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FBI pushed Muslims to plot terrorist attacks

The FBI encouraged and sometimes even paid Muslims to commit terrorist acts during numerous sting operations after the 9/11 attacks, a human rights group said in a report published Monday.

“Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats,” said the report by Human Rights Watch.

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report said.

In the cases reviewed, half the convictions resulted from a sting operation, and in 30 percent of those cases the undercover agent played an active role in the plot.

“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, the rights group’s deputy Washington director.

“But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

The HRW report cites the case of four Muslim converts from Newburgh, New York who were accused of planning to blow up synagogues and attack a US military base.

A judge in that case “said the government ‘came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles,’ and had, in the process, made a terrorist out of a man ‘whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope,’” the report said.   »»» The West Australian

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Muslim body denounces persecution of Iraq Christians

The world’s top Islamic body denounced on Monday the persecution of Christians in Iraq’s second city Mosul as an “intolerable crime“, and offered to help those displaced by a jihadist offensive.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation secretary general Iyad Madani said the “forced displacement” of Mosul’s Christians showed the IS’s “practices have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for tolerance and co-existence”.

“These atrocities also contradict the principles of the OIC,” of which Iraq is a member, Mr Madani added, noting that the body was “ready to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to displaced persons until they be able to return to their homes”.

At the weekend, hundreds of families fled Mosul, abandoning homes and belongings after IS fighters running the city issued an ultimatum for Christians to convert, pay a special tax, leave or face execution.    »»» Muslim body denounces persecution of Iraq Christians

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Turkey’s top cleric calls new Islamic ‘caliphate’ illegitimate

The declaration of a “caliphate” by Islamist militants in Iraq lacks legitimacy and their death threats to Christians are a danger to civilization, Turkey’s top cleric, the successor to the last caliph’s most senior imam, said.

Islamic State, an armed group formerly allied to al Qaeda that has captured swathes of territory across Iraq, last month declared its leader, Ibrahim al-Baghdadi, “caliph” – the historical title last held by the Turkish Ottoman sultan who ruled much of the Muslim world.

“Since the caliphate was abolished … there have been movements that think they can pull together the Muslim world by re-establishing a caliphate, but they have nothing to do with reality, whether from a political or legal perspective.”

Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging.

“The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Gormez is in a unique position to question Baghdadi’s claim to the caliph’s seat. His office was created in 1924 to replace the Ottoman Sheikh al-Islam, the mufti with authority to confirm new sultans and who also served as chief legal adviser.   »»»

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90 percent of slain Muslims killed by other Muslims

One thousand Muslims are being killed each day and 90 percent of the killers are also Muslims, head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has said.

“They are being killed by their brothers, not only in Syria and Iraq, but also in Libya, Pakistan, Africa and Myanmar,” Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez said in his address to the participants of “World Islamic Scholars, Peace, Moderation and Commonsense Initiative” conference in Istanbul on July 19.

The Islamic world needs to put joint effort to revive the quintessential values of the Islamic civilization, Görmez added in his speech.

“Suffering, violence and conflicts in various regions of the Islamic world including its storied cities like Baghdad and Damascus have been wounding every Muslim’s heart profoundly,” he said.

Referring to the crimes committed by radical Islamist movements like Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Görmez said “these incidents show us that the common values of the Islamic civilization are fading away in modern times. The Islamic world needs to make an effort to revive these fading values.”   »»»

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned Muslims of the dangers of extremism:

Beware of extremism in religion because that was the only thing that destroyed those before you.” (Reported by An-Nasai)

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Christians flee from Islamic State threats

Christian families have abandoned their homes and fled Mosul after the Sunni rebel group, the Islamic State, threatened them with death if they did not convert to Islam or pay tax.

“Some families have had all their money and jewellery taken from them at an insurgent checkpoint as they fled the city,” Abu Rayan, a Christian who left Mosul with his family told AFP news agency on Saturday.

“Some of our homes have already been confiscated and I know families who have handed their keys to neighbours, asking them to look after their property with the hope they would return one day.” Rayan said.

The hardline group on Friday ordered Christians in Mosul that they could convert, pay a tax or flee the city after abandoning their possessions.

An earlier Islamic State statement said there would be “nothing but the sword” if Christians did not abide by those conditions by 9am GMT on Saturday.

The AFP said that hundreds of Christians had fled by the deadline.   »»» Al Jazeera English

The so-called “Islamic State” Muslims are heretics, renegades and blasphemers. They are guilty of the shari’ah crime of “hibarah”, which is the action of a group or an individual by which property is seized or destroyed and people are killed or kidnapped. The Qur’an describes it as “war against God and his Messenger” and as “spreading mischief (disorder) in the land (fasad fil ard)”. The punishment for hibarah is death.

Large numbers of Islamic scholars, including the very conservative and very influential Sheikh Qaradawi have declared that the “Islamic State” is NOT legal and that its leader is a false Caliph. The influential cleric said the declaration and nomination of Baghdadi by a jihadist group “known for its atrocities and radical views” fail to meet strict conditions dictated by Sharia. The title of caliph, he said, can “only be given by the entire Muslim nation” not by a single group.

