MI5 is seeking to identify a British Muslim who has appeared in an al-Qaeda suicide video, released on the internet, in the first such case since the July 7 bombings.
The video features a man identified only as “Musa the British” who is seen wearing an Afghan-style hat and reading a prayer book. He is sitting crossed legged on the floor against white-washed walls, wearing glasses and holding a set of prayer beads The script at the top of the screen reads: “May Allah have mercy on him, indicating that he has died, although there is nothing to show whether he was shot or launched a suicide attack.
One source told The Daily Telegraph the number of Britons in the tribal areas of Pakistan continues to be a concern because the al-Qaeda leadership based there is a “source of terrorist planning and when Brits are involved it would seem logical to assume that the focus of such planning could be the UK.”
The latest video is designed as a recruitment video for suicide bombers and militants, featuring image after image of dead fighters, accompanied by a song glorifying their activities, that can be watched on a mobile phone . . . released in the last few days with English subtitles which identify one of the martyrs for the first time as “Musa the British.”
The video is accompanied by a nasheed [Islamic song] in urdu, suggesting it was made in Pakistan. It opens with a clip of “Yusuf al-Kuwaiti” driving himself to a suicide bomb attack in Iraq, accompanied by an imperfect English translation that reads: “Right now I am feeling such a felicity in my heart that it can’t be understood by anyone except Allah. I make duaa [supplication] to Allah to grant me steadfastness until I meet him drenched in blood.” The song, which is unaccompanied in traditional Islamic style, is translated in subtitles that read: “In our lifetime we longed for this one desire, our chests be adorned only with bullets."
Neil Doyle, an expert in extremist videos, said: “These images are of people who have laid down their lives for their religion, They de-sensitise the viewer to death and make the direct proposition: ‘What are you going to do?’”
'Gunmen kill Pakistan minority affairs minister in Islamabad Wednesday, police and a hospital doctor said, after the Christian politician had complained of death threats.
'Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, had been a vocal opponent of Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law.
'His death comes two months after the governor of Punjab province, who also campaigned against the law, was assassinated.
'Unknown assailants sprayed bullets on Bhatti's car in a residential district of the Pakistani capital before fleeing, police official Abdul Majid told AFP.
'He was dead on arrival at Islamabad's Shifa hospital, doctor Azmatullah Qureshi said.
'The murder comes after the January assassination of liberal Punjab governor Salman Taseer by one of his own bodyguards.
'Bhatti had said he too had been threatened over his opposition to the blasphemy law.
'Pakistan's law against blaspheming Islam carries the death penalty.
It is not only "Pakistan's law". This is the standard sharia punishment for 'blasphemy'. Nonie Darwish, apostate from Islam, in her book on sharia, 'Cruel and Usual Punishment', p. 150, states: "Criticism is Blasphemy, Punishable by Death. Mohammed himself ordered the killing of those who criticised him, so that became the law of Sharia for blasphemy. Blasphemy, criticising or defaming Islam or the Prophet, is punishable by death in all the different Sharia schools, no exception. The problem is that the word 'criticism' is not defined. So, anybody can claim anything as criticism...Blasphemy is virtually an act that makes a believer an unbeliever. In Shafi'i law there are 442 acts in section w.52 that are classified as "Enormity"...Sharia law against criticising or defaming of Islam - which is 'blasphemy - which therefore amounts to apostasy - is deserving of death. This includes the following Shafi'i law numbers: 0.8. (7) - to deny any verse of the Qur'an, 0.8 (19), 'to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred law, 0.8 (20), to deny that Allah intended the Prophet's message to be the religion followed by the entire world". - CM.
'While no-one has ever been sent to the gallows for the crime, activists say the law is used to exploit others out of personal enmity or business disputes."
'Activists say it is used...'. No, AFP, it really is used in that way, over and over: to destroy others, especially those who are not Muslim.
AFP neglects to tell us that although no-one has been formally executed - yet - quite a few people, accused of 'blasphemy', have been killed by Muslim vigilantes. - CM
Christian Students Attacked by Muslim Mob in Ethiopia
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February 26, a Muslim mob assaulted and wounded 17 Christian college students (from Meda Welabu University )on a mission trip in Oma village, Ethiopia.
