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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sudan police arrest models after fashion show

REUTERS

Sudanese police briefly detained more than 20 models, make-up artists and designers after a rare mixed-sex fashion show in Khartoum, participants said Saturday.

Amateur models taking part in the "Sudanese Next Top Model Fashion Show" told Reuters they were rounded up late Thursday by Sudan's public order police, a body known for its crackdowns on indecent dress and drinking in the Muslim north.

Police were not available to comment on Thursday's arrests outside a club in the capital's Khartoum 2 district.

All of the detainees were released Friday but at least six were told to report to the police Sunday to face unspecified charges, said one participant.

"They came to the club after the show and arrested between 20 and 30 people -- not just models, but people doing the make- up, the people who provided the clothes," said the participant, who asked to remain anonymous.

"There was nothing bad about the clothes. There were wedding dresses, traditional Sudanese clothes, suits, clothes from local shops and tobs (traditional Sudanese wraparound dresses)."

Other participants said there had been fashion shows before in Sudan, many of them held in private. But Thursday's event was thought to be one of the first public events to feature male and female models sharing the catwalk.

After failed attempt of forced islamization Egyptian Christian family under siege

AINA


A Middle Eastern journalist has revealed that “one of the most explosive issues in the relations between Christians and Muslims of Egypt is the abduction of Christian Coptic minor girls, to force them to embrace Islam, after humiliating and demeaning them psychologically and morally.”

Mary Abdelmassih, in a story for the Assyrian International News Agency said, “This dangerous phenomenon which appeared in the 1970s and which has become a lucrative business for all Muslim participants including the Egyptian State Security has been steadily on the rise, with reports surfacing weekly of several disappearances without trace of Coptic girls.”

She said that those fortunate enough to return home have talked of their ordeal.

Abdelmassih went on to say that Zeenahom (Suzan) Nady Adly, 19-years old, “is one of the fortunate girls who was able to return home, after being drugged and abducted by Muslims to force her conversion to Islam.

“She comes from Ezbet Fanous, a small hamlet, near the town of Samalut (150 miles from Cairo), inhabited by a Coptic majority of twenty families to six Muslim ones and a Muslim mayor.”

The journalist said that according to the girl’s story, as she went out at night on Saturday, June 12, 2010, to buy soft drinks for some visitors at home, she was stopped by two Muslim men, who sprayed a substance in her face, making her lose consciousness.

“When I regained consciousness nearly two hours later, I found myself in the building of the Islamic Sharia Association in Minia, facing a shaikh [Islamic scholar] who tried to intimidate and force me to convert to Islam,” reported Freecopts advocacy in a taped interview with Zeenahom. “He tried to convince me that I would be safer marrying a Muslim, and leaving the area.”

However, the shaikh contacted State Security to tell them that he wanted her to convert, but he was told to let her go as her family was not keeping quiet.

Meanwhile, said Abdelmassih, her father, Nady Adly, had sent telegrams to all authorities and her family demonstrated in front of Samalut police headquarters asking for her return, which forced the security authorities to intervene.

“However, her ordeal continued at the police station where she was taken the next day. Zeenahom accused the village mayor Khalaf Ebdelmageed of masterminding her abduction at the hands of Muslim Sayed Khalaf and another named Taha El-Hinnawi, in exchange for money,” said the story.

Zeenahom was reported as saying, “While I was at the police station, the village mayor told me that I was too good to be a Christian. He asked me to say in the police report that I will convert to Islam, but I refused.”

The girl said that she refused to tell the police the names of her abductors, especially Sayed Khalaf, for fear of retribution. She is staying presently with her aunt.

Magdy Attia, one of the Coptic witnesses who demonstrated in front of the police station until Zeenahom was handed over to her father said that nearly two hundred Muslims, together with Sayed Khalaf’s family were there with weapons intimidating them.

“We were told that they will take Zeenahom by force to convert and marry her main abductor Sayed Khalaf, a driver by occupation, who has divorced his Muslim wife recently,” he said. “We were told Zeenahom will be Sayed’s second wife.”

Abdelmassih went on to say that the victim’s father said that the village mayor has beaten him when he said that he wanted to talk to his abducted daughter on the phone. He filed a police accusing the mayor of being an accomplice. Later he was threatened by the mayor demanding that his daughter retracts any accusations she made to Copts United advocacy of his involvement in her abduction and forced Islamization attempt.

Talking of his siege he said: “I could not leave my home, as all roads were blocked. I had to phone the police to come and let me out of the area.”

A few days later, Abdelmassih continued, the police and one of the members of the local council in Samalout, Magdi Malek, forced on them, the so-called “reconciliation meeting” in which it was decided that the whole Coptic family should be deported from the village, reported Copts United.

