TV presenter gets death sentence for ‘sorcery’

NOTE: As is typical, CNN, like other media, do not even attempt to enlighten their readers as to why this happened. Here is what you need to know in order to understand this article:

  • The constitution of Saudi Arabia is the Koran.
  • The laws of Saudi Arabia come from the Koran, the sayings of Muhammad and Sharia law.
  • Under sharia law, “sorcery” and any other form of “predicting the future” is forbidden because only Allah determines the future. Therefore, sorcery is considered a form of blasphemy and unbelief, which is punishable by death.
  • Sharia law specifically forbids sorcery: “Sorcery is an enormity because the sorcerer must necessarily disbelieve, and the accursed Devil has no other motive for teaching a person witchcraft than that he might thereby ascribe associates to Allah. [note: this is the Islamic crime of "shirk", the greatest possible sin in Islam].  The manual of sharia law, Umdat al-Salik, cites two verses from the Koran: 1) “A sorcerer will never prosper wherever he goes” (20:69); and 2) “… But the devils disbelieved, teaching people sorcery” (2:102).
  • The manual of sharia law lists six categories of “unlawful knowledge”, among which are “sorcery, philosophy, magic, astrology, materialist science, and anything that is a means to create doubts (in the eternal truths).
  •  In Islam, “sorcery” constitutes “disbelief in destiny” and destiny is the province of Allah alone.
  • Saudi Arabia is, supposedly, our friend and ally.
  • Our president bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Arabia, like all Moslem countries, rejects our Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When will Amnesty International and other human rights organizations take a stand on this? When will America bring this up at the United Nations?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/03/19/saudi.arabia.sorcery/index.html?hpt=Sbin

TV presenter gets death sentence for ‘sorcery’

By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
March 19, 2010 10:30 a.m. EDT

Ali Hussain Sibat pictured with two of his five children.

Ali Hussain Sibat pictured with two of his five children.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ali Hussain Sibat faces death sentence for predicting future on TV show
  • Sibat arrested, tried and sentenced during pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia
  • Reports say case is due to return to appeals court

(CNN) — Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for “sorcery.”

In a statement released Thursday, the international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.

The attorney, May El Khansa, who is in Lebanon, tells CNN her client was arrested by Saudi Arabia’s religious police (known as the Mutawa’een) and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008. Sibat was in Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic religious pilgrimage known as Umra.

Sibat was then put on trial. In November 2009, a court in the Saudi city of Medina found Sibat guilty and sentenced him to death.

According to El Khansa, Sibat appealed the verdict. The case was taken up by the Court of Appeal in the Saudi city of Mecca on the grounds that the initial verdict was “premature.”

El Khansa tells CNN that the Mecca appeals court then sent the case back to the original court for reconsideration, stipulating that all charges made against Sibat needed to be verified and that he should be given a chance to repent.

On March 10, judges in Medina upheld their initial verdict, meaning Sibat is once again sentenced to be executed.

“The Medina court refused the sentence of the appeals court,” said El Khansa, adding her client will appeal the verdict once more.

The case has been covered extensively by local media. According to Arab News, an English language Saudi daily newspaper, after the most recent verdict was issued, the judges in Medina issued a statement expressing that Sibat deserved to be executed for having continually practiced black magic on his show, adding that this sentence would deter others from practicing sorcery. Arab News reports that the case will now return to the appeals court in Mecca.

CNN has not been able to reach Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice for comment.

Bush urged to address Muslim ‘hate’ in books

“The Saudis’ Secret Agenda”

“The Saudis’ Secret Agenda”
By see-dubya  •  May 3, 2008 07:48 PM

The other day I linked a surprising piece in The Australian quoting a respected analyst who believes that America’s dedication to winning in Iraq has strengthened our world position. It’s the sort of position that’s too heretical for the mainstream media even to note, but the Australian did a good job summing it up and putting it out there.

Looks like they’ve done it again. Different authors, great piece, summing up a worldwide problem into what looks like around a thousand words. Some of it you probably already knew and suspected, but it’s a story that doesn’t get told enough–sometimes for very understandable, if infuriating, reasons. Anyway, Saudi funding:

The Saudi Government – largely through its embassy – is believed to have funnelled at least $120 million into Australia since the 1970s to propagate hardline Islam, bankroll radical clerics and build mosques, schools and charitable orgnisations.

But the Saudi cash that has flowed into Australia, that also allegedly has paid the allowance of hardline Canberra cleric Mohammed Swaiti, who has publicly praised jihadists, is dwarfed by the $90 billion Riyadh is believed to have pumped into promoting Islamic fundamentalism internationally.

