Car bomb at U.S. embassy kills 16 (Yemen)

A car bomb set off a series of explosions outside the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Yemen on Wednesday and a Yemeni security source said at least 16 people, including six attackers, were killed.

A U.S. embassy official confirmed that the blasts were caused by a car bomb and that there were reports of casualties.

“This morning a car exploded at the main gate of the embassy in Sanaa. There was an initial explosion and several secondary explosions,” a U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters by telephone.

“We do have reports of casualties. Right now, I cannot confirm the number, nor the nationality nor the severity of the casualties.”

A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the bombing and threatened attacks on other embassies including those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

It had threatened in a previous statement on Tuesday to launch a series of attacks unless the Yemeni government met its demands for the release of several members from jail.

“We, the organization of Islamic Jihad in Yemen declare our responsibility for the suicide attack on the American embassy in Sanaa,” the statement read.

“We will carry out the rest of the series of attacks on the other embassies that were declared previously, until our demands are met by the Yemeni government.”

Smoke was seen rising from the heavily fortified U.S. compound in Sanaa and ambulances and fire engines raced to the scene, which was cordoned off by police, witnesses said.

The security source said that six attackers and four bystanders were killed, while the rest were Yemeni security forces.

Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, has grappled with a spate of al Qaeda attacks this year, including one on the U.S. embassy, another near the Italian mission and others on Western tourists.

An al Qaeda-affiliated group claimed responsibility in March for a mortar attack that missed the U.S. embassy but wounded 13 girls at a nearby school.

The United States ordered non-essential staff to leave Yemen in April, a day after an attack on a residential compound.

The Yemeni government joined the U.S.-led war against terrorism following the September 11 attacks on U.S. cities in 2001.

It has jailed dozens of militants in connection with bombings of Western targets and clashes with authorities, but is still viewed in the West as a haven for Islamist militants.

The government of the poor Arab country has also been fighting Shi’ite rebels in the northern province of Saada since 2004 and faced protests against unemployment and inflation.

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Whitewashing the Thai Jihad

By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 30, 2008

In a story Wednesday on a jihadist attack on a wedding party and other jihad activity in Thailand, Agence France Presse added a concluding paragraph that was typical of mainstream media coverage of the Thai jihad and of jihad activity in general. For while AP, Reuters, AFP and the rest never saw a piece of Palestinian propaganda they didn’t like, they also never saw a jihad they couldn’t whitewash.

AFP’s concluding paragraph blandly placed all the blame for the conflict on the non-Muslim Thai government:

More than 3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

All was well, you see, until the Buddhists of Thailand, motivated apparently only by rapacious imperialism, annexed the poor autonomous Malay Muslim Sultanate. AFP does not mention, of course, that the Malay Sultanate at that time was making war against the Siamese during the war between Siam and Burma, and Thailand conquered it in that context — making it Thai by a right of conquest that has been universally recognized throughout human history (except, of course, when it comes to Israel and to any Muslim land that is conquered by non-Muslims).

Along with this come the media’s allergy to the word “jihad,” and its frequent recourse to the passive voice when discussing what the jihadists did. Sometimes inanimate objects act, apparently of their own accord. For example, in a March story on bombings in southern Thailand, Reuters’ lead paragraph stated: “Bombs killed three men and wounded 21 people in three separate attacks in Thailand’s troubled Muslim far south, police said on Sunday.” Reuters gives no hint as to who is doing the bombing and who are the victims – which in itself is a clear indication that the bombers are not the government or pro-government vigilantes, but jihadists.

The story continues in this vein. Its second paragraph tells us that a bomb was hidden in the car, but with no hint as to by whom. In paragraph 5 we learn that in the three southern provinces, “2,500 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks since a separatist insurgency erupted in January 2004.” The separatist insurgency just erupted, you see, like a volcano. It was an act of God, a force of nature. Here again Reuters gives the reader no hint as to who the separatist insurgents are, or who killed the overwhelming majority of those 2,500 people. In paragraph 6, we learn how the “suspected militants” set off another bomb, but once again are given no hint as to who these militants are.

Same thing in paragraph 7: unidentified “insurgents” ambush the security forces. In paragraph 8, it’s simply a “bomb,” a random, accidental object, that unaccountably wounded four people. But also in that paragraph we learn that this is all taking place in “the three far south provinces which formed an independent sultanate until annexed by Thailand a century ago.” Reuters and AFP are in step on this: the only background they give suggests that Thailand is entirely responsible for provoking the conflict, and should simply have left the Malay Muslims alone.

