The innocent bystander myth

The innocent bystander myth
Evelyn Gordon, THE JERUSALEM POST
Jul. 19, 2006
One of the most bizarre aspects of the current Lebanon crisis is the international community’s unanimous insistence that the Lebanese government is an innocent party, and should therefore not be made to suffer for Hizbullah’s actions.
The official statement issued by the G-8 on Sunday, for instance, said that Israel must avoid doing anything that would destabilize Lebanon’s government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at the summit: “We are convinced that the government of Lebanon must be given all support.”
US President George W. Bush said last week that while Israel has the right to defend itself, “whatever Israel does should not weaken the … government in Lebanon.”
And this presumption of Beirut’s innocence has inevitably affected criticism of Israel’s response to the Hizbullah attacks. Thus, for instance, the European Union’s rotating president, Finland, issued a statement last week declaring that the EU “is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hizbullah on Israel… The imposition of an air and sea blockade cannot be justified.”
In fact, this blockade would arguably be justified even if the conflict were solely between Israel and Hizbullah, since its main purpose is to cut off Hizbullah’s supply of rockets – for which Beirut Airport, in particular, has been a major conduit for years. But in state-to-state wars, blockades are unquestionably legitimate: They are the standard means of impeding the enemy’s supply of arms. It is the EU’s distorted view of the war as being strictly between Israel and Hizbullah, with the Beirut government a mere innocent bystander, that causes it to view the blockade instead as an unfair punishment of an entire country for the acts of a few rogue terrorists.
In reality, Hizbullah’s attack was far from a rogue action committed in defiance of the government: The Lebanese government has actively supported it, in both word and deed.
First, of course, Hizbullah remains a member of the government, with seats in the cabinet. Admittedly, it probably launched last week’s attack without its coalition partners’ knowledge or consent. But in any normal country, a junior coalition member that attacked a neighboring country without its partners’ consent would be swiftly disavowed and ousted from the government.
Instead, the Lebanese government has passionately defended Hizbullah’s actions on the international stage. At an Arab League meeting on Saturday, for instance, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, reportedly backed by representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, lambasted Hizbullah’s assault as “inappropriate and irresponsible.” But Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, far from agreeing, presented a draft resolution defending the attack.
The resolution stated that Lebanon has the “right to resist occupation by all legitimate means,” demanded the release of Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails, and asserted Lebanon’s right to “liberate them by all legitimate means.”
THESE, HOWEVER, are precisely the justifications that Hizbullah offers for attacking Israel. First, Hizbullah does not accept the UN Security Council’s determination that Israel withdrew fully from Lebanon in May 2000; it insists that an area known as Shaba Farms is also Lebanese, and that it has the right to continue attacking Israel until Israel quits this area as well. Thus when Salloukh declared that Lebanon has the “right to resist occupation,” what he meant was that the Lebanese government concurs with Hizbullah, rather than the UN, about the status of Shaba Farms and supports Hizbullah’s “right” to attack Israel over this issue.
Second, Hizbullah has long advocated kidnapping Israelis in order to trade them for the one Lebanese national still in Israel’s jails: Samir Kuntar, who is serving multiple life sentences for having infiltrated into Israel, entered a house in Nahariya, killed the owner and his four-year-old daughter in cold blood, and then killed a policeman before being captured. That, incidentally, was in 1979 – three years before Israel invaded Lebanon and began its 18-year occupation of the country’s south. Thus when Salloukh asserted Lebanon’s right to “liberate” its prisoners, what he meant was that the Lebanese government agrees with Hizbullah that freeing this terrorist is a national goal, and supports Hizbullah’s “right” to attack Israel in order to achieve it.
But the government did not even make do with defending Hizbullah’s attacks after the fact: It also actively facilitated them.
CLEARLY, THE attacks were made possible in the first place by Beirut’s failure to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which demanded that the government disarm Hizbullah and deploy the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon in its stead. Currently, the Lebanese army allows Hizbullah free rein in southern Lebanon by steadfastly avoiding the area. But given the government’s weakness relative to Hizbullah, this failure is usually excused as being due to inability rather than malice.
