If I Were a Terrorist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1EXKLVgEx0

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Busted: NYC terror plot — read this

‘Hi, my name is Ahmed and I want to be a suicide bomber’

‘Hi, my name is Ahmed and I want to be a suicide bomber’

WND speaks to a 23-year-old member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. “‘Hi, my name is Ahmed and I want to be a suicide bomber’: Recruited attacker for terror group talks to WND about ‘serving Allah by blasting unbelievers to hell,'” by Aaron Klein:

WND: Tell me about your life and what you do with your free time.BOMBER: I study at a West Bank university and I have great hopes of getting married within the next couple of months. My life is very normal. I watch television, particularly news, and historical and religious programs. From time to time I play soccer and lift weights.

WND: Is your family poor?

BOMBER: No. We are regular but far from being wealthy. I share my bedroom with my brothers but now there is less pressure because last summer one of my brothers was married and moved to live outside.

WND: Why do you want to become a suicide bomber?

BOMBER: I originally decided to become a martyr after I saw what the Israeli army did in the refugee camp of Jenin in the big military campaign of April, 2002.

But this idea became stronger when I understood what status I will have in heaven if I scarify [sic; probably “sacrifice” is meant — RS] myself for Allah. Every time somebody else dies as a martyr in a suicide bomb attack, I pray for him but I feel jealous. I want to be where he is now and I pray that Allah will one day offer me this occasion and this honor.

[Editor’s note: The potential bomber was referring to an Israeli anti-terror raid in his hometown of Jenin in 2002 in which Palestinian leaders accused the Jewish state of a “massacre,” claiming the Israeli Defense Forces killed over 500 Palestinian civilians, including many women and children.

It was later determined 56 Palestinians, mostly gunmen, were killed in the raid, which followed a series of deadly suicide attacks inside Israel that were reportedly planned and directed from the terror infrastructure in Jenin. Twenty-three Israeli soldiers died in the Jenin battle, in which IDF troops conducted house-to-house searches to minimize civilian casualties by avoiding air attacks.]

WND: Is your main motivation for becoming a bomber is to serve Allah?

BOMBER: Yes, of course. Allah gave Muslims the possibility to gain their prize and payment in different ways. There are those (Muslims) who pray and fast only and respect Allah’s commandments, and there are those who wish a higher prize. And the highest prize is given to those who scarify themselves, their lives, their bodies and everything in this world.

WND: What you are saying is interesting because a lot of academics in the United States and many of my colleagues in the media claim Palestinians become suicide bombers because they are poor and desperate and because of so-called Israeli occupation. Are you telling me these are not the reasons you want to blow yourself up amongst Israelis?

BOMBER: The will to scarify myself for Allah is the first and most major reason. It is true that the Zionists are occupying our lands and that it is our religious duty to fight them, including through suicide attacks. The goal is not the killing of the Jews, but that this is the way to reach Allah.

The goal is satisfying Allah and his instructions. No money interests, nothing. No brainwash, no pressure; it is my decision. All the other lies are pathetic Israeli propaganda.

I pray that Allah gives me the honor to be dead in an operation. This is the supreme and the noblest way to ascend to Allah.

These martyrs have special status in the next world and have bigger chances to watch Allah’s face and enjoy the magnificent pleasures he offers us.

WND: Did I hear you say your goal is not to kill Jews? Isn’t that exactly what you will do as a suicide bomber?

BOMBER: Maybe the fact that I was born here has sharpened my religious conscience, but I believe that even if I was in Chechnya, in Iraq, Afghanistan on anywhere else I would want to be a martyr.

It is Allah’s satisfaction that is important to me no matter where I live. But as we live in this part of the world the way to reach Allah for me is through fighting the Zionist enemy. It is the jihad, the sacrificing that is important.

Read it all. And then ask yourself, what is CAIR doing, what is MPAC doing, what are all the self-proclaimed moderate Muslims doing to counter among Muslims the idea that killing Jews will bring them to Paradise?

Online Fatwas Incite Young Muslims to Jihad Saudi Columnist: Preachers in Mosques Urge Worshipers to Join the Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

Special Dispatch Series – No. 1335

October 26, 2006 No.1335

Online Fatwas Incite Young Muslims to Jihad

In an article in the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, columnist Fares bin Hazam reports that both preachers in mosques and online propaganda are inciting young Muslims to wage jihad. [1] An interview with a young Muslim who went to fight in Afghanistan, also in Al-Riyadh, provides first-hand testimony confirming this claim.

