Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Middle East Times reported Italy's interior ministry has published a "values charter" for religious minorities that promotes integration while shunning polygamy and the wearing of face-concealing veils.

Congratulations. I hope many Muslim groups sign on. Have any agreed yet?
The charter, presented late Monday by Interior Minister Giuliano Amato, enshrines "the right to religious freedom and equality between man and woman," according to the ministry's Web site. The charter advocates the "monogamous family and wants to prevent women from experiencing humiliation and polygamy," said Carlo Cardia, the head of the committee that drafted the accord, according to the ANSA news agency. The seven-page document refers to European values and those of the Italian constitution, and condemns terrorism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.

Regarding the veil, it says that while "no restrictions on clothing exist in Italy ... [veils that] cover the face are not acceptable because they prevent the recognition of the person and are an obstacle for establishing relationships with others." Amato said the document would serve as a guide for relations between the ministry and Italy's various religious communities, and should help "consolidate Italian Islam." The non-binding charter "cannot be imposed on anyone," Amato said, adding that it was just the start of a process. More than a million Muslims make up the second-largest religious community in Italy, after Roman Catholicism. The largest Muslim organization, UCOII, was critical of the charter even though it took part in its drafting.

"The veil has never been humiliating to women," said UCOII president Mohamed Nour Dachan
A man, who does not have to wear one.
, adding that he felt the charter should mention "the positive role of Islam in the history of Europe."


Furor over author Ayaan Hirsi Ali's visit stirs debate on religious freedom

Tribune Review reported Say what you want about your religion. Go ahead, say anything that comes into your mind -- even if you don't agree with your minister, your priest, your rabbi. Even if you think you're right and they've got it all wrong, as long as you're not making a direct threat to someone, you can disagree or turn your back and walk away to another faith or to no faith at all. Here, in America, it's OK.

Or at least it is supposed to be OK.
In a land of more than 3,000 diverse religions, your right to religious liberty is a guaranteed protection under the First Amendment. "The key in the U.S. from the beginning has been to make sure all religious groups not only understand freedoms, but connect them to their own commitment," said Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar and director of educational programs at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., and Nashville.

A community debate over religious freedom surfaced in Western Pennsylvania last week when Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who has lived under the threat of death for denouncing her Muslim upbringing, made an appearance at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Islamic leaders tried to block the lecture, which was sponsored through an endowment from the Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Lecture Series. They argued that Hirsi Ali's attacks against the Muslim faith in her book, "Infidel," and movie, "Submission," are "poisonous and unjustified" and create dissension in their community.
The solution to speech you don't like is more speech.
Although university officials listened to Islamic leaders' concerns, the lecture planned last year took place Tuesday evening under tight security, with no incidents.
Good for them.
Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.

"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976.
Are you threatening her with death?
Hirsi Ali, an atheist, has been critical of many Muslim beliefs, particularly on subjects of sexual morality, the treatment of women and female genital mutilation. In her essay "The Caged Virgin," she also wrote of punishment, noting that "a Muslim's relationship with God is one of fear."
You should try my God, who "so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
"Our God demands total submission. He rewards you if you follow His rules meticulously. He punishes you cruelly if you break His rules, both on earth, with illness and natural disasters, and in the hereafter, with hellfire," she wrote. In some Muslim countries, such as Iran, apostasy -- abandoning one's religious belief -- and blasphemy are considered punishable by death under sharia, a system of laws and customs that treats both public and private life as governable by God's law.

Sharia is based largely on an interpretation of the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, a consensus of Islamic scholars and reasoning, according to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. In some countries, sharia has been associated with stoning to death those who are accused of adultery, flogging for drinking wine and amputation of a hand for theft.
Islam, the Religion of Peace. NOT!!!!!!
One of the most noted cases of apostasy in recent years involved author Salman Rushdie, whose novel "The Satanic Verses" offered an unflattering portrayal of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The book prompted Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa -- a religious decree -- in 1989 calling for Rushdie's assassination.

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.
But she is in the US, where she moved after being threatened in Europe. Why should she want to go to a Muslim Country, where she would be certain to be convicted. That would be an indication she was mentally unstable, in which case even Muslim law forbids harming her.
"If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment," he said. "It's a very merciful religion if you try to understand it."
Let us contrast her chances in the US or a Muslim Country. Hummmm. What do you think?
Zahida Chaudhary, a member of the education council and education secretary at the Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Monroeville, insisted that Islam is a peaceful religion. "The Prophet Mohammed was a peacemaker and a role model for humanity," she said. "My understanding is that he was a peaceful person who believed that religion was a choice. He tried to teach people and bring them into it, not punish them."
Actually he said(Bukhari 9.84.57)
Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him
Haynes, who has studied and written extensively about religious liberty and has worked with many Muslim groups, said he was "stunned" by ElBayly's comments.