That excuse, however, cannot be made for other government actions that facilitated the attacks, such as its failure to stop the ongoing supply of rockets and other war materiel to Hizbullah. Far from being smuggled in without the government’s knowledge, weapons earmarked for Hizbullah arrived openly in Beirut Airport almost every week – and the airport, unlike southern Lebanon, is fully controlled by the government and the Lebanese army. Yet the government never ordered the army to confiscate these shipments.
Regular arms shipments also came overland from Syria. Yet these, too, passed openly and without hindrance through border crossings controlled by the Lebanese government.
The Lebanese army has even openly assisted Hizbullah during the past week’s fighting. Hizbullah’s successful missile strike on an Israeli naval vessel Friday night, for instance, would have been impossible had the army’s radar stations not given Hizbullah the ship’s coordinates. Hizbullah does not have radar stations of its own.
Far from repudiating Hizbullah’s attacks on Israel, the Lebanese government has actively defended, facilitated and assisted them at every turn. There are thus no grounds for treating it as an innocent party in this conflict. And until the international community recognizes this, its efforts to resolve the crisis will inevitably fail.

Copyright 1995-2006 The Jerusalem Post – http://www.jpost.com/

Iraels Challenge By David hornik

Israel’s ChallengeBy P. David HornikFrontPageMagazine.com July 14, 2006
Israel is like the archetypal retired gunslinger in Westerns who tries to stay out of trouble but ends up rejoining the fray when the provocations get too severe. In Israel’s case, though, the price of “retirement” has been inexcusable.
During the months of post-disengagement Qassam attacks on Sderot and other Gaza-bordering communities, it was painfully obvious that Israel’s restraint would end on the day the Qassams took a worse toll than injury, traumatization, and making life unlivable for thousands of Israelis. The “policy,” if any, of the Sharon and Olmert governments was to count on the Qassams’ relative inaccuracy and hope one’s luck would hold out.
The only surprise, then, was that when the fatal attack came it was not over the Gaza border fence by rocket, but under it by tunnel; and not against civilians but against soldiers, two of whom were killed and one kidnapped in the dawn raid at Kerem Shalom almost three weeks ago. It was only then, after a catastrophe whose occurrence, if not its exact nature, was entirely predictable, that Israel launched a large-scale military action in Gaza.
The script repeated itself Wednesday on the Lebanese border in a Hizbullah assault that took an even worse toll of eight Israeli soldiers dead and two kidnapped.
Here too, Hizbullah’s encampment along the border since Israel’s ill-conceived evacuation of Lebanon in 2000 was clearly a time-bomb waiting to go off. In particular, Hizbullah’s positioning of twelve thousand Iranian-supplied rockets along the border led to demands by IDF commanders for preemptive action. But, again, the Sharon and Olmert governments preferred to wait and see. On Thursday it was too late for scores of residents of northern Israeli communities, from Haifa to tiny villages, as the rockets rained down on them sowing death and injury.
The Hizbullah onslaught has also made clear that whatever Israel has done so far in Gaza has in no way restored its deterrence. Seemingly, by a rational calculation Hamas, Hizbullah, and their backers in Damascus and Teheran would conclude that the Kerem Shalom raid was not worth it: in retribution for two soldiers killed and one abducted, Israeli forces have killed dozens of terrorists in Gaza along with collateral deaths of civilians, damaged infrastructure, ominously hit official structures like Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s office and the PA Foreign Ministry, and arrested dozens of Hamas figures in the West Bank.
Israel’s enemies, though, are fanatics who are willing to pay any price if they perceive themselves to be prevailing by inflicting harm on Israel and wearing it down. Teheran is also seeking to divert attention from its nuclear plans at the upcoming G8 summit by shifting the focus to the Israeli sphere. So far, the jihad axis can also take satisfaction in the fact that Israel’s Gaza operations are yet to achieve either of their two main declared aims: retrieving kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit or stopping the Qassam fire, at least nine Gaza-fired rockets having landed in Israel on Thursday alone.
