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Here are some early press releases and some personal historical observations. A number of the abuses were resolved satisfactorily.

 

 

20 Feb.'95 Release 5 Pakistan Blasphemy Update

The Adelaide Advertiser (World Watch 11/2/95) reports that two Pakistani Christians have been sentenced to death for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.

One, Salamat Masih, aged 14 is alleged to have written blasphemous words on the wall of a mosque despite the fact that he is totally illiterate. He has been in detention for over six months and the death sentence is mandatory. The other defendant is his uncle, Rehmat Masih, aged 40.

Prime Minister, Ms Benazir Bhutto is trying to change the Blasphemy Law but is being blocked by the upper house which is controlled by the Pakistan Muslim League. Support for Ms Bhutto can help save the lives of Salamat and Rehmat.

The address of the Pakistan High Commission is ………….. Please help.

14/11/97 Local and international support for Salamat and Rehmat helped finance a High Court appeal and they were acquitted of the charge. They were smuggled out of Pakistan and now live in Europe. On 10/10/97 High Court judge Arif Bhatti was shot to death in his office. His family believes he was murdered for his verdict in this case as he had received a number of calls and letters threatening his life.

 

 

4 March '95 Release 6 Barbarities in Somalia and Iraq

A recent clip from ABC TV showed a severed hand on a footpath in Mogadishu. Warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed had ordered that it stay there as a warning to thieves. Further, a second offence means the amputation of a foot.

Mutilations have been taking place in Iraq. Ali Ubaid Abed Ali was convicted of stealing a TV set and was operated on without anaesthetic. He was shown on Iraqi TV with a bandaged stump, his right hand on a sheet. He was also branded on the forehead with a deep X. Hundreds of army deserters have had all or part of an ear amputated and many have been branded as well. Six young men in a detention centre had their eyes gouged out before being killed.

It is difficult to criticize these barbarities as they are in accordance with Shariah, Islamic punishment. (Amputation Qur'an 5:33 and 5:38, Branding foreheads Qur'an 9:35, Eye-gouging Hadith Muslim 669).

It would be difficult to contact the warlord responsible in Somalia but Saddam Hussein can be reached via the Iraqi Embassy ………………. Let him know that such penalties are abhorrent to civilized people.

 

23/6/95 Release 7 Divorce in Egypt

We wish to raise what, at first glance, may appear to be an inconsequential or even humorous matter [at least in Australia where a good proportion of partners are unmarried]. A Cairo court has ordered the divorce of a couple who wish to stay together. Islamists have claimed that Professor Nasser Hamed Abu Zaid is guilty of heresy in writing that "Islam's teachings should evolve with changes in society." However, a Muslim woman cannot be married to a heretic, a non-Muslim.

He and his wife, Ibtihal, also an academic have appealed against the ruling and can remain together for the time being. However if the prosecution stands, they could lose their jobs or even be killed .by fanatics as "adulterers ("living in sin") or as apostates ("deserters of Islam")

We have found that letters or facsimiles of support can help victims of human rights abuses. The couple would be pleased to receive messages of support via the Cairo University. Messages to the State Prosecutor, who is reportedly unhappy with the verdict because of Western perceptions, can be sent via the Egyptian Embassy ………….. Please help.

 

 Release 8 Flogging for Dancing Bride

A bride in Iran has been sentenced to 85 lashes by an Islamic court for dancing with men at her wedding.

The court sentenced 127 guests at the Western-style wedding to floggings or fines, jailed the groom's father for 18 months and fined him $22,350 for holding the party.

Iranian police warned last month that weddings had to be organized according to strict Islamic rules with separate rooms for men and women and no dancing or unauthorized music

Reuter Acknowledgments to the Adelaide Advertiser, 6 Sept '95. If you have more details than this please send them to the above address or fax. We welcome relevant information.

 

Release 9 Blasphemy in Indonesia

Mr Permadi Satrio Wiwoho has been sentenced by an Indonesian court to seven month's jail for demeaning the Islamic religion.

Permadi was found guilty of describing Muhammad as a "dictator". As a leading fortune-teller he should have foreseen the result of his actions and as a lawyer he could have defended himself better against the charge - his only rebuttal was that he meant that the Prophet was a "good dictator."

However, Muhammad was the non-elected ruler of the city-state of Medina in Arabia. As Prophet and religious leader he dictated laws by which, according to Islam's own history, hundreds of people were stoned to death, had limbs amputated, properties seized, men beheaded and thrown into a mass grave and the victims' wives and daughters taken as concubines.

Yet the prosecutor is appealing against the leniency of the sentence!

 18/11/95 Release 11 Elections in Algeria

Congratulations to the Algerian people for defying the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and going to the poll in droves (74 per cent turnout). They had been threatened with death for voting but they are tired of the civil war which has cost over 30,000 lives.

Assassinated have been journalists, government bureaucrats, pop singers and even girls who went bathing in Western costumes or who did not wish to cover their hair.

The 1995 elections show that the previous high vote for FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) was a protest against the poor state of the economy rather than a carte blanche for fundamentalism.

 

 27/11/95 Release 13 Persecution of Christians in Turkey

Resurgence of Islam in Turkey threatens the few remaining Christians in that country. (One and a half million Armenian and six hundred thousand Greek Orthodox and Catholics were killed between 1913 and 1922.)

They are being assassinated and girls abducted to marry Muslims. Christian schools are forced to teach Islam and conscripts are forcibly circumcised. Churches are attacked and some even converted to mosques. Grave-yards have been violated. Theological seminaries have been closed and whole villages evacuated.

