These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 29, 2013.
Monday, 29 April 2013
Mikhail Allakhverdov -- "Misha" The Devout Convert -- Found In Rhode Island
From the LA Times:
Boston bombing: Mysterious 'Misha' turns up in Rhode Island
The FBI has interviewed a man named Mikhail Allakhverdov about Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He said he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev but had not spoken to him in years. (Lowell Sun and Robin Young / April 19, 2013)
By Kim Murphy
April 28, 2013,
For days since the Boston Marathon bombings, people have been searching for the mysterious “Misha,” the friend with the thin red beard who supposedly tutored bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the ways of more pious Islam.
Also hot on his trail was the FBI, which wondered whether “Misha,” described by Tsarnaev family members as an Armenian who converted to Islam, could have known something about Tsarnaev and his brother’s alleged plans to plant homemade bombs at the marathon finish line on April 15.
Acting on a tip from someone who knows the Tsarnaevs, writer Christian Caryl traveled to Rhode Island to interview the man: Mikhail Allakhverdov, 39, who is of Armenian-Ukrainian descent.
The FBI had beaten him to to it, having reportedly already interviewed the man described in news accounts all over the world.
“I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov told Caryl, who wrote a blog post for the book review. [nonsense, of course -- how could anyone whom he had helped persuade to deeply believe in, for example, the divine truth of Sura 2 or Sura 9 not want to do, if he could, "something like this"?]
Allakhverdov said he had known the elder Tsarnaev brother in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, but had not had contact with him since.
“I’ve been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything. I wanted to show I haven’t done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case,” he said.
Interest in “Misha” — a common nickname for Mikhail — began when several relatives of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, said the young man had seemed to fall under the influence of a man they could remember only as Misha. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police.
As outlined in a profile of the two bombing suspects in the Los Angeles Times, the two would talk for hours about religion. Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said she and her son met Misha at the home of Armenian friends and she saw him as a positive influence on her son.
“We liked him a lot at first glance, and soon invited him home,” she said. “Misha had a talent to speak about things, especially Islam, in a manner that made you sit still and listen to him with an open mouth. And Tamerlan looked up to him the same way too. “
When he moved to another state — apparently Rhode Island — he visited only occasionally. “We were all very sorry that Misha was gone,” she said.
Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni has painted Misha's influence on his nephew in less charitable terms, saying the young man’s father was resentful of the time his son spent with Misha and felt that he “took his brain away.”
“Anzor came in, with Misha sitting there, and said, ‘Who is this person, and why is he still here?’ And the mother said, ‘Back off, back off. He’s teaching your son important things, about life and goodness,'” Tsarni related.
But Tsarni said other family members didn’t see Tsarnaev’s growing religious devotion as positive. “From a young person with ambition and inspiration, he turned into something else.”
Allakhverdov’s family told Caryl that they formerly lived in the capital of the predominantly Muslim country of Azerbaijan but left in the early 1990s to escape growing persecution of Armenian Christians there. He confirmed that he had converted to Islam.
AN Irish Muslim once arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Barack Obama says the Boston bombers gave Americans “a taste of their own medicine”. Dubliner Khalid Kelly, 46, refused to condemn Chechen terror brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Three people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed and more than 260 wounded when two devices exploded at the Boston Marathon on April 15. Tamerlan, 26, was later killed during a shootout with cops while Dzhokhar, 19, is in custody.
But convert Terence Kelly — nicknamed Taliban Terry — said he was not surprised by the attack, the first on US soil since 9/11. And he insisted Americans should be thankful there were not MORE deaths.
Kelly told the Irish Sun: “Thousands of Muslims are being killed every day from Syria to Afghanistan. A lot of them are being murdered at the hands of the Americans, and they never have a minute’s silence. Where are the tears for these people? Three people get killed and they have a big day of remembrance. They should remember the people they are killing. This is a war and they should be thankful that it wasn’t more.”
And extremist Kelly warned that attacks will continue as long as the US continues to exert its dominance on Muslim lands. He said: “Sheikh Osama Bin Laden said that until the last soldier leaves our land, you will never enjoy one day of security. And his words are coming through now. They are worried all the time and they should be worried. As long as you are killing people, then you will be killed. This is a taste of the same medicine that America is dishing out around the world.”
Born Terence Kelly, from the Liberties area of the capital, he converted to Islam while serving a jail sentence in Saudi Arabia for illegally distilling and selling alcohol. He later travelled to Pakistan, where he claims he trained with tribal warlords with the intention of going to Afghanistan.
