Islam in the News (November 2011)

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

Contents

UK: Teachers in Islamic schools use loopholes to get around ban on corporal punishment[edit]

Children attending some UK Islamic schools are being subjected to physical beatings as teachers use loopholes to get around a ban on corporal punishment, according to new research.

Several madrassas – religious schools often run by mosques – use “excessively strict approaches to discipline” to keep children in line, it was revealed.

Researchers said the imposition of hard-line rules on behaviour instilled a sense of “spiritual fear” in young people, marking them out from mainstream schools.

The study, by the Institute for Public Policy Research, found a number of examples of madrassas actually employing corporal punishment.

A ban on physical beatings, including the cane, was introduced in the 1980s.

But the legislation does not cover “supplementary schools”, including many madrassas, where lessons are taught for fewer than 12.5 hours per week.

Labour pledged to close the loophole after an independent review of child safety raised concerns over the practice in early 2010, but the policy has never been enacted.

The latest study – Inside Madrassas – also found around one-in-10 institutions did not subject staff to criminal records checks, adding that this was likely to be a significant underestimate as it failed to include less formal schools not covered by the research.

It comes just weeks after seperate research showed more than 400 allegations of physical abuse against young people at British Islamic schools were made in the last three years.

Indonesia: TransJakarta begins separating female and male passengers on buses[edit]

In order to prevent cases of sexual harassment on TransJakarta buses, the bus operator started a trial run last week separating male and female passengers on the Ragunan to Dukuh Atas route.

“To prevent immoral acts, male passengers please go to the back and female passengers to the front,” said Sahrudin, a TransJakarta officer, on Wednesday as reported by beritajakarta.com.

“We try to protect the passengers, therefore they need to be separated,” he said. “When [the bus is] full, passengers are jostling.”

From January to November, there have been eight reported cases of sexual harassment on TransJakarta buses.

The latest reported harassment was experienced by high school student, IF, on the bus from Kampung Rambutan to Kampung Melayu on Nov. 23. Passenger Ahmad Afriansyah touched IF’s thigh and butt. Another passenger caught Ahmad in act and he was taken to the Jatinegara police station in East Jakarta.

Muhammad Akbar, head of the TransJakarta general service, said implementation was still limited to certain routes and certain times.

“It has not been intensely done,” Akbar said. “In the future, we will apply it in all corridors.”

Norway massacre: Tu-quoque fallacy crumbling as Breivik is declared insane[edit]

Psychiatrists assessing self-confessed Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik have concluded that he is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

They believe he was in a psychotic state both during and after the twin attacks on 22 July that led to the deaths of 77 people and injured 151.

Their report must still be reviewed by a panel of forensic psychiatrists.

Breivik will still be tried in April but it seems likely he will be placed in psychiatric care rather than prison.

Breivik admits carrying out the attacks but has pleaded not guilty to charges, arguing that that the attacks were atrocious but necessary for his campaign to defend Europe against a Muslim invasion.

The two psychiatrists who interviewed him on 13 occasions concluded that he lived in his "own delusional universe where all his thoughts and acts are guided by his delusions", prosecutors told reporters.
Norway massacre: Breivik declared insane
BBC News, November 29, 2011

US: Bus terminal killing case now moves on toward trial court[edit]

Family and friends of Justin Hall, shot to death in September at a Greyhound bus terminal in Springfield, got their first in-person glimpse at the man accused of killing him Monday.

Mohamed Dawod of Glendale, Ariz., appeared briefly in court Monday morning. He did not speak.

Dawod is charged with first-degree murder. Authorities say Dawod shot Hall, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, in the back while a group of riders waited to board the bus after a brief Springfield stop.

Passengers on the bus, including Patrick Beeman, who had been traveling with Hall, told the News-Leader the attack was unprovoked.

Police have said there may have been more victims if Beeman and others hadn't subdued Dawod.

Dawod was in Judge Mark Fitzsimmons' courtroom Monday morning for a preliminary hearing. Dawod's attorney waived the hearing, meaning the case will now move on toward trial court.
Hearing is waived in shooting death
Kathryn Wall, News-Leader, November 29, 2011

Indonesia: Christian church on a street with an Islamic name? Hundreds of Muslims protest[edit]

Hundreds of hard-line Muslims rallied outside the Bogor City Hall on Sunday to decry the “arrogance” of a beleaguered church in the city that remains shuttered by authorities despite a Supreme Court order to open it.

The protesters, from Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and the Indonesian Muslim Communication Forum (Forkami), said they wanted to show that all Muslims were united in opposition to the presence of the GKI Yasmin Church in the city.

“We’re here to refute the arrogance of the church, which continues to insist on setting up in the Taman Yasmin [housing complex],” said Achmad Imam, the Forkami head in Bogor.

The Bogor administration issued a building permit for the church in 2006, but it revoked it two years later, alleging the church had falsified the signatures required to obtain it.

The Supreme Court ruled in December 2010 that the closure was unlawful and ordered its reopening, but the city administration continues to ignore the ruling. Mayor Diani Budiarto has used several excuses to keep the church closed, most recently saying there should not be a Christian church on a street with an Islamic name.

Church members have been forced to hold services on the sidewalk.

Imam said the mayor had the full support of the local Muslim community in facing down the “lies and tricks of the church members and their supporters, who are trying to pit Muslims against one another through this issue.”

The local branch of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) also got into the act on Sunday, with branch chairman Muhyiddin Junaidi saying it would be “wise and sensible” for the church to yield to “the feelings of the local believers, specifically Muslims.”

At the sealed-off church, meanwhile, the congregation was prevented from holding services for another week when a group of motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers blocked off the sidewalk.

The ojek drivers claimed that because the Yasmin congregation had been praying on the sidewalk, they were left with nowhere to park and were thus losing business.
Hundreds Turn Out for Bogor Rally to Denounce Besieged Yasmin Church
Vento Saudale, Jakarta Globe, November 28, 2011

UK: Burglary and memory stick leads to the arrest of a potential Muslim terrorist[edit]

A man who had a recipe for a deadly poison and documents about how to build bombs has pleaded guilty to terror offences.

Asim Kausar, 25, from Bolton, Lancs, had the information on a computer memory stick which contained details about the deadly toxin ricin and other documents showing how to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Manchester Crown Court heard.

The documents were titled, Improvised Munitions Handbook and Unconventional Warfare Devices and Techniques.

The court heard that the information only came to light after Kausar's family suffered a burglary and the memory stick was handed to police so officers could view CCTV images of the break-in recorded on the device.

When police analysed the memory stick Kausar's hoard of terror-related information came to light.

He told officers he had downloaded the information out of "curiosity and a thirst for knowledge", the court heard.

Kausar, of Bardon Close, Halliwell, Bolton, was due to go on trial before a jury but instead pleaded guilty to four counts of collecting a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, between January 1, 2009, and June 4, 2011. He pleaded not guilty to a fifth count of the same charge which was ordered to lie on file.

The case was not opened by prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones and the matter was adjourned for sentence.

Miss Karmy-Jones said the prosecution accepted the defendant had only "skim read" the information and had not put it to any practical use. There was also no evidence to suggest Kausar had any links to terrorists or had tried to pass the information on to others.

Judge Andrew Gilbart QC indicated Kausar was facing a maximum sentence of two and a half years in jail but ordered the preparation of a psychiatric and pre-sentence report. Kausar was remanded into custody for sentence on January 13.
Memory stick man pleads guilty
Asian Image, November 28, 2011

UK: Muslim medical students boycotting lectures on evolution because it 'clashes with the Koran'[edit]

Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain's leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.

Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion.

Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.

Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs.

He told the Sunday Times: 'I had one or two slightly frisky discussions years ago with kids who belonged to fundamentalist Christian churches, now it is Islamic overwhelmingly.

'They don't come [to lectures] or they complain about it or they send notes or emails saying they shouldn't have to learn this stuff.

'What they object to - and I don't really understand it, I am not religious - they object to the idea that there is a random process out there which is not directed by God.'

Earlier this year Usama Hasan, iman of the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, received death threats for suggesting that Darwinism and Islam might be compatible.

Sources within the group Muslims4UK partly blame the growing popularity of creationist beliefs within Islam on Turkish author Harun Yahya who, influenced by the success of Christian creationists in America, has written several books denouncing Darwinist theory.

Yahya associates Dawinism with Nazism and his books are and videos are available at many Islamic bookshops in the UK and regularly feature on Islamic television channels.

Speakers regularly tour Britain lecturing on Yahya's beliefs.

One such lecture was given at UCL in 2008 and this year's talks have been given in London, Manchester, Leeds, Dundee and Glasgow.

Evolutionary Biologist and former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins has expressed his concern at the number of students, consisting almost entirely of Muslims, who do not attend or walk out of lectures.

Heathrow Airport: Christian staff systematically bullied, ridiculed, urged to convert by Muslim staff[edit]

Nohad Halawi, who worked at Heathrow Airport, is suing her former employers for unfair dismissal, claiming that she and other Christian staff at the airport were victims of systematic harassment because of their religion.

She claims that she was told that she would go to Hell for her religion, that Jews were responsible for the September 11th terror attacks, and that a friend was reduced to tears having been bullied for wearing a cross.

Mrs Halawi, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, worked in the duty-free section as a perfume saleswoman of the airport for 13 years but was dismissed in July.

Her case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, who say it raises important legal issues and also questions over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.

It comes amid growing concern among some Christians that their faith is being marginalised and follows calls from Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, for Christians to be given greater legal protection in the wake of a series of cases where they have been disciplined or dismissed for practising their faith.

It also raises further questions over race relations at Heathrow Airport.

Last week, Arieh Zucker, a Jewish businessman, complained that he has been repeatedly singled out for full-body scans by Muslim security staff at the airport.

The 41-year-old mortgage broker from London has accused them of "race hate" and is threatening to sue for racial discrimination after being made to "feel like a criminal" while being scanned.

Mrs Halawi's case centres on whether she was treated unfairly when she lost her job in World Duty Free in Terminal 3 after she spoke out over what she described as bullying and intimidation by her Muslim colleagues of her and other Christians.

She said that she was the subject of a complaint by an Islamic colleague which was specious and that when she raised her own concerns as a Christian, she was the one who was dismissed.

Now she is distraught at losing her job on allegations made by what she describes as a small group of "extremist" Muslims.

Mrs Halawi, 47, said: "I have been sacked on the basis of unsubstantiated complaints so there is now great fear amongst my former colleagues that the same could happen to them if one of the Muslims turns on them.

"This is supposed to be a Christian country, but the law seems to be on the side of the Muslims."

A mother of two, she says that she had always got on well with her Muslim colleagues and relations between staff of different faiths had been good in the past, but that the atmosphere became increasingly uncomfortable with a growing number of employees espousing "fundamentalist Islam".

She says they harassed Christians at work by making fun of them for wearing crosses, ridiculing Jesus and telling them they would go to Hell if they did not convert to Islam.

"One man brought in the Koran to work and insisted I read it and another brought in Islamic leaflets and handed them out to other employees," she said.

"They said that 9/11 served the Americans right and that they hated the West, but that they had come here because they want to convert people to Islam.

"They say that Jesus is s***** [shitty] and bullied a Christian friend of mine so much for wearing her crosses that she came to me crying."

Mrs Halawi says she was targeted by the fundamentalists after she stood up for her friend, who is 62 and who she is keeping anonymous because she still works at the terminal.

In May, five of her Muslim colleagues complained to David Tunnicliffe, the trading manager at World Duty Free, accusing her of being anti-Islamic following a heated conversation in the store.

The row had stemmed from her description of a Muslim colleague as an allawhi, which means 'man of God' in Arabic. Another Muslim overheard this and thought she said Alawi, which was his branch of Islam.

Following the complaints she was suspended immediately, but was not told the grounds for her suspension until she met Mr Tunnicliffe in July.

Two days after the meeting she received a letter, which said the "store approval" - the Heathrow security pass - needed to work at World Duty Free was being removed because her behaviour was deemed to be unacceptable.

"I believe that the breakdown in relationship between yourself and some of your colleagues has contributed to this situation and has led to a number of inappropriate conversations taking place," the letter said.

"Whilst I do not believe that you may have meant to be offensive, I believe that it was not unreasonable for the individuals who either heard these comments, or who they were directed at to find them offensive, and they are extremely inappropriate."

However, the only comments she made which Mr Tunnicliffe claimed were offensive relate to her accusing a Muslim colleague of having "extremist leaflets" and asking another Muslim why Jesus was being described as "s*****".

She was paid on a freelance basis by Caroline South Associates, a fragrance and cosmetics agency that provides staff to work in World Duty Free, and was told that she would not be able to continue working without her pass.

A petition signed by 28 colleagues, some of them Muslims, argued that she has been dismissed on the basis of "malicious lies", but failed to see her reinstated.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, founder and director of the Christian Legal Centre, said that the case is one of the most serious they have handled.

"It raises huge issues," she said.

"First, there is the level of Islamic fundamentalism prevalent at our main point of entry to the UK.

"Then there are very real issues of religious discrimination, which it would appear those in authority are turning a blind eye to, using the current loop-holes in employment law as an excuse."

The centre has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister, to represent Mrs Halawi in taking both Caroline South Associates and Autogrill Retail UK Limited, which trades as World Duty Free, to an employment tribunal.

They hope that the case will set a precedent for thousands of people like Mrs Halaoui who would appear to be employees from the working relationship, but actually have no rights because of their self-employed status.

A lawyer acting for CSA said: "The case is still pending so the company is not in a position to comment, but as far as the company is concerned she's never been an employee and has never been dismissed."

A spokesman for World Duty Free said they were unable to comment because the matter is subject to "ongoing legal proceedings".
Christian worker loses her job after being 'targeted' by Islamic extremists
Jonathan Wynne-Jones, The Telegraph, November 27, 2011

India: Professor at Islamic university who tortured his 10-year-old domestic help to pay damages[edit]

A professor of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), accused of torturing his 10-year-old domestic help, finally appeared before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Friday. After taking his statement, the CWC

issued an order, asking Mohammed Ghazi Shahnawaz, 42, to pay compensation to the boy.

Shahnawaz had been absconding since the incident came to light. He joined the investigation after taking a stay from a sessions court till November 30.

"We will wait for the order of sessions court and will then proceed to arrest Shahnawaz. The CWC has found him and his wife guilty of abusing and torturing the 10-year-old," a senior police officer said.

HT had earlier reported that the boy's father had tipped-off the professor about the entire incident, thus helping him escape. CWC order has also blamed the boy's father.

