Islam in the News (January 2013)

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


UK: Professor Dawkins outrages Muslims with 'Islamic barbarians' comment over Mali extremists wrecking library

Atheist Richard Dawkins has outraged Muslims after describing looters who destroyed manuscripts in Mali as ‘Islamic barbarians’.

The 71-year-old author of The God Delusion was referring to the severe damage caused by Islamist extremists to a sacred library in Timbuktu but his remarks were seen as insulting to all Muslims.

Oxford University academic Professor Dawkins told his 600,000 Twitter followers on Tuesday: ‘Like Alexandria, like Bamiyan, Timbuktu's priceless manuscript heritage destroyed by Islamic barbarians.’

But his comments were criticised, with some followers claiming he was unjustly attacking Islam and others saying he should be considering vandalism committed by Christians, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Muslim Twitter user ‘Shawa5i Al Nasseri’ from the United Arab Emirates said: 'You call us barbarians, truly no respect', before later adding: 'How do you explain this "destroyed by Islamic barbarians?”’

Professor Dawkins responded to the comments by saying: ‘You mean you were one of those who burned the books in Timbuktu? No? I thought not. So I wasn't calling you a barbarian was I.’

He also said to all of his followers: ‘I was calling Islamic BARBARIANS barbarians’, adding: ‘By “Islamic barbarians” I mean those Muslims who are also barbarians. I do not of course mean all Muslims.’

Professor Dawkins later added: ‘Xtian (Christian) barbarians murder abortion doctors. Most Xtians (Christians) are not barbarians. Stalin was an atheist barbarian. Most atheists are not barbarians.’

On Monday Islamists were said to have burned down the world-famous Ahmed Baba Institute library containing priceless manuscripts and artefacts.

Timbuktu’s mayor Ousmane Halle said: ‘They torched all the important ancient manuscripts. The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.’

However a South African university said yesterday that the extremists damaged or stole only a limited number of manuscripts in Timbuktu before they fled the fabled desert city...

Mali: Woman locked up in bank whipped for riding on back of her boyfriend's motorbike

The Malian Solidarity Bank is an ordinary-looking building that marks the centre of Timbuktu.

The concrete exterior is a little at odds with the signature dry-mud walls of the ancient city, and the cashpoint cubicle looks strangely modern with its reflective doors. They sit behind padlocked metal gates and the ATM has been out of service for nearly a year while it served as a women's prison.

Salaka Djikke, like scores of other women, was locked in this cramped space for violating the fundamentalist form of sharia imposed on Timbuktu while the city was ruled by affiliates of al-Qa'ida. The 25 year old's crime was to accept an evening ride on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle.

As they arrived at his house at around 10 o'clock at night, four members of the jihadi religious police rushed at them. In a panic, the boyfriend drove off on the bike leaving her to face them. The four men began shouting at her in Arabic, a language few in the city speak, while one of them slapped her and another lashed her with a whip. "I couldn't understand what they were shouting and why they were whipping me," she said.

Ms Djikke was taken to the bank which had been commandeered as the Islamic police headquarters and locked in the ATM cell. Unable to lie down she tried to sleep sitting against the wall opposite the auto-teller.

Female prisoners languishing in the ATM became a commonplace during the Islamic occupation. Women and girls accused of violations from wearing inappropriate clothes to being with men they were not married to were kept there for days at a time while the new ruler next door decided their punishment.

Under the authority of the new police chief, Mohamed Mossa, this normally meant a public flogging. A West African preacher, or marabou, born in a village outside Timbuktu, Mr Mossa travelled in recent years to Saudi Arabia where he got funds to build a mosque, making himself the imam. When the Islamists of al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) and Ansar Dine took over the city last year the preacher was appointed chief of police.

Under his charge the bank branch had the word "police" sprayed on the wall, while the banking hall was converted into offices and a rudimentary court. Men with assault rifles would lounge outside under a black metal sign cemented into the wall with the symbol of the Koran and an AK-47 crossed by a cutlass.

"He was an agent of oppression," Drawi Maiga, Timbuktu's vice-mayor who stayed in the city throughout its occupation, said of the police chief. "He persecuted women. You can ask any woman in Timbuktu; they hated him."

The guns, black banners and fundamentalism that the jihadists brought to a city famed for its tolerance shocked many of its residents. Although overwhelmingly Muslim, the majority here belong to the Malakite sect whose preachers talk explicitly of the acceptance of all monotheistic religions. The Saudi-inspired Wahhabist doctrine of the militants was entirely alien.

One of the city's respected religious scholars, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that "Islam is not about toughness; it's about kindness".

Efforts to temper the radicals included a request made to the home-grown Islamic group, Ansar Dine, to play a sermon by an Egyptian preacher and former jihadist who now calls for tolerance and non-violence. The request was refused. The same traditional religious leaders also begged for leniency from the Islamic police but their appeals were ignored.

Playing judge and jury, Mr Mossa sentenced Ms Djikke's to 95 lashes to be administered in a public market. She felt helpless, she said. "They (the Islamists) could execute people or amputate limbs and no one could do anything."

Sitting in the courtyard of her home in the backstreets of Mali's most famous city, with her head covered by a white shawl embroidered with coloured flowers she spoke in a whisper of the pain and humiliation of her flogging: "I was really hurt. This will stay with me all of my life. I try to stay strong but I will never forget."

She now believes that someone betrayed her to the Islamic authorities and admits that a small minority of her community has shunned her since. Before she was locked up in the ATM the jihadists had lectured her that it was a sin to be together with a man out of wedlock.

Despite the lashes she still disagrees. "Even if there is sharia law it is not a crime to be in love with a person."

Pakistan: Roadside bomb kills 2 polio workers on their way to vaccinate children

A roadside bomb killed two Pakistani polio workers on their way to vaccinate children in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border on Thursday, an official said.

The two men were on their way to Malikhel village as part of the U.N.-backed anti-polio campaign when the bomb hit their motorcycle, said government administrator Yousuf Rahim.

The attack — the third this week against polio workers in Pakistan — took place in the Kurram region, a known militant stronghold.

On Tuesday, gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot and killed a policeman protecting a polio team in Gullu Dheri village of Swabi district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The polio workers escaped unharmed in that attack.

In a separate incident in the northwest on Tuesday, a man wounded a polio worker with an axe.

Rahim said it was not immediately clear if the two workers killed Thursday were the actual target of the bombing. Javed Husain, a doctor at a hospital in the town of Parachinar, said the slain men were working as contractors for the government-run anti-polio program in the area.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but suspicion fell on Islamic militants.

Some of the militants oppose the vaccination campaign, accuse health workers of acting as spies for the U.S. and claim the polio vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where the crippling disease is endemic. The virus usually infects children living in unsanitary conditions; it attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze. As many as 56 polio cases were reported in Pakistan during 2012, down from 190 the previous year, according to the United Nations.

Most of the new cases in Pakistan were in the northwest, where the presence of militants makes it difficult to reach children.

In December, gunmen killed nine polio workers in similar attacks across Pakistan, prompting authorities to suspend the vaccination campaign in the troubled areas. The U.N. also suspended its field operations in December as a result of the attacks, though it has since resumed some activities.

Also Thursday, a gunman opened fire on a vehicle carrying three local Sunni Muslim clerics in the southern city of Karachi, killing the three before fleeing the scene, said police officer Asim Qaimkhani.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which Qaimkhani said was likely sectarian.

Karachi is the capital of southern Sindh province and has witnessed scores of attacks against minority Shiites or majority Sunnis in recent years.
Roadside bomb kills 2 polio workers in NW Pakistan
Associated Press, January 31, 2013

US: Two Iraqi immigrants sentenced for plot to ship weapons to Iraqi terrorists and raise money for Al-Qaeda

A US judge Tuesday sentenced two Iraqi men living in Kentucky to federal prison for their role in a plot to ship weapons to Iraqi insurgents and raise money for the Al-Qaeda terror network.

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, was sentenced to life in federal prison while his accomplice Waad Ramadan Alwan, 31, was sentenced to 40 years in prison followed by supervised release, the US Justice Department said.

Both had pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges, but were not charged with plotting attacks within the United States.

The two Iraqis who were living in Bowling Green, in the southern state of Kentucky, "participated in terrorist activities overseas and attempted to continue providing material support to terrorists while they lived here in the United States," said Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

"With today's sentences, both men are being held accountable," Monaco said.

Authorities arrested Hammadi and Alwan in an FBI sting involving an undercover agent posing as part of a group sending money and weapons to insurgents in Iraq.

Alwan, whose fingerprints were found on an unexploded roadside bomb found in Iraq, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to all counts of a 23-count federal indictment that included conspiracy to kill US nationals abroad and export Stinger shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

In August 2012 Hammadi pleaded guilty to a 12-count indictment that included similar charges.

Alwan however received a reduced sentence because he cooperated with authorities, the Justice Department said.

An undercover FBI agent posing as an Al-Qaeda agent met with Alwan and recorded their meetings starting in August 2010.

"From September 2010 through May 2011, Alwan participated in ten separate operations to send weapons and money that he believed were destined for terrorists in Iraq," the Justice Department said.

In January 2011 Alwan recruited Hammadi, and until May 2011 the two helped ship money and weapons—including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, and Stinger missiles—that they believed were destined "for terrorists in Iraq."

All of the weapons had been rendered inert, the statement read.

Hammadi entered the United States in July 2009 and had initially lived in Las Vegas before settling in Kentucky, while his accomplice Alwan arrived three months earlier.

India: Muslims bomb theatres to protest Vishwaroopam, film portrayed the community in a negative light

Muslims protesting against Kamal Haasan’s film Vishwaroopam hurled petrol bombs at two theatres in Tamil Nadu where the movie was scheduled to be screened on Wednesday following the High Court staying the ban imposed by the State Government. Petrol bombs were hurled at theatres in the Ramanathapuram district, 600 km from Chennai. There are no reports of injuries. Glass panes at the theatres were shattered.

Meanwhile, Kamal Haasan met with representatives of the Muslim community and later told newspersons that he had come to an amicable settlement over the dispute that rose from his using verses from the Quran in Vishwaroopam. “This film is not against Indian Muslims. It is in support of Indian Muslims. There seems to be some confusion over the use of Quranic verses and I am willing to edit out these references,” he said.

An emotional Kamal Haasan had said on Wednesday morning that he would be forced to leave the country if the ban on his film ‘Vishwaroopam’ was not lifted.

The Tamil Nadu Government had imposed a ban on the film after certain Muslim groups protested against it alleging that it portrayed the community in a negative light. The Rs 95 crore thriller was originally scheduled to release in Telugu and Tamil on January 25.
. . .

US: High school accommodates Muslims prayer times, Muslims are permitted to leave class everyday to pray on campus

There has been a significant increase in Muslim students seeking to pray in public schools in the U.S., according to The Washington Post one Marlyand high school has found a way to accommodate them.

The Principal, Cheryl J. Logan, says that those students with parental permission and high grades receive a pass to leave class and pray every day.

10 Muslims at Parkdale High School are permitted to leave class for eight minutes each day to pray together on campus, Logan said that one student is working hard to raise his grades so he is able to join the group.

The young people are part of the Muslim students’ association.

Logan stated that when the Muslim students had initially started praying during the school day it upset some of the Christian teachers. They told the students “it was a Christian school.”

The principal went on to explain the situation to the students; public schools are not religious but are legally able to accommodate students who wish to practice their religion.

“I’ve been real happy with how we’ve been able to deal with it without it becoming an issue,” she said.

Charles Haynes, the director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism based in Washington, has said that allowing Muslim students to pray is “certainly permissible” under the U.S. Constitution though probably not required.

Some states have passed laws which obligate schools to “simply treat everyone the same way and not give exemptions or special accommodations for religious reasons.”
. . .

Saudi Arabia: Shops told to build walls to separate sexes, separation barrier should be at least 1.6 metres high

Saudi authorities have ordered shops employing both men and women to build separation walls to enforce the strict segregation laws of the ultra-conservative kingdom, local press reported on Monday.

The order that was issued by labour minister Adel Faqih also had the stamp of Abdul Latif Al Shaikh, the head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, commonly known as Mutawa and religious police, several dailies reported.

It stipulated that a separation barrier, not shorter than 1.6 metres, should be erected to divide working men and women.

Authorities in June 2011 told lingerie shops to replace their salesmen, mostly Asian, with Saudi saleswomen. This directive was later extended to cosmetic outlets.

Saudi women have long complained they feel uncomfortable having to buy lingerie from men and would prefer female sales assistants.
. . .

Egypt: At least 25 women sexually assaulted during anniversary of uprising, some stripped naked, raped

London: At least 25 women were sexually assaulted during clashes in Tahrir Square amid ongoing civil unrest in Egypt, local women’s rights campaigners have said.

In a typical attack, crowds of men quickly surround isolated women, groping them and attempting to remove their clothes.

According to the Guardian, the campaigners said that some women were stripped naked and one was even raped.

Since Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets in 12 of the country’s 21 provinces to protest against President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and police brutality – two years after the start of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the report said.

Last night Morsi declared a 30-day state of emergency and curfew in the three Suez canal provinces – Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez – which are hit hardest by the latest wave of political violence.

According to the report, the president vowed in a televised address on Sunday last night that he would not hesitate to take more action to stem the latest eruption of violence across much of the country.

But at the same time, he sought to reassure Egyptians that his latest moves would not plunge the country back into authoritarianism.

More than 40 people have died and more than 500 have been injured in clashes in cities including Alexandra, Suez and Mahalla in the past four days.