Hezbollah (Party of God) can thus act with impunity while the Turkish Army stands by.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Mrs Tansu Ciller, is herself under siege from the Islamic militants but an appeal to her to restore the human rights and property rights of Christians can be made via the Turkish Embassy ……….

 

 Justice in Saudi Arabia

The mutawa, religious police, in Saudi Arabia are using false charges, torture and forced confessions against citizens and foreign workers. Men and women socializing can be accused of prostitution and be dealt a hundred lashes. An Egyptian is receiving 4,000 lashes for theft, fifty per fortnight. Christian Filipino, Fred Mallo, held a church service in his villa and was sentenced to a year in jail and a hundred lashes.

Saudi Arabia performs approximately two hundred public beheadings a year. These include adulterers and drinkers convicted for the third time. A hundred lashes for drinking alcohol is Shariah, Islamic law, but nowhere did Prophet Muhammad prescribe execution for this. Muslims may only receive the death penalty for adultery, the murder of a Muslim or for deserting Islam.

Dr Mohammed Al-Masari was tortured in SA for advocating free elections and a free press. He is in Britain seeking political asylum but pressure is being put on PM John Major to deport him . The Saudi government is threatening to cut off arms contracts from Britain worth two billion pounds and thousands of jobs. Your message to the British High Commission in Canberra can help prevent his deportation. Please assist.

 

 Jerusalem

Palestinian Muslims are protesting against the Israeli opening, for tourists, of an ancient tunnel running alongside the al-Aqsa mosque. While the media has stated that Jerusalem is the third most holy city for Islam, after Mecca and Medina, no explanation has been given why this is so.

Literalists believe that in the year 620, the Prophet was transported by a white, winged, horse-like creature named Buraq to the "Furthest Mosque". (King Solomon and other Quranic figures are regarded as Muslims and his temple as a mosque. However, according to Caliph Omar, the Temple Mount was a "dung heap" in 638 AD. This Night Journey to Jerusalem is known as the Isra.) There he met Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other Muslim prophets and it was there that he climbed by a ladder of light to the seven heavens - this Ascension is called the Miraj.

No wonder Muslims revere al-Aqsa and insist that the peace process does not allow Israeli hegemony over Jerusalem.

 

 Two "Muslim Prophets"

 Imran and Jemima Khan have named their son Sulaiman Isa after two "Muslim prophets". Actually they are none other than King Solomon and Jesus Christ. In Muslim theology Isa was the son of the Virgin Mary but not of God. Nor was He God himself as the doctrine of the Trinity would have it; nor did He die on the Cross.

This misappropriation of the two Jewish personages would, perhaps, be of little consequence except that the areas where these two prophets lived are considered sacred to Islam. Solomon's temple thus becomes Sulaiman's mosque and we have already seen scores of deaths around this site, the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place of worship in Islam. Similarly, Hebron is holy to Islam as the reputed burial place of their prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in about 1500 BC, actually over two thousand years before Islam was instituted.

Such dubious history is the basis of many of today's conflicts, in this case between Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists.

Feb_ July 1997

 

7 March 97 Islamist Terror in Egypt

The Gama'a Islami overran the village of Nag Dawoud in Southern Egypt. No reports of casualties were given but the government is reluctant to publish details of losses wrought by Islamists.

On 12th February nine young Copts were slain by automatic rifle fire in the church of Mary Guirguis in Abu Qurqac. They were Aiman Reda Girgis, Samuel Kenan, Magdy Bassily, Joseph Naguib, Milad Shaker, Edward Wasfi, Nina Nabil, Gamil Mousa and a young woman named Olphat.

7th Feb. 97 Muslim Mob Destroys Christian Village in Pakistan

The imam of a mosque in Khanewal, Pakistan informed his congregation that Christians had ripped pages from a copy of the Qur'an. The crowd swelled to 30,000 and destroyed the chapel of the local Church of Pakistan and St. Joseph's Catholic Church. The Salvation Army Church in the nearby Christian village of Shantinagar was burnt to the ground as, indeed, were most of the buildings and utilities in the village. The three million Christians (out of a total 120 million) are fearful in response to extremism since the Muslim League took power and its death penalty for blasphemy against the Prophet.

 

 23 May 97 Turkey Closes Human Rights Association

The Diyabakir branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association was closed down today and correspondence seized. Included were reports to the European Commission and Court of Human Rights on the Turkish incursion into northern Iraq.

The Islamic-led coalition of Prime Minister Erbakan did nothing to change the position of fellow-Muslim Kurds. For example, the Constitution still forbids the learning, writing or publicly speaking the Kurdish language. Twenty six thousand Kurds have been killed in the past 13 years, thousands have "disappeared" and dozens of villages razed to the ground.

 

25 May 1997 Christian Churches and shops Burnt in Indonesia

Molotov cocktails have been used by young Islamists against churches and shops owned by Christian Chinese in Banjamarsin and surrounding areas, South Kalimantan. 134 deaths have occurred but these include some Islamists caught in their own fires.

This is not an isolated example. In February we reported the wrecking of 5 churches, a Buddhist temple and Chinese homes and shops in Rengasdengklok 50 km from Jakarta. A Christian was said to have insulted Islam.

 

 

22/4/97 Bangladesh Ulama Want Lovers Stoned

Twenty three Islamic clerics are demanding that former president Hussain Muhammad Ershad and his mistress of 14 years, Mrs Mosharraf, be publicly stoned to death for adultery.

The Qur'an (24:2) only stipulates 100 lashes for this offence. However, Prophet stoned a number of men and women (Sahih Muslim Chapters 623, 680, 682 and Hadith Malik (493:1520) and so this punishment is Shariah, Islamic Law. The man is to be buried up to his waist and a woman to above her breast. The stones are not to be too small as death will not ensue; nor must they be too large as death may come too soon.

