DOHA: In a rather animated session of the Doha Debates yesterday, which marked the end of the fifth series of debates, a majority of the participants agreed with the motion: ‘This house believes that Muslim women should be free to marry anyone they choose.’
The motion was carried with 62 percent votes, with 38 percent voting against it.
Speaking for the motion was Dr Muhammed Habash, Director of Islamic Studies Center, Damascus, and Asra Nomani, an American Muslim writer and activist. Dr Thuraya Al Arrayed, a Saudi writer, columnist and a member of the advisory board of the Arab Thought Foundation, and Yasir Qadhi, a Muslim American cleric, strongly spoke against the motion.
Speaking against the motion, Qadhi stressed the fact that a Muslim was one who followed the laid down principles of Islam. “Islam is all about submission to God. A Muslim woman can marry any Muslim regardless of any other barriers. Muslim clerics exaggerate these barriers rather than support any moves even within the Muslim community. Anyone following Islam will have to stay within the restricted boundaries of Islam and this applies to both men and women. Islamic society should rather try rediscovering Prophetic teachings and follow the unanimous fatwas as Muslims,” he said.
I'm sorry, I honestly can't find any cogent idea in there to highlight. It's pure gibberish.
Dr Al Arrayed, on the other hand, dwelt on the psychological and other issues that can make marriages fail if the choice is given to an individual alone. “Choices people make are aimed to fulfill their aspirations. Freedom, on the other hand, is a double-edged tool which should be utilised carefully, for which there should be some embedded controls. At young age, it is physical attraction that draws people together. The further one goes away from one’s own tribe or community in a marriage, the more compromises must be made to make the marriage happy, which at times can be tiring,” she said.
So, women, submit to the arranged marriage to your cousin, and get a burst of energy.
This breakneck rampant innovation is worrisome. First, women will get the right to choose who they will marry. Then, it will lead to women having the right to choose colors other than black for their chadors. Then, women will expect the right to walk outside their home, unaccompanied by a related male. As you can see, this will quickly lead to the dissolution of society.
At least 30 killed as suicide bomber targets police offices in Lahore
From The Times At least 30 people were killed and over 100 injured when a suicide car bomber rammed into a police office building in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore this morning.
The massive blast completely demolished the two story structure and damaged several other buildings - including intelligence agency offices - around it, according to senior city official Sajad Ahmed Bhutta. The attackers hurled several grenades before a suicide bomber exploded his truck. The blast was followed by intense firing.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police suspect Islamic militants retaliating against the military operation against the Taleban in Swat Valley north-western Pakistan.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police suspect Islamic militants retaliating against the military operation against the Taleban in Swat Valley north-western Pakistan.
From The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Obama announced Tuesday that he would nominate Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, to the Supreme Court, choosing a daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was raised in a Bronx public housing project to become the nation’s first Hispanic justice.
In making his first pick for the court, Mr. Obama emphasized Judge Sotomayor’s “extraordinary journey” from modest beginnings to the Ivy League and now the pinnacle of the judicial system. Casting her as the embodiment of the American dream, he touched off a confirmation battle that he hopes to wage over biography more than ideology.
Judge Sotomayor’s past comments about how her sex and ethnicity shaped her decisions, and the role of appeals courts in making policy, generated instant conservative complaints that she is a judicial activist.
“When Sonia Sotomayor ascends those marble steps to assume her seat on the highest court of the land,” Mr. Obama said as he introduced her in the East Room of the White House, “America will have taken another important step towards realizing the ideal that is etched above its entrance: Equal justice under the law.” (I didn't realise the US was falling so very short of that ideal? Or was Perry Mason and Ironside really completely mythical?) At the heart of the fight over her nomination will be a debate over the role that a judge’s experience should play in rendering decisions. Although Mr. Obama said on Tuesday that “a judge’s job is to interpret, not make law,” his emphasis on a nominee with “empathy” has generated criticism from Republicans, who saw that as code for legislating personal views from the bench.
Judge Sotomayor has said that “our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions.” In a lecture in 2001 on the role her background played in her jurisprudence, she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”While conservative groups took aim, Republican senators responded more cautiously, weighing how aggressively they want to fight her confirmation. Twenty-nine Senate Republicans voted against her confirmation to the appellate bench in 1998, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, now the party’s Senate leader . . . Mr. McConnell said on Tuesday that the Senate would not be a “rubber stamp” and promised that Republicans would “examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.”
Mr. Obama selected Judge Sotomayor from a field dominated by women as he sought to add a second female justice to the court. Advisers culled through writings of 40 candidates before narrowing the list to nine who were actually contacted, officials said. From there, Mr. Obama chose four finalists, who were spirited into the White House to meet with him secretly last week.
