David Wood: “Islam is an honest reporter’s Kryptonite. Take a seasoned journalist on a ground-breaking news program and ask him to give you the simplest, the most basic information about Mohammed and the Qur’an, [and] that reporter will suddenly turn into the most pathetic, trembling, sniveling, cowardly journalistic jellyfish you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”
By KIM SENGUPTA and CATRINA STEWART – “Britain has formally opened talks with the Syrian opposition movement as international pressure continues to mount against the beleaguered regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Frances Guy, a former ambassador to Lebanon, met members of the exiled opposition in Paris yesterday. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is to meet members of the Syrian opposition in London next week when they will also hold talks with senior officials in Downing Street.
Although the UK, along with other Western states like France – which appealed to the United Nations yesterday to impose tougher sanctions – has been in informal contact with the opposition for the last three months, the progression of the working relationship opens up the prospect of the rebels eventually being recognised as the country’s representatives and supplanting the Assad regime.
The West’s Libyan mission started in a similar fashion with the country’s revolutionaries, but senior diplomatic sources warned against drawing parallels. ‘This is not about recognition of them as the government – that is not the case,’ said a senior diplomatic source. ‘The difference with the Libyan situation was that the Libyan National Transitional Council controlled swathes of the country. We are asking the Syrian opposition to present a coherent set of policies and organise themselves.’ The Syrian National Council and the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change are among the groups whose leaders have been involved in the talks.” Read more.
Syrian army defectors attack intelligence base near Damascus – “Syrian army defectors have attacked a string of military bases near Damascus, including an intelligence complex on the outskirts of the capital, in the first such reported assault on a major security facility in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Members of the Free Syrian Army fired shoulder-mounted rockets and machine guns at the compound run by Air Force Intelligence in Harasta, a suburb of the capital. A gunfight ensued and helicopters circled the area. The attack appeared to mark an escalation in armed confrontations between government and opposition forces instead of clashes involving street protesters.” Read more.
“NAIROBI, Kenya, November 17 (CDN) — One Christian left his native Somalia 10 years ago and another fled as Muslim extremists were bombing his house earlier this year, but both Somali converts from Islam feel they are still in danger in Kenya.
In February, Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab militia fighting for control of Somalia reduced Mohammed Abdi Mose’s house in Mogadishu to ashes as he evacuated his family, the 54-year-old father of seven told Compass. His head bears a scar where shrapnel struck, and he requires medicine to limit the injury’s damage to his memory.
‘It was midnight, and it was raining,’ he said. ‘No moonlight; no light; I said, ‘We are moving.’ Amid the bullets and mortar shells, I had four kids on me, and my wife had three kids on her, with the older boy and girl walking – the smaller ones were on us.’
About 150 people died that night in military fighting, but Mose said it was no accident that his house was targeted. Earlier that month the Muslim extremists, who had suspected he was a convert to Christianity as he had worked for Christian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), confirmed that he had come to faith in Christ and was therefore worthy of death.
They tied his hands behind him and began hitting him with sticks and metallic objects, he said.
He sustained a deep cut on his heel. They stomped on his stomach, damaging his urinary system, he said. Neighbors who heard his cries came out in large numbers, forcing the attackers to flee. Mose said he knew then it was time to relocate.” Read more.
Female Candidate for Egyptian Parliament Affirms that ‘Women Are Deficient in Intelligence and Religion, and It Is Not Permissible for Them to Be in Authority’
Like I said here, spend your money wisely …
Translated from Gaza-based Donia al-Watan, 17 November 2011:
Female Salafi Candidate for Egyptian Parliament: ‘Women Are Deficient in Intelligence and Religion, and It Is Not Permissible for Them to Be in Authority’
A female salafi candidate for Egyptian Parliament, Muna Salah, said to al-Sharq al-Awsat that women are deficient in intelligence and religion, and it is not permissible for them to be in authority or to occupy the office of the presidency. She defended her candidacy for the People’s Council, saying that acting as a representative in the Council only partial authority and not complete authority, such as the presidency of the republic. She added that she seeks to apply the Islamic shari’a, including cutting off the hands of thieves, preventing the mingling of men and women, and specifying black clothes for women and white clothes for men.
