Posts Tagged ‘Islam’
Kurt Westergaard, whose lampoon of Mohammad in the Jyllands-Posten paper nearly got him killed by an axe-wielding assassin in 2010, told Austrian magazine News he had no regrets about his work and said freedom of speech was too precious to relinquish.
“Should we in future let ourselves be censored by Islamic authorities in deeply undemocratic countries? Should they be allowed to tell the German chancellor in future whom she should honour and whom not? Are we really this far along?” he asked, referring to Angela Merkel’s citation of his work.
Westergaard, 77, said he still lives in constant fear of another attempt on his life. His home has become a “fortress” with a police station in the back yard and bodyguards who ferry him and his wife around in the back seat of an armoured car.
Westergaard said cartoons poking fun at Muslims could signal that Western cultures saw them as part of society. “But we don’t understand one another,” he added.
That was because “we have long found ourselves in a culture war” raging not just between the West and the Middle East but directly in Western societies where he said many Muslims seem not to understand or respect democracy and freedom of speech.Share on Facebook
Black Flag of Islam Flies over U.S. Embassy in Tunisia as America Is Targeted by Angry Mobs Across the Globe in Day of ChaosSunday, September 16th, 2012
A black Islamic flag is flying over the U.S. embassy in Tunisia after it was stormed by a mob of protesters today – as anger at an American-made anti-Islam film resulted in chaos across the world.
In Tunisian capital Tunis, a mob overran the U.S. embassy compound, scaling the walls and setting fire to cars before tearing down the Stars and Stripes and replacing it with the symbol of Islam.
No U.S. staff were in the embassy in the city, where an American school has also been set on fire.
A large cloud of black smoke rose around the U.S. embassy as stone-throwing protesters and police waged a pitched battle.
Thousands of demonstrators massed outside the embassy and several were seen climbing the outer wall of the embassy grounds and raising a flag on which was written the Muslim profession of faith.
The protesters chanted ‘Obama, Obama, we are all Osamas’.
One protester was seen throwing a computer out of a window, while others walked away with telephones and computers.
Police responded by firing tear gas, live rounds killing two protesters and wounding 28.
A group of several dozen protesters briefly managed to enter the embassy compound and set fire to cars in an embassy parking lot. They were pushed back outside by police and special forces who continued to arrive on the scene.
It was the worst incident in clashes around the world – with angry protesters ransacking a KFC and Hardee’s restaurant in Lebanon, police firing on protesters in Yemen, and unrest in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Jerusalem.
In London, an American flag was burned outside the U.S. embassy by protesters
One protester was killed in Lebanon and twenty five wounded by police who opened fire as they cracked down on the mob who turned their anger on the American fast food chains.
A KFC in the northern city of Tripoli was set alight after the mob – many wearing face masks- ransacked the interior.
In Sudan, the American embassy was also attacked and smoke could be seen rising from the compound. Officials said a mob had been expelled from the compound with one protester killed.
A spokesman said protesters had been ejected from the embassay in Sudan, adding ‘they didn’t get far’.
Elsewhere, police have fired on protesters outside the US embassy in Yemen today as a group of 2,000 attempted to march on the compound.
It also emerged that Libya had closed its air space over Benghazi airport temporarily because of heavy anti-aircraft fire by Islamists aiming at U.S. reconnaissance drones flying over the city, after President Barack Obama vowed to bring the ambassador’s killers to justice.
It adds to unrest in Bangladesh where tens of thousands have taken to the streets, and India – where there are widespread protests in Muslim Kashmir.
In Egypt‘s contested Sinai region, a mob stormed an international peacekeeping base injuring two Colombian troops while troops fired on protesters in Nigeria.
Protesters clashed with police near the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Two Islamist preachers in Egypt told worshippers that those who made the movie deserved to die under Islamic law but they urged protesters not to take their anger out on diplomats.
Sudanese police were reportedly fighting back up to five thousand protesters who had gathered outside the building in the North African country’s capital Khartoum. It is unclear how many staff were inside the mission, or whether they are all accounted for.
The same group have already stormed inside and set fire to the German embassy next door, before tearing down its national flag and hoisting the Islamic banner.
A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said: ‘We can confirm that there is a protest outside the British embassy and Sudanese police are on scene.’
Since a 14-minute trailer for the movie, called The Innocence of Muslims, was posted on YouTube by its American producers, turmoil has spread across the Muslim world.
