Watch Videos


Monday, March 19, 2012

Saudi grand Mufti calls for ‘destruction of all churches in Muslim countries'


According to several Arabic news sources, last Monday, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”

The Grand Mufti made his assertion in response to a question posed by a delegation from Kuwait: a Kuwaiti parliament member recently called for the “removal” of churches (he later “clarified” by saying he merely meant that no churches should be built in Kuwait), and the delegation wanted to confirm Sharia’s position on churches.

Accordingly, the Grand Mufti “stressed that Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it.”

As with many grand muftis before him, the Sheikh based his proclamation on the famous tradition, or hadith, wherein the prophet of Islam declared on his deathbed that “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula,” which has always been interpreted to mean that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

While the facts of this account speak for themselves, consider further:

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah is not just some random Muslim hating on churches. He is the Grand Mufti of the nation that brought Islam to the world. Moreover, he is the President of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and Chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas. Accordingly, when it comes to what Islam teaches, his words are immensely authoritative.

Considering the hysteria that besets the West whenever non-authoritative individuals offend Islam—for instance, a fringe, unknown pastor—imagine what would happen if a Christian counterpart to the Grand Mufti, say the Pope, were to declare that all mosques in Italy must be destroyed; imagine the nonstop Western media frenzy that would erupt, all the shrill screams of “intolerance” and “bigot,” demands for apologies if not resignation, nonstop handwringing by sensitive politicians, and worse.

Yet the Grand Mufti—the highest Islamic law authority of our “friend-and-ally” Saudi Arabia—gets a free pass when he incites Muslims to destroy churches, not that any extra incitement is needed (nary a month goes by without several churches being bombed and destroyed throughout the Islamic world). In fact, at the time of this writing, I have not seen this story, already some three days old, translated on any English news source, though “newsworthy” stories are often translated in mere hours.

Likewise, consider the significance of the Grand Mufti’s rationale for destroying churches: it is simply based on a hadith. But when non-Muslims evoke hadiths—this one or the countless others that incite violence and intolerance against the “infidel”—they are accused of being “Islamophobes,” of intentionally slandering and misrepresenting Islam, of being obstacles on the road to “dialogue,” and so forth.

Which leads to perhaps the most important point: Islam’s teachings are so easily ascertained; there is no mystery in determining what is “right” and “wrong” in Islam. The Grand Mufti based his fatwa on a canonical hadith, which Muslims and (informed) non-Muslims know is part of Islam’s sources of jurisprudence (or usul al-fiqh). And yet the West—with all its institutions of higher learning, including governmental agencies dealing with cultural and religious questions—is still thoroughly “confused” as to what Islam teaches.

The Problem with Kony 2012

If you frequent the web, chances are you are familiar with “Kony 2012” – aka, “the most viral video in history.” The 30-minute video, created by American charity Invisible Children, is part of an awareness campaign against Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord notorious for kidnapping children and turning them into conscripts in his murderous guerilla force, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The aim of the campaign is to make Kony “famous,” that is, to show his crimes and to generate public support for international action to arrest him and end the humanitarian crisis in Uganda.

The campaign’s animating humanitarian concern is admirable. While he surely has too much competition to qualify as “one of the world’s worst war criminals,” as the campaign dubs him, Joseph Kony is indeed a monster, a faux-mystic and madman whose two-decade-plus catalogue of crimes includes the abduction of 30,000 children, the murder and mutilation of tens of thousands of civilians, and the displacement of over 2 million people in Northern Uganda. In showcasing those crimes for a global audience – the Kony 2012 video has garnered over 100 million views in six days – Invisible Children has at least ensured that the world will bear witness to what he has wrought.