Commenting on this case, Coptic attorney Mamdouh Nakhla, Director of the Al-Kalema human rights centre said: “Forcing the girl and her family out of the village and leaving their home, for whatever reason, is a crime of forced displacement, which is a crime against humanity, punishable by the International Criminal Court.”

Nakhla says that he viewed the reconciliation meeting which was held in Ezbet Fanous as a “meeting for submission, and imposing the will of the strong upon the weak.” He intends to head a fact-finding commission to the area next week to document what happened to the girl’s family and interview witnesses.

Although her father has filed a report naming the abductors of his daughter, no action was taken against them.

“I am pleading for protection from the family of Sayed Khalaf. I am afraid to leave my home. I need to go to work to earn money to feed my family. Sayed told me he will be after us until we all convert to Islam,” the father told Freecopts.
“Sayed’s family is strong, they are numerous and have weapons... but I am only a poor man.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dysfunction in Muslim Lands

DAILY STAR, Lebanon

The leaders of the Islamic umma, or nation, are fond of telling us that they are keen to defend our lands and promote a prosperous life for their peoples.
It makes no difference who generates such rhetoric. It might come from Sunnis who are in power, in a kingdom like Saudi Arabia, or out of power, hiding out in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It might come from Shiites who are self-styled revolutionaries, such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, or masters of a strong state apparatus, such as officials of the Islamic Republic. They voice a determination to champion the banner of Islam and Muslims — they might talk about values or practices, or highlight Muslim culture and civilization. But if they’re serious about doing some good, they have a considerable agenda to confront.

Muslim countries are undergoing dissent and disruption across the board. There are well-known places like Palestine, where political division festers, and Lebanon, where sectarian tension eats away at the country. There’s Iraq, where the Sunni-Shiite divide is joined by other problems: the rivalry with fellow Muslims, the Kurds, and the horrific violence against non-Muslim minorities.

Conditions in Yemen are less than appealing, and while other countries, in North Africa and the Gulf, might lack huge uprisings or civil strife, they’re also plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and the threat of extremist violence.

We’re all familiar with the landscape in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the weak civilian governments are struggling to keep order. Turkey’s most recent experiment with democracy has had its positive aspects, but the conflict with the (Muslim) Kurds hasn’t disappeared, and there’s always the danger of a showdown with the (secular) military.

There are also the less-familiar “Stans” of Central Asia, where it’s difficult to keep up with the latest violence and political unrest in these Muslim-majority countries.

Somalia is another blemish on the record, while an African country like Nigeria suffers from political bankruptcy, rebellion and inter-religious strife. In the Caucasus, leaders of Islamist movements have added savage violence, and little else, to the achievements of the Muslim world.

These countries might all be members in good standing of the Organization of Islamic Conference and a host of other organizations and bodies that seek to champion the causes of Islam and Muslims.

But the sheer scope of conditions of despair and political dysfunction in Muslim countries should give pause to any political leader or official who talks about the problems of the Islamic world. These problems can’t all be laid at the feet of outside powers and conspiracies. We’re all aware of the scope of the problem; what politicians must do is identify and carry out the plan to get us out of the mess that we’re in.

Muslim Groups Talk War Over ‘Christianization’

In a move that could add to already simmering religious tensions in Bekasi, a new group calling itself the Bekasi Islamic Presidium is planning a roadshow aimed at persuading every mosque in the city to prepare for the possibility of “war” against “Christianization.”

The group, consisting of nine members representing different Islamic organizations in the city, was formed on Sunday, the last day of the Bekasi Islamic Congress at Al Azhar Mosque that was convened to address the so-called Christianization problem.

Among its recommendations is the formation of Islamic militant groups, or laskar, within each mosque and the drafting of Shariah-based policies by the Bekasi administration.

“All Muslims should unite and be on guard because … the Christians are up to something,” Mur­hali Barda, head of the Bekasi chapter of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), told the Jakarta Globe.


MORE

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mogadishu men ordered to grow beard in 30 days

Men in the Somali capital Mogadishu, have been given 30 days to grow beard. The order was issued by Moalim Hashi Mohamed Farah, the Governor in the capital. It takes effect on July 20.

Moalim Hashi is a member of Hizbu Islam, led by Sheikh Dahir Aweys, one of the Islamist groups opposing the Transitional Federal Government.

Talking to the local media via teleconference late on Sunday, Moalim Hashi stated that Somali women in the capital had already complied with the order of using the Hijab (heavy dress covering from head to toe). He added that it is time from men to comply with Islamic manners.

The clergyman ordered all men of adult age to grow beard and to trim moustaches.

He emphasized that his Islamic authority was aware of some men actually shaving the beards and even growing the moustaches, which is the opposite of the code the order demands.

