Islam in the News (January 2012)

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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


Kenya: Muslim cleric charged with possessing guns and hand grenades and preparing to commit a felony

A Kenyan court on Monday charged a former Muslim preacher, Aboud Rogo Mohammed, with possessing guns and hand grenades and preparing to commit a felony, his lawyers said.

The east African nation has been in a heightened state of security alert since it sent troops into Somalia in October to fight al Shabaab rebels that it blames for attacks on its territory.

Kenya's military move has provoked several attacks on Kenyan soil by militants who mainly used hand grenades and makeshift bombs.

The magistrates court in the port city of Mombasa remanded Mohammed in custody after the prosecution argued he had broken bail terms in the past while facing criminal charges.

"Denying him bond is a violation of his basic human rights. My client is well known by the public and as such, can not abscond as argued by the prosecution," said defence lawyer Chacha Mwita.

Members of Mohammed's family have accused the police of planting the weapons in his house.

Obama says drone strikes are important and “have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”

President Barack Obama said drone strikes on terrorism targets have been “very precise” and will remain a key part of the fight against terrorists.

The drone strikes by U.S. forces “have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” Obama said in a question-and- answer session with the public conducted through Google Inc. (GOOG)’s social networking site Google+.

“It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash,” Obama said. Drone strikes on targets inside Pakistan have increased friction between the U.S. and Pakistani authorities.
Obama Says Drone Strikes Important Weapon Against Terrorists
Kate Andersen Brower and Margaret Talev, Bloomberg, January 31, 2012

US: Muslim tries to join Jihad in Somalia and threatens to ‘chop’ his mother and sister ‘in pieces’

A young man in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been charged with making terroristic threats. According to Sharmarke Duale’s family, the 20-year-old began to turn violent after he decided to join jihad in Somalia. According to the complaint, Duale was a fine student in high school and college, but his flare for jihadist tendencies allegedly developed after he began attending a local mosque (the specific mosque isn’t mentioned in the documentation).

Duale was allegedly attempting to convince his father to help him obtain the documents needed to travel to Somalia. To accomplish this goal, the young man needed a passport, which authorities claim he unsuccessfully threatened his family to secure.

According to the complaint, police were called to the family’s home last Tuesday in response to an assault that was taking place. Authorities were told that a son had stabbed his mother and that he was attempting to re-enter the home by breaking a window with a shovel. When officers arrived, Duale was on the porch, shovel in hand. His mother, who was in the home, had visible wounds on her hands.

Duale had purportedly attempted to stab his father, but when his mother intervened, she sustained the cuts. The report also claims that he punched his sister and on other occasions threatened to ”chop (his sister and mother) in pieces“ and ”kill the girls.”

Hague: Muslim party wants dog ban, uses "keeping dogs is animal abuse" argument as an excuse

Hasan Küçük, Hague councilor for the Islam Democrats, says dogs should be banned as pets in the city, reports De Telegraaf. The Muslim party says that the animals belong in nature, not inside the house. Küçük says that keeping dogs is animal abuse and should therefore be criminalized.

He responded sharply during a council debate last Thursday, when the Party for Animals suggested more consideration for dogs.

Paul ter Linden (PVV councillor) responded saying that pets are the norm in the Netherlands, and whoever disagrees should move to another country.

[Source: Haagse islampartij wil hondenverbod - Spitsnieuws, January 28, 2012]
Hague: Muslim party wants dog ban
Islam in Europe, January 29, 2012

UK: High security prison lets Muslim terrorist send letter telling extremists how to avoid arrest

A high-security jail let a terrorist inmate send fanatics a hate-filled letter – with a step-by-step guide on evading capture.

Category A Belmarsh prison vets all mail leaving a prisoner’s cell. But bosses decided there was nothing wrong with Bilal Zaheer Ahmed’s six-page handwritten diatribe.

In it he gives instructions on the best way to avoid detection by MI5 and undercover police officers tracking terror cells.

And he coaches potential Jihadists on what to say if they get arrested.

The message was sent to fanatics in Germany who put it on a website which intelligence officials say is used by terrorists in Britain.

The decision by chiefs at the south-east London prison to allow it to be sent was ­criticised by Labour MP Steve McCabe, who sits on a Home Office cross-party committee on terrorism.

He said: “Any sane person can see that the material is completely inappropriate. It is effectively a guide in what a terrorist should do to stay one step ahead of the law.” Mr McCabe said he would be asking Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke to look into what had happened.

In 2011, a judge branded Ahmed a “viper in our midst” as he was jailed for 12 years under the ­Terrorism Act for soliciting the murder of MPs.

Only a tiny minority of extremists? Over 3000 Muslims attack Christian homes and shops in Egypt

A mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked Copts in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat (el-Ameriya), Alexandria this afternoon. Coptic homes and shops were looted before being set ablaze. Two Copts and a Muslim were injured. The violence started after a rumor was spread that a Coptic man had an allegedly intimate photo of a Muslim woman on his mobile phone. The Coptic man, Mourad Samy Guirgis, surrendered to the police this morning morning for his protection.

According to eyewitnesses, the perpetrators were bearded men in white gowns. "They were Salafists, and some of were from the Muslim Brotherhood," according to one witness. It was reported that terrorized women and children who lost their homes were in the streets without any place to go.

According to Father Boktor Nashed from St. George's Church in el-Nahdah, a meeting between Muslim and Christian representatives was supposed to take place in the evening in Kobry-el-Sharbat. But, by 3 P.M. a Muslim mob looted and torched the home of Mourad Samy Guirgis, as well as the home of his family and three homes of Coptic neighbors. A number of Coptic-owned shops and businesses were also looted and torched. "We contacted security forces, but they arrived very, very late," Said Father Nashad. The fire brigade was prevented from going into the village by the Muslims and the fires were left to burn themselves out. "Those who lost their home, left the village," said Father Nashed.

Coptic activist Mariam Ragy, who was covering the violence in Kobry-el-Sharbat , said it took the army 1 hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village. "This happens every time. They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear." She said that she spoke to many Copts from the village this evening who said that although their homes were not attacked, Muslims stood in the street asking them to come to their homes to hide. "They believed that this was a new trick to make them leave, so that Muslims would loot and torch their homes while they were away," said Ragy.

The Gov of Alexandria visited al-Nahda, near Kobry-el-Sharbat, this evening and told elYoum 7 newspaper that the two Copts and one Muslim who were injured were transported to hospital. He said that the family of the Muslim girl whose image was on the Copt's mobile phone wanted revenge from the Coptic man. They broke into his home and torched a furniture factory located in the same building.

Joseph Malak, a lawyer for the Coptic Church in Alexandria, said it is too early to count injuries to Copts or losses to their property.

Mr. Mina Girguis, of the Maspero Youth Union in Alexandria, said that "collective punishment of Copts for someone else's mistake, which is yet to be determined, is completely unacceptable." He believes that the reason for this violence is fabricated, and the military is behind it. "They are trying to divert the attention from the second revolution which is taking place now."

Father Nashed denied that Islamists were present, only ordinary village Muslims, and could not give an explanation as why people who have lived together amicably for years could commit such violence. "Maybe because of lack of security, they think that they can do as they please."

He said that the nearly 65 Coptic families were ordered to stay indoors and not to open their shops and businesses tomorrow. He added that security forces did not arrest any of the perpetrators, "on the contrary, they were begging the mob to go home."

By midnight the violence had subsided.
Over 3000 Muslims Attack Christian Homes and Shops in Egypt
Mary Abdelmassih, AINA, January 28, 2012

Lebanon: Prison escape attempt by members of Fatah al-Islam (Conquest of Islam) thwarted

Lebanese police thwarted earlier this week an escape attempt by Roumieh prison inmates, including members from militant Fatah Al-Islam, security sources told The Daily Star Saturday.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said inmates from Fatah Al-Islam planned to make their escape from Lebanon’s largest jail through a hole they were digging in one of the cells at Bloc B of the facility.

Their plan was foiled after a prison guard, alerted by the sound of activity, went to inspect the cell.

In 2007, the Lebanese Army fought fierce battles with the militant group at the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in Tripoli, north Lebanon.
Prisoner escape attempt at Roumieh thwarted
The Daily Star, January 28, 2012

"Women provoke men to commit murders", Turkish police chief says honor-killed women deserve it

"Women are partly to blame for Turkey’s ever-rising number of women’s murders, a retired police chief has said in an article for the January edition of the Contemporary Police Journal magazine.

“Naturally our women are in a position of victimhood against men due to the [discrepancy between their levels of] physical strength. It is not possible to say the same, however, with respect to [women’s use of] language and gestures. The blame for the murders cannot be squarely placed on men’s shoulders,” retired Police Chief Dr. Hasan Yağar said in his article, according to daily Milliyet.

Yağar further said nearly all such incidents pertaining to the murder of women take place in dense urban areas rather than in villages or hamlets in distant corners of Anatolia. The presence of attitudes that are not in line with Turkey’s traditions, customs and religious convictions in major cities are causing new migrants trying to adapt to their new circumstances to falter and fall into confusion, he said.

“It is a grave mistake to link the problem merely to the sadism of men. It is entirely impossible to ignore or deny that the matter is related to our national traditions and customs, and even to our social mysticism, or in other words, our religious perspective,” he said."

[Source: Do not blame only men for murdering women: Retired police chief - Hürriyet Daily News, January 26, 2012]

"Women provoke men to commit murders, which then cost the male offenders their futures, he argued."

[Source: Retired police chief: Men not solely to blame for murders of women - Today's Zaman, January 25, 2012]

In the article he also refers, as if in astonishment, to the fact that German men even allow their wives to be kissed by other men!
Turkish Police Chief Says Honour-Killed Women Deserve It
Cheradenine Zakalwe, Islam versus Europe, January 27, 2012

Devout Muslim, and possibly an "Islamophobe", Dr. Zuhdi Jasser defends movie, The Third Jihad

The basis for CAIR latest display of pique centers on the use of a film The Third Jihad - Radical Islam's Vision for America as part of the training material for New York police officers.

CAIR and its media cohorts, primarily the New York Times, suggest that the movie is a dark work which stokes religious hatred.

All of the usual suspects have chimed in of course, supporting CAIR's preposterous claims while trying to gain sufficient political momentum to justify censorship of speech that is critical of Islamism - a central tenet of Shari'a, Islamic law.

It's important to note that the film is narrated by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim with an impeccable pedigree, "...Jasser is the son of Muslim-Syrian immigrants. After medical school, Jasser served as a US Navy doctor. He was later an Attending Physician to the US Congress. Jasser has since been in the private practice of internal medicine and nuclear cardiology in Phoenix. He is the immediate-Past President of the Arizona Medical Association." source

Mr. Jasser is highly critical of how The Third Jihad is being characterized stating that his organization, The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, "unequivocally supports the efforts of the New York Police Department and its Commissioner Raymond Kelly to fight the insidious ideology of militant Islamism. The NYPD has been an international leader in this fight and has paid a heavy price for being at the forefront of the ideological war that must be waged. Lost in the shoddy and biased reporting was the most basic fact that NYPD's counter-terrorism programs have protected New Yorkers and Americans from a vast number of increasing threats like Faisal Shahzad, the Time Square Bomber, who embodies the radicalization described in the Third Jihad. This week's attacks on the NYPD and now Chief Kelly are yet another example of the depths of deception that groups such as CAIR are willing to go in order to suppress any criticism of the organization. This attack has nothing to do with the rights of American Muslims and everything to do with the efforts of CAIR to use American Muslims as a tool to suppress dissent and frame our communities as victims of American society."

Jasser similarly judges the conduct of the New York media in this matter:

"The editorial board and reporter Michael Powell of The New York Times should be ashamed of themselves. They have abandoned any journalistic standards in their factless regurgitation of the CAIR mantra. The New York Times seems to care little about genuine Muslim diversity or addressing the root causes of terrorism. This latest attack is simply part of a systematic attempt to dismantle the efforts of NYPD to address the root causes of radicalization within American Muslim communities."

Asked whether the film is Islamophobic, Dr. Jasser states, "The Third Jihad is not anti-Islam or anti-Muslim. If it were I would not have been a part of it. For me, it was an opportunity to speak with my co-religionists about the threat that exists to our children and our very way of life. It is a wake-up call for our community to accept our responsibility to fight against an ideology within our communities that seeks to strip us of our Constitutional freedoms. CAIR's victimization of American Muslims emboldens that sinister ideology."

Indonesia: Tolerance of Islamic vigilantism helping to breed a new generation of terrorists

Tolerance of Islamic vigilantism is helping to breed a new generation of terrorists in Indonesia, the International Crisis Group warned in a report Thursday.

The report criticised the government and police for lax law enforcement against hardliners, who often claim responsibility for violent anti-vice and sectarian attacks but regularly evade punishment.

“Indonesia: From Vigilantism to Terrorism in Cirebon” described how a group of poor uneducated men in the western Javanese town went from using sticks and stones in morality raids to using bombs and guns.

“What we saw in Cirebon was a a group of about 10 people who started out on a path to terrorism by participating in anti-vice campaigns,” ICG analyst Sidney Jones told AFP.

“By using violence in these campaigns, they clearly violated the law but weren't punished.” The group went from carrying out anti-vice attacks on TV stations and convenience stores selling alcohol to orchestrating suicide attacks on a police mosque and a church on Java island.

The attacks last year killed only the bombers themselves, but injured scores of others with nails, nuts and bolts spraying from homemade explosives.

“The government's saving grace is that the groups that have embarked on this path are poorly trained with very low capacity, but it won't always stay that way. One of these groups will get lucky and have a greater impact,” Jones said.

Canada: Court cleared after receiving bomb threat, delays Muslim honor killing trial

The trial of three people accused of killing four members of their family was on course to be in the jury's hands by the end of the week before being delayed Thursday morning by a bomb threat.

Mohammed Shafia, 58; his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42; and their son, Hamed, 21, are charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shafia's three teenage daughters and his first wife in his polygamous marriage.

The court in Kingston was cleared after the threat. Officials gave the all-clear after a search and the trial was set to resume in the afternoon. It was not immediately clear how the delay would affect the trial schedule.

The family members were all recent immigrants to Canada from Afghanistan.

The three Shafia sisters -- Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 -- along with Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, --were found dead inside a car that plunged into the Rideau Canal in Kingston on June 30, 2009.

Prosecutors allege the girls' father, mother and brother all plotted to kill the four women in an "honor" murder. Investigators claim that hours of wiretapped conversations reveal a premeditated plan to punish rebellious, Westernized daughters and their permissive advocate, Rona.
Bomb threat delays 'honor' murder trial in Canada
Paula Newton, CNN, January 26, 2012

UK: Strict practicing Muslim beats & rapes 4 females to punish them for being out at night

A Muslim man who raped women to 'teach them a lesson' for being on the streets at night was jailed indefinitely today because of the danger he poses to women.

Sunny Islam, 23, who comes from a strict Muslim family, dragged his terrified victims - including a 15-year-old - from the street at knifepoint, bound and assaulted them during a two-month reign of terror.

Police fear that Islam may have attacked many more.

Three of the assaults took place close to his home in Barking, east London, while a fourth occurred in nearby Forest Gate.

Judge Patricia Lees, sentencing him to a minimum of 11 years, said: 'The harm you have done to your victims is incalculable.

'The nature and extent of these offences drives me to the conclusion that you represent an extreme and continuing danger to women, particularly those out at night.'

He was traced through the number plate of his girlfriend's car after he kidnapped and raped the 15-year-old in September 2010.

He grabbed her from behind as she walked home with a friend and bundled her into the car at knifepoint before driving to a secluded spot where he raped her twice despite her claiming she was only 11 years old.

Judge Lees said: 'You told her you were going to "teach her a lesson", and similar things were said to the other women.

'Those words are a chilling indictment of your very troubling attitude towards all of these victims.

'You seem to observe women out at night as not deserving respect or protection.
. . .
After his arrest, Islam's DNA was linked with three other attacks near his home in Barking, prosecutor Sara Lawson told Woolwich Crown Court.

The judge said on July 8, 2010 he subjected a 20-year-old prostitute to 'his trademark double rape' and then tied her up, repeatedly punched her in the face and stole her wallet.

She said: 'He treated me like an animal and made me feel worthless - I thought I was going to die.'

Six days later, in Forest Gate, he struck again on a 28-year-old when he dragged her into his car and forced her to commit a sex act.

She managed to kick out the back window of his car and escape despite being throttled.