For four days in Cairo, police armed with teargas have clashed with stone-throwing protesters in and around the crowded Tahrir Square, where the sexual assaults are reported to have taken place.

This week, a woman raped near Tahrir Square in November published a harrowing online account of her experience.

According to a 2008 report by the Egyptian Centre for Womens Rights, 83 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, and the problem is exacerbated by a failure to prosecute the perpetrators, the report added.

Egypt: Copts threatned, told to pay Jizya, "Egypt is an Islamic country and will be ruled according to Shariah"

An armed Islamic movement calling itself the "Brigade of Muslims" released a statement on Saturday threatening Egypt's Coptic Christians and asking them to pay tribute.

"Egypt is an Islamic country and will be ruled according to Shariah," the statement added.

The movement threatened all Egyptian media professionals who "mock religion and Islamic rule," adding that it has a special list of media professionals and their persistence in mocking will result in the "shedding of their blood in the ugliest way."

The movement explained that it has been established because of the strife being plotted against the country and the plans of enemies of Islam, both at home and abroad.

The movement accused Copts of trying to create a "separate Coptic state," accused the National Salvation Front of involvement in the burning of Egypt, and accused the so-called corrupt media of distorting the image of Muslims and Islamic rule.

The movement noted its approach is jihad, and it would fight the Egyptian army and Interior Ministry if they do not stand up to "Copts and their helpers."

Saudi Arabia: Accident victim turns down 6 million compensation, insists driver lose the use of both legs

Manama: A newly-wed bride in Saudi Arabia who was paralysed in a car accident during her honeymoon has turned down 6 million riyals (Dh5.8 million) in compensation and insisted that the driver found guilty of reckless driving lose the use of both legs on grounds of retributive justice.

“My life is devastated and I have lost everything,” the woman, in her 20s, said. “There is nothing that will be just and fair except seeing the man who has caused all this to have the same fate,” she said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Okaz.

Attempts by Judge Turki Bin Dhafer Al Qurni in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to bring the woman who was not named to change her attitude have not been successful.

She told the judge at a special session that the driver, a Saudi national, had offered her 6 million riyals in compensation to withdraw the case, but she refused and insisted on the eye for an eye retribution.

Iran: American pastor Saeed Abedini, a convert from Islam, sentenced to eight years in Evin Prison

Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, an American imprisoned in Iran on charges of evangelizing, was sentenced this morning to eight years in prison.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Abedini was verbally sentenced in Tehran by Judge Pir-Abassi, known as the “hanging judge,” to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. He will serve the time in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, known as one of the most brutal.

The evidence, the ACLJ reports, was based on Abedini’s activities primarily during the early 2000s, when house churches were not considered a threat in Iran.

“This is a real travesty – a mockery of justice,” Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ, who represents Pastor Saeed’s wife and children living in the U.S., said in a statement. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights. We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed.”

Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Sunday the administration is "deeply disappointed that Saeed Abedini has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs.

"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini."

Meehan added that the State Department remains in close contact with Abedini.

The State Department also called for Abedini's release.

"Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini's trial," spokesman Darby Holladay said in a statement.

Iran's state news agency reported last Monday that Abedini, who was born in Iran but now lives in Idaho, would soon be free. But the report, which came on the first day of Abedini's trial, was seen by Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, as just another cruel manipulation.

“This is all a lie by the Iranian media," Naghmeh Abedini said. "This has been a repeated promise by the Iranian regime since Saeed was first thrown in prison on Sept. 26, 2012. We have presented bail. After the judge told Saeed’s lawyer that bail was back on the table, the family in Tehran ran around in circles today to make sure Saeed was let out on bail. But again the bail officer rejected bail."

She said her husband's attorney in Iran, Nasser Sarbazi, cautioned her that the report, first carried by the state-controlled ISNA news agency and picked up by The Associated Press, did not mean her husband was closer to freedom.

The 34-year-old father of two denied evangelizing in Iran and claims he had only returned to his native land to help establish an orphanage. Authorities pulled him off a bus last August and threw him into the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran.

The exact crimes he is accused of only became public on Monday, when the prosecutor outlined charges that Abedini undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and that he was attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.

"This trial apparently is focused on 13 years ago, when Pastor Saeed converted from Islam to Christianity,” Sekulow said in a statement to last week.

According to the ACLJ, upon hearing the news of her husband's sentence, Naghmeh Abedini said: “The promise of his release was a lie. We should not trust the empty words or promises put out by the Iranian government. These false hopes amount to psychological torture. You don’t want to trust them, but they build a glimmer hope before the crushing blow. With today’s development I am devastated for my husband and my family. We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.”
American pastor imprisoned for his faith gets letter to his family, tells of abuse and torture.

According to CBN News, the letter is written in the margins of newspaper scraps, and tells of abuse and torture.

He said he did not recognize himself after being beaten. He also expressed concern for his wife and children back in the United States.

"My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen. . .," he wrote.

Read the entire letter at ACLJ website.

The American Center for Law and Justice is calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to put pressure on the Iranian government to secure his release. So far, the State Department has been mostly silent on the issue.

You can sign the American Center for Law and Justice's petition to free Saeed here.
Wife of American pastor imprisoned in Iran says family 'struggles everyday'

His children cry out for him. His wife wonders about his “survival battle.”

Such is the struggle of the family of an American pastor recently sentenced in Iran to eight years in prison for his Christian beliefs.

The couple's two children "miss him terribly. They cry, they ask for him," wife Naghmeh Abedini says. "They're struggling every day."

Her husband Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian birth, was arrested and charged in Iran last June during a visit. Abedini, 32, converted to Christianity from Islam and then became a pastor, living in Boise, Idaho. He has reportedly been detained in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since late September. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty...
An American pastor who was sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for planting house churches in the country says that officials in Iran have given him the ultimatum to either deny Christ or remain incarcerated.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has been working for the pastor’s release, reports that they have obtained a new letter written by Saeed Abedini, which outlines the pressure that he is facing behind bars.

“‘Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your 8 year sentence is finished.’ These are the threats that prison officials throw at me,” the pastor writes. “My response to them is Romans 8:35-39.”...
an American pastor who is imprisoned in his homeland of Iran for planting house churches in the country over a decade ago reports that his health is worsening as beatings and psychological abuse intensify behind bars.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has been fighting for the the pastor’s release, issued an update on Saeed Abedini today, advising that he continues to be denied medical care for his internal bleeding, which he has experienced for several months.

“In what could only be viewed as a cruel act of psychological abuse, prison officials took Pastor Saeed to a hospital last week — only to be turned away — and brought back to Evin prison without receiving medical treatment for his internal bleeding,” the Christian legal organization stated.”Iranian officials are telling Pastor Saeed it could be an additional two months before he will receive medical treatment. Such a delay is inhumane and a gross violation of Iran’s international obligations.”

In the meantime, Abedini says that his captors and cellmates have upped the ante on their threats and torture...
Iranian officials have pressured imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini to renounce his faith in Jesus even as they have stepped up their physical abuse and psychological torture of him, including taking him to a hospital but denying him medical treatment, according to recent reports.

In a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Abedini—a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent—wrote that he was told by Iranian prison officials, "Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your 8 year sentence is finished."

Abedini's response, he wrote, is Romans 8:35-39, which says persecution and death cannot separate a believer from Christ.

"The reality of Christian living is that difficulties or problems do arise in our lives," Abedini wrote. "Persecution and difficulties are not new occurrences, but are seen often in the Christian life. It is through the suffering and tribulations that we are to enter the Kingdom of God."

The pastor closed the letter, ACLJ said in a news release April 10, by writing, "Pastor Saeed Abedini, the servant and slave of Jesus Christ in chains, with a lot of joy to see you soon. Evin Prison 9th March 2013."

Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ's executive director, said it's clear that Abedini's faith is sustaining him even as he suffers from increased brutality at the hands of prison guards...

UK: Child rapist is spared jail after judge heard he went to a Muslim faith school, ignorant of British law

A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless.

Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.

Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.

But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.

Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.

They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period.

They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.

The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.

Earlier the court heard how Rashid had ‘little experience of women’ due to his education at an Islamic school in the UK, which cannot be named for legal reasons.

After his arrest, he told a psychologist that he did not know having sex with a 13-year-old was against the law. The court heard he found it was illegal only when he was informed by a family member.

In other interviews with psychologists, Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’.
. . .
‘It is not too far to say that he may not have known that having sex with a 13-year-old girl was illegal.’ Judge Stokes sentenced Rashid to nine months youth custody, suspended for two years, along with a two-year probation supervision order.

Describing Rashid, the judge said: ‘He’s had an unusual education, certainly in terms of the sexual education provided.

Comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.’

But he said that Rashid knew what he was doing was wrong.

‘It was made clear to you at the school you attended that having sexual relations with a woman before marriage was contrary to the precepts of Islam,’ he said.

Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’

Malaysia: Authorities say non-Muslims who use “Allah” to describe their God are “enemies of Islam”

Several PAS leaders have blasted Malaysia’s Islamic authorities for allegedly stoking religious hatred during yesterday’s Friday prayers for Muslim by calling labeling those who insist on using “Allah” to describe their God as “enemies of Islam”.

According to the few leaders contacted by The Malaysian Insider, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which had prepared the sermon, had failed to portray Islam as a religion of peace and understanding, and had instead shown intolerance.

“Jakim’s move was an attempt to incite the sentiment of hatred towards the Christians.

“This attitude is inappropriate and irresponsible,” Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said.

In Jakim’s Friday sermon yesterday, the religious authority had warned Muslims nationwide of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same.

Muslims here were also told that being too open-minded and allowing Islamic rights to be abused by other religions was a “dangerous” act.

“It is very clear that today, enemies of Islam are seeking to divert and undermine the Muslim community’s faith.

“They are united among themselves and are attempting, with their many tricks and ways, to stake their claim on the usage of ‘Allah’ in their scriptures,” the sermon said.

Jakim insisted that “Allah”, a word that millions of Arab Christians and those in non-Arabic-speaking lands use to describe their God, belongs to Muslims and is an exclusive right to those who profess Islam as it is clearly to prevent Muslims from becoming confused, doubtful and mistaken over the true identity of the Muslim God.

Citing an unnamed academic research, Jakim said that the word “Allah” was never found in the Bible as God, to these users of the holy book, exists in the Trinity concept as “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The general term for the Holy Trinity, said the religious department, is “The Lord”.

As such, Jakim insisted that the National Fatwa Council’s 2008 decision on the matter was accurate in stating that “Allah” cannot be used by those of other religions and cannot be likened to the Gods of others.

The authority also warned that painful punishment would await disbelievers in the afterlife, noting that these “symptoms” if Islam’s collapse would only destroy the glory and prestige of Muslims here.

But Khalid said Jakim had not furnished proof to back its claims and was merely pointing fingers to drive a deeper wedge between the country’s Muslims and Christians.

“But why speak ill of the Christians, not all of them are bad. In fact, Islam is no advocate of this prejudiced behaviour to those of other faiths,” he added.

Instead, the lawmaker accused Jakim of being the reason why some Muslims are confused over their religious beliefs, arguing that the authority had failed to strengthen the faith of Muslims here.

He said if Jakim believed that the faith of Muslim here has weakened, it should have used the sermon to differentiate between Islamic and Christian teachings, instead of condemning followers of the latter faith.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub agreed with his party colleague’s views, adding that JAKIM had become Barisan Nasional’s (BN) tool to flare hatred at a time when religions tension was already at a high.

“I’d like to ask, what is Jakim’s role and responsibility when preaching to Muslims?

“Jakim has become BN’s tool... in fact, they had also twisted he statement made by the PAS Syura Council earlier this month,” he added.

The Kubang Kerian MP agreed with Khalid that Jakim should have sought to resolve the polemic over the usage of “Allah” by explaining to the non-Muslims the importance of the word.

He said that instead, Jakim had chosen to spread a sense of uneasiness and hatred between both sides, even giving a false impression of Islam to the non-Muslims.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider, refused to comment on the issue as he said he had not personally heard the sermon.

“No comment, I did not hear the sermon” he told this news portal in an SMS statement.

The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the watershed 2008 Elections, remains a hot-button topic in the run-up to this year’s polls.

Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang Chief Minister, called on Putrajaya in his Christmas message to lift a ban on Malay-language bibles in Borneo Malaysia.

Hot on the heels of the DAP leader’s remarks, several state Rulers and Islamic religious authorities reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning use of the word, despite conflicting with a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.

In his defence of the issue, ulama Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said in a recent lecture that Muslims who dispute the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims are those confused about their own faith.

In a 14-minute video clip posted on YouTube, the former Perlis mufti explained that while the government has a right to restrict usage of the Arabic word for God, it should not use religion as an excuse because Islam allows for followers of other faiths the right to call their God.

UK: Human Rights laws stop terrorist being deported, suspect linked to gas plant massacre which killed 39

An Algerian terror suspect has been allowed to stay in Britain because a judge believes he may commit suicide if he is forced to go back home.

The 43-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, does not dispute he is a risk to Britain's national security and is believed to support one of the terrorist groups which carried out the deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant earlier this month which claimed the lives of 39 hostages including six Britons.

He is also suspected of providing fake passports and travel arrangements to terrorists.

But in another blow for the Home Office, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) has allowed the married man to remain on British soil today because deporting him would breach his human rights.

Making his ruling, Mr Justice Mitting - who recently allowed hate preacher Abu Qatada to stay in the UK - said: 'We must look at the totality of the psychiatric evidence in the round.

'We are persuaded by it that the risk that G would commit suicide, especially after arrival in Algiers, is very high.

