Islam in the News (October 2013)

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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


Indonesia: Series of sexual assaults on children by Qur'an teachers in public glare

A Koran teacher in East Jakarta has been accused of having sex with his teenage student, resulting in her getting pregnant and giving birth to a baby boy, city police said on Thursday.

“We received the report on October 11 and we are still questioning the victim; the investigation is still ongoing,” East Jakarta Police spokesman Comr. Sri Bhayangkari told the Jakarta Globe.

The 54-year-old teacher, identified only by the initial P., a resident of Duren Sawit, is accused of impregnating L., his 15-year-old student, who gave birth last month.

Rather than report the teacher to the police, however, the girl’s family initially demanded that P. marry the girl and provide for the child.

Only when the Koran teacher, who is already married, dodged the request did the girl’s family file a report with police.

“He had been my daughter’s teacher for a long time, since she was still in elementary school,” said the girl’s father, A.H.

“My daughter said P started to lure her into having sex with him in 2012,” he said, adding that P often called his daughter and asked her to come to his house when there was no one else at home.

“She always did what he asked, as if she had been hypnotized,” A.H. added.

Meanwhile, in Temanggung, Central Java, another Koran teacher was arrested for molesting six of his pupils.

Temanggung Police arrested 40-year-old Nurokhim, who they said admitted he had sexually assaulted six teenagers and raped three of them.

“I really regret that I could not control my desire,” Nurokhim said on Thursday.

Temanggung Police spokesman Adj. Comr. Marino said the victims were between 14 and 18 years old.

“The suspect has been arrested and could face up to 15 years in prison for having sexual intercourse with minors. He also faces a fine of up to Rp 300 million [$27,0000],” Marino said.

He said the teacher sometimes asked one of his students to stay behind after class to help him clean up, before locking the door and assaulting the child.

The two recent cases are the latest in a series of abuses of trust perpetrated by teachers of Islam.

Last month in Ternate, North Maluku, a 56-year-old Koran teacher, Akhmad Basir, was arrested after he allegedly molested five of his pupils at an Islamic boarding school under his management. Akhmad victims said he forced them to have sex with him, later giving them Rp 20,000.

And earlier in the year, a Koran teacher in Cakung, East Jakarta, was accused of sexually harassing 14 of his students.

The teacher, 28-year-old Abdul Aziz Salam, apparently chose his victims randomly and raped them after lessons were completed.

The rapes reportedly began in December 2012 and continued until April 2013, with the teacher threatening his students not to tell their parents about the attacks.

However, in April, one of the students complained to his parents of rectal pain and revealed to them that he had been raped by Abdul.

The confession sparked outrage among other parents, who asked their own children if they too had been victims of the religious instructor.

Parents of eight of the victims decided to bring the case to the police. The neighborhood unit chief then called the Cakung police to arrest the perpetrator, who was almost beaten to death by an angry mob.

That case was reported shortly after the arrest of Muhammad Firman, 25-year-old Koran teacher at a Tangerang mosque. He was accused of inviting a 14-year-old female student to his house in the Bukit Modern Hill housing complex last January, raping the girl and threatening her with violence if she told anyone, police said.

Firman reportedly continued to rape the girl until the abuse was eventually discovered by the girl’s older sister.

The sister read the girl’s diary and discovered an entry detailing the rape. The family then reported Firman to the police and took their daughter in for medical tests on April 2 this year.

India: Muslim mob goes mad in Mumbai, wave the Pakistani flag while attacking an Indian War Memorial

Muslim Mob goes Mad in Mumbai from Tarek Fatah on Vimeo. The screaming and shouting aside, the use of sexually explicit profanities being hurled at non-Muslim Indians by this mob while chanting ‘Allah O Akbar’, should embarrass any Muslim who watches this video, but will it? On top of that, waving the Pakistani flag while attacking an Indian War Memorial is despicable by any measure of human behaviour.

Egypt: Security forces charged with protecting Christians of a Church were not present at the time of deadly attack

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

The security forces charged with protecting the Christians of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Warraq were not present at the time of the Islamist attack that left four dead and over 20 injured. This was revealed by the Administrative Director of the Coptic community of al- Warraq ( Giza ) , who stated that he saw the guards sent by the Ministry of the Interior leave the building during the massacre .

When questioned by investigators, the man said that he was working in his office - located above the entrance of the church - when he heard the shots. He looked out the window, noting that the security personnel had fled up a side street leaving unguarded the church . This witness reopens the controversy about the responsibilities of police and members of the army, already accused by Christian leaders of doing nothing to prevent attacks by Islamists or defend buildings and places of worship. Eye-witnesses of the al- Warraq attack confirm that despite numerous distress calls , police and ambulances only arrived on the scene two hours after the shooting.

The October 20 attack, is the first deliberate attack on a church in the capital since July 3, the day of the fall of the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. According to reports three people were involved in the shooting, which targeted the marriage of two young people. Investigators believe that in addition to the two men aboard the motorcycle, a third accomplice had infiltrated among guests.

Yesterday thousands of people attended the funeral of Miriam Nabil, a victim of only 8 years, and the other three people who died in the shooting, all from the same family. In his homily, bishop Youannas said: "The blood shed by innocents is never in vain in the eyes of God and the Church . Those responsible for this act delude themselves if they think they will stop us from attending church. After this incident our community has gained more strength, thanks to the sacrifice of our martyrs . "...

Qatar: Israeli flag removed from venue for the FINA (International Swimming Federation) Swimming World Cup

The incident began when a user named Sara AlDisi posted a picture of the flag on Twitter Monday. That post reportedly went viral.

A website called RiyadhConnect quoted another site, Qatar Living, as reporting that AlDisi said that Qataris and others were “shocked” to see the picture. “The fact that the flag was put up so boldly within and outside the aquatic center has shocked some people. Apparently, it has never happened before even though Israelis have come to Qatar before,” wrote RiyadhConnect.

The Qatar Olympic Committee “made sure to never mention Israeli when listing countries in news,” AlDisi reportedly explained to her twitter followers.

By Tuesday, another Twitter user, Danijel Poropat, posted a photo showing that the flag had been removed.

Israeli media has reported that television coverage of the swim event has also blocked the image of the Israeli flag whenever a graphic with country flags appeared next to swimmers...

Taliban now using more toxic chemicals in explosive devices to inflict lethal injuries on survivors of bomb and suicide attacks

Quoting the relevant doctors, they said that the people who sustained injuries in Taliban attacks developed complications due to presence of toxins in the explosives.

Officials said that the explosives used by the Taliban left lasting effects on the injured people.

“Taliban have now mastered the science of manufacturing bombs that cause more than the intended casualties as they are imparted training regarding use of potassium, nitrogen, sugar, urea and glycerine etc in the bombs,” they said.

The officials said that terrorists used phosphorus in explosives that destroyed human cells. The Taliban-made bombs produced carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which damaged the oxygen-binding capacity of the survivors.

“The survivors may go into coma and end up dying due to stoppage of the oxygen-carrying process of victims when smoke caused by the explosives penetrates their bodies,” they added.

The officials said that the explosives used by the Taliban in all attacks were pale, white or yellowish in colour, which meant that their source was the same.

“Not only healing of wounds caused by the Taliban bombs is hard but the survivors often develop contractures and other physical deformities due to injuries,” they added.

The forensic experts at health and police departments said that even deep wounds caused by gunshots or knives were treatable but the people injured in Taliban attacks had to live with lifelong deformities after recovery.

“The use of toxins in bombs worsens injuries that are not curable,” they said.

Experts said that easy availability of raw materials for bombs like magnesium, potassium and sodium made the task of the Taliban easy...

UK: Taxpayers foot £350k legal bill after Muslim parents went to court to win right to shave their disabled daughter's pubic hair

The mother and father of the young woman, who cannot be named and is referred to as ED in court documents, said their daughter’s pubic hair should be removed in line with Islamic tradition.

But their local council, which has cared for their daughter since 2008, questioned whether the disabled woman had the mental capacity to consent to her hair being removed.

In 2011 the couple applied to the family court for their daughter, now in her thirties, to be returned home and raised the “stark” issue of her pubic hair being removed - leading to a long-running, £350,000 taxpayer-funded legal battle.

But the couple have now dropped the case at the last minute, leaving a judge at London’s High Court “utterly baffled”.
. . .
The local authority involved had incurred costs of £138,000, the couple of £82,000 and the official solicitor, appearing for ED, of £130,000 - with the taxpayer footing the entire bill.

"This is an astonishing sum of money," the judge said. "Particularly when one considers...that the ultimate resolution is that the parents have, ultimately with their own 'consent', agreed to orders which dismiss any hope of ED coming to live with them and a significant reduction in her contact with them."
. . .
Unchallenged evidence from a cultural expert observed that "whilst there was a duty to remove pubic hair - both for religious and cultural reasons - there is an exemption for those incapacitated such as ED".

Brunei: Sultan introduces tough Shari'ah law punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah — one of the world’s wealthiest men — said a new Sharia Penal Code in the works for years was officially introduced Tuesday in the tiny, oil-flush sultanate and would be phased in beginning in six months.

Based on individual cases, punishments could include stoning to death for adultery, severing of limbs for theft, and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption, according to a copy of the code.

The code applies only to Muslims.

“By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled,” the sultan, 67, said in a speech.

An absolute monarch whose family has tightly controlled the languid, oil-rich country of 400,000 for six centuries, the sultan first called in 1996 for the introduction of Sharia criminal punishments.

The sultan already imposes a relatively conservative brand of Islam on his subjects, compared to Brunei’s Southeast Asian Muslim neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Brunei bans the sale and public consumption of alcohol and closely restricts other religions.

But Sharia has been a rare point of contention in a land where the sultan’s word is unquestioned, with many Bruneians quietly grumbling that the concept is out of step with the affluent country’s laid-back ethnic Malay society.

“These rights-abusing policies are a good indication of why modern democracy and the right of people to participate in their government is a much better idea than anachronistic absolute monarchy,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

The situation shows that “respect for basic civil and political rights is near zero in Brunei,” he added.

The monarch himself has acknowledged concerns over Sharia in recent years as the code was being drafted...

Turkey preventing U.S. Institution from displaying historic genocide-era 'Armenian orphan rug'

Turkey has reportedly pressured the Obama Administration into forcing the Smithsonian Institution to cancel an official display of the historic Genocide-era "Armenian Orphan Rug." The ANCA is deeply troubled that foreign interference, from Ankara, appears to be preventing the Smithsonian from displaying this historic Genocide-era artwork.

"We hope and expect that our government will, as a matter of principle, reject foreign efforts to censor how Americans view a truly pivotal chapter in the history of America's emergence in the early 20th Century - notably during the Armenian Genocide - as an international humanitarian power," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Any barriers to the display of the Armenian Orphan Rug should be removed, and this important piece of artwork made available to the American public."

In an article in The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Philip Kennicott says: "If you can read a carpet's cues, the plants and animals depicted on the rug may represent the Garden of Eden, which is about as far removed as possible from the rug's origins in the horrific events of 1915, when the fracturing and senescent Ottoman Empire began a murderous campaign against its Armenian population. Between 1 million and 1.5 million people were killed or died of starvation, and others were uprooted from their homes in what has been termed the first modern and systematic genocide. Many were left orphans, including the more than 100,000 children who were assisted by the U.S.-sponsored Near East Relief organization, which helped relocate and protect the girls who wove the "orphan rug." It was made in the town of Ghazir, now in Lebanon, as thanks for the United States' assistance during the genocide."

"There was hope that the carpet, which has been in storage for almost 20 years, might be displayed Dec. 16 as part of a Smithsonian event that would include a book launch for Hagop Martin Deranian's "President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug." But on Sept. 12, the Smithsonian scholar who helped organize the event canceled it, citing the White House's decision not to loan the carpet. In a letter to two Armenian American organizations, Paul Michael Taylor, director of the institution's Asian cultural history program, had no explanation for the White House's refusal to allow the rug to be seen and said that efforts by the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John A. Heffern, to intervene had also been unavailing," Kennicott says in the article titled "Armenian 'Orphan Rug' is in White House Storage, as Unseen as Genocide is Neglected."

"Although Taylor, Heffern and the White House curator, William G. Allman, had discussed during a January meeting the possibility of an event that might include the rug, it became clear that the rug wasn't going to emerge from deep hiding. This week I spoke again with the White House curator asking if there was any indication of when a loan might be possible again but he has none," wrote Taylor in the letter. Efforts to contact Heffern through the embassy in the Armenian capital of Yerevan were unsuccessful, and the State Department referred all questions to the White House. Last week, the White House issued a statement: "The Ghazir rug is a reminder of the close relationship between the peoples of Armenia and the United States. We regret that it is not possible to loan it out at this time."

That leaves the rug, and the sponsors of the event, in limbo, a familiar place for Armenians. Neither Ara Ghazarians of the Armenian Cultural Foundation nor Levon Der Bedrossian of the Armenian Rugs Society can be sure if the event they had helped plan was canceled for the usual political reason: fear of negative reaction from Turkey, which has resolutely resisted labeling the events at the end of the Ottoman Empire a genocide. But both suspect it might have been."

Hamparian says the president has had "a very negative reception across the board in the Armenian world, and that includes both Democrats and Republicans." The principal emotion is profound disappointment. As a candidate, and senator, Obama spoke eloquently about the Armenian genocide, risking the ire of Turkey and Turkish organizations. But since taking office, says Hamparian, Obama has avoided the word, making more general statements about Armenian suffering. Critics of his silence point to the geopolitical importance of Turkey in a region made only more complex by the Arab Spring and a brutal civil war in Syria.

PA: Kids educational magazine extols the wit and wisdom of Adolf Hitler by wrongly attributing 10 quotes to the Nazi leader

Zayzafuna, a youth magazine whose advisory board includes Palestinian Authority Deputy Minister of Education Jihad Zakameh, published the list of quotes in its August edition in a section titled “Among Hitler’s sayings,” Palestinian Media Watch reported.
. . .
Several of the sayings appear to be slight variations from anonymous quotations or those found on “words of wisdom” websites. For example, “Don’t argue with a fool because people won’t be able to tell you apart” has commonly been attributed to American author Mark Twain.

Palestinian Media Watch officials said the purpose of the list is seemingly to present Hitler as a “sharp-witted and wise” person.

“This is not the first time that the PA-associated youth magazine has presented Hitler in a positive light,” PMW’s website reads. “In 2011, PMW exposed an essay in Zayzafuna that glorified Hitler and portrayed him as a role model. The essay expressed admiration for Hitler because he killed Jews – an act presented as benefiting all of humanity. In the essay, Hitler says to a Palestinian girl in her dream: ‘I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destructions all over the world.’”
. . .
Nazi sympathy among some Palestinians has made headlines twice this year, first when a flag with the swastika was flown next to a mosque in the Arab town of Beit Omar, about a half-hour south of Jerusalem. Israelis in the area notified the Israel Defense Force, which had the offensive banner removed...

Saudi Arabia: Amnesty International says human rights record getting worse, 69 people executed so far this year

Amnesty International on Monday said Saudi Arabia had failure to act on UN recommendations and "ratcheted up the repression" since 2009, with the arbitrary detention and torture of activists.

The London-based watchdog's statement was released ahead of a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on Monday to discuss the oil-rich kingdom's record, and comes after Riyadh rejected a seat on the UN Security Council, citing the international body's "double standards" and inability to resolve regional conflicts.