"The boy is not willing to go with his father as he fears that he will be beaten up. But as the child wants to go back to his home town, the CWC has asked the NGO, Butterflies, to take the child to Araria in Bihar and hand him over to his mother," the officer added.

The CWC has also asked the professor to open an account in the child's name at his hometown and deposit the compensation in that account.

On August 17, a badly injured 10-year-old had been found on Mathura Road near Badarpur on August 17. At that time, the child had been unable to tell anyone where he worked or give any details about who tortured him.

Later, he had accused his employer, a professor at JMI, of torturing him. He had burn marks on his body to prove the allegations.
Child abuse prof to pay damages
Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times, November 27, 2011

Morocco: Islamist Party officially announced the winner of the the parliamentary elections[edit]

The Moroccan government confirmed Saturday that the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) had won the parliamentary elections.

The party captured 80 seats in the 395-seat assembly, the most of any party, in Friday's polls according to provisional results, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui told a news conference.

PJD officials said earlier that their own figures showed they had won over 100 seats in the election, the country's first since a reform of the constitution that gives more power to parliament and the prime minister.

According to the new constitution overwhelmingly approved in a July referendum, King Mohammed VI must now pick the prime minister from the party which wins the most seats in parliament, instead of naming whomever he pleases.

Rap music, tattoos and slang, US military legacy rubs off on Iraqi youth[edit]

After more than eight years in Iraq, the departing American military’s legacy includes a fledgling democracy, bitter memories of war, and for the nation’s youth, rap music, tattoos and slang.

In other words, as the Dec. 31 deadline for completing their withdrawal approaches, U.S. troops are leaving behind the good, the bad and what “Lil Czar’’ Mohammed calls the “punky.’’

Sporting baggy soldiers’ camouflage pants, high-top sneakers and a back-turned “N.Y.’’ baseball cap, the chubby 22-year-old was showing off his break-dancing moves on a sunny afternoon in a Baghdad park. A $ sign was shaved into his closely cropped hair.

“While others might stop being rappers after the Americans leave, I will go on (rapping) till I reach N.Y.,’’ said Mohammed, who teaches part-time at a primary school.

His forearm bore a tattoo of dice above the words “GANG STAR.’’ That was the tattooist’s mistake, he said; it was supposed to say “gangsta.’’

Eight million Iraqis — a quarter of the population — have been born since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, and nearly half the country is under 19, according to Brett McGurk, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and, until recently, senior adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

So after years of watching U.S. soldiers on patrol, it’s inevitable that hip-hop styles, tough-guy mannerisms and slangy English patter would catch on with young Iraqis.

Calling themselves “punky,’’ or “hustlers,’’ many are donning hoodie sweat shirts, listening to 50 Cent or Eminem and watching “Twilight’’ vampire movies. They eat hamburgers and pizza and do death-defying Rollerblade runs through speeding traffic. Teens spike their hair or shave it Marine-style. The “Iraq Rap’’ page on Facebook has 1,480 fans.

To many of their fellow Iraqis, the habits appear weird, if not downright offensive. But to the youths, it is a vital part of their pursuit of the American dream as they imagine it to be.

“Lil Czar’’ Mohammed, a Shiite Muslim, says he was introduced to American culture by a Christian friend, Laith, who subsequently had to flee the anti-Christian violence that broke out in Baghdad. “I had nothing to help my friend, he left,’’ he said. “But when I get the money and become a rich boss, I will tell my friend Laith to come back.’’

Meanwhile, he said, he is trying to record a rap song in Arabic and English. “It is about our situation. About no jobs for us.’’

“I love the American soldiers,’’ said Mohammed Adnan, 15, who pastes imitation tattoos on his arm. Adnan lives in the Sadr City, the Baghdad base of followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has threatened violence against U.S. troops if they stay beyond 2011.
US military legacy rubs off on Iraqi youth
Bushra Juhi, Associated Press, November 26, 2011

UK: Restaurant owner guilty of "facilitating unlawful entry to the UK" ordered to pay £28,730[edit]

THOUSANDS of pounds worth of cash is to be seized from the owner of a Castle Douglas restaurant under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

At Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court, Helalul Islam of the Merrick Hotel was ordered to hand over £28,730.

Supporters have dubbed the latest move “rough justice” but the Crown Office points out he is a convicted criminal who should not profit from his actions.

Mr Islam (pictured, right) was given six months to hand over the money.

The father of five was convicted of providing accomodation, food and money to three non-European citizens [knowingly "facilitating unlawful entry to the UK"] and sentenced to 16 months jail in January.

He was released on bail pending an appeal, after spending 33 days behind bars, before his sentence was overturned in April.

The 48-year-old of Gardenhill Road said: “It’s damaged my health more than anything but I’m a survivor and I will fight on.

“I will work hard as I love the people around here and respect them.

“They have supported me and I hope I can continue giving them something back. The case is all behind me now so I will carry on my life as before.”

Patrick Dealey was one of Mr Islam’s strongest supporters throughout the period and said he cannot believe he has been punished again.

“To take this money from him does seem like rough justice and I think I’m speaking for his supporters group as a whole,” he said.

“He went to prison for this and at the appeal hearing in Edinburgh the appeal court judges found that he should never have been sent to jail.

“Being sentenced to prison was not good for his reputation so there shouldn’t be a second coming against him.

“But the law is the law and they can take this money from him, but it seems like rough justice in a sense.”

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service were quick to welcome the fine and keen to remind the public that a crime was committed.

Lindsey Miller, head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division, said: “Employing people who have no legal right to be in this country is a criminal offence and the Crown is therefore entitled to target, through the proceeds of crime legislation, any money gained by this enterprise.

“The Crown will seek to deprive anyone who chooses to involve themselves in criminal activities of the assets they have gained from their criminal activities and lifestyles.

“We will continue to work with all areas of law enforcement to disrupt the activities of criminals to prevent them re-investing their profits and continuing with their illegal enterprises.”
Restaurant owner ordered to pay £28,730
Andrew McNair, Dumfries Standard, November 25, 2011

Post-Mubarak Egypt: 2 Journalists violently beaten & raped, 38 dead & 3,000 injured since Saturday[edit]

Two female foreign journalists on Thursday described harrowing sexual assaults carried out by crowds or police as they tried to cover demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy said she was sexually assaulted by police during hours under detention after taking part in protests on the sprawling square that has become a landmark of the Arab Spring.

"Besides beating me, the dogs of (central security forces) subjected me to the worst sexual assault ever," Eltahawy said on her Twitter account.

"5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers," she said.

"My left arm and right hand are broken (according) to xrays," she said, posting pictures of herself in casts.

Earlier Eltahawy, an award-winning journalist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues based in New York, tweeted that she had been released after having been beaten and arrested in the interior ministry building.

Later, a French journalist working for public television channel France 3, said she had been violently beaten and sexually assaulted while covering the protests.

Caroline Sinz told AFP that she and her cameraman, Salah Agrabi, had been confronted in a road leading from Tahrir to the interior ministry, the scene of days of deadly clashes between police and protesters demanding democratic change.

"We were filming in Mohammed Mahmud street when we were mobbed by young people who were about 14 or 15," said Sinz.

The journalist and her cameraman were then dragged by a group of men towards Tahrir Square where they became separated, she said.

"We were then assaulted by a crowd of men. I was beaten by a group of youngsters and adults who tore my clothes" and then molested her in a way that "would be considered rape," she said.

"Some people tried to help me but failed. I was lynched. It lasted three quarters of an hour before I was taken out. I thought I was going to die," she said. Her cameraman was also beaten.

Sinz was finally rescued by a group of Egyptians and returned to her hotel, where she was assisted by the French embassy before being seen by a doctor.

Media activists from Reporters Without Borders decried working conditions for journalists covering the fresh unrest and upcoming elections in Egypt.

"The chaos prevailing in Cairo and the resulting grave human rights violations are as bad as in the darkest hours of the revolution's earlier phase, in January and February," the media rights group said in a statement.

In February, CBS News reporter Lara Logan described in detail how she was victim of a sexual assault near Tahrir the same day President Hosni Mubarak fell from power.

Once back in the US, Logan said she was molested for more than 40 minutes by a group of 200 or 300 men.

The latest reports of sexual assault against journalists came as protesters in Tahrir Square continue to demand an end to military rule. At least 38 people have died and over 3,000 have been injured since Saturday when the clashes began.

UK: Muslim teacher who was filmed kicking and slapping children at mosque is jailed for only 10 weeks[edit]

An islamic teacher was jailed yesterday after being caught on a hidden camera kicking and hitting children during religious lessons in a mosque.

Sabir Hussain, 60, stood over the young boys as they sat on the floor and was secretly filmed kicking three in the back and repeatedly hitting one youngster forcefully with the back of his hand.

The ‘fearful’ boys, aged between ten and 13, could be seen flinching from the teacher, who was giving classes for Muslim pupils in reading the Koran at the Markazi Jamia Mosque, in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

He was exposed by the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches, in its programme Lessons In Hatred And Violence, which was broadcast in February and included footage of him assaulting some of the 19 boys.

Wearing traditional Islamic clothing, Hussain, at the time a voluntary teacher, can be seen walking around the class as the boys sat on the floor.

He is seen using considerable force to hit a child four times with the back of his hand as the boy cowers in fear.

Another sequence shows him kicking a boy in the back and then slapping him on the head. Two other sections of video catch Hussain kicking boys in the back.

Hussain admitted four charges of assaulting boys in December last year and was yesterday jailed for ten weeks.

He was originally charged with ten counts of assault, but the prosecution accepted his four guilty pleas.

Bradford magistrates were told the camera was recording in the mosque over a five-month period. District Judge Susan Bouch rejected pleas by his barrister to spare him a custodial sentence.

Shufqat Khan, defending, described him as a ‘pillar of the community’ known for being ‘firm but fair’.

But the judge, commenting on the victims, said: ‘They are small, vulnerable and they are young.’

She told Hussain: ‘It can clearly be seen on the footage that the children are flinching away from you.

‘That suggests clearly to me that the children were fearful. You are in a position of responsibility. This is a gross breach of trust. All of these factors make the offences so serious I can only pass a term of imprisonment.’

Hussain, of Keighley, came to Britain in 1967 and spent nearly 40 years as a textile worker. He required an interpreter in court.

An application to release him on bail pending an appeal was rejected by the judge.

After the case a statement from West Yorkshire Police and Children’s Services at Bradford Council welcomed the sentence but criticised the TV team for not reporting the offences earlier, saying: ‘Some of these assaults would have been avoidable.’

However Ann Cryer, the former MP for Keighley, praised the documentary team.

She said: ‘This violence against children was going on under the nose of the mosque authorities.’

Australia: Universities produce divisive handbooks for Muslim students only[edit]

MONASH University prides itself on its "multicultural learning environment" and yet it produces a handbook for one certain class of students, and not for others.

Salaam Monash is the title of the glossy 50-page "handbook for Muslim students".

"At Monash we understand that Muslim students have specific social, religious and cultural needs," writes Professor Stephanie Fahey, deputy vice-chancellor, in a foreword to the handbook.

The booklet lists Islamic banking and financial institutions, Muslim publications, women's groups and schools. It also lists Muslim medical and dental practitioners, which splits up doctors into male and female groups.

There is also a halal food guide and a list of halal grocers and butchers.

Much of the information seems useful and, having had a young Muslim house guest recently, I know just how tricky it can be to find halal food.

But there is no similar handbook for other religious or ethnic groups, not for Buddhists, Taoists, Germans, Greeks, Sikhs, Mormons or vegans.

Why encourage one group of people to maintain an identity separate from other Australians?

Most unwise, however, is that the handbook lists without comment some of Australia's most radical prayer halls.

Among them is cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran's Islamic Call Society in Brunswick, where young Muslim men have been radicalised. A number of men arrested in Operation Pendennis, over a foiled 2005 Melbourne terror plot, had frequented the mosque, according to a New York Police Department study, which identified it as an "extremist incubator".

Similarly, the handbook points students in the direction of Coburg's ISNA mosque, associated with preacher Abu Hamza, who was videotaped telling men they could "beat their wives to shape them up" but only as a last resort. In the lecture entitled "The Keys to a Successful Marriage", he said: "You smack them, you beat them. You are not allowed to bruise them."

The handbook has angered people on campus.

"Monash University should not be endorsing (an) ideology which prescribes that Muslims must not eat our food, wear our clothes, share our services or even use our 'infidel' money," said four insiders who wrote to me. "International students would be better served with a handbook explaining Australian culture and values."

Monash is not alone. La Trobe has its own Muslim student guide and last year opened a $927,000 prayer room.

In 2006 RMIT produced a Muslim handbook "In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful". Two years later 1000 Muslim students protested against sharing new prayer rooms with Christians and Jews.

Muslim students from overseas are a lucrative part of the fee-paying student body and keeping them happy is important. But the message should be about mutual respect and hospitality -- not segregation and exclusion.
Muslim handbook is divisive
Miranda Devine, Herald Sun, November 24, 2011

US: 73-year-old Sunday school teacher strangled to death, 21-year-old Shafiqul Islam arrested[edit]

HILLSDALE, N.Y. — Authorities say a 73-year-old Sunday school teacher found dead in her upstate New York home last weekend had been strangled.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said on Wednesday that the cause of Lois Decker's death was manual strangulation.

A deputy found her body late Sunday night at her home in Hillsdale after her car was involved in an accident.

Authorities say 21-year-old Shafiqul Islam (shu-FEE'-qwuhl IHZ'-lahm) was driving Decker's car but fled the crash scene on foot. He was later taken into custody in nearby Hudson and charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Police say Islam is a suspect in Decker's slaying but hasn't been charged with the crime.

He's being held in the county jail without bail.

Islam, formerly of Hudson, had recently moved into an apartment near Decker's rural home.
Police: NY woman found slain in home was strangled
Associated Press, November 24, 2011

Pakistan: Woman murders and seeks to cook her husband after he planned to take a second wife[edit]

Pakistani police on Thursday arrested a woman they say killed her husband and was attempting to cook his body parts, after he planned to take a second wife without her permission.

According to family law in Islamic Pakistan, a man must get permission from his first wife before his second marriage, but the law is rarely observed.

Police arrested Zainab Bibi, 32, and her nephew Zaheer, 22, in the Shah Faisal colony of Pakistan's southern metropolis of Karachi, local police commander Nadeem Baig said.

