Islam in the News (December 2012)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Libya: Blast at Coptic church near the city of Misrata kills two Egyptians and injures two

An explosion rocked a Christian Coptic church near the western Libyan city of Misrata on Sunday, killing two people and wounding two others, all of them Egyptians, an Egyptian diplomat told AFP.

"Two Egyptians were killed and two were wounded," said the diplomat at the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli who declined to be named.

"The church explosion was in the town of Dafniya in Misrata (province). The consul went directly to Misrata to find out the details. We still don't have clear information," the diplomat said.

Earlier, a security official said one Egyptian was killed and three others were wounded in the blast at a Coptic church. The Egyptian diplomat said that one of those hurt in the explosion died later at the hospital.

Residents said the explosion took place in the early afternoon at a Coptic church in Dafniya, a Mediterranean town 30 kilometres (18.5 miles) west of Misrata, where brigades made up of former rebels hold a major checkpoint.
Libya church blast kills two Egyptians
France 24, December 30, 2012

Nigeria: Village attacked, men, women and children tied up before having their throats slit

Gunmen suspected to belong to a radical Islamist sect attacked a village in northeast Nigeria, tying up men, women and children before slitting their throats, killing at least 15 in the troubled region's latest attack, witnesses said Saturday.

The assault happened early Friday morning in the village of Musari on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the city where the sect known as Boko Haram first launched its guerrilla campaign of shootings and car bombings against Nigeria's weak central government. The gunmen shouted religious slogans and later ordered those there to be gathered up into a group, said Mshelia Inusa, a primary school teacher in the village.

"We heard some people chanting, 'God is great, God is great' amid sounds of banging on doors of houses at about 1 a.m.," the teacher said. "A voice was heard ordering people to be slaughtered and also voices of children were heard screaming."
. . .
More than 780 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks so far this year, according to an Associated Press count, making 2012 the worst year of violence attributed to the group. Boko Haram also has loose connections with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia's al-Shabab, according to Western military officials and diplomats.

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen also attacked another village Friday in Adamawa state on its border with neighboring Cameroon. Witnesses said that attack focused on the town of Maiha, where gunmen also shouted praises to God while setting fire to government buildings, a school and a prison. At least 35 prisoners were released from the prison in the attack, though 11 had been recaptured, police spokesman Mohammed Ibrahim said Saturday.

Ibrahim said a civilian and a police officer were killed during the fighting.

And violence continued around the central Nigerian city of Jos, where ethnic, religious and political rivalries have caused mass killings in recent years. Authorities said at least seven had been killed in recent days around Christian villages in the rural plateau. Police said they were investigating the attacks.

Egypt: "You will be wiped off the face of the earth," cleric threatens Copts with genocide

Islamic leaders continue to portray the popular protests against President Morsi and his recently passed Sharia-heavy constitution as products of Egypt's Christians. Recently, Muslim Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy said in an open rally, as captured on video:

"A message to the church of Egypt, from an Egyptian Muslim: I tell the church — by Allah, and again, by Allah — if you conspire and unite with the remnants [opposition] to bring Morsi down, that will be another matter…. our red line is the legitimacy of Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Whoever splashes water on it, we will splash blood on him."

More recently, Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim — who earlier praised Allah for the death of the late Coptic Pope Shenouda, cursing him to hell and damnation on video — made another video, entitled, "A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt," a reference to the nation's Copts, which he began by saying, "You are playing with fire in Egypt, I swear, the first people to be burned by the fire are you [Copts]." The video was made in the context of the Tahrir protests against Morsi: Islamic leaders, such as Hegazy and Ghoneim, seek to portray the Copts as dominant elements in those protests; according to them, no real Muslim would participate. Ghoneim even went on to say that most of the people at the protests were Copts, "and we know you hid your [wrist] crosses by lowering your sleeves."

The heart of Ghoneim's message was genocidal: "The day Egyptians — and I don't even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians — feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I'm warning you now: do not play with fire!"

Along with trying to incite Egypt's Muslims against the Copts, and threatening them with annihilation, Ghoneim made other telling assertions, including:

Addressing the Christians of Egypt as "Crusaders," once again showing Islam's simplistic, black-and-white vision, which clumps all Christians — of all nations, past and present, regardless of historical context and denomination — as one, in accordance with an Islamic tradition that states "All infidels are one religion."
. . .

Egyptian Cleric Threatens Egypt's Copts with Genocide
Gatestone Institute, December 28, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Police raid home, arrest forty-one people for “plotting to celebrate Christmas”

The religious police in Saudi Arabia have raided a house in the Al Jawf Province and arrested 41 people, who were “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a police statement said.

