Islam in the News (August 2013)

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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

Pakistan: Christian widow terrorized by husband’s Muslim family, threatened with death if she doesn't convert to Islam

" When I got married , the relatives [ of my husband ] have begun to exert pressure so that I convert [to Islam]. But my husband stood up for me , saying that ' my wife and my children should feel free to profess their faith ' . However, after his death his brothers have begun to terrorize us. They have sworn to kill us if we do not convert to Islam. " This is the dramatic and desperate appeal of a Christian woman and widow. Her husband was a forward-looking man, a Muslim but convinced defender of the right to religious freedom. She however is now in danger of being killed by his family members.

The marriage between Muhammad Sadiq Masih and Martha Bibi withstood years of pressure and threats from the man's relatives, contrary to a bond with an " unbeliever". The pair remained united and over time became parents to three girls and one boy. The daughters were married to men from Christian families - a fragile and often persecuted minority in Pakistan - and decided to keep the faith of their mother.

However, after the father's death, the girls began to receive threats and pressures from his brothers [ Islamists ] to convert. The eldest daughter Nosheen Afzal , who is married with Kamran Afzal , has suffered direct and personal threats from family members. An uncle branded them as "infidels," because they live as Christians even though (the girl ) is the daughter of a Muslim . To escape the retaliation they had to leave their home the next night - in haste and in secret.

In recent days, her sisters were also targeted by relatives , with threats and pressures. For this reason the mother Martha Bibi turned to a pro human rights organization , including the Masihi Foundation, asking for protection and help. Denouncing the growing "climate of intolerance," the foundation 's legal team immediately took steps lodging a complaint with the competent authorities, even asking protection for the family. Fr. Robin John , a priest of the Archdiocese of Lahore and activist demands their right to religious freedom and recalls the example provided by the family's father who, though Muslim , he never wanted to impose his faith on his children . "This also allowed them to live happily ."

With a population of over 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and the second Muslim nation after Indonesia. Just under 80 per cent are Sunni Muslim, and 20 per cent are Shia. Hindus are around 1.85 per cent; Christians are 1.6 per cent and Sikhs 0.04 per cent. Violence against ethnic or religious minorities is commonplace across the country, from the province of Punjab in the north to Karachi in the southern province of Sindh, where more than 2,200 people were killed in the first eight months of 2012.

Algeria: Survivors of January's siege of a gas plant speak about their ordeal

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

The survivors of January's siege of an Algerian gas plant still cannot believe they are alive. Forty of their colleagues died when Islamic militants took them hostage. The Algerian army opened fire on the convoy of hostages and terrorists as they broke out of the plant. It is only now that some have felt able to tell their stories.

For BP team leader Lou Fear and his wife Lori at home in the UK, the morning of 16 January 2013 began as usual with a text message from Lou. But the content was anything but normal.

It told her terrorists were roaming around - the plant was under attack. Lou was barricaded in his office with some colleagues and hiding behind a filing cabinet. The militants were just outside.

"Somebody tried the door handle and they were saying, 'Come out, come out, we're friends,' in Arabic," says Lou. "I would never have believed it would be a terrorist attack. It was incomprehensible, but it was real."

"My world just froze… I couldn't think what to do," says Lori, thousands of miles away in Lincolnshire.

"I didn't know what circumstances he was in, if he was close to the terrorists, if they could hear the beep of the messages come in. I did not dare to reply to it. Maybe I would give away his hiding place."

Lori did decide to send a few messages but did not do it too often because of the noise. In one message she begged Lou to send a text to their children. He broke down and cried. He could only deal with his wife at this fraught moment.
. . .
Three dozen terrorists from the Signed in Blood Battalion linked to al-Qaeda had taken Algerian military police, responsible for security, completely by surprise. First they attacked a bus carrying workers just outside the compound then broke into the plant itself.

Nick Hitch, BP project general manager, was in the living quarters. He was seized by terrorists searching room by room for expatriate workers. Nick was shocked to recognise a cook who worked inside the plant.

"It was clear that it was an inside job," says Nick. "There were 20 or 30 Algerians who were clearly assisting the terrorists and very friendly with them and even came when we were held hostage, to look at us as if we were in the zoo."...

Australia: Federal election candidate claims Muslims are targeting Aborigines and paying them to convert to Islam

A federal election candidate in western Queensland has accused Muslims of paying Aborigines to convert to Islam.

Speaking to ABC Western Queensland, Rise Up Australia candidate Pam Hecht said the biggest issue facing people in the electorate of Kennedy, which Bob Katter holds by 18.3 per cent, was the conversion of Indigenous people to Islam.

"I don't know whether people are aware, but many of the Aboriginal people in northern Australia are being targeted by Muslims and in some cases are being paid to convert to Islam," she said, describing herself and the electorate as "farmers . . . just ordinary everyday people, who want to be free to go about our business".

"Our concern with that is, the Muslim belief, that converting the first peoples of the land to Islam means that the land belongs to Allah, and Islam should be the only religion.

"There is an Aboriginal lady who works with the people up in northern Australia and she has spoken directly with the leader of our party, Daniel Nalliah [and told him about the practice]."

Of the 340,393 Australians who identified as Muslims in the 2006 Census, just 1011 were Indigenous.

Comparatively, 290,630 Indigenous people identified as Christian.

Academics believe Aborigines came into contact with those who practised the Islamic faith even before they came into contact with Christianity, first through trade links with Indonesia and later through cameleers.

Mr Nalliah, the leader of Rise Up Australia, states in his Catch the Fire Ministries biography, that he first knew the Lord had called him after an Australian missionary visited his Sri Lankan town in 1976...

Egypt: Video shows Muslim mob attacking church, setting cars on fire and then toppling a cross atop the steeple

Newly-surfaced video from Egypt shows a Muslim mob storming a Coptic church, setting cars on fire and then toppling a cross atop the steeple, in a shocking attack that Christians say has been played out dozens of times since the ouster of Mohammad Morsi.

The video, obtained by MidEast Christian News, was shot Aug. 14 from a nearby building overlooking the diocese in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag. In the six-minute video, a crowd, incensed by the eviction of pro-Morsi supporters from camps in Cairo, masses outside the church. Several members of the group scale a wall and attack vehicles in a courtyard, setting several ablaze. The video culminates in the crown exhorting a man high up on the steeple to take down a cross, which he does.

Dozens of Coptic churches were attacked by members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the military’s move against Morsi, who critics say was turning Egypt into an Islamist state. Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 80 million, but Morsi supporters blamed them for his ouster, according to Coptic leaders.

Bishop Makarious, a Coptic leader from Minya, accused Muslim Brotherhood leaders of planning attacks on Christian churches, homes and businesses in an effort to divide the embattled nation.
. . .
The provisional military government has pledged to rebuild Christian churches destroyed by mobs.

Yemen: Gunmen on a motorbike shoot dead a man in a market in Huta, believing he was homosexual

For more on persecution of homosexuals, click here.

"Armed Al-Qaeda suspects on a motorbike opened fire on 29-year-old Salem Ahmed Hasan in a market in Huta," capital of the southern province of Lahj, the official said, adding the man died immediately.

He said the man was targeted because the attackers thought he was a homosexual.

Another four men have been killed in similar attacks on supposedly "gay" men in Huta this year.

The latest such attack was in July when suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen shot and wounded a man only days after they killed another in similar circumstances.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen is active mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country.
. . .
During their control of areas in southern Yemen, the Islamist militants imposed a strict version of Islamic law on residents, executing or lashing those they accused of various crimes. Those accused of theft had their hands severed.

Guyana: Muslim scholar charged with sexually penetrating nine boys under the age of 12

Nezaam Ali, the Muslim scholar accused of sexually molesting nine boys at the Turkeyen Masjid, intends to lead an expert witness as part of his defence.

Ali is currently before Magistrate Alex Moore at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court on charges of sexually penetrating boys under the age of 12.

He had to be recharged as a result of an omission in the Sexual Offences Act that was corrected...

UK: Britons tell Cameron no to war, only eight percent want urgent strikes on Syria

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

The poll results, which come as MPs begin their historic Commons debate on military action, show 80 per cent of people are against David Cameron launching an immediate attack, while 12 per cent are undecided.

A significant 41 per cent of people are against action by Britain in any circumstances, while 39 per cent would only agree with a launch if the UN confirms chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian regime and then sanctions a strike.

The results are a blow to David Cameron who has been arguing for intervention amid a growing chorus of MPs urging caution following the lessons of the Iraq war 10 years ago.

The Prime Minister believes the use of chemical weapons in Damascus last week, which the UK and US argue was ordered by Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, represents a breach of international law.

Leading Conservative backbencher Douglas Carswell, who has been urging the Prime Minister to listen to Parliament, said the poll backed his view that there was no public appetite for intervention.

He said: “These figures show that the wisdom of the British people is superior to that of the Whitehall elite.

“Government officials wanted an immediate strike. Thankfully Parliament acting on behalf of those who elect them said ‘No’.

“The case has not been made. If ministers really think it’s in our national interest, they need to talk to us like grown-ups and set out the evidence.”

The poll of 1,009 people by Vision Critical this morning asked "In what circumstances should Britain strike?"

The results also showed variations in the appetite for military action across regions.

Wales appears to be the most gung-ho for an immediate strike with 13 per cent wanting the trigger pressed, while the North East is most against. Some 92 per cent of people there are against immediate action, with 50 per cent opposed in any circumstances.

About 44 per cent of women are set against intervention in any circumstances as opposed to 39 per cent of men.

And in contrast to public opinion at the time of the Iraq War, older people are more anti-intervention. About 51 per cent of over-55s say they would never support a strike because it is not in Britain’s interests, while 15 per cent of 25-34 year olds are in favour of immediate action.

A definitive 88 per cent of over-55s are opposed to immediate military intervention...

Pakistan: A devout Muslim man kills his cousin for turning down his marriage proposal

Muhammad Abdur Rehman said his daughter Sumaira was studying Botany at Bahauddin Zakaria University. He said she was living with her maternal family in Mumtazabad colony in Multan.

He said her cousin, 26-year-old Muhammad Asif, had sent a marriage proposal for Sumaira through his parents last week. He said his daughter did not want to marry Muhammad Asif because she felt that they were not compatible due to his extreme religious views.
. . .
He said on Tuesday afternoon, she returned home from the university and met Asif at the door of the house. He asked her to change her mind. When she refused, he shot her six times. She died on the spot.

Witnesses detained Asif and beat him before handing him over to the police.

Egypt: 20 churches, Christian schools and orphanages in Minya looted and destroyed to erase all traces of a Christian presence

With at least 20 attacks against churches, Christian schools and orphanages, Minya Governorate is the part of ​​Egypt where Islamists struck with greatest violence and brutality.

"The Islamists", one resident said, "burnt and destroyed everything. Their goal was to erase all the traces of a Christian presence; even the orphanages were looted and destroyed."

After storming the Prince Tadros el-Shatbi Church, the armed Islamic extremists turned their attention to two homes for disadvantaged children located near the parish church, residents said.

They stole church offerings, clothes, and children's games before torching the entire building. The fire lasted over 5 hours.

"Fortunately," the source said, "the children were taken to safety before the arrival of the Islamists."

Like other Christians sites, the two homes that housed hundreds of orphans are now a pile of rubble.

The criminals did not only destroy the two orphanages but also the homes of some families working for the orphanages as well as a nearby art gallery that sold objects and artefacts made by orphans to raise money.

Shurkri Huzayn, 40, is the orphanage guard. He, too, grew up as an orphan at the facility. He witnessed the Salafist attack.

"What kind of people are they? Even unbelievers would not attack an orphanage," he said.

Islamists raged particularly against anything that symbolised the Christianity and modernity, including computers.

After they left the building, the terrorists burnt nearby shops and schools, such as the St Joseph Coptic School, which is run by nuns, a pharmacy and a restaurant. Anti-Christian graffiti were sprayed on the walls along a road.

A few days after the massacre, the guard said that Copts wrote a message on the wall of the orphanage in response to the militants' insults that read, "Despite of what you did, we ask God to forgive you," and "God exists."

According to a teacher at St Joseph, the attack will have a major impact on Christians' daily life.

"The teachers," she noted, "do not know when the school year will start. The school is open to Christians and Muslims and has taught hundreds of children from rural areas, many of whom were housed in the two orphanages."

Bangladesh: Several hundred Muslims ransack and loot 250-year-old brothel, attack leaves 500 sex workers homeless

A brothel in Madaripur town was attacked allegedly by Islamist activists and nearly 500 sex workers were forced out of it yesterday.

Several hundred activists of Islahe Qoum Parishad stormed the brothel at Puranbazar around 11:00am. They beat up at least 30 women who did not want to leave what they call home for generations, said Mamata Rani, president of Bandhobi Nari Sangha, an organisation of sex workers.

The attackers ransacked the 250-year-old brothel and looted valuables, she alleged.

The attack was made despite a July 22 High Court ruling, in which the home ministry and police were asked not to harass residents of the brothel and to allow the sex workers to continue with their occupation for a year.

Responding to a petition by the rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra, the court also ordered removal of the signboards hung on the four gates of the brothel, which prohibited clients of the sex workers from entering the brothel from sunset to sunrise. Police fired several blank shots to bring the situation under control yesterday. In their presence, the inmates left the brothel.

Asked why police did not ensure their protection in the red-light quarter, Madaripur Superintendent of Police Khandoker Faridul Islam said, “The brothel is not authorised by the government.”

The sex workers had rented several houses there, and despite the owners’ repeated requests to leave, they continued to stay, he added.

The SP also said the owners yesterday morning went to that place along with some “respected” people of the neighbourhood and urged the residents to move out. But the sex workers brandished kitchen knives to scare them away. As the news spread, several hundred people flocked to the spot and began hurling brickbats at the sex workers.

However, Moulana Sharif Mujibul Haque, president of Madaripur Islahe Qoum Parishad, said activists of the organisation had made the attack.

“The Parishad has long been campaigning for a Madaripur free of prostitutes. Though the shipping minister [who is from the district] promised their rehabilitation, none of the sex workers moved out. This angered people and that is why they have dislodged them,” said Moulana Sharif.

The Islamist group staged a series of angry demonstrations in recent months and demanded the authorities dismantle the brothel, saying it was corrupting young men in the town.

Some sex workers, seeking anonymity, said that despite assurances of rehabilitation, nothing had been done as yet.

Yesterday’s incident, they added, was aimed at paving the way for influential locals to grab the valuable land.

Meanwhile, at a press conference organised by Sex-workers’ Network at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital, speakers demanded punishment to those who had attacked and driven out the inmates of the brothel in Madaripur.

“The land on which the brothel stands is quite precious since it is located in the heart of the town. Seventy-five percent of the land was either purchased or inherited by the sex workers. Since May this year, Islamist organisations under the influence of political leaders made several attempts to force the sex workers out,” said Joya Sikhder, president of the organisation.

In a press release, the National Human Rights Commission condemned the incident, saying it was deeply concerned over the security and rehabilitation of the evicted sex workers.

Canada: Muslim cleric preaches adulterers and gays can benefit from being stoned to death

A YouTube video featuring an insightful look at the ideas of the Brampton preacher who stated that “sinners,” as defined by his own interpretation of Islamic law, can benefit from a jolly good stoning was running all day until it was belatedly taken down.

The sheikh explained that a Muslim who is sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law actually benefits from this gruesome punishment as his or her soul is being purified even as the stones rain down on their sinful head.

It would possibly be funny if it were in a Monty Python movie. Almost, but not quite. There is no joke to be had in a medieval form of punishment like stoning. Nor should it be condoned.

Alas, it might be more widely spread than most Canadians would believe.

In 2010 the Pew Research Centre in Washington published the results of an extensive poll of Middle East countries and tapped into their views of modern life.

According to the results, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favour making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion.

Majorities of Muslims in Jordan and Nigeria also favor these harsh punishments. Thankfully none will be proscribed in Canada because we are a free, open and tolerant society that will never become a theocracy where common law is subjugated to religious dogma.

Being free, open and tolerant also means that people such as Sheikh Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak can take advantage of free speech to spread their own version of moral purification.

This from a man who serves as both president of the Islamic Forum of Canada and vice-president of the Islamic Council of Imams of Canada. Attempts were made to contact the sheikh for comment for this article but they were unsuccessful...

Sweden: 22-year-old man in court for ?honking horn during Islamic call to prayer

A 22-year-old man is accused of having interfered the Islamic call to prayer at the Fittja mosque south of Stockholm.

According to the prosecution, in May of this year the man drove past the mosque and honked his horn while the imam called for Friday prayers.

The man is suspected of disturbing the service, a crime that can result in a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

He denies the offense.

Nigeria: Boko Haram turning to cannibalism, slaughtering non-combatant members to provide food for combatants

Dozens of suspected Boko Haram militants, short of food and water, are resorting to cannibalism, a member said.

The militants, hiding out in the Magumeri forest, Borno, roughly 100 miles from Maiduguri, the state capital, have begun eating human flesh after being stranded for days with dwindling supplies of food and water, a suspected Boko Haram member has alleged.

Momodu Bukar, told journalists in Maiduguri that he fled the forest camp when it became obvious that he was going to be eaten, the Premium Times reported on Saturday. Bukar said, "I thank God that I escaped because I would have been slaughtered by now to provide meal for my colleagues at the camp."

Bukar, captured by a Youth Vigilante Group at Baga Road motor park, Maiduguri, added that the militants had been in the forest since May, when they were dislodged from Marte by Joint Task Force soldiers implementing Operation Restore Order, which followed the government of President Goodluck Jonathan declaring a State of Emergency in Nigeria's three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa on May 14.

Bukar added, "Our group, consisting of about 300 well-armed combatants, headed for Magumeri on the orders of the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, shortly before the military took over Marte Camp. We have been wandering in the forest. We have exhausted our food and water supply, and so, everybody became hungry. It all started last Monday when three of the combatants in camp died of acute hunger, and it became obvious that all of us will die if action was not taken. The leader of the group, Abu Omar, directed that a non-combatant member be slaughtered to provide meal for the rest. The meat provided meal for the combatant for just two days and another person was killed in the same manner on Wednesday. So, it became certain that I might be the next person since I am also a non-combatant member."

Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalist organization seeking to implement Islamic Sharia law in Nigeria, began in 2009 to mount gun and bomb attacks across Nigeria's mainly Muslim north and the capital, Abuja. Human Rights Watch estimates that since Boko Haram began its campaign more than 3,600 Nigerians have died.

