Saturday, May 1, 2010

Religious cleansing: Tough choices for Jews living in the Arabian Peninsula

Abraham (2)What did the Muslim say to the non-Muslim: Of course we want you to live! Just change to Islam, that's all!!

Admittedly there is something strange goings on when it comes to tolerating others in the Muslim world. Islamic nations are extremely hostile environments for non-Muslims in them. There are always going to be frictions, but what makes Muslim nations stand out, is the lack of adequate protection under the law. In fact non-Muslims are literally not equal to Muslims under the law. Non-Muslim can be attacked, kidnapped, even killed and forcibly converted without penalty, at times the state is the main offender.

Abraham Zahry loves his home country but says he finds it hard to keeping living there. He is now considering what many of his fellow Jews have done in the last year: Leave and settle elsewhere.

“I might go to America, Canada, or even Israel," the 26-year-old told Babylon & Beyond. "I think America would be good. Education, business, everything is easier for Jews there."

Last year, assaults against the country’s Jewish community increased to such a level that American and Jewish organizations flew more than 100 Jews out. In one attack, a Jewish man was murdered outside his home. Many others have reportedly been threatened.

Most recently, Britain's Independent newspaper reported in mid-April that the British government is about to sign a secret deal which would allow some Yemeni Jews who have been subject to severe persecution to move to the United Kingdom.

Zahry, who stands out with his long locks of hair hanging from the side of his head, says he is sometimes verbally harassed on the streets.

“They call me things like Jew and dog,” he said.

He also remembers how one time someone grabbed his locks and pulled them.

While educated Yemenis differentiate between local Jews and despised Israelis, “the ignorant don’t," he says.

He says he and his community are scared of the “radicals” who have increased in number.

“There are much more radical people than before who think Jews are a horrible thing and that they don’t believe in God," he said. "Those who know and understand Islam know this is not the case…but others just base their information from what they hear on TV and from people."

Zahry, a son of carpenter who was taught to speak Hebrew, has lived his whole life in Yemen. It didn’t used to be like this. He is used to chew khat, a mild narcotic popular among Yemenis, with his Muslim friends and dance together at weddings. But things took a turn for worse in recent years.

Zahry believes there are only around 200 Jews left in Yemen. Jewish leaders in Yemen put the number slightly higher, at 370. In Sana, 70 Jewish families live under government protection.

When so many Jews have left the country, Zahry said it's harder for the community to survive socially and culturally.

Finding a Jewish spouse for your kids at this point, for example, is no picnic, said Zahry.

“People died and there was no one to take them to their graves," he said. "If my son wants to marry, where will he find a spouse in such a small minority? People’s friends left the country so they are now thinking of it too. It’s better for us to live in a group as a community."

He added, "I love my country but we are lacking temples of worship, education, and social organizations."

Some Yemeni Jews have suggested foreign countries pour money into building up Jewish institutions inside the country instead of giving them free flights out.

But Zahry, who has five children and a pregnant wife, said economic pressures are also forcing him to leave. he has no real job except from sporadically taking extra passengers in his car.

Zahry says he spends most days chewing khat in the Kharf village where he lives in Yemen's Omran province and thinking up ways to get money for his children.

He says he will always keep his home country close to his heart.

“Wherever I go, I will not forget my country,” he said.

LA Times

Lady Gaga's Telephone remade by US soldiers in Afghanistan [Video]

"Telephone: The Afghanistan Remake" emerged on the web last week and shows the soldiers doing their own version of the pop queen's video.
The soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division reportedly made their film at Forward Operating Base in Farah Province.

Aaron Melcher, 24, the soldier behind the video said: "Prepare yourself for a fantastical journey. Right now this is the temporary version, we have more scenes to cut, and edit, however with guys always on mission it is harder to film than you think."

The video begins with "Big Rob" and "Pilon" lip-syncing and pretending to sing to each other on telephones and dancing.

It goes on to feature soldiers in Lady Gaga-style costumes, group dancing, props and back flips.

The video was posted on Facebook a week ago and has since been seen by thousands of people.

Melcher has since said that it was only intended for a few friends.


Iran: Suntanned women who look like 'walking mannequins' to be arrested under Islamic dress code

Its a hatred for women.

Iran has warned suntanned women and girls who looked like "walking mannequins" will be arrested as part of a new drive to enforce the Islamic dress code.

Brig Hossien Sajedinia, Tehran's police chief, said a national crackdown on opposition sympathisers would be extended to women who have been deemed to be violating the spirit of Islamic laws. He said: "The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehaviour by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values. In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins.

"We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them."

Iran's Islamic leadership has in recent weeks launched a scaremongering campaign to persuade the population that vice is sweeping the streets of the capital. National law stipulates that women wear headscarves and shape shrouding cloaks but many women, particularly in the capital, spend heavily on fashions that barely adhere to the regulations.

The announcement came shortly after Ayatollah Kazim Sadighi, a leading cleric, warned that women who dressed immodestly disturbed young men and the consequent agitation caused earthquakes.

Another preacher warned Tehran's citizens to flee before the inevitable punishment for flagrant behaviour was visited on the city.

"Go on the streets and repent for your sins," Ayatollah Aziz Khoshvaqt, one of the country's highest clerics, told worshippers during a recent sermon in northern Tehran. "A holy torment is upon us. Leave town."


Friday, April 30, 2010

Possible Burqa Ban in Holland [Video]

Notice they say they will go to hell if they don't wear the burqa. That is the Arab influence. One of the aims of the Arab mosque funding is to convince the girls that they will suffer God's wrath if for example they don't wear the, black Arabian clothes and further the burqa. Like they say it was a gradual process. You are hearing this more and more. First they get them out of their regional Islamic clothes, if they were not converts, into the black headscarf and gown, then the girls talk about a gradual process into the burqa. So that they are not only Muslim, they are Arabized. It is a process of Arabization and Islamization in one.

What induces Muslim women to wear a veil? And how do the Dutch react to a woman wearing a niqab, a face-covering veil? Radio Netherlands Worldwide interviewed Brigitte, a convert to Islam, and Chaista Khan. Both women wear a niqab.

Dutch MP and leader of the right-wing Freedom Party Geert Wilders wants the burka banned in the Netherlands. The proposed ban is a pivotal point in his party’s election manifesto. It’s the first time the Freedom Party has taken part in a national parliamentary election, and Mr Wilders predicts big wins in the 9 June polls.

Brigitte and Chaista are often called names in public - “terrorist” or “ninja”, for example. Brigitte has had little contact with her family since her decision to wear the niqab. Chaista’s parents worry about her, about what might happen if she comes across radical people who might get aggressive with her because her face is covered. But the women themselves feel free... free behind their niqab. Radio Netherlands

Democracy Activist: 'Syria Is Today a Vassal State of Tehran'

A vendor displays a picture of Syrian President Bashar Assad (left) and Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah in Damascus: "Iran is using Hezbollah to stir up trouble in the Middle East," says Ribal al-Assad.

Ribal al-Assad, 35, is a media entrepreneur and cousin of the Syrian President Bashar Assad. He is the founder and director of the Organization for Democracy and Freedom in Syria (ODFS).

Ribal al-Assad, the cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad, is an advocate of greater democracy in Syria. He talks to SPIEGEL ONLINE about Iran's influence on the country, allegations that Damascus supplied Hezbollah with weapons and the conditions for a peace deal with Israel.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Syria has been able to improve its relations with the United States and Turkey in recent years. Is the country on the path from pariah status to partner?

