November 25, 2006
In an ominous development in Shyamnagar upazila, Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh is quietly ‘Islamising’ the names of villages and educational institutions there, destroying the rich history, tradition and heritage of the area.The move, bearing all signs of rabid communalism, was initiated following a locally issued fatwa that the names, many of which have been existing for many centuries, now smack of ‘Hinduism’.
Since the immediate past four-party alliance government had assumed power in 2001, of which Jammat is an important component, it successfully ‘Islamised’ the names of many villages and educational institutions in the upazila.
Local units of Jamaat also started using the new ‘Islamic names’ on their official writing pads, propaganda leaflets and invitation cards, sources said.
Hari Charan Roy Chowdhury, the erstwhile Zamindar (large scale land owner during the Mughal rule and in colonial India) of Shyamnagar, established a high school at Nakipur in 1899 under what is now Shyamnagar upazila head quarters, and it was named after him as Nakipur Hari Charan High School.
As the name Hari Charan is a traditional Hindu name, local Jamaat leaders changed the high school’s name to Nakipur Pilot High school and the school authorities hung a sign board touting the new name.
Local residents alleged that soon after the immediate past four-party alliance had assumed power in 2001, former Jamaat lawmaker Gazi Nazrul Islam became the chairman of the school’s governing body, and the name of the school was changed soon after.
While talking to this correspondent, District Education Officer (Secondary) Md Kamruzzaman said he knew nothing about the change of name of the school as no one had taken his permission to do so.
“The school authorities in collusion with a section of officials of Jessore Board might have had changed the name of the school which is over a century old,” he said.
On contact, Shyamnagar Upazila Awami League (AL) President also Sadar Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Jaglul Haidar expressed his grave concern and said, he got his own child admitted to nearby Shyamnagar Model High School instead of the school with the newly ‘Islamised name’.
Local Jamaat leaders also ‘Islamised’ the name of Joshoreshwaripur under the upazila by changing its name to Islampur during the immediate past four-party alliance government.
King Pratapaditya of Jessore, one of the Twelve Bhuiyans who put up a fierce resistance against the Mughal conquest of the delta, established his capital at Joshoreshwaripur during his rule.
The name of the village Haripur under Noornagar union was also changed to Habibpur.
Nurul Islam, a teacher of Habibpur (originally Haripur) Dakhil Madrasa, said he along with Ahmed Ali, Abdur Rashid, Nur Ali Gazi and others of the area changed the name of the village to give it an ‘Islamic’ name as the area is now dominated by the Muslims.
Harinagari, a neighbouring village of Haripur was also ‘Islamised’ by changing its name to Rahmat Nagar.
When contacted, local Jamaat leader Maulana Nazrul Islam, who is also the president of Rahmat Nagar (originally Harinagari) Nurani Hafizia Madrasa’s governing body, and Maulana Hafiz Md Liakat Ali, super of the madrasa, said a large number of people belonging to the Hindu community lived there in the past who had named the village Harinagari, which smacks of ‘Hinduism’.
Now, most of the people living there are Muslims, so they gave an ‘Islamic name’ to the village, they bluntly justified.
Local Jamaat supporters also changed the name of Jyotindranagar to Zahirnagar.
Local people alleged that a group of local Jamaat supporters put up a signboard on Jyotindranagar Madrasa, built adjacent to Jyotindranagar Cyclone Centre, advertising the new ‘Islamic name’.
Local Jamaat leaders Mosharraf Billah, Sultan Gazi and Mozammel Haque said they ‘Islamised’ the name of village Jyotindranagar in accordance with the decision of some local people.
Another erstwhile Hindu Zamindar Jyotindra Nath Sarkar set up the village and named it after his own name, they said. As Jyotindra is a traditional Hindu name and ‘it is not suitable as a madrasa’s name’, they changed it, the Jamaat leaders added with glee.
