"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vatican official attacks U.S. Democrats as “party of death”

Vatican officials seldom single out political leaders who differ with the Church on issues like abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research. But now that the Vatican’s highest court is led by an American, the former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, we can expect things to get more explicit in Vatican City-at least when when it comes to U.S. politics.Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics-vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi-for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.He said Biden and Pelosi, “while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way.”Pelosi drew U.S. bishops’ scorn for saying in a television interview last month that the Church itself had long debated when human life begins. Biden is a practicing Catholic who also supports abortion rights and analysts have said he could help woo wavering Catholics into Obama’s fold. Both argue that they cannot impose their religious views on others.Burke said pro-life Democrats were “rare” and that it saddened him that the party that helped “our immigrant parents and grandparents” prosper in America had changed so much over the years.Burke made headlines as archbishop of St. Louis for his public attacks on public figures who strayed from Catholic teaching. He suggested during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, should be denied communion because of his views on abortion. Several bishops said at the time they would not give him communion and the media staked out churches where he attended Mass to see if he received it.“Lately, I’ve noticed that other bishops are coming to this position,” Burke told Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a letter in 2004 to American bishops restating the Church position that a priest must refuse to distribute communion to a Catholic politician who supported abortion rights. But Burke lamented that the letter was never distributed.Burke’s criticism isn’t limited to Democrats. Last year, he accused singer Sheryl Crow of being “a high profile proponent of the destruction of innocent lives” for defending a woman’s right to have an abortion and for being a proponent of stem cell research. He resigned as head of a children’s medical charity that featured the singer for a benefit concert.Pope Benedict has been encouraging Catholic bishops to speak out more openly on public policy issues to make the Church’s voice heard. Any bets on when we’ll hear from Burke next?By Phil Stewart
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Hamas MP: A Palestinian Who Kills One Jew Will Be Rewarded As If He Killed 30 Million

Following is an excerpt from a press conference held by Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on September 7, 2008:
Fathi Hammad: The approaching victory, about which we are talking, is not limited to Palestine. You are creating the ethos of victory for all Arabs and Muslims, and Allah willing, even on the global level. Why? Beacause Allah has chosen you to fight the people he hates most - the Jews. Allah said: "You shall find the worst enemies of the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists." In other words, the Jews, who number 15 million all over the world, are equivalent to 4.5 billion infidels in their corruption and their struggle against the religion of Islam. Therefore, our heroic prisoneers who were arrested for killing Jews should know that by the grace of Allah, killing a single Jew is the same as killing 30 million Jews. Therefore, the reward of our martyrs is great, and your reward is also great.

PS:Is there any doubt that they are DANGEROUS NUTJOBS and that they want to conquer the WORLD thru violence....?
As in the days of Noah....

Syria denies supplying arms to Hezbollah

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem yesterday denied the Israeli accusation that his country is arming the Hezbollah. Speaking in an interview published by the al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, Moallem said: "It is not correct that Syria is supplying Hezbollah with weapons and equipment, as is claimed. Hezbollah does not need this." He argued that Israel was making the accusations merely as an excuse for Israel Air Force overflights of Lebanon.A key Israeli demand in indirect peace negotiations with Syria is that Damascus ceases its support for the Lebanese militant organization. Moallem did say that there was nothing his country could do to halt ongoing smuggling of other supplies to Hezbollah from its territory, saying that it was impossible to hermetically seal the Syria-Lebanon border. "The question of the border between Syria and Lebanon needs two actions: delineation of the frontier and Syrian-Lebanese security cooperation," Moallem told the pan-Arab paper. "Nobody can control the borders with Lebanon." Meanwhile, sources told the Lebanese Web site Lebanon Now on Tuesday that Hezbollah has requested that its operatives refrain from visiting Syria in the wake of last weekend's deadly car bombing in Damascus. A massive car bomb struck a crowded residential street in the Syrian capital on Saturday, killing 17 people and injuring 14, Syrian television reported. The report, which was not confirmed by any other source, stated that the warning was directed in particular toward the Hezbollah's security officials. In the al-Sharq al-Awsat interview, Moallem also rejected President Shimon Peres' call for Assad to follow the example of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and agree to direct peace talks with Israel. He argued that these comments show that Israel is not interested in a real peace, saying that in the negotiations the cart should not be put before the horse. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Moallem met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in New York last Friday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, and the Syrian foreign minister had more detailed talks with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch. A State Department official told the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. discussed its support for Israel-Syria peace talks, and also used the meeting to air its grievances with Syria, including Damascus's hand in the security situations in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as the West Bank and Gaza. The paper quoted Moallem as saying that the talks represent "good progress in the American position," adding that Syria vows to "continue this dialogue." Regarding the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, Moallem said Syria looks forward to better ties with the next U.S. administration, adding that he hopes the thawing of Bush's positions toward Syria "will have implications for the future administration." When asked how a peace deal between Syria and Israel would affect Damascus's relations with Iran, Moallem said, "Iran is an important player in the region," adding that he doesn't see the Iranians opposed to the "liberation" of the Golan Heights by peaceful means. On Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that peace talks between Syria and Israel will not weaken his country's ties with Iran.
By Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies , By Yoav Stern
As in the days of Noah...

Syria rejects opening military sites to atom probe

VIENNA-Syria said on Friday it was cooperating fully with a U.N. inquiry into allegations of secret nuclear work in the country but would not go as far as opening up military sites because this would undermine its security.But, faced with stiff opposition among 145 member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Syria dropped a bid for a seat on the IAEA's governing body, clearing the way for rival Western-backed Afghanistan to get the post, diplomats said.The Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog has been probing Syria since May over U.S. intelligence allegations that it was close to completing a secret, plutonium-producing reactor before Israel flattened the site in an air strike a year ago. Syria-an ally of Iran, which is the subject of a much longer-running, and now stalled, IAEA investigation-has denied having a clandestine nuclear program. It does have one declared nuclear site-a research reactor.The IAEA said last week that preliminary findings from test samples taken by inspectors granted a visit to the desert location in June bore no traces of atomic activity. Syria says all that was there was a disused military building."We would like to underline that my government is cooperating with the agency in full transparency and will follow suit all along the way," said Ibrahim Othman, director-general of Syria's Atomic Energy Commission."However, this cooperation will not in any way come at the expense of exposing our military sites or causing a threat to our national security," he told the annual meeting of the IAEA's General Conference, or assembly, in Vienna.Diplomats close to the IAEA have said Syria has ignored agency requests to check three military installations believed connected to the alleged reactor site.
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Stern US warning to Syria not to invade Northern Lebanon

Washington accompanied this warning to Damascus, DEBKAfile has learned, with its first explicit threat of military intervention to aid Lebanon should Syria go through with its planned incursion of the North.DEBKAfile first revealed the concentration of 10,000 Syrian troops on the Lebanese border on Sept. 20 and again on Sept. 27.The warning, according to our sources, was delivered on Sept. 28 by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem whom she invited for an urgent meeting in New York. The day after they met, Mualem was handed a second warning by undersecretary of state David Welch, who specified precisely whic Syrian movements the US government would deem crossing the Lebanese border.The harsh words from the top two American diplomats left the Syrian minister with little option but to promise there would be no Syrian incursion. However, in a number of subsequent interviews, Mualem claimed his talks with the two American officials focused on Washington’s support for the indirect talks between Jerusalem and Damascus, a tale made of whole cloth.In the week since Washington warned Damascus off, nothing has changed in the Syrian military deployment on the Lebanese, our military sources confirm.Syrian officials talking to Western diplomats are now maintaining that Islamic extremists are setting up an emirate in northern Lebanon which will jeopardize the stability of the entire region. Since Damascus has been warned off interfering in Lebanon by Washington, it cannot take responsibility for the consequences. Syria’s determination to occupy the northern region of Tripoli is not lost on the Lebanese. The highest ranking Salafi authority in Lebanon, Dai al-Islam Shahhal, warned this week against an incursion by the Syrian army into north Lebanon, saying it would open 'the gates of hell and lead to what is similar to Iraq and its misery."

