Dr. Bostom: Muslim Leaders Seek Sharia in the US

Newsmax

Dr. Bostom: Muslim Leaders Seek Sharia in the US

Friday, November 16, 2012 04:15 PM

By: Newsmax Wires

Dr. Andrew Bostom, a medical doctor and expert on radical Islam, is worried that Sharia – extremist Islamic law – could make its way into the U.S. Muslim community.

“My concern is to look at institutional Islam: we see the example of the Middle East, where clearly Sharia is being sanctioned by the major religious teaching institutions,” he tells Newsmax TV’s John Bachman.

Watch the exclusive interview here.

DPH1kQ-96b8

“The problem is that since so many of these [U.S.] imams are trained in the Middle East, we’re seeing institutional Islam in the United States wanting to have the same Sharia-guided principles govern the Muslim community in the United States.”
The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America is a mainstream group that provides training to imams in the U.S. and Canada. It provides online opinions — fatwas — on all kinds of religious and political issues for Muslims.

It’s not just about “piety of practice but also issues like what do you do with a blasphemer, someone who criticizes the religion or criticizes Mohammed?” says Bostom.

“What if a Muslim in North America wants to leave Islam and become an agnostic or convert to Christianity or some other religion? There’s the issue of female genital mutilation, which in certain schools of Islamic law, particularly the Shafi’i School, is something that is sanctioned.”

The answers provided for North American Muslims are the same as would be offered by imams in Saudi Arabia or Iran might answer them for North American Muslims, says Bostom, author of the new book “Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamist Totalitarianism.”.

So how can we stop the infiltration of Sharia?

“It’s just affirming our own principles,” he says. A recent survey of 600 high-achieving Muslim Americans showed that 60 percent favor the use of blasphemy law, Bostom says. That would mean people who criticize Islam or Mohammed would be punished.

“These are American Muslims who are actually quite successful,” he says. “So something’s wrong in the way that we are inculcating our own constitutional values. I don’t blame the Muslims. This is part of their tradition, and we’re not succeeding in making clear what our own principles are.”

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sharia favours the rich, claim Nigerian rights activists

Sharia favours the rich, claim Nigerian rights activists

Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning by a Sharia court for having a child out of wedlock

David Isaacs

Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency is fuelled by their desire to see stricter Islamic law, or Sharia, in northern Nigeria. Civil rights activists have voiced their concerns that poor people would bear the brunt of a more severe form of Sharia.

Sharia has been practised to varying degrees for as long as Islam has been in Nigeria. But in 1999, the then-governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Sani, called for criminal cases to be tried in Sharia courts.

Civil rights activists in Nigeria complain that Sharia hands down harsh sentences to poor Muslims, while the rich use it to their advantage.

Ahmed Sani, the architect of Sharia in modern Nigeria, is a case in point. He married a child bride from Egypt last year and condoned his actions citing Sharia, which permits men to marry wives as young as 13.

Civil rights activist, Shehu Sani stood up to Ahmed Sani, who is no relation, “for those of us who were human rights activists and Muslims we had a duty to our conscience and to our people to stand up to Ahmed Sani. Because we were concerned that Sharia would be used against the poor and to hunt down political enemies.”

Several Sharia cases have brought condemnation from the international community. Most of them have involved poor women accused of adultery who face being stoned to death.

But some argue that it is Nigerian legal system that is at fault.

“Sharia has afforded women so many rights,” says Remi Atunwa, a barrister and practising Muslim. “For example it stipulates that if a woman doesn’t want to cook, then her husband is obligated to get her a maid.”

But “people manipulate the system for political and religious reasons,” she adds. “And the average person either doesn’t understand the system or doesn’t have the means [financial], required to navigate it.”

Nigeria’s 70 million Muslims already have the choice of having civil cases heard in a Sharia law court. Twelve northern states also allow the resort to Sharia in criminal cases. What Boko Haram is demanding is for Sharia to replace common and customary law in the 19 states that make up northern Nigeria.

The group also wants to see a stricter form of Sharia implemented, as in Saudi Arabia or Iran where stoning and amputations are not uncommon. The problem is that there are several million non-Muslims living in these states. And that wealthy Nigerians tend to be able to escape justice more than the rest of the population.

tags: IslamIslamistNigeria

Dr. Bostom: Muslim Leaders Seek Sharia in the US

Newsmax

Dr. Bostom: Muslim Leaders Seek Sharia in the US

Friday, November 16, 2012 04:15 PM

By: Newsmax Wires

Dr. Andrew Bostom, a medical doctor and expert on radical Islam, is worried that Sharia – extremist Islamic law – could make its way into the U.S. Muslim community.

