Archive for the ‘islam’ Tag

Arrests at anti-Islamic protest

Arrests at anti-Islamic protest

Police in Birmingham have arrested 33 people during a demonstration against Islamic fundamentalism and counter-protest by anti-fascists.

The demonstration – by groups calling themselves the English and Welsh Defence League and Casuals United – was made up of football fans, said police.

The counter-protest was organised by campaign group Unite Against Fascism, West Midlands Police said.

Two people were injured in the disturbances in the city centre.

Police said there were “sporadic incidents of disturbance in the city centre” with the majority of the arrests being for disorder.

There was one report of criminal damage to a vehicle, but more were expected. No police officers were hurt.

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Michael Paul Williams: Terrorism report offends all

Michael Paul Williams: Terrorism report offends all

The Richmond metropolitan area’s historically black colleges — Virginia Union University and Virginia State University — form a “radicalization node.”

Similarly, the presence of historically black Norfolk State University and Hampton University and evangelical Regent University increase the terrorist threat in Hampton Roads.

These assertions are among the findings of a report published last month by the Virginia Fusion Center, a 10-person unit of the Virginia State Police and the state Department of Emergency Management that was created to improve the sharing of anti-terrorism intelligence.

The report’s 200-plus pages paint the terrorism threat with such a broad brush that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, at the behest of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, is investigating.

“I find the depictions in the report misleading and believe it improperly implicates these fine academic institutions,” Kaine said in a statement Tuesday.

“Based on our review of the facts thus far, we see no evidence to suggest that the universities referred to in the assessment pose any particular risk to public safety. Absent specific evidence suggesting such a risk, it is improper to single out these institutions for special mention even with the caveats contained in the report.”

Radical Islamists, white supremacists, black separatists, environmental and animal-rights activists, hackers, and anti-abortion and anti-Scientology groups are among more than 50 organizations named as potential threats.

First Females Islamic Judges Inaugurated in Palestine

First Females Islamic Judges Inaugurated in Palestine

For the first time in the history of Palestine, two women were appointed as judges to the Islamic Sharia court in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah. President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the appointment of the two female judges among 11 judges appointed to the Sharia Courts in the West Bank, after each woman successfully passed two competitive judicial exams held in Ramallah.

Before the ratification of the appointments, President Mahmoud Abbas asked that Dr. Tayseer Rajab Al-Tamimi, the Chief of Judges and the Chairman of High Council of Islamic Law for Palestine, to confirm that the appointment is legitimate according to the Sharia and in the opinion of the the Islamic court, according to one of the new female judges, Asmahan Yusif Al- Wahidi, who was appointed as a judge to the Islamic Court of Hebron.

Anti-terror police seize three vans headed for Gaza

Anti-terror police seize three vans headed for Gaza

British police said on Saturday they had seized three vans that were to form part of a 100 vehicle aid convoy headed for Gaza as a result of an anti-terror raid in the northwest of England.

Lancashire police said they were searching five houses in the town of Burnley on Saturday after arresting nine men under anti-terrorism laws on a motorway near Preston on Friday.

Six of the men have been released and the remaining three are still in custody. Police can hold them without charge until Sunday night.

The convoy had been organised by the pro-Palestinian organisation Viva Palestina and left central London on Saturday, the group’s website said.

Following the recent war in Gaza the aid situation for Palestinians has become increasingly dire. Aid supplies waiting in Egypt have been stalled by delays from the Israeli and Egyptian governments. Closer to home, Lloyds TSB closed the account of Palestinian aid charity Interpal, while the BBC attracted criticism for blocking the airing of a charity appeal for Gaza.

Happy Rushdie Day!

Twenty years ago today, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie. Rushdie’s offence had been to write a book, The Satanic Verses, which contained an unflattering depiction of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

The novel’s title derives from a story, incorporated as a subplot, dating to the earliest years of Islam. The claim is that Mohammed was given a revelation that the people of Mecca could worship three of their pagan goddesses provided they recognised the supremacy of Allah. These verses were later rescinded and replaced by new verses confirming a belief in one god alone, while the originals were described as the work of the devil – hence, the “Satanic Verses.”