As in the days of Noah...

Russian nuclear missile cruiser to dock at Syrian port on Yom Kippur eve

Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo disclosed Wednesday, Oct. 1, that a four-ship squadron led by the Peter the Great nuclear missile cruiser will call in at the Libyan port of Tripoli and “other Middle East ports” before heading out to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela.DEBKAfile’s military sources report that one of those ports is Tartus, Syria, where preparations are afoot to receive the visiting Russian flotilla.Peter the Great , one of the most advanced naval vessels afloat, may in fact anchor at the new facility the Russians are building at Syria’s second major port, Latakia, for its first visit to Syria; the rest of the squadron, the Admiral Chabanenko submarine, a reconnaissance vessel and a fourth ship, will dock at Tartus.Peter the Great is designed to sink large surface vessels such as aircraft carriers. The ship’s Granit (Nato designated SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise missiles (20 missile launchers) can destroy vessels up to 500 km distant in ripple-fire mode.An S-300F defense missile complex is installed on Peter the Great , with 12 launchers and 96 vertical launch air defense missiles.The Navy spokesman in Moscow said the Russian warships will perform maneuvers in the Mediterranean, without adding details. They will pass through the Strait of Gibraltar Sunday, Oct. 5, visit Tripoli next and on Oct, 8 or 9, put in at a Syrian port.Coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the Egyptian-Syrian Yom Kippur attack on Israel, the Russian warships’ arrival in Syria has serious connotations:
1. It means that prime minister Ehud Olmert will be wasting his time if he intends using his talks in Moscow next week with president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin to ask them to drop their plan for a permanent base at a Syrian port. That plan is clearly going full steam ahead.
2. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 is recorded in Russian and Arab military annals as the high point of Russian-Arab military and intelligence cooperation. The Soviet Union as it was then was responsible for the great deception which disguised Arab war preparations behind a screen of misdirection and gulled Israeli intelligence into complacence.Moscow is signaling Jerusalem on this sensitive date that it has decided to revert to its old military ties with Damascus on the same scale as its historic 20th century partnership.
3. The precedence the Russian navy is awarding to visiting Middle East ports before Venezuela attests to the importance Moscow attaches to its new Damascus-Tehran-Caracas alignment opposite the US-Israel alliance.
As in the days of Noah...

Barbarism in Syria

There has been series of flagrant human rights violations recently in Syria, including the mass killing of prisoners in Sidnaya prison and the killing of three Kurdish citizens who were celebrating Norouz (New Year) in the city of Kamishli.Following are excerpts from reactions to these events on oppositionist Syrian websites, as well as details and illustrations from reports posted on these sites about the torture of prisoners in Syrian jails.
The Sidnaya Mass Killing
On July 5, 2008, Syrian oppositionist websites and human rights organizations reported that least 25 prisoners had been killed by security forces during rioting in Sidnaya prison. [1] After two days of silence from the government, the official Syrian news agency SANA confirmed that "prisoners convicted of terrorism and extremist acts" had rioted, that security forces had taken steps to "restore the peace," and that legal action had been brought against the rioters. [2] To date, however, the Syrian regime has not acknowledged that any prisoners have been killed, nor has it allowed the prisoners' families to visit the prison to find out what befell their relatives
.The Damascus Declaration Organization: "The Regime is Responsible for the Tragedy in Sidnaya Prison"An article posted July 12, 2008 on the website of Damascus Declaration, an umbrella organization of oppositionist forces in Syria, blamed the Syrian regime for the mass killing, and criticized the international community for keeping silent about it:"A week has passed since the events at Sidnaya prison, and the details of what happened there have not yet been fully disclosed. The regime and its security apparatuses are to blame for the tragedy, owing to their use of excessive force and live ammunition."Even if some of the prisoners did perpetrate violent acts - and that is not very likely - their incarceration in this prison is questionable to begin with... since they were arrested under the Emergency Law, [i.e.] without due process. Moreover, some of them were tried by the Emergency Court, which violates legal principles and whose existence is insupportable. In the jail [itself, the prisoners] receive inhuman treatment and are held in inhuman conditions - the most recent [example of which was the] ban on visits from their families..."First, [we] condemn the government's refusal to disclose the number and names of the victims, as well as the general [information] blackout it has imposed on this affair, which gives rise to confusion, alarm and chaos. An independent, unbiased investigation of the massacre is imperative... [Furthermore,] we ask the world to take a firm stand on human rights [in Syria], since this is our legitimate right." [3]
Syrian Columnist: "The Sidnaya Massacre - A Mirror of Syria's Entire Domestic Situation"
'Abd Al-Baset Sayda, a Kurdish Syrian columnist who resides in Sweden, wrote on the oppositionist Syrian website Levant News that the Sidnaya prison incident mirrored the situation in Syria as a whole: "The difference between the crime that took place in Sidnaya prison and the crimes that occur in the numerous other prisons, either secret or non-secret, erected by the gang that rules Syria... is that the news of the crimes [in Sidnaya] reached the press after the jailors lost control and could no longer bully people into silence as they had always done. Consequently, they were compelled to ask for help [from forces] outside the prison to suppress [the prisoners], which led to the killing and wounding of dozens of victims..."Sidnaya prison today is a microcosm of Syria's entire domestic arena. A regime armed to the teeth that controls the capital and the media looms over victims who have no option but to staunchly stand up for their honor and insist on their [right] to hope for a better future."This is a regime that starves [people], usurps [their] freedom, and kills [them]... It is a regime that has brought people to bankruptcy [by] forcing them [to endure] horrifically high prices, in order to keep everyone constantly preoccupied with making an honest living. This enables [the regime] to tighten its hold over the country and over Syrian society, and to thwart every possible threat to the continuation of its dictatorial rule." [4]
The Killings in Kamishli
On March 20, 2008, the Syrian security forces opened fire on Kurdish citizens who were celebrating Norouz (New Year) in the city of Kamishli, killing three and wounding five. Eyewitnesses gave conflicting reports as to the reason for the shooting. Some claimed that the three had been shot without provocation, while others maintained that the celebrators had burned tires and thrown stones at policemen. Following the incident, several Kurdish organizations in Syria announced a period of mourning and the cancellation of Norouz celebrations. [5] The Syrian regime completely ignored the incident, but Kurdish forces inside and outside Syriareacted in anger. The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Mas'oud Barazani, harshly condemned "the shooting, during the [Norouz] festivities, of innocent people whose only crime was to express their joy at the birth of the Kurdish new year." Barazani called on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad "to intervene in order to prevent the recurrence of such crimes, and to conduct an investigation in order to discover the identity of the perpetrators and bring them to justice." [6] Al-Assad responded in an interview for the Qatari daily Al-Watan, saying that Barazani should "deal with Iraq's [affairs], not Syria's," and that "Barazani had nothing to do with any Syrian citizen." Al-Assad went on to say that "[the Syrian government] was responsible for Syrian citizens, and was fully capable of carrying out investigations and defending [its people]." [7]
By O. Winter
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Syria Conducts Large Military Exercise