“My concern is to look at institutional Islam: we see the example of the Middle East, where clearly Sharia is being sanctioned by the major religious teaching institutions,” he tells Newsmax TV’s John Bachman.

“The problem is that since so many of these [U.S.] imams are trained in the Middle East, we’re seeing institutional Islam in the United States wanting to have the same Sharia-guided principles govern the Muslim community in the United States.”

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America is a mainstream group that provides training to imams in the U.S. and Canada. It provides online opinions — fatwas — on all kinds of religious and political issues for Muslims.

It’s not just about “piety of practice but also issues like what do you do with a blasphemer, someone who criticizes the religion or criticizes Mohammed?” says Bostom.

“What if a Muslim in North America wants to leave Islam and become an agnostic or convert to Christianity or some other religion? There’s the issue of female genital mutilation, which in certain schools of Islamic law, particularly the Shafi’i School, is something that is sanctioned.”

The answers provided for North American Muslims are the same as would be offered by imams in Saudi Arabia or Iran might answer them for North American Muslims, says Bostom, author of the new book “Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamist Totalitarianism.”.

So how can we stop the infiltration of Sharia?

“It’s just affirming our own principles,” he says. A recent survey of 600 high-achieving Muslim Americans showed that 60 percent favor the use of blasphemy law, Bostom says. That would mean people who criticize Islam or Mohammed would be punished.

“These are American Muslims who are actually quite successful,” he says. “So something’s wrong in the way that we are inculcating our own constitutional values. I don’t blame the Muslims. This is part of their tradition, and we’re not succeeding in making clear what our own principles are.”

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Pakistani court ACQUITS Christian girl with learning difficulties who was accused of burning the Koran

Pakistani court ACQUITS Christian girl with learning difficulties who was accused of burning the Koran

  • Rimsha Masih, 11, faced the death penalty under strict blasphemy rules
  • Her Muslim cleric accuser faces charges of fabricating evidence

PUBLISHED:08:30 EST, 20 November 2012| UPDATED: 11:32 EST, 20 November 2012

A Christian girl accused of blasphemy over the burning of the Koran has been acquitted by a Pakistani court, her lawyer said.

Rimsha Masih, 11, faced the death penalty after being arrested in Islamabad in August when her neighbour Mohammed Khalid Chishti, a Muslim cleric, accused her of desecrating the holy book.

The cleric was later accused of ‘framing’ Masih by fabricating evidence in a case that went to the highest levels of the Pakistani government and sparked international outrage at the country’s strict blasphemy laws.

Young Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy for burning the Koran is freed and taken to secret location by helicopter to avoid mob justice
Allegations: The Muslim cleric Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti accused Rimsha Masih of burning the Koran. The 11-year-old girl has now been acquitted of all charges

Acquitted: Christian Rimsha Masih, 11 (pictured left), had been accused of burning page of the Koran by her Muslim cleric neighbour Mohammed Khalid Chishti (right), who now faces charges of fabricating evidence

Attorney Abdul Hameed said a court in Islamabad dismissed all the charges against Masih on Tuesday, concluding they were based on heresy and incriminated material that was planted in the girl’s possession.

‘I am happy that the poor girl’s ordeal is now over,’ Hameed said.

 

 

Masih was released on bail in September but was flown by helicopter to an unknown location.

There were fears Masih and other Christians in her neighbourhood could be in danger if she remained there.

In Pakistan, the mere allegation of causing offence to Islam can mean death, with some killed even if they are found innocent by the courts.

Flight to safety: After being released from an Islamabad prison in September, Masih (face covered) was forced to flee by helicopter to a safe locationFlight to safety: After being released from an Islamabad prison in September, Masih (face covered) was forced to flee by helicopter to a safe location

 

Extraordinary: Masih and her family were forced to move away from their majority Muslim neighbourhood in Islamabad after the incidentExtraordinary: Masih and her family were forced to move away from their majority Muslim neighbourhood in Islamabad after the incident

However, this was a rare occasion when senior Islamic clerics intervened to oppose the charges levelled at her.

Sympathy for the girl has been heightened by unsubstantiated claims that she is mentally impaired and has Down’s Syndrome.

She was accused of carrying charred pages from the Koran near her house in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Islamabad.

In an extraordinary development, however, three officers from the local mosque accused Chishti of planting the pages among the charred refuse Masih had been carrying to strengthen the case against her.

