Thursday, February 21, 2013

Syrian Revolution Is A Movement To Kill Christians

Assad is a bad man, but the "rebels" are far worse.
By Theodore Shoebat

The Syrian Revolution is for the establishing of an Islamic state, and in so doing, Christians are being killed by the Islamist. But I fear the future, knowing that the time is coming in which a full out massacre will be implemented by the Islamist in Syria. The fall of Assad will mean a mass cleansing of anybody who believes in the Bible, since the Assad regime protects the Christian population.

Just in late November, two car bombs went off in a Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus killing forty-five and injuring 120. In a recent report by the UK's Independent, one Syrian said that the rebels "wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us Kaffirs [infidels], even little children saying these things. Those who were our neighbours turned against us".

Archbishop Issam John Darwish said that there has been "an influx of jihadists in the rebels in the last six, seven months".

On November 8th of this year Agenzia Fides reported that the Catholic Church was trying to rescue ten Christians who were abducted by Islamists as they were traveling from Aleppo to Beirut.

According to an article written by Beatriz Schiava

Christian neighborhoods like Bab Touma, Qatana, the Christian Quarters of Damascus, Hamidiye, and neighborhoods of Aleppo such as Sulaymaniya, AL Jarbiriya, Al Tilal, Villas, and many others have been targeted with bomb attacks and snipers that kill and injure hundreds of innocent bystanders.

On September 25, the Vatican News stated that 150 Greek Catholics, working in their apple fields near the village of Rableh between the Lebanese border and the city of Qusayr, were kidnapped. The next day, another 130 Christians from Rableh were kidnapped by armed thugs. The perpetrators behind this was a Sunni Islamist group from Lebanon called Ahmad Ammoun.

Though Ahmad Ammoun was said to have no known connection with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), it turns out that they do have a relation. As I reported on the event , both Ahmad Ammoun and the FSA are Salafist, and both have waged attacks on Christians and Alawite Muslims.

Attacks on churches, looting, the seizing of private property, and murder, are now common crimes done against Christians.

Christians who are not wealthy enough to leave Syria have stayed behind, becoming an easy target for rebels, who have blocked there homes.

In September, it was reported that 150 Christians took up arms to prevent rebels from entering major areas of Aleppo. In the Christian quarter of Jdeidah, Christian militia, with Syrian military assistance took out Free Syrian Army thugs who were hiding in the Ferhat Square of the area. The reason? FSA members were hiding in buildings killing random Christians. According to one Christian witness named John,

FSA snipers were on the rooftops and they were attacking the Maronite church and Armenian residents there

Manaf Tlass, a very famous rebel in Syria, has a cousin named Abdul Razzak, who commands the notorious al-Farouq brigade of the opposition, which was responsible for the forced exile of 80,000 Christians out of Homs.

In Aleppo, about 100 rebels invaded a Christian area of the city. One report on Syria had this to say:

The violent situation deeply hurts the entire Syrian population, the Christian community as well as other people groups. But about two or three weeks ago we observed an increase of violence that specifically is targeting Christians or Christian neighborhoods. Bombs now are placed in Christian areas where there is no strategic or military target at all.

Also in Aleppo, in November, a bomb went off near a Syriac Orthodox Church leaving between 20 and 80 people dead. An Armenian church was also bombed after being raided and vandalized by rebels.

One Christian named Michel said that the persecution toward Christians began after the first protest against the Assad regime. He continued to say:

Then suddenly arms were being used and there were Arabs from different countries," he said. "They broke into Christian houses and accused them of blasphemy. …

Michel also recounted a horrific event which happened to his family while he was gone from his home:

It was indescribable fear. They burned tyres in front of the house and wanted to burn the house," he said. [My wife] took the children and was jumping over walls from one street to another until they managed to escape.

The St. Gevorg Church in Aleppo's Armenian Nor Kyugh district was put to flames by rebels, being almost put to ashes, while the Mesrobian Armenian school next to the church was also attacked. Moreover, in the Armenian district of Damascus a bomb went off which killed 10 people, and wounded another 50.