NWO WATCH:NWO 'homeland patrols' start Oct. 1 for deployment during 'civil unrest,' 'horrific scenarios'

Anti-Islamization Conference Counter Demonstration in Cologne,Germany

COLOGNE, Germany-German police said tens of thousands of Cologne residents took to the streets Saturday in protest at an "anti-Islamisation" conference of European far-right leaders.Carrying banners saying: "We are Cologne -- Get rid of the Nazis!," protesters gathered outside the city's cathedral to demonstrate against the congress organised by the local far-right group Pro-Koeln (For Cologne).Pro-Koeln began two days of seminars Friday during which speakers denounced an influx of Muslims to Germany and the construction of one of Europe's largest mosques in the city.Earlier Saturday, police banned a rally organised by far-right adherents in Cologne just as it was about to begin, following clashes with thousands of opponents.Some 3,000 police, drafted in to control the protests and seal off part of the old city, used truncheons and water hoses to fend off violent "anti-fascist" leftist activists."It is a dictatorship!" said a Pro-Koeln member of the decision to ban the far-right rally.Andreas Molzer, a member of the European Parliament and an Austrian far-right group who attended the congress, called the ban an "anti-democratic scandal."Pro-Koeln had hoped 1,500 people would attend Saturday's rally in the city centre to oppose the mosque and an "immigrant invasion" of Europe.Those attending the congress, including far-right leaders from Belgium, Austria and Italy, protested against "Islamification" and voiced support for Europe's "Western values and Christian traditions."The counter-protest, called by trade unions, churches and anti-racist movements, saw thousands of students, families and local businessmen and women carry signs with slogans including "No to Racism" and "Cologne is rebelling!"They disrupted the Pro-Koeln congress, ensuring less than 50 delegates were able to return to the meeting on Saturday morning.Mayor Fritz Schramma, whose city council gave the green light for the construction of the huge mosque, slammed Pro-Koeln as "arsonists and racists" hiding under the cloak of a "citizens' movement" in a speech earlier Saturday.Meanwhile, around 150 bars in Cologne stopped selling Pro-Koeln members the local Kolsch beer with some taxi and bus drivers also refusing to transport delegates to the congress.One hotel even cancelled bookings made by "undesirables."On Friday, several hundred opponents of the congress formed a human chain around a mosque in solidarity with the Muslim minority, which numbers more than three million in Germany, or four percent of the population.Pro-Koeln has five elected local councilors and is chasing other official positions in the region.Cologne, in the west of Germany on the River Rhine, is famous for its Gothic twin-spired Roman Catholic cathedral -- a UNESCO world heritage site that survived Allied air raids during World War II

PS:Europe has been effectively invaded by islamists...No turning point now...
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Pakistan: Husband tortured 12-year-old wife

Larkana-Pakistani police took custody of a 12-year-old girl allegedly tortured by her husband and sent her to a women’s police station.“We picked Shahnaz after receiving information that her husband was torturing her,” Sartaj Jagirani of the Waleed police station told Pakistani daily Dawn. She would be sent to hospital for a medical check-up, he added.Her husband Abdul Latif Brohi and brother Aijaz Siyal have been arrested.Shahnaz told Dawn that her brother Ismail had sold her in Hyderabad for 80,000 Pakistani Rupees (700 Euro) when she was only five years old.She was rescued about three months ago on high court’s orders on a petition filed by her brother Ajiaz who later sold her to Latif Brohi for 125,000 Pakistani Rupees (1000 Euro) and a marriage was solemnised three months ago. She alleged that her husband was a drug addict who used to beat her and keep her in locked room. She also said that her in-laws used to threaten to kill her.She said she had no mother and would prefer to live with her father after her divorce.Shahnaz said she had five married sisters.
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Saudi King:Muslims Tarnish Islam

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:North London terror arrests linked to publication of Muslim book

The arrests are thought to be linked to a fire at a property in Islington, north London, which is used as the home and office of publisher Martin Rynja.His company, Gibson Square, recently agreed to publish a controversial novel about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride, entitled The Jewel of the Medina. The blaze, which led to people being evacuated from the house, may have been started by a petrol bomb pushed through the letter box.Initially, three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were detained at around 2.25 am this morning in the Islington area of north London after a fire at a property in Lonsdale Square.Two were stopped by armed officers in Lonsdale Square, and the third was seized following an armed vehicle stop near Angel underground station.Police are searching four addresses around north-east London - two in Walthamstow, one in Ilford and one in Forest Gate.The men, who were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, are being questioned at a central London police station.Later a fourth person, a woman, was arrested at a property in Ilford for allegedly obstructing the police, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said.The police confirmed that there has been small fire inside the property in Lonsdale Square, which had to be put out. "At this early stage it is being linked with the arrests," the spokesman added.Yard officials have refused to identify those arrested or give any information on the nature of the terrorist plot they are alleged to have been planning.Residents in Lonsdale Square said armed police, assisted by fire-fighters, broke down the door of number 47 at around 2.30 this morning.Francesca Liebowitz, 16, who lives five doors away with her parents, said: "The police couldn't get the door open so the fire brigade battered it down."There was smoke coming from around the door, but I don't know whether that was because of the door being broken down. They evacuated people from the house. It's a bit scary to have this happen on your doorstep, nothing like this has ever happened round here before."A neighbour and friend of Mr Rynja said the company normally published books on current affairs, and said the publisher had never expressed concerns that his work might endanger his safety. A green hoarding covered the doorway to the four-storey town house this afternoon.
By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter

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Guide dog let into mosque

A blind Muslim student has become the first person allowed to take a guide dog into a UK mosque.Mahomed-Abraar Khatri, 18, can now take his dog Vargo to his local mosque in Leicester after the Muslim Law (Shariah) Council UK issued a historic fatwa in response to his request.Issued after months of work by the association and the Muslim Council of Britain, the ruling states: "A blind person, in the light of Shariah Law, will be allowed to keep a guide dog to help him and if required to take him to the mosque for his prayers".Previously, dogs were banned from mosques because the Islamic faith historically sees them as being for guarding and hunting only.They will still be barred from entering the prayer hall for the sake of hygiene but will be allowed to guide their owners to the area where shoes are placed.The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association described the decision as"a massive step forward for other blind and partially-sighted Muslims". Mr Khatri, who attends the RNIB College in Loughborough, previously had to be accompanied to the mosque by a sighted helper.Mohammad Shahid Raza, director of Imams and Mosques Council UK and secretary of Muslim Law (Shariah) Council UK, said: "I am pleased to know that Bilal Jamia Mosque in Leicester is providing a unique facility to our blind Muslim brothers to take their guide dogs with them while visiting the mosque to join the prayers."Such a facility will highlight the Islamic attitude of helping disabled people and enhance the services we provide to the Muslim community."I hope that all existing mosques will follow Bilal Mosque in serving the disabled people in a similar way by providing facilities to them."