"They killed Ahmad Abbas, Zainab's husband, and chopped his body into pieces and were about to cook the flesh in a bowl," he told AFP. Baig added both a bowl containing the husband’s diced flesh and knife used in the murder were recovered.

Television networks reportedly showed gruesome footage of the human flesh in a bowl ready for the stove.

A neighbor alerted the police to the crime and investigations were ongoing, said Baig.

"There could be two factors behind her intention to cook the husband. One is to destroy the evidence and the other could be her immense hatred against him for seeking a second wife," he said.
Karachi Woman Murders, Seeks to Cook Husband
Gavriel Queenann, Arutz Sheva, November 24, 2011

US: Male nurse files a sex discrimination lawsuit after being fired for treating Muslim women[edit]

A male nurse filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the city of Dearborn on Wednesday, claiming he was fired for treating conservative Muslim women wearing head scarves.

John Benitez Jr. is suing for unspecified damages and to reclaim his job, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.

Benitez, 63, of Madison Heights, worked at the city's taxpayer-funded health clinic. He alleges he was ordered by a female supervisor not to treat conservative Muslim women, specifically those wearing head scarves, according to the lawsuit. He was told the clinic's male Muslim clientele did not want a male treating female patients.

He complied until November 2010, when a doctor ordered him to treat Muslim women as he would any other patient. Benitez followed the doctor's order and was fired less than one month later, according to the lawsuit.

"When you get to the point that taxpayer-funded entities are having to comply with personal religious beliefs rather than letting people do their job you're going down a road that does not end in a good place," the nurse's lawyer Deborah Gordon said in an interview Wednesday. "If people don't want to be treated, they can go find their own practitioner."

The city closed the clinic June 30 amid budget cuts.

A Dearborn spokeswoman declined comment.

Hospitals and health clinics routinely make accommodations based on religion, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

"In general, unless it is for emergency situations, many Muslims would prefer being screened and touched by someone of the same gender," Walid said. "If he was fired based upon an order from a supervisor, that obviously would be unjust."
Male nurse sues after firing for treating Muslim women
Robert Snell, The Detroit News, November 23, 2011

Syria: More than 3,500 dead, yet UNESCO elects Syria to human rights committees[edit]

UNESCO’s executive board, which includes the US, France, the UK and other Western democracies, unanimously elected Syria to a pair of committees – one dealing directly with human rights issues – even as the Bashar al-Assad regime maintains its campaign of violence against its own citizens.

The Arab group at UNESCO nominated Syria for the spots, and though the 58-member board approved the pick by consensus on Nov. 11, the agency has not yet posted the results on its website.

Syria’s election came just a day before the League of Arab States moved to suspend Syrian membership of that body.

“The Arab League’s suspension of Syria is stripped of any meaning when its member states elevate Syria to UN human rights committes,” says Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch.

“It’s shameful for the UN's prime agency on science, culture and education to take a country that is shooting its own people and empower it to decide human rights issues on a global scale. Regrettably, the pressure to bow to consensus – part of the go-along-to-get-along tradition at the UN – can drag everyone down to the will of the lowest common denominator.”

Neuer highlights that the executive board’s decision should not be all that surprising, given the body “recently welcomed serial human rights abusers as new members, like Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan and Russia.” Syria was already on the executive board, noted Neuer, "as were other countries with poor human rights records, including Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Belarus, China, Vietnam and Algeria."

The UN says Syria’s crackdown on opposition protests has left more than 3,500 people dead over the past eight months.

“By rewarding the murderous Syrian regime with badges of international legitimacy, UNESCO has endangered core interests of the U.S. and its allies, undermining national security, regional stability and democratic values.”

Syria will serve a second two-year term on the 30-member Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which examines “communications … relating to the exercise of human rights,” according to UNESCO’s Web site. Syria also joins the 23-member Committee on International Non-Governmental Organizations, which is mandated to encourage approved activist groups to help further UNESCO’s overall goals.

In a bid to insulate UNESCO’s administration from criticism, the agency’s executive director, Irina Bokova, insists her hands were tied. She has even broken with protocol in commenting that the executive board’s choice was not a good one.

“The director-general and secretariat are bound by the decisions of member states and are not supposed to comment on them,” said Sue Williams, UNESCO chief spokesperson.

“Yet given the developments in Syria, the director-general does not see how this country can contribute to the work of the committees.”

The criticism of the member states’ move comes as Bokova, on behalf of UNESCO, is struggling to overcome a sudden cut in U.S. funding to the agency after another controversial decision – namely the vote late last month by a majority of UNESCO’s 194 member states to admit Palestine as a full member.

The United States pays 22 per cent of the budgets of all UN agencies, and cut its payments to UNESCO because of longstanding U.S. legislation that prohibits funding any part of the UN that admits Palestine, which is not recognized by the UN as an independent country.

Still, Bokova herself provoked headlines earlier this month when she had one of her senior communications directors summon the Israeli ambassador at UNESCO to complain about a cartoon the Israeli newspaper Haaretz had printed.

Haaretz said the cartoon was an obvious dig at the Israeli government’s anger over the decision to admit Palestine.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, comments on the developments at UNESCO by saying the agency “continues to outdo itself with stunning and dangerous behavior.”

While the United States and some key allies, including Britain and France, are members of the UNESCO board, Western democracies are in a minority on the body. Canada, which joined the United States in opposing Palestinian membership of UNESCO, but is not a member of the executive board, told UN Watch it regrets the move to elevate Syria.

“While Canada was not involved in this decision, we find it deeply disturbing that Syria was designated by the Arab regional group at UNESCO as a member of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, given the Assad regime's continual and repeated violation of human rights,” said Joe Lavoie , a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “Canada strongly and firmly continues to call on Assad to step aside.”

UN Watch pointed out Tuesday that a resolution supported by an overwhelming majority in the UN General Assembly’s “third” committee – which deals with human rights – defers to Syrian demands for respect of its “territorial integrity” and “political independence” – even as it strongly condemed Syria for its violent crackdown.

Saudi Arabia: Four sisters behead their drug-addicted brother for sexually abusing them[edit]

Four Saudi sisters who beheaded their brother at their house in the Gulf Kingdom told police they had done so because he had not stopped molesting them.

Saudi police seized the four sisters, aged between 20 and 40 years, after they fled their home in the northern town of Hafr Al-Batin and hid at another house.

“Police sources said the sisters confessed to murdering their brother and said they had done so because he kept molesting them…they also said their brother was a drug addict,” Sabq Arabic language daily said.

Police had found their brother, in his 20s, lying in a pool of blood in his room and his head was cut off following an attack with knives by his four sisters. His 60-year-old father had informed the police about the crime.

Afghan woman's choice: 12 years in jail or marry her rapist and risk death[edit]

The ordeal of Gulnaz did not simply begin and end with the physical attack of her rape. The rape began a years-long nightmare of further pain, culminating in an awful choice she must now make.

Even two years later, Gulnaz remembers the smell and state of her rapist's clothes when he came into the house when her mother left for a brief visit to the hospital.

"He had filthy clothes on as he does metal and construction work. When my mother went out, he came into my house and he closed doors and windows. I started screaming, but he shut me up by putting his hands on my mouth," she said.

The rapist was her cousin's husband.

After the attack, she hid what happened as long as she could. But soon she began vomiting in the mornings and showing signs of pregnancy. It was her attacker's child.

In Afghanistan, this brought her not sympathy, but prosecution. Aged just 19, she was found guilty by the courts of sex outside of marriage -- adultery -- and sentenced to twelve years in jail.

Now inside Kabul's Badam Bagh jail, she and her child are serving her sentence together.

Sitting with the baby in her lap, her face carefully covered, she explains the only choice she has that would end her incarceration.

The only way around the dishonor of rape, or adultery in the eyes of Afghans, is to marry her attacker. This will, in the eyes of some, give her child a family and restore her honor.

Incredibly, this is something that Gulnaz is willing to do.

"I was asked if I wanted to start a new life by getting released, by marrying this man", she told CNN in an exclusive interview. "My answer was that one man dishonored me, and I want to stay with that man."

Tending to her daughter in the jail's cold, she added: "My daughter is a little innocent child. Who knew I would have a child in this way. A lot of people told me that after your daughter's born give it to someone else, but my aunt told me to keep her as proof of my innocence."

Gulnaz's choice is stark. Women in her situation are often killed for the shame their ordeal has brought the community. She is at risk, some say, from her attacker's family.

We found Gulnaz's convicted rapist in a jail across town. While he denied raping her, he agreed that she would likely be killed if she gets out of jail. But he insists that it will be her family, not his, that will kill her, "out of shame."

Whether threatened by his family or hers, for now, jail may be the safest place for her.

Shockingly, Gulnaz's case is common in Afghanistan.

CNN asked a spokesman for the prosecutor to comment on the case. The reply was that there were hundreds such cases and the office would need time to look into it.
Afghan woman's choice: 12 years in jail or marry her rapist and risk death
Nick Paton Walsh and Masoud Popalza, CNN, November 22, 2011

New York terrorism suspect is a Catholic convert to Islam[edit]

The suspect in the latest alleged New York City terrorism plot followed a solitary online path to violent radical Islam, family members and law enforcement officials say.

Jose Pimentel, 27, is being held without bail on state terrorism charges after his arrest on Saturday.

Police say he plotted, as an al-Qaeda sympathiser, to use explosives to attack post offices, police buildings and US military-service members.

Pimentel was arrested because he was about an hour away from making a pipe bomb and using it somewhere in the city, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says.

Pimentel pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Sunday.

His mother, Carmen Sosa, 56, said on Sunday outside her Manhattan apartment, where her unemployed son had lived for the past year, that he spent his days praying "to Allah, reading the Koran".

She was initially sceptical about his conversion from Catholicism four or five years ago.

When Sosa pressed her son on why he chose Islam, he told her, "'It's none of your business,"' she said.

Law enforcement officials said he was a "lone wolf" who wasn't connected to any al-Qaeda affiliate or other terrorist group.

"His social network was online," said Mitch Silber, director of intelligence analysis of the New York Police Department's intelligence division.

Silber, who has studied other cases of homegrown radicalisation cases, said Pimentel was a constant user of the internet and maintained a website.

In a March posting praising Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks, he wrote: "America and its allies are all legitimate targets in warfare. This includes, facilities such as army bases, police stations, political facilities, embassies, CIA and FBI buildings, private and public airports, and all kinds of buildings where money is being made."

A key influence was the writings of Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born propagandist killed earlier this year by a US drone strike in Yemen, investigators said.

"This is a classic case of what we've been talking about - the lone wolf, an individual, self-radicalised," Kelly said.

"This is the needle in the haystack problem we face as a country and as a city."

Silber said that while some people never go beyond radical rhetoric and get on with their lives, Pimentel "unfortunately wasn't walking away from it".

Sosa said she never saw a violent side to her son. But asked if she thought he was capable of doing what he is accused of, she replied: "My son says he did it. If he says he did it ...," before shrugging her shoulders.

According to the criminal complaint against him, Pimentel said he bought "all of the components of the bomb", took "active steps" to build it and was "about one hour away from completing it".

The complaint charged that he plotted since October with the help of a confidential informant working with the New York Police Department to make pipe bombs from a recipe published in the radical Inspire Magazine.

Pimentel purchased common items like alarm clocks, pipes, Christmas lights and matches at local stores and at a Home Depot in the Bronx, the complaint says.

Pimentel's defence lawyer, Joseph Zablocki, said that Pimentel, who had a minor criminal record for credit card theft wasn't a serious threat.

While the police department kept the FBI informed of the case, a person familiar with the investigation said federal officials were unsure about how much of a threat Pimentel posed and how large a role the informant played in moving him to act.
NY terrorism suspect is Islam convert
Sydney Morning Herald, November 22, 2011

Kuwait: Police arrest two Asians for trafficking in alcohol and recover 242 bottles of liquor[edit]

Police have arrested two Asians for trafficking in alcohol and recovered 242 bottles of liquor from their possession in Abdullah Port area, the Ministry of Interior said in a press release.

Police patrols on routine duty on the King Fahd Motorway saw the Asians traveling in a car and asked them to show their ID cards. The Asians, however, panicked and tried to escape by speeding up. Police chased them and arrested them in an open area near the port. The liquor was found in their car.

The duo admitted that they were trafficking in alcohol and said they charge KD 1.5 per bottle. They were referred to authorities for further action.
Asian duo held in liquor peddling
Arab Times, November 21, 2011

Malaysia: Use technology to spread Islamic teachings, Usia told[edit]

Sabah Islamic Organization (Usia) needs to transform itself and keep abreast of today’s changes in order to remain relevant.

Speaking at Usia to reporters after officiating at the Usia 25th General Delegate Assembly here yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said the movement needed to continuously enhance its role and capacity in disseminating the teachings of Islam and catalyst changes among the Muslims and the State as a whole.

“Usia must adopt a realistic and comprehensive approach to carry out its responsibility more effectively using the latest technology to communicate to the public its activities and programmes.

“I am proud with Usia’s achievement so far and hope it will continue to be active, especially in its preaching activities in Sabah,” he said.

Musa who is also the Finance Minister said the State government would consider the organization’s request for additional allocation, adding that he would discuss the matter with Usia’s head Dr Haji Sakaran Dandai.

He noted that at the moment Usia receives RM200,000 annually from the State government.

“This funding is part of the government’s effort to ensure harmony and freedom of religion and promotes unity in Sabah, where it also helps other religious organizations,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Musa said Usia since its inception four decades ago had remained committed towards its noble cause and continued to be accepted by the public.

He added that the State government had always been supportive towards Usia’s programmes or any activities that could help in creating a quality and balanced human capital.

At the event, Musa also launched Usia’s online portal.

Usia currently has 27 branches in Sabah, including the two newly opened offices in Sugut and Tamparuli.
Use technology to spread Islamic teachings, Usia told
BorneoPost Online, November 20, 2011

Libya: Seif al-Islam surprises captors with his "calmness and courage"[edit]

Seif al-Islam, the fugitive son of slain Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi who vowed to go down fighting, showed surprising "courage" and lack of fear when he was cornered, his captors said on Sunday.

In an ambush in southern Libya, Seif and the five people with him in a two-car convoy "did not realise at first what they were dealing with," a member of the Zintan brigade of militiamen told AFP.

"They were afraid at first to be shot, but we must acknowledge that Seif al-Islam surprised us with his calmness and courage... He wasn't really afraid," Ahmed Amer said of Kadhafi's one-time heir apparent.

"We surprised them. They didn't have the time to resist" being captured, he said, adding in a telephone interview that Seif and his men were armed with little more than "Kalashnikovs, light automatic rifles and grenades."