There’s an important distinction to be made here between funding for actual terrorists and funding for Wahhabist mosques and studies generally. Even if you, dear reader, may not see much of a difference there, the world does, and it’s useful to bear that fact in mind as you see where the money comes from and where it goes.*

Of course, there’s also the other PR/goodwill money that goes to often awaits career diplomats whom the Saudis take a shine to**, and which universities are always glad to receive:

In Australia, Griffith academic Mohamad Abdalla has defended his decision to seek the grant, saying the money came with no strings attached. But critics, including the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s national security project director Carl Ungerer, say this is naive and the money is part of a Wahhabist “hearts and minds” campaign being waged by the Saudis in the Muslim world.

US-based Middle East expert and author Daniel Pipes says it is wrong to presume that all academics would follow their donor’s line merely to keep the stream of funds rolling.

“Academics have a distinct point of view and are not about to be bought and change their point of view for any sum of money,” he tells Inquirer. “But they are willing to shape their work and their views. So you can’t buy them but you can rent them. So someone who might have been inclined to ask tough questions will do something else. It’s subtle. It’s not like the Saudis come to town to buy up academics who grovel before them, as was the case with Griffith University.”

Last month, Britain’s MI5 director-general Jonathan Evans reportedly told his Government that the Saudi Government’s multimillion-dollar donations to universities, along with other funds from Muslim organisations in countries such as Pakistan, had led to a “dangerous increase in the spread of extremism in leading university campuses”.

There’s still more crammed in the article, including a deviously clever (though politically intractable and legally impractical) proposal by Steven Emerson to stigmatize academies who suckle too deeply at the Saudi petrodollar teat.

* Remember that one of Al-Qaeda’s goals is to destroy the debauched and un-Islamic royal family. I’m no expert in the intricacies of Saudi politics, but I can see this from the Royals’ perspective: the rulers could sincerely want to walk the line, (which I don’t think exists, but I may be wrong, or the Saudis may be deluding themselves) and try to be anti-al-Qaeda and yet pro-Wahhabism. The latter position perhaps because of conviction but also because they want to cultivate street cred among their populace that they’re authentic Muslims, no matter what Al Qaeda and their other radical detractors say. Kind of the Saudi equivalent of Hillary Clinton’s new prayer-warrior pose.

**To be clear, this aspect isn’t mentioned in the article, but I once heard Daniel Pipes discuss it in a lecture and I thought it was worth a mention.

Breaking: TERROR ATTACK AT SCOTTLAND AIRPORT: SUV Rams Gates Of Glasgow Airport And Blows Up

Breaking: TERROR ATTACK AT SCOTTLAND AIRPORT: SUV Rams

Gates Of Glasgow Airport And Blows Up

Jeep Cherokee full of gas cans drives into Terminal #1 in failed attempt to kill passengers ***UPDATE: Police Now Officially Characterizing It As A Terrorist Event, 10 AM PST***

Eyewitness on Sky TV: Car was full of gas cans. Driver and passenger were throwing gasoline all around the scene after they crashed the SUV into the terminal door. After ramming an airport gate, the guy charged the terminal as flames began to burst from the vehicle, and angled it in order to best ram through the glass terminal door and kill passengers inside. One man from the vehicle burst into flames. Amidst the fire and chaos, the terrorists were wrestled to the ground by Taxi drivers and passengers.

Passenger Eyewitness: “Things like that happen in England all the time. You never expect it here in little Glasgow. There were no police around right away.”

INJURIES REPORTED: “There were people injured, because I’ve seen them lying on the road; I was standing next to departures, I heard a great big massive bang, and then all the folk from departures were running through arrivals.”

Another Eyewitness: “They wrestled him to the ground – the fire was burning through his clothes – and finally put him out with a fire extinguisher.”

Another eyewitness said one of the men had tried to open the boot of the vehicle but was not successful.”Police tried to restrain him but the guy was quite strong and he started fighting off the police,” he said.

glasgowterrorport

Sky Update: Two people have now been arrested.

POLICE STATEMENT: WE ARE INVESTIGATING THE LINKS TO YESTERDAY”S FOILED TERROR ATTACKS IN LONDON

English Prime Minister’s Statement: “We are monitoring the events in Glasgow”

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.’s Reaction: “What’s important to understand from this, is that we are at war. We are at war with Global terrorism.”

glasgowcarburn

Factoids: Glasgow Airport caters primarily to short-haul flights, and lacks the security of major airports. It has no concrete airport barriers.
One British report described the men as “Asian” which is a common British term for Pakistanis
Britain estimates there are 2,000 “potential Islamist terrorists” living in the U.K.