“As from 20th of July, we are hereby ordering all men to obey the instructions of trimming the moustaches and growing the beards,” said Moalim Hashi. “Short of complying with the instructions will attract punishment in accordance with the Sharia (Islamic) laws),” he added.

MORE

Friday, June 18, 2010

Heated opposition to a proposed Mosque

THE NEW YORK TIMES

A church may be a church, and a temple a temple, but through the prism of emotion that still grips many New Yorkers almost a decade after 9/11, a mosque can apparently represent a lot of things.

In the last few months, Muslim groups have encountered unexpectedly intense opposition to their plans for opening mosques in Lower Manhattan, in Brooklyn and most recently in an empty convent on Staten Island.

Some opponents have cited traffic and parking concerns. But the objections have focused overwhelmingly on more intangible and volatile issues: fear of terrorism, distrust of Islam and a linkage of the two in opponents’ minds.

“Wouldn’t you agree that every terrorist, past and present, has come out of a mosque?” asked one woman who stood up Wednesday night during a civic association meeting on Staten Island to address representatives of a group that wants to convert a Roman Catholic convent into a mosque in the Midland Beach neighborhood.

“No,” began Ayman Hammous, president of the Staten Island branch of the group, the Muslim American Society — though the rest of his answer was drowned out by catcalls and boos from among the 400 people who packed the gymnasium of a community center.

Yasmin Ammirato, president of the Midland Beach Civic Association, which organized the meeting in an effort to dispel tensions, bellowed into her portable microphone in the first of many efforts to keep control during the subsequent three hours: “Excuse me! This is a civic association meeting! Everybody have a little respect!”

Opposition to new mosques has become almost commonplace. A similar uproar erupted during a Lower Manhattan community board meeting on May 25 over plans to build a mosque near ground zero. Protests also have broken out in Brentwood, Tenn.; Sheboygan County, Wis.; and Dayton, Ohio.

Recent cases of so-called homegrown terrorism, like the Times Square car bomb episode, have increased anxieties, experts say.

But organizations like the Muslim American Society, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps plant new mosques in communities throughout the country, have adopted a strategy of engagement that they say they hope will eventually build mutual understanding.

“We are newcomers, and newcomers in America have always had to prove their loyalty,” said Mahdi Bray, the society’s executive director. “It’s an old story. You have to have thick skin.”

That admonition was tested on Wednesday, as irate residents took turns at the microphone, demanding answers from the three Muslim men who had accepted the get-acquainted invitation of the civic association.

“I was on the phone this morning with the F.B.I., and all I want to know from you is why MAS is on the terrorist watch list,” said Joan Moriello, using the acronym for the Muslim American Society. Her question produced a loud, angry noise from the audience.

Mr. Hammous, a physical therapist who lives on Staten Island, exchanged a puzzled look with two other Muslim men who had joined him on the podium, both officers of the society’s Brooklyn branch, which operates a mosque in Bensonhurst and faces opposition to opening another in Sheepshead Bay.

“Your information is incorrect, madam,” he replied. “We are not on any watch list.” The other men, Mohamed Sadeia and Abdel Hafid Djamil, shook their heads in agreement.

The State Department maintains a terrorist watch list for foreign organizations, and the Justice Department has identified domestic groups it considers unindicted co-conspirators in various terror-related prosecutions. The Muslim American Society is on neither of those lists.

But more than a dozen speakers, including Robert Spencer, a writer whose blog, Jihad Watch, is widely read in conservative foreign policy circles, said that the society and its national director, Mr. Bray, had ties to Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood. The first two are on the State Department’s list.

“Will you denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations?” Mr. Spencer demanded. “Yes or no?”

Mr. Hammous said he denounced “any form of terrorism, any act of terror — by individuals, by groups, by governments.”

The plan to make a mosque out of the convent building on the grounds of St. Margaret Mary church — which would be used only for Friday prayers — is still in its initial stage. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Keith Fennessy, signed an agreement last month to sell the property to the society. The deal must still be approved by the parish board of trustees, which is made up of the pastor, two lay trustees and two officials of the Archdiocese of New York, including Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan. It is also under review by a State Supreme Court justice, as required under New York’s Religious Corporations statute, said Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the archdiocese.

The timetable for completing all that, he added, was “not known at this time.”

But for the near term, Wednesday night’s meeting indicated that the questions of neighborhood residents may take some time to answer.

Among them: “Is Sharia law better than democracy in your view?” “How do you feel about the role of women in society?” “What are your views on Israel?” “Can you point to any single statement in the Koran that you would consider to be incorrect?”

The tenor of the inquiry became so fraught that the meeting eventually collapsed in shouting around 11 p.m., prompting the police and security guards to ask everyone to leave.

