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Global Islamic News 2004


12-28-2004 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) Saudi pledges $10 mln in aid to Tsunami victims. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia pledged on Tuesday a $10 million aid package to victims of the tsunami disaster in Asia, which officials say has killed more than 59,000 people and affected millions of others.

12-24-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PakTribune) MMA warns govt against country protest rallies on deletion of religion column. MMA has threatened to launch country protest campaign against Qadianis besides banning the entry of interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao to NWFP if the religion column is not restored in machine readable passport. MMA has also made strong call to Saudi government not to issue visas to those holding passports without containing religion column saying that issue of finality of Prophethood is not concern of only MMA but it is also concern of the entire Muslim Ummah.

12-18-2004 VICTORIA, Australia (Telegraph.UK) Pastors guilty of hating Muslims: Tribunal judge rules church seminar vilified Islam. A state tribunal in Australia yesterday found two evangelical Christian pastors who conducted a church seminar on Islam guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims. Daniel Nalliah and Daniel Scot of Catch the Fire Ministries were tried under Victoria's new race and religion hate laws after the the Islamic Council of Victoria filed legal action, charging Scot called Muslims demons, liars and terrorists. Transcripts of the seminar in Melbourne show Scot, born in Pakistan, was quoting verses from the Quran to make his points, but three Australian converts to Islam who attended part of the seminar brought their notes to the Islamic Council.

12-18-2004 LONDON, England (Telegraph.UK) Charles fights death penalty for converts. The Prince of Wales is brokering efforts to end the Muslim death penalty on converts to other faiths, The Telegraph has learned. He held a private summit of Christian and Muslim leaders at Clarence House this month to explore the centuries-old Islamic law under which apostates face persecution and even death. His intervention follows mounting anger at the treatment of Muslims who have converted to Christianity in a number of Islamic states. As an advocate of inter-faith dialogue, Prince Charles has come under pressure to criticise the religious law that, campaigners say, has resulted in hundreds of executions in countries from Iran to Sudan.

12-10-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BBC) Madrassas hit by sex abuse claims. A Pakistani minister has revealed hundreds of cases of alleged child sex abuse at Islamic schools, or madrassas. There were 500 complaints this year of abuse allegedly committed by clerics, Aamer Liaquat Hussain, a minister in the religious affairs department, said.

12-10-2004 DAMASCUS, Syria (IHT) Muslims are taking a hard look at Islam. Mohamed Shahrour, a layman who writes extensively about Islam, sits in his Damascus engineering office, arguing that Muslims will untangle their faith from the increasingly gory violence committed in its name only by reappraising their sacred texts.

12-10-2004 WASHINGTON, DC (WPH) Islamic financial theory. In the midst of concerns about the Islamist threat, a quieter revolution is going on in Islam which could ultimately lead to a new economic bloc in the world. Since the 1970s, an economic theory has been taking hold in a number of Muslim countries, backed by a growing Islamic financial system.


11-30-2004 Pakistan (BBC) Pakistani gets life for blasphemy. A Pakistani court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment under the country's controversial blasphemy laws. Iqbal Ahmad, a member of the Ahmediya community, was found guilty of being disrespectful to the Prophet Muhammad in a mosque near Faisalabad. ... A spokesman for the community, Malik Khalid Masood, told the BBC that Mr Ahmad's conviction was "an act of retaliation by his own family" who opposed his recent conversion to the Ahmedi sect. In October, a Pakistani man was sentenced to life imprisonment for burning a copy of the Koran under the same laws.

11-30-2004 San Francisco, CA (SF Gate) Charter school chiefs held in finance probe: 3 ex-officials accused of embezzling funds for defunct academy. Last Tuesday, state agents arrested former GateWay Superintendent Khadijah Ghafur, chief administrative officer Naazim Hamed, and board member Kehinde Solwazi, according to Nathan Barankin, spokesman for the state attorney general.

11-30-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Times of India) Target Hindus, jehadis to Pak. After spewing venom on the Americans and the infidels for their so-called attacks on Islam, jehadis in Pakistan are now imparting "violent lessons" aimed at targeting Hindus.

11-29-2004 WASHINGTON, DC (Yahoo News, India) Madarsahs in Pak are hatcheries for jihad: Report. "Terrorists can be defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, but if nothing is done to end the intolerance and the teaching of hard-line Islam in classrooms, militants will have a never-ending supply of new recruits. Nowhere is this more evident than in Pakistan, whose schools were described as 'incubators for violent extremism' by the Sept. 11 commission," the report was quoted as saying.

11-28-2004 NEW YORK, NY (Houston Chronicle) America needs to finish strong in Iraq — or it will lose. The Bush administration hasn't developed a clear strategy for ensuring a meaningful election and a stable nation.

11-26-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Herald Tribune) Pakistan Bans Latest Issue of Newsweek. Pakistani authorities have banned an issue of Newsweek magazine for publishing material they said was offensive to Islam, local media reported Friday. ... The Nov. 22 issue of the magazine carried a story about the slaying in the Netherlands of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh and religious and ethnic divisions in Europe under the headline "Clash of Civilizations."

11-23-2004 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (WebIndia123) Malaysia court upholds turban ban. Malaysia's second-highest court has backed a head teacher's decision to expel three Muslim boys for wearing turbans to school. ... The flowing turban is not a traditional part of local Muslim costume. However, it is often worn by those who have studied at religious schools abroad, particularly in the Middle East, or who support Pas.

11-23-2004 LONDON, England (WebIndia123) Religion more relevant to UK Hindus than Christians.  According to a new survey carried out by the British government, religion now means more to those members of Britain's ethnic minorities who follow the teachings of Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, than it does to those who say they follow the teachings of Christ.

11-22-2004 CALGARY, Canada (Calgary Sun) Militant Islam rising: Threat to liberty rears head in Holland.  To talk seriously about Holland today — Holland, once a global empire in its own right — is to talk about whether it yet meets the definition as Saudi Arabia's first European colony, or if that definition will instead be met in five years, or 10. In Holland today, there are more observant Muslims than either observant Catholics or Protestants (but not yet all Christians combined). The most common name for new baby boys in Holland is Mohammed.

11-16-2004 LONDON, England (Turkish Press) Kidnapped aid worker feared killed in Iraq after video released.  Margaret Hassan, a British-Irish aid worker kidnapped in Iraq last month, was feared to have been killed by her captors after a video was issued apparently showing her murder. If her death is confirmed, Hassan will be the first foreign female hostage to have been murdered in Iraq, amid a recent wave of hostage-taking. Doha-based Al-Jazeera television said it had received a video showing "an armed man shooting at a blind-folded woman, who appears to be Margaret Hassan".

11-17-2004 DUBAI (ABCNews) Arabs Enraged at U.S. Soldier Shooting Wounded Iraqi. Arabs were torn between seething rage at images of a U.S. soldier shooting dead a wounded Iraqi in a mosque and dismay at Iraqi insurgents in Falluja for turning holy mosques into battlegrounds. Viewers said images, which Arab televisions aired repeatedly of a Marine killing a severely injured Iraqi, fueled growing hatred against America and helped create more "terrorists."

11-17-2004 BRUSSELS, Belgium (Khaleej Times) Belgian senator in hiding after threats. Belgian senator of Moroccan descent who criticised radical Islam has gone into hiding under police protection after receiving death threats, a Belgian newspaper said on Wednesday. Socialist Senator Mimount Bousakla had received a call from an unidentified person saying “she would be ritually slaughtered”, said the Gazet Van Antwerpen, which did not cite a source.

11-14-2004 BERLIN, Germany (Expatica) Religious violence in Netherlands alarms Germany.  Calls for such a move were fuelled by a dramatic TV film secretly made last week in a Berlin mosque. "These Germans, these atheists, these Europeans don't shave under their arms and their sweat collects under their hair with a revolting smell and they stink," said the preacher at the Mevlana Mosque in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, in the film made by Germany's ZDF public TV, adding: "Hell lives for the infidels! Down with all democracies and all democrats!"

11-14-2004 ATHENS, Greece (ABCNews) Radical Islam Appears to Be Spreading.  The same day Dutch mourners gathered outside a crematorium for a final goodbye to slain filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, police on the other side of the world made a horrific discovery in a hut: the decapitated body of a Thai laborer.

11-12-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (ABCNews) Some Iraqi Christians Feel Threatened.  Some Christians in Mosul feel say they are being subjected to threats that have escalated during Ramadan and that may be designed to drive them out of the country, create religious tensions, or at least make life difficult. Even those who haven't received threats swap stories of anonymous phone calls and pamphlets plastered on walls or slipped under doors warning those who don't dress like devout Muslim women during Ramadan. Coupled with a series of attacks on churches in Mosul and Baghdad and a general fear of insecurity gripping Muslims and Christians alike some Christians have chosen to leave Iraq at least temporarily. Those who stay try to maintain a low-profile or play it safe and just follow orders. ... The rise in Islamic fundamentalism after Saddam's ouster worries Christians, secularists and some moderate Muslims.

11-12-2004 KABUL, Afghanistan (Bradenton Herald) Afghanistan TV networks ordered off air.  Western pop videos, India's Bollywood movies and even Charlton Heston's "The Ten Commandments" have Afghanistan's fledgling cable TV stations in hot water. An appeal from the country's top Islamic judge this week prompted the Cabinet to order television networks temporarily off the air - just three years after a Taliban ban on TV was lifted.

11-11-2004 Michigan (MichNews) “After Ramadan, Slay the Idolaters”...hello?...hello?.  Excuse me, but...is anyone aware that according to Islam’s holy book, the Qur'an, terrorists are forbidden from attacking us until after Ramadan, which ends around November 14th? We are lowering terror alerts for financial institutions in New York, Washington and New Jersey just before the end of Ramadan? Is our government completely oblivious to actual religious beliefs of Islam? “When the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.” (Koran 9:5)

11-11-2004 PARIS, France (Reuters) Low profile for German Koran challenger.  When a Muslim radical murdered the Dutch director Theo van Gogh for a film criticising Islam, Christoph Luxenberg saw his name ripple through Internet forums 1,000 times and immediately knew why. "The safety of experts on Islam is topical again," he said — in a surprisingly detached tone for the author of a critique of the Koran who fears it could one day spark similar anger. ... "Christoph Luxenberg" is a pseudonym. The professor hides his work from his own students — even those who recommend it to him, not knowing he is its author. He gives interviews by phone and offers little hint of who he really is or where he lives. This has served Luxenberg well over the past four years, when his book "The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran" was only available in dense academic German. But he doesn't know what to expect when an English translation appears next year. The fate of Islamic reformers in the Arab world is sobering. In the 1990s in Egypt, the writer Faraq Foda was gunned down for criticising fundamentalists and Cairo University professor Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid was forced to divorce his wife and flee abroad for examining the Koran in its historical context. ... "I'm not afraid," he continued. "I know what I'm doing is serious and I'm not doing it to destroy Islam. But it would do Islam good if Muslims could discuss it freely. That would help them progress in so many ways."

11-12-2004 MELBOUNE, Australia (The Age) Democracy must change to counter Islam: Pell.  Islam could be the communism of the 21st century if the West does not reform its secular democracy, Australia's leading Catholic has said in a speech in the United States. ... In a wide-ranging speech which also attacked his critics for suggesting conservative Christians were a danger to democracy, Dr Pell said communism had showed how the emptiness of the secular approach could be filled with something darker. Dr Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, told the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty last month that secular democracy could not solve the rise of intolerant religion, but worsened it. He said democracy was not a good in itself. Its value depended on the moral vision it served. ... He asked: "Does democracy need a burgeoning billion-dollar pornography industry to be truly democratic? Does it need an abortion rate in the tens of millions?

11-11-2004 HOLLYWOOD, CA (IFilm) Submission [2004].  Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (yes, that van Gogh) was assassinated November 2, 2004, by a 26-year-old extremist Muslim of Dutch-Moroccan descent. The current theory is that he was taken down for his critical look at the treatment of Muslim women. — See also this link.

11-10-2004 LONDON, England (BBCNews) An online war for hearts and minds.  The battle for Muslim minds is not being fought by radicals in Falluja or in the mosques. It is being fought on the net. And one of Europe's experts on Islam in the West says governments must rethink how they are going to win this war. ... And, says Professor Gilles Kepel, the internet is playing an increasingly central part, if not the most important part, in this battle for hearts and minds. ... "Multiculturalism has been a catastrophe. It leads to the balkanisation of society and ultimately to civil war," says Prof Kepel. "It 'clans' people within an identity from which they can't escape. You have to define yourself as gay, Black, Muslim or whatever.

11-09-2004 LONDON, England (MSNBC) Critics of Islam on edge after murder: Slaying of Dutch filmmaker highlights risks facing artists.  For some writers who criticize Islam, bullet-proof glass, bodyguards, death threats and pseudonyms are a part of everyday life. ... The killing, 15 years after the “fatwa” against British writer Salman Rushdie that forced him into years of hiding, has sent shudders through a small but vocal community of writers who say they risk their lives by daring to question Islamic norms. “Sure it is worrying, and for the people around me,” said Irshad Manji, a prominent Muslim writer based in Canada who receives regular death threats. “Whenever I do interviews with media, I make it very clear that I appreciate there are people listening and viewing this piece and wanting to kill me,” she told Reuters by telephone. Contacting the outspoken author of the “The Trouble With Islam,” and others like her, is not easy. Cautious publishers refuse to disclose telephone numbers and insist that e-mails go through them first. Home telephone numbers are never given. Manji sometimes uses a bodyguard, although less often than before, and installed bullet-proof glass at her Toronto home.

