These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 21, 2013.
Thursday, 21 February 2013
The Modern NHS in Pure Culture
The Francis Enquiry into the failings of the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust will almost certainly repay close reading, and will also be invaluable to future social historians of our country. Indeed, it will tell them all that they need to know: for far from being a betrayal of the ruling principles of the NHS, as claimed by the Health Secretary in the Sunday Telegraph of 6 January, the events in Mid-Staffordshire were their apotheosis. To put it bacteriologically, Mid-Staffordshire was the modern NHS in pure culture, uncontaminated by such organisms as kindness, competence or the most elementary concern for patients. Where these persist — and of course they persist in many places — it is in spite of the administration of the NHS, not because of it. Even under the worst of totalitarian dictatorships, human qualities cannot be everywhere eliminated.
What the Francis Enquiry will almost certainly reveal is a combination of the ravening ambition of bureaucratic mediocrities, institutionally perverted incentives that reward those who do worst, the creation of a nomenklatura class at the head of an apparat staffed by bullied, intimidated, fearful but also unscrupulous apparatchiks, intellectual dishonesty with compulsory lying on a vast scale, the proliferation of procedural objectives and bureaucratic tasks completely unrelated either to reality or to the welfare of patients, all combined with a revolting tendency to Pecksniffian self-congratulation and righteousness and an inability or unwillingness to speak or write in plain English.
The fact that those at the top of the local bureaucratic hierarchy, having decimated the immediately surrounding countryside, moved on to higher or at least even better-paid things (such as private consultancy with the NHS) will not surprise observers of the NHS, because they have long known that no senior manager is ever truly sacked from that vast charitable organisation for the outdoor relief of second-rate bureaucrats. We should abandon the expression "turning up again like a bad penny" for "turning up again like a sacked NHS manager".
The Francis Report will almost certainly say that while it is the worst case that has so far come to light, the Mid-Staffordshire case is far from unique: and indeed, why should it be unique, when the principles upon which its management acted were those that pervaded, and continue to pervade, the NHS? It is a long time since I first asked the question of an NHS manager, "What is the government order you would refuse to obey?" and received no reply, because (I suspect) there is no such order. I remember a manager in the hospital in which I worked before my retirement, with no medical or even nursing qualifications, prowling the wards to look for patients who could be hurried home so that beds would become available for patients who would otherwise break the government's four-hour rule, that is to say the rule that no patient should wait more than four hours after the decision to admit him had been taken. The concern that patients should not have to wait for more than four hours was not for their sake, of course, but merely so that the central government could claim that it was improving services, and so that the hospital could claim to have met its target. In the event the target was met by the simple expedient of redesignating hospital corridors as wards, satisfactory all round - except for the patients, of course.
Not long ago I was asked conduct an inquiry into a spate of fatal events among the patients of an NHS Trust, and to determine whether there was a single factor that explained them. There was not; but when I reported to the Medical Director of the trust that while there was no such factor, it was clear to me that his staff were incompetent, unmotivated and completely unaware of what the purpose of their work was other than the filling in of forms (thousands of them, often with contradictory answers to the same questions in them), he replied with an almost Buddhist calm, ‘But that is the standard expected these days.' He reminded me of a collaborator in an occupied country explaining that there was nothing he could do in the face of overwhelming military force.
Just as the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust was not unique in the NHS, so the NHS is not unique in British public administration, but rather one example, and perhaps not even the most important example, of the way in which it now works. It is true that scandals in the NHS cause more commotion when they are uncovered than scandals elsewhere in the public sector, because we are (wrongly, in my view) more worried about our health than anything else. But for the long-term future of the country, education is more important. There is a deal of ruin in a nation, said Adam Smith; but the use of procedural outcomes in practically all the educational institutions of the country, from kindergartens to universities, is one way to produce that deal of ruination.
Who is responsible for this ruination? I think Mrs Thatcher, with her crude sub-Marxist view of the professions as mere exploitative monopolists, set the process going, putting the bacteria in the milk as it were. She thought that the methods and disciplines of the marketplace, imposed by ‘scientific' management, but in the absence of anything resembling a real market, would eliminate chronic inefficiency in the public service. This was naïve, not to say stupid; only too predictably it called into being a managerial class, cunning and unscrupulous, that quickly developed its own vested interests and that was easily able to outwit any little politician who lined up against it. After all, a minister is only for a few months; a bureaucrat is for life.
Moreover, Mr Blair seized his chance very cleverly, transforming his party from that of the working to that of the nomenklatura class. The chief executive of one of the NHS trusts in which I worked stated quite openly that he job was to get the government re-elected. The problem is that defeating this class is like trying to get the sourness out of sour milk.
So we have seen the future, and it is Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust. The best we can hope for (though it is a rather forlorn hope) that any reforms suggested by the Francis Report will not make things worse. Unfortunately, for every disaster produced by the adoption of procedural outcomes there are six procedural outcomes waiting to be adopted.
Authorities in New Jersey allege a Muslim man beheaded two Coptic Christians, burying their bodies and heads and hands in separate graves near Philadelphia, bringing the horror of the persecution of Christians in Islamic nations to the United States.
According to New York’s WABC-TV, the Muslim was identified as Yusuf Ibrahim, 28. He was taken into custody after the bodies were found.
The report said investigators alleged Ibrahim killed the victims then severed their heads and hands, and buried the remains in the back yard of a home in Buena Vista, N.J.
The report said the victims were from the Coptic Christian community in the area. One of the victims had come from Egypt not many years ago.
While the report said police did not indicate a motive, friends of the victims wondered if it was something to do with religion.
WABC reporter Jeff Pegues wrote: “To members of the close knit Coptic Orthodox church the pain is real.”
“It’s a shock, something like this doesn’t happen to people like that,” one resident told him.
The report said police described the suspect as “ruthless” and “calculating” and said he belongs behind bars.
Pamela Geller, who blogs about Islam at Atlas Shrugs, said it “appear have been a ritual killing, religious in nature.”
“The victims were Coptic Christians and the murderer was Muslim (and we are painfully aware of the status and treatment of Coptic Christians under Muslim rule in Egypt),” she wrote.
“The killing evokes this passage in the Quran: ‘When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!” – Quran 8:12.”
Samy Hohareb, a friend of the victims, said, “I leave it for the police and the investigation.”
Authorities said the suspect was found driving a white Mercedes Benz that belonged to one of the victims.
Ibrahim was being held at the Atlantic County jail on charges of murder and desecration of human remains.