His fourth victim, also attacked in September, did not come forward until police found the 31-year-old's blood in the back of the car along with a knife he used to threaten his victims and plastic ties he bound them with.

She was repeatedly repeatedly punched in the face until she was bleeding and then tied up and raped twice.

Islam, who told the jury he was a practising Muslim, was convicted of seven charges of rape, one of sexual assault and one of kidnap.

Egypt: Another foreign woman stripped of clothes and sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square

A foreign woman was stripped and sexually assaulted on Wednesday evening in Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square, one eyewitness said on Twitter and another confirmed in an email to

The woman, who’s identity has not been revealed, was taken away in an ambulance after being assaulted for 10 minutes. Her husband reportedly was unable to intervene and witnessed the incident.

“I saw the woman and then dozens of men surrounded her and started grabbing her, when she screamed for help some people came, but they were hit in the face,” wrote one witness.

What happened next was “appalling,” said the trusted witness, who asked for anonymity. “The men just started tearing at her clothes and grabbing her body all over. When she fought back, they pushed her. It was chaos.”

There were unconfirmed reports that the men “violated” her with their hands.

The nationality of the woman is unknown at the current time.

Throughout the day, sexual harassment towards women has been increasing and more and more reports of women being grabbed and groped began being reported.
. . .
The incident brings memories of reporter Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted the night former President Hosni Mubarak gave up power.
. . .
Instances of sexual assaults on female journalists covering the events in Tahrir Square have continued in the year since Mubarak’s ouster.

According to studies conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Right (ECWR) in 2008, 98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women surveyed had experienced sexual harassment in Egypt.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of Egyptian men confessed to harassing women and 53 percent of Egyptian men faulted women for “bringing it on.”

When award-winning Egyptian-American columnist Mona el-Tahawy detailed a horrific sexual assault by Egypt police on her personal Twitter account after she was detained for nearly 12 hours in Cairo on November 24, the debate about sexual violence in the square became reignited.

Guyana: Islamic scholar in boy-sex scandal re-arrested after 5 more victims come forward

The Muslim scholar was Tuesday re-arrested after five more boys alleged that he sexually assaulted them, police said.

East Coast Demerara Divisional Commander, Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine confirmed that a total of nine boys including four brothers have leveled the accusations against the Mufti.

“The eminent scholar has been arrested after five more boys came forward and made allegations against him,” he told Demerara Waves Online News (

Earlier Tuesday, Police Chief of Criminal Investigations, Assistant Commissioner, Seelall Persaud had confirmed that medical examinations conducted on one of two boys at that time had confirmed that he was anally sexed.

Up to late Tuesday, police did not divulge details about whether the three others were similarly sexually assaulted.

The scandal broke last week when the mother of four sons was approached by an official of the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) and told of the allegations against the Mufti.

The alleged instances of sexual assault took place at a Mosque based in Section D, Turkeyen between December 2011 and January 2012.

Prior to the Mufti’s arrest, he had been placed on GUY$150,000 station bail and asked to report periodically.

He has been sent on leave pending the outcome of the investigation and prosecution.

Police are yet to dispatch a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for advice. Authorities have 45 days within which to compile evidence before seeking a committal before a magistrate.

Earlier Tuesday, the rights organisation- Red Thread- picketed the Ministry of Human Services, urging that swift action be taken against the accused. The organisation is worried that the man could tamper with the victims, their parents or other associates.
Muslim scholar in boy-sex scandal re-arrested after more victims come forward
Denis Scott Chabrol, Demerara Waves, January 24, 2012

US: Member of Saudi royal family entourage, 60, rapes young woman at New York's Plaza Hotel

A member of the Saudi Royal Family entourage has been accused of luring two young women back to his room at the Plaza Hotel and raping one of them.

Canadian businessman Mustapha Ouanes, 60, who works both for a construction company and the unnamed prince, appeared in court yesterday on charges of first-degree rape, two counts of criminal sexual acts in the first degree, one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, and other charges related to an incident in January 2010.

The court heard that Ouanes met two young bartenders in a bar in Manhattan. He offered to pay for their drinks and then invited them along to another bar for some champagne.

According to the New York Times, because of his apparent age and dapper dress, the young women were not scared.

The prosecutor said yesterday in court: 'In his bowler hat and scarf, he appeared to be relatively harmless.'

In the second bar, the alleged rape victim went off with some friends at one stage to smoke some hashish before returning to Ouanes.

It is then alleged he asked the women to come back to the Plaza Hotel where he was staying and have breakfast.

When they got to the hotel, the women are then said to have passed out on Ouanes' bed in his room and when they woke up, he was having sex with one of them.

In the second bar, the alleged rape victim went off with some friends at one stage to smoke some hashish before returning to Ouanes.

It is then alleged he asked the women to come back to the Plaza Hotel where he was staying and have breakfast.

When they got to the hotel, the women are then said to have passed out on Ouanes' bed in his room and when they woke up, he was having sex with one of them.

'When the woman, then 26, woke up a second time, he was having sex with her.'

According to the Times, the woman fought to free herself and eventually broke a glass which she intended to use as a weapon to defend herself.

Her friend, who allegedly woke to find her leggings had been pulled down, called hotel security.

Mr David told the court that when the police arrived, they found the two women huddled in the bathroom 'so frantic and devastated', they could hardly speak.

US: Mosque leader among 11 men arrested in cigarette trafficking and money laundering scheme

A leader of a South Carolina mosque was among 11 men arrested in a cigarette trafficking and money laundering scheme spanning several states. A 26-count indictment issued in November and unsealed last week accused Nasser Alquza, president of the Central Mosque of Charleston, and others of conspiracy, receiving stolen property, and related charges.

The arrests followed a government sting operation in which Alquza and other defendants allegedly purchased over 6,800 cases of "stolen" Marlboro cigarettes from undercover agents in exchange for over $7.5 million, the indictment said. The proceeds from the "stolen" cigarettes, whose wholesale value was in excess of $15 million, was then laundered through legitimate businesses owned or controlled by the defendants.

According to a report in the Charleston Post and Courier, federal agents searched Alquza's home in Mount Pleasant and seized computers, cameras, check books, receipts, business records, passports and identification documents.

Alquza resigned from the mosque in December. Imad Musallam, a senior official at the mosque, told the Post and Courier that Alquza resigned for personal reasons and his resignation had nothing to do with the federal investigation.

"That's his personal problem," Musallam was quoted saying in the daily. "We cannot judge someone, and we cannot say anything until he's found guilty."

The indictment highlighted the illegal sale of cigarettes as a serious problem facing law enforcement. It detailed how criminal enterprises purchased large volumes of cigarettes in states with low cigarette taxes such as North and South Carolina and illegally transported them to states with higher cigarette taxes where they were sold without paying the sales tax for higher profits.

The case is reminiscent of a Hizballah fundraising operation from the 1990s based out of Charlotte, N.C., in which 18 defendants led by Mohamad Hammoud were responsible for the illegal smuggling of more than $8 million worth of cigarettes from North Carolina to Michigan. Profits from the cigarette sales were sent to Hizballah in Lebanon. In 2002, Hammoud was sentenced to 150 years in prison. A judge subsequently reduced Hammoud's sentence to 30 years.

In a more recent case from December, a Lebanese drug dealer was implicated in a complex multi-million dollar international drug trafficking and automobile smuggling enterprise that involved at least 30 car dealerships in the United States. Court documents accused Ayman Joumaa of smuggling more than 100 tons of Colombian cocaine in collaboration with the violent Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel. Hizballah is alleged to be a key recipient of profits from Joumaa's criminal network.

US: Muslim refugee from Uzbekistan arrested at Chicago's O'Hare airport on terrorism charges

The FBI arrested a refugee from Uzbekistan at Chicago's O'Hare airport on charges that he planned to travel overseas to fight for a terrorist group and give up his life if necessary, an official said Monday.

However, there was no evidence that suspect Jamshid Muhtorov was plotting attacks inside the United States, authorities said.

Muhtorov, 35, of Aurora, Colo., was arrested Saturday by members of the FBI's Denver and Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Muhtorov, who goes by several other names, was indicted on charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Prosecutors allege he planned to fight for the Islamic Jihad Union, which has been blamed for suicide attacks in Uzbekistan and claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Colorado man arrested on terrorism charges
Daniel Elliott & Steven K. Paulson, Associated Press, January 23, 2012

Bangladesh: Imam arrested for raping 8-year-old female madrasa student

Police have arrested an imam on charges that he violated an 8-year-old female madrasa student at Pirojpur district's Swarupkathi upazila.

Upzila's Qazi Bari Mosque's Imam Mohammar Nurul Islam was arrested after the girl's parents lodged a rape case on Saturday with the Swarupkathi Police Station, police said.

Station's inspector (investigation) Surendranath Adhikari told that Nurul Islam, a Fazil grade student of the upazila's Sarsina Alia Madrasa, was also presented before the court following his arrest.

According to case details, Islam was appointed to tutor the victim in Arabic. Islam reportedly violated the girl when she was alone at the madrasa in the morning.

Her parents admitted her to upazila health complex after the girl arrived home and fell sick.

After lodging the case, the victim's mother told reporters, "I sent her to the imam to learn Arabic thinking he was a good person. But I did not know this would happen."
Imam arrested for 'raping' 8-year-old
Bangladesh News 24, January 22, 2012

Kuwait: 3 girls go out naked under abayas, referred to Criminal Investigations Department

Police have arrested three girls — a Kuwaiti and two GCC nationals, one of whom is a minor — for wearing no clothes except abayas (the black all covering garment worn by women) at a café in a commercial complex in Salmiya, reports Al-Rai daily.

A small boy reportedly told his mother that he saw a naked girl in the café and the mother then noticed the three girls and called the Operations Department of the Interior Ministry. The three girls told police that they had consensual sex in an apartment, consumed alcohol and got drunk. The girls added that when they regained their consciousness, they came to the café to have coffee.

Police made a phone call to the father of the two GCC girls, but he said he could not come to Kuwait as he was busy. The girls were referred to the Criminal Investigations Department.

Meanwhile, Farwaniya police have arrested a 54-year-old Kuwaiti man who was wanted by law for swindling people to the tune of KD 37,000 and various other financial crimes, like issuing dud cheques, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily. Police patrols on routine duty had stopped the man for reckless driving in Khaitan, but he sped up. Police then chased him and caught him just as he was about to reach home and referred him to the Sentences Enforcement Department.

Nigeria: Coordinated attacks by Islamic terrorists kill at least 143 people in Kano (update: 256 dead)

Coordinated attacks claimed by a radical Islamist sect killed at least 143 people in north Nigeria's largest city, a hospital official said Saturday, as gunfire still echoed around some areas of the sprawling city.

Soldiers and police officers swarmed over streets Saturday in Kano, a city of more than 9 million people that remains an important political and religious hub in Nigeria's Muslim north. But their effectiveness remains in question, as the uniformed bodies of many of their colleagues lay in the overflowing mortuary of Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Kano's largest hospital.

A hospital official there said at least 143 people died in the attacks Friday. The count included some bodies already claimed by families for immediate burial per Islamic law, the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to disclose the figure to journalists.

Other bodies could be lying at other clinics and hospitals in the city.

In a statement issued late Friday, federal police spokesman Olusola Amore said attackers targeted five police buildings, two immigration offices and the local headquarters of the State Security Service, Nigeria's secret police.

Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross, said volunteers offered first aid to the wounded, and evacuated those seriously injured to local hospitals. He said officials continued to collect corpses scattered around sites of the attacks. A survey of two hospitals by the Red Cross showed at least 50 people were injured in Friday's attack, he said.

State authorities declared a 24-hour curfew late Friday as residents hid inside their homes amid the fighting.

A Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message to journalists. He said the attack came as the state government refused to release Boko Haram members held by the police.

Boko Haram has carried out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is responsible for at least 510 killings last year alone, according to an AP count. So far this year, the group has been blamed for at least 219 killings, according to an AP count.

The sect's targets have included both Muslims and Christians. However, the group has begun specifically targeting Christians after promising it will kill any Christians living in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north. That has further inflamed religious and ethnic tensions in Nigeria, which has seen ethnic violence kill thousands in recent years along the divide between the north and the largely Christian south.

Friday's attacks also could cause more unrest, as violence in Kano has set off attacks throughout the north in the past, including postelection violence in April that saw 800 people killed. Kano, an ancient city, remains important in the history of Islam in Nigeria and has important religious figures there today.

Amid the recent unrest and attacks, at least two journalists have been killed in Nigeria. Journalist Enenche Akogwu, who worked as a correspondent in Kano for private news station Channels Television, was shot and killed Friday while reporting on the attacks, colleagues said. In central Nigeria's city of Jos, Nansok Sallah, a news editor for a government-owned radio station called Highland FM, was found dead in a shallow stream Thursday, the victim of an apparent murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
At least 143 killed in north Nigeria sect attacks
Associated Press, January 21, 2012
Attacks by Islamic militants in Nigeria that killed at least 256 people in the northern city of Kano are challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s government a week after a nationwide strike paralyzed the economy. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram said it was responsible for blasts at eight government buildings in Kano on Jan. 20. The death toll was confirmed today by Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress, whose members helped carry the dead and wounded to hospitals.
Nigeria Struggles to Curb Islamists After Attacks Kill 256
Mustapha Muhammad and Chris Kay, Bloomberg, January 23, 2012

The results of the Egyptian "Arab spring" are in: Islamists Win 70% of Seats in the Egyptian Parliament

Egyptian authorities confirmed Saturday that a political coalition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the 84-year-old group that virtually invented political Islam, had won about 47 percent of the seats in the first Parliament elected since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. An alliance of ultraconservative Islamists won the next largest share of seats, about 25 percent.

The military council leading Egypt since Mr. Mubarak lost power last February has said it will keep Parliament in a subordinate role with little real power until the ratification of a constitution and the election of a president, both scheduled for completion by the end of June.

But the council has assigned Parliament the authority to choose the 100 members of a constitutional assembly, so it may shape Egypt for decades to come, although the military council has sometimes tried to influence that process.

The election results were expected because of preliminary tallies after each of the three phases of the vote, but the confirmation comes in time for the seating of Parliament on Monday.

The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades.
Islamists Win 70% of Seats in the Egyptian Parliament
David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, January 21, 2012

Followers of Islam make UK history: Muslim men first to be found guilty of sex hate crime

Three Muslim men have been found guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation in the first case of its kind.

The men distributed a leaflet that said Islam called for anyone caught committing homosexuality to be executed.

They were convicted by a jury at Derby Crown Court of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The case is the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed handed out the pamphlet, called “The Death Penalty?” which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts that said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.

Mehboob Hussain and Umar Javed, who were also charged with the same offence, were found not guilty by the jury.

Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, had told jurors: "In this country we have many freedoms. Sometimes we take them for granted perhaps. Our legal system gives us rights and protects those rights. When individuals are charged with serious criminal offences a jury has to hear the evidence, consider the issues and decide whether guilt has been proven, your presence here is one of the ways in which our rights are protected.

"One of the ways in which we organise our society can be summed up in the common phrase, 'live and let live'. This case is all about the antithesis of that approach to life.

The charges related to one of a series of three leaflets distributed and a fourth not distributed. One was entitled Turn or Burn and featured a burning person in a lake of fire as an image of hell.

The leaflets were distributed after Friday prayers and were part of a protest mounted by a group of Muslim men against the Gay Pride parade due to take place on 10th July, 2010.

Ali had told police he wanted to advertise a Muslim protest against the parade by distributing flyers. Ali was urged by police to take legal advice to ensure the contents of the flyers would not cause offence.

Ali had organised the distribution of the professionally produced colour leaflets and the others were arrested for distributing them.

Ahmed, a father-of-one, told the court he handed out the leaflets as part of his religious beliefs.

He said: "It was my duty as a Muslim to spread what God says about homosexuality.

"The references on the leaflets are historical facts and quote from the Koran."

Miss Cheema warned the jury: "This case is not about an interference with the defendants' freedom of religion or freedom to express their religious views in an attempt to education or inform.

"The vast majority of Muslims and indeed other religious people or people with no religion but who have firm views about homosexuality are able to express their views if they wish to in a lawful, moderate and self-controlled way. The Death Penalty leaflet goes well beyond any such temperate discussion."
Muslim men first to be found guilty of sex hate crime
Duncan Gardham, The Telegraph, January 20, 2012

Australia: Iraqi immigrant with connections to Saddam Hussein jailed for terrorizing 2 women

AN Iraqi performer who once taught music to members of Saddam Hussein's family has been jailed for terrorising two women in their north Melbourne homes.