Despite that, the campaign’s framing of the relevant issues is seriously flawed. For one thing, the video is strikingly self-indulgent. Notwithstanding its no-doubt sincere concern for Kony’s child victims in Africa, the child at the center of the video is the white 5-year-old son of Invisible Children’s co-founder, Jason Russell. Most of the campaign’s featured supporters are also white, and their enthusiasm for social activism via the internet, combined with the Kony 2012 bracelets they wear in support of the campaign, have the unfortunate effect of making an issue purportedly about Ugandans seem disconcertingly about, well, themselves. At least that is how it struck Ugandans, who jeered and threw stones after a recent screening of the video. Apparently expecting to see a film about the atrocities they lived through, they were angered to instead find young white people turning a murderer into an accessory. The irony, clearly, was lost in translation.

Egypt constitution-writing committee to include 50 lawmakers

Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament voted to include 50 of its lawmakers in a 100-member panel tasked with writing a new constitution, with the remainder coming from other institutions.

The results were read by Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, speaker of the lower house of parliament, according to footage of the session posted on the Cabinet’s Facebook page.

The proposal that has received the most votes is the one stating that 50 percent of the composition of the constituent assembly comes from within parliament and 50 percent from outside parliament, including all institutions, civil society institutions and public personalities,” el-Katatni said.

The makeup of the committee has been the focus of wrangling over the degree of influence Islamist groups will have shaping the constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood’s party alliance makes up the largest bloc in the recently elected parliament, followed by a Salafi alliance. Salafis are followers of an austere interpretation of Islam.


US extremist in Somalia fears life in danger

A US-born Islamist fighter viewed as a key foreign leader within Somalia's Shebab militia allied with Al-Qaeda says he fears his life is now in danger from fellow extremists.

Omar Hamami -- better known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki -- gave the warning in an undated video posted on several Somali websites and YouTube Saturday.

"To whomever it may reach from the Muslims, from Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, I record this message today because I feel that my life may be endangered by Harakat Shebab al-Mujahideen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the Shariah (Islamic law) and matters of the strategy," he said, speaking in English.


Nigeria’s Islamist war on Christianity

In Nigeria, thousands of people have been killed in recent months, and tens of thousands in the last decade. It is a fissiparous country whose conflicts have been exacerbated by the increased influence of radical Islam​—​beginning with attempts to apply Islamic law, then the growth of militias, and now the depredations of the vicious al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram movement.


Christians expelled from Syria

From the Syrian secularist website al-Haqiqa. Arabic original here.

Armed men from the Faruq Brigade have succeeded in expelling most of the Christians of Homs and have seized their homes by force.

Al-Haqiqa has learned from church sources in Homs that the city has been emptied of almost 90% of its Christians. It is expected that a complete "cleansing" of buildings owned by Christians will occur within a matter of days or weeks by armed men from the Wahhabi "Faruq Brigade." A source in the Orthodox metropolitan's office told al-Haqiqa that armed men from the Faruq Brigade went to the homes of the Christians, house by house, in the neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan el-Diwan, informing them that they must immediately leave their homes and the city of Homs. The source revealed that the lastest attempt to expel Christians by force of arms occured yesterday. It included Dr. Taleb Mashhour Gharibeh, professor of mathematics at Baath University in Homs, his brother the musician Marwan Mashhour Gharibeh (a musician in Sabah Fakhri's group), both of whom live in the Hamidiya neighborhood, their sister Marie Mashhour Gharibeh, who lives in the Bustan el-Diwan neighborhood, as well as their father and his wife the schoolteacher Maha Habou, who live in the new neighborhood el-Wa'ar. This wave of expulsions also included the residents of a six-story building in Hamidiya, whose residents include eighteen families, almost all of whom are from the village Uyoun el-Wadi.

The church sources said that the armed men informed the owners of the homes before they departed that if they did not leave immediately they would be shot and pictures of their corpses would be sent to al-Jazeera with the message that the government had killed them. The source emphasized that all those who were expelled "were not allowed to take any of their possessions with them, not even extra clothes. Immediately after they left their homes, the buildings were occupied by armed men who considered it 'war-booty from the Christians!'"