Israel’s challenge, then, is to prove that attacking it is not worth it and restore its deterrence. It responded on Thursday by pounding not only Hizbullah but also Lebanese infrastructure and military targets from air and sea on the assumption that Lebanon can be gotten to disband Hizbullah and reassert sovereignty over its southern border. That would entail a degree of independence from its Syrian masters that Lebanon may not really possess. Israel may eventually engage Syria as well, but its early battle plan appears to be trying to play the Lebanese card.
Above all Israel has to be prepared to remove the Hizbullah missile hoard, much of which is hidden underground, even if this requires a ground invasion that risks casualties. The missile arsenal not only constitutes an unacceptable threat in itself but constrains Israel in acting against Syria and Iran. A freer hand against Iran may eventually be an existential necessity.
Israel begins the confrontation with certain clear handicaps. Hamas and Hizbullah, tiny as they are compared to the IDF, enjoy massive backing not only from Iran and Syria but from the world jihad movement in general, and fighters and infrastructure can always be replaced if Israel limits itself to temporary incursions and selective strikes.
Israel also can hardly count on world support, and is helped little by being attacked on its sovereign territory from places where it removed all vestiges of “occuaption.” Already on Thursday—after less than a day of fighting in Lebanon—France’s foreign minister condemned Israel’s “disproportionate act of war.” The EU as a whole said it was “greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon [and] deplores the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.” Predictably the Europeans could not wait to verify reports or to consider Israel’s rationale for hitting Lebanon, which is hosting the jihadist movement that attacked it, a member of which is a minister in its cabinet. And this is only a foretaste.
Israel’s advantages include not only its superior operational capacity but also a growing realization among its leaders and populace that it has done all it could to reach accommodation with foes who do not want accommodation and is now fighting with its back to the wall. It has not taken long for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose sights were set on yet further withdrawals from the West Bank while hoping the Qassams wouldn’t do too much harm, and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, a longtime extreme dove who still talks of himself as a man of peace and dialogue, to get harshly initiated into Middle Eastern reality.
It is critical for Israel’s future that they now leave behind their delusions about a Middle East that can either be made peace with or kept at bay with fences. At least in adamantly refusing to negotiate another lopsided prisoner exchange, Olmert is showing greater resolve than some previous Israeli governments. He needs to revive an older Israel that knew what the stakes were and knew how to win. That means—at least—hitting Hamas so hard that it will be left reeling and unable to pose a further threat; uprooting southern Lebanon’s kingdom of terror; and then not meekly retreating to let the enemy recuperate and rebuild. It also means not letting sensitivity to world reactions loom so large that one is helpless. Israel has no place left to turn and no choice, at this late hour, but to fight.
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The Moment Of Truth By david Horowitz

Moment of TruthBy David HorowitzFrontPageMagazine.com July 14, 2006
Americans need to take a hard look at what is going on in the Middle East, because it provides the clearest picture possible of the war we are in. On one side are al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria and Iran and their allies: Russia, France, Greece, and the UN majority. On the other is the only democracy in the land of Muslim and Arab terror. The origins of this front in the war on terror are crystal clear: the desire of the Muslim terrorists — the elected majority among Palestinian Arabs and the occupying Shi’ite army in Lebanon, backed by Syria and Iran — to destroy Israel and push the Jews into the sea.
The war reveals the impossibility of a Palestinian state and the necessity of a civilized occupying force in a region that is populated by a people who have been terminally brainwashed into an ideology of hate, which makes their self-government a crime waiting to happen.
There were 10,000 Jews living in Gaza until recently. They were so creative that while representing less than one percent of the population they accounted for 10% of the entire gross national product of the country. Productive and law-abiding as they were, their existence in Gaza required a Israeli army presence to protect them. So uncontrollable is the genocidal hatred of Palestinians for Jews (more than a million Palestinians on the other hand live peacefully in Israel enjoying more rights than any Arabs or Muslims living in their own countries). The Israeli army in Gaza was also necessary to prevent genocidal Palestinians Jew-haters from lobbing rockets into Israeli schoolyards.
Eventually, the Israeli leadership made a decision to capitulate to Arab Jew hatred and uproot the Jews living in Gaza, and to withdraw the forces that protected Israel from being attacked by Arab criminals. In the months that followed, the Arabs did nothing to improve their new homeland, which they now controlled completely. Instead, they elected genocidal terrorists to govern them. They destroyed the horticulture industry the Jews had created and that provided 10% of their GNP. They lobbed 800 or so rockets into Israel. During all this mayhem no word of condemnation for the Gaza aggressors came from the UN, France, Russia and rest of the Jew-hating, terrorist-appeasing and terrorist-supporting international community.