Agnes Mariam, the Mother Superior of the Melkite Greek Catholic monastery of St James the Mutilated in Qara, said that while the Assad regime does "not favour Christians", "The social fabric of Syria is very diverse, so Christians live in peace."

Right when Assad's regime topples, the Christians will be amongst the greatest victims.

While Israel has not gotten involved in the revolution, it is not optimistic either. Syrian rebels have taken almost all of the villages near the frontier with the Golan Heights. Ehud Barak said:

Almost all of the villages, from the foot of this ridge to the very top, are already in the hands of the Syrian rebels

One rebel named Mateen said that the rebellion has

a big fight against the Jews ahead of us. We will take that up, God willing.

Pope Benedict XVI has in fact objected to any giving of arms into Syria, where they will be given into the hands of the rebels:

The import of weapons has to finally stop, …Without the import of arms the war cannot continue. Instead of importing weapons, which is a grave sin, we have to import ideas of peace and creativity.

Where are the voices from major contemporary churches? Where is Rick Warren, Joel Olsteen? America and Europe have not offered any help for the Christians, and while mainstream churches stay silent, the U.S. government and Western allies are making matters worse. Within hours of Obama's second victory, Western allies had already designed a development for Syria, expecting a much more aggressive approach to Syria by the president. England and Turkey have been discussing the use of NATO against Bashar al-Assad, expecting more support from Obama.

Lets not forget that Obama last month recognized the official Syrian opposition as a legitimate group, saying

I'm encouraged to see that the Syrian opposition created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion than they've had in the past, …We consider them a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people. We're not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile, but we do think that it is a broad-based representative group.

What will this do? Remember Egypt. What caused the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian revolution to be so confident? They got Obama's approval in his famous "New Beginning" speech of 2009 which he did in Cairo (a speech which, I believe, will be judged by history as one of the most destructive acts of a U.S. president).

While Obama has been vocal on his support for the Syrian revolution and the toppling of Assad, his administration is now considering giving weapons to help the rebels. The New York Times reported in November:

While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters.

Turkey wants NATO to provide them with surface-to-air missiles to supposedly protect the country from the Syrian military, and State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland said that the Patriot missile system would not be "for use beyond the Turkish border."

But I fear that the Obama administration's and NATO's involvement will go beyond just talk, and enter into them working with terrorist groups, just as they did when they worked to oust out Gaddafi, as Walid Shoebat reported:

Appointing Libyan fighters to oust Qaddafi was akin to appointing the same individuals with the same ideology as Al-Qaeda. That ideology was established by the fighting groups that were involved in the Afghan-Russian war. It was these groups that were aided by NATO forces and supported by the Obama administration, which wanted the removal of the Gaddafi regime.

From what I have heard, the reasons why America is in support of toppling Assad is because they see him as a brutal tyrant who needs to be removed. Also, because America sees the Shiites as the major threat, and believe that by removing Assad, Iran will then be weakened significantly. But what America and the rest of the West needs to realize, that that by getting rid of Assad, this will pave the way for Turkey to invade Syria, and begin to arise as a major superpower in the Middle East.

With all of this said, the point is clear. Islam is anti-Christian ideology, and by allowing its fundamentalist followers to take Syria, the Christians living under it will live the lives of slaves and victims of genocide.

Theodore Shoebat is the author of the book, For God or For Tyranny.

Lead investigator booted in Pistorius case

This case gets curioser and curioser.....Zamir

by Robyn Curnow and Michael Pearso,
February 21st 2013

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) -- Prosecutors in the Oscar Pistorius murder case will make a final push Friday to keep the acclaimed track star in jail after a bail hearing jolted by the sudden removal of the lead investigator.

The South African Police Service pulled Hilton Botha from the case Thursday after prosecutors reinstated attempted murder charges against him.

Botha is accused of chasing and firing on a minibus full of people while drunk in 2011. He is charged with seven counts of attempted murder.

