one of our leaders.”

In Egypt as well, the situation of the Christians, thanks to the “Arab Spring, is becoming progressively worse.” According to Coptic Bishop Stephanos, the Christians are undergoing the worst time in decades; many can no longer make a living. In Egypt for the first time in decades, churches are being systematically destroyed and burned down. Christians are being harassed in daily life more than ever before. In the media, there is the call not to buy from Christian vendors or to sell goods to Christians. They are refused access to the working world, for example, by means of the fact that only women wearing headscarves are hired.

Christians in islamic countries are being persecuted before the eyes of the international media. By the state as well as the population. And that, even though the overwhelming majority of Muslims is peace-loving and tolerant? This persecution has increased further through the “Arab Spring.” With help from the West, secular presidents have been deposed that at least somewhat protected the religious minorities in the Arab lands. Radical Islamists have been consistently helped in the taking over of power who, soon after this short time in power, have in part carried out downright genocide of minorities in their respective countries like, for example, against the black population in Libya.

These radical-Islamic powers are supported by the Western media, the EU and above all by the overwhelmingly Islamic UN. The western media don’t report about these monstrosities against Christians. The few hundred Christians in Nigeria who were slain during the Christmas season received only nominal mention in the Tagesschau. In the months that followed nothing at all was reported about this – as though the persecution had come to a stop. Instead, there was stirred up reporting a good month ago regarding an attack on a mosque in Belgium in which the imam was killed. “Islamophobia” was the cry. A day later, the excitement was just as quickly over, though, when it came out that the imam was killed by a fellow believer, a Salafist.

No, we in Europe aren’t “Islamophobic.” We have no fear of Islam. But the Christians in the Islamic countries have every reason to be afraid of this “religion.”…

Denmark: Three Muslims arrested in Copenhagen on suspicion of terrorist activities

The Danish security and intelligence service PET said it has arrested three men in Copenhagen on Friday in connection with a terror investigation.

The arrests took place at two locations in the Copenhagen area, and several searches are now being conducted there in connection with the arrests, PET said in a press statement.

The three men have provisionally been charged with illegal possession of automatic weapons and ammunition. However, PET suspects the men to have been preparing for a terrorist act, it added.

The suspects have only been identified as a resident 22-year-old Jordanian citizen, a resident 23-year-old Turkish citizen and a 21-year-old Danish citizen resident in Egypt, PET said.

UK: "Those close to him know this", Jemima Khan says MP George Galloway converted to Islam 10 years ago

George Galloway converted to Islam 10 years ago, Jemima Khan has claimed in an article for the New Statesman, out today.

Khan interviewed the MP for Bradford West for the magazine. In the article, she claims that he converted in a ceremony in Kilburn, north-west London, a decade ago.

She writes: "Those close to him know this. The rest of the world, including his Muslim constituents, does not."

Galloway has also recently remarried in a Muslim ceremony, having come out of two previous Muslim marriages.

US: Federal judge rules forcing everyone to adhere to Shari'ah law is not establishment of religion

A federal judge says an Ohio prison that forces all inmates to adhere to a strict Islamic diet is not an establishment of religion because everyone eats the same food.

A federal judge recently threw out prisoner James Rivers' lawsuit against Ohio Prison director Gary Mohr's decision to ban pork from kitchens in all prisons under control of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Mohr made the decision to stop serving pork products after a Muslim on death row filed a lawsuit against the prison system.

Abdul Awkal, an inmate on death row, argued in his lawsuit that the prison’s failure to provide halal meals violated his religious freedoms.

Despite Awkal’s claims, Islamic teaching says it is perfectly acceptable to eat non-halal meat if there is no halal food available.

Islam teaches that meat such as pork is considered unclean and not to be eaten. This would include all pork products including sausage and bacon.

Awkal was later joined by a second Muslim who is not on death row. Prison authorities had argued that they provided non-pork and vegetarian options for Muslims. The Muslims said that was not good enough and still insisted that the food they were given meet halal standards.

Despite Awkal’s claims that eating halal meat is a requirement of his faith, Islamic teaching says it is perfectly acceptable to eat non-halal meat if there is no halal food available.

Prison authorities had argued that providing halal meet for the thousands of Muslims in prison would bankrupt the system.

In response to the lawsuit, prison officials stopped serving pork products to everyone; including atheists and those whose religion contains no such prohibition.

Former Navy chaplain Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt says while the judge ruled it is acceptable to force all non-Muslims to adhere to a Muslim diet, Christians have no dietary rights.

"This is another example of the Islamicization [sic] of America. It's establishing Islam as the state religion of the prison system," Klingenschmitt contends. "The judge's reasoning is this: He said as long as all of the prisoners are forced to eat the same food, then there's no discrimination taking place. In other words, if he enforces Muslim law equally, then there's no establishment of religion. I think that's wrong, and I pray this is overturned on the appeal."

Pakistan: Railway station bombing's death toll climbs to four as two children die, more than 60 injured

The death toll from Tuesday night’s blast at the City Railway Station rose to four after two children of the same family passed away on Wednesday.

Eight-year-old Mahmood Khan succumbed to his injuries at Mayo Hospital on Wednesday afternoon. His brother Amir Sohail passed away at Children’s Hospital at night. He was three.

The blast had occurred on Platform No 2, right outside the waiting lounge of Business Express train at around 6:42pm. Two people – a porter and a police constable – had died on the spot.
. . .
Later talking to reporters, the CM said the federal government was responsible for security at the railway station since “Pakistan Railways is a federal institution”. However, he added the Punjab Police will cooperate with the federal government. He called the act “inhuman”. “Terrorism is a problem for everyone, be it a provincial government or the federal government,” he added. Sharif said “a united Pakistan” was needed to cope with the problem.

On the other hand, Raja Aamir Khan, the PPP Punjab information secretary, described it as a “failure of the Punjab government”. In a press release, he said that the station’s security, functioning of security cameras and deployment of security staff was the responsibility of the Punjab government.

(Read: Lahore railway blast)

Indonesia: Two Qur'an recital teachers caught raping 8-year-old boy on the second floor of a mosque

Police in South Sulawesi’s Gowa district arrested two Koran recital teachers on Wednesday for allegedly sodomizing an 8-year-old student.

The suspects, identified only as A.J. and A.H., are alleged to have been caught by a resident in the act of removing the boy’s trousers in their room on the second floor of a mosque on Tuesday night.

They were not reported or handed over to the police. Instead, residents waited until about 2 a.m. on Wednesday, when they rushed into the mosque, reportedly with the aim of handing out mob justice to the suspects.

The two teachers were able to flee the mob and ran to the nearest police station while being chased by the residents.

Egypt: Women urge MPs not to legalize early marriage or permit men to have sex with their dead wives

Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper.

The appeal came in a message sent by Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, to the Egyptian People’s Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, addressing the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
. . .
The controversy about a husband having sex with his dead wife came about after a Moroccan cleric spoke about the issue in May 2011.

Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.

Two years ago, Zamzami incited further controversy in Morocco when he said it was permissible for pregnant women to drink alcohol.

But it seems his view on partners having sex with their deceased partners has found its way to Egypt one year on.
. . .
Many members of the newly-elected, and majority Islamist parliament, have been accused of launching attacks against women’s rights in the country.

They wish to cancel many, if not most, of the laws that promote women’s rights, most notably a law that allows a wife to obtain a divorce without obstructions from her partner.

Pakistan: Prayer leader sexually abuses and then threatens his ten-year-old male student in mosque

A prayer leader has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing his Ten-year-old student in Ghazi tehsil on Tuesday.

A medical examination has confirmed the abuse according to the police and doctors.
. . .
On Monday afternoon, when Rasheed was taking a lesson from the prayer leader, he asked him to stay back because he needed extra practice.

After the other students left the mosque, the prayer leader sexually abused Rasheed, according to the complainant.

The prayer leader threatened his student of dire consequences if he ever disclosed the crime, said the victim’s uncle.

When the boy reached home he was walking with difficulty and appeared to be scared.
Crime: Prayer leader sexually assaults boy
The Express Tribune, April 25, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary: Expansion of Islamic terrorism in Latin America an area of concern

The expansion of terrorism in Latin America is an area of concern for the region and its partners, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in Brazil.

Panetta is meeting with military and political leaders in Brazil, Colombia and Chile to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to help with common defense challenges, a Department of Defense report said.

One of the major challenges, the report indicated, involves potentially violent extremist organizations and Iran's encroachment into Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
. . .
In South America, much of the funding for Hezbollah comes from charitable donations, along with drug trafficking and trading in counterfeit and pirated goods, Fraser said.

"In addition to Hezbollah supporters throughout South America, the region is home to a small number of violent extremist organizations," Fraser said. "We remain vigilant for the potential radicalization of homegrown extremists."

Malaysia: Former imam rapes 13-year-old girl at his home, gets 15 years and 12 strokes of the cane

The Sessions Court today sentenced a former imam of a mosque to 15 years jail and ordered him to be given 12 strokes of the cane after finding him guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl last year.

Judge Nua'man Mahmud Zuhudi passed the sentence on Nur Akmal alias Basok Bakri Abdul Kader, 32, after finding him guilty of committing the offence at his house in Jalan Camar 3, Taman Perling, here on Feb 21 last year.

He said Nur Akmal, in his defence, had merely denied committing the offence and had failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case.

"He should have known better, as an imam, and should not have committed such an offence. He should have set a good example and safeguarded the image of the institution he represented," said the judge.

Nur Akmal, who is married and has a four-year-old child, was calm at first but shed tears when he was hugged by family members.

DPP Mohd 'Afif Ali appeared for the prosecution while Sukhaimi Mashud represented Nur Akmal.

UK: Five men arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, Scotland Yard has said.

The arrests were part of a "pre-planned, intelligence-led" operation by the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism command.

The men, aged 21, 23, 24, 30 and 35, were all arrested at separate homes in Luton and have been taken to a central London police station for questioning. Searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 are taking place at all five of the addresses and inquiries are ongoing, Scotland Yard said.
. . .
Self-employed Mohammed Iqbal, who did not give his age, said he believed the man arrested on Bishopscote Road lived with his family.

"I see him passing by sometimes," he said. "I don't know him but he seems friendly. I think his family are all grown-up."

Another neighbour living next door, who would not give her name, added: "They are very nice. They have been very good neighbours."

Syria: One of Lebanon’s most wanted terrorist leaders accidentally blows himself up assisting 'rebels'

TIME has learned that Abdel Ghani Jawhar, one of the leaders of the Sunni fundamentalist terror group Fatah al-Islam, died in the Syrian city of Qsair on Friday night. The founding cleric of Fatah al Islam, Sheikh Osama al Shihabi, confirmed Jawhar’s death to TIME with a quote from the Koran: “‘We are for God and to him we return.’ We as Mujahideen are used to being killed and if God wants to give those killed dignity he gives them martyrdom. This is the path of righteousness.”
. . .
For his efforts, Abu Ali calls Jawhar a hero and a martyr. For Syrian rebels seeking international assistance in their battle to force Syrian President Bashar Assad out of office, it’s a public relations headache. The Free Syrian Army, as well as other Syrian resistance groups, has long sought to downplay regime accusations that the rebels are aligned with Islamic fundamentalists and pro-al-Qaeda groups. While Fatah al-Islam has denied any association with al-Qaeda, there are links between the group and individual members. The implication that an al-Qaeda affiliated group is helping Syrian rebels build bombs and foment a guerrilla war could radically alter perceptions in the West, bringing to a halt discussions of arming the rebels and establishing a no-fly zone. “The death of Jawhar on Syrian soil emphasizes the fears of the international community that if they gave weapons to the Syrian rebels they will end up in the hands of radical groups,” says Lebanese University professor and Fatah al-Islam expert Talal Atrissi. “The Syrian opposition will be embarrassed from the fact that such a man is fighting alongside the rebels.”

Pakistan: Qur'an teacher flees police after madrassah student dies due to torture

A madrassah student in Lahore has been tortured to death by a qari (Quran teacher) on Sunday. The Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO).

According to the FIR filed by the victim’s father Mohammad Shafiq at the Shadbagh police station, his 12 year old son Mohammad Jamil was studying the Quran at Madrassah Aziziya from Nazim-e-Ahla (Mohtmam) Qari Muhammad Jameel and an unknown teacher for at least four months.

Both the qari and teacher escaped before the police raided the madrassah.
Madrassah student dies due to torture by Qari
Asad Kharal, The Express Tribune, April 23, 2012

Pakistan: Anti-literacy militants blow up two government schools and a doctor’s clinic

Anti literacy militants blew up government schools in Peshawar and Dera Islamail Khan districts on Sunday. The police also defused two bombs in another school. Miscreants blasted a private clinic in Peshawar.

According to details, unknown miscreants had planted explosives in Mithra area of Peshawar which went off with a big bang on Sunday morning. The school building was partially damaged due to the blast but no loss of life was reported. Another bomb weighing 12kg installed in another school located in Mithra area was recovered and defused.
. . .

In Dera Islmail Khan, miscreant blasted a government run primary school located in Township with explosives destroying three rooms completely and damaging others.

Finland: After Qur'an school, Muslims take turns forcibly ejaculating into 15-year-old girl's mouth

Vasarahammer: The names, addresses and social security numbers of the two perps have been circulating the internet for some time. The two rapists were returning home from Quran school when they committed their disgusting act, but this was not mentioned in any of the Finnish MSM articles.

In 2010, two Somali Muslims, a 16yr old and 17yr old, enticed a 15 year old girl at the Malminkartano train station (in Helsinki) to a nearby grove of trees where they forced her to have oral sex with them. They took turns holding her and ejaculating into her mouth.

