Entries in Muslim (17)


US Braces for Further Protests in Cairo over Anti-Muslim Film

Ed Giles/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- The U.S. government is bracing itself for the fourth straight day of protests in Cairo and other parts of the Middle East as anger over a U.S.-produced film mocking the Prophet Mohammed continues to grow.

Many protesters have begun to take to the streets in Cairo and more protesters are expected to gather in Tahrir Square following Friday's prayers.

The Muslim Brotherhood has announced that it has canceled their nationwide protests.  The group had previously called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers in front of Mosques in all cities across Egypt "in response to the insults to the religious beliefs and the Prophet."

Overnight, police in riot gear launched tear gas canisters into the sea of violent protesters, who were lighting fireworks, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails in return.

Many angry demonstrators are blaming the U.S. government for the film, Innocence of Muslims, and they want an official apology from President Obama.

A U.S. intelligence bulletin warned Thursday that the violent outrage aimed at U.S. embassies spawned by the movie could be spread to America by extremist groups eager to "exploit anger."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


20 Killed in Nigerian Sectarian Violence

ABC News(ABUJA, Nigeria) -- Nearly 20 people were killed in new attacks from Islamist sect Boko Haram in Nigeria.

BBC News reports that the attack occurred at a townhall in Mubi in Adamawa state where Christian members of the Igbo group were meeting on Friday. Boko Haram is also believed to have killed six people during a church service in Gombe on Thursday.

The Islamist group have escalated attacks around the country over the past few months with the most deadly being the coordinated Christmas Day attacks on churches across the country resulting in the death of over 40 people and injuring dozens.

Following the Christmas day bombings, the radical sect warned Christians living in the northern part of Nigeria and considered mainly Muslim areas, to leave and return to the south. The group also called Muslims living in the south to return to the north.

The attacks come a week after President Goodluck Jonathan issued a state of emergency in Yobe and Borno states as well as other states where Boko Haram is believed to be operating from.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Frankfurt Terror Suspect Mistakenly Inspired By Hollywood

Arid Uka sits between his lawyers in the courtroom of the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany on Aug. 31. German court requests that the faces of the defendants must be made unrecognizable. (BORIS ROESSLER/AFP/Getty Images)(FRANKFURT, Germany) -- When the man accused of murdering two U.S. airmen near a Frankfurt airport confessed to the crime in a German court Wednesday, he said the night before the rampage, he had seen a gruesome video that purportedly showed American soldiers raping a Muslim girl.

But the video was not real. Rather, it was a clip from the 2007 Brian de Palma anti-war movie Redacted, which had been taken out of context by the would-be jihadist.

"I thought what I saw in that video these people would do in Afghanistan," terror suspect Arid Uka told the court, according to media reports.

Uka said that the clip had pushed him over the edge after months of sitting at home, playing video games and watching radical Islamist videos online. But even while riding the bus on the way to the airport that March 2, Uka said he did not know if he would actually go through with his plot to attack Americans.

"On the one hand, I wanted to do something to help the women, and on the other hand, I hoped I would not see any soldiers," he said.

Minutes later, however, Uka did see American servicemen and asked one of them, 25-year-old Nicholas Alden, if his group was headed to Afghanistan, according to a prosecutor's account later reflected in the indictment against Uka. When Alden said they were, Uka pulled out a handgun and executed Alden with a shot to the head.

Prosecutors said Uka then boarded the bus and shot the driver, 21-year-old Zachary Cuddeback, in the head before turning his gun on the other airmen on the bus. After wounding two others, the handgun jammed and Uka attempted to flee. He didn't get far before the survivors of the attack chased him down and tackled him.

Uka said Wednesday he doesn't know why he did it and how he lost control over himself.

"If you ask me why I did this, I can only say... I don't understand anymore how I went that far," he said.

De Palma's film was loosely based on the true story of five U.S. soldiers who were charged for the rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in 2006.