The allegations were the latest blow to a prosecution case that has suffered through several miscues during the bail hearing, including admissions that police could have contaminated the crime scene and failed to properly catalog evidence.

Prosecutors are trying to keep Pistorius jailed pending his trial on a charge of premeditated murder in the February 14 shooting death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, 29. The hearing ended Thursday with no decision on bail and is scheduled to resume Friday.

Pistorius, 26, is accused of the premeditated murder of Steenkamp after, according to prosecutors, a heated argument in the early morning hours of Valentine's Day.

The sprinter, however, says he thought an intruder was hiding in a toilet room inside the bathroom of his Pretoria home. He says he fired into the room in a fit of terror before realizing the person inside was Steenkamp.

Replacing Botha

Court officials learned Thursday that prosecutors had restored the charges against Botha in the 2011 incident. The charges had previously been withdrawn for additional investigation, but prosecutors decided Wednesday to proceed, said Commissioner Riah Phiyega of the South African Police Service.

Phiyega praised Botha, saying he is an experienced investigator who "has presented the case of the police well."

Botha was replaced by the department's most senior detective, Vinesh Moonoo, in a move Phiyega said positioned the department for a "long-haul" investigation of Steenkamp's killing.

During the three-day bail hearing, being held in a dark, stuffy Pretoria courtroom, defense attorney Barry Roux hammered away at the credibility of Botha and the entire police investigation.

He argued police had missed a bullet in the toilet of the bathroom where Steenkamp was shot and may have contaminated the crime scene by failing to wear protective foot covers.

Botha told Roux that investigators didn't wear the booties because they'd run out.

Bulelwa Makeke, the spokeswoman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, said before the announcement of Botha's removal that the accusations against the investigator would be little more than a "speed bump" in the Pistorius case.

Gallery: Athletes charged with murder

Monumental collapse?

In arguments wrapping up Thursday's session, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Pistorius' defense team has failed to explain why investigators found two cell phones and the gun believed to have been used in the shooting in front of the shower.

That goes to the prosecution claim that Steenkamp didn't merely get up to relieve herself in the middle of the night, but in fact had locked herself in the bathroom with her cell phone to protect herself from Pistorius.

Nel also said Pistorius has shown a lack of realization of what he has done and cast doubt on Pistorius' claims that one of the reasons for his extreme fear that night was that he had been a victim of burglary and violent crime in the past.

Where, Nel asked, are the court cases from those incidents? Why, Nel asked, didn't Pistorius whisper to Steenkamp or try to wake her up when he heard noises?

In full: Pistorius' affidavit to court

In addition to his questions about the bullet and the booties, Roux got Botha to acknowledge during the hearing that investigators had failed to collect any evidence that counters Pistorius' argument that he mistakenly shot Steenkamp.

Roux told Magistrate Desmond Nair that the prosecution's case had suffered a monumental collapse.

The defense attorney also questioned police claims that a witness who lived at least 300 meters (328 yards) from Pistorius' home had heard a raging argument coming from the home.

He also said officers had failed to properly investigate and catalog evidence found there, including ammunition and a bottle of what Botha first called testosterone before backtracking.

Roux said the substance is an herbal remedy.

Authorities have argued that ballistic evidence shows Pistorius had to intentionally target the toilet to strike Steenkamp, and that evidence shows he was standing on his prosthetic legs when he shot through the bathroom door.

Pistorius said in his statement that when he shot through the door, he was feeling vulnerable to an intruder because he was not wearing his legs and had limited mobility.

Prosecutors are fighting bail because they worry that Pistorius will disappear if he's released, and they say that he has a history of police encounters that suggest he is a threat to public safety.

Pistorius has pledged to stay in South Africa and fight the charges if released, adding that he's unlikely to escape notice as a well-known athlete who walks on prosthetic legs.

Anger about detention

In other developments, the women's branch of South Africa's ruling party accused authorities of giving Pistorius special treatment by holding him at the police station instead of prison.

