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Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
ADDIS ABABA: A group of Muslim students in Ethiopia have lashed out at the anti-Islam “film” clip that has sparked widespread protests across the Islamic world, calling it an “attack on Islam” and demanded that action be taken against the producers of the film in the United States.
However, they told Bikyamasr.com that “violence is not an appropriate response” to the anger the film created.
“We are Muslims and we feel insulted and threatened by this stupid film that was promoted by radical Christians,” one of the group, Mohamed, told Bikyamasr.com on Saturday. “But at the same time, we are also Muslims and must follow the path of the Prophet in promoting a different perspective.”
The group of students, who in the past few months have called for democratic change and political freedoms, said that violence is not the answer.
“We have seen all the turmoil that protests and clashes have brought. It won’t get the job done in terms of changing how the west perceives Muslims and Islam. We have to do better,” they said.
For them, peaceful demonstrations are important, “but they must remain peaceful. We don’t feel the Prophet would want to see people killed over religion in this manner. It is unproductive.”
While the Muslims said that they were contemplating a demonstration, following the violence in the Middle East that has arisen, they are looking for alternative routes.
“We are not an Islamic country so we have to think of different ideas to battle this anti-Islam sentiment. And to do so is important because it can give the moral authority back to Muslims,” they argued.
Protests in the Middle East have left at least 6 people dead in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and other countries in the past three days of violence that has erupted.
While calm has largely returned to the region on Saturday, there are fears that without a concerted action by the United States against the producers, violence and anger could erupt once again.
“Here in Ethiopia we are keenly aware of the anger. We are angry, and we hope Obama and others in the US begin to understand that this is more than about a film, it is about the hatred being allowed to continue against Islam in the US and Europe,” they added.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Muhammad said: "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him" (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Yet Muslim spokesmen such as Harris Zafar, Mustafa Akyol, Salam al-Marayati, M. Cherif Bassiouni, and Ali Eteraz(among many others) have assured us that Islam doesn't punish apostasy. I expect that Zafar, Akyol, al-Marayati, Bassiouni, and Eteraz will immediately be jetting over to Mogadishu to explain to al-Shabaab that they're getting Islam all wrong, wrong, wrong, and should stop shooting converts immediately.
"Somali Christians Fear Militant Islam at Home and Abroad," by Wasul Chemosi for International Christian Concern, September 7 (thanks to Benedict):
Washington, D.C. September 7 (International Christian Concern) – Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked terror group in Somalia, has sought to rid the region of Christians and is specifically targeting Christian converts from Islam. Many Somali Christians, having fled persecution in their homeland, have found little security in neighbouring East African countries. Even in the Christian-majority country of Kenya, radical Islam is steadily gaining numbers and influence.
Two months ago, three Christian converts from Islam returned to their homeland to attend a university in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The men, whose identities have been concealed for their protection, had been working in Ethiopia and converted to Christianity in 2005. Upon their return, however, people grew suspicious when the men were not seen praying at the local mosque.“One of our fellow students jokingly questioned us about why we were not serious about attending prayers at the mosque,” recalled one of the men. “I kept quiet and the discussion ended. Three days later is when we were attacked.”On June 25, six armed Al Shabab militants entered the Christians’ home and opened fire. The Christians were found by neighbors and were rushed to the hospital. All three suffered gunshot wounds and, after spending a week in the hospital, they determined it was no longer safe to live in Somalia. The men crossed the southern border into eastern Kenya joining thousands of other displaced Somalis in refugee camps in Dadaab.Local sources told ICC that Al Shabab had been closely monitoring the men for months. “New arrivals outside of Somalia are monitored by Al Shabab because they are considered to support western ideologies, including foreign religions, and they are viewed as sympathizers to the West,” said a Somali journalist in the area. “That is why they were victimized.”The men’s plight is one among many acts of violent extremism that has targeted the Somali Christian community in recent months. In a similar case, a Christian family fled Buula-barde, a village in central Somalia, after receiving death threats in May. “The extremists began sending threatening messages to their mobile phones to recant their faith or face execution,” a Christian who knows the family told ICC. “Al Shabab is monitoring religious groups and discovered that the family had embraced Christianity. The family fled to Ethiopia.”Al-Shabab and its sympathizers are believed to be responsible for many attacks in East African countries, and the escalating violence targeting Christians raises concerns that Islamic extremism is on the rise. “Pastors and Christians are very afraid,” said Imam Hussein, an Ethiopian Christian convert from Islam who came to Kenya after fleeing persecution in his home town. “I know people, mainly Christian converts, who had to leave their homes and their families because of pressures from these terrorists. It’s very dangerous. Although these militants are very few in Kenya, they are very fanatic, like al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Many Muslims are even against them and stand with the Christian community.”Al-Shabab adheres to a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law that includes amputating the hands of thieves and stoning adulterous women. Their radical agenda is exposed when reading one of the many death threats received by Christian converts in the region:“Stop your harmful ideologies and preaching to the Muslims,” read a warning to a Somali Christian in December. “Some Somali Muslims are already affected by this cancer of Christianity… they will be under the sword of the mujahedeen (holy worriers)... We know where you are... We ask Allah to help us make his purpose reign... We are reaching millions of youth to join our jihad against the enemy of Islam and to terrorize by any means we can to make them understand that they are nothing but lowly infidels.”
