Tag Archives: Sharia

ISIS reportedly selling Christian artifacts, turning churches into torture chambers

The Islamic State is turning Christian churches in Iraq and Syria into dungeons and torture chambers after stripping them of priceless artifacts to sell on the black market, according to reports.

Ancient relics and even entire murals are being torn from the houses of worship and smuggled out through the same routes previously established for moving oil and weapons in and out of the so-called caliphate, a vast region the jihadist army has claimed as sovereign under Sharia law.

“ISIS has a stated goal to wipe out Christianity,” Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice and the author of “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore,” told FoxNews.com. “This why they are crucifying Christians — including children — destroying churches and selling artifacts. The fact is, this group will stop at nothing to raise funds for its terrorist mission.”

It’s not clear what items have been stolen, but the terrorist group has sought to destroy religious groups that don’t embrace its twisted and violent interpretation of Islam, and has already blown up several revered Christian sites and monuments.

Last July, ISIS militants used sledgehammers to destroy the tomb of Jonah in Mosul. Around the same time, they were destroying Sunni shrines and mosques in the northern province of Ninevah, including the Shia Saad bin Aqeel Husseiniya shrine in the city of Tal Afar and the al-Qubba Husseiniya, as well as Christian churches in Syria. The group follows a strict interpretation of the Sunni faith which is against idolatry of anything other than God. ISIS has also threatened to destroy the holy sight of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Christianity, like Judaism and Islam, have powerful historical ties to the region, and some of its most treasured sites and relics are in Iraq and Syria, according to experts. Their destruction or dispersal is tragic, said Shaul Gabbay, senior scholar at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

“The Middle East is where the three monotheistic religions begun and anything that can inform us about the history and chronology of the development of religion is of unparalleled significance to the core identity of anyone who is Christian,” Gabbay told FoxNews.com. “This is where Abraham, the forefather of the three monotheistic religions, came from, where Moses led the Hebrews to the Promised Land and where Jesus Christ was born, walked, died and was resurrected.

“Anything physical part that exists from the past including more modern artifacts is of extreme value to Christianity both at the informative and educational level as well as the spiritual/faith level,” he said.

Experts believe Islamic State’s trafficking in religious artifacts is both to make money and to culturally cleanse the region. The Islamic militants have converted churches in Qaraqosh and other Iraqi cities into torture chambers, according to the Sunday Times. One priest from the region, who gave his name as Abu Aasi from Mosul, told the newspaper earlier this month that prisoners were being held in the Bahnam Wa Sara and Al Kiama churches.

“These two churches are being used as prisons and for torture,” he said while in hiding. “Most inside are Christians and they are being forced to convert to Islam. Isis has been breaking all the crosses and statues of Mary.”

Christianity is believed to be practiced by just three percent of the population of Iraq. They lived in relative religious freedom while under Saddam Hussein’s rule, but have faced persecution from Islamic State in the last two years. In particular, the Yazidi, a Kurdish Christian people, have been hounded and murdered by the extremist group, leaving many of them becoming refugees trying to escape the region.

“We know that ISIS considers several groups — including Christians — as ‘infidels without human rights,'” Sekulow said. “ISIS jihadists commit violence against fellow Muslims in violation of Islamic law. They routinely commit war crimes and engage in torture in violation of international law; and they also kill and threaten Christian, Jewish, and other religious communities.”

“In short, ISIS is composed of religiously motivated psychopaths,” he said.

 

Veiled Threat – UK’s senior Muslim Brotherhood leader to British PM : Don’t ban us – or else

Ibrahim Mounir

Ibrahim Mounir

It is a familiar argument at this point: acting against Islamic jihadists risks “alienating moderate Muslims.” The Times editors put “peaceful” in brackets ahead of Ibrahim Mounir’s reference to “Muslim Brotherhood values,” but in reality the Brotherhood’s year in power in Egypt was anything but peaceful; that year was marked by thuggery against its opponents, and since the Brotherhood was toppled from power, its supporters have blamed Christians for the loss of power, terrorizing them and burning churches. And even if it really were peaceful, the Muslim Brotherhood is dedicated to establishing Islamic law in societies, and we are constantly told that Muslims in the West have no interest in bringing Sharia West with them, now or ever — so one would think that genuinely moderate Muslims would be happy to repudiate the Brotherhood and see it banned in Britain.

Ibrahim Mounir’s tactic here is very similar to one that is used constantly against me and other foes of jihad terror: the claim that speaking honestly about how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism will alienate moderate Muslims. You can see an Australian interviewer ask me that exact question in this video. The obvious answer, of course, is that if they were truly moderate, they’d be just as indignant about that usage as we are, and would be standing with us against it.

Finally, note Mounir’s veiled threat: if the Brotherhood is banned, there will be jihad terror in the U.K. Of course, if it isn’t banned, there will be jihad terror in the U.K., but he doesn’t mention that.

Ban on Muslim Brotherhood ‘will increase terrorism risk,’” by Tom Coghlan in the Times, April 5 :

Banning the Muslim Brotherhood will leave Britain at greater risk of terrorist attacks, the group’s most senior leader in the UK said yesterday.

Speaking for the first time since David Cameron announced an investigation into the organisation’s alleged links to violent extremism, Ibrahim Mounir said that it risked alienating moderate Muslims. “If this [ban] happened, this would make a lot of people in Muslim communities think that [peaceful] Muslim Brotherhood values . . . didn’t work and now they are designated a terrorist group, which would make the doors open for all options,” he said. Asked if he meant open to violence, he replied: “Any possibility.”…

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Hagel voices ‘US concerns’ over Egyptian constitution.

903US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed Washington’s concern over the arrests in the context of a restrictive new protest law. “Secretary Hagel noted that the Egyptian government’s response to free expression will demonstrate the interim government’s commitment to a non-violent, inclusive and sustainable democratic transition,” the Pentagon said. Hagel’s comments came during a call with Egypt’s military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on a range of topics.

The call came as the panel amending Egypt’s suspended constitution began voting Saturday on some 250 changes,

The constitution before the 50-member committee makes drastic changes in ensuring civil liberties, fighting discrimination, criminalizing torture, protecting religious freedoms and giving lawmakers power to remove the president. Yet the draft also allows Egypt’s powerful military to choose its own chief and try civilians in military tribunals.

“This is the path of rescue from the current condition,” said Amr Moussa, the elder Egyptian statesman leading the constitutional panel. “It is the transition from disturbances to stability and from economic stagnation to development.”

The military suspended the Islamist-drafted, voter-approved 2012 constitution in the July 3 coup that ousted Morsi. The constitutional panel, dominated by secularists, has been working on changes as part of a military-backed timeline that calls for voters to approve it. It plans for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held early next year.

On Saturday, 48 panel members began voting on the changes in a session aired live on state television. Most articles passed unanimously. One issue the panel faced was how the principles of Islamic law, or Shariah, already called the main source of law in Egypt, should be defined. Some feared a definition would allow for a heavier implementation of Shariah and the creation of a religious state.

The panel voted to refer to Supreme Constitutional Court’s limited definition of Shariah’s principles. That “didn’t appease the Islamist representative,” said panel member Kamal el-Helbawi, an independent who once belonged to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The panel voted for an amendment banning slavery, human trafficking and “the sex trade.” The panel’s sole Islamist party representative opposed the amendment, as some say the article restricts early marriages.

The panel also voted in favor of abolishing the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, as well as an amendment defining Egypt as a “civilian” government in Arabic. That term angers Islamists, who say it means secular.

Among articles the panel will vote on Sunday is one allowing lawmakers to vote out an elected president and call for early elections if they have a two-thirds majority. Another allows parliament to prosecute the president for “violating the rules of the constitution.”

A proposed change also prohibits the establishment of political parties on religious grounds, meaning the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party and Al-Nour, the political arm of Salafi Call movement, could be banned.

Other controversial changes up for a vote include one giving the military the right to choose its own army chief, who serves as the defense minister, over a transitional period of eight years. Another gives the military the right to try civilians in front of military tribunals for a series of crimes. The tribunals are known for swift and harsh verdicts that cannot be appealed.

Once approved, the panel will hand the draft constitution to interim President Adly Mansour. Mansour has a month to call for a public vote on it.

The military-backed government hopes to pass the constitution with more support than Morsi’s constitution garnered. Only a third of voters cast ballots in 2012 and it passed by 63.8 percent. Billboards calling on voters to support the draft constitution already have been put up around the capital, Cairo, though some already have reservations about it.

“The constitution is better than the previous one, but it is not the best in general,” said leading civil rights lawyer Nasser Amin, an alternate member of the panel. “Polarization and divisions had its impact on the constitution.”

For  Egyptians, the constitution is the first step toward normalcy and stability after nearly three years of tumultuous political change that has dealt a heavy blow to the economy and plunged the parts of the country into lawlessness.

Meanwhile Saturday, a few kilometers (miles) from where the panel met, brief clashes broke out between riot police and protesters. The clash grew out of anger over the arrest of 24 activists Tuesday who held a demonstration in defiance of a new law heavily restricting protests.

The new law allows security agencies to bar protests not previously reported to authorities, while also setting prison terms and high fines for violators. It appears aimed at ending the near-daily protests by Islamists supporting Morsi and others opposing the military-backed interim government. The law has angered secularists as well.

On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin called on authorities to review the law to show that the state was ready to listen to the country’s secular activists.

“It is not a shame and it does not detract from the prestige of the state to reconsider a law that will only widen the gap between the state and the youth,” Bahaa-Eldin said on his official Facebook page.