Shariah does not prevail in Bangladesh although fundamentalists want it that way. It is one of the few relatively democratic Muslim countries and most of its laws remain from the days of its former British colonialists.

Fax or write to the Bangladeshi Head of State in Dhaka to resist efforts to turn back the clock.

 

 

11 April, 1997 Iranian State Terrorism

A German court has found an Iranian and two Lebanese (Iran payrolls Hizbollah) guilty of the murders of Sadeh Sharafkandi, exiled leader of the Iranian Democratic Party of Kurdistan and three other dissidents. The assassinations took place in the Mykynos Restaurant, Berlin in 1992. Implicated were Iranian President Rasfanjani and Islamic leader Ayatollah Khameini.

To digress, even in Australia there have been suspicious deaths including that of the Chairman of the Coptic Human Rights Commission, Dr Makin Morcos. On the very night in 1991, after he had given a talk on ethnic radio about the persecution of Christians in Egypt, he was gunned down presumably by the Gama'a Islami.

Some academics eschew the term fundamentalism but these acts are quite in character for Islam. Their own literature, for example the biography of Prophet Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq relate a number of assassinations ordered for poets and critics living outside his theocratic state of Medina.

"That night she [Asma bint Marwan] was sleeping, her youngest child still at her breast, when her clansman thrust his sword through her. On that day new converts were won as they could see the Power of Islam." Another poet critical of Muhammad, Abu Afak, reputedly over one hundred years old, and also the satirical poet, Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf were assassinated on Muhammad's orders.

As Sunnah, actions of Muhammad, they are part of Shariah, Islamic Law and so terror is fundamental to the religion and not in spite of it.

 

April-June 1997 Uzbekistan Seizes Bibles

Twenty five thousand New Testaments in the Uzbek language have been seized and not returned to the Bible Society of Uzbekistan. The latter has been warned that it will be closed down if it continues "missionary activity". The Bible Society points out, however, that the Constitution guarantees religious freedom and that Islam is not the state religion.

Seventy years of communism have left a large vacuum which Christians hope to fill because many from a Muslim background (20 million out of a total population of 24 M) have been secularized and have a commitment to democracy. The remaining four million derive from Christian lineage.

There is much to do as six million describe themselves as "non-religious".

 

1st July '97 Shariah in Malaysia

Three young Muslim women were arrested after taking part in a beauty contest in Selangor. The Petaling Jaya syariah (Shariah) court today fined them each 400 Ringgits and the Selangor Religious Department has warned other Muslim women that the law will be enforced against dressing indecently in public places.

Muslim girls are further discriminated against by not being able to marry non-Muslims. Khalwat laws prevent them from being alone with a male even in a work-related situation.

Islam is the state religion of Malaysia despite the fact that nearly fifty per cent of the population are non-Muslim. The latter are also discriminated against: they cannot opt out of Islamic studies at government schools and cannot attempt to proselytise Muslims - even the sale of the Bible in the Malay language is banned.

 

27 July '97 Two Filipino Christians Beheaded in Saudi Arabia

Ruel Janda and Arnel Betran were beheaded on 5 May in Riyadh allegedly for armed robbery. However former cellmate, Donato Lama, states that the charges against the pair were false and fabricated and the real reason for their execution was for conducting Bible Studies and Christian prayers.

Lama, a computer programmer for Saudi Airlines, had spent a lengthy period in jail on charges of "promoting Christianity". Saudi police had discovered a photograph of him praying with other foreign nationals on Christmas Day, 1984

August 1997

 

26-8-97 Body Building in Malaysia

The state Religious Affairs Department in Kuching, 430 miles southeast of Kuala Lumpur has warned three Muslim bodybuilders not to appear indecently in public. A conviction would incur a $1,000 fine and a two-year prison sentence as men must be covered from the navel to the thigh.

 Khatami Chooses Woman as Vice President

Massoumeh Ebtekar,37, a US-educated lecturer at Tehran University (She can only lecture to girl students) is the first woman to be elected to a high post in the Iranian government since Islam took power in 1979.

Mohammad Khatami, who took the mantle of President on 3 August, stood on a liberal platform for personal freedom, human rights and the rule of law, won 69 per cent of the vote in a field of four. Khatami is a mullah who had been minister of Islamic guidance and culture until he was sacked in 1992 for being too permissive re books and films permitted in Iran.

Young people (voting age is 15), women, intellectuals and the middle classes have rejected a wide range of hardline actions from the banning of satellite dishes to the murder of Bahais and Christians.

Ebtekar and Khatami should help to change the restrictive laws which apply to women. Some (as supplied by Women against Fundamentalism) include: The husband is the head of the household (Article 1105) He has the right to choose the place of family residence (Article 1050) The wife should obey her husband's wishes and if without any reasonable excuse refrains from performing her matrimonial duties she will not be entitled to maintenance. (Article 1143) The law permits women the right to ask for divorce only under very exceptional circumstances (Articles 1029, 1130) but a man has the right to divorce his wife upon any pretext (article 1133) Upon the dissolution of the marriage, the woman loses the right of custody of her children to their father after the age of 7 for girls and 2 for boys.(Article 1169) A father has the sole right of guardianship over his children. Upon his death, the paternal grandfather acquires this right or in the latter's absence anyone who has been nominated by the father. The marriage of Iranian Muslim women to non-Muslim men is strictly forbidden. (Article 1060) A married woman's right to travel abroad is subject to the written consent of the husband.

