The Stoning of Soraya M.
Most of the horror stories we never hear about. One story has been made into a film, The Stoning of Soraya M. I am not looking forward to watching it. But watch it I must.
Face down before a crowd, the teenage girl shrieks and writhes, begging for mercy. But the three masked men holding her down merely tighten their grip while a fourth man whips her again and again. ...
[Human rights activist Asma] Jahangir said the girl was believed to have been punished after refusing to marry a Taliban commander in the Swat Valley [in Pakistan].
An Afghanistan appeal court has upheld 20-year jail terms for two men who published a translation of the Koran.
The prosecution said the translation contained mistakes and called for the defendants to be executed.
The men were convicted of modifying the Muslim holy book into Persian while not including the original Arabic text. ... The men plan to appeal to the country's highest court. ...
Meanwhile, the appeal court reduced the sentence of the owner of the print shop which published the book from five years to 15 months, time which he has already served.
Three other men, charged with trying to help Zalmai flee the country, were sentenced to just over seven months, also time already served, according to the AP news agency.
[The] extreme form of Western secularism is exactly what is alienating traditional Muslims and pushing them toward militant radicalism. Islamists such as Osama bin Laden actually make their case against the United States and the West on the grounds that our cultures have abandoned Christianity!
From bin Laden’s perspective and that of his allies, the conflict is between Muslim-led forces of monotheism and morality against Western forces of atheism and immorality. Though he refers to the U.S. as a Crusader state, his arguments clearly show that he believes the West is intent on imposing atheistic and pagan values on Muslims, not Christianity.
Kurshid Ahmad, the influential Pakistani leader of Jamaat-i-Islami, says, "Had Western culture been based on Christianity, on morality, and on faith, the language and modus operandi of the contact and conflict would have been different. But that is not the case." The assertion that the international campaign of political leaders against Muslim terror is a battle between two opposing forms of religious fundamentalism is patently false.
By NBC News’ Shahid Qazi and Carol Grisanti
In a tangle of bushes and trees outside a remote village in southwest Pakistan, six close male relatives of three teenage girls dug a 4-foot wide by 6-foot deep ditch, on a sweltering night in mid-July, and allegedly buried the girls alive.
The girls' crime: they dared to defy the will of their fathers and the customs of their tribe and choose their own husbands. The mother of one of the girls and the aunt of another were shot and killed while begging for the girls’ lives, according to local media reports. ...
"This action was carried out according to tribal traditions," said Israrullah Zehri, a senator representing Balochistan in the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament in the capital Islamabad. "These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them," he said.
For nearly two years, almost every Thursday morning, rain or shine, they came to my house, and almost every time, I could not get over the shock of seeing them shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color. ... Gradually, each one gained an outline and a shape, becoming her own inimitable self.
[W]omen of her mother's generation could walk the streets freely, enjoy the company of the opposite sex, join the police force, become pilots, live under laws that were among the most progressive in the world regarding women... In the course of nearly two decades, the streets have been turned into a war zone, where young women who disobey the rules are hurled into patrol cars, taken to jail, flogged, fined, forced to wash the toilets and humiliated...
...Marxist organizations had tacitly taken sides with the government, denouncing the protesters [against Islamic crack downs] as deviant, devisive and ultimately acting in the service of the imperialists. ... They claimed that there were bigger fish to fry, that the imperialists and thir lackeys needed to be dealth with first. Focusing on women's rights was individualistic and bourgeois and played into their hands.
Unknown outside Muslim circles two years ago, Adnan Oktar -- the 52-year-old Turk behind the pseudonym Harun Yahya -- caught the attention of scientists and teachers in Europe and North America by mass-mailing them his 768-page “Atlas of Creation”. His lavishly illustrated book preaches a Muslim version of creationism, the view scientists usually hear from Christian fundamentalists who say God created all life on earth just as it is today and oppose the teaching of Darwin's evolution theory.
Ian McEwan, author of widely praised novels Atonement and Enduring Love, condemned Muslim extremists for attempting to establish a tyrannical society intolerant of women and homosexuals. His comments were made in the context of defending his friend and fellow novelist Martin Amis, who had previously been denounced as a racist for other supposedly anti-Islamic remarks.
"Martin is not a racist," McEwan told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. "And I myself despise Islamism, because it wants to create a society that I detest, based on religious belief, on a text, on lack of freedom for women, intolerance towards homosexuality and so on –- we know it well." ...
McEwan's comments caused an uproar and were promptly denounced by the Muslim Council of Britain.