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, another of the girl’s lawyers, said the testimony of a local police officer, who told a court there was no evidence against her, had proved crucial in securing her acquittal.

Protest: Chishti is restrained by police after trying to shout slogans after a court appearance. The cleric is accused of 'framing' the 11-year-old girlProtest: Chishti is restrained by police after trying to shout slogans after a court appearance. The cleric is accused of ‘framing’ the 11-year-old girl

The officer had appeared to ‘arrest’ Masih in mid-August to protect her from protests by the majority Muslim community in the Mehrabad district.

Chaudhry went on to demand changes to Pakistan’s religious laws, which were strengthened during the hardline conservative rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

‘It is very difficult to change these laws in Pakistan,’ he said. ‘But this judgement will set a precedent so that other cases can be properly investigated and pursued.’

Concerns remains over the safety of Masih, who is unlikely to return to Mehrabad because of continuing support among many for Chishti.

‘While I’m thrilled to hear the charges have been quashed, my foremost concern at the moment is her safety,’ said Tahira Abdullah, a rights activist in Islamabad.

‘Others have been acquitted before but they have not lived to tell the tale.’

Many Christians moved out of the area during protests in the weeks after her arrest.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235743/Pakistani-court-Islamabad-acquits-Christian-girl-Rimsha-Masih-learning-difficulties-accused-burning-Koran.html#ixzz2Cphp0t42
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Muslim Brotherhood now targeting Jordan

 

WND EXCLUSIVE

Muslim Brotherhood now targeting Jordan

Ruthless rioting threatens king after radical uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria

author-image  by  Michael CarlEmail | Archive

Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master’s Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States.More ↓Less ↑

 

jordan_riots

Jordan’s anti-government riots aimed ultimately at removing King Abdullah from power are so severe that the government has turned 10,000 of its soldiers into riot police.

Religious Freedom Coalition President and Founder William Murray said the ruthlessness of the rioting prompted the move.

“The king has given police uniforms to 10,000 soldiers to try to maintain order,” he said.

Those soldiers-turned-police are not the only ones guarding the king. Terrorism analyst and Act for America President Brigitte Gabriel said there are U.S. troops on the ground in Jordan.

“We have actually positioned troops in Jordan to protect King Abdullah,” she said. “We’ve said that the Americans in Jordan are just there in case something happens in Syria so we can be close.”

Gabriel also said the situation has grown more intense: “The reality is, we have placed troops in Jordan so we can protect the royal family in case of an uprising which we are now witnessing before our own eyes.”

Murray reported that aid workers with his organization in Jordan have come astonishingly close to the action.

“The riots in Jordan are about one mile from our warehouse,” he said. “The Muslim Brotherhood has cut all roads between Jordan’s cities.”

Gabriel, who is a native of Lebanon, said the violence is no surprise, and “the Muslim Brotherhood is rising in Jordan.”

She warned that the king’s position is in danger.

“King Abdullah is hanging by a thread,” she said. “He has 20 percent approval in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood sees this as their opportunity to rise up after what they saw happen in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and now Syria.”

However, the king’s decline in approval is a recent development. As WND reported, as recently as October, the king remained popular.

International Christian Concern Middle East analyst Aidan Clay said most Jordanians support the king.

“The king remains fairly popular and the king is still a seasoned politician who may be able to offer concessions that the Muslim Brotherhood accepts,” he said. “However, it is also true that every Jordanian is fed up with the widespread corruption within the government.

“Moreover, the economy is quickly declining, unemployment is rising, and there is a great rift between the rich and poor. The MB is highlighting these widespread concerns in their pursuit of ‘democratic reform,’ which resonates with nearly all Jordanians – whether they are MB sympathizers or not.”

Clay said the cover for many of the “Arab Spring” movements was the call for democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood’s use of the “democracy” line, he said, could tip the balance in their favor.

“Of most concern is that the MB is among the primary groups calling for political reform,” he explained. “If that continues to be the case, then many Jordanians may decide to back the MB, whether or not they agree with the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious ideology. Free elections, ending corruption, higher wages, and other claims all sound great, no matter who’s leading the campaign – whether it’s the MB or liberals.

“Many Jordanians just want change and some are willing to join whatever movement promises political reform.”

Gabriel said the uprising in Jordan is the product of America’s previous actions in Egypt and Libya.

“We are seeing a reawakening of radical Islam all over the Middle East empowered by the weakening American perception throughout the Muslim world,” she explained, adding that another factor intensifying the protests is the perception that King Abdullah is a Western pawn.