The Obama team also interviewed colleagues on the Second Circuit to check out reports that she was difficult to get along with, and was reassured it was not true. I found this interesting as it is not how Judges are selected in the UK, although there is a huge division devoted to supporting diversity. But we are different countries and don't have to do things the same.
From JTA and the Jerusalem Post
An Arab-Israeli man has confessed to killing an American-Israeli teenager.
Dana Bennett's remains were found last week, six years after she disappeared in Tiberias after finishing her shift at a local restaurant.
After a gag order was lifted on the case Tuesday, police said that Adwan Yahiya Farhan, 34, of the northern Israeli Arab village of Wadi Hamam confessed to the murder and re-enacted it.
Farhan, who is in jail, also confessed to several other murders, rapes and the attempted honor killing of his sister, according to police. The mother of the young Russian immigrant under arrest for allegedly serving as an accomplice to Adwan Yihya Farhan expressed shock Tuesday that her daughter was involved in any criminal wrongdoing. The young woman, a resident of Tiberias, married suspected serial killer Yihye Farhan, 32, when she was 16 and had converted to Islam.
Farhan had previously been married to a Beduin woman, with whom he has three children.
"She loved him very much, and would do everything for him," the girl's mother said. "She obeyed him." She said she had repeatedly urged her daughter to leave Farhan, because she felt he was a dangerous criminal, and that recently the couple had separated.
The young woman, who is suspected of luring Dana Bennet into the suspect's car six years ago, was arrested several weeks ago.
EYL, Somalia: Driving a luxury 4x4 car and smoking imported cigarettes with an expensive satellite phone at his side, Mohamed Said fears his flashy lifestyle as a Somali pirate could come to an end soon.
The 35-year-old has no regrets about joining one of the gangs operating out of the pirate lair of Eyl, a former fishing village that overlooks the Indian Ocean and the strategic shipping lanes linking Europe to Asia through the Gulf of Aden.
Their attacks have driven up insurance costs and delayed UN aid deliveries. But Said’s career has brought him riches he could never have imagined as an impoverished fisherman.
He and his colleagues have hijacked nearly 30 vessels this year, meaning 2009 is on course to be even worse [errata, Reuters meant "better"] than last year, when pirates from the Horn of Africa nation seized 42 ships.
But the crime wave has prompted a hurried deployment in the region by foreign navies, thwarting several attacks — and now the weather is turning too, making the seas rougher and the pirates’ prey harder to hunt.
“My biggest fear is that the piracy business will have to stop. The weather will be terrible in the coming days and the warships have increased in number,” Said told Reuters in Eyl.
“I have experienced the bitter-sweetness of piracy,” he added, pointing out that his car, satellite telephone and speedboat were all paid for with his cut from ransoms.
But the last few weeks have not been so successful. He knows he was lucky to get off scot-free after being captured once. “I recently went to sea ... but all of my last three attempts have been in vain. I was even caught by a Portuguese warship, but fortunately they released me and my friends.”
NATO forces have been disarming and releasing gunmen detained during its anti-piracy operation. Said is well aware that if it had been a different warship, he might well be dead, or facing trial in a courtroom far from home.
Even after the weather improves, Said worries that the foreign navies might make the pirates’ business impossible. “If dozens of warships remain in our waters, our work will be as futile as a chameleon trying to catch a fly,” he said.
Lighting an imported Benson & Hedges cigarette and unwrapping a roll of leafy khat, a mild narcotic popular in the Horn of Africa, he says he is holding out for his share in a $1.7 million ransom being demanded for a hijacked German ship.
At small cafes on Eyl’s dusty, unpaved streets, pirates are also swapping gossip about negotiations in progress for the release of a Dutch ship. The buccaneers want $2.5 million, but the owners have only offered $1.5 million so far.
“If they give me some cash I will clear my debts. You know khat is expensive here,” Said said.
Yeah, buddy. We know just how you feel. There's a worldwide recession. Things are tough all over.
This video was surreptitiously taken by police on August 6, 2007, four days after Chauncey Bailey was murdered. So it's not new, but it gives a window into the personality and temperament of a still-giddy Yusuf Bey IV, the former leader of the Your Black Muslim Bakery and current murder suspect. From the Chauncey Bailey Project:
Two Holy Land Foundation defendants sentenced to 65 years each.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis on Wednesday morning handed down sentences that will likely mean two founders of the Holy Land Foundation will spend the rest of their lives behind bars for financing the terrorist group Hamas.