Assad: Syria should not see it as a triumph. The US's new approach is a test. Syria needs to now prove itself. Damascus should not in any case imagine that it has received a green light from the international community to oppress people.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Your cousin is Syrian President Bashar Assad. The two of you are greatly divided over the issue of democracy. Is he at all willing to democratize the country further?

Assad: He has promised to do so. But so far nothing has happened. The problem is the influence of Iran. Syria is today a vassal state of Tehran.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Should your cousin therefore break off relations with Iran?

Assad: Syria must act independently and should no longer be submissive or act subordinately. This can only succeed, however, if Syria has a government of national unity that can win popular support for the goal of more democracy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: There were reports that Syria supplied the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon with Scud missiles. What do you know about this?

Assad: If that is true, it would seriously damage Syria's reputation in the world. So far, however, there have only been rumors about it. Hezbollah is not dependent on Syria, but on Iran. Hezbollah is part of the government in Beirut. They need to stop being a tool of Tehran. Iran is using Hezbollah to stir up trouble in the Middle East.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What could persuade Hezbollah to give up this alliance?

Assad: The international community should speak with Hezbollah and offer something in return for renouncing Iran, such as money for schools and hospitals, for example.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Many people in the West believe that Tehran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. What can still be done to stop Iran?

Assad: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is very close to his goal and is not willing to give up now. The only hope is the "Green Revolution" (editor's note: the Iranian opposition movement). The international community must support the movement very patiently. Sanctions don't achieve anything. They only affect ordinary people.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why is there still no peace agreement between Israel and Syria?

Assad: The precondition for that is Israel returning the Golan Heights to Syria. (Editor's note: Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since the 1967 Six Day War.)

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In other words, a compromise currently seems unrealistic.

Assad: The deal is land for peace. That is something that Israel will ultimately have to accept.

Der Spiegel

Denmark's KFC website targeted by Islamist hackers

Looks like an Indonesian/South East Asia hack!!

All that Finger Linkin' Halal Chicken, didn't seem to do KFC any Good!!

Denmark's KFC website has been targeted by Islamist hackers.

The hackers decided to gain access to the fast food site and post an educational video about their religion on the page.

This video appeared:

They also left instructions to the Danish government to introduce a new law to punish people who publicly insult religion.

The hackers implied in their demands that if the law is not introduced, the hacking of Danish websites will continue.

And the message:

The hackers left a slightly cryptic message on the site, which read: 'If your Gov. don't make rules for Punishing anyone Insult Religions in the name of (Freedom of Speech ! ) or ( Freedom to Insult ) :)

'So, take this rule of Hacking ! in the name of

'[ Hacking is a Knowledge and the Knowledge is Free ! ] It means [ Hacking Anyone I want !!!!]

'If your People can behave and Learn how to Respect , act rationally and stop to Insult Other Religions

'under the name of ( Freedom to Insult ) or ( Freedom of Speech )

'Then the Rule of Hacking will be stopped

'Finally , I would like to remind also with the decree which the Human Rights Agency in the United Nations adopted on the 12th of April 2005. This decree insisted on the ban of distortions and vicious attack against religions and especially Islam; which had been strongly attacked in the last few years !

'Don't worry .. No files deleted .. Just my Index* has been added to your lame bOx ;)

'Greets Go To: All My Friends in MSN :)'

While it is not clear why the KFC site in particular was chosen, some have speculated it is because of the lack of security on the webpage.

But it is clear why Denmark was targeted - following a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban being printed in a Danish newspaper.

The drawing was one of 12 caricatures that sparked angry protests in Muslim countries in 2005 after they were published by a newspaper.

Politiken and other Danish newspapers then reprinted the cartoon in 2008 after police revealed a plot to kill the cartoonist behind the drawing.

Eleven Danish newspapers were contacted by a Saudi lawyer Faisal Yamani, who represents eight Muslim groups in the Middle East and Australia, last year.

Yamani demanded that the cartoons were removed from their websites, that the newspapers print an apology and they agree not to use them again.

The Politiken Daily have now issued an apology, with editor in chief Toeger Seidenfaden saying: 'We have the right to print Kurt Westergaard's drawings, we have the right to print the original 12 drawings, we have the right to print all the caricatures in the world.

'We apologise for the offense which the reprint has caused. That is what we apologise for.'

Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists whose home was the target of an attempted attack earlier this year, said he believed the apology was prompted by fear.

'I fear this is a setback for the freedom of speech,' Westergaard told AP.

'In Denmark we play by a set of rules, which we don't deviate from, and that's freedom of speech.'

Daily Mail, Gawker

UK: Muslim defaces war memorial with 'Islam will dominate the world' graffiti - walks free

A British Muslim has shown 'no remorse' after desecrating a town's war memorial with extremist Islamic slogans, a court has heard.

But the Crown Prosecution Service has decided that graffiti proclaiming future world domination for Islam, glorifying Osama Bin Laden and calling for the assassination of the British Prime Minister, 'was not religiously or racially motivated'.

Tohseef Shah, 21, admitted a charge of criminal damage to the memorial, outside Burton College in Burton on Trent, when he appeared at Burton Magistrates Court.

Shah admitted spraying the words 'Islam will dominate the world - Osama is on his way' and 'Kill Gordon Brown' on the plinth of the East Staffordshire Borough Council-owned memorial, on December 10 last year.

He was given a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £500 compensation to the council, plus £85 costs.

Prosecutor Andrew Bodger said information about Shah and photographs of the graffiti were sent to CPS headquarters in London, for a review by senior lawyers.

They found there was insufficient evidence that the criminal act was racially or religiously motivated - which could have led to a more serious charges and a harsher sentence.

The graffiti was discovered by a council street cleaning manager, who reported the incident and photographed the damage.

The pictures of the desecration were shown in court.

CCTV footage showed two figures spraying the slogans on the memorial. Although they could not be clearly identified, the footage showed one of the vandals discarding the spray can.

Shah, Horninglow, Staffordshire, has no previous convictions.

He was later identified from DNA on the spray can and admitted his actions.

Mr Bodger said: 'Shah wouldn't give an explanation as to why he had done it and had shown no remorse for this very sensitive matter.

'The words were cleaned off without difficulty at a cost of £500.

Pakistan: Kidnapped rights activist found dead

Mir Ali, 30 April (AKI) - The body of a former Pakistani intelligence official and rights activist was found in the tribal area of North Waziristan on Friday. Officials said Khalid Khawaja's body was found in a ditch near the town of Mir Ali on Friday. He had been shot in the head and chest.

His bullet-riddled body was found with a pamphlet stating that the previously unknown Asian Tigers had killed him and claimed the human rights activist was a US spy.

Khawaja, along with two other men, had been missing since 26 March after travelling into North Waziristan to produce a video.

The Asian Tigers, believed to be a banned organisation of the Taliban, later said it had kidnapped all three and issued demands for the release of the kidnapped men on Wednesday.

A video was released of Khawaja before his death in which he was made to confess that he was a CIA and Pakistani agent.

His captors had been demanding a ransom and the release of Taliban militants in exchange for the release of the men.

In recent years Khawaja campaigned for the release of dozens of people who have gone missing in Pakistan.

The purported militant group released video statements from the two former intelligence officers, Ameer Sultan alias Col Imam, TV journalist, Asad Quereshi and Khawaja.

Khalid Khawaja, who was a lawyer and chairman of the Defence for Human Rights, said he served Pakistan Air Force for 18 years and the intelligence unit for two years.

Italy: Two Moroccan 'terror suspect' students deported

The Madrid bombing were mostly Moroccans and a Moroccan was also responsible for the murder of Theo Van Gogh.