Libya: Tripoli zoo used as immigrant detention center, over 5,000 arrested in four months, mostly Sub-Saharan Africans

The Libyan capital's zoo is being used as an immigrant detention centre-prison. Though currently closed to the public, it still contains animals as well. According to a recent reportage by Libya Herald, next to the animal cages is a cement building with doors and windows bearing steel bars across them. The foreigners are held up to 72 hours in the facilities, said the commander of a militia tasked with checking the immigrants' paperwork. If they have a valid passport, visa and health certificate, the immigrants are released, while otherwise they are transferred to detention centers and held indefinitely or expelled. The unit tasked with checking immigrants detains dozens of people every day, with over 5,000 arrested in the past four months - most of whom from Sub-Saharan Africa, Tunisia and Morocco. Once in the zoo, the detainees undergo blood tests, said Al-Gerjame, the head of the zoo's irregular immigration unit, to make sure that they do not suffer from any illness. Al Gerjame said that some 20% of the immigrants test positive for either HIV or hepatitis. If they are ill, they will be transferred outside Libya, he said, if there is no illness, and they have visas, they can stay here and work and pay taxes. Amnesty International recently called conditions in the country's detention centres, where irregular immigrants including children are held indefinitely deplorable, calling on the Libya government to put an immediate end to the practice of indefinite detention for immigration control. The UNHCR recently described the situation in these centres as precarious, underscoring that most of the time the hygienic conditions are very poor and there is a high risk of infection and disease contagion.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood preacher caught hiding under woman’s niqab while trying to cross border

On August 21, at a military and police check point a few miles from Egypt’s border with Libya, border patrols searched a private car and the people in it. Their stop-and-frisk included the removal of a woman’s niqab – Islamic face veil, headdress and robe – which covered a suspicious form. Hiding beneath it was Bedouin-garbed Safwat Hegazy, wearing a dark brown goatee disguise in place of his traditional full-cheeked, grey beard. The high-ranking longtime preacher of the Muslim Brotherhood was captured trying to slink across Egypt’s border.

Hegazy was an active speaker and dedicated promoter of Morsi’s 2012 presidential campaign and advocated for the liberation of Palestine, sizing up Jerusalem to be the new capital of both Egypt and the future caliphate. Known for jihad rhetoric repeatedly stressing his own martyrdom to defend Shariah law and Morsi’s constitution, Hegazy instigated many to their deaths through acts of jihad. Now the inspirational Hegazy was caught fleeing the country. He was aided by a recent and convenient fatwa issued by hardliner cleric, Dr. Mouahmmad Abdulmaksoud, legalizing Muslims attending pro-Morsi demonstrations to shave their beards or alter traditional norms to deceive and avoid arrest by Egypt’s police and military.

Once in captivity, Hegazy denied his association and role with the MB saying, “I don’t belong to the Muslim Brotherhood” -- a direct contradiction to his machismo on August 8th from the Al Adawyia MB sit-in, “I will leave this place only as a dead body.” On the same date, during his interview on one of the Egyptian TV channels in a program called, Time of Ikwan, Hegazy boasted, “MB will lead the world and will be masters of the world.”

As the prospect of cohesive reorganization and renewed strength inside Egypt has dwindled for Egypt’s MB forcing the issue of reenergizing itself outside the country, talent like the weak and cowardly Hegazy shows us we have nothing to fear. The Brotherhood’s deficit of character and skill for carrying out its themes is Egypt’s good fortune today. Arrogance and empty slogans have masked the incapacity of MB leaders to run or rule a schoolyard, much less a country.

The world needs to question the variables at play in Egypt making it possible two years ago for a religious-supremacist political party couched in pseudo-democracy and its banned organization to legalize and climb to the highest levels of power. With the collapse of Morsi’s regime, the MB house of cards (its organization, ideology, massive network and influence) has begun to unravel with what looks like permanent and lasting damage under the efforts of Egyptians backed by a military loyal to the country.

A hurting Egypt will never again allow the MB a chance to prove its philosophy or politics. Furthermore, as the Egyptian MB organization crumbles, humiliated by the annihilation of its longtime dream, its operations around the world will suffer as Egypt’s MB represents the base of the core ideology in the international fight for political Islam.

World leaders viewed MB leadership (and still do) with respect, recognizing and indulging in its viability as a party with leadership potential – the psychological and political basis for the Brotherhood’s rise from the dank dungeons of Egypt and final surge to the top. This contradicts everything the world learned from previous dictators in Egypt who preserved their reigns by locking up MB members and banning their movement.

Having the West accept and approve its pinnacle of success in Egypt, the MB abused the power handed it and gave the impression it would outlast the dynasties of the Egyptian Pharaohs. But advancing an Islamist agenda offering zero to the Egyptian people who stood by watching the build-up of personal wealth and power within the MB organization and party in just a short time, the MB regime had to go before getting a foothold.

Manipulating a hungry and tired constituency, the truth of a depraved MB was soon identified by the Egyptian people and despised for its lack of authenticity and governance. Like a wavy image on the desert dunes, the mirage of MB governance disappeared once Egyptians came within proximity of its dissolute rule. After 83 years of struggle to achieve its position, it took just one year of MB authority to foster against it a decisive freedom movement combining disparate elements from the Egyptian body marching toward a common goal.

The coziness of the West with MB terrorists is Egypt’s nightmare – much resignation, hopelessness and fear for Egypt now stems from it. Outsiders consider naïve the goal to obliterate the Egyptian MB terror organization in Egypt, not because it’s a losing battle for the military (the opposite appears to be true), but because foreign connections to the politically motivated MB run deep with relationships and investments in networks impossible to reverse, even if desired.

Yet inside Egypt now, the MB has even lost its “victimhood” card. And, more importantly, the Brotherhood’s ambitious goal to rule a nation and future caliphate by way of Egypt has vanished forever if the people of Egypt manage finally to have their way. At this moment, the Egyptian MB and its ideology -- the golden goose of world terrorism -- is about to be fatally wounded. If so, this would assist the West in its battle against the MB planted on foreign soil, Al Qaeda, Hamas and other terror groups around the world. There is only one thing now that could stop, alter or divert Egypt’s momentum -- the will of foreign leaders overruling Egypt’s majority.

Australia: Hajj pilgrims are being warned about virus which has killed 41 people in the nation

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

As of last Friday, there were 103 reported cases of MERS around the world and 46 deaths, NSW Health says.

Saudi Arabia is the country worst hit by the coronavirus, a cousin of the deadly SARS virus, with 82 cases.

NSW Health says all travellers should check the latest health advice.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard of NSW Health's communicable disease branch says there is a risk pilgrims could contract MERS and bring it into Australia.

"This has already occurred in other countries including Italy, the UK, France, Tunisia and Germany", Dr Sheppeard said on Tuesday.

People over the age of 65, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and children under 12 should not make the journey for their own safety, Saudi Arabia's health ministry says.

Thousands of Australians are expected to join the three million Muslims making the pilgrimage in mid-October.

There is no vaccine against the virus, which has a 51 per cent fatality rate.

It is believed to be related to the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003.

Like SARS, MERS is thought to have jumped from animals to humans, and it shares the former's flu-like symptoms, but differs by also causing kidney failure.

Pakistan: Woman's late husband's brother raped her and claimed her as his wife, police reject her complaint

Saima Bibi* said that she had complained to the police but they had sided with her in-laws.

Saima Bibi, a resident of Khanqah Sharif, Basti Bahaar Borana near Bahawalpur, said that she had been married to Muhammad Akhtar and had had four children with him. Her in-laws did not approve of their marriage. She said that Akhtar had died four years ago. Saima Bibi said that her brother-in-law Hafiz Zahoor Ahmed had asked her to marry him but she had refused. “My in-laws then refused to give me my share in the property, business and cattle and would often harass me,” she said.

“On June 4, Zahoor came armed to my room at 2am and threatened to shoot me if I shouted,” Saima Bibi said, “Then he raped me.” She said that she then went to her father-in-law but he said that he did not believe her.

She said that she went with her brother Aslam to file a complaint at the Samma Satta police station. The police she said had registered a case on court orders but they struck a deal with her in-laws and did not arrest anyone.

“Now my in-laws claim that I had married Zahoor,” she said, “Zahoor, has paid a nikah khawan, Maulvi Azam, Rs200,000 to say that he had registered my nikah with Zahoor.”

She said that she had not married Zahoor and was a widow. Saima Bibi’s family too told the media that she had not married Zahoor. They said that the investigation officer had advised Zahoor to make that claim...

Syria: Western-backed rebels used sarin nerve gas, not Assad's regime says a senior U.N. diplomat

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday.

Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof," that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed.

Damascus has recently facing growing Western accusations that its forces used such weapons, which President Obama has described as crossing a red line. But Ms. del Ponte's remarks may serve to shift the focus of international concern.

Ms. del Ponte, who in 1999 was appointed to head the U.N. was crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, has sometimes been a controversial figure. She was removed from her Rwanda post by the U.N. Security Council in 2003, but she continued as the chief prosecutor for the Yugoslav tribunal until 2008.

Ms. del Ponte, a former Swiss prosecutor and attorney general, told Swiss TV: "Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals. According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated."

She gave no further details, the BBC said.

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was established in August 2011 to examine alleged violations of human rights in the Syrian conflict which started in March that year.

It is due to issue its next report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June.

Rebel Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Almokdad denied that rebels had use chemical weapons.

"In any case, we don't have the mechanism to launch these kinds of weapons, which would need missiles that can carry chemical warheads, and we in the FSA do not possess these kind of capabilities," Mr. Almokdad told CNN.

"More importantly, we do not aspire to have (chemical weapons) because we view our battle with the regime as a battle for the establishment of a free democratic state. … We want to build a free democratic state that recognizes and abides by all international accords and agreements -- and chemical and biological warfare is something forbidden legally and internationally."

Nigeria: Muslim mob with knives and iron rods injure church leaders and choir members over dispute about 1 cent in change

A Muslim mob with knives and iron rods injured several members of an Anglican church in Nasarawa state on Aug. 17 over a dispute about less than 1 cent in change, area Christians said.

Three pastors, four elders and choir members of the St. James Anglican Cathedral were wounded in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa in central Nigeria, as they met for study and worship preparation. They sustained cuts on their heads and other parts of their bodies when some 30 Muslims attacked with motorcycle chains and wooden clubs, along with the other weapons, area residents said.

An area member of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ in Lafia, Joshua Nuhu Kuju, told Morning Star News that a Muslim woman incited the Muslims to attack after she had a minor dispute over payment with a young Christian man who runs the church’s water borehole.

“The Muslim woman sent her children to purchase water from the church’s borehole, and then a misunderstanding over about 5 naira [less than 1 cent US$] occurred,” he said. “The Muslim woman then went and invited some of her Muslim neighbors, who stormed the church and attacked the members of the church.”

The assailants also damaged Bibles and broke chairs, he said.

The Rev. Isaac Onwusongaonye of St. James Anglican Cathedral, of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), told Morning Star News that at about 6 p.m., as he and six other church leaders were meeting for Bible study preparation and the choir was about to begin rehearsal, a church member informed them that someone was arguing with the young man in charge of the church-run water borehole, Peter Aleku.

“When we enquired of the water seller what happened, he said that a girl, a [Muslim] neighbor, came and bought water worth 20 naira [1 cent US$] and did not pay,” Onwusongaonye said. “Shortly after, the girl’s sister came and fetched water worth 5 naira and paid 20 naira and demanded 15 naira in change. But the water seller told her that, for the change, to meet her sister who bought water earlier and did not pay.”

The girl protested and then told her mother about the exchange, the clergyman said.

“The woman came and threatened that she had a son who was capable of demolishing the church, and that she would call him to come and fight the water seller,” he said. “One of our sextons decided to give the woman the 20 naira, which the woman collected; the woman also slapped the water seller two times, yet she called her notorious son.”

When the woman’s son arrived, security guards prevented him from entering the church premises at two points – the borehole area and the main gate, Onwusongaonye said. One of the church leaders suggested they report the matter to police, but another suggested they wait for tensions to cool and instead talk with the family the next day, he said.

“As we resumed our Bible study, all we saw was a mob coming into the church through the main gate,” Onwusongaonye. “This notorious boy went and called his gang, mostly butchers. They came with knives, clubs, motorcycle chains, iron poles, wood, etc. As they were terrorizing the church members, their fellow Muslim youths playing football at the field adjacent to the church jumped in through the fence and helped the gang. This gang beat the security men at the gate mercilessly with wood, chain and iron.”

Seriously wounded, the security guards were rushed to the hospital, he said.

“They also slapped some of our elders who tried to appeal to them,” Onwusongaonye. “They even forcefully collected a handset from one of our pastors. I narrowly dodged a big stone thrown at me, and Ven Shigudu narrowly escaped from being stabbed.” The clergyman said intervention by police who were told about the attack saved the cathedral from burning down.

“After some minutes of terrorism, the boys left – some of them were asking why they did not destroy the church, especially the window glass,” Onwusongaonye said. “So they later regrouped to come back for total destruction, but with the quick intervention of police from A Division, the boys ran as they saw the police van.”

Police detained the ring-leader’s mother when the gang fled, releasing her only after the family later produced her son. He was arrested, and at press time the case was still under investigation.

Many years ago the church had decided to create a water borehole and charge a minimal fee because of the community’s difficulties in securing drinking water, Onwusongaonye said. Established in Lafia in the early 1940s, the church has about 300 members.

Nasarawa state is located in Nigeria’s volatile middle belt, west of Plateau state, between the predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent. Those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.

Syria: Western-backed rebels vow revenge strikes against Assad's Alawite community over claims his forces used chemical weapons

Al-Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian jihadist group, on Sunday vowed revenge strikes against villages from President Bashar Al-Assad's Alawite community over claims his forces used chemical weapons, AFP reports.

"The Alawite villages will pay the price for each chemical rocket that struck our people in Damascus," Al-Nusra front chief Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani said in an audio message posted on the Internet and on his Twitter account.

He added that "one thousand rockets will be used for this purpose"
. . .
Jawlani called on "the soldiers of Al-Nusra" to "spread their fire... before the end of the day and the setting of the sun."

Assad hails from the Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam unlike most Sunni rebel groups fighting to topple him, including Al-Nusra, whose chief in March pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

Members of Al-Nusra and other rebel groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

Al-Nusra was once was the largest faction in the Islamist Front for the Liberation of Syria (ISIS), the 13-member rebel coalition that broke away from the main opposition force and has declared its own Islamic state in Aleppo...
Update:
Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday.

Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof," that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed.

Damascus has recently facing growing Western accusations that its forces used such weapons, which President Obama has described as crossing a red line. But Ms. del Ponte's remarks may serve to shift the focus of international concern...
In an explosive declaration, Syria’s deputy foreign minister has now come out on record in declaring that the US, Britain, and France were instrumental in aiding the chemical attacks on Syria through a network of terrorists inside the country.
. . .
Going further with the intel on the subject, the Syrian official now says that the next target will be Europe. Confirming earlier reports by myself and powerhouse journalist Paul Joseph Watson that there was a US government element involved in the planning of the key chemical attacks as documented by Yahoo News, the deputy foreign minister told reporters outside of the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus that he had even presented the United Nations chemical weapons inspectors with bombshell information that reveals the US helped in ‘arming terrorist groups’ to carry out the attacks...
BRITONS are overwhelmingly against an immediate missile strike on Syria, an exclusive Express Online poll reveals, with only eight per cent of the public backing such action.

The poll results, which come as MPs begin their historic Commons debate on military action, show 80 per cent of people are against David Cameron launching an immediate attack, while 12 per cent are undecided.

A significant 41 per cent of people are against action by Britain in any circumstances, while 39 per cent would only agree with a launch if the UN confirms chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian regime and then sanctions a strike.

The results are a blow to David Cameron who has been arguing for intervention amid a growing chorus of MPs urging caution following the lessons of the Iraq war 10 years ago.

The Prime Minister believes the use of chemical weapons in Damascus last week, which the UK and US argue was ordered by Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, represents a breach of international law.

Leading Conservative backbencher Douglas Carswell, who has been urging the Prime Minister to listen to Parliament, said the poll backed his view that there was no public appetite for intervention...

Pakistan: 231 children killed, 529 wounded as a result of the suicide attacks by the Taliban in 6 months

Brainwashing innocent young children into explosive-laden suicide bombers is a technique the Taliban have been using for more than a decade.

"It was two years ago when a man gave me a heavy bag tied with wires and connected to a button. The man told me that whenever I saw security personnel around, I should get closer to them and press the button," 16-year-old Sami Ullah said when interviewed Kandahar’s Sarpoza Prison.

Sami is one of the dozens of Afghan teenagers who were jailed for their alleged involvement in various crimes including robbery and drug trade. However, Sami's case is different from the other inmates because he was for planning to carry out a suicide bombing against Kandahar’s Afghan security forces.

When the child prisoners were asked what crimes they had committed, most of them refused to answer and just looked at the reporters.

Sami, however, said he was innocent. He said he was misled by the Taliban, adding that he did not understand what a suicide attack meant. Sami was lucky because he was not able to detonate the explosives handed to him by the Taliban. Before he could press the button of the device, he was arrested by the security forces.

"When I was arrested I was just 14-years-old, and I have been in prison since 23 months. I hate the Taliban because they deceived me and I could have blown myself had I pressed the device’s button," Sami said.

Gul Mohammad, 17, was another would-be suicide bomber who was arrested in July last year in Kandahar City’s Zharay District which is 450 km south of Kabul.

"When I was 15, my father sent me to a Madrasa (religious school) in Helmand province. But the teachers there decided to send me to a Pakistani Madrasa so that I could improve my education," Muhammad said.

Muhammad said that while at the Mawlavi Massoum seminary in Pakistan’s Quetta city, the mullahs told him that Afghanistan had been occupied by the US. "They sent me back with a suicide jacket to Kandahar and ordered me to carry out a suicide attack. Fortunately, I was captured by security forces and I am still alive," Mohammad said.

The Taliban, who ruled major parts of Afghanistan for more than six years until they were driven out by a US-led military invasion in late 2001, staged a violent comeback in 2005 and have since then continued staging deadly ambuscades and suicide attacks against Afghan and NATO-led security forces. Innocent civilians are among the victims of the Taliban's suicide attacks.

In the war-battered Afghanistan, children are suffering and are deprived of their rights mainly because of the war and the protracted conflicts. Up to 231 children were killed and another 529 wounded as a result of the suicide attacks by the Taliban in the first half of the current year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its mid-year report released in Kabul in late July.

More than 4.5 million school-aged children in Afghanistan could not go to school due to variety of reasons, with security as the top reason, Afghan security officials said.

According to a UNAMA report, 1,319 civilians were killed and 2,533 others injured in violent incidents between January 1 and June 30 this year, a 23 percent increase in overall civilian casualties as compared with 2012.

Recruiting children as soldiers by warlords and their rival factions was common during the factional fighting in Afghanistan in the 1990’s until 2001.

Syria: Fatwa prohibits shaving lice infested beards or attempting to kill the ‘believer lice growing in blessed beards’

Free Syrian Army (FSA) is an imaginary name for an umbrella that provides a cover to different death squads brought into Syria and home-grown ones to ‘promote democracy’ and ‘freedom’ by the US regime and stooges. The members of these groups follow an anti-Islamic doctrine known as Wahhabism which was invented by the Brits to distort the image of Islam from within and further their political goals using their victims to do so just like how they created Zionism to distort the image of Judaism from within and further their political goals using their victims to do so.

The following is not fiction and is not a fairy tale, many lost their lives for lesser reasons in Syria and Iraq and everywhere US planted their death squads under the different anti-Islamic Islamist radical groups, from Afghanistan to Mali and even within western countries like the case of Woolwich beheading for instance. A child was shot dead in Aleppo in front of his family for refusing to sell ‘Mujaheddin’ on the book! 3 other children killed a few days ago for not memorizing how many Rukaa (kneeling) are there in the Fajr (Dawn) prayers. A child had his tongue cut for not fasting during Ramadan. All documented crimes the UNHRW and other ‘humanitarian’ agencies decide not to investigate or condemn.