'It may be containable in the UK but no special arrangements have been negotiated with Algeria to cope with it.'

In the same judgment, Mr Justice Mitting told six other Algerian terror suspects they must leave.

But the senior immigration judge warned there was still 'no end in sight' in attempting to put the men on a flight home because they are likely to appeal the decision.

Among the six men were two fundamentalists with links to an alleged 2003 plot to commit mass murder using the poison ricin and cohorts of hook-handed preacher Abu Hamza.

The decision comes after a dramatic terror attack last week on a gas plant in Algeria, which claimed the lives of at least 39 foreign hostages, including six Britons.
. . .
A previously published open judgment revealed he did not dispute the Home Secretary's case that he poses a risk to national security.
. . .
He is a suspected supporter of Groupe Islamique Arme (GIA), an Islamist organisation that wants to overthrow the Algerian government, and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which is now known as Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

And he is understood to have supplied passports to terrorists and been involved in fundraising and providing travel to extremists undertaking jihad and terrorist training.

But the extremist was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and is known to have made a suicide attempt in 2005 when he was found hanging in a cell in Belmarsh prison.

Experts concluded that medication would not stop him from committing suicide and he instead required round the clock supervision.
. . .
The Government will appeal against the decision next month but Qatada remains in the UK on bail conditions including a 16-hour curfew, wearing an electronic tag, not using the internet and not contacting certain people.

A Home Office spokesman said: 'We are pleased Siac has dismissed the appeals of six of the individuals in the 'W and Others' case against their deportation, recognising the strength of our assurances with Algeria. We intend to remove them as quickly as possible.'

UK: Sex gang member convicted of having sex with a child can't be deported because his tribe is 'persecuted'

An African migrant who lured a vulnerable schoolgirl to a house for sex cannot be deported – because he is a member of a ‘persecuted tribe’.

Jumaa Kater Saleh, 24, was convicted as part of a predatory sex gang for the ‘deliberate, targeted abuse of a young and vulnerable girl’, who was aged 13 at the time.

But he was allowed to remain in Britain under human rights law because he faced mistreatment if sent back to Sudan.

He claimed he was a member of the Zaghawa tribe, which has been persecuted by government forces and Arab tribe militia.

And it has been ruled he can stay indefinitely, unless a court decides the ‘threat’ diminishes and it is safe for him to return to Africa.

Details of the case emerged as Saleh went to court to demand compensation from the Government for locking him up. He claimed he was unlawfully detained following his prison sentence, when he was kept behind bars to protect the public.

But the judge rejected his claim saying he had posed a ‘substantial’ risk to the public and keeping him locked up was necessary.

The decision to allow Saleh to stay sparked outrage.

Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘I take the very simple view that if someone comes to this country and then breaks the law then he should be sent back to where he comes from.

'Any arguments about his human rights disappear when he has violated, violently, the rights of a young girl.’

Saleh arrived in the UK in November 2004 hidden in the back of a lorry.

In January 2005 he claimed asylum but this was rejected.

However, because he was under 18, he was allowed to remain until he reached adulthood in October 2006.

He was still in the country in May 2007, when arrested and charged with the sex offences. In February 2008, he was convicted of two charges of sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl.

He was in a group of five immigrants who lured schoolgirls – including three aged 13 and one aged 14 – to a house for sex. The judge at the trial had remarked that all three girls were ‘clearly disturbed and vulnerable, far from mature for their years and had been targeted by the group’. Saleh was jailed for four years on the basis that the offences were planned and that he knew the girl’s age. The judge also recommended him for deportation.

However, at the end of his sentence immigration officials deemed that he should not be released as they tried to deport him ‘for the public good’.

He was let out in May 2011 after it was decided that he would face persecution if returned to Sudan, under protection against ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ and risk to life. He now lives in Leicester.

Ruling against him yesterday, deputy High Court judge Philip Mott QC said he had not been unlawfully detained.

The judge, sitting at the High Court in London, accepted that Saleh was a member of the Zaghawa and so it was ‘not possible’ to return him to Sudan.
. . .

UK: Victim of homophobic abuse by Whitechapel Muslim vigilantes urged to come forward by police

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact police at Community Safety unit on 020 7275 4758 or via 101 or Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

A man subjected to homophobic abuse by "Muslim vigilantes" in a YouTube video is a “key witness” in a police investigation, Scotland Yard said today.

Detectives are investigating a string of incidents in East London where a self-styled Muslim patrol group harassed members of the public.

Police say they are trying to trace a man who was abused by the group and urged him to come forward.

In the video, titled ‘Muslim vigilantes in London harass and taunt gay male’, the group is seen abusing and intimidating the man using homophobic language.

They are heard to shout "get out of here you fag... don't stay around here any more".

Investigating officers from the Community Safety Unit on Tower Hamlets borough said they are unsure where and when the video took place.

In a second video, posted online, men from the gang in Whitechapel, tell another man "no drink in this area, it's a Muslim area" before ordering him to pour away his alcohol.

Detective Chief Inspector Wendy Morgan from Tower Hamlets borough said: "The Met takes such homophobic behaviour very seriously.

"This man is a crucial witness in the investigation and would encourage him and anyone else with information relating to this incident to make contact in confidence as soon as possible."

Additional police patrols are being mounted across east London to reassure the public.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of assault and harassment in connection with incidents dating back to January 6.

A 22-year-old man was arrested in Acton, west London on Sunday, and a 19-year-old man was arrested yesterday after going to an east London police station.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and public order offences and were bailed to return to an east London police station in February and March pending further inquiries.

A police spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service takes these incidents very seriously and is pursuing various lines of inquiry with a view to identifying and prosecuting the individuals concerned."
Whitechapel 'Muslim vigilante' victim urged to come forward by police
Justin Davenport, London Evening Standard, January 24, 2013

Tunisia: Government urged to take action after 2 more Sufi shrines are torched by conservative Muslims

Two Sufi mausoleums were torched in Tunisia on Thursday, police and media reported, in the latest violence the mystical Muslim sect claims is being carried out by ultra-conservative Salafist Muslims.

The Sidi Ali Ben Salem mausoleum in the southwestern region of Gabes was totally destroyed by fire, police said.

In the southern region of Douz, the Sidi Ahmed al-Ghout mausoleum was also set on fire and the tomb of the saint buried there profaned, the official TAP news agency said.

Sufi officials in Tunisia put the blame on Salafists, accusing them of a systematic campaign to destroy Sufi sanctuaries.

On Wednesday, they said another one of their shrines in Tunisia had been torched the day before, also blaming Salafists.

"The people behind all the attacks are Wahhabis," a Salafist branch of Islam rooted in Saudi Arabia, said Mazen Sherif, the deputy head of a Sufi union set up to counter the attacks on Wednesday.

"This is just the beginning. They will go on to destroy the (Roman) sites in Carthage, El Jem and Duga. Then they will force men to grow beards and women to wear the full veil," he said.

According to the union, which urged Tunisia's Islamist-led government to take effective action, such attacks are financed from abroad.

Since the early centuries of Islam, Sufi orders have always aroused suspicion among orthodox Muslims.
More Sufi shrines torched in Tunisia
France 24, January 24, 2013

India: Imam masterminded bus burning in Hyderabad, eight including imam arrested

A group of 15 persons, including an Imam of a mosque, were allegedly responsible for the RTC bus burning incident at Kalapather near the Mir Alam filter bed on the night of January 21 (Monday), the police claimed.

While the Imam of Masjid-e-Badar, Syed Dastagiri, and seven others were arrested, a hunt was on for the other accused, South Zone DCP Tarun Joshi said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The group wanted to create a sensation in the Old City taking advantage of the current volatile situation, he said.

The DCP maintained that the incident had no communal angle.

“None of the persons involved in the bus burning case have any political affiliations. Barring Dastagiri, most of the other accused are youngsters,” Mr. Joshi said.

Iraq: Suicide bomb kills 42, wounds 75 during funeral, day after wave of attacks kill 26 and wound dozens

A suicide bomber made his way into a Shia mosque north of Baghdad and blew himself up in the middle of a packed funeral on Wednesday, killing 42 people and leaving corpses scattered across the floor.

The attack, the deadliest in six months, is likely to heighten tensions as Iraq grapples with a political crisis and more than a month of protests in Sunni-majority areas that have hardened opposition to Shia Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants often launch attacks in a bid to destabilise the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

The bomber struck at the Sayid al-Shuhada mosque in Tuz Khurmatu, 175 kilometres north of Baghdad, and targeted the funeral of a relative of a politician who was shot dead a day earlier.

“Corpses are on the ground of the Husseiniyah (Shia mosque),” said Shallal Abdul, mayor of Tuz Khurmatu. “The suicide bomber managed to enter and blow himself up in the middle of the mourners.”

Niyazi Moamer Oghlu, secretary general of the provincial council of Salaheddin, which surrounds Tuz Khurmatu, put the toll from the attack at 42 dead and 75 wounded.

Among those hurt were officials and tribal leaders, including Ali Hashem Oghlu, the deputy chief of the Iraqi Turkman Front and a provincial councillor in Salaheddin.

The funeral had been for Oghlu’s brother-in-law, who killed in Tuz on Tuesday.

Tuz Khurmatu lies in a tract of disputed territory that Kurdistan wants to incorporate into its autonomous three-province region against the wishes of the central government in Baghdad.

The row is regarded by diplomats and officials as the greatest long-term threat to Iraq’s stability.

The death toll from Wednesday’s blast was the highest from a single attack since a series of bombings north of Baghdad on July 23 killed 42 people.

Also on Wednesday, gunmen killed a school principal near the main northern city of Mosul and an anti-Qaeda militiaman was shot dead near the predominantly Sunni town of Fallujah.

Wednesday’s violence came after a wave of attacks on Tuesday killed 26 people and wounded dozens more.

That broke four days of relative calm following a spate of incidents claimed by Al Qaeda’s front group that killed at least 88 people on January 15-17, according to an AFP tally.

The militant group is widely seen as weaker than during the peak of Iraq’s sectarian bloodshed, but is still capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks on a regular basis.

The latest wave of violence means the overall death toll from bloodshed in Iraq this month has already surpassed that of any of the previous three months, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials.

Attacks in Iraq are down from their peak in 2006-2007, but they are still common across the country.

The unrest comes amid a political crisis that has pitted Maliki against several of his erstwhile government partners, less than three months before provincial elections.

Thailand: Teacher killed in front of pupils, 158th teacher/school staff killed during 9-year-old insurgency

THAI insurgents shot dead a teacher in front of dozens of children in a school cafeteria, police said, in the latest deadly attack on an education worker.

Cholathee Charoenchol, a 51-year-old Muslim, was shot in the head at Tanyong school in Bacho district in Narathiwat province as at least 30 pupils and several teachers looked on, according to officials.

He was the 158th teacher and other school staff killed during a nine-year-old insurgency that has gripped Thailand's Muslim-majority deep south near the border with Malaysia.

Bacho police said two insurgents parked their motorcycle in front of the school canteen and walked into the building, where one of them shot Cholathee with a pistol.

"There were between 30 and 40 students in the cafeteria when he was shot," local police chief Colonel Pakdi Preechachon said.

Thousands of schools closed temporarily in December in protest at a lack of security for teachers, who are targeted by the shadowy network of militants for their perceived collaboration with the Thai state.

The schools reopened after the government pledged to beef-up security.

Colonel Pramote Promin, the spokesman for the army in the south, said a lack of cooperation from Muslim villagers was making it hard to protect teachers "no matter how strict security measures are".

"This school is situated in an area where 100 per cent of the villagers and all of teachers and students are Muslims," he said.

Near daily attacks - including shootings, bombings and even beheadings - mean violence is a part of life for many in Thailand's far south.

More than 5300 people, both Buddhist and Muslim, have been killed since 2004, according to local conflict monitor Deep South Watch.

UK: Caught on video, London man suffers anti-gay abuse from the ‘Muslim Patrol’ group

Video has surfaced of a group shouting homophobic abuse at a man in East London – with the group calling itself a “Muslim Patrol”.

The clip, first reported by The Commentator, is prefaced by a logo announcing “Islam will dominate the world”, features the sound of gun fire as its introduction, and uses an anti-gay image.

One member of the group is heard to shout: “Hello mate, don’t you know this is a Muslim area?… Why you dressed like that for? [sic]” while another member of the group shouts: “Homosexual! Homosexual!”

When the victim asks: “Why are you bothering me?” A member of the group responds: “Because you’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag mate. You need to get out of here.”

The man is then described as “dirty” a “fag” and a “mug”.

Throughout 2011, extremists distributed stickers warning of a “gay-free zone” throughout east London.

A man was later convicted of a public order offence in connection with the incident.

Egypt: Pretext for violence, thousands of Muslims loot & torch Coptic homes, businesses & cars over rumor

Thousands of Muslims from Marashda and surrounding villages attacked eight Coptic homes and businesses, including five pharmacies, which were looted and torched. Coptic-owned cars were also torched.

According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih of the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), the attacks were caused by rumors that a 55-year-old Coptic man, Nader Masoud, sexually assaulted a 6-year-old Muslim girl.

The attacks on the village, which has a mostly Christian population, started with several Coptic businesses being torched and the Church of Abu Fam having its cross demolished and glass smashed.

AINA reported that Anba Kyrollos, Bishop of Nag Hammadi, said a medical check of the Muslim girl proved her "virginity," but the attacks "took place after the Muslims knew of the medical verdict and the sexual assault was only a rumor."

Bishop Kyrollos said Masoud turned himself in to police for his own safety.