The police said that the detainees were Christian guests of an Asian diplomat, reports the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. There were also a Saudi Arabian and an Egyptian, both Muslims, present at the gathering. The police account says the host and the two Muslim guests were “severely intoxicated.” It is unclear whether or not the people detained in the Wednesday night raid were released or face further prosecution. Saudi Arabia outlaws any religious practice except those in line with a strict version of Sunni Islam, the state religion in the theocratic monarchy. The authorities usually turn a blind eye to private ceremonies, but this policy is neither set in law nor observed at all times. The “virtue and vice” police, which enforce religious norms in the country, regularly launch crackdowns on Christians and Hindus living in Saudi Arabia.

The attitude is encouraged by religious leaders, who justify the persecutions. Saudi Arabia's head mufti Sheikh Abdel Aziz bin Abdullah had previously condemned “invitations to Christmas or wedding celebrations,” the newspaper says.

Pakistan: Man kidnapped, tied and has eyes gauged out over suspicion of an extramarital affair

A man’s eyes were gouged out on Thursday allegedly by eight men over a suspicion of an extramarital affair in Muzaffargarh. He was taken to Nishtar Hospital, where doctors treating him said that he would likely survive.

Police said three men had been arrested and that they were looking for the rest. Shehr Sultan police said that father of eight Bilal, a farmer who is known by his first name only, was kidnapped by eight men when he was working in his field. They said they had suspected that he was having an affair with a girl of their family. They said they beat up Bilal and gouged out both his eyes. He was later left lying unconscious in a pool of blood. Some passers-by who saw him informed the police. He was taken to the hospital, where Dr Shahbaz Aslam, who was treating him, said that Bilal had lost a lot of blood, but would likely survive.

Police have registered cases against the eight suspects under Sections 365, 334, 324, 148 and 149 (kidnap, intention to hurt or kill, armed with deadly weapon). Police said three of the suspects had been arrested. They were identified as Ghulam Fareed, Riaz and Fayyaz. Station House Officer Aslam Malghani said that Bilal had been attacked over a suspicion. Bilal told police that the men had taken him inside the fodder room in the field and had blindfolded him and tied his hands and feet. He said he could hear them discuss which part of his body to cut off. He said when he shouted for help, they stuffed some cloth into his mouth.

He said he felt as if he had been “buried alive”.

Nigeria: More than 750 deaths in 2012, churches, schools, offices obliterated in the name of Islam

If the goal is carnage, Boko Haram has had its best year ever.

Authorities blame Boko Haram, a homegrown Islamist rebel movement with ties to Al Qaeda, for more than 750 deaths in 2012. The militants have obliterated churches, schools, government offices, security forces, media houses, market places and communications infrastructure.

Their methods are growing more and more gruesome by the year. Early in 2012, coordinated bombings of government and security offices in Kano killed nearly 200 people in a single afternoon. More recently, in a northern college town, militants went door to door, interviewing individuals and executing dozens who gave the wrong answers.

Boko Haram has also stoked ethnic tensions and leveled the economies of several cities. There appears to be no end in sight.
. . .
Attacks by Boko Haram began in 2009 as sectarian tensions in the north began to flare. After its spiritual leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed in police custody that same year, the group’s militant demeanor took hold. It began to call on Nigeria to implement a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
. . .
Not only emulating Al Qaeda, Boko Haram appears to now have operational ties with it. The group also boasts ties to Al Shabab, Africa’s premiere terrorist organization, and with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

“It seems to be a very well funded operation,” Nwankwo said. “So it seems to me that it has to be somebody who has a lot of resources to be able to coordinate and execute this.”

In its latest missive to the world at large, Boko Haram posted a video to YouTube with the title, “Glad Tidings, O’ Soldiers of Allah.”

The man believed to be the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, spoke in Arabic on the tape, not his local language.

“Nigeria and other crusaders, meaning America and Britain, should witness, and the Jews of Israel who are killing the Muslims in Palestine should witness,” he said, “that we are with our mujahideen brothers.”

Germany: Indian student beaten and has tongue cut out for refusing to convert to Islam

A 24-year Indian student in Bonn was brutally attacked by Islamic extremists who slashed his tongue when he refused to convert, German police said Thursday.

The Indian student was attacked on Christmas eve when he was on the way to his place in Bonn.

The men enquired about his religion and asked him to convert to Islam, warning him that they would cut his tongue if he refused to do so, Der Spiegel reported.

The student, who was not identified, told the police that he was attacked by two men from behind after he ignored them.

The attackers beat him up and slashed his tongue and flew in a car.

Police spokesman did not give details of injuries but said the information that the victim gave was credible.

A passerby found the bleeding student on the road and called an ambulance. The student was admitted to a local hospital and was released a day later.

Turkey: Rape victim becomes pregnant by two cousins, strangled by family and dumped in the river

A young woman who became pregnant after being raped by two of her cousins in the southeastern province of Batman was found to have been strangled by her family in an apparent “honor” killing on Monday.

