Saturday, March 04, 2006

Iranian UNC Graduate Attempts Murder

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A recent University of North Carolina graduate was charged with nine counts of attempted murder Saturday, a day after authorities say he drove through a popular campus gathering spot in an attempt to avenge Muslim deaths.
Derek Poarch, chief of the university police department, confirmed Saturday that
Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a 22-year-old Iran native, told investigators he wanted to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world." Poarch would not provide any other details on the motive.
Taheri-azar also is charged with
nine counts of assault.
No one was seriously hurt in the incident just before noon Friday at The Pit, a sunken, brick-paved area surrounded by two libraries, a dining hall and the student union near the center of campus.
The area has broad walkways that can be used as fire lanes, but it has no streets. Taheri-azar drove a Jeep Cherokee from a parking lot in almost a U-shape through a cluster of off-street buildings, looping past the dining hall and veering between it and one of the libraries before he reached a side road and sped away, Poarch said.
Five students and a visiting scholar were treated at and released from hospitals, the university said in a statement. Three other people declined treatment, police said.
Taheri-azar is being held on a $5.5 million bond. He was scheduled appear in court Monday. Poarch would not say whether Taheri-azar had an attorney.


Comment:
The person in question here has spent most of his life in the USA. He benefited from the US educational system, studying psychology and philosophy. However, he found it quite reasonable to try to kill as many as possible of his innocent colleagues "to avenge Muslim deaths"!! It almost makes you despair!

Someone needs to tell him that a lot of "Muslim deaths" happens at the hands of other Muslims. Maybe he has not heard about what has taken place in Algeria, and Sudan, and what is happening now in Iraq.

Pakistan Blocks Websites Showing Cartoons.

According to Arab News website


ISLAMABAD, 4 March 2006 — The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered complete blocking of all websites that displayed caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad and directed the government to ensure the Internet providers strictly comply with the verdict of the highest court.
The verdict came in response to a petition filed by Dr. Imran.
The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan delivered the verdict.
The Supreme Court issued notices to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority as well as the attorney general of Pakistan to ensure that the blasphemous sites are blocked.
Meanwhile, a local lawyer, Iqbal Haider, lodged a criminal case with Secretariat Police Station against the editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten and the editor-in-chief of France’s Soir newspaper for publishing the blasphemous caricatures.
People in many Muslim countries have boycotted products from Denmark where the cartoons were first published

North Korea Top Persecutor of Christians


For the fourth straight year, the isolated communist nation of North Korea remains atop the 2006 Open Doors “World Watch List” of 50 countries where Christians are persecuted the most.


The annual list ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith in Jesus Christ. The list is based on evaluations and testimonies obtained by Open Doors’ indigenous contacts, field workers and members of the Persecuted Church.

It is believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps where they face cruel abuses, according to the 2006 World Watch List report. Some think the hermit regime has detained more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world

Read More>>

Top 50 World Watch List

Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: Muslims must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula

Click here to watch segments of the interview aired on Al Jazeera

By: MEMRI

Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: There Is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century
Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006


Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.
[...]


Host: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?
Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.
[...]
Host: Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind...


Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.


My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?
I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Are you a heretic?
Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...
Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do not concern you.
[...]
Wafa Sultan: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs.
[...]
Wafa Sultan: The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.


Friday, March 03, 2006

More Than 10,000 Pakistanis Protest Bush's Arrival



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Anti-U.S. protests erupted in several Pakistani cities Friday, with crowds burning
American flags, chanting "Death to Bush" and scuffling with police shortly before the U.S. president was to arrive for a two-day visit.
Other Pakistanis demonstrated against cartoons of
Prophet Muhammad as radical Islamic groups called a strike that shut shops and businesses some towns.
The government promised ironclad security for Bush's visit, with one official saying hundreds of army commandos and paramilitary troops would be patrolling the capital.
"We have made foolproof arrangements for the safe stay of President Bush and we do not think there will be any problem," said
Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, a senior Interior Ministry official who also coordinates with U.S. authorities on counterterrorism issues.
Police in the southern city of
Karachi used tear gas and clubs to stop about 1,000 people from marching on the U.S. Consulate, witnesses said.
The stone-throwing crowd came within 200 yards of the building, which was the target of a suicide bomb attack Thursday that killed an American diplomat and three others. The protesters burned U.S. flags and chanted, "Pakistani nation wants head of Bush!"