Then clashes broke out again later in the day in Marashda, this time between security forces and the Muslim protesters. The incident occurred after the police arrested 10 Muslims reportedly responsible for some of the morning's violence.

AINA said more than 2,000 Muslims were on the village bridge trying to stop the police from transporting the arrested Muslims. The mob prevented police vehicles from passing, and tried to break into the police cars to free the suspects.

AINA said this led security forces to call for reinforcement troops from the Central Security Directorate in Qena, which fired teargas on the protesters.

According to the newspaper Aldostor-Assly, the Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafists groups denied any involvement in the Marshada events.

AINA said there's now a relative calm in the village after a friendly meeting occurred at the church. It was attended by the pastor, security officials, the Muslim girl's family and Muslim elders. They decided to let the courts resolve the issue.

However, AINA said, some Muslims continued to demonstrate in front of the police station where the accused Coptic man is being held.

Meanwhile, Copts are staying in their homes for fear of attacks. The Coptic Church cancelled an evening service celebrating the feast of Epiphany, and security forces are still present in the village.
Muslims attack Christians in Egypt
ASSIST News Service, January 22, 2013

UK: Muslims protest Mali campaign: Islam will dominate France and England, implement Shari'ah in Europe

Islamists in Britain, who protested outside the French Embassy in London last week, threatened that Islam will dominate France and England, and called to implement Islamic sharia law in all of Europe.

The Muslims, who had been protesting against the French military campaign in Mali, also called French President Francois Hollande a “Son of Pharaoh”. The demonstration was posted on the Internet on January 12 and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

The demonstration was led by Muslim hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has said in the past he plans to flood specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the UK and “put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term.”

Choudary is the founder of two Muslim groups in Britain that were banned by the British government after being declared terrorist organizations. He has threatened British Jews who support Israel, stating that it is an “Islamic obligation upon Muslims everywhere to support the Jihad against those who fight Muslims anywhere in the world or who occupy Muslim land.”

He has often praised Muslim terrorists, referring to the September 11 terrorists as “magnificent martyrs.” In 2003 he endorsed terrorist attacks by British Muslims and said that al-Muhajiroun, one of the groups he founded, would “encourage people to fulfill their Islamic duties and responsibilities.” He praised the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India and has also called for stoning homosexuals, assassinating the Pope, and prosecuting Queen Elizabeth for genocide.<brb>. . .
He calls for “sharia for Mali” and also says, “A caliphate for Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq... The Islamic nation is boiling. We got rid of some of our dictators – Ben Ali, Mubarak, and Qaddafi. Now it’s time for the dictators in Mali, in Pakistan, in Bangladesh, and all over the Muslim lands to be removed and replaced by the sharia, by Islam.”

As well, one of the British Islamists who took part in the protest says, “The call for the sharia is a global call. It is a choice that these governments in the West will have to face up to. The sharia is an inevitability. Therefore, you had better accept the sharia, otherwise you will find us on your own doorsteps, outside your own embassies.”

“You talk about Freedom, you talk about democracy, but there is no freedom for Muslims to practice Islam. That is because their idols of freedom and democracy are false idols. They will burn in Hell, just like you,” he says.

The protester also says that “our eyes are on Paris, our eyes are on Brussels, our eyes are on London. We will not stop, as Muslims, until the whole world is governed by Islam.”

Iran: A Christian convert arrested at Christmas, for his conversion, remains in prison

The Christian young man was arrested at the same time as Iranian security authorities arrested a group of Christians in Tehran. After almost a month, this Christian convert remains in prison, as judicial authorities refused to accept bail for his release.

According to Mohabat News correspondents, Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian convert, was arrested during the Christmas celebrations by security authorities in Tehran and is still being held in Evin prison.

Mostafa Bordbar who is 26 years old, is a resident of Rasht. As reported earlier, he had attended a party held to celebrate Christmas together with fellow Christian converts, when security authorities arrested him.

To date, there has been no report on how he was arrested.

According to reports published earlier, on Thursday December 27th, approximately 50 newly converted Christians had gathered at a residential home in the Northern district of Tehran to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the occasion of Christmas. Fifteen plain-clothes security authorities raided the party and interrogated all attendees on the spot before permitting them to leave the place. At the same time, Pastor Vruir Avanessian, an Iranian-Armenian pastor, was arrested as well. This occurred while he was in fragile physical condition. He was temporarily released on bail after 15 days and now awaits his trial.

Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News, that after arresting Mostafa Bordbar, that night, security authorities attacked his brother's home in Tehran and searched it thoroughly. When the authorities were unable to find any evidence of Mostafa's Christian faith, they left the place and took Mostafa with them.

From there, he was transferred to Evin prison, where he was interrogated. He was not permitted to contact his family during the time he was being interrogated. In a brief phone call, after two weeks, he told his family that he was in a good health.

Mr. Bordbar's family repeatedly tried to obtain a visitor's permit from judicial authorities afterwards. They even went to the detention center of Evin prison, but were not allowed to visit him.

- Release Bail Rejected

Reports indicate that judicial authorities have issued a decision allowing Mr. Bordbar to be temporarily released on bail until his trial is held. However, one month after his arrest, judicial authorities have refused to accept the deed of a residential house provided by the Bordbar family, saying the property is located in another county (Rasht). Thus the Christian convert still remains in prison.

The Iranian judicial authorities have asked the Bordbar family to provide a deed for a property in Tehran. Meanwhile, it seems he will remain in prison until either the current deed provided by the family is accepted or the family will submit another deed.

Prior to this incident, Mostafa Bordbar had been arrested by security authorities in 2009 for converting to Christianity and attending a house-church. At that time he was convicted by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court for "apostasy" and released on bail after all court processes. However, the conviction was kept in his record (supporting documents are available to Mohabat News, but are kept confidential).

Bangladesh: TV cleric sentenced to death for murder and rape of Hindus during 1971 independence war

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced a well-known Muslim cleric to death for crimes against humanity during the country's 1971 independence war.

Abul Kalam Azad's conviction is the first verdict handed down by the controversial tribunal.

The cleric, a presenter of Islamic programmes on television, shot dead six Hindus and raped Hindu women during the war, prosecutors said.

He is thought to be in Pakistan and was found guilty in absentia.

BBC Bengali editor Sabir Mustafa says the verdict is being seen as a triumph for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has made prosecuting war crimes a key goal of her government.
. . .
Mr Azad was a junior leader in the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami party in 1971 and a member of the Razakar Bahini, an auxiliary force set up to help the Pakistani army by rooting out local resistance.

The Razakars were notorious for their operations targeting Hindus as well as civilians suspected of being sympathetic towards Bengali nationalists.

The International Crimes Tribunal was set up by the Awami League-led government to try those Bangladeshis accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces who attempted to stop East Pakistan (as Bangladesh was then) from becoming an independent country.

Those charged include a number of senior Jamaat leaders and a former minister from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

All of the people currently indicted by the tribunal deny the charges and opposition leaders accuse the government of carrying out a political vendetta.

Bangladesh government figures estimate more than three million people were killed during the independence war, although some researchers put the figure at between 300,000 and 500,000.

Iraq: Prison guards beat and insult 20 Saudi detainees after losing football match

Twenty Saudi detainees in Iraqi prisons were tortured after the Iraqi national team lost the Gulf Cup football tournament to the UAE in a match supervised by a Saudi referee, according to Thamer Balheed, head of the Saudi detainees in Iraq.

Balheed told Al Arabiya TV that the Saudi prisoners were severely beaten and insulted by Iraqi prison guards who blamed the Saudi referee for their national team’s 1-2 defeat to the UAE.

A sport commentator on an Iraqi television network lost his temper during the match, issuing live prayers against Saudi referee Khalil al-Ghamdi and accusing him of being unfair to Iraq.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia have recently resumed security cooperation talks, including discussion on a prisoners exchange deal.

This came after a Saudi man was released from an Iraqi jail and said he was tortured by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Balheed has previously stated that up to 60 Saudi detainees are being held in Iraqi prisons. He noted that they are being kept in different prisons and are all staying in deplorable conditions and exposed to various forms of torture.

However, when the issue of exchanging prisoners was introduced, the ‘Iraqi government refused it,” according to Balheed.

“We were met with extreme intransigence on the part of al-Maliki’s government,” Balheed said.

Yemen: At least 13 Suspected Al-Qaida militants killed by own explosives

A Yemen security official says an explosion in the province of Bayda has killed at least 13 suspected al-Qaida militants.

The official in Bayda's capital city of Radda says the explosion went off in a house owned by a known al-Qaida operative, Ahmed Abdullah Deif-Allah Al-Zahab. It appeared to be an accident.

Residents were barred Sunday from approaching the scene of the incident by militants with links to al-Qaida, the official said.

Early last year Al-Qaida's Yemen-based branch briefly seized the town of Radda, an outpost 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the capital.

The group is active in southern Yemen and has launched deadly attacks against the military since it lost control of key southern cities it overran in 2011.
At Least 13 Suspected Al-Qaida Men Killed in Yemen
The Associated Press, January 20, 2013

Egypt: Thousands of Muslim extremists attack a Christian village, second attack in less than a week

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia: Perkasa president calls on Muslims to seize and burn Bibles which contain the term “Allah”

Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali has called on Muslims to seize and burn copies of Bibles which contain the term “Allah” or other Arabic religious words.

Stressing that he was not instigating communal tension, the Pasir Mas MP insisted that it was the only way to stop non-Muslims from stirring the sensitivities and sentiments of the majority of population in the country.

He said certain non-Muslim groups were out to provoke the Muslims by using the term “Allah” or any other Arabic religious words in the Bible.

Under the Non-Islamic Religion (Control on Expansion Among Muslims) Act 1988, he said non-Muslims are prohibited from using several Arabic religious terms, including Allah, in their prayers or scriptures.

“Muslims must unite to protect their religion. They must seize those Bibles, including the Malay editions, which contained the term Allah and other Arabic religious terms, and burn them.

“This is the way to show our anger against disrespect to our sensitivity,” he told a press conference after delivering his presidential speech at a Perkasa convention here today.

‘Pre-election tactic’

Held at UiTM campus, the convention was on ‘Economic and Education Transformation of Penang Malays’.

Ibrahim was referring to a police report lodged by Persatuan Mukabuku Pulau Pinang this week alleging that two men have distributed Bibles to Muslims pupils at the entrance of a secondary school in Jelutong town on the island.

He said it was wrong for non-Muslims to distribute Bibles to Muslims as such activities were also banned under the 1988 Act.

He said certain non-Muslim groups dared to infringe the law to stir Muslim religious sentiments merely to fish for votes in the forthcoming general election.

He claimed that their pre-election tactic was to provoke Muslims to be busy in a polemic among themselves on religious issues, such as using “Allah” in the Christian holy book, Bible.

“This is a deliberate attempt to divert the Muslim attention from political issues,” said Ibrahim.

Turkey: Police arrest 13 suspects plotting attack against members of a church and their pastor

Turkish police have arrested 13 suspects accused of plotting an attack against members of a Protestant church and their pastor in a northwestern city, a local official said on Friday.

"The suspects who were arrested by the counter-terrorism units on Tuesday are accused of plotting an attack on the members of the Christian community and their leader" in the city of Izmit, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official declined to comment on the suspects' possible links with any terrorist organizations, saying that an investigation had been launched.

The pastor of the church in Izmit, Emre Karaali, said at least two of the suspects had attended mass there for a year.

"We are shocked and sad," he told AFP.

The spiritual leader said he had been informed by the Turkish authorities that the assailants were planning to attack him and other worshippers during a mass at the church this week.

Karaali also said he had received death threats in the past.

Several attacks in recent years have targeted members of the Christian community in predominantly Muslim but staunchly secular Turkey.

In 2006, 61-year-old Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro was shot dead in the Black Sea port city of Trabzon.

That same year, another Catholic cleric, French national Pierre Brunissen, survived after being stabbed by a man described as mentally disturbed in Samsun, another Black Sea port city.

In 2007, a young man stabbed and injured Father Adriano Franchini, a 65-year-old Italian, after attending Sunday mass at a church in the western city of Izmir.

Indonesia: Married couple chased from their village after neighbors discover they are lesbians

Two women who married in Indonesia by disguising themselves as a heterosexual couple were chased away from their village after neighbours discovered they were lesbians, community members said.

Neighbours raided the couple's home on Batam island near Singapore after growing suspicious that Musdalifa was a woman because he never socialised with other men in the village and the couple always kept to themselves.

"We reject homosexuals here, so last week we raided their house and saw Musdalifa was obviously a woman. She'd been walking around in loose men's clothes," Marlina, 34, told AFP Wednesday.

"We told Musdalifa to leave. They both fled and we haven't seen them since," said Marlina, who goes by one name.

It was discovered that Musdalifa was really a 23-year-old woman named Angga Soetjipto, who married her girlfriend Ninies Ramiluningtyas, 41, earlier this month.

The locals complained to the local Religious Affairs Office, which administers marriages and has reported the case to the Religious Affairs Ministry.

"There was no way we could have known, because they both had all the right documents, including a letter of identification from the village," office head Budi Dharmawan said.

He said the office would consider intensifying customary pre-marriage counselling to ensure illegal marriages do not slip through the net again.

Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, though gay marriage is outlawed.

Although the majority of Indonesians practise a moderate form of Islam, the country's sharia stronghold Aceh province has deliberated flogging homosexuals and has forced gay and lesbian couples to separate.

UK: Nine accused of grooming and abusing children in Oxford, sex slave aged 11 branded with initial

A girl of 11 was sold to a child trafficker who branded her with his initial, a court heard yesterday.