While just one of thousands of candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Muna Salah–president of the Manabir al-Noor Charity Association in Egypt–continues to provoke controversy. She is one of two veiled candidates in the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in two weeks. […]
This lady may sound crazy to you, but keep in mind that she’s quoting directly from Muhammad himself, as recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari …” Read more.
“Cairo (AsiaNews) – Thousands of supporters of Islamist parties rallied today in Tahrir Square to protest against excessive power wielded by the military. Led by the Muslim Brotherhood, the demonstration saw pro-democracy parties stay away. Although they too are against the military, they also oppose Islamist parties’ strong-arm tactics. The latter object to plans that would make the military the guardian of ‘constitutional legitimacy’, and thus give them a final say on the 28 November elections. Unless the proposed constitutional change is not shelved, Islamists say they would escalate their campaign.
‘The Muslim Brotherhood are provocateurs,’ said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman of the Egyptian catholic Church. ‘They are using these demonstrations to flex their muscle vis-à-vis the military and the nation. However, they are also showing their truer, most intransigent face, which they have cloaked so far under a veneer of moderate Islamic political activism. This could play in favour of pro-democracy parties who have Egypt’s interests at heart, and are not just vying for power.’
Public opinion polls indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood is leading among voters, especially in country’s poorest region, with about 30 per cent. Their camp includes some of the most intransigent and radical Islamic groups like Salafis who are the main instigators of anti-Christian violence.
For example, dozens of Salafis, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails, yesterday disrupted the memorial service for the victims of the massacre of Christians of 9 October, traditionally held 40 days after death.
For four hours, the procession of 500 people was blocked on a road that leads from a Coptic neighbourhood to the square where Egyptian state TV is located. Eventually, mourners were able to leave but could not make it to site of the memorial service. The attack left 32 people injured, Copts but also police agents brought in to stop the violence.
‘Unfortunately, it is too early to know what will happen over the next few months or if, as some analysts predict, the Muslim Brotherhood will win the elections,’ Fr Greiche said.
Egypt, the clergyman added, is very different from Tunisia, Algeria or Libya where Muslim represent more than 90 per cent of the population, and Christians are few and usually foreign-born.
‘In our country, the Christian community is ancient and represents more than 10 per cent of the population, which is more than 8,000,000 people. Despite their divisions, Liberal parties are winning people over, especially the better educated,’ the clergyman explained.
Nevertheless, ‘The situation remains very critical. We must be ready for any scenario and support those who are willing to take a stand for their country.’ (S.C.)” Source – AsiaNews.
US Would Be ‘Satisfied’ With a Muslim Brotherhood Win in Egypt – “The United States would be ‘satisfied’ should free elections in Egypt produce a victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, AFP reported Friday according to the US’s special coordinator for transitions in the Middle East, William Taylor. Taylor said the US would judge elected parties in the Middle East based ‘on what they do, and not what they’re called,’ AFP quoted him as saying. He added that he did not meet with Brotherhood officials in his latest visit to Cairo, but would have had he been given the chance.” Read more.
And yes, in Pakistan, the name of Jesus is considered ‘obscene’ and is one of the words being blocked …
Matthew 24:9, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
Update 11/25/2011: Pakistan scraps plan to ban ‘Jesus’ text messages (for now) – Read more.
Mobile phone companies Telenor Pakistan and Ufone confirmed to the BBC that the PTA has sent them a ‘dictionary’ of banned words and expressions.
The PTA has reportedly ordered operators to begin screening text messages by 21 November.
Ufone say they are now working on how to block the offending words.
A letter dated 14 November, apparently written by Muhammad Talib Doger, an official at the PTA, has been leaked to Pakistani media.
It states that mobile phone operators should begin screening the words, provided on a list attached to the letter, within seven days.
‘We have received both the dictionary and the memo and we’re discussing a way forward,’ said Anjum Nida Rahman, corporate communications director for Telenor Pakistan.
The ban is a reaction to consumers’ complaints of receiving offensive text messages, Mohammad Younis, a spokesman for the PTA, told The Guardian newspaper.
