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Global Islamic News 2003



12-31-2003 PARIS, France  (ABC News) Cardinal: Christians Second-Class in Muslim Lands. "Too many Islamic countries treat their Christian minorities as second-class citizens and bar them from building churches while Western states let their Muslims build mosques freely, according to a senior Vatican official. ... Stressing the need for respect for minorities, he singled out "the extreme case of Saudi Arabia, where freedom of religion is violated absolutely — no Christian churches and a ban on celebrating Mass, even in a private home." "Just like Muslims can build their houses of prayer anywhere in the world, the faithful of other religions should be able to do so as well," the French-born cardinal said."

12-30-2003 MANILA, Philippines  (Bradenton Herald) Philippines to Deport Two U.S. Brothers. "Philippine authorities said Tuesday they were set to deport two American brothers arrested for suspected links to terrorism and for allegedly meeting charity groups believed to be al-Qaida fronts in the country. One of the men, Michael Ray Stubbs, worked as a heating and air conditioning technician at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - a major nuclear weapons lab outside San Francisco - for about 10 years ending in 2000. Officials said the FBI was looking into whether he had access to sensitive information. Michael Ray Stubbs, 55, and his brother James, 56, a convert to Islam, were arrested on immigration violation charges Dec. 13 in the town of Tanza in Cavite province, 21 miles southwest of Manila, the Bureau of Immigration said. ... Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo told reporters Tuesday that James Stubbs met with members of the Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist group, as well as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front separatist movement, two groups loosely linked by Philippine officials to al-Qaida. ... The two had tourist visas but also carried documents indicating they were soliciting funds for the construction of Muslim schools and mosques, Domingo said. ... James Stubbs allegedly called for the overthrow of the U.S. government in statements to local authorities. According to Philippine military intelligence reports, James Stubbs left his job as a teacher in California to study Arabic in Sudan. He met in May with several charity groups suspected of being al-Qaida fronts and founded by Mahmoud Afif Abdeljalil - believed to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law."

12-19-2003 Washington, DC  (Star Ledger) U.S. report finds religious intolerance has global reach. "In Saudi Arabia, the report said, "Freedom of religion does not exist." It said the government continued to enforce "a strictly conservative version of Sunni Islam and suppress the public practice of other interpretations of Islam and non-Muslim religions." Non-Muslim worshippers, it said, risked "arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation and sometimes physical abuse.""

12-19-2003 Washington, DC  (CNN) U.S. links al Qaeda to Persian Gulf drug boat. "The U.S. Navy has intercepted a small vessel loaded with drugs in the Persian Gulf and seized 12 crew members, four of whom have "clear ties" to the al Qaeda terrorist group, Pentagon officials said Friday. The boarding took place Monday just inside the Strait of Hormuz by a team from the USS Decatur, a guided missile destroyer on patrol in the Persian Gulf. Found on board the 40-foot dhow, officials said, were 54 bags of hashish weighing 70 pounds each. The drugs would have a street value of between $8 million and $10 million, officials said."

12-19-2003 MILAN, Italy  (Star Ledger) Italy says it cracked ring that found and sent militants to Iraq. "Authorities in Europe have shut down a network that recruited at least 200 militants to carry out attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, Italian investigators told the Associated Press. The volunteers were drawn from Muslim youths living on the fringes of society in Western Europe, with loose connections to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam, a militant group in northern Iraq. One recruit from Italy may have been involved in an October rocket attack on the Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad while the U.S. assistant defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, was there, Italian officials said."

12-16-2003 ANKARA, Turkey  (Turkish News Daily) Head of KESK accused of insulting Islam. "Yildiz notes in the application he submitted to the Istanbul Palace of Justice on Monday that Evren, speaking at the 34th Congress of the Pharmacists Union, had said that the Koran courses reflected the ideas of 1,400 years ago, and that this constituted an insult against the Koran and the religion of Islam. The application says that these words were in violation of the 175th article of the Turkish Constitution and asked for an investigation to be conducted."

12-16-2003 KABUL, Afghanistan  (New York Times) Meeting on New Constitution, Afghan Women Find Old Attitudes. "Don't try to put yourself on a level with men, he told the women. Even God has not given you equal rights, he added, because under his decision two women are counted as equal to one man. He was referring to a provision of Islamic law, itself displeasing to many women, that says that the testimony of two women is equivalent to that of one man in some cases. He did not bother to couch the sentiment in a legal context, presenting it instead as a general principle."

12-07-2003 TOLEDO, OH  (Toledo Blade) Media urged to report fairly on Islam. ""Many Americans don’t know anything about our religion, our culture," she said. "We have to go out and talk to people and teach them by our actions." The forum was in line with those being held across the country - each a result of perceived and real biases and inaccuracies found in the media, said S. Zaheer Hasan."

12-07-2003 PASADENA, California  (Monterey Herald) Muslim, evangelical peace plan studied. "A leading evangelical Christian seminary is using federal funds to launch a $1 million program to ease strained relations with Muslims by barring proselytizing and the making of offensive statements about either religion. Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena is working on a proposed code of ethics that would be taught to both Muslim and Christian community leaders. ... Fuller's proposed code of ethics would bar the making of offensive statements about either faith, affirm a mutual belief in one God and prohibit proselytizing over the two-year span of the peace project."

12-06-2003 JAKARTA, Indonesia, (Tallahassee Democrat) The war for Islam in Indonesia. "Even here in Indonesia, where there is a strong tradition of tolerance, there is a war going on between radicals and moderates for Muslim hearts and minds. You can see that war in the police armed with automatic rifles, manning anti-vehicle barriers in front of my hotel and every other large Western-linked building in Jakarta. In August, Islamist terrorists blew up a suicide bomb in front of the Marriott Hotel here and are threatening to hit a long list of targets that includes schools attended by Western children. These are the same bombers who killed more than 200 people in Bali last year."

12-05-2003 CAIRO, Egypt, (Middle East Times) Christian convert held for altering IDs. "Christian groups have raised concerns about a woman being held in a Cairo jail for illegally altering her identity card to reflect her conversion from Islam to Christianity. Middle East Concern said Mariam Girgis Makar has been held for six weeks, after she was accused of altering her own identity card and helping others to alter theirs. Twenty people arrested for similar offenses at the same time as Makar have since been released; another died of illness in prison, according to Middle East Concern. Although the Egyptian constitution allows freedom of religion, critics say all religions are not treated equally in the country. For example, converts to Islam can get their identity cards changed within 24 hours, while converts from Islam find it impossible to change their cards at all."

12-05-2003 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, (Azcentral.com) Saudis take aim at hateful Islamic teachings. "At the al Hayer prison outside Riyadh, young inmates suspected of terrorist leanings undergo a unique form of rehabilitation: Islamic scholars lecture them on tolerant Islam, trying to purge their minds and souls of violent extremism. ... Saudi officials say they have "re-educated" thousands of Muslim clerics, shorn intolerant dogma from school textbooks and posted undercover agents in mosques known for vengeful diatribes against Americans and Jews. Two extremist clerics arrested for pro-terrorist statements repented on government television."