Rome, 30 April (AKI) - Two "dangerous" Moroccan terrorism suspects were deported from Italy, interior minister Roberto Maroni said on Friday. The two unnamed suspects, who attended Italy's University of Perugia, had links to Islamist extremists and were prepared to carry out "extremist acts", according to the interior ministry.

The pair was sent back to Morocco late on Thursday on a direct flight from Rome to Casablanca.

The deportations followed an investigation begun by anti-terrorism police last October into a group of radical Muslim foreign students in Italy,most of whom came from the Moroccan city of Fez.

The interior ministry said the two deported Moroccans belonged to this group.

Anti-terror police also searched the homes of several foreign students at Perugia, including four Moroccans, a Tunisian and a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, who had in recent months had contact with the two deported Moroccans.

Investigators established that one of the two deported Moroccans, who was studying international communications at Perugia's language and culture faculty, had become increasingly radicalised and drawn to Jihad or Muslim holy war.

In conversations with friends, he repeatedly stated that if he got the opportunity he would like to carry out jihadist attacks.

The second deported Moroccan student, had been studying at Perugia's mathematics and physics faculty.

The expulsions came the same day that a radical Egyptian cleric, Abu Imad, was reported to have arrested in the northern Italian city of Milan.

Italy's highest appeals court on Thursday confirmed a jail sentence of three years and eight months handed to Imad for conspiracy to carry out a terrorist act.

Imad and his co-defendants had allegedly set up a Salafite cell that was active in Milan and elsewhere in the northern Lombardy region.

The cell's mission is believed to have been recruiting suicide bombers, trafficking illegal immigrants and indoctrination.

Pakistan Hindu girl,15, forced to convert to Islam, now the 'property of the madrassa'

A girl peers out from a window in a Hindu neighborhood in Lyari, in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Hindu families in the area are warning their daughters to stay indoors after Taliban extremists lured away a 12 year-old Hindu girl and converted her to Islam.

With his help, the parents met the priest in charge of Darul-Uloom Madrassa in Khanpur, Maulana Abdul Hafeez.

Hafeez reportedly told the parents that Gajri had "embraced Islam and was not allowed to meet her parents".

In January this year, the parents of Gajri again tried to file a case of abduction against their neighbour and the madrassa but their application was refused by district police chief Imtiaz Gul.

He allegedly told them that he had no power to intervene in matters of religious conversion and that their daughter was now the "property of the madrassa", Burney said.

Islamabad: A Hindu girl from Punjab province was kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam and is currently being held in a madrassa, leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney said today.

Burney said his rights organisation, the Ansar Burney Trust International, had learnt that 15-year-old Gajri, the daughter of Mengha Ram, was abducted by a Muslim neighbour from her home at Katchi Mandi, Liaquatpur, in Rahim Yar Khan district on December 21, 2009.

Gajri's parents later found out that she was beingheld captive in a madrassa or seminary in southern Punjab and that she had been married and converted to Islam, Burney said.

The local administration is "refusing to respond to the abduction" of the girl, who is not being allowed to leave the madrassa or to speak to her parents, he said.

Burney, a former human rights minister, condemned the forceful conversion of the Hindu girl and demanded her immediate release.

"Pakistan is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which oblige authorities to protect religious minorities under international law," he said.

According to Ansar Burney Trust, on 21 December 2009 Gajri disappeared from the home of her Hindu parents in southern Punjab.

On December 26 last year, the local police station in Gajri’s hometown received a letter with an affidavit from madrassa that said she had "embraced Islam and had married her neighbour Mohammad Salim", Burney said.

The letter did not enclose a marriage certificate, he said.

Police did not immediately inform Gajri's parents about the letter even though they had tried to file a First Information Report after she had gone missing.

The parents were discouraged from doing so by police, Burney said.

Mengha Ram and his wife then contacted the vice president of the National Peace Committee for Interfaith Harmony, Ramesh Jay Pal.

With his help, the parents met the priest in charge of Darul-Uloom Madrassa in Khanpur, Maulana Abdul Hafeez.

Hafeez reportedly told the parents that Gajri had "embraced Islam and was not allowed to meet her parents".

In January this year, the parents of Gajri again tried to file a case of abduction against their neighbour and the madrassa but their application was refused by district police chief Imtiaz Gul.

He allegedly told them that he had no power to intervene in matters of religious conversion and that their daughter was now the "property of the madrassa", Burney said.

Burney said Gajri is a minor and "cannot arbitrarily be removed from the custody of her parents".

He urged President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer to intervene to ensure Gajri's released.

India Express

Pak Taliban video urges militants to launch new attacks

Islamabad, 30 April (AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - The Pakistani Taliban has released a video featuring leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who intelligence officials believe survived a US drone attack in January.

In the video released to Adnkronos International (AKI), Hakimullah calls for Muslim militants to renew their struggle but it has not been confirmed when the video was made.

The Taliban leader is featured in several videos recorded in Pashtu from a secret location in the town of Mir Ali, where militants are believed to be hiding in North Waziristan.

Hakimullah rejects claims that militants are terrorists and calls on militants to continue their fight against the "crusaders".

“Don’t be saddened, don’t be disheartened! You will dominate if you are Muslim,” Hakimullah said.

At the time of the missile attack against him in January, Pakistani officials said Hakimullah was killed with 10 suspected militants, but the Taliban always denied he was dead.

Intelligence officials on Thursday confirmed he was still alive but that his power had diminished.

In the video, Hakimullah said the Taliban would not be deterred and were ready to fight against foreign and local forces.

“The militants are ready to take on the fight against the crusaders and apostates which come up against us through land operations, through air operations and through the media war," Hakimullah said.

"They describe the Taliban in the media as terrorists. The world already knows that the Taliban has won the war.”

As casualties mount from regular clashes between the Pakistani army and militants in North Waziristan, there is growing concern about militant activities in Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber agencies, tribal regions which all line the border of Afghanistan.

Sources have told AKI that the Taliban have completely regrouped in the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan and are hoping to lure the military into a new conflict.

Under immense US pressure the Pakistan army has already committed itself to an offensive in the tribal areas of Orakzai, South Waziristan, Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur—all at the same time.

As the situation in Mohmand and Bajaur move beyond the control of the security forces, militants have returned to South Waziristan and unleashed fresh attacks on military positions.

Now sources say the militants want to lure the army into a new battle by opening the front in North Waziristan.

But if the militants extend the front in North Waziristan, almost half the forces in Razmak and Miranshah could be at risk because they would have no escape route.

Islamic veil and fundamentalism are back in Bishkek

Makhmud Aripov, the imam of the Nabijon Haji Mosque in Osh, told EurasiaNet, “Wearing a hijab secures a woman’s chastity, and a lack of hijabs results in divorces. A mother wearing a hijab serves an example for her daughter, which will help secure her honour.”

This sentiment is the reason why for example, in Germany, school teachers are not allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf. The idea that women are worth less without it, should not be promoted in EU schools. Your honor is in your humanity.

Bishkek (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Islamic fundamentalism, already strong in southern Kyrgyzstan, might get a boost from the country’s current political uncertainties, following the ouster of President Kurmanbak Bakiyev who was replaced by a caretaker government.

The rising tide of fundamentalism is causing a number of social problems. One example illustrates the situation. In March, Mars Dooronova, a well known TV presenter and producer with Osh’s popular ELTR station, quit because her supervisor, the station’s former deputy director, Mametibraim Janybekov, prohibited her from wearing a hijab in the office and on air.

“I got married [recently] and now that I am a married woman I have started wearing a hijab, but Mametibraim Janybekov said I can’t wear a hijab on the air, and even within the building [of the TV Company]," 31-year-old Dooronova told EurasiaNet.

