Jakarta Hotel Bombings – 17 July

Indonesian counter-terrorist police commandos secure the damaged Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta.Jakarta, Indonesia – Two luxury hotels, the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton,  were struck by bombs that killed at least eight people this Friday. Although an international tragedy – two questions are raised.

Is a terrorist bombing of this nature unique and could we have predicted it?

The answer to the first question may surprise some, however, it is clearly a no. Within the past few days many communities have been shaken by the wrath of Islamic terrorism and sectarian violence.  The AFP report the death of two children, 10 and 11 respectively, at the hands of sectarian targeted bombings while VOA News reports the death of 5 children by Taliban roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

Aftermath of the Bali Bombings

Aftermath of the Bali Bombings

But lets move away from this one day in history. In August 2003, the same JW Marriott Hotel of these recent attacks was bombed killing 12 people. In 2002 over 200 were killed in the Bali Bombings; 19 were killed in another set of bombings in Bali in 2005;  and the list goes on.

So, could we have predicted such an attack? If we take past precedent as an indicator of future events, we probably could. Taking account of the internal shifts within Jemaah Islamiah (the organisation suspected for carrying out the bombings) including the rapid rise in radicalism among radicals, the likelihood of an attack was greatly magnified. Such was predicted moments before the attacks by a number of Australian advisory groups.

But when should a government act on such a threat? I would argue that the domestic government has a right to always act – and countries such as Australia, which have often been a victim of various terror attacks in Indonesia should always exercise caution whenever there is a real threat. I would hate to hear that Australia failed to act on reliable intelligence.

Founder of Network Promoting Positive Muslim Image Arrested — For Beheading Wife

The Muslim founder of BridgesTV, a cable network whose slogan is “connecting people through understanding” and which tried to “improve the image of Muslims in the United States,” was arrested on Thursday, for allegedly killing his estranged wife in a manner normally associated with Islamist terrorists — chopping off her head.

Read More.

Morals of Islam: Rape + Suicide = Paradise

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks.

In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women”, Major General Qassim Atta said.

“She confessed her responsibility for these actions, and she confirmed that 28 attempts had been made in one of the terrorists’ strongholds,” he said.

Samira Jassim was arrested on January 21. She is allegedly linked to the Ansar al-Sunnah insurgent group.

Two of the attacks for which Samira Jassim admitted responsibility in the video confession took place in Diyala province, in central Iraq, which is considered one of the most dangerous areas of the country.

The Associated Press reports US military figures indicate at least 36 female suicide bombers attempted or carried out 32 attacks last year. Women are often allowed through military checkpoints without being searched, making it easier for them to hide explosives under their traditional robes.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25006101-12335,00.html
For once in my life I am speechless in regard to these abhorrent acts.

‘It’s OK to hit your Wife’, Australian Muslim Cleric Samir Abu Hamza

An Australian Muslim cleric is at the centre of controversy over a lecture where he directed his followers to hit their wives and force them to have sex. In an earlier lecture circulated on the internet last year, Hamza was also recorded instructing his followers that under Islamic law, a man can demand sex from his wives. This runs contrary to Australian law where both partners mutual unvitiated consent is required, even within marriage.

In response Hamza claimed his words where metaphoric – but is this so?

The fact that the Quran and Sunnah allow for a man to beat his wife for disobediance including refusing sexual interourse leads me to the fact that Hamza was merely being honest in the potrayal of his beliefs. However, it is cowardly of him to step back for the sake of PR.
The contentious aya (verse) of the Quran which justifies such abhorrent actions is Surah 4 aya 34:

Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those (women)  you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against
them; God is All-high, All-great.
Surah 4:34 (Arberry English Translation)

The ignorant Muslim apologist will respond in such a manner, ‘well, it says nothing about forced sex’.  In this case we examine the context in which the aya was revealed.  As many of you may know – the Quran contains no context and it is quite useless when removed from it so we must turn to the ahadith (traditions) and the tafsir.

This single aya sufficeintly justifies Hamza’s words in the Islamic context as explained by Ibn Kathir:

(As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct,) meaning, the woman from whom you see ill conduct with her husband, such as when she acts as if she is above her husband, disobeys him, ignores him, dislikes him, and so forth. When these signs appear in a woman, her husband should advise her and remind her of Allah’s torment if she disobeys him. Indeed, Allah ordered the wife to obey her husband and prohibited her from disobeying him, because of the enormity of his rights and all that he does for her. The Messenger of Allah said,

If I were to command anyone to prostrate before anyone, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate before her husband, because of the enormity of his right upon her.)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

If the man asks his wife to come to his bed and she declines, the angels will keep cursing her until the morning.)

Muslim recorded it with the wording:
If the wife goes to sleep while ignoring her husband’s bed, the angels will keep cursing her until the morning.
This is why Allah said:

As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), abandon them in their beds, (then) beat them.
(This is surah 4 aya 34)

Source: Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Girl Turned into Human Bomb

Rania al Ambaki was handcuffed to a gate at an Iraq security checkpoint. She was a human bomb, CBS News reports.

