Muslims want to murder Americans.

Muslims want to murder Americans. U.S.-Born al Qaeda Cleric Says Kill Americans

Anwar Al-Awlaki Says at War With Islam; CIA Has Him on Assassination List By Lara Logan (CBS) The radical Muslim preacher chose not use english, his native tongue, for his propaganda message. Instead the American -born cleric dressed in Yemeni tribal gear and spoke in Arabic to call for the killing of American civilians and soldiers. In a video produced by the media wing of al Qaeda, Anwar al -Awlaki praised his student, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood last November, and described the shooting as an heroic and wonderful act, reports CBS News correspondent Lara Logan. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded on CBS's "Face the Nation," calling al-Awlaki a murderous thug. "We are actively trying to find him and many others throughout the world that seek to do our country and to do our interest s great harm," he said. The Obama administration admitted in April that al -Awlaki is on the C.I.A.'S list of targets for assassination, despite his American citizenship. Terror expert Neil Livingstone said, "Because he's so visible, it would be very important to get him because it would send a message to radical Islamists and jihadists around the world." Video exists of al-Awlaki driving on the streets of America. He preached in an American mosque before he went into hiding in Yemen after the Fort Hoo d shooting. In spite of the religious freedom we enjoyed here, al -Awlaki is now at war with America. He made it clear in the latest video that it's a religious war, calling President Obama the leader of the war on Islam and leader of the crusader campaig n. In a commencement speech yesterday at west point just hours before the video was released, the president embraced American Mmuslims. "Extremists want a war between Americans and Islam, but Muslims are part of our life, including those who serve in o ur United States Army. Asked in a video about Muslim groups who disapproved of the Christmas day airline plot because it targeted civilians, al -Awlaki had a chilling response. He said those who might be killed in a plane are merely a drop of water in the sea.

Supreme Leader of Iran: Muslim Nations 'Hate America'

Thomas Erdbrink and William Branigin Washington Post Foreign Service Thursday, June 4, 2009; 4:51 PM TEHRAN, June 4 -- Iran's supreme leader dismissed President Obama's speech at Cairo University Thursday, saying the Muslim world continues to "hate America." And he criticized the United States and its allies for asserting that Iran seeks nuclear weapons, which he insisted are forbidden under Iran's brand of Islam. Speaking shortly before Obama delivered his address, in which he called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that "beautiful speeches" could not remove the hatred felt in the Muslim world against America. "People of the Middle East, the Muslim region and North Africa -- people of these regions -- hate America from the bottom of their heart," Khamenei said at a gathering to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and Khamenei's predecessor as the predominantly Shiite Muslim country's supreme religious leader. "For a long time, these people have witnessed aggressive actions by America, and that's why they hate them," Khamenei, 69, told a c rowd of several thousand supporters in his televised speech. He attributed these feelings to "violence, military intervention, rights violations and discrimination" by the United States. Alluding to Obama's new approach in foreign affairs, he said that the previous administration of President George W. Bush had left an "ill -mannered image" of itself in the world. "The new U.S. government seeks to transform this image," Khamenei said. "I say firmly that this will not be achieved by talking, speech and slogan s." He added, "Even if [Obama] delivers hundreds of speeches and talks very sweetly, there will not be a change in how the Islamic countries perceive the United States." He called on Obama to deliver change "in practice." Khamenei also denounced Israel as a "cancerous tumor in the heart" of the Islamic world, and he accused the U.S. military of "bombing innocent civilians" in Afghanistan. "What is the difference between this killing and killing by terrorists?" he asked rhetorically. Regarding Iran's nuclear program, the main issue of contention between his country and the United States, Khamenei reiterated Tehran's assertions that it seeks only to generate electricity, and he referred to a religious edict, or fatwa, that he issued at least four years ago in which he declared that the production, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons was prohibited under Islam. The Iranian government cited the fatwa at an August 2005 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

"Our nation says we want to have a nuclear industry," Khamenei said Thursday. "We want to use nuclear energy in a peaceful way. However, the West and America say that the Iranian nation is seeking to make a nuclear bomb. Why are they telling lies?" The senior Shiite cleric continued: "The Iranian government and nation have repeatedly said that we do not want nuclear weapons. We have announced that according to Islamic principles, the use of nuclear weapons is forbidden. It is dangerous to keep nuclear weapons. We are not seeking to have th em. We do not want them." Khamenei, who served as president of Iran for eight years in the 1980s, succeeded Khomeini as supreme leader in 1989, becoming the nation's highest -ranking political and religious authority. As such, he is more powerful than Presi dent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and appoints many key leaders, including the commanders of the armed forces and members of national security councils dealing with defense and foreign affairs. Other Iranians reacted cautiously to Obama's speech. In it, the U.S. president acknowledged that the United States had "played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government" in 1953, but he pointed as well to an Iranian role in "acts of hostage -taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians" since the 1979 Islamic revolution. "Rather than remain trapped in the past, I've made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward," Obama said. "The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it w ants to build." Obama also said that "we have reached a decisive point" on nuclear weapons and the need to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. But he said that "any nation -- including Iran -- should have the right to access peaceful nuclear po wer if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non -Proliferation Treaty." Mohammad Marandi, the head of the North American Studies Department at Tehran University, said of Obama's speech, "I didn't hear many new things from Obama. We need to see fundamental change in American policies. People in this region are expecting change as much as the people in the United States." Marandi added in a telephone interview: "When Obama says that he recognizes Iran's rights to having peaceful nuclear ener gy, does that mean he will honor that right in negotiations with Iran? Or is this rhetoric? This is what we want to know." However, political commentator Ali Reza Khamesian described Obama's acknowledgment of Iran's right to produce nuclear energy for peac eful purposes as "a step forward for better ties with the United States," the Associated Press reported. Branigin reported from Washington.

An Overview Of American Islam by Kathy Shaidle

Imagine a Super Bowl with all male cheerleaders and half -time prayers. In that America, they drink Jihad Cola instead of Coke and thank Allah when they win an Oscar. Luckily, that America is fictional, one vividly described in Robert Ferrigno's 2006 futuristic novel, Prayers for the Assassin, set in 2040. But is it really so hard to imagine, in a world in which a man named "Barack Hussein Obama" can get elected President just a few years after Muslim hijackers destroyed the world's tallest buildings in the heart of New York City? Today many Americans are either blissfully ignorant of, or simply indifferent to, the slow, incremental growth of radical Islam in their mids t. We sometimes hear about terrorist cells or suspicious Muslim "compounds" on the news. However, these stories represent merely the tip of an Islamic iceberg that could very well doom America. Not today or tomorrow. But in our lifetimes? That is a real possibility. And don't shrug off Islam as "just another religion." Muslim sharia law deems women to be inferior to men, and allows husbands to "lightly" beat their wives. Polygamy and child bride marriage are condoned and encouraged, due to the example of Mohammed himself, whose many wives included a nine year old. Anti -Semitism and slavery are enshrined in the Koran, as is exploitation of and even violence against all "unbelievers." Radical Muslims have learned they don't require bombs or hijacked airliners to destroy America. They can just use America's own ideological infrastructure against itself. Using a kind of ingenious political jujitsu, radical Muslims rely upon everything from the rights to freedom of speech and worship enshrined in the U.S. Constitution to the current atmosphere of hypersensitive political correctness to push t heir agenda. For example, the "Islamification" of the educational system is now underway. Textbooks whitewash Islam's bloody history. Public school children forbidden to pray or recite the Pledge of Allegiance are, however, obliged to play "Muslim for a Day." Meanwhile, universities eagerly introduce footbaths, Muslim prayer rooms and hallal cafeteria food. Increasingly, Muslim employees are suing companies for the "righ t" to refuse to handle "unclean" pork or alcohol, or the "right" to wear headscarves. It is no coincidence that these companies include household names like UPS, Wal -Mart and McDonalds's - radical Muslims are sending a message to smaller firms who won't have the means to fight similar suits in the future.

These demands for accommodation extend even behind prison walls, where Muslim prisoners (indoctrinated by Muslim chaplains trained by foreign extremists) insist on getting special treatment as well. "Lawfare" is on the rise, too. Muslim groups now file expensive, time -consuming lawsuits against critics of Islam, and while these suits are currently confined mostly to Canada and Europe, they have a "chilling" effect on American publishers, writers, journalists and filmmakers. Last year, it only took a couple of threatening emails to persuade a major U.S. publisher to cancel an upcoming novel about Mohammed. Few Americans realize that their neighborhood mosque was probably built and financed by well-heeled terrorist sympathizers abroad. In fact, 80% of American mosques are Saudi-supported, and serve as safe gathering places for radical imams and dubious "charities" with anti -American agendas. Islamic terrorism has also found a home on the internet, where (according to one UK think tank) a "virtual caliphate" (or Muslim supremacist empire) t hrives, beyond the reach of authorities. The web has become an invaluable arena for radical Muslim recruiting, training, communication and organizing. Americans looking to the government to protect them from these threats don't realize that federal agencies in the thrall of political correctness actually undermine the war of terrorism. Few Muslims currently hold public office in the United States, but this may change if Democrats begin to view them as a new source of donations and votes. Over the next few months, I'll be your guide to the growth of radical Islam, both at home and abroad. You'll learn about "moderate" Muslim spokesmen who turn out to be anything but, and meet writers and authors censored by their governments for critiquing the Koran. I'll be talking to experts in the fields of intelligence, religion, crime and foreign policy and sharing their insights with you. Many Americans have already forgotten what h appened on 9/11, or simply don't want to think about it anymore. Our fear, disgust or indifference is exactly what radical Muslims are counting on. As exhausting and demoralizing as it can be to educate ourselves on the facts, we must remember that "the pr ice of freedom is eternal vigilance."

The Islamization of America: From Mecca to Medina and conquering Americans from within

8/6/2006 By Aland Mizell Many times the Ottoman Empire tried to take over the whole of Europe but failed to do so. The Ottoman Empire could not conquer the West by sword, but now Muslims are using a different strategy to conquer the West to bring it under the Islamic realm. Today the West is being the victim of their own values, such as freedom of speech and _expression, so that Muslims are using µDemocracy¶ as a tool and taking advantage of democracy to disseminate Islam to all the corners of the world. After 9/11 many Muslims complained that Islam had been hijacked by Fundamentalism, and many Muslim leaders and political leaders publicly dissociated themselves from radical Islam, but behind closed doors they still continue to preach against the Westerns¶ values. Many Muslims are thinking that the war is against Islam, but actually 9/11 accomplished one of their objectives, the application of universal Islamic values, particularly the jihad. After 9/11 thousands of books have been published, and many non -government organizations and Islamic centers have been established to teach Islam to infidels using American tax money. Numerous conferences have been held under the Interfaith Dialogue or Rumi Organization to disseminate Islam. Not only in the aftermath of 9/11 did the environme nt open the door for Muslim missionaries to disseminate Islam in the USA, but also many American politicians, including President Bush when he visited the mosques, affirmed that the majority of Muslim who live in the United States are just ordinary people. America counts millions of Muslims among our citizens, and Muslim make an incredible valuable contribution to our society. Yet, the Muslims believe, µThere is no God but Allah.¶ In the past Americans considered that their country was founded upon Christia n values and consequently that it was a Christian nation. However, there is a new religion only a block away committed to change all aspects of the American way of life called µISLAM.¶ Before 9/11 this term was foreign to many Americans, but after 9/11 Islam has penetrated public schools, prestigious universities, state departments, Capital Hill, even law enforcement organizations under the banner of Interfaith Dialogue, and the American values of cultural tolerance and acceptance. According to U.S. news online, there are approximately 6 million Muslims in the United States and an estimated 1,450 mosques in the United States. Just in the Washington area there is a population of more than 50,000 Muslims including more than 30 mosques and Islamic centers Acc ording to John Esposito, a well-published professor at Georgetown University, the heaviest Muslim population live in the states of Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland Michigan Ohio, and Virginia. According to Martha Sawyer Allen, the number o f Muslims soon will surpass the number of Methodists, and by year of 2010 the population of Muslim will reach more than 16 million. The estimated conversion rate among Americans is 135,000 per year.

What does Islamization mean? It means that from social, political, and cultural institutions to banking and economic operations -- all aspects of the way of life -- will bring the Islamic constitution, the Islamic code of law, to challenge the U.S. Constitution. It is a process by which the spiritual and polit ical leaders disseminate Islam through missionary activities such as holding seminars on university campuses, opening cultural centers and charter schools, sending graduate students to study at ivy league institutions, building mosques, starting newspapers , infiltrating the most sensitive U.S. institutions such as the FBI, the State Department, and offices on Capital Hill, giving parties during Ramazan,, inviting Americans to Turkey and giving them tours to indoctrinate them, and asking Muslims to marry non Muslims. Today these cultural centers are more active than mosques because in the mosque the imams cannot indoctrinate people as freely, but in the private houses and private institution, it is easy to do so. One must ask the question why tolerance meetings should be held in America and in the West in the first place since neither America nor the West is making news because of violence, committing atrocities with suicide bombings or killing innocent people because of false indoctrination of mostly the young. These seminars on tolerance should be held where the root of problem grows, which is neither in America nor in the West. For example, many institutions and universities like Rice University, Georgetown University, the University of Chicago, and Southe rn Methodist University host conferences to discuss Islam. The questions are directed to lead to the position on why Islam is superior to all other religions and why it needs to be taught in the U.S. For example, NASA invited the Counsel on American Islami c Relation to teach sensitivity and diversity training workshops entitled µUnderstanding Islam and Muslims at NSA.¶ Why has Islam become so delicate a topic and superior to all other religion that non -Muslim Americans should be trained and Islam be taught in American institutions? What about the beliefs of Jews, Christians and other faiths. Are representatives from those groups of faith been invited to discuss their faith as part of cultural sensitivity? I do respect people as they are, no matter where th ey come from and regardless of their color, race, and faith, but Americans and the West have ignored the Muslims¶ hatred of different cultures and the lack of tolerance in the Muslim world. In the Muslim world especially in the Arab countries world, anyone who is not Muslim, such as Christians and other faiths, sometimes even different Islamic sects, as seen currently in Iraq, live in constantly fear of terrorism if they choose to stay among Muslims. Muslims have one agenda no matter what American or wester ns countries do as humanitarian acts for their people because it is not enough as long as they are infidels. Fethullah Gulen, the founder and spiritual leader of a worldwide educational movement who now lives in the U.S, wants to create an alternative syst em to capitalism, which as many argue, will eventually die. Based on this prospect, Mr. Gulen contends that when capitalism dies, Muslims will replace it with the Islamic system. Because Gulen and many other Muslims believe capitalism has not solved human problems and instead has created unequal distribution between the haves and have nots. In their view, however, Islam is a solution to the universal suffering. How can Islam become a universal religion and how can Islam replace capitalism? In other words, how can Islam destroy the American Empire? According to Gulen, the only way Muslims can become powerful is to stand on their own feet, which means by gaining economic independence from the West. How can Muslims be

economically independent from the West? Gul en encourages his followers to get the positive things from the West, such as technology and education, and to leave the negative things, such as religion and social mores. Also, he avoids confrontation with the U.S. because Muslims are not strong enough militarily nor economically to stand against America. However, Gulen wants to use America¶s super power status to achieve his goals. From Glen¶s point of view, the best way to defeat the enemy is to use the enemy¶s own weapons against that enemy. What is the enemy¶s weapon? The enemy¶s weapons are democracy, technology, language, and the Western values. How can he use this against America or the West? He does so by establishing Islamic centers, non-governmental organizations, such as interfaith institutio ns, and cultural centers, by sending graduate students who get scholarships from Americans taxpayers, and by providing a good education, and particularly from the principle of freedom of speech to disseminate Islam. Muslims want to destroy America or the West from within, since it is hard to defeat them physically. Many Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, believe that Islam is the religion of tolerance, peace, and freedom and that the adherents thus renounce any kind of violence and killing. Yet, in Afghanistan, Rahman captured world attention when he was charged with the death penalty for the offense of apostasy for converting to Christianity. When Muslims convert to the Christian faith, it is considered such an offense that they are subject to being killed, and many ex-Muslims live under fear of losing their life and do not have freedom and tolerance to worship to their God. On the other hand, when a Christian converts to Islam, his transformation is praised by Muslims, and he has the right to worship and ev en to work in better conditions, never having to hide his real identity. Why is that? Are the West and America cowards? Do Americans and Westerns have a double standard? Why do those who convert to Islam, like Cat Stevens, publicly enjoy and celebrate his new religion, travel safely, and never have to hide his face? Besides exercising these freedoms, he devoted himself to disseminate Islam without fear. Has Cat Stevens or any other Christian who converted to Islam faced the death penalty or received any thr eat? Why can Muslims build so many mosques yet Christians may not build churches in Muslim countries? Where are the American and Westerns leaders and why do they not address the issues of lack of tolerance in the Muslim world? For example, in the Netherlands, the former Muslim who converted to Christianity, Hirsi Ali, has to hide his face but also in this Western country face persecution. One of the hallmarks of the West is freedom of speech and freedom of _expression, permitting critiques of claims about religion truths, but Islamic law does not allow such debate or criticism. The question many scholars as well as political leaders ask is whether Islam is compatible with democracy or whether Islam can be modernized? Specifically, can Islam tolerate freedo m of _expression in America? Under the United States Constitution the State and Church are separated at least by the principle, whereas Islam does not make this distinction. For example, Italian journalist Fallaci in her book The Rage and the Pride, writte n after 9/11, criticizes Islam and its totalitarian forces in demolishing Western culture and civilization. She also criticizes the West for turning a blind eye to the threat of Islam. Ms. Fallaci argues that µEurope is no longer Europe. It is Eurabia,¶ a colony of Islam where the Muslims have invaded not only in a mental or cultural sense, but in a physical sense as well. She

cogently presents the case that Muslims have poisoned the meaning of democracy. Today, in Europe, there are more Muslims than Christ ians, and mosques are filled with devotees whereas the churches are filled with tourists. A clear denial of Judeo Christian roots has become routine propaganda in schools and in media in Europe and now in America. Islam has a universal agenda; it has a p lan and a method. Mohammed did not just come to preach, but also he was a father, soldier, leader, husband, a precursor to the spiritual role of Islam in general in that Islam must dominate all aspects the of life. Many Muslims believe that the Qu¶ran was sent to Mohammed from God via angels, so that it is God¶s word. If this message is the word of God, can it be changed to be compatible now with the Western notion of democracy, to abandon the Shari law? Can Islam be modernized with the Western modernizatio n? Many Muslims insist that Islam is consistence with democracy and can be modernized, but these ideologies are at their roots inconsistent and thus incompatible. Even the act of lying is permissible in Islam. According to Islam, an individual can lie fo r three reasons: to make peace between a father and a mother, to save yourself, to lie to an enemy when you are at the war. Since many Muslims believe that they remain at war with non -Muslim in realms called a house of war and a house peace, you can lie to gain power, and then you can declare war or resist against non -Muslims as the Qumran says to lie to the unbelievers, Christians, and Jews. They are told to be nice on the surface until they gain the majority and then to take over and impose Qu'ranic law o r Shari law on the population. Once the community accrues the majority, Americans cannot do anything but accept it like Europe is doing right now. Bat Ye¶or, an Egyptian author, explains in detail the systematic and calculated rise of Islam in Europe in her carefully documented record Eurabia: The Euro -Arab Axis. Once Muslims got their representatives in high public offices, then this will happen. President Bush, European heads of state, and Muslim leaders have already announced that this is a religion of tolerance. Yet, if anyone wants to understand Islam, the student of world affairs must read the history of Islam noting how Mohammed spread Islam beginning with a few people all over the world. In its beginning Islam secretly grew for more than two years because Mohammed and his companions had clandestine meetings until Mohammed got enough people and declared the time to spread Islam. Keeping secrets is very important for Muslims. Gulen repeatedly indoctrinates his followers about how to keep the secrets b y using Mohammed as an example. For Gulen his followers must know the truth, but they are instructed that they cannot tell the truth everywhere to everybody. Pope Benedict clearly defines the goal of Islam. The Qu'ran is a total religious law, which regulates the whole of political and social life and insists that the whole order of life be Islamic. The Qu'ran, as the constitution of the Muslims, shapes society in all arenas. In this sense it exploits such freedoms initially allowing freedom in certain areas until the time is right to declare the necessity of society living only under the Islamic code. It cannot be its final goal to say. µYes, now we too are a body with rights; now we are present in society just like the Catholics and the Protestants. If this were the situation, Islam would not achieve a status consistent with its inner nature: it would be in alienation from itself.¶ This alienation can be resolved only

through the whole Islamization of society. For example, when a Muslim finds himself in America, he never identifies himself with the non -Muslims citizens because he does not find himself in a Muslim society (the salt of the earth). Why should everyone else who enjoys freedom of _expression today have to sacrifice because of the fanatical Muslims? After 9/11 Americans are not the same; their liberty and freedom link to their security because of the Islamic fundamentalism. Americans pay taxes, supporting Muslims who still preach hatred in the mosques. Why do Americans pay for extra security measures? Islam has the universalism agenda to dominate the whole world. Gulen and his followers believe that Islam will be the stronghold in the West. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gulen declared the hicret, a term referring to the time when Mohammed was exiled from his hometown in Mecca to Medina. There Mohammed initially made peace with the Israelites and encouraged his followers not to confront the Jews because in that time Jews were powerful. Even Mohammed prayed toward the Jerusalem in the early months. He established an Islamic state in Medina, where he was exiled, and then after he gained a majority, he came with an army of ten thousand to conquer Mecca without any bloodshed because the inhabitants of Mecca could not resist Mohammed¶s army. Mohammed cleared the mosques of idols and ordered the people to pray toward Mecca rather than toward Jerusalem. Mohammed achieved these goals by his strategies and discipline. During the time there was a bloody war going on between tribes, but he managed to bring all the tribes together by ordering his followers to marry with the different tribes, and he himself also married many wives from different tribes. Consequently, today Gulen, exiled to the U.S. from Turkey exactly follows the path of Mohammed and disseminates his Islamic goals throughout infidels¶ lands, encouraging his fellows not to confront America, because he believes that Muslims have not reached that capacity yet. Many of his disciples get married to American non -Muslims to convert them to Islam and to become American citizens. Gulen acts not on a short -range plan, but on a long -term one. However, many Muslims believe that Christians in the West and Americans in particular are responsible for the moral corruption, but as I mentioned earlier, Europe is not a Christian country because there are more Muslims in Europe than Christians. It is true that morality has decayed in Europe as well as in America, but that does not make the Bible corrupt, as Islam contends. Europe and American have moved further and further away from Biblical principles and by not practicing the heritage of Bible principles, then they have become morally corrupt. The other point related to corruption is that many Westerns or Americans do not follow the Bible, but if they do regard it as a guide to life, they make the Bible follow them because God gave them freedom, but many Westerners and Americans are abusing that freedom by violating its admonitions by turning instead to sex, drugs, family abuse, murders and so forth. The Muslim retort that the Bible is corrupt cannot be corroborated, but particularly the principle to love enemies rather than to kill them provides the line of demarcation between the faiths

Allen, Martha Sawyer. "Growing Pains: Muslim Families Confront 'Americanization'."

NEWS)Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN). 29 May 1999. Blank, Jonah. The Muslim Mainstream. U.S. News Online . 20 July 1998. Esposito, John L. The Oxford History of Islam . Oxford, England: Oxford University Press:. 1999. Ye¦or. Bat. Eurabia: The Euro -Arab Axis. Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickson University Press, 2005. Aland Mizell is with the University of Texas at Dallas School of Social Science

In 1796, U.S. Vowed Friendliness With Islam
by Daniel Pipes New York Sun November 7, 2006

Has the United States ever engaged in a crusade against Islam? No, never. And, what's more, one of the country's earliest diplomatic documents rejects this very idea. Exactly 210 years ago this week, toward the end of George Washington's s econd presidential administration, a document was signed with the first of two Barbary Pirate states. Awkwardly titled the " Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed a t Tripoli November 4, 1796 (3 Ramada I, A. H. 1211), and at Algiers January 3, 1797 (4 Rajab, A. H. 1211)," it contains an extraordinary statement of peaceful intent toward Islam. The agreement's 11th article (out of twelve) reads: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, - as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." In June 1797, the Senate unanimously ratified this treaty, which President John Adams immediately signed into law, making it an authoritative expression of American policy. In 2006, as voices increasingly present the "war on terror" as tantamount to a war on Islam or Muslims, it bears notice that several of the Founding Fathers publicly

declared they had no enmity "against the laws, religion or tranquility" of Muslims. This antique treaty implicitly supports my argument that the United States is not fighting Islam the religion but radical Islam, a totalitarian ideology that did not even exist in 1796. Beyond shaping relations with Muslims, the statement that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion" has for 210 years been used as a proof text by those who argue that, in the words of a 1995 article by Steven Morris, "The Founding Fathers Were Not Christians." But a curious story lies behind the remarkable 11 th article. The official text of the signed treaty was in Arabic, not English; the English wording quoted above was provided by the famed diplomat who negotiated it, Joel Barlow (1754 -1812), then the American consul-general in Algiers. The U.S. government has always treated his translation as its official text, reprinting it countless times. There are just two problems with it . First, as noted by David Hunter Miller (1875-1961), an expert on American treaties, "the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic." Second, the great Dutch orientalist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), reviewed the Arabic text in 1930, retranslated it, and found no 11th article. "The eleventh article of the Barlow translation has no equivalent whatever in the Arabic," he wrote. Rather, the Arabic tex t at this spot reprints a grandiloquent letter from the pasha of Algiers to the pasha of Tripoli. Snouck Hurgronje dismisses this letter as "nonsensical." It "gives notice of the treaty of peace concluded with the Americans and recommends its observation. Three fourths of the letter consists of an introduction, drawn up by a stupid secretary who just knew a certain number of bombastic words and expressions occurring in solemn documents, but entirely failed to catch their real meaning." These many years later, how such a major discrepancy came to be is cloaked in obscurity and it "seemingly must remain so," Hunter Miller wrote in 1931. "Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point." But the textual anomaly does h ave symbolic significance. For 210 long years, the American government has bound itself to a friendly attitude toward Islam, without Muslims having signed on to reciprocate, or without their even being aware of this promise. The seeming agreement by both p arties not to let any "pretext arising from religious opinions" to interrupt harmonious relations, it turns out, is a purely unilateral American commitment. And this one-sided legacy continues to the present. The Bush administration responded to acts of unprovoked Muslim aggression not with hostility toward Islam but with offers of financial aid and attempts to build democracy in the Muslim world.

Iraqis should fight occupiers, not each other-cleric
22 Jan 2007 Source: Reuters By Odai Sirri DOHA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A prominent Sunni Muslim cleric on Monday called on warring Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq to stop sectarian violence and fight U.S. -led "foreign occupiers". "It is a taboo for Muslims to kill each other," said Sheikh Youssef al -Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric living in Qatar. The call to unite against "foreign occupiers" came after a three -day religious forum in Qatar grouping more than 200 Sunni and Shi'ite scholars from more than 40 countries. "We have an obligation to fight foreign occupation of Muslim countries and we should be united against foreign aggression," Qaradawi added. In a 10-point communique issued after the forum, senior Muslim clerics said killing of Muslims by Muslims was forbidden, and also called on Muslims to "un ite against all aggression against the Islamic world". Sectarian violence has threatened to distract Iraqis from the "real enemy", said the communique, written by senior clerics from various Muslim sects. Muslim leaders from all sects should foster unity , understanding and respect between different sects and not try to convert followers from each others' sects, it added. Muslim leaders should also reform their education curriculum to foster support and unity of the different Islamic sects and groups. Clerics of the austere Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia have long dismissed Shi'ites as virtual heretics. Al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim group, has used suicide bombings to wreak carnage among Shi'ites in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi government officials s ay. Shi'ites say attacks on Sunnis are revenge for the suicide bombs. "There should be respect for each others' beliefs and we must avoid confrontation," said Dr Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, president of Egypt's al-Azhar University, one of the oldest and most revered seats of Islamic learning. Prominent figures, including Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, who heads an Iranian body seeking to unify followers of Islam's various branches, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference , Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti

of Egypt and Egypt's Religious Endowments Minister Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzouk have attended the forum.


Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali draws capacity audience at UW-Madison
The Daily Isthmus Joe Tarr on Wednesday 02/03/2010 Ali said that Islam is more than a religion, but also a political system, one that is incompatible with US democracy and pluralism. The security seemed a bit excessive for your typical university speaker. But the roughly 3,500 people who came out to the Student Union lecture Tuesday night had to go through what was akin to airport security: coats removed, handbags searched, everyone stepping through a metal detector. As a further precaution, backpacks and water bottles were forbidden.

The occasion was a talk by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who has received death threats for her controversial writings and views on Islam. Born in Somalia in 1969, Hirsi Ali sought political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. She l ater served on the Dutch Parliament. After renouncing her faith, she became an outspoken critic of Islam, writing two books, Infidel and The Caged Virgin. She wrote the short film Submission, which she made with director Theo van Gogh. The film criticizes the treatment of women in Islam. For his part in the film, van Gogh was shot eight times and nearly beheaded. His murderer stuck a note to van Gogh¶s chest, threatening Hirsi Ali. Because of the extra security precautions, Hirsi Ali took the stage an hour late Tuesday night at the Student Union. She was promptly greeted by a couple of people in the audience who shouted, ³All hu Akbar,´ or ³God is Great´ in Arabic. Hirsi Ali responded that she could not say ³God is Great.´ But she apologized for the security measures and late start. ³Some people think that I should be silenced,´ she told the crowd. ³I thank you for giving me a platform.´ In her hour and a half talk, Hirsi Ali stood firm on her controversial views. She said she had once been a devout Muslim, b ut had since come to question not just how Islam has been interpreted and practiced, but the core of the Prophet Mohammad¶s teachings. ³No culture, no religion, no idea has ever been as brutal to women as Islam,´ she told the crowd. ³It was a special kind of hatred the Nazis had against the Jews. Islam sanctions a special kind of hatred against women.´ She said that Islam is more than a religion, but also a political system, one that is incompatible with U.S. democracy and pluralism. ³They are as different as day and night.´ She said there is a distinction between Muslim believers and the ideology of Islam, the latter of which she finds fault with. But she said that in the West, Islam has attained a special sort of protection, with intellectuals afraid to qu estion or criticize the religion¶s beliefs. As an example she asked the audience how many people had heard of the case of Yaser Said: a Texas man suspected of killing his two teenage daughters for dating Western men in 2008. By not criticizing the crimes o f men of color against women, Hirsi Ali said feminism had become ³a force that protects only white women.´ There were plenty of emotional responses and questions from the crowd afterwards. Some accused Hirsi Ali of ignoring the violence the West perpetrate s on Islamic countries and the brutal histories of other religions. Hirsi Ali responded that because it hasn¶t been scrutinized or criticized, Islam hasn¶t evolved the way other religions have. ³I¶m not here to defend American foreign

policy,´ she said. ³I¶m here to say when America has a bad idea... those ideas are examined.´ Then she added: ³If America is killing people, are you saying you have the right to kill people?´ She said that Islam would benefit from scrutiny and criticism and looking at other cultures and belief systems. ³The Muslim mind can be opened by looking outside of Islam and then retaining what people find valuable about Islam, like hospitality,´ she said. ³I don¶t think gazing at the Koran for hours and hours can help that.´ And she, added, ³The emancipation of the Muslim woman is the key to reforming Islam.´

Iranian Cleric Calls for 'Ruthless' Punishment of Protest Leaders

By Thomas Erdbrink and William Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, June 27, 2009 TEHRAN, June 26 -- An influential Iranian cleric on Friday urged "ruthless" punishment, possibly including execution, for leaders of protests against a disputed presidential election, while President Obama intensified his criticism of a crackdown on the Iranian opposition and rejected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's demand for an apology. Two weeks after Iranians turned out to vote in massive numbers, authorities moved on two fronts to halt continuing unrest over the results, warning that protest leaders could be subject to the death penalty under Islamic law but also creating a "special committee" to review the election process with participation from the two leading opposition candidates. In a sermon at Tehran University before traditional Friday prayers , Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a close associate of Iran's supreme leader, escalated the hard -line rhetoric that the state has adopted this week toward demonstrators, foreign n ews media and various "enemies," including the United States and Britain. Saying that "unauthorized demonstrations" are against both national law and Islamic law because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, "has advised against them," Khatami argued that a protester who engages in "destructive acts" could be considered a mohareb, or someone who wages war against God. "And Islam has said that a mohareb should receive the severest of punishments," he said. "Accordingly, I call on the officials of the judicial branch to deal severely and ruthlessly with the leaders of the agitations, whose fodder comes from America and

Israel, so that everyone learns a lesson from it," Khatami said, according to a translation by state radio. Under Islamic law, the punishment for waging war against God is death. Iran's judiciary said Tuesday that a special court would be set up to make an example of "rioters" arrested during the demonstrations. According to Iranian state media, more than 450 have been arre sted. International human rights groups say the number is higher and includes demonstrators, journalists and well -known dissidents who have long called for more political freedom in Iran. In Washington, Obama condemned recent violence against protesters a s "outrageous" and dismissed Ahmadinejad's demand Thursday that he apologize for similar previous comments. Obama suggested that it was Ahmadinejad who should be apologizing to Iranian victims and their families for the violent actions of security forces. Speaking at the White House after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama said Iranian demonstrators have shown "bravery in the face of brutality," and he described the violence against them as "outrageous" and "unacceptable." If the Iranian government wants the respect of the international community, he said, "then it must respect the rights and heed the will of its people." In response to questions, Obama said opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who asserts that he was denied victory in the June 12 election through fraud, appears to have "captured the imagination or the spirit of forces within Iran that were interested in opening up." He indicated that direct U.S. engagement with Iran over its nuclear program woul d have to wait until the situation there becomes clearer. On Ahmadinejad's demand Thursday for an apology, Obama said, "I don't take Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements seriously about apologies, particularly given the fact that the United States has gone out of its way not to interfere with the election process in Iran." Instead, he said, "I would suggest that Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about the obligations he owes to his own people," notably "the families of those who've been beaten or shot or detained." Merkel said Iran "cannot count on the world community turning a blind eye" to the violence. Iran's Guardian Council, a supervisory body led by Shiite Muslim clerics and jurists that certifies election results, reiterated Friday that it has found no signi ficant fraud in the election, which the Interior Ministry has said Ahmadinejad won with nearly 63 percent of the vote. "After 10 days of examination, we did not see any major irregularities," a council spokesman, Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, told the official Is lamic Republic News Agency. The council is scheduled to complete an inquiry into the election by Monday. But the council later announced the formation of a "special committee" to review the election process and invited participation by representatives of Mousavi and another

opposition candidate, Mehdi Karroubi. The council gave the two candidates 24 hours to name their representatives. It said 10 percent of the ballot boxes would be recounted in the presence of the committee, which would then issue a repor t about the election. No deadline for the report was specified. The council said the special committee would also include "political and social figures," notably Ali Akbar Velayati, who served as foreign minister when Mousavi was prime minister in the 1980s and who is now an adviser to Khamenei on international affairs. There was no immediate response from Mousavi or Karroubi, who have criticized the Guardian Council. They have called on the council to annul the election and hold a new one. In his Friday sermon, Khatami ruled that out. He denied that the election was rigged and said those who insist on nullifying it "should know that this idea will be fruitless." Addressing thousands of chanting supporters, he harshly denounced various foreign governments, the United Nations and Western news media, which he accused of false reporting and "assisting the enemy." He told the gathering, "I do not know how they are free to roam around in the country." Appealing for unity, Khatami said, "Let us not institution alize grudges. . . . Let us have a united position against the foreigners who have prepared their sharp satanic teeth to loot the legacy of your martyrs." The cleric, a member of the Assembly of Experts and a supporter of Ahmadinejad, claimed that protesters were responsible for the slaying of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, who has become an opposition icon since cellphone cameras captured her dying moments after she was shot last Saturday on a Tehran street. "Take a look at the story of the lady who was killed for whom Mr. Obama sheds crocodile tears and the West has made a big story," he said. "Any logical individual who watches the film realizes that th e work has been done by rioters themselves." Khatami also asserted that the woman was killed in "a quiet alley" where security forces "would only arrest people" rather than shoot them. "The state does not kill people in such places," he said. "All signs a nd evidence show that they [protesters] were behind this murder. Now they make a hue and cry against the state. I am warning those liar media." Arash Hejazi, an Iranian doctor who says he tried to help Agha Soltan, has told British news media that she was shot by a member of the pro-government Basij militia who was riding a motorcycle. At Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, dozens of friends, relatives and other well wishers paid their respects at Agha Soltan's grave Friday, stopping briefly to utter prayers or place flowers before moving on, news agencies reported. The government has prohibited public mourning ceremonies for the young philosophy student.

"What sin did she commit?" asked a young woman tearfully as she prayed in front of the grave, Agence France-Presse reported. "Pray for our future," an elderly man said. Branigin reported from Washington.

Why facade democracy will never work in Muslim countries
by Iqbal Siddiqui (Tuesday October 18 2005)

"In recent centuries, ordinary people in Western countries have gradually been persuaded to adopt the political ideals and culture of liberal democracy, making them easy targets for elite manipulation using liberal democratic institutions and processes." When Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak announced earlier this year that last month¶s presidential elections would be the first ever to permit other candidates to stand directly against him, the announcement was greete d in the West as part of the ³democratic dividend´ of Bush¶s invasion of Iraq. According to the American neo conservative mythology, one of the reasons that Muslims are so anti -American is that they live under repressive dictators who blame the West for al l that is wrong in the world. In keeping with this remarkable understanding of contemporary history, the US¶s main object in invading Iraq was to restore freedom for the Iraqi people and make Iraq a beacon of democracy in the Muslim world, and an inspirati on to other Muslim peoples around the world to embrace freedom, democracy and the altruistic American hegemon that can provide both. The logic was that the example of Iraq would prompt Muslim peoples to demand democracy, as people in the former Soviet bloc did in 1989, and force repressive Arab rulers to permit political reform as the only way of averting popular unrest. During a visit to Cairo in June, shortly after the multi -candidate elections were announced, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice sought to emphasise US claims to be championing democratic rights in the Arab world by publicly lecturing Mubarak on the need for further liberalisation. She pointed out that there were two essential prerequisites if the elections were to be internationally reco gnised as free and fair: that they should be monitored by international observers, and that Egypt¶s repressive state of emergency laws should be repealed. Neither of these conditions was met; the elections were monitored only by state observers and the sta te of emergency remains in place, with the Ikhwan al -Muslimun (Islamic Brotherhood), long recognised as Egypt¶s largest and most popular opposition group, remaining officially banned and therefore unable to run any candidate against Mubarak. Despite this, and numerous other problems with the elections, which were widely recognised in the Arab world as nothing more than a political farce providing

Mubarak with only the thinnest veneer of legitimacy, George W. Bush greeted the elections last month as a triumph for America¶s foreign policy, saying during a speech in San Diego that ³Across the broader Middle East, we can see freedom¶s power to transform nations and deliver hope...´ He compared the elections in Egypt to those ³in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and th e Palestinian territories... [where] people have gone to the polls and chosen their leaders in free elections. Their example is inspiring millions across that region to claim their liberty and they will have it.´ In fact, all we have seen in Egypt last mon th has been a repeat, albeit perhaps in a slightly refined form, of a political process widely recognised in the Arab world, that of ³al-democratiyya al-shakliyya´, usually translated as facade democracy. This refers to the establishment of institutions an d processes that have all the trappings of normal democratic politics without making any genuine difference to the established power structures in the country. Egypt has long been recognised at the classic example in the Arab world. It has several politica l parties, including the ruling National Democratic Party, regular elections to parliament and now a directly elected president (he was previously elected by parliament and then confirmed by referendum), although no -one believed for one moment that there w as any prospect of him accepting defeat, shaking hands with his successor and quietly moving out of the presidential palace. In reality, no -one regards this apparatus as any real check on the power of the establishment; rather it serves not to make governm ent accountable to the people, but as to secure and legitimise the position of the ruling NDP, the military elites that control it and the civilian elites that have decided to hitch their fortunes to its wagon. Instead of providing channels through which t he Egyptian people can influence their government, these political institutions and processes provide only channels through which those in power can distribute patronage and manipulate the people they are supposed to lead. This is the sort of democracy that the US is now promoting in other Arab countries, although the progress in places like Jordan and Saudi Arabia is too limited for Bush yet to count them among his success stories. And the Egyptian example demonstrates that no further loosening of the rein s of power is intended there, despite Rice¶s pious words. There was, notably, no objection to the fact from the Ikhwan, recognised as Egypt¶s main opposition movement, is not permitted to operate freely or to contest the elections. As in the past, the esta blishment has used the system to manipulate its allies and supporters; it clearly intends to use it also to manipulate its opponents, by promoting some -- secular and nationalist groups -over others, particularly Islamic ones, which might prove more of a genuine challenge to the powers that be, as FIS demonstrated in Algeria in the late 1980s: an example of political liberalisation under Western guidance getting out of hand. It may well be that Egypt, having pioneered the system of pro -Western facade democracy, is now regarded as stable and secure enough to allow further limited reforms without the risk of the process getting out of hand and actually permitting any genuine expression of the popular will, which would of course be Islamic and anti -American. This is, of course, the key problem for the West. Although they speak of the democratic ideals of popular and accountable governments that reflect the values and wishes of their people, they know that the wishes of Muslim people are bound to oppose Western interests. They also know that the political elites in Muslim countries

are not secure or powerful enough to manipulate open political systems to their ends, as the capitalist and corporate political elites can do in America and other Western countries. In Western countries, we see the limits of democratic freedoms whenever those in power feel threatened, for example by Muslim dissidence in America, Britain and European countries today. Faced with a genuine political challenge, such as the widespread oppos ition to their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Western states exploit incidents such as the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, and the bombings in London on July 7 this year, to enact illiberal and repressive legislation against ³extremism´ and ³threat s to national security´ which actually target political opposition more than terrorist activities. Although the West likes to boast of democracy as a Western gift to the world, reflecting the values and culture of the secular West, it actually owes more to technological advances of modernity, which enable more and more people to be informed about issues affecting their lives, particularly through improved means of communication, and more and more people to aspire to influence the forces that define their lives. This popular involvement and empowerment, which may take different forms, is the real essence of democratisation, rather than liberal ideals such as freedom or equality, or political institutions and processes such as parliament, parties and elections. This is why, in places such as Egypt now, as in the Soviet Union and East Germany during the communist period, and in Iraq under Saddam Hussain, it is possible to have ³democratic´ political institutions without any sign of genuine popular involvement or empowerment. And that also the situation that exists in western countries, albeit in more sophisticated form: a reality that is now being increasingly realised by Western people. In recent centuries, ordinary people in Western countries have gradually bee n persuaded to adopt the political ideals and culture of liberal democracy, making them easy targets for elite manipulation using liberal democratic institutions and processes. The problem for the West is that the masses in Muslim countries have not accepted these political ideals and culture because they have a very strong and powerful indigenous alternative, the political ideals and culture of Islam. When Muslims talk of wanting democracy in their countries, they do not mean, a few westernised exceptions apart, that they want to import western -style secular liberalism, as the West likes to assume; they mean that they want freedom from oppression and repression so that they can establish political institutions reflecting their Islamic political culture and ideals, through which they can achieve independence from foreign hegemony, and popular participation, empowerment and accountability, on their own terms. This is what the Muslims of Iran achieved through the Islamic Revolution in 1979, inspired by the leadership of Imam Khomeini. As has been said before, the Iranians were fortunate in that they caught the Western power unawares and were able to take control of their country, albeit only at immense sacrifice and cost. It is not a coincidence that, from then until now, Iran has the highest levels of popular participation and political empowerment of any Muslim country in the Middle East. Since then the West has been far more aware of the risk posed by Islamic movements and has done whatever it had to to neutra lise them, from the sheer brutality of Algeria to the political manipulation of countries like Jordan and Egypt. Nonetheless, the political instincts of the Muslim ummah remain unchanged, and

Muslims will only accept such forms of political reform as enabl e them to establish Islam in their societies.

That is why attempts by Mubarak and his like to establish democratic facades for their authoritarian regimes are bound to fail, as are attempts by the West to introduce secular and liberal understandings of dem ocracy into Islamic and Muslim political discourse. Mr. Iqbal Siddiqui, Editor of Crescent International and Research Fellow at the Institute of Islamic Contemporary Thought, is a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN)

A Year of Living Dangerously
Nov 4, 2005 Remember Theo van Gogh, and shudder for the future. BY FRANCIS FUKUYAMA Watch Theo van Gogh's movie "Submission", click here (Windows Media Player) One year ago today, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh had his throat ritually slit by Mohamed Bouyeri, a Muslim born in Holland who spoke fluent Dutch. This event has totally transformed Dutch politics, leading to stepped -up police controls that have now virtually shut off new immigration there. Together with the July 7 bombings in London (a lso perpetrated by second generation Muslims who were British citizens), this event should also change dramatically our view of the nature of the threat from radical Islamism. We have tended to see jihadist terrorism as something produced in dysfunctional parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan or the Middle East, and exported to Western countries. Protecting ourselves is a matter either of walling ourselves off, or, for the Bush administration, going "over there" and trying to fix the problem a t its source by promoting democracy. There is good reason for thinking, however, that a critical source of contemporary radical Islamism lies not in the Middle East, but in Western Europe. In addition to Bouyeri and the London bombers, the March 11 Madrid bombers and ringleaders of the September 11 attacks such as Mohamed Atta were radicalized in Europe. In the Netherlands, where upwards of 6% of the population is Muslim, there is plenty of radicalism despite the fact that Holland is both modern and democratic. And there exists no option for walling the Netherlands off from this problem. We profoundly misunderstand contemporary Islamist ideology when we see it as an assertion of traditional Muslim values or culture. In a traditional Muslim country, your religious identity is not a matter of choice; you receive it, along with your social status, customs and habits, even your future marriage partner, from your social environment. In such a society there is no confusion as to who you are, since your identity is given to you and sanctioned by all of the society's institutions, from the family to the mosque to the state. The same is not true for a Muslim who lives as an

immigrant in a suburb of Amsterdam or Paris. All of a sudden, your identity is up for grabs; y ou have seemingly infinite choices in deciding how far you want to try to integrate into the surrounding, non -Muslim society. In his book "Globalized Islam" (2004), the French scholar Olivier Roy argues persuasively that contemporary radicalism is precisely the product of the "deterritorialization" of Islam, which strips Muslim identity of all of the social supports it receives in a traditional Muslim society. The identity problem is particularly severe for second- and third-generation children of immigra nts. They grow up outside the traditional culture of their parents, but unlike most newcomers to the United States, few feel truly accepted by the surrounding society. Contemporary Europeans downplay national identity in favor of an open, tolerant, "post -national" Europeanness. But the Dutch, Germans, French and others all retain a strong sense of their national identity, and, to differing degrees, it is one that is not accessible to people coming from Turkey, Morocco or Pakistan. Integration is further inh ibited by the fact that rigid European labor laws have made low -skill jobs hard to find for recent immigrants or their children. A significant proportion of immigrants are on welfare, meaning that they do not have the dignity of contributing through their labor to the surrounding society. They and their children understand themselves as outsiders. It is in this context that someone like Osama bin Laden appears, offering young converts a universalistic, pure version of Islam that has been stripped of its l ocal saints, customs and traditions. Radical Islamism tells them exactly who they are --respected members of a global Muslim umma to which they can belong despite their lives in lands of unbelief. Religion is no longer supported, as in a true Muslim society , through conformity to a host of external social customs and observances; rather it is more a question of inward belief. Hence Mr. Roy's comparison of modern Islamism to the Protestant Reformation, which similarly turned religion inward and stripped it of its external rituals and social supports. If this is in fact an accurate description of an important source of radicalism, several conclusions follow. First, the challenge that Islamism represents is not a strange and unfamiliar one. Rapid transition to modernity has long spawned radicalization; we have seen the exact same forms of alienation among those young people who in earlier generations became anarchists, Bolsheviks, fascists or members of the Bader Meinhof gang. The ideology changes but the underl ying psychology does not. Further, radical Islamism is as much a product of modernization and globalization as it is a religious phenomenon; it would not be nearly as intense if Muslims could not travel, surf the Web, or become otherwise disconnected from their culture. This means that "fixing" the Middle East by bringing modernization and democracy to countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will not solve the terrorism problem, but may in the short run make the problem worse. Democracy and modernization in the Muslim world are desirable for their own sake, but we will continue to have a big problem with terrorism in Europe regardless of what happens there. The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that

does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right -wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non -Western backgrounds. The first has already begun to happen. In re cent months, both the Dutch and British have in fact come to an overdue recognition that the old version of multiculturalism they formerly practiced was dangerous and counterproductive. Liberal tolerance was interpreted as respect not for the rights of ind ividuals, but of groups, some of whom were themselves intolerant (by, for example, dictating whom their daughters could befriend or marry). Out of a misplaced sense of respect for other cultures, Muslims minorities were left to regulate their own behavior, an attitude which dovetailed with a traditional European corporatist approaches to social organization. In Holland, where the state supports separate Catholic, Protestant and socialist schools, it was easy enough to add a Muslim "pillar" that quickly tur ned into a ghetto disconnected from the surrounding society. New policies to reduce the separateness of the Muslim community, like laws discouraging the importation of brides from the Middle East, have been put in place in the Netherlands. The Dutch and British police have been given new powers to monitor, detain and expel inflammatory clerics. But the much more difficult problem remains of fashioning a national identity that will connect citizens of all religions and ethnicities in a common democratic cu lture, as the American creed has served to unite new immigrants to the United States. Since van Gogh's murder, the Dutch have embarked on a vigorous and often impolitic debate on what it means to be Dutch, with some demanding of immigrants not just an ability to speak Dutch, but a detailed knowledge of Dutch history and culture that many Dutch people do not have themselves. But national identity has to be a source of inclusion, not exclusion; nor can it be based, contrary to the assertion of the gay Dutc h politician Pym Fortuyn who was assassinated in 2003, on endless tolerance and valuelessness. The Dutch have at least broken through the stifling barrier of political correctness that has prevented most other European countries from even beginning a discu ssion of the interconnected issues of identity, culture and immigration. But getting the national identity question right is a delicate and elusive task. Many Europeans assert that the American melting pot cannot be transported to European soil. Identity t here remains rooted in blood, soil and ancient shared memory. This may be true, but if so, democracy in Europe will be in big trouble in the future as Muslims become an ever larger percentage of the population. And since Europe is today one of the main battlegrounds of the war on terrorism, this reality will matter for the rest of us as well.

Muslim Nations Unable to Endorse Democracy
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN November 13, 2005 NY Times

MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 12 - A meeting of Muslim nations initiated by the Bush administration ended in discord on Saturday after objections by Egypt blocked a final declaration supporting democracy. The administration did, however, get backing for a $50 million foundation to support political activities in the Muslim world, with money to be raised from American, European and Arab sources, and a $100 million fund half financed by the United States to provide venture capital to businesses. Diplomats at the conference said Egypt wanted the language in the meeting's final declaration to say that only "legally registered" groups should be aided by the foundation. The Americans expressed open irritation with Egypt for its efforts to "scuttle," as one put it, what they had hoped would be a milestone in its efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East. "Obviously, we are not pleased," a senior State Department off icial said. Another said, in a tone of exasperation, "I don't understand why they should make this an issue." Both declined to be identified because they did not want to criticize Egypt directly. Egyptian diplomats have complained that outside financing fo r groups may end up in the hands of extremists or even terrorists. American officials dismiss those warnings as absurd, noting that some American aid to Egypt, about $430 million this year, already goes to groups in Egypt that do not have government approv al. But American support for independent groups in other countries has alarmed some Arab leaders. They cite American aid that supported groups that led the uprisings in Georgia and Ukraine and point out that both Russia and Uzbekistan have sought to block American aid to groups in their countries. Since President Bush's inaugural address in January calling for the sweeping adoption of democratic rule in autocratic countries, the administration has pressed more and more for aid to the Middle East to go, at l east in part, to groups supporting change in their societies, with training, subsidies and such mundane things as printing presses. The administration first set up its own Middle East Partnership Initiative, which committed $300 million in aid in the last few years to political and business activity in the region.

Now, in part to remove American fingerprints in a region where anti -American sentiments run high, about $85 million is to be taken out of this initiative and used for the new Foundation for the Future, for support of democratic groups, and the Fund for the Future, for entrepreneurial efforts. Both are part of the Bush administration's so-called Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative, set up in the meeting of the major industrial democracies at Sea Island, Ga., in mid -2004. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in remarks at the session of the conference, hailed the foundation's establishment, which had been negotiated for a year and a half, saying it "will provide grants to help civil society strengthen the rule of law, to protect basic civil liberties and ensure greater opportunity for health and education." Some delegates to the meeting saw Egypt's objections as a reflection of the Arab world's growing irritation with what some say is the lecturing tone of American calls for democracy. United States involvement in Iraq plays a part in that: the Arab world is not persuaded by the administration's portrayal of Iraq, which Secretary Rice visited on Friday, as a beacon for democracy. Rather, they say, Iraq represents the perils of imposing democracy from outside. Its violence is widely seen as offering a cautionary tale rather than an inspiration, American officials acknowledge. Egypt represents more than half the population of the Arab world and is often a leader of its political concerns, particularly in pressing for more attention to be paid in the West to the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. The disagreement also appeared to reflect a difficult phase in American -Egyptian relations, which have been ruffled by American demands for greater openness in the Egyptian political process. Egypt rejected an American suggestion for international monitors for its recent presidential election, for example, and complained that it was not receiving credit for conducting its first multiparty elections and for allowing more dissident poli tical activity. The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, left the conference early, declining to join in the final photograph and working lunch, brushing off questions about the final document, telling reporters that there was no such thing, even though a draft had been circulating all day. But Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister who is president of the Arab League, said the final document supporting democracy did not reflect the meeting's consensus. "If a statement is imposed, nobody will give it any consideration," he said. Egypt's criticism was initially backed by Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf country of Oman, but both supported the United States in the end, American diplomats said. They added that with 40 nongovernmental organiz ations in Bahrain demanding support, they could not delete the reference to such groups in the final declaration without drawing even more criticism.

Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al -Khalifa, who presided over the session on Saturday, said at a news conference that Egypt's objections could not be ironed out because they were presented at the last moment. "We don't want this to be a haphazard decision," he said. A draft of the final declaration was prepared more than a month ago, at a me eting in Rabat, Morocco. Mr. Khalifa said a draft might be adopted in a year at the next meeting, in Amman, Jordan.

Islam and Western Democracies
Legatus Summit, Naples, Florida U.S.A By Cardinal George Pell Archbishop of Sydney September 11 was a wake-up call for me personally. I recognised that I had to know more about Islam. In the aftermath of the attack one thing was perplexing. Many commentators and apparently the governments of the "Coalition of the Willing" were claiming that Islam was essentially peaceful, and that the terrorist attacks were an aberration. On the other hand one or two people I met, who had lived in Pakistan and suffered there, claimed to me that the Koran legitimised the killings of non -Muslims. Although I had possessed a co py of the Koran for 30 years, I decided then to read this book for myself as a first step to adjudicating conflicting claims. And I recommend that you too read this sacred text of the Muslims, because the challenge of Islam will be with us for the remainde r of our lives - at least. Can Islam and the Western democracies live together peacefully? What of Islamic minorities in Western countries? Views on this question range from näive optimism to bleakest pessimism. Those tending to the optimistic side of the scale seize upon the assurance of specialists that jihad is primarily a matter of spiritual striving, and that the extension of this concept to terrorism is a distortion of koranic teaching[1]. They emphasise Islam's self-understanding as a "religion of p eace". They point to the roots Islam has in common with Judaism and Christianity and the worship the three great monotheistic religions offer to the one true God. There is also the common commitment that Muslims and Christians have to the family and to the defence of life, and the record of co -operation in recent decades between Muslim countries, the Holy See, and countries such as the United States in defending life and the family at the international level, particularly at the United Nations. Many commentators draw attention to the diversity of Muslim life -sunni, shi'ite, sufi, and their myriad variations -and the different forms that Muslim devotion can take in places such as Indonesia and the Balkans on the one hand, and Iran and Nigeria on the other. Stress is laid, quite rightly, on the widely divergent interpretations of the Koran and the shari'a, and the capacity Islam has shown throughout its history for developing new interpretations. Given the contemporary situation, the wahhabist interpretation at the heart of Saudi Islamism offers probably the most important

example of this, but Muslim history also offers more hopeful examples, such as the re-interpretation of the shari'a after the fall of the Ottoman empire, and particularly after the end of the Second World War, which permitted Muslims to emigrate to non Muslim countries[2]. Optimists also take heart from the cultural achievements of Islam in the Middle Ages, and the accounts of toleration extended to Jewish and Christian subjects of Muslim rule as "people of the Book". Some deny or minimise the importance of Islam as a source of terrorism, or of the problems that more generally afflict Muslim countries, blaming factors such as tribalism and inter -ethnic enmity; the long-term legacy of colonialism and Western domination; the way that oil revenues distort economic development in the rich Muslim states and sustain oligarchic rule; the poverty and political oppression in Muslim countries in Africa; the situation of the Palestinians, and the alleged "problem" of the state of Israel; and the way that globalisation has undermined or destroyed traditional life and imposed alien values on Muslims and others. Indonesia and Turkey are pointed to as examples of successful democratisation in Muslim societies, and the success of countries such as Australia and the United States as "melting pots", creating stable and successful societies while absorbing people from very different cultures and religions, is often invoked as a reason for trust and confidence in th e growing Muslim populations in the West. The phenomenal capacity of modernity to weaken gradually the attachment of individuals to family, religion and traditional ways of life, and to commodify and assimilate developments that originate in hostility to i t (think of the way the anti-capitalist counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s was absorbed into the economic and political mainstream-and into consumerism), is also relied upon to "normalise" Muslims in Western countries, or at least to normalise them in th e minds of the non-Muslim majority. Reasons for optimism are also sometimes drawn from the totalitarian nature of Islamist ideology, and the brutality and rigidity of Islamist rule, exemplified in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Just as the secular totalit arian-isms of the twentieth century (Nazism and Communism) ultimately proved unsustainable because of the enormous toll they exacted on human life and creativity, so too will the religious totalitarianism of radical Islam. This assessment draws on a more g eneral underlying cause for optimism, or at least hope, for all of us, namely our common humanity, and the fruitfulness of dialogue when it is entered with good will on all sides. Most ordinary people, both Muslim and non -Muslim, share the desire for peace, stability and prosperity for themselves and their families. On the pessimistic side of the equation, concern begins with the Koran itself. In my own reading of the Koran, I began to note down invocations to violence. There are so many of them, however, that I abandoned this exercise after 50 or 60 or 70 pages. I will return to the problems of Koranic interpretation later in this paper, but in coming to an appreciation of the true meaning of jihad, for example, it is important to bear in mind what the sch olars tell us about the difference between the suras (or chapters) of the Koran written during Muhammad's thirteen years in Mecca, and those that were written after he had based himself at Medina. Irenic interpretations of the Koran typically draw heavily on the suras written in Mecca, when Muhammad

was without military power and still hoped to win people, including Christians and Jews, to his revelation through preaching and religious activity. After emigrating to Medina, Muhammad formed an alliance with t wo Yemeni tribes and the spread of Islam through conquest and coercion began[3]. One calculation is that Muhammad engaged in 78 battles, only one of which, the Battle of the Ditch, was defensive[4]. The suras from the Medina period reflect this decisive ch ange and are often held to abrogate suras from the Meccan period[5]. The predominant grammatical form in which jihad is used in the Koran carries the sense of fighting or waging war. A different form of the verb in Arabic means "striving" or "struggling", and English translations sometimes use this form as a way of euphemistically rendering the Koran's incitements to war against unbelievers[6]. But in any case, the so-called "verses of the sword" (sura 95 and 936)[7], coming as they do in what scholars gen erally believe to be one of the last suras revealed to Muhammad[8], are taken to abrogate a large number of earlier verses on the subject (over 140, according to one radical website[9]). The suggestion that jihad is primarily a matter of spiritual striving is also contemptuously rejected by some Islamic writers on the subject. One writer warns that "the temptation to reinterpret both text and history to suit 'politically correct' requirements is the first trap to be avoided", before going on to complain tha t "there are some Muslims today, for instance, who will convert jihad into a holy bath rather than a holy war, as if it is nothing more than an injunction to cleanse yourself from within"[10]. The abrogation of many of the Meccan suras by the later Medina suras affects Islam's relations with those of other faiths, particularly Christians and Jews. The Christian and Jewish sources underlying much of the Koran[11] are an important basis for dialogue and mutual understanding, although there are difficulties. Perhaps foremost among them is the understanding of God. It is true that Christianity, Judaism and Islam claim Abraham as their Father and the God of Abraham as their God. I accept with reservations the claim that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship one god (Allah is simply the Arabic word for god) and there is only one true God available to be worshipped! That they worship the same god has been disputed[12], not only by Catholics stressing the triune nature of God, but also by some evangelical Christians and by some Muslims[13]. It is difficult to recognise the God of the New Testament in the God of the Koran, and two very different concepts of the human person have emerged from the Christian and Muslim understandings of God. Think, for example, of the Christian understanding of the person as a unity of reason, freedom and love, and the way these attributes characterise a Christian's relationship with God. This has had significant consequences for the different cultures that Christianity and Islam have give n rise to, and for the scope of what is possible within them. But these difficulties could be an impetus to dialogue, not a reason for giving up on it. The history of relations between Muslims on the one hand and Christians and Jews on the other does not always offer reasons for optimism in the way that some people easily assume. The claims of Muslim tolerance of Christian and Jewish minorities are largely mythical, as the history of Islamic conquest and domination in the Middle East, the Iberian peninsula and the Balkans makes abundantly clear. In the territory of modern-day Spain and Portugal, which was ruled by Muslims from 716 and not finally cleared of Muslim rule until the surrender of Granada in 1491 (although over

half the peninsula had been reclaim ed by 1150, and all of the peninsula except the region surrounding Granada by 1300), Christians and Jews were tolerated only as dhimmis[14], subject to punitive taxation, legal discrimination, and a range of minor and major humiliations. If a dhimmi harmed a Muslim, his entire community would forfeit protection and be freely subject to pillage, enslavement and murder. Harsh reprisals, including mutilations, deportations and crucifixions, were imposed on Christians who appealed for help to the Christian king s or who were suspected of having converted to Islam opportunistically. Raiding parties were sent out several times every year against the Spanish kingdoms in the north, and also against France and Italy, for loot and slaves. The caliph in Andalusia mainta ined an army of tens of thousand of Christian slaves from all over Europe, and also kept a harem of captured Christian women. The Jewish community in the Iberian peninsula suffered similar sorts of discriminations and penalties, including restrictions on h ow they could dress. A pogrom in Granada in 1066 annihilated the Jewish population there and killed over 5000 people. Over the course of its history Muslim rule in the peninsula was characterised by outbreaks of violence and fanaticism as different faction s assumed power, and as the Spanish gradually reclaimed territory[15]. Arab rule in Spain and Portugal was a disaster for Christians and Jews, as was Turkish rule in the Balkans. The Ottoman conquest of the Balkans commenced in the mid-fifteenth century, and was completed over the following two hundred years. Churches were destroyed or converted into mosques, and the Jewish and Christians populations became subject to forcible relocation and slavery. The extension or withdrawal of protection depended entir ely on the disposition of the Ottoman ruler of the time. Christians who refused to apostatize were taxed and subject to conscript labour. Where the practice of the faith was not strictly prohibited, it was frustrated -for example, by making the only legal market day Sunday. But violent persecution was also a constant shadow. One scholar estimates that up to the Greek War of Independence in 1828, the Ottomans executed eleven Patriarchs of Constantinople, nearly one hundred bishops and several thousand priests , deacons and monks. Lay people were prohibited from practising certain professions and trades, even sometimes from riding a horse with a saddle, and right up until the early eighteenth century their adolescent sons lived under the threat of the military e nslavement and forced conversion which provided possibly one million janissary soldiers to the Ottomans during their rule. Under Byzantine rule the peninsula enjoyed a high level of economic productivity and cultural development. This was swept away by the Ottoman conquest and replaced with a general and protracted decline in productivity[16]. The history of Islam's detrimental impact on economic and cultural development at certain times and in certain places returns us to the nature of Islam itself. For t hose of a pessimistic outlook this is probably the most intractable problem in considering Islam and democracy. What is the capacity for theological development within Islam? In the Muslim understanding, the Koran comes directly from God, unmediated. Muhammad simply wrote down God's eternal and immutable words as they were dictated to him by the Archangel Gabriel. It cannot be changed, and to make the Koran the subject of critical analysis and reflection is either to assert human authority over divine revelation (a blasphemy), or question its divine character. The Bible, in contrast, is a product of human co -operation with divine inspiration. It arises from the

encounter between God and man, an encounter characterised by reciprocity, which in Christianity is underscored by a Trinitarian understanding of God (an understanding Islam interprets as polytheism). This gives Christianity a logic or dynamic which not only favours the development of doctrine within strict limits, but also requires both critical analy sis and the application of its principles to changed circumstances. It also requires a teaching authority. Of course, none of this has prevented the Koran from being subjected to the sort of textual analysis that the Bible and the sacred texts of other re ligions have undergone for over a century, although by comparison the discipline is in its infancy. Errors of fact, inconsistencies, anachronisms and other defects in the Koran are not unknown to scholars, but it is difficult for Muslims to discuss these m atters openly. In 2004 a scholar who writes under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg published a book in German setting out detailed evidence that the original language of the Koran was a dialect of Aramaic known as Syriac. Syriac or Syro -Aramaic was the written language of the Near East during Muhammad's time, and Arabic did not assume written form until 150 years after his death. Luxenberg argues that the Koran that has come down to us in Arabic is partially a mistranscription of the original Syriac. A bizarre example he offers which received some attention at the time his book was published is the Koran's promise that those who enter heaven will be "espoused" to "maidens with eyes like gazelles"; eyes, that is, which are intensely white and black (suras 4454 and 5220). Luxenberg's meticulous analysis suggests that the Arabic word for maidens is in fact a mistranscription of the Syriac word for grapes. This does strain common sense. Valiant strivings to be consoled by beautiful women is one thing, but to be heroic for a packet of raisins seems a bit much! Even more explosively, Luxenberg suggests that the Koran has its basis in the texts of the Syriac Christian liturgy, and in particular in the Syriac lectionary, which provides the origin for the Arabic wor d "koran". As one scholarly review observes, if Luxenberg is correct the writers who transcribed the Koran into Arabic from Syriac a century and a half after Muhammad's death transformed it from a text that was "more or less harmonious with the New Testame nt and Syriac Christian liturgy and literature to one that [was] distinct, of independent origin"[17]. This too is a large claim. It is not surprising that much textual analysis is carried out pseudonymously. Death threats and violence are frequently dire cted against Islamic scholars who question the divine origin of the Koran. The call for critical consideration of the Koran, even simply of its seventh-century legislative injunctions, is rejected out of hand by hard line Muslim leaders. Rejecting calls fo r the revision of school textbooks while preaching recently to those making the hajj pilgrimage to Mount Arafat, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia told pilgrims that "there is a war against our creed, against our culture under the pretext of fighting terrori sm. We should stand firm and united in protecting our religion. Islam's enemies want to empty our religion [of] its content and meaning. But the soldiers of God will be victorious"[18]. All these factors I have outlined are problems, for non -Muslims certainly, but first and foremost for Muslims themselves. In grappling with these problems we have to resist the temptation to reduce a complex and fluid situation to black and white photos.

Much of the future remains radically unknown to us. It is hard work to keep the complexity of a particular phenomenon steadily in view and to refuse to accept easy answers, whether of an optimistic or pessimistic kind. Above all else we have to remember that like Christianity, Islam is a living religion, not just a set of th eological or legislative propositions. It animates the lives of an estimated one billion people in very different political, social and cultural settings, in a wide range of devotional styles and doctrinal approaches. Human beings have an invincible genius for variation and innovation. Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited. To stop at this proposition, however, is to neglect the way these facts are mitigated o r exacerbated by the human factor. History has more than its share of surprises. Australia lives next door to Indonesia, the country with one of the largest Muslim populations in the world[19]. Indonesia has been a successful democracy, with limitations, s ince independence after World War II. Islam in Indonesia has been tempered significantly both by indigenous animism and by earlier Hinduism and Buddhism, and also by the influence of sufism. As a consequence, in most of the country (except in particular Ac eh) Islam is syncretistic, moderate and with a strong mystical leaning. The moderate Islam of Indonesia is sustained and fostered in particular by organisations like Nahdatul Ulama, once led by former president Abdurrahman Wahid, which runs schools across the country, and which with 30 -40 million members is one of the largest Muslim organisations in the world. The situation in Indonesia is quite different from that in Pakistan, the country with one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. 75 per cen t of Pakistani Muslims are Sunni, and most of these adhere to the relatively more -liberal Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence (for example, Hanafi jurisprudence does not consider blasphemy should be punishable by the state). But religious belief in Paki stan is being radicalised because organisations, very different from Indonesia's Nahdatul Ulama, have stepped in to fill the void in education created by years of neglect by military rulers. Pakistan spends only 1.8 per cent of GDP on education. 71 per cen t of government schools are without electricity, 40 per cent are without water, and 15 per cent are without a proper building. 42 per cent of the population is literate, and this proportion is falling. This sort of neglect makes it easy for radical Islamic groups with funding from foreign countries to gain ground. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of religious schools (or madrasas) opening in Pakistan, and it is estimated that they are now educating perhaps 800,000 students, still a small proportion of the total, but with a disproportionate impact[20]. These two examples show that there is a whole range of factors, some of them susceptible to influence or a change in direction, affecting the prospects for a successful Islamic engagement with democracy. Peace with respect for human rights are the most desirable end point, but the development of democracy will not necessarily achieve this or sustain it. This is an important question for the West as well as for the Muslim world. Adherence to what George Weigel has called "a thin, indeed anorexic, idea of procedural democracy"[21] can be fatal here. It is not enough to assume that giving people the vote will automatically favour moderation, in the short term at least[22]. Moderation and democracy h ave been regular partners in Western history, but have not entered permanent and exclusive matrimony and

there is little reason for this to be better in the Muslim world, as the election results in Iran last June and the elections in Palestine in January r eminded us. There are many ways in which President Bush's ambition to export democracy to the Middle East is a risky business. In its influence on both religion and politics, the culture is crucial. There are some who resist this conclusion vehemently. In 2002, the Nobel Prize Economist Amartya Sen took issue with the importance of culture in understanding the radical Islamic challenge, arguing that religion is no more important than any other part or aspect of human endeavour or interest. He also challeng ed the idea that within culture religious faith typically plays a decisive part in the development of individual self-understanding. Against this, Sen argued for a characteristically secular understanding of the human person, constituted above all else by sovereign choice. Each of us has many interests, convictions, connections and affiliations, "but none of them has a unique and pre -ordained role in defining [the] person". Rather, "we must insist upon the liberty to see ourselves as we would choose to see ourselves, deciding on the relative importance that we would like to attach to our membership in the different groups to which we belong. The central issue, in sum, is freedom".[23] This does work for some, perhaps many, people in the rich, developed and highly urbanised Western world, particularly those without strong attachments to religion. Doubtless it has ideological appeal to many more among the elites. But as a basis for engagement with people of profound religious conviction, most of whom are not fanatics or fundamentalists, it is radically deficient. Sen's words demonstrate that the high secularism of our elites is handicapped in comprehending the challenge that Islam poses. I suspect one example of the secular incomprehension of religion is the b lithe encouragement of large scale Islamic migration into Western nations, particularly in Europe. Of course they were invited to meet the need for labour and in some cases to assuage guilt for a colonial past. If religion rarely influences personal behav iour in a significant way then the religious identity of migrants is irrelevant. I suspect that some anti -Christians, for example, the Spanish Socialists, might have seen Muslims as a useful counterweight to Catholicism, another factor to bring religion in to public disrepute. Probably too they had been very confident that Western advertising forces would be too strong for such a primitive religious viewpoint, which would melt down like much of European Christianity. This could prove to be a spectacular misj udgement. So the current situation is very different from what the West confronted in the twentieth century Cold War, when secularists, especially those who were repentant communists, were well equipped to generate and sustain resistance to an anti religious and totalitarian enemy. In the present challenge it is religious people who are better equipped, at least initially, to understand the situation with Islam. Radicalism, whether of religious or non -religious inspiration, has always had a way of filling emptiness. But if we are going to help the moderate forces within Islam defeat the extreme variants it has thrown up, we need to take seriously the personal consequences of religious faith. We also need to understand the secular sources of emptiness and despair and how to meet them, so that people will choose life over death. This is another place where religious people have an edge. Western

secularists regularly have trouble understanding religious faith in their own societies, and are often at sea when it comes to addressing the meaninglessness that secularism spawns. An anorexic vision of democracy and the human person is no match for Islam. It is easy for us to tell Muslims that they must look to themselves and find ways of reinterpreting their beliefs and remaking their societies. Exactly the same thing can and needs to be said to us. If democracy is a belief in procedures alone then the West is in deep trouble. The most telling sign that Western democracy suffers a crisis of confidence lies in the disa strous fall in fertility rates, a fact remarked on by more and more commentators. In 2000, Europe from Iceland to Russia west of the Ural Mountains recorded a fertility rate of only 1.37. This means that fertility is only at 65 per cent of the level needed to keep the population stable. In 17 European nations that year deaths outnumbered births. Some regions in Germany, Italy and Spain already have fertility rates below 1.0. Faith ensures a future. As an illustration of the literal truth of this, consider Russia and Yemen. Look also at the different birth rates in the red and blue states in the last presidential election in the U.S.A. In 1950 Russia, which suffered one of the most extreme forms of forced secularisation under the Communists, had about 103 mi llion people. Despite the devastation of wars and revolution the population was still young and growing. Yemen, a Muslim country, had only 4.3 million people. By 2000 fertility was in radical decline in Russia, but because of past momentum the population stood at 145 million. Yemen had maintained a fertility rate of 7.6 over the previous 50 years and now had 18.3 million people. Median level United Nations forecasts suggest that even with fertility rates increasing by 50 per cent in Russia over the next fifty years, its population will be about 104 million in 2050 -a loss of 40 million people. It will also be an elderly population. The same forecasts suggest that even if Yemen's fertility rate falls 50 per cent to 3.35, by 2050 it will be about the same size as Russia - 102 million - and overwhelmingly young[24]. The situation of the United States and Australia is not as dire as this, although there is no cause for complacency. It is not just a question of having more children, but of rediscovering reasons to trust in the future. Some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness, of Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature. Belief in a benign God who is master of the universe has a steadying psychological effect, although it is no guarantee of Utopia, no guarantee that the continuing climate and geographic changes will be benign. In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capr icious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Most of this is a preliminary clearing of the ground for dialogue and interaction with our Muslim brothers and sisters based on the conviction that it is always useful to know accurately where you are before you start to decide what you should be doing. The war against terrorism is only one aspect of the challenge. Perhaps more important is the struggle in the Islamic world between moderate forces and extremists, especially when we set this against the enormous demographic shifts likely to occur across the world, the relative changes in population -size of the West,

the Islamic and Asian worlds and the growth of Islam in a childless Europe. Every great nation and religion has shadows and indeed crimes in their histories. This is certainly true of Catholicism and all Christian denominations. We should not airbrush these out of history, but confront them and then explain our present attitude to them. These are also legitimate requests for our Islamic partners in dialogue. Do they believe that the peaceful suras of the Koran are abrogated by the verses of the sword? Is the programme of military expansion (100 years after Muhammad's death Muslim armies reached Spain and India) to be resumed when possible? Do they believe that democratic majorities of Muslims in Europe would impose Sharia law? Can we discuss Islamic history and even the hermeneutical problems around the origins of the Koran without threats of violence? Obviously some of these questions about the future cannot be answered, but the issues should be discussed. Useful dialogue means that participants grapple with the truth and in this issue of Islam and the West the stakes are too high for fundamental misunderstandings. Both Muslims and Christians are helped by accurately identifying what are core and enduring doctrines, by identifying what issues can be discussed together usefully, by identifying those who are genuine friends, seekers after truth and cooperation and separating them from those who only appear to be friends. NOTES: [1]. For some examples of this, see Daniel Pipes, "Jihad and the Professors", Commentary, November 2002. [2]. For an account of how some Muslim jurists dealt with large -scale emigration to non-Muslim countries, see Paul Stenhouse MSC, "Democracy, Dar al -Harb, and Dar al-Islam", unpublished manuscript, nd. [3]. Paul Stenhouse MSC, "Muhammad, Qur'anic Texts, the Shari'a and Incitement to Violence". Unpublished manuscript, 31 August 2002. [4]. Daniel Pipes "Jihad and the Professors" 19. Another source estimates that Muhammad engaged in 27 (out of 38) battles personally, fighting in 9 of them. See A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq (Oxford University Press, Karachi: 1955), 659. [5]. Stenhouse "Muhammad, Qur'anic Texts, the Shari'a and Incitement to Violence". [6]. Ibid. [7]. Sura 95: "Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them a t every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms,

then let them go their way; for God is All -forgiving, All-compassionate." Sura936: "And fight the unbelievers totally even as they fight you totally; and know that God is with the godfearing." (Arberry translation). [8]. Richard Bonney, Jihad: From Qur'an to bin Laden (Palgrave, Hampshire: 2004), 22-26. [9]."The Will of Abdullaah Yusuf Azzam", articleID=532& (dated 20 April 1986). [10]. M. J. Akbar, The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity (Routledge, London & New York: 2002), xv. [11]. Abraham I. Katsch, Judaism and t he Koran (Barnes & Co., New York: 1962), passim. [12]. See for example Alain Besançon, "What Kind of Religion is Islam?" Commentary, May 2004. [13]. Daniel Pipes, "Is Allah God?" New York Sun, 28 June 2005. [14]. On the concept of "dhimmitude", see Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, trans. Miriam Kochman and David Littman (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison NJ: 1996). [15]. Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non Muslims (Prometheus Books, Amherst NY: 2005), 56 -75. [16]. Ibid. [17]. Robert R. Phenix Jr & Cornelia B. Horn, "Book Review of Christoph Luxenberg (ps.) Die syro-aramaeische Lesart des Koran: Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Qur'ansprache", Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, 6:1 (January 2003). See also the article on Luxenberg's book published in Newsweek, 28 July 2004. [18]. "Hajj Pilgrims Told of War on Islam",, 9 January 2006. [19]. The World Christian Database ( http://worldchristian gives a considerably lower estimate of the Muslim proportion of the population (54 per cent, or 121.6 million), attributing 22 per cent o f the population to adherents of Asian "New Religions". On the WCD's estimates, Pakistan has the world's largest Muslim population, with 154.5 million (or approximately 96 per cent of a total population of 161 million). The CIA's World Fact Book ( ) estimates 88 per cent of Indonesia's population of 242 million is Muslim, giving it a Muslim population of 213 million. The Muslim proportion of th e population in Indonesia may be as low as 37 -40 per cent, owing to the way followers of traditional Javanese mysticism are classified as Muslim by government authorities. See Paul Stenhouse MSC, "Indonesia, Islam,

Christians, and the Numbers Game", Annals Australia, October 1998. [20]. William Dalrymple, "Inside the Madrasas", New York Review of Books, 1 December 2005. [21]. George Weigel, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America and Politics without God (Basic Books, New York: 2005), 136. [22]. For a sophisticated presentation of the argument of the case for the moderating effect of electoral democracy in the Islamic world, see the Pew Forum's interview with Professor Vali Nasr (Professor of National Security Studies at the US Naval Postgraduate School),"Islam and Democracy: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan", 4 November 2005, [23]. Amartya Sen, "Civilizational Imprisonments", The New Republic, 10 June 2002. [24]. Allan Carlson, "Sweden and the Failure of European Family Policy", Society, September-October 2005. :: Home | Go back | Top of Page | Site Map | Copyright Copyright 19

Democracy vs. terrorism
Vikram Sood August 25, 2006 In the second part of his column, former R&AW chief Vikram Sood explains why there can be no final victory in any battle against terrorism.

Post 9/11 and particularly post-Madrid 2004, events have led to a hardening of positions in Europe among the majority population and, at the same time, there are more second and third generation Muslim youth finding their way to jihad. The stereotype of the jihadi coming from the Arab world is changing. Post -September 11, recruits are just as easily to be found in poly -techniques, high schools and university campuses in Europe. Hundreds of European youth, mainly second ge neration immigrants, have found their way to Iraq to fight in the Sunni triangle. There were reports of a two -way traffic between West Asia and Europe of illegals coming in to Europe and legals going to perform jihad in faraway places. Three of the July bo mbers in London were young second-generation youth of Pakistani parentage. The youth in the UK have been increasingly under the influence of the Deobandi mosques, where al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Hizbut Tehrir activists have been act ive. In Europe, intelligence and police officials from the UK, Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands meet in state -of-the-art environments to exchange information and data, reports and wiretaps that would help follow leads in their anti -terror effort. Cooperation on this scale or even at a much lower scale is unthinkable on the Indian

subcontinent, as this would be counterproductive to policies followed by the Pakistani establishment. Indo-Pak talks on curbing terror are more a dialogue of the deaf than a purposeful discussion. Post-World War II European liberalism, that had tolerated other religions and political beliefs, is today threatened with an immigrant Muslim population that constitutes four to five per cent of the population (European census usually does not ask for religion). This is expected to go up to ten per cent by 2025, and the indigenous population is expected to decline. So long as multi-culturalism did not affect Europe's way of life, immigration was acceptable, but once it became c lear that this being taken advantage of by the immigrant and seen as encouraging terrorism, restrictions have begun to be applied. This push of immigrants from Asia brings its own social problems. This aspect is going to be a major cause for concern in Eur ope in the years ahead. The ferment in the entire Muslim world creates the impression of a monolith with one common remedy or a set of common remedies to the problem. The Muslim ummah did get together in the Afghan jihad, and now seems to be getting toget her again post-Iraq, and even more strongly should there be a post -Iran, but there are continuing differences and Muslims still kill Muslims in defence of the same religion. It is also assumed that Osama is the symbol of this ferment. He has been glorifie d into a cult figure, but he is not really the single unifying factor in the Muslim world. There are many who are anti-US and anti-Israel, but who feel that al Qaeda over reached by attacking the US, which invited massive US military retaliation and the occupation of Muslim lands. A new ideologue for the Islamists seems to have been active in recent years. Born in Syria and hiding in Pakistan, 48 -year old Mustafa Setmariam Nasar turned out volumes on the Net arguing that with the Afghan base having been lo st, Islamic radicals would have to revise their approach. His thesis, in a 1600-page work called The Call for a Global Islamic Renaissance , has been in circulation on the Internet for 18 months, and its thrust is that a truly global conflict should be on several fronts, carried out by small cells or individuals rather than traditional guerrilla warfare. Nasar was arrested in Quetta last October and handed over to US officials, but his creed continues to be assimilated and followed. The problem is not in t he Pakistani madrassas alone. Jihad continues to be taught in mainstream schools even today. Hatred towards other religions and towards India is a common diet. The worry is that while most of the madrassa alumni end up in the caves of Tora Bora or the heig hts of Parachinar, those from mainstream schools go to mainstream colleges and end up with main line jobs at home or abroad. Assuming that three million school children are added to Pakistan's schools every year, an unknown number of the 70 million young p ersons have already imbibed jihadi leanings in the last 25 years.

The centre of jihad at the time of September 11 was in Afghanistan, specifically in the Pushtoon belt between Kandahar and Jalalabad. Since then, in the face of the American onslaught, the epicenter for international jihad for the rest of the world (except West Asia) is now in Pakistani Waziristan. The Taliban, resurgent in Afghanistan from sanctuaries in the turbulent Waziristan of Pakistan, have been sending their volunteers to Iraq for t raining in suicide terrorism and arms. Waziristan is also a sanctuary for Chechens and Uzbek Islamic insurgents. The recent spectacular comeback of the Taliban in southern and eastern Afghanistan, operating from their sanctuaries in Pakistan where they hav e declared an Islamic Republic of Waziristan, has been achieved with help from al Qaeda operatives, Gulbuddin Hikmetyar's Hizb -e-Islami and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It is probably more accurate to say that today, Mullah Omar commands more dedicated battalions than does Osama, whose followers are dispersed in concept, space and even ideology. More dangerous than al Qaeda in the Indian context are the activities of the International Islamic Front established by Osama in February 1998. Five Pakistani terrorist organizations are signatories to this IIFHuM, LeT, Harkat -ul-Jehadi-ul-Islami , JEM and LeJ all Sunni, all anti -Christian, anti-Jew and anti-Hindu, and all continually exhorting the destruction of India and prophesying victory over Jews and Christians. Another centre is Bangladesh, where jihadi organizations propagate jihadi terrorism in India and South-east Asia. The location of the continuing jihad against Christians, Jews and Hindus can be anywhere. It will be where the jihadis feel that it would be easier to operate and have the maximum impact. This obviously makes the US and Europe the most likely targets. Groups like al Qaeda and LeT cannot be controlled by a purely non -military response because they seek the establishment of Caliphates, through violence if necessary, and this is not acceptable in the modern world. It is necessary to m ilitarily weaken these forces, starve them of funds and bases and then to tackle long -term issues by providing them better education, employment and so on. While discussing the roots of terrorism in his book No End to this War, Walter Laqueur says Muslims have had a problem adjusting as minorities, be it in India, the Philippines or Western Europe. Similarly, they find it difficult to give their own minorities, whether Muslim or non -Muslim, a fair deal in their own countries the Berbers in Algeria, the Cop ts in Egypt or the Christians or Shias in Pakistan or Sudan being examples. This has in turn led to what Olivier Roy calls globalized Islam militant Islamic resentment at Western domination or anti -Imperialism exalted by revivalism. State sponsorship of terrorism, as an instrument of foreign policy and strategy to negate military and other superiority, has been another facet of this problem.

There is a naive assumption that if local grievances or problems are solved, global terrorism will disappear. The b elief or the hope that, if tomorrow, in Palestine, or Kashmir or Chechnya or wherever else, the issues were settled, terrorism will disappear, is a mistaken belief. There is now enough free -floating violence and vested interests that would need this violen ce to continue. There has been a multifaceted nexus between narcotics, illicit arms smuggling and human trafficking, that seeks the continuance of violence and disorder. Modern terrorism thrives not on just ideology or politics. The main driver is money, and the new economy of terror and international crime has been calculated to be worth US $1.5 trillion (and growing), which is big enough to challenge Western hegemony. This is higher than the GDP of Britain, and ten times the size of General Motors. Loretta Napoleoni splits this money into three parts. About one -third constitutes money that has moved illegally from one country to another; another one -third is generated primarily by criminal activities and called the Gross Criminal Product; and the remaining is the money produced by terror organizations, from legal businesses and from narcotics and smuggling. Napoleoni refers to this as the New Economy of Terror. All the illegal businesses of arms and narcotics trading, oil and diamonds smuggling, charitable organizations that front for illegal businesses, and the black money operations form part of this burgeoning business. Terror has other reasons to thrive. There are vested interests that seek the wages of terrorism and terrorist war. Narcotics smuggling generates its own separate business lines, globally connected with arms smuggling and human trafficking, and all dealt with in hundred dollar bills. These black dollars have to be laundered, which is yet another distinctive, secretive and complicated transnational occupation closely connected with these illegal activities, and is really a crucial infusion of cash into the Western economies. The '90s were a far cry from the early days of dependence on the Cold War sponsors of violence and terrorism. In th e '70s, terrorists began to rely on legal economic activities for raising funds. The buzzword today is globalization, including in the business of terrorism. Armed groups have linked up internationally and, financially and otherwise, been able to operate a cross borders, with Pakistani jihadis doing service in Chechnya and Kosovo, or Uzbek insurgents taking shelter in Pakistan. In today's world of deregulated finance, terrorists have taken full advantage of systems to penetrate legitimate international fina ncial institutions and establish regular business houses. Islamic banks and other charities have helped fund movements, sometimes without the knowledge of the managers of these institutions that the source and destination of the funds is not what has been declared. Both Hamas and the PLO have been flush with funds, with Arafat's secret treasury estimated to be worth US $ 700 million to US 2 billion. It is not easy, but the civilized world must counter the scourge of terrorism. In a networked world, where communication and action can be in real time, where

boundaries need not be crossed and where terrorist action can take place on the Net and through the Net, the task of countering this is increasingly difficult and intricate. Governments are bound by Geneva Conventions in tackling a terrorist organization, whatever else Bush's aides may have told him, but the terrorist is not bound by such regulations in this asymmetric warfare. The rest of the world cannot afford to see the US lose the war in Iraq, howeve r illconceived it might have been. If the US cuts and runs, then the jihadis will proclaim victory over the sole superpower. If the US stays or extends its theatre of activity, this will only produce more jihadis. That is the dilemma for all of us. Unfortunately, given the manner in which the US seeks to pursue its objectives, one is fairly certain that the US cannot win. What one is still not certain is whether or not there is a realization of this in Washington, or whether there is still a mood of selfdenial and self -delusion. It has to be accepted that there can be no final victory in any battle against terrorism. Resentments real or imagined, and exploding expectations, will remain. Since the state no longer has monopoly on instruments of violen ce, recourse to violence is increasingly a weapon of first resort. Terrorism can be contained and its effects minimized, but it cannot be eradicated, anymore than the world can eradicate crime. An over-militaristic response or repeated use of the armed fo rces is fraught with long-term risks for a nation and for its forces. Military action to deter or overcome an immediate threat is often necessary, but it cannot ultimately eradicate terrorism. This is as much a political and economic battle, and also a bat tle to be fought long -term by the intelligence and security agencies, increasingly in cooperation with agencies of other countries. Ultimately, the battle is between democracy and terrorism. The fear is that in order to defeat the latter, we may be losing some of our democratic values. Vikram Sood is a former chief of Research and Analysis Wing, India's foreign intelligence agency.