"Saudi Arabia's previous promises to the UN have been proven to be nothing but hot air," said Amnesty's MENA director Philip Luther, accusing the kingdom of relying "on its political and economic clout to deter the international community from criticizing its dire human rights record."

In its report titled "Saudi Arabia: Unfulfilled Promises," Amnesty criticized "an ongoing crackdown including arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture and other ill-treatment over the past four years" in the kingdom.

"Not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression" since 2009, said Luther.

"For all the peaceful activists that have been arbitrary detained, tortured or imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since, the international community has a duty to hold the authorities to account," he said.
. . .
Amnesty documented other rights violations it said are committed by Saudi authorities such as "systemic discrimination of women in both law and practice" and "abuse of migrant workers."

Women in the kingdom are not allowed to drive and need permission from their male guardians to travel.

It also accused the Sunni-ruled kingdom of "discrimination against minority groups," including Shiites concentrated in the Eastern Province who occasionally protest to demand more rights.

Amnesty also faulted the kingdom for "executions based on summary trials and 'confessions' extracted under torture."

The kingdom has executed 69 people so far this year, according to an AFP count.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the Gulf state's strict version of sharia, or Islamic law.

Pakistan: 9-year-old girl married to 35-year-old man, groom paid 1.5 million rupees to her family

For more on child marriage, click here.

A nine year old girl, W*, was married to 35-year old Zahid Zardari on Thursday, after the groom reportedly paid Rs1.5 million to her family.

W* is a resident of the Kamal Lashari village. Her uncles reportedly requested Zardari to delay the Rukhsati due to Wadhai’s age but were ignored.

The police was informed about the issue but no action was taken due to the groom’s influential status. When ASI Ghulam Akbar Khaskheli and SHO Fateh Muhammad Awan reached the wedding, they were confronted by Zardari’s men, forcing them to turn back.

Zardari, who lives in district Benazirabad, was accompanied by armed men and a Nikahkhwan (vows solemniser) for the ceremony.

Egypt: Coptic Church attacked during wedding celebrations, four dead, including an 8-year-old girl, 18 wounded

Four people are dead and 18 wounded following an attack against the Virgin Mary Coptic Church yesterday afternoon during wedding celebrations in the Cairo neighbourhood of Warraq. An 8-year-old girl is among the killed. This is the first deliberate attack on a church in the capital since 3 July, the day when Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

"Two men on a motorcycle approached the building entrance and one of them opened fire with a machine gun aiming at the crowd standing in front of the churchyard waiting to welcome the two newly-wed," Fr Rafik Greiche, a spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, told AsiaNews.

The clergyman stressed that the death toll could rise in the coming hours. "The attackers, he said, "fired from a few metres away. All the people who were injured are in serious condition."

At present, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicions run towards terrorist groups close to the more violent wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A few minutes before the shooting, some Islamist leaders, jailed a few months ago for incitement to violence, posted messages on Twitter threating such attacks.

Since July, Islamists have organised demonstrations and protests every week, in Cairo and other cities, that often turned violent, Fr Greiche said. "Christians," he added," have been the main target of such religious hatred-filled actions."

After President Morsi's ouster and the establishment of a transitional government by General al-Sisi, the Christian minority has been continuously attacked by Islamist groups and other groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The worst cases occurred between on 14-17 August, when thousands of Islamic extremists carried out simultaneous attacks across the country, storming 58 churches and more than 200 buildings owned by Christians.

In the following months, groups of Salafists and members of the Jamaa al-Islamiya were holed up in a number of villages in Upper Egypt, where they imposed Sharia.

Delga is one example. The town, which is Minya province (Upper Egypt), remained the hands of Islamic extremists for over two weeks.

During that time, Islamists seized dozens of homes from local Copts, forcing 5,000 of them to flee. Only when the army moved in were they were able to return.
The security forces charged with protecting the Christians of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Warraq were not present at the time of the Islamist attack that left four dead and over 20 injured. This was revealed by the Administrative Director of the Coptic community of al- Warraq ( Giza ) , who stated that he saw the guards sent by the Ministry of the Interior leave the building during the massacre . When questioned by investigators, the man said that he was working in his office - located above the entrance of the church - when he heard the shots. He looked out the window, noting that the security personnel had fled up a side street leaving unguarded the church . This witness reopens the controversy about the responsibilities of police and members of the army, already accused by Christian leaders of doing nothing to prevent attacks by Islamists or defend buildings and places of worship. Eye-witnesses of the al- Warraq attack confirm that despite numerous distress calls , police and ambulances only arrived on the scene two hours after the shooting...

Russia: Female convert blows herself up on a bus, kills six and injures 37, some of them critically

Forty passengers were on the bus. At least eight of them are in critical condition. A 20-month-old toddler is among those injured. His state is assessed as moderately severe.

Russia’s Health Ministry indicated that most of the victims in the explosion sustained mine explosive-type wounds, caused by the bus’s paneling and the shattered glass.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the Emergencies Ministry and the Ministry of Health to provide all the necessary help to the victims of the blast. An Emergencies Ministry plane, with medics and five special medical units on board, has arrived in Volgograd to help treat the injured.

A three-day mourning for the victims of the terrorist attack has been declared in Volgograd Oblast.
. . .
Bomber identified The Investigative Committee has identified the woman who was the suicide bomber behind the blast: it's allegedly Naida Asiyalova, from Dagestan.

The preliminary information indicates that “the female suicide bomber recently converted to Islam, and was the wife of a militant leader,” an Investigative Committee representative told the media.

Also, a grenade has been found under the vehicle and it's now being checked whether the explosive is live, a source in the security forces now at the scene told RIA Novosti.

According to information obtained by LifeNews from security sources, the suicide bomber, Asiyalova, earlier recruited a young Muscovite, Dmitry Sokolov, who became a skilled bomber respected by Islamist militants. Sokolov, now known as Abdul Jabbar, is wanted in Dagestan for taking part in two terrorist explosions, in which at least 29 people were injured, the media added.
. . .
Volgograd authorities have also been put on high terror alert for the next 15 days.

British woman wrongly jailed in Dubai for having sex outside marriage lied about husband to avoid being stoned

A woman has told of her ordeal in a Dubai prison after being imprisoned for having sex outside marriage.

Rebecca Blake, from Surrey, was jailed for a crime she did not commit and ended up serving 95 days in a 'filthy' cell.

Speaking to the Sunday Express, the 30-year-old said she was forced to lie about being married or she would face a more severe punishment for adultery and could have been stoned to death.

The recruitment consultant was accused of having sex in the back of a taxi with her friend Conor McRedmond 28, from Tullamore, Co. Offaly and they spent a year fighting the allegations.

Ms Blake said her lawyer told her to keep the fact she was already technically married, from six years ago, a secret as if the authorities knew she was married she could be charged with the more serious crime of adultery.

Now back in Britain, Ms Blake said: 'It feels like a surreal nightmare. I still wake up in the night panicking, thinking I'm back in that cell.'

Blake and McRedmond were arrested on May 4 last year after meeting at a brunch then going on a drinking binge - getting a taxi together at 10pm.

Taxi driver Qaiser Khan, 30, claimed within minutes of getting in, Blake had taken her top off and was writhing on top of McRedmond while ‘making the sounds of a woman having sex’.

He told prosecutors earlier this year: ‘They kept having sex for four minutes. The man’s shirt was open, his trousers were down to his knees and the woman was not wearing any underwear.’

The taxi driver alleged Blake offered him ‘a lot of money’ to tell prosecutors they had been kissing rather than having sex, but he refused.

They said the allegations had been made up after they rowed with the taxi driver about taking a longer route home...

Iraq: Kurdish Islamic parties and activists angered by a Kurdish man kissing his Dutch girlfriend in public

A statue representing love was burnt in the city’s Azadi Park (Freedom Park). In protest, a Kurdish man kissed his Dutch girlfriend in public, sparking anger within conservative communities and Islamic parties.

The Kurdistan Region in Northern Iraq is often considered more secular than the rest of Iraq, yet it is still relatively conservative.

The two Kurdish Islamic parties; Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM) denounced the couple’s actions and said their deeds were against Islamic traditions.

“We are against anything that may be offensive, and we recommend that the love statue be replaced with one of executed Kurdish youths,” said KIM spokesperson Shwan Qaradaghi.

Sulaimaniyah has seen some attacks on secular symbols, the latest being when an unidentified group vandalized the grave of late Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas, also situated in Azadi Park.

“Everyone should be against the kiss. It’s an effort to disorientate Kurdish Muslim Youths,” added Muhammad Hakim, a KIG Spokesman.

Meanwhile, Human and women rights activists have taken to social media to criticize the Kurdish Islamists.

“In my country kissing is forbidden, but braking graves and statues and blowing yourself up is OK,” wrote women’s rights activist Avin Ibrahim on her Facebook page.

Sulaimaniyah, with an estimated population of over 1.5 million, is Kurdistan’s second most important city, it’s regarded as the Iraq’s most secular city...

Algeria: Court refuses to release on bail a blogger held for nearly a month for posting cartoons on Facebook

For more on Islam and freedom of speech, click here.

An Algerian court on Sunday refused to release on bail a blogger held for nearly a month for posting cartoons on Facebook lampooning the president, his lawyer told AFP.

The judge in Algiers "refused to release Abdelghani Aloui," Amine Sidhoum told AFP, adding that he would appeal against the court's decision.

The 24-year-old blogger has been held since September 25 and is due to stand trial for "contempt" and "defending terrorism" after posting cartoons mocking President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal on his Facebook page.

He has also been charged with "attacking the person of the president," according to his lawyer.

The charge of "defending terrorism" relates to the fact that he was "in possession of a scarf on which was written the phrase 'There is no God but God'" Sidhoum said earlier this month, referring to the Muslim declaration of faith.

In June 2012, another blogger received an eight-month suspended jail sentence and a $1,350 fine after calling on the Internet for a boycott of Algeria's parliamentary election.

Saudi Arabia: Labour smugglers dumped 16 illegal Indonesian housemaids in a desert area without money or food

Labour smugglers dumped 16 illegal Indonesian housemaids in a desert area in Saudi Arabia and left them without any transport means before they were found by a driver who happened to be passing in the place.

Abdul Rahman Al Harbi said he was driving on a motorway near the central town of Al Qasseem when he saw the 16 women sitting on the sand away from the road.

“I stopped the car and went to them to ask what they were doing there. “They told me a labour smugger agreed to transport them from Riyadh to Makkah but he dumped them in that area and fled although they do not have any money or food,” he said.

Harbi told Al Jazeera newspaper that he phoned the police, which sent a patrol to the area and took the maids, who were staying illegally in the Gulf Kingdom, home to more than two million domestic workers from Indonesia, Philippines and other countries.
. . .
Maid ends life at employer’s house

An Ethiopian housemaid committed a suicide by hanging herself in the back garden of her employer’s house in Saudi Arabia, newspapers reported on Sunday.

The Saudi employer found the maid hanging by a rope tied around her neck inside a small store in his back garden and informed the police.

Police said they were investigating the incident to determine the maid’s motives.

UK: increasing numbers of British inmates are being bullied into converting to Islam by Muslim gangs

The Prison Officers Association says it is symptomatic of the growing power and influence of Muslim gangs in prison.

However, there are also concerns that some of those converts could be radicalised by more extremist elements in prison.

Sky News spoke to one young woman who said her brother was being bullied by members of a Muslim gang, who were trying to force him into converting to Islam.

The woman did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals against her brother, who is serving a sentence in excess of 10 years in a high security prison in England.

She said: "He just looks like a broken man ... he's tearful on visits. I'm just really scared for him."

She also claimed the bullying had taken a more violent turn: "He's been physically assaulted. He's had black eyes.

"In the showers, he got threatened with a knife. He's not going to back down. He's not going to convert for anyone."

She added: "He just spends his time in hiding in his cell. He's got at least another five years to serve. I don't know how much longer he can hold out."

Official sources acknowledge forced conversions are a problem in the country's prisons.

How large the problem is remains unclear, as inmates are often afraid to report such intimidation for fear of reprisals.

Joe Chapman, a former prison officer who now acts as a prison law consultant, believes the problem is on the increase.
. . .
There are currently around 11,200 Muslims in prison in England and Wales.

That figure is about 13% of the total prison population and is far higher than in the wider community, where Muslims make up less than 5% of the population.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "Faith can have a very positive influence on prisoners and can play an important role in rehabilitation, but it must never be misused as a way of coercing vulnerable prisoners into criminal behaviour.

'We are never complacent about bullying in prisons and take a zero tolerance approach to tackling victimisation of any kind."

Pakistan: Public primary school textbooks teach its okay to kill Christians, Christians forced to study these texts

The text-books of Pakistani schools pose the killing of Christians as "goal to be sought" that would help the same members of the minority to seek martyrdom for the faith. This is shown by a report published in late September by the Middle East Media Research ( MEMRI ) .

According to research, the texts are common in most public primary schools and even Pakistani Christians and members of other minorities are forced to read and study them. The authors of the books led by the religious leaders have changed the meaning of the term "minority", which is now perceived with negative meaning .

The problem of education in Pakistan emerged strongly in 2011, the year that the government dedicated to the promotion of this issue. In one year, several studies were published which showed that thousands of non-Muslim students are "forced" to study Islam and elements of the Muslim religion, for fear of discrimination. In 2012 the Catholic Church National Commission for Justice and Peace published a report denouncing the law passed by the Punjab Parliament that makes study of the Koran mandatory.

In an interview published by AsiaNews in 2011, Msgr . Lawrence John Saldanha , archbishop emeritus of Lahore ( Punjab ) , said that Pakistan has become a state for "only Muslims." Non-Muslims do not enjoy equal rights.

Saudi Arabia: American Shi'ite pilgrims called Kafir (infidel) and attacked while performing the rituals of Hajj

Mina is a town near Mecca, where pilgrims sleep in tents and stone three pillars, representing the satan, with seven pebbles, on the last day of Hajj. The Saudi government has built thousand of air-conditioned tents to accommodate pilgrims, during this ritual.

A known female community leader said that when the local group entered Tent Section 40, an area designated for American, European and Australian Muslims, a pilgrim in the group was asked about his sect, by a member of another group.

"When he said he was Shi'a, they called him Kafir (infidel) and attacked him," said the woman, who did not want her name to be revealed, for safety concerns, until she leaves Saudi Arabia next week.

The attackers, who are Australians of Lebanese descent, then hit three other men in the group and dragged one into a tent, while choking and kicking him.

"They took him into a woman's tent and had him in a chokehold. They were choking him out. When our guys got to him, he was blue," she said.

The attackers threatened the pilgrims to leave the tent area, while bringing up historic sectarian references.

"We will kill you Shi'a men and rape your women," they shouted, according to the source.

The source said security officers at the tent area were aware of the attack, but stood by and did not do anything to stop it.

The pilgrims left the tent area from the emergency exits and waited about an hour for their buses to arrive and drive them back to the hotel, which was 15 minutes away.

"We were terrified. When you have someone threatening your life and threatening to rape your women and having the audacity to make such remarks and walk into your tent, you take those threats seriously," said the female community leader.

Police came to the scene, after the group had gotten out to the main road, cooperated with the pilgrims' guide and promised to get them justice. However, police officers deleted video recordings of the attack from the pilgrims' phones.

The local group returned to Mina, without police assistance, on Thursday, Oct. 17, to complete the ritual and stone the pillars that represent the satan.

