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Syria wages PR fight on sanctuary for Christians

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 13:55

When the Syrian opposition took over the Armenian-Christian town of Kessab in coastal Syria last month, its 2,000 residents fled. Instead, rebels appear to be using Kessab as an opportunity to try to undo their reputation for extreme brutality towards Syria's Christians and Shiites. But the Assad regime, which considers itself the protector of minorities, has launched a media campaign to demonstrate how Islamists are terrorizing Christians in Kessab, turning the town into a public relations battlefield in Syria's civil war.  Christians' fears of the armed opposition have been stoked by events such as the Hatla massacre, in which at least 30 Shiite villagers were killed, and by snapshots of life under the control of extremist groups: strict Islamist doctrine, public beheadings of "infidels," and the alleged levying of a jizya, or protection tax, on some Christian communities by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an Al Qaeda-linked militant group.


Hakimullah Mehsud obituary

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 20:35
Leader of the Pakistani Taliban held responsible for numerous terror attacks Hakimullah Mehsud, who has died in a US drone attack aged about 34, was one of the most notorious leaders to emerge from Pakistan's cauldron of Islamist militancy in the past decade. Charming, charismatic and ruthless in equal measure, he was propelled to the leadership of the country's largest Taliban group by the twin ...

Abu Sayyaf men abduct 2 in Malaysia–officials

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 22:53
KUALA LUMPUR — A 29-year-old Chinese national and a Filipino resort worker have been abducted from a resort off Semporna, Malaysian and Philippine officials said Thursday.   The attackers were believed to be from the Abu Sayyaf, a Filipino militant Muslim group that has been implicated in seaborne kidnappings for ransom in the region before, said a Philippine intelligence official who didn't ...

Madressah reform

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 19:00
[DAWN] THE issue of madressah reform was raised in the National Assembly on Tuesday when the house adopted an opposition resolution demanding that the government take steps to "improve and regulate" education in seminaries. As militancy has gained ground in Pakistain over the past few years, the role of madressahs, particularly those promoting myrmidon mindsets or worse and acting as nurseries for jihadi and sectarian groups, has come under close scrutiny. Though it would be wrong to tar all seminaries with the same brush as many madressahs genuinely focus on purely religious studies and do not promote violence, ever since the 1980s, the politicisation of seminaries, in the shadow of the Afghan 'jihad', has resulted in some madressahs becoming hotbeds of extremism. Attempts have been made to 'reform' the seminaries, including during the Musharraf years and the last PPP government's tenure. Yet these have made little difference mostly due to the pressure of the religious right. Religious parties feel that the government wants to control the madressahs under the guise of reforms, hence they are guarding their turf fiercely. But reforming madressahs should not necessarily be about control of institutions or doing away with religious education. Rather, it should focus on ensuring that madressah curricula do not contain hate material, and, in fact, equip the thousands of graduates that seminaries produce every year with marketable mainstream skills that will help them get jobs in different sectors. The fact is that madressahs have also mushroomed because the state has failed to create a viable, equitable system of public education. Our system is class-based and skewed against the poor. Though some people do send their offspring to madressahs out of religious beliefs, many simply have no other choice. Either there are no public schools in their native areas, or the schools that do exist hardly deliver quality education. Meanwhile, ...back at the pie fight, Bella grabbed the cocoanut cream... the free boarding and lodging many madressahs offer is an added advantage to poor parents. Madressah reform is essential and religious quarters should work with the state to bring seminaries into the mainstream. But more important is the need for the state to overhaul the broken public school system to deliver decent education to youngsters that will help them become productive, enlightened citizens.

UK, Syria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia feature in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 13:18
Jihadists have driven Armenians from Kessab; 33 North Koreans have reportedly been sentenced to death for having contact with a South Korean Baptist missionary

Because We Are at War

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 11:27
via UTT Blog. “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing the Islamic State.” By-Laws of the International Muslim Brotherhood   “Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah after they are humbled or overpowered.” Islam and Modernism, Taqi Usmani (2006) […]

Hamas MP: "We Must Massacre Jews"

Sun, 03/23/2014 - 14:00
From MEMRI:



In a recent address, Hamas cleric and MP Yunis Al-Astal said that the Koran indicates that “we must massacre [the Jews]... to prevent them from sowing corruption in the world.” Al-Astal further said: “We must restore them to the state of humiliation imposed upon them... They must pay the jizya security tax while they live in our midst.” The address was aired on March 6, 2014, on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV, broadcasting from Gaza.

Following are excerpts:

Yunis Al-Astal: In today's show, we will discuss the demand that the Palestinian people recognize [Israel] as a Jewish state, so that the occupation will graciously hand them out scraps. I would like to begin by quoting what Allah said about them: "The worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who disbelieve. They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time."

[...]

The obvious question is: What is the solution to this gang of people? The Al-Anfal chapter of the Koran provides us with the answer. After He said: "They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time," Allah added: "If you gain mastery over them in a war, use them to disperse those who follow them that they may remember." This indicates that we must massacre them, in order to break them down and prevent them from sowing corruption in the world. They are the ones who still spark the flame of war, but Allah has taken it upon Himself to extinguish it.

[...]

We must restore them to the state of humiliation imposed upon them. They should be dhimmi citizens. This status must be imposed upon them by war. They must pay the jizya security tax while they live in our midst.

[...]