After three months on the run, Seif al-Islam who is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity was caught in Libya's far-flung Saharan south early on Saturday in a trap set by the Zintan militiamen loyal to the new regime.

Amer and other fighters said Kadhafi's son -- who in February vowed to fight "until the last bullet" -- asked his captors "to fire a bullet to his head" as he was being taken to Zintan, a town 170 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Tripoli.

Video footage showed Seif being hauled off into captivity in Zintan after getting off a flight from the desert, but despite the presence of an angry mob, he was spared the brutal lynching dealt out to Kadhafi on his capture last month.
Seif 'courage' surprised captors
Imed Lamloum, AFP, November 20, 2011

2 UK terror suspects killed in US drone strike in Pakistan[edit]

Two British terror suspects have been killed in a US drone strike on bases used by al-Qa'ida and allied Islamist insurgents in Pakistan.

Ibrahim Adam and Mohammed Azmir have family links to terrorism. Azmir's brother, Abdul Jabbar, 32, is believed to have died in another CIA drone attack, also in Pakistan, in September last year. Adam's brother, Anthony Garcia, received a life sentence in April 2007 for his part in the "fertiliser bomb" plot targeting London and other cities in the UK.

Adam, 24, from Barkingside in east London, was the subject of a control order while en route to Syria from where, MI5 and Scotland Yard claimed, he had planned to travel to jihadist training camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Azmir, 37, who lived in Ilford, Essex, had a Treasury order imposed freezing his assets after he was allegedly involved in funding terrorism.

The two men were believed to have been killed around three months ago when US forces intensified raids using unmanned Predator planes in Pakistan. The raids focused on the Haqqani network, a terrorist group connected to al-Qa'ida and the Pakistani secret police, ISI, which had been carrying out attacks in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office said it was investigating the reports of the deaths and the Home Office refused to comment. A senior security source said: "We have to be careful about these claims of drone kills because it is in the interest of some to say that so and so has been killed, as that would end the hunt for them. But on this occasion the feeling is that these two men did die in the attack."

Cori Crider, legal director of the campaign group Reprieve, said: "What we need to know is what role the British Government may have played in the killing of two of its own nationals. Did UK officials provide the US with information which helped them to target their attack on these two people?"

At least one other Briton has reportedly died in a drone attack this year.
UK terror suspects killed as drones hit insurgent bases in Pakistan
Kim Sengupta, The Independent, November 19, 2011

Egypt: Islamic scholar storms concert, advises audience that gender mixing & singing are haram[edit]

The debate over music in Islam, forbidden or sanctioned, has resurfaced in the Egyptian media after popular Egyptian Islamic Salafist scholar Hazem Shoman stormed the stage of a concert last Tuesday, telling the audience that what they were watching was sinful.

Students at Nile Academy campus in the city of Mansoura were surprised when Shoman took the stage of Hisham Abbas’ concert “advising” them that music is “haram,” or forbidden in Islam, and that they should not be watching or listening to it.

The students reportedly responded with chants against the scholar, and in order to prevent the escalation of the situation, the academy’s vice president Mohamed Abdel Ghaffar and other officials interfered and persuaded Shoman to vacate the venue.

In a TV interview by Nile channel, Shoman later said that he was “shocked” to enter the concert hall and see female dancers mixing with men.

He said that he decided to give “advices” to the concert’s youth whom he described as responsive to his concerns. According to him, the concert was later canceled after the withdrawal of a “sizeable group of the attendees.”

Islamists ransack Sufi graves, women fearful in post-"Arab Spring" Libya[edit]

Libyan gunmen broke into the Saif al-Nasr mosque in Tripoli early on Nov. 8, smashed open a wooden sarcophagus and removed the remains of Saif al-Nasr, a scholar who died 155 years ago, and a former imam, Hammad Zwai.

“These bodies have been moved to a Muslim cemetery,” announced graffiti on the walls, explaining the disapproval by some Islamists of the Sufi Muslim tradition of burying scholars and teachers in mosques to honor them.

Muslims pushing for a strict intepretation of Islamic law are jostling for power in the chaos that has gripped Libya since the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi, the third North African leader after those in Egypt and Tunisia to fall in the Arab Spring.

Last month protesters holding signs proclaiming “We Are Here to Purify the Honor of Tripoli” forced the early closure of the capital’s first fashion show since Qaddafi’s 42-year rule in Tripoli ended in August.

“I was scared; I wiped off my makeup and went home,” said Jasmin Abdul Aziz, a 22-year-old student who was one of five models at the event and once paraded a $5,000 dress studded with diamonds in a Qaddafi-era fashion show. “Before, we would wear shorts in the streets. Now, look around you, nobody does.”

The man responsible for maintaining security in the city is Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the head of the Tripoli Military Council and former Guantanamo Bay inmate. The council doesn’t regard the mosque break-ins as a crime and is awaiting the formation of a religious council to rule on the matter, according to his deputy, Mohammed Goaider.

“It is not a crime, but it is not the right time for the bodies to be removed,” Goaider said in an interview. If the religious council issues a fatwa, an Islamic religious edict, demanding the removal of the bodies, security units will do the work, he said.

Belhaj was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which opposed Qaddafi in the 1990s and is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. After joining the Taliban in Aghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, he was captured and held by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 before being sent to Libya, where he spent seven years in a prison until his release last year.

“We are 99 percent Muslim,” said Emhemmed Ghula of the February 17th Coalition, a prominent political group that supports Belhaj. “Our country is a conservative country.”
Libya’s Islamists Ransack Mosque Graves in Power Struggle
Christopher Stephen, Bloomberg, November 18, 2011

Nude Blogger Riles Both Liberal and Conservative Egyptians[edit]

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy apparently thought she was striking a blow for sexual equality and free expression in Egypt when she posted nude photographs of herself on a blog. Instead Ms. Elmahdy set off a wave of outrage here, stoking conservative Islamist sentiments that many liberals fear will undermine their prospects in the country’s parliamentary election next week.

It is hard to overstate the shock at an Egyptian woman’s posting nude photographs of herself on the Internet in a conservative religious country where a vast majority of Muslim women are veiled and even men seldom bare their knees in public. In Egypt, even kissing in public is taboo.

It is often the case that activists willing to defy social conventions, pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable anywhere, succeed in provoking discussion — while finding themselves ostracized and isolated. Indeed, Ms. Elmahdy learned that reality quickly after a Twitter post directed attention to her blog, and her pictures.

Soon Ms. Elmahdy, a 20-year-old activist, found herself swept up in a campaign season political fight, especially among liberals battling conservative Islamists in the first election since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power.

But if she thought she would get support from the left, she was wrong.

“Many movements in Egypt, particularly Islamist movements, are trying to benefit,” said Emad Gad, a parliamentary candidate from the left-leaning Egyptian Social Democratic Party. “They say, ‘We have to protect our society from things like this, and if the liberals win then this woman will become a model for all Egyptian women.’ ”

Liberal activists raced to disavow any connection to her. After reports this week indicated that Ms. Elmahdy was a member of the April 6th Youth Movement — a major player in the January revolt that unseated Mr. Mubarak — its spokesman, Tarek al-Kholi, told the pan-Arab news channel Al Arabiya that “the movement does not have any members who engage in such behavior.”

“We are conservative youths, and we always encourage our members to be role models as far as ethics are concerned,” even barring atheists, Mr. Kholi said. “How can we have accepted the membership of a girl who behaves like this?” (Ms. Elmahdy confirmed in a Twitter posting that she did not belong to the group.)
Nude Blogger Riles Egyptians of All Stripes
Liam Stack and David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, November 17, 2011

Teenage couple "wreak havoc" in a Kuwaiti shopping mall by kissing and hugging each other[edit]

A teenager and his girl friend caused furor at a crowded Kuwaiti shopping mall when they kissed each other and walked around hugging each other.

Ignoring rebukes from scores of male and female shoppers, the couple then sat at a coffee shop inside the mall and continued their amorous scene, prompting the mall’s security men to intervene and kick them out.

“The two still did not give up…they went out of the mall and resumed hugging…people had to call the police to the area,” the Arabic language daily Alwatan said. “When the police arrived, the two ended their obscene performance, smashed through the surrounding crowd and ran away.”
Kissing teenagers wreak havoc in shopping mall
Emirates 24/7, November 17, 2011

Famous Chechen poet who angered Muslim separatists is shot dead in 'contract killing'[edit]

Prominent Chechen poet Ruslan Akhtakhanov who had angered Muslim separatists in the North Caucasus was shot dead in Moscow.

Akhtakhanov was shot five times in the head and leg as he parked his car on Begovaya St. late on Wednesday, police said.

He was a fervent advocate of Chechnya remaining part of Russia and was also believed to have spent 47 days held hostage by Chechen separatists.

Akhtakhanov was also a member of Russia’s Writers Union.

Authorities are treating the incident as a contract killing.

“The way in which the murder was carried out suggests it had been ordered,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told reporters on Wednesday.

The gunmen escaped in a Ford Focus car which was later found burn out in the Russian capital’s southwest.

An investigation is under way.

Somalia: Child killed in latest wave of grenade attacks in Mogadishu[edit]

Mogadishu: Wave of grenade attacks blamed on Islamist rebels killed a child and injured nine other people in Somalia's anarchic capital, police and witnesses said Wednesday.

In one of at least five attacks, which took place late Tuesday in Mogadishu's Seypiano neighbourhood, a hand grenade was thrown into a house as people watched a football match between England and Sweden.

No group claimed responsibility but officials blamed the Al-Qaeda Shebab rebels for the attacks.

"The enemy wants to terrorize the civilians by sending gangs who throw hand grenades into civilian areas," said Ibrahim Ahmed, a Somali police official.

"They have attacked at least five locations on Tuesday night, including a house where civilians were watching football, killing a child and injuring four others," he said. Three other civilians and two policemen were wounded in separate attacks elsewhere in Mogadishu, he added.

"There had been other grenade attacks in Black Sea and Al-Baraka and Suq Bacad areas," he said.

Those caught up in the attacks said they were in shock. "We are still confused about the meaning of this attack, we were simply watching football when the explosion hit the house, a young boy was killed and four others injured," said Daud Hussein, the owner of the house.

"Everybody was exited to be watching the game, and no one expected that such a horrible incident was about to happen," Mohamed Black, a witness said.

"I'm lucky to survive but a friend of mine was among the injured."

Despite withdrawing from fixed positions in Mogadishu, the hardline Shebab militia have vowed to continue waging war against the Western-backed Somali government and the African Union troops protecting it.

Kuwait: Man beats his Ethiopian housekeeper to death 'because she refused to work'[edit]

A Kuwaiti citizen has been arrested for allegedly beating his Ethiopian housekeeper to death, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Citing legal sources, Al-Jarida daily said the man, who was not named, confessed that he "brutally beat up" the maid for seven days because she refused to work.

A preliminary forensic report showed that the maid died of "severe beatings that led to serious physical injuries and severe internal bleeding," and that she showed signs of dehydration.

The daily said the suspect took the maid to a recruitment office in Hawalli, 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of Kuwait City, where she collapsed and died.

Oil-rich Kuwait with a population of 3.5 million people, two-thirds of them foreigners, employ around 600,000 mostly Asian domestic helpers.

UK: Four Muslims arrested over Birmingham 'suicide plot', and eight others charged[edit]

Four men have been arrested in connection with an investigation into an alleged suicide bomb plot in Birmingham.

The four men – three aged 19 and one aged 24 - are accused of raising funds for terrorism and travelling to Pakistan for terrorist training.

The men were arrested in connection with a “major counter-terrorism investigation” known as Operation Pitsford.

The men were detained by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit at their home addresses in the Sparkhill area of the city early on Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said the arrests were “pre-planned” and armed officers were not involved.

All four are being held under the Terrorism Act 2000 and detectives have an initial 48 hours to question the suspects before charging, releasing or applying for a warrant of further detention.

Eight people arrested over the last two months have already been charged. Three are alleged to have been plotting a suicide bombing campaign of “mass murder” on the streets of Britain.

Two of those are said to have travelled to Pakistan where they received terrorist training and made alleged suicide videos before returning to build a bomb.

The men were under surveillance as part of an “intelligence led operation” by MI5 and the police as they discussed their alleged plans, which were picked up by listening devices.

Three other men allegedly helped raise £12,000 by collecting for charities which was said to be used for the purposes of planning their attacks. A seventh man and a woman have been accused of failing to inform police.

Those previously charged include Rahin Ahmed, 25, from Moseley, Birmingham, who allegedly helped others to travel to Pakistan for training in bomb making, using weapons and mixing poisons.

He is also said to have collected money and invested and managed the money which was to be used for “terrorist acts” according to charges.

Irfan Nasser, 30, from Sparkhill, Birmingham and Irfan Khalid, 26, of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, are accused of plotting their attacks between Christmas Day last year and their arrest in September.

The charges say that they travelled to Pakistan for training in terrorism including bomb making, weapons and poison making.

While there they are said to have made a “martyrdom film” and later began planning a “suicide bombing campaign or event.”

On their return they allegedly provided information to others about training in Pakistan and were “advising and counselling” about explosives and detonators.

The men went on to purchase “components and chemicals for a home made explosive device,” the charges state and constructed a “home made explosive device for terrorist acts.”

They tried to recruit others for terrorist training and for terrorist acts and stated their “intention to be a suicide bomber,” prosecutors claimed.

Ashik Ali, 26, from Balsall Heath, Birmingham, did not travel to Pakistan, but allegedly provided premises for planning the attacks and making explosives.

He is said to have learned about explosives and detonators and was allegedly involved in the purchase of components and chemicals and in making a home made explosive device.

He too allegedly tried to recruit others for training and terrorism and stated that he wanted to be a suicide bomber.
Four men arrested over Birmingham 'suicide plot'
Duncan Gardham, The Telegraph, November 15, 2011

Nigeria: Islamic scholar jailed for attempting to sell an 11-year-old boy[edit]

A self acclaimed Islamic scholar, Adamu Alkali of Paiko in Pakoro local government area of Niger State, has been arraigned before a Minna Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly attempting to sell an 11-year-old boy, Usman Abubakar to some unknown buyers.

The prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Mustapha, told the court that Alkali connived with two commercial motorcyclists (okada riders) Haruna Idris and Baba Sha’aba, all of Lapai local government area of the state to abduct Usman, who they took to a hotel in Chanchanga, a suburb of Minna the state capital.