Consequently, the Hamas army command, based in Syria, authorized a further aggression — a tunnel into Israel and the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. For good measure, Palestinians in the West Bank executed an 18-year old Jewish hitch-hiker for the crime of being a Jew. Still no condemnation of the Palestinians from the Jew-haters in France, Russia and at the UN. This support encouraged Iranian-sponsored Hizbollah to initiate another aggression, this time from the north.
The goal of the United States and Israel and all freedom-loving and civilized people in this war must be the destruction of the Hamas and Hizbollah leadership, their military infrastructure and capabilities. If there was a UN worthy of the name, it would expel Syria and Iran from its body, and send a Security Council armed force to the West Bank and Gaza to institute an occupation whose duration should not be less than a generation. During this occupation, the hate schools of the West Bank and Gaza should be revamped so that the children of Palestinian Arabs are taught basic rules of civilized behavior — tolerance instead of ethnic and religious hatred, condemnation of suicide bombers instead of reverence for them as martyrs, and such common decencies as regarding monsters like Samil Kuntar, a Palestinian terrorist who took a father and child hostage and smashed the child’s head against a rock and who is regarded as a hero and official model for Palestinian children as the monsters they are.
The world will not be a safe place or a decent one until the present regimes in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Iran are gone. This is a war all Americans must support.
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Trouble in Londonistan

[NY Sun title: What British Muslims Think”]
The London transport bombings of July 2005 prompted no less than eight surveys of Muslim opinion in the United Kingdom within the year. When added to two surveys from 2004, they provide in the aggregate a unique insight into the thinking of the nearly 2 million Muslims in “Londonistan.” The hostile mentality they portray is especially alarming when one recalls that London’s police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, recently said that the threat of terrorism “is very grim” because there are, “as we speak, people in the United Kingdom planning further atrocities.”
The July 7 attacks: About one in 20 British Muslims has voiced overt sympathy for the bombings a year ago. Separate polls find that between 2% and 6% endorse the attacks, 4% refuse to condemn them, 5% believe the Koran justifies them, and 6% say the suicide bombers were acting in accord with the principles of Islam.
Without endorsing the attacks, far larger numbers show an understanding for them: Thirteen percent say the July 7 suicide bombers should be regarded as “martyrs,” 16% say the attacks were wrong but the cause was right, while 20% feel sympathy for the “feelings and motives” of the attackers. A whopping 56% can see “why some people behave in that way.”
Help the police? A worrisome number of Muslims would not help the police if they suspected a fellow Muslim was planning a terrorist attack, ranging in different surveys from 5% to 14% to 18%.
Violence acceptable? Before 7/7, 11% found it acceptable “for religious or political groups to use violence for political ends” but only 4% thought so after the attacks, showing a rare improvement. Two polls turned up the identical figure of 7% of Muslims endorsing suicide attacks on civilians in Britain. (Among 18- to 24-year-olds, those most likely to carry out such an attack, the number jumps to 12%.) How about suicide attacks on the military in Britain? Positive answers came in at 16% and 21% (with 28% of 18- to 24-year-olds). Are the respondents themselves willing to embrace violence to bring an end to “decadent and immoral” Western society? One percent, or some 16,000 persons, answered in the affirmative.
Muslim or British: Polling indicates that a majority of Muslims perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities. Two polls show that only a small proportion identifies itself first as a British (7% and 12%), but they differ widely on the number who identify first with their religion (81% and 46%).
Implementing Islamic law: Muslims widely state that Shariah should reign in Britain. Forty percent approve of Shariah being applied in predominantly Muslim areas, and 61% want Shariah courts to settle civil cases among Muslims. All of 58% want those who criticize or insult Islam to face criminal prosecution. Schools should be prohibited from banning female pupils from wearing the hijab, say 55%, while 88% insist that schools and work places should accommodate Muslim prayer times.