However, in Palestine, where they are occupiers and invaders, they cannot have the status of dhimmis.The next to last paragraph is actually very important. While Muslims like to claim how well they treated second-class dhimmis over the centuries, al-Astal is admitting the truth: the entire point of dhimmitude is to impose a state of humiliation on Christians and Jews.

Which is why Muslims will never accept Israel. The idea that the weak, dhimmi Jews are more powerful than Muslims - in the middle of the Muslim world - is the worst humiliation that can be imagined. They can sort of accept that 2 billion Christians have a lot of power outside Muslim geographical centers, after all, that's been the status quo for 500 years. But 6 million Jews building a country that a billion Muslims cannot destroy? That cannot be accepted, no matter what.

And this is why these Jews in Israel are not even accorded dhimmi status, according to al-Astal. Their humiliation of Muslims is so egregious that the Koran itself must be interpreted to demand that they be massacred.

But the West still thinks that a couple of Muslim national leaders signing a piece of paper can change the entire Islamic psyche overnight or in a few years.

Ignoring the Elephant in the Room: Lecturing on Zakat Without Addressing Jihad

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 10:28

Recently, Chris Taylor of the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, gave a half-hour lecture on zakat and Islamic charity, with a focus on India.

But as part of his lecture, Taylor gave background on the system of zakat.

Sadly–and probably predictably given the Center’s funding sources–Taylor totally ignored the specifics of recipients of zakat and the mandate in Shariah that zakat go to those fighting in the way of Allah.

Readers can watch the lecture here:

http://vimeo.com/89526114

 

03/18 Links Pt1: Obama’s M.E. fallacy; Obama: Abbas Has ‘Consistently Renounced Violence’

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:00
From Ian:
Caroline Glick: Why Obama will not change gears
Since its inception, the Iranian regime has been at war with the US. It has carried out one act of aggression after another. These have run the gamut from the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and holding hostage US diplomats for 444 days, to the use of Lebanese and Palestinian proxies to murder US officials, citizens and soldiers in countless attacks over the intervening 35 years, to building a military presence in Latin America, to developing nuclear weapons.
And from its earliest days, the same Iranian regime has been courted by one US administration after another seeking to accommodate Tehran.
A similar situation obtains with the Palestinians. Like the Iranians, the PLO has carried out countless acts of terrorism that have killed US officials and citizens.
From the 1970 Fatah execution of the US ambassador and deputy chief of mission in Khartoum to the 2003 bombing of the US embassy convoy in Gaza, the PLO has never abandoned terrorism against the US.
No less importantly, the PLO is the architect of modern terrorism. From airline hijackings, to the massacre of schoolchildren, from bus bombings to the destabilization of nation states, the PLO is the original author of much of the mayhem and global terrorism the US has led the fight against since the 1980s.Obama’s Middle East fallacy
In short, Netanyahu has resigned himself to the likelihood that the U.S. framework will include provisions he’s not ready to endorse. Abbas has not. “There is no way. We will not accept,” the Palestinian news agency quoted him as saying of the Jewish-state principle on March 7. Two days later, Abbas persuaded the moribund Arab League to adopt a resolution backing him up. He’s said much the same about Israeli troops on the border.
Why does Abbas dare to publicly campaign against the U.S. and Israeli position even before arriving in Washington? Simple: “Abbas believes he can say no to Obama because the U.S. administration will not take any retaliatory measures against the Palestinian Authority,” writes the veteran Israeli-Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Instead, Abbas expects to sit back if the talks fail, submit petitions to the United Nations and watch the anti-Israel boycotts mushroom, while paying no price of his own.
Perhaps Obama will disabuse him of that notion at their meeting Monday. If not, another “peace process” breakdown is surely coming.Obama: Abbas Has ‘Consistently Renounced Violence’
Obama omitted all references to Palestinian terrorism and last week’s rocket attacks, many of which were claimed to have been launched by a militant branch of Abbas’ own Fatah political party.
Obama also did not mention Abbas’ efforts to honor Palestinian terrorists and more recent remarks by his senior adviser calling on Allah to kill the Israelis.
The meeting comes at a critical time in the Middle East peace process, a priority for Secretary of State John Kerry.