The prosecutor said they offered the boy for various amounts before they settled for ₦26 million, following which they brought the boy to the hotel to seal the deal but unknown to them, the prospective buyers were operatives of the State Security Service, who had trailed them to the hotel on a tip-off.

He said they agreed to collect the agreed amount in cash from the buyers and were arrested in the process.

Mr Mustapha said the alleged offence was contrary to section 79 and 273 of the Penal Code.

Mr Alkali admitted to committing the offence and pleaded for leniency, after the First Information Report (FIR) was read to them by the chief magistrate, Hassan Mohammed.

The chief magistrate, who tried him summarily, described Alkali as “fake and foolish,” insisting that he was one of those that assemble children under the disguise of teaching them Quran, while actually selling them for rituals.

He sentenced the scholar and his accomplices to 12 strokes of the cane in the court premises and four years imprisonment, without option of a fine.

Australia: Judge rejects request to have custody battle fought out under Shari'ah Law[edit]

A mother's request to have her son returned to the United Arab Emirates to have a custody battle over the child fought out under Sharia Law has been rejected by an Australian judge.

Judge Michael Kent ruled the custody battle between the British mother and the eight-year-old's Australian father should be played out in the Australian court system because Sharia Law would not take into account what Australian family law regards as "the child's best interests".

According to expert advice provided to the Family Court of Brisbane the mother would be automatically granted custody of the child under Sharia Law, which presumes children under 11 years should live with their mother and all boys 11 years or older should live with their father.

The mother brought the case to the attention of the Family Court in June this year after the father, who separated from his wife in December last year, sent the child to Australia without the mother's knowledge.

According to court documents published last week, the boy has since begun to live permanently in Australia.

Judge Kent agreed the boy's separation from his mother and half-brother in the UAE would be "psychologically disturbing" for the eight-year-old.

But he was not convinced of the boy's ties to the UAE.

The court heard the boy's parents moved to the UAE 11 years ago to start a business in the country before the boy was born there in 2003.

Although he was raised in the country, Judge Kent said the UAE would not be regarded as boy's native land because neither of his parents, or the boy himself, held citizenship in the nation.

In deciding whether the case should be played out under Sharia Law, Judge Kent said Islam was not the religion, language or culture of the boy or his parents who all spoke English and were from Anglo Saxon backgrounds.

In ruling on what would be in the best interests of the child he indicated the boy had not been "divorced from social customs or language he had become accustomed to" in moving to Australia, as he was attending a school in Sydney which applied a similar curriculum to the English speaking school he went to in the UAE.

Before refusing the mother's application, Judge Kent said the removal of a child "on an international scale" was "abhorrent."

"It should neither be encouraged nor condoned, and such actions have the potential to cause a great deal of distress to all parties involved, not least the child or children at the centre of the dispute," he said.

Judge Kent said his decision to deny the return of the child to the UAE would have been different if "by birth and citizenship, choice of law, or adherence to the Islamic faith, the parents had chosen such a system of law for themselves and [the boy]".

The custody case is expected to be heard in the Family Court again on November 29.
Judge rejects Sharia push
Dan Nancarrow, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 14, 2011

Pakistan: Donkey cart bombing kills six and injures eight others[edit]

Six people died when a driverless donkey cart, laden with explosives, ran into a market area of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency.

Eight others sustained injuries while the donkey also died in the attack.

Bara Assistant Political Agent Rehan Gul Khattak told The Express Tribune that the explosion was very powerful and six people died on the spot. He said that five of the injured were taken to hospitals in Peshawar after a six-hour-long journey but their condition is said to be out of danger.

No group has yet accepted responsibility for the attack.

The political administration confirmed the incident and said that the victims did not belong to any organisation or group. They were either shopkeepers or customers.

In another incident in the same area, seven people, including five children and a woman, died when a mortar shell fell in Dari Shagga village during an ongoing clash between Lashkar-i-Islam and Zakhakhel Peace Lashkar. Four others were injured.

Meanwhile, security forces continued their operation against Lashkar-i-Islam in Bara. The houses of two commanders Mian Syed and Syed Alam were bombed and three suspects were arrested during a search operation.

For the past four years, the far-flung Tirah valley of Khyber Agency has been a battleground between militant groups Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansar-e-Islam. Thousands of people have died or been injured in the hostility in this mountainous region which is inaccessible even for the Pakistan Army.
Market attack: Donkey cart bombing kills 6 in Khyber Agency
Amirzada Afridi, The Express Tribune, November 13, 2011

Saudi Arabia: African sentenced to 8 months in jail & 300 lashes for practicing black magic during hajj[edit]

A Makkah judge has sentenced an African man to eight months in prison and 300 lashes for practicing black magic near the Jamarat area in Mina on the third day of Haj.

Policemen in the field arrested the 30 year old man after they observed him acting suspiciously.

When they searched him they found many pieces of paper with black magic symbols, in addition to talismans written on his body. The man subsequently confessed to his alleged crimes.

The man had previously been deported from Saudi Arabia but he had managed to come back to perform Haj this year. He will be once again deported after serving his sentence.
300 lashes for practicing black magic
Arab News, November 13, 2011

“Out-of-touch” EU damned by words of praise from Kabul rapist[edit]

A convicted Afghan rapist has thanked the EU for censoring a documentary about his crime

Assadullah Sher Mohammad, who is serving 12 years in Kabul's notorious Pul-e Charkhi jail for raping and making pregnant a 19-year-old relative, said the EU "had done a good thing". Yet his endorsement, first delivered when The Times visited him in jail two months ago and reiterated by his brother yesterday, has highlighted the EU's growing isolation.

Yesterday, women's activists, rights groups and the UN all sided with the principle of free speech and the victim's right to be heard. Georgette Gagnon, the head of the UN's human rights team in Afghanistan, said: "More exposure to these issues is one of the most effective ways to end such abuses and ensure that women get more protection."Free trial

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, one of the country's oldest women's rights groups, accused the EU of "treason against Afghan women". Human Rights Watch said their ordeal was "grotesque".

The Times revealed yesterday that the EU had commissioned a film about women's rights, but had decided to block its broadcast days before it was due to be screened citing "very real concerns about the women's safety".

The film, In-Justice, follows two women jailed for moral crimes, and exposes the bias against women in Afghanistan's justice system. Gulnaz, who gave birth to Mohammad's baby on the floor of her jail cell, was sentenced to 12 years for adultery after she reported her ordeal to the police.

Although she never expected the film would win her freedom, she told the director Clementine Malpas she hoped it might save other women from a similar fate. "When everybody sees this it will be a lesson for them, and these things won't happen in Afghanistan," Gulnaz said.

Zoe Leffler, an EU attache in Kabul, told filmmakers the delegation had to "consider its relations with (Afghanistan's) justice institutions".

A spokeswoman for the RAWA, Reena Haris, said: "This is not the first time that the EU and other so-called champions of human rights have prioritised their support for warlords and mafia drug-lords seated in ministries ... instead of voicing our ill-fated people's pains."

Gulnaz said she was resigned to marrying her rapist, because it was her only way of getting out of jail and she did not want her daughter to grow up without a father.

Mohammad Agha, the rapist's brother, said her story was a lie, warning that he would "never forgive her" even if the pair married.
“Out-of-touch” EU damned by words of praise from Kabul rapist
Jerome Starkey, The Times, November 12, 2011

Saudi Arabia: Man takes injured road accident victim to his home and rapes her[edit]

Saudi police seized a local man who raped a girl after she suffered from injuries during a road accident in the Gulf kingdom, press reports said on Sunday.

The man, in his 30s, confessed to police that he had taken the 23-year-old girl to his house instead of hospital and raped her before she managed to run away and inform the police, 'Sabq' Arabic language daily said.

“The man was arrested less than two hours after the incident….the girl was in a taxi cab at the time of the accident,” police spokesman Lt Nawaf Al-Bouq said.

“She got out of the taxi after sustained light injuries and stood on the road waiting for the ambulance…this man came and offered her a lift.”

Passersby who had gathered at the accident site on a key road in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah had helped the man put the injured woman in his car, thinking he would rush her to hospital as she was bleeding.

“On the way, the man told the woman he would first take her to his house so his wife would clean her up before going to hospital,” 'Sabq' said, quoting the woman as telling police after the rape. “When they were inside his house, there was no one there. He then raped her.”

Islamic Sudan bombs South Sudanese refugee camp, at least 12 people killed and 20 wounded[edit]

South Sudanese officials have condemned Sudan after an aerial bombardment of a refugee camp in their territory.

The BBC's James Copnall was at the Yida camp in oil-rich Unity State, which borders Sudan, when it was bombed.

Local official Miabek Lang said at least 12 people had been killed and 20 wounded.

The Sudanese military, which has been fighting rebels in areas near South Sudan, has denied the claims.

Our reporter says he arrived at the camp at about 12:00 GMT on Thursday as a second round of bombs hit.

He says that just as a UN helicopter, carrying food aid, settled on to a makeshift landing zone at the camp, there was a deep and terrifying thud of a nearby explosion.

A large plane was spotted heading to the north, our reporter says.

Several residents of the refugee camp told him it was an Antonov plane, often used by the Sudanese government as a makeshift bomber.

The refugees said the plane had circled before launching two bombing raids.

Five bombs were dropped, of which four exploded, they told our correspondent.

Our reporter says he did not see any casualties, but Mr Lang, the commissioner of Pariang county in Unity state, said that 12 people had been killed and the death toll could rise.

Saudi Arabia: Nigerian hajj pilgrims get 30-day ultimatum to leave[edit]

Nigeria has until December 10 to move all its pilgrims out of Saudi Arabia. Already, pilgrims have been scheduled to start their homeward journey back to Nigeria today.

THISDAY checks indicate that the ultimatum was issued by Saudi authorities in order to avoid past situations where pilgrims were left stranded in the Holy Land two months after the completion of the annual Hajj exercise.

Similarly, 22 Nigerian pilgrims lost their lives during this year's hajj, the National Hajj Commi-ssion of Nigeria (NAHCON) has confirmed. Speaking to THISDAY in Mecca, spokesman of the commission, Uba Mana, said the deceased pilgrims had all been identified and the necessary documentation made ahead of the return trip of the other pilgrims back to Nigeria.

The number of death cut across 16 states of the federation, with Kaduna losing three pilgrims. One of the pilgrims, a woman from Nasarawa State was hit by a car in Madina, while another male, from Makarfi local government area of Kaduna State died after he fell while trekking from Mount Arafat to the transit camp of Muzdalifa.
Nigerian Pilgrims Get 30-day Ultimatum
THISDAY Live, November 11, 2011

Bosnia jails 3 Muslims for planning terror attacks against Christian Serbs and Croats[edit]

Bosnia's state court jailed three radical Islamists on Thursday for up to 4-1/2 years for planning attacks on non-Muslim targets, including European Union peacekeepers, in the Balkan country in 2007-08.

The trio, led by Rijad Rustempasic, was found guilty on terrorism charges for forming an organized group that planned attacks against Bosnia's Christian Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats during their religious holidays, the verdict said.

They had also planned to target members of the EU peacekeeping force, EUFOR, in central Bosnia, said court council president Mirsad Strikan.

"They acted from positions of ethnic and religious extremism, maintaining that Bosnia needs to be organized as a sharia (Islamic law) state," Strikan said.

"They acted to ... spread fear among the population and undermine Bosnia-Herzegovina's constitutional and political structure and inflict serious damage to the state and international organisations."

The verdict came almost two weeks after an Islamist gunman fired the U.S. embassy in the capital Sarajevo, rattling Bosnia's overwhelmingly moderate Muslim community and raising fresh questions over the threat of radical Islam in the Balkans.

A police sniper shot the gunman, a 23-year-old Muslim from neighboring Serbia, in the leg and he was arrested.

In Thursday's case, group leader Rustemovic was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison. His co-accused were jailed for 3 years and four months.

Police found a large cache of automatic weapons, explosives and bombs in their possession, as well as videos showing terrorist attacks committed by Islamist extremists across the world and instructions on how to prepare attacks.

Some young Bosnian Muslims, particularly those from impoverished rural areas, have turned to the strict Wahhabi branch of Islam in recent years, under the influence of foreigners who fought in the 1992-95 war.

Six radical Islamist are currently on trial over a bomb attack last year on a police station in central Bosnia, in which one policeman was killed and several others were wounded.

US commission: Pakistani schools foster hatred against Hindus and other religious minorities[edit]

Text books in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and other religious minorities, while most teachers view non-Muslims as "enemies of Islam," according to a study by a U.S. government commission released Wednesday.

The findings indicate how deeply ingrained hardline Islam is in Pakistan and help explain why militancy is often supported, tolerated or excused in the country.

"Teaching discrimination increases the likelihood that violent religious extremism in Pakistan will continue to grow, weakening religious freedom, national and regional stability, and global security," said Leonard Leo, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Pakistan was created in 1947 as a homeland for the Muslims of South Asia and was initially envisaged as a moderate state where minorities would have full rights. But three wars with mostly Hindu India; state support for militants fighting Soviet-rule in Afghanistan in the 1980s; and the appeasement of hardline clerics by weak governments seeking legitimacy have led to a steady radicalization of society.

Religious minorities and those brave enough to speak out against intolerance have often been killed, seemingly with impunity, by militant sympathizers. The commission warned that any significant efforts to combat religious discrimination, especially in education, would "likely face strong opposition" from hardliners.

The study reviewed more than 100 textbooks from grades 1-10 from Pakistan's four provinces. Researchers in February this year visited 37 public schools, interviewing 277 students and teachers, and 19 madrases, where they interviewed 226 students and teachers.

The Islamization of textbooks began under the U.S.-backed rule of army dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who courted Islamists to support his rule. In 2006, the government announced plans to reform the curriculum to address the problematic content, but that has not been done, the study said.

Pakistan's Islamist and right-wing polity would likely oppose any efforts to change the curriculum, and the government has shown no desire to challenge them on the issue.

The report found systematic negative portrayals of minorities, especially Hindus and, to a lesser extent, Christians. Hindus make up more than 1 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people, while Christians represent around 2 percent. Some estimates put the numbers higher.

There are also even smaller populations of Sikhs and Buddhists.

"Religious minorities are often portrayed as inferior or second-class citizens who have been granted limited rights and privileges by generous Pakistani Muslims, for which they should be grateful," the report said. "Hindus are repeatedly described as extremists and eternal enemies of Islam whose culture and society is based on injustice and cruelty, while Islam delivers a message of peace and brotherhood, concepts portrayed as alien to the Hindu."