Esam Moshi, who fled Iraq with his family because of their connection to the executed dictator, was jailed for a maximum of five years in the Victorian County Court on Friday over two aggravated burglaries.

Family members in court wept as Judge Michael Bourke sentenced the 36-year-old to a minimum of three years' jail.

Judge Bourke said Moshi had gone to the home of an 87-year-old woman in Melbourne's north on July 12, 2010 and, using the pretext of car trouble, asked for a bottle of water.

The father-of-one had pushed the woman against a bench, causing her to fall, but had fled when she said her son would be returning soon, the court heard.

Later on the same day, he had used the same method to enter the home of a 60-year-old woman. He had pushed her to the floor and attempted to grab her necklace, Judge Bourke said.
Former musician to Saddam Hussein jailed
Michelle Henderson, AAP, January 20, 2012

Guyana: Islamic scholar sexually abuses 3 boys all below the age of 10

The Muslim scholar, who is accused of sexually assaulting three brothers, has been sent on station bail, and the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) says the man has been sent on leave.

Police Chief of Criminal Investigations, Assistant Commissioner, Seelall Persaud said the accused has been released on station bail and told to report to the station periodically.

Demerara Waves Online News ( was told that bail was set at GUY$150,000.

Persaud said nothing has been dispatched to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack as “a number of things has to be done” as part of the probe.

The boys’ mother and officials of the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) of the Ministry of Human Services have confirmed that medical examinations have been conducted on the boys all below the 10 years old. The boys allege that they were sexually assaulted between December 2011 and January when they would have gone to Madrassa at a Section D Pattensen-Turkeyen-based Mosque.

The man also teaches at a school associated with the CIOG which on Thursday pledged to “continue our work to ensure all children have the ability to live free from abuse and neglect by advocating for the safety of all young people.”

The organisation confirmed that the Mufti is one of its staff members and he has since been sent on leave. “Since the allegations have been made this person was sent on leave pending the outcome of the investigation and any case in the courts,” the CIOG said.

Security forces arrest 10 terrorists planning attacks against Israelis, abduction of soldier

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and IDF have arrested 10 high-ranking Islamic Jihad terrorists in the West Bank who were planning a series of attacks against Israel, including the abduction of an IDF soldier.

The Shin Bet, which released details of the investigation on Thursday, said the Jenin-based cell was in direct contact with Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus, from which it received large sums of money to fund terrorist activity, as well as instruction regarding the type of attacks it should plan and perpetrate.

During the arrest raids that were carried out in recent weeks, IDF soldiers discovered a kilogram of potassium, which can be used to create explosives, as well as an AK-47 assault rifle, 150 bullets and NIS 2,000 in cash that the Shin Bet said was intended for financing terrorist attacks.

During interrogation, the suspects confessed to establishing a cell in northern Samaria to carry out shooting attacks against settlers and IDF patrols, and to kidnap an Israeli civilian or soldier to use as a bargaining chip for securing the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

In December, the IDF indicted members of the cell at the Salem Military Court on charges of membership in an illegal organization; the transfer of enemy money into the West Bank; contact with foreign agents; illegal possession of weapons; and conspiracy to trade in military hardware.
Shin Bet arrests terror cell planning abductions
‎Yaakov Katz , Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2012

UK: Sex fiend branded an ‘animal’ after attacking and raping three girls at once

A SEX fiend from East Lancashire who attacked and raped three girls has been jailed for 14 years.

Shofik Ali, 22, drove them to a house where he forced them into a room, took their mobile phones and raped them.

Ali has been branded an ‘animal’ by a councillor for putting the girls through such an extended ordeal.

At one point he threatened to burn down the house unless one of the trio agreed to his demands during their ordeal, Bolton Crown Court was told.

Ali, of Wells Street, Haslingden, had been drinking with the girls while they were driven around East Lancashire, the court heard.

But later Ali turned nasty and dragged one girl into the bedroom of a house in Rochdale, jamming a bed against the door and demanding sex.

Before they could flee Ali raped all three, punching one girl on the nose so she would co-operate.

Ali denied four offences of rape and assault by penetration.

He was convicted of the four rapes and found not guilty of the assault.

Jailing him Judge Timothy Clayson also ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Speaking after the case, Coun David Stansfield, who represents Haslingden’s Worsley ward, where Ali lives, said: “He’s worse than an animal.

“The people of Haslingden will be pleased that this kind of offender is off our streets. If it was left to me he would have got 20 years.”

Prosecutor Peter Barr said the defendant and the girls, who were all younger than Ali, were driven around East Lancashire, buying alcohol and drinking it before ending up at a house in Rochdale.
Haslingden sex fiend branded an ‘animal’ after raping three girls
Peter Magill, Lancashire Telegraph, January 18, 2012

Nigerian terrorist escapes custody; Boko Haram secretly backed by government and security officials

The man thought to have masterminded an attack on a Nigerian church that killed 37 people on Christmas Day has escaped from police custody, still wearing handcuffs, less than a day after his arrest.

Kabir Sokoto, an influential businessman and alleged gun-runner, was a huge catch for authorities investigating the church bombing just outside the capital, Abuja. A radical Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sokoto was detained after unexpectedly turning up at the Abuja home of the governor of Borno, a northern state plagued by Boko Haram attacks. The following day, Sokoto fled while being escorted by five armed policemen to search his nearby flat.

"In the course of undertaking this important procedure, the policemen on escort with the suspect were attacked by the suspected sect gang members and in the process the suspect freed," police official Olusola Amore said. An officer was injured in the shootout during which the police vehicle was surrounded by a large crowd, a security official said.

Amore said the regional police commissioner had been suspended for "serious negligence" over the escape, and may face prosecution.

Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, confirmed this month that Boko Haram has secret backers among government and security officials. The movement's violent campaign to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law on Africa's most populous nation claimed more than 500 lives last year. Almost a quarter of the national budget, around $6bn (£3.9bn), was allocated to the security forces to check Boko Haram's growing threat.

There is little faith that the national security apparatus can handle the task.

"We have said it before and we will continue to say it, that there are people in our security agencies that have other loyalties than they have to Nigeria," said Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Others prefered to hope that the police were merely incompetent. "Maybe the police just didn't have the brain to chain his legs," said Musa, a newspaper vendor in Lagos. "They are still very useless people but that is better than that they purposely released [him]."

The embarrassment comes two days after suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed five people in the group's homeland states of Borno and Yobe. Three of the victims were from neighbouring Chad, whose borders with Nigeria remain closed since the president declared a state of emergency in several northern states.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on the UN headquarters in Abuja which killed 24 people in August.
Nigerian terrorist 'mastermind' escapes police custody
Monica Mark‎, The Guardian, January 18, 2012

Germany: Islamic terrorist prompted by clip of Brian De Palma’s ‘Redacted’ to kill US servicemen

The mainstream media will spend ten days losing their ever-loving minds blaming a Sarah Palin campaign map a killer never saw for that killer’s actions, but this news about a confessed terrorist admitting that a clip from Brian De Palma’s “Redacted” “prompted” him to murder two American airmen gets buried at the bottom of a Salt Lake City newspaper article:
Uka gave a teary confession as his Frankfurt state court trial opened in August, saying that the night before the attack he had seen a video on Facebook that purported to show American soldiers raping a teenage Muslim girl. It turned out to be a scene from the 2007 Brian De Palma anti-war film “Redacted,” taken out of context.
Uka told the court the video prompted him to do anything possible to prevent American soldiers from going to Afghanistan. Under German law, the court is still required to hear all evidence in the case, even though Uka has confessed.
The defendant had already killed two U.S. airmen when he turned his pistol on Brewer, a 23-year-old from Gray, Tennessee, who was on the bus waiting with others to be taken to nearby Ramstein Air Base to fly to Afghanistan.

Remember how, during the lead up to the release of the “Passion of the Christ,” the leftist media was on high alert waiting for synagogues and crosses to be burned? And yet, not a word in the national media about how this particular Hollywood film “prompted” the murder of two American servicemen.

Buried. Memory-holed. Never happened. Carry on.

Uganda: Hundreds fail Islamic exams, female pupils perform better than their male counterparts

In Summary: The Islam PLE. However, the female pupils performed better than their male counterparts.

About 701 students have failed last year’s Islamic Primary Leaving Examinations (IPLE), registering 23.3 per cent of the total number of candidates who sat for the exams.

This implies that these will not join any Islamic theological institute this year.

Although the number of failures looks smaller compared to the 901 pupils who failed in 2010, the performance was generally poor considering the number of candidates who sat for the exam last year.

Declining grades

According to the 2011 IPLE results released yesterday by the Islamic National Examinations Board, 704 passed with first grades while 770 passed with second grade. This is far below the 819 candidates and 1,042 who passed in the same grade last year respectively.

Another 305 were in third grade while 501 passed with fourth grade.

Sheikh Yahaya Lukwago, the chairman of Uganda Quran Schools Associations (UQSA), said out of the 3,020 pupils who registered for the exams from 111 centres countrywide, 39 did not show up for the exams. “There was also a total decline in the performance in all subjects as compared to last year. Some pupils registered for the exams but didn’t show up,” Mr Lukwago said.

He blamed the poor performance on schools that force pupils to sit for the exams while still in Primary Six. “This has led to poor performance when pupils join Senior One because they tend to forget what they studied in P.6,” he said.

UQSA is an umbrella organisation for all Islamic schools in the country teaching theology. It has its own syllabus for the Arabic language and Islamic Theology for primary schools.

According to the results, central region took the lead in performance followed by western, eastern, while northern came last.
Hundreds fail Islamic exams
Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Daily Monitor, January 18, 2012

Hamas police beat and detain 15 Shi'ite worshipers and knife human-rights activist

Palestinian rights groups say masked Hamas police beat and detained members of the Gaza Strip's tiny Shia Muslim community during a religious commemoration last week.

It was the first claim of harassment by a group of Shia worshippers against the territory's rulers, who are Sunni Muslims. Hamas officials denied the allegations. Hamas is believed to enjoy close ties with Iran, the Shia Islamic republic.

Rights groups reported on Tuesday a separate incident that also occurred last week - a knife attack on a local non-governmental organisation executive.

The accusations came as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main Palestinian Islamist movements, were holding talks about merging their two factions, according to sources on both sides.

A man who described himself as a Shia Muslim said police burst into a house where followers were marking Arbaeen, commemorating the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Complaints filed

The man said about 15 worshippers were beaten and detained. He declined to be identified, fearing further harassment.

But some of the men filed complaints to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, which both sharply condemned Hamas over the attack.

Mezan said in a statement that during Saturday evening's incident in the town of Beit Lahia, police smashed up the apartment, broke the bones of seven of the men, detained some of them at a police station and beat them again before sending them to a military hospital for treatment.

"The attack is a violation of the freedom ... to practise one's faith," Samir Zakout, a Mezan official, said.

Ihab Ghussein, a Hamas interior ministry spokesman, said on Tuesday that police stormed the apartment of a group of "outlaws" who were planning "criminal acts".

He also said he was unaware of the presence of any Shia Muslims in Gaza and that his offices would look into right groups' allegations that the men were beaten.

There are no official statistics on the number of Gaza's Shia Muslims. They are believed to number several dozen - a minuscule minority among a population of 1.6 million people who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.

Attack on advocate

In Tuesday's second incident, Al Mezan Centre said a prominent rights activist who has criticised Palestinian leaders and fighters, was attacked by unknown assailants.

Mahmud Abu Rahma, international relations director at the Al Mezan, was stabbed multiple times by several masked men on Friday evening, the Gaza-based centre said in a statement.

He was stabbed in the back, leg and shoulders, but used his laptop computer to prevent the attackers from stabbing him in the chest, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said in a separate statement on the incident.

"Mr Abu Rahma has received many threats on his mobile and email, including messages threatening his safety and life," the centre said, adding that the threats made reference to an article by Abu Rahma entitled "The Gap between Resistance and Governance".

The article, published in Arabic on several websites and later translated into English, warned that both the Palestinian "resistance" groups and government were failing ordinary citizens.

"Who will protect citizens from the mighty resistance and the powerful government when one, or both, of them harm them?" he wrote in an English-language version of the article published on January 5 by the Palestinian news agency Maan.

And he said Palestinian fighters endangered civilians by operating in crowded areas, creating the risk that their weapons would accidentally injure or kill locals, and raising the likelihood that Israeli response attacks would affect civilians.

Al Mezan said the attack was the second time Abu Rahma had been targeted since January 2. Ghussein, the Hamas spokesman, said the incidents were under investigation.

"The complaint was only filed yesterday," he told the AFP news agency, saying it was "surprising" that it took several days to be reported to authorities.

UK: Father who handed out leaflets saying gays should be hanged says 'I was doing my duty as a Muslim'

A father has told a court he was only doing his duty as a Muslim by handing out leaflets calling for gay people to be executed.

Kabir Ahmed, 28, said he handed a leaflet called Death Penalty? to a policeman and stuffed them through letterboxes across Derby because he was spreading the word of God as taught by Islam.

He said: 'My intention was to do my duty as a Muslim, to inform people of God’s word and to give the message on what God says about homosexuality.'

Married Ahmed, who has a nine-month-old daughter, is on trial with four other men at Derby Crown Court charged with inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

At the opening of the trial last week jurors were shown the Death Penalty? leaflet, which shows an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose and says that homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty under Islam.

The leaflet states: 'The death sentence is the only way this immoral crime can be erased from corrupting society and act as a deterrent for any other ill person who is remotely inclined in this bent way.'

It goes on: 'The only dispute amongst the classical authorities was the method employed in carrying out the penal code,' and then goes on to offer burning, being flung from a high point such as a mountain or building, or being stoned to death as suitable methods.

Giving evidence today Ahmed, wearing a pair of grey trousers and a black shirt, said he had handed one of the Death Penalty? leaflets to PC Stephen Gregory on July 2 2010 as he was passing by the area of the Jamia Mosque in Rosehill Street following Friday prayers.

He told the court he felt it was his duty as a Muslim to inform and advise people wherever they may be committing sins, he would be failing if he did not.

'My duty is not just to better myself but to try and better the society I live in,' he said.

'We believe we can’t just stand by and watch somebody commit a sin, we must try and advise them and urge them to stay away from sin.'

Ahmed said he had studied the texts of many religions including the Bible and the Torah and used ideas from each to compare with what Islam says about things such as drugs, alcohol, prostitution and relationships.

Ahmed’s barrister Zacharias Miah asked him if PC Gregory had told him he was doing something wrong would he have handed over the bag of leaflets he was carrying and Ahmed replied: 'Of course, without a shadow of a doubt.'

Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema told the court the Death Penalty? leaflet was not educational or informative but was simply 'threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty.'

Four other Derby men - Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, Umar Javed, 38, and his brother Razwan Javed, 28, of Wilfred Street - are also charged with the same offence.

All five men deny the charges.

The trial continues.

Israel: Shots fired at home of Arab who says Beduin, not Jews, torched local mosque

Man whose house was targeted had said that Beduin, not Jews, torched Tuba Zanghariya mosque.

Several shots were fired at the home of a resident of a Beduin village in the North overnight Saturday, hours after he went on television to say he thought an attack on a local mosque was carried out by Arabs rather than Jews.

On Saturday evening, Channel 2 aired an interview with Bassam Sawid, a resident of Tuba Zanghariya and an IDF veteran who lost his leg while serving in the Second Lebanon War.

Tuba Zanghariya’s central mosque was the target of an arson and graffiti attack on October 3, and the words “price tag” – associated with far-Right attackers – was written in charcoal on a mosque wall.

Although police believe far-Right activists are behind the vandalism, and have arrested three young men in recent months in connection with the attack, Sawid said villagers were more likely to be behind the attack and cast doubt on the idea that a Jew could enter the village and damage the mosque without being noticed.

Soon after the interview was aired, an unidentified man sprayed Sawid’s home with bullets from an automatic firearm.

“We’re looking into a vehicle that was seen in the area during the time of the attack,” a northern district police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. Police have not arrested any suspects.

During testimony given to police, Sawid said he thought the shots were fired as a direct response to the interview he gave. Police have stepped up patrols around Sawid’s home.

In November, police arrested the mosque’s cleric on suspicion of incitement to violence.