Gaza's Hamas government critical as Abbas meets Obama
As on previous occasions, Mr Abbas has said he has a mandate to conduct the negotiations on behalf of all the Palestinian factions, including Hamas.
He traces this back to a national agreement document that was reached by all Palestinian factions, with the exception of Islamic Jihad, signed in June 2006.
This states that “administration of the negotiations falls within the jurisdiction of the PLO and the President of the PNA (Palestinian National Authority)” and sets the condition that any final agreement must be ratified by the Palestine National Council – the highest decision making body in the PLO – or a general referendum.
However, there are questions over whether this document is still relevant. The rift between Hamas and Fatah means general elections have been delayed and Mr Abbas’s presidential term technically ended in 2009 . . .
Analysts point out that other aspects of the 2006 agreement have not been implemented.Obama to Abbas: Palestinians must take risks for peace
US President Barack Obama on Monday told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would have to make tough political decisions and take “risks” for peace, as would Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas, for his part, reiterated his rejection of Israel’s demand that its status as a Jewish state be enshrined in a future peace accord, asserting that previous Palestinian recognition of Israel was sufficient.
“Everyone understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like,” Obama said, describing an agreement that reflected the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps. He said that he would continue to emphasize “the importance of rule of law, transparency, and effective reform so that not only do the Palestinians ultimately have a state on paper, but, more importantly, they have one that actually delivers on behalf of their people.”Abbas Suggests Obama Promised ’67 Lines, E. Jerusalem Capital
Obama uttered his standard “everybody understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like, involving a territorial compromise on both sides based on ’67 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps,” and never said a word about Jerusalem.
In Abbas’s responsive remarks, he transformed what Obama said into something quite different. Abbas made it sound as though Obama said that there would be a Palestinian State with the “’67 lines” (actually, the 1949 Armistice Lines) as its western border, and with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Abbas also managed to shoehorn in a reference to the refugee issue, as if Obama had acknowledged a connection between eastern Jerusalem and the refugees. And Abbas also created a link to the “promise” of the release of still more convicted murderers as part of the “peace process.”Lying About Abbas Won’t Bring Peace
In short, peace process advocates believe the only way to plow ahead to an agreement is to keep the pressure up on Netanyahu to give the maximum while treating Abbas with kid gloves, all the while fearing to offend him or to give his enemies within Fatah, not to mention Hamas and Islamic Jihad rivals, any ammunition with which to attack him as soft on the Israelis. Anything else, they tell us, risks blowing up the process leaving no hope for peace.
But the problem here isn’t so much the double standard for Netanyahu or even the blatant dishonesty involved in American and Israeli officials attesting to the sincerity and good intentions of the Palestinian leader. It’s that this theory of peace negotiating has already been tried and failed with disastrous results.Ashton: The EU is Against Boycotts of Israel
At the same time, she also reiterated the EU’s objection to Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.
''The European Union opposes a boycott of Israeli companies and businesses. We don't want to see Israel isolated,” Ashton said at a press conference after a meeting of the 28 EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels, according to the European Jewish Press (EJP).
“The EU fully supports U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts as well as the Israeli and Palestinian engagement in the current negotiations,” she added, reiterating that the EU is ''determined'' to offer Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) with an “unprecedented” package of support measures for both parties if an agreement is reached.Bennett: Fourth Palestinian prisoner release uncertain to happen
In an interview with Israel Radio, Bennett slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as having acted only in accordance with the policies that the Palestinians have accepted.
Bennett cited Abbas's firm refusal of Israel's demand for a public declaration that Israel is a Jewish state.
"Whoever is unwilling to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is not a partner in dialogue," he said.Does Abbas See Arch-Terrorist as a Successor?
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas revealed a new demand this week: the release of arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in several deadly terrorist attacks.
Abbas is reportedly defending the demand as a step that will be popular with the “Palestinian street,” thus reducing opposition to talks with Israel.
In a conversation with Arutz Sheva, analyst Baruch Yadid revealed a deeper reason behind Abbas’ request: the aging Fatah leader is seeking to replace himself, and sees the highly popular Barghouti as a likely candidate.Senior PA Negotiator Reiterates: We Will Never Recognize Israel as a Jewish State
Nabil Sha’ath, known to be a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, brushed aside allegations that the PA’s intransigence on the issue of recognition is the reason for the current impasse between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The Palestinian official said, “Due to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s fixation on us recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, none of the other unresolved questions have been addressed.” Dahlan: Mahmoud Abbas is a Catastrophe; Negotiations Are "One Big Lie"
Mahmoud Abbas was against the Clinton document. I supported it. Today, Mahmoud Abbas wants a third war, in order to achieve the same Clinton document. What he is negotiating about today does not amount to 50% of the Clinton document.
Why did they prevent Yasser Arafat from signing the Clinton document? In order to present him as if he did not want a peace agreement. Today, half of them say that they supported the Clinton document, but that Yasser Arafat refused. That’s not true. You were all against the Clinton document. Yasser Arafat wanted it, but you instilled fear in him. We would have gotten 100% of the land, East Jerusalem as the capital, and a reasonable solution for the problem of the refugees, 200,000 of whom would have returned, in keeping with understandings.
What Mahmoud Abbas is negotiating about today does not amount to 50% of the Clinton document that we rejected. Does that not constitute a political corruption and political crime?