12-02-2003 BETHLEHEM, West Bank, (CNN) 'Miracle' baby draws Bethlehem crowds. "Adding to a tale spread mostly by word of mouth and published Monday in the Jerusalem Post, the baby — named in honor of his dead uncle — was born on the 27th day of the holy month of Ramadan, revered as the night the Koran was revealed to the prophet Mohammad. When local Muslim clerics learned of the baby's birthmark, they announced it on mosque loudspeakers. The family said several thousand people had converged on the house since then." Last year a 'Miracle' Hindu baby was born. Muhammad has a birth defect too. It was his seal of prophethood.


11-28-2003 Canada (WND) Canada prepares to enforce Islamic law. "Canadian judges soon will be enforcing Islamic law, or Sharia, in disputes between Muslims, possibly paving the way to one day administering criminal sentences, such as stoning women caught in adultery."

11-29-2003 NEW YORK, NY (The Day) The (Real) Mother Of All Battles. "Dear Bush: Well, it's been a while since we last communicated. It's not easy getting tapes out from this basement in Tikrit, but I thought it was time we had a little chat. Heard your speech on Arab democracy on the BBC Arabic Service. I'll give you this, Bush, you and Blair do understand the stakes. It's your willpower I doubt."

11-20-2003 LOS ANGELES, Ca, (FrontPage Magazine) Jihad Against Lebanese Christians. "The bombing in Riyadh was not set by Jihadists against other Muslims; it was a slaughter of Christians."

11-20-2003 LAGOS, Nigeria (Reuters) Muslim rioters burn 13 churches in north Nigeria. "Islamic militants burned to the ground thirteen churches and several houses in a remote northern Nigerian town after a Christian student was accused of blasphemy, police said on Thursday. Irate youths torched churches, houses and shops late on Tuesday in Kazaure, some 80 km (50 miles) north of Kano, a northern provincial capital where hundreds have died in religious clashes in the past three years. The dispute began when a Christian student was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad and a group of Muslims were not satisfied with the response of school authorities. ... More than 5,000 people have been killed in religious violence in northern Nigeria in the past four years since the introduction of Islamic sharia law in 12 states."


10-13-2003 Washington, DC (Newsday.com) Schumer Takes On Saudi State Religion. "Sen. Charles Schumer, who has denounced the Saudi Arabian government for two years as weak on terrorism, is now attacking a new target: the Saudi state religion, which he says promotes terrorism and is making "dramatic inroads" in the United States. ... "It preaches violence against nonbelievers or infidels and serves as the religious basis for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida," Schumer said. He warns that Wahhabis "are trying to hijack mainstream Islam" in U.S. mosques, schools and prisons and "are allowed to recruit disciples who pose a tremendous threat to Americans everywhere."

10-13-2003 SINGAPORE (Reuters) Indonesia Politician Sees Schools as Terror Source. "Indonesia can do more to curb Islamic schools that served as a training ground for extremists who carried out some of the deadliest attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001 strikes, a senior politician said on Monday. ... Rais, former head of Indonesia's second-largest Islamic group, the 28-million-strong Muhammadiyah, said it was time to take another look at education in Indonesia and at the Islamic madrassah schools that have served as fertile ground for recruiting young men to terror networks."

10-7-2003 HILLA, Iraq (Christian Science Monitor) New Iraqi school spans chasms between religions. "Founded six months ago by a Shiite scholar, the institution bills itself as the Arab world's only school of theology, teaching Muslim, Christian, and Judaic texts. In a town full of deep-seated sorrow, the statue may best embody the school's credo of breaking down barriers and asking dangerous questions. "This is a school of theology, not of Islam," said Sheikh Faris al-Shareef, professor of Islamic law and philosophy at the school. "There is one thing that unites all of us: God and his prophets. With that realization, you can teach all theologies." And by discussing all theologies, many of the school's largely Muslim leadership insist, Islam itself can be reinterpreted and rethought. About 250 students of all ages have descended on the experimental school in search of a broader understanding of faith. The school's scholars have broken from the traditions of Islamic teaching and the Shiite orthodoxy, sprinkled in some concepts of secularism and social justice, and cobbled together a new curriculum for studying theology in the broadest sense. The school's 180 or so full-time students and 50 or so part timers now study the teachings of the Bible and the Torah; they may learn a few things about religions like Hinduism and Buddhism as well. All the while, they are sent searching for religious insights into everything from medicine to astronomy. Computers are taught as a religious tool; philosophy becomes a theological discipline."

10-7-2003 PARIS, France (Asia Times) Crisis heightens Iran's divisions. "When Khatami states publicly that Iran wants nuclear technology for strengthening its defense, when officials declare that some of Iran's sites would be off limit to inspectors, when Kamal Kharrazi, the Foreign Affairs Minister, says enriching uranium is for nuclear electricity plants, while it falls on the Russians to supply this material for the Bushehr station, when Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's ambassador at the IAEA, confirms that Iran has been enriching uranium for many years, etc, it all tends to one conclusion: that Iran has something to hide."

10-5-2003 Washington, DC (CNN) Kay: Iraq search team making significant finds.  ""What we have said, and we said it in the report, we have numbers of Iraqis who tell us that Saddam was committed to acquiring weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons," he said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." "And the issue is, how far along was that activity actually before the war?" ... A clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment that was subject to U.N. monitoring and was suitable for continuing chemical and biological weapons research. A prison laboratory complex that possibly was used to test biological weapons agents on humans. Kay said his investigations have shown that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were ordered not to declare the facility to the U.N. Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in the home of an Iraqi scientist. One of the strains can be used to produce biological weapons. New research on biological weapons-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin -- none of which were declared to the U.N. ... The inspectors have found 130 large ammunition storage points containing more than 600,000 tons of arms -- one-third of the ammunitions stockpile of the U.S. military, Kay said."

10-6-2003 LAHORE, Pakistan (Daily Times, PK) Hudood Ordinance repugnant to Islam. "Speakers at a seminar on the Hudood Ordinance, which was promulgated in 1979, on Sunday demanded the government repeal the law immediately because it was unjust and against Islamic injunctions. ... She said only a woman was asked to bring four male witnesses to prove Zina (rape) and a female witness was ignored. “How can a woman have four men as witnesses to prove Zina against her,” she asked."

10-2-2003 NWFP, Pakistan (BBC News) The 'University of Holy War'. "The ceremony was adorned with pro-Taleban slogans. Its students and principal call it the University of Jihad (Holy War). Last week the religious seminary of Darul Uloom Haqqania in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province turned out another class of young Pakistanis and Afghans ready to wage holy war against the enemies of their religion. Among them was 15-year-old Afghan refugee, Javed Ullah. "I wish to fight the infidels," he said as he left the seminary in Akora Khattak, 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of the provincial capital, Peshawar."

