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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

GADHAFFI:"Obama a Muslim who studied in Islamic schools": Says Arab world campaign contributions 'may enable him to win U.S. presidency'

JERUSALEM – Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim of Kenyan origins who studied in Islamic schools and whose campaign may have been financed by people in the Islamic and African worlds, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi said during a recent televised national rally."There are elections in America now. Along came a black citizen of Kenyan African origins, a Muslim, who had studied in an Islamic school in Indonesia. His name is Obama," said Gadhafi in little-noticed remarks he made at a rally marking the anniversary of the 1986 U.S. air raid on his country.The remarks, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, were aired on Al Jazeera in June

The video also has been posted on YouTube and can be seen here:

"All the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa applauded this man," continued Gadhafi. "They welcomed him and prayed for him and for his success, and they may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him to win the American presidency."We are hoping that this black man will take pride in his African and Islamic identity, and in his faith, and that he will know that he has rights in America, and that he will change America from evil to good, and that America will establish relations that will serve it well with other peoples, especially the Arabs," Gadhafi said.Gadhafi went on to lament statements Obama made at a June 4 address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in which the presidential candidate stated if he is elected president, "Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided."But it seems Gadhafi was not aware that the next day, during a CNN appearance, Obama explained he meant Jerusalem shouldn't be physically divided with a partition and was not referring to the city remaining in exclusively Jewish hands.Stated Gadhafi: "But we were taken by surprise when our African Kenyan brother [Obama], who is an American national, made statements (about Jerusalem) that shocked all his supporters in the Arab world, in Africa, and in the Islamic world."We hope that this is merely an elections 'clearance sale,' as they say in Egypt - in other words, merely an elections lie. As you know, this is the farce of elections - a person lies and lies to people, just so that they will vote for him, and afterwards, when they say to him, 'You promised this and that,' he says: 'No, this was just elections propaganda.' This is the farce of democracy for you. He says: 'This was propaganda, and you thought I was being serious. I was fooling you to get your votes.'"Allah willing, it will turn out that this was merely elections propaganda. Obama said he would turn Jerusalem into the eternal capital of the Israelis. This indicates that our brother Obama is ignorant of international politics, and is not familiar with the Middle East conflict," Gadhafi said.Gadhafi went on to express his hope if elected Obama will implement a "one state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, meaning Israel would be flooded with millions of Palestinian Arabs who would terminate the country's Jewish nationality.He said he was worried Obama may have a "black inferiority complex" whereby he may enact "white men" policies to prove he is no different from "white" America."The thing we fear most is that the black man suffers from an inferiority complex. This is dangerous. If our brother Obama feels that because he is black he doesn't have the right to rule America, this would be a disaster, because such a feeling would make him act whiter than the white, and go to an extreme in his persecution and degradation of the blacks."We say to him: Brother, the whites and blacks in America are equal. They are all immigrants. America belongs neither to the whites nor to the blacks. America belongs to its original inhabitants, the Indians. Both the whites and the blacks immigrated to America, and so they are equal, and Obama has the right to hold his head high, and say: 'I am a partner in America. This is my land as much as it is yours. If it is not my land, it is not yours either. It is the land of the Indians. You are immigrants, and so are we.'"

Obama was 'quite religious in Islam'
Obama repeatedly has denied he is a Muslim. His campaign site states: "Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian."But as WND has reported, public records in Indonesia listed Obama as a Muslim during his early years, and a number of childhood friends claimed to the media Obama was once a mosque-attending Muslim.
Obama's campaign several times has wavered in response to reporters queries regarding the senator's childhood faith.Commenting on a recent Los Angeles Times report quoting a childhood friend stating Obama prayed in a mosque "something the presidential candidate said he never did," Obama's campaign released a statement explaining the senator "has never been a practicing Muslim."Widely distributed reports have noted that in January 1968, Obama was registered as a Muslim at Jakarta's Roman Catholic Franciscus Assisi Primary School under the name Barry Soetoro. He was listed as an Indonesian citizen whose stepfather, listed on school documents as "L Soetoro Ma," worked for the topography department of the Indonesian Army.
Catholic schools in Indonesia routinely accept non-Catholic students but exempt them from studying religion. Obama's school documents, though, wrongly list him as being Indonesian.
After attending the Assisi Primary School, Obama was enrolled "also as a Muslim, according to documents" in the Besuki Primary School, a public school in Jakarta.Laotze blog, run by an American expatriate in Southeast Asia who visited the Besuki school, noted: "All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school, and a young 'Barry Soetoro,' being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school. He would have been taught to read and write Arabic, to recite his prayers properly, to read and recite from the Quran and to study the laws of Islam."Indeed, in Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," he acknowledged studying the Quran and describes the public school as "a Muslim school.""In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies," wrote Obama.The Indonesian media have been flooded with accounts of Obama's childhood Islamic studies, some describing him as a religious Muslim.Speaking to the country's Kaltim Post, Tine Hahiyary, who was principal of Obama's school while he was enrolled there, said she recalls he studied the Quran in Arabic."At that time, I was not Barry's teacher, but he is still in my memory" claimed Tine, who is 80 years old.The Kaltim Post said Obama's teacher, named Hendri, died."I remember that he studied 'mengaji (recitation of the Quran)," Tine said, according to an English translation by Loatze.Mengaji, or the act of reading the Quran with its correct Arabic punctuation, is usually taught to more religious pupils and is not known as a secular study.Also, Loatze documented the Indonesian daily Banjarmasin Post interviewed Rony Amir, an Obama classmate and Muslim, who described Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam.""We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house. If he was wearing a sarong (waist fabric worn for religious or casual occasions) he looked funny," Amir said.The Los Angeles Times, which sent a reporter to Jakarta, quoted Zulfin Adi, who identified himself as among Obama's closest childhood friends, stating the presidential candidate prayed in a mosque, something Obama's campaign claimed he never did."We prayed, but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played," said Adi.
Friday prayers
Aside from a new website to fight purported smears, Obama's official campaign site has a page titled "Obama has never been a Muslim, and is a committed Christian." The page states, "Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ."But the campaign changed its tune when it issued a "practicing Muslim" clarification to the Los Angeles Times.An article in March by the Chicago Tribune apparently disputes Adi's statements to the L.A. paper. The Tribune caught up with Obama's declared childhood friend, who now describes himself as only knowing Obama for a few months in 1970 when his family moved to the neighborhood. Adi said he was unsure about his recollections of Obama.But the Tribune found Obama did attend mosque."Interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia," states the Tribune article.It quotes the presidential candidate's former neighbors and third-grade teacher recalling Obama "occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers."Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, notes the Tribune article "cited by liberal blogs as refuting claims Obama is Muslim" actually implies Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim and twice confirms Obama attended mosque services.In a free-ranging interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset."The Times' Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, "with a first-class [Arabic] accent," the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.The first few lines of the call to prayer state:
"Allah is Supreme!--Allah is Supreme!--Allah is Supreme!--Allah is Supreme!--I witness that there is no god but Allah--I witness that there is no god but Allah--I witness that Muhammad is his prophet ... '
Some attention also has been paid to Obama's paternal side of the family, including his father and his brother, Roy.Writing in a chapter of his book describing his 1992 wedding, the presidential candidate stated: "The person who made me proudest of all was Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol."Still, Obama says he was raised by his Christian mother and repeatedly has labeled as "smears" several reports attempting to paint him as a Muslim."Let's make clear what the facts are: I am a Christian. I have been sworn in with a Bible. I pledge allegiance to the American flag and lead the Pledge of Allegiance sometimes in the United States Senate when I'm presiding," he told the Times of London earlier this year.

As in the days of Noah...

KKK Fliers Show Up in Okla. Newspaper

Iran to press for output cut at OPEC meet

Iran said on Saturday that OPEC should cut oil output at its emergency meeting next week amid prospects of reduced demand in the face of the global economic slowdown, the state broadcaster reported."Iran's clear proposal for the OPEC emergency meeting is that crude supply should be reduced in proportion with demand," Iran's ambassador to the oil cartel, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, told the state broadcaster."Global demand for crude oil has fallen, so crude supply should be reduced in order to preserve balance and stability in the market," Khatibi said, describing falling oil prices as "worrying".Iran is OPEC's second largest exporter and its economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas income. OPEC said on Thursday that it would hold an extraordinary meeting earlier than expected next Friday-instead of in November-to discuss the global financial crisis and its impact on the oil market.Oil prices had reached a peak of 147 dollars a barrel earlier this year but slumped below 70 dollars on Thursday for the first time in more than a year.Prices rebounded above 71 dollars a barrel on Friday on speculation that OPEC could cut production at the emergency meeting, traders said.
As in the days of Noah....

Rights groups welcome Iran ban on youth executions

Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were Iranian teenagers from the province of Khuzestan who were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in Mashad northeast Iran, on July 19, 2005.Prior to their execution, the two were also given 228 lashes each for drinking, disturbing the peace and theft...
LONDON-Iran's judicial ban on executing offenders who committed crimes under the age of 18 should save more than 130 offenders on death row, Human Rights Watch has said.Activists and the West have criticized Iran for sentencing youths to death for crimes committed while they were juveniles.Hossein Zebhi, assistant for judicial affairs to Iran's prosecutor-general, said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency this week that a directive was issued commuting death sentences for offenders under 18 to life in jail."If Iran enacts this judicial ban it will bring the world much closer to ending all executions for crimes committed by children," said Clarisa Bencomo, Middle East children's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch."The Iranian legislature should move quickly to protect juveniles in Iran by making the policy legally binding," she said in a statement from the New York-based group Friday.London-based Amnesty International also welcomed the step in a statement this week, saying it "hopes it will pave the way to a complete abolition of the death penalty in Iran."Human Rights Watch said a similar directive was issued in 2004 banning executions of people under 18 but said this did not stop judges issuing death sentences against juvenile offenders and sometimes executing people under 18.Iran regularly rejects accusations of rights abuses, saying it is implementing Islamic sharia law. Tehran accuses Western countries of double standards.Since January 2005, Iran has been responsible for 26 of the 32 known executions of juvenile offenders worldwide, Human Rights Watch said, adding that six juvenile offenders had been executed in 2008.
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As in the days of Noah...

Iran loses to Japan in battle for UN seat

Iran blames intolerance for losing U.N.seat vote

TEHRAN-Iran on Saturday blamed what it said was intolerance of its independent positions by the West for its failure to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council, which has imposed sanctions on Tehran over its disputed nuclear work.Iran was overwhelmingly defeated by Japan in a vote on Friday for an Asian seat on the 15-seat Council. Tokyo secured a crushing 158-32 votes from the 192-member assembly for the right to sit on the Council for two years starting in January."Obviously the structure of the Security Council is such that it must be said in practice a few special countries make decisions there and impose ideas," Iran's U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, told state television."And it is natural that these countries are disinterested in independent ideas or the entry of states that believe in the necessity of re-examining its structure," he said."Anyhow, some do not have the tolerance to hear an independent voice in a structure incompatible with today's world necessities," he added.Iran's delegation did not speak to reporters immediately after the vote in New York. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who regularly rails against the West, has repeatedly said the Security Council was a relic of a post-World War II order that needs updating.He has also repeatedly refused to halt sensitive nuclear work as demanded by the Council. The West believes Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies saying its plans are peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.
PS:Talk about psichotic....!!!!They talk about the rest of the world being INTOLERANT...?How crazy is that...And by the way how much ELECTRICITY DO THEY NEED????
Iran's authorities don't really care for their own people...that's the TRUTH....!They are good at one thing though....OPRESSING IRANIANS...!!!!
As in the days of Noah...

Thousands march in Baghdad against U.S. pact

BAGHDAD-Thousands of followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday in a demonstration against a pact that would allow U.S. forces to stay in Iraq for three more years.Iraq's foreign minister said a draft of the agreement hammered out after months of negotiations was now final and being reviewed by political leaders. Parliament would be given a chance to vote for or against it, but not to make changes.The agreement "has been presented as a final text by the two negotiating teams. The time now is time for a decision," Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told a news conference. "I believe the next few days will be crucial for the Iraqi leaders to make a political decision and a judgment on this agreement."At the demonstration across town, marchers waved Iraqi flags and chanted "Yes, yes Iraq! No, no to the occupation!"A white-turbaned cleric read out what he described as a letter from Sadr calling on parliament to vote down the pact."I reject and condemn the continuation of the presence of the occupation force, and its bases on our beloved land," the letter said, calling the pact "shameful for Iraq." Marchers set fire to a U.S. flag, but the atmosphere appeared mostly calm."It is a peaceful demonstration, demanding that the occupier leave and the government not sign the pact," Ahmed al-Masoudi, a Sadrist member of parliament, told Reuters.Iraqi authorities said the demonstration was authorized and security had been increased to protect the protesters, who were marching from Sadr's stronghold of Sadr City in the east of the capital to a nearby public square at a university.
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As in the days of Noah....

Bush Says He Looks Forward to Hosting Summit


WASHINGTON-U.S. President George W. Bush announced on Saturday he would host the first in a proposed series of global summits on the financial crisis as the world grapples with the biggest economic debacle since the Great Depression."It is essential that we work together because we are in this crisis together," Bush said before a meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.A joint statement after the meeting said the first summit would take place in the United States soon after the November 4 U.S. presidential election and focus on the "principles of reform" needed to fix the world's financial system."Later summits would be designed to implement agreement on specific steps to be taken to meet those principles," the statement said, adding that other world leaders would be contacted beginning next week.The U.S. and European leaders decided it would be too ambitious to handle all the issues in one summit, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.Sarkozy has called for a revamp of the international financial architecture established after World War Two at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference-a massive overhaul that may not win unqualified support in the Bush administration.The summit plan emerged as fears of a full-blown global recession gathered.Both U.S. consumer confidence and new-home construction showed sharp drops, and stock markets around the world remain volatile as investors count their losses and ponder when the financial gloom may ease.
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As in the days of Noah....

Farrakhan Plans 'New Beginning' for Nation of Islam

Mosque Maryam, headquarters of the Nation of Islam, in Chicago
CHICAGO-The Nation of Islam, a secretive movement generally closed to outsiders, has planned a rare open-to-the public event at its Chicago-based headquarters in what the Minister Louis Farrakhan deemed a "new beginning" for the group.Hundreds of religious leaders of different faiths have been invited to the event planned for Sunday, a rededication of the group's historic Mosque Maryam on the city's South Side. Farrakhan is scheduled to speak."We have restored Mosque Maryam completely, and we will dedicate it to the universal message of Islam, and the universal aspect of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad," Farrakhan said in an invitation letter."It represents for the Nation of Islam, a new beginning."The event comes just weeks after the death of Imam W.D. Mohammed, the son of Nation founder Elijah Muhammad, who broke with the group and moved thousands of African-Americans toward mainstream Islam.The Nation purchased the mosque, a former Greek Orthodox church, in 1972 and has since been making renovations. The stately 1948 structure, embellished with a golden dome and topped with an Islamic crescent moon, is adorned with Quranic verses in Arabic.Experts say opening the mosque's doors to the public is a calculated move."It is a very conscious effort to open the mosque up to the community and to rededicate the community to learning about Islam," said Aminah McCloud, a professor of Islamic studies at DePaul University. "Previously, the Nation has been open to people coming to visit it, but its members don't generally go anywhere else ... now there is a concerted effort."While the Nation has espoused black nationalism and self-reliance since it was founded in the 1930s, in recent years members have reached out to other groups. For instance, the Nation has a Latino liaison and has become involved in immigrant rights rallies and marches. Also, the Minister Ishmael Muhammad, a top assisting minister at the mosque and widely thought to be a potential successor to Farrakhan, has talked about unity between all people, at times speaking in Spanish.Farrakhan, 75, has haltingly tried to move the Nation toward traditional Islam, which considers the American movement heretical because of its view of Elijah Muhammad as a prophet — among other novel teachings. Orthodox Islam teaches that there has been no prophet after Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.He's also played down some of the group's more controversial beliefs. The Nation of Islam has taught that whites are descended from the devil and that blacks are the chosen people of Allah.The event on Sunday also wraps up a week of events marking the 13th anniversary of the Million Man March, which Farrakhan began in 1995. That year, hundreds of thousands of people traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate.On Thursday, Farrakhan spoke to inmates at Cook County jail urging self improvement, atonement and reconciliation, principles the Million Man March promoted.Those values "can help reduce violence and anti-social behavior ... and have universal significance and will benefit those willing to listen," according to a statement from the Nation.Farrakhan's Sunday speech will mark his second major public address this year and is among several smaller community and religious events he has attended. His public appearances have surprised many since in 2006, he seceded leadership to an executive board while recuperating from serious complications from prostate cancer.In February, Farrakhan appeared at an annual Saviours' Day event in Chicago and called Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better. The Obama campaign quickly denounced Farrakhan's support, because of past comments about Jews that many have called offensive.In the past months, Farrakhan has attended funeral services of W.D. Mohammed and Jabir Herbert Muhammad, both sons of the late Elijah Muhammad.
As in the days of Noah...

HONOUR KILLING WATCH:"It Was an Honour Killing":Family Member of Murdered Girls Speaks Out

Friday, October 17, 2008

Financial crisis is divine punishment for U.S.: Hamas

GAZA-The leader of the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas said on Friday that the global financial meltdown was God's way of punishing the United States for its support of Israel and its occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan."We see it as God's punishment for the criminals (U.S. and its Western allies). Nothing is more unjust than occupying an Islamic state. Nothing is more unjust than keeping the Palestinian people under occupation for over 60 years," (1)Ismail Haniyeh told worshippers before Friday prayers in the Gaza Strip.A financial crisis has hit markets across the world, forcing governments to mount bank bail-outs and fanning fears of recession, especially in the West.Haniyeh's Islamist group is shunned by Israel and the United States for refusing to renounce violence and recognize interim Israeli-Palestinian agreements after it won a parliamentary election two years ago.Following Hamas's election victory, Israel imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, which Hamas seized last year after routing Fatah forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas."They deprived our people of money and now God has deprived them of money. They besieged our people and now they are besieged by the punishment of God," Haniyeh said.Egypt is hosting a summit on November 9 t/o try to heal the schism between Hamas and Fatah and forge consensus among the over thirteen factions that make up the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in preparation for new elections.
PS:(1)You talk about PSICHOTIC....These 3rd class thugs should be institutionalized.....This is what islamofacism does to a person....They are all PERTURBED DANGEROUS MINDS..."They deprived our people of money???"Since when the rest of the world is suppose to GIVE THEM MONEY...???Can't they PRODUCE ANYTHING for THEMSELVES...??Ahhhhh I had forgotten...their lives is all ABOUT JIHAD...therefore they cannot have a regular life with a regular job.....It's ALL ABOUT MURDERING the INFIDELS....yep...that's why America has to give them money right...????It's just that the rest of the world is always bashing them and taking from them,right....?
What a busybody........!
As in the days of Noah....

Iran,Iceland fail as five elected to U.N. council

UNITED NATIONS-Iran lost its bid to win a two-year seat on the U.N. Security Council, which has imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program, when it was trounced by Japan in a General Assembly election on Friday.Iceland, an apparent victim of the financial crisis that has ravaged its economy, also failed to get onto the 15-nation council when the assembly, representing almost all the world's states, preferred Turkey and Austria for two European seats.Mexico and Uganda, running unopposed in their regional groupings, were also elected in the annual assembly vote for five of the 10 so-called non-permanent seats on the powerful Security Council for 2009-10.As expected, heavyweight Japan defeated Iran for an Asian seat coming vacant on January 1, but the scale of its victory-a crushing 158-32 votes from the 192-member assembly-delighted Western countries at loggerheads with Tehran.U.S. and British envoys were exultant that Iran had gained so few votes."Its comprehensive defeat, a thrashing of Iran, is a very important signal of the whole membership's concern about Iran's actions," said British Ambassador John Sawers.U.S. envoy Alejandro Wolff called Iran's showing encouraging. "Hopefully they will understand that this means that there is no support from the international community" for Tehran's disregard of Security Council resolutions, he said.The Iranian delegation did not speak to reporters after exiting the General Assembly hall.Western countries strongly oppose Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment, which they fear is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, something Tehran denies. Many Arab states are also suspicious of Iran.
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As in the days of Noah....

Dignitaries Visit Akko While Hamas Threatens More Violence

Russia's Jerusalem land claim worries Israelis

JERUSALEM – The Russians are coming to downtown Jerusalem, reclaiming ownership of a landmark with the approval of the Israeli government, just as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visits Moscow to try to iron out serious policy differences between the two countries . After years of contacts, Olmert's Cabinet agreed Sunday to hand over the small tract known as Sergei's Courtyard. The area, which once accommodated Russian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, now houses offices of Israel's Agriculture Ministry and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.The property includes a lush garden and the massive buildings around it-a turret-like structure at the intersection of two downtown streets and the sand-colored fortress-like wings leading from it.The timing of the gesture is clear. After years of relatively smooth relations, serious problems have cropped up between Israel and Russia. One concerned Russia's summer invasion of Georgia, which has become a close ally of Israel in recent years. More importantly, Israel is concerned about Russia's role in helping, or not stopping, the nuclear program of Israel's archenemy, Iran.Olmert hopes to talk through those issues during his two-day trip to Moscow. He was scheduled to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday before returning to Israel.Not everyone is happy about Israel's Jerusalem goodwill gesture. Hardline groups bridle at any transfer of control in Jerusalem, because they oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts that would require sharing the city.Israel TV described the transfer as "Russian autonomy in downtown Jerusalem." The Cabinet decision says no major changes can be made at the site without approval of both governments.The official transfer may be delayed because of an appeal filed by the nationalistic Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which said the deal is a "breach of Israeli sovereignty."Nachi Eyal, the group's director, warned the deal could set a precedent for other land claims.A Russian official denied accusations it seeks greater influence in the Middle East through the acquisition of Sergei's Courtyard, calling its desire to own the place a matter of historical significance."This has nothing to do with what is being called imperial ambitions because it's not a military base or something that can serve those purposes," said Alexei Skosyrev, a political counselor at the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv. He said the building will be used as a Russian cultural center to "promote bilateral relations" between the two countries.The site, named for Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, a son of Czar Alexander II, was built in 1890 and is part of the larger Russian Compound, most of which Israel purchased 45 years ago. It paid in oranges because it lacked hard currency.Negotiations over the site began in the 1990s. In 2005, after years of lagging progress on the deal, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised former Russian President Vladimir Putin the land would be returned.
By TIA GOLDENBERG, Associated Press

As in the days of Noah....

Israel Surrenders Part of Downtown Jerusalem to Russia

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday won the cabinet support he needs to officially surrender a large structure in downtown Jerusalem to the Russians when he flies to Moscow on Monday.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin demanded control of the large building known as Sergei's Courtyard four years ago, when he was still president of the Russian Federation.He claimed to have done so on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church. Olmert promptly acquiesced to Putin's demands, and got to work on the lengthy process of transferring the property, including garnering support for a move many Israelis view with trepidation.Sergei's Courtyard currently houses offices of the Agriculture Ministry and the Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.It is part of a larger area known as the Russian Compound, 90 percent of which Israel officially owns.But it is the status of that final 10 percent that is giving many Israeli officials cause for concern.The Russian, Greek and Roman Catholic Churches technically own huge portions of Jerusalem, including the land on which the Israeli Knesset sits.Numerous officials have voiced concern that handing over Sergie's Courtyard to the Russian government could open the floodgates for similar demands from other nations.
As in the days of Noah...

Are Christian Zionists Targeting Jews for Conversion?

Should Israel build ties with pro-Israel Christian organizations?
Are these organizations just a front for missionaries?
Are there conversion strings attached to economic aid from Christian Zionist groups?
These hotly-argued issues exploded at the start of September when Israeli Knesset members attended the Days of Elijah Evangelical Christian Conference in Texas. The debate over ties with Evangelicals resurfaced again now that Jerusalem Municipal Council Member Mina Fenton sent out a letter calling for the exclusion of MK Benny Elon (NU/NRP) from negotiations to unite the Religious Zionist parties due to his cooperation with Evangelist groups as head of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.The Days of Elijah Conference, hosted by the Christian groups “Battalion of Deborah” and “Covenant Alliances”, advertised that it was to “present [the] Knesset Christian Alliance Caucus” to participants, and featured pictures of speakers including MK Benny Elon of the National Union party, MK Dudu Rotem of Yisrael Beitenu, Elhanan Glazer of the Pensioner’s Party and Yedidya Atlas of Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) as Master of Ceremonies. Rabbi Tovia Singer, head of the anti-missionary Outreach Judaism, was to speak.Atlas and Rabbi Singer attended the same conference in previous years.Concerned about reports that missionary organizations would use the pro-Greater Israel venue for their own ends, the Knesset members received an assurance from conference chairperson Jodi Anderson, whom Rabbi Singer refers to as a “true Christian friend of Israel,” which stated, "The purpose of this event is to be a blessing to Israel…There is no speaker… involved in any missionary activity."The statement satisfied the Knesset members, but Rabbi Singer and Yedidya Atlas heard that Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and renowned missionary Richard Booker, founder of numerous messianic congregations in North America, were going to attend this year and demanded that the conference remove them from the program. Anderson replied that it was too late to redo the schedule, and the two cancelled their appearances. MK Benny Elon attended one session.The issues involved in the arguments over participation in the conference highlight the complexity of relationships with “true believer” pro-Israel Christian groups, who do not always, to quote Rabbi Tovia Singer, realize the “offensive nature of evangelizing” to the Jewish people. This blurring makes the Knesset’s Christian Alliance Caucus’ activities very difficult, and as MK Benny Elon, the present Caucus chairman, said, “this means we constantly have to check and double-check, that sometimes we make mistakes. When we discover them, we stop contacts to the people or groups involved.”There are two irreconcilably opposed schools of thought vis-a-vis cooperation with pro-Israel Evangelical Christians. Outgoing Jerusalem City Council member Mina Fenton believes that all Christian groups are actually engaging in missionary activity in Israel, that there can be no delineation between pro-Israel and missionary, evangelical organizations. She pointedly refers to the “Knesset Christian Caucus”, omitting the word “Alliance” and has spearheaded an ongoing campaign to ban any cooperation with Christians.
Christian Groups in Israel
Among the proliferating Christian groups, several stand out and can serve to illustrate the complexity involved.The “Jews for Jesus” movement is openly missionary in nature, supported by groups abroad such as the Gratefully Grafted, who promote Messianic ministries in Israel and list Messianic congregations headed by Israelis on their website.Asher Intrater is head of “Revive Israel Ministries” which, according to their website, focuses on “personal evangelism, discipleship training, and congregational planting… centered around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv… in the simple and direct preaching of the gospel of Yeshua (the missionary term for Jesus, denoting salvation)…”.“Aglow” is a pro-Israel trans-denominational organization of Christian women known for welfare work all over the world. Yet the report of their 2008 visit to Israel stated that “as we do on every trip to Jerusalem, a group of us spent time…with Asher Intrater and his young Israeli disciples… Gentile and Jewish believers stood side by side, hand in hand to declare the Lordship of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah…”It is not surprising that Evangelical Christians who support Israel are thrilled by what they saw at Intrater’s, even if they themselves refrain from missionary work in Israel. They are first and foremost believing Christians who do missionary work in other parts of the world. To Jews living in the Jewish State, however, these activities, attesting to the proliferation of missionary groups in Israel, are profoundly disturbing and shocking.Some welfare and pro-Zionist Evangelical Christian organizations engage in preaching Christian theology while helping the poor. Immigrant populations from Ethiopia and Russia are considered especially susceptible, but internet sites proudly claim to be influencing members of the Israeli police, soldiers and other individuals. Lack of Jewish education makes members of the latter groups who are looking for spiritualism and salvation easy prey for missionaries.
The Knesset Caucus
On January 5, 2004, the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus was established with the late MK, Dr. Yuri Stern (Yisrael Beiteinu party) and MK Yair Peretz (Shas party) as chairmen. There was no mention of missionary activity at the founding of the Caucus, created “in order build a direct line of communication, cooperation, and coordination between the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world, to work with Christians who support Israel…” According to MK Stern at the time, this Jewish-Christian cooperation was seen as crucial in order to oppose the rising tide of fundamentalist Islam.MK Benny Elon, the present Caucus Chairman, says that he is aware of the ambivalence towards Christian groups, but feels strongly that Israel’s increasing isolation in the world makes it imperative to build alliances with the influential and numerically large Evangelical Christians, adding that US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is herself an Evangelical Christian.He noted that as far as missionaries are concerned, in addition to the antipathy shared by all Caucus members, the Caucus is legally bound to refrain from all connections with missionary groups in order to have NGO status.This includes banning the Jews for Jesus who failed in their bid to the Supreme Court for recognition as Jews.He insisted that there are no compromises on this issue, even though it has led to several Christian groups leaving the Caucus.
The Two Groups Sponsoring the Elijah Conference
The “Battalion of Deborah” site’s main page features, along with information about the Days of Elijah Conference, links to maps of towns in Judea and Samaria, the Women in Green organization, and Israeli MK’s, US Senators and Q & A’s positing the legality of settling all parts of the Land of Israel. It contains no mention of missionary activities.The “Covenant Alliances” site says it is happy to “embrace the opportunity to become part of the Knesset Christian Alliance Caucus”, claiming unqualified support of Israel and the Jewish people. It is based on the
hope that one day there will be a restoration of both Christians and Jews to belief in the “true Messiah”.The site calls for petitioning the US government to “vigorously work for the resettlement of the Palestinian refugees to the lands of their Arab kinsmen… and demand the Palestinian Authority disarm the terrorists in their midst, and halt all violence, propaganda, and incitement against the people of Israel...” MK Elon commented that “we will worry about the second coming when it comes…”What, then, made attending the Days of Elijah Conference the subject of such controversy, resulting in Rabbi Singer canceling his appearance, while three Knesset members and Elyakim Haetzni did take part, only once they were assured that there would be no missionary activity?The answer is that the conference exposed the problematic intertwining of Zionism, Evangelism and Messianic Judaism. The two sponsoring organizations were not the only ones present at the Conference. CFI, “Christian Friends of Israel”, was involved as well. There was vehement opposition to speakers advertised in the brochure such as Richard Booker.CFI is an organization whose website once included the paragraph “Reaping the Harvest”, a blatant missionary call claiming that “With Israel in deep trouble, people are crying out for answers. They are looking for their Messiah. They need to know His name...The fields are white – WE MUST GATHER NOW!” According to Rabbi Singer, CFI’s work is more dangerous than that of the Jews for Jesus, because they bring aid to Israel’s needy communities and use it to gain converts.The CFI website was changed radically before the conference, possibly in order to be able to work with the Knesset Caucus, and now has no trace of missionary content, with a mission statement stating: “As Christians we have received from God a love for Israel and the Jewish people... We believe the Lord Jesus is both the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world; however, our stand alongside Israel is not conditional upon her acceptance of our belief.” Whether CFI actual missionary activities in Israel have ceased is as yet unknown.
Another speaker at the conference was David Decker who has a past of missionary initiatives in Israel. Decker is written up on a Baptist Church site: “David and his family were called... to move to Israel and minister Yeshua to [the]…chosen people... David founded Brit Olam Fellowship in Tel Aviv that has become one of the strongest messianic churches in Israel... David is now involved with the establishment of Jerusalem Church of all Nations, a new ministry in the Old City of Jerusalem with Jewish and Gentile members. Son Daniel is serving in the Israeli Air Force. Son Michael and daughter Carmela are leaders in a growing messianic youth revival and the Messianic Coffee House in Jerusalem.”Political figures say that they find it necessary, for the good of Israel, to go where many Rabbis cannot or will not tread. It requires constant vigilance to avoid connections with missionary or messianic groups while not destroying influential Evangelical Christian political, economic and moral support for Israel. Israel’s representatives, be they Rabbis, politicians or organizations, will gain the Christian world’s respect when they stand fast upon that principle.MK Dudu Rotem based his speech at the conference on the verses of the prophet Ovadiah, that week’s Sephardic synagogue reading, who prophesied that in the days to come G-d will restore His kingship over the Jewish people alone in their land.Israel’s Jewish citizens have to stand fast as Jews, and this is perhaps, the crux of the problem. Arguing about missionary work among Israeli Jews, who speak Hebrew but know little about Judaism, cannot hide the fact that they are easy prey for so many other religions and sects because of their ignorance of Judaism.Teaching them their own eternal truths is the only real answer.
by Rochel Sylvetsky
As in the days of Noah...

Israel to Release 1,000 Prisoners for Shalit

According to a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) source quoted by the Saudi newspaper Okaz on Thursday, the Israeli government has largely agreed to free roughly 1,000 Hamas prisoners for the release of IDF St. Sgt. ­Gilad Shalit.The source told Voice of Israel government radio that Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic Security Bureau, travelled to Cairo last week to obtain assurances from Hamas that they would not demand more prisoners. Gilad called the report completely untrue, according to the station. Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid near the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel, Gaza and Egypt in the summer of 2006 and Hamas claims that he is still alive. Despite continued public pressure from Jews in Israel and around the world to free Shalit, the fate of the young Jewish soldier remains uncertain. Many oppose the release of terrorist prisoners and have called for the Israeli military to mount a rescue operation to free him.The PA source said that Israel was prepared to release 450 of the prisoners that Hamas was demanding to be released upon the formation of a new Israeli government, along with 550 more that Israel will choose of its own accord.An Israeli source close to the negotiations told the Israeli Ynet news service that Israel is prepared to be flexible in complying with the Hamas demands.Meanwhile, a senior Israeli official criticized a demonstration, planned for Sunday, that will call for Shalit’s release. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the demonstration will be detrimental, as it will send the message to Hamas that the Israeli government is under pressure to release terrorists."This demonstration demonstrates weakness,” said Vilna’i."If the government wasn't doing anything and had forgotten him Schalit I would say: hold demonstrations.But we haven't forgotten and we are acting all the time. If they see we are pressured then Hamas will say, 'Why should we hurry?'"
by Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel
As in the days of Noah...

Tens of Thousands at Blessing of the Priests at the Kotel

Bush offered to press Israel to quit Golan if Syria cuts Iran ties

U.S. President George W. Bush has apparently offered his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, to press Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights if Damascus promises to cut its relations with Iran, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jareida reported on Friday. According to the report, Bush made the offer in a handwritten letter transferred to Assad by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. A Palestinian source close to Abbas told the newspaper that the U.S. had presented the offer in a meeting with Syrian officials day earlier.If Assad agrees to the American proposal, he will carry out his end of the deal in the coming weeks, said the report. Bush is keen on implementing the deal before the upcoming U.S. elections, said the newspaper, in order to significantly advance the peace process before the end of his term. The Palestinian source said that Abbas and his entourage were unaware of the content of Bush's letter, as it was meant to remain covert and away from diplomatic eyes, according to the report. Even the American envoy in Damascus was not privy to this information, said the newspaper. Despite this, the Palestinian source said that Abbas' latest visit to Damascus was intended for the principle purpose of passing on this letter, said the newspaper. While on the visit, he scheduled no meetings with Palestinian officials or other diplomats in the area.
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent
As in the days of Noah....

Gala Sukkot Celebration in Shdema Worries PA Arabs

Hundreds Pray at Joseph's Tomb, Tell IDF: We Want More

Inside Joseph's Tomb
(IsraelNN.com) Hundreds of people participated in a nighttime prayer session at Joseph's Tomb (Kever Yosef HaTzadik) in biblical Shechem Thursday. The IDF put up roadblocks and stepped up its presence in the roads of Samaria in order to provide security for the worshippers.The prayer session was organized by the Samaria regional Council and 'One Shechem' and received full cooperation from the security forces.
Golden Wedding at Havat Gilad
Also Thursday, Bob and Elaine K., a couple from New Jersey, celebrated their golden wedding in an event for children at Havat Gilad. Hundreds participated in the event, which took place against a backdrop of harsh attacks in the media on Havat Gilad, whose residents were accused of various "provocations" against Arabs.Israelis came from Givatayim, Tel Aviv and Haifa as well as Judea and Samaria to celebrate the event and to express identification with the local residents. The children got to ride horses and donkeys, and various other playful and creative activities. The adults were shown around the ranch by the head of the Samaria International Liaison Office, David Ha'Ivri.Bob K. spoke at the extra-large sukkah that was put up for the occasion and said that "the hilltop youths are the nation's heroes. It is an honor to see young Jews who are devoted to the Land of Israel – would that I could be like them."The event came just two days after Border Police attacked residents of the community with severe violence and blocked attempts to enter and exit the community in the final hour before the commencement of the Sukkot holiday.
by Gil Ronen
As in the days of Noah....

Sukkot in Jerusalem

The sukkah from a top view

A large wooden sukkah at the Western Wall plaza

A Torah in a wooden case

Jewish Ethiopians carrying brightly colored umbrellas

The large crowd for the Birkat HaKohanim ceremony filled the Western Wall area to capacity.Photo: Tovia Singer.

Across the street from Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, also known as the shuk, vendors sell lulav, etrog, willow and myrtle branches, the four species used in the Sukkot blessings.

A man drags sechach into his home in the Old City. Photo: Michelle Baruch

Sukkot is a joyous holiday which commemorates the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. Our ancestors wandered in the desert for 40 years before reaching the Land of Israel. During this time a Jews lived in small tent or hut called a "sukkah." As described in the Torah, we are commanded to hold a week-long festival and also build sukkahs and live in them. "Living" means at the very least eating in the sukkah, although some people sleep in them as well, weather permitting.In Israel, preparations begin in advance with temporary stands springing up to sell sukkah material. Signs are seen throughout Israel advertising sukkah building material. The material must be predominantly made of all natural material, but today, the frames are often made of light metal.Stores in Israel sell sukkah material including skach, the material used for the roof, which must be of natural earth-bound material. The sechach is usually made of either bamboo which can be seen rolled up in long green bags, or palm leaves.At the Western Wall, during the Birkat HaKohanim ceremony, the priestly blessing, there was singing, dancing and praying. The priestly blessing is performed by anyone who's father is a kohain, or priest, meaning hundreds of thousands of normal Jerwish people. The mass priestly blessing ceremony is held at the Western Wall on Sukkot and Passover. The atmosphere was one of happiness. The crowd was tightly packed. People lined the streets and steps leading to the Western Wall with cameras taking photos, with tzedaka boxes asking for donations for charity causes, and passing out election flyers for the upcoming vote for mayor. All candidates were represented by activists with flyers.
All photos by Ben Bresky unless otherwise noted
by Ben Bresky
As in the days of Noah....

ISRAEL:Thousands attend priestly blessing

Thousands of Jews participated in the priestly blessing, or Birkat Cohanim, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Thursday.The Cohanim, believed to be descendants of priests who served God in the first and second Jewish Temple before they were destroyed, perform a blessing ceremony of the Jewish people once a year during the festival of Sukkot.The blessing originally appears in the fourth book of the Torah, Numbers, and is comprised of three phrases. It is therefore also known as the "Triple Blessing."The blessing is also the most ancient biblical text found on archaeological artifacts: Lucky charms and cameos bearing the three phrases were found in graves in the Valley of Hinom outside Jerusalem's old city (the Hebrew word for hell, Gehinom, literally means "the Valley of Hinom").The cameos, dating back to the First Temple period, are displayed in the Israel Museum.The blessing is recited by the Cohanim in synagogues in Israel every morning, while abroad it is only given on festivals.
As in the days of Noah....

Egypt: Sunni scholars sanction 'electronic Jihad'

Cairo--Attacking American and Israeli websites by hacking and sabotage is allowed under Islamic law and is a form of 'Jihad' or holy war, top Muslim scholars have decreed. The religious edict (fatwa) issued by a committee from the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Egypt's Al-Azhar University in Cairo, was published on the website of the Islamist Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement on Thursday."This is considered a type of lawful Jihad that helps Islam by paralysing the information systems used by our enemies for their evil aims," said the fatwa."This Jihad is not different from the armed one. In fact, it might be more important if you consider the global dimensions of the Internet. "Whoever wins this war will become the strongest in the realm of information,"the fatwa continued. The Muslim Brotherhood praised the fatwa, which comes in response to dozens of questions from radicals asking to be allowed to destroy Israeli and United States websites.Last week, the news website of Dubai-based Arabic TV network al-Arabiya was attacked by suspected Shia hackers, who posted a burning Israeli flag to the site.Beneath the flag, a message in Arabic and English read: 'Serious Warning - if attacks on Shia websites continue, none of your websites will be safe.'
As in the days of Noah....

Saudi Arabia: Foreign worker beheaded in death sentence execution

Riyadh--A Filipino worker was beheaded by sword on Tuesday in the coastal city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia after he was found guilty of killing a Saudi citizen in the Islamic holy city of Mecca by suffocating the man and piercing his neck with a pen.The worker, Jenifer Bidoya, also known as Venancio Ladion, was found guilty by Saudi Arabia's highest court, the Supreme Judicial Council.The first sentence was issued in April 2007 by a Sharia (Islamic) law court in Jeddah.The execution was carried out despite appeals by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo to Saudi's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.The family of the victim also refused to forgive Bidoya. Sharia law has both public and private liability, thus even if the king would have pardoned Bidoya, the family's insistence on carrying out the execution means it had to be carried out.Authorities also said that a Saudi man, Fahd al-Shadoukhey, was beheaded on Tuesday after being convicted of theft and rape while under the influence of alcohol. There are hundreds of thousands of Filipinos that work in Saudi Arabia, one of the first countries to accept immigrant workers from Manila in the 1970's.The execution comes amid reports by rights group Amnesty International claiming that the number of executions in the kingdom has sharply increased and that a disproportionate number are foreigners from Asian and African countries..AI says the way in which the death penalty is imposed is unfair, secretive and harsh.
As in the days of Noah....

43 killed in Sri Lanka fighting

COLOMBO-Heavy fighting broke out across Sri Lanka's northern area of Kilinochchi, leaving 37 Tamil Tiger rebels and six soldiers dead, the defence ministry said Wednesday.It said 34 rebels and 25 soldiers were also wounded in the fierce fighting that took place on several fronts on Tuesday.The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are battling a government push to dismantle their northern mini-state, did not comment on the military casualty claims.Sri Lankan troops say they are just two kilometres (1.2 miles) from Kilinochchi, which has been the LTTE's administration centre for the past decade.Troops have killed 7,553 rebels since Sri Lanka pulled out of a Norwegian-backed truce in January, while 748 soldiers died in combat, according to a defence ministry toll. The figures cannot be independently verified.

As in the days of Noah....

German guilty of aiding Libya with nukes

A German engineer was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison Thursday after being convicted of supplying Libya with sensitive technology to use in its abandoned nuclear weapons program.Judge Juergen Niemeyer said Gotthard Lerch, 65, broke German export and weapons laws by getting uranium-enriching equipment - parts for a centrifuge system - to Libya between 1999 and 2003 despite knowing the North African nation was trying to build nuclear weapons."Libya was a good distance away from the final stages of an atomic weapon," Niemeyer said of Libya's atomic program when Lerch provided the country with illegal nuclear secrets.The charges carried a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but prosecutors had recommended Lerch serve six years because he admitted some involvement to the court.Federal prosecutor Wolfgang Siegmund said Lerch "made highly exclusive special knowledge available" to the Libyans for a price of €3.5 million (US$4.7 million).The Stuttgart state court said in a statement that Lerch "admitted having supported the production of ... piping systems for a gas ultra centrifuge facility in South Africa." It added that the International Atomic Energy Agency says the facility was meant for Libya's program.Prosecutors also accused him of playing a key role in the black market nuclear information network led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. Lerch did not address a potential connection to Khan in his admission to the court.Lerch originally went on trial in 2006, but a lower state court in Mannheim ended those proceedings, saying that prosecutors and investigators possessed documents "about which the court knew nothing," raising doubts about whether the trial could proceed fairly.Prosecutors have said Khan gave Lerch and other trusted contacts who had helped Pakistan's nuclear program the task of delivering the nuclear-related equipment to Libya. In early 2004, Khan was found to have sold sensitive technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.Lerch was arrested in Switzerland in 2004 and extradited to Germany in 2005.Lerch has already spent 21 months in investigative custody, a common practice in Germany in security-sensitive cases. Because of this, the court on Thursday reduced the length of the sentence he will need to serve by an additional 12 months. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017556093&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
As in the days of Noah...

Terror Training in Somalia

Philippines says kills 13 rebels in air strikes

MANILA-At least 13 Muslim guerrillas were killed Thursday when Philippine aircraft dropped bombs on a fortified rebel position in a southern marshland, an army spokesman said.Major Randolph Cabangbang said dozens of rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were also wounded when soldiers called in an air strike to flush out guerrillas hiding behind thick concrete bunkers and trenches in the Datu Piang area."Bombs were dropped from planes and rockets were fired from helicopters to soften the ground," Cabangbang said, adding the air strikes helped ground troops take the rebel position without much resistance."We did not lose any soldier in the attack, but we were told the rebels suffered heavy casualties. Based on our intelligence, 13 were killed and 30 were wounded in the attack."Colonel Marlou Salazar, a brigade commander in Maguindanao province, said the rebels have been using a network of concrete irrigation canals as trenches and foxholes."They were also digging bomb shelters under some concrete houses in a number of abandoned communities," he told reporters, adding about 60 rebels were in the area where planes dropped 500-pound bombs.Nearly 300 people have been killed in two months of fighting between security forces and renegades from the largest Muslim rebel group in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic state. The fighting has displaced more than 500,00 people.Violence erupted in mid-August after the country's high court stopped the signing of an agreement between the government and the MILF expanding an existing Muslim autonomous region and granting it wider political, social and economic powers.Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled to strike down the deal as unconstitutional, making it more difficult for the two sides to return to peace talks.
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JIHAD WATCH:Bomber targets Pakistan police

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:Just married and determined to die

"I take each step carefully because I know I am going to sacrifice myself "
Umm Anas
Paul Woods interviews would-be suicide bomber Umm Anas
There is a ceasefire in Gaza, but the BBC has found evidence of militant groups preparing for a return to violence. One group, Islamic Jihad, is training female suicide bombers.Middle East correspondent Paul Wood went to meet a Palestinian woman who has volunteered.....
The young, veiled woman was sitting quiet and still as the room bustled around her.The black flag of Islamic Jihad was pinned on the wall behind her and two Kalashnikovs were carefully placed in camera shot.Her husband, an Islamic Jihad fighter himself, tied on her "martyr's" headband.Umm Anas - not her real name - had just graduated from a programme to train female suicide bombers in Gaza.Our meeting was a highly-orchestrated propaganda event laid on by Islamic Jihad. It was almost theatre - and certainly Israel accuses the Palestinian leadership of manipulating young women like 18-year-old Umm Anas.Yet, although she nervously twisted her wedding ring, Umm Anas did not appear to be a cipher.She was articulate - more so than the men staging the event - and she knew her own mind.
Secret ambition
When she spoke of becoming a suicide bomber, Umm Anas's voice was strong and steady: "This is a gift from God."We were created to become martyrs for God," she continued, her eyes burning behind the full face veil."All the Palestinian people were created to fight in God's name. If we just throw stones at the Jews they get scared. Imagine what happens when body parts fly at them."The bomb belt which she hopes will end her life - and kill many Israelis - rested on the table next to us.Her main motivation in becoming a suicide bomber appears to be religious rather than nationalistic - the fulfilment of a long-held ambition. Even getting married recently hadn't changed her mind."When my husband married me, he knew my way of thinking. He knew exactly who I am and based on this he decided to marry me. Marriage doesn't give me a second's doubt."I asked if that would alter if she became pregnant."I would wait until I delivered the baby," she said. "I would give him to my parents and ask them to look after him... Then I would leave them and the baby would remain behind as a piece of me."Her parents, brothers and sisters did not know."Martyrs - male or female - have to work in secret. No one can know about it. We have to be careful not to give our parents any sign of what we are about to do."Sometimes, maybe, they can tell and see on your face the signs of martyrdom. They are suspicious but they don't know for certain."
Ready for death
Umm Anas thinks she knows the manner of her death, but she doesn't know the timing.She is waiting for the collapse of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic movement which rules Gaza.Islamic Jihad accepted the ceasefire, but accuses Israel of readying for another large incursion into Gaza.Israel meanwhile accuses militant groups of using the pause to refit and rearm."There is a clear Zionist decision and trend to end and break the lull," said an Islamic Jihad spokesman last month.This, says the organisation, is why it has been running its secret training programme for female suicide bombers. They want to be ready. Trainees are being prepared to attack invading Israeli soldiers. But would Umm Anas be ready to walk into a restaurant full of civilians, too, and blow herself up?"Israeli soldiers, of course... are the easier target when they come here, but I would kill civilians too because both civilians and soldiers took our land."But wouldn't she have any difficulty killing people not holding a gun? Wouldn't she feel pity for women and children?"It is not important because all of them have violated our land. Children are civilians, but they grow up to become soldiers... They are all brought up to hate us. Palestine is only for Palestinians. We must kick them all out in any way we can."
Propaganda of fear
The use of Palestinian women as suicide bombers was once thought of as immodest - and therefore un-Islamic - but that changed, the militant groups say, because of shortage of male candidates and because women were better able to get close to their targets.That's the official explanation, but female bombers also have much greater propaganda impact.Their participation in suicide attacks was made possible by religious rulings in Gaza.Chairman of the Muslim Scholars Association Marwan Abu Ras told the BBC there were many precedents in Islamic history for women joining military operations."We do not encourage death," he said. "Islam prohibits you from harming yourself, even to cause a small cut in your finger, but now we are fighting a war of resistance."If one nation violates another nation's land, it is the obligation of everyone - men, women, and children - to fight back."Finally, I asked Umm Anas if she was ever able to put out of her mind what she was about to do."I never stop thinking of this," she said."I take each step carefully because I know I am going to sacrifice myself. Martyrs must pray all the time. They must fast."There are many duties to perform before we are ready to face God. I am trying not to make any mistakes so that I do not miss this opportunity."
PS:This is what we are up against in these evil last days....These poor people are beyond crazy...They are so brainwashed by HATRED that they think they are rendering a service to their god when they are killing even innocent children....
As in the days of Noah....