Mohammed Karrar, 38, also loaned her to abusers around the country for £600 an hour, it was alleged.

Over five years she was repeatedly raped by large groups of men in what she described as ‘torture sex’, the jury was told.

Seven men of Pakistani origin and two from North Africa are accused of 79 offences against six vulnerable white British girls. The charges include child rape, sexual trafficking and child prostitution.

Noel Lucas QC, prosecuting, said Karrar – known as Egyptian Mo – bought the youngest victim from an unnamed man just after her 11th birthday.

He befriended her with gifts of perfume and hard drugs but then began to beat her up and raped her, the Old Bailey was told.

He branded her with one of her hair pins, which he had twisted into the shape of an ‘M’ and heated with a cigarette lighter. It left a scar on her left buttock.

‘He regarded her as his property,’ Mr Lucas said. ‘He showed her no regard. If she had the temerity to resist, he beat her.

‘He branded her to make her his property and to ensure others knew about it.’ At the age of 12 she was introduced to Karrar’s brother Bassam, 33, who is also accused of raping her.

The girl ‘describes the Karrars as sick sex monsters’, Mr Lucas said. ‘They were always talking about sex and spoke about women in a vile manner.

‘Mohammed Karrar liked her to dress up and act out role play. Both brothers used to beat her.’

From the age of 12 the girl was sold to groups of Asian men who violently raped her in private homes and guesthouses around Oxford and elsewhere. Sometimes she was injected with heroin or given date drugs to ensure she complied with the gang’s sick demands, it was alleged.

Mr Lucas added: ‘It became routine for her to be taken to various locations, houses and hotels by the Karrar brothers so she could treat their guests. She would be made to dress up, wear very short skirts and a bikini top, do her hair and put on lots of make-up.

By the end of the evening she would have been sexually used and abused by all the men. She would be so drugged up as to be unable to feel the pain.’

Just after her 12th birthday the girl told Karrar she was carrying his child. He allegedly beat her up and then took her to a house in Reading where she was given a ‘backroom abortion’ using a crochet hook...

Indonesia: Six Christian schools threatened with closure for not teaching Islam to students

Municipal authorities in Blitar, a town in East Java province, are threatening to shut down six Catholic schools "by 19 January" if the latter do not provide Islamic courses and readings of the Qur'an to their Muslim students, in accordance with regional bylaw n. 8 of 2012, which requires all Muslim students to receive Islamic courses in school. The latter is based on a national law, the National Education Act n. 55 of 2007.

The six Catholic schools at risk are the Diponegoro Catholic High School, the Catholic Vocational Training High School, Saint Mary KG, Saint Mary Elementary School, and Yos Sudarso Catholic Elementary and Yos Sudarso Catholic Junior High School.

The schools received the municipal injunction in the final days of 2012, but their administrators have refused to comply with the directive by 19 January, this according to the head of the local department of the Religious Affairs Ministry.

So far, school administrators have not released any official statement on the matter because of the sensitive nature of the issue. Before expressing any opinion, they are set to take part in meetings with Catholic leaders.

Sources within the schools note however that Muslim students and their families had accepted their teaching programmes "without complaining." No one has ever "objected on religious grounds".

In fact, it has been a long established practice that Indonesia's private Christian schools, including those run by the Catholic Church, are not required to offer courses on Islam or readings of the Qur'an as in public schools. Instead, they provide courses and seminars on Christianity and catechism.

Algeria: Mali terrorists hold 41 hostages, including 7 Americans, after taking control of gas field

An Al Qaeda-linked group from Mali have attacked and taken control of a natural gas field partly owned by BP in southern Algeria, killing two and reportedly taking 41 people hostage, including seven Americans.

A group called the Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, called a Mauritanian news outlet to say one of its subsidiaries had carried out the operation on the Ain Amenas gas field, taking 41 hostages from nine or 10 different nationalities.

The U.S. embassy in Algiers said in a statement it wasn't "aware of any U.S. citizen casualties," but sources tell Fox News at least three Americans may be among the hostages.

The group's claim could not be independently substantiated and typically there would be fewer than 20 foreign staff members on site on a typical day, along with hundreds of Algerian employees.

The group said the attack was in revenge for Algeria's support of France's operation against Al Qaeda-linked Malian rebels groups far to the southeast.

The caller to the Nouakchott Information Agency, which often carries announcements from extremist groups, did not give any further details, except to say that the kidnapping was carried out by "Those Who Signed in Blood," a group created to attack the countries participating in the ongoing offensive in Mali.

US: Niqab-wearer effortlessly kidnaps child. School procedures requiring she identify herself not followed

Many parents at Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia are unnerved by the kidnapping that happened inside the school Monday.

They're unhappy with both the school and the district, for good reason. District officials say they have good security policies in place, but none of them were followed. And that allowed the kidnapper to have free rein.

Bryant Elementary School isn't exactly in the safest neighborhood, So you might think security would be extra tight. But when the victim's mom talked to school officials Monday afternoon, "They didn't know nothing," Latifah Rashid insisted. "It's going on 3:30 and they didn't know where my kid is."

The kidnapper had talked her way past a hall monitor and took the girl from her class, violating every security procedure the district had put in place. A district official says a visitor is supposed to sign in at the front desk and show photo ID. If they're picking up a child, their name must be on a list provided by a parent. Only then will the child be escorted from his or her classroom. "A student should never be released to an adult from a classroom," Philadelphia School District Spokesman Fernando Gallard told Fox 29. "The release should only occur at the main office."

But that didn't happen either. The victim's substitute teacher allowed the kidnapper into the classroom. Taja Henson's daughter saw it happen. "She said the teacher was nervous to let her kind of leave out the classroom, but when I asked, did he call somebody to ask was it okay for her to leave, she said no," Henson said.

"They didn't check ID, they didn't call me," Latifah Rashid, the victim's mother, added. "The substitute teachers says that he asked the mom if she wanted to sign (the victim) out. The woman said, oh I already signed her out at the office."..
Kidnapping at School: What Went Wrong?
Claudia Gomez, MyFoxPhilly, January 15, 2013

Egypt: 5000 armed Muslims come out of mosques, destroy Church building while chanting Allahu akbar

Hundreds of Muslims came out of mosques today with hammers and destroyed a social services building belonging to the Coptic Church while chanting Islamic slogans. Security forces arrived after the building was completely razed. The 100 square meters social services building in the village of Fanous, Tamia district in Fayoum province, 130 KM south west of Cairo, had all the necessary government permits; it had a reception hall on the first floor and a kindergarten on the second.

But the Muslims insisted that it would become a church.

A meeting had taken place beforehand between the village mayor and elders from Muslim and Coptic sides and it was agreed that only the first floor was to remain and the second be demolished.

Mosques in surrounding villages called on their microphones this afternoon on Muslims to go and help their Muslim brethrens in the village of Fanous, because Christians were "building a church." According to rights activist Nader Shukry of Maspero Coptic Youth Organizations, nearly 5000 Muslims took part in demolishing the church property with their hammers, while shouting "Allahu Akbar." He said no one was arrested, not even the imams who called on Muslims to demolish the building; their calls fall under the crime of "enticement to violence."

The district of Tamia and neighboring Senousen is home to a large congregation of Islamists. Shoukry said that the Coptic Church had previously warned the security authorities of the danger of the Islamists provoking sedition in Tamia and neighboring areas.

A witness from Fanous village said they were working on the building site, which had started two months ago, removing the wood which was intended for the second floor when a Muslim man started insulting the Copts, then they were assaulted by the village women. The mob of Muslim men followed with their attack saying that the whole building has to be demolished. He said that the Muslim elders pretended to be peacemakers, but to no avail. "The Muslims with their hammers and spare pipes were demolishing also the walls of the ground floor, leaving nothing standing," said the witness. The village mayor and Muslim elders made excuses for not honoring their agreement of leaving the ground floor intact by saying the "youth take unreasonable actions."

Security authorities arrived after the social services building was demolished.

Some village Copts together with priests from St. George's Church went to the police station to have a report with the incident issued. No Muslim was arrested.

"Although we recognized the village youth who participated in the demolition work we could not name any of them," said a Christian resident, "as we are a minority in the village and we do not want to have problems because we fear for the safety of our children. We go away to work in Cairo leaving our families behind in the village. I believe that as Copts, we are destined to be always persecuted."

According to Shukry, the Copts are staying indoors, afraid to get into any confrontation which might lead to other attacks on their homes and businesses. "This incident will end like all other similar incidents, no one will be arrested and the building will never be rebuilt." He believes that the Copts should stand firm and insist on rebuilding this demolished services building, "otherwise it will be a green light to repeat this incident in the neighboring villages."

In 2007 in the village of Roda in Tamia Muslims demolished the fence of the Protestant church, security initiated a "reconciliation" meeting. The governorate promised to rebuild the fence at its own expenses, and the perpetrators were released. The fence has still not been built.
Muslims Demolish Church Building in Egypt
Mary Abdelmassih, AINA, January 15, 2013

Syria: Rape “significant” factor in Syria conflict, Syrians identified rape as a primary reason their families fled the country

Rape has been a "significant" weapon of war in the conflict raging in Syria since March 2011 and is the "primary" factor in the exodus of women and children refugees to neighboring Jordan and Lebanon, an aid group said on Monday.

In its report, "Syria: A Regional Crisis," the US-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) described rape "as a significant and disturbing feature of the Syrian civil war."

"In the course of three IRC assessments in Lebanon and Jordan, Syrians identified rape as a primary reason their families fled the country," the report said, calling for urgent attention to the issue.

"Many women and girls relayed accounts of being attacked in public or in their homes, primarily by armed men. These rapes, sometimes by multiple perpetrators, often occur in front of family members."

The IRC said it was also told of attacks in which women and girls were kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed.

Syrian survivors rarely report sexual violence due to "the stigma and social norms around the dishonor that rape brings to women and girls and their families," the IRC said.

Many interviewed by the IRC said survivors fear retribution by their assailants, being killed by "shamed" family members, or in the case of girls, being married off at an early age "to safeguard their honor," the report said.

The IRC said survivors who flee face a shortage of medical and counseling services, in addition to "unsafe conditions in refugee camps as well as elevated levels of domestic violence."

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Friday that registered Syrian refugees in neighboring countries and North Africa now number more than 600,000.

The UN has said it expects refugee numbers to swell to 1.1 million by June if the war continues.

Inside Syria, more than 2 million civilians are displaced and the United Nations estimates that 4 million are in dire need of assistance, the IRC said, warning the crisis "will be a protracted humanitarian emergency.”

Egypt: Historian claims Muslim Brotherhood responsible for Jews fleeing Egypt

An Egyptian historian has fingered the Muslim Brotherhood as being responsible for the country's Jews fleeing Egypt.

The history professor, Khaled Fahmi, made the remarks during an interview which aired on Al-Nahar TV on January 3, 2013. They were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

"The Muslim Brotherhood bears much of the responsibility for the fleeing of the Jews from Egypt," Fahmi said. "All the writings of the Muslim Brotherhood... If you grab a copy of their Al-Nazir newspaper [from the late 1930s], the editor-in-chief of which was Salah Al-Ashmawi, you will see that there were many anti-Jewish articles – articles that did not distinguish between Zionism and the Jews. An article published in 1938 accused the Jews, among many other things... The article was titled 'The Danger of the Jews to the Islamic and Christian world.' It accused the Jews of being the cause of British colonialism in India. It claimed that the real colonialists in India were the Jews, not the British."

According to Fahmi, "The conflict in Palestine also left its mark on Egypt. There were big skirmishes in 1945. The Jewish synagogue in the Mosky neighborhood was burned down, grenades were thrown, grenades were thrown, and people died."

A Muslim Brotherhood official and a senior aide to President Mohammed Morsi recently caused an uproar in Egypt over his remarks that Egyptian Jews should leave Israel and reclaim their properties back at home.

The official, Essam al-Erian, said during a television interview that "it is better for Jews to live in a country like Egypt rather than in a country contaminated by occupation."

He added that the Jews should return immediately to Egypt to "make way for the Palestinian people" and said, "Every Egyptian has the right to come back to Egypt, no matter what his religion."

Erian later sought to dispel the controversy he caused by saying that the "ideology of Zionism" had ended in failure and predicting that Israel will cease to exist within a decade.

"Jewish occupiers of the territory of historic Palestine are an obstacle to the Palestinians' right of return," he said. "Anyone who can read the future can see that this project has a decade, less than a decade to go, and it is our faith that the people of Palestine can then return to Palestine."

Erian subsequently resigned from his position, with analysts saying that there was no doubt that he was pressure to quit after inviting back to Egypt the descendants of Jews who were thrown out of the country, or who fled due to anti-Semitic violence.

In response to Erian's comments, the Islamic Jihad terrorist group vowed to fight Jews if they return to Egypt, saying they deserve to be killed...

UK: BBC News Studios build bomb proof room to protect journalists from Muslim suicide bombers

The BBC's new multi-million pound television news studio has been built to be bomb proof to protect journalists from suicide attacks.

The news room sits in a bunker under the main reception at the £1billion New Broadcasting House. Staff have been assured they would be protected from a blast should a suicide bomber walk through the front door at the central London facility.

A BBC source told The Sunday Express: 'It's directly underneath so if a suicide bomber came in the front door they would be right over it. We've been assured it's bomb proof.'

The BBC refused to comment on the claim however, saying: 'We never discuss security issues.'

The news room, described as one of the largest in the world, will go live in March, broadcasting the BBC's three main daily bulletins at 1pm, 6pm and 10pm. The bulletins will undergo a makeover but the source said the changes will be subtle...

Saudi Arabia: More than 45 maids facing execution for alleged child abuse, witchcraft and killing would-be rapists

Foreign workers are being warned of the 'deadly risks' they face in Saudi Arabia, with more than 45 maids awaiting execution despite growing anger at the country's mistreatment of migrants.

The death row prisoners include a domestic worker convicted of beating her employer to death when he allegedly tried to rape her.

On Wednesday, authorities in the Middle Eastern country ignored international pleas and beheaded maid Rizana Nafeek, 24, who was convicted of killing a baby despite protesting her innocence.

Human rights groups believe Indonesians account for the majority of the maids on death row and that there are Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Indians and Ethiopians also facing execution.

Campaigners say many of Saudi Arabia's 1.5 million migrant workers, around 375,000 of whom are Sri Lankan, are attracted to the country by the prospect of working for wealthy families but face exploitation and abuse.

This can range from months of hard work without pay to physical violence, in a country where legal protections are particularly weak, and access to lawyers, translators and embassies is often blocked.

Human Rights Watch's Nisha Varia told The Observer: 'The Saudi justice system is characterised by arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and harsh punishments. A domestic worker facing abuse or exploitation from her employer might run away and then be accused of theft.

'Employers may accuse domestic workers, especially those from Indonesia, of witchcraft. Victims of rape and sexual assault are at risk of being accused of adultery and fornication.'

Human rights group say 69 people were executed in Saudi Arabia last year and 79 the year before, including five women, one of whom was beheaded for witchcraft and sorcery.

Amnesty International Saudi Arabia researcher Dina el-Mamoun said there is growing alarm at the number of migrant workers being sentenced to death, with more than 120 foriegn nationals known to be on death row.

She said migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are at great risk if they end up in the criminal justice system and added countries should be advising their residents of the 'very real and deadly' risks.

Ms Mamoun said: 'In many cases they're subjected to whole trials where they can't understand the proceedings, which are conducted solely in Arabic, and without translation. They are often not given access to consular assistance.'

Death row prisoner Tuti Tursilawati binti Warjuki, 27, from Indonesia, faces execution for murdering her employer in 2010 when he allegedly attempted to rape her.

Her supporters say she was abused by the man since arriving in the country a year earlier and was denied legal representation for the first two months of her trial.

Siti Zainab, also from Indonesia, has also been sentenced to death after being convicted in 1999 of stabbing her female employer to death.

She confessed to the murder but the authorities appear to have dismissed concerns over her mental health. Prisoner Satinah binti Jumadi Ahmad, 40, was arrested in 2007 for killing her female employer. The Indonesian government is prepared to pay some of the £1.6m blood money demanded by the woman's family to save her.

Reports of what happened vary from her fighting back after being attacked to the maid having snapped after suffering months of abuse before being accused of stealing.
. . .

Pakistan: Blast kills a passerby child and injures one, 97 dead in series of attacks the day before

A blast killed a child and injured another person in Brewery road area of Quetta on Saturday night, police said.

Wazir Khan Nasar, the Deputy Inspector General Police told Dawn.Com that the militants planted an improvised explosive device near an internet cafe in Brewery road area.

“The blast killed a passerby child and injured another person,” he said. Nasar said the blast caused damage to the internet cafe and other nearby shops.

Brewery road is almost five km west of Alamdar road, where thousands of Shia Hazaras are currently staging a sit-in to protest deaths of their community members.

The incident has happened a day after a series of blasts that killed 97 people in Quetta.

Mali: Christians warned to get out of North Mali or be killed, many Christians killed, others injured severely.

pepper of gunfire continues to play back and forth between Islamic rebels in Mali’s north and the Mali army in the south.

On Wednesday, Mali’s military attacked the rebel Islamic group called Ansar Dine with heavy weapons along the north-south dividing line, according to Mali officials. Rebels boasted of capturing soldiers in the attack.

Earlier on Tuesday, Islamist fighters reportedly pushed toward Mopti--the last government-controlled city in the north--and the army held them off with “warning shots.”

Peace talks were scheduled between the Mali government and Ansar Dine group members in the neighboring country of Burkina Faso on Thursday. The potential for rebel forces in the northern territory--an area the size of France--to push south is troubling. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said to BBC News, “Obviously we are very concerned about the situation, and the development of essentially an entire terrorist region is of grave concern to everybody in the international community.”

While most of the world is fixated on radical Islamic presence in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, Mali has kept a low profile. Muslim extremists didn’t rise up until March 2012 in a coup that led to their north takeover. The Taureg insurgents wanted to make their own country in the north.

Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors USA says, “The first thing they did was a kind of religious ethnic cleansing. They began to do house-to-house searches. They literally warned Christians that if they didn’t get out of this new country in the north part of Mali, they would kill them--and they weren’t joking. Many Christians were killed; others were injured severely.”

The Open Doors World Watch List tracks the top 50 countries that carry out persecution of Christians and restrict religious freedom. When the 2013 World Watch List was released January 8, the results for Mali were shocking.

According to Estabrooks, “Mali was not even on the World Watch List last year, and because of all the challenges there, [Mali] has suddenly jumped to 7th place out of 50 countries. It is a significant factor.”

Members of the group Ansar Dine are applying Islamic law in their north region, even punishing moderate Muslims. There have been reports of public amputations, executions, and whippings. Several people fled to neighboring countries and are living in refugee camps...
Mali rebels push government region
Mission Network News, January 11, 2013

Saudi Arabia: Young nanny beheaded by sword , Shari'ah punishment for allegedly killing a baby in 2007

Rizana Nafeek, a young nanny from Sri Lanka, was beheaded by sword this week in Saudi Arabia, punishment for allegedly killing a baby in 2007 when she was believed to be just 17.

The execution has spurred international outcry, given Nafeek's age at the time of the incident and her limited access to a defense attorney. The beheading has also shined a light on the Arab kingdom's medieval system of punishment, which includes cutting the hands off thieves, executing women accused of adultery, and flogging men accused of being gay.

Few details of Nafeek's execution have leaked from the country's tightly controlled media, but the interior ministry said her head was severed from her body in public in Dawadmy, a dusty suburb of the capital Riyadh.

In modern times, women in saudi Arabia condemned to death were traditionally executed by gunfire, but in recent years they have routinely been beheaded, an historic form of execution ordered under sharia, or the Muslim religious law that governs the country.

The death penalty is routinely allowed for criminals convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking or drug use, and apostasy or the renunciation of the Islamic faith, according to human rights group Amnesty International...

Australia: Cleric calls for Jihad and Shari'ah law, liberal MP says "pack up and ship off"

A radical sheik who has called for Australia to become an Islamic state ruled by sharia law should be "slapped down" by moderate Muslims, according to a federal MP.

Sheik Ismail Al-Wahwah, the Australian head of extremist Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, suggested during a Christmas Eve sermon that jihad should be used to implement hardline teachings.

Queensland Liberal MP Steve Ciobo said the sheik should adopt Australia's values of tolerance and a fair go for all or "pack up and ship off".

"Frankly, we have had a gutful of people who deliberately incite hatred and people who want to overturn the foundation principles of this country," he said. "This Sheik Al-Wahwah needs to be slapped down from moderate Muslim supporters who recognise there is no place in Australia for these kinds of attitudes."The sheik told supporters it was their duty to "carry the light of Islam to the rest of the world ... Not with flowers. It was the army of Muslims which started from Medina, and they went to China, India, and the Maghreb. That is jihad."

He said under an Islamic government, alcohol would be banned, a strict dress code enforced for all Australians and languages other than Arabic banned in schools.

Mr Ciobo said if Mr Al-Wahwah held dual citizenship the government should facilitate his move to another country more to his liking.

"I couldn't care less if he preaches to five people or 5000," he said.

"It only takes one or two crazies to take his message of jihad and to cause problems.

"If he's going to preach a message that this country needs to be under sharia law then he should go to where he can live under sharia law - and that is not in Australia."

Malaysia: Christians banned from using word 'Allah' in Arabic by new fatwa

A Malaysian Sultan has issued a fatwa prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" in Arabic.

The Sultan of the Malaysian state of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, issued the prohibition on Tuesday, according to the Lebanon Debate newspaper.

Malaysian media have reported that the prohibition has been put in place by the Islamic leader because it is a "sacred word," and should be reserved exclusively for Muslims, according to MidEast Christian News.

The sultan has ordered the Islamic Council of Selangor and the Islamic Affairs Department in the state to take strict action against all groups that question the fatwa and the 1988 Ordinance, which prohibits the use of the word "Allah" in Arabic [by non-Muslims].

The organization representing Protestant churches in Malaysia commented on the decision by saying that Christians in the country have been using the word "Allah" when referring to God for centuries, and they plan to continue to exercise their constitutional right.

Lawyers from a related "Allah" case in 2009, in which a Christian woman challenged the government's confiscation of her religious CDs as they had "Allah" written on them, said that the fatwa goes against the court's decision in that 2009 case.

It also highlights another similar case that ruled Christians would be allowed to import and use bibles in any language.

However, according to MCN, that court decision was "followed by a wave of religious violence that swept the country."
. . .
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the country's constitution, however, in practice it faces many restrictions. For example, a Malay must be a Muslim. Although non-Malays are more free to practice various faiths, however, if a non-Malay has converted to Islam they technically are prohibited from leaving the faith.

In addition, children born to Muslim parents are considered Muslim, and are prohibited from converting.

If a Muslim does attempt to convert to other religions, they can face punishment by state governments, with punishments reportedly including fines and/or imprisonment.

Lebanon: Explosion hits shop for selling alcohol, causes material damage only

An explosion hit a shop for selling alcoholic beverages in South Lebanon, a local television station reported.

According to LBC television on Thursday, the explosion that hit the shop in Sarafand caused material damage only.

It added that Lebanese Armed Forces arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area.

However, the report did not elaborate any further.

Kenya: Muslims recruit Christian converts to Islam to attack churches

Hundreds of Kenyan youths who converted from Christianity to Islam—and then went to fight alongside jihadists in neighboring Somalia—are returning to their home churches. But these prodigal sons are not being welcomed back with fully open arms.

Instead, pastors are on high alert—with good reason. Al Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliated militia, has begun using young men from predominantly Christian ethnic groups to attack churches.

In November, an assailant hurled a grenade into a church located inside a police station, killing the pastor. In September, assailants threw grenades into a children's Sunday school class, killing a 9-year-old boy. In July, similar grenade attacks at two churches killed 17 worshipers.

Last October, Kenyan military forces entered Somalia to engage Al Shabab. The militia responded with a recruitment drive of Kenyan youth, offering cash incentives for the families of would-be martyrs.

"[Jihadists] have changed their recruitment tactics," said Wellington Mutiso, head of Evangelical Alliance of Kenya. "Instead of enlisting from predominantly Muslim communities such as the Somali, Boran, and others, they are targeting those from tribes that are majority Christians, such as the Kikuyus, Luos, and Luhyas."

Mutiso believes this is "an act of disguise," given that security forces have been concentrating on suspects from Muslim communities. "With the new recruits, the security forces have been left in a spin."

Jihadists have an easier time recruiting within Christian communities today because of Kenya's high unemployment rate (40 percent) and widespread poverty.

"A member of my church was given 50,000 Kenyan shillings (us$570), and he immediately converted to Islam," said David Gathanju, head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. "There is also the issue of young men looking for quick money and not wanting to soil their hands in hard work."

That's what worries Mutiso. Former church members who fought in Somalia can attribute their absence to going away to college or changing jobs to a different town, he said. "They are less likely to be under close scrutiny and, before you know it, they will have wreaked havoc."

After a joint African military operation dealt Al Shabab a significant blow in October, capturing the jihadist coastal stronghold of Kismayu, the militia moved its fight onto Kenyan soil.

This has resulted in a disturbing increase in Nigeria-style attacks on churches, forcing leaders to increase security. Nowadays it is common for churchgoers to be frisked and have their cars checked for explosives. Armed policemen have become part and parcel of almost all Kenyan church services...

India: Politician arrested for hate speech, "remove police for 15 minutes, we will finish off 1 billion Hindus"

Police in India are questioning a state politician for allegedly delivering a hate speech at a public meeting.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, leader of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen -- Council of the Union of Muslims -- in the Legislative Assembly in the state of Andhra Pradesh was arrested this week after arriving from London where he was having medical treatment, a report by The Times of India said.

Police took Owaisi to Nirmal, around 120 miles from Hyderabad, and charged him with waging or attempting to wage war against the state and promoting enmity between different religious groups, The Times' report said.
. . .
He reportedly accused police of bias against Muslims, insulted Hindu gods and said Muslims could "teach the rest of the country a lesson," a report by the BBC said.

A national census in 2012 estimated the state of Andhra Pradesh, on India's southeastern coast, to be around 90 percent Hindu and about 9 percent Muslim. Christians make up less than 2 percent of the population of 85 million.

Police and security forces put on extra patrols in Hyderabad where Muslims are around 40 percent of the population.

Owaisi reportedly said Hindus have so many gods and goddesses that every eight days more are created, a report by India's Times News Network said in December after his comments were found on the Internet and tweeted out by a journalist and a television commentator.

He also reportedly said "remove police for 15 minutes, we'll will finish off 100 crore (1 billion) Hindus," TNN said.

Hindu-Muslim relations have bedeviled India since its independence from Great Britain in 1947 and the partition of the subcontinent into predominantly Hindu India and mainly Muslim Pakistan, which included Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan.

The division resulted in much bloodshed on both sides during communal clashes, especially in the Punjab region that was split between the two countries.