3 soldiers injured in explosion near Syrian border
Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly to moderately injured on Tuesday when their patrol jeep apparently ran over a bomb near the Israel-Syria border.
The incident occurred near Majdal Shams, and the soldiers were evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Light arms fire was also apparently directed at the patrol, according to a report on Israeli news site NRG.
The military reportedly returned artillery fire into Syria, hitting two sites on the nearby city of Quneitra, including a Syrian army base.Fighters penetrated into Israel in Friday attack
Militants carrying out an attack on an Israeli jeep last week penetrated hundreds of meters into Israel from Lebanon, military authorities now believe.
The terrorists managed to bypass border security and infiltrate deep into Israeli territory before they planted two small IED bombs in front of the jeep in the Friday attack, news site Walla reported Tuesday, citing military sources.
The Friday blasts, which took place in the Har Dov area in the north, damaged the jeep and caused light injuries to its occupants. Three soldiers were taken to a hospital to rule out any internal injuries from the blast, according to Israel Radio.Study: Civil defenses cut 86% of deaths from Gaza rockets
The thousands of Palestinian rockets fired at southern Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip over the years would have caused an average of seven times more casualties had Israel not developed a set of effective, life-saving civil defenses, a new study has found.
The study’s authors, Prof. Edward H. Kaplan, a specialist in engineering and public health from the Yale School of Management, and his former student Lian Zucker, began the research after encountering several instances in which international media dismissed the threat of Gazan rockets.
“Many critics of Israel point out that while there have been thousands of Kassams fired into Israel, the resulting number of casualties is very small,” Kaplan told The Jerusalem Post this week. “There has been a concerted attempt by many to portray Kassam rockets as essentially harmless, symbolic weapons.Terrorist Released in Shalit Deal Caught with Knife
The terrorist, in his 20s, was caught at the Qalandiya checkpoint and was taken in for questioning. During interrogation he admitted that he had planned a stabbing attack.
The terrorist had been in an Israeli prison for three years after being convicted of opening fire towards a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria. He was one of over 1,000 terrorists who were released in October of 2011 in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.PA Blames Debt on 'Area C' of Judea, Samaria
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced Monday that their total debts had topped a staggering 4.8 billion dollars, and that the current year's budgetary deficit was 1.5 billion dollars, according to PA "Finance Minister" Shukri Bishara.
Bishara noted that the deficit amounts to 13% of the PA's GDP and grows by 125 million dollars per month. To combat this, the PA is working on "a strategy" to increase revenues by 550 million dollars annually over the next two years, according to the official.
The main task: accruing extra income tax - which, according to Bishara, could mean hundreds of millions to the PA every year based on each percentage point added to the current income tax rate.Documenting Palestinian Violations Of Human Rights is Just Too Darn Complicated (satire)
If a mysterious explosion rocks a Palestinian home and children are killed because a militant’s bomb went off as he was trying to assemble it, our policy is silence; Palestinian rights are only important vis-à-vis Israel. Behaving otherwise would require us to have principles, and principles have no place in this arena. International donors aren’t interested in principles; our continued funding rests on providing donors what they want, which most assuredly does not involve good guys who aren’t really good.
We do always have the fallback of attributing all the problems in the Gaza Strip to the Israeli blockade. Except for the ones stemming from the Egyptian blockade, which we try as hard a we can to ignore, because Egyptians are Arabs, not Jews, and placing blame on Arabs would be too complex. Better to adhere to the Israel-bad/Palestinians-good narrative.
You asked about starving Palestinians in Syria? Well, can Israel be directly blamed? No? Then why are you bringing it up?State Dept. Slaps Iran, Says Tehran “Very Actively” Evading Sanctions, Developing Nukes & Ballistic Missiles
With unusual candor and stark language, a top State Department official is accusing Iran of ongoing illicit nuclear-related activity in violation of international obligations. The shift in tone suggests an early beginning to establishing blame for a failure of international talks designed to remove the nuclear threat posed by Iran.
Release of this startling information is especially explosive given its timing — on the eve of ongoing nuclear talks with the P5+1 resuming in Vienna today — and in the face of Tehran’s claims it is engaged in those negotiations in good faith, despite its long record of using talks as a cover for precisely the kind of nuclear deception being exposed.Israel can’t rely on ‘weak’ US to deal with Iran, Ya’alon warns
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a scathing critique of the Obama administration, an Israeli newspaper reported Monday, declaring that Israel cannot rely on the US to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, accusing the administration of broadcasting weakness throughout the world, and warning that its perceived weakness was inviting further terrorism against US targets.
Speaking at a Tel Aviv University event on Sunday reported by the Haaretz daily, Ya’alon said Israel could not afford to rely on the Obama administration to lead an action against Iran’s nuclear program, and that Israel could only rely on itself. Israel had believed that “the one who should lead the campaign against Iran is the US,” but instead, “the US at a certain stage began negotiating with them, and unfortunately in the Persian bazaar the Iranians were better,” he said. Therefore, “we (Israelis) have to look out for ourselves.” Congressman Pete Hoekstra: Iran Bent on Sponsoring Terrorism During Nuclear Talks
Iran’s support of Islamist terror groups, its role in Syria, its cyber warfare capabilities, and a closer relationship with Russia will radically change the national security calculus for the U.S. and its allies.
We always need to keep in mind that Iran is a ruthless killing machine that flagrantly and routinely mocks international laws and norms.
Can we really expect Iran to fulfill any of its unenforceable commitments reached during the ongoing negotiations over its nuclear program, especially keeping in mind that to this day it has never really been held accountable for its actions?Iran doesn’t expect deal in coming nuclear talks
Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to reporters after meeting his visiting Belorussian counterpart, Vladimir Makei.
“We don’t expect to reach a deal in this round of talks. Nor was a deal on the agenda for this round of talks. We have agreed to discuss a number of issues in this round,” Zarif said.US official: Iran buying nuclear parts on black market
Vann Van Diepen, who oversees non-proliferation issues for the State Department, told Reuters that while the parts are not expressly forbidden by the nuclear deal, a UN embargo on selling nuclear military or nuclear materials to Iran remains in place.
“They still continue very actively trying to procure items for their nuclear program and missile program,”
said Van Diepen, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation.Iranian exile to ‘Post’: Israel, Iran should become allies after regime falls
Asked if Iranians really cared so much about the Palestinians, Parham said that aside from government-sponsored protests and those organized by pro-Palestinian activists, “have you ever seen any public Iranian protests” on the issue? He said that during the anti-government unrest in 2009 there had been two slogans: One called for a non-Islamic “Iranian republic,” and the other said: “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I give my life for Iran.”
“Despite all the propaganda and money, there has never been in 35 years outside the revolutionary chaos of February 1979 a genuine, spontaneous demonstration by the Iranian people in the streets for Palestine or some Arab cause,” Parham claimed.Turkish Treachery Exposed As Iran Sanctions-Busting “Gas-for-Gold” Scandal Engulfs Erdogan, AKP
The Hamas supporting Prime Minister of Turkey and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continue to find themselves on the uncomfortable end of a growing anti-government backlash. Street protests have swelled in recent weeks as the Islamist-Authoritarian regime has brutally jailed critics and political rivals, and continued to deploy force against peaceful demonstrators.
Now, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his cronies find themselves rocked by a scandal analysts describe as “the most damaging” of the corruption charges yet, exposing not only their financial corruption, but Erdogan’s betrayal of NATO allies, and the Islamist AKP leader’s deep collusion with the nuclear weapons seeking Mullah regime in Iran.Turkish doctors question PM Erdogan’s mental state
In a written statement, the association, which includes a majority of the country’s doctors, said Erdogan’s use of “polarizing, excluding and ‘otherifying’ language” suggested the premier was unwell.
The association noted Erdogan’s recent comments about 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died last week after a nine-month coma cause by being hit in the head by a tear gas canister shot by a police officer last summer. (h/t Yenta Press)