The cleric, Fuad Zanghariya, was arrested over his alleged involvement in a shooting attack on the home of a former council head due to a feud. He denied the suspicions against him.
Shots fired at Beduin's home
Yaakov Lappin, The Jerusalem Post, January 16, 2012

Pakistan: At least 17 Shi'ites killed and some 20 wounded in bomb attack on Khanpur procession

At least 17 people have been killed and some 20 wounded in a bomb attack on a Shia religious procession in the central Pakistani city of Khanpur.

Police initially thought the blast had been caused by an electrical fault, but later confirmed it was a bomb.

The attack targeted Shias marking the festival of Arbain, one of the main holy days of the Shia calendar.

There have been a number of attacks targeting the minority Shia community, carried out by Sunni militants.

The remote-controlled bomb was planted near an electric pole, Sohail Chattha, the area's police chief, told Reuters news agency.

He said it was set off as the procession approached.

"There was a loud explosion a few yards from the procession and we all scrambled to get away," Imran Iqbal, who was in the procession, told Reuters.

"Debris was everywhere, and a cloud of dust engulfed us. Many people died on the spot."

Cameras captured the sound of the blast - which silenced the mourning chants of the marchers - followed by the sight of a cloud of dust rising into the sky, the BBC's Shoaib Hasan reports from Karachi.

As the dust cleared, the wounded dragged themselves from the scene of the blast, their cries filling the air, he said.

Ambulances arrived quickly and rushed the injured to local hospitals.

Angry members of the procession later clashed with the police amid accusations that the security provided had been inadequate.

No organisation has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, our correspondent says.

But South Punjab is home turf to Pakistan's deadliest Sunni militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is notoriously anti-Shia, he adds.

UK: TV boss kidnapped by the head of a rival Bangladeshi network and tortured

TELEVISION boss Mohammed Ferdhaus was kidnapped by the head of a rival network and strung up by his ankles before having boiling water poured over his head, a court was told.

Mr Ferdhaus, was held prisoner and tortured by a man he himself had attacked weeks before, a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London heard.

Mr Ferdhaus, 38, is head of Channel S, the main satellite television station for Britain’s Bangladeshi community, and hosts his own chat show.

The court was told he was abducted by an armed gang last May, soon after returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Prosecutors claim he was then driven to a restaurant where he was hooded, bound and tortured as attackers repeatedly demanded £250,000 from him.

He was eventually released by one of the kidnappers after promising him £50,000 in cash. He was then driven to the edge London’s North Circular Road and given £30 to get a taxi.

Mr Ferdhaus was later treated in hospital for serious burns and internal injuries.

The four men charged with organising the kidnap include Hafiz Bakhsh, 40, the head of rival TV network ATN Bangla.

The court was told police found footage of the torture on the mobile phone of another alleged kidnapper, Mohammed Hussain, 44, said to have been an acquaintance of Mr Ferdhaus for 20 years.

Prosecutors say the pair had clashed less than four weeks earlier. Mr Ferdhaus maintained that their row ended amicably, but Hussain’s barrister Peter Corrigan presented a more violent version.

Cross-examining Mr Ferdhaus, he said: “Mr Hussain was humiliated by having some of his clothing removed. He was beaten and he was slapped and his pockets were emptied.

“He went to hospital and called the police as a result of what you and your friends did.”

He added: “The reason behind your assault on Mr Hussain was your upset because your wife had been phoning him to find out what was going on when you were on pilgrimage in Mecca.”

Mohammed Hussain, Hafiz Bakhsh, Sadek Ali, 42, and Abul Aktar, 38, all deny conspiracy to kidnap. Hussain also denies blackmail and malicious wounding. The trial continues.
TV boss 'kidnapped and tortured rival
Ted Jeory, Daily and Sunday Express, January 15, 2012

France: Alien serial rapist asks his white victims their nationality and religion before raping them

On 23 December this man raped two blonde-haired, blue-eyed women in Paris then another two days later in Étampes (Essonne). The police had numerous photographs and CCTV images of this man but did not release them until the story was picked up in a magazine called Le Nouveau Detective (The New Detective) and then the newspaper Le Parisien, which published an artificial photofit image of him.

Le Parisien said that the detective division of the French police was "observing the strictest silence in this affair" which was described as "very sensitive".

This is yet another example of European police forces putting the lives of Europeans at greater risk for political purposes.
. . .

"This man is considered very dangerous. He has shown himself to be very violent but at the same time, he has spoken to his victims a great deal, notably asking them their religious affiliation or their nationality."
"He also wounded the adolescent with several blows of the knife before trying to strangle her. He becomes very violent when the victims struggle. It seems he only attacks young European women, with light-coloured hair and blue eyes. He also apologised to them after having raped them and stabbed them. This type of behaviour is very troubling."

Of course he must be a Muslim. Why else would he ask their religion before raping them? But there's no definite information about that yet. Nor is their likely to be with the police working to conceal any information that might reflect adversely on our "diverse" fellow citizens.

[Source 1: Appel à témoins dans l'affaire du violeur en série parisien - Flore Galaud, Le Figaro, January 13, 2012]

[Source 2: La police parisienne traque un violeur en série - Stéphane Sellami, Le Parisien, January 12, 2012]

[Source 3: Il agit comme un prédateur - Le Parisien, January 12, 2012]

Iraq: Suicide bomber kills at least 53 Shi'ite pilgrims and injures 137 others

It was the latest in a series of attacks during Shi'ite religious commemorations that have killed scores of people and threaten to increase sectarian tensions just weeks after the US withdrawal.

The attack happened on the last of the 40 days of Arbain, when hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims from Iraq and abroad visit the Iraqi city of Kerbala, as well as other holy sites.

Saturday's blast occurred near the town of Zubeir as pilgrims marched toward the Shi'ite Imam Ali shrine on the outskirts of the town, said Ayad al-Emarah, a spokesman for the governor of Basra province. The shrine is an enclave within an enclave – a Shia site on the edge of a mostly Sunni town in an otherwise mostly Shiite province.
. . .
Basra hospital received 53 killed and 137 wounded after the blast, said Dr Riyadh Abdul-Amir, the head of the Basra Health Directorate. He said some of the wounded were in serious condition, and warned that the death toll may rise further.

The explosion came as Shi'ite pilgrims commemorate the climax of Arbain, which marks the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, a revered Shi'ite. Pilgrims who cannot make it to the holy city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad, often journey to other sacred sites such as the shrine near Zubeir.

Majid Hussein, a government employee, was one of the pilgrims heading to the shrine. He said people began running away in panic when they heard a loud explosion.

"I saw several dead bodies and wounded people, including children on the ground asking for help. There were also some baby strollers left at the blast site," he said.

The attack, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents, is the latest in a series of deadly strikes in this year's Arbain. More than 145 people have been killed.

The largest of the Arbain attacks – a wave of apparently co-ordinated bombings in Baghdad and outside the southern city of Nasiriyah – killed at least 78 people on Jan 5. It was the deadliest strike in Iraq in more than a year.

Indonesia: Hundreds of Muslims attack ministry in Jakarta over alcohol law

A mob of hardline Muslim activists pelted Indonesia’s Home Affairs Ministry with stones and eggs yesterday, after a quarrel between the central government and several regional authorities over conflicting laws on alcohol sales brewed over.

In an attack that reflects growing efforts by radicals to control the agenda in secular Indonesia, hundreds of members of two extremist groups hit the complex in central Jakarta, damaging a security post, carpark and glass panels before threatening to conduct sweeps on bars and beat up customers.

The activists from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Islamic People’s Forum (FUI) were protesting against a move by the Indonesian government to review local laws banning the sale and consumption of alcohol enacted in some regencies.

FUI secretary-general Muhammad Al Khaththath called on Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi to “repent, apologise to everybody and step down”, saying the sale of alcohol was against Islamic teachings and should be banned.

Hours later, however, seven FPI leaders came to the ministry to apologise to officials and the police. Consultative council secretary Misbakhul Anam said the situation had got out of control, as the group’s members were “young and not trained”.

But Mr Gamawan, describing the assault as “anarchic”, told The Straits Times that he would take “appropriate action regarding the existence of these groups where the law is broken”. Police also said they were investigating the attack.

On the surface, the controversy appeared to be about overlapping rights between the central government and local authorities over by-laws, which the country’s 400 regencies and 92 cities can draft and enforce on their own turf, as long as they do not contradict national laws. The flexibility was introduced as part of Indonesia’s ongoing decade-long process of devolving control to local authorities.

But it also points to continuing efforts by extremists and conservatives seeking to turn the country into an Islamic state. Observers noted that many of the by-laws being enacted reflected a growing desire of officials to implement strict Islamic law, leading to what some have called the proliferation of “syariah by-laws”. In some regencies, women are banned from going out at night, or told they must wear “modest” attire.

The latest clash came after the Home Affairs Ministry, while reviewing local laws, homed in on those that banned alcohol sales altogether.

In Indonesia, alcoholic drinks are classified under three categories: Class A for drinks with less than 5 per cent alcohol, like beer; Class B for those with 5 per cent to 20 per cent alcohol, such as wine; and Class C for spirits with 20 to 55 per cent alcohol. In many cities, Class A drinks are available at convenience stores, while Class B and Class C drinks can be sold only at places like hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and duty-free shops.

But by having by-laws banning alcohol, several regencies effectively erased these categories.

Mr Gamawan, however, said Class A drinks cannot be banned. “Otherwise, even drinks like tapai will be forbidden,” he added, referring to the popular home-brew drink made from fermented cassava or fermented rice. He said: “Regional laws cannot clash with those set by a higher authority. They have to revise by-laws that contravene state law. The right to regulate who drinks and who can distribute alcoholic drinks is that of the government.”

Officials in the conservative Indramayu regency in West Java and Tangerang city, however, opposed the ministry’s review stridently. The influential Indonesian Council of Religious Scholars (MUI) said it “was certain to result in moral degradation”, while MPs slammed the ministry for being “insensitive to local feelings”.

On Wednesday, Mr Gamawan lashed back at MUI for “fitnah”, or slander, which many Muslims consider a grave sin.

All his ministry was doing, he said, was asking regional officials to evaluate and clarify their by-laws to ensure they did not contravene national laws. Only the President, he added, can revoke a by-law.

Retorting, MUI chairman Amidhan Shaberah said the ministry was playing with semantics. “In asking for a review, they are effectively revoking the by-law,” he told The Straits Times yesterday.

Religious groups and MPs have increasingly cited broader arguments, like public order, to justify the strict by-laws. Said MP Anis Matta of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party: “There are many security issues related to this. It’s not simply a matter of religion.”

Such a view, however, runs against the generally relaxed approach to alcohol adopted by many Muslims in Indonesia. Many Indonesians have also pointed out that the country’s laws should not infringe on the rights of minority groups, nor should they compel all Muslims – who make up some 90 per cent of the population – to follow Islamic teachings as much as some groups might want them to.

The matter is likely to intensify in the coming months, although Dr Luthfi Assyaukanie, the deputy director of think-tank Freedom Institute, noted that Mr Gamawan’s credentials – a devout Muslim and former governor of West Sumatra province who is viewed as close to MUI leaders – make him one of the best persons to take on opponents.

Dr Luthfi told The Straits Times: “Syariah- inspired by-laws are like a ticking time-bomb. People forget that it is not just Muslims who sell drinks or run businesses that do, and by-laws like these have a negative impact on tourism and the local economy.”
Mob attacks ministry in Jakarta over alcohol law
Zakir Hussain, Bikya Masr, January 13, 2012

'Anti-Islamic' band nominated for Norway's prestigious Spellemann award

A notoriously "anti-Islamic" band has been nominated for Norway's top metal prize. Taake are one of six nominees for a prestigious Spellemann award, despite a song that declares: "To hell with Muhammad and the Muhammadans!"

"Norway will soon awaken!" read the lyrics to Orkan (Hurricane), on Taake's album Noregs Vaapen. The Spellemanns are Norway's equivalent of the Brits or the Grammys, and Noregs Vaapen is nominated for best metal album. Elsewhere on Orkan, singer Ørjan Stedjeberg refers to Muslims' "unforgivable customs" and calls for a new "kingdom" to "shine through [the] bad years, shame and Christian times".

Despite complaints, Spellemann officials defended the band's nomination. "We enjoy full freedom of expression in Norway and [our] jury is not going to censor content in any way," chairman Marte Thorsb told Aftenposten. But the Norwegian Humanist Association argues the lyrics go too far. Norway is still shaken from last summer's "anti-multiculturalist" attacks by Anders Breivik, which left 69 people dead. "In the aftermath of July 22nd [Taake's lyrics] are completely over the edge," said Didrik Søderlind. "I'd imagine Taake aren't particularly proud of these lyrics after Utøya."

Despite lyrics damning Muslims, Taake "do not encourage either violence or racism", Stedjeberg said. "Our view … is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam." He also criticised the media for ignoring Taake's (relatively tame) lyrics about Christianity. "Taake has never been a political band," he said.

Stedjeberg's comments come less than four years after he painted a swastika on his chest for a Taake concert in Essen, Germany. In the outcry over that event, he again insisted Taake are "not a political Nazi band". "Our whole concept is built on provocation and anything evil- and death-related," he said.

The Spellemanns will be awarded on Saturday night.
'Anti-Islamic' band nominated for Norway's top music prize
Sean Michaels, The Guardian, January 13, 2012

Indonesia: Police target girls for wearing shorts, say it's to “avoid pornography”

Tangerang Police are defending their actions after a photograph emerged of officers reprimanding what appear to be underaged girls for wearing shorts.

Spokesman Comr. Haru Manurun initially told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday that the picture from state news agency Antara simply showed female officers searching — and photographing — two teenage girls for weapons prior to a football match in the city on the outskirts of Jakarta.

“Basically we wanted to inspect everyone before they entered the stadium, to make sure that they didn’t bring any sharp or hard objects to disturb the match,” he said, “We checked everybody, including little children.”

Questioned further about the photo, which Antara said show the officers “scolding” the girls for “for wearing shorts,” Haru admitted Tangerang Police had told inappropriately dressed girls and women to not wear shorts to “avoid pornography.”

“We asked the policewomen to suggest and encourage [the girls] not to wear shorts because we wanted to avoid unwanted things,” Haru said.

“When we saw women in shorts, we scolded them because, perhaps, it is unfavorable in the eyes of the public and does not conform to public [standards of decency].”

He said it was strongly suggested that the females did not wear similar clothing to the next football match.

Asked about the apparent age of the girls, Haru said it was of no consequence.

“Ages doesn’t matter, but appropriate clothes do matter.”

UK: 71-year-old Mosque leader and wife launch violent attack on rival family in massive street brawl

A 71-YEAR-OLD mosque leader and his 67-year-old wife took part in a violent attack on a rival family in massive street brawl, a court heard.

Nadir Khan, president of the New Medina Mosque, and other members of his family, attacked Mohammed Iqbal Khan and his family on August 7, 2009, Bolton Crown Court was told yesterday.

A jury heard that Nadir Khan’s family, referred to as the Marlborough Street group, were armed with baseball bats, cricket bats and a car steering wheel lock.

The 10 defendants are all charged with violent disorder and a variety of other offences, all of which have been denied.

The families attend the same mosque and have a long standing grievance towards each other, the jury was told.

Shahzad Bahadar, known as Razaq, who, the Crown say, was the leader of the Marlborough group, contacted Mohammed Iqbal Khan’s brother, Mazhar, and asked them to come and sort out their differences as Ramadan was near and they could start with a clean slate.

But when they arrived, there were 20 to 25 Asian men in the street armed with weapons and violence broke out.

Peter Barr, prosecuting, said: “It is the Crown’s case that this is a most serious case of a pre-planned ambush, violent disorder.

“Weapons were carried, weapons were used and people were seriously hurt.”

The court heard that victim Munawar Khan suffered a broken hand and had to have a metal rod inserted after being attacked with the steering wheel lock by Razaq.

He was also hit on the head with a baseball bat by Ayaaz Khan, which resulted in a big lump next to his left eye.

Those two defendants then moved on to Mukhtar Khan. Razaq hit him with the lock on his back and shoulder, and Ayaaz Khan hit him across the left eye with the bat. The victim was taken to hospital and had four stitches and was left with black eyes and bruising.

Mohammed Iqbal Khan was attacked by Majid Dad, who had a baseball bat, and Khushleem Arshad, who had a black stick. Both aimed for Mr Khan’s head, but he managed to deflect the blows, said Mr Barr.