Someone got their hands on of the HELSINKI DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT No. 3338 from April 4th, 2012 and published it on Pastebin.

What makes this all the more astounding is that the girl in question demanded that their crimes be made public, but the authorities refused. They deem the rights of these two criminals to be of such high value, that (a.) they were not sentenced to prison an (b) they were allowed to be given anonymity, thereby the people hadn’t at the time the slightest clue of who committed these heinous crimes.

UK: Muslim gang laugh as they're jailed for kidnapping & raping 2 girls as part of their Eid celebrations

A group of Muslim men who abducted and raped two teenage girls as part of their Eid celebrations laughed in court yesterday as they were jailed for a total of 38 years.

The girls, aged 15 and 16, were lured miles from their home to a dingy hostel.

In a horrifying weekend-long ordeal, they were plied with alcohol and repeatedly raped by two men, Shamrez Rashid and Amar Hussain, before being offered to a number of others who also ‘used them for sex’.

The 16-year old was forced to have sex six times with four different men. The younger victim was raped by one man and then sexually assaulted by another.

One defendant, Rashid, 20, was said to have claimed the girls had enjoyed the sex, which he said had taken place as they celebrated the Muslim festival of Eid.

‘It was Eid,’ he said. ‘We treated them as our guests. OK, so they gave us [sex] but we were buying them food and drink.

‘They could have anything they wanted. They enjoyed it.’

His accomplice Amar Hussain, 22, claimed the girls were ‘slags’.

But Judge Melbourne Inman QC said the girls had still been children at the time of the offences.

He said it was quite obvious they had been frightened of the men, but this had had ‘no effect at all’ on their attackers’ behaviour.

‘They were still children and still living with their families,’ Judge Inman said. ‘In a civilised society, such people should be helped. You all abused them.

‘They were extremely vulnerable and you took advantage of that.’

The five defendants laughed and smirked as the horrifying details of their offences were described in court yesterday.

Rashid – who had already been found guilty of two rapes, an attempted rape, child abduction and an attempted sexual assault – grinned, laughed and made gun gestures in the dock.

His supporters in the public gallery hurled abuse at the judge as he passed sentence later.

Brazil: Iranian diplomat gropes girls aged between 9 & 14 in pool, blames "cultural misunderstanding"

Press reports said the unnamed diplomat was accused of inappropriately touching girls aged between nine and 14 in a swimming pool at a Brasilia club late last week.

The parents of the girls reported the incident to police and the diplomat was questioned before being released, due to his diplomatic immunity.

The Brazilian foreign ministry said Thursday that it received the police report as well as the testimony from the mother of one of the girls.

"We are looking into the case and assessing what needs to be done and once it is completed, the (Iranian) embassy will be notified," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

"This mission says that the charge against an Iranian diplomat is a misunderstanding due to differences in cultural behavior," the Iranian embassy said in a statement sent to AFP.

Tajikistan: Court convicts 34 Muslims on terrorism charges and sentences them to long jail terms

A court in Tajikistan has sentenced 34 people to long jail terms on terrorism charges at the end of a closed trial.

The defendants were accused of membership or association with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an al-Qaeda affiliated group.

The IMU is especially active in the Afghan-Pakistani border areas.

The convictions and sentences of various lengths relate to the find last year of car bombs near government buildings in the city of Khojand.

Human rights groups have accused the Tajik authorities of a harsh clampdown on independent Muslims.

One of the defendants received a 10-year sentence for sheltering suspected IMU members.

Iraq: Wave of sectarian violence leaves at least 36 people dead and almost 150 others wounded

More than 20 bombs hit cities and towns across Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 36 and wounding almost 150, police and hospital sources said, raising fears of sectarian strife in a country whose authorities are keen to show they can now maintain security.

In Baghdad, three car bombs, two roadside bombs and one suicide car bomb hit mainly Shi'ite areas, killing 15 people and wounding 61, the sources said.

Two car bombs and three roadside bombs aimed at police and army patrols in the northern oil city of Kirkuk killed eight people and wounded 26, police and hospital sources said.
. . .
The biggest attack in Baghdad was in the Kadhimiya district, where a car bomb killed five and wounded 24, sources said.

A car bomb targeting the health minister's motorcade went off in the central Haifa district, killing two civilians and wounding at least four of the minister's guards
. . .
Car and roadside bombs also went off in Baghdad's Amil, Palestine Street and Zaafaraniya districts.
. . .
Elsewhere in northern Iraq, two car bombs targeting government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia went off in Samarra, two blasts hit Baquba, a roadside bomb exploded in Mosul and another roadside device exploded in Taji.

One policeman was killed in the town of Hadid, 10 km (6 miles) west of Baquba, when gunmen opened fire on the station where he worked from a passing car, police sources said.

In the mainly Sunni Muslim province of Anbar in the west, two car bombs targeting police killed four and wounded 10 in Ramadi while a roadside bomb wounded four people in Falluja.
At least 36 killed in wave of Iraq blasts
Kareem Raheem, Reuters, April 19, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Grand Mufti pushes for age of child brides to be 10 years old, criticizes calls for reform

Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh, has approved marriage for girls as young as 10 years-old and criticized the notion of raising the age to 25 years-old according to various news reports.

According to The World Observer, he went on to say a girl becomes ready for marriage at 10 or 12 according to Islam and stressed that Islamic law is not by any means oppressive to women, the London-based al-Hayat reported Wednesday.

"Those who call for raising the age of marriage to 25 are absolutely mistaken," al-Sheikh said in a lecture he gave at the faculty housing mosque of Imam Mohamed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.
. . .

Meanwhile, children as young as 10 years-old are being given to men, some as old as 50 years their senior, in exchange for large dowries.

Turkey: Men hospitalized after drinking camel's milk and urine on a pilgrimage to Mecca

Note the dishonest retired cleric who would most certainly be aware of the many positive references to camel urine in Sahih hadiths, and the fact that drinking it is widespread across the Middle East.

Two Turkish men were hospitalized on arrival to Turkey after drinking camel's milk and urine while on an umrah visit, daily Hürriyet reported.

The men believed the camel's milk and urine to be good for health, claiming it was written in a hadith. An imam, according to the Turkish men, also drank the milk and urine with them.

The visitors were hospitalized due to high fever and unusual levels of liver enzymes. Further tests revealed that the two men had been infected with the "alkhurma" virus, reportedly catching the virus from the milk.

The alkhurma virus is very dangerous and highly contagious and has a fatality rate of 25 to 35 percent, daily Hürriyet reported.

İhsan Özkes, a retired religious cleric and current member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), denied the existence of any hadith that would encourage people to drink camel's milk and urine.

"Those who did drink it must have been ignorant," he said.

Norway: Mass murdering Anders Behring Breivik reveals that his killing spree was inspired by Muslims

Anders Behring Breivik, the extremist who was behind Norway massacres said on Tuesday that al-Qaeda was the inspiration to him and added that he desires to repeat the killings if it could be possible for him.