But just 20 minutes earlier, as Bill Finnegan stood at the microphone, came the meeting’s single moment of hushed silence. Mr. Finnegan said he was a Marine lance corporal, home from Afghanistan, where he had worked as a mediator with warring tribes.

After the sustained standing ovation that followed his introduction, he turned to the Muslims on the panel: “My question to you is, will you work to form a cohesive bond with the people of this community?” The men said yes.

Then he turned to the crowd. “And will you work to form a cohesive bond with these people — your new neighbors?”

The crowd erupted in boos. “No!” someone shouted.

Egypt prepares separate personal status law for Coptic Christians

Jun 17, 2010, M&C

Cairo - A key piece of legislation sought by the Coptic Christian church in Egypt to enable it to govern members' familial ties in accordance with church teachings is nearly ready, an Egyptian minister said Thursday.

Minister of State for legal affairs and parliamentary councils Mofid Shehab was referring to a so-called unified personal status law and said a committee formed by the Justice Ministry had 'almost finished' work on the draft of the new law.

Shehab's statement came after a meeting with Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate at the papal residence.

The church has requested a unified personal status law for Christians several times, the first request dating to 1979.

The church opposes the current personal status law, which allows divorce on nine grounds.

Since taking the papacy in 1971, Pope Shenouda has maintained that divorce is only permissible in cases of adultery or conversion to another religion or sect of Christianity.

Tensions between the church and the government escalated after a recent court ruling compelling the church to allow divorced individuals to remarry.

Pope Shenouda asked the court to reconsider the ruling, saying it constituted religious pressure on Christians. He said that those who marry 'against church teachings' will not be allowed to re-enter the church.

According to government figures, Christians account for roughly 10 per cent of Egypt's population.

Unprecedented: Egyptian government suppresses Christian doctrine

By Raymond Ibrahim

It is not enough that the Egyptian government facilitates persecution of the Copts, Egypt’s indigenous Christian minority. Now the government is interfering directly with the church’s autonomy concerning doctrine. According to the Assyrian International News Agency:

The government is forcing the Coptic Church to “liberalize” its position on divorce and remarriage, even as it continues to govern according to the fascistic dictates of Sharia law.

The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt has rejected a court ruling that orders the church to allow divorced Copts to remarry in the church. In a press conference held on Tuesday June 8, Pope Shenouda [III], reading from the statement issued by the Holy Synod’s 91 Bishops, including himself, said: “The Coptic Church respects the law, but does not accept rulings which are against the Bible and against its religious freedom which is guaranteed by the Constitution.” He went on to say “the recent ruling is not acceptable to our conscience, and we cannot implement it.” He also said that marriage is a holy sacrament of a purely religious nature and not merely an “administrative act.”

Though little reported in the West, this issue is rapidly boiling over. There is even talk that, if he does not submit to the court’s ruling, the pope will (once again) be imprisoned.  What is behind such unprecedented governmental interference with the Coptic Church’s autonomy?

Reading Egypt’s national newspaper, Al Ahram, one gets the impression that, by trying to make divorce and remarriage easier for Copts, the Egyptian government is attempting to “liberalize” Coptic society — only to be challenged by an antiquated pope not open to “reform.” It quotes one Copt saying that the “pope’s limiting divorce and remarriage to cases of adultery is unfair. It is against human nature.” Even the manager of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance claims that his position “exposes Pope Shenouda’s desire to impose his will over the Christian community” (a curious statement, considering that some 10,000 Copts recently demonstrated in support of the pope, and that the Catholic and Orthodox churches — which guide some 1.5 billion Christians — hold similar views on divorce and remarriage).

At any rate, lest the reader truly think that the Egyptian government is becoming more “liberal,” there are a few important facts to remember:

First, according to the Second Article of the Egyptian Constitution, Sharia law — one of, if not the most draconian law codes to survive the Medieval period — is “the principal source of legislation.” This means that any number of measures contrary to basic human rights are either explicitly or implicitly supported by the Egyptian government, including polygamy, the obstruction of churches, and institutionalized discrimination against non-Muslims and females in general. Put differently, Sharia law can be liberal — but only to male Muslims, who (speaking of marriage and divorce) can have up to four wives, and divorce them by simply uttering “I divorce you” thrice (even via “text messaging”).

Moreover, the Egyptian government — again, in accordance to Sharia law — prevents Muslims from converting to Christianity. Mohammad Hegazy, for instance, tried formally to change his religion from Muslim to Christian on his I.D. card — yes, in Egypt, people are Gestapo-like categorized by their religion — only to be denied by the Egyptian court. (Many other such anecdotes abound.) In other words, while the Egyptian government portrays itself as “modernizing” the church’s “archaic” position on divorce and remarriage, it — the government, not Al Azhar, nor some radical sheikhs, nor the Muslim mob — prevents (including by imprisonment and torture) Muslims from converting to Christianity.