After the students started to distribute Bibles and speak with the Muslims, one of the villagers angrily argued with them, inciting a mob to attack the students. The Muslims shouted Allah Akbar (God is great) as they hurled stones at the Christians and beat them with rods.
The mob overwhelmed the government militia who attempted to protect the students. When the Christians fled the village, the mob unsuccessfully attempted to set fire to their car.
Speaking with ICC, one of the victims who wanted to remain anonymous said, “We thank God that no one was killed. It’s sad that we suffered the attacks despite the Ethiopian laws which say there is freedom of religion and equality in the country.” Ethiopia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
According to the 2007 National Census, Christians make up 62.8% of Ethiopia’s population and Muslims make up 33.9% of the population. “We are alarmed by the spike in attacks against Christians in Muslim majority areas of Ethiopia. We urge Ethiopian authorities to investigate this latest attack and prevent similar attacks from occurring in the future,” said ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho.
Timmerman: The Nineveh Plain as a Christian Enclave and possible Iraq PM Al-Maliki Dawa Party Involvement in Baghdad Christian Massacre
Kenneth Timmerman in Erbil, Northern Iraq
In our NER interview with Ken Timmerman, Newsmax.com columnist, foreign correspondent and champion of Assyrian minority Christians in sectarian-torn Iraq, he noted the necessity of an enclave for this besieged Christian minority on the Plains of Nineveh. He also pointed out the involvement of Iraqi PM al-Maliki’s Dawa poltical party in the October 31, 2010 massacre of Assyrians at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.
Timmerman has an opinion piece in today’s Washington Times, “Iraqi Christians to Congress: Please help” on the Plains of Nineveh enclave proposal and a NewsMax.com article on the involvement of the al-Maliki security forces in the Baghdad Assyrian church massacre. In our view this is a palpable example of Islamic Jihad against an ancient Christian indigenous people in the Middle East.
Note his comments on the necessity of establishing a Christian Plains of Nineveh enclave:
Since the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq, roughly two-thirds of the pre-war Christian population of 1.5 million has fled Iraq.
[. . .]
The near extermination of Iraqi Christians has been an unintended consequence of the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq in 2003. There is still time - but not much - to make it right. The creation of an autonomous province in the Nineveh Plain, free of Kurdish domination, is the last best hope for preventing the mass exodus of the remaining Christians from Iraq.
[. . .]
But now Christians face a more pernicious threat - gradual extinction thanks to day-to-day harassment from the Kurdish occupation forces in the Nineveh Plain, where corruption, a lack of development funds and the continued political stalemate have led many Christians to flee the country for exile abroad.
"Christians are like the meat in the sandwich between Arabs and Kurds," the mayor of Tel Keif, once the largest Christian town in the Nineveh Plain, told me during a recent interview at his home in northern Iraq.
Although the Nineveh Plain falls under the authority of the Nineveh governorate, headquartered in nearby Mosul and run by Sunni Arabs, since 2003 it has been controlled by militia forces loyal to the Kurdish Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, who also is president of the Kurdish regional government.
The Kurds moved into the Christian heartland during the chaotic weeks after the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq in 2003, claiming that their militias alone could provide security for the Christians and other minorities living in the area.
And while the Kurds have provided some respite from Jihadi attacks in the Nineveh Plain, their protection has come at a cost.
"We are not free," Tel Keif Mayor Basim Bello says. "Tomorrow at the checkpoint, the Kurdish security forces will ask me why I was meeting with you and what I told you."
[. . .]
Top officials in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) acknowledged that the security forces "were not angels," but insisted that the KRG had "no official policy of discrimination" against Christians - and indeed, was the only Muslim-majority government in the region to allow Christians to freely practice their religion.
All Christian political leaders I met with during a recent fact-finding mission - including some who previously had favored the Kurdish occupation - believe the time for Kurdish protection and political domination is over.
"This is our biggest demand," Mr. Bello said. "Get [KRG President Massoud] Barzani to withdraw his troops and as-Sayeesh forces from our area. We want to be a green line between the Arabs and the Kurds."
The main Christian political parties in Iraq have formed a "minorities council" along with representatives of the Yazidi and Shabak communities and officially have demanded that the Nineveh Plain be allowed to form a separate province, or governorate, under the terms of the Iraqi constitution.