They were required to spend Thursday night praying in Mina, but since they feared for their lives, they will seek a religious accommodation for being unable to complete that ritual.

Pakistan: Woman set on fire by her husband and his brother following an argument over Eid present

She was taken to a hospital, where doctors said that she would likely survive.

Both the alleged assailants fled the crime scene.

Ghulam Muhammadabad police quoted the woman as saying that she had been asking her husband Muhammad Aslam for eidi. She said he had been ignoring her since Eid day.

On Friday, she said, she planned to go shopping with some women in the neighbourhood and asked Aslam for Rs5,000 eidi again. This time, she said, he leaped at her and grabbed her by the hair and beat her.

He then called his brother, Muhammad Akram, who caught her by the arms while Aslam threw kerosene oil at her. They then set fire to her clothes.

Some neighbours heard her shout for help and rushed to her rescue. On seeing the people approach, both of them fled leaving the woman burning.

She was taken to Allied Hospital, where doctors treating her said that she was in critical condition.

Dr Rauf Ahmad of the emergency ward told The Express Tribune that the woman was 55 per cent burned. He said she had received severe burns on the face, chest, shoulders and back...
"The Express Tribune" (archived)
Shamsul Islam, Violent reactions: Man sets wife on fire ‘over eidi’, October 18, 2013,

Kenya: New footage from inside Westgate mall shows terrorists gunning down shoppers and taking breaks to pray

Warning: Video contains images that some may find disturbing.

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

A Norwegian citizen has tonight been named as a suspect in the terror attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya.

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, 23, is said to have left his home in the coastal town of Larvik, 75 miles south of Oslo, for Somalia in 2009 and taken part in the attack by the militant group, al-Shabab, on the shopping centre last month, which left 67 dead.
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In the video obtained by CNN, one man can be seen hiding behind a supermarket kiosk as the gunmen storm the mall. As shoppers run for their lives, a terrorist casually approaches the cowering man and fires a bullet into his body from close-range.

In the next clip the man is seen writhing in agony, before a third scene captures him lying in a pool of his own blood as the gunman returns and fires more shots at him. It is believed the man died as a result of his injuries.

Elsewhere in the CCTV footage, a British family - including a four-year-old boy who famously told one of the terrorists he was “a very bad man” - can be seen being told to leave the supermarket by one of the gunmen.

As the mother - who had already been shot in the thigh by a terrorist - leads her children from the store using a shopping trolley to carry one of her injured offspring, she is seen being followed by a terrified, blood-soaked teenage girl, and finally by one of the gunmen...

India: Animal owners from Kolkata and districts of Bengal sell goats online to be sacrificed on Eid-ul-Zuha

You probably shop for books, clothes or accessories online from time to time. But goats? This year, several animal owners from Kolkata and the districts of Bengal joined their counterparts from other parts of the country in selling goats online, along with dumbas, to be sacrificed on Eid-ul-Zuha. Most of them have made a killing. One of them sold his three goats for Rs 130,000.

"I have sold my goat online for Rs 25,000. But my dumba is still with me. It is one of the best dumbas in the country. It is 17 months old and weighs 290 kg. I have sold goats and dumbas earlier but this is the first time I went online to sell my animals. Not only did more people get to check out the offer, I got a better price for the goat. There are several hassles involved in selling an animal in the open market. A lot of bargaining goes on. There are no such problems online," said Ragib, a seller from AJC Bose Road.
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"There are many people selling animals online nowadays. This is a new trend in this part of the country though. I had tried to sell goats online last year too but failed to get customers. This year, I sold all three. The prospective customer calls up the seller and negotiates the price. He then visits the place where the animal is kept, matches it with the photograph uploaded on the internet and then purchases it. Such precautions are essential as fraud is possible during such deals," Nawaz said.

The sellers are taking things quite seriously and offering their animals on sale through various sites. According to them, things have got a lot less messier now that this new option is available.

150 Kazakhs from the same family, including very young children and women, leave their country for jihad in Syria

As hundreds of thousands of Syrians flee the war in their country, others are doing everything they can to reach the battle zones. Around 150 Kazakhs said to be from the same family – including very young children, teenagers, women and men – left their country “to fulfil their duty of jihad in the Levant”. Jihadist networks have been proudly circulating images of their relocation to Syria.

Since Monday, a propaganda video uploaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an Al-Qaeda affiliated group, has been doing the rounds of jihadist social networks. Its title is dramatic: “Letters from epic battlefields, the hospitality of a jihadist family”, and the video’s content is unprecedented.

The video begins with a military march, followed by the arrival of three vehicles carrying the black flags of Al-Qaeda and ISIL as they arrive at the gates of a villa. Within minutes, we see, in white text on a black background: “The al-Furqan Institute [the media arm of ISIL] enjoys the hospitality of a Muhajir [foreign] family. The 150 members of this Kazakh family travelled for thousands of kilometres and spent a fortune to emigrate to the Levant”. Then, we hear a small boy read verses from the Koran before we see around 20 children, including babies just a few months old, seated on the ground next to teenage jihadists. We also see young girls wearing veils, some wearing the niqab. After this, we see the small boy who has been reciting the Koran; he appears to be not older than six.

At 2:57, a young man who goes by the war name “Abdel-Rahman the Kazakh” explains why his family has come to Syria. He says he wants to “fulfil his duty as set out by the precepts of Islam”. He continues by reciting a verse on the glory of martyrs, whose ranks he hopes “to join as soon as possible to ascend to paradise”. At 5:07, “Abu Khaled the Kazakh”, another young jihadist who appears to be a bit older, says he too wants “to die as a martyr”.

Foreign jihadists generally go by a war name that includes their country of origin. In this case, their war names indicate these men most probably came from Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia that is about 5,000 kilometres from Syria.

This is the first time that a video showing an entire family of foreign jihadists has been published. Usually, jihadists travel alone – or in couples, in rare cases – to conflict zones. The fighters in this family are presented as candidates for martyrdom, or suicide attacks, as shown by a reference to Abu Zunair al-Madani, @halb_1 on Twitter, at 15:39 in the video. The Saudi blew himself up in mid-September in Nabak, in the Qalamoun region west of Damascus.

Syria: Bomb found inside confessional box of a church in a town held by western-backed rebels

Patriarch Gregorios III, speaking at an event in London on Wednesday to highlight the difficulties that Christians face in the country's civil war, also said families in Yabroud are being asked to pay a monthly protection tax of $35,000 by armed groups, The Telegraph reports.

"Yabroud is under the control of armed groups, and Christians are asked for protection money, yet in spite of this, there are these bombs being placed in the church," he said.

Gregorios said the two bombs -- including the one inside the confessional box -- were found Tuesday at the Cathedral of Constantine and Helen, one of the oldest churches in the world, The Telegraph reports.

He warned that even if the rebels triumph over the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, life could be difficult for Christians because of hard-line Islamists that have joined the fight.

"The extremists are against even the normal rebel opposition," Gregorios said.

With the country at the mercy of armed Islamists and criminals, Libya asks the Church to leave

Lack of security, threats to those who help migrants, robberies and violence are making Libya, especially Cyrenaica, a lawless land, where armed Islamist gangs have taken the place of the police. This situation is a threat to the existence of the Catholic Church in the country. Instead of taking appropriate measures, the government is urging churchmen and women to flee.

Because of "The lack of security [. . .] most religious communities that came to work in public health at the request of the Libyan authorities have been asked to leave the country," said Mgr Vincent Landel, archbishop of Rabat (Morocco) and President of the Episcopal Conference of North Africa.

Nuns, doctors and nurses, mostly from the Philippines, have worked for years in Libyan hospitals, taking care of the sick and the elderly. During the war, clinics and hospitals run by the religious were the only ones operating.

Libya is divided in two now, sources, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews. "In Benghazi, the Church is under constant threats and it is now almost impossible to work. The situation is very risky."

Earlier this year, several orders had to abandon their convents after 40 years of mission. Now another wave might leave the whole of Cyrenaica without any Catholic presence.

The situation is at a breaking point, sources explained. The only place where one can still work is Tripoli.

"The city is safe for the moment," they noted. "This allows [health] operators and the Sisters of Charity to help the hundreds of migrants who come to the city every day, waiting to find the money to flee to Europe. Yet, we need to tread very carefully because even in the capital, armed gangs roam the streets and no one can be trusted. Migrants are hiding in convents and private homes to avoid being robbed or killed." (S.C.)

Lebanon: Security authorities capture bird with Tel Aviv University tags, 'likely a Mossad spy on a mission for Israel'

Lebanese blogs reported Wednesday that an eagle was trapped by a group of local hunters in the Maronite Catholic town of Ashqout, who noticed that the bird had a tag around his ankle with the word “Israel,” as well as an abbreviation for Tel Aviv University, and the number 5278. The eagle had a transmitter on his back, according to the blog Lebanon Debate.

The men decided the bird was likely a Mossad spy on a mission for Israel, and handed it over to security authorities for investigation.

This is not the first time Israel’s neighbors believed they caught an avian spy.

In August, Egyptian authorities detained a stork that a citizen suspected of being a spy because of a transmitter on its back, which turned out to be French.

A month earlier, Turkey released a Kestrel with a tag reading “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel,” but only after a thorough investigation into the suspicious bird’s activities in the country.

In December 2012, Sudan captured a hawk it suspected of carrying spy equipment for Israel because of its tags reading “Israel Nature Authority” and “Hebrew University Jerusalem.”

In May of that year, Turkish authorities claimed to have caught a European bee-eater that, they said, might have had Mossad spying equipment implanted in one of its nostrils. The bird had an ostensibly incriminating band on its leg marked “Israel.”

In 2011, Saudi Arabian media reported the capture of a griffon vulture that had Israeli “spying equipment,” marked “Tel Aviv University,” attached to one of its legs.

Earlier this year, an Egyptian security guard filed a police report after capturing a pigeon he said carried microfilm. A previous rumor in 2010 blamed a series of shark attacks along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast on an Israeli plot.

Palestine: 125 wounded while torturing and slaughtering cattle in the streets for Eid al Adha celebrations

Gaza has five official slaughterhouses, but wait times were hours long, so a great many Gazans decided to do their own public butchering for the holiday, which is typically accompanied by much feasting.

But, as videos and pictures posted to the Internet revealed, many of the Palestinians did not contend themselves to simply slaughtering the animals, but first engaged in what can only be described as torture.

The cattle predictably responded by attacking their tormenters. The bloody scenes took place on public streets, and photographs showed adults and young children alike fleeing for their lives from the thrashing animals.

Afghanistan: Logar provincial governor killed by explosives hidden inside a holy Quran

Natioanl Directorate of Security condemned the use of Holy Quran and explosion inside the mosque which killed Logar provincial governor Arsala Jamal and left several others injured, and called it an act against the humanity and principles of Islam.

Arsala Jamal was killed on the first day of Eid following an explosion in Pul-e-Alam district while as he was delivering a speech to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Governor Arsallah Jamal of eastern Logar province died instantly in the blast at the main mosque in the provincial capital of Pul-i-Alam.

Mr. Jamal was Karzai’s campaign manager during the 2009 presidential elections. He was also governor of Khost until he was appointed to Logar in April.

He had survived multiple attacks from militants including suicide bombings while he was serving as provincial governor for eastern Khost province.

Somalia: Two suicide bombers kill themselves in failed attack on football supporters

Two Somali suicide bombers blew themselves up accidentally in a failed attack on the weekend's World Cup qualifier between Ethiopia and Nigeria in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian government has revealed.

According to Reuters' Aaron Maasho, via the Calgary Sun, the incident occurred in the Bole district of the city around 5km from the stadium where Sunday's match was to be played.

The detonation took place at a residential property about one hour before the match was due to kick off, with three suspects detained at the scene. The area is home to a small Somali refugee population.
. . .
The report suggests that football shirts, explosives, grenades and firearms were discovered at the scene.

While there has been no claim of responsibility thus far, Somali Al-Shabaab rebels have promised to exact revenge on Ethiopia for sending troops into Somalia to fight Al-Qaeda militants, Maasho reports...

UK: Chairman of the Islamic Centre in Luton believes gay people would be punished in an ideal society

For more persecution of homosexuals, click here.

Abdul Qadeer Baksh made the remarks last Wednesday during a radio interview on BBC Three Counties alongside the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

Mr Baksh stated “In an ideal society” there would be “punishments for homosexuals”. Whilst stressing that it was unlikely Britain would ever adopt Sharia law, he indicated that his personal preference would be to live in a society that followed the code – with no acceptance of homosexuality.

“When I say ‘ideal society’ I mean Islamic society, not a western secular society like we live in here.” He continued: “Every moderate Muslim holds this view as well.” Mr Baksh added: “[Britain] is far from an Islamic state”.

“What I would like to see is peace and tranquillity, all of us to get on together. If Sharia came to this country it would only come by the people’s desire for it”.

Mr Baksh then said: “I spoke to a moderate gay Muslim, we differed and that was the end of the matter.”

He added that in Saudi Arabia “very, very few hands are chopped off” or “women lashed” and the laws are mainly a deterrent...

Pakistan: Hides from 6 million animals sacrificed during Eid sold by front organisations for terrorist groups

Huge numbers of goats, cows and even camels will be slaughtered in Pakistani on Wednesday homes to mark the Islamic holy day of Eid al-Adha.

The sacrificial offering of around 6m animals will allow families to fulfil a religious duty, guarantee some much appreciated meat handouts to the poor and provide nearly half of the annual requirement of the country's leather industry.

It will also generate an extraordinary cash windfall for some of Pakistan's most dangerous militant groups.

Thinly disguised front organisations have been gearing up to compete against each other and legitimate charities to collect as many animal skins as possible, which can then be sold on for cash.

"For us it is second only to Ramadan for our income," says an official from the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF).

FIF is the charitable wing of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), itself the reincarnation of one of south Asia's most dangerous militant groups, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a banned organisation dedicated to fighting jihad against India.

JuD has successfully fought off legal bans although many believe it remains deeply involved in militancy.

The US government has offered $10m (£6m) for information leading to the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the group's leader accused by some US officials of masterminding and overseeing the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Saeed moves around the country freely. On Monday, he held a press conference outside a mosque in an affluent district of Islamabad.

Surrounded by piles of food, toys and other goods that he said would be given to victims of last month's earthquake in Baluchistan, he appealed for people to give their animal hides to JuD.

"Whatever funds we get from hides of animals we will use in Baluchistan to rebuild houses and help the people," he said to a bank of almost 20 television cameras.

The organisation hopes to collect 100,000 hides from around the country this year. A cow hide can fetch up to $50.

Also available to buy are JuD livestock which the organisation provides and slaughters on behalf of individuals or groups who want to pool resources to share the cost...

UK: Police foil large-scale terror plot similar to attack on Kenya's Westgate mall

British law enforcement agencies say they have averted a plot to orchestrate a large-scale terror attack similar to the assault on Kenya's Westgate mall.

Police are questioning four men in their 20s on suspicion of terrorism after they were detained on Sunday in pre-planned, intelligence-led raids.

A British security official says the men were planning a shooting spree akin to the Westgate attack in Nairobi, in which at least 67 people died.

The official - who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the record - says it's not clear how advanced the planning was but that any attack was not imminent. Advertisement

Metropolitan Police did not identify the suspects or say what, if any, charges, they may face. But in a series of statements, the force said the men were all British nationals between the ages of 25 and 29, with roots in Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria and Azerbaijan.
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Dramatic CCTV footage has emerged of one of the arrests, in which counter-terror police are seen tackling a suspect on the street in an upscale west London neighbourhood.