United by Fear: Life Under Militants More Radical Than Al Qaeda

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 04:14
An Islamist militant group disowned even by al Qaeda is finding few followers in the Syrian city it controls.        

19 get death for killing 12 people

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 00:31
[DAWN] GUJRANWALA: Anti-Terrorism Court No 2 on Wednesday handed down death sentence on 24 counts to 19 accused of killing 12 people including seven women and three children. ATC Judge Muhammad Ittefaq Abbasi also awarded life term on 24 counts to an underage accused and issued arrest warrants for six absconders. According to the prosecution, Arshad, Ahsanullah, Sufain, Luqman, Imran, Asghar, Zakaullah, Abdul Razaq, Ishaq, Ilyas, Ashraf, Mudassar, Khursheed, Ghulam Nabi, Waqar, Riaz, Imran and Shafqat had rubbed out and burnt bodies of Khushi Muhammad, Wali Muhammad, Hajra, Bisma, Abdullah, Tanzila, Maira, Ijaz, Arshad Bibi, Fajar, Mafia, and Bushra Bibi over a murder enmity on Dec 29, 2011. Police had enjugged ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... the accused and submitted charge-sheet to the court. The judge announced the verdict amid tight police security. The convicts were shifted to the central jail.

Erdogan warns against new protests

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 00:29
Those who smell a victory for Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party in local elections this month are working to trigger street protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported. During an election rally for his party, known in Turkey by the initials AK, in the southeastern province of Mardin, Erdogan warned listeners about possible street protests prior to the elections, which are scheduled for March 30. He called on the people and his political rivals to act in a patient and responsible way. "Whatever issue you do have, solve them in election polls on March 30," Erdogan said. Turkish streets have been tense since Tuesday, when a teenager injured during last summer's Gezi Park protests, succumbed to his injuries and died. He had been in a coma for 269 days. The Gezi Park protests began as a small environmental demonstration and mushroomed into nationwide anti-government protests. During his speech, Erdogan also referred to an anti-corruption operation, launched December 17, calling it a "conspiracy" orchestrated by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. "Unfortunately, the opposition parties have danced to the conspirators' tunes throughout this process," the prime minister said. The operation and subsequent probes into the activities of a number of high-ranking figures considered to be allies of the government have had a significant effect on Turkey's political atmosphere. The Erdogan administration has decried the operation as a "dirty plot" targeting Turkey's stability and development.

Militant grip transforms, terrorizes Syrian city

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 10:46

BEIRUT (AP) — Once a vibrant, religiously mixed community, Syria's eastern city of Raqqa is now a shell of its former self, terrorized by hard-line militants who have turned it into the nucleus of their vision for the Islamic caliphate they hope one day to establish in Syria and Iraq.


Shariah Bank in Oman Facilitates Customers’ Zakat Donations

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 10:16

One of the chief concerns of Shariah-compliant finance is its relationship to zakat, the system of tithing in Islam.

The concern stems from the fact that, under Shariah, one of the eight acceptable destinations for zakat money is to those fighting in the way of Allah.

We have covered this extensively on SFW for years.

Some zakat donations come from Shariah-compliant institutions themselves and, in some cases, Shariah-compliant institutions serve as a conduit for the zakat donations of their customers.

This is the case with Bank Nizwa in Oman, a country that has seen a sharp increase in Shariah finance over the past 3 years:

Bank Nizwa , Oman’s first Islamic Bank, is fulfilling its promise to be the leader in Islamic banking across Oman, by making it easier for its customers to pay their Zakat.

Customers can now easily transfer the required amount from their accounts into the allocated Ministry of Religious Affairs account at Bank Nizwa . They can also deposit cash directly into this account. Customers who regularly wish to transfer Zakat can set up a standing order.

Bank Nizwa customers who choose to pay their Zakat through the afore mentioned Bank Account are assured of a waiver of fees on all standing orders linked to this account. There are also fee waivers on internal, local and International transfers associated with this account.

https://www.zawya.com/story/Bank_Nizwa_helps_customers_to_fulfill_Zakat_obligations-ZAWYA20140305100337/

 

 

 

Syrian Jihadists Are Forcing Christians to Become Dhimmis Under Seventh-Century Rules

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 10:05
The religious persecution in Syria deepened this week, as evidenced by a written ultimatum purportedly distributed by the rebel jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to Christians in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa. Rejecting conversion to Islam or death, some 20 Christian leaders of that city held firm in their faith and submitted to the Islamists' demands to live by as ...