The books don't contain many specific references to Christians, but those that "that do exist seem generally negative, painting an incomplete picture of the largest religious minority in Pakistan," the report said.

Attempts to reach Pakistan's education minister were not successful.

The textbooks make very little reference to the role played by Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in the cultural, military and civic life of Pakistan, meaning a "a young minority student will thus not find many examples of educated religious minorities in their own textbooks," the report said.

"In most cases historic revisionism seems designed to exonerate or glorify Islamic civilization, or to denigrate the civilizations of religious minorities," the report said. "Basic changes to the texts would be needed to present a history free of false or unsubstantiated claims which convey religious bias."

The researchers also found that the books foster a sense that Pakistan's Islamic identity is under constant threat.

"The anti-Islamic forces are always trying to finish the Islamic domination of the world," read one passage from a social studies text being taught to Grade 4 students in Punjab province, the country's most populated. "This can cause danger for the very existence of Islam. Today, the defense of Pakistan and Islam is very much in need."

The report states that Islamic teachings and references were commonplace in compulsory text books, not just religious ones, meaning Pakistan's Christians, Hindus and other minorities were being taught Islamic content. It said this appeared to violate Pakistan's constitution, which states that students should not have to receive instruction in a religion other than their own.

The attitudes of the teachers no doubt reflect the general intolerance in Pakistan – a 2011 Pew Research Center study found the country the third most intolerant in the world – but because of the influence they have, they are especially worrisome.

Their views were frequently nuanced and sometimes contradictory, according to the study. While many advocated respectful treatment of religious minorities, this was conditional upon the attitudes of the minorities, "which appeared to be in question," the report said. The desire to proselytize was cited as one of the main motivations for kind treatment.

According to the study, more than half the public school teachers acknowledged the citizenship of religious minorities, but a majority expressed the opinion that religious minorities must not be allowed to hold positions of power, in order to protect Pakistan and Muslims. While many expressed the importance of respecting the practices of religious minorities, simultaneously 80 percent of teachers viewed non-Muslims, in some form or another, as "enemies of Islam."
US commission: Pakistan schools teach Hindu hatred
Christopher Brummitt, Associated Press, November 9, 2011

Saudi Arabia: Contaminated food and unhygienic conditions leads to disease in Kaduna hajj camp[edit]

Many pilgrims in Kaduna State's hajj camp at Mina in Saudi Arabia woke up yesterday with sickness symptoms suspected to be gastro-enteritis. At least 150 pilgrims fell victims of the disease, Daily Trust learnt.

Reports gathered by Daily Trust indicate that the outbreak of the disease was connected with consumption of contaminated food and some dirty toilets at the camp. A team of doctors was said to be working hard to bring the situation under control.

Speaking to our correspondent on phone yesterday, a pilgrim from Jama'a local government of the state and a chieftain of the PDP in Kaduna State, Comrade Sunusi Maikudi said the outbreak occurred at the women's wing of the state's Mina camp.

He said, "It is true that we have experienced an outbreak of cholera this morning. It was at the women wing of the Kaduna State Camp in Mina. We are suspecting that the cholera outbreak may not be unconnected with the attitude of some of our pilgrims especially those from the rural areas who are not familiar with how to use the water system toilets.

"Another reason is the eating habit of some of our pilgrims. Some pilgrims eat contaminated food. They eat the leftover of their supper in the morning. This and so many other reasons were the causes of the outbreak. For now, the situation was brought under control by the team of our medical personnel who are here with us in Saudi Arabia."

As shown in this photo sent to Daily Trust from a pilgrim at Mina, the environment where food is prepared and sold is sometimes surrounded by garbage. He also says most pilgrims from Africa and non-Arabs countries litter their surroundings with can of soft drinks, nylon, bottles of water, left -over food etc. Photo: Attahir Abubakar, Mina, KSA

When contacted, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, the head of the Federal Medical Team confirmed the story, saying "About 100 Nigerian pilgrims developed gastroenteritis in the Kaduna State tent at the Muna plain in Saudi Arabia. No death was recorded. All have been treated by staff of the Federal Medical team. All the patients have been discharged and are now back to Makka. We are working with the epidemiology department of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health to take samples of stool from the victims as well as samples of ingested food for laboratory analysis in order to ascertain the causative organism.

"Meanwhile, prophylactic antibiotics have been given to all pilgrims that were around the tent and contact tracing has been carried out by my surveillance team. We suspect the pilgrims may have eaten contaminated food from illegal food vendors instead of meal prepared by the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON)."
Cholera Ravages Kaduna Hajj Camp
Isa Sa'idu, Daily Trust, November 9, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood Eid sermon: Secular Egyptians are agents of Jews, crusaders and colonialism[edit]

Three weeks ahead of parliamentary vote in Egypt, the MB and Islamists, no longer hindered by Mubarak repression, mobilise supporters at Eid celebrations using verses from the Quran, flags, children's toys and visits to the dead

Millions of Egyptian Muslims honoured one of the most important religious duty of the year, morning prayers to celebrate El-Adha Eid, in mosques and public squares around the country early Sunday morning.

This marked the first El-Adha Eid celebration after the outbreak of the January 25 revolution and the ousting of Hosni Mubarak from power.
. . .
While Mubarak lays confined on a hospital bed awaiting the completion of his trial for murder and corruption, and while the police force still tries to recover from the powerful beating it received at the hands of Egyptians during last January’s uprising, it is the Muslim Brotherhood, and to a lesser degree their cousins the Salafists, who have set the tempo both for the Eid celebrations, as well as the vote.

The Brotherhood have spent the last few months mobilising their half-million plus members for intense electoral campaigns up and down the Nile river, which the group hopes will deliver it 40 per cent of the seats in the next Parliament.

They have been wooing voters not only with their trademark slogan of "Islam is the solution", but also with the tangibles of meat and vegetables that they sell to poor Egyptians at half the market prices.

Brotherhood community stands and mobile vendor units offer impoverished and underfed shoppers a kilogram of meat -- that sells for LE70 at a regular butcher -- for prices as low as LE30.

In the run up to Eid poor Egyptians typically expect the rich to donate alms in the form of slaughtered sheep and cows, allowing them to eat meat at least in one of the four days of the holiday. Whereas last year Mubarak’s rich NDP candidates took the responsibility of feeding the poor on the first day of Eid, the Brotherhood and Islamists have taken this task upon themselves in this year's festivities, flooding some neighbourhoods with the rare source of protein in order to demonstrate a commitment to alleviating poverty.

In the months since the fall of Mubarak, Brotherhood-friendly preachers have made their way back into some strategic mosques that the SSI kept them out for years, such as Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in Mohandessin in Cairo, using the podiums to recruit new converts and give confidence to hard-core supporters.

Ahram Online reporters wanted to take a first hand look at how the Islamists, especially the Brotherhood, might operate on the ground on the morning of Eid, so we went to a mass prayer sponsored by the group in one of Cairo’s lower middle class neighbourhoods, Abbassiya.

As the sun rose Sunday morning, thousands of men, women and children made their way on foot and by car to attend prayer service held outdoors along an avenue running adjacent to the Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams University, one of several events the Brotherhood organised in this part of central Cairo.

The group had partnered with the missionary organisation Al Jamiyya Al-Shariya in hosting the prayers and advertised the event through large banners that carried the names of the Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party, its political wing in the elections. These hung at key hard-to-miss intersections in the neighbourhood days ahead of Eid.

Despite the considerable presence of the Brotherhood in the area over the years, Abbassiya has never been one of its strongest branches in the capital city.

Brotherhood volunteers, however, seemed to be well prepared for the challenge.

Dozens of organisers welcomed the worshippers by distributing hundreds of flags bearing the colours of the Egyptian flag on one side and the logo of the Brotherhood and their party on the other. For children coming with their parents, they gave out bags of toys.

Worshippers found the street’s pavement where the prayers were to take place covered with massive rugs that the local Brotherhood organisation rented from companies that provide services for weddings and funerals.

Female organisers directed women and young girls, who clearly outnumbered males attending the prayers, into a big school yard off the main prayer venue, where a tall concrete fence separated them from the men.

The Imam who delivered the Eid prayers’ sermon meticulously and eloquently pushed the Brotherhood’s worldview and campaign slogans over the course of his twenty-minute speech, while refraining from using the word "elections" in order to shield the Brotherhood from any criticism of using a universal religious holiday for electioneering.

The Imam chose the prophet Mohamed’s farewell speech to Muslims months before he died as a topic of his sermon.

The farewell speech was a clever choice by the preacher, who might have wanted to give a pitch for the Brotherhood’s campaign platform; many theologians and historians consider this particular sermon to comprise the essential guidelines for politically managing a state according to the principles of Islam.

The Imam reminded worshippers that the prophet laid out concrete barometers on how to conduct business in the social, political and economic realms in his final speech.

“The prophet taught us that respecting the sanctity of human life and private property must be the foundation of any society that abides by the Islamic faith.

“In the world of economics, the prophet made it clear that interest rates that lenders charge are the source of all evil in society and that any government that respects the Islamic religion must therefore abolish them.

“Society cannot function properly," he continued, "without a strong nuclear family which guarantees that individuals are raised properly on a sound Islamic basis.”

The Imam reminded worshippers that they must strive to build a strong Islamic "system" in Egypt and around the world in order for Muslims to be able to combat what he described at the West’s concerted war against the prophet’s creed.

He also accused Egyptians who hold on to secular ideas of government of being agents of Jews, Christian crusaders and western colonialism.

“The colonial powers might have packed and gone home but they left us with a fifth column made up of dictators who speak our tongue and eat the same type of food we eat but serve the wicked interests of foreign disbelievers.”

The massive banner behind the speaker seemed to fit appropriately with his anti-western rhetoric: Next Eid, we will pray in Jerusalem.

Worshippers remained solemn for the most part during the sermon.

As people headed home to eat meat at the end of the prayers they were met by replenished stocks of flags and toys. In less than five minutes, the crowd had finished off the volunteers’ supply of treats.

A lone supporter of the liberal Wafd Party stood giving out stickers for the party’s candidate in the area. The crowd walked off with Brotherhood flags and Wafd paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, an elderly NDP supporter left the event in frustration at the change in his party's fortunes, and the rise of the MB.

“The Brotherhood distributed meat to some people in the area," the NDP man said. "But they did not cover all the poor people in the hood. We in the NDP might not have been able to feed people regularly or properly, but at least we made sure that everyone had meat on the first day of Eid.”

Nationally, the Brotherhood and the other Salafists seemed to have used the Eid prayers to push, whether directly or indirectly, their campaign goals.

In Tanta City, in the governorate of El-Gharbiya in the western Nile Delta, the Brotherhood’s candidates attended prayers in the city’s football stadium with thousands of worshippers and managed to steal the show.

In the same governorate, Salafist volunteers hit not only the big cities such as Tanta and Mahallah, but walked through small villages distributing campaign propaganda.

In fact, Salafists, in their rush to find voters, broke one of the rules that constitute a defining part of their moral code of ethics – discouraging common people from spending too much time weeping over the graves of the dead - by campaigning at entrances to cemeteries which are usually loaded with visitors on the first day of this Muslim holiday.

Like the Brotherhood, Salafists volunteers from parties such as Nour also distributed flags with the names of their parties to potential voters, as well as toys and baloons to children.

US: CAIR claims two anti-extremist Muslim-Somali leaders are anti-Muslim[edit]

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is blasting two high-profile leaders in the metro Somali community as anti-Muslim ahead of a conference with police departments to discuss Somali culture -- and the public spat is testing the limits of tolerance.

The controversial claim comes from a group that is no stranger to controversy itself, and the conflict centers over who speaks for the local Somali community, which is a complicated mesh of 15 separate groups with deep cultural and religious divides.

"I'm not anti-Muslim," said Omar Jamal. "I'm anti-Islamic terrorism."

Omar Jamal and Abdi Bihi were the first to blow the whistle on the effort to recruit Minnesotan Somalis for terrorism in Somalia. Three of the young men who disappeared from Minneapolis would later become suicide bombers in Kenya and Somalia for the terror group al-Shabaab.

That stance earned them a seat on CAIR's bad side, and the group recently sent a letter attacking both men's education and experience while asking local police departments to boycott a Thursday conference where the two will be keynote speakers.

"These individuals, who have no credibility in the Somali community, are going to be educating law enforcement," the letter read in part.

Yet, both men have been consulted by government leaders in the past. Jamal is now a United Nations representative of the Somali government. Jamal has also spoken before the National Press Club and has been sought after as a spokesman for the Somali community.

Bihi testified before Congress after his nephew was recruited by al-Shabaab and later died in Somalia, and was featured in a glowing profile by the Washington Post.

In an effort to appease CAIR, former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher -- who organized the event -- said he invited the group to speak at the conference as well, but they declined.

"They refused and said they would not share the stage with Mr. Bihi and Mr. Jamal," Fletcher said. "I said, 'Well, that's what America is. Sharing the stage, sharing of ideas.'"

In a way, that invitation in light of the controversy is ironic because up until a few years ago, the FBI wouldn't even have contact with CAIR because it was considered by some to be a front for Hamas -- and in regards to the radicalization of young Minnesota men, the group's has never taken a public stance.

Fletcher said CAIR is still welcome at the conference, and will save seats for the group.

"It's amazing that a group that preaches tolerance would be so intolerant of others -- especially about a conference that hasn't happened," Fletcher said.

It's also worth noting that there is not a single Somali man or woman on CAIR's board, but they still are trying to speak for the community -- and influence who else can.

CAIR spokesperson Munazza Humayun told FOX 9 News not a single Minnesota CAIR board member is Somali, although the board is currently considering a Somali member. But subsequently, CAIR President Lori Saroya later called FOX 9 to dispute that, but offered no specifics.

The letter sent to law enforcement agencies was signed by several other groups that deal more directly with the Somali community, including a couple of local mosques.

Qatar: More than 1,300 people hospitalized and 1 dead for over eating over Eid Al Adha[edit]

More than 1,300 people needed treatment at a Qatari hospital after suffering from stomach upsets caused by excessive eating on the first two days of Eid Al Adha, the feast of the Sacrifice.

Qatari media said that the emergency unit of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) on Sunday, the first day of Eid, treated more than 550 patients with most of them complaining of severe stomach upsets, including colitis and diarrhoea.

The turnout of patients at the emergency unit on Monday was a record 767 between 6am and 6pm, and again, most of the cases involved stomach and related ailments, some of them being quite severe, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Tuesday.

Doctors said the excessive eating of fat mutton and the tendency to eat fast cause indigestion and stomach upsets.