Here are his disturbing revelations about a US backed government in Iraq that in his view and ours requires a congressional investigation.
Iraqi bloggers and even some politicians have openly accused the Iraqi government for its handling of the Oct. 31 attack.
They point out that the terrorists brought explosives and weapons to the church in cars with dark-tinted windows and no license plates that are only available to officials with high-level security clearance. This allowed them to get waved through checkpoints without being stopped.
They also point to the slow reaction of the security forces, and the botched handling of the rescue attempt itself. It still remains unclear how many of the victims were killed or wounded by the Iraqi rescue team, who opened fire wildly once they burst into the church.
A senior officer in the Iraqi police, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that for the 10 days prior to the attack that the Interior Ministry security forces gradually moved barriers closer to the church, until the terrorists could drive right up in front.
Dr. Duraid Tobiya, who heads the Mosul section of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, the largest Christian political party in Iraq, told Newsmax, “I can’t accuse the government directly because I haven’t seen the evidence. But this is what we have heard from survivors and from eyewitnesses who talked to people who were inside.”
Duraid and other secular Christian leaders interviewed in northern Iraq recently believe that the Shiite Dawa party of Prime Minister Nour al-Malaki, which controls the Interior Ministry forces, was complicit in the attack, and that the Iraqi police has become the instrument of the ruling party, not the state.
He pointed out that right after the church massacre, the Baghdad city council, which is also controlled by the Dawa party, passed new laws banning liquor stores, night clubs, and educational associations run by Christians. “Even the universities in Baghdad imposed new dress codes on students and separated classes by sex, like the Taliban.”
[. . .]
The Obama administration has praised the Iraqi government for its handling of the investigation.
“Al-Qaida threatened to attack churches, there was a church attack, and then al-Qaida claimed responsibility,” a senior administration official told Newsmax. “I simply do not believe Maliki or his forces, for all their ills, did this.”
“The U.S. has seen no evidence that the government of Iraq was complicit in the attack on the church. To the contrary, the Iraqi government has universally condemned the attack on the church as well as attacks on Christians and members of all faiths,” a State Department official said.
For Nina Shea, who tracks the persecution of Iraqi Christians and other minorities as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), one thing is clear: “Terrorists have been able to wage ruthless attacks against Iraq’s Christian communities with impunity.”
Despite repeated calls to better protect houses of Christian worship and other community gathering places, “the Iraqi government has failed to protect this defenseless minority and has failed to provide them with the minimum of justice in the wake of horrific assaults that by now constitute a religious cleansing of historic significance,” she told Newsmax.
USCIRF first designated Iraq as a “country of particular concern” in 2008 because of the inability or refusal of the Malaki government to prevent wave after wave of attack against Iraqi Christians.
Countries of Particular Concern are those that USCIRF finds “that commit systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” according to the Commission’s website.
Only 12 countries in addition to Iraq met those criteria in 2010: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Perhaps this indolent attitude of the US Administration white washing the al –Maliki investigation on the Our Lady of Salvation Baghdad massacre is simply the latest evidence of what Timmerman’s tag-line in our NER interview with says: “Obama like radical Islamic Rule”. Iraq is a classic example of the Jihadi credo “first the Saturday people (Iraqi Jews forced out via pogroms in the 1940-1950’s) then the Sunday people (Assyrian and other Christian minorities forced out in the 21st Century).
Forty-two foreign-policy experts and pro-democracy advocates wrote President Barack Obama on Friday, urging him to establish a no-fly zone in Libya and take other actions to prevent Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi from gunning down his own citizens.
The letter to Obama is the work of Foreign Policy Initiative, a nonprofit led in part by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. It promotes robust efforts to advance U.S. interests abroad.
The correspondence reminds Obama of his 2009 declaration upon receiving the Nobel Prize that “Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later.”
The letter also warns the president that the Gadhafi regime’s willingness to open fire on its own citizens could lead to “a moral and humanitarian catastrophe.”
Failing to act, say the experts, could “cast doubt on the commitment of the United States and Europe to basic principles of human rights and freedoms.”
Among the steps that the Foreign Policy Initiative urges the United States and NATO implement:
Action in Libyan airspace to present the “continued use of fighter jets and helicopter gunships against civilians.”