Last week a new fatwa, or religious advisory opinion, appeared in Aleppo prohibiting shaving lice infested beards or attempting to kill the ‘believer lice growing in blessed beards’ under a medieval sort of punishment. The following is the closest to literal translation to our best, and we do welcome better suggestions for the translation...

Nigeria: Muslim militants killed at least 44 villagers in continuing attacks, throats slit and eyes gouged out of survivors

The official of the National Emergency Management Agency says the attackers hit Dumba village in Borno state before dawn Tuesday and slit their victims' throats -- a new strategy since gunfire attracts security forces.

He said the attackers gouged out the eyes of some victims who survived. The official spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters.

Dumba is near the fishing village of Baga where security forces in March gunned down 187 civilians in retaliation for an attack by extremists.

It is difficult to get information from the area under a state of emergency, with cellphone and Internet service cut.

Borno is one of three northeastern states under a state of emergency declared May 14 to crack down on the Boko Haram terrorist network.

Since 2010, more than 1,700 people have been killed in attacks by Islamic insurgents, according to an Associated Press count.


US: Muslim cleric in South Florida sentenced to 25 years in prison for funneling tens of thousands of dollars to Taliban

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola imposed the sentence Friday on 78-year-old Hafiz Khan, who was convicted in March of four terror support-related charges. Federal prosecutors recommended a 15-year sentence and Khan faced a maximum of 60 years.

Trial evidence showed Khan arranged to send about $50,000 over a three-year period to Pakistan. Prosecutors argued the money helped finance violent attacks against both U.S. and Pakistani targets. Khan told the judge Friday the money was for family, friends and a religious school he founded.

Khan was imam at a Miami mosque before his 2011 arrest.

Indonesia: Top Muslim clerics lash out at country’s decision to host the Miss World beauty pageant

For more on Islam's views and laws concerning women, click here.

Indonesia’s top Islamic authority lashed out Friday at the country’s decision to host the Miss World beauty pageant next month, saying that women exposing their bodies went against Muslim teaching.

The pageant is already facing opposition in Muslim-majority Indonesia, with radicals vowing to stage protests against the contest even after organizers agreed to drop the bikini round in a bid to avoid causing offence.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) added its voice to the protests Friday, saying a top-level meeting of clerics earlier this month decided it did not want the pageant in the country.

“Exposing women’s bodies in public is ‘haram,’ forbidden by Islamic teaching,” senior MUI official Muhyiddin Junaidi told reporters in the capital Jakarta.

“Even though the bikini event is being axed, the contestants will still wear tight dresses and expose parts of their body.”

The group also urged the country’s Muslims, more than 90 percent of the 240 million population, not to watch the pageant on television.

“The contest tries to trick people by saying that it’s not only a physical beauty contest but also to show inner beauty,” said deputy MUI head, Amirsyah Tambunan.

Junaidi said that the MUI had now made its position clear, and it was up to authorities whether they decided to cancel the pageant.
. . .
Last year, pop sensation Lady Gaga axed a concert after hardliners threatened to burn down the venue and criticized her for wearing only “a bra and panties”.

More than 130 women will compete in Miss World, with some rounds on the resort island of Bali and the final in Bogor outside Jakarta. Bogor is in West Java province, parts of which are considered a stronghold for radicals.

Organizers revealed in June that the contestants would not wear bikinis during the beach fashion section, to be held in Bali, and would instead wear more conservative attire such as traditional sarongs

US: Jury finds Maj. Nidal Hasan guilty on killing 13 people and trying to kill 32 more during an attack at Fort Hood

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

The Army psychiatrist defended himself and repeatedly admitted to the shootings in the name of Allah.

Prosecutors said the devout Muslim had undergone a “progressive radicalization,” giving presentations in defense of suicide bombings and about soldiers conflicted between military service and their religion when such conflicts result in crime.

“My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land,” the 42-year-old Army psychiatrist said in a statement sent to Fox News. Hasan does face the death penalty.

Military prosecutors called 89 witnesses and submitted more than 700 pieces of evidence before resting their case, hoping to show that the American-born Muslim had undergone what they described as a progressive radicalization.

They have argued to the jury that Hasan, who was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan, did not want to fight against other Muslims and believed he had a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible.

Pakistan: Rights of minorities: ‘Ahmadis not allowed to do business in Muslim areas’

A man was forced to abandon his woodworking business and flee Gujranwala with his family after his erstwhile friends and neighbours discovered that he was an Ahmadi, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Imran Ahmed, 35, started out as a daily wager at a woodwork shop in Gujranwala. He saved up money for three years, then invested Rs100,000 in machinery and setting up his own workshop. As his business grew, he hired two carpenters to work for him. “Things were going really well, but nobody knew I was an Ahmadi,” he said.

Ahmed said that his was the only Ahmadi family in Rana Colony in Gujranwala and he kept this a secret as he feared being victimised. He got along well with his neighbours and one day, when he was injured in a motorcycle accident, they came to ask after him. Inside his house, they saw pictures of Ahmadi personalities. “Their mood totally changed and they left without even having tea,” he said.

Things changed dramatically for Ahmed. He said some other workshop owners who were his business rivals began a hate campaign against him. One by one, his ‘friends’ began socially boycotting him. Shopkeepers would refuse to sell him groceries, and his employees resigned, saying it was prohibited to work with him. “Boys on the street started passing comments about me and things got worse day by day,” he said.

Then one day during Ramazan, Ahmed said, three neighbouring shopkeepers and two clerics barged into his workshop and began beating him. They told him to leave at once if he wanted to protect his life and his family, he said. He asked to be allowed to remove his machinery from the shop, but they refused, he said. He rushed home, just a few hundred yards away, gathered his wife and three young children, and left Gujranwala. He now lives with relatives in another city and works as a daily wager at a furniture shop.

Ahmed said that he had not filed a complaint with the police, but he intended to do so soon. He would also ask the police to recover his machinery and household items. He said that he would nominate Maulvi Abdul Rehman, Abid Ali and Mubashar in his application to the police. He said that Ali and Mubashar had been close friends up until they had found out that he was an Ahmadi.
. . .
Munawar Ali Shahid, a human rights activist, said that this was just the latest manifestation of an anti-Ahmadi campaign being run by various hardline groups across the province, particularly in Lahore, where “baseless” cases had been registered against several Ahmadis in recent months. He said that the state had utterly failed to protect the lives and properties of minorities, particularly Ahmadis. He said he too had been threatened for seeking to protect the rights of Ahmadi citizens.

Pakistan: Cleric cut his wife into pieces for ‘challenging Allah’s orders’ by refusing to wear a veil and sending their children to school

For more on Islamic hijabs, click here.

They said the body was recovered from near their house. They said they found his confession on the body and had also recovered the weapon he had used.

The body has been handed over to the family following a post-mortem examination.

A case has been registered against the confession-killer, who the police said had been missing.

Ahmad Aziz, father of the deceased Farzana Bibi, 36, said that she married Muhammad Sharif, 42, a resident of Bakkhal Bhir in Mumtazabad Colony.

They had three children.

Aziz said that Sharif led prayers at the neighbourhood mosque and also gave Quran lessons at their home. He said Sharif was short-tempered and would often beat up Farzana Bibi. He had been telling her to cover her face when she left the house.

Aziz said Farzana Bibi wore an abaya (gown), but did not want to cover her face.

He said they often quarreled over the matter.

Police said Aziz was informed about the incident by the police shortly after they found Farzana Bibi’s body. Police said it had first been seen by a neighbour, who informed the police.

Police said in his note, Sharif had confessed to killing Farzana Bibi.

He wrote that he had deemed his action the best way to “punish his wife for rebelling against Allah’s orders”. He wrote that he wanted all women to learn from their example.

He said he had not wanted his children to study at a school. Instead they should have gone to a religious seminary. He said Farzana Bibi had enrolled their children into an English medium school against his will. He said he had wanted to punish her for that, too.

He said he had been telling her to cover her face with a veil when she stepping outside, but she had not listened. He also wrote that he did not want to be responsible for her sins and thus killed her.

He said it had taken him time to make up his mind for this.

On Wednesday morning, after the children left for school, he wrote, he attacked her with a sharp knife, used to slaughter animals. He later cut the body into 10 pieces...

Australia: Muslim preacher calls for all Buddhists and Hindus to be killed and describes Australian soldiers as “Crusader pigs”

Sheikh Sharif Hussein ... also attacks Jews, former prime minister John Howard, US President Barack Obama, and Australian troops.

“Tens of thousands of women were raped in Iraq, by the American and British crusader troops, aided by the Australian troops,” he says.

“The Australian participation in the Crusaders’ war on Iraq is 6 per cent. This is out of approximately 365,000 Crusader pigs sent to Iraq, during the term of (Mr Howard), Allah’s wrath be upon him.

“Listen, oh Obama, oh enemy of Allah, you who kiss the shoes and feet of the Jews. Listen! The day will come when you are trampled upon by the pure feet of the Muslims.

“Oh Allah, count the Buddhists and the Hindus one by one. Oh Allah, count them and kill them to the very last one."…

Sheikh Hussein is known in Adelaide’s Islamic community, used to be connected to the Marion mosque in Park Holme, and has preached at the Islamic Da’wah Centre of SA in Torrensville...

Thailand: Court sentences two men among five Iranians involved in attacks in India and Georgia targeting Israeli diplomats

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Two Iranian men were sentenced to between 15 years and life Thursday for their parts in a botched bomb plot last year in Bangkok that ended with one of them having his legs blown off.

Saeid Moradi, 29, who lost his limbs as he hurled an explosive device at police, was found guilty on charges including attempted murder and handed a life term by the Bangkok Southern Criminal court.

A judge said the court found him "guilty of carrying explosives in public, using explosives to attempt to kill officials and using explosives which caused the destruction of property".

A second defendant, Mohammad Khazaei, 43, was given a 15 year jail term for possession of explosives.

The pair, who had denied the charges, were among five Iranians suspected of involvement in the blasts that followed attacks in India and Georgia targeting Israeli diplomats.

A huge explosion tore the roof off a house in suburban Bangkok on February 14 last year, when bombs detonated apparently accidentally, sending the five men fleeing into the streets.

Prosecutors accused Moradi of hurling one bomb at a taxi and a second at two police officers as they approached him on the street, but it instead detonated near him.

The court heard that Khazaei ran out of the house after the first explosion and headed to the airport where police arrested him at the boarding gate.
. . .
One man is in custody in Malaysia, where he fled after the Bangkok explosions, and is fighting extradition to Thailand.

Two other suspects are believed to have returned to Iran.

Somalia: Muslims abduct Christian mother of two young children and threatened her husband because of their faith

Three masked men abducted Shamsa Enow Hussein, 28, on August 5 in Bulo Marer, Lower Shebelle Region, at 7 pm outside her home after determining that she was a secret Christian, 31-year-old Mohamed Isse Osman told Morning Star News.

"I just heard screaming from my wife and the children as I approached my house," Osman said.

That night, his wife was able to send him a text message saying he should flee the area, he said.

"Please leave immediately because of what we believe," she said in the text. "They have abused me sexually saying I am an infidel."

According to the East Africa correspondent for the news service, Osman said he has received anonymous, threatening text messages from the kidnappers from a withheld number, including one reading, "Your wife has told us all about your Christian involvement and soon we shall come for you too."

A leader of the underground church in the undisclosed town to which Osman and his daughters, ages 3 and 5, have fled said Osman has not heard from his wife since her August 5 text message.

"Our two young daughters are crying for their mother," Osman told the church leader.

The story went on to say that a resident of the Bulo Marer area whose name is withheld confirmed that Hussein was abducted but that local residents knew little else about it.

"What little we knew about Osman's family was that they were not very committed to attending the mosque during Ramadan time," he said.

Somalis consider themselves Muslim by birth, and apostasy, or leaving Islam, is punishable by death.

"Al-Shabab, said to have ties with Al Qaeda, reportedly has a base in Bulo Marer. The group has vowed to rid Somalia of Christians, who meet secretly due to persecution. Al Shabaab is battling the Somali government that replaced the Transitional Federal Government a year ago, on August 20, 2012," added the East Africa Correspondent.

"On June 7 in Jamaame District in southern Somalia, insurgents from the group shot 28-year-old Hassan Hurshe to death after identifying him as a Christian, sources said. Al Shabaab members brought Hurshe to a public place in the town of Jilib and shot him in the head, they said."

The insurgents have lost control of several areas of Somalia since Kenyan military forces helped to dislodge them in the past year, but they are suspected in the shooting death of a Christian pharmacist on the outskirts of Kismayo in February. Two masked men killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on Feb. 18 as he stood outside his house in Alanley village.

According to Morning Star News, these are some of the other attacks:

- On April 13, al-Shabab rebels shot his widow, 42-year-old Fartun Omar, to death in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Beledweyne, leaving their five children orphaned.

- On March 23, al-Shabab militants in Bulo Marer jailed and tortured a Christian, 25-year-old Hassan Gulled, for converting from Islam, sources said.

- On December 8, 2012 in Beledweyne, 206 miles (332 kilometres) north of Mogadishu, gunmen killed a Christian who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam. Two unidentified, masked men shot Mursal Isse Siad, 55, outside his home, Muslim and Christian sources said. Siad and his wife, who converted to Christianity in 2000, had moved to Beledweyne from Doolow eight months before. The area was under government control and there was no indication that the killers belonged to the al-Shabab rebels, but the Islamic extremist insurgents were present in Buulodbarde, and Christians believed a few al-Shabab rebels could have been hiding in Beledweyne.

- In the coastal city of Barawa on November 16, 2012, al-Shabab militants killed a Christian after accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said. The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, sources said. Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa, in the Lower Shebelle Region, in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, according to underground Christians in Somalia.

"Kenya's population is nearly 83 per cent Christian, according to Operation World, while Somalia's is close to 100 percent Muslim," concluded the story.

UK: Muslim TV channel fined £85,000 after a host said it was the duty of a Muslim to murder anyone who disrespected the Prophet

Ofcom said the fine imposed today was so large due to the serious nature of the breaches.

But it stopped short of revoking the channel's licence.

Noor TV, which is owned by Al Ehya Digital Television, broadcasts both in the UK and internationally on Sky.

The programme in question, Paigham-e-Mustafa, was broadcast on 3 May 2012.

Presenter Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami answered questions from viewers around the world about a wide range of issues relating to Islam.

One caller asked what the punishment was for anyone showing disrespect for Prophet Muhammad.

Nizami answered that "there is no disagreement about this. There is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death."

He also justified the actions of Mumtaz Qadri - the bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer in 2011, on the grounds that he objected to Mr Taseer's calls to amend the country's controversial blasphemy law.
. . .
In July, Ofcom fined the TV channel DM Digital £85,000, after it broadcast a speech by an Islamic scholar who said Muslims had "a duty to kill" anyone who insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

Malaysia: Buddhist tourists expelled by government for praying in Muslim prayer room

The government of Malaysia expelled a group of Singaporean tourists for chanting Buddhist prayers inside an Islamic prayer room where they erected a large Buddhist painting on the wall facing Mecca.

The government also revoked the permanent resident visa of the businessman who allowed the Buddhists to pray at his beach resort in Johor state, about 185 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Muslim-majority Malaysia.

The government’s response is the latest in a series of crackdowns on behavior deemed disrespectful of Islamic traditions and beliefs.

A Malaysian human rights group, Lawyers for Liberty, protested the action.

“Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the escalating religious intolerance in Malaysia, where in recent months several minor incidents of perceived insult against Islam have been blown completely out of proportion,” a statement by the group said.

Recent harsher punishments include the imprisonment of Malaysian citizens — Muslims and non-Muslims — who appeared in YouTube videos deemed to violate Islamic standards.

In one much-discussed incident last month, a couple that posted a Facebook photo of themselves eating pork during the Islamic month of Ramadan were arrested and charged under the Sedition Act. They pleaded not guilty.

The case involving the Buddhists gained attention after a video of the prayer session was posted on YouTube in mid-August.
. . .
When villagers near the beach resort saw the YouTube video, they angrily sought out the tourists and took them to a nearby police station, according to the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

The tourists complied with demands to leave the country and returned to Singapore.

On August 13, police detained the businessman who operated the resort while a local court investigated his alleged offense of violating a place of worship.

Malaysia’s Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he then revoked the resort operator’s permanent resident visa because the Singapore resident was “insensitive to Muslims and Islam,” the Malaysian Insider reported.
. . .
About 20 percent of Malaysia’s 30 million people are Buddhist, compared with a 61 percent Muslim population. An additional 9 percent are Christian and 6 percent are Hindu.

Iran: Christian convert from Islam sentenced to 10 years in prison for distributing copies of the gospel

Vatican, Aug 20 - An Iranian Christian convert from Islam was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "crimes against Iranian national security." Mohammad-Hadi Bordbar, known as Mostafa from Rasht, was tried and condemned for conspiracy after distributing copies of the gospel. He was said to have confessed to leaving Islam to convert to Christianity and to distributing 12,000 pocket-sized gospels as he considered evangelism a duty, Fides news agency reported.

Egypt: Christians plead with media to portray 'unrest' in country honestly, over 58 churches and 160 Christian buildings attacked

The Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Churches offer their full support to the police and to the government.

Both condemn media falsifications spread by Western countries, which give space to terrorist and bloodthirsty organisations responsible for attacks against 58 churches and 160 Christian buildings (pictured).

"We request that the international and western media provide a comprehensive account of all events with truth, accuracy, and honesty," said the statement made on behalf of Tawadros II.

In representation of the Catholic Church, Bishop Isaac Ibrahim, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Catholic Copts, slammed the "those media that promote lies and falsify the truth in order to mislead world public opinion."

Both communities would like to thank everyone, especially Muslims, who defended Christian churches, homes and shops, even at the cost of their life, from attacks from Islamic extremists.

The two statements follow in full:

...

A Statement from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt about the situation in Egypt

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt is following closely the unfortunate incidences occurring in our nation and confirms its strong stance with the Egyptian law enforcement, the armed forces, and all civil Egyptian institutions in confronting violent armed organizations and dark malicious forces, both internal and external. The attacks on our government entities and peaceful churches are terrorizing our citizens both Coptic and Muslim. These actions stand against all religions, morality, and humanity.

We value the stance of the friendly and loyal countries who understand the nature of these events. We strongly denounce the fallacies broadcasted by the western media and invite them to review the facts objectively regarding these bloody radical organizations and their affiliates instead of legitimizing them with global support and political protection while they attempt to spread devastation and destruction in our dear land. We request that the international and western media adhere to providing a comprehensive account of all events with truth, accuracy, and honesty.

Our sincere condolences are extended to all the victims and martyrs of duty that gave their lives, and we pray for the recovery of all those injured and afflicted. We persevere in our strong national unity and repulse any attempts to polarize our great nation into a secular conflict. We absolutely reject even partial foreign interference in our internal affairs. As the hand of evil extends to burn, kill and destroy; the Hands of God are nearer to protect, strengthen, and build. We have full faith and confidence in the Divine intervention that will navigate the Egyptian people in this delicate time of our history to a better tomorrow and a brighter future filled with justice, peace, and democracy that the people of the Nile Valley so rightly deserve.

Long live Egypt, free and proud.


Muslim terror network Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe's high-speed rail network

Islamist terror network Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe's high-speed rail network, German newspaper Bild reported on Monday, citing U.S. intelligence sources.