Sky News

Burning Car In Airport Terminal
Updated: 16:23, Saturday June 30, 2007

A jeep has driven into the terminal building at Glasgow airport and caught fire, police have confirmed.

Witnesses reported hearing a series of loud “bangs” and saw a man on fire.

The scene
It is thought a Cherokee 4×4 smashed through security barriers at the airport, the busiest in Scotland.

Police say it is too early to say whether the incident – which comes after failed car bomb attacks on London – was related to terrorism.

James Edgar told Sky News: “People were running past like they has missed their flight.

Posted by Pat Dollard 15 Comments

Jun 29th 2007

Press One For English

Cracks in Saudi-US relations

Cracks in Saudi-US relations

By Ted Belman

A few days ago I reported Saudi Arabia stabs US in the back and referred to the Mecca Accords. I am happy to see that US has put the kibosh on the deal, because it doesn’t recognize Israel and Congress has put the kibosh on the $86 million promised to Abbas.

But one word of complaint. The reason given for rejecting the accord is tantamount to tolerating the terror and arming of terrorists. Until they insist in the dismantling of the terror structure, they aren’t serious.

Now,

DEBKAfile reports Saudis to purchase nuclear option, advanced missiles and spy satellites off the shelf from Pakistan and Russia

Moscow will assist in Saudi development of a civilian nuclear program and build six “research satellites” for the oil kingdom. DEBKAfile’s Gulf intelligence sources report this was agreed in the Putin-Abdullah talks held in Riyadh earlier this week. Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah. Israeli military sources report that Moscow in fact undertook to provide Saudi Arabia with half a dozen military surveillance satellites, launch them and set up ground control centers.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources also revealed last month that Musharraf had contracted to make nuclear weapons available to Riyadh in a nuclear emergency.

What gives here.

Jihad U

Jihad U
By Patrick Poole
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 14, 2007

From the East Coast through the American Heartland to the West Coast, a rapidly growing and extremely popular Islamic studies program is bringing Wahhabi extremism and Muslim Brotherhood activism into mosques and Muslim student groups throughout
North America. The Al-Maghrib Institute features motivational-style speakers, aggressive marketing, savvy use of the Internet and slick multi-media presentations as part of their for-college-credit courses leading to an Islamic Studies degree offered at mosques in at least thirteen cities


College Park, Maryland

Fairfax, Virginia

Houston, Texas

New Brunswick, New Jersey

San Francisco
Bay area,

California

Seattle, Washington

Memphis, Tennessee

Sacramento, California

Detroit, Michigan/

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Chicago, Illinois

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Toronto, Quebec, Canada

Al-Maghrib also ran onsite seminars in
Columbus, Ohio during 2006. In addition to the courses they offer, the Institute sponsors a site selling Al-Maghrib audio and video course lectures, EmanRush Audio, and Khutbah.com, which provides texts of sermons and articles delivered by Al-Maghrib instructors and staff.

 

The staple of Al-Maghrib’s course offerings are the double weekend seminars held at their permanent sites. Locations of upcoming seminars, including one held this past weekend in
Atlanta, are provided on the Al-Maghrib website. In addition, the Al-Maghrib instructors are in high demand as motivational speakers at Muslim organization events all over the world. The Institute is also active amongst the 150 chapters of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) located at universities all over the
US and
Canada. The MSA is one of the front groups operated by the international Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Maghrib staff are also regular fixtures on several Islamic satellite television networks.

 

The organization’s Wahhabi-influenced extremism, rabid anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials, and militaristic preaching of jihad even have other Muslims expressing concern about the radicalizing effect of Al-Maghrib’s preaching and programs.

 

Al-Maghrib’s educational courses are accredited by the American Open University, which in turn is accredited by

Al-Ahzar
University in
Cairo – the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and largest radical Islamic organization in the world. The courses offered by Al-Mahgrib count only as course credit for the AOU’s Bachelors in Islamic Studies degree, the only English language program offered by AOU.

 

A review of the course summary for the Islamic Studies degree program shows that the reading is dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi theologians and theorists. In particular, the AOU program requires reading of Sayyid Qutb’s, In the Shade of the Quran, the text for AOU’s 113 Analytic Tafseer I course. Qutb, the leading Muslim Brotherhood thinker executed by Nasser in the 1960s after an assassination attempt, has been described as “Bin Laden’s Brain” due to the extensive influence Qutb has had in justifying terrorism and jihad and laying down the theoretical principles that al-Qaeda was built upon.