The following are excerpts from the article and the interview:

Bin Hazam writes in his article: “The business with Afghanistan will never end as long as the ‘duty of jihad’ continues to live in [our] society, in mosques, in Friday [sermons], and on the Internet…

“After the fall of the Taliban and the subsequent Guantanamo crisis… there was increasing talk about the need to investigate our youth’s growing [inclination] towards jihad, and about the need to search for the reasons that motivate them to go to Afghanistan and to other countries…

“The call to investigate these reasons is despicable; it is a tasteless joke. [One might think] that the reasons are unknown, that we are not aware of our situation [and need to conduct an] investigation in order to discover why [our young people] went forth and are still going forth [to wage jihad]… The reasons are obvious. Many of us know them, and there is no need for a scientific study or for any other [kind of study] to reveal them…

“Since the causes are known, do we lack courage to deal with [this problem]? [I believe that] we do. Our lack of courage has been apparent ever since we invented the excuse of ‘external [influences],’ and began to toy with it and wave it at every opportunity. I do not know where these [external influences] come from, since it was we who sent our young men [to Afghanistan] in the first place, before we ever heard of [these influences] that allegedly come [from outside].

“Some preachers, [namely] those who fear the censor, deceive him by being implicit in their incitement to [wage] jihad in Iraq or Afghanistan. They speak in their sermons about the merits of jihad without mentioning a particular region. They speak in general terms that can be applied to any location, even to our [own] country. During the prayer, the details start to pour in thick and fast: first, [a call to wage jihad] in Palestine, [which serve as] a smokescreen, and then [calls for jihad] in Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, and finally… the call ‘oh Allah, grant them victory everywhere!’ ‘Everywhere’ includes our [own] country… and we say ‘amen’ after the preacher calls [upon Allah] to help the mujahideen in our [own] country…”

Saudi Released From Guantanamo: Fatwas Prompted Me to Join the Jihad

Sa’d Ibrahim Al-Bidna, a young Saudi, traveled to Afghanistan with the aim of joining the jihad. He was arrested two months later, and spent four years and eight months at Guantanamo. In an interview with Al-Riyadh, he said that it was fatwas posted on the Internet that motivated him to wage jihad.

Al-Riyadh: “Tell us of your journey, from [the time] you left Saudi Arabia until your return.”

Al-Bidna: “I started this exhausting journey when I left Saudi Arabia on my own, motivated by youthful enthusiasm to [wage] jihad for the sake of Allah in Afghanistan. I traveled to Afghanistan through Syria and Iran. [When I arrived], war was being waged against the Taliban and things were not clear to me. So I decided to leave Afghanistan for Pakistan, and from there to return to Saudi Arabia. But [when I reached] Pakistan, I was arrested and turned over to the American forces. [They] imprisoned me in Guantanamo, [where I remained] until the Saudi authorities intervened and brought me back to Saudi Arabia after years of suffering…”

Al-Riyadh: “Tell us about the beginning of your journey and the reasons [that motivated you] to set out for Afghanistan.”

Al-Bidna: “Many may find it difficult to believe, but I was not very devout, though I did pray regularly. But enthusiasm and zeal filled the hearts of many young people, and unfortunately, I followed certain fatwas that were posted on the Internet. [These fatwas] call upon young people to wage jihad in certain regions. They tempt them [by describing] the great reward [they will receive], the status of the martyrs in Paradise and the virgins that await them [there]. These fatwas have great influence on young people who have no awareness or knowledge [that enables them] to examine them and verify their validity.”

In Afghanistan, I Saw Muslims Fighting Muslims, and That is Why I Left

Al-Riyadh: “When you came to Afghanistan, did you find the notion of jihad to be as you had imagined it…?”

Al-Bidna: “When I arrived, the war against the Taliban was at its height. There were constant bombardments and things were not clear to me, especially since I was only there for two months. This is not enough time to understand how things really are. But what concerned me the most was that Muslims were fighting each other, and that is why I left [and went to] Pakistan – for in jihad, a Muslim must never fight his Muslim brother.”

Al-Riyadh: “Based on your experience, did you feel that there was no real jihad in Afghanistan?”