(he said) " . . . the IRA said it would have a bigger effect on the English if we bombed them at home. And it did. They went to London and it was very effective. I think that is what is happening at the moment. You have come to our homeland and are bombing and killing Muslims.
“If people cannot get to the Jihad, what are they going to do? They are going to fight the enemy where they can find them.
“Whether it is right or not I don’t know, but I’m telling you what is happening. And in America, where they have easy access to weapons, it’s honestly surprising that it’s not happening every week.”
A Canadian boxer who was killed while fighting with jihadists in Russia has emerged as a key contact who may have set the elder Boston bomber on his path to violent extremism.
In what could be a breakthrough in the attempt to understand how Tamerlan Tsarnaev – himself a skilled boxer – became radicalised and turned to violence, Moscow's respected Novaya Gazetanewspaper revealed his links with William Plotnikov, who was killed in a battle with security forces in the troubled southern Russian republic of Dagestan last year.
During his visit to Dagestan last year, Tsarnaev also met on several occasions a terrorist of mixed Dagestani and Palestinian parentage, who was being closely watched by the Russian security services. That man, Makhmud Mansur Nidal, had been under surveillance for six months as a suspected recruiter for Islamist insurgents fighting Moscow's rule in the region.
The new claims have come from security officials in Makhachkala, the Dagestan capital, where the brothers' parents moved from the US and where Tsarnaev spent six months last year. According to the report in Novaya Gazeta, Tsarnaev came on to the radar of Dagestan's anti-extremism unit when he was seen "more than once" with Nidal, 19. A month later, Nidal was killed after he blockaded himself in a house with weapons. He had been accused of being part of a rebel group that organised a twin bomb attack in Makhachkala, killing 13 people.
Russian security operatives found Tsarnaev had been linked to William Plotnikov, an ethnic Russian citizen of Canada, whom they had interrogated in 2010 after he arrived in Dagestan, ostensibly to study Islam. Plotnikov gave a list of people in Europe and the US with roots in Russia's North Caucasus, with whom he had communicated via online social networking sites. Among those whose names Plotnikov volunteered was Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Plotnikov was released, but by 2012 he had joined Dagestan's insurgents – living in forest camps where he was known by fellow insurgents as "the Canadian". He was shot dead, aged 23, in a battle with Russian security forces in July last year that left six other militants dead.
It is unclear whether Tsarnaev and Plotnikov met through boxing circles or only communicated online, but their life paths suggest such a meeting was possible. Both were keen amateur boxers with roots in Russia who turned to Islam after finding it hard to adapt in their adoptive countries. Tsarnaev also visited his aunt in Toronto, where Plotnikov lived with his parents.
A(nother) key line of inquiry is whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev came into contact with a ruthless Islamist leader nicknamed "Robin Hood", who was responsible for dozens of attacks and bombings in Dagestan before being killed in December by Russian forces.
Gadzhimurad Dolgatov, a religious extremist who led a local cell of the Caucasus Emirate, Russia's most feared Islamist group, was a convicted armed robber. He made several videos in which he threatened to kill police officers and anyone who helped them. Tamerlan visited the predominantly Muslim republic for six months last year.
Shortly after returning to the US from Dagestan, Tamerlan placed several videos on his personal YouTube channel in a folder marked "terrorism". One was a message recorded by Dolgatov, posing in front of a banner in Arabic script.
"I'm warning you," he said in the video. "I'll kill you just like I'll kill them (police officers). Don't become their pawns. If you have brains, you won't want to die leaving behind widows, orphans and crying mothers. We'll destroy you. If you side with the police, you are helping Satan. I'm warning you."
A Russian Interior Ministry official said: "We're looking into whether the two men met or had any contact. It's odd Tsarnaev should post Dolgatov's video. How come he was even aware of his existence? We can't rule out that Tsarnaev was introduced to him. Clearly, he was impressed by him if he posted his video. The question is why?"
A senior US official said: "Dolgatov was an obscure figure with local significance for a short period of time - the time Tamerlan was in Dagestan. The fact that Tamerlan viewed his videos online appears to be significant. It just seems to be too much of a coincidence."
The US official said the "working assumption" of investigators was that Tamerlan was recruited to the Islamist cause in Massachusetts, possibly by an Armenian convert known as Misha, who has since left the US. Tsarnaev's relatives have depicted Misha as a charismatic and devout figure. Investigators believe Misha, whose true identity is thought to have been established by them, might have connected Tamerlan with Islamists in Dagestan, possibly Dolgatov or one of his associates.