The incident came to light on Dec. 17 when police in the province found a dead body. The deceased was determined to have been choked to death, in an autopsy carried out by a local morgue. During the course of a police investigation the body was identified to be that of a young woman known only by the initials H. D. Interrogation by police of H.D.'s family and relatives revealed that she had fallen victim to an honor killing. The murder reportedly occurred as a result of a decision made by the family after she was found to be pregnant after being raped by two of her cousins.

The police report said the family of the young woman brought her to the side of a small lake without explaining why, before strangling her and throwing her body into the water.

Honor killings are amongst the most shocking crimes in Turkey today. In the practice, when a girl's behavior is deemed to have stained her family's honor, she may be killed by a male relative.

Often honor killings are not a heat-of-the-moment crime: the family members may gather together to form a family court, pass the death sentence on the young woman and nominate a young male relative to carry out the deed. He faces ostracism from his family unless he follows through.

Seven people were arrested by police in the Batman incident. The grandfather of the young woman is suspected as the instigator of the crime and her two uncles as the perpetrators.

The police have launched a search for the two men who raped H.D., including a DNA test to determine which of them impregnated the young woman after they are found.

Every year more than 5,000 women are killed by their relatives in the name of honor, according to UN statistics. A study conducted in 2010 by the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK) reveals that 460 honor killings were committed in Turkey in the past decade.
Another victim dies in ‘honor' killing
Todays Zaman, December 26, 2012

Nigeria: Muslims attack second church, kill a deacon and five members, death toll now at twelve

At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services, police said.

One assault occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, in Yobe province. Gunmen attacked worshipers during prayer, killing six people, including the pastor, and setting the building on fire.

Worshipers also were attacked at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state. A deacon and five church members were killed.

They were the latest strikes against Christians in the region. More than 30 people died in a wave of Christmas Day attacks in the north last year, blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that has targeted Christians and Muslims it considered insufficiently Islamist
. . .

It is not immediately known whether the group was behind the latest attacks. The Christmas attacks came as families whose kin died in last year's killings delivered graveside prayers for a peaceful holiday period. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan issued a statement promising better days next year, including better security. "Sometimes, challenges make people doubt the sincerity of government, but I am confident that God knows everything," he said Sunday.

But residents told CNN that despite assurances of security, they have been attacked again.

Nigeria: Muslims open fire on midnight mass at church, six dead and church set on fire

Gunmen attacked a church in northern Nigeria during a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, killing six people including the pastor, before setting the building ablaze, residents and police said Tuesday.

Gunmen killed six people attending midnight mass at a church in northern Nigeria on Christmas Eve, police and residents confirmed on Tuesday.

“A group of gunmen came into the village at midnight and went straight to the church... they opened fire on them, killing the pastor and five worshippers. They then set fire to the church," said Usman Mansir, resident of Peri village, near Potiskum, the economic capital of Yobe state.

Mansir specified that a branch of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) was the congregation that was targeted.

A senior police official in Yobe confirmed the details to AFP, but declined to be named.

Boko Haram Islamists have carried out several attacks in Yobe, which borders the state of Maiduguri, where the insurgent group is based.

The Islamists are blamed for killing hundreds of people in northern Nigeria since 2009. It was not clear who was behind the latest violence.

While Yobe's population is overwhelmingly Muslim, the commercial hub of Potiskum has a significant Christian minority. Peri is just two kilometres outside the city.

Indonesia: Muslim mob pelts Christian worshipers with rotten eggs, bags of urine and excrement

More than 200 Indonesian Muslims threw rotten eggs at Christians wanting to hold a Christmas mass near land outside Jakarta where they plan to build a church, police and a witness said.

Some 100 Christian worshippers intended to hold a mass near empty land where they hope to build a church, about 30-kilometers east of the capital, in a project barred by district government and community members in 2009.

Since then, worshippers from the Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant have held Sunday services under scorching sun outside the property.

On Tuesday, however, local community members blocked the road near the land, Andri Ananta, a local police chief on Jakarta's outskirts, told AFP.

An AFP photographer witnessed furious locals — men and women wearing Muslim headscarf, with small children in tow — physically blocking the road and throwing rotten eggs at the gathering worshippers.

Ananta said police managed to convince the Christians to drop their plan and return home.

"We tried our best to avoid any clash and the Christians agreed to leave," he said, adding 380 police and military personnel including an anti-riot squad were deployed to the area.

Church leader Reverend Palti Panjaitan said the incident came after a Christmas Eve attack on Monday evening when "intolerant people" threw not only rotten eggs but plastic bags filled with urine and cow dung at them.

"Everything had happened while police were there. They were just watching without doing anything to stop them from harming us," he told AFP.

The country's high court last year overruled the district government's 2009 decision, but constant intimidation from Muslims in the area has delayed the church's construction, church officials said.

Indonesia's constitution guarantees freedom of religion but rights groups say violence against minorities including Christians and the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect has escalated since 2008.

Ninety percent of Indonesia's population of 240 million identify themselves as Muslim but the vast majority practice a moderate form of Islam.