“King Abdullah is perceived by the radicals as too secular and a puppet of Western powers. They loathe him also because of the peace treaty with Israel,” Gabriel said. “Most Jordanians are Palestinians who favor Hamas-style leadership instead of Abbas’ negotiating with Israel and trying to be a friend of America.”

She added that the rebels are learning from recent radical movements.

“They are learning that what produces results are powerful organizations like Hamas dedicated to jihad and bringing pride and strength back to the Palestinians through Islamic warfare instead of a mamby-pamby let’s sit together and have coffee while we talk about the problem in Abbas and King Abdullah style,” Gabriel said.

WND also reported that the momentum from the Arab Spring has prompted the radicals to shift their attention to Jordan.

Following successful campaigns in Egypt, Libya and other Middle East and North African nations, the Muslim Brotherhood now is trying to destabilize and possibly overthrow Jordan’s government, according to reports.

The Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya, citing leaked files, reported the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies have sought to destabilize neighboring Jordan by manipulating peaceful demonstrations there and turning them into deadly violence.

Jordan is the latest target in the gun sights of the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical jihadist elements. WND reported in December that the Arab Spring was a front for the expansion of jihadist regimes.

Center for Security Policy analyst Clare Lopez said those suggesting the world is seeing the rise of Shariah in that region are “obviously onto the reality of the disaster that’s unfolding in front of us in the Middle East.”

Lopez said the chain of events was a coordinated effort: “The so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ long planned and well-executed by jihadist forces, with deliberate and knowing assistance from the current national security leadership of the [U.S.], is nothing more than the implementation by Islamic powers of Phase 5 of the plan for global domination.”

Lopez referred to a document introduced as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial.

“Although, unquestionably, there were both naive and spontaneous elements to uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya,” Lopez said, “the actual course of those revolutions and especially now, their aftermaths, were and are being managed carefully and professionally by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida allies.”

Lopez said there is a traceable timeline leading to the present results in Tunisia and Egypt: “In July 2010, al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula published its first issue of the online magazine, ‘Inspire.’ In it, al-Qaida explicitly called on the Muslim world – and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular – to rise up in jihad and turn the page ‘from Mecca to Medina.’”

Gaza Militants Target Jerusalem With Rockets for First Time

Gaza Militants Target Jerusalem With Rockets for First Time

Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

Israeli soldiers near the border with Gaza on Friday.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and  : Published: November 16, 2012

 

JERUSALEM — Emboldened by displays of Egyptian solidarity and undeterred by Israel’s advanced aerial firepower, Palestinian militants under siege in Gaza broadened their rocket targets on Friday, aiming at the holy city of Jerusalem for the first time, sending a second volley screeching toward Tel Aviv and pushing the Israelis closer to a ground invasion.

Israel’s government more than doubled the number of army reservists it could call to combat if needed in the increasingly lethal showdown with Gaza’s Hamas fighters and their affiliates, after they fired more than 700 rockets into southern Israel over the last year. The escalation has raised fears of a new chapter of war in the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Israeli military closed some roads adjacent to Gaza in anticipation of a possible infantry move into the territory, which would be the first Israeli military presence on the ground in Gaza since the three-week invasion of 2008-9. The Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, went south to brief regular forces and reservists.

“We are here tonight on the eve of a possible ground operation,” he said.

Many residents of Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital despite objections from the city’s large Palestinian population and others throughout the Middle East, were startled when wartime sirens warning of impending danger wailed at dusk, followed by at least two dull thuds. Hamas’s military wing claimed in a statement that they were rockets fired from Gaza, 48 miles away, and had been meant to hit the Israeli Parliament.

The police said one of the rockets crashed harmlessly in open space near an Israeli settlement south of Jerusalem. It was unclear where the others landed, but no damage or injuries were reported.

Earlier in Tel Aviv, 40 miles from the Gaza border, air-raid sirens wailed for a second day as a rocket fired from the territory approached. A police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said it apparently fell into the Mediterranean.

Although the rockets missed their intended targets, the launchings aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the two biggest population centers, underscored the ability and willingness of Hamas rocket teams to target Israeli or Israeli-occupied areas that up until the past few days had been thought relatively immune.

“We are sending a short and simple message: There is no security for any Zionist or any single inch of Palestine and we plan more surprises,” Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the military wing of Hamas, said in a message reported by news agencies.