Police have been searching a landfill near the Massachusetts University campus at Dartmouth, at which Dzhokhar was a student, for a laptop their accomplices might have disposed of after the attacks.
Inquiries are also being made into the triple murder of Brendan Ness, a friend of Tamerlan, and two others in 2011. The bodies were found with their throats slit and marijuana strewn over them.
The good news is that at last a Muslim admits to non-Muslims that Muslim terrorists who kill non-Muslims in the name of Islam are …. Muslim. Muslims might say this in Arabic to fellow Muslims, praising the “martyr” for his actions, but they don’t often say it in English. Or rather in quasi-English, for the bad news is that the message is hidden in a prose so clotted it is little better than the taqiyya we’re used to. Mohammad al Hussaini at Harry’s Place, a site still desperate to see the good in Islam:
Following the bloody drama played out on her streets, like London before her, Boston now faces a stark reckoning with the reality of terrorism at the hands of young, home-grown Muslim men. Like the carnage the day after London’s victorious Olympic bid in 2005, the attacks last week juxtapose the backdrop of cultural plurality and fraternity through sport, with terrorist expression of grievances by the murder of children, women and ethnic minorities.
In the multivariate regression analysis of the colluding risk factors behind the motives for the young men, it would appear obvious that entirely to exclude Islamic belief as a partial contributor does not fit the empirical data of similar attacks elsewhere.
Tell it like it is.
It is highly unlikely that the Chechen boys were scholars of the Quran, any more than bungling Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American Times Square bomber. As with Lee Boyd Malvo, the junior understudy of the Washington sniper, John Allen Muhammad, the “bunch of guys” male dynamic of dominant older, and weaker younger sibling likely interplay for the Tsarnaev brothers with a complex array of other personal determinants, from familial disaffection to the rage of young men. In security conference contexts where I teach, colleagues at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom andGeorge C Marshall European Center for Security Studies sift and explore the multifaceted underpinnings that led to the internet self-radicalisation of 16 year-old schoolboy, Hamaad Munshi, and the suicide bomb plot by Bristol student, Andrew Ibrahim.
However, the cantus firmus girding the riotous fugue of all these painful and shocking narratives is a common seeking after authenticity, purity and honour – certainties alluringly provided by simple and potent radicalised readings of God’s holy writ. And it is at this locus of challenging and reclaiming the jihadists’ claims to authenticity and truth that a significant part of the ideological struggle against religious extremism must take place.
I think this means that they were Muslims. However, my cantus firmus is regressing and has gone off a cliff.
The presenter of a Channel Four documentary about Gaza has said that the local population would not recognise the portrayal of the area in much of the UK media as war-torn. Seyi Rhodes travelled to the Gaza Strip in February to film an episode of Unreported World. Rather than reporting on a region torn apart by conflict, the programme focuses on the property market and booming construction taking place there. Rhodes said the experience confounded his expectations. "Before I started researching, I thought the region was destitute - people living literally hand-to-mouth on aid, with constant security threats. I took it for granted that people would be living in temporary accommodation provided by the UN."
Rhodes noted that "As a left-wing student, I was given one view of Gaza/Palestine. But I realise now that many of those representations were entirely politically motivated. Even Gazans wouldn't recognise the image that is portrayed of them sometimes. The woman crying over her dead son, the man throwing stones at tanks." He added that such stereotypes were "frankly offensive as most of these people live their lives with the same concerns as you and me… getting on the housing ladder, educating your children. People didn't even talk about Israel unless I brought it up."
He found "a growing wealth gap", with ordinary families struggling even to rent but new flats being sold for up to $3 million to wealthy Palestinians with money from abroad or from jobs with the Hamas government. The programme also highlights the flourishing black market in Gaza, with 90 per cent of new constructions using materials smuggled in through the network of tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt.
Zsuzsanna Griga will never forget the kidnapping of her brother, Frank, and his girlfriend, Krisztina Furton in 1995.
"...he loved fast cars, beautiful girls and life," Griga said. "She was very beautiful. She was only 23 years old. My heart breaks when I think of what she went through."
Felix Jimenez, now retired from the Metro-Dade Police homicide department, was the lead detective on the case.
"Very handsome couple, they looked like they were made for each other," Jimenez explained. "Frank was the American success story -- an immigrant, came to this country with $10 dollars in his pocket and made millions."