Al-Bidna: “The [brief] period I spent there did not enable me see the full picture, and I did not have the knowledge to distinguish real jihad from other actions that are [only] called jihad. But I did see that there were devout people there. Some of them were young men who came [to Afghanistan] out of youthful enthusiasm and [due to their] scant religious knowledge, or were influenced by certain fatwas published by various religious scholars, or [were influenced by] by false images, which were not free of exaggeration, of the situation in Afghanistan. This was the kind of thing that prompted me to set out without informing or asking my family, and without considering the concept of legitimate jihad, its conditions and its rules.”

Al-Riyadh: “Today, do you feel that you were wrong to set out [to Afghanistan], obeying some irresponsible fatwas?”

Al-Bidna: “Of course. I [now] understand that I was wrong. I should have asked the leaders for permission to set out [and wage jihad], or religious scholars known for their knowledge and piety, of which there are many in our country…”

Al-Riyadh: “Before you left for Afghanistan, was there anyone who urged you and encouraged you to go?”

Al-Bidna: “I did not belong to any group or organization, especially since I was not devout before I left. But there were obviously some fatwas that called [for jihad] and were posted on certain websites. [They] influenced many young men, both devout and [non-devout]…”

Had I Received Proper Guidance Before I Left for Afghanistan, I Would Not Have Gone

Al-Riyadh: “After returning [to Saudi Arabia], did you meet with the counseling committees? What changed in your way of thinking?”

Al-Bidna: “My views began to change when I saw the real picture and understood my error, [even] before I was captured. When I returned to Saudi Arabia, we [i.e. the prisoners released from Guantanamo] met with sheikhs and religious scholars who taught us a great deal, and who enlightened us on the tolerant directives of Islam. Had I [known all this] before I left, I would not have gone. The discussions with the religious scholars and sheikhs gave us the ability to distinguish truth from error, and set us on the right path.”

Al-Riyadh: “From your experience, are there specific reasons that cause young people to adopt deviant views and carry out terrorist actions?”

Al-Bidna: “Of course there are specific reasons [that motivate] young people, especially unemployment, the desire for self-fulfillment, and [having] free time. I, for example, finished [only] elementary school, and sat around without a job for many years prior to leaving for Afghanistan. Such things can cause young people to go astray, especially when there are [people] who feed them erroneous notions…”

Al-Riyadh: “Do you think that a fatwa posted online can prompt a young person to wage jihad, when he does not know for sure whether the fatwa is valid?”

AlBidna: “There is no doubt that the problem lies in the youth’s enthusiasm [coupled with] scant knowledge. That’s what happened with me. I did not think to verify the validity of these fatwas or to consult with anyone, and [consequently] made a big mistake…”


[1] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), October 10, 2006.

Chavez’s Theater of the Absurd

Chavez’s Theater of the Absurd
By Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 23, 2006

Venezuela is locked in a battle with
Guatemala to take over a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, representing the Latin American region.  While neither country has been able to garner the necessary two-thirds majority from the General Assembly,
Guatemala has soundly beaten
Venezuela in virtually every round of voting to date.  The 35th round of voting ended on October 20th with 103 votes for
Guatemala and 81 for
Venezuela.  Further voting has been put off for several days.  As one reporter put it during a daily press briefing at UN headquarters, the process is morphing into the theater of the absurd.


Venezuela has already served four times on the Security Council, while
Guatemala has never served.  It is time for
Venezuela, the perennial loser in balloting this time around, to either remove itself voluntarily in favor of
Guatemala or a consensus candidate, or to be forced to step aside.  According to the UN Charter, in electing a non-permanent member to the Security Council, the General Assembly is to give “due regard…in the first instance to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization.” 
Venezuela fails that test, hands down.

 

There are at least two grounds for disqualifying
Venezuela from further consideration.  First,
Venezuela is committing serious human rights violations today, according to its own regional group’s human rights spokesperson.   
Guatemala’s past human rights record is far from stellar, but its record is improving while
Venezuela’s is rapidly deteriorating.  Second,
Venezuela has demonstrated its contempt for the Security Council’s decisions by actively backing
Iran’s outright threats to international peace and security in defiance of the will of the international community.  
 

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States issued a statement on August 31, 2006 condemning the murder of Jesús Rafael Flores Rojas, a journalist of the daily Región, in
Venezuela.  This was no random act of violence.  On the night of August 23, 2006, Rojas arrived at his house in the locality of El Tigre, when an individual shot Rojas eight times in the presence of his daughter before fleeing in an automobile.  He had received prior death threats in response to his investigative political reporting.
 