State Department Condemns Ultimatum Given to Syrian Christians

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 19:01
The State Department on Monday condemned the treatment of Christians living in the Syrian city of Raqqa following an extremist Islamist group's edict that Christians either convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.        

Syria Jihadist Group Forces Christians to Submit to Islam or Face Death

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 17:20
A powerful Syrian jihadist group with links to al-Qaeda has forced Christian leaders in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa to sign a contract of submission and enter into the medieval Islamic term as "dhimmis" in exchange for their protection.

02/28 Links Pt1: Abbas rewords the three no’s; Why Israel No Longer Trusts Europe

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:00
From Ian:
Sarah Honig: Those three no’s – reworded
This in effect is Abbas’s counterpart to Khartoum’s no-negotiation stipulation. Abbas has set up a hurdle so high that, without duplicitous pretense, it becomes unsurpassable and thereby makes genuine negotiations a farce.
Next comes Abbas’s present-day equivalent to Khartoum’s no-recognition proviso. While not identical in wording, its bottom line is no different from the 1967 prototype. Abbas repeats insolently that recognition of Israel as the legitimate nation-state of the Jewish people is out of the question – not now, not ever, no way, nowhere, under no condition.
This isn’t a negligible semantic equivocation. It means a refusal to accede even to the 1947 UN Partition Resolution minimum which determined that the Jewish people deserve a state. To crush said UN Resolution, seven Arab armies attacked the overwhelmingly outmanned and outgunned newborn Israel but lost, triggering their piteous lamentations to this day.
As long as the very notion of the rightful existence of a Jewish state is repudiated, the irredentist ambition to eradicate Israel as a Jewish state will fester and rule out even a remote likelihood of a true and lasting peace.Why Israel No Longer Trusts Europe
Despite these discouraging experiences, every Israeli military action against radicals in Gaza or Lebanon is met with protests in Europe. Which doesn’t inspire confidence in Israeli leaders that Europe would accept Israel’s right to self-defense if a future Palestinian state in the West Bank became a similar hotbed of extremism and revisionist politics.
It is always comfortable for Europeans to demand that Israel make hard decisions for peace. But Europe must now ask itself some hard questions, too. What guarantees could Europe offer Israel in return for a Palestinian state to protect it if the peace experiment failed and radicals took over the West Bank? Would Europe be ready to offer membership in NATO and the European Union if the Israelis asked for it?
I am not sure there are any promising answers to these questions. But if all Europe has to offer Israel is criticism and disapproval, then it will be part of the problem, not the solution.Watchdog Group Highlights Anti-Israel Credentials of Amnesty International’s Researchers
As Amnesty International published an anonymous 85-page report condemning Israel on Thursday, NGO Monitor, the Jerusalem-based charity watchdog, highlighted the backgrounds of Amnesty’s researchers, several of whom were full-time anti-Israel activists before joining the human rights group.
Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s international legal counsel, told The Algemeiner on Thursday, “We are not sure who wrote the report because Amnesty doesn’t say — in violation of NGO fact-finding guidelines established by the International Bar Association.”
The cover photography from the report was courtesy of Haim Schwarczenberg, who describes himself as a “photographer and activist in Israel” on the anti-Israel blog Mondoweiss, to which he contributed a report last year. Schwarczenberg’s Facebook account features a stream of hundreds of photos showing Arabs igniting tires to hurl at soldiers, aiming slingshots, and, of course, throwing rocks at the Israel Defense Forces.
Herzberg said that what NGO Monitor has been able to confirm is that “the Israel researcher based in London, Deborah Hyams, was a human shield in Beit Jala; the Amnesty US Israel researcher, Edith Garwood, used to be a member of the International Solidarity Movement. Also, another one of the researchers, Rasha Abdul-Rahim, describes herself as ‘a ranty Palestinian activist‘ on Twitter.”Naughty NTB doctors amnesty international report
Apart from the cheek of the Amnesty International, it is much more serious that the Norwegian news agency NTB resorts to doctoring the Amnesty report in order to smear Israel (they must have suffered badly from withdrawal pains, there has been pretty much nothing that could be blamed on Israel for several months now) by adding a word that appears nowhere in the AI report: Atrocities.


