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HisDaughter
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« Reply #540 on: November 17, 2008, 01:39:11 PM »

A Muslim Christmas Stamp-Fiction!

A U.S. Postage Stamp Commemorating Two Muslim Holidays-Truth!
 
Summary of the eRumor:  
The email lists a number of terrorist events believed to have been carried out by Moslems then says the U.S. Postal Service is issuing a postage stamp commemorating Muslim holidays.
 
The Truth: 
Each of the terrorist events has either been connected to or believed to be connected to Muslim terrorists, but the most common question we get is whether the postage stamp story is true.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, a 34-cent stamp was issued in September of 2001 and October of 2002 commemorating two important Islamic celebrations or eids.   They are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.  On those days, Muslims greet one another with "Eid mubarak," which translates literally as "blessed festival." The phrase is written in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp.

A later version of the eRumor circulated saying it was a "Muslim Christmas Stamp."     That is a fabrication someone added along the way.     Although Muslims regard Jesus as a prophet, they reject Christian belief that Jesus is the Son of God and God incarnate and do not celebrate Christmas.    The Islamic celebrations the postage stamp commemorates are roughly in November and January and are celebrations that many Muslims focus on during the Christian holidays.

According to the United States Post Office website the stamp has had several issues in various denominations spanning from 34 cents in 2001 to 41 cents in 2007. The latest release was announced September 23, 2008 with a 42 cent denomination.

 
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« Reply #541 on: November 20, 2008, 08:54:31 PM »

Saudi women find refuge from domestic violence
Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:33am EST

By Asma Alsharif

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Shattered, burned and bruised, Azza went to the police four times before the authorities allowed her to leave her abusive husband and move into a shelter.

In their 12 years together, her Saudi husband had beaten her with metal rods, chained her up and poured boiling water on her.

But police usually sent her back home after her husband signed a pledge to stop mistreating his wife, standard practice in a country where women need consent for anything from getting a job to renting an apartment.

"When I went back home the beatings gradually got worse," said Azza, now divorced and living in the recently-opened Abdulaziz Shelter in Jeddah. "The violence escalated even more and he started chaining me so that I could not run away. He blocked all the windows."

She finally escaped four years ago through the bathroom window, though she broke bones in her pelvis in the process. She obtained a divorce on grounds her husband was schizophrenic.

Domestic violence came dramatically into the media spotlight in 2004 when TV presenter Rania al-Baz went public over a savage beating from her husband in which she suffered 13 facial fractures, leading to divorce at her instigation.

The deeply conservative country, ruled by an austere version of Islamic law, has opened up since the September 11 attacks of 2001, where 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis.

Partly as a result of pressure from Western governments, an official human rights body was set up in 2004 to deal with the country's poor reputation for respecting human rights.

A total of 978 reports have been sent to the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) since then concerning physical and mental abuse, divorce and inheritance rights and even the right to education, which male guardians sometimes object to.

A number of shelters have been set up by volunteers with Ministry of Social Affairs approval.

Yet women's legal position remains precarious because of the male "guardianship" system sanctioned by Saudi clerics.

Fathers, brothers or husbands have the right to impose their will on a woman through claiming "disobedience" and a woman can face three years in jail and lashed if found guilty.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report this year that the system of guardianship in Saudi Arabia effectively reduces women to the status of "legal minors" -- children.

"There are no laws to protect the women," said family doctor Sara Abbar. "The laws are against the women and social affairs officers fail to help the women properly. In the end the girl ends up with her guardian even if he is the one abusing her."

As a result the girls in the shelters are often on nothing more than a "vacation from abuse," said Aljohara al-Angari of the NSHR. Saudi newspapers have reported that there are currently around 3,000 Saudi women officially registered as runaways.

WESTERN VALUES?

The rise in runaways has led to fears of the breakdown of the Saudi family and the inroads of Western values that seem to put more emphasis on individual desires than family duty.

"We used to be a closed society and now we are opening up," said Enaam Al-Raboei, head of the Family Protection Committee which thinks the spread of the internet and satellite television has Westernised Saudi youth attitudes.

Raboei said that girls who report abuse are often in fact rebelling against social tradition and refusing their parent's right to discipline their children.