Suspicious officers immobilized her, jammed cell phone signals that could detonate the explosives, then carefully removed her suicide vest.

She turned out to be just 15 years old, and her story is an increasingly common one.

She comes from Baquba, an al Qaeda hot spot just north of Baghdad. It’s a recruiting ground for women suicide bombers who are responsible for much of the recent carnage in story=3220766>Iraq.

Last year, there were eight women bombers. So far this year, there have been 35. A CBS News crew traveled to Baquba to meet Rania in jail.

“I now thank God that I didn’t get blown up,” she said through a translator.

Rania told police she had no idea the vest was a bomb. Family members, including her husband, she said, had helped her put it on.

Police think they may have drugged her, and meant to blow her up by remote control.

Rania said through a translator: “They told me that it was a kind of medical vest for back pain.”

Gen. Abdul Kareem Qalaf helped interrogate Rania. He said: “She has a low IQ and is a vulnerable teenage girl.”

Why does there suddenly seem to be so many women suicide bombers?

Qalaf said through a translator: “Al Qaeda uses these people – the mentally ill, children and very young women. This shows al Qaeda is failing.”

Al Qaeda is using women bombers – because it works. In a conservative Muslim society, they’re less likely to be searched, and there’s a shortage of female security agents to do the job.

As for Rania, she lived to tell a tale that helped police arrest her husband. But her aunt, the suspected ringleader, is still on the run. She’s one of a new breed of Iraqi women turned into key players in the ruthless business of terrorism.

Al-Qaeda ‘used 24 child suicide bombers in last two years (Iraq)

Al-Qaeda has over the past two years used 24 children to carry out suicide bombings in Iraq, the director of military operations for the Interior Ministry, Abdelaziz Mohammed Jasim, told pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat.

“Of the 24 children, five had a mental disability. From analysing the others’ remains, we established that they were homeless,” said Jasim.

American soldiers stationed in Iraq have reported that the insurgency has armed children as young as 11 to fight against them.

Al-Qaeda is targeting orphans, street children and mentally disabled children as suicide bomber recruits as well as women, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

There have been at least 16 suicide attacks carried out by women in recent months in the volatile Al-Qaeda stronghold of Diyala province, north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Iraqi children  in general make up 20 percent of the civilian victims of bomb attacks in the country.

Sixteen Christian Converts Arrested…and Beaten (Iran)

Tehran, 29 July (AKI) – Sixteen Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were arrested on Tuesday in Malakshahr, on the outskirts of the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

The six women, eight men and two adolescents who were arrested were assisting in a conversion ceremony and baptism of three new members of the church at a private house that had been transformed into an evangelical church.

The owners of the home, an elderly couple, were allegedly beaten up before they were locked up in an unmarked lorry.

In April, 10 Christian converts were arrested in Shiraz.

The official evangelical churches in Isfahan received orders not to allow any Muslims to attend their ceremonies and not to facilitate in any way the conversions.

Iranian law does not stipulate any punishment for those who convert from Islam to other faiths, even if the converts are subject to repression.

A few months ago, the government presented a bill which is currently being discussed in parliament, to include in the penal code the crime of “Ertedad” which is the act of abandoning the Muslim faith.

If the parliament does approve the law, the punishment for abandoning Islam will be the death penalty.

Muslims storm Protestant school in Jakarta, injuring 265 students

Police evacuated the Christian Theological Arastamar Institute (STT SETIA) which is located in an eastern district of the Indonesian capital after it suffered damages during clashes between Christians and Muslims over the week-end. At least 1,500 students were moved to nearby police headquarters and a local Christian-based political party. The situation remains critical and further violence between opposite factions cannot be ruled out.“The school foundation urged us to intervene to protect people,” said East Jakarta District Police Chief Senior Superintendent. “For this reason we moved everyone out.”

Last night hundreds of residents from the village of Kampung Pulo had taken up arms threatening to storm the school after being instigated by an imam at a local mosque who claimed that a bunch of Christian gangsters were coming to “protect” the school after it was attacked on Saturday by a Muslim mob, causing damage to the building and hurting hundreds.

In an attempt to solve the problem East Jakarta District Chief Murdani held a close door meeting with the warring parties to discuss the issue. At the same time though, he said that police would conduct a thorough investigation and check if the school’s legal status was in order and that it respected all building regulations. In case of violations he would issue orders to demolish the unlawful structures.

At present hundreds of agents are guarding the school and have orders to stop any act of violence and disarm people.

The Arastamar High School for Theology and Biblical Studies, locally known as STT SETIA, was established by Rev Mathew Mangentang in 1987.

The SST SETIA has more than 29 branches school across the country. In Jakarta alone it has thousands of students, including 265 who were injured in latest clashes.

Tensions between Christians and Muslims flared up on Saturday following rumours that a SETIA student had stolen a motorcycle that belonged to a Muslim from a neighbouring village.

Senny Manafe, a spokesperson for the school, rejected the accusation, claiming instead that the attacks were triggered by a trivial incident. In an attempt to chase a mouse in the street, a student threw a slipper against a house owned by a local Muslim. Outraged by the deed, the latter kicked and punched the student as people gathered drawn by the rumour that a Christian student had tried to steal the Muslim’s motorbike.