Nor was the murder of Rojas one isolated case.  It followed two prior murders in 2006. Joaquín Tovar, the editor of the weekly Venezuelan paper Ahora, was shot and killed June 17th, while Jorge Aguirre, a photographer with El Mundo newspaper in
Caracas, was killed April 5th

 

And the violence directed against journalists in
Venezuela continues.  On October 7, 2006, journalist Pedro Bastardo was killed by several shots to the head.  On September 30, 2006, a team of reporters working for news channel Globovisión was assaulted, allegedly by supporters of President Hugo Chávez, during the march of presidential candidate for the opposition, Manuel Rosales, in the state of
Trujillo, eastern
Venezuela.  On September 19th, a reporter, Paulimar Rodríguez of the newspaper “El Nacional”, was also assaulted during a Rosales march, allegedly by Chávez supporters.  We are seeing violence directed at journalists by a bunch of fascist bullies, with Chavez’s regime the obvious beneficiary of a frightened press. 

 

Chávez has also railed against privately owned television stations, whose licenses are due to expire in 2007, charging that they broadcast content designed to “divide” the country.  With Presidential “elections” in
Venezuela coming up this December, the policy of press intimidation is obvious.   

 

Chavez has not confined his intimidation to the press.  He also has jailed political opponents.  In ordering the trial of four civil society leaders on dubious charges of treason, a Venezuelan court has assented to government persecution of political opponents, Human Rights Watch declared in July 2005.   “The court has given the government a green light to persecute its opponents,” said José Miguel Vivanco,
Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting people for treason when they engage in legitimate electoral activities is utterly absurd.”  

 

Coupled with
Venezuela’s deplorable human rights record at home is Chavez’s demonstration of contempt for the United Nations itself.   Perhaps his personal denunciations of President Bush as the “devil” before the General Assembly last month can be dismissed as the grand-standing of a lunatic buffoon.  But his unswerving apologia for
Iran’s defiance of the Security Council cannot be so easily excused.    Last February,
Venezuela joined
Cuba and
Syria in opposing the referral of
Iran to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions.   
Iran ignored the Council’s August 31st deadline to freeze its uranium enrichment program and continues to call the Security Council “illegitimate” as it finally prepares for possible sanctions against the rogue regime.   Chavez continues to serve as
Iran’s perfect lackey, supporting
Iran’s nuclear ambitions and promising to thwart any international consensus toward sanctions against
Iran.   Parroting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel tirades before an adoring crowd at

Tehran
University during a recent visit to
Iran, Chavez accused
Israel of “terrorism and pure fascism.”  And Chavez’s trade with Iran, now in excess of $1 billion, may include lethal materials being brought into
Venezuela, including nuclear technology.  Like
Iran’s leaders, Chavez denies any intention of developing nuclear weapons.  Yet his government has reportedly signed agreements on nuclear energy and sought to buy a nuclear reactor, with no involvement of the civilian Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research.  A prominent Venezuelan physicist has suggested that his country may indeed be embarked on a path to join the Nuclear Club along with North Korea and
Iran.

 


Iran awarded Chavez its highest state medal in gratitude for his “support for
Iran‘s stance on the international scene”, according to an Iranian station.   In contrast to
Venezuela’s complicity in undermining the authority of the very same Security Council that it wishes to join,
Guatemala has actively supported that institution’s decisions.  It contributed personnel for UN peacekeeping operations in each of the years 2006, 2005 and 2004. 
Venezuela has not contributed a single person during any of those years.

 

Chavez fancies himself as Castro’s successor, leading the world’s “oppressed” against the capitalist imperialists of the West.   Maybe, he does deserve the title.  After all, he has been Castro’s loyal puppet for many years.  Now he is adding Ahmadinejad as another puppeteer.  In his pathetic campaign for relevance on the world stage, Chavez is diverting oil revenues from meeting the needs of the poor back home in order to buy his way onto the Security Council.   He should be soundly rebuffed as a fraud who wants to sabotage the Security Council for his buddies, to the detriment of international peace and security. 

 

As a group of self-described “Venezolanos suffering (no peace, no prosperity, no hope) from Chavez lies” recently commented on the Internet (but would dare not write in any local Venezuelan newspaper for fear that they would end up like the murdered journalists): “We are Venezolanos living in Venezuela that want to apologize to the American People for the entropy that HUGO wants to create. He only has created fear and mistrust among the Venezuelan people and wants to do the same all around the world.”  The people suffering under Chavez’s yoke know him best and detest him.

 

In its previous four elections to the Security Council,
Venezuela received over 90% of the votes and was elected in the first round.  This time, it appears that less than half of the countries of Latin America are currently supporting
Venezuela.  Some of these countries have expressed resentment at Chavez’s interference in their elections.  They know their neighbor better than any country could outside of the region and do not trust him.

 

It is time for the President of the General Assembly to end Chavez’s theater of the absurd immediately and call for the election of a member state from the Latin American region that meets the minimum qualifications for a seat on the Security Council.

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Somali Islamists declare : “we will slaughter Christians” – “Somalis are 100% Muslim and will always remain so”

Somali Islamists declare : “we will slaughter Christians” – “Somalis are 100% Muslim and will always remain so”

October 17, 2006
MIM: According to the Society for Internet Research more then 500 Christians were killed in Somali over the past decade. The killing of an Italian nun in front of a children’s hospital had several precedents which garnered scant media attention.

“….there were several attacks against non-Muslim international relief workers in October–December 2003. On October 5, 2003, the Italian nun Annalena Tonneli—known as Mother Theresa of Africa and who had served in Somalia for thirty years “founding a hospital, orphanages and schools”—was killed by two armed men in front of the hospital. Soon after, on October 20, 2003, a British couple Richard and Enid Eyeington—working for SOS Children’s villages in Somaliland—were shot dead by several gunmen in their home inside the school compound. In November 2003 a Kenyan Christian working for the Seventh Day Adventist mission in Gedo, South West Somalia, was reportedly murdered by Islamist radicals…”

The zero tolerance for Christians was epitomised by the words of a Sheik who pronounced a death sentence on them in a 2003 interview:

“… Sheikh Nur Barud, vice chairman of the influential Somali Islamist group Kulanka Culimada…stressed that “all Somali Christians must be killed according to the Islamic law. A Muslim can never become a Christian but he can become an apostate. Such people do not have a place in Somalia and we will never recognize their existence and we will slaughter them”. The Sheikh concluded his interview by saying “Somalis are 100 percent Muslim and they will always remain so”.

MIM: How ironic that Somali taxi drivers at the Minnesota airport attempting to implement shari’a law by not picking up non Muslim passengers carrying alchohol complained that their “religious rights have to be respected”. jOver the years groups of Somali workers have been filing lawsuits against employers for discrimination after they were not granted permission to pray 5 times a day on company time.

More egregious still – Somali Muslims who were resettled in the United States to escape the strife in their home country are sending millions back to the warlords to perpetuate the violence. The government is also comprised of Islamists who believe in equal opportunity murder, and recently executed a citizen for a cell phone dispute to make it clear that shari’a law was to be enforced.

“…The man killed Friday, was sentenced to death for murdering a man in a cell phone dispute. A spokesman for the Islamic courts said the execution will send a message that Islamic sharia law will be enforced…” http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-09-22-voa14.cfm

Also see:

PDF] Somalia’s Islamists

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
with Somali priorities – the restoration of peace, legitimate. and broad-based government, of Muslim Youth (WAMY, based in Saudi Arabia); the
se2.isn.ch/serviceengine/FileContent?serviceID=7&fileid=792A1DE7-B212-2D2A-4543-3A46F13B1E68&lng=en – Similar pages

Muslims Persecution of Christians: The Unknown Side of Radical Islam in Somalia

http://www.sofir.org/sarchives/005657.php#

Somalia is considered to be a country that does not recognize religious freedom, because there is no constitution and no legal provision for its protection. About 99.5 percent of the Somalia population is Muslim. The very small Christian minority comprises of ethnic Bantus, as well as humanitarian workers and expatriates. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a Christian human rights organization, Somalia is the worst persecutor of Christians among all the nations in Africa. Thus, it can mean death to be openly Christian in Somalia. Christians are now the only group having no place to flee in Somalia, and cannot register as refugees to resettle in other countries. Since Muslims control refugee camps, most Christians have fled to the remote areas of Ethiopia and Kenya along the border.

Since U.S. and U.N. peacekeeping forces left in 1995, Islamic mobs have murdered more than 500 Christians in Somalia. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG), created in 2004, has enacted a constitution, which recognizes only Islam as the national religion. It tried to establish a central government but the two other parts of the country, the Republic of Somaliland and the Republic of Puntland, have declared independence, proclaiming themselves to be Islamic states, and established Shari’ah law. However, regional authorities do not espouse rhetoric against non-Muslims. The Judiciary in most regions relies on some combination of Shari’ah, traditional and customary law, and the Penal Code of the pre-1991 Siad Barre government.

The hatred of the Muslims toward Christians may be caused by the attitude of many toward Christianity, which is regarded as a foreign religion of their historic enemies in Ethiopia and their former colonial masters, Italy and Great Britain. In 1886 the Roman Catholic Mission setup a mission base and established a school at the port town of Berbera in the then British protectorate of Somaliland. About the same time the Franciscan mission of the Roman Catholic Church and the Swedish Overseas Lutheran Mission each setup a mission base in Mogadishu and Kismayu towns respectively. Soon, the church was expanding rapidly to Margarita (Jamame), Mugambo and Alexandra (Jilib). Their missionary brought about a tiny Christian community of up to one thousand people, mainly in the south.

During the 1950s three Christian missions, namely the Swedish Lutheran Mission, the Mennonite Mission and Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) arrived in Somalia and Somali inhabited territories of Ethiopia and Kenya. Small group house churches sprung up in several towns throughout the Somali territory. As the church started to grow, so was the persecution, murdering and forced exile. Church property and institutions were nationalized in 1972 and all mission work was stopped in 1974. Furthermore, during Said Barre’s rule, in the 1970s and 1980s, the government banned the printing, importing, distributing or selling of Christian literature in the country. The government and its National Security Services secret police threatened, arrested, tortured, and murdered Somali Christians. Literally, freedom of religion was stated in the national constitution, but practically no one applied it. Many Somali Christians lost their jobs and businesses; others to survive abandoned their faith or immigrated to the western world. Those lucky enough got jobs with western embassies and international organizations in Mogadishu.

When president Siad Barre’s government was ousted from power in 1991 and the national government of Somalia fell apart, radical Muslim organizations became stronger and more powerful to do whatever they wish. They set up a committee of several sheikhs to search and identify all Somali Christians, whether they were in or out of Somalia. They also appointed a group of armed young men to execute all Somali Christians. Between January 1991 and December 1995 over two hundred Somali Christian adults were killed in Somalia and the neighboring countries of Yemen, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti. Many more were wounded and either became refugee to other countries or denied their faith to save their lives. Thousands of Somali Christians left Somalia and became refugees and still many more Christians remain underground in Somalia. They followed those who took refuge to Kenya and the neighboring countries. Many are persecuted, beaten or charged with false accusations in Nairobi by the Somali radical Muslims. In May 2001, for instance, Somali Christian man by the name of Bashir was tranquillized by his relatives by force and abducted to Somalia through Wilson airport without the government’s knowledge of his being abducted. Later, he was murdered in Burao, Somalia.

Thus, many Christian Somalis have fled abroad as a result of the wars, chaos, civil strife and instability which followed the collapse of Somalia in 1991, a situation which apparently continued following the withdrawal of American forces in 1994. Christian churches have been driven underground because of persecution and a number of Christians have been imprisoned and martyred over the years. Evangelism is prohibited, and Christians pray on Friday to avoid association with foreign Christianity.

The peace conference nearly collapsed in February 2003, when three Somali Christians went to Eldoret town and requested to participate on the Somali peace conference and represent the Somali Christian community. The Christians had demanded their right to freedom of religion and assembly, political representation, and free movement. Christian representatives were reportedly “shouted down by Muslim delegates who insisted Somalia had no Christians and who declared Islam to be the official religion of Somalia.” Peter Ahmed Abdi, leader of the Mogadishu Pentecostal Church, who is also chairman of the tiny Christian Somali community, said then “we live in constant fear. We have very little rights, since people believe that there are no Christians in Somalia”.