The group could plant explosives on trains and tunnels or sabotage tracks and electrical cabling, said the newspaper, which is Europe's most widely-read daily.

The information reportedly came from the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States, which had eavesdropped on a call involving top al-Qaeda operatives. The attacks on Europe's rail network was a "central topic" of this call, Bild said.

Authorities in Germany have responded to the threat with discreet measures such as deploying plain-clothes police officers at key stations and on main routes, according to the report.
. . .
On August 1, the US issued a worldwide alert, warning of al-Qaeda plans to launch an attack in the Middle East or North Africa.

Egypt: Minya churches cancel second mass for first time in 1,600 years due to attacks by Morsi supporters

Minya churches canceled on Sunday the second mass, holding only a brief one. Meanwhile, prayers did not take place at other churches which were attacked.

Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram monastery in Degla, south of Minya, said, “We did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years. ”

“Supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy destroyed the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram monastery, which includes three churches, one of which is an archaeological site. One of the extremists wrote on the monastery wall ‘donate to the martyrs' mosque,'” Lotfy added.

Egypt: 40 churches looted and torched, 23 others attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday

After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like "prisoners of war" before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority. The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism.

Christians have long suffered from discrimination and violence in Muslim majority Egypt, where they make up 10 percent of the population of 90 million. Attacks increased after the Islamists rose to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that drove Hosni Mubarak from power, emboldening extremists. But Christians have come further under fire since President Mohammed Morsi was ousted on July 3, sparking a wave of Islamist anger led by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt's military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi's reinstatement, killing scores of protesters and sparking deadly clashes nationwide.

One of the world's oldest Christian communities has generally kept a low-profile, but has become more politically active since Mubarak was ousted and Christians sought to ensure fair treatment in the aftermath.

Despite the violence, Egypt's Coptic Christian church renewed its commitment to the new political order Friday, saying in a statement that it stood by the army and the police in their fight against "the armed violent groups and black terrorism."

While the Christians of Egypt have endured attacks by extremists, they have drawn closer to moderate Muslims in some places, in a rare show of solidarity.
. . .
Sister Manal is the principal of the Franciscan school in Bani Suef. She was having breakfast with two visiting nuns when news broke of the clearance of the two sit-in camps by police, killing hundreds. In an ordeal that lasted about six hours, she, sisters Abeer and Demiana and a handful of school employees saw a mob break into the school through the wall and windows, loot its contents, knock off the cross on the street gate and replace it with a black banner resembling the flag of al-Qaida.

By the time the Islamists ordered them out, fire was raging at every corner of the 115-year-old main building and two recent additions. Money saved for a new school was gone, said Manal, and every computer, projector, desk and chair was hauled away. Frantic SOS calls to the police, including senior officers with children at the school, produced promises of quick response but no one came.

The Islamists gave her just enough time to grab some clothes.

In an hourlong telephone interview with The Associated Press, Manal, 47, recounted her ordeal while trapped at the school with others as the fire raged in the ground floor and a battle between police and Islamists went on out on the street. At times she was overwhelmed by the toxic fumes from the fire in the library or the whiffs of tears gas used by the police outside.

Sister Manal recalled being told a week earlier by the policeman father of one pupil that her school was targeted by hard-line Islamists convinced that it was giving an inappropriate education to Muslim children. She paid no attention, comfortable in the belief that a school that had an equal number of Muslim and Christian pupils could not be targeted by Muslim extremists. She was wrong.

The school has a high-profile location. It is across the road from the main railway station and adjacent to a busy bus terminal that in recent weeks attracted a large number of Islamists headed to Cairo to join the larger of two sit-in camps by Morsi's supporters. The area of the school is also in one of Bani Suef's main bastions of Islamists from Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Salafis.

"We are nuns. We rely on God and the angels to protect us," she said. "At the end, they paraded us like prisoners of war and hurled abuse at us as they led us from one alley to another without telling us where they were taking us," she said. A Muslim woman who once taught at the school spotted Manal and the two other nuns as they walked past her home, attracting a crowd of curious onlookers.

"I remembered her, her name is Saadiyah. She offered to take us in and said she can protect us since her son-in-law was a policeman. We accepted her offer," she said. Two Christian women employed by the school, siblings Wardah and Bedour, had to fight their way out of the mob, while groped, hit and insulted by the extremists. "I looked at that and it was very nasty," said Manal.

The incident at the Franciscan school was repeated at Minya where a Catholic school was razed to the ground by an arson attack and a Christian orphanage was also torched.

"I am terrified and unable to focus," said Boulos Fahmy, the pastor of a Catholic church a short distance away from Manal's school. "I am expecting an attack on my church any time now," he said Saturday.

Bishoy Alfons Naguib, a 33-year-old businessman from Minya, has a similarly harrowing story.

His home supplies store on a main commercial street in the provincial capital, also called Minya, was torched this week and the flames consumed everything inside.

"A neighbor called me and said the store was on fire. When I arrived, three extremists with knifes approached me menacingly when they realized I was the owner," recounted Naguib. His father and brother pleaded with the men to spare him. Luckily, he said, someone shouted that a Christian boy was filming the proceedings using his cell phone, so the crowd rushed toward the boy shouting "Nusrani, Nusrani," the Quranic word for Christians which has become a derogatory way of referring to them in today's Egypt.

Naguib ran up a nearby building where he has an apartment and locked himself in. After waiting there for a while, he left the apartment, ran up to the roof and jumped to the next door building, then exited at a safe distance from the crowd.

"On our Mustafa Fahmy street, the Islamists had earlier painted a red X on Muslim stores and a black X on Christian stores," he said. "You can be sure that the ones with a red X are intact."

In Fayoum, an oasis province southwest of Cairo, Islamists looted and torched five churches, according to Bishop Ibram, the local head of the Coptic Orthodox church, by far the largest of Egypt's Christian denominations. He said he had instructed Christians and clerics alike not to try to resist the mobs of Islamists, fearing any loss of life.

"The looters were so diligent that they came back to one of the five churches they had ransacked to see if they can get more," he told the AP. "They were loading our chairs and benches on trucks and when they had no space for more, they destroyed them."

Pakistan: Man kills 12-year-old daughter for refusing to marry her cousin, body found chopped into six pieces

For more on forced marriage, click here.

Police said Muhammad Khadim, 46, a resident of Khoja area in Shujabad, had accepted his nephew’s proposal for his daughter six months ago.

They said his sister and brother-in-law had been pressing him to arrange the wedding.

They said his daughter Haseena, who was studying in grade 6, did not want to marry. Some relatives said that she had requested her father to let her finish college, but he had refused.

They said her mother Shahnaz Bibi, too, was against the early marriage. They said she had argued with her husband over the matter and was beaten up for it. They said he had accused her of brainwashing their daughter.

Shahnaz Bibi told The Express Tribune that on Friday, she had an argument with Khadim when he took up the matter again.

She said when he started beating her up, Haseena tried to stop him. She said he got infuriated and locked her in a room. When her mother-in-law tried to stop him, he locked her as well.

She said he kept shouting that “he should have killed Haseena the day she was born rather than face disobedience.

She said he took Haseena to another room saying he would convince her to marry his nephew. She said Haseena had been shouting for help, but then her screams stopped suddenly.

She said she and her mother-in-law cried for help, attracting the attention of some neighbours.

She said Khadim emerged from the room and tried to hit her, but left on seeing some neighbours enter the house.

She said she and her mother-in-law they were freed and rushed to the other room and found her daughter cut into pieces...

UK: Heathrow Airport on high terror alert amid fears women suicide bombers ready to strike with ­explosives concealed in breast implants

Security checks have been beefed up after “credible” intelligence that al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on airlines flying out of London.

One staff member said: “There are genuine fears over this.

"We have been told to pay particular attention to females who may have concealed hidden explosives in their breasts.

“This is particularly difficult for us to pick up but we are on a very high state of alert.

“It’s led to long queues here at Heathrow – much longer than usual at this time of the year.

“But because it’s the summer holiday season, no one has complained.”

Al-Qaeda’s chief bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri is understood to have developed the method of foiling airport scanners by concealing ­explosives in an implant or bodily cavity.

It is also feared there is no shortage of ­volunteers willing to take part in an atrocity after hundreds of extremists recently escaped from prison in Pakistan.

Explosives expert Andy Oppenheimer said: “There is a great fear that al-Qaeda are planning on using internal devices to try and get through airport scanners.

"These explosives could be in breast implants.”

Another specialist, who asked not to be named, said breast implant bombs could be set off by injecting another liquid.

The expert added: “Both are very difficult to pick up with current technology and they are petrified al-Qaeda are a step ahead here.

“It’s pretty top secret and potentially very grisly and ghastly.”

Independent security analyst Paul Beaver said: “There are currently deeply serious concerns over body cavities and implants of all kinds – including breast implants – being used to hide explosives.

"It is taking longer to get through Heathrow and other airports in Europe and North America because of these fears.

“They are taking longer to screen people and there is definitely some sort of profiling going on.

“The general alert state remains the same in the UK but overseas, the recent Pakistan prison breakouts and foiled attacks in Yemen are raising fears of a new jihadist wave of violence.”

Terrorists are believed to be plotting attacks with the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN.

It is also feared they may have ­developed an undetectable liquid explosive that could be soaked into clothing.
. . .
Scans won't detect them: Expert view by Philip Baum, Editor of Security International The possibility of medically implanted explosives is a concern to the industry.

There are two main ways of initiating a detonation – by chemical reaction or radio controlled detonators.

The problem is another reason why we should be using behavioural analysis as the primary detection method to screen people at airports.

Body scanners are good at identifying things outside the body but not inside.

Whether or not implants would make effective explosive devices in passenger planes is also questionable.

The examples we have seen haven’t quite had the impact those behind them might have hoped for.

UK: Spoons in underwear to alert airport security ‘saving youths from forced marriage’

As Britain puts airport staff on alert to spot potential victims of forced marriage, one campaigning group says the trick of putting a spoon in their underwear has saved some youngsters from a forced union in their South Asian ancestral homelands.

The concealed spoon sets off the metal detector at the airport in Britain and the teenagers can be taken away from their parents to be searched -- a last chance to escape a largely hidden practice wrecking the lives of unknown thousands of British youths.

The British school summer holidays, now well under way, mark a peak in reports of young people -- typically girls aged 15 and 16 -- being taken abroad on “holiday,” for a marriage without consent, the government says.

The bleep at airport security may be the last chance they get to escape a marriage to someone they have never met in a country they have never seen.

The spoon trick is the brainchild of the Karma Nirvana charity, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honor-based abuse.

Based in Derby, central England, it fields 6,500 calls per year from around Britain but has almost reached that point so far in 2013 as awareness of the issue grows.

When petrified youngsters ring, “if they don’t know exactly when it may happen or if it’s going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear,” said Natasha Rattu, Karma Nirvana’s operations manager.

“When they go though security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry,” she told AFP.

“We’ve had people ring and that it’s helped them and got them out of a dangerous situation. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do with your family around you -- but they won't be aware you have done it. It’s a safe way.”

The charity is working with airports -- so far London Heathrow, Liverpool and Glasgow, with Birmingham to come -- to spot potential signs, such as one-way tickets, the time of year, age of the person and whether they look uncomfortable.

“These are quite general points, but there are things that if you look collectively lead you to believe something more sinister is going on,” said Rattu.

People who come forward can be escorted out of a secure airport exit to help outside.

Marriages without consent, or their refusal, have led to suicides and so-called honour killings, shocking a nation widely deemed to have successfully absorbed immigrant communities and customs.
. . .
Last year, the Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit dealt with some 1,500 cases -- 18 percent of them men.
. . .
The cases related to 60 countries: almost half were linked to Pakistan, 11 percent to Bangladesh, eight percent to India, and two percent to Afghanistan. Other countries were Somalia, Turkey and Iraq.

Calls to Karma Nirvana tend to spike before the British school summer holidays and again at the end, said Rattu.

“The holidays are a really good time for young people to go missing because there is nobody accounting for where they are at school,” she said.

Since Ramadan ended last week, calls have risen again, including one from an 18-year-old who has fallen pregnant and her family is trying force her into marriage to conceal it.

Burdened by South Asian codes of “izzat,” or family honour, youngsters can be under extreme physical and emotional duress to marry relatives in a culture and country they were not brought up in.

If they refuse, they are often threatened with being thrown out of the family -- or worse. “It really takes a brave person to stand up against their family,” said Rattu.

Australia: Prisoner who killed his own baby daughter wins $3,000 compensation because he was forced to eat vegetables

Raymond Akhtar Ali, 60, was fed a vegetarian diet in Maryborough Correctional Centre for four months in late 2008 and early 2009.

His religious beliefs required he eat specially-prepared halal meat, which must be blessed, slaughtered, cooked and stored according to strict rules.

Ali was incorrectly told that halal food was not available, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard. The Tribunal ordered the Queensland State Government to pay the $3000 compensation into a victim trust fund, the Courier-Mail reports.
. . .
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie described Ali as a "monster" and said he is seeking advice to appeal the decision.

Ali was sentenced to life in prison after he bashed and dismembered his newborn daughter before burying her body at his home in Logan City in 1998.

UK: Muslim policeman charged with leaking plans to arrest Anjem Choudary to his wife who worked for George Galloway

A Met Police officer leaked details of plans to arrest hate preacher Anjem Choudary to his wife while she was working for MP George Galloway, a court heard today.

Detective Inspector Mohammed Afiz Khan, 46, from Yorkshire, is accused of passing confidential information to his wife Aisha Ali-Khan while he was at the helm of the Muslim Contact Unit - part of the force's Counter Terrorism Command.

Ali-Khan, 33, who worked as the Bradford West MP's parliamentary secretary, is said to have asked her husband to use his position to investigate the source of a string of e-mails and obtain personal details.

In addition to the alleged leak concerning the radical Islamist cleric, Khan is also accused of obtaining CCTV footage from South Yorkshire Police without a valid reason.

The couple appeared together to face the charges during a brief hearing at Westminster Magisrates' Court.

Khan, dressed in a grey suit and blue striped tie, and Ali-Khan, wearing all black, stood together as they confirmed their names, ages and addresses during the brief hearing.

The two defendants were charged last month following a Met probe into alleged wrongdoing, Khan is accused of improperly accessing the CCTV between March 16 and April 30, and of leaking details of Mr Choudary’s arrest on May 22 last year.

Ali-Khan is accused of asking her husband to commit misconduct in a public office on August 24 last year.
. . .
Ali-Khan, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, is accused of two counts of encouraging the commission of offences. Khan is accused of two counts of misconduct in a public office and four counts of breaching the Data Protection Act...

Syria: Western-backed rebels have killed an Italian Jesuit priest who disappeared late last month

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Paolo Dall’Oglio, a vocal supporter of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some Islamist rebel groups, disappeared in the rebel-held city of Raqqa on July 29.

He had served for three decades at the Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian, or Deir Mar Musa, before being expelled from the country in 2012. Since then he had returned to Syria at least twice.

The British-based monitoring group cited local activists in the city of Raqqa with close links to Dall’Oglio as saying he was killed while being held by fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
. . .
The Observatory urged all Syrian opposition forces to pressure the ISIL fighters to reveal exactly what happened to Dall’Oglio “so his killers can be held to account, and to hand over his body for burial.”

Activists initially said he was kidnapped by the ISIL fighters, although some later said he had been meeting the al Qaeda-linked fighters to agree a truce with Kurdish brigades...

UK: Mohamoud Elmi charged with the attempted murder of a police officer in a knife attack at a mosque

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Mohamoud Elmi, 32, of Ward End Hall Grove, Birmingham also faces a second attempted murder charge and one count of wounding.

Mr Elmi was arrested late on 15 June following a knife attack during evening prayers at a mosque on Washwood Heath Road, Ward End.

He was remanded in custody at Birmingham Magistrates' Court...

Egypt: Morsi supporters torched three churches in reprisal attacks as police dispersed demonstrations

The assailants threw firebombs at Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians who comprise up to 10 percent of Egypt's 84 million people, causing it to burn down, the official MENA news agency said.

Security officials told AFP that another two churches were attacked in El-Menia province, leaving them partially damaged by fire.

Coptic rights group the Maspero Youth Union reported the same information, accusing Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement of "waging a war of retaliation" against the country's Christians.

Dozens of Morsi supporters were killed on Wednesday as security forces moved in to disperse them from two major protest camps in Cairo that they have occupied since around the time the army ousted him six weeks ago.

The Coptic church backed Morsi's removal, with Patriarch Tawadros II appearing alongside army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he announced the military coup on July 3.

Pakistan: Wine dealers boost security after four liquor shops were targeted a week ago by Muslims

With an armed man by his side, Anil sits alert outside his liquor shop near Sea View, staring at every person entering the street. “Of course we are afraid to work now. What if a suicide bomber blows up the shop?” asks the troubled dealer.

Amidst fear and anxiety, four liquor shops, three in DHA and one in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, which were targeted a week ago, have reopened, but shopkeepers continue to complain about declining business and police negligence.

“The buyers are just as much scared. If we had 100 customers coming in regularly before, there are less than 50 turning up now,” he said.

Boosting security

Fearing more deadly attacks, wine dealers have started taking precautions for their safety.

At Shaheen Corporation’s wine shop near Village Restaurant on Sea View, where Anil works, he is telling people to park their vehicles far away from the shop.

“We can’t turn customers away or decide which one to sell to. At the moment, we are just asking them to park their cars at a distance in case any vehicle is laden with explosives.”

Anil, who has been working at the shop since its inception two years ago, says the claims of police patrol around wine shops are untrue. “We were shocked when our shop was targeted as we have never faced any difficulty selling alcohol. The police should provide us with security and track down miscreants involved in these attacks.”

In the absence of police patrol near Ittehad Traders and Wine Shop located near Sea View McDonalds, which was also attacked a week back, the owners have hired two private guards.

As labourers put cement on the steps damaged by the explosion, a worker at the shop said that they had also planned to install doors with grills.

In Karachi, there are up to 50 wine shops, which were closed down in the month of Ramazan. After the holy month ended, wine dealers were reluctant, however, to immediately open their shops.

“Every year after the one-month closure, we open up shops on chand raat, but this time we decided to delay their opening,” said a supplier and member of the wine association of the city...

Saudi Arabia: The Prophet’s Mosque’s security force arrest 24 pickpockets who stole from worshippers while praying

The thieves were arrested during Ramadan under a plan implemented by the police director of the region, Brig. Gen. Saud bin Awad Al-Ahmadi. The plan involved deploying police detectives inside the mosque and the courtyards surrounding it to prevent any kind of pickpocketing activities.

Madinah police Col. Fahd bin Amer Al-Ghanam, said, “Three of the arrested are Egyptian, three others are Pakistanis, and a seventh is from Nepal.”

Items such as wallets containing different currencies and mobile phones were found on the suspects.

He noted that policewomen of the investigation unit arrested a 30-year-old woman while she was pickpocketing a Filipino female visitor. Once the thief noticed that she was caught red-handed, she tried to throw away the wallet, but was caught nevertheless.

“Search and investigation members were suspicious of three juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17. A mobile phone was found on one of them and the device was returned to its original owner,” said Al-Ghanam.