WND reported in September a jihadi writer who has praised the murderer of a Dutch filmmaker suggested beheading as a way of curbing criticism of Islam. The report came from the Muhib Ru’yat al-Rahman, a senior writer of a leading jihadi forum called Shumoukh al-Islam, suggested that Muslims living in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S. kill Westerners who criticize Islam and display their decapitated heads along roads, according to the Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, a unit of the Middle East Media Research Center.
“While expressing respect for those calling to boycott European and American products over the release of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ which negatively depicts Muhammad, Muhib insists that the best way to deter people from insulting Muhammad and his wives is to implement his proposal,” the report said.
The writer praised Dutch-Moroccan Muslim Muhammad Bouyeri, who killed Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh in 2004 over the production of “Submission,” a film criticizing Islam’s treatment of women. Dozens of forum members praised the post, expressing their agreement with the writer’s suggestions, the report said....
French Television Documentary Presents Mohammed Merah's Mother And Sister First, To Establish Sympathy
France 3: polémique autour d'un documentaire sur Mohamed Merah
Ce mardi, les avocats des victimes de Mohamed Merah ont adressé un courrier au PDG de France Télévisions Rémy Pflimlin dans lequel ils demandent la déprogrammation d'un documentaire sur le tueur au scooter dont la diffusion est prévue le 6 mars sur France 3.
Les avocats du père et grand-père de victimes de Mohamed Merah ont demandé ce mardi à France Télévisions de ne pas diffuser, à l'occasion du premier anniversaire des tueries, un documentaire qui offre selon eux "une tribune aux intimes du criminel".
"En dépit du respect que nous devons à la liberté éditoriale de France 3, il y a une forme d'indécence et d'obscénité à mettre en avant les deux personnes les plus proches de Mohamed Merah, tant familialement qu'idéologiquement", estiment-ils.
"Par égard, tant pour nos clients que pour votre antenne, nous vous demandons instamment de bien vouloir renoncer à cette programmation", ont-ils déclaré.
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's secret service say they have arrested a "terrorist cell" trained in Iran who planned to attack U.S. and Israeli targets in Africa's most populous nation.
The State Security Service (SSS) said they arrested Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians in December after Berende made several suspicious trips to Iran where he interacted with Iranians in a "high profile terrorist network".
"His Iranian sponsors requested that he identifies and gathers intelligence on public places and prominent hotels frequented by Americans and Israelis to facilitate attacks," SSS spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said in a statement.
"There is conclusive evidence that Berende in collaboration with his Iranian handlers were involved in grievous crimes against the national security of this country."
Iran has yet to respond to the allegations.
Berende, who will now be charged in court, admitted spying for Iranian counterparts to reporters on Wednesday.
"As for surveillance, that one is true ... It is a regrettable phenomenon I shouldn't be proud of it," he said as he was paraded by the SSS in their Abuja offices.
He received $30,000 to carry out operations, the SSS said.
This is not the first diplomatic incident between Nigeria and Iran. An Iranian diplomat was arrested in 2004 on suspicion of spying on the Israeli embassy in Nigeria's capital Abuja, Israeli sources said. Iran denied any arrest.
In 2010, authorities at a Lagos port found a hidden shipment of artillery rockets, rifle rounds and other weapons from Iran. The shipment was supposedly bound for Gambia. A Nigerian and an Iranian face criminal charges over the shipment.
Tehran has previously denied any involvement in bomb attacks against Israeli embassy targets in India and Thailand in February last year and dismissed accusations it was involved in a bombing in Bulgaria that killed seven Israeli tourists last July.
Iran has accused Israeli and Western agents of sabotaging its disputed nuclear program, including the assassination of several of its scientists. The Iranians deny that the sabotage has significantly set back their nuclear program.
Berende first travelled to Iran in 2006 where he studied at an Islamic university, before returning in 2011 for weapons and explosives training, the SSS said.
Ogar said Berende sent his Iranian partners photos of the Israeli cultural centre in Lagos and told them that they should attack former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida and Islamic spiritual leader the Sultan of Sokoto to "unsettle the West".
Nigeria's population of 160 million is split roughly equally between a mostly Muslim north and a largely Christian south.
Islamist groups in the north have become the biggest threat to stability in Africa's top oil producer. Western governments are increasingly concerned they are linking up with extremists outside Nigeria, including al Qaeda's north African wing.
Stop Running Around The Muslim World Promising -- And What's Worse, Giving Them -- Money
There's a trillion dollars in student loans at 7% interest. There's Social Security and Medicare getting shakier every year. One aircraft carrier has had to cancel its trip to the Persian Gulf. The roads and bridges are crumbling. The educational system produces ignoramuses and idiots. And American officials, not content with the two trillion dollars spent on all the wrong things in Iraq, and the one trillion in Afghanistan, and the $75 billion in aid that has gone to Egypt, and the more than one hundred billion, over many decades, that has gone to Pakistan, and the billions given to Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, and the "Palestian" Authority which consists of the Arab shock troops of the Jihad against Israel, apparently is not enough.
Here's one more official, promiising promising, this time in Somalia again:
Meanwhile, black African Christians are harried and attacked, in Kenya by Somalis, in Tanzania, on the island of Zanzibar, by descendants of Arab slaveholders who used that island as a way-station for black slaves whom the Arabs then took by dhow to Muscat and Oman, in Nigeria, a country where the Muslims of the north -- Hausa and Fulani -- started killing Christians en masse in the mid-1960s (hence the Biafra War, in 1967-69, when Christians, predominately but not exclusively Ibo, tried to form a state of their own) on, have now been joined by the Boko Haram fanatics who want to impose the full monty of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. Everywhere -- in Niger, for example, and in Cameroun, where if the French pull out because of fears of local Muslims, there will be little left -- the Saudis are buildinig mosques, to spread the Full Gospel of Islam, replacing those mosques and local imams who preached an easygoing, not-quite-accurate, syncretistic version that, until now, has been sufficient unto the day.
But now the US "is committed" to giving aid to Muslim Somalia? Why don't the Saudis, or the Emiratis, or the Kuwaitis, or the egregious waddling emir of Qatar, give aid to Somalia? Don't they want to keep the fanatics from the door, that is from Somalia to Yemen to the Gulf, a hop, skip, and jump away?
Egypt's military signals impatience with Islamist president and his Muslim Brotherhood group
February 20, 2013
CAIRO – Egypt's powerful military is showing signs of growing impatience with the country's Islamist leaders, indirectly criticizing their policies and issuing thinly veiled threats that it might seize power again.
The tension is raising the specter of another military intervention much like the one in 2011, when generals replaced longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak after they sided with anti-regime protesters in their 18-day popular uprising.