11-09-2004 LONDON, England (YahooNews) Writers on Islam edgy after Dutch filmmaker murder.  Tahir Aslam Gora, a poet, novelist and publisher who left Pakistan for Canada after receiving death threats, says he still feels at risk in his adopted country. "I feel really scared," he said, reacting to Van Gogh's death in Amsterdam. Gora said he was finishing a new book called "Why Terrorists are Muslims", which he feared would spark new threats on his life.

11-09-2004 FALLUJAH, Iraq (Guardian, UK) 'We are not here to liberate Iraq, we're here to fight the infidels'.  Most of the time, when they weren't reading or praying, they spoke about death, not fearfully, but in happy anticipation. They talked about how martyrs would not feel pain and about how many virgins they would get in heaven. I asked one of them, a young teacher from Saudi Arabia, why he was there. He started reading the verses in the Qur'an that urge Muslims to commit jihad. He read about the importance of martyrdom. After 20 minutes, he directed me to another fighter, an older man with a beard and a soft voice who said his name was Abu Ossama from Tunisia. "We are here for one of two things - victory or martyrdom, and both are great," he said. "The most important thing is our religion, not Falluja and not the occupation. If the American solders came to me and converted to Islam, I won't fight them. We are here not because we want to liberate Iraq, we are here to fight the infidels and to make victorious the name of Islam." He continued to explain his jihad theories: "They call us terrorists because we resist them. If defending the truth is terrorism, then we are terrorists." 

11-09-2004 AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Brattleboro Reformer) Murder in Amsterdam.  In a disturbing incident later in the week, an artist's mural depicting a dove and the words "Thou shalt not kill" were sandblasted off the wall by local authorities after the imam of a local mosque called it "culturally insensitive." Sensitivity is all well and good, but the West has the right and the duty to defend its values and its civilization against those who would destroy them.

11-03-2004 NEW YORK, New York (Arabic Media Internet Network2) Stop Use of Palestinian Children in Suicide Bombings.  Palestinian armed groups should immediately end all use of children in military attacks, Human Rights Watch said today, following a Tel Aviv suicide bombing by a 16-year-old that killed three Israeli civilians Monday, November 1.

11-03-2004 AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (940News) Suspected Muslim extremist arrested in murder of Dutch filmmaker.  A suspected Muslim extremist with alleged terrorist ties was under arrest Wednesday in the connection with the death of a Dutch filmmaker who criticized the treatment of women under Islam. Theo van Gogh, 47, was repeatedly shot and stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street Tuesday. "Don't do it. Don't do it. Have mercy. Have mercy!" the Algemeen Dagblad quoted van Gogh begging his killer. Another Dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf daily, carried a large colour photograph of van Gogh's body with a knife protruding from his chest under the headline: "Butchered."

11-03-2004 LAHORE, Pakistan (AsiaNews) Blasphemy law: death threats against teenage girl forces family to flee.  Last July, a Muslim woman accused 16-year-old Safad Tasneem Dean of throwing a copy of the Qu‘ran into a trash bin. An enraged group of Muslims gathered with the intention of burning the girl’s house. They tried to kill her but a group of local elders was able to save her by getting the police to arrest her. ... Even though no evidence was presented concerning the alleged blasphemy, Safad’s family was forced to move to an undisclosed location.

11-01-2004 Middle East (Metransparent) Letter from liberal Arabs & Muslims: To the United Nations Security Council & the U.N. Secretary General requesting the Establishment of an International Tribunal to prosecute individuals, groups, or entities including, but not limited to, Muslim clerics who issue religious edicts (fatwas) inciting terrorist acts.

11-02-2004 LONDON, England (Guardian) Film-maker critic of Islam murdered. A Dutch film-maker who received death threats after attacking imams as woman haters was stabbed and shot dead in Amsterdam today. Theo Van Gogh, a distant relative of the 19th century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, was attacked near a park close to the centre of the Dutch capital. Police arrested a man at the scene after an exchange of gunfire in which the suspect wounded a police officer. The suspect was wounded in the leg. The arrested man, 26, had dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship. A letter had been found at the crime scene, police and prosecutors said in a news conference live on national radio.

11-02-2004 LONDON, England (BBC News) Life of slain Dutch filmmaker. The murder of Dutch movie director Theo van Gogh comes two months after his highly controversial film, Submission - about the abuse of Muslim women - was shown on national TV in Holland. ... The outcry centred on the stories of four Muslim women who were beaten, raped and forced into marriage, and were asking for Allah's help. — Click here for link to film.


10-30-2004 Middle East (DanielPipesBlog) Finally – the Voice of Moderate, Anti-Islamist Muslims Is Heard.  On Oct. 24, 2004 a petition was posted at both METransparent.com and Elaph.com titled "From Liberal Arabs to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the chairman and members of the Security Council." Written primarily by the Tunisian intellectual Lafif Lakhdar, the petition calls for an international treaty banning the use of religion for incitement to violence. In a stunning, unprecedented, and very hopeful sign, reports the Saudi newspaper Arab News today, over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries (but mostly from Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states, Iraq, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority) have signed this petition. The organizers hope shortly to have tens of thousands of signatories.

10-30-2004 LONDON, England (YahooNews) UK pupils to be taught Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. The first national framework for religious education, which sets out the principles all state schools should follow, said that by the age of 16, pupils needed to have "encountered in sufficient depth" Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

10-30-2004 Indiana, USA (IndyStar) Quran versions shed light on view of Bible. At first scan, Haleem's translation seems the more readable. But Fakhry's special religious status is due to approval from Cairo's Al-Azhar University; it includes the Arabic text, since translations cannot be considered scripture in Islam. The contrasts between the translations include passages about the Bible, referred to in the Quran as the Torah, Psalms or Gospel.

10-22-2004 VANCOUVER, Canada (Canada.Com) Vancouver Muslim leader espouses jihad, calls Jews 'monkeys and swine'. The leader of a Vancouver mosque attended regularly by a local man reported killed in Chechnya has preached the virtues of jihad and called Jews "the brothers of monkeys and swine."

10-21-2004 VANCOUVER, Canada (Canoe) RCMP are looking into explosive comments made by Vancouver Muslim cleric. RCMP and Vancouver police are investigating explosive comments made by a Vancouver Muslim cleric who has preached the virtues of "offensive jihad" and called Jews "the brothers of monkeys and swine."

10-19-2004 MOSCOW, Russia (Moscow Times) Putin Calls a Bush Loss a Victory for Terrorists. President Vladimir Putin on Monday made his strongest endorsement yet for his friend U.S. President George W. Bush, saying "international terrorism" will claim victory over the international antiterrorism coalition if Bush loses.

10-18-2004 RAMALLAH (WND) Yasser Arafat endorses Kerry: Thinks Democratic senator 'better for Palestinian cause'. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is hoping John Kerry wins the presidential election in November, several Palestinian leaders told WorldNetDaily.

10-14-2004 TULSA, Oklahoma (NewsOK) Union board leader denies schools promoting Islam. Concerns began with a brochure distributed to teachers about a workshop titled "The Arab World and Islam." The workshop was being offered to teachers in districts throughout northeast Oklahoma and was presented in Tulsa by the Washington-based Middle East Policy Council.

10-14-2004 Kettering, England (Telegraph.UK) Comment on Muslims sparks probe.  A COUNCILLOR who sparked a row by linking Muslims and suicide bombers may face a standards board. ... Calls were made last week for her resignation and now Corby Council leader Willie Smith has confirmed the matter will be dealt with by higher powers.

10-12-2004 LONDON, England (Eircom) New push for Islam to be taught in UK schools.  A new drive to teach Islam in Britain's schools is set to be begin after Education Secretary Charles Clarke backed the move. .... Mr Clarke said the project was vital to creating understanding between different cultures. "It is only through understanding that this country can move forward as a true multi-faith and multi-cultural society."

10-12-2004 LAHORE, Pakistan (AsiaNews) Violence against the mentally disabled accused of blasphemy.  Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law is used against people with disabilities, including the mentally disabled. Shahbaz Masih Kaka, a 26-year-old Catholic from Lahore, was accused of blasphemy despite being visibly disabled. He was a long-term care patient in a Lahore hospital until accusations by a Muslim cleric led to his arrest and incarceration.

10-11-2004 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) Saudi women denied vote, candidacy.  Women may neither vote nor run in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide elections, the government has announced, dashing hopes of progressive Saudis and easing fears among conservatives that the kingdom is moving too fast on reforms.

10-10-2004 KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (SignOnSanDiego) Afghan women having their say in landmark presidential election.  Still, Bibi Gul said that on her way to the polls she received a reminder of the hard-line regime – which was ousted by an American bombing campaign in late 2001. "A man with a scarf around his head asked me where I was going. He said: 'If you vote, I will see it from your thumb and I will cut off your hand,' " she said.

10-10-2004 PENANG, Malaysia (Aliran) Law and equity shuts its doors on women.  What actually happened in the recent court case and in AWAM’s cases is that a woman stands to lose custody and guardianship of the children when her spouse converts to Islam.

10-08-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (IHT) Popularity of clerics, religion on the rise.  In a postwar Iraq tormented by violence and uncertainty, the men with the power are in robes and turbans — Muslim clerics counseling spiritual renewal and active defiance of the United States and the Iraqi government it backs.

10-07-2004 Washington, DC (IHT) Fight the war on terror at the pump.  If the United States had imposed a new gasoline tax after 9/11, demand would have been dampened and gas today would probably still be $2 a gallon. But instead of the extra dollar going to Saudi Arabia - where it ends up with mullahs who build madrassas that preach intolerance - that dollar would have gone to the U.S. Treasury to pay down America's deficit and finance its own schools.

10-01-2004 SIALKOT, Pakistan (BBC News) Bomb carnage at Pakistan mosque.  At least 25 people have been killed and dozens injured in a suspected suicide bombing at a mosque in the eastern Pakistani city of Sialkot, police say. Hundreds of worshippers of the Muslim Shia minority were packed into the mosque attending Friday prayers. ... The BBC's Paul Anderson in Islamabad says suspicion for the Sialkot attack will fall on one of several extremist groups from the Sunni majority.


09-30-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AsiaNews) Christian minorities in Pakistan: little freedom and rising Islamic pressure  The law on blasphemy, forced conversions to Islam, democratization and education: Pakistani Christians are looking to the government for reform and to President Musharraf for his commitment on these thorny issues. For Monsignor Lawrence Saldanha, Archbishop of Latore, the anti-blasphemy law – which foresees a death sentence for those who offend Islam – is “an anomaly of our legal system.” Many Christians have been killed on the basis of this norm. And it was precisely in dissent of this law – which encourages fundamentalism and covers personal vendettas – that, in 1998, Monsignor John Joseph, Bishop of Faisalabad, took his life to protest against the case of Ayub Masih, a Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy. There are still today 7 Christians detained in prison on charges of blasphemy. In May, Aslam Mashim, a Christian from Lahore, was acquitted of such charges. He had been imprisoned since 1998, but only recently did the prosecutor’s main witness admit that police had made him give false testimony against Aslam. Various attempts at “forced conversions” to Islam have been a source of alarm for Pakistani Christians: in May Javed Anjum, an 18-year-old Catholic, was abducted and tortured by Islamists that wanted to force him to convert to their religion. Javed died as a result of beatings and is considered by Pakistani Catholics a martyr of the faith. The Justice and Peace Commission of Lahor has spoken out against cases of forced conversions: “Young non-Muslim men have been forced to convert and circumcised against their will,” reports Peter Jacob, Commission secretary. Last November, 15-year-old Catholic Zeeshan Gill was forced to become Muslim by a group of schoolmates. Islamic teachers threatened and beat him, forcing him to take lessons at the Jamia al Qasim al Aloom madras. Zeeshan managed to escape from the Islamic school, but now lives in hiding for fear of retaliation.

09-20-2004 ANKARA, Turkey (Turkey Press) President Sezer: Freedom Of Belief And Worship Is The Most Important Guarantee Of Social Peace.  ''Freedom of belief and worship is the most important guarantee of social peace,'' Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Monday.

09-15-2004 WASHINGTON, DC (UPI) U.S. blasts Saudis on religious freedom. "In September 2004, the secretary of state designated Saudi Arabia as a 'country of particular concern' under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom," said the State Department's "Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 2004." The report said freedom of religion was not recognized or protected under Saudi law, and basic religious freedoms were denied to all but those who practiced the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam. "Freedom of religion does not exist" in Saudi Arabia, the report said.

09-14-2004 ISTANBUL, Turkey (IslamOnline) Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design.  Intellectual Muslims, fed up with the pathological anti-Western hatred of the radicals who defame Islam by their violent acts, are seeking the right way to express and stand for their faith and identity in the modern world. Intellectual Christians have already found that way. They encountered materialism before we did, because it grew right in the heart of Christendom. They have been standing against it for several decades. And recently they have initiated a bold movement—a “wedge” as they call it—to split the foundations of materialism.

