Islam and Muslims -- Facts and Fiction

-- Arabic-themed school blasted for misappropriating name - 8/29/07
-- Plans to teach Johnny Islam challenged - 8/28/07
-- CNN airs 'one of the most distorted programs' ever - 8/23/07
-- Saudi Religious Police Arrest Man for Helping His Neighbor - 8/07/07
-- Jihad Watch Director and YAF Defy CAIR - 8/07/07
-- Islamic prayers finally dropped - 8/01/07
-- Al-Qaida infiltrating America as patients - 7/15/07
-- Treasury alleges charity is 'front' for Hezbollah - 7/25/07
-- Feds name CAIR in plot to fund Hamas - 6/04/07
-- Muslims cracking down on Christianity - 5/18/07
-- European officials back plan to profile mosques - 5/14/07
-- Muslims attack Christians accused of building church - 5/14/07
-- Fort Dix terror plot -
-- Fort Dix hero may need immunity - 5/10/07
-- Airport adds foot basins for Muslim cabbies - 4/28/07
-- Fighting Terror Takes Pro-Active Military Approach, Experts Say - 4/20/01

 Arabic-themed school blasted for misappropriating name

Group says NYC officials misusing legacy of Lebanese-Christian poet, Khalil Gibran

Posted: August 29, 2007    © 2007

A Lebanese-Christian group says the New York City education department is misusing the legacy of a famed Lebanese-Christian poet by naming its controversial new Arabic-themed school after him.

The Friends of Gibran Council fired off a letter to school officials Wednesday demanding they stop using the name of Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American author and poet.

The publicly funded Khalil Gibran school in New York immerses students in Islam

The Council complained that the proposed Khalil Gibran International Academy – scheduled to open next month in Brooklyn – will clash with the Christian heritage of Gibran. KGIA will teach Arabic and Islamic culture.

"Gibran's ancestry was Lebanese, Christian and Maronite. Therefore, the claims of teaching Arabic under the name of Gibran ring hollow as he is not ethnically Arab," the group said in a press release. "The founders of KGIA could easily change the name of the school to honor a great Arabic writer if that is their true intent."

The Council also expressed concerns over troubling radical associations plaguing the public school.

KGIA's principal recently stepped down after her ties to a group glorifying Palestinian terrorism were revealed. A native of Yemen, Dhabah "Debbie" Almontaser defended the "intifada" – a Palestinian terror campaign that left 1,221 Israelis dead.

Also, a local imam advising the school has been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement.

Khalil Gibran

"Gibran was a believer in the universality of human rights and the dignity of the individual," the Council said. "Therefore, the board of trustees of KGIA should reflect Gibran's values and ideals. Appointing radicals and imams who have been associated with extremist and jihadist groups is an affront to these ideals."

New York school officials did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment about the nonprofit group's request to change the name of the Arabic academy.

A prominent expert on Islamic terrorism agreed that the school appears to be in conflict with Gibran's legacy.

"As an American citizen of Lebanese descent, I think that the literary work of Lebanese-American author Khalil Gibran is in full conflict with the jihadist inclination of some members of the school board," said the expert, who wished to remain anonymous. "He (Gibran) would have preferred – and his community today certainly would prefer – seeing a school or institution developing the heritage of his culture, not the political culture of the jihadists."

KGIA's program will integrate intensive Arabic language instruction and the study of Middle Eastern history and historical figures – which Brooklyn teacher and activist Sara Springer says will include the life and teachings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Text books, lesson plans and teacher materials will be adapted from publications supplied by the Council on Islamic Education, Springer says. CIE's chief consultant is Susan Douglass, a Muslim activist whose husband is on the Saudi government payroll as a teacher at an Islamic academy that has graduated terrorists.

The Friends of Gibran Council says it does not oppose the teaching of the Arabic language in public schools, but it objects to any promotion of Islamic culture.

"The teaching of Arabic in public schools is a laudable goal. Many more American students should be proficient in this largely spoken language," the group said. "However, in no way should the Arabic language and Islamism be mixed."

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 Plans to teach Johnny Islam challenged

'This is an incubator for the radicalization that leads to terrorism'

Posted: August 28, 2007    © 2007

The publicly funded Khalil Gibran school in New York immerses students in Islam

A Christian legal group will represent citizens opposed to the planned launch of a publicly funded academy in New York City where students will be immersed in Islamic culture.

Khalil Gibran International Academy features several Islamist imams on its board of advisers, as well as other promoters with connections to militant Islamic groups, according to the Thomas More Law Center.

"This proposed public school is nothing more than an incubator for the radicalization that leads to terrorism, as an NYPD Intelligence Report warned Americans just two weeks ago," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for legal group.

"Rather than use the public school system to assimilate Muslims and other immigrants into American culture, New York City is doing everything it can to keep them isolated – a target rich environment for recruiting potential new homegrown terrorists and a recipe for a future 9/11 disaster, according to my read of the NYPD Report," he said.

"As uncomfortable as it makes one feel, we must understand that the political goal of radical Islam is to destroy our Judeo-Christian culture. And the KGIA is a Trojan Horse New York City is building for radical Islam with taxpayer money. That the Quran calls for Muslims to subjugate the world, especially Christians and Jews, is a fact that anyone can look up," Thompson continued.

"New York City School Chancellor Joel Klein, who is aggressively promoting this Islamic school, is the same person who refused to allow two Christian students, a second and a fourth-grader, to display a nativity scene during Christmas – another example of how political correctness is leading to a malicious double standard when it comes to religious expression in public schools," Thompson said.

The school already has had a battle with the public over comments made by its now-departed first principal. Dabah Almontaser had shared office space with an Islamist group that sold T-shirts encouraging New York Muslims to join an "intifada," or struggle, the term used by Palestinians to describe their battle with Israel.

She resigned after initially defending the T-shirts.

But other questions remain. A Brooklyn teacher who runs the "Stop the Madrassa" organization said the Council on Islamic Education, with connections to Saudi Arabia, will supply the teaching materials.

The Thomas More Law Center said its role will be to act as co-counsel with attorney David Jerushalmi, who already has begun pursuing Freedom of Information Act requests for information about the school.

"Thus far, his requests have gone unanswered, leading to increased suspicion that the school as currently configured cannot meet state educational standards," the legal group said. "Moreover, several factors, including an executive summary of the KGIA proposal, point to the school as an anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish propaganda center paid for by American tax dollars."

The center said some of the school's promoters have ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been named by federal officials as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Texas case dealing with terror.

On KGIA's advisory board is Imam Talib Abdul-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, which proclaims this slogan: "The Quran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, And death in the way of Allah is our promised end."

The new school's executive summary talks about students in hallways adorned with portraits of Arab philosophers, inventors, poets and musicians. But it doesn't mention George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln.

"We cannot ignore the fact that according to a 2005 report by the Center for Religious Freedom, mosques throughout America are depositories for venomous anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish propaganda disseminated by the Saudi government," Thompson said.