The strains come at a time when many Egyptians are despairing of an imminent end to the crippling political impasse between President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group on one side, and the mostly secular and liberal opposition on the other.
The tug of war between the two camps is being waged against a grim backdrop of spreading unrest, rising crime and a worsening economy.
"In essence, the military will not allow national stability or its own institutional privileges to come under threat from a breakdown in Egypt's social fabric or a broad-based civil strife," said Michael W. Hanna, an Egypt expert from the New York-based Century Foundation.
"This is not an ideological army or one that seeks to destabilize civilian governance. ... But it is also not an army that will sit by while the country reaches the tipping point on the path to civil strife."
The latest friction began when a rumor circulated that Morsi planned to replace Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, his defense minister and the army chief, because of his resistance to bringing the military under the sway of the Brotherhood-dominated government.
El-Sissi may have angered Morsi last month when he signaled the military's readiness to step in, warning that the state would collapse if no solution was found to the political crisis. Pointedly, he also spoke of how the military faces a dilemma in marrying the task of protecting state installations in restive locations with its resolve not to harm peaceful protesters.
In another provocative comment earlier this month, el-Sissi was quoted as saying he would never allow the armed forces to be dominated by the Brotherhood, or any other group, stressing the military's national identity.
A Brotherhood spokesman, Yasser Mehrez, dismissed claims that the group sought to bring the military under its sway. "This is old talk that has been repeated over and over again," he said.
The rumor about el-Sissi's dismissal was widely suspected to be a trial balloon floated by the Muslim Brotherhood to gauge military and public reaction.
The military did not officially respond. But widely published comments attributed to an anonymous military source threatened that any attempt to remove the military's top commanders would be "suicide" for the government and spoke of widespread anger within the armed forces.
The source was quoted as saying the public will not accept any meddling in the military and will close ranks to counter any pressures or challenges.
The military distanced itself from the comments on a statement posted on its official Facebook page. But the situation was deemed serious enough for Morsi's office to issue a statement late Monday that appeared aimed at calming the military.
It reassured commanders of the administration's appreciation of the armed forces and said the president had confidence in el-Sissi.
But the statement, which blamed media for spreading "lies and rumors," may have done little to ease the tension.
"The two sides may be publicly dismissing reports of tension, but the army is making it very clear to the presidency that any attempt to dismiss el-Sissi would backfire," said military analyst and retired army Gen. Mohammed Qadri Said.
"They claim mutual love and respect, but what is happening is not indicative of this."
The military also handed Morsi a public humiliation when army commanders chose not to enforce a night curfew he imposed on three restive Suez Canal cities in riots last month.
In a direct challenge to the president, several top field commanders said they would not use force against civilians in the three cities. Residents openly defied Morsi by staging demonstrations during the curfew hours, playing soccer in the streets and setting off fireworks.
El-Sissi's top lieutenant, Chief of Staff Sedki Sobhi, delivered another implicit warning to Morsi and the Brotherhood this week.
While the military was not currently involved in politics, he said: "It keeps an eye on what goes on in the nation and if the Egyptian people ever needed the armed forces, they will be on the streets in less than a second."
Significantly, Sobhi made his comments in the United Arab Emirates, whose government accuses Egypt's Brotherhood of meddling in its affairs and has arrested 11 Egyptian expatriates there for their membership of the group.
Morsi and the Brotherhood have made it clear that they do not want the military to play any political role.
But that did not stop el-Sissi from extending an invitation to the opposition and Islamist leaders loyal to Morsi to sit down informally over lunch to defuse a crisis over presidential decrees issued in November that gave Morsi near absolute powers. The decrees have since been rescinded.
Under pressure from the Brotherhood, el-Sissi withdrew the invitation just hours before the meeting was to start.
Morsi appointed el-Sissi less than two months after taking office as Egypt's first freely elected president. The Aug. 12 appointment followed Morsi's bold decision to retire the nation's two top generals, restoring the full powers of the president's office and ending a months-long power struggle between the two sides. Before Morsi's move, the military had the power to legislate since the legislature was dissolved in June by a court ruling. The military also held veto power over a panel that was drafting a new constitution at the time.
Still, few ever took el-Sissi to be the president's man. And there were doubts that six decades of de facto military rule had come to an end or that the military had been relegated to playing second fiddle to civilians.
Morsi and his Islamist supporters passed up a major opportunity to curb the military's power — something that would have meant a major confrontation with the generals.
The new constitution drafted by Islamists enshrined the military's near-complete independence and kept its vast economic interests above oversight, against the wishes of many who participated in the 2011 revolt.
With chaos in the country deepening, chants calling for military intervention during street protests, last heard en masse during the uprising, are making a timid comeback.
"Millions of Egyptians want the army to come back and deliver us from chaos," Ibrahim Issa, host of a political talk show on television, said this week.
"This is the sentiment on the Egyptian street, and ignoring it is stupid," said the popular Issa, a harsh critic of Morsi, the Brotherhood and the military when it was in power.
Since taking office in June 2012, Morsi has made little progress in tackling Egypt's pressing problems — steep price increases, surging crime, deteriorating services and fuel shortages.
The Brotherhood, which dominates parliament and the government after winning every election since Mubarak's ouster, is accused of monopolizing power. And Morsi has been criticized for failing to deliver on a promise of an inclusive government representing the Christian minority, liberal and secular political factions, and women.
The highly charged political climate and the collapsing economy could make a military takeover seem like a welcome development in some corners of Egypt — or at least a necessary evil that could salvage the nation.
But the military may not be willing to insert itself directly again in politics or governance. Its prestige was badly tarnished by scathing criticism of its handling of the post-Mubarak transition period.
A few days into the uprising, Mubarak ordered the army into the streets to replace a police force that melted away when confronted with massive public outrage over decades of abuse.
With the country in chaos and paralyzed, the military later sided with protesters who demanded that Mubarak leave office. A council of ruling generals took over the reins of power, but the relationship soon turned sour.
Activists and pro-democracy groups accused the generals of widespread human rights violations during their rule, including the torture of detainees and the trial of at least 10,000 civilians before military tribunals.
The military later made good on its promise to hand over power to an elected government, although Morsi and his Brotherhood would clearly not have been the generals' choice if they had to make one.
With that history in mind, there are serious questions about whether a military intervention can even solve any of Egypt's problems in a time short enough to satisfy a population seething with anger over the chaos and hardships of the last two years.
The military would be risking more vilification if it does not move the country onto firmer ground quickly.
Nevertheless, there may be enough goodwill toward the military and popular discontent to give it another chance.