Another 15-year-old juvenile was arrested while he was stealing a mobile phone from a sleeping person inside the mosque. Five other mobiles and sums of different currencies were found on an Egyptian aged 35. The security force had followed the man while he was walking among worshippers who were sleeping inside the mosque at the time...

Pakistan: Christians still awaiting justice after Christian leader was shot dead by Muslim gunman in front of his children

Ishaq Masih, a resident of an Okara district village near provincial capital Lahore, was reportedly shot dead July 27 while his two young sons were watching the bloodshed.

The main gunman was publicly identified as Muhammad Luqman, also known as Ranjha. He allegedly illegally occupied Masih's land, accompanied by at least seven others.

"They surrounded us and started beating my father," said the late Christian's 15-year-old son, Arshad Masih in published remarks seen by BosNewsLife. "I and my brother cried for help but nobody was there to help us. They were laughing and raising slogans that this bleady Christian has a lot of land," he recalled in a statement distributed by rights activists.

Local Christians linked the attack to Masih's activities who besides being an active landowner was also the village's Christian leader who supported reportedly persecuted Christians in the area.

"FATHER INTERFERING"

"They accused his father of "interfering" and said was now in their hands," Arshad Masih recalled about that fateful day. The attackers said 'We will teach him how to keep enmity with the Muslims', Masih explained.

"Then they opened fire...and it struck the heart of my father. My father felt on the ground and started to shudder."

His 12-year-old brother Siama Masih said he had tried give his wounded father some water. "But Ranjha took that from me and slapped me”, he added.

Siama Masih said the attackers also took his brother Arshad with them "to the shed of the cattle and started beating him."

The attackers allegedly insisted Arshad Masih would admit to having killed his own father. "But my brother did not say a word. He was scared and shocked. I ran to my mother and told her about the incident..."

He said his uncles and cousins "rushed towards" the land where they killed his father. "Later they called police which came really late. They refused to file a report (about the case)."

CHRISTIANS PROTEST

Soon after hundreds of Pakistani Christians braved the summer heat for three days and two nights in agricultural fields to pressure to register the alleged murder of the 45-year-old father of two, locals said.

They also refused to bury the body for three days, violating the Pakistani practice of burial the next day, till police agreed to register the case, detain two of the suspects and conduct an autopsy.

On July 29, police reportedly promised that they would "arrest all other suspects" including Ranjha, within a week, but only if the Christians would bury Masih, and then disperse peacefully.

The protesters agreed, and Catholic Father James Bahadur buried Masih that night, Christians said.

However, now nearly three weeks later, Ranjha has not been detained while seven accomplishes were released on bail, local Christians said.

POLICE CONTROVERSY

Police could immediately be reached to explain the reasons behind the release of suspects in the case.

The incident has underscored wider concerns among activists over what they views as growing pressure on minority Christians in the predominantly Islamic nation.

In the Okara District village of Chak 8-4/L Christians are in mourning.

"He was very active in helping the Christians of the Village and never cared about his family or protection," noted his niece Said Humaira, in comments published by the Voice rights group.

Local authorities have been blamed for not doing enough to investigate and halt reported attacks against minority Christians.

UK: Senior British Cabinet member lied over number of Palestinians killed by Israelis since January 2012

Senior Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Sayeeda Warsi stands accused of misleading the House of Lords and the public following the incorrect citation of the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis since January 2012.

The question, posited by the contentious former Liberal Democrat Baroness Jenny Tonge, asks, “what assessment [the government] have made of the number of non-violent protestors killed and injured by (1) live fire, (2) rubber bullets, and (3) other weapons, in Palestine since 2002.” The answer, given by Baroness Warsi via written question, states:

“We have made no assessment of the number of non-violent protestors killed or injured in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2002. According to the website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 3,643 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israelis since 1 January 2012 in incidents directly related to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the West Bank and Gaza strip.”

But the figures are astronomically incorrect, as the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) states clearly in its report from June 2013, that the actual figure of Palestinians killed by Israelis in 2012 was just 262. 13 have been killed so far in 2013. B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories states that 518 Palestinians were killed between January 2009 and June 2013, again dwarfed by the figure cited by Baroness Warsi.

Baroness Warsi is now being called upon to apologise to the House of Lords, and to the wider public, over the gross exaggeration of figures which distort the truth and will, some say, lead to the miseducation and misrepresentation about the situation in the Middle East.

The figure of 3,643 appears to come from an anti-Israel site called “AidToIsrael.org” which does not give any working citations or calculations for the figure. The site also seems to have not been updated since 2009, further confusing the facts.

Conservative Member of Parliament Bob Blackman MP told TrendingCentral.com, “It is totally unacceptable that incorrect figures are announced without clarity on the source or basis behind which they have been obtained.”

“I will be seeking urgent clarification from Lady Warsi on the true position so that no attempt is made to mislead the public in the United Kingdom at a critical time when peace talks have resumed.”
. . .
Baroness Warsi was not available for comment.

Responding to the Written Parliamentary Question, Conservative Friends of Israel Director Stuart Polak said, “Baroness Warsi’s response is deplorable. This official answer from Her Majesty’s Government is at best sloppy and lazy behaviour by the FCO. At worst, it’s a one-sided attempt to slur Israel and Israelis.

“This must be corrected immediately and the FCO should carefully examine the sources that it relies upon for its information.”

Pakistan: Married woman, who eloped on the eve of Eid but returned later, beaten to death by brother and father-in-law

For more on honor related violence, click here.

City police said they also hit her sister-in-law, Shazia Bibi,* for allegedly helping her elope. Shazia was taken to the district headquarters hospital, where she was reported to be in critical condition.

Police said Shahida Bibi*, a resident of Azeem Colony and a mother of three, went missing a day before Eid. Some neighbours told her in-laws that they had seen her with a man from the neighbourhood. Police said she returned the next day and said she had gone to visit a cousin.

On Monday, police said, her brother visited her house and said that he had established that she had not visited her cousin that night. He said some one had informed her father-in-law that she had gone with a man. At this, police said, he started beating her. Her father-in-law joined him in the beating.

They then hit her with a brick on the head several times. When her sister-in-law tried to save her, they said, her father-in-law hit her as well. They accused her of “helping her spend a night outside the house without informing her family”.

Shahida Bibi died on the spot. Her sister-in-law was taken to the DHQ hospital, where she was reported to be in critical condition. Doctors treating her said that she had severe head injuries...

Zanzibar: Victims of acid attack may have been targeted in a revenge attack by a spurned admirer, apprehended cleric may be involved

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18, were still in hospital in London last night after being flown back from Africa by air ambulance on Friday.

They had been walking to meet friends for dinner when two men on a passing moped splashed battery acid over them on Wednesday.

The burning caused severe injuries which are likely to need multiple operations. Both girls are expected to spend several more days at the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Friends in Zanzibar City, where the girls had been teaching, have said that the pair received unwanted attention from young men in the days before the attack.

The departure of a male friend earlier in the week had left them more vulnerable, they added.

The dormitories where Katie and Kirstie were staying with other voluntary workers were often surrounded by local teenage boys.

One nearby resident, named only as Abdul because of the fear of reprisals, said the young men were angered at being rebuffed.

He said: ‘There were a lot of girls staying in the house. Sometimes boys come over. They make so many comments to the girls. They want to go abroad. But the girls told them to go away.’

Katie and Kirstie, who are both from Jewish families in affluent Hampstead, north west London, are members of The Abstinence Club, a group of 100 London teenagers who promote celibacy as ‘the only reliable form of contraception’.

They also knew to dress appropriately for the mainly Muslim island’s cultural traditions, according to Katie’s mother Nicky Gee.

Surgeon Mohammed Jidawi, who treated the girls immediately after the attack, said Katie, who received the worse injuries, has burns to 80 per cent of her right arm and 50 per cent of her torso.
. . .
Threats of acid attacks are not uncommon on the island. Tourists rebuffing touts offering cheap goods are often told: ‘For 500 shillings I can destroy your face...

UK: Salesman charged with terror offences after making a series of videos 'glorifying' the murder of soldier Lee Rigby

Royal Barnes, from Hackney, east London, is accused of creating clips celebrating the father-of-one's execution in Woolwich, including one called 'Muslim laughs at British Soldier killing'.

He is also accused of inciting terrorism overseas and appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court after being arrested on Friday along with a 21-year-old woman, who is due to answer bail tomorrow.

Lee Rigby, 25, a father-of-one from the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was run down by a car and then hacked to death as he returned to his barracks in south-east London.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said today Barnes is charged with dissemination of terrorist publications for allegedly making a series of recordings about Drummer Rigby's death on May 22, and circulating them 'with the intention, either directly or indirectly of encouraging others into the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism'.

He is also charged with encouraging an act of terrorism by publishing a statement that glorified the killing, and inciting terrorism overseas.

It is claimed that on June 12 he 'incited another to commit an act of terrorism, wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom, and that act, would if committed in England and Wales constitute an offence'.

Barnes, who insisted on standing throughout the court hearing, was refused bail and remanded in custody until a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday, August 16...

PA: Al-Qaeda send a message to the United States during radio interview: “Islam is coming and there is no other choice.”

That sentiment was expressed by Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadiya Salafiya in the Gaza Strip, speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.

Jihadiya Salafiya represents al-Qaida in the Gaza Strip.

Saqer further stated that after battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the thousands of foreign jihadists currently in Syria could turn their ire on what he called the many other “enemies of Islam,” including Israel and the United States.

Saqer did not say the spread of Islam in the U.S. will come through violence.

“Islam is coming and there is no other choice,” he told Klein about America and Europe.

“Because we think Islam will come and this is something that no one can prevent,” he stated.

“And we will raise the Islamic flag on every point on earth where Muslims live and we will chase all the enemies of Islam wherever they are. Even in the West, in Europe and in the United States.”

Asked where he thinks the thousands of foreign jihadists fighting Assad will go next, Saqer replied, “After finishing with him, there are many enemies for Islam.”

He continued: “At the head the Zionist enemy and the United States. And the evolution on the ground in Syria will define where is the next target and who is the next target of the Mujahadeen.”

“This can be the Israeli enemy. This can be the United States or anybody who is making a conspiracy with them against Islam.”

At least 6,000 jihadist rebels in Syria, many affiliated with al-Qaida, now pose a major security risk to the U.S. and Europe, according to Obama administration officials and Mideast experts.

Last Tuesday, Michael Morell, the Central Intelligence Agency’s second-in-command, warned in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that al-Qaida groups in Syria, along with the civil war itself, pose the greatest threat to U.S. national security.

The Wall Street Journal reported Morell said there are now more foreigners flowing into Syria each month to fight with al-Qaida-affiliated groups than there were going to Iraq to fight with al-Qaida at the height of the war there.

Meanwhile, according to UPI, Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, stated Syria “has become really the predominant jihadist battlefield in the world.”

“The concern going forward from a threat perspective is there are individuals traveling to Syria, becoming further radicalized, becoming trained and then returning as part of really a global jihadist movement to Western Europe and, potentially, to the United States,” said Olsen at a security conference in Aspen, Colo., this month...

India: Leading Sunni and Shi'ite clerics tell Muslims Facebook and Twitter accounts are un-Islamic

Muslims should not create profiles on Facebook or Twitter because they are ‘un-Islamic’, religious leaders in India have claimed.

Influential helplines for believers in the country have been flooded with calls asking if the popular social networks are compatible with Islam.

But Muslims - and especially women - have been told by two leading Islamic scholars not to tweet.

Mufti Abul Irfan Naimul Halim Firagni Mahli said: “Women should not post pictures on Facebook or anywhere else on the Internet.

"This is un-Islamic. You can’t see someone’s face on Facebook and decide that you want to be friends. Look for love in real life.

“Virtual relationships are not faydaymand (profitable).”

Of the calls the Mufti fields each month in India on his popular helpline more than 50 per cent questions are about Internet usage.

The Sunni muslim cleric was joined by a Shia religious leader, who runs a helpline for the minority sect there, in ordering women not to post pictures on Facebook

Maulana Saif Abbas Naqvi told Indian media: “Women are not allowed to show their faces to anyone apart from their ‘mehram’ (male kin like father and brothers).

“So posting pictures on Facebook is banned.”

Israel: 17 terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis are among the 26 terrorists that will be set free this week

17 terrorists who were convicted of murdering Israelis, including three who murdered senior citizens using axes, are among the 26 terrorists that Israel will set free this week. The full list was made public on the Israel Prisons Service website on Sunday night.

Among the terrorists to be released is Salah Ibrahim Ahmad Mughdad, the murderer of Holocaust-survivor Israel Tenenbaum who was found dead on June 14, 1993, at the hotel in Netanya where he had been working as a night watchman. Mughdad had murdered him on the job.

Also being released is Barbakh Faiz Rajab Madhat, who murdered 61-year-old Moshe Beker at his orchard. Beker was murdered on January 21 1994, when he arrived at his orchard and was ambushed by three terrorists, who had slept on site and waited for him. They attacked him, stabbed him to death with a knife and a pair of pruning shears, and fled.

Al Haj Othman Amar Mustafa, who murdered Steven Rosenfeld on June 7, 1989, will be released as well. Rosenfeld went on a hike in the hills near Ariel, where he lived, when he encountered a group of shepherds who stole a knife that he had in his possession, stabbed him to death, and hid his body.

Another terrorist to be released is Abdel Aal Sa’id Ouda Yusef, who murdered Ian Sean Feinberg on April 18, 1983. Feinberg, who served for several years as an officer and lawyer in Gaza, had worked with commercial companies from Gaza and was murdered during a business meeting in Gaza City. Terrorists burst into the room and announced that they had come to kill the Jew. They then proceeded to murder Feinberg using a gun and an axe.

Ramahi Salah Abdallah Faraj, who murdered 84-year-old Avraham Kinstler in July of 1992, will be released as well. Kinstler was ambushed and murdered with an axe by a terrorist as he arrived to work at his orchard.

On Sunday evening, the ministerial committee headed by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon approved the release of 26 terrorists as part of a gesture to the Palestinian Authority, in order to get it to resume peace talks with Israel.

14 of the terrorists to be released will be exiled to Gaza, and the remaining 12 will be transferred to PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria. Eight of the terrorists on the list were to be released over the next three years, two of them in the coming six months.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said that the terrorists will be released about 48 hours after the publication of the list. It was emphasized that if one of the terrorists resumes hostile activity against the State of Israel after his release, he will be returned to prison to continue serving his sentence...

Iraq: Al-Qaeda claimed a wave of attacks that killed 91 people and injured hundreds during the Eid al-Fitr holiday

"The Islamic State mobilised... in Baghdad and the southern states and others to convey a quick message of deterrence on the third day of Eid al-Fitr" in response to security forces' operations, a statement posted on forums late on Sunday said.

Iraqis have angrily blamed the authorities for failing to prevent a series of deadly bombings and other attacks on Saturday, which came as the country marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, its deadliest in years.

The attacks came just weeks after assaults on prisons near Baghdad, also claimed by the al-Qaeda front group, freed hundreds of prisoners including leading fighters, prompting warnings of a surge in violence.

Continued assaults

Nine people were killed in fresh violence around the country on Sunday.

Gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint manned by Sunni armed group, killing two and wounding two in the town of Buhriz, about 60km northeast of Baghdad, police said.
. . .
Last month al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for simultaneous raids on two Iraqi prisons and said more than 500 inmates had escaped in the brazen operation.

Zanzibar: Police are hunting a Muslim preacher wanted in connection with an acid attack on two British teenagers

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Sheikh Issa Ponda Issa was cornered by officers near Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, but managed to escape and is now on the run.

He was hit in the shoulder with a tear-gas canister during the altercation, according to local police in Morogoro - the scene of the clash.

Police commander Faustine Shilogile said: "He has not been arrested. He has been shot at. We have been looking for him in all corners of the country."

He added: "We are no closer to finding who was responsible for this. But this is a serious police investigation, and we are doing everything we can."

Five men are also being questioned by officers, according to the authorities.

News of the preacher's escape came as it emerged that one of the two men involved in the unprovoked attack "smiled" before throwing acid.

Speaking from Zanzibar, medical student Olivia Moore told Channel 4 News: "The two men were on a moped and they went past a group of tourists.

"They stopped for the girls and the two men then looked at each other, nodded and then the man on the back of the bike smiled and threw acid on the girls.

"From then on it's just chaotic. There was no incident that preceded the actual attack.

"Everyone was shocked. Nobody can think of a motivation or anything that precipitated this."

Victims Katie Gee, and Kirstie Trup, both 18 and from London, are still being treated for burns at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after arriving home on Friday.

They are said to be "well rested and comfortable".

A hospital spokesman said: "They have been with their families all day. Doctors are continuing to assess treatment options for both patients."

The pair were attacked as they walked across a road on Wednesday night.

They had been nearing the end of a trip working as volunteer teachers on Zanzibar, a predominantly Muslim island in the Indian Ocean.

Witnesses have spoken of their desperate attempts to wash the acid off the two girls before they were rushed to hospital.

A picture released by the teenagers' families shows one appears to have extensive acid burns on her chin, neck and upper chest.

It is thought one of the girls is not as badly injured as the other because she was helped into the sea immediately after the attack.

They had apparently been due to return to the UK to collect their A-level results next week.

Miss Trup is hoping to study history at the University of Bristol and Miss Gee is considering the University of Leeds, according to reports...

Afghanistan: Pioneering female MP seeks asylum as progress for women unravels

For more on Islam's views and laws concerning women, click here.

Noor Zia Atmar, a young activist and then one of the country’s first woman MPs, travelled the world with her colleagues to show that things were changing.

That was three years ago. Now, she lives in a shelter for battered women, the victim of an abusive husband - and a symbol of the way progress in women’s rights is unravelling as the West withdraws and more traditional conservative values return to the fore.

“Women are in a worse condition now. Every day they are being killed, having their ears, noses cut,” said Ms Atmar, 40, speaking in a strong, clear voice, her eye make-up hidden behind dark glasses. “It is not just women in villages - it is also people like me.”

Progress in women’s rights is frequently hailed as one of the great successes of Nato’s coalition, the International Security Assistance Force. But as it marks its 10th anniversary on Sunday, campaigners say Ms Atmar’s case is one of several examples that show how reforms are coming undone.

Not only are conservatives agitating to close women’s shelters, which they describe as whore houses, the country’s parliament is considering a change in the law to prevent relatives testifying against each other. That would effectively make prosecutions for domestic violence all but impossible.

Human rights groups say this is the latest in a string of measures that will weaken protection for women and raise fears of a return to the days when Islamists all but erased women from public life...

Amnesty protests Hamas executions, but backs prize for defender of Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Amnesty International is protesting planned public executions by Hamas, but is backing a human rights prize nomination for an Egyptian activist who defends and justifies Hamas’ firing of deadly rockets against Israeli civilians.

The “Attorney General” of the terrorist organization said last week that several convicted “criminals” are set to be executed in public as a “lesson” to others, after this week’s Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr.

“This and other recent announcements by Hamas authorities that they will carry out further executions are deeply disturbing,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

However, Amnesty continues to back their nomination of Mona Seif for the world’s top human rights prize, even though she forcefully opposed Amnesty’s call on Hamas to stop targeting civilians, in repeated tweets to her 180,000 followers.

UK: Problem of forced marriages over the school holidays prompts warning by government

For more on forced marriage, click here.

eachers, doctors and airport staff need to be alert to the problem of forced marriages over the school holidays, the government has warned.