Nadir Khan struck him on the head with a baseball bat, the jury was told. Mr Khan fell to the ground and suffered a head wound which required six stitches.

Nadir Khan then attacked Ilyas Khan with a cricket bat and he needed eight stitches, the prosecution say.

Tahir Iqbal was struck with a bat by Ayaaz Khan, but managed to run away to a car park.

There, he was attacked by another man and, as he tried to get up, Dad allegedly threw a large concrete slab at him.

Mr Iqbal thought he was going to be killed, but he managed to turn away and the slab hit him on the back of the head, causing cuts. Inayat Khan, Nadir Khan’s wife, is alleged to have attacked Ilyas Khan’s sister as she tried to calm the situation.
‘Rival families in street brawl’
The Bolton News, January 12, 2012

US gave grant to Pakistani Muslim group which demonstrated in favor of governor’s killer

The U.S. gave money to a Pakistani Muslim group that organized anti-Taliban rallies, but which later demonstrated in support of an extremist who killed a leading liberal politician, the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan said Wednesday.

The grant highlights the difficulties facing Washington as it seeks partners to support religious moderation in Pakistan. Last month, The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Embassy had created a counter-extremism unit to perform that mission.

U.S. government website shows that the group, the Sunni Ittehad Council, received $36,607 from Washington in 2009.

A U.S. diplomat said that the embassy had given money to the group to organize the rallies, but that it had since changed direction and leadership. He said it was a one-off grant, and wouldn’t be repeated. He didn’t give his name because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the issue on the record.

The grant was first reported by the Council of Foreign Relations on its website.

The Ittehad council was formed in 2009 to counter extremism. It groups politicians and clerics from Pakistan’s traditionalist Barelvi Muslim movement, often referred to as theological moderates in the Pakistani context.

The American money was used to organize nationwide rallies against militants and suicide bombings, the embassy official said. The demonstrations received widespread media coverage, and were some of the first against extremism in the country.

The rhetoric at the rallies was mostly focused on opposing militant attacks on shrines, which Barelvis frequent but are opposed by Deobandi Muslims, Pakistan’s other main Muslim sect. Deobandis dominate the ranks of the Taliban and other extremists. Some view Barelvis as heretics.

In 2011 and also this month, however, the council led demonstrations in support of the killer of Salman Taseer, a governor who was killed a year ago for his criticism of anti-blasphemy laws used to persecute religious minorities. The displays have appalled Pakistani liberals and stoked international fears that the country is buckling under the weight of extremism.

Taseer’s assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, is a Barelvi. He claimed he acted to defend the honor of the prophet Mohammed, a cause that is especially dear to Barelvis.

At its rallies, the group maintains its criticism of the Taliban even as it supports Qadri — a seemingly contradictory stance that suggests its leaders may be more interested in harnessing the political support and street power of Barelvis than in genuinely countering militancy.

Two leading members of the council who have been with the group from the beginning of its existence denied receiving any American funds. The apparent discrepancy could be explained by lack of transparency within the organization. However, given the current anti-American climate, owning up to receiving funds from the United States would invite criticism.

“This propaganda is being unleashed against us because we are strongly opposed to Western democracy and American policies in the region and in the world,” said Sahibzada Fazal Karim, the head of the council, before reiterating the group’s support for Qadri.

“We are against extremism, but we support Qadri because he did a right thing,” he said.

Muslim groups and clerics in Pakistan have a long history of receiving money from foreign countries. Deobandi clerics have received millions of dollars over the last 20 years from Gulf nations to promote their austere brand of Islam and an anti-Shiite agenda. Iran has in turn funded Shiite groups.

Satanic Verses' author Salman Rushdie shrugs off call for India 'blasphemy' ban

British author Salman Rushdie has dismissed demands by an influential Islamic seminary in India that he should be banned from entering the country to attend a literature festival later this month.

Rushdie, who was threatened with death in a "fatwa" order from Iran over his 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses", is due to speak in the city of Jaipur alongside fellow writers such as Lionel Shriver and Richard Dawkins.

The Darululoom Deoband seminary, one of the world's most important Islamic universities, is known for its conservative teachings and has been accused in the media of inspiring radical Islamic groups such as the Taliban.

Maulana Qasim Nomani, a seminary official, called for India to cancel Rushdie's visa: "the man whose blasphemous writings have hurt the sentiments of Muslims all over the world must not be allowed to set foot on Indian soil."

Rushdie -- who was born in Mumbai in 1947 -- responded late on Monday by pointing out on Twitter he did not need a visa to visit India.

The novelist spent a decade in hiding after Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued the fatwa in 1989 calling for his death for alleged blasphemy against Islam in "The Satanic Verses".

The Times of India said on Tuesday that Rushdie had visited India dozens of times over the last 20 years and it accused the seminary of trying to link the issue to state elections in Uttar Pradesh that begin on February 8.

The seminary, which is located in Uttar Pradesh, was at the centre of a row last year between reform-minded new rector Gulam Mohammed Vastanvi and the school's traditionalists.

Vastanvi said he was sacked six months into his job for trying to modernise the curriculum, which is based on a 17th-century syllabus that focuses on Islamic law and spirituality.

Organisers of the Jaipur festival said Rushdie had attended literary events in India without incident in recent years, and was still scheduled to speak on January 20 and 21.

"In plural societies such as ours, it is imperative that we continue to allow avenues for unfettered literary expression," they said in a statement. What a billion Muslims really think about violence and Islamic law

Have you heard that Islam is a peaceful religion because most Muslims live peacefully and that only a "tiny minority of extremists" practice violence? That's like saying that White supremacy must be perfectly fine since only a tiny minority of racists ever hurt anyone. Neither does it explain why religious violence is largely endemic to Islam, despite the tremendous persecution of religious minorities in Muslim countries.

In truth, even a tiny minority of "1%" of Muslims worldwide translates to 15 million believers - which is hardly an insignificant number. However, the "minority" of Muslims who approve of terrorists, their goals, or their means of achieving them is much greater than this. In fact, it isn't actually a minority in some cases, depending on how goals and targets are defined.

The following polls convey what Muslims say are their attitudes toward terrorism, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 attacks, violence in defense of Islam, Sharia, honor killings, and matters concerning assimilation in Western society. The results are all the more astonishing because most of the polls were conducted by organizations with an obvious interest in "discovering" agreeable statistics that downplay any cause for concern[...]

US: Muslim charged with trying to obtain explosives and firearms to attack police station & businesses

A 25-year-old Muslim man born in Kosovo was charged on Monday with trying to obtain explosives and firearms to attack Florida businesses and a police station, authorities said.

Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Kosovo - a disputed Balkan state once a part of the former Yugoslavia that declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 - was charged with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

He was arrested Saturday night after taking possession from an undercover FBI agent of what he believed to be explosives and firearms. He then armed what he thought was a car bomb intended to explode outside an Irish bar, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney. The devices were rendered inoperable by the agents.

Osmakac also planned to strap on an explosive belt and "get in somewhere where there's a lot of people," according to the release. Osmakac hoped to take hostages and demand the release of some unidentified prisoners. He told the undercover agent that police could "take me in five million pieces," according to the release.

"We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?" Osmakac, who said he is Muslim, was quoted as saying to agents.

Shortly before his arrest, Osmakac made an eight-minute video of himself, recorded at his request by the agent, explaining his motives for carrying out the planned attack, according to the release.

Osmakac said in the video that Muslim "blood" was more valuable than that of people who do not believe in Islam, and that he wanted "payback" for wrongs to Muslims.

The investigation was triggered by someone who told the FBI in September that Osmakac asked about obtaining flags representing al Qaeda, the Islamic extremist group responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

The press release described events leading up to the arrest: Osmakac met again with the source in November, discussed potential targets for attack in Tampa, and asked for help in obtaining firearms and explosives. The source set up the first of a series of meetings between Osmakac and an undercover FBI agent, all of which were recorded.

Osmakac identified his targets as several nightclubs in Ybor City, Tampa's historic Cuban community and a popular tourist district; and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's operations center.

Osmakac's shopping list, for which he provided the undercover agent a $500 down payment, included the explosive belt which he specified should be constructed to "rip flesh."

He asked for enough explosives for three car bombs with cell phone triggers, but settled for one car bomb when the agent told him a bigger purchase would draw attention. He also requested an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, and grenades.
Muslim man charged in attempted Florida car bombing
Barbara Liston, Reuters, January 10, 2012

Act for Sudan asks US State Dept. the obvious: Why Syria & Libya but not Sudan?

The State Department tried something new last Friday, answering selected questions posed via Twitter. Today, a Sudan human rights organization that was one of the selected questioners called the answer it got on Sudan policy "unconvincing," "unacceptable," "a broken record," and "condescending."

The Twitter press conference, where State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland will give answers to questions posed over Twitter following each Friday press briefing in January, is an experiment in State's ever-evolving strategy that it has dubbed "21st Century Statecraft."

Act for Sudan, an alliance of grassroots advocacy organizations, suggested one of the five tweets that was chosen and answered by Nuland, but the group is unhappy with the result.

The tweet, sent by @ObSilence but identical to the tweet suggested by Act for Sudan, was: "Why doesn't @StateDept support regime change in #Sudan where government-led genocide continues? Why Syria+Libya but not #Sudan?"

"Well, first of all, ObSilence, each country and each situation is different," Nuland responded. "But I will say that in Sudan, for many years, we have continued to press for concrete, meaningful, democratic reforms and accountability and an end to the violence. We have pushed hard for an end to the fighting in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and a full resolution of the Darfur conflict. Those responsible for crimes and crimes against humanity have to be held accountable."

Nuland went on to say that normalization between the United States and Sudan could only progress when violence ends, and she called on the government to work with civilians to resolve their issues. She also acknowledged that "deplorable human rights conditions and unacceptable practices of bombing innocent civilians and denying humanitarian access continue."

Act for Sudan put out a release today saying that several of its members were wholly unsatisfied by that answer, and believed that Nuland sidestepped the question in a way that downplayed the tragedy of the human rights situation in Sudan.

"Of course, we realize that all countries and situations are different, but does the United States of America have no standards regarding its responsibilities in the face of genocide and crimes against humanity?" said Eric Cohen, an Act for Sudan spokesman.

"In Libya, with thousand of civilians in danger, President Obama rightly authorized limited military action to help protect them, and publicly called for Libya's brutal dictator to step aside," said Cohen. "Why then, with millions of civilians endangered in Sudan by their own government, is the U.S. not leading the international community in its responsibility to protect the people of Sudan, by all means necessary, including military options? Why are we not leading the call for the ouster of Sudan's president and his cronies, who are indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes?"

Act for Sudan coordinated an open letter in November signed by 66 organizations to President Barack Obama asking the United States to urgently address civilian protection and humanitarian assistance for Sudanese under attack by their own government. Among other recommendations, the letter asked Obama to instruct the National Security Council to accelerate decisions regarding protection of Nuba, Blue Nile, and Darfuri populations from air attacks and to seriously consider the destruction of offensive aerial assets and the imposition of a no-fly zone. It also requests the immediate initiation of a cross-border emergency aid program to the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, Blue Nile and Abyei regions.

The Obama administration may be experimenting with unique ways to engage with the world through this Twitter press conference, but as this latest scuffle shows, social media remains a two-way street. And the Twitter world can now experience what reporters have known all along - answers given during press conferences rarely fully answer the question, much less satisfy the questioner.
State's first Twitter press conference angers Sudan activists
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, January 9, 2012

UK: Muslim jailed for holding ex-wife prisoner on toilet after blasting her western knickers as Satan

A devout Muslim held his ex-wife prisoner on the toilet for an hour and physically assaulted her as punishment for wearing Western clothes.

Khalique Miah has been jailed for 18 months for the attack on Zahanara Begum.

She was on the loo when her former husband burst in dressed in black, wielding a hammer and referring to her underwear as 'Satan'.

Miah, 35, covered her mouth with a gloved hand to stop her screaming, punched her in the chest and stomach then climbed on top of her, holding her in place, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

He started haranguing her about her plucked eyebrows, shaved legs and highlighted hair, telling her she should not wear Western clothes and calling her knickers 'Satan'.

The couple’s three-year-old daughter woke up and started crying, but Miah refused to let Mrs Begum go and comfort her.

After an hour she begged for her freedom and he relented, telling her to get in the bath.

He then took her into the living room, where the father-of-two said her hair would have to go.

She agreed, not realising what he meant until he went into the kitchen, fetched a pair of scissors and started snipping it off into a carrier bag.

By this point it was nearly 3am, but Mrs Begum decided to wake the couple’s children in the hope their presence would stop Miah hurting her.

The defendant pocketed his ex-wife’s mobile phone, cut her landline and refused to let her leave the flat until 10am the next day, when she persuaded him she wanted to give the marriage another go.

He agreed to phone her family and when they arrived at the address in Whitechapel, East London, Mrs Begum asked them to call the police.

Miah admitted false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Passing sentence, Judge Simon Wilkinson said the victim had been through a 'terrifying ordeal' at the hands of her former husband.

He said: 'At 11pm, you arrived at her address unannounced and uninvited. You were dressed in black and carrying a hammer in the waistband of your trousers.

'You surprised her when she was sitting on the WC in her bathroom. She could not have been more vulnerable.

'You put your gloved hand over her mouth to stifle her screams then punched her and slapped her to the chest area.

'When you finally allowed her off the toilet seat you cut off her hair with a pair of scissors. You also cut her landline and took her mobile phone. Such conduct cannot and will not be tolerated.'

Miah, who works at Tesco in Bow, East London, has no previous convictions and had been on the supermarket’s fast-track management programme.

He was married to Mrs Begum for eight years and they had two children, now aged three and seven.

Mathew Dance, defending, said: 'He has indicated genuine remorse. He says he has learned his lesson.

'He wants to put all this behind him and get on with his life.'

Miah, of Whitechapel, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Bulgaria’s security services thwart planned terror attack against Israeli tourists in Sofia

Bulgaria’s security services recently thwarted a planned terror attack against Israeli tourists in the capital Sofia, it was published on Sunday.

According to reports, the Bulgarians were able to locate suspicious suitcases that had been loaded with explosives and which the terrorists planned to blow up on a bus carrying Israelis who were on their way to a resort in the country.

Local security forces are investigating whether there is a connection between the thwarted attack and a European terrorist cell run by the Lebanon-based Hizbullah group. Also being investigated is a possible connection between the timing of the attack and the approaching anniversary of the 2008 assassination of senior Hizbullah leader Imad Mughniyeh.

Mughniyeh was killed in a car-bomb attack in Damascus in February of 2008, reportedly while in the midst of planning major terrorist attacks in moderate Arab countries.

Both Hizbullah and Syria blamed Israel for killing Mughniyeh, and Hizbullah has promised to avenge his death.

The thwarted attack comes after last week, Israel asked European authorities to increase security on Israeli tour groups at ski resorts and other hotels, with specific concern for Israelis in Sofia.
Bulgaria Thwarts Terror Attack Against Israelis
Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, January 9, 2012

Dubai: Arabic language teacher raped 13-year-old school boy for nearly a month at his home

A private lessons teacher raped his 13-year-old school boy for nearly a month at the boy’s home in Dubai before he was caught red handed by the student’s mother, a newspaper reported on Monday.

The unidentified teacher, in his 40s, had forced the boy to take off his clothes and threatened him to let his parents punish him by telling them he was not doing well in the lessons, 'Emarat Al Youm' said.

The boy’s mother was having a short sleep in her bed room when the Arabic language teacher told the boy to strip off.

“He then raped him and continued to do so for a month until the teacher came one day and was told by the mother she would go to sleep,” the paper said.

“After a while, the teacher told the boy to take his pants off…as he was doing so, the mother came and saw him….she screamed at the teacher, who fled.”

The paper said the teacher was arrested later and stood trial on Sunday, adding that court adjourned hearings to early next month.

Police cut tree to catch offender

Kuwaiti police had no choice but to cut a tree to catch a boy who climbed up to escape being arrested for disturbing neighbours.

Several police men had chased the boy following a complaint from neighbours but he had apparently outpaced them and climbed a tree in the neighbourhood in the capital Kuwait City.

“The policemen tried to persuade him to get down but he refused.…they stood there thinking what to do,” the Kuwait daily 'Al Watan' said.