But are these generals like those thrusting colonels of yore, Nasser and Naguib and others, who back in 1952 ended the ancien regime of Farouk, only to bring in despotism based on a pan-Arabism that led to disaster for Egypt and its military? Or is there among them a group of would-be Ataturks, haters of pan-Islamism, and of its variant (and not its alternative) pan-Arabism, and ready to follow the "Pharaonism" prescribed long ago by Taha Husain -- that is, Egypt first and last, an Egypt whee non-Muslims -- now consisting mainly of the Copts, since Jews have left, and so have all the Greeks, Armenians, and others whose property Nasser seized -- as full-fledged citizens, by right and not on sufferance.
Nothing else has worked for overpopulated, impoverished Egypt.. Why not try to systematically constrain Islam as a social and political force?It worked in Turkey, creating a secular class that, however, dropped the ball, or left the ball in the military's court, when Erdogan and the AKP appeared to see Musilm justice done. Nonetheless, whatever success Turkey has had is a result of Kemalism, and that includes the economic success of Muslim businessmen who support the AKP, and don't realize how much they, and their country, owes to Ataturk and the creation of a secular class that inhabits something like the same universe as Western, that is, Non-Muslim Man.
About, And By, Kasim Hafeez, Whose Islam Must Be Wearing Thin
#`1. From Arutz Sheva:
Kasim Hafeez: From Radical Islamist to Ardent Zionist
A former Islamist's perception of anti-Zionism, Jews, 9/11 and history. He is still getting death threats.
By Fern Sidman, A7 NY Cor.
“In hindsight, I never actually gave a real damn about Palestine, I was just obsessed with hating Israel”, said 28 year-old British-born Muslim Kasim Hafeez to a packed audience at New York City's upper East Side Temple Israel last week. Arutz Sheva was there.
Of Pakistani descent, he was raised in an environment where he was taught that "Jews control the world, and Israel is at fault for just about everything".and like other young Muslims in the United Kingdom, he embraced the teachings of radical Islam and internalized its visceral hatred for Israel.
Growing up in a home where his father praised Adolf Hitler as a "brilliant man" whose only shortcoming was that he "didn't kill enough Jews", Mr. Hafeez was being groomed to be yet another virulent Israel basher, but this changed when he decided to undertake some serious research on the political history of Israel. Today, the Nottingham-based university administrator addresses audiences around the globe about the epiphany that changed his life, sponsored by the North American pro-Israel student advocacy organization, StandWithUs.
"I will tell you this; I have never, ever met anyone who claimed to be anti-Zionist who was not also very anti-Semitic as well. There are no differences here. They are one in the same", he says.
Mr. Hafeez observed that before the 1988 publication of Salman Rushdie's book entitled, "Satanic Verses", most mosques in the UK had not as yet undergone the radicalization process, but that changed quite rapidly. "I recall that as a young boy, we didn't want that book on the shelves. We bought copies of it and burned them," he added..
He remembered that while most Muslims in the United Kingdom "faked" their condemnations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the great majority of them were exceptionally pleased with the results. "We really believed that Israel and the Jews were the center of all evil and because of Israel's close relationship with the United States and their Western value system, we harbored a real enmity toward America. I had a friend who was convinced that 9/11 was an inside job. A conspiratorial plot hatched the by the US and Israel."
"We were made to feel like the victims of the Western world, so therefore anything goes. We thought we had the moral right to fight back using any and all means"
"I used to vigorously campaign against Israel", he said and "while we were encouraged to be better Muslims by taking up the cause of the Palestinian statehood, I can tell you that we were constantly deluged with propaganda and false images of the purported plight of the Palestinians." He carried signs at demonstrations which equated Zionism with Nazism and heard speakers at an Al Quds rally calling for the complete destruction of the "Zionist regime."
One day, he picked up a copy of a book entitled, "The Case For Israel", written by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. "I bought the book with the intention of disproving it, of taking it apart point by point and just mentally relegating it to more pro-Israel lies and propaganda. When I finished reading it, I realized that there were many cogent points made and I thirsted to read more of the same, which I did."
Getting into some serious research about Israel made Hafeez pause and reflect on his beliefs until that time. "I used to use UN resolution 242 to argue against Israel but that changed. My friends became concerned and told me to stop reading Zionist propaganda. That book and other materials I read really opened my mind to the falsehoods that were fed to me."
At that juncture in time, while a university student, Hafeez was saving his money, hoping to return to Pakistan to attend a jihadi training camp. “Thankfully, it didn’t pan out that way,” he said.
Finding that he knew virtually nothing about the Middle East or Israel's history, it came as a surprise to him to learn that Jews had deep historical and religious ties to Israel and had lived there for thousands of years. Dismayed and quite shocked, Hafeez also learned that the Palestinian connection to the land never actually existed.
Hafeez decided to visit Israel for the first time in 2007 to see for himself what it was like there. He ruefully recalls that upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, he was detained for eight hours because he told his screeners that he was a Muslim who once hated Israel and now wants to see what he learned about. The Israeli guards treated him with courtesy and later apologized profusely to him for their intense interrogation and suspicion of him.
While in Israel, he expected to see the realities of a brutal apartheid regime but instead witnessed Muslims, Jews and Christians all going about their lives in harmony. “Here’s a state that’s constantly called an enemy of Islam, yet Muslims have more rights in Israel than they have anywhere else in the Middle East,” he said.
Hafeez contrasted this to his less than pleasant experience while visiting Saudi Arabia in 2002 for a religious pilgrimage. At the Saudi airport, while waiting in line for passport control, he was sent to the back of the line five times to make way for Arab Muslims, who are considered superior to South Asian Muslims: “I’ve never experienced the level of racism like I did in Saudi Arabia.”
Hafeez made his way to Jerusalem's Western Wall and it was there that he experienced a pivotal and deeply poignant moment in his life. Standing amongst a bevy of Orthodox Jewish men and others gathered for prayer, Mr. Hafeez felt a deep wave of emotion wash over him. He reached out and touched the wall and recalls that he "burst out in tears."
As tears poured down his face, a rabbi approached him to find out if Mr. Hafeez was okay. He responded that he was and the rabbi asked if he was Jewish. When Hafeez said he wasn't, the rabbi replied, “That’s okay, this is Jerusalem, it’s everybody’s home." It was then that the years of animus that he harbored for Jews and Israel dissipated.
But life from that point on was no easy ride for Mr. Hafeez. He received death threats from his erstwhile radical Islamist friends and his father, choosing to continue to hate Jews and Israel, refuses to see his son.
"My goal now is to proudly speak the truth and to make those in the Western world aware of the dangers of a radicalized Islam and how it is not only incompatible with Western values but an existential danger to them," he said.