Janybekov offered Dooronova a compromise, saying that she could come to work in a hijab and change her clothes in the office while she was at work. She rejected the deal.

"I can’t be double-faced. I can deceive people, but I cannot deceive Allah. If I could not be on the air in my hijab and even in the office, how could I work there? This is why I had to resign," said the presenter, who had worked at the station for 11 years.

Kyrgyzstan is a Muslim nation, but like in other former Soviet republic, religious practice tends to be moderate. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Islam got a boost throughout Central Asia, but in particular in Kyrgyzstan’s Fergana Valley, where Osh is located.

Here, Muslim religious leaders have tended to promote a strict observance of Islamic law.

Makhmud Aripov, the imam of the Nabijon Haji Mosque in Osh, told EurasiaNet, “Wearing a hijab secures a woman’s chastity, and a lack of hijabs results in divorces. A mother wearing a hijab serves an example for her daughter, which will help secure her honour.”

All this has led to a growing number of hijab-related conflicts. At present, such incidents are more common in secondary schools, involving senior female students wearing hijabs.

Despite the fact that the country is 80 per cent, local Muslims were not very observant, and tolerated how others chose to interpret religious rules.

Now the debate is over a number of issues, not the least how compulsory the hijab is, especially in the south. In any event, women are the first to pay for the situation. In many offices and schools, wearing the veil has been banned.

Experts wonder about what is behind the rebirth of strict adherence to Islamic rules. They note that Muslim religious leaders justify enforcing rules on some vague reference to divine precepts but reject any social change that might have occurred in the last centuries.

The issue is when a strict adherence to a rule becomes intolerant extremism.

This danger should not be underestimated, especially in light of Kyrgyzstan’s north-south divide, which emerged during the protest movement that led to the downfall of President Bakiyev.

French polygamous butcher, said to have beaten his wives and locked away children, forcing them to learn the Koran, is now being sued by Muslim group for saying mistresses allowed in Islam

In this  Friday, April 23, 2010 picture Lies Hebbadj, left, and his wife who refused to be identified, speak to reporters in Nantes, western France. She was fined for driving a car with a veil covering all but her eyes. Now, her husband is suspected of polygamy. The situation appears to be a boon to President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is trying to rush through controversial legislation forbidding burqa-style Islamic veils that cover the face on the grounds they don't respect French values or women's dignity.
Should have paid the small burqa driving fine, it would have been about the same as he could get for a side of lamb, in his butchers.

His aim was to challenge the French system ~ but because of people power the system will challenge him. He also likes to visit Pakistan, and has appeared on the terror suspect radar after a visit to London ~ all while keeping several women, each collecting money from the state as single mothers to his 12 children.

There are also some serious charges of abuse that have arisen. Abuse and beatings of the pregnant women. He is now suing one of the ex-wives/mistresses for defamation for speaking out on her blog! Some of the women are reported to have converted to Islam.


The days pass and the portrait of Lies Hebbadj has emerged. Powered by the spotlight after his wife, verbalized while driving wearing a niqab, has publicized his case, Lies Hebbadj, Nantes trader of 34 years, seems overwhelmed by the tidal wave that swept over him. According to his neighbors, he would live within three shuttered houses it occupies Rezé, near Nantes, with the women it describes as its " master ".

Since last Sunday, when we met in Nantes with people of the Muslim community, rumors of marital violence had been received. " He beat one of his ex-wife, burned her, she was sleeping on the floor and had even threatened to kill her," told us essentially a man who had worked alongside Hebbadj.

Tuesday, those rumors have also been reported by the Interior Minister, Brice Hortefeux, during a closed meeting with members of the UMP group.
" The minister explained that the father of the woman in niqab had contacted police Monday. The last time he spoke to his daughter by phone, there are two months of that, she was crying and said she had been beaten. And when he asked to speak to his grandchildren, his daughter said they could not pass it [come to the phone] because they were locked in a room next to their father (Lies Hebbadj), in the process of learning verses from the Koran," we told the MP Jacques Myard.
A leak of information cleverly organized by the Minister of Interior? "We smiled and said he would not disclose this information publicly. Other deputies have been instructed to do , "jokes the UMP deputy Lionnel Luca, reached by telephone. France Soir

Conditional Charges

Violent follower of a radical branch of Islam, polygamous fraudster to welfare, as many epithets attributed in the media Hebbadj Lies, but for now this is conditional, as the inquiry opened on Tuesday by the Prosecutor's Office Nantes is not closed, as was pointed out by Boëzec, his lawyer on Wednesday. "I hope that the rights of my client, such as the presumption of innocence is respected. For now, no case holds in this case. We can not fall from his French citizenship because his wife's father does not see enough of his grandchildren. As to accusations by a former wife on an Internet blog, [site pic.] they are the result of a painful breakup and no longer welcome."

Except last night, the accusations of a former girlfriend of Lies Hebbadj, relayed once too often by the media, were "sickened my client" , lamented Frank Boëzec. This young woman expresses a blog of heavy criticism against the Muslim butcher. It included reports of abuse. This case had been investigated, which ended in a nolle prosequi. Lies Hebbadj decided to initiate a complaint for defamation against this young woman and those who disseminate such information. Ouest France 

In an article published Wednesday in the newspaper Le Monde, the Minister Brice Hortefeux said he was " ready to go all the way "" I will not give the advocates of political correctness, still prefer to say nothing, nothing do not think anything, to take any risk."

A funny side of the case ~ but there is and never will be a law against the defamation of Islam in France. Though it might be tempting to slap this man with anything, it would not be far off before such a law would be used against non-Muslim French citizens.

Muslim association attacks Lies Hebbadj

A Muslim association of Meaux filed a complaint against Hebbadj Lies, the husband of Nantes verbalized for driving in a full veil, who defended himself by saying that having a mistress was "not illegal in France, nor in Islam ". "We were shocked that this man say that in Islam you can have mistresses, it is completely wrong. If we listen, our religion is immoral," complained Rachida Benamedá, representative of the Association of Muslim Meaux and its region, confirming a report in Le Parisien.

Benamedá Ms. complaint filed yesterday on behalf of the association at the police Meaux for "defamation". "When we saw that nobody reacted, we decided to do something and then to complain," she said. "Let this man be convicted for his defamatory must say stop to this kind of behavior, he must take responsibility," insisted Ms. Benamedá, representing 60 members of this association.

"As far as I know, mistresses are not banned in France, nor in Islam. Maybe by Christianity, but not in France, said Monday that merchant 35 who a beard, headdress, white cap and black jellaba.

Le Figaro

France: Forcing woman into the veil or burqa could be punished by one year in prison and 15,000 euro fine

Salma, a 22-year-old French national living in Belgium who chooses to wear the niqab after converting to Islam, outside the Belgian Parliament in Brussels in this April 26, 2010


More than two in three French people favor a law banning the wearing of the veil in public, according to a poll released Monday on the site of Le Nouvel Observateur, conducted in full controversy over veiled women said to be driving and spouse suspected of polygamy.

The government plans to punish 150 euro fine wearing the full veil and one year imprisonment and 15,000 euros fine imposed in consequence of a woman, according to one version of the text revealed by Le Figaro published Friday.

The paper published two articles of the project led by Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, to be forwarded to the State Council for review prior to consideration by the Cabinet on May 19

According to Le Figaro, Article 1 states that "no one in public wear clothing designed to hide his face" on pain of incurring a fine of 150 euros or "as punishment alternative or complementary a probationary citizenship" [possibly may be denied citizenship].