In a legal Islamic state, Christians and Jews are free to live in peace but since they are not called upon for military duty and do not pay a religious tax called “zakat”, Christians pay a fair and reasonable tax (“jiziya”) to compensate for their zakat dispensation. Stealing homes and jewelry and threatening to murder Christians on short notice is NOT in accordance with Islamic law. If a “dhimmi” (protected Christian) does not pay the tax, it is collected by legal means upon court order, just like an unpaid tax in other countries.

Even Christians living in a Muslim state who are not “good” citizens must still be protected from abuse. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) said: “Anyone who persecutes a protected non-Muslim (Christian or Jew) or takes anything belonging to him with evil intention will find that I shall be his advocate before Allah on the Day of Resurrection.” He also said, “Anyone who hurts a protected non-Muslim hurts me and anyone who hurts me hurts Allah.”

There is NO death penalty for refusing to convert to Islam. Indeed, Allah himself says in the Qur’an, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.”

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Vatican message to Muslims

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has released its annual message to Muslims for the end of Ramadan, which will take place on July 28.

Citing statements by St. John Paul II and Pope Francis, and recalling that Pope Francis personally signed last year’s message, the president and secretary of the pontifical council stated that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters in the one human family, created by the One God.”

“We thank the Almighty for what we have in common, while remaining aware of our differences,” they continued. “We perceive the importance of promoting a fruitful dialogue built upon mutual respect and friendship. Inspired by our shared values and strengthened by our sentiments of genuine fraternity, we are called to work together for justice, peace and respect for the rights and dignity of every person.”    »»» Catholic Culture

The Roman Catholic Church, like the vast majority of Christian communities, recognizes that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (whose name in Arabic, for both Muslims and Christians is “Allah”). The Catholic teaching is summed up in section 841 of the Church’s official catechism:

“The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

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Prominent scholars declare ISIS caliphate ‘null and void’

The International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by influential Sunni cleric Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, released a statement on July 11, 2014, concerning the recent declaration of a “caliphate” by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS). The union said that the caliphate declaration is “null and void” and “lacks any realistic or legitimate standards.” It warned of serious consequences of the declaration on both Sunni Muslims in Iraq and the revolution in Syria.

The union defined the concept of a caliphate linguistically and religiously. The leader of the Muslim Ummah (nation) should be “a representative” of the nation, based on the people’s choice of that leader, or their representatives. “The mere announcement is not enough to establish a caliphate,” the statement added.

The scholars refuted ISIS arguments regarding its so-called “Islamic State”, pointing out that, “All the affairs of the state and religious political practice should be based on Shura (consultation).” They cited evidence from the text of the Qur’an and Sunnah (example of Prophet Muhammad) to emphasise the concept of Shura, rather than coercion, in Islam. The union statement also referred to early Muslim caliphs, pointing out that they were selected by Shura, not self-appointed.

“Linking the concept of caliphate to an organisation known to be extremist does not serve Islam,” the scholars’ said. They concluded by stressing that the concept of the caliphate is of “extreme importance” for all Muslims but requires “consensus among Muslims worldwide regarding its form and content.”   »»» Middle East Monitor

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‘Mohammed Raghead’ – the name the FBI were giving to hypothetical Muslim-Americans

The US government spied on thousands of law-abiding Muslim-Americans including top US lawyers and academics according to newly-published documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

The monitoring was authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law intended to target individuals involved in international terrorism, espionage or sabotage.

The leaked documents published by The Intercept include a list of 7,485 email addresses monitored between 2002 and 2008. Five of the emails identified by journalists have been described as leading “highly public, outwardly exemplary lives”.

A document dating from 2006 from the same cache of files instructed intelligence agency staff how to properly record the identity of those under surveillance and used the fake name of “Mohammed Raghead” as an example.   »»» The Independent (U.K.)

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Imam of Mosul mosque executed before ‘caliph’ gave sermon

The Islamic State’s execution of 13 Sunni Muslim clerics last month in Mosul was a move to silence moderate voices among Iraq’s Sunnis, and deserves greater attention, the top United Nations expert on religious freedom said.

“Here a Sunni movement is executing Sunni religious leaders. That should make us think,” said Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. “It’s important to focus more attention on these particular killings, because here we are not talking about Sunnis versus [Shiites]. This is a very clear case of atrocities committed against their own people, against religious leaders from Sunni Islam who probably have a less simplistic understanding of what Islam means.”

The Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, led prayers last Friday at Mosul’s Great Nur al-Din Mosque. One of the first clerics executed in Mosul, according to the UN, was that mosque’s imam, Muhammad al-Mansuri.

He was executed on June 12, the UN said, for failing to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, which released a 21-minute video on Saturday of Baghdadi preaching from the same minbar, or pulpit, that Mansuri once occupied.

Twelve other Sunni clerics were executed on June 14, the UN says.   »»» Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

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Dalai Lama urges Buddhists to halt violence against Muslims

The Dalai Lama Sunday reiterated his plea to Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to halt violence against Muslims, in a speech to tens of thousands of devotees to mark his 79th birthday.

In front of the massive crowd in northern India, the Dalai Lama said the violence in both Buddhist-majority countries targeting religious minority Muslims was unacceptable.

“I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime,” Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader said on the outskirts of Leh, high in the Himalayas. Buddha preaches love and compassion.”    »»» Arab News

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