As for those who accuse Pope Shenouda of behaving no better, consider: he is not enforcing a totalitarian law that Copts must accept; he is simply saying that, in accordance to the Bible (e.g., Matt 5:32), and except in certain justifiable circumstances (e.g., adultery), Copts cannot remarry in the church: “Let whoever wants to remarry to do it away from us. There are many ways and churches to marry in. Whoever wants to remain within the church has to abide by its laws.”

If this still sounds a tad “non-pluralistic,” know that at least Copts have a way out: quit the church.  No such way out for Muslims: Sharia law — Egypt’s “primal source of legislation” — mandates death for Muslims who wish to quit Islam.

Nor has the inherent hypocrisy of the government’s position been missed by Egyptians: “The pope evaded answering a question presented by a reporter in the press conference on whether the court would dare order Al Azhar [Egypt’s highest Islamic authority] to agree to a Muslim marrying a fifth wife and not only four, comparing it to the interference of the Court in the Bible teachings through its recent ruling.” A good question, indeed.

Finally, the grandest oddity of this situation is the fact that, for all its inhumane practices, Sharia law does, in fact, permit dhimmis to govern their communities according to their own creeds, a fact not missed by the pope himself, who “pointed to Islamic Law, which allows religious minorities to follow their own rules and customs.”

In short, the Egyptian government is behaving even more intolerantly than its medieval Muslim predecessors who, while openly oppressive of Christians, at least allowed the latter to govern their own, personal affairs according to Christian doctrine. As Pope Shenouda declared at the emergency Holy Synod, “the ruling must be reconsidered, otherwise this will mean that the Copts are suffering and that they are religiously oppressed.”

Indeed, when Copts are violently persecuted by Muslims, the government claims that it cannot control the actions of a minority of “extremists.” However, now that the Egyptian government is personally tampering with the church’s ability to live according to Christian doctrine, what more proof is needed that it seeks to subvert Coptic society and is an enabler of Coptic persecution?

New Fatwa calls on men to drink women’s breast milk

By Raymond Ibrahim

The problem isn’t so much that Muslim women have to give men their mammary milk to drink, but rather what such a mentality has in store for us infidels.


Last month, I wrote a PJM article dealing with some of Islam’s “problematic” practices, specifically those attributable to the Muslim prophet Muhammad. One of these — the Muslim phenomenon of “adult-breastfeeding,” or rida‘ al-kabir — is making headlines again, precisely three years to the day since it last created controversy in (and inevitable mockery of) the Islamic world. According to Gulf News:

Exactly three years ago, on May 22, 2007, an Egyptian scholar was disciplined by Al Azhar University, one of Islam’s most prestigious institutions, after he issued a fatwa calling upon women to breastfeed their male colleagues. Dr. Izzat Attiyah said that his fatwa offered a way around mixing of the sexes in the work place since breast-feeding established a maternal relation even if the beneficiary was not the woman’s biological son or daughter.

Now, a high-ranking Saudi, Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican, a consultant at Saudi Arabia’s royal court, has issued a fatwa asserting that

women could give their milk to men to establish a degree of maternal relations and get around a strict religious ban on mixing between unrelated men and women. [Because] a man who often entered a house and came in contact with the womenfolk there should be made symbolically related to the women by drinking milk from one of the women. Under the fatwa, the act would preclude any sexual relations between the man and the donor woman and her relatives.

Sheikh al-Abaican thus “modernizes” Dr. Izzat’s position — that the man must breastfeed directly from the teat — by suggesting: “The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”

(So much for simply being in control of oneself without going through bizarre rituals.)

At any rate, where do all these “adult breastfeeding” ideas originate? As usual: Muhammad. A canonical hadith tells of a woman who once asked Muhammad what to do about the fact that a young boy who had been living with her and her husband had grown into manhood: that a non-relative adult male was freely residing with them, seeing his wife without her veils, was upsetting to the husband. So the prophet told her to “breastfeed” the man.  Shocked, she responded saying that he was a grown man; Muhammad said — according to some traditions, while laughing — “I know.” The woman breastfed the man, and reportedly her husband was no longer upset, as the act of breastfeeding turned him into a kinsman. Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha — the “mother of the believers” — frequently relied on this practice to meet with non-related males (one of the greatest debates of her time revolved around how many “breastfeeds” were enough —one, five, or ten — to make a man a “family-member.” See here for more hadiths).

