Thursday, July 21, 2011

News from the Barnabas Trust

Muslims Against Crusades are targeting the London borough of Waltham Forest to be the first “sharia-controlled zone” as part of a new “Islamic Emirates Project”.

The group said,

As part of our Islamic Emirate Project, Waltham Forest is to be the first borough to be targeted for an intense sharia led campaign, introducing the prospect of Islamic law for the Muslim community to abide by.

Waltham Forest is...a borough with a marked Islamic fingerprint; Muslim businesses, mosques and Islamic schools emblazon its streets, making a transition into a thriving Islamic emirate, very real and plausible.

The organisation intends to persuade Muslims in Waltham to self-enforce sharia initially with specially designed leaflets and posters that read, “You are entering a Sharia Controlled Zone

Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for a church pastor convicted of apostasy last year – unless he recants his faith.

Pastor Nadarkhani (33) was arrested in his home city of Rasht, northern Iran, in October 2009 for objecting to the teaching of Islam to Christian children in schools. He was initially charged with protesting, but the charges against him were later changed to apostasy and evangelising Muslims. His wife, Fatemeh Passandideh, was also later arrested, in June 2010, and sentenced to life in prison. Supporters say that this was an attempt to pressurise Pastor Nadarkhani to renounce his faith, but he remained steadfast. Fatemeh was released on appeal in October after four months in prison.

Pastor Nadarkhani was found guilty of apostasy in September 2010; a written confirmation of the death sentence was received on 13 November. Apostasy – or renouncing Islam – is not a crime under Iran’s penal code, but the system does make provision for judges to draw on fatwas and Islamic sources where national law is silent. Islamic law states that an adult male apostate should be given the death sentence. The verdict was based on fatwas by key Iranian religious leaders including the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. Pastor Nadarkhani, who was born to Muslim parents and is thus considered a Muslim in Islamic tradition, became a Christian aged 19.

The case was tried by the court in Rasht and has now been referred back there. The Supreme Court has asked the Rasht court to re-examine some procedural flaws in the case but has ultimately given local judges the power to decide Pastor Nadarkhani’s fate in October. The outcome seems likely to rest on whether or not he will recant his faith.

His lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, a prominent defender of human rights in Iran, is involved in a legal battle of his own. He is appealing a nine-year prison sentence and ten-year ban on practising law or teaching at university for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime”.

The decision was strongly condemned by the US State Department, which said:

We are dismayed over reports that the Iranian courts are requiring Youcef Nadarkhani to recant his faith or face the death penalty for apostasy, a charge based on his religious beliefs. If carried out, it would be the first execution for apostasy in Iran since 1990.

There has been no protest by the British Government of any European authorities.

An Egyptian human rights organisation has exposed a highly organised Muslim ring that promotes sexual exploitation and blackmail to force Christian girls to convert to Islam

Egypt4Christ, which monitors the abduction and forced Islamisation of Christian minors, published the findings in a new report last week. It launched an undercover investigation after a church leader in Alexandria reported that a ten-year-old Christian girl had been sexually abused by a 20-year-old Muslim university student.

The group discovered that a highly organised Muslim ring based at a mosque in Alexandria are orchestrating a systematic campaign in which they urge young Muslim males in high school and university to approach Christian girls aged 9-15 and manipulate them through sexual exploitation and blackmail. Named “operation soaking lupin beans” (referring to small dried beans that are soaked until they grow in size before being eaten raw), the plan aims to compromise Christian girls sexually so that they feel defiled and humiliated, forcing them to flee their homes. Conversion to Islam is then used as a “solution” to their problems. The group published the names of those involved in the ring, which includes high-ranking officials and a Salafist leader who is reportedly considering running for president in the forthcoming Egyptian elections.

The problem of the forced conversion of Christian girls, who are then married to Muslim men, is a long-standing one in Egypt. But it has intensified since the January Revolution, with the number of Christian girls affected said to be soaring, amid wider efforts to Islamise the country. One church leader in Cairo estimates that at least 21 young girls have disappeared from his parish since the revolution, while another said that “more than two to three girls disappear everyday in Giza alone”. He added, “The cases that are brought to public attention are few compared to what the numbers actually are.”

Christian activist Mark Ebeid said that the problem has escalated since the revolution because of the emergence of Muslim Salafists, who follow an ultra-conservative, strict and puritanical version of Islam related to Wahhabism, the official state creed of Saudi Arabia. Mr Ebeid said they “believe strongly that converting a Christian Infidel is in some ways like earning a ticket to paradise – not to mention the earthly remuneration they get from the Saudis”.

Christians complain that the military council are not intervening in the problem and they do not get any assistance from the police.

The problem is not unique to Egypt; it is also common in Pakistan, and there have been consistent reports of its occurring in India and Sri Lanka. A Christian girl who has been forced to marry a Muslim man faces a virtually hopeless future, held captive by a family who treat her as nothing more than a slave. In Pakistan and Egypt, the woman’s name and identity is changed, with her Christian religious status being replaced with Islam on her identity card.

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