Mali: Muslims vow to destroy last of Timbuktu's relics. "Not a single mausoleum will remain... Allah doesn't like it"

Islamic fanatics controlling northern Mali have once again taken pickaxes to ancient monuments, as they vow to destroy all the remaining mausoleums in the fabled city of Timbuktu.

The symbols of Timbuktu's rich history are once again the focus of Islamic extremists intent on defending their brand of Islam against idolatry. Al Jazeera reported Abou Dardar, head of al-Qaeda linked Ansar Dine, proclaimed: "Not a single mausoleum will remain in Timbuktu, Allah doesn't like it. We are in the process of smashing all the hidden mausoleums in the area." Just two days ago Ansar Dine and rival Tuareg fighters agreed to suspend fighting and "refrain from all actions that would cause confrontation and hostilities in the areas that they control" after the United Nations approved African intervention in Mali. Ansar Dine is using its free time to destroy an irreplaceable part of history.

In July Digital Journal reported the International Criminal Court warned the Salafist groups to stop their wanton destruction of historic shrines in Timbuktu, categorizing it as a war crime. However, their warning has gone unheeded as the vandalism continues, with extremists calling "Man should only worship Allah."

Australia: Imam says FGM is not only an utterly distinct practice, but the "divinely ordained right of a woman"

A MUSLIM leader and outspoken opponent of female genital mutilation says female circumcision, which he defines as the partial removal of the clitoral hood, is not only an utterly distinct practice, but the "divinely ordained right of a woman" under Islam.

Sydney-based Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development founder and president, Imam Afroz Ali, appeared on the ABC's 7:30 program in October, condemning female genital mutilation and saying he had been told by community members of its occurrence in Australia.
Female circumcision is a right, says imam
Rachel Baxendale, The Australian, December 24, 2012

Australia: Mosque puts fatwa on Christmas. Says it's a "sin" to wish people a Merry Christmas

The Lakemba Mosque has issued a fatwa against Christmas, warning followers it is a sin to even wish people a Merry Christmas.

The religious ruling, which followed a similar lecture during Friday prayers at Australia's biggest mosque, was posted on its Facebook site on Saturday morning.

The head imam at Lakemba, Sheikh Yahya Safi, had told the congregation during prayers that they should not take part in anything to do with Christmas.
. . .
It also says that Christmas Day and associated celebrations are among the "falsehoods that a Muslim should avoid ... and therefore, a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate the Christmas Day nor is he allowed to congratulate them".

The posting of the fatwa has shocked many Muslim leaders. The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said the foundations of Islam were peace, co-operation, respect and holding others in esteem.

"Anyone who says otherwise is speaking irresponsibly," he said.

"There is difference between showing respect for someone's belief and sharing those beliefs," Dr Ibrahim said.
No merriness here: mosque puts fatwa on Christmas
The Sydney Morning Herald, December 23, 2012

India: Madrassa teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for raping and sodomizing a 10-year-old girl

The Kasaragod district sessions court on Thursday sentenced a madrassa teacher to 22 years in prison for raping and sodomizing a 10-year-old girl in 2008. Judge K Bhaskaran also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the teacher. If the fine is not paid, he will have to serve an additional six months in prison.

Bedakam police said the accused VT Ayyoob, alias Ayyoob Sakhafi (28), a native of Moorkkanad near Kulathoor, was awarded 10 years each for raping and sodomizing and two years for attempting to destroy evidence.

The case was registered at Bedakam police station on August 10, 2008, under Sections 376, 377 and 506 (1) of the Indian Penal Code. The police said Ayyoob had lured the girl into his room at the madrassa and raped and sodomized her and threatened her with dire consequences if she revealed the truth to anybody. The girl fainted after she came home and when parents asked her, she broke down and revealed everything. A case was registered and Ayyoob was arrested.

The police said Ayyoob was working at the madrassa since 2005. Of the 21 witnesses in the case, 15 were examined during trial. District public prosecutor K Vinodkumar appeared for the prosecution in this case.

France: Immigrant imam attempts to rape his landlady, victim successfully defends herself by biting him

A man, officiating as a substitute imam in a mosque in Montreuil-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis), is due to appear this morning in front of an examining magistrate of the tribunal in Créteil (Val-de-Marne) in regards to his being questioned in a case of attempted rape.

The incident goes back to the night of the 1st/2nd of December in Fresnes (Val-de-Marne). Arrested on Tuesday around 6 pm at the exit of his place of worship, the suspect, who is said to have officiated as an imam in Tunisia, was arrested. According to out information, he denies the accusations.

"This man, in an irregular [immigration] situation on our territory, and who presents himself as a substitute imam in this mosque, is suspected of having wanted to attack a young woman who was putting him up," reveals a source with knowledge of the case. "According to the declarations of the victim, her aggressor tied her hands before trying to rape her. She defended herself by biting him, which caused him to flee. Traces of blood were found in the residence where the attack took place. Other extremely confounding factors were also recovered."