He came from Budapest, Hungary, and found a minimum wage job in New York City.
Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton
"It was like a service station ... he was changing the oil, washing cars," Zsuzsanna Griga explained. "What he accomplished ... should make everyone proud because he went from nowhere to a millionaire on his own just by using his own resources."
In fewer than 10 years, Frank was living in an upscale Miami enclave called "Golden Beach" and running a phone sex line empire. He was on top of the world until May 24, 1995.
"I started calling him and he wouldn't pick up the phone," Zsuzsanna Griga said. "I kind of knew that something really bad happened then..."
The disappearance of Frank and Krisztina would become one of Miami's most notorious crimes. But who would want to kidnap them?
The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has heeded a call from a conservative clerical group to halt the broadcast of "un-Islamic" films and serials, issuing a vague decree that some see as a move to stifle debate before presidential elections next year or ...
Below is an extract of an article, which discusses in some depth a number of key points brought up in an interesting new book by Neil J. Kressel, of the Social Sciences Department at William Patterson University, entitled The Sons of Pigs and Apes. ã€€ The text offers some lesser spoken insights on the rather extraordinary depth of the abiding anti-Semitism in the Islamic world, and what Kressel describes as "a conspiracy of silence" among academics, politicians, journalists, and the international community about this form of hatred:
[…] In Arab societies, he [[Kressel]] notes, the very words "Jew" and "Zionist" have become generic slurs. "For many [Muslims], Israel has become a central element in a collective obsessional delusion," Kressel writes.
Yet many Western opinion formers, Jews included, remain willfully blind to the issue, Kressel argues. "Otherwise reliable opponents of bigotry too often duck when confronted with massive evidence of Jew-hatred in Arab and Islamic countries," he notes. "They offer either dismissive interpretations or complex justifications in lieu of plainspoken opposition." Those who don’t ignore the subject outright prefer to downplay it, dismiss it as a peripheral cultural phenomenon, or justify it as a righteous response to Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians.
By implication, if only the "Zionists" had behaved themselves better, Jews everywhere wouldn’t bear the brunt of so much hatred among Arabs and Muslims. Kressel, a social psychologist and author of "Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism," goes out of his way to insist that not all criticism of Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic. Nonetheless, he dismisses such excuses as generally bunkum.
...take that of Egyptian cleric Muhammad Hussein Ya’qub, who minced no words in a televised sermon, now available online, in 2009. "If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not," he explained.
"The Jews are infidels not because I say so but because Allah does… They aren’t our enemies because they occupy Palestine; they would be our enemies even if they had not occupied anything."
The roots of Islamic anti-Jewish sentiments, Kressel reminds us, go much deeper than the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which has undoubtedly helped bring them to the fore. He dismisses the "rosy past scenario" of oft-cited historical Muslim tolerance towards Jews as largely fictional.
The Koran and the hadiths – the deeds and sayings of Mohammed – are rather ambivalent about Jews. At times Islam’s holy book urges respect and tolerance towards them; at other times it goes on and on, verse after verse, about their bloodlust, hypocrisy and perfidy for willfully and ungratefully perverting God’s instructions to humanity through their lies and treachery. For their intransigence, Allah has cursed Jews and turned them, the Koran tells us repeatedly, into "apes and pigs."
Mohammed him self set an ominous precedent for dealing with Jews. After failing to win them over for his cause, he expelled two of the three Jewish tribes of Medina and massacred all the males of the third, enslaving their wives and children in the process. […]
As an influential hadith has it, the Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. […]
Down through the ages, Kressel explains in an engrossing passage, Muslim scholars have offered a variety of opinions on whether Allah literally turned Jews into monkeys and pigs. More recently, in 2009, Sheikh Ahmad Ali Othman, a high-ranking official at the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments, explained that the reason Muslims were forbidden from eating pork is that "the pigs living today are descended from those Jews [whom Allah turned into swine]." […]
One could laugh off such rhapsodies of nonsense as the misguided musings of benighted souls, but pervasive Islamic Jew-hatred has real-life consequences. By relentlessly dehumanizing Jews, Islamists seek to legitimize their murder as justified owing to Jews’ inherently atavistic and animalistic nature. Thus, killing Jews becomes both a religious duty and a moral imperative.