Section 2 creates a new crime of "instigation to hide his face because of her sex." Imposing such a place by "violence, threats, abuse of power or authority shall be punished by one year in prison and 15,000 euros fine. This new crime is part of Chapter 5 of the Penal Code relating to violations of dignity.

According to one of the drafters of the text, quoted anonymously by Le Figaro, it was decided "light punishment" for wearing the full veil "because women are often victims.

The government said it wanted before the implementation of the text [law] which will be discussed in July at the Assembly, a "phase" of teaching, to try to ensure that the women "dispense 'themselves to wear the full veil.

France Soir

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Belgium's lower house of parliament votes to ban burka in public

Salma, a 22-year-old French national living in Belgium who chooses to wear the niqab after converting to Islam, gives an interview to Reuters television outside the Belgian Parliament in Brussels April 26, 2010. Belgium's parliament is due to vote on a proposal to ban the wearing of the full veil and the the full outer garment, or burqa, after a Belgian parliamentary committee voted to ban the full Islamic face veil. If ratified, Belgium could be the first country in Europe to enforce such a ban. Photo taken April 26, 2010.
Belgium voted to ban the burka and anything that obscures the identity of a person in public like the burka. The lower house of parliament in Belgium voted for the ban, not ono person voted against the proposed law.

The law is now heading to the Belgium senate where it might become law by the end of the year.

While the burka would be allowed on certain occasions it would not be allowed in any public places including the streets or shops and even parks.

Muslims in Belgium are apposed to the proposed law.


Belgium passes burka ban

In the first move of its kind in Europe, Belgium has passed a law that will ban women from wearing the full Islamic face veil in public. The law bans any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in public places. No one voted against it. MPs unanimously backed the legislation on the grounds of security, to allow police to identify people.

Voice of Russia

Iranian Documentary "Women In Shroud": Execution by Stoning

"Women In Shroud," a documentary now showing at the One World human rights film festival in Prague, follows activists' struggle to end the brutal practice of execution by stoning in Iran.

Two police killed in blast in Russia's Dagestan

The Russian Interior Ministry's press service says two traffic police officers were killed and another seven were wounded today when a suicide bomber blew up his car in Daghestan.

The bomber reportedly detonated the device just after his car passed a security checkpoint.

"According to preliminary information, a Lada Priora car exploded near a police station killing two and wounding seven policemen," he said.

He added that the car blew up when police stopped it to inspect the driver's documents.

Daghestan, along with the other North Caucasus republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya, sees frequent attacks from Islamist separatists who are seeking to break away from Moscow and create an Islamic caliphate in the region.


Armenian Genocide Resolution On Israeli Parliament Agenda

Israel's Knesset is again debating the World War I-era mass killing

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel's parliament has agreed to again consider a draft resolution recognizing the World War I-era mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The Knesset decided by 12 votes to eight, with one abstention, that one of its standing committees will discuss the resolution and determine whether it should be put to a full parliament vote.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin was among those who voted for the decision. A representative of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also backed a parliament debate on the resolution, which was drafted by Haim Oron, the leader of the left-wing opposition Meretz party.

Most of the lawmakers voting against the resolution's inclusion on the parliament agenda were from the Yisrael Beiteinu party, a junior partner in Netanyahu's coalition government that mainly represents Jewish immigrants from Soviet republics, Azerbaijan in particular. One of them, the Baku-born Yosef Shagal, said Israel should not pass judgment on what he described as a dispute between Turkey and Armenia.

It is not yet clear which Knesset committee will pick up the measure. Oron wants it to be debated by the Education Committee, having failed to push similar resolutions through the Foreign Affairs and Defense committees in 2009 and 2008. Both Rivlin and Netanyahu's representative said that the Defense Committee should again deal with the issue.

The Defense Committee did not even vote on the Armenian genocide resolutions in the past, despite clearance from the Knesset. It thus highlighted successive Israeli governments' reluctance to antagonize Turkey, a rare Muslim partner of Israel.

The Netanyahu government did not back a parliament debate on Armenian genocide recognition on the previous occasion, in May 2009. The apparent shift in its position on the highly sensitive issue comes amid a worsening of Turkish-Israeli relations in recent months.

Twenty countries have recognized the mass killings of Armenians from 1915-1918 as a genocide. Turkey rejects the term. RFE

Women's Activists Oppose Iran Bid For UN Committee Membership

The Iranian state is delusional, but we should be careful that their delusion doesn't become ours.

A group of women's rights activists in Iran and worldwide has written an open letter to the United Nations opposing the Iranian government's bid for membership on the UN's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The letter refers to Iranian laws that gender-equality groups say discriminate against women. These include statutes relating to such matters as divorce, child custody, education, and the ability to choose a husband.

Women have been "arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws," the letter says. "The Iranian government will certainly use [CSW membership] to curtail the progress and advancement of women."

Radio Farda spoke to Shadi Sadr, a women's rights activist and one of the letter's signatories. Sadr explained that for years the UN has asked Iran to sign the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Iran, however, has refused to do so.

"Under such conditions, Iran's attempt to join such an institution [as the CSW] is doomed to fail," Sadr said.

Iran announced its candidacy for membership in the commission after it withdrew from its bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council last week.

The UN describes the commission as being dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. RFE

Tehran candidates itself for UN post in defence of women's rights !!

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The authorities of the Islamic Republic confirmed yesterday that they no longer wish to become members of the United Nations Council for Human Rights. Except that, at the same time, Tehran has proposed itself as a member of the Commission for the protection of women's rights. The news was greeted with relief by governments and activists that opposed the nomination of the regime, but also with some hilarity at the idea of its wanting to assume the role of a defender of women.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mehmanparast Ramin, said the decision to withdraw from the Council for Human Rights was taken jointly with other Asian countries, thus presenting a single candidate. According to a western diplomat quoted by Reuters, Tehran backed down when it became clear it could not secure enough votes to get a seat.

The Council for Human Rights has 47 countries and has its headquarters in Geneva. Tehran is under fire from the international community for its systematic violation of fundamental human freedoms. American UN mission spokesman, Mark Kornblau, expressed satisfaction: "It 'a step in the right direction for the Council. The presence of countries like China and Saudi Arabia in it, has contributed over the years to discredit the image of the UN body.

The Islamic Republic had tried to join the Council in 2006. But its candidacy failed as a result of pressure from the United States.

However in a move that smacks of provocation, Iran has put itself forward as a candidate for the Commission to protect the rights of women. The mullahs' regime is one of the toughest in the world towards women, who live in a state of semi-segregation. The are daily arrests and violence against women who are not "adequately covered" or who act in "a non Islamic way". At Friday prayers April 16 last, the mullah of Tehran Sadigo Kazem said that women who do not wear the hijab are responsible for the spread of adultery and "increase the risk of earthquakes (the Iranian capital is subject to seismic phenomena, ed).

West Java, thousands of Islamic extremists attack a Christian center: Indonesia

Three cars destroyed and some buildings set on fire. The origin of the attack a rumor that Christians wanted to build a chapel within the center. Hundreds of local police fail to stop the raid, but police chief promises justice.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Muslim extremists attacked a Christian educational center in Bogor regency, West Java province, Indonesia. The toll from yesterday’s attack is three destroyed cars and several buildings damaged or burnt. The wrath of fundamentalists was unleashed, and encouraged by the local Council of Ulema (MUI), by unsubstantiated rumours that the Christian community BKP Penabur were planning "to build a place of worship" within the complex.

Targeted attacks against the Christian community continue in the regency of Bogor, coupled with the impotence of the Indonesian authorities unable to stop the violence with a religious background. Yesterday morning, thousands of Islamic extremists attacked and set fire to the center of the Foundation Penabur BPK, despite the garrison erected earlier by hundreds of police.