He noted publicly funded Islamic schools have popped up in several communities where officials routinely ban religious expressions by Christian students as unconstitutional but are promoting the Islamic studies under the "guise of promoting multiculturism and diversity."

"Chancellor Klein has attempted to assuage citizen fears that KGIA is a madrassa by promising to monitor the school for any religious violations," the law center said. "However, once the school is operational, any attempt to monitor for religious expressions … may well be challenged as a constitutional violation in itself."

The center in 2002 filed a lawsuit against California's Byron Union School District because of its course to teach seventh-graders to act as Muslims, including requirements to memorize verses and prayers from the Quran.

As WND reported, more recently, the center helped encourage California's Carver Elementary to change plans for a special time and room designated for Islamic prayers during class time.

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 CNN airs 'one of the most distorted programs' ever

Documentary compares Jews, Christians to Muslim terrorists

August 23, 2007    By Aaron Klein    2007

JERUSALEM – A CNN special series airing this week entitled "God's Warriors" – produced and anchored by the network's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour – is "one of the most grossly distorted programs" ever aired on mainstream American television, according to a media watchdog report.

"God's Warriors" takes up six prime-time hours on CNN this week, airing in three parts at 9 p.m. EST. It started Tuesday and concludes tonight.

The first part of the series, "God's Jewish Warriors," compared Jewish and Christian "radicals" to Muslim supporters of suicide terror, presented anti-Israel commentators with no counterbalance, falsely labeled the West Bank as Palestinian land, and minimized Jewish rights to the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site, the critics said.

During Tuesday's program, Amanpour also conducted a friendly interview about Israel with former President Jimmy Carter, whose most recent book, "Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid," criticized the Jewish state's treatment of Palestinians. The book was slammed for a series of falsehoods and was widely labeled anti-Israeli by multiple media critics.

"[The CNN series] is false in its basic premise, established in the opening scene in which Jewish (and Christian) religious fervency is equated with that of Muslims heard endorsing 'martyrdom,' or suicide-murder. There is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns under way across the globe," stated the report by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Amanpour's CNN documentary "God's Warriors" describes itself as focusing on religious fundamentalism among Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Tuesday's segment started off comparing "Jewish terrorists" to that of Muslims, specifically focusing on the few instances of violence or attempted violence by religiously motivated Jews against Muslims. It told the story of Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli physician who killed 29 Arabs in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994. Goldstein's actions were widely condemned by Israelis and worldwide Jewry. The organization he was a part of was outlawed in Israel.

States the CAMERA report: "While in reality Jewish 'terrorism' is virtually non-existent, the program magnifies at length the few instances of [Jewish] violence" comparing it to "violent jihadist Muslim campaigns" when indeed there is no such comparison "either in numbers of perpetrators engaged or in the magnitude of death and destruction wrought."

Amanpour: Martyrdom 'quite noble'

While discussing Islamic suicide attacks, Amanpour painted "martyrdom" as "quite noble."

"To the West, martyrdom has a really bad connotation because of suicide bombers who call themselves martyrs," Amanpour stated. "Really, martyrdom is actually something that historically was quite noble, because it was about standing up and rejecting tyranny, rejecting injustice and rejecting oppression and, if necessary, dying for that."

Amanpour's feature moved on to interviews with critics of Israel without providing pro-Israeli voices.

The feature repeatedly falsely referred to the West Bank as "Palestinian territory."

"It is also Palestinian land. The West Bank – it's west of the Jordan River – was designated by the United Nations to be the largest part of an Arab state," stated Amanpour.

The West Bank contains some of Judaism's holiest sites and biblical Jewish cities, including Hebron, home to the oldest Jewish community in the world. The territory was recaptured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War after Jordan, which controlled the West Bank, ignored Israeli advice to stay out of the conflict.

The U.N. labels the West Bank as "disputed," not Palestinian territory.

'Pro-Israel lobbies against U.S. interests'

Several guests, including former Sen. Charles Percy and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, who co-authored Carter's book on Israel, state in Amanpour's documentary pro-Israel lobbies in Washington force American lawmakers to support Jewish expansion in the West Bank and promote causes contrary to U.S. interests.

Carter is interviewed claiming no American politician could survive politically while calling for cuts in aid to Israel unless the Jewish state ceases expanding West Bank Jewish communities.

"There's no way that a member of Congress would ever vote for that and hope to be re-elected," stated Carter.

Contradicting Carter's sentiments, CAMERA notes critics of Israel's West Bank policies have thrived politically, including Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd and Reps. James Trafficante, Dana Rohrabacher, Nick Smith, Fortney Pete Stark, Neil Abercrombie, David E. Bonior, John Conyers Jr, John D. Dingell, Earl F. Hilliard, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, George Miller, Jim Moran, David R. Obey, Ron Paul and Nick J. Rahall II, among others.

Amanpour suggests West Bank settlements are the cause of Arab anger.

"The Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Arab world," she says.

Multiple guests describe West Bank settlements as being the cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But CAMERA points out multiple Arab wars and acts of violence were waged against Israel long before the settlements were first established in 1967.

"The Arab world was just as anti-Israel (actually more so) before the settlements were built," stated the CAMERA report.

Documentary misrepresents Ronald Reagan

Amanpour claims all U.S. presidents since 1967, including Ronald Reagan, deemed Israeli settlements "illegal."

But U.S. policy did not deem settlements illegal.

Amanpour quoted Reagan as stating, "the United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements."

But the documentary failed to produce the rest of Reagan's quotes, in which the late president stated West Bank settlements are not illegal.

"As to the West Bank, I believe the settlements there – they're not illegal," stated Reagan.

Amanpour minimizes Jewish rights to Temple Mount

Amanpour moves on to holy sites in Jerusalem, where she minimizes Jewish rights to the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – and exaggerates Islamic claims, critics said. Muslims say the Mount it is their third holiest site.

"It was from here [the Temple Mount], according to Muslim scripture, that the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven around the year 630. But Hebrew scripture puts the ancient Jewish Temple in the same location, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70."

The Quran doesn't once mention Jerusalem. Islamic tradition states Mohammed took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The Jewish Temple is described throughout biblical sources as the center of religious Jewish worship. The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.

Amanpour interviews the Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who offers an Islamic perspective on the importance of the Temple Mount and Al Aqsa Mosque to Muslims, but no Jewish religious figure is presented to discuss the paramount religious importance of the Mount to Jews, noted CAMERA.

Amanpour's feature also claimed a visit to the Temple Mount by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 instigated the Palestinian intifada which began that year, even though multiple intifada planners and Palestinian leaders admitted the violence was pre-planned and that Sharon's visit was used as an excuse.

The intifada was launched after Arafat returned from U.S.-mediated peace talks at the Camp David presidential retreat during which the Palestinian leader turned down an Israeli offer of a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem.

“Whoever thinks the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong…This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat’s return from the Camp David negotiations,” admitted Palestinian Communications Minister Imad Al-Faluji to an Egyptian daily newspaper.