And so we end up with people like Algerian- French Muslim Mohammed Merah, who methodically assassinated four people, three of them young children, at a Jewish school in Toulouse, in March last year. Members of the local Muslim community openly rallied in support of him as random attacks against French Jews intensified across the country. […]
"Dehumanization plays a key role in the social psychology of genocide," Kressel notes apropos such pronouncements. "It is much more effective when it can plausibly be attributed to an ancient and sacred source, held by believers to be infallible." Add to that a potent paranoia about a Jewish world conspiracy, and what you have is a volatile mix of loathing and fear. The fraudulent "Protocols of the Elder of Zion" and Hitler’s "Mein Kampf" are both perennial bestsellers from Egypt to Pakistan. The "Protocols" is often cited as proof of Jews’ bottomless mendacity, not least in the Hamas Charter, and has been turned into a hugely popular 41-part television series. Functional illiteracy is rampant across the Middle East, and any cockamamie conspiracy theory about Jews finds fertile ground in local communities. […]
In 2007, meanwhile, Iran’s intelligence services "arrested" 14 squirrels for spying for the Zionist Entity. The rodents joined several vultures, which had been tagged by Israeli conservationists for monitoring, that alert officials from Turkey to Sudan have intercepted as alleged Zionist spies. […]
Confronted with such asinine views, many Westerners are incredulous: How could anyone believe such baloney? But people’s beliefs, however irrational, inform their views of the world and influence their actions.
Hate needs no logical basis; in fact, the more irrational hatred is, the more implacable it can become. The long centuries of pogroms and massacres of Jews based on claims they poisoned wells and slaughtered Christian babies for their rituals taught us that. […]
Watchdogs like Human Rights Watch, he says, ignore the genocidal rants of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran’s leaders, even as they reflexively condemn Israel at the slightest excuse. Then there’s the UN’s Human Rights Council, which seems to exist for the sole purpose of denouncing the Jewish state. Muslim anti- Semitism? The Council won’t hear of it. It censured a Jewish delegate just for bringing up the subject. The UN-sponsored anti-racist conferences Durban I and II, in 2001 and 2009, turned into notorious hate-fests against Israel; the latter featured Ahmadinejad as a keynote speaker. […]
In a sense, Jew-hatred performs an important psychological function for Muslims. It serves as a point of agreement for Shias and Sunnis, Sufis and Salafis, who often don’t see eye to eye about much else – and continue to savagely massacre each other. The Palestinian cause has become a convenient rallying cry for global Muslim unity. Bernard Lewis, an eminent scholar of Islam, has called statesanctioned opposition to Israel in oppressive Muslim regimes a "licensed grievance," an approved mode of collective venting.
Kressel agrees. "Antisemitism in the Muslim world," he writes, "is a form of political manipulation that rests on a psychological foundation." Jews, the author notes, were once the subjects of Muslim whim, but are now far more advanced and prosperous.ã€€
The success of Israel, a tiny country run by a formerly despised or at best tolerated people, has been a massive blow to collective Muslim self-esteem. The flourishing of Jews on previously Muslim-ruled land seems to negate the eternal superiority of Islam, as ordained by Allah and his prophet. And so Israel is an insufferable provocation both religiously and politically. Muslim anti- Semites, Kressel argues, are afflicted with "cognitive dissonance," a conflict of reality with their cherished and deeply held beliefs. […]
Police in Gaza have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this April, writes Phoebe Greenwood. And now the city is gripped with fear that Hamas is driving the population towards militant Islamic fundamentalism
It's three weeks since his arrest but Ismail Halou still has streaks of purple bruising on the soles of his feet. The 22 year-old was filling cars at his family's petrol station in Gaza City at 5pm on April 4th when a black jeep pulled into the forecourt, plain-clothed police stepped out and ordered him into the car. . . It was only after the beating that police officers set to work trying to shave off the one-inch fin of gelled hair that was the cause of his arrest.
"At no point did they tell me why they had arrested me. I found out from neighbours when I got home that it was because of my hair," Mr Halou explains, running a hand over the fuzzy regrowth on his head. He could not walk for three days after his release.
Police in Gaza, a Palestinian coastal enclave run by Islamist faction Hamas, have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this April. Most of them were beaten, all of them had their heads forcibly shaven. Some were shaven because their haircuts that were deemed culturally inappropriate, others because their trousers were either too low-slung or too fitted. In at least two cases, police also cut-up jeans deemed too tight.