Local Jamaat leaders also changed the names of some other villages in the area, the name of village Napitkhali was changed to Niamatkhali, Mendlnagar to Mehedinagar, Gopalpur to Golap Pur, Gangramari to Muslimnagar, Gouripur to Garibpur, Kashipur to Kashimpur, Ramchandrapur to Rahmatpur, Ramjibanpur to Ramjanpur, and Shyamnagar to Rupnagar.
When contacted, former Jamaat lawmaker Gazi Nazrul Islam said it is not true that Jamaat-e-Islami changed the names of those villages and institutions.
“We have not taken any decision in the party regarding changing the names. Those who have changed those names locally, have done so in pursuit of their own interests. We have nothing to do with it,” he said.
While talking to this correspondent, Shyamnagar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Zahidul Islam said, the names of the villages and institutions were not changed officially.
Civil society members of Shyamnagar at an exchange of views meeting held in Shyamnagar Upazila Auditorium on October 12 protested Jamaat’s move to change the names of the villages and institutions.
They alleged that Jamaat leaders are proceeding with a planned conspiracy to change the names in a bid to erase the Hindu heritage of the area.
Local leaders of the Islamist party are also trying to popularise the new ‘Islamic’ names by using them on their official party pads when calling for meetings and other organisational activities, speakers at the meeting alleged. The speakers also vowed to resist the Jammat move.
The meeting was addressed by upazila BNP Convener Abdul Wahed, Upazila AL President also a UP Chairman Jaglul Haidar, local JP Vice-president Azibar Rahman, Atarjan Mahila College Principal Ashek E Elahi, former UP chairman Bishwa Nath Das, Atiar Rahman, Joydev Biswas, and another UP Chairman Alamgir Haidar.
November 18, 2006
Dr. Tawfik Hamid nearly boarded a plane decades ago on an eventual path to holy war with the United States.Instead, he took an opposite route and now travels throughout Europe and North America warning about what he experienced firsthand as a member of a jihadist group run by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current second in command of al-Qaida.“One single mistake, and I would’ve been sitting with al-Zawahiri instead of sitting with you now,” he said in a recent interview with The Buffalo News.
Hamid, an Egyptian-born medical doctor, psychologist and author of “The Roots of Jihad,” travels throughout the world discussing Islam on college campuses, at churches and synagogues and in nonprofit organizations. Hamid was in Western New York in October for a series of private talks and will return for a presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Love Joy Gospel Church, Lancaster
The former member of Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which is identified as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department, has plenty to say about Islam and terrorism – and some of it doesn’t sit well with American Muslims.
Hamid worries that Westerners have become too politically correct, refusing to accept that current Islamic teaching – not poverty, not Israel and not the war in Iraq – is the root cause of Muslim terror.
“I believe Islam can be taught in a peaceful manner,” he said. “But it’s unfair to say the current dominant form of Islamic teaching, which is salafi Islam, taught in mosques and universities, is peaceful.”
Quite the contrary, said Hamid, who traces the spread of this virulent form of Islam to the rise of Saudi Arabia as an economic and political powerhouse.
Salafi Islam originated in Saudi Arabia decades ago, and as that country’s oil profits grew, the fundamentalist strand began spreading throughout the Middle East.
Among other teachings, salafi Islam calls for the killing of apostates, considers Jews subhuman, encourages the beating and enslavement of women and urges war to convert nonbelievers, said Hamid.
“These are fundamentals of Sharia law. This is what they teach in the mosques and the universities,” he said.
Hamid was attending medical school in Cairo when he joined Gama’a al-Islamiyya, intent on becoming a more observant Muslim. “I was not thinking of doing evil to anyone, absolutely not,” he said. Within a few months, though, he became a self-described “vicious monster, like a beast,” due to the group’s teachings on Islam.
Encouraged by al-Zawahiri, Hamid considered fighting the Soviets as part of the resistance movement in Afghanistan – a move that likely would have put him in line to become a key cog in Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Those terrorists, too, were encouraged by warped Islamic teachings, particularly among Sunni Muslims, Hamid said.