09-14-2004 BERLIN, German (Arab Islamic Congress in Europe) First Arab, Islamic Congress in Europe. Leaving up the sword of American and Zionist terror raised over the neck of our people and families within the whole countries of our nation and in the countries of immigration abroad.

09-10-2004 DARFUR, Sudan (FrontPage) Symposium: Darfur - Islam's Killing Fields. Why is it that — yet again — another Arab League member is massacring its minority populations? Why is the Western media reluctant to identify the religion and ethnicity of the mass murderers and rapists?

09-09-2004 MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) Russia: Extradite Chechen rebels. Russia's foreign minister has accused Western countries of displaying double standards by granting asylum to Chechen separatist figures.

09-09-2004 WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) Powell calls Sudan killings 'genocide': He cites 'consistent and widespread' killings, rapes. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that "genocide has been committed" in the Sudanese region of Darfur. Powell cited a "consistent and widespread" pattern of atrocities -- including killings, rapes and burning of villages. "This was a coordinated effort, not just random violence," he said. ... Arab Janjaweed militias have been accused of committing widespread atrocities against black villagers and displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in the huge African nation.

09-09-2004 KUALA TERENGGANU, Malaysia (Bernama) Islam Fastest Growing Religion In Britain. Islam is now the fastest growing religion in Britain with the number of new converts climbing, says British Council Malaysia Director Gerry Liston. There are now about two million Muslims, 1,500 mosques and 100 religious schools in Britain, he said.

09-08-2004 VICTORVILLE, CA (Daily Press) COMMENTARY: The evil of not asking. We have already become almost inured to: The slaughtering of innocent human beings as if they were animals while chanting Muslim prayers. The reintroduction of black slavery and genocide against blacks. The murder of daughters and sisters for imagined or real sexual behavior. The stoning of women accused of adultery. The burning of Hindu temples and Christian churches, and the destruction of among the greatest Buddhist sculptures. The ban on women driving cars or learning to read. The idolization of young men who blow themselves up while murdering and maiming innocent non-Muslims — and the theology of sexual rewards in heaven for doing so. These are some of the atrocities being committed by Muslims in different parts of the world today.

09-08-2004 BEIRUT, Lebanon (MET) Iraq hostage says he witnessed execution of “US agent”. One of the kidnappers approached the struggling victim holding a knife and first he cut his tongue off because he was trying to pronounce the Shahada ('There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Prophet')" identifying him as a Muslim.

09-07-2004 MOSCOW, Russia (Pravda) Time to Reform Islam. The massacre of schoolchildren and other innocent people at Beslan by Chechen terrorists has once again brought the dangers posed by Islam to the forefront and it is high time to tackle this problem. It is not enough to identify the perpetrators of the particular crime; it is time to solve the larger problem of the violent nature of Islamic societies. While taking power away from religious leaders is part of the solution, the other part lies in converting Islamic countries into multicultural societies as this is bound to temper them down. ... Similarly, merely changing governments in Islamic countries is unlikely to work, but social change is likely to help reform these societies. Islamic countries deny citizenship and other basic rights to foreigners who live and work in them. Integrating these foreign workers into the mainstream of the countries in which they live will make the people of these countries respectful of diverse cultures. Since the workers already live in these countries, the process of assimilation will be peaceful in nature. Muslims do not treat others the same way they expect others to treat them. Muslims in the American state of Michigan loudly demanded that they be allowed to broadcast prayers from a mosque over a loudspeaker, protested any discussion over the issue and got the local government to give in to their demands. However, people of other religions in Islamic countries do not have any freedom to worship as they please. When France proposed a law to ban headscarves in public schools, Saudi Arabia"s highest religious authority, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh called it an "infringement of human rights," but within a week after that, he gave a stern warning to women who did not wear veils at an economic conference at Jeddah.

09-07-2004 RIYDAH, Saudi Arabia (IslamOnline) Saudi Demands Teachers to Combat "Extremism". Some Saudi officials, however, doubted the possibility of introducing reforms to the educational system in the near future due to the control of the so-called Islamists over the education ministry. “I don’t think there’s hope for change in the near future because Islamists control the education authority," a headmistress of a Saudi all-female state school told AFP, on conditions of anonymity. “All influential positions in the ministry of education are held by Islamists,” she said. “Our curricula is full of texts inciting hatred, not only towards other religions but also other Muslim sects,” she added.

09-05-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) Siege prompts horror among Arabs. Images of dead, wounded and traumatized Russian children being carried from the scene of a rebel school siege horrified Arabs, prompting forthright self-criticism and fresh concern about an international backlash against Islam and its followers.... However, a prominent Arab journalist wrote that Muslims must acknowledge the painful fact that Muslims are the main perpetrators of terrorism. "Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television, wrote in his daily column published in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It ran under the headline, "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!"

09-03-2004 NEW DELHI, India (Outlook India) The Venom Of Terror: Islamic fundamentalism is fast spreading its tentacles across the subcontinent. When 13 grenades were thrown at an Awami League rally in Dhaka on August 21, killing 20 persons, injuring up to 300 and coming within a whisker of wiping out the entire top leadership of the Awami League, our first reaction was to breathe a sigh of relief that it happened somewhere else. Eight months earlier, when Gen Musharraf escaped two successive attempts on his life within a week, we experienced the same secret relief. Such things didn't happen in India, we said to ourselves. They were fruits of the ambivalence the two governments had displayed towards terrorism in the past. Some even went so far as to say that having made their bed, it would serve Pakistan and Bangladesh right if they had to sleep in it.

09-04-2004 WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) U.S.: Sudan attacks racially based. While not directly calling the crisis in Darfur a genocide, the U.S. State Department has said that interviews with Sudanese refugees indicated attacks against the regions' black Africans appeared to be racially motivated. ... Boucher said information from the interviews "coincides with the pattern that we have seen that government forces, Janjaweed militias, Arab groups — there's a pattern of attacks against non-Arab populations."

09-02-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (WebIndia) Ulema, madarasas behind Muslims' backwardness: Dr Mahatir. Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahatir Mohammad has said that madarsas and religious leaders were responsible for the backwardness of the Muslims. He squarely blamed them of promoting hatred in the community to meet their petty political goals. In an interview with Pakistan-based GEO TV, Mahatir said the so-called Muslims leaders and the Ulema have distorted the image of Islam by misleading the people through their teachings of hatred.


08-22-2004 JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Al-Quds al-Arabi, News Report) Arab Press Investigates Human Smuggling for Saudi Sex Trade. A Moroccan newspaper known as Al-Alam, which means "The Flag" in Arabic, first broke the story. It revealed in detail how women are being sent to Saudi Arabia under the cover of Al Umra, a religious ritual that is fulfilled by visiting Mecca at certain times of the year. Once the women arrive in Saudi Arabia, however, they find that they are in the control of a well-organized prostitution ring. ... The young woman told the paper that she experienced sexual abuse along with another eight Moroccan women who fell into the prostitution ring. The women were held in a prostitution house in Jeddah after they were granted a one-month visa to enter Saudi Arabia for the duration of the Umra.

08-21-2004 LONDON, England (London, Telegraph) Islam is not an exotic addition to the English country garden. Islam means "submission" (not "peace") and it is the aim of Muslims ("those who have submitted") to make the whole world submit. The teaching seems not to envisage the idea of Muslims as a minority, except as a temporary phenomenon. The best that non-Muslims - in Britain that means Sikhs and Hindus, as well as Jews and Christians - can hope for is that they be treated as "dhimmis", second-class citizens within the Islamic state.

08-20-2004 DARFUR, Sudan (CNN) U.N. fears Sudan crisis worsening. More than 1.2 million people live as IDPs and another 200,000 as refugees in Chad because of attacks by Janjaweed militias and fighting between Sudanese forces and two rebel groups. Meanwhile, African Union monitors in Darfur confirmed that the Sudanese military harassed and brutally treated IDPs at the Kalma camp the region and looted the camp, a U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Thursday.

08-19-2004 SAN DIEGO, CA (MSNBC) Saudi export of strict Islam raises suspicions. The collision of Saudi missionary work and suspicions of terrorist financing in San Diego illustrates the perils and provocations of a multibillion-dollar effort by Saudi Arabia to spread its religion around the world. Mohamed worked on the front lines of that effort, a campaign to transform what outsiders call "Wahhabism," once a marginal and puritanical brand of Islam with few followers outside the Arabian Peninsula, into the dominant doctrine in the Islamic world.

08-18-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Asia News) Some 40,000 Christians in flight from Iraq. “Forty thousand Iraqi Christians have left Iraq since a wave of church bombings killed at least 10 people two weeks ago,” this according to Iraqi Minister for Displacement and Migration Pascale Isho Warda, who was quoted in Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

08-18-2004 TEHRAN, Iran (Arab Times) '1,300-year-old'; Rare copy of Quran stolen. Farms lie untended and workshops stand silent in an Iranian village after the theft of its 1,300-year-old copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, state television reported Wednesday. Hundreds of villagers from Negel, in Kurdistan province on the Iraqi border, have held a week-long protest at the village mosque demanding officials hunt down the thieves and return the leather-bound Quran to its rightful home.

08-18-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (KLTV News) Al-Azhar bans two books after deeming they violate Islam. Egypt's highest religious authority has ordered the banning and confiscation of two books written by American and Egyptian authors. Allegations have been raised that the books — including one by a Rice University educator — violate Islamic principles and harm Islam's image. Al-Azhar University ordered the ban against the "Studies of Muslim Apocalyptic," by David Cook and "Responsibility for the Failure of the Islamic State," by Egyptian Gamal al-Banna.

08-13-2004 NEW YORK, NY (NY Times) Under Eye of U.N., Billions for Hussein in Oil-for-Food Plan. As recently as February, the official position of the United Nations office that ran the program was that it learned of the endemic fraud only after it ended. But former officials and diplomats who dealt directly with the program now say the bribery and kickback racket was an open secret for years.

08-13-2004 Ottawa, CANADA (FrontPageMag.com) Al-Jazeera in Al-Canada? But in Canada, in the biggest telecommunications uproar in decades, Al-Jazeera won approval for distribution over Canada’s pristine, politically correct, airwaves. This unlikely success in Canada for an Islamist, antisemitic, pro-terrorist channel was achieved by winning a special dispensation not available to the Fox News Channel, the Italian state channel RAI, or a local Quebec City-based radio station – a dispensation full of implications.

08-11-2004 KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) Khartoum 'worsening Darfur crisis'. Sudan's government is worsening the crisis in the embattled Darfur region by legitimizing militia groups and blocking international aid, Human Rights Watch says.

08-10-2004 WESTERN DARFUR, Sudan (CNN) Starvation stalks youngest in Darfur. Refugees in the Darfur camps are victims of the brutal waves of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the government-backed Arab militias against the black African population over the past 18 months. "They chased us from our home seven months ago. They stole all our cattle and killed three people in our family," said Halimalay as she watched over her malnourished daughter, Zahra. As Sara lashes plastic to her roof, she said she's still afraid of the Janjaweed militias who burned her home and killed 51 people in her village earlier this year.

08-10-2004 Gambia (AllAfrica) Polygamy: is It Advantageous to Women? Additionally, the marriage of more than one wife is catalyst to frustration, divorce, prostitution, sexual transmitted diseases (STM) like HIV/AIDS, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, and family break-ups hatred. Most of the time children adopted in polygamous homes of conflict take up and grew up with that life of violence hatred and confusion which leads to a society of backwardness.

08-10-2004 KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) Helicopter attacks in Darfur: Darfur civilians detained for talking to foreigners. Sudan carried out fresh helicopter attacks in Darfur on Tuesday, worsening an already desperate humanitarian situation, while Arab militia targeted refugees trying to escape the conflict, the United Nations said.

08-10-2004 Sudan (Patriot-News) Violence in Sudan. The Arab League, composed of 22 nations including Sudan, failed to denounce the actions of the Janjaweed militia at the end of their Cairo summit on Sunday. Instead they asked the international community to "give Sudan time" to deal with the crisis. The Janjaweed is a rebel Islamic army of Arabic ethnicity that has been routinely killing, raping and maiming native Africans in Sudan ... The numbers speak for themselves: more than 50,000 people killed and a million native Africans driven from their homes.

08-6-2004 UNITED NATIONS (Muhammadanism) 6 August 2004 United Nations Report on Sudan. A large number of people whom I met had a strong perception that the Government of the ‎Sudan was pursuing a policy of “Arabization” of the Sudan, and in particular the Darfur region. ‎Allegedly, those of Arab descent seek to portray themselves as “pure” Muslims as opposed to ‎Muslims of African ethnicity. It was also alleged that the Government of the Sudan gave obvious ‎preference to people of Arab descent, including in making appointments to senior positions in ‎the Government and the administration.

08-5-2004 WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) Two men arrested in missile sting operation. The imam and the founder of an Albany, New York, mosque are being held after an FBI sting operation in which the suspects believed they were helping a terrorist launder money, federal law enforcement sources said Thursday.