Even Saddam Hussein, when he led Iraq, avoided targeting Jerusalem when he aimed Scud missiles at Israel during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, not wishing to inadvertently destroy Muslim shrines or hit Arab neighborhoods.

Despite three days of repeated Israeli aerial assaults on suspected stockpiles of rockets in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said more than 100 were fired into Israel on Friday, apparently including Iranian-made Fajr-5 projectiles that Israeli officials say are the only ones in the Hamas arsenal with a range that can reach Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

Hamas contended it had produced those rockets, which the group called M75s, referring to a range of 75 kilometers or roughly 47 miles. Israeli munitions experts said they had never heard of that weapon.

Regardless, the rocket barrage caused widespread panic and damage. It also shattered plans for a temporary cease-fire during an unprecedented trip to Gaza by the Egyptian prime minister, Hesham Qandil, a visit that illustrated the shifting dynamics of Middle East politics since the turmoil of the Arab Spring uprisings began nearly two years ago. Under the last president, Hosni Mubarak, regarded by Israel as an important strategic ally, any relationship with Hamas would have been unthinkable.

“The time in which the Israeli occupation does whatever it wants in Gaza is gone,” Ismail Haniya, the Hamas prime minister, said in a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart.

The persistent ability of Hamas to keep firing missiles at Israel on Friday appeared to weigh heavily in the Israeli military’s calculations about a ground invasion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli Army was “continuing to hit Hamas hard and is ready to expand the operation into Gaza.” Israeli television later reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had authorized the military to call up 75,000 reservists if necessary — more than double the 30,000 authorized Thursday.

No Israelis were reported killed in the rocket attacks on Friday, leaving the reported death toll on Israel’s side at three civilians. The number of Palestinians killed so far in the three days rose to at least 30, Gaza health officials said, underscoring what critics of Israeli policy called Israel’s disproportionate use of military force. Israeli leaders have said they are selectively targeting militants in the Gaza attacks, and they blame Hamas for installing rocket batteries in civilian areas.

The Israeli military said Friday night that it had killed Muhammad Abu Jalal, a Hamas company commander in Gaza, and Khaled Shaer, who was involved in rocket development. A military spokesman said that earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces had sent text messages to about 12,000 Gaza residents warning them to stay away from Hamas operatives.

In addition, the military said it had crippled Hamas’ burgeoning drone capabilities after striking a number of sites. Hamas, it said, had been developing unmanned aerial vehicles for use as another means of striking Israel.

The Egyptian prime minister’s three-hour visit to Gaza early in the day produced dramatic imagery to underpin his government’s support for Hamas, which Israel, the United States and much of the West consider to be a terrorist organization. It does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Mr. Qandil, noting that he had been accompanied by a delegation from the Egyptian Health Ministry, said “the aim of this visit is not only to show political support but to support the Palestinian people on the ground.”

He said a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel was “the only way to achieve stability in the region” and called on the Palestinians to repair the rift between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

“We call on the Palestinian people to unite because their power and strength is in their unity,” Mr. Qandil said. “That’s the only way to liberate Palestine.”

Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Reporting was contributed by Jodi Rudoren and Fares Akram from Gaza City, Alan Cowell from Paris, Rina Castelnuovo from the Gaza-Israel border, and Mayy El Sheikh and David D. Kirkpatrick from Cairo.

================
A version of this article appeared in print on November 17, 2012, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Gaza Militants Target Jerusalem With Rockets for First Time in Conflict.

Knesset Leader to Newsmax: Israel Ready for Ground Assault on Gaza

Newsmax

Knesset Leader to Newsmax: Israel Ready for Ground Assault on Gaza

Thursday, November 15, 2012 08:11 PM

By: David A. Patten

In an ominous sign that the violence in Gaza may continue to escalate, a key member of the Israeli Knesset tells Newsmax that the Jewish state is prepared to launch a ground invasion of Hamas-held Gaza in the next 24 to 48 hours, if Palestinian terrorists continue to launch rocket barrages at Israeli cities.

On Thursday, the Israeli cabinet decided to call up 30,000 reservists. This came on the same day that the Tel Aviv area came under rocket fire. It marked the first time Tel Aviv came under attack since the 1991 Gulf War.

Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely, who often is described as the “intellectual voice” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, tells Newsmax: “I must say, for many Israelis this is a big issue. Shooting into the most important city is like shooting rockets into New York.

“This is something that is unbearable and impossible for any country to suffer and to accept,” she says. “We will do anything to prevent our people to suffer from terror and rocket attacks.”