Refugees from each side of the Punjab flooded across the border to escape the violence.
Indian cops hold 'hate' speech politician
United Press International, January 9, 2013

Indonesia: Terrorists planned to strike at tourists and police, 50 kg of explosives found

Terrorists killed or arrested last week were planning attacks on both tourists and police in remote parts of Indonesia, the authorities said on Tuesday.

The Detachment 88 counter-terror unit found some 50 kg of explosives at a house in Dompu, a town near Bima in West Nusa Tenggara, a spot popular with travelers bound for a nearby island that is the home of the Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard.

"The site has been used as a training camp to assemble bombs," National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told reporters on Tuesday. He did not identify the place.

The discovery of the plot came as terrorists in the country target those they call the "near enemy," such as police officers.

But the plot that was thwarted over the weekend indicates that militants have not lost sight of the "far enemy," or Western targets, either.

Densus 88, as the unit is called, killed five militants in two raids last Friday and Saturday just outside Dompu.

The terrorists had fled to Bima after killing four policemen in Poso — a hotbed of militants near Tana Toraja, whose population is mostly Christian. Toraja land is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Sulawesi island.

Six others were either arrested or killed in South Sulawesi.

"We're lucky we managed to prevent the attacks," said Boy, adding that places of worship and police offices in Toraja in South Sulawesi were also targets...>

Egypt: Church attack foiled as Copts celebrate Christmas, weapons including an RPG launcher seized

Egyptian army forces stationed in the Sinai Peninsula foiled an attempt early on Monday to bomb a church in Rahaf, a city in the border with Gaza Strip, according to a military statement.

Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali, a spokesman for Egypt's armed forces said, “the armed forces managed to stop two cars, a Toyota Doble Cabina and a Daewoo Lanos with no plates, in an area between Rafah church and a military unit under construction.”

The military spokesman added that one of the vehicles carrying “masked elements” was able to escape. He said weapons seized in the other vehicle included sacks of TNT, two automatic weapon, 50 rounds, five electric detonators and an RPG launcher.

Earlier, Egypt’s official MEAN news agency reported that “army units foiled an attack against the Rafah church at 1:00 am (2300 GMT Sunday) and seized a car packed with explosives and weapons near the church.”

Egypt's Coptic minority celebrates Monday its first Christmas under Islamist rule and amid a climate of fear and uncertainty for their future, although President Mohamed Mursi has pledged to be the “president of all Egyptians.”
. . .
Egypt's Copts, who make up six to 10 percent of the country's population of 83 million, have regularly complained of discrimination and marginalisation and have also been the target of numerous sectarian attacks.

One of the worst incidents of violence occurred on January 1, 2011 when 23 people were killed in an attack on a Coptic church in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Sinai, a scarcely populated peninsula home to lucrative tourist resorts in the south and shadowy Islamist militants in the north, is a major transit point for arms smuggling to Gaza which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas group.

Security in the desert and mountainous region collapsed after the uprising that toppled Mubarak.

Since his downfall, several militant attacks have targeted police and soldiers, including a brazen August 5 ambush on an army outpost that killed 16 soldiers.

The military launched a wide-ranging campaign after that attack to flush out militants, but drive-by shootings have continued.

And on Friday security officials announced the seizure in Sinai of US-made anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles destined for Gaza, where militants have said they would acquire more weapons to use against Israel.

Maldives: Teen girl repeatedly raped by father risks being flogged for "fornication" with another man

A 15-year-old in the Maldives whose father is accused of repeatedly raping her and killing the resulting baby risks being flogged for "fornication" with another man under the nation's strict Islamic law, a police source says.

In the course of inquiries into the rape case, investigators say they unearthed evidence of the girl having had consensual sex with another man, which is an offence in the Indian Ocean holiday destination, the source said.

Women, including minors, having consensual sex outside marriage can be charged in the Maldives, where convicts can be publicly flogged. Minors receive the punishment when they reach 18, the age of majority.

The child's stepfather is accused by police of repeatedly raping the girl and fathering a child by her which he subsequently murdered. The girl's mother has been charged with helping dispose of the infant's body, police said.
. . .
The legal system of the Maldives, a nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims known for its coral-fringed islands and sandy beaches, has elements of Islamic Sharia law as well as English common law. The country carries out the flogging of women despite calls from the UN Human Rights Council to drop the practice. In September, a Maldivian court ordered a public flogging for a 16-year-old girl who confessed to having pre-marital sex. Her 29-year-old lover was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The gang-rape last month in the Indian capital of a 23-year-old student who subsequently died has also sparked protests over crime against women in neighbouring South Asian nations including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Raped girl, 15, faces flogging for sex
Sydney Morning Herald, January 8, 2013

Iraq: Christian school teacher's body found with throat cut, joins long list of dead Christians in Mosul

Police in Mosul found the body of a Christian woman with her throat cut. The gruesome discovery was made today in an area where attacks have been perpetrated in the past against members of the city's Christian minority, some, like abducted Bishop Faraj Rahho and Fr Ragheed Ganni, murdered.

Sources told AsiaNews that the victim is Shdha Elias, a 54-year-old Chaldean, who worked as a teacher "in a school in the al Bath neighbourhood." She "lived however in Bar Nirgal, near the university". With her death, she joins "the long list of Christian martyrs in Mosul."

For the source, "Tensions between Sunnis and Shias are running high across Iraq, not only in the North. And peace and national reconciliation appear far off."

Mosul is a stronghold of Sunni Wahhabism, which is closely tied to Saudi Arabia. For experts on Iraqi politics, the aim is "to set up a state based on Sharia," with the Qur'an and the Sunnah as the basis of legislation and "Islam as the only state religion". In such a system, members of other religions can choose between conversion, flight or paying taxes for non-Muslims.

In northern Iraq, Christians have been targeted for murder and kidnapping for the purpose of extortion. They have also been caught in the crossfire between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds vying for power and control of the area's rich oil resources.

In ten years of conflict, the Christian community has lost more than half of its members in an exodus of 'Biblical' proportions following a series of murders.

A Christian official in Mosul Governatorate, anonymous for security reasons, acknowledged that "many Christian families" have fled. "They have lost confidence in everything," he said. "The government is incapable of doing anything to protect them. What future do non-Muslims have in countries where violence reins!"

UK: Mother gets life in prison for killing son who couldn't memorize Qur'an passages

A mother who beat her seven-year-old son to death when he failed to memorise passages from the Koran has been jailed for life, for a minimum of 17 years.

The judge told Sara Ege, 33, she subjected Yaseen Ege to prolonged cruelty and a ferocious beating at home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, in July 2010.

She also set fire to his body, and was convicted after a five-week trial.

Ege collapsed as the sentence was read out at Cardiff Crown Court and had to be helped from the dock.

She was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a four-year sentence for that crime.

Her husband Yousuf Ege, a taxi driver, was cleared of allowing the death of a child by failing to protect him.

Sara Ege had pleaded not guilty to murder and claimed her husband was responsible for Yaseen's death.

'Prolonged cruelty'

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said: "I am satisfied that it was his failure to learn the Koran that day that resulted in the beating that caused his death."

He continued: "On the day of Yaseen's death you had kept him home from school so he could devote himself to his study of the Koran.

"He was memorising passages but on that day Yaseen must have failed in some way and it was that which was a trigger for the beating.

"You killed your own son. At the time of the killing he was particularly vulnerable because of his age and because of his relative physical frailty.

Yaseen Ege was beaten to death by his mother before she burned his body "In killing your son you abused a precious relationship of trust which does and should exist between a parent and a child."

After the sentencing, a serious case review was published, making seven recommendations for improvements, and said domestic violence involving the family had first been reported in 2003, and again in 2007.

But the review said while lessons could be learned, Yaseen's death could not have been predicted.

The judge said she had beaten him for three months leading up to his death, adding: "The cause of the beating was your unreasonable view that he wasn't learning passages quickly enough.

"The violence Yaseen suffered was not confined to the day of his death.

"For three months you beat him often with a wooden pestle and I'm confident these beatings left him in a significant amount of pain.

"This prolonged cruelty culminated on the day of his death in what was a savage attack. You then set fire to his body in an attempt to evade responsibility for what you had done.

"I accept you were a devoted and caring mum. Except for the obsession with Yaseen learning you did many fine things to bring him up as a young boy."
. . .
Out of control It was initially thought Yaseen had died in a fire, but tests later revealed he had died hours earlier.

In a complicated series of claims and counter-claims she had confessed to the murder and then retracted that confession.

She claimed her husband and his family forced her to make the confession and that he was the killer.

The harrowing confession was recorded by police and shown to the trial jury in evidence.

In it, Sara Ege described how Yaseen collapsed after she had beaten him while still murmuring extracts of the Koran.

"He was breathing as if he was asleep when I left him," she said. "He was still murmuring the same thing over and over again. I thought that he was just tired."

When she returned 10 minutes later she said she found her son shaking and shivering on the floor. He then died.

She then used barbecue gel to burn her son's body in an attempt to hide the evidence.

The mother also confessed to beating her son for no reason and that her anger often led to her being out of control.

She and her husband had enrolled Yaseen in advanced classes at their local mosque as they wanted him to become Hafiz - an Islamic term for someone who memorises the Koran.

As a child Sara Ege had taken part in competitions showing her knowledge of Islam and had recited from the Koran. The court heard that she had become increasingly frustrated with her son's inability to learn the passages.

She told officers: "I was getting all this bad stuff in my head, like I couldn't concentrate, I was getting angry too much, I would shout at Yaseen all the time.

"I was getting very wild and I hit Yaseen with a stick on his back like a dog."

She later retracted her statement.

The trial heard that Yaseen suffered significant abdominal injuries that were the cause of his death.

They included fractures which were non-accidental. He also had numerous historical injuries.

"Sara Ege made no attempt to seek the medical attention he so obviously needed," the court was told during the trial by prosecutor Ian Murphy.

Russia: Security forces kill 3 suspected of planning attacks on church services during Christmas holiday

Russian security forces in a restive North Caucasus province on Sunday killed three militants suspected of planning attacks on church services during the Russian Orthodox Christmas holiday, authorities said.

Security forces tried to stop a van in the Kabardino-Balkaria province on Sunday but its occupants opened fire and were killed in the ensuing battle, during which the vehicle caught fire, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

It said that explosives, guns and ammunition were found in the van and that the men who were killed had been planning attacks on churches during services marking Russian Orthodox Christmas, which is on Monday.

The statement gave no evidence to support that suspicion and the account could not be verified.

Deadly exchanges of gunfire between police and suspected militants at road checkpoints are common in Russia's North Caucasus, a string of provinces hit by an Islamist insurgency rooted in two separatist wars in Chechnya.

Kabardino-Balkaria, west of Chechnya, is mostly Muslim but has a sizable Christian minority.

President Vladimir Putin's 13 years in power have been marred by violence in the North Caucasus and attacks by the insurgents elsewhere, and he has called repeatedly for ethnic and religious peace during a new term that started last May...

Saudi Arabia: Police raid major hotel, arrest six Filipinos using it to engage in homosexual acts

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic police arrested six Filipinos who had used their massage centre at a major hotel in the Gulf Kingdom to engage in homosexual acts.

Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice raided the “famous” hotel in the capital Riyadh after receiving a tip-off that the known massage centre was only a cover for “obscene activities”, Alsaudeh Arabic language daily said.

The paper said police men caught one Filipino with another man “red handed practicing obscene actions” in one room before raiding other rooms in the massage centre.

“They arrested six homosexual men and one customer who had creams and a condom with him…all the six are Filipinos.”

The paper did not identify the hotel but said police shut down the massage centre and confiscated condoms, creams and “contaminated blades”.
Filipino vice ring busted at key Saudi hotel
Emirates 24/7, January 6, 2013

Pakistan: Two more charity workers shot dead, six women and a man murdered in earlier attack

Unknown gunmen Saturday shot dead two Pakistani charity workers involved in an education project in Charsadda, police said.

Zakir Hussain, head of the education wing of the Al-Khidmat Foundation in Charsadda, was attacked with his driver as they were on the way to visit one of the schools being run by the charity.

“Two gunmen fired at them in Utmanzai town, seven kilometres north of Charsadda, and escaped on a motorcycle after the attack,” senior police official Nisar Khan Marwat told AFP.

An official for the Al-Khidmat charity also confirmed the attack.

A representative for an alliance of non-governmental organisations in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province demanded the attackers be arrested.

“We strongly condemn the attack on Al-Khidmat Foundation vehicle and killing of its workers and demand arrest of the attackers,” Idrees Kamal, the coordinator of Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN), said in a statement.

On Tuesday, seven charity workers including six women and a man working for a Pakistani health and education charity involved in vaccinations were shot dead on their way home from a community centre in Swabi district.
Two charity workers shot dead in Charsadda: Police
The Express Tribune, January 5, 2013

Pakistan: Brother kills sister for having an affair, hangs body to make it look like suicide

A man killed his sister in Faisalabad for allegedly having an affair.

Jaranwala Saddar police said that Zarqa Kanwal, a resident of Chak 54-GB, had an argument with her brother, Qayum Shehzad, after he told her not to step out of the house.

They said he had suspected her of having an affair with a boy from the neighbourhood. Following the argument, he stabbed her, killing her on the spot.

He later hung her body from a fan to make it look like a suicide. Police registered a case against Shehzad, after his father named him as the suspect. Police said they were looking for him.

US: Saudi air force Sergeant jailed in Vegas for kidnapping and raping a child

A sergeant in Saudi Arabia's air force was jailed in Las Vegas on charges that he pulled a young boy into a hotel room and sexually assaulted him the morning of Sin City's big New Year's Eve fireworks extravaganza.