The book contained a number of other allusions to Islam and Muslim history which some readers found offensive. Complaints began to mount, with angry callers bombarding publishers and retailers with complaints, and bombings of bookshops taking place in several countries.

Then came the fatwa:

In the name of God the Almighty. We belong to God and to Him we shall return. I would like to inform all intrepid Muslims in the world that the author of the book Satanic Verses, which has been compiled, printed, and published in opposition to Islam, the Prophet, and the Qur’an, and those publishers who were aware of its contents, are sentenced to death. I call on all zealous Muslims to execute them quickly, where they find them, so that no one will dare to insult the Islamic sanctity. Whoever is killed on this path will be regarded as a martyr, God-willing. In addition, if anyone has access to the author of the book but does not possess the power to execute him, he should point him out to the people so that he may be punished for his actions. May God’s blessing be on you all. Rullah Musavi al-Khomeini.

While Rushdie himself managed to avoid death, violence resulting from opposition to the book resulted in several murders and assaults. Most notorious of these was the Sivas massacre in which 40 people were killed in an arson attack on a hotel due to the presence of a translator of the Satanic Verses.

The word “over-reaction” springs to mind.

To celebrate this anniversary, here’s a few other works of fiction which managed to get peoples’ pants in a tangle.

The Profit

The Profit is, as IMDB puts it, the story of “a cult leader’s rise to power and his subsequent descent into isolation and paranoia. More specifically, it is a satire on the life of Lafayette Ron Hubbard, sci-fi author, drug fiend, occultist and founder of the Church of Scientology. Better known to one and all as the Commodore, or simply LRH.

The film satirises a number of instances from Hubbard’s life, including a notorious incident early in the development of Dianetics. In it, a woman was presented by Hubbard as the world’s first “Clear” – a person who has freed themselves from the damaging effects of engrams and is endowed with a variety of abilities including improved mathematical skills, immunity to a range of diseases – and an infallible memory. The latter became something of a problem when it turned out she could not remember when asked the colour of Hubbard’s tie.

The film depicts a number of other instances from the development of Scientology, including the creation of the Sea Org, the “elite” group within Scientology. As a consequence, the cult went to work trying to disrupt filming and smear the film before it had been released:

Filmed in eight weeks last summer amid the backdrop of Fort De Soto Park and the bustle of Ybor City, the production was the target of constant harassment from Scientologists, Alexander said.

At one point, he said, members of the Foundation for Religious Tolerance of Florida handed out fliers denouncing the film’s backers at the film site and followed crew members home to press them for information about the content of the film.

Mary DeMoss of Clearwater, a Scientologist and founder of the Foundation for Religious Tolerance of Florida, calls the movie a “hate propaganda film.” She denies anyone from her organization followed anyone home and says the fliers were intended to “let the people know who was behind this.”

Eventually, the film was barred from release worldwide as the result of a court order in April 2002 claiming that it could influence the jury in the Lisa McPherson case. In November of that year, as the result of a great deal of legal wrangling involving the producers, the cult, and a number of Scientology critics, the film’s release was put on indefinite hold.

In March 2008, the film was leaked onto the internet and may now be downloaded and enjoyed in its entirety. Preferably while scoffing psych drugs out of a bowl shaped like the head of Freud.

Verismilitude

Harry Nicolaides is an Australian Greek author who spent several years living in Thailand. His 2005 novel Verisimilitude, describing life in Thailand, led to his being sentenced to three years imprisonment for the offence of “lese majeste” – insulting the monarchy.

The offending passage reads as follows:

From King Rama to the Crown Prince, the nobility was renowned for their romantic entanglements and intrigues. The Crown Prince had many wives major and minor with a coterie of concubines for entertainment. One of his recent wives was exiled with her entire family, including a son they conceived together, for an undisclosed indiscretion. He subsequently remarried with another woman and fathered another child. It was rumoured that if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever.