The fundamentalists destroyed and burned three cars a part of the 10 buildings that make up the whole Christian complex. The Muslims anger was spurred on by rumours that the leaders of the foundation wanted to construct a chapel. The rumours were groundless, but were enough to ignite minds and incite the crowd. Local sources, on condition of anonymity, tell AsiaNews that the attackers were "people from the neighbouring sub-districts Cisaura and Ciawi. One detail that, in reality, shows the attacks were well orchestrated.

The police, unable to prevent violence, promises justice. Six people were detained and are under interrogation. "If any of these is responsible for the attacks - said Tomex Kurniawan, police chief of Bogor City - we will not hesitate to establish an arrest warrant".

Recently, hundreds of Muslims, which later became thousands, have appealed to Cisarua government, to put a stop to any construction activities within the BPK Penabur, despite the permit (IMB) issued by the authorities. Fundamentalists accuse Christian Foundation of "betraying" the "truce" which prohibited the creation of a Christian education centre in a predominantly Muslim area.

The appeal was then transformed into a real indictment. The leaders of the Foundation have strongly denied the rumors about the construction of a small church. However, the intervention of local leaders of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has triggered a backlash from extremists. Rahmatullah, head of the MUI in Cisarua, claims not to be contrary to "hospitality centres," but - he claims - the Christians are hiding a secret plan to build a small chapel or prayer centres”.

The Islamic Inquisition is in Full Swing

In parts of the world it is clear that societies are going backwards and not forward and this notably applies to many Islamic societies. Liberals in the West or the fear of political correctness means that you have a media blackout "on reality" and instead every excuse is given. Yet in the early 21st century it is clear that "the stone age mentality" is still alive in many parts of the world.

Indeed, it could be argued that "the stone age mentality" was more progressive than modern day Saudi Arabia, just to give one example. After all, women would have had more freedom in the stone-age period than they would have in modern day Saudi Arabia.

After all, in modern day Saudi Arabia which is the cradle of Islam, it is abundantly clear that females must cover up from head to toe and they must not mingle freely with males. At the same time, no non-Muslim places of worship are allowed and Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and others, must not pray openly or speak openly about their faith.

If Buddhists or Christians, or other non-Muslims, speak openly about their faith in modern day Saudi Arabia then they will face the Islamic inquisition. This means that they will be questioned by the religious police in Saudi Arabia and they will face the wrath of Islamic Sharia law.

The situation becomes even more alarming when it applies to a Muslim converting to another religion, because this is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Given this reality, the Islamic inquisition is a modern day fact in the lands of Mecca and Medina and it is abundantly clear that religious and gender equality is seen to be a threat to Islam.

Therefore, females, non-Muslims, or anyone who supports another world view faces the wrath of the ongoing Islamic inquisition in Saudi Arabia. This applies to all aspects of life and if a Buddhist or Christian male had sex with a Muslim female or wanted to marry a Muslim female; then the penalty would mean death for the non-Muslim male and prison for the Muslim female.

If nations like the United Kingdom introduced the same system and imposed even 1% of the same restrictions on Muslims; then liberals, champagne socialists, and the political correct brigade would be attacking the British government and system. However, the same people who care about human rights and equality have "hit a brick wall."

This applies to a blackout on reality, therefore, it is fine for Muslims in various parts of the world, for example in Afghanistan, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, to support killing all apostates from Islam and to victimize women into becoming shadows. Yet if someone points out the complete backwardness of this system and religion; then you are deemed to be a racist or other terminologies are used in order to silence you into submission.

However, if we look at the situation in many parts of the world, then it is clear that the Islamic inquisition is ongoing and non-Muslims are being killed or victimized because of their non-Islamic religion.

For example, radical Islamists in Somalia are intent on destroying all things which are deemed to be un-Islamic and in order to do this Islamic Sharia Law is in full swing, alongside intimidation, the killing of Christians, banning music, chopping hands and feet off, and other draconian measures. This society, according to devout Sunni Islamists in Somalia, is meant to be the "new way" and Islamists state that they are following the teachings of Mohammed and that their theories are based on the Koran and the Hadiths.

In this sense, radical Islamists are claiming that it is they, and not liberal Muslims, who are carrying out "real Islam." In a strange irony, they can claim that this is true because Mohammed stated the following:
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those [people] who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection."
Koran 9:29

Mohammed also stated in Hadith 9:4 that "Wherever you find infidels kill them; for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection." Mohammed also stated in Hadith 9:50, 57 that "No umma (a member of the Muslim community) should be killed for killing a kafir (an infidel) … Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him." ( )

Of course not all majority Muslim societies are the same and you have very different thought patterns, for example Muslims in Senegal or the Alawites in Syria accept accommodation. Islam, like any major religion, will have a huge diversity within the belief system and cultural differences or geography will alter the way Islam is worshipped.

However, the more a mainly Muslim society turns to the complete message of Mohammed then clearly the more draconian this nation happens to be. Therefore, in nations where Islamic Sharia law is implemented fully we only see one outcome.

This outcome is complete Islamic indoctrination and the complete subjugation of all non-Muslims or minority Muslim groups by the dominant Muslim sect in the respective nation state. For example, in Saudi Arabia it is clear that this society is being governed by the Islamic inquisition and all non-Muslims and Shia Muslims must abide by the dominant Sunni sect which controls and dictates everything.

While in other parts of the mainly Muslim world we are seeing a fresh wave of Islamic fundamentalism and in modern day Somalia they stoned a young female to death after she had been raped. The Taliban and Al Qaeda also support the complete annihilation of other religions and the complete subjugation of women. After all, the Taliban even destroyed all forms of Buddhism with regards to statues and temples, despite the complete eradication of the Buddhist faith after the past Islamic inquisition had destroyed ancient Hinduism and Buddhism in Afghanistan.

It is therefore essential that the Islamic inquisition is challenged and stopped because no nation should violate the rights of either women or other faiths when it applies to one hundred per cent compliance. The first nation that needs to be challenged is Saudi Arabia because this nation is funding radical Islam in many nations and since the time of Mohammed it is clear that all non-Muslims in Arabia have suffered and been religiously cleansed.

The Islamic inquisition in Arabia began in the 7th century and it continues today in modern day Saudi Arabia. Yet more disturbingly, it is clear that in places like southern Thailand you are witnessing a puritanical version of Islam amongst some of the Muslims in this part of Thailand. This was alien to most Thai Muslims but of course the combination of Saudi Arabia and madrasas in Pakistan is changing all that. Therefore, the Islamic inquisition is gaining in some parts of the world once more and if this madness is not tackled then one day it will get closer to home and then it will be too late.

By Lee Jay Walker
The Seoul Times

The Islamic Inquisition is in Full Swing

US military 'to seek death penalty over Fort Hood massacre'

Military prosecutors have indicated that they plan to seek the death penalty against the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Maj. Nadal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shooting. Premeditated murder carries the death penalty.

But if military jurors convict Hasan, they can only sentence him to death if they determine there is an aggravating factor in the case, according to military law.

Defence lawyer John Galligan said the notice he received from prosecutors outlines as an aggravating factor that more than one person was killed in the same incident.

"They've done everything except tell me to my face that they plan to seek the death penalty," Mr Galligan said.

Military prosecutors have not publicly said what punishment they plan to seek.

Richard Stevens, an attorney who defends military cases and is not involved in Hasan's case, said crimes that are ineligible for the death penalty do not require jurors to consider aggravating factors.

"The only reason to send a notice of aggravating factors is if you're trying to seek the death penalty," Mr Stevens said.