On February 9, 2003, the umbrella of the Somali Muslim religious groups, a powerful religious organ, met in Mogadishu and issued a memorandum. They stated in their memorandum and press release which was broadcasted or published by several local and international radio stations, newspapers and websites several articles concerning the Somali Christians. They also asked the participants of the peace conference not to accept any Somali who is claiming that he or she is Christian to participate in the conference and sit with them. According to the articles, Somali Christians abandoned Islam and must be killed; Somali Christians can neither inherit nor be inherited; their marriage to their spouses must be dissolved; Somali Christians forfeited their Somalihood; and once they die, Somali Christians cannot be buried in Somali soil. Fourteen sheikhs representing different major Somali clans signed this memorandum. Some of them are those who authorized and organized the campaign to eliminate Somali Christians from the Horn of Africa region.Sheikh Nur Barud, vice chairman of the influential Somali Islamist group Kulanka Culimada, claimed on April 22, 2004, that “some Somalis who claimed to be Christians went to attend the Somali reconciliation conference in Nairobi. These Somalis are apostates and they will be killed upon their return to Somalia”. The Kulanka Culimada was founded in February 1991. Most of its key leaders are graduates of Islamic seminaries in Saudi Arabia. In an interview to Himilo online held in November 2003, the Sheikh stressed that “all Somali Christians must be killed according to the Islamic law. A Muslim can never become a Christian but he can become an apostate. Such people do not have a place in Somalia and we will never recognize their existence and we will slaughter them”. The Sheikh concluded his interview by saying “Somalis are 100 percent Muslim and they will always remain so”.

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2005 report on international religious freedom, the Christian minority in Somalia is “small” and “extremely law profile”. Proselytizing for any religion except Islam is prohibited in Puntland and Somaliland and effectively blocked by informal social consensus elsewhere in the country. Although Christian-based international relief organizations generally operate without interference, provided that they refrain from proselytizing, there were several attacks against non-Muslim international relief workers in October–December 2003. On October 5, 2003, the Italian nun Annalena Tonneli—known as Mother Theresa of Africa and who had served in Somalia for thirty years “founding a hospital, orphanages and schools”—was killed by two armed men in front of the hospital. Soon after, on October 20, 2003, a British couple Richard and Enid Eyeington—working for SOS Children’s villages in Somaliland—were shot dead by several gunmen in their home inside the school compound. In November 2003 a Kenyan Christian working for the Seventh Day Adventist mission in Gedo, South West Somalia, was reportedly murdered by Islamist radicals.

In addition, in April 2004. thousands of Somalian Muslims marched through the streets of Mogadishu and in the southern coastal town of Merca, protesting at what they said was an attempt by aid agencies to spread Christianity. Muslim scholars organized the protest following reports that school children were given gifts with Christian emblems alongside charitable aid. The protesters set ablaze hundreds of cartoons containing goods, some marked only as gifts from the “Swiss Church”. The protesters warned the aid agencies against using relief items to evangelize in the country.

+++

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2474

IDF expands operation in Gaza, approaches southern border, kills gunmen

The Israel Defense Forces pushed into southern Gaza before dawn Wednesday, killing two Palestinian militants, the army and Palestinians reported.

Israeli soldiers killed the two as they approached army positions near Rafah, on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, an army spokesman said.

Palestinian security officials said Israeli infantry and tanks took over a swath of the Gaza-Egypt border before dawn Wednesday, including the Rafah border terminal. Troops carried out house-to-house searches and bulldozers levelled agricultural land near the border, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The army spokesman said Israeli forces were widening the scope of an ongoing operation in southern Gaza, a push he said was aimed at uncovering tunnels used by Palestinian militants to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Israel has charged that militants have smuggled large quantities of weapons over the border since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza last summer.

Late Tuesday, Palestinians said a Hamas gunman was killed near the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza during an exchange of fire with Israeli troops. The army said it was checking the report.

Also Tuesday, the Israeli military said its forces discovered a tunnel under the border between Gaza and Egypt near the Israeli border. The military said the tunnel was being used to smuggle weapons into Gaza. Also, two other tunnel shafts were discovered, the military said. Soldiers planned to blow them up later in the day.

The Israelis say they have discovered 13 such tunnels in the past three months. Israel charges that since it withdrew from Gaza a year ago, turning control of the border over to Egypt and the Palestinians, arms smuggling into Gaza has greatly increased.

In clashes Tuesday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed five Palestinians. In three clashes in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinians. In the city of Nablus, Palestinians said undercover soldiers opened fire on a car, killing a local leader of the Fatah-linked Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and his cousin. The Israeli military said the militant was responsible for attacks against Israelis.

In the nearby town of Qabatiyeh, soldiers killed an Islamic Jihad militant. Also, soldiers fired at Palestinians who were throwing rocks at them, killing one, both sides said.