Comment: the remarkable thing about this item of news is that this is the same Pakistan where, just recently, a powerful earthquake happened with disastrous results. Immediately, the USA rushed to help with millions of dollars, tons of food items and large amounts of needed equipments, personnel, and medical supplies. No other country, including the super rich Muslim petrodollar Arab states, who are brothers in Islam, did anything near that. Now, it is back to "Death to America" and burning of the American flag!
Amazing how quickly Pakistanis forget.

Facing the Music

by : Lubna Hussain

I was on my way to get an ice cream when I happened to pass a cassette shop and decided to go in. At the time my daughter had developed an obsession with a particular song that was being played repeatedly on the music channel and I resolved to buy it for her.

When I entered the shop, the reaction that I generated from my fellow customers was one that could easily be reserved for an alien landing from another planet. I caught people staring at me in disbelief, glancing at each other nervously, but as this was Saudi Arabia I didn’t find it out of the ordinary. What was surprising was that the packed shop soon became empty as one by one the men all left. Considering that the sight of a woman normally has an effect similar to that of an electromagnet on the male species I began to feel a little perturbed by this sudden desertion.

The walls were lined with cassettes and I crouched down to see if I could spot the singer I was looking for. It was then that I saw a pair of feet standing next to me and looked up relieved to see the cashier who, in lieu of any other customers, had ostensibly come to help in my selection of music.

“Thank you,” I began in Arabic. “I am looking for Elissa,” I declared soliciting his expertise.

His reply was rather odd. “No! Haya!” he said sounding agitated.
“No. No. Thank you. But I don’t want Haya. I want
Elissa.”
I was stunned by the same ridiculous response. “No! Haya!”


Evidently he was either being paid a commission to plug tapes by Haya, whoever she was, or more likely, I was not articulating well enough.

“Look,” I said exasperated, in a tone reserved for the mentally challenged. “Not Haya. I want E-l-i-ss-a,” I said breaking each syllable up in a moronic voice. “E-l-i-ss-a,” I enunciated slowly.
“Go! Go! Haya! Muttawwa!” he pleaded in desperation.


It was then that the penny dropped. A vehicle pulled up outside and although I didn’t know for what, I instinctively knew that I was in trouble. I pulled my veil over my face and casually strolled over to the ice cream shop.

As I was about to enter a voice boomed behind me, “I know where you have been!”
My legs turned to jelly.


“You were in that cassette shop, weren’t you?” I stood transfixed holding the door open wondering about the severity of the crime I had inadvertently committed.
“I know what you were doing,” the voice continued to accuse. “You were going to buy a cassette!” Dr. Watson had obviously just returned from his special services training in Scotland Yard, but mercifully left me alone after pronouncing that amazing deduction.


However, the poor guy who had tried to boot me out of the cassette shop had not been so lucky. As I left with my sundae I watched him being dragged out and taken away by the police. I felt terrible. When I sent an emissary to investigate his wretched fate, he returned with the news that the fellow in the adjacent convenience store told him that there was “a lunatic woman who had entered the shop and got the guy arrested” and now the shop had been closed down indefinitely.

It seems that women are forbidden from entering such establishments. To do so is against the law. However, had I chosen to walk a few blocks down to a shopping mall then I would have had no problem entering a cassette shop. It’s the little stand-alone shops that are forbidden fruit.

But why they are considered to be so singularly tempting, I do not know. What’s more, I could have quite inconspicuously and comfortably gone next door and bought a SR150,000 top-of-the-line stereo system without any legal consequence. Of course I would need to rely on a man to select and buy the measly SR15 audiocassette to play on it, but as he would be just about responsible for deciding everything else in my life why should this be any different?

All I would like to know is what the logic is behind these statutes. Can someone who makes these legalities up please explain to me why it is supposedly a far more seductive sight to countenance a woman buying an audio track in a small shop than a big one? Unless I am mistaken it is perfectly acceptable and not lascivious at all to choose my own undergarments and nightgowns while being assisted by men in mixed surroundings but it is illegal for me to decide which song I would like to hear in public. What’s even more exasperating is that I didn’t even know that I was breaking the law because I wasn’t aware of it in the first place! What’s worse is that the poor shopkeeper who was trying to enforce this very same law was the one who was arrested for doing his job.