Breivik told these words on the 2nd day of trial. He said he has killed 77 people in the twin attacks and they were pointed at preserving “ethnic Norwegians culture and indigenous people” on rising multiculturalism.

Asserting that “universal human rights” offered him the command to do his acts, he called himself a “militant nationalist”, then added: “We are drawn from the al-Qaeda and the militant Islamists.”

According to an answer given by Breivik in a questioning session,’ in the whole world al-Qaeda is the most powerful, successful and effective militant.’
Norwegian killer, Breivik says he was inspired by Al-Qaeda
Kanchana Devi, TruthDive, April 18, 2012

Canada: Islamic centre removes pro-terrorism and anti-semitic web links after being exposed

A downtown Islamic centre has removed links on its website that led visitors to other sites featuring speakers who preach intolerance and terrorism.

Its organizers insisted they were unaware of any connection to Islamic radicalism. Since January, the Walk-in Islamic Infocentre has been placing controversial posters in various TTC stations.

The ads state that "There is no god but Allah" and advertise the centre's website, which had at least two links to other sites featuring Islamic lecturers, including two now banned in Toronto and the U.K. for making pro-terrorism and anti-Semitic comments.

The centre removed three of the seven links on its site.

Links to the Islamic Research Foundation, Peace TV and the Muslim World League's Canadian office were gone as of Wednesday morning -- shortly after QMI Agency ran a story about the website.
Toronto Islamic centre yanks controversial web links
Terry Davidson, QMI Agency, April 18, 2012

Afghanistan: 150 schoolgirls poisoned by Muslim 'radicals' opposed to female education

About 150 Afghan schoolgirls were poisoned on Tuesday after drinking contaminated water at a high school in the country's north, officials said, blaming it on conservative radicals opposed to female education.

Since the 2001 toppling of the Taliban, which banned education for women and girls, females have returned to schools, especially in Kabul.

But periodic attacks still occur against girls, teachers and their school buildings, usually in the more conservative south and east of the country, from where the Taliban insurgency draws most support.
. . .
in the past acid has been thrown in the faces of women and girls by hardline Islamists while walking to school.

Education for women was outlawed by the Taliban government from 1996-2001 as un-Islamic.
Afghan schoolgirls poisoned in anti-education attack
‎Mohammad Hamid, Reuters, April 17, 2012

Did Muhammad Exist? New book applies same standard of criticism to Islam as applied to other faiths

A startling new book about the origins of Islam changes everything we thought we knew about the world's second largest religion. It unearths provocative evidence that forces us to ask: Did Muhammad, Islam's founding prophet, even exist?

Bestselling author Robert Spencer's Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins (ISI Books, April 23, 2012) is a sober but unflinching look at the early days of one of the world's major religions. Far from an anti-Islamic polemic, it brings to Islam the same standard of searching historical criticism that scholars have applied to Christianity and Judaism for more than two centuries.

In his 2006 New York Times bestseller The Truth about Muhammad, Spencer revealed the astonishing contents of the earliest Islamic biographical material about the prophet of Islam. Now--in what is sure to be one of the year's most controversial books--he lays bare that material's surprisingly shaky historical foundations.

Drawing on a growing body of pioneering scholarship, Did Muhammad Exist? meticulously examines historical accounts, archaeological findings, and other records to reconstruct what we can know about Muhammad, the Qur'an, and the early days of Islam. The evidence Spencer presents challenges the most fundamental assumptions about Islam's origins--assumptions made by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Did Muhammad Exist? reveals:

• How the earliest biographical material about Muhammad dates from at least 125 years after his reported death
• How six decades passed before the Arabian conquerors--or the people they conquered--mentioned Muhammad, the Qur'an, or Islam
• The startling evidence that the Qur'an was constructed from existing materials--including Christian texts
• How even Muslim scholars acknowledge that countless reports of Muhammad's deeds were fabricated
• Why a famous mosque inscription may refer not to Muhammad but, astonishingly, to Jesus
• How the oldest records referring to a man named Muhammad bear little resemblance to the now-standard Islamic account of the life of the prophet
• The many indications that Arabian leaders fashioned Islam for political reasons

The real story of Muhammad and early Islam has long remained obscured in the shadows. Robert Spencer brings it into the light at last.

An Arabic translation of Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins is currently under way and will be published in electronic form for free distribution in Islamic nations.

Robert Spencer is the author of several widely acclaimed books about Islam, including the New York Times bestsellers The Truth about Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). He is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine and the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Spencer holds a master's degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history in depth for more than three decades.

UK: Muslim woman lets newborn die and dumps her body to preserve "honor", escapes jail sentence

A mother who gave birth to a baby girl in 'secret' following an affair, let her newborn die before burying its body in the ground.

Fatima Ali, from Bury, Greater Manchester, feared she would bring shame upon her devout Muslim family for having the child out of wedlock.

And after giving birth to the infant - alone her bedroom, she cut the umbilical chord and left it to die.

Last Friday at Bolton Crown Court Ali burst into tears as she was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and subjected to a twelve month supervision order.

Sentencing, Judge John Appleby said, 'You failed to seek medical assistance following the birth of your daughter.

'The tragedy that followed is at the immense disaster for this child. She died within two hours of her birth, and, had you acted appropriately, her life could have been saved.

Pakistan: Grenade attack on secular mixed-gender school leaves 1 child dead and 3 more injured

Suspected militants threw a grenade from a lane behind the Iqra Public School in Khazana area which landed near children who were washing their hands at a water tap, senior police officer Tahir Ayub told AFP.

The privately run school teaches both boys and girls in religious and secular studies, residents said.

“Three children were wounded in the blast, one of them died on way to the hospital,” Ayub added.

“We received the body of a six-year-old child,” doctor Rahim Jan of the city’s Lady Reading Hospital said.

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear, but hardline militants oppose secular and mixed gender schooling.

"He was an instrument of killing intellectuals," UK's leading Muslim activist faces war crimes charges

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, director of Muslim spiritual care provision in the NHS, a trustee of the major British charity Muslim Aid and a central figure in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain, fiercely denies any involvement in a number of abductions and "disappearances" during Bangladesh's independence struggle in the 1970s.

He says the claims are "politically-motivated" and false.

However, Mohammad Abdul Hannan Khan, the chief investigator for the country's International Crimes Tribunal, said: "There is prima facie evidence of Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin being involved in a series of killings of intellectuals.

"We have made substantial progress in the case against him. There is no chance that he will not be indicted and prosecuted. We expect charges in June."

Mr Mueen-Uddin could face the death penalty if convicted.

Bangladesh's Law and Justice Minister, Shafique Ahmed, said: "He was an instrument of killing intellectuals. He will be charged, for sure."

For 25 years after independence from Britain, the country now known as Bangladesh was part of Pakistan, even though the two halves were a thousand miles apart with India between them. In 1971, Bangla resentment at the "colonial" nature of Pakistani rule broke out into a full-scale revolt.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians were massacred by Pakistani troops.