10-2-2003 Washington, D.C. (Washington Post) Spreading Saudi Fundamentalism in U.S. "Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a man who would soon be named a minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country's most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders. His journey here was to include meetings and contacts with officials of several Saudi-sponsored charities that have since been accused of links to terrorist groups, including the Illinois-based Global Relief Foundation, which was shut down by U.S. authorities last year."


09-28-2003 NWFP, Pakistan (Asian Age) Women won’t be able to get ultrasound tests in NWFP. ""We think that men could derive sexual pleasure from women’s bodies while conducting ECG or ultrasound," Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, provincial general secretary of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, the six-party religious alliance which now governs the NWFP, told the Sunday Times. "Similarly, some women could lure men under the pretext of ECG or ultrasound. Therefore, to uphold the supreme values of Islam, the MMA has decided to impose the ban in line with the May 8 resolution of the Provincial Assembly that nothing repugnant to Islam will be allowed," the Maulana said."

09-29-2003 New York, NY (NY Post) Pentagon Jihadis. "The news last week that two Muslim military personnel, James Yee and Ahmad al-Halabi, had been arrested on suspicion of aiding Al-Qaeda prisoners at Guantnamo Bay (with another three Muslim servicemen under watch) seemed to prompt much surprise. It should not have. It has been obvious for months that Islamists who despise America have penetrated U.S. prisons, law enforcement, and armed forces. In February, a milestone Wall Street Journal article established that imams who consider Osama bin Laden "a hero of Allah" dominate the Islamic chaplaincy in the New York state prison system."

09-29-2003 KABUL, Afghanistan (Billings Gazette) Draft Afghan constitution declares Muslim statehood. "A new constitution that will be put forward soon for ratification declares Afghanistan a Muslim state but stops short of imposing Islamic Shariah law, a contentious issue in this conservative nation, an Afghan official said Sunday. As they draw up a constitution aimed at unifying the fragmented nation, conservatives and secularists have been hotly debating how to enshrine Islam into law after years under the Taliban, who enforced a harsh version of Shariah that some Afghans recall with horror but others support."

09-27-2003 GRANADA, Spain (NY Times) Was the Islam of Old Spain Truly Tolerant? "Even the Umayyad dynasty, begun by Abd al-Rahman in 756, was far from enlightened. Issues of succession were often settled by force. One ruler murdered two sons and two brothers. Uprisings in 805 and 818 in Córdoba were answered with mass executions and the destruction of one of the city's suburbs. Wars were accompanied by plunder, kidnappings and ransom. Córdoba itself was finally sacked by Muslim Berbers in 1013, its epochal library destroyed. Andalusian governance was also based on a religious tribal model. Christians and Jews, who shared Islam's Abrahamic past, had the status of dhimmis - alien minorities. They
rose high but remained second-class citizens; one 11th-century legal text called them members of "the devil's party." They were subject to special taxes and, often,
dress codes. Violence also erupted, including a massacre of thousands of Jews in Grenada in 1066 and the forced exile of many Christians in 1126."

09-27-2003 MAPUTO, Mozambique (NY Times) God on Their Side. "But I'm convinced that we should all celebrate the big evangelical push into Africa because the bottom line is that it will mean more orphanages, more schools and, above all, more clinics and hospitals. Particularly when AIDS is ravaging Africa, those church hospitals are lifesavers. "In most of Africa, these are the cornerstone of the health system," said Helene Gayle, who directs AIDS work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "In some countries, they serve more people than the government health system."

09-25-2003 KATSINA, Nigeria (CNN) Woman awaits stoning appeal. "Amina Lawal will learn Thursday whether a regional court will spare her the sentence of being buried up to her head in sand and stoned to death. The 31-year-old woman was sentenced to death by stoning two years ago for having a child out of wedlock. Her sentence was delayed until she could wean her baby, Wassila. The decision will mark the fifth appeal for Lawal, a single, illiterate mother of three. The Shariah Court of Appeal in Katsina is to announce its verdict sometime Thursday."

09-23-2003 NEW YORK, NY (NY Post) VOICES OF ISLAM. "This outpouring of hostility prompted Manji to hire a guard and install bullet proof glass in her house. The Toronto police acknowledge "a very high level of awareness" about her security. Manji's predicament is unfortunately all too typical of what courageous, moderate, modern Muslims face when they speak out against the scourge of militant Islam. Her experience echoes the threats against the lives of such writers as Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen. And non-Muslims wonder why anti-Islamist Muslims in western Europe and North America are so quiet? Anti-Islamist Muslims - who wish to live modern lives, unencumbered by burqas, fatwas and violent visions of jihad - are on the defensive and atomized. However eloquent, their individual voices cannot compete with the roar of militant Islam's determination, money (much of it from overseas) and violence."

09-20-2003 PARIS, FRANCE (NY Times) French Minister Threatens to Expel Extremist Muslims. "France's law-and-order interior minister has threatened to close any mosque in France that is considered extremist and expel any Muslim prayer leader who preaches a radical message. In an interview in Le Figaro published on Thursday, the minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, also pledged to deny visas to Muslim participants in conferences who did not respect the values of the French state. .. In the interview, Mr. Sarkozy declared: "No one should expect any weakness from me. Mosques where extremist Islam is preached will be closed. Imams who give radical sermons will be expelled. And conferencegoers who don't show proof of respect for republican rules will find themselves systematically denied visas to enter France."

09-20-2003 GUANTANAMO, Cuba (Washington Times) Islamic chaplain is charged as spy. "Capt. James J. Yee, a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. ... The Army dispatched him to Cuba to attend to the spiritual needs of a growing number of captured al Qaeda and members of the Taliban, a hard-line Islamic group ousted from power in Afghanistan. Capt. Yee, of Chinese-American descent, was raised in New Jersey as a Christian. He studied Islam at West Point and converted to Islam and left the Army in the mid-1990s. He moved to Syria, where he underwent further religious training in traditional Islamic beliefs. He returned to the United States and re-entered the Army as an Islamic chaplain. He is said to be married to a Syrian woman. Capt. Yee had almost unlimited private access to detainees as part of the Defense Department's program to provide the prisoners with religious counseling, as well as clothing and Islamic-approved meals. The law-enforcement source declined to say how much damage Capt. Yee may have inflicted on the U.S. war against Osama bin Laden's global terror network. "

09-19-2003 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Toronto Star) Extremists could win, Musharraf warns West. "Islamic extremists are perverting their faith by waging reckless jihads across the globe, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf warns. ... "The extremists have taken it upon themselves to declare jihad (holy war) all around the world, and this is not — repeat, not — their responsibility," Musharraf said indignantly. "Obviously it will be total chaos ... if every second man can get up and start calling for jihad." Yet Musharraf also offered a bleak prediction that moderate voices such as his will be drowned out and discredited if the West fails to change course — leaving Muslims feeling economically neglected and militarily besieged."