Thailand: Islamic militants burn down office building, after failing to find Buddhist employees to kill

A gang of Islamic militants burned down the Bacho Tambon Administration Organisation office on Thursday, after failing to find any Buddhist employees to kill.
. . .
“One of them fired a gun into the air and ordered everyone to stay put in Yawi [a Malay dialect spoken by Muslims in the South] and then asked if there were any Buddhist Thais working here,” Mr Abdulwaha said.

“I told him there were none, and the outlaw was upset and said I had lied to him.”

Mr Abdulwaha then explained there was a female Buddhist Thai civil servant identified as Suchada sae Li working at the TAO as a community development officer, level 3, but she was on leave. Upset with the answer, two of the gunmen emptied a five-litre container of gasoline into the archive and equipment storage rooms, set fire to it, and then fled the scene.

Staff, villagers and a local disaster relief team tried to put out the fire, but the blaze spread quickly and destroyed the whole building.

Mr Abdulwaha said it appeared the assailants wanted to kill Ms Suchada who was the only Buddhist official at the Bacho TAO, and had planned to use the gasoline to burn her body.

He said the attack left him and the other staff in fear for their own safety and it was likely they would not return to work until the office was rebuilt.
Militants hunt Buddhists in Narathiwat’
Bangkok Post, December 20, 2012

Tunisia: Cleric prays for Allah to sterilize the wombs of Jewish women during televised Friday sermon

The Tunisian Association to Support Minorities is suing a prominent Tunisian imam for hateful incitement against Jews.

During a Friday sermon broadcast live on November 30 on Hannibal TV, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Suhayli of Rades, a suburb of Tunis, told his followers at the Khatib mosque that “God wants to destroy this sprinkling of Jews… and is for sterilizing the wombs of Jewish women,” the liberal Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
. . .
“The sermon… has received a wave of domestic and international condemnation,” El-Beltagi stated. He said the lawsuit would not include Hannibal TV because the sermon was broadcast live and the content was not able to be previewed beforehand.

The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that this was technically the first time that incitement against Jews was reported inside a mosque in Tunisia, which has a Jewish community of less than 2,000, who live mostly on the island of Djerba.

This was, however, the fourth time incitement against Jews has been reported in the public sphere generally since the overthrow of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, prompting Jewish community leaders to demand security protection from the Tunisian government.

Egypt: Just a tiny minority? 50,000 Muslims led by sword-wielding men march through Christian areas

A campaign of intimidation by Islamists left most Christians in this southern Egyptian province too afraid to participate in last week's referendum on an Islamist-drafted constitution they deeply oppose, residents say. The disenfranchisement is hiking Christians' worries over their future under empowered Muslim conservatives.

Around a week before the vote, some 50,000 Islamists marched through the provincial capital, Assiut, chanting that Egypt will be "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." At their head rode several bearded men on horseback with swords in scabbards on their hips, evoking images of early Muslims conquering Christian Egypt in the 7th Century.

They made sure to go through mainly Christian districts of the city, where residents, fearing attacks, shuttered down their stores and stayed in their homes, witnesses said.

The day of the voting itself on Saturday, Christian voting was minimal - as low as seven percent in some areas, according to church officials. Some of those who did try to head to polling stations in some villages were pelted by stones, forcing them to turn back without casting ballots, Christian activists and residents told The Associated Press this week.

The activists now see what happened in Assiut as a barometer for what Christians' status will be under a constitution that enshrines a greater role for Shariah, or Islamic law, in government and daily life. Even under the secular regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's Christians complained of discrimination and government failure to protect them and their rights. They fear it will be worse with the Islamists who have dominated Egypt's political landscape since Mubarak's ouster in February 2011.

"When all issues become religious and all the talk is about championing Islam and its prophet, then, as a Christian, I am excluded from societal participation," said Shady Magdy Tobia, a Christian activist in Assiut. "If this does not change, things will only get worse for Christians."

But some of the Christians of Assiut are pushing back against the emboldened Islamists. In recent weeks, young Christians joined growing street protests to demand that the charter is shelved, casting aside decades of political apathy.

Assiut province is significant because it is home to one of Egypt's largest Christian communities - they make up about 35 percent of the population of 4.5 million, perhaps three times the nationwide percentage. At the same time, it is a major stronghold of Egypt's Islamists, who now dominate its local government. The province was the birthplace of some of the country's most radical Islamist groups and was the main battlefield of an insurgency by Muslim militants in the 1990s.

It was one of 10 provinces that voted in the first round of Egypt's referendum. Nationwide, around 56 percent voted in favor of the draft charter, according to preliminary results. Assiut had one of the strongest "yes" votes at more than 77 percent. It also had a turnout of only 28 percent - one of the lowest in a round marred by a low participation of only 32 percent nationwide.