And that could be just the beginning. McEwan could also be brought up on hate crime charges, according to The [UK] Independent.
Comparing the benefits of health insurance policy to gambling, key Islamic organisations have termed the policies as "illegal" and directed Muslims to keep away from them.
At a seminar to deliberate whether insuring health was permissible under Islamic law Shariat, the Islamic Fiqh Academy (India) decided that availing such policies was illegal. ...
Health insurance schemes have turned a noble service in to a business activity, hence under Islam it is not permitted, they said. ...
The Ulema suggested that the community could itself organise services to help in the treatment of poor.
The most controversial images feature gay men posed in various stages of undress. In one, a man wears leather chaps with his buttocks exposed, wearing a mask of Ali, the son-in law of the prophet Muhammad. In other photo two men are shirtless wearing masks of both Ali (on the left) and Muhammad (on the right). ...
Museum directors initially planned to display the work of the 35-year-old artist. But now, citing fear of reprisals and political pressure, they've changed their mind, much to her dismay.
...John Voll, associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, said Hera's works cross the line and are offensive.
He said freedom of speech does not mean that one has the freedom to be as insulting as possible.
"It isn't as if we have absolute freedom in the United States to be offensive and insulting just to be different," Voll said in an interview.
"Can you imagine what would happen if John McCain used the n-word about Obama while campaigning? There are consequences. Free speech is not absolute," he said.
"The Netherlands is very much a flashpoint right now. It looks as if there is going to have to be some hard choices made about whether we"re going to defend our civilization or not," Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch told FOXNews.com.
Spencer says this sort of pressure by Muslim groups "who don't hesitate to traffic in violent intimidation" will continue to undercut freedom of speech until it no longer exists.
"The ultimate goal of people making threats is to make it illegal or too dangerous or both for anybody to say anything considered to be insulting to Muhammad or Allah, to impose the Islamic code, which is the goal of Usama bin Laden, upon the West," he said.
"It's time to take a stand and say we believe in freedom of speech and that means some people will be offended."
Iran's prosecutor general railed on Sunday against the invasion of Barbie, Batman, Spider-Man and Harry Potter and demanded that the country's young be protected against them, Agence France-Presse reported. Urging measures to safeguard "Islamic culture and revolutionary values," the prosecutor, Ghorban-Ali Dorri Najafabadi [criticized the figures]... In July 2007 "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" went on sale in Tehran. Two years ago the police raided toy shops and put black stickers on the packaging of Barbie dolls to hide their bodies.
Now head of the non-partisan Middle East Institute, [Wendy] Chamberlin [former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan] was the first female U.S. ambassador appointed to a post in a Muslim country and she was in Pakistan on Sept. 11.
Chamberlin's mission Monday is to give World Affairs conference-goers a bit of a primer on Muslims. ...
"It is absolutely necessary that we try to reshape our relations with the Middle East and the larger Muslim world," she says. "We need to acknowledge the Muslim world is a very diverse community. There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world. Arab's are only a small minority. The most populous Muslim country isn't even in the Middle East. It's Indonesia."
"Too often our politicians focus on one extremely small fraction of the Muslim community, the militant jihadists. We don't talk enough about the mainstream Muslims who are most decidedly not violent, not radical and not extremists."
Key facts: International polls conducted worldwide indicate that 93 percent of Muslims abhorred what happened on 9/11, while only a small minority, 7 percent, identified with the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.
"What are Muslims like?" Chamberlin asked. "They're like most Americans. They're family people. They practice their faith. Most are young (under 30). They want better education. They want jobs. The polls show the majority want to improve law and order and they want to promote democratic ideals in their own political systems," she said.
"The clear majority also want legal rights for women. For millions of Muslims their religion is a religion of peace and they're outraged at the notion that their mosques are used for violence."
[I]f someone told you that a suicide bomber just blew himself up along with 30 customers in a London bank lobby, it would be reasonable for you to strongly suspect that the terrorist was Muslim.
It would be reasonable, moreover, even if you readily agreed, as I do, that most Muslims are like most people everywhere and want nothing more than lives of peace.
Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies.... Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?
A couple found guilty of adultery by an Islamic "qazi" court was stoned to death by Taliban militants in Pakistan's northwest border region, according to a report in Dawn, Pakistan's English-language newspaper.
The execution, which reportedly took place Monday [March 31], is the first by stoning reported in the region, which borders Afghanistan. "Qazi" courts, which are allowed to administer Islamic law outside the Pakistani judicial system, traditionally have ordered execution by firing squad in cases of adultery.