Relocating naval vessels into Libyan waters to aid in evacuations, and to disable any Libyan vessels that are used to attack civilians.
A freeze on all Libyan government funds held in the United State and Europe.
A temporary halt to the importation of all Libyan oil to the United States and Europe.
A warning to Gadhafi and other Libyan officials that anyone involved in massacres of civilians will be tried under international law.
Humanitarian relief for the Libyan people.
The 42 signatories to the letter include Kristol, historian and foreign-policy expert Robert Kagan, Middle Eastern studies senior fellow Elliott Abrams, Fox News commentator and former Defense Department spokesman Dan Senor, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
Nina Shea of USCIRF on "Pakistan Hero Slain for Reform Efforts"
Shahbiz Bhatti Assassinated
Christian Pakistani Cabinet Minister
Nina Shea, a Senior member of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, DC and a Commissioner of the Congressionly -chartered U.S. Commission on International religious Freedom had a post at the NRO Corner, Pakistan Hero Slain for Reform Efforts. She discussed her recollections of meeting Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian and Pakistan’s minister of minority affairs. Bhatti was gunned down today by jihadi assassins. Bhatti, as Shea points out was the first USCIRF awardee of their medallion for religious freedom. This is the latest example of Jihadist assassinations in Pakistan triggered by fundamentalist demands for compliance with death fatwas under Sharia and blasphemy laws adopted in Pakistan putting all minority heterdox Muslims and non-Muslims, especially in the country's Christian communities, in jeopardy. Bhatti had opposed these laws, alas, to his own peril.
Shea writes about Bhatti:
He had waged a strong campaign — inside the government as a minister and outside it in cooperation with human-rights groups — for the repeal of the country’s draconian blasphemy law, which mandates the death penalty for insulting Islam. The 42-year-old was a Roman Catholic, the government’s only Christian minister, and the longtime head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, a non-governmental organization promoting national unity, interfaith harmony, social justice, and human equality. Bhatti’s death comes two months after the assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, another opponent of the blasphemy law.
According to Reuters, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for Bhatti’s killing. Additionally, the AP reports that Bhatti left a video-taped message with news agencies to be broadcast after his death in which he says that threats by al-Qaeda and the Taliban would not change his views or stop him from speaking out for “oppressed and marginalized persecuted Christians and other minorities” in Pakistan.
I had the privilege of knowing and working with Shahbaz Bhatti. In September 2009, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom invited him to Washington so that chairman Leonard Leo could present to him the commission’s first religious freedom medallion. At that time, Bhatti vowed again to reform the blasphemy law: “They are using this law to victimize minorities as well as Muslims of Pakistan. This law is creating disharmony and intolerance in our society.”
Death threats were a constant in Bhatti’s life for many years. He once told me that he had never married because he did not think it would be fair to a wife and children to subject them to this concern. His work was his life: At the end of each day, he left his government Cabinet office and headed over to his office at the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, where he continued to help Pakistan ’s persecuted minorities until late into the night.
“I personally stand for religious freedom, even if I will pay the price of my life,” he had said when he received the USCIRF award. “I live for this principle and I want to die for this principle.”
Pakistan’s blasphemy law stands in the way of other key reforms and secures the place within society of an ever-radicalizing political Islam. What happened today to Shahbaz Bhatti is tragic and, to Pakistan , even more horrifying.
Near Tennessee Capitol, faith leaders call for stop to anti-Shariah bill
I'm extremely heartened by the comments on this article. People are calling for The Tennessean to declare whether they are for Shariah law or not and are showing a much greater knowledge of Islam than used to be the case. Bob Smietana writes:
Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney for the Council of American-Isamic Relations, speaks at an interfaith rally at the Legislative Plaza. CAIR is asking Sen. Bill Ketron to withdraw a bill that criminalizes the support of Shariah law, which is an Islamic code of conduct. / LARRY MCCORMACK / THE TENNESSEAN
Local Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders gathered near the Tennessee Capitol on Tuesday to ask that an anti-Shariah law be withdrawn from consideration by the state legislature.
If passed, they fear, the law would make it illegal to be Muslim in Tennessee, although the bill's supporters say it specifically targets groups that support terrorism.