“In the end, they decided to call in the civil defence, who came and used an electric saw to bring down the tree and the boy.”
Tutor rapes 13-year-old boy whilst mom slept
Emirates 24/7, January 9, 2012

Arab Spring leading to an Islamist Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood wins big in final round

Egypt's once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood won big in the third and final round of parliamentary elections last week. The organization has vowed to leave the issue of how to deal with the country's peace treaty with Israel to the people of Egypt, vowing to hold a referendum on the matter once a government is in place.

The Islamist organization's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won the highest number of votes, garnering at least 41 percent of the seats in the country's Lower House of parliament. The country's more extreme Salafi Islamist Nour Party took 20 percent of the of the seats.

Islamists of various parties won nearly two-thirds of the 498 seats in the new "People's Assembly" so far, with Egypt's ruling military council appointing an additional ten members, according to the daily Al Ahram newspaper.

Runoff elections are to be held Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is the People's Assembly that will choose the 100-strong body who will draft the nation's new Constitution -- a fact that worries those who backed former President Hosni Mubarak and who have a more Western frame of mind.

The new Lower House of the parliament is scheduled to hold its first session January 23, two days before the first anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution, referred to in the country as the "25 January Revolution."

Elections for the Upper House of the parliament are scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, but presidential elections won't be held until June.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Wins Big in Final Round
Chana Ya'ar, Arutz Sheva, January 8, 2012

Pakistan: Despite ban on corporal punishment, teachers continue to beat students, sometimes brutally

Despite the fact that a ban was imposed on corporal punishment before partition and only the school headmaster was given permission to punish student for misconduct, teachers continue to beat students, sometimes mercilessly.

In a recent incident, a student from Taru Jabba, Nowshera alleged that his schoolteacher beat him for being absent from school even though he had paid Rs20 as penalty.

Muhammad Salman, 12, a student of sixth grade at Government Middle Boys School told The Express Tribune that he absented himself from school on his mother’s request on December 23, a day before the winter vacation. He said when he went to school the next day, the teacher enquired about my absence. I told him but he beat me up, Salman alleged. The teacher has denied the charge and said Salman was lying to cover up his absence.

His brother Asif said Salman returned home complaining of pain and informed their mother. Salman was taken to a private hospital where doctors advised an appendix operation.

A jirga was also sent to the school, but the teacher was absent that day, said Zakiullah, a member of the tribal council.

When contacted, Dr Nadeem, who operated on Salman, informed The Express Tribune that it was an ordinary appendix operation. “This type of pain can occur any time, he said.
Student accuses teacher of violence
Umer Farooq, The Express Tribune, January 8, 2012

Iranian Ayatollah calls Facebook 'un-Islamic', membership a 'sin'

An Iranian ayatollah has said that the social networking service Facebook was un-Islamic and being a member of it a sin, the ISNA news agency reported Saturday.

In Iran, it is common for senior clerics to be asked about their stance on certain social issues and whether these issues are compatible with Islamic norms.

Their answers are regarded as a form of decree.

ISNA on Saturday broadcast coverage of the response of Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpaygani, a senior cleric, to the question about Facebook and Iranian membership in the social networking service.

"Basically, going to any website which propagates immoralities and could weaken the religious belief is un-Islamic and not allowed, and membership in it is therefore haram (a sin)," the ayatollah replied.

"Only the use of websites propagating religious criteria and not leading to any kind of ethical immoralities is of no problem," he added.

According to official figures released last October, 17 million Iranians have a Facebook account, despite heavy restrictions and filtering imposed by the government.

Due to the popularity of Facebook with younger generations, observers believe that the number of real Iranian Facebook users could be much higher than 17 million.

Iran has a population of 70 million, of which than 60 per cent is under the age of 30.

Over 5 million websites are reportedly blocked in Iran, but Iranians use proxy software and virtual private networks (VPN) to access them.

Iranian officials have, for over three decades, been waging what they call a "battle against the invasion of Western culture."

This has led to blockades of "immoral" internet sites and banned Western music and movies. However, pirated versions of those are easily available on the black market.

The country recently established a cyberpolice unit to better police the internet and even plans to introduce its own national internet, though this has been postponed several times.

India: Child sexual abuse scandal hits Muslim orphanage

Junior girls in Muslim Orphanage, the state’s biggest orphanage run by the Waqf Board, have been found to be sexually abused by their seniors under the patronage of some of the orphanage staffers. This shocking revelation has been made following visit by a team, led by State Minority Commission (SMC) chairman Anwar Manippady and members of the commission and Women & Child Welfare Department (WCWD), which inspected the orphanage located near Commercial Street on December 31.

“Several junior inmates of the orphanage confirmed that they were not only sexually harassed by their seniors but were also forced to witness homosexual acts. Instances of senior girls torturing and beating their juniors if their demands were not met, too, came to light,” Manippady has stated in a report submitted to chief secretary SV Ranganath.

“It’s a gross violation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2001, and the shocking part is that some members of the institution (the orphanage) are also involved in the immoral activities,” Manippady has said. “Upon verification we found that the manager, identified as Ashraf, is a habitual offender and has also been harassing an ex-inmate of the orphanage regularly.”

The commission’s report seeks action against the has recommended the termination of service of the entire existing staff of the orphanage, and the filing of criminal charges against them for allowing the junior girls to be sexually exploited.

The SMC has also demanded that the government hand over the administration of the orphanage to the WCWD.

The inspection team also found large-scale misappropriation of funds allocated for the running of the orphanage, Manippady told DNA.

SMC and WCWD members conducted the inspection of the orphanage after receiving a series of complaints. The commission had then submitted several representations to the Waqf Board, seeking immediate action against the guilty and to put a stop to the sexual abuse of the junior girls at the orphanage.

“After waiting for four months we decided to take up the issue again and visited the orphanage to conduct an inspection,” Manippady said.

But Waqf Board chairman Riyaz Khan rubbished SMC’s report, saying the inspection was done to tarnish the image of the board and its members. “It’s all being done since the commission members have not been elected in the board,” he said.

Khan said the Waqf Board had sacked a warden for misbehaviour and an accountant for forging and misappropriating funds. He said the duo had been hand in glove with the SMC to tarnish the image of the institution.

Syria: Terrorist attack leaves at least 25 people dead and another 47 injured

A major explosion has rocked the centre of Damascus today. Syrian state television says that at least 25 people have been killed and 47 injured in the blast.

The BBC reports that the bomb exploded on a bus in the city. Activists from the local anti-regime Coordination Committees also say that they heard explosions coming from the areas of Midan, Kfar Suse and Mantiqat al Wadi.

In the meantime, Syria's state television has said that it will broadcast "footage of Midan after the terrorist attack" in a few minutes. Two weeks ago, also on a Friday, two explosions hit the offices of the security services in the Syrian capital, attacks that the authorities immediately attributed to Al Qaeda.

Iraq: Bomb attacks in mainly Shi'ite areas kill at least 73 people and wound scores

Bomb attacks in mainly Shi'ite Muslim areas of Iraq killed at least 73 people and wounded scores on Thursday, police and hospital sources said, raising fears of an increase in sectarian strife.

The biggest attack was beside a police checkpoint west of Nassiriya in the south, where a suicide bomber targeting Shi'ite pilgrims killed 44 people and wounded 81, Sajjad al-Asadi, head of the provincial security committee in Nassiriya, told Reuters.

Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki created the worst political crisis in a year on December 19 when he sought the removal of two senior Sunni politicians, a day after the last U.S. troops left Iraq. On December 22, bombs in predominately Shi'ite parts of Iraq's capital killed 72.

Maliki asked parliament to have his Sunni deputy Saleh al-Mutlaq removed and sought the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he ran death squads.

On Tuesday, members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc boycotted the parliament and cabinet, accusing Maliki's bloc of governing alone in a power-sharing coalition that was supposed to ease sectarian tension.

The inclusion of Iraqiya in the governing coalition was widely considered crucial to prevent a return to the level of sectarian violence that erupted after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Thousands were killed in the fighting.

The manager of the main hospital in Nassiriya, Ahmed Abdel-Sahib, put Thursday's toll at 44 killed and 88 wounded.

Photographs showed relatives hugging the bodies of young men lying face down on ground covered in blood and with the pilgrims' belongings strewn around them.

Hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims are expected to make their way to the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala in the south before Arbain, a major Shi'ite religious rite next week.

Earlier on Thursday, a bomb planted on a parked motorcycle and another roadside explosive device killed at least 10 people and wounded 37 in Sadr City, a slum district in northeast Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.


Police said they found and defused two other bombs.

"There was a group of day laborers gathered, waiting to be hired for work. Someone brought his small motorcycle and parked it nearby. A few minutes later it blew up, killed some people, wounded others and burned some cars," said a police officer at the scene, declining to be named.

A Reuters reporter said there was blood around the site of the motorcycle bomb attack and tarmac on the road had been ripped up by the blast. Building tools and shoes were scattered across the site.

Reuters TV video from Sadr City hospital showed a crowded emergency room with many injured people and their relatives. One man sat on the floor, hugging his younger brother, as they cried for their sister who was killed in one of the blasts.

Two car bombs in Baghdad's northwestern Kadhimiya district killed at least 15 people and wounded 32, police and hospital sources said.

"People started to flee from the explosions and others ran towards them (to look for relatives). The scene was like a play, with people crying and screaming and falling," Ahmed Maati, a policeman in Kadhimiya, told Reuters.

Iraq - on the brink of civil war as recently as 2006-7 - is still plagued by a Sunni Muslim insurgency and Shi'ite militias nearly 9 years after a U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein.

Sadr City is a stronghold of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Mehdi Army militia once fought U.S. and Iraqi troops. He is now a key ally of Maliki.

Baghdad's health statistics department put the final toll from the Kadhimiya blasts at 16 killed and 36 wounded and said 13 were killed and 32 wounded in the Sadr City attacks.

"It is early to point our fingers to a particular side till we clarify some issues related to the investigations," said Baghdad operations centre spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi.

"We are in a battlefield with the terrorists ... and with the enemies of the political process, so we do not consider these (explosions) as a surprise for us or something strange. We are used to such (insurgent) operations."

Moussawi put the toll from the Sadr City attack at 33 wounded and said 29 were wounded in the Kadhimiya bombings. He said he did not have figures for the number of people killed.

Many Sunnis say they have been sidelined in the political process since Saddam was ousted and the majority Shi'ites dominated the government.
Bombs target Iraqi Shi'ites, kill at least 73
Kareem Raheem and Suadad al-Salhy, Reuters, January 5, 2012

Indonesia: Hundreds of Shi'ite refugees denied access to food and water, told to go home

Hundreds of Shiite refugees fleeing religious violence in East Java were denied access to water and other basic necessities on Wednesday as the local government urged them to return home.

“There was no food today, no water at all, but we have small children here as well as sick and old people,” said Iklil Al Milal, a religious leader in Nangkernang village, Sampang, where the violence occurred.

Last week, the village was reportedly attacked by a mob of 1,000 people, who burned down a Shia Islamic boarding school and three other houses. As many as 351 Shiites fled the area and were evacuated by local officials to the Sampang sports stadium.

Wahid Institute researcher Muhammad Subhi said that volunteers with supplies for the Shiite refugees had been denied entrance to the stadium.

“Some of our friends who wanted to deliver food [for the people] were being stopped by the police, they could not get inside,” Subhi said.

He urged the police to dispatch officers to the village to provide security assurance for the people.

“The last time we checked, the situation in the village was still tense,” he added.

Iklil confirmed that he had heard the same thing.

“People don’t want to come back if they can’t get a reassurance of safety, including for our leader,” Iklil said, referring to his older brother, Tajul Muluk.

Tajul was taken from his home by police officers in April and was forced to leave the village for a year following pressure by hard-line groups.

Tajul and Iklil have another brother, Rois Alhukama, who allegedly triggered the conflict.

Rois was said to have renounced his Shia background after being scolded by his brothers for polygamous acts. Since then, he has reportedly been inciting neighboring Sunni communities against his own family.

According to Iklil, even though police and government officials want the villagers to return to Sampang, they have requested to relocate elsewhere.

“I told them if the others are allowed back, then I should be, too,” he said.

Kabul Supriyadi, who was investigating the case for the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said while people had been cleared to re turn, he would not advise Iklil and Tajul to do so — even though he had the word of East Java’s police chief that the area was secure.

“Looking at the situation and the people there, I don’t think it is possible for the leaders to return yet,” Kabul said. “We received information that they could lose their lives if they return.”

Kabul spent four days visiting the village and meeting with government officials, police officers and religious leaders — who are mostly Sunni — from the district to the provincial level.

“We found that the incident was fueled by a family conflict as well as differences in faith,” he said, adding that most of the leaders saw it primarily as a conflict of faith.

“It seems that the leaders could not accept each other’s [sectarian] differences,” Kabul said.
Indonesian Shiite Refugees Denied Food, Told to Go Home
Ulma Haryanto, Jakarta Globe, January 5, 2012

Martin Parsons: Summary of the world-wide advance of Shari'ah enforcement in 2011

Let us just for a moment look at what has been happening in terms of moves towards the spread of sharia enforcement in the last year, including the gaining of power by Islamist parties aiming at the eventual enforcement of sharia:

The advance of sharia enforcement in 2011

In Tunisia where the ‘Arab Spring’ began the Islamist Party Ennhada, which aims to create an Islamic state governed by sharia was legalised in March. Ennhada subsequently gained 40% of the seats in the National Constituent Assembly, making it the largest overall party. The new sense of empowerment felt by Islamists was clearly evident when on 16th September a group entered a Christian church in the town of Kef and attempted to turn it into a mosque.

In Libya the head of the Transitional National Council, Abdel Jalilil stated on 22nd October that laws of the new constitution will be based on Islam i.e. sharia, and any laws opposed to sharia would be abolished. He also called for the banking system to be Islamicised i.e. become regulated by sharia.

In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan al Muslimun) and the radical Salafist Jama’a al-Islamiyya formed a political alliance to fight October’s parliamentary elections. Islamist parties are currently estimated to have gained 70% after the second round of elections – a proportion that is not expected to change significantly in the third round due to take place on the 3rd/4th January. They will therefore dominate the 498 seats of Lower House which is charged with setting up a 100 member committee to draft a new constitution. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and Jama’a al-Islamiyya have stated that sharia should be enforced in Egypt. However, the Muslim Botherhood’s spokesman Dr Kamal el-Helbawy went even further and in an apparent allusion to recreating the early Islamic caliphate called for the borders between Arab states to be dismantled.

The Muslim Brotherhood has long been known to have infiltrated the Egyptian army, which since the fall of Mubarak has essentially run the country. It is therefore particularly disturbing that hundreds of Christian protesters were brutally attacked by the army on Sunday 9th October while they were protesting about the earlier torching of St George’s church in Aswan on 30th September. In the Army’s response to this peaceful protest 25 Christians were killed and hundreds injured as armoured vehicles drove straight at protesters, while generals from the ruling supreme council of the armed forces subsequently blamed Egyptian Christians for the violence. This was by no means the first such attack this year on Egypt’s Christian minority of 10 million who make up around 13% of the population. Attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority have in fact significantly increased since the fall of Mubarak. For example, on 25th June 200 extremists burned 8 houses belonging to Christians in the upper Egypt village of Awlad Khalaf – after rumours spread that a house one resident was building would be used as a church – new church buildings being forbidden by sharia. While on 30th June thousands of extremists looted and torched Christian homes and businesses in Kolosna in Minya province. Despite calls for help, the army and military police took three hours to arrive and even then took no action when properties were attacked. The violence erupted after a Christian husband tried to defend his wife from sexual harassment at a bus terminal. There has also been a big increase in the number of Christian women and girls who have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam, with any subsequent renunciation of Islam treated as apostasy which is punishable by death under the Maliki school of sharia which is dominant in Egypt. This is a growing problem for Christian minorities in a number of Islamic countries, including for example, Pakistan. However, in Egypt it has significantly increased since the start of the Egyptian revolution this year.

In Syria there is very real fear among the Christian minority that the Assad regime will be replaced by a radical Islamist government. These fears have been fuelled by pressure put on them and threats made by Islamists to take part in the uprising. For example, Adnan al-Noor a leading Syrian sheikh issued a warning, which many Syrian Christians understood to be directed at them, that all opponents of the revolution will be “torn apart, chopped up and fed to the dogs”. Syria has a Christian population of around 2 million making up approximately 10% of the population, although that number has been significantly increased recently by an estimated 350,000 Iraqi Christian refugees who have fled what is now effectively religious cleansing in central and southern Iraq.