 

Another Muslim Brotherhood theorist prominent in the curriculum is Sayyid Sabiq, who wrote his book, Fiqh-us-Sunnah, at the request of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. The two volumes of Sabiq’s work are the sole text for AOU’s 141 Fiqh of Worship I course. In the majority of AOU’s required reading for their Islamic Studies program, which Al-Maghrib offers course credit for, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and those influenced and approved by the Brotherhood figure prominently. 

Bilal Phillips is another name that appears repeatedly on AOU’s and Al-Maghrib’s reading lists. Phillips has recently gained notoriety as one of the radical preachers secretly videotaped as part of the Undercover Mosque investigative program aired last month on England’s Channel 4 (Robert Spencer reviewed this program for FrontPage in his article, Islamic Prejudice, Islamic Denial).

 

In the Undercover Mosque program, Bilal Phillips was videotaped explaining during a lecture the acceptability of forced Islamic marriages for prepubescent girls:

 

The Prophet Mohammed practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty, with his practice he clarified what is permissible and that is why we shouldn’t have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman, which is looked down upon by this society today, but we know that Prophet Mohammed practiced it, it wasn’t abuse or exploitation, it was marriage. 

After the Undercover Mosque program aired, it was severly attacked by Al-Maghrib instructor Yasir Qadhi, who launched into a 15 minute tirade defending the extremist speakers secretly videotaped by Channel 4 at the beginning of his regular Islami Q&A program on the Islam Channel satellite network. After Qadhi’s video defense aired, Bilal Phillips himself followed his friend’s lead and also aired a defense on YouTube. 

But the Muslim Brotherhood influence is not the only troubling aspect to Al-Maghrib’s programs and message. In fact, all six of Al-Maghrib’s instructors have degrees from Saudi institutions controlled by the extremist Wahhabi sect:

 

  • Muhammad Alshreef, the founder of Al-Maghrib Institute and a Canadian citizen, graduated from the Islamic University of Medina in 1999 with a degree in shari’a. The

    University of
    Medina was founded in 1961 by the ruling Saud family specifically for the propagation of Wahhabism worldwide.

  • Yasir Birjas, a Palestinian, graduated from the Islamic University of Media as the 1996 class valedictorian. He subsequently worked for a “relief charity” in
    Bosnia.
  • AbdulBary Yahya and Yasir Qadhi both obtained degrees from the Islamic University of Medina.
  • Mohammed Faqih obtained his initial degree from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences (IIAS) in
    Fairfax, VA, and then graduated from the

    King
    Abdulaziz
    University in
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden’s alma mater and haven for Muslim Brotherhood teachers who fled persecution from the
    Nasser regime in
    Egypt during the 1950s and 1960s. Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Mohammed, was a long-time instructor in Jeddah and was one of bin Laden’s primary mentors, as was Abdullah Azzam, the founder of Al-Qaeda. The IIAS was operated by Saudi diplomats as a branch of the Saudi Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University until it came under pressure from the US government when the diplomatic visas of 16 school’s instructors were withdrawn by the US, according to a report in the Washington Post; after the Saudis withdrew their support in 2004, the Institute was closed and searched by the US government for its links to terrorism.

  • Waleed Basyouni attended the Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in the Saudi capital of
    Riyadh, the academic heart of Wahhabi Islam, where he obtained a Bachelors and a Masters Degree. According to Basyouni’s DiscovertheNetwork.org profile, he studied under Sheikh Abdelaziz bin Baz, who author Gilles Kepel identifies as “the principal Wahhabite ideologist” in his book, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (p. 210).

 

Al-Maghrib instructors have come under severe public criticism by other Muslims for attacking and declaring heretic other mainstream Sunni scholars who do not hold to the Wahhabi version of Islam preached by the organization’s speakers. In fact, in 2006 a boycott of Al-Maghrib’s was called for when Yasir Qadhi declared a recently-deceased and universally revered Islamic scholar, Sheikh Alawi al-Maliki, a polytheist on one of Al-Maghrib’s online forums:

 

While it is the general policy of Al Maghrib not to quote individuals, I make exceptions in certain cases – this being one of them. Alawi al-Maliki is one of the most revered of modern Sufi personas – to speak evil of him is tantamount to apostasy in the eyes of many of his followers. For them, he is the leader of the awliya of Allah. Yet, it is no exaggeration to state that he was one of the most active proponents in our times of blatant acts of shirk (polytheism-ed.). . . 