"We try to explain to them that what they are going through is not abuse," she said, referring to some cases where no physical violence is involved.

Social worker Sameera Al-Ghamdi said there was a compromise to be reached that included the idea of basic rights for women.

"When we are confronted with a society that assigns a certain sacred status to its culture and specific traditions, we start by demanding basic rights," she said.

"People in this society have grown up to believe it is the father's right to strike his wife and children and prevent them from certain liberties if he wants to."

Saudi women find refuge from domestic violence
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« Reply #542 on: November 20, 2008, 09:42:24 PM »

Hamas called on Egypt to send its army into Jerusalem to liberate the al Aqsa Mosque
by Jodie A
November 19, 2008

The Egyptian FM suggested recently that Egyptian soldiers should take over the security in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas spokesman, Ismail Radwan said Arab countries should send their armies to the Israeli capital and take over Jerusalem which the PA wants as its capital for the state of Palestine.

The call by Hamas for the Arab world to liberate al Aqsa Mosque located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem means the most sacred spot on earth to Judaism, the Temple Mount, could see the armies of the Arab world take action against the heart of Israel and the Jewish people. Hamas, the Palestinian-Islamic terror organization, has bitterly objected to the ongoing talks between the PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israelis and wants the Arab and Islamic world to make plans for a conquest of Jerusalem and that to take place very soon.
===================================

A call by Hamas for the Arab and Islamic world to send its armies into Jerusalem to liberate the Temple Mount is a scenario that is found in Bible prophecy for the "end times".

Rejecting the suggestion from Egypt's FM that the Egyptian army should take over security in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has called for what could become a major conflict in the Middle East. The Hamas spokesman has called for the Arab and Moslem world to enter Jerusalem and liberate the al Aqsa Mosque which is located on the Temple Mount, a holy site to both the Moslems and the Jews. Arab and Moslem armies on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem would signal to any student of Bible prophecy that the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ was very close at hand.

The ancient Jewish prophet Joel said that in the "last days" a mighty militia, the largest army ever formed on earth, would come to Jerusalem to take it from the Jewish people, Joel 2:1-4. There is only one group of people that could form such a military might and that is the Islamic peoples as revealed in Daniel 11, Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83. However, before the major battle over Jerusalem takes place, Jesus Christ will call for Christians to join Him in the heavens, Revelation 4, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:51-53.
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« Reply #543 on: November 21, 2008, 12:58:53 PM »

Muslim student pleads not guilty in reporting Elmhurst College attack
Officials say woman made up story about assault, anti-Islamic slurs

Tribune staff report
November 18, 2008

A Muslim student who allegedly made a false claim that a masked man attacked her after he wrote anti- Islamic slurs in a women's restroom at Elmhurst College pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of disorderly conduct. Safia Jilani, 19, made no public comment.

Outside the DuPage County courtroom, her attorney, Terry Ekl, said "she is in treatment, and I hope the public wouldn't judge her until all the facts are known."

He declined to specify the type of treatment.

(She should prosecuted just like anyone else that makes a false cliam or report.)

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« Reply #544 on: November 21, 2008, 11:20:29 PM »

Surprise! You're a Muslim!
Brief conversions can be a family affair for generations.
Compass Direct News | posted 11/14/2008 09:07AM

An Egyptian Coptic Christian woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for failing to uphold her Islamic identity—an identity she did not know she had for more than four decades.

Bahia Nagy El-Sisi was arrested and tried this September for claiming Christianity as her official religious identity on her marriage certificate. Her sister, Shadia, received an identical sentence in November 2007 for doing the same. Unknown to the sisters, their religious identity had officially changed 46 years ago due to their father's temporary conversion to Islam.

Their father, Nagy El-Sisi, converted to Islam in 1962 during a brief marital dispute in order to obtain a divorce and potentially gain custody of his daughters, the sisters' lawyer Peter Ramses said. Egyptian law is influenced by Islamic jurisprudence (Shari'ah), which automatically awards child custody to whichever parent has the "superior" religion, and dictates "no jurisdiction of a non-Muslim over a Muslim."

A few years after his conversion, Nagy El-Sisi returned to his family and Christianity. He sought the help of a Muslim employee in the Civil Registration Office, who agreed to forge his Christian identification documents. Reversion to Christianity for converts to Islam has been nearly impossible in Egyptian courts.

The case is being appealed before Egypt's Supreme Court. If Bahia Nagy El-Sisi's identity as a Muslim stands, her religious status could potentially create a domino effect that would require her husband to convert to Islam or to nullify their marriage. Her children would also be registered as Muslims. Both sisters are married to Christians.

"All of their children and grandchildren would be registered as Muslims," Ramses said. "[The ruling] would affect many people."

Other sources said it is too soon to determine the fate of the sisters' marriages and families, as neither of the cases has been finalized. Legal experts believe that when Bahia Nagy El-Sisi's case comes before the Supreme Court, her sentence will be retracted like that of her sister, who was released from prison in January.

Egypt's constitution guarantees freedom of belief and practice for the country's Christian minority, who composes 10 percent of the population.

The case is also an example of the social pressure put on Egyptian non-Muslims to convert when a parent embraces Islam, despite the constitutional guarantee of equality, said Youssef Sidhom, editor in chief of the national weekly Watani, the only Christian newspaper in Egypt.

"This is a sick environment that we struggle to change," Sidhom said. "According to what is taking place here, freedom is protected and provided for Christians to convert to Islam, while the opposite is not provided."

Ramses is appealing the case to Egypt's Supreme Court. He said he worries the case could further erode the precarious situation of religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country of 79 million.

"How can the government say to [someone] who has lived 50 years in a Christian way that they must become a Muslim and their children must be Muslims and their whole family must all be Muslims?" he said. "This is very important for the freedom of religion."

Surprise! You're a Muslim!
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« Reply #545 on: November 21, 2008, 11:25:51 PM »


Yet more proof that our God is the true God. Our God doesn't require we jail people for not following our faith. We share it and love our neighbors. People come to the faith through the LOVE of God and on their own free will. Our God is truly awesome!

I'm so glad God gives me free will to chose what I believe, He doesn't force me.
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« Reply #546 on: November 21, 2008, 11:26:56 PM »

Saudi Arabia wants to build mosque in Moscow
20/ 11/ 2008


MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Saudi Arabia wants to build a mosque and an Islamic culture center in Moscow, the Ambassador to Russia Ali Hasan Jafar told Russia's top Muslim official on Thursday.

Ravil Gainutdin, who heads the Russian Mufti Council, told the Saudi envoy that he believed such a project would strengthen ties between the countries.

However, he told RIA Novosti that the location and construction date have yet to be agreed.

"We would not want to hurry events, as the Saudi side has only declared its intention. The construction of any building, especially a religious one, is a controversial issue, which sometimes can be debated for years," Gainutdin said, adding that the Russian Muslim community is already discussing the issue.

Saudi Arabia wants to build mosque in Moscow
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« Reply #547 on: November 22, 2008, 11:16:58 AM »

Al Qaeda Posts Wish List for American and Canadian Targets 

homelandsecurity

On November 5, 2008, the day after the US Presidential Elections, the following text was posted in a secondary al Qai’da forum. Obviously with the closures of the primary forums many of the members have started appearing on lesser known forums yet using the same names or forum identities.

Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar - Osama has made a worthy promise (America will not live in safety).

Analysis: The person wrote extensively about the blackout across the northeast US and Canada some years back and indicates this will happen again. They claim that they indeed caused the outage and will do it again.

Below are excerpts from the text.

In implementing the orders of the Emir of the mujahedeen Osama bin Laden (may God keep him) to strike the key U.S. economy, the Brigades of Abu Hafs al-Masri find it important to strike a second time (facilities supplying) electricity in the eastern U.S., including the most important economic cities of America and Canada as America's ally in the war against Islam (the city of Toronto and New York) and (areas) around them. (In their first strike) they caused the strike to prevent electricity for more than fifty million people. (OSPB* and security cannot explain how they had been sabotaged the signatories of that, God willing, the mujahedeen will use the same creative ways soon, God willing).

Further text indicates possible things that these people have on their terror "Wish- List" for the USA and Canada.

Among the benefits of the strike – and the media will say:

1. That the U.S. does not live in safety in order to achieve the conditions mentioned in the statement I and II, including the disengagement of prisoners of all the world, including Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, get out of Muslim land, including Jerusalem and Al-Jazeera and Kashmir.