The married woman, identified as Shano, had allegedly eloped on March 15 with Daulat Khan Malikdeenkhel.
A spokesman for the Taliban said a complaint had been received from the woman's family that she had been abducted by Daulat Khan. They later changed the report to say she had run away with him.
A question-and-answer session with Imam Abdul Makin in an East London mosque asks why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters, according to Islam Watch.
"Because non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet," the Imam says, according to the report. "If you don't believe me, here is the legal authority, the top Muslim lawyer of Britain."
The lawyer, Anjem Choudary, backs up the Imam's position, saying that all Muslims are innocent. ... Choudary said he would not condemn a Muslim for any action.
(IsraelNN.com) Dr. Wafa Sultan has been forced to go into hiding with her family following a fatwa (religious edict) from an Islamic scholar, according to Omedia. Sultan faces the fatwa following a recent debate on Al-Jazeera in which she challenged Egyptian Islamist Talat Rheim over Dutch cartoons of Mohammed, who Muslims revere as a prophet. Sultan argued that Denmark had the right to print the cartoons.
Sultan joins a growing list of public critics of radical Islam facing death threats. Her supporters have asked the American public to join them in writing to the embassy of Qatar, the country which sponsors Al-Jazeera, as well as to United States President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking them to defend Sultan's right to free speech and personal safety.
Saudi woman killed for chatting on Facebook
By Damien McElroy Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:46am BST 01/04/2008
A young Saudi Arabian woman was murdered by her father for chatting on the social network site Facebook, it has emerged.
The unnamed woman from Riyadh was beaten and shot after she was discovered in the middle of an online conversation with a man, the al-Arabiya website reported.
The case was reported on a Saudi Arabian news site as an example of the "strife" the social networking site is causing in the Islamic nation.
Saudi preacher Ali al-Maliki has emerged as the leading critic of Facebook, claiming the network is corrupting the youth of the nation. ...
The woman was murdered in August but her death was highlighted following Maliki's comments. ...
Critics also allege that Facebook is an avenue for the promotion of homosexual relations in Saudi Arabia. More than 6,500 people have signed the online petition in a bid to stop the conservative Muslim kingdom following Syria in banning access to the network from local internet servers.
At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the "Crusaders," or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as "the brothers of apes and pigs," while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control.
Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children's programs praise "martyrdom," teach what it calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the state of Israel.
[I]n a column in the weekly Al Risalah, Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that "suffering by fire is the Jews' destiny in this world and the next."
"The reason for the punishment of burning is that it is fitting retribution for what they have done," Mr. Astal wrote on March 13. "But the urgent question is, is it possible that they will have the punishment of burning in this world, before the great punishment" of hell? Many religious leaders believe so, he said, adding, "Therefore we are sure that the holocaust is still to come upon the Jews."
Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.
"For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us," Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican's yearbook.
He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population -- a stable percentage -- while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.
Dutch extremist politician Geert Wilders finally releases his anti-Islam film online, but his project of incitement might be undermined by another Islamophobe as Muhammad (PBUH) cartoonist Kurt Westergaard says he'll sue over the film's unlawful use of his drawing…
* Online, a Violent View of Islam (Washington Post)
* Cartoonist to Sue Over Islam Film (BBC News)
…meanwhile the UN Human Rights Council passes an ill-conceived OIC-backed resolution using legislation rather than the free market of ideas to counter hate speech against other faiths:
* UN OKs Islamic Text Against Defamation (Associated Press/Washington Post)
The Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) condemns any form of blasphemy that was displayed in the printing of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad. We are dismayed at the publications and voice our strong objection to this treatment of Prophet Mohammed and any other Prophet (peace and blessings be on them) as being insulting and unacceptable.
Khallad Swaid, President of FEMYSO said: "The freedom of speech is an important fundamental right, which is not to be compromised, but as everything else, has its limits."
"Where religious beliefs, regardless of the religion, or feelings are hurt, its limit has been exceeded." We welcome critical debate but this is an abuse of the freedom of speech which has deliberately provoked Muslims and fuelled hatred and this is unacceptable. Therefore we call on all sections of the media to be more sensitive and responsible and on the governments to take a more robust stance in condemning such offensive images. The FEMYSO [Forum of Eurpoean Muslim Youth and Studnt Organisations] condemns with the strongest terms any violence against people or objects and calls upon all Muslims to protest by peaceful means and respect our fellow Europeans who are not to blame generaly. This neither has been the way the Prophet Muhammad reacted at any time himself nor is it considered to be of civilised manner. He always searched for ways using dialogue to communicate, exchange and explain himself towards his counterpart. We also suggest to our member organisations to use this opportunity to introduce to their societies the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who was always seeking justice and peace.