In Morocco an Islamist party won the largest share of vote in elections conceded by King Mohamed in an attempt to avert an Arab spring revolution similar to Tunisia and Egypt’s. However, although there will now be an Islamist prime minister the King of Morocco will still have the final say on government policy relating to defence and religion.

In Iraq where the rule of the secular Ba’ath party has been replaced by a fragmenting coalition of religious parties, the past year has seen ever increasing attacks on Iraqi Christians and churches particularly in the central region. The specific targeting of Christians appears to be designed as a form of ‘religious cleansing’ to eradicate non Muslims from Iraq and has resulted in approximately two thirds of Iraq’s 1.4 million Christian population fleeing as refugees to neighbouring countries such as Syria and Jordan. This religious cleansing is a rare case where some Islamist understandings of sharia differ significantly from those of the classical schools of sharia. The latter base their understanding of sharia on medieval interpretations of the Qur’an which grant Christians dhimmi status (i.e. second class citizens who must pay the jizya tax), while Islamists base their understanding of sharia on their own interpretations of the Qur’an.

In Sudan the Sudanese civil war was essentially about the predominantly Arab and Islamic North trying to impose sharia on the mainly Christian and Animist South. On 9th July, in a rare sign of hope in the struggle against the imposition of sharia, South Sudan became independent as the world’s newest country. However, its long term security will always be an issue as sharia dictates that once an area has at any point in history once been subjected to Islamic law and government it becomes an act of ‘defensive’ jihad to fight to reimpose Islamic government and the enforcement of sharia.

Meanwhile in North Sudan on 12th October President Bashir announced government plans to adopt a completely Islamic constitution with sharia as the main source of national law. Already, some Christian pastors in the North have been warned not to hold services on pain of death. While women, including Christian mothers with young babies have been put in prison for not following sharia requirements such as being fully veiled and having a male escort when in public, a situation horribly reminiscent of Afghanistan under the Taliban when many widows with no male family left alive were arrested and imprisoned as they begged for food on streets.

There has also been an increasing issue of religious cleansing taking place in North Sudan with President Bashir having announced prior to the separation that he intends North Sudan to be 100% Muslim (it is currently 98% Muslim). There are reports of daily air strikes, arbitrary arrests and executions aimed at non Muslims living in the border region of North Sudan, with Christian leaders being particularly singled out and tortured.

In Iran the enforcement of sharia has continued to become even stricter. In 2011 supreme court upheld the death penalty imposed on Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani because he had converted to Christianity from Islam. Although in recent years there have been a number of informal executions of converts from Islam, some of which appear to have been orchestrated by the government, apostasy from Islam is not against Iran’s penal code. However, the supreme court’s decision reflects the fact that judges are allowed to draw on fatwas (legal opinions of sharia judges) and Islamic sources where national law is silent and have done so in this case to formalise the death penalty for apostasy from Islam (i.e. leaving Islam for another faith).

In Pakistan 2011 saw the assassination of two liberal politicians who had voiced support for reform of the Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws under which, amongst others, Christian wife and mother of 5 Aasia Bibi who has been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Muhammud. The assassinations of Salman Taseer, a liberal Muslim who was governor of Punjab Province and Shabaz Bhatti a Pakistani Christian who was minister for religious minorities were welcomed by leading Islamic scholars in Pakistan who viewed them as having committed the sharia offence of blasphemy and therefore deserving of the death penalty because they had advocated the abolition of part of sharia I.e. the blasphemy law.

In the Maldives a revision of the constitution in 2008 just before the dictator Abdul Gayoom departed had already left non Muslim Maldivians in a potentially stateless limbo by restricting the acquisition of citizenship to Muslims. However, Islamists have seen the new democratic process as a road to even stricter enforcement of sharia. In 2009, not long after the first democratic elections in 30 years, the Maldivian parliament almost unanimously passed a bill making the construction of non Muslim buildings illegal and criminalising the public practice of non Muslim worship, something that would put it in the same league of repressive sharia enforcement as Saudi Arabia. Throughout 2011 those concerned for human rights in the Maldives have been waiting to see if this bill will be formally passed into law by the President. It has been reported that the President, Mohamed Nasheed was elected to office in 2008 in the newly democratic country with help from the UK Conservative Party. That is an influence that one may hope foreign office ministers have been seeking to capitalise on to prevent the further encroachment of human rights that this bill represents.

In Uganda which is 85% Christian and only 12% Muslim a similar attempt is being made to introduce sharia. A Muslim Personal Law bill would empower Islamic sharia courts to act on matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance. This is not a benign cultural accommodation. It is precisely in these areas of family law that both women and non Muslims in a family with a Muslim father are significantly discriminated against by sharia. For example, in divorce a mother is automatically denied child custody of any child over 7 years old and of any younger child when they reach 7 years old. Sharia inheritance rules also discriminate against women, with daughters only being allowed to inherit half the share of an estate that sons do. The situation in Uganda is particularly pertinent for the UK as in 2006 an Islamic group regarded as ‘moderate’ by the then government made a similar request for the family law aspects of sharia to become part of UK law.

In Nigeria Christmas day 2011 saw a series of attacks by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram including two targeting churches where at least 30 people were killed. These attacks were directly linked to the enforcement of sharia in Nigeria. Sharia enforcement has been steadily implemented since 2000 by state governments in Nigeria’s 12 northern states in defiance of the country’s secular federal constitution. It is estimated that 63% of the population of these states are Muslims, with the remainder being Christians and adherents of African Traditional Religions. The effective appeasement of these unconstitutional acts by a lack of effective action from the federal government has empowered radical Islamists such as the terrorist group Boko Haram whose declared aim is to make Nigeria a fully Islamic state with sharia enforced across all states . Boko Haram is seeking to extend sharia to the 7 states of Nigeria’s middle belt (roughly 55% Christian, 30% Muslim and 15% African traditional religions). Once that has been achieved a majority of states then will have implemented sharia enforcement. Islamists have indicated that they then plan to challenge Nigeria’s secular status and declare a fully Islamic state and with sharia also enforced in the 17 southern states (75% Christian, 20% African Traditional Religions and only 5% Muslim). These attacks by Boko Haram have been increasing over the last two years, but increased very significantly after the election of Christian president in April 2011 (sharia dictates that only Muslims are allowed to be head of state and only Muslims may be part of the government). The Christmas day attacks on churches were not the first this year. For example, two churches were bombed in Sileja in Niger state in the North Nigeria on 10th and 11th July with 3 Christians being killed. The targeting of churches is significant as sharia also dictates that new church buildings cannot be built.

In this highly combustible situation this year the Muslim governor of the Central bank of Nigeria published plans for the introduction of sharia banking. Sharia finance is a very recent newcomer on the financial scene even being avoided by the majority of banks in Saudi Arabia as recently as 2005. Other Islamic countries such as Oman still resist legalising it as they recognise it as part of the Islamist agenda to subject increasing areas of society to the Islamic clerics who act as sharia judges. The latter is unfortunately a lesson Gordon Brown as Chancellor and Prime Minister failed to heed when he naively legalised sharia finance in the UK.

In Senegal in June 2011 eight churches were looted and burnt to the ground in the capital Dhaka as extremists issued a ‘declaration of war’ against “new churches” being built in the city, sharia as we noted forbids the building of church buildings.

In Indonesia in September a suicide bomber blew himself up as a congregation were leaving a church service in Solo, Central Java. Islamists have been waging a violent campaign in Indonesia to eradicate Christianity from Indonesia and enforce sharia on the entire country.

These brief examples do not include many countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen where sharia is already enforced. These are simply a snapshot of some of the countries where the Islamist agenda of sharia enforcement has advanced in the last 12 months. The list is by no means comprehensive – in the past year Islamists have also for example launched violent attacks on churches and Christians in Ethiopia (69 churches and a Bible college burnt down, 3 Christians killed and an estimated 10,000 made homeless); In Somalia where a Christian was beheaded by the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabab- beheading being a sharia punishment favoured by Islamists, similarly a Christian was also beheaded in Afghanistan by Islamist terrorists; In Kenya Islamists are targeting Christians in the predominantly Muslim North, with al-Shabab launching a grenade attack on a church, one could go on…

US: Mosque bombing not an anti-Muslim hate crime, says suspect

A suspect arrested in the firebombing of a New York mosque says he acted out or personal revenge and not because of hate for Muslims.

Ray Lazier Lengend, of Guyanese descent, was arrested by New York City police on suspicion that he attacked the prestigious Al-Khoei Foundation Islamic Center in Queens as well as a Hindu temple and homes.

The mosque sustained light damage, and no one was injured.

American Muslims were outraged at the attack, but the suspect said he firebombed the mosque out of anger after having been refused permission to use its bathroom facilities.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper immediately condemned the attack on the mosque and called on the FBI to investigate threats of violence targeting mosque. Hooper did not mention the other attacks on non-Muslim sites.

American media said the 40-year-old man also admitted personal revenge for other Molotov cocktail attacks.

The string of alleged crimes last week began with a stolen car that was reportedly at the scene of at least two of the attacks. A security camera at a gasoline station showed that Lengend was filling up a bottle with gasoline.

Lengend allegedly uses Starbucks bottles in the attacks, the same bottles he was accused of trying to steal from a convenience store two weeks ago. He left the store swearing he would “get even.”

He returned to throw a firebomb, Fox News reported, and then continued to take out his anger by attacking homes, the mosque and the Hindu center. One of the attacks at a home was aimed at someone with whom Lengend has a dispute but he hit the wrong house.

Another home that was targeted belonged to a relative.
NY Mosque Bombing not Anti-Muslim Crime, Says Suspect
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, Arutz Sheva, January 4, 2012

Indonesia: Sunni Muslims attack village, forcing hundreds of Shi'ites to flee for their lives

Several hundred Shia muslims in Indonesia have been forced to flee their village after Sunni muslims set fire to several buildings.

A total of 351 Shia are now being sheltered in a sports stadium after their mosque, religious school and three houses at Nangkernang in eastern Java were burned by Sunni people on Saturday. Those responsible reportedly threatened to kill the Shia villagers because they believe it is a heretical form of Islam. Ruby Khalifa, spokeswoman for AMAN, the Asian Muslim Action Network, says this incident is part of a disturbing trend towards greater religious intolerance in Indonesia.
Shia villagers forced out by Sunnis in Indonesia
Bruce Hill, ABC Radio Australia, January 4, 2012

Islamic 'honor violence' rising in the West as more young people adopt Western ways

As Muslims migrate to the West, and more Muslim young people adopt Western ways, honor violence is increasing.

Warning: this report contains some disturbing scenes that should not be viewed by children.

• A Canadian woman was strangled by her father because she refused to wear a headscarf.

• An Italian had her throat slit by her dad while she was held down by three uncles.

• An American woman was run over by her father in his Jeep Cherokee.

• Two sisters were shot by their father in a New York taxi.

They were all the victims of honor violence. They may have defied the wishes of their parents, or adopted Western ways, or tried to leave Islam.

They did something that, in the eyes of their families, brought shame and dishonor.

So they were killed. Many were tortured first.

Honor Killing on the Rise

The precise number of honor attacks worldwide is unknown because many are not reported, or are reported as accidents or suicides. But one new report said 3,000 honor attacks were committed in Britain last year alone.

Norwegian activist Hege Storhaug left journalism to devote her life to helping the victims of honor violence after doing a story about a Norwegian girl who was forced to marry her cousin from Pakistan.

"I was astonished when she said, 'My parents were willing to kill me if I didn't enter this marriage, to protect their own honor," Storhaug said.

Storhaug showed us graphic photos of Pakistani women who had acid thrown in their faces by their husbands' family because they did not bring a big enough dowry to the marriage.

Storhaug said the families then typically say the woman had been burned on a hot stove:

"A mother-in-law was sitting at the bedside, guarding the tongue of the young woman so she didn't tell the truth about how she was burned, and it was the family who did it," she explained. "And the faces of those mothers-in-law…there was no empathy, no compassion."

Women in Danger

Although honor violence is sometimes committed by Hindus and Sikhs, it is usually a Muslim on Muslim crime. One study found that 91 percent of honor killings were committed by Muslims.

Women who break with traditional Islam often face grave danger:

CBN News interviewed one young woman who came to study in Paris after growing up in a Muslim nation.

Because she rejected Islam and Islamic rules about women, she told us that the only way she could ever safely return to her homeland is if she were to pretend to be a traditional, submissive Muslim woman.
Islamic 'Honor Violence' Rising in the West
Dale Hurd, CBN News, January 4, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Father puts his young son up for sale on Facebook for $20m

A Saudi man put up his son for sale on Facebook for a whopping $20 million (Dh73.4m) to beat poverty.

According to 'Al Sharq' newspaper, Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry took the extreme step when all doors closed on him. His business of collecting debts and settling disputes had to be shut down following a court ruling, which stated it was not a legal firm, he alleged.

Thereafter, he approached the Labour Office for monthly financial assistance. He alleged that he was refused aid because he was above 35 years - the age limit of receiving ministry help.

Therefore, he decided to sell his child to offer "a decent life to his mother and sister rather than living in poverty", the report added.

His only condition for the 'sale' is to know the city where the buyer resides.

He is willing to take the matter to court to complete the 'sale procedures', the paper added.
Dad puts son up for sale on Facebook for $20m
Emirates 24/7, January 3, 2012

British voice behind Somalia's Islamic terrorist propaganda to "inspire" Western Muslims

A militant Islamist group in Somalia that has declared its allegiance to al-Qa'ida is using a young British man to file video propaganda from the front lines of the country's civil war to try to draw English-speaking Muslims to the Horn of Africa for jihad, The Independent can reveal.

The man, who remains masked throughout his videos, speaks in fluent English with a clear London accent and presents breathless reports of battles that the militant groups have fought against Somali government and foreign forces.

Intelligence sources and terrorism experts believe the man was either born in Britain or spent considerable time here and that he may have even had some media training before heading abroad to join the militant network.

The Independent has collected at least three videos in which the man features. The first – which runs for 11 minutes and is titled "African Crusaders" – was released in June 2010 and only contains the man's voice. A second 21 minute long video – "Mogadishu – the Crusader's Graveyard" – was released a month later and shows the young reporter appearing with his face covered in front of burning tank that he claims was destroyed by Islamist fighters.

He disappeared from Al Shabaab propaganda videos until October this year when he returned with a new documentary called "Battle for Deyniile – the Burundian Bloodbath". The 33-minute report features footage from the front lines of a recent battle between militants and African Union peacekeepers on the outskirts of Mogadishu in which a number of AU troops were known to have perished. Shabaab fighters display the uniformed corpses of at least twenty fighters that they claimed belonged to the Ugandan and Burundian peacekeeping forces currently in control of central Mogadishu.

The documentaries – which were all released through Shabaab's media wing the al-Kataib Foundation – are a vivid example of the slick propaganda now being produced by violent Islamists in the Horn of Africa and their determination to turn the area into a new base for international jihadists.

Britain has become so concerned about the deteriorating security situation inside Somalia that it has convened a summit for February to discuss what to do about the failed state. MI5 head Jonathan Evans has repeatedly warned that the Horn of Africa has become the second most popular terrorist training ground after Pakistan with Brits of Somali, Pakistani, Yemeni, Bangladeshi and North African heritage flocking there.

Whitehall sources believe that there are between three to four people working full time on Shabaab's media wing, one of whom is a Yemeni who previously worked with al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula. A second individual is a British Pakistani – thought to be the reporter who appears in the videos.

The group's latest output represents a tactical shift in the way militant networks are producing their propaganda in that the more recent productions are presented as objective news reports, mimicking the way mainstream news organisations present information.

"Instead of featuring a field commander what we're seeing is supposedly a journalist reporting the facts on the ground in a dispassionate way whilst manipulating the narrative to his group's advantage," said Bruce Hoffman, a leading expert on Islamist terrorism at the University of Georgetown. "You wouldn't put Shabaab in the top bracket within the pantheon of terror groups when it comes to strategies or tactics. But their communication techniques are highly sophisticated."

The Independent sought comment from al-Shabaab through an email account known to be used by the militants for international enquiries. In a statement the group said their aim was to inspire Muslims in the West: "We are not able to reveal the identity or nom de guerre of the person in question but the aim of our English documentaries is quite simple. With most journalists serving merely as subservient vessels at the hands of warmongers and politicians, the purpose of the Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen's documentary films is to reveal the reality of the current warfare in Somalia to the world and, in particular, to the Muslims living in the Western world."