Ministers said there were concerns about teenagers being taken abroad thinking they were going on holiday but being forced into marriage instead.

Figures suggest cases are particularly common during the summer break.

The government's Forced Marriage Unit received 400 reports between June and August last year.

Recent estimates suggest more than 5,000 people from the UK are forced into marriage every year.

More than a third of those affected are aged under 16.

The government is calling for increased awareness, and is promoting an advice line and information cards aimed at potential victims to explain how they can get help.

Tougher action

Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said: "The school summer holidays are the time when young people are at the highest risk of being taken overseas for a forced marriage.

"Our 'Marriage: It's Your Choice' cards highlight that people who are at risk of forced marriage know they can turn to our Forced Marriage Unit for support, whether they are at home or are already abroad."

Ministers said it was wrong that teenagers who should be thinking about their exam results found themselves lured into a life of fear and subservience instead.

Aneeta Prem, founder of children's organisation Freedom Charity, said: "It's vital that young people travelling abroad for a family wedding this summer realise it could be their own wedding they'll be going to and know who they should contact for help should they find themselves in danger."

'No questions were asked'

Manchester City councillor and forced marriage campaigner Sameem Ali said little had changed in the 30 years since she was forced into a marriage in Pakistan at the age of 13.

She said: "I did not know I was going to get forced into a marriage until a week before the marriage actually occurred. I had never seen the guy before. I was in the middle of nowhere and I did not know where I was."

She was told the only way to return to the UK was to fall pregnant. "At the time I did not know what that was - I was that naive. All I could do was pray. I did get pregnant about five months later and my mother took me back to the UK," she said.

Once back in the UK, despite being a pregnant 14-year-old, she said "no questions were asked".

"I had contact with doctors and hospitals but no one asked any questions," she said.

"It has to start in schools, the teachers have to start taking on board the safeguarding of children, they have to start talking about these issues," she told BBC Breakfast.

"Because if they don't talk about it then the young people aren't going to feel comfortable in talking about it, and it's going to be a taboo subject for the next 30 years - and I think we need to get over that."

She added that she did not believe criminalising forced marriage would make a difference within her community.

"It's going to send it underground. No young child wants to put mummy and daddy in jail and that's the bottom line."

'Abuse of human rights'

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant welcomed the "raising awareness of these issues".

"But I can't help thinking that, given it's been weeks since pupils and teachers started their holidays, it might have been more useful if Jeremy Browne and his Home Office colleagues had thought to do this before schools broke up for the summer," he added.

The government is also publishing plans to follow the example of Scotland by criminalising breaches of forced marriage protection orders in England and Wales.

This could mean parents found guilty of forcing their children into marriage may face a prison sentence.

Crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne said: "This is a serious abuse of human rights and that is why we are legislating to make it illegal."

Iran: Supreme Leader slammed American attempts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Addressing a massive crowd of worshippers during Eid al-Fitr prayers at Tehran University, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “The U.S.-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are aimed at undermining the Palestinians’ resistance.”

He blasted the U.S. plan to revive the Middle-East peace talks, saying Washington has invited PA Arabs to the talks while Israel “continues its illegal settlement construction in the occupied territories,” according to Fars.

Khamenei claimed that in more than 60 years “of the occupation of Palestine”, the peace talks have not had the least benefit for the “oppressed Palestinians”. He stressed that any benefit gained throughout the years has been the result of resistance and Intifada.

He argued that the results of any U.S.-hosted talks will eventually damage the PA Arab side and force PA Arabs to "abandon their rights and encourage the occupier."

"The U.S. is not a real mediator, it stands by the Zionists," declared Khamenei. "Definitely .... it is against the interests of the Palestinians."

The Israelis "destroy houses and construct buildings while claiming they want negotiations," he claimed.

On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will resume next week and will be held in Jerusalem, followed by another meeting held in Jericho.

As a gesture to the PA to get it to come back to the negotiating table, Israel has agreed to free 104 terrorists. A group of 26 terrorist prisoners is set to be released next Tuesday...

UK: Richard Dawkins embroiled in a Twitter row after he claimed the last time Muslims contributed something worthwhile was during the Dark Ages

The 71-year-old author went on to tweet that the world's Muslims had won fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge.

His comments sparked anger among high-profile Twitter users including writer Caitlin Moran and economics editor at Channel 4 News, Faisal Islam.

Moran tweeted: 'It's time someone turned Richard Dawkins off and then on again.

'Something's gone weird.'

While Islam said: 'Actually, over the last two decades, it's 8-4 against Trinity.

'I say this as a muslim alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge.

'Of course if @RichardDawkins had any clue what he was talking about, he'd know to strip out the Economics Nobels, which aren't quite real'

One Twitter user said Muslims were responsible for alchemy and algebra.

But Dawkins replied: 'Indeed, where would we be without alchemy? Dark Age achievements undoubted. But since then?'

There has been a total of 10 Nobel prizes awarded to Muslims while Trinity College, Cambridge, has 32 Nobel laureates.

It is not the first time Dawkins has angered the Muslim population after he described looters who destroyed manuscripts in Mali as 'Islamic barbarians' in January...

Saudi Arabia: People infected with a deadly virus may have caught it from one-humped camels

In a study into what kind of animal “reservoir” may be fuelling the outbreak in humans, scientists said they had found strong evidence it is widespread among dromedary camels in the Middle East.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV),which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, has been reported in people in the Gulf, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 46 people have died out of a total 94 confirmed cases, the majority in Saudi Arabia.

“As new human cases of MERS-CoV continue to emerge, without any clues about the sources of infection except for people who caught it from other patients, these new results suggest that dromedary camels may be one reservoir," said Chantal Reusken of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, who led the study.

“There are different types of contact of humans with these animals that could lead to transmission of a virus.”

Experts not involved in the study hailed its findings as a major step towards solving the mystery of, and ultimately controlling, the MERS virus...

Zanzibar: Two Jewish teens victims of acid attack, one attacked earlier by Muslim woman for singing during Ramadan

Two British teenagers suffered horrifying burns when acid was thrown in their faces in the third attack on them during their stay on a Muslim holiday island.

Voluntary workers Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, were targeted as they walked to a restaurant in Zanzibar.

Last night Miss Gee’s father Jeremy said her family were devastated after seeing photographs of her injuries.

‘The photographs I have seen are absolutely horrendous,’ he said. ‘The level of the burns are beyond imagination.’

Miss Trup’s father Marc, 51, a multi-millionaire dental surgeon and property developer, said a passer-by had come to the girls’ assistance after the attack and had called him.

‘He tried to put me on to them… you couldn’t get anything out of them. I couldn’t speak to them. Terrible, absolutely shocking,’ he said.

‘Kirstie was inconsolable. Both girls are very shocked and very frightened.’

The acid splashed on to the girls’ faces, chests, legs and backs and they also suffered burnt hands as they tried desperately to wipe the corrosive liquid away. It is not yet known if either will suffer permanent disfigurement.

Miss Gee had told friends she was assaulted in the street by a Muslim woman two weeks earlier, apparently for singing during Ramadan.

A project worker said the teenagers – both from privileged backgrounds in North London – were also involved in a heated argument with a shopkeeper days before the acid attack in the capital, Stone Town, on Wednesday night, the final night of Ramadan.

Witnesses described seeing two men on a moped drive past several other Western tourists before throwing acid at the girls. Friends suggested they could have been targeted because they are Jewish, and local police said they wanted to speak to a radical Islamic preacher who could have inspired the attack.

The girls were working as volunteer teachers at a Christian nursery school and there were concerns they were attacked as part of escalating religious tensions.

They were due to be flown back to the UK on special medical evacuation flight last night to see specialist surgeons today but when they arrived at Dar es Salaam airport, they found their plane had broken down, forcing them to wait for a replacement.

The teenagers were on a three-week trip to Zanzibar after taking their A-levels and had been due to fly home on Saturday.

Television images filmed after the attack showed one of them, obviously in pain, in the back of a car as they were taken to Zanzibar’s airport to be flown to the mainland for medical treatment.

Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete visited them in the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a signal of the shock caused by the attacks and of Tanzania’s determination to guard its lucrative tourism industry.

Both had been told to be aware of appropriate dress codes during Ramadan and were careful to avoid wearing anything which would identify them as Jewish...
Update:
Police are hunting a radical Muslim preacher wanted in connection with an acid attack on two British teenagers in Zanzibar.

Sheikh Issa Ponda Issa was cornered by officers near Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, but managed to escape and is now on the run.

He was hit in the shoulder with a tear-gas canister during the altercation, according to local police in Morogoro - the scene of the clash.

Police commander Faustine Shilogile said: "He has not been arrested. He has been shot at. We have been looking for him in all corners of the country."

He added: "We are no closer to finding who was responsible for this. But this is a serious police investigation, and we are doing everything we can."

Five men are also being questioned by officers, according to the authorities.

News of the preacher's escape came as it emerged that one of the two men involved in the unprovoked attack "smiled" before throwing acid.

Speaking from Zanzibar, medical student Olivia Moore told Channel 4 News: "The two men were on a moped and they went past a group of tourists.

"They stopped for the girls and the two men then looked at each other, nodded and then the man on the back of the bike smiled and threw acid on the girls.

"From then on it's just chaotic. There was no incident that preceded the actual attack.

"Everyone was shocked. Nobody can think of a motivation or anything that precipitated this."

Victims Katie Gee, and Kirstie Trup, both 18 and from London, are still being treated for burns at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after arriving home on Friday.

They are said to be "well rested and comfortable"...
Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18, were still in hospital in London last night after being flown back from Africa by air ambulance on Friday.

They had been walking to meet friends for dinner when two men on a passing moped splashed battery acid over them on Wednesday.

The burning caused severe injuries which are likely to need multiple operations. Both girls are expected to spend several more days at the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Friends in Zanzibar City, where the girls had been teaching, have said that the pair received unwanted attention from young men in the days before the attack.

The departure of a male friend earlier in the week had left them more vulnerable, they added.

The dormitories where Katie and Kirstie were staying with other voluntary workers were often surrounded by local teenage boys.

One nearby resident, named only as Abdul because of the fear of reprisals, said the young men were angered at being rebuffed...

PA: Hamas to celebrate end of Ramadan with mass public executions

Timed to coincide with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, Hamas plans to publicly execute anywhere up up to 40 people they claim are criminals, who “confessed” to their crimes after being severely tortured, according to a report in YNet. The stated goal of the executions is to help maintain public security. The last executions in Gaza took place in June 2013, when Hamas executed two people it claimed were collaborating with Israel...
Update:
Amnesty International is protesting planned public executions by Hamas, but is backing a human rights prize nomination for an Egyptian activist who defends and justifies Hamas’ firing of deadly rockets against Israeli civilians.

The “Attorney General” of the terrorist organization said last week that several convicted “criminals” are set to be executed in public as a “lesson” to others, after this week’s Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr.

“This and other recent announcements by Hamas authorities that they will carry out further executions are deeply disturbing,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

However, Amnesty continues to back their nomination of Mona Seif for the world’s top human rights prize, even though she forcefully opposed Amnesty’s call on Hamas to stop targeting civilians, in repeated tweets to her 180,000 followers.

Syria: 450 Kurds, including 120 children, slaughtered by western-backed rebels fighting against the government

According to Iranian TV channel Al-Alam, militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra Front attacked the town of Tal Abyad on Monday, killing 120 children and 330 women and elderly near the Turkish border.

The channel also ran horrific uncensored footage from the scene - the authenticity of which can’t be independently verified at this moment. For ethical reasons, RT will refrain from airing the video.

Neither the Syrian government nor the opposition has confirmed the report. RT contacted a number of sources, including several Kurdish interviewees, who testified that increased fighting has been taking place in their areas.

“The al-Nusra militants and other rebel forces surrounded the village,” Yasin Tarbush, the relative of one of the Kurdish attack victims, told RT. “They started going door to door, entering every house. If there were any men, they killed them and took the women and children hostage.”

Commenting on the reports, the UN Human Rights office in Geneva said they are investigating and if it confirms them, would consider it a war crime and seek that perpetrators are brought to justice...

Syria: At least 4,420 people were killed in violence during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan

At least 4,420 people were killed in Syria violence during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, some two thirds of them fighters on both sides, a monitoring group said on Thursday.

Compared with August last year, when the majority of the dead were civilians, there were fewer people killed this Ramadan, when most of the dead were combatants.

"More than 4,420 people were killed over the past month," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Of the total, 1,386 were civilians, 64 defectors who joined the rebels and 1,172 civilians who had taken up arms on the opposition side.

Of the civilians killed, 302 were children, said the watchdog.

A further 485 were foreign jihadists who joined the rebels, the Observatory said.

Another 1,010 of the dead were loyalist troops, while 211 were members of the pro-regime paramilitary National Defence Force, it said.

Ninety-two others remained unidentified.

"What we see is that the majority of those killed were fighters," Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The toll contrasts sharply with last August's, which had been the deadliest month in Syria's conflict until then.

In August 2012, 5,440 people were killed, among them 4,114 civilians.
. . .
More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria's war, the United Nations says, and millions more have been displaced.

Indonesia: Archbishop of Jakarta warns of attacks, urges people to remain vigilant and calls for controls

Mgr Ignatius Suharyo, archbishop of Jakarta, has appealed to the Catholic community in the Indonesian capital to remain "vigilant" of possible attacks, but also to be "friendly and cooperative toward others."

As violent acts against defenceless citizens and religious minorities continue in the world's most populous Muslim country, alarm levels remain high following a double bombing at a Buddhist temple last Sunday.

The prelate issued his warning yesterday via the archdiocese's mailing list, which includes Catholic priests and community leaders, after petrol bombs were thrown in the early morning inside the compound of the Assisi Catholic School in Tebet, South Jakarta.

The handmade devices thrown at the Catholic school and the two rudimentary bombs that blew up at the Vihara Buddhist temple in Kebun Jeruk, West Jakarta, are symptomatic of the high tensions that currently prevail in the country, which is increasingly threatened by Islamic extremism.

More details on the assassination attempt foiled at the Catholic school and on its perpetrators are still not available.

Speaking to AsiaNews, school officials have confirmed that the act of intimidation did take place. Someone on a motorcycle, they said, came up to the outer walls of the school and threw two Molotov cocktails inside, then fled.

The school in question is the same that US President Barack Obama attended as a pupil before he moved to another facility located in Central Jakarta.

Anonymous in view of the seriousness of the situation, a priest in the archdiocese said that Mgr Suharyo's message is related to the escalation of provocations that has occurred on the eve of the feast of Idul Fitri (or Lebaran), which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and prayer.

For years, Indonesia has been the scene of violence and extremism that have sown discord and division among members of different religions.

From 1997 to 2001, the island of Sulawesi and nearby Maluku were the scene of a bloody Muslim-Christian confrontation.

The violence caused almost half a million refugees, 25,000 in Poso alone, and thousands of people saw their homes burnt to the ground, with hundreds of churches and mosques destroyed.

On 20 December 2001, the two sides signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi. Christians and Muslims represent about half of the local population.

However, the truce did not prevent the periodic outburst of violence against innocent victims, such as the beheading of three girls on their way to school by Muslim extremists in October 2005.

Egypt: Pastor's niece, 10, gunned down leaving Sunday school class, dozens injured as attacks against Christians Continue

An horrific attack has taken place against Egypt's Christian Coptic community, after several unidentified individuals indiscriminately opened fire in front of the Evangelical church in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, killing Jessi Paulis Issa, 10, and injuring dozens of Copts.

According to reports, Issa was the niece of the church's pastor. After the killing, Issa's young body was transferred to the Cairo forensics team as the Copt community were left to mourn the latest horrendous attack against them.

"Bearded men belonging to Morsi's supporters opened fire on the citizens as they were exiting from the church," one witness described. "They fled the scene in a pick-up truck."

Pastor Nasrallah Zakaria told Mideast Christian News that the funeral prayers for his niece, Jessi Paulis, would be held this week in the church, after her autopsy is performed. He has described that his niece, Jessi, was leaving her Sunday school class at the church when she was gunned down.

The pastor said he does not know why Copts are being targeted throughout Egypt and called on the government to urgently help to bring a halt to the violence against Christians and the daily threats against them.

He added that the Copts are being used as a winning card to achieve political gains.

Philippines: Six Muslim militants face charges for July bombing at crowded bar that killed eight

Witnesses identified Usman Hapids of Khilafa Islamiyah Mindanao as the man who left a mortar round concealed in a bag that went off in a bar at a shopping mall complex, killing eight people and wounding 46 in Cagayan de Oro city, said regional police chief Catalino Rodriguez.

Rodriguez told a Senate committee that was looking into the July 26 blast that the complaints filed against Hapids and his companions before government prosecutors were part of a legal offensive to help discourage other such bloody attacks.

Despite a security alarm set off by the explosion, a series of bombings rocked other southern regions this week, including in Cotabato city, where a powerful bomb rigged into a small van exploded on a busy avenue during rush hour Monday, killing eight people and wounding more than 30.

Three bombs went off in the region on Wednesday, including a roadside explosive that wounded seven soldiers on board a passing army truck in Maguindanao province, near Cotabato city, regional military commander Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz said.

Another bomb that exploded Wednesday caused no injuries but damaged a bridge in Maguindanao’s Datu Piang town.
. . .
Another Muslim rebel group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, claimed responsibility for the bomb attack Wednesday against the soldiers, who were returning to camp after buying supplies from a market in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town in Maguindanao province.

The group broke off from the Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group, the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, two years ago. The breakaway guerrillas have rejected talks between the government and the main rebel group and have vowed to continue fighting for a southern homeland for minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Abu Misri Mammah, a spokesman of the rebel faction, said his group would continue attacks against government forces. Government troops have strengthened security in the south, concerned that the breakaway guerrillas may intensify attacks, including bombings when the holy Muslim month of Ramadan ends this week.

Afghanistan: Taliban seriously wound female senator in ambush, and kill her 8-year-old daughter and bodyguard

Senator Rouh Gul Khirzad's husband, son and another daughter were also wounded in the attack in the Muqur district of Gazni province, according to Deputy Governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi.

Ahmadi said the ambush took place on the main highway from Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar.

Khirzad was traveling from Kabul with her family to their home province of Nimroz for the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, said fellow Senator Mohammad Alam.
. . .
Alam said Khirzad's eight-year-old daughter and her bodyguard were killed in the attack. He added that Khirzad has been hospitalized with serious injuries. There was no immediate word on the condition of her husband, son and other daughter, Alam said.

Khirzad was elected to Afghanistan's 102-member upper house in late 2010. She is the head of defense and internal security commission...

Al Qaeda has 'developed liquid explosives which blow up when dry prompting US evacuation of Yemen

Al Qaeda terrorists could try to bring down planes using an undetectable explosive soaked into their clothes, officials fear.

The organisation’s bomb-makers are reportedly developing an ‘ingenious’ system whereby shirts and trousers drenched in the explosive could be ignited when dry.

It would be undetectable under current security measures and remove the need for terrorists to mix liquid explosives on board, security sources told the American TV network ABC News yesterday.

The latest threat to air passengers is one of the reasons behind the current global terror alert, according to two senior US government officials.

The reports are the most detailed yet into the nature of intercepted messages between Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, his deputy in Yemen.

British bomb expert Sidney Alford confirmed that the new method was possible using easily available chemicals, but pulling it off would be tricky as the soaking process would dilute the explosive.