Mr Mueen-Uddin, then a journalist on the Purbodesh newspaper in Dhaka, was a member of a fundamentalist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, which supported Pakistan in the war. In the closing days, as it became clear that Pakistan had lost, he is accused of being part of a collaborationist Bangla militia, the Al-Badr Brigade, which rounded up, tortured and killed prominent citizens to deprive the new state of its intellectual and cultural elite.
Leading British Muslim leader faces war crimes charges in Bangladesh
‎Andrew Gilligan, The Telegraph, April 15, 2012

Pakistan: 150 heavily armed Taliban militants attack a jail in northwest Pakistan, free 400 prisoners

In a major security blow to Pakistani authorities, about 400 prisoners, including suspected militants, escaped when as many as 150 heavily armed Taliban militants attacked a jail in northwest Pakistan on Sunday.

The terrorists were equipped with guns and rocket propelled grenades, said a police officer.

The militant group apparently targeted six blocks in Banu central jail. Of a total 944 prisoners in the jail, 384 escaped, said another police official.

"We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way," a Taliban spokesman said.
Taliban Attack Pakistani Jail, Free 400 Prisoners
Manoj Kumar, IBTimes India‎, April 15, 2012

Indonesia: Police arrest two suspected Muslim terrorists who rob banks to fund their activities

Police in eastern Indonesia have arrested two suspected terrorists allegedly involved in bank robberies to fund their activities, the national police spokesman said Sunday.

"They were riding a motorcycle on a street when an anti-terror police squad arrested them on Friday" in the town of Bima in West Nusa Tenggara province, Saud Usman Nasution told AFP.

He said the suspects were part of a terror group that killed a police officer in a 2010 bank robbery in the north Sumatra town of Medan, allegedly to fund terrorist activities.

Nasution said they were also allegedly involved in a militant training camp in Sumatra's Aceh province, which was linked to radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who was jailed for 15 years for funding the exercise.

Denmark: 4 terrorists targeted event attended by Danish Prince in a plot to avenge 'Muhammad cartoons'

Four alleged terrorists targeted an awards event attended by Danish Crown Prince Frederik as part of their planned revenge attack on a newspaper which printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, a court has been told.

Prosecutors told the court the suspects probably intended to attack the offices of the Politiken newspaper where the crown prince was scheduled to hand out an annual sports award.

The four men - three Danish citizens and one resident of Sweden - are accused of terrorism and illegal possession of weaponry.

A lawyer for one of the accused, Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, said before the trial that his client would plead guilty to the weapons violation but not guilty to the terrorism charge.

Three of the four accused were arrested in December 2010 while they were allegedly on their way to carry out a violent shooting attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published 12 cartoons of the prophet in 2005. The fourth, Sabhi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, left the car while it was en route and returned to Stockholm, where he was arrested the same day as the others.

Indonesia: Junior high school Religious teacher molests a student, attempts to flee police

Police on Thursday arrested a teacher of Islamic religion at a state junior high school in Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, for sexual harassment of one of his own students.

The parents reported the case to the police after their daughter told them what the teacher had done to her.

The teacher tried to escape from his village after hearing police and several residents approaching, but he was caught anyway.
Teacher Nabbed for Molestation
JakartaGlobe, April 14, 2012

US: Pakistani Muslim living in Virginia sentenced to 12 years for aiding terrorist group

A Pakistani man living in Virginia was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for providing material support to the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

Jubair Ahmad pleaded guilty in December to making a propaganda video for the group, which included images and a prayer given by the group's leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. The video also showed "scenes where atrocities have been inflicted on Muslims, followed by the activities of the mujahideen conducting attacks in Kashmir," according to the Justice Department.

Recently, the United States announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Saeed, a Pakistani who is suspected of masterminding the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. which killed 166 people.

Ahmad admitted to communicating with someone in Pakistan named Talha Saeed -- Saeed's son -- who asked Ahmad to make the video.

Iraq: Sunnis refuse to lay down arms after US withdrawal, 12 Shi'ite killed in 3 separate attacks

On Friday, two cars blocked a bus carrying pilgrims from Baghdad to a key Shi'ite shrine in the northern, mainly Sunni, city of Samarra. Some seven gunmen opened fire, killing five and wounding six of them in the attack at around 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) near Tarmiya, 25 km (15 miles) north of the capital, a local police source said.
. . .

A second incident occurred at 7.30 a.m. in the southern outskirts of Baghdad when gunmen killed two Shi'ite pilgrims en route to the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala in Iraq's south. Six others were wounded, police and hospital sources said.

While overall violence in Iraq has fallen since the peak of sectarian fighting in 2006-07, bombings and killings still occur daily. Most attacks are blamed on Sunni Arab insurgents who have refused to lay down arms after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

On Wednesday, militants targeting Shi'ite families in Baquba killed five people in bombings that occurred after leaflets were distributed telling Shi'ites to leave the neighbourhood or be killed.

Australia: Muslim refugee from Afghanistan says raping teenager was part of 'cultural differences'

An Afghan man who fled from the Taliban to begin a new life in Australia will spend the next 14 years behind bars after a judge rejected his claim that cultural differences had led to him raping a woman.

Esmatullah Sharifi, 30, was told by Judge Mark Dean in Melbourne that his background as a traumatised Muslim refugee was no excuse for the rape of a drunken and vulnerable teenager.

The judge noted that a psychologist had told the Victoria County Court in Melbourne that Sharifi, who arrived in Australia in 2001, had an 'unclear concept of what constitutes consent in sexual relationships'.

Rejecting that argument, the judge said Sharifi's background and flight from the Taliban was not an excuse for violence, telling the Afghan: 'You well knew the victim was not consenting to the act of sexual penetration you performed.'

It was not the first time that Sharifi had appeared in court on a rape charge - in 2009 he was jailed for a minimum of seven years for the abduction and sexual assault of a woman on Christmas Eve, 2008 - five days after he had raped the teenager.

UK: Hackers access Scotland Yard's anti-terror hotline and record conversations in major security breach

Highly sensitive telephone conversations on Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist hotline have been recorded by hackers.

The force said it launched an investigation today after being made aware that the phone calls might have been breached.

The attack is the latest in a series of embarrassing security breaches, and comes after 'hacktivist' group Anonymous brought down the official Home Office website last Saturday.

A force statement said: 'We are aware of an issue whereby telephone conversations relating to the anti-terror hotline were recorded.

'Officers are currently looking into the matter and appropriate action will be taken.'

The announcement from the force came as a recording said to be a 'prank call' to MI6 was uploaded on YouTube, attributed to hacking collective TeaMp0isoN.

The group were said to have compromised a server from Malaysia to record conversations before Trick, the leader of the group, allegedly called MI6 offices in London.

In an email to the Press Association, Trick wrote: 'The phone denial of service was done via a custom script for Asterisk which was installed on an overseas server.
. . .