Only in paragraph 10 of the Reuters story are we finally told that “Buddhist monks” are among the chief targets of the still-unidentified “militants” — which should lead the informed reader to identify them as Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists. But they come to that identification with no help from Reuters.

In reality, the Thai jihadists are uniquely brutal even by the standards of their jihadist brethren, and are fighting to correct the outrage, as they see it, of non-Muslim rule over a Muslim population in southern Thailand. But the AFP and Reuters stories exemplify the kind of coverage that jihad activity receives from the mainstream media as a matter of course. The perpetrators of jihad violence are not identified, their ideology is never discussed, and the conflicts they provoke are blamed on their victims. This kind of coverage is of a piece with the U.S. government’s new see-no-jihad, speak-no-jihad, hear-no-jihad policy: both appear to be based on wishful thinking. Both seem to emanate from the idea that if we simply do not allow ourselves to notice jihad activity, it will somehow fade away from neglect. If we pretend that Islam is peaceful, violent Muslims will lay down their arms.

The price we will have to pay for these fantasies could be very high.

Al-Qaeda Operatives Kill 11 Policemen In Their Homes (Iraq)

U.S. and Iraqi sources reported that Al-Qaeda operatives who infiltrated into Iraq from Syria had penetrated a settlement in the Al-Anbar province and attacked the homes of 11 policemen, killing all 11 as well as the son of one of the policemen.

It was reported that the infiltrators wore U.S. military uniforms and that one, a Lebanese, was caught on his way back to Syria.

On May 10, the Iraqi government launched an operation to purge Ninewah province, which borders Al-Anbar province, of Al-Qaeda.

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, May 16, 2008

Islam: Spread by the Sword (Father Zakariya)

‘Blasting Bush OK, but don’t criticize terrorists’ – College Bans Criticising Terrorism

A college in Michigan has decided to allow harsh criticisms of President Bush to be posted on university property, but has banned criticism of violent terrorists and abortion, according to an educational rights group that is challenging the school’s practice.

The issue involves Lake Superior State University in Sault St. Marie, which has ordered Professor Richard Crandall, a nearly 40-year veteran of teaching, to remove the expressions of opinion from his office door and practice his academic freedom with “responsibility.”

“LSSU is displaying serious disrespect for faculty rights by demanding that Professor Crandall remove materials about public concerns from his office door,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “The political double standard in this case is striking.”

Crandall has been teaching at LSSU since 1969, and has adorned his office door – as have other professors – with various political cartoons and postings. His, however, were all of a conservative leaning, FIRE noted.


A cartoon showing comparing the number of abortion deaths in the U.S. to the population of the blacked-out states

His postings have included a photograph of President Ronald Reagan, a cartoon mocking Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident in 2006, cartoons addressing Islamic terrorism and abortion, among others.

But the university said it had received a complaint about the postings, and while keeping details about the concern secret, on March 12, 2007, ordered Crandall to take down the display, threatening him with “insubordination” if he failed to comply with the censorship.

Crandall acquiesced to the restrictions imposed by Provost Bruce Harger, but then turned to FIRE for help in restoring his right of free expression.

FIRE wrote to Betty Youngblood, who was president of LSSU at the time, suggesting that such actions constituted viewpoint discrimination since other professors were allowed their cartoons.

“An outside law firm responded to FIRE on behalf of the university, insisting that LSSU has not infringed on Crandall’s First Amendment rights and absurdly declaring that Crandall’s displays would somehow threaten the civil rights of LSSU community members,” FIRE said.


A listing of the conservative’s point of view on the U.S. military

“LSSU’s embarrassingly poor grasp of the law and its obvious viewpoint discrimination against Professor Crandall are clear indicators that, like too many of America’s universities, LSSU is ready to abandon fundamental rights in the name of making some students or faculty feel ‘comfortable.’ Yet the right to free expression exists to allow people to challenge the beliefs of others – even if this leads to discomfort,” said Robert Shibley, vice president for FIRE.

“It’s time for LSSU to acknowledge the Professor Crandall has the same right to express himself as any other LSSU professor,” he said.

WND attempts to reach LSSU officials for a comment were unsuccessful.