"All of a sudden, I pray using the Koran or the Sunnas of the Prophet, and it's a crime," said Imam Yusuf Abdullah of Masjid Al-Islam in Nashville. "What kind of bill is that?"
But Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said Muslims have nothing to fear from the bill he introduced in the state Senate because it targets terrorism, not religion.
"There are different arms of Shariah, and the arm in my bill has nothing to do with their religious practices," he told the Daily News Journal. "I am a strong constitutionalist, and I believe in the right to worship."
The bill exempts the peaceful practice of Islam. But it also claims that Shariah law requires its followers to support overthrowing the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions and governments.
"The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities constitutes a conspiracy to further the legal, political and military doctrine and system which embraces the law of jihad," the law reads.
That raises concerns, said Jim Blumstein, a constitutional law scholar at Vanderbilt University. Laws can ban crimes, he said. But banning religious beliefs or practices is another matter.
Mr. Blum should be reminded of the many "beliefs and practices that have already been outlawed - polygamy, snake handling, and imbibing peyote in religious rituals.
"A law that is focused on anti-social conduct should be taken seriously and examined," he said. "A law that equates religious exercise with anti-social conduct is very problematic."
The religious beliefs which cause the anti-social behavior is "problematic."
Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, cited a section that labels all rulings from Shariah authorities as supporting violence. That section, he said, would make it illegal to be Muslim in Tennessee.
Abbas doesn't believe the bill will become law. If it passes and Gov. Bill Haslam signs it, his group will take legal action.
''We sue the moment that he signs it," Abbas said.
Threats like that might work elsewhere, but they won't work here.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a pro-Israel group, disagrees with the bill's critics.
She said that it targets belief in Shariah only if it motivates a planned terrorist act.
She points to the case of Abdul Hakim Muhammad, a convert to Islam who tried to firebomb the house of a Nashville rabbi in 2009. Muhammad later killed an Army recruiter in Little Rock. He claimed his actions were inspired by Islam.
"We don't want to encourage that kind of teaching," she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee condemned the proposed bill on Tuesday. It would allow the state attorney general — whom the bill requires to identify criminal supporters of Shariah — to profile Muslims illegally, the group said. And it potentially could label nonviolent demonstrators as terrorists.
Muslims need to be profiled. See this map at IPT which shows all the indictments for terror-related activities in the US.
"Federal laws are already broad enough to reach anyone who poses a real threat or has even a remote connection to terrorism," ACLU state executive director Hedy Weinberg said in a written statement.
U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said the Department of Justice doesn't comment on pending legislation. But it does keep an eye on laws that could affect religion.
"The department is interested in scrutinizing any legislation that would impact anyone's right to worship," he said.
Rabbi Kliel Rose of West End Synagogue in Nashville spoke at Tuesday's event. He's concerned that the law targets religious beliefs and labels all Muslims as extremists.
"In all traditions there are people who completely misrepresent the tradition," he said.
Exactly what Islamic tradition is being misrepresented? Jihad is jihad and is well codified in the Islamic tradition.
"We see that in the Islamic community. We see that in the Jewish community and certainly in the Christian community. Does that mean they are true representatives of their faith?"
When was the last time you saw a Jewish suicide bomber?
Two US Air Force personnel have been killed after a gunman fired on a bus outside Frankfurt airport.Two other people are said to have been injured in the incident and police have reportedly arrested a 21-year-old suspect from Kosovo.
The troops killed and injured are U.S. Air Force airmen from Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom, the U.S. official said, emphasizing that the information was only preliminary. They were security forces on their way to a deployment, the source added without saying where they were heading. They were flying commercial, according to the source.
The shots were fired at a bus carrying US military, police have confirmed, but the motive for the attack was not immediately clear. Five letters begiining with J...?
A US military source told Sky News that crews travelling on buses at airports would not necessarily be armed. "Everything happened on board the bus," police spokesman Juergen Linker told news agency AFP. "The suspected gunman has been arrested. There are two dead and two seriously injured."
David Yerulshalmi is given the usual Mother Jones treatment by Tim Murphy.