The second and final round will held the coming Saturday in 17 provinces, including in Minya, which has the country's highest proportion of Christians, at 36 percent.

Rights groups reported attempts at suppression of the "no" vote in many parts of the country. But Christians say intimidation and suppression are more effective in this smaller, largely rural province.

"In Assiut, we face more danger than in Cairo," said businessman Emad Awny Ramzy, a key organizer of local protests against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood. "Here they can easily identify, monitor and attack us."

A senior figure of the Gamaa Islamiya - which was once one of the main groups waging the Islamic militant insurgency in Assiut but has since renounced violence and is allied to Morsi's government - dismissed the Christians' allegations of intimidation in the province.

The claims are "just lies and rumors that surface every time we have an election," Assem Abdel-Magued said. The Brotherhood and officials in Morsi's government have similarly dismissed claims of violations around the country.

The draft constitution, finalized by Islamists on a Constituent Assembly despite a boycott by liberals and Christians, has polarized Egypt, bringing out huge rival street rallies by both camps in the past four weeks. Opponents of Morsi accuse him of ramming the document through and, more broadly, of imposing a Brotherhood domination of power. Morsi supporters, in turn, accuse his opponents of seeking to thwart a right to bring Islamic law they say they earned with election victories the past year.

Egypt's main Coptic Orthodox Church and smaller ones have taken an uncharacteristically assertive approach in the constitutional struggle. They withdrew their six members from the Constituent Assembly to protest Islamist domination of the process and later refused to send representatives to a "national dialogue" called for by Morsi.

The new Coptic pope, Tawadros II, enthroned last month, publicly called some of the charter's articles "disastrous."

In response, the Muslim Brotherhood - which usually keeps a moderate tone toward Christians - has turned toward more inflammatory rhetoric.

Senior Brotherhood figure Mohammed el-Beltagi in a newspaper interview this week depicted mass anti-Morsi rallies outside the presidential palace in Cairo this month as mainly made up of Christians, hinting at a Christian conspiracy against the president.

In a recent speech, Safwat Hegazi, a famous Islamist preacher linked to the Brotherhood, warned Christians against joining forces with former Mubarak regime figures to topple Morsi.

"I tell the church, yes, you are our brothers in Egypt, but there are red lines. Our red line is Morsi's legitimacy. Whoever dares splash it with water, we will splash him with blood," he said, using an Arabic saying.

In Assiut, Tobia, Ramzy and other Christian activists spoke of an atmosphere of intimidation ahead of the vote, including the large Islamist march.

They said threatening messages were sent on mobile phones and on social networking sites. During an opposition demonstration on Dec. 7 outside the offices of the Brotherhood's political party in Assiut, suspected Morsi supporters seized six protesters - five Muslims and one Christian - beating them and shaving the head of one.

With tension building up over the last four weeks, many Christian voters registered at polling centers located in predominantly Muslim areas did not vote, fearing violence, they said.

Those who made it to polling centers in districts with significant Christian populations were soon frustrated by the long lines or delays, which activists said was intentional. In some cases, they said, Islamists who had voted elsewhere then went to stand in lines in mainly Christian areas to make them longer, increase delays and prompt Christians to give up and leave.

Two Christian clerics said that outside the province's main cities, only about 12 percent of registered Christian voters left their homes on Saturday to vote and that no more than seven percent were able to cast their ballots. They based the figures on statistics gathered by members of the Coptic Church's youth group who monitored voting across the province. The two clerics spoke on condition of anonymity because of sensitivities over the church role in political issues.

In the Christian village of el-Aziyah, only 2,350 of the village's 12,100 registered voters cast ballots on Saturday, according to acting mayor Montaser Malek Yacoub.

Yacoub is among the growing number of Christians who are pushing back against persecution.

He has taken advantage of the tenuous security situation of the past two years and built two churches without permits and reclaimed a large area of state-owned desert that lies outside the village's boundaries toward a rock mountain. Under Mubarak's rule, Christians rarely received permits to build or renovate churches.

"Let me just tell you this: As far as I am concerned, this is our country and everyone else are guests," he said. But "we're ready to cooperate with anyone who shares Egypt with us."
Fear keeps Egypt's Christians away from polls
The Associated Press, December 19, 2012

US: Christmas terror plot targeting major NYC attractions foiled by FBI

A Pakistani-born man wanted to avenge the deaths of U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan by blowing up a New York City landmark but lacked the money and materials to carry out the plan, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said at a bail hearing that Raees Alam Qazi, 20, researched bomb-making techniques on Internet sites affiliated with al Qaeda, including one using Christmas tree lights, and the FBI recorded phone calls and conversations linking Qazi to a purported "lone wolf" plot.

"He fully intended to do this, and thankfully he didn't have enough money," Gilbert said. Referring to casualties in U.S. drone attacks, she added: "He wants to avenge those deaths and kill people."

