Pakistan Christians Invited to Embrace Islam (or Die Horribly)…

A Church center in Pakistan’s cosmopolitan eastern city of Lahore has been threatened with a suicide bomb attack, one of a series of intimidating messages given to Christians as the country’s security crisis worsens.

 

The threat was delivered on June 10 to a Christian woman who lives next to Rabita Manzil, the National Catholic Office for Social Communications, which includes the offices of the WAVE (Workshop Audio Visual Education) studio, Radio Veritas Asia’s Urdu service and the Union of Catholic Asian News.

The woman said two masked men arrived on a motorbike without number plates.

“We know that you and those at the recording studio are Christians. We warn you to leave this area, embrace Islam, pay 1,500,000 rupees (US$18,750) or be ready to die in a suicide bomb attack. Inform your neighbors as well,” she quoted the men as saying.

Christians have received similar threats in various parts of the country as fighting between government troops and the Taliban militants continues to rage in the country’s northwest.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, several Catholic schools in Lahore and various pastors have received threatening notes telling them to convert to Islam.

A Pentecostal Bible school in the southwestern city of Quetta was closed indefinitely after suspected Taliban militants threatened a suicide bomb attack last month.

Father Nadeem John Shakir, director of Rabita Manzil, issued a statement in Lahore immediately after learning about the threat to his center.

“This is the first time the studio has received such warning,” Father Shakir said in the press release June 10. “This has made us sad and very insecure. We are quite helpless in this regard. The threat has also demoralized our employees. If something happens to our center a number of Church activities will collapse.”

In his statement, Father Shakir called on people to prayer for studio staff and those engaged in “such inhuman acts or supporters of such beastly activities, so that they may change their nature and become good human beings.”

The priest told UCA News that neighbors of the center had been supportive.

“However, no one can guarantee the security of our houses, convents, churches, schools, hospitals and other institutions. Even the law enforcement agencies are not safe themselves.”

Intense government fighting against Taliban militants has triggered a wave of attacks in cities across the country, the most recent being a suicide bombing of a hotel in Peshawar on June 9. The attack on the city’s premier Pearl Continental Hotel left 11 dead, including two UN aid workers, and 60 injured.

The latest bombing affects relief efforts in the country. Peshawar lies near the Swat Valley, where Pakistani government forces are battling Taliban militia in fighting that has forced more than 2.5 million people from their homes. The hotel was used by some foreign aid workers helping the displaced.

Ahmadinejad’s ‘Jewish Family’

Mehdi Khazali, the son of the conservative Ayatollah Khazali, has written on his personal website that he recently learned that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots.

Khazali notes that Ahmadinejad changed his family name from Saburjian, and says that the origins of the Saburjian family in the town of Aradan should be investigated.

Ahmadinejad’s relatives had told Britain’s “The Guardian” following his election that the family had changed its name for “a mixture of religious and economic reasons.”

“The name change provides an insight into the devoutly Islamic working-class roots of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s brand of populist politics,” journalist Robert Tait wrote in “The Guardian.” “The name Saborjhian derives from thread painter — sabor in Farsi — a once common and humble occupation in the carpet industry in Semnan Province, where Aradan is situated. Ahmad, by contrast, is a name also used for the Prophet Muhammad and means virtuous; nejad means race in Farsi, so Ahmadinejad can mean Muhammad’s race or virtuous race.”

Ahmadinejad, of course, is known for his frequent slurs and threats against the Jewish state of Israel. The claim about his background should be seen in the context of a growing rift among the president’s political allies, the so-called principlists, in the run-up to the June presidential election.

— Golnaz Esfandiari for Transmission

President Obama admits some Islamic terror suspects pose too great a threat to be released

President Barack Obama said one of the “biggest problems” in shutting down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be how to deal with Islamic terror suspects who pose too great a threat to be released.

“It’s a messy situation. It’s not easy,” Obama told C- SPAN in an interview. “We’ve got a lot of people there who we should have tried early, but we didn’t. In some cases, evidence against them has been compromised. They may be dangerous, in which case we can’t release them, so finding how to deal with that I think is going to be one of our biggest problems.”

Obama, who called the Bush administration’s policy of indefinitely holding prisoners in Guantanamo a “mistake,” said he’s spoken to former President George W. Bush since taking office in January. He didn’t elaborate on the conversations, saying, “I think the general policy of keeping confidence with the predecessors is important.”

The Democratic president defended his decision to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay by early next year in a speech two days ago in Washington. He said some choices made by Bush and his advisers in pursuing the war on terrorism were “ad hoc” and “hasty” and left behind a “mess.” He repeated the criticism in the C-SPAN interview, which will air in full today at 10 a.m., Washington time.

Corners Cut

“There was a period of time after 9/11, understandably because people were fearful, where I think we cut too many corners and made some decisions that were contrary to who we are as a people,” Obama told the cable-television network.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Bush’s administration’s actions in a May 21 speech in Washington.

Cheney said the Bush administration employed tactics after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that saved lives, including using harsh interrogation techniques. He said he would support those decisions again “without hesitation.”

Obama has banned the interrogation techniques in question, including simulated drowning, or water boarding. He contends the measures betray the country’s “ideals” and aren’t necessary to “wage an aggressive battle against organizations like al-Qaeda that want to do us harm.”

“I’m confident that we are stronger when we uphold our principles, that we are weaker when we start pushing them aside,” he told C-SPAN.

Why does President Obama want to release 9/11 terrorists amidst us

President Barack Obama on Thursday will outline his strategy for closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, hoping to defuse a revolt by lawmakers over the fate of an internationally reviled symbol of Bush-era detainee policy.

In a much-anticipated speech, Obama will defend his still-emerging plan to shutter the detention camp at a U.S. naval base in Cuba as he tries to ease concerns that some terrorism suspects held there could be set free in the United States.

Obama will renew the pledge he made in his first days in office to close Guantanamo by January 2010 but will apparently stop short of providing details demanded by friends and foes alike on what will be done with the facility’s remaining 240 prisoners.

At the same time Obama is speaking, former Vice President Dick Cheney, an architect of Bush’s detainee policy and a harsh critic of Obama’s efforts to dismantle it, will be at a Washington think tank giving a speech partly titled “Keeping America Safe.”

Four months into his presidency, Obama suffered a stinging setback on Wednesday when the Senate, controlled by fellow Democrats, blocked the $80 million he had sought for the shutdown until he decides what to do with the facility’s inmates.

 

 Democratic lawmakers, worried that some of the prisoners could be jailed or even released in the United States, rebelled against Obama after opposition Republicans threatened to brand them as soft on terrorism. Please do answer us why Mr. President you want to release such dangerous Islamic terrorists, who have no love for United States, no love for democracy or our way of life, among us.  You are doing a wonderful job economy wise but when it comes to this decision, as much as you are loved, you are fast becoming very unpopular. After the humiliating our premier spy agency CIA about the water boarding stuff, you had to make a quick back track, why didn’t some one of your intelligence see this coming. Why don’t your have some anti-terror law provisions where these hardcore Islamic terrorists will never see daylight among the common citizens of United States. 

We elected you to make us safe not unsafe, you seem to have a hangover of anti-Bush era; our advice from here is make decisions which are mature.

Jordanian Brotherhood Chief Tied to Virginia Islamist Think Tank

IPT News

A trustee of an Islamic think tank in Northern Virginia that is long suspected of financing terrorists is expected to become the new head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s chapter in Jordan.

Ishaq Farhan is expected to be named interim head of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Jordanian political wing, the Jordan Times reported. The move follows the resignation of IAF directors after a leadership dispute.

As first reported by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, Farhan also is a longtime trustee of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). He is listed on the organization’s IRS Form 990s from at least 2005, through 2007, which is the most recent year available. The 990 is an annual report required of non-profits in the United States detailing their income, expenses and other operating details.

Farhan previously served as the IAF’s secretary general, and as an IAF member in the Jordanian Parliament. The IAF has a close relationship with Hamas, which was created by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1987.

As Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson said in congressional testimony in 2000, “Farhan played an integral role in the recruitment of Palestinian youth for the Hamas movement” during attendance at conferences for the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Muslim Arab Youth Association held in the U.S. during the mid 1990s.

Farhan wrote to U.S. officials to protest the detention of then-Hamas political chief Mousa Abu Marzook. Marzook was jailed by U.S. officials between 1995 and early 1997, when he was deported to Jordan.

As IAF secretary general, Farhan demanded Marzook’s release, writing in May 1996 that extraditing Marzook to face trial in Israel, as originally planned, would show that the U.S. was “captive to the Zionist will.”

Farhan called “on all the governments of the Arab and Islamic Worlds and all defenders of human rights to raise their voices and demand the abolition of this decision and the release of Dr. Musa Abu Marzook, a prisoner of opinion and political struggle.”

In November 1996, the U.S. Embassy in Amman received a far more threatening letter about Marzook’s detention:

“We demand that you immediately release Dr. Musa Abu Marzook and urge you not to hand him over to the Zionist enemy…We warn you that if you do not release Dr. Musa Abu Marzook, and if you hand him over to the Jews, we will turn the ground upside down over your heads in Amman, Jerusalem, and the rest of the Arab countries and you will lament your dead just as we did to you in Lebanon in 1982 when we destroyed the Marine House with a boobytrapped car, and there are plenty of cars in our country. You also still remember the oil tanker with which we blew up your soldiers in Saudi Arabia.”

A State Department translation of the letter indicates that the fax page “bears the Islamic Action Front [IAF] name.”

Meanwhile, the IIIT remains the focus of a federal grand jury investigation.

Sami Al-Arian’s refusal to testify before that grand jury despite a grant of immunity and court orders is at the heart of his criminal contempt case. A ruling by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema on Al-Arian’s motion to dismiss that indictment is expected at any time.

The IIIT helped finance a think tank Al-Arian operated in Tampa, which worked with University of South Florida faculty. That think tank housed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Ramadan Shallah during the early 1990s and was listed as the employer for PIJ ideologue and governing board member Basheer Nafi. Immigration agents arrested Nafi in 1996 and deported him after discovering he was working at the IIIT in violation of his work visa.

Attempting to renew Nafi’s visa so he could stay in the U.S. was among the tasks Al-Arian, in his 2006 guilty plea, acknowledged doing as a service in support of the PIJ.

Previously released records include a 1992 letter written to Al-Arian by then-IIIT President Taha Jaber Al-Awani. In it, Al-Awani said he considers Al-Arian’s think tank “an extension” of IIIT. “When we make a commitment to you or try to offer,” Al-Awani wrote, “we do it for you as a group, regardless of the party or the façade you use the donation for.”

The financial and work relationships between Al-Arian and the IIIT prompted Virginia prosecutors to subpoena Al-Arian in 2006.

For example, the group was listed among “[a] list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends” in an internal Muslim Brotherhood memorandum about the group’s future in North America.

This document has become infamous for its ominous description of the Brotherhood’s long-range ambitions in the United States (see page 21 of the link):

“The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

IIIT representatives have acknowledged past ties to the Brotherhood, but claim they broke away years ago. Farhan’s clear Brotherhood connection seems to challenge that assertion.

Law enforcement officials have known about Brotherhood ties to the IIIT for 20 years.

Reports obtained by the IPT last year through the Freedom of Information Act show IIIT board members Jamal Barzinji and Yaqub Mirza are listed among “members and leaders of the IKHWAN” or Brotherhood.

In one report, the IIIT was described as “organizing external political support which involves influencing both public opinion in the United States as well as the United States government.”

Pakistan is increasing its nuclear weapons:US Joint Chiefs of Staff

Pakistan increasing nuclear warheads, warns US

Washington: The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has confirmed reports that Pakistan is increasing its nuclear weapons programme, but has provided no details.The confirmation came during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing Thursday when Democrat senator Jim Webb, an expert on defence issues, raised fears that Pakistan is adding to the nuclear weapons it traditionally has pointed toward India, and questioned whether US aid could be funding it.

 

Noting reports that Pakistan “may be actually adding on their weapon systems and warheads” Webb asked: “Do you have any evidence of that?” “Yes,” Mullen answered.

Webb said that is a cause for “enormous concern,” because with the Islamic militant threat, he said, Pakistan’s government is not very stable.

The US has urged Pakistan to focus on the Islamic extremist threat instead of India. But Mullen told senators that it’s still unclear that Pakistani leaders can shift their focus for a long period even as they slowly acknowledge that militants pose more of a security risk.

“Historically, they haven’t done that,” Mullen said. “So right now, I’m encouraged by what’s happened, but I certainly withhold any judgment about where it goes because of the historic lack of sustainment, and they know they need to do that.”

Also at the hearing, Admiral Mullen said it is not only Pakistan’s top leaders who need to recognise the militant threat.

He said Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, the ISI, must also change its approach, and one key to that is convincing its leaders there will be a long-term US commitment to helping them defeat the Islamic militants.

“The ISI in the long run has to change its strategic thrust and get away from working both sides,” he said. “That’s how they have been raised, certainly over the last couple of decades, and that’s what they [are going to continue to] believe, until they think we’re going to be there for a while.”
Asked by Senator John McCain, Republican presidential opponent of Barack Obama, whether he still worried “about the ISI cooperating with Taliban?”, Mullen simply said: “Yes, sir.”

Several senators voiced doubts about sending millions of dollars to Pakistan without assurances it will be spent to fight extremists who threaten security and political stability both there and in Afghanistan.

Next year’s Pentagon budget includes $700 million to train and otherwise help Pakistan fight Islamic Terroists.

Source: IANS

Islam Threatened by Right to Choose Religion…

Muslims said to fear that freedom to legally change religion would CONVERT’S RELIGIOUS RIGHTS CASE THREATENS ISLAMISTS

In the dilapidated office here of three lawyers representing one of Egypt’s “most wanted” Christian converts, the mood was hopeful in spite of a barrage of death threats against them and their client. At a court hearing on May 2, a judge agreed to a request by the convert from Islam to join the two cases he has opened to change his ID card to reflect his new faith. The court set June 13 as the date to rule on Maher Ahmad El-Mo’otahssem Bellah El-Gohary’s case, and lawyer Nabil Ghobreyal said he was hopeful that progress thus far will lead to a favorable ruling. At the same time, El-Gohary’s lawyers termed potentially “catastrophic” for Egyptian human rights a report sent to the judge by the State Council, a consultative body of Egypt’s Administrative Court. Expressing outrage at El-Gohary’s “audacity” to request a change in the religious designation on his ID, the report claims the case is a threat to societal order and violates sharia (Islamic law). “This [report] is bombarding freedom of religion in Egypt,” said lawyer Said Faiz. “They are insisting that the path to Islam is a one-way street. The entire report is based on sharia.”