The film became the center of some controversy after its release the next year, sparking online protests and a letter from House Services Committee member Rep. Duncan Hunter to the Motion Picture Association, who warned de Palma's film could inspire would-be Islamic terrorists.

"Unfortunately, Brian de Palma's new movie Redacted...portrays American service personnel in Iraq as uncontrollable misfits and criminals," Hunter said at the time, according to a report by The Washington Times. "While incidents of criminal behavior be members of our military should never be ignored, the isolated incident on which this film is based negatively portrays American service personnel and misrepresents their collective efforts in Iraq."

De Palma responded to the controversy at the time, saying the movie -- which he called, oxymoronically, a "fictional documentary" -- was an attempt to end the war in Iraq "by trying to show the reality of what this war is."

Uka is charged with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Weightlifting Organization Modifies Clothing Rule for Muslim Women

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(PANANG, Malaysia) -- Disputes over what female Muslim athletes can wear have arisen in soccer, swimming, track, gymnastics and, most recently, weightlifting, putting the athletes in the difficult situation of having to choose between their religion and their sport. But on Wednesday, a compromise was reached in weightlifting.

The International Weightlifting Federation announced from Malaysia that it would modify the rules for athletic attire to allow athletes to wear a "one piece full body tight fitted 'unitard' under the compulsory weightlifting costume."

This decision comes after Muslim weightlifter Kulsoom Abdullah from Atlanta was on the brink of qualifying for the American Open tournament last year when she was eliminated for wearing her hijab. She was told it could be dangerous and potentially give her an unfair advantage as judges might not be able to tell if her arms were locked.

The hijab complies with her religious beliefs that she must be completely covered, with the exception of her face, hands and feet. Abdullah, 35, would not compete without it.

In a statement Wednesday, Abdullah said, "This is a great victory. I am hopeful for more participation in sports for women....I hope other sporting organizations will follow this example to allow greater inclusion and participation in their respective sport. One example is FIFA's disqualification of the Iranian women's team."

The Iranian women's soccer team was disqualified from a match against Jordan for next year's Olympics due to their headscarves. A FIFA official said that the headscarves violated their rules for dress and that, for safety reasons, women's necks cannot be covered.

When Abdullah was disqualified, she teamed up with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asked both USA Weightlifting and the United States Olympic Committee to advocate for her on behalf of all women who wish to compete.

Each sport has a governing body; for weightlifting, the final decision had to come from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

In the news release announcing the decision, the IWF wrote, "The newly approved competition costume modification promotes and enables a more inclusive sport environment and breaks down barriers to participation."

Dr. Tamas Ajan, IWF president and honorary member of the International Olympic Committee, said, "Weightlifting is an Olympic sport open for all athletes to participate without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


World Leaders Weigh in on Osama Bin Laden's Death

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- News of Osama bin Laden's death was cause for celebration in many countries around the world Monday, but the al Qaeda leader's death spurred mixed reactions in the Muslim world.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the terrorist's death was a "great result in the fight against evil," and French President Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated the "tenacity of the United States" in its long search for bin Laden.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the result of the raid was "a resounding victory for justice, for freedom and for the shared values of all democratic countries that fight shoulder to shoulder against terror."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called bin Laden's death a "significant success," and stressed that the NATO allies "will continue their mission to ensure that Afghanistan never becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security."

In Kenya, where a U.S. embassy was allegedly bombed by al Qaeda in 1998, President Mwai Kibaki remembered the 225 lives that were lost.

"His killing is an act of justice to those Kenyans who lost their lives and the many more who suffered injuries," he said.

But reaction in the Muslim world to the al Qaeda leader's death was predictably mixed.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was greeted with applause when he delivered the news to local government leaders.

"I hope the death of Osama bin Laden will mean the end of terrorism," he said.  He also told reporters that the terrorist "received his due punishment," and that his hands "were dipped in the blood of thousands and thousands of children, youths and elders of Afghanistan."

Yet he also took the time to say that the battle against terrorism should be fought in Pakistan, and not in Afghan villages.