Arafat himself spoke of planning the intifada months before Sharon’s visit, as did Marwan Barghouti, a jailed Palestinian parlaiment member and one of the chief architects of the intifada.

Multiple senior terror leaders involved in intifada admitted during numerous WND interviews Sharon’s visit to the Mount did not spark the intifada.

The CAMERA report concludes: "Whether wittingly or not, Amanpour's program, with its reliance on pejorative labeling, generalities, testimonials, and a stacked lineup of guests, is a perfect illustration of classical propaganda techniques. Unfortunately propaganda is the opposite of journalism, the profession Amanpour is supposed to practice."

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 Saudi Religious Police Arrest Man for Helping His Neighbor

August 07, 2007 By Patrick Goodenough International Editor

( - Members of Saudi Arabia's controversial religious police have arrested a Nigerian man who converted to Islam for being alone with a woman he was not married to or related to. It happened after the African man helped the sick woman by taking her to hospital.

The incident, reported in Saudi media, comes at a time when the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is under unprecedented scrutiny over abuses committed while enforcing the kingdom's strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

Arab News reported that Ibrahim Mohammed Lawal, a Nigerian student of Islam in Riyadh, learned that his 63-year-old neighbor was in need of medical attention and took her to hospital.

While checking on her condition several days later, he was arrested by members of the plain-clothed vice squad, known in Arabic as the muttawa or muttaween.

The reports said the man, who had been in custody for "50 days and counting," said all he wanted to do was to return to his home country.

The U.S. government considers Saudi Arabia a key Mideast ally, although the State Department's scrutiny of the kingdom's religious freedom practices -- a requirement of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act -- raises serious concerns each year.

The muttaween and its methods feature prominently in the department's annual reports on international religious freedom. The sections on Saudi Arabia recount harassment, raids on private residence, and arrests for such "violations" as possessing non-Muslim literature, holding non-Muslim worship services, or promoting interpretations of Islam more moderate than that promoted by the kingdom's government.

In its most recent annual report, covering 2006, the State Department said there had been fewer reports of abuses than in previous years. It cited a government decision in 2006 to "put into place policies to limit harassment of religious practice and curb violations" by members of the force.

Abuses by muttaween members also have received more prominence in Saudi media, as a result of two recent deaths in detention court cases, and calls inside the country for reform are growing.

Last week a court acquitted three members of the force charged in the death of a man who was in custody, accused of associating with a woman who was not a relative.

Arguably the most controversial incident involving the muttaween occurred in 2002, when 15 schoolgirls died in a fire after members of the force prevented them from fleeing their burning school, and interfered with rescue workers, because the girls were not dressed modestly enough.

The case caused an outcry, but a subsequent government investigation cleared the muttaween.

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 Jihad Watch Director and YAF Defy CAIR

August 07, 2007 By Kevin Mooney Staff Writer

(Editor's note: Fixes spelling in 7th and 9th paragraph.)

( - America's largest and most well-financed Islamic advocacy group has been called out for allegedly hiring terrorist sympathizers and for helping to advance a radical ideology incompatible with the principles of a free society.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) bills itself as a civil rights organization and as a responsible voice of moderation. But its history, legal activities, and financial ties suggest otherwise, said Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch.

Spencer made his remarks last Thursday in Washington, D.C., at the 29th National Conservative Student Conference held by the Young America's Foundation (YAF).

In an e-mailed response to Cybercast News Service, Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesman, said the organization questions some of the allegations and criticisms made by Spencer and others in a document entitled "De-Mystifying 'Urban Legends' about CAIR."

"As a result of the organization's high profile and its stellar record of principled advocacy of civil liberties, interfaith relations, and justice for all people, a small but vocal group of anti-Muslim bigots has made CAIR the focus of their mean-spirited attacks," the document states.

An attorney representing CAIR sent a letter to YAF last week demanding that the conservative outreach group cancel Spencer's talk, "The Truth about the Council on American Islamic Relations."

However, YAF officials told Cybercast News Service they had no intention of canceling Spencer's talk, which proceeded as planned. The CAIR letter made it clear that legal action would commence if YAF refused to comply.

"Our clients have instructed us to pursue every available and appropriate legal remedy to redress any false and defamatory statements that are made at the session," the letter stated. The CAIR attorney also described Spencer as a "well-known purveyor of hatred and bigotry against Muslims" in his letter. That is false and defamatory, Spencer said in response while addressing the students.

"It is a common tactic of both the left and the Islamic advocacy groups in America to accuse every critic of purveying hatred and bigotry," said Spencer. "But I am not intimidated by their threats or troubled by their smears ...."

Spencer also said his criticisms of CAIR are well documented and easily verified.

YAF President Ron Robinson told Cybercast News Service that the attempt to stifle free speech reflected poorly on CAIR.

"I've been running this conference for 29 years and I've never had anyone try to exercise prior restraint of a speaker," he said. "To say in vague terms they object to a speaker without specifically outlining what those objections are speaks to a lack of professionalism in their organization."

Allegations against CAIR

In many respects, CAIR grew out of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an organization shut down by U.S. officials in 2005 for funding terrorism, said Spencer.

Nihad Awad, a former IAP president, and Omar Ahmad, a former IAP officer, co-founded CAIR. Spencer also claimed that Hooper, the CAIR spokesman, was active with IAP at one time.

A report issued through the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) in 2001 shows IAP was aligned with Hamas, reported Spencer. Hamas itself was founded as a Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987, according to the U.S. State Department.

Even if Awad, Ahmad, and Hooper all left IAP to become active with CAIR as a way of disassociating themselves from questionable activities in the past, they continued to embrace individuals involved with unsavory activities, said Spencer.

Randall (Ismail) Royer is one such individual whom Spencer identified in his talk. Royer, who Spencer said previously served as a civil rights coordinator for CAIR, was also a part of the "Virginia Jihad Group," which, Spencer noted, was indicted on 41 counts of "conspiracy to train for and participate in a violent jihad overseas. Royer also was charged with conspiring to help Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their battle against American troops in Afghanistan.

Spencer also named Ghassan Elashi, whom he described as the founder of CAIR's Texas chapter. Elashi was charged with giving over $12 million to Hamas via a charity organization. Elashi was also convicted in 2004 for illegally shipping computers to Libya and Syria.

"If CAIR is a moderate group that abhors all jihad violence, how did those former CAIR employees who are now in prison get through the interviewing process?" Spencer asked rhetorically.

But the point Spencer made about former CAIR employees proceeds from a "disinformation" campaign that depends on "McCarthy-like attempts to portray CAIR as guilty by association," according to the CAIR document. Moreover, the document states, the "smears against CAIR are disseminated by agenda-driven extremists who seek to marginalize and disenfranchise the American-Muslim community and its leaders."

Although CAIR acknowledges that Royer pleaded guilty to weapons charges, the document claims he did not plead guilty to any charge of terrorism. CAIR also says Elashi was never an employee or officer.