 

 East Timor Protestors Charged

Amnesty International reports that 33 Timorese youths were arrested after peacefully demonstrating outside a hotel in Dili where UN envoy Jamsheed Marker was staying. Eleven of them were so badly beaten that they required treatment in the Dili military hospital.

Nineteen of them have been charged with separatist activities and the prosecutor has called for a year's jail for each.

Left Shoe News is not opposed to national liberation struggles anywhere in the world however attacks should be confined to armed personnel and certainly not to innocent civilians. East Timor had a small (circa 5 per cent) Muslim population many of whom collaborated with the invaders. Also Javanese have been brought in as transmigrasi to help change the demography of East Timor.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ramos Horta, has told the Decolonization Committee:" I condemn without any ambiguity any attack on East Timorese civilians, on collaborators or civil servants. I condemn without any ambiguity any physical abuse, killing or humiliation of Indonesian civilian personnel, migrants, their families or Indonesian military personnel in non-combat duties."

 

Algeria - A Few Days in August

29-8-97 Up to 300 villagers of Sidi Rais shot, burnt alive or hacked to death. Pregnant women were disembowelled.

28-8-97 Eight killed by bomb in Casbah

.............Five young shepherds near Cherchell had throats cut.

.............Taxi stopped at road block near Mascara and six passengers had throats cut.

.............Family of nine (ten if unborn baby included) axed in Beni Mouali.

25 -8-97 Algerian film director, Ali Tenki among 65 civilians killed west and south of Algiers.

The people are demonstrating against the violence and a big rally is planned for 11 September.

Security forces on 20-8-97 uncovered 40 bombs in a GIA (Armed Islamic Group) factory.

 

16-8-97 Taleban Restricts Afghan Sports

Ehsan Motmayn, secretary of Afghanistan's Olympic Committee, issued guidelines for Islamic sport in that country. Men should be covered from above the navel to below the knee and so sports

such as swimming and body-building are in limbo. So is the participation of women in sport: for the time they are banned. Sport must not take place during prayers nor should spectators applaud: If they wish to encourage competitors they should shout "Allah Akbar."

Some gains have been made by moderates in the past month or so notably by Akmed Shah Masud. He has made the following points about the Taleban: "The Taleban are narrow-minded people. They know nothing of human rights or democracy. They do not accept any rights for women. They have closed the girls' schools, closed the cinemas and smashed television sets. They even stopped ordinary games like football and volleyball. They claim these things are un-Islamic. Without any real court or hearing they've started cutting off people's hands and feet" for a variety of offences. They have sacked women from their jobs and enforced the literal hijab (curtain)

However they allow the growing of opium poppies in their areas, first as a source of taxable revenue and, second, to help flood the West with heroin.

 

4 Aug 97 A Letter from Pakistan

A seminar held in Karachi has focused attention on the bane of torture and has urged the people and the authorities to try to remove the evil. The venue of the international seminar was appropriately Karachi, a city where violence and torture are rampant. Indeed, the number of cases of torture in police custody in Karachi is alarmingly high. The worst form of torture and violence is committed by law enforcement agencies and other government functionaries. It is widely known that they practise torture as a means to extract confessions from suspects They also do it at the instance of the government that wants its opponents or other inconvenient persons or groups to be sufficiently harassed or intimidated so that they will cause any trouble. Karachi has also had its share of illegal detentions and torture, indiscriminate arrests, terrorising and harassment of people in the name of law enforcement or under the pretext of looking for law-breakers or hidden arms. In addition, rival political factions and groups do not hesitate to resort to violence and torture against their opponents as part of their turf war or intense rivalry for control.

So deep-rooted and widely prevalent is the practice that reports of incidents of brutality and bestiality from various parts of the country, fill the pages of newspapers every day. This suggests the society's rapid slide from civilised norms and values. Also apparent in this is our utter insensitivity to the widespread use of violence and torture by the very same official agencies whose duty it is to protect the citizens against these and other excesses and infractions. The Pakistan Medical Association has done a signal service by organising the seminar on torture which should make the people aware of the horrific aberrations in their midst.

Similarly, degrading behaviour of jail authorities towards inmates of prison is another form of torture and persecution that is routinely inflicted on hapless prisoners on the slightest pretext. This can be eliminated if the authorities concerned become more alert and truly adhere to the statutory norms and practices of prisoner treatment. The existing state of affairs in the police and prison departments needs to be radically improved if the country wants to get rid of the stigma of human rights violations. To do this the authorities will, as has been suggested at the Karachi seminar, have to abolish all laws, prison regulations and conditions which directly or indirectly permits torture and inhuman punishments in places of detention. At the same time, areas which are lacking in appropriate legal remedy, like mental torture should be appropriately covered. [Australian Islamic Review]

 

September 1997

 

29/9/97 Taleban Arrest Aid Workers

Nineteen European Union aid workers were detained for 3 hours and threatened with Kalashnikovs for filming inside a women's hospital. The EU, which has supplied $36 million in assistance to Afghanistan in the past two years, was recording the conditions therein.

Prophet Muhammad banned pictures of living things (Sahih Muslim Chapter 882) and photographs of women are particularly obnoxious to Islamic fundamentalists.

The Taleban have closed girls' schools, forbidden women from talking to a non-related male, sacked them from the work-force and imposed the burqa which covers the wearer from head to toe with only a small patch of gauze to see through.

 

 

GIA Leader Says Massacres to Continue

More than 500 innocent civilians have been killed in Algeria in the past month by GIA (Armed Islamic Group) bringing the total since the insurgency began to over 70,000.

30/9/97 The militants cut off the head of a baby and killed 51 other members of its extended family. According to Sunnah, even new-born infants may not be innocent: "Allah created some persons for Hell, right from when they were still in their fathers' loins". (Mishkat 84)

29/9/97 Twelve teachers at the Ain Adden school had their throats cut or were shot as horrified students looked on. Nineteen other civilians were killed in separate incidents and their bodies mutilated and burned.