The book can be downloaded in its entirety via wikileaks.

Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin

Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin is a children’s book released in 1983 in English (1981 in Danish). Like many children’s books, it features a little girl and her parents. Perhaps unlike many children’s books, those parents happen to have matching genitals.

Moral conservatives, while puportedly opposed to homosexuality, do seem to have an overwhelming fixation with it. And so, when the Daily Fail made it known that a school in London stocked the book in its library, the atmosphere for a good old-fashioned moral panic was set.

It could only have been worse if Jenny, Eric and Martin were in fact asylum-seeking Muslims with the psychic ability to lower house prices.

For a children’s book it did, however, manage to have a significant impact on the adult world. In particular, it contributed to the passing of Section 28 for its apparent attempts to push the “gay agenda” (silly me, I thought it was about helping kids with unusual family structures).

Baronness Knight, in a 1999 debate on section 28, referenced the book:

I was keen to get rid of the books but I know they still exist because they were produced to me by parents. I was shown what the children were being taught and told why the parents objected so much.

Another book, which I should have thought everyone would remember, was called Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin. It depicted, on its cover, a little girl of about six years old sitting up in bed with her naked father on one side and his naked lover on the other. I shall quote the exact words used in the book because that, more than anything else, shows the age for which it was intended. It stated:

“Jenny is a little girl. Martin is Jenny’s dad and Eric is Martin’s lover. They all live happily together”.

The book went on to state that Eric, the father, drew Jenny a series of cartoons of two men who were saying:

“I love you Fred”
“I love you too, Bill. Why don’t we move in together?”
“That’s a good idea”.

[…]

I do not know what could cause more grave harm than to try to promote, as does the book Jenny lives with Eric and Martin, marriage as being outdated; that we should not have a mummy and daddy and can just as well have a daddy and a homosexual lover.

How atrocious. I can practically feel society crumbling as we speak.

This one, unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for.

Indigenous Christian exit from Iraq continues to grow

Indigenous Christian exit from Iraq continues to grow

Words of encouragement from local, regional and international church leaders, who want Christian institutions to remain in Iraq, have not been able to stem a tide of Iraqi refugees from leaving their country in the face of violence – writes Chris Herlinger.

The family of 60-year-old Basil Mati Koriya Kaktoma and his wife, Ekram Ishak Buni Safar, aged 55, have lived in Syria since July 2006. Refugees such as these are adamant they will never return to their homeland given their experience of threats, physical abuse and, in the case of Kaktoma, a week-long abduction by Muslim gunmen Kaktoma believes targeted him because he is Christian.

“I’d rather go to hell than go back to Iraq,” Kaktoma said in a recent interview in the family’s cramped apartment in Damascus. “What I saw was so horrible that I can’t even look at a map of my own country.”

Syrian-based leaders of the Chaldean Catholic Church, to which Kaktoma belongs, acknowledge the painful and paradoxical situation Christian institutions face because of the sectarian nature of violence in Iraq.

While they want the Church to remain in Iraq, which is a country with one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the leaders believe the long-term outlook for a church presence in Iraq is precarious.

In this situation, the Church must also offer succour to the thousands of displaced Christians who now reside in Syria and Lebanon but hope to join family members in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.

“The Christians lost a lot in this situation,” Antoine Audo, the Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, Syria, said about the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the political and social chaos that followed. “It’s very important to have the continuity of [Christian] history in the region. Our presence is important. We have a unique experience of living with Islam.”

Charity convicted in terrorism financing trial

Charity convicted in terrorism financing trial

DALLAS (AP) — A Muslim charity and five of its former leaders were convicted Monday of funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, finally handing the government a signature victory in its fight against terrorism funding.

U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis announced the guilty verdicts on all 108 counts on the eighth day of deliberations in the retrial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity. It was the biggest terrorism financing case since the attacks of Sept. 11.

The convictions follow the collapse of Holy Land’s first trial last year and defeats in other cases the government tried to build. President George W. Bush had personally announced the freezing of Holy Land’s assets in 2001, calling the action “another step in the war on terrorism.”