There are many issues that arise because of this seemingly insignificant incident.
Firstly, that laws should make sense and if they don’t then they should be scrapped.
Secondly, there is an urgent need for a codified consistent set of laws that every citizen should be made aware of.
Thirdly, regardless of which side of the law you are on if you happen to be an Asian expatriate you will probably be found guilty anyway!
==========
Lubna Hussain is a Saudi writer. She is based in Riyadh

3 Israelis throw firecrackers into Annunciation Church

Church of the Annunciation

Three Israelis set off firecrackers inside a church in the town of Nazareth on Friday, sparking panic among several worshippers, police said.

A police spokesman said two Jewish women and a man were holed up inside the Church of the Enunciation, one of Christianity's most important sites in the Holy Land.
Police had entered the church, he said.

Former Slave from Sudan to Speak in Staten Island

Leads March from NY to DC for Peace in Sudan
On Sunday, March 5, at 10:30 a.m. former Sudanese slave, Simon Deng will speak at the Elim Christian Assembly at 498 Manor Road, near Victory Blvd in Staten Island. Mr. Deng will talk about his experiences as a slave in Sudan, how he started the Freedom Walk, and why it is so important to him.

From March 15th to April 5th
Mr. Deng will walk from New York to Washington, DC to shed light on the genocide and modern-day slavery ravaging his homeland. He will hold a press conference at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on Wednesday, March 15th at 1 pm before commencing his walk.

Mr. Deng is encouraging people to walk with him in their home areas. Volunteers along the route have headed the call and have organized venues for him to speak and places for him and the other brave walkers to stay.

Mr. Deng, a native of Southern Sudan was captured at the age of 9 and sold to an Arab family in Northern Sudan which enslaved him for three and a half years until he was able to escape. Now 44, Deng speaks out about his difficult childhood and about the atrocities that continue to plague Sudan. One of the first 40 Sudanese to come to the US on political asylum in 1980, Deng has emerged as a national leader among the 250,000 Sudanese Refugees now living in the US.

The Freedom Walk is sponsored by the Sudan Campaign, a collection of national organizations, elected officials and influential individuals working for progress in human rights.

In Sudan, more than 1.5 million innocent people were killed between 1955 and 1973, and an additional 2 million were killed from 1983 to 2005 in what has become the largest civil war in the history of Africa. Since 2003, the ongoing genocide in Darfur has resulted in the slaughter of more than 300,000 in just the past 3 years. Current estimates show that over 10,000 humans continue die as a result of this crisis each week.
If you would like more information about the Sudan Freedom Walk, or would like to sign up to join the walk or volunteer in your home community, please visit the Sudan Freedom Walk website at
www.sudanfreedomwalk.org, or send an email to info@sudanactivism.com.

Local media: Maria Sliwa, Freedom Now Communications,
sliwanews@aol.com
National media: Meryl Zegarek, Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. 917-403-3601, mz@mzpr.com

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Europe Gives the Palestinians 143 Million US Dollars

The European Union said Monday that it will give the Palestinian Authority $143 million in emergency aid. Once again, it is the "Christian" West who comes to the rescue of the collapsing Palestinian economy. This in spite of the increasing fanatic islamism in the area and the bloody terrorist history of Hamas, the fanatic organization that has been newly elected to form a Palestinian government.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told The Associated Press on Monday that the EU funds were needed to prevent "economic chaos" from paralyzing the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas won January's parliamentary Palestinian elections, toppling the Fatah Party, which had dominated Palestinian politics for decades.

Israel, which considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, has cut the Palestinian Authority off from revenue collected from taxes and fees on Palestinians, prompting Hamas leaders to appeal for international financial support.

For the full article:

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rioters burn a Coptic Church in Upper Egypt

On March 1st a group of Muslims burned down the Church of Saint Mina in Beni Mazar, El Minia province. The Muslims also burned down a house owned by a Christian in the same town.

The church itself suffered great damages, although none of the Christians who were praying inside was injured.
The Egyptian security forces arrived long after the incident and no one was arrested.