The importance of this breastfeeding business has less to do with its sensationalist quality and more to do with what it says about the overbearing and intrusive nature of Sharia law in Muslim life. Muslims cannot escape adult breastfeeding simply because it is contained in Islam’s most canonical hadiths (including Sahih Muslim and the Sunan of Abu Dawud and Ibn Maja). Moreover, it has been addressed — and endorsed — by such Islamic authorities as Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Hazm. To reject this hadith is to reject the sources and methodology of usul al-fiqh — in short, to reject Sharia law.

Furthermore, al-Abaican’s supposedly “moderate” position — that men should not drink the milk straight from the teat but rather from a cup — actually further demonstrates the inescapable strictures of Sharia law: for his sophistry relies on the fact that the hadiths do not literally indicate that men must drink straight from the nipple (probably because it would have been redundant to say so, as there were few other ways to derive breast milk in 7th century Arabia, “breastfeeding pumps” being non-existent then). Yet by not out-and-out condemning the practice, al-Abaican demonstrates that he, too, dares not stray from the bounds of Muhammad’s literal words.

Now, here’s the real problem (from an infidel point of view): If, in the year 2010, Muslims still feel compelled to be true to “adult breastfeeding,” simply because 7th century Muhammad said so, surely they wholeheartedly embrace their prophet’s thoroughly documented and unequivocal words concerning the infidel.

Look at it this way: the issue of adult breastfeeding is embarrassing for Muslims; far from providing them with any sort of advantage or benefits, it places them, especially their women, in a ludicrous position (indeed, it is ranked first in this list of “top ten bizarre or ridiculous fatwas”). So why is it still a relevant issue among Muslims? Because Muhammad said so. Thus, like it or not, Muslims must somehow come to grips with it.

What, then, of Muhammad’s other commandments — commandments that, if upheld, far from embarrassing Muslims, provide them with power, wealth, and honor — that is, commandments that jibe quite well with mankind’s most primordial urges? I speak of Muhammad’s (and by extension Sharia law’s) unequivocal commandments for Muslims to wage war (“jihad”) upon the infidel, to plunder the infidel of his wealth and women, and to keep the infidel in perpetual subjugation — all things that define Islam’s history vis-à-vis the infidel.

Indeed, Muhammad himself once warned Muslims: “Because you have forsaken jihad, taking hold of cows’ tails and dealing in merchandise, Allah has adorned you with shame and you will never be able to shake it off yourselves until you repent to Allah and return to your original positions [as jihadists on the offensive],” The Al Qaeda Reader, p.162.

In short, the Muslim mentality that feels the need to address adult breastfeeding, simply because Muhammad once advised it, must certainly be sold on the prophet’s constant incitements for war and conquest. Living in an era where the Muslim world is significantly weaker vis-à-vis the infidel world, and thus currently incapable of living up to such bellicose commandments, one may overlook this fact. But the intention is surely there. One need only look to 21st century Muslims debating an absurdity like “adult breastfeeding” to be sure of that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Insurgent Group Kills Two People For Watching World Cup Match

Two people have been shot dead reportedly for watching a football World Cup match on television by the Somali insurgent near the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Residents say that heavily armed militants stormed a house where World Cup fans were secretly watching the football competition which was prohibited in Islamist controlled regions in Somalia.
Two young men who tried to jump over the wall were shot and killed, 10 others were taken into Islamist custody, according to officials.

Those in custody have broken and Islamic rule and will be dealt with in accordance with Islamic law, Hizbul Islam leader, Sheik Mohamed Abu Abdalla.

The insurgents in Somalia warned people against watching the World Cup, saying that Football descended from the old Christian cultures, it was not compatible with Islamic law and that those who were caught watching it would be brought before the Islamic court.

Al-Shabab and Hizb al-Islam control most of Mogadishu and south and central Somalia, having squeezed the internationally backed government into a sliver of land defended by an African Union force.

Somali militants threaten World Cup TV viewers

BBC

Somali militants have threatened football fans they will be publicly flogged - or worse - if they are caught watching the World Cup on TV.

Gangs of Islamists are reported to be patrolling the areas they control looking for people watching games.

Dedicated fans are watching matches in secret, or in the few areas controlled by government forces.
On Saturday militants killed two people as they attacked a house where people were watching a game.

Militant group Hizbul-Islam also arrested 10 others at the house north-east of the capital Mogadishu where fans were watching the game between Argentina and Nigeria.

'Mad men'

A spokesman for the group, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Aros said the rest of Somalia should respect their ban on the World Cup.

"We are warning all the youth of Somalia not to dare watch these World Cup matches. It is a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down," he said.

One broadcaster has moved their operations to the fortified airport to protect their equipment from attack during the tournament.

Dedicated football fans have few safe places to go if they want to watch Africa's first World Cup, with the al-Qaeda inspired group al-Shabab also announcing a ban.

A cinema in the small part of the capital Mogadishu controlled by the government has become a popular place for football fans.