After Monday’s verdict, family members showed little visible reaction until the jury left. Several women sobbed loudly.

“My dad’s not a criminal!” one nearly inconsolable woman said loudly. Court personnel told the family to calm her down, and as family members rushed her out of the courtroom, she said, “They treated him like an animal.”

Ghassan Elashi, Holy Land’s former chairman, and Shukri Abu-Baker, the chief executive, were convicted of a combined 69 counts, including supporting a specially designated terrorist, money laundering and tax fraud.

Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh were convicted of three counts of conspiracy, and Mohammed El-Mezain was convicted of one count of conspiracy to support a terrorist organization. Holy Land itself was convicted of all 32 counts.

A sentencing date hasn’t been scheduled.

Holy Land was accused of giving more than $12 million to support Hamas. The seven-week retrial ran about as long as the original, which ended in October 2007 when a judge declared a mistrial on most charges.

Holy Land wasn’t accused of violence. Rather, the government said the Richardson, Texas-based charity financed schools, hospitals and social welfare programs controlled by Hamas in areas ravaged by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Muslim clerics endorse anti-terror fatwa

Muslim clerics endorse anti-terror fatwa

HYDERABAD, India, Nov. 8 (UPI) — About 6,000 Muslim clerics from around India approved a fatwa against terrorism Saturday at a conference in Hyderabad.

Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuri, president of the Jamaiat-Ulama-i-Hind, called terrorism the most serious problem facing Islam, The Hindu reported. He blamed Islamic radicals for their actions and the news media for failing to distinguish between the radicals and the majority of Muslims.

“We have no love for offenders whichever religion they might belong to,” he said. “Our concern is that innocents should not be targeted and the career of educated youth not ruined. The government should ensure transparency in investigation.”

India has the world’s second-largest Muslim population after Indonesia, although Hindus outnumber Muslims. The meeting was also expected to address issues like national integration.

“Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form. Cooperation should be done for the cause of good but not for committing sin or oppression,” the fatwa written at the Darul Uloom Deoband, India’s foremost Islamic seminary.

Malaysia: jailed blogger released

Home ministry won’t dispute court decision to release Raja Petra

The Home Ministry will not dispute the decision of the court to release blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA), said its minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
“That is the decision of the court. So, if he is released, it’s the right of the court,” he said after launching the Kajang Prison Mosque, Hulu Langat, here today.

Raja Petra, 58, was detained under the ISA on Sept 12 as he had ‘consciously, deliberately and irresponsibly, through his Malaysia Today website posted his articles and readers’ comments that ridiculed and insulted Muslims, the sanctity of Islam and the personality of Prophet Muhammad which had caused uneasiness and anger among Muslims in the country’.

Raja Petra was released today on the order of the Shah Alam High Court which accepted the habeas corpus application filed by the blogger.

In another development, Syed Hamid asked those who had accused him of corruption to lodge a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to substantiate their allegations.
Commenting on the police report lodged by the Johor Pas information chief, Mazlan Aliman, who had alleged that he had bribed his supporters to secure the post of Umno vice-president, he said the parties concerned should use the right channel in seeking clarification instead of resorting to slanders.

Raja’s arrest took place at the same time as that of a Malaysian MP accused of campaigning for a local mosque to lower the volume of its Call to Prayer. She was later released.

Somali woman executed by stoning

Somali woman executed by stoning

A woman in Somalia has been stoned to death after an Islamic Sharia law court found her guilty of adultery.

The woman was buried up to her neck and then pelted to death with stones in front of a large crowd in Kismayo.

It was the first such execution in the southern port city since Islamist insurgents captured it from government-allied forces in August.

A local Islamist leader said the woman, Aisho Ibrahim Dhuhulow, had pleaded guilty to committing adultery.

“She was asked several times to review her confession but she stressed that she wanted Sharia law and the deserved punishment to apply,” said Sheikh Hayakallah.

A group of men performed the execution in one of the city’s main squares in front of thousands of people, AFP news agency said.