"If there is some special circumstance that permits this, authorities must share this with the public as they are setting a bad precedent," the statement from the African National Congress Women's League said. "All should be treated equally before the law no matter your standing in society."

What's life like in a South African prison?

Nike pulls away from sprinter

Also Thursday, Nike announced it had suspended its contract with Pistorius, saying it would "monitor the situation closely."

Nike had already pulled a TV ad featuring the sports star.

Nike's bullet ad with Pistorius backfires

Robyn Curnow reported from Pretoria, and Michael Pearson reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Marilia Brocchetto, Kim Norgaard and Dianne McCarthy also contributed to this report.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Talks as response to UN hypocrisy

As Jerusalem tries to form a new coalition, the UN's institutions continue their efforts to chip away at Israel's legitimacy. A UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission recently published a harsh report in which it condemned Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and claimed that its practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes.

A panel of three judges, led by Christine Chanet of France, used harsh terms to criticize the settlements, which it claimed "seriously impinge on the self-determination of the Palestinian people." It also urged governments and private corporations across the world to consider imposing economic and political sanctions on Israel.

The Palestinians welcomed the report and hailed it as another achievement in their ongoing campaign to extend the recognition recently granted to a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly. As expected, Israel rejected the "biased" report that "hinders" the advancement of direct negotiations with the Palestinians.

Dr. Roi Sheindorf, who heads a special Justice Ministry unit that handles overseas legal proceedings, provided information showing that the UN Rights Council has condemned Israel more than 40 times over the past seven years – more than Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iran combined.

The Council's Goldstone Report severely damaged Israel's standing in the world, while much less severe reports were published on those responsible for the crimes in Libya and Syria. The Council's extreme and biased conduct detracts from the validity of its decisions, thus opening the door for an Israeli response. But how should we respond?

For years Israel has been fighting international councils that damage its standing in the world, and Israel's legal establishment has been doing great work in this regard. But the issue, in its essence, is political rather than legal. It is not enough to boycott hostile councils or speak of their hypocrisy. Israel must engage in serious discussions with the Palestinians and the Western world, particularly the US, on the basis of the "two states for two peoples" paradigm that Netanyahu supported. Seeing that nearly the entire world, including Israel's closest allies, considers the settlement enterprise to be illegal, Israel must – as an opening point for peace negotiations - make a clear political and geographical distinction between Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, as well as the settlement blocs situated near the Green Line, and other territories in the West Bank that will eventually be part of a future Palestinian state. Israel must end the construction policy based on "punitive diplomacy," which was implemented after the UN recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state. Furthermore, Israel must emphasize that its actions cannot be compared to war crimes and ask its few allies to condemn any attempts to make this comparison. Israel must express its willingness to swap lands and agree to an extensive evacuation of settlements in the event that a peace agreement (or any other agreement) is reached. Finally, Israel must assert that true reconciliation and peace must allow Jews to live under Palestinian rule. This may not be the settlers' preferred option, but it is a legitimate demand of a democratic country. Israel must work determinately and wisely to change the occupation's problematic image in the Western world. It must rebuild trust with the White House and President Obama, as they no longer believe the rhetoric coming out of Jerusalem. Israel must take advantage of the international inquiry commissions' extremism and hypocrisy to jumpstart the peace process. The establishment of a new government provides the perfect opportunity to change direction and seek international support for resolving the Palestinian issue, particularly in light of the failures and crimes in the Arab world around us. Professor Yossi Shain heads Tel Aviv University's Abba Eban Program of Diplomacy,7340,L-4341979,00.html

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Analysis: Arab daily praises Israel, gets bashed

The popular Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat published two articles recently that presented a relatively positive view of Israel compared to the usual strongly negative image of the country in the Arab media.

Dr. Amal al-Hazzani, an assistant professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wrote an article about a week ago titled "The Israel we do not know " – and received a flood of hate mail. He went on to write another article, published Thursday, responding to the harsh reaction.

A look at the two articles, as well as the public response, is telling of where the acceptable boundaries in Arab culture lie when it comes to discussion of Israel.