To that end, Hafeez has built ties with StandWithUs and other Zionist organizations. "Upon my return from Israel, I became convinced that I had to take a stand. I had to do what's right, I had to speak out for Israel, and bring the Israel I know to those around me, and not let them be misled by the lies that filled my mind with hate for so many years," he said.
Mr. Hafeez has created his own organization called, "The Israel Campaign" and according to the groups web site, this movement is "a rallying call for all people of any color, culture or creed, to come together for Israel, a democracy under siege."
"Israel isn't a just a Jewish issue, its about freedom and democracy", he said.
Three Englishmen: Irfan Khalid, Irfan Nasser, Ashik Ali
February 21, 2013
LONDON (AP) — Three young British Muslims were convicted Thursday of plotting terrorist bomb attacks that prosecutors said were intended to be bigger than the 2005 London transit bombings.
A London jury found 27-year-old Irfan Khalid, 31-year-old Irfan Naseer and Ashik Ali, 27, guilty of being central figures in the foiled plot to explode knapsack bombs in crowded areas — attacks potentially deadlier than the July 2005 attacks on Underground trains and a bus which killed 52 commuters.
Prosecutors said the men, fired up by the sermons of a US.-born al-Qaeda preacher, hoped to cause carnage on a mass scale. Their plot was undone by mishaps with money and logistics, and ended in a police counterterrorism swoop in 2011.
Prosecutors said targets and other details had not been finalized when the men were arrested.
The three had pleaded not guilty to charges of preparing for terrorism
But the jury at Woolwich Crown court agreed with prosecutors that the trio were the senior members of a home-grown terror cell inspired by the anti-Western sermons of U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen in September 2011.
The suspects convicted Thursday were among 12 people arrested in September 2011 in counter-terrorism raids in Birmingham, central England.
Several other suspects have pleaded guilty to offenses related to the plot.
Hezbollah and Iranian Terrorist Cells Exposed in Cyprus and Nigeria
Iran Islamic republic and Hezbollah Flags
The trial of Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, 24 year old Lebanese Swedish Citizen in Cyprus has exposed the Hezbollah agenda for terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists as well as targets in the EU. The revelations underline the call for listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the EU by the Bulgarian Former Minister. His declaration followed the findings of an investigation into the suicide bombing of a tourist bus in the Black Sea resort of Burgas on July 18, 2012 that killed 5 Israelis, a Bulgarian bus driver and injured dozens.
Yaacoub said before he left Lebanon, a masked man told him to compile a list of flight arrivals from Israel, bus routes used by Israeli tourists, and kosher restaurants and other places they frequented on the island.
"I never saw the face of Ayman because he was always wearing a mask," Yaacoub told the court.
Cypriot police arrested Yaacoub last July, a few days before the terror bombing in Burgas.
Police initially charged Yaacoub with 17 terror-related offenses, later dropping references to terrorism and reducing the number of charges to eight, including membership in a "criminal" organization whose aim is to target Israeli citizens worldwide.
Yaacoub admitted to gathering the information from November 2011 to January 2012 and during the first week of July. He also testified to similar missions in Turkey, Holland and France.
Presently only the U.K. and The Netherlands have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization, the latter in 2004. France and other EU countries are diffident about terrorist listings for Hezbollah, as it might trigger an uprising in Lebanon and takeover by Hezbollah, Iran’s ally. Further some in the EU believe that dialog might mollify the Shiite group heavily involved with opposition to rebels in neighboring Syria. Hezbollah with the aid of Iran’s Quds Force has fortified South Lebanon, stored an estimated 70,000 rockets and missiles, and is the beneficiary of conventional and non-conventional weapons transferred by the Assad regime. Israeli concerns about those transfers resulted in recent air attacks inside Syria and daily reconnaissance flights over Lebanon. Recently, Gen. Hassan Shateri, of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and a senior Iranian representative in Lebanon was assassinated. He may have been the architect of that Hezbollah’s ramp up. Brig-Gen (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in a report issued today, “Hizbullah and an Assassination of an Iranian General in Lebanon”, cited the late Gen. Shateri’s role with Hezbollah in Lebanon:
Shateri oversaw the rehabilitation program for southern Lebanon and the Dahiya quarter of Beirut, along with projects that enabled Hizbullah to create the independent infrastructure for a state within a state. These included establishing an independent fiber-optic network that gives Iran and Hizbullah a telephone, television, and satellite communication network throughout Lebanon.
Shateri also set up a real estate company whose task was to purchase land, sometimes quite sizable tracts, in Christian and Druze villages and thereby extend Hizbullah’s control. He ran a business empire in Lebanon that includes banks, shopping centers, hotels, transportation companies, travel agencies, radio, television, and press networks.
Shateri may have possibly been assassinated by the security services of Israel. Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense, reported on a possible looming conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. He noted in a Toronto Globe and Mail op ed “If Iran and Israel fight, Lebanon will be the first battlefield”:
“Do you remember South Lebanon? All of Lebanon is now South Lebanon.”
These were the words of a senior Israeli official in a closed-door meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday, just hours before Israel warplanes attacked a truck convoy suspected of carrying advanced weapons systems from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
[. . .]
Today, by leveraging its military power in the Lebanese political arena, Hezbollah is now in control of the government. In the process, it has spread its influence from beyond Lebanon’s south and the eastern Beqaa Valley. Indeed, the Israelis warn that Hezbollah has installed rocket silos and weapons caches throughout the country.
[. . .]
“The world needs to be prepared for the next war with Lebanon,” the aforementioned senior official told me in Jerusalem. “It could be a very bad war.”
In parallel to the revelations of the Hezbollah “helper’ in Cyprus came news of another Iranian-controlled terrorist cell in Nigeria. Fox News noted the disclosures of the Nigerian terror cell in a report, “Nigeria secret police say terror group broken up”.
Nigeria's secret police said Wednesday they broke up a terrorist group backed by "Iranian handlers" who wanted to assassinate a former military ruler and gather intelligence about locations frequented by Americans and Israelis.
[. . ]
[The Nigerian Secret police] had arrested three suspected terrorists, including the group's leader, before they could launch attacks.
The leader's "lieutenants successfully conducted surveillance and gathered relevant data ... (for) possible attacks," secret police spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.. "He personally took photographs of the Israeli culture center in Ikoyi, Lagos, which he sent to his handlers."
The service identified the leader as Abdullahi Mustaphah Berende, a 50-year-old leader of a local Shiite sect in Ilorin. Ogar said Berende was arrested along with two other suspected members, while another remains at large.