Shukri Abu Baker, 50, of Garland was ordered to serve 65 years in prison as sentencing began for five men convicted on charges in the largest terrorism financing case in American history. Another founder, Ghassan Elashi, 55, of Richardson, was sentenced to 65 years in prison.
Speaking to the audience and ignoring the judge, Elashi (said)Nothing was more rewarding than ... turning the charitable contributions of American Muslims into life assistance for the Palestinians. That's what motivated me.
"We gave the essentials of life – oil rice flour. The occupation was proving them with death and destruction. And then we are criminals. The Holy Land Foundation was to assist the Palestinians in their steadfastness against the brutal apartheid regime of Israel.
The judge warned him to address the court and not the audience.
"I did it because I cared, not at the behest of Hamas," Baker told the judge during a long address to the court where he explained why he founded what was once the nation's largest Muslim charity organization.
Judge Solis, after cutting him off over the objections of his defense attorney, told the convicted man, "You didn't tell the whole story. Palestinians were in a desperate situation, but that doesn't justify supporting Hamas."
Another defendant, Mohammad El-Mezain, 55, was sentenced to 180 months in prison, followed by three years of supervisory release after serving that time. Jurors found him guilty of providing support to Hamas, having been acquitted on 31 other charges in 2007.
Afterwards, Judge Solis told him: “Your function in life was raising money to support Hamas. You stated it was to help people, but the motive was to support Hamas. You state that you are innocent, but the evidence shows the opposite. You were part of this from the beginning.”
The sentences come six months after a federal jury in Dallas convicted the men on Nov. 24 of funneling more than $12 million to the Palestinian group Hamas. It has been illegal to offer Hamas support since it was designated a terrorist organization by the Unites States in 1995. The group has taken credit for hundreds of suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.
The men were not accused of violence. Rather, Holy Land contributed money to, among other things, agencies that supported survivors of suicide bombers. Sometimes Holy Land officials sent those families money directly.
Their lawyers portrayed them as pious Muslims who only wished to help their Palestinian brethren in need.
A top U.S. radio talk show host has become the subject of an Islamist Internet death threat, WND has learned.
Rusty Humphries, whose show is broadcast on over 250 stations through Talk Radio Network, was the target of the tirade, posted on a blog powered by Google entitled, "The Jew Report." Humphries is an outspoken critic of Islamic terrorism and a strong supporter of the U.S.-led war on terror.
The author of the online threat apparently confused Humphries for Rusty Shackleford, the pseudonym used by the proprietor of the popular My Pet JAWA Report website, which focuses on exposing online support of Islamic terrorism.
Alongside a dated picture of Humphries posing with commentator and star blogger Michelle Malkin, the threat begins: "Yes this Fat descusting (sic) pig you are looking at is the boss of the website Jawareport.com but their are many fat kafirs like him you might ask why are we talking about him here's why."
The blog claimed Muslims in Florida are being "harassed" because of Humphries, while his "work," seemingly as Shackleford, led to the raiding of mosques and police interrogations of Muslims.
Continued the blog: "The Shaabab and muslim Leaders have said enough is enough he has to go and they dont mean move....Inshallah we will see his Fat rottan (sic) torso dumped in the side of the road or in some Florida swamp."
Humphries immediately reported the threat to local and federal law enforcement agencies, which initiated investigations.
The talk host was taken aback that he could be confused for Shackleford, especially since he's interviewed Shackleford several times on his live, three-hour daily show.
"If I was going to have a fake identity, I'd come up with something a lot more creative than simply changing my last name," Humphries quipped.
He slammed the author of the blog as a "coward" and told WND the threat highlights the Islamic fundamentalist penchant for promoting the idea of grand conspiracies.
"Everything is a huge conspiracy to the terrorists," said Humphries. "On my many travels to the Mideast, I've been told by Muslims it was the Jews who sent Monica Lewinsky to Bill Clinton so the Jews could rule the U.S. The terrorists believe the West is plotting the extermination of Islam."
"Now they believe that I'm Rusty Shackleford. Ha. I wish I was part of a conspiracy. I'd like that big paycheck I'd probably get for it," he said. "I have great respect for the work Rusty Shackleford has done in stopping extremist websites from spewing vile hate against America online."
Humphries said while he is taking the online threat seriously, he will continue his hard-hitting radio broadcasts.
"These threats only prove me right," he said. "The terrorist response to anyone who points out their violent and hypocritical ways is just to threaten more violence and destruction."
"First it was Michael Savage who was banned from traveling to the U.K. for his views. Now death threats to me for my views? What will it take to reawaken America?" he continued.
A year later, Humphries interviewed the top leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Bethlehem.