In the first article, Hazzani analyzed the results of the Israeli elections, noting that the focus had been on internal issues and that politicians had acted with devotion and sincerity to promote the interests of the people as a whole.

This has not been the case in Arab countries since the Arab Spring, he said. There, Arab politicians focus on "their affiliation to a certain group" and "heap insults upon Israel from their luxurious hotel rooms. However, they are still unaware as to where, why and how these feelings of hatred towards Israel came about."

He lamented that Israel's neighboring Arab states "are ignorant of the Hebrew language," noting that in Syria and Lebanon, people preferred to study French rather than the language of the country threatening their national security.

Arab youth know nothing about Israel, he said, claiming that a "generation that harbors dreams and expectations different to those cherished by a leader like Netanyahu" had emerged there.

He called attempts by some analysts to compare young Israelis' social protests with the Arab Spring protests "ridiculous." The Arabs struggled against undemocratic "regimes that were light years away from their citizens," he said, whereas Israel is "truly democratic" and the protests there were over living standards, not "starting from scratch as in the Arab Spring states."

He argued that not all Israelis supported the oppression of the Palestinians, and implied that Arabs were not aware of this, partly because their intelligentsia did not talk about it.

By contrast, he said, there are many opportunities to study Arabic in Israel, and Israelis are fully fluent and absorbed in Arab culture, its strengths and weaknesses. This helps explain why Israelis have become so successful and powerful, he stated.

The article was not entirely positive vis-à-vis Israel, as it still spoke of an "oppressive occupying state," among other things. But the aspects of Israel that it did portray in a positive light were apparently too much for some readers.

Hazzani's second article opens by describing the flood of hate mail he received from people who accused him of "calling for a normalization of relations, promoting the Hebrew language, and glorifying Israeli liberalism."

"This response was to be expected because I breached a taboo," he says, but this "outrage will not change the reality. Israel will remain as it is; a small state but stronger than the rest of the Arab world."

He goes on to defend himself by asserting that he was only trying to say Arabs had to understand their enemy.

Hazzani says Arabs fear that learning about Israel will somehow mean they are recognizing its legitimacy, but that is not necessarily so. This attitude permeates Arab media, which is scared to deal with issues relating to culture, economics, and even some political issues when it comes to Israel, for the fear that it "promotes Zionism," he says.

During the latest wars in Gaza and Lebanon, he notes, Arab TV stations generally refused to invite a guest representing the Israeli side. "Only Al-Arabiya dared to buck the trend, and it was not long before some branded it as Zionist for choosing to do so."

The Arabs, he concludes, "have been preoccupied with [rage] and blind hatred since 1967. During this time, Israel has managed to build eight public universities and 200 museums that receive nearly 4 million tourists a year. It has also become a rival to the US in the programming and software industry."

This episode illustrates that Arabic discourse is still bound by a cultural enmity that refuses to let go of the traditional Arab narrative of the conflict, despite some gestures from time to time.

Hazzani, though critical of Israel, was able to present some positive aspects of Israeli society without being completely blinded by hatred.

The fact that even he could not present these facts without being bombarded shows that Arab society is nowhere close to accepting the legitimacy of, or peace with, Israel.

Yet there is some hope in the fact that Asharq al-Awsat had the courage to publish the article – albeit from its safe headquarters in London.

Shared from Pocket

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Islam Watch : "Bangladesh : Woman whipped mercilessly in public after fatwa over paternity of child" by William Gomes

by William Gomes,
Rahima Akter, a 26-year-old destitute woman, is groaning with pain at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, after she was being whipped mercilessly in public based on an Islamic fatwa over claim of paternity of her child Ramzan in a remote village Noagon in Daudkandi, Bangladesh.

Rahima's Mother Rasheda Begum told Asia News that Rahima had developed a relation with Abdul Karim of the same village, and gave birth to the child; they moved from door to door for arbitration on the claim of paternity of the child, but without any result.