A cartoon noting the violence of radical Islamists

The school had warned the professor: “The materials that you posted were inappropriate and you are not to post these materials or any similar materials on university property, including both the door and the wall surrounding the door… Removal of materials followed by replacement with new materials at a later date constitutes insubordination.”

But FIRE noted such actions are common, “including at LSSU.”

“Other professors on Crandall’s floor have posted materials such as a Far Side cartoon, a bumper sticker reading ‘Honor Veterans; No More War,’ and a twelve-point list outlining how President Bush’s election was a result of corruption, among many other expressions of personal beliefs. As those professors have been granted the right to post materials as they see fit – most of which are not germane to the subjects those professors teach – so should Crandall, a political conservative, be allowed to post items reflecting his ideological viewpoints,” FIRE said.


Another professor’s posting that criticizes President Bush and Vice President Cheney

“The speech in question here – a form of political commentary comprising the very heart of the expression the First Amendment exists to protect-simply does not meet the exacting demands of this precise and well-established legal standard,” FIRE said.

FIRE is an educational foundation that works on behalf of individual rights, due process rights, freedom of expression and rights of conscience on America’s campuses.

British headteacher shot dead in Somalia in raid on school by Islamist militia For Converting

A British headteacher who was shot dead in Somalia by Islamist insurgents may have been targeted because he was a Christian convert, his wife said yesterday.

Daud Hassan Ali, 64, was killed outside the Hiran community education project English school in Beledweyne in central Somalia late on Sunday night, along with Rehana Ahmed, 33, a fellow British Somali teacher. She was reported to have been shot in the head.

Militiamen from the Shabab rebel group also killed two Kenyan teachers after forcing them out of their houses at the school, 190 miles north-west of the capital Mogadishu. A senior commander with the Shabab yesterday claimed the teachers had died in crossfire.

Ali, the school’s headmaster and founder, moved to Britain in 1967, and worked as a teacher and later as an educational psychologist for Birmingham city council. He made regular trips back to Somalia and in 2004 returned to Beledweyne, where he was born, to establish the school for 110 pupils.

From her home in Birmingham yesterday, his wife, Margaret, 64, said that her husband might have been targeted because he had converted to Christianity. She said: “The school he established is run in a house which is also where he lives – there are various disgruntled factions running around and because he is a convert to Christianity from Islam then he is a target. They raided the house in the middle of the night and murdered all four people there.”

She said establishing the school had been Ali’s lifelong dream. “He always wanted to go back to Somalia and do something for his own people.” She added: “He was a great optimist and saw good things in everything – I will continue to pray for the people of Somalia and eventually some good may come out of this.”

Yesterday, one of Ali’s two sons, Robleh Tinning, 32, said: “He wasn’t trying to convert anyone, he was just trying to teach English. He always had a grand project on the go. If something needs doing, someone has to stand up and say they are going to do it and that is what he did. He was a doer, not a moaner.”

Ali kept a blog for supporters on developments at the school. His last post, on March 30, expressed concern about night-time raids by militant fighters.

The Shabab have launched an insurgency against the Ethiopian forces occupying Somalia and in recent weeks have been flexing their muscles with hit-and-run attacks on towns throughout south and central Somalia.

A local reporter in Beledweyne, who asked to remain anonymous, said Ethiopian soldiers who had normally been based in the town had moved out on Sunday to reinforce troops elsewhere, and that within hours the Shabab militia had taken over the town.

After burning the governor’s house, and freeing prisoners from jail, the militiamen headed for the school compound, where they overpowered the three security guards and forced the foreign teachers outside, the reporter said.

Mukhtar Ali Robow, of the Shabab, told Reuters his men had attacked Beledweyne, but he claimed: “Their guards shot at us and we shot back.”

Dualeh Nur, director of the Somali Business Association in Birmingham, said Ali was a good man dedicated to helping Somalis, both in Birmingham and in Somalia. “He was very, very active in the local community. He used to act as an interpreter and as an advocate for Somalians trying to claim asylum, and with housing and health problems,” he said.

Tony Howell, the council’s strategic director for children, young people and families, said: “I was extremely sorry to hear of the sad loss of Daud, who was a most valued and respected educational psychologist in Birmingham from 1988 to 2004, and my sincerest condolences go to his family.”

Ali’s nephew, Abdi Abubakar Hassan, 37, told the Guardian by telephone from Beledweyne yesterday: “This action has shocked everyone. Nobody can understand why it happened.”

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/15/somalia.islam