All Islamic traditions identify “shirk” as the gravest offense possible, and therefore, making Qadhi’s pronouncement a de facto condemnation to Hell for al-Maliki. But as soon as the boycott was called for, however, Qadhi’s post was removed from the Al-Maghrib’s forum without any explanation or apology.

 

The curriculum areas taught by Qadhi, particularly the Light of Guidance and Light upon Light courses, are dedicated to pronouncing as heretical the non-Wahhabi Sunni schools of theology, particularly the Sufi movement. These are some of the most popular seminars taught by the Institute; in fact, the Light of Guidance seminar was taught by Qadhi this past weekend in the
Atlanta area.
 

But the concern over Al-Maghrib’s teachings extend much further than their Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi influences. Anti-Semitic diatribes and Holocaust denials are regular themes preached by Al-Maghrib’s instructors. Institute founder Muhammad Alshareef expressed his thoughts on Muslim-Jewish relations in an article he published entitled, “Why the Jews are Cursed” (curiously, this article is not available on Al-Maghrib’s Khutbah.com website). As noted by the Militant Islam Monitor, in Alshareef’s article he expounds on the anti-Semitic canard that the international media is owned and controlled by Jews, and thus, biased against Muslims:

 

When I was in high school, studying in journalism class, our teacher had placed on the wall a statement that I spent many days contemplating. It simply said, “Freedom of the press (speech) belongs to those that own the press!” Who owns the press? Well, you can believe me when I say that it is not the god fearing beloved of Allah.

 

The remainder of Alshareef’s article recites a litany of accusations against the Jewish faith, blaming them for a wide range of iniquities, including changing the words of Allah, making blasphemous statements, and murdering the Prophets. He concludes his essay by decreeing that Muslims should not ally with Jews, should not imitate them and proscribing Muslims from ever marrying Jews or Christians.

 

But Muhammad Alshareef holds no monopoly on anti-Semitism amongst the Al-Maghrib faculty. In a speech entitled “What Have You Done for the Deen of Allah”, Waleed Basyouni identifies the behavior of Jews during Muhammad’s era as the reason that Jews do not and cannot know Allah:

 

Seven years the prophet and his companions suffered from the Jew in
Medina. Seven years, the Jew try to destroy this, a new Muslims’ country. . . . They try everything. They try to kill him. . . . They try to make deals with the Kufar, so they could attack Muslims. They support the hypocrites. They start everything. Seven years, suffering from them. He went outside
Medina to one of the Jews’ city, full of money, full of farms, gold, foods. They went out from
Medina, they are poor.

 

In a September 2002 report published by FrontPage, the Saudi Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies cited Mohammed Fiqih’s alma mater, the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies, as “the largest source of Saudi hate literature in the
Washington area.” The report also quotes Saudi Institute Director Ali al-Ahmed on the IISA’s enforcement of Wahhabi segregation of the sexes, including separate back door entrances for female students:
 

IIASA is beyond reform. It practices religious and gender apartheid. Female students are not allowed in the library except for four hours each week, when men are not around. Classes are segregated and women are taught through closed-circuit television. 

According to a May 2006 report by David Ouellette, in a detailed exposition of the Quran’s Surah Yusuf [complete audio mp3 file] by Alshareef’s colleague Yasir Qadhi, he draws from the anti-Semitic tract, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to explain that Jews are not racially Semitic, and therefore, do not have any right to make a claim on their Holy Land. Citing a book denying the Holocaust, he informs hearers that:

 

All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. 

Holocaust denial seems to be a regular fascination for Qadhi. In December, Yasir Qadhi sent an email message to the AlifBaaTaa email list (Qadhi’s email subsequently has either been removed or is no longer available for public viewing; link is to Google cache) with a link to an article authored by Alexander Baron, one of the invited speakers to the recent Tehran Conference on the Holocaust hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At this international Holocaust denial-fest, Baron presented a paper entitled, “The Nazi Gas Chambers: Rumours, Lies and Reality – One Researcher’s Views”. In his post, Qadhi offered no other comments about the article other than to provide the link, apparently in agreement with the content of Baron’s analysis.

 

The teaching of aggressive militaristic jihad is also a common theme in Al-Maghrib’s courses, which rely on commentaries by 13th Century theologian Ibn Taymiyyah and Wahhabi sect founder, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. One seminar taught by Muhammad Alshareef is his review of the jihadist exploits and military campaigns of the first four “rightly guided” caliphs, Conquest: History of the Khulafaa’. The militaristic themes for this course are evident in the one minute video trailer for the seminar.