Around 8 p.m. on May 22, a 6-member Fatwa committee, led Maulana Abul Kashem started the arbitration in the local Noagon Ayesha Sidikka Nurani Hafizia Madrasa (Islamic School), jam-packed with around 200-400 peoples people; the arbitration continued until midnight. Mr. Karim, the alleged father of the child, denied paternity by touching the Koran in front of the committee.

Then Maulana Abul Kashem, who led the fatwa committee, then asked to Rahima said to say truth by touching Koran, she did. But, the Maulana called her as a liar. Rahima then demanded DNA testing of Karim.

Ignoring the request, Maulana Kashem issued a fatwa that Rahima should be whipped 100 times, according to Islamic law for fornication, as she was a single mother. The fatwa committee, said Rohima's mother, asked her father Abdul Matin to tie her hands, and they whipped her in front of her father. The Mullas beat her father, too.

"I was standing there as a very helpless mother in the midst of Mullas and full of people," said Rahima's mother, "wondering that who will come to help us, no one came to help us, all stood by the side of the Mullas."

Rahima lost her consciousness after 39 lashes, and her father took her home. "After my daughter got back to sense, she could not sleep at night," said Rahima's Mother.

On May 23 morning, they took her to Daudkandi Thana Health Complex.

After a case filed with the police, Maulana Abul Kashem's supporters threatening Rahima's family to withdraw the case.

Dr. Mohammed Sarfaraz Hossain Khan, who treated Rahima Akter at Daudkandi Thana Health Complex, told Asia News that Rahima came to the hospital in a very bad pain; she was not even able to seat, he lower part of the body, specially the buttock, had very bad swelling. "I was shocked at treating the brutality," said Dr. Khan.

Rahima was then sent to the One Stop Crisis Centre (OCC) of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on May 26 for DNA testing.

The coordinator of OCC confirmed that Rahima Akter, her Father Abdul Matin and son Ramzan were in OCC, and no outsider were allowed to meet them for security reason.

Jahanara, Abdul Karim's Mother, told Asia News, "Allah Knows that Rahima is a liar and the Mullas treated her according to Sariah."

"My son Abdul Karim is married and have three grown up sons, Emon (8), Ekram (6), Mahi (2)," she added.

Hafez Hafizullah of the Noagon Ayesha Sidikka Nurani Hafizia Madrasa told Asia News that, Rahima was whipped according to the Islamic Sahria, and as a Muslim she should accept the ruling.

Barrister Shafiq Ahmed, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, told Asia News that there no acceptability of "Fatwa"; it is fully illegal in course of law; and on this issue of Rahima Akter, a case has been filed with the police, and the perpetrators will be brought under the law.

"Three out of the six accused were arrested upon a case filed by Abdul Matin the father of the victim," Daudkandi police chief Moshiur Rahman told Asia News.

The arrestees are Moulana Abul Kashem, 55, Abdul Karim, 35, and Shah Alam, 50.

"The police are trying to catch the other accused in the case," Rahman said.

Ms. Khushi Kabir, Coordinator of Nijera Kori, a local human rights organization helping the poor family with legal aid told Asia news, "There is no specific law on the issue fatwa (religious edict) and defining the paternity, the government should take proper initiative to come out of the crisis immediately by introducing new law."

She said that the case of Rahima is another sordid example of a young woman being subjected to gross injustice by the village headmen assuming the role of arbitrators.

Prominent Human rights activist and a barrister Ms. Sarah Hossain said to Asia News, "The reason behind this brutal event are two folded: social discrimination against woman, and the lack of implementation of relevant laws to prevent violence against woman."

"For last 15 years, we are campaigning against "Fatwa"," she said, adding, "10 years ago the High Court of Bangladesh has given verdict against "Fatwa" and declared "Fatwa" illegal. But it's a sad thing that until now the verdict of the High Court has not fully implemented."

"I demand an impartial investigation and financial remedy and security of Rahima and her family," she said.

"I affirm my strong position against this brutality."

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky