A new video shows foreign-backed militants in Syria whipping two men for violating marriage procedures based on their interpretation of Islam. - The incident has occurred in the northwestern city of Saraqeb in Idlib Province, where a court formed by the militants issued a verdict to flog the men - the husband and father of a local woman. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafi militants in Syria have conducted similar acts in over two years of turmoil in the country. They say their own interpretation is the only correct way of implementing the rules of Islam. Unrest has gripped Syria since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday. - The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte. "Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated," Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television. "This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," she added.
BBC: UN's Del Ponte says evidence "rebels" used sarin
CNN: U.N. official: There are strong suspicions Syrian rebels used sarin gas
VOR: Independent probe must be launched into use of war chemicals in Syria - Russian diplomat
Russia Today: Radioactive materials disappear in UK over last decade
Tony Cartalucci: In Wake of US-Israeli Attack on Syria, UN Reveals Terrorists Not Government Used Sarin Gas
A no-fly list by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which bars people from traveling to, from, or near the United States has left many outraged, Press TV reports. - Thousands of people have been placed on the no-fly list over alleged security threats. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the Terrorist Screening Center on behalf of a number of Muslim military veterans who have been targeted by the US government and given no explanation.
“I converted to Islam, reverted to Islam, is usually what I would say. When I accepted Islam as my religion, that was the first time I ever felt oppression in my life. That was the first time I was ever targeted and profiled for anything…” US army veteran and Muslim convert Abdullah Ray said.
Ray was notified that he could not fly back to the US during a trip to Colombia and was forced to travel back to the states by bus. As a result, Ray lost his job.
Families and relatives of political prisoners, including Muslim detainees in the Unites States, have taken to the streets to demand release of their loved ones, Press TV reports. - The protest took place on Saturday in front of the US Department of Justice in the US capital, Washington. According to the report, charges of terrorism or support for terrorism were made against the fathers, husbands, and sons of demonstrators. Protesters say people were being sent to prison for crimes that they did not commit. “Unfortunately people do not know enough about what is going on in their own country. People are being imprisoned for crimes that they did not do…. They are basically being framed. They're being put into prison for feeding hungry children,” said a prisoner’s daughter during the rally. Demonstrators also say that the US officials send people to prison to justify their wars across the world. “They (the US officials) know they are innocent and they just do it for political reasons to justify their wars abroad in Muslim countries,” said father of a prisoner identified as Ferik Duka. Political prisoners are serving anywhere between a few years to life in prison. Cases against Muslims continue to be filed regularly in the US.
The Boston Marathon bombing, horrific in and of itself, is made far worse by our response to it. For one thing, hate is on the march. Listen to the conversation between a Washington, D.C. cabbie – a Muslim from Somalia – and his crazed passenger, who rants that the Koran mandates death for unbelievers and demands the poor guy “denounce 9/11.” The passenger then assaults the cabbie, who reportedly suffered a fractured jaw.
Terror, such as we saw in Boston, is our doorway into Bizarro World, where up is down and everything is stood on its head. Sen. Rand Paul, leader of the GOP’s libertarian wing, responded to the Boston bombing by writing a letter to Harry Reid averring we ought to forget about immigration reform and suggesting “We suspend student visas, or at least those from high-risk areas, pending an investigation into the national security implications of this program” And, of course, the response of law enforcement was to shut down an entire city, ordering people to stay in their homes and imposing what amounted to martial law. Luckily for the cops, someone violated that order, went out to get a breath of fresh air, and saw Dzhokhar’s blood trickling out of a boat parked in the back yard.
A major study of attitudes towards religion says Germans approve of openness towards other religions. But many are still suspicious of Islam. Former German President Christian Wulff earned much praise but also much criticism when said in a speech during his tenure, "Islam is also a part of Germany." The criticism can be partly explained by the "Religion Monitor," a survey put together for the Bertelsmann Foundation. The findings have been published, and among them is the fact that half of all Germans believe that Islam does not fit into the Western world. The study, which surveys views on the social significance of religion and values, was carried out in Germany and 12 other countries, and included the views of 14,000 people. Among the Germans, 85 percent agreed or tended to agree that one should be open towards all religions. They saw most religions as an enrichment, especially Christianity, also Judaism and Buddhism, but a majority of 51 percent saw Islam as a threat. Detlef Pollack, the sociologist who co-authored the study, says that this negative perception could be due to the lack of personal contact between Christians and Muslims. More people in eastern Germany see Islam as threatening than in the West, even though the east is home to only two percent of all the country's Muslims. But Pollack also notes that people have even less contact with Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, all of which are seen more positively than Islam, and he argues that the media have a lot to do with that: "The picture the media give of Buddhism or Hinduism is that of peace-loving religions," Pollack told Deutsche Welle. "Their picture of Islam is more about fanaticism and aggression."