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PERSECUTION WATCH:Kenya Islamist Attack Church...

A longstanding effort to replace a church with a mosque in Kenya’s northern town of Garissa culminated in an attack by 50 Muslim youths recently that left the worship building in ruins....
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Australian Holocaust denier held at Heathrow

An Australian man has been arrested at Heathrow Airport in London accused of being a holocaust denier....

Ombudsman sues firm over Muslim woman's firing

Sweden’s ombudsman for ethnic discrimination (DO) has sued a cleaning company after it dismissed a Muslim woman for not dressing appropriately on the job.In a suit filed with the Labour Court, the ombudsman is demanding the company pay 120,000 kronor ($18,500) in damages.The woman was hired in October 2007 to work as a cleaner for the company, which is based in Anderstorp in southern Sweden.But after working for only a few days, the woman was let go.The company claimed she was fired because her choice of clothing, a long skirt, made it impossible for her to continue with the job. According to the company, working as a cleaner requires that one wear long pants.The woman said she was not informed about the clothing regulations and that she wore the skirt because of her religion.According to Eva Hagström, a lawyer from the ombudsman’s office, the incident is just one of many in which Muslim women are discriminated against on account of their clothing. “These women encounter problems in both their professional life and in connection with everyday activities. It’s an ongoing discrimination which shuts these women out and that is something we can’t accept,” she said in a statement.
TT/David Landes
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JIHAD WATCH:Terrorist Samir Azzouz jailed for 9 years

The Amsterdam appeal court on Thursday jailed Samir Azzouz for nine years for membership of a terrorist organisation, plotting attacks on political targets and for recruiting people for the armed struggle against 'the enemies of Islam', NOS tv reports.The public prosecution department had called for a 15-year sentence. Four others were sentenced to between six months and eight years.Soumaya Sahla, the only female member of the gang, was given four years for her 'marginal' role. She is currently the only woman in the high security prison in Vught.The discovery of weapons and a video made by Azzouz in which he said he was willing to die for Jihad was among the main evidence used in the convictions, news agency ANP said.At the end of 2006, a lower court sentenced Azzouz to eight years in jail after finding him guilty of plotting attacks. But the court said he was not the central figure in a terrorism gang nor was he actively recruiting members. Both he and the public prosecution department appealed against the 2006 sentence.Azzouz has twice before been found not guilty of membership to a terrorist organisation.
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Ramadan in Jerusalem

Suicide blasts hit Iraqi Eid feasts

Suicide bombers kill 12 at Baghdad mosques

BAGHDAD-Suicide bombers struck two Shi'ite mosques in Baghdad on Thursday as worshippers marked the end of the Ramadan fasting month,killing 12 people and wounding 31,police said. Police said a car bomber killed seven and wounded 21 at a mosque in the Zafraniya district, while an attacker on foot killed five and wounded 10 in the New Baghdad district. Both are Shi'ite areas in the east of the capital.Police said the death toll could rise.For most of Iraq's Shi'ites, Thursday is the main celebration of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, which Sunni Muslims already began celebrating earlier in the week. Government officials have warned that militants might launch attacks during the holiday, one of the most important in the Muslim calendar.Violence overall in Iraq is at four-year lows.
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U.S. envoy says talks with North Korea substantive

SEOUL-A senior U.S. envoy ended a trip to North Korea on Friday aimed at saving a crumbling disarmament deal, saying he held substantive talks but declining to say if he swayed the state to give up plans to restart its nuclear plant.Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill had been in Pyongyang since Wednesday seeking a deal that would allow monitors into the secretive country to check claims it made about its nuclear program in exchange for better trading ties and better standing in the international community."I don't want to talk about progress," Hill told reporters in Seoul, saying he must first brief U.S. officials and other countries before releasing any details."I don't want to say I'm satisfied," Hill said, adding he had lengthy and substantive discussions about a verification system.Ahead of the discussions, Paik Hak-soon, an expert on North Korea at the South's Sejong Institute, said progress could be made if Hill offered a flexible plan to inspect the North's nuclear facilities.But Washington said it was offering no new concessions. Hill insisted the North must allow inspectors to check U.S. suspicions that it had a secret program to enrich uranium for weapons, which would give it another path to make a nuclear bomb."Chris was not going to Pyongyang with any new proposals regarding the substance of the verification regime," Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington.South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Kim Sook, said after meeting Hill there could be a new round of six-way talks to discuss what had happened in Pyongyang.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

PERSECUTION WATCH:Religious Murders Embarrass India

Anti-Christian violence, which began in a remote district of India’s tribal belt in the eastern state of Orissa in late August, has become an international embarrassment for India’s secular Congress-led government. It has spread to four more states, including Karnataka, the home of the subcontinent’s IT hub in Bangalore....
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N Korea fires off insults as military talks end

North and South Korea ended their first military talks in a year without progress on Thursday, after which North Korean media called the South’s president “a despicable human scum whom no one can trust or deal with”.The working-level talks, which were proposed by the North last week, were welcomed by the South as an olive branch. The North had cut off inter-Korean dialogue after Lee Myung-bak took office as the South’s president in February, pledging to get tougher with the Communist state.The meeting was held as Christopher Hill, US assistant secretary of state, extended his stay in Pyong­yang to try to save the crumbling international deal to denuclearise North Korea. The intra-Korean meeting, which was held at the truce village of Panmunjom that straddles the North-South Korean border, lasted only an hour and a half. The South demanded that Pyong­yang stop personal insults against Mr Lee, while the North demanded an apology over the spreading of propaganda leaflets in the North by South Korean human rights groups, Seoul’s defence ministry said.Seoul also called for a full resumption of North-South dialogue and measures to guarantee the safety of tourists at a South-backed resort in the North. It asked the North to address problems faced by tourists and businessmen when crossing the heavily armed border.Immediately after the meeting ended, the North’s official media issued another personal attack against Mr Lee after previously calling him a “traitor” and “sycophant to the US”.Inter-Korean relations chilled further after a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier near the Mt Kumgang resort in July.The two sides did not discuss the North’s nuclear problems and Seoul did not raise the issue of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s health at the meeting, the defence ministry said.Mr Hill is expected to come back to Seoul after meeting North Korean officials to try to persuade them not to reactivate the Yongbyon nuclear plant. Washington and Pyongyang are at loggerheads over how to verify North Korea’s nuclear declaration.

As in the days of Noah....

