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Grasping at straws over the US Airways Flight 300 fiasco back in November, Somali Muslims and Muslim-rights groups living in La La Land (Iran?), including the perpetually dubious Center on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), are demanding a prayer space in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport be set aside solely for use by Muslims and only Muslims–no Christians (or any other religious group) allowed, further proving that Islam is the most intolerant religion on the face of the planet.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press article…

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

While there are many Christians who could be considered intolerant, that is usually in spite of the fact they’re Christians. The Qur’an teaches intolerance to followers of Islam, so who do you think will be the cause of “problems” should Muslims have to share a prayer room with Christians?

From the WND article further down the page in reference to the November 20 US Airways Flight 300 with the kooky imams…

The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations also complained, according to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time,” Hooper said.

You singled yourself out with your incendiary and purposefully outrageous behavior. You perpetrated a choreographed stunt in order to garner attention towards Islamic religious discrimination that just wasn’t there. I don’t deny that Muslims face religious discrimination (or any other religious group), but the incident on US Airways Flight 300 was handled very professionally by the US Airways staff. Passengers, while alarmed, didn’t resort to panic or bigotry. The imams, on the other hand, acted like idiots and the public saw through their facade for what it truly was: a publicity stunt designed to generate a religious discrimination lawsuit.

Still, it could be morbidly amusing to witness a prayer room with Muslims and Christians together. One group might be praying for a safe flight home, while the other group prays for a speedy trip to paradise.

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Airport hesitant to grant Muslim prayer room

Somali immigrant leaders also ask directors for signs in native language, exceptions for cabbies

BY EMILY GURNON
Pioneer Press

Somali immigrants passing through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport want a private place to say Muslim prayers. The airport suggests they share a room with people of other religions.

Like a new couple learning to dance, immigrants and their adopted countries often trip each other up, and the prayer-room issue is just one of the latest tangles between Somali immigrants and other Minnesotans.

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The prayer debate was sparked Nov. 20 when six imams — Muslim religious leaders — were removed from an airplane after they had been seen praying in public. According to witnesses, the men also made anti-American remarks, asked for seat-belt extenders they didn’t need and spread out to different areas of the plane.

The imams took another flight the next day.

But the incident drew worldwide attention. Muslims decried the treatment of the men, saying it was discriminatory, embarrassing and fueled by false rumors. Others praised the airline for taking the men off the plane, saying safety must come first in the post-Sept. 11 age.

Ali said Tuesday that he and other Somalis want a prayer room so they will not be faced with a similar incident.

“What can guarantee that will not happen again?” he said.

Airport Director Steve Wareham said if the airport provides a special area for Muslims to use, it potentially would have to accommodate other faiths the same way.

“Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he told the Somali immigrants.

That existing area is a carpeted room that contains chairs but no religious symbols. It has been used for years but was never obvious to travelers, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. The airport intends to install more signs directing people to it on the mezzanine level near the Chili’s restaurant, near the entry to the F Concourse.

At the same time, there is no restriction on praying in other parts of the airport, Wareham said.

Other issues continue to rile some Somali immigrants. Minnesota is home to the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the country. The state estimates about 25,000 Somalis live here, though community leaders say the number is closer to 60,000.

Many of the airport’s Somali taxi drivers refuse to accept passengers who are carrying liquor, because their faith forbids it. The airport says it is a customer-service issue and has forced drivers who refuse fares to move to the back of the line, which can mean a wait as long as three hours for another fare.

Wareham said he would recommend to the airport’s management operations committee that it hold a public hearing on the matter. He favors stiffening the penalties against cab drivers who refuse fares for any reason other than their own safety.

“To be refused service by a taxi driver is, frankly, seen as an insult, and we don’t want our customers to experience it,” Wareham said.

Somalis assembled at Tuesday’s meeting at the Darul Quba Mosque in Minneapolis also wanted to know whether the airport would provide announcements and signs in Somali.

Probably not, officials said.

“The challenge is not inundating the air with messages people might start to ignore,” said Arlie Johnson, an assistant airport director.

At least the issue of the prayer room was met with some accommodation, said Abdirahman Hirsi, imam of the Darul Quba Mosque.

“It’s a kind of progress,” he said. “And we hope the future will be better.”

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Muslims warn of ‘problems’ in shared prayer room
Somali leader says Islam, Christianity incompatible


Posted: January 4, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com Muslims are demanding a private room to pray at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, saying there will be problems if they have to share an existing “quiet room” with people of other religions. “Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting with airport officials, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The meeting was a followup to an incident Nov. 20 when ticket agents and other passengers noticed six Muslim imams who had attended a conference in the area praying loudly before their flight, and shouting “Allah, Allah” when their flight was called. Officials said then they also asked to be scattered throughout the plane, rather than sitting together as they had been assigned. And some of the imams, although they did not need them, asked for seat-belt extenders. The pilot summoned security and the imams were removed from the flight, and then they alleged that they were discriminated against because of their religion. Now Somalis, who make up a large community in Minnesota and are predominantly Muslim, are demanding changes at the airport, including a private place for them to use for their prayers.

The airport, meanwhile, has suggested they share the room already set aside for such purposes.

The incident with the imams, who took another later flight, has launched both criticism and praise for the airline, US Airways. Critics say the airline was profiling based on religion, while those who praise the actions say safety must come first in the world since Sept. 11.

Ali said he just wanted a “guarantee” that something similar will not happen in the future.

But the airport already provides the generic quiet area, and if it would set aside a special area designated for Muslims, it could have to accommodate any – and all – other faiths the same way, noted Airport Director Steve Wareham.

“Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he said.

That is a carpeted room furnished with chairs – but without any religious symbols, airport officials said. It has been in use for a number of years, but hasn’t been obvious, so airport officials have promised to put up more signs to let people know where it is.

The airport also said people can pray in other parts of the airport as they wish.

As WND reported, one of the imams, Omar Shahin, is affiliated with a Hamas-linked organization and acknowledged a connection to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

Shahin is a representative of the Kind Hearts Organization, which had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury pending an investigation, notes Islam scholar Robert Spencer on his weblog JihadWatch


Omar Shahin displays Quran at Tucson Islamic Center in June 2001 (Photo: University of Arizona Daily Wildcat)

Treasury spokesman Stuart Levey in February said KindHearts “is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving.”

The imams had attended a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Shahin, who is president of the group.

“They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way,” Shahin said after the incident.

The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations also complained, according to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time,” Hooper said.

CAIR, however, has its own ties to Hamas, having been identified by two former FBI counter-terrorism chiefs as a spinoff of a front group for the Palestinian terrorist organization.

A Sept. 28, 2001, story in the Arizona Republic that said Arizona appears to have been the home of an al-Qaida sleeper cell named Shahin as one of three part-time Arizona residents who “fits the pattern” of the terrorist group.

Shahin, identifed as being with the Tucson Islamic Center, said members of his mosque may have helped bin Laden in the early 1990s when the al-Qaida leader was fighting against the Russians.

The CIA at that time, Shahin said, called bin Laden a “freedom fighter.”

Witnesses to the imam’s explusion said some of them made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq before boarding the flight, according to airport officials.

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Part 5 • Mujahideen movies

Jill discovers these are hardcore Islamic militants who follow Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

| Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

 

(J.C.) One afternoon in the first week after I’d been taken – and been moved to yet another house near Abu Ghraib – Abu Ali called me into a big sitting room with green velveteen couches. On the far wall, above the TV, was a gigantic poster of waterfalls and rocks and trees.

It was beautiful. I could stare at it and get lost. I thought, I wish I was there, I wish I was there.

(Photograph)
AL QAEDA IN IRAQ: About a week into her captivity, Jill was shown videos of attacks like this one on July 21, 2003 in Baghdad.
MANISH SWARUP/AP

But my captors wanted me to look at something very different: DVDs of them waging war.

By their count, they were killing dozens or even hundreds of soldiers a day. They estimated that Al Qaeda in Iraq had killed at least 40,000 US soldiers. They could prove it, they said, with videos of their operations showing Humvees and tanks blowing up and snipers shooting soldiers.

So Abu Ali – the captor with a stubbly beard – sat me down and showed me the videos. They were in Arabic and were stamped with the symbols of various insurgent groups, and included audio overlays of mujahideen chanting in low, somber tones.

One video showed all these men who were going to be suicide car bombers. They interviewed them, and then showed a field, with cars lined up, and each man getting into a car – waving, just euphoric – and then driving off.

Others had pictures of an American Humvee driving along – and then it would blow up, and they’d cut to a graphic of a lightning flash, and thunder clapping.

Abu Ali would glance over at me as I watched the videos, asking me what I thought of them. I couldn’t say anything good, but I tried to say things that were true, like “Oh, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this. I didn’t know this was out there.”

To Abu Ali, though, this was their mission, a righteous path; this was their work for God.

While I sat there watching them, I felt the insurgents were sending me a message: They hate Americans so much, they’re proud of these attacks. It’s normal to them.

Surely they were going to kill me. How could they not?

(P.G.) The first set of phone-recording equipment that the FBI brought to Jim Carroll‘s North Carolina home didn’t work. A second set, shipped in from the Charlotte office, didn’t work either. Eventually, agents assigned to the Jill Carroll case got the standard wiretap electronics in place.

From the beginning, the FBI identified Jim as someone who could handle hostage negotiations. He received rudimentary training in what to do if contacted: Keep talking, keep them on the phone, try to set a time for a call back.

But no one was sure which numbers Jill would remember and pass along to her jailers. So taps were readied for a number of phones. If the kidnappers called, the FBI would use the recording to try to identify them and their location.

In Baghdad, Monitor staff writer Scott Peterson put a piece of climbing tape on one of his phones, and drew on it a green eye, to remind him which line the government was watching. He and staff writer Dan Murphy were pursuing their own leads with Iraqi sources and seeking the help of Sunni politicians known to have insurgent contacts.

Between them, Messrs. Peterson and Murphy could draw on decades of experience working in dangerous environments. As a reporter and photographer, Peterson’s hot-spot assignments stretched from Angola to Afghanistan. In 1993, he took a machete blow to the head from a mob that killed four journalists in Somalia. Later, he was one of the very few correspondents to enter the Rwandan capital, Kigali, when the genocide began.

Murphy lived for 10 years in Indonesia, where he covered sectarian violence and became one of the world’s experts on Al Qaeda’s operations in Southeast Asia. In Baghdad, he’d been one of Jill’s mentors.

Meanwhile, back in the US, the Monitor enlisted the help of Faye Bowers, a recently retired Washington correspondent with extensive contacts in the dark world of intelligence. She had been instrumental in the negotiations to release Monitor reporter David Rohde, who was jailed by Bosnian Serbs for 10 days in 1995 and won a Pulitzer for stories revealing the first evidence of the Srebrenica massacre.

At Ms. Bowers’s request, US officials also contacted important Sunnis in Iraq, and pushed them to do all they could to secure Jill’s release. Jordanian and European officials, particularly the Germans, provided context about their own efforts to free hostages in Iraq. And an army of Bowers’s contacts, many of them ex-spies, scrolled through their memories, searching for old friends and contacts in the Arab world who might help.

(J.C.) At the beginning of my ordeal, I had hoped my kidnappers were amateurs who wouldn’t really know what to do with me and would start to get very nervous after a few days. Then they’d let me go.

(Photograph)
ZARQAWI: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi spoke in a rare video of him posted on the Web on April 25, 2006.
REUTERS

I knew they were Iraqis, which was good. It was the foreign-born insurgents – such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who beheaded hostages.

They seemed a small group, and they told me they had come together and forged their identity fighting the US military for control of the restive city of Fallujah in a Sunni- dominated area west of Baghdad.

But after about a week in captivity – about the time of the showing of the jihadi videos – it became increasingly clear to me that they were the real deal.

During the precious few hours when the electricity worked, they would sometimes plug in a cassette player, and an angry voice would blare in classical Arabic from the room across the hall, where the guards slept.

I usually only understood a few words, like “America,” “Israel,” and “occupation,” but the point was clear.

“Do you know who that is?” one of the guards asked me at one point. “That is Sheikh Abu Musab. Is he a good man? What is your opinion of Zarqawi?”

I dodged the question. But inside, I felt the fear welling up. These were Zarqawi people! I was an American. I thought again, there was no way I was getting out of this alive.

(P.G.) Perhaps the knowledge of what would happen to Khalid if he disappeared into the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior was what did it. Sitting on a bed in the Monitor’s Baghdad apartment, he finally broke down.

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the truth!” he sobbed.

(Photograph)
KEEPING TRACK: The white board used by editors at the Christian Science Monitor to track their efforts to release hostage Jill Carroll.
JOHN NORDELL – STAFF

By this point, Khalid (not his real name) had worked for the Monitor and other media organizations as an interpreter, on and off, for a year-and-a-half. He was a gentle soul, thin and nervous in a birdlike way. He’d come via recommendation from someone in the Coalition Provisional Authority, back when that still existed, and Murphy liked working with him. He was interested in the way that religion and politics fit together, as was Murphy himself.

And for days now, Khalid had said he had a source – two separate sources, actually – who knew where Jill was.

The information – revealed in dribs and drabs over time – was detailed in a way that made it sound credible. It even jibed with other leads coming in. She was being held, allegedly, in Al Adl – the same neighborhood where she was kidnapped and a part of the city known to be rife with insurgents. There were two teams that took turns guarding her, each composed of three men. The house was detached, and the opening in its surrounding wall was a white metal gate – sheet metal, not bars, and streaked with dirt. Behind the gate sat the Monitor driver’s maroon Toyota with a broken window and bullet holes in the side.

The Monitor’s Baghdad team had passed this information along, and the Hereford, England-based security firm hired by the newspaper sent an Iraqi employee into the neighborhood to eyeball possible houses. He found four or five.

But then one of Khalid’s sources went out of town. And his story began to change. Maybe the gate was … black.

What was going on? Late one night, a colonel from the Iraqi Interior Ministry arrived to interview Khalid in Arabic. The colonel was a busy man; he talked to the interpreter a bit, then left on other business. But he made himself clear: At this point, if Khalid didn’t name his source, Khalid would have to come in to the ministry.

He didn’t have to say that bad things happened at the ministry, even to good people.

Khalid was shaken. Murphy, too, was concerned. He sat beside him, and gently asked, again, for the real story. And finally it came out.

His wife had visions, said Khalid. They’re painful and difficult for her, he said, but it’s a gift. She’d warned him not to get involved, but he’d wanted to help. He’d given his wife one of Jill’s cherry-tinted hairs from a hair band which he’d secretly taken from the office. She’d been the one who “saw” where Jill was. Khalid believed her. But he knew Murphy and Peterson wouldn’t.

The reporters were stunned. For weeks now, they’d been pursuing this lead. Now, it seemed, they had been sending people into dangerous neighborhoods based on the musings of a clairvoyant.

From the beginning, investigative tracks dealing with Jill’s possible whereabouts gave the family and her employers a sense of hope and momentum.

Excerpts from readers’ letters
(Photograph)
ORIGAMI: Fourth graders at St. Anthony Catholic School in Boston folded 246 paper cranes for Jill Carroll.
ASHLEY TWIGGS

What they didn’t provide, in the end, was Jill. Leads dried up. Sources disappeared. Demands for ransom turned out to be attempts at extortion.

The curious case of the clairvoyant was perhaps the most extreme example of where tracks went. But it wasn’t unique. Other sources claimed to have a video taken on a cellphone – and described her in detail.

Notes scribbled daily on legal pads by managing editor Marshall Ingwerson give a sense of the rise and fall of these efforts.

From 1/11/06: “New lead. HWG [the US Embassy’s Hostage Working Group] onworking. Source is someone we’ve worked with before … contradictory to [The New York Times’s Dexter] Filkins lead….”

From 1/14/06: “2 tracks still in play. Filkins update: By chance his sources – guard at racetrack saw her yesterday while she was being transferred….”

From 1/19/06: “No more on Dexter’s track. Contradictory info on [Scott Peterson’s] track.”

From 1/20/06: “Dexter track definitely dead….”

One morning, the British security man under contract to the Monitor told Murphy and Peterson that the body of a Western woman had been found in Baghdad. Police were checking the morgue. The two reporters kept the information to themselves, tensely awaiting verification. The report proved untrue.

While the leads were thin, the public support poured in. The Monitor would post on its website a daily selection of e-mails and letters from Jill Carroll supporters of all faiths, and all walks of life. During some of the darkest nights, Mary Beth Carroll would go to her computer and draw some comfort from the strangers’ missives.

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