"There are more radical, extreme views of Islam in European counties than in the U.S.
That is true, and there are even more radical extreme views in Saudia Arabia. But does that mean Muslims should have to move there?
It's rare to hear it and even more rare to learn that American Muslims believe it," he said.

While Hirsi Ali is viewed as an infidel among the Islamic community, those who speak out against other religions usually are met with discussion, prayer and counseling. In extreme cases, critics might be shown the door.

"One is free to choose whatever religion and body of truths one wants to believe," said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese. "The church fosters freedom of religion. That's a decision everyone has to make on their own."

Centuries ago, Lengwin said, the church imposed harsh punishment -- including execution -- upon people viewed as heretics. He cited as an example the Roman Inquisition trial of 15th century Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who was tried by the church, threatened with torture and sentenced to prison for his teachings on the motions of the earth.

With the evolution of the church, things have changed.
Evolution does bring change.
For example, Lengwin said, the church has faced criticism from many of its own priests who have disagreed with various beliefs and practices. When that happens, there is discussion and clarification of beliefs, he said. It doesn't always work.
But you are not killed if it doesn't.
"We've had people walk away and start churches of their own or join Lutheran or Presbyterian or other churches," he said. "The role of the church is to teach the truth as effectively as you can. There's no jail if you don't agree with us."

The Rev. Douglas Holben, executive presbyter for the Redstone Presbytery, which covers Westmoreland, Fayette, Somerset and Cambria counties, said the Presbyterian Church "as a community of faith would try to find a common ground" when confronted with differing opinions. "We seek to find things to unite us," Holben said. If faced with criticism, it's best to "find ways in which they find the church to be faithful to the Lord," he said.

Holben said the church has formed a Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity that includes people from different backgrounds and perspectives. Discussions among the group were productive, he said, adding that the members did not condemn or judge each other for their differences.

"They were able to say that even though we don't agree with your opinion, we can agree upon a common faith," he said.

Rabbi Sara Perman, leader of the Congregation Emanu-El Israel in Greensburg, explained that before the French Revolution emancipated Jews in Europe, those who spoke out against Judaism faced "cherem" or excommunication. Cherem resulted in both a spiritual and economic "death" because people who were excommunicated were unable to make a living in their community.

"Now, the reality is that if you are unsatisfied and speak out against Judaism, there isn't much we can do about it in this country," Perman said. "Within the general Jewish community, there isn't much you can do except not give them a forum or ignore them."

Haynes said the key to America's success in religious diversity is for people of all religions to understand that you "can't just tolerate" the fact that Muslims or Catholics or Protestants or Mormons or Jews have a right to be here. He said this country is a "level playing field" where everyone is free to practice their religion, but not to carry out extreme ideas that violate basic principles. "I don't think there's anyplace on the planet with more religious diversity," Haynes said. "This is a big challenge in 21st century America to make sure we can live with the deepest differences, and religious differences are the most difficult to navigate."
Only if one side is prepared tp kill and not even discuss differences.


Prisoners convert to Islam in escape plot

NZ Herald reported One of Australia's most dangerous criminals paid fellow inmates to convert to Islam as a prelude to planning an audacious escape from the country's toughest jail, it was alleged yesterday.

I can imagine them wanting to get out of prison, but does the "expression from the frying pan into the fire" come to mind?
Convicted murderer Bassam Hamzy arranged for cash payments to be secretly made to prisoners prepared to worship Allah and help him plot an escape from the Super Max section of Goulburn jail in New South Wales. In what prison authorities described as a "pay to pray" conspiracy, 12 of the 37 inmates at the Super Max facility became Muslim fundamentalists or converts. They all shaved their heads, grew long beards and prayed in their cells up to five times a day. Some are of Muslim background but others are white Australians or Aborigines.

A small but growing number of Aborigines are turning to Islam, in part as a source of spiritual pride but also as a rejection of the drug and alcohol abuse which has wreaked havoc among indigenous people.
They should be proud of their accomplishments, but they might want to embrace Jesus. He will love them, and if they lose their way and reject Christianity He will not have them killed.


Un Islamic Democracy

Yahoo News reported Maulana Abdul Aziz, the chief cleric of the controversial Lal Masjid, has reportedly said that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's regime was "un-Islamic", and that it was obligatory for every Muslim to wage jihad against it for rule of law and speedy dispensation of justice.