Protests have erupted in a string of countries across the Middle East and Africa, including Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Pakistan, Bahrain, Palestine – as well as the Sudan.
Across the border, thousands of Egyptian protesters advanced on the US embassy near Tahrir Square in Cairo – in scenes potently reminiscent of the violent clashes that ravaged the city’s streets during the Arab uprising last year.
Hurling stones and shouting slogans at the phalanx of heavily-armed riot police that stood in their way, returning fire with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets in a bid to keep the oncoming crowds at bay.
As the violence continued throughout the day, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak appealed for calm on live television, a day after Barack Obama issued a veiled warning to the region’s leaders to quell the violence and protect America’s embassies.
The Egyptian authorities had erected large concrete blocks to block the route to the embassy and deployed hundreds of police.
‘Before the police, we were attacked by Obama,’ shouted one demonstrator, blaming U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. government for insulting the Prophet.
One banner held aloft by demonstrators read: ‘It is the duty of all Muslims and Christians to kill Morris Sadek and Sam Bacile and everyone who participated in the film.’
Several demonstrators – some bearded Islamists wearing traditional gallabiya robes and others youths and young men in T-shirts and jeans – waved green and black flags with Koranic verses on them.
The unrest has raised serious questions over whether the US should cut the billions of dollars in aid it sends to Egypt.
Barack Obama has already issued a veiled warning of possible repercussions if those governments do not quell the unrest and protect America’s embassies.
On the subject of Egypt, which the US currently supplies over $1.5billion in aid, he told Telemundo: ‘I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy.
‘They’re a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident.’
And in an ominous sign this morning, the Libyan government closed the air space above Benghazi ‘for security measures’.
In the Lebanese city of Tripoli, hundreds of protesters set fire to a branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken, while chanting: ‘No More insults to Islam.’
There, one demonstrator was killed and two others were wounded as they tried to storm a government building.
In Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, around 10,000 Muslims from half a dozen Islamist groups staged a noisy protest, burning and trampling American flags while chanting anti-US slogans.
Yesterday, thousands of demonstrators engaged in running street battles with police in Egyptian capital Cairo, burning cars and hurling stones while an angry mob stormed the American consulate in Sanaa, in Yemen.
In Libyan capital Benghazi, a similar demonstration was reportedly hijacked by heavily-armed Muslim extremists resulting in the deaths of several Libyan security guards.
America is still reeling from an attack on Tuesday that saw a hoard of protesters storm the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the ambassador and three American security guards.
Despite the belief that the militants who hit the consulate did so separately from the protests over the film, US officials are deeply concerned that extremists may again take advantage of non-violent demonstrations to copycat the Benghazi raid.
Meanwhile, a top Israeli Arab Knesset official Talab el-Sana warned of ‘Armageddon’ if the United Nations does not intervene, telling The Times of Israel: ‘If the UN does not mobilize to stop this erosion, it will be Armageddon.’
Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood have called for demonstrations after Friday prayers as did authorities in Iran and the Gaza strip.
Large protests were also expected in Baghdad and Iraq’s second-largest city, Basra, as well as Amman, Jordan. Israel was stepping up security in anticipation of demonstrations after Muslim prayers.
‘It is important to note that as these protests are taking place in different countries around the world, responding to the movie, that Friday, tomorrow, has historically been a day when there are protests in the Muslim world,’ White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in Colorado.
‘And we are watching very closely for developments that could lead to more protests. We anticipate that they may continue.’
The offending short video behind the unrest was made by an American company and spoofs the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad.
But the White house was quick yesterday to condemn its content and its anonymous makers.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered an explicit denunciation of the video as the administration sought to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates.
‘The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,’ she said before a meeting with the foreign minister of Morocco at the State Department. ‘We absolutely reject its content and message.’
‘To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible,’ Clinton said. ‘It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.’
While rejecting the content of the video, Clinton stressed that no matter how offensive it is, the film cannot be used as an excuse for violence like that seen in Egypt, where a mob breached the walls of the US Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday, and in Yemen, where demonstrators tried to storm the embassy compound in Sanaa on Thursday.
‘There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence,’ Clinton said.
‘We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms. … It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful: to promote better understanding across countries and cultures.’