Sunnis forbid sex outside of marriage, creating a sexual suppression in young Muslim males who haven’t accumulated enough wealth to marry, said Hamid. At the same time, they believe beautiful virgins await in heaven for men who abide by Islamic tenets. Sunni men stuck in this situation would die for a cause “just to make sex in paradise,” Hamid said. “It is embarrassing, but it is what I used to think.”
As much as he thought of violent acts, though, Hamid couldn’t bring himself to do them. He left Gama’a al-Islamiyya in search of a different understanding of Islam.
Hamid’s preaching, however, soon got him run out of a mosque by a rock-throwing group of men who threatened his life, he said.
Hamid changed his name and fled Cairo in 1992. He moved to the West three years later but refuses to identify the country where he lives for fear that it would put him and his family at risk.
Even in the United States and Europe, Hamid believes moderate Muslims are in the minority.
Hamid accused Muslims in the West of feeding into the radicalization of Islam by not forcefully confronting fundamentalist Islamic teachings.
“Because of them, reformation is not happening,” he said.
But Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Muslims here have condemned terrorism for years, even issuing a fatwa against it.
November 16, 2006
Women’s Paradise In Islam
– By Abul Kasem
In recent times many Islamists in NFB extolling how
good Islam is for women have written plenty of
essays. They will spare no pain to tell women how
kind, just, progressive, non-discriminatory and fair
Islam is towards women. They have invented these
essays after they were shamed by a few essays on the
pathetic treatment of women in the Quran and the
Hadith. After reading these essays of the Islamists,
any woman will wonder where can they find such
paradises for themselves. The Islamists will never
tell them where these paradises are or if any such
paradise exists at all or not. To give credibility to
the messages written by these Islamists towards our
mothers, sisters, and wives, we need an absolute proof
of where can we find such Islamic treatment for our
women. So let us have a look at the conditions of
women in one of the Islamic paradises, Iran.
In this paradise (Jannat) the women have been awarded
with the following ‘nek’ from Allah: (please refer
www.homa.org/wings/irisituation.html for more
1. Hijab has been forced on every woman whether
she likes it or not. Wearing no hijab may invite
severe punishment. And what that punishment can be?
Let us hear from the mouth of Prosecutor-General,
Abolfazl Musavi-Tabrizi. “Any one who rejects the
principle of hijab in Iran is an apostate and the
punishment for an apostate under Islamic law is death”
(August, 15, 1991)
2. Women are baby-growing fields. Unbelievable
isn’t it. Let us hear from Ayatollah Mutahari. He
said, “The specific task of women in this society is
to marry and bear children”.
3. Women are banned from studies such as
Engineering, Agriculture, Archaeology, Restoration of
historic monuments, handicrafts and many other fields.
4. Provisional marriage is lawful. A man may have
four “permanent wives” and as many “provisional wives”
as he likes.
5. The marriage age for the girls was reduced to
13 and then further reduced to 9 years. This is in
keeping with the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
who at the age of 51 married a 6 years old child
(Ayesha) and had sex with her when she became 9.
6. Iranian women cannot marry foreigners without
the written permission from the Ministry of Interior.
7. Divorce is an indisputable right of men and a
woman can be divorced without any prior consultation.
8. A married woman cannot travel, work, join
organization, go to college or visit her friends and
relatives without husband’s permission.
9. Married women cannot travel overseas without a
written permission from their husbands. This written
permission must be presented to the authorities. The
authorities are also considering banning all women
from traveling overseas for higher study.
10. A husband can inflict any physical violence or
any other form of torture on a woman. You say ‘this is
absolutely cruel and unacceptable in Islam’. Let us
hear from an Islamic scholar on this matter.
Hojatoleslam Imani, a top religious leader says, “A
married woman should endure any violence or torture
imposed on her by her husband for she is fully at his
disposal. Without his permission she may not leave her
house even for a good action (such as charitable
work). Otherwise her prayers and devotions will not be
accepted by God and curses of heaven and earth will
fall upon her.”