09-12-2003 LONDON, England (CBS News) Islam Group Honors 9/11 Hijackers. "The group that calls itself al Muhajiroun and claims to be the eyes and ears of militant Islam, held a very different 9/11 commemoration Thursday, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips. This remembrance was not filled with grief and tears but with a perverse sense of pride. Today they honored not those who were murdered, but those who killed them. "They revived the obligation of jihad worldwide. 19 Brave warriors, mujahedeen who made the ultimate sacrifice,'' said a speaker at a London rally, referring to the 19 9/ll hijackers. On its Web site, the 9/11 hijackers are revered as "the magnificent nineteen." ... "It is an undeniable fact that the phenomenon of jihad is like wildfire," says Choudray."

09-11-2003 Washington,DC (NJ.com) Poll finds that Americans' suspicion of Islamic religion growing. "The ABC News poll found that one-third of Americans now think the religion encourages violence against non-Muslims. That is double the number of people who felt that way 20 months ago. Four months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 14 percent believed mainstream Islam encourages violence. That figure is now at 34 percent. People are about evenly divided on whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of Islam. In January 2002, 41 percent had a favorable view and 24 percent had an unfavorable view."


08-16-2003 Canada (United Church of Canada) General Council 38 (2003): Muslim-United Church Dialogue Report Approved. "Acknowledges the prophetic witness of Muhammad and that the mercy, compassion and justice of God is expressed in the Qur'an, regarded by Muslims as the authoritative word of God. Affirms that God, whose love we have found in Jesus Christ to be boundless, creative, and resourceful, and who creatively and redemptively works in us, also works in others. Affirms that God is creatively and redemptively at work in the religious life of Muslims and that we share with Muslims a belief in one God and a common spiritual origin in the faith of Abraham "


07-25-2003 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CBS News) What Does The Qur'an Really Say? "Pakistan has banned the latest issue of Newsweek's international edition, saying an article on new interpretations of the Qur'an, the Islamic equivalent of the Bible, is offensive to Islam. The information minister said Thursday that customs authorities have been ordered to seize copies of the edition. "The article is insulting to the Qur'an," the minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, told The Associated Press. He said officials fear the article could incite violence in a nation wracked by feuding between militant members of the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam. ... Most of Pakistan's 140 million people are Muslims. Under Pakistan's blasphemy law, it is an offense punishable by death to offend Islam, its prophet or its holy book."

07-24-2003 WASHINGTON, DC (The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press) Religion and Politics: Contention and Consensus — Growing Number Says Islam Encourages Violence Among Followers. "As has been true in previous years, Muslims are less popular than people of other religious faiths but more popular than atheists. Muslim-Americans and Muslims are seen less favorably than Jews (72% favorable), Protestants (70%), and Catholics (69%), and slightly below evangelical Christians (58% favorable, 18% unfavorable). "People who aren't religious" receive favorable ratings similar to Muslims (50%), but the public has a more unfavorable view of the non-religious (33% unfavorable). Majorities of the public continue to give atheists an unfavorable rating: 52%, compared with 34% favorable. Views of each of these groups have changed very little since March 2002."

07-28-2003 Germany (Newsweek, MSNBC) Challenging the Qur’an. " — Luxenberg’s chief hypothesis is that the original language of the Qur’an was not Arabic but something closer to Aramaic. He says the copy of the Qur’an used today is a mistranscription of the original text from Muhammad’s time, which according to Islamic tradition was destroyed by the third caliph, Osman, in the seventh century. But Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad’s death, and most learned Arabs at that time spoke a version of Aramaic. Rereading the Paradise passage in Aramaic, the mysterious houris turn into raisins and fruit—much more common components of the Paradise myth."

07-24-2003 NEW YORK, NY (National Review) The Meaning of Peace. "However, for many Muslims this war is called "peace," and "liberation." The logic of this conception has been elucidated by the respected contemporary Muslim scholar, Bassam Tibi, in his cogent analysis of jihad. Because jihad imposes the Koranic truth, it is considered an act of peace. Tibi explains: "In this sense Muslims believe that expansion through war is not aggression but a fulfillment of the Koranic command to spread Islam as a way to peace. The resort to force to disseminate Islam is not war (harb), a word that is used only to describe the use of force by non-Muslims." Hence Islamic wars are not wars, but meritorious efforts to liberate the world from disbelief (jahaliyya) by its submission to Islam. Only submission brings peace, and it is the non-Muslim's failure to submit that provokes war."

07-23-2003 STOW HILL, OH (American Daily) Is The West Too Civilized?. "But the same cannot be said of the threats emanating from the Muslim world. Al-Qaeda destroys airplanes and buildings that it itself could not possibly build. The Palestinian Authority has failed in every field of endeavor except killing Israelis. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq grew dangerous thanks to money showered on it by the West to purchase petroleum Iraqis themselves had neither located nor extracted. How, despite their general incompetence, has this trio managed to guide the course of events as if they were Powers in the traditional sense? The cause of this anomaly, Harris replies, is that the West plays by a strict set of rules while permitting Al-Qaeda, the Palestinians, and Saddam Hussein to play without rules. We restrain ourselves according to the standards of civilized conduct as refined over the centuries; they engage in maximal ruthlessness. Had the United States retaliated in kind for 9/11, Harris tells me, the Islamic holy places would have been destroyed. Had Israelis followed the Arafat model of murderousness, the West Bank and Gaza would now be devoid of Palestinians. Had the West done toward Iraq as Iraq did toward Kuwait, the Iraqi polity would long ago have been annexed and its oil resources confiscated. While morally commendable, Harris argues, the West’s not responding to Muslim ruthlessness with like ruthlessness carries a high and rising price. It allows Muslim political extremists of various stripes to fantasize that they earned their power, when in fact that power derives entirely from the West’s arch-civilized restraint."

07-16-2003 JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Globe & Mail) Big reaction to Saudi article imagining more open future. " — Saudi newspaper columnist Hussein Shobokshi touched off a fury in this Arab kingdom when he wrote about a future in which his daughter could drive and he could vote. But he also caused delight at a time when Saudi Arabia has seen a modest push toward more social and religious openness."

07-15-2003 LOS ANGELES, CA (FrontPage) The Dawning of Dawa. "What’s Dawa? Although a common Islamic proper noun, Dawa is actually a dynamic, an obligatory duty (fard) for Muslims of all sects and degrees of (im)moderation. Muslims call it “inviting others to Islam.” Really, it’s proselytizing, which Islam encourages the faithful to achieve at any cost. In fact, al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu ‘Ubeid Al-Qurashi boasted last year that September 11th gave Islam enormously effective publicity. It also marked the launch of a massive global Dawa campaign. Al-Qurashi called Dawa “integral to triumph in fourth-generation warfare.” "

07-12-2003 WASHINGTON, D.C. (NewMaxs.com) Europe Grows Hostage to Its Muslims. "Consider: In Manchester, England, a radical Muslim who does not even speak English has been elected to the city council, where he needs an interpreter. Consider: According to the German media, secret Shari'a courts appear to be meting out "justice" in Italy. In that country's north a man known to Muslims as a sex fiend recently showed up with a hand missing. It had obviously been amputated as punishment. Italian doctors report treating Muslim women who had evidently been lashed. Consider: In France about 70,000 young women, chiefly Muslim, are being subjected to forced marriages every year, according to the country's High Council for Integration. Every year, too, 35,000 girls are either circumcised or under threat of circumcision, HCI related. These vignettes highlight a dilemma troubling Islam experts on both sides of the Atlantic: Are European governments still masters in their own house? And to what extent will the growth of their Islamic communities have serious repercussions on foreign and domestic affairs? As terrorism expert Michael Radu of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute points out, there are between 12 million and 16 million Muslims living in the European Union's 15 member states, "more than in most Arab countries." Given these figures, Radu wondered in a recent FPRI lecture if EU governments were becoming hostages to these minorities. Many of their members are, after all, voters, an important point to be considered by politicians of all stripes, especially in France. Radu suggested that this is an important factor in the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and its traditional European allies. "Will the Gulf be a permanent bone of contention between them?" he asked."

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07-04-2003 QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) Attack on Pakistan Mosque Leaves 47 Dead. "A suicide attack on a packed mosque killed as many as 47 people Friday, sending enraged Shiite Muslims on a rampage through this southwestern city. The government called in troops and imposed a curfew to try to quell the violence. Scores more were wounded in one of the bloodiest attacks in a long series of assaults on the country's Shiite Muslim minority."

07-04-2003 England (WND) Petition to Muslims:Stop killing converts, Urges reform of apostasy law mandating death for leaving Islam. "A British charity has issued a petition challenging Muslim leaders to call for reform or reinterpretation of the Islamic law of apostasy. Under Shariah, or Islamic law, Muslims who convert to another faith and refuse to repent must be put to death. The petition by the England-based Barnabas Fund asks for signatures from those who believe "Muslims who choose to convert to another faith should be free to do so without having to face a lifetime of fear." The group acknowledges the tradition is upheld and taught by most Muslim religious leaders around the world. But it notes a reformist interpretation that claims an apostate can be put to death only if he also is a danger to the Islamic state. Traditionalists insist, nevertheless, every apostate is a danger to the Islamic social order and has committed high treason."

07-04-2003 QUETTA, Pakistan (CNN) Pakistan mosque blast kills eight. "At least eight people were killed and several were injured when an explosion ripped through a Shi'ite mosque in southwestern Pakistan, police said. Attackers set off the explosives about 1:30 p.m. local time as the mosque was packed with worshippers holding Friday prayers."

07-02-2003 BALI, Indonesia (Courier Mail) Men tell of desire to be suicide bombers. "SEVERAL would-be suicide bombers have told terrorism trials in Bali they had arrived on the island to commit jihad and die as martyrs. ... The witnesses said they were committed to becoming "shahid bombers" or suicide bombers, sacrificing their own lives in the name of Islam. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and Bali's police chief, Made Mangku Pastika, also confirmed yesterday that terrorists in the region had become more committed and were using crimes like robberies to finance their operations."

07-02-2003 FALLUJAH, Iraq (CNN) U.S. blames bomb-makers for mosque blast. "U.S. Central Command said Wednesday that the explosion that destroyed a building in the compound of a Fallujah mosque early Tuesday was "apparently related to a bomb-manufacturing class that was being taught inside the mosque" — and did not involve U.S. forces."


06-04-2003 Sudan (WND) Islamists burn to death Christian pastor, family: Massacre of 59 came as Sudan discussed removal from terror list. "Military forces led by Sudan's militant Islamist regime burned to death a Christian pastor and his family in a massacre of 59 unarmed villagers, a relief group working in the area reported. ... Sudan's cleric-backed National Islamic Front regime in the Arab and Muslim north declared a jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south in 1989. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine. About 5 million have become refugees. ... Jacob Gadet Manyiel, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan, and his wife and four children were burned to death as government soldiers stood outside their house and threatened to shoot anyone trying to escape."

06-02-2003 Sudan (WND) U.S. to forgive Sudan for 2 million deaths? Washington to overlook genocide, atrocities for new strategic relationship. "The U.S. is prepared to overlook the deaths of 2 million mostly Christian Sudanese in return for a new strategic relationship with Khartoum, ... State Department officials say they are on the verge of removing Sudan from its list of "terror countries," where it was placed in 1997 by the Clinton administration."


05-09-2003 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iranian lawmakers call on Khamenei to swallow poison and implement reforms to avoid collapse of Islamic establishment. "Some 130 reformist lawmakers called on Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to accept democratic reforms for the ruling establishment to survive. .... Signed by 127 lawmakers, the letter said the only solution for saving Iran's Islamic theocracy was to carry out "fundamental changes" in unelected institutions controlled by hard-liners and to respect the voted reforms by implementing them. It said the murder of political opponents, mass closure of pro-democracy publications, imprisonment of writers and political activists, and rejection of all pro-reform bills by Khamenei-appointed hard-liners have made elections "meaningless.""

05-09-2003 PESHAWAR, Pakistan, (NJ.com) Islamic hard-liners call for compulsory Quran lessons, ban on men giving medical tests to women. "Islamic hard-liners controlling Pakistan's northernmost province called for compulsory reading of the Quran in schools and said only women should carry out medical tests on female patients. The demands were made in two resolutions passed unanimously Thursday by lawmakers in the legislature of North West Frontier Province. Under parliamentary rules, the unanimous backing means the regional government is obliged to put them into law, adding to a string of rule changes intended to bring the province into line with Islamic sharia law."

05-08-2003 Washington, DC, (Tallahassee Democrat) Evangelicals Condemn Anti-Islam Remarks. "Leading evangelical Christians for the first time have publicly condemned assaults on Islam by the Rev. Franklin Graham and other fellow religious conservatives and pledged to heal rifts with Muslims that threaten missionary work overseas.'"


04-18-2003 Baghdad, Iraq, (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) WAR IN THE GULF: OVERVIEW: PROTESTS: Iraqi Muslims denounce U.S. "Thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of Baghdad after Friday prayers to protest the U.S. presence in Iraq and demand an Islamic state to replace Saddam Hussein's secular government. The protests underscored the problem the United States faces as Iraq's power vacuum increasingly unnerves a people accustomed to iron rule. In one of the first spontaneous public demonstrations in decades, Shiite and Sunni Muslims alike waved banners and chanted slogans including, ''No to Bush, No to Saddam, Yes to Islam'' and ''Leave our country, we want peace.''"

04-17-2003 NAJAF, Iraq, (The Ledger) Shiite Clerics Rise to Power in Iraqi Cities, Are Skeptical of U.S. "In this holiest of Muslim Shiite cities, clerics are running a self-declared government. It's the same in nearby Karbala, another sacred Shiite city. Muslim Shiite clerics have in the past week moved swiftly to fill the power void created by Saddam Hussein's ouster — appointing governors; imposing curfews; offering protection, jobs and health care; and giving financial assistance to the needy. In some respects, they have replaced Saddam as Iraq's new leadership. They distrust the Americans who rid them of Saddam's tyranny and have little faith in the opposition leaders now returning to Iraq from years in exile. They also question whether Western democratic values are suited for their country."