More information to follow.

Head of Pediatrics Department Resigns to Protest Discrimination Against Coptic Christians

In an unprecedented and courageous step, a Muslim medical professor who also heads the Department of Pediatrics at El Minia University in Upper Egypt submitted his resignation to the president of the university to protest the discrimination practices against Coptic Christians in the university's medical school.

Prof. Dr. Salem Ahmad Sallam, Head of the Department of Pediatrics at El Minia University stated the following in his resignation:


" Dear Mr. President of the University,

I would like you to accept my resignation from heading the department of pediatrics to protest the antagonistic practices by the medical teaching staff against the resident Mira Maher Raouf ( A Coptic female physician) in order to prevent her from holding a teaching post solely because of her faith. In addition, I'm protesting the university's negligence in addressing such grave matter despite the abhorrent mistreatment and injustice against the (Coptic) physician.

Upholding citizenship rights is of great importance in order to achieve a comprehensive development of the Egyptian society in all aspects. There is no citizenship rights without providing an equal opportunity to everyone regardless of their religious affiliations."


The resignation was first posted online in Arabic by the Egyptian opposition Kefaya ( Enough) movement
نص إستقالة لإهدار حق المواطنة بسبب الدين.

Writers Against Islamic Jihad.

Twelve Muslim, ex-Muslim (including Jihad Watch Board member Ibn Warraq), and non-Muslim writers publish a protest against Islamic Jihad.


Jyllands Posten, the Danish newspaper that originally posted the Muhammad cartoons, has published a manifesto signed by 12 writers -- Muslim, ex-Muslim (including Jihad Watch Board member Ibn Warraq), and non-Muslim -- protesting the jihad, and the cartoon rage in its context.
The Manifest is titled "Together facing the new totalitarianism"

The Manifesto states that "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism."

It also states"Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations." and adds "Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people."

In another part, the Manifesto declares"We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers."


For the full Manifeso

The Hidden Army of Radical Islam in Europe

Sky News has obtained evidence of hundreds of radical Islamic Holy warriors hiding in Bosnia, a decade after the end of the war. Tim Marshall went to Zenica in search of answers. He found a growing radicalisation, and a new base for Al Qaeda.

Thousands of Arab fighters in the heart of Europe ; click here to watch

Tunisian Reformist Researcher on Discrimination Against Christians in Egypt


Reformist Tunisian researcher Dr. Amel Grami from Manouba University in Tunis is a member of a joint international Muslim-Christian research group. She has published books on various Islamic topics such as freedom of faith in Islam and riddah (relinquishing the Muslim faith) in Islamic thought, as well as many articles in Arabic, French and Italian on reform in Islam, the status of women, and dialogue between Christianity and Islam.

For details:
Tunisian Reformist Researcher on Discrimination Against Christians in Egypt

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Equal Rights for All Egyptians

Click here to sign this Petition

To: The Egyptian Government
His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Oruba Palace
Heliopolis, Cairo
Egypt

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to you to express our deep concern over the latest attacks on the defenseless Christian citizens of Al-Udeisat village in Luxor, which took place on January 18, 2006. The attacks left behind two dead, scores injured, many lives shattered and properties destroyed. To our astonishment, the violence - according to Egyptian press - was instigated by some members of the National Democratic Party, local government and security officials.

As you well know Mr. President, the violence at al-Udeisat is no separate incident. It represents a recurrence of grave violations of human rights under both Egypt’s Constitution and international human rights law, specifically the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

For instance, human rights abuses committed in Al-Udeisat, to list a few, included the violation of the right to life of two innocent citizens Mr. Kamal Shaker and George Shehata, aged 9 (ICCPR, article 6), the right to sanctity of homes of individuals attacked in their homes (Egyptian Constitution, article 44), their right to equality before the law (ICCPR, article 2 and Egyptian Constitution, article 40), and most certainly their right to freely practice and manifest their religion in a place of worship (ICCPR, article 18 and the Egyptian Constitution, article 46)

In addition, the right of Christian victims to an effective legal remedy under (ICCPR, article 2(3) and the Egyptian Constitution, article 57) is threatened by the disheartening reality of the inability or unwillingness of the Government to pursue and bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes, and to compensate the victims.