Berende first traveled to Iran in 2006 and studied at an Islamic university, said Ogar. He later returned in 2011 and learned how to use Kalashnikov assault rifles and pistols, as well as making and detonating homemade explosives, she said.
Ogar identified high-level targets of the group as former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida and Ibrahim Dasuki, a former Sultan of Sokoto, a major Islamic leader in the nation. The group also conducted surveillance on USAID, the U.S. Peace Corps and other targets, she said.
Berende also received some $30,000 in cash to fund the group's planned operations.
These episodes in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Nigeria underscore the long arm reach of Iran’s Quds Force in conducting operations through Hezbollah in Lebanon. While some EU members dither about the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Hezbollah and its Iranian overlords are seeking to perfect Islamic terrorism on several continents including Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
Lars Hedegaard, editor of Dispatch International and Danish free speech advocate has a personal commentary on confronting Islamic terrorism when he opened his door on February 5th. It mirrors his views expressed in our Iconoclast interview with him about the attempted assassination.
A police psychologist has told me that after an attempt on your life, things may appear somewhat fuzzy. After a while details of what happened may all of a sudden become clear as you remember more and more of this most distressing occurrence.
That hasn't been my experience. What took place on Tuesday, Feb. 5, is as clear and vivid to me now as it was seconds after it happened.
Shortly after 11 a.m., I was preparing to leave my apartment for the half-hour commute to my newspaper office in Malmo, Sweden, when the door-phone buzzed. The phone doesn't work properly—I can hear that I have visitors but not communicate with them. Nor can I buzz them in.
I opened a window in my apartment to see who was down below at the front door. A man dressed in a red jacket with the logo of the Danish postal service was waiting at the door. He said he had a package for me. I answered that I couldn't buzz open the door and would instead come downstairs to get the package.
I went down and opened the front door. The man repeated that he had a package, which he handed to me. As I held the package (which the police later determined was empty), he immediately pulled out a gun and fired at my head.
Between my taking the package and the shot there was less than a second, so I had no inkling of what was going on.
The distance between us must have been less than a yard. Nevertheless, he missed. He then proceeded to fumble with the gun in order to cock it for a second shot. I swung my right fist at his head, and my action confused him sufficiently for him to drop the gun. After a scuffle, he recovered the gun but couldn't make it fire. He then fled.
Regrettably, he managed to run off with the gun. The police found a bullet hole in the wall and a cartridge.
I judged my attacker to be around 25 years old and either an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants—most probably from an Arab country or possibly Pakistan. He spoke Danish with no accent.
Since the attempted murder, I have been living under police protection and, as I am 70 years old, will most likely have to do so for the rest of my life.
Despite intensive efforts—the Copenhagen police have set a special 20-man task force to deal with the case—no arrest has been made and consequently no motive can be established.
However, everybody who has commented on the incident has assumed that the motive is political. Some people don't like what I have been saying or writing in recent years, and they want to silence me. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what may have spurred the gunman or those who may have sent him.
For years I have been a campaigner for free speech—since 2004 as president of Denmark's Free Press Society. I have been an outspoken critic of Islamic supremacism and of attempts to impose Islamic Shariah law in Denmark and the West. Together with my Swedish colleague Ingrid Carlqvist, I have recently launched a Swedish-language weekly newspaper called Dispatch International—to the great dissatisfaction of the Swedish mainstream media, which are probably the most politically correct in the Western world and are in absolute agreement on every issue of any consequence.
Dispatch International is critical of mass immigration to Sweden and Denmark from third-world countries and takes a dim view of Islam. As a consequence, we have been reviled as "racist." We are not. We simply insist on our right to defend freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and individual and sexual equality. We also insist on our right to criticize religious fanatics of every stripe who try to impose theocratic laws and customs on free societie
When I was a young Marxist during the 1960s and '70s, these opinions used to be described as characteristic of the political left. Nowadays the defenders of such positions are routinely labeled as right-wing or as belonging to the "extreme right." Meanwhile, what used to be the left is cozying up to holy men who want adulterous women to be stoned, homosexuals to be hanged, apostates from Islam to be killed, and 1,200-year-old laws emanating from somewhere in the Arabian desert to replace our free constitutions.
In my home country of Denmark, the reaction to the failed murder has mainly been one of horror. Nearly all leading politicians and media have condemned it. To be sure, some newspapers have availed themselves of this opportunity to emphasize what a despicable racist I am, but at least they express their satisfaction that I'm not dead.
Not so in Sweden, where I work most of the time. The Swedish media have either hinted that I have invented the incident in order to set myself up as a martyr—which would have required a major conspiracy involving the Danish police and Security Service—or they seem disappointed that my delivery man was not a better marksman.
Unfortunately, the attempt on my life is one in a wave of political assassinations or attempted assassinations that has swept Europe since Ayatollah Khomeini issued his so-called fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989. Some have been killed—among them the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Others, like writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have been forced to flee Europe or go into hiding.
I am determined not to be silenced, come what may. I refuse to live in a world ruled by the gun.
Mr. Hedegaard, a journalist and historian, is the founder of the International Free Press Society and editor in chief of Dispatch International.
The mayor of Malmö has slammed an upcoming exhibition of work by controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, saying he hoped no one would visit the gallery to see artwork he said was "associated with xenophobes"
"Vilks is increasingly associated in people's minds with xenophobic groups at the far right of the political spectrum. I hope not a single person visits the gallery." Mayor Ilmar Reepalu told the TT news agency.
News of the show, set to open in July, prompted representatives from different religions in the multicultural southern city to call an emergency meeting, Some observers appeared frightened that the show would provoke a violent reaction
The new paintings of Mohammed would show the prophet - still with a dog's body - transplanted into famous works by artists including Claude Monet, Peter Paul Rubens and Anders Zorn, Vilks told the AFP news agency.
It was "hard to tell" whether the July exhibition would prompt more protests and threats, he added. "At some point this has to be over and done said Vilks, who has already met with the police to discuss safety at the show.
Vilks told TT that he was pleased that his art has been given the green light by curator Henrik Rönnquist. "It’s a breakthrough that he dares to put these paintings on show now. I am not trying to kick up a stink, I’d sooner get rid of all the drama. People should be able to criticize Islam," Vilks said.
The show's curator said that he is prepared to tackle the safety concerns, in order to stand up for free speech, democracy, and religious freedom.
In novel protest, opposition group enters Egypt's Morsi for chance to win a trip into space
February 21, 2013
CAIRO – An Egyptian opposition group is using a novel way to protest against President Mohammed Morsi: Sign him up for a chance to win a trip to space.