Hotovely spoke to Newsmax just before midnight in Israel, while driving to the southern area where three Israelis were killed in a rocket attack earlier Thursday. She emphasized that Israel wants peace with its neighbors, but will act to defend its citizens from deadly missile barrages.

Some analysts suspect an additional motive for the attacks: The need to weaken Hamas and impair its ability to attack Israel, if an attack must be launched this spring to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In the past week, Hamas has fired over 220 rockets into Israel. Approximately 80 of the rockets have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Hotovely tells Newsmax that Israel is prepared to launch a ground attack in Gaza in order to further decimate Hamas and its weapons caches, if an assault proves necessary in order to halt hostilities.

Israeli F15s have been relentlessly pounding targets in Gaza in response to the rocket salvos that have forced over a million Israeli citizens to hunker down in bomb shelters and safe rooms throughout the region.

Hotovely says Israel’s leaders are waiting only to see if Hamas, which denies Israel’s right to exist, will cease its attacks.

“The reason that we’re waiting, for the moment,” she says, “is that we need to know how much the message is clear… and [whether] Hamas realizes it there is no real point to shooting [at] civilians and hurting innocent people, children and women.”

Internationally, concern is spreading that the strong Israeli response to the escalating rocket attacks from Gaza could trigger unintended consequences throughout the volatile region.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has recalled Egypt’s diplomatic representative from Israel in protest of the Israeli assault. On Wednesday, a precisely targeted attack killed top Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari, who Israelis say is the mastermind behind a number of attacks on the Jewish state.

Morsi finds himself squeezed between Egypt’s treaty obligations under the Camp David accords on the one hand, and a growing animus in Egypt to take action to defend Gaza’s Palestinians.

“Israelis must recognize that we do not accept this aggression,” Morsi told Egyptians Wednesday in a televised address.

As a sign of his nation’s support for Palestinians, Morsi ordered his prime minister and Egyptian diplomats to travel to Gaza on Friday.

But Hotovely tells Newsmax that time is running out for the Islamists in Gaza to cease hostilities. Asked if she expects ground troops to push into Gaza in the next 48 hours if the rocket attacks continue, she replied: “Yes, I think that we’re not afraid of doing that.

“We did that four years ago in a strong military operation. This government is willing to do everything in order to protect the people. I’m saying again, no one is in favor of war. We all prefer to live our lives peacefully. But when the enemies are forcing us to protect ourselves and defend ourselves, this is what we need to do.”

She added, “The IDF has many and various ways to show its power, and to use the information we have about the leaders of Hamas. Most terrorists at the moment are busy hiding from the IDF forces and the Israeli air force.

“And this is a better way to control the willingness of those people to hurt our country, by making the threat of their leadership to lose their lives if they keep on shooting rockets on people in Israel.”

The last time Israel launched a ground assault in Gaza was in January 2009. Over 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died in that conflict.

President Barack Obama has been in touch with Morsi and the Netanyahu government. The administration has issued a statement supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks, while urging an immediate end to the hostilities.

Commented Hotovely: “At the moment, it appears that as much as the American president would like to keep things silent in the Middle East and not be under war. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go this way.

“The Egyptian leader is going to come to Gaza tomorrow, and I’m afraid we are not going into a better world of peace when it comes to the Egyptian issue. But we still need to see, because it is too early to speak about how the Islamic revolution and Muslim Brotherhood will influence the whole Hamas issue.”

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Hamas Rocket From Gaza Kills 3 Israelis; Wider War Looms

NewsmaxWorld

Hamas Rocket From Gaza Kills 3 Israelis; Wider War Looms

Thursday, November 15, 2012 05:09 AM

By: REUTERS

GAZA City, Gaza — A Hamas rocket killed three Israelis north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, drawing first blood from Israel as the Palestinian death toll rose to 13 and the military showdown lurched closer to all-out war.

Israeli warplanes bombed targets in and around Gaza city, where tall buildings trembled and thick plumes of smoke and dust furled into the sky.

The Palestinian Islamist group claimed it had fired a one-ton, Iranian-made Fajr 5 rocket at Tel Aviv in what would be a major escalation. But there was no reported impact in the Israeli metropolis 50 km (30 miles) north of the enclave.

Israel’s sworn enemy Iran, which supports and arms Hamas, condemned the offensive begun by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as “organized terrorism.”