During his initial interview with the Brigades, Humphries visibly agitated his terrorist subjects when he repeatedly asked them to point out where the Quran mentions 72 virgins as reward for "martyrdom," armed with the knowledge that the Islamic book does not once list 72 virgins.
"They just kept flipping through the Quran they had and kept trying to change the subject," related Humphries. "They realized they were caught in another lie."
"I learned from talking to the terrorists in person that when you peel away all their lies, there is no foundation to what they are doing," said Humphries.
Wellllll, I wouldn't go so far as to say there is no foundation to what they are doing. There are plenty of unambiguous Qur'anic quotes justifying, even mandating, violent jihad. But Rusty Humphries sounds like a very good egg. I had to cut out a lot of his biographical info in the interest of brevity.
By Rabbi Israel Vana, Dr. Arnold Pock and Jerry Gordon
It is with great respect that we write you regarding undivided Jerusalem, capitol of the Jewish State of Israel. This is a matter of utmost importance to all Jews, including those valued citizens of France. As someone intensely proud of your Greek Jewish relatives who fought in the French Resistance during World War II, you should have more than a passing interest in this matter. Your position on the status of Jerusalem and the mass deportation of Israeli citizens from both Judea and Samaria ignores both G-d’s covenant with his people and the legal mandate of the San Remo Conference of 1920 that defined the Jewish Homeland under the auspices of League of Nations.
The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for more than 3500 years. After the brutal destruction of the Jewish republic in 135 C.E. by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Jewish people had no sovereignty, until the establishment of the State of Israel in May, 1948 under the UN partition plan. For two thousand years, we lived as despised second class subjects under the sufferance and degradation of Christian rulers in Europe. We have been murdered, burned and tortured in the tens of millions, culminating in the Shoah. Six Million Jewish men, women and children, including many French citizens were murdered during the Holocaust. Our people were fed to the lions, our women were raped and many were forced to convert to Christianity. Our people were placed in prisons for crimes that they did not commit. Blood libel accusations were leveled against our people. Tens of thousands of Jews were murdered in the Crusade periods and hundreds of thousands were expelled from Spain, as a result of the Reconquista in 1492 and the Portuguese expulsion in 1497.
France, starting with Napoleon in the 19th Century was a beacon of enlightenment, freedom and liberty for Jewish citizens and protected many Jews in the Ottoman Empire.
Islam propelled by the Quranic doctrines of the Prophet Mohammed, the self styled messenger of Allah, arose in a bloody Jihad against Jews and Christians 1400 years ago. His successor, thel Caliph Omar had the audacity to build the Al Aksa mosque on the holiest place significant to our people, the Temple Mount. The Jihad and hatred of Jews inherent in Islam has persisted and is the basis for threats to extinguish the Jewish State of Israel. Jews are despised by Muslims including those in France as the ‘sons of apes and pigs’.
Given this history of Jewish persecution and hatred, the Christian West and the Muslim believers thought that Judaism was finished. G-d however, had different plans. The Jews returned after the Shoah to our ancestral homeland. Jews returned from the far reaches of the Diaspora-Europe, America, India, and the Arab Middle East- to build a Jewish nation. Jews are there to stay!
The most important issue for all Jews, especially the citizens of Israel is Jerusalem! Do you really think we have any obligation to divide Jerusalem after its re-unification as a result of the 1967 Six Days of War? Do you think it will appease Palestinians or those irredentist Israel Arabs in their quest to establish a state in Israel’s midst? Would you like to see Paris and other major cities in France divided into self governing ‘no go zones’ just to appease the significant minority Muslim community? As a former Interior Minister involved in combating Muslim extremists burning their districts and murdering French Jewish citizens you should know better.
In 1935 Hitler annexed the disputed Saarland occupied by France under the Treaty of Versailles as a security zone. France did nothing. If anything, it gave Hitler the appetite for more acquisitions. As his aggression grew, Austria and Czechoslovakia, the latter at Munich in 1938, were swallowed up by the relentless Nazis. France still wanted to preserve the peace. However, peace was nowhere to be found! British Prime Minister Chamberlain also stated "I have saved the peace” just as Hitler and his murderous machine marched into Poland. In 1940, Hitler demanded the return of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. Vichy France allowed Germany to annex it for the sake of peace. Peace did not come.
If for the sake of peace we capitulate to the Palestinian Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza and the corrupt PA regime in Ramallah that refuses to recognize the Jewish State of Israel, then Muslims in France and many European countries could separate from their host countries.
Did President Abraham Lincoln allow the South to split the Union? No! In a devastating Civil War a unified America was preserved.
Should Russia have allowed Chechnya to separate? Should Sri Lanka have permitted the Tamil Tigers in a 25 year civil war to form a separate state? The answer is a resounding, no.