 

The triumphalist vision of Islam as the inevitable sole world power and the justification of militaristic conquests under the banner of jihad are also repeated in the Al-Maghrib course, Islam Invulnerable: The Making of the Modern Muslim World. Tracing the rise of Islam as a global power from the initial Islamic invasions and occupations of the Near East, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, it glories in the triumphs of the Ottoman, Safavid, Qajar and Mughal Empires and provides its unique spin of the present Israeli (“Zionist”)-Arab conflict. The Crusades and European “imperialist” and “colonialist” efforts in recent centuries are denounced, while Islamic conquests undergo “narrative reinterpretation” to explain the difference between the two.

 

Al-Maghrib instructors also regular speak with other extremist preachers advocating for terrorism and violent jihad. In a FrontPage article last March, “The Visiting Jihadist”, Joe Kaufman revealed that Institute instructor Abdulbary Yahya was scheduled to speak at an event with Ibrahim Dremali, an advocate of suicide bombings and had led crowds in burning Israeli flags and chanting, “With jihad we’ll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand.” The event was sponsored by the

University of
Central Florida’s Muslim Student Association and paid for with Student Government Association funds. Dremali and Yahya had previously shared the podium at the 2005 Texas Dawah Convention, which also featured Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993

World
Trade
Center bombings.

 

The connections between Al-Maghrib staff and terrorist supporters sometimes don’t lead far from home. In 2004, Muhammad Alshareef’s father, Helmy Elsherief, was detained in
Egypt and interrogated regarding his associations with known terrorists. As Alshareef explained in a personal appeal published on the Al-Maghrib online forum, Elsherief was held because of his pre-9/11 work with “charities” in Pakistan that are known to have been al-Qaeda front organizations. Elsherief was eventually released by Egyptian authorities.

 

In particular, Elsherief was an associate of Ahmed Said Khadr, a top al-Qaeda financier, the top al-Qaeda agent in
Canada, and a close personal associate of Osama bin Laden – a fact conveniently never mentioned by Alshareef in his personal appeals. After leaving
Canada, Khadr’s entire family, identified by Daniel Pipes as “Canada’s First Family of Terrorism”, lived with bin Laden in his
Kabul compound. Ahmed Khadr was killed in a firefight with Pakistani security forces in October 2003, which also injured and disabled his youngest son, Abdul. His second youngest son, Omar, is presently imprisoned as an enemy combatant at

Guantanamo
Bay after killing a
US medic with a hand grenade in 2002 during a battle in
Afghanistan.

 

The extremist messages preached by Al-Maghrib and their associates have also landed instructors themselves in trouble with US authorities. This past August, the Houston Chronicle reported that Yasir Qadhi complained during a public meeting at

Rice
University with government officials that he was on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watch list and consequently is regularly detained when entering the country. In addition, according to an announcement issued by the Al-Maghrib Institute’s staff, instructor Yaser Birjas was arrested and detained by US authorities in 2005 due to problems with his immigration visa.

 

In the span of just a few short years, the Al-Maghrib Institute has quickly established itself as one of the premiere Islamic instructional programs in North America, as attested to by its 13 mosque-based affiliates and their regular appearances at Muslim Student Association events. Audio and video lecture series, an impressive Internet presence and regular satellite television programs by Al-Maghrib faculty extend their influence even further. Furthermore, the Institute’s instructors are in high demand as event speakers for Islamic organizations all over the world.

 

Al-Maghrib’s rapid rise should cause concern, however, as its Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired messages of religious extremism, racial bigotry and advocacy of jihad and militancy are being spread like cancer in Muslim communities throughout the US and Canada. And this ideological cancer spread by the Al-Maghrib Institute potentially threatens Muslims and non-Muslims alike as its popularity and radicalism continues to increase.

Saudis Say They Might Back Sunnis if U.S. Leaves Iraq

Saudis Say They Might Back Sunnis if U.S. Leaves Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 — Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq, according to American and Arab diplomats.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia conveyed that message to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago during Mr. Cheney’s whirlwind visit to Riyadh, the officials said. During the visit, King Abdullah also expressed strong opposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, and pushed for Washington to encourage the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, senior Bush administration officials said.

The Saudi warning reflects fears among America’s Sunni Arab allies about Iran’s rising influence in Iraq, coupled with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. King Abdullah II of Jordan has also expressed concern about rising Shiite influence, and about the prospect that the Shiite-dominated government would use Iraqi troops against the Sunni population.

A senior Bush administration official said Tuesday that part of the administration’s review of Iraq policy involved the question of how to harness a coalition of moderate Iraqi Sunnis with centrist Shiites to back the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

The Saudis have argued strenuously against an American pullout from Iraq, citing fears that Iraq’s minority Sunni Arab population would be massacred. Those fears, United States officials said, have become more pronounced as a growing chorus in Washington has advocated a draw-down of American troops in Iraq, coupled with diplomatic outreach to Iran, which is largely Shiite.