11. Women are stoned to death if their husbands
charge them for adultery. A woman was stoned to death
even when no man was found to have committed adultery
with her. A Mullah took only sixty seconds to arrive
at the decision and she was stoned the next day.
Before stoning her to death the mullahs shaved her
head and she was buried in mud up to her shoulder. Her
husband and her two small children witnessed this
‘rahmat’ of Allah.
12. Women political prisoners are treated as war
criminals. So, they are captives (right hand’s
possession). Therefore, their guards can do whatever
they like. Their captors regularly and systematically
rape them (the women prisoners).
13. Virgin girls who are sentenced to death are not
executed till their captors had sex with them and
rendered them un-virgin. Since virgin girls go to
heaven when they die, the Mullahs want to make sure
that these girls can never enter paradise after they
are executed. It is alleged that this type of sexual
intercourse with virgin girl prisoners takes place on
a daily basis.
14. A report by the Organization of Women against
execution in Iran gives the following data for the
period from 1981 to 1990.
1428 women executed
187 were under the age 18
9 girls under the age 13
The youngest girl executed was 10 years
The oldest woman executed was 70 years.
You say that these are not ‘real Islam’ and the
Islamic writers at NFB are dying to assert that those
actions by the Mullahs of Iran are distorted images of
Islam. To find the truth we just need to look at the
Holy Scriptures to see if these Mullahs in Iran are
right or wrong in the interpretation of the Allah’s
Sura al-Baqarah 2:223 Your women are a tilth for you
(to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and
send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear
Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give
glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad)
The translation is by Pickthall. This sura clearly
says what a woman is all about. Yes, she is nothing
but a paddy field to grow paddy. In case you may think
that this translation is not reliable, let us look at
the translation by Yusufali:
Your wives are as a tilth unto you, so approach your
tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for
your souls beforehand; and fear God. And know that ye
are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these)
good tidings to those who believe.
Are the Iranian Mullahs wrong in treating women as
paddy fields? I invite any Islamic writers in NFB to
prove that what these people (the Iranian Mullahs) do
to the women is against the Quran.
What goes on a child’s mind when he/she watches
his/her beloved mother is beaten mercilessly by the
child’s own father? The experience is extremely
disturbing. But what is more disturbing is that when
he grows up and finds that what his/her father did to
his/her dearest mum was really inspired by the Quran.
Sura an-Nisa’ 4:34 …As to those women On whose part
ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct Admonish them
(first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And
last) beat them (lightly); But if they return to
obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance):
For God is Most High, Great (above you all).
In the translation of the above verse the word
‘lightly’ was added by the translator Yusufali. The
original verse does not contain any such (lightly)
word. Yusufali was so embarrassed that he added
‘lightly’ to make the verse more civilized.
In the above verse Islam has sealed the fate of women.
They are an object to be used as desired and if
necessary should be subjected to corporal punishment
if she refuses any whim and fancy of her owner. She
has very little chance to escape from the tyranny of a
religious bigot and a cruel person. And what happens
to the tyrant and the perpetrator who inflicts
physical punishment to her? The Quran is absolutely
silent on this matter. I ask any Islamic writer to
prove that what the Iranian Mullah said about the
physical torture of women by men (in item 10) above is
against Islamic rule.