Integration into Britain: In a nearly mirror-image of each other, 65% say Muslims need to do more to integrate into mainstream British culture, and 36% say modern British values threaten the Islamic way of life. Twenty-seven percent feel conflicted between loyalty to fellow Muslims and to Britain. Of those who despise Western civilization and think Muslims “should seek to bring it to an end,” 32% endorse nonviolent means and 7% violent means.
Attitudes toward Jews: Polls confirm that the antisemitism widespread in the Muslim world also rears its head in Britain. About half the Muslims polled believe that Jews in Britain have too much influence over Britain’s foreign policy and are in league with the Freemasons to control its press and politics. Some 37% consider Jews in Britain “legitimate targets as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East,” and 16% state that suicide bombings can be justified in Israel. (Among 18- to 24-year-olds, that number rises to 21%.)
In sum, more than half of British Muslims want Islamic law and 5% endorse violence to achieve that end. These results demonstrate that Britain’s potential terrorists live in a highly nurturing community.
Other items in category Islam in the West
Other items in category Public opinion polls
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Reader comments on this article
Title
By
Date
Shariah Law Advocates in England & ROW [97 words]
AJK
Jul 12, 2006 18:15
Terrorist Recruiting Cycle [99 words]
Stewart R. Gable [Col.USAF Ret’d]
Jul 12, 2006 15:59
Here’s THE book! [40 words]
Saikat Biswas
Jul 12, 2006 14:33
Not one of them [103 words]
K Begum
Jul 12, 2006 08:47
One plan might be to use those detestable “hate crimes laws” against the Islamists! [44 words]
JustaThought
Jul 12, 2006 06:10
The ambivalence of muslims [294 words]
Muhammad Arief
Jul 12, 2006 05:38
Some say openly and some privately [190 words]
Pakoba Ganchi
Jul 12, 2006 02:53
Trouble in Londonistan [96 words]
Fay
Jul 12, 2006 01:37
13 Types of Muslims : Your Comments are welcomed. [1512 words]
Chanakya Acharya
Jul 12, 2006 01:35
Nowhere to hide [296 words]
PCMadness
Jul 11, 2006 22:02
HATE… [94 words]
John Manitta
Jul 11, 2006 20:54
Back to the land of the lotus eaters [816 words]
Reuben Horne
Jul 11, 2006 19:44
What, “Help the police?” Surely You Jest! [740 words]
orange yonason
Jul 11, 2006 18:59
Trouble in Londonstan [52 words]
Iftikhar
Jul 11, 2006 18:10
Strange and dangerous people [254 words]
An_Infidel
Jul 12, 2006 17:31
Ali G [104 words]
Sword of Islam & The Babies of Beslan
Jul 12, 2006 17:36
At war with ourselves and Islam. [64 words]
Charles Smyth
Jul 11, 2006 17:35
Quoi? [451 words]
Sword of Islam & The Babies of Beslan
Jul 12, 2006 18:12
I think these polls are not accurate [35 words]
SA
Jul 11, 2006 16:42
Power intoxicated [152 words]
Moshe
Jul 11, 2006 15:56
Moshe, Quebec and my Question for Dr Pipes [298 words]
Harrak
Jul 11, 2006 22:57
ONE HECK OF A SAD STORY. [240 words]
BATYA DAGAN
Jul 11, 2006 14:44
Batya Dagan [284 words]
Sword of Islam & The Babies of Beslan
Jul 11, 2006 18:08
how do we tell? [40 words]
snake
Jul 12, 2006 02:09
So what is to be done?? [368 words]
J.S.