One man, who lives in the militant-controlled livestock market area of the city told the BBC he was watching Algeria v Slovenia at home with his family.

"I have one eye on the TV and the other on the door, and the sound turned down," he said.

'Enemies of Islam'

The ban dates back to a law that was introduced by the Islamic Courts Union who took control of much of Somalia for six months in 2006.

It bans Somalis from all forms of entertainment considered un-Islamic under the courts' strict interpretation of Sharia law, like video games and watching sports in public.

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan says few individual Somalis can afford to have a satellite TV, so such public screenings are often the only way matches can be seen.

In the Juba Valley rebel militias went further, saying young men should not watch football - even in the privacy of their own homes - because it would "distract them from pursuing holy jihad."

A private broadcaster moved its equipment from the rebel-held Bakara market to the heavily protected airport so it can continue broadcasting, news agency Reuters reported.

They had to do it under the cover of darkness for fear of attack, they said.

Television was already under attack from the Islamist militants.

Al-Shabab has declared Universal TV "enemies of Islam" because they allegedly broadcast pictures of the prophet Muhammad.

Al-Shabab has already banned radio stations from playing music and threatened several radio stations.

The Islamic Courts Union was driven out by Ethiopian-backed government forces.
But since then rebel groups like al-Shabab have taken control of the south of Somalia and much of Mogadishu.

The government, backed by African Union peacekeepers, controls only a small area of the capital.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gaddafi: "Turkey will be our Trojan horse"

He said it. "Gaddafi: God did not create a Europe for Europeans only,"

Tripoli - Firas Pressm:

Urged the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Muslims in the European Union to unite and join the People's Leadership of the Islamic World, which he chaired, to counter what he considered a threat to the Muslims there, pointing out that God - the Almighty - created the earth for all people and not for sex particular, in reference to the Europeans.

Gaddafi said at the meeting, on Thursday evening, in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the heads of delegations of leaders of the Social Popular Islamic Forum Muammar friendship and networking in the Balkans, and the Association of Gaddafi to young people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were visiting Libya, «You are a rarity in Europe, you get the large number of willing God in the day, you will have the upper hand and higher levels, you will be imams and Oarthyn of the European continent ».

He added: «If Turkey joined the European Union, and the presence of both states the Balkans in the European Union and Albania in the European Union, the meaning of this is that the European continent is no longer a crusade or a Christian as it was, but Islam has become a strong partner in the European continent to the ground and human beings and actually».

«We await the day when Turkey joins the European Union to serve as a Trojan horse, which tells the history».

And reduced-Qadhafi, who holds the rotating presidency of the Arab summit, of the importance of statistics that declare the number of Muslims in Europe, said it was not true, because it is tendentious statistics show that Muslims are a minority. However, he added: «Muslims more than the number declared by the official statistics».

He added, saying: «Fortunately, the Muslims started to multiply and multiply more than the rest of the other religions, maybe this is a sign of God. Thus the will of God, made Muslims multiply times higher than other breeds. Perhaps this is proof that God wants to be more Muslims than anyone else in the end »....
He said: «We must unite in Europe, and to be an Islamic state and one under the banner of the World Islamic People's Leadership», pointing out that God created the earth for all people....

Pope Shenouda rejects Egyptian court Ruling on remarriage of divorcees

AINA

The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt has rejected a court ruling that orders the church to allow divorced Copts to remarry in the church. In a press conference held on Tuesday June 8, Pope Shenouda, reading from the statement issued by the Holy Synod's 91 Bishops including himself said "The Coptic Church respects the law, but does not accept rulings which are against the Bible and against its religious freedom which is guaranteed by the Constitution." He went on to say "the recent ruling is not acceptable to our conscience, and we can not implement it."

He also said that marriage is a holy sacrament of a purely religious nature and not merely an "administrative act." This statement came in response to the Supreme Court's ruling which said that the duties of the church was administrative. He pointed out that the second marriage for divorcees is a religious issue, governed by the Bible.

Pope Shenouda added that Islamic Law (Sharia) says "judge between people of the Scripture according to what they believe in," and this principle came in all personal status laws. He pointed out that many of the provisions of the Court of Cassation and the Supreme Constitutional Court stressed the principle of the application of Christian law on its followers.

In answer to fears expressed by Copts of the possibility of the Pope being imprisoned for not implementing the ruling, he confirmed that the Patriarch is not a public official and is therefore not bound by civil provisions. "The law of religious leaders is the Gospel and the Church Laws," he said.