She then reminded foreign governments that they have a responsibility to protect embassies.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon followed suit, adding: ‘The hateful film that appears to have been deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed.’
The intelligence leading up to the attacks will be examined to ‘see if there was any way of forecasting this violence,’ as in any violent incident, House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview Thursday.
But he said the focus now ‘has to be on finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice.’
US officials said they suspect that the attack at the Benghazi consulate, which had also been the target of an unsuccessful attack in June, may have been only tangentially related to the film.
They also stressed there had been no advance warning or intelligence to suggest a threat in Libya that would warrant boosting security, even on the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
‘As we did with all of our missions overseas, in advance of the September 11 anniversary and as we do every year, we did evaluate the threat stream and we determined that the security at Benghazi was appropriate for what we knew,’ State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
President Barack Obama, speaking a campaign event in Golden, Colorado, also vowed that the perpetrators would be punished.
‘I want people around the world to hear me,’ he said. ‘To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. I will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.’
As of Thursday morning, there was no intelligence indicating that what happened in Benghazi was planned, according to two U.S. officials briefed on the investigation into the attack. Intelligence officials said they believe it’s more likely that the attack was ‘opportunistic or spontaneous,’ with militants taking advantage of the demonstration to launch the assault.Share on Facebook
After a prayer vigil Tuesday morning, opponents of radical Islam and about 30 supporters gathered for a news conference outside the school district’s downtown headquarters.
They were met by an equally sized and equally vocal group of demonstrators who objected to their message.
Carrying signs that said “Free Speech,” “No Hate Today” and “I love angry white people,” they shouted down the panel of speakers who had been invited by School Board candidate Terry Kemple, a conservative Christian leader in eastern Hillsborough.
“We are here because we don’t stand for religious intolerance,” said Charles Allen, 26, a University of South Florida graduate student who learned about the counter-protest on Facebook.
Estefania Galvis, a 21-year-old student from Colombia, said she is offended when immigrants are stereotyped.
And she objects to Kemple’s vilification of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a campaign that began after CAIR executive director Hassan Shibly visited Steinbrenner High School in Lutz last year.
Opponents of CAIR say the organization has terrorist ties. Local CAIR leaders say their mission is to promote tolerance and respect.
For a while, members of the opposing groups stood nose-to-nose, shouting each other down.
Swier tried to convince the chanting protesters his group was not hateful. “We want to stop hate as well,” he said. “Hate is coming from those who want to kill us.”
Kelly Benjamin, 35, got into arguments with several anti-CAIR speakers, including radio host Roger Homefield.
“I am not hateful,” Homefield bellowed, pointing a finger at Benjamin’s chest. “My girlfriend is black. Am I a racist? … Who are you calling hateful?”
Benjamin countered: “You seem a little hateful right now, sir.”
Kemple, who spoke last, directed his comments to those gathered to oppose him.
“It’s always amazing to me that the people who talk about tolerance and freedom of speech are the most intolerant in keeping others from having their freedom of speech,” he said.Share on Facebook
He said the leftists shouted and blew vuvuzelas to drown out anti-Islam and nationalist speeches, but then started throwing bottles and lit fireworks at police, injuring two officers.
Nationalist groups such as the English Defence League were instrumental in organizing the anti-Islam event, which was described on the anti-Islam European Freedom Initiative’s website as the “first worldwide counter-jihad action.”Share on Facebook
Unlike those nations, such as Saudi Arabia, that have eliminated Christianity altogether, Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities saw much persecution during the month of May: in Egypt, Christians were openly discriminated against in law courts, even as some accused the nation’s new president of declaring that he will “achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam”; in Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set aflame; and in Mali Christianity “faces being eradicated.”
Categorized by theme, May’s assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity. Note: Because Pakistan had the lion’s share of persecuted Christians last month, it has its own section below, covering the entire gamut of persecution—from apostasy and blasphemy to rape and forced conversions.
Indonesia saw several church-related attacks:
- A mob of 600 Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the congregation of a Protestant church at the start of Ascension Day service, while shouting profanity and threatening to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. Pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church to shut down in December 2009, though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying the church is eligible for a permit. Regardless, local Muslims and officials demand that the church shut down.
- Following protests “by hard-line groups including the Islamic Defenders Front,” nearly 20 Christian houses of worship were sealed off by authorities on the pretext of “not having permits.” Authorities added that only one church may be built in the district in question to accommodate the region’s 20,000 Christians.