Military law allows for about a dozen possible aggravating factors, but prosecutors listed only one in the notice to Hasan's lawyer.

Hasan was moved earlier this month to Bell County Jail from a San Antonio military hospital, where he had been since shortly after the rampage that also left him paralysed. Bell County Sheriff Dan Smith has said Hasan will be under 24-hour watch and isolated from other inmates in a cell in the infirmary.


Turkey's Islamic Ambitions Grip Austria [Video]

VIENNA, Austria -- Turkey is today considered a rising power in the Middle East and Europe.

But just a few centuries ago, the Turks ruled large chunks of both regions under the banner of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish-led forces drove deep into Europe, even reaching the gates of Vienna twice before being defeated.

Now they're back.

Thanks to heavy immigration over the past four decades, at least a half a million Turks now live in Austria, with many settling in Vienna.

Here to Dominate

When you think of the cradles of Judeo-Christian, Western civilization, Vienna is certainly at the top of the list. But some residents say this city is changing--and becoming increasingly influenced by Islam.

"They are here to dominate," said Vienna-based counter-jihad acticist Harald Fiegel. "And of course, knowing a little bit about Islam, you can read it there. They are are here to dominate all the world, not just Europe."

Fiegel monitors Islamic growth in Austria. He says Turkish Muslim immigrants are not assimilating.

"What they are trying to do is segregation," he told CBN News. "To maintain Turkish national and religious identity."

There may be a larger hand behind that strategy.

Global Vision?

The Turkish government is home to a religous affairs office called "Diyanet" that approves imams and mosque-building inside Turkey.

Turkish officials say Diyanet has a "global vision." It's influence on Turkish immigrant communities across Europe is growing.

In Austria, Diyanet has established a Austrian/Turkish cultural organization called ATIB that reports directly to the Turkish government.

"They are the organizations building the mosques inside Austria," said Christian Zeitz of the Association of Vienna Academics think tank. "A lot of mosques are organized by ATIB."

Violating Austrian Law?

Austrian national law mandates that outside organizations and entities cannot implement Islam in Austria. Yet as CBN News discovered, ATIB financed a multi-million dollar mosque in the tiny Austrian town of Bad Voslau.

It is also behind plans to expand a large mosque in Vienna.

"Therefore, the activities of ATIB are in general not compatible with the Islam law of Austria," said Zeitz.

But some in official circles tell CBN News that ATIB is playing a positive role.

"The municipal authorities work very well together with ATIB," said Andreas Kohl, former president of the Austrian parliament. "It's all legal."

Kohl told CBN News that "the Austrian state appreciates ATIB. And appreciates this good relationship between Austria and Turkey."

Strong Islamic Stance

Kohl, however, does not deny ATIB's larger goal.

"They are catering for the link between the Turkish community and the mother country," he said. "Their objective is to get religious teaching organized. Which is a funny thing in a secular state."

But what isn't funny is the strong Islamist stance -- and turn away from secularism -- taken by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has harshly criticized Israel while drawing closer to Iran and Syria, and has made his views clear on Turkish communities overseas.

He has called the assimilation of Turks in Western countries "a crime against humanity." And he has said recently that Turkish-only schools should be opened for immigrants in Germany.

Kohl told CBN News he has met with Erdogan and supports his initiatives.

"I think we have nothing to fear from this mild pro-Islam, pro-religious attitude of Erdogan," he said.

Vienna Muslim Concerns

But some Muslim leaders in Vienna are concerned about the growing influence of the Turkish government in their communities.

"The question is fair--and I'd like to ask it," said Carla Bahgajati of the Islamic Community of Austria. "Is it possible, on the one hand, to make people feel very much linked to Turkey as a country, and on the other hand, help in integration?"

So far, Austrian officials have yet to comment on the Turkish government's expanded influence.

"They close their eyes because they want to be elected again and the growing Islamic population is for them a target group for the next election," said Zeitz.

Given Turkey's history with Vienna, which included a brutal siege of the city as recently as the 18th century, some find the the current turn of events tough to accept.

"It's hard to believe," said Feigel. "But it's a good explanation for everything: we're just giving in."


Terrorist Attacks Increase in Pakistan, Afghanistan [Video]

Terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan are increasing, meaning more civilian casualties.

A new Pentagon report says nearly 7,000 civilians were killed or injured in Afghanistan last year.

That's a 44 percent jump from the previous year. The number is even higher in Pakistan.

Afghanistan saw more than 2,000 terrorism attacks in 2009. That's almost double the year before.

These numbers make south Asia the world's new top terror region, pushing past the Middle East.


U.S. panel: 13 nations violate religious freedom

Non-Muslims not allowed in Medina, Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, China among countries cited; Obama urged to take action

WASHINGTON [AP]- Saudi Arabia and China are among 13 countries a U.S. government panel named on Thursday as serious violators of religious freedom.

The panel's report also criticized the current and former administrations in Washington for doing far too little to make basic religious rights universal.

That is the goal of the congressional act that founded the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 1998. The commission investigates conditions in what it calls "hot spots," where religious freedom is endangered. Its job is to recommend U.S. government policies to improve conditions.

It is a "small but critically important point of intersection of foreign policy, national security and international religious freedom standards," the report said. "Regrettably that small point seems to shrink year-after-year for the White House and he State Department."

List includes repeats
This year's list of 13 "countries of particular concern" included all eight named last year — Myanmar, also known as Burma; China; Eritrea; Iran; North Korea; Saudi Arabia; Sudan; and Uzbekistan — plus Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

U.S. actions currently in force against the original eight include embargoes, often on top of existing sanctions, and denial of military or financial aid. Sanctions have been waived indefinitely for Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan has a waiver of 180 days which remains in force.

President Barack Obama's administration has not officially accepted the 2009 findings or named the specified countries as violators of religious rights. Neither did the administration of President George W. Bush between November 2006 and January 2009.

In addition to the 13 designated the worst violators, the report identified 12 countries on a watch list: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Venezuela.

Commission details ‘egregious’ violations
Thursday's report described violations of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia as "systematic, egregious and ongoing" despite limited reforms implemented by King Abdullah.

"In China, the government continues to engage in systematic and egregious violations of the freedom of religion or belief," the report said. It alleged "a marked deterioration in the past year, particularly in Tibetan Buddhist and Uighur Muslim areas."

It had similar observations for the other countries listed. In Iran, it noted "prolonged detention, torture and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused." It said the Tehran government's record deteriorated after contentious elections in June.

The commission's chairman, Leonard Leo, said in a statement that visits to the "hot spots" had found situations "where freedom of religion is obstructed and related human rights are trampled."

He said the report offers important foreign policy solutions that should be implemented. "The report's conclusion is clear," Leo said: "the administration must do more."

Wives of terror suspects win benefits battle

The wives of terror suspects should have unrestricted access to tens of thousands of pounds in benefits, a European court has ruled.

The Treasury may have to change anti-terrorism rules that currently require spouses of suspects who have had their assets frozen to account for how they spend their handouts.

But, in a test case, the European Court of Justice ruled such a regulation is illegal paving for the way for the families of up to a dozen suspected terrorists in Britain having full access to state funds, worth hundreds of pounds a week to each household.

The case was brought by three women whose husbands appear on a list of people said to have links with al-Qaida, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

People on the list, drawn up by a UN sanctions committee, have their funds and other assets frozen, in a bid to cut off terrorist funding.

Under the Treasury rules benefits such as income support, child benefit and housing assistance, must be paid into a bank account, and the spouse can draw only up to £10 in cash for each member of her household. All other payments from the account must be made by debit card.