"The fact that Elashi was once associated with one of our more than 30 regional chapters has no legal significance to our corporation, given the fact that any actions taken by him were outside the scope and chronology of his association with one of our chapters," CAIR declared in its document.

The alleged links between CAIR and Hamas figured prominently in Spencer's address. He pointed out, for instance, that federal prosecutors named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator as a consequence of its support for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for Relief and Development, which has been charged with directing funds to Hamas.

However, in its response to Cybercast News Service, CAIR noted that the HLF case was still pending in court. Furthermore, CAIR claims the donation in question was made "at a time when there was no public concern raised about HLF."

In a separate interview, Spencer told Cybercast News Service that CAIR's overriding objective is to "silence all criticisms of Islam and all investigation of the elements of Islam that Islamic jihadists are using to foster their goals."

Spencer also said top officials in CAIR have made "statements of Islamic supremacy" that should be of "grave concern" to the American people. There is an effort underway, in his estimation, to impose sharia law in the U.S.

The "moderate" label CAIR ascribes to its organization does not square with its activities or methodology, said Spencer. Instead, it would appear that CAIR is working to "silence any genuine investigation into the elements of Islam which are in need of reform," he said.

CAIR apparently has not deterred YAF so far. "We haven't heard a peep from CAIR or their lawyers," YAF's Jason Mattera wrote in an e-mail to Cybercast News Service.

In his e-mail message, CAIR's Hooper declined an invitation to comment on the status of any pending legal action against YAF.

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 Islamic prayers finally dropped

Elementary made accommodations as Arabic charter students arrived

Posted: August 1, 2007     2007

San Diego's Carver Elementary School

Officials at a public elementary school in San Diego are dropping special times for Islamic prayers and classes segregated by sex, changes they had made when students from a failing Arabic-language charter school joined them a year ago.

An investigation was launched into what was done at San Diego's Carver Elementary after a substitute teacher, Mary-Frances Stevens, filled in there. She reported a teacher's aide was leading children in an Islamic prayer and that she was given a lesson plan allowing an hour of class time for Islamic prayers.

Now Superintendent Carl Cohn has issued a statement that there were reasons for many of the changes, such as the scheduling of classes around Islamic prayer time, the removal of pork from the lunchroom menu and the establishment of boys-only and girls-only classes, and critics misunderstand what was going on. Nevertheless, he wrote, some of those changes now are being dropped.

"The district is, and must demonstrably be, neutral toward religious belief and practice, leaving to our school children and their parents decisions about religious faith," he said in the memo to Carver Principal Kimberlee Kidd.

He said Carver teachers and staff "must not encourage student prayer or make any statement that could be construed to be endorsement, encouragement, or promotion of prayer." Nor, he said, should teachers "discourage" voluntary prayer.

He also said during recess and lunch students are free to play, study, talk, read, dream "or pray." Third, teachers and staff must not participate "visibly or audibly in praying" with student groups. And he said the district may not schedule class time specifically around Muslim prayer times.

It was last September when Carver added classes limited to a single gender, and daily 15-minute breaks during class times for voluntary prayers. It had just absorbed a failing Arabic language charter school that served mostly Somali Muslims.

But officials said the school schedule will be set up now so students can say their required midday prayers during their lunch periods, and single-gender classes will be eliminated.

Cohn noted in his memo that such classes are legal, but they had become a "serious distraction" to the educational process and would be discontinued. Offering Arabic as a language study at the school for students grades kindergarten through eighth grade will continue, but he noted that the Quran may not be used as a text.

In a statement released on the Internet school officials said pork disappeared from the school menu simply because it was not "well-accepted."

"It's possible that some of the lack of acceptance may be due to religious backgrounds in the diverse San Diego community but the district was not asked or pressured to remove pork products for that reason," the statement said.

The school that closed, MidCity Charter Academy, had approached San Diego about joining the district, whose officials concluded it was an opportunity to help an immigrant population become engaged in an American school.

Carver was picked partly because it had enough space for the 150 extra students. The changes that followed included offering single-gender instruction and a recess time "during which children could choose to engaged in self-directed activities, including silent prayer."

In a commentary on Pipeline News, the district came in for some criticism for its actions.

"In true multicultural fashion, the school has gone to extreme lengths to accommodate its new students; the curriculum features the teaching of Arabic – the language of the Quran – single gender classes for girls as well as organized prayer ... for Muslims only," the report said.

"A new dhimmi class schedule – expressly designed to kowtow to Carver's new students – was instituted. It created an extra 15 minute recess period as part of an hour set aside so that Carver’s Muslims can pray en-masse while in class. Additionally, the school cafeteria menu no longer serves pork or other foods which conflict with fundamentalist Muslim diet restrictions [halal]," the report said.

It noted even the "winter holiday" was changed to include Muslim traditions.

An editorial at Investor's Business Daily also took issue with the school actions.

"In effect, Carver administrators have carved out a school within a school expressly for Muslims, elevating them above Christian and Jewish students. They've had 15 minutes of instruction time taken away from them, so Muslims can roll out their prayer mats," the editorials said. "It amounts to a special privilege afforded a specific religion, which plainly does not have our best interests at heart."

Officials estimate the district spent about $450,000 to cover additional costs of setting up the changes at Carver.

The controversy had been highlighted numerous times by talk show host Roger Hedgecock.

WND also has reported previously on the growing influence of Islam in the public schools in the United States.

The American Textbook Council, which analyzes textbooks, has concluded that the situation is the consequence of "the interplay of determined Islamic political activists, textbook editors, and multiculturally minded social studies curriculum planners."

It has gone so far that correcting the situation now becomes a problem, because "educational publishers and educational organizations have bought into claims propounded by Islamists – and have themselves become agents of misinformation."

Even Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes has repeatedly expressed concern about the "privileging of Islam in the United States" and warns the stakes go well beyond 7th-grade texts.

Part of WND's reporting on the situation included a case in Oregon, where parent Kendalee Garner objected to having her son being taught Islam, including the memorization of the "Five Pillars" of Islam and dressing up as a Muslim.

That episode followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision just a few weeks earlier not to review a lower court's ruling that a similar class requirement in the Byron Union School District in California, where students were instructed to "become Muslims" was "cultural education."

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 Al-Qaida infiltrating America as patients

Clinics warn of medical visa scam by foreigners looking to get in U.S.

Posted: July 15, 2007    2007

Medical clinics across the country have been flooded with requests from foreign nationals from Pakistan and other Muslim countries to help them gain visa entry into the U.S. as patients.

The post-9/11 trend concerns authorities who fear al-Qaida could be using the medical industry to infiltrate terrorist cells into the country.

Some clinics have sponsored foreign patients only to have them fail to show up at their facilities.

The Caster Eye Center in Beverly Hills, Calif., for example, stopped granting such foreign requests after a couple of no-shows.

"In the last few years, we have granted this request only twice. The first was for someone in Uganda, and the other was for someone in Sri Lanka," said Diane Sylvester, surgery coordinator at the Caster Eye Center, one of the leading Lasik eye surgery clinics in Los Angeles. "On both occasions, we issued the letter of invitation, and on both occasions the patient in question never showed up at our facility."

Sylvester told WND the clinic recently has received additional requests for letters from nationals in Pakistan and other al-Qaida hotbeds. Foreign nationals can use the letters to obtain B-2 visitors visas from the State Department to receive medical treatment.

Requests sent to the Caster Eye clinic via e-mail, copies of which were obtained by WND, show nationals have not only requested letters for themselves but for groups as large as a dozen people.

"My concern is that our facility is helping people we cannot personally vouch for to gain entry into the U.S. – or even worse, helping people get visas which are then given or sold into the wrong hands," Sylvester said.

"How many other medical facilities are churning out letters like this under similar circumstances?" she added.

A spokesperson for the State Department, which grants U.S. visas through its embassies abroad, said there are no post-9/11 restrictions on medical facilities issuing invitation letters to foreign nationals. Nor has the department issued any cautions to the health-care industry.

"I'm not sure which I'm more alarmed by – people scamming for visas, or the casual attitude of those overseeing the granting of visas," Sylvester said.

The department added, however, that a letter of invitation from a medical facility does not necessarily guarantee approval of a foreign patient's visa.

In the wake of the recent "doctor jihad" in the UK, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are scrutinizing foreign nationals who have applied to the U.S. for visas to attend medical school or practice medicine here.

Two of the UK physicians who plotted to car-bomb London's entertainment district had applied for permission to work in the U.S. One made contact with the Philadelphia-based Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

Terrorists posing as patients also are a growing concern, federal authorities say.

FBI case agents contacted by WND confirm al-Qaida in the past has tried to infiltrate operatives into the U.S. by claiming they need medical treatment.

"Khallad" bin Attash

Take the case of Tawfiq bin Attash, also known as "Khallad" or "Salah Mohammad."

The dangerous al-Qaida operative and one-time bodyguard for Osama bin Laden – who helped plan both the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen and the earlier bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa – tried to enter the U.S. from Yemen before 9/11 to participate in the attacks.

In 1999, FBI sources say, he assigned a suspected U.S.-based facilitator for al-Qaida to solicit a Seattle-area medical clinic to vouch for him as a patient so he could receive a U.S. visa.

The facility, called NovaCare Orthotics & Prosthetics, issued a letter to the suspected al-Qaida facilitator confirming the appointment he made for his "friend" bin Attash – who unbeknown to the clinic, was one of the world's most dangerous terrorists.

Despite the letter of invitation, bin Attash's visa requests fortunately were denied by the U.S. government. He was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2003, and is now in U.S. custody.

In 2004, a Pakistani national from Bahawalpur – another known hotbed for terrorist recruits – demanded the Caster Eye Center in Los Angeles issue him a letter of invitation he could present to the U.S. consulate to obtain a visa.

"I want a free visa for sergury [sic]," Nabeel Ahmed Bhatti wrote in an e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by WND. He claimed to have what he described in his limited English as a "short problem" with his left eye.

Pakistanis posing as disabled travelers

Additionally, the FBI and Homeland Security have warned consular officers in Pakistan, as well as law enforcement in the U.S., to be on the alert for al-Qaida terrorists posing as medical aides to disabled persons.

In November 2003, for example, WND has learned U.S. intelligence intercepted information about a plot by al-Qaida to employ the scam to obtain U.S. visas for terrorist operatives at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.

Here is the text of the warning issued in a closely held intelligence-driven action bulletin by Homeland Security at the time:

"As of mid-November 2003, Islamic extremists were supposedly planning to send operatives to the United States and United Kingdom to conduct attacks. The attacks will allegedly take place in April 2004. The operatives will be Pakistani individuals who would obtain U.S. visas in Islamabad, Pakistan. The operatives will accompany a disabled person and act as the disabled person's assistants when obtaining the visa."

The two-page DHS intelligence bulletin, marked "SENSITIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION" and obtained by WND, added that operatives could conceal weapons, explosive materials or other contraband inside prosthetic limbs or in wheelchairs on board inbound flights to the U.S.

"This method fits with current al-Qaida methodology," the bulletin said, "as al-Qaida has been trying to recruit individuals who would draw less scrutiny from U.S. law enforcement entities."

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 Treasury alleges charity is 'front' for Hezbollah


Crackdown includes freezing assets, severing business tiesFrom wire reportsWASHINGTON — The Bush administration took action Tuesday against an Iran-based foundation, including its U.S. branch, for allegedly providing support to Hezbollah, a terrorist group the United States has blamed for bloodshed in the Middle East.The Treasury Department's action covers the Martyrs Foundation and the Goodwill Charitable Organization (GCO) of Dearborn, Mich., which the government identified as a fundraising office for the foundation.Any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States that belong to those identified Tuesday must now be frozen.

Americans also are forbidden to do business with them.  The charity is not affiliated with Goodwill Industries International, said Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, a spokeswoman for the non-profit.  Goodwill Industries International has sent the charity several letters asking it to stop using the Goodwill name, she said.  The government also moved against al-Qard al-Hassan, a Beirut company that the U.S. government believes was used by Hezbollah to manage its financial activity.  Two Lebanese — Qasem Aliq and Ahmad al-Shami — also were covered by Tuesday's order.The United States identified Aliq as a Hezbollah official who was once the director of the Martyrs Foundation's branch in Lebanon.   The United States says he is currently a director of a Lebanon-based construction company allegedly formed and operated by Hezbollah.   Al-Shami had worked for the foundation in Lebanon and has been in "frequent contact" with GCO, the department said. GCO sent him money to distribute to the Martyrs Foundation, the department said. 

There was no current telephone listing for Goodwill Charitable Organization.The department called GCO "a Hezbollah front organization that reports directly to the leadership of the Martyrs Foundation in Lebanon.   Hezbollah recruited GCO leaders and had maintained close contact with GCO representatives in the United States," the department alleged.Goodwill Charitable Organization has allegedly provided "financial support to Hezbollah directly and through the Martyrs Foundation in Lebanon," Treasury stated."Hezbollah's leaders in Lebanon have instructed Hezbollah members in the United States to send their contributions to GCO and to contact the GCO for the purpose of contributing to the Martyrs Foundation," the department said.The department alleged that the Martyrs Foundation channels financial support from Iran to Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or PIJ, as well as other terrorist groups.

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 Feds name CAIR in plot to fund Hamas

Prominent U.S. Islamic group designated 'unindicted co-conspirator'"

Posted: June 4, 2007      2007

FBI agents arrest CAIR Texas founder Ghassan Elashi and brothers in 2002.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which brands itself as a mainstream promoter of civil rights, has been named with two other prominent U.S. Islamic groups as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in a plot to fund the terrorist group Hamas.

Federal prosecutors also cited the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust as participants in a plot with five officials of the defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, who go on trial July 16 in Dallas, the New York Sun reported.

CAIR is a spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Several CAIR staffers have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, and CAIR founder Omar Ahmad allegedly told a group of Muslims they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam's rule over the country.

The officials on trial in Dallas include Ghassan Elashi, who founded CAIR's Texas chapter. The Holy Land Foundation also gave $5,000 in seed money to set up CAIR's Washington office, according to congressional testimony by counter-terrorism researcher Steven Emerson.

As WND reported in October, Elashi already has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for financial ties to a high-ranking Hamas terrorist and for making illegal computer exports to countries that back terrorism.

The other officials on trial in Dallas are Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulraham Odeh.

The court filing listed the three Islamic groups among about 300 individuals or entities named as co-conspirators, the Sun reported. While few details were given, the prosecutors described CAIR as a present or past member of "the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee and/or its organizations."

The Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, has spawned many of the leading terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, with its aim to restore the Muslim Caliphate and establish Islamic rule over the world.

The Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust were listed as "entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood."

Prosecutors apply the designation "unindicted co-conspirator" because they believe the person or entity was part of the conspiracy. It allows prosecution witnesses to testify of statements the alleged conspirators made outside of court, which normally is forbidden as hearsay.

The secretary-general of the Islamic Society of North America, Muneer Fareed, expressed surprise to the New York paper at being named in the case and said he was not aware of any connection between his group and the foundation.

The Sun said spokesmen for CAIR did not respond to requests for comment, and efforts to contact the North American Islamic Trust were unsuccessful.

In March, the House Republican Conference urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cancel an event hosted on Capitol Hill by CAIR, calling the group "terrorist apologists."

The group's regular meetings with the Justice Department and FBI have prompted complaints from case agents, who say the bureau rarely can make a move in the Muslim community without first consulting with CAIR, which sits on its advisory board.

CAIR has conducted "sensitivity" and cultural training with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and with the military. In June, a senior Department of Homeland Security official from Washington guided CAIR officials on a behind-the-scenes tour of Customs screening operations at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in response to CAIR complaints that Muslim travelers were being unfairly delayed as they entered the U.S. from abroad.

Last year, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., withdrew an award she gave to a local CAIR official, saying she was concerned about some statements by CAIR leaders.

CAIR says its aim is "to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding."

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 Muslims cracking down on Christianity

Costs of remaining steadfast include family, home, even life

Posted: May 18, 2007     2007

Christian churches are being ordered closed and those who are steadfast in the faith are losing homes, families and jobs as the cost of being Christian in Pakistan is rising, according to new reports from the Voice of the Martyrs and others. Even the death penalty soon could be a possibility.

The Voice of the Martyrs said, however, Christians are remaining faithful under the persecution, and are in need of prayer.

"The Voice of the Martyrs recently received information from Pakistani contacts that Christians remain steadfast in their faith, although they are losing relationships with their families because of their faith in Jesus Christ," the VOM report said.

The VOM cited one specific case, that of "Karim," who comes from a devout Muslim family.

He routinely suffers the loss of jobs, contact with friends, and even homes, because of his Christianity, VOM said.

"After I became a Christian in 1997, I visited my family during the Muslim festival called, 'Eid-ul-Zaha,' where Muslims sacrifice animals before Allah," he told VOM. "I questioned my mother asking her why she was sacrificing animals to Allah and yet in the Christian faith Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for us. I explained there was no need to sacrifice any animals. My mother was shocked. She started verbally abusing me and told me she had noticed a change in me, but had never thought it was because I had converted to Christianity."

She warned him the rest of the family would not be as understanding as she was.

"Before I left home my brother asked if I was reading the Bible and if I had an interest in the Christian faith. He slapped and verbally abused me, saying Christians are 'churda,' dirty people. He said Christians would make me dirty and I should stop reading 'churda's books, the Bible,'" Karim said.

VOM reported that Karim has lost jobs because of his faith, and constantly moves from one location to another to avoid harassment from members of his extended family. But he said his Christianity, to which he was introduced by a co-worker who gave him a Bible, is worth it.

"One day I read where the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and after this I also asked Jesus to teach me how to pray. I said, 'Jesus, I have no teacher who can guide me and teach me about the Bible and faith, give me the Holy Spirit so I can learn about this faith.' From that day the Holy Spirit has been my teacher," Karim told VOM.

He said he spent years investigating before he made that decision.

"For two and a half years I was reading it every day. I started a comparative study of the Bible and the Quran. I saw there was a sequence, continuity and discipline in the Bible. I could not find these things in the Quran," he said.

According to Elizabeth Kendal, who reports on the persecution for the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, the root of the developing problem in Pakistan is the nation's pro-Sharia, Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal alliance of Muslim devotees, which holds the balance of power in the nation's National Assembly.

As a result, President Pervez Musharraf frequently makes political agreements that advance his agenda of staying on power while granting the alliance some of its wishes – which could be summarized as the conversion of Pakistan into a Islam-controlled state.

One of the pending proposals is the Apostasy Act, under which any man who leaves Islam for another religion would be killed. Women would be imprisoned for life.

The report also said owners of stores trading in the "un-Islamic" have been ordered to close or "suffer dire consequences," female students have been threatened if they continue their schooling, and in the Charsadda district, churches have been issued hand-written letters with an ultimatum to close down.

Faith McDonnell, the religious liberty director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, said the nation's consideration of the death penalty for leaving Islam is two steps backwards for religious freedom.

"The apostasy bill is the work of political parties aligned with Taliban-style repression," she wrote. She said such laws would open the door to massive abuse, and in fact, such cases already have been launched.

In one case, she said, a Christian boy was sentenced to death for writing blasphemy on the wall of a mosque. The penalty was based on Muslim "witnesses." However, the child was illiterate and could not write, she said.

There also have been reports from ASSIST News Service which cited a Pakistani Christian who is a lawyer, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, about random attacks on Christian women who are abducted, assaulted, and then forced to "convert" to Islam.

The Barnabas Fund reported that Shahbaz Bhatti, chief of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, confirmed the Christians are being ordered to convert. "We will not do it, even if we have to die," he said.

Officials also cited similar concerns developing in Egypt, where unsubstantiated claims that Christians were planning to build a church in violation of national law sparked rioting that left Christians injured and their homes and businesses destroyed.

As WND has reported, three Christians also were martyred recently in Turkey by Islamists who feigned interest in a Bible study, then attacked the leaders.

Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit, interdenominational ministry working worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.

It was launched by the late Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who started smuggling Russian Gospels into Russia in 1947, just months before Richard was abducted and imprisoned in Romania where he was tortured for his refusal to recant Christianity.

He eventually was released in 1964 and the next year he testified about the persecution of Christians before the U.S. Senate's Internal Security Subcommittee, stripping to the waist to show the deep torture wound scars on his body.

The group that later was renamed The Voice of the Martyrs was organized in 1967, when his book, "Tortured for Christ," was released.

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 European officials back plan to profile mosques

May 14, 2007     VENICE - The Associated Press

Security officials from Europe's largest countries have thrown their weight behind the EU Commission's plans to map out mosques on the continent to identify imams who preach radical Islam that raises the threat of homegrown terrorism.

The project, to be finished by the fall, will focus on the roles of imams, their training, their ability to speak in the local language and their source of funding, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini told a news conference.

Europe had ample experience with the "misuse of mosques, which instead of being places of worship are used for other ends," Italian Interior Minister Guiliano Amato said Saturday. "This is bringing about a situation that involves all of our countries and involves the possibility of attacks and developing of networks that use one country to prepare an attack in another," Amato said, after a meeting in Venice of interior ministers and security officials from six European countries and the United States.

Frattini also emphasized the need of strengthened dialogue with the Islamic communities "to avoid sending messages that incite hate and violence."

Security officials from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland also expressed concern about drug-trafficking, and said they would work with African nations to interrupt a new cocaine route from Colombia across Africa into Europe.

Anti-drug bases:

"They have created bases in Europe and we need to have our counter-bases," Amato said, noting that the Spaniards have seen an influx of cocaine in the south and east of their country beyond the traditional Atlantic route. The officials proposed setting up drug-fighting bases in Lisbon to monitor sea traffic and Gibraltar to monitor land.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used the opportunity to discuss with his counterparts ways to reach a new agreement to share airline passenger data for terrorism investigation. "I think the value of this data perhaps is not widely understood. You can't have an informed discussion on how to handle it unless you know what it is that it provides," Chertoff said in an interview.

Chertoff will continue making his case in meetings with EU parliamentarians in Brussels next week. "What I hope to do in that visit is to explain, with some detail how valuable that information is to us, using examples of cases in which we have stopped people or intercepted people coming into the country who are terrorists or drug traffickers," he said.

One example Chertoff has cited is the case in June 2003 of an agent at Chicago's O'Hare airport who, unsatisfied with a foreign traveler's responses, refused entry and sent him back to where he had come from - first taking his fingerprints. Those fingerprints, according to Chertoff, turned up later on the steering wheel of a suicide truck bomb detonated in Iraq.

Europe and the U.S. disagree on how long U.S. authorities can use the data, when it should be destroyed and which agencies should have access to the information. The United States also wants the authority to pull data directly from airline computers, but European countries insist airlines must transmit the information to U.S. authorities.

European governments are worried about protecting their strict privacy laws - a legacy of the continent's history with totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.

The current deal, which expires in July, allows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to disclose passenger data to other American law enforcement agencies for anti-terror investigations if those agencies have protection standards comparable to those of the EU.

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 Muslims attack Christians accused of building church

Inflammatory Islamic sermon triggers fires at homes, shops

Posted: May 14, 2007     By Aaron Klein     2007

Muslims in Egypt this weekend attacked local Christians and set fire to their shops and homes after the Christian community was accused of attempting to build a church.

The riots broke out Friday in the village of Behma, about 50 miles south of Cairo, reportedly after a Muslim sermon at a nearby village mosque accused the town's Coptic Christian population of planning to construct a church without a permit. The Christians said the sermon was meant to stir violence.

The Egyptian government heavily restricts the construction or enlargement of churches, requiring permits for any Christian building.

The riots this weekend reportedly saw Muslim gangs of more than 500 clash with about 200 Christians. At least 27 Christian-owned houses and shops were damaged by fire, including 10 homes that were completely gutted. Muslims reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at some Christian homes. Sixty-nine Christians were injured, some gravely.

A spokesman for Egypt's interior ministry confirmed around 500 Muslims had gathered in Behma after Friday prayers and that the entrances to three Christian homes had been set on fire.

According to a Muslim reporter who was on the scene for a top Egyptian daily, Egyptian police forces did not immediately step in to stop the violence.

"There was an atmosphere of terror for the Christians of Behma. The police could have intervened early, but they seemed to let the clashes go for some hours before stepping in," said the reporter, who spoke to WND on condition his name be withheld. He said he was banned from filing a report for his newspaper.

Security forces ultimately reportedly arrested 59 Muslims, who were charged with arson and with spreading sectarian strife.

It wasn't immediately clear if the Behma Christian were enlarging or building a church. Christians in the town currently pray from a house that doubles as a worship center.

The Coptic Church, a major Christian community in Egypt, reportedly dates back to the origins of Christianity. Christians were the majority in Egypt until several centuries after the Arab conquest of the seventh century.

Christians now comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 75 million population, but Christians are effectively restricted from senior government, military or educational positions, and any worship services require the permission of the government.

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 Fort Dix terror plot  

Terror suspect asks for a Koran

Posted by The Star-Ledger

Eljvir Duka's lawyer stood in U.S. District Court in Camden this morning and told the judge his client wanted a Koran.

Like the other five men accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, the 23-year-old is being held in solitary confinement at a federal detention center in Philadelphia. They were arrested Monday night, and Duka was growing anxious to read, said his lawyer, Troy Archie.

"He has been basically sitting in his cell," Archie said.

All six of the suspects are immigrants in their 20s. And by most accounts they had been typical teenagers. But at some point between high school and adulthood, the men became radicalized and adopted the violent and extreme philosophy of jihad, authorities said.

Some of their relatives differ, saying the men are victims of religious persecution.

As for Eljvir Duka's Koran, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider told the attorney to ask prison officials first. If they refuse or ignore the request, then come back to the court, Schneider said.

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 Fort Dix hero may need immunity

May 10, 2007

The New Jersey store clerk whose tip led to the arrest of six terror suspects needs legislative protection from being sued as a "John Doe" or whistleblower, lawmakers said yesterday.

"The events in Fort Dix are just another reminder of the need for this legislation," said Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico Republican and author of legislation to protect "John Doe" passengers being sued by a group of Muslim imams for reporting their suspicious behavior.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to this individual for alerting authorities to this potential terrorist attack and thwarting what could have been a terrible disaster. I can only imagine how grateful the men and women at Fort Dix and their families are for the courage of this person to take action when he saw something suspicious," Mr. Pearce said.

U.S. authorities arrested six foreign-born Muslims suspected of plotting to attack the New Jersey fort and kill "as many American soldiers as possible ... in the name of Allah." The FBI was alerted to the group by a clerk at the Circuit City store who had been asked to copy to DVD a video of the men test-firing weapons in the mountains and calling for jihad.

"If we didn't get that tip," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie in New Jersey, "I couldn't be sure what would happen."

M. Zuhdi Jasser, director of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, agrees that the FBI's arrests show the need to protect the principle of "see something, say something."

"What if this 'John Doe' had contrarily chosen to be silent due to a fear of litigation?" Dr. Jasser said.

Republican Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Rep. Peter King of New York used a procedural tactic to add the Pearce language to a rail and transportation security bill in March. The amendment passed unanimously by Republicans and had bipartisan support from 105 Democrats.

"A courageous act such as this one should not only be commended, it should be touted as a positive example of what citizens can do help prevent acts of terrorism here at home," Mr. Boehner said.

"It's critical that Democrats leave the Pearce language intact during conference negotiations so this kind of citizen participation is fostered and protected, not discouraged and litigated," Mr. Boehner said.

Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said "this is an issue for the conferees."

Jeffrey Addicott, director of the Terror Law Center at St. Mary's law school, says there are no protections in place for those who report crimes, and that they can be sued for violating constitutional rights or for racial discrimination.

"If the report does not have factual claims, you can be sued for violating someone's civil rights," Mr. Addicott said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) praised the FBI for the arrests and said that it "seems clear that a potentially deadly attack has been averted."

"We continue to urge American Muslims to be vigilant in reporting any suspected criminal activities that could harm the safety and security of our nation."

But CAIR also said the press and public officials should "refrain from linking this case to the faith of Islam" and asked mosques and other Muslim institutions "to report any incidents of anti-Muslim backlash."

-- S.A. Miller contributed to this report.

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 Airport adds foot basins for Muslim cabbies

Police worry about Kansas City 'catering' to Islamic rituals

Posted: April 28, 2007     2007

The Kansas City International Airport has added several foot-washing basins in restrooms to accommodate a growing number of Muslim taxicab drivers who requested the facilities to prepare for daily Islamic prayer, WND has learned.

The move concerns airport police who worry about Middle Eastern men loitering inside the building. After 9/11, the airport beefed up its police force to help prevent terrorist attacks.

"Why are we constructing places of worship for them inside our airports?" said an airport official who requested anonymity. "Why are we catering to their rituals? We don't do it for any other religion."

Other major airports also are dealing with increased demands from Muslim cabdrivers.

For instance, cabbies at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recently caused a stir when they refused to carry passengers possessing alcoholic beverages or accompanied by seeing-eye dogs. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, and dogs are considered unclean.

There are approximately 250 taxicab drivers operating at KCI Airport in Missouri, one of the largest airports in the U.S., linking some 10 million passengers between mid-America and other U.S. cities. Approximately 70 percent of the drivers are of Middle Eastern heritage and practice the Islamic faith, sources say.

KCI Airport Police are responsible for the cab drivers, including the holding areas of the building. The KCI Aviation Department, which oversees the police, recently expanded the taxicab facility restroom area to include the construction of four individual foot-washing benches.

The cost of the project is not immediately known. A spokeswoman for the engineering department said she could not break out the figures.

KCI Airport Police Capt. Jim Harmon declined comment, explaining, "This is a touchy subject."

He referred questions to the KCI Aviation Department.

In a cleansing ritual known as ablution, Muslims are required to wash their feet before praying to Allah five times a day. They often complain that public restroom sinks do not accommodate their needs. Floor-level basins make it easier for them to perform their foot-washing ritual.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has pressed government agencies and businesses to install the foot basins in restrooms.

The controversial Muslim lobby group advises employers to allow Muslim workers time to perform both the washing ritual and prayer, which "is usually about 15 minutes," according to a pamphlet CAIR publishes called, "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices."

The Islamic purification ritual, known in Arabic as "wudu," involves a 10-step process, which includes:

1. Praising Allah while washing both hands up to the wrist three times, making sure that the water reaches between fingers and under rings.
2. Rinsing out the mouth thoroughly three times, using the right hand (the one not used for cleaning private parts) to bring the water to the mouth.

3. Snorting water into the nostrils from the right hand, three times, to cleanse them of demons that Muslims believe reside there, clearing the passages of any mucous using the left hand.

4. Washing off the tip of the nose with the left hand.

5. Washing the entire face three times from right ear to left ear.

6. Continuing to wash from forehead to throat.

7. Washing the right arm and then the left arm, three times, from the wrist up to the elbow, removing watches.

8. Moving wetted palms over the head from the top of the forehead to the back of the head.

9. Passing the wetted tips of the fingers into the grooves and holes of both ears, and also passing the wetted thumbs behind the ears and ear lobes.

10. Finally, washing both feet to the ankles starting with the right foot, including between the toes, then reciting: "Ash-hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wa ashhadu anna Muammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh" – meaning there is no god but Allah and he has no partners, and Muhammad is his servant and messenger.

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 Fighting Terror Takes Pro-Active Military Approach, Experts Say

April 20, 2007    By Kevin Mooney Staff Writer

( - Democracies can respond more effectively to terrorism by embracing preventive military models rather than reactive criminal justice models, American and Israeli legal experts said Thursday.

With terrorists targeting the United States and Israel and using instruments of war, policymakers must recognize the flaws and limitations of a conventional law enforcement approach, the experts said.

Addressing a seminar in Washington, D.C., former U.S. assistant attorney Andrew McBride discussed the campaign against terrorism from a U.S. perspective. Col. Daniel Reisner, an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) legal advisor, discussed recent changes in his government's policies.

The two were participating in a panel examining whether in the fight against terror, law is an asset or a liability.

McBride argued that the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution are designed to protect American citizens and permanent residents, not foreign nationals. Only those who "pledge allegiance to the body politic" are entitled to receive these special protections - not foreign enemies, he said.

While it is appropriate for the courts to intervene where the rights of citizens are concerned, it is not appropriate that they interfere with the executive branch's pursuit of foreign enemies, McBride added.

Applying the criminal justice model to the "armed conflict with al Qaeda" is not a workable solution, because it would provide terrorists with too many advantages and opportunities, he said.

McBride said the Bush administration made the right call in declaring terrorists as enemy combatants. He rejected the argument that U.S. constitutional protections should apply once a foreign terrorist is on American soil.

"That's like saying the closer they get to the target, the more rights they have," McBride said.

For his part, Reisner commented on the legal challenges associated with dramatic shifts in Israel's military and law enforcement polices.

Three factors were responsible for altering Israel's approach to terrorism in recent years: the enemy's use of military technology and tactics, the scope of the attacks, and the scope of the causalities, he said.

Israel moved away from treating acts of terror inside Israel as a police matter, adopting a model that allows for a strong military response. This shift began in 2000 - when the second Palestinian violent uprising (intifada) was launched - and has accelerated since then, Reisner said.

The law did not accommodate the idea of a war between a nation-state and non-state actors, he explained. For this reason, it became necessary to set legal precedents.

For the first time, the Israeli military was permitted to use its arsenal directly against terrorists and designate terrorist leaders as enemy combatants.

The Clinton administration did not approve of the approach, Reisner noted. Former Sen. George Mitchell traveled to Israel at the president's behest and after reviewing the situation advised the Israeli government to return to a law enforcement approach, he recalled.

Thursday's event was hosted by the Israel Project, an international non-profit organization, and the Israeli Democracy Institute, a body's whose aims are to promote political, economic and structural reforms in Israel.

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