28/9/97 The Algerian Army, after the murder of 200 civilians, rather belatedly attacked two GIA strongholds killing 30 militants.

26/9/97 On the positive side, Abassi Madani, leader of FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) has mellowed after 6 years in jail and has called for an end to the bloodshed. However The GIA response is: "We are that band, with God's permission, who kill and slaughter and we will remain so until the word of religion has prevailed and the word of God is raised high. Let everyone know that what we do in killing and slaughter and burning and pillaging is close to God. We inform you according to our faith and our ways: no dialogue, no truce and no reconciliation." On 31/8/97 GIA (Armed Islamic Group) leader Mahfoud Assouli said, " We do nothing more than fulfil the wishes of Allah and His Prophet. Those Algerians who drink alcohol or take drugs, homosexuals, wanton women and those who do not pray will die. If mistakes are made and innocents are killed then they will be shaheed (martyrs and go to Paradise). GIA is the only Flame of Jihad in Algeria and will get rid of all enemies of Allah from the youngest of their children to the oldest of their elderly."

GIA is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Algerians by its attacks on defenceless villagers. The local election results in October will undoubtedly show support for moderates. The high support for FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) in 1992 was due to the country's economic problems and not a carte blanche for fundamentalism.

While HRAIC dislikes dictatorial military governments, the secular Zeroual is much to be preferred to those wanting a theocratic Islamic state.

 

 

14-9-97 Christian Homes and Shops Attacked in Egypt

Hundreds of militants, praising Islam and cursing Christianity, angered by tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims, attacked homes and shops in the village of Shentena El-Hagar 44 miles north of Cairo.

The pilgrims flocked to the local Coptic church following reports of the Virgin Mary alighting on the steeple of the church.

 

18-9-97 Bible Bookstand Bombed in Turkey

A four-year old boy was killed and 25 people wounded when the Islamic Vasat group bombed a Christian bookstall in Gaziantep province. A number of arrests were made.

 

2 Sep '97 Censorship in Mauritania

Arrests of journalists and closures of newspapers threaten freedom of the press in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, west Africa. President Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya has ordered 42 such seizures since 1996. French President Jacques Chirac raised the matter with Taya in his recent visit and so hopefully the position of the "fourth estate" will improve.

 

October 1997

 

30/10/97 Islamists Still Active in the Philippines

Former rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have kidnapped Roman Catholic priest Desmond Hartford from the town of Kolambugan, Mindinao, behaviour reminiscent of the past 25 years of discord and murder. The MILF signed a cease-fire with the government in July but they acted because it had not kept its pledges for funds, welfare and projects promised in its amnesty program.

As recently as 26 June, MILF gunmen set up a road block near Maguindanao and seized 61 bus passengers. In the subsequent shoot-out seven people were killed - two civilians, 4 rebels and an army officer.

 

29/10/97 Save the Children Fund in South Asia

SCF, with the support of the Pakistan Government, employers, trade unions and NGOs, is to help 7000 children leave the football stitching industry in Sialkot and gain education and vocational training.

The money is to come from the British Government and Clare Short, the Secretary of State for Inter-national Development, has said, AExploitative child labour is not only an abuse of human rights but also traps children and their families in poverty into the next generation.@ Money will be given to establish credit and savings schemes for the families of displaced children and to establish women=s stitching centres.

Also the Bangladesh Government will be given 29 million Pounds to provide all children with quality primary education and avoid child labour.

 

29/10/97 TV Crackdown in Pakistan

Pakistani rock and pop groups have been banned from appearing on television. A recent directive from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif bans women from many commercials, television dramas and even news broadcasts. Whether this order is implemented is yet to be seen as the PM appears to be losing his grip on power.

 

28/10/97 Alleged Adulteress Saved from Stoning.

Zoleykhah Kadkhoda from the Iranian village of Kanirash in Bukan was rescued by villagers from stoning to death. So badly were her face and head damaged that she was taken to Bukan hospital.

On 11 August, 1997 she had been arrested and charged with engaging in sexual relations outside marriage. She was condemned to death by the religious magistrate, Hakem Sha'r and Imam Khalifzadeh of Ali Abad village. The local Hezbollah (Party of God), Pasdaran and Basizi buried her from her waist down (By Islamic Law it should be from the breasts down for a woman. While stoning is the punishment in the Sunnah, the Qurán only mentions flogging.

We consider that stoning is a form of torture which Islam denies. Article 7 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

 

26/10/97 Mass Grave Found in Somalia

A UN human rights investigator is going to Bossasso to investigate reports of a grave containing 400 bodies. Apparently it dates from 1991 during the dictatorship of Mahomed Said Barre.

 

27/10/97 Unacceptable Maternal Mortality in Pakistan

Symptomatic of the disregard for women in many Muslim countries, 25,000 women die in childbirth in Pakistan each year.(Figures supplied by the Australian Islamic Review 27/10/97. The population of Pakistan is approximately 120 million.) The MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate) is 500 deaths per 100,000 births compared with less than 12 in Europe, 80 in mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka and 87 in Kerala (an Indian state containing a large number of Christians and marxists. We do not have figures for all countries but the MMR for Taleban Afghanistan is about 1700 deaths per 100,000)

Large budgets are not needed to lower the MMR but it is a question of priorities and cultural norms (expectations of what women should endure, and the refusal to allow expectant mothers to attend clinics or be seen by male doctors).

This is a human rights question : UNHCHR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states, in part, in Article 10.2 ASpecial protection and assistance should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth..."