The spouses, all living in the UK with their husbands and children, must also submit a monthly account to the Treasury detailing all spending, with receipts for any goods bought and copies of bank statements allowing Treasury officials to check that the purchases do not exceed "basic expenses."

But the European Court today declared: "It is hard to imagine how those funds could be turned into means that could be used to support terrorist activities, for the benefits are fixed at a level intended to meet only the strictly vital needs of the persons concerned.

"The court concludes, therefore, that the benefit that a person included in the list might indirectly derive from the social allowances paid to his spouse does not compromise the objective pursued by the regulation."

The case will now be referred back to the UK's Supreme Court to provide a final ruling.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Egypt court forces teen brothers to become Muslims ~ they say they will die Christian ~ can now look to life of torture, imprisonment and confiscation of travel documents

The non-compulsion myth!

It reads like a tragic opera! Remember Egypt was once majority Christian.

The husband probably wanted a quick Islamic divorce, so he converted to Islam, marries a Muslim woman and leaves his old family in a lurch.

(AINA) -- On March 30 an administrative
 judicial court in Egypt dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Camilia Lutfi, mother of the Coptic Christian twins boys Mario and Andrew, against the Interior Minister, and the director of the Civil Status Department for refusing to re-instate the Christian religion on their birth certificates, and invalidate those which were forcefully changed to "Islam" in 2005 by their father Medhat Ramsis Labib, who had converted to Islam.

After his conversion, Andrew and Mario became Muslims in what is called "Islamization by dependence," by which children follow the religion of a converted parent (to Islam only) until they reach the age of puberty (fifteen), because Islam is "the best among all religions," according to Egyptian Court rulings.

The purpose of Lutfi's litigation was to restore back to her twins their identity as Christians, before reaching the age of 16 in June, when they will have their national ID cards issued. Camilia said that because of the developments in their case, her worst nightmares would materialize, in which they would have Islam as religious affiliation on their ID cards. "If they change to Christianity after that, they will be considered apostates," she told Freecopts advocacy. She expressed her surprise at the intransigence of the judiciary in dealing with the issue of her sons, especially after they have already reached the legal age of 15-years, when they can choose their own religion. "The boys have lived this tragedy for the last ten years, through no fault of their own."

ElYoum 7 Newspaper reported that 15-years-old Mario and Andrew were extremely disappointed with the court verdict, saying "faith is not by force, we want to remain Christians and we do not wish to become Muslims." Both boys are practicing Christians and were consecrated last year as deacons in their regular church in Alexandria.

The court explained in its verdict, which was issued on April 14, that Camilia Lutfi has not presented a verdict from a relevant court (it did not say which court) proving the change of her sons' religion from Islam to Christianity. "How come that when their father changed their religion from Christianity to Islam, he required no court verdict, and now that they want to revert back to Christianity, the court requires a verdict?" she told Freecopts.

Although the mother's lawyers presented to the court a portfolio containing 15 different certificates proving they are Christians, contradicting what was written on their birth certificates, the court said in its reasoning that it does not recognize the validity of a certificate issued by the Church as a document of change of religion from Islam to Christianity, as "churches by law are not competent to issue such certificates." The courts only accept certificates of religion change from Al-Azhar (the Muslim theology school in Cairo). Moreover the Court said that there is no law to force the Interior minister and the Civil Status Department chief to change the religion of the boys on their documents without a court ruling to this effect.

Camilia criticized the judiciary in Egypt for being biased, based on her personal experience. "I do not believe the recent verdict has been taken solely by the judges. I feel there is a higher authority which orders the judges to decide in a certain way, even if it goes against the documents in front of them," she told Freecopts.

Mario and Andrew were born on June 24, 1994 to Christian parents, sea captain Medhat Ramsis and tax inspector Camilia Lutfi, but in February 2000 their father converted to Islam to marry a Muslim woman. In 2005 Medhat changed their twin boys birth certificates to show that they are Muslims, born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother.

The case of Mario and Andrew caught the attention of the media in May 2007, after they challenged the Ministry of Education which forced them to sit in for the Islamic Religion exams at school, where students are obliged to pass in order to be promoted to a higher class. They refused to answer the questions. On his answer sheet Andrew wrote "I am Christian" and Mario wrote "My religion is Christianity." They failed the exam and had to re-take it, but again insisted on writing these single phrases. Due to public pressure, the Minister of Education exempted them from passing those exams until their case was finalized by the court. On national television they declared: "We do not want to be Muslims. We are born Christians, will remain and die as Christians."

After a five-year legal battle, Lutfi won a landmark victory in June 2009 when Egypt's Court of Cassation gave her the right to retain custody of Andrew and Mario. The Court also affirmed, for the first time, the right of a non-Muslim mother to retain custody of her child until the age of fifteen, as stipulated by Egypt's Personal Status Law, even when the child's father converts to Islam and the state automatically changes the child's religion as a result. Previously it was only until the age of seven, which is considered the age of "religious maturity" by the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence (6-20-2009).

At a press conference held on Thursday April 22, Lutfi said that the refusal of the judiciary to establish the religion of her children as Christians is a blow to the principles of citizenship, and a "disregard" for Christianity and Christians. She called on President Mubarak to protect the freedom of religion by issuing laws "to tie down the hands of the judiciary in deciding on these issues without a legal basis." She also addressed a message to the President of the State Council saying that all judgments regarding conversion to Christianity take as a starting point that Islam is the State religion, and the State guarantees freedom of religion but ends up by "insulting Christianity and those wishing to convert to Christianity."

During the press conference, Camelia also called on the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to issue a Fatwa (Islamic religious edict) to remind the authorities of the Quranic verse "Let there be no compulsion in religion."

Dr. Awad Shafik Awad, international attorney based in Switzerland and President of the Confederation of Coptic Human Rights Organizations in Europe, stated his intention to refer the case of Mario and Andrew to the international courts, after all stages of litigation in Egypt have been exhausted. He said that the recent court's refusal to prove the Christian faith of the twin boys was "unjust and has nothing to do with the law."

Coptic attorney Ramsis elNaggar stated that his law firm represents thousands of Christian children who were forced to become Muslims following the conversion to Islam of one of their parents, and tried in vain to revert back to Christianity.

In 2007 the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights issued a joint report with Human Rights Watch entitled 'Prohibited Identities: State Interference with Religious Freedom', regarding involuntary "conversions." It quoted 89 cases of Egyptians whose religious affiliation in official documents was changed by the state to Islam against their will -- and in some instances without their knowledge -- after their fathers converted to Islam. Moreover, the Interior Ministry has refused to change their religious affiliation to Christianity when they reached the age of fifteen, in violation of the law. The report highlighted the far-reaching consequences for the daily lives of those affected, including choosing a spouse, educating one's children, or conducting the most basic financial and other transactions (report).

Last month before the court dismissed their case, CBN News carried out an interview with Mario and Andrew, bringing their fight to retain their Christian identity and the fear of being considered as apostates and getting killed to the international public (video).

Renowned Coptic activist and writer Magdi Khalil calls for the non-application of Islamic Sharia law on Christian families in Egypt, saying that the case of Mario and Andrew represents the situation of the Copts under Sharia. The Egyptian Personal Status Law for Muslims and non-Muslims of mixed religions or denominations is based on the Sharia law according to the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence,"which discriminates against fundamental human rights, and against women in general as lawyer Ms Safaa Zaki describes it," he said. Khalil warns about a wider application of the Second article of the Egyptian Constitution which stipulates that the principles of Islamic Sharia law are the main source of legislation. "If Sharia is applied to all the laws, this would be a real catastrophe to the secular state, for Muslims and Christians alike and a a bomb ready to explode," he said.

By Mary Abdelmassih