Meanwhile, in the same country, a rickshaw driver in Jalalabad hailed bin Laden as a hero in the Muslim world.

"His struggle was always against non-Muslims and infidels and against superpowers," Sayed Jalal said.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned the United States for killing bin Laden, calling it a continuation of the American oppression and shedding of blood of Muslims and Arabs.

"Despite the difference in opinions and agenda between us and them, we condemn the assassination of a Muslim and Arabic warrior and we pray to God that his soul rests in peace," he told reporters in Gaza.

On the other hand, the leader of the Palestian Authority, Salam Fayyed, congratulated the United States on the raid.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden's Sea Burial: Breaks with Islamic Tradition?

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden did not receive a customary Islamic burial, despite what U.S. government officials reported, according to experts in Muslim funeral rites.

"Dumping the body into the sea is not part of any Islamic ritual," said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a physician of internal medicine. "Koranic scripture says God created him and he must return to the earth."

U.S. officials told ABC News that the last thing they wanted was to create a burial place which could become a terrorist shrine. To avoid that, bin Laden was buried at sea.

The corpse was taken to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, officials told ABC News. The burial at sea was done in accordance with Muslim law -- a Muslim seaman conducted the process, said the prayers, and bin Laden's body was wrapped in the appropriate way.

Bin Laden's body was dropped into the sea, likely the Indian Ocean, early Monday. The White House has not said exactly where the body was placed.

"We are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition," an administration official said. "This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore this is being handled in an appropriate manner."

Tradition dictates that the body is washed by Muslim men and a funeral prayer is said, then it is buried within 24 hours. The body is wrapped in a shroud of white cloth and the face is moved toward mecca. The remains are always buried in the earth.

Similar to the orthodox Jewish tradition, bodies cannot be embalmed or in any way preserved and the coffin, if used, must be wooden.

It was reported that bin Laden was buried in a sealed cement box.

Cremation is prohibited, because it is considered disrespectful, and unless a person died in an accident at sea, they would never be thrown in the water, according to Dr. Muzamil Siddiqi, chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America and a scholar on the legal systems of Islam.

Khalid Latif, chaplain at New York University and director of its Islamic Center, said that Islamic law is "flexible" in how it handles burial, especially in this case. The question would be not "how to bury a body, but how Osama bin Laden's body would be buried."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Muslim Women Arrested for Defying France's Burqa Ban

Abid Katib/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Muslim women defied France's new ban on full-face veils Monday and at least two protesters were arrested outside Notre Dame cathedral for wearing the traditional masks, which the French president has called "a sign of enslavement."

Three women wearing niqabs -- a veil that leaves just a slit for the eyes -- joined a protest of about a dozen people outside the famous Paris cathedral, saying the ban violates their freedom of religion. Two of the women were arrested and charged with staging an unauthorized protest.

It was unclear whether the women would be fined the $215 penalty the law imposes for wearing a veil.

There are some five million Muslims living in France, but only about 2,000 women are estimated to wear the now outlawed veils. Many of those women have vowed to defy the ban.

The ban implemented Monday comes two years after French President Nicolas Sarkozy first suggested outlawing the veils.

The penalty for forcing a woman to wear a veil is far stiffer than that for a woman caught wearing one. People found forcing a woman to cover her face are subject to a $43,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Many opponents of the ban say it violates the country's religious freedom statutes.

Head scarves are still legal, but the niqab and burqa, from which women peer out through a screen, are banned.

France is the first country to implement such a ban. Italy is mulling a similar law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


French Burqa Ban Takes Effect

Abid Katib/Getty Images(PARIS) -- They are an unusual sight on the fashion forward streets of Paris. Muslim women covered head to toe, even much of their faces concealed. And starting Monday,  the French government plans to make this religious garb even rarer.

“It shocks the French culture deeply,” said Jacques Myard, a conservative member of French Parliament. “Because never in our history, any person, male or female, has got a cloth on her face.’’

