News Agencies – December 9, 2011
French feminist organization Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS, Neither Whores nor Submissives) is seeking a new president to revitalize the organization. Jamila Alla and Asma Guenifi are the two candidates most likely to be elected as the new leader following meetings in Dourdan. Sihem Habchi has been president since 2007 having followed the group’s 2003 creator, Fadela Amara.
In the wake of the Quick fast-food chain’s decision to offer halal meat products, French politicians Fadela Amara and Cécile Duflot weigh in that the complaints against the possibility are excessive. Amara explained that because as a private business Quick does not offer public services they should be able to sell whatever they please. The consumer can choose. The real problem, she added, is that “elites in this country don’t accept its diversity . . . secularism is respecting the practices of one another.” Duflot warned of Islamophobia: “No one is chocked that there’s a kosher Franprix [grocery store].”
Le Figaro points to a report on halal meats (see reports section of Euro-Islam website) which claims that 32 percent of meat prepared in French abattoirs is halal or kosher, and is sometimes sold as non-halal.
Shareef Abdelhaleem testified before a Canadian court that he purposely positioned himself as the middleman of a potentially deadly terrorist plot because he wanted to learn key details about it in case he decided to sabotage it. The member of the so-called Toronto 18 said he was as an “outsider”, and not part of the ‘bombing club,’ which he said was made up of mastermind Zakaria Amara and undercover police agent Shaher Elsohemy, who was to supply bomb making material.
One week ago, Abdelhaleem was found guilty of participating in a 2006 explosives plot to bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Toronto offices of Canada’s spy agency and a military base off Highway 401. Before a conviction is registered, the judge must rule on whether Abdelhaleem was entrapped.
Abdelhaleem was among 18 people charged in the summer of 2006 with belonging to a cell that organized terrorist training camps and planned to blow up buildings with three tones of ammonium nitrate. Amara has been sentenced to life in prison.
A Canadian terrorist was sentenced to life in prison in a precedent-setting judgment in the case of young al-Qaida-inspired extremists who plotted to blow up their fellow citizens. Calling the conspiracy “spine chilling,” Mr. Justice Bruce Durno imposed the stiffest sentence since the federal government put anti-terrorism laws on the books in 2001.
“The potential for loss of life existed on a scale never before seen in Canada,” Judge Durno said as he read aloud his 48-page decision. Four years ago, Zakaria Amara was a university dropout working as a gas jockey in Mississauga. Then 20, he lived a secret life, relentlessly, almost rabidly, pursuing a goal: bombing Canadian targets to force the government to end its military mission in Afghanistan.
Mr. Amara will be eligible for parole in about six years, which will coincide with his 30th birthday. However, he must persuade authorities that he should regain his liberty.
The 24-year-old Canadian mastermind of an al-Qaida-inspired plot to explode truck bombs in downtown Toronto has issued an abject apology to Canadians.
“I deserve nothing less than your complete contempt,” Mr. Amara told Mr. Justice Bruce Durno as he read an “open letter to Canadians” during his sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last October and is to be sentenced next week.
These were the first public remarks by Mr. Amara, a ringleader of the so-called “Toronto 18” plot, who spent the spring of 2006 trying to procure huge quantities of explosive chemicals in order to build truck bombs. Starting off by quoting the Qur’an, in hindsight, he said his interpretation of Islam was “naïve and gullible,” and that his belief system made worse by the fact he had “isolated himself from the real world.” It wasn’t until he got to prison, he said, that he began to learn tolerance. Mr. Amara, a Sunni Muslim, talked of how he had also befriended a Jewish inmate, and a Shia Muslim, men from two religions he would have viewed with only contempt prior to his incarceration.
Mr. Amara faces life in prison, a punishment which the Crown is requesting. He will get one of the stiffest – if not the stiffest – terrorism sentence imposed since Parliament passed the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
The dramatic arrests of Saad Khalid and Saad Gaya, members of the “Toronto 18” terrorist group that was planning to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto in 2006, was captured on a video released by the court. The video is among dozens of Crown exhibits that form the case against Zakaria Amara, who admitted on October 8 he was the leader of the bomb plot. An Ontario judge approved their release, allowing Canadians to view them for the first time.
The videos show the terrorists testing an electronic detonator and meeting in the dark. Also released was a video of a test explosion conducted by the RCMP, which built and detonated a bomb using the same formula as the terrorists. The result is a huge blast that flipped a metal shipping container.
Amara, 24, pleaded to two counts of terrorism and is to be sentenced in January. Khalid, Gaya and Ali Dirie have also pleaded guilty and another man, Nishanthan Yogakrishnan, was convicted. Another six are awaiting trial.
Zakaria Amara issued a surprise guilty plea in a Brampton courtroom, more than 40 months after he and 17 others were arrested in connection with the most audacious and ambitious terrorist attack planned in Canada as part of the “Toronto 18.”
Pleading guilty to two counts of terrorism will likely garner Amara, the plot’s ringleader, life in prison.
Raised in the suburbs by an Arab father and a Cypriot mother, Amara has been portrayed as an unlikely Islamic warrior. He says he was baptized in the Greek Orthodox church. In his teens he married an observant, niqab-wearing wife, who soon bore him a baby. News sources claim that she urged him to do something dramatic for Islam.
Sihem Habchi appeared as the first witness before a newly created parliamentary group studying Islamic clothing such as burqas and niqabs in the Republic, part of France’s effort to integrate its growing Muslim population while preserving its heritage and secular roots.
The panel, chaired by Communist Party lawmaker André Gédron, will hold months of hearings before issuing a report, likely by January 2010. It has no power to draft laws but could recommend legislation restricting or banning women from wearing head-to-toe Islamic robes that mask facial features in public.
The panel was announced in June 2009. Habchi heads Ni Putes, Ni Soumises — Neither Whores, Nor Submissives — an outspoken group fighting to improve the lot of Muslim women and girls in suburban areas. The group’s founder Fadela Amara, now the government’s urban affairs minister, supports a ban on full-body veils. The parliamentary panel is also to hear from supporters of the veils, though the list of witnesses has not yet been completed, the panel said.
PARIS – A ban on the wearing of the burka in France would help stem the spread of the “cancer” of radical Islam, one of its female Muslim ministers has said.
Minister Fadela Amara told the Financial Times that a veil covering everything but the eyes represented “the oppression of women”. Ms Amara said she was “in favour of the burka not existing in my country”.
“The burka represents not a piece of fabric but the political manipulation of a religion that enslaves women and disputes the principle of equality between men and women – one of the founding principles of our republic.”
A ban on the wearing of the burka in France would help stem the spread of the “cancer” of radical Islam, one of its female Muslim ministers has said. Minister Fadela Amara claims that a veil covering everything but the eyes represented “the oppression of women”. Amara said she was “in favour of the burka not existing in my country”. The comments come as French MPs hold hearings on whether to ban the garment, which covers the body from head to toe.