Instituting Democracy in Islamic Nations
The reasons for difficulties lie in fundamental principles of Islam December 7, 2006 In the post-9/11 era, the Bush administration's new project of spreading freedom and democracy to countries ruled by dictators became one of the most discussed and closely followed topics in the media, and at all levels of society. As the world faces the violence unleashed by Islamist terrorist groups, seeking out a way to turn the tide towards peace was indeed a desirable idea. Although many doubted the means

the Bush administration undertook to spread democracy around the world, few disagreed with the fact that freedom and democracy can usher in peace and prosperity. Believing in this fundamental premise, many in the U.S. and around the world supported the Bush administration's aggressive policy of instituting democracy by overthrowing the authoritarian governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the adventure of spreading democracy has yet to succeed in those two countries. All indications suggest that it will never be successful. It seems that what we are witnessing today is the failure of the B ush administration's policy of spreading democracy. Not only that, these countries have, instead, become massive breeding grounds for the terrorists and the world is in a poorer condition as far as threats from such violent groups are concerned. As it appears now, the skeptics of the Bush administration's policy of exporting democracy, who had argued that democracy cannot be exported or imposed on a people from outside, might have been right. They have argued that freedom and democracy have to evolve from within. So we can safely say that these skeptics were right and the Bush administration's war architects were utterly wrong. Upfront, I want to assert that both the skeptics of the Bush formula as well as its supporters are only partially right and partial ly wrong. Can democracy be imposed from without? It is a stale analysis to go into, given that innumerable commentaries have been written on this topic in the last few years. I will try to be brief. If we look back into the 1930s and 1940s, we see clearly that two of the world's anti-democratic governments -- the imperialists of Japan, and the brutal expansionist Nazis of Germany - were replaced with democratic governments imposed by the intervention of the allied forces in the post -war period. The skeptics may argue that the rule of the game has changed now and it does not work anymore. Afghanistan and Iraq are the most obvious examples in their favor. They probably would appear correct. Let us consider the intervention in Bosnia -Herzegovina in the mid -1990s. After the downfall of communism, these regions ran into a disastrous civil war as a result of religio -ethnic fighting between the minority Muslims and the majority Christians. Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, intervention quickly brought the fighting an d violence under control. Since then, reconciliation, reconstruction and democratic processes have made steady progress. All indications suggest that secular democracy and peace will continue to strengthen and be lasting. However, there is one concern. Isl amic fundamentalism is on the rise amongst the Muslim populace and the al -Qaeda and other like -minded Islamist groups are spreading their tentacles to that region. Therefore the future of a lasting peace and democracy in Bosnia Herzegovina will solely depe nd on how the Muslims behave in the coming years and decades? Similarly, the United States' forced ouster of Charles Taylor of Liberia and Aristride of Haiti, both Christian countries have so far held in good stead. More pressing interventions in Muslim countries, namely in Somalia and Afghanistan, have miserably failed during the same period. Instead of bringing democracy and peace, interventions in these countries have made the world a much more dangerous place by inspiring Muslims at far corners of the world to form new terrorist groups and strengthening the already existing ones. On the other hand, there are no indications that interventions in Christian countries, namely Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, have inspired any Christian group in far places, sa y in Nigeria, Philippines, Australia, USA, Canada or South America, to create terrorist groups and to unleash violence of any sort.

Those who argue that democracy and rule of law cannot be imposed by outside interventions are obviously wrong if one consid ers the interventions in Japan and Germany in the post-WW II era. All indications from the more recent but unfinished interventions in the Balkans, in Liberia and Haiti also prove them wrong. However they are right, while the Bush administration and their cheerleaders are utterly wrong, when one considers the intervention in Somalia in 1993 and the more recent ones in Afghanistan and Iraq. So, why is this difficulty in instituting democracy in Islamic countries by outside interventions which is easily achievable in non -Islamic countries? Many commentators argue that many social, cultural, ethnic, economic and historical factors are to blame. Yet others claim "democracy is no panacea or quick -fix" in itself. But democracy works as the better panacea and co ntinues to strengthen in Hindu dominated India but not in Islamic Pakistan and Bangladesh, despites both peoples having the same social, cultural, ethnic, economic and historical factors. The Muslim -majority region in northern Nigeria instituted Islamist t heocracy and have been cutting arms of thieves and stoning people to death. On the other hand, the southern Christian region welcomed democracy, toleration and multiculturalism after the Muslim general -lead military rule ended. International policy -makers, who might be at a fix over this intriguing disparity in success of outside interventions in Muslim and non -Muslim countries, should probably look into the fundamental precepts of Islam, the common ideological denominator that binds them together.

Muslims Killing Muslims in the Name of Jihad

By Norman Berdichevsky June 02, 2010 American Thinker A few days ago, one of the most violent incidents involving the slaughter of innocent civilians took place in Lahore and several kilometers away in Garhi Shahu, Pakistan. There has been essentially no media interest, such as on -the-spot coverage or interviews with survivors. The victims were all Ahmadis, a "deviant" se ct within Islam. Ahmadis comprise the sect that is distinguished as being the most peaceful; they have always lived in peace with their neighbors, both Muslim and non -Muslim. The Ahmadis were attacked by those "mainstream" Muslims who are sympathizers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan. These Muslims attacked the two Ahmadi mosques packed with hundreds of worshipers. At least eighty people were killed. The assaults in Lahore were carried out by at least seven men, including three

suicide bombers. Some of the attackers acted as snipers from an adjacent mosque to kill their fellow Muslims. Ahmadis are reviled as heretics by mainstream Muslims for their belief that their sect's founder was a savior foretold by the Quran, Islam's holy book. The group has experienced years of state-sanctioned discrimination and occasional attacks in Pakistan, but never before in such a large and coordinated fashion. Not one reputable, representative, acknowledged Muslim religious leader anywhere has seen fit so far to issue a condemnation of the attack. Not one media commentary anywhere (except in Israel) saw fit to mention that the only place within the Middle East where Ahmadis live in peace and harmony with their neighbors and enjoy full civil and religious rights is Israel. The Kababir neighborhood in Haifa was established in 1928. The neighborhood's first mosque on Mount Carmel was built in 1931, and a larger grand mosque was built in the 1970s. The grand mosque has two white minarets standing one hundred feet tall. They dominate the low-rise skyline of the residential neighborhoods on the ridges nearby. The mosque is subsidized entirely by the members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. As noted authority Bernard Lewis has so cogently argued, although a majority of Muslims at any given time may not be motivated by considerations of jihad, the phrase "Islamic terrorism" is apt, because Islam has had an essentially political character ... from its very foundation ... to the present day. An intimate association between religion and politics, between power and cult, marks a principal distinction between Islam and other religions. ... In traditional Islam and therefore also in resurgent fundamentalist Islam, God is the sole source of sovereignty. God is the head of the state. The state is God's state. The "army is God's army. The treasury is God's treasury, and the enemy, of course, is God's enemy." Jihad is directed not "just" against the unbelievers (the kaffirs, i.e., non -Mulsims), but all those who have "deviated" -- the Shi'ites, the Alawites, the Ahmadis, the Druze, Bahais, Yazidis, etc. It is holy war by armed resistance to all those who do not accept Muhammad's message as interpreted by the sacred traditions hallowed by all the schools of Sunni jurisprudence across fo urteen hundred years of history. But for our president and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, there is the unshakable but blind, deaf, and dumb conviction that as they interpret it, Islam is a peaceful and n oble religion that has been distorted by a "tiny minority," and jihad means a peaceful striving with oneself to overcome evil tendencies, notwithstanding the facts of: 1. The eight-year-long war between Iraq and Iran resulting in almost a million killed. 2. The First Gulf War; Invasion of Kuwait (Aug. 1990 -Feb.1991), Operation Desert Storm, the Second Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 3. Massive violence between Muslims and Hindus in India following partition and three India-Pakistan wars, terrorism in Kashmir and India resulting in several million killed and at least fifteen million people displaced.

4. Pakistan-Bangladesh conflict, 1971 (following civil war and secession). This war saw the highest number of casualties in any of the India -Pakistan conflicts. It is believed that from one to three million Bangladeshis were killed as a result of this war. Very little media coverage. 5. Ongoing Yemeni and Somali Civil Wars. Thousands killed. No media coverage. 6. Inter-sectarian Muslim violence between Shias and Sunnis in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. 7. Border disputes between Syria and Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 8. Jordan's crackdown on "Black September," 1970. PLO crushed by Jordanian Legion under command of King Hussein (at least 25,000 killed). 9. Syria's suppression of the Muslim Brothers and opponents of the Assad regime; destruction of the city of Hama (at least 20,000 killed) to wipe out Muslim Brotherhood. Media barred from entering the city. Uprising in Hama by Muslim Brotherhood crushed by Assad regi me in Syria Feb. 1982. 10. Al-Qaeda and Taliban violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 11. Inter-Palestinian factionalism in Gaza; dozens killed. 12. Decade-long mass violence between Muslim religious extremists (Salafist movement) and Algerian government beginning in 1991 estimated to have cost between 150,000 and 200,000 lives. 13. Sixteen-year-long civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 130,000 to 250,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people (one-third of the population) were wounded, half of whom were left with lifetime disabilities. 14. Iraqi, Iranian, and Turkish suppression of Kurdish autonomy; approximately 180,000 Kurds killed, mostly civilians in Iraq, by Saddam Hussein's forces via poison gas attacks. 15. Muslim terror against civilians in Chechnya, and additional hundreds killed in Moscow and other Russian cities including children at primary school. Russia's two biggest terrorist attacks both came from Muslim groups. The Chechnyan separatist "Special Purpose Islamic Regiment" took an estimated 850 people hostage in Moscow in October 2002 at a theater. At least 129 hostages died during the rescue, all but one killed by the chemicals used to subdue the attackers. In the September 2004, 1,200 s choolchildren and adults were taken hostage at a secondary school in Beslan, North Ossetia -Alania, which was overrun by an Islamic terror group. About 500 people, including 186 children, died in the attempt to free the hostages. According to the only survi ving attacker, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, the choice of a school and the targeting of mothers and young children by the attackers was carried out in order to generate the maximum outrage possible and ignite a wider

war in the Caucasus with the ultimate goal of est ablishing an Islamic Emirate across the whole of the North Caucasus. 16. Muslim secessionist activity and terrorism in the Philippines (with almost monthly reports by American media that do not mention the words "Muslim" or "jihad"). 17. Darfur in the Sud an; genocidal attacks against non -Muslim Black Sudanese. On July 13, 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's President Omar al -Bashir, charges that included three counts of genocide, five cri mes against humanity, and two of murder. The ICC's prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. 18. Muslim grievances and violence in Thailand. 19. Terrorist activity against the Han Chinese in Western China. More than a hundred fatalities. 20. Division of Cyprus to satisfy Turkish Muslim minority. 21. Muslim unrest and violence against Christians in Nigeria and Ghana; several thousand killed. No media interest. 22. Muslim terrorist attacks against the U.S. in New York and Washington. Almost 3,000 civilians killed. 23. Terrorist attacks throughout Europe -- London Underground, Atocha Train Station in Madrid; in Africa at American embassy in Kenya; in Bali nightclub where most victims were Australian tourists; foiled attempts in the U.S. and elsewhere. 24. Jihadi-inspired sniper and terror attacks by deranged lone Muslims in the United States against military bases (Ft. Hood), synagogues, a nd airports, and at Times Square. 25. Continued terrorist attacks against the State of Israel and Jews throughout the world. 26.Widespread piracy on a scale not seen for 150 years along the Somali coast of East Africa preying upon international shipping. 27. Indonesian Muslim suppression of East Timor population's (98%) desire for independence. Tens of thousands of civilians killed or died from malnutrition, imprisonment (1974-1998). 28. Continued civil war in West Sahara between the Polisario Movement and Moroccan authorities , low-level guerrilla attacks and hundreds of thousands of displaced refuges. In the above-mentioned conflicts, wars, massacres, and atrocities, the primary and majority of victims have been Muslims killed by other Muslims in the name of Islam

and "jihad." Where Muslims have been at risk of displacement and under attack in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kuwait, their rescue was made possible only by the efforts of the United States.

50 dead as Baghdad bombings stoke fears of warfare

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA (AP) April 6, 2010 BAGHDAD ² Bombs ripped through apartment buildings and a market in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 50 people in postelection bloodshed that threatens to rekindle sectarian warfare th at nearly destroyed the country three years ago. The attacks appeared to be an attempt by al -Qaida in Iraq or other extremists to exploit a power vacuum during what promises to be lengthy negotiations to form a new government. About 120 people have been ki lled in and around the capital over the past five days ² some of the most brutal strikes on civilians in months. For two terrifying hours on a warm, sunny Tuesday morning, at least seven bombs rocked a broad swath of Baghdad. In a new tactic, several bombs were planted inside empty apartments after renters offered high prices for the properties, the government said. The explosions reduced one building to rubble, knocked out windows and doors and ripped off facades. People rushed to the blast sites, digging through the rubble with their hands to find loved ones. "Cars began to collide with one another in the street," said Ali Hussein, a 22 -year-old college student who was riding the bus to school when one of the bombs went off. "We saw a cloud of fire and bla ck smoke." With militants singling out entire families of both Muslim sects for slaughter, the recent violence is reminiscent of the far more widespread fighting that tore Iraq apart from 2005 to 2007 and prompted the United States to send tens of thousand s more troops to this country. U.S. officials sought to downplay the possibility that Iraq is sliding toward major sectarian fighting and insisted there were no plans to slow the withdrawal of American troops. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that G en. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military official in Iraq, does not believe the violence threatens the ability of the U.S. military to draw down its forces this year.

The U.S. military plans to reduce troop levels from 90,000 to 50,000 by Aug. 31, when it will end combat operations. As part of an agreement with Iraq, the U.S. will withdraw all forces by the end of 2011. "We're obviously concerned but we don't see the parallels with what happened a few years ago," U.S. Embassy spokesman Philip Frayne said. "We don't see a sectarian war breaking out again." While there was no claim of responsibility, the latest spike in attacks suggest to some analysts that al-Qaida or other extremists wish to provoke mayhem or otherwise sabotage negotiations to form a stable go vernment after the March 7 parliamentary election that failed to produce a clear winner. "These attacks indicate a hopeless effort to mix cards and provoke sectarian dispute among people and turn Iraq again back to square one," said Dr. Hassan Kamil, a political analyst at Baghdad University. A secular bloc is currently holding talks with religious Shiite parties, a threatening prospect for insurgents whose stock-in-trade is rage, not peace. Such attacks might inflame sectarian tensions and make Shiite part ies less likely to join former prime minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite backed by Sunnis. Allawi's political coalition, Iraqiya, came out ahead in the vote, narrowly edging Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bloc by just two seats. Allawi raised the pros pect that terror attacks will only increase if the negotiations drag on for months to form a new government. "This is blamed on the power vacuum, of course," Allawi told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. "Terrorists and al -Qaida are on the go. ... I think their operations will increase in Iraq." Allawi said the government was failing to secure the capital ² a notion challenged by al-Maliki adviser Sadiq al-Rikabi, who suggested that Allawi was exploiting the attacks for political purposes. "It is true that terrorism and attacks are attributed to the political situation the country is experiencing, and we have faced terrorism before elections as well," al -Rikabi said. No matter who ends up in charge, the resurgent violence underscores that the next government will have a difficult time governing an unwieldy society of disparate tribes, ethnic groups and religious sects which Saddam Hussein ruled for decades by punishing or killing those who opposed him. Tuesday's attacks killed at least 50 peopl e and wounded 187, including women and children ² a toll the AP reached after talking with police and medical officials in different parts of the capital. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release information publicly.

The attackers detonated homemade bombs and, in one case, a car packed with explosives, according to Maj. Gen. Qassim al -Moussawi, an Iraqi military spokesman for Baghdad's operations command center. He said there were at least seven blasts. The U.S. military in Baghdad said there were eight. The first blasts targeted the Shula area of northwest Baghdad, striking a residential building and an intersection about a mile away. Minutes later, at 9:45 a.m., a bomb left in a plastic bag exploded at a restaurant on t he ground floor of an apartment building in the Allawi district downtown, near the Culture Ministry. Some two hours after that, a parked car bomb exploded in a market, killing six civilians. The bombings were the fourth set of attacks with multiple casualt ies across Iraq in five days. On Monday, a Shiite couple and four of their children were gunned down in their home outside Baghdad, while more than 40 were killed Sunday in triple suicide car bomb attacks near embassies in Baghdad. On Friday, gunmen went h ouse-to-house in a Sunni area south of Baghdad, killing 24 villagers execution -style. Associated Press Writers Lara Jakes, Hamid Ahmed, David Rising and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.

Outrage in Egypt after cleric speaks out on Sunni-Shiite strife
September 28, 2008 CAIRO (AFP) ² Egyptian writers have expressed outrage after a controversial cleric accused Iran of neo-colonialism by seeking to spread Shiism in Sunni Muslim states, sparking fears of sectarian strife. Speaking during the holy fa sting month of Ramadan, Sheikh Yusuf al -Qaradawi, who hosts a religious programme on the Qatar -based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, last week accused Iranians of having "imperial dreams" of taking over the Sunni world. In comments reported by the Egyptian independent daily Al-Masry al-Yom, Qaradawi said: "I don't accept that any Arab or foreign country attack Iran, but I don't accept that Iran attack any Arab country, especially seeing as some Iranians have imperial dreams, which is wrong and dangerous." "What is happening is organised, an invasion... It is not a religious invasion but a political one. Iran is trying to impose itself on those around it and we refuse to follow a new form of neo-colonialism, be it Iranian or any other," said Qaradawi, himself an Egyptian. His comments sparked outrage in some circles which consider Qaradawi's remarks dangerous, particularly as fears of sectarian conflict rose after the explosion of such violence in Iraq in 2006.

In some Gulf states, particularly those with Shiit e minorities such as Saudi Arabia, Iran's support for Shiites in Iraq is seen as reinforcing those fears. Moderate Islamic thinker Tareq al-Bishri slammed Qaradawi's comments, saying his attack against Shiism was inflammatory. "This fascism in the name of the Sunni majority against Shiites is the most dangerous thing for the Islamic nation because it pits Muslims against each other instead of against the invaders of their lands," Bishri wrote in the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Dustur on Saturday. Islamist columnist Fahmy Huweidi said Qaradawi's comments revealed two parallel trends in the Islamic world, "one that is busy defending the sect, the other busy defending the Islamic nation." He warned that further attacks on Shiism will "lead to splits in the ran ks and will only weaken all parties in the face of the current challenges which do not spare Sunni or Shiite." Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world's oldest Islamic seat of learning, acknowledges Shiism as a legitimate branch of Islam. In 1959, the then Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Mahmud Shaltut, issued a religious edict or fatwa recognising Shiism as "religiously correct." But the rise of Iraq's long -downtrodden Shiites and of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement alongside Iran's growing influence have left many Su nni Arab regimes feeling insecure. In Egypt, the press has increasingly reported on what it calls a covert Shiite invasion. "We won't allow the existence of a Shiite tide in Egyptian mosques," Minister of Waqf (religious endowments) Mahmud Hamdi Zaqzuq tol d Al-Masri al-Yom in July. Former Al-Azhar professor Adbel Moneim al-Berri said that Egyptian Shiite experts, including himself, have been asked to educate state security officers about "Shiite ideology and plans to break through the Sunni countries." "When I left Egypt 47 years ago, it had not a single Shiite and now there are many... who took them to Shiism? Egypt is the cradle of Sunnism and the country of Al Azhar," Qaradawi said. There are no reliable figures for Egypt's Shiite population. The US State Department's 2008 report on religious freedom says that Egyptian Shiites account for less than one percent of its 80 -million-strong population.


Muslim cleric calls for ban
Richard Kerbaj October 05, 2006
AUSTRALIA'S most senior Islamic cleric has called for a Muslim leader to be ostracised over comments about the prophet Mohammed that he likened to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.

Taj Din al-Hilali yesterday accused the chairman of John Howard's Islamic reference board, Ameer Ali, of selling out his religion to gain the support and financial backing of Muslim critics. Dr Ali said in The Australian yesterday that Mohammed had flaws, and criticised Muslims who blindly followed the faith and failed to question the veracity of the Koran.

Sheik Hilali, the head of Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's southwest, said Dr Ali's "defamatory" remarks were akin to those that in 1989 earned Rushdie a fa twa from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. While Sheik Hilali backed Dr Ali's call for a reinterpretation of the Koran to fit modern times, he condemned his "dangerous" and "ignorant" comments about the prophet. "We forbid such statements, from both Ameer Ali a nd anyone who has encouraged him to say what he said," Sheik Hilali said in an interview conducted in Arabic. "We refuse to have him stand with us at any religious ceremony from now on, unless he revokes what he said about the faith and the prophet." But the Howard Government yesterday strongly backed Dr Ali's comments, with Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration Andrew Robb saying Dr Ali should be congratulated. "I do think that Ameer Ali seems to be encouraging the teaching and the practice of Islam in an Australian context, and I think that's to be warmly applauded," Mr Robb said. "I think it's critical that Islam is presented to Australian Muslims in an Australian context." Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad said the Koran recorde d that Mohammed was "rebuked" on a few occasions by God. "(But) that different outlook is not to suggest that his human judgment was fallible," he said. "On the balance of human judgment, it was a perfect judgment in the circumstances, but God's judgment is greater, God's judgment always has more wisdom." Young Muslim leader Moustapha Kara -Ali attacked Dr Ali, accusing him of conduct akin to the Danish cartoons about the prophet and the comments last month from Pope Benedict XVI about Mohammed spreading th e faith by the sword. Mr Kara-Ali, who recently won a government grant to combat Islamic radicalisation, said Dr Ali's comments were at odds with those of Australian Muslims. "Prophethood is a station that is chosen for some men by God," he said. "And to put flaw in the character of the chosen man is to put flaw in the wisdom of the God who chose." He said the interpretation of the Koran was an ongoing scholarly project, but that didn't mean the text's veracity should be questioned. Asked if he agreed with Dr Ali that the Koran should be interpreted metaphorically not literally, Mr Kara-Ali said: "If that means we question the veracity then no, definitely not."

50 Killed at Religious Festival in Iraq
By STEPHEN FARRELL New York Times August 28, 2007 BAGHDAD, Aug. 28 ² A power struggle between rival Shiite groups erupted during a religious festival in Karbala today, as gunmen with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades fought street battles amid crowds of pilgrims, killing 50 people and wounding 200 , Iraqi officials said. Witnesses said members of the Mahdi Army, the militia of cleric Moktada al-Sadr, traded fire with security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki¶s government. Amid hours of fighting, several vehicles and a hotel for pilgrims were set ablaze, and terrified pilgrims who had been praying at two shrines were trapped inside as clashes erupted nearby. Witnesses said buses that had been used to bring pil grims to the city were bullet-shattered and bloodstained. The government forces in Karbala and other towns in southern Iraq are dominated by the religious party the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and its armed wing, the Badr organization. Many of Badr¶s fighters are veterans trained by Iran during two decades when they lived as exiles there under Saddam Hussein¶s regime. Tensions between the Mahdi Army and the Badr group have been simmering for months. Both are vying for control of the overwhelmingly Shiite regions of central and southern Iraq. This political and military rivalry is also fueled by compet ing loyalties to two of the most prominent Shiite religious families in Iraq: the Hakims and the Sadrs. Mr. Sadr¶s credentials as a religious leader are boosted enormously by the prestige of his late father and cousin, both revered Shiite leaders who were assassinated by Mr. Hussein. The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council was founded by Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, a well-known politician and cleric who was himself assassinated in 2003 and whose father was mentor to the founder of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Two provincial governors belonging to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi C ouncil were assassinated in southern Iraq this month, although the Sadrists deny involvement. The showdown will prove embarrassing for Prime Minister Maliki if his security forces are unable to control the Mahdi Army and restore order in a holy city that l ies in his own Shiite heartland. Security forces imposed an indefinite curfew on Karbala by nightfall, fearing that the Sadr-Badr tensions could escalate as both sides vied for control of the streets. The

violence appeared to spread to other cities, altho ugh attacks on mosques and offices linked to the Badr group were on a much smaller scale. In Baghdad, the police said five people were killed and 20 were wounded in clashes between militiamen in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City. Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman in Baghdad, told Iraqi state television that reinforcements were being rushed to Karbala from Baghdad and surrounding provinces. The American military did not intervene directly in the fighting, a spokeswoman said, tho ugh it sent jets to fly over Karbala as a ³show of force´ at the request of the Iraqi authorities. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims had descended on Karbala in recent days to celebrate the birth of Mohammad al -Mahdi, the 9th-century saint and the last of 12 imams revered by Shiites. As pilgrims gathered in a plaza between the city¶s twin golden-domed shrines, witnesses said Mahdi Army fighters took up positions around the shrines and traded fire with the police. Pilgrims fled in panic but were unabl e to get transportation out of the area as the police set up roadblocks to prevent Mahdi Army fighters from entering. A policeman speaking from his position in the plaza between the city¶s two shrines said: ³Hundreds of Mahdi Army have occupied several ho tels near the two shrines. The battle is fierce and we are defending our posts here.´ Amid the narrow, medieval alleyways of Karbala confusion reigned, with an unconfirmed report that the Mahdi Army had taken control of the shrines, while the security forces remained in control of their checkpoints in the center of the city. One pilgrim reached by telephone at the height of the fighting said: ³I am inside the shrine of Imam Hussein. The shooting is so heavy outside, and I can¶t leave the shrine. I don¶t know exactly what is going on outside, but the clashes seem close to the shrine.´ The voices of women shouting in panic were audible in the background. The tensions in Karbala began Monday, with confrontations between Sadr supporters and the Badr-dominated security forces around the shrines. Those forces are on a constant state of high alert after suicide bombings by Sunni insurgents at Shiite religious festivals in previous years. Sadrists said the police who carried out body searches and magnetic scans at checkpoints provoked their followers by beating pilgrims who chanted pro -Sadr slogans. Other reports said that Mahdi Army followers accompanying pilgrims and claiming to be protecting them were prohibited from taking their weapons into the shrines. Iraqi officials said those initial clashes escalated on Monday night when police attacked the al-Mukhayam mosque, a Mahdi Army stronghold in Karbala, and arrested around 20 fighters. The Mahdi Army retaliated this morning, the police said, by attacking security force positions. Gunmen also attacked Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council offices and mosques in Sadr City, Shuala, Jadriya, Husseiniya, Khadimiya, and Diwaniya.

Haydar Abbas, a lecturer in law at the University of Babil in central Iraq, believed it was significant that the confrontation took place at a time when the Sadrists appeared to feel increasingly marginalized. Mr. Sadr¶s followers left the government earlier this year over a disagreement with Prime Minister Maliki about the continued American troop presence in Iraq. In recent days, after widespread criticism, Mr. Maliki¶s government announced measures, however limited, to initiate reconciliation with the c ountry¶s disaffected Sunni minority. Mr. Abbas noted that the Supreme Islamic Iraq Council¶s influence is growing, especially after that agreement. ³They have a lot of power over Maliki,´ he said. ³What is going on is a message from the Sadrists that we a re here and we will not withdraw easily.´ ³If we read the history of the two movements, the Badrists and the Mahdi Army, we see that both were military factions turned into political powers. This means that they might revert at any time to their military n ature,´ Mr. Abbas said. Both sides last night sought to blame each other for the fighting. The Sadr office in Najaf issued a statement from Mr. Sadr appealing for calm. ³We want to clear up the misunderstanding that happened in Karbala. This crisis is not connected with the Mahdi Army or Sadr movement. The incidents that happened were between the pilgrims and the government forces.´ Prime Minister Maliki¶s office issued a statement calling its opponents ³armed criminals and followers of the old regime´ and saying that order had been restored to the streets. Separately, Abdul Jabar Al -Waga, the deputy oil minister, was released in Bag hdad today after being kidnapped with four other ministry employees on Aug. 14. The government insisted that no ransom had been paid.


Dozens Dead After Suicide Bomb Rips Moscow Airport

Voice of America 24 January 2011 An explosion ripped through the international section of Moscow's busiest airport, killing 35 people and wounding 168, officials said. The massive blast, with an explosive force of seven kilograms of TNT, was caused by a suicide bomber, Russian officials sa id. Sergei Lavochkin, was waiting in the arrivals hall for a friend to arrive from Cuba, when he heard the explosion. He said he heard a massive bang, saw panels fall from the ceiling, then heard people screaming, and saw people running away. British Airways passenger Mark Green had just arrived at the airport. He told BBC television that after the explosion he saw people streaming out of the terminal, some

covered in blood. A British citizen and several other foreigners were among the dead, Russian news agencies reported The website said many victims had metal fragments embedded in their bodies and that the explosive device was packed with bolts, nuts, nails and ball bearings. The bomb appeared to have exploded in an area where people gather to meet travelers emerging from customs. The airport Domodedovo handles almost half the air traffic for Moscow. Served by 48 foreign airlines, it has flights to 243 cities around the world. President Dmitry Medvedev, looking somber and downcast, to ld officials in a nationally televised briefing that it was a terrorist attack. He ordered authorities to immediately tighten security at Moscow's two other commercial airports and other key transport facilities, including the subway system. During the past 14 months, terrorists have targeted Moscow's transportation system with three bombings that have killed more than 100 people. In November 2009, a bomb derailed a high -speed, luxury train to St. Petersburg, killing 28. Last March, two suicide bombers from Dagestan set off bombs in two Moscow subway trains, killing 40. In both these attacks, Islamic radicals took responsibility. In today¶s airport attack, Russian news wires report police are searching for three suspects from the North Caucasus. Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin says experts are trying to identify the suspected bomber. Interfax reported police found the head of an Arab -looking man, aged between 30 to 35. Leaders of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus have vowed to bring the violence to the nation¶s capital. In Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia, there are almost daily, armed attacks on government and police officials. Domodedovo is generally regarded as Moscow's most modern airport, but its security procedures have failed in the past. In 2004, two suicide bombers were able to board planes at Domodedovo by buying tickets illegally from airport personnel. The bombers blew themselves up in mid -air, killing 90 people aboard the two flights. The blast represents a big setback for confidence in Russia¶s security as it gears up for two major international sporting events, the Winter Olympics in 2014 and the 2018 World Cup. As President Medvedev postponed his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, international sympathy poured into Moscow. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said U.S. President Barack Obama called

the bombing "an outrageous act of terrorism against the Russian people," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Twitter he was "deeply disturbed" by the bombing and that "NATO and Russia stand together in the fight against terrorism." German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed the attack as"cowardly"

Militants hit Russia power plant, killing two guards

21 July 2010 Last updated BBC News Emergency workers inside the power station assess the damage Armed militants have stormed a hydroelectric power station in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, killing two guards and detonating four bombs. TV footage showed fires raging at the plant, i n the mainly Muslim republic of Kabardino-Balkaria republic. Officials said the fires were now under control, and that electricity supplies had not been affected. Analysts say it appears to be an escalation of Islamist insurgent attacks on Russian economic targets. "This shows the scourge of terrorism is not only not subsiding, but expanding geographically," said Gennady Gudkov, deputy head of the security committee of Russia's parliament, according to the Reuters news agency. President Dmitry Medvedev said that security had been stepped up. "Spoke to head of FSB [security service] and president of Kabardino -Balkaria. Security at strategic sites tightened after today's explosions," he said in a message on the social-networking website Twitter, which limits messages to 140 characters. Kabardino-Balkaria has seen less militant violence than the other semi -autonomous republics in the region: Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. The most serious attack in Kabardino -Balkaria came in October 2005 when dozens of men stormed the regional capital Nalchik. The Russian government said 136 people were killed, including 91 militants.

'No disaster threat'

State-owned firm RusHydro, which runs the power station, said in a statement on its website that explosions had hit the plant at 0525 local time (0125 GMT) on Wednesday. The attackers detonated four explosive devices in the 25 -megawatt plant on the Baksan river, but a fifth failed to go off. Investigators said two explosions shook the plant's turbine room and another tw o hit the transformer vault. According to police spokesman Adlan Kakakuyev, two cars carrying half a dozen assailants had attacked the plant, shooting two guards and wounding three other people. The attackers reportedly seized two Kalashnikov assault rifle s from the dead guards. The same group are believed to have earlier opened fire on a police station in the town of Baksan. Officials said the flow of water from the dam, on the Baksan river, had been stopped to prevent any flooding downriver. Electricity supplies had not been disrupted because power had been rerouted from elsewhere, the authorities said. Regional officials said there was no further danger of a "technical accident or disaster" at the plant, which was built in the 1930s. According to Russia's Ria-Novosti news agency, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has put Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin in charge of repairing the damaged power station.

Moscow subway attacks fuel fears of widening Muslim insurgency

March 30, 2010 MOSCOW (AP) Brazen suicide bombings in Moscow on Monday confronted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with a grave challenge to his record of curbing terrorism, and raised the possibility that he will respond as he has in the past by significantly tightening control over the government. The explosions, set off by women in two landmark subway stations, killed at least 38 people and wounded scores of others. Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the bombings sparked fears that the Muslim insurgency in southern Russia, including Chechnya, was once again being brought to the country's heart.

They also revived a peculiar fear in the Russian capital, one that goes beyond the usual terrorism worries of a metropolis: the specter of female bombers, the Black Widows. Investigators say the remains of the two bombers pointed to a Caucasus connection. They added that they are looking for two women seen on surveillance camera footage accompanying the attackers to the doors of a Metro station in southwest Moscow. Earlier this decade, Moscow's fear of such attackers was so strong it became a lurid obsession. Women, sometimes casually clad in jeans and blending in to the swirl of the city, committed at least 16 bombings, includin g two on planes. Such suicide bombings were associated with women from Chechnya, and the attackers came to be called the Black Widows. World leaders, including President Barack Obama, condemned Monday's attacks. Obama telephoned Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to convey condolences from the U.S. The attacks during the morning rush hour seemed all but designed to taunt Russia's security services, which have been championed by Putin in the decade since he took power. The first one occurred at the Lubyanka Station, next to the headquarters of the FSB, the successor agency to the Soviet -era KGB that Putin led in the late 1990s. Putin, the former president and current prime minister, has built his reputation in part on his success in bottling up the Muslim insurgency in southern Russia and preventing major terrorist attacks in the country's population centers in recent years. The attacks could throw into doubt the policies of Putin's protege, Medvedev, who has spoken in favor of liberalizing the government, increasing political pluralism and dealing with terrorism by addressing the root causes of the insurgency. While Medvedev has not yet made major changes, Putin has generally allowed him to pursue his course. More terrorism, though, could cause Putin to shove Medvedev aside and move the security-oriented circle of advisers around Putin to the forefront. "Putin said, 'One thing that I definitely accomplished was this,' and he didn't," said Pavel K. Baev, a Russian who is a professor at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo. "My feeling is this is not an isolated atta ck, that we will see more," Baev said. "If we are facing a situation where there is a chain of attacks, that would undercut every attempt to soften, liberalize, open up, and increase the demand for tougher measures." Putin on Monday limited his comments largely to vows to destroy the terrorists who organized the attacks.

But when he last faced a spate of such violence in 2004, he reacted with a sweeping reorganization of the government that he said would unite the country against terrorism but also concentrated power in the Kremlin. The subway system in Moscow is one of the world's most extensive and well managed, and the bombings Monday spread anxiety that is unlikely to dissipate for some time. For many people here, the day's events recalled the tense t imes in the early part of the last decade when the city, including the subway, was hit with several terrorist attacks. It was during that period when the Black Widows made their reputation. Suicide bombing was a tactic that came late to Chechnya and was nearly unknown during the first war from 1994 to 1996. But once it arrived, in 2000, in an attack that killed 27 Russian special forces soldiers, it quickly became associated with women. Women adorned in billowy black robes and strapped with explosives ma de up 19 of the 41 captors in the October 2002 hostage -taking in the Moscow theater, which left 130 people dead in the city's deadliest terrorist incident. It ended when Russian special services released a sleep -inducing gas into the building. When soldie rs entered the auditorium they reportedly, as a first precaution, shot dead the Black Widows where they lay, lest they wake up and explode. Alexander Ignatenko, head of the independent Moscow -based Institute for Religion and Politics, said Islamic militan ts in the Caucasus often recruit women whose relatives were killed by Russian security services. "They tell them that if they become martyrs, they will join their husbands, brothers and fathers," he said. "And they also persuade them that the Russians as a nation share a collective guilt." While the Muslim insurgency has not subsided in recent years, major attacks outside the Caucasus region had been unusual, and in April 2009, the Kremlin even announced what it described as the end of special counterterr orism operations in Chechnya. But in November, terrorists bombed a luxury passenger train that was traveling in a rural area from Moscow to St. Petersburg, killing 26 people. Last month, a Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov, threatened in an interview on a Web site to organize terror acts in Russian population centers. "If Russians think that the war is happening only on television, somewhere far off in the Caucasus, and it will not touch them, then we are going to show them that this war will return to their homes," he said. Umarov has relied on al-Qaeda's financial support and has several al-Qaeda emissaries in his entourage, Ignatenko said.

"Al-Qaeda has established a presence in the North Caucasus, like they did in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia and Europe," Ignatenko told The Associated Press.

Russia's Caucasus: Two decades of horror

Published: 5/26/2006 PARIS - A timeline of the conflict in Chechnya and inter -linked violence: 1994: Russia sends troops into the predominantly Muslim republic, where the local leadership has declared independence. 1996: After fighting which kills an estimated 50,000 people and leaves Chechnya's cities in ruins, Russia reaches an agreement with the rebels and pulls its troops out, leaving the province with de facto independence. 1999: Chechen separatists launch a se ries of bloody attacks in the neighbouring province of Dagestan. Some 300 people die in bombings in Moscow and other cities that the authorities blame on Chechen separatists. Independent analysts suspect that security forces may have had a hand in at least some of the bombings. The government of Vladimir Putin -- prime minister at the time -- launches an assault on Chechnya by air and land forces. The most intense fighting ends in March 2000. 2001: Human Rights Watch estimates the number of displaced pers ons in Chechnya and neighbouring Ingushetia to be 430,000. 2002: Amid continuing violence in the republic, rebels take hundreds of people hostage in a Moscow theatre. When security forces use gas to storm the building, 130 civilians and 41 Chechen guerril las are killed. 2003-4: The violence brings an increasing number of suicide bombings, both inside Chechnya and in other parts of Russia. In September 2004, armed Chechen separatists take some 1,200 children, teachers and parents hostage at a school in Be slan, in the Caucasian republic of North Ossetia. When security forces storm the building two days later 331 civilians and 31 rebels are killed. More than half the dead are children. Russian forces in Chechnya continue to come under almost daily attack to the present time. There are no reliable figures for the numbers killed in the fighting. According to official figures, Russia has lost some 10,000 troops in all. Human rights experts estimate the number of civilians killed to be as high as 100,000. Sever al thousand people have disappeared without trace.

Muslim Hate for Sweden
200 violence-prone Islamic extremists in Sweden

December 16, 2010 Some 200 possibly violent Islamic extremists live in Sweden, according to an intelligence report released Wednesday after the country's first -ever suicide bombing narrowly missed Christmas shoppers. "The group of active members ... consists of just under 200 individuals," the Säpo intelligence agency said in its 126 -page report, based on data from 2009 and scheduled to be published before the weekend's attack in central Stockholm. Saturday's bomber, named as Taymour Abdelwahab , a Swedish national who became an outspoken supporter of violent jihad while living in Britain, did not figure among the 200 people on Säpo's radar, and it remained unclear if any possible accomplices were on the list. "We are currently putting enormous r esources into assessing his contacts, his whereabouts, his profile, and to see how his radicalisation process began and how it developed," Malena Rembe, the chief analyst at Säpo's counter -terrorism unit, told AFP. "I can say we are studying very, very carefully to ... be able to assess the risk or the threat," she said, adding it still remained to be seen if the bomber had helpers. The report showed that the number of violence -promoting Islamists in Sweden has remained stable in recent years. While the so-called radicalisation process generally happens among men aged 15 to 30, the average age in the group is 36, the report showed. Rembe explained that while members of other violent, radical groups, like rightwing extremists, tended to drop out when they sta rted families, the radical Islamists "don't leave when they get older," making prevention work at an early age vital. The report showed "most of them were born or grew up in Sweden, and it is here that they come into contact with violence -promoting ideologies and groups."

Some "80 percent of the 200 can be linked to each other," Rembe told a press conference, adding however that the connection tended to be loose, through friendship and acquaintances, and not as part of one big network. Around 30 out of the 200 have in recent years traveled abroad to take part in violent combat or terrorist training camps, she said. "Most of these networks focus on action and propaganda against foreign troops in Muslim countries and against governments they see as corrupt and not representing what networks consider to be the only true interpretation of Islam," Saepo said. It explained in the report that the extremists focus on areas such as Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But while most of Sweden's radical Islamists d id not yet consider the Scandinavian country a legitimate target, Rembe pointed out that a recent rise of the far -right and increased anti-Muslim rhetoric could alter that. "What we've seen in other countries where you have a more polarised debate, where you have more open xenophobia or Islamophobia, is that it tends to push people into movements because they feel isolated in their own society and they feel included in these extremist environments ... "So it is a potential negative outcome," she told AFP. She added however that Sweden today has "a fairly open dialogue and communication ... It is extremely important to ensure a nuanced discussion." Abdelwahab, known for his outspoken views in favour of violent jihad, blew himself up on Saturday evening minute s after his car exploded, injuring two people, near a crowded pedestrian street in Stockholm. He killed himself before he could carry out what, according to the lead prosecutor on the case, appeared to have been a mission to murder "as many people as possi ble."

Jews reluctantly abandon Swedish city amid growing anti -Semitism The Muslim population in Malmo lives in segregated conditions that seem to breed alienation and anger directed at Israeli policies. By Donald Snyder, The Forward July 11, 2010 MALMO, SWEDEN ² At some point, the shouts of ³Heil Hitler´ that often greeted Marcus Eilenberg as he walked to the 107 -year-old Moorish-style synagogue in this port city forced the 32-year-old attorney to make a difficult, life -changing decision: Fearing for his family¶s safety after repeated anti-Semitic incidents, Eilenberg reluctantly uprooted himself and his wife and two children, and moved to Israel in May. Sweden, a country long regarded as a model of tolerance, has, ironically, been a refuge for Eilenberg¶s family. His paternal grandparents found a home in Malmo in 1945 after surviving the Holocaust. His wife¶s parents came to Malmo from Poland in 1968 after the communist government there launched an anti -Semitic purge. But as in many other cities across Europe, a rapidly growing Muslim population living in segregated conditions that seem to breed alienation has mixed toxically with the anger directed at Israeli policies and actions by those Muslims ² and by many nonMuslims ² to all but transform the lives of local Jews. Like many of their counterparts in other European cities, the Jews of Malmo report being subjected increasingly to threats, intimidation and actual violence as stand -ins for Israel. ³I didn¶t want my small children to grow up in this environment,´ Eilenberg said in a phone interview just before leaving Malmo. ³It wouldn¶t be fair to them to stay in Malmo.´ Malmo, Sweden¶s third-largest city, with a population of roughly 293,900 but only 760 Jews, reached a turning point of sorts in January 2009, during Israel¶s military campaign in Gaza. A small, mostly Jewish group held a demonstration that was billed as a peace rally but seen as a sign of support for Israel. This peaceful demonstration was cut short when the demonstrators were attacked by a much larger screaming mob of Muslims and Swedish leftists who threw bottles and firecrackers at them as police seemed unable to stop the mounting mayhem. ³I was very scared and upset at the same time,´ recalled Jehoshua Kaufman, a Jewish community leader. ³Scared because there were a lot of angry people facing us, shouting insults and throwing bottles and firecrackers at the same time. The sound was very loud. And I was angry because we really wanted to go through with this demonstration, and we weren¶t allowed to finish it.´ Alan Widman, who is a strapping 6 -foot-tall member of parliament and a non -Jewish member of the Liberal Party who represents Malmo, said simply, ³I have never been so afraid in my life.´ The demonstrators were eventually evacuated by the police, who were not present in sufficient numbers to protect their rally. But some participants complained that the police¶s crowd-control dogs remained muzzled. The Eilenbergs are not particularly religious, but they have a strong Jewish identity and felt unable to live in Malmo as Jews after this episode. Eilenberg said he knows at least 15 other Jewish families that are thinking about moving away. Anti-Semitism in Europe has historically been associated with the far right, but the Jews interviewed for this article say that the threat in Sweden now comes from Muslims and from changing attitudes about Jews in the wider society. Saeed Azams, Malmo¶s chief imam, who represents most of the city¶s Muslims, is quick to disavow and condemn violence against Malmo¶s Jews. Recently, he, along

with Jewish leaders, have been participating in a dialogue group organized by cit y officials that seeks to address the issue. But Azams also downplayed the seriousness of the problem, saying there were ³not more than 100 people, most under 18 years old,´ who engage in violence and belong to street gangs.³There are some things I can¶t control,´ he said. There are an estimated 45,000 Muslims in Malmo, or 15% of the city¶s population. Many of them are Palestinians, Iraqis and Somalis, or come from the former Yugoslavia. But the problem is not just Muslims, and not just Malmo¶s.
A European Problem

A continentwide study, conducted by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, released in December 2009, found that that 45.7% of the Europeans surveyed agree somewhat or strongly with the following statement: ³Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.´ And 37.4% agreed with this statement: ³Considering Israel¶s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews.´ ³[There is] quite a high level o f anti-Semitism that is hidden beneath critics of Israel¶s policies,´ said Beate Kupper, one of the study¶s principal researchers, in a telephone interview with the Forward, citing this data and a tendency to ³blame Jews in general for Israel¶s policies.´ Kupper said that in places where there is a strong taboo against expressions of anti Semitism, such as Germany, ³Criticism of Israel is a great way to express your anti Semitism in an indirect way.´ According to Bassam Tibi, professor emeritus of interna tional relations at the University of Goettingen in Germany, and author of several books on the growth of Islam in Europe, Muslims form a significant subset of this problem. ³The growth of the Muslim diaspora in Europe is affecting the Jews,´ Tibi said. Am ong some Muslim populations in Europe ² though not all ² ³every Jew is seen as responsible for what Israel is doing and can be a target.´ In Malmo, this population¶s role in the problem is seen as significant. Most of Malmo¶s Muslims live in Rosengard, the eastern part of this de facto segregated city, where the jobless rate is 80%. Satellite dishes dot the high -rise apartments to receive programming from Al-Jazeera and other Arabic-language cable networks that keep Malmo¶s Muslims in constant touch with t he latest Arab-Israeli developments. Sylvia Morfradakis, a European Union official who works with the chronically unemployed, those who have been without work for 10 to 15 years, said that the main reason that 80% to 90% of Muslims between the ages of 18 and 34 can¶t find jobs is that they can¶t speak Swedish. ³Swedish employers insist workers know Swedish well, even for the most menial jobs,´ Morfradakis said. She added, ³The social welfare concept for helping without end does not give people the incenti ve to do something to make life better.´

But Per Gudmundson, chief editorial writer for Svenska Dagbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, is critical of politicians who blame anti -Semitic actions on Muslim living conditions. He said that these politicians o ffer ³weak excuses´ for Muslim teenagers accused of anti -Semitic crimes. ³Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we have made them hate. They are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault,´ he said. According to Gudmundson, some immigrants from Muslim countries come to Sweden as hardened anti-Semites. The plight of the Jews worries Annelie Enochson, a Christian Democrat member of the Swedish Parliament. ³If the Jews feel threatened in Sweden, then I am very frightened about the future of my country,´ she said in an interview with the Forward.
A Chabad rabbi¶s experience

Because he is the most visible Jew in Malmo, with his black fedora, tzitzit and long beard, Malmo¶s only rabbi, Shneur Kesselman, 31, is a prime target for Muslim anti Jewish sentiment. The Orthodox Chabad rabbi said that during his six years in the city, he has been the victim of more than 50 anti -Semitic incidents. An American, Kesselman is a soft spoken man with a steely determination to stay in Malmo despite the danger. Two members of the American Embassy in Stockholm visited him in April to discuss his safety. From Keselman¶s account, they had good reason to worry. The rabbi recalled the day he was crossing a street near his house with his wife when a car suddenly went into reverse and sped backward toward them. They dodged the vehicle and barely made it to the other side of the street. ³My wife was screaming,´ the rabbi said. ³It was a traumatic event.´ Local newspapers report that the number of anti -Semitic incidents in Malmo doubled in 2009 from 2008, though police could not confirm this. Meanwhile , Fredrik Sieradzki, spokesman for the Malmo Jewish community, estimates that the already small Jewish population is shrinking by 5% a year. ³Malmo is a place to move away from,´ he said, citing anti-Semitism as the primary reason. ³The community was twice as large two decades ago.´ The synagogue on Foreningsgatan, a fashionable street, has elaborate security. Reflecting the level of fear, the building¶s glass is not just bullet-proof, Jewish communal officials say; it¶s rocket -proof. Guards check strangers seeking to enter the synagogue. Some Jewish parents try to protect their children by moving to neighborhoods where there are fewer Muslims in the schools so that confrontations will be minimized. Six Jewish teenagers interviewed recounted anti -Semitic abuse from Muslim classmates. According to their families, though the incidents were reported to the authorities, none of the perpetrators was arrested, much less punished. One victim was Jonathan Tsubarah, 19, the son of an Israeli Jew who settled in Sweden. As he strolled through the city¶s cobble -stoned Gustav Adolph Square on

August 21, 2009, three young men ² a Palestinian and two Somalis ² stopped him and asked where he was from, he recalled. ³I¶m from Israel,´ Tsubarah responded. ³I¶m from Palestine,´ one assailant retorted, ³and I will kill you.´ The three beat him to the ground and kicked him in the back, Tsubarah said. ³Kill the Jew,´ they shouted. ³Now are you proud to be a Jew?´ ³No I am not,´ the slightly built teenager replied. He said he di d this just to get them to stop kicking him. Tsubarah plans to go to Israel and join the army.
Weak government response

Many Jews fault Swedish police for not cracking down on anti -Semitism. Most hate crimes in Malmo are acts of vandalism, said Susanne G osenius, head of the newly created hate crime unit of the Malmo Police Department These include painted swastikas on buildings. According to Gosenius, police do not give priority to this type of crime. ³It¶s very rare that police find the perpetrators,´ sh e said. ³Swedes don¶t understand why swastikas are bad and how they offend Jews.´ According to Gosenius, 30% of the hate crimes in the Malmo region are anti -Semitic. Members of Parliament have attended anti -Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved, and the rhetoric was often anti-Semitic²not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric is not branded hateful and denounced, said Henrik Bachner, a writer and professor of history at the University of Lund, near Malmo. ³Sweden is a microcosm of contemporary anti-Semitism,´ said Charles Small, director of the Yale University Initiative for the Study of Anti -Semitism. ³It¶s a form of acquiescence to radical Islam, which is diametrically opposed to everythin g Sweden stands for.´
A dialogue initiative

The situation has generated some points of potential light. Recently, Ilmar Reepalu, the mayor of Malmo, convened a ³dialogue forum´ that includes leaders of the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as city officials, to improve social relations in the city and the city government¶s response to conflicts. During an interview in his office, Imam Saeed Azams said it was wrong to blame Swedish Jews for Israel¶s actions. The wheelchair -bound Azams stressed the importance of teaching young Muslims to stop equ ating the Jews of Malmo with Israel. But this seemed to include an assumption that Jews, in turn, should not permit themselves to be seen as pro-Israel. ³Because Jewish society in Sweden does not condemn the clearly illegal actions of Israel,´ he said, ³then ordinary people think the Jews here are allied to Israel, but this is not true.´

The imam is an advocate of dialogue with Jewish leaders, and welcomed the creation of the dialogue forum. Reepalu, Malmo¶s mayor, has appointed Bjorn Lagerback, a psychologist, to take charge of the newly formed forum. And Sieradzki, the Jewish community leader, was optimistic about its prospects to eventually improve relations. Reepalu created the forum in the wake of last year¶s violence against the Jewish demonstrators and his own controversial remarks that angered Jews. Saying that he condemned both Zionism and anti -Semitism, Reepalu criticized Malmo Jews for not taking a stand against Israel¶s invasion of Gaza. ³Instead,´ he said, ³they chose to arrange a demonstratio n in the center of Malmo, a demonstration that people could misinterpret.´ Interviewed at Malmo¶s city hall, Lagerback acknowledged an ³awful situation´ in Rosengard, where fire trucks and ambulances are often stoned by angry Muslim youth when the emergency vehicles go there. But like the imam, he hastened to add that those engaging in violence were a small number of young people. He attributed such behavior to living conditions of poverty, overcrowding and unemployment, as well as to cultural differences. Swedish experts agree that integration of Muslims into Swedish society has failed, and this undermines the development of a more diverse society. Many pupils in heavily Muslim schools reject the authority of female teachers. ³We are Swedish but second- or third-class citizens,´ said Mohammed Abnalheja, vice president of the Palestinian Home Association in Malmo. The organization teaches children of Palestinian descent about their bond to a Palestinian homeland. ³We have a right to our country, Palestine, ´ he said. ³Palestine is now occupied by Zionists.´ Abnalheja was born to Palestinian parents in Baghdad and came to Malmo with his parents in 1996. He has never been to the place he calls Palestine. Meanwhile, 86-year-old Judith Popinski says she is no longer invited to schools that have a large Muslim presence to tell her story of surviving the Holocaust. Popinski found refuge in Malmo in 1945. Until recently, she told her story in Malmo schools as part of their Holocaust studies program. Now, some sch ools no longer ask Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, because Muslim students treat them with such disrespect, either ignoring the speakers or walking out of the class. ³Malmo reminds me of the anti-Semitism I felt as a child in Poland before the war,´ she told the Forward while sitting in her living room, which is adorned with Persian rugs and many paintings. ³I am not safe as a Jew in Sweden anymore,´ a trembling Popinski said in a frail voice. But unlike others, she intends to stay in Sweden. ³I will not be a victim again,´ she said.

Sweden threatened with jihad
Videos show men training with explosives, Swed en threatened with 'suffering in the name of Allah'; former ambassador to Sweden says potential for terror infrastucture exists Yaakov Lappin

A group using the name of Iraqi jihad group Ansar al -Sunnah has released videos showing what it claims are membe rs training for terror attacks in the Swedish countryside. In one video, dated August 8 2005, the group says that viewers are about to see a ³demonstration of the high explosives device, that we will use in the name of Allah.´ ³This was recorded somewhere in Sweden,´ says a message on the video in yellow letters against military camouflage colors. A large explosion is then seen in a heavily wooded area. While it is not possible to verify the location of the explosion, the scenery does appear to be northe rn European. A second video by the group, which is dated August 29, contains images of men with blurred out faces setting off mock suicide explosives and roadside car bomb attacks. The video begins with a message which reads: ³Demonstration of real high explosives device, that is filled with gas instead of ammoniate nitrate.´ It goes on to show men standing in a clearing in a forest. They are seen pulling chords attached to devices, and setting off explosions of white smoke around themselves. In the same video, a red vehicle is seen driving along a forest path, before suddenly being engulfed in an explosion of white smoke. The videos are available for download on , which frequently posts videos of jihad shooting and bomb attacks from around the world, along with documents containing bomb making manuals. 'Suffer in the name of Allah' One user on the site, who identified himself as 'Dehex,' warned that ³Sweden will suffer in the name of Allah.´ Referring to a well known Swedish reverend, Runar Soogard, who is reported to be under police protection after offending Muslims with a speech about Islam¶s prophet, Muhammad, Dehex wrote: ³Runar Soogard had a very bad and n asty speech about our greatest prophet Mohamed.´ ³It's because he doesn't wan't to apologyze to the Ummah Nation on at least television. Thats why they are giving out this videos as a warning! There will be one more warning, if he dosen't apologize on tel evision«´ wrote the user, in an ominous warning.

'Sweden has a problem' Speaking to Ynetnews, Israel¶s former ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, said he was not surprised by the presence of jihad movements in the Scandinavian country. ³Sweden is scene to violent demonstrations by radical Muslims, who are often joined by the far left,´ said Mazel. ³In the middle of a talk I was giving in Stockholm, we were suddenly told by security personnel that there was an Islamist anti -Israel demonstration, in which members of the crowd were smashing windows with iron bars.´ ³The Swedish press says that Sweden has immunity from terror due to its anti -Israel stance,´ added Mazel. The former ambassador also painted a grim picture of the situation for Sweden¶s Jewish community. ³There are harassments and physical attacks against Jews in Sweden,´ he said. ³There are many complaints about anti -Semitism among the Jewish community there.´ ³There is a big problem in Sweden. Jihadist organizations certainly have a potential infrastructure there,´ he added.

Sweden struggles to integrate Muslim immigrants Jul 16, 2007

Sweden has welcomed immigrants with open arms for decades but now it is grappling with how to integrate them into society, especially in the southern town of Malmoe amid a massive influx of refugees. Once a thriving industrial town with full employment, Malmoe has seen many of its plants shut down since the 1990s. That, combined with a never -ending stream of foreigners arriving, has led to rising juvenile delinquency and rampant unemployment. Of the town's 280,000 inhabitants, a third are foreigners and 60,000 are Muslims. "We are an open city. We see these immigrants as a resource for our society," Malmoe's Social Democratic mayor Ilmar Reepalu told AFP. "The problem is that we have welcomed too many immigrants at the same time," he said, pointing out that last year Malmoe took in more Iraqi asylum -seekers than Germany, Spain, France and Italy combined. Reepalu said 5,000 refugees a year seek asylum in Malmoe, Sweden's third largest city behind Stockholm and Gothenburg, though it is really only able to take in 1,500.

The result is many overcrowded apartments as refugees flock to immigrant -heavy areas and an employment rate that has dropped to around 50 percent. Swedish Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni -- a Muslim who came to Sweden when she was 12 and the first African to become a member of government in the country -- insists that the only way for immigrants to integrate into society is to learn the language and get a job. "It is crucial that immigrants get in contact with the labour market as soon as possible after receiving their residence permit. This has to be combined with language courses," she told AFP. While immigrants to Sweden in the late 1950s and 1960s came as much -needed labourers, the trend has in recent decades shifted toward political refugees, according to Yves Zenou, an economics professor at Stockholm University specialised in integration problems. "Immigrants to Sweden have become political refugees. First there were people from South America, then Iran, Afghanistan and now Iraq," he said. "They come seeking asylum and not work," he said. He recalled the Scandinavian country's generous humanitarian policies which provide immigrants with everything they need once they arrive. "The famous welfare state takes care of everything on a social level. But that's the limitation of the system -- the country cannot provide any solution when it comes to jobs, which is the key to integration," he said. And the situation risks getting worse. New arrivals tend to settle where they already have friends and family members, leading Swedes to desert some areas, such as Malmoe's southeastern neighbourhood of Rosengaard. "When a lot of people from one ethnic group co ncentrate together, you always see the same phenomenon everywhere: they become marginalised, with high unemployment and crime rates," Zenou said. "That's the case in the United States, France and Britain and now in Sweden, although at different levels," h e stressed. If nothing is done, he said, the situation in Sweden could explode within 10 or 20 years, as it already has in other parts of Europe. Immigrants in Sweden follow a well -established pattern, he explained. Children grow up seeing their parents unemployed and socially excluded and inherit their frustration.

Compared to slums and projects in France or the US, Rosengaard looks like a nice community. But it stands out in a Swedish context. On a recent visit, veiled women walk behind the men, casti ng quick glances at their husbands before refusing to speak to AFP's reporter. At the local mall, more Arabic is heard than Swedish and 28 of the 30 shopkeepers are immigrants. The neighbourhood is clean, with plenty of greenery providing a nice backdrop for the modern brick buildings. But sprouting from every balcony or rooftop is a satellite dish, broadcasting programs for faraway countries. For the time being, crime levels in Rosengaard are manageable, Malmoe police spokesman Lars Foerstell said. "We do have a problem with youth criminality, with young people who commit different kinds of crimes," citing minor robberies, assaults, gang fights or rocks thrown at police cars. "But it doesn't happen everyday." However, the neighbourhood is stigmatized and even the slightest of incidents is reported in the press. "The media often make it sound very much worse than it is," he said. Meanwhile, Bejzat Becirov, the head of Malmoe's Islamic Centre and mosque, Scandinavia's first when it opened in 1984, continues to spread his message of tolerance and integration, as he has for 45 years. "We have accepted a part of this country, we have accepted its rules and we want to be a part of it," he said, echoing Sabuni's insistence that integration comes through the language. Discrimination is not a serious problem, he said. Rather, "the biggest enemy of integration is the satellite dishes whic h broadcast TV programmes from countries where some children were even not born."

Muslim Hate in Austria
Muslim teacher banned over anti -Semitic propoganda

Social Democrat (SPÖ) Education Minister Claudia Schmied has banned a Muslim man from teaching his religion at a Vienna secondary school after he distributed anti Semitic leaflets to pupils. Schmied ordered the city school council today (Thurs) to take such action against the man, who had been teaching at the Cooperative Secondary School (KMS) on Brüßlgasse in Wien-Ottakring district. She said "delay would be dangerous." The reason for the ban is the man¶s behaviour. He reportedly distributed anti -Semitic leaflets to his students a few days ago. The leaflets contained a list of allegedly "Jewish" firms from which, the man told the students, they should not buy anything. Teachers of religion are usually appointed and removed by their respective religious associations, but Schmied said the law on religion provided for the minister of education¶s intervention in cases in which such teachers violated their legal obligations. Allowing the man to continue to teach, the minister said, would have caused "serious damage to the interests of the school and the students." Schmied¶s intervention comes in the wake of a study concluding Islamic instruction in Austria has to change to comply with modern standards. Mouhanad Khorchide is a professor of the sociology of religion at the Islamic Religion and Pedagogical Institute at Vienna University and the author o f the new study, "Islamic religious instruction between integration and a parallel society." Khorchide¶s study concludes Muslim teachers in Austria have largely anti -democratic beliefs and one in five is "fanatical". Khorchide, himself a Muslim, said 22. 6 per cent of the 210 Muslim teachers he had surveyed had "fanatical attitudes" and 21.9 per cent rejected democracy as incompatible with Islam. The older the teacher, Khorchide said, the more likely he was to reject the principle of the rule of law. According to Vienna weekly "Falter", the study claimed 8.5 per cent of the Muslim teachers said it was understandable for violence to be used to spread Islam, 28.4 per cent said there was a contradiction in being both a Muslim and a European, and 44 per cent said they had to make their students understand they were better than non-Muslims. In addition, 29 per cent said it was impossible for Muslims to integrate in Austria without losing their Muslim identity, and 55 per cent called Austrians xenophobic.

On the other hand, 85.7 per cent said they did not believe Muslims had to keep to themselves to avoid losing their Muslim identity. The education Ministry and the Austrian Islamic Denomination recently agreed on a package of changes providing for new contract s for Islamic instructors and new lesson plans for the teaching of Islam in Austrian public schools.

Austrian Times

Homegrown Austrian terrorism - the end of a safe era? September 13, 2007 Vienna - The arrest of three second-generation Muslim immigrants Wednesday on terrorism charges shattered Austria's image of being a safe haven from global terrorism. The three, two men in their 20s and one woman, are accused of having produced an internet threat video, demanding Austrian and German troo ps stop engagement in Afghanistan. The three are believed to have links to al -Qaeda. Austrians felt safe on their proverbial "island of the blessed", when all over Europe concerns over homegrown terrorism mounted. The country prided itself in its historically conciliatory approach and good relations between the faiths. But was this feeling of safety just an illusion, the policy of cooperation a failure? Austria's authorities did not regard the country as a prime terrorism target, owing to its neutrality and opposition to the Iraq war. However, in the long term view the number of militants was on the rise, experts said. Up to now Austria believed its approach of recognition and inclusion of Muslims despite regular attacks by the country's rightists - would stave off extremism as experienced in other European nations. The fact however that the suspects appear to be radicalized second -generation immigrants shows parallels to arrests in Britain or Germany. Austria is home to approximately 339,000 muslims, 4.2 per cent of the population, the Islamic Religious Authority said. Austria was victim of several terrorist attacks in the 1970s and 80s. The attack on the Vienna-based OPEC headquarters in 1975 was masterminded by terrorist Carlos. In 1979 a social democrat councillor was murdered by the Abu Nidal terror group. Two were killed in a PLO attack on Vienna airport in 1985. It is widely believed that Austria's authorities allowed the perpetrators to leave the country in exchange for secu rity guarantees. They inadvertently made Austria into a safe base for militant movements by this tacit agreement, critics said.

How dangerous were these latest Austrian -based alleged terrorists really? Are they al-Qaeda terrorists, or just copycat amateurs, Austrians wonder. Authorities stressed the suspects had "posed no danger" for Austria. First media reports paint a more diffe rentiated picture: The 22 - year-old main suspect headed the German outlet of the "Global Islamist Media Front", a propaganda platform used by al-Qaeda for recruitment. The arrest shut down Bin Laden's voice in Germany, one expert said. The suspect travelled to Iraq in 2003, and is believed to have trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan, Austrian media said. According to unconfirmed reports, he may have even been an al - Qaeda sleeper. Whatever the investigation unearths, Austrians will have to part with the idea that their country can be exempt from terrorism and further question the effectiveness of its policies to prevent radicalization.

Muslim Hate in Bolivia
Bolivia Becoming a Hotbed of Islamic Extremism, Report Concludes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 Fox News By Nora Zimmett A poor, agrarian, landlocked country in South America with a nearly 100 percent Christian population is hardly the place one would expect to become a hotbed of Islamic extremism in the Western Hemisphere. But a recent report by the Open Source Center (OSC) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says it's so. There are only 1,000 Muslims in Bolivia, a country of 9.7 million people, but the connection between some of the community¶s religious lead ers and Iran ² as well as with fundamentalist factions in the Palestinian territories ² has U.S. officials and terror experts keeping a watchful eye on them. The report revealed a number of Muslim organizations in Bolivia whose leaders have publicly denounced U.S. foreign policy and have direct associations with extremists in the Middle East. ³There¶s a theory that they may believe ² Latin America, particularly with its Leftist leanings in recent years, may be more receptive to the anti -American-type rhetoric that we¶ve been accustomed to hearing from Iran,´ said a U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. One Muslim leader named in the OSC report is Mahmud Amer Abusharar, founder of the Centro Islamico Boliviano (CIB) in San ta Cruz. Abusharar emigrated from the Palestinian territories in 1974 and claims to have built Bolivia¶s first mosque in 1994 so that he would not lose touch with his religion. But public statements by Abusharar and other members of his mosque reveal clear anti-US sentiments. In a 2007 interview with a local Bolivian university, Abusharar told a student that he didn¶t know Muslims in jail who weren¶t there ³especially due to the United States¶ influence in Bolivian politics.´ The CIB¶s Web site also posts a n article by its administrative director, Isa Amer Quevedo, that rebukes the U.S. for launching an attack on the Taliban after 9/11, stating: ³Today we see the U.S. declaring armed Jihad against terrorism. They aim their bombs at UBL and Afghanistan, whom they financed and trained.´ The CIB is also the Bolivian headquarters for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi-based major fundraiser for the Muslim community. According to U.S. State Department documents, one of its regional offices in North ern Virginia was raided by the FBI in connection with terrorist activities in 2004.

Another Muslim leader in Bolivia, Husayn Salgueiro, is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian government and a known critic of Israel. While there are no public records of Salgueiro speaking out against the U.S., a local news interview earlier this year shows him urging Palestinians to continue their armed struggle against the Israeli people. Other leaders of Islamic groups in Bolivia, according to the OCS report, have shown evidence of sympathies with Islamic radicals. Fayez Rajab Khedeer Kannan, leader of the Asociacion Cultural Boliviana Musulmana (ACBM), has openly praised Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and asked the wealthy Islamic organization, The Libyan International Center for Studies and Research of the Green Book, to heighten its missionary efforts in Bolivia. Roberto ³Yusuf´ Chambi Calle, president of the Fundacion Cultural Islamica Boliviana (FCIB) is friendly with a possible associate of Moshen Rabbani, a known Iranian terrorist and the former director of a Buenos Aires mosque. Some Latin America analysts say religious organizations like these could provide cover for more radical groups. ³Clearly, jihadists, or potential jihadists, would look very intensely at w ays of diversifying their sources of revenue, potential candidates for missions ² intelligence missions, infiltration ² people whose profile, whose point of origin leads people to be less suspicious,´ said Ray Walser, a senior policy analyst specializing i n Latin America at the Heritage Foundation. ³I think there is a potential in these types of organizations ² that may exist in Bolivia or elsewhere ² of becoming the kind of points of diversification of radical groups in the Middle East.´ Latin America has already seen the influence of Muslim extremists. In 1994, Hezbollah ² the Islamic terror organization based in Lebanon ² bombed the Argentine-Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding many more. Moshen Rabbani was believed t o be one of the main operatives. In 1992, Hezbollah bombed Argentina¶s Israeli embassy, killing 29. ³We¶re aware that certain groups have the capability to conduct operations in the region,´ the U.S. intelligence official told ³So that is some thing that we¶re constantly on the look-out for ² signals that something like that could be going on. So it¶s a definite concern on a general level that could be used again in the future or for an operation by similar groups as well.´ U.S. relations with Bolivia have deteriorated since President Evo Morales took office in 2005. In 2008, Morales kicked U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg out of Bolivia, claiming that the ambassador was plotting a coup d¶etat to overthrow him. Three months ago, Bolivia broke d iplomatic ties with Israel, a close U.S. ally, to protest Israel¶s treatment of Palestinians. But Morales has found support and camaraderie in Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the past year, Iran has made some large investments in the impoverished Andean nation, pouring millions into various sectors: Bolivia¶s natural gas reserves (the second largest in South America); the agricultural sector, by setting up new milk processing plants and donating agricultural tools; and the

medical industry, by planning two clinics in Bolivia that will employ Bolivian staff but be managed by Iranians. Morales recently announced he will build a new embassy in Iran. ³It¶s about anti-Americanism,´ Mr. Walser told ³It¶s about, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.´ Some Latin America watchers are wary of the influx of Iranian money into Bolivia and warn that economic investment could provide a convenient mask for extremist groups¶ illicit activities. ³There¶s always a concern from a security perspective when there¶s the perception of extremism being exported to other nations in innocuous forms ² whether that¶s by charitable works of social services or educational efforts,´ said Marisa Porges, former policy adviser on counterterrorism at the U.S. Defense D epartment. ³It does have a radicalizing influence. And we see the populations that are receiving medical services or educational services or religious support then having more and more extremist tendencies. And eventually that can lead to radicalization an d violence.´ ³The goal of the revolution is not just for Iran, but they feel an obligation to spread it,´ the U.S. intelligence official told ³So we see their outreach as not just an economic one, but also a cultural one. Now, is there potenti al that that could be capitalized by some other for some more nefarious purposes? There¶s a lot of possibilities out there.´ But other foreign policy experts say that the warm relationship betweenIran and Bolivia is based not on terror, but on trade. ³Iran certainly is one of many countries ² and that includes Russia, India,South Africa ² who are extremely anxious to lay their hands on South American commodities,´ said Larry Birns, Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Still, Birns says, strong economic ties between Bolivia and Iran ² with or without the spread of radical Islam ideology ² could nonetheless pose a threat to U.S. interests. ³In terms of the pending worldwide shortage of commodities, there¶s a real ... the equivalent of an arms race," Birns said. "But it¶s a commodities race, to sew up as many commodities dealers as they can find. There¶s a genuine fear in the United States of being left out.´

Muslim Hate in Bulgaria
New µradical Islam in Bulgaria¶ claims
Sun 05 Oct 2008 Clive Leviev-Sawyer Just days after Sofia hosted a forum on how teaching at schools could be used to forestall radical Islam, a researcher gave an interview alleging that extremist Islamic sects were operating in eastern Bulgaria. In an interview with Bulgarian news agency Focus, associate professor Tatyana Dronzina ± described as an expert on conflict and terrorism research ± was quoted as saying that Turkish-linked radical sects Nurju, Suleymandj and Miligurush were believed to be active in the ea stern part of the country. There were some grounds for believing that people linked to these sects were trying to make contact with pupils in Muslim religious schools in Shoumen, Rousse, Momchilgrad and in the Islamic Institute in Sofia as well, Focus quot ed Dronzina as saying While several intelligence and media reports have highlighted the rise of radical Islam in the former Yugoslavia and especially in Bosnia, earlier in 2008 US journalist Christopher Deliso said in his book The Coming Balkan Caliphate: Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West that Bulgaria was among Balkan countries where radical Islam activists were present. Most intelligence reports have suggested that any such activity in Bulgaria is on a small scale. After the forum in Sofia, Bulgarian National Radio interviewed Kamen Velichkov of the Foreign Ministry, who is in charge of the country¶s participation in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Initiative. ³The prevention of radicalization in all creeds from an early school ag e is paramount, if we wish to have a dialogue among the various religions and cultures not only within the European Union,´ Velichkov told BNR. ³The issue of Islam¶s radicalization is a complex one. It is above all within the competence of the state admini stration. Bulgaria has been trying to draw on the European experience, and in particular that of Spain, as well as non -European countries by participating in various formats, such as the Mediterranean Co operation. ³The problem with radicalization, however , is not only about opposing Islam to Christianity. It is a matter of tolerance and compatibility of cultural and religious traditions in general. We should keep in mind the fact that this problem exists within the Muslim community. But the same can be argued about Christians and

Christianity. For example, we witnessed the role Georgia¶s Orthodox Patriarch Elijah II tried to play in the conflict between two Christian Orthodox states, Georgia and Russia,´ Velichkov said. BNR also interviewed Dronzina. ³We believe that the more people know about each other, the less they are afraid of one another. And if we want to shed that fear, we should engage in meaningful communication. We should tackle the painful issues, as well, because no one will benefit from turning a blind eye to the real problems,´ she said. Asked whether there were ethnically or religiously based problems in Bulgaria, Dronzina said: ³I firmly believe that co -existence among various ethnicities generates problems«When we speak about the Bulgarian ethnic model, we tend to discuss and admire our activities. Our ethnic model requires efforts on a daily basis. We should open the history pages, read them through and then close them to avoid having µnightmares¶. Dronzina, asked by BNR whether there was a trend of Islamic radicalization in general, and in Bulgaria in particular, said: ³Bulgaria sets a good example of tolerant ethnic coexistence. ³As Beatriz Molina, the Spanish project manager put it, there is much more non violence that violence about Isla m. But in my opinion the rule of law and the observance of legal procedures within school communities are key to curbing Islamic radicalization,´ Dronzina said.

Muslim Hate in Canada Muslim 'parallel society' within Canada a threat: Report

AFP November 15, 2010 OTTAWA - Islamists aim to build a "parallel society" in Canada that risks undermining its democracy and multiculturalism and becoming a "catalyst for violence," warned a national security report published Monday. The newly declassified d ocument obtained by the National Post says Islamic hardliners are calling on Muslims living in Western countries to segregate themselves and adhere only to Shariah law. "Even if the use of violence is not outwardly expressed, the creation of isolated communities can spawn groups that are exclusivist and potentially open to messages in which violence is advocated," warns the report posted on the newspaper's website. "At a minimum, the existence of such mini-societies undermines the resilience and the fostering of a cohesive Canadian nation." The report was written by the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre which collates threat information from Canada's spy service, federal police, military, foreign affairs department and other agencies. According to the National Post, it was circulated internally after a Hizb -ut-Tahrir conference in Toronto last year on establishing an Islamic caliphate. "By definition, their world views clash with secular ones. A competition for the hearts and minds of the diaspora Muslims has hence begun," the report concludes. It notes that Islamist hardliners while promoting the synchronization of state laws with religious beliefs "are careful to couch their policies in terms of Western freedoms." They see the movement as "the peaceful advocacy of minority rights," it said. But the report also notes the Dutch Intelligence Service has labeled the movement as "sinister" and one which "could gradually harm social cohesion and solidarity and could harm certain fundamental human rights." As well, it cites examples in Denmark in which Muslims bypassed the court system to administer their own form of justice, in one case beating a man accused of assaulting a young boy.

A portrait of terrorist suspects By VANESSA THOMAS and MAKI BECKER Buffalo News Staff Reporters 6/5/2006

TORONTO - They are being called "homegrown terrorists." But they are not believed to be al -Qaida. More likely, they are a group inspired by the terror organization but with no formal links, according to law enforcement. They are young men, all residents of Canada. Most of them citizens. Some are so young the Canadian government won't release their names because they're minors. The oldest is 43. Many came to Canada with their families, many when they were children. They came from Afghanistan, Egypt and Somalia. At least one is from the Caribbean. Many of them live in the well -to-do suburbs of Toronto.
They are all Muslim , a couple of them converts from other religions. At least four worshipped at a tiny prayer room in a str ip mall.

But what they all had in common, allegedly, was outrage over the West's treatment of Muslims abroad and particularly, the U.S invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. And they met, according to the Toronto Star, about two years ago through Internet chat sites where they spouted their anger and allegedly began to plot attacks. At least some of them are believed to have traveled to a terrorist training camp in northern Ontario modeled after al-Qaida camps that spawned many of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, according to the Star. An imam who says he knows nine of the 17 suspects, however, says he believes that the authorities are mistaken about the young men. "I have doubts that any of these guys did anything wrong," said Aly Hindy, the imam of Salaheddin Islamic Centre in the Scarborough section of Toronto, told The Buffalo News. "I think they're innocent. If some of them are guilty, I don't think it's terrorism. It may be criminal, but it's not terrorism."
Suspects known to imam

Hindy said at least four suspects attend his mosque: Fahim Ahmad, Jahmaal James, Steven Chand and an underage Sri Lankan who converted from Hindu to Muslim. Hindy said of all the suspects, Ah mad, 21, may be guilty - but only of participating in gun smuggling.

"He rented a car for two guys to go the U.S. and to go get guns and sell it into the black market," Hindy said. James, Hindy said, is of African descent and was a convert to Islam. He h ad come to Hindy, known as a matchmaker in his community, to find him a wife. "I said go to Pakistan," Hindy said. James, 23, traveled to Pakistan four months ago, married a woman there, but apparently couldn't get her a visa to come back to Canada with him. Chand, 25, had come to Hindy to ask for financial help at one point, Hindy said. The Star reported that he had been unemployed for some time but recently found work at a Middle Eastern fast food stand. Four other suspects regularly prayed at a tiny prayer room in a strip mall in Mississauga, Ont. Among them was Shareef Abdelheen, 30, a computer programmer. There was also Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, whom Hindy said was very vocal about his distaste for the Iraq War. "When he sees a Muslim being killed, he can't keep quiet," Hindy said. The Star also reported that Jamal was a widower with four sons and that he drives a school bus. Another was Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, the son of a physician who is in medical school at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont . Hindy said he recently officiated at Ghany's wedding to a 17-year-old. He also said he knew Zakaria Amara, who like, Jamal, wasn't shy about vocalizing his hate for the Iraq War. "They're all from different areas, different social levels in society, ed ucation," Hindy said. "The whole thing doesn't make sense. Some of them are highly educated. You doubt that it's terrorism. This has nothing to do with violent acts. It should be handled as a criminal case." Security experts say that, just because they're not taking direct orders from Osama bin Laden, that doesn't mean they're to be taken less seriously. Leaderless cells are the MO of terror today, experts say. The train bombings of late in Madrid and London are examples of how terror cells can operate, and be successful in their deadly plans, without any direct contact with a leader.

"There aren't commands coming down from a central authority," said Mike German, a former FBI agent who specialized in counter terrorism and is a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank "These groups, they are following a methodology," German told The News. "They're leaderless. There are actual manuals out there on how to be a lone -wolf terrorist." German also cautioned against dismissing the Toronto suspects as simple wanna bes. "There's a tendency when they're caught before they're able to do anything, for them to be seen as bumbling idiots," German said. "Like Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. You tend to think he's a clown. But this guy, in a post -9/11 environment, was able to get a bomb on a plane. Only intervention from passengers stopped him . . . It's really just a matter of luck whether one is successful or not. Thankfully in this case, th e good guys were able to stop it."
Canadian targets alleged

Canadian authorities say the 17 suspects tried to obtain 3 tons of ammonium nitrate and were "planning to commit a series of terrorist attacks against solely Canadian targets in southern Ontario," Mike McDonnell, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said in a statement. According to the Star, the RCMP participated in a sting and provided the explosives to the cell before arresting the members. The cell wanted to blow up the offices of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, near the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, and the Parliament buildings, according to the Star. The Los Angeles Times reported that members of the group also had discussed the possibility of hitting targets in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. But White House officials said there was no known threat to the United States. "We certainly don't believe th at there's any link to the United States," said Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation. However, authorities began to grow more suspicious of the alleged Toronto cell after two U.S. citizens from Georgia traveled to Canada la st spring to meet with them to discuss attacks on oil refineries and military bases. One of them, Syed Haris Ahmed, was a Georgia Tech student who tried to go to Pakistan to train at a terrorist camp. A second man, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, was arrested later in Bangladesh.

More arrests expected

A government official close to the investigation told the Associated Press that more warrants were pending and more arrests were expected, possibly this week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is open. The terror sweep in Toronto has left many unsettled, particularly in the Middle Eastern and Muslim communities that make up this diverse, multicultural city. In Rexdale, a neighborhood made up of Indian, Pakistani and Indo -Caribbean communities where the pungent smell of spices of oils fill the air, locals were shakened and saddened by a vandalism attack on a local Islamic center following the arrests. Overnight, about 30 windows were smashed at the sprawling International Muslim Organization of Toronto. Several car windshield were also broken. "It's sick," Ameer Ali, secretary of the center, told The News. "Whoever did this destroyed a place of worship. It hurts us because we try our best to serve this country as Canadians. We open the doors to show people that Islam is a religion of peace." In downtown Toronto around the CN Tower Sunday evening, security didn't seem any tighter than usual. Azucena Rocha, 24, an immigrant from Mexico who works feet away from the CN Tower in a downtown coffee shop, said the arrests left her concerned. "I feel it was disturbing," she said as she stacked chairs in the patio. "It's a shock for a lot of Canadians. You expect these things to happen in the States, not Canada. I'm not saying the U.S. is a bad country. They're just usually the targets. David DiLella, who was out on an evening stroll by the tower with his girlfriend, Erin Dimeno, described the weekend's events as "a wake -up call" for Canda. He also said he believed peaceful Muslims aren't doing enough to quell the violence within their ranks.

School Ties Link Alleged Plotters

Arrested Canadians Had Bonded at Clubs and on Soccer Fields By Doug Struck Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, June 11, 2006; Page A16 TORONTO -- They were school pals. One is 15. Most are just out of high school, some still in. The 17 boys and men whom Canadian police are calling "homegrown terrorists" forged their bonds in student clubs and on school soccer fields, chatted on the Internet, and urged each ot her to be heroes for their faith. The arrests last weekend left many Canadians pondering how a country proud of its diverse culture and political moderation could spawn such an apparent interest in violence. Especially by people so young. What started as boasts and youthful rhetoric crystallized into action, the government says. The youths ordered $4,000 worth of ingredients for a bomb, built a detonator and cased out targets for a two -pronged attack that would take hostages on Parliament Hill in Ottawa while setting off bombs in Toronto, prosecutors contend. The plans allegedly ranged from the fanciful -- steering remote-controlled toys loaded with explosives into police stations -- to the meticulous. The suspects calculated the exact solutions of nitric ac id and grams of mercury they would need to detonate the bombs, according to a summary of the prosecutors' allegations reviewed by The Washington Post. The school ties have some people here asking if Canada's attempt to accommodate all faiths and background s -- many Canadian schools offer rooms for Friday prayers and foster Muslim student clubs -- is encouraging religious divisions. Some of the clubs "are very conservative, very judgmental," said Rizwana Jafri, a Muslim and an administrator at a Toronto -area high school. "Young people are looking for a group to belong to, and religion plays into that. It's almost cult -like." Suspect Saad Khalid, now 19, is typical of those charged. At Meadowvale Secondary School, he was bright and outgoing in his early high s chool years, fellow students told reporters last week. His father, a technology professional from Pakistan, lived in Saudi Arabia before coming to Canada 10 years ago. The family recently moved to a brick townhouse in one of the new suburban developments being carved out of farmland in Mississauga, a spreading suburban town west of Toronto. In 2003, Khalid's mother died in an accident. In the following years, he became more strident about his Muslim faith. He formed athe Religious Awareness Club to preach Islam during lunch hours at the Meadowvale school. He spent time with two older classmates, Fahim Ahmad, now 21, and Zakaria Amara, 20, the government contends.

Meadowvale is a bustling, brick school in the heart of Mississauga. Teenage boys in T-shirts and baggy jeans lolled about the campus last week. A smaller knot of young girls, with Muslim headdress, stood in the shade of a tree. School officials declined to speak to reporters and urged students to do the same. "Young people who are disenfranchised or ill-fitting in a society look for ways to belong, and sometimes religion plays to that, creating a desire for martyrdom, a desire to be a hero," Jafri said. In her view, the school clubs they form sometimes paint an extreme view of a Muslim world at odds w ith the secular values the school is trying to teach. Khalid and his pals spent time in a chat room on the Internet and called themselves the "Meadowvale Brothers." According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, which reported on the electronic chat diary befo re it was removed from the Web, the young men's talk dealt with movies and final exams. But Zakaria Amara kept returning to the issue of sacrifice for Islam. "I love for the sake of Allah, and hate for his sake," he wrote, according to the newspaper. Khalid and the others began attending a mosque together, teacher Ahmed Amiruddin told CBC Radio last week. "They would enter into the mosque to pray. They would come in military fatigues," he said. "It looked to me like they were watching a lot of these Chechnyan jihad videos online." Gradually, they gravitated to the Al -Rahman Islamic Center, a storefront mosque in a small strip mall in Mississauga. There they met Qayyam Abdul Jamal, 43, a taciturn Pakistani native with an angry view of the world. He cleaned th e rugs and took out the trash at the mosque. For those services, the directors tolerated his vitriolic speeches that portrayed Muslims as oppressed by the West, according to people familiar with the mosque. "Many people who worked with him thought he was j ust a loudmouth," said Tariq Shah, a lawyer who represents the mosque. "In retrospect, maybe it was wrong that he wasn't taken more seriously." Across Toronto at an eastern suburb called Scarborough, a similar process was underway, at the Stephen Leacock C ollegiate Institute, a high school. An alumnus of the school, Mohamed Durrani, 19, and another man, Steven Vikash Chand, 25, a former Canadian army reservist, frequented the school grounds to encourage Muslim students to come to the mosques, students and a cquaintances told reporters last week. At least two of the juveniles, a 10th -grader and a 12th-grader who are not being identified because of their ages, joined their group. The group proved inept at keeping its activities secret. The complaints about Jama l, and some of the Internet traffic, drew the attention of investigators as early as two years ago, police officials have confirmed. Then, in March last year, two Atlanta -area men already under scrutiny in the United States traveled to Toronto to meet Khal id's older acquaintance Fahim Ahmad and a

friend from the Scarborough group, Jahmaal James, then 22, according to an FBI affidavit. They allegedly talked about targets for terrorist attacks in North America and the possibility of training in Pakistan. That summer, Ahmad used his credit card to rent a car for two immigrants from Somalia, Mohammed Dirie, then 22, and Yasin Abdi Mohamed, 22. Those two drove to Columbus, Ohio. When they arrived at the border to return to Canada, guards stopped the car and searched the two. They reported finding a pistol tucked in the back waistband of Mohamed's pants and two more semiautomatic weapons taped to the inner thighs of Dirie. The arrests and visit by the men from Georgia -- both with ties to Ahmad -- prompted Canadian intelligence and police officials to begin physical and electronic surveillance. Authorities apparently were watching last November, when Zakaria Amara drove to northern Ontario. Prosecutors offer the following account for how the conspiracy unfolded from there: Amara stopped at the local police and Natural Resources Ministry offices to inquire about nearby forests. He returned to the area the week before Christmas and set up a camp in woodlands near the town of Orillia. Eleven men and boys came with him. They wore camouflage uniforms, fired a 9mm pistol, played paintball, and engaged in training "clearly for terrorist purposes." They made plans for a second session at the camp. They named their scheme "Operation Badr," after a battle of early Islamic histor y, and discussed strategies. They would take politicians hostage in the capital, demand the removal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan and the release of Muslim prisoners, and execute the politicians "one by one" if the demands were not met. Ahmad put a deposit down on another illegal firearms purchase. The suspects scouted out a house where they could retreat after staging an attack. They shoplifted walkie-talkies. Amara plumbed the Internet at public libraries to learn how to assemble a bomb. Durrani enrolled in flight training but eventually backed out, believing he would attract too much attention. The group had business cards printed up to pose as fictional "student farmers" to raise fewer suspicions as they bought the fertilizer for a bomb. But as the conspirators talked and made plans, they fractured in disagreement. Zakaria Amara wanted to use truck bombs. Fahim Ahmad favored an attack with guns. Amara thought Ahmad was taking too long. In the end, they settled on both methods, the government contend s. Amara and the Mississauga group would bomb a site in Toronto -- the final list included a downtown Toronto skyscraper containing the offices of Canada's spy agency, the Toronto Stock Exchange and a military establishment. At the same time, Ahmad, who ha d moved to Scarborough with the group there, was to storm the Parliament or some other public place.

By last month, Amara had concluded that they needed three tons of ammonium nitrate -- the group wanted to make a bomb bigger than the two -ton explosive that Timothy McVeigh used to shatter the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people. When the youths ordered the fertilizer, agents intercepted the shipment and substituted an inert powder. Police watched as Khalid and one of the youths wor ked at a rented warehouse June 2 to prepare to receive the shipment. The two lined cardboard boxes with plastic to store the material. When Amara paid $4,000 to an undercover officer for the fake fertilizer, the police descended. Khalid and the juvenile were arrested at the warehouse. Squads of officers positioned around Toronto rounded up the others through the evening. Khalid is now at Ontario's Maplehurst Correctional Center in solitary confinement. His cell has a metal bed, two blankets, and a light bul b that stays on all night. He met with his lawyer Thursday, but the two were separated by a glass shield and were able to talk only on a telephone. Khalid held it awkwardly, with his wrists still handcuffed together, said the lawyer, Arif Raza. "Obviously, he's very down," Raza said. "Very depressed." Researcher Natalia Alexandrova contributed to this report.




Friday November 5,2010 By Cyril Dixon TWO Muslim fanatics who chanted ³Death to Britain´ in an Old Bailey court refused to apologise last night. Abu Yahya and Abu Saalihah were defiant about the uproar following a fellow radical¶s life sentence for stabbing MP Ste phen Timms. Yahya, 27, and Saalihah, 34, shouted ³curse the judge´ and rounded on a female Muslim juror after Roshonara Choudhry was jailed. But yesterday, both men warned of further Islamic bloodshed after blaming Britain for inciting violence. Yahya said: ³I believe that Stephen Timms brought this upon himself because he supported the war in Iraq. ³Roshonara Choudhry was an innocent Muslim who felt really bad about the war in Iraq and she was taking the advice of Islamic scholars in how she acted. The reality is Britain is at war with Muslims because of the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq.´

Yahya, who had held a placard saying ³Islam Will Dominate The World!´, added: ³I personally believe you can¶t target those you live amongst, but there are many others who don¶t believe in that.´ Describing himself as an office administrator from east London, Yahya claimed to be influenced by Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaeda cleric behind last week¶s foiled Yemeni cargo bomb plot. He said he attended al-Awlaki¶s lectures when he was in Britain. Fellow protester Saalihah warned of ³DIY Jihadis´ leaving ³blood on the streets´, adding: ³There is a seething undercurrent of anger amongst the Muslim youth.´ Yet despite holding up signs saying ³Iraq ± Graveyard For The British Troops´ and ³Stephen Timms ± Go To Hell´, he insisted he was a ³friend of Britain´. A mob ranted as Choudhry, 21, was told she must serve at least 15 years for attempting to murder Mr Timms, Labour MP for East Ham. Yesterday, Sajjad Karim, Tory MEP for North-west England, said: ³The overwhelming majority of Muslims are revolted and disgusted at the criminal act carried out by this young woman and are delighted it has been appropriately dealt with by the British judicial system.´

Anglians¶ homecoming marred by violence

By Ken McErlain Wednesday, 16 June, 2010 SOLDIERS from East Anglia were heckled and branded ³murderers´ by Muslim anti war protesters amid ugly scenes during a homecoming parade. A group of protesters gathered in Barking town centre, in east London, as members of the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment marched through the streets. Thousands of well-wishers lined the route, waving Union flags and cheering as the troops began to march. But as the soldiers passed, members of a group called Muslims Against The Crusades (MAC) jeered and shouted ³murderers, murderers, murders´ and ³British troops go to hell.´ The chants were drowned out by a large mob on the opposite side of the street who retaliated with jeers of ³traitors.´ The parade had to be delayed due to growing tensions between the two sides. Trouble escalated when the mob broke through barricades, charged across the road and exchanged punches with the MAC protesters.