04-17-2003 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, (CNN) Death for Pakistani 'honor killer'. "A man who killed seven members of his family because he was angered by his daughter's decision to marry a Christian has been sentenced to death. ... He insisted, however, he committed the crime to protect the honor of his family after his daughter announced her intention to marry a Christian boy, Ali said. ... Honor killings in the Islamic nation are not uncommon. According to Pakistan's main human rights body, at least 461 women were killed by their family members in "honor killings" in 2002, indicating an increase from the year before. About 97 percent of Pakistan's 145 million people are Muslim, while most of the remaining three percent are Christian."

04-15-2003 ARIS, France, (NY Times, International) French Threaten Expulsions After Islam Radical Victory. "France's interior minister threatened today to expel any Muslim religious leader considered extremist after a fundamentalist Muslim organization unexpectedly won a large number of seats in an election for the country's first national council of Muslims. ... The group that made a surprisingly strong showing in the election is the Union of Islamic Organizations in France. It preaches a strict, conservative interpretation of Islam, derives much of its support from the poor suburbs of Paris and other major cities and is said to derive its inspiration from the banned fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, which originated in Egypt. It won 14 of 41 seats in the governing administrative council."

04-15-2003 Washington, DC, (Miami Herald) Muslims demand Pentagon to rescind Graham invitation. "Outraged American Muslims are urging the Pentagon to rescind an invitation for a prominent Christian evangelist who has harshly criticized Islam to appear at a prayer service Friday. Franklin Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, will deliver a homily at a Good Friday prayer service at the Pentagon, a spokesperson said. Franklin Graham called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion" after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a comment he has refused to recant. Graham heads Samaritan's Purse, a fundamentalist Christian organization with a $194 million budget for humanitarian aid and ministry. The group, known for its active proselytizing, has workers in Jordan and is poised to deliver aid in Iraq."

04-15-2003 PHILADELPHIA,PA, (Miami Herald) Bush Nominates Daniel Pipes To Board Of US Institute Of Peace: Moderate Muslims Welcome the Appointment. "American Muslims welcome the nomination of Daniel Pipes, a scholar of militant Islam and director of the Middle East Forum, by President Bush to serve on the board of the US Institute of Peace. They note in particular his care to distinguish between the minority of Islamists and the majority of normal, patriotic Muslims. Many moderate American Muslims, frustrated by and angry at the extremist policies of militant Islamist organizations in the US and their efforts to portray themselves as the sole voice of Islam, have welcomed the nomination of Daniel Pipes."


03-31-2003 BIYARE, Iraq, (Miami Herald) Raid finds al-Qaida tie to militants. "A U.S.-led assault on a compound controlled by an Iraqi-based extremist Islamic group has turned up a list of names of suspected militants living in the United States and what may be the strongest evidence yet linking Ansar al-Islam to al-Qaida, coalition commanders said Monday."

03-31-2003 LONDON, England, (UK Telegraph) Routed Islamists had UK links, say Kurds. "Jubilant Kurdish forces say they have found hundreds of documents with contact addresses and telephone numbers in London and the Arab world in the camp of the routed Muslim terrorist group Ansar al-Islam in northern Iraq. The claim, made after American special forces and Kurdish guerrillas routed Ansar in a ferocious three-day battle, could be vital for determining the strength of the long-claimed connection between Ansar and the al-Qa'eda network."

03-11-2003 AMMAN, Jordan, (Washington Post) Scholars Urge Jihad In Event of Iraq War: Cairo Center Declares All Muslims Threatened . "Islamic scholars at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the preeminent seat of Sunni Muslim learning in the Arab world, have declared a U.S. attack on Iraq would threaten all Arabs and Muslims and urged a jihad to defend their interests."

03-02-2003 PASADENA, Ca., (Pasadena Star) Fuller awarded $1 million grant: Funding for Christian-Muslim dialogue. "Fuller Theological Seminary has been awarded $1 million in federal funding to start a program of Muslim-Christian dialogue to seek peace through mutual understanding. "The Quran and Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are often misunderstood on both sides,' said David Augsburger, a Fuller professor of pastoral care and a counseling and conflict resolution expert. "The perspectives that emphasize peace are not as perceived as they should be.' ... Fuller has selected six professors for a committee that also will include six Muslim scholars, Augsburger said."


02-18-2003 Europe, (Jewish World Review) When have millions of Europeans ever been wrong? "Indeed, America is the chief impediment to the spread of both Islam and socialism. This explains the unity of leftist and Muslim activists. Though theoretically they have nothing in common, as Osama bin Laden just announced, "in the current circumstances, the interests of Muslims coincide with the interests of the socialists" — opposing America."

02-18-2003 AMMAN,Jordan (Al Bawaba) Jordanian journalists sentenced to jail for defaming prophet . "Three Jordanian journalists were sentenced to jail on Monday by the State Security Court for publishing an article last month that touched on the sexual life of the Prophet Mohammed. The journalists faced charges of insulting Islam and damaging the prestige of the state with the article published in al-Hilal weekly."

02-12-2003 Vancouver, BC, (WorldNetDaily) Tony Campolo: Misinformed, bad theology. "Campolo conveniently forgets that some 750,000 Jews – all living in Israel today – were kicked out of their homes in Arab and Muslim countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc. They were forced out with little more than the clothes on their backs. Many didn't make it at all. Many died in pogroms before they got the chance to leave.'"

02-07-2003 Washington DC, (Saratogian) Schumer: Radical Muslim cleric kept moderates from preaching in state prisons. "A radical Muslim cleric who was fired by the state prison system Wednesday has prevented more moderate Muslims from ministering in the state prisons — including Mount McGregor in Wilton and Great Meadow in Washington County — for more than 20 years, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Thursday. The state has 40 paid Muslim chaplains. They serve 9,862 Muslim inmates, or about 15 percent of the inmate population. The fired cleric, Warith Deen Umar of Albany County, has hired imams from the more militant Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam, Schumer said. ''My worry is that within our own prison system, we may be creating recruits for al-Qaida,'' Schumer said. ''We might have done so already.''"

02-07-2003 Washington DC, (Washington Times) Textbooks said to 'hide' problems with Islam. "World history textbooks in U.S. classrooms sanitize the problems of Islam when compared to how they often treat Western civilization, a review of seven widely used texts reported yesterday. The study, released by the American Textbook Council, said a rosy treatment of Islam may arise from the lobbying of the Council on Islamic Education on national publishers. "When any dark side [of Islam] surfaces, textbooks run and hide," said the report, "Islam and the Textbooks," by Gilbert Sewall, a former professor who directs the council. "Subjects such as jihad and the advocacy of violence among militant Islamists to attain worldly ends, the imposition of [Shariah] law, the record of Muslim enslavement, and the brutal subjection of women are glossed over," the 35-page study says."

02-07-2003 Australia (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Islam and apostasy. "Ibn Warraq: Well, yes and no. I think one of the paradoxical results of greater education – in fact, if you look at the composition of the various Islamic fundamentalist groups in modern times, you will see that the most tolerant Muslims are not the ones who are educated, but the uneducated people in the countryside, the rural poor, who don’t actually know precisely what is in the Koran, since they cannot read the difficult Arabic. Islamic fundamentalism is very much an urban phenomenon of people who are educated, or able to read the Koran and take it very literally."

02-04-2003 AMMAN, Jordan, (IndianExpress, Bombay) Prophet’s wife lands scribes in court. "Handcuffed, their oversized prison uniforms dragging on the floor, three Arab men were led through a bare courtroom to an iron cage. They are on trial for publishing an article about the sex life of the prophet Muhammad’s wife Aisha. The three Jordanian journalists — who worked for Al Hilal — are accused of ‘‘harming the reputation of the government, harming the dignity of Muslims’’ and ‘‘destabilizing society by publishing perversity and false news.’’ ... The article describes Aisha, one of the Prophet’s several wives. It claims that Muhammad married her when she was a child and began to have sex with her when she was 8 or 9, ‘‘gaining the sexual potency of 40 men.’’ Aisha claimed Muhammad had divine revelations in which the word of God was conveyed by the angel Gabriel when she was in bed with him, the article says."

02-03-2003 LONDON, England, (Ananova, UK) Shuttle crash is God's punishment, says Hamza. "Muslim cleric Abu Hamza says the US shuttle disaster shows the mission was a 'Trinity of Evil' [USA, Israel, India] punished with death by Allah. Mr Hamza made the claim because the Columbia carried Americans, Israeli Ilan Ramon and Kalpana Chawla, an Indian-born Hindu. He says British Muslims would take the shuttle disaster as a "sign from God" that the first Israeli in space was killed over an area of Texas called Palestine."


01-29-2003 NAIROBI, Kenya, (Independent, UK) Boys rescued from Kenya's Islamic school of torture. "Eleven teenage boys have been rescued from an Islamic correction centre in Nairobi where they were chained, tortured, and indoctrinated with violent anti-Christian ideas. Armed police raided the school in a rundown Nairobi neighbourhood after Guleed Ahmed, a 16-year-old from Leicester, faked an illness to escape and raise the alarm. Inside they found 10 other boys, from Kenya, Sweden and Ethiopia, chained by their hands and feet and confined to a dark, foul-smelling room."

01-29-2003 Jordan, (WorldNetDaily) Christian mother ordered jailed: Jordanian mom refuses to hand over kids to be raised as Muslims. "A court in northern Jordan has ordered a Christian widow to jail for 30 days if she refuses to hand over her two minor children to be raised as Muslims, reports news service Compass Direct. According to the report, a warrant for Siham Qandah's arrest was issued Jan. 16. On Jan. 20, she was informed by phone that she was to surrender custody of her daughter Rawan, 14, and son Fadi, 12, to their court-appointed Muslim guardian. Jordan claims that before his death several years ago, Qandah's Christian husband secretly converted to Islam, making his children Muslims under Jordanian law."

01-25-2003 CAIRO, Egypt, (Strait Times) Disunited and confused, Muslims have lost their way. "Muslims have reached their lowest point, says Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Speaking at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Wednesday, he said that rather than fighting over interpretations of Islam and working towards heavenly rewards alone, Muslims should aim for economic, military and scientific strength. Here are excerpts of his speech.

"....So the idea that we must suffer in silence and await our heaven in the next world is not Islamic. In fact, it goes against the Sunnah (sayings and traditions) of the Prophet. The Quran enjoins upon us to prepare to deter and defeat the enemy with force of arms - with war horses, bows and arrows in those days. Today, we need guns and rockets, warships and warplanes, armoured cars. We cannot depend on others to supply us with these things forever, least of all those who are opposed to us. We need to invent, design, produce and test our own weapons of defence. To do this, we need to have scientific and technological knowledge and skills. Those who learn science and mathematics and acquire technological skills are obeying and fulfilling the injunctions of Islam."

01-23-2003 CAIRO, Egypt, (World Tribune) Sunni Muslims: Having modern nukes 'a religious obligation' "The Islamic Ruling Committee in Al Azhar, based in Cairo, ruled that Islamic states must acquire nuclear weapons for their defense. The committee is regarded as the highest authority for Sunni Muslims in the Middle East, according to Middle East Newsline. "The acquisition of modern nuclear weaponry is a religious obligation," the committee said in a statement on Dec. 23. The statement came in response to a question in Islamic law sent to Sheik Ala A-Shanawi who said the founder of Islam, Mohammed, would have acquired a nuclear bomb to fight his enemies."

01-22-2003 LONDON, England, (CNN) Sheikh 'waged religious war'. "A Muslim cleric encouraged his pupils to wage chemical and nuclear war against non-believers as part of an Islamic holy war, a British court was told. Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal preached that the use of chemical and nuclear weapons was justified in order to exterminate "the enemy" and create a worldwide Islamic state, London's Old Bailey court heard on Wednesday."

01-23-2003 Hong Kong, (Asia Times) Global jihad and the European arena. "This presentation focuses on two elements: the phenomenon of global jihad and its implications on Europe and Muslim communities in Europe. In the international war against world terrorism, primarily the Islamist one, there have been many arrests, interrogations and investigations of terrorists or suspected terrorists and sympathizers, in Europe. They seemed so far to focus on the operational levels, but not enough on the cultural and social infrastructure of this phenomenon. Arresting terrorists or suspected as such is vital. Yet, the work is not completed if European countries such as Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Sweden or Poland are hosting radical Islamist websites for example, that feed on a daily basis, the radical messages of the supporters of the "Culture of global jihad." Intelligence and security services should, while fighting terrorism, concentrate also on gathering information that will supply them the better understanding of the ideological, cultural, educational, and social factors of this dangerous phenomenon, in order to counter it efficiently."

01-22-2003 KABUL, Afghanistan, (CNN) Al Qaeda terror strategy turns to assassination. "Al Qaeda has been associated with high-profile, explosive terror -- September 11, bombings in Pakistan, Kenya, Indonesia and the Philippines -- but appears to be turning from mass killings to the assassination of political figures. Coalition intelligence sources tell CNN that al Qaeda plans to target Western diplomats and other public officials wherever it can."

01-22-2003 Iran, (Al Bawaba) Iranian authorities seize musical instruments. "Authorities in a southwestern Iranian province seized musical instruments on the basis they were the cause of "depraved" scenes behind closed doors, a local official was quoted as saying Tuesday."

01-19-2003 AMMAN, Jordan, (Washington Times) Jordan detains journalists on Islam. "Three Jordanian journalists accused of slandering Prophet Mohammad and Islamic values were remanded to custody Sunday and their weekly publication was closed indefinitely. ... The military prosecution accused the editors of insulting Islam in an article in its latest issue discussing one of Prophet Mohammad's wives, Aisha. The article, "Aisha -- God divinely prevented flies from landing on her body," was deemed offensive."