Caroline Glick: The Israeli Solution
Part Two presents the case for Israeli sovereignty from the perspectives of demography, international law, history and civil liberties.
Far from transforming the areas into a race-based state, as Israel’s opponents threaten, such a move by Israel will free the Palestinians from life under the PLO’s terror supporting kleptocracy and provide them with full civil and legal rights as permanent residents of Israel.
They will also have the right to apply for Israeli citizenship.
Even if all the Arabs of Judea and Samaria were to become Israeli citizens, Israel would retain a strong two-thirds Jewish majority. And it would avert the only real demographic threat. That is the threat posed by a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria which would permit millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs from Lebanon, Jordan and Syria to immigrate to its territory.How Will Obama Soothe Abbas’s Rage?
The path to peace won’t be found by soothing Abbas’s rage at being maneuvered into having to accept negotiations when signing a deal is the last thing he wants to do. Rather than returning to his default position of pressuring Netanyahu, the keynote of President Obama’s involvement should be making it clear to Abbas that he must accept the framework. The Israelis have already paid dearly, with concessions that included the release of over 100 Palestinian terrorist murderers and a de facto freeze in settlement building outside of their settlement blocs that would be retained in any agreement, in order to persuade Abbas to come back to the table last year. It would be outrageous for Obama to respond to Palestinian blackmail by simply acquiescing to their demands and expect Israel to proceed without the assurance that the framework will be kept in place.
If the president’s new foray into the peace process blindly follows the familiar pattern of Obama’s past conduct in which Netanyahu is ambushed and then strong-armed into making more concessions to Abbas, it would be grossly unfair. But more than that, it would undermine any chance of ever getting the Palestinians to realize that the price of independence means accepting the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Peace requires a sea change in Palestinian politics. But it will also mean a similar change in the president’s knee-jerk impulse to put the entire onus for the impasse on an Israel that has already proved it is willing to take risks for peace.BBC Watch: BBC’s Hardtalk provides platform for Saeb Erekat’s fabricated histories – part one
BBC’s Hardtalk provides platform for Saeb Erekat’s fabricated histories – part two
The February 18th edition of the BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ featured presenter Stephen Sackur once again interviewing the programme’s frequent flyer Saeb Erekat. The programme is available in the UK on BBC iPlayer and an audio version was also available from the BBC World Service for a limited period of time, along with a BBC World Service podcast. In addition, the first part of the interview was uploaded by the BBC to YouTube and featured on the BBC News website, as well as on the Hardtalk webpage. Poll: Three quarters of Israeli Jews would accept peace deal
Three quarters of Hebrew-speaking Israelis would support a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on the Arab Peace Initiative, and more than half would vote for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he were to leave the Likud and create a new party, according to a new poll published Thursday.
The survey, commissioned by the non-profit Israeli Peace Initiative, was conducted earlier this month among a representative sample of 500 Hebrew-speaking Israelis. The poll’s sponsors said it indicated that a large majority of the country’s Jews hold hawkish views regarding the peace process but would be willing to accept a deal if they understood what Israel stands to gain from an accord normalizing diplomatic and trade relations with the entire Arab world. Police to Limit Muslim Access to Temple Mount on Friday
Israeli police have announced they will limit access for Muslim men to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound during Friday prayers to prevent possible clashes following services, AFP reported Thursday.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri told the news agency that men under the age of 50 will be barred from Friday prayers, based on intelligence of plans for unrest, with security forces bolstering their presence in the area.How Jewish prayer represents “an extreme provocation to Muslims worldwide”
So, let’s get this straight:
1. Some Jews are asking for the right to quietly pray at the site in Jerusalem holiest to their faith.
2. Millions of Muslims worldwide will, it is alleged, be provoked at the mere possibility that a faith other their own will have that right which they want exclusively for themselves.
3. And, yet, it’s the Jews in this scenario who are portrayed as the “regressive” political force?
‘Orwellian’ doesn’t begin to fairly characterize the mental gymnastics employed by journalists in order to accept such bizarre logic.Shabak Reveals Hamas 'Inflaming' Temple Mount
According to the senior official's analysis, published in Channel 10, Shabak (Internal Security) are identifying attempts by Hamas to bring Muslim activists to the Temple Mount and have them stir up confrontations with Israeli security forces.
"A serious threat is presented by Hamas activity to inflame the Temple Mount (in protests, attacks on the Mount and violent clashes by a mob enlisted by the organization)," warns the document. "These activities are meant to escalate the security situation in the West Bank."Arab Knesset Faction: Israel is 'Palestine's Interior'
The Arab Raam-Taal Knesset faction held a session Tuesday in which it discussed issues of interest to Arab society in what the faction's press release named “the Palestinian interior” – that is, Israel – and “the occupied state of Palestine.”Arab MK: Jailed Terrorists Are 'Political Prisoners'
Arab MK Ibrahim Sarsour, Chairman of the Raam-Taal faction, published an announcement to the media on Tuesday, in which he reported on his meetings with jailed terrorists. Sarsour termed the terrorists "political prisoners."
The "political prisoners" Sarsour met included Dr. Mahmoud al-Rumhi and Malek Behirat, as well as Ibrahim Biadasa and Zaher Jabarin. Sarsour said the visit was meant to advance the terrorists' release, especially those who were members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliament who were "kidnapped" by Israel. Iranian Official: 'We are Preparing to Liberate Jerusalem'
The Islamist Basij militia force in Tehran ran a special military exercise Thursday and Friday preparing for an Iranian takeover of Jerusalem.
​The exercise, entitled "March to Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem)," included training in the event of such a takeover, including drills for the protection of cities, assistance and rescue, dealing with social unrest, the protection of sensitive and important military centers, dealing with the invasion and landing of "enemy" (IDF) forces from helicopters, and carrying out complicated tactical maneuvers at night.Arabs Set Police Station on Fire in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Arabs set ablaze a police station next to the Lions' Gate in the capital's Old City on Wednesday.