People began pouring into the emergency unit from early Sunday afternoon with most of them complaining of stomach ailments and their number rose significantly on Monday.

On Sunday, the cardiac care division at the emergency unit treated seven cases until 6pm and one of the patients died, the daily said.

On Monday, the number of cases involving heart problems increased and 31 patients complained of chest pain but none of them died.

U.S. government will not oppose Islamist political parties emerging from the "Arab Spring"[edit]

The U.S. government will not oppose Islamic political parties that have quickly become leading players in the emerging democracies of the Arab Spring, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late on Monday, asserting that Islam and democracy could be compatible.

“Not all Islamists are alike. Turkey and Iran are both governed by parties with religious roots, but their models and behavior are radically different. There are plenty of political parties with religious affiliations -- Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim-- that respect the rules of democratic politics,” Clinton told a conference at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington.

“The suggestion that faithful Muslims cannot thrive in a democracy is insulting, dangerous, and wrong,” she said, putting an end to months of policy debate about how America should relate to the movements that have captured broad popular support in countries like Tunisia and Egypt but many fear threaten Western interests and oppose democratic and liberal values.

The Arab Spring has toppled regional dictators long seen by Washington as the foundation for political stability in the Middle East. While the U.S. has generally supported change, the democracy that is supposed to take their place is fraught with risk in societies with little experience in democracy and in many cases imploding economies.

While no democratically elected government has yet been put in place, elections for a constituent assembly in Tunisia last month left the moderately Islamic Ennahda Party with by far the most votes. Egypt is scheduled to hold the first of it a series of elections November 28 amid signs that voters will give it an Ennahda-sized triumph.

A September survey of 2,400 voters by the Egyptian Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies found that among the 62% who had made a decision, 39% said they would support the Muslim Brother’s Freedom and Justice. Another 6.8% back Al-Nour, a party that espouses Salafist views that seek to restore Islam to its original purity, often through violence.

In Libya, power inside the National Transitional Council is weighted toward militia leaders and others with Islamic tendencies while in Syria an eight-month-old rebellion has taken on a sectarian color, although rebels are not showing any signs of being able to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.

Voters, diplomats and scholars are debating the extent to which the vast array of Islamic factions in the Arab world are truly committed to democracy – or simply regard it as a tool for acquiring power that was deprived them when despots like Egypt’s Husni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali were in power.

Jonathan Brown, an assistant professor of Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Understanding, at Georgetown University , told a conference last month in Washington that even Salafi movements have embraced the broad idea of a “civil state.” He said the loose organization of the movement allowed a variety of views, some of them extreme, that gave it a more notorious reputation than it deserved.

“It’s important to note that the main Salafi parties and the most influential Salafi scholars in Egypt and preachers have come out and embraced the idea of the civil Islamic state which basically all the Islamist groups are promoting – the idea of a civil state that has some – is informed or influenced by Islamic values.”

But Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center in Herzilya, said the Islamic parties are only using the region’s fledging democratic systems to seize power, not because they accept democracy as a value.

“Of course, it is tactical and of course they aren't committed to democracy. Nothing could be more obvious to anyone who studies their statements, goals, and positions,” he told The Media Line is an e-mailed interview. He dismissed Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, which has ruled since 2002 and is regarded by many as a model for the Middle East’s Islamic movements.

“The Turkish model is headed toward Islamization of society, dictatorship, and anti-Western policies,” Rubin said.
U.S. Won’t Oppose Islamic Parties
David Rosenberg, The Media Line, November 8, 2011

Saudi Religious Affairs Ministry: 143 hajj pilgrims dead so far this year[edit]

The Religious Affairs Ministry said Tuesday that 143 hajj pilgrims have passed away during this year's pilgrimage.

The same data has also reveals that among these, 99 were men and 44 women.

The pilgrims who passed away were from major cities such as Surabaya, Surakarta, several cities in West Java, Jakarta, Medan, Makassar and Batam, kompas.com reported.

Ailments related to circulation were at the top of the list of causes of death, accounting for 108 of the deaths, followed by respiratory ailments which claimed 25, while poor nutrition took four lives.
143 hajj pilgrims dead so far this year: Govt
Jakarta Post, November 8, 2011

Ghana: Muslims urged to stop boozing and discriminating against their fellow Christians[edit]

Imam Abass Harare, Zenu-Ashaiman Community Imam, has called on Muslims, especially the youth to desist from consuming alcohol and allow the lessons of Ramadan to reflect in their daily lives.

He noted that some Muslims in Ashaiman and across the country are alarmingly engaged in the drinking of alcohol beverages and hooliganism, noting that activities such as Sallas dance, pool and street parties, booze-up, riding competition, which are un-Islamic, should be avoided.

Imam Abass urged Muslims to unite and preach peace for the progress of the country, adding that it is the responsibility of every Muslim to lead exemplary life in order to convert more people to Islam.

The Imam made this known during this year's Eid Al-Adha prayers at Chief Bello's International school premise at New York, an Ashaiman suburb where over 400 Muslims observed the Eid prayers.

He admonished the youth to contribute their quota to the development of the country.

Imam Harare mentioned that the Eid al- Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice,' which is one of the biggest event on the Islamic calendar that depicts Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his own son for God, should be used to unite the people.

According to him, the Eid al-Aha coincides with the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, the birth place of Islam.

The Imam prayed for the President and his ministers, as well as those involved in sustaining and ensuring peace in the country.

Chief Mohammed Bello, Zenu-Ashaiman Community Chief called on youth of the area and Northern Ghana to stop fighting among themselves, since according to him, Islam is peace.

He appealed to Muslim youth to desist from discriminating against their fellow Christians and ensure peace.
Muslims Urged To Stop Boozing
Vincent Kubi, Modern Ghana, November 7, 2011

India: fatwa issued against celebrating birthdays, a "tradition of western countries"[edit]

Darul Uloom Deoband has advised Muslims against celebrating birthdays, contending in a fatwa that Islam does not permit such a practice which is a "tradition of western countries".

Responding to a query of an AMU student, Darul Uloom said that Islam does not permit such celebrations as they are against the Shariat law.

The query was made in reference to the birthday celebration of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University.

"Muslims should not follow the tradition of western culture of celebrating birthdays as it against the Shariat law," vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Abul Kasim Naumani said on Sunday. Naumani added that even the Islamic seminary does not celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed.
Birthday bashes against sharia: Darul Uloom Deoband
The Times of India, November 7, 2011

230 pilgrims’ dream dashed by bogus Saudi Hajj firm[edit]

More than 230 pilgrims were shocked to discover a Haj office in Riyadh they paid to take them for the pilgrimage was bogus.

The dreams of the pilgrims, who were mostly of Asian origin, evaporated when the bus that was supposed to transport them to Makkah did not come and officials of the office disappeared without a trace.

Speaking to a local daily, Mutib Al-Shammari said he paid SR2,800 to the office for his maid to perform Haj.

The office was located in Al-Batha neighborhood. The office asked the pilgrims to show up on Thursday to start their journey to Makkah.

Al-Shammari said he was shocked when he saw more than 230 people waiting in front of the office. Police were present at the scene. “I learned from police that only 62 people had permits to perform Haj and that the office did not have any means of transportation to transfer them to Makkah,” he said.

Police arrested one man who was working in the office while two others are still at large, one from Indonesia and the other from Syria.

Another Saudi, Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, said he paid a similar amount for his maid to perform Haj only to discover the office was bogus. He said the only thing he could do was file a complaint.

He said his maid was brokenhearted because she missed the chance to perform Haj this year. “The Indonesian man working in the office is known for 18 years and specialized in assisting Indonesian pilgrims. I never thought that this would happen,” said Al-Ghamdi.

Minister of Haj Fouad Al-Farsy announced at a press conference days before the pilgrimage started that his ministry had launched a low cost Haj program in cooperation with 21 companies and institutions to provide services for domestic pilgrims.

The package cost between SR1,900 and SR3,900 per pilgrim. The ministry listed the names of the companies participating in the program on the Internet so people would register with them and not fall victim to illegal Haj campaign offices.

Undersecretary of the Makkah governorate Abdul Aziz Al-Khudairy said illegal Haj campaign offices were committing a terrible crime. He said these pilgrims would end up squatting in holy sites because they have no accommodation and this would lead to more problems. He said that pilgrims should verify first whether the Haj campaign office is legal and licensed before they sign up with them. He said that this can be easily checked through the Haj Ministry website.

UK: Man, 61, jailed for 'campaign of rape' against young girl[edit]

SEX offender Mohammed Eagle has been jailed for 16 years after repeatedly raping and indecently assaulting a young girl in a series of "grave and appalling" offences.

He caused her "humiliation and degradation" and forced her to commit sex acts with him, a court heard.

Eagle, 61, formerly of Milton Road, Grimsby, denied nine offences, including five of rape and four of indecent assault against the same victim. He was convicted by a jury after a trial at Grimsby Crown Court.

Judge Kate Buckingham told Eagle at a resumed hearing before Hull Crown Court: "You do not accept responsibility for the offences and consequently you show no remorse. Your current stance of complete denial does not bode well for your treatment. This was grave and appalling offending."

Eagle had "silenced" the girl by "warnings and pressure" and took advantage of her.

"The abuse has had a significant effect on her," said Judge Buckingham. "The effect of your offending on her has been very damaging."

Eagle, recently living in Bradford before being remanded in custody for 27 days, was given an indefinite sexual offences prevention order and was told to register as a sex offender indefinitely.

Nicholas Clarke, mitigating, said there had been a "campaign of rape" against the girl and the offences had affected the victim psychologically.

No violence, threats or particular pressure were used and the girl could now have some closure, said Mr Clarke.

Eagle was convicted after a second trial. A previous jury had been discharged in March after failing to reach verdicts. He had a previous conviction in 1978 for having unlawful sex with a 14-year-old girl and had been jailed for 18 months.

Indonesia: Religious Affairs Ministry Staff Arrested for Hajj Fraud[edit]

Police in Banten have arrested three officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs who allegedly took money from Muslims hoping to perform the hajj pilgrimage this year.

Rangkas Bitung Police Chief Adj. Comr. Mohamad Mujib told Antara on Saturday that dozens of people had paid the officials as much as Rp 50 million ($5,600) each.

When the outraged victims failed to depart Indonesia as promised on Oct. 28, they contacted police.

Mujib identified one of the officials as Isep Saepudin, who along with his two colleagues, were based in Lebak district.

The trio had admitted to their crimes and faced a maximum of four years in jail for fraud and theft, he said.

Mujib appealed for other potential victims to come forward so the case could be processed quickly.

The head of hajj affairs at the Lebak offices of the religious ministry said he knew nothing about the fraud.

"Eve was created because Adam had needs," Islamic Sex manual faces ban in Malaysia[edit]

A controversial manual by the head of an Islamic sect that teaches wives obedient and submissive sex faces a ban from the Malaysian government, with those in possession paying a hefty price for it.

The 115-page "Islamic Sex," written by the founder of the Obedient Wives Club, contains passages on how couples should physically and spiritually approach sex.

UK's The Guardian quoted a spokesman for the home ministry as saying the government's Islamic affairs department has recommended a ban after studying the manual, on grounds that it may confuse Malaysian Muslims about what constitutes acceptable religious teaching.

People caught in possession of the book could be fined up to 5,000 ringgit (P68,877), while anyone who makes copies for sale could be imprisoned for three years and fined 20,000 ringgit (P275,509).

The book claims most women only satisfy 10 percent of their husbands' sexual needs.

Club leaders, who believe a wife should serve as a "good sex worker" and a "whore" to her husband, showed the book to journalists last month to dispel misconceptions that it was obscene and demeaning to women.

They said the book, which contains no explicit photographs, was intended to be a spiritual guide read exclusively by club members to help them better understand sex.

But many Malaysians denounced the club, which they said makes a mockery of modern gender roles in a country where women hold prominent posts in government and the private sector.

The Guardian said the club is believed to have at least 800 members in Malaysia and has branches in Indonesia, Singapore, Jordan and Britain.

Many members are in polygamous marriages, insisting the practice helps husbands to avoid committing adultery.

Eve for Adam

Rohaya Mohamad, 46, the club's international vice-president - and a mother of eight, claimed Eve was created "because Adam had needs."

"Men have [sexual] needs which they can't control. And if the needs are not fulfilled, men will find another woman. God created them like that," she said in an interview with Malaysia's The Star.

She said one reason the club was started was because not all women are trained to be good in bed.

"We want to teach them how to perform better than a first-class prostitute," she said.

“You ask him first what he likes, then you ask yourself what you like. You can’t have two heads in the house," she added.

Darlan Zaini, co-founder of the Singapore club, added that in Islam, "if the husband wants sex and the wife is not in the mood, she has to give in to him. If not, the angels will curse her. This is not good for the family."

Rohaya is a high-flying businesswoman with Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd, a multi-million-ringgit company with businesses in Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

She studied medicine at the University of Wales in Cardiff. She is the third wife of Mohamad Ikram Ashaari, 45, son of the late Al-Arqam founder Ashaari Mohamad.

Obedient Husbands Club?

When asked about starting an Obedient Husbands Club, Rohaya said she would ask her husband.

“I will ask my husband if he wants to start one," she said.

Turkey: Reduced sentences for men accused of raping 13-year-old because the victim gave 'consent'[edit]

Human rights groups have reacted with outrage after a Turkish appeals court reduced prison sentences for 26 men convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, because the victim had given "consent".

In a judgment this week, the court ruled that the sentence was based on the old Turkish penal code, under which rape of a minor could be punished with a minimum prison sentence of 10 years – unless the child consented.

Two women accused of having sold the girl – known only as NÇ – for sex have each been sentenced to nine years in prison, for leading "immoral lives", but the 26 men, who include teachers, civil servants and a village elder, were given sentences ranging from one to six years.

Activists protesting outside Istanbul's palace of justice on Friday called for the decision to be overturned.

"Is it necessary to discuss consent when 26 men rape a 13-year-old girl?" asked Nilgün Yurdalan, a women's rights activist of the Istanbul Feminist Collective.