He said: ‘The clothes act as a diluent and reduce the power of the explosives.’

However, igniting treated clothes could be done simply with a match. Passengers are allowed to carry a single box of safety matches or a cigarette lighter on flights.

The new explosive has reportedly been developed by the notorious bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who made the device used by convicted ‘underwear bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his attempt to blow up a plane on Christmas Day in 2009.

Other reports have suggested that Al-Asiri is developing bombs that could be sewn under the skin of terrorists.

The level of ‘terror chatter’ being monitored by security services has been described as one of the most serious threats to American and Western interests since the 9/11 attacks.

In response, the Foreign Office last night evacuated all staff from the British embassy in Yemen...

UK: Muslim mobs stone sponsored walkers wearing mankinis, tell them "this is a Muslim area", call one of their wives a "dirty white slut"

Two brothers in law who went on a sponsored walk wearing comedy mankinis had to be picked up by police - after they were pelted with stones and eggs by residents who told them 'this is a Muslim area' and demanded they leave.

Steven Ellis, 41, and Jason Hendry, 22, wanted to walk eight miles from Solihull to Birmingham city centre wearing the outfit featured in 2006 film Borat to raise money for Birmingham Dogs' Home.

But they ended up being escorted by officers after they were attacked as they passed through the Sparkbrook area of the city, claiming police said they had offended local Muslims during Ramadan.

They were driven through the area as locals hurled abuse at them - calling them paedophiles. Mr Ellis’s wife Victoria, 36, had followed the pair's journey in a car, with the couple's five young children.

She said: ‘We were basically run out of the area. We had stopped at a supermarket car park to give the dogs a drink as it was a hot day, and we were suddenly surrounded.

‘The men were taking off their jackets and threatening to fight Jason. I have seen nothing like it in my life before. The children were terrified as within minutes a crowd of 30 or 40 men assembled.

‘They began throwing stones and eggs at us. They were shouting at Jason saying that he was a pervert and a paedophile, and one of them called me a dirty white s***.

‘They told us that they hated dogs and told us to get out of the car park. The children were petrified and asked why these people were calling me a s***.

‘One egg narrowly missed hitting my 12-year-old son, Jason, leaving him petrified and even passing cars ended up being hit by the eggs and stones. The abuse was appalling.

‘We called the police and they came straight away. I asked the police what they were going to do to help us but they just said it was because of sensitivities over an EDL (English Defence League) march and Ramadan.

‘We didn't even know there was an EDL march planned for that day - we had nothing to do with it. Our family just love dogs, we've homed a rescue dog and we wanted to raise money to help the charity.’

But local butcher Irshad Armani, 22, said: 'It was disrespectful for the men to come here half-naked. This is a Muslim area and we don't want to see that.

'People were fasting and we do not want to see anything considered impure or dirty during such an important month. That is why people were so upset by it.'
. . .
Mr Hendry said: ‘A man who was in a nearby hairdresser came over and started having a go at us and then a guard at the supermarket and the manager came out and joined in.

‘It was disgusting behaviour. I was furious. I was angry with the local people for how they reacted and we tried to explain it was just a bit of fun, to raise money for charity.’

The police escorted them all back to Birmingham Dogs' Home because there were two groups of men waiting at the end of the road. He added: ‘But it was also frustrating to have to be escorted as it made us feel like we had done something wrong. I am shocked and disgusted that this should happen in our city.

‘It was like something you see on TV. The idea behind the mankini walk started off as a dare and then we decided to make it a reality and do it to raise money for charity.’...

Australia: Muslim prayer leader charged with indecent assault arrested again for assaulting two other women

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

A visiting Muslim prayer leader who groped two teenagers and a grandmother on the northern beaches is facing fresh allegations of indecently assaulting two other women.

Ahmed Abdelshafy Mohamed El-Kahly, who has been visiting a mosque in Dee Why to lead evening prayers during the month of Ramadan, has appealed to a magistrate to be sentenced quickly for the crimes so he can return home to Egypt on Friday.

Magistrate Michael Barbour denied the request, saying he would require a pre-sentencing report to determine the seriousness of the charges, which may take several days.

His decision came as police revealed in North Sydney Local Court on Monday they are investigating further complaints from two women they were indecently assaulted by the 59-year-old sheikh.

El-Kahly pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl in a Dee Why reserve last Monday and a 16-year-old girl and 57-year-old woman on Dee Why beach last Wednesday...

Bangladesh: India in touch with country over exodus of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Animists

The Indian government was in touch with Bangladesh over the exodus of more than 1,500 tribals to the Indian border along Tripura seeking refuge after ethnic strife broke out with non-tribal Muslims, official sources said Sunday.

The Bangladesh government has informed India that according to their reports, the situation is under control and there has been no fresh exodus, said an official source.

The Border Security Force and the Border Guards Bangladesh are coordinating on the matter, the source added.

BSF Deputy Inspector General Bhaskar Rawat told IANS in Agartala that over 1,500 men, women and children of Chakma and Tripuri tribes have taken shelter in the border village at Karbook after fleeing from five villages in Khagrachari district in Bangladesh.

"The tribals entered Indian territory on Saturday evening after ethnic troubles in Bangladesh. They were stopped at the border by the BSF. We are providing them food and other assistance," Rawat said.

The tribals, mostly Buddhists and Hindus, fled the Chittagong Hill Tracts after clashes over the reported abduction of a local leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the main opposition in Bangladesh led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

An official of the Tripura home department said the state government has informed the home ministry about the development.

"At least one tribal villager was killed, four tribals were seriously injured and about 500 tribal houses were burnt to ashes," Delhi-based rights group, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) director Suhas Chakma said in a press release.
. . .
In 1986, over 74,000 tribals - mostly Buddhist Chakmas - took shelter in southern Tripura following violent attacks on thousands of tribals by non-tribals.

Demanding a sovereign status for tribals in Chittagong, separatist outfit Shanti Bahini had waged a guerrilla warfare against the Bangladesh government.

All the 74,000 refugees had returned to their homes in 1997-98 after the Bangladesh government signed a peace agreement with Shanti Bahini...

Egypt: Thousands of underage girls sold to wealthy, old male tourists from Gulf states

For more on contemporary pedophilic marriages, click here.

In El Hawamdia, a poor agricultural town 20 kilometres south of Cairo, they are easy to spot. Arab men in crisp white thawbs troll the town’s pot-holed, garbage-strewn streets in their luxury cars and SUVs. As they arrive, Egyptian fixers in flip flops run alongside their vehicles, offering short-term flats and what to them is the town’s most sought-after commodity – underage girls.

Each year, in El Hawamdia and other impoverished rural communities across Egypt, thousands of girls between the ages of 11 and 18 are sold by their parents to wealthy, much older Gulf Arab men under the pretext of marriage. The sham nuptials may last from a couple of hours to years, depending on the negotiated arrangement.

“It’s a form of child prostitution in the guise of marriage,” Azza El-Ashmawy, director of the Child Anti-Trafficking Unit at the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) tells IPS. “The man pays a sum of money and will stay with the girl for a few days or the summer, or will take her back to his country for domestic work or prostitution.”

The girl is returned to her family when the marriage ends, usually to be married off again.

“Some girls have been married 60 times by the time they turn 18,” says El-Ashmawy. “Most ‘marriages’ last for just a couple of days or weeks.”

The deals are hatched in El Hawamdia’s myriad “marriage broker” offices, identifiable by the conspicuous presence of air-conditioners in a ramshackle town with intermittent power.

The brokers, usually second-rate lawyers, also offer a delivery service. Village girls as young as 11 are brought to the Arab tourists’ hotel or rented flat for selection. Arab men travelling with their wives and children often arrange a separate flat for such purposes.

The temporary marriages offer a way to circumvent Islamic restrictions on pre-marital sex.

“Many hotels and landlords in Egypt will not rent a room to unmarried couples,” explains Mohamed Fahmy, a Cairo real estate agent. “A marriage certificate, even a flimsy one, allows visiting men to have sexual liaisons.”

Engaging in sexual relations with minors is illegal in Egypt. Brokers can help with that too, forging birth certificates or substituting the identity card of the girl’s older sister.

A one-day mut’a or “pleasure” marriage can be arranged for as little as 800 Egyptian pounds (115 dollars). The money is split between the broker and the girl’s parents.

A summer-long misyar or “visitor” marriage runs from 20,000 Egyptian pounds (2,800 dollars) to 70,000 Egyptian pounds (10,000 dollars). The legally non-binding contract terminates when the man returns to his country.

The “dowry” that Gulf Arab men are prepared to pay for sex with young girls is a powerful magnet for impoverished Egyptian families in a country where a quarter of the population subsists on less than two dollars a day...

India: Delhi court cites Islamic law to absolve man of illegally confining and raping a minor

A Muslim man has been absolved of charges of illegally confining and raping a minor from the same religion, whom he later married, by a Delhi court which cited the Mahomedan Law that allows a 15-year-old girl to marry against the wishes of her parents.

The accused was charged with rape and illegal confinement of the minor under the IPC.

The IPC treats a girl as minor, in relation to the offence of rape, till she attains the age of 16 years and establishing physical relations with her, even with her consent, is an offence entailing life term as maximum sentence.

"Both, the girl and accused are Muslims by religion and though, prosecutrix may be minor under the Indian Majority Act or within meaning of some of provisions of Indian Penal Code, under her present law, she having reached age of 15 years i.e age of puberty could have married accused even without the consent of her guardian, though in the present case, the prosecutrix appears to have married the accused with the consent of her parents," Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Illa Rawat said while acquitting the man of the charges.

The court also said that the girl was at the verge of maturity when she voluntarily eloped with the accused last year and her parents were also aware of their love affair.

It said she was neither restrained nor confined forcibly and they got married after an FIR was registered.

The court said the Mahomedan Law does not consider as an offence the marriage with a 15-year-old girl.

According to the prosecution, the girl and her mother had lodged a complaint with the police alleging that the man had raped the minor last year when she was alone in her house. The accused had also threatened the girl not to disclose the incident to anyone otherwise he would kill her entire family and thereafter he raped her several times, the prosecution said...

Belgium: Monument to the victims of the Turkish Genocide of Assyrians in World War One unveiled

For more on the Turkish Genocides, click here.

A monument to the victims of the Turkish Genocide of Assyrians in World War One was unveiled on August 4 in Belgium, on the site of the Sanctuary of Banneux, near Liege. The monument was carved from a 12 ton stone by renowned Assyrian artist Moushe Malke. The monument was a joint initiative of of the Syriac Institute of Belgium and Assyrian Genocide Research Center.

The Turkish genocide of Assyrians occurred between 1915 and 1918 and claimed the lives of 750,000 Assyrians (75%), as well as 1.5 million Armenians and 500,000 Pontic Greeks.

Assyrian genocide monuments have been erected in Australia, America, Armenia, Wales and France.
"AINA" (archived)
http://www.aina.org/news/20130805012549.htm, August 5, 2013, {{{URL}}}.
 

Australia: Muslim cleric pleads guilty to sending offensive letters to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan

A self-styled Muslim cleric has pleaded guilty to sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and a trade official killed in the 2009 Marriott hotel bombing in Indonesia.

Man Haron Monis, also known as Sheik Haron, entered 12 guilty pleas on Monday in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court after a four-year legal battle to have the charges thrown out, including an unsuccessful High Court challenge.

The 49-year-old did not comment to media outside court but held up one hand to make a peace gesture with two fingers.

Court documents show he sent the letters within days of the deaths of seven soldiers and the trade official, who were killed between 2007 and 2009.

Sergeant Brett Till was killed in March 2009 and his wife and other family members received correspondence through the mail from Monis less than two weeks later.
. . .
Monis' co-accused Amirah Droudis pleaded guilty to one charge of aiding and abetting...

Indonesia: Two bombs exploded inside Buddhist temple in West Jakarta, injuring three people

A bomb exploded inside the Ekayana Buddhist Vihara in West Jakarta late on Sunday, injuring three people and destroying some parts of the site, which was established in 1995 to accommodate Buddhist students studying in nearby universities.

West Jakarta Police chief Fadil Imran said witnesses heard two explosions from inside the vihara.

"They seemed to be bombs installed in a separate section inside the building. We're still gathering more information," he said.

Witnesses said they heard two separate explosions from inside the vihara, located on Jl. Mangga II and is around three kilometers from the bustling shopping malls of Central Park and Taman Anggrek. “The first explosion occurred at 9:10pm followed by a second at 10:45pm” said Iwan, a local resident.

As of Sunday 24:00 p.m., the police's bomb squad was still combing the building for more explosives.

Since April, Extremists and terrorist groups have conveyed their plans to target Buddhists and Myanmar facilities in Indonesia in response to sectarian conflict in Buddhist-majority Myanmar that has cost the lives of many members of the Muslim minority community...

Syria: Western-backed rebels to Assyrians: Convert to Islam to keep your jobs

For more on forced conversions, click here.

Accounts by Assyrian refugees from al-Thawrah (also known as al-Tabqah) reveal the real face of the Islamist undercurrent within the Syrian opposition. Furthermore, these accounts serve as a stark and chilling reminder of what has already been suffered by non-Muslim communities in Iraq since 2003.

On February 11, rebel fighters from the al-Nusra Front took control of the city and its strategic dam, the largest of its kind in the country. They also seized control of the three quarters that housed dam workers - many of whom were Christian Assyrians. Whilst they allowed the dam's original staff to remain in the city in order to continue its operation, management and upkeep, those who were not Sunni Muslim were not afforded the same privilege.

"Everything is now in Jabhat al-Nusra's hands," complained one Assyrian refugee, "All the Muslims stayed there, but if any Christians want to go back they have to become Muslim or else they will be killed."

Christians report their property being stolen, their homes being confiscated, and their possessions being sold on the black market in order to buy weapons and ammunition. In many of these cases, those forcefully dispossessed were not even allowed the chance to take with them any of their personal belongings.

According to the jihadist Islamist ideology espoused by such forces as the al-Nusra Front, the properties and possessions of such "infidels" are halal (fair game), and it is not a sin to plunder them.

They also threatened Christians with death if they did not comply with strict Islamic laws. "They would call and text me on my cell phone, ordering me to do as they say, or else they would kill me! Can you imagine it?" said a Christian man from al-Thawrah, who had lost all he owned, and is now internally displaced with his family. "Even though I have left they still call me from there to bother me, so I keep my phone switched off unless I really need to use it."

The gruesome story (AINA 4-3-2013) of an Assyrian man from al-Hasakah Governorate, allegedly shot by rebels in an execution-style murder just outside al-Thawrah in April 2013, still sends shivers up the spines of those who knew him. He used to earn a living transporting people between al-Hasakah and al-Thawrah, until his car was confiscated by al-Nusra fighters. "They told him that he could buy it back from them, so he returned to his village to bring them the money," one refugee related, "He should have stayed put and thanked God that they hadn't killed him then and there, but he didn't listen to reason and left with the money they'd requested. No one ever saw him alive again. How will his wife and four children support themselves now?"

Whilst this case has been well-documented, many of the Christian refugees from al-Thawrah insisted that certain details be excluded from their testimonies since, being a small community, they were fearful of being identified and subsequently suffering the consequences. They are also too frightened to provide too much information over the phone or on the internet because they believe that these are being monitored by elements within Syria's opposition.

For most of them, staying in Syria is no longer a viable option either. To leave for Turkey or Lebanon, on the other hand, is also fraught with its own perils. "All the roads are full of rebel fighters," lamented another Assyrian refugee who refused to disclose his location, "It's really dangerous. We have lost everything," said the head of an Assyrian household displaced from al-Thawrah, "There is nothing for us over there now, nothing to return to. We just need help to get out of here and settle in a country that's safe."

Greenland: The only Muslim in the country fasts for 21 hours a day for Ramadan

For more on Ramadan's relation to the North and South Poles, click here.

According to an Arab TV report, a Lebanese man living in the city of Nuuk in Greenland is the only Muslim in the country fasting for Ramadan – a total of 21 hours because of the country’s unique geographical location - between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. In summer the sun rarely sets.

The man, identified as Wassam Azaqeer, has been living in Greenland for many years and according to the website ummid.com, quoting the Arab TV report, he is the only Muslim living and running a successful business in Greenland. Wassam runs his own restaurant.

After fasting 21 hours, Wassam has only two hours to prepare souhur – and also to offer Maghrib and Isha prayers...

Algeria: 300 people joined a public lunch to protest persecution of non-Muslims who refuse to observe Islamic fast

The protest lunch was highly unusual for North Africa, where people can be arrested for not fasting during the Muslim holy month.

It was held as a demonstration against the decision of security forces to question three young people who were eating outside last week last week in the Kabylie region during the 18-hour daily fasting period.

"We called this gathering to denounce the inquisition and persecution of citizens who, because of their beliefs, refuse to observe the fast," said Bouaziz Ait Chebib, head of the local Kabylie Autonomy Movement.

The Berbers of the Kabylie are known for a more secular outlook in general than Algeria's majority Arabs, and they have had a historically tense relationship with Algeria's government.

In previous years, Kabylie residents who refused to fast during the month of Ramadan faced charges of "acting against Islam."...

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters destroy two churches, open fire at Christian homes

Egypt’s Christian Copts continue to be targeted and scapegoated for the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hours ago, dozens of Brotherhood members and supporters attacked an “evangelical church” in the village of Reeda, in the governorate of al-Minya in Upper Egypt, destroying its exterior. They also opened gunfire and hurled rocks and other projectiles at the Coptic Christian homes near the church, “creating,” according to the Tahrir report, “terror among the Copts, especially considering the total absence of security forces.”

A separate report, also from hours ago, tells of how another church — as well as the residence of its priest — were set on fire in the Beni Ahmed village.

Such is the behavior of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies — the same group the Obama administration, especially in the person of the hated Anne Patterson, have long supported.

Egypt: Pro-Morsi demonstrators attack Coptic Christians and destroy their cars, six injured

Several Minya residents filed official complaints accusing supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi of attacking them and destroying their cars as they go to work in the morning and return back home.

Eyewitnesses said that Mursi's supporters forced the Copts of Nazlet Abid Village to suspend work in more than 400 white brick factories where most village residents work.

In Delga Village south of Minya, the houses of several Copts and village churches were attacked by stones during a pro-Mursi march Thursday night.

Father Ayoub Youssef, the patron of Mar Guirguis Church for Catholics, urged security bodies to intervene in order to put an end to the attacks on Copts...

Germany: Islamic religious police severely beat couple for "immoral behavior", woman loses unborn child

Muslims from Chechnya have subjected a couple which had fled from the Caucasus to a severe beating in the central Refugee Reception centre in the Brandenburg city of Eisenhüttenstadt, for alleged immoral behavior. The news magazine "Focus" reports, the pregnant 23-year-old Zulikhan S. lost her unborn child in this action of “punishment”.

The attackers had kicked her in the stomach, among other things. Her husband, who was severely injured by numerous blows, was admitted to hospital as an inpatient. Ten men forcibly entered the room of the couple on Friday of last week. The 38-year-old leader is said to have enforced "traditional values" of Islam on several occasions in the Reception Centre, as the paper "Focus" reports, referring to the police interrogation records. The man seems to be, according to "focus", a member of the radical separatist movement "Caucasus Emirate". Other members of this group were the two Boston bombers, the brothers Tsarnaev. An investigator from the Office of the Federal Criminal Police said to "focus": "People come from the Civil War, they are brutalized." German security officials warn against "uncontrolled immigration in relation to Chechen refugees ", which allegedly is being used by Islamists and other criminals.