- The Muslim mayor who illegally sealed the beleaguered GKI Yasmin church, forcing congregants to worship in the streets, has agreed to reopen it—but only if a mosque is built next door, to ensure the church stay in line. As well as opposition from the mayor, “the church has faced hostility from local Muslims, who have rallied against them, blocked them from accessing the street where the church is situated and disrupted their outdoor services. It is unlikely that they will suddenly embrace the Christians.”
France: Prior to celebrating mass, “four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service.” They were chased out, though “the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin.”
Kashmir: A Catholic church made entirely of wood was partially destroyed after unknown assailants set it on fire. “What happened is not an isolated case,” said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, and follows the “persecution” of a pastor who baptized Muslims. “With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian minority.”
Kuwait: Two months after the Saudi Grand Mufti decreed, in response to a question on whether churches may exist in Kuwait, that all regional churches must be destroyed, villa-churches serving Western foreigners are being targeted. One congregation was evicted without explanation “from a private villa used for worship gatherings for the past seven years”; another villa-church was ordered to “pay an exorbitant fine each month to use a facility it had been renting… Church leaders reportedly decided not to argue and moved out.”
Zanzibar: Hundreds of Muslims set two churches on fire and clashed with police during protests against the arrest of senior members of an Islamist movement known as the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. Afterwards, the group issued a statement denying any involvement of wrong doing.
Pakistan: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Rape, Forced Conversions, and Oppression
- A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy”—a crime “punishable with life imprisonment”—after vengeful Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”
- Two years ago, after a Muslim man converted to Christianity and told his wife, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his getting severely beaten. “No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don’t find satisfaction in the religion become liable to be killed.” He eventually divorced, escaped, and remarried a Christian woman. Now that his family have again discovered his whereabouts, they have resumed threatening him. According to his wife:“Every other day, we receive threatening phone calls…They are now asking him to abandon us and renounce Christianity, threatening that they will kill me and our child.”
- A new report indicates that “on average, eight to ten Christians are being forced every month by fanatic Muslims to convert to Islam, mostly in Sindh and Punjab provinces. The victims of forced conversions are often girls from poor backgrounds who are then subjected to harrowing and extremely traumatic ordeals. Most of them are extremely vulnerable and are unable to defend themselves against extremists because their community is deprived, defenseless and marginalized. Christians, who constitute just about two percent of the Pakistani population, are paying a high price for being a part of the minority community.” Two such cases from May follow:
- In an attempt to force her to drop charges against them for raping her 13-year-old niece, a band of Muslims severely beat a pregnant Christian woman causing her to lose female twins to miscarriage. The rapists came when all male members of the Christian household were out working and beat the women “mercilessly.” “They murdered our children, they raped our daughter. We have nothing left with us,” lamented an older family member. As usual, police ignored both cases—the raped Christian girl and her beaten family.
- A 14-year-old Christian girl was abducted and forced to convert to Islam by her uncle who himself earlier converted. Pakistani police refuse to liberate her, saying she converted of her own free will. According to her father: “After converting, my brother is conspiring against our family and kidnapped Mary with deception.”
- The investigation into the murder of the nation’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, has become mired amid suspicions of a possible cover-up. Lax investigations, a series of freed suspects, and lack of coordination across law enforcement organizations have stalled the case following the March 2, 2011 slaying of the federal minister for Minority Affairs, who was an outspoken critic of, and targeted by, those who support Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws.
- Christians are being threatened and abused for trying to save their community’s graveyard which they owned since 1947. Despite failing to produce any proof, a retired Muslim official who claims he “recently discovered” that the land really belongs to him has already built a boundary wall, reducing the graveyard to less than a third of its original size, and turned the seized land over to agricultural use. Police failed to respond, as usual.