North Korea upgrading missile test site: report

SEOUL-North Korea has been upgrading the facilities at the site of its past missile tests in what may be preparations for another long-range missile launch, a news report said on Thursday quoting government sources.The report comes after North Korea declared in recent weeks it was stepping away from a nuclear disarmament-for-aid deal and restoring a reactor that made bomb-grade plutonium. A U.S. envoy went to Pyongyang on Wednesday in a bid to rescue the pact. "North Korea has replaced a tower crane that propped up the launch pad and is improving the stability of missile fittings such as reinforcing missile supporters," Dong-a Ilbo newspaper quoted a source as saying.The government source was also quoted as saying a system to supply missile fuel was being set up and the facility is supposed to help North Korea cut the time it needs to prepare a missile for launch.The facility was being constructed at the Musudan-ri site, used in previous launches and located on the east coast.The site has been used to test-fire the country's Taepodong-2 multi-stage missile that has a possible range of up to 3,500 - 4,300 km (about 2,200 - 2,700 miles).South Korea's spy agency could not immediately confirm the report.North Korea last launched the Taepodong-2 in July 2006 but the missile fizzled and destructed a few seconds into flight.
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US envoy extends stay for talks with NKorea

SEOUL, South Korea-The chief U.S. nuclear envoy stayed on in North Korea for an unexpected second day of talks Thursday to persuade Pyongyang to resume dismantling its nuclear program in exchange for energy aid.U.S. diplomat Christopher Hill spent a second night in North Korea after meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye Gwan, at the reclusive nation's invitation, U.S. officials said. He is expected to return to Seoul Friday.Hill drove to Pyongyang Wednesday to try and salvage the six-party talks that produced the landmark 2007 pact promising aid and other concessions to North if abandoned its nuclear ambitions.North Korea began disabling a nuclear reprocessing plant in Yongbyon—but then abruptly stopped last month, citing Washington's refusal to remove it from a terrorism blacklist. The U.S. maintains the agreement required North Korea to submit to a thorough verification of its nuclear accounting—a demand Pyongyang rejected.North Korea's defiance comes amid concern about authoritarian leader Kim Jong Il's health. Kim, 66, has not been seen in public since reportedly suffering a stroke in August.Also Thursday, South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported North Korea had upgraded facilities at a northeastern missile launch site, possibly to test-fire a long-range missile capable of reaching parts of the U.S.North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong-2 missile in 2006 from the site in Musudan-ri, but that test was considered a failure. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae declined to confirm the report.In Pyongyang, Hill was expected to propose ways to adjust the sequencing of steps North Korea must take as part of verification, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington."We know that he's staying an extra day," McCormack told reporters. "He called back in to Washington. He didn't provide anything that I would consider a full report. I think that's understandable given the communications issues.""We'll see what these discussions yield," he said. "The ball is really in the North Koreans' court."A senior U.S. official said earlier Hill would offer to let North Korea agree to a verification program—but submit details first to its Chinese allies. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.China in the past has served "as a repository for documents and information" and could do the same with the verification protocol, McCormack said. But he stressed the North Koreans had to agree to the intrusive steps the United States is demanding."The ball is in the North Koreans' court," he said. "They have to reverse their reversal and they have to approve a verification regime."The U.S. official suggested that if North Korea agreed to a verification plan, Washington would provisionally remove it from the list of terrorism sponsors.U.S. officials said they were not sure North Korea would agree to the idea or, if it did, whether any proposals it presented to the Chinese would be acceptable to Washington.After leaving North Korea, Hill travels to Seoul to brief his South Korean counterpart, Kim Sook, before flying on to China, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Thursday.The two Koreas, meanwhile, held their first official talks in eight months Thursday inside the Demilitarized Zone.The military talks were brief, with North Korea demanding that South Korea stop sending propaganda leaflets critical of its leader. Officials threatened to expel South Koreans working at joint projects in the North if the propaganda, the North's official KCNA news agency reported.The two Koreas agreed in 2004 to officially ending decades of fierce rhetorical battles using leaflets, loudspeakers and radio broadcasts.However, activists still send large balloons into the North carrying anti-Kim Jong Il leaflets—and sometimes US$1 bills.
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Flirting with Palin earns Pakistani president a fatwa

Lahore, Pakistan-After the flirtation came the fatwa.With some overly friendly comments to Gov. Sarah Palin at the United Nations, Asif Ali Zardari has succeeded in uniting one of Pakistan's hard-line mosques and its feminists after a few weeks in office.A radical Muslim prayer leader said the president shamed the nation for "indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt." Feminists charged that once again a male Pakistani leader has embarrassed the country with sexist remarks. And across the board, the Pakistani press has shown disapproval.What did President Zardari do to draw such scorn? It might have been the "gorgeous" compliment he gave Ms. Palin when the two met at the UN last week during her meet-and-greet with foreign leaders ahead of Thursday's vice presidential debate with opponent Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee.But the comments from Zardari didn't end there. He went on to tell Palin: "Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you.""You are so nice," replied the Republican vice presidential hopeful, smiling. "Thank you."But what may have really caused Pakistan's radical religious leaders to stew was his comment that he might "hug" Palin if his handler insisted. Though the fatwa, issued days after the Sept. 24 exchange, carries little weight among most Pakistanis, it's indicative of the anger felt by Pakistan's increasingly assertive conservatives who consider physical contact and flattery between a man and woman who aren't married to each other distasteful.Though fatwas, or religious edicts, can range from advice on daily life to death sentences, this one does not call for any action or violence.Last year, the mosque that issued the fatwa, Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad, condemned the former tourism minister, Nilofar Bahktiar, after she was photographed being hugged by a male parachuting coach in France.Clerics declared the act a "great sin" and, though less vocal about it, similar sentiments were shared by many among Pakistani's middle classes. The Red Mosque gained international infamy in July 2007 after becoming the focal point of a Pakistan Army operation.For the feminists it's less about cozying up to a non-Muslim woman and more about the sexist remarks by Zardari."As a Pakistani and as a woman, it was shameful and unacceptable. He was looking upon her merely as a woman and not as a politician in her own right," says Tahira Abdullah, a member of the Women's Action Forum.Dismissing the mosque's concerns as "ranting," she, however, adds: "He should show some decorum – if he loved his wife so much as to press for a United Nations investigation into her death, he should behave like a mourning widower," in reference to former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto, a feminist icon for millions of Pakistani women.The theme of decorum was picked up by English daily Dawn, whose editorial asked: "Why do our presidents always end up embarrassing us internationally by making sexist remarks?"The incident bears some resemblance to yet another charm offensive by a senior Pakistani politician. Marcus Mabry's biography of Condoleezza Rice includes a passage in which he relates a meeting between former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Ms. Rice, in which Mr. Aziz was said to have stared deeply into the secretary of State's eyes and to have told her he could "conquer any woman in two minutes."There are some, however, who see things as having been blown out of proportion.
"It was a sweet and innocuous exchange played as an international incident on Pakistani and rascally Indian front-pages with one English daily writing it in a scarlet box, half-implying Mrs. Palin would ditch Alaska's First Dude and become Pakistan's First Babe. As if," wrote columnist Fasih Ahmed in the Daily Times.For most, it will soon be forgotten in a country dealing with terrorism, rising food prices, and a struggling economy. "We don't care that much how they [politicians] behave – what really matters is keeping prices down," says Nazeera Bibi, a maid in Lahore.

