Don’t be soft on Islam, says EU terror chief

Europe’s anti-terror chief has launched a stinging attack on the political correctness that he says is hampering the campaign against militant Islam.

Gilles de Kerchove, the EU counter-terrorism co-ordinator, said last week that concern about stigmatising Muslim populations was hampering policy-making and thus prevention. ‘One of the problems … is that some member states are extremely reluctant to be explicit about the link with religion,’ said de Kerchove. ‘Religion has been hijacked and distorted for political ends.’

De Kerchove’s statement comes against a background of infighting within the EU over counter-terrorism policy. The European Commission has been working for several years on a paper analysing militancy in Europe and outlining policy to combat radicalisation. The Council of Ministers is still waiting for the now long-overdue paper, on which future policy will be based.

EU officials claimed last week the delay was because Jacques Barrot, the French Commissioner for justice, freedom and security, had grave reservations about the definition of terrorism in the commission’s policy paper and had delayed signing the policy document as it ‘went too far in blaming Muslim communities’.

A spokesman for Barrot refused to comment. ‘There is a paper that is being prepared. Our services are working on it and there is no fixed timeframe at the moment,’ he said.

De Kerchove praised the Home Office’s emphasis on countering the extremists’ message through the media. ‘We have to provide an alternative narrative,’ he said. ‘A lot of research is showing that young people being radicalised are looking for thrills as much as anything ideological. We need to show the violence for what it is, bloody and indiscriminate, and the people who do it for what they are, ugly criminals not heroes.’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/28/terrorism.eu

Islam – Still scared of criticism?

The United Nations’ Human Rights Council has launched a new session and will consider a controversial resolution to declare religious defamation illegal.

The resolution is really designed to permit countries with a dominant religion, such as Islam, to squelch any free-speech rights of religious minorities, according to Bill Saunders of the Family Research Council (FRC).

“So for instance, in some Muslim countries, it’s considered blasphemy to just say what a Christian believes — because that is inconsistent with what Islam teaches,” Saunders explains. “Or, to try to switch from Islam to Christianity, that’s considered apostasy, and in those situations you can be punished by death.”

It is debatable whether a voice for religious freedom will be heard. “Rightly so, the world objects to that kind of thing and says to these countries [that] we need to have religious freedom,” Saunders contends. “And religious freedom includes the right to have any religion that you choose and to follow it.”

The Human rights Council is dominated by Muslim countries. The resolution is also expected to be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly.

“The idea that free speech should be so restricted is a very dangerous one,” Saunders adds.

Death to non-Muslims Law Passed (Iran)

Iran’s parliament has passed the death penalty for apostasy, which is viewed in that country as converting to any other faith than Islam.

Thousands of Iranians have been converting to Christianity, and the underground church is thriving, according to reports. But other Iranians are returning to Zoroastrianism, which was the dominant religion in Iran at one time. Jonathan Rocho, with International Christian Concern (ICC), explains.

“We, as a Christian organization, are very much concerned about this because this means many Christians who converted from Islam are going to face death, simply because of their decision to follow Jesus Christ,” Rocho laments.

He says Iranians are questioning the Muslim faith after living under the regime, which has been dominated by the religion since the revolution in the 1970s. “They have not seen any change in their lives,” Rocho adds. “There is even more repression, more problems going on in the country, so they are very much confused about the Islamic faith.”

Already, two Christian converts accused of apostasy have been given the death penalty. Since Iran does not easily succumb to international pressure, Rocho urges people to pray.

Marriott bombing group threatens fresh attacks on US targets

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said he will not allow any foreign power to violate the country’s soverignity “in the name of combatting terrorism.” In his opening address to the joint houses of parliament in Islamabad on Saturday, he said that Pakistan should also understand the limits of confrontation.

This was his first speech to MPs since he replaced Pervez Musharraf in August. It was also the first by a president in almost six years.

Ahead of his first meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York, Zardari also said that ties with India need to be “creatively re-invented.”

Zardari said that he would like to move ahead with India based on three pointers which were, as espoused by former PM Benazir Bhutto, to come up with new ideas, to make bold committments and to be honest in the relationship.