It is indeed alarming to see violations that have persisted since the early 1970’s, spreading allover the country, with no practical measures to protect the Coptic minority and assure social peace.

There is no doubt, however, that the Government of Egypt has to some degree made progress towards addressing the concerns of its Christian citizen, but the tragedy of Al-Udeisat and similar incidents proved that attempts made at the highest political levels aiming at enacting reforms are often challenged by the lower echelons of the Government’s power structures.

Mr. President:

The failure to implement Presidential decrees and to uphold the law not only defeat your leadership’s efforts to improve the human rights situation of the Copts, but also embarrasses Egypt in a time when more States than ever are making leaps forward towards protecting human rights.

As the tide of democratization ushers in the Middle East region, Egypt is called upon - through your Excellency - to take all necessary practical measures: constitutional, legal, political and social to respect the rights of all its citizens.

We therefore appeal to you, Mr. President, to:

1 - Take immediate steps to ensure that Government officials within their respective apparatus uphold human rights commitments, and to ensure that impunity is not an option for violators;

2 - Request from Egypt’s People’s Assembly to issue a national legislation unifying the regulations for the construction and maintenance of all places of worship, and other facilities belonging to all faiths communities, assuring full equality of members of these communities;

3 - Request from People’s Assembly the drafting of an Egyptian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enshrined in the Constitution, where rights of women, minorities, children and the disabled are guaranteed in accordance with the international bill of rights.

View Current Signatures - Sign the Petition

The Equal Rights for All Egyptians Petition to The Egyptian Government was created by Canadian Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and written by Nabil A. Malek & Abdelaziz Abdelaziz (ceohr@sympatico.ca).

Monday, February 27, 2006

MISSING WOMAN CONTACTS FAMILY FOR HELP

By: Compass Direct

Kidnapped Christian refutes police claims that she ran away to convert to Islam.

Missing for over a month, a young Christian woman has telephoned her relatives and reported being imprisoned in a Cairo apartment while facing pressure to convert to Islam.

Last seen in the village of El-Saff 30 miles south of Cairo on January 3, Theresa Ghattass Kamal briefly contacted her aunt on January 24. She told her aunt that she had not yet succumbed to her unknown captors’ demands that she become a Muslim, her brother Sa’eed Ghattass Kamal told Compass.

Her phone call contradicted earlier police statements that she had converted to Islam voluntarily and did not want to see her family again. Police made the claims last month in the wake of a three-day protest by clergy and lay members of the Coptic Orthodox church.

Further investigation by Sa’eed Kamal revealed that no official records of his sister’s conversion existed at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Islamic center. Egyptian law requires that all conversions be registered at Al-Azhar and then validated with the security police, the State Security Investigation (SSI).

The Kamal family traced the origination point of the 19-year-old woman’s call to an apartment in Cairo’s Shubra district owned by Muslim Mostafa Mahmood Ali.
A local priest who asked not to be named for security reasons characterized Ali’s house as “a dangerous place, full of fundamentalists.”
Sa’eed Kamal and a Shubra diocesan lawyer immediately reported Ali to the Shubra branch of the SSI. When the Christian returned on January 30, police told him over a waiting room telephone that they had interrogated Ali and that he did not have the Christian woman. Police refused to meet with Sa’eed Kamal in person.


Disappearance

Originally from Wadi El-Natroun 50 miles northwest of Cairo, Theresa Kamal, 19, was living in a church-owned apartment for women in Giza and taking courses at the Secretarial Academy in old Cairo. Theresa’s father converted to Islam in 1995, and her mother died in 2003, leaving her and her four adult siblings on their own.

On January 3, she visited Coptic Orthodox priest Bavley William in the village of El-Saff and asked for his help in renewing her national and student identity cards. She had lost the documents while riding on a public bus.

William encouraged the Christian woman to return to Wadi El-Natroun to apply for her ID and gave her some money to help cover the expense. Theresa Kamal then called her brother and told him she would return home no later than the morning of January 5.