Police quickly separated the two groups. One man was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and led away while the police made a ring surrounding the Muslim group. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said two people had been arrested for public order offences. One witness said: ³There were about 25 to 50 Muslim protesters carrying placards with things like µMuslims Against Crusades¶ and µBritish Soldiers Go To Hell.¶ ³Then there was a counter-protest of about 100 guys barracking them.¶¶ Undaunted by the abuse, the soldiers contin ued to march through the town centre with fixed bayonets during an hour -long procession accompanied by the Minden Band, a Colour Party and two guards of 70 officers and non -commisioned officers. The MAC group had earlier given out leaflets featuring Britis h soldiers along with an image of a bloody puddle in the shape of the skull calling the troops ³death squads´ and had earlier put posters up on the town¶s war memorial. The leaflets called on Muslims to ³rise up and condemn this sickening parade.´ Extra police officers were drafted in to patrol the procession route and businesses in the area locked up in anticipation of violent clashes. RELATIVES of soldiers from the region have expressed their disappointment at yesterday¶s scenes in Barking. Members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, known as µThe Vikings¶, were heckled by anti-war protestors as they marched through the town on a home coming parade. Lorranie McClure, the mother of Ipswich soldier Aaron McClure, who was killed in a friendly fire attack in 2007, attended the parade. She said: ³We saw what was going on and thought it was absolutely disgusting. ³What was written on the protestors¶ placards was vile. They shouldn¶t have been allowed to attend the event in the first place. ³However, their chants were drowned out after a while. Their actions didn¶t spoil what was a lovely occasion ± it¶s always nice to see The Vikings. ³We were able to enjoy the rest of the parade and pay our respects properly.´ Alison Burgess, founder of the Viking Family Support Group, said it was sad a minority of people had shouted abuse at the returning troops, which included her two sons, Pte Nicky Burgess, 23, and Pte Daniel Burgess, 21, both of whom had returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan last month.

She said: ³It is incredibly sad that people who live in our country and enjoy the privileges of working here would stand there and shout insults at troops. ³My sons are mourning the loss of their friends and trying to get back to normal life. ³Nobody likes being shouted at in public but they do recognise the majority of the British public are behind them and respect them and are grateful for what they do.´ The girlfriend of a Royal Anglian soldier killed in Afghanistan said the protest group who heckled troops should have been banned from the parade. Lance Corporal Scott Hardy, 26, from Chelmsford, was killed in an explosion near Musa Qala on March 16, just weeks before he was due to return home. His partner Charlene Byrne, 24, said: ³They should never have been allowed to hijack this. If the Government knew that this group was planning to do this they should have put a stop to it before it happened. ³It¶s terrible that this group has got away with it. Obviously not everyone supports what¶s happening in Afgh anistan, there are people who are very angry about it, but they shouldn¶t take it out on the soldiers. ³The lads who go out to Afghanistan don¶t care about the politics, they care for each other and they are doing a very difficult job trying to help the p eople of their country.´ The Royal Anglian Regiment lost five soldiers during its six -month tour of Afghanistan. L/Cpl Scott Hardy, 26, from Chelmsford, and Pte James Grigg, 21, from Stradbroke, were both killed when a bomb exploded in an area north of the Musa Qala district of Helmand province in March. Capt Martin Driver, 31, originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Musa Qala in March. He was flown back to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Selly Oak in Birmingham for treatment, but died with his family by his bedside. Pte Robert Hayes, 19, from Burwell in Cambridgeshire, died in an explosion while on foot patrol in the Nad -e-Ali area of Helmand province in January. L/Cpl Adam Drane, 23, became the 100th British solider to be killed in the conflict when he was shot dead by Taliban insurgents at a checkpoint near Nad -e Ali, in Helmand, in December last year. A total of 298 UK troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Bri tish forces invaded in 2001.

Nicky Reilly, Muslim convert, jailed for 18 years for Exeter bomb attack

Adam Fresco, Crime Correspondent London Times January 31, 2009 A vulnerable Muslim convert who was persuaded by extremists to attempt a suicide bomb attack was jailed for a minimum of 18 years yesterday. Nicky Reilly, 22, who has Asperger¶s syndrome and a mental age of 10, was described by his lawyer as the ³least cu nning´ person ever to have been charged with terrorism. He was directed online to build nail bombs, which he tried to set off at the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter in May. The devices went off prematurely and he was the only person injured. At his trial in October last year Reilly, from Plymouth, Devon, who appeared in court as Mohamad Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and preparing an act of terrorism. Sentencing him to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey yesterday, Mr Justice Cal vertSmith said that although the attack was ³an unsophisticated attempt´, Reilly was a ³significant risk´ to the public. After his conviction, counter-terrorism officials said that extremists had taken advantage of his low IQ to groom him. Reilly, who has an IQ of 83, had first been taken to see a pyschiatrist when he was 9 and tried to take an overdose at 16. Kerim Faud, representing him, said: ³He may comfortably be deemed to be the least cunning person ever to have come before this court for this type of offence.´ He is thought to have met British -based Muslim radicals in internet cafés near his council home, which he shared with his mother. Security sources said that radicals encouraged him to visit internet chat rooms and other websites, where he e ncountered men based in Pakistan who helped to mould a violent hatred of the West. He discussed with the men what his targets should be and they directed him to bomb -making websites. In a suicide note left in his home he paid tribute to ³Sheikh Osama´ (bi n Laden) and called on the British and US governments to leave Muslim countries. He said that Western states must withdraw their support of Israel, and that violence would continue until ³the wrongs have been righted´. On May 22 Reilly put his plan into a ction. He left his home with six bottles in his rucksack filled with paraffin, caustic soda and nails. When he arrived at the Giraffe restaurant he ordered a drink and sat for ten minutes before heading to the lavatory to make the bombs.

Fortunately for the 24 customers and 11 staff in the restaurant and the 20 more people lunching outside, the bombs exploded in the cubicle. Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said yesterday: ³I am quite satisfied that these offences are so serious that only a life sentence is appro priate. This defendant currently represents a significant risk of serious harm to the public. ³The offence of attempted murder is aggravated by the fact that it was long planned, that it had multiple intended victims and was intended to terrorise the popu lation of this country. It was sheer luck or chance that it did not succeed.´ He accepted that the attack was unsophisticated but added: ³Those who attempt to commit suicide and in doing so murder other people are almost invariably unsophisticated in many aspects. That lack of sophistication saved many Londoners on July 21, 2005.´ Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: ³This case demonstrates that the threat to the UK from violent extremists remains real and serious.´ Reilly was the 86th person to be convicted in a significant terrorist case since 2007, she added.

London a Longtime Haven for Radical Muslim Figures By Patrick Goodenough International Editor July 08, 2005 ( - Terrorism experts have long warned that Islamists espousing violence enjoy a haven in London, an assertion that has come into sharp focus again with Thursday's bombings in the British capital.

For years, Britain tolerated the presence of high -profile and outspoken Islamic clerics whose fiery sermons frequently extolled jihad against the West. Since 9/11, however, anti-terror legislation has been tightened, some groups have been outlawed, terror rings have been broken and some controversial figures have been arrested. One of them, Egyptian-born Abu Hamza al-Masri, went on trial this week at London's Old Bailey courthouse, where he faces more than a dozen charges include inciting terrorism and racial hatred. Al-Masri was formerly the imam at a North London mosque linked to confessed alQaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a U.S.-bound flight from Europe with explosives hidden in his shoe. He also is wanted in the United States and Yemen on terror -related charges. For years before his May 2004 arrest al-Masri used the Finsbury Park mosque as a base to speak for what he insisted were political causes. Despite his radical rhetoric and close links to a group that claimed responsibility for

attacks including the Oct. 20 00 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, it was only in 2003 that the authorities acted against him, stripping him of his British citizenship and barring him from preaching at the mosque. Al-Masri then took to addressing his followers -- mostly young British- and foreignborn Muslims -- on the street outside the building. Britain also detained another London -based extremist cleric, Abu Qatada, whose sermons were found in the 9/11 hijackers' apartment in Germany. But other radical leaders remained free, among them Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian-born cleric who has promoted and praised violence against Israel, America and Britain for years. Yael Shahar of the Israel -based International Policy Institute for Counter -Terrorism (ICT) said that although London had b een a center for Islamic extremism for years, the British security services only started taking the threat seriously after 9/11. Before that, Shahar said, "the firebrand clerics who preached jihad and hatred of the West were dismissed as 'armchair warrior s' by British intelligence." Even since 9/11, however, critics have questioned Britain's apparent tolerance for highly-controversial Muslim figures. As recently as last year, the government allowed a visit by Yusuf al -Qaradawi, a Egyptian cleric who has publicly voiced support for suicide bombers. London's leftwing Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has called al -Qaradawi a "man of peace," welcomed him as an honored guest.
Exploiting democracy

In 2000, Bakri told Cybercast News Service in an interview: "We will use your democracy to destroy your democracy." Britain's legal system and its willingness late last century to offer asylum to figures like Bakri, al-Masri and Abu Qatada made it a magnet for exiled radical organizations. "In the past decade, the United Kingdom's undisputed political, economic, and cultural center has also become a major world center of political Islam and anti Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American activism," writes Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Robert S. Wistrich, in online excerpts of an article to be published soon. "Through its Arabic-language newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses, not to mention its flourishing network of bookshops, mosques, and community centers, radical Islam has taken full advantage of what Bri tish democracy has to offer for its anti-Western goals, reaping the benefits of London's significance as a hub of global finance, electronic media, and mass communications technology."

Osama bin Laden himself laid the groundwork for a London -based network, according to terrorism researcher Yossef Bodansky. In his biography on bin Laden, written before 9/11, Bodansky wrote that the al Qaeda leader based himself in the London suburb of Wembley in 1994. By the time he left, after the Saudis began demanding h is expulsion, "he had consolidated a comprehensive system of entities" in the city. In Nov. 1998, Bakri hosted a conference in London called Western Challenge and Islamic Response, attended by more than a dozen extremist groups. At the gathering, Bakri voiced support for Osama bin Laden's jihad and said recent anti U.S. attacks such as those in Saudi Arabia and East Africa were "legitimate acts." Following 9/11, Bakri was one of the first Islamist figures to publicly applaud the attacks. Since then he has spoken often of his support for violent jihad, even admitting to signing up recruits for Islamist campaigns in places like Kashmir and Israel. A number of governments -- including those of India, Algeria, Sri Lanka and Egypt -have long complained abou t the presence in Britain of groups connected to violent campaign in those countries. Extremists recruited in Britain for terrorist acts abroad include "shoe bomber" Reid, eight men involved in kidnappings in Yemen, and two men who carried out a deadly suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in 2003. Bakri insisted that fighters were never recruited to carry out violent acts inside Britain itself, although he did say it was his dream to see the Islamic banner flying over Downing Street. After the fall of the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan in late 2001, a member of Bakri's organization, Hassan Butt, told the BBC from Pakistan that British Muslim volunteers who had been fighting in Afghanistan would return to Britain where they would "strike at the hear t of the enemy." In an interview with a Portuguese magazine in April 2004, Bakri said attacks on London were "inevitable." One "very well organized" group in London called itself al -Qaeda Europe, he said. "I know that they are ready to launch a big opera tion."

THE BOMBINGS IN LONDON Diligent, Tolerant, Targeted London has a reputation as both a bastion in the war on terrorism and a haven for extremists. By Greg Miller and Ken Silverstein Times Staff Writers July 10, 2005

LONDON ² The bombings in London last week may mark the first strike by Osama bin Laden's terrorist network on a city that had already served as a catalyst and crossroads for Al Qaeda operatives involved in plots targeting the United States and other nations. Radical members of London's large Muslim population have been linked to a series of plots, including the Sept. 11 attacks, the attempted shoe bombing of a transatlantic flight to Miami in December 2001 and last year's deadly train bombings in Madrid. When Washington raised th e U.S. threat level last August, it was after authorities acquired evidence that an Al Qaeda operative captured in Britain had conducted extensive surveillance of targets in the U.S., including Citigroup Center in New York and the World Bank offices in Was hington. One of the suspect's aliases was "Al Britani." And though Britain has passed aggressive anti -terrorism measures in recent years, allies have been frustrated by the country's seeming inability to detain or extradite Islamic firebrands. Spanish off icials, for example, have criticized Britain for its refusal to extradite an extremist cleric known as Abu Qatada, described by a Spanish judge as Al Qaeda's spiritual leader in Europe. As a result, Britain's counter-terrorism approach is described in som ewhat contradictory terms. U.S. officials and experts praise the country's cooperation and capabilities, even while describing London as a haven for extremists. "It's the paradox of the United Kingdom," said Roger Cressey, a former White House counter-terrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. In Britain, Cressey said, "you have some of the most sophisticated law enforcement and intelligence operations. At the same time, London is easily the most important jihadist hub in Western Europe." The classic trade-off between intelligence work and crime prevention also played a role in thwarting efforts to combat attacks. Britain's powerful spy agencies found North London's Finsbury Park Mosque a valuable surveillance post for watching Al Qaeda's web of contacts despite complaints of investigators in mainland Europe that London was a headquarters for directing attacks elsewhere, experts say.

Authorities have not yet determined who was responsible for Thursday's bombings. A group calling itself the Secret Organization of Al Qaeda in Europe claimed responsibility on a website. And investigators are increasingly focused on a theory that the strikes were the work of a homegrown terrorist cell that, at the least, was inspired by Al Qaeda. British authorities disclosed Saturday that the three subway bombs went off within seconds of one another, suggesting a level of sophistication and coordination that has become a hallmark of Al Qaeda's attacks. London's reputation as a haven for Islamic radicals has e merged over more than a decade, fueled by policies that included granting asylum to Muslim dissidents who were likely to be prosecuted in their home countries. Saad Faqih, the controversial head of the London -based Saudi opposition group Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, praised the British government and people for being "very, very tolerant." Faqih is precisely the kind of dissident who has benefited from London's policies; he would be jailed in Saudi Arabia, and Washington considers him a terrorist . But in London, he runs a radio station and lives and works freely. In an interview, he said the tolerant British were finally attacked to force them to divorce themselves from Washington. "They [the attackers] wanted to send a message, not just to Engla nd but to all of Europe, to disassociate itself from America," Faqih said. Among radicals tolerated and even granted citizenship in Britain is Abu Hamza al Masri, who openly celebrated the destruction of the World Trade Center and preached hatred of the W est from Finsbury Park Mosque ² all while living on social welfare payments. The British government incarcerated him last year and is now trying to revoke his citizenship, which could lead to his extradition to the United States, where he is under an 11-count indictment charging him with terrorism -related crimes. But other foreign radicals deemed dangerous by the government were released from prison after Britain's highest court ruled late last year that foreigners considered a security risk could not be imprisoned indefinitely without trial, a major setback to an emergency anti-terrorism law put in place by Prime Minister Tony Blair's government after Sept. 11. Lord Leonard Hoffman, one of the judges on the court, said at the time that the law itself might constitute more of a threat to the British way of life than terrorism. "It calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has until now been very proud: freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention," he wrote. Even those wanted by other nations for alleged involvement in terrorist attacks have sought protection from Britain's legal system. Mohammed Gerbouzi was convicted in absentia in Morocco for his role in planning the May 2003 suicide bombings that killed 45 people in Casablanca. But the British government does not have an

extradition treaty with Morocco and has refused to turn over Gerbouzi, who lives in an apartment in north London. Britain's approximately 2 million Muslims represent nearly 4% of the country's population. The vast majority live in its capital city, earning it the derisive nickname Londonistan. Only a small fraction of the nation's Muslims are considered radical, but even so, British counter-terrorism officials say the number of Al Qaeda sympathize rs exceeds 10,000. While France has been more aggressive in deporting imams who preach violence, Britain has traditionally considered even the most vitriolic rhetoric protected speech. As a result, the city has been a haven to radical imams whose mosques were frequented by followers who went on to play key roles in Al Qaeda plots. One of those who attended Al Masri's Finsbury Park Mosque was Zacarias Moussaoui, who faces charges in the United States in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Another extremist who frequented the mosque was Richard Reid, convicted in the United States of trying to ignite a bomb in his shoe on a Paris -to-Miami flight in 2001. The country's ability to identify extremists and potential terrorists within its Muslim population is complicated by extraordinary diversity. Moussaoui is a French citizen of Moroccan descent. Reid is a British citizen of Jamaican background. Other disrupted plots have involved operatives from Pakistan, Algeria and elsewhere. "You can't even profile the demographic characteristics of the potential bombers, given the diversity of the network in Britain," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Rand Corp. in Washington. "You have this wide array of potential suspects, not just stereotypical Middle Easterners." Hoffman said one factor that might help explain why the United States has escaped attack since Sept. 11 is that "we don't have this radical infrastructure that has existed in Britain for many years. We don't have a Finsbury Park Mosque." Before last week, Britain's accommodation of radical Muslims had been seen by some as a source of protection ² a belief that radical imams would not encourage violence against a country that allowed them to live in peace. But any such balance, tacit or otherwise, m ay now be shattered. Muslim officials and experts had suggested that an attack in London was inevitable, given the building anger among young recruits, especially after the government's support for Washington's war in Iraq. "We have been warning the gover nment for two years that it put the country in danger" by supporting the Iraq war, said Azzam Tamimi, a senior member of the Muslim Assn. of Britain. "We hoped nothing like this would happen, but unfortunately it has. There will always be crazy people who do things like this." Others have speculated that the attacks last week were an attempt to shatter any

unspoken arrangement between the British government and radical Muslims. An Italian law enforcement official said in a telephone interview Saturday that he believed the bombings might have been carried out by a new generation of homegrown jihadists who do not respect tacit deals struck by their elders. British security agencies have thwarted at least half a dozen plots on Heathrow Airport and other prominent targets in recent years. And despite Britain's internal threats, experts said the country in some ways has better defenses than the United States and other allied nations. Britain's intelligence and law enforcement agencies are seen as more integrate d than the far-flung federal, state and local agencies of the U.S., leading to better intelligence-sharing, experts said. Britain also has long-standing experience combating terrorism as a result of its conflict with the Irish Republican Army. "British intelligence has a phenomenal track record" of preventing terrorist attacks, said Daniel Byman, director of the security studies program at Georgetown University and a former CIA analyst. "But you can't expect perfection." Miller reported from Washington an d Silverstein from London. Also contributing to this report were Times staff writers Tracy Wilkinson and John Daniszewski in London and Sebastian Rotella in New York.

UK Muslim Cleric Blames British People For Bombings July 23, 2005 12:39 p.m. EST Douglas Maher - All Headline News Staff Reporter

London, England (AHN) - Although he receives government annually and is currently claiming weekly income support, a British Muslim cleric says the citizens of Great Britain got what they deserved with the recent bombings that ravaged the city of London. Omar Bakri Mohammed, 45, was borin in Syria, but resides in northern London. His assistant cleric, Anjem Choudary, says, ³Nobody has yet pointed the finger at Tony Blair for his nasty policies in Iraq. If they cont inue the same foreign policy, we can expect more of the same." Mohammed says, "I blame the British government and the British people. The Government has said, µYou are with us or with terrorism¶. I don¶t think that is the way forward. The British people sh owed Tony Blair full support when they elected him again after he waged the latest Iraq war.´ He continues by saying, ³We¶re going to incite people to do jihad (Holy War). We will conquer the White House. It will be no surprise that we will be in charge an d Muslims will control the earth. Let your death occur in the battlefield. If you make yourself available to Jihad, He will accept you as Shaheed (a martyr).´

British politicians and citizens are calling for Mohammed's immediate deportation back to Syria. Labour MP Andrew Dismore tells The Sun, ³His presence is not conducive to the public good.´

Muslim Murderers: Kill British Queen by J. Grant Swank, Jr. Nov 14, 2005

The Queen of England is "an enemy of Islam," according to Al -Qaeda. She, like all other infidels, must be slain. According to "Mohammad Sidique Khan, ringleader of the London bombings that killed 52 commuters from Mohammad Sidique Khan, ringleader of the London bombings that killed 52 commuters," all non -Muslims must be slaughtered. That is reported by Abul Taher in Times On Line. Khan states: "'It is very clear, brothers and sisters, that the path of jihad and the desire for martyrdom is embedded in the holy prophet and his beloved companions. "'By preparing ourselves for this kind of work, w e are guaranteeing ourselves for paradise and gaining the pleasure of Allah. "'And by turning our back on this work, we are guaranteeing ourselves humiliation and the anger of Allah. Jihad is an obligation on every single one of us, men and women.'" There you have it. It is the Islamic call to worldwide rule in the name of the Koran's Allah. In order to rule, Muslims must have no planetary inhabitants but themselves, cowardly Muslims excluded by being executed along with the non -Muslims. This Khan mandate is stated in the context of cowardly Muslims in England giving allegiance to the Queen rather than bowing down solely to the Islamic deity. That is abhorrent to the likes of Khan; therefore, the Muslims now residing in England must be taught a lesson. The y must fall in line with killing off non -Muslims, which would include the Queen, and thus set up Islamic rule in all of England. The Queen must go. Allah must rule from her throne in her place. Al-Qaeda has gone so far as to state that the Queen is the "severest enemy of Islam." This is broadcast in a video message "justifying the July bombings in London." Here and there across the globe, insane Muslims are corralling their own cultists into killing off the masses. These crazies then move into such Musli m nations as Jordan to press the point. They move into a Muslim wedding feast to underline their ambition as being supreme.

This is World War III. It is held in various unpredictable locales. It is seen through by warriors dressed in wedding attendees' ga rb. It is a whole different mode of combat. Nevertheless, it is just as real and deadly. Finally, with the Jordanian massacre, the Muslims leaders such as the Jordanian King are castigating their own. It is time, long overdue time. Far past real -time in real-life. Nevertheless, peace-peoples are happy that at last somebody belonging to the Islamic clique is speaking out against Islamic killers international. Time will tell if their voices increase in volume and number. Don't count on it being a wild surge for peace. Nevertheless, in these confusing times anything is possible. Obviously with the Queen of England under attack, every democracy leader of every freedom-based country is under attack. It is merely a matter of time until there is an assassination and then a number of them dominoing the hellish craze of Islamic slaughterers who thrill at blood in the streets. That is why France is wise to inform the public that Muslim rioters will be deported promptly. The British lawmakers were amiss in not support ing British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his efforts to corral the social destroyers by putting them away for at least a 90-day period while investigations were undergoing. The United States has been walking the fine line in not wanting to incite Muslim ri ots and at the same time having the President refer to Islam as "an ideology of hate." Blair has called it an "evil ideology." Yet on the other hand, Mr. Bush placed the Koran in the White House library for the first time at which time he invited Muslims t o a dinner in the White House. Laura Bush met in another room with Muslim women to celebrate the occasion. So it appears that national leaders don't know what to do to stave off the Muslim killers. They placate them. They threaten them. They deport them. T hey tolerate them. They pat them on the back. They smile at them. They scowl at them. All the while the Queen sits upon her throne - in danger.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK! Angry Blair wants Muslim radicals out

August 6, 2005

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed strict anti -terror measures Friday that would allow Britain to expel foreigners who preach hatred, close extremist mosques and bar entry to Muslim radicals. ''The rules of the game are changing'' after last month's bomb attacks, he declared. The proposals, which also target extremist Web sites and bookshops, are aimed at excluding radical Islamic clerics accused of whipping up hatred and violence among disenfranchised Muslim men. ''We are angry. We are angry about extremism and about what they are doing to our country, angry about their abuse of our good nature,'' Blair said. ''We welcome people here who share our values and our way of life. But don't meddle in extremism because if you meddle in it ... you are going back out again.'' Also Friday, police charged three men with failing to disclose information about the whereabouts of a suspect in the failed July 21 London bomb attacks. Police did not name the suspect. The wife and sister -in-law of Hamdi Issac, a suspected July 21 attacker, face similar charges, as does another man. The July 7 suicide attacks on London's transit system and the failed July 21 attacks raised fresh concern about the freedoms Britain offers to individuals and groups known for extremist activities. Blair said the focus of the proposals was on foreigners because authorities think ''the ideological drive and push is coming from the outside.'' Some members of Britain's 1.8 million -strong Muslim community expressed concern that moderate Muslims would be subjected to new prejudices and restrictions.
Closing the door to militants

Britain has been criticized for lagging its neighbors in responding to terrorism. Since last month's attacks, France has expelled two extremist Muslim prayer leaders and plans to ship home eight others. Italian authorities deported eight Palestinian imams. Blair said the government was prepared to amend human rights legi slation if legal challenges to his proposals proved insurmountable. Under the proposals, anyone who preaches hatred or violence could be deported, those linked to terrorism would be automatically refused asylum, and steps would be taken to make it easier to strip naturalized citizens of their British citizenship if they preached violence.

The government also will consider a request from police and security services to hold terror suspects for three months without charge. The limit is 14 days. The measures also would extend the use of home arrest for Britons who cannot be deported. New powers would be created to allow the closure of mosques that foment extremism. Authorities will draw up lists of radical preachers who will not be allowed to enter Britain, and a list of radical Web sites and bookstores. Any foreigner who '' actively engages'' with those places could face deportation. Membership in extremist Islamic groups would also become a crime. AP

Islamic extremist rally calling for Islamic Britain is banned Thursday, 17th November 2005, 14:31

LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) - Leaflets showing a Muslim fighter holding a rocket launcher outside 10 Downing Street are being probed by detectives amid claims they are linked to exiled preacher of hate Sheikh Omar Bakri. The sickening pamphlets shows a black Islamic flag flying over Pa rliament and invite people to a rally in east London. But shocked council officials and police discovered that the hall booked for the meeting was made under a false name apparently to celebrate the religious festival of Eid. And officers revealed that t he man behind the meeting is Abdul Muhid, a leading member of the Saviour Sect set up by Omar Bakri after his group Al -Muhajiroun was disbanded. The group has justified the suicide terror attacks on July 7 in which 52 people were murdered as they were not innocent because they did not follow Islamic law. The group had booked a community centre in Walthamstow claiming they wanted to celebrate the religious festival of Eid, but the leaflets declared "it is only a short matter of time before the black flag o f Islam flies high above 10 Downing Street." Muhid, 23, has twice been arrested over violence at rallies over the past year and now faces a police probe into the distribution of the flyers. The leaflet for the banned rally on November 6 which was to have been held at The Asian Centre in Walthamstow had the headline "Islamic State for Britain. There can be no negotiations."

The leaflets go on to claim with 2,000 mosques, countless Madrassahs, Muslim Schools, Halal butchers and restaurants up and down the country, "Britain is already on the verge of becoming an Islamic State." "The revival of Islamic awareness amongst the Muslims in the UK is at its fastest pace and more and more Muslims and non -Muslims are realising that there can be no negotiations with Islam, no negotiations with the implementation of the Khalafah and the Shari'ah law, it is an absolute inevitable." Muhid, from Stoke Newington, east London, was last arrested when he was part of a group of 50 men using loud hailers to berate passer -bys in Southall on May 1 this year. When police arrived to disperse the group, a scuffle broke out with some of the supporters. He was arrested for violent disorder and assaulting a police officer in Chingford on July 13 and quizzed, but charges were dropped because of lack of evidence. And he was arrested for inciting racial hatred after a man complained of homophobic and racist comments made when Muhid was in a group of eight manning a religious stall in Walthamstow on September 14 last year. He appeared at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court and bailed, but again charges were dropped by the CPS. A police source said: "Muhid is always in possession of the leaflets and he has only ever been seen with a loudhailer or distributing the leaflets at market stalls. We don't know if he is making them but we assume he is because he is always at the centre of things." A police spokeswoman confirmed the group was now under investigation over the controversial flyers. She said: "The first we heard about the event was f rom the council on October 23.The Asian Centre was booked for 2.30pm on Sunday November 6 and the booking was subsequently cancelled. "An investigation is on-going into the printing and distribution of the leaflets but at this stage there has been no arre sts." A Waltham Forest spokeswoman said: "A booking had been made at the Asian Centre for a private party to celebrate Eid. "In light of new information, the Council acted responsibly and cancelled the booking. It is clear that the centre was misled ove r the details of the booking and what is planned is a rally that is open to the public. "Waltham Forest has a long history of good community relations and the Council takes it duty to promote good relations between people of different racial groups

seriously. "We became very concerned that allowing this event to go ahead could lead to a breakdown in community relations. "It is a testament to the close partnership working that exists in the borough that this information was identified and was quickly a cted on by both the Police and the Council."

Blair¶s ban fails to silence Muslim preachers of hate ABUL TAHER The Sunday Times November 20, 2005

ISLAMIC extremists are targeting British Muslims with violent Al -Qaeda propaganda, in defiance of Tony Blair¶s announcement four months ago that he would clamp down on preachers of hate. London-based foreign extremists are using websites to post video foo tage of suicide operations and attacks by insurgents against coalition forces in Iraq. There are also postings of the execution of Russian soldiers by mujaheddin rebels in Chechnya. There is growing exasperation among the Saudi authorities about the gover nment¶s apparent reluctance to tackle two Saudi citizens who are responsible for some of the most blatant incitement. Muhammad al-Massari, a London-based Saudi extremist, has been allowing the forum pages of his website ² ² to be used by terrorist groups. They include Al-Qaeda in Iraq, headed by Abu Musab al -Zarqawi, who was responsible for the murder of Ken Bigley, the British hostage. A second Saudi, Saad al-Fagih, uses his website and satellite radio broadcasts to incite an uprising aga inst the House of Saud. Ferej Alowedi, the Saudi chargé d¶affaires in London, said: ³We have been requesting the British authorities to have them extradited. We can give written assurance that we will not execute or torture them.´ Last week The Sunday Times disclosed that al-Massari¶s website carried an attack on the Queen as one of the ³severest enemies of Islam´ from Ayman al -Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden¶s second in command. This was in defiance of a declaration by Blair that the ³rules of the game´ were c hanging. He said after the London bombings: ³The new grounds [for deportation] will include fostering hatred, advocating violence to further a person¶s beliefs, or justifying or validating such existence.´ Yet al-Massari¶s website, which was shut down in May, has returned and has messages that incite Muslims to join the global jihad, and glorify the Al -Qaeda attack in Amman that left at least 60 people dead on November 9.

The Saudi dissident advocates the beheading of homosexuals and describes the September 11 attacks as the ³blessed conquest in New York and Washington´. Al Massari was not available for comment. In his response to the terrorist killing of 52 commuters on July 7, Blair also announced that the radical group Hizb ut -Tahrir and the offshoots of Al-Muhajiroun would be banned. He said: ³Those that. . . incite hatred or engage in violence against our country and its people have no place here.´ A few days after his announcement, 10 foreign preachers were arrested. They are in police custody awaiting court hearings about their deportations. But, more than four months later, Hizb ut -Tahrir remains active and is lobbying Muslims to challenge the new anti -terror legislation. Al-Ghuraaba and the Saviour Sect, two offshoots of Al -Muhajiroun, which had kept a low profile since the summer, announced on Friday that they had merged into a stronger organisation. The new group ² Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah (ASWJ) [Followers of the Prophet] ² is headed by Anjem Choudary, who was second in command to the cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed before Al-Muhajiroun disbanded early this year. Bakri is in Lebanon now. Although he was widely thought to be the first cleric to be deported after Blair¶s announcement, he managed to slip out of Britain in August. At a press conference this weekend, the leaders of ASWJ mocked Blair¶s efforts to ban them. Abu Izzedine, also known as Omar Brooks and a prominent member, said: ³Blair decided to ban us almost a year after we disbanded. The British government is one of the worst governments on the planet.´ He previously said of the London bombings: ³I would never denounce the bombings, even if my own family was to suffer, because we always stand with the Muslims, regardless of the consequences.´ Another member of ASWJ, Abu Yahya, denounced the Queen. He sai d: ³The Queen is enemy to Islam and Muslims. We see in reality her actions all around the earth, her forces, army, navy, her air force bombing, destroying Muslims, killing our families, destroying our properties and occupying our land.

The Untouchable: how Abu Hamza was allowed to preach hate as authority looked the other way

Time and time again British officials were given evidence of the radical cleric's involvement in terrorism, but nothing was done to stop him. The following is the final extract from the The Suicide Factory The Times June 01, 2006

NO ONE seemed willing to take responsibility for tackling the Abu Hamza problem. Government departments pointed the finger of blame at one another; politicians complained that the police and the spymasters did not investigate him properly; Scotland Yard moaned about MI5 and vice -versa. Detectives felt that the Crown Prosecution Service let them down; the CPS moaned that the court system was stacked against them. The judges retorted that they did not make the laws; if anyone was to blame it was the civil servants and politicians at Westminster. The blame game went round and round as Tony Blair banged the table in exasperation. Every chance there had been to pursue Abu Hamza seemed to have been missed, wasted or blocked. For more than twenty years there had been a catalogue of bureaucratic foul -ups and a lack of resolve by the British au thorities to tackle him, even when presented with a clear opportunity to do so. The first occasion was in 1980, when Abu Hamza was arrested as an illegal immigrant and brought before the courts for overstaying his visa. Had his case been subjected to a proper investigation, potential offences under the Marriage Act, the Births and Deaths Registration Act and the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act could have been discovered. But the validity of his marriage to Valerie Traverso and the truth about his claim to be the father of her baby daughter were not examined. He came to the attention of the police again in the mid -1980s, when his bullying behaviour began to alarm the imams and trustees of a number of mosques. Members of the Muslim community in Brighton approached Sussex police, and at Regent¶s Park mosque in London trustees took court ac tion to keep him away from the building. When he returned from Afghanistan and Bosnia in the mid -1990s there was further trouble in Luton. But he was left to carry on with his activities and to seize control at Finsbury Park. Abdulkadir Barkatullah, one of the management committee ousted by Abu Hamza, said he and community representatives went to the police seven times to complain about assaults and extremist activities inside the mosque. No action was taken.

The Prime Minister had urged the Muslim commu nity to do more about the scourge of extremism within its own ranks but, Barkatullah said, ³When we did do precisely that with Abu Hamza, we were ignored.´ If those who raised the alarm at home were overlooked, then foreign intelligence agencies were discounted. Those of France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands all accused Abu Hamza of being the ringmaster of a terrorist operation. The French and the Algerians had spies inside the mosque, and were horrified at what they uncovered. Egypt wanted to swap a British prisoner for Abu Hamza. All shared their findings with Whitehall, but nothing happened. Senior sources now admit that the British response was coloured by a belief that the French were wildly over-reacting to the Islamist threat. These same sources agree that Britain underestimated the real menace of Abu Hamza, and did not devote enough resources to investigating his network until 9/11 jolted every Western power. It seems a lame excuse that British security authorities needed to se e skyscrapers collapsing in New York to realise the danger of Islamic fundamentalists, when they had damning proof of Abu Hamza¶s direct involvement with terrorists in Yemen in 1998, when he had bought a satellite phone and supplied £500 of airtime for the kidnappers of 16 Western holidaymakers. Irrefutable evidence of his calls to and from the kidnappers¶ leader was gathered by GCHQ, the British Government¶s intelligence listening post. But in Britain telephone intercept evidence cannot be produced as evi dence in the criminal courts. A leading counter-terrorism investigator says today that he has no doubt that were such evidence admissible, Abu Hamza would have been prosecuted for his role in the Yemen abductions and deaths. Scotland Yard did send a file to the CPS in March 1999, but it was rejected, marked ³insufficient evidence´. The FBI thought differently. To Whitehall¶s embarrassment, American investigators have announced that they will use the evidence harvested by GCHQ and other British agencies should they get the chance to prosecute Abu Hamza in the US. The tragic events in Yemen did lead to Abu Hamza¶s brief arrest for four days in March 1999. His home was thoroughly searched, and a large number of audio and video recordings of his sermons were confiscated. They included three videotapes of sermons that would be held in cou rt seven years later as amounting to the offence of ³soliciting to murder´. But at the time, the police took no action. In one recording, Abu Hamza told his followers that they had to fight, kill and die, because ³no drop of liquid is loved by Allah more than the liquid of blood´. Detectives, who say they were focusing on the Yemen investigation, decided that no offence had been committed. The content of the sermons formed no part of their report to the CPS, and the tapes were returned to Abu Hamza ² who in turn insists

that he took this as a clear signal that nothing he was saying could be deemed to be illegal. Also taken from him in that search in 1999 were the eleven volumes of the Encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad. Seven years later these would be descri bed to an Old Bailey jury as a terrorist manual. They, too, were returned. The police signalled their concern about his activities by permanently confiscating two passports found in his home during the raid. One, in his own name, had expired; the second, in the name Adam Ramsey Eaman, had been used by Abu Hamza to travel to Bosnia, where he met Arab mujahidin fighters in 1995. No prosecution ensued from his possession of this document, because he obtained it legally after changing his name by deed poll. If Abu Hamza used sleight of hand to change his identity, others at the mosque engaged in naked fraud to purloin identities and money, and to falsify benefit claims. Surely someone should have thought it strange that so many young men, of similar ages, were turning up with near-identical claims for welfare and housing, and using the same address? Islamist militants were jailed for massive credit card frauds which could be traced back to Finsbury Park, but Abu Hamza was not even questioned. The British authorities were clearly aware that he was involved in fundraising for terrorism ² not least because he confessed it to his contacts in the intelligence services. Some of his emissaries were stopped leaving Britain carrying large amounts of money. James Ujaama, who has struck a deal to testify against Abu Hamza in the US, was questioned at Heathrow airport with a suitcase full of cash days before the 9/11 attacks. He told officials that he was flying to Pakistan and then crossing into Afghanistan to deliver the funds for the establishment of a Taliban school. US investigators claim to have obtained further evidence that Abu Hamza was directly bankrolling al-Qaeda¶s Darunta camp, which specialised in explosives and poisons training and where the shoe bomber, Rich ard Reid, and others from Finsbury Park were sent. But he was never charged with financing terrorism. Abu Hamza was not simply a fundraiser for terrorist camps. He provided a production line of recruits for al -Qaeda and others to train as jihadi fighters and suicide bombers. In the camps, his name was well -known; he was someone who could refer candidates to the highest echelons of al -Qaeda¶s leadership. When Ujaama fell ill on a visit to Afghanistan he was treated by Dr Ayman al -Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden¶s personal physician and second -in-command of al-Qaeda. British law enforcement agencies say they knew about Abu Hamza¶s activities, but were powerless to stop him. It was not until late 2001, when the controversial Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act was passed into law, that sending someone abroad to undergo terrorist training and instruction became a criminal offence. Yet even after the new laws were introduced, Abu Hamza¶s followers continued to disappear off to camps run by outlawed groups, and still nobody in authority laid a finger on him.

David Blunkett, out of government since November 2005 and with time to reflect on his stewardship of the fight against terrorism, believes that the sinister nature of Abu Hamza was not appreciated. ³There was still an assumption when I took office as Home Secretary (in 2001) that he was a bigmouth and was worth tracking but wasn¶t at the centre of events,´ he says. Blunkett is angry to have learnt since that the intelligence services never showed him ³the detailed trail´ of networks, the personal history and the high -level contacts that would have indicated that Abu Hamza was ³a real threat and a danger´. He freely admits that the British authorities at all levels were nervous about taking action against Abu Hamza. They saw the preacher not as a terrorist suspect but as an outspoken religious leader of a minority faith, and feared that any action against him would be labelled as Islamophobic and an abuse of human rights. ³It is clear that for all sorts of reasons there was a reluctance in our society to believe that it was possible for a faith to be misused in that way,¶ says Blunkett, adding: ³It is also clear now that there were opportunities for having taken action. By putting the jigsaw together, it is possibl e for us to realise that this man was a danger.´ Before 2001, no one considered that Islamist terror was a threat to Britain, and up until that year the anti -terrorist effort in the UK was still directed at fighting dissident elements of Irish republicanism. It is easily forgotten now, but the Real IRA waged a destructive bombing campaign in London during 2000 and 2001. Just five weeks before 9/11 a Real IRA car bomb exploded on Ealing Broadway, west London, injuring several people. American investigators were aghast at how Abu Hamza was treated. They were sick of handing information to British agencies only to see him being allowed to continue preaching hatred in front of the cameras. One senior official in the US Department of Justice said: ³We just did not understand what was going on in London. We wondered to ourselves whether he was an MI5 informer, or was there some secret the British were not trusting us with? He seemed untouchable.´ Exasperated US security agencies decided tha t if Britain were not going to act, then they would. Hence the warrant handed over by FBI agents stationed at the US embassy in Grosvenor Square in May 2004. Some in the British Government continued to dither. Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney -General, thought it would look bad for Britain to surrender a British citizen to the Americans without making any effort to try him in Britain. This argument won the day. Britain would not hand Abu Hamza over if it could be proven that he had committed serious crimes her e. The police were instructed to build a case, and to do it swiftly. The obvious place to look again for evidence was in the thousands of recordings of his sermons recovered in the search of his home in 1999.

In August 2004, Abu Hamza was formally arrest ed inside Belmarsh jail and taken across London to be interviewed at Paddington Green police station. Two months later he was charged with using his sermons to incite murder and stir up racial hatred. His lawyers pointed out that police had examined some o f this evidence before and handed it back to him. He himself said: ³If I was not already in prison, I would have laughed.´ America wanted to put Abu Hamza on trial for recruiting, financing and directing terrorism, charges that could see him jailed for up to a hundred years. But British prosecutors chose to intervene and to accuse him of lesser offences, mostly under a century-and-a-half-old statute. The central charge was that he had crossed the boundaries of freedom of expression ² the criminal equivalent of ignoring a ³Keep off the grass´ sign. Somehow Britain managed to make it look as if Abu Hamza was getting off lightly.

Riots over mosque on the Queen's doorstep

06/10/06 By David Pilditch THE QUEEN¶s home town was gripped by fear last night as war erupted between rival gangs of race-hate thugs. Extra officers were called in and riot police placed on stand -by as mobs of Muslim and white youths prepared for a fourth consecutive night of violence in the royal town of Windsor in Berkshire. The Queen usually spends weekends at Windsor Castle and no decision has yet been made over whether she will change her plans. In unprecedented scenes of mayhem and disorder in the historic town, armed gangs of more than 100 youths have fought running battles in the streets. A Muslim-run dairy which wants to build a mosque has been petrol -bombed and vehicles have been vandalised. The outbreak of disorder began after a mother and her daughter were set upon by a gang of 20 Asian youths armed with baseball bats, iron b ars and pitchforks. The shaven-headed thugs ± all dressed in white robes ± launched the attack after pouring out of a former office building which is being used as an unofficial mosque. They attacked Karen Hayes, 46, and her 18 -year-old daughter Emily before turning their weapons on the teenager¶s car. The pair had gone to help after Karen¶s 15 year-old son Sean and a friend were beaten up by the gang. Police have said it is unlikely the mob will be brought to justice.

As dusk fell last night, gangs of ho oded white youths began to gather outside the dairy entrance. With scarves wrapped around their mouths to hide their identity, the teenage boys insisted they were the victims of the unrest. One 17-year-old youth said: "The Asians have got no respect for us. What they normally do is start on the kids." Meanwhile, scores of Asian youths marched through the streets chanting "We are getting our mosque". Three police riot vans swooped on the 40 -strong mob of white youths. As a stand-off developed between the teenagers and Muslim workers at the gates of the Medina dairy, around 30 officers moved in. Police stopped and searched gang members, making them remove the scarves covering their faces and asked them to disperse, which the majority of them did. Dairy manager Sikander Khan said it felt a little like being under siege. "We have all these lorries to load up and we feel intimidated with them here." Locals said tensions had been growing between residents and staff at the dairy for months. Three arrests have been made since this week¶s violence began. Problems started after Sardar Hussain, who bought the dairy in 2002, applied for planning permission to turn a nearby office building into a mosque and Islamic education centre. Official permission has not been given but workers have been using the building for prayers. And locals insist it is already attracting a hard -core element of fundamentalists. People opposing the conversion claim there are not enough Muslims in Windsor to warrant a mosque. There are said to be around 500 Muslims in a town with a population of more than 30,000. Staff at the dairy say they have faced verbal abuse, their cars have been damaged and stones, bricks and bottles have been thrown at the buildings. Mr Hussain, who came to Britain from Pakistan in 1973, insisted the attacks which provoked the disorder were not connected to his plan for a mosque. He said: "I am disappointed this is happening. This is the Queen¶s town. I like to see this town in peace and quiet. I like to see everyb ody get on with their lives. "We are providing a service to the community. I feel safe because I am in the hands of God but I feel sad this has happened in the Queen¶s town." Chief Superintendent Brian Langston, of Thames Valley Police, said: "The type o f behaviour shown over the past few evenings will not be tolerated by police. "We will not allow any section of the community to be intimidated by mindless

violence. All reported incidents are being investigated as serious criminal activity. "Three arrests have already been made and we will continue to use robust policing tactics to deal with anyone threatening public safety." Last week it was revealed that the Queen had allowed a Muslim prayer room to be set up at Windsor Castle. Nagina Chaudhry, a stud ent who works part-time in the castle¶s gift shop, won approval from Her Majesty to pray during Ramadan within the castle walls. Last night Nagina, 19, begged rival gangs to stop the violence. She said: "I believe that if the Queen is willing to accept ot her cultures and religions, then surely Windsor as a town should be equally gracious. "I hope the problem is resolved quickly and peacefully but I believe the mosque should be built as there is no proper place for Muslims in the town to pray." Local councillor Cynthia Endacott said: "I do not think the police have taken a pro -active response to the complaints from residents over the years. "They have been warned that something might happen. I would urge everyone in the community to stay calm." Council leader Mary-Rose Gliksten said: "We have got a long and proud history of our community relations in Windsor and we regret incidents that have happened this week. We will be doing everything to calm the situation." The Rev Louise Brown, who chaired a chaotic public meeting over the dairy¶s planned mosque in 2004, said there were deep-rooted problems which led to the violence. "This is a matter that has been bubbling up. There are issues with the dairy that have never been resolved." Ms Brown, who is vicar of nearby All Saints Church, added: "There is a lot of history and sadly where there is a lot of history, there are problems." Since the Medina dairy moved to the site ± formerly owned by Express Dairies ± it has developed into a 24 hours a day, seven days a week operation. Bitter neighbours say they have had to suffer sleepless nights caused by articulated lorries delivering around the clock. Asian youths are travelling to Windsor from neighbouring towns and there are rumours that people as far away as Bir mingham are planning riots. A petrol bomb made out of a beer bottle was found at the roadside in one of the flashpoint streets. One mother, who wished to be known only as Carol, said: "I have a 17 -year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl and I¶m putting a c urfew on them because I¶m petrified of what might happen. "I have not slept for two nights. The whole community is frightened and these two groups continue to wind each other up. I fear it has gone too far to bring back. Somebody is going to get killed."

There have been reports from across Britain of attacks on Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. On the Isle of Wight an investigation was under way last night after a Muslim prisoner at Parkhurst claimed a warder had defaced his copy of the Koran. Massoud Shadjareh, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission said: "Rude words were written across the page." And last week a pig¶s head was thrown at a mosque during night prayers in Newsport, Gwent. AL QAEDA WAS BEHIND 'PLOT' TO BEHEAD SOLDIER EVENING STANDARD 02.02.07 A foiled plot to kidnap, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier was orchestrated by Al Qaeda, police sources have said. Officers suspect the mastermind behind the appalling attempt to bring the horrors of Baghdad to the streets of Brit ain is a senior Al Qaeda terrorist with close links to Osama Bin Laden. The alleged plan was to abduct a Muslim soldier, mirroring the murders of British hostages Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan. The victim would have been made to plead for his life to Ton y Blair, denounce the war and ultimately be executed - all on film. In a move which would have caused unprecedented terror and revulsion, images of his death would have been posted on the Internet, security sources said. The alleged plot follows an appeal by extreme Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed last summer for fanatics to kidnap a British soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan - branding all Muslims who serve with the coalition troops as "non -believers". A senior security source said: "The plot involved a ruthless gang who regard British Muslim soldiers who serve in Iraq or Afghanistan as traitors for killing fellow Muslims. If they had not found a suitable Muslim soldier to kill, it is quite possible they would have plucked an innocent member of the public off the streets and beheaded him. "They wanted to scare British Muslims into leaving the military and also send a message of revenge to Downing Street for sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan." Other targets could have been civil servants or anyone seen to be collaborating with the Government.

It has emerged that the Ministry of Defence has identified one individual soldier as the most likely potential victim. The man, understood to be a regular soldier rather than a re servist, was said to be in a safe location. Security sources said that at least one other British Muslim - on a hit-list of 25 potential targets - had also been identified as being in "imminent danger". He, too, was being kept safe. It is understood that a tip-off from a trusted informant last summer sparked the dramatic events in Birmingham when nine men suspected of being members of the terror cell were arrested in a series of raids across the city. During a six-month, £10million surveillance operation involving 250 police officers and MI5, cameras, telephone taps and surveillance teams had been used to monitor the group's movements. Officers had hoped to keep the men under surveillance for a further two months to gather further intelligence but sources said the operation was brought forward following "clear indications" that the gang were making final preparations to enact their murderous plan. One said: "Police had no choice but to carry out the arrests." Eight men were arrested in raids at 4am while a ninth was held on a motorway in the afternoon. Those arrested included businessmen, a teacher and a father -of-four on benefits. All are British of Pakistani descent. The nine men were arrested on suspicion of the 'commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism' under the Terrorism Act. The scale of the operation, which involved hundreds of officers, prompted a protest from some local Muslims, who accused police of over -the-top tactics. West Midlands Police said 12 addresses had been seal ed off in the Sparkhill, Washwood Heath, Kingstanding and Edgbaston areas of Birmingham. They included an Islamic bookshop which was co -founded almost a decade ago by Moazzam Begg, who was captured and imprisoned in the Guatanamo Bay camp in Cuba before his controversial return in 2005. Police also searched a grocery store run by a respected Asian businessman. One arrested man was named locally as 29 -year-old Amjad Mahmood. His brother Zair said: "The police won't let me know where he is. His wife and k ids are very distressed. My mother and father are very distressed."

Local councillor Ansar Ali Khan said he had spoken to the father of the arrested man who, he said, was "in shock to know that his son had been arrested". He described him as "a very hard -working businessman", adding: "He has served the community for 30 years and he is proud to be British. He cannot imagine his son having any link to this sort of activity." The brother of Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi, 24, the first British Muslim soldier t o be killed on active duty in Afghanistan, spoke of his fears that his hero brother may have unwittingly inspired the plot. Corporal Hashmi was labelled a "traitor to Islam and professional terrorist" in a vicious internet hate campaign following his deat h. His brother Zeeshan Hashmi, 27, himself a former soldier who is now studying Arabic at Cambridge University, said: "It would have been a horrendous crime had it taken place. My brother would have felt exactly the same." The plot to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier is further evidence that fanatics in Pakistan are actively planning atrocities in Britain, sources said. The London bombings on July 7 2005 and last summer's alleged airline terror plot were both masterminded in Pakistan, investiga tors believe. It is believed anti-terrorist officers are liaising with their counterparts in Pakistan in the hunt for the mastermind of the Birmingham plot. There have been claims that the raids had been exploited by the Government following days of damaging stories about fundraiser Lord Levy, casinos and turmoil in the Home Office. A source at West Midlands Police said: "There is widespread fury that Whiteha ll officials have been briefing sensitive details of this operation. "This terror raid has come at a very convenient time for the Government as it has taken a number of embarrassing stories off the news agenda. "But it must be stressed that the timing of the operation was an independent police decision." "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The ef fects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its gr ace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the

Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force ex ists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome." SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

Muslim Hate in France
France tries Pakistani man for torching woman

Tue Feb 10, 2009 PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - A Pakistani man went on trial in France on Tuesday for setting his ex-girlfriend alight after she refused to marry him, in a case that rights groups are using as as a symbol of violence against women in poor neighbourhoods. Amer Mushtaq Butt, 28, doused Cha hrazade Belayni in petrol and set fire to her on the street as she was leaving her home in the under -privileged Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Marne in 2005. She suffered third-degree burns on 60 percent of her body, fell into a coma and underwent many operations. Belayni, now 21, works for the police. "I want him to pay for what he did, not for my sake but to show other girls who have problems with their partners that it's possible to fight back and the justice system won't abandon them," she told reporters just before the trial opened. Butt fled to Pakistan after the attack on Belayni but returned to France to hand himself in a year later. He has confessed to the attack and blamed it on an obsession with the young woman. He faces a maximum sentence of life in jail. At the start of the trial, the court rejected a request from Belayni that the hearings take place behind closed doors, causing her to burst into tears. Human rights groups such as the prominent "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" ("Neither whores nor submissive women") say violence against women is rife in certain poor communities with high Muslim populations on the outskirts of French cities. The activists say some young Muslim men take out their frustrations about poverty and discrimination on women, dema nding that they cover up according to Islamic tradition. If they refuse, they are considered "whores". (Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Muslim Hate in Germany Germany applies anti-Nazi laws in crackdown on Salafi Islamic groups

German police yesterday targeted two Salafi Islamic groups in what officials say is an investigation into efforts to overthrow the government. By Robert Marquand, Staff writer / December 15, 2010 Christian Science Monitor German authorities hardened a crackdown on Islamic groups yesterday, raiding homes and schools that reportedly bel ong to adherents of fundamentalist Salafi Islam. German officials said the preemptive raids, conducted under German anti -Nazi laws of association, were aimed at uncovering unconstitutional or separatist acts and not part of an international terror hunt. The raids targeted the Islamic Cultural Center of Bremen, on the North Sea, along with a group calling itself Invitation to Paradise in two small northwest German cities. Invitation to Paradise's leader has called for sharia, or Islamic law, to prevail one d ay but has specifically opposed using violence to impose it. While some experts say police overreacted in conducting the raids, German officials have come under great pressure from local media and citizen groups to respond to some Muslim organizations that appear to resist joining mainstream German society. ³These groups are a problem for integration, even maybe for radicalization, though not necessarily for violent jihad. They are very orthodox and like to be separate but are not preaching but usually con demning violence,´ says Alexander Ritzmann, a former Berlin member of parliament now with the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels. ³The problem is that some jihadis in Germany from before identified themselves as Salafi.´ Germany has been on high alert for possible terror attacks since mid-November. The Reichstag parliament building was partially closed to tourists for two weeks following a phone call from a disaffected South Asian jihadist who warned that Islamic militant groups were planning to attack high -profile targets in the nation. Authorities said yesterday's raids were unrelated to the phone warning. The German Interior Ministry said it was investigating efforts by radicals to overthrow the government on theological Islamic grounds. In a statement issued Tuesday, the ministry said that, ³For a well-fortified democracy, it is necessary and demanded, without waiting for the jihad to occur in the form of armed struggle, to take action against anti-constitutional organizations.´

A leader of Invitation to Paradise, Pierre Vogel, has been a lightening rod in Germany for some time now. He's a German convert to Islam who appears on numerous TV shows to defend the concept of sharia. Mr. Ritzmann, the former German parliamentarian, argues that the zeal of the German police should be more in line with the goals of German intelli gence, which may be uneasy with high-profile raids that are designed to placate political pressure. ³The police may make some of the popular leaders into martyrs if the state is now going after them," he says. "It means inside the mosque that everything th e Islamic leaders say to them about not being accepted in German society appears to be true.´ After a car bomb in Stockholm carried out by a disaffected Islamist from Iraq named Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, several German politicians called for tighter visa restrictions. After yesterday¶s raids, other officials called for a quick and total ban on radical Islamic groups. German police say the raids were unrelated to the Stockholm incident.

Study finds young, devout Muslims in Germany more prone to violence

IMMIGRATION | 06.06.2010 A study conducted by the German authorities has found that the more devout young Muslims become, the more prone to violence they get. The study says the phenomenon is not due to Islam itself, but to the way it is taught. The willingness to commit violent crimes grows among young Muslim immigrants in Germany the more religious they become, acco rding to a joint survey by the German interior ministry and the Institute for Criminology Research of Lower Saxony (KFN). By comparison, the study found that just the opposite was true for Christian immigrants. The willingness to commit violent crimes, suc h as armed robbery or assault and battery, among young Catholics and Protestants decreases with religious fervor, the KFN study revealed. The study said the reason for this difference had to do with the very different image of masculinity. Muslim devotion promotes the acceptance of macho behavior, said Christian Pfeiffer, the director of the Lower Saxony research institute and one of the authors of the study. Pfeiffer said that in their religion, and in the family at home, young Muslim immigrants are frequently exposed to a more conservative world view and lay claim to a variety of male privileges. The problem with imams In an effort to explain their results, the study's authors draw on the findings of Rauf Ceylan, a religious education expert and himself of Turkish extraction, who points to

the number of non-German imams, or Muslim priests, preaching and teaching in Germany. Ceylan maintains that these foreign imams are generally only in Germany temporarily, speak no German and have little contact with Germ an culture. Most of them, he says, call for a return to a more conservative Islam and retreat into the practitioner's original ethnic culture. For them, male dominance is normal and their teachings demand the same from Muslim youths, Ceylan says. Christian Pfeiffer, from the KFN, also points out that the phenomenon is not due to Islam itself, but to the way it is taught. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has called for the study's results to be put on the agenda of the next Islam conference. Different levels of integration The KFN study interviewed a total of 45,000 14 -16 year-olds in 61 cities across Germany between 2007 and 2008. Of these, 10,000 had an immigrant background. It found that the best adjusted and most integrated immigrants came fr om nonreligious families. More than 41 percent of these were looking to get a high school diploma, nearly 63 percent had German friends and 66 percent viewed themselves as German. The figures among young Muslims were strikingly different: only 16 percent were pursuing a high school diploma, 28 percent had German friends and about 22 percent considered themselves German. Author: Gregg Benzow (dpa/AP/AFP)

The Radical Muslims of Germany Dr. Sami Alabraa January 31, 2009 "Jews are the enemy of Allah," declared Ismael Gharaballi during a service in a mosque in Bielefeld, Germany. "This is not only my belief, but also Allah's conviction," the Palestinian imam and Hamas activist declared, waving his Koran in the air. The congregation of about 200 thundered, "Allahu Akbar!" Then Gharaballi turned to another page in the Koran and read, "« and kill them [he explained this to mean unbe lievers, especially the Jews] wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you" (Surah 2, verse 191). "What are you waiting for?" he cried. "Allah Himself is telling us kill them. No peace can be made with the Jews." After the prayers, I approached Gharaballi in the cafeteria of the mosque and asked him if he was serious about what he had preached. "Of course, I am. This is not any book. This is the word of Allah." Then I asked if he would kill a Jew here in Germany. He answered: "Yes, especially those Israelis who are occupying Arab land." I reminded him that this would be murder and for that he would land up behind bars.

Ismael retorted angrily: "I don't care. The Koran is our law and constitution and anything else is just rubbish." Referring to Hitler, Ismael told me: "The man was a hero, almost a Muslim. I'm one of his fans." Gharaballi is not unique in Germany's 3 million -strong Muslim community. Ibrahim elZayat, the head of an extremist Munich -based organization called The Islamic Community of Germany, told a meeting of fellow Muslim s last month: "It is still premature to strike against the Jews and infidels in this country. However, at the lecture at a community center in Neukoeln, Berlin, which I attended, but where no media reporters were allowed access, he went on to assert: "But sooner or later we will strike against the enemies of Allah and Islam. We have to wait. Many Germans are converting to Islam, especially friends from the NPD [ a neo-Nazi party]." When I asked a German reporter to verify this by calling el-Zayat, the latter denied having ever said such a thing. El-Zayat was born in 1968 in Marburg, Germany, to an Egyptian imam and a German mother. He owns a construction company a nd receives huge sums of money from the Saudis to build mosques in Germany and in other European countries. He is an aggressive Muslim fundamentalist and has connections to various Islamists and terrorist organizations across the world. He is currently bei ng prosecuted in Germany for supporting radical organizations. El-Zayat is typical of most Muslim activists in Germany. In their schools and community centers, Muslim organizations incite hatred and violence against Jews and Christians. In public, however, and before the media, they deny preaching violence. El-Zayat, Gharaballi and the majority of radical Islamist imams, and officials of Muslim organizations receive big honorariums from the Saudis. According to a study by Bielefeld University, over 30% of t he Muslims living in Germany are radicalized. They reject the German Constitution and hope to establish Sharia Islamic law. Many German politicians, in particular in the Green Party, often attribute radicalism among Muslims to social problems and lack of i ntegration in German society. For all these problems they blame the German side. Former foreign minister Joschka Fischer stated, in an interview with German radio station WDR earlier this year that Muslims should be left alone to believe and act the way th ey please. "Other religions are not more liberal than Islam." The German Home Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has met with heads of Muslim organizations and Islam experts several times over the last two years. I attended all these meetings. The heads of Muslim umbrella organizations tell the German government that they and their members accept the German Constitution. Back in their communities they preach hatred and violence. In mid -April 2008, the German police raided the properties of a dozen Muslim extremists and arrested nine of them. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The German media and the public appear to be wary of antagonizing Muslim radicals. Very few media reproduced the Mohammad cartoons published in Denmark and they downplayed the recent anti -Islam Fitna film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Radical Islam inculcates in impressionable young minds verses from the Koran that are incompatible with modern values and human rights, such as inciting hatred towards Jews and Christians. Dalal, a 15-year-old girl who attends a Muslim school in Ulm, was proud to tell me that her teacher told her not to greet non -Muslims. It is haram (forbidden), she said. The radical Muslims also emphasize those passages that discriminate against women and incite violence against those who practice freedom of religion and speech.

Christianity and Judaism also have passages in their h oly scripts that are incompatible with human rights. But most Christians and Jews simply ignore these passages, consider them archaic, and instead apply more humane and rational ones. Most Muslims ignore the more liberal passages that do exist in the Koran . The majority of Muslims in Germany are peaceful people. Radical Muslims are a minority. But this minority dominates. They are in key positions in the community and control mosques and organizations. There is no hate -crime law in Germany. The German government should enact such a law, like the one against Holocaust denial, making it an offense to incite to hatred and the violation of human rights. Contributing Editor Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab -Muslim culture specialist. Before moving to Germany he taught at Kuwait University, King Saud University, and Michigan State University. He also contributes to the Jerusalem Post.

Germany arrests 3 in alleged bomb plot The trio reportedly aimed to set off massive blasts targeting U.S. military personnel and civilians at bases and airports.

By Christian Retzlaff and Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers September 6, 2007 BERLIN -- --Three people allegedly trained in Pakistan by an Al Qaeda -linked group have been arrested on suspicion of plotting massive car bomb attacks on U.S. troops and other Americans near U.S. military bases and German airports, authorities said Wednesday. After months of surveillance during which German police secretly replaced a stockpile of bomb chemicals with a weaker mixture, a SWAT team raided a vacat ion home in a wooded village in central Germany on Tuesday and arrested the trio, two of whom were German converts to Islam. One of the suspects grabbed an officer's gun, shooting him in the hand and suffering a cut on the head during the struggle. Searches in five German states involved 600 officers, an unprecedented number for an anti-terrorism operation led by federal police here, on the same day that Danish police seized bomb materials in Copenhagen and charged two men of Pakistani and Afghan origin with plotting an attack under the direction of unnamed Al Qaeda leaders. Authorities said they knew of no direct connection between the men arrested in the two Northern European nations. The two alleged plots stoked fears that a resurgent Al Qaeda was using hide-outs near the Afghan-Pakistani border to train European -based militants to hit Western targets in Europe, which has become a front line because it is easier to enter than the United States and has a larger, more restive Muslim population.

The trio in Germany allegedly planned simultaneous strikes on three soft targets that may have included discotheques, bars, restaurants or airports frequented by American soldiers and tourists, according to German and U.S. law enforcement officials. Because the confiscated materials could have produced the equivalent of about 1,000 pounds of TNT, the casualty toll could have far exceeded the transport bombings in London that killed 52 people in 2005 or those in Madrid that killed 191 people in 2004, officials s aid. The London bombs, in contrast, had only 6 to 10 pounds of explosives, Joerg Ziercke, chief of the federal police, said at a news conference with top law enforcement officials. "In my opinion, a high number of casualties was the main objective; otherwise, this enormous amount of explosives is hard to explain," he said. The third suspect detained Tuesday in Germany is a Turkish Muslim living in the country. The three allegedly underwent training last year at a terrorist camp in northern Pakistan run by the Islamic Jihad Union, or IJU, an extremist network that broke away from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a longtime Al Qaeda ally, authorities said. American counter-terrorism officials said they have long been concerned that the IJU and other regional extremist groups around the world have affiliated themselves more closely with Al Qaeda over the last several years. These groups have become far more dangerous and aggressive toward American interests overseas, despite their low public profile, the o fficials said. Over the last three years, the IJU, also known as the Islamic Jihad Group, has broadened its operational activity to support Al Qaeda's global agenda, a U.S. counter -terrorism official said. "We have been concerned about the heightened thre at from Al Qaeda and affiliated groups such as the IJU, and this particular plot is consistent with that trend of decentralized command and control in many parts of the world," said the official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record. German police conducted 41 searches Tuesday and were investigating seven to 10 associates of the jailed suspects. Several of the additional suspects are part of Germanys large, but mostly moderate, Turkish immigrant population. Th ey remain under surveillance, though prosecuting them may be difficult under the terms of Germany's terrorism laws. The case is stronger against the three in custody because they were allegedly testing mixtures and assembling bomb components at the time o f their arrest, German officials said. Surveillance revealed that their primary motivation was a fervent hatred of Americans, whether soldiers or tourists, German and U.S. officials said.

"In the suspects' minds, they were from days to a couple of weeks a way from an attack," said another law enforcement official who asked to remain anonymous. "The targets weren't that set, but they wanted to hit soft targets around military bases where there are large populations of Americans. They wanted to have coordinat ed attacks -- the police assessment is three separate attacks, probably with car bombs." Although officials did not reveal links between the suspects in Germany and Denmark, both cases feature stockpiles of bomb -making materials, and suspected links to Pakistan and Al Qaeda-related figures there. The detainees in Germany tried to maintain secrecy by communicating through the Internet and, like those arrested in Denmark, received orders or external communications from the network in Pakistan, officials said. "It's remarkable that on the one hand terrorism works with an international network, but on the other hand it remains in these strictly separated cells," said Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German Interior minister. "We don't have any hints that there is a connection to what happened in Denmark yesterday." Danish and German police communicated with each other and U.S. counterparts about the raids, which came a week before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, a period believed to be of heightened risk. Investigators said the fugitive leaders of Al Qaeda have been emboldened by their ability to operate in Pakistan and set their sights on new targets in Europe after overseeing half a dozen plots against Britain. In an ominous development, Al Qaeda appears to be recruiting amid the multiethnic mix of Muslims in Northern Europe as well as from the predominantly Pakistani immigrant enclaves of Britain, where militants have formed cells on their own and then traveled to Pakistan for training a nd direction. The suspects here were apparently undeterred by the fact that German and U.S. authorities had issued several alerts this year warning about an increased risk of attacks on American targets. German investigators have been particularly concern ed about the flow of militants back and forth from Germany to Pakistan and Afghanistan during the last year. As fighting in Afghanistan has heated up, the movement of militants from Europe to Iraq has decreased while intensifying toward South Asia, where A l Qaeda's most sophisticated core leadership survives, Western counter -terrorism officials said. The German investigation began with a suspect identified as Fritz G., a 28 -year-old convert who lives in Ulm. He was questioned and released in January after he allegedly conducted reconnaissance of two U.S. military barracks near Hanau, authorities said. He was arrested again Tuesday along with the other two suspects, whose names were not released. Surveillance early this year allegedly revealed that

the three were trained by the Islamic Jihad Union in Pakistan in 2006 and claimed allegiance to that group. Between February and August, one of the suspects went to Hanover and amassed about 1,500 pounds of 35% concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution purchased at a legitimate company under false pretenses, authorities said. The chemicals, held in 12 containers, were stored in a rented garage in the Black Forest region. As suspicions grew, police pulled off a slick trick used in at least one previous inquiry in Britain. By secretly gaining entry to the garage, then enlisting the help of the company selling the chemical to the suspect, investigators switched it for a much weaker mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide concentrate, officials said. The suspects obtained other bomb-making components, including a detonator from a source that remains unclear, perhaps during their travels to Turkey and Pakistan, officials said. On Aug. 17, one of the suspects rented a three -bedroom vacation apartment in the 900 -resident village of Oberschledorn, a popular skiing and hiking locale, where the three met, allegedly to begin making bombs after last Sunday. Police had planned to wrap up the surveillance and make arrests, probably before Sept. 11, but a coincidence sped things up. While r eturning Monday from a trip to acquire alleged bomb components, the suspects' vehicle was briefly stopped by traffic police because the high beams were on during the day. Through "undercover methods," police learned that the incident had made the suspects nervous and suspicious, said Ziercke, the federal police chief. "On September 4 at 1:42 p.m., police learned that the group started to put together a bomb," Ziercke said. "We learned that the group again discussed the police check and judged it as a dange r for the operation's success. The group wanted to give up the vacation house and rent a new place. At about 2:30 p.m. the group obviously wanted to leave the building." A SWAT team swarmed the house, arresting two suspects. The third barricaded himself in a bathroom, jumped from a window and fled over a back fence, police said. When officers converged on him, he managed to wrestle away a gun, wounding an officer in the hand, officials said. The suspect tried to shoot a second officer, but the gun misfired , Ziercke said. The suspect is likely to face additional charges in the incident, officials said. Because of the hurried denouement, questions and ambiguity persist about the exact targets and details of the plot. Some German and U.S. officials said Ramst ein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport were specific targets, while other officials said the objectives were more likely soft targets such as nearby bars and nightclubs. The apparent ferocity and dimensions of the alleged plot have erased notion s that

Germany is not a terrorist target because it stayed out of the war in Iraq, observers said. The threat today is fed by the German military role in Afghanistan, the presence of tens of thousands of Americans at military installations and Al Qaeda's o bsession with striking in the heart of the West. "We're not dismissing the possibility of follow -on plots, and the Germans are tracing leads on this. But this particular plot appears to have been disrupted in rather late stages," the U.S. counter-terrorism official said. He said German authorities had placed the group of suspects "under a microscope" for a long period, and that they felt confident they had disrupted the particular plot and arrested all major participants. "But we can't discount the possi bility that there were other target sites for these guys," he said. "And we don't discount that there are others out there planning significant attacks" in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Intercepts 'key factor' in German case

A U.S. intelligence tip about messages to and from Pakistan led police to suspects in the alleged car bomb plot, officials say. By Dirk Laabs, Sebastian Rotella and Josh Meyer, Special to The Times September 7, 2007 STUTTGART, GERMANY -- -- A U.S. intelligence intercept of susp icious communications between Pakistan and Stuttgart was the initial break that ultimately led to the arrest this week of three suspected Muslim militants accused of plotting massive car bomb attacks here against Americans, U.S. and German officials said Thursday. The communications detected last year referred to apparent terrorist activity, the German and U.S. officials said in interviews. The German officials characterized the communications as specific and alarming. All the officials asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly. American authorities passed the lead to German police, who conducted a painstaking investigation that led to the arrests of the three suspects, two of whom are German converts to Islam. Police here suspected that militants were communicating with Pakistan from an Internet cafe, a frequent strategy to avoid detection, but they did not know which one. So they deployed surveillance teams at several dozen Internet cafes around the city, offic ials said. The stakeouts paid off when police spotted a 28 -year-old convert who was already known as an associate of Islamic militants and has been identified as Fritz Gelowicz. Arrested this week with the two other suspects, Gelowicz was described Thurs day

by anti-terrorism officials as the lead figure in a group that learned bomb -making at an Al Qaeda-linked training camp in Pakistan last year. The three are accused of plotting to kill Americans at or near military bases and airports in Germany with the equivalent of more than 1,000 pounds of TNT. The third man jailed is a Turk who has been living in Germany. On Thursday, police pressed their investigation of at least seven other suspects, including several who are believed to have left the country. About 300 investigators worked round -the-clock for nine months to monitor the alleged plotters. Using sophisticated eavesdropping equipment of their own, the Germans watched and listened as the suspected cell coalesced and amassed a stash of bomb-making materials. When they announced the arrests Wednesday, German authorities said they had focused on Gelowicz after he was briefly detained in January on suspicion of scouting a U.S. military barracks. But in reality, Gelowicz and his associates already had been identified as an urgent threat, thanks to the American intercepts last year, according to officials in Germany and the U.S. "The U.S. counter-terrorism community supported efforts to draw links, to do intercepts and to monitor communications between Paki stan and Germany," a U.S. counter-terrorism official said. The counter-terrorism official described the initial intercepts as "a key factor" that "helped build the case." "It led to a very long period of surveillance, and the arrests." The official said the intercepts continued throughout the investigation. This year, U.S. intelligence agents intercepted a key communication in which militant handlers in Pakistan asked for an update on the plot and pushed the suspects to move faster, German officials said. At the start of the investigation, American intelligence also helped German police focus on the second convert, Daniel Schneider, a German official said. U.S. intercepts detected the 22 -year-old convert's e-mail communications with Pakistan and guided German police to him through a wireless signal he was pirating, officials said. The suspects were simultaneously stealthy, brazen and reckless, officials said. The three evidently became aware of the constant surveillance and tried to thwart it, changing trains and dodging tails. They may also have noticed that the German and U.S. governments had issued several warnings during the year about increased terrorism risks, particularly threats posed by militants trained in Pakistan. But when police this year confronted Schneider, and warned him that they knew what he was up to, he brushed them off, a German anti -terrorism official said. The trio plunged zealously ahead, the official said, apparently eager to die.

The suspects wanted to kill as many Americans as possible in the process, officials said. Probable targets of their alleged plan to build three car bombs were crowded bars, nightclubs, restaurants and airports. They chose Germany because it was their home turf and because of the large population of Ame ricans around military bases. "It's not just the military, but Americans in general," said a law enforcement official who asked not to be identified. "If they could have wiped out 1,000 American tourists, they would have been happy." The three were unemployed; the two German natives collected welfare. Authorities said the trio claimed allegiance to the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek group that in 2002 broke off from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an Al Qaeda ally. The IJU ran the Pakistani camp where they trained and oversaw their alleged mission, officials said. Unlike cases such as the London transportation bombings of 2005, in which the bombers communicated frequently with masterminds in Pakistan during the final weeks, the cell here was largely "self-contained and self-directed," the law enforcement official said. "They seemed to be running their own show."

Muslim Hate in Greece
Fourteen hurt as migrants riot in Greece

Derek Gatopoulos Sidney Morning Herald May 23, 2009 Dozens of cars have been smashed and 14 people injured in riots by Muslim immigrants angered at the alleged defacement of a Koran by a Greek policeman. Police on Friday fired tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of protesters outside parliament and elsewhere in th e Athens city centre. The government said 46 protesters were arrested and 75 cars were damaged. Chanting "God is great!" and waving leather -bound copies of Islam's holy book, about 1,500 Muslim immigrants - mostly young men - marched to parliament in the centre of Athens to express their anger. The clashes occurred after the protest had dwindled to about 300 people. Rioters hurled rocks at police and attacked police cordons with sticks and their belts, ignoring pleas for calm in Arabic and Greek from protes t organisers. The violence spread as young men overturned cars, set fire to rubbish bins and attacked several banks. Seven policemen and seven immigrants were being treated in hospital for injuries, police said. Onlookers, including tourists in Athens' cen tral square, watched, with some holding up their mobile phones to photograph the protesters. Police said they will investigate the allegation that a police officer tore up an Iraqi immigrant's copy of the Koran while checking his identity papers in Athens on Wednesday. "Anyone found responsible will be strictly held to account. But this isolated incident cannot justify these acts of violence," said Christos Markoyiannakis, a minister in charge of police. Police released photographs of the torn Koran but gav e no further details. "We want the officer or officers involved to be prosecuted, and the government to issue an apology," protester Manala Mohammed, a Syrian national who helped organise the rally, told The Associated Press. "We want people to show us res pect." Most of Greece's native born population of 10.7 million are baptised into the Christian Orthodox Church.

Waves of illegal immigration over the past few years have led to an influx of Muslims, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many live in squali d, overcrowded apartments in run-down parts of central Athens. In 2008, Greek authorities arrested more than 145,000 migrants entering the country illegally, a 30 per cent increase from the previous year and a 54 per cent jump from 2006, according to figures from the Interior Ministry. Greek rights activist Thanassis Kourkoulas, one of the protest organisers, said the marches were intended to show that immigrants "have a voice". "What happened is a great insult to every Muslim, every immigrant and every Gre ek who respects democracy," he said.

Muslims in fresh Athens demo over alleged Koran insult

(AFP) ± May 29, 2009 ATHENS (AFP) ² More than 1,000 Muslim migrants and leftists demonstrated in Athens Friday over an alleged police insult to the Koran, a week a fter two similar protests degenerated into clashes with anti -riot police. The protest was called by leftist and anti -racist groups after a police officer allegedly tore up some sheets of paper with extracts from the Muslim holy book belonging to an Iraqi migrant during an identity check last week. "We want this officer put on trial, and we ask the government to protect our prayer sites in Athens," said Zuri, a Moroccan protester. "But we intend to set a good example and refrain from violence, Islam is a religion of peace," he said. Scores of police on foot and on motorbikes were mobilised to maintain order and keep the migrants who marched on parliament from coming into contact with a few dozen neo-Nazi militants staging a street gathering a few blocks aw ay. The far-right group was commemorating the fall of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Greece's main Muslim and migrant organisations distanced themselves from the migrant demonstration, preferring to take judi cial action instead. "Our problems can be solved by dialogue, not demonstrations," said Ahmet Moavia, head of the Greek Migrants' Forum. "The real agenda is migrants' rights in Greece which include issues of religion," he told AFP.

"Muslim Arabs will not participate because there is a political agenda which has nothing to do with Islam," said Naim El Gadour, chairman of the Muslim Union of Greece. "We filed a complaint against the officer, we chose the path of justice and peace and we will adhere to it." Rights groups report an increase in racist attacks on migrants in Athens in recent weeks. Last weekend, unknown assailants set fire to a basement flat housing a mosque and injured five men from Bangladesh sleeping inside. More than a dozen migrants and police were injured last week in clashes that marred two days of Muslim rallies over the alleged insult to the Koran. Scores of cars and a handful of shops had their windows smashed. Police made 46 arrests at the time. Muslim groups have demanded an apolog y over the incident which the government has so far failed to give. Calls to identify the officer who allegedly tore the Koranic verses have also been ignored. Community elders also note that Greece has failed to honour years of pledges to build a mosque and a cemetery in Athens where over 100,000 Muslims live. There are around one million migrants legally living in Greece, roughly nine percent of the country's population, most of them from neighbouring Albania. Another 80,000-100,000 migrants are believed to be residing in the country illegally according to the interior ministry.

MUSLIM HATE IN INDIA! In a pluralistic part of India, fears of rising Islamic extremism

By Emily Wax The Washington Post Saturday, February 5, 2011 IN MUVATTUPUZHA, INDIA Wearing jeans and leaving her auburn hair uncovered never created problems for Rayana Khasi, a 22 -year-old Muslim engineering student in the coastal state of Kerala. But then came the threats. About two months ago, members of the Po pular Front of India, a fast-growing Muslim political and social organization in Kerala, allegedly started sending text messages to her saying, "You're committing blasphemy." They admonished her publicly in her home town of Kasaragod, confronted her famil y and pelted her car with stones, she said. "Many women here are now listening to them and covering. But this is India, not Afghanistan," said Khasi, who has moved to a different city and changed her cellphone number several times as Indian authorities in vestigate her charges. For centuries, Kerala has been known as "God's country," and generations of Muslims, Christians and Jews were warmly welcomed by Hindus here. One of India's most religiously diverse states, Kerala has rarely experienced the religiou s violence that has flared in other parts of the country. But the Popular Front's rise here is stirring concern as a growing number of its young members embrace a radical brand of Islam. Authorities say they fear that the group has become an example of how extremism can creep into a society, even one in which the vast majority of Muslims are not conservative. Intelligence authorities say the government is investigating threats against women such as Khasi and other attacks, including a case in which Popula r Front members are accused of severing the right hand of a Christian professor for what they felt was a slight against Islam. More than 25 men have been arrested in the case, and trials are set to begin soon. The Popular Front, which has denied involveme nt in any attacks, says it sets out to defend minority groups and lower castes. But officials say they are troubled by the group's connection to the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was banned in 2001 for supporting terrorism and accused of involvement in the 2003 train bombings in Mumbai that killed 10 people. Many Popular Front members were once part of SIMI. The government has struggled with how to respond to the Popular Front because it often voices ideas through protests, a right "avai lable in a democratic society and

provided for by the Indian constitution," said Hormis Tharakan, former chief of India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. "But it's the propensity toward violence that is most worrying." The group's emotional messages that mention the Palestinians and such common Muslim grievances as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resonate among Kerala's highly educated population, which tends to be more aware of global issues. And nearly every household has at least one male working in Persian Gulf countries, a migration that began during the oil boom of the 1980s. "Once there, some Keralites undergo a spiritual reawakening in countries that espouse a far stricter version of Islam," said M.G.S. Narayanna, former chi ef of the Indian Council of Historical Research, who is based in Kerala. "They are told that Indian Islam is not pure and they should learn Arabic, study the Koran in Arabic. That is how it starts. Then they start learning about what they are told is hatre d and injustice against Muslims around the world." T.J. Joseph, the professor whose right hand was cut off in July, was allegedly attacked by a mob of Popular Front recruits.

The Mumbai Atrocities: Where is the Outrage?

Cinnamon Stillwell San Francisco Chonicle Thursday, December 17, 2008 It was often said after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that everything had changed. And for a few years afterwards, indeed it had. After decades of denial, America and its allies went on the offensive against Islamic terrorism, both militarily and morally. Most importantly, there was no hesitancy to name the enemy or to condemn his inhumanity. But if the lack of outrage over the Islamic terrorist assault on Mumbai, India last month was any indication, everything has changed back. The obfuscation that characterized much of the early reporting on Mumbai is partially to blame. Watching a number of television reporters go through visible pains not to use the word "terrorist" to describe a four -day reign of terror that would eventually kill more than 170 people and injure hundreds w as a surreal spectacle. Initial articles described "militants," "gunmen," and "extremists," but rarely terrorists, and rarer still, Islamic terrorists. So-called experts prattled on vaguely about the perpetrators' motivations, as if the ideology fueling a group called the Deccan Mujahedeen was a complete and utter mystery. ("Deccan" refers to a his toric Islamic claim on the Deccan Plateau, the territory which stretches between Mumbai and Hyderabad, while "mujahedeen" are Muslim fighters engaged in jihad.) Links to the Pakistan based terrorist organization Lashkar -e-Taiba added further confirmation a nd yet still,

many of the talking heads remained stubbornly ambiguous. Indeed, the attack was largely presented as if it were occurring in a vacuum. Perhaps they were taking a cue from last year's Departments of State and Homeland Security internal memorandum forbidding employees from using Islam-specific terminology to discuss Islamic terrorism or the British politicians who earlier this year adopted the phrase "anti-Islamic activity" to describe it. In any case, Orwell would have been proud. When it was learned that the terrorists had attacked a Chabad center in Mumbai, the only specific target other than hotels and restaurants catering to Western tourists and wealthy Indians, the coverage become stranger still. No context was provided for the torture and murder of the Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka, and four other Jews, although it was obvious why they were targeted. The Holtzberg's surviving toddler son, Moshe, who was rescued by his Indian nanny, was certainly not the first Jewish child orphaned by Islamic terrorism. No connection was made to the virulent anti-Semitism fueling jihadist ideology. Nor to the Nazi-like propaganda promulgated throughout the Muslim world and fed to children so that they too will grow up to hate Jews, whether Israeli or not. Similarly unexamined were the implications of the terrorists' barbarism. Witnesses described victims being lined up and shot execution -style and terrorists spraying bullets indiscriminately into crowds of men, women and children. Some survived by feigning death for hours under the weight of countless dead bodies. If not for the heroism of the hotel and restaurant staff, as well as others who rose to the occasion, more lives would have been lost. But lacking analysis, these horrific details were soon forgotten. Is it any won der that the world no longer grasps the utter depravity and cruelty of the formidable opponent it's facing? This is the same enemy who held hostage and slaughtered Russian children in Beslan; who lobs rockets at schools, uses women and children as human shields, preys upon the weakest in their own societies - women and children -- to mold them into suicide bombers, targets mosques and plans attacks on Muslim holidays, murders school teachers and aid workers, commits beheadings, hangings, stonings and honor killings, puts children and pregnant women into car bombs so they can more easily pass through checkpoints, indiscriminately targets civilians the world over, and who seeks to squelch all human achievement and progress. Should not this grave threat to human rights be called what it is? Should not the world rally against this cancer within its midst and spare no expense or effort to s top it from metastasizing? Should not human rights groups make defeating this ideology its chief priority? Should not women's groups make the oppression of Muslim women, both within and without the Muslim world, its first priority? Should not gay rights groups turn their attention to the hangings of young men across the Muslim world? Should not Jewish groups condemn the hateful, anti -Semitic propaganda that is brainwashing Muslim youth? Should not those who believe in religious freedom denounce the persecution of religious minorities, apostates, and atheists in the Muslim world? Should not those who advocate free speech condemn the campaign to silence journalists and activists in the Muslim world, as well as attempts to do the same in the West? Should not the international community do everything in its power

to prevent fanatical Islamist regimes from acquiring nuclear weapons and wreaking unprecedented havoc on the planet? The answer to these questions would seem to be self -evident, but sadly, the world continues to waffle. Just as in the past when aggression and brutality were met with indifference or appeasement, today we are at risk of falling into the same trap. The old habit of believing one can mollify one's enemies by understanding his alleged grievances, avoiding offense, and indulging in self -blame is back in full force. Those who argue for forthright terminology and decisive action are demonized and bullied, while those who peddle in pacification and platitudes are glorified. Without leadership and moral clarity, we have become numb to the horrors at hand. Meanwhile, the enemies of civilization gain strength from our lack of fortitude. There are those trying to call attention to the threat of radical Islam, but increasingly they are voices in the wilderness. Either that or they persecuted under the aegis of "Islamophobia." Defying this characterization, Muslim and Arab reformers are forthright about the conflict raging within Islam and the religious nature of the ideology fueling the jihadists. An inspiring show of opposition came from Mumbai's Muslims, who refused to bury the dead terrorists and who marched against their hate and violence. While such demonstrations are few and far between in the Muslim world, they should be broadly recog nized and supported when they do occur. Similarly, reformers in the West such as M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Ali Alyami, executive director of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia , and former Dutch parliamentarian and women's rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, should be supported as modern -day dissidents. But instead, they are hardly household names and in some cases face castigation, even as they risk their lives to tell the truth. Perhaps the problem is the world is not ready to hear the truth. Until there is a united will to defeat this modern -day fascism, this threat to human rights, this abject evil, it will continue to thrive and to leave atrocities in its wake. And we will have no one to blame but ourselves for letting it happen.

Militants, commandos fight on in India's Mumbai

* Mumbai "still not under control" - state government * Indian Prime Minister says attacks plotted overseas * Police say 119 people killed, 315 wounded By Krittivas Mukherjee Thu Nov 27, 2008 MUMBAI, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Indian commandos fought to regain control of Mumbai on Friday, more than 24 hours after heavily armed militants killed at least 119 people and wounded more than 300 others in coordinated attacks in the commercial capital. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pinned blame for the attacks on militant groups based in India's neighbours -- usually an allusion to Pakistan -- raising prospects of renewed tension between the nuclear -armed rivals. He warned of "a cost" if these nations did not take action to stop their territory being used to launch such attacks. An estimated 25 men armed with assault rifles and grenades -- at least some of whom arrived by sea -- fanned out across Mumbai on Wednesday night to attack sites popular with tourists and businessmen, including the city's top two luxury hotels. At least six foreigners, including one Australian, a Briton, an Italian and a Japanese national, were killed. Scores of others were trapped in the fighting or were being held hostage. Commandos battled the militants through Thursday -- often room to room in the hotels -- to rescue people, police said. Flames billowed out of the buildings and loud explosions were heard during the fighting. Dipak Dutta told NDTV news after being rescued at the Taj Mahal hotel that he had been told by troops escorting him through the corridors not to look down at any of the bodies. "A lot of chef trainees were massacred in the kitchen," he said. The city of nearly 18 million people, the nerve -centre of India's growing economic prowess and home to the "Bollywood" film industry, was virtually shut down on Thursday as the battles raged. Sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard early on Friday, and authorities said at least one militant was still holed up in the Taj Mahal hotel and several more in the nearby Oberoi-Trident hotel. Many staff and guests were also trapped, but it was not clear how many.

"It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country," Prime Minister Sin gh said in a televised address. "We will take up strongly with our neighbours that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated, and that there would be a cost if suitable measures are not taken by them."

Muslim terrorism is active in India

Islamic teachers targeted an American Center in India Made in India Islamism

Indian Muslims, we are told, are a "bewildered, angry and hurt" lot. "They can't understand the sharp reactions to the largescale protests they took part in during the past weeks," a report in a weekly news magazine says. The magazine goes on to quote sociologist Imtiaz Ahmed: "There are clear double standards here. On the one hand, you keep telling Muslims to come into the mainstream. When they believe they have a stake in the country and the right to protest, then why are you upset?" The question, in a sense, explains why Muslims, or at least those to whom the magazine refers to in its report, are "bewildered, angry and hurt". What it does not elaborate on, however, are the reasons behind the "sharp reactions". Mobilising tens of thousands of Muslims, most of them from madarsas that preach the pre-eminence of Islam and the unique right of the ummah to disregard the sensitivities of others, as the Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind did in Delhi on the eve of US President George Bush's visit, does not reflect any desire whatsoever to "come into the mainstream". Nor does the mobilising of Islamists who believe that the cartoonists whose caricatures of Prophet Mohammad were published in the little -known Danish daily Jyllands-Posten should be murdered for committing "blasphemy" amount to Muslims declaring their intention to "come into the mainstream". If raucous and riotous assertion of support for pan -Islamist causes - the war in Iraq, the cartoon controversy - are to be interpreted as Muslims coming into the mainstream of Indian public life, then we might as well give up all pretensions to being a secular society and accept the socio -political hegemony of a tyrannical minority. The "sharp reactions" were as much against the mass mobilisation of Islamists across the country on issues that have no bearing at all on India's national interests as against the loathsome manner in which Muslim rage manifested itself. In Hyderabad, after burning the Danish national flag that was earlier used as a foot mat by believers entering the city's main mosque for Friday's noon prayer, Muslims protesting against the Jyllands -Posten cartoons went on a rampage, beating up Hindu shopkeepers and looting their shops. A fortnight later, Muslims in Lucknow did a repeat performance. The only difference was that while in Hyderabad there was no loss of lives, in Lucknow innocent persons, including a 14 -year-old Hindu boy, were killed. In Hyderaba d, the Islamists' ran amok to register their protest against the Danish cartoonists; in Lucknow they rioted to register their disapproval of Mr George Bush's visit.