Jul 11, 2006 14:40
American Muslims – How would they fare in such polls [109 words]
Jaladhi
Jul 11, 2006 14:36
So True! [166 words]
David W. Lincoln
Jul 11, 2006 17:32
who is bombing who?. [68 words]
ahmad zafire
Jul 11, 2006 23:10
Danger from Islam [116 words]
Abdul Rahman
Jul 11, 2006 12:27
Read yourself [46 words]
Tripta Thakur
Jul 12, 2006 02:36
some British are blissfully unaware [19 words]
Nat Hooper
Jul 11, 2006 12:12
It is a brave new world… of sorts. [244 words]
SHmuel HaLevi
Jul 11, 2006 11:58
Londonistan rules! [309 words]
Saikat Biswas
Jul 11, 2006 11:37
Londonistan Rocks! [537 words]
Sword of Islam & The Babies of Beslan
Jul 11, 2006 18:57
1,2,3,4 , goodbye! [21 words]
robert a
Jul 12, 2006 04:25
Survey of violence against Muslims [39 words]
Hayden Montaigne
Jul 11, 2006 10:18
Nothing I read about Muslims surprises me [280 words]
rick
Jul 11, 2006 10:13
The cost of pessimism [80 words]
David W. Lincoln
Jul 11, 2006 10:00
I read this, does this mean it is ok to be a suicide bomber? [1 words]
barbara
Jul 11, 2006 04:34
Agenda detected in the quarantine scan [180 words]
Harrak
Jul 11, 2006 15:24
read [48 words]
truth
Jul 11, 2006 17:49
Suicide Bombings is not allowed in Islamic Teaching [80 words]
Masnur Marzuki
Jul 11, 2006 22:52
Assemble your quotes [74 words]
Sheila
Jul 12, 2006 07:41
harak [13 words]
Madhavan R
Jul 12, 2006 10:06
Those Who Do It, Those Who Support It, Those Who Refuse To Condemn It… [68 words]
orange yonason
Jul 11, 2006 00:29
“Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil” [37 words]
Moshe
Jul 12, 2006 03:22
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Nigerian Christian woman stoned by Muulims

July 08, 2006
Nigeria: Muslim mob stones Christian woman to death
The mob was carrying out the traditional Islamic death sentence for proselytizing. Note that the accusation that she insulted the Muslim prophet seems to have been baseless, and may refer just to her proselytizing in itself. “Nigeria: Mob Stones Woman to Death for Evangelizing,” from Compass Direct, with thanks to Silvester:
July 6 (Compass Direct) – Church leaders here said Muslim extremists overwhelmed police officers providing refuge for an unidentified Christian woman in this town in Niger state on June 28 and stoned and clubbed her to death for doing street evangelism.
David Atabo of the Roman Catholic Church in Izom said he witnessed the killing of the woman. He told Compass that she had met a group of Muslim youths, shared the gospel with them and gave them some tracts to read.
“As soon as the woman left, some Muslim elders standing by sought to know from the youths what the woman told them,” Atabo said. “When they learned that the woman had preached to the youths, they claimed she insulted the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, and directed that the woman must be killed.”
Atabo said the Muslim leaders’ allegations inspired hundreds of Muslims to pour into the streets to track down the woman. They caught up with her around the River Gurara area and started beating her, he said, but police rescued her.
Officers took the woman into protective custody at the Izom police station. But the restive mob stormed the premises, demanding that the woman be released to be stoned to death in accordance with sharia (Islamic) law or else they would burn down the police station.
“The police, realizing that the Muslim crowd was overwhelming, smuggled the woman through a back door to escape with her, but the Muslims blocked all escape routes, and at this point the police abandoned the woman to save their lives,” Atabo said. “She was clubbed to death.”…
Atabo, chairman of the local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Izom town, said the Muslims claimed that the Christian woman dropped a document containing derogatory remarks about Muhammad.
When he asked the police to allow him see the alleged document, though, “there was nothing like that,” he said.
Daniel Mazuri, pastor of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) Good News Church in Izom, said those at the scene of the incident told him Muslims accosted the woman and accused her of insulting Muhammad. The Muslims claimed she dropped a letter in a mosque insulting Muhammad, he said, but friends of his in the police force told him this was false.
“I believe the Muslims just wanted to ignite a religious crisis in this town,” Muzari told Compass. “This is a very unhealthy development, and it has now opened the door for unending religious conflicts.”
Mazuri said his inquiries led to the conclusion that Muslims doctored a document in order to create a religious crisis in this town.
“They are known for this attitude, and we are not surprised at the occurrence of this incident,” he said.
The Rev. Tanko Madaki of the ECWA, Hausa section, also concluded that Muslims planned the attack with the aim of igniting a religious crisis in the town.