Elsewhere, police fired special ammunition - aimed at breaching doors or bursting tyres - to stop a car near the Tower of London, and arrested two 25-year-old men. Another suspect was arrested in southeast London.

Officers were searching six locations and two vehicles in London following the arrests.

UK: A Church of Scotland minister who lost family members in a suicide attack on a church in Pakistan has forgiven the killers

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

A Church of Scotland minister who lost his mother and other relatives in a suicide attack on a church in Pakistan has forgiven the killers and praised members of the Muslim community who tended to the victims.

Reverend Aftab Gohar will resume full duties at Abbotsgrange Church in Grangemouth on Sunday following his return from Pakistan, where has been paying respects to the deceased and comforting surviving relatives.

The attack happened on September 22 as a congregation from Peshawar's minority christian population gathered at All Saint's Church in Peshawar to enjoy a thanksgiving feast after Sunday prayers.

Some had already left but there were still hundreds of people in the compound when the suicide attackers struck, killing 122 people and injuring 168.

Rev Gohar said: "It is wrong what these people did but I forgive them. We pray that they may one day develop the wisdom to understand that it is not right to kill children and other innocent people.

"There were 125 children in Sunday school that day. My sister was teaching there. Forgiving is what we learn from the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why I forgive."

Mr Gohar travelled to his old family church after the attack which killed his mother Iqbal, 79, his 11-year-old nephew, his nine-year-old niece, two uncles, three cousins, two of his closest friends and many other friends and relatives.

His neice Farah Javed, 23, is paralysed from the waist down and needs treatment not available to her in a public hospital. The Gohar family has had to find considerable sums to pay for medical treatment for relatives...

Pakistan: Country struggles to combat child rapes, only 10 per cent of rapes result in convictions

In a rural village in Pakistan's eastern rice belt, two teenage sisters left for school one recent day on a muddy village path far too narrow for cars.

Within hours, they were dead, their bodies left face down along a swampy canal after they had been raped and shot multiple times, the medical examiner reported. By the next morning, their deaths were news across Pakistan, the latest in a grisly stream of sexual attacks on minors.

"They were identified by their clothes," Muhammad Nazir, the victims' uncle, said in an interview. "All we know for sure: They went from their house to school, and they were murdered."

For generations, rape was a taboo subject in this conservative Muslim society. As recently as a decade ago, the news about the 14- and 16-year-old sisters might never have travelled beyond this rural area, where rice fields stretch for miles and workers shape bricks from the spongy soil.

But thanks to a freer media and a push by child-welfare advocates to get families to report such crimes, the number of cases under investigation is rising, as is the outrage of parents, the public and advocacy groups. "People are now reporting things, and people are now seeing children are suffering heinous, horrible crimes," said Narjis Zaidi, a human rights advocate in Islamabad. On the same day in late September that the sisters were killed on the outskirts of Gujranwala, the body of a 13-year-old girl was found on a Karachi beach after she had been raped and killed on the way to school.

A week earlier, a 5-year-old girl was raped multiple times after being kidnapped. She was then dumped outside a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city.

And on a single day - September. 20 - Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper reported on the alleged rape of a 4-year-old by his school principal in Faisalabad, and the rapes of another boy, also 4, and a 14-year-old girl. The teenager had been gang-raped by four men over two days, the newspaper reported.

Each case has brought new waves of angry mothers besieging police stations demanding public executions. In Karachi, after the rape of the 5-year-old in Lahore, schoolgirls paraded with signs displaying a noose. In Pakistan's culturally conservative northwest, female lawmakers attempted to block roads in Peshawar to protest the crime, according to media reports...

UK: White Widow terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite taunts authorities by revealing clues to her whereabouts on Twitter

A message posted in the last few days says she is in Somalia – the first hint of her location since last month’s Kenyan mall massacre.

British Muslim convert Lewthwaite – dubbed the White Widow – is believed to have helped plan the attack in which 67 innocent people died.

Her tweet reads: “Many rivers to cross, but I can’t seem to find my way over wandering, I am lost as I travel along the mountains of Galgala...”

Galgala is a remote area of Somalia, close to the small town of Bari.

In recent months, it is believed militants from the Al-Shabab terror network – who are helping hide her – have been posting messages on her behalf.

Last year, it was revealed that Lewthwaite – widow of 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay – had written a chilling online diary while on the run.

In the haunting blog mum-of-four Lewthwaite, 29, wrote how “fear can make you do many things” and warns she faces “many more challenges” in the months ahead.

“Yes, I am woman,” she wrote. “But I am woman who believes in Jihad and the supremacy of Islam.”...

Israel: IDF soldiers discover tunnel from Gaza to Israeli community, terrorists planned massive attack and kidnappings

Terrorists were apparently planning a large-scale infiltration and attack, and were possibly planning to bring Israeli civilians back to Gaza as captives.

Terrorists have made several attempts to kidnap Israelis in recent months, with the goal of exchanging captives for terrorists being held in Israeli prisons. A terror tunnel similar to that found Wednesday night was used in the 2006 kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, along with the killing of two other soldiers.

The terror tunnel that was exposed began in the Gaza town of Absan al-Zariz, located between the city of Khan Younis and the Gaza security fence. It extended for 2.5 kilometers (over 1.5 miles).

The tunnel had been packed with explosives at various points. Several offshoots had been dug leading off in various directions...

US: Muslim man fired over 'clean-shaven policy' wins court fight, awarded $66,000

In 2011, 24-year-old Abdulkadir Omar sued Sacramento, Calif.-based American Patriot Security seeking back pay and unspecified damages for emotional pain, among other reasons.

In late September, a federal judge leveled a default judgment after the security company failed to participate in the court proceedings.

According to the lawsuit, Omar wasn't told about the clean-shaven policy when he was hired in May 2009. In November 2009, a supervisor told him he had to shave his beard. Omar responded that his beard is part of his religious beliefs and refused. He was suspended, and later fired.

India: nine-year-old boy sodomized by volunteer, recently released from jail, at Nagpur mosque

A nine-year-old boy was sodomized at a mosque at Mangalwari Bazaar in Sadar on October 5. The accused, Mohd Ashfaque Sheikh Nazir, is a volunteer worker at the mosque, and was thrashed by the boy's father and other local residents leading to his hospitalization. Ashfaque had lured Asif (name changed) with a Rs 10 note. Asif is a student of Class V. Police said Ashfaque had joined the mosque as a volunteer one-and-a-half months ago for cleaning work after being released from jail, where he was lodged for a serious offence.

Pakistan: Christian man seeks case against a Muslim cleric for threatening to kill him if he did not convert to Islam

For more on forced conversions, click here.

Petitioner Harrison, son of Patras Masih, said that he worked at a medical store in the Township area. He said Maulvi Khalid used to visit the shop and discuss religion. Harrison said that Khalid had tried to convince him to convert telling him that he would enter paradise that way. One day, Harrison said, he got into an argument with Khalid and refused to convert. “I quit my job at the medical store but Khalid, and three other men, came to my house and threatened me and my family,” said Harrison.

He said that he had gone to the Township police to file a complaint but they had refused to register it. He prayed to the court to direct the relevant SHO to register an FIR against Khalid.

The judge then sought comments from the Township police. The police said that the petitioner had fabricated the story.

Nigeria: Boko Haram adopt new methods, now package IEDs in school bags for suicide bombers

Insurgents have now devised a new means of hiding their explosive devices to unleash terror on hapless citizens during the sallah cerebration, investigations have revealed.

The insurgents, in order to avoid suspicion especially with the public now wary of abandoned polythene bags or sacks, now package their Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in school bags for suicide bombers.

This was the observation of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kano State after a joint operation with operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) led to the discovery and subsequent raid of a bomb making factory in Guduwawa village in Gezawa Local Government Area of the state last Tuesday.

The new approach, the JTF said, was copied from Boston in the United States where two brothers, reportedly dropped their back packs containing explosives in the midst of a crowd at a marathon race, killing three and injuring many last April.

An operative of the JTF told newsmen that the IEDs can be packaged in any type of school bag, adding that the IEDs control switch is stitched to the handle of the bag and only needs to be switched on for the explosive to be triggered.

“They will just carry it on their back and walk into any place or their target without people knowing or suspecting as they will be mistaken for students. This is a dangerous trend,” he said...

US: Two NYC men accused of trying to send winter clothes to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan

Everyone needs warm clothing, right? Well, two New York City men are now facing criminal charges after police say they tried to send winter gear overseas. But this wasn’t your typical Salvation Army clothing drive.

NYPD detectives say Humayoun Nabi and Ismail Alsarabbi tried to send coats and other winter clothes to Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. (Via The Atlantic)

It’s an offense a district attorney says is just as serious as supplying bullets and bombs.

The men were arrested as a part of a two-year investigation started by a confidential informant who knew them. According to a statement, Nabi admitted that he hates the United States, Jewish people and U.S. soldiers. (Via New York Magazine)

The informant apparently worked with the NYPD in a sting operation. Detectives provided money, which the informant gave to Nabi. Authorities say Nabi then tried to send that money to his father in Pakistan for “merchandise in Afghanistan.” (Via CNN)

According to the informant, Nabi told him: “The source of the Americans’ strength is their equipment, specifically good jackets, good goggles, good GPS. We are sitting here breathing in peace, eating chicken and roasts and our brothers, they are dying.” (Via Jewish Press)

That was enough for police to arrest the two and charge them with soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism and conspiracy. They are being held on $500,000 bond...

Pakistan: 15-year-old girl suspected of having an affair with a neighbor shot dead by her brothers

For more on honor violence, click here.

Police said 15-year-old resident of Murad Machi village near Machi Goth was shot dead by her brothers Allah Din and Nadir Solangi. The latter was arrested shortly after the killing.

Police said the men had suspected her of having an affair with a neighbour. On Friday, they and their two accomplices- identified as Karamat Ali and Sabir Hussain in the FIR- shot her several times and fled. Some neighbours informed the Sadiqabad Saddar police on hearing the shots.

Police raided the area and arrested Solangi.

An FIR was registered and the body has been sent to tehsil headquarters hospital for a post-mortem examination...

Pakistan: Wife beaten up until she fainted for bringing bad luck by missing morning prayers

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

Police said the man fled after she fainted. She was taken to the Kabeerwala tehsil headquarters hospital, where doctors said she would likely survive.

Police quoted Shamim Bibi, 32, of Fazil Shah area as saying that on Friday morning, she was preparing breakfast for her children, who were ready for school, when her husband, Mushtaq Ahmed asked her if she had offered morning prayers.

She said when she replied in the negative, he started shouted at her and accused her of bringing him bad luck and started beating her with a stick. She said he also kicked her in the abdomen and the chest until she fainted.

Police said Ahmed had fled the house apparently thinking she had died.

Some neighbours who had heard her shout for help rushed to her house and took her to the hospital, where doctors treating her later said that she was “out of danger”.

Dr Saima Iftikhar told The Express Tribune that Shamin Bibi had suffered five fractures. She had also more than 50 bruises all over the body, she said. She said her internal organs would be examined for possible rupture over the next 24 hours.

Some neighbours who had accompanied her to the hospital said Ahmed had beaten her as brutally a few weeks ago. They said her parents had then taken her to their house. He had brought her back nine days ago after a reconciliation was effected...

Iran: Woman sentenced to four years prison for converting to Christianity, accused of spying for Britain and Israel

A court in Tehran has sentenced to four years in prison an Iranian woman who converted to Christianity, the Iranpressnews website reported on Friday.

The court found Mariam Naqqash guilty of "endangering national security by spreading religious propaganda in the country", the website reported.

Naqqash was also accused of spying for Britain and Israel and is being held in Tehran's Evin prison.

Rights activists report that numerous underground churches have sprung up in Tehran and the nearby cities amid a sharp increase in recent years in the number of young people converting to Christianity from Islam.

Conversions from Islam to Zoroastrianism and the Bahai faith have also been on the rise, according to the activists.

Iran's Sharia law does not allow conversations from Islam to other religions and renouncing the Muslim faith is punishable with the death penalty.

Over 300 Iranian converts to Christianity have been arrested over the past two years, according to opposition websites.

Conversions from Islam to other faiths often take place in secret.

Saudi Arabia: 'Jinn' (genie) caught on all security cameras inside the secretariat building in Mecca ahead of Hajj

Security cameras planted in the Western Saudi town of Makkah appears to have caught what could be a jinn (ghost), clad in white but without a face.

A Saudi newspaper said the creature was filmed by all security cameras planted inside the secretariat building in Islam’s holiest shrine.

“The person was totally clad in white and was standing near one of the building’s doors but his face did not appear…it was round 3am,” Almadina Arabic language daily said, quoting sources at Makkah secretariat.

The paper, which published the picture, said the creature could be a jinn but did not make clear what he was doing in that place.

Turkey: Biggest prison in Europe for journalists, 180 arrests in 8 years, many on terrorism charges

Turkish journalist and winner of the International Reporter of the Year Award given annually by the National Union of Italian Reporters (UNCI), Erkan Ipekci, spoke to ANSAmed about challenges to press freedom in his country. Ipekci, president of the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) was given the award by UNCI for his organizations's relentless efforts to defend journalists who have been arrested, fired from their jobs or sentenced to time in prison. The issue is whether human rights in Turkey should be considered according to European standards or Middle Eastern ones, he said. Turkey is the biggest jail for journalists in Europe. Since 2009 some 183 journalist have ended up in prison, 63 of whom are still in jail. Since then we have begun to feel ever more the effects of amendments to anti-terrorism laws and those to the Criminal Code introduced in 2005 with European support. The country's new Criminal Code was brought in by the government to meet the EU's demands during membership talks which have since slowed, with steeper punishments for police torture and abuse and greater protection for women and children.

However, it was criticised by the secular environment and journalists out of concern that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for bringing in some regulations at the same time that favoured Islamist circles and others acting as pressure on journalists. The possibility of jail sentences for journalists is envisaged, along with many other regulations, Ipekci said, that restrict freedom of expression. Many journalists have been jailed on terrorism charges, the head of the country's journalists association said, after the interception of phone calls they made as part of their jobs and the publication of articles, photos and interviews held up as proof of illegal activities. Most reporters are in jail for alleged membership in illegal organisations, such as the Kurdish PKK and KCK, or for alleged coup attempts connected with the Ergenekon case, in which not only high-ranking military officers were charged but also journalists - twenty of whom sentenced to many years in jail - and which ended with about 15 life sentences being handed down. Prior to the Gezi Park protests, Ipekci said, the government had gradually created a climate of fear throughout society, which felt it was under pressure and did not have any channels to express itself - in part due to the self-censorship by the media itself, which was conditioned by the same climate, he said. Requests by journalists organisations, he added, had been rejected. And this is why the protests of the past few months in Istanbul's Gezi Park and Taksim Square answered the people's need to find new forms of expression. Journalists also suffered the effects of the crackdown on the protest, with over 100 injured in two months, he said.

Moreover, according to the International Committee for the Protection of Journalists, six weeks after the anti-government protest 72 journalists had already been fired. We are asking the European public opinion, Ipekci said, to put pressure on the Turkish government to change its laws...

Syria: Western-backed rebels kill 190 civilians, seize dozens of child hostages and parade them in a YouTube video

Fighters burned villages, threw bodies in mass graves and kidnapped women and children in acts described as likely "crimes against humanity" by HRW.