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
TEL AVIV: Already victims of human trafficking, having been kidnapped from their home country of Ethiopia, brought to Egypt’s Sinai and captured as they tried to enter Israel illegally, some 20 Ethiopian women and girls continue to face hardships as the Israeli government skirts their own laws to protect victims of human trafficking.
Halle, a 22-year-old Ethiopian woman who illegally entered Israel last year and currently works as a domestic worker without proper documentation, told Bikyamasr.com that she doesn’t expect the girls and women currently being held in jails in the country will change their stance.
“They don’t care about us black people. Israel is not the place we thought it would be,” she began. “And if I go to get help or try to get asylum, I could end up just like them. It is from one suffering to another we Ethiopian women go to.”
According to local Israeli reports, the women, half of whom are 14- and 15-years-old, and classified as “unaccompanied minors,” under Israel’s own laws were supposed to be transferred to boarding schools and not sent to prison.
However, the country’s education ministry thought differently, refusing to accept the girls and keeping them locked up in Givon and Saharonim jails.
A UN refugee official, who spoke to Bikyamasr.com on condition of anonymity, said that “we are working toward ending these policies that threaten the health and safety of women refugees who pose no violent threat to Israeli society.”
But the official added it is an uphill battle and one that officials have appeared unwilling to change, especially in light of the recent deportations of African migrants to their country of origin, without regard to their potential safety upon return.
The jails the young Ethiopians are held are adult prisons and not meant to house juveniles.
As for the adults, Haaretz newspaper reported they “were supposed to have been sent to Maagan, a shelter for female victims of trafficking run by the Social Affairs Ministry.”
With Maagan already full, the adults have joined the young girls in the two prisons.
Under Israel’s own laws, human trafficking victims should be held only until another solution can be found for them. As for minors, they can be held for only 60 days.
Currently, the young teenagers have been in prison for over three months beyond the 60 day limit.
“It is the worst situation imaginable. I spent two weeks in an Israel jail before they put me in a women’s home,” added Halle. “The conditions are horrible and they treat us like lesser people who deserve no better than a cell. It is barbaric.”
All this comes on the heels of killings of Africans in Israel this summer.
“We hear it daily in this country,” said one Eritrean worker, who asked Bikyamasr.com not to be named due to the risk of losing his work permit. “The government here treats us bad, but it is everyday Israelis that we see are becoming more vocal in their hate for black people.”
The workers’ statements from East Africa come a week after three Eritreans were stabbed in a south Tel Aviv Internet cafe by an Israeli man who fled the scene.
Police have been unable to identify the attacker, nor have they uncovered a motive for the violent attack, +972 Magazine reported.
Isias Tesprem, the owner of the cafe in the Shapira neighborhood, told reporters he did not recognize the attacker.
“I never expected anything like this to happen — we have no outstanding debts and have not hurt anyone,” said Tesprem, who has been in Israel for five years.
The attack was the latest in a string of violent incidents targeting African migrants from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, believed to number 60,000 to 70,000 in Israel.
Their status has been the source of intense political discussions.
It is not the first violent attack against Africans in the country.
On July 20, an Eritrean man was shot in the early morning when an unknown assailant opened fire in a Shapira neighborhood building where several Eritreans were sleeping in the hallway, the Israeli news outlet Ynet reported.
ActiveStills.org posted photos from the crime scene, reporting that the shooting took place in the garden outside the building.
No arrests have been made and police have said they believe the incident was most likely a robbery.
But Africans disagree, telling Bikyamasr.com that the increase in violence is part of the overall campaign to rid the country of “black Africans.”
“It can be felt everywhere. When we walk on the street and especially if we are walking with a white Israeli girl,” said Ahmad, a Sudanese construction worker who arrived in Israel two years ago via Egypt.
Jerusalem has seen an uptick in anti-migrant violence in recent months.
On July 12, a man and his pregnant wife, both from Eritrea, were injured when their apartment was the target of arson. The fire was set barely five weeks after a similar attack transpired in the Israeli capital. In both cases, the fire was set at the entrance to the apartment door.
Israel is continuing its deportation of African migrants in a crackdown government officials have described as the protection of “infiltrators.”
In June and July, thousands of Africans were booted from the country, and the government did not mince words when doing so.
Government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel is the “Jewish homeland” and it has “no obligation to offer asylum” to African migrants.
“Israel is a small country. We are 8 million people and geographically, we’re the size of [the US state] New Jersey. We are too small to be the solution of all of Africa’s problems,” he said.
For the Africans who remain in the country, the rising racism against them is a worrying prospect for people who fear returning to their own country. They told Bikyamasr.com that by using these tactics and the police not finding suspects in the string of killings perpetrated against Africans, it shows the government “is unwilling to live up to its moral obligation to help those in need.”
Ahmad argued that “Israel was supposed to be a place that helps those in need, but it turns out they are as racist as other countries against us Africans and also against the Palestinians.”