Israel was more concerned about the mood in Egypt, whose new Islamist government brokered a truce between the two sides on Tuesday only to see it shattered a day later when Israel assassinated the top Hamas military commander.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which now controls Egypt, Israel’s most powerful Arab neighbor and a crucial partner in the 1979 peace treaty that stands between fragile stability and regional chaos.

Cairo condemned the offensive and recalled its ambassador to Israel. Israel’s ambassador left Cairo on what was called a routine home visit and Israel said its embassy would stay open.

DAY TWO

Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor system shot down dozens of some 130 rockets fired from Gaza in the first few hours of daylight on day two of Operation Pillars of Defense, the army said.

But one of those that got through caught its victims before they could reach the blast shelters that are everywhere in the Negev region, prey to sporadic Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza for the past five years.

Israeli police said the three died when a rocket hit a four-story building in the town of Kiryat Malachi, some 25 km (15 miles) north of Gaza. They were the first Israeli fatalities of the latest conflict to hit the coastal region.

Israel on Wednesday assassinated Hamas’s military mastermind Ahmed Al-Jaabari and shelled the enclave from the land, sea and air, killing 13 people, including five militants, three children, and a pregnant woman. More than 100 were wounded.

At his funeral on Thursday, supporters fired guns in the air celebrating news of the Israeli deaths, to chants for Jaabari of “You have won.”

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting late on Wednesday to discuss the Israeli assault. It called for a halt to the violence, but took no action.

Oil prices rose more than $1 in response on Wednesday.

Expecting days or more of fighting, Israel warned Hamas that all its men were targets. Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets in Gaza telling residents to keep their distance from militants and Hamas facilities.

“The leaflets stress that Hamas is dragging the region toward violence, and that the IDF is prepared to defend the residents of the State of Israel until quiet is restored to the region,” the military said in a statement.

The United States condemned Hamas, shunned by the West as an obstacle to peace for its refusal to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

“There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organisations are employing against the people of Israel,” said Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesman.

Hamas has said the killing of its top commander would “open the gates of hell” for Israel. It also appealed to neighbouring Egypt to halt the “barbaric” assault.

“PILLAR OF DEFENSE”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom opinion polls favor for victory in a Jan. 22 general election, said on Wednesday the Gaza operation could be stepped up.

His Cabinet has granted authorisation for the mobilization of military reserves if required to press the offensive, dubbed “Pillar of Defense” in English and “Pillar of Cloud” in Hebrew after the Israelites’ divine sign of deliverance in Exodus.

Israel says it has already destroyed much of Gaza’s longer-range rocket stockpiles, an assertion seemingly confirmed when Hamas claims of hits on ambitious targets such as Tel Aviv, Ashdod, and Israeli naval craft proved unfounded.

The flare-up on Israel’s southern front came in a week when, up north, it fired at Syrian artillery positions it said had shot into the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights amid a civil war in Syria that has brought renewed instability to Lebanon next door.

A second Gaza war has loomed on the horizon for months as waves of Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli strikes grew increasingly more intense and frequent.

Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 began with a week of air attacks and shelling, followed by a land invasion of the blockaded coastal strip, sealed off at sea by the Israeli navy. Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 13 Israelis died.

Hamas has been emboldened by the Islamist rise to power in Egypt, viewing President Mohammed Morsi as a “safety net” who will not permit a second Israeli thrashing of Gaza, home to 1.7 million Palestinians.

Gaza has an estimated 35,000 Palestinian fighters, no match for Israel’s F-16 fighter-bombers, Apache helicopter gunships, Merkava tanks and other modern weapons systems in the hands of a conscript force of 175,000, with 450,000 in reserve.

© 2012 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Why can’t Islam apologize? Shouldn’t tolerance be a two-way street?

Islamist rebels invade community, force government to shell neighborhoods

 

WND EXCLUSIVE

Syrian Christians fleeing as homes destroyed

Islamist rebels invade community, force government to shell neighborhoods

author-image  by Michael CarlEmail | Archive

Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master’s Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States. More ↓Less ↑

 

free_syrian_army

Islamist rebels are invading Christian communities in Syria – fighting to capture Aleppo’s mostly Christian neighborhoods of al-Syriaan al-Jaddie and al-Syriaan al-Qadime.

Reports from Middle East analysts say the battle for the Christian neighborhoods started last week.

Religious Freedom Coalition President William Murray said there’s a reason the Free Syrian Army chose to fight over the Christian neighborhoods.

“The Islamist rebels invaded Christian neighbors to force government troops to destroy homes there,” Murray said. “They want the government troops to shell the neighborhoods in an effort to recapture it.”

Murray said this is a familiar tactic.