“It’s a hypothetical situation, and we’d work hard to avoid such a structure,” one Arab diplomat in Washington said. But, he added, “If things become so bad in Iraq, like an ethnic cleansing, we will feel we are pulled into the war.”

The Bush administration is also working on a way to form a coalition of Sunni Arab nations and a moderate Shiite government in Iraq, along with the United States and Europe, to stand against “Iran, Syria and the terrorists,” another senior administration official said Tuesday.

Until now Saudi officials have promised their counterparts in the United States that they would refrain from aiding Iraq’s Sunni insurgency. But that pledge holds only as long as the United States remains in Iraq.

The Saudis have been wary of supporting Sunnis in Iraq because their insurgency there has been led by extremists of Al Qaeda, who are opposed to the kingdom’s monarchy. But if Iraq’s sectarian war worsened, the Saudis would line up with Sunni tribal leaders.

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who told his staff on Monday that he was resigning his post, recently fired Nawaf Obaid, a consultant who wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post two weeks ago contending that “one of the first consequences” of an American pullout of Iraq would “be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.”

Mr. Obaid also suggested that Saudi Arabia could cut world oil prices in half by raising its production, a move that he said “would be devastating to Iran, which is facing economic difficulties even with today’s high oil prices.” The Saudi government disavowed Mr. Obaid’s column, and Prince Turki canceled his contract.

But Arab diplomats said Tuesday that Mr. Obaid’s column reflected the view of the Saudi government, which has made clear its opposition to an American pullout from Iraq.

In a speech in Philadelphia last week, Prince Turki reiterated the Saudi position against an American withdrawal from Iraq. “Just picking up and leaving is going to create a huge vacuum,” he told the World Affairs Council. “The U.S. must underline its support for the Maliki government because there is no other game in town.”

Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia did not want Iraq to fracture along ethnic or religious lines. On Monday a group of prominent Saudi clerics called on Sunni Muslims around the world to mobilize against Shiites in Iraq. The statement called the “murder, torture and displacement of Sunnis” an “outrage.”

The resignation of Prince Turki, a former Saudi intelligence chief and a son of the late King Faisal, was supposed to be formally announced Monday, officials said, but that had not happened by late Tuesday.

“They’re keeping us very puzzled,” a Saudi official said. Prince Turki’s resignation was first reported Monday in The Washington Post.

If Prince Turki does depart, he will leave after 15 months on the job, in contrast to the 22 years that his predecessor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, spent as ambassador in Washington.

In Riyadh, there was a sense of disarray over Prince Turki’s resignation that was difficult to hide. A former adviser to the royal family said that Prince Turki had submitted his resignation several months ago but that it was refused. Rumors had circulated ever since that Prince Turki intended to resign, as talk of a possible government shake-up grew.

Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister and Prince Turki’s brother, has been in poor health for some time. He is described as eager to resign, with his wife’s health failing, too, just as the United States has been prodding Saudi Arabia to take a more active role in Iraq and with Iran.

The former adviser said Prince Turki’s resignation came amid a growing rivalry between the ambassador and Prince Bandar, who is now Saudi Arabia’s national security adviser. Prince Bandar, well known in Washington for his access to the White House, has vied to become the next foreign minister.

“This is a very high-level problem; this is about Turki, the king and Bandar,” said the former adviser to the royal family. “Let’s say the men don’t have a lot of professional admiration for each other.”

Rape case has Saudis asking questions about legal system

Rape case has Saudis asking questions about legal systemWoman who says she was raped faces punishment

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

By DONNA ABU-NASR
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

AL-AWWAMIYA, Saudi Arabia — When the young woman went to the police a few months ago to report that she was gang-raped by seven men, she never imagined that the judge would punish her — and that she would be sentenced to more lashes than one of her rapists received.

The story of the Girl of Qatif, as the alleged rape victim has been called by the media here, has triggered a rare debate about Saudi Arabia’s legal system, in which judges have wide discretion in punishing a criminal, rules of evidence are shaky and sometimes no defense lawyers are present.

The result, critics say, are sentences left to the whim of judges. These include one in which a group of men got heavier sentences for harassing women than the men in the Girl of Qatif rape case or three men who were convicted of raping a boy. In another, a woman was ordered to divorce her husband against her will based on a demand by her relatives.