In between, we were witness to the Uttar Pradesh Minister for Minority Welfare, Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, addressing a mammoth gathering of Islamists in Meerut where he declared a bounty of Rs 51 crore for any believer who kills the Danish cartoonists. Those who are given to thumping the Constitution of India have remained remarkably silent after this call for murder by a Minister who holds office by virtue of the fact that he has sworn to abide by the Constitution. We were also witness to Islamists chanting slogans in praise of Osama bin Laden, heaping abuse on the US, calling for the death of Americ ans and waving banners eulogising jihad and jihadis - in Delhi, Mumbai, Meerut, Lucknow, Hyderabad and numerous other cities and towns. If memories of Islamist rage and hate had dulled during the intervening years after Syed Shahabuddin's outrageous call t o Muslims to boycott Republic Day celebrations, they have surfaced following the ummah's recent public belligerent demonstration of allegiance to causes and issues that lie beyond the boundaries of India. What has also alarmed mainstream India is the ease with which such mobilisation can be done. It is not a very calming site, the gathering of tens of thousands of Islamists united by a common enemy: Anybody who dares defy their perverse worldview. Imtiaz Ahmed senses "clear double standards" in this respons e. But there are no double standards - the only standard against which popular repudiation of Islamist rage can be measured is that of revulsion generated by the manifestation of Muslim rage on issues for which mainstream India does not care a toss. There is also the other aspect, that of the sudden upsurge of minorityism, which has come to define the UPA Government's policies. From education to quotas, disbursement of development funds to meek acceptance of fatwa (remember Gudiya and Imrana?) that are anti podean to the law of the land, from sneakily conducting a Muslim headcount of the armed forces to mollycoddling minority educational institutions, and, from repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act to subverting the Supreme Court's verdict against the Ill egal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, the Congress and its allies in the UPA and the Left are perceived as bending over backwards to appease the Islamists and cravenly succumbing to their basest demands. Yes, there were terror attacks when the BJP -led NDA Government was in power, and some of them were astonishingly daring. There was an assault on the Jammu & Kashmir legislature, terrorists struck Parliament House complex, jihadis assaulted Akshardham Temple. But there was tough retaliatory action, too. Even the most cursory glance through the anti-terrorism record of the NDA regime will show that there was a certain resolve of the Government of India to fight this scourge. That resolve, tragically, has been severely diluted by the UPA regime.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the rash of terror attacks that have taken place after the return of the Congress and its cheerleaders to power should have been carried out by jihadis among us; they may have been inspired by foreign role models and Pakistani masters, but they were born in India. The impact of the UPA Government's shameless pandering to fanaticism disguised as minority assertion is there for all to see. If the fidayeen attack on the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya last July and the subsequent serial b ombings in Delhi on the eve of Diwali were fierce expressions of incipient Islamism, the bombings at Sankat Mochan Temple and the railway station in Varanasi on the eve of Holi, preceded by the public demonstrations of jihadi might, mark the coming of age of that which all of India must unanimously deplore - homegrown militant Islam. Mainstream India should be worried. Very, very worried.
Mumbai probe eyes local Muslim group India's Muslim community has a moderate reputation, but pockets of alienation exist in growing ghettos. By Anuj Chopra Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor MUMBRA, INDIA ± As the investigation into last week's bomb blasts gathers pace, authorities are probing a link between Pakistan -based Lashkar-i Tayyaba (LeT), the main suspect, and a banned Islamic organization in India called the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Tests confirmed Monday that the bombers used the powerful military explosive RDX, a weapon used before by the LeT. Indian investigators say they suspect that LeT provided the bombs, the funding, the target, and the know -how to SIMI, which in turn provided the people on the ground. Authorities have rounded up nearly 300 local men from Muslim suburbs like Mumbra - including 11 detained Monday near the Bangladesh border. This thread of the investigation has Indians facing the uncomfortable possibility that international jihad may have found a receptive ear within pockets of a huge religious minority. Already, some politicians are calling for tougher antiterro rism measures. But Muslim leaders here express concern that a harsh police crackdown and tough rhetoric from politicians would only serve to alienate a community with a strong reputation for moderation. "India's Muslims don't countenance the killing of innocent civilians, and Muslim leaders have come out in the open and condemned these attacks. The terrorists want communal riots. They want to divide us," says Abdul Rauf Khan, an imam in Mumbra. After bomb attacks in Mumbai three years ago, India's string ent antiterrorism law the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) - had been used with particular force against Muslims, resulting in arbitrary arrests, harsh interrogations, and detention without charge. POTA was repealed in 2004, and so far police tactics o ver the past week

haven't been as sweeping. Many of the hundreds interrogated were let go in a few hours; only a few remain in detention. Given the charged debate over POTA's repeal, Indian politicians may be loathe to reinstate it. But the controversial chief minister of Gujarat state traveled to Mumbai to publicly challenge Delhi to do just that - or allow state governments to pass their own versions. "If we are allowed to enact such an antiterrorism act, Gujarat will be the first state to do so, and I will be the first chief minister who will show this country how terrorism is curbed and how to hang terrorists," Chief Minister Narendra Modi told an assembly Monday. The timing and message of Mr. Modi's visit is seen as provocative by those who view him as complicit in communal riots that gripped Gujarat in 2002, leaving some 1,000 dead, mainly Muslims. "It's a difficult time for Muslims in India after every terrorist attack," says Sayeed Khan, the founder of a nongovernmental organization MY India, an acron ym for Muslim Youth of India - a name chosen to demonstrate that India's Muslims were Indian, and not Pakistanis, as alleged by some. In times such as these, Mr. Khan says, people talk about Muslims disparagingly and view them with suspicion. "The terrorists are Muslims, and we're Muslims, too. That's our only fault," says Mohamed Tariq Qazi, a 27-year-old call center employee who was called in for questioning after the blasts. In 2003, Mr. Qazi was arrested following a set of bombings. He had been mistak en for a SIMI activist because of his work with the Students Islamic Organization (SIO), part of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, a moderate religious social organization working for Muslim uplift and at one time associated with SIMI. "The word 'Islamic' in my organization's name makes all the difference." "They [Mumbai's police] came in large numbers at 1:30 a.m., in pitch darkness, and arrested me," he recalls. "My neighbors thought I was a terrorist." More Muslims live in India than in most Muslim -majority nations, and they've long been upheld as a moderate community, showing little passion for jihad in Iraq, Afghanistan - or even Kashmir. Not one of India's 150 million Muslims, thus far, has been found associated with Al Qaeda. Although Muslims in secular, demo cratic India have access to greater rights and freedoms than in most Muslim countries, statistics paint a picture of a marginalized community. According to one study, the income of the average Muslim is 11 percent less than the national average. There's a dearth of Muslim police, government officials, and soldiers - only 29,000 Muslims make up the 1.1 million -strong Indian army.

Outbreaks of communal violence in recent years have caused some Muslims to relocate to Muslim-majority areas. Mumbra, a suburb 25 miles from Mumbai, saw an influx of Muslims after Hindu Muslim riots in Mumbai in 1992 and blasts in 1993. Mumbra's squalid quarters, dubbed derisively as "mini Pakistan," are notorious havens for criminals - and, police allege, terrorists. In conversations with young men at SIO meetings, Mr. Qazi has observed a hardening aggression, and impatience with perceived mistreatment and prejudice. Tough questioning and long detentions of Muslim locals by police are often viewed as state harassment - and breed anti-state notions, he says. Locals note that police have approached this week's investigation sensitively. A senior Mumbai police official says detentions are necessary to crack the local nexus of militants to prevent future strikes. Terrorists, he says, easi ly permeate Muslimdominated areas, and thus combing operations are necessary. "Only if we interrogate locals can we zero in on the main accused." The sluggish pace of bringing to court those responsible for the Gujarat riots also rankles Muslims here. "The wounds of the Gujarat riots have still not healed. There's barely been any justice," says Sayeed Khan. "It might be easy to brainwash the youth by welling up memories of the Gujarat killings. Those wounds are still fresh." One theory on why last week's bombs were planted in first-class train compartments ties into this frustration over Gujarat. Commuters in those compartments are usually traders from Mumbai's diamond industry - most of them Gujarati Hindus. Nearly 50 Gujaratis are believed dead in the bom bings. To ensure that youths don't easily fall for the violent preaching of fundamentalists, Mr. Khan, the imam, emphasizes the need to give Muslim youths better education opportunities. "Our madrassahs need to be reformed," Khan says. "There's a need to t each subjects taught in regular school, like science, besides [memorization of] the Koran ... to bring Muslim men into mainstream society."

Indian Government in Denial after Bombay Train Blasts July 29th, 2006

Sonia Gandhi¶s softness towards Islamic Fundamentalists runs the risk of making India an attractive destination for the Jihadis. «Sonia Gandhi, though not officially a member of the government has the responsibility for keeping the ruling coalition afloat. Her principal coalition partners ²the Communists and Islamic power brokers²are in a position to make demands, which she is not in a position to reject.

I wrote the above paragraph in article published almost a year ago. The words are truer than ever today. Both of my contentions² Sonia Gandhi¶s dhimmitude, which I called µsoftness towards Islamic Fundamentalists¶ and India becoming a destination and even a base for Jihadis were in full displa y following the Mumbai train blasts of 7/11 that killed more than 200 and injured 700 more. While the public was reeling from this brazen attack, Sonia Gandhi and her hand -picked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other members of the government went around trying to assure the public that Indian Muslim groups were somehow not responsible for the terror attack. The government trotted out the timeworn µforeign hand¶ theory, blaming Pakistan for engineering the outrage. The idea in all this is to assure the pu blic that Indian Muslims are somehow not affected by the worldwide Jihadi movement. But no one is buying this theory in spite of the Sonia-Manmohan Government¶s strenuous propaganda through dhimmi journalists. Tavleen Singh, a leading columnist, minced no words when she wrote, ³Don¶t blame Pakistan, look inside´: « I am beginning to worry about whether Dr Manmohan Singh¶s [and Sonia¶s ± NSR] government is capable of defending us against the µµ jehad¶¶ that is being waged against us so successfully that if it continues unchecked, it could cause a civil war and worse« The Bombay blasts were triggered by eight separate explosions on the city¶s commuter train system, within minutes of one another bu t miles apart; it is hard to believe that it could be carried out by remote control from Pakistan without local logistical support. Ms. Singh rejected it out of hand pointing out: ³It is indigenous. It is a jehad being fought by homegrown terrorists and t he sooner we come to terms with this the easier it is.´ Manmohan Singh¶s ³Pakistan hand´ theory was only the beginning of the denial. While Sonia Gandhi maintained her customary silence over Jihadi terror, other members of her government went to the extent of exonerating known sources of terror. Shivraj Patil, the minister in charge of internal security extolled madrasa education. The Times of India reported: Trying to dispel doubts about madrassas, often accused of being breeding ground of militancy, Union home minister Shivraj Patil on Sunday said these religious seminaries were not centres of terrorism. ³«madrassas are seats of social service. They are not the centre of terrorism,´ Lauding the key role played by madrasas in imparting education to a vast section of people, the home minister said the government appreciated the significant contribution being made by Islamic seminaries in eradicating illiteracy and spreading the message of human values and unity in society. Americans probably first learnt of Sonia Gandhi¶s Islamist appeasement when she gave what The Telegraph of London called a µstrongly pro -Muslim speech¶ at the bin

Laden family-funded Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, that too shortly after the 9/11 attacks. This was mild compared to her overall record in India. The silent Sonia has not always been silent when it comes to defending Islamist organizations. She defended the banned Student Islamic Movement of I ndia (SIMI) and had the ban lifted, but the Supreme Court of India ruled against her recommendation by ruling that SIMI was a terrorist outfit. Her henchman Salman Kurshid had argued for lifting the ban in the courts. SIMI has been implicated in the Bombay blasts. The appeasement policy of her government has serious consequences for the global war on terror. As Tavleen Singh pointed out, the bombings in Mumbai (Bombay) are proof that Indians can no longer run away from the reality of a jihad indigenous to India. This means, India, far from being a bulwark in the war against terror will be a weak link as long as Sonia Gandhi¶s hold over the government lasts. N.S. Rajaram is a mathematician and historian of science. He lives in Oklahoma City and Bangalore, Ind ia.

Taj Mahal closed after religious riot The Australian Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent August 31, 2007 THOUSANDS of tourists were being evacuated from the famed Taj Mahal city of Agra yesterday after angry mobs set fire to shops and cars and attacked police in protest at the death of four Muslims in a traffic accident.

A total curfew clamped by authorities on the city of 1.6million people, 200km northwest of Delhi, failed to halt the rioting in which at least one person has been killed, more than 50 have been injured, and millions of rupees of damage has been caused. Scores of cars and trucks were destroyed in the rampage, and five local factories, including a soft-drink bottling plant, were ransacked, looted and set on fire. Terrified tourists were ordered to stay in their hotels, and the Taj Mahal, India's top tourist attraction, which attracts more than 20,000 visitors a day, was briefly closed and surrounded by armed police. By late yesterday, the curfew had been restricte d to just six suburbs and the Taj Mahal was reopened for tourists. A senior police official in the city, which remained shrouded in a heavy pall of black smoke from fires caused by the rioting, described the situation as "still very tense" and tourists were being provided with armed guards as they drove along the Agra to New Delhi highway.

The violence erupted after a speeding truck killed four Muslims as they were riding home on a motor cycle after observing Shabb -e-Barat, a holy "night of salvation" festival held 15 days before the start of Ramadan. The four were relatives of a prominent local MP in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and rampaging mobs, most of them believed to be Muslim, soon poured onto the main Agra-New Delhi highway, blocking it and doing battle with police and rival gangs from the majority Hindu community. "The cause of this violence was that traffic was not regulated properly. Trucks were allowed into a no -entry zone meant for pedestrians who were going for the Shab -eBarat procession," state government spokesman J.N. Chamber said yesterday. On the streets leading to the Taj Mahal, police fired volleys of tear gas in a vain attempt to disperse the mobs, but came under sustained attack from stone and bottle-throwers. Eventually, they were forced to fire live rounds of ammunition in the air. Many of those injured in the rioting were police, and the child who died is said to have been hit by a stray police bullet. About 20 per cent of Agra's residents are Muslim, the rest mainly Hindu. The national newspaper The Pioneer described the scenes in Agra as "an orgy of pre-planned violence" in which Hindus were being attacked. "If the accident (involving the four Muslim men) had not occurred, the mobs would have manufactured some other reason ," it claimed in an editorial. Meanwhile, in another manifestation of communal strife last night, the controversial chief minister of the state of Gujarat, Hindu nationalist hardliner Narendra Modi, was at the centre of charges that a Muslim man had been seriously bashed by security guards after he walked in front of the chief minister's convoy of cars. Mr Modi is a hate figure to many Muslims. The 22-year-old Muslim man was reported to have been "mercilessly thrashed" by police after disrupting the convo y of cars carrying the chief minister.

Islamic group claims India blasts

By R.K. MISRA July 27, 2008 AHMADABAD, India (AP) ² An obscure Islamic group claimed responsibility for a series of synchronized explosions that killed at least 45 people in we stern India, warning of "the terror of Death" in an e -mail sent to several television stations minutes before the blasts. Another unexploded bomb was found and defused early Sunday, said the city's police commissioner, O.P. Mathur. He said police had detai ned 30 people. "In the name of Allah the Indian Mujahideen strike again! Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!" said an e -mail from the group sent to several Indian television stations minutes before the blasts began. The e-mail's subject line said "Await 5 minutes for the revenge of Gujarat," an apparent reference to 2002 riots in the western state which left 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. The historic city of Ahmadabad was the scene of much of the 2002 violence. Saturday's e-mail, sent from a Yahoo account and written in English, was made available to AP by CNN-IBN, one of the TV stations that received the warning. State government spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas said 45 people were killed and 161 wounded when at least 16 bombs went off Saturday evening in several crowded neighborhoods. The attack came a day after seven smaller blasts killed two people in the southern technology hub of Bangalore. Investigators in Surat, a city about 160 miles south of Ahmadabad, found a car carrying detonators and a liquid that police suspect may be ammonium nitrate, a chemical often used in explosive devices, city police Chief R.M.S. Brar told reporters. Cities around the country were put on alert and security was stepped up at markets, hospitals, airports and train stations. The e-mail was sent by a group calling itself Indian Mujahedeen which was unknown before May, when it said it was behind a series of bombings in Jaipur, also in western India, that killed 61 people. In its e-mail, the group did not mention the bombings in Bangalore and it was not clear if the attacks were connected. "An e-mail was received by many news organizations. We are inquiring into that. We haven't traced it yet," city police Chief A.N. Roy said. The Saturday bombs went off in two separate spates. The first, near a busy market, left some of the dead sprawled beside stands piled high with fruit, next to twisted bicycles. The second group of blasts went off near a hospital.

The side of a bus was blown off and its windows shattered, while another vehicle was engulfed in flames. Most of the blasts took place in the narrow lanes of the older part of Ahmadabad, which is tightly packed with homes and small businesses. Bomb-sniffing dogs scoured the areas.

Muslim Hate in Italy
16 August 2005 Italy to expel 700 suspected militants ISN SECURITY WATCH (16/08/05) ± The Italian police on Monday said they had arrested more than 100 suspected Muslim militants and planned to expel hundreds more in a massive ³anti-terror´ sweep made possible by new legislation granting broader powers to police. More than 141 suspected militants have been arrested, and officials claim to have questioned 32,000 suspects since the introduction of new anti-terrorism legislation last month. In late July, the Italian parliament passed legislation granting greater powers to police and making it easier to detain people on suspicion of membership in a militant group. Civil liberties groups have harshly criticized the legislation. The move comes only weeks after one of the suspects in the failed 21 July attack on the London transport system, Hussain Osman, was detained in Rome. Osman is among 701 people Italy plans to expel or extradite for alleged involvement in terrorist activities. The arrests also coincide with warnings from Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu, who said that though there was no specific evidence of an impending attack, the risk was real and had forced Italy into an intense and prolonged state of alarm in the wake of the July bombings in London and Egypt. Pisanu said security had been stepped up around more than 13,000 ³sensitive targets´, mainly airports, train stations, ports, museums, art galleries, embassies, and places where large crowds gather. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also issued warnings, saying: ³A possible terror attack looms over us, but we¶re doing everything we can through our secret services. We are on maximum alert.´ The interior minister, know for his hard-line stance against illegal immigrants, stressed that the public should not confuse the threat of Muslim terrorism with Islam or Muslim culture. He called for a continued dialog with ³moderate Muslims´. Pisanu also said Italy¶s decision to deploy troops to Iraq to support the US-led occupation forces had nothing to do with perceived terrorist threats in Italy, despite threats that have specifically mentioned Italy¶s involvement in Iraq.

Italy currently has 3,000 troops deployed in Nasiriya in Iraq. Muhammad al-Masaari, the editor of the conservative Muslim website al-Tajdeed, warned that Italy was ³certainly at risk [of an attack] while it remains in Afghanistan and Iraq´. ³Italy¶s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi loves money, and he will realize that following the Americans in their military expeditions is not profitable,´ he said, adding that withdrawing from Iraq would not solve the issue unless the step was followed by a similar decision on the Afghanistan deployment and all other military missions Italy is involved in. Civil rights groups speak out Italy¶s new anti-terrorism legislation allows police to detain suspects for up to 24 hours, eases restrictions on internet and telephone surveillance, and clears the way for DNA samples to be taken without consent. The legislation also makes it a crime to train people to prepare or use explosives without government authorization, and offers incentives for those who provide authorities with information about terrorist activities. But the measures have drawn criticism from civil liberties groups. Amnesty International (AI) told ISN Security Watch it was ³deeply concerned that the new measures approved by the Italian government violate internationally recognized human rights laws and standards´ and that the ³current expulsion procedures for over 700 individuals may result in cases of refoulement,´ or persecution in their home states. ³Amnesty International would like to remind Italy of its obligations under customary international law to respect the principle of non-refoulement, i.e., the prohibition on sending anyone to a country or territory where that person would be at risk of serious human rights violations,´ an AI spokesperson told ISN Security Watch. Two people are being held for possession of false documents, while others are being held for a number of minor offences. The Interior Ministry said none of those arrested had actually been charged with terrorist activity. In the meantime, Italian officials said authorities would stage mock operations across the country next month to test the nation¶s ability to respond to a terrorist attack ³with the aim of maintaining public order, of ensuring swift aid, correct information, and prompt start of investigations´, the ministry stated. In Rome, Mayor Walter Veltroni , while appealing for calm, admitted that the locks to the entrances of 49 subway stations had been changed as a precaution, but was quick to stress that the city was operating normally. ³Rome is serene, full of tourists, despite all those proclamations on magazine covers that indicate it as one of the targets of terrorism,´ the mayor said. (By Theodore Liasi in Rome)


what goes out comes around

Our Muslim allies actually hate us!

Chechen Rebels Radicalize
Umalt Dudayev Institute for War and Peace Recording

The death of Aslan Maskhadov, the moderate leader of the Chechen separatists, one year ago has proved a turning point for the rebel movement ³ though perhaps not in the way the Russian intelligence services intended when they announced that they had killed him. The removal of Maskhadov, elected president in 1997 and killed on March 8, 2005, meant that the leading role passed to the radicals led by Russia·s most wanted man, Shamil Basayev. No major moderate figure has taken up Maskhadov·s mantle or has called for dialogue with the Russians. Maskhadov·s successor as rebel president, Abdul -Khalim Sadullayev, is officially working with Basayev and has announced the creation of a ´Caucasus Frontµ that

stretches beyond Chechnya to the rest of the North Caucasus. In February, Sadulayev reorganized his government, giving it a more radical complexion. In a rebuff to moderate envoys working in Europe, he called on all officials working abroad to return home and stripped Umar Khambiev of his post as presidential representative abroad. Another envoy Akhmed Zakayev, now resident in Britain, was demoted from his job as deputy prime minister, leaving him as merely culture minister. The most eye-catching move was the appointment of the rebel movement·s exiled ideologist, Movladi Udugov, as head of the newly -created ´National Information Service for the State Defense Committeeµ. ´Udugov·s appointment to a high position while Akhmed Zakayev retains only the post of minister means just one thing: the radicals have won a victory,µ said Chechen political analyst Murad Nashkhoyev. ´However, it is Moscow itself that has untied the Chechen radicals· hands by killing Maskhadov, the elected president, and rejecting negotiations with its opponents.µ The rebel commanders of the Nineties grouped around Maskhadov had Soviet backgrounds and little knowledge of Islam. They have been replaced by a n ew generation who talk about jihad and feel closer to the Islamic world than to Europe. The thinking of these new -style rebels is typified by Ansar, a 40 -year-old Grozny resident who fought on the anti -Moscow side in both the first and second Chechen conflicts. ´Chechnya cannot be independent if the whole of the North Caucasus is not independent,µ said Ansar. ´Otherwise, Moscow will simply crush us economically and politically, if not through war, which is what it·s currently trying to do with Georgia. I think Sheikh Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev, Shamil Basayev, Doku Umarov and all the other current leaders have come to understand this truth.µ A 23-year-old young man who said he is a member of a guerrilla group active in Grozny told IWPR, ´Russia is engaged in real terror not only against Muslims in Chechnya, but also against them in the whole of the North Caucasus. The same thing·s really going on everywhere: Muslims are being killed, detained under various invented pretexts, tortured, maimed, and humiliated. Men are afraid of growing beards because they can be accused of being Wahhabis [Islamic radicals], with all the consequences that can entail. Women are afraid of wearing headscarves for the same reason. µThis is why a jihad is necessary, first and foremo st the jihad of the sword ³ not only in Chechnya, but throughout the North Caucasus.´ This young man, who gave his first name as Islam, was critical of Maskhadov·s pro western stance. Although he recognized that the late Chechen leader was µa very courageous man´, he said, µWe should admit that he made a lot of mistakes. He relied on assistance from Europe and the West. He believed they would help to

stop this massacre in Chechnya. He thought everything could be resolved through political negotiations. Time has shown that he was badly mistaken.´ The policy of spreading the war to the rest of the North Caucasus was dramatized by last October·s attack on Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, in which dozens of people died. In January, Basayev gave an interview, published on separatist websites, in which he said that Sadulayev planned to hold a big µmajlis´ or assembly in spring 2006 to unify the Chechen fighters. Basayev also said h e µintends to cross the river Volga´ in summer. µShamil Basayev·s threats to ·cross the Volga· can be interpreted with some irony ³ but they cannot be ignored, as there are effectively no reliable data on the number of guns held by him and other field com manders,´ commented Anatoly Petrov, who works with the Military Commandant·s Office for Chechnya. µMost of the gunmen usually sit quietly at home, waiting for orders. They aren·t running around in the mountains, as people generally believe. ´It is quite likely that the leaders of the bandit groups want to carry out a few large diversionary and terrorist attacks this summer in order to make themselves heard again. The situation in Chechnya itself is under control. Therefore, in my opinion, the gunmen will try to do something in one of the North Caucasus republics, say Karachai-Cherkessia or Adygeia.µ Petrov said that the insurgents still enjoy support amongst the Chechen population ´not only amongst young people who basically have nothing to do in a republ ic destroyed by war, but even among religious figures, and quite possibly among officials tooµ. He cited an instance in which a Muslim cleric in the south -eastern Vedeno region who nominally supported the pro -Moscow government in Grozny was accused of aiding the rebels. In another case, a deputy to the mufti, or chief Muslim cleric, in Chechnya was dismissed after attending the funeral of rebel fighter Hussein Chersiev, killed in Ingushetia. There are varying figures for the number of active fighters stil l operating in Chechnya. In January, Russian general Oleg Khotin put the number at 750, while pro-Moscow Chechen prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov said there were just 250. Despite a reduced level of violence, and assertions by Moscow that it has the situation ´fully under controlµ, there is still fighting going on in Chechnya ³ with some indications that it may flare up again with the start of spring. On March 3, a battle took place near the village of Serzhen -Yurt and locals reported seeing at least four military helicopters firing rockets into the forest. Residents of mountain villages say there has been an increase in artillery fire in their regions. The young fighter Islam speaks with confidence about the future. ´We are fated to victory,µ he said with a confident stare from unblinking eyes. ´Because we have the two best choices ³ victory or paradise. Both are good for us. We will either

eject the Russian aggressors from Chechnya and the entire Caucasus, or we will become shahids on the path of Allah and g o to paradise. There is no third option.µ

MUSLIM HATE IN NIGERIA! Christian Leaders in Nigeria Call Bauchi Violence Premeditated

Numerous weapons and mercenaries point to plans awaiting a triggering incident, they say. By Obed Minchakpu TAFAWA BALEWA, Nigeria, ± Christian leaders in Bauchi state said religious violence here sparked by a row over a billiards table on Jan. 27 bore signs that Muslim extremists were prepared for a large -scale slaughter of Christians. Initially authorities said only 18 people were killed after sectarian violence erupted in the areas of Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro, where there are large Christian populations in predominantly Muslim Bauchi state in northern Nigeria. Since then, estimates have ranged wildly from 25 to 96 people killed over a three -day period starting Jan. 27, with Christian leaders asserting that Muslim extremists used the billiards table incident as a pretext for unleashing attacks with a stockpile of weapons hidden in mosques. As early as Feb. 1, Bauchi Commissioner of Police Mohammed Indabawa said at a press conference that 25 bodies had been recovered in a joint security operation in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro, with 38 people arrested. Shortly thereafter, a local legislator in the Bauchi House of Assembly, Aminu Tukur, told journalists that 31 bodies had been recovered and were buried in the area. Subsequently Luka Chongda, chairman of the Sayawa Development Association, a community Non-Governmental Organization in Tafawa Bale wa, reportedly said 96 people had died in the violence. He cited data collated from affected areas in both Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa four days after the Jan. 27 incident. Christian leaders in Tafawa Balewa told Compass that triggering incident ± in which a Muslim was said to have burned a billiards table belonging to a Christian, prompting youths from Christian families to burn mosques and Muslim homes ± led to the emergence of Muslim weapons caches and Islamist mercenaries. Islamists had made preparations f or attacks in the areas with large Christian populations, the Christian leaders said, and were awaiting a pretext for carrying them out. The Rev. Ibrahim Ezekiel of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Tafawa Balewa told Compass that Muslims in Bauc hi state have tried to eliminate the

Christian communities in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro since violence first erupted in 1991. ³The Muslims have been attacking us, and the government of Bauchi state knows this,´ Ezekiel said. ³Yet the government has given th ese Muslims the backing to attack us. They want to exterminate the Christian communities here, and that is the reason they are supporting the attacks on us.´ Ezekiel, pastor of a COCIN congregation in Maryam, a suburb of Tafawa Balewa, said that area Muslims ³used a lot of weapons to attack our people´ that were stockpiled in mosques. Apart from the use of guns and other weapons to attack Christians, Ezekiel said area Islamists brought in Muslim mercenaries. ³They brought in mercenaries to attack us,´ he sa id. ³They label Christians here as infidels who must be dealt with. The Muslims are the aggressors ± they killed our people and burned their houses. Christians who were helpless had no choice than to fight back and defend their families.´ Armed Muslims as young as 15 years old shot Christians they encountered, Ezekiel said. Christian youths seeking revenge for the billiards table incident stoked the violence until security forces could contain them and their Muslim counterparts; the pastor said 47 Christians have been arrested, with 27 of them charged. The violence that erupted in the only two local council areas with large Christian populations in Bauchi state led to significant property destruction that is as yet unknown in monetary terms. In addition, ac cording to community leader Chongda, the violence displaced 800 families, with many of those yet to return. Among Christians in Tafawa Balewa whose bodies have been recovered and buried are Pastor Bitrus Dangana of the Evangelical Church Winning All; Harun a Ayuba; Dima Apollos; Promise Isaac; Mama Likita Dadi; and Irimiya Mainama. Also killed were Christians identified only as Emmanuel in the Sabon Layi area of Tafawa Balewa; Godiya; and Gambo, a butcher in Maryam. Abubakar Adamu, an official of the Red Cro ss Society in Bauchi, confirmed that the incident had displaced about 5,000 persons. The Red Cross was treating many of the wounded and burned, he said. Ramat Kure of Maryam village told Compass that the violence in Tafawa Balewa was the fourth outbreak since 1991. ³The religious crisis in the area has remained unresolved because the Christian community is being oppressed by Muslims in the state,´ he said. ³The incessant religious conflicts in the area are as a result of deliberate policy of marginalizatio n and persecution targeted at Christians by the Muslim political leaders in the state.´ Kure said he witnessed the killing of 10 Christians in Tafawa Balewa on Jan. 27.

Areas hit by the violence were Angwan Sarki village, Angwan Madaki, Arewa, Sabon Layi, and Bauchi-Dass Road. Muslims reportedly barricaded the Bauchi Dass Highway, pulling dozens of Christians from their vehicles and killing them. Pastor Yunnana Yusuf of the COCIN Centre in Tafawa Balewa said he was in his home within the church compound on Jan. 27 when he heard shouting around the market square. ³I came out only to see people throwing stones at each other and, on inquiring, I was told that there was a fight going on between Muslims and Christians,´ he told Compass. ³In no time, I heard gun shots. As I came out, I saw one Alhaji Maigida and another Muslim by the name of Alhaji Maishayi, about a hundred meters away, distributing guns to some Muslims, and they began shooting. Instantly, I saw three Christians being shot. It was this that trigge red the incident, and within a short time, the entire town and surrounding villages were attacked and razed by Muslim attackers.´ The dispute between the Muslim billiards player and the Christian pool table owner was reportedly settled by mediation of area elders on Jan. 26, but Muslims later burned the table, prompting Christian youths to burn 50 houses and five mosques, according to police commissioner Indabawa.

Vatican says pope saddened about violence against Nigerian Christians

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI urged security officers to restore peace and the rule of law in Nigeria after violence against Christians left up to 50 people dead, including a Catholic priest. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of state, said in a telegram sent to church and government officials in Nigeria that the pope was "saddened to learn of the tragic consequences of the recent violent protests in northern Nigeria." A Muslim protest against a series of European cartoons offensive to Islam, originally published in Denmark, proceeded peacefully Feb. 18 in the city of Maiduguri, capital of Nigeria's Borno state. But after the demonstration, armed men took to the stre ets, setting afire churches, homes and businesses owned by Christians. Some 50 people, reportedly all Christians, were killed in the blazes or by their attackers, said Bishop Matthew Ndagoso of Maiduguri. The papal telegram, which the Vatican released to journalists Feb. 21, said the pope was praying for all those affected by the violence, especially those who had been killed and their loved ones.

The pope made special mention of Father Michael Gajere, the Nigerian priest who died inside a burning paris h compound after staying behind to save a group of altar boys from attackers. The pope called on all those "involved in providing security ... to ensure peace and to promote the rule of law for which all people of good will long," the telegram said. Speaking to Catholic News Service by phone Feb. 21 from Maiduguri, Bishop Ndagoso said the church and local Christians are questioning why no adequate security was provided for the Feb. 18 demonstration. He said there was "no visible police presence" when fires started in different parts of the city as soon as demonstrators dispersed from the city's main square at 10 a.m. Government "agencies gave permission for this demonstration, but they know demonstrations in our country often turn violent, and so they should have taken adequate security measures," he said. He said police only came on the scene "after the damage had been done. To us, this shows the complicity on the part of the government." The bishop said in addition to those killed, hundreds were injured, and 40 church buildings were destroyed. Among them were four Catholic churches and the bishop's house. "My house is burned completely down, even the walls have fallen down," Bishop Ndagoso said. He said he was away at a seminar the morning the violence broke out, "otherwise I would have been caught there" in the burning home. Father Gajere was the diocesan justice and peace director and helped dig wells and build dams for the surrounding Muslim communi ties, the bishop said. Born locally in 1964, the priest was ordained in 1992 and always worked in the same diocese. Bishop Ndagoso said the priest was with about eight altar boys inside the rectory when the church next door was set ablaze. The priest fac ed the attackers as they stormed the rectory, and he urged them to not cause anyone any harm, said the bishop. "When he realized the flames were closing in, he told the kids to run and they jumped the wall" surrounding church compound, the bishop told CN S. The priest stayed behind "to persuade the attackers to do nothing, but instead he paid the supreme price" with his death. "The situation is still very tense. Even though people are going about their business, there is an uneasy calm," he said. While some have suggested criminals or local hoodlums were responsible for transforming the peaceful demonstration into an inferno, Bishop Ndagoso said one "cannot rule out religious motives."

"It has clearly religious undertones, because why would they only burn Christian businesses, homes and churches?" he asked. The northern Nigerian state of Borno is more than 60 percent Muslim. There are about a half million Christians in a state of 3.5 million people, the bishop said. He said the government listed th e official death toll at 15 in an effort to minimize the severity of the incident and prevent outbreaks of retaliatory violence in the city and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the apostolic nuncio in Nigeria, Archbishop Renzo Fratini, told the Vatican missionary news agency, Fides, that he believes there was "no specific hatred against Catholics in Nigeria" and that the latest violence "had little to do with religion." He said there have been tensions between Muslims and all Christians, not just Catholics, but that political unrest may have been the trigger in Maiduguri, since protesters were also contesting a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian, to run for a third term.

Muslim Hate in Norway
Chinese Separatists Tied to Norway Bomb Plot

By EDWARD WONG The New York Times Published: July 9, 2010 BEIJING ² The arrests on Thursday of three men in Norway and Germany accused of orchestrating a terrorist bomb plot seemed like another routine raid by a Western government in the continuing campaign against groups linked to Al Qaeda. But one detail stuck out: Norwegian officials said one of the men was a Chinese Uighur, and all three supposedly belonged to a group that advocates separatism in western China. If the Norwegian officials are right, the bomb plot was a rare instanc e in which the group, the Turkestan Islamic Party, had tried to carry out an attack in the West that was unrelated to its goal of gaining independence for the restive region of Xinjiang, in China¶s hinterlands. Terrorism experts say the plot in Norway indicates that Al Qaeda and the few members of the Turkestan Islamic Party, or TIP, who trained in the tribal areas of Pakistan see some mutual benefit in cooperating. The use of relatively obscure ethnic Uighur recruits could allow Al Qaeda to penetrate more deeply into the West. For militant Uighurs, taking part in attacks against the West could give them a raison d¶être at a time when the Chinese government has seemingly defused any chance of a widespread insurgency¶s taking root in Xinjiang, despite occasional spasms of violence. Uighurs may also feel alienated by the West given that the United States and most other major nations have largely accepted China¶s contention that Uighur separatists are part of a broader threat to stability posed by Islamic fundamentalists. Al Qaeda, for its part, also appears to be able to channel the anger felt by extremist Muslim members of nationalist causes in places outside the Middle East and South Asia, analysts say. ³This plot matters because it shows that Al Qaeda¶s ideology contin ues to resonate with a growing number of individuals from a variety of national backgrounds and, more importantly, successfully convinces them to conduct actual attacks in the real world,´ Jarret Brachman, a counterterrorism adviser to the United States government, said in an e-mail message.

The major official Chinese news organizations did not carry stories on Friday about the Norway plot, even though Chinese officials often say terrorism is a deep concern in western China. They say ethnic Uighurs trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan by Al Qaeda are aiming to destabilize Xinjiang. But in recent years, only a handful of Uighurs have been captured by American forces or their allies in those countries, and TIP does not appear to be a cohesive organization that wields the abilities of more infamous terrorist groups based in the lawless Waziristan region of Pakistan. A number of Uighurs were captured by American forces in the early stages of the war in Afghanistan. While some were held at Guantánamo Bay for yea rs, American officials decided they did not pose a direct threat to the United States. The Uighurs were released, and some have been transferred to far -flung locales like the tropical island of Palau. ³My understanding is there were just hangers -on left there,´ Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism and insurgency scholar at Georgetown University, said of Uighur militants in Pakistan. ³So it¶s interesting to see them resurface now. This to me just reflects Al Qaeda¶s emphasis on diversification.´ ³I think they hope they can leverage off of Al Qaeda¶s name and enhance their status,´ he added. ³I think this gives their operatives something to do and acquire some useful experience. This isn¶t like Al Qaeda or many of the Pakistani terrorist groups. This is on a much different level; it¶s much smaller, it¶s more fractured, it¶s more aspirational than actual in its capabilities.´ The origins and strength of TIP, based in Waziristan, are murky. Most members are ethnic Uighurs who have become disaffected by China¶s policies in Xinjiang that tend to favor ethnic Han, the dominant group in China. Many Ui ghurs call Xinjiang their homeland, and some want an independent state there called East Turkestan. For years, Chinese officials have been blaming the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or dongtu in Chinese, for violent acts in Xinjiang, though they say eth nic riots in 2009 were inspired by a Uighur businesswoman living in the United States, Rebiya Kadeer, and other subversive forces. Chinese officials do say that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, was responsible for earlier episodes of violence, in particular a 2008 attack on paramilitary troops in the oasis town of Kashgar that resulted in the deaths of 17 officers. Under the administration of

President George W. Bush, the State Department put the group on a terrorist watch list. Some Western scholars of Xinjiang say Chinese officials exaggerate the threat from the group to justify crackdowns on the Uighurs. They say officials have never produced evidence that actually proves the group¶s existence. But a terrorism analysis group based in Alexandria, Va., IntelCenter, said in 2008 that photographs and videos showed that a militant Uighur group existed ² the Turkestan Islamic Party ² and that it was the same group the Chinese officials kept citing. The group originally called itself the East Turkestan Islamic Party, or ETIP, but after a transformation from 1998 to 2000, it removed the ³Eas t´ from its name, IntelCenter said. No original materials from TIP have any mention of the ETIM name. The group¶s founder, Hasan Mahsum, was killed by the Pakistani Army in 2003. There was a surge in activity in 2008, during the prelude to the Summer Olym pics in Beijing, when TIP released a video in which a masked man identified as Commander Seyfullah said TIP was responsible for bus bombings earlier that year in Kunming and Shanghai that killed 5 people and wounded at least 26. In April 2009, the United States Treasury Department designated a Uighur militant named Abdul Haq as leader of TIP and a member since 2005 of the shura council of Al Qaeda. The United Nations had earlier made a similar pronouncement. The American government said Abdul Haq, also known as Maimaitiming Maimaiti, succeeded Hasan Masum in 2003 as the leader of TIP. In January, a Predator airstrike in Afghanistan killed 15 TIP members ² 13 Uighurs and 2 Turks, according to statements from TIP. Some Pakistani and Afghan officials said Abdul Haq was among those killed. There has been an uptick in Qaeda statements urging Muslims to attack China. In late 2009, Abu Yahya al-Libi, a leading Qaeda figure, appeared in a video in which he said that Chinese forces had massacred Uighurs and that the Chinese state would crumble, just as the Soviet Union had. ³The state of atheism is heading to its fall,´ he said. ³It will face what befell the Russian bear.´ Zhang Jing contributed research.

Religious Strike in Norway
Brussels Journal 13 February 2010 Europe News By Filip van Laenen Last week-end, almost a thousand taxi drivers in the Norwegian capital Oslo and neighboring municipality Bærum went on what could be called a religious strike. Both on Friday evening and Monday morning, Muslim taxi drivers refused to drive in protest against Wednesday's front page of the Norwegian tabloid paper Dagbladet. That day, the tabloid ran an article about some of the "dangerous´ pages the website of the Norwegian securit y service PST links to, and illustrated that with a screen shot of a cartoon showing the prophet Muhammad as a pig trampling the Qur'an. Let's not be naive: the tabloid Dagbladet knew very well that it would create a new controversy when it put the cartoon on its front page. By its very nature, this type of newspaper depends on shocking front pages. Just like its biggest competitor in the market, VG, you can't get Dagbladet delivered to your door every morning, but have to go out and buy it at a shop. Therefore, its front page usually carries a big fat title involving celebrities, sex and violence ± if possible, all three of them to gether ± but occasionally, politics or religion will do as well. Apparently, on 3 February, Dagbladet's best shot at getting as many copies as possible sold was to put the cartoon, which already caused a stir in the nineties of the previous century, on is front page. Whether or not the 3 February edition of Dagbladet sold particularly well remains unclear, but it sure got plenty of attention. Attention is seldom a negative thing for a tabloid, but it may well be that Dagbladet got just a little bit more attention than it really wanted. On Friday evening, Muslim taxi drivers refused to drive their cars in protest; they repeated their action once more on Monday morning. Some of the interviewed taxi drivers said they are Norwegian citizens, and therefore deserve respect. They also wanted to show how much power they have in today's society, and that Norway ± in particular its capital Oslo ± heavily depends on them. This is certainly true when it comes to low status service jobs like e.g. taxi driving and cleaning, where Muslim immigrants are heavily overrepresented. And they illustrated their point very effectively both on Friday and on Monday: both times their actions resulted in long queues near railway stations and other popular t axi stops. If they had involved all Muslim bus, train, subway and tramway drivers too, the Norwegian capital probably would have come to a complete standstill. A question that could be asked is whether this really was such a smart move by the taxi drivers. Certainly, when asked for their opinion, many people in the long taxi queues expressed their sympathy for the taxi drivers, though not all of them did. I'm not sure what I would have said to an interviewer with a thousand angry taxi drivers in the background, if I was still planning to take a taxi later on. But during the last years, immigrant taxi drivers in Oslo have been hit by a series of scandals involving drivers running multiple licenses at the same time while still cashing in on welfare benefits. While they work multiple shifts in their taxis, they are able to build huge luxurious houses ± some qualify them as "castles´ ± in their home countries, usually

Pakistan. Once they've managed to gather enough money, they leave the country before the Norwegian tax authorities find out what's going on. Needless to say, Norway has missed out on several millions of dollars of tax money money due to this sort of schemes. Remarkably, none of these scandals has ever resulted in a strike or protest whatsoever by immigrant taxi drivers. Recently, another issue has been added to the controversies surrounding immigrant taxi drivers in Norway. As in many other Western European countries, there has been a lot of discussion in Norwegians press lately about niqabs and burqa appearing in the streets, and the oppression of women in Muslim societies, including in Western countries. As some of the participants in the still ongoing debate pointing out, this "moral policing´ is often performed by Muslim taxi drivers, as many of th em work during the evenings and nights and can effectively supervise who's doing what where together with whom in their neighborhoods ± and in effect the rest of Oslo too. I probably don't have to spell out to the reader exactly what the goal of this "mora l policing´ is, but it probably suffices to say that the picture drawn of taxi drivers in this controversy again wasn't a very pretty one. At least not as perceived by the vast majority of Norwegians, but this could of course be different in the eyes of th e Muslim taxi drivers themselves. Anyway, not so many protests where heard, nor were there reports of strikes against the lack of respect. I therefore doubt whether the Muslim taxi drivers, and by extension all immigrant taxi drivers, gained so much extra credit by their actions on Friday and Monday. In fact, as Per-Willy Amundsen, MP for the Progress Party (Fremskritsspartiet , Frp), the largest opposition party in the Norwegian parliament, pointed out, the strike was not only unacceptable, but also unconstitutional. Interviewed by commercial broadcaster TV2, he said that Dagbladet had the right to print the cartoon, and that the taxi driver's actions were in effect strikes against the freedom of press and opinion, which are guaranteed by the Norwegian constitution. He remarked that if these strikes were to continue, they could have many consequences, e.g. with regards to the taxi licenses. It should be noted that the Progress Party shares power with the Conservative Party (Høyre), the other big opposition party in the Norwegian Parliament, in the municipal council of Oslo. The religious strike by the taxi drivers wasn't the only protest against Dagbladet's printing of the cartoon. On Wednesday evening, what appears to be Turkish hackers brought down the website of the newspaper in a so -called DDoS attack. Eugene Brandal Laran from Dagbladet reported from his Twitter account that not only Dagbladet, but also its competitor VG, were hit by the attack. Arfan Qadeer Bhatti, the first person in Norway who was brought to court on the suspicion of terrorism, called for a demonstration in the streets of Oslo for today, Friday 12 February. According to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, he expressed hopes on his Facebook account that the demonstration could remain peaceful. Another person who expressed hopes that the printing of the cartoon would not result into any violence was imam Malana -hafiz Mehboob-ur-Rehman, even tough he feared the worse after an, according to him, " disappointing´ meeting with Dagbladet's chief editor Lars Helle about the matter. During that meeting, the chief editor of the ne wspaper had refused to offer his apologies to the imam.

In these matters, I always find it difficult to know exactly what these men are hoping for and what they are fearing, and whether or not they're trying to sow thoughts in the heads of potential demonstrators. Last year, Oslo saw its most violent demonstration in twenty years when demonstrators smashed windows and damaged other properties in the center of the city as a reactio n to Israel's Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza strip. New violence in the streets of the Norwegian capital can therefore not be ruled out. However, we have to assume that the two are honorable man, and tha t they're sincere in their feelings. The cartoon that Dagbladet used on its front page resulted in mass demonstrations, the burning of flags, and probably a suicide attack back in 1997, when a Russian immigrant in Israel, the then 28 year old Tatiana Soskin, had put it up all over Hebron. She had to appear in court, and was later sentenced to two years in prison. Lars Helle seemed not to be aware of the fact that it was the very same cartoon that he had put on his front page that caused the mass demonstrations in Hebron in 1997.

The Country of Peace Meets the Religion of Peace
The Brussels Journal September 18, 2007 Norwegian police have discovered that a large number of Pakistani taxi drivers, many of whom have already been charged with tax evasion in one of the worst cases of welfare fraud in the nation's history, have close contact with Pakistani gangs and operate as couriers of arms and drugs. In the city of Oslo i t is documented that criminal Pakistani gangs also have close ties to Jihadist groups at home and abroad. This despite the fact that Norway, a nation of peace and home to the Nobel Peace Prize, should presumably get along just fine with Islam, which is, as we all know, a religion of peace. Minister Bjarne Håkon Hanssen from the Labour Party has called for increased immigration from Pakistan because this would be good for the economy. The majority of Muslims voted for the Labour Party in the 2005 elections, which the left wing coalition won by a very slim margin. Eighty-three percent of Muslims voted for Leftist parties, just as all over Western Europe. Kristin Halvorsen, the leader of the Socialist Left Party, began her election campaign in 2005 in the Pakistani countryside, praising all the "bloo d, sweat and tears Pakistanis in Norway have spent on building the country." She is now Norway's Minister of Finance. In 2007, Minister of Justice Knut Storberget said that the Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17th, is for "everybody," and that it's appropriate to demonstrate this by displaying a multitude of flags and cultures. It is now permitted to celebrate it by waving the flag of the United Nations. The editor of a Multicul tural newspaper has suggested that the Norwegian national anthem should be translated to Urdu because this would be good for integration . Norwegians are supposed to celebrate their independence by singing their national anthem in Urdu, by wearing the national costume of Ghana and by waving the flag of the UN, an organization that is actively trying to curtail their freedoms and subvert their independence. This would be the

equivalent of Americans celebrating the Fourth of July by waving the UN flag and by singing the Star-Spangled Banner in Arabic. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre from the Labour Party parti cipated in a conference with participants from dozens of countries and media outlets on how to "report diversity" in a non-offensive manner, with Arab News from Saudi Arabia as a moderator. The Cartoon Jihad the year before had prompted Indonesia and Norwa y to join forces and promote a Global Inter -Media Dialogue. In June 2007 this was held in Oslo. The UN Special Envoy for monitoring of racism and xenophobia, Doudou Diène, started the conference by asking the press to actively help to create a Multicultural society. He expressed concern that democratic processes can lead to immigration limiting political parties coming to power. He claimed that it marked a dangerous trend that still more intellectuals and academicians in the western world thinks that some cultures or religions are better than others, and stated that "The media must transform diversity, which is a fact of life, into pluralism, which is a set of values." Getting diversity accepted is the role of the education system, and acceptance is the role of the law, Doudou Diène said. "Promoting and defending diversity is the task of the media." Societies must recognize, accept and then defend and promote diversity, which always seems to mean sharia. Mr. Diène represents Senegal, a predominantly Muslim country which is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the largest voting bloc at the United Nations. According to journalist Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, this co nference is yet another sign that Europe is moving in the direction of totalitarianism. Anfindsen thinks "there are already clear signs that large portions of mainstream media in Norway have been working according to UN instructions" long before his conference. In Britain, leading figures of the BBC have proudly announced that they actively promote Multiculturalism. They don't even need the UN to tell them that. Bruce Bawer, author of the book While Europe Slept, devotes much space to the bias of European media, and justifiably so. Norwegian PM from the Labor Party Jens Stoltenberg has stated that journalistic diversity is too important to be left up to the marketplace. One Muslim in Norway stated that: "I worked in a Pakistani shop, but all of the work there is 'unofficial.' Neither the boss nor I pay taxes to Norwegian authorities. In addition to this, I receive 100% disability benefits and welfare. I have to be c unning to make as much money as possible, since this is my only objective with being in Norway." Undoubtedly, many Muslims view welfare money from the infidels as Jizya, the poll-tax non-Muslims according to the Koran are supposed to pay to Muslims as tribute and a sign of their inferior status and submission to Islamic rule. According to Statistics Norway, immigrants generally have a three times higher unemployment rate than native Norwegians. It should be noted that non -Muslim Asians are much more successful, which means that the unemployment rate among Muslims is even higher than 300 % that of the natives. The number of Muslims in Norway has quadrupled over the past 15 years. The number of immigrants in Oslo increased by 40 percent in just five years, fro m 2002 to 2007. With current trends remaining unchanged, native Norwegians will be a minority in their own country within a few decades.

The number of rapes in the Norwegian capital is six times as high per capita as in New York City, and it is well documented that certain immigrant groups are grossly overrepresented on the statistics. Two out of three charged with rape in Norway's capital are immigrants with a non-western background according to a police study. Unni Wikan, a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, has said that "Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes" because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative. The professor's conclusion was not that Muslim men living in the West needed to adjust to Wes tern norms, but the exact opposite: "Norwegian women must realize that we live in a Multicultural society and adapt themselves to it." The number of rapes has continued to rise year by year, as it has in neighboring Sweden , but according to Trond Giske, Minister of Culture and Church Affairs from the Labour Party, 2008 will be an official Diversity Year (which it also will be throughout the EU) , dedicated to celebrating Multiculturalism and "cultural diversity" in all sectors of society, so hopefully this will change. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, heads a multi-million project sponsored by the Norwegian state trying to envision how the new Multicultural society will work. He lives, according to himself, in a boring, monocultural part of the city, insulated from the effects of cultural diversity. Zorica Mitic, a Serbian doctor from the former Yugoslavia where a Multicultural society recently collapsed in a horrific civil war, warned against the effects of unchecked mass immigration. Mr. Eriksen, a career Multiculturalist and intellectual celebrity in his country, responded by chastising her for her "lack of visions." A shoot-out between two Pakistani gangs one crowded Sunday evening at Oslo's popular waterfront complex Aker Brygge left two men wounded. Newspaper VG reported that a policeman had to run for his life from an angry crowd of Pakistanis. The plainclothes policeman was hit in the face and told to leave the Furuset shopping center. He was told that it was none of his business being in this area, and that a gang of young men had basically defined Furuset as their turf and didn't accept "intruders." Norwegian authorities have thus already lost control over significant chunks of their own capital city. Peaceful rallies denouncing Islamic terrorism or supporting Israel have repeatedly been physically attacked by groups of Muslim immigrants. Bruce Bawer, author of the book While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within , describes how there are now more direct flights from Norway to Pakistan than from Norway to the USA. Thorbjørn Jagland is a former Prime Minister of Norway from the Labour Party, currently President of the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament. In April 2006, Jagland wrote an essay warning against the dangers of Islamophobia. According to him, paraphrasing the Communist Manifesto, a specter is haunting Europe ± the spectre of Islamophobia. He fears that this could give rise to a new form of Fascism. Curiously, at almost the same time as Mr. Jagland warned against rising "Islamophobia," an article in Afte nposten newspaper warned that "youths" are in the process of destroying Norway's capital city, Oslo. Young girls are raped, schoolchildren are threatened with death, robbed and assaulted. The police warned against "an alarming rise in street violence" in u rban areas across the country.

The response of the authorities has been to increase crackdowns on "racism" by the natives. In 2005 the Norwegian parliament ± with the support of 85% of MPs ± passed a new Discrimination Act , prepared by then Minister of Integration from the Conservative Party, Erna Solberg, who had earlier called for the establishment of a sharia council in Norway. A spokesman for the right -wing Progress Party, Per Sandberg, feared that the law would jeopardize the rights of law -abiding citizens. Reverse burden of proof is combined with liability to pay compensation, which means that innocent persons risk having to pay huge sums for things they didn't do. If a Muslim immigrant claims that a native has somehow discriminated against him or made a discriminatory remark, the native non -Muslim has to mount proof of his own innocence. I have later discovered that similar laws have been passed across much of Western Europe, encouraged by the EU. There was absolutely no public debate about this law, which was passed in relative silence before the national elections that year. I was the first one to criticize it at my blog. The only journalist to criticize it was an American ex -pat, Bruce Bawer, and Hans Rustad at, the country's largest independent weblog. Not a single Norwegian journalist criticized t he proposed law, and most barely mentioned it at all before it was passed. The Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud Beate Gangås, a white, lesbian feminist, before the municipal electio ns in 2007 warned all political parties against making "discriminatory" remarks about immigration policies, but also called for actively reducing the number of white, heteros exual men in politics. There was little real debate about immigration in the heavily left -leaning media that year, but an all the more passionate with hunt looking for racists, and by that I mean whites only. The left-wing coalition government, after a mee ting with immigrant organizations, announced that racists, apparently meaning white natives only, should be "smoked out" of all public sector jobs. Following the release of a UN population report which indicated a global population increase of several billion people over the coming decades, Marie Simonsen, the political editor of Norwegian le ft-wing newspaper Dagbladet, wrote that it should be considered a universal human right for people everywhere to migrate wherever they want to. This would mean virtually certain annihilation for a tiny, wealthy and naive Scandinavian nation. Ms. Simonsen t hus endorsed the gradual enslavement and eventual eradication of her own people, no doubt congratulating herself for her own tolerance. Not a single word of protest was voiced by any other journalist to this statement. Human rights was a concept originally intended to ensure liberty. Now it's used to eradicate an entire people, or a large number of peoples across Europe, in the name of tolerance and diversity, and the natives are specifically banned from protesting against this.


Muslims demand to worship at church
The Islamic Council of Spain has sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI demanding that Muslims be allowed formal prayer at a Catholic cathedral in Cordoba.

Thursday, December 28, 2006 by Martin Barillas The leaders of the Muslim community of Spain have written a letter to Pope Benedict XVI demanding that their co -religionists be allowed to conduct formal prayer services at a Catholic church in Cordoba. Bishop Juan José Asencio of Cordoba rejected the demand saying that such a move ³would not contribute to peaceful coexistence between the different creeds´ and that it would ³merely generate confusion among the faithful and give way to indifferentism as to religion.´ The church in question, sometimes called the Cathedral -mosque of Cordoba, was indeed once a mosque for several centuries after the Muslim invasion of the 8th Century AD. After the Catholic Spania rds returned to the area in the 1200s, they found a mosque superimposed on what had once been a Visigoth Spanish church.

Córdoba was a center of Islamic culture and power that rivaled even Damascus and was to color Spanish culture and language indelibly. A pologists for Islam and the Islamo-Moorish occupation of much of Spain during the Middle Ages frequently hark back to a mythical time of tolerance between the Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic faiths and when great cultural achievements were notable. The cathedral is one of the most splendid works of architecture in Europe: thousands of visitors come each year to see the iconic Moorish arches and columns in its interior. Once the Catholic Spanish returned, a small church was built within the walls of the former mosque and has been used for Catholic worship for more than 700 years. Bishop Asencio has proclaimed his respect for Muslims living within the midst of modern Spain. While he also ³favors´ the dialogue between the two faiths that is promoted by the Pope, he averred that joint usage of the church ³would not contribute to the said dialogue.´ While noting the repeated insistence on the part of ³Spanish converts to Islam´ for joint Christian/Muslim usage of the cathedral, the prelate noted that the church¶s d eanery ³holds legitimate legal title to the Cathedral for its sole use by the Catholic Church". This is bolstered by the fact that excavations in the 1930s show that long before the imposition of a mosque by the Cordoban Ummayid caliphs that there was a b asilica built on the site during the 4th and 5th centuries by Visigoth Christians. The ruins of the church, a seminary and a charitable hospital, destroyed in the wake of the Muslim invasion after 711 AD, are now visible at the site. King Saint Ferdinand I II dedicated the new church at the site in 1236 AD. The interior perimeters of the church bear various devotional chapels that have been erected over the centuries, further denoting the Christian character of the building. Furthermore, said Bishop Asencio, ³like all cathedrals´ there is not only Catholic liturgy, but also ³the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist´: according to the bishop, this is the fundamental fact that makes Muslim worship within its confines ³unworkable´. The bishop¶s statement went on to say that the Christians of Córdoba wish ³to live in peace with believers of other creeds, but we do not wish to be subject to continuous pressures that do not contribute to peace.´ Joint prayer at airports, Olympic villages, and the like would not be affected by the bishop¶s insistence that the Cathedral be used solely for Catholic worship. The letter to the pope by the Islamic Council of Spain, led by Mansur Escudero, noted favorably as an example of ³singular ecumenism´ that the pontiff pra yed at the Blue Mosque during his trip to Istanbul last month. Mansur gave assurances that the Council¶s request does not represent a desire to take the surrounding region of Andalusia for Islam but noted the ³pathological aspects to which all religions ar e exposed´. Catholic worship is not allowed at the Blue Mosque nor at the museum in Istanbul that was a mosque before the inception of the modern Turkish state. It had been built as the Hagia Sophia Church by Byzantine Christians beginning in the 5th Cent ury

AD. Priceless mosaics and holy objects were destroyed by iconoclastic Muslims when the church was converted into a mosque in 1453 AD. Christians face persecution throughout many Muslim countries: in Saudi Arabia, for instance, all worship but that of Islam is strictly forbidden and punishable even by death. The former president of the Pontifical Council for Inter -religious dialogue, Bishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, once responded to a previous similar request by the Islamic Council by saying ³It is difficult to promote coexistence of Christians and Muslims by going back into history or wishing for revenge. We must accept history and move forward.´ Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and human rights observer who served in Latin America, Europe, and the US. He is Religion News editor for Spero News.

Sri Lanka grapples with Islamic threat By Sudha Ramachandran BANGALORE - While the emergence of armed Islamic groups in Sri Lanka's explosive Eastern province as well as increasing clashes between moderate and hardline Muslims are cause for serious concern, the raising specter of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism there is just as worrying. For several years, reports from the violence-torn, ethnically diverse Eastern province have drawn attention to the emergence of armed Muslim groups. Names such as Osama Group, the Muttur Jetty Group and the Knox Group have often figured into reports in the media. Analysts this correspondent spoke to in Colombo recently admitted to hearing about Islamic militias active in the East but not knowing much about them. While "money from the Middle East" is believed to be funding the Muslim militias in Sri Lanka's Eastern province, it is local concerns - fear of anti-Muslim violence by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and apprehension that the Sri Lankan government would not address Muslim grievances - that appear to be encouraging Muslims to take up arms. The easy availability of guns in this strife-torn province has facilitated the emergence of armed militias among Muslims. During the 1980s, it was the Sri Lankan government of the time - specifically the Special Task Force - that provided Muslims with weapons, ostensibly so they could protect themselves against Tamil militant groups. By arming Muslims, sections in the Lankan government were also hoping to deepen the divide between the Tamils and the Muslims in the Eastern province. When the LTTE unleashed violence against Muslims from 1990 onwards, many Muslim lads picked up weapons, if only to protect their homes and villages from Tiger terror. The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka is often depicted as one between the island's Sinhalese and Tamils. The Muslim dimension of the conflict is often ignored. Most Sinhalese are Buddhists while most Tamils are Hindus, although there are a sizeable number of Tamil Christians as well. Unlike the island's Buddhists, Christians or Hindus, whose identity stems from the language that they speak, religion determines the identity of Sri Lanka's Muslims. The Muslims speak Tamil in Tamil-dominated areas and Sinhalese on the rest of the island. The demographic complexity of the Eastern province - once predominantly Tamil, it is today a volatile mix of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim populations - makes it a veritable ethnic tinderbox. It is the East that witnessed the worst of the two-decades-long civil war. It was here that the bloodiest inter-ethnic killings and internecine fighting took place. It is here that the ceasefire today is the most fragile. And it is the East that is expected to explode first if the current ceasefire collapses. It is in this context that the reported proliferation of armed Muslim militias assumes importance. Unlike in the past, when Muslims were by and large at the receiving end of violent attacks by government forces and Tiger militants, this time the Muslim militias can be expected to unleash violence and fight back. Armed Muslim groups have existed for several years in the East. What has heightened concern about them today is that they are being equated with jihadi groups. The post-

September 11, 2001, paranoia with all things Muslim has resulted in many Sri Lankans and others equating the visible assertion of Muslim identity - more women wear the burqa and the hijab today than they did in the past, especially in the East but also in cities like the capital Colombo - with growing Islamic fundamentalism. There is a visible assertion of orthodox Islamists within the Muslim community. Radical Muslims are said to have attacked moderate Muslims for engaging in "un-Islamic activity", such as gambling, drinking and so on. They have attacked Muslims belonging to more liberal and syncretic sects. In October last year, followers of Sufi Islam in the town of Kattankudy near Batticaloa in the Eastern province were attacked and their mosque demolished by mobs incited by orthodox Wahhabi clerics trained in Saudi Arabia. It was even reported that hundreds of Sufi Muslims were forcibly converted to the orthodox faith. But this assertion of orthodoxy is only in a few pockets. It is not widespread. Reports of the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in the East are not just a flawed reading of the current situation, but also they are dangerous. Analysts are warning that the specter of Islamic extremism could be used by the LTTE to convince countries such as India and the United States, which have branded it as terrorist and are intensely worried about radical Islamists, that the Tigers could serve as an important buffer against the rise of radical Islamist groups in the East. Tisarane Gunasekara, writing in the Asian Tribune, argues: "If it can be shown that armed Islamic fundamentalists exist and are becoming stronger in the East, then it will be easy to divert the attention of the global and the regional superpowers away from the Tigers to this new threat. In fact, in such a context the LTTE might even be able to persuade one or both countries to accept its presence as a necessary buffer against the growing 'Islamic threat' and perhaps even to become an ally in the struggle against this new threat." There are people who are willing to buy the argument of the immense threat currently posed by Islamic fundamentalism in Sri Lanka. In April, Steen Joergensen, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission chief for the Batticaloa district, expressed his concern over growing religious extremism among Muslims. "I do not think it is a healthy sign if Muslims here practice their religion as extremists do," Joergensen told the Pakistani daily Dawn. "There are indications that Muslims in the region are incited with extremists views. I have seen a clear increase in the number of completely covered women. A large number of people are sent to Saudi Arabia to study the Koran in the orthodox way." Incidentally, Joergensen hasn't spoken up about the acquisition of arms by the LTTE, its conscription of children, its killing of political opponents and so on, even though these are violations of the 2002 ceasefire agreement. But the assertion of Muslim identity is seen as a worrying threat. The assertion of Islamic fundamentalism in the East and the emergence of armed Muslim militias there is also worrying. However, the problem is not as serious as it is being made out. The militias are still small - most of them have about a dozen men. And while they might spew jihadi rhetoric occasionally and have names linking themselves to al-Qaeda, they appear to be driven more by local concerns - protecting themselves and their people against the LTTE - rather than by global visions of jihad. Neither do they seem keen to overthrow the Sri Lankan state.

At the same time, the threat posed by these militias to the security situation in the East could turn problematic in the future. And that would become difficult to tackle if the Islamic fundamentalism that is visible in pockets today grips the community, providing the militias the support they need to thrive. To nip in the bud the long-term threat posed by radical Islamic groups it is essential that Sri Lanka tackles the clear and present danger posed by the LTTE's campaign to silence the claims of Muslims and of Tamils who don't agree with its methods. Successive Sri Lankan governments have ignored the claims of Muslims in order to appease the LTTE. This has had the effect of deepening Muslim alienation and anger. The most effective buffer against the proliferation of radical Islamic groups in Sri Lanka's east would be a provision of institutional guarantees protecting the security and rights of Muslims. Believing that the LTTE could be an effective buffer against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is naive and foolish. The LTTE cannot provide the solution when it is part of the problem. Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore. (Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd.


Teachers In South Fear For Their Safety
By D. Arul Rajoo May 15, 2006 BANGKOK, May 15 (Bernama) -- Thousands of students and teachers in Thailand return to school Monday after a long holiday but educators in the restive southern provinces continue to fear for their lives. Since violence erupted in January, 2004, 49 teachers died while 55 others were injured, mostly due to gunshots or became victims of bomb blasts carried out by suspected militants

fighting for independence for the Muslim-majority Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani provinces. Last week, two female teachers were killed along with a soldier and 16 other people injured in a bomb attack just 200 metres away from a private school in Pattani. In February, teachers at 250 primary schools in Yala refused to go to work for one week because of fears for their safety after five colleagues were shot dead in a single day. So far, more than 1,200 have died in violence in the three provinces. According to official figures, there are 11,267 teachers teaching more than 291,300 students in 861 schools in the three provinces. Although teachers were escorted to and from schools by security forces in many parts of the border provinces, they have been targeted by Muslim separatists, and many have been gunned down while travelling alone as dozens of Buddhist teachers became the main target. Early this year, about 300 villagers held 32 teachers hostage in a school until the authorities released the local imam who was detained for questioning over a bucket of petrol and some trekking equipment found in his residence during a military sweep of his village in Narathiwat's Joh I Rong district, one of the hotspots in the violence prone South. Although the teachers were released unharmed, it heightened the risk of being taken by teachers serving in the region. "Despite that, we are not willing to have soldiers inside our compound. It will make things worse. So, we are having more meetings with the local people to ensure such things don't happen anymore," said Rin Khonshuduang, the school's principal. Three weeks before the new school term, the Southern Border Provinces Peace-Building Command, a multi-agency body responsible for overseeing security in the region, called for a meeting with security and education officials to plan for security measures for schools and teachers. Yesterday, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang visited the southern provinces and met with teachers to provide them with morale support and assure them security measures were being provided by the government. So far, there were no reports of attack on teachers when school resumed today as security was tight, with thousands of soldiers and policemen patrolling the streets and guarding schools. This year, officials are planning to train more than 900 Narathiwat teachers on how to use weapons, self-defence and negotiating with offenders. But not all teachers were willing to undergo such courses due to fear that they could become target by militants. Director of Narathiwat Education Office Area 2, Adul Promsaeng said although many teachers are still living in fear, they have to take the risk as they could not run away from their responsibility.

"When school opens, we have to go back to school as long as we remain as teachers," he said. Yala Education Office Director, Adinan Pakbara said cooperation between security forces and the local people were important in ensuring the safety of teachers. "The villages must come forward and help to protect teachers as their children's future depends on teachers. Authorities should also cooperate more with the local community," he said. Last year, more 1,200 teachers asked to be transferred from the restive provinces but no figures were provided this year.

Thailand closes 100 schools after teacher hostage crisis
Bangkok, AFP Last Friday, some 500 angry villagers burst into an elementary school in Narathiwat and took 11 teachers hostage, demanding the release of suspected insurgents in exchange. Thailand today temporarily closed some 100 schools in its restive Muslim majority provinces, after a hostage crisis in an elementary sc hool last week left a teacher critically injured. Phairat Sangthong, the education chief in Narathiwat province, said the schools would remain closed all week. "Teachers can't bear the dangers they are facing. They don't believe they have any security," Phairat said.

Narathiwat is the most violent of the three mainly Muslim provinces along Thailand's southern border with Malaysia, where a two-year insurgency has left more than 1,200 people dead. Last Friday, some 500 angry villagers burst into an elemen tary school there and took 11 teachers hostage, demanding the release of suspected insurgents in exchange. Security forces rescued the hostages three hours later, but a 26 -year-old Buddhist teacher suffered severe head injuries that left her in a coma. Phairat said teachers in the province were angry because security forces took two hours to get to the school.

"By then, most of the teachers had already been released thanks to negotiations between the village chief and the hostage -takers," Phairat said. Most of the victims of the insurgency in the south are civilians. Teachers are frequently targeted because they are seen as imposing Thai Buddhist culture on a region that is predominantly Muslim and ethnic Malay. The region was an independent sultanate u ntil Thailand annexed it a century ago. Separatist violence has simmered ever since.

Muslim Hate in the Philippines
Troops are killed, some beheaded, in southern Philippines
By Carlos H. Conde International Herald Tribune Wednesday, July 11, 2007
MANILA: At least 14 government troops were killed in some of the heaviest fighting with Muslim insurgents in the southern Philippines in recent months, officials said Wednesday.

Military officials said they had recovered the bodie s of 14 marines after clashes with suspected Abu Sayyaf militants late Tuesday in Tipo -tipo, a hinterland town on Basilan island, and that at least 10 of them had been beheaded. A marine spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan, said in Manila that 50 marines had clashed with more than 300 rebels. "We were totally outnumbered," he said. Major General Ben Mohammad Dolorfino suggested that the marines had been beheaded by Abu Sayyaf in retaliation for the slaying of the son of one of the group's leaders. "They got angry, that's why they decapitated the marines," Dolorfino said. However, leaders of another group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said it was its own fighters who had fought with the marines and killed 23 of them. But the front's spokesman, Abu Majid, denied the front's fighters had beheaded the marines. He said this was done by "unidentified groups" after the fighting, and that the front planned to investigate. He said four rebels had been killed and seven wounded. Majid also said the viole nce could have been avoided had the government troops, who had entered the area in search of a kidnapped Roman Catholic priest from Italy, consulted with the front first. "We have all the mechanism in the cease -fire that allows coordination and to prevent this kind of unfortunate incident," he said. The military said the marines had been patrolling Tipo -tipo to check out reports that the Reverend Giancarlo Bossi, who was kidnapped last month in Zamboanga Sibugay Province, also in the southern Philippines, h ad been taken to Basilan. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has been fighting for a separate Islamic state for Filipino Muslims in the south for three decades; a cease -fire is in effect, although there have been violations. The agreement requires both side s to coordinate their movements if one side ventures into an area where the other side is present. Majid said he did not understand why the marines did not notify the front of its operations in Tipo-tipo. Mohaqher Iqbal, the head of the front's negotiating panel, said: "Our troops thought they were under attack. That's why they fought back. It should have not happened."

The Philippine government had said that some elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were also working with Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Isl amiyah, two groups that have been blamed for some of the most horrific terrorist attacks in the country since 2001. The front has denied any connection with Abu Sayyaf or Jemaah Islamiyah, but promised to purge its ranks of extremists.

Muslim Filipinos Vote as Violence Rages in Southern Philippines
By Nancy-Amelia Collins Jakarta ± Voice of America 11 August 2008 Over a million and a half Muslim Filipinos have voted in a regional election held amid escalating violence between the government and Muslim sep aratists in the southern Philippines. VOA correspondent Nancy -Amelia Collins in Jakarta reports. Around 1.6 million Muslim Filipinos voted Monday for a governor, vice governor, and 24 members of a regional legislative assembly in the six -province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, known as the ARMM. Local and international observers called the polls generally peaceful but marred by perennial problems such as tainted voter's lists. Fighting between Muslim rebels and government troops in North Cotabato, which is not part of the ARMM, did not directly affect the elections. Tensions remained high in the region as troops battled with hundreds of separatist Muslim fighters in North Cotabato forcing an estimated 130,000 people to flee their homes. The fighting began Sunday after rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF, defied a government ultimatum to withdraw from several Christian villages in North Cotabato on the southern island of Mindanao. Mohaqher Iqbal, the chief peace negotiator for th e MILF, told VOA the violence was escalating. "Fighting is still on going and it is worsening day by day because more troops coming from the government are enforcing their positions in various towns in the province," said Iqbal. "Our forces are defending themselves from this operation by the Philippine Forces." The flare up of violence in the southern Philippines follows a decision last week by the country's Supreme Court to suspend a deal for an expanded Muslim homeland the group had agreed on with the g overnment.

MILF chief negotiator Iqbal warned the peace process was in danger of collapsing. "We are negotiating with the Philippine government as the sole representative of the government of the Republic of the Philippines. And then as to the internal s quabbles to the three branches of government, the position of the MILF is that that is internal to the Philippine government, and if the Supreme Court rules negative, then as far as we are concerned, the peace process is practically dead," added Iqbal. The ARMM, the country's poorest region, was created in 1989, as part of a deal to end the conflict with another large Muslim separatist group, the Moro National Liberation Front. The MILF has been negotiating with Manila since 1997 to enlarge the Muslim homeland and grant it wider political, economic, and social powers. But the Supreme court's decision last week to put on hold the expanded territorial deal, which, among other things, would allow the proposed Muslim homeland to retain 75 percent of all reven ues from its natural resources, has created uncertainty. The 12,000 strong MILF has been fighting with the government since the late 1960's in a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 120,000 people. The Philippines is predominately Roman Catho lic, but around 5 percent of the population is Muslim and the majority of them live in the south.

Islamic separatists kill 28 in Philippines rampage
August 18, 2008 International Herald Tribune Islamic separatists attacked several towns and villages Monday in the troubled southern Philippine region of Mindanao, killing at least 28 people in a rampage that, officials said, included hacking several people with machetes and spraying bullets into buses. The attacks came as tens of thousands of villagers i n other areas of Mindanao were returning to their homes following the fighting last week between government troops and the Muslim rebels. News reports from Mindanao said several of the victims had been hacked with machetes. The rebels, according to officia ls, also burned down houses. The police said that the fatalities were mostly civilians, mainly farmers, while an undetermined number were soldiers. Officials said more than 200 rebels attacked at least four towns in two provinces in Mindanao.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called the attacks "sneaky and treacherous" and ordered the military and the police "to defend every inch of Philippine territory" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main Islamic separatist group operating in Mindanao. "I will crush any attempt to disturb peace and development in Mindanao," the president said in a radio address. The civilians were killed when the rebels withdrew, said Brigadier General Hilario Atendido, a military commander in the area. "They used them as hu man shields," Atendido said, speaking on the radio station DZBB. "The rebels killed them on their way out." According to news reports, the rebels also took several residents as hostages. A bus driver told a radio station in Mindanao that the rebels, shouti ng "Kill them all!" fired on his bus. The driver did not say how many of his passengers were wounded or killed. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, the governor of Lanao del Sur Province, said that the rebels were moving toward Christian -dominated towns in the coastal areas and that the military was directing its forces to protect those places. "The military is doubling its forces," he told ABS -CBN television. "The highest priority now is to secure the coastal towns." Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the rebel front, said it was still checking reports that the attackers were rebels. He urged the public "not to jump to conclusions" as the front investigated the attacks. But in case the rebels were front members, Kabalu urged them to stop the violence and to pull out of the province. He said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front did not issue any directive to carry out the attacks. The violence this week, which began on Sunday in Lanao del Sur, where four soldiers and four military-supported militia members were killed, is certain to complicate the peace negotiations between the government and the front. Two weeks ago, both sides had reached an agreement that they thought could end the fighting. But it was scuttled because of protests over the concessions that were to be given to the Muslim rebels. Government negotiators then said they were willing to abandon the peace agreement because of the backlash it caused in the Philippines. Analysts had said the breakdown of the talks could lead to more violence. The new attacks, said the army chief, General Alexander Yano, were a "clear manifestation of the insincerity to the peace process of a significant portion" of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This, he added, "is a virtual declaration of war against the duly constituted authority."

Muslim Hate in Trinidad
Violence brings crackdown on Muslim group
A radical Muslim group in Trinidad that staged an attempted coup in 1990 is under fire from the government for allegedly inciting violence. Joe Mozingo TRINIDAD
Sunday, March 12th 2006

Fifteen years ago, a radical Muslim group firebombed the police headquarters here, hijacked the nation's only television station and held Parliament hostage for six days. The failed coup by Jamaat Al-Muslimeen - the only Islamic revolt in the Western Hemisphere - left 24 dead and the prime minister with a gunshot wound in his leg. The attackers were given amnesty two years later, and the group and its charismatic leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, have since retained a measure of infl uence here through nebulous political connections. But now, as public outrage over a rash of kidnappings, murders and bombings threatens the ruling party, the People's National Movement (PNM), authorities are focusing on the Jamaat and the 64 -year-old Abu Bakr as never before. Earlier this month, the government sued Jamaat for an estimated $5 million in damages caused by the coup attempt, seeking to seize about 10 properties owned by the group's leaders. Less than three weeks before, a judge ordered Abu Bakr to stand trial on terrorism and sedition charges stemming from one of his sermons last November - just seven months after a jury deadlocked on another case, in which he was accused of conspiring to murder two former Jamaat members who allegedly refuse d to share with him the spoils of their crimes. The fateful sermon was televised at his mosque; Abu Bakr threatened ''war'' against rich Muslims who don't give 2.5 per cent of their income to charity, a tithe called zakaat that is required by Islam. He was arrested November 8, and two days later, the police and army stormed Jamaat's compound on Mucurapo Road and two of Abu Bakr's homes. They dug up the floor of his office, looking for weapons and explosives connected to the bombings, which injured 28 peop le in the second half of last year. Authorities found a rifle, some ammunition, a hand grenade and walkie -talkies, but no evidence on the bombings, officials said. Abu Bakr has remained in jail ever since as a judge repeatedly denied him bail. Jamaat repr esentative Kala Akii Bua says that the group has become a convenient scapegoat for a government under fire for its inability to control crime. ''The easiest solution is to blame the Jamaat Al Muslimeen,'' he told The Miami Herald.

But many people in Trinidad were relieved at Bakr's arrest, believing that he has been behind the crime wave and wondering if his political connections would save him from punishment. Last year, a record 380 people were murdered and 70 were abducted for ransom in Trinidad and Tob ago, a two-island nation of 1.3 million people. All this turmoil is rattling Trinidad and damaging its carefully coiffed reputation as a tourist destination - the languid land of Carnival, calypso and quiet Caribbean coves. "The fear is ever-present in people's minds,'' said Martin Daly, a former independent senator. Two high-tech police blimps now hover over the capital, monitoring the streets for crime. And the FBI and the Miami -based US Southern Command are watching the situation closely, given Trinida d's position as the largest supplier of liquid natural gas to the United States. The FBI is helping local police by analysing bomb fragments and residue. Depending on the point of view, Abu Bakr, a former police officer with a powerful build and intense manner, is a saviour or a demon. Born Lennox Phillips, he was educated in Canada, became a Muslim convert and took control of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, which means Society of Muslims, in the 1980s. Group members are known to have received training and funds from Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi. And Jamaat has been closely scrutinised since 9/11 because of its image as a radical Muslim group. Prime Minister Patrick Manning took heavy criticism for cour ting the group during the 2002 election. After Jamaat campaigned for him, Manning offered Abu Bakr land adjacent to the Mucurapo compound that had been in dispute for years, but a public outcry prompted him to retract the offer. According to the newspaper Trinidad Express, Abu Bakr has since amassed a small fortune, with four homes, one for each of his four wives. The government has recently appeared to be trying to distance itself from Jamaat. But the group is still believed to have members serving in the Unemployment Relief Programme, a make-work initiative long associated with political patronage and corruption. ''I think the government is trying to disengage, but it's not that easy,'' said Selwyn Ryan, a professor at the University of the West Indies an d author of The Muslimeen Grab for Power. Many officials, journalists and academics in Trinidad blame Jamaat - or some of its members, at least - for kidnapping, extortion, gun -running and drug trafficking. "Extortionist thugs,'' Ryan calls them. Ryan estimates that Jamaat has several hundred members, although no one knows how many supporters it may have in addition, and its reputation for violence looms large.

In August 2003, Aub Bakr was charged with conspiring to murder two former members who had publicly accused Jamaat of kidnapping. A Jamaat member testified that Abu Bakr ordered him to deliver an AK -47 assault rifle to kill the pair. Shortly after, one of them was attacked but survived. In 2004, the Trinidad Express reported that Jamaat was illega lly quarrying a plot of land and had chased off government inspectors who tried to confront them. Last May, Jamaat member Clive Lancelot Small was convicted in Miami of trying to ship 60 AK-47s and 10 MAC-10 submachine guns and 10 silencers from Fort Lauderdale to Trinidad in 2001. In court papers, US prosecutors said the guns were both for Jamaat and for resale. And on November 4, Abu Bakr delivered the sermon in which he told his followers to demand the tithe from Muslims who were not paying it. In a co untry divided evenly and sometimes bitterly - between the descendants of African slaves and East Indian indentured servants, the sermon was seen as a threat to the Muslims who are Indian, and who do not identify with the predominantly black Jamaat. "I foresee a war,'' Abu Bakr said, according to an official who has seen the video but asked to remain anonymous out of fear. "Lives may be lost.'' Abu Bakr's attorneys have said he was simply paraphrasing parts of the Koran, and his group insists it is a leg itimate religious organisation helping the urban poor passed up by the country's oil and natural -gas booms. Its school serves about 300 students. On a typical day, the halls are hushed, the students disciplined. The boys wear traditional Muslim caps, and girls wear hijab scarves. The curriculum is a mix of religion and basics - math, music, English, social sciences. On the walls, images of Islam commingle with Big Bird and Burt and Ernie. Abu Bakr's secretary Gail Alonzo says the government has been tryi ng to shut it down. On November 10, when police raided the compound, they searched the school, too. ''They didn't find anything,'' Alonzo said. "They just ate the children's snacks.'' -Miami Herald

Muslim Hate in Uganda
Islamic militant group al-Shabab claims Uganda bombing attacks

By Sudarsan Raghavan Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, July 12, 2010 KAMPALA, Uganda -- An al-Qaeda-linked Somali militia claimed responsibility Monday for back-to-back bombings in the Ugandan capital that killed at least 74 people watching the World Cup final on television, marking the first major international attack by t he group in a region where the United States and its allies are attempting to stem the rise of Islamic radicalism. In the Somali capital, Mogadishu, a top spokesman for the hardline al -Shabab said the group carried out the bombings, and he threatened furt her attacks if Uganda and Burundi continued to supply troops to an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia. "Al Shabab was behind the blasts," Ali Mohamud Raghe, the militia's spokesman told reporters. "Thanks to our martyrs who carried out the attack s." The powerful explosions tore through two venues in Kampala where crowds were watching broadcasts of the World Cup final late Sunday, killing at least 74 and wounding scores of others, Ugandan police said. At least one American was killed and several were wounded, according to the U.S. Embassy here. The bombings unfolded at the Kyadondo Rugby Club and at the Ethiopian Village restaurant where hundreds of boisterous and cheering soccer fans, including clusters of foreigners, had gathered to watch Spain beat the Netherlands in the final in South Africa. Among the dead at the rugby club was Nate Henn, 25, of Wilmington, Del., a worker for Invisible Children, a California -based aid group that helps child soldiers, the group said on its Web site. A 16-year-old girl from Ellicott City, Md., Emily Kerstetter, was injured, according to WMAR-TV in Baltimore. She was in Kampala with her grandmother's church group from Pennsylvania. Ugandan Police Chief Kale Kaihura immediately pointed blame at al -Shabab, a hardline militia with growing ties to al -Qaeda that has perpetrated several bombings in recent months in Somalia. Last week, the militia's top leader, Mukhtar Abdurahman Abu Zubeyr, accused African Union peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu of committing "massacres" against Somalis. Ugandan and Burundian troops make up the peacekeeping force. Abu Zubeyr warned that his for ces would take revenge against the peoples of Uganda and Burundi.

Uganda, a key U.S. ally, is also a training ground for soldiers for Somalia's transitional government, which al -Shabab is seeking to overthrow. The training program is backed by the United States and European nations. The United States officially considers al-Shabab a terrorist organization. The militia, which seeks to create an Islamic emirate and has imposed Taliban -like dictates, has banned playing soccer in many areas and prohibited broadcasts of the World Cup, describing the sport as "a satanic act" that corrupts Muslims. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited the bombing sites Monday and vowed to pursue those responsible, according to news agencies. "This shows you the criminality and terrorism that I have been talking about," he said at the rugby club. "If you want to fight, go and look for soldiers. Don't bomb people watching football." He also said of the attackers, "We shall go for them wherever they are coming from. We will look for them and get them as we always do." At the Kyadondo Rugby Club in the Lugogo section of Kampala, witnesses and police said two explosions killed at least 43 people who had gathered on the rugby field to watch the soccer final on a large -screen television. As people went to help the victims of the first blast, a second, more powerful bomb detonated, causing greater casualties, witnesses said. Police said they suspect that the second blast was set off by a suicide bomber. A police official said investigators found the head of a man who appeared to have Somali features. As of Monday afternoon, cars belonging to the victims were still parked on the rugby field, where organizers had set out rows of white plastic chairs for the soccer fans. "All of those cars belonged to those who died," said Alphonse Motebasi, a police commander from a nearby station. "I was picking up bodies until 7 a.m.," he said. Pointing down as his trousers, he added: "See the blood?" At the Ethiopian Village restaurant, crowds of Ugandans gathered Monday, peering over the walls at the carnage inside as police stood guard and investigators combed through debris that looked like the a ftermath of a tornado. The onlookers shook their heads at the overturned tables on the restaurant's patio, the shattered glass and shreds of clothing strewn about and the dried blood stains on the floor. "How can someone kill innocent Ugandans?" demanded Godfrey Ivimba, 34, the owner of a printing business, after he glimpsed the scene over the restaurant's wall. Residents said the restaurant was popular with Ethiopians and Eritreans, as well as other foreigners. According to an American resident of Uganda , three of the wounded at the restaurant were members of a church group from Pennsylvania, among them a 16 year-old girl, the Associated Press reported.

If al-Shabab carried out Sunday's attacks, the bombings would represent a significant escalation in it s efforts to sow chaos in the region. The militia controls much of southern and central Somalia. In recent months, it has staged cross -border raids into neighboring Kenya, but it has never attacked another nation on a scale seen on Sunday. Nevertheless, So malia's neighbors have long feared that Somalia's civil war could spill across their borders. Foreign jihadists trained in Afghanistan are gaining influence inside al-Shabab and inspiring the militants to import al -Qaeda's ideology and tactics from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to Somali intelligence officials, former al Shabab fighters and analysts. Last month, two New Jersey men were arre sted in New York and charged with planning to travel to Somalia to join al -Shabab. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the United States was prepared to assist the Ugandan government in any manner, as both President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the attacks and offered their condolences. "The United States stands with Uganda," Clinton said. "We have a long -standing, close friendship with the people and government of Uganda and will work with them to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice." Invisible Children said on its Web site that Henn, the American killed in the rugby club bombing, "sacrificed his comfort to live in the humble service of God and of a better world, and his is a life to be emula ted." It added, "Nate's life ended while living out this dream, a selfless dream of putting others first, seeking peace, and living a life of integrity." Staff writer William Branigin in Washington and special correspondent Yusuf Hagi Hussein in Mogadishu contributed to this report.

Muslim Hate of Actors
Jeddah, 20 Oct. (AKI) - Saudi actors in a TV series dealing with the issue of terrorism have received death threats after the programme was broadcast on Syrian television, the Saudi newspaper Arab News reports. The 30-episode series, Al-Hoor al-Ain (Beautiful Maidens), is about Jordanian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Egyptian and Syrian families living in residential complexes in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic terrorists who want to attack them. Mishael al-Mutairi, one of the actors in the series who plays a would -be suicide bomber, said he started receiving threatening phone calls and text messages before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, but they increased after the series was broadcast by the MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Corporation) TV station. "The messages annoyed me, but I try to ignore them. I expected to be criticised when I agreed to play a young Saudi who has been driven to do things by suspected terrorists," he was quoted as saying. The series is directed by a Syrian Muslim, Najdat Anzour, who describ es it as "a work about society and the innocent victims of terrorism". The programme's message is that terrorism is giving Islam a bad name and Muslims are suffering as a result. "The series is aimed at those who have not made up their minds about terrorism yet," he said. "We want to tell them that Islam is a religion of tolerance, peace and dialogue. It's not a religion of violence." Saudi Arabia has been hit by a wave of militant violence since May 2003, when a group of terrorists attacked residential compounds mostly housing foreigners in the capital Riyadh. Anzour said the series was based on those bombings. One of the show's Saudi writers, Abdullah Bjad, describes himself as a former militant, and was consulted on the religious aspects of the series. The show's title refers to the 70 virgins the terrorists are promised will be their reward in heaven. The belief comes from one of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, which militants read as meaning that martyrs who die defending God and their honour will meet more than 70 virgins in paradise. Since going on air, the programme has been widely discussed in the Arab media and on the Internet, and has been both praised and criticised, with the title coming in for particular criticism.

Programmes broadcast during Ramadan often come under attack. Last year some TV channels stopped airing the series 'The Road to Kabul', which portrayed life under the Taliban, after everyone involved in it was threatened in Islamist website messages.


Protect the Temple Mount
by Hershel Shanks (from The Washington Post, Opinion Columns, July 17, 2000)

The world's patrimony is being carried off in dump trucks. All who care about the archaeological remains on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where Solomon's temple once stood and later Herod's temple, should be incensed at Israel's failure to stop the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that controls the site, from illegally destroying precious remnants of history important to Muslims as well as to Jews and Christians. The Waqf has been destroying our history for nearly three decades without interference from Israeli authorities, despite the country's strict antiquitie s laws. In late 1999 in the guise of building an emergency exit from the underground area known as Solomon's Stables (which has been converted into a mosque), the Waqf began removing hundreds of truckloads of archaeologically rich material and dumped it in the Kidron valley. Ultimately, it removed more than 6,000 tons of earth, allowing the creation of what the police commander of the Jerusalem District called a "monumental entry gate" 200 feet long and 75 feet wide. More recently, Waqf trucks once again h ave been observed entering and leaving the Temple Mount, carrying building materials on and moving earth off. Stacks of paving stones, scaffolding, wood and iron materials near the Golden Gate, as well as two small construction sheds, give credence to the report in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that the Waqf is planning to erect a fourth mosque on the Temple Mount. An open letter in June, signed by former and current Jerusalem mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert, 82 members of parliament across the politi cal spectrum, Amos Oz and other well-known writers, former army chiefs of staff, presidents of Israel's universities, professors of archaeology and members of Israel's law faculties, called the work of the Waqf "a serious act of irreparable archaeological vandalism and destruction." Barak finally addressed the issue recently, declaring that he remained committed to preserving the status quo." The Jerusalem Post called the statement "Orwellian." There is no doubt that the work is illegal. No construction is permitted in areas with archaeological remains without permission from the Israel Antiquities Authority. Even with a permit the work must be done, under archaeological supervision. As early as the 1970s the Waqf used a bulldozer to dig an illegal trench for utility lines that uncovered an ancient wall six feet wide and 16 feet long. The wall was removed before archaeologists could record and study it. A 1983 editorial in Biblical Archaeology Review decried the Waqf's destruction of evidence that supported the views of a Hebrew University professor as to the precise location of the ancient Israelite temple. We wrote, "It seems obvious that no excavations for any purpose should be permitted on the Temple Mount except by qualified professional archaeologists . After the archaeologists finish their work, the

excavated area can be used for non -archeologic purposes if no ancient remains are found." In 1986 a suit was brought against the government and the Waqf seeking an injunction against further destruction of archaeological remains. The Waqf ignored the suit, because in its view any response might be a recognition of Israeli sovereignty. The government, however, opposed the suit. Nevertheless, the then-district archaeologist for Jerusalem filed an affidavit s tating that the Waqf systematically had destroyed, damaged or covered up archaeological remains. Israel's Supreme Court did not hand down its decision until 1993; it found that the Waqf had violated the country's antiquities laws; many of the 35 violations involved irreversible destruction of important archaeological remains. Even after the suit had been filed, the Waqf continued illegal construction, the court found. The Waqf ignored Antiquity Authority officials who instructed it not to build over or cove r archeological remains or archeologically significant areas. The court nevertheless denied an injunction, expressing confidence that Israeli authorities would in the future correct their past errors. The Temple Mount is the patrimony of the world. Israel is responsible for ensuring the preservation of archaeological remains on the Temple Mount. It has been suggested that Barak's reluctance to act stems from fears that it would adversely affect the peace process or might lead to violence. But the rule seem s to be that during the negotiation process, neither side is to change the status quo. It is the Waqf that is changing the situation. And if Israel cannot prevent destruction of archaeological remains on the Temple Mount without Arab violence, perhaps Isra el should know that now. On the other hand, the anticipation of violence may well show disrespect for the good common sense of the Arab world.

New archaeological site unveiled near Western Wall
By The Associated Press Last update - 20:34 27/09/2005

Israel unveiled an underground archaeological site near the Western Wall on Tuesday, nearly a decade after the opening of an exhibit in the same area sparked widespread Palestinian rioting. The latest discovery included a ritual bath, or Mikveh, from the period of the second Jewish Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., and a wall that archaeologists said dates to the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 B.C. The findings strengthen Jewish ties to the shrine also claimed by Muslims. The new tourist center snakes underground, adjacent to the path of the Western Wall, the last remaining retaining wall of the Temple. When the center is opened in a few weeks, visitors will be presented with a sound and light show of Jewish biblical history, highlighting recent discove ries of artifacts and infrastructure dating back thousands of years, including one of the world's oldest aqueducts.

Israel has been conducting archaeological digs near the Western Wall since it captured east Jerusalem and its Old City in the 1967 Six Day War. The digs infuriate Palestinians and the Islamic Trust that oversees the mosque complex that now sits on the mountain that once held the biblical temples. Known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the site is considered so holy that many observant Jews won't go to the site for fear of defiling it. Known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, the site is now home to the Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and is revered by Muslims as the place where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The shrine, which is adjacent to the Western Wall, is one of the most sensitive in the Mideast conflict, and has often been the catalyst of Israeli -Palestinian fighting. Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capitals. In 1996, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized the opening of an archaeological tunnel alongside the compound, triggering Palestinian riots in which 80 people were killed. In September 2000, then -opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, visited the mosque compound. The next day, violence erupted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, evolving into a nearly five -year-long Palestinian uprising. Adnan Husseini, the head of the Waqf, or Islamic Trust, that oversees the compound, condemned the digs and Israel's intention to open the s ite to the public as a "confiscation" of Muslim property. "Anything they do in the place means deepening their attacks on the Islamic Waqf," Husseini said. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the chief rabbi of the Western Wall, said he was not concerned violence would erupt after Israel opens the site because it does not extend underneath the mosque compound. Jewish religious decrees forbid digging in the compound, for fear archaeologists would inadvertently enter the "holiest of holies," the most sacred site in the temple, he said. The latest findings and the high -tech center are meant to link the past with the future and draw more Israeli children to the Western Wall, Rabinovitch said. "Any discovery brings great excitement," he said. "It's part of our Jewish heritage."

Mecca Conference Criticized for Hypocrisy on Holy Site Destruction
By Sherrie Gossett Staff Writer December 29, 2005
( - Leaders of a recent conference in Mecca, which emphasized the safeguarding of historic and holy I slamic sites in Jerusalem, are being criticized for turning a blind eye to the reported destruction of such sites in Saudi Arabia. Their statements condemning terrorism have also been criticized.

Representatives of 57 countries, including the prime minist er of Malaysia and King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz, who holds the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques," attended the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which held its summit Dec. 7 -8 in Mecca. The summit was convened to address "internal and extern al threats" facing the wider Muslim community -- or "Ummah" -- in the 21st century. The OIC was founded in Morocco on Sept. 25, 1969, following an arson attack against the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Aug. 21 of that year. Moral outrage over what the OIC still calls a "Zionist" attack has been an organizing principle of the conference ever since, even though the perpetrator of the arson turned out to be a deranged Australian tourist who belonged to a Christian sect. While the December summit tackled di verse issues such as poverty, disaster relief and terrorism, a uniting theme was concern for the safety and state of historic Islamic sites in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), including the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Documents issued by the conference indicated that member stat es should make contributions to "preserve the holy sites in the city of Al -Quds" and "safeguard the sacred city's cultural and historic landmarks and Arab -Islamic identity." The documents cited the need to counter "the judaization of the Holy City." A statement released by the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu warned of "illegal Israeli practices" and "aggressions" that aim to alter "historic landmarks." In a report issued the month before the conference, the secretary expressed "grave concern" over the "deteriorating condition of religious and historical sites" in Jerusalem due to "Israeli practices" such as excavations and the building of the separation wall. The OIC should "spare no effort to preserve the Islamic historical and religious identity of Al-Quds Al-Sharif," wrote Ihsanoglu. OIC leaders also cited the need to counter the "desecration of Islamic holy sites." "It is very ironic," said Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Washington -based Institute for

Gulf Affairs. "The same place where they had their meeting, not one mile away, there are Islamic landmarks much more important in Islamic history than all Islamic landmarks in Jerusalem, that are being destroyed."
Prophet Mohammed's childhood home set to be demolished

Al-Ahmed, a Saudi scholar and expert on Saudi political affairs, estimates that the majority of Islamic landmarks in Saudi Arabia have already been destroyed. Islamic architecture expert Sami Angawi told media earlier this year that at least 300 historical buildings have been leveled in Mecca and Medina over the past 50 years. "A telling example is the house where the Prophet Mohammed was born and [another] house he lived in until he was 29 are going to be demolished," Al -Ahmed said. Also destroyed was the 18th -century Ottoman-era Ajyad Fort. "They destroyed it at night. They blew up the hill where the fort was situated to make room for hotels," Al-Ahmed said. In 2002, the Saudi Embassy released a statement saying the fort was not listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site a nd that the Saudi government had called for its "rebuilding by experts in the same traditional way it was first built and at the same location, albeit not on Bulbul Hill." Other reportedly destroyed sites cited by Al -Ahmed include: the first house in Isla m, where the prophet Mohamed held secret meetings with his followers, which was destroyed in the 1980s; the houses of the prophet in Medina, where he lived for the last 10 years of his life; the Al-Fadik mosque in Medina built during Mohammed's life and destroyed in July 2003; and the Ali Al -Oraidi Mosque and Shrine in Medina destroyed in 2004. "It had been in operation for 1,200 years," said Al -Ahmed. Behind the destruction is the Wahhabist strain of Islam, which seeks to destroy any revered physical structures that clerics believe could lead believers to idolatry, said Al-Ahmed. Real-estate development, especially around Mecca and Medina, which hosts millions of pilgrims every year, is also a major factor. Religious politics also plays a role. When aut horities allegedly destroyed one of the five renowned "Seven Mosques" built by the Prophet Mohammed's daughter and four of his "greatest Companions," Wahhabists were approving. "The mosques are not welcomed by Wahhabis," said Al -Ahmed. "It's partly political. They don't want Shia to go there to pray." Where the Abu Bakr mosque stood, there is now an ATM machine, said Al -Ahmed. The home in which the founder of Islam grew up is slated to be destroyed, as well as his birthplace, which has a library built over it. Two major battlefields with both historic and religious significance have also reportedly been paved over. In June of last year, the Islamic Supreme Council of America called for the support of the world community, UNESCO and the United Nations to s top the destruction of venerated Muslim sites in Saudi Arabia. The exclusive emphasis of the OIC on the danger such sites in Jerusalem allegedly

face at the hands of Israeli Jews is a "highly selective politicization of the issue," said Al-Ahmed. "Jerusalem is actually more authentic than Mecca today -- the preservation is much better than that of Mecca," he said. If a historic Islamic site in Jerusalem such as the Dome of the Rock were ever to be destroyed, Al-Ahmed said, "we'd have a bloodbath." By comparison, Al-Ahmed noted the irony of a tape of the late Sheikh Mohammed bin Othaimeen, who he described as the "number one Wahhabi cleric." "On the tape he says, 'We hope one day we'll be able to destroy the dome of the Prophet Mohammed," al-Ahmed quoted bin Othaimeen as saying in reference to the "Green Dome" (Gunbad-e-Khadra), under which Mohammed is buried in the Al Nabawi Sharif mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Al-Ahmed's Institute for Gulf Affairs is planning a report and a conference on the issue in the upcoming year. The report will contain commissioned photographs and details of the destruction. "Throughout the centuries, Muslims had no problem preserving these sites; now, we have this new Islam that wants to destroy them. It is very sad and ve ry disturbing," Al-Ahmed added. The OIC summit also addressed terrorism and social and political issues in several documents it issued. Calls for solidarity among the 57 member nations were accented by the voiced need to "counter foreign threats" and "re ject unilateral sanctions." The OIC jointly condemned "the alarming phenomenon of "Islamophobia" and noted the "moral obligation" of Western powers to provide socio -economic aid for its part in causing harm over the years to Muslims. The OIC also resuscitated the idea of establishing an International Islamic Court of Justice in Kuwait to settle matters between member states.
'Criminalize every single terrorist practice'

Leaders at the summit affirmed the need to "criminalize every single terrorist practice" and supported the establishment of an International Counter -Terrorism Center as endorsed by the Riyadh International Conference on Combating Terrorism. While all of the summary documents issued by the OIC condemned terrorism, the secretary general's report noted the "lack of consensus on the definition of the term" and "insisted on its differentiation from the right to resist aggression, foreign occupation and self -defense." The statements don't carry much weight with those serious about counter -terrorism, according to Yehudit Barsky, director of the Middle East and International Terrorism department at the American Jewish Committee headquartered in New York City.

"This is very similar to previous statements made by Arab countries and by the Arab League," said Barksy. "They leave the door open for what they call resistance movements. Legitimizing resistance movements is legitimizing terrorism." Nihad Awad, director of the Council on American -Islamic Relations (CAIR), attended the Mecca summit. He did not respond to a request from Cybercast News Service for comment on the conference, nor did he respond to a request to give his opinion of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine and whether he believes their use of violence is ju stified. Regarding CAIR's previous condemnations of terrorism and violence against "innocent" civilians, Awad also did not respond to the following question: "Do you believe Israeli victims of suicide bombings are 'innocent victims,' or are they legitimate targets of violent resistance...?"

Jerusalem Muslim leader calls for halt in Israeli excavation project
By RAVI NESSMAN (Associated Press Writer) Associated Press 01/03/2006

JERUSALEM - The top Muslim cleric in the Holy Land on Tuesday called on Israel to halt work on an archaeological project near a disputed holy site, saying continuing the dig would inflame tensions in the region. Israeli authorities recently unveiled an un derground site that strengthens Jewish ties to the hilltop compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary. The compound was the site of the biblical Jewish temples, and is considered so holy that many observant Jews will not go there for fear of defiling it. It currently houses the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and is revered by Muslims as the place where Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Israel has conducted archaeological digs near the compou nd since it captured the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War. The digs infuriate the Palestinians and the Islamic Trust that oversees the mosque complex. The competing claims to the site have often acted as a catalyst for Israeli -Palestinian fighting. In September, Israel unveiled a tourist center at the underground site near the compound that details the Jewish connection to the site. The center showcases a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., and a wall archaeologists say dates to the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 B.C. The top Muslim clergyman, or mufti, of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, called the archaeological project an "aggression" that threatened the mosque compound and demanding an immediate end to th e digs. "These violations and aggression lead to tension in the region," he said Tuesday.

In 1996, Palestinians rioted after Israel opened an archaeological tunnel alongside the compound. Eighty people were killed in the violence. In September 2000, the n-opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the mosque compound. The next day, violence erupted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, evolving into a nearly five -year Palestinian uprising that killed more than 3,500 people on the Palestinian side and more than 1,0 00 people on the Israeli side. Sabri and other local Muslim leaders also accused Israel of opening a synagogue in the newly opened site, which they considered a challenge to their own claims to the compound. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the chief rabbi of t he Western Wall, said there was no new synagogue at the site and the digs did not go into the compound. "It's lies and there is nothing behind what they are saying," he said. Sheik Raed Salah, a radical leader of Israel's Islamic Movement, called the excavations a "black stain" on Israel and accused the government of plotting to destroy the mosques to build a new temple. "You are inviting an uprising against you just to stop your attack on the mosque," he said. Israel has repeatedly denied any plans to damage the mosques and has stopped several attempts by Jewish extremists to destroy the shrines. "The third temple will not be built by people. As we know in the Jewish faith it will be built by God," Rabinovitch said.

Destroy Egypt's Antiquities?
When the Islamic Republic of Iran first came to power in 1979, some of its leaders made noises about the need to destroy the pagan structures at Persepolis, with its many idolatrous elements, but saner heads prevailed and the ruins have survived. In March 2001, the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan did in fact destroy a giant statue of the Buddha at Bamiyan. The Saudi rulers in recent years have destroyed ancient buildings and sites in Mecca and Medina (for a shocking account of this, see Daniel Howden, " The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners are wiping out their own heritage"). Now word comes that Ali Gomaa, the grand mufti of Egypt issued a fatwa ruling that the exhibition of statues in homes is prohibited. Although he did not mention statues in museums or public places, some Egyptians fear that the ruling could encourage attacks against the thousands of Pharaonic statues both in situ and in museums. Worries Gamal al-Ghitani, editor of the literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab: "We don't rule out that someone will enter the Karnak temple in Luxor or any other pharaonic temple and blow it up on the basis of the fatwa."

Comment: It is bad enough when Islamist regimes threaten or actually do destroy historical, cultural, and artistic artifacts; have we now reached the point that even standard-issue Muslim regimes feel compelled to take such steps? (April 3, 2006)
Apr. 11, 2006 update : Youssef Ibrahim, an Egyptian writer, rues what th e Gomaa fatwa might lead to:

Should we prep for a Taliban -style orgy in Egypt? Melting gold statues of King Tut (Tutankhamen is his full name); smashing Cleopatra images; dynamiting the magnificent temples of Karnak; blowing up the Valleys of the Kings and Queens in Luxor; bulldozing the majestic Fila temple; burning Roman, Greek, and early Christian icons, and sacking treasures of civilization in Egyptian museums up and down the Nile Valley? Ibrahim notes that Gomaa "is no lightweight" but someone who carr ies much clout in Egypt. Further, some leading religious figures "rushed to his support," including Yusuf al-Qardawi, an Egyptian who lives in Qatar and is considered by some the most influential Sunni mufti alive, who wrote that Islam has "proscribed all that leads to paganism or smells of it ± statues of ancient Egyptians included." That no one of importance has stood up to this fatwa, Ibrahim concludes, "is catastrophic."

Mediaeval inscription sparks political spat
June 14, 2006
ANKARA: An inscription at a medieval dungeon translated as ³Where God does not exist´ caused a politically-charged spat in Turkey yesterday as the Islamist-rooted government faced accusations of having ordered the erasure of the sign. Newspapers quoted the head o f the Archaeology Museum in Bodrum, Yasar Yildiz, as saying that the culture ministry ordered the 500 -year-old inscription scraped away after government inspectors decided that it had ³no historical and archaeological value´. The Latin inscription ± Inde deus abest translated as ³Where God does not exist´ ± is carved at the entrance to a dungeon in the Castle of St Peter in Bodrum, an Aegean resort popular with foreign tourists. It is believed to have been written by the Knights of St Peter, a mediaeval ord er of crusaders, who built the castle in the 15th century and used the dungeon as a torture chamber. The spat comes at a time when the government, the offshoot of the now -banned Islamist Welfare Party, is accused of seeking to raise the profile of Islam in mainly Muslim but strictly secular Turkey. The former head of the Bodrum museum charged that the inscription had first irked the Welfare government, which ruled Turkey for a year until June 1997 when it was forced to resign for undermining the secular sys tem. ³They wanted to eradicate it on the grounds that there cannot be a place where Allah is not present. The same mentality has taken action again,´ Oguz Alpozen told

Sabah. Culture Minister Atilla Koc said yesterday that he ordered an investigation into the inscription last year, following complaints by visitors. Koc said the inspectors concluded the inscription was not authentic and was carved in 1994 during restoration work. A new investigation would be carried out, he said, adding that the sign would s tay as it is until the probe is completed. Museum officials had already removed a sign with the English and Turkish translations of the writing, newspapers said. The Castle of St Peter is today a museum of underwater archaeology displaying shipwrecks and other undersea finds. ± AFP

Israeli excavation in Jerusalem stirs Muslim anger
06 Feb 2007 11:44:08 GMT Source: Reuters By Jonathan Saul JERUSALEM, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Israeli excavation work on Tuesday near an entrance to a compound in Jerusalem that houses the al -Aqsa mosque drew Palestinian protests and Israeli assurances the dig would not harm Islam's third holiest shrine. Israeli police stationed reinforcements in the alleyways of Jerusalem's walled Old City to head off feared Palestinian violence at a flashpoint site at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel's Antiquities Authority said it was searching for artifacts at the base of the compound known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount before construction of a pedestrian bridge to replace a ramp leading up to the complex. Two bulldozers began breaking up parts of the pavement at the foot of the ramp, damaged by a snowstorm and an earthquake in 2004, to clear the way for what the authority called a "salvage excavation." After an all-clear from the authority that no artifacts remain , plans can be finalized for the 100-metre (yard) pedestrian bridge to the Mughrabi Gate entrance to Haram al Sharif, which overlooks Judaism's Western Wall. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said before leaving for unity talks with the rival Fatah movement in Mecca that Israel was out to cause "direct harm" to the silver-domed al-Aqsa. "I appeal to all our Palestinian people to be united and to rise up together to protect al-Aqsa and the holy sites on the blessed land of Palestine," Hani yeh said.

Israeli officials said the excavation work, some 50 meters (yards) from the existing ramp, would do no harm to al -Aqsa or the Dome of the Rock mosque which is also located on the hilltop compound where the two biblical Jewish temples once stood. "Nothing in the work touches the wall of the Temple Mount. The wall is firmly embedded in the rock and there is no way that such work can cause damage to the Roman walls of the Temple Mount," said Gideon Avni, the Antiquities Authority's director of excavations. NO COOPERATION Avni said the project had not been coordinated with the Islamic trust, or Waqf, that administers Haram al-Sharif. "The excavations site is open to archaeologists, engineers, professionals. We are not hiding anything. Everything w ill be displayed to the public. The Waqf is invited to come and look at the results and give their comments," he said. Taysir Tamimi, head of the Islamic courts in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, called on "all Palestinians to go and protect al-Aqsa against Israeli plans that aim to destroy the mosque." In Bethlehem, crowds of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers outside Rachel's Tomb, a holy site at the entrance to the West Bank city. The soldiers responded with tear gas. "There is no doubt that violence will not be preventable -- if not today, then tomorrow or next week," said Abu Mohammed, a 29 -year-old Palestinian taxi driver from East Jerusalem. "Why do they need to do this, to create the chance for blood to be spilled," he as ked. "All we want is to live in peace without anything like this." Israel's opening of an entrance to an archaeological tunnel near Haram al -Sharif in 1996 touched off violent Palestinian protests and led to clashes in which 61 Arabs and 15 Israeli soldie rs were killed. A Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 after then -opposition leader Ariel Sharon toured the compound. Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 conflict in a step that has not been recognized internationally. Palestinians want the east ern part of the city as the capital of a future state.

Archeologists slam authorities over Muslim dig
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS Jerusalem Post Aug 28, 2007 A group of Israeli archeologists on Monday renewed their blistering condemnation of the Antiquities Authority for authorizing Muslim officials to carry out a dig on Jerusalem's Temple Mount with tractors and other heavy equipment as part of infrastructure work to repair faulty electrical lines on the ancient compound. The work started last month on the northern section of the Temple Mount in the area of the outer courts of the ancient Jewish Temples with the approval of the Israel Police and the state-run Antiquities Authority, Israeli and Islamic officials said. Independent Israeli archeologists said that the work left a 100 -meter-long and roughly 1-1.5 meter deep trench, and has damaged the site. "This is a barbaric action on the most sensitive place in archeology of the Jewish nation," said Bar-Ilan University archeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkai, a member of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount. Barkai said that work carried out at the site on Monday - which eyewitnesses say was done with an Antiquties Authority official present - was the most damaging to date. "If this was done with the Antiquities Authority supervision it is even worse, because the crime was done before our very eyes," he added. The non-partisan group of Israeli archeologists and intellectuals from across the political spectrum has previously lambasted Israel's chief archeological body for permitting the work at the site but Monday's damage prompted them to issue their harshest criticism of the state-run archeological body to date. "It is outrageous that the Antiquities Authority is taking part in an archeological crime by pretending they are supervising the site while they are in fact witnessing the crime as it takes place," said group spokeswoman Dr. Eilat Mazar, a leading Temple Mount expert. Antiquities Authority spokeswoman Dalit Menzin declined to comment on the issue. According to decades-old regulations in place at the Temple Mount, Israel maintains overall security control at the site, while t he Wakf, or Islamic Trust, is charged with day- to-day administration of the ancient compound. Jerusalem police have said that in coordination with the Antiquities Authority they had given Islamic officials approval for the work. Wakf director Azzam Khatib said that the work followed an electrical shortage in the al Aksa Mosque.

The Antiquities Authority, which by law is charged with supervising Israel's archeological sites, has in the past been criticized by the apolitical group of archeologists for overlooking large-scale Islamic construction on the site which resulted in archeological damage because of the political sensitivities involved.

Muslim Hate of Art and Artists
European art provokes Muslims
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN (AP) March 14, 2010 LONDON ² With the West locked in conflicts across the Muslim world, why would anyone throw fuel on the fire? A small group of Europeans have been doing just that ² provoking death plots and at least one murder by turning out art that derides the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran in the name of Western values. Behind the scenes is something bigger: a rising European unease with a rapidly growing Muslim minority, and the spreading sense that the continent has become a front in a clash of civilizations. Recent events ² including surprising electoral success by an anti -Islamic Dutch party, moves to ban veils in France and minarets in Switzerland, and arrests in Ireland and the U.S. this week in an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist ² are signs of the rising tensions. Swedish artist Lars Vilks says he was defending freedom of speech when he produced a crude black-and-white drawing of Muhammad with a dog's body in 2007. Authorities say that set him in the crosshairs of an assassination plot by extremists including Colleen LaRose, a 46-year-old Muslim convert from Pennsylvania who dubbed herself "Jihad Jane." Vilks said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he wasn't interested in offending Muslims as an end in itself, but wanted to show that he could ma ke provocative art about any topic he chose. "There is nothing so holy you can't offend it," he said. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten also said it was defending free speech in 2005 when it printed 12 cartoons of Muhammad, one in a bomb -shaped turban, setting off protests and the torching of Western embassies in several Muslim countries. And bottle-blond Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders said he was promoting European values by producing Fitna, a 15 -minute film that lays images of

the Sept. 11 attacks alongside verses from the Quran. The film was shown in Britain's House of Lords this month. The cases are extreme, but millions of moderate Europeans also are re -examining the meaning of the liberal values widely cherished across the continent. How, m any are asking, should a liberal society respectfully deal with immigrants who often espouse illiberal values? Should the immigrants adopt the values of their adoptive land ² or, to the contrary, should society change to accommodate the newcomers who now form part of it? France, home to at least five million of the estimated 14 million Muslims in Western Europe, launched a parliament -run dialogue on what to do about full -face veils last year. It ended with a parliamentary panel recommending a ban on the vei ls in buses, trains, hospitals, post offices and public sector facilities. In December, a large majority of Swiss voters backed a ballot initiative banning the building of any new minarets. The measures sparked some peaceful protests. But the most incendia ry provocations have come from the Dutch and their Nordic neighbors, nations with long histories of homogeneity, tradition of provocative artwork and less experience with large-scale immigration than former colonial titans like Britain and France. Jan Hjarpe, a professor emeritus of Islamic studies at Lund University in southern Sweden, near Vilks' home, said the deliberate provocations were helpful to Islamic extremists, who have been hunting for targets that would win them popularity in the Muslim world. "It has had almost no effect on the Muslim community in Sweden, who regard it as not very interesting," he said. "These threats against him have to do with extremist groups that want something to react to." Denmark's Prophet Muhammad cartoons emerged from a discussion in 2005 about whether Islam was being treated with special sensitivity among Danish artists for fear of reprisals from extremists. Jyllands-Posten said the project was a way to challenge self-censorship and show that Muslims, too, must be read y to put up with mockery in a society based on democracy and free speech. Denmark has an estimated 200,000 Muslims ² about 4 percent of the population ² while the numbers in Sweden are believed to be somewhat higher. Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry. Danish Muslims took the cartoons as an affront, viewing them as symbolic of a backlash against Muslim immigrants in Denmark, manifested by the rise of a nationalist party and sometime s harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Danish press. An ax-wielding Somali man with suspected al-Qaida links has been jailed since January on preliminary charges of terrorism and attempted murder after breaking into the home of Kurt Westergaard, the 74 -year-old Danish artist whose Muhammadwith-bomb-turban cartoon outraged the Muslim world three years ago. The Somali

man had won an asylum case and received a residency permit to stay in Denmark, officials said. Outrage, threats and violence over depictions of M uhammad are nothing new: Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding in England for a decade because the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill him because his book, "The Satanic Verses," insulted Islam. Rushdie has survived, but in 2004, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was slain on an Amsterdam street by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent incensed by his film "Submission," a fictional study of abused Muslim women. It featured scenes of near-naked women with Quranic texts appearing on their flesh. Van Gogh was repeatedly shot, and his throat was cut. A letter pinned to his chest with a knife threatened the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of radical Islam who helped write the film. The death accelerated the swelling of anti -Islamic populism in the once-tolerant Netherlands, where Muslims now make up some 5 percent of the 16 million population. In the 1980s and into the 90s, large numbers of immigrants ² mainly Turks and Moroccans encouraged to move to the country as cheap labor ² barely integrated into mainstream society and instead stuck together in low -rent inner-city neighborhoods. In light of the tragic record of the Dutch toward the Jewish population during the Nazi occupation, when some 70 percent were deported and killed, it was considered impolitic to show resentment against another ethnic group. But that didn't mean the resentment wasn't there. It was only in 2002 when the populist politician Pim Fortuyn began speaking openly against immigration and the threat to the Dutch identity that people felt free to voice their anger. Fortuyn's popularity soared, and the party he founded was hugely popular even after Fortuyn himself was assassinated (by an animal rights activist). Successive governments clamped down on immigration and forced new arrivals to learn about the Dutch language and culture in an attempt to integrate them into mainstream society. Wilders is derided by his enemies as a neo -fascist but has been able to turn his provocations into political success: his Freedom Party winning in the town of Almere and coming in second in The Hague this month the only two races it ran out of 394 cities and towns that elected local councils. If the outcome is any indication of the parliamentary vote in June, Wilders could emerge as a king-maker on the national stage with no combination of parties is likely to be able to form a working majority in the next parliament. One widely praised new book, journalist Christopher Caldwell's "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe" has prompted ongoing discussion of whether Islam can ever

truly be integrated into European society. Some see cause for optimism, however faint. "I wonder whether the liberal order is really quite so weak and inept, whether the story is quite over just yet," Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum wrote in one review. Associated Press Writers Karl Ritter in Stockholm and Art Max and Mike Corder in Amsterdam contributed to this report.
Egyptian artists worry about growing Islamic fervor in a nation long known for being a cultural and secular center in the Arab world San Francisco Chronicle Jack Epstein, Chronicle Staff Writer Saturday, July 15, 2006 Cairo -- She found the death threat pinned to her car. The words "Your destiny" were scrawled near guns pointed at a photo of Anwar Sadat, Egypt's assassinated president.

It wasn't the first time Egyptian fundamentalists had tried to intimidate Inas al Degheidy, Egypt's first female movie director, whose films typically depict heroines struggling against social discrimination and sexual exploitation. "When I began making films in the 1980s, I didn't have many problems," she says. "Fundamentalism hadn't taken h old yet. Now, 10 percent of Egyptians like me. The other 90 percent want to kill me." Degheidy, 52, and many other Egyptian artists say they worry about growing Islamic fundamentalism in a nation long known for being a cultural and secular center in the Arab world. In recent years, hundreds of plays, films, novels and academic works have come under scrutiny by religious authorities, who have been given increasing authority over schools, radio, television and publishing houses by President Hosni Mubarak with the understanding that they will support him against the rising influence of militant Islam, many observers say. Indeed, an Islamic revival is sweeping across Egypt. Thousands of unregistered "popular mosques" have emerged in back streets; most Muslim women wear the hijab, or head scarf -- signs in many subway stations say: "If you love God, why aren't you wearing the hijab?"; many men have zabibas or indentations across their foreheads from bumping their heads on the floor during prayer; couples line up to ask imams for advice on marriage and divorce; filmgoers leave theaters in protest, demanding that certain scenes be cut out that they find offensive to Islam; and U.S. -style televangelists are attracting young people, as are pop singers whose songs praise the prophet Muhammad.

Moreover, two dozen Arabic-language satellite channels -- many financed by wealthy Saudis -- offer viewers a wide selection of religious programs. In one quiz show, contestants can win prizes by answering such questions as "Who was the first Islamic caliph?" "The same people who tore down the twin towers have come here to tear down Egyptian culture," says Mohamed Gohar, managing director of VideoCairoSat, a private company that provides satellite television service to the Midea st. "I have to follow Saudi censorship. ... Men and women can't hold hands. Religion tells you how to cook a chicken. There are fatwas (religious rulings) for everything." Most important, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mideast's first modern fundamentalist political movement, won every seat in which it ran a candidate in parliamentary elections early this year under the slogan "Islam is the solution." They are now the leading political opposition to Mubarak's ruling party. Film director Degheidy, who wore a low-cut dress and uncovered blond hair in an interview with U.S. editors, said she has to run to her car for fear of harassment and feels sorry for women who wear the hijab -- which denotes virtue -- out of fear. "I feel they have given in," she says. Most recently, actress Hanan Turk announced that she would start wearing the hijab. Turk is best known for her role in the controversial 2005 film "Dunia" ("World"), which tells the story about a woman who breaks taboos in a society that asks women to hide their femininity. Ironically, most political analysts say the rise of Islam can be traced to Sadat, who allowed Sharia (Islamic law that governs day -to-day life) to become "the principal source" of Egyptian law in 1980. He also freed many militant Islamists from jails, hoping they would become a loyal bulwark against his leftist opposition. Instead, an Islamic militant within his own army shot him to death in 1981 as he watched a military parade in Cairo. In interviews, Egyptian artists said the religious r evival began in earnest in the early 1990s after tens of thousands of Egyptian workers returned from Saudi Arabia, where they had been influenced by that nation's austere brand of Islam called Wahhabism. "What we are facing now is a kind of social censors hip that is far worse and pernicious" than government censorship of the 1970s and 1980s," says Yousry Nasrallah, who directed the 1995 documentary "On Boys, Girls and the Veil." "It's your audience that has become more conservative." Alaa al-Aswany, whose 2002 novel "The Yacoubian Building" became the best selling book after the Quran in the Arab world, has been harshly criticized for offering a sympathetic view of homosexuality in the book. The novel, which also addresses corrupt politicians, police bruta lity, terrorism and state repression, was initially rejected by several publishers.

Just this month, at least 112 Egyptian legislators demanded that gay love scenes between two leading characters -- an editor of a French -language newspaper and a police officer -- be cut from the book's $4 million movie version, which opened to packed houses last month in Egypt and premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Another scene facing criticism is a monologue questioning the way Muslims ask God for forgiveness. "These scenes are rejected by religion and the values of the Egyptian society, even if the society suffers from these problems," Hamdi Hassan, a spokesman for Muslim Brotherhood members of parliament, said early this month. Aswany says ris ing pressure to conform to Islamic principles is also a result of years of authoritarian government. "In the past two decades, there has been much poverty, corruption and no democracy," says Aswany, who is also an anti -government activist. "People were obliged to go to work in Saudi Arabia and came back with money and the Saudi interpretation of Islam, which is not tolerant. It is aggressive." Late last year, three people died in Alexandria during Muslim protests over a church play about a poor young Copt ic Christian drawn to militant Islamists, who try to kill him. Although church officials said the play attacked only Islamic extremists, protesters called it offensive to Islam. Early this year, Muslims and Coptic Christians -- who make up 10 percent of Egypt's 70 million inhabitants -- fought for three days in Alexandria after a Muslim man killed a 67-year-old Coptic and wounded five people in knife attacks in two churches. The authorities said the attacker was mentally ill. "We had little problems until we started getting a strange kind of unforgiving Islam from the Gulf," says Youssef Sidhoum, editor of al -Watani, a Coptic weekly. "Officials rushed to describe the attackers as insane, which denies the real problem. Alexandria is a bitter example of what is taking place in Egypt unless it is seriously addressed -- the infiltration of fanatical Islam in slum areas where unemployment is very high." Human rights activists also point out the government's refusal to recognize the Baha'i faith, which began in Persia in the 19th century and has 6 million members but only 2,000 in Egypt. Its members are refused death certificates, and their children are often threatened with expulsion from school. "They have had more problems since the Islamization process," says Hossam Bahgat, director of Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. "They are seen as apostates, looked at with suspicion since the religion has its roots in Iran and has holy places in Israel." Islamists, however, say they have no desire to be intolerant of other religions or return Egypt to the Middle Ages. Instead, they say, they merely want to restore dignity to their lives.

"It's about a way of life, moral, cultural, political," says Mona el -Karedi, a student at Cairo University, who was covered from head to toe. And although Egypt is no longer the cosmopolitan country portrayed by Lawrence Durrell in his classic four-novel work "The Alexandria Quartet," the nation still stands out from its more puritanical neighbors. Rich Saudis come to Cairo to drink and gamble in city casinos. Egypt is one of the few Muslim countries where women can give back a marriage dowry and file for divorce. Government censors are not as strict. And two national campaigns led by first lady Suzanne Mubarak, aim to educate girls and women (45 percent older than 15 are illiterate) and eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation. Meanwhile, Degheidy says that de spite the death threats, she will continue to make movies like "Cheap Flesh," about elderly Gulf men who pay poor Egyptian fathers to have sex with their teenage daughters; "Lady Killer," about women fighting back against abusive spouses; and "Memoirs of a Teenager," about under-the-table surgeries to restore girls' virginity. "We feel the Islamists have the power, even though it isn't official," says Degheidy. "But if they kill me, I will die a hero."

SWEDISH ARTIST GOES INTO HIDING FOLLOWING AL QAEDA DEATH THREAT As tension mounted over a drawing offensive to Muslims, Swedish police told artist Lars Vilks he was no longer safe at home. By Tom A. Peter The Christian Science Monitor from the September 19, 2007 edition Almost a year and a half after 12 Da nish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad sparked worldwide protest that left scores dead, Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks has ignited similar controversy. After Mr. Vilks's controversial series of drawings featuring Islam's prophet with the body of a dog garner ed attention in Sweden ± art galleries refused to display them ± Nerikes Allehanda, a Swedish newspaper, printed one in August. As with its Danish predecessor, the cartoon drew outrage from the Islamic world and has started a debate about freedom of expres sion. On Monday, the situation became even more serious, with Vilks going into hiding following a death threat from Al Qaeda in Iraq. In a statement issued on Saturday by Al Qaeda in Iraq, the group's leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, called for the killing of Vilks and his editor Ulf Johansson , reports Al Jazeera . "We are calling for the assassination of cartoonist Lars Vilks who dared insult o ur prophet, peace be upon him, and we announce a reward during this generous month of Ramadan of $100,000 for the one who kills this criminal," he said. "The award will be increased to $150,000 if he were to be slaughtered like a lamb." Swedish police told Vilks that he was no longer safe in his home and have relocated him to an undisclosed location. Vilks, who says he's willing to move and can "do most of his work sitting in front of his computer," has remained defiant throughout the

dispute, reports The Local, a Swedish newspaper. Despite being forced into hiding, when asked if the drawings were worth all of the trouble, he remained unapologetic. "Yes, I still think so. I think the artwork has developed well so far and is on its way towards becoming superb," he said. Vilks described the events and the debate surrounding his drawings as a repeat of the Danish caricature row, except on a smaller scale and so far without bloodshed. "I still hold out strong hopes of a happy ending in that this too may end up as a farce," he said. Vilks's inspiration for the cartoon sprang from a local art phenomenon and his artistic desire to engage his audience by shocking or even enraging them . In the cartoon, Vilks refers to Muhammad as a "roundabout dog," which is a reference to homemade statues of dogs placed in many of Sweden's roundabouts, or rotaries. The sculptures drew much attention this past spring and became something of a public joke. Open Democracy , an online news magazine, reports that Vilks tried to move this "new, rather innocent national emblem in to a potentially charged political arena by adding a 'Muhammad' reference to his cartoon dog." [I]t is relevant to note that Lars Vilks's artistic premises rest on challenging his viewers by making them angry, engaged or amused. He is known not only in Sweden but in various parts of the world (including Canada) for his self -consciously "outrageous" installations. A less toxic example than the dog cartoon was his intervention at a nature compound near Kullen in southern Sweden, where Vilks without a building permit - constructed a monument made of pieces of lumber and rubbish he had hauled in. The l ocal community board protested - and with that Vilks had fulfilled his core purpose. Whether or not his piece of junk was to be confiscated was no longer the real issue, which for Vilks was the artist's right to provoke. Lars Vilks, with his cartoon drawing of the Mohammed roundabout dog, pushed the same issue beyond the realm of local Swedish opinion and communal politics. Sweden has a large Muslim population composed of immigrants and (now) the children and grandchildren of immigrants, which has increased steadily during the Iraq war. It does not constitute a homogeneous group, and many of its members define themselves in secular terms. Yet a considerable number too view Vilks's roundabout dog as a deliberate act of defam ation of the Muslim religion and an attempt to increase Swedish Muslims' alienation from mainstream society. Thus, even if the primary self-identification of Swedish Muslims is far from narrowly religious, as an ethnic group they feel offended by this act. Fallout from the Vilks incident has not ballooned to Danish -cartoon proportions. But Al Qaeda in Iraq also threatened to attack Swedish businesses if Vilks failed to apologize. "[E]xpect us to strike the businesses of firms like Ericsson, Scania, Volvo, IKEA, and Electrolu," said the group's statement against Vilks. The Times of London reports that Swedish firms in the Middle East are taking the threats seriously. Swedish companies lowered their profile in the Middle East yesterday amid fears that a newspaper cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog could spark bloody reprisals. Åse Lindskog, a spokeswoman for Ericsson, said that staff had been told to keep a low profile in Muslim countries and to take extra care in deciding where to go or park their cars. While the vast majority of Muslims have responded peacefully to the cartoons, the drawings have sparked outrage among some. Earlier this month, a nu mber of Muslim nations officially condemned the cartoons. "The publication of this cartoon, which seeks to attack the character of the prophet Mohammed, is unacceptable,

rejected, and condemned ," a Jordian government spokesman told the Agence France-Presse . The Guardian reported that the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments responded to the cartoons, saying, "Such an irresponsible act is not conducive to friendly ties between the Islamic world and the West ." The Organization of the Islamic Conference , a group representing 57 mostly Islamic nations, issued a statement calling t he cartoons an "irresponsible and despicable act with malafied and provocative intention in the name of so -called freedom of expression." The freedom of press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders came out strongly against those behind the death threats for Vilks and his editor. In an official statement, the group offered the cartoonist and his editor their " total support." "Freedom to draw cartoons cannot be taken away by such barbaric fundamentalism," Reporters Without Borders said. "Making death threats to the author of a cartoon by promising people a reward if they kill them is a shocking lack of humanity that must be soundly condemned." "The Swedish authorities and Muslim organisations in Sweden have done everything to calm the situation and head off a major crisis of the kind that erupted after publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in Denmark in Septembe r 2005," it said. "Those making the threats now are pouring oil on the fire." Cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad elicit such strong responses from the Muslim world not necessarily because they are critical of Islam, but more so because Islam forbids representations of Allah or the prophet. The British Broadcasting Corporation explains that though the Koran does not expressly ban such images, it says, "[Allah is] the originator of the heavens and the earth ... [there is] nothing like a likeness of Him." The passage is largely interpreted to mean that images of Allah or the prophet are forbidden . Express bans can be found in other Islamic teachings and traditions. Islamic tradition or Hadith, the stories of the words and actions of Muhammad and his Companions, explicitly prohibits images of Allah, Muhammad and all the major prophets of the Christian and Jewish traditions. More widely, Islamic tradition has discoura ged the figurative depiction of living creatures, especially human beings. Islamic art has therefore tended to be abstract or decorative. Shia Islamic tradition is far less strict on this ban. Reproductions of images of the Prophet, mainly produced in the 7th Century in Persian, can be found. Depicting the prophet with a dog's body made the cartoon even more inflammatory for Muslims, because culturally, dogs are looked upon as unclean and, i n some cases, devil-like creatures. Khaled Abou El Fadl, an Islamic scholar, explains Islam's perception of dogs in an essay. In a fashion similar to European medieval folklore, black dogs, in particular, were viewed ominously in the Islamic tradition.[1] According to one tradition attributed to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, black dogs are evil, or even devils, in animal form.[2] Although this report did reflect a part of pre -Islamic Arab mythology, it had a limited impact upon Islamic law. The vast majo rity of Muslim jurists considered this particular tradition to be falsely attributed to the Prophet, and therefore, apocryphal. Nevertheless, much of the Islamic discourse focused on a Prophetic report instructing that if a dog, regardless of the color, li cks a container, the container must be washed seven times, with the sprinkling of dust[3] in one of the washings.

Men Plotted Oz Attack Of 'Extreme Violence'

Friday October 16, 2009 Alison Chung, Sky News Online Five Muslim men have been found guilty of stockpiling chemical explosives and firearms intended for a terrorist attack after Australia's longest terror trial. The men, who canot be named for legal reasons, spent months collecting chemicals, firearms and ammunition, a court in Sydney heard. Raids on their homes found bomb -making instructions and militant Islamist material, including footage of the 9/11 terror attacks a nd images of beheadings. Prosecutors said the "large quantities of literature supported indiscriminate killing, mass murder and martyrdom in pursuit of violent jihad". The plot of "extreme violence" was hatched between July 2004 and November 2005 in an attempt to force Australia's government to change its policy on the Middle East, the court was told. The men were "motivated by a perception that the participation of Australia in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were acts of aggression against the wi der Muslim community", prosecutor Richard Maidment said. Mr Maidment described the group as devout Muslims who believed Islam was under attack throughout the world. During the 10-month trial at the New South Wales Supreme Court, the jury was shown more than 3,000 exhibits and heard from over 300 witnesses. The jury was also told one of the men participated in a terrorist -run paramilitary training camp in Pakistan, and three others attended similar camps in New South Wales. Lawyers for the men argued there w ere innocent explanations for much of the material seized during the raid and labelled the case "propagandist". The prosecution did not reveal the supposed target for the attack. Justice Anthony Whealy had urged jurors to put aside any prejudices when comi ng to their verdict, and to remember the Muslim faith was not on trial. The men, aged between 25 and 44, showed little reaction to the verdict, but outside the high-security court there were angry scenes among supporters of the men.

"If they think this will stop terrorism, imprisoning these people, I don't think it will stop terrorism," a brother of one of the men told reporters. Sentencing will take place on December 14.

Police foil 'suicide plot' to storm Australian army base

August 4, 2009 The Times A group of Islamic extremists who were detained today planned a suicide attack on an Australian army base with the aim of killing as many soldiers as possible, a court was told. One man has been charged with planning a terrorist act and police have been granted extra time to question another three men arrested this morning in a series of counter-terrorism raids across Melbourne. About 400 police officers and members of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation swooped on 19 properties, detaining s everal men, all Australian citizens of Somali and Lebanese background, in the pre -dawn raids. A fifth man, in custody on other matters, was also being questioned and police have not ruled out more arrests. Police allege the group was at an advanced stage of preparing to storm army barracks in Sydney and Melbourne in retaliation for Australia¶s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, said the discovery of the plot would not force him to pull troops out of Afghanistan. He admitted the Afghan operation, which claimed its eleventh Australian life last month, was unpopular but said that it was necessary to cut off militant training opportunities. "If we're to deal with the threat of terrorism at its various le vels we must be dealing with where terrorists are trained," Mr Rudd said. Members of the hardline group had been observed carrying out surveillance of Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney and of military bases in Victoria. Electronic surveillance also picked up discussions about how to obtain weapons to carry out what would have been the worst terror attack on Australian soil. "The men¶s intention was to get into the army barracks and kill as many as they could," Tony Negus, acting Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, said.

"They were planning to carry out a suicide terror attack. . . a sustained attack on military personnel until they themselves were killed.´ Andrew Scipione, Commissioner of New South Wales Police, said that a terrorist attack on Sydney's Holsworthy Barracks was "likely imminent'' when police carried out the raids. Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard how, during a seven -month-long investigation dubbed Operation Neath, police had gathered "voluminous" amounts of telephone intercept recording material, including text messages, about the planned attack. Nick Robinson, prosecuting, told the court that the men, named as Nayaf El Sayed, Saney Aweys, Yacqub Khayre and Abdirahman Ahmed, planned to arm themselves and enter the Holsworthy base t o try to kill as many soldiers as possible. "To become self-proclaimed martyrs?" Peter Reardon, the magistrate, asked. "Yes," Mr Robinson replied. Text messages uncovered by investigators were read out to the court, including one sent from another suspect on March 24 that read: "Can you give me the address of the Australian A and the name of the train station." Mr Robinson said another text message had been sent from a pay phone on March 27 giving directions to the Holsworthy base from the train station. He said that CCTV footage showed that the suspect had "attended" the Holsworthy base on March 28. The man then allegedly sent a text message which read: "I strolled around... it is easy to enter." Police believe the cell is linked to the Somali -based terror organisation al-Shabaab, a militant group affiliated to al -Qaeda. Members of the group recently travelled to Somalia to undergo training with th e organisation, according to The Australian newspaper. Operation Neath was launched after police intercepted a phone call between an Australian-Lebanese man they had been monitoring, and a Somali living in Melbourne, in which the Lebanese asked for help t o travel to Somalia to fight with al Shabaab, The Australian reported. The Lebanese man¶s calls had been monitored after he came to the attention of the authorities for espousing extremist views at his local mosque in Melbourne. Over the following months the police became increasingly concerned as the group discussed ways in which they could obtain weaponry and planned to seek a religious ruling supporting an attack on Holsworthy barracks. Australian security services have been concerned for some time abo ut the growing threat of extremist attacks on home soil.

Last year the federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, warned that a terrorist threat was just as likely "to emanate from disgruntled and alienated Australian youth as from an overseas organisation". The most recent report by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organsiation (ASIO) also outlined the threat from "a small but potentially dangerous minority of Australians who hold extremist views and are prepared to act in support of their beliefs". However, while police have suspected for some years that there were links between a minority of the country¶s 16,000 -strong Somali community and militants in their homeland the links had never been proven. A police investigation into extremist activities within the community in 2007 failed to establish any wrongdoing. A terror analyst criticised the Australian government today for being complacent in its attitude to the terror threat at home. Dr Anthony Bergin, director of research at the Australia n Strategic Policy Institute, told The Times: "This plot underlines the need for a comprehensive counter radicalisation strategy in Australia." Despite security forces acknowledging that a growing number of alienated young Australian Muslims were being drawn to the extremist cause, he said, the government had developed no strategy that would give it an insight into how serious the problem might be. "We simply don't know what is going on in those at -risk groups in Muslim neighbourhoods," said Dr Bergin. "W e really lack a body of knowledge that would give us a good indication of what is going on at the local level." Dr Bergin pointed out that a speech by Mr McClelland two weeks ago underlining the need for the government to focus on the risk from home grown extremists was the first speech by a minister devoted to the subject since the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. "This plot will provide a wake -up call that we can't be complacent about these issues," he said. Australia has not suffered a peaceti me attack on home soil since a bombing outside a Sydney hotel during a Commonwealth meeting in 1978 that killed three people. But 95 Australians have been killed in bomb attacks in Indonesia since 2002. Operation Neath is the second largest terror investi gation in Australia. In February, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, a fanatical cleric who planned to wage jihad by launching "terrible acts of violence", was sentenced to at least 12 years in jail after becoming the first person in Australia to be convicted of leadin g a terrorist organisation.

Plot to kill Howard revealed
The Courier-Mail By James Madden 17dec05

TWO Melbourne terror suspects discussed killing John Howard and his family, launching a large -scale attack at a football game and causing carnage at a train station as part of a religious war in Australia. In a series of chilling conversations caught on police listening devices and revealed yesterday, self-styled Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 46, and 20 -year-old Abdullah Merhi discussed the terror plot as payback for the deaths of Muslims. "For example, if John Howard kills innocent Muslim families do we ... do we have to kill him and his family ... (and) his people, like at the football?" asked Mr Merhi. Mr Benbrika allegedly replied: "If they ki ll our kids, we kill little kids." "We send a message back to them," Mr Merhi allegedly said. "That's it, an eye for an eye," Mr Benbrika replied. The conversations, recorded on September 24, were played to the Melbourne Magistrates Court during the unsuccessful bail applications of two of the accused men who were charged after last month's early -morning anti-terror raids in Melbourne. The prosecution alleged that Mr Merhi went to see Mr Benbrika to seek the cleric's advice on whether it was best to "br ing jihad" here or overseas. According to the police surveillance transcripts, Mr Benbrika told Mr Merhi to be patient and that rather than working alone, he should work together with the group. "You shouldn't just kill one or two or three," Mr Benbrika allegedly said, before advising him to consider doing something "close to the (train) station". "Do a big thing," Mr Benbrika said. "Like Spain," Mr Merhi added, in an apparent reference to the terrorist attacks in Madrid in March last year, in which 191 people were killed when 10 bombs exploded on four trains during the morning peak hour. Mr Merhi was also overheard asking Mr Benbrika - who is believed to be the spiritual leader of the 10 -strong alleged terror cell in Melbourne - if committing to jihad would please God. Mr Benbrika said it would, "because they are killing our brothers and Allah is telling us (to take revenge) according to the verse (the Koran)". Mr Merhi allegedly replied: "I wa nt in on everything."

Another of the accused terror suspects, 31 -year-old Hany Taha, who was also refused bail yesterday, was said to be present during a conversation about "slaughtering police". The court also heard Mr Benbrika had become infuriated by a rival Melbourne cleric preaching that al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden was "on the wrong path". According to Crown prosecutor Nick Robinson, Mr Benbrika spat each time the unnamed Muslim teacher's name was mentioned, and suggested his followers attack the man with a baton because it was thought he might have tipped off police about the group's activities. "How can this man who appears knowledgeable in faith say that Osama bin Laden is on the wrong path?" Mr Benbrika said. The two men's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that their clients should be released on bail because of the expected long delay before their committal hearing, tentatively set down for June. It was also put that both men had sworn on the Koran that they would adhere to whatever conditions were placed on them, should they be released on bail. But magistrate Reg Marron said that while the prosecution's case was "not overwhelming", the alleged conversations involving Mr Merhi and Mr Benbrika showed some "disturbingly strong and reasonably as sertive positions". Mr Merhi and Mr Taha are among 10 Melbourne men charged last month with being members of a terrorist organisation. Eight of the 10 men are also charged with financing a terrorist organisation, and Mr Benbrika is charged with directing a terrorist organisation. Mr Merhi and Mr Taha showed no emotion as they were refused bail. But Mr Merhi's 18-year-old wife Violet, who is due to give birth to the couple's first child in 10 days, left the courtroom in tears. The 10 men will next appear in court in April.

Terror suspects in Australia targeted reactor, report says
By MERAIAH FOLEY The Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia ² Members of an alleged Islamic terror cell in Sydney stockpiled bomb-making materials, trained at Outback hunting camps and sized up Australia's only nuclear reactor as a possible target, a police report alleged Monday.

In a 20-page glimpse into Australia's biggest terror investigation, police said the eight suspects arrested last week had the know-how and were assembling chemicals, detonators, digital timers and batteries to carry out a major bomb attack. A nuclear reactor used to make radioactive medical supplies on the edge of Sydney, Australia's biggest city, was listed as a possible target, according to the report. The eight men have been charged with conspiring to make explosives for use in a terrorist act. Ten other men, including a radical Muslim cleric, were arrested in the city of Melbourne on charges of being members of a terror group. All 18 could face life imprisonment if convicted. Police describe the cleric, Algerian -born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, also known as Abu Bakr, as the spiritual leader of both cells. The report says he told one of the Sydney men in custody: "If we want to die for jihad then we have to have maximum damage, maximum damage. Damage their buildings, everything, damage their lives." Australia has never been hit by a serious terror attack, but its citizens have been targeted elsewhere. Islamic militants have been angered by the government's staunch support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and for sending troops there and to Afghanistan. The police report paints a picture of extremist Sunni Muslims accumulating a potentially lethal cocktail of products that have become the tools of terror bombers. During a search of suspect Mohammed Elomar's home on June 27, police said, they found a computer memory stick containing instructions in Arabic for making TATP, or triacetone triperoxide ² an unstable explosive made from commercially available chemicals such as hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, brake fluid and hydrogen peroxide. Australian police have said TATP is similar to the explosives used by suicide bombers in the July 7 attacks that killed 56 people in London. British authorities have refused to confirm that. Police said they found two dozen bottles of hydrogen peroxide solution stashed on public land behind the home of one detainee, Khaled Sharrouf. In October, Sharrouf also was arrested for trying to steal six digital timers and approximately 132 batteries from a hardware store, police said. Another alleged cell member, Abdul Rakib Hasan, tried to buy laboratory equipment and a 26.4-gallon cooler to be used for storing chemicals, the report said. Two other men, whose identities were not released, v isited an auto-parts wholesaler seeking to buy 53 gallons of brake fluid and 80 gallons of sulfuric acid, the report said.

"They were informed by the manager that the combination of sulfuric acid and brake fluid was a highly volatile mix" and asked for the ir business details, the report said. The men said they would come back the next day but never returned, it said. The report also outlined steps taken by the cell to case potential targets and train for jihad, or holy war.

Australia approves monitoring inside mosques
By James Grubel Reuters 8/24/05

Canberra - Australian Prime Minister John Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spies monitoring the nation's mosques. He was speaking just hours before bidding farewell to a unit of Australian elite troops heading for combat duty in Afghanistan in a deployment sure to further upset many Muslims here. A day after holding a summit with 13 moderate Australian Islamic leaders, Howard said the government had a right to know if parts of the Islamic community supported or preached violence, and he favoured infiltration of mosques and schools if needed. Tuesday's summit agreed to examine the training of imams and what is taught in Islamic schools as part of a crackdown on the propagation of extremist views in the name of Islam. But Education Minister Brendan Nelson said on Wednesday that Muslims who did not support Australian values should "clear out" and leave the country. Howard said that while t he government had no wish to interfere with the freedom and practice of religion, he supported sending people into mosques and Islamic schools to make sure nobody was promoting support for violence or extremism. "We have a right to know whether there is, within any section of the Islamic community, a preaching of the virtues of terrorism, whether any comfort or harbour is given to terrorism within that community," Howard told Australian radio. Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network convenor Waleed Kadous sa id Howard should be consulting more with the Muslim community. "Such hardline talk only isolates some parts of the Muslim community even further and makes it harder for co-operation between the Muslim community and the government," Kadous said.

Australia has about 280 000 Muslims, who live mainly in the largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne. A staunch US ally, Australia is reviewing its anti -terrorism laws and is considering moves to deport Muslim clerics who support violence as part of their religion. On Wednesday Howard flew to the western city of Perth to bid farewell to 190 special forces troops who are returning to Afghanistan for the first time since late 2002 to join the hunt for Taliban and al -Qaeda insurgents. Defence Minister Robert Hill said they would have a similar role to their 2001 deployment, carrying out combat patrols in remote regions, reconnaissance and surveillance operations. A group of 51 Australian Muslim organisations said this week that Australia's deployment of forces to Afgh anistan and the continued presence of Australian forces in Iraq were key sources of tension within Australia's Islamic community. Howard sent 1 550 troops to Afghanistan in 2001 to join the US -led military campaign that toppled Afghanistan's Taliban regim e for harbouring al-Qaeda, the militant group blamed for the September 11, 2001, airliner attacks on the United States. Australian special forces troops were involved in some of the earliest and fiercest fighting in Afghanistan, hunting down al -Qaeda and Taliban supporters, but Canberra withdrew its forces in late 2002. An analysis of recent opinion polls published in June found that 58 percent of Australians supported contributing troops to the US -led war on terrorism, with 20 percent opposed.

Hate spread at mosque gates
By Richard Kerbaj 09-03-2006 The Australian A RADICAL Islamic group is infiltrating Australian mosques, distributing inflammatory pamphlets urging Muslims to rise up against Australian troops in Iraq and support the insurgency. Hizb ut-Tahrir is telling local Muslims that coalition forces in Iraq are responsible for the mosque bombing in Samarra last month that left the nation on the brink of civil war.

The group - a hardline political faction banned in Britain, Germany and other countries -- is using Friday prayer meetings, traditionally compulsory for all Muslims, to distribute flyers inciting hatred against the West. According to one of the group's Ar abic-English pamphlets, obtained by The Australian on Friday outside Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's southwest, the occupying forces in Iraq, which includes the 1320 -strong Australian contingent, bombed the Shia mosque in Samarra. "It is the occupying forces, with America at their head, who are behind the incidences of killing civilians, bombing markets and mosques, abducting scholars and killing those who are sincere to the Deen (religion)," says the four -page flyer. The pamphlet blames the coalition forces f or creating divisions between Sunnis and Shi'ites and driving a wedge between the two Islamic sects, historically opposed to each other's ideology and religious interpretation. "What happened in Samarra was of the planning and execution of the occupying forces," the flyer says. "However what is worse and more detestable is the occupying forces achieve their objective by making the Muslims, Sunni and Shia, fight among each other." The circulation of such propaganda is typical of the Australian arm of Hizb ut -Tahrir (Party of Liberation), which has praised suicide bombers as martyrs. The radical group has been criticised by John Howard and investigated by ASIO. ASIO told Attorney-General Philip Ruddock last year there was not enough evidence to designate Hizb ut -Tahrir as a terrorist organisation. But the new anti-terror laws have lowered the threshold for proscription of organisations to include groups that advocate terrorist acts , rather than being involved in planning or carrying out terrorist acts. Hizb ut-Tahrir's website says the party does not "advocate or engage in violence". But the flyer has a different message, saying: "We urge you to make the calamity of Samarra as a motivator to repel the invaders and that you take them as enemies." Mr Ruddock expressed alarm yesterday after being sent a copy of Hizb ut -Tahrir's flyer by The Australian. "The Attorney-General would be concerned about any material distributed in our Australian community that would be seen to be advocating or inciting terrorism or violence," a spokeswoman said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was set up by a Palestinian judge in 1953 to inspire the creation of a Khalifah (Caliphate) state ruled by a Muslim leader. The p arty's Sydney arm lists more that 200 members. Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Wassim Doureihi refused to comment yesterday. However, one member of the group agreed to talk on condition of anonymity. "The group tries to target the entire Muslim community (in Sy dney) through different mosques," he said. "Usually after Friday prayer, members hand out our pamphlets outside mosques." Ahmad Kamaledine, president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, responsible for Lakemba Mosque, said he was opposed to Hizb ut -Tahrir circulating their flyers outside the mosque but had no authority to stop them. "We don't support any type of material being handed out in the mosque," he said. "However, we have no jurisdiction over what gets handed out outside the mosque, because it's in a public place."

Vindication for Howard, but still concern over terror laws
11 November 2005 By GREG TOURELLE
SYDNEY: Prime Minister John Howard will be feeling vindicated after this week's raids, resulting in the arrests of 18 men suspected of terrorism offences.

Howard was pilloried a week ago when he revealed the existence of a specific terrorism threat and said he needed to rush through a small amendment to the law to help the police. There was cynicism that he was exaggerating a terrorism threat to keep national security on the front pages, rather than his unpopular industrial relations law changes. His announcement of the law change was also interpreted by some as a tip -off to terrorist plotters. Among the critics was Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton. "If John Howard feels the masses are not treating his latest terrorist scare as seriously as he would wish, he has only himself to blame. He has cried wolf too

often, most notably with Saddam's non-existent weapons of mass destruction," Carlton wrote before the raids. Victorian police commissioner Christine Nixon was quick after the Sydney and Melbourne arrests to exonerate Howard on the tip -off charge, saying they had not been compromised by his announcement. On the industrial relations issue, politicians can be a sly bunch but it seems beyond belief that the biggest anti -terrorism operation in Australia's history, involving police and security officials from different sta tes, would be co-ordinated as a ruse to get labour laws off the front page. The extent of the terrorism threat won't be known until the men have been dealt with by the courts, but NSW Police Minister Carl Scully said he was satisfied "that this state was under an imminent threat of potentially a catastrophic terrorist act". Police seized chemicals and unofficially said there was enough to make 15 bombs. Despite the apparent vindication for Howard, a curious anomaly hangs over the issue. The 18 men are being charged under existing legislation that was amended last week, closing a loophole and allowing police to make arrests without knowledge of a specific terrorist threat. Yet the Howard government has far more draconian anti -terror laws before Parliament. They include preventive detention orders that will allow authorities to hold terror suspects for 48 hours under federal laws and up to 14 days by state powers. There are proposed control orders that will allow suspects and people who have trained with a terror organisation to be held for 12 months under house arrest or be forced to wear a tracking device - subject to judicial review and access to a lawyer. And there is the revival of a sedition law, including an increase in jail time from three years to seven for those found guilty. There are concerns, even in Howard's party, that the sedition provisions would see people prosecuted for uttering phrases that could be seen as disloyal to Australia. Prominent Liberal backbench MP Malcolm Turnbull called the provisions "archaic". The questions remain as to why the new laws are needed, if police seem satisfied that the current ones are considered sufficient to allow pre -emptive action against a potential threat. Professor Hugh White, professor of strateg ic studies at Australian National University and a former deputy secretary of the Defence Department, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "The government still has not put on the table why new powers outside the ordinary criminal processes are necessary in th e fight against terrorism."

He said the lack of rigour in Australia's approach showed "how September 11 has destabilised policymaking,", allowing a vague sense of fear and anxiety to lead governments into fundamental changes to the nature of freedoms. At the heart of concerns being expressed are the effect on the Muslim community in Australia. The men arrested are Muslims, with one possibl exception. Muslims have said they fear attacks on individuals, their properties and mosques will increase as a result of the arrests. The Herald said it was only with the co -operation of Muslim Australians that any extremist elements which might exist in that community could be deterred. "The interests of Muslim Australians and other Australians are the same: the development of a free society in which the rule of law applies equally to all. They must stay the same." In the Daily Telegraph, columnist Piers Akerman said senior Muslims should be talking to their people about the "open hatred and contempt members of their community have expressed towards Australia and the Western culture which they or their parents - chose to live in". He said Australia had opened its doors to Muslims, as it had to all religious groups, "but no other body has produced people who have re sponded so vehemently against the dominant culture as has the Islamic community".

Howard should convert to Islam: Bashir
By Geoff Thompson in Solo, Central Java 6-15-06 Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir says Prime Minister John Howard should become a Muslim if he wants to avoid going to hell. The cleric was speaking after his release from a Jakarta prison where he had been serving a sentence related to the 2002 Bali bombings. While holding a late night press conference in his Ngruki religious boarding school , Abu Bakar Bashir was asked by the ABC if he had a message for Mr Howard when the Prime Minister visits Indonesia later this month. "I think John Howard should convert to Islam," he said. "If he wants to be saved from hell, he needs to convert to Islam an d God willing, he will be forgiven by Allah." Secondly, he warned Australians to never try fighting Muslims because they will definitely lose.

"Maybe with God's permission, they can kill us, but they certainly can't beat Islam," he said. He then warned Australian journalists not to twist his statement

Pakistan Christian Post

AUSTRALIA. Two Christian pastors have been taken to court by the Islamic Council of Victoria and three Australian Muslims after making critical statements about the Islamic faith on a website and at a seminar for Christians held in March last year. A complaint of religious vilification was made against the two Christian pastors, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot. The complaint deals with many issues, such as the nature of jihad, aspirations of Muslims in the west, and the connection between the laws of jihad and the treatment of non -Muslims under Islam. The Victorian Racial and Religious Vilification Act was passed in 2001 and has yet to be fully put to the test. It was established in order to promote intercultural and interfaith harmony in Victoria, in suppor t of democratic ideals, in itself a worthy aim. Victoria has established an Equal Opportunity Commission which is empowered to develop programs under this legislation. One of their programs, called "Stand up to Racism", promotes positive regard for Islam's stand on universal human rights. The complaint against the two pastors has had to be mediated through this same Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, but attempts at achieving conciliation failed. Following this the Islamic Council of Victoria brought the case before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, a legal court which has the power to impose a significant fine against the two pastors, if they are found guilty. The case is due to be heard at the Tribunal in mid -October 2003. To pursue their complaint, the well -funded Islamic Council of Victoria has retained the services of the prestigious Australian law firm, Allens Arthur Robinson, which has offices in seven countries throughout the Asia -Pacific Region. The case is one of the first to be brought under the new legislation and its result will set an important precedent which will have influence and ramifications not only in Victoria, but also in other parts of Australia. Many evangelical Christians in the state fear that the Islamic Council of Victoria is using the case to stifle all criticism of Islam or Muslims, in effect bringing in a pseudo -blasphemy law to protect Islam. Similar legislation against religious 'hate speech' is currently before parliament in both New Zealand and the UK a nd is prompting serious concern from libertarians and supporters of free speech who fear the similar misuse of such laws. DANIEL SCOT

The fact that one of the defendants is Pastor Daniel Scot is bitterly ironic. Scot, a Pakistani Christian, became one of the first victims of Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws when in 1986 he was charged with insulting the Islamicprophet Muhammad, which under Section 295 -C of the Pakistan Penal Code carries a death sentence. The blasphemy laws have attracted widespread co ndemnation from human rights groups and the international community for their harsh punishments and the way they have been misused to target vulnerable religious minorities ( -20030821.htm). Scot had been threatened by the council of the college in Okara, Pakistan, where he worked, that a charge would be brought against him unless he converted to Islam. The charge was brought after he refused to do so and explained his belief that his spiritual salvation could come only from Jesus Christ, and not Muhammad. Political pressure meant that Daniel was never prosecuted. However, he was forced to flee to Australia with his family to escape the threat of Islamic extremists who have since murdered four Christians accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. Now seventeen years later, having fled religious discrimination in Pakistan, Scot again finds himself accused of a similar crime in Australia, the country in which he originally found refuge. This is an indication of the growing trend to place Islamic teaching and Muslim actions beyond the bounds of criticism, not only in the Islamic world, but also, as a result of misguided ideas of political correctness, in the West as well. It is a bitter twist that Scot, an Asian Christian, should face this accusation from three white Australian converts to Islam who unannounced attended the March 2002 seminar (intended for the religious instruction of Christians only - and as such should fall outside the remit of the Act) and took offence resulting in the complaint. In a painfully ironic reversal a law designed to prevent racial and religious abuse under which the Equal Opportunity Commission operates is being used by three white men to attack an Asian. FREEDOM OF SPEECH It is clear from the charges brought against Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, that both may well have been unwise in their choice of words, and over -the-top in some of their criticisms of Islamic teaching. However it would be a travesty of justice should their statements be found illegal in a country which claims to be a strong advocate of freedom of speech and expression. One of the grounds of the complaint is that Pastor Daniel Scot mentioned in a seminar that Muslim fundamentalists have the responsibility to "kill" apostates from Islam. This was cited in the complaint as unlawful vilification of Muslim believers. This is despite the fact that the death penalty for apostates from Islam is an extremely well documented part of Islamic law (shari'a) and is wel l attested by Muslim sources both historically and today Application Consequences

Furthermore it is not merely a matter of language or legal niceties but a very real problem for thousands of converts around the world today which has resulted in many deaths attested to by numerous creditable human rights organizations. Nevertheless it seems that merely drawing attention to this problem may be considered a vilification of Islam; in future converts may have to suffer in silence and those who seek to draw attention to thei r plight may face prosecution for offending Muslim sensibilities. However Muslims in Victoria may, in the future, find this law being used against them. For if drawing attention to the more unpalatable teachings of one particular religion is to be regarde d as religious vilification, surely the actual expounding of those teachings will certainly attract prosecution under this law. The next time Qur'anic verses such as the famous sword verse, "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight them and slay the Pagans whereverye find them, and seize them and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)" (9:5 A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary and Meaning) are quoted in a mosque, there may be anonymous pagan s in the audience who take offence and bring a case against them for 'unlawful vilification'. Could the unpalatable verses of the Qur'an (together with those of the scriptures of other religions) be effectively banned in Victoria? The two Australian pastors are seeking the support of international experts in Islam to assist in their defense.

Australian terror suspects bought chemicals, downloaded instructions for bomb making
By Meraiah Foley

March 6, 2007

SYDNEY, Australia ± Nine men accused of Australia's largest terrorist conspiracy downloaded bomb-making instructions off the Internet and stockpiled chemicals to make lethal explosives because they believed Islam was under attack, a state prosecutor said Tuesday. The nine were devotees of a radical Muslim cleric sympathetic to Osama bin Laden, and struck a pact to launch a terrorist attack because they felt their religion was under threat and needed to be defended at any cost, a pre -trial hearing heard Tuesday. They were arrested in a series of 2005 raids in Sydney and the southern city of Melbourne, where cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika and other followers were also detained and now face separate charges of belonging to a terrorist group.

The nine men were f ormally indicted Tuesday on one charge each of conspiring between June 2004 and November 2005 to carry out a terrorist act. A police report released at the time of the arrests listed Australia's only nuclear reactor, the Lucas Heights facility near Sydney used to make radioactive medical supplies, as a possible target. The reactor was not mentioned in Tuesday's hearing. None of the suspects, who face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted, entered a plea. The purpose of the hearing, expected to last weeks, was to allow the judge to decide whether there is enough evidence to send the men to a jury trial. Prosecutor Wendy Abraham said the suspects had obtained large amounts of industrial chemicals that could be used in bomb -making, including hydro chloric and citric acids, glycerin, acetone and brake fluid. They also had detonators and laboratory equipment such as beakers and rubber tubing to mix and store chemicals, and documents that were ³extremist in nature,´ Abraham said. ³They believed Islam was under attack,´ Abraham told the court. ³Violence was the primary tool of their jihad.´ Attorneys for the men did not comment Tuesday but have said they nine are innocent. During a June 2005 raid on the house of one suspect, Mohammed Ali Elomar, authorities found a computer memory stick containing a 60 -page document in Arabic that included instructions on how to make bombs and how to hide explosives near restaurants and government buildings, Abraham said. The instructions included how to make TATP, t he explosive used in the deadly 2005 London subway bombings that can be made from bleach, drain cleaner and acetone paint thinner, she said. At the homes of two other suspects, Khaled Cheikho and Mirsad Mulahalilovic, authorities found magazines and press releases from al-Qaeda, videos of people being beheaded and transcripts of speeches by bin Laden, Abraham said. The prosecution alleges the nine men were in routine contact with each other about the alleged plot, using mobile phones registered with fake names to communicate by encoded text messages. Two of the suspects, Abdul Rakib Hasan and Khaled Sharrouf, allege dly used a mobile phone to arrange a meeting with Benbrika, the prominent Muslim cleric known for praising bin Laden as a ³great man.´ During the meeting in Melbourne, Benbrika allegedly told the men they should be prepared to die.

³Everyone has to prepare to die or be jailed, but we have to be careful,´ Abraham quoted him as saying. ³If we want to die for jihad, we have to do maximum damage, maximum damage.´ Benbrika, also known as Abu Bakr, pleaded not guilty in December to directing the group's activities and possessing a CD related to planning a terrorist act. Mazen Touma, Omar Baladjam, Mustafa Cheikho and Mohammed Jamal are the other suspects. The Australian Security Intelligence Organization, the national spy agency, has requested that parts of t he proceedings be closed to the public for national security reasons.

Muslim Hate of Authors
Uproar over The Satanic Verses
Sir Salman doesn't deserve the vituperation heaped upon him by the Muslim world. Shamim Hunt Friday, 6 July 2007

When Queen Elizabeth knighted the author of the 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, last month, there was rage throughout the Islamic world. Although Sir Salman, as he is now to be called, was not honoured specifically for this controversial novel, many Muslims interpreted the award as a poke in the eye for Islam. "The latest act of the British government was shameless and imprudent and can not be interpreted to anything but blind hostility and absolute brainlessness," declared the speaker of the Iranian pa rliament speaker, Gholamali Haddadadel. The Satanic Verses is not my favourite novel, but it has a place in my life's journey. When the book first came out in 1988, I was a devout Muslim. By 1996 I had left the religion, and I bought it to see what the fu ss was all about. When my then-husband saw the book on the coffee table, he left me with three small children. He had never read it. This lack of effort to understand, appreciate and build bridges is not uncommon amongst Muslims. Back in 1989 Iran's Ayato llah Khomeini issued a fatwa condemning Rushdie to death. I wonder if he had read it. Then an Iranian businessman offered a US$3 million bounty for his death. I wonder if he had read it. In 1991 the Japanese translator was stabbed to death. I wonder if his murderer had read it. In fact, most Muslims who aver that they are willing to kill Rushdie have probably never read The Satanic Verses. According to Islam, one cannot say or think anything against the prophet Mohammed. Even if a Muslim were to read the bo ok out of curiosity, he/she

would be blaspheming the prophet, even if he/she respected the prophet in his/her heart. When I first read the book in 1996, I was not a skilled reader of literature. But even then, I thought that it was just a novel, and altho ugh the character Mahound was obviously an allusion to the Prophet, Rushdie was not writing history and not suggesting that Mohammed was actually possessed by demons. Eleven years later, after further study at university, and after having become a Christian, I re-read The Satanic Verses. Although I enjoyed it, I now realise that post modern style makes it a very difficult text for many readers, not just Muslims. As an example of the genre of "magical realism", Rushdie parodies certain events and persons from the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet. But the plot is so bizarre and far fetched and the characters so distant from reality that it is difficult to discern the author's true intentions. I would venture to say that it is impossible to understand The Satanic Verses without an appreciation of post -modern irony. Because of the multi -vocal nature of irony, naïve readers who can only grasp univocal utterances will be baffled. For more sophisticated readers, the genre of magical realism offers great compens ations. Irony -- sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes wry or perplexing -- enriches the literary dish. It keeps us on our toes, inviting us to dig through layers of possible meaning and competing significations. No doubt Rushie anticipated that no t everyone would comprehend his ironic treatment of a holy text and of the figure of the Prophet. What he failed to foresee was that Muslim incomprehension would lead to a fatwa, book-burnings and violent demonstrations. In my experience, Christians are much more tolerant and appreciative of literary texts. For instance, in modern literature the use of Christ figures has almost become a cliché -- Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, Neo in the Matrix trilogy, and even Superman in Superman Returns. The works of the devout Catholic Flannery O'Connor contain many characters which suggest Christ. Many of these are somewhat less than Christ-like, which may be felt as disrespectful by many people, but neither the Pope nor Billy Graham ever issued fatwas. Let me say a few words in Rushdie's defence against intolerant Muslims (and also against too-literal Westerners). Apart from its ironic comedy, one reason that the book has been so hard for fatwa -waving ayatollahs to understand is that it is a critique of post-Christian Western society. It speaks to a sceptical generation that has cast off its traditional ties to religion and is longing to get back home to be with its "Father." In my reading, it is a New Testament story of redemption and "rebirth". In this case, the prodigal son returns home to India, to the jahilia, the town of ignorance. Jahilia is an offensive term for Muslims because it implies that Arabia is a jahilia. In fact, Rushdie is suggesting that our so -called progressive, irreligious world is restless and schizophrenic. Surely there is something in this diagnosis. More people, especially children are being diagnosed with depression than in any time in history.

It is impossible for Muslims to see all this in the book. They are not familiar with Christian themes of rebirth, redemption, baptism, Lucifer and so on. Rushdie has written a novel which mixes Christian and Muslim motifs in a most unsettling way. Essentially it is not a novel about Mohammed, still less about Islam. Sadly the outrage over an obscure novel by an "apostate" Muslim is one more confirmation of the West's difficulty in communicating with conservative Islam. Shamim Hunt is currently a PhD student in the Institute of Philosophic Studies program at the University of Dallas in Texas.

Salman Rushdie attacks 'censorship by fear' over The Jewel of Medina
August 16, 2008 Times Online Salman Rushdie has criticised his publisher for withdrawing a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride because of fears of a violent backlash from Muslims. Random House, which published Rushdie's recent books Fury and Shalimar the Clown but not The Satanic Verses, cancelled Sherry Jones's debut novel, The Jewel of Medina, in the latest showdown between Islam and the Western tradition of free speech. Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ² death edict ² for The Satanic Verses, accused the US publisher of giving in to intimidation. ³I am very disappointed to hear that my publishers, Random House, have cancelled another author's novel, apparently because of their concerns about possible Is lamic reprisals,´ Rushdie said. ³This is censorship by fear and it sets a very bad precedent indeed.´ The withdrawal of Jones's book has renewed the debate over self -censorship in the treatment of Islam. Random House feared igniting violent protests suc h as those that followed the release 20 years ago of The Satanic Verses and the publication of Danish cartoons of Muhammad in 2005 ² or even a repeat of the murder of the Dutch film -maker Theo van Gogh after his documentary about women in Islam. The Jewel of Medina is a first-person narrative of the life of A'isha, often described as Muhammad's favourite wife, from her engagement to the Prophet at the age of 6 until his death, when she was 18.

The author avoids graphic sex scenes between the two. But A'isha says: ³This was the beginning of something new, something terrible. Soon I would be lying on my bed beneath him, squashed like a scarab beetle, flailing and sobbing while he slammed himself against me. He would not want to hurt me, but how coul d he help it? It's always painful the first time.´ After consummating her marriage to the Prophet, she says: ³The pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bl iss I had longed for all my life.´ Jones, a journalist from Spokane, Washington State, has never visited the Middle East but spent several years studying Arab history and learning Arabic. She insisted the novel brought together all she had learnt. ³They did have a great love story,´ the author said of Muhammad and A'isha. ³He died with his head on her breast.´ Random House bought the novel last year in a two -book deal worth a reported $100,000 (£53,000). This spring Jones began making plans for an eight -city book tour to follow the August 12 publication. After sending out advance copies of the book, however, Random House deleted it from its list. The deputy publisher, Thomas Perry, said the company had received ³cautionary advice´ that the book ³could in cite acts of violence by a small, radical segment´. The spotlight soon fell not on a radical Muslim cleric but on an American academic, Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas. Ms Spellberg had been sent an a dvance copy of The Jewel of Medina for review. She strongly objected to the fictionalised account of A'isha's life. She alerted the editor of a popular Islamic website, who sent out an e -mail saying that Ms Spellberg found the book ³incredibly offensive´. Word spread and a strategy was proposed to force the author to withdraw the book. Ms Spellberg said: ³As an expert on A'isha's life, I felt it was my professional responsibility to counter this novel's fallacious representation of a very real woman's life. ³It . . . counts on stirring up controversy to increase sales,´ she wrote in a letter to The Wall Street Journal. Jones noted on The Washington Post website, however, that Random House acted ³not because of terrorist threats, mind you ² but because of threats of terrorist threats. Because, in other words, of fear´.

Muslim Hate of Bahai
Religion Today By MARIAM FAM The Associated Press Thursday, June 22, 2006; 12:05 PM CAIRO, Egypt -- Tucked away in Labib Iskandar's pocket is a neatly folded slip of paper with fraying edges that tells the story of a community fighting for recognition. It's a receipt Iskandar got when he applied for the computer-based identification card Egypt had just then begun issuing more than five years ago. Iskandar is a Bahai, a member of a religious community that regards a 19th-century Persian nobleman, Baha'u'llah, as a prophet a challenge to the Muslim belief that Muhammad is the last prophet. Given the pivotal role of Islam in Egyptian life, the government will not issue an ID card to a Bahai, but only to Muslims, Christians or Jews. The issue broke into the news in April when a court ruled members of Egypt's little-known Bahai community had the right to have their faith listed on official documents, sparking an outcry. The Interior Ministry quickly filed an appeal, and last month another court froze the case. It's still a controversy, however. Some Muslim clerics openly declare the Bahai faith is a heresy, and civil rights advocates complain this heavy-handed approach threatens to set off clashes like those that erupted recently between Muslims and minority Christians in the northern city of Alexandria. While the dispute directly affects only the country's Bahais _ perhaps 2,000 of the 72 million Egyptians _ it provides a glimpse into how a once cosmopolitan society has sunk into a culture where fanaticism outweighs theoretical protections of religious freedom. "Before, everything was simpler and everyone knew I was a Bahai and had no problem with that," said Iskandar, a 59-year-old engineering professor. "There were no biases. Fanaticism started to surface only now." The family whose suit led to the court ruling on the Bahai faith has refused to speak with reporters. But the Bahais' experience in Egypt can be seen through Iskandar and his family. His birth certificate and original government ID card list him as a Bahai. His sons have similar birth certificates. But when his oldest son, Ragi, 24, applied for his ID card, officials would only agree to drawing a line _ to indicate a blank _ in the religion section. Later when 19-year-old Hady applied for an ID, he was told he must identify himself as a follower of one of the three officially recognized religions and never got his papers, Iskandar said.

"We worry sick about them when they stay out late, especially the youngest son, since he has no ID, which could land him in trouble," said Iskandar. "Because they're young, they get upset and may say 'let's leave Egypt'" _ an option the elder Iskandar rejects. "I am an Egyptian. I was born in Egypt ... and I won't leave Egypt," he said. The elder Iskandar was allowed to apply for the new computerized ID but never got one. His two sons' applications for the new documents were not even accepted. At the end of the year, Egypt will not recognize the old, paper IDs, replacing them with the computerized ones. Iskandar recalled attending Bahai activities until a 1960 presidential decree dissolved Bahai assemblies. Last October, he said, his sister died and the family couldn't obtain a death certificate because of her faith. "They don't want to recognize the Bahai faith. Fine, no problem. But as an Egyptian citizen, is it my right or not to have a birth certificate and an ID card?" he said. "Why do you want me to change my religion? Why do you want me to be a hypocrite? I refuse to lie." Abdel Moeti Bayoumi, a Muslim scholar, said the Bahais' demand for recognition on official documents would cement a sectarian system that could fracture the country. "Believe in whatever you want to believe in, you and your children, as long as you do so at home behind closed doors," he said. "Do not undermine the public order." Bayoumi is a member of the Al-Azhar Center of Islamic Research, a leading institution of Sunni Muslim learning. Like many Muslim scholars, he believes Bahaism is a splinter of Islam and not a religion in its own right. He said the Bahais' beliefs and practices _ including considering Baha'u'llah as a prophet _ offend Muslims. He added Bahais were lucky the Interior Ministry appealed the April verdict because otherwise extremists could have attacked them. A statement from Al-Azhar urged Egypt "to firmly stand against this group which hurts the religion of God." It urged the government to outlaw the Bahai faith, and another statement from Al-Azhar's research center, playing on the region's anti-Israeli sentiments, argued that Bahaism "serves the interests of Zionism." Bahais say their holy sites in Israel are used to discredit their community. Baha'u'llah died in 1892 in Akko in what was then the Ottoman Empire _ and is now in Israel. The international headquarters for the world's 5 million Bahais are in Haifa, Israel, and they have other holy places in Turkey and Iran. Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which has monitored the Bahais' case, said Egyptians' ignorance of the faith has fueled a "smear campaign." "It is another manifestation of the narrow and heavy-handed approach with which the Interior Ministry tackles religious affairs. There are strong similarities between these events and the clashes in Alexandria in terms of lack of tolerance," he said, referring to clashes between Muslims and Christians that left two people dead and 40 wounded in April.

Political sociologist Hoda Zakareya said Egypt_ which until the 1950s was home to significant numbers of Jews, Armenians, Greeks and others _ has grown less tolerant. She said the growing influence of Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which aim to galvanize people through religion, not nationalism, contributed to the change: "The brotherhood said it would reconstruct the fractured collective conscience on religious basis. But people are dividing, not uniting, around Islam."

Muslim Hate of Bikinis
Egyptian Beach Succumbs to Veil as Alexandria Loses Its Diversity

By Daniel Williams August 11, 2009 (Bloomberg) -- Along miles and miles of crowded beachfront in Egypt¶s second city, women in bathing suits are nowhere in sight. On Alexandria¶s breeze-blown shores, they all wear long - sleeve shirts and anklelength black caftans topped by head scarves. Awkwardly afloat in the rough seas, the bathers look like wads of kelp loosened from the sandy bottom. The scene would be unremarkable in Saudi Arabia or Iran, where hiding the feminine body is mandated by Islamic-based strictures. In Alexandria -- a storied town of sensuality and openness -- the veiled beachgoers, coupled with sectarian conflicts, represent the loss to some residents of a valued, diverse identity in favor of religious uniformity. ³Here is the front line of a battle between secularists and Islamic fundamentalism,´ said Mohamed Awad, director of the Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center, part of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina , itself an evocation of the ancient library whose reputation for scholarship helped give the city its pluralistic credentials. If the issue were only bathing attire -- or the gradual disappearance of alcohol from open-air seaside cafes to avoid insults from passing pedestrians -- the phenomenon might be just a curiosity. But there are sharper signs of intolerance: increasing Christian-Muslim clashes unfamiliar to old Alexandrine eyes. µThey Will Die¶ On April 4, a Muslim man was allegedly stabbed by his Coptic Christian landlords in a dispute over garbage collection, according to a July 30 report by the Cairo -based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights , a human-rights watchdog. When the man died the next day, Muslims praying at a mosque in the city¶s Karmouz district chanted ³they will die´ and then trashed Christian -owned stores, the report said. Similar events in the past three years include Muslims storming homes they said were Coptic churches functioning without government permit. Copts, about 10 percent of Egypt¶s population, are an indigenous denomination founded in Alexandria around 61 A.D. The violence is particularly striking in a city whose skyline is dotted by minaret s and church steeples and where, at least in the memory of Alexandrian novelist Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, religion hasn¶t always triggered public disputes. He has written two novels of Alexandria¶s 20th -century past, with longing for a kind of golden age of diversity.

³I wish we could go back to being the city of Cleopatra,´ said another author, Haggag Oddoul, in an interview. Cosmopolitan Paradise The Alexandria of lore emerged as a major 19th century transshipment port with Europe, celebrated by Arab, Egyptian and Western wri ters as a cosmopolitan paradise where sailors mingled at cafes with exiles from Syria and Greece, businessmen from Italy, and, eventually, women in sundresses. In 1956, Great Britain and France, with the help of Israel, invaded Egypt to recover control of the recently nationalized Suez Canal, through which nearly one-tenth of world trade now passes. The attempt failed, and communities of Greeks, Armenians, Italians, French and Jews fled as the definition of Egypt narrowed to an Arab nation in a homogenous Arab world. Since then, Alexandria has become home to oil refineries that have helped swell its population to more than 5 million. The immigrants, many from Egypt¶s overcrowded countryside, submerged the scene in a tidal wave of poverty and ideology. Now, Arab nationalism and Alexandria¶s cosmopolitanism have a new rival: the push for an Islamic Egypt. Abdel Meguid attributes this to influence from conservative Persian Gulf nations -- in particular Saudi Arabia, a destination for thousands of Egyptians seeking work. Dance, Culture ³We are no longer a universal city of song, dance, culture and art,´ he said. Awad¶s center at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina strives to reverse that tren d, spreading ³internationalism´ and promoting ³a healthy spirit of diversity, pluralism and interaction among civilizations,´ according to its Web site. And yet ³the library is an island,´ he said. The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt¶s largest opposition force, has its major base of support in the city, according to national press accounts. There, as in other Egyptian urban centers, the Brotherhood provides health care, subsidized food and social services for the poor. The group is the prototype for Islamic political parties across the Middle East -- and nostalgia for a legendary multicultural past doesn¶t guide its agenda. ³At the end of the day, that¶s all history,´ said Sobhi Saleh, a Brotherh ood member of parliament. Proper Attire A leaflet advising women on proper Islamic coverings is posted in the lobby leading to Saleh¶s office. Caftan and long head scarf are correct. A skimpy head sc arf accompanied by jeans is wrong.

Christian-Muslim tensions aren¶t a symptom of intolerance but of ³insults´ to Islam by Copts, he said. ³Sometimes, secular activists try to raise the pressure on us by saying Muslims are against Christians.´ Alexandria needs ³stable´ community values, he insisted. Sensuality, if it means sexuality, is not part of the social equation. Even the library -- with its museum that includes pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Coptic and Islamic relics -- is misguided, Saleh said. ³There, Islam is just one topic among many. We don¶t like those naked Greek statues. Anyway, that¶s over. Islam should have a special status at the library,´ he said. ³This is a Muslim city in a Muslim country; that is our identity.´

'Bikinis and booze caused bombings' Simon Kearney in Surabaya 10oct05

AUSTRALIANS had declared a moral war on Muslims in Indonesia with their drinking and skimpy clothes in Bali, the eldest brother of three of those responsible for the 2002 attacks said yesterday. Muhammed Khozin told The Australian at his home in Tenggulun, East Java, that his community didn't care about the October 1 Bali bombings because they were not linked to people from his village. Mr Khozin's younger brothers Amrozi and Mukhlas were sentenced to death and Ali Imron to life imprisonment for their roles in the attacks on the Sari Club and Paddy's bar, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. Mr Khozin said the behaviour of Westerners in his country was to blame for the radicalism adopted by his brothers. "Alcohol, bikinis, that kind of thing makes Muslims angry. Don't do that when visiting a country with a Muslim majority," he said. "I'm sorry, Austra lian culture makes war on morality. They come to Bali with bikinis, they make war on morality. Not physical war, morality war. Respect the culture and religion of Indonesia." His son, 19-year-old university student Afif, said there would be no end to terr orism while Australians continued going to Bali and behaving without respect for Muslim culture. He believed the first Bali bombing committed by his uncles was justified because it discouraged tourists in Bali. "If Muslims died in that action, the Muslims will go to heaven," he said. Afif said Muslims and Christians would only live side by side when Christians learned to respect Muslim culture.

Mr Khozin runs the Al-Islaman boarding school in the village that he founded with his late father 30 years ago. Such schools, known as pesantren, are seen as a breeding ground for terrorists. He said if Canberra wanted to stop radicalism in Indonesia, it should teach Australians to be more respectful of Islam. Moreover, Australia could help fund facilities at Isl amic schools like his, which are mainly in poor areas and are under -resourced, to help better educate Muslims in Indonesia. "Please give to us because maybe that's the way to make the relationship with Indonesia and Australia better," he said. He taught his students the concept of "dakwah", which means to confront people who do things that are wrong and tell them to stop. But he did not subscribe to the view of radicals that they should act to physically erase something they did not agree with. His brothers had a different view of Islam to his but he believed they were still good people. He called on the Indonesian Government to return them to their community, where they could be rehabilitated. "The community have a dream. If Amrozi came back here, he will do things like that."

Fighting fanatics with a bikini

By Holly Byrnes August 29, 2006 Daily Telegraph
MISS World hopeful Sabrina Houssami says she will defy Muslim teaching and wear a swimsuit in her bid to win the crown next month.

The university student, 20, yesterday rejected criticism by local Muslim leaders after they condemned beauty pageants as "a slur on Islam''. Ms Houssami, a Muslim Australian from Georges Hall in Sydney's southwest, said while her religion was a ³private m atter´, her charity work for the pageant made her a ³positive role model for all young women´. ³I try to treat people well and I don't see why wearing a swimsuit in a contest which raises so much money for charity would be against the rules,´ she said yes terday.

Ms Houssami, who has raised $1.2 million for charity as part of her pageant bid said her record of public service was fitting as it was ³one of the pillars of Islam´. But Muslim leaders have criticised beauty pageant contestants for putting their ³modesty´ on display. Melbourne cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran criticised aspiring model Ayten Ahmet, 16, after she recently entered the Miss Teen Australia pageant as a role mod el for teenagers. Sheik Mohammed caused outrage this year when he claimed the US Government was behind the September 11 attacks and declared Osama bin Laden an innocent man. ³The teachings of the Prophet and the Holy Koran do not encourage a girl to go o ut and uncover her modesty in public,´ he said of Ms Ahmet. Ms Ahmet, a Muslim of Turkish heritage, said she had not entered the contest to make a religious statement. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils stopped short of defending her yesterday. ³There are parts of this story that Islam allows and parts it prohibits,´ AFIC president Rahim Ghauri said. A Muslim group called for Miss Indonesia to face indecency charges when she wore a bikini last month. The women's chapter of the Islamic Defe nders Front wanted Indonesian authorities to prosecute Nadine Chandrawinata, claiming she ³intentionally and openly engaged in indecency´ by taking part. Meanwhile, Ms Houssami goes to a lunch with Premier Morris Iemma tomorrow, before flying out for the pageant finals in Poland on Thursday.

Muslim fury after bikini model claimed to be Pakistan's entry

7th September 2006 A prize winning bikini contest model who claimed she was the Pakistani representative has sparked outrage in the predominantly muslim country. Stunning Mariyah Moten, 22, won the 'Best in Media' title - for being the most photographed and interviewed contestant - at the pageant in the Chinese resort of Beihai.

But furious Pakistani authorities say she did not have permission to represent the country, where many women only go out in public covered in a veil. They are now threatening the model, who grew up in Pakistan but holds a US passport after she moved there eight years ago, with restrictions on entering her homeland. "We have asked our missions in Washington and Beijing to investigate this because it is against our policy, culture and religion," senior Culture Ministry official Abdul Hafeez Chaudhry said. "She is an American passport holder. She is an American national of Pakistani origin, so how did she get entry as a Pakistani?" Moten, a student of hotel management at the University of Houston, was born and brought up in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan - which does not hold beauty contests - might take the issue up with China, depending on the result of the investigation. He also said the government might withdraw from Moten special privileges offered to people of Pakistani descent such as visa-free travel to Pakistan.

Muslim Hate of Books
Prophet bride novel published in US
The US publication of a controversial book about the child bride of the Prophet Mohammed has been brought forward after its British publisher¶s office was bombed. By Stephen Adams, Arts Correspondent 08 Oct 2008 Beaufort Books went ahead and released The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones on Monday, nine days ahead of schedule. The novel has been described by an American academic as an "anti -Islamic polemic". It tells a fictionalised account of the experiences of Aisha, one of the Prophet's brides. The marketing material reads: "Married at nine to the much -older Mohammed, Aisha uses her wits, her courage, and her sword to defend her first -wife status even as Mohammed marries again and again, taking 12 wives and concubines in all." Last month the London office of Gibson Square Books director Martin Rynja was firebombed. It was planning to publish the book in the UK later this month. Now Beaufort Books, which has also published OJ Simpson's hypothetical confessional 'If I Did It' abo ut the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown, has gone ahead with publication. Eric Kampman, the publisher's president, said he felt it was "better for everybody ... to let the conversation switch from a conversation about terrorists and fearful publishers to a conversation about the merits of the book itself." In August the publisher Random House US announced it was pulling publication because it had been advised that the book "might be offensive" to some Muslims and "could incite acts of violence by a smal l, radical segment". It came after Professor Denise Spellberg, of the University of Texas, described the book as "soft core pornography". In an article in the Wall Street Journal, she wrote: "There is a long history of anti Islamic polemic that uses sex and violence to attack the Prophet and his faith. This novel follows in that oft -trodden path, one first pioneered in medieval Christian writings." Mr Rynja took the novel on, saying there must be "open access to literary works, regardless of fear".

He was unavailable for comment on Tuesday about whether Gibson Square would be publishing the book. Three men have been remanded in custody over the attack on Gibson Square's London office.

Muslim gang firebombs publisher of Allah novel, Martin Rynja
David Leppard September 28, 2008 From The Sunday Times Scotland Yard's counter-terrorist command yesterday foiled an alleged plot by Islamic extremists to kill the publisher of a forthcoming novel featuring sexual encounters between the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride. Early yesterday armed undercover officers arrested three men after a petrol bomb was pushed through the door of the north London home of the book¶s publisher. The Metropolitan police said the target of the assassination plot, the Dutch publ isher Martin Rynja, had not been injured. The suspected terror gang was being followed by undercover police and the fire was quickly put out after the fire brigade smashed down the front door. The foiled terrorist attack recalled the death threats and uproar 20 years ago following the publication of Salman Rushdie¶s Satanic Verses, and the worldwide protests that followed the publication in a Danish newspaper in 2005 of cartoons deemed offensive to Islam, in which more than 100 people died. Security officials believe Rynja was targeted for assassination because his firm, Gibson Square, is preparing to publish a romantic novel about Aisha, child bride of the Prophet Muhammad. The Jewel of Medina, by the first-time American author Sherry Jones, describes an imaginary sex scene between the prophet and his 14 year-old wife. It was withdrawn from publication in America last month after its publisher there, Random House, said it feared a violent react ion by ³a small radical segment´ of Muslims. It said ³credible and unrelated sources´ had warned that the book could incite violence. Random House reacted after Islamic scholars objected to its contents, saying it treated the wife of the Prophet as a sex object. One of them, Denise Spellberg, of the University of Texas at Austin, described the novel as ³soft -core pornography´, referring to a scene in which Muhammad consummates his marriage to Aisha. She called it ³a declaration of war´ and a ³national secu rity issue´.

At the time, her warnings were dismissed by the author. ³Anyone who reads the book will not be offended,´ said Jones. ³I wrote the book with the utmost respect for Islam.´ However, Jones admitted receiving death threats after the book was withdrawn. It was soon after this that the Met appears to have received a tip -off that the British publisher who had subsequently agreed to print it could be the target of an attack. A Met spokesman said three men had been arrested in ³a preplanned intellig enceled operation´ at about 2.25am on Saturday. Two of the suspects were arrested in the street outside Rynja¶s four -storey townhouse in Lonsdale Square, Islington, while the third was stopped by officers in an armed vehicle near Angel Tube station. They were being questioned yesterday on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, a spokesman said. Rynja, 44, could not be contacted yesterday. He is believed to be under police guard. Yesterday, Natasha Kern, Jones¶s agent, said she was shocked to learn of the attack. She said the book had been misinterpreted by its critics and did not contain sex scenes, as had been alleged. ³I honestly believe that if people read the book they will see it is not disrespectful of Muhammad, and moderate Muslims will not be offended. I don¶t want anyone to risk their lives but we could never imagine that there would be some madmen who would do something like this. I¶m so sad about this act of terrorism. Moderate Muslims will suffer because of a few radicals.´ Kern said it was too early for her to comment on whether the book should be withdrawn. ³That¶s up to Martin, and I still need to absorb the fact that he was at risk. I¶m just so glad he has not been hurt.´ Residents said they saw armed police break down the door of Rynja¶s house, helped by firefighters. Francesca Liebowitz, 16, a neighbour, said: ³The police couldn¶t get the door open so the fire brigade battered it down.´ Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said: ³I was woken at about 3am and I looked out the window and I saw several unmarked cars with what I now think were police officers in them. These officers came out of the cars and there was huge screaming and shouting. Some of the police officers were carrying sub machineguns. ³I then saw a small fire at the bottom of the door at the house. I heard the police officers shout and scream and try to get neighbours out of the house.´

The Jewel of Medina is due t o be published next month.

Family of Baghdad booksellers hangs tough
Nabil al-Hayawi lost his son, brother and 2 family shops Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post Sunday, July 20, 2008 Upstairs, the blue bedroom door of Nabil al -Hayawi's only son was locked, sealing in the artifacts of his short life. Downstairs, the frail bookseller's voice quivered as he recalled the car bombing that killed his son and his brother and razed his family's bookshop on Baghdad's storied Mutanabi Street. More than a year later , al-Hayawi has not entered the bedroom. He, too, almost died that day. After five operations, he has trouble standing up. His left arm hangs limp. He takes seven pills a day to cope with aches and depression. Shrapnel is still lodged in his body, posing n ew threats. But decades of dictatorship, war and international sanctions, followed by five years of occupation, insurgency and sectarian strife, have not defeated the Hayawis. "If you live with fears, how can you live?" said al -Hayawi, 60, seated at his desk in his spacious, book-lined home on a recent sun-dappled day. In the long anthology of Iraq's tragedies, the Hayawis represent the promise of the country's future. Despite their grief, they tenaciously refuse to surrender to the current turmoil. They belong to the fading but still influential group of middle -class Iraqis who are alarmed by their society's sectarian fissures and emerging Islamic identity and determined to preserve its cosmopolitan, secular nature. In a country hobbled by a lack of basic services, high unemployment and scarce foreign investment, the family stands for a vibrant alternative. Violence has driven out more than 2 million people, draining Iraq of skilled professionals, but the rebuilt bookshop remains, an engine for fresh ideas and intellectual growth. Every day on Mutanabi Street, a Hayawi sells books, educating a new contingent of lawyers, doctors and computer programmers. The Hayawis stay in Iraq out of nostalgia, nationalism and a sense of tradition, as well as economic necessity. When U.S. troops withdraw someday, Iraq will depend on families like theirs to rebuild itself, physically and psychologically. "Iraq is my soul," the bald, silver-bearded al-Hayawi said. "I go and come back. But I will never leave." In the soft morning light, the Muslim call to prayer rises from an old mosque. It floats across the warren of crumbling Ottoman -era buildings and dark alleys, past the green shutters of the Renaissance Bookshop.

Founded in 1957 by Abdul Rahman al -Hayawi, a mild-mannered Sunni Muslim with an appreciation for Arabic calligraphy, the Renaissance is the oldest bookshop on a street that has preserved a literary tradition through empire, colonialism and monarchy. Most of the 1,246-year-old city of Baghdad was destroyed over the centuries, battered by nature and war, leaving its past glories known only to memory. Since the looting of the city's museums after the U.S. -led invasion in 2003, one of the few remaining stewards of the capital's culture and history is Mutanabi Street, na med for a 10th century poet whose verses Iraqis still quote from memory. Every weekend, starting on Fridays, thousands of Baghdadis used to descend on Mutanabi Street to buy from booksellers of every sect and religion, fulfilling a popular Arab saying: "Cairo writes. Beirut publishes. Baghdad reads." Here, Abdul Rahman imparted his love of books to his five sons and four daughters, bringing them to the street when they were infants. "We opened our eyes in this bookstore," recalled Najah al -Hayawi, 62, the eldest brother. So enchanted was Nabil that he attended law school at night rather than miss working at the bookstore. He became one of Iraq's youngest judges. After their father died in 1993, the brothers inherited the shop and later opened their own books tores. After the U.S.-led invasion, freedom coursed through Mutanabi Street. Booksellers openly displayed Shiite religious texts, extremist Sunni Wahhabi literature and Western magazines depicting scantily clad women. Once, that would have brought prison sentences. But Iraq's growing chaos spawned disillusionment. The government imposed a Friday curfew. Sales plummeted. Many booksellers fled Iraq. The Hayawi family dispersed to Beirut, Lebanon; Damascus, Syria, and Cairo, Egypt. One brother, Dhafer, moved t o Cairo after kidnappers targeted his son. But Nabil and his brothers kept their homes in Baghdad, traveling back and forth to manage the shop. Mohammad, the youngest, never left. On a sweltering day in September 2006, the bearlike man politely apologized during an interview for the lack of electricity to power the air conditioner. "When we go home after work, there's no guarantee we'll get home safely," he said. "And when we come to work in the morning, there's no guarantee we'll get here safely." In Nabil al-Hayawi's house, in the capital's Mansour neighborhood, photos of Nabil's father at the Renaissance with his young children are displayed in a glass case. On a bookshelf are photos of Nabil's son, Yahye, and Mohammad, his brother. When Nabil recalled March 5, 2007, he broke into uncontrollable tears.

At 8:30 a.m. that day, Nabil and two workers were packing books to ship to the northern city of Irbil. Yahye, 25, was working two doors down in the Legal Bookshop, started by Nabil's father. A chemical engineer, Yahye had inherited his father's love of books, turning down a scholarship abroad so he could run the shop. The following week, he was to be engaged. At 11:40 a.m., a car exploded in front of Nabil's shop. "I thought that I was shot," he recalled. In the darkness, from under the rubble of the shop, he heard Mohammad calling: "People take us out! The fire is coming!" Riddled with shrapnel, Nabil uttered the shehada, a prayer Muslims say before they die. He felt the heat, smelled the smoke. "I told myself, 'If God wants me to live, I must stand up,' " Nabil recalled. He slowly pushed aside chunks of concrete and toppled bookshelves. Mohammad lay buried under books, rubble and car parts. His voice faint, he asked Nabil to get help. Through the haze, N abil saw an opening. He waded through the rubble, using a book in his right hand to bat back flames, his left hand to propel forward. "I was swimming in the fire," he said. At the hospital, doctors pulled shrapnel from Nabil's brain, back and neck. They ga ve him six liters of blood and treated him for burns. He fell into a coma for three days. Nabil called out for his son and brother, relatives recalled. Then he called out the names of other booksellers he'd grown up with on the street, including Shiites an d Christians. A few days later, unable to find adequate medical care in Baghdad, Nabil's brothers carried him onto a plane for Beirut. The family's collection of rare books, first editions and manuscripts burned with the store. They included two priceless books of Arabic calligraphy. In Baghdad, scores of streets and markets have been bombed, sometimes repeatedly. Yet life springs up again quickly. Within a few hours, Iraqis fix windows, clean up streets, bury the dead. Most don't have the means to leave Iraq. The Hayawis do. The brothers sold their family house in Baghdad for $330,000. But instead of living off the proceeds or investing outside Iraq, the Hayawis used the money to rebuild their two stores, repay debts and buy more books. "It is our livelihood. It is our heritage. It is our history," Nabil's younger brother Bediyah al-Hayawi, 52, said matter-of-factly. "This is our country. How could we not be committed to it?"

Nabil was initially hesitant to rebuild Yahye's shop, fearing the memories. But w hile he was recovering from an operation, he found Yahye's will, written three months before the bombing. In the will, his son asked him to keep the Legal Bookshop open. "It has been my dream since I was young," Nabil read, his voice cracking. Five months after the bombing, Nabil returned to Baghdad. He locked Yahye's room, with the computer, the shelf of engineering books and the childhood portraits. The day he stepped into the Legal Bookshop, he collapsed. Nabil remained on Mutanabi Street, overseeing rec onstruction of the shops even as he struggled to rebuild himself. A month later, he left to have further surgery. "He is a believer," said Mohammed Taha, a family friend, as workmen on scaffolding repaired the wall outside. Inside the Renaissance today, ph otos of Mohammad, Yahye and Abdul Rahman, the patriarch, hang on a wall. Underneath them a sign reads, "The Martyrs of the Hayawi Family." There are seven employees, overseen every day by a Hayawi, including Auws Najah al-Hayawi, Najah's 36-year-old son. A half-hour before the bombing, he had left the Renaissance to fetch books from a nearby warehouse. He helped rescue survivors. On a recent day, he chatted with customers in the store and by phone with a Beirut publisher, carrying the family tradition into the third generation. Outside, Mutanabi Street was run -down, surrounded by concrete barriers and military checkpoints. Cars were banned, and nearby buildings were charred hulks. Many writers, artists and professors have left Iraq. The Renaissance's best -selling titles now are Shiite religious books, Korans and English dictionaries, highlighting current priorities. Since the attack, business has halved. But whenever Nabil is at the bookshop, he is thrilled to see customers, especially students, strolling down the street, undeterred by the threat of violence. "I was happy that I discovered the people still reading," Nabil said. Ahmed Khudair, 28, and his brother Mohammed, 24, browsed the shelves at the Renaissance on a recent Saturday morning. With the help of books they'd bought here, they had launched an in -house newspaper at the Environment Ministry, where Ahmed worked. Now they were considering creating a Web site. "If we didn't have this kind of store in Baghdad, we wouldn't be able to advance," Ahmed said, clutching a computer book. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, access to computers was limited. The Renaissance has helped Imad Abdul Hamid, 41, catch up. He'd brought along an Arabic translation of Microsoft's Basic programming book. "This book has helped improve my skills. At my job, I work faster," said Hamid, who was now searching for

an advanced programming guide. "Iraq needs to develop knowledge. This helps open the doors." Beyond shelves filled with history, philosophy and translations of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy, another customer perused a book titled "Understanding Poetry." "When I finish my masters, I'm going to get a Ph.D.," said Mahmoud Khudr Juma, 34. "I am going to teach Arabic literature to serve my society. It is important to preserve our heritage." He bought the poetry book. He anticipates lending it to at least a dozen classmates, who, in exchange, will lend him their books. On a recent day, Nabil walked past the high, yellow stone wall of Cairo's renowned al-Azhar mosque and headed into the Turkish Alley district. With more than 100 bookstores and colorful billboards, the bustling enclave evoked Mutanabi Street in its glory. "I feel joy because I love this world," Nabil said. "I also feel pain, for what has become of us and of Mutanabi Street, which was once a center for civilization." He stopped at one store and ordered Islamic history books, Korans, cookbooks and computer guides to send to Baghdad. Then he walked to a shop named al -Aatik, meaning one who doesn't bend or retr eat in the face of obstacles. It sold Iraqi works, including legal and medical textbooks and a popular history of Baghdad. "It is as if I am shopping for my home, for my family," he said. Later that night, as always, Nabil called Mohammad's son Ahmed, now 8, who is living in Damascus, Syria, and still asks, "Where's my father?" "I have started planting in his mind, with the help of his mother, that he loves books and bookstores," said Nabil, who has adopted Ahmed. "So he will carry on the history and glory of his father and his grandfather Hayawi." Recently, a top Cairo surgeon told Nabil that a nerve could be transplanted from his leg to try to heal his left arm but that he might not walk again. An influential cleric in Beirut offered to help him gain asylu m in Europe, with its state-of-the art medical treatment and majestic bookstores on elegant, peaceful boulevards. Nabil refused.

Novel on prophet's wife pulled for fear of backlash
The Jewel of the Medina was to have been released on August 12 by Ballantine Books Friday August 08 2008 A romance novel about the child bride of the prophet Muhammad has been withdrawn because its publisher feared possible terrorist acts by Muslim extremists. The Jewel of the Medina was to have been rele ased on August 12 by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, with an eight -city tour for first-time novelist Sherry Jones, 46. But the publishers apparently panicked after a professor in Texas who had been approached for a pre -publication blurb, strenuously objected to the work. Denise Spellberg, who teaches Islamic history at the University of Texas at Austin, later described the novel as "soft core pornography". Jones rejects the charge. "It's ridiculous," she told the Guardian today. "I must be one heck of a writer to have produced a pornographic book without any sex scenes. My book is as realistic a portrayal as I could muster of the prophet Muhammad's harem and his domestic life. Of course it has sexuality, but there is no sex in my book." The withdrawal of the novel, first reported this week by the Wall Street Journal, set off an intense debate on the web among feminists, young Muslims, and academics. Many of the bloggers recalled the death threats and uproar 20 years ago following the publication of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. There were also references to the global upheavals that followed the publication of cartoons in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands -Posten, deemed offensive to Islam. More than 100 people died in the ensuing protests. The saga of the Jewel of the Medina began unspoolling last April when the publishers sent out galleys to scholars and writers for recommendations. Until then, the publishers had raised no concerns about the novel, Jones said. She said she became interested in th e topic after 9/11 and spent two years researching the novel, posting a 29 -book bibliography on her blog. Jones suggested Spellberg for an endorsement because she had drawn from her work. "It was my hope that my book would be a bridge builder, develop empa thy for this other culture that we know so little about in this country," she said. "It has always rankled me the way history focuses on men and wars and men's politics and leaves women out. I wanted to honour the women in Muhammad's life by giving them a voice."

Spellberg, however, seems to have been horrified by the end product. The book's marketing blurb and the prologue, both available online, give some indication of her fears. The novel is an amalgam of bodice ripper and historical fiction centred arou nd Aisha, the favourite wife of the prophet Muhammad. The marketing blurb compared the work to Memoirs of a Geisha. "Married at nine to the much -older Muhammad, A'isha uses her wits, her courage, and her sword to defend her first -wife status even as Muhammad marries again and again, taking twelve wives and concubines in all," the plot summary reads. The book's prologue opens with an account of a story that will be familiar to Muslims of an episode when Aisha was accused of adultery after she became separat ed from Muhammad and his entourage in the desert. In Jones's account, Aisha, now aged 14, is not entirely satisfied with her marriage, and is making her scandalous return to Medina in the company of another man. The novel also imagines the consummation of the marriage between Muhammad and Aisha, who was nine years old at the time. "I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography," Spellberg told the Journal. She immediately called a colleague and editor of a Muslim website to share her misgivings. The guest lecturer, Shahed Amanullah, told the Wall Street Journal that Spellberg asked him to warn other Muslims about the novel. "She was very upset." The novel became a topic of discussion on a number of Muslim websites, with one blogger putting forward an action strategy to email blast the publisher. Spellberg also raised her concerns with Random House. "Denise says it is 'a declaration of war ... explosive stuff ... a national security issue'," said an email from Jane Garrett, an editor at another Random House imprint that was quoted in the Journal. "Think it will be far more controversial than the satanic verses and the Danish cartoons." The email from Garrett went on: "thinks the book should be withdrawn ASAP". Jones said today the publishers were not aware of the discussion taking place on Muslim websites when they told her agent on May 2 they were considering postponing publication. Three weeks later, Jones was told that publication was indefinitely postponed. Random House said today that it had been advised by security experts and Islamic scholars that the novel was offensive to Muslims and that "it could incite acts of violence by a small radical segment".

The statement added: "We felt an obligation to take these concerns very seriously." Jones, who had a two-book deal with Random House, was relea sed from her contract to try to sell the book elsewhere. She said today she was confident of finding a new publisher. She was also adamant that the book poses no danger. "There have been no Muslim threats," she said. "I haven't received any and Random Hous e hasn't received any. They received a prediction of terrorist attacks from Spellberg."


Buddhist worker beheaded in Thai Muslim south
06 Jun 2005 Source: Reuters

BANGKOK, June 6 (Reuters) - A Buddhist has been beheaded in Muslim -majority southern Thailand, police said on Monday, the fourth decapitation of a Buddhist since violence erupted in the region 18 months ago. Police found the body of the 59 -year-old rubber plantation employee at his hut in Yaha district of Yala province late on Sunday.

"We believe it must have been the work of those militants," a police officer said by telephone, declining to give further details of the incident in the largely Malay speaking region, where more than 700 people have died in the violence. No group has claimed responsibility for the violence. The Muslim-majority region has a century-long history of violent separatism from Bangkok. The first Buddhist rubber tapper was decapit ated in May last year. His killers left a note saying they had acted in revenge for the arrest of innocent Muslims. In November, two Buddhist men were beheaded in revenge for the deaths of 85 Muslim protesters in army custody, most of them by suffocation a month earlier. Three policemen and two civilians were wounded on Monday when a 5 kg (11 lbs) bomb hidden in a motorcycle and triggered by a mobile phone went off in a park in the nearby tourist town of Sungai Kolok as people were exercising. Late on Sunday, militants blew up a power transmitter, blacking out the city of Yaha, police said. The government in the mostly Buddhist country has imposed martial law in parts of the provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, which all border Malaysia, at the sam e time as offering lavish development aid and regional assistance. However, neither the iron first or olive branch approach seems to have made any impact. Shootings, bombings and arson attacks mainly against official, Buddhist targets have become daily occurrences.

Violence Aimed at Driving out Buddhists, Says Thaksin
By Sutin Wannabovorn AP Writer/Bangkok, Thailand June 23, 2005 A series of gruesome beheadings and other killings in southern Thailand are part of a campaign by Islamic separatists to scare off the minority Buddhist population and to show that they can still carry out attacks despite a government crackdown, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Thursday. Suspected insurgents decapitated a man at a teashop Wednesday in one of the boldest attacks since the Muslim-majority provinces near Malaysia erupted in violence last year. It was the fifth beheading in recent weeks and apparently the first to be carried out in broad daylight.

Thaksin called an emergency meeting with security forces Thursday to discuss the continuing attacks in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. More than 880 people have been killed over the past 17 months in attacks generally blamed on the revival of a long-dormant secessionist movement. "They (the insurgents) have been beheading innocent people to show they are still capable of creating violence," Thaksin told reporters. "They try to make (Buddhist) people scared so they will run away from the region because they want to seize the area." He added that the insurgents had launched the attacks "out of desperation because several of their leaders have been arrested." Thaksin's administration has been criticized for taking an overbearing approach to the unrest by posting thousands of troops and imposing martial law in the region. Muslim clerics have complained of soldiers showing disrespect for Islamic traditions in their drive to root out suspects. But Thaksin has conceded failures in his government's handling of the south and pledged to try conciliatory means to resolve the conflict. Maj-Gen Thani Thawitsri, the deputy regional police commander for the southern provinces, said the beheadings had become a pattern and that they were intended "to create chaos and scare people away from the region." He said it remained unclear whether the Thai separatists were trying to imitate Iraqi insurgents, who have beheaded several foreign hostages since the US invasion of their country two years ago, because there is a history of such killings in Thailand. In 1969, two female Western missionaries were decapitated on a mountain in Narathiwat province that was a stronghold for Muslim separatists at the time, he noted. Muslim separatists waged a low-level campaign in the southern provinces for decades before largely dispersing after a government amnesty in the 1980s. Southern Thai Muslims have long complained of discrimination, particularly in jobs and education. Abdulraman Abdulsamad, chairman of the Islamic Council of Narathiwat, said the beheadings had sparked fear among local people and threatened to turn the region into a "ghost town." "I cannot say who is the real culprit of this brutal killing," he said. "When you talk to local people, they believe the authorities did it. But when we talk to authorities, they say the terrorists did it."

Thousands of Buddhists flee Thailand¶s south
Thursday,7 July, 2005
BANGKOK: Thousands of Buddhist teachers and residents are fleeing Thailand¶s Muslim south as 19 months of anti-government violence shows no sign of slackening, officials said yesterday.

Another 2,000 teachers were expected to move to safer provinces after at least two dozen of their colleagues were among nearly 800 people killed by militants since violence erupted in the largely Malay -speaking region in January last year, they said. As incentives to stay, the Education Ministry is offering 3,000 free flak jackets a nd faster licenses for 1,700 teachers waiting to buy guns in the most dangerous parts of the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. ³Guns are their best friends,´ Deputy Education Minister Rung Kaewdaeng told reporters in Bangkok after visiting some of the 20,000 teachers in the region. ³The teachers who survived are those who returned fire on their attackers.´ On Monday, Education Minister Adisak Bodharamik gave teachers wanting to move out a week to register and vowed to provide more security f or those who wanted to stay. Education Ministry data showed about 1,000 teachers have already left the region, where schools have been frequent militant targets as symbols of the government of predominantly Buddhist Thailand in faraway Bangkok. Another 1,000 applications from teachers who routinely go to and from school with military escorts were awaiting approval. Bombings, shootings and arson attacks directed at state buildings or workers ² Buddhist and Muslim ² have become daily occurences despite more t han 30,000 troops and police patrolling the region of fewer than 2mn people. The government has imposed martial law on parts of the region, where separatists fought low-key insurgencies in the 1970s and 1980s. But violence is unabated with nine people behe aded ² in killings some top officials say have been inspired by Iraqi insurgents ² in recent months and officials say thousands of locally-born people, many of them Buddhists, have moved out. Government data showed almost 15,000 people left between January 2004 and April 2005. In 2003, 22,000 moved in. Rung said teachers leaving the far south would be replaced by volunteer and temporary teachers and the ministry would seek loans for teachers to buy guns to protect themselves.

³Creating debt or saving your life, which one would you choose,´ Rung replied when asked if encouraging teachers to take on more debt was a good idea. A policeman was beheaded yesterday in troubled southern Thailand, the first member of the security forces to be decapitated in a string of such brutal attacks over the past month, police said. The body of 44-year-old Sergeant Samphan Onyala, who was on duty but plainclothed, was found just after 8pm (1300 GMT) in Yarang district of Pattani province. ³Villagers heard gunshots and informed police, who went to the scene and found Sergeant Samphan shot once and with his head cut off,´ a police officer in Yarang said. The victim¶s body was found close to his motorcycle while authorities were still searching for the head, he added.

4 Buddhists shot dead in Thailand`s restive south
Bangkok, Dec 02: Four Buddhists were shot dead on Saturday in Buddhist -majority Thailand's restive, Muslim-dominated south, as the government warned it may have to change its strategy to counter the rising violence. A gunman posing as a customer whipped out a gun and shot a 59 -yar-old food vendor in Pattani province in front of dozens of horrified bystanders, police Lt Wichathon Timkrom said. In nearby Yala Provine, gunmen killed a 34 -year-old truck driver as he rode his motorcycle with his wife, Police Lt Prasom Laungphu said. His wife was not hurt. Two other Buddhists were shot dead today in Narathiwat province, police said. Gunmen fired into a grocery store in Rueso district, killing its owner Wanna Ongananurak, 35, and a second woman who was as yet unidentified, police said. Thailand's military-installed government has pledged to make peace in the south a priority, and to reverse the hardline policies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawtra, who was deposed by a coup September 19. But with daily killings continuing unabated, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said today the government may have to change course if the situation does not improve. "My government is insisting on a peaceful solution to resolve the problem, but if the situation is not improved in (the) next three months, the government may have to adjust the strategy," Surayud said, without elaborating. More than 1,800 people have died from violence in predominantly Buddhist

Thailand's three southernmost, Muslim-majority provinces - Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat - since an Islamic insurgency flared in January 2004. Bureau Report

Muslim Hate of Capitalism
Radical Islamic faction meets in Oak Lawn, Illinois

Gathering met by protestors claiming group supports hate The Reporter Online July 23, 2009 By Matthew Piechalak An Islamic political organization that opposes democracy and is calling for the fall of capitalism held its annual conference in Oak Lawn last weekend, drawing the ire of protesters who voiced their opposition to the group¶s beliefs Hizb ut-Tahrir America, a faction of international organization Hizb ut -Tahrir, hosted what is widely believed to be their first conference in America on Sunday at the Hilton Oak Lawn, 9333 Cicero Ave. The group, which has frequently refuted claims it advocates violence, believes in implementing Islamic doctrine across the globe by organizing into a unified ³caliphate,´ or Islamic state, in which a ³caliph´ would be elected as the temporal and spiritual leader. Sunday¶s convention, ³Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam,´ was held with the intention of supporting the establishment of a caliphate. Conference lectures included ³The Suffering Under Capitalism,´ ³Ownership and Distribution of Wealth in Islam,´ ³Role of Muslims in America´ and ³The Global Rise of Islam.´ According to information on the group¶s official website, Hizb ut -Tahrir is a global Islamic political organization established in 1953. ³ In the Muslim world, Hizb ut-Tahrir works at all levels of society to restore to the Muslims a means of living an Islamic way of life under the shades of the Caliphate State following an exclusively political method,´ states the group¶s website. The group claims it works to cultivate a Muslim community that lives by Islam in thought and deed. It states it does not work in the West to change the system of government, and contests claims it is an extremist group that has ties to terrorism.

Some people who oppose Hizb ut -Tahrir, however, say the group uses hate speech to advocate violence as a means of reaching its intended goal of establishing the caliphate. The conference was originally supposed to be hosted at Aqsa School, a private Islamic primary and secondary school in Bridgeview, but the school retracted its invitation after officials claimed Hizb ut -Tahrir misrepresented its intentions. Between 50 and 75 protesters picketed outside the Hilton during the conference, which ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jeffery Imm, founder of Washington, D.C. -based Responsible for Equality and Liberty (REAL), said his group was present to ³support democracy, freedom and liberty.´ ³ They want to impose their beliefs on others and create a super -state that controls others,´ said Imm, adding that Hizb ut -Tahrir used forms of ³institutionalized hate.´ REAL was established in March with the intention of challenging racial supremacist groups that are ³against freedom and against democracy.´ The American government¶s current counterterrorism tactics are not enough, explained Imm, whose organization seeks to challenge the ³war of ideas´ on the streets so ³people realize there is a greater consensus for people that do support a quality of liberty than those who want to oppress,´ he said. Both the conference and the protest across the street went smoothly and no arrests were made, Oak Lawn police Division Chief Michael Murray said. ³[Hizb ut-Tahrir] has the right to hold [its conference] and we have the right to be out here to challenge that,´ Imm said.

Capitalism vs Global Islam
Vikram Sood

In today's context, when we talk of international terrorism, we invariably refer to Islamic/jihadi terrorism. Unfortunately, the response to this, described as the global war on terror, is neither global nor is it against terror. It seems res tricted to handling the problem in only one part of the globe, against targets that are unevenly defined. The war in either Afghanistan or in Iraq is not about defeating terror, because both have created more terrorists than they destroyed. An over-militarized response has given it the wrong description of a war on terror, whereas one should be thinking in terms of counter -terrorism. The battle has become global capitalism versus global Islam. One is affluent, powerful, politically empowered and mainly Christian but running out of resources; the other is poor, politically un -empowered and Muslim, but resource-rich. Both find

nationalistic politics an impediment to their progress, because nationalism impedes economic domination and theological control. The former wants unhindered access to finance, markets and resources required to retain its primacy, while the other strives for Islamic C aliphates which practice a puritan Islam, and a return to former glory. To the Muslim world, Osama bin Laden is not necessarily the Devil incarnate that he is perceived as in the rest of the world. Osama had promised to deliver his followers from centuries of oppression and humiliation by the West and by their own rulers. The propaganda to demonize Osama has made him into a cult figure. Many believe in him and his ideals, and are willing to die for them. And there is no way you can kill a man who is willing to die. Suicide terrorism is the latest weapon in the armory of the terrorists. Although non Muslims, like the LTTE in Sri Lanka, have used this weapon even before the jihadis did, the incidence of suicide terrorism has been on the rise since 2001. Tack ling this is the most difficult aspect of counter-terrorism, because it is the most acute form of asymmetrical warfare and there is no effective military response to it. There may be Muslim anger at the West, but there has also been considerable state assistance to Islamic terrorism. Saudi Arabia has funnelled billions of dollars into West Asia, Pakistan and the rest of the world for over three decades for the propagation of puritan Islam in madrassas. This has made it easier for young minds to accept the cult of violence, and to be prepared and ready to kill in the name of religion. The other sponsor of jihadi terrorism has been Pakistan. This in fact has been the main weakness of the so-called global war on terror, for it accepts the two main sponsors of Sunni Islamic terrorism as partners in the war on terror. Both the countries remain reluctant partners, or even duplicitous partners, yet continue to receive certificates of good behaviour from the US. There has been a lethal mix of Saudi money and Pakistani manpower supplies to jihad. Saudi funding through various trusts like the Al -Haramain Islamic Foundation and the Al Rashid Trust have helped finance madrassas and mosques. Saudi financial contributions to the making of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, and contributions to the Afghan jihad, have emboldened Pakistani adventurism as well as obduracy. It is becoming apparent that after being asked to lie low for some months after September 11, 2001 and December 13, 2001, Pakistani jihadis have again become active. They surfaced in style after the October 8, 2005 earthquake. It is easy for the jihadis to operate in Pakistan because of the jihadi inclinations of the Pakistan Army - and whatever Musharraf may claim, the motto of the Pakistan Army is still jehad fi'isbillla -- jihad in the name of Allah. Pakistan remains the base for the Taliba n and for the Al Qaeda elements, and the Waziristan problem is a result of these indulgences. From being the region's nursery for terrorism, Pakistan has 'progressed' to becoming the globe's university of terrorism. Arrangements for their training, supply of arms, ammunition and logistics

remain intact. Operating either on the eastern front or the western front, Pakistan based jihad's foot soldiers operate with ease. It is pressure from these groups that make Musharraf anxious to have a deal with India and paradoxically, so long as these groups provide the jihadi mindset to the Pakistani establishment, no deal is likely to stick. Years of education in religious madrassas and even in mainstream schools where jihad and hatred for other religions is taught ha s spawned jihad's foot soldiers required to do duty in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Chechnya and beyond. The thousands of Taliban have been the alumni of these madrassas that are spread all over the western border of Pakistan. Aided and abetted by the army and the intelligence, leaders of these jihadi organizations cannot afford to keep them unemployed in Pakistan. Even if there is deescalation in Kashmir, they will be diverted elsewhere West Asia or Europe. Add to this the spectre of a failing Sta te armed with nuclear weapons, a highly organized terrorist infrastructure primarily aimed against India but available for other theatres and mentally equipped with a jihadi mindset that seeks the destruction of its neighbour, and it all makes for a very u ncertain neighbourhood. In Pakistan, for instance, despite the often repeated claims by Musharraf, the main jihadi groups Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), and Harkat-ulMujahideen (HuM) remain active as new incarnations. Their leaders Haf iz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar and Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil roam around, freely preaching hatred and jihad and ready to do battle in Jammu and Kashmir or even in the rest of India. Their publications Ausaf, Taqbeer, Ghazwa Times, Al Haq, Majalla tul-Dawa, Zarb-e-Taiba, Shamsheer, Zarb -e-Momin and others -- have a circulation of millions, and some of them are distributed free of cost. Despite all the so-called anti-jihadi crackdown, none of the main leaders have been arrested. Just a few months ago in March, Hafeez Saeed held a massive rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore, where he preached jihad. The sectarian Sunni mafia grouping Sipaha Sahaba also remains active, distributing anti -Shia literature; it was allowed to take out a rally in Islamabad last April. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba that operates in India and other parts of the world like Australia (a French national involved in a plan to carry out an attack in Australia had stayed at an LeT camp in Pakistan) has also set up branches in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The LeT had been trying to recruit Indian Muslims in the Gulf for their anti -American activities, but without success. But it would seem that at least some Indian Muslims have begun to help the LeT in its campaigns in India after the two bomb explos ions in Mumbai in August 2003. And the response of the Indian Muslims to the Danish cartoon issue would indicate that some Indian Muslims have begun to take part in pan-Islamism.

The problem is that socio-economic factors lead to political-religious manifestations. In India, externally inspired political factors threaten India's socio -economic fabric. In Europe, the Muslim population is a result of immigrations after the Second World War, and their succeeding generations. In India, the Muslims are indigenous. In fact, it is Pakistan where its Muslim immigrants from India the Mohajirs have had difficulty being accepted by the Punjabi -dominated society after independence. In Europe, the original population and the host governments have had difficulty in accepting outsiders who are extremely aggressive about preserving their way of life. The challenge in Europe is how to amalgamate; the challenge in India is how to preserve the amalgam. Europeans, unlike the Americans (although this is changing) are sometimes accused of having been exclusivist in their attitude towards these foreigners. Equally and quite often, it is also the immigrant who wishes to preserve his exclusivity, his cultural, ethnic and religious bonds, which create problems for the second generation immigrant. The assimilation is superficial in that they speak with the same accent, but peer pressure at school, college or place of work, and the claustrophobic atmosphere at home, especially for the girls, does not help. Besides, all this talk of gender equality, secular democracies, and cultural mores are foreign to the conservative Muslim immigrant. These are not those laid down in the Quran, and hence are anathema. Add to this the sermons of the mullah in the mosque, who continually asserts the superiority of his religion. But the youth find it difficult to reconcile this with the reality that a man or woman from a professedly inferior religion is doing considerably better than them. All this internal resentment eventually leaves the second and third generation immigrant uncomfortable in the place his parents still call home, but is not quite acceptable in a place he wants to call home. This mutual unacceptability and resentment are more perceptible after the Madrid and London terrorist attacks. Vikram Sood is a former chief of Research and Analysis Wing, India's foreign intelligence agency. The above is excerpted from his article in the Indian Defense Review (Vol 21.2), and is reproduced here with the author's permission.

China says terrorist group broken up in Xinjiang

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN (AP) June 24, 2010 BEIJING ² China said Thursday it has crushed a gang of Muslim terrorists that plotted attacks after deadly ethnic violence in the northwestern region of Xinjiang last year. Public Security Ministry spokesman Wu Heping said the "hard -core terrorists" had gathered pipe bombs, molotov cocktails, knives and other weapons to carry out attacks in southern Xinjiang cities between July and October 2009. He said the plot was discovered and more than 10 gang members were arrested, while others fled to different parts of China and overseas. Wu claimed the group was linked to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a banned organization advocating independence for Xinjiang that China says is allied with al Qaida. The announcement comes just before the anniversary of last year's violence, in which long-simmering tensions between Turkic Muslim Uighurs and majority Han Chinese migrants turned deadly in the regional capital, Urumqi, on July 5. According to official count, nearly 200 people died in the violence, which Beijing claims was plotted by overseas Uighur activists. Wu's claims could not be independently verified and were questioned by Uighur activists overseas. Though Wu did not identify what countries the suspects fled to, he said three were among a group deported to China in December. That same month, Cambodia repatriated 20 Uighurs it said had illegally entered the country, touching off an international outcry. "The uncovering of this major terrorist group again proves that the ETIM and other terrorist organizations constitute the gravest terrorist threat that ou r nation faces at this present time and in the future," Wu told a media briefing. Slides shown at the briefing showed knives and what appeared to be pipe bombs made from black powder and ball bearings. Another showed a minivan and a four wheel drive vehicle allegedly used by the gang, while a third showed a kitchen -like room described as a bomb factory in Xinjiang. Wu said the group was behind a pair of deadly attacks aimed at disrupting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He said it swung into action again following last July's rioting, the worst communal violence to hit Xinjiang in more than a decade. Resentment among

Uighurs has been fueled by what many see as Beijing's heavy -handed controls on religion and policies that favor the Han Chinese migrants flooding into their traditional homeland. The riots, and the harsh crackdown that followed, inspired a new generation of terrorist cells with only rudimentary skills but a strong desire to carry out attacks, said Singapore-based terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna. "China faces an enduring medium to low -level threat from terror and extremism and that threat increased after the rio ts," Gunaratna said in a telephone interview. The relatively unsophisticated nature of such operations reflects the immense pressure militants face from the powerful, well -funded security forces. Unlike across the border in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Uighur militants find it extremely difficult to communicate and organize effectively and have no apparent access to firearms and military-grade explosives. Overseas Uighur activist Dilxat Raxit said Beijing had made "unilateral accusations" and its lack of transparency raises questions about the investigation and purported evidence. The Rev. Marcus Ramsey, director of the Macau Interfaith Network that collaborated with other missionary groups to help the Uighurs escape to Cambodia, also said greater transparency was needed to give the accusations credibility. Liu Shanying, a security analyst at the official Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, dismissed such complaints and called the gang's defeat a "major breakthrough in counter-terrorism." Associated Press Writer Gillian Wong contributed to this report.

Prepare to fight China, Qaeda figure tells Uighurs

Wed Oct 7, 2009 4:31am EDT By Inal Ersan DUBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - A prominent al Qaeda militant urged Uighurs in Xianjiang to make serious preparations for a holy war against "oppressive" China and called on fellow Muslims to offer support. Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a video posted on an Islamist website on Wednesday, warned China of a fate similar to that of former communist superpower, the Soviet Union, which disintegrated some two decades ago. "The state of atheism is heading to its fall. It will face what befell the Russian bear (Soviet Union)," he said in the message in w hich he accused China of committing massacres against Uighurs and seeking to dissolve their identity.

Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a Marxist government against Islamist fighters, but was ground down by guerrilla warfare and withdre w in 1988-89. Al Qaeda emerged from the groups that fought Soviet forces at the time. Uighurs are Muslim native to Xinjiang province, which Islamists call East Turkistan, and have cultural ties to Turkic peoples in Central Asia. "There is no way to remove injustice and oppression without a true return to their (Uighurs) religion and ... serious preparation for jihad in the path of God the Almighty and to carry weapons in the face of those (Chinese) invaders," he said. "It is a duty for Muslims today to stand by their wounded and oppressed brothers in East Turkistan ... and support them with all they can," said Libi. He also accused China of using "satanic ways" to oppress Muslims in the province and replace them with other ethnicities while "looting thei r wealth and undermining their culture and religion." Beijing does not want to lose its grip on Xinjiang in the far West. The vast territory borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas producing region. AWARENESS CAMPAIGN Libi said Muslims around the world needed to be made aware of the situation of Uighurs in China. "Consecutive Chinese governments have worked hard to sever every link bet ween the wounded people of Turkistan and the Muslim nation," he said. "They are applying (policies) for their demise and destruction so that their numbers would decline and its Islamic identity would be dissolved." In August, the leader of a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) urged Muslims to attack Chinese interests to punish Beijing for what he described as massacres against Uighur Muslims. TIP, which has claimed violent attacks in the past including bombing two public buses in Shanghai in May 2008, has launched violent attacks in the past and accused China of committing "barbaric massacres" against Muslims in Xianjiang. The province witnessed a wave of violence in July when Uighurs attacked Han Chinese in Urumqi, the capital of Xinj iang, after police tried to break up a protest against fatal attacks on Uighur workers at a factory in south China. The violence saw 197 people killed and more than 1,600 wounded, mostly Han Chinese. About 1,000 people, mostly Uighurs, have been detained in an ensuing government crackdown.

µDeath to China¶ heard at Rafsanjani sermon. Why?

Protesters also targeted Russia. Both countries had quickly recognized President Ahmadinejad's reelection victory last month. By Kristen Chick Correspondent 07.17.09 The US received a tiny reprieve from playing the role of the ³Great Satan´ in Iran Friday when protesters directed their ire toward a few of America¶s global rivals instead. ³Death to China!´ and ³Death to Russia!´ chanted supporters of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi during a sermon by influential former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, according to news reports. Mr. Rafsanjani used the speech to criticize the government¶s crackdown on dissent following the contested June 12 election. The Associated Press reports that the slogan broke out after hard -line supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yelled out the familiar ³Death to America´ chant during the speech. And Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post posted a YouTube video showing an outdoors rally in Tehran today, in which he says the protesters are chanting in Farsi ³Russia, do us a favor and let go of our country!´ Both regimes recognized Ahmadinejad¶s reelection But the US government shouldn¶t get too hopeful that it will be replaced as P ublic Enemy No. 1. The enmity likely stems partly from Russia and China¶s early recognition of Mr. Ahmadinejad¶s government-certified victory in the disputed election. Mr. Mousavi maintains that the vote was fradulent, and his supporters are bitter toward the two regimes for backing Ahmadinejad. China¶s treatment of Uighurs also a factor The sentiment toward China also may be related to the Chinese government¶s forceful clamping down on violent ethnic riots between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese in Xinjiang Province on July 5. China says that 46 Uighurs died in the violence, while Uighur exile groups maintain the number is m uch higher. Several accounts of Rafsanjani¶s speech say the chants against China broke out after the cleric condemned China¶s crackdown in Xinjiang. The Guardian, liveblogging the speech, reports: ³Rafsanjani criticizes China¶s suppression of Uighur unrest. His comments are greeted with rebellious cries of µDown with China.¶ ´ Saeed Valadbaygi, liveblogging t he sermon at Revolutionary Road, has this account: ³Rafsanjani condemns China. People chanted µDeath to China.¶ He asks that people stop their chants.´ He quotes Rafsanja ni as saying ³China has a rational government. It must look at how it can benefit from its relations with the Islamic

world. We hope that we will no longer be witness to such atrocities towards Muslims in China or anywhere else in the world.´ Iran censored coverage of Uighur unrest The Monitor reported recently that Muslim reaction to the unrest in Xinjiang has been, for the most part, notably muted. (An exception is Turkey, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the events ³genocide´ against the Uighurs, the Monitor reported. And on the extremist fringe, Al Qaeda in the Is lamic Maghreb threatened to attack Chinese citizens in North Africa in retaliation.) The Iranian government has been criticized for its tepid response to the Uighur killings. The New York Times reported that three prominent clerics condemned the government for not denouncing China¶s treatment of Uighurs, criticism laden with pointed domestic implications as well. One of the clerics, Ayatollah Youssef Sanei, a reformist, drew a sardonic parallel, suggesting that Iran, which considers itself the defender of Muslims worldwide, could not criticize China¶s repressive tactics while it was doing the same thing. He also said Iran¶s silence was related to its commercial, military and political links with China. The Guardian¶s Tehran correspondent said that Iranian state -run media censored coverage of the riots in Xinjiang, and ³did not refer to Uighur protesters as Muslims, but called them µhooligans.¶ ³

China releases terror blacklist in Olympic plot
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN ± Oct 21, 2008 BEIJING (AP) ² Chinese police called for the extradition Tuesday of eight alleged separatists accused of plotting a campaign of terror to coincide with the Beijing Olympics ² a scheme that reportedly included bomb attacks within China and in unspecified countries in the Middle East and South Asia. A Public Security Ministry spokesman said the eight men, all Chinese citizens, were believed to have financed, incited and organized attacks during and around the Aug. 8-24 games as part of an ongoing insurgency against Chinese rule in the traditionally Muslim west. Wu told reporters at a news briefing that the men were members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a murky collection of extremists believed to be based across the border in lawless areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan The eight "seriously threatened the se curity of the Beijing Olympic Games and China's social stability, while at the same time composing a threat to the security and stability of relevant countries and the region," Wu said.

Wu did not say where the men were suspected of hiding and left the bri efing without taking questions. He said one of the men planned to bomb a supermarket popular with Chinese business people in an unspecified Middle Eastern country ahead of the opening of the Olympic Games. Another suspect had prepared to attack a Chinese c lub in a South Asian nation, he said, without giving details. The men also organized numerous attacks within China but it was not clear from Wu's statement if any of them were carried out. After years of relative quiet, the western region of Xinjiang was r ocked in August by a series of guerrilla-style attacks and bombings that killed 33 people. Wu did not say if the eight men were thought to be behind those attacks. The violence was reportedly carried out by radicals among Xinjiang's native Uighur ethnic group, Muslims whose language, culture and religion is distinct from China's Han majority. Like Tibetans, many Uighurs complain of a colonial -style Chinese presence on their territory, chafing under tight religious and cultural strictures and complaining that economic development has disproportionately benefited Chinese migrants. China says it has stopped a number of other terrorist plots before they could be carried out, including an alleged attempt by a 19 -year-old woman to blow up a Beijing-bound plane with liquid explosives in March of this year. But it has provided little direct evidence to support authorities' claims that they were ordered by Islamic Movement leaders based across the border. Overseas Uighur activists say such accusations are politically motivated and designed to justify strict curbs on religious, political and cultural rights in Xinjiang. Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uighur Congress, said Tuesday's announcement was part of an attempt to provide legal cover for a wid eranging crackdown on Uighurs that followed the Olympics. China's refusal to publicly release evidence or allow an independent investigation into the recent attacks undercuts its accusations of terrorism, he said. "I have never heard of these people and n one of these accusations have been independently confirmed, but I'm sure they will use them to ratchet up pressure further in Xinjiang," Raxit said in a telephone interview. A news release issued at Wu's press conference offered basic biographical information about the men and vague claims about their alleged terrorist activities. Photographs of seven of the eight men were also included. It identified one man, 37 -year-old Memetiming Memeti, as the leader of the movement, saying he had joined the group in an unidentified South Asian country

after leaving home in 1998 and assumed the leadership after its former chief was killed in a skirmish with security forces in Pakistan in 2003. The statement said that under Memeti's guidance an unspecified number of terro rists sneaked into Xinjiang and other Chinese areas with plans to "sabotage the Olympic Games by conducting terrorist attacks within the Chinese territory before the Games opened." He also allegedly "sent dozens of terrorist teams to some Middle East and w est Asian countries to raise funds and buy explosive materials for terrorist attacks against Chinese targets outside Chinese territory." Others accused include 33-year-old university graduate Tuersun Toheti, an alleged bomb maker blamed for planning attack s on Chinese targets outside the country. The release did not link the men to specific incidents, although one of them bore the alias "Saifula" that was also used by a man shown issuing threats against the Olympics on a videotaped messaged released in July . In the video, a masked man speaking Uighur claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in the Chinese city of Kunming and warned spectators and athletes, "particularly the Muslims," not to attend the Olympics. Li Wei, a counterterrorism expert at a Chinese government-backed think tank, said Tuesday's announcement was a sign of China's sustained commitment to defeating the extremists following the end of the Olympics. "China's major investment in Olympic security has helped them apprehend evidence of potential terrorist activity," said Li, who speculated that the eight named men were hiding in neighboring Central Asian states. "However, counterterrorism is also a long -term task which the government should devote their resources to continuously," Li said.

China marks Muslim area's 50th year
Saturday 01 October 2005
China has marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Xinjiang as an autonomous region, as activists say anti -Chinese sentiment is rising in the Muslim-majority frontier region.

Muslim Uighur separatists, who Beijing says are terrorists trying to split China, have been struggling for decades for self -determination in the remote northwestern region formally established on 1 October 1955. China says its system of ''autonomous regions'' for ethnic minorities allows them a degree of self-governance, but activists say it is a means for Beijing to maintain tight control.

"Ever since the establishment of the autonomous region 50 years ago, Uighur government workers have never had the right to m ake decisions. They are all made by the Han Chinese," said Dilxat Raxit, of the World Uighur Congress, a Germany based group seeking more freedoms for the region they call East Turkestan. A delegation of Chinese leaders, led by security chief Luo Gan, was on hand in the Xinjiang capital, Urumuqi, for anniversary celebrations that started on Saturday with a flag-raising and cannon shots. "The unprecedented achievements Xinjiang has made in the past 50 years have proven that only by upholding the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and taking the socialist path can there be ... happiness for Xinjiang people from all ethnic groups," Luo said at the ceremony broadcast live on state television.
Warnings of violence

Despite the gala song and dance shows aimed at showcasing ethnic unity, Luo repeated warnings of potential violence. "We have to further ... oppose and crack down on forces of ethnic separatism, religious extremism and violent terrorism and safeguard social stability and national security," he said. This past week, Luo told police to "prepare for danger" in Xinjiang, accusing dissidents of plotting to sabotage the celebrations. The United States warned American travellers ahead of the anniversary to be vigilant against "terrorist" attacks th ere. The Public Security Ministry last month labelled East Turkestan forces as the main "terrorist" threat to China, and said more than 260 "terrorist" acts had been committed in Xinjiang in the past two decades, killing 160 and wounding 440. But a report this year by Human Rights Watch said China was using its support for the US "war on terror" to justify a wider crackdown on Uighurs that was characterised by arbitrary arrests, closed trials and the use of the death penalty. The World Uighur Congress sa id 1 October should be marked as a day of mourning in the region, and added that while the group did not support violence, frustration with Chinese rule was growing. "The Uighur people in East Turkestan are in a very hopeless, desperate and frustrated situation. Continued hopelessness could lead to violence," the group said in a statement.


Muslim voices rising in China
Controls on Islam spur resentment among a restive minority
By Jehangir S. Pocha, Boston Globe Correspondent November 19, 2006 HETIAN, China -- On a recent Friday, the holy day of Islam, crowds swelled inside the antique Jame mosque, the largest in this ancient town in Xinjiang Province in the far west of China, home to the nation's small but restive Muslim minority. The turbaned and bearded clerics who preached to the gathered faithful had all been vetted for their political beliefs by local Chinese authorities, who determine what sermons they can give, what version of the Koran they may use, and where and how religious gatherings can be held. The Chinese government forces all Muslims in China to adhere to a state -controlled version of their religion, and banners placed around town warn locals not to stray from the official faith. The imams are not even allowed to issue the call to prayer using a public address system. The Chinese government has tightened its constraints on the Uighur ethnic minority in western China amid official fears of a rise in militant Islam. The Chinese are acutely aware of the growing strategic importance of Xinjiang in Central Asia and the large oil and natural gas reserves under its soil. In turn, resentment among the Uighurs toward perceived repression by the Chinese has intensified. And increasingly, the Uighurs are speaking out and demanding autonomy, thanks in part to the emergence of articulate Uighur voices at home and in exile. Though Xinjiang is ostensibly an autonomous province, Wang Lequan, the local Communist Party secretary, who is Chinese, has publicly called for Uighurs (pronounced Wee'-gurs) to learn more Mandarin and adopt more Chinese customs. To dissuade Uighur youths from inheriting their traditional Islamic culture, the government has banned children from entering mosques, studying Islam, or celebrating Islamic holidays. During the month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims fast through the day, schools take special care to ensure that all their students eat, a local school principal said. The fear and state control under which Uighurs live in Xinjiang was apparent when some foreign journalists, who are generally not allowed into the province, were taken on a tour by Chinese officials last month. The journalists were carefully monitored, but when they did manage to go out alone, most Uighurs were too scared to talk about the antipathy they bear t oward China.

A man who identified himself only as Abdel rubbed his clean -shaven chin anxiously as the four Uighur Muslim friends finished their dinner of goat soup and noodles. "The government doesn't allow young people here to grow beards," he said as the sun set. "If you do, they will send you to the forced labor camps. This is a communist country and it is scared of Muslims. Our Uighur ethnic group is suppressed the most." Abdel asked not to be fully identified out of fear of reprisal from local authorit ies. But his is just one of the angry whispers filtering through the crumbling buildings and twisted alleys of Xinjiang's Uighur cities and villages. Resentment against Beijing has been building here since 1949, when Mao Zedong annexed the independent nati on of East Turkestan and began to assimilate it into mainland China. To do this Beijing imposed strictures on Islam and sought to dilute the culture of the local Uighurs, a Central Asian people with a Turkic -Persian culture. Abdel fidgeted uncomfortably th roughout the few minutes he talked to the journalists, saying the biggest problem Uighurs face is that of social and economic exclusion. "The truth is, where you see money there will be Han, where there is poverty you will see us Uighurs," Abdel said. Han is an ethnic group that makes up the majority of China . Some Chinese officials say they are baffled by the criticism China receives for its policy on Xinjiang, where the nation's relatively small Muslim population of about 8 million is concentrated. "On the one hand the world complains that Pakistan doesn't do enough to control its madrassas, and on the other they complain when China does not allow them," said one official, referring to Muslim religious schools. The official asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak to the press. "We believe Islam can be an unbalancing force so we need to control it." Though Uighurs have traditionally followed a moderate blend of Sunni Islam and Sufi mysticism strongly influenced by local folklore and rur al traditions, a rising Islamic mood is palpable in Xinjiang. More and more women are wearing veils, residents say, and mosques are packed on Fridays. Mostly this is due to a rising interest in religion that is common across much of China, where people are reacting to the intense atheism of the Maoist years. But in Xinjiang, rising Islamic sentiment has also taken on a political hue, with many separatists demanding the re -creation of an independent East Turkestan on religious grounds. Some of these separati sts have conducted armed attacks against Chinese targets, and Chinese officials say they are also behind most of the public protests that have rocked Xinjiang in recent years. After the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Chinese authorities have used t he global war on terrorism to crack down on suspected separatists. Plainclothes policemen routinely roam the rustic mosques and bustling markets of Uighur towns.

Human rights groups and local residents say anyone thought to be acting suspiciously is hustled away and often punished without a fair trial. Though Chinese actions in Xinjiang have been very similar to its actions in neighboring Tibet, whose Buddhist culture has been systematically undermined by Beijing, the situation in this remote western provin ce has received much less global attention. That is changing, thanks to the emergence of a new generation of articulate Uighur leaders and to growing support for Uighur separatists from Islamists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Central Asian countries -- part of the global upsurge in pan Islamism. Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur exile living in Washington, D.C., who reportedly had been considered a leading candidate for this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights work in Xinjiang, says the world is takin g notice of the Uighurs' suffering from what they see as Chinese colonization. "The Chinese have denied us basic rights and freedoms -- that's why we now want them out of our land," Kadeer said in a telephone interview. "A lot of doors are being opened to me [in Washington] so I am able to raise the issue of the Uighur people at very high levels." In the streets of Hetian, it is easy to see how different Xinjiang is from most of the rest of China. The skyline is crowded not with traditional Chinese sloping roofs but with Islamic domes and spires. Most of the older buildings have elegant Turko Persian style balconies decorated with floral filigree work, and men wearing doppas - small four- or five-cornered brimless embroidered hats -- sit on benches in the street smoking water pipes and eating grilled skewers of meat. But Chinese officials insist Xinjiang was historically part of China until the Soviet Union briefly helped separatists create East Turkestan in the 1930s. Part of the reason China is tightening its grip on Xinjiang is its growing strategic importance. The province has been found to be rich in oil. It also borders Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and has become an essential launching pad for C hina's geopolitical interests in these areas, where the United States is also jockeying for influence. Beijing is also worried that the disintegration of the Soviet Union and emergence of the independent "Stans" could motivate Uighurs to re -create East Turkestan. Faced with the might of the Chinese state, many Uighurs fear their unique Persian Turkic culture, which also includes its own language, will soon fade into history. Ahmet, a 16-year-old student in Kashgar, a city near Xinjiang's southern border with Pakistan that is a hotbed of insurgent activity, said the solution his parents are holding out is simple.

"They tell me to marry a Han girl," he said. "That way we can get some chances. Otherwise, as Uighurs, life is very hard."

In China's Far West, Violence Is Just The Eruption of Long-Pent Tension
By JAMES T. AREDDY The Wall Street Journal August 8, 2008; Page A9 KASHGAR, China -- When Dang Dongming completed a military tour in this remote corner of western China, he did an increasingly common thin g. He stayed. The 26-year-old son of a farmer from China's Gansu province refers affectionately to Kashgar as "an oasis in the desert," a good spot to practice his hobby of photography and to build a car tour business. He even learned to speak the Turkic language of local Muslim Uighurs. But Mr. Dang doesn't feel welcome. As a member of China's dominant Han ethnic group, Mr. Dang says, "I'm a minority here." Historically an important way station between east and west on the Silk Road, Kashgar today is a flash point of ethnic tension in China. Sometimes the unrest is punctuated by violence, as in a deadly attack on 16 policemen this week. More often, though, the anxieties are reflected in a daily disconnect over food, fashion, religion and language. There are the newcomers like Mr. Dang, hoping to make their fortune on the nation's frontier, and the area's 13 other ethnic groups, who feel they are being shoved aside in the gold rush. China's government has encouraged the westward push -- by bolstering infrastructure links to the richer east, for instance -- partly to bring the outlying regions in line with the nation's extraordinary economic boom. Tibet festers with similar tensions, apparent this March when Tibetans rampaged against Han business owners in Lhas a. Local groups like the Uighurs complain of the Communist Party's heavy hand in their religious affairs and challenges to other aspects of traditional life, while officials in Beijing express frustration about what they perceive as ingratitude for the mon ey they have invested in the region. The two groups can't even agree on the time of day. Hans recognize the national time zone called "Beijing time," while the watches on Uighur wrists are set two hours earlier to reflect their city's location roughly 2,20 0 miles west of the Chinese capital. Chinese authorities described Monday's attack here in Xinjiang province as the work of two men affiliated with a terrorist separatist movement. On Aug. 1, a Xinjiang separatist organization that calls itself the Turkist an Islamic Party released a video with a burning Olympics logo and an explosion superimposed on one of the venues for the Olympic Games starting today in Beijing, according to IntelCenter, a Virginia

organization that monitors such releases. The government blamed people with similar ties for an attempt in March to blow up an airliner that had taken off from Urumqi, the capital city of the vast Xinjiang region that includes Kashgar. "The attack won't have a big impact on Kashgar's development," says the city 's top Communist Party official, Shi Dagang. "This is a very promising piece of land." Yet the Uighurs and the fast -growing population of transplanted Hans occupy what looks like two Kashgars. Ethnic Hans are rarely seen near the city's traditional Uighur bazaar, where the walls are made of mud and blacksmiths pound iron into door hinges and pots. Instead, they shop at a modern market with escalators and a guard who checks handbags for weapons. Visible from the grounds of a 556 -year-old mosque in the old city and rising from behind mud structures is a new Ferris wheel, and beyond that a 59 -foot-tall statue of Mao Zedong. Feeding suspicions, few speak the other's language. Uighurs say they are afraid to speak out. To explain why, an unemployed Uighur sitting in a restaurant demonstrates by grabbing his own neck and forcing it near the floor, then putting his hands behind his back as if he were being handcuffed. Another Uighur, a guard at a hospital entrance, describes an often intimidating police presence in the city, but cautions as a Han person approaches, "Don't tell her what I said." Han people worry that they are surrounded by devout followers of a religion they don't understand well. Mr. Dang, for instance, claims he can identify Islamic fundamentalists by their long beards and draped jackets. "When they come close to me, I'm afraid," he says. Mr. Dang says the language training the military gave him offers him some insight into the Turkic-speaking community around him. But he concedes that most of the conversations he overhears are about no more than "what happened yesterday or today." The worst thing he has heard a Uighur say involved applying to individual Han a derogatory term for the Chinese military that translates as "black jacket." Mr. Dang agrees with a widespread view among Uighurs that Han people tend to have better jobs and more money, but he says it reflects hard work and education. After his rural boyhood in mountainous Gansu, Mr. Dang joined the military at 17 and spent two years in Tibet befo re being sent to Xinjiang by the People's Armed Police, a paramilitary unit. After two years, Mr. Dang dropped out of the service but decided to stay in Kashgar. "I don't have much pressure here," he says. "It's an easy life." But Mr. Dang acknowledges he has no Uighur friends and says none of his pals would dare date a local woman, partly for fear they would need to convert to Islam and give up eating pork. Mr. Dang has a hard time convincing others that he has made the right decision to live in Kashgar, including his worried parents. The one time his girlfriend came to visit, she wasn't impressed.

Asked to explain what he enjoys most about Kashgar, Mr. Dang suggests he is having trouble convincing himself, too. "There is no best thing," he says.

Muslim Hate of Chinese INDONESIA: Chinese Indonesians get hate text messages
Indonesian President urges police to investigate hate messages sent to Chinese Indonesians Straits Times Thursday, November 3, 2005 By Devi Asmarani Jakarta --- Many ethnic Chinese Indonesians have received anonymous text messages threatening them with brutal murders and rapes after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays, raising fears of another major racial riot in the capital. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed "deep concern" over the messages sent from unregistered cellular pre-paid numbers and ordered security bodies to investigate. "Such slanderous, hate-filled SMS messages cannot be tolerated... The president has urged police to investigate and take action," presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said yesterday. President Yudhoyono's wife Kristiani as well as members of the presidential staff had also received some messages, Mr Andi told AFP, but refused to reveal their content. He also said the police and the National Intelligence Body (BIN) might face an uphill task in tracing the senders. "Because pre-paid cellphone cards are not registered, it will be difficult for the police and BIN to probe." Last week, a regulation was issued to require owners of all pre-paid cellphone cards to register themselves by next April. The senders of the hate messages, circulating for a week now, face charges of spreading malicious rumours and disrupting public order, Mr Andi added. In the lengthy, vulgar text message, the Chinese Indonesians are accused of being "robbers of Indonesians' money" and "the number one enemies of the Muslims." "The fuel prices went up because of the Chinese," said part of the message, which blames the Chinese for the people's suffering.

It goes on to threaten the Chinese with death and rape after the Aidilfitri holidays --- which last until Tuesday --- and closes with "Allahu Akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is Great." Many Chinese Indonesians said they had been receiving the same message several times from different numbers since last week. Some came to know about the message after their friends forwarded it to them in e-mail. Ms Lanny, 37, said she received the SMS last Thursday and was shocked by its content. "It reminded me of those flyers and e-mail containing similar warnings that were circulating months before the May 1998 riots," she told The Straits Times. "We didn't take it seriously then, but it happened." At least 500 died in those riots. Seeking to calm the rattled community, Mr Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Indonesia's secondlargest Muslim group Muhammadiyah, met ethnic Chinese and minority Christian leaders on Tuesday night. He told a joint press briefing after the meeting: "I am certain this is a provocative attempt to disrupt religious harmony and the nation's unity. We called on the nation not to be provoked." Mr Lieus Sungkharisma, chairman of the Tionghoa Indonesian Reform Movement, an NGO representing the Chinese, said: "We are being pitted against each other through issues of religion or ethnicity." Chinese Indonesians make up less than 5 per cent of Indonesia's mostly-Muslim 224 million population but control more than half the country's economy. Date Posted: 11/3/2005


Russian Priest Killed in Church

By SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY The New York Times November 19, 2009 MOSCOW ² The Rev. Daniil Sysoyev, a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church who was known for promoting missionary work among Muslims, was shot and killed in his parish church late Thursday night, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Father Sysoyev, 35, died at a Moscow hospital of gunshot wounds to the head and chest, RIA Novosti said. The Web site of the Moscow patriarchate confirmed his death. The parish¶s choir director was wounded in the shootings at the Church of St. Thomas by the unidentified assailant. A Moscow Patriarchate official called Father Sysoyev a ³talented miss ionary´ whose work among Muslims, including Tatars, might have been the motive for the shooting. ³I don¶t exclude that the murder is connected to the fact that he preached among and baptized those who belong to Muslim culture,´ the official, who spoke on t he condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the news media, said in a telephone interview. Father Sysoyev had spoken out in opposition to Islam and had warned Russian women against marrying Muslim men. Anatoly Bagmet, an official of the prosecutor¶s office, said there was reason to believe that the shooting took place ³on religious grounds,´ the news agency reported. Kirill Frolov, a prominent Orthodox missionary activist, said that Father Sysoyev had said that he had been receiving threats for several years. ³Over the course of two, three years Father Daniil, who was famous for his active missionary work, periodically received e -mails stating that if he didn¶t stop his theological polemics with Islam, then he will be dealt with like an infidel,´ Mr. Frolov told the Interfax news agency. Missionary work and outreach to young people and non -churchgoers has become a keystone of the Moscow Patriarchate since Patriarch Kirill I became its leader 10

months ago. The church has been organizing rock concerts and trying to reach out to people through blogs. Officials of the Russian Orthodox Church have complained in recent years about violence directed against churches and priests.

Saturday, August 6, 2005 FAITH UNDER FIRE

'Jesus' film screeners murdered
Men in Muslim Bangladesh had received threats
Posted: August 6, 2005 1:00 a.m. Eastern By Michael Ireland Assist News Service

Two Christian men showing the "Jesus" film were killed in Faridpur, Bangladesh. Lipial Marandi, 21, and Tapan Kumar Roy, 27, were employed with Christian Life Bangladesh, a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ, the American -based evangelistic group. Amid strong outrage voiced at their Jul y 29 murders, Bengali Christians are planning a rally in support of their families. The two men had spent the last eight months providing health awareness programs to locals and showing the "Jesus" film. The two-hour docudrama about the life of Christ, b ased on the Gospel of Luke, has been seen in every country of the world and translated into hundreds of languages. The men had received threats that they would be killed if they continued their work, and local police say they were sleeping when intruders entered their rented house at 2 a.m. and stabbed them to death. Police have arrested two men in connection with the killings. "We express our deepest sympathies to the families of Lipial and Tapan," said Thomas Abraham, vice president of Asia Campus Crusa de for Christ. "We are saddened by the hatred of those who would commit such acts of violence." It was the second murder of Christian Life Bangladesh workers. In April, 2003, Hridoy Roy was killed in a similar incident. The perpetrators of Hridoy's murder were never convicted.

"We are seeing an increased trend towards persecution of Christians in Bangladesh, and the Christian community in America is concerned," said Abraham. "We urge the Bengali government to bring the murderers to justice and uphold the Bangladesh constitution which protects religious freedom." The Bengali Christian community and several newspapers have expressed outrage toward the murders. Bengali Christians plan to hold a rally to voice their sympathy toward the families of the victims and to show of unity. A memorandum from the Christian community will be sent to the Bangladesh Prime Minister urging immediate action.

Muslim 'Palestinians' firebomb Christian 'Palestinians'
By Stan Goodenough September 5th, 2005 Muslim Palestinian Arabs plundered a town of Christian Palestinian Arabs in southern Samaria Sunday, setting houses and cars ablaze in an apparent ³revenge´ attack after a Christian man dared to date a Muslim woman. Christian families in the town of Taibe were forced into th e streets, had their homes firebombed, and had to flee to neighboring villages for protection as the violence raged into the night. No one was injured in the attack, despite the fact that the PA police took hours to respond to calls for help, according to reports. The crowd of Muslims descended on the town a few days after a Muslim woman was allegedly killed by her family for having become involved in a relationship with a Christian from Taibe. The offending woman was forced to drink poison and then quickly buried earlier this week. Islamic law forbids cross-religion relationships and imposes the strictest penalties on Muslims who transgress. So-called honor killings ± where families kill members (usually women) accused of such ³crimes´ are widespread in Ara b countries. In the Kingdom of Jordan, the law states that family members who carry out honor killings are ³totally exempt from sentence.´ Between 28 and 60 such murders are estimated to take place annually in that country. The Palestinian Authority also p ermits these killings, with up to 22 a year reportedly taking place.

If the history of Muslim-Christian relations in Judea and Samaria is an indication, the danger exists that Sunday¶s violence could trigger a Christian exodus from yet another Christian-majority urban area in the land slated for the creation of a Palestinian state. The once Christian town of Bethlehem is today 95 percent Muslim, many Christians having moved out after the Palestinian Authority took over the ancient birthplace of Jesus just before Christmas in 1995. Christian ³Palestinians´ form a tiny minority against the overwhelmingly Muslim majority and under Islamic law and tradition, would have little recourse to protection if accused of any crime by Muslims in a future Palestinian state .

Egypt city tense after violence
By Michael Slackman The New York Times SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2005 ALEXANDRIA, Egypt Riot police forces armed with shotguns guarded a Coptic Christian church here over the weekend after Muslim protesters tried to storm the building in a demonstration that was broken up when security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

Three people were killed and many more wounded Friday in what officials called the worst case of sectarian violence to strike this Mediterranean city in recent memory. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Friday, apparently angry over a play that was performed two years ago in the church and that was recently distributed on videodisc. Although few people interviewed Saturday said they actually had seen the play or the DVD, the word on the street was it was anti -Islamic. The streets remained tense Saturday, and many people warned that foreigners were not welcome. The mood in the city was sour and explosive. "People are very, very provoked," said Ahmed Ali Mahmoud, 25, a pharmacist whose shop is opposite St. George's Coptic Church. "They are bo iling." While relations between faiths are often tolerant, if tense, in Egypt, there have been signs recently of growing strain between Egypt's Coptic Christians and Muslims. It was unclear who was giving out the DVD, and church officials, as well as loc al residents, speculated that its distribution might somehow be connected to the coming parliamentary elections, where aggravated sectarian tensions could help certain candidates.

"We believe that this problem was raised in light of the coming parliamenta ry elections," a church statement said. Alexandria, an ancient city founded by Alexander the Great, two hours north of Cairo, is home to one of the country's larger Coptic communities. Of Egypt's 74 million people, more than 90 percent are Muslim, mostly Sunnis, and about 8 percent to 10 percent are Christian, mostly Copts. Islam is the official state religion, and all legislation is supposed to be based on the Islamic code.

Blasphemy Laws and Church Attacks Fuel Strife in Pakistani Town.

Published: December 11, 2005 SANGLA HILL, Pakistan - The people gathered inside Holy Spirit Church were quiet and somber. The altar was covered in debris. Pictures of Jesus and Mary lay in a heap nearby. Torn copies of the Bible were scattered about. "We have never seen anything like this," Boota Masih, 48, said. "We have wailed and we have cried," he said, of his fellow Christians in Sangla Hill, a dusty market town 140 miles south of the capital, Islamabad, after the church was ransacked. A mob of about 1,500 Muslims - urged on by local clerics who announced over their mosque's public address system that a Christian had desecrated a Koran - not only attacked the church here, but also gutted a Presbyterian Church and one belonging to the Salvation Army. A convent school, a nun's hostel and half a dozen houses were set on fire. The Nov. 12 attacks sent shockwaves through the country's Christian minority, leaving them with a sense of insecurity. And once again, blasphemy laws were blamed for worsening sectarian relations in this country, where Christians, Hindus and other minorities make up 3 percent of the population, while an overwhelming 97 percent is Muslim. Under the penal code, desecration of the Koran is punishable by life imprisonment. Any insult to the Prophet Muhammad is punishable by death.

Many Christians say the laws are simply used to justify attacks on them, out of religious or personal animosity. The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, visiting Pakistan in December, asked Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to review the law. "My response is one of great shock, great dismay that this can still go on," Archbishop Williams said in an interview with th e British Broadcasting Corporation. "It is part of the history of the abuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which I think is widely recognized in this country as a major problem, which this country has to tackle." "The problem is not so much about the i dea of a law against blasphemy," he said, "as about a law whose penalty is so severe and whose practice gives so much scope for allowing people to settle private scores." That, some residents of Sangla Hill say, is what happened in November; 88 people have been charged with ransacking and burning churches and property, and 3 police officials were suspended for negligence. A local Christian man, Yousaf Masih, 45, was identified as the desecrator, but in sometimes conflicting accounts, his relatives said the allegations were invented by a man who owed Mr. Masih a gambling debt. "My brother is totally innocent," said one of Mr. Masih's brothers, Zulfiqar Humayun, 35. Mr. Masih is now under arrest at an undisclosed location. But local Muslims say that on the da y before the violence - a Friday, Islam's holy day - Mr. Masih set on fire a room used for storing old copies of the Koran after a shouting match with the man who owed him money. The next day, a local politician spread the account in a speech, and soon, th e mob began its work. The town's main Muslim cleric, Mufti Muhammad Zulfiqar Rizvi, a soft -spoken 63year-old with a flowing dark-red beard and a curling moustache, said the mob was made up of "people from outside." "Our religion, Islam, teaches us to protect the lives and property of minorities," he said. Whoever they were, the attackers were methodical and precise. It took them just four hours to sweep through the town, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Mr. Masih's house was gutted; the houses of two of his brothers were also set on fire. "They used a special chemical," said one brother, Tariq, 27, describing a reddish-orange flammable substance that was splattered on the walls of his house.

Similar stains could be seen on the walls of St. Anthony' s high school, where fire had blackened ceilings. "I am broken," said the headmistress, Sister Anthony Edward, 68, a frail woman with a quivering voice. "Ninety percent of the pupils of the school were Muslims. I don't know what is behind this." At the Presbyterian church, in a nearby neighborhood, the Rev. Tajammal Pervez was bitter. Several calls to police officials seeking security for his church and residence were unheeded, he said. "It is the incompetence of police," said Reverend Pervez, 54. He was st anding in the rubble of what used to be his bedroom. The charred roof had fallen in. Trunks and cupboards, their locks broken, had been set on fire; nothing remained except for the wreckage of burned furniture. "A friend bought these clothes for me that I am wearing," he said. Christians have been living for generations alongside Muslims in Sangla Hill, according to Reverend Pervez, and relations were cordial. But the violence changed everything, he said. "The good are a few, the bad ones are more," he said.

Exclusive Interview By David W. Virtue 12/19/2005

The Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo is the international director of the Barn abas Fund based in England. The Fund is a ministry which assists Christian minorities in the Islamic world and in other areas where Christians undergo persecution. Dr. Sookhdeo was recently in the United States where he spoke with David W. Virtue of VirtueOnline. Dr. Sookhdeo is a leading world authority on Islam, author of several books on Islam including "Understanding Islamic Terrorism" and "A Christian's Pocket Guide to Islam". Born in Pakistan of Islamic parentage he converted to Christianity while a student in London in the early 60s. VirtueOnline: What does the Barnabas Fund (BF) do? Sookhdeo: It calls attention to the plight of Christian minorities particularly within the Islamic world. It looks at the persecution they are experiencing and seeks to make this known to the wider world. It calls upon the church to pray for, to identify with, and

to be advocate for and support practically their suffering brothers and sisters. VirtueOnline: I gather you are the leading organization in the world involved in this kind of work, and that you inform a number of worldwide government institutions of the difficulties and challenges which Islam poses. Sookhdeo: The distinctive of the BF is that we have a strong research component that is keyed into a number of n ational contacts around the world. It is essentially a non-western organization based in the West. It has also developed a range of expertise on Islamic societies. VirtueOnline: How are you viewed by leaders in the Anglican Church? I gather there has been some correspondence between you and Colin Chapman in which Colin Chapman is critical of an article on Islam which you wrote for the British magazine "The Spectator". Sookhdeo: Not only the hierarchy of the Anglican Church but also other Christian leaders are divided because some are deeply unhappy with the work of Barnabas Fund. This is due to their interfaith agenda. As a result some are seeking to discredit what we are doing. Furthermore, I myself have personally experienced considerable racial harassment from white missionaries who are opposed to the work of the Fund. VirtueOnline: In the interfaith dialogue of the Abrahamic faiths, it is often suggested that as there is One God for all these faiths, that we should be more understanding and accommodationist in our thinking and less exclusive in our demands as Christians. Do you agree with this? Sookhdeo: Much of contemporary interfaith dialogue assumes that we all have the same understanding as to the nature of God. So when we speak of the Abrahamic covenant, we assume that the Jewish, the Christian and the Muslim understanding of God are the same. I would argue they are not. Whilst Jews and Christians have a common understanding of God, I would argue that Muslims do not. This naturally has repercussions in other areas - in the field of justice, in the understanding of our common humanity in the areas of human rights and religious tolerance. Much interfaith dialogue has to do with the lowest common denominator. Discussions often negate that which is esse ntial to each religion. The result is it focuses on the lowest common denominator and what I call "cocktail dialogue" or "dialogical syncretism." VirtueOnline: Can you give examples? Sookhdeo: Some illustrations of this would be the understanding of how Jesus Christ is understood. This is deliberately underplayed because it is deemed offensive to speak of his deity and his uniqueness to followers of Islam. Furthermore, issues of the persecution of Christians by Muslims are deliberately left out. The discr iminatory nature of Islamic law is not discussed and the death penalty for apostates which is still central to Islamic Shari'a is a 'no go' subject. VirtueOnline: Does this mean that Christians and Muslims can never talk to each other about peace?

Sookhdeo: I believe that conversations between and amongst both religions are vital. We live in societies where religious and ethnic tensions are increasingly common. Sometimes this spills over into armed conflict. As such I passionately believe that there is no place in the modern world for wars of religion. Therefore we should strive for peace. The difficulty I have is with the word 'dialogue'. There are a number of meanings for this word dialogue. In New Testament Greek when St. Paul uses the word "dialogue" it is dialogomai which means to argue with a purpose of persuading a person. As such it is not a neutral term; it does not have to do with the sharing of experiences of other religions. When the Apostle Paul was on Mars Hill he did not call for a meeting of the different religions to engage in an interfaith dialogical process. He preached the gospel and engaged in dialogue. It was a form of evangelism. This is why I use the word "conversation" in respect to different faiths meeting with each other. In this c onversation there must be honesty, integrity, transparency and truth. It must deal with society as it is and to [delete to] seek ways of developing understanding, living together and address the treatment of minorities. If it fails to do this, then this pr ocess has failed. VirtueOnline: The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to hold the view that Islam can coexist peacefully with Christianity. Sookhdeo: I would suggest that he listen to the voices of Christians within the Muslim world and in particular the vo ices coming from southern Sudan, Northern Nigeria, Pakistan and other countries. In these situations Christians experience discrimination, outright persecution and increasingly violence, being directed against them. If Islam is going to be a religion of pe ace and to coexist alongside Christianity then it must relinquish its theology of violence based on the revelations in the Koran. It must change its Shari'a Law and allow for full equality of Christians. It must allow Muslims the freedom to choose that is, to reject Islam if they so choose or embrace another religion if they so desire. It must give full freedom to women. Unless it can do these things how can there be co -existence? While the intention of the archbishop in seeking co-existence is good, whether Islam the religion will ever embrace his vision of society is another matter. VirtueOnline: Are there any other difficulties? Sookhdeo: There is a further difficulty. Many Christians in the Islamic world believe that some Christians in the West have be trayed them, that they have been sacrificed on the altar of interfaith, race and community relations. In their desire to make peace with Islam at any cost, they have sacrificed their brothers and sisters in this process. They also feel that it is patronizi ng and racist for white people to dialogue with Muslims on their behalf, as if non -Westerners were not capable of doing dialogue should they so desire. VirtueOnline: A Communique for the Anglican/al -Azhar dialogue committee met recently. The thrust of the meeting was for religious minorities, both Christian and Muslim, to be able to live in peace and security, and as full participants in the political and social life of the country of which they were citizens. Sookhdeo: The majority religious community ha s the duty to facilitate this, both as a religious obligation and for the well -being of society. It is equally important that

religious minorities should seek to abide by the law of the country where they are resident, or of which they are citizens. VirtueOnline: We noted specifically that Islam calls for Muslims to abide by and respect the laws and regulations of the non -Islamic countries where they live. There was also a particular concern for freedom of religion and the right to worship. From this communiqué it would appear that you are both on the same side? Sookhdeo: Statements are easy to write and make; but what of the reality on the ground. Al-Azhar is the foremost Islamic institution in the Islamic world based in Cairo. In October in Alexandria ch urches were attacked by mass demonstrations. Muslim radicals have declared that it is halal (permissible) to kill the Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Shenouda has had a fatwa put on him calling for him to be killed. The persecution of Coptic Christians in Eg ypt by government and security forces abetted by religious institutions is a reality. Numerous Christian girls are being kidnapped and raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Again religions institutions and security services were involved in this process. Why was this not addressed? Last week in Washington the Coptic community called on the Egyptian government to stop the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt. A Coptic bishop in Australia, Bishop Daniel has written to the Egyptian Ambassador in Australi a again calling for the cessation of violence against the Coptic Church in Egypt. Why is Lambeth and this group silent when the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt is experiencing such severe persecution? Furthermore converts from Islam to Christianity in Egyp t currently experience abduction, imprisonment, torture and even death. Why has Al Azhar not stopped this process? There are those who argue that it has even assisted this process. The Coptic Orthodox Church leaders are questioning the role of the Anglican Church in this whole process. They are asking for justice and for freedom. VirtueOnline: I understand from my sources that the leadership of the Coptic Orthodox Church is very unhappy with the role which the Anglican Church is playing in this process. Is this true? Sookhdeo: Yes, they are unhappy. What unfortunately is not often understood is that the senior leadership of the Coptic Orthodox Church is very closely monitored by the government. What they say in private cannot be said in public and they wil l only say in private what they think to those whom they fully trust. This applies to Christian persecution within Egypt (which some Anglican leaders deny) as well as to their opinion on Anglican involvement in dialogue. Most of the dialogue taking place involves westerners whom they mistrust. They also say that large sums of money enter into the country. VirtueOnline: Is this true? Sookhdeo: A lot of money is coming from the west to assist this process of dialogue. A further difficulty arises in relation to some of the participants. Dr. Zaki Badawi is perhaps the most prominent Islamic cleric in the UK and the most widely respected and a moderate voice in Islam. He wrote a paper recently on the Apostasy law in Islam and violence in the Islamic tradition. This paper was presented at Clarence House where Prince Charles chaired a meeting that brought together senior Christian and Muslim leaders to discuss the issue of Christian minorities under Islam.

Dr Badawi confirmed in his paper the violence and persecut ion being directed against Christian minorities in the Muslim world; the danger of killing converts from Islam to Christianity and the discriminatory and oppressive nature of Shari'a Law when applied to Christian minorities. This position was acknowledged and confirmed by the other Muslim participants. When asked by the senior Anglican bishops present when the persecution would end, the Muslim scholar stated that they could not see this occurring in the foreseeable future. They argued that Shari'a can't be changed although Christians present disputed that. When Prince Charles suggested making a public statement about this, the Muslims said he was not to do this, but should confine himself to statements and speeches on civilization. When the bishops stated that this whole issue should be made public, the Muslim leaders said it should not, "it has to remain quiet." Unfortunately this story was leaked and no one knows who did the leaking. It surfaced in The Daily Telegraph at the end of last year. I can address the issue as I addressed it then, that I did not leak the story and because it is in the public domain I can now address it. VirtueOnline: Were you at the meeting? Sookhdeo: Yes. The Barnabas Fund throughout last year ran a campaign against the Apostasy Law of Islam. It called on the British Government, Muslim authorities and Prince Charles to intervene in this matter. The Apostasy Law calls for the killing of any Muslim who converts to Christianity. Many Christians wrote to Prince Charles urging him to intervene in this process. He very graciously and generously agreed to convene a small meeting at Clarence House where senior Muslim leaders would meet senior Christian leaders to discuss this issue. I, as international director of the Barnabas Fund and the one who was instrumental in bringing the matter to his attention was involved in this process. The prince had asked that something practical be done to address the persecution of Christian minorities in Muslim countries. He has also stated he did not see the need for more statements on the subject. In this he is to be commended. VirtueOnline: Do you see any parallels between the gay issue in the Church and the interfaith issue, and in particular the way in which Islam is being approached? Sookhdeo: Yes, very much. Good theology leads to good ethics, bad theology leads to bad ethics. Those in pursuit of an interfaith and pro -Islam policy are seeking to shape the agenda and to neutralize anyone who does not agree with them. When you have a church leader who is patron of a mosque, and others who embrace Islam as if it did not deny the heart of the Christian faith, and encourage their churches to support Islamic charities, you have to ask what kind of theology they have. On the other hand, many ordinary church members are deeply conservative in theology and support organizations like Barnabas Fund. VirtueOnline: What form is contemporary persecution taking? Sookhdeo: In the Islamic world we have a variety of situations. Since 9/11 the US and the UK with other countries have been involved in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the "war on terror". These all involve Islam. There are those in the Muslim world who believe that the West, in particular Christianity is launching a new crusade against them. Unable to strike effectively against the West they direct their attacks against

vulnerable Christian targets. For example in Iraq we see the bombing of churches and the kidnapping and murder of Christians who are caught in the middle. Over the past 25 years we have seen the rise of radical Islamic groups. These are essentially terrorist organizations determined to attack Christians and to rid their counties of the Christian presence. Attacks such as these occur in countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan. Increasingly Isla mic law is being called for and in some countries being applied with adverse affects on Christian minorities. For example in the south of Sudan (which thankfully now has a peace accord) and northern Nigeria. The Shari'a Law debate is a pertinent one becaus e of its discriminatory nature. The position of evangelists and Muslim converts is acute. During the past year there has been a growing number of national evangelists and converts martyred through beheading. Beheading as a method of execution goes back to the Koran where it speaks of striking the neck. This is much in vogue. The kidnapping and rape of Christian girls is on the increase in Pakistan, Egypt, the Holy Land, and in other places where this is occurring. VirtueOnline: What else do you see? Sookhdeo: Finally the increasing marginalization of Christian minorities in the Christian world makes them vulnerable to the pressures of Islam either to convert to Islam or to live with oppression. Sadly those Christians that have the ability to do so are fleeing to the safety of the West. VirtueOnline: Where else do you see persecution taking place? Sookhdeo: In Western countries, for example. In England we have cases of growing persecution. In south London Muslim gangs armed with guns have targeted Christians saying if they do not convert they will be killed. In Bradford, a Christian a family converted from Islam have had their lives threatened. Their car has been arsoned and they have been threatened with violence. When a meeting was arranged the response o f Christians to such persecution has not always been helpful. The Bishop of Bradford met this family with his interfaith advisor. At this meeting he stated that the Diocese of the Anglican Church would not welcome such converts into it. That story has now gone public. He did not want Muslim converts into the Anglican Church. The convert was extremely disappointed and deeply saddened by the stance of the bishop. He felt that the bishop was more concerned with his relationship with the Muslim leaders in Bradf ord than with his plight with him [delete with him] as a convert. He felt deeply betrayed. VirtueOnline: I gather that Islam is gaining ground rapidly in the UK and Europe. What is the story on this? Sookhdeo: Islam has developed a process of major Islam ization, which includes the re-writing of history and the shaping of the agenda at every level. VirtueOnline: What should Anglicans do in their approach to Muslims? Sookhdeo: We need to recognize that there is not a single approach but a number of strands which need to be addressed. These strands include the spiritual, the missiological, the theological, the social and political, because Islam is a system

which does not separate the sacred from the secular, the spiritual from the social. It must be approached from an integrated basis. Spiritually, we must recognize that there is a spiritual conflict between Islam and Christianity. Missiologically it is appropriate to find common ground as a way of presenting the Gospel, as the Apostle Paul did in his Areop agus speech. Theologically we must focus on that which separates us, because unless we can recognize that wherever Christianity is distinctive and unique we face the real difficulty of confusion leading to syncretism. On the social level Islam has an agend a for how society is to be constructed. On the political level Islam has an agenda for the control of its own community and ultimately for society itself. Unless we recognize these different lines we will not be able to develop a coherent approach or for t hat matter strategy. For me the approach to Islam is founded on some basic principles. First there must be the compassion of Christ, we are dealing with Muslims as human beings who have emotions and feelings and who must be loved with the total love of Christ. Secondly, we must be scholarly accurate in our approach to Islam. We must recognize Islam - the ideological - in what it teaches. To impute our Christian understanding on to Islam and to Christianize it is to do it a disservice. We must understand it and accept in its own terms for what it is. That means having the scholastic ability to comprehend it. Thirdly, we must be faithful to Christ. No matter how much we love the Muslims or analyze Islam the religion, we must ensure that we do not lose sight of Jesus Christ, his deity, his death and resurrection and his coming again as supreme judge. Jesus Christ is the only Savior.

Ramallah: Islamic violence targets Christians
PAL ES T I NE - HOL Y L A N D 7 April, 2006 Ramallah (AsiaNews) ± Burned school rooms, church window panes destroyed, bible study halls set on fire and Catholic youth threatened by Muslims: thus runs a list of escalating violent attacks against Christians in Ramallah since Hamas won the election. The parish priest, Fr Ibrahim Hijazin, 55 years, reported the violence to AsiaNews. Fr Ibrahim has been the parish priest in Ramallah for nine years and for 13 he has been running the Al Ahliyya school that educates poor Christian and Muslim children. The college was set up in 1856, in the time of the Ottoman Empire, and it had never been the target of violence before. Once upon a time, Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian presidency, was considered to a Christian city with at least 40 -50,000 Christians. Now at least 30,000 have emigrated to America and countries in the Gulf. Now, as a result of the emigration,

out of an overall population of around 40,000 people, Christians number around 10,000, sub-divided into Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Melkites and Catholics, who are around 2,000. The parish priest said the thugs were people coming from outside who were determined to discredit the government of Hamas and its capacity to maintain law and order. ³On 10 February, while I was in Jericho for a meeting o f the Legion of Mary, with the patriarch of Jerusalem, a youth called to warn me that a classroom had been burned,´ Fr Ibrahim said. ³When I arrived, I found the remains of two Molotov cocktails, thrown at the windows that had the glass panes broken. We ca lled the police and they started an inquiry but we have not any result.´ Once again, ³on 5 March, a Sunday, after Mass, one of my parishioners came to let me know there had been another fire started in the basketball ground of the school. All the equipment was destroyed and the hall was completely ruined. Then too we called the police, but they have not yet managed to find out who was behind it. This time, however, around two dozen people from Hamas came. They proposed putting Hamas men to guard the buildin g and the church, even inside, but I declined the offer, accepting only to have one guard outside.´ ³All these incidents took place at night. Once, when Cardinal Theodore Mc Carrick of Washington was here with the patriarch, we made the matter known to the President Abu Mazen, and he also promised to rectify the situation. But so far, we have seen no results at all. We continue to face problems even with the community: our youth meeting in the evening for activities are often threatened and beaten by Muslim youth, who come and force their way into the parish building. We have reported this too to the police.´ The parish priest does not think anyone has anything against him: ³I am very well known because the school welcomes Christian and Muslim youth, very po or ones, and there is a beautiful friendship among them. Before the Intifada, we also had Judaism courses and Israeli youth used to participate.´ As for who could be behind the incidents, ³we think they are coming from outside Ramallah. Suspicion is fallin g on Palestinians who are against the Hamas government and who want to ignite inter -faith conflict´ to discredit them. The parish priest swore there were never any problems with Hamas. Other Christian communities have also been targeted. On 20 March, the Lutheran Church had all its windows and panes of glass broken. The headquarters of the Protestant bible association of Birzeit ³Living stones´ was burned down. On the doors, someone had written: ³Oh Prophet of God, [we are] at your service!´

Gazan Muslims Form Group to Attack Christian Targets
Sep 19, 2006 by Ezra HaLevi The group, which calls itself the ³Army of guidance,´ sent an announcement to news agencies based in Gaza saying that ³every place relevant to Christians will be a target until the cursed infidel ± the Vatican ± apologizes to Muslims.´ Hardline Islamic groups were offended by the Pope¶s citing of a Byzantine emperor who criticized Islam¶s founder Mohammad¶s command to spread Islamic faith by the sword. Last Friday, the 1,400 year old St. Perfidious Greek Orthodox church in Gaza was among seven Christian targets burned or vandalized throughout PA -controlled areas. Pope Benedict XVI has refused to apologize for merely citing quotations, but said he was ³deeply sorry´ for the Muslim reaction to the words ± which he stressed do not constitute his own opinion. Though touted as an apology by the Vatican¶s own public relations team, Islamic leaders continue to demand submission from the leader of Catholicism. The chief Islamic Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein called the Pope¶s statement of sorrow insufficient and demanded a ³clear apology´ Tuesday. He condemned attacks on churches but insisted the Pope himself is responsible for the Muslim violence.

Two Christians freed after months of torture by Muslim
Qaiser Felix Muhammad Ikram kidnapped the woman who used to clean his house together with her 13-year-old daughter. He tortured them for months in a bid to force them to convert to Islam. They were released thanks to the intervention of the Lahore court and the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. Sialkot (AsiaNews) ± The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) has managed to secure the release of two Christian women who were kidnapped and tortured for three months by a Muslim couple of Sialkot who wanted to convert them to Islam. The APMA director, Shabhaz Batti, told AsiaNews about the women and called on the government to ³punish those guilty of this atrocious incident as severely as possible.´ Bhatti told how Nasreen Pervez, 40, and her daughter, Razia, 13, ³went to the home of Muhammad Ikram, a Muslim of Sialkot, after the death of Nasreen¶s husband, Pervaiz, in September.´ Pervaiz ³ran a poultry breeding farm in Punjab, but his

business was struck by bird flu and he got ill and died. Af ter his death, mother and daughter started to work as servants in the residence of Muhammad, their neighbour.´ However, after they had been working there for one month, Muhammad ³refused to pay their salary and together with his wife, kidnapped the two wom en. They tore the crosses from their necks and forbade them to pray. They demanded that the women change their faith and convert to Islam and when they refused, they tortured them.´ At night, ³they were chained to prevent them from escaping. Razia¶s right foot was injured with the shards of a broken bottle and both had burns on their bodies. One day, Muhammad threatened to kill their relatives if they continued to be hard headed and to refuse to change religion or if they tried to escape.´ He even brought a bottle of acid and a syringe: ³You will die with this in your body´. Nasreen responded: ³You may kill us but we will not convert.´ After three months, Nasreen¶s eldest daughter, Sheeba, went to visit her mother and little sister but Muhammad and his wife chased her away and threatened her: ³Don¶t come back unless you want to see them dead.´ Worried, Sheeba turned to the village elders who contacted APMA. The association ³immediately went to the Lahore High Court and denounced what was going on. The judge ordered the intervention of a court bailiff who, together with our team, freed the two women.´ Bhatti said: ³The growing victimization of Christians and minorities in general is alarming. We try to help the families of victims and at the same time, to find legal and practical channels to help those submitted to such violence, but the government must intervene forcefully to stop them.´ He said Christians around the world ³can help us with prayer: ask the Lord for protection and justice for those who suffer f or their faith.´


Kurdish Christian Child Convicted of Murder in Iraq
Convert girl to appeal five -year sentence for killing uncle. By Peter Lamprecht March 1, 2007 ISTANBUL, (Compass Direct News) ± A Christian child has been sentenced to five years in juvenile detention in Northern Iraq for fatally stabbing her Muslim uncle while he beat her for converting to Christianity, her lawyer said.

Judge Satar Sofe convicted 14 -year-old Asya Ahmad Muhammad of murder at the trial¶s first hearing on February 7 in Dohuk¶s juvenile court. Muhammad¶s defense lawyer appealed the ruling on February 17, questioning Sofe¶s conclusion that the killing had been intentional. ³The court should consider Maria¶s [Muhammad¶s Christian name] case unintentional killing because she didn¶t intend to kill her uncle,´ Akram Mikhael Al -Najar told Compass. The lawyer said Muhammad¶s five-year sentence was light, considering that Iraq¶s penal code invokes the death penalty for committ ing murder. ³Since her uncle provoked her and kicked and abused her, the court appreciated these situations and decreased her punishment,´ Al -Najar said. The lawyer expects the Kurdish regional Court of Cassation, northern Iraq¶s highest court, to rule on the appeal within three months. Even if the appeal is turned down, Al -Najar told Compass that Muhammad could be released after serving only three quarters of her five -year sentence. Muhammad stabbed her paternal uncle with a kitchen knife last July when h e came to her family¶s kitchen utensil store on the outskirts of Dohuk and began beating her, her mother and younger brother. Sayeed Muhammad¶s Muslim family claimed that he attacked his relatives in order to restore ³honor´ supposedly lost because his female in-laws were working in public. But Asya Muhammad¶s father and lawyer said that the real motive for the attack was religious. Asya Muhammad¶s father, Ahmad, told Compass that his brother had previously tried to murder him five times, angered by his conversion to Christianity. In the wake of Sayeed Muhammad¶s death, Asya Muhammad¶s grandparents called for her father to be killed. External mediators later convinced the grandparents that Asya Muhammad¶s father had nothing to do with his brother¶s death, leading the elderly couple to demand their granddaughter¶s death and a large sum instead.

Upon hearing these threats, Asya Muhammad¶s parents and siblings went into hiding. Her mother and three younger brother¶s have now returned home, though her father continues to reside at an undisclosed location. Lawyer Al-Najar said that the family is no longer afraid of being attacked. ³But if Maria was released from jail, she would be in danger, of course, and she would have to live far from those terrorists [her gr andparents],´ Al-Najar told Compass. A Muslim cleric in Mosul, Asya Muhammad¶s grandfather attended the February 7 hearing with his wife to testify against his granddaughter. The elderly cleric was present last year when his granddaughter grabbed a store k nife and plunged it into her uncle¶s chest while he was tearing at her hair. Asya Muhammad¶s lawyer said that if her appeal is rejected, she will finish out her sentence in Dohuk¶s juvenile prison. Al -Najar described her situation in jail as ³good,´ saying that she has the opportunity to study and take computer courses. But one Christian in Dohuk told Compass that Asya Muhammad¶s situation is far from ideal. As the only female minor in the prison, the source said it was uncertain whether jail officials woul d allow her to attend classes at the all -male school.

MUSLIM HATE OF CHRISTMAS! Radical Muslims continue violence in Nigeria December 30, 2010 The Islamist group Boko Haram, which is thought to be responsible for Christmas Eve attacks on two Nigerian Protestant churches, is also responsible for the killing of three people at a hospital in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on December 28, according to police. Founded in Maiduguri in 2002, Boko Haram (the words mean ³Western or non Islamic education is a sin´) seeks the imposition of sharia in Nigeria. Boko Haram¶s late founder, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, told the BBC in 2009 that there are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam. Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condense s and becomes rain. Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. 15% of the nation¶s 146.5 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics. An estimated 50% are Muslim, 25% are Protestant, an d 10% retain indigenous beliefs. Maiduguri is heavily Muslim: the territory covered by the Diocese of Maiduguri is only 2% Catholic.

Radical Islam vs. Christianity

The cross is near extinction in the ancient lands of its origin By Jeffrey T. Kuhner The Washington Times December 23, 2010 As Americans celebrate Christmas in peace in our nation, many Christians across the Middle East are in peril: Muslim fanatics seek to exterminate them. Over the past several years, Christians have endured bombings, murders, assassinations, torture, imprisonment and expulsions. These anti -Christian pogroms culminated recently with the brutal attack on Our Lady of Salvation, an Assyrian Catholic church in Baghdad. Al Qaeda gunmen stormed the church during Mass, slaughtering 51 worshippers and two priests. Father Wassim Sabih begged the jihadists to spare the lives of his parishioners. They executed him and then launched their campaign of mass murder. Their goal was to inflict terror - thereby causing chaos in the hopes of undermining Iraq's fledgling democracy - and to annihilate the country's Christian minority. After the siege, al Qaeda in Mesopotamia issued a bulletin claiming that "all Christian

centers, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for" jihadists. Since the 2003 war in Iraq, Christians have faced a relentless assault from Islamic extremists. Many of these groups, such as the Assyrians, consist of the oldest Christian sects in the world, going back to the time of Christ. Some even spe ak Aramaic, the language used by Jesus. The very roots of our Christian heritage are being extirpated. Religious cleansing is taking place everywhere in Iraq - by Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Before the toppling of Saddam Hussein, there existed more than 1 million Christians in Iraq. They are now mostly gone - scattered to the winds, sacrificed on the altar of erecting an Islamic state. Churches have been closed or blown up. Hundreds of thousands have been expelled. Nearly two -thirds of the 500,000 Christians in Baghdad have fled or been killed. In Mosul, about 100,000 Christians used to live there. Now, just 5,000 remain. Soon there will be none. The rise of radical Islam threatens Christian communities not only in Iraq, but across the Middle East. In Egypt, Coptic Christians routinely are murdered, persecuted and prevented from worshipping - especially during religious holy days such as Christmas and Easter. In the birthplace of Christ, Bethlehem, Christians have largely been forced out. In Nazareth, they are a tiny remnant. In Saudi Arabia, Muslim converts to Christianity are executed. Churches and synagogues are prohibited. In Turkey, Islamists have butchered priests and nuns. In Lebanon, Christians have dwindled to a sectarian rump, menaced by surging Shiite and Sunni populations. The Vatican estimates that from Egypt to Iran there are just 17 million Christians left. Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the ancient lands of its birth. In short, a creeping religious genocide is taking place. Yet the West remains silent for fear of offending Muslim sensibilities. This must stop - immediately. For years, Pope Benedict XVI has been demanding that Islamic religious leaders adopt a new policy: reciprocity. If Muslims - funded and supported by Saudi Arabia - can build mosques and madrassas in Europe and America, then Christians - Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox - should be entitled to build churches in the Arab world. For all of their promises, however, Muslim leaders have failed to deliver. In fact, the situation has only deteriorated. Clearly, some Muslims cannot live in peaceful coexistence with non -Muslim peoples - especially in countries where Muslims form the majority. Christian minorities living in the overwhelmingly Muslim-dominated Middle East pose no possible danger to Islamic hegemony. Hence, why the hatred against them? This is a repeat of an old historical pattern: the periodic ebb and flow of Islamic jihadism. From its inception, Islam has been engaged in a struggle with Christian civilization. Led by the Prophet Muhammad some 600 years after the birth of Christ, the Muslim faith spread across the Middle East through violence and war. Christians were either forcibly converted or slowly expelled from their ancestral lands. Following the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, Muslim armies invaded North Africa, Spain, France and the Balkans. At one point, they even reached the gates of Vienna - until

they were repelled by the brave knights of Catholic Croatia. The sword of Islam sought to conquer Christian Eu rope. Bernard Lewis, the foremost historian on the Middle East, rightly argues that the Crusades were not the result of Western imperialism; rather, they signified a belated - and only partially successful - effort to liberate once-Christian territories from Islamic aggression. Europe was saved; Jerusalem and the Middle East were not. Today's anti-Christian pogroms are not new. They are what Christians have historically faced - persecution, death and martyrdom. In Roman times, Christians were thrown to the lions in the Coliseum. In the Islamic world, they are being murdered, raped, beheaded and thrown out of their homes. The only diff erence is the means, not the end. The Christians of the Middle East are dying for their convictions, as did so many others before them. For this, they will receive their just reward in heaven. Their deaths are a salient reminder that, contrary to liberal myth, Islam is not a "religion of peace." Instead, it contains a militant segment bent on waging a holy war against infidels and erecting a global caliphate. There is, however, a true religion o f peace. It began with a baby boy born in a manger in Bethlehem. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to shine a light into the dark souls of men. As Christians recall and celebrate that humble bir th, we also should stand in solidarity with those who are, 2,000 years later, still being persecuted in His name. Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.

Christmas is evil: Muslim group launche s poster campaign against festive period

By Daily Mail Reporter 23rd December 2010 Fanatics from a banned Islamic hate group have launched a nationwide poster campaign denouncing Christmas as evil. Organisers plan to put up thousands of placards around the UK claiming the season of goodwill is responsible for rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, promiscuity, crime and paedophilia. They hope the campaign will hel p 'destroy Christmas' in this country and lead to Britons converting to Islam instead. Labour MP and anti racist campaigner Jim Fitzpatrick branded the posters 'extremely offensive' and demanded they were immediately ripped down.

The placards, which have already appeared in parts of London, feature an apparently festive scene with an image of the Star of Bethlehem over a Christmas tree. But under a banner announcing 'the evils of Christmas' it features a message mocking the song the 12 Days of Christmas. It reads: 'On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me an STD (sexually transmitted disease). 'On the second day debt, on the third rape, the fourth teenage pregnancies and then there was abortion.' According to the posters, Christmas is also to r esponsible for paganism, domestic violence, homelessness, vandalism, alcohol and drugs. Another offence of Christmas, it proclaims, is 'claiming God has a son'. The bottom of the poster declares: 'In Islam we are protected from all of these evils. We have marriage, family, honour, dignity, security, rights for man, woman and child.' The campaign's organiser is 27 -year-old Abu Rumaysah, who once called for Sharia Law in Britain at a press conference held by hate preacher leader Anjem Choudary, the leader of militant group Islam4UK. Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson banned Islam4UK group earlier this year, making it a criminal offence to be a member, after it threatened to protest at Wootton Bassett, the town where Britain honours its war dead. Mr Rumaysah told the Mail that he was unconcerned about offending Christians. He said: 'Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it. 'But our main attack is on the fruits of Christmas, things like alcohol abuse and promiscuity that increase during Ch ristmas and all the other evils these lead to such as abortion, domestic violence and crime. 'We hope that out campaign will make people realise that Islam is the only way to avoid this and convert.' Mr Rumaysah, who said his campaign was not linked to an y group, boasted that the posters would be put up in cities around the country, including London, Birmingham and Cardiff. The campaign was highlighted by volunteers from a charity which distributes food and presents to pensioners and the lonely at Christma s. Sister Christine Frost, founder of the East London Neighbours in Poplar charity, said: 'The more posters I saw, the more angry I got.

'Someone is stirring hatred which leaves the road open to revenge attacks or petrol bombs through letter-boxes. 'I told the Mayor we are all scared. 'If we said such things about Muslims, we'd all be hanging from lamp -posts. 'The posters appear to be professionally printed'. Poplar and Limehouse MP Mr Fitzpatrick said: 'These posters are extremely offensive and have upset a lot of people - that's why we jumped on it and asked the council to remove them. 'Sister Christine is rooted in the community and doesn't take offence lightly. 'But these hate posters really upset her. Christmas is close to her belief.' A Met Police spokesman said they had received complaints and were investigating. He said: 'We are investigating allegations of religious hate crime in Tower Hamlets following complaints about posters displayed in and around the Mile End area.' Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman said the posters had 'upset and antagonised many residents'. He added: 'The messages on these posters are offensive and do not reflect the views of the Council or the vast majority of residents.'

Muslim cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi is linked to Christmas Day bomb attempt

By Greg Miller and Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, July 1, 2010 A radical Muslim cleric who was born in the United States and resides in Yemen "had a direct operational role" in the attempted bombing of a Detroit -bound airliner on Christmas Day, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said Wednesday. The remark by Michael E. Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, is the most specific assertion so far regarding Anwar al -Aulaqi's involvement in the failed plot, which allegedly employed a would -be suicide bomber who is accused of boarding the flight with explosives in his underwear. Defending the Obama administration's decision to authorize the CIA and the military to kill Aulaqi, Leiter told the Aspen Institute's homeland security forum that the attack could have killed more than 3 00 people and that "it would be irresponsible not to think about directing all elements of national power to protect the American people."

U.S. officials had previously said that Aulaqi was linked to the attempt, but they had not specified his role. A second U.S. official said that American intelligence services say Aulaqi provided the key link between the would -be bomber and those who trained him. "We think Aulaqi helped put [Umar Farouk] Abdulmutallab in touch with the plotters and trainers of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," the official said, referring to a regional affiliate of the main al -Qaeda organization. "He's more than a propagandist. He's an operational figure, a terrorist who lent his hands to attacks on the United States." Abdulmutallab, the son of a Nigerian banker, was detained in Detroit after being subdued by other passengers as he allegedly tried to detonate the bomb. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that include attempting to kill the passengers on the plane. Aulaqi has emerged as an eloquent and unapologetic advocate of violence against the West. His online sermons attract wide international audiences and are a source of particular concern to U.S. authorities because they are delivered in English. Aulaqi also exchanged e -mails with the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November. Before leaving the United States, Aulaqi preached at mosques in California and Virginia, apparently coming into contact with at least two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijac kers. U.S. intelligence officials believe that Aulaqi is increasingly involved in the operations of al-Qaeda's offshoot in Yemen, acting as a recruiter and facilitator who has a deep familiarity with U.S. cities and society. He is not, however, thought to have the skills to lead operations or build a bomb. The al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen placed a banner on jihadist Web sites this week advertising what it called a new English -language magazine. The online publication is to be called "Inspire" and includes an interview with Aulaqi.

Philippine Conflict Subdues Christmas Joy

By Luke Hunt Bangkok 23 December 2008

The Christmas spirit in the southern Philippines is being sorely tested by an escalation in the fighting between government troops and Muslim r ebels. Many civilians are too frightened to shop or attend church services. Dozens of people have been killed or injured in the latest spate of attacks by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front across the southern island of Mindanao. Last week, bombings of two shopping malls in Iligan City left three dead and 50 wounded. On Sunday, bomb disposal experts dismantled a third explosive. Kidnappings and skirmishes in the countryside are also on the rise, forcing thousands of people out of their villages and into refugee camps. Collapse of peace deal blamed for increase in violence The rebels are fighting for a homeland on the southern island for the country's Muslims. Earlier this year, the Philippine government and the MILF reached a peace agreement but the Sup reme Court in August struck down the deal. The collapse of the deal has been blamed for the increased violence over the past few months. Al Jacinto's family publishes the Mindanao Examiner in Zamboanga. He says the latest fighting is felt across Mindan ao and weighs heavily on the island's Christian population in the lead -up to Christmas. "A lot of people are really afraid, scared to go out and shop because of this threat of terrorism," he said. "In Zamboanga, in Basilan there's fighting, in Jolo Island there s fighting, in central Mindanao there's sporadic fighting between the MILF and the Philippine military." President approves revival of peace talks Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has given the go -ahead for a peace panel to revive talks with the rebels in another attempt to end the decades -old conflict. However, Jacinto says the MILF will be in no mood to bargain until the government agrees to its terms for an autonomous homeland. "When I spoke with MILF leader, Mohagher Iqbal, who's also chair man of this panel with the rebels, he said he would only resume peace talks with the Arroyo government if the president honors the « Muslim ancestral domain agreement that was not signed in August," Jacinto said. Muslims are a minority in the Philippines, where most people are Christians. Most Muslims live in the south, an area the MILF claims as an ancestral homeland. In response to the recent violence, the British, Australian and U.S. governments

warn of a high threat of terrorism across the Philippines . They have advised their citizens against traveling to Mindanao.

Christmas Attacks Suspected Indonesia's Christians dig bomb pits to prep for terrorist assaults over weekend. by Tony Carnes in Jakarta, Indonesia | posted 12/22/2005 03:30 p.m.

Christians in Indonesia are taking few chances this Christmas. As the choirs prep and evangelical rappers rehearse their hip -hop gospel numbers, church leaders are digging bomb pits and coordinating security with local police and the military. In Jakarta, larger churches have highly visible perimeter security systems, including metal detectors and roadblocks that police and private security will be manning throughout Christmas weekend. Indonesia's government urged churches in rural areas to dig holes in which to plac e any suspicious objects that might be improvised explosives. Many Indonesians anticipated more year -end violence because of worsening economic conditions, political unrest, and the strength of militant Islam. This year has seen renewed violence targeting Christians. In late October, on the island of Sulawesi in western Indonesia, Muslim militants beheaded three Christian girls on their way to a Christian school. In early December, also in Sulawesi, a suspected Muslim militant burned down one church. Representatives of the government met with Muslim fundamentalists to ask them to focus their Christmas weekend demonstrations on things like the economy and to leave out sectarian attacks on Christians who tend to be economically more successful. Local papers just announced that there were millions more unemployed, and the poverty rate has zoomed upward in recent months. This fall, police announced that they had launched a nationwide security operation "Candle Operation 2005" with 47,750 officers to ensure peacef ul Christmas and New Year celebrations. Some moderate Muslim youth will volunteer guard duty at churches over Christmas, according to media reports. Open Doors reports that more than 600 churches have been destroyed and 20,000 killed in Muslim-Christian violence since the early 1990s in Indonesia.

Be Watchful, Don't Panic

Last Sunday, December 18, Christianity Today interviewed worshippers at the 5, 000member Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) of the Gunung Sahari area of Jakarta.

Cars were lined up for a brief anti -bomb inspection in the alleyway leading up to the church entrance. High walls surrounded the church itself. The early morning service started with a bell ringing and then an announcement about security preparations and Christmas services. The church bulletin listed eight "Suggestions for Security During Christmas." The advice included: "Be watchful. Park away from the church. Don't panic." Memories of Christmas 2000 are still fresh in the minds of local church leaders. Six years ago, 19 people were killed in coordinated bombings at 11 churches on Christmas Eve. In those attacks and others, police suspect the involvement of terrorist mastermi nd Noordin Mohammed Top. A native of Malaysia, Top remains a most -wanted man in Indonesia for his leadership in Jemaah Islamiya, a group linked to al Qaeda. According to American intelligence sources, another Jemaah Islamiya leader at a 2002 meeting in Ban gkok announced that soft targets like churches would be attacked because foreign embassies had become too well protected. At the GKI church, parishioners and pastors were calm, but not complacent. An elderly man named Hadianto said he wasn't worried. "In fact, I have gone to two churches today. I want to know how to get closer to God." Anita Permana, a church volunteer, admitted, "The situation in Indonesia is not too peaceful, but it doesn't scare me. I have God." Youth pastor Imanuel Kristo said this year, "There was more concern than in previous years about security. Rumors are flying." But at least the December 18 service at GKI church was unmarred by trouble or worry. The 40-piece children's orchestra lit up "O Come All Ye Faithful." Three colorfully dressed wise men came in to illustrate the sermon on the source of wisdom. Pastor Bambang Soetopo said that in Indonesia "wise men" could be translated "weak men." He asked if his church was wise or weak. "In Indonesia, we have people using magic and the paranormal. Others depend on their riches." Taking up the theme of Indonesia's economic troubles, the pastor urged his parishioners to not let their economic troubles cause them to lose sight of God and biblical wisdom. "Our economic welfare is not the end of life, but our spiritual welfare is the end of life."

Seeking Reconciliation

Recently, high-ranking Christian and Muslim leaders in government announced a social movement for reconciliation and reconstruction. About 85 percent of Indonesia

is Muslim. Christians make up the second largest group among the nation's 220 million people. Retired army general Monang Siburian told a group of Christian denominational leaders that this Christmas should be focused on "reconciling and forgetting" past wrongs. "Indonesia cannot be saved by the army. Indonesia cannot be saved by the politicians. The responsibility for saving Indonesia rests with you Christians. You must lead the nation in reconciling and forgetting." Siburian told churches that the 2004 tsunami h ad opened up Indonesians to working together, but that the opening would not last very long. The church needs to reach out to the rest of society with forgiveness, forgetting of past wrongs, and helping the poor. "There will be no more Indonesia without reconciliation and reconstruction," the influential general told the church leaders. CT also traveled across town to a church in the poor Kamal district. There, Handi Hendrawan led his flock in prayers that Indonesians would be unified. The congregation is full of kids from the neighborhood because of an after -school program that Compassion International sponsors. Compassion is a church -centered ministry to kids in more than 20 countries headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The district is a mixture of Muslims, Christians, and non -believers²mostly poor and very troubled. Just down the block from the church, there are dealers selling street drugs. Pastor Hendrawan says, "God laid on my heart to come here. This program for the children of the poor is a realization of that dream." Before coming to the church program, each kid was running down a path of no return. Several of them spoke about their lives before joining the after -school program. Yunai was a fragile person when she came. Her teacher recalls, "She was afraid of everything." Christina felt ashamed and would run away when someone hailed her. Imah wouldn't study or obey her parents. Susi was a "crying girl" who constantly threw tantrums. Now, the children say that they are "smart," "happy," or "lo ved like a family member." As their children change, so do the parents. The families are more unified. There is hope for the neighborhood. Could this be a parable for Indonesia? So, appropriately, one week before Christmas, the local church rap artist chan ted out during the service, "One Day Indonesia will be one."

Tony Carnes , a CT senior writer, is based in New York City.

Muslim grinches steal Bethlehem Christmas World leaders, media blame Israel for fleeing Christians Posted: December 25, 2005 3:36 p.m. Eastern By Aaron Klein

BETHLEHEM ± With Christmas services here drawing far fewer tourists than in the 1990s and the town's Christian population now at an all -time low, many world leaders and hundreds of major media outlets this week b lamed Israel for Bethlehem's decline ± often citing false information ± while a simple talk with the town's residents reveals a drastically different picture. They say Muslim persecution has been keeping Christians away. "All this talk about Israel driving Christians out and causing pain is nonsense," a Bethlehem Christian community leader told WND. "You want to know what is at play here, just come throughout the year and see the intimidation from the Muslims. They have burned down our stores, built mosques in front of our churches, stole our real estate and took away our rights. Women have been raped and abducted. So don't tell me about Israel. It's the Muslims." The Bethlehem leader, like many Christians on the streets h ere, would not provide his name for publication for fear of retaliation. Bethlehem's Christian population has declined drastically after the Palestinian Authority took control in December, 1995. Once 90 percent of the city, Christians now compose less than 25 percent, according to Israeli survey information. Christmas celebrations this year attracted about 30,000 tourists ± 10,000 more than last year but down from an average of 150,000 in 1994. Many Christians told WND they face constant Muslim hostility. One religious novelty-store owner cited examples of Muslim gangs defacing Christian property, the PA replacing Christian leaders on public councils with Muslims, and armed Palestinian factions stirring tensions. One such incident was last week's storming of Bethlehem's City Hall, across the street from the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, by gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group. The store owner said "We are harassed but you wouldn't know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims."

Indeed many leaders in attendance at Christmas Eve Mass in Bethlehem last night took the occasion to blame Israel's recently constructed security fence in the area for Christian woes. In a televised midnight Christmas speech, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said "Palestinians are seeking a bridge to peace instead of Israeli walls. Unfortunately, Israel is continuing with its destructive policy ... (and) transforming our land into a big jail." Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, speaking at St. Catherine's Church, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity, called for Israel to remove its "separation barrier, which is causing all kinds of hardships and affecting normal life in Bethlehem." The Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, urged Israel "to build bridges and not walls" and blamed Israel for "[compelling Christians] to leave the land of their birth for foreign lands on account of the political situation." And a sampling of American media coverage of this weekend's festivities seems to find Israel mostly at fault for the decline in Christian living conditions and population figures. A widely printed Associated Press article by staff writer Sarah El Deeb opens, "Thousands of tourists and pilgrims gathered in Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations Saturday, bringing a long -missing sense of holiday cheer to Jesus' historic birthplace. ... But Israel's imposing separation barrier at the entrance to town dampened the Christmas spirit and provided a stark reminder of the unresolved conflict." Today's San Francisco Chronicle states, "For centuries, pilgrims from around the world converged on the Palestinian town of Bethlehem at Christmas, packing Manger Square and the Chur ch of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. ... In 2002, Israel began building a 25 -foot concrete wall around the city, severing it from Jerusalem and the northern West Bank. Today, the streets of Bethlehem are quiet." An earlier article by the Chicago Tribune blamed Israel's fence, constructed in 2002, for collapsing Bethlehem's economy an d prompting Christians to leave, even though the mass exodus began seven years prior. "A towering wall of gray concrete slabs, 30 feet high, cuts across what was once the main road into this town from Jerusalem. Just inside the barrier, past a new Israeli security terminal, a once-bustling neighborhood has become a ghost town. Shops are shuttered or empty, and the streets are deserted. ... The deteriorating economy has led to a steady exodus of the city's Christian residents," the Tribune article reads. notes the various press accounts are factually inaccurate. · Contrary to the Chronicle report and scores of other media accounts, there is no barrier that encircles Bethlehem. A fence exists only where the Bethlehem area

interfaces with Jerusalem, and only a small segment of the fence is a concrete wall, which Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists. · The Bethlehem economy the past few years has actually improved significantly. Tourism has doubled compared to last year, and Bethlehem's main industries are up: Textiles by 50 percent, stone and marble export by 40 percent, and commercial transportation 20 percent. The increases ha ve reportedly brought an influx of millions of dollars into the Bethlehem local economy. · Israel says the Israeli Defense Forces this year is making access to Bethlehem easier for tourists. IDF Lt. Col. Aviv Feigel said, "The military will try to speed t he process by not checking every tourist bus, but conducting spot checks of random buses instead." The IDF also instituted a bus shuttle service to Bethlehem to speed travel time to the city. For years, Bethlehem was largely Christian. But when the PA took control in 1995 it publicly expanded Bethlehem's boundaries reportedly to ensure a Muslim majority, incorporating into the city over 30,000 Muslims from adjacent refugee camps. Then PLO leader Yasser Arafat unilaterally replaced the Christian -dominated city council with a largely Muslim leadership. Since then, there have been a steady stream of reported abuses and persecution. An aide to Latin Patriarch Sabbah who asked that his name be with held told WND the PA has been appropriating lands of the Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem and building mosques on the formerly Christian land. He said he is aware of several cases in which Christian women were raped and murdered, but the alleged crimina ls were not arrested. "The Palestinian security forces know who did these crimes. They know where the criminals live. Still nothing to arrest them," said the aide. The novelty store owner told WND he was shot by Muslims in 2001. He said the assailants are still at large. Cases involving other alleged anti -Christian violence in Bethlehem include attacks against Christians in 2001 after a Palestinian Muslim leader called for a "jihad" against both Jews and Christians; riots that spilled over from Ramallah in 2002 in which Muslim mobs burned Christian businesses and attempted to destroy churches; and regular reports of shootings and threats. Israeli security officials say over 100 cases of anti -Christian violence are reported to the Palestinian police every year. They estimate most incidents go unreported. In one of the most infamous cases of anti -Christian violence, Palestinian terrorists in 2002 holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity and refused to release the religious staff inside. There were re ports the gunmen, members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, looted the facilities, desecrated the church and even used the Bible as toilet paper.

One document later captured by Israel indicated the terrorists also demanded monetary support from Bethlehem to wn officials. The Bethlehem store owner said he took comfort from the words of Pope John Paul II, who visited the city the same year as the church siege. Speaking to a gathering of Christians, the pope said, "Do not be afraid to preserve your Christian heritage and Christian presence in Bethlehem."

Muslim Hate of Denmark Terrorist Plot Thwarted in Denmark

WRITTEN BY R. CORT KIRKWOOD FRIDAY, 31 DECEMBER 2010 The chickens of multiculturalism, diversity, and open borders have returned home to roost in Denmark, that land of open -mindedness on just about everything.

Earlier this week, Danish authorities thwarted the plan of four Muslim terrorists to murder the employees of the newspaper that, in 2006, carried the infamous Mohammed cartoons that sent Islamists into a global paroxysm of violence. Danish intelligence officials say the terrorist cell planned to raid the offices of the Jyllands-Posten daily. Their goal? To ³kill as many of the people present as possible.´ According to the Associated Press, Danish intelligence agents collared ³four men in two raids." ³An imminent terror attack has been foiled,´ Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, or PET, told the AP. The Danish intelligence chief said the suspects were ³militant Islamists with relations to international terror networks.´ The suspects, AP reports, included a ³44 -year-old Tunisian, a 29 -year-old Lebaneseborn man and a 30-year-old who were living in Sweden and had entered Denmark late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The fourth person detained was a 26 -year-old Iraqi asylum-seeker living in Copenhagen.´ Authorities released the Iraqi for lack of evidence. Swedish cops arrested a Tunisian with Swedish citizenship. The Muslim terrorists hatched the plan to retaliate for the publication of 12 cartoons featuring Mohammed under the hea dline, ³The Faces of Mohammed.´ One of them featured the prophet¶s turban as a bomb with a lit fuse. For Muslims, any depiction of Mohammed is blasphemy and invites a fatwa of death. When Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons in September 2005, the Islamic world boiled into a rage that lasted into 2006. In February, Muslims marched outside the Danish Embassy in London. In Norway, 1,000 Muslims cab drivers stopped driving. A Catholic priest was killed in Turkey. In 2008, authorities in Belarus jailed an editor for publishing the cartoons. And the anger, apparently, has never subsided. In September of this year, a Chechin Muslim was injured making a bomb he planned to detonate in Copenhagen to retaliate against the newspaper. The obvious question for Danish authorities is what to do about i mmigration. The Scandinavians are famously ³diverse´ and ³multicultural.´ And Denmark and its neighbors Sweden and Norway have dropped even any pretense to national sovereignty and permitted the unfettered immigration of African Muslims. The results have been apparent for years, as the European blogger Fjordman observed in 2007 of Scandinavia: Oslo will have a non-Western majority in a few decades, if the current trends continue. There are now several researchers who predict that in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the native population and their descendants will become a minority in their own country within this cen tury. The only question is when. Since the Islamic Jihad usually enters a much more aggressive and physical phase once the Muslim population reaches 10 -20% of the total in any given area, this does not bode well for the future of the urban regions in Scand inavia. Will they turn out different from similar regions in Thailand, the Philippines or Nigeria?

The Danes treasure freedom of speech. The question is how long they will have it. Or better yet, how long it will take for a group of terrorists to succeed a nd finally exact revenge, in the form of mass murder, for the publication of cartoons they did not like.

Muslims Threaten Violence to Danes January 30, 2006 09:13 AM EST

By Sher Zieve ± Saudi Arabia has pulled its diplomats and Libya has closed its Danish embassy over satirical cartoon that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The publication is said to have featured the Muslim Prophet Mohammad in a sardonic m ode.

Denmark has defended the rights of Jyllands -Posten to publish the cartoons, which has been met with anger from Islamic-run countries and countries with large Muslim populations. The Age reports: ³The Danish Foreign Ministry warned against non crucial travel to Saudi Arabia and urged Danes to be cautious in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.´ Hamas and other Muslim groups have called for both a boycott of Danish products and have threatened viole nce against Danish citizens. Thousands of Palestinian protestors are said to have marched through the streets of the West Bank town of Qalqilya demanding an apology from Denmark, burning the Danish flag and saying that if Norwegians or Danes traveled to th e area, they would be under risk of attack.

Muslims Up Ante Against Denmark, Norway over Cartoons

RIYADH, January 27, 2006 ( & News Agencies) ± Muslim countries have stepped up political and economic pressures on Denmark and Norway after two of their publications offended millions of Muslims worldwide by publishing a series of cartons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Saudi Arabia had recalled its ambassador to Denmark in protest to the Danish government's awkward response and indifferenc e to the blasphemous cartoons in the country's mass-circulation daily Jyllands-Posten, Reuters reported Thursday, January 27. "The Saudi government recalled its ambassador for consultations in light of the Danish government's lack of attention to insulting Prophet Muhammad by its newspapers," a government official said. "This led to an escalation of the situation and its development." Twelve drawings depicting Prophet Muhammad in different settings appeared in the paper on September 30.

In one of the drawings, an image assumed to be that of the prophet appeared with a turban shaped like a bomb strapped to his head. The controversial cartoons have been reprinted in a Norwegian magazine on January 10 to the outrage of the Muslim world.

And in the first admission of its kind from a Danish politician, the Danish ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Hans Klingenberg, said on Thursday that his government underestimated the crisis. "There is a risk that we in Denmark have underestimated the indignatio n and anger that these cartoons have caused in the Muslim world," he told Jyllands-Posten. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refused in October to meet with 11 ambassadors of Muslim nations to discuss the issue and reluctantly said in a New Year statement that free speech should not taken as a pretext to insult religions. Arab foreign ministers in December condemned the Danish government for its inaction. Danish Muslims have said the Danish premier's stance on the cartoons was not "positive" and announced plans to take their legal battle against the JyllandsPosten to the country's federal attorney general and the EU human rights commission after loosing a local case. They further said that prime minister only moved after mounting pressures from th e Muslim world and to protect Danish investments in Arab and Muslim countries. Al-Azhar, the highest seat of religious learning in the Sunni world, has raised the issue with the UN and international human rights organizations.

Denmark's blasphemous cartoons have triggered a boycott of Danish products in Saudi Arabia. Alra Foods, Europe's second-largest daily company and the leading Danish exporter to the oil-rich kingdom, said phone text messages calling for a boycott of Danish products have been circulated in Saudi Arabia. "More and more supermarkets are taking our products off their shelves and don't want fresh supplies because consumers no longer want to buy our brand," Arla Foods spokesman Louis Honore told AFP. "The situation is very serious." Arla Foods sells an estimated two billion kroner (268 million euros, 328 million dollars) worth of products every year to Saudi Arabia. Klingenberg said he feared further repercussions. "We have to take this (boycott) threat seriously, and remain attentive so that this boycott does not spread to other Muslim countries," he added.

The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) threatened on Saturday, January 21, to call for a boycott of Danish and Norwegian products over the provocative publication.
Conciliatory Steps

Norway, on its part, has taken conciliatory steps over the issue to avoid more grave consequences. The Norwegian foreign ministry on Thursday asked its diplomats in Muslim countries to express their "regrets" to their host governments about t he re-printing of the cartoons. "The publication of the cartoons has provoked strong reactions in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran," ministry spokeswoman Anne Lene Dale Sandsten told AFP. "We understand that feelings may have been hurt." The ministry sent a text to its embassies to help diplomats formulate the Norwegian position. "The cartoons published in Christian magazine Magazinet are not helpful for the necessary bridge-building between people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Instead, they contribute to suspicion and a superfluous conflict," said the text, published in the Norwegian press. Norwegian Muslim leaders blasted the magazine for reprinting the explosive cartoons as a bid by its "extremist" editors to ignite a sectarian sedi tion in peaceful Norway.

Offensive Cartoons Draw People¶s Ire Saleh Fareed, Arab News

RIYADH, 20 January 2006 ² Saudis and non-Saudis in the Kingdom are urging consumers to boycott Danish products in response to cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) printed in September in Danish daily Jyllands -Posten. The appeal was circulated recently in e -mails and mobile messages. Arab News called the phone number that accompanied the message. A man who did not identify himself answered and explained his organizat ion¶s stance. ³The main objective of this message is that we encourage people to boycott goods from Denmark, which is the least thing we can do until Denmark offers an official apology for the drawings that have offended the world¶s Muslims,´ said the man . ³We urge all Muslim countries to protest officially to the Danish government for what the Danish newspaper has done by publishing the cartoons.´

Jamal Badawi, 29, said he is supporting the boycott. ³I would really support such a campaign, because this is the least thing we can do. If they do not respect our religion or our Prophet (pbuh), then we should act in any way to respond to them except violence which will never solve any problem.´ On Sept. 30, 2005 newspaper Jyllands -Posten, Denmark¶s largest, ran an article about freedom of speech centering around the issue that artists were unwilling to illustrate the Prophet without remaining anonymous for fear of being attacked by extremists. Depictions of the Prophet of Islam are religiously prohibited. The paper accompanied the article with 12 depictions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by various Danish illustrators. The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the EU Commission have condemned the printing of the cartoons. ³We are deeply alarmed that a Dan ish newspaper has found it appropriate to publish caricatures of Islam¶s most prominent figure,´ said a statement by the EU Commission, posted on the OIC website. ³A picture of Muhammad (pbuh) is by itself a breach of Muslim tradition.´ The statement then went on to condemn the threats of violence that have been sent to the newspaper. ³We therefore sympathize that many Muslims feel hurt, but naturally unsympathetically oppose that some Muslims, mainly living abroad, have deemed it appropriate to threaten t he newspaper in question and the caricaturists.´ Some Saudis have decided to take a more peaceful route by calling for a boycott of Danish products. The Muslim World League recently expressed its resentment over the cartoons published by a Norwegian magazi ne offensive to the Prophet.

The price of tolerance The Dutch grapple with assimilating immigrants with radically different mores. May 14, 2006

IT'S NOT TOLERANT TO TOLERATE intolerance. That's the message of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book, "The Caged Virgin ," which arrived on U.S. shores last week. Ali, a 36-year-old member of the Dutch parliament, takes her adopted country to task for being too passive in answering radicalized anti -female teachings among Muslim immigrants in Holland's famously tolerant soci ety.

Ali, who was born into a devout Muslim family in Somalia, fled to Holland in 1992 to avoid an arranged marriage to a distant cousin. In her book and as a public figure, Ali urges the Netherlands and other Western democracies to intervene on the behal f of immigrant Muslim women who, she says, "are still enchained by the doctrine of virginity" ² repressive mores that fuel the poverty and violence that spawn Islamic terrorism. It's a critique that targets, and enrages, Muslim men. It also hits home in th e halls of power in Europe, where immigration and Muslims' alienation from the larger society have become pressing issues for politicians. In some ways, Ali's criticisms echo those of Pim Fortuyn, the iconoclastic Dutch politician who was assassinated in 2002. But there are signs that Dutch society, or at least the Dutch government, is now more receptive to the message. Most of the talk Americans hear about immigration focuses on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States. But Europe, too, is struggling with an immigration dilemma. Like Americans, Europeans depend on foreign labor (including about 15 million Muslims) to keep their economy healthy. There simply aren't enough Europeans being born these days to continue to support the continent's social welfare system. At the same time, European democracies like the Netherlands worry that the influx of migrants from countries such as Morocco and Turkey is endangering their way of life. Fairly or not, Muslim immigrants a re thought to be reluctant to assimilate. Europeans are afraid of terrorist attacks and riots like the ones that inflamed France last summer. The Dutch were scandalized when filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, with whom Ali collaborated on the short feminist film "Su bmission: Part One," was murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2004. Ali, too, has been the target of numerous death threats and travels with bodyguards. Ali believes that the only way to curb such violence is to force Muslims to abandon strict interpretations of the Koran and to find a new way to reconcile Islam with Western secular values. It's a message that is hard to swallow for many left -leaning Dutch, who support multiculturalism and are hesitant to criticize Muslim culture. But many Dutch are now reassessing this reluctance ² and justifiably so. Ali's book can read like an academic screed, leaning heavily on political theory to make its points. Her message, however ² that liberal democracies can't afford intolerance ² appears to be taking hold in the m ass culture. Sometimes it rears its head in laws that place strict limits on immigration or otherwise make foreigners feel less welcome. Other times it offers a firm -but-friendly nudge to assimilate. That's the message of a strangely mesmerizing DVD produ ced by none other than the Dutch government. "Naar Nederland" is a sort of training video for would -be immigrants to the Netherlands. Intended to help migrants wend their way through the paperwork and day-to-day details of starting a new life in Holland, it is oddly unwelcoming. "It seemed bleak, cold, untouchable," one immigrant says about arriving in the country.

The message to Muslims ² delivered via discussions of Dutch religious tolerance, casually dropped references to condom availability in pharmac ies, endless harping on the importance of learning to speak Dutch, occasional glimpses of happy women in bikinis and a chipper warning about the perils of wearing a heavy veil when going through a security check ² is clear: Welcome to our country. And welcome, also, to the way we think. You can't have one without the other. Our tolerance is conditional on yours. "You have to emigrate mentally as well as physically," an interviewee observes. That is hardly the call to cultural arms that Ali would like to s ee. But it's an honest statement from a country struggling with its better impulses, trying to balance protecting its freedoms and respecting its differences. Yes, it's kind of sad that the Dutch tolerance bubble has to burst ² or at least deflate a little . But maybe, just maybe, it's a realistic step toward a peaceful future.
Seven accused of Danish terror plot

Muslim Hate of Freedom
Muslim Women in U.S. Struggle to Balance Western Freedoms and Islamic Culture

Saturday , March 28, 2009 By Ruth Ravve Fox News

DEARBORN, Mich. ² The "call to prayer" is a sound heard five times a day in this city, but this is not the Middle East. It¶s Dearborn, Michigan ² which has the largest Arab-American population in the U.S. Like other immigrant groups, many came here years ago in search of a better life. In the past few decades, the auto industry needed workers, so Michigan became a top destination. Over time, thousands of the Muslim faithful from around the world settled here, opening shops and restaurants an d turning Dearborn into a heavily Muslim influenced community, replete with mosques in every section of town and traditional foods from places like Pakistan and Syria. But while there are plenty of comforts from their home countries, Muslim women say they¶re constantly caught balancing their lives between the freedoms they have in Western culture and the restrictions they face from religious and societal pressure. They worry about whether they¶re following the habits of "a good Muslim woman." Zeinab Fakhreddine, a Lebanese-American woman raised in Dearborn, walks down the street wearing a traditional two -piece suit and a Muslim headscarf, called a hijab. The scarf covers her hair and tightly frames her face. She says the hijab was designed as a way to honor women in Islam, by concealing their beauty. In her community, she says, so many women are dressed this way, nobody looks twice at her. "It's kind of like a comfort zone in Dearborn, but when you leave here, it kind of becomes very different." Outside Dearborn, it's a different story. Despite the fact that Islamic groups are growing in major cities in the U.S., many Muslim women living here say assimilating into Western culture is still very difficult. Many of the immigrant women come to the United States fr om Muslim countries where they have few rights. Women are not allowed to drive cars or keep their own passports in Saudi Arabia, for example. It is very difficult for a woman to go to school or even leave her home without a male relative escorting her in p arts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact, life for Muslim women in the U.S. is so different that they say they're not sure whether to accept the sudden opportunities they have here, or reject them for fear that it doesn't fit within their religious follow ings. "In our religion it's forbidden to listen to music and there¶s some areas that we stay away from ... because we don¶t listen to music," said Fakhreddine. Also under Islam, it's acceptable for a man to have up to four wives at a time. While that's illegal in the United States, Islamic leaders say the religion designates the man as the head of the household.

"The big decisions are from the husband. Actually, we have to discuss everything with them," says Umia Mustafa, who moved here from Pakistan 10 yea rs ago, after her parents arranged her marriage to a Pakistani man already living here. She says in her religion, no matter where it¶s practiced, there's no question who is in charge. And sometimes clashes of cultures can have deadly consequences. Last month, Buffalo resident Aasiya Hassan, 37, was found decapitated after she had been complaining to police about domestic violence. Her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, was charged with the crime. While Muslim leaders caution against stereotypes and point out tha t domestic violence happens in all cultures, some women's rights leaders worry that Islam is being used to justify violence against women. "The typical Muslim man, they always are very overprotective, they're very controlling over the women. They're not al lowed to do this, they're not allowed to do that," says 23-year-old Fai Oman, who was born in Yemen. She says she feels lucky to be living in the West because she has more freedom and security than she would have in her home country. Taking on Western viewpoints and a less traditional look makes Oman stand out in the typical female Muslim community. She dresses in jeans and a low -cut sweater. Her dark hair is highlighted with blonde streaks, and her eyes are colored with bright blue shadow. Some Islamic leaders fear women like Oman will become more common and that Western culture will have too much influence over generations of Muslim women who grow up and live in America. "It does worry me because it's improper behavior [that] does lead to ... harm to t he female," said Yemen native Sakainah Faleh, a teacher who tutors young Muslim girls in the proper ways of Islam. She's concerned about Muslim women straying too far from the religion, she says. But Muslim leaders like Amina Aharif, from the Council on Am erican Islamic relations (CAIR), say that with so many women coming here from multiple Muslim countries, there are already different viewpoints and traditions influencing them. Each comes to the United States with her own versions of cultural and religious practices, she adds. "Just like America is a melting pot for people from all over the world, it is a melting pot for Muslims from all over the world," said Aharif. "It is such a diverse community."


Islam teaches hate and strive with no forgiveness.

Six Attackers Slain at Shrine in India
Tuesday July 5, 2005 3:01 PM AP Photo LUC102 By KULSUM TALHA Associated Press Writer

LUCKNOW, India (AP) - In a likely suicide attack, unidentified militants blew up a security wall on Tuesday and stormed a northern Indian Hindu shrine at the heart of a bitter sectarian dispute, setting off a fierce gunbattle with security personnel that left five other attackers dead, officials said. Police found the remains of a man they believe either deliberately or unwittingly triggered the blast that launched the assault, said Jyoti Sinha, chief of the Central Reserve Police Force at the Ram Janmbhoo mi shrine in the city of Ayodhya. Sinha's paramilitary force guards much of the site, which is claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. In 1992, Hindu nationalists demolished a 16th century Muslim mosque on the sprawling 80-acre (32-hectare) complex, sparking religious riots that killed more than 2,000 people. Hindu leaders claim the mosque was built by Mogul rulers on the site of a sacred Hindu temple. They believe the site is the birthplace of Ram, the highest god in the Hindu pantheon, but Muslims say there is no proof of that claim. The dispute is still working its way through India's courts. ``There were six militants. Five of them were killed by the security forces. Another body, torn into pieces, was found near the scene of the blast. He was perhaps use d as a human bomb,'' Sinha said. The assault lasted nearly two hours and three security forces suffered injuries, he added. The attackers used two vehicles in the assault - a jeep loaded with bombs that blew up part of a wall on the periphery of the high -security complex, and a taxi in which they traveled to the complex posing as tourists, said Alok Sinha, the home secretary of Uttar Pradesh state, where Ayodhya is located. The taxi driver was arrested and was being questioned, he said. Security officials in the capital, New Delhi, said they had advance intelligence indicating that militant groups were planning to attack religious sites. ``We had already taken some preventive steps. That is why our security forces were able to successfully repulse the att ack,'' said national Home Secretary V.K. Duggal. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned the attack and said the government would deal firmly with any terrorists.

``All state governments have been alerted to take adequate precautions to protect monuments, security installations, religious places. Particular attention has been drawn toward maintaining communal harmony, peace and public order,'' Singh's media adviser, Sanjay Baru, told reporters. Ayodhya is guarded at all times by thousands of pol ice and paramilitary soldiers, and the site has multiple barricades where visitors are frisked before being allowed in. Security is so tight that even pens, pencils, lighters and matchboxes are prohibited. No militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, and Duggal declined to single out a particular group. But Hindu nationalists quickly blamed Pakistan -backed militants from the Indian controlled portion of Kashmir, and said the incident proved Indi a's recent peace overtures with Islamabad were a failure. India and Pakistan, traditional rivals, are pursuing peace after years of acrimony. It was ``an attack by jihad terrorists,'' said a spokesman for the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. ``There should be protests against this across the country, peacefully,'' spokesman Ram Madhav said. The group is the ideological fountainhead of all Hindu organizations in India, including the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which called f or a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest the assault. ``To attack the Ram Janmbhoomi, the holiest shrine of the Hindus, is a very serious thing and there should be an equal reaction,'' said party president Lal Krishna Advani. Pakistan condemned Tuesday's attack in Ayodhya. The largest militant group in Kashmir, Hezb-ul Mujahedeen, also condemned the assault. A leading Islamic scholar in India called for peace, describing such attacks as futile. ``No movement can succeed with violence. They should give up the guns, bombs and violence and solve this through peaceful dialogue,'' said Maulana Wahiuddin. ``Those who are doing it are helping neither their country, nor their religion.'' The violence Tuesday was the first major attack on a Hindu temple si te since a 2002 assault on the Akshardham temple in western Gujarat state which left 32 people dead, including two attackers. That attack was blamed on the Pakistan -based Lashkar-e Tayyaba group - one of more than a dozen guerrilla groups fighting for Kashmir's independence or its merger with mostly Muslim Pakistan. Associated Press writer Rajesh Mahapatra in New Delhi contributed to this report.

HAF releases Hindu Human Rights report India Post News Service

NEW YORK: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) released recently its first annual report on the status of Hindu human rights in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Entitled ³Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kashmir: A survey of Human Rights 2004´, the report was prepared by HAF and compiles media coverage and first-hand accounts of human rights violations perpetrated against Hindus because of their religious identity. The 71 -page report was delivered prior to its release to the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian -Americans, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), who endorsed the report. ³The human rights violations that are occurring against Hindus must no longer be ignored without reprobation,´ said Congresswoman Ros -Lehtinen, after reviewing the HAF report. ³Hindus have a history of being peaceful, pluralistic and understanding of other faiths and peoples, yet minority Hindus have endured decades of pain and suffering without the a ttention of the world.´ Congressman Ackerman stressed the fundamental nature of religious freedom and supported the concept of the annual report produced by HAF. ³The Hindu American Foundation has done some important work in this regard by compiling thei r 2004 Survey of Human Rights by helping to defend the rights of Hindus around the world to practice their religion without intimidation and by shining a light on those who would take away their religious freedoms,´ said Ackerman in a statement distributed on July 12. The Hindu human rights report ²the first in what is to be an annual publication ²was prepared, according to the HAF Board of Directors, to document a humanitarian tragedy largely omitted in reports by the United States State Department and lar ger human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. While these groups often mention the attacks on Hindus according to HAF, the group maintains that the massive scope of this human rights disaster requires the extensive coverage that this report provides. ³With over 600 documented attacks of murder, rape and physical intimidation of Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India¶s state of Jammu and Kashmir last year alone, the ongoing atrocities against Hindus can no longer be ignored,´ said Ramesh Rao, member of the HAF Executive Council who contributed to the report. ³We are gratified that leaders in the U.S. Congress understand the magnitude of this tragedy and are determined to raise their voices in outrage.´ The report specifically denounces Bangladesh for a long -history of anti-Hindu atrocities that have recently spiked following the ascent of the Bangladeshi National Party-Jamat-e-Islami coalition. The decline of Hindus in Bangladesh from 30% of the population in 1947, to less than 10% today is analyzed in the report. The report alleges that the estimated loss of 20 million Bangladeshi Hindus is a consequence of an ongoing genocide and forced exodus. ³Persecution, discrimination and outright violence is the horrid real ity for Hindus in Bangladesh today,´ said Dr. Aseem Shukla, member of the HAF Board of Directors. ³The international community must demand that the Bangladesh government immediately investigate the ongoing religious cleansing within its borders and

empower minority and human rights commissions there.´ The HAF report also discusses the consequence of Pakistan and Al -Qaeda sponsored Islamist violence in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that has left tens of thousands of Hindus and Muslims dead, and 350 ,000 Hindu victims of religious cleansing. Similarly, the Pakistan government is condemned for systematic state-sponsored religious discrimination against Hindus through elaborate ³anti blasphemy´ laws, and for failing to investigate numerous reports of mi llions of Hindus being held as ³bonded laborers´ in slavery -like conditions. ³While HAF supports all efforts to bring lasting peace between India and Pakistan,´ cautioned Sheetal D. Shah, member of the HAF Executive Council and a contributor to the HAF report, ³Pakistan must continue to be held responsible for a recent upsurge in violence in the Kashmir valley, and even possibly on one of Hinduism¶s most sacred shrines this month alone.´ HAF leaders were gratified by Congressional support for the report and discussed plans to follow-up the report in personal interactions with many other legislators planned later this year. A congressional resolution emphasizing aspects of the report is being actively discussed. Rep. Ros Lehtinen and Rep. Ackerman pledged to continue working with HAF on these human rights issues. ³I applaud the Hindu American Foundation for bringing awareness to this issue,´ said Ros-Lehtinen. ³I look forward to working with it to help address this scar on the international human rights community." Ackerman discussed the obligation of Congress to speak out against international human rights abuses. ³By working alongside organizations such as the Hindu American Foundation, we can help to ensure that violations to religious freedom are documented, and challenged across the world,´ he added. The survey findings BANGLADESH ‡ Over 400 documented attacks have taken place on Bangladeshi Hindus between January and November 2004. ‡ These attacks include the day to day acts of murder, rape, ki dnapping, temple destruction, and physical intimidation. ‡ Hindus are labeled as ³enemies´ of Bangladesh. The Enemy Property Order II of 1965, under which property belonging to Hindus was identified as enemy property, was renamed as Vested Property Act in 1972, and under which, the Government of ‡ Bangladesh vested itself with alleged enemy properties. Still in force, this Order of the President and the Enemy \ Vested Property Act has not been subjected to any judicial review. ‡ Hindus, who comprised nearly 30% of Bangladesh¶s population in 1947, now constitute less than 10% of the population. ‡ By 1991, 20 million Hindus were unaccounted or ³missing´ according to expected population trends. PAKISTAN ‡ Hindus, who constituted between 15% and 24% of Pa kistan¶s population in 1947, now comprise less than 1.6% of the population.

‡ Nearly 2 million people, many of them Hindus, are held as slaves in ³bonded labor´ in southern Pakistan. ‡ Kidnapping of vulnerable Hindus is a well -established multi-million dollar industry. ‡ Pakistan officially discriminates against non -Muslims through a variety of laws and strictures. Discriminatory laws include the ³anti -blasphemy law´ under which anyone who is accused of criticizing the Prophet Muhammad is imprisoned with out trial for long periods of time, and mandatory religious identification in passports. Specific discriminatory laws are the Hudood Ordinance of 1979 (offence of Zina, offence of Qazaf, execution of punishment of whipping ordinance), the Qanoon -i-Shahadat Order of 1984 and Qisas & Diyat Ordinance (Section 306 C) of 1991. JAMMU & KASHMIR ‡ Over 300,000 Kashmiri Hindus have been forced to leave due to ethnic cleansing abetted by Kashmiri Muslims. ‡ These 300,000 Hindus are refugees in their own country, sheltered in temporary camps near Delhi and elsewhere. ‡ More than 3,000 Hindu civilians have been killed, and thousands more Hindu police and army personnel have succumbed to terrorist violence. There are virtually no Hindus left in the Kashmir Valley; they have all been driven out. Conclusion Of these regions, Bangladesh represents an ongoing crisis for Hindus and is of utmost immediate concern. Human rights violations against Hindus are repeatedly ignored by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and government commissions like the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom that routinely fail to specifically highlight the plight of Hindus in regions where they comprise a minority. Minority and human rights commissions in these regions must be created and/or empowered to pressure the governments of these countries to provide security and uphold the rights of minority Hindus. The international community must compel the governments of Pakistan, B angladesh, and India to respect the human rights of Hindus as an urgent priority.

Procession runs into violence in Vadodara Express News Service

Vadodara, September 17: ALL day long, calm prevailed in Vadodara. It shattered on Saturday night when violence erupted in Muslim -dominated Chaukhandi area after a Ganesh procession was stoned at.

Police said the last few of the Ganapati idols from Wadi area were being taken out in a procession when there was heavy stone -pelting, which resulted in a clash. Five people were seriously injured, two of them with bullet injuries. However, it was not known if those who were hit by bullets were injured in police firing or when some procession members reportedly opened fire. Locals said tension prevailed in the area after president of the Chaukhandi Yuvak Mandal received an anoynymous letter reportedly abu sing him for the manner in which Ganapati had been displayed slaying Dawood Ibrahim and Osama bin Laden. Later in the evening, when Ganapati idols were being taken in a procession to Sursagar lake for immersion, there was slogan shouting near Moghul Resta urant which led to stone-pelting. As the mob grew in number, some of the members resorted to firing. Security forces, including the Rapid Action Force, rushed to the area and cordoned it off. Police confirmed that five rounds of tear -gas shells were fired at the rioting mob. Five rounds of police firing occured during the incident. µ

Temple, Station Attacked in India
Authorities Urge Calm After Deadly Back -to-Back Blasts By John Lancaster Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, March 8, 2006; A14 NEW DELHI, March 7 -- Bombs exploded in a crowded Hindu temple and a railway station in the holy city of Varanasi on Tuesday evening, killing at least 15 people and raising fears of retaliatory violence against India's minority Muslim population. Authorities appealed for calm and police officers in major cities were placed on high alert. Even before the blasts, communal tensions had been rising in India. Angry Muslim protests against President Bush, who visited India last week, as well as against cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, first published in a Danish newspaper, have erupted into violence in several cities. The first blast Tuesday ripped through the Sankat Mochan temple shortly after 6 p.m. as Hindu devotees gathered to make offerings to the monkey god Hanu man, Indian news agencies reported. Among the dead was a bridegroom who had come to seek the deity's blessings, according to the Press Trust of India news service. Tuesday evening is the traditional time for visiting the temple.

The second explosion came minutes later at the railway station. The blast left a foot deep crater, shattered windows and splattered the station with blood and body parts, the Press Trust reported. Four more unexploded bombs were found at another site next to the Ganges River. In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Navneet Sikera, senior superintendent of police in Varanasi, put the death toll at 15, with 60 injured. The Press Trust said 20 people had died, including 14 at the train station. [Five people died overnight of injur ies, according to a police official cited by the Associated Press.] Indian television footage of the bombed temple showed pools of blood and chunks of flesh amid scattered shoes and other debris. Injured survivors were carried to private vehicles and ambulances, and crowds of angry men waved their fists in the air. Many of the injured were said to be in critical condition. Situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh about 400 miles east of New Delhi, the historic, densely packed city of Varanasi is sometimes called the "Hindu Jerusalem" to underscore its significance to the followers of India's dominant faith, who make up about 81 percent of the population. The city is a magnet for pilgrims who travel there for ritual baths in the Ganges River. And the most relig ious Hindus believe there is no better place to die than Varanasi, whose waterfront is lined with cremation grounds. Authorities feared the bombings of such a sensitive site could trigger communal bloodletting. In 2002, reports of a Muslim attack on a trai n carrying Hindu nationalists in the state of Gujarat triggered rioting that left more than 1,000 people dead. Most of the dead in that episode were Muslims, who make up about 13 percent of India's billion-plus people. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "has appealed for peace and calm," said his media adviser, Sanjay Baru. "He is constantly monitoring the situation." Interior minister Shivraj Patil was en route to Varanasi Tuesday night, as was Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Congress party, which heads the count ry's governing coalition. Spokesmen for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which leads the opposition, blamed the bombings on what they said was the government's lax attitude toward terrorism, and called for a strike in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesda y. One key unanswered question Tuesday night was whether the bombings were the work of homegrown Islamic extremists or militant groups based in Pakistan. In the past, the Pakistani government has used such groups as a weapon in its conflict with India over the divided Himalayan province of Kashmir. In late 2001, an attack on India's Parliament that India blamed on Pakistan triggered a military standoff that raised fears of a nuclear exchange. The crisis was defused only under heavy U.S. and British diplomat ic pressure.

India and Pakistan embarked on peace negotiations that have lowered tensions, but Indian officials have continued to express skepticism over claims by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, that he has ended state support for militant gr oups. Indian authorities have identified the militant group Lashkar -e-Taiba, which is based in Pakistan, as a primary suspect in the bombings of two New Delhi markets that killed 60 people Oct. 29. Musharraf has banned the group, although it continues to operate under a different name. Some analysts saw a possible connection between the bombings and Hindu -Muslim clashes in the city of Lucknow on Friday that left four people dead. The clashes grew out of Muslim protests against Bush. Communal clashes also er upted in the coastal state of Goa.

Suspect identified in deaths of Anaheim Hills father, daughter
Former boyfriend of surviving daughter arrested in Phoenix airport carrying a one-way ticket to Bangladesh. By GWENDOLYN DRISCOLL, GARY GRADO and DENISSE SALAZAR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Van Nuys man carrying a one-way ticket to Bangladesh has been arrested at a Phoenix airport in connection with the deaths of two Anaheim Hills residents last week, the beating of a third, and a hou se fire, Maricopa County Superior Court officials confirmed Tuesday. Iftekhar Murtaza,22, is identified in court papers as the ex -boyfriend of Shayona Dhanak, the 18-year-old daughter of one of the two murder victims, Jayprakash Dhanak, 56. The other victim, Karishma Dhanak, 20, was Shayona Dhanak¶s sister. Jayprakash¶s wife, Leela Dhanak, 53, was severely beaten in the attack but survived. The victims were stabbed, strangled and burned, according to the documents. The Dhanaks¶ Anaheim Hills home was set on fire. Murtaza was identified by a ³victim,´ according to police documents presented to the Superior Court. Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez described Murtaza as a ³person of interest´ in the case. ³This is still a very wide and complex investigation ,´ Martinez said. ³We are not discounting anything.´ Martinez noted that ³ based on the brutality of the crime , we believe there was more than one suspect involved.´

The motive for the crime appears to be a dispute over religion. ³Information developed revealed the suspect was upset with Shayona¶s parents and sister for discontinuing the relationship due to different religious backgrounds, Hindu and Muslim,´ the papers said. The Dhanaks were reported by friends and neighbors to be devout members of the strict Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism. Murtaza is Muslim. Court documents do not specify how police knew that Murtaza was in Phoenix. His description was forwarded to Phoenix police and to the U.S. Marshal¶s office at Phoenix¶s Sky Harbor International Ai rport. About 2 a.m. Saturday, a man fitting Murtaza¶s description was spotted. ³A person matching the description was seen inside a terminal at the airport,´ the documents said. ³He was contacted and identity was confirmed through a passport and identification card. He was subsequently detained for questioning.´ Murtaza was connected with the crime through telephone toll records that revealed that his telephone was used on the day of the murders less than two miles from the crime scene and about 50 minute s before the attack began, documents say. After his arrest, Murtaza gave a voluntary statement in which he said he was ³not in Anaheim on the day or evening of the homicide,´ according to the court papers. Murtaza was arraigned about 5 p.m. Saturday and charged with being a fugitive from justice. He is being held without bond by the Maricopa County Sheriff¶s Department because he is considered a flight risk. The crime to which he is now linked occurred May 21 about 11 p.m. when police responded to reports of a fire on the 6100 block of East Camino Correr in Anaheim Hills. When police arrived, they found a badly beaten Leela Dhanak lying unconscious outside her house. Her husband and daughter Karishma were missing. Shayona Dhanak was not living at home at the time and was unharmed. About 4:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, police responded to a second report of a fire in Irvine ± a brush fire next to a bike trail. Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak¶s badly burned bodies were found nearby. Court documents list the nature of the injuries as ³head trauma, strangulation, stab wounds to abdomen, moderate burns.´ A second court date for Murtaza is scheduled for May 31. Anaheim police spokesman Martinez stressed that tips from the public were still important to solving the crime. ³This is one of those 5,000 -piece puzzles,´ Martinez said. ³That¶s why we want the public¶s help because they might have the missing piece.´

Muslim Hate of Ireland Call for ban on 'bomb Ireland' extremist
Tom Brady, Helen Bruce and Shane Hickey 11 November 2005 There was outrage last night after an Islamic fundamentalist said Ireland was a "legitimate" target for a terrorist attack. Lawyer Anjem Choudary, who is under police surveillance in Britain, made the comments shortly after arriving in Dublin for a debate in Trinity College. His remarks are being studied by gardai with a view to possible prosecution for incitement to hatred. Politicians called for him to be banned from public platforms in Ireland. Choudary claimed Ireland was a legitimate target for a terror attack because of the Government's decision to allow US troops to refuel at Shannon Airport. "If you are going to allow your country to be used to refuel a US plane which is going on a bombing raid, what do you expect our reaction to be? This is not neutrality," he said. "A US pilot is no different from the Irish person who allows the plane to land. They are collaborators." And in a veiled threat, he warned: "It is better for the Muslim to tell you this reality so we can change this and to make sure what is taking place in other countries will not happen in Ireland." Another Muslim extremist, Umran Javed, told the debate he did not personally see an attack on Ireland as likely.

But he warned retaliation would come "swiftly" if Ireland was to increase its support for the US. Choudary's comments came just a day after at some 60 people were killed in a triple bomb attack in Jordan. He spoke only hours after the head of Scotland Yard, London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, warned that Dublin is as much at risk of a major terrorist attack as other large cities. A Government spokesman last night refused to comment on Choudary's inflammatory remarks, and said it was a "legal issue for the Department of Justice". Justice Minister Michael McDowell is to await a Garda report on the debate before reacting to the comments. Senior Garda officers will also study his remarks to determine if they represent an incitement to hatred. Detectives from the Garda Special Branch's Middle Eastern Unit kept watch at Trinity College while Mr Choudary, Umram Javed and another Islamic fundamentalist, Abdul Rehman Saleem, aired their extremist views. Opposition politicians last night expressed outrage at the decision to give Choudary a platform for his views, and said the Islamic fundamentalist may be guilty of breaching incitement to hatred laws. Labour Justice spokesman Joe Costello described his comments as "dangerous and provocative". "This is a form of incitement to hatred. It is highly irresponsible to state that Ireland is a legitimate target for attack, especially given what happened in Jordan yesterday," he told the Irish Independent. "There is a serious question mark about somebody coming into this country and justifying an attack on this country." Fine Gael's justice spokesman Jim O'Keeffe said no-one wanted to curb free speech, but added there was also a duty to uphold the laws banning incitement to hatred and advocating terrorist attacks. "I think it is very immature of the Philosophical Society in Trinity to invite someone who wants to advocate violence." A spokesman for Trinity College said there was never any question of banning Choudary as the university believed in free speech and encouraged the Philosophical Society to promote debate. Choudary was speaking in favour of a motion that the September 11 attacks in the US in 2001 were justified.

Musleh Faradhi, president of the Islamic Forum of Europe, said: "Any terrorism act perpetrated by Muslims in condemnable. Whether it is in a Muslim land, America, London or Jordan, it goes against the teaching of Islam, the Koran and the teachings of the prophet. "We condemn it without any condition. "There is no justification whatever for these acts. That is the view of the main body of Muslims worldwide." The controversy comes at time when British politics is torn by the Commons defeat of a key clause in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's anti-terror measures. Mr Blair yesterday branded rebel Labour MPs as out of touch.

Muslim Hate of Israel
Israeli Arab activist convicted of spying for Hezbollah

10-27-2010 BBC News

An Israeli court has convicted a leading Israeli Arab activist of spying for Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group. Amir Makhoul, 52, admitted to the charges in a plea bargain that will see him jailed for seven to 10 years. Under the deal, prosecutors dropped the most serious charge - assisting an enemy in a time of war - for which he could have faced life in prison. He will be sentenced in November. Makhoul was arrested in May, along with Israeli Arab activist Omar Sayid. Charges against Mr Sayid were reduced in a plea bargain and he was freed last month after serving a seven-month jail term. The Israeli press was initially barred from reporting on the case, but when the gag order was lifted, Israeli Arab pressure group Adalah said their arrest and interrogation had been conducted "in gross violation of their fundamental rights to due process". Makhoul's lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, said he agreed to a plea bargain because of the difficulty of proving his innocence. He said the information that Makhoul shared was common knowledge and available on the internet. In May, Makhoul and Sayid confessed that they passed information about Israeli bases to the Lebanese militant and political group, Hezbollah, which is blacklisted by Israel as a terrorist organisation. Prosecutors said they sent information to their Lebanese contacts over the internet using sophisticated encryption programmes. In 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. Makhoul is the director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community -Based Associations, the brother of a former Israeli -Arab member of Israel's Knesset, or parliament, and an outspoken critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

Leader of Israeli Arab Islamic movement convicted of assault (AFP) November 5, 2009

JERUSALEM ² The hardline leader of the radical wing of the Israeli Arab Islamic movement was convicted of assaulting a police officer by an Israeli court on Thursday, his deputy said.

"The Israeli court convicted Sheikh Raed Salah, accusing him of striking a police officer because of the digging under the Dung Gate in February 2007," Kamal Khatib, the deputy head of the movement, told AFP. Khatib denied the charges and said Salah would appe al the decision. He gave no further details. The incident took place during demonstrations that erupted in and around Jerusalem's Old City in February 2007 when Israel embarked on a construction project near the flashpoint Al -Aqsa mosque compound. Muslim demonstrators said the repair work near the Dung Gate threatened the foundations of the nearby compound, which is the third holiest site for Muslims, who refer to it as Al-Haram Al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary). The compound is the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount, and has been the scene of several outbreaks of violence over the course of the decades old Israeli-Arab conflict. In August 2007 Salah was indicted for "inciting racism and violence" for calling for a "third Intifada," or uprising, to defend the mosque. Salah was detained last month during similar clashes at Al -Aqsa sparked by rumours that Jewish extremists were attempting to pray inside the compound, which is closed to non-Muslim worshippers. Clashes have broken out several times in recent weeks, with Salah and his movement calling on all Muslims to "defend" the mosque from Israel. The Israeli Arab community numbers 1.2 million and accounts for 20 percent of Israel's population. It includes the descendants of the 160,000 Pa lestinians who remained in Israel following the 1948 war.

Western Press Ignores Iran's Hate -Filled Quds Day The MEMRI Report BY STEVEN STALINSKY October 25, 2006

It is disturbing when the entire leadership of one nation, along with hundreds of thousands of its citizens, comes out with celebrations and parades every year that call for the annihilation of another country.

It is more twisted that no world leaders or international bodies, including the United Nations, have denounced the activities s urrounding Quds Day, an Iranian holiday introduced by Ayatollah Khomeini that is marked on the last Friday of Ramadan. While the world was focusing on North Korea last week, Iran's mad scientists were hard at work preparing for the annual Quds Day celebrat ions. Most of the Western press outlets that reported on the popular holiday simply downplayed it as just another "anti -Israel" day. However, this year's revelries focused both on calling for the annihilation of America and embracing Iran's nuclear program. The celebrations included proclamations by the country's leaders and activities for university students and artists. Isfahan University's Mechanical Energy College took first place in a Quds Day competition for its design of a pilotless plane that can be used for "suicide attacks." The director of the Iranian Broadcasting Organization of Music Production, Mohammad Mirzamani, composed a symphony dedicated to "the victory over the Zionist regime," and the country's religious Web logs were told to rep ort on all the festivities. Iranian press outlets featured hundreds of photographs from the celebrations in Tehran. Among the notable scenes captured were children in Condoleezza Rice costumes; effigies of President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert, and Prime M inister Blair being lit on fire and dragged through the streets; the burning of American and Israeli flags; and hundreds of posters of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah featuring the caption "I swear to Allah that Israel is weaker than [a] spider house." The posters called for a boycott of such "Israeli" goods as McDonald's, Kit Kat bars, Intel, L'Oreal, Nestlé, Disney, and Marlboro. President Ahmadinejad gave a series of speeches leading up to and on Quds Day. At an Iftar address on October 14, he discussed his "conn ection with God" and said: "The president of America is like us. That is, he too is inspired ... but [his] inspiration is of the satanic kind. Satan gives inspiration to the president of America." Mr. Ahmadinejad delivered his Quds Day speech under a banne r that read, "Israel must be wiped off the face of the world." He described the holiday as "a day for confrontation between the Islamic faith with the global arrogance." In another speech, he said Israel was "doomed" and promised that the Israeli "regime will be gone, definitely." The words "the Zionist regime is a cancerous gland that needs to be uprooted" were written in a communiqué from the Iranian Foreign Ministry in honor of the holiday. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki held a meeting for other Isl amic countries' ambassadors to Iran and told them that Israel's existence would be shattered and that death bells were tolling for the Zionists. At the meeting, the Palestinian Arab ambassador to Tehran, Salah Zawawi, said, "The day for the liberation of Q uds Day is close at hand."

A who's who of the Iranian leadership marched in the main Quds Day parade before crowds chanting "death to Israel" and "death to America." The marchers included a former Iranian president, Mohammed Khatemi, and a spokesman for th e parliament presidency board, Mohsen Kouhkan, who predicted a quick "final and total defeat of America and the Zionist regime." The chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, praised "the fasting people taking part in the rally [who] are chanting slogans such as µdeath to America' and µdeath to Israel.'" "The world arrogance and Zionism today are shivering from Muslim vigilance and are on the threshold of annihilation," he added. Information Minister Hholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei explained that the holiday "is a proper occasion for people to declare their hatred of America and Israel," while a representative of the Islamic Consulate Assembly, Ahmad Pish -bin, promised that the "final defeat for world arrogance" is coming. The chairman of the Expediency Council and a former Iranian president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who led Friday prayers, said Quds Day is an important factor "between Islam and unbelief and the stage for Muslims' jihad." He added, "The world's 1.5 billion Muslims back this ji had." Mr. Rafsanjani also led Quds Day prayers on December 14, 2001. Then, he warned of a coming confrontation between the "pious and martyrdom -seeking forces" and the "highest forces of colonialism," which "might inflame a third World War." Sadly, Mr. Rafsanjani is considered one of Iran's more moderate leaders. Mr. Stalinsky is the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Rethinking the Egypt-Israel "Peace" Treaty by Daniel Pipes New York Sun November 21, 2006

Ninety-two percent of respondents in a recent poll of one thousand Egyptians over 18 years of age called Israel an enemy state. In contrast, a meager 2% saw Israel as "a friend to Egypt." These hostile sentiments express themselves in many ways, including a popular song titled " I Hate Israel," venomously antisemitic political cartoons, bizarre conspiracy theories, and terrorist attacks against visiting Israelis . Egypt's leading democracy movement, Kifaya, recently launched an initiative to collect a million signatures on a petition demanding the annulment of the March 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Also, the Egyptian government has permitted large quantities of weapons to be smuggled into Gaza to use against Israeli border towns. Yuval Steinitz, an Israeli legislator specializing in Egypt -Israel relations, estimates that fully 90% of PLO and Hamas explosives come from Egypt. Cairo may have no apparent enemies, but the impoverished Egyptian state sinks massive resources into a military build up. According to the Congressional Research Service, it purchased $6.5 billion worth of foreign weapons in the years 2001 -04, more than any other state in th e Middle East. In contrast, the Israeli government bought only $4.4 billion worth during that period and the Saudi one $3.8 billion. Egypt ranked as the third largest purchaser of arms in the entire developing world, following only population giants China and India. It has the tenth largest standing army in the world, well over twice the size of Israel's. This long, ugly record of hostility exists despite a peace treaty with Israel, hail ed at the time by both Egypt's president Anwar El-Sadat and Israel's prime minister Menachem Begin as a "historic turning point." U.S. president Jimmy Carter hoped it would begin a new era when "violence no longer dominates the Middle East." I too shared in this enthusiasm. With the benefit of retrospect, however, we see that the treaty did palpable harm in at least two ways. First, it opened the American arsenal and provided American funding to purchase the latest in weaponry. As a result, for the first time in the Arab Israeli conflict, an Arab armed force may have reached parity with its Israeli counterpart. Second, it spurred anti-Zionism. I lived for nearly three years in Egypt in the 1970s, before Sadat's dramatic trip to Jerusalem in late 1977, and I recall the relatively low interest in Israel at that time. Israel was plastered all over the news but it hardly figured in conversations. Egyptians seemed happy to delegate this issue to their government. Only after the treaty, which many Egyptians saw a s a betrayal, did they themselves take direct interest. The result was the emergence of a more personal, intense, and bitter form of anti -Zionism. The same pattern was replicated in Jordan, where the 1994 treaty with Israel soured popular attitudes. To a l esser extent, the 1993 Palestinian accords and even the aborted 1983 Lebanon treaty prompted similar responses. In all four of these cases, diplomatic agreements prompted a surge in hostility toward Israel. Defenders of the "peace process" answer that, how ever hostile Egyptians' attitudes and however large their arsenal, the treaty has held; Cairo has in fact not made war on Israel since 1979. However frigid the peace, peace it has been. To which I reply: if the mere absence of active warfare counts as peac e, then peace has also prevailed between Syria and Israel for decades, despite their formal state of war. Damascus lacks a treaty with Jerusalem, but it also lacks modern American weaponry. Does an antique signature on a piece of paper offset Egypt's Abram s tanks, F-16 fighter jets, and Apache attack helicopters?

I think not. In retrospect, it becomes apparent that multiple fallacies and wishful predictions fueled Arab -Israeli diplomacy:
y y y y

Once signed, agreements signed by unelected Arab leaders would convinc e the masses to give up their ambitions to eliminate Israel. These agreements would be permanent, with no backsliding, much less duplicity. Other Arab states would inevitably follow suit. War can be concluded through negotiations rather than by one side giving up.

The time has come to recognize the Egypt -Israel treaty ± usually portrayed as the glory and ornament of Arab -Israel diplomacy ± as the failure it has been, and to draw the appropriate lessons in order not to repeat its mistakes.

Israel's Domestic Enemy by Daniel Pipes New York Sun December 19, 2006

After nearly sixty years on the sidelines, Israel's third and final enemy may be joining the battle. Foreign states are Israel's enemy no. 1. With the declaration of Israeli independence in May 1948, five foreign armed forces invaded Israel. All the major wars that followed ± 1956, 1967, 1970, 1973 ± involved Israelis at war with neighboring armies, air forces, and navies. Today, the greatest threat comes from weapons of mass destruction in Iran and Syria. Egypt increasingly presents a conventional arms danger. External Palestinians are enem y no. 2. Eclipsed for two decades after 1948, they moved to center-stage with Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The 1982 Lebanon war and the 1993 Oslo accords confirmed their centrality. External Palestinians remain active and menacin g today, what with terrorism, missiles landing on Sderot, and a global public relations campaign of rejectionism. The Muslim citizens of Israel, usually known in English as Israeli Arabs, constitute enemy no. 3. (But I focus on Muslims, not Arabs, because Arabic-speaking Christians and Druze are generally less hostile.) Israeli Muslims began inconsequentially; in 1949, they constituted a population of 111,000 and 9 percent of Israel's po pulation. They then multiplied ten -fold, to 1,141,000 in 2005, 16 percent of the population. Beyond numbers, they took full advantage of Israel's open, modern society to evolve from a small, docile, and leaderless population into a robust, assertive community whose leaders include a Supreme Court justice, Salim Joubran; an ambassador, Ali Yahya; members of parliament; academics; and entrepreneurs.

This ascent, along with other factors ± enemies no. 1 and 2 at war with Israel, increased ties to the West Bank, the surge of radical Islam, the Lebanon war in mid 2006 ± emboldened Muslims to reject the Israeli identity and turn against the state. Their blatantly celebrating Israel's worst enemies evidences this, as does growing Muslim-on-Jewish violence within Israel. This month alone, Muslims pillaged a Jewish religious school in Acre and nearly murdered a Jezreel Valley farmer . A teenage boy was arrested for planning a suicide attack on a Nazareth hotel. This hostility has been codified in an impressively crafted document that was published in early December, The Future Vision of Palestinian Arabs in Israel . Issued by the Mossawa Center in Haifa ± which is partially funded by American Jews ± and endorsed by many establishment figures, its extremism may well mark a turning point for Israeli Muslims. The paper rejects the Jewish nature of Israel, insisting that the country become a bi-national state in which Palestinian culture and power enjoy complete equality. The document's notion of a "joint homeland" means Jewish and Arab sectors that run their own affairs and have the right of veto over certain of the other's decisions. Future Vision demands adjustments to the flag and anthem, canceling the 1950 Law of Return that automatically grants Israeli citizenship to any Jew, and elevating Arabic to be the equal of Hebrew. It seeks separate Arab representation in international fora. Most profoundly, the study would terminate the Zionist achievement of a sovereign Jewish state. Unsurprisingly, Jewish Israelis reacted negatively. In Maµariv, Dan Margalit dismissed Israeli Arabs as "impossible." In Ha'aretz, Avraham Tal interpreted the outrageous demands as intentionally continuing the conflict, even should Israel's external conflicts be settled. Israel's deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, implicitly rejects the document's very premises. "What is the logic," he is quoted in The New York Sun, of creating 1½ countries for Palestinians (an allusion to the Palestinian Authority becoming a full -fledged state) and "a half country for the Jewish people?" Mr. Lieberman wants to restrict Israeli citizenship to those willing to sign a statement of loyalty to the Israeli flag and anthem, and prepared to do military service or its equivalent. Those who refuse to sign ± whether Muslim, far-leftist, Haredi, or other ± may remain in place as permanent residents, with all the benefits of Israe li residence, even voting and running for local office (a privilege non-citizen Arab residents of Jerusalem currently enjoy). But they would be excluded from voting in national elections or being elected to national office. The diametrically opposed proposals of Future Vision and Mr. Lieberman are opening bids in a long negotiating process that usefully focus attention on a topic too long sidelined. Three brutally simple cho ices face Israelis: either Jewish Israelis give up Zionism; or Muslim Israelis accept Zionism; or Muslim Israelis don't remain Israeli for long. The sooner Israelis resolve this matter, the better.

8 Burials for Jerusalem Seminary¶s Dead

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STEVEN ERLANGER The New York Times March 8, 2008 KFAR ETZION, West Bank ² They carried the body of Avraham David Moses, 16 years old, on a stretcher down the slope of the vibrant green cemetery here, shaded by tall pines, overlooking a valley, in utter silence. The boy was wrapped in a black -and-white prayer shawl, and as the pallbearers slipped him into the grave on Friday, the long silence was broken by quiet weeping and occasional sobs. Men recited psalms, and Naftali Moses, the boy¶s father , his garments torn in grief, said the Hebrew prayer for the dead, his voice breaking, before moving back up the slope to the parking lot, through a somber line of mourners, men on one side, women on the other. The boy¶s stepmother, Leah, described Avraham David, as he was known, as ³a really good kid ² he would come home and unload the dishwasher without being asked.´ If the adults started gossiping at the table, she said, he would recite mishnayot, or oral teachings. ³He was just an incredible blessing,´ she said. Avraham David was one of eight seminary students killed Thursday night in an act of terrorism, shot by a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who sprayed them with hundreds of rounds of automatic weapons fire before being killed himself. Ten other students were wounded, three of them seriously. It was unclear what group, if any, was responsibl e for the massacre. The radical Islamic Hamas movement praised the deed on Thursday but did not claim it. On Friday an anonymous caller claiming to be from Hamas took responsibility in a phone call to Reuters and said that details would come later. But Fawzi Barhoum, a senior Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that no claim was official unless made in a written statement signed by the military wing of Hamas. The family of the gunman, identified as Ala Abu Dhaim, 25, said he had been intensely religious, but did not belong to any militant group. Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Israel would act after proper investigation and deliberation, and he condemned those, like Hamas, who celebrated the killings with parades in Gaza. ³That Hamas calls this a heroic act, and praises it, this exposes them for what they are,´ he said. The young men died as they were studying in the library of the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, a major center for the religious Zionist movement that supports Israeli settlement in the West Bank ² settlements like this one, which Israel intends to keep in any future peace treaty. The dead, most of them 15 or 16, with the oldest 26, were all buried Friday, in separate funerals drawing thousands of weeping and angry Israelis.

The funeral processions began together earlier on Friday at the yeshiva itself, where thousands of people, many of them in the traditional black clothing of the ultra Orthodox or wearing knitted skullcaps, characteristic of more modern religious Zionists, lined the streets. In the large courtyard, where the blood had been washed away, eight benches were marked with the names of the dead, and one wall of the yeshiva was covered with large posters listing them. As each body was brought forward to rest on its bench, the crowds outside the gates parted to let the pallbearers pass, with cr ies and screams from relatives and friends. In every corner, students hugged and cried, and many went to see and touch the closed library door, shattered by bullets. In his eulogy, the yeshiva¶s chief rabbi, Yaakov Shapira, said that the gunman had made t argets of ³everyone living in the holy city of Jerusalem´ and criticized the Olmert government for its willingness to negotiate the return of some occupied land to the Palestinians. ³The time has come for all of us to understand that an external struggle i s raging, and an internal struggle, and everyone believes the hour has come for us to have a good leadership, a stronger leadership, a more believing leadership,´ he said. Weeping, Rabbi Shapira said, ³The murderers are the Amalek of our day, coming to remind us that Amalek has not disappeared, just changed its appearance.´ The Amalekites were indigenous nomads who attacked the Israelites on their flight from Egypt, and were annihilated by King David. ³God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son,´ the rabbi said. ³We had to sacrifice eight.´ The ceremony ended as it began, with the procession of bodies taken out of the gates, one by one, for their separate burials. The Israeli government declared a high alert on Friday and barred Palestinians in the West Bank from traveling to Jerusalem over the weekend, deploying thousands of police officers and limiting the numbers of Muslims allowed to pray at the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. The killer was a Palestinian with permanent residency in Jerusalem. His home in the Jebel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem was adorned Friday with the flags of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. According to his family, he was a driver for a private company that had made deliveries to the yeshiva, but the police would not confirm that. His family said that although he had been intensely religious, he was not a member of any militant group, and he had planned on marrying this summer. But he had been transfixed by the bloodshed in Gaza, where 126 Palestinians died from Wednesday through Monday, his sister, Iman Abu Dhaim, told The Associated Press. Several of his relatives were detained for questioning. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, condemned the killing of civilians by both sides, and Israel said it would continue peace talks with him. Mr. Abbas had suspended such talks after the Gaza deaths.

Mr. Regev urged Mr. Abbas to do more to stop terrorism. ³They have clear obligations to act against terror cells,´ he said. ³While we understand that they have limitations on their capabilities today, we believe that they could be doing much more.´ A senior Israeli official who spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of the issue said many details about the killing were unclear and no major decisions had been made. Mr. Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ³understand that there is no quick fix for Hamas, that this will take time, and the goal is to continually apply pressure on the Hamas leadership ² economic, military, diplomatic and political,´ the official said. Isabel Kershner reported from Kfar Etzion, West Bank, and Steven Erlanger from Jerusalem. Rina Castelnuovo contributed reporting from Jerusalem, and Taghreed El-Khodary from Gaza.


Muslim Hate of Jehovah's Witnesses Source editor vandalizes church
New York | October 22, 2005 12:01:13 AM IST The editor of The Source magazine admitted to vandalizing a Jehovah's Witness assembly hall in New York's Harlem neighborhood. Dasun Allah, editor of the hip -hop magazine, told the New York Post he tagged the building to expose the religion's hypocrisy. Police were called to the scene where Allah had painted a number of cryptic symbols, but the graffifi had been painted over by then, the Post said Friday. Allah, 32, said he was kicked out of his Jehovah's Witnesses church more than 13 years ago and now belongs to the Islam -based Nation of Gods and Earths. They said I didn't fit the criteria, because, to put it lightly, I wasn't a choirboy, Allah said. (UPI)

UZBEKISTAN: Mahalla and Mullah block Jehovah's Witness registration This article was published by F18News on: 1 December 2005

By Igor Rotar, Forum 18 News Service
The latest instance known to Forum 18 News Service of a religious minority being barred from gaining state registration ± thus rendering its activity illegal ± is a Jehovah's Witness community in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. Following open hostility against the community from the head of the city's Yaksarai district, a subsequent meeting of local residents (the Mahalla committee), presided over by the local Mullah (Islamic clergyman), reversed a decision to allow a Jehovah's Witness congregation to apply for state registration. Under Uzbekistan's complex registration procedure, which institutionalises obstacles to religious minorities, the approval of both the Mahalla committee and the head of the district administration is necessary before a religious community can even apply for state registration from the Ministry of Justice. The Mahalla committees, theoretically independent but in practice under state control, are used to maintain controls over religious believers of all faiths. Jehovah's Witnesses in the capital Tashkent have complained to Forum 18 News Service that, in November, Valim Muladjanov, the Hakim (administration chief) for the city's Yaksarai district, revoked a decision taken a year ago to allow a local congregation to apply for registration. A subsequent meeting of local residents, presided over by the local Mullah (Islamic clergyman), blocked the application from going ahead, rendering continuing religious activity by the community illegal. The Jehovah's Witnesses ± who have been allowed to register only two communities in Uzbekistan ± have been trying in vain for many years to register in Tashkent.

Under Uzbek law, a religious community only has the right to operate if it has been registered with the Ministry of Justice. Uzbekistan's registration procedure institutionalises discrimination against religious minorities as, in a complex procedure, all applications must have the prior written consent of the committee of the Mahalla (a local self-governing agency that administers a city sector and is the lowest level of government) for the district in which the religious community intends to open a place of worship. This permission must also be certified by the Hakim, or head, of the district administration. Significantly ± and in defiance of Uzbek international human rights commitments - the government has banned all unregistered religious activity and participants in such activity risk penalties under the Administrative or Criminal Codes. The Mahalla committee where the Jehovah's Witness congregation is based approved the registration of their place of worship at the end of 2004. However, it remains unclear why Muladjanov demanded new written permission from the Mahalla committee, Andrei Shirobokov of the Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18 from Tashkent on 24 November. Additionally, speaking in the presence of the head of the Mahalla committee, Muladjanov declared that he personally opposed the registration of Jehovah's Witnesses. Forum 18 tried to reach Muladjanov at the Yaksarai district administration to find out why he had revoked the earlier Mahalla committee approval and was demanding that it be considered again. However, on 1 December his aide Alisher (who did not give his last name) said that Muladjanov was away on a work trip. Alisher claimed to know nothing about the case. Shirobokov told Forum 18 that, the day after Muladjanov's openly declared his opposition to Jehovah's Witness registration, the head of the Mahalla invited Jehovah's Witnesses to a residents' meeting, presided over by the local Mullah. All those who spoke at the meeting said that Jehovah's Witness teachings were against Islam and that therefore Mahalla residents did not want a Jehovah's Witness place of worship on their territory. "This Mahalla's population is made up mostly of Uzbeks. Let them open their church in a Russian Mahalla," people told the Jehovah's Witnesses at the meeting. Shirobokov insisted the meeting was prompted by the authorities, pointing out that a year earlier the same Mahalla committee agreed to the registration of their community. "The authorities are actively exploiting the Mahalla system of self-government which is theoretically independent, but is in fact completely controlled by the authorities," he complained to Forum 18. "Although the Mahalla leadership has changed since last year, we shouldn't have to keep going to them for permission." Begzot Kadyrov, from the government's Religious Affairs Committee, told Forum 18 that the Jehovah's Witnesses had already complained to him about the Mahalla meeting. But he defended the power of the Mahalla to veto the opening of places of worship of faiths the people do not like. "If residents of the Mahalla don't want a Jehovah's Witness church on their territory, we cannot make them change their minds," he told Forum 18 from Tashkent on 24 November. "The Mahalla system is an ancient institution of Uzbek society. Mahalla residents have together resolved their own problems for many years. Current Uzbek laws reinforce the Mahalla system of self-government at a juridical level." Although the Mahalla leadership is formally elected by local residents, in practice it is appointed by the government and is often used as an instrument of state control. Mahalla committees have long played a role in supervising, controlling and restricting religious activity and often refuse to approve religious communities' registration applications, whether for mosques, Christian churches or places of worship of other faiths. The Mahalla's are also used to control Muslims.

Until last January, Mahalla committees even had to approve which local Muslims could go on the haj pilgrimage to Mecca. In late October, the head of a Mahalla in Tashkent's Mirobad district, Olga Bedrina, was sacked for having allowed a Full Gospel Church to function.

Shirobokov also maintains that "NSS [National Security Service] secret police officers tell us [Jehovah's Witnesses] openly that our work is not wanted in Uzbekistan." He stated that Jehovah's Witnesses in Karshi [Qarshi] in central southern Uzbekistan are in the most difficult position of all their communities, their situation having deteriorated sharply since August. "For example, a police officer struck Jehovah's Witness Guzal Buzurukova while she held a small child in her arms," he told Forum 18. "He told her husband that he would imprison him if he did not renounce his faith." Kadyrov said he knew nothing about the incident in Karshi. "Of course, if a policeman did strike a woman, that is a matter of concern. Why didn't the Jehovah's Witnesses tell us about it straight away?" he told Forum 18. "I'm always telling them that they should contact us as soon as they encounter problems with the police. But in fact we often only find out about the Jehovah's Witnesses' problems during court cases."


Summary 1) Jews are a source of evil and enmity against them is part of our faith. 2) The Jews war against the Muslims is a religious one. 3) Nationalism has not and can never bring any benefit to the Muslims.

4) Our war against the Jews can only be conducted according to the principles of Islaam. 5) The reasons why Salaah Ad-Deen was able to defeat the crusaders. 6) The miserable predicament of contemporary Muslims and the role of the sick hearted Muslims and hypocrites in calling for peace settlements. 7) The Jews never keep their covenants and our war against them is continuous. 8) The evil role of the Jews in Madeenah, their plots against Muslims and the stance of the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam towards them. The Jews, who are the nation of pigs and monkeys, are nothing but a source of ev il, corruption, tribulation and war. Hatred against the Muslims is inherited by every generation of Jews who in turn teach it to their children. Our enmity and hostility against them is based on our faith. The Jews have never and will never lower the banner of war against us Muslims; it is a war between truth and falsehood, belief and disbelief. It is a war between the truth of Islaam and the falsehood of Judaism. The Jews will never stop adding fuel to the fire of war, nor will they ever stop plotting against us. Whenever the fire of one battle is extinguished, they light another. The Jews fight in the name of religion with their Torah. They called their nation the state of µIsrael¶, which is another name for Ya¶qoob Ibn Ibraaheem, who was one of the Prophets of Allaah. They summon their people from all over the world into the blessed land around Al-Aqsaa in the name of the Torah. They have even named the cities and provinces in that country with names taken from the Torah. The majority of Jewish politicians are secularists who give no weight to religion, but they know very well that their cause will never succeed unless they present it as a religious war under the banner of the Torah. Therefore, knowing all this, should we fight them in the name of territo ry, soil, mountains, gardens and fruits? This is indeed feeble and twisted logic which can in no way counter a war launched under the banner of religion. What benefit did we ever get from nationalism in the past forty years? What effect did it have in countering the Jews? Nationalism has been devastated and humiliated repeatedly in its war against the monkeys and pigs over the past forty years. The nationalists, who fought for the sake of land and olive fields, have strayed far away from Islaam and have re fused to base this war against the Jews on Islamic principles. The Jews rush towards their religion searching for ways of unity, strength and victory, while the nationalists run away from their religion. They have kept their people pre -occupied with empty slogans which are of no benefit. This can never be a cause for victory against the Jews who are fighting a religious war. The reality of our war against the Jews is that it is a religious war which cannot be conducted except according to the principles of Islaam which are clearly defined. Allaah says that which translates as: ³Fight those who do not believe in Allaah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allaah and His

Messenger have made unlawful and do not adopt the religion of truth [ i.e., Islaam] from those who were given the scripture ± [fight] until they give the jizyah (protection tax) willingly while they are humbled.´ (At-Tawbah: 29). This is a divine command; a militant, political and religious order addressing the nation of Jihaad and not those who are still fighting for the sake of olive fields, oranges and watermelons. It is an order to the Islamic nation, which lives for Jihaad. Unfortunately, today¶s Muslim youth are pre-occupied with entertainment and frivolities; most of the men are occupied with trade and running after profit and material goods. This is why that cannot fulfil this divine command, nor can they fight, because they did not live the life of Jihaad. When the crusaders conquered Al-Aqsaa a few hundred years ago during the time of Sultan Salaah Ad-Deen, who was a known Mujaahid, he swore not to have marital relations with his wife, nor wear perfume, until he rescued the first Qiblah for the Muslims. Salaah Ad-Deen indisputably fulfilled this oath and freed Al-Aqsaa after a few years when Allaah rescued it by the hands of him and his army. Allaah¶s victory came due to the sincerity and righteousness of Salaah Ad-Deen, who had raised the banner of Jihaad for the sake of Allaah to rescue Al-Aqsaa. The contemporary Muslims are spending most of their lives in idle pursuits, entertainment, trade and worldly gains, yet they expect to be supported by Allaah and be victorious. Forty years have passed and they are still waiting for this victory, they act as if success is something that has no pre-conditions and comes without making any effort. No, rather, victory will never be attained unless certain conditions are fulfilled and it will not be granted to people who are frittering their lives away in idl e pursuits and frivolities. It is precisely because the Muslims have become so weak and abandoned raising the banner of Jihaad that the hypocrites and those Muslims who have sicknesses in their hearts began to propagate the slogans of peace with the monke ys and pigs. It is as if they actually believe that the Jews would put down their banner of war and stop their hatred, enmity and plotting against us! Let us never forget that the Jews fought against the most honourable person and the master of the Prophets and Messengers; our Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam, until the very last moment of his life, despite the fact that they knew for certain that he was the seal of the Prophets which the Torah and the Bible had mentioned. They also knew for sure that Allaah would grant him victory over them and all other disbelievers; but despite all of this, they still fought, betrayed and deceived him. Moreover, they actually plotted to assassinate him sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam and never lowered the ban ner of war against him. During the worst and most difficult times of times for the Prophet s allallaahu µalaihi wa sallam, at the battle of the trench, while there were armies surrounding Madeenah, the Jews plotted to kill the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi w a sallam and his companions from within Madeenah. The companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were having a terrible experience during this battle, yet the Jews of Banu

Quraydhah (who were one of the Jewish tribes of Madeenah), at this most critical of times, broke the pledge of non -aggression and mutual defence which they given to the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam . The Jews intimidated the Muslims, which added to their sense of fear and danger of being in Madeenah. Their families were at great risk and had it not been for the mercy of Allaah, the Jews of Banu Quraydhah would have started another front in the war against the Muslims from within, just when the Muslims were at their most vulnerable. Allaah rendered the Jews plans as futile as wel l as those of the confederate tribes who had surrounded Madeenah. He sent down His angels who cast terror into the hearts of the confederates and they withdrew, leaving the Jews of Banu Quraydhah alone with no support. When the battle was over, the Muslim army and the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam went back to their homes. He sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam then took off his armour and began to have a wash when the angel Jibreel, peace be upon him, came to him and said: ³O Messenger of Allaah! You have taken off your armour, but I swear by Allaah that the angels have not yet put down their weapons, go to them´ (and he pointed in the direction of Banu Quraydhah). Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam instructed an envoy to command the Muslim army to go to attack Banu Quraydhah by proclaiming: ³None of you should pray µAsr until they are within the territory of Banu Quraydhah.´ After this, the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam set out with his army of believers who numbered close to three-thousand mujaahideen. Banu Quraydhah were surrounded and blockaded for more than twenty nights until they offered to surrender on the condition that Sa¶d Ibn Mu¶aadh, may Allaah be pleased with him, would act as an arbiter in their case. They asked for this because he, may Allaah be pleased with him, was from the tribe of Aws who were their allies before Islaam and therefore they hoped that he would give a biased judgement in their favour. Also, they refused the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam as a judge because they where afraid of the consequences of his judgement. So the Prophet sallallaahu µalaihi wa sallam sent for Sa¶d, who was injured during the battle and therefore had to be carried . The judgement of Sa¶d was that all their men should be beheaded, their properties be seized and distributed among the Muslims and that their women and offspring be held captive. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allaah exclaimed: ³Allaahu Akbar! O Sa¶d! You have judged by the command of Allaah.´ Indeed, this is the judgment of Allaah with regard to the Jews who are the people of betrayal, deception, evil and corruption; the people who exhibited these repugnant characteristics even with the most honourable of the creation s of Allaah; His Prophets and Messengers. Knowing all this, do we really believe that the Jews would give up their evil habits of deception and betrayal and make peace with the contemporary Muslims; who have become indolent and indifferent to their religion and are only concerned with

entertainment and trade? Are we so ignorant and that we would believe that the Jews would give in to those who are still fighting for the sake of territory under the banner of olives and oranges? So I advise you all to fear Allaah; He says that which translates as: ³And to Allaah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And We have instructed those who were given the scripture before you and yourselves to fear Allaah. But if you disbelieve ± then to Allaah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And ever is Allaah Free of need and Praiseworthy. And to Allaah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allaah as Disposer of affairs.´ (An-Nisaa¶: 131132).

Muhammad and the Jews
James Arlandson June 30th, 2005

Everyone knows that many millions of the Muslims in the Arab world have a deep hostility towards Jews or ³the Jew.´ It seems to have reached a metaphysical level or has debased into an irrational state of mind. The question is: where does it come from? Fr om the anti-Israel news media? The media are powerful. So they may be a factor, partially. Leaders in the Arab world and wider Muslim world constantly shriek that Israel is the oppressor, so this may be a factor in the hostility, but evidence that millions of average Muslims are influenced by their leaders on this matter must be brought forward, in a free and voluntary way without fear of reprisal in a dictatorship. It is difficult to imagine, for example, that millions of Muslims in Indonesia or Malaysia would become human bombs in Palestine or hate the Jews for this geopolitical reason. So where does the deep and irrational hostility come from? Osama bin Laden, the dark prince of terrorism, stands in for countless other fanatics, both violent and non -violent. In fact, he represents millions of average Muslims who have given him the status of a folk hero. In a 1998 interview (scroll down to Jonathan Miller interview), though, bin Laden cites the Crusader -Zionists as one source of enmity, he also says the enmity between Jews and Muslims runs more deeply in history than that. The enmity between us and the Jews goes far back in time and is deep rooted. There is no question th at war between the two of us is inevitable.

What does he mean that the enmity goes far back in time? How far back? Rooted where? Bin Laden gives us an example of early Islamic history in his lengthy 1996 fatwa (point no. seven, and scroll a long way down past that point). He refers to the seventh-century Jewish tribe of Qaynuqa who lived in Medina with Muhammad the Prophet. The terrorist draws inspiration from Muhammad¶s expul sion of these Jews just for a petty trick done by a Qaynuqa Jew. He pinned a Muslim woman¶s skirt to a nail, and when she stood up, the skirt stayed down. A fight erupted and murders ensued. For that, Muhammad expelled the entire tribe. Therefore, goes the thinking, bin Laden is justified in hating the Jews because they are troublemakers. Bin Laden gives us another example from early Islam. This message of his has a long list of irrational gr ievances against the Jews. He cites many verses in the Quran and hadith passages (hadith are the reports of Muhammad¶s words and actions outside of the Quran). One particular hadith passage that he quotes says that trees will cry out that there are Jews hi ding behind them, so Muslims should come and kill them. Other traditions say that Jews will hide behind stones and then be found and killed. In his hostility toward the Jews, bin Laden believes that he is following his prophet. In a certain way, he is indeed closely following Muhammad. Bin Laden represents millions who have at least heard of these two examples (and others) of expelling and killing Jews, as these reports circulate around in their world, in newspapers, in school curricula, in books, in popula r folk belief, and in major news media outlets, like the editorial pages in newspapers. But these incidents and beliefs are found in the source documents of early Islam, as well, so they have had centuries to seep into the fabric of the Arab and Islamic wo rld today. This entire article seeks to demonstrate that this connection between early Islam and Islam today, at least in part, plays a profound role in the hostility that has wrapped its tentacles around the minds of too many in the Arab world. At least this much will be certain: Muhammad¶s example cannot forbid Muslims from holding hatred in their hearts for Jews. At first Muhammad lived peacefully with the Jews, shortly after his emigration or Hijrah from Mecca to Medina in AD 622. In fact, he saw hims elf as a reformer of Judaism. But as he pushes his ideas on to the rather large and strong Jewish community in Medina, trouble erupted, because the Jews quite rightly refused his ideas. Muhammad quickly grows in his hostility towards them, so that he elimi nates most of them from Medina, either by expulsion or death. He becomes excessive, and this example can only inspire terrorists like bin Laden and non -violent fanatics²and average Muslims. These ruptures and hostilities take place in two overlapping domai ns: theology and politics backed by a strong military.
Theological Differences

The theological background of Muhammad's hostility to Jews can be subdivided into five stages: (1) Muhammad¶s efforts to develop and improve on Judaism; (2) Islam¶s fulfillment of Judaism; (3) Jewish resistance, based on Muhammad¶s confused knowledge of the Torah and his gentile status; (4) his change in prayer direction or qiblah; and (5) Muhammad¶s riposte to this resistance. The political tension and ruptures that result in warfare and conquest will be discussed afterwards, but the theological and political differences and strife parallel each other. (1) First, while Muhammad is settling down in Medina and his position there is insecure, he tries to convince the Jews that his revelations were the continuation of Judaism (and Christianity), the religion of the People of the Book or the Bible. Before he left Mecca, he faced Syria (i.e. Jerusalem) in prayer. The early Muslims in Medina may have observed the fast for the Day of Atonement, and their special Friday worship was a response to the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening. Muhammad forbad the Muslims from eating the same food prohibited for Jews, namely, pork, blood, carrion, and meat sacrif iced to idols (see Sura 2:172-173). It seems, then, that earliest Islam was the development and even improvement on the prior faith, Judaism, or so it seemed to Muhammad. Why would tension grow between Muhammad¶s Islam and Judaism? (2) Allah tells Muhammad in a sura (chapter) revealed in Mecca that the ³unlettered´ prophet (Muhammad) is described in the Torah and Gospel, and hence predicted and endorsed by the two prior religions: 7:156 ³I shall ordain My mercy for those who are conscious of God and pay the prescribed alms; who believe in Our Revelations; 157 who follow the Messenger ² the unlettered prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel²who commands them to do right and forbids them to do wrong, who makes good things lawful to them and bad things unlawful´ . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur¶an, Oxford UP, 2004) The literary context of these verses shows Moses rebuking the children of Israel for disobeying him. They denied God¶s signs and worshiped the golden calf as Moses was coming down with the tablets of stone, inscribed with the Ten Commandments (7:145-156). Verses 156-157 imply that someone better then Moses (and Jesus) is here to guide them rightly. Muhammad declares what is lawful and unlawful and commands people to do right and forbids them to do wrong. The Jews of Muhammad¶s time were getting a second cha nce. Would they accept it after falling away from the Torah, which was changed to begin with? (3) The Jews, however, saw things a little differently. Muhammad was not educated in the Torah. Though he had picked up some elements from the Scriptures, in bits and pieces, which were circulating around Arabia along the trade routes, his knowledge was confused. It is possible that one or two Jewish converts who were knowledgeable in the Torah coached him, as well. Whatever the case, it was not hard for the Jews to contradict him. For example, in Sura 37:100 -107, a Meccan sura, he believes that Abraham nearly sacrificed Ishmael, not Isaac, on the altar, though Genesis, the only ancient source on Abraham, does not say this.

In Sura 18:60-82, another Meccan sura, he recounts fanciful tales about Moses and a servant named Khidir (so named in Islamic tradition, but not in the Quran), who got the better of Moses. For example, Khidir made him promise that he would not bring up any topic until Khidir did first. On their t ravels they met a boy, and Khidir killed him. Forgetting his promise, Moses challenged his servant, but Khidir reminded him of his promise, so Moses repented. Two other such tales are recounted with the same structure. The servant acted mysteriously, Moses challenged him, so Khidir rebuked him and then clarified the hidden purpose of Allah to the baffled Hebrew prophet. Thus, Khidir revealed to him that the boy was rebellious against his parents and a disbeliever. Allah will grant the parents another son, w ho will behave more righteously. Compared to such a confused Moses, Muhammad is clearly better than he. As these and other tall tales likely became known to the Jews in Medina, it was only natural for them to point out some contradictions between his revelations and their Bible. It was not difficult for them to reject him as falling outside of Biblical revelation. Besides, Muhammad was a gentile, and that in itself was enough to turn away from him. Thus, hostility grew between the two sides. (4) The fourth stage in the theological domain is the change in prayer direction or the qiblah. Today, Muslims pray towards Mecca and the Kabah, where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims go every year. However, when Muhammad lived in Mecca, he prayed toward Jerusalem. After he arrived in Medina at the end of his Emigration in 622, he still prayed towards Jerusalem. Sixteen months later (February 624, one month before the Battle of Badr), he received revelation from on high to change direction toward the Kabah (Sura 2:1 22-129; 142-147). How did this come about? Four factors explain this change or the need for this timely revelation. First, after Muhammad settled in Medina, he found, as noted, a powerful Jewish presence in his new city. He saw himself as a prophet in th e Biblical tradition, but tension between him and the Jews reached a boiling point. So he changed his qiblah towards the Kabah in Mecca. Then, the Jews challenged the prophet: if Muhammad were the new representative of Judaism and monotheism, why was he pr aying toward the Kabah, which was dedicated to polytheism? He then got a revelation that gave him permission. The second factor is a partial answer to the challenge from the Jews. He believed that Abraham had built and purified the shrine, so it does not b elong to the polytheists, but to him (Suras 2:122 -129; 8:34-38). He was the best representative of true monotheism, and he was the one honoring Abraham. The third concerns the Arab custom of raids. After one year of fruitless raids on Meccan caravans in 623, finally in January 624 Muhammad¶s jihadists got a lucky strike, capturing a caravan near Mecca, spilling blood in a sacred month. When they brought the spoils back to Medina, the non-Muslim Medinans were understandably upset because they knew the Meccans could not let their defeat and Muhammad¶s violation of a sacred month stand. Conflict would have to escalate in order to restore the Meccans¶ honor. What was his justi fication?

Fourth, besides his theological belief that Abraham built the Kabah, it must not be overlooked that the shrine was a popular site of pilgrimage in the Arabian Peninsula, so it generated a lot of income. Since early Islam is expansionist, Muhamma d could not let the Kabah alone until ³religion becomes that of Allah´ (Sura 2:193, Fakhry, An Interpretation of the Qur¶an, NYUP, 2000, 2004). It must become a site of pilgrimage and support for Muslims, as Muhammad himself admits: ³God has made the Kabah²the Sacred House²a means of support for people ´ . . . (Sura 5:97, Haleem). So it is in the historical context of the tension with the Jews in Medina, his unassailable (but unfounded) belief that Abraham built and purified the Kabah, the raids on Meccan caravans, and the Kabah¶s popularity that Muhammad turned his face toward Mecca in prayer to Allah. (5) Finally, given such contradictions and confused Biblical knowledge, Muhammad had to fight back theologically, striking out on a new path and reinterpret ing matters in the new light of Abraham¶s religion, if Muhammad¶s new competitor religion is to survive. This new struggle lasted for several years until the Jews were no longer a threat, and then he directed his aggressive energies against the Christians. But until that time, he struck back in at least four ways. First, he claimed, for instance, that Abraham was not a Jew (nor a Christian) (Sura 3:67), so original monotheism is open to another descendant of Abraham: Muhammad himself and his Arabs who were believed to descend from the first monotheist through Ishmael. Second, the Hebrew Bible (and the New Testament) was corrupted, distorted, and perniciously misinterpreted and misapplied (Suras 2:75, 79; 3:77 -78; 4:44-49). The Quran, on the other hand, cam e directly from Allah through Gabriel and hence is incorruptible, straightforward, and clear (Suras 39:28, 55:1, 75:19, 26:193, 2:97). Muhammad¶s religion wins out over any contradictions, in his mind. In addition, Jews were said to conceal the truth about Muhammad¶s prophethood and the righteous practices of Islam (Suras 2:42, 146, 159, 174; 3:187 -188; 5:70), so the Bible really testifies about him, though the Jews do not want this to leak out. Third, from Muhammad¶s point of view, both Judaism and Christ ianity made exclusive claims of being the right way (Sura 2:111 -113), yet both came from the same children of Israel; thus, both religions in Muhammad¶s time went astray from their origins. So if some claims of all three religions are contradictory, then t he fault lies in the first two religions, not his, which resolves all contradictions ²in his logic. Fourth, as noted, the Torah itself says that the children of Israel disobeyed Moses in denying God¶s signs and in worshipping the golden calf. If the Jews o f Moses¶ time were disobedient, then in Muhammad¶s logic the Jews as a whole in his own time cannot be purer (Sura 7:145 -156), though some are acknowledged as staying true (Sura 3:113-115). And thus Muhammad¶s religion is the better and purer representation of Abraham and fulfills and completes Judaism. Go here to read Zarqawi¶s denunciation of democracy. Anyone who supports it is endued with the spirit of the golden calf.

To conclude this section, the theological break with the Jews is complete. If these five stages had remained only in the realm of abstract theology, then no conflict would have emerged between Muslims and Jews back then and even today (though theological diffe rence would emerge). However, Islam cannot remain in an abstract realm because it must envelope and control all facets of society. After all, the Quran came down directly and purely to earth from Allah through Gabriel, and it allegedly guides humankind in small matters.
Politics, Warfare, and Conquest

As hostilities grow in the domain of theology, the political strain also grows, hand in hand. Muhammad grows in his military strength, which backs up his theology and politics. It is in this section that Muhammad¶s hostility towards the Jews will become most evident. The growth of his hostility occurs in seven chronological stages. At the end of this process, Jews will no longer inhabit the Arabian Peninsula. Excess is never just, but does Muhammad become excessive in his response to the Jews and their opposition to him? The answer to this question can be guessed accurately, but how does he become excessive? At the time of Muhammad¶s Hijrah, three major Jewish clans lived in Medina: Qaynuqa, Nadir, and Qurayza. Muhammad worked on an agreement with them that all the Jews ³were not to support an enemy against him,´ and elsewhere ³they were to be neither for him nor against him,´ in other words, neutral. However, another early source says that only one clan, th e Qurayza, had an agreement. The sources, then, are garbled, but since the terms are not outlandish, perhaps an agreement with one clan or all of them was actually signed. Watt rightly points out that the Muslim sources have a strong motive to make the case against Qurayza clan as dark as possible, so some of the terms of the treaty may be exaggerated or invented. However, even if we assume that such an agreement was signed, we may still ask these questions: who gets to decide how the terms of the treaty ar e maintained? Muhammad unilaterally canceled treaties with peaceful polytheists (Sura 9:1 -6). Will the Jews fall prey to such one-sided interpretations? Source: Watt, Muhammad at Medina, New York: Oxford UP, 1956, p. 196. (1) In April 624 (or a month or t wo later) after his victory at the Battle of Badr in March, a battle which made his position in Medina more secure, Muhammad expelled the one clan that dominated the trades in Medina: Qaynuqa. One day a Muslim woman was conducting business in this Jewish section, and some Jews (or one Jew) fastened her skirt to a nail. When she stood up, she was exposed. A Muslim happened to be present and witnessed the practical joke and the ridicule, and killed one of the pranksters, who avenged their friend¶s death in tu rn. Despite this prank found in Islamic source documents, it is unclear what his real motives were, for the trick is found elsewhere in pre -Islamic Arab literature. Was it the Jewish refusal to become Muslims? Jewish opposition to his policies and religion ? For example, shortly before Muhammad¶s surprise victory at Badr, Abu Bakr, one of his chief companions, barged into a Jewish school, led by two rabbis. Abu Bakr called one of the rabbis ³to fear God and become a Muslim because he knew that Muhammad was the apostle of God who had brought the truth from Him and that

they would find it written in the Torah and the Gospel.´ One of the rabbis sassed him, saying that Allah must be poor, if Muhammad has to borrow money from the Jews. Enraged, Abu Bakr struck him hard on the face, telling him: ³Were it not for the treaty between us I would cut off your head, you enemy of Allah!´ The story ends with the rabbi denying to Muhammad that he sassed Abu Bakr (note how the Jew is not only blasphemer but also a liar), but the prophet got a revelation that the rabbi had mocked Allah. Thus, Abu Bakr was justified in using physical violence in response to disrespectful words. He is a Muslim hero. Incidentally, it is many quickly narrated stories like this that are found every where in early Islamic sources that shock fairminded readers. Islam is not the religion of peace. The Muslim Emigrants moved from a trading and artisan town (Mecca) to an agrarian town (Medina) in AD 622, so they were impoverished. The Qaynuqa tribe controlled the market of the craftsmen in Medina ²the exact skills of the Emigrants. So were Muhammad¶s motives partially economic? Did the Qaynuqa betray Muhammad in some way between the Battle of Badr (AD 624) and the Battle of Uhud (AD 625)? The sources do no t provide reliable details. However, the economic or retaliatory motives do not matter, since bin Laden is inspired by the prank to bear a grudge against the Jews. See, for example, his fatwa, referenced in the introduction to this article, in which he cites this prank as reason enough to hate them (among other reasons). He implies that if Muhammad was wound up so tightly, then he is allowed to have the same hair trigger. Whatever the case, Muhammad waged war on these Jews. They retreated to their strongholds, and he besieged them for fifteen days. He gave them three days to collect the debts owed to them and to get out of Medina, but to leave their tools behind. Did at least some of the poor Emigrants take up the vacant trades? The clan departed northward for Wadi¶l -Qura, where a Jewish community lived. Then a month later they left for Syria. Was Muhammad¶s response to the conflict proportional? It seems not, for the Qaynuqa never waged war on Muhammad. Why should we be surprised, then, if Muhammad¶s radical followers today make their responses to perceived aggressions disproportionate? Is it a ny wonder why millions of Muslims hate the Jews in a disproportionate way? They are merely following their leader. But even if it is objected that Muslims have enough grievances today to hate the Jews, then how are moderates supposed to exhort them to let go of their hatred, when Muhammad is their guide? This will become clearer as we continue outlining Muhammad¶s disturbed relations with the Jews. Sources: Muslim, vol. 3, nos. 4363; Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, trans; A. Guillaume, Oxford UP, 1955, p. 263 / Arabic p. 388 and p. 363 / 545; Tabari, The Foundation of the Community, trans. M. V. McDonald, vol. 7 (SUNYP, 1987), 85 -87 / 1359-62. (2) In the second stage, occurring in late August and early September 625, Muhammad besieged and expelled the Nadir cla n from Medina. Muhammad¶s motives were much too complicated to be described here, but they seem to be

founded on blood feuds and the payment of blood -wit, which compensates for loss of life. He went to the Nadir settlement near Medina to ask for some blood -wit money that he had to pay, but the Jews were reluctant, even though by apparent agreement with another tribe the Nadir clan was required to contribute to the payment. They asked him to stay until they prepared a dinner, but after a short time he left b ecause he got a revelation that they were going to assassinate him by dropping a stone off the roof of a building, where he was sitting with his back against its wall. Or perhaps the real reason for exiling the clan lay in Muhammad¶s recent loss in the Bat tle of Uhud in March 625 and in a failed raiding expedition in June, so his position weakened somewhat in Medina²but still strong enough to confront the clan. Whatever the motive, Muhammad besieged Nadir in their strongholds for fifteendays until he set about destroying their date palms, their livelihood, so they capitulated to his first demand for blood -wit money. However, he raised the penalty ²they must get nothing from their palms. Their livelihood destroyed, they departed to the city of Khaybar, seventy miles to the north, where they had estates. This takeover helped relieve the ongoing poverty of many Muslims, who took over their date orchards. Sura 59 deals with the expulsion of Nadir, but we do not need to analyze it since it repeats the themes of answering charges that Muhammad did not distribute the booty fairly and of Allah¶s greatness in supporting Islam. However, of particular interest is a self-serving revelation that permits Muhammad to cut down the date palms owned by the Jews (Sura 59:5). Law and custom forbad this practice in war or at any time, but Allah gave his prophet permission to break this rule. Apparently, though, he was too powerful to be put on trial for this illegal act. Muhammad expelled the entire tribe because they supposedly t ried to kill him and refused to pay the blood -wit money. Is his response proportionate to their refusal and assassination attempt? Why did he not surround the house where the alleged assassination attempt took place and demand that only a few be executed o r expelled? Any objective observer understands that Muhammad¶s response was excessive. Therefore, why should we be surprised if Muhammad¶s radical followers today respond to perceived aggressions disproportionately, especially in their hatred of the Jews? How can his example, at the very least, stop them? Sources: Bukhari vol. 5, nos. 4028 -4036, in the Book of Military Expeditions; Muslim vol. 3, nos. 4324-4326 and 4346-4349; Ibn Ishaq pp. 437 -38 / 652-54; Tabari, vol. 7, pp. 156-61 / 1448-1453. (3) and (4) The third and fourth stages concern two assassinations of Jewish leaders from the Nadir clan, one year apart, because they fraternized with Muhammad¶s enemies: Sallam b. Abi¶l -Huqayq (Abu Rafi) and Usayr (or Yusayr) b. Razim, using Watt¶s chronology. In the first case, in May 626 a Muslim who had a Jewish foster -mother and spoke Hebrew managed to gain entrance into Abu Rafi¶s house at night with four companions and easily kill him. They hid until the search died down and then returned to Medina, with t he blessing of Muhammad²he was the one who sent out the hit squad.

The second assassination, in February -March 627, was more deceptive. Under the guise of ambassadors from Muhammad, thirty Muslims traveled up to Khaybar and invite Usayr to Medina to negot iate peace between him and Muhammad. Despite warnings, thirty Jews set out with the Muslims. Watt rightly says that the Jews were unarmed (Muhammad at Medina, p. 213). The Muslim leader surreptitiously made his camel carrying himself and Usayr lag behind, and then the Muslim killed him. The other Jews were also killed with one exception. Thus, Muhammad engaged in assassination, and a deceptive one at that, to deal with tw o Jewish leaders who intrigued with his enemies. Why would not violent fanatics be inspired by this ³technique´ of getting rid of enemies, as Muhammad and his later followers deem them? More specifically, why would not his radical followers today hate the Jews and engage in violence against them? This much is true, at least: Muhammad¶s example does not tell them no. Sources: Bukhari vol. 5, nos. 4038 -4040, in the Book of Military Expeditions; Tabari 99-105 / 1375-83; Ibn Ishaq pp. 482 -84 / 714-16; 981 and 665-66 / 981. (5) In March 627, after the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad imposed the ultimate penalty on the men in the Jewish clan of Qurayza, his third and final major Jewish rivals in Medina. Reliable traditions say that Gabriel himself came down to Muhammad and asked why he took off his uniform and was taking a bath. There was one more battle to embark on: against the Jews. This clan was supposed to remain neutral in the Battle, but they seem to have intrigued with the Meccans and to have been on the verge of attacking Muhammad from the rear²though they did not. Nevertheless, according to Muhammad¶s interpretation of the facts, they must be put on trial. The sentence: Death by decapitation for around 600 men (some sources say as high as 900), and enslave ment for the women and children. Muhammad was wise enough to have six clans execute two Jews each in order to stop any blood -feuds. The rest of the executions were probably carried out by Muhammad¶s fellow Emigrants from Mecca, and lasted throughout the ni ght, as the heads and bodies were dragged into trenches. One Muslim defense of this atrocity says that the Jews agreed to a verdict rendered by a Muslim ally, Sad bin Muadh, but he voted against the Jews. So it was not Muhammad¶s fault. However, this defen se, besides being a tacit admission that this penalty was excessive, is misguided because Muhammad could have called off the trial, expelled them from Medina (as indeed they requested), or shown them mercy, possibly taking a percentage of their goods and p roduce as collateral. Another Muslim defense of this atrocity is that the Jews broke their agreement to remain neutral in the Battle. This implies that they deserved their punishment. In reply, however, this penalty shows Arab tribalism at its worse. (Som e Muslims today extol early Islam as breaking down tribalism.) Muhammad could have executed only a few leaders or the few guilty ones. He did not have to wipe the entire Jewish tribe off the face of the earth, by execution and enslavement.

A third defense is even worse than the first two. Reza Aslan, a young intellectual Iranian, in his book No god but God (New York: Random House, 2005), says that the Qurayza tribe amounted to a tiny fraction of Jews in Medina and its environs (p. 94). Therefore, Muhammad¶s execution of them is not a ³genocide´ (Aslan¶s word). His implication is that this act against one tiny tribe of Jews is minor and therefore not extreme, but proportional. In reply, however, tribalism ruled in Arab culture (and still does in many places), and Muhammad eliminates an entire tribe; though not a genocide, it is excessive for their ³brazen´ crime. It is simply underhanded to throw in the word ³genocide´ as if its lack is supposed to make Muhammad¶s excessive punishment seem acceptable. Elimina ting a tribe? That is no big deal when we compare it to a genocide, Aslan seems to imply. (This kind of confused defense of Muhammad¶s indefensible actions permeates Muslim literature today.) However, anyone whose judgment and sound mind have not been clou ded by a lifetime of devotion to Islam knows that Muhammad¶s action against the Qurayza tribe was factually and objectively excessive, regardless of his culture and century he lived in. What is worse, the Prophet seems to celebrate this atrocity in Sura 33 :25-27, a revelation from Allah concerning the Battle of the Trench and his treatment of Qurayza: 25 Allah turned back the unbelievers [Meccans and their allies] in a state of rage, having not won any good, and Allah spared the believers battle [q -t-l]. Allah is, indeed, Strong and Mighty. 26 And He brought those of the People of the Book [Qurayza] who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts, some of them you slew [q-t-l] and some you took captive. 27 And he bequeathed to you their lands, their homes and their possessions, together with land you have never trodden. Allah has power over everything. (Fakhry) These verses show three unpleasant truths. First, Allah helps the Muslims in warfare or battle (three-letter Arabic root is q-t-l in v. 25) against a much-larger foe, so Allah endorses Islam in battle. Second, Allah permits the enslavement and beheading of Jews, so any Muslim familiar with the background of this verse knows that beheading as such has been assimilated into the Quran. The word q-t-l in v. 26 can mean slaughter. Finally, Allah permits Muhammad to take the Jewish clan¶s property on the basis of conquest and his possession of all things. This is a dubious revelation and reasoning. Allah speaks, and this benefits Muh ammad materially. This happens too often in Muhammad¶s life. Thus, once again religion, politics, wealth, revenge, and military converge in Islam. It is no wonder and no surprise that terrorists are inspired by violence in early Islam. Or, short of that, a verage Muslims feel permitted to entertain hostility in their minds for Jews. How can the example of Muhammad tell them to stop? But Sura 33:25-27 leaves out Muhammad¶s heart¶s desire. The apostle had chosen one of their women for himself, Rayhana bint Am r . . . one of the women of . . . Qurayza, and she remained with him until she died, in his power. The apostle had proposed to marry and put a veil on her, but she said: ³Nay, leave me in your power, for that will be easier for me and for you.´ So he left her. She had shown repugnance towards Islam when she was captured and clung to Judaism.

Shortly afterwards, though, she converted to Islam and a messenger informed Muhammad of this, and he reacts to the good news: ³This gave him pleasure.´ It is wrong to believe that this was Muhammad¶s motive to execute so many Jews, but his love does provide an extra benefit. To repeat: this atrocity cannot be defended by reasonable people. Muhammad was reacting way out of proportion to a rupture in the treaty. Should it surprise us, therefore, that many in the Muslim world have a disproportionate hatred of the Jews? How can the example of Muhammad tell them, ³Stop this hatred, right now!´? Sources: Bukhari vol. 4, no. 2813 in the Book of Jihad; and vol. 5 nos. 4117-4124 in the Book of Military Expeditions, especially nos. 4121 and 4122; Muslim vol. 3, nos. 4368-4373; Ibn Ishaq, p. 466 / 693; Tabari, The Victory of Islam, vol. 8, trans. Michael Fishbein, (SUNYP, 1997), pp. 27 -41 / 1485-1500. (6) In May-June 628, shortly after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah with the Meccan polytheists, according to which they and the Muslims could deal with their allies as each side saw fit, Muhammad attacked Khaybar barely one or two months after the treaty. Why did he do this? Solid evidence sug gests that Umar, one of his closest companions, was disgruntled with the treaty because he saw it as a compromise with polytheists. Also, some of the commoners believed the raid (it was actually a pilgrimage to Mecca) was a failure because it did not win b ooty. It is possible that Muhammad decided to conquer Khaybar to placate this faction. Further, though the Jews at Khaybar²now more numerous with the exiled Nadir tribe ²never attacked Muhammad physically, they entered in alliances with Muhammad¶s Arab enem ies. The Jews, undeterred by the Meccan defeat, constantly encouraged their allies to take up arms. The threat to Muhammad, though, was too late and meaningless after the Trench, for he was too strong. Long ago, the Jews of Khaybar built a series of fortr esses, some on hills, and they were thought unassailable, but Muhammad attacked them one group at a time. Eventually, he prevailed and set the terms of surrender. They Jews could keep their property, but they had to turn over half their produce to speciall y designated Muslims who went out on this conquest and to some notables as well, like Muhammad¶s wife Aisha. This introduced a special policy that Muhammad incorporated into his religion: conquered cities housing the People of the Book were not required to convert necessarily, but they had to pay a special ³protection´ tax, which Islamic apologists (defenders) say gives the Jews and Christians special ³privileges´ for living under Islam; but an outside observer may rightfully draw the inference that the ³pr otection´ entails a guarantee that the payers would not be attacked ²again. The details of this broad policy were worked out over time. Does intriguing with Muhammad¶s enemies equal conquering the entire city of Khaybar? Excess is never just, but Allah and his prophet will it nonetheless. Why would not Muslims today imitate their prophet in this irrational and excessive hostility? Sources: Bukhari vol. 3, no. 2720, in the Book of Conditions, and vol. 5, nos. 4147 4191 and 4194-4249 in the Book of Military Expeditions; Muslim vol. 3, nos. 44374441; Ibn Ishaq pp. 510 -18 / 756-69; Tabari, vol. 8, pp. 116 -30 / 1575-30.

(7) In the seventh and final stage, during the caliphate of Umar (ruled 634 -644), the Jews were expelled from the Arabian Peninsula, Umar citin g the prophet¶s words spoken on his deathbed: ³Two religions shall not remain together in the peninsula of the Arabs.´ What was the precipitating event to expel the Jews? Two Muslims went to inspect their property in Khaybar, and one of them was attacked i n the night in his bed and had his elbows dislocated by an unidentified assailant. The attacked Muslim reported this to Umar, and the caliph concluded, ³This is the work of the Jews.´ This was enough of a trigger to expel the entire Jewish community from K haybar and Wadi¶l-Qura. If reputable historians were to call this incident fanciful as the reason for expelling the Jews, it is odd that it would make it into Arab texts, so that millions would believe it. This shows that irrational excess seeped into Isla m in the very beginning. Sources: Bukhari, vol. 3, no. 2730, in the Book of the Conditions; Muslim vol. 3, no. 4366; Ibn Ishaq p. 525 / 779 -80; To conclude this section, do these seven chronological steps represent a master plan drawn up by Muhammad again st the Jews? Most scholars say no. Muhammad was feeling his way. However, it is beyond coincidence that his path led him in one direction: the gradual expulsion and death of Jews living in Medina and its environs. It may be argued, contrary to fact, that t hese stages in Muhammad¶s life are not triggering causes for Muslim hostilities today. But one thing is bedrock: these true incidents that culminate in the killings and expulsion of the Jews cannot stop the hostilities today. No one can use Muhammad¶s life and policies as a model of peace and divine love for the Jews. In the introduction to this article, Osama bin Laden is quoted, saying that the enmity between the Muslims and Jews goes far back in time and is deeply rooted. He was referring to Muhammad in Medina during a mere ten years. How right he was about the history of this irrational hostility. As for the entire article, what do we see when we step back and look at the big picture of Muhammad¶s relations with the Jews? In all these assassinations, co nflicts, besiegements, and conquests, traditional and devout Muslims believe that Muhammad never acted excessively, because when treaties and agreements were broken or when he or his followers suffer persecution and betrayal, only then would he retaliate o r punish, and only in the right proportion. Muslims seem to know this a priori from the Quran. Muhammad says in Meccan Sura 16:126 the following: If you people have to respond to an attack, make your response proportionate, but it is better to be steadfast. (Haleem) Why would Muhammad disobey his own Scripture? From this verse and false reasoning comes absolutist reasoning like this: (1) Everyone who is a true prophet is never excessive, but always proportionate. (2) Muhammad was a true prophet. (3) Therefore, he was never excessive, but always proportionate.

That is the ideal. What about the real? Does traditional Muslim belief and logic follow history? No. It seems Muhammad does not always remain only steadfast (see the last clause in Sura 16:126), but he takes his revenge. It is a brute fact that when Muhammad arrived in Medina in AD 622, a sizable Jewish community thrived in and around Medina. When he died in AD 632, very few Jews were left in Medina, due to expulsion, death, or enslavement. Surely al l of these unpleasant events are not only the Jews¶ fault. But what about the logic? Muslims believe that their Prophet had reached some state of perfection, so how can these events be his fault? After all, these are Jews ²enough said, so traditional Muslim belief seems to go. One Islamologist answers that in Muhammad¶s punishments and retaliations, he was simply following Arab custom, which allowed various means of dealing with enemies, including enslavement or death. The reports about the atrocity against Qurayza are written in a casual way, so this means that the atrocity is casual by its nature (Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman , p. 173). In reply, however, granted that everyone is part and parcel of his or her own culture, should a prophet practice t he questionable customs of his culture like tribal execution or enslavement? Are they not excessive by their very nature? It is disappointing that an Allah -inspired prophet could not or would not rise above these dubious and violent customs. So how did Muhammad gauge a proportionate response? Is a cheap trick in the marketplace equal to warfare and exile? Osama bin Laden seems to think so. Is inciting or intriguing with an enemy, as Nadir and Qurayza did, proportionate to exile, mass execution, or the conquest of a city? What would the 600 or so male Jews of Qurayza say? Are two dislocated elbows by an unidentified assailant a sufficient trigger to equal the complete expulsion of Jews from Arabia? Who decides? The tribal chief with the most powerful army? Islam must rule the world and every aspect of society. That is the will of Allah, so many Muslims must obey their deity in carrying out his will. This dominance begins in the Arabian Peninsula and flows out to Europe, North Africa, and Central and Subcontinent Asia, all the way to China. This end or goal allows for all sorts of self interested and even diabolical interpretations as a means of implementing Allah¶s will, such as unilaterally interpreting excessive and disproportionate retaliations. Seeds of violent ambiguity have been planted in the early soil of Islam. It is no wonder and no surprise that non -violent and violent fanatics are inspired by Muhammad and his book, especially in their hatred of the Jews. And it is no wonder and no surprise that average Muslims would have hatred for Jews, too. This article has a companion piece that may be read here. James M. Arlandson may be reached at Supplemental material This intellectual and moderate Qatari bravely and accurately concludes that antiSemitism in the Arab world is rooted in the Quran and the hadith. He cites the hadith

passages that say that in the last day a tree or a stone will cry out that a Jew is hiding behind it, so Muslims must come and kill him. It is no wonder, the Q atari says, that the Muslims believe that a Jew is behind every bad event, such as 9/11. The problem is: how can traditional and conservative Muslims reform, when they cherish their sacred text and traditions? At least when Christianity reformed, it went b ack to the New Testament, which preaches peace and love. But when Muslims have to deny their Quran and hadith in order to reform, we should not hold our breath, waiting for them, even though their sacred book is filled with violence. If the reader would like to see the hadith passages that speak of a Jew hiding behind a stone or a tree and then being discovered and killed, click here for the collection compiled and edited by Bukhari (considered totally reliable), and click here for the collection compiled and edited by Muslim (also considered totally reliable). Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris is one of the most radical and incessant preachers of hatred against the Jews in the entire cadre of Palestinian haters. In his Friday sermon in a mosque, he outlines three stages that Muhammad used in dealing with the Jews (political; toleration of the damage done by Jews; and war and expulsion). Filling his sermon with Quranic verses, he quotes this gem: Time does not permit us to discuss the rest of the Jewish tribes. But we must learn the lesson of the Prophet with regard to the Jews of Al -Madina, whom he expelled. His strategic choice was: ³Fight them, Allah will tort ure them [at your hands]´ and also, ³Make ready against them [all] the force and horsemen that you can.´ Who says that a plain reading of the Quran does not inspire fanatics? The example of Muhammad in his three -step plan inspires this fanatic, who is extreme even for extremists, to fight the Jews in Israel. But does not the sheikh misread Muhammad? No, because, as noted, when Muhammad the newcomer arrived in Medina in 622, a large Jewish community thrived there. When he died in 632, very few were left. How can this be only the Jews¶ fault unless a Muslim has a prior belief that their prophet is flawless? Here is Mudeiris again in a translated video clip and transcript from MEMRI TV, shrieking that when Islam rules the world, the Jews will be eliminated. This was aired on Palestinian TV. If the Palestinians are serious about peace, they should fire this ³sheikh.´ But they do not. Therefore, they are not serious about peace. MEMRI TV provides a translated video clip and a transcript of an Egyptian cleric singing and celebrating the Jews getting killed as they hide behind trees and stones in the Last Day. He calls the Jews apes and pigs. Where does he get these epithets? From the Quran itself, as the companion piece to this article demonstrates. Not only does he cite current events, he also cites early Islam as his inspiration for his hate speech. This summary of sermons in Palestine shows the sheiks quoting amply from the Quran and the hadith to inspire them in their hatred of Jews. Are they distorting the Quran or hadith? There is so much material in both sources that ex press hatred for Jews that there is no need for distorting clear texts.

This is another summary special report on how the early Islamic sources inspire a wide range of Islamists to hate Jews, calling them apes and pigs. Readers should visit and, especially if the video clips no longer work. Once at these two sites, they should do a search type with the key word: Jew. Many hits will come up, and most are neither kind nor conciliatory. And too many of the haters will reference the source documents of early Islam, as the foundation for their beliefs.

Jewish, Muslim students clash at UWM

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel Posted: April 30, 2010 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee officials said Friday that they will investigate whether student conduct rules were violated when Muslim and Jewish students clashed during a protest of a Jewish -sponsored event on campus Thursday. One Jewish student was reported injured and a Muslim student was arrested by campus police in the incident on Spaights Plaza outside the UWM Union during an event meant to mark the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. The event erupted into shouting and then violence after members of the Muslim Student Association confronted the Jewish students over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, and a Jewish student attempted to throw a Palestinian flag in the trash. Jewish students said Friday that they felt threatened and were seeking a meeting with university officials to ensure a safe environment for future events. And a small group of Jewish and Muslim students met on the plaza Friday to quietly discuss the conflict and how they might move beyond it. "It was very difficult, but it was good to do," said Diana Azimov, president of the Jewish Student Association who planned the Israel anniversary party and was offended by the protest - particularly a swastika that was scrawled along with other anti-Israel rhetoric on the plaza the night before the event. "I think it says something about these groups that we could clash one day and the next day come together to share our feelings," she said. Yamin Masalkhi, who is president of the Muslim Student Association and participated in the protest, said that he apologized to the organizers, but that many members in his organization are of Palestinian descent and have strong feelings about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

"We didn't go there intending to cause trouble, we just wanted to have a conversation," said Masalkhi, who stressed their actions were personal and not affiliated with the Muslim Student Associa tion. "Things unwound so quickly," he said. At one point during the confrontation, Masalkhi said, "some of the hotheads in our group" scaled a climbing wall the Jewish students rented for the event and unfurled a Palestinian flag atop it. The flag was confiscated, and when one of the Jewish students attempted to throw it in the trash, a Muslim student struck him - though witnesses differ on how hard. The Muslim students and members of Students for a Democratic Society - which is under investigation by the u niversity for its role in a March protest on campus that turned violent - said they wrote anti-Israel political statements in chalk on the plaza pavement Wednesday night, but denied drawing the swastika. "We saw a lot of things the next day that weren't th ere the night before - the swastika, obscene remarks that don't further anybody's interests," said Masalkhi. Tom McGinnity, interim dean of students, said the university would likely try to pull the groups together to discuss the conflict. And if an investigation confirms one student struck another, the attacker could be sanctioned up to and including expulsion. But peaceful protest, even if it's offensive to some, is protected by the Constitution and part of life at a college, McGinnity said. "A university brings together all types of viewpoints and sometimes they're loud. . . . But if your conduct infringes on the rights of others . . . if you get into a fight or a pushing match, you go from free speech to physical activity, and that's not protected by the Constitution."

The Face of Islamic Religious Intolerance
by Paula R. Stern September 12, 2005

Today, as I knew they would, crazed Palestinian mobs are desecrating 25 synagogues in Gaza, setting them on fire and destroying what it took years to build. I have visited almost all of these synagogues, prayed in many of them. I cannot even begin to put into words the pain I feel today, the anger and the sadness. The world, as I expected, is silent. The United Nations' Kofi Annan was asked to protect the remaining synagogues, but we hear nothing. Empty buildings, they will protest quietly; and what did y ou expect? Unspoken is the silent message that while the Christian world and the Jewish world would respect places of worship, the Muslim world cannot be held to the same level of accountability. Did you expect any different? No, I did not, though it would be a mistake to assume that knowing they

would destroy these holy places in any way lessens the pain. We can't say that we expected no better, of course, because that would be deemed racist and wrong. It would be insulting to the honorable religion of I slam, even though it is the truth. It would imply that their values are different than ours, even though they are. It would suggest that their culture is one that lacks respect for other religions, one deeply embedded in violence and one that cannot tolera te and respect the beliefs of others. We can't say all that, and so the lie will live on, the destruction go unpunished, the truth left unsaid. The world will quietly offer Israel their condolences and throughout the world, in places like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and even in Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Ukraine, people will wonder if maybe they could destroy a nearby synagogue, too. Why should the land on which these buildings sit continue to be "wasted" when there are no Jews around? Co uld there be a way to rid Europe and Arab countries of these buildings in which Jews once prayed? The first step, of course, is to deny. Palestinian President Abu Mazen has become a rabbi, apparently. He can now determine the holiness of a synagogue and has issued his rabbinic decree that these buildings are no longer synagogues, no longer holy. If you take the wooden pews, the musical instruments, the Bibles, hymnals, altar furnishings and vestments out of a church, is it then permissible to burn it down ? Does it lose its sanctity because the inner contents have been removed? Perhaps others are wondering if they too could use the Palestinian excuse that a building stripped and desecrated is no longer holy and can be destroyed. How many Jewish cemeteries are there in Europe? Are Jews ever likely to return to Iraq? Must Tunisia protect the remaining synagogues? What of Morocco? Luckily, our holy places will be saved by the most unlikely source. Abu Mazen has one problem in making his claim believable. His own people reject his words. Watch the pictures of them dancing on the rooftops of these buildings, see how they set fire to these holy places. In his mad rush for the border, Ariel Sharon gave the Palestinians millions of dollars in infrastructure, public buildings, lighting, roads and more. And yet the pictures in the media are all the same. The Palestinian mobs are frantic and out of control in their bloodthirsty quest to destroy the synagogues, because they recognize that these places are holy to the Jews. Of course they are synagogues, today as they were yesterday. The ground sacred, the buildings holy. What interest would they have in simply destroying a building? They will scavenge around and take what they can - but the synagogues are being dest royed. Why burn and damage them if not for the intense hate -filled desire to destroy something that represents Judaism, a non-Muslim place of worship? But it is not only the pictures from Gaza that cause me great pain today, not just the hatred and destruction that we all knew was inevitable. Add in a debate going on now in England, civilized England. At first glance, it seems like it is a different topic

entirely, and yet, in its own way, it is the same debate, albeit in a more civilized environment. Perhaps commemorating Holocaust Day is a little too Jewish, say a team of advisors to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Perhaps it would be more politically correct to call it Genocide Day, so as to avoid insulting England's growing Muslim population. Words fail me. How many fronts can we fight at one time? How appropriate that this debate would be raised on days when synagogues are again being burned and destroyed. Would England deny the unique place the Holocaust has in world history? Are the Holocaust and the few days we commemorate it not sacred? There have been many attempts at genocide throughout the centuries, but none were as systematic, as civilized and as endorsed as the Holocaust. Nowhere, never, was the machine of a government focused so totally on obli terating all traces of a religion or people in such an efficient and barbaric way, while being accompanied by the silence of nations who could have, should have, done something. Not since Nazi Germany have so many synagogues been destroyed. Muslim intolerance is well known and yet the world continues to be silent. Why was the world silent when 2,000 Hindi temples were destroyed by Muslims in India? When will the world finally react to Islamic religious intolerance? Would the world remain silent if 25 churches were burned in one day? Where is the Vatican's voice of outrage as the synagogues in Gaza burn? I can only imagine what fury there would be if Israel were to now demolish 25 mosques on Israeli soil. Just three days ago, I stood in the Yamit Yeshiva in N'vei Dekalim, the famous synagogue in the shape of a Jewish star. Rabbi Abu Mazen has promised that this building will be destroyed. Apparently, its continued existence would be an insult to the Palestinians, who do not believe in the sanctity of any r eligion but their own. As I walked around, there was a swirl of action. Soldiers moved quickly back and forth removing whatever could be taken. The books had been removed, the holy Torah scrolls long since taken away so they would not see the shame of wh at would come. The High Court had not yet ruled whether Israel should destroy the buildings in anticipation of the desecration Abu Mazen and his government was promising, but the soldiers knew destruction was coming soon. In the end, the Israeli governme nt made the correct choice. We will not destroy synagogues. We will not send a signal to the world that it is acceptable to wantonly destroy the holy places of our religion or another. And so, today, as yesterday and tomorrow, mosques will be safe in Israe l, while synagogues burn elsewhere. Jews do not destroy places of worship even if the alternative in the end is the desecration of these Houses of God at the hands of rioting mobs who worship terror, incite violence and care not for any buildings or any people, not even their own. The world will not admit it, it can't be said or written, but Jews honor churches, mosques and synagogues throughout our country and in our communities. Since the Holocaust, the Jewish synagogues in Europe have largely been prot ected and public outcries have often resulted when desecrations have occurred.

Israelis even protect Arab holy sites when they are built on top of our holy places, as they are on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Joseph's Tomb, Samuel's Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Make no mistake, the face of the future state of Palestine can be seen in the actions of Palestinians today. There is an impossible divide between our culture and theirs, our dreams and the nightmares they would force upon us. Jews made their stand yesterday by not destroying the synagogues. Palestinians made their stand today by burning and desecrating them. The remaining question now is what the Christian world will do. Will you express outrage at Islamic intolerance or continued silence?

Iran's president: Israel must be 'wiped off the map'
The Associated Press TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ² Iran's hard-line president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and said a new wave of Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state, state-run media reported Wednesday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also denounced attempts to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it. "There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad told students Wednesday during a Tehran conference called "The World without Zionism." "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury, (while) any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zioni st regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said. Ahmadinejad also repeated the words of the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who called for the destruction of Israel. "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, who came to power in August and replaced Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who advocated international dialogue and tried to improve Iran's relations with the West. Ahmadinejad referred to I srael's recent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a "trick," saying Gaza was already a part of Palestinian lands and the pullout was designed to win acknowledgment of Israel by Islamic states. "The fighting in Palestine is a war between the (whole) Islamic nation and the world of arrogance," Ahmadinejad said, using Tehran's propaganda epithet for the United

States and Israel. "Today, Palestinians are representing the Islamic nation against arrogance." Iran does not recognize the existence of Israel and has o ften called for its destruction. Israel has been at the forefront of nations calling and end to Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and many others in the West say is aimed at acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Iran says the program is for generating electricity. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Ahmadinejad's comment "reconfirms what we have been saying about the regime in Iran. It underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear intentions." French Foreign Minister Jean-Baptiste Mattei condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks "with the utmost firmness." Harsh words for Israel are common in Iran, especially at this time of year, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In Iran, this Friday ² the last Muslim day of prayer in the Ramadan holiday ² has been declared Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day. Rallies were slated in support of Palestinians ² and against Israel's occupation of parts of the city and other Palestinian lands. Other Iranian politicians also have issued anti -Israeli statements, in attempts to whip up support for Friday's nationwide Quds Day demonstrations. But Ahmadinejad's strident anti -Israeli statements on the eve of the demonstration were harsher than those issued during the term of the reformist Khatami and harkened back to Khomeini's fiery speeches. Ahmadinejad was a longtime member of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, which even operates a division dubbed the Quds Division, a rhetorical reference to Tehran's hopes of one day ending Israel's domination of Islam's third-holiest city. After his election, Ahmadinejad received the support of the powerful hard -line Revolutionary Guards, who report directly to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Last year, a senior member of the guards attended a meeting that called for and accepted applications for suicide bombers to target U.S. troops and Israelis. Iran announced earlier this year that it had fully developed solid fuel technology for missiles, a major breakthrough that increases their accuracy. The Shahab-3, with a range of 810 miles to 1,200 miles, is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.

North Indian Muslims hate Israel, says researcher

12 December 2005 LONDON ² Animosity against Israel is widespread amo ng Indian Muslims living in the northern part of the country and forming the second largest Muslim bloc in the world, according to an Indian researcher from the College of Orient and African Studies of the London University. In an address during a seminar organised by the Centre for Jewish Studies under the theme: ³How the Indians and Pakistanis view Israel and Zionism,´ Dr Sosila Yusudian Shitroviel, said she visited the northern part of India last year, where she conducted studies, including the universi ties of those areas. She said she discovered that anti-Israeli sentiment was getting higher among the people in that area. She said Indian Muslim students from northern India see Zionism in the same light as Nazism and never believe in the Holocaust as a r eal historic event as portrayed by Zionists. She said this negative stance has its roots in the past as the British colonial masters used to regard Indian Muslims (including those in today¶s Pakistan) as a group that pose a danger to British interests, whi le the Indian Muslims saw the alliance between the British colonial masters and global Zionists as a common enemy which must be dealt with. But the researcher pointed out that former Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahal Nehru took a moderate stan ce on the Arab-Israeli conflict. They did not support Zionism, but rather stood by the Arabs in support of the right of Palestinians, until the nationalist parties in India, like the BJP, came to power and gave rise to Hindu nationalist sentiment against M uslims inside and outside India, tipping the scales in favour of an Indian alliance with Israel against Arabs and Muslims. This sentiment rose higher with the assassination of Indira Gandhi and her son, Rajiv Gandhi which brought to power political parties that were against the Gandhi and Nehru policies, she said, adding that Indian Muslims see Jewish immigrants to Palestine as a continuation of the British imperialist extension in the region. On the other hand, she said, the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinn ah, who led Pakistan to separate from India, was anti -Zionist and regarded the latter as an integral part of British imperialism.

Muslims offended by 'Jewish' cookies
Company may change product name of traditional pre -Christmas Danish treat Yigal Romm, EJP

A group of Danish Muslims is refusing to eat traditional ³Jewish´ cookies because they feel offended by the name.

According to the daily Danish newspaper B.T., Ole Poulsen, head of the public food consumer department said that the Muslim refusal to b uy the cookies could have an effect on sales. "If this will be the case, then we would be obliged to do something about it," he declared. He added that changing the product name was a possibility, as had in the past been done with the ³Negroes¶ kiss´ cakes, which were re-branded with a more neutral name.
Educating population (Muslims are generally ignorate)

Jewish cookies, which are made with cinnamon and hazelnuts and actually have nothing particularly Jewish about them, are very popular in Denmark duri ng the preChristmas period. Denmark¶s chief rabbi, Bent Lexner, said that he did not see any problem in a name change. ³There is nothing Jewish in it and I wouldn¶t mind another name, but I think that it would be better to educate Muslims to respect the culture of the majority in Denmark, if they want the majority to respect their culture". Most of Denmark¶s ³Jewish´ cookies are not kosher and they are therefore not consumed by a large part of the Jewish population.

Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism no less threatening
By Kenneth I. Segel All Americans are worried about the hatred among groups who do not value human life. But Jews who know their history have additional fears. We Jews have reasons to worry because a significant part of humanity has a hatred o f us indistinguishable in kind and intensity from that of the Nazis. We Jews have reasons to worry because the last time a civilization declared such hatred against Jews, what ensued was the most organized and monumental evil in history, the Holocaust. We hoped that Nazi-type hatred would never reappear. But it has. In fact, in two ways, Arab/Muslim anti -Semitism is more frightening.

First, while both Nazi and the Arab/Muslim anti -Semites have used closed societies with their controlled press to promote hor rific lies about Jews, the Nazis hid their murder of Jews from the German public. They did not have confidence that enough Germans would support the murder of Jewish men, women and children. The Arab/Muslim anti-Semites, however, have no such problem. Those who kill Jews in Israel are public celebrities. The second more frightening aspect of Arab/Muslim Jew -hatred is that many of these haters do not value their own lives. Nazis did. Once upon a time there was a special place in the lowest depths of hell for anyone who would intentionally murder a child. Now, the intentional murder of Israeli children is legitimized as Palestinian "armed struggle." However, once such behavior is legitimized against Israel, it is legitimized everywhere in the world, constraine d by nothing more than the subjective belief of people who would wrap themselves in dynamite and nails for the purpose of killing children in the name of God. Because the Palestinians have been encouraged to believe that murdering innocent Israeli civilians is a legitimate tactic for advancing their cause, the whole world now suffers from a plague of terrorism, from Nairobi to New York, from Moscow to Madrid, from Bali to Beslan. They blame suicide bombing on "desperation of occupation." Let me tell you the truth. The first major terror bombing committed by Arabs against the Jewish state occurred 10 weeks before Israel even became independent. On Sunday morning, Feb. 22, 1948, in anticipation of Israel's independence, a triple truck bomb was detonated by Arab terrorists on Ben Yehuda Street in what was then the Jewish section of Jerusalem. Fifty-four people were killed and hundreds were wounded. Thus, it is obvious that Arab terrorism is caused not by the "desperation" of "occupation," but the very thought of a Jewish state. So many times in history in the last 100 years, citizens have stood by and done nothing, allowing evil to prevail. As America stood up against and defeated communism, now it is time to stand up against the terror of religious bigotry and intolerance. It's time for all to stand up and support and defend the state of Israel, which is the front line of the war against terrorism. So long as terror is tolerated, it will continue. So long as terrorism is granted a kind of moral equivalence with those defending themselves, it will thrive. Negotiating with terrorists, and trying to work something out with them, which is what Mahmoud Abbas proposed, will soon enough undermine the negotiator, not the terrorists. Which is what happened to Abbas. The Palestinians deserve peace and the opportunity to live in democracy as much as the Israelis do. The Palestinians also deserve leaders who are accountable. But progress for the Palestinians is incompatible with a culture of hatred in which every public platform, every mosque, every educational program is used for exhortations to destroy Israel. Which is why, sadly, the poisonous legacy of Arafat may take a generation to excise.

Anyway, in the Middle East, "It is wise to remember that hope is a good breakfast b ut a very poor supper." Kenneth I. Segel is rabbi at Temple Beth Or in Montgomery.

Jews jeopardized by Muslim immigration
February 16, 2007 Ilana Mercer Following Sept. 11, immigration from Muslim countries tapered off, but, as the New York Times enthused, it has rebounded with a vengeance: "In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents « than in any year in the previous two decades." Although Bush is unlikely to allow millions of displaced Iraqis the prerogatives he bestows on illegal Mexicans, the reality is that he is responsible for rendering a Muslim country uninhabitable. This makes it harder for the U.S. to reject Iraqi immigrants and asylum seekers. Starting this year, up to 20,000 Iraqis will be granted asylum in the U.S. They will join close to 100,000 "Muslim from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia," who arrived in 2005. Immigration (and the war in Iraq) ought to be the most crucial question in the 2008 election. It is the issue that will ultimately decide whether American values and institutions endure. Unfortunately, it's a debate American Jews can put off no longer, although it's too late for their European, British and Canadian brethren. To speak plainly: A gathering danger threatens the Jews of America ± to whom George Washington promised peace and goodwill in a 1790 address to a synagogue congregation in Newport, R.I. American Jewry has "lived up to the standard asked of them by Washington," observed philosopher David Conway in his inquiry into the "Place of Nations in Classical Liberalism." But "The stock of Abraham," which has flourished in the New World ± producing uniquely entrepreneurial, creative and philanthropic citizens ± is now threatened by what it perversely promotes: mass immigration. And in particular, immigration from Muslim countries, where anti-Semitism and extremism are imbibed with mother's milk. Before 1965, immigration to the U.S. occurred in manageable ebbs and flows, ensuring the new arrivals were thoroughly assimilated and integrated. Multiculturalism was unheard of. In 1965, without voter approval, the U.S. Congress replaced the national -origin immigration criterion, which ensured newcomers reinforced the historical majority, with a multicultural, egalitarian quota system, which divided visas between nations with an emp hasis on mass importation of people from

the Third World. The new influx was no longer expected to acculturate to liberal democratic Judeo-Christian values. With family reunification superseding economic or cultural requirements, every qualified immigrant would henceforth hold an entry ticket for his entire tribe. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies ± in "High Noon to Midnight: Does Current Immigration Policy Doom American Jewry?" ± courageously (for it runs counter to the views of most of his fellow American Jews) highlights the bizarre situation where entire villages from rural Mexico and the West Bank in Israel have U.S. citizenship. How so? One member qualifies and then imports the entire town. In addition to having huge extended families, Muslims and Mexicans share an anti Americanism, a tendency to crab about historical grievance and cling to a militant distinctiveness, and a predilection for aggressive identity politi cs (which the New York Times finds "strikingly positive"). Second only to Latinos, the relatively new (roughly 30-year-old) Muslim community is the most anti-Semitic community in the U.S., its members harboring the greatest propensity to act on their hatre d. Although Jews don't benefit in the least from open -door immigration, having long since settled in the U.S., Israel, and other First World countries, the liberal Jewish community has continued to generously support this policy. In Canada, Muslims now g reatly outnumber Jews. In Europe, what remains of a Jewry devastated by the Holocaust comes under daily assaults and threats, mostly from the 20-million-strong Muslim community. American Jewry is next. Although taqiyya-talking Muslim organizations (almost all radical) inflate the numbers, there are still only, approximately, 2 to 3 million Muslims in America to 5.3 million Jews. But mass immigration is rapidly changing that. Allusions to the rise of a "new anti -Semitism" are misleading, because the violent assaults on Jews and their property in Europe, England and Canada are nourished by an old hatred rooted in the Quran and in anti -infidel Islamic laws. Remember, Muslims invented the yellow rag with which the Nazis tagged Jews. The ghetto, "mellah" in Arabic, was a Muslim-devised gated community for the Jews of the Maghrib back in the 15th century. Not for naught did Maimonides, the 12th century Jewish philosopher and physician, write about the Arabs, "Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they." As Steinlight points out, "It is virtually impossible to be reared in classical Islam and not be educated to hate Jews ± based on a literalist reading of the Quran, where many of the Suras concerning Jews are monstrously hateful, murdero us, [and] terrifying. « These texts also regard Jews as a spiritually fraudulent entity ± all the prophets and great figures of the Hebrew Bible, according to Islamic teaching, were Muslims, not Jews. « With the exception of a tiny group of courageous Amer ican Muslims « who have spoken out and condemned « anti -Semitism, the 'Muslim Street' in the U.S. has yet to show its disapproval of this philosophical and political agenda." Ted Kennedy, the architect of the lemming's lunacy that is American immigration policy, has hammered the administration for its apathy: "We can no longer ignore the plight of millions of [Iraqi] people. « America must respond." And so should

American Jews! So far, however, the exponential growth of the Muslim community through immigration has failed to rally Jewish leaders. Listening to Abe Foxman, you would think that the chief dangers to Jewish continuity are marauding Mormons (who convert dead Jews) or Mel Gibson.

Terror in Jerusalem
Jul 2, 2008 Jerusalem Post It would be easier to come to terms with what happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday if we could convince ou rselves that Jabr Duwait had simply gone berserk when he ploughed murderously into pedestrians, cars and buses. If only a forensic psychiatrist could certify that the 30 -year-old bulldozer operator had suffered a psychotic episode that impelled him, perch ed on that mammoth machine, to rampage through one of the cityÃs most congested thoroughfares killing and wounding as many innocents as he could. We might shake our heads in dismay, but tell ourselves that there can be no ultimate protection from a madman. But the havoc wrought on Jaffa Road was in all likelihood not the work of a madman; to convince ourselves otherwise would be delusional. Eyewitnesses described a scene of mayhem. Duwait began his onslaught from a construction site on nearby Sharei Yisra el Street, ramming a city bus and wounding people along the way before turning into Jaffa Road -- which was even more congested than usual because of infrastructure work on the light railway. As pedestrians scattered to avoid being crushed by the giant ve hicle, the killer drove in the direction of the Mahaneh Yehuda outdoor market, viciously smashing into a second city bus, knocking it over. He smashed and crushed several other vehicles in his path. Three people were killed and scores wounded, before an off -duty soldier and a specially-trained motorcycle policeman managed to climb aboard the bulldozer and, as Duwait cried ³Allahu Akbar´ (God is great), shot him dead. JUST HOURS after the killing spree, the overturned bus had been set upright and towed away. The bulldozer, too, was removed, as were the crushed cars. Volunteers washed the blood of the victims from the street. Jaffa Road, and the adjoining Central Bus Station vicinity, resumed their normal appearance. But the people of Jerusalem have been badly traumatized. There is a gnawing sense that the tranquility residents have enjoyed for some years now, since the unofficial end of the second Intifada, may be over -- and that the biggest danger emanates from within the boundaries of the city itself.

Duwait was a resident of Sur Baher, a Palestinian Arab village located near Kibbutz Ramat Rahel in southeast Jerusalem, and inside the security barrier. Being a resident of metropolitan Jerusalem, as opposed to the West Bank, Duwait held a blue ID card similar to the one carried by all Israeli citizens. Wednesday¶s outrage recalls the attack just two months ago inside the study hall of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in which another Jerusalem Arab, Ala Abu Dhaim from Jebl Mukaber, murdered eight students before being shot dead by an off -duty IDF officer (who, by a surreal coincidence, is the brother -in-law of the man who shot Duwait). WITH SEVERAL notable exceptions, Jerusale m Arabs tended to avoid being drawn into the second intifada. But in recent months a number of incidents, including the near-lynching of two municipal inspectors on Salah -a-Din Street and an attempt to murder two security guards in the Old City, have spotl ighted what appears to be a trend toward radicalization. The capital¶s Arab population gave their support to Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections. The Arab neighborhoods that dot metropolitan Jerusalem -- not just ³east,´ but north and south as well -- were absorbed into the capital¶s boundaries after the 1967 Six Day War and its Arab residents issued blue ID cards. Eligible to apply for full Israeli citizenship, they overwhelmingly chose not to do so, in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. The dichotomy under which these Arabs live seems to be growing ever more strained. They may work for Jews; they may receive health and social benefits from the Zionist state, but culturally and politically they are inseparable from the surrounding Arab milieu. The y watch the same satellite TV stations and hear preachers espousing the same radical messages as their compatriots in the West Bank and Gaza. We must, at the very least, acknowledge that this framework -- the relationship between Jerusalem¶s Arabs and Jews, and its security ramifications -- which has applied since 1967 needs reevaluation. To do otherwise would leave us in denial.


Teenager may be beheaded in death of Saudi baby
By Donna Abu-Nasr The Associated Press RIYADH, Saudi Arabia ² Rizana Nafeek, a 19-year-old housemaid from Sri Lanka, is on death row because the baby in her care died while she was bottle-feeding him. If her appeal is turned down, she will be taken to a public square to be publicly beheaded. The Sri Lankan government says it is working for a reprieve and has until Monday to file the plea. A last-minute pardon by the infant's parents also could spare her. But if her execution goes ahead, it will be the latest in a surge of beheadings that could surpass the kingdom's record of 191 in 2005. The figure for 2007 already is at least 102, including three women, according to Amnesty International. Beheading always has been the punishment meted out to murderers, rapists, drug traffickers and armed robbers in Saudi Arabia. Whether what Nafeek did amounts to murder never has been spelled out by courts or other officials, but Saudi authorities, facing criticism from foreign human-rights groups, insist they are just enforcing God's law.

Was she railroaded? Amnesty International says some defendants are convicted solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress, torture or deception. Speaking of the housemaid's sentence, Kate Allen of Amnesty International called it "an absolute scandal that Saudi Arabia is preparing to behead a teenage girl who didn't even have a lawyer at her trial." Nafeek arrived in the kingdom May 4, 2005, to work as a housemaid. She was given the additional duty of looking after the baby boy, a job the Sri Lankan Embassy says she was not trained to do. The embassy says the infant died May 22 while she was bottle-feeding him. Nafeek allegedly confessed, the statement said, but then recanted, saying her admission was obtained under duress. The Asian Human Rights Commission, an independent Hong Kong-based body of jurists and human-rights activists, said it was an accident. The child was choking, it said, and Nafeek "was desperately trying to help by way of soothing and stroking the chest, face and neck of the baby." An estimated 5.6 million foreign workers, many of them Asian, serve a Saudi population of 22 million. Of the 102 people executed this year, half were foreigners, according to Amnesty International. "Allah, our creator, knows best what's good for his people," said Suhaila Hammad of Saudi Arabia's National Society for Human Rights. "Should we just think of and preserve the rights of the murderer and not think of the rights of others?" Saudi ritual Beheadings are carried out with a sword, with no photos allowed. Prisoners, usually sedated, kneel, flanked by clerics and law-enforcement officials and facing the victim's family. "The prisoner now recites verses from the Quran while a government official reads the charges and the verdict," according to an account in Arab News. "Halfway through the reading the executioner suddenly nicks the back of the prisoner's neck with his sword, causing him to tense and raise his head involuntarily." Then, in one swift move, the prisoner is decapitated. Beheadings usually take place in a square next to a mosque. Some families pardon prisoners, just minutes before the blade falls. Others do it before an execution date is set in exchange for money or in response to appeals from members of the royal family.

A famous case was that of Samira Murait. In 2000 she shot dead a male acquaintance who stalked her after she married. After mediation efforts and pleas from the public as well as from a Saudi prince, the family agreed to forgive her. She had spent seven years in prison. But Nafeek's Saudi employers refused to pardon her, and a court in Ad Dawadimi, 250 miles west of Riyadh, sentenced her to death June 16.

Muslim Hate of Switzerland
Gadhafi Calls for Jihad Against Switzerland
The Wall Street Journal FEBRUARY 26, 2010 Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi called on Thursday for a "jihad" or armed struggle against Switzerland, which he called an infidel state that was destroying mosques. "Any Muslim in any part of the world who works with Switzerland is an apostate, is against [the Prophet] Muhammad, God and the Koran," Col. Gadhafi said during a meeting in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi to mark the prophet's birthday. "The masses of Muslims must go to all airports in the Islamic world and prevent any Swiss plane landing, to all harbors and prevent any Swiss ships docking, inspect all shops and markets to stop any Swiss goods being sold," Col. Gadhafi said. The Swiss Foreign Ministry said it had no comment on Col. Gadhafi's remarks. The Libyan leader's comments are the latest move in a long -running clash between Switzerland and Libya. In July 2008, Libya detained two Swiss businessmen, after Geneva police arrested Col. Gadhafi's son Hannibal for allegedly beating two servants. A Libyan court later convicted the two businessmen for violation of residency l aws, a charge they denied. Swiss diplomats charged that the move was retaliation for the arrest of Hannibal Gadhafi. Then, last November, Swiss voters approved a referendum to ban the construction of minarets on mosques. Some analysts in Switzerland said they believed the strong vote in favor of the ban ²58% of voters supported the referendum ²stemmed in part from resentment in Switzerland over the issue of the businessmen in Libya. Soon after the election, Libya's government -controlled news agency Jana bran ded the vote "racist." But while the vote raised the ire of political and religious leaders in the Muslim world, it hasn't generated violence or a backlash against Swiss interests abroad, as the Swiss government had originally feared. After the vote, Swiss efforts to convince Tripoli to release the men failed, and political observers said Libya's continued refusal to release them was in reaction to the minaret vote. Earlier this week, Libya freed one of the men after a court overturned his conviction on appeal, and he has returned to Switzerland. The other man, Max Göldi, the country head in Libya for Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd., has begun a four-month prison sentence in Libya.

Bern has restricted the granting of Swiss visas to Libyan citizens. That, in turn, has prompted Tripoli to block the entry of some European citizens into Libya. Tripoli has stopped issuing visas to citizens of the Schengen passport -free zone, which includes most of the European Union as well as Switzerland. On Thursday, Italy said Libya may renege on a deal to help control the flow of undocumented immigrants into the EU because of the visa spat with Switzerland. Libya is often used as a departure poi nt by such immigrants for southern Europe, particularly Italy. Italy, which has close business links with Libya, has accused Switzerland of misusing the Schengen agreement and taking its members "hostage" by instituting the ban, which had forced other Sche ngen nations to bar travel by Libyans as well. Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the quarrel put the Schengen zone at risk and could further strain relations with Libya. Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf met with EU ministers on Thursday to discuss possible solutions to the travel situation.


Away with Crucifixes, Crosses, and Christmas As the Muslim presence in the West grows, so do the calls to do away with long-standing insignia that retain their Christian origins. This weblog entry keeps tab on some of the more colorful demands. A Muslim traffic warden, M'Hammed Azzaoui, resigned from London's Metropolitan Police Authority and threatened a racial discrimination case. He complained that the St. Edward's crown on a police badge ² a symbol of the monarchy's authority since the eleventh century and the constitutional symbol of the political independence of the police ² contains a tiny cross and, as a Muslim, he could not wear the symbol of another faith. In response, Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair proposed an alternative badge for Muslim officers and those of other religions. But Commissioner Sir John Stevens abandoned this plan after it got him an earful of protests. (Aug. 14, 2002) A Muslim provocateur, Adel Smith, a resident of Ofena, Italy, sued his son's public school to remove the crucifix in his classroom because it "bothered him." A district judge handed down a decision agreeing with Smith. "Public schools must be impartial regarding religious phenomena," he said. Italians responded with outrage. President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi called the crucifix "a symbol of the values that are at the base of our identity." (Oct. 30, 2003)

Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers forbade British prison officers from wearing a St. George's Cross tie-pin, although it is the national flag of England, due to its connection to the Crusades. Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, approved of the step, noting that "A lot of Muslims and Arabs view the Crusades as a bloody episode in our history," Doyle added that it was now time for England to find a new flag and a patron saint who is "not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with." (Oct. 4, 2005) An Islamic group in Australia, the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations wants to do away with the word Christmas, holding that the term excludes too many people in a multicultural society. Its director, Kuranda Seyit, says it's time for Australia to fall in line with the UK, where councils renamed Christmas as Winterval and refer to it adjectively as festive and winter. (Dec. 4, 2005) Muslims in Russia are demanding that the cross and other Orthodox Christian symbols be removed from the Russian coat of arms . Damir Mukhetdinov, deputy head of the Spiritual Board of the Nizhny Novgorod region's Muslims, said his people's feelings are insulted because "this violates the secular nature of the state and doesn't contribute to the unity of Russia's peoples." Ali Visam Bardvil, head of the Spiritual Board of Karelia's Muslims, noted that "The cross is not a Muslim symbol. We respect the religious feeling of Christians but do not recognize the crucifixion of Christ. Therefore, in my opinion Orthodox symbols should be removed from the coat of arms to make it acceptable to all religions." Nafigulla Ashirov, chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Asian Russia, went further. "This is not only a question of the Russian coat of arms. We can say that icons are all but put up on the walls of state offices," plus a host of other problems. (Dec. 6, 2005) Philippians 3:18-19 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping,
mind on earthly things. that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame²who set their