The group claimed its attacks were prompted by a recent decision made by the European Court of Human Rights, which allowed UK-linked terror suspects Babar Ahmad and Adel Abdel to be extradited to America [Babar Ahmad has been fighting for the right to be tried in the UK].

Philippines: Devout misogynistic Muslim threatens to blow up plane because he was seated next to a women

An Air Philippines (AirPhil) flight bound for Puerto Princesa City, Palawan failed to take off on time Thursday afternoon after a passenger threatened to blow up the plane.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Galang, chief of Ninoy Aquino International Airport security center, identified the suspect who made the “bomb” threat as Imam Hamadsuru Lapungan.

Lapungan said his group arrived late and only cracked the joke after he and his companions were forced to sit away from each other.

A devout Muslim, Lapungan said it is against their religion to be seated next to women with whom they are not related to.
'Bomb joke' forces plane to abort take-off
ABS-CBN News, April 11, 2012

With the Islamists’ rise to power, Turkey becomes the world’s leading hotspot of honor killings

To educated Muslims, honor killing has nothing to do with Islam and Turkey is the only "role model" Islamic country, because in all other Muslim countries, honor killing occurs. Unfortunately, after the Islamists came to power in 2002 and opened the gates of gradual Islamization of Turkey, after 8 decades of strict secular rule, Turkey has risen to be the world's "number one honor killing country", with a killing rate 5 times higher than that of Pakistan, known to be notorious for honor killing.
. . .

according to the Turkish Government figures, after the Islamists rose to power in 2002, rate of honor killings in Turkey increased at alarmingly fast in the deeply religious segments of the Turkish society, turning Turkey into a leading country afflicted by honor killings. After the current ruling Islamist party, the AKP, came to power in 2002, reports Christian Science Monitor (CSM), honor killings increased "14 folds" over the next 7 years. There were 66 cases of honor killings in 2002, which rose 953 in the first seven months of 2009.

In Pakistan, notorious for honor killing, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan recorded 943 cases of such killings in 2011, and about 100 less in 2010. That means Turkey had about double the number of honor killings in 2009 as compared the number honor-killed in Pakistan in 2011. Given Pakistan has a population of 177 million as compared to Turkey’s 75 million, Turkey has an honor-killing rate, which is greater than 5 times higher than that of Pakistan. So, undoubtedly, Turkey is the number one country in the world in terms of total number of honor killings happening every year, and its honor-killing rate is also nearly at the top amongst all countries in the world.

US Official: Religion (i.e. Islam) not behind Nigerian violence… a day after Islamists slaughter 40+ Christians

The radical Islamist group known as Boko Haram has killed more than 390 people in Nigeria this year, alone. The Associated Press reports that the group has slaughtered Christians, Muslims and foreigners.

Yet, just days after an Easter-day attack during which more than 40 Christian church-goers were killed, an Obama administration official made the allegation that “religion is not driving extreme violence” in Nigeria.
. . .
In January, The Blaze’s Buck Sexton explored whether a religious civil war is on the horizon in Nigeria, writing:

…the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram…is pushing for a Sharia-compliant Nigeria with a campaign of brutal violence against Christians who make up roughly half the country. The country could soon see spiraling violence as Christians defend themselves — and possibly retaliate.

The Telegraph surmised that Islamic violence against Christians “has sparked fears of a wider religious conflict in a country whose 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.”

Clearly, it’s evident that religion — to some degree — is driving extreme violence in the African nation.

Somalia: Terrorist attack leaves at least 12 people, mostly women, killed and more than 30 badly injured

At least 12 people have been killed and more than 30 badly injured by a bombing in the central Somali town of Baidoa.

The governor of the Bay region, Abdifitah Mohamed Gesey, told the BBC that most of the casualties were women and children.

Mr Gesey said the bomb was planted in a small basket and hidden in a busy market in the centre of town.

It is the worst attack in Baidoa since Ethiopian troops took control from the Islamist group, al-Shabab, in February.

Witnesses said the bomb went off shortly after Somali government troops had arrived in the market.

"This was a disaster," Adan Hassan, a witness told the AFP news agency. "I saw [the] bodies of at least nine civilians, most of them women. The explosion occurred as people were shopping."

A spokesman for al-Shabab's military operations said it was behind for the blast.

Indonesia: Aceh debates whether adulterers should continue to be publicly flogged or stoned to death

In Indonesia's only province ruled by strict Islamic law, the sight of the "morals police" prompts women to quickly adjust their headscarves and male and female companions to move apart.

In Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra island, it is the job of the 1,000-strong Wilayatul Hisbah, or Islamic police, to enforce sharia laws that mandate public modesty for women, and forbid unmarried couples from socialising.

In the capital Banda Aceh last week, a woman peeled away from her husband, reached for a scarf and quickly wrapped it around her head as a patrol approached; a petrified couple hopped on a motorcycle and fled.
. . .
Alcohol is freely sold in the rest of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, but it is banned in Aceh. In some of the province's regions, women are forbidden from wearing tight trousers.

Gamblers and imbibers are publicly caned. Debate still churns in Aceh over whether adulterers should continue to be publicly flogged, or stoned to death.

In elections Monday to pick a governor and 17 district heads and deputies, voters will decide whether they want leaders who advocate stricter sharia laws.

They are Aceh's second polls since the province was devastated by a tsunami in 2004 that killed 170,000 people in the province and the end in 2005 of a 30-year separatist war against Indonesian rule that claimed 15,000 lives.

Incumbent governor Irwandi Yusuf, who supports sharia but rejects stricter laws including stoning, will face contenders such as Teungku Ahmad Tajuddin, a cleric who will not say outright whether he backs stiffer laws but opposes Yusuf for rejecting them.
Islamic police hold sway in Indonesia's Aceh
Arlina Arshad, AFP, April 9, 2012

Syria: "It is too dangerous to go to Church", Easter canceled in Homs after churches bombed

For the first time in centuries no services were held to mark the festival of Easter in Christian churches of war-torn Homs as the Syria government inflicted a heavy bombardment in defiance of UN-brokered ceasefire talks.
. . .

The three principal churches for Christian denominations in the city, which until a few months ago was home to Syria’s third largest Christian community, were virtually abandoned. Other small churches have been destroyed as private homes became the places of worship on Sunday with priests and locals gathering in secret.
. . .
Two weeks ago Moussa’s relatives fled from Homs as government forces began shelling the Christian neighbourhoods of Hamidiyah and Boustan al-Diwan where they lived. Videos of the area show streets riddled with debris, and concrete buildings shattered by shells and bullet holes.

“The windows of my grandfather’s home were shattered by shelling,” said Moussa. “The regime doesn’t care anymore, they are targeting all neighbourhoods, and mosques and churches.”