[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslims as “Tolerated” Citizens]
Egypt: A court verdict that was criticized by many human rights groups as “unbelievable” and “extremely harsh” towards Christians was decided according to religion: all twelve Christians were convicted to life imprisonment, while all eight Muslims—including some who torched nearly 60 Christian homes—were acquitted, all to thunderous cries of “Allahu Akbar!” in the courtroom. Another Muslim judge in Upper Egypt dismissed all charges against a group of Muslims who terrorized a Christian man and his family for over a year, culminating with their cutting off his ear in a knife attack while trying to force him to convert after they “falsely accused him” of having an affair with a Muslim woman. And a new report describes the plight of Coptic girls: “hundreds of Christian girls … have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.”Share on Facebook
The nationwide march to pass anti-Sharia legislations was brought to a halt in New Jersey. While the Governor of South Dakota signed yesterday a bill that violates the religious rights of American Muslim citizens, I report to you the good news about a courageous New Jersey lawmaker who decided to withdraw a similar bill from further consideration by the New Jersey Legislature. In the climate of rising Islamophobia and NYPD spying, the decision to withdraw the bill is a significant, albeit, symbolic, reversal of ‘legal’ discrimination against Muslim citizens. Islamophobes must be in mourning.
In a recent press release, we joined leaders of the New Jersey Muslim community who welcomed the decision by Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi to withdraw her bill, A-919, targeting ‘foreign laws’ from further consideration by the New Jersey Legislature. “Foreign law’ is the latest camouflage term used by proponents of the anti-Sharia legislations. Assemblywoman, Holly Schepisi, who represents the 39th legislative District in Bergen and Passaic County, introduced in late 2011 a legislation bearing Bill number A 919 and its synopsis “Prohibits application of foreign laws when application violates constitutional rights.” Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk originally introduced the bill in 2010. Research has shown that shown these bills are frivolous and unnecessary. Moreover, when tested in court, they were found to infringe upon the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause.
Assemblywoman Schepisi told the Record on march 12, 2012,“In the climate of what has been transpiring in the Muslim community in New Jersey, they were concerned it would further, in their view, portray Muslims in a negative light. After sitting and listening to their concerns, I agreed to withdraw it.” Such a welcome sensitivity is a rarely exhibited sentiments by many in government. I know that the residents of district 39 will want to acknowledge her decision in a most celebroty fashion.
It is significant that the New Jersey bill was withdrawn without much fanfare and public exposure. This is a wise decision by the esteemed Assemblywoman. Of course, we want our Constitution to be the supreme law of the land. The application of certain Islamic legal codes is only invoked when Muslims willingly enter into an agreement that warrants the consideration of Muslim regulations and so long such consideration does not violate the intent or the spirit of the US Constitution. New Jersey needs not to follow other states that have either passed or attempted to pass similar legislations whose principal objective was to attack the faith of millions of American Muslims.
All of this anti-Sharia activity has emerged despite the complete absence of evidence of the unconstitutional application of foreign or religious law in our courts. In fact, even The Center for Security Policy, led by Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, a known anti Muslim group, admits in a 177-page report to only fifty cases in twenty three states where Sharia was part of the court’s considerations. And in all these cases, the court was deciding between willing American Muslim parties. This reality does not dissuade Muslim haters and their rhetoric, sadly has seeped into our public discourse and even spilled over into our political life where presidential candidates have championed the cause of anti-Sharia for their political gains.
Nadia Kahf, president of the New Jersey Chapter of Council on American Islamic Relations, stated that, “Rather than strengthen the Constitution, these bills, undoubtedly, violate religious freedom, and severely weaken the independence of our courts. Laws like the now defeated Oklahoma amendment myopically leave out the fact that there are occasions — such as in the execution of a will, or an unresolved disagreement over religious property — that leave civil courts no option but to consider the relevant religious law of the parties.”
Anti-Muslim pundits have thus far succeeded in pressuring politicians in over 22 States to introduce legislations, in varying forms, to ban the use of Muslim Sharia law. Assemblywoman Schepisi’s decision has saved New Jersey from becoming the latest victim of this massive campaign to attack the religious rights of American citizens. While the target is clearly Islamic Sharia, if passed, it would not have only impacted American Muslims. Observant Jews and Christians would also be severely impacted. As Abe Foxman of the Jewish Anti Defamation League opined recently, “these legislative efforts are the proverbial solution in search of a problem. The separation of church and state embodied in U.S. and state constitutions prohibits our courts from applying or considering religious law in any way that would constitute government advancement of or entanglement with religious law.”