In a Democratic country you presuade more than half of the people they would rather let you make the rules.
... The cleric also criticised democracy, saying it was a flawed system. "Democracy is nothing, but counting of heads.
But at least they remain connected to their necks. And i agree with Sir Winston Churchill "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
It cannot differentiate between good and bad people, as in this system the vote of a devout Muslim equals the vote of a frail Muslim," he said.
But at least it does not let a small number of "devout Muslims" decide who is a devout Muslim, who is a frail Muslim, and who is an infidel.
On the recent spate in suicide attacks in Pakistan, he said: "Suicide attacks in Pakistan are un-Islamic, but if the government took action against Jamia Hafsa, we would allow our followers to launch suicide attacks against it to save the honour of our female students."
You are the sort of people that will kill a woman to protect her honor; maybe you would allow her to blow up herself for the same reason. You do not understand honor.


Desecrating the Koran

Union Tribune reported An Egyptian living in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to death for desecrating the Koran and renouncing Islam, Saudi newspapers and a rights activist said on Wednesday. Okaz and al-Hayat newspapers said worshippers at a mosque in the desert town of Arar in north Saudi Arabia lodged a complaint with police saying the man, a pharmacist, had left copies of the Muslim holy book in the mosque washrooms.

Maybe he just forgot it.
They said a court found the man guilty on Tuesday of no longer being a Muslim because of his acts and 'violating the boundaries set by God'. They said the man, whom they identified only as an Arab national, pleaded guilty.
Did he know what he was pleading guilty to, or did they just say did you leave your Koran in the washroom?
Saudi Arabia executes murderers, rapists and drug traffickers to death by public beheading, according to an austere version of Sunni Islam. Anyone found guilty of apostasy can also face death.

Ali al-Ahmed, a prominent Saudi rights activist who has followed the case, said the verdict raised questions about Saudi Arabia's justice system, which rights groups have criticised over a lack of legal representation and codified laws. 'The man is Muslim and an Egyptian. I believe he was set up by extremists zealots,' said Ahmed, a critic of the Saudi government who is based at the Gulf Institute in Washington.
Zelots in Saudia Arabia or zealots in Egypt?
Saudi Arabia often responds to rights groups saying Islamic law specifies clear rights and obligations for Muslims and non-Muslim residents, who must abide by its laws and customs. Four Sri Lankans were publicly beheaded then displayed on wooden crosses in February for armed robbery after what U.S.-based Human Rights Watch called a sham trial.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hamas: Truce with Israel at end

Yahoo! News Hamas militants fired a barrage of rockets and mortar shells toward Israel on its independence day Tuesday, and said they considered it the end of a five-month truce with Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister

Israel said they had not done anything during the five month truce to show they were serious about a truce. Rocket attacks, suicde bombers still tried to get in, and Hamas still refused to recognize any agreements Isreal had made with the Palestinians.
Ismail Haniyeh, whose Hamas-led government negotiated the cease-fire with its militant wing,
Oh the truce was between part of Hamas and another part.
blamed Israel: "We made great efforts at keeping the truce and there was a positive Palestinian position, but unfortunately this position was met by expanding the aggression and escalating it against the Palestinian people," he said. "It's not a Palestinian problem, it is an Israeli problem."
At least they hope pther countries are stupid enough tblieve that.
Nine Palestinians were killed in fighting with Israel over the weekend, most of them militants, but also two civilians. The barrage, which came on Israel's 59th independence day, did not cause any damage or injury, but it marked the first time Hamas acknowledged firing shells toward Israel since agreeing to a cease-fire along the Gaza-Israel border in November.
They were launching their own fireworks to honor Israel independence.
Hamas is tightly organized, and Israel says attacks from Gaza have the tacit approval from the militant group's political leaders. Israel Radio, citing military officials, said the rocket attack appeared to be an unsuccessful attempt to create a diversion in order to capture an Israeli soldier posted at the Gaza border. In June, Hamas-allied militants had tunneled from Gaza into Israel and seized an Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.
They cant get Israel to swap 1000 murders for one soldier so the want another one.
In Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defense minister discussed a possible response. More security consultations were planned for Wednesday, government officials said..... In a growing problem for Gaza, Palestinian smugglers and clansmen settle differences with guns, and bands of self-styled vigilantes have killed suspected pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, owners of music shops, internet cafes, pool halls — activities which could divert people from worship — and women suspected of sexual misconduct.
Islam is a Reilgion of Peace. NOT!!!!!
Bystanders are often wounded or killed.