Mazen Alotaibi, 23, faces charges including kidnapping, sexual assault with a minor and felony coercion that could get him decades in state prison, according to police and charging documents obtained Friday.

The boy, who is younger than 14, told police the man forced him into a room at the Circus Circus hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and raped him. Police arrested Alotaibi after being called to the hotel before 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 31.

"There was a kidnapping and sexual assault with force," Las Vegas police Lt. Dan McGrath said. "The victim said he was forced into the room and sexually assaulted. We have a strong case based on the evidence."

The boy, who lives out of state, was staying at the hotel with his family, McGrath said. He was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment and evidence collection and released later to family members. His name was not made public.
. . .
Alotaibi also is charged with burglary, which in Nevada can stem from a person entering a building with intent to commit a felony. The alleged attack took place on the sixth floor of a 15-story hotel tower. Circus Circus has a total of 3,767 guest rooms in three towers and five three-story motor lodge-style buildings dubbed Circus Circus Manor. The arrest was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It cited a police report saying the boy was 13.

Alotaibi was being held without bail at the Clark County jail pending an evidence hearing Jan. 17.

US: CAIR chief encourages Muslims to settle in the US, claims Muslims discovered America first

Muslims discovered the Americas long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, the head of a D.C.-based jihad-linked Islamic lobbying group told a Saudi TV station Dec. 27.

“There are historical accounts according to which the Muslims preceded Columbus, who is said to have discovered the U.S.,” claimed Nihad Awad, the co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

“Some documents and accounts indicate that Muslim seafarers were the first to reach the U.S., [so] the bottom line is that Islam played a part in the establishment and development of the U.S.,” Awad told the Saudi interviewer, in an interview in a New York studio.
. . .
Awad’s group bills itself as a “civil rights” group, but five of its former employees have been jailed or deported for terror offenses, and FBI officials refuse to meet Awad because of his ties to jihadi groups, such as Hamas.

Awad’s claim was made during an interview in which he argued that Muslims can settle in the U.S. without violating Islam’s myriad Sharia rules about religion, diet, speech, friendships, work and political loyalty.

“Islam flourishes in an atmosphere of freedom, and [it] spreads freedom, justice, and equality,” he claimed. “Every day I live as an American-Muslim citizen, I rediscover the firm bonds between the humane system that the U.S. created for its people, and the values advocated by Islam,” he claimed.

However, Islam’s Sharia laws curb religious freedom, speech, and political activism, and also subordinate non-Muslims and women to orthodox Muslim men. Sharia is enforced in Saudi Arabia, Iran, much of Afghanistan and increasingly in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Libya, all of which were recently governed by secular laws.

Awad’s claim is part of a broader campaign by Islamist groups to encourage Muslims to settle in the United States and Europe. From 610 to 632, Islam’s founder, Mohammad, reputedly urged his followers to spread Islam by both conquest and emigration.

Canada: Secret report reveals Muslim parents, couples, siblings "radicalizing" each other

Islamist extremists are now radicalizing Canadians at “a large number of venues,” according to a secret intelligence report released to the National Post under the Access to Information Act.

While mosques with hardline imams are often singled out for spreading violent Islamist ideology, the study found that radicalization has been taking place at a much longer list of locales.

“Radicalization is not limited to religious centres,” says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service report, titled Venues of Sunni Islamist Radicalization in Canada.

The heavily censored report identifies the role of prisons, the Internet and foreign travel in turning some Canadians into extremists who wage or support violence. But it also points a finger at the family home.

“Parents have radicalized children,” reads the Intelligence Assessment, “husbands have radicalized wives (and some wives have radicalized or supported their husbands) … and siblings have radicalized each other,” it says.
. . .
Since al-Qaeda’s attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an increasing number of Canadians have become lured into Islamist extremism, an intolerant, anti-democratic and virulently anti-Western worldview that preaches that violence against non-Muslims is a religious duty and a path to paradise.

Several Canadian extremists have travelled abroad to countries such as Pakistan and Somalia with the intention of engaging in what they call jihad, while others have plotted mass casualty attacks in Canada, although none has succeeded.

UK: Muslims knowingly send daughter to Christian school that disallows hijab, then sues them

A school is being sued by a Muslim couple after it banned pupils from wearing the traditional Islamic headscarf.

They launched their legal battle with St Cyprian's Greek Orthodox primary in south London after withdrawing their nine-year-old from the school when she was banned from wearing one.

The parents say it would be a sin for their daughter's head to be uncovered while in the presence of male teachers as she has 'reached puberty'.

After failing to gain the support of the school governors, they have now launched a legal action to overturn the ban. The school now faces a High Court Case amid claims that the uniform policy is a violation of the child's religious freedom. But Kate Magliocco, head of St Cyprian's Greek Orthodox Primary School in Thornton Heath, south London, said the parents were informed about their uniform policy when their child, whose brother remains a pupil at the school, was first admitted at seven. She said: 'The school is being taken to the High Court by parents of a Muslim girl.

'They believe that, because she is nine, she has reached puberty and it would be a sin for her not to be covered because the school has male teachers.

'The decision not to allow her to wear a headscarf was taken by the governing body.

'The school has a very particular uniform policy, which is shared with parents and, as head, I must follow the plan.

'The pupil in question came to us from a private school. Her parents actively chose us and, before she arrived, we held a meeting which included details of the uniform plan.'

She added: 'They are a really nice family and it is a regrettable situation for both sides.'

Government guidance on school uniforms states that schools should 'act reasonably' in accommodating religious beliefs when it comes to hair, clothes and jewellery, but heads have the final word on restricting religious dress.

Indonesia: Town to ban female passengers from straddling motorcycles, violation of Shari'ah law

The administration of the Aceh town of Lhokseumawe is set to issue a regulation that will ban female passengers from straddling motor bikes.

“We’ve seen that people’s behaviors and morals are getting far from Aceh’s Islamic cultural values. Therefore we will issue a regulation that will ban women from straddling while sitting on the passenger’s seat of motorcycles,” Lhokseumawe mayor Suaidi Yahya told the Jakarta Globe.

“We want to save women from things that will cause them to violate Shariah law. We wish to honor women with this ban, because they are delicate creatures,” he added.

Suaidi said his administration on Wednesday started distributing handouts to government offices and villages throughout the municipality to inform local residents of the new policy before the plan is formally implemented in a few months.

“There will be sanctions for those who violate [the regulation],” he added, although refusing to name the sanctions.

Suaidi further explained that the planned bylaw was expected to discourage women from wearing pants in public.

“It will be easier for women to avoid straddling motorcycles if all of them wear skirts.”

Suaidi claimed that the plan is supported by various groups, including local ulemas.

A student of Lhokseumawe’s Malikussaleh University, Nanda, immediately protested the plan, noting that straddling was safer and more comfortable than side-saddling, which would be the only position allowed for female passengers riding on motorcycles.

“That is a ridiculous regulation; there are many other things [the administration] can take care of if Islamic Shariah is their reasoning,” she said.

Syria: More than 60,000 killed since Syria's uprising began in March 2011

A study commissioned by UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay collated data from seven different sources, and concluded that there had been 59,648 deaths until November 2012.

Ms Pillay said the figure would now have risen above 60,000 and described the bloodshed as "truly shocking".

Syrian opposition groups had previously estimated 45,000 people killed.

The study was released hours after a petrol station near Damascus was hit by a missile from a government warplane.

The attack apparently sparked a huge explosion in which up to 70 people died, according to activists, in one of the deadliest incidents of the uprising.

'Minimum' number The UN-commissioned report, entitled Preliminary Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in Syria, took data from sources including the government and opposition groups.

The authors, from the Benetech research group, looked at 147,349 reports of deaths from all seven of its sources.

They cross-referenced the reports and removed duplicates, and also counted only those accounts that provided the first and last name of the victim, and the date and location of death.

After this process, they arrived at the figure of 59,648.

However, they warned that an unknown number of killings had not been documented by any of their sources.

"The statistics presented in this report should be considered minimum bounds," the report said.

Only four of the sources used covered the entire period.

Three are activist groups with links to the opposition: Violations Documentation Centre, Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Syria Shuhada website.

The other is the UK-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The government's statistics were available only up to March 2012, and recorded only 2,539 deaths in total.

Also, the 59,648 figure includes many deaths reported by only one source.

For instance, in August 2012, the deadliest month of the uprising, the data shows just over 4,000 deaths that were corroborated on two or more sources.

Almost 2,000 other deaths were reported by only one source, but were still included in the final count.

The report also points out that the four data sources covering the entire period "appear increasingly to be sharing sources documenting killings"...

France: Rioting Muslims burn 1,200 cars and attack seven police officers on New Year’s Eve

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday that 1,193 vehicles were burned overnight around the country. Clashes between police and offenders in the New Year’s Eve took place in the Muslim majority districts in the city of Strasbourg and Mulhouse. About seven police officers were attacked New Years eve night.

Around 1,200 cars were burned by rioting Muslims on the New Year’s Eve in France, where the mass burning cars in the national holidays are kind of tradition among Muslim residents of the disadvantaged suburbs of immigrants.

In recent years, the celebration of the New Year and the Bastille Day (July 14) in France is often marked by mass burning cars as well. On the night of January 1, 2010, there were 1,137 thousand cars burned on the night of January 1, 2009 – 1,147 thousand were burned.

In the summer of 2010, the Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux made the decision to stop the practice of counting the demonstrators, as they claimed it only encourages the Muslim youths to commit such crimes . The current Minister of the Interior said that “the French people should know the truth.”

The American media has mostly not reported on these incidents, and when they do rarely mention their background or religion.
Muslims Burn About 1,200 cars on New Year’s Eve in France
The Conservative Papers, January 1, 2013

Egypt: Morsi's advisor tells Jews to return to Egypt because "Israel will be erased within 10 years"

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's advisor and Muslim Brotherhood Vice-Chairman Issam al-Arian explained on his Facebook page what he meant when he called upon Jews with an Egyptian background to return to Egypt. "Israel will be erased within 10 years. The Jews conquering the historic Palestinian territories are an obstacle to the Right of Return and it is Israel's fate to collapse in the upcoming years."

"The future name of the country will be Palestine and those who lived there from the beginning will live there and those who conquered it will have to go back to their countries," he said.

Syria: Western-backed Sunni rebels kidnap Christian, behead him and feed his body to dogs

Syrian rebels beheaded a Christian man and fed his body to dogs, according to a nun who says the West is ignoring atrocities committed by Islamic extremists.

The nun said taxi driver Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped after his brother was heard complaining that fighters against the ruling regime behaved like bandits. She said his headless corpse was found by the side of the road, surrounded by hungry dogs. He had recently married and was soon to be a father.
. . .
The rebel attacked the northern town of Ras Al-Ayn, on the Turkish border, last month. The fighters entered the Christian quarter, ordering civilians to leave and leaving their homes. ‘More than 200 families were driven out in the night,’ Sister Agnes-Miriam says. ‘People are afraid. Everywhere the deaths squads stop civilians, abduct them and ask for ransom, sometimes they kill them.’

Militants wearing black bandanas of Al Qaeda recently laid siege to the Monastery of St James the Mutilated, located between Damascus and Homs, for two days in an attempt to prevent Christmas celebrations, the nun claims. An estimated 300,000 Christians have been displaced in the conflict, with 80,000 forced out of the Homs region alone, she claims. Many have fled abroad raising fears that Syria’s Christian community may vanish - like others across Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity.

Al Assad, a member of the Alawite Muslim sect, claims only his regime can protect Syria’s minorities from domination from the Sunni Muslims majority. Meanwhile the fighting continues to rage with government forces retaking control of a key district in the city of Homs yesterday. The latest violence comes after United Nations peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned of ‘hell’ for Syria if no political solution could be found. Russia has stated the conflict is becoming increasingly militarised and sectarian and risks bringing chaos to the whole region.

Some 44,000 people have been killed since the uprising against the Al Assad regime began in March 2011.

Indonesia: Church receives bomb threat, device containing 500 grams of nails found in its backyard

The North Sumatra Police’s bomb squad on Saturday secured an alleged homemade bomb, that contained 500 grams of nails, which was found in the backyard of Salaon Toba Catholic Church in Samosir Island, located at the center of the renowned Lake Toba.

The church’s priest, Herman Nainggolan, said the package was found following a text message received by local district head Ronggur Ni Huta at 11:11 p.m. local time on Friday that read, “There is a bomb in your jurisdiction at the Salaon Church.”

The text message was promptly reported to the police, which sent a team to inspect the church.
. . .
Samosir Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Donny Damanik said the package had been examined and it was not a bomb. It did not contain explosive material, but it was equipped with batteries connected to the nails with cables.

“The bottle that contained batteries, cables and nails did not explode because it did not contain explosives or have a detonator,” Damanik said

Donny said the police were still investigating the perpetrators of the terror act as well as the motives behind the security threat. He added that the threat was unexpected as Samosir had been secure during the Christmas holiday.

“This is the first [threat] of the year. We will investigate it thoroughly,” he said, adding that security measures would be tightened at all the churches in Samosir following the bomb threat. Samosir is home to some 100 churches, but only 60 are still used for religious activities.
. . .
In the past few years, a number of cities in the country have seen bomb threats addressed to worship places.

On Sept. 25, 2011, 22 people were injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside Sepenuh Injil Bethel Church (GBIS) in Surakarta, Central Java.
Catholic church receives bomb threat post Christmas
The Jakarta Post, December 30, 2012

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