Zardari called for a parliamentary committee to investigate abolishing his powers to dissolve the assembly and dismiss the government.

“In the history of Pakistan this is the first president who is giving away his powers, he commented.”

Britain’s Youngest Terrorist Charged

18-year-old Hammaad Munshi has been sentenced to two years in a juvenile detention centre, making him the youngest person to be charged, tried and sentenced under Britain’s Terrorism Act.

Munshi was arrested after police found a guide to making napalm on his computer, and because he was associating with Aabid Khan, someone described as a “key player” in using the Internet to promote Islamic extremism.

The barrister representing Munshi said that the boy had been viewing the bomb- and napalm-making guides out of curiosity, a claim police have denied.

Blogger Arrested for 2 Years – Insulting Islam (Malaysia)

Malaysia’s most prominent blogger has been ordered to spend two years in detention under internal security laws after being accused of insulting Islam, his wife said Tuesday.

Raja Petra was detained under the tough Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly “insulting Islam and publishing articles on his website, which has tarnished the country’s leadership to the point of causing confusion among the people,” his wife said.

Full Story: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h_0rU9tc6f5grv8KTedN-NRxsy-A

Death penalty for man accused of homosexuality (Iran)

Nemat Safavi, arrested almost three years ago at the age of 16, has been condemned to death by a court in Ardebil, in the northwest Iranian Azerbaijan region.

Nemat has not killed anyone, stolen anything or even carried out any political activism.

Nemat has been accused of having homosexual relations.While that was not stated during the court case, he was accused of “sexual relations that were not admitted”.

A year ago, on a visit to Colombia University in New York, Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “there were no homosexuals” in Iran in response to a question from a student.

Islamic Jihadists Hit Australia (but caught first…)

UK Sharia Courts Giving Wife Beaters a Free Ride

An interesting article on the the leniency of Sharia courts on domestic abuse against women:

In six cases of domestic violence, according to Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

Source:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/christopher_howse/blog/2008/09/14/criminal_sharia_judgments

The myth of al-Aqsa (Dr. Mordechai Kedar)

When the Prophet Mohammad established Islam, he introduced a minimum of innovations. He employed the hallowed personages, historic legends and sacred sites of Judaism and Christianity, and even paganism, by Islamizing them.

Thus, according to Islam, Abraham was the first Muslim and Jesus and St. John (the sons of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aron) were prophets and guardians of the second heaven. Many Biblical legends (“asatir al-awwalin”,) which were familiar to the pagan Arabs before the dawn of Islam, underwent an Islamic conversion, and the Koran as well as the Hadith (the Islamic oral tradition), are replete with them.

Islamization was practiced on places as well as persons: Mecca and the holy stone – al-Ka’bah – were holy sites of the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and the Great Mosque of Istanbul were erected on the sites of Christian-Byzantine churches – two of the better known examples of how Islam treats sanctuaries of other faiths.

Jerusalem, too, underwent the process of Islamization: at first Muhammad attempted to convince the Jews near Medina to join his young community, and, by way of persuasion, established the direction of prayer (kiblah) to be to the north, towards Jerusalem, in keeping with Jewish practice; but after he failed in this attempt he turned against the Jews, killed many of them, and directed the kiblah southward, towards Mecca.

Muhammad’s abandonment of Jerusalem explains the fact that this city is not mentioned even once in the Koran. After Palestine was occupied by the Muslims, its capital was Ramlah, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem, signifying that Jerusalem meant nothing to them.

Rediscovering Jerusalem

Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Mohammad’s death. In 682 CE, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled
against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Calif, needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage and settled on Jerusalem which was then under his control. In order to justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (17,1 = sura 17, verse,) which states (translation by Majid Fakhri):

“Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. “

The meaning ascribed to this verse is that “the furthest mosque” (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem and that Mohammad was conveyed there one night (although at that time the journey took three days by camel,) on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon. He tethered the horse to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and from there ascended to the seventh heaven together with the angel Gabriel. On his way he met the prophets of other religions who are the guardians of heaven.