A reading of the bill confirms our suspicion that is the exact copy of similar legislations, which were introduced in other states. The explanation is easily evident: all these bills have one common thread: they originate with white supremacist David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based lawyer and founder of SANE (Society for Americans for National Excellence) who has previously called for a “war against Islam.” But it is not just Muslims who Yerushalmi is after. He has also criticized the universal suffrage movement, at one point saying, “There’s a reason the founding fathers did not give women of black slaves the right to vote.” Tim Murphy at Mother Jones has an excellent piece on Yerushalmi’s extremism, which is sadly being espoused by perhaps well-meaning politicians.
The New Jersey legislation, like the other templates used elsewhere, contains prohibitions on “international law” and “foreign law,” baselessly conflating foreign law with Sharia. This is now the preferred way to avoid being called anti-Muslim. More importantly, the substitution of “international law” is an attempt to avoid facing the fate of a similar bill in Oklahoma that was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. Their target nonetheless is Islamic Sharia.
Engy Abdelkader, a New Jersey lawyer stated in a recent email that, ‘Once proposed bills like these become law, they provide judges an opportunity to single out Sharia. In the meantime, they also have social and political implications by sending a nefarious message about American Muslims to the larger community.” Indeed, the unprecedented rash to introduce and pass these bills impregnates the national discourse that American Muslims and their Muslim faith are threats to America’s values and laws. The pundits’ arguments are often rooted in the notion that allowing Sharia to ‘creep’ into American laws and courts poses existential threats to American democracy. Advocates of these bills, who as of this day have introduced similar bills in over thirty states desire to benefit from the rising tide of bias against fellow American Muslim citizens.
Most constitutional experts assert that our existing legal system contains enough latitude and safeguards to ascertain when courts may properly reference religious law, and when doing so would not cross the line. No foreign or religious law must ever supersede American law. And the often-mentioned New Jersey case where a judge sided with a wife beater only to be promptly rejected by a higher court provides ample evidence that our courts need no new laws. This is not unique to the application of Sharia law. Banning the consideration of a particular faith’s laws entirely is not only discriminatory, but also infringed upon the free exercise clause. The doomed New Jersey bill like others before it is beset by serious constitutional defects when it comes to the applicability of ‘international’ law. We all know that the US Constitution mandates federal and states authorities to honor signed foreign treaties or agreements as US law. Otherwise, the US could not possibly enter into any agreement on commerce, military, or other matters with any foreign country. Corporations likewise, could not conduct treaties and business dealings with foreign countries. Even the simple act of sending a letter, adopting a child, going on a cruise vacation, or receiving a phone call from other countries would not be possible. Recognizing international law is integral to our daily lives and to the continued prosperity and safety of our nation. Without reciprocity, foreign countries would not be obligated to honor their commitments to our nation, our citizens or our businesses
Laws are enacted to ensure the rights of citizens are preserved not curtailed. We hope New Jersey will remain immune to the anti-Sharia campaign. New Jersey and indeed the United States will be better off. Hats off to Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi.Share on Facebook
The Roman Empire would probably not have fallen, there wouldn’t have been any crusades or jihads, Christianity and Islam would never have been created. There wouldn’t be anyone killing each other over who’s sky daddy is better. (or at least a significant amount less)
Yes I think it is safe to blame the Jews for a lot of the mishap in the world todayShare on Facebook
The interim government, in a statement, expressed “strong condemnation of the attack on non-Muslim graves by subversive elements who have no respect for religion or international law.”
The government vowed to find and put the perpetrators on trial.
An unidentified group on Friday entered Benghazi military cemetery and shattered headstones of British and allied servicemen who fought in North African desert campaigns against the Nazi during World War II, according to local media reports.
The reports said the group comprised Salafists angered by the burning of the Koran at a NATO military base in Afghanistan earlier this month.
US President Barack Obama has apologised for the burning of the Muslim holy books, which officials said were inadvertently sent to the incinerator.Share on Facebook
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called on the New York Post to apologize for a political cartoon published in the paper Friday which CAIR says “evokes anti-Semitic themes” through its depiction of hook-nosed terrorists objecting to the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims without warrant throughout the city.
A post on the group’s Facebook page indicates that the Muslim civil rights groups is askingAmerican Muslims and “other people of conscience to contact the newspaper and to politely ask that they apologize for the offensive cartoon.”
“This offensive and inaccurate political cartoon evokes anti-Semitic themes that would be recognized by any historian of pre-war Nazi Germany,” Zead Ramadan, board president of CAIR’s New York chapter, said in a statement. “The cartoon is not only offensive in its portrayal of a religious minority; it is also inaccurate in its depiction of those targeted by the NYPD spy campaign in that there is no evidence that those monitored were suspected of wrongdoing of any kind.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.