The April 6 Youth Movement said on its official Facebook page on Thursday that it had entered the Islamist leader's name in the online contest because it wanted to be rid of him. It called on supporters to vote for the president so he'd have a chance to win the trip into space.
There was no immediate response from the president's press office to an email seeking comment.
"For sure, no one in the universe can put up with blatant lies, reneging on promises except for the brotherly people of the moon," the group wrote on its post.
"It is for this reason that the president needs your votes. President Morsi, we wish you safe travels."
April 6 was a driving force behind the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime. Many of its supporters backed Morsi in the June 2012 election he narrowly won to become Egypt's first freely elected president.
But later, the group became among the fiercest critics of the president and his Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist group from which he hails. The opposition accuses Morsi of monopolizing power and going back on campaign promises to have an inclusive government and introduce far reaching reforms.
Morsi's supporters say the new government cannot immediately fix years of neglect and poor administration from Mubarak's 29-year rule.
The group also posted a collage of Morsi, who is a U.S.-trained engineer, in a white space suit.
"I want to go to space because I completed my mission," April 6 mockingly quoted Morsi as saying below his image.
The contest is being run by Axe, a brand of men's grooming products. It promises to send 22 people to the edge of space and back aboard a private spaceship. For the competition, Axe teamed up with U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon during NASA's Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Contestants sign up and then get their friends to vote for them. Those with the most votes move to the next stage where they compete in their own country for a chance to go into space. The top recruits advance to a space camp in Orlando, Florida, where they are to take part in three training missions. A panel of space experts chooses those contestants they think are prepared to make the trip into space.
The winners then are to fly 103 kilometers (64 miles) into space with the space tourism company, Space Expedition Corp.
Syrian rebels attack Hezbollah's positions in Lebanon: FSA commander
BEIRUT - Anatolia News Agency
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare their weapons prior to an offensive at Nairab military airport and the international airport, controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, February 19, 2013.A commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) said Syrian rebels had started to attack Lebanese Hezbollah Feb. 21. REUTERS photo
A commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) said Syrian rebels had started to attack Lebanon's Hezbollah Feb. 21, less than a day after the FSA chief of staff issued a 48-hour ultimatum warning the militant group to stop shelling territory held by the insurgents.
"We have bombed the territories of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria. The Free Syrian Army will continue bombing these positions," Col. Hisam al-Avvak of the Group of Free Officers, which operates under the umbrella of the FSA, told Anatolia news agency. Al-Avvak also threatened that the FSA would target Hezbollah strongholds in the south of Beirut unless Hezbollah stops its joint operations with the Syrian army forces.
Gen. Selim Idriss, the FSA chief of staff, said on Feb. 20 that Hezbollah had long been taking part in hostilities in Syria, but had gone too far by shelling villages near Qusayr in Homs province from the Bekaa valley in Lebanon.
The commander said the rebels were giving Hezbollah a 48-hour deadline to stop the attacks and "as soon as the ultimatum ends, we will start responding to the sources of fire." Rebels in the Qusayr area would be backed by FSA fighters "equipped with long-range weapons from other areas," he said.
The FSA had also asked the Lebanese president and premier to intervene, Idriss said, but the office of Prime Minister Najib Mikati denied any contact with the Syrian rebels.
Hezbollah has repeatedly denied sending fighters into Syria. Its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, acknowledged in October 2012 that party members had fought Syrian rebels but said they were acting as individuals and not under the group's direction.
Clergymen gather to wait for the arrival of Egypt's Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II, at the historic al-Muharraq Monastery, a centuries-old site some 180 miles (300 kilometers) south of Cairo in the province of Assiut, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Egypt's Coptic Christian pope sharply criticized the country's Islamist leadership in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, saying the new constitution is discriminatory and Christians should not be treated as a minority. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) (AP2013)
A group of Christian priests from a local Coptic church in Egypt were told to convert to Islam or face death, according to an Arabic news site.
The incident, which comes in the midst of continued persecution and pressure on Egypt’s Christian community, took place this week in the town of Safaga, near the Red Sea, the El Balad site reported.
According to El Balad, the threats are from a new group in Egypt, Jihad al-Kufr, whose name translates to Jihad against non-believers or non-Muslims. The group targets non-Muslims, and reportedly pressures them to convert to Islam.
“It’s not the first time. This is happening every day,” said Adel Guindy, president of Coptic Solidarity and a member of Egypt’s Coptic community who travels between Paris and Cairo. “This one incident caught the attention of the news agencies, but there are worse things happening to the Christians every day in Egypt,” he said.
Christians have felt increasingly at risk since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, which resulted in the rise of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
“It has definitely worsened under the revolution. Once the worst part of the society surfaced -- the Islamists -- the Copts are paying a heavy price. The West doesn’t really feel our pain. It’s a war of attrition,” Guindy said.
Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and the most prominent religious minority in the region. Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people.
Egypt’s new constitution has come under scrutiny by many for including elements of Sharia, or Islamic law, while simultaneously legitimizing the marginalization of the country’s religious minorities by denying them legal protection. It also granted increased powers to Morsi, who self-declared sweeping powers in a Nov. 22 power grab that prompted heavy international criticism.
The new constitution was ratified after its second referendum in late December, winning more than 70 percent of the vote. Moderate Egyptians took to the streets to protest the rushed ratification, but the demonstrations were quickly quashed.
Some believe members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic extremists, emboldened by the constitution’s passage, have stepped up attacks against Egyptian Christians.
“There was a relative amount of freedom (for Christians) before Egypt’s revolution, and many were hoping for more freedoms, and now things are unfortunately much worse and much more difficult,” said Jason DeMars, founder of Present Truth Ministries, a Christian advocacy group that tracks religious persecution around the world.
“It’s what they’ve always wanted to do, but Mubarak held some of that back because of the support he got from the United States and other Western countries,” DeMars said. “People were paying attention, but now the extremists are seeing this as an opportunity to crack down on the community there.”
Extremists over the weekend set fire to a Christian Church in the Province of Fayoum, the second such assault against the town’s Coptic population in a month. The attackers ripped down the church’s cross and hurled rocks at church members, injuring four people including the priest, according to a report by Morning Star News.
There have also been several reported cases of rape and harassment of Coptic women. Two women in traditional Islamic headdress cut off the hair of two Christian women on the subway in Cairo in December, the Egypt Independent reported. It was the third such incident in two months.
And last week, an Egyptian court forced two Coptic Christian boys, ages 10 and 9, to face trial for “insulting the Koran,” according to reports. The boys were arrested after playing in a pile of trash, which authorities claimed included pages of the Koran.
Egypt's Coptic Christian leader, Pope Tawadros II, spoke openly this month when he dismissed the new constitution as discriminatory.