Miraculous account

Thus Islam tries to gain legitimacy over other, older religions, by creating a scene in which the former prophets agree to Mohammad’s mastery, thus making him Khatam al-Anbiya (“the Seal of the Prophets”.)

Not surprisingly, this miraculous account contradicts a number of the tenets of Islam: How can a living man of flesh and blood ascend to heaven? How can a mythical creature carry a mortal to a real destination? Questions such as these have caused orthodox Muslim thinkers to conclude that the nocturnal journey was a dream of Mohammad’s. The journey and the ascent serves Islam to “go one better” than the Bible: Moses “only” went up to Mount Sinai, in the middle of nowhere, and drew close to heaven, whereas Mohammad went all the way up to Allah, and from Jerusalem itself.

What are the difficulties with the belief that the al-Aqsa mosque described in Islamic tradition is located in Jerusalem? For one, the people of Mecca, who knew Muhammad well, did not believe this story. Only Abu Bakr, (later the first Calif,) believed him and thus was called al-Siddiq (“the believer”.)

The second difficulty is that Islamic tradition tells us that al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in “Kitab al-Maghazi,” a book by the Muslim historian and geographer al-Waqidi. According to al-Waqidi, there were two “masjeds” (places of prayer) in al-Gi’irranah, a village between Mecca and Ta’if – one was “the closer mosque” (al-masjid al-adna) and the other was “the further mosque” (al-masjid al-aqsa,) and Muhammad would pray there when he went out of town.

This description by al-Waqidi which is supported by a chain of authorities (isnad) was not “convenient” for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th Century. In order to establish a basis for the awareness of the “holiness” of Jerusalem in Islam, the Califs of the Ummayad dynasty invented many “traditions” upholding the value of Jerusalem, which would justify pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Muslims. Thus was al-Masjid al-Aqsa “transported” to Jerusalem. It should be noted that Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa and those “traditions” in order to recruit and inflame the Muslim warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th Century.

Must Judaism defer to Islamic myths?

Another aim of the Islamization of Jerusalem was to undermine the legitimacy of the older religions, Judaism and Christianity, which consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. Islam is presented as the only legitimate religion, destined to replace the other two, because they had changed and distorted the Word of God, each in its turn.

Though Judaism and Christianity can exist side by side in Jerusalem, Islam regards both of them as betrayals of Allah and his teachings, and has always done, and will continue to do, all in its power to expel both of them from this city. It is interesting to note that this expulsion is retroactive: The Islamic broadcasters of the Palestinian radio stations consistently make it a point to claim that the Jews never had a temple on the Temple Mount and certainly not two temples. (Where, then, according to them, did Jesus preach?)

Yasser Arafat, himself a secular person (ask Hamas!), did exactly what the Califs of the Umayyad dynasty did 1300 years ago: He marshaled the holiness of Jerusalem to serve his political ends. He must not have given control of Jerusalem over to the Jews since according to Islam they are impure and the wrath of Allah is upon them.

Moreover, the Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs. The Jews are those who distorted the holy writings which were revealed to them and denied God’s signs. Since they violated the covenant with their God, He cursed them and they are forever the inheritors of hell. So how could Arafat hand over Jerusalem to the Jews?

The Palestinian media these days are full of messages of Jihad, calling to broaden the national-political war between Israel and the Palestinians into a religious-Islamic war between Jews and Muslims. For them, Christianity is no better than Judaism, since both “forfeited” their right to rule over Jerusalem. Only Islam – Din al-Haqq (“the Religion of Truth”) – has this right, and forever.

Since the holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been, and still is, no more than a politically motivated holiness, any Muslim leader or ruler would be putting his political head on the block should he give it up.

Must Judaism and Christianity defer to myths related in Islamic texts or envisioned in Mohammad’s dreams, long after Jerusalem was established as the ancient, true center of these two religions, which preceded Islam?

Should Israel give up on its capital just because some Muslims decided to recycle the political problems of the Umayyads 1250 years after the curtain came down on their role in history?