“Many students suffered various injuries to the head. Others were burnt by Molotov cocktails,” Manafe said.

The violence and charges against SETIA are the work of Risman Hadi, chairman of Muslim Brotherhood Forum of Kampung Pulo Village, who in the past opposed the opening and continued existence of the Christian institute.

Female suicide bombers kill 70 Iraqis (Iraq)

Al Qaeda in Iraq conducted two successful strikes in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk. At least seventy Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 300 wounded in four suicide attacks, CNN reported. The attacks were carried out by female terrorists.

The attacks in Baghdad occurred in three separate locations as the female bombers targeted Shia pilgrims traveling on foot to a shrine in the Kadhamiyah district. The three bombers waded into the crowds and detonated their suicide vests within thirty minutes of each other. Thirty-two Iraqis were reported killed and 102 were wounded.

In Kirkuk, a female suicide bomber detonated her vest in the middle of a crowd of more than 5,000 Kurds who gathered to protest the delay of provincial elections in Kirkuk. Just after the detonation, gunmen opened up on the crowd. Thirty-eight Iraqis were killed and 178 were wounded in the deadly attack. Five more were wounded after a clash broke out between “unknown gunmen” and security forces outside the headquarters of the Turkmen Party. A curfew was immediately imposed on the province.

Kirkuk remains a flashpoint for violence as Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen vie for political power in the northern city. The Kurds seek to bring the oil-rich city into the political sphere of the Kurdistan Regional Government while Kurds have retaken lands from Arabs settled in the region during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Last week, the Iraqi Parliament passed a law delaying provincial elections and setting up a power-sharing agreement between the parties. The Kurdish political parties walked out of Parliament in protest.

Today’s attacks demonstrate that while al Qaeda has suffered major setbacks in Iraq, the network still maintains the capacity to conduct high-profile, mass-casualty suicide strikes. The last major attack occurred on July 24, when a female suicide bomber killed eight Awakening fighters and wounded 15 during an attack in Baqubah.

Al Qaeda suicide bombers also struck in Diyala province on July 15. Two suicide bombers detonated their vests within the Saad military camp as Iraqi Army recruits gathered. Twenty-two recruits were killed and more than 55 wounded.

The last major bombing in Baghdad occurred on June 18, when a car bomb detonated in the Shia neighborhood of Hayy Hurriyah in Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah district. The US military determined the attack was carried out by cell run by a Mahdi Army leader named Haydar Mahdi Khadum Al Fawadi.

US, Iraqi forces target al Qaeda’s networks

The US and Iraqi military have heavily targeted al Qaeda networks in the central and northern provinces over the past two days. Eighty-eight al Qaeda operatives were captured and four were killed during operations.

Today, Coalition special forces captured 30 suspected al Qaeda fighters during raids in Abu Ghraib and Mosul. An al Qaeda cell leader and a bomb maker were captured in Abu Ghraib and a financier for Ninewa province was captured in Mosul. Also, Coalition forces surrounded “a hideout for AQI facilitators and smugglers coming in from Syria” in a village southwest of Mosul, and captured 15 terrorists.

Yesterday, US and Iraqi forces killed four al Qaeda fighters and detained 58 suspects during search operation in Ninewa province. Four Iraqi soldiers were killed during gun battle.

Iraqi and US forces are massing for a major offensive in Diyala province, where al Qaeda still maintains sanctuaries in the rural regions. The operation is expected to begin in early August.

British Muslim Students: Killing for Islam is Okay?

A third of Muslim students in Britain believe killing someone in the name of religion is justified, a new poll claims.

The survey found that extreme Islamist ideology has a profound influence on a significant minority of Muslims on campuses across the country.

The findings will concern police chiefs, the security services and ministers, who are struggling with radicalisation among Muslim communities.

The YouGov poll was conducted for the Right-wing think tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion, at 12 universities, including Imperial College and Kings College London. It also found:

  • 40 per cent support the introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
  • a third back the notion of a worldwide Islamic caliphate (state) based on sharia law
  • 40 per feel it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely
  • 24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
  • a quarter have little or no respect for homosexuals.

Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was. Of these, 4 per cent said killing could be justified to “promote or preserve” religion, while 28 per cent said it was acceptable if that religion were under attack.

There was also sympathy for the view that Muslim soldiers in the Armed Forces should be allowed to opt out of operations in Muslim countries, with 57 per cent agreeing.

The report’s authors found that Islamic societies on campus, operating under the umbrella of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, exert a strong influence on many of Britain’s 90,000 Muslim students. A quarter of them belong to Islamic societies and their views are often more extreme.

While three-fifths of society members said that killing in the name of religion was acceptable, an equal number of non-member Muslims said it was never justified. The security services have identified Islamist activism at universities acts as a possible “gateway” to violent extremism. Several terrorists and sympathisers began their extremist careers on campuses.

The authors of the report, “Islam on Campus”, lay much of the blame for extremism among Muslim students on the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to build a worldwide Islamic state.

YouGov polled 600 Muslim students and 800 non-Muslim students at universities with a high number of Muslims.