08-5-2004 ALBANY, NY (CBN News) FBI Arrests Two in Alleged Missile Scheme. Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, N.Y., were arrested on charges stemming from an alleged plot to help a man they thought was a terrorist purchase a shoulder-fired missile, federal authorities said Thursday. The men have ties to a group called Ansar al-Islam, which has been linked to the al-Qaida terror network, according to two federal law enforcement authorities speaking on condition of anonymity. The two arrests came as FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other agents executed search warrants at the Masjid As-Salam mosque and two Albany-area residences, officials said. The men were identified as Yassin Aref, 34, the imam of the mosque, and 49-year-old Mohammed Hoosain, one of the mosque's founders.

08-5-2004 ALBANY, NY (AP) Feds: Mosque duo planned to use murder missile in NYC. Two leaders of a mosque in Albany were arrested on charges stemming from an alleged plot to purchase a shoulder-fired missile that would be used to assassinate the Pakistani ambassador in New York, according to court papers filed Thursday.

08-3-2004 YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AllAfrica) Cameroon: Religious Tensions On the Rise in the North. "At first, we thought people were just spreading rumors to try to terrorize Catholic communities. But then here in Garoua (capital of the North province), we've been literally inundated with fliers inciting Muslims towards a hatred of Christians," he noted. "Religious fanatics exhort Muslims to increase the number of marriages between young Muslim men and Christian girls in order to convert them to Islam, to refuse to rent houses or sell land to Christians - or to get them to move by raising the rent," Aoudou adds.

08-3-2004 MIDDLE EAST (Journal Inquirer) Near/Middle East: Round-Up of Friday Sermons 30 Jul 04. The following is a roundup of Friday sermons carried by the news media of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, West Bank & Gaza Strip, Syria, Qatar and Egypt on 30 July 2004: He says: "Men of religion must explain, guide and teach Muslims the true meaning of the shari'ah [Islamic law] as intended by God and not as interpreted by whimsical individuals." Concluding his sermon, Shaykh Turki prayed to God: "O Lord, feed starving Muslims.

08-3-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Telegraph, UK) Iraqi Christians pray for their attackers. Adrian Blomfield in Baghdad finds the newly targeted minority community defiant yet calling for forgiveness. With a tear rolling down his cheek, Fr Faris Toma stood amid the wreckage outside his Baghdad church yesterday, and prayed for the bombers who killed 10 of his congregation. "We cannot understand why or how they could do something like this," he said. "All we can do is ask God to give them forgiveness and grant us peace."

08-02-2004 BIRMINGHAM, England (PakTribune) Defamation of Last Prophet (PBUH) be declared international crime.  Opposition Leader in National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Monday demanded that the United Nations should declare the defamation of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) an international crime.

08-2-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) Church bombs: Top insurgent blamed. Deadly weekend attacks targeting Christian worshippers in Iraq bear all the footprints of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his operatives, Iraq's National Security Adviser said Monday.

08-2-2004 UN (CNSNews) UN Urged to Protect Muslims Who Change Religion. Campaigners for religious freedom have urged the United Nations to act to protect "Muslims who choose to convert to another faith." A petition signed by almost 90,000 people in 32 countries was presented last week to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, the organization spearheading the campaign said Monday. ... Under Islamic (shari'a) law, Muslim men who decide to adopt another belief and refuse to return to Islam — usually within a limited period of time — may be put to death.


07-31-2004 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran Frees Twice Condemned Professor. A university professor who was twice condemned to death for blasphemy walked out of prison on Saturday night, free after a two-year battle with hard-line judges and mass student demonstrations in his favor. ... A professor at Tehran's Teachers Training University, Hashem Aghajari was prosecuted for a speech in June 2002 in which he urged people to question religious teachings, saying the words of clerics should not be considered sacred simply because they were part of history. He said people should not slavishly follow hard-line interpretations of Islam.

07-29-2004 Sudan (HumanEvents) Jihad in Sudan? What Jihad in Sudan?. ... few have noted that the tragedy of Darfur is actually the second Sudanese genocide of our age. The first killed over two million African Christians and animists in southern Sudan. They may be forgiven for being slow on the uptake; after all, Darfur marks the third genocide in Africa that Kofi Annan is declining to notice: Rwanda, Sudan I and now Sudan II. Over 100,000 people have been killed in Darfur. By autumn the number of those who have been displaced or impoverished, or whose lives have been destroyed by the war in other ways, will most likely exceed three million. Yet Annan declared that he cannot consider it "genocide or ethnic cleansing yet." There is another word that Annan has never uttered in connection with Sudan. For a decade Khartoum has waged what the regime itself calls a jihad against Christians and tribalists in the South. A 1992 fatwa issued by a group of pro-Khartoum Sudanese imams declared: "An insurgent who was previously a Muslim is now an apostate and a non-Muslim is a non-believer standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam, and Islam has granted the freedom of killing both of them." This allowed for the murder of Christians and animists in the south; now it has been turned against the Muslims of Darfur, whose Islam doesn't measure up to Khartoum's hardline standards.

07-29-2004 PARIS, France (Townhall) Controversial Islamic Scholar Coming to America. Tariq Ramadan plans to teach at Indiana's Notre Dame University, instructing students on Islam, conflict and peace building. Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, the Egyptian founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

07-27-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (WebIndia) It's blasphemous to look PIA airhostesses body contours. Opposition members in the Pakistan National Assembly have raised a hue and cry over a recent decision to allow airhostesses of the national carrier — Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to remove their veils while on duty. Terming it blasphemous, the opposition led by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal insisted that airhostesses must cover their heads at all times, instead of "provocatively highlighting the evil-inducing contours of the female body."

07-26-2004 BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) EU to push for sanctions on Sudan. While not using the word sanctions, EU officials said the 25-member bloc would push for such a move by the U.N. Security Council if Sudan did not cooperate with efforts to end violence that has killed 30,000 in Darfur and caused 1 million to flee. Some 2.2 million are in urgent need of food or medical attention, aid groups estimate. ... Meanwhile a group calling itself Mohammed's army called on Muslims to prepare to fight Western forces sent on any mission to western Sudan. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has not ruled out military intervention in Darfur, where the U.S. Congress has labeled as genocide a campaign by Arab militias against black Africans. The violence in Darfur began 15 months ago when two rebel groups from Darfur's African tribes took up arms in a struggle over land and resources. Arab militias known as Janjaweed then began a brutal campaign to drive out the black Africans. The EU cited "grave concern" at events in Darfur, saying they were "alarmed by reports of massive human rights violations" perpetrated by the Janjaweed militia rebels, "including systematic rape of women."

07-26-2004 PARIS, France (CNSNews) French Grapple With Radical Islam and Its Teachings. In an effort to tighten security against radical Muslims, the French parliament has passed legislation allowing the expulsion of foreigners who advocate hatred or violence against women. ... In the controversial interview with Lyon Mag, Bouziane also defended polygamy and said he was the father of 16 children. He also said he was in favor of an Islamic republic in France and everywhere else in the world.

07-26-2004 West Virginia, USA (BBC) US Muslim woman defies hardliners. Indian Muslim Asra Nomani has found herself on the frontline of a battle for women's rights in Islam in the United States. She entered the local mosque through the front door and dared to pray alongside men, an act that has triggered heated discussions among America's Muslim community. ... In their campaign to silence her, she has been depicted as heretical, misguided and westernized, someone in need of reform. They argue that women should only be allowed to enter a mosque through the back door, pray from the balcony and quietly go home.

07-26-2004 LONDON, England (Ekklesia) Williams to make 9/11 speech praising Islam. The Archbishop of Canterbury is to mark the third anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks by praising Islam in an address from the pulpit of an Egyptian mosque, reports the Sunday Times. Rowan Williams has accepted an invitation to speak at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, considered by many to be the Muslim world's most important centre of learning, the newspaper said.

07-26-2004 MADRID, Spain (IHT) Spain considering plan to subsidize mosques. The Spanish government has begun formal discussions on a proposal to subsidize mosques in an effort to make them less dependent on financing from extremist groups abroad, according to government officials.

07-25-2004 JERUSALEM, Israel (Ha'aretz) Officials fear Jewish extremists may crash plane on Temple Mount. withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The Shin Bet security service and the police are preparing for a number of possible terror attack scenarios at the sacred Old City site, Israeli security sources said last night. Speaking on the Channel Two "Meet the Press" program yesterday, Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi confirmed that the security establishment had identified rising intent among right-wing extremists to carry out a Temple Mount attack.

07-22-2004 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Strait Times Singapore) Four who renounced Islam lose appeal in top court. Four Malaysians who renounced Islam lost an appeal in the nation's top court where they had sought a declaration that they have freedom to practise the faith of their choice, their lawyer said yesterday. 'The Federal Court this morning dismissed the appeal after taking nine months to deliberate the matter,' said Mr Ang Hean Leng. Mr Daud Mamat, 62, Ms Kamariah Ali, 51, her late husband Mohamad Ya and Mr Mad Yacob Ismail, 62, who served 20 months in jail for 'deviant practices inconsistent with Islamic teachings', renounced Islam in 1998. They were charged with contempt of the Syariah court for refusing to attend repentance classes which were part of the earlier sentence and were jailed for another three years in 2000.

07-21-2004 BONN, Germany (Islam OnLine) German Greens Propose Muslims Shura Council. According to the Green Party's initiative, the elected chairman of the Muslim Shura Council will be the legitimate representative of Muslims in the state and deal on their behalf with the administrative, legislative and legal authorities. Once the Shura Council is formed and its chairman elected, the state should apply the minority protection law on Muslims, granting them the highest possible protection as a religious minority. ... The Greens expect positive results from their initiative, including obliging state schools to teach Islam to Muslim students with Muslims being allowed to participate in outlining the curriculum. ... It noted that issues such as hijab, sheep sacrifice, Islamic cemetery as well as religious and sex education are now taking center stage in parliament session and even in court.

07-21-2004 USA (CNN) Experts: Beheadings pervert legitimate law. "It was akin to an animal being slaughtered," said Bernard Haykel, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at New York University who saw one of the executions on a Web site. "It was literally how you slaughter sheep. ...They slit the throat (at) the two carotid arteries, and they severed the head. ... "That is consistent with Islamic law if one recognizes al Qaeda as the properly constituted head of the Islamic state," Haykel said. "It is a legitimate practice in Islamic law to behead your enemy if the ruler so deems it as a punishment that is required." ... Doran concurred that the militants may be looking to Shariah to justify the brutality of the deaths."

07-21-2004 CHICAGO, Illinois (Chicago Sun-times) Protestants soon to be minority in U.S., study finds. According to survey results from more than 43,000 Americans gathered over the last 30 years, the percentage of Protestants in the national population has shrunk from 63 percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 2002. ... "There is some evidence that a large portion of this problem is that a fair number of marginal Protestants are not really engaged in their faith and therefore didn't pass it on to their kids," Smith said.

07-20-2004 Scotland (Scotsman) Living with the legacy of rape and genocide. I sat with the women and we looked across the border to the mountains of Sudan, the country they had been forced to flee. "They killed my husband when they raided the village," 26-year-old Fatima told me. "We could not count but it seemed like a thousand of them came, riding horses and camels. They had guns and swords. The government also came. They rode in cars and fired Dushka guns." Fatima fled to El Geneina, a large town in western Sudan. "I went out of the town to find wood and was stopped by three Arabs on horseback," she said. She was repeatedly raped before finding her way back to the shack where she stayed with her two children - a girl, Najat, 7, and a boy, Mohammed, 2. Now five months pregnant as a result of the rape, she could no longer bear the uncertain future: "It was risky travelling here to Chad, but what would happen if I stayed in Sudan?"

07-20-2004 KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) In Kuwait, more young Arabs embrace return to conservative Islam. Young and well-educated, Sami al-Mutairi parked his royal blue luxury sedan behind a roadside sand berm and waited. He knew that carloads of American troops traveled the dusty road. Prosecutors say he cradled an AK-47 assault rifle in his hands. Al-Mutairi, 25, was from a large middle-class family, part of a major tribe in this gilded Persian Gulf state. He had a good government job as a social worker, and in college he had been known as an outspoken member of the liberal students group on the manicured campus of Kuwait University. But shortly after he graduated in June 2001, something changed. He became more stridently religious and began echoing the ideology of another wealthy Arab: Osama bin Laden. In time, al-Mutairi's once-vocal resentment of restrictive Arab culture transformed into a zealous rejection of the West's policies toward Muslims.

07-19-2004 BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) Amnesty condemns Sudan rapes. "Arab militias in Sudan are gang-raping and abducting girls as young as eight and women as old as 80, systematically killing, torturing, or using them as sex slaves, an Amnesty International report said on Monday. Militias known as Janjaweed, which rights groups say are backed by the government, have been fighting rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region since last year, triggering one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. "When we tried to escape they shot more children," one woman identified only as A. told Amnesty researchers. "They raped women, I saw many cases of Janjaweed raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell us that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish.""

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07-17-2004 CHARLESTON, W.Va (Corvallis Gazette-Times) Step for equality: Woman leads push for more participation within U.S. Islam. "During Ramadan last year, Asra Nomani took a deep breath and entered the front door of the Islamic Center in Morgantown, shunning tradition and the women's balcony to pray on the main floor. The 38-year-old single mother had no intention of praying right next to the men — an act that would seem shocking to the congregants. But she did want to see and hear the prayer leader, and was willing to break down gender barriers to do it. She hopes her simple act will be the first step toward improving Muslim women's rights at mosques across the nation."