Rajou Hayek, 33, was arrested while pushing his wheelchair-bound father to a health clinic in Gaza City, he claims for no reason other than intimidation. "When I arrived at the police station, the first thing I saw was a mountain of hair, it looked like it had been shaved from 300 heads," Mr Hayek says. He sustained a savage beating before also having his head shaved.
But a violently enforced public modesty campaign is new. This latest trend of punitive head shaving has shocked a conflict and poverty hardened community. Gaza is gripped with a palpable fear that Hamas is driving the population towards unapologetic, militant, Islamic fundamentalism.
Ihab Al Ghusain, director of the Hamas media centre in Gaza and former spokesperson for the interior ministry, is critical of the police force's violent methods but defends their message. "Young people should be concerned with their education and what Israel is doing to us rather than concentrating on the outside world and pop stars with those sorts of haircuts," he told The Telegraph.
Hamas warned against women smoking nargilla water pipes in public, raided weddings where women and men were reported to be dancing together and waged a PR campaign in girls' schools to encourage students to cover themselves entirely, pitting school heads against liberal parents.
Fear and self-censorship have transformed Gaza. In Gaza's cafés, heady clouds of orange blossom and apple vapour billow from nargilla pipes smoked exclusively by men. There are now few bare heads among the streams of young women and girls pouring out of Gaza's schools and universities. Female figures seldom walk alone through Gaza City's streets and markets, and those who do usually move briskly and are shrouded.
One of the great mysteries of the Abu Qatada saga is why this country finds it so difficult to deport suspected foreign terrorists while France has no such problem. Here are two nations, both Western liberal democracies, both in the EU, both signatories to the European human rights convention and subject to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Both face threats from Islamist extremists; and yet their approach to dealing with them is dramatically different. Between 2001 and 2010, the UK deported nine alleged jihadis who were deemed to pose a threat to national security. Over the same period, France removed 129.
Why the contrast? Many of those packed off by France were sent to countries such as Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, whose judicial systems are not widely thought to be paragons of compassion. Many of the deportees from France were Islamists whose only offence was to make disparaging remarks about the country rather than fanatics bent on fomenting violence.
Yet we are apparently unable to remove Abu Qatada, who arrived here under false pretences and was identified by MI5 as the most significant Islamic fundamentalist in Britain and an “inspiration” for terrorists both in this country and abroad. He chose his destination well when he came to Europe in 1993. Had he settled in Paris, he would certainly not still be there making a mockery of the French judicial system.
This disparity is the subject of a timely new book written by the counter-terrorism expert Frank Foley. He, too, had long been baffled by the varied approaches. And one thing that has become clear from his research is that the reason has little to do with the European court and much more to do with the different recent histories of the two countries and how their institutions have developed.
In the Commons last week, Theresa May became the fifth home secretary in succession forced to jump through a series of legal hoops to try to get rid of Abu Qatada. She announced that the UK had signed a treaty with Jordan aimed at persuading the Strasbourg court that if the imam were returned for trial the evidence against him would not have been extracted under torture. How that could be proven is anyone’s guess; but why do we have to go to such lengths at all? Is it to convince European judges or our own?
As Foley points out, in France “individuals only have limited means of preventing their deportation because of the relevant legal regulations and because of the swift expulsion practices of the French authorities”. Furthermore, an appeal does not suspend expulsion: the individual can still be deported to his home country and the appeal takes place in his absence. It is possible to petition the domestic courts to suspend a deportation but, says Foley, “the French authorities have pre-empted such legal moves by putting the individual on a plane home within just a few days of the order being issued”.
In Britain, by contrast, an appeal automatically halts a deportation; but that has nothing to do with Strasbourg and everything to do with the way we do things here. Since 1999, in the case of Algeria – whence most extremists come for historical reasons – “the French courts have not overturned any of the government’s deportation decisions on the basis that radical Islamists face a risk of torture or mistreatment if they are returned”.
However, in Abu Qatada’s case, neither have our courts. In fact, twice since 2001, British courts have upheld Home Office efforts to deport him. In 2007, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said assurances from Jordan about his treatment were enough to override human rights obstacles. This was upheld in 2009 by the Law Lords, who also ruled that whether or not evidence against him might have been extracted under torture was irrelevant. It was not for the British courts “to regulate the conduct of trials in foreign countries”, and the use of such material would not amount to a “flagrant denial of justice’’.
If this country’s supreme court said he could be deported, why on earth is he still here? As soon as Qatada’s lawyers lodged an appeal, his removal was stayed; but in France, he would have been on a plane to Amman as an act of judicially endorsed political will: the European convention would not have come into it.