It should be noted that the Faruq Brigade is operated by armed elements from al-Qaeda and various Wahhabi groups and it includes mercenaries from Libya and Iraq. Last month they destroyed two churches with rocket fire, burning one and severely damaging the other.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ethiopian Housemaid delivers stillborn baby on way to exit Kuwait


An Ethiopian housemaid who was about to deliver told her employers in Kuwait she no longer wanted to work in the emirate and decided to return home. On the way to the airport, she aborted a dead infant.

Her employer told police she had just finished visa procedures for the maid when she told her she wanted to return home.

I tried to persuade her to stay but she insisted on going back to Ethiopia,” the woman said, quoted by Alanba daily.

I asked the driver to take her to the airport but he later told me she delivered a stillborn baby in the car.”

Police arrested the maid and are expected to deport her since she had an illegitimate relationship outside Kuwait. The paper said the maid wanted to deliver in Ethiopia as she realized having a baby outside marriage is a crime in the Gulf emirate.

Ethiopian domestic worker beaten in front of her own embassy in Lebanon

If this much brutality can happen in Public, how much abuse is committed inside a house?

The identity of the aggressor of the Ethiopian is revealed: Will juctice be served?

The identity of the aggressor of the Ethiopian domestic worker was revealed. He even gave an interview to LBCI news, who had initially showed the shocking phone footage of incident.

Despite the council of ministers' statement on this issue, condemnations by government officials, extensive media coverage and human rights activists outrage, the aggressor, who works in an employment agency, remains free.

The Ethiopian consul reiterated his request for the Lebanese authorities to assign a security guard to the consulate. Caritas representative said that this is a case of human trafficking. He said that similar incidents in front of his embassy are recurrent.

Consul General of Ethiopia in Beirut is Ato Adem Nurhussein Adem.

Telephone (+961) 1 388 786
(+961) 1 388 923


Boko Haram threatens to kidnap Christian women in Nigeria

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has followed up its declaration of “war” on Christians in Nigeria with a threat to kidnap Christian women as part of its latest “campaign of terror”. 

We are going to put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women.”

Boko Haram, which has been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria since 2009, has stepped up since Christmas its efforts to drive Christians out of the region.

The spokesman said:
We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won’t be able to stay.
The Christian community has been targeted in a series of church bombings and attacks on individuals this year; the violence is having the intended effect of driving Christians from the North. Many are heading to the mainly Christian South, while others are crossing the border into Cameroon.


11 dead after suicide attack on Nigerian church

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Catholic church in central Nigeria on Sunday, killing seven people and sparking panic in which security forces shot three others dead.

It was the second suicide attack on a church in the flashpoint central city of Jos in two weeks, after a February 26 attack claimed by Islamist sect Boko Haram killed three people and injured dozens. 

Kenya blames al-Shabab for deadly Nairobi grenade attack

At least six people have been killed and more than 60 injured in an attack at a busy bus station in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Four grenades were thrown from a passing car, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said.

Militants of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab are suspected of being behind the Saturday evening attack, he said. 


Egyptian court acquits doctor accused of virginity tests

An Egyptian court has acquitted an army doctor accused of forcibly administering virginity tests on female detainees, state-run Nile TV said Sunday.

The court acquitted the doctor because of contradictory testimony from witnesses, the government-run website EgyNews reported.

The issue came to light last year after several women alleged they were subjected to such examinations following a March 2011 protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square. 

Hundreds of women call for Islamic governance in Tunisia

Hundreds of Muslim women gathered near Tunis Saturday to call for the return of the caliphate, the defunct Islamic system of governance which they said was the only means of guaranteeing their rights.

The members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir party came from Islamic countries including Arab states, Indonesia and Turkey, as well as from Europe to debate the benefits of the system that disappeared nearly 90 years ago. 


South Sudanese face deadline to leave the north

Sudanese Christians who have barely a month to leave the north or risk being treated as foreigners are starting to move, but Christian leaders are concerned that the 8 April deadline set by Islamic-majority Sudan is unrealistic.

"We are very concerned. Moving is not easy ... people have children in school. They have homes ... It is almost impossible," Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Adwok, the Khartoum archdiocese auxiliary told ENInews in a telephone interview on 7 March.