07-16-2004 TOMBIA, Nigeria (AllAfrica) Nigeria: Self-Styled Rebel Seeks Independence for Oil-Producing Niger Delta. "But today these one-time glories are scorched and ruined wrecks on the battleground of an increasingly violent struggle for control of Nigeria's current economic lifeblood - crude oil. The man in charge at Tombia is Asari Dokubo, a self-styled revolutionary who dropped out of university and converted from Christianity to Islam. ... Dokubo studied law at the university of Calabar in south-eastern Nigeria, but dropped out in 1988 after converting to Islam and becoming strongly engaged in radical politics. He then spent several years visiting 38 countries around the world, including Egypt and Libya."

07-12-2004 Los Angeles, CA (FrontPage) Radical Islam's First Congressman. "We all knew that Cynthia McKinney would be drawing on Arab and Muslim supporters in her bid to return to Congress, but a listing of contributors (with information up through June 28) reveals to what an extraordinary extent this is the case, as shown by the names of her backers."

07-12-2004 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (MSNBC) Saudis facing return of radicals: Young Iraq veterans join underground. "An increasing number of Saudis who crossed the border into Iraq to fight the U.S.-led military occupation are returning home to plot attacks against the Saudi government and Western targets in the desert kingdom, according to Western counterterrorism officials and Saudis with ties to militant groups."

07-12-2004 Delaware (DelawareOnLine) Islam is rife with cruelty. "The repression of women proves that Islam is not a cultural system of peace and compassion. Honor killing of females for perceived indiscretions, polygamy, acid burning, genital mutilation and other horrors do not constitute care and understanding. In Jordan, generally considered the most Westernized of Islamic nations, 25 percent of all murders are honor killings."

07-07-2004 LONDON, England (BBC) PM quizzed over cleric's UK entry. "On the killing of women and children in Israel, he says: "Israeli women are not like women in our society because Israeli women are militarised." He says Allah has "given the weak what the strong do not possess and that is the ability to turn their bodies into bombs like the Palestinians do". Mr Al-Qaradawi was guest speaker at the European Council of Fatwa and Research in London's City Hall, hosted by Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. ... Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, echoed this view. He said: "Dr Al-Qaradawi is deeply respected by millions of Muslims around the world. "He has been a consistent opponent of the extremism espoused by al-Qaeda and similar groups, and has regularly denounced the killing of innocent people in the 11 September attacks.""

07-07-2004 LONDON, England (Independent.co.uk) Ministers urged to expel 'racist' preacher. "Tony Blair is under mounting pressure to expel a controversial Muslim cleric who declared last night that suicide bombers were "martyrs" whose actions were justified by Islam. Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who also has extreme views on Jews and gays and has said that husbands should beat "disobedient" wives, is on a speaking tour of Britain and will be "guest of honour" at a conference organised by the Greater London Authority. Although he has been banned from entering the United States since 1999, the British government did not bar him because the intelligence services did not have any evidence to justify such a move. The cleric fuelled the controversy over his visit by defending suicide bombings on BBC2's Newsnight last night. "This is not suicide, it is martyrdom in the name of God," he said. "It is allowed to jeopardise your soul and cross the path of the enemy and be killed, if this act of jeopardy affects the enemy, even if it only generates fear in their hearts, shaking their morale, making them fear Muslims.""

07-07-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (AP) Al-Jazeera Broadcasts Videotape of Armed Men Holding Filipino Hostage, Threatening to Kill Him. "Al-Jazeera television broadcast a videotape Wednesday of armed men holding a Filipino hostage and threatening to kill him if the Philippines does not withdraw its small force from Iraq in three days."

07-07-2004 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BBC) Protest at Pakistan Sharia plans. "Secular politicians in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province are protesting at an extension of Sharia law they say will "Talebanise" society. The Islamic alliance that runs the province is preparing the Hisbah bill, which would enshrine observance of strict Islamic codes in people's lives."

07-07-2004 Sudan (BBC) Sudan pressed further on Darfur. "The United Nations Security Council is being urged to impose sanctions on Sudanese officials when it meets to discuss the crisis in Darfur. A draft UN resolution proposed by the United States calls on Sudan to disarm the pro-government militia and impose travel and arms sanctions on them. But a human rights group said Sudanese officials must also be punished. Sudan agreed on Saturday to disarm Arab militias accused of "ethnic cleansing" Darfur's black African population. Human Rights Watch described the militias as a tool created by the Sudanese government, and as such, the authorities must share responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, where more than a million people have been displaced. According to the NGO Oxfam the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, people are still arriving in camps where food is running out, drinking water is scarce and makeshift shelters are collapsing."

07-03-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Kurdish Media) Iran is in Strong Position to Steer Iraq’s Political Future. "With the chaos of the occupation and now the loosening of American control here, Iran has moved into its best position in decades to influence the political shape of Iraq, Western and Iraqi officials say. Already, the Iranian government has quietly strengthened its presence in Iraq by providing financial backing to a range of popular Shiite Muslim groups and by flooding the country with intelligence agents, the officials say."

07-02-2004 PARIS, France (FrontPageMag.com) Beyond Munich – The Spirit of Eurabia. "The following presentation by Bat Ye'or was delivered at a seminar in the French Senate in Paris three weeks ago. ... Today the war is everywhere. And yet the European Union and the states which comprise it, have denied that war’s reality, right up to the terrorist attack in Madrid of March 11, 2004. If there is a danger as Europe proclaims urbi et orbi, that danger can only come from America and Israel. What should one understand? For can anyone seriously maintain that it is the American and Israeli forces that threaten us in Europe? No, what must be understood is that American and Israeli policies of resistance to jihadist terror provoke reprisals against a Europe that has long ago ceased to defend itself. So that peace can prevail throughout the world, those two countries, America and Israel, need only adopt the European strategy of constant surrender, based on the denial of aggression. How simple it all is…"

07-02-2004 DUBAI (Times of India) Al Qaida group vows to target Europe again. "An Al Qaida-linked group vowed to renew attacks on Europe and urged Muslims to flee once Osama bin Laden’s three-month truce ends on July 15, two Arabic-language newspapers reported on Friday. “To the European people ... you only have a few more days to accept Bin Laden’s truce or you will only have yourselves to blame,” said the statement purported to be from the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades which claimed responsibility for the March 11 train bombings in Spain."

07-01-2004 FAIRFAX, Virginia (CNN) Feds raid Virginia Islamic center. "Federal agents Thursday raided the Fairfax offices of a Saudi-based institute that served as a meeting point for men convicted of conspiring to support terrorism. A task force of federal agents, including the FBI, carried out boxes but made no arrests in the raid of the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences. ... The institute was a meeting point for a group of Islamic men who played paintball games in 2000 and 2001 as preparation for holy war, according to prosecutors. Nine of the 11 men charged in what prosecutors called a "Virginia jihad network" were convicted in federal court for their roles in the group. Earlier this year, 16 Saudi diplomats affiliated with the institute had their passports revoked. State Department officials said the diplomats were teaching at the institute rather than serving as diplomats."

07-01-2004 LONDON, England (Al-Jazeera) Special article: How Islam views Beheading incidents? "What is going on in Saudi Arabia? Is it terrorism or jihad to kill, murder and slaughter foreigners, especially Americans in Saudi Arabia? Is Islam urging and inciting Muslims to kill civilians, whether Americans, Europeans or from elsewhere? The answer is simply ‘NO, NEVER’. In fact, Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Islam is a word of love, peace, security, tolerance, stability, mercy and respect. Islam is derived from the word for ‘peace’. Islam respects all mankind, regardless of their religion, sex, color or language.

My simple advice to Al-Qaeda members is to go to either Iraq or Palestine to fight, kill and slaughter American and Israeli soldiers because that would be a real Jihad and they would be labeled as real freedom fighters and martyrs and because the Americans in Iraq and Israelis in Palestine are undoubtedly occupiers, killers, criminals and aggressors."


06-30-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (WND) Islamists kidnap Christian girl to force conversion. "It noted that the girl, whose name was not identified, had been abducted from a district in Cairo on June 2 and that local police are believed to have aided the Muslim abductors. Barnabas Fund's charge of alleged police involvement could not be confirmed independently. ... "During her initial abduction (April 6) she reports that she was sexually abused and drugged in order to manipulate her. A cross tattoo on her hand was forcibly removed," Barnabas Fund said. Her abductors allegedly tried "to force her to convert to Islam, and one now claims to be her husband," the organization added. Egyptian law specifically forbids the marriage of a girl under 21 without her parents' consent and also makes it illegal to convert a Christian girl under the age of 18, Barnabas Fund said."

06-29-2004 STRASBOURG, Germany (IndianExpress) Euro court backs headscarf ban. "Banning Muslim headscarves in schools does not violate the freedom of religion and is a valid way to counter Islamic fundamentalism, the European Court of Human Rights said on Tuesday. In what could be a precedent-setting decision, the Court rejected appeals by a Turkish student barred from attending Istanbul University Medical School in 1998 as her headscarf violated the official dress code. The court decision could help the French government face court cases it expects to be filed in September against a disputed headscarf ban it plans to impose in state high schools."

06-26-2004 Germany (Qantara) On Christian Strophes in the Koran. "In contrast to the new Anglo-Saxon school of Koran research (Wansbrough revisionism), which is working on versions of the holy book from two hundred years after the death of the Prophet Mohammad (632 A.D.), Lüling believes that essential parts of the Koran existed already before the arrival of the Prophet – i.e. in the form of Christian hymns and strophic poems. This is his main thesis, which he understands as a "reconstruction" of the "Ur-Koran". If Lüling is right, then much of what Muslims hold to be true would have to be thrown overboard, namely that the Koran as it appears today was revealed in toto to the Prophet and was compiled as a largely reliable text by Caliph Uthman, who ruled between 644 and 656."

06-26-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (IslamOnline.net) French Muslim Urges School Protest If Bandana Banned. "French Muslim activist proposed that parents keep their children from going to their public school for a week to show solidarity with any fellow Muslim student dismissed by the school for wearing bandana, suggested by the education minister to replace hijab in state-run schools."

06-26-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Seattle PI) Iraq sermons attack U.S. but urge unity. "The anti-U.S. content of the Friday sermons also underlines the failure of the United States to win the goodwill of most Iraqis, despite the United States' ridding the country of Saddam's dictatorship. "American soldiers are infidels," said Youssef Khodeir, a Sunni sheik and imam of the Saad Bani Moaz mosque in Baqouba, scene of the heaviest fighting Thursday. "The blood that is being shed every day is because we are not closing our ranks. The source of all power comes from adhering to the Quran.""

06-25-2004 (Florida Times Union) TERRORISTS: Don't judge by barbaric acts of a few. "The brutal beheadings of Nicholas Berg, Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-il are being been erroneously described as acts of "Islamic militancy." Certainly they are the actions of terrorists or militants, but they are not acts of Islam. The world of Islam should not be held accountable for the un-Islamic and barbaric deeds of a minuscule minority of more than a billion Muslims."

06-25-2004 (International Herald Tribune) For radical Islamists, beheadings as power. "Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam's holiest sites, is one of the few countries in the world to use decapitation as a form of the death penalty, basing it on the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic law. Most Muslim countries use the firing squad or hanging in official executions. The Saudi executioner uses a curved sword in a public square. Islamic authorities and some Muslim countries have denounced the beheadings by the militants, calling them a distortion of Muslim tradition and saying that the killing of innocents is forbidden by the faith. And experts on Islam are reluctant to link the manner of the killings to the religion."

06-25-2004 LOS ANGELES, Ca (Frontpage) Symposium: The Koran and Anti-Semitism. "Does Islam’s holy book promote anti-Semitism? To discuss this issue with us today, Frontpage Symposium has assembled a distinguished panel."

06-24-2004 (Korean Times) Islam Rejects Brutal Actions. "It is infuriating to hear that groups in the Middle East are starting to behead people as a tool against foreign presence in Iraq and in Saudi Arabia. It is equally infuriating to hear that they pretend they do this despicable act in the name of Islam; and it is most painful to share the reactions of the bereaved. While there are people dying in the name of one belief or the other every day in the Middle East, the pure brutality of such deliberate acts is unimaginable. To non-Muslims: We ask that you not judge Muslims or Islam by the acts of these beasts, but please take the time to speak to a knowledgeable Muslim and find out what Islam is really about. You will see there really is not much of a difference between your belief and Islam. To the "Muslims" who are engaged in such brutal actions: We ask that you stop and study the Quran. You will see that God clearly rejects such actions and condemns people who cannot show mercy and forgiveness."

06-24-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq(News Day) Scholars decry ghastly tactic of beheading: Beheadings gain widespread attention, but they have no legitimate basis in Quranic ideology. "It has become a terrifying spectacle disseminated by videotape: masked men calmly reading statements and then beheading their hostages. The speeches are mostly political; occasionally they have invoked vague religious justifications for the killings. But there is little precedent in Islamic holy texts and tradition for carrying out decapitations, scholars say. Islam's holy book, the Quran, provides clear prohibitions against killing civilians and bans mistreatment of prisoners. "There is absolutely nothing in Islam that justifies cutting off a person's head," said Yvonne Haddad, a professor at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. "In fact, Islam was the first major religion to set guidelines for the treatment of prisoners and the conduct of war.""