Aryeh King, nationalist Jerusalem city councilman and member of the municipality's Emergency and Security Committee, was present at the attack and managed to document it. According to King, police officers fled the scene.
"Unfortunately the prime minister is instructing the authorities to avoid eastern Jerusalem, and these are the results," charged King.REPORT: Israel warns Lebanese gov't it will be responsible for any Hezbollah retaliation
The warning comes in connection to Hezbollah's threats of retaliation for an air-strike on a Hezbollah missile convoy near the border with Syria, which was attributed to the IAF by foreign media sources. The strike would have been a first on Lebanese soil as recent attacks attributed to Israel have taken place on the Syrian side of the border.
On Monday, Israeli warplanes allegedly struck Hezbollah targets near the Lebanese-Syria border. An unspecified number of Hezbollah militants were killed in the airstrike, according to pan-Arab news channel Al Arabiya.Syrian Jihadist Group Forces Local Christians to Submit to Islam or Face Death
The jihadist group—Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which is mostly composed of foreign terrorists—is widely considered to be the most radical group fighting in the Syrian Civil War.
According to the document, which was posted on a Twitter account of a member of the ISIL, Christians in Raqqa were given the choices to convert to Islam, remain Christian, but submit to Islam, or face death.
According to Islamic law or “shariah,” Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule must pay a tax or “jizya” in return for protection, and become “dhimmis.”MEMRI: Muslim Brotherhood Supporters, Opponents Accuse Each Other Of Being Jewish
In the political struggle that has been ongoing in Egypt since the July 2013 removal of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regime of president Muhammad Mursi, between supporters of Defense Minister Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi and the MB and its supporters, antisemitic discourse has played a part. Each camp accuses members of the other camp of being Jewish and of implementing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
One manifestation of the current regime's de-legitimization campaign against the MB is comparing them to Jews and Zionists. The press associated with the regime has claimed that that the global MB resembles global Zionism, and that its schemes are the same as those of the Protocols. It has also claimed that MB founder Hassan Al-Bana was Jewish, as well as several other movement leaders. A number of Facebook pages depict MB members as Jews masquerading as Muslims, and feature images of Mursi in Jewish garb and MB symbols emblazoned with Stars of David.MEMRI: On Iranian Revolution Day 2014, Commander of IRGC Navy Says:
The Americans Will Understand When Their Warships With Over 5,000 Crew Aboard Sink To The Depths Of The Sea And They Have To Search For Their Bodies
On February 11, 2014, Iran celebrated Revolution Day, the 35th anniversary of the regime of the Islamic Revolution, against the backdrop of the start of permanent agreement nuclear talks between Iran and the superpowers, and of the ongoing struggle within Iran between the ideological stream led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the pragmatic stream led by Hashemi Rafsanjani, on the issue of how Iran should deal with the U.S. Revolution Day 2014 was marked by regime officials' harsh anti-U.S. statements and by calls for maintaining Iranian hostility towards the U.S.Israel Urges IAEA To Issue Full Report On Iran Nuclear Research
Israel urged the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency on Friday to go public with all information it has regarding suspicions that Iran researched how to build an atomic bomb.
The statement followed a Reuters report on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year planned a major report on Iran that might have revealed more of its alleged bomb-relevant research, but held off as the Islamic Republic’s relations with the outside world thawed.Iran’s rights record no better under Rouhani, US says
Rouhani is widely seen as a more moderate leader in the Islamic republic’s cleric-run government, and has led a period of detente between Iran and the West since coming into office last summer.
However, Assistant Secretary of State Uzra Zeya, who oversaw the survey, said the report includes allegations of torture, political imprisonment and undue executions, among other violations by Tehran.
“There have been some steps since the release of some political prisoners last fall, but overall I would say the situation remains poor,” he said.Calls Grow For PM’s Resignation as Turkey Rocked by Second Round of Leaked Wiretaps
A second set of audio recordings purporting to be wiretaps of phone conversations between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son Bilal – this time with Erdogan instructing Bilal to hold out for more money in a business deal – was anonymously uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, days after a first set of recordings, seemingly exposing efforts by the two to hide vast amounts of money from authorities, set off national calls for Erdogan’s resignation.
Reuters described the new recordings, in which Erdogan scoffs at the sum that a particular businessman is willing to bring to a transaction, as “the latest and potentially most damaging allegations in a graft scandal that Erdogan has cast as concocted to unseat him.”Jordan arrests 10 gays for holding gathering
Jordanian authorities have arrested 10 “gays and lesbians” for holding a get-together at a party hall in east Amman, a security official said on Thursday.
“The administrative governor of the Marka area, Adnan Qatarneh, ordered the arrest of the 10 gays and lesbians after they held a reception at a party hall on Wednesday to get to know each other,” he told AFP.
“The arrests were made to prevent a disturbance of the peace,” he added, without elaborating.New online campaign urges American Muslims to ‘drop the A-word’
The group, which goes by the name of “Drop the A-Word,” calls on Arabs living in America to stop using the words “abeed” and “abed” to describe African Americans.
In Arabic, the world “abed” and its plural form “abeed” mean “slave” or “servant.”
“We should stop using ‘abeed’ to describe or reference people of African descent,” said Majed Moughni, a Dearborn-based supporter of the group.

ISIS destroys Sufi shrine, earns criticism from jihadist figure

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:44
Militants from the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS came under fire in their stronghold of Raqqa Thursday, as a prominent jihadist criticized the group’s intention to impose a special tax on religious minorities.

Militant Islamist group in Syria orders Christians to pay tax for their protection

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 14:56
Christians in Syria are being told to pay gold to an extremist group in order to be classed as a "protected" minority        

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