01-21-2003 JERUSALEM, Israel, (Detroit News) Draft Palestinian constitution creates premier who answers to president, declares Islam official religion. "A proposed Palestinian constitution cedes some power from the president to a prime minister and declares Islam the official religion, according to a partial draft obtained Monday by The Associated Press."

01-18-2003 London, England, (The Times) Contemporary views of Islam. "Is apostasy punishable by death in Islam? The answer is a categorical no. There is neither any such teaching in the Holy Quran nor any example to be found in the life of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Islam does not permit its followers to take any life because of religious difference."

01-14-2003 ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, (Asia Times) Madrassas: A make-believe world. "I lost my sight for a while as I entered the dark, cold room, but as my eyes adjusted, I made out the figure of a small boy sitting on the rough floor, deep in concentration with a Koran, the Muslim holy book, in his hands. Fareed, only in the ninth year of his life, was totally oblivious to my presence and to his surroundings, so intent was he on memorizing the Koran, hunched up at the religious school or madrassa in Rawalpindi (the sister city of the capital Islamabad) of Tajweed-ul-Quraan. Fareed was enrolled at the seminary by his orthodox father, Ubaid Ullah, where he joined almost 500 other children with the aim to secure a place in heaven, where he believes that he will be able to play with black-eyed heavenly nymphs. ... Today, there are more than 10,000 registered religious schools in Punjab province alone, while in the whole of Pakistan there are more than 25,000, catering for more than 1.6 million children. In addition, a further 25,000 to 40,000 non-registered schools provide lessons on the Koran to an almost equal number students."

01-14-2003 Washington, (WorldNetDaily) Death sentence hangs over Arab Christians. "When Saeed and Nasser Salame, Arab brothers and residents of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, converted from Islam to Christianity, they didn't know it would cost them their homes, their friends – possibly even their lives. Saeed Salam was an active member of Fatah, Arafat's own party, when he converted. For this "crime" of conscience, he was imprisoned and tortured, according to a French Christian group and the Religious Freedom Council."

01-13-2003 LOS ANGELES, Ca (FrontPage Magazine) CAIR’s Axis of Evil. "It is time for CAIR and Hooper to abandon their contemptible campaign to present every inquiry into their character, and the nature of the Wahhabism they support, as a form of oppression. It is not persecution for Americans, and especially American Muslims, to demand an accounting of how Saudi Arabia, acting through CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, and other components of the Wahhabi lobby, created an extremist "Islamic establishment" in America. Few will soon forget that 15 out of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were from Saudi Arabia, the only country whose Ministry of Religion is an official Wahhabi institution."

01-12-2003 Pakistan, (Daily Times) Fatwa calls Karzai infidel. "The pamphlet, delivered by unidentified men at Daily Times office in Mir Ali, South Waziristan Agency, cited Quranic verses to back the decree. It said Mr Karzai was helping ‘non-Muslims’ against Muslims and for that reason, he was an ‘infidel’. The decree, written in Pashto, stated, “Imams of all four religions agree that when a Muslim ruler becomes a shield of infidels against Islam’s Mujahideen, he also deserves to be killed.” It said, “Anyone who helps the ‘infidel’ army stands reason to be killed. Having trade relations with such people is also forbidden in Islam.” The decree said talking and meeting such people were also forbidden in Islam."

01-11-2003 Malaysia, (BBC News) Malaysian Islamist calls for stonings. "The spiritual leader of Malaysia's main Islamist opposition party, Pas, has called for people convicted of sex crimes to be stoned to death in public."

01-11-2003 Netherlands, (Telegraph UK) Somali refugee follows in Fortuyn's footsteps with attack on imams. "Just weeks ago she was in hiding, evading what amounted to a death sentence, after she said Islam was an oppressive, misogynist religion trapped in the 13th century that seemed to be at war with almost all non-followers. "I was provoked by some guys shouting at me in a TV debate," she said in precise, fluent English, almost at a whisper. "So I blurted out, 'It's my religion, and my culture, and I can call it backward if I want'. But I was also drawn into saying I was no longer a practising Muslim and that set it all off, because the punishment for leaving the faith is death."

01-08-2003 LONDON, England, (Times, London) First person: I found Christ but may lose my Muslim family. "What happens when a Muslim deserts Islam and embraces Christianity? The author says his family felt betrayed and he was rejected by his father - a deeply religious man who calls Al-Qaeda "martyrs"."

01-07-2003 TEHRAN, Iran, (Tehran Times) Leader Refers to Martyred Students as "Pioneers of Faith". "The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei here on Monday termed the honorable, martyred students of the country "pioneers of faith and devotion." In a message to a congress called "Honoring the Country's Martyred Students", the Leader stressed that today enemies of Islam are trying to undermine jihad (holy war) and the virtue of martyrdom."

01-06-2003 FrontPage Magazine, Islam's Immigrant Invasion of Europe. "In Germany the highest court in the land ruled in January 2002 that Muslim butchers should be allowed to slaughter animals according to Islamic practice, by slitting their throats and letting them bleed to death, and without stunning them first in any way. German law says animals cannot be slaughtered without first being stunned, but the constitutional court has now overturned it. The head of Germany’s Islamic Council, Hasan Oezdogan, declared that this will be “an important step in the integration of Muslims in Germany.” If and when the Constitutional Court allows clitoridectomy for Germany’s Muslim girls, presumably another important step will be made, but that integration will be complete only when Pakistanis in Britain, Algerians in France, and Turks in Germany turn the host country into an Islamic society by compelling it to adapt to their way of life."

01-06-2003 TORONTO, Canada, (National Post) Somali mosque apologizes for e-mail: Regrets offence to 'Christian neighbours'. "A Toronto mosque has apologized for a Christmas Day message that said wishing someone Merry Christmas is comparable to congratulating them for committing murder or engaging in adultery."

01-06-2003 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, (China Daily, Beijing) Men want more wives as women cry foul. "Malaysia's Muslim men seem increasingly keen on polygamy, as women's groups try to curb husbands' rights to as many as four wives. One politician - a male - is so enthusiastic about the practice that he wants women who allow their husbands to marry a second wife to receive medals of honour. Women, however, don't seem too keen on the medals. "We want the legal system to restrict the practice of polygamy," said Ruzana Udin, the spokeswoman for Sisters In Islam (SIS)."

01-02-2003 PESHAWAR, Pakistan, (AP) Lawmakers in northwestern Pakistan vow to accelerate Islamization process. "Lawmakers in Pakistan's deeply conservative northwestern province promised Thursday to speed up the adoption of new laws based on Islamic teaching. The anti-American politicians in the North West Frontier Province came to power after elections late last year vowing to follow the lead of neighboring Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers, who enforced a strict interpretation of Islam, including banning women from any role in public life, and outlawing music and dance. ... Pointing to existing laws, police in the province have recently seized and burned videos deemed pornographic, which can mean men and women simply appearing together on screen. Scores of people have also been detained for producing or watching allegedly obscene films."