In a 40-minute PowerPoint that's available on the organization's site, Yerushalmi explained the ins and outs of the sample legislation. His bills differ from the failed Oklahoma amendment in one key way: They don't mention Sharia. Instead, they focus more broadly on "foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines." As Yerushalmi explained in an interview with the nativist New English Review in December, the language is "facially neutral," thereby achieving the same result while "avoiding the sticky problems of our First Amendment jurisprudence."
And Yerushalmi is a the first Jewish Klan member...right.
BEIRUT – The crumbling of Moammar Gadhafi's regime could shed light on one of the most enduring mysteries in Lebanon: the fate of Moussa al-Sadr, a popular Shiite cleric who vanished 33 years ago during a trip to Libya.
Since the uprising began, members of Libya's opposition have broken a three-decade silence on the issue, with some saying the 82-year-old cleric is languishing in a Libyan prison.
But another account came from a regime insider, Maj. Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, after he turned against the regime last week.
He says he believes al-Sadr was killed on Gadhafi's orders and buried in the remote town of Sabha, in southern Libya.
Al-Sadr's wide Shiite following in Lebanon is hoping the truth will finally emerge as Gadhafi's grip on power weakens.
"After Gadhafi's stonewalling and lying for 33 years, there is at last a hope that the imam and his companions are freed, and that the truth emerges," Chibli Mallat, the al-Sadr family lawyer, told The Associated Press.
The charismatic al-Sadr was one of the pioneers of Shiite empowerment. In 1975, he founded Amal, the first major militia and political force for Lebanon's Shiites, who historically were under the thumb of Christians and Sunnis. His disappearance had fueled a deep animosity between Libya and the Lebanese government and has been a burning issue for Lebanon's 1.5 million strong Shiite community.
Shi'ites were under the thumb of Christians? I strongly doubt that. I strongly doubt that Sunnis, even with their vehement hatred for Shi'ites, would allow Christians to lord over Shi'ites. I think this is more of an attempt at tu quoque, to subtly insinuate that Christians are just as bad as Sunnis in mistreating Shi'ites, when in fact Christians in general would be mystified as to the difference between Sunnis and Shi'a.
An impressive figure — well over six feet (1.8 meters) tall — the Iranian-born cleric wore the black turban of a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and was a skilled orator, with an accent reflecting his Iranian past. Regarded as a moderate, he urged cooperation with other faiths.
In 1978, al-Sadr and two companions — Sheik Mohammed Yacoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine — flew to Tripoli for a week of talks with Libyan officials. They were never seen or heard from again.
The day he was last seen, on Aug. 31, 1978, is still marked annually in Lebanon.
Libya insists al-Sadr and his aides left on a flight to Rome at the end of their visit and suggests the imam fell victim to an inter-Shiite power struggle.
Many Lebanese believe Gadhafi ordered the three Shiites killed after a feud over money stemming from the Libyan leader's funding of militias during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. Some — including in his family — cling to hope that he remains alive, in prison. Al-Sadr would be 82 years old now.
In August 2008, a Lebanese prosecutor indicted Gadhafi in absentia with "incitement to kidnap and withhold the freedom" of the imam. The trial has yet to begin.
Since the start of the Libyan uprising two weeks ago, fresh posters of al-Sadr have popped up across Shiite Muslim dominated areas of the country.
Al-Houni, a former member of the top leadership and Libya's ambassador to the Arab League until he broke with Gadhafi, gave his account in an interview he gave last week with the Arab daily Al-Hayat. He told the paper that his own brother-in-law, Nijmeddin al-Yazji, was the pilot of Gadhafi's private jet and that al-Yazji was killed soon after al-Sadr's disappearance.
"Family members say his assassination was related to al-Sadr, that he was the one tasked with transporting al-Sadr's body to be buried in Sabha ... and that's what pushed Libyan agencies to kill (al-Yazji) to hide the crime," al-Houni said. He could not be reached to elaborate.
But Hassan Yacoub, a Lebanese politician and son of Sheik Mohammed Yacoub who went missing with the cleric, said all the information he has received in the past 33 years indicate the three are still alive.
"We are very, very close to the end of the ordeal," he said.