The French Parliament passed a new and controversial law forbidding women to cover their faces in public. Women wearing the burqa will be warned, then fined about $200. There's a $43,000 fine for any man caught forcing a woman to wear the burqa or cover her face.

The French government argues that the clothing violates the principles of equality for its citizens and poses a threat to public safety. Criminals in the past have used the burqa for cover.

What’s happening in France might be a model for countries trying to push back against the influx of Islamic culture.  Sarkozy says the clothing is “not a religious symbol. It is a sign of enslavement .”

But many Muslim women disagree, saying that the burqa is a sign of modesty and symbolizes their respect for God.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Controversial Fla. Pastor: Afghan UN Violence 'Proves My Point'

Mario Tama/Getty Images(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who oversaw the burning of a Koran last month, tells ABC News that he does not feel responsible for the violent protest at a United Nations compound in Afghanistan on Friday that left at least 11 dead. Instead, he said the violence proved his point.

"We wanted to raise awareness of this dangerous religion and dangerous element," Jones said. "I think [the attack] proves that there is a radical element of Islam."

As for the 11 dead, which included seven U.N. staffers and guards, Jones told ABC News Nightline anchor Bill Weir, "We do not feel responsible, no."

The deaths followed a protest march in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday against the Koran burning that Jones supervised last month, while another pastor, Wayne Sapp, soaked the Koran in kerosene and burned it.

"We decided to put the Koran on trail," Jones said. "I was the judge but I did not determine the verdict. I was just a type of referee so that people got their time to defend or condemn the Koran."

Jones said that a "jury" of people from all over Florida debated the radicalism of Islam, and the "Koran was found guilty."

Police told ABC News the protest in Afghanistan started peacefully but took a violent turn after a radical leader told those gathered that multiple Korans had been burned. People angrily marched on the nearby U.N. compound, despite police who fired AK-47s into the air in hopes of subduing them.

Police eventually turned their weapons on the protesters, killing at least four, police said, before they were overtaken and had their guns stolen. Using the police weapons, the protesters killed four U.N. guards from Nepal and then three foreign workers in the U.N. building -- a Norwegian, a Romanian and a Swede.

Despite an onslaught of attention Jones got when he initially made his threat to burn the Muslim holy book in September 2010 -- including a personal plea from President Barack Obama -- the actual burning of the Koran last month went relatively unnoticed in western media.

President Obama condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms" in a statement.

Jones initially cancelled his plans for the book burning on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. The stunt, according to Jones, was a protest for the Muslim-backed community center that was to be built near the site of the September 11 attacks in New York.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Three-Month State of Emergency Declared In Bahrain

JAMES LAWLER DUGGAN/AFP/Getty Images(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- A three-month state of emergency was declared by Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah on Tuesday, authorizing the head of the military to "to take necessary steps to restore national security." It is the latest escalation in the tense and often violent month-long standoff between Shiite Muslim protesters and the security forces of the ruling Sunni family.

The declaration of martial law comes a day after a taskforce of around 1,500 troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council arrived in Bahrain to bolster the tiny island nation's forces. Most are from Saudi Arabia, crossing the short causeway that connects the two kingdoms.

The presence of foreign troops has infuriated the demonstrators who marched Tuesday from their symbolic home base of Pearl Square towards the Saudi embassy.

There are concerns that Bahrain's unrest could develop into a proxy war between Iran and its Sunni Arab neighbors. Iran has been accused of backing the protesters but so far no evidence has been offered.

What began as protests by the Shiite minority for more rights and a constitutional monarchy has developed into calls for the monarchy to be abolished. Bahrain is a key ally for the U.S., the home of the Navy's 5th Fleet. During a recent visit, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates urged the king to undertake real reforms, not "baby steps."

The U.S. State Department is urging Americans to avoid travel to Bahrain and suggesting those there to leave. The embassy in the capital Manama has authorized the departure of non-essential personnel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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