2. The introduction of terror in their hearts, as they do with Muslims.

3. (We will) disrupt electricity to fifty million Americans and Canadians, which caused moral and material losses. It is not only our brother and sisters in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan ... etc.. Only who, it must taste the same suffering American people.

4. (We will) hit the main stronghold of the American economy (international exchange).

5. Notice to the United Nations (which is) against Islam, which is based in New York City.

6. Notice to all investors that America has become a country not safe for business, banking or investing. For your information, the American economy depends entirely on investor confidence.

7. The arrest (takeover) of seven major airports, a blow to the airlines.

8. Disable nine nuclear reactors and this has not happened before is a strong economic, as the reactors, nine are in the states of New York and New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan.

9. Disruption of transportation: trains, cars and trucks .... etc., causing heavy casualties.

10. Disruption of the Internet, which depend upon (Internet data transfer) in commercial transactions.

11. Disruption of global banks based in New York.

12. And (thus causing) heavy losses to insurance companies.

13. Losses (financial due to) to a massive deployment of police and security forces.

14. The economy that will lose electricity in the United States and Canada will cost the U.S. Treasury at least ten billion U.S. dollars. And even burn the hearts of American officials, the cost of the mujahedeen to sabotage the lines feeding electricity will cost less than seven thousand dollars.

15. Deterioration of the U.S. dollar against other currencies.

We say to Muslims that this strike is not expected**, but these are called war skirmishes (to drain the enemy economically), and the huge snake America will find great need to overstretch and by the dispersal of such, will be easily destroyed.

"We say to the people of Afghanistan and Kashmir that the gift that Sheikh Osama bin Laden sends is on its way to the White House, then the maximum gift, a gift so that everybody knows what the ceiling is, when and where??? The answer is you!!

(The day believers will rejoice in Allah's victory, which supports the wishes of the Almighty, the Most Merciful)

Allah is great and the largest ........ Islam is coming .....

(signed)

Brigades of Abu Hafs al-Masri (al Qaeda)
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« Reply #548 on: November 22, 2008, 05:58:01 PM »

Arab League peace initiative nonstarter if offered on a "take it or leave it" basis

Nov. 20, 2008
THE JERUSALEM POST

The Muslim and Arab world - presumably excluding Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah - have just made an unprecedented overture to the people of Israel. By coincidence, it comes just as al-Qaida reached out to the American people with their reaction to the election of Barack Obama.

In al-Qaida's insipid stab at winning friends and influencing people, Ayman al-Zawahiri surfaces in a Web video to denounce the president-elect as a hypocrite and an abeed al-beit - or "house Negro."

Osama bin-Laden's deputy, who is seen only in a still photo and whose message is read by a narrator, says that despite the election of an African American "born to a Muslim father," the US doesn't genuinely have a "new face."

The video unfavorably contrasts Obama with black Muslim icon Malcolm X. As archival footage presents Malcolm championing black chauvinism and warning that, "The house negro is always looking out for his master," Obama is pictured wearing a white kippa at the Western Wall with Zawahiri accusing him of praying "the prayer of the Jews."

He speaks directly to Obama, betraying al-Qaida's trepidation at the prospect that the incoming president will reach out to Iran, pull out of Iraq, and focus US military efforts in Afghanistan. He implicitly addresses America's black Muslims, cautioning them against moderation. He tries to scare Americans into opposing Obama's plan to commit more US troops in Afghanistan. He also wants them to pressure their government to halt attacks on the tribal regions along the border with Pakistan.

Altogether, pathetic and unconvincing.

IN CONTRAST, the Arab world's effort to appeal directly to the Israeli people is welcome and arguably constructive.

The PA purchased space in this and other Israeli newspapers (see page 11) seeking support for the 2002 Saudi-inspired Arab League peace initiative. The ad also ran, in Arabic, in several Palestinian papers.

Let's admit that we find ourselves tantalized by an offer from 57 Muslim and Arab countries to establish full diplomatic and "normal" relations in return for an Israel pullback to the 1949 Armistice Lines. It certainly beats the last offer we got - from Khartoum in August 1967 - "No peace, no negotiation and no recognition."

Whoever drafted this dull advertisement isn't going to win any copywriting awards. But even Madison Avenue couldn't sell what is, at the end of the day, a bad "product."

The initiative is being offered on a "take it or leave it" basis when it should be presented as a starting point for negotiations. Most Israelis want a land-for-peace formula based on the "1967-plus" formula enshrined in President George W. Bush's 2004 letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon.

The ad touts as its cornerstone General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948, which was drafted when there were, maybe, 700,000 Palestinian Arab refugees. Today the UN figures there are 4.6 million.

The archaic GA Res. 194 wanted "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace [to] be permitted to do so." But if implemented all these years later, 194 would be Israel's demographic death-knell.

Plainly, the only viable solution is for the Arab refugees to be resettled in the Arab world and in a Palestinian state that is created alongside Israel - not in Israel itself.

The resolution is so antiquated that it calls for the protection of holy places in Nazareth. And far from calling for east Jerusalem to be the the capital of a Palestinian state, it says Jerusalem and Bethlehem "should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control."

Equally troubling, neither the ad nor the Saudi plan itself acknowledge the inalienable right of the Jewish people to a national homeland within agreed borders.

So Israelis - across the political spectrum - will find the Arab Peace Initiative deficient.

Still, most of us, though disappointed that an offer which falls so short of Israel's minimal needs comes so late, will find themselves agreeing with President Shimon Peres: This is an overture worth exploring.

After so much bloodshed and suffering on both sides, we implore the Arab and Muslim world: Let us not make propaganda. Let us not wait another 60 years. Let us make peace.

Arab League peace initiative nonstarter if offered on a "take it or leave it" basis
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« Reply #549 on: November 22, 2008, 06:05:20 PM »

Zimbabwe rejects Carter, Annan, Machel
By Celean Jacobson, Associated Press Writer
Nov 22, 3:01 pm ET

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Zimbabwe has refused to let Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and a South African human rights advocate visit the impoverished country for a humanitarian mission, the three said Saturday.

The former U.N. secretary general, the ex-U.S. president and rights advocate Graca Machel had planned to assess the southern African country's needs. They are members of The Elders, a group formed by former South African President Nelson Mandela to foster peace and tackle world conflicts.

Annan said no official reason had been given for the refusal, but Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper reported that the group had been asked to "come at a later date" to accommodate the crop-planting season. It quoted an unnamed source as saying they were seen as antagonistic toward Zimbabwe's government.

Zimbabweans are suffering from disease and hunger while political crisis over a power-sharing government occupies its politicians. A current cholera outbreak has killed nearly 300 people in Zimbabwe, the United Nations said.

But the three were told Friday night by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating the political crisis, that efforts to secure travel visas for the a two-day trip had failed.

"We are very disappointed that the government of Zimbabwe would not permit us to come in, would not cooperate," former U.S. President Carter said at a news conference in Johannesburg.

It was the first time the 2002 Nobel Peace laureate has been denied permission to carry out a mission in any country, he said.

Machel, a rights advocate for women and children who is married to Mandela, said she was denied a visa to visit Zimbabwe in July when she had planned to lead a women's delegation.

Government officials in Harare could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.

The Elders had said the trip was entirely separate from regional attempts to get Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his rivals to implement a power-sharing agreement stalled since September.

Later Saturday, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met the group at a hotel in Johannesburg, saying he was disappointed they could not meet under "better circumstances."

Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe — who had been in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain — of trying to hold onto powerful Cabinet posts.

The political impasse has left the country without leadership as its economy collapses, with deadly consequences. Lack of cash to maintain water and sewer systems, for example, has led to the cholera outbreak.

"It seems obvious to me that the leaders of the government are immune to reaching out for help for their own people," Carter said.

Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food, fuel and other basic goods. In the countryside, failed harvests mean that starving villagers compete with jackals, baboons and goats for roots and wild fruits.

As the country suffers from the world's worst inflation, health care has collapsed. Hospitals unable to afford drugs, equipment or staff salaries have been forced to shut down.

There is growing regional concern about Zimbabwe's crisis, as millions have left for neighboring countries in search of jobs and security.

"Any crisis that creates millions of refugees is regional, and everyone should be interested in resolving it," Annan said.

Annan and the group of Elders were determined to continue efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, and planned to meet various leaders and organizations in South Africa.

The Elders — including 12 former world leaders and prominent rights activists — have mediated in a number of other international crises, such as Sudan and Kenya. The group was launched last year to celebrate Mandela's 89th birthday.

Zimbabwe rejects Carter, Annan, Machel
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« Reply #550 on: November 26, 2008, 02:56:40 PM »

Islamic judges strip Christian mothers of children
Muslim fathers, courts fear youth may switch religions, eat banned foods, 'go to church'
Posted: November 25, 2008
10:21 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Muslim judges are defying Islamic law in custody battles involving Christian mothers and Muslim fathers to shield children from Christian influence.

Egyptian law's Article 20 st ates children younger than 15 should stay with their mothers. But, without fail, Egypt's judges are ruling for Muslim fathers if the mothers are Christian, Compass Direct News reports.

The judges are bypassing Article 20 and referencing a portion of Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution: "Principles of Islamic law are the principal source of legislation."

On Sept. 24, an appeals court defied the statute and awarded custody of 13-year-old twins Andrew and Mario Medhat Ramses Labib to their father.

"The government's treatment of the boys' mother, Kamilia Lotfy Gaballah, constituted discrimination based on her religion and violated her right to equal protection before the law," the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, or EIPR, said in a statement. "The case also charges that the government violated the two boys' right to freedom of religion and contravened the state's legal obligation to protect child rights."

The father divorced his wife to marry another woman and converted to Islam in 1999. He then changed the boys' official religious status and applied for custody in 2006.

"Obviously in this custody decision, it is a flagrant disregard of the Personal Status Law, which ensures custody for the mother until the children are 15 years old," said Hossam Bahgat of the EIPR. "In this case the judiciary chose to ignore statutory law and apply their own interpretation of sharia."

In another case, two sisters, Ashraqat Gohar, 12, and Maria Gohar, 8, were removed from their Christian mother in January. Even though the eldest daughter claims her Muslim father, Wafiq Gohar, is an alcoholic, and he has a criminal history, the girls were placed in his care.

The court agreed with the father's fears that his daughters "would cherish a religion other than Islam, eat foods that are banned in Islam and go to church" if allowed to remain with their mother.

Even when an Egyptian court ordered 3-year-old Barthenia Rezqallah of Tanta to be returned to her Christian mother's custody, police refused to comply. The police fear the child would be raised in a Christian environment rather than an Islamic one, Naguib Gobrail, president of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations, told Compass Direct News.

Now Egyptian human rights workers are seeking support from the international community to stop Muslim judges from using Shariah law to undermine custody rights of Christian mothers.

The EIPR has filed a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, or ACHPR, a body formed by the African Union to oversee its 1984 Charter on Human and People's Rights.

Gobrail said pressure from the international community may be the only solution to the ongoing problem.

"Maybe a connection with someone of international character connecting with President [Hosni] Mubarak is the only way," he said, "because he has the authority to give orders to the National Assembly to issue a law to make things equal between Muslims and Copts, especially for the children."
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« Reply #551 on: November 26, 2008, 03:19:41 PM »

Hizbollah arsenal has tripled in size

Israel has accused Lebanon's militant Shia group Hizbollah of tripling its arsenal to 42,000 rockets, many with a range long enough to reach beyond Tel Aviv.

By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
25 Nov 2008

In a rare speech to a full parliament in Jerusalem, Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said that Hizbollah's rearmament programme meant the group now has three times the number of rockets it had in the run-up to the 2006 Lebanon war.

"The firepower of Hizbollah has grown threefold since the Second Lebanon War," said Mr Barak.

"It has missiles that can reach the towns of Ashkelon, Beersheba and Dimona [in southern Israel more than 125 miles from the Lebanese border].

"Today Hizbollah has 42,000 missiles."

The figures supported claims made by Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, a Hizbollah commander, in an interview with The Telegraph in August, when he said the group had built up its military arsenal significantly.

Israel has also indicated that the recent integration of Hizbollah into the Lebanese government has changed the thinking of Israeli military commanders.

Israeli commanders have warned that the integration would justify attacks on government infrastructure in Lebanon in the event of another clash with Hizbollah.

It was a cross-border raid into Israel by Hizbollah that sparked the 2006 conflict.