In the case of the Girl of Qatif, she was sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married — a crime in this strictly segregated country — at the time that she was allegedly attacked and raped by a group of other men.

In the sleepy, Shiite village of al-Awwamiya on the outskirts of the eastern city of Qatif, the 19-year-old is struggling to forget the spring night that changed her life. An Associated Press reporter met her in a face-to-face interview. She spoke on condition of anonymity.

Her hands tremble, her dark brown eyes are lifeless. Her sleep is interrupted by a replay of the events, which she describes in a whisper.

That night, she said, she had left home to retrieve her picture from a male high school student she used to know. She had just been married — but had not moved in with her husband — and did not want her picture to remain with the student.

While the woman was in the car with the student, she said, two men intercepted them, got into the vehicle and drove the couple to a secluded area where the two were separated. She said she was raped by seven men, three of whom also allegedly raped her friend.

In a trial that ended this month — in which the prosecutor asked for the death penalty for the seven men — four of the men received one to five years in prison plus 80 to 1,000 lashes, the woman said. Three others are awaiting sentencing. Neither the defendants nor the plaintiffs retained lawyers, as is common here.

“The big shock came when the judge sentenced me and the man to 90 lashes each,” the woman said.

The sentences have yet to be carried out, but the punishments ordered have caused an uproar.

Justice in Saudi Arabia is administered by a system of religious courts according to the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia. Judges — who are appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council — have complete discretion to set sentences, except in cases where Sharia outlines a punishment.

Saudis are urging the Justice Ministry to clarify the logic behind some rulings. In one recent case, three men convicted of raping a 12-year-old boy received sentences of one to two years in prison and 300 lashes each. In contrast, another judge sentenced at least four men to six to 12 years imprisonment for fondling women in a tunnel in Riyadh.

Saleh al-Shehy, a columnist for Al-Watan, asked Justice Minister Abdullah Al-Sheik to explain why the boy’s rapists got a lighter sentence than the men in last year’s sexual harassment case.

“I won’t ask you my brother, the minister, if you find the ruling satisfactory or not,” wrote al-Shehy. “I will ask you, ‘Do you think it satisfies God?’ “

A British Court’s Libel Judgment Is Reviewed by American Judges

A British Court’s Libel Judgment Is Reviewed by American Judges

A federal appellate court reviews the attempt by a Saudi billionaire to intimidate and silence the heroic journalist Rachel Ehrenfeld. By Joseph Goldstein in the New York Sun:

A federal appellate court heard arguments yesterday in the case of a New York-based counterterrorism researcher who was ordered by a British court to pay and apologize to a Saudi billionaire she accused of funding terrorism.One judge on the three-judge panel yesterday expressed reservations about the British court order. Still the questions from the judges of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggested that they had significant doubts that the court has jurisdiction to toss out the British court’s judgment in the libel case.

Publishers and news organizations are bound to read the American court’s forthcoming decision in the case. The case comes at a time of raised interest in “libel tourism”— the phenomenon of foreigners filing libel suits in British courts based on claims that American judges would quickly toss out on First Amendment grounds. Whether American courts can block those judgments, or at least certain of their provisions, is a question none of the judges yesterday appeared especially eager to tackle. And the court expressed little interest in the First Amendment concerns that legal observers say are present in the case.

One judge on the panel, Jose Cabranes, seemed worried that a ruling in the researcher’s favor could open up American courts to suits challenging the judgments of other courts across the globe.

The case before the court was brought on behalf of an American researcher, Rachel Ehrenfeld, whose articles have appeared in many publications, including, The New York Sun. It is not her periodical journalism that is at issue in this case but her 2003 book, “Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed — and How to Stop It,” which accuses a Saudi financier, Khalid bin Mahfouz, of backing organizations with alleged ties to terrorism. It is a charge that Mr. Mahfouz denies. Mr. Mahfouz sued Ms. Ehrenfeld and other researchers who made similar accusations against him in court in London. He has also set up an informational Web site to clear his name and to catalogue his growing list of legal victories in British courts against those he said have libeled him.

Ms. Ehrenfeld never appeared before the British court, which last year ordered her to pay 30,000 British pounds, print an apology, and keep her books out of the country. She filed suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking to block enforcement of the judgment. A judge, Richard Casey, dismissed the suit last year on the grounds that Mr. Mahfouz did not conduct any business here giving the court jurisdiction.

Ms. Ehrenfeld’s attorney, Daniel Kornstein, switched strategies yesterday, seeking to convince the court it has jurisdiction because aspects of the British judgment amount to “intrusion into New York.”

Yes, and much worse: hounding unwanted critics into silence.

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