The organization has made news in the past for applauding West Point for pulling the speaking invite for a General critical of Islam, defending Muslims on the government no-fly list, and members calling for Americans to stop associating 9/11 with the Muslim religion.
The organization writes that its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.Share on Facebook
Resistance to a new bill aimed at limiting foreign law in Pennsylvania courts serves as a case study of how Islamists and their allies operate: peddling falsehoods about Shari’a, painting Muslims as victims, and denying that anyone seeks to institutionalize aspects of Islamic law — even as they vigorously promote that very agenda. With similar legislation being debated across the U.S., understanding their tactics is critical.
At issue in Pennsylvania is House Bill (HB) 2029, which stipulates that “a tribunal shall not consider a foreign legal code or system which does not grant … the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges” as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions. Introduced in November, it follows the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model and makes no mention of Shari’a. A preliminary memo sent to legislators last June in the name of Rep. RoseMarie Swanger, HB 2029’s chief sponsor, does highlight Islamic law, but she later said that it had been circulated accidentally. Regardless, concerns about Shari’a are warranted due to its many provisions that conflict with the standards of American jurisprudence. For example, it disadvantages women in terms of inheritance, divorce, child custody, and other areas of family law. Shari’a already has shaped numerous cases nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, where one state court decided how assets should be distributed according to Islam.
Pushback against HB 2029 has been led by the Philadelphia office of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) and was punctuated by an interfaith press conference (video here) at CAIR-PA headquarters on December 14. The overall campaign reflects CAIR’s usual recipe of distortion, victimology, and contradiction between words and deeds.
Attacks on bills like HB 2029 begin by sowing confusion about Shari’a. Because Islamic law encompasses virtually every facet of life — governing personal activities such as eating and worship, but also forming an oppressive social and legal structure — suit-and-tie Islamists work to emphasize its unthreatening pieces whenever possible. CAIR-PA executive director Moein Khawaja’s suggestionthat Shari’a should worry Pennsylvanians no more than halal gyros is a fine example of this technique.
Others brazenly misrepresent the unsavory components, as Haider Ala Hamoudi, a University of Pittsburgh law professor, did when he was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hamoudi insisted that women and children would suffer if judges could not consider Shari’a — a stretch, given how it discriminates against women, including in disputes over children. Moving beyond the types of cases that are adjudicated in U.S. courts, he depicted the requirement of testimony by four malewitnesses to convict someone of adultery as an exemplar of Islamic enlightenment that protects against false accusations. In practice, however, it can be a nightmare for women in those Muslim countries where the same scriptural passages are interpreted as mandating four witnesses even toprove rape. Robert Spencer further explains, “If the required male witnesses can’t be found, the victim’s charge of rape becomes an admission of adultery,” too often leading to her imprisonment.
Hamoudi also contended that harsh punishments used in Iran and elsewhere, like cutting off hands for stealing, have little to do with Shari’a and are “more a matter of identity politics” in response to Western influence. The man deserves credit for artful misdirection, as it is not every day that brutal penalties prescribed by the Koran itself are chalked up to blowback from cultural imperialism.
When distortion of Shari’a is insufficient, Islamists and their collaborators characterize Muslims as the targets of a shadowy cabal of “Islamophobes.” Hence, Pennsylvanians were treated to Marwan Kreidie, a major figure in the Philadelphia Islamist scene, describing Swanger’s faith-neutral bill as “an exercise in discrimination” and claiming that “there’s a conspiracy afoot here.” CAIR-PA’s Khawaja followed up by taking the ad hominem route, trashing HB 2029 as the brainchild of “anti-Muslim, white supremacist David Yerushalmi.” See Yerushalmi’s recent article for a reply to the typical assaults on his character.
Yet no hyperbole topped that of Rabbi Linda Holtzman, who played the Nazi card at CAIR-PA’s press conference. “The echoes for me are strong of Germany in the 1930s,” she said, “when repeatedly Jewish law was brought forward and defamed in the courts as a means of defaming all of Jewish tradition.” Aside from the sheer ugliness of the analogy, Shari’a could be “defamed” only by spreading inaccuracies about it. HB 2029 does not reference Islam or Islamic law, while the memo correctly labels Shari’a as “inherently hostile to our constitutional liberties.” Sometimes the truth hurts.