06-23-2004 Sudan (Data.Org) Sudan Emergency: Killing Continues. "Throughout the last 6 months the government of Sudan has carried out a policy of killing its own citizens in the Darfur region, as well as rape, sabotaging water sources, looting and other outrages. More than 1million people have been displaced and more than 30,000 are dead as a result of the continuing scorched-earth campaign being carried out jointly by the Sudanese government and local militias called the Janjaweed. With the rainy season approaching and famine and disease spreading, the United States Agency for International Development predicts more than 300,000 people will die this year even under "optimal conditions.""

06-23-2004 Sudan (AZ Central) U.S. can't ignore slaughter in Sudan, McCain warns. "In an op-ed article co-written by McCain and Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, published in The Washington Post, the two senators focus attention on the largely Arab Sudanese government and its teaming with the Janjaweed, a group of allied Arab militias, to crush an insurgency in Darfur, a Texas-sized region in western Sudan. "They are slaughtering civilians in a systematically scorched-earth campaign designed to 'ethnically cleanse' the entire region of Black Africans," states the article, adding that these "horrific" methods have made the region "the site of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.""

06-23-2004 (Asia Straits Times) World condemns killing of Korean hostage. "Lebanon's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, said killing 'foreigners who are working and feel secure in Muslim countries ... is not sanctioned by Islam'. A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, Mr Masood Khan, said such killings were 'brutal and inhuman'. Malaysia also deplored the incident and said it hoped all parties would 'try to find a solution that will enable peace to prevail' in Iraq. A leader of Egypt's oldest and largest Muslim fundamentalist group said the execution was not 'representative of Muslim or Arab morals'. 'It is just a small group that does these kinds of things,' said Essam El-Erian, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood. A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday that Mr Annan was 'appalled' by what he called a 'heartless crime, which no political or other cause can justify'."

06-23-2004 (CNN) U.S. investigating possible genocide in Sudan. "Genocide has struck many victims over the past 65 years: European Jews during World War II, Cambodians in the late 1970s, Rwandans in 1994. There may be a new addition: The black African tribes of Darfur province in western Sudan have faced murder, displacement, pillage, razing of villages and other crimes committed by Arab militias known as janjaweed. The dictionary defines genocide as "the systematic killing of a racial or cultural group." The U.S. government is reviewing whether Darfur qualifies for the designation. "The janjaweed are the government's militia, and Khartoum has armed and empowered it to conduct 'ethnic cleansing' in Darfur," says Human Rights Watch."

06-22-2004 (Bradenton Herald) Pakistan's vow to rein in schools goes unfulfilled. "But more than two years later, the religious seminaries known as madrassas continue to operate with little oversight, many still preaching hatred of the West. Critics say the slow reform is a prime example of Pakistan's half-hearted effort to eradicate extremism. "Madrassa reform means nothing," said I.A. Rehman, director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. "That is the greatest proof of the government's lack of sincerity: You arrest 20 terrorists and train 2,000 more.""

06-22-2004 Sudan (WND) World ignoring genocide in Sudan. "The conflict between mainly black rebels in Western Sudan and government-backed Arab militiamen has led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of as many as 1 million people in what human rights groups are calling "ethnic cleansing.""

06-22-2004 (BBC News) S. Korean hostage beheaded in Iraq. "A South Korean hostage threatened with execution in Iraq has been killed, officials in Seoul have confirmed. The beheaded body of translator Kim Sun-il, 33, was found on the road between Baghdad and Falluja."

06-15-2004 USA (BBC News) Muslim comedians laugh at racism. ""We've made a lot of progress towards ending racism in America," he tells the audience. "But we've been hearing about it for decades. A black man says he can never get a fair trial in America." He pauses. "But Arabs and Muslims say they can't even get a trial." The audience roars appreciatively."

06-09-2004 Iranian (Persian Journal) Winning War Against Radical Islam. "As World War II turned against Japan, a "Divine Wind" of suicide warriors swarmed out of Japan against the forces of the United States. The unthinkable became a nightmare as Japanese pilots crashed their planes into American ships. Suicidal Japanese soldiers and even civilians blew themselves up to destroy American targets on the ground. ... The answer was found in the Japanese religion of Emperor worship. The religious belief that the Emperor of Japan was God not only motivated the Kamikaze pilots and the ritual of Seppuku (also known as hari-kari), but it was also the very heart and soul of the entire Japanese War effort. ... The United States president and military advisors had a dilemma before them. Since the root of Japanese militancy was the Shinto religion, they had to face the fact that unless they addressed the religion that motivated the suicide pilots, the War would drag on and on. Did the President of the United States publicly proclaim that the religion of Shintoism was a peaceful and wonderful religion? Did he attend a Shinto temple and bow in worship before a picture of the Emperor? Did he state that all religions worship the same universal God? Did government officials rush to announce that the religion of Emperor Worship had been hijacked by terrorists and perverted into a violent religion? Did they threaten to prosecute any American citizen who made anti-Shinto comments?"

06-08-2004 Saudi Arabia (CNN) Saudi poll: Wide support for bin Laden. "Almost half of all Saudis said in a poll conducted last year that they have a favorable view of Osama bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric, but fewer than 5 percent thought it was a good idea for bin Laden to rule the Arabian Peninsula. The poll involved interviews with more than 15,000 Saudis and was overseen by Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi national security consultant. It was conducted between August and November 2003, after simultaneous suicide attacks in May 2003 when 36 people were killed in Riyadh. Obaid said he only recently decided to reveal the poll results because he felt the public needed to know about them."

06-08-2004 IRAQ (Insight) Christians Begin Exodus From Iraq. "Facing a June 30 deadline for transfer of power, a temporary constitution that reads, in Article 7, that Islam is the "Official Religion of the State," and the most recent humiliation for the community — the failure to receive even one position on the Executive Council and only one ministry post, the Ministry of Emigration — the Christians of Iraq are voting with their feet. "On a recent night the church had to spend more time on filling out baptismal forms needed for leaving the country than they did on the [worship] service," says Amir, a deacon at a local church who does not want his full name published. "We have been flooded with parishioners desperate to leave the country, and as they cannot get an exit permit without a baptismal certificate from the church we have been swamped with requests. ... In recent days nearly 400 families as far as we can tell have filled out baptismal forms to leave the country. Our community is being decimated.""

06-07-2004 GULFPORT, Florida (Tampa Tribune) Rights Work In Homeland Pushes Student. "She came to this country fleeing persecution after being targeted by religious extremists in her native Pakistan. Lawyer Neelofer Syed made legal history - and enemies - when she won a landmark case in Pakistan that established the right for women to marry without their parents' permission. ''People who discriminate against women,'' she declares, ''are so yesterday.'' Determined to return to Pakistan to work for peace and human rights despite attempts on her life, the 29-year-old advanced studies student at Stetson University College of Law is optimistic about the future of her country and her role in shaping it."

06-07-2004 Middle East (Arutz Sheva) PA TV Continues to Promote Child Sacrifice. "Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) organization report this week that Palestinian Authority television is continuing its encouragement of death for Arab children. PA television yesterday broadcast a long interview with the parents of two children killed while attempting an attack on a Jewish town in 2003. A picture of the dead children with the text "The Popular Resistance Committee proudly announces the falling of [the] shahids of the great Islam" was shown throughout the interview. PMW reports that the interviewer praised 15-year-old Mohammed who "always aspired to shahada [martyrdom] despite his young age…." He said the two dead child combatants "became outstanding for all Palestinians, outstanding in their medals of honor -- shahada.""

06-03-2004 San Diego, CA (FrontPage Magazine) The Koran and the Jews. "The Qur’an [Chapter 5:20-21‎] goes on to say why the Israelites were not allowed to enter the land for forty ‎years...but the thrust of my analysis is where Moses says that the Holy Land is that which ‎God has "written" for the Israelites. In both Jewish and Islamic understandings of the ‎term "written", there is the meaning of finality, decisiveness and immutability. And so we ‎have the Written Torah (unchangeable) and the Oral Torah (which represents change to ‎suit times). And in the Qur'an we have "Written upon you is the fast"—to show that this ‎is something that is decreed, and which none can change. So the simple fact is then, from ‎a faith-based point of view: If God has "written" Israel for the people of Moses, who can ‎change this? ‎The Qur'an refers to the exiles, but leaves it open for return...saying to the Jews that if ‎they keep their promise to God, then God will keep the divine promise to them. We may ‎argue that the present state of Israel was not created in the most peaceful means, and that ‎many were displaced—for me, this is not the issue. The issue is that when the Muslims ‎entered that land in the seventh century, they were well aware of its rightful owners, and ‎when they failed to act according to divine mandate (at least as perceived by followers of ‎all Abrahamic faiths), they aided and abetted in a crime. And the present situation shows ‎the fruits of that action—wherein innocent Palestinians and Israelis are being killed on a ‎daily basis. ‎"

06-05-2004 NAJAF, Iraq (Taipei Times) Silence is the dress code for women. "Muqtada al-Sadr, the rebel cleric, has just finished his Friday sermon and his militiamen are securing the area around his car. One notices a woman, swathed in robe and head scarf. Everything but her face and hands are covered. Yet she is told to go stand in a corner, because the guards have to be alert and her "presence here confuses us." "Is it because I'm a woman?" I ask. "Yes. Please stand there." "Why do you treat women as though we are the devil?" "No, on the contrary, we respect them.""

06-04-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (Middle East Times) Delayed reaction over Saadawi book. "The Islamic Research Council at Al Azhar University has called on the Egyptian government to ban five books, including Soqout Al Imam (The Fall of the Imam) by the controversial feminist author Nawal Al Saadawi."

06-04-2004 Australia (The Australian) Indo clerics ban female leaders. "A GROUP of Indonesian clerics has placed a religious ban on female leaders in another blow to embattled President Megawati Sukarnoputri as she struggles to overcome plummeting support for her re-election bid. The clerics, all senior members of the country's largest Islamic organisation, the 40-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama, yesterday issued a fatwa, or religious edict, outlawing the election of a female to the presidency."

06-02-2004 PAKISTAN (HiPakistan) Source of brainwashing. "For years Pakistan’s establishment has fed a fictitious account of history to the Pakistani people. Young Pakistanis are taught not to question clichés about their nation’s greatness and unique place in the world. Alternative worldviews are discouraged and their exponents described as ‘traitors’."


05-31-2004 LONDON, England (CNN) UK: Sudan needs urgent aid. "The humanitarian crisis in Sudan is "desperately serious" and urgently requires aid, Britain's International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said Monday. A 15-month insurgency in the Darfur region of western Sudan, where fighting between the government and rebels has raised fears of ethnic cleansing of mainly African tribes by government-backed Arab militias [Islamic fundamentalists], has made 1 million people homeless."

Will Bush Stop Sudan Genocide?

Perhaps it's because the victims are Christians. Perhaps it's because they are black. Perhaps it's because the murderers are openly and brazenly killing in the name of Islam. Or maybe it's because major oil companies are benefiting from the slaughter. Whatever the explanation, the facts are devastatingly clear: More than 2 million Sudanese have died as victims of an Islamic jihad, a so-called "holy" war, and until now the Western press and governments have responded with virtual silence.

04-30-2004 VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS, INC., Plaintiff, v. ANDREW WHITEHEAD, Defendant, (Law No. CL04-926). Why Is CAIR Suing Anti-CAIR?

05-25-2004 LONDON, England (CBC News) Iraq war revitalized al-Qaeda, report says. "The war in Iraq has boosted membership in al-Qaeda and helped revitalize the network, a London-based think-tank warned Tuesday. The International Institute for Strategic Studies says the recent bombings in Spain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia show the network has fully recovered after losing its base in Afghanistan. The report, cited by BBC News Online, says the network run by Osama bin Laden is growing. It quotes intelligence estimates as saying al-Qaeda is active in 60 countries and has "18,000 potential terrorists at large.""

05-25-2004 FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) Fallujah emerging as Islamic mini-state. "With U.S. Marines gone and central government authority virtually nonexistent, Fallujah resembles an Islamic mini-state - anyone caught selling alcohol is flogged and paraded in the city. Men are encouraged to grow beards and barbers are warned against giving "Western" hair cuts. "After all the blood that was shed, and the lives that were lost, we shall only accept God's law in Fallujah," said cleric Abdul-Qader al-Aloussi, offering a glimpse of what a future Iraq may look like as the U.S.-led occupation draws to a close. "We must capitalize on our victory over the Americans and implement Islamic sharia laws." The departure of the Marines under an agreement that ended the three-week siege last month has enabled hard-line Islamic leaders to assert their power in this once-restive city 30 miles west of Baghdad. Some were active in defending the city against the Marines and have profited by a perception - both here and elsewhere in Iraq - that the mujahedeen, or Islamic holy warriors, defeated a superpower."