Witnesses gave harrowing accounts of family members being executed in their beds during an attack on August 4.

One man said he was forced to flee, leaving his paralysed son and wife to die at the hands of armed rebels.

A 105-page report by the New York based human rights group said the findings "strongly suggest" crimes against humanity were committed in the rural Latakia area.

HRW said it conducted an on-scene investigation and interviewed more than 35 people, including survivors and fighters from both sides.

One child said: "My mum was here in the house with me. She came out of the house first, and I was behind her.

"We saw the three fighters just in front of us, and then we fled on foot down behind the house and into the valley.

"The three fighters that I saw were all dressed in black. They were shooting at us from two different directions. They had machine guns and were using snipers.

"My older brother came down and hid with us as well. We hid, but my dad stayed in the house. He was killed in his bed.

"My aunt, she is an 80-year-old blind woman, was also killed in her room. Her name is Nassiba."

HRW said two opposition groups - the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar - were holding around 200 hostages from Alawite villages, where most inhabitants were considered loyal to Syria's leader Bashar al Assad.

"The evidence strongly suggests that the killings, hostage-taking, and other abuses committed by opposition forces on and after August 4 rise to the level of crimes against humanity," Human Rights Watch said.

The report came the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) continued its mission to deal with Syria's chemical weapons stockpile...

Jordan: Retired IDF colonel bludgeoned to death outside home by ax-wielding attackers, five Palestinians arrested

The arrests came after several hours of searches and roadblocks by security forces in the area, following the early-morning killing.

IDF Chief Benny Gantz called the attack “serious” and President Shimon Peres said “no one will rest” until the perpetrators were caught.

Officials initially said they were not sure whether the attack was nationalistically motivated or criminal in nature. However, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, “We strongly believe this was a terror attack.”

Seraiah Ofer, 61, was beaten to death by men wielding metal bars and axes outside his home in the Brosh Habika vacation village, which he owned and operated, at about 1 a.m. Friday.

His wife, Monique Mor, 51, managed to escape. She was lightly injured on barbed wire before reaching a nearby highway, where she flagged down a car for help.

The attack, coming on the heels of a number of isolated incidents over the past month, drew harsh responses from politicians.

Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, from the nationalist Jewish Home party, said in a statement Friday morning he would work to “enlarge and strengthen” settlement in the area.
. . .
Israel has responded to terror attacks by upping settlement activity in the past, most recently in late September, when the defense minister allowed settlers in Hebron to move into a disputed home following the killing of an Israeli soldier, Gal Kobi, thought to be from Palestinian sniper fire.

Ariel and other politicians also called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop Palestinian prisoner releases and rethink peace talks with the Palestinians in the wake of the murder, which came on the heels of a shooting of a 9-year-old girl in the Psagot settlement outside Ramallah on Saturday. Noam Glick was lightly injured in that attack.

“Again Palestinians are translating our desire for peace as weakness and are answering with murder,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin of the Likud party said Friday morning.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Israel Radio he blamed the attack on Palestinian incitement, and called on the government to reconsider peace talks and the freeing of prisoners.

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Palestinian television he saw any refusal to free prisoners as freeing him to go to the United Nations Security Council to lodge complaints against Israel.

CNN: The world's ten most dangerous terrorists are all Muslims; Al Qaeda's leader tops the list

Any compilation of the world's most dangerous terrorists is a hazardous undertaking, a shifting list that's open to endless debate.

If you live in Moscow, Chechen Islamist leader Doku Umarov would feature prominently. Many Israelis would likely include Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on their list and people living in the southern Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf group.

Some terror figures who were among the most wanted several years ago, such as Abu Anas al Libi -- who was captured last weekend in Libya -- appear not to have been active for some time. Even some terrorists try to retire. The last list compiled by CNN included senior al Qaeda operative Saif al Adel. He has vanished from the radar and may have been under house arrest in Iran.

Other figures lose relevance as their group loses territory, membership and/or funding. Groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have been prone to internal rifts. Additionally, al Qaeda, especially in Pakistan, has moved away from identifying senior operational figures because of the effects of U.S. drone strikes, so some of a new generation of most dangerous terrorist figures may not yet be known to us.

The following selection is intended neither as definitive nor a "league table." It focuses not on organizations but on men (and they are all men) alleged to be plotting, directing -- and in some instances carrying out -- acts of terror aimed at causing mass casualties among civilians.

Some are ideologues and planners, others "operational," and some are both. They think and act in a regional and in some cases a global context. Some of the individuals below have appeared on previous lists compiled by CNN and others, and have lived long enough to warrant a second or third appearance.

Others are only now making a name for themselves among the world's counterterrorism agencies, as they take advantage of conflict or the collapse of state authority, forge new alliances or develop new ways of bringing terror to the international stage...

Slovakian woman taken to UK as a sex slave, handed to Muslim immigrant for sham marriage so he could stay in country

A woman was smuggled from Slovakia into Britain and sold as a sex slave as part of a ‘Dickensian’ sham marriage racket to keep immigrants in the UK, it was revealed today.

The 20-year-old victim was drugged and kidnapped before being taken to England to forcibly wed a shop assistant due to be deported back to Pakistan, Preston Crown Court in Lancashire was told.

She was plied with vodka and beer before the illegal ‘Nikah’ marriage ceremony at a mosque, and then repeatedly raped by her new ‘husband’ whilst being detained in a flat above his family's shop.

She was rescued from a house in October 2012 following a series of raids on homes in Burnley, Lancashire, and Bradford, West Yorkshire, following a tip-off she was being held against her will.

Police believe several locals turned a blind eye to her ordeal, and fear she is among several women abducted from Eastern Europe then sold for £6,000 to immigrant men looking to stay in Britain.

Phillip Boyd, prosecuting, told the court that the woman had no understanding of what was going on during the ceremony at the Burnley mosque because she spoke no English.

He said: ‘What links all these people together is a series of events which sounds more like something from a 19th century novel by Dickens than anything happening in Europe in the 21st century.

‘The victim was handled round the continent and this country like a commodity. All the more cruel and inexcusable (as) being so unable to cope on her own, she was so ill-fitted to do anything about it.'

Those involved were convicted of a series of people trafficking and sex offences. Imrich Bodor, 45, and Abdul Shinwary, 38, from Bradford, were found guilty of people trafficking for exploitation.

Bodor was jailed for nine years and Shinwary received ten years and three months. Petra Dzudzova, 25, also from Bradford, who was found guilty of the same charge, will be sentenced tomorrow.

Azam Khan, 33, the bogus bridegroom who forced the victim into marriage, was jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of people trafficking, rape, assault and false imprisonment.

His aunt Nusrat Khan, 40, was found guilty of false imprisonment and received nine months suspended for two years. Kristina Makunova, 37, pleaded guilty to people trafficking for exploitation and was jailed for 51 weeks.

Azam Khan entered into the scam after he approached a Manchester-based immigration advisory firm, because he had run into problems with the UK Border Agency, the court was told.

During a meeting he was advised to 'marry a European girl' to secure a visa to remain in the country.

Later he was introduced to go-between Shinwary, through a cousin, who claimed he had ‘married’ a European woman in similar circumstances. Khan was told he would be charged £4,000 for a bride.

The victim, who comes from a Romany gypsy community in eastern Slovakia, had been visiting a travelling fair in the town of Zempliw when she was targeted by Bodor in mid-August last year.

After chatting her up, Bodor plied with alcohol laced with sleeping tablets - then after she passed out, bundled her onto a coach bound for England.

The next thing she recalled was waking up in London before being taken to a house in Bradford. She begged to be taken home but she was ordered to marry a 'Mr Khan' and pressure was put on her to be intimate with him.

Giving evidence on a video recording, the victim said of Bodor: ‘I was afraid that he would beat me up. I had seen it in his eyes. He had a very angry look.

‘I was thinking how should I get away from here, but I was afraid to leave because I did not know the way I needed to go.’

The woman was kept at the property for two weeks where she was slapped and kicked to the head and back. Later she was sold to Azam and forced to go through the illegal ceremony with him which was conducted by an imam unaware of the scam.

The woman was later held prisoner by Azam Khan at a flat above his aunt and uncle's corner shop where he raped her three times and assaulted her twice. She was found at the home of Nusrat Khan during a raid in October last year.

She returned home to Slovakia in January this year with the assistance of the Slovakian authorities and Caritas, the Slovakian catholic charity.

But she was brought back to Britain by police to give evidence against her abusers. Police retrieved a marriage certificate from a ‘cell’ in an upstairs room where she apparently slept.

After the case, the victim said: ‘I am very happy that these bad people are going to prison. This is what I always wanted after what they did to me. Thank you to the person who rang the police...

Video shows members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia executing wounded Syrian rebels who were captured in al-Qusair

The battle over al-Qusair marked the first publically declared engagement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict, with group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah vowing not to allow Syrian rebels take Syrian towns bordering Lebanon.

The video is expected to revive tensions in Lebanon between the Shiite Hezbollah and Sunni Islamists supporting the Syrian uprising.

Lebanese journalist Lokman Sleem said the video further indicts Hezbollah and “confirms that the group’s intervention in Syria wasn’t in the name of Allah but in the name of Iran and its interests.”

But Lebanese political analyst Kassem Kassir defended Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria saying that it “protected Lebanon from the repercussions of war” and sided with the Syrian people against “extremist groups.”

He said Syria is a strategic passage of military aid flowing from Iran to Hezbollah, and that the militia group would not allow the supply routes to be controlled by its foes –the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He pointed out that the video’s authenticity cannot be confirmed and that Nasrallah previously pledged to respect to the moral rule of war, a claim Journalist Sleem rejected...

US: Public Safety officers remove two men from university campus for handing out ‘anti-Islamic’ flyers

For more on free speech, click here.

Public Safety officers escorted two non-St. John’s student males off campus on Sept. 25 for handing out fliers deemed “anti-Islamic,” according to Public Safety.

The Vice President for Public Safety, Thomas Lawrence, said upon receiving the call that the two males were escorted off-campus and issued trespass notices.

While one male resisted and refused to sign the trespass notice, the other male complied, according to Lawrence. Public Safety has pictures of the individuals and their names on file. If they are seen on campus, they are both subject to arrest by the NYPD.

St. John’s student Donya Nasser said she received a flier while walking from St. John’s Hall to St. Augustine Hall and asked the two males if the flier was “pro-Islam or anti-Islam?”

She said the males responded, “Anti-Islam.” Nasser then walked to St. Augustine Hall and reported them to a Public Safety officer, she said.

Irma Khawaja, the president of the Muslim Student Association, said that at least two members of the organization were handed the fliers by the two males and were upset.

The flier had verses from the Quran that insinuated that Islam is against women and is an ideology rather than a religion. It also said to, “protect yourself, your family, friends and country from Islam.”

“A lot of stuff [on the flier] was taken out of context and a lot of it is stuff that’s not even really in the Quran in the first place,” Khawaja said. “A lot of it is just to anger people.”

“You can interpret [the Quran] however you want to, but it’s very interesting that the interpretation only goes in this direction,” St. John’s professor Nerina Rustomji, a historian that specializes in Islam and the Middle East, said.

“For a document like this, I could probably come up with two pages that will present the absolute opposite vision using the same forces.”

Khawaja said the MSA was initially worried about the backlash that the flier would create on campus and Muslim St. John’s students getting offended by it.

The last few lines of the flier said, “Do not harm, discriminate against, hate, mock or ridicule Muslims. Many do not know Islam teaches these things and are therefore genuinely peaceful and caring people. Show genuine concern for Muslims by sharing this information. Muslims need to know as well.”

Khawaja said she believes the last lines were added there to avoid legal problems and responsibility for any negative actions reactions to the flier.

Rustomji said the flier is dangerous and it “assumes that Muslims are not capable of understanding their own religious text… And that really undercuts over a billion people in the world.”

Since St. John’s is a private educational institution, the school is allowed to regulate material on campus...

Australia: Police confirm what most already suspected; Sydney sex club shooters were militant Muslims

For more on persecution of homosexuals, click here.

AN Australian-born man known to intelligence authorities for his extreme religious views has been charged over an alleged near-fatal shooting outside a sex club in Sydney's northwest earlier this year.

Milad Bin Ahmad Shah al-Ahmadzai, 23, will appear before Goulburn Local Court today over the May 1 shooting and ambush of a 52-year-old man outside the Aarows nightclub on Bridge St, Rydalmere. The establishment is a 24-hour gay, bisexual and swingers club.

Ahmadzai was arrested at Goulburn prison yesterday and briefly appeared before a magistrate.

The victim sustained significant injuries during the ambush, including extensive damage to his back, foot, and groin.

He was walking back to his car about 1am when the alleged incident unfolded, with CCTV capturing the two men with their faces concealed firing a number of shots.

Ahmadzai has been under investigation by the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad's Strike Force Maloney ever since , which is still searching for two accomplices.

He was charged with shooting with intent to murder, discharging a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault in company with intent to rob while armed with a dangerous weapon, steal motor vehicle, damage property by fire and take/drive conveyance without consent of owner.

Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab deriving funds for its terror campaigns from elephant poaching in Kenya

The Elephant Action League, which has dubbed ivory the white gold of jihad, said that elephant poaching and the trafficking of ivory is fuelling conflict in Africa by helping groups such as al-Shabaab to mount ever more deadly attacks.

The illicit ivory trade funds up to 40 per cent of the cost of al-Shabaab's army of 5000 people, according to Andrea Crosta, a director of the league and co-author of a 2011 report into the links between poaching and terror groups.

The spotlight on al-Shabaab's funding is more intense than ever after the most deadly terror attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi that killed more than 200 people.

The Westgate siege has propelled the affiliate of al-Qaeda to international attention. The group has warned that the slaughter, in which at least 67 people died, is just the premiere of Act One and continues to demand that Kenya pull its troops out of Somalia.

The poaching of elephants for their tusks has driven the animal in some countries - such as Sierra Leone and Senegal - to the point of extinction. More than 30,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa last year alone, 382 of them in Kenya...

Pakistan: Muslim mob digs out Hindu's grave, 'shari'ah does not allow Hindus to be buried in Muslim graveyards'

Bhuro Bheel, a local Hindu belonging to the lower caste Dalit, died in a road accident on Saturday. He was brought to Civil Hospital Hyderabad where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The family buried his remains in the Haji Faqeer graveyard.

Tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities was palpable as the small town looked deserted. The Muslim mob had dug the body out and placed it right outside the graveyard on the plea that a Hindu could not be buried in a Muslim graveyard.

Bhuro’s body remained exposed to the elements for eight hours as the family and relatives found it impossible to remove it fearing for their own lives with the hundreds-strong mob looming. Locals and the family confirmed to The Express Tribune that dozens of other Bheel community corpses were already buried in the graveyard and no one had ever objected.

A member of the local Hindu community, Dr Moti Bheel told The Express Tribune they were warned by some local youngsters to remove Bhuro’s body. “We informed the police about the matter,” he said, adding that announcements were made from a local mosque urging the Hindu community to remove the body or that it would be removed on Sunday morning.

Hundreds of Bheel community members along with supporters from Sindhi nationalist parties and civil society thronged the police station to protest. “Meanwhile the body was removed, dragged and left near the graveyard,” said Bhuro’s brother.