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Comedian Defends 'Achmed the Dead Terrorist' Puppet Routine Against South African Ban

Comedian Jeff Dunbar and 'Achmed the Dead Terrorist'
It's no laughing matter.
Funnyman ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is fuming after a ringtone advertisement based on his popular comedy skit, "Achmed the Dead Terrorist," was scrubbed from South African TV because it mocks Islam.The ringtone was taken from a puppet routine performed by Dunham, a native Texan, in a TV special on Comedy Central. A 10-minute clip of the comedian's routine that was posted on YouTube has been viewed more than 66 million times since April.But the government of South Africa doesn't think it's funny. According to iafrica.com, South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that a GloMobile ringtone commercial featuring Dunham and his puppet was offensive to Muslims.The commercial depicts Dunham holding his skeletal puppet, Achmed, dressed with a white cloth around his head and demanding that the audience keep quiet, uttering, "Silence! I will kill you!"ASA officials said a South African man, Moegamat Khan, had filed a complaint that the commercial was offensive to the Islamic religion and created an impression that all Muslims were terrorists.And the ASA agreed. "To associate this divine inspiration to a terrorist is offensive to the people who believe in Muhammad," the authority ruled. Muslims make up 2 percent of South Africa's population.But Dunham begs to differ. In a statement to FOXNews.com, he said: "Achmed makes it clear in my act that he is not Muslim, so I'm sorry the gentleman Khan didn't see my entire show."I've skewered whites, blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, gays, straights, rednecks, addicts, the elderly, and my wife. As a standup comic, it is my job to make the majority of people laugh, and I believe that comedy is the last true form of free speech." Dunham-whose other puppets include Peanut, Bubba J and Walter, a grumpy retiree-said he has no plans to retire the controversial act.The comedian said moves like this stymie the freedom to poke fun at any group."I truly believe that laughter can heal many wounds," Dunham said.In a jibe at the South African complainant's name, he said: "I thought Khan was awesome in Star Trek.""If it would help things," he added, "I'm considering renaming Achmed, 'Bill.'"
IF you want to watch the video click on the URL below:WARNING:GRAPHIC LANGUAGE....:

NAZI REVIVAL WATCH:UK university probes "Nazi" initiation video

LONDON-A British university is investigating a video of binge-drinking undergraduates taking part in a bizarre initiation ceremony with a student dressed like a Nazi officer.The University of Gloucestershire said on Thursday it would try to trace the students who were marched through the streets with plastic bags over their heads as part of a sports club ritual. The footage, broadcast on the BBC, showed a group of students taking orders from a man dressed in a peaked cap, black leather boots and a Nazi-style jacket with a red armband bearing a swastika.Some of the group are shown drinking and being sick while they are lined up against a wall. At one point, they are led in single file down the middle of a residential street.A spokesman for the university, based in Cheltenham, said initiation ceremonies were banned and it would investigate the events shown in the video."The university takes the issue of intimidation and bullying extremely seriously," said spokesman Paul Drake. "Disciplinary action may be brought against those who are found to be leading initiation ceremonies and who continue to perpetuate unacceptable intimidatory and coercive practices. "While drink-fueled initiation ceremonies have been a fixture of university life for many years, the National Union of Students said it was time for a nationwide ban."They put students at serious risk and exclude students who don't want to take part in that binge-drinking culture," NUS President Wes Streeting told the BBC.James Durant, president of the university's student union, said it took the incident seriously, but stressed that most rituals don't involve alcohol or extreme behavior."We go to great lengths to ensure our sports captains understand that initiation events that include intimidating or bullying behavior will not be tolerated," he said.
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VIRGIN MARY APPARITIONS WATCH:Hundreds of People See Virgin Mary image in hospital window

Some see the image of the Mother Mary in the window at Mercy Hospital, hundreds gathered in the hospital's parking lot to gaze at the image.
David Molnar/The Republican
Some see the image of the Mother Mary in the window at Mercy Hospital, hundreds gathered in the hospital's parking lot to gaze at the image. Martina Marte, lower left, prays as does Patrick C. Renaud, far right, both from Springfield.David Molnar/The Republican
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.-Hundreds of people are being drawn to a Catholic hospital in Springfield by what they say looks like an image of the Virgin Mary in a window. Sister Kathleen Sullivan, senior vice president at Mercy Medical Center, said the image in a vacant, second-story office was first noticed Tuesday morning.As many as 300 people, some weeping, gathered outside the building to take photographs, pray, and say the rosary.Sullivan said while the cause of the image was not immediately clear, she was humbled by the show of faith.A spokesman for the Springfield Diocese said it could take the church years to investigate.Deirdre Gogel, who came to see the image, called it comforting at a time of turmoil for the nation.
Information from: The Springfield Republican,
PS:It hurts to see people crying and looking at this window....satan must be laughing....I AM PRAYING FOR THEM....People NEEDS JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!
As in the days of Noah...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

U.S. forecaster sees 3 tropical storms in October

MIAMI-Three tropical storms will form in the Atlantic and Caribbean in October, of which two will strengthen into hurricanes, a noted Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane research team predicted on Wednesday.The CSU team, founded by pioneer hurricane forecaster Bill Gray, did not issue a new full-season forecast. In early August, the forecaster called for a total of 17 tropical storms during the six-month season, of which it said nine would become hurricanes.


As in the days of Noah...

Floods soak Mexico

Laura weakens in Atlantic, Marie forms in Pacific

MIAMI - The National Hurricane Center says Laura has weakened over the cold waters of the north Atlantic and is no longer a tropical storm.Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Marie formed in the Pacific about 575 miles southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Laura's maximum sustained winds dropped to near 45 mph early Wednesday and the storm lost its tropical characteristics. It was centered about 505 miles east of Cape Race, Newfoundland, at 11 a.m. EDT and moving north-northeast near 18 mph.The center says it will stop issuing advisories on Laura.In the Pacific, Marie has maximum sustained winds near 50 mph and is moving near 9 mph to the northwest, away from Mexico.
As in the days of Noah...