05-22-2004 TORONTO, Canada (Toronto Star) Ontario sharia tribunals assailed: Women fighting use of Islamic law. "Last fall, Arjomand, now a transitional counsellor in Toronto for immigrant women, heard the province had quietly approved the use of Islamic law in Ontario's Muslim community. A group she'd never heard of, called the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice, had gained the right to hold tribunals, darul qada, in which marriage, family and business disputes can be settled according to sharia. The 1,300-year-old body of laws and rules for living was inspired by the Qur'an, Islam's holy book. Arjomand was horrified."

05-22-2004 BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) More prison abuse photos disclosed. "Photographs published in The Washington Post depicted a U.S. soldier apparently preparing to strike a shackled detainee, a hooded inmate collapsed with his wrists handcuffed to a railing and a baton- wielding soldier appearing to order a naked detainee covered in a brown substance to walk a straight line with his ankles shackled."

05-21-2004 BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) Thousands of Shiite Muslims Rally Across Middle East Against U.S. Fighting in Iraq Holy Cities. "Thousands of Shiite Muslims demonstrated in Beirut Friday to warn the United States against attacking holy sites in Iraq. Smaller groups rallied in three other Mideast nations, with protesters in Bahrain clashing with police. Wearing white shrouds symbolizing their readiness to die in defense of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq, demonstrators marched through Beirut's suburbs. Many chanted "death to America, death to Israel.""

05-14-2004 LONDON, England (CNN) Fake abuse photos: Editor quits. "The Daily Mirror says its editor Piers Morgan has resigned over the publication of "fake" pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees. Earlier Friday, the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, in which the soldiers allegedly pictured were serving, demanded an apology from the Mirror over the photographs which it said had "unjustly sullied" its reputation. Regimental commander Brigadier Geoff Sheldon said the regiment had proved that the photos alleging abuse of Iraqi prisoners were fake. Commenting on a front page picture in the Daily Mirror depicting a British soldier allegedly urinating on an Iraqi prisoner, Brig. Sheldon said: "It wasn't a British soldier degrading an Iraqi. "It was a mocked-up fake, not even taken in Iraq." The British officer described the Mirror's allegations as "utter and complete nonsense."

05-13-2004 VIRGINIA, USA (National Review) The War that Dare Not Speak Its Name: The battle is against militant Islam, not “Terror” "Terrorism is not an enemy. It is a method. It is the most sinister, brutal, inhumane method of our age. But it is nonetheless just that: a method. You cannot, and you do not, make war on a method. War is made on an identified — and identifiable — enemy. In the here and now, that enemy is militant Islam — a very particular practice and interpretation of a very particular set of religious, political and social principles."

05-11-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (MSNBC) Islamic Web site claims revenge killing: Video shows beheading of man identified as American. “My name is Nick Berg, my father’s name is Michael, my mother’s name is Susan,” the man said on the video. “I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ... Philadelphia.” After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” — “God is great.” They then held the head out before the camera. Berg was a small-business owner from the Philadelphia suburbs, his family said Tuesday."

05-11-2004 New York, NY (Salt Lake Tribune) Arab world, cursed by oil, forgets that its people are top resource. "I visited the Japanese cell phone company DoCoMo in Tokyo recently. A robot made by Honda gave me part of the tour, even bowing in perfect Japanese fashion. My visit there coincided with yet another suicide bomb attack against U.S. forces in Iraq. I could not help thinking: Why are the Japanese making robots into humans, while Muslim suicide squads are making humans into robots? The answer has to do in part with the interaction between culture and natural resources. Countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China have relatively few natural resources like oil. As a result, in the modern age, their first instinct is to look inward, assess their weaknesses, try to learn as much as they can from foreigners and then beat them at their own game. In order to beat the Westerners, they have even set aside many of their historical animosities so they can invest in each other's countries and get all the benefits of free trade."

05-06-2004 MANCHESTER, NH (Union Leader) CAIR declares war on conservative talk radio show hosts. "The Council on American-Islamic Relations won’t condemn Muslim fanatics, but it has declared war on outspoken Americans who will. CAIR, which calls itself “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group,” has lately focused its wrath on conservative radio talk show hosts. A new report by the group released this week attempts to tie talk radio to a dubious “sharp jump” in (self-reported) “Islamophobic hate crimes” in the United States. CAIR fights dirty — fabricating quotes, taking comments out of context, indulging in the cult of victimology and exploiting a gullibly sympathetic press. By manufacturing an anti-Muslim hate epidemic that doesn’t exist, CAIR obfuscates its own suspicious role in fomenting anti-American extremism. The most recent target of CAIR’s campaign to stifle critics of radical Islam is Boston-based radio talk show veteran Jay Severin. On April 23, CAIR issued a press release headlined: “Boston Radio Host Says Kill All Muslims; Islamic Civil Rights Group Calls for Host’s Termination.” On April 25, the Boston Globe parroted the charges in a story that quoted CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed accusing Severin of saying on his show, “I’ve got an idea, let’s kill all Muslims.” Just one teensy problem with the story. It wasn’t true. On April 27, the Globe was forced to publish a correction admitting that Severin never said “kill all Muslims.” CAIR, however, has refused to admit the fabrication and continues to call for Severin’s termination."

05-06-2004 TORONTO, Canada (Toronto Sun) U.S. torturers will be brought to justice. "Iraqis lacked the leadership and good sense to accept their liberators as friends and work with Americans to build a relatively free and prosperous society for themselves, as the South Koreans have done. America is a free and open society, and its institutions, including its armed forces, reflect its values. But a democratic society is not without faults, and these inescapably do surface in its institutions. What distinguishes America, as democracies are distinct from tyrannies, is its rule of law, providing a system of government for a society that demands accountability from its representative institutions. In the understandable outrage that has seized the Arab-Muslim world, what is missing is the sort of sober reflection that put things into perspective. The inexcusable abuse captured on film pales in comparison to the horrors that were routine in the same prison during Saddam Hussein's rule, and in prisons elsewhere in the neighbourhood. ... The exposure of these abuses has come from Americans themselves, and proper military investigations will reach into the ranks of those who have sullied America's reputation abroad so grievously — and punish them."

05-06-2004 MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (NYTimes) Hate at the Local Mosque. "Not long ago in my little mosque around the corner from a McDonald's, a student from the university here delivered a sermon. To love the Prophet Muhammad, he said, "is to hate those who hate him." He railed against man-made doctrines that replace Islamic law, and excoriated the "enemies of Islam" who deny strict adherence to Sunnah, or the ways of Muhammad. While he wasn't espousing violence, his words echoed the extremist vocabulary of Wahhabism, used by some followers to breed militant attitudes."


04-29-2004 ZAMFARA, Nigeria (Afrika.no) Nigeria: Zamfara government orders demolition of all churches. "Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State, has ordered the demolition of all churches in the state, as he launched the second phase of his Sharia project yesterday. Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran. He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found. ... "The governor has no constitutional power to demolish churches in his state. The constitution guarantees the right of worship of every Nigerian. Nigeria is a secular state and a serving governor should not be seen as promoting one religion over the other ," Barrister Kuye declared."

06-26-2004 HAMTRAMCK, MI (Detroit News) Cultures collide in diverse Hamtramck: Uproar over Islamic call to prayer pits tolerance, tradition. "Tuesday night, the five-member City Council is expected to give final approval to an amendment to Hamtramck’s noise ordinance that will regulate the calls to prayer. Twenty days later, the amendment will go into effect, and the al-Islah Islamic Center will be allowed to broadcast its call to prayer over loudspeakers. The call to prayer, lasting one to two minutes, has been an Islamic tradition for 1,400 years. Historically sung from the minaret of a mosque, today the call often is a recording played over loudspeakers. Although it is a public event in other parts of the world, mosques in the United States generally give the call to prayer inside their walls. In Hamtramck, the call will be made live, five times a day, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., said Masud Khan, associate imam and secretary at al-Islah. While only one mosque requested permission to broadcast the calls to prayer, the ordinance would allow the city’s other two mosques to follow suit if they wish. The ordinance applies to any kind of religious announcement at any house of worship. "

04-20-2004 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) Saudi suicide bomb kills 9. "At least nine people have been killed and 125 wounded in a suicide bombing outside the Saudi General Security Building in the capital, Riyadh, hospital sources say. Television pictures from the scene showed the entire front of the five-story building had been shattered. Burned-out and damaged cars littered the area. ... A senior Interior Ministry official said that authorities, tipped off that six explosions had been planned, found and defused five of the bombs."

04-20-2004 ROME, Italy (AP) Italian Mobsters have Links to Islamic Terrorist Groups. "Italian mobsters and Islamic terrorist groups have forged links in arms and drug trafficking, Italy's top anti-Mafia investigator said. Pierluigi Vigna, Italy's national anti-Mafia prosecutor, singled out a Naples mob known as the Camorra, which deals in arms and drugs, among other rackets. ... Asked if these were Islamic terrorist groups, he replied, "Muslim terrorist groups." He said judicial secrecy prevented him from describing the evidence. But Vigna suggested that the collaboration might have begun when a Camorra member who converted to Islam met fellow Muslims jailed in Italy."

04-20-2004 PARIS, France (AP) Cleric Who Advocated Wife-Beating Is Held. "An Algerian-born Muslim cleric who said wife-beating was justified in cases of adultery has been detained and will be expelled from France, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday. The announcement about Chirane Abdelkader Bouziane, an imam in the Lyon suburb of Venissieux, came after France deported another Algerian-born imam who was accused of preaching radical Islam. Bouziane was detained hours after Justice Minister Dominique Perben said he may have to answer for his remarks. ``The government cannot tolerate remarks in public that are contrary to human rights, detrimental to human dignity and in particular to the dignity of women, (or) calls of hate, violence or defense of terrorism,'' the ministry said in a statement."

04-16-2004 Saudi Arabia (BBC News) Saudi presenter shows beaten face. "A TV presenter who says she was beaten by her husband has allowed newspapers to show pictures of her swollen face to highlight domestic abuse. Rania al-Baz said her husband, Mohammed al-Fallatta, beat her so hard earlier this week that he broke her nose and fractured her face in 13 places. After beating her, Mr Fallatta took her to hospital and fled, her mother reportedly added. "I want to use what happened to me to draw attention to the plight of women in Saudi Arabia," Ms Baz said. ... The BBC's correspondent Kim Ghattas says this is probably the first time ever that a case of domestic violence has received media coverage in Saudi Arabia. It is a deeply conservative society, where Islamic Sharia law is strictly enforced and where honour and appearances are hugely important. The presence of problems such as domestic violence, rape, paedophilia or Aids is often simply not acknowledged our correspondent adds."

"Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them." Qur'an, Sura An-Nisa (women) 4:34

04-11-2004 LAGOS, Nigeria (AllAfrica.com) Nigeria: Christian Group Quits Peace Talks With Muslims in Kaduna. "More than 3,000 people have died in clashes in the state capital of Kaduna, since 2000. However, CAN leaders said on Friday that the process has been undermined by a series of attacks against Christians that have claimed more than 1,000 lives and razed 63 churches since the beginning of the year. The latest incident took place in the town of Makarfi, 150 km north of Kaduna city on 4 April. Islamic militants burnt down nine churches in the town. "Right now we have withdrawn from the peace process because of these attacks," Saidu Dogo, secretary general of CAN in northern Nigeria, told IRIN."

04-10-2004 Wichita, Kansas (Wichita Eagle) American Muslims are becoming more active in religion and politics. "Muslims in the United States are becoming more religious and politically active, they tend to believe America is an immoral society and members of the younger generation appear more conservative than their parents, according to a detailed study to be released Tuesday. The terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had a lasting effect on the lives of American Muslims and led to two significant changes, the researchers said: More are attending mosques and activities in Islamic centers, and they want to become more involved in American politics to change policies they oppose."

04-10-2004 CAIRO, Egypt (Herald Tribune) Crowds Protest U.S.-Led Seige of Fallujah. "Across the Middle East, angry crowds on Friday denounced the U.S.-led siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah and praised insurgents for resisting what clerics and commentators likened to Israeli attacks. At Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque, one of Sunni Islam's oldest, some 500 men called President Bush "the enemy of God" and demanded Egypt expel the American and Israeli ambassadors from Egypt."

04-09-2004 Washington, DC (US Department of Justice) Randall Todd Royer and Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Hamdi Sentenced for Participaton in Virginia Jihad Network. "Royer, 31, pled guilty in January 2004 to a two-count criminal information charging him with aiding and abetting the use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and with aiding and abetting the carrying of an explosive during the commission of a felony. In his plea agreement, Royer admitted to aiding and abetting co-defendants Masoud Khan, Yong Ki Kwon, Muhammed Aatique and Khwaja Mahmoud Hasan in gaining entry to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, where they trained in the use of various weapons. Royer also admitted to helping co-defendant Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Hamdi gain entry to the Lashkar-e-Taiba camp, where Al-Hamdi received training in the use of a rocket-propelled grenade in furtherance of a conspiracy to conduct military operations against India."

04-07-2004 CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) Bush, Annan call for end to Sudan fighting. "The Sudanese government must immediately stop local militias from committing atrocities against the local population and must provide unrestricted access to humanitarian aid agencies," Bush said. "I condemn these atrocities, which are displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and I have expressed my views directly to President [Omar] Bashir of Sudan."