The statement added: "It is our hope that these English documentaries will enlighten the Muslims by illuminating the reality of the so-called war on terror and help further elucidate the events as they really are on the ground –not as they are erroneously portrayed in the western media."

Shabaab are a brutal off-shoot of the comparatively moderate Islamic Courts Union which brought a semblance of calm to Somalia after 20 years of fighting but was thrown out of in 2006 following a US-backed invasion by Ethiopian troops.

The militant group controls large tracts of southern Somalia and has fought a vicious insurgency against the country's beleaguered and highly unpopular transitional government whose writ extends little further than the capital Mogadishu. They promote a draconian interpretation of Sharia law and have pledged allegiance to al-Qa'ida and its philosophy of waging violent jihad to establish a global Islamic caliphate.

After withdrawing their fighters from the capital in August, they have shifted to more asymmetric tactics such as suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices. A spate of kidnappings hit northern Kenya prompting Nairobi to invade from the south claiming that they would eradicate Shabaab. Ethiopia's military has invaded once more from the north but there has been little sign so far of any palpable military successes against the militants who have called on help in repelling "infidel crusaders".

Fearing Somalia is becoming a new gathering point for international jihadists, the United States has increased drone strikes within the Horn of Africa operating out of bases in Djibouti, southern Ethiopia and the Seychelles.

The exact number of foreign fighters within Shabaab's ranks is currently unknown but western intelligence agencies have watched with alarm as both hardened veterans and new foreign recruits have flocked to the area.

In early October two 18-year-old Brits from Cardiff were arrested on the Kenya-Somalia border in what the Kenyan police claimed was an attempt to join up with Shabaab militants. One of the teens was of Somali extraction, whilst his friend was believed to be British-Pakistani.

Abdirhman Haji Abdullah, the father of the Somali-British man, gave an interview to BBC Somali in which he claimed his son had been "brainwashed".

"My son was misled into believing that he was fighting in a holy war," he said. "He was brainwashed and taken away from us and he was told that he was going to fight a holy war in Somalia."

The pair were arrested and returned to Britain only because Mr Abdullah went after his son and alerted the authorities.

Intelligence analysts have commented that Somalia has become an attractive destination for international militants because it is much easier to infiltrate than other militant strongholds such as Iraq, the Afghan-Pakistan border and Yemen.

Shabaab's increasingly sophisticated propaganda releases, meanwhile, have coincided with the arrival of international jihadists and much of the output from al-Kataib is now squarely aimed at recruiting fighters from overseas. Earlier this month the group even appeared on Twitter with an account that has been used to release passport photos of slain African Union troops and taunt the Kenyan military with jibes.

Shabaab has made no secret of its desire to welcome foreign fighters. One recent video features masked militants speaking in an array of languages including English, Swahili, Swedish and Urdu. One fighter, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Dujana, claims he is British and speaks with a heavy London accent. Sitting on a white beach, he calls on Muslims "that are living in the lands of disbelief, the lands of oppression, to (migrate) to the land of glory, to the land of (power) to the land of jihad."

The militant group has also released a number of rap-songs by Omar Hammami, a middle class American with Syrian parentage from Alabama who became increasingly devout and travelled to Somalia for jihad. Within jihadi circles he is known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki and is frequently lauded by militants as an example that western Muslims should follow.

Following the death of Osama bin Laden, Hammami appeared in a video alongside senior Shabaab leaders and read a speech to honour the slain al-Qa'ida founder.

Roger Middleton, an expert on Somalia at Chatham House, said he believed Shabaab's use of a British journalist to present their side of the conflict is part of a wider strategy to encourage recruits from the West.

"This guy is turning up more and more often in Shabaab releases," he said. "It's difficult to gauge what kind of effect he has had. The general consensus is that the number of British Somalis heading to join Shabaab are in their tens rather than their hundreds. But you do hear stories within the Somali community of young men just disappearing and the family later finding out that they have been killed fighting for Shabaab."
British voice behind a call to arms for Somalia's Islamic terrorists
Jerome Taylor, The Independent, January 3, 2012

China backs Russian anti-terror agreement to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation between both nations

Chinese lawmakers have ratified an agreement between Beijing and Moscow to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation between the two nations.

China's top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Saturday approved a pact called the China-Russia Cooperation Agreement on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

The agreement was ratified 15 months after it was signed in Beijing by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov -- a meeting that came in the wake of a wave of terrorist killings in Russia.

Chinese officials said the September 2010 agreement "laid a strong foundation for bilateral cooperation between China and Russia" in coping with what Beijing calls the "three evil forces" of terrorism, secessionism and extremism.

This weekend's move came after the National People's Congress had studied the terms of the deal for nearly a week, a statement from the committee indicated.

The deal was signed as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a high-level delegation of Russian officials met with Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao after a pair of terrorist incidents in Russia.

Two female suicide bombers killed 39 people and more than 100 were injured in attacks on the Moscow subway system in March 2010 -- an act claimed by Islamic rebels in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya.

Two days later two suicide bombings killed 12 people and injured another 26 in North Caucasus republic of Dagestan.

"China and Russia will maintain international peace and stability and promote the overall recovery, health and stable development of the world economy," Hu said at a news conference with Medvedev after the 2010 meeting.

The anti-terrorism agreement was part of a larger effort to boost ties between the neighbors, which called for Moscow and Beijing coordinate more closely under at the Group of 20 and through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Less than a month after the Russia-China pact was signed, Chechen rebel gunmen launched an attack on the region's parliament building, killing four people before they themselves were slain -- evidence that an ongoing Islamic insurgency was still active in the North Caucuses.

Yang sent a message of condolence to Lavrov after that incident, pledging beefed-up cooperation.

An official statement from Beijing said China "strongly condemns the terrorist attack and resolutely opposes to all forms of terrorism," adding China is "willing to join hands with Russia to concretely implement the China-Russia Cooperation Agreement on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism."

The agreement shows that security cooperation between the two countries is continuously developing as Beijing attempts to crack down on the "three evil forces" more effectively, a scholar from the Chinese government's foreign policy think tank says.

Zhao Mingwen, a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, wrote that in recent years Russia has supported China in combating domestic terrorism, such as in Xinjiang province. There, groups of what Beijing calls "terror gangs" of native Uighur Muslims are fighting to gain independence from China.

Zhao said Russia helped China identify what it claims is the influence of the banned, Pakistan-based militant group Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement on Uighur separatists.

China, meanwhile, has backed Russia's attempts to crack down on illegal groups and terrorists in Chechnya and other places.

US: Media focuses on firebombed mosque, ignores firebombing against Christians and Hindus

A series of firebombing in Queens, New York that targeted a Hindu place of worship, an African-American Christian couple’s home and a Mosque is being portrayed by the mainstream media and a Muslim advocacy group as a hate crime solely directed against Muslims.

A series of firebombs involving Molotov cocktails was directed against two homes, including one where a group of Hindus was meeting to worship, another home where an African-American Christian couple lived, a convenience store and a local mosque.

The Al-Khoei Islamic Foundation houses one of the most prominent Shiite mosques in New York. According to its website it lists branches in several cities including London, Paris, Montreal and Islamabad, Pakistan. The firebomb, made with a Starbucks bottle was thrown at the door of the center. While the door was blackened, the building did not catch fire.

Police are investigating the crime as an anti-Muslim hate crime. A spokesman for the New York Police Department told the Gazette anytime an attack is made on a Mosque or a synagogue, it is automatically investigated as a bias or hate crime.

The meeting at the Hindu home consisted of two firebombs that did not catch fire, while the home of Monty and Sonya Burnett, who are African-American and Christian, was heavily damaged.

The Burnett’s home was the most heavily damaged of all of the structures firebombed during the four attacks. It took more than 60 firefighters to get the fire under control.

While the bombings were directed at Hindus and Christians as well as Muslims, one would not know that from reading much of the mainstream press coverage of the event.

The New York Times said in the lead paragraph that “police were investigating (the firebombings) as a possible bias crime against Muslims.” Nowhere in the story does it mention the attack on the Hindu worshippers or the Christian family, simply referring to them as houses that were bombed.

The New York Daily News followed a similar lead. While the article did mention the other attacks were on Christians and Hindus, the headline read “Four firebombs, including one tossed at Queens Mosque, eyed as hate crimes.”

Other headlines by various papers included “Islamic structure firebombed in Queens, three other structures attacked”, “4 Firebombs hit Muslim targets in NYC” and “Firebomb attacks in Queens hit Mosque in possible hate crime.”

On Monday morning, the Council on American Islamic Relations sent out an e-mail release suggesting the attack was directed solely against Muslims. The e-mail said in the subject line “CAIR condemns firebombing of NY Mosque.”

The e-mail went on to say that Ibrahim Hooper, National Director for CAIR said the organization is calling on local police to boost patrols near mosques and advised members of the Muslim community to review security procedures.

Nowhere in the message from CAIR is there any mention made of or a condemnation of the attacks against Christians and Hindus during the same wave of attacks.

Instead, Hooper focused exclusively on the Muslim component saying “a number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia.”

Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch said the media spin shows the favoritism Muslim groups are given to the exclusion of other groups and that CAIR is simply trying to use this attack to portray Muslims as the exclusive victims in this case.

“Implying the attacks were directed solely at Muslims is obviously false and self-serving. It seems as if whoever did this is opposed to foreigners or religion in general and to say this is exclusively a Muslim hate crime is a politically motivated claim.”

Spencer went on to say that CAIR’s ignoring the firebombing of the black Christian family and the Hindus shows the agency’s isn’t really interested in hate crimes against other groups but simply want to use the attacks to their advantage.

“CAIR did not mention anything about the Hindus or Christians when they issued their release. This just shows how self-serving their claims of victimhood really are,” Spencer said. “They called for increased police patrols against mosques, but they didn’t say anything about calling for protection for Hindu or Christian places of worship.”

Tajikistan: "Father Christmas" brutally beaten and stabbed to death by a crowd of Muslims

A young man dressed as "Father Frost" - the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas - was stabbed to death in Tajikistan on Monday in an attack police believe was motivated by religious hatred, two police sources said.

A crowd attacked 24-year-old Parviz Davlatbekov and stabbed him with a knife as he visited relatives in the early hours of Monday dressed as Father Frost, who by tradition brings Russian children presents at New Year. Russian cultural influence remains strong in Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic.

"We have witness statements that say the crowd beat Parviz and stabbed him with a knife, shouting: 'You infidel!'," one of the sources told Reuters.

The second source said religious hatred was being investigated as the motive for the crime, which occurred in the capital Dushanbe.

Tajikistan is officially secular, although the vast majority of its 7.7 million people are Muslims. Authorities have cracked down on religious freedoms in the last few years and jailed dozens of people for membership of Islamist groups.

President Imomali Rakhmon has ordered students at foreign religious schools to return home and told his security services to tighten control over religious education and mosques in Tajikistan, which he says are often used to foment radicalism.

His critics say poverty and repression in the poorest of the 15 former Soviet republics is pushing many young Tajiks toward radical Islamism. The country, where tens of thousands died in a civil war in the 1990s, shares a long border with Afghanistan.

Tokhir Normatov, chief of staff of Tajikistan's Interior Ministry, said the victim had died in hospital from a loss of blood, but made no comment on the motive for the attack.
"Father Christmas" stabbed to death in Tajikistan
Roman Kozhevnikov, Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2012

Pakistani cleric-politician: If voted in to power in 2013, ‘pro-America foreign policy’ to go

A top cleric-politician, whose party is a part of the PPP-led ruling coalition in Balochistan, has predicted that politico-religious parties will ‘surprise’ everyone in the general elections slated for 2013. He has also precluded any alliance with the mainstream political parties, particularly PPP and PML-N, in the future.

“The incumbent rulers cannot make bold decisions, and neither can they change the country’s foreign policy because both PPP and PML-N cannot stand up to the United States,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, told a public gathering in Mardan on Sunday.

He promised that, if voted into power, his party would change the ‘pro-America foreign policy’ of the country.

The JUI-F chief said Pakistan was faced with a number of crises and only a sincere leadership could steer the country out.

Most of the cleric’s speech was his textbook rant against the US and its war in neighbouring Afghanistan. “The US and its Nato allies have failed to win the hearts of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’re now facing a defeat in the Pakhtun belt,” he claimed.

Maulana Fazl also called on the government to make public all agreements signed with Washington since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. “If the government did not disclose the secret accords, Pakistan will never be able to ‘say goodbye to the US’,” he added.

In December last year, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was informed that Pakistan has signed nine agreements with the US to supplement the global war against terror.

“Over 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in this war which has cost the country over $70billion,” said the Maulana, who is the most vocal opponent of the US-led war. He added that Pakistan has got nothing but death and destruction in this war.

In an attempt to distance his party from the Taliban, the JUI-F chief said that they’re opposed to an armed struggle for the enforcement of Islamic sharia in the country.

“We condemn the destruction of schools – but other people (secularists) should also condemn terrorism perpetuated by the US and its Nato allies in Afghanistan where they’re killing innocent Afghan youths,” he said.

JUI-F Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Vice President Mulana Gul Naseeb, Maulana Amanaullah Haqqani and MNA Maulana Qasim also addressed the gathering.
Fazl predicts ‘surprises’ from politico-religious parties
Islamuddin Sajid, The Express Tribune, January 2, 2012

China: Police demolish illegal mosque, Muslims riot

Police in China deny that two people were killed in riots that ensued when police were ordered to demolish a Hui Muslim mosque in Hexi township. However, locals report that in addition to the two deaths, 50 people were injured and 100 have disappeared.

Violence erupted in north west China when 1,000 police officers descended on Taoshan village, Hexi township, to demolish a mosque used by the Hui Muslim population. News com. au. reported the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said two people had been killed, 50 injured and 100 missing, as a riot broke out between the Hui and armed police. However, police deny any deaths occurred.

Local villager Jin Haitao was away when the clashes took place but was told by relatives that police used water cannon and tear gas to suppress those trying to prevent the mosque from being torn down.

Police were ordered to demolish the mosque which was deemed illegal as authority had not been granted for its existence. The mosque was built in 1987 with donations from neighbouring Muslim provinces, according to On Islam who cite the figure of an estimated 10 million Hui Muslims in China.

Cidcm analysis of Hui in China states that the group is most highly concentrated in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, where the latest clashes occurred. The Hui reportedly suffer no more repression than any other religious group in China, but live in relative poverty. Chinese authorities ordered the demolition of the mosque as they deem such places of religious worship as possible centers for anti-government organization.
Two killed in riots as China police demolish illegal mosque
Katerina Nikolas, Digital Journal, January 2, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood to break peace treaty with “raping, colonizing criminal” Israel via referendum

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on Sunday that they would “never recognize the Israeli entity” as it is a “raping, colonizing criminal entity.”

Speaking in an interview with the pan-Arabic daily al-Hayat newspaper, the deputy to the Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood said on Sunday that recognizing Israel is not a “term” to rule, adding that this is “unlikely under any circumstances” in reference to Egypt’s neighbor.

The Freedom and Justice party, the political arm of the group, has already seen massive results in the ongoing parliamentary elections, earning nearly half of the votes in the first two rounds and getting closer to the group’s long dreams of reaching power in Egypt.

The deputy, Rashad Baiyoumy continued to add that the peace treaty between Egypt and the Jewish state might be up for a public referendum, “giving the last word to the people,” however if this referendum would to take place in the future, people would vote in a land slide to cancel or repeal the 1979 treaty with Israel.

“We will never sit with an Israeli in the future. I will not allow myself to sit with a criminal,” added Baiyoumy.

“We will take the legal necessary procedures towards the peace treaty,” Baiyoumy added.

The 1979 peace treaty between the two states has been at the center of many controversies in recent months, where it has been met with great public refusal and countless protests have expressed that desire to end relations with Israel.

Last August, thousands of Egyptians gathered outside the residential building where the Israeli embassy is located and stormed the building, throwing some old documents from a window. Young men climbed the outside of the building in the Giza district of Dokki and took down the Israeli flag and placed an Egyptian one.

Tensions have been high between the two countries since, yet the new political Islam player expressed their will to have talks with Israel. The al-Nour Party, a puritanical Salafist party announced that they would hold talks with Israel and respect all the treaties that Egypt has signed previously and its spokesman held a interview with Israeli Radio in December.

On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood said that both parties have the right to review the treaty since the Egyptian people were never asked.

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