Eight Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid and two others, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were captured after being mortally wounded, prompting a heavy air and ground assault by Israel.

Over 1,000 Lebanese civilians died along with 43 Israeli civilians, who were mostly killed by Hizbollah rockets fired across the border.

The issue of Hizbollah's rearmament was meant to have been dealt with by the ceasefire agreement drawn up to the end the 34-day conflict.

The agreement forbids the rearmament of Hizbollah although this has not been adhered to in part because of a lengthy political crisis that deadlocked the workings of the Lebanese government for 18 months.

With Iranian money and weapons, and the support of Syria which provides transport links, it is an open secret that Hizbollah has been busy rebuilding its military might in southern Lebanon.

A new resupply road, paid for by Iran, connecting southern Lebanon to the Bekaa valley was discovered last year by The Telegraph.

Israel: Hizbollah arsenal has tripled in size
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« Reply #552 on: November 26, 2008, 11:46:12 PM »

Death toll mounts in Mumbai terrorist attack
Hotels, train station targeted by militants; hostages reported held

Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 101 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility.

On Thursday morning, police and gunmen were exchanging occasional gunfire at the hotels and an unknown number of people still were being held hostage, said A.N. Roy, a top police official.

Later Thursday morning, police loudspeakers declared a curfew around Mumbai's landmark Taj Mahal hotel, and black-clad commandos ran into the building as fresh gunshots rang out from the area, apparently the beginning of an assault on gunmen who had taken hostages in the hotel.
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Ambulances drove up to the entrance to the hotel and journalists were made to move even further back from the area.

The NDTV news channel reported that an explosion had been heard at the Trident hotel and that several Israelis were among hostages being held on the 19th floor. NDTV said commandos were preparing for a counterassault there.

Pradeep Indulkar, a senior official at the Maharashtra state Home Ministry said 101 people were killed and 287 injured.  Officials said at least six militants had been killed since the overnight attacks began around 9:30 p.m.

A series of explosions had rocked the Taj Mahal just after midnight. Screams were heard and black smoke billowed from the century-old edifice on Mumbai's waterfront. Firefighters sprayed water at the blaze and plucked people from balconies with extension ladders. After dawn, the fire was still burning.

The attackers specifically targeted Britons and Americans at the hotels and restaurant, witnesses said.

Alex Chamberlain, a British citizen who was dining at the upscale Oberoi hotel, told Sky News television that a gunman ushered 30 to 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and, speaking in Hindi or Urdu, ordered everyone to put up their hands

"They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: 'Where are you from?" and he said he's from Italy and they said 'fine' and they left him alone. And I thought: 'Fine, they're going to shoot me if they ask me anything — and thank God they didn't," he said.

Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.

Early Thursday, state home secretary Bipin Shrimali said four suspects had been killed in two incidents when they tried to flee in cars, and Roy said two more gunmen were killed at the Taj Mahal. State Home Minister R.R. Patil said nine more were arrested. They declined to provide any further details.

"We're going to catch them dead or alive," Patil told reporters. "An attack on Mumbai is an attack on the rest of the country."

An Indian media report said a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets. There was no way to verify the claim.

NDTV showed several yellow and black rubber dinghies on a beach near the hotels, apparently used by the gunmen to reach the area.

The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.

'Still not under control'
Meanwhile, army troops began moving into another hotel, the Oberoi, thought to contain hostages.

"The situation is still not under control and we are trying to flush out any more terrorists hiding inside the two hotels," Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, told a news conference Thursday.

The Times of India said more than 900 people were sent to hospitals. That number could not immediately be confirmed.

A U.S. official told NBC News that at least one American was seriously injured but there were no other confirmations of American injuries or deaths.

Officials at Bombay Hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans were admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshot wounds. All were brought in from the Taj hotel, the AP reported.

At least three top Indian police officers — including Hemant Karkare, the chief of the anti-terror squad — were among those killed, said Roy, the police official.

Authorities believed seven to 15 foreigners were hostages at the Taj Mahal, said Anees Ahmed, a top state official. It was also unclear where the hostages were in the Taj Mahal, which is divided into an older wing, which was in flames, and a modern tower that was not on fire.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said U.S. officials were not aware of any American casualties, but were still checking. He said he could not address reports that Westerners might be among the hostages.