“I have seen this tactic in the so-called West Bank during the Intifada,” he said. “Muslims would fire mortars from a Christian neighborhood to draw Israeli fire there. This is a win-win for the Islamist rebels supplied by Turkey. Syrian government troops can be fired on and Christian homes get destroyed.”

Although International Christian Concern Middle East analyst Aidan Clay said accurate information on Syria is limited, he’s confirmed the fighting in several Aleppo enclaves.

“Reports indicate that rebels have advanced into several central neighborhoods, including Christian areas, of Aleppo in recent weeks,” Clay said.

He said Aleppo is rapidly becoming a hub for rebel forces.

“Aleppo is now quickly becoming a stronghold for the opposition’s Free Syrian Army (FSA),” Clay said. “This has raised concerns among Christians living in the city.”

He continued, “While Syrians from every political, ethnic and religious background are suffering in the city, Christians have found themselves in a very unique and frightening situation, having widely chosen not to take up arms or to openly support either the rebels or the regime.”

Clay added that the opposition forces are comprised of more than ethnic Arabs.

“The FSA, which now controls most of Aleppo, is very diverse,” he explained. “Among rebel fighters and their supporters are many Syrians who truly desire free elections and other reforms that come with democracy.

“Yet, also among the FSA are extremist factions that are openly calling for an Islamic state ruled by Shariah. Even within the FSA there is division between many Arabs and minority Kurds who are fighting against the regime for different reasons. If Assad were to be deposed, the rebels’ common goal of overthrowing the regime will end and fighting will undoubtedly commence among rebel groups and within the FSA.”

The schism Clay talked about is already happening. Analysts report that a rift has developed between ethnic Kurds and the ethnic Arabs in the coalition to topple Bashir Assad’s government.

Clay added that there are also competing agendas among the various rebel factions. He said the various groups are speculating on how much freedom they will actually gain by overthrowing Assad.

“Kurds, Christians, Alawites and Shiites are asking themselves what rights they will be given when 75 percent of the population in Sunni,” he said. “It’s unlikely, to say the least, that reform under a Sunni-led government will be ‘democratic’ by any means.”

Clay also said Christians are experiencing the most hardship because they have the most to lose if Assad is overthrown.

“While many Christians have publicly denounced the brutality of President Assad and by no means support the regime, many Christians still desire greater freedoms and political reform to be enacted by the current government,” Clay said.

However, Christians’ hopes for reform are growing dim.

“That, of course, will never happen as Assad has chosen time and again to use brutal force in response to peaceful protests, killing thousands of civilians,” Clay said. “At the same time, however, most Christians see little hope in an alternative government which, they fear, will be led by Islamists who will hinder or outright abolish the religious freedoms long experienced by Christians in Syria.

“Due to ongoing violence and fears of radical Islamic factions, church leaders in Aleppo have reported that many Christians have already fled the city. According to Agence France-Presse, Syrian rebels have openly stated their goal of transforming Syria into an Islamic state while proclaiming that Christians have no connection to the country.

“Again, this view is not shared by all FSA fighters and supporters, but the idea is so prevalent that a large number of Christians are talking about leaving their homeland for good if Assad is ousted.”

Clay added that many Christians fear Aleppo will become like the already looted city of Homs.

“They vividly remember what happened in Homs earlier this year when most of the Christian community fled the city, often by force,” he said. “A similar story is beginning to unfold in Aleppo where there have been several bombings in Christian-majority neighborhoods, a few Christian kidnappings and an Armenian church that was reportedly set on fire by rebels on Monday.

“As Syria’s civil war continues without resolution, there is grave concern that Syrian Christians will follow the path of other ancient Christian communities throughout the Middle East: In Iraq, after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, more than half the Christian population – which witnessed more than 60 church bombings and hundreds of cases of Christians being murdered, raped and tortured – fled the country.”

Egypt’s Christian community has also experienced an increase in persecution. Clay cited the persecution numbers since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

“In Egypt, reports indicate that since March 2011, following the political rise of Islamic parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, at least 93,000 Christians have sought visas to Western countries,” he said. “Many Syrian Christians fear they are next, and some are already preparing to leave.”

Murray said rebels are already targeting Christian clergyman, and he cited the recent capture and murder of an Orthodox priest.

“The attacks on Aleppo are on the heels of the kidnapping and torture death of an Orthodox priest by the Islamist rebels just a few days ago,” Murray said.

He accused President Obama of being “100 percent behind the Islamists in this fight.”