Maulvi Mithan Sikandri, a local cleric, informed The Express Tribune that the Sharia does not allow for a Hindu to be interred in a Muslim graveyard. Sikandri however denied that any Bheel body was ever buried in the graveyard. “I have been living in Pangrio for the last 40 years and I have never come across such an instance,” he said while confirming the mosque announcements...

Bangladesh: Blast in Qur'an school reveals bomb and weapon factory, one dead and six seriously wounded

According to police, the educational facility was used to manufacture bombs and weapons. Agents found traces of explosive devices as well as three crude bombs, more than 30 homemade grenades and 18 bottles of picric acid.

The victim, Mohammed Habib, was 25-year-old. The six people injured tried to hide and get medical care covertly, but police found them and took them to hospital where they are under constant watch.

Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of seven people, including Nayeb-e-Ameer Mufti Izharul Islam Chowdhury, 70, founder of the madrassa. He is affiliated with the Islamic militant group Harkatul Jihad al Islami.

According to some experts, various extremist groups plan to disrupt the country's upcoming general election, scheduled for the end of the year.

Hefajat-e-Islam (Protector of Islam) is one of these many groups, emerging in recent months from within the many madrassas that exist in Bangladesh...

Gulf states to introduce medical testing on travellers to detect gay people and stop them from entering the country

For more on persecution of homosexuals, click here.

A medical test being developed by Kuwait will be used to 'detect' homosexuals and prevent them from entering the country – or any of the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), according to a Kuwaiti government official.

GCC member countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – already deem homosexual acts unlawful.

This controversial stance is being toughened, according to Yousouf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry.

He told Kuwait newspaper Al Rai: ‘Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states.’

Richard Lane, from gay rights campaign group Stonewall, said: ‘These proposals are not only futile but contrary to international human rights law. Many Gulf states have gone to great lengths to market themselves as open for international business. Their leaders should think long and hard about putting forward measures to restrict freedom of movement and further prohibit the best talent from doing business in the region simply because of their sexual orientation.'

Those taking part in homosexual acts in Kuwait, if they’re under 21, can receive a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

Earlier this month Oman newspaper The Week was suspended over an article that was deemed to be sympathetic to homosexuals, according to the BBC.

It’s illegal to be gay in 78 countries, with lesbianism banned in 49. Five countries mete out the death penalty to gay people – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania...

Saudi Arabia: Preacher jailed for 8 years and receives 800 lashes for raping and killing five-year-old daughter

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

A Saudi court sentenced a preacher convicted of raping his five-year-old daughter and torturing her to death to eight years in prison and 800 lashes, a lawyer said Tuesday.

In a case that drew widespread public condemnation in the kingdom and abroad, the court also ordered Fayhan al-Ghamdi to pay his ex-wife, the girl's mother, one million riyals in "blood money," lawyer Turki al-Rasheed told AFP.

Blood money is compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law.

The girl's mother had demanded 10 million riyals.

Ghamdi's second wife, accused of taking part in the crime, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and 150 lashes, said Rasheed, who is the lawyer of the girl's mother.

Ghamdi was convicted of "raping and killing his five-year-old daughter Lama," he added.

The girl was admitted to hospital on December 25, 2011 with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns, activists said. She died several months later.

Ghamdi, a regular guest on Muslim television networks despite not being an authorized cleric in Saudi Arabia, had confessed to having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, human rights activists said earlier this year.

Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said the girl's back was broken and that she had been raped "everywhere".

Reportedly, Ghamdi had tortured and raped his daughter after he had doubted her virginity.

Rights activists in the kingdom had been campaigning for harsher punishment of Ghamdi when reports emerged in January that the court would only give him a short jail term and order him to pay blood money to the mother.

In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where rape and murder are among several crimes punishable by death, a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives...

Malaysia: Child marriages on the rise, shari'ah courts approved 1,022 of 1,165 child marriage applications in 2012

For more child marriage, click here.

Malaysian girls under the age of 16 are not permitted to drive or buy cigarettes but they can legally get married, and are increasingly doing so.

In 2012, there were around 1,165 applications for marriage in which one party, usually the bride, is younger than the legal marrying age, according to statistics from the Malaysian Shariah Judiciary Department (JKSM).

The Shariah Courts approved 1,022 of them.

In Malaysia, the legal minimum marriage age is 18, but it is 16 for Muslim girls.

Those aged below 16 can marry with the consent of the Shariah Court.

This is an increase from the 2011 record, when some 900 marriages, involving at least one Muslim minor, were approved, The Star reported today.

As of May this year, JKSM received 600 marriage applications, of which 446 had been approved.

Malaysia, along with over 90 other countries, adopted a United Nations resolution to end child, early or forced marriages, at the Human Rights Council last week.

However, JKSM's data shows that child marriage is very much rampant in Malaysia...

Turkey: Armenian Church to canonize martyrs of genocide perpetrated by the Turkish State in 1915

In a move that has surprised Turkey , the Armenian Church is going to proceed with the canonization of the victims of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Turkish State in 1915, using Kurdish laborers for the massacres. The scientifically perpetrated genocide by, is described by the Turkish historian Taner Akcam as "A shameful act " (the title of his book ) . But the Ankara government has never recognized it and rejects the definition of " genocide."

Sources quoted by Turkish newspapers say the canonization will take place in 2015, the centenary of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians killed in Asia Minor.

The main source of this news is ASAM, The research center of Turkey's Eurasian strategy , according to which the great synod of the Armenian Church was summoned to Yerevan the capital of ' Armenia. There is one important fact: for the first time after 400 years - that is, after 1651 - bishops who came from all over the world attended this synod: a real novelty in the history of the Armenian Church.

The synod - held at the end of September - was attended by the Archbishop of Etsmiatzin , (considered the most sacred city for Armenians ), the Armenian Archbishop of Lebanon, where there is also a large community, which escaped the genocide ; the bishops of the United States, Jerusalem , South America, France and the places where there are Armenian communities of the Diaspora.

During the gathering the decision was made to canonize all the victims of ' horrific genocide perpetrated by the Ottomans first and then the Turks of Kemal Ataturk . The canonization will follow the formula of the tradition of the Eastern Churches, which is the proclaiming of the saints , stating the name of the place of martyrdom and not the names of the individuals.

The decision of the Armenian synod has shaken Turkey. The President of ASAM , Ömer Özkaya , says the decision has political motivations and he points out that all the bishops of the Armenian Church gathered for the first time after 400 years in order to give maximum visibility to the "alleged" (according to the Turkish ) Armenian Genocide , proceeding to the canonization of victims of genocide. Ömer Özkaya noted, however, that in this way , the Armenians , give another religious , dimension to the dispute between Diaspora communities and Turkey.

Another fact that has not escaped notice is that the synod was convened in religious heart of Armenia, Etsimiatzin , which is the great religious reference point for Armenians .

Pakistan: Muslims and Christians form human chain outside St Anthony’s Church during mass in a show of solidarity

Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.

Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nasir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. The two men later stood should to shoulder, hand in hand as part of the human chain that was formed outside the church not just as a show of solidarity but also to send out a message, ‘One Nation, One Blood’.

As part of an attempt to sensitize the public at large, the human chain was the second such event after a similar had been organized in Karachi last week outside the St Patrick’s Cathedral by an organization called Pakistan For All – a collective of citizens concerned about the growing attacks on minorities.

“Well the terrorists showed us what they do on Sundays. Here we are showing them what we do on Sundays. We unite,” said Mohammad Jibran Nasir, the organizer who made the calls for the event on social media.

Flying in from Karachi for the human chain, Nasir and his group are out to advocate the need for interfaith harmony. “I see no reason why our politicians and our leaders should not come out of their houses, leave the luxury of their secure homes and stand in solidarity with the common man”, he said.

As the service concluded inside the church, the courtyard echoed with slogans of ‘Dehshut gardee murdabaad’ and ‘Muslim Maseehi ittehad zindabaad’ as members of the Sunday service emerged.

Led by Taimur Rahman, activist and member of the music band Laal, the congregation in the courtyard proceeded with sermons and chanting as the crowd increased in number.

Later, the congregation moved onto the street where they chanted slogans and formed the human chain, as police cordoned off the roads leading to the church to allow for the congregation to move.

Mariam Tariq who was attending the service along with her daughter also joined the chain. “We have lost so many of our loved ones over the past few years” said Tariq as she broke into tears.

Egypt: Politician who opposed the military crackdown on Morsi supporters attacked by Morsi supporters

An Egyptian politician who has opposed the military crackdown that has killed or jailed hundreds of Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi was surprised to find himself under a violent attack when he accidentally drove through a pro-Morsi protest march in Cairo.

Khaled Dawoud, the spokesman for the liberal al-Dustour party, was pulled out of his car and stabbed after one of the protesters recognized him, shouted his name and accused him of being in favor of the clampdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. The 46-year-old politician couldn't escape because he was stuck in a traffic jam.

Friday's assault highlights the complexity of the political situation in Egypt, which has suffered from two and a half years of turmoil and chaos following the 2011 revolution that forced autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. It also raised concerns that the Arab world's most populous nation is falling into a cycle of revenge attacks and random violence as the Brotherhood organization is frayed with its top leaders in prison or on the run.
. . .
Dawoud served as the main speaker for the National Salvation Front, the opposition grouping that had rallied against Morsi in the lead up to the massive protests against the Islamist leader that led to the military coup that toppled him on July 3.

But while he supported the military's intervention, Dawoud publicly opposed the decision to violently raze two pro-Morsi sit-in camps in Cairo, a move that killed more than 600 protesters and sparked nationwide clashes that left hundreds more dead.

He resigned in mid-August as NSF spokesman after the group praised the security agencies for their role in the violent dispersal of the camps.
. . .
Dawoud has continued to speak out in weekly columns in favor of reconciling with the Brotherhood and integrating them into Egypt's political road map, backing initiatives calling for it. He also makes regular TV appearances despite a backlash, with Islamists still threatening him on social media sites

"I was told several times ... `Whatever you do, your hands will always be covered in Muslim Brotherhood blood," he recalled. "It is a big sin in itself for them" that he backed removing Morsi.

He said Friday's attack will not change his stance.
. . .
A group of 10 young men started smashing the car's windows before one stabbed his left side with a 15-centimeter (6 inch) dagger.

"Another guy told me `we will cut off your hands' and started sawing my left hand back and forth", Dawoud added.

A few bystanders came to his rescue, breaking up the mob and capturing the man with dagger.

"It was a miserable day. There was no ambulance and I had to walk for 10 minutes to the hospital," Dawoud said. "Every step I took I thought I was going to die. I was bleeding from everywhere."

Israel: Terrorist from nearby Palestinian town infiltrate Jewish settlement then flee, 9-year-old girl injured

A nine-year-old girl was lightly injured Saturday night while she was playing in the yard of her home in Psagot, a Jewish settlement located north of Ramallah in the West Bank. No one else was hurt in the incident.

Paramedics who were alerted to the scene evacuated the girl, who was fully conscious, to Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center. She suffered injuries to her upper torso, and the doctor who was treating her said it was unclear whether she had been shot or stabbed.

IDF forces suspect that a terrorist from the nearby Palestinian town of al-Bireh had infiltrated Psagot and then fled the scene. Footprints found near Psagot's security fence, as well as a hole in the fence, reinforce this assumption. Psagot's residents were instructed to remain indoors until further notice, while soldiers were going from house to house to make certain the terrorist had not remained in the community.

IDF forces were canvassing the area overnight but it is estimated the terrorist managed to escape the scene.

A motorcyclist later reported that he came under fire on a road leading to Kochav Yaakov, not far from Psagot.
. . .
Dr. Daniel Fink, who treated the girl, said she told security officials that the terrorist was standing at point blank range her. He said it remains unclear whether the girls was stabbed or shot, adding that her condition was "completely stable."

Shlomo Petrover, who lives in close proximity to the scene of the attack, said "I arrived at the house and saw the girl with gunshots in the upper part of her body. I treated her along with the community's paramedics until the ambulance arrived."

Magen David Adom paramedic Yoni Cohen said the girl was "frightened, tired and in pain, but spoke all during the drive to the hospital. She was a true hero, and we told her so."...

Iraq: Suicide bombers attack elementary school and police station, 27 killed, many of them children

Suicide car bombers attacked an elementary school and a police station in a small northern Iraqi village on Sunday while another on foot detonated his payload among Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people including children, officials said.

The attacks are the latest in a relentless wave of killing that has made for Iraq's deadliest outburst of violence since 2008. The mounting death tolls are raising fears that the country is falling back into the spiral of violence that brought it to the edge of civil war in the years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Sunday's blasts began around 9:30 a.m. in the Shiite Turkomen village of Qabak, just outside the town of Tal Afar. The area around the stricken village has long been a hotbed for hard-to-rout Sunni insurgents and a corridor for extremist fighters arriving from nearby Syria.

One car bomb in the tiny village targeted an elementary school while children ages 6 to 12 were in class as another struck a nearby police station, Tal Afar mayor Abdul Aal al-Obeidi said.

The dead included 12 children, the school principal and two policemen. Another 90 people were wounded, he said.
. . .
Another suicide bomber, this time on foot, blew himself up hours later as Shiite pilgrims walked through the largely Sunni neighborhood of Waziriyah in the north of the Iraqi capital.

At least 12 people were killed and 23 wounded in that attack, according to police and hospital officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters.

It was the second time in less than 24 hours that a suicide bomber managed to thwart security checkpoints and target Shiite pilgrims making their way to a golden-domed shrine in northern Baghdad where two revered Shiite saints are buried.

A suicide bombing in the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, not far from the site of Sunday's attack, late Saturday killed 51, authorities said as they revised the death toll upward. That and other attacks Saturday left a total of 75 dead...

Pakistan: Attack on a Peshawar church last month is according to Shari'ah, says 'Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan' spokesperson

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

“We didn’t carry out the church attack. However, we believe it’s according to the Sharia,” TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid told BBC in a telephonic interview from an anonymous location on Friday.
. . .
When asked who issues the orders for any attack, spokesperson said free hand has been given to all component groups to choose and attack the enemy targets but they can’t carry out an attack by deviating from the objective of the movement, adding if they do so, the are summoned and punished by Taliban courts. 83 people including five women and four children were killed and nearly 150 injured in twin suicide blasts on a historic church in Qissa Khawani bazaar in Peshawar on September 22.

UK: Pork gelatin in vaccine delays vaccination programme when concerns were raised by Muslim parents

The Scottish Government as well as the NHS explanation over the pork use in a flu vaccine has been suspected by Muslim leaders.

The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) said other products were available. A ruling was quoted by health experts and ministers in 2001 not to unveil that the vaccine carried pork gelatine in case a person was already ill.

If some other medicine was available, the individual should not be provided with the pig-derived products.

It has been found that the nasal spray Fluenz is being offered to almost 100,000 kids from primary schools in Scotland. It is being done as a pilot scheme's part.

The programme's part aiming to vaccinate children against flu was delayed when concerns were raised by a few Muslim parents that pork gelatine was there in the vaccine.
. . .
"These concerns relate to the nasal spray vaccine which contains a tiny amount of gelatine of pork origin used during the manufacturing process", said the health board's spokesperson.

Sudan: Woman flogged by police officer for riding in a car with man she was not related to (video)

A disturbing new YouTube video shows a Sudanese woman crying out in pain during a public flogging.

She was reportedly guilty of riding in a car with a man who wasn’t her husband or an immediate family member, an offense that is prohibited by Sudan’s public order law.