“It is too dangerous to go to Church, as the regime is even shelling these,” said Saif al Arab, an activist in Homs who claimed to be in contact with Christians in his neighbourhood. “There is not enough food for them to celebrate in the traditional way. This is not a celebration, they gathered to pray for the people who have been killed in the bombardments”.
Syria: Easter cancelled in Homs after churches bombed
Ruth Sherlock, The Telegraph, April 8, 2012

Nigeria: Muslims celebrate Easter with a bang, at least 50 people killed in Easter Sunday bombings

At least 50 people were killed when explosives concealed in two cars went off near a church during Easter Sunday services in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, eye-witnesses said.

Shehu Sani, the President of Civil Rights Congress based in Kaduna, said two explosions took place at the Assemblies of God's Church near the centre of the city with a large Christian population and known as a major cultural and economic centre in Nigeria's north.

"There were two explosions and the casualty figure may go up because some injuries were really critical," he said on phone.

Pakistan: Hundreds of Muslims protest $10 million bounty on terror group founder, demand holy war

Hundreds of Islamist activists hit the streets of Pakistan yesterday, demanding holy war and torching US flags to condemn a $10 million bounty slapped on the founder of a terror group.

The Defence Council of Pakistan, an alliance of right-wing, religious and extremist groups, organised the rallies to denounce the US move against Hafiz Saeed, whose Lashkar-e-Taiba group was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
. . .
“Our protests will continue until the US withdraws its bounty of $10 million against Hafiz Saeed,” Defence Council of Pakistan organiser Hafiz Abdul Ghaffar told AFP. The reward for Saeed was announced by US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in India on Monday.

Saeed, who lives openly in Pakistan, has mocked the charges, calling a press conference to say he is ready to face “any American court”.
Pakistanis burn US flags at protests
Kuwait Times, April 7, 2012

Tunisia: Atheists receive 7 years for blasphemy, their defence attorney agrees they deserved punishment

Two men have been convicted and sentenced to prison in Tunisia for posting Facebook images of the Prophet Muhammad, a court decision that drew support from the presidency on Saturday.

Jaber Majeri and Ghazi Jribi were convicted on March 28 by a Tunisian court for "insulting the sacred" after they posted images of the Prophet. They were each sentenced to seven and a half years in prison and fined USD 800.
. . .
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki was a noted human rights activist under the 23-year dictatorship of Ben Ali. His spokesman Adnan Mancer told a news agency today that "attacks on the sacred symbols of Muslims and Islam cannot be considered part of freedom of expression."

"We are a Muslim country and so are against those who insult religions," Mancer said. "It is a form of extremism which provokes more extremist reactions which we should avoid during this delicate period."

The two men were tried after a lawyer filed a lawsuit against them. Their defence attorney, Ahmed Msallemi, said the two deserved punishment, but that he found the verdict excessive.

The UK and US issue warnings to its citizens as Nigeria braces itself for an Islamic Easter

Nigeria's Joint Task Force in the northeastern city of Maiduguri says it killed two members of militant Islamist sect Boko Haram and arrested a third Friday. Authorities said they raided a hideout where the suspects were plotting attacks on Christians this weekend. Northern Nigeria is bracing for potential attacks by Boko Haram during Easter celebrations.

Security forces in northern Nigeria have stepped up security this Easter weekend. Extremist group Boko Haram is known for staging large attacks against Christians around holidays.
. . .
Authorities said they raided two hideouts in northeastern Gombe state Thursday, seizing explosives and rocket launchers and arresting six people.
. . .
Great Britain and the United States have issued warnings to their citizens living in Nigeria. The U.K. pointed to a "high risk of terrorist attack during religious festivals" this weekend.

Boko Haram wants to impose Islamic law in northern Nigeria. Experts said that the core Boko Haram cell has splintered into factions of varying extremism, some of which have professed ties to regional Al-Qaeda franchises.
Nigeria Braces for Possible Easter Attacks
Anne Look, VOA News, April 6, 2012

US: Iraqi woman’s death may not be an "Islamophobic" hate crime after all, possible honor crime

"Search warrant records obtained Wednesday in the beating death of an Iraqi-American woman show a family in turmoil and cast doubt on the likelihood that her slaying was a hate crime.

Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was apparently planning to divorce her husband and move to Texas when she was killed, a family member told investigators, according to the court documents.

The records obtained at El Cajon Superior Court also reveal Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, who called 911 to report the attack, was distraught over her pending arranged marriage to a cousin.

A search of Fatima’s cellphone records shows that while she was being interviewed by investigators hours after the attack, someone sent the teen a text message that read, “The detective will find out tell them (can’t) talk,” the affidavit states.

Fatima and her mother were the only ones at their El Cajon home on Skyview Street when the attack occurred about 11 a.m. on March 21.

Alawadi’s husband, Kassim Alhimidi, had reportedly left to take the couple’s other younger children to school, although police state in the March 27 affidavit that his whereabouts had not yet been confirmed. . . .

The sheriff’s crime lab determined a threatening handwritten note found near the victim was a copy, not the original, the records state. . . .

Some of the search warrant records remain sealed by a judge.

During a search of the home and the couple’s vehicles in the hours after the attack, police found court paperwork to file for divorce in Alawadi’s Ford Explorer. The packet was not filled out, but a form requesting a court fee waiver was filled out in handwriting with Alawadi’s name, address and phone number.

Majhed Alhasan, secretary for the Islamic Center of Lakeside and a close friend of the family, said Wednesday he had never heard that Alawadi had been thinking about a divorce and moving.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of it,” Alhasan said. “About a month ago, her mother, non-married sister and two non-married brothers moved to Texas.”

He said a married sister of Alawadi already was living in Houston.

Police also searched computers, cellphones and other devices. Among the evidence they were searching for was an earring matching a bloody one found near Alawadi. Family told investigators that she usually wore four earrings, according to the records.

Detectives were also seeking any other notes, a weapon similar to a tire iron and any forensic evidence.

Investigators also learned of a previous police contact with Fatima.

On Nov. 3, police found Fatima with a 21-year-old man after responding to a report of two people possibly having sex in a car, the documents state. Officers called her mother, who came to the location and picked up the girl. As they were driving away, Fatima said, “I love you, mom,” before jumping out of the vehicle onto Mollison Avenue at 35 mph.

She was taken to a hospital with several injuries, including a possible broken arm. She refused to talk to police at the hospital but reportedly told paramedics and hospital staff that she was being forced to marry her cousin and didn’t want to."
Records hint Iraqi woman’s death not a hate crime
Kristina Davis, U-T San Diego, April 5, 2012

Mali: Islamists put Timbuktu under Shari'ah law, country effectively partitioned in two

The rebel group that recently seized control of Mali's three main northern cities, in a maneuver that effectively partitioned the country in two, announced a cease-fire Thursday, saying they had reached their military goal.
. . .

Assarid's group is the largest rebel group involved in the offensive, but it is not the only one, and in the three main towns in the north, local officials say they cannot be sure which of the rebel armies has the upper hand. Extremely worrying for Western observers is the presence of an Islamist faction called Ansar Dine, which planted its ominous black flag in all three of the provincial capitals. This week, the group announced it was imposing Sharia law in the ancient city of Timbuktu.