Gilad Atzmon: Ynet reported [last Monday] on this interesting incident of a Haredi Jewish passenger photographed wrapped in large plastic bag during flight. The [man] doesn't like to be in proximity to women or Goyim, let alone Goyim women i.e. Shiktzes. He is religiously thrilled by this unique and original form of self imposed isolation. Ynet suggests that the man in the bag was an Israeli combat pilot at an earlier stage of his life. I assume that dropping bombs on innocent people leaves a deep scar in the chosen's soul.
[Ynet News] The New York Daily News later explained that the man was a Kohen, a descendant of the Jewish priests who presided over the Temple, and as the aircraft flew over a cemetery he covered himself in a plastic bag so he could remain pure. Under Jewish law, Kohanim are banned from going near cemeteries. The Kohen, formerly a secular Jew who embraced Orthodox Judaism and asked to remain anonymous, told Ynet of his long service in the Israel Defense Forces, where he held sensitive posts. In 1983, as a show of appreciation, the Air Force commander gave him the "opportunity to study in a yeshiva at the expense of the Air Force, which paid my salary for the two and a half years I studied in the yeshiva." The photo was the subject of public criticism and was shared and condemned on social networks. Rabbi Yosef Brook, head of the Netivot Olam Yeshiva and the passenger's rabbi, criticized the media coverage of the photo and the public reaction to it, saying: "I am convinced that none of those who reacted is at (the Kohen's) personal or intellectual level." [The] critics are primitives.
Arthur Silber lays out the only sane position on the murder program. Everything else is rationalizing - an attempt to justify the unjustifiable. - "I think it is important, especially for those of us who oppose the vile, barbaric practices of this abominable State, always to keep in mind just how pathetically dumb and inept these people are when considered individually. As I watch these ludicrous buffoons go through their paces — and the Brennan hearing is entirely typical of all such hearings, commissions, etc. — I often think that a strong, persistent gust of wind would simply sweep all of them away, and onto the stomach-churning dung heap where they fully deserve to spend the rest of their days. … But about the question of oversight, and the related pleas for ‘accountability’ and ‘transparency’: keep in mind what the Murder Program is. The executive branch claims that it can murder anyone it chooses anywhere in the world, for any reason it wishes. Someone needs to explain to me how oversight, accountability and transparency will make such a program better. But they can’t explain that — because it cannot be done. A program that is evil in the manner the Murder Program is evil cannot be ‘improved,’ or ‘managed’ so as to make it decent and humane. The Murder Program is an abomination. You don’t ‘fix’ abominations of this kind. You end them. You end them this very moment."
American Bear: An Inconvenient Truth | Micah Zenko
Russia Today: Leaked report: Nearly half of US drone strikes in Pakistan not against al-Qaeda
[In an effort to pin the blame on Muslims for the 9/11 inside job], the extremist US pastor Terry Jones announced plans to burn more copies of Islam’s holy book of Quran, a move which is likely to spark worldwide outrage. - Jones’ organization announced that members of the group will hold an event, which they call “International Burning of 2,998 Qur’ans,” to mark the 12th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks against the US. The “2,998” reportedly represents the number of people who were killed in the attacks that destroyed the twin World Trade Center towers in New York.
Margaret Thatcher, a towering, divisive and yet revered figure who left an enduring impact on British politics, died on Monday of a stroke, her family said.
“It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” a statement from her spokesman, Lord Tim Bell, said. Lady Thatcher had been in poor health for months. She served as prime minister for 11 years, beginning in 1979. She was known variously as the ‘Iron Lady,’ a stern Conservative who transformed Britain’s way of thinking about its economic and political life, broke union power and opened the way to far greater private ownership. She was leader of Britain through its 1982 war in the Falklands and stamped her skepticism about European integration onto her country’s political landscape for decades.
Financial Times: Thatcher: ‘Iron lady’ who changed Britain
CNN: Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female PM, dead at 87
Irish Independent: Margaret Thatcher death a 'great day' for coal miners
BBC: In quotes: Margaret Thatcher
The Independent: Life in pictures: Margaret Thatcher
Raw Story: Conservatives outraged over CNN photo of Thatcher with ‘pedophile’ Jimmy Savile - Video
LaRepublica.pe: Cuando Margaret Thatcher se consideró aliada de Augusto Pinochet
LaTercera.com: La relación entre Augusto Pinochet y Margaret Thatcher
The Pope has been accused of failing to stand up to the brutal military junta that slaughtered tens of thousands of Argentines in its so-called Dirty War. - Critics say Jorge Mario Bergoglio did little to help those who disappeared when the country was under right-wing military rule – and too much to criticise the left-wing opponents of the generals. He has even been accused of turning a blind eye to the rounding up and torturing of his own Jesuit priests, something he strongly denies. The baggage of Argentine history also means potential diplomatic difficulties for Britain over the Falkland Islands.
White smoke poured from the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and the bells of St. Peter's Basilica pealed, signaling that cardinals had chosen a new pope to lead the troubled Roman Catholic Church after only five ballots. - The decision by 115 cardinal electors came sooner than many faithful expected because of the large number of possible frontrunners identified before the vote to replace Pope Benedict, who resigned in February. The name of the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics was expected to be announced in around half an hour from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. The secret conclave began on Tuesday night with a first ballot in the Renaissance splendor of the chapel and four ballots were held on Wednesday. The white smoke indicated the new pontiff had obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot. Following a split ballot when they were first shut away amid the chapel's Renaissance splendor on Tuesday evening, the cardinal electors held a first full day of deliberations on Wednesday. Black smoke rose after the morning session to signal no decision. Cheers arose from hundreds of people sheltering from incessant rain under a sea of umbrellas in St. Peter's Square as the white smoke billowed from the narrow chimney.
Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month in an unexpected development, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85. - He became Pope in 2005 following John Paul II's death. Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is quoted as saying he is "greatly shaken by this unexpected news". The BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome says the news has come "out of the blue", and that there was no speculation whatsoever about the move in recent days. The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before the end of March, ahead of Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar. The brother of the German-born Pope said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said here Monday at 26th International Islamic Unity Conference US and West have planned for disintegration of Islamic countries, adding, 'Paper tiger of US and West is unveiled today. - Larijani warned that there are plots in the way of achieving unity of the Islamic Ummah, reiterating, 'In confrontation with the western world modernism the Muslims have experiences a number of approaches. One of them was the western oppression's effort aimed at making the Muslims believe that the way to achieve advancement was yielding to such ideologies as secularism.' He added, 'The motto of those people was separation of religion from politics and negation of religion, but generally speaking in order to implement that scenario, the eastern and western colonialists replaced religion with nationalism.' He reminded the audience that the western scenario for blocking the path for the establishment of the United Islamic Ummah and segregation of the different sections of the Ummah, adding, 'Today the Islamic world has regained conscience to some extent, but the United States is still pursuing the policy of sowing the seeds of discord among the Muslim nations.'
Rare video of speech by Aafia Siddiqui in Houston 1991. Topic : "Women in Islam". Hakim Olajuan (famous basketball player) and Jamal Badawi in audience. Video by Zia Farooqi.
Supporters Demand Justice for Aafia Siddiqui
Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Depravity
Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Injustice
Important New Information on Aafia Siddiqui's Case
Aafia Siddiqui Sentenced: A Grievous Miscarriage of Justice
Christian woman wins landmark religious discrimination case, as ECHR rules British Airways were wrong to force her out of her job for wearing a cross
A Christian woman who was forced out of her British Airways job for wearing a cross has won a landmark legal battle at the European Court of Human Rights.. - Nadia Eweida took the airline to a tribunal claiming she suffered discrimination at work because of her faith. British Airways maintained the cross was a breach of company uniform codes. In Britain the 60-year-old’s case was rejected by an employment tribunal, The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court but today European judges found in her favour. [However] they ruled against three more Christians who launched similar action.
After months of controversy, German lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation to guarantee that male circumcision remains legal in Germany. - The legislation makes it clear that parents have the right to circumcise their newborn sons if the practice follows medical rules and is carried out by a trained practitioner. Once the boy reaches the age of six months, only a doctor can perform the circumcision.
Members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were nominated by Time magazine for the 2012 Person of the Year. - The punk band is among 40 candidates, who influenced news this year for better or worse. The list also includes US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Olympic champion Michael Phelps and others. "In a year when so many voices of liberty and dissent have suffered harsh retribution, the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot has paid a particularly steep price for provocative political expression," the Time wrote describing the nominee. Five women from Pussy Riot performed in late February a "punk prayer" in downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, which is Russia's biggest Orthodox church. An edited clip of the band's protest posted online showed the group high-kicking near the entrance to the altar of the cathedral accompanied by the song "Holy S**t" urging the Virgin Mary to "drive (Vladimir) Putin out". The song mocked Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and believers in insulting terms.
Members of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) have blown up a mosque in Aleppo.
A video, which was released on the Internet on Sunday, shows the Syrian insurgents cheering after the explosion. Some media sources have accused the Syrian government of the bombing. Earlier in the day, two other videos were released online, one showing members of the FSA, equipped with US-made weapons. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says the turmoil, which has killed many people, including large numbers of security forces, is being orchestrated from outside the country. There are reports that a very large number of the insurgents are foreign nationals. Damascus has repeatedly criticized the United States and its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, over funding and arming insurgents fighting the government forces.
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