The breakdown of the MMR in Pakistan is about 25 per cent bleeding to death, 13% die from brain and kidney damage due to eclampsia, 18% due to sepsis, anaemia 12% and obstructed labour 7%. - days of futile contractions which also crush the baby=s skull.

For every woman who dies there are 30 who suffer maternal morbidity - untreated and uncared-for consequences of injuries arising during childbirth. - infections, rupture of the uterus, prolapse, incontinence, painful intercourse due to fistulas, torn vagina, perineum, etc.

Older women may be expected to have more children when their bodies are already damaged. Early marriage also contributes to the morbidity - girls giving birth before their bodies are ready for it. Prophet Muhammad was not a good role model in this respect, consummating his marriage with A=isha when she was only nine years of age.

 

 

Algeria fights Armed Islamic Group

30 Oct Hundreds of GIA rebels, including some foreign Muslim fundamentalists were eliminated in September and October. However, human rights groups have accused the government of the extra-judicial executions of suspects.

20/10 Civilian village-guards killed 12 terrorists near the capital, Algiers.

27/10 Sixteen villagers including 9 children and a baby killed in Oued Djer. Six family members killed and mutilated near Tadmait. About 30 bodies, most of them women, were discovered in a well at Benalha.

24/10 Five people killed by a GIA bomb in Ghrira. .......

14/10 Members of two families, including women and small children killed at Souidani Boudjemma.

13/10 Forty three civilians slashed to death at a road-block near Oran.

11/10 Nine family members killed at Souagui. Boy killed by bomb in an Algiers cemetry.

9/10 Three railway workers killed by bomb crater near Draizine....

7/10 Fifteen killed at Bonayan and 22 in Dawar Awlad Bin Aissa. Thirty killed in Bouangoud and a herdsman at Tlemcen.

6/10 Ten self-defense members on a GIA list killed at Ouled Sidi Yahia.

5?10 Rebels shelled Blida garrison killing 12 civilians. Thirteen more civilians including a year-old child had throats cut at Draa T=Mar. Armed men killed 15 adults and 22 children at Ouled Benaissa. A wedding at Kharrouba was attacked with 20 young people killed (9 were beheaded).

 

30/10/97 Bus-attack Brothers Sentenced to Death

Saber and Mahmoud Abu el-Ulla who shot up and fire-bombed a bus on Sept 18 were sentenced to be hung by a Cairo court. Nine German tourists, mistaken for Israelis, and an Egyptian bus driver were killed.

On hearing the verdict, the pair shouted AAllahu Akbar@ (God is great) and Saber called out AJews, Jews, the army of Muhammad is coming back.@

The Islamic Group (Gama=a al-Islamiya) praises the brothers as mujahideen (holy warriors) and warns tourists not to visit Egypt.

The brothers were also convicted of trying to damage the economy. Thirty four foreigners have been killed to date in 25 attacks by Islamists.

 

 

22/10/97 Blind Rights Activist Jailed in Turkey

Esber Murderereli, 52, was jailed for 23 years for advocating a peaceful end to the country=s bloody Kurdish conflict which has claimed 27,000 lives in the past 13 years.

Forty five journalists are held in Turkish prisons some for reporting the army mortar attack on the Kurdish village of Karsilar in July which killed a 55 year-old woman, Esma Demir. Others are imprisoned for reporting the torture and Adisappearance@ of prisoners in police custody.

 

 

14/10/97 Palestinians Killed for Selling Land to Jews

Farid Bashiti of Jerusalem fell victim to a fatwa against selling land to Israelis. He was not allowed a Muslim burial ceremony and had to be buried in a field.

Others similarly killed have been Ali Mahmoud Araf, 32, of Shufat, Rashad Salameh, Harbi Abu-Sara and Ahmad Odeh.

 

12 Oct >97 Food Aid in Sudan

Hunger and persecution have forced 6,000 non-Muslims to flee Juba, southern Sudan. One of them, Louis Wani, 45, told aid workers : AI left Juba because of political discrimination. People were forced to change their religion to receive benefits from the government...Hunger was really serious because they were giving food to Muslims and not Christians."

 

13/10/97 Jewish, Arab Mothers Embrace

The heart from an eight year-old Jewish boy, Yuval Kaveh who was killed riding a bicycle saved the life of a three year-old Arab girl, Rim Alajroushi.

This poignant story shows that the two ethnic groups can co-exist whether in Tel Aviv, East Jerusalem, Hebron, etc. Religion should not be a dividing factor.

 

22/10/97 HAMAS Jihad to Continue

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of HAMAS, addressing 3,000 people in Gaza stated: < We shall continue to fight the enemies of Allah...We have one enemy and we will wage war and fight him until we return to our land and our rights. No to a cease-fire ... A nation without jihad (holy war) cannot exist@. Another HAMAS leader called for more shaheed (martyrs) to suicide bomb Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

13/10/97 Yassin said that Israel would be wiped from the map: @This state will not exist in several years time.@

 

 

 

16/10/97 Balibo Killings Deliberate

Five Australian journalists killed 22 years ago today were killed on purpose by invading Indonesian troops reported a former officer from the UDT which supported Indonesian intervention in East Timor at that time.

The Aussies were in a Asafe-house@ on which reporter Greg Shackleton, 27, had drawn an Australian flag and written AAustralians@, and were not Akilled in a cross-fire@as the Indonesians claimed. The other journalists killed were Tony Stewart, 21, sound recordist and Gary Cunningham, 27, cameraman also of Channel Seven and, from Channel Nine, reporter Malcolm Rennie, 28, and cameraman Brian Peters, 29.