Cuba faces food shortages after hurricanes

HAVANA-Cuban markets offered a dwindling selection of food and a growing expanse of empty shelves on Wednesday as food shortages the government warned about after hurricanes Gustav and Ike became increasingly evident.The shortages were exacerbated in the Cuban capital when shipments from food suppliers slowed in a conflict with the government over newly imposed price controls. In markets around Havana, customers found stretches of mostly vacant vendor stalls and limited supplies of food. A market in the Vedado district offered only papayas, a small stack of melons and a few bulbs of garlic. Vendors shrugged their shoulders and said nothing else had arrived for them to sell.A shopper named Yissel, who did not provide her full name, said the situation was the same in other markets and in her neighborhood grocery store."These are difficult times because everything is so affected, so damaged (by the hurricanes)," she said. "In Minimax (grocery store), it was like I'd never seen it. I saw almost nothing, not like other times."Due to problems in its state-run agriculture, Cuba has long struggled to meet its food needs and imports much of what it consumes.Hurricanes Gustav and Ike made the problem worse when they ripped through most of the country in a 10-day span starting August 30, causing $5 billion in damage and destroying 30 percent of Cuba's agriculture.
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Floods bring misery to Mexico

Senate debates India nuclear deal

Syria, Afghanistan battle for seat on IAEA board

Despite opposition from the West and the United States in particular, Syria appears determined to pursue its bid for a seat on the UN atomic watchdog's board, now that Iran is officially out of the running.But in a looming clash at the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference here this week, Afghanistan-a US ally-also announced its candidature on Wednesday. Diplomats said Kabul enjoys the support of most of the IAEA's 145 member countries.The matter comes up for discussion on Friday and could be forced to a vote.Members of the IAEA's 35-strong board of governors are designated and elected each year by the body's highest policy-making body, the General Conference.Decisions are traditionally adopted by consensus, but if no consensus is possible, it goes to a vote.A seat has become free for the so-called Middle East and South Asia (MESA) group with the expiry of Pakistan's one-year term.Iran had also been seen as a potential candidate, but it pulled out in favour of its staunch regional ally Syria.If MESA cannot agree on a single country, it will be up to the general conference to vote between the different candidates. For the US and others, however, Syria would be unacceptable because of current allegations it was building a covert nuclear facility at a remote desert site called Al-Kibar until it was destroyed by Israeli bombs in September 2007.Damascus has yet to clear up the allegations, which it has simply dismissed as "ridiculous".Apart from allowing IAEA experts to inspect the suspect site in a one-off visit in June, Syria has not undertaken any further action to actively disprove the accusations."Having Syria on the board would be like having a suspected arsonist oversee the fire brigade," one conference participant told AFP on condition of anonymity.Syria, for its part, refuses to withdraw its candidacy, in spite of US-led opposition, saying it has the support of the Arab League.But Afghanistan had the wider backing of other Islamic countries, a diplomat close to the IAEA said."In the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference), you can go through the list and you'll see the majority of people would vote for Afghanistan," the diplomat said."Albania is an Islamic country, so is Aberzaijan. There are countries in Africa that are Islamic and members of OIC that would certainly support Afghanistan, because we are an Islamic republic with a better, progressive constitution," the diplomat said.The hope was that "by Friday, Syria will come to an understanding" and back down, the diplomat continued."It's simple maths. If 89 are for Afghanistan, out of a total 145, that's 56 countries there for Syria."The diplomat said Afghanistan had approached numerous delegations and had already received great many letters of support from various capitals.A conference participant, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Syria was running into a great deal of resistance."The Syrian ambassador is frantically canvassing IAEA members-and learning that he will lose," the participant said.Kabul's permanent representative to the IAEA, Wahid Monawar, told AFP that he thought the time was right for Afghanistan to take a seat on the board."We believe that as a progressive nation, and a developing nation (we will) bring a better understanding of Islamic countries, the Islamic understanding, to the West and articulate the issues that need to be articulated," Monawar said."We believe this opportunity is right, the year is right. It's an opportunity for the Afghan people to benefit from the technology that is afforded by the agency." http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081001163133.vdk69njt&show_article=1&catnum=0
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Waqf offends Muslim official visiting Israel:Ivory Coast Minister Asked to Recite Verses from Koran to Prove he is Indeed Muslim

Diplomatic incident on Temple Mount: A Muslim minister from Ivory Coast, on an official visit to Israel as a guest of the Foreign Ministry, was required by the Supreme Muslim Council (Waqf) of Jerusalem to recite verses from the Koran before entering the al-Aqsa Mosque in order to prove that he is Muslim. The insulted minister left the Mount immediately.Minister Moussa Dosso is in charge of professional training and technical education in the Ivory Coast government. His visit to Israel was part of the Jewish state's efforts to tighten its cooperation with African countries.During the trip, which was deemed a success, Dosso visited welfare institutes and institutes for youth rehabilitation and professional and technical training in tours organized by the Foreign Ministry's Africa department.The minister also toured the Old City of Jerusalem with an escort appointed by the Foreign Ministry, and asked to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque.As he arrived after the official closing hours, police officers stationed at the entrance to the site asked Waqf officials to approve his entry. The Supreme Muslim Council officials asked to see the minister's identification card, but he told them that he had left his passport at the hotel and was an official guest of the Foreign Ministry."My name is Moussa Dosso and I am Muslim. All I want is to pray on the Mount," he said.But the Waqf officials were determined not to let him without an identification card. According to Dosso, they asked him to prove that he is indeed Muslim and demanded that he recite the opening verses of the Koran. Members of the minister's convoy argued with the Waqf men, but Dosso himself decided to put an end to the embarrassing situation."I am a faithful Muslim. There is no reason for me to start reciting verses here. You have insulted me," he told the officials before leaving the place.The Waqf was unavailable for comment.
By Itamar Eichner
Published: 09.22.08, 08:38 / Israel News
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TERROR WATCH:35 years for man who offered speakers for grenades

CHICAGO-A one-time admirer of Osama bin Laden who plotted a hand-grenade attack at a mall jammed with Christmas shoppers-and tried to trade two stereo speakers for the weapons-was sentenced to 35 years in prison Tuesday. Derrick Shareef of Rockford said he once admired bin Laden as a sheik and a scholar but has changed his views and opposes violence."I am not an extremist," said Shareef, who was sentenced on his 24th birthday.U.S. District Judge David H. Coar said he hopes Shareef has changed but that a long sentence still was warranted to discourage others who might plan similar attacks. He could have given Shareef life in prison."Almost every defendant who appears in this court says, 'I have now seen the light and if you just give me another chance it won't happen again,'" Coar told Shareef. "Some of these are people with criminal records as long as my arm."Shareef was arrested Dec. 6, 2006, in a Rockford parking lot after he offered an undercover FBI agent two stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a 9 mm pistol.Agents said Shareef's plan was to detonate the grenades in garbage cans in the big Cherryvale Mall on Dec. 22-the Friday before Christmas. The blasts were expected to spray the mall with lethal shrapnel, the agents said. "There is absolutely no question that he intended to carry this out-it would have killed many innocent people," prosecutor Sergio Acosta said.The arrest initially attracted attention as a potentially major terrorism arrest, but it soon became known that Shareef acted alone except for a paid government informant and had been under surveillance for weeks before his arrest.Shareef's attorney Donald Young, accompanied by Shareef's mother, declined to comment.In an impassioned brief filed with the court, Young had portrayed Shareef as a confused young man who had grown up in a fatherless home and fallen under the sway of the informant, a onetime member of Chicago's big, drug-selling Four Corner Hustlers street gang.Acosta, however, said that before Shareef ever met the informant he lived for a time in Phoenix with a man later convicted of aiding terrorists and espionage. Before his arrest, Shareef had been watching violent videos and jihad training videos, Acosta said."So far as the informant leading him astray, the man (Shareef) was a ticking time bomb," Acosta told the court.Young said Shareef now opposes violent jihad and has adopted more positive Muslim beliefs. He said Shareef has emerged as the imam of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the federal jail where he is being held.