"We are a part of the soil of this nation and an extension of the pharaohs and their age before Christ,” he told the Associated Press. “Yes, we are a minority in the numerical sense, but we are not a minority when it comes to value, history, interaction and love for our nation."
Des enfants coptes dans une banlieue pauvre du Caire
Un tribunal égyptien a ordonné que deux enfants coptes de 9 et 10 ans soient jugés pour «atteinte au coran», ont confirmé des rapports cette semaine.
Selon Walid Shoebat, ancien agent palestinien devenu analyste de l’islam et activiste pour la paix, des médias du Moyen-Orient confirment cette information. «Le lien sur un site arabe montre que les rapports sur l’inculpation des deux garçons pour avoir profané le coran sont véridiques. Cette nouvelle est également rapportée par Al-Masri Al-Yawm, Al-Wasat, et d’autres médias fiables au Moyen-Orient», affirme Shoebat.
Nabil Naji Rizk et Mina Nadi Faraj ont été arrêtés en septembre après avoir été dénoncés par un homme affirmant que l'amoncellement de déchets sur lequel ils jouaient contenait des pages du coran. Selon certains médias, les garçons sont également accusés d’avoir uriné sur ces pages du coran.
Shoebat dit que les deux garçons avaient été mis en liberté provisoire en octobre en attendant leur procès, en vertu d’une disposition de la loi égyptienne : «Le procureur général Abdul Majeed Mahomud avait ordonné la remise en liberté des deux garçons à la demande de Muhammad Morsi puisque la loi égyptienne sur la protection de la jeunesse demeure valide et interdit l’incarcération d’enfants ».
Selon Jordan Sekulow, directeur exécutif de l’American Center for Law and Justice, il est de plus en plus dangereux d’être chrétien en Égypte : «Nous sommes réellement préoccupés par la menace croissante que fait peser un gouvernement islamique radical contrôlé par des militants sur les chrétiens en Égypte. Les Frères musulmans sont non seulement des ennemis jurés de l’Amérique et d’Israël, ils ont aussi inspiré des attaques terroristes à travers le monde. Qui plus est, l’absence de liberté religieuse et les violations des droits humains sous ce gouvernement mettent en évidence la situation dangereuse, et souvent mortelle, dans laquelle vivent les chrétiens en Égypte ».
You can find a previous comment I made on a previous Muslim terrorist attack in Hyderabad, in 2007, right here.
But let's update with a report on today's Muslim murders in Hyderabad:
From the Times of India:
Terror returns, again on cycle: 13 killed in Hyderabad twin blasts
TNN | Feb 22, 2013
Two powerful bombs fastened to parked bicycles ripped through Hyderabad's bustling Dilsukhnagar on Thursday, killing at least 13 persons and injuring 70.
HYDERABAD: It proved to a lull before a terrifying storm. Seventeen months after the last deadly bomb blast at the Delhi High court, two powerful bombs fastened to parked bicycles ripped through Hyderabad's bustling Dilsukhnagar area on Thursday, killing at least 13 persons and injuring 70 others. While no individual or group has claimed responsibility so far, intelligence officers insist that the deadly operation bears the stamp of Lashkar proxy, Indian Mujahideen.
Thursday's bombs triggered back-to-back explosions near popular movie theatres, blowing bodies into the air, flattening shops and houses and triggering panic among scores of injured people who were seen scurrying for cover in all directions with blood oozing out of their heads and legs.
The first bomb went off with a deafending blast near the Dilsukhnagar bus stop at 7.05pm, close to Venkatadri theatre and a minute later, another high intensity blast, near a snack shop close by, flung bodies into the air and left a crater on the tarmac, police and witnesses said. TV channels reported that an unexploded bomb was recovered from the area but there was no confirmation from the cops.
Six months ago, there were low-intensity blasts in Pune which fortunately claimed no casualty. Since the last blast in which people died was in September 2011 in Delhi, a perception of ebbing terror threat had grown which Thursday's Hyderabad bomb attacks have blown to smithereens. With finders being pointed at IM, it seems that terror operatives have regrouped now with deadly intent.
Immediately after the blasts at Dilsukhnagar on Thursday, terrified people ran from the blood-splattered area as glass shards and debris flew. They poured out into the narrow streets causing a stampede as people, including women carrying small children in the arms, ran for safety. Locals rushed to the aid of the injured, writhing and wailing with pain on the streets and sidewalks.
"For a second, I got blinded as there was smoke and darkness all around. Later, I heard women and children wailing around me," said Sudhakar Shetty, who survived the terror blasts with severe burns. "I was cooking in the kitchen of Mirchi Point (an eatery), and wanted to run out along with others but soon realized that I could not move as both my arms and legs were burnt," he said.
At least 25 people were initially rushed to the Osmania general hospital and 15 to the Yashoda hospital in Malakpet, police said. More were taken to two other hospitals. Two days of strike by nurses and group IV staff caught doctors at the emergency ward off guard and some patients even offered to help. But with the CT scan machine not functioning at the hospital, most of the injured could not be scanned for internal hemorrhage. The 108 ambulance service alone shifted 42 injured to various hospitals, an official said.
"I have counted at least nine bodies and many more are injured and crying for help," said a senior doctor at Osmania. Similar scenes were seen at Yashoda and Omni hospitals, where scores of injured were taken for treatment. Immediately after the blasts, phone lines got jammed and people left offices in a hurry, causing huge traffic jams all around. Many shops and business establishments downed their shutters.
Authorities were on high alert since Afzal Guru's hanging on February 9. Apart from Jammu & Kashmir, there were protests against the hanging in Hyderabad. The execution also triggered revenge threats from Pakistan-based militants and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) vowed renewed attacks on Indian cities. Members of the groups at a private gathering organised by the United Jihad Council in Pakistan, while paying tribute to Guru, had also vowed to step up their 'jihad' in Jammu & Kashmir.
It was the third time that Dilsukhnagar has been targeted by terrorists. In 2002, a bomb went off in a scooter parked near Sai Baba temple in the area, killing two people, while another bomb was defused near a foot overbridge in 2007, extremely close to the spot where Thursday's bombs were placed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dispatched a National Security Guard team to the Hyderabad on a BSF aircraft to probe into the blast and immediately sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each to next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured. A National Investigation Agency, stationed in Hyderabad also joined the probe.
Hyderabad is not new to terror attacks as three previous blasts killed scores of people. The first in May 18 2007, killed 14 people, including five in police firing at Mecca Masjid and in the second attack, which were twin blasts in Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat on August 25 2007, 42 people had died.