Despite the years, al-Sadr is still seen here as a symbol for a Shiite community that in 40 years has gone from a downtrodden, impoverished sect to a major political player. Shiite empowerment is a force across the Middle East, spurred by the 1979 Islamic revolution in Shiite Iran and more recently by the rise to leadership of Iraq's majority Shiites after U.S. forces ousted Saddam Hussein and his Sunni Muslim-dominated regime.
The supposed summary of Iraq is, "U.S. forces ousted brutal dictator Saddam Hussein, and replaced him with democracy." In hindsight, a more accurate summary of Iraq is, "U.S. forces ousted the reigning Sunnis, and replaced them with Shi'ites." It was a goal not worth the life of a single U.S. soldier, or a single dollar from the U.S. Treasury.
Born in the Iranian holy city of Qom, al-Sadr came to Lebanon in 1959 to work for the rights of Shiites in the southern city of Tyre. In 1974, a year before Lebanon's 15-year civil war broke out, he founded the Movement of the Deprived, attracting thousands of followers.
In 1975, he founded Amal. It was the first popular movement for Shiites, who at the time were represented politically by feudal Shiite landowners who cared little for their peasant underlings.
Today, the Shiites are Lebanon's largest sect, with an estimated 1.2 million of the 4 million population, led by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, allied to Amal.
Who can predict all the possible consequences and outcomes of the turmoil in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia? Libyans are almost entirely Sunnis, but will the fall of Qadaffi result in Shi'a-on-Sunni violence in Lebanon? Will Libya end up fracturing along tribal lines, with the Al-Awagir, Al-Abaydat, Al-Zuwayya, and Al-Fawakhir (and others) of the east fighting the Warfalla, Awlad Busayf, and Al-Qaddadfa (and others) of the west?
What is clear is that the U.S. does not have a dog in this race, and we have no way of predicting the outcome of our intervention.
'Indian Ocean pirates have captured a yacht with seven Danes, including three children, aboard, and are sailing towards Somalia, the Danish foreign ministry says.
'The vessel, captured last Thursday, was carrying a Danish family of five, and two employees.
'The family left on a two-year round-the-world tour that was to have ended in mid-2011, according to a neighbour who spoke to Danish media.
'They had made stops in South America, the Caribbean, Fiji and Thailand, and had set sail two weeks earlier from the Maldives headed towards Africa.
I wonder whether someone in the Maldives tipped off the pirates that a fat, juicy, defenceless prize was heading their way? - CM.
'The children, two boys and a girl, are aged 12 to 16.
'"it's almost unbearable to know that children are involved, and I vigorously condemn the pirates", said Danish foreign minister Lene Espersen.
I suggest that besides condemning the Somali Muslim thugs who have captured a Danish family and propose to use them as bargaining chips to extort money, you proceed to prohibit any further entry of Somali Muslims into Denmark and, considering the fact that a sharia-pushing Somali Muslim with an axe attempted to kill Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, start removing from Denmark all Somali Muslims already present. - CM.
'Ms Espersen told Danish TV the government "does not negotiate with pirates", and declined to comment further on the case because it would not serve the interests of the hostages to have the situation publicised.
'"The hostage-takers also hear what is said on television in the countries the hostages come from and the episode could be dragged out if they start to discuss the details", she added.
'Ms Espersen said Danish authorities "are following this matter very closely" and will do anything in their power to help the family aboard and their relatives.
'A Danish warship that is part of NATO's Ocean Shield anti-piracy operation is reportedly in the region and is headed towards the scene. The Danish navy declined to comment on the reports.
Yes. Keep the bastards guessing, right up to the moment the boat drops out from under them and all hell breaks loose. I would bet that Danish naval commandos are more at home on water than teenage Somali Muslim pirate thugs. - CM.
'On February 22, Somali pirates killed (no, AFP - not 'killed' - MURDERED - CM) four Americans including a retired couple aboard their hijacked yacht'.
And some of those murderers were arrested alive, shown mercy that they did not deserve and that they certainly did not show to their captives. - CM.
Now for more details, in the AP version, as relayed by the Melbourne 'Age'.
I'm not so sure that they did. They do not seem to have been armed. - CM.
'A Danish couple on a round-the-world journey with their three children knew they were sailing in the world's most pirate-infested waters off East Africa. But they seemed to be brimming with confidence.
'On a blog in which they chronicled their voyage, they reported that they had drawn up a "pirate plan" in case of attack.