"We think that the government itself has committed a serious crime. This does not concern only the five judges, but the laws of this country, the mentality of the government and their view of women," she said.
Turkish court reduces sentences for men accused of raping 13-year-old
Constanze Letsch, The Guardian, November 4, 2011

Saudi King's private aircraft to take ex-prisoners for Hajj[edit]

An aircraft provided by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been put at the disposal of ex-prisoners from Gaza in order to fly them to the kingdom to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. A senior official of the Ministry of Prisoners and Freed Detainees in the Palestinian Authority, Ziad Abu Ein, confirmed that he and his colleagues are working on the necessary travel documents and passports. The ex-prisoner pilgrims will be exempt from any fees involved.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio on Thursday, Mr. Abu Ein said that the private plane will land at El-Arish airport in northern Sinai before taking Gaza's ex-prisoners for Hajj. According to Abu Ein, those ex-prisoners in other parts of Palestine and other countries will be taken for Hajj separately. The exception, he added, are those in the occupied West Bank who remain under a form of house arrest imposed by the Israelis, which prevents them from leaving the country. They have been advised not to attempt to leave the country as that will give the Israeli occupation authorities an excuse not to let them back into the country. The women prisoners, said Mr Abu Ein, will travel together as a group to overcome difficulties arising from women having to have close male relatives (“muhrim”) with them when travelling to Saudi Arabia.

The Hajj grant was provided by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz at the request of the Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, following their release in the Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange deal agreed last month. The costs are being borne by the Saudi monarch.

France: Muslims rejoice, and more death threats over cartoons force website to close[edit]

Death threats have closed the website of a French satirical magazine fire-bombed this week after featuring cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed, but that did not deter the daily Libération from publishing new drawings yesterday in a show of solidarity.

The Belgian company which runs Charlie Hebdo's internet site pulled the plug yesterday after anonymous threats were emailed. The magazine has been the victim of an intensive cyber war waged from the Muslim world, especially Turkey, since it published an edition on Wednesday which it said was "guest-edited by Mohamed", and was littered with Mohamed cartoons.

Charlie Hebdo's Facebook page has been inundated with messages in English, French, Turkish and Arabic, rejoicing in the Molotov cocktail attack which destroyed the magazine's offices in Paris in the early hours of Wednesday. Messages, repeated over and over, include, "Go to the devil, Charlie Hebdo" and "Shame on Charlie Hebdo".

The centre-left Libération risked the wrath of Islamic extremists yesterday by publishing a special edition of Charlie Hebdo, including two new Mohamed cartoons.
. . .
It [Charlie Hebdo] says that it is not anti-Islamic so much as secular and irreligious. The magazine frequently pokes fun at Catholics and Jews.
. . .

But continuing cyber-attacks may force Charlie Hebdo off the internet for some time. Valérie Manteau, who runs the online version of the Charlie Hebdo website, said yesterday that Bluevision, the Belgian internet service provider, had closed down the site after a string of emailed warnings. "They don't want to open again because they have received death threats," she said. "Either the police can reassure them and persuade them it's OK to open or we will have to find another provider." Before it was closed, the Charlie Hebdo site had been pirated by a group of Turkish hackers. The home page of the site was replaced by English and Turkish messages against a green background. One message read: "You continually abuse the prophet Mohamed with disgusting and shameful drawings on the pretext of defending liberty of expression ... We are your cyberspace curse."
More death threats as newspaper escalates Mohamed cartoon row
John Lichfield, The Independent, November 4, 2011

Somali who had no right to be in UK scarred woman for life in terrifying sexual attack[edit]

A Somali man who dragged a 23-year-old woman into an alleyway and scarred her for life during a terrifying sexual attack was jailed for nine years today.

Said Adam, 37, who has no right to be in the UK, will be deported when he has completed half his sentence, said judge Jamie Tabor.

The judge told Adam he was sure that he was desperate to have sex that night regardless of whether a woman consented or not.

During a four day trial at Gloucester Crown Court the jury of six men and six women heard that the victim was approached and pestered by Adam shortly before 4am on May 12 after she had left the Registry night club.

He pushed her into an alleyway where he picked up a broken soft drink can and pressed it into her face, scarring her cheek for life.

Then he ripped the crotch of her leggings and tore her pants as he penetrated her with his fingers.

Adam then walked away, leaving the woman bleeding and in a state of shock and distress in the alley, the jury heard.

UK: Pedophile imam jailed after pre-pubescent girls he abused 27 years ago come forward[edit]

A paedophile imam who abused young girls while teaching at a mosque has been jailed for two years.

Ebrahim Yusuf Kazi, 67, was told by a judge he would have been jailed for longer - but the law prevented it as the offences took place 27 years ago.

The cleric sexually assaulted three victims - all aged under 11 - during class as he taught groups of youngsters alone inside the mosque, Swindon Crown Court heard.

He would invite the girls to read a passage from a book in front of the other children - before groping and touching their genitals under the desk.

He also locked himself in a toilet cubicle with one of the girls, removed her clothes before he touched and licked her body.

The women wept yesterday as they saw Kazi jailed after being convicted on five counts of sexual assault at the court in Wiltshire.
. . .
He taught large groups of around 20 pupils alone in a room - making girls come up and read passages from a book to him.

He would then fondle their legs from underneath a desk, touching their private parts until they finished the passage.

Kazi's three devastated victims - aged around eight, nine and ten when the abuse started - claimed each terrifying and repeated episode could carry on for as long as 15 minutes.

He groomed one of his victims and continued to abuse her over a number of years.

He would take her to a toilet cubicle and progressed, over a period of time, from touching her under her clothes to stripping her and licking her body parts.

The court heard that the cleric was 'revered' in the girl's family so she did not speak out.

When one of the other girls told her parents what Kazi did to her - the defendant angrily branded her a 'liar' and the allegations went away.

Another family pulled their girl out of the mosque, after her brother witnessed the abuse.

They were forced to give evidence against Kazi at the trial last month which convicted him of five counts of sexual assault.

Judge Ambrose, quoting from impact statements of the three victims - now all grown women - said one still had nightmares about the abuse.

They all said it continued to affect their lives.

10 militants charged with planning Indonesian Easter church attack[edit]

Ten suspected militants have gone on trial for allegedly planning to bomb an Indonesian church before Easter mass and to film the inferno for broadcast.

They are also charged with sending mail bombs — none of them deadly — to several of the country’s moderate Muslims and police earlier this year.

The 10 defendants were each being tried separately at the West Jakarta District Court.

Authorities in April recovered explosives planted beneath a gas pipeline near 3,000-seat Christ Cathedral Church outside the capital.

Prosecutor Teguh Suhendro said Thursday that the 10 men, all in their 30s, had planned to use these in the foiled plot, and that defendant Imam Firdaus, a local TV journalist, allegedly planned to film the attack.

Algeria: Armed men burn down store, second alcohol seller to be attacked in the space of a few weeks[edit]

A shop licenced to sell alcoholic drinks was burned down last night in Assi Youcef by a group of armed men who, some sources say, are thought to belong to a terrorist group particularly active in the Tizi Ouzou area.

The news was reported today by the El Watan newspaper.

Large numbers of terrorists entered the shop and first checked the identity of customers, stealing their mobile phones.

Before fleeing to nearby woods, the men set fire to the shop, which was effectively gutted.

Suspicion over the incident is centering on former members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). The shop in Assi Youcef is the second alcohol seller to be attacked in the space of a few weeks, after an earlier incident in Mechtras.

French magazine office burns and website hacked as Islam issue hits stands[edit]

The offices of a French satirical magazine burned early Wednesday morning, the day it was due to publish an issue with a cover appearing to make fun of Islamic law.

The cover of the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has a bearded and turbaned cartoon figure saying "100 lashes if you're not dying of laughter."

The director of publication of the magazine said the fire was caused by a Molotov cocktail.

The executive, identified on CNN affiliate BFM-TV as "Charb," expressed outrage at the attack.

"The arsonist didn't read this magazine -- no one knows what's in this magazine except for the ones who will buy it this morning," he said.

"People acted violently over a magazine where they don't even know the content. This is what is most deviant and dumb," Charb said.

Paris police confirmed that a fire started at the Charlie Hebdo building at 1 a.m. Wednesday and was extinguished about two hours later.

They could not confirm that the fire was started by Molotov cocktails.

An investigation is underway, they said.

The magazine received threats after it announced an edition dedicated to the Arab Spring, Charb told BFM.

"I don't think Islam is a taboo subject, I think we have the right to talk about anything," he said.

The issue is renamed "Charia Hebdo," a reference to Islamic law, or sharia.

The website of the magazine has also been hacked by "Cyber-Warrior TIM" claiming to be from Akincilar, "for Islam."

The redirect page says, "You keep abusing Islam's almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech."

The hacking group does not claim to be responsible for the physical attacks on the building in its statement.
Magazine office burns as Islam issue hits stands
Jack Maddox, Bobby Afshar and Saskya Vandoorne, CNN News, November 2, 2011

UK: "Asian" bride threatened with death, drugged and held prisoner by her family[edit]

A young Asian bride was drugged and held prisoner by her family after she broke off an arranged engagement to her first cousin and secretly married another man, a court heard today.

Naila Afsar, 23, was also threatened with death, assaulted and abused by angry close relatives after they discovered she had wed Afsar Saddiq without telling them, it was alleged.

She was given a milky drink laced with a prescription-only sedative in a bid to put her to sleep while they took her back to the family home - and away from her new husband, it was said.

Mr Saddiq, meanwhile, was visited by Naila Afsar's family, who told him his new wife would not be returning before stealing his mobile phone to stop the couple keeping in contact, a jury heard.

Naila Afsar's mother Shamim Akhtar, 58, father Mohammed Khan, 57, her elder brother Shamrez Khan, 34, all from Bradford, West Yorkshire, and her sister Saima Mahmood, 30, and her brother-in-law Zahid Mahmood, 36, both of Accrington, face a string of charges.

They all deny false imprisonment, kidnap and two charges of administering the drug lorazepam with intent, in January last year, after claiming in a police interview they were trying to help Naila 'resolve a domestic situation'.

Mr Jonathan Dickinson, prosecuting, told Burnley Crown Court Naila Afsar's family wanted her to marry her first cousin, who lived in Denmark.

Naila became engaged to him in May 2009, but she realised they were not suited to one another and in July 2009, called it off.

'Her family was upset with her and that was, perhaps, putting it mildly,' said Mr Dickinson.

'The complainant ran away from the family home and went to live with a friend in Newcastle, thinking the defendants could not reach her.'

Commentary: Why Islamists Are Winning the Arab Spring[edit]

Bret Stephens is the foreign-affairs columnist of the Wall Street Journal and deputy editorial page editor, responsible for the editorial pages of the Journal's European and Asian editions.


"This is not an Islamic Revolution."

So opined Olivier Roy, arguably Europe's foremost authority on political Islam, in an essay published days after Hosni Mubarak was forced from power in February. "Look at those involved in the uprisings, and it is clear that we are dealing with a post-Islamist generation," he wrote. "This is not to say that the demonstrators are secular; but they are operating in a secular political space, and they do not see in Islam an ideology capable of creating a better world."

Mr. Roy wasn't alone in the sangfroid department. "I am not in the least bit worried about the Muslim Brotherhoods in Jordan or Egypt hijacking the future," confided New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, with the caveat that their secular opponents would need some time to organize. Added his colleague Nicholas Kristof in a dispatch from Cairo: "I agree that the Muslim Brotherhood would not be a good ruler of Egypt, but that point of view also seems to be shared by most Egyptians."

What reassurance. Nine months on, the Islamist Nahda party has swept to victory in Tunisia, the one Arab state in which secularist values were said to be irreversibly fixed. Libya's new interim leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, came to office promising "the Islamic religion as the core of our new government"; as a first order of business, he promises to revoke the Gadhafi regime's ban on polygamy since "the law is contrary to Shariah and must be stopped." Later this month, Islamist candidates—some of them Muslim Brothers, others even more religiously extreme—will likely sweep Egypt's parliamentary elections.

It doesn't stop there. Hezbollah has effectively ruled Lebanon since it forced the collapse of a pro-Western government in January. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's Islamist prime minister, cruised to a third term in parliamentary elections in June. Hamas, winner in the last vote held by the Palestinian Authority in 2006, would almost certainly win again if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dared put his government to an electoral test.

Why have Islamists been the main beneficiaries of Muslim democracy? None of the usual explanations really suffices. Islamists are said to be the unintended beneficiaries of the repression they endured under autocratic secular regimes. True up to a point. But why then have their secular opponents in places like Egypt been steadily losing ground since the Mubarak regime fell by the wayside? Alternatively, we are told that secular values never had the chance to sink deep roots in Muslim-majority countries. Also true up to a point. But how then Tunisia or Turkey—to say nothing of the Palestinians, who until the early 1990s were often described as the most secularized Arab society?

Closer to the mark is Mideast scholar Bernard Lewis, who noted in an April interview with the Journal that "freedom" is fairly novel as a political concept in the Arab world. "In the Muslim tradition," Mr. Lewis noted, "justice is the standard" of good government—and the very thing the ancien regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya so flagrantly traduced. Little wonder, then, that Mr. Erdogan's AK party stands for "Justice and Development," the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's new party is "Freedom and Justice" and, further afield, the leading Islamist party in Indonesia calls itself "Prosperous Justice."

Still, the Islamists' claim to "justice" goes only so far to account for their electoral successes. There is also the comprehensive failure of the Muslim world's secular movements to provide a better form of politics.

The national-socialist brew imported from Europe in the 1940s by Michel Aflaq became the Baathist tyrannies of present-day Syria and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Pan-Arabism's appeal faded well before the death of its principal champion, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Socialism failed Algeria; Gadhafi's "Third Universal Theory" failed Libya. French-style laïcité descended into kleptocracy in Tunisia and quasi-military control in Turkey. Periodic attempts at market liberalization yielded dividends in places like Bahrain and Dubai but were never joined by political liberalization and were often shot through with cronyism.

That sour history leaves Islamism as the last big idea standing—and standing at a moment when tens of millions of young Muslims find themselves undereducated, semi- or unemployed, and uniquely receptive to a world view with deep historic roots and heroic ambitions.

What does its future hold?

Optimists say it need not be a reprise of Iran; that it could look more like Turkey; that the term "moderate Islamist" isn't an oxymoron, at least in a relative sense. Then again, Turkey's domestic and foreign policies inspire little confidence that moderate Islamism will be anything other than moderately repressive and moderately radical. As for Iran, signs of its own long-awaited turn toward moderation are as fleeting as the Yeti's footsteps in drifting snow.

The good news is that after 31 years most Iranians have grown sick of Islam always being the answer, and the collapse of the regime awaits only the next ripe opportunity. The bad news is that a similar time-frame may be in store for the rest of the Muslim world, until it too becomes disenchanted with Islamist promises. Get ready for a long winter.
Why Islamists Are Winning
Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2011


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