The woman, reportedly named Halima, crouches on the ground and tries to cover her head with a light pink cloth while a police officer walks around her with a whip, stopping to aim before lashing out at her body.

At about 0:39 seconds into the video, the police officer warns the woman, “This is so you don’t get into cars anymore,” according to France24.

The video was anonymously sent to a journalist, who uploaded it on Sept. 17. It is unclear when the incident took place.

The accents in the video suggest it was filmed around Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city. Shar’ia law, a system of Islamic religious laws, is widely interpreted by Muslim communities around the world. Sudan’s Public Order Law came into effect after Islamist Dictator who is try arrested by Interpol General Omar al-Bashir took over as the country’s president during a 1989 military coup.

According to women’s rights activists, the law allows police officers to dole out punishments at their own discretion.

The “personal status” laws found in several conservative countries around the world are often vaguely worded, according to Cristina Finch, the managing director of Amnesty International’s Women’s Human Rights program.

“Public indecency laws can be interpreted widely, ” Finch told The News. “But this is not a matter of culture or religion. Women’s rights are universal and governments have an obligation under international human rights law to respect, protect, and fulfill those rights. ”

Sudan’s law drew international attention earlier this month after a Sudanese woman was arrested for refusing to wear a headscarf. Amira Osman Hamed, a 35-year-old engineer and activist, could get up to 40 lashes if she is convicted of the crime, according to Amnesty International.

A judge agreed to postpone Hamed’s trial until Nov. 4 after pressure from international activists.

Kenya: Muslim rioters torch Salvation Army church after unknown gunmen assassinate popular imam

Witnesses said one protester was shot and wounded, as armed paramilitary police moved towards a mosque, whose leaders have been accused of links to Somalia's Islamist Shebab, insurgents who attacked a Nairobi shopping mall last month.

Riots were sparked after unknown gunmen assassinated a popular Muslim preacher and his three companions in a drive-by shooting late on Thursday, a killing that mirrored the murder of another cleric last year which provoked days of deadly riots.

Radical preachers have said the killing Thursday was an "execution" by the police, claims the force has denied.

"They have burnt the Salvation Army church and we are now trying to repulse them with tear gas," a senior police officer said.

Slain cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail was viewed as the successor to Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a controversial preacher accused of links to Somalia's Shebab insurgents, who was shot dead in August 2012.

Like in the case of Rogo, radical preachers have said the killing of Ismail was an "execution" by the police, which denied the claims.

Thick smoke apparently from burning tyres rose around Mombasa's Masjid Musa mosque — where both Rogo and Ismail used to preach — while police fired tear gas and youths hurled stones in return. Several gunshots were also heard.

One wounded protester with his clothes soaked in blood was rushed to a nearby clinic.

"He was shot in the stomach... he is bleeding profusely and we just pray for him," said Salim Abdallah, a witness.

It was not clear who fired the shot. Mombasa is Kenya's main port and a major tourist hub, popular with visitors coming to enjoy the white sand beaches on the Indian Ocean coastline.

The deaths follow attacks last month by the Shebab, who launched a deadly assault on an upmarket Nairobi shopping mall, killing at least 67 people in a four-day bloodbath...

Indonesia: Country's last synagogue, an intended heritage site, destroyed by 'unidentified persons'

The synagogue has seen a number of anti-Israel protests staged in front of it and was sealed by Islamic hardliners sealed in 2009, according to the Jakarta Globe.

Reports suggesting the synagogue’s destruction have appeared in Indonesian media since May but were confirmed last week by the, which quoted the director of the Surabaya Heritage Society as saying that he intended to protest the demolition in talks with government officials.

“It is not clear by whom and when exactly the building was demolished,” Freddy Instanto told

The City Council of Surabaya was in the process of registering the building as a heritage site. Istanto said that for that reason, the building “should have been protected.”

The Dutch news site also quoted Sachiroel Alim, the head of the Surabaya regional legislative council, as saying that it was unknown whether Muslim extremists had anything to do with the demolition.

Situated in in eastern Java, the small synagogue was built in the 19th century by Dutch Jews when Indonesia was still a Dutch colony. It had white-painted bricks a Star of David painted on the front door.

The first Jews arrived in Indonesia in the 17th century with the Dutch East India Company. During the 1930s and 1940s, the community grew due to new arrivals fleeing persecution in Europe, to reach an estimated 2,000 souls.

Currently, about 20 Jews are estimated to be living in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, according to Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. Judaism is not one of the six religions officially recognized in Indonesia: Islam, Christian, Catholic, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism.

Morocco: Teens arrested and charged with attacking moral values for exchanging a kiss on Facebook

Two teens of 14 and 15 years of age were arrested in the north-eastern city of Nador, after pictures of the young man and woman exchanging kisses were posted on Facebook. Nador Prosecutor's Office charged them with attacking moral values. The Organization for Human Rights and Public Liberties, which spotted their photos and reported them to the authorities, said that their uncontrollable attitudes could become dangerous problems in the future.

Pakistan: Reporter gets threatening letter for covering minorities, termed as 'apostate' for writing against Islam

The Express Tribune Chief Reporter Rana Tanveer received a one-page letter, with stamps of a Multan post office and Lahore Garden Town post office.

Tanveer was termed as 'apostate' by accusing him of favouring minorities, especially Ahmadis and Christians.

According to the Daily Times, the letter started with "Allah-o-Akbar" read: "Rana Tanveer enough is enough. Your favour to Ahmadis and Christians is increasing and now it is my firm belief that you are not a Muslim. You have turned to be an apostate by writing against Islam and in favour of 'anti Islam'."

"We know your purpose of doing such but now it is better for you to stop writing 'against' Islam and in favour of Qadianis or else you will be killed".

The letter, which was written in the name of 'Mard-e-Mujahid', said that in defiance 'you will be hit from where you cannot even imagine'.

The letter was sent on the newspaper's official address and was written in Urdu.

Rana Tanveer said that he always observed objectivity during his professional duties. He said being a Muslim, he cannot even think of writing against Islam.

He added that whatever he writes is based on facts and being a professional journalist it is his duty to do factual reporting.f

Pakistan: 10-year-old student at a seminary faints after being brutally beaten with a stick by his teacher

The boy was taken to the tehsil headquarters hospital, where doctors treating him later said that he was out of danger. A case was registered by the police with one of the boy’s relatives as the complainant.

Police said Muhammad Abdullah, a teacher at a seminary in Mumtazabad Colony, beat up Abu Zar Ghafari with a stick for not learning his lesson.

Complainant Muhammad Naveed said that Ghafari was an orphan. He said after his father’s death five years ago, he had enrolled Ghafari at the seminary. On Thursday, Naveed said, he was informed that Ghafari had fainted at the school. He said when he went there, he discovered that his teacher had beaten him up with a stick.

He said some of the boy’s class fellows told him that the teachers slapped him first. He had then dragged him by the hair to a corner and beaten him with a stick until he fainted.

He said he took the boy to the THQ hospital, where doctors treating him said that he had probably fainted from fear. They said there were bruises on his back and legs.

He said while the police had registered his complaint, they were reluctant to arrest Abdullah as an influential group in the area that funded the seminary was protecting him.

Naveed said shortly after he filed the complaint, some men had arrived at his house and threatened him with dire consequences if he did not withdraw the complaint.

The Tandlianwala station house officer said that police were looking for Abdullah. He said a police team had raided his house, but had not found him there. The SHO denied any pressure and said that the matter was being dealt with transparently.

School teacher assaulted

In Bahawalpur, a primary school teacher was beaten up by armed men on school premises. He was rescued by some neighbours when the men chained him to a motorcycle and tried to take him away...

Saudi Arabia: Court sentences four men to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for dancing "naked" in public

In a video posted on YouTube, several men appear dancing atop a vehicle in the ultra-conservative province of Qassim. None seemed naked.

The court in Buraydah, Qassim's provincial capital, sentenced one defendant to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes, and another to seven years in prison and 1,200 lashes, Al-Sharq newspaper reported in what media have dubbed the "naked dancing" case.

Their two companions were jailed for three years and sentenced to 500 lashes each, it said.

The four were charged with "dancing on a vehicle in public and posting a video online, encouraging vice, defying norms of the society and violating public morals," according to Al-Sharq.

Two of them were identified as security officials...

Bangladesh: Christians told to close church, forced to worship at a mosque and ordered to convert to Islam

A local government official in central Bangladesh has halted the construction of a church, forced Christians to worship at a mosque and threatened them with eviction from their village unless they renounce their faith.

The Tangail Evangelical Holiness Church in Bilbathuagani village, Tangail district, about 100 kilometres north of Dhaka, was created Sept. 8 by a group of about 25 Christians who had been meeting secretly for three years.

However, local council chairman Rafiqul Islam Faruk joined around 200 demonstrators September 13 to protest against the start of the building of the church.

The following day, the Christians were summoned to his office. More than 1,000 Muslims waited outside, following an announcement at all local mosques to gather at the chairman's office.

Ordered to embrace Islam

Mokrom Ali, 32, told World Watch Monitor he was forced to accept Islam.

"The chairman and the imams of the mosques interrogated me for accepting Christianity. They asked me why I had become a Christian. It is a great sin to become a Christian from Islam," Asli said. "If I did not accept Islam, they would beat me, burn my house, and evict me from the society.

"Their threats chilled me to the bone. That is why I pretended to accept Islam, but faith in Christ is the wellspring of my life. Now I am no longer a Muslim; I am a Christian."

Mojnu Mia, 31, told World Watch Monitor he was also forced to accept Islam against his will.

"The chairman and the imams asked me what my religion is. I said I was a Christian. Then they threatened to beat me and evict me from the village unless I recanted my faith in Christianity," Mia said.

"They had browbeaten me into accepting Islam. I accepted it only to get out from that predicament. But later, I embraced Christianity by swearing a confession in the court.

"The chairman came to know that I became a Christian again, by affidavit. He threatened that it would not be possible to practise Christianity in that area. If I stick to this religion, I must leave this place.

"The chairman is clipping the wings of our faith. I do not know how long we can grin and bear it. We want religious freedom. We want to practise our religion freely."

Eight Christians agreed to return to Islam since Sept. 14, under the chairman's orders. The chairman and his associates had already beaten some of those Christians three years ago for accepting Christianity.

'They were derailed'

Local chairman Faruk told World Watch Monitor that some Christians had been acting against Islam, due to their incorrect interpretation of the Qur'an.

"The Imams and other elders of the society called them for rectification because of their aberrant behaviour. They were derailed, so we tried to put them on the right track," he said.

"Eight people who had deviated came back to Islam. We are trying to bring back others. To change a religion, a person needs to swear his or her name, and should inform a local magistrate. If the magistrate permits, then he or she can change religion. But what they are doing is completely wrong."

World Watch Monitor asked Faruk if he would protest if any of those people filed an affidavit with the court re-affirming their Christianity.

Faruk said there would be "huge pressure from the society against it. As a representative of the local people, I cannot go against the public sentiment."

The chairman warned the Christians not to resume the construction of the church, saying it was anti-Islamic.

The Bangladesh constitution grants every citizen the right to profess, practise or propagate any religion. Every religious community or denomination has the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

Rev. Mrinal Kanti Baroi, the group's leader, told World Watch Monitor they had tried to show the constitution's clause on religious freedom to the chairman, to no avail.

"We took one copy of the constitution to the chairman and other elders of the society, but they did not listen to us and did not want to see it," Baroi said.

On September 15, members of the congregation wrote a letter to the district administrative chief, requesting safety and protection.

Deputy commissioner Anisur Rahman of Tangail district told World Watch Monitor that necessary steps had been taken to ensure their safety and security.

A plea for harmony

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been leading a secular government in the Muslim-majority country since 2009, on Sept. 3 called upon her countrymen to work together to protect the communal harmony "being nurtured in the country for thousands of years". She made her remarks after inaugurating reconstructed Buddhist temples, which had been damaged and burnt by criminals in September 2012.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom removed Bangladesh from its Watch List after the victory of Sheikh Hasina's Awami League in the 2008 general election. Her centre-left party is considered to promote secular policies and to be favourable toward minority rights. Her announcement to implement religious freedom reforms was another cause for Bangladesh to be removed from the Watch List.

Of Bangladesh's 154 million people, Sunni Muslims constitute 90% and Hindus 9%, according to the 2001 census. The remaining 1% is mainly Christian and Buddhist.

Russia: Imam urges Elton John concert boycott, brands him as the “devil’s work in the shape of a pederast”

For more on persecution of homosexuals, click here.

Promotion of same-sex relations could send the republic’s capital Kazan down the same road as Sodom and Gomorrah, the ancient cities destroyed by Allah as punishment for the sexual delinquency of their inhabitants, imam Seidzhagfar Lutfullin warned.

“Sodomy…is what the world famous homosexual Elton John, who recently wed a man in public, is promoting,” said Lutfullin, the imam of Kazan’s Thousandth Anniversary of Islam Mosque.

Lutfullin called on believers to stay away from Elton John’s show in Kazan and recommended they warn relations and colleagues to do the same “because they may not know,” he said.

His statement on the mosque’s website was not dated; Russian media did not report on it until Thursday.

Sir Elton John, who is due to perform in Kazan on December 8, a day after his show in Moscow, said last month that he will support Russian gays, following the introduction of what he called “anti-gay laws” in Russia earlier this year outlawing promotion of homosexuality to minors.

The 66-year-old Englishman, who was knighted in 1998 and boasts 300 million records sold in his over four-decade long career, would risk spending 15 days in Russian custody or a fine of 5,000 rubles ($150) if he violates the so-called “gay propaganda” law, introduced last June.

Pop acts Madonna, Lady Gaga and Rammstein have previously been accused of espousing “gay propaganda” during their recent performances in Russia, but escaped without any legal consequences.

Lutfullin has been in the headlines before, including in 2008, when he staged an anti-Israeli rally where he compared Zionism to fascism; and 2012, when he led a protest against street ads for masseurs depicting scantily clad men and women, Btamedia advertisement industry website said last year.

UK: Preacher attending Beloved to Allah says gays should be thrown off mountains and stabbed in the gums by Muslim dentists

For more on persecution of homosexuals, click here.

He is among several homophobic Muslim preachers who will be speaking at the Beloved to Allah event at Edmonton Islamic Centre in north London on Sunday (6 October).

Though the event itself is based around a more general Islam theme, some of the speakers hold extremist views.

Among them are Abu Usamah At-Thahabi who has been banned from several universities in the UK and has previously referred to gay people as ‘perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered’.

He was filmed in Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque documentary saying: ‘Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.

'They have given them [homosexuals] unprecedented rights, so that your child can be exposed and introduced to lesbians. Now they say “if you discriminate against that, you’re going to jail”. We’ll discriminate, but we’ll discriminate in a way where we don’t get in trouble. The Muslim is a dentist, one of those people come, you want to take a big, big needle and stick it in his gums.’

He defended his statements in a video reply.

Brunel University had come under fire for allowing the homophobic Muslim preacher to speak at an event but at the last minute the event was cancelled because of fears of violent protests.

Abdul Hakeem Quick who has also endorsed the death penalty for homosexuals is also a guest speaker.

Quick in an interview for Voice of Islam broadcast on New Zealand television in 2003, told viewers that AIDS was caused by the ‘filthy practices’ of homosexuals; homosexuals were dying from AIDS and ‘they want to take us all down with them’ and that the Islamic position on homosexuality is ‘death’.

He also said: ‘Muslims are going to have to take a stand [against homosexuals] and it’s not enough to call names.’