I hope they didn't go into any specifics; because there are plenty of Somali Muslims who have learned Danish, and might well be trawling the internet looking for potential victims. - CM.
'They sent daily position reports to naval authorities. They were comforted by the sight of anti-piracy patrol planes overhead. And they thought the vastness of the sea would protect them.
'Just days later, it became clear that their confidence was misplaced.
'Jan Quist Johansen, his wife Birgit Marie Johansen, and their sons, Rune and Hjalte, and daughter Najaf, ages 12 to 16, were captured by pirates on Thursday in the Indian Ocean. Two adult Danish crew members were also seized in the attack on the Johansens' 43 foot sailboat.
'A Somali pirate agent warned (the HIDE of him - to 'warn' - CM) on Tuesday that if any attempt is made to rescue them, they will meet the same fate as the four American yachties slain by their captors last week.
'The Danish government said it was doing "everything in our power" to help the hostages.
'But maritime experts said the Johansens had foolishly placed themselves in grave danger off Somalia's lawless (no, not 'lawless'; 'sharia-crazed', 'Islam-addled' - CM) coast, despite warnings from naval forces struggling to police the area against pirates.
'Per Gullet, head of Danish shipowner Clipper, said it was "totally insane" for a yacht to sail on its own into waters where much bigger commercial ships often travel in convoys and hire armed guards.
"They sailed right into the pirates' arms", said Gullet, whose company owns a cargo ship that was held by Somali pirates for more than two months in 2009.
'Somali pirates have rarely captured families and children (I suspect this is only because Infidel families and children rarely sail within their reach - CM), though a three-year-old boy was aboard a French yacht seized in 2009. He was rescued in a French commando raid that left two pirates and the boy's father dead.
'The Johansens also knew about the hijacking of the American yacht. It was not clear, however, if they knew about the Americans' deaths.
Not 'deaths'. Correction: "if they knew the Americans had been murdered by the pirates" - CM.
"Of course, we talked quite a lot about it (the American hijacking) but this is far over thousands of kilometres away and the Arabian Sea that we sail in is the size of Europe", the family said in a posting February 20 - two days before the Americans were killed.
'Abdullahi Mohamed, a pirate who told the Associated Press (WHY do any non-Muslim press agencies bother even talking to these sneering, strutting thugs? - CM) that he has ties to the gang holding the Danish family, said they will be killed if a rescue is attempted.
I hope Holger Dansker catches you and hangs you out to dry one day, you thug - CM.
'He referred to the killings of the American hostages.
He thinks he and his fellow extortionists and kidnappers are on a roll, with the Infidels frightened into handing over the payola without resistance. - CM.
'The American deaths (not 'the American deaths', but, rather, 'the murders of the American captives' - CM) were a game-changer in the world of piracy. Somali pirates have captured hundreds of ships and thousands of crew members (many of who are from very poor countries and families who cannot really afford the exorbitant ransoms demanded - CM) and are now holding 660 hostages and some 30 vessels.
'But virtually all the hostages have been released unharmed (define 'unharmed', please, AP - CM) after the pirates negotiated multimillion-dollar ransoms.
Which the shipping companies, the insurance companies, and the homelands, and the families of the kidnapped, can ill afford. These 'pirates' - like the warlord Mohammed whom as Muslims they revere and imitate - are utterly contemptible, the vilest kind of parasite, uncreative themselves, lazy, greedy and violent, battening upon, draining off and crippling the productive activity of others. - CM.
'Mohamed said the Danish family's captors were discussing how big a ransom to demand (whatever it is, it will probably be far more than any ordinary Danish family, or for that matter, little Denmark herself, can afford - CM), and added that investors backing the pirate gang (and who might these 'investors', these Mr Bigs be, pray? - CM) were angling for a large sum."
I wonder whether the teenage daughter has been raped yet?
One hopes that the spirit of Holger Dansker - or failing that, let's settle for Hagar the Horrible - will guide and inspire he Danish special forces who must now figure out how best to surprise and dispose of a bunch of vicious, arrogant Muslim thugs who are boasting that if a rescue is attempted, they will kill all the hostages (including, as we have seen, three children aged 12 to 16). - CM.