When his sister had not returned home by January 6, Sa’eed Kamal traveled to Giza and El-Saff to find her. Police in both cities refused to file a missing person report, telling him to return to Wadi El-Natroun to report his sister’s disappearance.
In a January 10 report of the Christian woman’s disappearance, Wadi El-Natroun police stated that they would first “request a report from the Bureau of Investigation about this event.”



Fearing continued government inaction, 150 Christians, including three Coptic Orthodox priests, began a three-day, peaceful protest on January 11 outside the village police station. Led by priest Yahnoss Kama, parish priest Botross of Wadi El-Natroun, and parish priest Bavley of Khatatba City, the local Orthodox congregation demanded the return of Theresa Kamal.

On the third day, SSI officer Tarek Haykal promised the protestors that Kamal would be returned to her family, and that they could meet her at his office in Demnhoor, the provincial capital of Buhayrah, on January 17. Claiming to speak on orders from Hassan Abdul Rahman, the head of the SSI in Cairo, Haykal also threatened to arrest the three priests if they did not disperse immediately.

But according to Sa’eed Kamal, at the January 17 meeting officer Haykal cursed and insulted him and then kicked him out of the office. Haykal then told the two Demnhoor parish priests accompanying the Christian man that Theresa had converted to Islam on the day of her disappearance and that she refused to return to her family.

Haykal said he would schedule a meeting between Theresa Kamal and a priest, a mandatory prerequisite for legal conversion in Egypt.
Upon checking conversion records at all Al-Azhar Islamic center and at Cairo and Giza security directorates, Sa’eed Kamal discovered that his sister’s supposed conversion had never taken place.


Read more

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Turkish Anti-Semitic Film Sells Out In Germany.

Young Muslim Turks Chant "Allah is Great" as They watch a Dagger Plungging into the Heart of an American Commander.

A virulently anti-Semitic film about the Iraq war has provoked a storm of protest in Germany after it sold out to cheering audiences from the country's 2.5 million-strong Turkish community.
Valley of the Wolves, by the Turkish director Serdan Akar, shows crazed American GIs massacring innocent guests at a wedding party and scenes in which a Jewish surgeon removes organs from Iraqi prisoners in a style reminiscent of the Nazi death camp doctor Joseph Mengele.

US soldiers storm a wedding party in a scene from the film.
Bavaria's interior minister admitted last week that he had dispatched intelligence service agents to cinemas showing the film to "gauge" audience reaction and identify potential radicals.
Edmund Stoiber, the state's conservative prime minister, has appealed to cinema operators to remove what he described as "this racist and anti-Western hate film" from their programmes.
The £6 million film, the most expensive Turkish production ever made, had already proved a box office hit in Turkey, where it first opened last month at a gala attended by the wife of the country's prime minister.
The production went on general release in Germany a fortnight ago and has had full houses ever since. More than 130,000 people, most of them young Muslims, saw the film in the first five days of its opening. At a packed cinema in a largely Turkish immigrant district of Berlin last week, Valley of the Wolves was being watched almost exclusively by young Turkish men. They clapped furiously when the Turkish hero of the film was shown blowing up a building occupied by the United States military commander in northern Iraq.
In the closing sequence, the hero is shown plunging a dagger into the heart of a US commander called Sam, played by Billy Zane. The audience responded by standing up and chanting "Allah is great!"
Afterwards, an 18-year-old member of the audience said: "The Americans always behave like this. They slaughtered the Red Indians and killed thousands in Vietnam.
"I was not shocked by the film, I see this on the news every day."
The nature of the film and the enthusiastic reception given to it by young Muslims, has both shocked and polarised politicians and community leaders.
Bernd Neumann, the culture minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel's government complained last week that the reaction to the film "raises serious questions about the values of our society and our ability to instil them".
Kenan Kolat, the head of Germany's Turkish community, insisted that a ban on the film would make matters worse. "If it is withdrawn, it will raise levels of identification with the film," he said. "A democracy must be able to endure films that it doesn't approve of."
Alin Sahin, the film's distributor in Germany, argued: "When a cartoonist insults two billion Muslims it is considered freedom of opinion, but when an action film takes on the Americans it is considered demagoguery. Something is wrong."
But those arguing for a ban on Valley of the Wolves appeared to have won a partial victory last week when Cinemaxx, one of Germany's largest cinema chains, announced that it was withdrawing the film.