Should England allow London to split, just because there are Muslims who want their own capitol under Islamic Sharia Law? As President of France would you tolerate the formation of self-governing Muslim districts in Paris, Lyon or Marseilles?
So too for Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a Jewish capitol long before any other nation conquered or occupied it. For the past 3000 years Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish World. Either it was a Jewish capitol or it lay dormant or destroyed until our people returned. This is G-d's statement to the world! “Jerusalem is my capitol and must remain in the hands of the Jewish people.”
The second issue you raised at the Israeli Knesset was the return of Arab refugees to Israel. Every conflict creates refugees. (WW I, WW II, and other wars). Those refugees were resettled . The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has resettled tens of millions of refugees from all conflicts, save that between Israel and Arab invaders whom the Jewish state had defeated. The UNHCR gave refugees new passports that enabled them to start a new life. Did you notice that the only refugees who were not allowed to resettle in new countries were the Arab refugees in the UNWRA program that France, the US and many other Western countries subsidize as ‘donors’? Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and many other Arab nations, did not allow their brothers and sisters to settle in their countries. Instead these Arab refugees languished in UNWRA camps denied basic civil and human rights by their Arab host countries. Why? Because these Arab countries never wanted to resettle Arab refugees. They wanted the plight of the Arab refugees to live on forever. In this way, the refugees were kept in inhumane conditions. Such suffering which the Arabs inflicted on their brothers and sisters helped strengthen their embittered attitude toward Israel and perpetuated the Arab Israeli conflict for decades. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, called upon the Arab refugees to return to their homes. Some did return but the majority did not under the delusion that Arab armies would re-conquer their lost lands..
At the same time, the Arabs evicted and expelled 900,000 Jews from Arab countries, among them Yemen. Jews have lived in Yemen for 2600 years, long before Moslems ever existed. We did not hear you mentioning their rights. Is it because they are Jews and thus are not entitled to international protection or reparations for lost property, assets, and most importantly, their lives?
The world has become accustomed to hateful attitudes toward the Jewish people resulting in systematic genocide. The Muslim world feels they can do without the Jews. Is that the reason that 900,000 Jews were expelled from Mizrahi lands?
What about the remnants of millions of Jews systematically murdered during the Shoah? Witness the pogrom that killed Polish Jews in Kielce, Poland in 1946, when they attempted to return to their homes.
You came to Israel a land that was the haven for Holocaust survivors, the remnant of the "Shoah", Mizrahi refugees from Arab lands and émigrés from the Diaspora. Yet, you stood in the well our Knesset in Jerusalem and said that Israel should divide our eternal capital. In the same breath, you expect Israel to accept countless numbers of Arab refugees, while you did not say a word about helping Jewish refugees.
Six million of our people, your people, were exterminated during the Shoah by the Germans and their helpers: French Vichy Fascists, Poles, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Austrians, Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims, I’m sorry to say that even your revered predecessor, President Charles de Gaulle gave sanctuary to Hitler’s house guest, the infamous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Haj Amin al Husseini. Husseini was the sponsor of Muslim Waffen SS units that hunted down and killed hundreds of thousands of Jews and Serbs in the Balkans, We cry out just thinking of the magnitude of the crimes against our people in the last 2000 years in Europe.
Thus, we find it galling that you, as President of France with Jewish forbearers are telling fellow Jews in Israel to remove their citizens by force just like Vichy France did in WW II. You do all this while having the temerity of professing friendship with the Jewish State of Israel. You are publicly concerned about Iran. What will you do to protect Israel from a nuclear armed Iran? May I remind you, that it was former French President Chirac who supplied the nuclear reactor to the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. Israel’s pilots took out the Osirak reactor near Baghdad in June, 1981. World opinion chastised Israel, only later to thank it for this preemptive life saving action. France was among the first to condemn Israel after the bombing of the reactor in Iraq.
M. President Sarkozy, our hope is that this letter will embolden you to support a United Jerusalem. You can help the peace process by assisting in the absorption of Palestinian Arab refugees in Arab lands and by supporting the increase of Jewish homes in Israel. Arabs who reside in Israel are welcome to stay and contribute to the country, but not assist in treasonous acts to destroy it.
May the memory of your grandfather z’l (of blessed memory) spur you to reconsider your statements and become a leader in support of Jewish Israel in the ancient homeland of G-d’s covenant with his people.
Rabbi Israel Vana, Arnold Pock and Jerry Gordon
Rabbi Vana is spiritual leader of B’nai Israel Synagogue, Pensacola, Florida, Messrs. Pock and Gordon are co-editors of the synagogue’s newsletter, The Shofar’s Voice.