Here, the case went to Strasbourg, which found against the British government – and our courts have since gone along with that decision despite previously taking a completely different view.
The UK was slow to react to the jihadist threat in the Nineties (or, rather, we turned a blind eye to it). But there are aspects of the French approach to terrorism that we would not wish to adopt here (or at least I wouldn’t), such as the police making mass arrests or rounding up the usual suspects.
The judiciary in France are also much more tightly locked into the process through their investigating magistrates, who take over the case from the outset. Our tradition of free speech and civil liberties acts as a constraint on the more authoritarian instincts of the state. When it comes to removing from their territory suspected foreign jihadis who might do them harm, however, everyone in France sings from the same hymn sheet. We can’t even agree on the tune.
On April 23, Saad al-Durihim, a Saudi Wahhabi sheikh, posted a tweet on Twitter in which he said that jihadist fighters in Iraq should adopt a "heavy-handed" approach and kill any Shiites they can get their hands own, including children and women. This is so that the "rawafid" — a term used by Wahhabi Salafists to refer to Shiites — will fear them.
About This Article
A Saudi Wahhabi sheikh has issued a fatwa in which he calls on jihadists in Iraq to kill Shiites, including women and children, in another sign of the bitter sectarian conflict dividing the region, writes Haytham Mouzahem.
Wahhabi Sheikh Calls on Iraq's Jihadists to Kill Shiite Children and Women Author: Haytham Mouzahem Translated by: Tyler Huffman
This tweet sparked sharp criticism on Twitter. Many considered it to be incitement to murder and contrary to the tolerance of Islam, which forbids the killing of women and children in battle, even those of infidels and polytheists.
Sheikh Durihim had previously posted a tweet in which he said that the people of Najd [in central Saudi Arabia] were the "saved group", meaning they alone were the only ones who would enter Paradise on Judgment Day among all humans, including other Muslims. Najd is the region of Saudi Arabia where Wahhabism originated.
Daraihim's statements denouncing the Shiites as apostates — in accordance with Wahhabi Salafist doctrine — are not the first of their kind. Takfir (the idea of Muslims renouncing other Muslims as nonbelievers) goes back to fatwas issued by Sheikh Taqi ad-Din bin Taymiyyah, a Syrian sheikh from the Hanbali school of jurisprudence born in 1283 A.D. in Harran, a city near the Turkish-Syrian border. Sheikh Taymiyyah considered Shiites to be deluded heretics. He accused Shiite scholars of blasphemy and considered the general Shiite populace to be ignorant and misguided. This led his followers — in particular Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1700-1791), the founder of Wahhabism — to denounce all Shiites, regardless of sect, as nonbelievers. They also authorized killing Shiites, holding their women captive, and stealing from them. This goes against the words of the Prophet Muhammad: "The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor."
Talk of a "saved group" goes back to to a hadith (a statement attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) — "My people will be divided into 73 groups, one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell." Some Muslims have taken this statement — which is unconfirmed and illogical — as fact, without regard to its content or authenticity.
The aforementioned hadith has appeared in various forms, and has been a topic of controversy and debate among hadith scholars and experts in Islamic jurisprudence.
Islamic researcher Abdullah al-Sarihi has written a study in which he noted that this hadith is fabricated and of questionable authenticity. It is not a credible hadith, given that many well-known Islamic figures have questioned it and there are definitive texts that oppose this statement. Likewise, the renowned Yemeni jurisprudential scholar Mohammed al-Shawkani said that this hadith lacks authenticity and credibility.
Returning to these takfiri fatwas — which permit apostatizing other Muslims and subsequently killing them (and their women and children), stealing from them, and taking their women captive — we see that this is contrary to the true principles of Islam and the laws of all Semitic religions. The Prophet Muhammed would play games with children, befriend them, and joke with them. The Prophet was also kind to animals; when he was on his way to conquer Mecca, he saw a dog with her puppies and ordered his followers not to disturb her. He also ordered his followers not to tamper with the bodies of enemies as revenge for what the infidels of Quraysh did to his uncle Hamza's body. He even forgave Hind bint Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, and her servant Wahshi, who killed Hamza, desecrated his body, and have his liver to Hind to eat as revenge for the death of her father Utbah who was killed by Hamza in the Battle of Badr. [this is what Islam is all about -- one great isnad chain of being after another] at the craziness of Islam]
The Prophet ordered his army commanders and fighters not to kill the women and children of infidels, and not to cut down trees or destroy buildings.