In a civilized society any physical/mental abuse of a
spouse or a child is a criminal offense. The culprit
is arrested by police and tried in a court of law and
punished accordingly. In Australia, where I live, wife
beating (rather spouse beating) and child abuses are
serious criminal offenses and the Govt. Authorities
waste no time in removing to a safe place the victims
from the abusive spouse. The whereabouts of the
victims remain a top secret till the matter is settled
by the court. This is the secular law. The Quran or
any other religious scripture does not inspire this
law. If we go by the Quran, this law to protect women
and children from abusive spouse is surely not
Having sexual intercourse with captives is halal. You
say this is absolutely un-Islamic. Let us search the
Sura an-Nisa 4:24 And all married women (are forbidden
unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hand
possess. …(Translation by Pickthall)
Also (prohibited are) women already married, except
those whom your right hands possess: ….(Translation
by Yusuf Ali)
You say in modern world there are no such things as
the possession of the right hands. Think again. Quran
is eternal. The world may change but Quran cannot
change. The Iranian Mullahs understand Quran much,
much better than you and me. Is not any woman that
opposes any Islamic ruling (read Allah’s law) is
waging a war against Allah? Are not the Mullahs
fighting the enemies of Allah? So, when they defeat
the enemy (captured rebel woman) she becomes the
possession of the right hands (captives) of them. And
Allah has permitted them to have sexual intercourse
with these captive women.
Menstruation is an illness (disease)
Sura al-Baqarah 2:222 They question thee (O Muhammad)
concerning menstruation. Say it is an illness, so let
women alone at such times and go not in unto them till
they are cleansed. (Translation by Pickthall)
They ask thee concerning women’s courses. Say: They
are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in
their courses and do not approach them until they are
clean. (Translation by Yusufali)
This verse is not only completely unscientific; but
also a gross insult to all women of the world. How do
the millions of working women feel when they see this
divine message! There can be no message more misogyny
than this verse from the Quran. This verse literally
means that all our mothers, sisters and wives suffer
from permanent disease. A corollary of this verse will
be that when a woman reaches menopause (that is her
menstruation ceases) she becomes disease free! Since a
woman reaches her menopause between 55 to 60 years of
age, doesn’t this mean that when a woman reaches her
old age she is cured of her permanent illness that
afflicted her when she reached her puberty. What a
We can go on citing verses after verses from the Holy
Scriptures to illustrate how anti- feminine and how
hostile Islam is towards all women. What we observe
being done to the women of Iran and Afghanistan shocks
every civilized person Muslim, non-Muslim alike.
Islmists not living in these countries have very
little idea of what ‘real Islam’ is doing to every
sister, mother and wife of the men in these
paradises. Most of the Islamists living in the West
have a very utopian idea of the treatment of women
according to the Islamic rules. What we are witnessing
in these Islamic paradises is the practical
application of the Quran and Hadith. Can any western
Islamist (new Mullah) prove that what their
compatriots at these Islamic heavens doing are
anti-Quran and anti-Hadith?
The ominous message sent by the Mullahs of this
Islamic Jannat is very plain and straight. Any woman
who still thinks that Islam affords her the freedom,
liberty, equality, justice, her mental and physical
well being is simply fooling herself. She is simply
surrendering herself to a pack of wolves and the only
destination these wolves will send her is to hell.
That is for sure. The sad thing is that the hell that
these Mullahs will send her will be in this world. She
does not have to die to go there. She has to endure
the suffering of hell-fire after the Mullahs have
stripped her of her human dignity and reduced her to
nothing but a piece of meat then to a piece of fertile
crop field and eventually to a hapless destitute.
Even the prophet said that majority of women will be
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said ” I was shown
the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers
were women who were ungrateful” (Sahih Bukhari 1:2
This is what is reserved for Muslim women by Allah!
GAZA CITY (AFP) – Seated on her doorstep in a neighborhood in Gaza City, Narem puffs discontentedly on her cigarette, then sighs: “We used to be dancers and singers. Now we are nothing.”
In Europe, they are called Gypsies or Roma. In Gaza, they are called the Nawar, a people with an ancestral tradition of song and dance who have been scattered for centuries throughout the Middle East.
But here, the rise of Islamist doctrine that accompanied the start of the second Palestinian uprising six years ago has sounded the death knoll for the Nawar way of life, pushed them into begging, and rendered them second-class citizens in a society regulated more and more by rigid rules.
“Our life was among the best. We wore the most beautiful dresses, we ate the best dishes. We sang Um Kalsum, Abdel Halim Hafez during marriages and celebrations. We were free,” says Narem, 35, quickly throwing a scarf to cover her dark, flowing hair whenever a car passes.
“We didn’t learn in schools, but in the home. With us, you begin to sing and dance while still a child,” she says. “My mother danced, my grandmother before her, and my great-grandmother also.”
For decades, the Nawar wandered from city to town in theand the wider Middle East, showing off their singing and dancing.
Fatima, 49, was a singer.
“We went from city to city, to Rafah, Khan Yunis, Jabaliya. We would set up tents and would play the oud and the drums. Some of us wandered as far as Egypt,and Jordan,” Fatima sighs.
“Life was as sweet as honey,” she whispers, raising her eyes toward the sky.
The establishment of thein 1994, following the Oslo peace accords between the Israelis and Palestinians, made it even sweeter.
Buoyed by the belief that they would soon get their own state, the Palestinians were in the mood for celebrating.
“With the arrival of the Palestinian Authority, clubs were constructed on the sea shore. There was the Sunset, the Baida,” says Sheikh Abu Mohammed, the patriarch of Gaza’s Nawar quarter.
But the eruption of the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000 led by the Islamist Hamas movement — changed all that.
“The extremists burned and closed all the clubs. They said it was ‘haram,’ ‘forbidden’ that girls dance and sing,” Abu Mohammed says, dressed in his worn, faded long robe.
“Our ancient life has vanished into thin air and it will not come back,” he adds.
After the start of the second intifada, cinemas in Gaza were shut or burnt down, sale of alcohol banned, bathing suits on the beaches replaced by long-sleeved shirts and pants, and Nawar performances no longer welcomed.
“What can we do now, fly away? No, so we beg in the bazaars,” says Narem, saddened by the happy memories.
Despite the difficulties, the Nawar do not want to leave. They have been on this land for centuries and consider it their home.
“They have a very long history in the Middle East,” says Allen Williams, director of the Dom Research Center Middle East and North Africa Gypsy Studies, a rights group based in Cyprus.
“In every society, Christian or Muslim, the gypsies have gone through the same difficulties,” Williams says. “They don’t have a voice in the Middle East.
“For hundreds of years, to be singers and dancers was their traditional role in the society. It’s the only thing left to them.
“When you have isolation, no possibilities to go to school, singing and dancing is one of the last traditional skills they can learn from their parents and pass on” to their children.
Today the Nawar in Gaza live under the eye of a society that despises them at a time when violence and death have replaced celebrations.
The misery that accompanied the freeze of Western aid after Hamas formed a government in March has been exacerbated by‘s four-month offensive in Gaza after militants seized an Israeli soldier in late June.
“The outlook of the people here has changed,” Narem says. “When you sing in front of people, they look at you in a certain way. When you beg at a market, they look at you with disdain.”
“People here think that we are prostitutes and think that all of our young people are thieves,” says Hayat, Fatima’s daughter.
“In Egypt and in Jordan, there is respect for artists, but here they don’t know what the word ‘art’ means.”
Agitated, she adds defiantly: “But we are also children of the Palestinian people and we have the right to be respected and to live like everyone else.”
Today, to preserve their traditions, the Nawar hide.
“We organize family celebrations and not a single stranger can come. We sing and dance for ourselves. It’s better this way,” Hayat says.
November 13, 2006
LAHORE: Islamic extremists have infiltrated at least four British universities to radicalise Muslim students, says a “troubleshooting” imam who sends teams to campuses to tackle indoctrination, The Sunday Times reported.
Sheikh Musa Admani believes fundamentalists are bypassing campus bans on groups with radical links by presenting themselves as “ordinary Muslims” to fellow students or forming societies with alternative names. Some students, says Admani, have been so deeply indoctrinated that they are close to travelling to Afghanistan and Iraq to engage in jihad, the report said.
Admani, a Muslim chaplain at London Metropolitan University, runs a charity that helps to rehabilitate young men who have fallen prey to extremism. He is also an adviser on Muslim affairs to Bill Rammell, the higher education minister.