Ustadh Murtazah Khan is another preacher who advocates violence against gay people and listed as a speaker.

He has been filmed attacking women for wearing perfume, in support of sharia values and talking about harsh Sharia practices such as flogging.

In an interview about homosexuality Khan also called for gays to be hurled from a mountain...

Pakistan: Death toll rises as Christians recover from last week's suicide bombing during a church service

For earlier news on the same subject, click here.

Coming on the heels of a murderous attack by militant Islamists on an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the entrance of an historic Anglican church nestled within the walled city of Peshawar, Pakistan on Sunday, September 22, just as services were ending, killing 78 Christians and wounding more than 100 others.

According to Reuters, dual explosions rocked All Saints just as hundreds of parishioners were leaving the church. Almost immediately, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack.

"They are the enemies of Islam, therefore we target them," said Jundullah spokesman Ahmed Marwat. "We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land."

Some of the Christians — who compose only four percent of Pakistan's 180 million Sunni Muslims — burned tires in the streets of Peshawar to protest the lack of security around the church.

Similar protests by other Christians were also reported in Karachi and Multan.


The New York Times reports that the death toll has now risen to 85 after two suicide bombers rushed the church doors as worshipers were leaving All Saints after service; one attacker exploded his vest inside the entrance, the other just outside.

UK: Man found guilty of attempted murder after night out celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid took a violent turn

A motorist who ploughed into a group of revellers and left a blind man brain damaged is facing a lengthy stretch in prison after being found guilty of four charges of attempted murder.

Aqab Hussain used his Vauxhall Corsa as a ‘lethal weapon’ after his night out celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid took a violent turn.

CCTV captured the 21-year-old driving the wrong way down Princess Street in Manchester city centre before striking partially-sighted Michael Ward and two of his friends, Paul Hulme and Martin Harris, at the junction of John Dalton Street.

Mr Ward, then 28, from Bolton, was scooped up on the bonnet before being ‘deposited’ at the side of the road by the veering car. He was injured so severely that he was in intensive care for twenty days and spent around four months in a high dependency unit.

Meanwhile, Mr Hulme suffered fractures to his right leg after being 'flipped into the air', while Mr Harris suffered only minor injuries. A fourth member of Mr Ward's group, Thomas Mallanphy, narrowly escaped injury after stepping back from the road, Mr Hussain's Manchester Crown Court trial heard.

Hussain, of Gateshead Close, Rusholme, denied four charges of attempted murder in the trial but was found guilty by a unanimous jury after three-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

The victims were targeted after being the 'aggressors' in a brief street fight with Mr Hussain's group in Albert Square in the early hours of August 21 last year.

Earlier that evening, both groups of men had been enjoying a night out at Silk’s Gentlemen’s Club at Lloyd Street. But after leaving the lapdancing venue, a member of Hussain’s group was punched in a scuffle with someone from Mr Ward’s group.

After the warning ‘just watch’ – Hussain staged the hit and run, described as 'despicable' by prosecutor Ian Metcalfe...

Turkey: Government turning a blind eye to killings, torture, sexual abuse and persecution during crackdown on Gezi Park protestors

Amnesty International released a report Wednesday accusing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government of turning a blind eye to killings, torture, sexual abuse and persecution during the 'brutal' crackdown on Gezi Park protestors. The London-based organisation said human rights abuses had occurred on a massive scale. Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's head expert on Turkey, spoke out against the wholesale denial of the right to peaceful assembly and violations of the rights to life, liberty and the freedom from torture and ill-treatment. Hundreds of thousands of youths took part in the large anti-Erdogan protests held in June, demanding more democracy and speaking out against the re-Islamicisation of the country underway. Erdogan's merciless crackdown had a heavy toll: six dead and 8,000 injured, ten of whom lost their sight after being hit to the head by tear gas canisters or to the face by rubber bullets shot point-blank. One 14-year-old boy is still in a coma, and some 5,000 were arrested. About 1,000 will be charged, according to press reports, some of whom for terrorism. The Islamic prime minister has often lashed out at the peaceful demonstrators, calling them vandals and terrorists. Amnesty noted that little had been done to bring the perpetrators of abuse to justice, while thousands of protestors had instead been arrested and hundreds might have to stand trial simply for organising or taking part in a protest. Moreover, it said, journalists, doctors and lawyers who documented what happened, helped the protestors or stood up for their rights have been arrested, beaten, threatened or harassed. And despite the systematic abuse, the authorities continue to praise the police, with Erdogan even calling the police efforts legendary.

One of the stories Amnesty cited was that of Ethem Sarisuluk, a 22-year-old Alevi worker who was shot in the head on June 1 and died on June 14. The policeman who shot him was charged a month later only for manslaughter due to excessive self-defence. Ethem's family have said they have been subject to police pressure and intimidation to withdraw the report. Two witnesses have been arrested and Ethem's father reported to the police for writing a protest slogan on a wall when the boy was dying. Amnesty International said that it had received reports of harassment and sexual assault by the police against those arrested, with several accounts of women threatened with rape.

It cited the cases of two girls who publicly denounced the incidents, but said that it was likely that the number of actual incidents of physical, sexual and verbal abuse was much higher than that reported.

Terrorist group al-Shabaab threatened to increase militant action in Kenya, after the country refused to withdraw troops from Somalia

The al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, in which at least 67 people died, with 39 more listed as missing by the Red Cross.

“We will strike Kenyans where it hurts the most, turn their cities into graveyards and rivers of blood will flow in Nairobi,” al-Shabaab said in a recent statement.

“The Kenyan government’s decision to keep its invading force in Somalia is an indication that they haven’t yet learnt any valuable lessons from the Westgate attacks,” the extremists added, warning that Kenya was

“inviting unprecedented levels of insecurity, bloodshed and destruction.”

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said troops had been sent to Somalia to restore order to their neighbor and would remain there until this was achieved.

“We will not be intimated, we will not be cowed,” Kenyatta said. “We will stay there until they bring order to their nation.”

In reaction to Kenyan Defense Force’s (KDF) decision, al-Shabaab said it was “fully determined to intensify attacks inside Kenya until the last KDF boots exit Somali soil,” saying it had the “right to defend our land and our people from enemy aggression.”

UK: Devoted teacher reveals why she quit a Muslim school after being told her business suit was indecent

Jane is a good school teacher and proud of it. She lives in a handsome, detached house surrounded by neatly mowed lawns on the outskirts of Derby, with her husband and three pet cats.

For nearly 20 years, she has taught history, geography and religious studies in schools throughout the East Midlands city. In all that time, there has never been one word of complaint against her from head teachers, parents or pupils.

‘I love teaching and always have done. I am proud that I bring the subjects alive for the pupils and make them enjoy learning,’ she says today, sitting in a black leather chair in her smart sitting room.

‘I feel I do a good job and always wear a business suit with trousers or a sensible skirt in school. It is a sign of respect for my profession and sets a good example to the children.’

Yet, one day in October last year, she returned home from the classroom in tears to her husband, a successful businessman. To her horror, she had become embroiled in a furious row at her school over what she wore to work.

The Islamic Al-Madinah school in Derby, one of the newest of the Government-sponsored free schools, had asked her to dress modestly, covering her hair and ensuring she did not show any flesh apart from her face, hands and feet.

She abided by the request — or so she thought.

For earlier that October day, wearing a grey suit with a skirt well below the knees, thick knitted black stockings, calf-length boots and her long brown hair completely covered, she stepped into a lift at the school with a male teacher.

To her shame, he looked her up and down and told her that she had failed to observe ‘common decency’. The two inches of leg hidden in the 100 denier stockings which showed between her boots and the hem of her dress were ‘abhorrent’, he warned. Her discreet outfit was, he deemed, ‘figure hugging’ and immodest.

‘That encounter in the lift with this Muslim male teacher made me feel like a slut,’ Jane says today. ‘It was the final straw. ‘My husband took a photo of me in my school outfit after I returned home that afternoon. It shows that my head, arms and legs were completely covered up in line with the rulings of Islam.

‘I walked away from Al-Madinah and I have not been back. It seemed to me that the school was more concerned about how I dressed than losing a good teacher who was doing well for the pupils there.

‘In class, I always wore a black cap from Next or a scarf as a head covering as a sign of respect for the school and Islam.

‘But, if I had known that it was compulsory for non-Muslim women staff [to cover up] before I started the job, I would never have accepted the post.’

What happened to Jane, whose name I have changed at her request as she still teaches in the East Midlands, is, of course, shocking in the modern Western world which espouses equality between the sexes whatever their age or profession.

Yet 50-year-old Jane’s chilling experience has shone light into the dark corners of the Islamic faith schools, which have sprung up in towns and cities throughout the country as the Muslim population grows in Britain...

Indonesia: Music show ends with visit by Aceh's shari'ah police, angry fans beat and kick them

Hundreds of fans were swaying to the beat of a Dangdut performance in Karang Anyar, a village near Langsa in eastern Aceh late on August 25th. Suddenly, six men came on stage. One was Ibrahim Latif, the head of Islamic Sharia in Langsa. The others were members of the Sharia police, Wilayatul Hisbah (WH).

Ibrahim ordered the music stopped because, he said, the Langsa city government forbids late-night performances. The time was 11:45pm.

According to Ibrahim, the music fans were in no mood to comply. Dozens of audience members scrambled onto the stage, and the lights went out. The angry fans allegedly started to beat and kick the Sharia police. The performers – three female singers and a keyboardist – quickly left the stage.

"I got two fists in the face. Several members of WH were also beaten and kicked by Dangdut fans who were drunk. We just tried to dodge the blows. We could not fight back because there were so many," Ibrahim told Khabar Southeast Asia.

"When we left the location, they were still chasing and throwing stones at us. Thank goodness nobody was injured," he said. Several hours earlier, Sharia police broke up another concert in a different village without incident, he said.

"The music was OK, but the singers wore very tight clothes. Additionally, audience members were drinking alcohol. This clearly violates the Sharia qanun in Aceh," Ibrahim said.

Langsa residents respond

Some, however, are disputing Ibrahim’s version of events.

"The keyboard performance wasn't about being rowdy or getting drunk, like they say. The musical performance was part of a series of events celebrating Indonesia's 68th Independence Day," said Sukri Asma, a young resident of Langsa.

"The Sharia police are always very arrogant towards regular people. Ibrahim often does things that people don't like when he is correcting people suspecting of violating Sharia law," argued Nurfajri, 23.

"Last year, he accused a girl of being a slut because she was sitting on Merdeka Field in Langsa with her friends after dark. A few days later, that child killed herself when Ibrahim's accusation was published in the local media," she said.

Fahmi, 35, said Langsa residents often enjoy Dangdut, especially during weddings and around Independence Day.

"I can't understand why it's being forbidden. If it's true some people were drunk, deal with them, then. Dangdut music is not banned under Sharia Law in Aceh. If you can't put on a Dangdut show, why don't they just clearly say so?"

Meanwhile, Karang Anyar Village Chief Ahmad Tukiran is denying that the sharia police came under attack.

"Ibrahim and several members of the WH took the stage. They asked for the Dangdut group to stop. Then a number of village officials also took to the stage. Shortly thereafter, keyboard music stopped and the crowd immediately dispersed," he told Khabar.

"So, there was no assault and beating of Ibrahim and the WH. Logically, if [they were] attacked by a crowd as Mr. Ibrahim says, there must be someone in the hospital. In fact, they are all in good health," he added.

Ibrahim, however, insists his account is true. He says that similar incidents have happened before, and that local authorities turn a blind eye.

"I'm hesitant to report the incident because I'm not sure there will be any follow-up. In 2012, WH members were struck with bottles while on duty, but there were no repercussions," he said.

Change in tactics urged

Aceh politicians and community leaders, meanwhile, say the case demonstrates the need for better public awareness concerning sharia law as well as more sensitive behaviour on the part of enforcers...

Egypt: Al-Qaeda-linked group in Sinai denounces army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists

The Sinai has become increasingly lawless since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the terror attacks have only increased since the removal of his successor, Mohammed Morsi.

The Egyptian armed forces have launched large scale military operations against terrorists in Sinai in an attempt to suppress the insurgency. The terror groups have hit back - a torrent of attacks by gangs of Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic terrorists have killed over 100 Egyptian soldiers and policemen since Morsi's overthrow.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, one of the terror groups operating in the Sinai, released a video on Monday which shows some of the terrorist attacks it has carried out in the region. These include detonating a powerful roadside bomb at armored vehicles, ambushing a military patrol, destroying a tank using an anti-tank missile, and launching an assault on an Egyptian army outpost in one of the towns in northern Sinai.

In the video, the group calls the Egyptian army “The Camp David Army", a reference to the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, adding that the army “has not fired one shot at the Zionist enemy for forty years, yet in one day killed thousands of Muslims in Cairo."

The group also accused the Egyptian army of “collaboration" with Israel, of “heresy" and of “waging a war on Allah's religion.” In light of this, says the organization, the conclusion is that "jihad" must be carried out against the Egyptian army...

Syria: Muslim man has a brain aneurysm then converts to Christianity when he wakes up from coma

A Muslim man who had a sudden brain aneurysm that left him in a coma has converted to Christianity following a near-miraculous recovery.

Karim Shamsi-Basha was in a coma for a month in 1992 but when he woke up, he began a 20-year journey that lead to him becoming a Christian.

His neurosurgeon told him he had seen very few people in his condition go on to make a full recovery and suggested that Mr Shamsi-Basha find out why he survived.

Syrian-born Mr Shamsi-Basha wrote a book about his journey, called PAUL AND ME, which includes chapters about Paul - one of the Bible's best known figures - whose conversion to Christianity took place in the city of Damascus.

The author and photojournalist grew up in a closely-knit Muslim family in Syria who were tolerant of all faiths, with a best friend who was a Christian, but he did not seriously consider changing religion before his illness.

Mr Shamsi-Basha told the Christian Post that he practiced Islam as a teenager.

'I prayed five times a day. I walked to the mosque before sunrise. I fasted the month of Ramadan,' he said.

When he was 18 he left the country, ran by the first Assad regime, to study at the University of Tennessee in the U.S. before working as a photojournalist at a local newspaper in Birmingham Alabama, getting married and fathering a son.

It was in 1992 when he was covering a fire at Independent Presbyterian Church for his local newspaper, that Mr Shamsi-Basha collapsed in its car park where he suffered a brain aneurism that could have left him paralysed, The Marietta Daily journal reported.
. . .
After months of therapy, Mr Shamsi-Basha made a full recovery which he describes as 'miraculous'.

On the road to recovery, Mr Shamsi-Basha, who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, began to read the Bible and was baptised in 1996, but he said it took the end of his first marriage, the death of his father and homelessness, until he fully believed in Jesus.

Mr Shamsi-Basha told the religious publication that God takes 'credit for my conversion. It was the grace of God that saved me.'...

UN mission in Iraq says 979 killed in violence throughout September, down from July's toll but still among the highest recently

UNAMI said today that it recorded 979 Iraqis killed in September.

The fatalities include those among security forces and troops killed in insurgent attacks nationwide.

The UN figure was lower than its July death toll, which stands at 1,057.

The report says the worst-affected part was the capital, Baghdad, where 418 people were killed. It says 2,133 people were wounded in September violence.

Iraq is going through its worst surge of violence since 2008, following a deadly crackdown by the Shiite-led government on a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq in April. More than 5,000 have been killed since then.

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