“We are aware of the antics of the Muslims,” he said. “They are always good in fabricating falsehood and then anchoring their actions on such falsehood.”…
The death of the unknown Christian woman marks the first fatality of Niger state’s Islamic legal system, introduced in 2000. Niger is one of the 12 states that has implemented sharia in northern Nigeria.
Posted at July 8, 2006 06:22 AM

The Vatican Confronts Islam

The Vatican Confronts Islam
by Daniel Pipes
Jerusalem Post
July 5, 2006
[Jerusalem Post title: “Quest for reciprocity”]
“Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It’s our duty to protect ourselves.” Thus spoke Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican’s supreme court, referring to Muslims. Explaining his apparent rejection of Jesus’ admonition to his followers to “turn the other cheek,” De Paolis noted that “The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century … and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights.”
De Paolis is hardly alone in his thinking; indeed, the Catholic Church is undergoing a dramatic shift from a decades-old policy to protect Catholics living under Muslim rule. The old methods of quiet diplomacy and muted appeasement have clearly failed. The estimated 40 million Christians in Dar al-Islam, notes the Barnabas Fund’s Patrick Sookhdeo, increasingly find themselves an embattled minority facing economic decline, dwindling rights, and physical jeopardy. Most of them, he goes on, are despised and distrusted second-class citizens, facing discrimination in education, jobs, and the courts.
These harsh circumstances are causing Christians to flee their ancestral lands for the West’s more hospitable environment. Consequently, Christian populations of the Muslim world are in a free-fall. Two small but evocative instances of this pattern: for the first time in nearly two millennia, Nazareth and Bethlehem no longer have Christian majorities.
This reality of oppression and decline stands in dramatic contrast to the surging Muslim minority of the West. Although numbering fewer than 20 million and made up mostly of immigrants and their offspring, it is an increasingly established and vocal minority, granted extensive rights and protections even as it wins new legal, cultural, and political prerogatives.
This widening disparity has caught the attention of the Church, which for the first time is pointing to radical Islam, rather than the actions of Israel, as the central problem facing Christians living with Muslims.
Rumblings of this could be heard already in John Paul II’s time. For example, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican equivalent of foreign minister, noted in late 2003 that “There are too many majority Muslim countries where non-Muslims are second-class citizens.” Tauran pushed for reciprocity: “Just as Muslims can build their houses of prayer anywhere in the world, the faithful of other religions should be able to do so as well.”
Catholic demands for reciprocity have grown, especially since the accession of Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, for whom Islam is a central concern. In February, the pope emphasized the need to respect “the convictions and religious practices of others so that, in a reciprocal manner, the exercise of freely-chosen religion is truly assured to all.” In May, he again stressed the need for reciprocity: Christians must love immigrants and Muslims must treat well the Christians among them.
Lower-ranking clerics, as usual, are more outspoken. “Islam’s radicalization is the principal cause of the Christian exodus,” asserts Monsignor Philippe Brizard, director general of Oeuvre d’Orient, a French organization focused on Middle Eastern Christians. Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran University in Rome, advises the Church to drop its “diplomatic silence” and instead “put pressure on international organizations to make the societies and states in majority Muslim countries face up to their responsibilities.”
The Danish cartoons crisis offered a typical example of Catholic disillusionment. Church leaders initially criticized the publication of the Muhammad cartoons. But when Muslims responded by murdering Catholic priests in Turkey and Nigeria, not to speak of scores of Christians killed during five days of riots in Nigeria, the Church responded with warnings to Muslims. “If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us, ” said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. “We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts,” added Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, its foreign minister.
Obtaining the same rights for Christians in Islamdom that Muslims enjoy in Christendom has become the key to the Vatican’s diplomacy toward Muslims. This balanced, serious approach marks a profound improvement in understanding that could have implications well beyond the Church, given how many lay politicians heed its leadership in inter-faith matters. Should Western states also promote the principle of reciprocity, the results should indeed be interesting.

Islam Talks and Ex-Muslims Warn But Is the West Listening? by Barbara J. Stock � The New Media Journal.us

The Faith of Our Founders – Christianity Today Magazine

OpinionJournal – Extra Global Warming Fallacy