The mayor of Timbuktu said nearly all of the estimated 300 Christians based in the city fled after Ansar Dine's spiritual chief Iyad Ag Ghali gave an interview on local radio outlining the tenets of Sharia law: Women are to be covered at all times, thieves will have their hands cut off and adulterers will be stoned.
. . .

The imposition of Sharia has worried analysts and country watchers. Besides Timbuktu, the Ansar Dine faction is accused of destroying bars in Gao and Kidal, and of forcing shopkeepers in those two towns to take down pictures of unveiled women.
Mali rebels declare cease-fire after northern push
Rukmini Callimachi, Associated Press, April 5, 2012

Somalia: Female suicide bomber kills Somali Olympic and football chiefs during PM's address

A young woman strapped with explosives blew herself up Wednesday during an address by Somalia's prime minister in Mogadishu, killing four people, including the country's Olympic and football bosses.

She detonated her suicide belt as Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was on a podium addressing 200 people gathered to mark the first anniversary of the Somalia's satellite TV network, an AFP reporter who witnessed the incident said.

Somali Olympic Committee president Aden Yabarow Wiish and Somali Football Federation chief Said Mohamed Nur were killed in the blast.
. . .

"The action was carried out by people who support the Shebab," Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, the group's spokesman, told a pro-Shebab radio.
Female bomber kills Somali sports chiefs
Ali Musa Abdi, AFP, April 4, 2012

UK: MP George Galloway gets wed for fourth time, third wife says they're still married under Islamic law

Galloway, 57 – dubbed Gorgeous George – wed his fourth wife in Amsterdam at the weekend, just two days after a stunning by-election victory made him the Respect MP for Bradford West.

But last night, his third wife Rima Husseini said: “We are still married under Islamic law.”

Rima gave birth to Galloway's son only four months ago – after he met fourth wife Putri Gayatri Pertiwi who, at 27, is 30 years his junior and two years younger than his eldest daughter.

Galloway already had a son, Zein, with Lebanese Rima, his former researcher, before they married in a Muslim ceremony in 2007.

France: Group charged with plot to kidnap Jewish judge, stashing weapons, inciting Muslims to violence

A group of French Islamic radicals have been charged with planning to kidnap a Jewish judge.

Preliminary charges have been made against 13 Islamist radicals in France, accused of calling for Muslim Sharia law in the country, stashing weapons and hatching plots, one to the judge.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said that members of the Forsane Alizza group received physical training in parks and forests around Paris and religious indoctrination "in order to take part in a jihad," or holy war.

The group preached hate and violence on their internet site which "called for an Islamic caliphate in France, the application of the Sharia and incited Muslims to unite to prepare for civil war," Mr Molins said. The site, which also showed clips of Osama bin Laden, was shut down after authorities banned Forsane Alizza in March.

Nigeria: Gunmen kill council boss, attack police stations, and an incompetent suicide bomber kills himself

A bomb exploded, yesterday, around Ungwan Muazu area close to second Kaduna bridge along Nnamdi Azikiwe expressway even as gunmen stormed the residence of the Caretaker Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, Mr. Wanangu Kachiwa, and shot him to death.

Some gunmen also launched an attack on two police stations in Nangere and Postikum council areas of Yobe State, in which the security agencies succeeded in killing one of the attackers.

On the Kaduna explosion, it was gathered that a lone suicide bomber who was in possession of the bomb died on the spot.

Spokesman of Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Aminu Lawal, confirmed that the police anti-bomb unit had already been sent to determine the extend of damage.
One killed in Kaduna bomb explosion
Ndahi Marama & Luka Binniyat, Vanguard, April 2, 2012

Nigeria: Insurance cover for terrorism risk to be unveiled due to bombings being "predominant in society"

Insurance cover for terrorism risk is to be unveiled soon by some underwriting firms, the Executive Director, Technical, Niger Insurance Plc, Ibrahim Hassan, has disclosed.

He told The Nation that insurers are intensifying efforts to evolve products to meet terrorism risks. He said the Research and Product Department of Niger Insurance was working on a product to provide succour to people affected by terrorism.

He noted that insurers did not pay attention to such risks before because they did not anticipate that such would happen in the nation, adding that the present situation has propelled underwriters to find protection for people who incur losses due to the menace.

Hassan said: “Before the recent bombing experience across the country, criminal activities had not developed to that level in our society. Perhaps that is why our local insurance industry did not pay attention to such insurance policy.

“I know that one of the purposes of insurance is to take care of uncertainties. Now that this activity of bombing is predominant in the society, insurance practitioners are bracing up for products that can take care of this segment of risk. Very soon, you will hear of some insurance companies coming out with products to take care of that.
Cover for terrorism coming
The Nation, April 2, 2012

Nazareth: Imam convicted of inciting terror, followers murder a Jew and attack Christians

The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Sunday convicted the imam of a city mosque on charges of incitement to violence and terrorism and supporting a terror organization.

The state attorney’s office filed an indictment against Nazem Abu Salim in 2010, charging that the imam founded a Salafist-jihadist group, Ansar Allah Bait Almakdas- Alnasira (Supporters of God Jerusalem-Nazareth). The group’s ideology was alleged to be identical to that of al-Qaida and its global jihad movement – and Abu Salim was accused of preaching and distributing literature about it to his congregants.
. . .
He delivered Friday sermons to a congregation of around 2,000 people and also gave sermons in other mosques, including the al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The prosecution alleged that Ansar Allah calls on its followers to wage jihad in order to lead Islam to victory and free Jerusalem from what it says is a “Zionist-Crusader plot.”
. . .
The prosecution argued that a group of worshippers at Abu Salim’s mosque were influenced by the extreme Islamist ideologies expounded upon in his publications. The group went on to commit violent acts against Christians and Jews – including murdering a Jewish taxi driver and attacking Christians.

Other worshippers had become determined to join al- Qaida’s global jihad and yet others had begun hoarding weapons, aiming to use them against Israeli soldiers, the prosecution contended.
Nazareth imam convicted of inciting terror
Joanna Paraszczuk, Jerusalem Post, April 1, 2012

Thailand: Islamic terrorists kill 11 people and wound 110 more with car bombs targeting shoppers

Suspected Muslim insurgents staged the most deadly attack in years in Thailand's restive south, killing 11 people and wounding 110 with car bombs that targeted Saturday shoppers just before lunchtime.

A first batch of explosives planted inside a parked pickup truck ripped through an area of restaurants and shops in a busy area of Yala city, a main commercial hub of Thailand's restive southern provinces, said district police chief Col. Kritsada Kaewchandee.

About 20 minutes later, just as onlookers gathered at the blast site, a second car bomb exploded, causing the majority of casualties.
. . .

More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand's three southernmost provinces, Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, since an Islamist insurgency flared in January 2004.
Deadly terrorist attack in Thailand
The Canadian Press, March 31, 2012

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