Islamic writers of various sects have been obsessed with this fabricated hadith about the "saved group", and have worked hard to determine the 73 sects. They have done this by counting various sects and dividing them into sub-sects to reach the desired number.
Today, a major problem in the Islamic world is represented by the large number of muftis and sheikhs who are unqualified to issue fatwas, yet still issue fatwas characterized by idle talk and improvisation. Some Islamic jurists and preachers affiliated with sultans were still apostatizing other Muslims to satisfy their sultans.
This isn't limited to just takfir, but has progressed to the point of permitting killing, stealing from, and dishonoring of other Muslims. It even reached the point of bombing, where some youth have been deceived into believing that the shortest path to Paradise — to coming face to face with God — is carrying out a suicide bombing to kill infidels. These suicide bombers not only target fighters, soldiers and politicians, but also target mosques, churches, markets, schools and hospitals.
These suicide bombers are truly misguided, and the blame falls on those who are described as religious scholars. These so-called scholars are not concerned with the image of Islam held by other Muslims, as they see Muslims killing one another and blowing up each others mosques.
If we accept the argument that there is a Muslim sect that has erred and deviated from Islam, doesn't this mean we should invite them to [the true] Islam?
Didn't the Quran say, "Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance"? (Sura An-Nahl, verse 125)
If God has ordered Muslims to invite polytheists, Jews and Christians to Islam with wisdom and beautiful preaching, shouldn't we first invite those Muslims with whom we disagree with wisdom and beautiful preaching, those who have gone astray or deviated from out views and thinking?
There is no sect or group that maintains a monopoly on extremism and takfir, all sects are apostatizing others. Even members of the same sect or political group are now apostatizing members of their own group because of political disputes or a struggle for power and leadership.
Muslim Extolls Virtues of American Law for American Courts in Miami Herald
Florida Senate President Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz
Don Gaetz, Pro ALAC? Voted for ALAC in Florida
This is the final week of the Florida legislative session in Tallahassee. The Florida version of American Law for American Courts SB58 is bottled up in the Senate Rules Committee, a sort of legislative lethal chamber. A torrent of emails and call have inundated Senate leaders, Senate President Don Gaetz, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Lisbeth Benacquisto and Rules Committee Chair Sen. John Thrasher asking them to withdraw SB58, Acceptance of Foreign Law in Certain Cases, and bring the measure to the Senate floor for a hearing and vote. We understand that votes are in hand to assure passage of SB58. The companion House version was passed by a 79 to 39 vote on April 18th. Voting with the House majority was the son of Senate President Gaetz, Rep. Matt Gaetz who represents a Northwest Florida Panhandle district with an office in Shalimar. His father Don Gaetz's district office is less than 11 miles away in Destin. Perhaps the father son team might meet over a cup of coffee to discuss getting ALAC passed in its third outing in the Sunshine State. Last year, ALAC didn't make it to the Senate floor because of a spat between outgoing Senate President Mike Haridopolos and the Senate Sponsor of ALAC, Sen. Alan Hays, over a non -related legislative issue. We reported that at the time Sen. Gaetz allegedly said he would support pasage of ALAC this time. Now, it appears he is on the verge of repeating what Haridopolos did last year. There are still four more days remaining in the 2013 legislative session and things might change prompting Senator Gaetz to bring SB58 up for a vote. These final days in the legislative session is when the Senate reviews measures passed in the House, one of them is the House version of ALAC, HB351. What's the expression? Carpe Diem, Sen. Gaetz!!
Perhaps the Senate leaders might find this post from Creeping Sharia of interest. Here we have a Muslim extolling the virtues of SB58 criticizing a Muslim author of an op ed opposing SB 58. Ironic? Or just someone who recognizes the merits and wisdom of ALAC protecting both the letter writer's and critic's human rights.
Re LailaAbdelaziz’s April 24 article, Legislature weighs anti-Sharia law we don’t need:As a Muslim, I would like to disagree with her views about Sharia law being banned in Florida. We do need to ban this law. Sharia law belongs to those countries where there is no democracy, human rights, individual freedom and no rule of law. We willfully came to this country. We cannot bring our own laws and rules and regulations and expect that they will be implemented as we wish.
We are here because the U.S. Constitution protects our freedom and liberty regardless of our race or religion. We know that rule of law will prevail and we will not be victimized by unscrupulous tyrants and anti-democratic rulers. Let’s not redefine freedom.