Mr. McCain said several times in his visit to Jordan -- in a news conference and in a radio interview -- that he was concerned that Iran was training Al Qaeda in Iraq. The United States believes that Iran, a Shiite country, has been training and financing Shiite extremists in Iraq, but not Al Qaeda, which is a Sunni insurgent group. ...
It was not until he got a quiet word of correction in his ear from Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who was traveling with Mr. McCain as part of a Congressional delegation on a nearly weeklong trip, that Mr. McCain corrected himself.
“I’m sorry,” Mr. McCain said, “the Iranians are training extremists, not Al Qaeda.”
All religions and faiths, throughout the history of humanity, have been subject to criticism and affronts. With time, this has helped in their reform and development. Any belief that chops off the heads of its critics is doomed to turn into terrorism and tyranny. This has been the condition of Islam, from its inception to this day. Islam has sentenced [its critics] to prison, and whoever crosses the threshold of that prison meets his death. The Danish cartoons have managed to break down the first brick in the wall of that prison, and to open up a window, through which the sunrays enter, after a lengthy darkness. The Danish newspaper exercised its freedom of speech. Liberties are the holiest thing in the West, and nothing is more important. But if Islam were not the way it is, those cartoons would never have appeared. They did not appear out of the blue, and the cartoonist did not dig them out of his imagination. Rather, they are a reflection of his knowledge. Westerners who read the words of the Prophet Muhammad 'Allah has given me sustenance under the shadow of my sword' cannot imagine Muhammad's turban in the shape of a dove of peace rather than in the shape of a bomb. The Muslims must learn how to listen to the criticism of others, and maybe then they will reexamine their terrorist teachings. When they manage to do so, the world will view them in a better light, and consequently, it will draw them in a better light. The reactions of the Muslims, which were characterized by savageness, barbarism, and backwardness, only increased the value of these cartoons, and gave them more importance than they merited, simply because they proved that these cartoons were true, and that the message they were conveying was true. The Muslim is an irrational creature ruled by instincts. Those teachings have deprived him of his mind, incited his emotions, and reduced him to the level of an inferior creature that cannot control himself or react to events rationally.
Iran's Culture Ministry on Sunday announced the closure of nine cinema and lifestyle magazines for publishing pictures and stories about the life of "corrupt" foreign film stars and promoting "superstitions."
The Press Supervisory Board, a body controlled by hard-liners, also sent warning notes to 13 other publications and magazines on "observing the provisions of the press law," the ministry said on its Web site. ...
The ministry said it shut them down for "using photos of artists, especially foreign corrupt film stars, as instruments (to arouse desire), publishing details about their decadent private lives, propagating medicines without authorization, promoting superstitions."
I thought you might be interested in seeing what readers said, given that the Rocky Mountain News is one of the few American newspapers to expose its readers to any of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that are blamed for rioting across the Muslim world.
"Thank you," was the consistent message.
Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2005 but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.
Mr Kazemi was told by his father in Tehran that his boyfriend had been questioned about his sexual relationships before his execution in April 2006 and named him under interrogation.
Mr Kazemi claimed asylum in Britain, fearing for his life if he returned to Iran but his case was refused late last year. He fled Britain for the Netherlands, where he is now being detained.
A university professor allegedly caught in a Saudi-style honey trap has been sentenced to 180 lashes and eight months in jail -- for having coffee with a girl. ...
[O]ne senior Saudi journalist told The Times he was Dr. Abu Ruzaiz, a married man in his late 50s with children.
"He is highly respected and above-board. Nobody believes the religious police's version of what happened. The whole of Jeddah (the main city near Mecca) is in uproar about this. Everyone believes he is innocent and was set up," the journalist said.
Contact between unrelated men and women is strictly prohibited in the desert kingdom where religious police, commonly known as mutaween, patrol public places in teams to enforce their brand of ultra-conservative Islam. ... They are under the command of the Saudi Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. ...
Ruzaiz is said to have received a call from a girl purporting to be one of his students who asked to meet to discuss a problem that she did not want to talk about over the phone. The professor agreed to meet at a family cafe, provided she brought her brother along as a chaperone.
When he arrived, he was surprised to find the girl alone, and was promptly surrounded by religious policemen who handcuffed him and hauled him into custody. He was accused of being in a state of khulwa -- seclusion -- with an unrelated woman. ...