29/10/97 Three Indonesian Journalists, Ezki Suyanto, Teguh Indra and Satari who were covering an anti-government demonstration in Jakarta were physically assaulted and arrested.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists in Indonesia rejects Aall forms of interference, intimidation, censorship or banning of newspapers that deny freedom of expression and free access to information@. The government refuses to recognize the AJI and several of its members are in prison.

 

 

3 Oct Jerusalem Bombing Claims Another Victim

Baruch Ostrovsky, an 84 year-old Israeli who had been in a coma since being severely burned in the 30 July blast at the Mahane Yehuda Market died at the Hadassah Hospital today. The total death toll was sixteen plus the two HAMAS suicide bombers from the West Bank village of Assira.

On 4 September, the same group killed 5 civilians in a pedestrian mall and this time there were three shaheed (martyrs).

 

1/10/97 More Amputations by Taleban

An Islamic court in Uruzgan, central Afghanistan, found two men guilty of looting a truck. On Wednesday, the Taleban militia amputated their right hands and left legs. Amputation is in accordance with the Qur'an :"As to the thief male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah for their crime." (5:38) However, by Sunnah the left leg should only be cut off for a second offence. We consider that amputations are a form of torture, although Islam denies it practises torture.

 

November 1997

 

29/11/97 Ten Afghans Jailed for Watching a Dance

Taleban Radio announced that the Department for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice had sentenced 10 men to a month's imprisonment for watching a person dance. [whether a male or female was unspecified.] They re-iterated that music and dancing are un-Islamic. We have not been able to find any reference to dancing in the Sunnah but Prophet Muhammad did say that Allah had commanded him "to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance."[Hadis-e-Qudsi 19:5]

 

22/11/97 128,000 Men to 2 Women

Teheran Soccer stadium had a capacity crowd for the World Cup qualifier between Iran and Australia. Women were not permitted to attend but two Australians sneaked in to watch a one-all draw.

In the return match in Melbourne, tens of thousands of women, including many Persian exiles not in jilbab, saw Iran qualify in 32nd place. (The scores were two all, but visitors' goals count more than home goals.)

STOP PRESS

2 Dec '97 About 3,000 young women forced their way through the gates of the Azadi stadium to welcome home the Iranian soccer team. Hopefully this is the beginning of the feminist revolution for equality in Iran.

 

19/11/97 Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

Abd al-Karim al-Naqshabandi, a Syrian working in Saudi Arabia was recently beheaded for witchcraft. This is in accordance with Islamic Law as Prophet Muhammad had executed a slave-girl who had used sorcery on one of his wives, Hafsah. [Hadis Malik 486:1511]

It is alleged that no defence witnesses were called and that the employer of al-Naqshabandi brought false charges against him when he refused to falsely testify against another employee.

Over 100 executions occurred in Saudi in the first nine months of the year and the per capita rate is probably the highest in the world, China notwithstanding.

 

 

18/11/97 Islamic Group Kills 58 Tourists

Al-Gamaá al-Islamiyya has claimed responsibility for the massacre, at Luxor, Egypt, of35 Swiss, 10 Japanese honeymooners, 4 Germans, 6 Britons (including a child), one Colombian, one French and one Bulgarian. Four Egyptians (including 2 police) and 6 gunmen were also killed.

The Islamic Group wants its leader, blind mullah Shaikh Omar Abdel-Rahman released from a US prison where he is serving a life sentence for master-minding the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1993.

 

9 Nov 97 Shiism Banned in Malaysia

The Malaysian Government has decided to ban Muslims from practising mazhab (sects) other than Sunni, said Datuk Dr. Abdul Hamid Othman, of the Prime Minister's Department. He said detention under the Internal Security Act for involvement in deviationist teachings was appropriate as some Islamic movements in the country had become aggressive and violent. "Religious disharmony is a national threat which places the country's political and economic development at an unsafe position." He said Syiah teachings were against the Government, the monarchy system and the Constitution. " If we allow these movements here, the country might face religious problems such as those in Middle East countries."

 

3 Nov >97 Sectarian Murders in Pakistan

Over 370 people have been killed in Karachi so far this year for religious and political motives.

1 Nov Seventy five year old Shiite cleric, Syed Shamin Hasan Kazi was gunned down in his mosque. The next day, in retaliation, three Sunni clerics were shot and burnt to death while travelling in a van in Karachi.

In the Punjab, sectarian violence has claimed the lives of 140 people this year. On 20/10/97 four men of the Deobandi group were killed by the rival Brelvi group after being tortured for hours. While both are Sunni Muslims, they differ over their interpretation of the Qur=an.

 

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December 1997

 

29/12/97 Egyptian Fundamentalists Lose Appeal on FGM

Sheik Youssef al-Badry and seven other Muslim scholars have lost a high court appeal in Cairo, which decided to ban FGM (female genital mutilation).

For some time the Egyptian allowed "female circumcision" to be performed by doctors rather than mutilation by kitchen knives, razor blades or broken bottles.

An Egyptian woman doctor has estimated that 80 per cent of all women had been "circumcised", typically at the age of four, by surgery which varies from cutting the tip of the clitoris to removing all external genitalia and sewing up what is left leaving a small hole. At marriage the hole in the scars has to be made larger.

FGM is practised in a number of other Muslim (and non-Muslim) communities including Sudan (95% of Muslim women and girls over the age of 5), Somalia and to a lesser extent in Indonesia and Malaysia according to the Australian Islamic Review (7 May 1996).

Female sexuality is regarded as dangerous and needs to be curtailed. She must, in any case, have sex at the dictates of her husband and so her pleasure is not in question.