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Out of hiding,some Kosovars embrace Christianity

KLINA, Kosovo-Hundreds of Kosovar Albanians gather on Sundays to attend religious services in a still unfinished red-brick church in the Kosovo town of Klina.Turning away from the majority Muslim faith imposed by the Ottoman Turks centuries ago, these worshippers are part of a revival of Catholicism in the newly independent Balkan state."We have been living a dual life. In our homes we were Catholics but in public we were good Muslims," said Ismet Sopi. "We don't call this converting. It is the continuity of the family's belief."Sopi has commuted 40 km (25 miles) every Sunday from central Kosovo to Klina to attend a morning mass since he formally became a Roman Catholic five months ago.This September was the first holy month of Ramadan during which no one in his 32-member family fasted.The majority of ethnic Albanians were forcibly converted to Islam, mostly through the imposition of high taxes on Catholics, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the Balkans.For centuries, many remembered their Christian roots and lived as what they call "Catholics in hiding". Some, nearly a century after the Ottomans left the Balkans, now see the chance to reveal their true beliefs."Fifty or sixty percent of the population are linked emotionally with the Roman Catholic religion. This is because of feelings about what our ancestors believed," said Muhamet Mala, a professor who teaches History of Religion at Pristina Public University...
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HONOUR KILLING WATCH:Jailed Jordanian women escape 'honour killings'

Video Journalist Yaara Bou Melhem meets Rita*, who has spent the past 14 years in Jordan's Al Jweidah jail. She also meets Sophia*, who's spent the past 15 years of her life behind bars.Both girls were ordered there by the state-to prevent their families from killing them.Every year, up to 20 Jordanian women are murdered in honour killings. In Rita’s* case, a close male relative attempted to kill her in a brutal attack. In response, the country’s 12 governors have been given the power to lock up the innocent victims, rather than go after the would-be perpetrators. Yet the girls are clear examples of previous long-term detention and thanks to Mizan, a women’s advocacy group, they’ve finally been released. When Bou Melhem meets them they’re in a half-way house, very soon to move into their own accommodation.It’s the only program of its type operating in the Middle East and under it, the women will assume new identities and re-locate far from their families.
Find out more about the extraordinary plight of these women, tonight 8:30pm on SBS TV.
IN DEPTH: Dateline
BLOG: Inside Jordan

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ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:Publisher of book on Islam’s prophet closes office in N.Y.

NEW YORK-The U.S. publisher of a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad closed its offices as a “precautionary action,” but emphasized that no threats had been received and that “The Jewel of Medina” would be released as planned.“We were out of the office for a meeting today, and we felt it was unfair for the employees to be back there without management,” Eric Champion, president of Beauport Books, said Monday. The publisher took on Sherry Jones’ novel after it was dropped by Random House Inc. over security concerns.In London, police said they arrested three men Saturday on suspicion of terror links, relating to a fire at the home and office of publisher Martin Rynja, whose Gibson Square announced earlier this month that it would issue “The Jewel of Medina,” a fictionalized version of Muhammad and his child bride, Asia.Beauport, the publisher that issued O.J. Simpson’s reviled, once-rejected “If I Did It,” a theoretical account of how he might have murdered his ex-wife and her friend, plans to release “Jewel of Medina” on Oct. 15, with a first printing of 50,000.As of Monday afternoon, the book was No. 204 on Amazon.com. Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. will both stock the book in stores, according to spokeswomen for the superstore chains.Champion said he has discussed possible security arrangements with the FBI and New York City police, but added that nothing was planned and that there were no immediate worries about safety.
By Hillel Italie,AP
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Muslim Workers Walk Off At Another Swift Plant

GRAND ISLAND,Neb.-Workers who walked off the job at a Grand Island meatpacking plant in a dispute over Muslim prayer time have not been fired, a company spokeswoman said.But the president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union said Tuesday that changing the breaks might not be feasible for other workers at the JBS Swift & Co. plant."I don't know that I can agree to that, because I have 1,700 other people to worry about," said Dan Hoppes, Local 22 union president. "I have to look and see what they've got in mind."In a statement, Swift said company management met with union leadership and local Muslim leaders to address the timing of the second-shift lunch break."Our hope is that we can strike a balance between a reasonable accommodation of their requests and our operational requirements," according to the statement.About 500 Swift workers, all Muslim and mostly of Somali background, walked off the job Monday afternoon. Many marched to Grand Island City Hall, carrying signs that urged religious freedom.About 50 people staged a similar protest a little before noon on Tuesday at City Hall, Grand Island police said.The workers said they haven't been allowed to pray during their holiest month, Ramadan, which occurs in September this year.One woman said she was kicked by a supervisor when she attempted to pray. Another woman said she was followed into the bathroom by a supervisor when she attempted to pray there.More than 100 workers at a Greeley, Colo., Swift plant were fired last week because the company said they walked away from work before their shifts ended.The workers blamed the company's refusal to allow their breaks to coincide with sunset so they could pray.Swift, which was purchased by Brazil's JBS SA in March, has had problems with Muslim workers at the Grand Island plant in the past. Dozens of workers from Somalia quit their jobs last year because, they said, they weren't allowed to pray at sunset. They eventually returned to work.
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Pirates Flourish In Wartorn Somalia

Somalia has not had an effective government for almost two decades...

PERSECUTION WATCH:Somali insurgents want to raze non-Muslim places of worship

MOGADISHU, Somalia-Islamists began demolishing an old Roman Catholic church in southern Somalia on Tuesday to replace it with a mosque, and vowed to do the same with all other non-Muslim places of worship they find in the area...
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JIHAD WATCH:Bali Bombers Awaiting Execution Are Unrepentant, Vow Revenge

The three Bali bombers on death row in Indonesia have been allowed out of their cells to mark the end of Ramadan.Long enough to have threatened reprisals if their executions go ahead...

US approves 25 F-35 "stealth" fighter aircraft sale to Israel

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency has approved the $15.2 billion sale of 25 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for Israel with an option for another 50, saying it is vital to US national security interests to assist Israel develop “a strong and ready self-defense capability.”DEBKAfile’s military sources report that President George W, Bush, in mid-financial crisis, fully discharged his promise of a defense package for Israeli before he left office. There was no announcement of the date of supply. Earlier this month, the Pentagon approved up to $330 million in three separate arms deals for Israel and posted its advanced FBX-band radar system to an Israeli Air Force base in the Negev.Israel is the first foreign nation to receive the up-to-the-minute Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike stealth fighter, which will replace the older F-16 fighters and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground defenses and by virtue of five exceptional features:
1. An advanced radar for striking ground or air targets long distance while destroying any threat in its immediate environment.
2. An electro-optical targeting system (EOTS).
3. The pilot’s helmet-mounted displays (HMD).
4. It is the first fighter plane in the world with a communications system linked to satellites.
5. The capacity for carrying large quantities of ordnance - from joint direct attack munitions to AIM-120 and AIM-132 air-to-air missiles.
The first consignment of 25 F-35’s has a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) configuration, while the next 50 are short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft.In the event of an armed conflict, the Israel Air Force calculates that its long runways will be in danger of attack by Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas.The deal was approved after senior Israeli and US officials met in Washington this month and assurances were tendered that sensitive technologies would not be passed to third parties.

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