Qazi traveled to New York last month in hopes of getting a job to fund his terrorist plans, Gilbert said, but wound up sleeping in public transportation, a mosque and in restaurants, and riding a bicycle around the city looking for potential targets. He then decided to return home on a Greyhound bus and was arrested after arriving back in South Florida, she said.

Qazi, a naturalized U.S. citizen who attended local Florida public schools, confirmed many elements of the plot in a statement to FBI agents after his arrest in late November, Gilbert said. Investigators also found bomb-making and related components at the Qazi family home in Oakland Park, as well as explosives research evidence on a computer used by Qazi.

Qazi is charged along with his brother, 30-year-old taxi driver Sheheryar Alam Qazi, with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a potential life sentence if the men are convicted of both counts.
. . .
Gilbert said Raees Qazi was the intended operative, using either a suicide attack or a remote-control device to kill people in a crowded place such as New York's Times Square, a Broadway theater or perhaps on Wall Street. The elder Qazi supported his brother financially and logistically with the knowledge that Raees was planning a terror attack, the prosecutor said.

In one conversation recorded by the FBI, Sheheryar Qazi compared his brother to a "lone wolf, like the Times Square bomber." Gilbert said Sheheryar Qazi was referring to Faisal Shahzad, who unsuccessfully attempted to detonate a bomb at the New York landmark in May 2010. In another recorded conversation, Sheheryar Qazi says that his brother "wasn't going to be in this world long."

Raees Qazi's attorney, Daniel Ecarius, tried to persuade the judge to allow his release on bail, noting that Qazi had made money by selling bicycles on the Internet, had no criminal past and had already relinquished his passport. Ecarius suggested Qazi could be released on house arrest with electronic monitoring, but Gilbert urged the judge to keep him locked up.

"He wanted to carry out an attack. If he is released from custody, he will," she said.

Pakistan: More than 35,000 killed by terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States

Police battled militants armed with automatic weapons, grenades and mortars in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar on Sunday, a day after a deadly Taliban raid on the city's airport.

Fierce firing broke out after officers acting on an intelligence report tried to storm a house near the airport, where a suicide and rocket attack on Saturday evening killed five civilians and the five attackers and wounded 50 other people.
. . .

Pakistan says more than 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Its forces have for years been battling homegrown militants in the northwest.

India: Muslim hate preacher Zakir Naik’s "Peace" TV banned by Intelligence Bureau, Government

Finally, the efforts of Agniveer to combat anti-national terror forces have yielded results. After detailed analyses of evil designs of promoter(s) of the threatening Peace TV made public by Agniveer, it has finally been banned by Intelligence Bureau, Government of India. To broadcast this channel now or support anti-India propaganda is a criminal offence.

It was exactly three years ago when Agniveer spearheaded the intellectual crusade against open terrorism by radical Islamist Zakir Naik. As liberal and secular Indians, it was impossible for us to even imagine that, in India, someone can threaten apostates (those who change their religion) of death penalty or abuse gods and deities of other faiths or insult Prophet whom billions of devotees consider messenger of God. But all this happened and kept happening for years. A man called Zakir Naik continued to enjoy the freedom of speech regardless of blasphemous acts he committed against all religions and their founders.

Some 3 years ago, Agniveer received a message. It was sent by an IRF (Islamic Research Foundation, Zakir Naik’s organization) official. The person gave reference to one of our articles on Vedas and mocked our efforts of reviving Vedic faith. He wrote-

Your religion of Vedas will die soon. We are converting Indians @ millions per month and your people will not even realize when they would become minority in this land. In next five years, India will be a Wahabi majority country. (He actually wrote Muslim Majority country but Islam as per them is Wahabism alone and they consider other Muslims like Sufis, Barelvis, Deobandis, Ahmadis and Shias as Kafirs/infidels/Non-Muslims. On their Peace TV, they often appeal to destroy these infidels).

This IRF official further wrote-

Agniveer! Convert to Islam soon or else you have no future. We invite you to the Peace Conference in which Dr Zakir Naik will welcome you to Islam and accept you all as his team members on stage and you will be his allies in his Dawah project (conversion). But if you refuse there is darkness ahead.

Till that date we never took this man called Zakir Naik and his works seriously. But that day we realized the gravity of the matter. A man was openly challenging us of converting this whole nation into slaves of Arabs on our own forum in our own country! This was alarming. And that was the time when Agniveer decided to fight this fanatic tooth and nail and destroy his evil designs against our motherland and its habitants he had planned with millions of petrodollars and support from Middle East.

We researched on this man and his work and were shocked completely. We found this man more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden and Taliban for society, country and world. His speeches, writings and ideology were so dangerous that no sensible person would ever agree to.
Zakir Naik’s Peace TV Banned in India
Agniveer, December 15, 2012

Commentary: Church hosting Muslim PA Council receives emails ‘dripping with hate’, or so it's claimed

Janet Levy, MBA, MSW, is an activist, world traveler, and freelance journalist who has contributed to American Thinker, Pajamas Media, Full Disclosure Network, FrontPage Magazine, Family Security Matters and other publications. She blogs at

For yet another example of how emboldened the Muslim Brotherhood has become in the U.S. and the naive blindness of the general public, Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), is holding its annual convention in a church - All Saints Church in Pasadena - for the first time in its 25 year history. What's more, due to objections to the event as evidenced by phone calls and emails to the church, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security will be working with local police to "secure" the area. (The Muslim Brotherhood surely has U.S. intelligence and law enforcement in their hip pocket)!

A recent article in the Huffington Post reported that the church has been besieged by "hate" mail since the announcement. The church's Reverend Ed Bacon (I wonder if he'll be forced to change his surname to avoid insulting Muslims) said that the church received some of the most "vile, mean-spirited" emails he's ever read in his life.

That's quite a strong statement coming from a religious leader, especially one named "Bacon," so I've decided to list the emails cited by the Huffpo to give you an idea of how odious they actually are:

1) One email compared Islam to Nazism and called Muslims "Body Snatchers."
2) Another read, "The problem is that by providing cover and legitimacy to an organization dedicated to overthrowing the Constitution, and substituting Sharia law therefore, you endanger my country and my grandsons' future."
3) A third email: "You are consorting with the enemy that is killing Christians worldwide." (Yours truly)

Now you must admit that the above statements are indeed dripping with invective and contain NOT an ounce of truth. (My tongue is wedged so tightly into my cheek that I may not be able to extricate it for days).

Of course, those of us with even limited knowledge of the Koran and the Sunnah, 20-20 vision and an iota of common sense know that the outcry has absolutely NOTHING to do with hate and discrimination BUT real knowledge of what Islamic doctrine requires of Muslims (Taqiyya, Walla Wal Bara, Hudibiyya, Jihad, to name a few).

What's more, MPAC has openly supported Hezbollah and Hamas and holds Israel responsible for violence in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood affiliate even opposed the shutting down of Islamic charities that fund terrorism, including the Holy Land Foundation!

A quote from the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C. sums up the situation: "Islamists are taking advantage of naive Christians who want to show off how tolerant they are." This is the "multi-culti to a fault" mentality that continues to endanger us all.

Islamism is mainstream Islam: 7 of the top 10 'World’s Most Influential Muslims' are Islamists

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre has released this year’s list of the 500 “world’s most influential Muslims” and of the top 10, seven are Islamists. The unfortunate reality is that Islamism is indeed mainstream thought in the Muslim world and non-Muslims have a lot of ground to make up in the struggle over the direction of the Muslim world.

The most influential Muslim is Saudi King Abdullah. He is hailed as a reformer but that is by Saudi standards. Under his rule, Sharia is still the law of the land in an especially puritanical form.
. . .
In second place is Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. He has sharply moved the secular, pro-Western country of Turkey in an Islamist direction, expertly using the doctrine of "gradualism."
. . .
The Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, who essentially declared jihad on the U.S. and pro-Western Arab governments in 2010, is in fourth place. This makes the Muslim Brotherhood the strongest international movement in the Islamic world.
. . .
Fifth place went to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. He does not preside over an Islamic state, but his government is subsidizing the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood while enjoying the status of a U.S. ally. His country is home to Sheikh Qaradawi and Al-Jazeera. A 2009 State Department memo said that Qatar’s counter-terrorism cooperation is “considered the worst in the region.”
. . .
Following Qatar is Iran, specifically Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Not much needs to be said about the threat posed by his influence.
. . .
In eight place is Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb, president of Al-Azhar University in Egypt. This is the most powerful Sunni religious institution, which endorsed Umdat al-Salik’s Reliance of the Traveler that teaches Muslims the ins and outs of Sharia Law. Al-Tayyeb calls for international laws against “defamation” of religion, a nicer sounding way of outlawing criticism of Islam. The draft constitution of Egypt approved by the Islamists requires that the government consult with Al-Azhar scholars on “matters related to Sharia.”

Finishing off the top ten is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamist who lives in Pennsylvania. His charter school network in America, the largest in the country, is under FBI investigation. His influence has been instrumental in spreading Islamism in Turkey. Although his preaching is on the less extreme end of Islamism, he has made multiple worrisome statements.
. . .
The three non-Islamists that made the top ten are King Mohammed VI of Morocco in third place, King Abdullah II of Jordan in seventh place and Indonesian President Yudhoyono in ninth.

Yudhoyono is not an Islamist but he has brought Islamists into his government and has suppressed religious minorities. As a result of his soft stand, Islamism is increasing. He also supports international laws curbing speech against Islam, saying freedom of expression is “not absolute.” He was an opponent of Abdurrahman Wahid, the Indonesian president from 1999 to 2001 and a Muslim reformer against Islamism.
7 of Top 10 'World’s Most Influential Muslims' Are Islamists
Ryan Mauro,, December 3, 2012

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