During the press conference, he lashed out at the Media which, accused him and the Coptic Church of being "a State within a State" that disrespects court rulings, and misinterpreting facts about the Coptic Church forbidding its followers to marry for a second time. He explained that widowers and those who have obtained a divorce through the Church -- according to the teachings of the Bible -- and who are the "innocent partner" are issued a permit to re-marry, but not the "guilty partner." He said that whoever gets a civil divorce is free to marry but not in the Coptic Church. "Let whoever wants to remarry to do it away from us. There are many ways and churches to marry in," said Pope Shenuda III. "Whoever wants to remain within the church has to abide by its laws."

Pope Shenouda further threatened to defrock any priest who allows a divorced Christian to remarry, except in cases where the divorce was on the grounds of adultery. Those that have remarried after divorce will not be allowed in Church.

At present the Coptic Church does not allow re-marriage except in very limited circumstances of adultery and conversion to another faith. The Church maintains that these rules safeguard the Christian family.

According to Bishop Bola of Tanta, who is in charge of divorce matters in the Coptic church, "there are just over 200 cases of divorce presented to his office every year "and not 20,000 or even 2,000,000 as some newspapers claimed."

Azza Suleiman, director of the Center for Women's Issues, said there are currently five million postponed divorce cases in Egypt, in addition to 13 million cases under consideration by the personal status courts. She added that a divorce occurs every six minutes in the country, and that 250 thousand women resort to the courts annually to obtain divorce.

The Pope evaded answering a question presented by a reporter in the press conference on whether the court would dare order Al-Azhar to agree to a Muslim marrying a fifth wife and not only four, comparing it to the interference of the Court in the Bible teachings through its recent ruling.

A draft of a unified personal status law for all sects of Christianity, which was signed by all churches in Egypt, was submitted to the People's Assembly by Pope Shenouda nearly 25 years ago. All churches agreed that no divorce is permitted except for adultery. "This draft law must be locked away in some one's drawer," he laughed. It is seen by many that passing this law is the only way to put an end to such court verdicts.

When asked during the press conference whether he will appeal to President Mubarak to sort out this controversial court ruling, he said that he does not wish to embarrass him, in case he does not like to interfere with the judiciary. However, he said, that if the President knows that the church and the millions of Copts are not happy with this ruling, he might do something about it. He said that he does not yet know what is his next step.

Ramsis El-Naggar, an attorney for the church, said that since the Administrative Court's ruling cannot be appealed, he expects that the church will appeal the verdict in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court for an interpretation of Article 69 of the denominational regulations, which deals with the remarriage of divorcees.

A sit-in is arranged for Wednesday June 9 in front of the St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo during the Pope's weekly sermon to protest the court's ruling and the interference of the judiciary in the affairs of the Coptic Church.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Protest Vigil Outside the Eritrean Embassy in London

RELEASE ERITREA


About a 100 protestors from across the UK held a vigil outside the Eritrean Embassy in London, on Wednesday 31st of May 2006. The vigil that was organised to mark the fourth anniversary since the closure of all Churches not belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Churches of Eritrea, was attended by Eritreans and friends of Eritrea who travelled from across the UK and Ireland.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Berhane Asmelash, director of Release Eritrea said; ‘ I am yet again touched by the solidarity with which, our brothers and sisters across the UK have stood, with us and the persecuted church of Eritrea, this is a message of hope that our compatriots will never be forgotten, if the authorities in Eritrea were hoping that our support would diminish with time this shows that the opposition to their barbaric acts are only getting stronger’.

Stuart Windsor, National Director of CSW, said: "We are delighted that so many Christians have joined our campaigns for Eritrea. The faith of those persecuted in Eritrea is an inspiration to us all. The overall human rights situation in Eritrea has deteriorated markedly and the international community must act before the situation becomes any worse."

During the vigil that lasted two and a half hours hymns were sang, prayers were offered and scripture texts were read. This, the organisers said was to signify all that Eritrean Christians have been denied by virtue of government decree.

Whilst several letters were handed to the Embassy an official response was not forth coming on the day. On the other-hand the heavy handed approach of the Embassy officials in handling protestors was evident. Image capturing devises were mounted on windows of the embassy building in a tactic aimed at dissuading Eritrean protestors. However on this occasion as in all previous occasions these actions failed to put off any of the protestors, but showed the utter cowardice of those who seek to silence the Eritrean public. One protestor said; ‘if they mean to scare us why don’t they come down with their cameras and take pictures from here? Why hide behind curtains on the second floor?’

At a time when over a thousand Eritrean Christians are incarcerated for their faith, many protestors were seen hoisting plaque cards with their images on them with captions that read ‘Why are you persecuting me’ some of those prisoners like the Prominent Gospel Singer Helen Berhane have been in prisons, often in solitary and incommunicado for over two years.

Release –Eritrea thanks all those who stood in solidarity with Eritrean Christians particularly our Eritrean compatriots who sacrificed repercussions from government of Eritrea representatives here in the UK.