Saudi hosts Taliban talks to bolster Pakistan

RIYADH-Saudi Arabia is mediating between Taliban and Afghan officials to prevent its ally Pakistan from sliding into Islamist violence and to wean the Taliban away from al Qaeda, diplomats said on Wednesday.They said Saudi Arabia is worried that Islamist forces including the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies are succeeding in destabilizing neighboring Pakistan, a crucial U.S. and Saudi ally where the Islamist militant groups are also present.Taliban and Afghan officials attended an iftar, or breaking of the fast during the holy month of Ramadan, in the holy city of Mecca last month in the presence of King Abdullah.Both Afghan parties have denied the meeting amounted to reconciliation talks, but Riyadh-based diplomats and a well-placed Saudi analyst said Riyadh was hoping to break the Taliban's link to al Qaeda for fear of Pakistan's future."They want to help because Pakistan is frightening. They fear what could happen in Pakistan. This (mediation) is to stabilize Pakistan," said one diplomat privy to details of the Mecca talks who spoke on condition of anonymity.The Saudi mediation effort followed U.S. and British statements encouraging dialogue with the Taliban.U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States would be prepared to reconcile with the Taliban if the Afghan government pursued talks to end the conflict in Afghanistan.Britain's military commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, and the top U.N. official in the country have said the war in Afghanistan cannot be won militarily, and that talks with the Taliban will be crucial to ending the conflict.
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TERROR WATCH:Al Qaeda in Iraq's No.2.Dead

China watches over internet café customers in web crackdown

All visitors to internet cafés in Beijing are to be required to have their photographs taken in a stringent new control on the public use of cyberspace. Hopes that the Olympic Games would usher in a relaxed approach to the internet had already been hit hard when the “Great Firewall of China”-the blocking of websites deemed subversive-was reimposed not long after foreign reporters left the country.The temporary lifting of the firewall applied to only a few sites and Chinese citizens experienced few changes.According to the latest rules, by mid-December all internet cafés in the main 14 city districts must install cameras to record the identities of their web surfers, who must by law be 18 or over. There are more than 250 million internet users in China, approximately ten times more than there were in 2000.It has been several years since internet cafés were required to register users to ensure that customers were not under-age.All photographs and scanned identity cards will be entered into a city-wide database run by the Cultural Law Enforcement Taskforce. The details will be available in any internet café.At the Mingluo internet café in the Dongcheng district about 60 people were ensconced in front of terminals. Most were chatting online or watching films. The manager affected a lack of concern about the regulation, saying that he had introduced the policy a month ago. “I think most people don't mind. We explain to them that this will not have any impact on them,” he said.The Times searched for online comments on the rules but was unable to find any-often a sign that most commentary has been critical and has therefore been erased.However, a survey by the internet version of the People's Daily showed that 72 per cent of respondents were opposed to the measure, calling it an infringement of their rights. Just over 26 per cent supported the photographing because it would benefit children.Today is the expiry date on one of the concessions to the greater freedom that came with the Olympics: permission for foreign reporters to travel the country unhindered. China had promised complete media freedom when it applied to host the Games.While its propaganda mandarins issued a 21-point directive limiting the domestic media, officials lifted restrictions on travelling and reporting by foreign journalists.
The authorities indicated that some freedoms could be maintained. Qin Gang, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said: “The Chinese Government will continue to follow the opening-up policy and to facilitate the work of foreign media and journalists in China.”Sophie Richardson, of Human Rights Watch Asia, said that keeping the regulations and extending them to Chinese journalists “would be one of the most important legacies of the Games”.
Watching the media
— The Foreign Correspondents' Club says authorities interfered with reporters more than 335 times since January 1 last year
— Police beat the ITN reporter John Ray at a Tibet protest near Beijing's main Olympic zone this August
— Zhang Jianhong, former editor-in-chief of the banned literary website Aegean Sea, was jailed for six years in March 2007 for “inciting subversion”
— Police arrested the web dissident Du Daobin in July for violating probation, after his 2004 jailing
— More than 18,000 blogs and websites were shut from April to September 2007
— In late May 2008 media ordered to reduce coverage of collapsed schools in the earthquake zone that killed thousands of pupils
Sources: http://www.hrw.org/; http://www.pen.org/; Times archives
By Jane Macartney in Beijing
As in the days of Noah...

Pakistan's Zardari looks to China for support

BEIJING-Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari reached trade deals with China on Wednesday, raising hopes that Beijing would help his country through difficult economic and diplomatic times.Chinese President Hu Jintao and Zardari oversaw the signing of 11 agreements on trade and economic cooperation, agriculture, mining and other areas, but it was unclear whether they included any concessional loans or nuclear cooperation deals.The Financial Times reported that the Pakistani president was seeking $500 million or more in soft loans from its neighbor as it grapples to stem a looming balance of payments crisis. Zardari is wooing Beijing at a time when his country's relations with the United States are strained after U.S. forces in Afghanistan carried out cross-border air raids and at least one ground assault on al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan.Washington also recently sealed a civilian nuclear deal with India that riled Pakistan. Both New Delhi and Islamabad have developed nuclear weapons to counter each other, but Washington has ruled out a similar deal for Islamabad.Zardari, on his first visit to China as president, made clear commercial ties with Chinese companies were foremost on the Pakistani delegation's agenda, according to Xinhua news agency."I chose China as my first country to visit to say to Chinese companies that I will provide favorable treatment to you," Xinhua quoted Zardari as saying.Hu told the Pakistani leader that his country "attaches high importance to the China-Pakistan relationship and has always made the development of the relationship as one of China's diplomatic priorities," state television reported.
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