Assailants also attacked a police station, the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark.

Chaotic scene
"I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports," said Rakesh Patel, a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel on business. "They had bombs."

"They came from the restaurant and took us up the stairs," he told the NDTV news channel, smoke stains all over his face. "Young boys, maybe 20 years old, 25 years old. They had two guns."

Several European lawmakers were among those who were staying at the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city's best-known destinations.

"I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside," said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a forthcoming EU-India summit. He turned to get away "and all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us ... I just turned and ran in the opposite direction," he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.

"It was really scary. It was like the sound of loud crackers, not one but several, we just ran out of there," said Janice Sequeira, a tourist who had been at a restaurant in the Taj.

A European official was among the wounded at the Taj.

"My hotel is surrounded by police and there are gunmen inside," European lawmaker Ignasi Guardans told Spanish radio from the Taj. "We are in contact with some deputies inside the hotel, with one in a room and another hidden in the kitchen. There's another official hurt and in hospital."

The lucky escaped quickly.

cont'd
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« Reply #553 on: November 26, 2008, 11:48:13 PM »

Americans, Britons singled out

Arvind Kodekar was at a wedding reception at the Taj when an explosion rang out.

"When we heard the sound of the blast everyone — the bride, the groom, everyone — just ran. We heard the sound of two blasts and we just ran," said Kodekar, who was wearing a black suit with a rose in the lapel, but whose trousers were frayed and bloody from where he had been cut by broken glass.
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Other gunmen attacked Leopold's restaurant, a landmark popular with foreigners, and the police headquarters in southern Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. The restaurant was riddled with bullet holes and there were blood on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers.

Gunmen also attacked Cama and Albless Hospital and G.T. Hospital, though it was not immediately clear if anyone was killed. 

The gunmen also attacked police headquarters in south Mumbai, the area where most of the attacks took place. "We are under fire, there is shooting at the gate," constable A. Shetti said by phone from police headquarters.

Sourav Mishra, a Reuters reporter, was with friends at the Cafe Leopold when gunmen opened fire Wednesday night. He received injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

"I heard some gunshots around 9:30. I was with my friends. Something hit me. I ran away and fell on the road. Then somebody picked me up. I have injuries below my shoulder," Mishra said from a hospital bed he was sharing with three other people.

The wreckage of a red scooter, the remains of shop awnings and broken glass were strewn across the street.

Armed police, rifles ready at the hip, set up barricades around the explosion site, and local people were seen yelling at each other, angry that another terror attack had hit the city.

Vehicles and street vendors' barrows were used to keep locals away, and military four-wheel-drives with horns blaring sped to the bomb site.

History of terrorist attacks
There were other attacks elsewhere.

Blood smeared the floor of the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, where attackers sprayed bullets into the crowded terminal.

Nasim Inam's hands shook when he spoke of seeing four attackers gunning down commuters as they walked to catch late trains home.

"They wore black T-shirts and blue jeans. They were carrying big guns," said Inam. "They just fired randomly at people and then ran away. In seconds, people fell to the ground."

Sameeran Chakraborty, a Mumbai resident, told the NDTV news channel he heard a blast inside a car near the city airport.

"It was a big noise and one car was involved, definitely not more than that."

Officials also reported that terrorists attacked the city's Cama and Albless Hospital and G.T. Hospital, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was killed in those places.

Leaders across the world swiftly condemned the attacks.

"These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism," said Brooke Anderson, chief national security spokesperson for President-elect Barack Obama. "The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks."

U.S. monitors situation

U.S. counterterrorism, intelligence and defense officials met Wednesday in Washington to discuss the situation, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"The U.S. government continues to monitor the situation, including the safety and security of our citizens, and stands ready to assist and support the Indian government," she said, adding that President Bush was being updated regularly.

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.
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« Reply #554 on: November 26, 2008, 11:53:35 PM »

I was listening to FoxNews on this tonight when I got home from church. Unfortunately Alan Colmes was on. He was interviewing someone on this and made the comment that no one knew what the motive was for this and then asked the person if anyone had reported what the motive was yet.  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

I can't wait for the day after Colmes last day on Foxnews. That will be the day that Foxnews improves.

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