‘Nobody would like this happening to their young boy or girl,’ he said. He added that the list was not finished and that the authority would continue to add to it.” Read more.
Flashback: Pakistan: The Existence of Christians Threatened Now More Than Ever Before, Persecution the Worse It Has Ever Been – “During a visit to Pakistan, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches has urged for the protection of religious minorities and the need for the state to take necessary measures against religious intolerance… The church leaders shared with him how religious minorities especially Christians, ‘live in an atmosphere of insecurity. The existences of Christians have never been threatened as it is today, and the situation has gone worse in the past years,’ the WCC chief was told.” Read more.
By Raymond Ibrahim – “Egypt’s Maspero massacre—where the military killed dozens of Christians protesting the destruction of their churches—dominates October’s persecution headlines. Facts and details concerning the military’s ‘crimes against humanity’ are documented in this report, and include videos of armored-vehicles running over civilians, a catalog of lies and deceitful tactics employed by Egypt’s rulers and state media, and other matters overlooked in the West.
More damning evidence continues to emerge: not only did Egypt’s military plan to massacre Christians to teach them a ‘lesson’ never to protest again, but ‘death squads’ were deployed up buildings the night before to snipe at protesters. Instead of trying the soldiers who intentionally ran-over demonstrators, the military has been randomly arresting Copts, simply ‘for being Christian.’ Finally, the fact-finding commission of Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights just submitted its report which, as expected, ‘white washes’ the military’s role, including by ‘asserting that no live ammunition was fired on the protesters by the military, as the army only fired blanks in the air to disperse the protesters,’ a claim many eyewitnesses reject out of hand.
Meanwhile, not only are Western governments apathetic, but it was revealed that ‘Obama’s top Muslim advisor blocks Middle Eastern Christians’ access to White House.’ Newt Gingrich asserted that Obama’s ‘strategy in the Middle East is such a total grotesque failure’ and likened the ‘Arab spring’ to an ‘anti-Christian spring.’ Ann Widdecombe accused the British government of ‘double standards in its threats to cut aid to countries which persecute gay people while turning a blind eye to persecution against Christians.’ Even Christian pastors in the West, apparently more concerned about appearing tolerant and in ‘dialogue’ with Muslims, are reluctant to mention persecution to their flock.
Categorized by theme, the rest of October’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is hardly limited to) the following accounts, listed according to theme and in alphabetical order by country, not necessarily severity.
Afghanistan: Ten years after the U.S. invaded and overthrew the Taliban—at a cost of more than 1,700 U.S. military lives and $440 billion in taxpayer dollars—the State Department revealed that Afghanistan’s last Christian church was destroyed. The report further makes clear that the Afghan government—installed by the U.S.—is partially responsible for such anti-Christian sentiments, for instance, by upholding apostasy laws, which make it a criminal offence for Muslims to convert to other religions.
Indonesia: Muslims and authorities expelled Christians from their church and shut it down ‘for allegedly engaging in ‘proselytizing’ in a predominantly Muslim area.’ As in previous cases when churches were seized, ‘the fundamentalists were aided and abetted by the local administration.’ Also, the Muslim behind a September church attack that left three dead confessed that he was operating under his jihad leader’s orders, ‘based on the Koran and Sunna.’
Kazakhstan: The Muslim majority nation enacted new laws further restricting freedom of religion: ‘All registered churches must now re-register with the government, and only churches meeting new criteria will be registered.’ Accordingly, ‘police and secret police agents reportedly raided a worship meeting of officially registered Protestant church New Life, saying that under the new Religion Law the congregation ‘cannot meet outside its legal address.’ During the raid, a 17-year old woman was hit by a policeman, leaving her unconscious.’
Sudan: Soon after President Bashir ‘confirmed plans to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution and strengthen sharia law,’ ’emboldened’ Muslims attacked Christians trying to construct a church, ‘claiming that Christianity was no longer an accepted religion in the country.’ Likewise, authorities threatened to demolish three church buildings ‘as part of a long-standing bid to rid Sudan of Christianity.'” Read more — attacks against Christian symbols, charges of apostasy, blasphemy, proselytism, rapes and killings of Christians …