Islamists also maintain that bills such as HB 2029 are unnecessary because, they say, there is no attempt by adherents of Islam to undermine the American legal system, but their actions away from the cameras inevitably belie their soothing words. Indeed, not long after it issued a press releasedismissing concerns about the advance of Shari’a as “conspiracy theories” to be “mocked,” CAIR-PA announced that its 2012 banquet will be headlined by two men who have expressed support for transforming the U.S. into a Shari’a-run state: Siraj Wahhaj and Sherman Jackson.
Wahhaj, a radical imam who appeared on a federal prosecutor’s “list of unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has warned that “unless America … accepts the Islamic agenda,” it will fall. He has talked positively of Islamic law supplanting the U.S. Constitution and opined that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”
Jackson, now a professor at USC, has been equally explicit. Calling him “an outspoken proponent of the Islamist subversion of Western civilization,” Cinnamon Stillwell explains that in a book Jackson coauthored, he “proposes that American Muslims approach the ‘difficult task of penetrating, appropriating and redirecting American culture’ … to ‘influence the legal order in America.'” He writes that “once this is done, there are no Constitutional impediments to having these [Islamic] laws applied in the public domain.” Jackson even muses about how gradual “changes in American culture” could result in the normalization of barbaric punishments such as stoning and flogging.
In short, Islamists do not merely insult the character of those who back bills like HB 2029; they insult the intelligence of all through claims that turn reality on its head and are contradicted by their own actions. Nothing less should be expected. They obfuscate Islamic law and portray Muslims as victims because the facts about Shari’a simply are not palatable to most Americans. Moreover, stealth jihadists shamelessly say one thing and do another because they have faith that the mainstream media will not hold them accountable.
How to proceed? Education neutralizes falsehoods, so Americans need to continue the long-term project of informing themselves about Shari’a and the challenge it presents; useful resources may be found at this website. Likewise, all politicians must learn to speak more precisely about Islamic law, carefully distinguishing between practices that are protected by the U.S. Constitution and those that are not, thus minimizing the confusion that Islamists exploit. As for individuals who equate Nazism with defending Americans from foreign laws that infringe on fundamental rights, they should be called out for affronting both history and decency. Citizens also must encourage legislators to press on with these bills despite Islamist propaganda, biased media, and the occasional scolding from their multiculturalism-obsessed counterparts; readers wishing to contact the primary sponsor of HB 2029 may do so here.
Finally, as Islamist groups often argue against restrictions on foreign law by denying the existence of any campaign to insinuate Shari’a into American society, their own records of participating in this very movement should be hung around their necks for all to see. Given that much of the opposition to ALAC-inspired efforts throughout the U.S. has been helmed by branches of CAIR — an offspring of theMuslim Brotherhood, which dreams of implementing Islamic law worldwide and describes its mission in North America as “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within” — the letters, op-eds, and blog posts can practically write themselves.
While it is important to wade into the details and answer specific criticisms of bills to curb foreign law, the best defense may be a good offense. Just as Islamists make the supporters of such legislation an issue by smearing them as bigots, those supporters must make the opponents an issue by exposing their rank dishonesty and jihadist objectives, which comprise exactly the kind of subversion that these bills are designed to thwart.Share on Facebook
Norwegian authorities are looking into the possibility of carrying out another psychiatric examination of Anders Behring Breivik after a review commission approved a finding that he was insane and unfit for prison.
Breivik killed 77 people on July 22 when he planted a car bomb that killed eight people at an Oslo government building, then went on to shoot dead 69 more, most of them teenagers, at an island summer camp of the ruling Labour Party‘s youth wing.
A Nov. 29 psychiatric report concluding that the anti-Islam militant was insane was approved on Thursday by a medical review commission, strengthening the likelihood he will avoid a prison term.
Later on Thursday, a judge asked prosecutors and defence lawyers to decide if they wanted another examination.
“The court asks the parties to comment on whether it would be desirable for the court to appoint new experts to undertake a judicial-psychiatric examination,” Oslo District Court Judge Anne Margrethe Lund said in a letter issued publicly.
The seven-member commission told the court it had “no significant comments” to the initial report by two court-appointed psychiatrists who diagnosed Breivik as psychotic.