04-02-2004 MANSFIELD, MA (Boston Globe) Islamic high school opens in renovated Catholic church. For nearly three quarters of a century, it served the Catholic community in Mansfield, first as a church and later as a place for religious education. Now, after sitting idle for nearly two decades, the former St. Mary's church is again filled with the voices of the faithful. But this time, they are the voices of Muslims.

04-07-2004 Washington, DC (Whitehouse.gov) President Condemns Atrocities in Sudan. "New fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan has opened a new chapter of tragedy in Sudan's troubled history. The Sudanese Government must immediately stop local militias from committing atrocities against the local population and must provide unrestricted access to humanitarian aid agencies. I condemn these atrocities, which are displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and I have expressed my views directly to President Bashir of Sudan. ... This civil war is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our time, responsible for the deaths of two million people over two decades."

04-06-2004 MANCHESTER, England (Manchester Online) I want to be a martyr says activist. A Manchester Muslim who publicly declared his support for the Madrid terrorists and claims he wants to be a "martyr" is being investigated by police today. Hassan Butt, 24, featured in a TV programme last night which alleged that British Muslims are preparing to take up arms despite the efforts of police and security forces."


03-31-2004 TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (Guardian, LTD) 20 Militants Seize Hostages in Uzbekistan. As many as 20 militants seized a large number of hostages Wednesday during a standoff with authorities after a grenade blast in Uzbekistan's capital, police said. A Russian television network said three people were wounded in the latest violence in the Central Asian nation. The Tashkent blast came at the end of a day when police scoured the capital in pursuit of fugitive militants, and reportedly arrested at least 30. A police official said those in custody so far were adherents of the strict Wahhabi Islamic sect, which was believed to have inspired Osama bin Laden, not members of an extremist group President Islam Karimov has implied were behind the attacks."

03-31-2004 FALLUJAH, Iraq (WND) Bodies mutilated after rebel attack: Locals drag Americans in streets, jubilant mob gives praise to Allah. "In Fallujah, the four bodies were pulled from two burning SUVs by jubilant Iraqis who dragged them through the streets and hung two from a Euphrates River bridge, according to news reports. Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the assault while others chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam," reported Fox News."


02-26-2004 BEIRUT, Lebanon (Zenit) Cardinal Sfeir Laments Efforts to Islamize Education in Lebanon. "Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, warns that an attempt is being made to Islamize public and private education in Lebanon. In a Lenten message to the faithful and all the population of Lebanon, published on the patriarchate's Web page, the Maronite patriarch invites the Lebanese to a "clear cooperation characterized by transparency." Cardinal Sfeir focuses on problems that affect the Lebanese governing class, including corruption, nepotism and the impossibility of making free decisions. ... Cardinal Sfeir is especially concerned about the attempt to Islamize both public and private education... "

02-24-2004 DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Top bin Laden deputy criticizes French headscarf ban. "An audiotape purported to be from Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri that aired on an Arabic television channel Tuesday criticized France's decision to ban Islamic headscarves in schools as part of the West's campaign against Islam. The decision of the French president to issue a law to prevent Muslim girls from covering their heads in schools is another example of the Crusader envy that the Westerners have against Muslims," the voice said in the tape broadcast on the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya satellite channel."

02-24-2004 TEHRAN, Iran (ABC — Australia) Reformists quit Iranian Parliament. "Scuffles have broken out during the first session of Iran's Parliament after the weekend election, which saw the conservatives return to power. Heated exchanges took place as reformists accused the hardliners of wanting a Taliban-style Islam. More than 80 incumbent deputies in the reformist-held Parliament were disqualified from standing in the elections by the Guardian Council, an unelected, 12-member political watchdog run by hardliners."

02-24-2004 Washington, DC (U.S. Department of State) CIA Chief Says Al-Qa'ida Remains Significant Threat to U.S. "He [CIA Director George Tenet] added that "the steady growth of Usama bin Ladin's anti-U.S. sentiment through the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad dissemination of al-Qa'ida's destructive expertise ensure that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future — with or without al-Qa'ida in the picture." He also said that regarding aircraft plots alone, U.S. intelligence has uncovered new plans to recruit pilots and to evade new security measures in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. "Even catastrophic attacks on the scale of 11 September remain within al-Qa'ida's reach," he said. "Make no mistake: these plots are hatched abroad, but they target U.S. soil or that of our allies.""

02-23-2004 PEMBA, Tanzania (AP) Muslim Missionaries Recruiting Africans For Holy War. "Muslim missionaries from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan have been visiting mosques in East Africa to recruit young men for holy war. Moderate Muslim leaders say the part-time preachers go from mosque to mosque spouting sermons of hate, then offer young men a chance to wage holy war in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan."

02-20-2004 DHAKA, Bangladesh (PakTribune) Another Taslima book banned. "The Bangladesh government has banned another book of controversial feminist writer Taslima Nasreen,who lives in exile. The book, "Shei Shab Andhakar (All that Darkness)", published from Kolkata, was banned since it contained "serious objectionable statements on Islam and Prophet Muhammad", a government order Thursday night said."

02-17-2004 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran's reformist lawmakers accuse ayatollah of trampling on freedom and basic rights. "In a daring move, more than 100 reformist legislators accused Iran's supreme leader of trampling on freedom and basic rights, sending him a letter seen Tuesday by The Associated Press. The legislators — including deputy speaker Mohammad Reza Khatami, a brother of President Mohammad Khatami — criticized Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for allowing the disqualification of about 2,400 liberal candidates in parliamentary elections set for Friday. It is very rare for anyone in this Islamic state to publicly criticize Khamenei, seen by his supporters as being incapable of error and answerable only to God."


01-28-2004 RABAT, Morocco, (BBC) Changing status of Morocco's shunned wives. "Moroccan women have been second-class citizens. Khadija begs for money in the bustling alleys of the ancient walled city of Rabat, Morocco's capital. "My husband repudiated me when I was three months pregnant," she says. Under Morocco's old family code Khadija's husband and thousands of other Moroccan men could verbally divorce their wives at any time, and their decision was legally binding. Khadija was thrown out of her family home. Living in a shanty town she supports her two children and an ageing father on what she can beg from passers by. Times are hard and Khadija has had to put her son in an apprenticeship with a tailor. He is just five years old."

01-27-2004 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) Saudi Arabia's clerics set boundaries on reforms. "When Saudi Arabia's top religious authority ruled this month that Islam forbids men and women to mix in public, he reset the boundaries for reformists pushing for women's rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom. ... "The mixing between men and women is totally forbidden under sharia (Islamic law) and highly punishable. It is...the root of every evil and catastrophe," said the mufti, a descendant of Mohammed Abdel Wahhab, the religious leader who with the ruling House of Saud founded Saudi Arabia. The ruling came after Saudi Arabia's leading businesswoman Lubna Olaya appealed at an economic forum in Jeddah for gender equality in Saudi Arabia. Pictures of her veil slipping from her head onto her shoulders -- powerful symbolism which echoed her words — enraged the mufti who said this violated Islamic teaching."

01-27-2004 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, (Billings Gazette) Afghanistan invasion halted early stages of al-Qaida WMD programs, security officials say. "An al-Qaida program to develop chemical and biological weapons was in the early "conceptual stages" when it was cut short by the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. and Malaysian security officials told The Associated Press. The information on the state of Osama bin Laden's weapons plan came from interrogations of terrorist suspects captured in Southeast Asia and from clues gathered in the Afghan battlefield, the authorities said."

01-27-2004 PARIS, France, (Philadelphia Inquirer ) Chirac's anti-hijab proposal flouts French, European law. "To many, France has shown moral strength in the last year by opposing the recent war in Iraq. That's why it's unsettling to see that President Jacques Chirac has recently proposed legislation that would ultimately ban Muslim women from wearing the hijab (head scarf), Jewish men from wearing yarmulkes, and Christians from wearing crosses in state institutions."

01-26-2004 TEHRAN, Iran, (NY Post) Tehran Terrorfest. "Meanwhile, militants from some 40 countries spread across the globe were trekking to Tehran for a 10-day "revolutionary jamboree" in which "a new strategy to confront the American Great Satan" will be hammered out. The event starts Feb. 1, to mark the 25th anniversary of the return to Iran from exile of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, the founder of the "Islamic Revolution." It is not clear how many militants will attend, but Iran's official media promise a massive turnout to underline the Islamic Republic's position as the "throbbing heart of world resistance to American arrogance.""

01-25-2004 LONDON, England (Sunday Times, Britain) Muslims outpace Anglicans in UK. Attendance at Britain’s mosques has outstripped the number of regular worshippers in the Church of England for the first time. Figures compiled from government and academic sources show that 930,000 Muslims attend a place of worship at least once a week, compared with 916,000 Anglicans. Muslim leaders said it was a landmark in the rise of Islam in Britain and that Muslims must receive a share of the Church of England’s privileged status.

01-15-2004 KARACHI, Pakistan, 16 hurt in Karachi bomb blasts: Bible Society office targeted. "At least 16 people, including a town police officer and two Rangers officials, were injured and 18 vehicles damaged, when a bomb planted in a Suzuki Hi-roof exploded in front of the Pakistan Bible Society (PBS) and Avari Towers in Saddar area on Thursday, police and witnesses said."

01-17-2004 DUBLIN, Ireland, Dublin demo over French Islam ban. "A protest is taking place today outside the French Embassy in Dublin against the decision by the French government to ban the wearing of Islamic headscarves in schools and government buildings."

01-17-2004 LONDON, England, Thousands protest in London against Islam headscarf ban. "More than 3,000 people have marched on the French embassy in central London to protest against plans by the French Government to ban the Islamic headscarf from schools. The demonstration was organised by a small radical Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and coincided with a major rally to be held in central Paris against the proposed legislation banning "conspicuous" religious insignia from schools. The group issued a statement saying: "The banning of the Islamic headscarf in France has opened up a new front in the war on Islam"."

01-17-2004 PARIS, France, Thousands at Paris demo against headscarf law. "Thousands of people were expected to attend a demonstration in Paris Saturday to protest against government plans to ban the Islamic headscarf and other "conspicuous" religious insignia from schools. Organised by a small group called the Party of French Muslims (PMF), the afternoon rally, due to begin at 2:30 pm (1330 GMT), was expected to draw large crowds from the capital's suburbs, where many in the immigrant Muslim community see the proposed law as an act of discrimination."

01-15-2004 KARACHI, Pakistan, Bomb Hurts 15 at Christian Site in Karachi. "The attack in the port city of Karachi occurred after police received an anonymous phone warning that the Pakistan Bible Society would be targeted, police said. Shortly after the officers arrived, assailants in a car drove up and lobbed a small explosive device at them. Fifteen minutes later, a bomb hidden in a nearby parked car exploded, police siad. Twelve people, among them six police and paramilitary officers, were injured, said Seemi Jamali, a doctor at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, where many victims were taken."

01-09-2004 DHAKA, Bangladesh, Bangladesh criminalizes religious books. "Starting Friday Bangladesh is banning all publications by an Islamic sect whose followers number 200 million worldwide, the BBC reported. ... The Ahmadiyyas, who number 100,000 in Bangladesh, do not believe Mohammed was necessarily the last prophet and strive for social change through non-violent means. The government also said it was banning the sale, distribution and preservation of all books and booklets on Islam published by the Ahmadiyya. A government spokesman said the ban "was imposed in view of objectionable materials in such publications that hurt or might hurt the sentiments of the majority Muslim population of Bangladesh." Orthodox Muslim leaders had threatened to start dismantling Ahmadiyya mosques if action were not taken against the group by Friday. An Ahmadiyya spokesman said the decision had shocked the entire community. "The government has bowed to religious terrorists."

01-09-2004 Washington, DC  (Beacon Journal) War III, a deadly war of ideas. "As the longtime Middle East analyst Abdullah Schleiffer once put it to me: World War II was the Nazis, using the engine of Germany to try to impose the reign of the perfect race, the Aryan race. The Cold War was the Marxists, using the engine of the Soviet Union to try to impose the reign of the perfect class, the working class. And 9/11 was about religious totalitarians, Islamists, using suicide bombing to try to impose the reign of the perfect faith, political Islam. OK, you say, but how can one possibly compare the Soviet Union, which had thousands of nukes, with al-Qaeda? Here's how: As dangerous as the Soviet Union was, it was always deterrable with a wall of containment and with nukes of our own. Because, at the end of the day, the Soviets loved life more than they hated us. Despite our differences, we agreed on certain bedrock rules of civilization. With the Islamist militant groups, we face people who hate us more than they love life. When you have large numbers of people ready to commit suicide, and ready to do it by making themselves into human bombs, using the most normal instruments of daily life -- an airplane, a car, a garage door opener, a cell phone, fertilizer, a tennis shoe -- you create a weapon that is undeterrable, undetectable and inexhaustible."

01-09-2004 LAHORE, Pakistan, Militants admit planning suicide attacks. "The six militants arrested in a Chauburji mosque last Saturday admitted during interrogations that they had planned suicide attacks on foreign consuls, imambargahs and mosques, sources told Daily Times on Thursday. Sources said the intelligence agencies had been watching the militants for a while. When the six gathered at the Al-Hilal mosque in Chauburji, once the central office of the Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami, a joint law enforcement and intelligence agency team arrested them."