The practice has no Qur'anic justification but is mentioned in two hadith. In Abu Daud, Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: " Reduce, but do not destroy" inferring that only the tip of the clitoris should be removed. In Hadith Mishkat, the Messenger of Allah said: "Circumcision is obligatory for males and an embellishment for females."

As the operation is not compulsory for Muslim women, the ulama (clergy) should act against FGM.

 

25/12/97 Churches Destroyed in Indonesia

A crowd of 300 men armed with rocks and iron bars destroyed two ethnic Chinese homes used as Christian churches in the village of Bumi Serpong Damai 20 km west of Jakarta.

Those of you who have been told that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance (There are two early passages in the Qur'an which may support this view.) perhaps have not heard other revelations of Allah.

"The people of the Book (Jews and Christians) and Pagans will burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." (Qur'an 98:51)

"Wage war on the people of the Book, who … do not accept the religion of Islam" (Qur'an 9:28)

"Fight against them (the Jews and Christians)! Allah shall punish them, at your hands" (9:14)

"Fight the unbelievers in your surroundings and let them find harshness in you." (9:123)

"Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them, capture and besiege them and prepare for them every kind of ambush." (9:5)

"Those who follow Muhammad are merciless for the unbelievers but kind to each other." (48:29)

On a count of unacceptable verses in the Qur'an, there are 29 which incite violence, 15 which promote enmity and 26 which insult other religions.

 

25/12/97 Ramadan Rules Apply to Visitors in Saudi Arabia.

There is to be no eating, drinking (even water) or smoking in public during daylight hours of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This starts with the next New Moon or January I, whichever is the earlier. Foreigners who disobey will lose their jobs and be deported.

 

23/12/97 Lawlessness in Chechnya

Five young men working for a Polish aid society were kidnapped on Dec 17 about 30 km from Grozny in the Chechen Islamic Republic. Their Chechen companions refused to give details saying that they had sworn on the Qur'an to say nothing.

A number of Russian Christian missionaries who were foolhardy enough to attempt to proselytise the Chechens have also been abducted as have some British aid workers.

 

14/12/97 Mass Killings in Afghanistan

United Nation investigators have discovered hundreds of bodies in wells and shallow graves in northern Afghanistan. As many as 2,000 Taliban were butchered near Shebergan while hundreds of Shiite Muslim civilians were killed by Taliban Muslims around Mazar-e-Sharif.

 

11Dec'97 Iraq Executes Four Jordanians

Four Jordanians were hanged in Baghdad for smuggling in spare car parts worth a total of about $400. The men, aged about 30, were Walid Mohammed Tawfiq, Saleh Yousif Ali, Saeed Youssif Ali and Rizeq Basharaf.

2 Dec '97 UN officials are calling for an increase in the oil-for-food deal. At present Iraq is allowed to sell only one billion dollars worth of oil every 3 months to buy food. While the Iraqi army is well-fed, it is estimated that 26 per cent of Iraqi children are mal-nourished.

28/12/97 Thor Magnusson, director of the Peace 2000 Institute (Iceland) visiting Baghdad, calls for the sanctions to be lifted: "They are hurting the wrong people." (The sanctions were imposed by the UN Security Council after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 with the purpose of making Iraq give up its weapons of mass destruction)

Magnusson is taking 5 year old Amal Saeed and her parents to Holland to save her life. She is suffering a genetic disorder and a gross protein deficiency which has already killed her brother and sister.

Food and medicine have also been flown in from Russia and Egypt.

10 Dec '97 Saddam Hussein is to build the world's largest mosque to be named the "Saddam Grand Mosque" to hold a congregation of 30,000 people. Later, each of the 18 provinces is to build grandiose mosques also named after Saddam. It appears that the Iraqi leader is jumping onto the Islamic bandwagon. He has ordered that all educational institutions include religious instruction in their curricula. The days when Iraq was a secular state seem over.

 

10 Dec '97 New Year Parties Banned in Indonesia

Jakarta has banned celebrations in hotels and restaurants this year as the Muslim holy month Ramadan commences on 1 January 1998.

15/12/97 Northern Territory authorities, apparently bowing to President Suharto, have charged East Timor activist Vaughan Williams with "offensive behaviour in a public place". The charge arose over his display, on World Human Rights Day, of photographs showing East Timorese women being tortured by Indonesian Armed Forces. The naked and semi-naked women were shown tied to trees, bruised and spattered with blood and messages written on them, for example, ini menjadi kalau anti - RI (Republic of Indonesia) (This is what becomes when anti-RI.)

6 Dec '97 Police in Bandung certainly over-reacted tonight. More than 100 men, a number of trucks and a tank were sent in to stop the play "Marsinah Menggugat" (Marsinah Accuses). It deals with the unresolved murder of Indonesia labour activist, Marsinah.

 

 

6 Dec '97 Fifth Anniversary of Ayodhya

Three train blasts in southern India are thought to be protests against the demolition of the historic mosque in 1992.

Two women and a child were killed at Tinuchirapalli, four people at Erode and four at Thrissur. A total of 54 people were injured.

 

6 Dec '97 GIA Documents Seized

The Algerian Army found GIA (Armed Islamic Group) documents in caves near the village of Al Marakishia. They detailed how the GIA is organised, how lists of victims are drawn up and how undercover members in villages supply food, weapons and intelligence.

Official figures given today estimate that the GIA has cost Algeria $3 billion destruction of schools, roads, bridges and railways. The government has been able to protect oil and gas plants in the south of Algeria

 

6 Dec '97 Sunnis and Tijanniyas Clash in Ghana

Fighting between rival Muslim sects in Tamale has led to the death of one person. A number of people were injured and property destroyed.

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