“We are dealing with people filled with hatred,” said Admani. “It’s hatred for the white man and the West in particular, because they have read the works of Qutb and Maududi (Islamist ideologues followed by Al Qaeda) who set Muslims apart from everyone else.”
Admani’s charity, the Luqman Institute of Education and Development, has been tackling the effects of this indoctrination by sending volunteers to campuses to challenge “the warped view of Islam” spread by extremists. The charity has received reports from students about fundamentalists operating in at least four UK institutions: Brunel University, west London, Bedfordshire University, Luton, Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitan University. Up to 10 students at Brunel are being “deradicalised” by a caseworker from the institute, the newspaper said.
Jawad Syed, who nearly succumbed to extremism himself when he was a Brunel student, said: “Some of the students are watching jihadi videos and might be listening to different sheikhs encouraging jihad.”
Earlier this year the Islamic society at Sheffield Hallam University hosted a lecture by Sheikh Khalid Yasin, an American preacher who favours the death penalty for homosexuals.
Shakeel Begg, another radical cleric, recently urged students at Kingston University, southwest London, to wage jihad in Palestine. British-born Asif Hanif, who killed three people in a suicide attack on a bar in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2003, had attended Kingston.
Admani said some extremists win their peers’ trust in university prayer rooms before inviting them to off-campus lectures. In other cases, groups banned by the National Union of Students are thought to be operating under alternative names. Last month students at Staffordshire University were invited to attend a discussion entitled “The true word of God: the Quran or the Bible”. The event was addressed by a former member of Al-Muhajiroun, a proscribed organisation.
A further twist on extremism and campus life emerged in court last week when it was revealed that Dhiren Barot, the most senior Al-Qaeda plotter to be captured in Britain, had used a forged pass to carry out research at Brunel.
Brunel University said: “The safety of our students and staff is paramount, as is the security of our campus. We will look into the [Luqman] institute’s claims and respond accordingly.”
Referring to Begg’s lecture at Kingston, Professor Peter Scott, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “Should the university be made aware of any concerns about the views expressed at such events, it has the protocols in place to investigate.”
Staffordshire University said it was investigating last month’s lecture. Manchester Metropolitan University said: “If any evidence of extremism comes to light, we will immediately act upon it.” Bedfordshire University and Sheffield Hallam University denied that extremists were operating on their campuses, the newspaper added.
November 4, 2006
November 2, 2006
The prognosis for Middle Eastern Christians is grim. As minorities within Muslim societies, they suffer from pressures varying from discriminatory legislation to kidnapping and murder. As Reverend Keith Roderick reveals in National Review Online, these pressures are far from absent in Iraq, where a Christian priest was recently kidnapped for a massive ransom, later reduced in return for local parishioners denouncing Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial remarks on Islam. Ransom paid and the pontiff duly denounced, the priest was nonetheless murdered.
Other revealing reports on the perilous predicament of Iraqi Christians include one from March by the New Republic’s Laurence Kaplan, who elaborates among other things on the wave of church bombings and the exodus of perhaps as many as 100,000 Christians in the past two years alone.
That the developments described in these pieces figure more broadly across the Middle East is apparent from this sobering report on the discrimination and demoralization of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority from Palestinian Christian intellectual George Catan.
A World Tribune report from February reveals that Gaza’s small Christian community was intimidated and threatened with murderous violence following the publication of the Danish Muhammad cartoons while Jerusalem Post journalist Khaled Abu Toameh already described in October 2005 the steady depopulation of Bethlehem’s once majority Christian community. The Vatican’s top foreign-policy official, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, also called attention in May to what he termed the “considerably reduced” Christian presence in the Middle East, evidenced in the reduction of Iran’s Catholic population to one-tenth of its size in 1973, Iraq’s to one-third since that date and the drop in Syria’s from 2.6% to 1% of Syria’s total population during the same period.
October 29, 2006