New conspiratorial networks were the basis for the classic organized crime such as human trafficking, arms and drug trafficking, they say.

Syria: Christian towns and villages emptied by Muslim violence and targeted kidnappings

Tens of thousands Syriac Christians – members of the oldest Christian community in the world – have fled their ancestral provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasakah in northeastern Syria, residents have said.

"It breaks my heart to think how our long history is being uprooted," said Ishow Goriye, the head of a Syriac Christian political Hasakah.

Mr Goriye, told The Daily Telegraph how, over the past two years he has watched as Christian families from Hasakah pack their possessions on the rooftops of their vehicles and flee their homes "with little plan to come back".

Conflict in the area, desperate economic conditions, lawlessness, and persecution by rebel groups born from the perception that Christians support the regime, remain the main reasons for why Christian families are fleeing the area.

The growing presence of radical jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda, has also seen Christians targeted.

"It began as kidnapping for money, but then they started telling me I should worship Allah," a male Christian resident of Hasakah who was kidnapped by jihadists said.

"I was with five others. We were tied and blindfolded and pushed down on our knees. One of the kidnappers leant so close to my face I could feel his breath. He hissed: 'Why don't you become a Muslim? Then you can be free'."

Another Christian in Hasakah said he knew of "five forced conversions" in recent weeks.

Mr Goriye's Christian 'Syriac Union' party has long been in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

While speaking to The Telegraph, its members were loath to criticise the opposition rebels, but many confessed that the situation had become "too bad" not to talk about it.

Hasakah and other towns in northeastern Syria have long been one of the main population centres for Christians, who make up approximately 10 per cent of the country's population. Residents estimate that at least a third of Christians in northeastern Syria have fled, with few expecting to return.
. . .
Bassam Ishak, a Christian member of the main opposition bloc the Syrian National Coalition, who comes from Hasakah, said he and his colleagues had tried "several times" to approach western officials asking for weapons for Christian groups to defend their areas.

"The West wants to arm the seculars or 'West friendly' people, well we, the Syriac Christians those people. We want arms to protect our communities," he said. "We spoke to western diplomats asking for help, and everyone ignored us".

India: Man arrested for threatening to blow up a railway station and demanding the release of Muslim prisoners

The Government Railway Police have arrested a 49-year-old man on charges of sending threatening letters to the Virudhachalam railway station master early this year. Police said S Aslamjan, a resident of Erode, had been sending post cards threatening to blow up the railway station. The letters demanded that Muslims who were arrested under the National Security Act should be released and Muslims should be given 30% reservation in education and jobs...

Russia: Investigators say Rabbi was shot because of his religious duties, likely by Muslim extremists

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

The shooting of a Chabad rabbi in the Russian republic of Dagestan was likely a terrorist attack by Muslim extremists, investigators said.

Rabbi Artur Ovadia Isakov was shot on July 25 in Derbent, in southern Russia, “because of his religious duties, likely by Muslim extremists,” investigators said, according to a report by the Russian news site Gazeta.ru. Police are searching for the perpetrators, who will be charged with attempted murder, the news site reported.

Isakov was gunned down by unknown assailants outside his home as he was exiting his car. According to a Chabad website, Isakov was returning from his work performing shechitah, ritual slaughter. Authorities also told Rabbi Ahraon Gurevitch, who acts as chaplain for the Russian armed forces, that they believed Islamists were behind the shooting, Chabad reported.

Ramazan Abdulatipov, the acting president of Dagestan, released a statement after the shooting blaming “extremists and terrorists [who] do not want a happy, normal life for us all.” He said, “Only ignorant people, enemies of Dagestan, are able to do this.”...

US: Prosecutors of Maj. Nidal Hasan for the first time said that the Fort Hood massacre was an Islamic terrorist attack

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Col. Steve Henricks, one of three prosecutors, likened Hasan to a suicide bomber, saying Hasan researched going on jihad before the attack that left 13 dead and 32 wounded.

It was the first time the Army has made that allegation. Prosecutors said they would show that Hasan tried to target soldiers and not civilians, and that he intended to martyr himself at the end of the massacre.

“We believe that just like a suicide bomber, Maj. Hasan had no intention of leaving 5/11 alive,” Henricks said without elaborating.

The Nov. 5, 2009 shooting is often called “5/11” in the Killeen area.

Prosecutors hope to use evidence in the trial, which starts Tuesday, to prove Hasan is guilty of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. The idea is to show that he became increasingly radicalized over time. Hasan, who faces the death penalty and is acting as his own attorney, did not object.

An American born to Palestinian immigrants, Hasan has told the court he was the gunman that day, and that he launched the attack in hopes of preventing U.S. soldiers from killing Taliban insurgents, their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and innocent Afghan women and children.

Witnesses at a 2010 evidentiary hearing put Hasan at the scene, with some saying he cried, “God is great!” in Arabic. Critics have said those words, along with evidence showing he'd become religiously radicalized, prove he is a terrorist, but Pentagon leaders have never characterized the attack as such. In one congressional hearing, a government official labeled it an incident of workplace violence.

The trial judge, Col. Tara Osborn, expressed concern about weighing evidence dealing with motive, including the possibility that Hasan targeted soldiers, not civilians. That issue is critical because she has to decide when evidence can be fairly introduced.

Until now, the prosecution has avoided stating a motive. On Friday, they asked Osborn to allow witnesses and evidence that would show Hasan not only studied jihad, but presented a case for it while in a master's program — and that he claimed U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were unjustified.

Prosecutors also said Hasan modeled his attack on an incident in which then-Sgt. Hasan Akbar killed two soldiers and wounded 14 on March 23, 2003, in Kuwait. Akbar was sentenced to death.

Osborn allowed some evidence, including Internet searches found on Hasan's laptop computer for the words “jihad,” “Muslims” and “Taliban.” Those searches occurred before the shooting, but prosecutors said searches for the word “Taliban” jumped after Hasan got verbal orders to deploy Oct. 14, 2009...

Pakistan: Benazirabad mourns death of party leader killed for advocating sectarian peace

The central leader of Jamaat-i-Ahl-i-Sunnat, Maulana Muhammad Yaqoob Qadri, was killed in Benazirabad district on Thursday. According to police, four unknown armed assailants riding over two motorbikes attacked Qadri as he left his house in the Munee Bazaar area, which is also called Mohni Bazaar.

The SHO said that Qadri sustained two gunshots- one in the right arm and other around the abdomen area- and died at the hospital.

Qadri, 70, was the central leader of Jamaat-i-Ahl-i-Sunnat of Barelvi Sunni sect, while he was a Mughal by caste. He was also the founding leader of Anjuman Talaba-i-Islam and Nizam-i-Mustafa.

In the aftermath of his murder, life in Benazirabad came to a standstill. The enraged supporters forced the markets to shut, burnt tyres and broke windshields of half a dozen cars on Katchehri road market. A passerby was also shot and injured in Liaquat Colony.
. . .
According to Qadri’s son Danyal Qadri, some suspects were filming his father last Friday when he was addressing a rally in Benazirabad. “In his speech, he told them that he was not afraid of their activities and that he will sacrifice his life struggling for unity of Muslims and sectarian harmony.”

The attack received wide condemnation from several political and religious leaders. Qadri leaves behind a wife, a son and two daughters...

Thailand: Arson and explosions hit deep southern provinces, corporal patrolling Yaha district killed

The victim was Corporal Nuttapong Longkaew, chief of a ranger unit. He and his colleague were patrolling on foot in Yala's Yaha district when a roadside bomb exploded. The blast killed him instantly and deafened seven others soldiers.

Insurgents also launched arson attacks at a total of 13 spots in five districts in Yala, Pattani and Songkhla around 3am on Friday morning.

Most of the targeted sites were factories handling wood, rubber, plastic, cement and processed woods. Yala's Muang district was the hardest hit, with six sites were attacked. Three spots including a minimart and a company, in Pattani's Kok Phoe district were set on fire while two furniture shops in Sonkhla's Tepa district were gutted...

UK: Muslim prison population up 200% according to data included in a new report by the British Parliament

The number of Muslim convicts in British prisons has surpassed the 11,000 mark for the first time, according to data included in a new report produced by the British Parliament.

The statistics -- from a July 29 House of Commons research report entitled, "Prison Population Statistics" -- show that the number of Muslim inmates in England and Wales jumped to 11,248 in 2012, up from 3,681 in 1997. Stated another way, over the past 15 years, the number of Muslims in British prisons has jumped by more than 200%.

The rate of increase of Muslim inmates in British prisons is eight times faster than that of the overall prison population, and the numbers show a clear overrepresentation of Muslim convicts: Muslims, who make up roughly 5% of the British population as a whole, now make up 13% of the British prison population (compared to just 6% in 1997).

The growth in the number of Muslim inmates is fueling fears that British prisons are becoming hotbeds for Islamic radicalization.

Although most of the Muslims in British prisons are immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, an increasing number of Muslim inmates are converts to Islam.

According to a research report recently commissioned by the British Ministry of Justice, many non-Muslim inmates in British prisons are being bullied into conversion or are embracing Islam in exchange for promises of protection from physical assault.

The study examines the Islamic "gang culture" inside the Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire, which houses around 500 of the most dangerous prisoners in Britain. Researchers from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology who wrote the report found that more than one third (39%) of the prisoners at Whitemoor are Muslims.

Prisoners told the researchers that they had felt overwhelming pressure to convert. In some instances, they said, Muslim inmates had left Islamic literature in their cells and ordered them to "read this." In other instances, inmates were promised that if they converted to Islam, they would be safe from physical assault.

The report states that if loners, including sex offenders, converted to Islam, fellow Muslims would defend them; they could thereby gain safety from a large and dominant group. Others used their newly acquired faith as a tool for status in establishing influence.

Non-Muslims and prison officers inside Whitemoor described Islam as an "organized gang" and a "protection racket," which "glorified terrorist behavior and exploited the fear related to it."

Prison guards said there were "proper Al-Qaeda" members in the prison who were regarded with "awe" by younger inmates. Some prisoners described Whitemoor as a "recruiting drive for the Taliban" and fertile ground for hatred and a new generation of extremists.

Guards also said they had a policy of "appeasement" towards the powerful and growing Islamic prison population, particularly convicted terrorists who were feared to be recruiting future extremists.

The report states: "The threat of assaults motivated by religious fanaticism or extremist ideology added weight to the atmosphere at Whitemoor," and continues: "The new population mix, including high numbers of Muslim prisoners, was disrupting established hierarchies in the prison. Social relations among prisoners had become complex and less visible. Too much power flowed among some groups of prisoners, with some real risks of serious violence. There were high levels of fear in the prison. In particular, there were tensions and fears relating to 'extremism' and 'radicalization.'"

The report concludes: "More prominent, in practice, were pressures (and temptations) felt by some prisoners to convert to Islam. Conditions in the prison made participation in Islamic practices the most 'available' option for those looking for belonging, meaning, 'brotherhood,' trust and friendship."

Meanwhile, British media recently reported that Dale Cregan, a notorious quadruple murderer who is serving a life sentence at the Manchester Prison, is being targeted by extremist Muslims who want to convert him to Islam.

Cregan, who is of Irish Catholic background, is said to be afraid of rival gang members who have offered a bounty to anyone who attacks him in prison. Muslims have offered to protect Cregan if he converts to Islam. According to prison officials, Cregan is so well known that if he converts to Islam, it would be seen as a way to further increase the influence of Muslim gangs inside the prison.

The growing problem of Muslim gangs taking over British prisons was the topic of a recent BBC investigation. The program includes an interview with a former inmate named Jay, who says, "Muslims run it. Muslims run the prisons and there's nothing the screws [British slang for a prison guard] can do about it. For a Muslim you'd say it's good but for a non-Muslim, it's very, very bad."...

Maldives: Police arrest and charge two men for eating during Ramadan fasting hours

Police identified the pair as Mohamed Saeed, 42 of Henveiru Happy Villa and Ibrahim Ali, 18 of Violet house in Maafaru, Noonu Atoll. Both names were sent to the Prosecutor General (PG)’s office for prosecution.

In a statement, police said the pair were discovered eating behind the Alimas Carnival Stage at 2:00pm on July 12, 2013. The investigation was concluded by July 24, and sent for prosecution.

Police Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef said eating during fasting hours was a crime under the Maldivian penal code.
. . .
During Ramadan in 2010, four men were arrested after they were caught eating in daylight hours. Two of those arrest were also made near the Alimas Carnival stage.

During the same Ramadan, another group of people were arrested while they were eating behind a construction site on the land behind the Dharubaaruge convention centre.

In 2009 a man was arrested for eating in daytime during Ramadan and was sent to the Criminal Court. The Criminal Court fined him MVR 500 (US$32) and ordered him to reinstate that day’s fast.

UK: Soldier attacked by a gang who chanted “Lee Rigby” as they kicked him on the floor

For news on the murder of Lee Rigby, click here.

The 18-year-old, known as Alexander, has been a member of the Coldstream Guards for six months.

But on route to his home in St Thomas, Exeter, he said he was targeted by the hateful mob as he is a serving member of the armed forces.

After a period of about two minutes he managed to escape after fighting off but fear his injuries could have been a lot worse.

The incident happened at just before 2pm on Wednesday afternoon.

He said: “I was walking home from the train station at Exeter Central and got to the ruins at Exe bridges. As I went into the underpass a group of lads walked past me.

“They stopped and asked if I was in the forces. I replied yes and before I could say why, fists were coming towards my face.

“I was knocked to the floor and then carried on kicking me for what felt like a couple of minutes.

“I crawled up in a ball but couldn’t get up. One was trying to get a screwdriver out of his pocket. I managed to get it off him and fight him off.

“They were all covered up so I couldn’t see any of their faces. They kept shouting Lee Rigby – like they wanted to re-create what happened.”

After managing to escape and run off Alex was left with a split lip, sore ribs and a swollen jaw. H was treated at the NHS Walk in Centre

He said: “I have only been in the army six months but this is the first time anything like this has happened. I was very shaken up by it but am starting to get to grips with what happened.”...

Australia: Muslim prayer leader charged with indecent assault on two teenagers and a grandmother, blames cultural differences

A Muslim prayer leader charged with touching the breasts of two teenagers and a grandmother on the northern beaches believes he is the victim of a misunderstanding.

Ahmed Alkahly, a 59-year-old Egyptian national who is a well-known qari, or prayer reciter, in his homeland, is visiting Sydney to lead evening prayers at the Dee Why Masjid mosque for the month of Ramadan.

Police will allege that, in two separate incidents on Wednesday afternoon, he approached a 16-year-old girl and a 57-year-old grandmother, who was pushing her grandson in a pram, and indecently assaulted them by touching their breasts along Dee Why Beach.

Both victims called the police. Mr Alkahly was found nearby minutes later and arrested.

Police will allege he also approached a 16-year-old girl in a reserve in Dee Why on Monday afternoon and touched her breasts. "They’re certainly distressed by the incident," Inspector Craig Wonders said of the three victims.

However, Mr Alkahly’s Sydney-based son said the incidents were the result of a misunderstanding and his father, who does not speak English, is so embarrassed and distressed by his subsequent arrest that he has almost suffered a nervous breakdown.

He said the incidents arose when people on the beach asked to have their photos taken with his father, who was wearing exotic Egyptian Islamic dress.

Mr Alkahly also came into contact with one of the women because her dog started barking and gnarling at him, he said. ‘‘I’m so depressed, I can’t talk,’’ said the son.

A spokesman for Dee Why Masjid, Usamah Alamudi, said Mr Alkahly was simply showing ‘‘love and compassion’’ but had misunderstood the cultural differences between Australia and Egypt.

‘‘He’s very distressed. He’s been crying,’’ Mr Alamudi said. ‘‘He’s a good man.’’

The mosque released a short statement on its website urging people to stop sending abusive emails...
Update:
A visiting Muslim prayer leader who groped two teenagers and a grandmother on the northern beaches is facing fresh allegations of indecently assaulting two other women.

Ahmed Abdelshafy Mohamed El-Kahly, who has been visiting a mosque in Dee Why to lead evening prayers during the month of Ramadan, has appealed to a magistrate to be sentenced quickly for the crimes so he can return home to Egypt on Friday.

Magistrate Michael Barbour denied the request, saying he would require a pre-sentencing report to determine the seriousness of the charges, which may take several days.

His decision came as police revealed in North Sydney Local Court on Monday they are investigating further complaints from two women they were indecently assaulted by the 59-year-old sheikh...

Egypt: Muslim cleric says on religious TV show 'beating wife okay, as long as it's not on face'

An Egyptian cleric has said on a religious television show that it's okay for Muslim husbands to beat wives, so long as they didn't hit them on their faces.

The Washington Times reports that cleric Mahmoud Al-Denawy responded to a question from a woman of Norway during a June 17 show on African Iqra TV that asked 'What's the Islamic view on the beating of wives?'

According to the reports the cleric also said that non-believers of Islam often use that issue as a point of criticism.

He further clarified that if a woman disobeys her husband, then the husband should first try to verbally correct her.

If that doesn't work, he should then move to a different bed. And the last resort should be to beat her gently, but not on her face the report added.

Indonesia: 14 Muslim Rohingya on trial for deadly brawl that left eight Buddhist fishermen dead

A group of 14 Muslim asylum seekers from Burma went on trial Wednesday after a deadly brawl at an Indonesian detention center left eight Buddhist fishermen from their country dead.

The violence occurred April 5 in North Sumatra province, where more than 100 ethnic Rohingya asylum seekers — most intercepted off Indonesia’s coast after fleeing Burma in rickety boats — and 11 Buddhists from Burma accused of illegal fishing were being housed together.

Eight Buddhists were killed, and 15 Muslim Rohingya were injured. Three other Buddhists escaped unharmed.

The Rohingya men are being tried at Medan district court in North Sumatra province. Prosecutors charged them with collective assault and torturing, which carry a maximum sentence of 12 years.

Police and the detention chief say the clash began after a Rohingya Muslim cleric and a fisherman got into a heated debate about religious violence that had erupted a few weeks earlier in central Myanmar.

However, prosecutors told the court that the Rohingya were angered when a female asylum seeker was sexually harassed by the fishermen.

Early this month the same court acquitted three Rohingya teenagers due to a lack of evidence of involvement in the violence...

Iraq: Sunni and Shi'ite conflict death toll tops 1,000 in July, most violent month in years

Casualty figures released by the UN mission in Baghdad suggest 1,057 Iraqis were killed in July, making it the most violent month in years.

At least 4,137 civilians have been killed and 9,865 injured so far this year, with Baghdad province worst hit.

"The impact of violence on civilians remains disturbingly high," UN Iraq representative Gyorgy Busztin said.

"Iraq's political leaders must take immediate and decisive action to stop the senseless bloodshed," he warned.

A wave of violence has swept Iraq in the past six months, with Sunni Islamist militant groups targeting Shia districts. In July there was a series of bombings in streets, cafes and mosques. Militants also broke into two prisons, setting inmates free.

Mr Busztin - in Baghdad as acting special representative for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon - said the toll for July was the highest for more than five years...


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