In another high-profile case, an illiterate Saudi woman is hoping that King Abdullah will spare her life after she was condemned to death for "witchcraft." Her accusers included a man who claimed that the woman, Fawzi Falih, had made him impotent with her sorcery.
An international human rights group said Falih -- who faces being publicly beheaded -- was allegedly beaten by religious police and forced into fingerprinting a false confession.
Prosecutors are currently investigating 57 young men arrested last week for flirting with girls at shopping centres in Mecca. They were accused of wearing indecent clothes, playing loud music and dancing in order to catch the attention of girls.
A 37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.
Yara, who does not want her last name published for fear of retribution, was bruised and crying when she was freed from a day in prison after she was strip-searched, threatened and forced to sign false confessions by the Kingdom's "Mutaween" police.
A US businesswoman living in Saudi Arabia fears for her life after the religious police issued a rare statement defending her arrest this month for having coffee with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.
It's not allowed for any woman to travel alone and sit with a strange man and talk and laugh and drink coffee together like they are married.
All of these are against the law and it's clear it's against the law. First, for a woman to work with men is against the law and against religion. Second, the family sections at coffee shops and restaurants are meant for families and close relatives.
For the past three months [Kurt] Westergaard and his wife have been on the run. Mr. Westergaard did the most famous of the 12 Muhammad cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 -- the one depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban. The cartoon was a satirical comment on the fact that some Muslims are committing terrorist acts in the name of Islam and the prophet. Tragically, Mr. Westergaard's fate has proven the point of his cartoon: In the early hours of Tuesday morning Danish police arrested three men who allegedly had been plotting to kill him.
In Oslo a gallery has censored three small watercolor paintings, showing the head of the prophet Muhammad on a dog's body, by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been under police protection since the fall of 2007. In Holland the municipal museum in The Hague recently refused to show photos by the Iranian-born artist Sooreh Hera of gay men wearing the masks of the prophet Muhammad and his son Ali; Ms. Hera has received several death threats and is in hiding. In Belarus an editor has been sentenced to three years in a forced labor camp after republishing some of Jyllands-Posten's Muhammad cartoons. In Egypt bloggers are in jail after having "insulted Islam." In Afghanistan the 23-year-old Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh has been sentenced to death because he distributed "blasphemous" material about the mistreatment of women in Islam. And in India the Bengal writer Taslima Nasreen is in a safe house after having been threatened by people who don't like her books.
Muslims March Against Reprinting of Danish Newspaper Cartoons Depicting Muhammad
Friday, February 15, 2008
Muslims protested Friday in the Gaza Strip, Pakistan and Denmark against the reprinting of a Danish newspaper cartoon depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Thousands of residents in the conservative Gaza Strip ruled by the militant Islamic Hamas movement marched in the Jebaliya refugee camp chanting: "What Denmark said is heresy." ...
And in Denmark, a prominent Danish imam urged rioting youth to stop setting fires and hurling rocks at police.
About 200 people held a similar rally in Multan, a main city in the eastern Punjab province, burning Danish flags and chanting "Death to the Cartoonist!" ...
Mohammad Imran, a student leader from Islami Jamiat Talba, a student organization linked with Pakistan's largest Islamic political group, Jamaat-e-Islami, called the cartoon "blasphemous."
"We demand the rulers to sever diplomatic ties" with Denmark and Sweden for publishing the cartoons. "The cartoonist and publisher must be hanged."
Newspapers reprint Prophet Mohammed cartoon
Newspapers across Europe Wednesday reprinted the controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked worldwide protests two years ago.
The move came one day after Danish authorities arrested three people allegedly plotting a "terror-related assassination" of Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist behind the drawing.
Berlingske Tidende, was one of the newspapers involved in the republication by newspapers in Denmark. It said: "We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper always will defend," in comments reported by The Associated Press.
Newspapers in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands also republished the drawing Wednesday as part of their coverage of Tuesday's arrests.
When I tried to find out about honor killings... -- how many girls were killed every year in Holland by their fathers and brothers because of their precious family honor -- civil servants at the Ministry of Justice would tell me, "We don't register murders based on that category of motivation. It would stigmatize one group in society." The Dutch government registered the number of drug-related killings and traffic accidents every year, but not the number of honor killings, because no Dutch official wanted to recognize that this kind of murder happened on a regular basis. Even Amnesty International didn't keep statistics on how many women around the word were victims of honor killings. ... (pages 295-96)